Get ready for the longest email ever. Here we go! :)
Well, it is definitely fall here in Wisconsin. All of a sudden the temperature dropped to the 50s plus wind and my California companion and I didn't know what to do with ourselves. It's not supposed to be this cold in September! We run a family history booth at the Farmer's Market every other Saturday and lots of people came up to us.... only it was to tell us to put some pants on, girls, it's COLD! Ha. I guess that worked a bit to our advantage to start talking about family history. I had to cave and buy a hat and gloves, for I was frozen! And not the Disney Frozen, either. :P
We had a really great Zone Training meeting this week. It was really, really great. I could tell it would be because we sung "Hark All Ye Nations" which starts every good missionary meeting out right. ;) I enjoyed the STL's training about becoming a more consecrated missionary and how love should be our primary motivation for working our heart out to serve the Lord and His children . It is not easy, it involves sacrificing all of you, your thoughts, fears, laziness, pride, and even your primary motivations, despite your weaknesses. ARGH, I sure don't like that I have those! :P It's a good thing Nephi had them too. I like how it didn't matter to him, in the long-run, that he had weaknesses. I love how he says "why should my strength slacken?" (see 2 Nephi 4). He knew he had Savior's grace to rely on so he was able to look to the future and press forward, despite his weakness. Mission life is difficult for everyone for different reasons, that is for sure. I think my mission has and is continuing to force me out of my comfort zone in the worst (and therefore the best! :)) possible way. It's been great for me, it truly has. I've grown lots and have learned to rely on the Lord. Anyway, it was an exciting, great meeting, and I was able to set some goals, apply them, and refocus on my work. Consecration is the goal!!
I'm having lots of kid experiences in this area. As you know, I don't have much kid experience. I don't really know how to handle them, so that's probably why the Lord is giving me lots of practice. They need to start calling me Sister Jungle-gym, haha. :P Whenever we go visit Sister Lowery, (Or Quintesa, for that matter, or the Vasquez's) these kids want to enter my personal space big time. They like to play with my hair, climb on me, play with my watch or necklace, oh, and Isaiah, the 1 year old, totally sneezed a big one in my lap. It must have looked like a nice pink napkin to him. Blegh! But hey, good times. :)
Let's just say things are not going to best with Quintessa
We went on exchanges and Sister Nicholes came to Oshkosh. Since I don't really know my way around town super well yet, and we didn't have many appointments planned, we did lots of tracting. But it was great because we met so many cool people! I've decided that, for the most part, people are pretty nice at doors in Wisconsin. Or maybe that's just Oshkosh for you, but one guy, though he was adamently opposed to hearing a message about Christ, offered us a bite of his red velvet cake at the door. :) I loved that day. It was a great day, refreshing, and full of miracles. We found TONS of super awesome new investigators. We gave out tons of Books of Mormon, and one guy called out to us as we were walking along, thinking we were Jehovah's witnesses (like everyone does!). At first he seemed a bit closed off but by the end of the conversation he was excited to read the Book of Mormon and said we could stop by again. :) Seriously. I think Oshkosh is the promised land!
Also, while on exchanges, during personal study, a rather perplexed-looking Fedex lady knocked on the door, wanting help carrying in all these boxes of bubbly water!!!!! Yep, AGAIN. So we went out to her truck to help her carry in 10 cases. Haha. She was probably like, "not again, you crazy church ladies!" I wonder what she thinks, haha. Thanks, family!
On exchanges we also saw the cutest, frailest old lady, Sister Billman, who fed us lunch. She made a huge plate full of french fries and fish. She cried twice, actually, and loves telling us about cool experiences she's had seeing her mom in the temple. tells us to choose big or small before we visit her. This determines what size of gift we are getting at her house. I chose small this time, so that meant a red monkey for me and a giant bear for Sister Wilson. And a giant Santa for Sister Nicholes. What awesome people they have here in Oshkosh!
We had dinner with this awesome lady, Sister Rice. Ok, Sister Rice needs a bit of explanation. She's a little bit off, but likes to take VERY good care of missionaries. Like, extremely. She told us, no less than 10 times on Sunday, like a week in advance, exactly what we would be having at her house: sloppy joes, baked beans, and chips. She also describes for us, no less than 10 times, the pizza she bought us (we must put it in the freezer RIGHT AWAY) and tells us lots of safety tips, especially to bring a bright-beamed flashlight wherever we go, etc.. This lady is so funny. She claims to have a big crush on the prophet Joseph Smith especially, and also President Monson. Haha! She also added that Jesus is a swell guy, a fine catch. ;)
I was also able to go to Eric's baptism in Stevens Point on Saturday. I called President to get permission and find a member to drive us there, but it was AWESOME. It was so great to see Eric again, lots of familiar faces, and both my former companions. :) We couldn't stay long afterward to catch up with people, but that's ok. I was sure glad I could go. It was such a strange feeling, it was like I never left! Lots has happened since I left.... crazy stuff. Eric looked so happy and I sure am excited for him.
I was finally able to meet lots of people this week I haven't been able to meet yet, like Sister Hanford. I am so impressed with the ward and how helpful the members are. (They actually like us, what?! :P) The Relief Society president is AWESOME. She fed us lunch today and is helping us coordinate visiting teaching. They are also starting up a missionary moment system in the ward. I'm not sure exactly what it means, but it is exciting.
Guess what? I gave a talk in sacrament meeting. I was supposed to just give a brief introduction and maybe talk about sanctification a little bit. Well, I didn't plan anything at all, except to share Heleman 3:35. So I said a prayer, crossed my fingers, and went up there and just started talking. Somehow (magically! Just kidding it was totally the spirit) everything flowed together, I shared why I decided to serve a mission and how I came to that decision and it all tied together with sanctification. Many people told me afterward they were really touched by what I said (I don't even know!). I haven't given very many talks before in my life, and when I had them planned out. So it was cool to see in that instance, and in many other instances this week, that the Spirit can give us utterance! There have been many times when I have no idea what or how I'm going to say something but I just open my mouth and start talking and all of a sudden everything flows together coherently. It totally wasn't me. The Spirit rocks! :)
The Kakuschkes let me borrow their cello since I will be playing in church next week. They are awesome! Oh, and they gave us not only a cello, but some warm chocolate-chip zucchini bread! :D This cello is super nice, by the way. It has great sound (some serious lungs!). I keep feeling bad for Sister Wilson because it is loud, but she claims to love it. Haha. We will probably have a gig at Sister Moffitt's this week. Exciting!
Ok, that's about it for now because I'm running out of time. I love you all, have an amazing week!