Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Greetings from Oshkosh!

Hello Everyone!!!

OhmygoshKosh!!!! Oshkoshbgosh!!!! I love Oshkosh!!! It is SO pretty here! I love it. There are lots of lakes and rivers here. It actually looks quite a bit like Stevens Point, but it's 3 times as big! There were like 27,000 people in Stevens Point and there are like 66,000 here. And I get to be in a ward!!!!  :) It's a small ward, but still! The ward here is so great. The members here are so friendly! The missionaries here have done a great job at establishing great relationships with them. They come up to us and hug us, which is so nice. I feel very welcome here. :) The Young Women go out and teach with us all the time. They were really excited to meet me. :) The members take good care of us but don't feed us dinner too often (which is actually a GREAT thing). It was funny, we stopped by to go meet the Irrizares yesterday, a Mexican couple, and they kept bringing out more food (zucchini bread, grapes, fresh tomatoes from their garden...) There are lots of investigators here, too, which is exciting! We've already been invited to go celebrate Sister Rice's birthday with her out near the lake over conference weekend. Sister Wilson's birthday is the next day, plus it will be conference so I'm pretty sure it will be the greatest weekend ever! 

I love our apartment, especially the spinning chairs.  That is so nice! My companion, Sister Wilson, is awesome!!! She has been out 1 transfer longer than I have. This is her first time as a senior companion. She is currently 19 but turns 20 soon, is from Santa Clarita, California (about an hour drive from Disneyland aka Chapman). She was going to BYU Idaho and studying elementary education. She is quite a bit shorter than I am, around 5'5". Ok, so I love this girl! She is super sassy, witty, and fun!!! She's hilarious and very easy-going. I love to talk to her late at night, study with her (she's smart), tract with her, and banter with her, and she's just awesome. :) We have lots of fun together, which is refreshing. 

And I have a cello now!!! I feel super blessed. In fact, I've been asked to play in sacrament meeting on the 21st of this month! I met the most amazing lady ever, Sister Moffett. She is in her late 70s or early 80s and plays the violin! She is a super stylish lady, lives in the coolest penthouse apartment ever and has a bird named Mozart. She served a mission in Croatia, actually! Lots of people in this ward have lived in Vegas, which is a good conversation starter. :) The last elder, Elder Booth, who so graciously allowed me to use his electric cello (he is home now) also played all the time with Sister Moffett in church, so I am the perfect successor! This ward is already used to cellists. :) Sometimes Sister Moffett performs with the missionaries in her fancy resthome building (her form of missionary work) and the fact that I will be able to participate in that makes me very happy. My companion loves that I play the cello and wants me to teach her to play Twinkle. :) 

I just can't believe how much the Lord is blessing me. This area is perfect for me! There is a Qdoba here and we went the other day! :) They have tons of restaurants here: 2 Culvers, 3 dairy queens (including one right next to our apartment (oh no! :P)), 2 froyo places and an Olive Garden. We also live next to a Mexican restaurant. Oh goodness! I just love it here. :) It is windy here and they have a nice downtown area and a bridge!.  We do service at the Salvation Army on Thursdays (preparing and serving food) and at the Evergreen old folks home on Sundays. We get to push cute old people in wheelchairs. We also get to have a family history booth every other week at the Farmer's Market, which is totally awesome. I've actually been to Oshkosh before. It's one of the central areas in our mission. Whenever there is a missionary leadership meeting or new missionary meeting of some sort, it is held here. 

We had an awesome church tour the other day (I was actually getting one at the same time) with a guy named Vere who accepted a baptism date.  This was a miracle, apparently the missionaries have been working on him for a long time and we didn't know he would actually accept. We are also teaching a lady named Quintessa, who has a cute son named Dominic. And there are more that I haven't met yet, of course! :) 

I just love Oshkosh, I love that the Lord called me here, to be in this friendly ward, with a fun companion. It seems almost too good to be true. The Church is true, God answers prayers, Christ loves us incomprehensibly and will give us strength beyond our own if we but turn to Him. I know that the hardest times in life are the best growing experiences. I am sure grateful for what I've learned so far. I am so far from perfect it's freaky. That thought, and my failings used to terrify me and make me feel horrible. I don't like not being perfect. (Do you? haha :P) But now I know that it is a much sweeter, more satisfying feeling to simply be me, even in my weakness, and to love and serve with all my might, for then I feel God's love and approval. Then I can know and recognize that gradually He's helping me improve and make changes for the better.  I've learned a lot out here and still have much to learn, for sure! That's what life is about and it's exciting. :)  I love being a missionary!!!!!!!! 

I hope you all have a great week!


Sister Woods

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