Love you! So much!
Today we went to the zoo! Yesterday, there was a bunch of people that went, but today it was just Sister Belka, me, Sister Brown, Sister Jones, Sister Kirby, and the Openshaws. It was nice because we were small enough that we could all stay together and do what we wanted to do. The Openshaws and the Watsons kept referring to us as their grandchildren, which was cute. All the senior couples are a lot like our grandparents. We have a lot of fun together. Unfortunately, my camera made it through the entire zoo, but died as I was uploading the pictures, so I only got a couple of them, but I will send more next week.
I keep having dreams lately about coming home, which is the weirdest thing, but it reminds me over and over how quickly this time is going and how quickly it will soon be gone. Next week is transfers and then only 5 transfers after that, but I should stop talking about that.
It seems like last Monday when I emailed you last was an eternity ago. Wow.
Last Tuesday, we had Meet the President with the Westons (which, by the way is very confusing between President Weston, Elder Watson, and Elder Westover.) The Westons are great. President Weston is definitely different than President Kunz, but both have been and will be awesome, I am grateful already though to see the way that two different people do things and to understand that there is not just one right way to serve. We each bring something different to the table, and that is just fine! Some things that he is very focused on is working with the members, new member retention and seeking out the lost sheep. He is already doing away with the 4 pm dinner schedule so that we can spend more time strengthening and encouraging the members in their work, which I think will be good. It’s kind of a special place that missionaries are in with members feeding us. It gets us into their homes to be able to talk to and strengthen them. Other people in the church can't send around a sign up sheet and expect people to feed them everyday for a long period of time (although I have never tried it, so who knows), but missionaries can! It gives a unique opportunity to be in the homes of the ward members. President Weston is also vey big on obedience. He said that as his life work, he has been reading through all the scriptures and counsels given by the prophets and apostles and looking for everything they have told us to do, then implementing all of those things in his life so that he can be more obedient. So, you can tell what kind of a person he is. We also had interviews with him that day, which was kind of neat. We talked more about obedience, in fact. He said something interesting, that for missionaries, the amount that their family is blessed is in relation to how obedient they are. So, I will be being trying to be more exactly obedient in the future :).
The Fourth was not a huge deal for us. In fact, I felt a little bit like a Jehovah’s Witness because we did so little to celebrate and Sister Belka kept telling people that we talked to that we were not doing anything to celebrate. In the morning, we went to the
2nd Ward breakfast. A group of 6 sister and 6 elders sang the National Anthem,
including me :) Ha ha and then we had breakfast and a little program. We worked
at the Bellevue , had dinner with a family in the
ward, did some tracting, and taught a few lessons. It actually didn't turn out
to be too bad of a night, even if there were a lot of people out partying. Trail Center
On Thursday, we were visiting Fatma and Fatwa Luka, two teenage recent converts. Fatma has come with us a couple times to some appointments and apparently has made Fatwa (the younger of the two) jealous by telling her how much she enjoys it. Fatwa wanted to come out with us so badly, so took her with us and did some tracting a couple of blocks away from their house. After the first lady that we talked to, she said "So that is what it is like to be a missionary. That was so great!” It made me think about what my view of missionary work was before my mission. I think that I didn’t really think about what missionaries do because I was so focused on what missionaries don’t do, but I have since realized that there is a lot more to it than just that. After a few months of being away from all of the things that you leave behind to go on a mission, you kind of forget what it was like to live that way. And then there is a whole new world of opportunity that opens up.
We had another fireside this Sunday and have another next Sunday for the cast of Come Home to Kanesville (which we get to see on the 17th), then another the Saturday after that, so they are keeping us busy! That has been a lot of fun, and apparently, we have had 7 baptisms already that have come out of the firesides in the last couple of months. I know that it has also been a huge factor in the progression of some of our investigators. When President Weston first came, I was a little nervous about what he would say/do about the firesides or if he would stop them all together, but that fear was quickly set aside after he told all of the missionaries "if you can find a way to mix music and testimony in your teaching, please do it!" That was even before he knew about the firesides, so that is definitely a good sign!
Love you! Have a great week!