I have had an INCREDIBLE week, but before I get into that, I will do some "housekeeping" for all of the wonderful questions I have been asked. I love you all so much, and appreciate so much the letters and packages. Sister Scott- thank you for my awesome package when I arrived here! It was so nice to get to the Trail Center and have something waiting for me. Papa. I love you. Thank you, and Grandma too, for the letters, money, and sports clippings! Especially the one about the Yankees being terrible. I read that one a few times because it made me really happy. MOM. That "greenie" package was the cutest thing ever. I loved it!
Send a few aprons- I know that we will for sure be having a "fake" Thanksgiving with a family in our ward on the 17th, but we are not sure who we will be having our actual dinner with that day. We went to lunch at one of the senior couple's apartments yesterday- the Monsens. They are SO great and from Mapleton, Utah. I love them, and they are friends with Sister Coats grandparents, so that is extra fun. They are really like our grandparents here, especially the Ellsworths. I have been so grateful that we have gotten here at the same time and get to be together our whole time here! Over half of the sisters will be gone by March, so I will be one of the "experienced" missionaries by then. Haha...yeah right!! I am learning so much and just loving it. To answer some of your questions...the Trail Center IS open every day, even Sunday 9-9. I get to go to the temple on November 16th (AHHH!) and I think it is every other transfer that we typically get to go. We have an awesome Halloween party tomorrow night at the TC for all of the sisters and the senior couples! It will be a lot of fun, and we get to do a fun craft! We went to the Trunk or Treat for our ward on Friday night, which was a lot of fun. We had invited that little family with the little girls who think we are angels to come, and they had another Halloween party that night, but they came at the very end because they really wanted to see us! We love them so much. That was the only night that I have really been freezing, because I should have had my heavy coat on, and I didn't. Gloves or a scarf might have helped too, but we were at the TC all morning and didn't know it would be that cold at night!! People in Nebraska really decorate for Halloween. I've never seen anything like it!
I'm going to write my experience of this week now, so I will have time for sure to get it all down, and then I will write more about my week if I have time! So. Dad. First of all, whether you were aware of it or not, THANK YOU for following the Spirit and sending me those stories. For everyone who doesn't know, Dad sent 4 packets of stories about my pioneer family, all who had some connection to the area around here in WQ. I was sooo happy when I got them, and the same day, Papa had written me about my family that is buried in the cemetery where I serve. It was really exciting to me because everything had so much more meaning! I thought that on its own was really incredible, but it didn't end there. That night was Elder and Sister Johnson's last night serving at the Trail Center before they moved to American Fork. They live in the area here and have served at the TC for years after he retired as a professor at UNO. He is well known as the Family History buff of all of the senior elders, and we all go to him if we have questions about FH or about doctrinal questions, but I hadn't served with him very often. We were all sitting at the desk, and he was talking to Sister Brown (whose family also is from the Colonies) about family history, when I perked up, and wanted to share the cool information I had learned from the stories that Dad had sent that day. I excitedly told him that Stephen Martindale Farnsworth and Philinda Keeler were in the same handcart company, which I thought was exciting because my grandpa was a Farnsworth (obviously) and my grammy was a Keeler! I thought this was cool on its own, but Elder Johnson was about to one-up me. He said "did you just say Keeler???" And I said yes, and he said stay right there, and ran off to get something. He came back with a huge book, and turned the pages hurriedly until he got to a page that told the story of Abner Keeler and Leah Jane Shaw. Now, unfortunately, I don't know my family history as well as I should, so we checked to make sure, but sure enough, this is Grammy's line- her grandparents, right? Now, once again, I thought this was SO amazing, because my family was in this book, and he knew right where to find it! He told me to go read all about them, and I came back in after I was finished and told him how much I loved them. I apparently said "I really love that lady" and he started crying, and I was tearing up because I just felt like it was the most incredible thing that I got here right before he moved to Utah, and that we were able to have this incredible moment of him knowing where to find my family so quickly. However, once again, it doesn't end there. Elder Johnson wrote that book. It is called the Legacy of Virden, and he WROTE it because his family members were also in Virden with our family. They were also in WQ, Mexico, and Keg Creek, Iowa with our family. We have so many incredible ties to each other.
On Saturday morning, during Trail Center Training, they had the opportunity to bear their testimonies. Elder Johnson got up, and after managing to choke out that he had seen a tender mercy this week, told the story that I've just told you. However, he added to it that after he retired, his wife didn't want to retire from teaching elementary school yet, so he didn't know what to do to pass the time. One morning, he woke up and knew he needed to write this book, even though he had never even thought about doing something like that before. He put $20,000 and 3 1/2 years into that book, and in front of all of the missionaries at the Trail Center, he said that it had all been worth it for the experiences that we had this week. He called me up to the front and gave me a copy of the book, and told me that Leah Jane Shaw had been one of his favorites of all to write and research about, and that she was a hero to him, so meeting me was a tender mercy. I was crying the whole time. Today, he and Sister Johnson took Sister Coats and I to Keg Creek, Iowa, so we could see where they would have lived, the cemetery, and surrounding church sites. It was amazing!!! I will never, ever forget it, or forget them.
Look! Pictures sent by email! It's a miracle. Ok, more answers to questions. We definitely take our coats with us everywhere, but it hasn't been too bad yet. We do have cars, but the problem is that we are limited to a certain amount of miles each month, and we live 25 miles from the TC...which means we get to "car fast" or not use our car some days. The members of our ward are amazing and drive us places sometimes, and I have been so grateful. We have seen miracles those days!
Our TC schedule changes each week, so some weeks we are there more, some less, but Gingerbread comes November 17th which will mean we get much busier for awhile! I'm so excited. Ask Emily Clonts what ward her in-laws are in. I think its Bellvue 1st, 2nd, or Fairview? That's just a guess. I am fine on tights and my shoes are just great! I rarely wear my danskos, but I've worn them a few times! Tell Susan and Brian congratulations for me! Send lost of pictures. Tell the Marisa thank you for sending pictures this week!!! That was such a nice surprise. She can definitely email me, but I can't email back. OH! Just to clarify- I can't call my non-member friends if I refer them, but one of the other sister missionaries can, and the only people who can do that are Visitor Center sister missionaries. So, Sister Coats can call any of my friends who I want her to, but I can't!
Because that experience took such a long time to type, I didn't get a chance to tell you about any of our investigators, but know that I love them with my whole heart and that we are working hard and being obedient. We know that with exact obedience comes miracles, and we are going for miracles, not just blessings!
I love you to the moon and back! I'm "having a good time" ;)