Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 48: 'i will give away all my sins to know thee'

Dearest family and friends,

I never know how much or how little to say to y'all. So much happens in just the span of 24 hours that by the time a new week has come, I can never seem to summarize it all.
Last Monday , after I wrote my email to y'all we went home to see that our family had returned! We've been living in this beautiful home all by ourselves because the Andersons have been in Samoa and Tonga. They finally came home and it's been the best! They are a very sweet and tender elderly couple. They are just so precious and so kind and loving! Everytime we come home sister Anderson has a little something special for us. It feels like we are living with our adopted grandmother. Friday was Hermana Hicks' birthday and they surprised us with the best brunch ever! It was probably the best meal I've eaten on my mission so far. It reminded me of the scene in Little Princess, after they stay up in the attic and dream about a big feast and the next morning the Indian man surprises them with lush furnishings and wonderful food. It was just like that! They set the table with beautiful decor and had glasses of apple juice with frozen raspberries at the top. It was all very Nancy Judd :) They had squash soup, marinated chicken, corn on the cob, salad and homemade pineapple upside down cake. Brother Anderson used to be a baker so he knows a thing or two about sweets. It was SO good-I just kept thinking of you, Mom, because I know how much you love pineapple upside down cake. Oh man, I love the Andersons. They are so cute to each other. I want to be just like them when I get older!

On Wednesday, we had new missionary training in Spokane. It is always so great to be with President and Sister Mullen. I love them so much. They just always say the best, most uplifting and inspiring things. I feel so blessed to have him watching over us missionaries. We talked a lot about love and having charity in our companionships. It was funny because on Tuesday, I woke up feeling bleh. Everything was just rubbing me the wrong way. I was frustrated with Hermana Hicks and I was frustrated with myself for being so hard hearted. But sometimes you just can't let go of the anger in your heart. But I knew we needed to talk about it, so we talked it out and had a real heart to heart about how we were feeling and how we can work on communicating better. I just felt so relieved after talking to her. We made peace (I had already shown her how we make peace in our family) and then we both felt so much more happy. It was probably the best day of my mission so far! We had so much love and unity in our companionship and nothing could get us down. We taught with a powerful spirit and we met a lot of people and set up a lot of appointments and it just was so great. It felt so wonderful to be a missionary! I was so glad that we had talked it through and forgiven each other. It's so important to strive to have the spirit with us all the time. We are only effective when we work with the Holy Ghost and allow the spirit of Christ to testify!

We had another Zone Training on friday and talked about using the Book of Mormon in every lesson. We have really been trying to read more with our investigators so they can see how important it is. The Book of Mormon is the word of God! We just want people to read it and feel His love and come closer to Christ. It's so true!

We had another exchange! I will be super bummed when I get a new companion in two weeks and I probably won't be the traveling sister companion anymore. Exchanges are probably my favorite things each week. It's so nice to have a new companion and a different view on missionary work. This week, Hermana Linn came down to Moses Lake with me and Hermana Hicks went up to Quincy. Hermana Linn served in Moses Lake for 5 months and so she knew the area and people really well. It was cool for her to see the people again and to see how far everyone has come. She was the first missionary to knock on Ana and Walter's door but they always avoided her. It was so beautiful to have her see how happy Ana and Walter are now! It's a testament to persistence! Even if someone isn't ready now, they could be ready in a few months and for different missionaries! The gospel will always change lives. They are baptized and married and well on their way to the temple! Ana is just glowing. She has never felt so great in her whole life. There is a temple trip this saturday to do baptisms and they are SO excited to go. We gave them a copy of the temple edition of the ensign and they just love it so much. I can't wait for them to experience the peace and beauty for themselves!

So Hermana Linn is so great! She is probably the most happy, positive person I know. She has such a refreshing take on her mission. She goes home in two weeks too and she is so happy and excited! She has loved every minute of her mission, loved all her companions, loved all the hard times and now she is ready to face the future! I want to have that attitude everyday on my mission too. I know in my emails I probably seem like I'm always sunshine and lollipops over here but I've felt pretty low too. I get discouraged and worried about the work-am I doing enough? am I being loving enough? do i put my whole heart into serving others? Talking with Hermana Linn was so great. It just gave me a new resignation and desire to give it all to the Lord. I want to leave my mission with no regrets. I chose to be out here, I chose to be a servant of the Lord and I will do everything, EVERYTHING to use His time wisely! I am happy to be a missionary! It is so sweet to share this gospel with others.

We met a guy last night named Patrick and he's had it rough. He has been through a lot, but he just talked to us with a quiet dignity. He wants change in his life and I just felt so happy to share with him the power of Christ and His Atonement. The Atonement is so powerful, so incredible and so wonderful. As I study more about Christ each day, I am always humbled and grateful for His sacrifice. Patrick is supposed to come on a church tour with us tonight and I want to badly for him to come! Oh, it would bless his life so much!

Wanna hear something pretty funny? We have been teaching a new young couple this last week and they are so prepared! Brenda is the wife and she always reads and has questions for us. It's so awesome! Well their cousins have been joining in on the lessons too and one of the cousins is named....Melvin?!?! hahaha. It was so funny to meet him. He actually reminds me of the other Melvin I know. He's got great faith and a sincere desire to do what's right. 

We met another family this last week, Grace and her four kids. They are all grown up ranging in ages 14 to 18. They are awesome! We were headed to an appointment with Ana and Walter and we saw them getting in their car and heard them speaking spanish so we ran over and handed them a card. We asked where they lived and the daughter pointed to her apartment. So we decided to stop by and they were just awesome! They let us in and stopped everything to let us share a scripture and thought with them. They all listened sincerely and had good questions. They speak English and Spanish so depending on what ward they want to go to they may or may not be our investigators. I hope they stick with Spanish because they would be such a solid family to have in the branch!

A lot of our spanish members live in trailer parks and live from month to month. I'm actually so surprised how EVERYONE here lives pretty unstable lives. This is a farming community so people either work in the fields doing the harvest, or they work for the factories surrounding the city. People always seem to work 12 hour shifts so their days consist of working and sleeping and that's it! Even our english members have tough, long-hour jobs. Nobody here works an office job or anything commercial. It's pretty humbling to see how hard every family works to make ends meet. Of course our English ward also consists of all the farmers who actually own the farms everyone works on so there is a lot more stability in the 6th ward, but there is just a great work ethic here. These are good ol' people who know how to work with their hands. I love serving out here because it really is so different from anything I grew up with. I feel like I have such a blessed life to have parents with an education and that I'm working to get my education too.

People call Moses Lake "Moses Hole" because nobody ever seems to leave. I am pretty sure everyone is related one way or another. Both our english and spanish wards are just one big happy family. We have like 6 Roylance families and 3 of the Roylance brothers married 3 Bergeson sisters and they are cousins to the Bakers and on and on. And then in the Spanish branch we have President Guzman who is brother to Andre Guzman and they are cousin to Clif Perez who is related to Brother Cruz and on and on. People settle here and stay forever. It's pretty cool, actually.

Oh man, well I know I probably have more I want to say but I never have enough time or clear thoughts to put it. Thanks for the letters and love! Keep the mission calls coming! I love to hear where people are going [and that they decided to serve!] Being a missionary is so, SO great. It's changing my life everyday. I love serving the Lord and helping His lost, wandering sheep!

Hermana Em

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