Monday, December 2, 2013

Ukuleles and Peace

Dear Family and Friends-

Can you believe it is already December! Like hold up...Thanksgiving was this week? It feels like it was a month ago. Time is flying by and now I am officially old. Woo hoo to the new 20 year old on the block. I can no longer say I am a 19 year old missionary. Sad day!

So, I guess I'll start out with the beginning of the week. On Monday, our plans were cancelled and so we texted the STLs to see if they wanted to go out to lunch with us and they were down! We went to Panera, except I guess Panera was started here in St. Louis and it's actually called St. Louis Bread Co. here. Everywhere else it is called Panera. It was fun because they had Christmas decorations up and we got hot chocolate. AH, THE HOLIDAYS ARE HERE! We still have to take down our Halloween decorations in our apartment.

Also, I want to apologize because I did something kind of impulsive. I bought an $80 ukulele. :) I will send a picture but I am teaching myself how to play it and I love it but it is way harder than I thought it was to learn. Also, our mission cards for some reason were getting declined at the grocery stores last Monday. We still have to talk to the office about that cause we don't know why so I bought our groceries on my debit card. (I have more money than Sister Fisher and I kind of have a habit of using it but I paid for it so she didn't have to.) Sorry about all the crazy money spending lately but I promise I'll become a better budgeter. Sister Fisher has taught me a lot, trust me. I am a pro grocery shopper now!
My new ukulele
The other day we went and visited a less active named "M". She is from Germany and has had a really rough life. Her husband was in the military and was killed and her son committed suicide. Then her daughter took her name and information and racked up hundreds of dollars in debt and fraud. She is an amazing woman but is so afraid of the world and of people but she let us into her home and it was the most beautiful home. She makes EVERYTHING in her home. All the tables, chairs, couches, paintings, clocks, etc. Just beautiful work. Everything is beautiful vintage looking. She makes her own shoes too!! It was breathtaking to see how hard life has been to her yet she still praises God. It is such a blessing to know that the atonement can correct all things that are unfair in this life. Aren't we so overly blessed to know that? Doesn't it just make you want to share it with everyone?

Anyway, we potentially have a new investigator. His name is "A" and he was a referral from the elders. We have an appointment with him tonight which makes me super excited. I hope it is solid.

Thanksgiving....that was this week, right? Crazy how time flies. First off, we got up at 5am. Yes, you heard me correctly. We went to a breakfast at a less actives home. Her husband, "M2" used to be our investigator before the boundary changes. It was lots of fun. We got to meet a lot of people and she just kept feeding us and it was crazy. At one point, there were probably 40 people there (it was a come and go as you please kind of an open house) and her home can not fit that many people. But, we had fun and she made me eat way too much food and I wanted to die by 8am and we still had one more appointment to go to. Anyway, we helped her clean up once everyone was gone and then went home and took an hour nap and we were off again. We had our Thanksgiving with "L" who actually is an investigator we are trying to transfer over to the Webster Sisters but we are super close to her. She is the first investigator that Sister Fisher and I found together so she invited us over for Thanksgiving. It was amazing and she is an amazing cook. We had the classic turkey and mashed potatoes and everything and I loved it! Not as good as at home. Your Thanksgiving dinner will always be the best, Mom. :) But she did make Rhodes rolls...which I love. I also got to watch like 10 minutes of football which was great. Her brother was there who is a member so we had lots of fun talking to him and her son was there and was asking them all these questions. "L" is a solid investigator and I feel like her son would be a solid investigator too. It was a lot of fun to just enjoy being there and being friends and she was so grandmotherly. I just loved it. I was happy. I got my turkey and my rolls and some football. Perfect Thanksgiving.

Sorry, Mom. I know you wrote to not open the package until my birthday but I opened it the night before. Haha I couldn't wait and I knew we would be up and out of the house on Thanksgiving and so I wouldn't get to open it forever. I loved everything in it. Thank you so much! The cookies are already gone and Sister Fisher is wondering if she can have the recipe. She thought they were amazing. I love the sweater. I need sweaters now that it is getting cold and I'm running out of options for changing up all my clothes. I love the skirt too. It is a little big but that's alright cause I might gain some weight soon if people keep feeding us like they are now! And I love the picture book you made. It means a lot to me and I hope you know you could have just sent pics and I would have been fine. Thanks for making it all special. I carry it around with me. Anyway, it was a great bday. I missed y'all a lot but it was good and I was happy. The zone leaders, Elder Ray and Elder Southern, called and sang me happy birthday and the STLs, Sister Errington and Sister Minyard, took me out to ice cream on Saturday night. Well, they took me to Ted Drewes which is frozen custard that you can only get in the city of St. Louis and it is really good. It is really popular, I guess. There were A LOT of people there. Not as many as good ole Voodoo in Portland, though.  :)

Anyway, onto the most exciting thing of the week. "C" got baptized!!! Coolest experience ever. We never really taught "C", the Elders did. But when the boundaries changed she was now in our area and she already had a baptismal date set so really we just worked to keep preparing her for baptism. She didn't really need to be taught anything else. She is 21 and has an inspiring life story and I just love her to death! She is sassy and funny and her son, "B" is awesome. He is one and a half years old and a very dramatic child. I love playing with him. Anyway, when we went into the bathroom and she was getting ready to go into the font she started crying and said how she couldn't believe that all these people had come for her baptism. She didn't have really any family at all growing up. We saw how much it meant to her. I realized how the gospel is for people as a whole but it is also for the individual. We each find that part that alters our lives in such a way that we want to follow Christ. I truly saw how much God really loves each and every single one of us when "C" got baptized on Saturday. She was so anxious and so nervous and was scared but when she came back out of the water she cried and said, "I feel at complete peace." Isn't that the most wonderful thing about the gospel? The peace it brings to our lives in any moment and in any situation is remarkable. I mean, if you look how many times Christ say in the scriptures "Peace be unto thy soul". It's hundreds of times. We need not fear or be afraid. We don't need to be worrisome or nervous for the Lord is with us at all times, in all things, and in all places. Seeing the peaceful feeling taught me to allow myself to be at peace. I have finally come to the point where I don't want to go home. I am at peace here and honestly don't know how I will ever go back to living a normal life. I don't know how people do it. I am not ready for my mission to end and I already feel like I have such little time left and I've only been out three months! It is crazy the miracles our Heavenly Father works within us.
C's friend, "C", Sister Fisher, and I at "C" baptism

Two weeks ago I felt like I needed a blessing. But, as you know, I will refuse to ask for help from anyone and so I pushed the thought aside. But, this past week something felt really off. I was having a really difficult time breathing. When I stood up too fast, I would almost black out and when I would lie down, my feet would get all tingly like the circulation wasn't really working. When we were running from someone's house back to our car cause we were going to be late, I had the weirdest feeling in my arms. Like it was super painful and it felt like the blood wasn't circulating in my arms. On Sunday, I was really struggling to breathe and I just felt off and so finally I asked Sister Fisher if there was anyway we could ask someone to give me a blessing. So we asked the APs to come give me a blessing and I was extremely embarrassed and felt super silly but I knew I needed one. They probably thought I was crazy when I told them I was having trouble breathing. But, I had to let go of my ego because I needed a blessing. The minute he started talking the weird pressure and feeling in my chest left and I felt so relieved. I could breathe perfectly and it felt so much better and I knew how much I needed that and I wish I hadn't waited that long. It is funny because I feel like I trust my Heavenly Father but then I realize I have so much more to go. it was a really cool experience and definitely a faith building one...that's for sure.

Anyway, that's all I really have to share. It was a very slow week for teaching but our area is finally all organized! Yay!!

I love you all so much. Oh, here is a quote my ward mission leaders said the other day that I love.

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall."

Love-Sister Lundy

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