Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Carthage, IL - Weeks 1 and 2

WEEK 1 - 6/17/13

Me and Sister Call - Love Her!

Hanging out in cornfields between
tracting houses
What a week! It has been hot Hot HOT and fun but also difficult at times.

All the joys that come with being a missionary! So first of all I am developing quite the farmer's tan. Never thought I'd say that! But we went tracting for 9 hours on Tuesday and that's what happens I guess. Oh and the tan line on my feet from my flats...not too cute. This week has been an emotional rollercoaster with everything being so new and trying to get everyone's names down in the ward as well as seeing very little interest in anyone around here about the church. The only constant lessons we teach are to members after dinner. We are working a lot on reactivations and bringing people back to church who haven't been here for a while. There is a ton of work to be done there. But we also just got 200 travel miles cut this month so getting around is a bit tricky. We are also inviting people to do church tours and they seem to be really effective in helping people realize that this isn't a scary building or anything.

Nauvoo Temple after the Wedding
We, as a companionship, got to go to the Nauvoo Temple on Saturday to see a family that Sister Thompson taught get sealed for time and all eternity. I am SO excited! Please pray for us to find more people to teach here and for hearts to be softened to let us help and change their lives! There are 1,100 people who live in Carthage and 16 churches right here in this small town so you can imagine how hard it is for people to let us in. Everyone already belongs to a church! So this is where the members come in.
All you wonderful people in the Morrisville Ward/Philadelphia Stake: Don't run from the missionaries! They need your help! The only people we have taught have been from the hard working member missionaries in our ward. They are just regular people who want to bring the light of Christ to others. I know you can do it and think of people to have them teach. Have courage!
This past week on a 9 hour tracting day...guess who forgot her shoes? This girl. Guess who may have had to wear sneakers for part of the day because she had blisters from borrowing someone else's shoes? That's right. This girl again. It was a rough day and this picture pretty much sums it up.

I learned another word this week: Honery. Wait... Honery here means mischievous...hmm?? So I was a bit confused when these happy kids were bouncing around and their mom said to stop being honery haha!!  On another note, I have found a new love for turnips! I don't think I've ever had them before yesterday and they were yummy! Well not too much to update on but that's been my first week. Love you all! But I love letters more! :)
WEEK 2 - 6/24/13
This week marks the reason why I chopped off my hair. It's been high 90s and humid all week woo hoo! And since we got our miles cut we've been walking more. Between that and morning workouts you won't even recognize me when I get home haha kidding. SO-Exciting news! They are opening up the Chicago West mission on July 1st and the Peoria area of my mission will now become part of that! This just means our boundaries are changing so I could be in yet another mission area if I get transferred over there. We're the next closest area to Peoria so there's a chance. We said goodbye to our Mission President and his wife on Thursday and this picture is our zone eating lunch with them.
For those of you who don't know, zones are made up of 2 districts. My district has 9 and the other has 10 and together we are the Nauvoo zone. These are just all the missionaries serving in the same general area and then it's broken down more into which companionships go where. I was asked to play piano at the conference and I was super nervous because it was their last conference ever! But it went well. We'll get to meet the Jensen's soon, the next mission President and his wife! They get here on Saturday. This week we taught a lot of families about family history and how to get started. The Bishop has us on a special assignment to visit a list of people who can really help get some geneology done. I wish I had more time to do my own! But we got training on how to use the site better from the senior couples serving their mission in the Family History center in Nauvoo and it's just such a blessing to work with them. They all know us by name now and are so sweet. Always offering to drive us places and feed us dinner. Bonus!
Alright story time. There once was a girl who was really homesick and missing her Jersey Shore. She and her companions were driving past a nice little lot right next to the Mississippi River and decided to get out and take a picture by it because this was the closest thing this girl was going to get to her beach. She started walking and began to sink a little but surely it couldn't get much worse, the water was close. But somehow the further she walked the more she sunk and then she was totally stuck.
Her companions stayed back and watched this helpless city girl stand unable to move and took pictures instead of helping her. The poor girl had to brace herself and take her shoes off to pull them out. Horrible experience. Her feet were then extremely muddy as well as her shoes but there was no other way.
Everyone had a good laugh...
and then she washed off in the muddy, dirty, Mississippi River. The End. I'm sure there's an awesome gospel application here about getting pulled away from God into temptation and sin but I'll let all of you ponder that and think of something inspiring from my...I mean her experience.
We met Vocal Point last night!! They are amazing. They came to Nauvoo and did a special meeting with our Stake and sang arrangements of hymns and now I'm hooked. I'm obsessed. They're all so sweet and have powerful testimonies too. They strengthened my own and helped me to remember that we are never alone.  I am so grateful for the knowledge of this gospel and for the direction it gives me in my life. We may not have many people to teach here but I am learning so much every day and coming closer to Christ myself through watching everyone else's examples. This is such an amazing place to learn about the history of our church too. The members of the church are so welcoming and I really am lucky to be here (despite all the gnats that seem to never go away!) I love you all! Til next week. Oh! Almost forgot. Today marks exactly my 2 months out on the mission. Yay! 1/9th done. I have so much more work to do and I love it!
 Barns Galore!
 Statue of Joseph and Hyrum Smith before Martyrdom
 Snake Valley, such a scary road to drive on!
 Treehouse built by member of our ward

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