November 25, 2013
Dear family o' mine!
How are you all doing this beautiful holiday season? I am now in Charleston, well, South Charleston and loving it! It is a huge change from where I was, but I know I am here for a reason. My new companion is Sister Kitto (kiddo) from Orem, Utah. She is 21 years old and was studying Broadcast/Journalism at BYU. She is a rockstar! Seriously, we have already bonded and are exactly what this area needed. We have discovered that the trio of sisters that were here before had kind of gotten into a rut with teaching and I think that is why they doubled us in. The first couple days were spent trying to figure out where our area boundaries were, who we could visit, and previous investigators. They only had 5! I went from Back Creek where we had a huge teaching pool to here where they have 5. Ahh! A huge change, but a great one. I love challenges. ;) We have already figured out our goal for the transfer and we are pumped! We have decided to make appointments with members in the area (active and inactive) to teach practice lessons, but while we are there we are going to present the family with a sheet to create their family missionary plan and also an ornament. Their job will be to write the name of the person they are going to reach out to on the ornament, then give it back to us and we will put it on our Christmas tree. A referral and a goal all in one shot! :) We are working for our White Christmas and I know Sister Kitto is the companion I needed to make this happen. She is bold, excited, and focused. We laugh and work hard all at the same time! It is a great work to be a part of at this time.
On Thursday I woke up at 3:45 and headed to the church in Salem, VA to get on the van heading to Charleston. It was about a 4-hour drive, but we were so excited, we didn't mind. I got to see my friend, Elder Ben Williams and we are now in the same stake! It is always nice to see a familiar face. We then headed in and I had to talk to the missionaries about the miracles I'd been seeing...pressure! haha I then found out that Sister Kitto was my new companion and we both knew it! The AP's were joking about how we were the same person. Awesome! We are very similar and I'm grateful to have her. We then drove to our apartment to check out the notes the previous sisters left and were a bit disappointed for a second at what we had to work with, but quickly we both realized that when there is little to work with, there is huge growth that can take place. We got to work meeting the RS president who is awesome, and some other members in the ward. The ward has many PA residents and people going to the medical school in the area. Most of them are from out West and have come out here for a short period of time, but they are so kind! I've realized that I'm not going to be fed every night like I was in Back Creek. I've already lost 2 pounds! haha Only 13 to go! The first night we were here, we ate at the Cotrell family's home and they are amazing! They are from Georgia and they remind me of our family. The dad, like Mike, is going back to nursing school, working, and raising 5 children. His program is similar to yours, I think, Mike. He said he would have his Doctorate when he finished. He's just started though, so I think I gave him hope that you only had a year left. :) The Cotrell family is feeding us Thanksgiving dinner, and we've had 2 other people offer, so I think we're covered ;).
Friday we met the Bishop and he is such a soft-spoken man, but very into missionary work. I love it! It is a bit cold here, but I am now wearing my boots and big jacket. Thank goodness I got those before I left Roanoke. We also visited with a lady that has been investigating the church for 18 years and has not been baptized. We are going to drop her if she doesn't commit to a date in December. :) It may sound harsh, but we both know that we are here to find the elect and those that are prepared, and if she is not willing to commit, there is no reason to spend so much time with her. Maybe it will kick some motivation into her, we will see.
Saturday we met with another one of the investigators named Mandy, she is not willing to commit to baptism yet, but she's only met 2 times with the missionaries and we are going to go to Goodwill this afternoon with her to help her find a nice shirt to wear to church. We also stopped by Jim Milton who happens to talk just like Channing Tatum...ya, it is a bit of distraction, but we aren't worried. He's had a past, but is so elect! He is Korean and the missionaries found him in Burger King. Apparently his family met with the missionaries when he was a young boy, but then he moved and lost contact. His had a very hard life and has some interesting friends, so he hasn't had much religion in his life. He is looking for direction and hope. We have it!!! Yay! We are excited to see what happens and know that this gospel is exactly what he is looking for. His roommate's girlfriend was dying to come to church and so we found her a ride with one of the ward missionaries and she begged us for a Book of Mormon (even though that was not needed) haha
Sunday started off as a downer. We were fasting for Jim to come to church with Stephie (the girlfriend) but they both ended up not coming. We then felt a little out of place in the ward and then I had 5-minutes-notice to teach the Gospel Principles lesson on the Atonement, and then in Relief Society, my companion got vocally slammed by another sister. It was crazy! But, with each of these trials, Heavenly Father provided a tender mercy. Sister Kitto and I got to bare our testimonies to the ward and were invited by a sweet lady in the ward's house for Christmas. We had a good laugh at one of the comments made over the pulpit, Heavenly Father helped me teach the lesson and it went smoothly, and now the ward has a soft spot for Sister Kitto. haha Every other sister felt sorry about what happened and understood that what happened in RS was not necessary. Sister Kitto handled it with grace and we laugh about it now. So overall, a great day! It was amazing because for the first 15 minutes of church, my heart was heavy and I was worried that I wasn't going to love this area as much as I did Back Creek, but then as the Sacrament was being passed, I saw the Cotrell sons passing the sacrament and realized that the church is the same wherever you are. There are good people every where, and as I partook of the sacrament, I had such peace in knowing that Heavenly Father was aware of me at that moment and that everything was going to be alright. There are truly tender mercies everywhere! Heavenly Father doesn't want us to be lonely, sad, or discouraged. He is aware of each of our needs down to me sitting in Charleston, WV wanting peace. It came! It will continue to come and I'm so grateful for that knowledge. Heavenly Father does hear and answer our prayers. Oh we then had leftover pizza from the night before. Sister Kitto had splurged with buying a Papa John's pizza and we had that Sunday evening. What a treat?! We are going to start meal planning and would love any recipes! :)
This next week I get to teach the sisters about what Elder Sitati taught to the leaders, and we also are going to get started on building this area up. Just wait for the miracles you are going to hear about next week! haha Charleston is beautiful, crazy roads, but beautiful. We live in a poorer section, but just like any city, it has its pockets of poorer and wealthier areas. There are some very humble people and I'm grateful to be able to serve them. We live in an apartment building which the hallway smells like smoke, but our apartment is nice! We are able to do laundry in our apartment and today we are going to get some cute decorations :) I'm so excited to be serving with Sister Kitto in South Charleston. I guess the technical name is South Hills. Also, the address is the mission home address for packages, but if you want to write a letter you can mail it to our apartment which is:
4832 Kanawha Turnpike Apt. #7
South Charleston, WV 25309
You can also write letters to the mission office and they will still get to me. Either way! The mission office is the 888 Oakwood Rd. Ste. 310 address from before.
That is the exciting news from Charleston! I want you all to know how much I love each of you. Thank you for your emails and especially those handwritten letters *wink *wink haha I love hearing anything and everything! Truly! Remember this gospel is true! Reach out to one person before Christmas! Share the gospel this Christmas and experience the love and joy that brings to your life. We are so blessed to be a part of this great work. We have something that every person would die for if they understood the eternal effects it has on our lives. The gospel is not simply a church, but it is a way of life that I am so grateful for. I love it! I know that prayers are answered! I know that our Savior Jesus Christ died and rose again for each of us. The atonement is real. Take advantage of it daily! Strive to have the Holy Ghost with you at all times. I love you. Have the most wonderful day ever!
P.S. This new library has older computers without the right connection for my camera. Next week I promise to send pictures! I have the adapter at home, so I will make sure to bring it next time. Sorry! I love you all!