HELLO FROM ARIZONA!!!
I'll start with the last days of my MTC. Sister Holyoak and I had some more powerful spiritual experiences while teaching. We had a great thing going. I miss her and I can't wait to find out how she's doing in Edmonton, Canada. I picked up a lot of addresses to write to the other missionaries in my district and zone from the MTC. lol I'm excited to see how they're all doing. I love the MTC and all of the experiences that I've had there.
So, wow. It's been CRAAAAZZZY! I've officially been out in the field for 5.5 days. I arrived with 18 Elders and what I sight that was I'm sure. I made it with all three of my bags under 50 lbs- so I was proud of myself. :) It was really weird to not have a companion, but it was great to know four of the Elders since they were from my MTC district. So I was there companion. I had to wake up at 2AM on that Tuesday because Sister Holyoak had to leave at 3AM. I said goodbye to her and then finished packing. The plane ride was short- I was in the middle seat between two Elders. When I arrived, President Howes and his wife were there to greet us. They had lived in Naperville in the 90s. So we had a lot to talk about. Since I was the only Sister, I kind of got special treatment because I had to be Sister Howes companion. It was a little uncomfortable, but we had a good time. We had a lunch and then orientation. The scariest part was that they took us to ASU's campus and turned us loose with companions ( I had to be with the AP and another Elder...awkward) to go talk to people. This is called OYMs (Open Your Mouth). This is where you talk to anyone and everyone about the gospel and try to get people to commit to meeting with the missionaries for lessons. I almost peed my pants. It was one of the most scariest moments so far on the mission. It's unnerving and it was definitely a shock since we didn't practice street contacting in the MTC. The church's (the Lord's) mission program loves to just throw you out in the deep end and let you learn to swim. Then afterwards we went to a members house where they feed us dinner and we had a short program. At 7PM we were allowed to go to a member's house where they took us in for the night. I went to an old lady's house and it was good because I got my own room and like 9 hours of sleep since I was sooooo tired. It was probably one of the most tiring days of my mission (so far). I'm so sorry that I haven't written anyone- in the MTC you have hardly any time for personal hour, so I hope to be catching up soon. And yes, I received your packages- they were here waiting for me when I arrived! I was kind of in shock the whole day.
The next day, Wednesday, was transfers were I met my companion and we talked about missionary work and training. It took until 1PM and a member drove us to our apartment. It's a mother-in-law suite of a member's house. We have no stove or anything. It's like a studio apartment with one room for sleeping, studying, eating (fridge), and another one with the bathroom. So it's small, but cute. My companion, Sister Farthing, and I have loved opening them and reading the Advents- it reminds me of home and I love it. :) So Sister Farthing is from New Zealand and is 24 years old. She only has 12 weeks left, so I'll be her last companion. She's great! She's kind of reserved because that is her culture- totally opposite from ours. I'm the loud American out of the two of us. lol. She has only been in the area for 6 weeks, so we both don't know where we're going....that has been interesting. She also can't drive in America, so we had to wait to get approval for me to drive. So we had to ask members to drive us the first two days. The mission has a program called a TeeWee card where it tracks all of your movements to make sure that missionaries are being safe while driving- so no speeding (has been very hard), no sharp turns, etc So that day I unpacked and we had to go shopping since I didn't have any food. Then we went over a lesson plan since we had out coordination meeting for one of our wards (we cover three wards). We had dinner with a family and then had planning at night. I never realized how awkward being a missionary is. We are so weird! lol. We walk around in church clothes asking people about what they believe in. We are so awkward. lol Especially dinner with members because they have no idea what to say to us since we don't know them and they don't know us-- well certain families. I just assumed that everyone was like our family where we have... people skills? lol So that has been an adventure adjusting to being "the weird" one and out of place. We are a peculiar people and being a missionary is definitely means that I'm even more peculiar. I do like it, but it's been hard getting used to having everyone notice every little thing you do.
The next day, Thursday, I woke up with hives covering my face, arms, and legs.... so I had to go to the doctor since even just in the morning after personal, companion, and training, they were spreading. So the doctor gave me steroids. My body is shutting down! lol But I'm alright :) I'm also learning that a lot of missionary work is dealing with rejection. And I can honestly say that it doesn't have any effect on me anymore. It's sad when people say no, but we get rejected so many times in the day that it has no effect.
So we have 6 investigators and a lot of potentials. There's one lady, Sherry, is amazing! The missionaries found her two months ago and on the first visit she wanted to be baptized! So we're finishing up the lessons with her and hopefully she'll be baptized this month! She went to church for the first time yesterday and tonight we're going to teach her more of the lessons. She has to go to church two weeks in a row for her to be baptized. Hopefully it'll be my first baptism!
This week has been amazing! The spirit is so strong when you're on your mission. I honestly don't feel homesick at all (but I do miss you guys!!). I love it when we teach and people actually want to listen. On Saturday we had a neat experience. We had gotten a referral for Sandra and we went over there because Sister Farthing and her last companion had set up a lesson even though they hadn't met her. So the lesson was on Saturday at 4pm. We go there and Brian her son answers the door. Sandra isn't there. :( So we ask Brian if he'd like to know more. We basically teach him the basics of the Restoration and especially the Book of Mormon. He wants a Book of Mormon so we ask him to read 2 Nephi 32 (the Doctrine of Christ) and set up a lesson time for Sunday. Our first potential investigator that we had found together! We go back yesterday, and they weren't there ( :[ ) but we're going to go back today. Also there's this amazing Indian family that they had tracked into last Sunday and we went over there yesterday and gave them a Bible in Tamial and they were very touched. We talked about it and bore testimony of it and the grandfather said to come back in 15 days so he can read the whole thing! We'll see.
Also another investigator, Gina, is from New York and she's been investigating for 4 months and is really skeptical. She reads a lot of anti and comes with questions and last night I had my first lesson with her. We watched the Restoration movie and afterwards we were talking because she has a lot of questions. I felt prompted to ask her why she wants to know all of the history facts and it turns out that she doesn't know how to recognize the Holy Ghost. We made some progress and committed her to pray to ask Heavenly Father how she feels the Holy Ghost. She's come to church.
Sunday's are crazy! We start at 8 and go til 3. With two investigators in different wards we were running all over. It's going to be even crazier when we can get more people to come. I'll tell you more about people that I'm teaching next time!!
I love the mission and I'm so glad that I'm here! Next week will be more of my experiences, but I just wanted to give you a picture of what I'm doing.
I love you all and thanks for writing!!