So much to tell you, and luckily, I get an hour for email in the field! So I should be able to say at least part of what it is that I want to say. First of all, thank you for the emails! I was really grateful to get here and have them waiting for me because it feels like forever since I have heard from anyone with leaving the MTC and getting here and settled in. My packages were here and waiting for me, which I was so grateful for! Thank you so much for sending a quilt- it's so cute and comfortable. I am going to buy another pillow today because my one is not enough. I guess I will just get this out of the way before I tell you all about my wonderful week....my eyes have been really bad. My first full day here they were completely red and sore down to my cheekbone. I have found that if I am wearing my glasses, they heal, and heal quickly, so I don't really know what to do. Maybe I will only wear glasses for awhile, but you know how much I hate that! If anything happens, I will call Sister Weston and she will help me figure out what to do!
Well, I will start from the airport in Denver because that is the last I talked to you! This email may be an overload of information, but I will just get it all out so that you can have all those questions answered haha. When we landed in Denver, we found out that our flight had been delayed, so we were in no rush to do anything. After hanging out for a little while, we went to try to make a phone call, but somehow, ALL of our minutes were gone on our cards. We went and found a calling card vending machine, which worked for Sister Whitt, so i put a 20 in, and nothing came out. I tried again, and NOTHING came out. I was pretty disappointed because I wanted to call you, but I kind of just gave up and sat down next to Sister Whitt while she called her dad. A man ended up coming and sitting by us, and we had an awesome, hour long discussion about so many things, and we left him with a Mormon.org card. It showed me so clearly that our Heavenly Father has a plan for us, even when it seems like its just a coincidence. His plane just HAPPENED to be delayed....not a coincidence. Then on the plane, I had the best flight of my life. I sat behind the cutest family, and the two girls (who are 8 and 6) talked to me the WHOLE time about how much I will love Omaha. They told me that they wanted to be friends with me, and the mom said they could have me over for dinner!! They were an incredible family, and I love those little girls so much. Emma wrote down her address and phone numbers, so before the end of my mission, I will go to their house and they will get baptized! They are so great.
We met President and Sister Weston at the airport and then the Assistants took us back to the Mission office for dinner and training and interviews. We stayed that night with a senior sister, and the next day got to go see the Trail Center for the first time. I fell in love with it instantly. I am so grateful that I get to serve at that sacred place, and I went and found James Brinkerhoff right away. I love it. So much. After that we went over to the Kanesville Tabernacle and took a tour there! All of the Senior couples are like our grandparents, especially the Ellsworths for me. I am so grateful for them. Next we had lunch at the mission home and some of the missionaries came and we went on exchanges and went out tracting! The APs challenged us to commit someone to baptism by the time we got back in 2 hours, so off we went. I went with Sister Coats, and Sister Whittaker went with her companion. We met a few great people, and then we met Gary. Gary came out on his doorstep and talked to us for quite a long time. He told us that he is really lost and confused and has been looking for the way that he should go. After teaching him for awhile, I knew that this was my opportunity to invite him to follow the example of our Savior and be baptized, so even though I was terrrrrrified, I did! He had a few more questions, but by the time we left, he committed to be baptized on November 12!! Such an incredible experience. After we were done, we went back to the mission home for more training, dinner, and to find out our first assignments. I leaned over to Sister Whittaker, and even though I was so sad to leave her, said how great I think it would be to have Sister Coats as a trainer. Well, sure enough, I opened my letter from President, and I was assigned to serve with Sister Alexandra Coats as my trainer in the Lakeview area in the Omaha zone!
I have had an incredible week. I have met wonderful members, had meetings with some really great less active members of the church, and fallen in love with our investigators. One of those investigators is Ann. Apparently Ann is what missionaries call an eterni-gator (I'm still getting used to all this misison lingo) and has been investigating the church for about 2 years now. She has had some really hard experiences in her life lately that have prepared her heart to really be humble and accept God's will for her. So, when we found out that there was a possibility that we could have tickets to the GLADYS KNIGHT FIRESIDE, we called Ann and asked if she would want to go with us. We didn't think that she would because she has anxiety when she is in places with a lot of people, but she said that she would love to come. If you haven't heard about this, Gladys Knight organized a choir called the Saints Unified Voices and goes all over the country giving firesides for free. It is gospel music straight out of Baptist churches, performed by an LDS choir, and you can feel the Spirit like CRAZY. I wanted to cry the whole time. Gladys, her husband, and the man who has been her friend ever since she joined the church all spoke, and were very, very bold about the message of the Restoration. They essentially said, this is Christ's church, and if you want to follow Him, you need to be here. They even said that now that they had been at this fireside, they would be held accountable before God because they had heard of His truth. It was amazing. Ann felt the Spirit sooo strong, and she kept saying how grateful she was that she came. We met with her Sunday night, and after teaching her that faith and trust in God are necessary to keep going, she committed to prepare for baptism on November 10! We are so happy for her and I am praying so hard that she will be able to keep that committment, because I know that God will bless her for making efforts to follow Christ.
There are so many other people I could sit and tell you about, but I want to tell you about the Trail Center and how much I love it. Elder and Sister Watson are the directors, and I love them so much!! They go home in January, so I don't have very long with them, but they are great. Every Saturday morning we have training at the TC, so all of the Sisters are there together...meaning I get to see Sister Whitt all the time. It is really great. I think we are spending the night at her apartment on Friday night because we work at the TC that night and then we have training there in the morning and we live about 25 minutes away! Saturday after training, we had new sister orientation, and one of the things we had to do was take our companions on a tour of the gallery. This was super intimidating for me because Sister Coats is really incredible, and knows so much, and I hadn't even really been on a tour yet, much less given one! She gave me a tour first, and the Spirit was so strong. I had this very real understanding that I was supposed to be here, and that I had a work to do in the Trail Center. She asked me if anyone came to my mind that I wanted to share the gospel with, and Tevin kept coming to mind, so she called him yestserday haha. He was probably in practice, but we will see if he ever calls back. Love him. After she finished, I took her on tour. I don't know nearly as much as I would like to know about the pioneers, or even about being a missionary, but I know how to bear my testimony, and I know how to relate how hard that was to our lives. So I did that. And I saw how, as we are willing to follow our Heavenly Father and really submit our will to His, we will be led in doing His work. This is His work, and as I make efforts to do it His way, I know that He will bless me. It was an incredibly spiritual experience, and I was grateful for it. I love the Trail Center. You can feel the pioneers there. You can feel their sacrifice and their desire and their love. Being there is a huge blessing to me in my life, and I know already that I will never forget that feeling.
We live at a members home in our area, which is so nice, and we will be there until the end of December, which is when my training will be done, meaning Sister Coats will most likely get transferred and I will probably stay here in Lakeview! That means probably about 4 1/2 months of my mission will be spent here, which I am thrilled with because I really like it and I am really tired of not knowing who people are. It will be nice when I know the members and people better. I also found out that the date on my certificate is correct- my mission is over February 25 2014. Weird to think about right now. Apparently Trail Center sisters serve closer to 17 months total. Sister Coats was called full proselyting, so she will serve 18 months.
I can't think of anything else to say. I know there is more, but I still have to email President Weston and Elder Watson. Send letters to the address that is the mission office. They bring them to the Trail Center for us. I love you. I miss you! Tell Mattie happy birthday for me.
I love you to the moon and back. I'm having a good time.