WOW, wow, wow. SO much has happened in the last week, I will just start from the beginning:
Monday morning at we left the MTC at 5 am and rode a bus to the airport. I'm grateful for Elder Legarra from my MTC district who helped me with all my big bags. There truly was 22 of us on our air plane. It was crazy and so funny to see this huge line of missionaries board the plane. We were taking over the place! President and Sister Mullen greeted us with open arms at the luggage claim. I knew instantly I would love them. President Mullen has a big, loud voice and he is SO full of energy. Sister Mullen might be the most adorable person ever. OH, I love her so much. We went out right away and did something called "fear-busting" which looking back now, really wasn't that scary. We went out with a temporary companion, an experienced missionary who knew the area, and then just contacted people on the street or knocking on doors. I was so worried that I wouldn't know what to say, and it was in English! But it was fine. Sister Morgan was my companion and she was super nice and energetic. It got me excited to really do good work. Spokane Valley is super beautiful. Pine trees everywhere. It is so scenic and picturesque and I loved downtown Spokane. It's a pretty cool city with really neat buildings and architecture. But I don't know how much time I will really spend in the city. Well, then we went to the stake center and had lunch. Sister Mullen made cookies and then also but cookie dough balls on the plate because she thought we might like them too. That's when I really knew that we would get along great. Hello?? I LOVE cookie dough. We did some quick training on cars and medical things and then we interviewed with President Mullen. He is so great. He made me feel so comfortable in being here and I am so excited to be working here under his guidance. He shared a scripture with me that I think I might use on my plaque: D&C 64:33-34. It talks about not being weary in the work, because we are laying a good foundation. I've been sharing it with a lot of my members here to get them excited about missionary work and to encourage them in their own efforts. President Mullen encouraged me to stay happy and positive and that it would really help me, my companions and my investigators. My first two days here all I could think was, "can you die of happiness?" I was just so excited and ready to get to work.
I spent the night with a family in Spokane Valley and they were so kind and nice. They have twin boys serving missions right now so everything the mom was saying, made me think about how my own family felt about me serving a mission. It's funny to be on the other side of missionary work now. I see things through different eyes.
Tuesday we headed to the church and had a little more training before we met our companions! I'm serving with Hermana Hicks in Moses Lake, WA. In our area we work with the 6th Ward (English) and the 9th Branch (Spanish). Moses Lake is so different from Spokane Valley-it's just all this flat farm land-not a tree in sight. BUT I LOVE IT! We'll be driving in the car and I just turn to Hermana Hicks and say, "I LOVE it here! I just LOVE IT!" I've never lived in a place like this and it's so cool to be transplanted in this little part of the world with my people. I totally belong here. The population is like 20,000 and there are 4 chapels! There are so many members and everyone here is Christian or knows someone who is mormon. Oh man I love the people. It's cool to serve both English and Spanish at the same time. We split our time pretty evenly working with both wards. I am constantly touched by how kind and good the people here are. They are so willing to serve and help us. We have a car and our area covers A LOT of land so we don't really bike, but members give us a lot of rides because we only have 1000 miles each month. Hermana Hicks is super diligent and has been in the area for 3 months so the members really love and trust her. It's been good for me because it helps me to earn their trust as well. At first I was worried we were spending a lot of time in members homes and not enough time finding new investigators, but I really see how having the members help us really is vital to the work. Missionaries NEED members! Members are crucial in helping invesigators feel welcome and church and to really help them feel an outreach of love. It's really so neat to be here. Everyone is a good ol' farmer and just works so hard. It's the harvest right now and most people are spending their whole day working in the field to harvest their crops. I think it's so cool! Members are always giving us stuff like freshly picked apples and potatoes, fresh grape juice, dessert galore. They love the missionaries here. The rule here is that we only eat with members during the week if there is an investigator at their home also. I guess most members are afraid to ask their friends because we never eat in members homes. Only on Saturday and Sunday which I guess are exceptions to the rule. But it's great because then we can eat quick and easy healthy meals at home.
Ahh! I have so many thoughts to tell you so I will try to get them all down.
Hermana Hicks is awesome. I'm so grateful she is my trainer! Heavenly Father really knows everything because this is her last transfer and had I stayed in intermediate Spanish at the MTC then I would not have been here now and had her as my trainer, or even met her! She reminds me a lot of Arielle Driggs because she is just so down to earth and cool. We laugh A LOT. Which is so great cause when things get tough we can just have a sense of humor and enjoy the moment. She is super positive and always making me feel good and ok about what I do. She wakes up at shouts, "It's going to be a GREAT day!" each morning which is good and what I need cause it's hard to wake up most mornings. We are super obedient and always go to bed on time, but missionary work is exhausting. We go running every morning for exercise which is awesome. I am eating mas o menos healthy each day and working out so I just feel good all around. Hermana Hicks says she is motivated to go running in the morning because it means when we get home to stretch we can listen to Lower Lights. She loves my music and I do too! It seriously lifts me spirits a lot. Even though she is nearly done with her mission, she is super dedicated to serving still. I don't feel like I've quite adjusted to being a missionary yet, because really it's all happened so quickly, but she helps me stay grounded and to feel that I CAN DO this! I didn't think it would be so hard some days, but I think a lot about why I'm here and why I'm doing this. I think Satan is trying to work against me and make me feel like I'm not doing an important work. But there are other moments where I just love missionary work SO MUCH. Most times it's when we are with people and talking to them and teaching them that I feel better about life. When we are out busy and teaching, I feel so good and right about where I am. When we are feeling the spirit in our lessons I really LOVE being here.
I feel discouraged sometimes that I am not perfect at speaking Spanish yet or that I can't 100% understand everything everyone says but I am trying and I know if I really give it my best effort, it will come. I mean I can teach now and I can say things, but I rely a lot on Hermana Hicks to understand what all our investigators are saying.
Oh man, I am nearly out of time. These pictures are from my last few days at the MTC. Next week I will send pictures from my area now and my companions and OH! I live at a member's house except that the members are on a 3 months tour to Samoa so we leave in this big, beautiful house all my ourselves! We have two dogs and two cats so I might be the only missionary ever to have pets! It's tough here but I really do love it at the end of the day. I can do hard things and I love following the spirit and serving the people here!
So many people need the light of Christ in their lives and I just want to share my love and happiness with everyone we see!
I wish I could write and tell you more about our investigators and the miracles I've already experienced. Maybe, I will write a hand written letter too.
Here's my address. Please send me stuff, I would love to hear from you!
562 Young Rd. *SE
Moses Lake, WA 98837
*still trying to figure out if it's NE or SE... TBD