Hello again! I think that I told Katie that my preparation day changes every week between Monday and Tuesday, but I can't remember if I told anyone else. Sorry! I'm a slacker. I hope that you got my letters and my pictures! There was no card reader or way to hook up my camera last week during the email, so we printed some at Walmart when I went to buy another pillow. Did I tell you how much I adore my quilt? I love it. So much. Is that the package that you were talking about? Because if not, I just got really excited. Ok, I will try and answer all of your questions. I copied and pasted them into a word document so I could look at them and try to answer them!
The house we live in (the Hill's home) is so great. We just live upstairs, and have our own bedroom, bathroom, and she lets us use her "craft" room as a study room so we can have separate space to study in. We really love them, and she is always doing stuff for us and is so sweet. It is amazing because we have been able to help them out in some ways and they help us out so much. Heavenly Father really knows how to put people in our lives that can bless us! We share the kitchen with them, but we are rarely home anyways so it's not that big of a deal. They signed up to have us live there for 6 months, so at the end of December we might be moving! I would absolutely love it if you could make some cute aprons. I don't know yet where we will be for Thanksgiving, Christmas etc., but Sister Hill loves blue, and I would really like to be able to give her something because she does stuff for us all of the time. I think that is the address that President sent you, which is weird. Don't send letters to their house. I will send you the Trail Center address, which is way better to send mail to because the mail man actually delivers it there. If it goes to the office, we have to wait for someone to bring it over from the office to the Trail Center, and we may not be there for a couple days. We are at the trail center either 9-3 or 3-9 about 4 days a week. Some days more, some days less, but that is pretty average. I just can't get over how much I love it there. I honestly just have this overwhelming feeling that I am supposed to be there every time that we are serving there. We get 140 dollars a month, which has been plenty so far. I did spend some of the cash I brought with me last week to get stuff like my pillow, pictures etc. But I should be fine on that front! This week a lot of people have signed up to feed us too, which is nice because it saves us money.
My eye is fine as long as I am wearing my glasses, which means that it is either my contacts or my contact solution that is the problem, or that for some reason, my eyes can't handle being covered? I don't know, but it makes me wish that I had listened to you and gotten another pair of glasses because I get really sick of wearing the same pair all of the time haha! I got kind of sick last week, but I am healthy as a horse again!
Sister Coats is from Heber, Utah. She is so great, super artistic, and pretty much the missionary that everyone in the mission wishes they were. Most of the sisters say that if they could pick their trainer it would be Sister Coats, so I guess I am just really blessed! We get along really well and laugh a LOT. In fact, yesterday she told me that she has never laughed this hard with any of her companions, so basically I'm just really funny. Haha yeah right. She's probably just laughing at me for messing up. I have a lot to learn, even though she is really sweet and says she I came pre-trained. Makes me grateful for my MTC teachers. She comes home in February, so she only has one transfer after we are done together!
So. We are only over one ward, but it is a HUGE area. Honestly it is so big, but it is an amazing ward. Sister Coats said it is probably the "nicest" area I will serve in my whole mission, which is interesting. I love it a lot!! We have really felt strongly like we should be working a lot with the members of the ward and helping them become "Preach my Gospel members" just like we are PMG missionaries. We know that we will see great success through people bringing their friends in, just like it sounds happened with Curt's friend! That is so sweet. I have gotten to know a lot of the members and really love this ward. I am apparently singing in church on Sunday with a woman in our ward who has been less-active for quite awhile, so we are really excited about that because she obviously has to be at church to sing in church! We have been trying to use our talents that Heavenly Father has blessed us with in order to do His work in His way, so this is a step in the right direction!
Ann, our investigator who came to the Gladys Knight concert, is great. I can't remember if this happened before or after my last email to you, but in our last appointment with her we committed her to prepare for a baptism date! Hopefully she will have the faith and determination to know that this decision will bring her closer to her Savior than any decision she has ever made in her life. I know that being able to truly access the Atonement will change her life.
Gary, who we set for baptism my first day here, is also really wonderful. He has this baby girl named Athena who is so cute! We had another good lesson with him on Saturday, and then he came to church on Sunday!! It is so exciting and scary all at the same time to have investigators at church with you, because you want them to have a good experience, but you also know that this could be a turning point in their lives. Church has really become so much more important to me on my mission than it has ever been before.
We met the CUTEST family the other day! We knocked on their door, looking for a girl named Brandi that Sister Coats had met there before. Amanda, who opened the door, said that she didn't live there but she was there a lot and that's probably why she said to come back there. So anyways, Amanda talked to us for a few minutes with her little girl named Ava, who is 9. The little girl got so excited when we started talking about Christ, and pretty soon her sisters- who are 7 and 8- came running to the door so they could talk about Jesus too. They are so great. Before we left, we gave them the pass along cards with the pictures of Christ on them and they came and hugged us and asked if we were angels. It was adorable. They were convinced that God had sent us to earth to meet them and that we were going back to Him as soon as we were done talking to them. Can you believe how cute that is?! They would just love going to Primary!
We have been trying to pray more specifically because we know that if we are specific, God will answer our prayers specifically. So, as we have been trying to work with members who have friends prepared to hear the gospel, we prayed about that. Before church, Sister Coats and I were praying together, and she said "please help us know who has a friend that is ready to know about the gospel by having them come up to us at church and offering to feed us." Now, I didn't know this, but in her head, she thought, and they will be wearing red. Really specific, right? So, right before Sunday School, we were walking to class and Sister O'Rourke (the primary president) came and was talking to us, asking how we are. They have a lot going on right now because his dad has pancreatic cancer, so we haven't been able to go over and see them, but she wanted to tell us how excited her husband was because this woman he works with has been asking him all about the church. Brother O'Rourke grew up Catholic, and this girl is Italian and very Catholic, but she has been really interested in learning about the church and they talk about it all the time! We were really excited about this, and told her that we would talk to him about it after church. Right as we were about to walk away, she said, hey, do you have dinner plans tonight? We didn't, so she offered to feed us. She was wearing a red sweater and red shoes. We walked away and just stared at each other for about 10 minutes. WHAT?!?! We had an amazing dinner and lesson with them, and Brother O'Rourke is going to give her a Book of Mormon with his testimony in it and invite her to church on Sunday. They are amazing.
So this week at the Trail Center, I got to go on a group tour with Sister Coats. It was one of those tours that is like a church history tour, and there are people from all over that hop on a bus and drive together for hours to see all of the church history sites. When they walked in, they were kind of grumpy from sitting on a bus all day, but it was amazing to watch that just by feeling the incredible Spirit at the Trail Center, and by allowing them to really feel the sacrifice of the pioneers, their entire countenances changed. The Trail Center is a sacred place. When we got to the Memorial room, which overlooks the cemetery and the temple, we had them sing Come, Come Ye Saints and had one of the men in the group read Amy Porter's story. (I'll send that home sometime) He was so choked up that he couldn't even get through it. We then talked about how so many of us have family that came through here with the Saints, and that I have a relative buried in that cemetery who was only 14 months old when he died. I think that I understood better what we mean when we talk about giving people a converting experience rather than a testimony building experience, because all of us in that room felt very strongly the desire to be closer to our Savior Jesus Christ. As we align our will with God's, we will be happier. We will feel His love more frequently, and much stronger. We will be led to serve others and will be blessed.
I love being able to bear testimony of my Savior every day. It is a blessing to me, and I cherish the relationship I have built with Him. This is His church. This is the way that He has established to return to live with Him once more. If we make even small steps, we will be blessed more than we can possibly imagine! I love this gospel. I know, with everything that I am, that it is true. I love you so much, and am so grateful for your love and support!
I LOVE YOU!