1) Were you a trainer before Sister Albrechtson? We got a nice letter from the mission office that you were made a trainer, but I thought you had been one before.
2) We also got a nice thank you letter from the mission office about my sending McDonald's gift cards. Did you get one--I hope not. I meant them to go to missionaries that didn't get much/anything from their families. Just wondering...
3) Has winter shown up there yet? It is winter here in a BIG way. Christmas day we had a ton of snow--so we came home to a yard/driveway/housetop full.
4) Are you warm enough? Do you like your Christmas presents? You really didn't say too much when we talked on Christmas.
5) Did you get my message that I put Grandma Eileen's and Grandpa Herb's Christmas money in your account?
- No, this is my first time.
- I did not get one, at least not from the mission/you. Just from other people. (By the way, shout out "thank you" to everyone for the Christmas cards/gifts/notes! I really wish I could write hand written thank you notes to each and every one of you, but I just can't. I'm sorry. I am not superhuman and it just won't happen. I still love you though.)
- Yeah, so last week on Monday we got some crazy snow that is nicknamed "heart attack snow" because it is so dense that when you shovel it, you're likely to get so worked up that you'll have a heart attack if you're not careful. Or something like that. Anyway, there was a winter storm warning with snow and freezing rain and whatnot, but we did just fine. However, the snow froze overnight and walking over it now is like walking over a frozen lake. We had a grand old time jumping on it outside a members' house because there's no fear of falling into the ice cold water below--because it's just grass.
- I am definitely warm enough. haha I did like my Christmas presents, thank you. I just wasn't expecting so much. I think I just dislike talking about gifts people give me because it makes me feel uncomfortable but I really am grateful. Promise.
- Got the message at least now, but I think I did before too. Thank you.
WHERE DO I EVEN BEGIN?!!
Basically, this was the week of miracles.
If I could write about every single one, it'd probably take you an hour to read it--and that would name an inordinate amount of time to write for me, which is time that I simply do not have. So a summary is what you'll get and you'll just have to be happy with it.
- I love going by less active members' homes that you don't know anything about--and then they're super duper nice! It's the greatest feeling, I tell you what.
- District lunch at a Mexican restaurant and we convinced our district leader to get horchata; needless to say he's in love.
- A dinner appointment cancelled the day of one day and then, as we were driving back to our apt for dinner we got a call from a family saying that they were planning on having the Elders over but they weren't able to make it so if we wanted to we could come over and eat the extra food. I think we got there faster than a horse around a barrel.
- Because of the impromptu finding lesson and my wonderful companion asking for a referral, we decided to try this less active family later in the week, with the daughter of the family we ate dinner with. But they said we should call first so we did and she was super friendly! Unfortunately she was on her way to work so we couldn't visit. But then she was at church the next day! We were unable to attend that ward's sacrament meeting but we were told that she shared her testimony about all the "coincidences" that helped her want to come today--including a call from the sister missionaries. I love it when you see/hear of the direct fruits of your labors. And I love it when members and missionaries actually work together.
- We taught two of the best investigators of all time, Saul and Francisca (and their 7 year old son Diego). And they told us that they want their son to go on a mission. Also, the wedding date is set and they're on their way to baptism!
- We celebrated New Years with our ward mission leader, Bro McConkie and his family. We did a Spanish (as in Spain) tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight (or 6:30 for missionaries), one at every chime of the clock. I only got through ten because it was so funny to watch everyone else. Then we spent the evening reading the Book of Mormon--our mission president gave us a new challenge of specific things to mark and look for, and we're supposed to be done before April, though I'm going to try to finish before I report home.
- We FINALLY got to do some finding (probably the third or fourth time since I got here) so we went looking for some people who missionaries had met in the past but never taught and one of the doors we get to has someone coming out of it. His name is Hector and he practically asked us to teach him about Christ. Unfortunately he lives in Wisconsin. But I know the Gospel is just as true there as it is here. At another door we knocked we found Marina who somehow has a Book of Mormon and a King James version of the Bible (though we have no record of her being taught) and we taught her for just a bit and set up a return appointment. First new investigator since my first week I think! So cool.
- Went out with one of the Laurels in Dekalb ward to try some less actives for about an hour and the first two had moved--but the people living there were interested in learning more! It was truly miraculous. We told the young woman with us that she must be a lucky charm because rarely do people respond like that. But it was amazing! That is the effect of members and missionaries working together. President Monson is definitely inspired and is definitely the Lord's chosen prophet.
- Jennifer was baptized! She was so so happy and it was such a good service. To make a funny long story short though, we spent the two hours before the baptism started filling the font--with giant pots from the kitchen because we couldn't get the font faucet to work. Eventually one of the bishopric members and his wife came and showed us what to do. In our defense, the directions on the wall are NOT accurate for what to do. But hey, thanks to our giant pots from other water sources in the building, the water was the perfect temperature.
- Jennifer was confirmed on Sunday! The members do such an amazing job of fellowshipping and helping her feel welcome. She also shared her testimony (at the baptismal service and in sacrament meeting) and she did so wonderfully. It was such an amazing experience.
- Saul AND Francisca (and Diego) came to church and she loved it! It was her first time and it was a really good one. But then, they're always good. We had set up 8 headsets for translation and all of them were gone. Sadly, Pablo was unable to make it and one of our other investigators dropped us via text, but he'll come around when it's his time, I know it. Also, we found out this morning that our investigator couple paid tithing yesterday, due to some powerful testimonies on tithing--and we've never even taught them what it is. The gospel is SO true, people.
- We got a call one morning from someone that we'd stopped by the day previous, leaving a note with our number. For those who aren't too familiar with missionary work, that NEVER happens. Seriously. People never call us when we leave a note. Not even members. But this guy did. And he told us he's looking for something more in his life and he thinks this might be it. Well, Dan, the path to eternal life is about to open up before your eyes. (He's one of three people we'll be handing over to the elders, but the gospel they teach is the same exact one we teach, which is the same exact one that Christ teaches, so it doesn't matter who teaches or who baptizes because it's all just so true!)
- We visited Saul and Francisca and Diego on Sunday in the afternoon and they accepted a baptismal date of 30 January! We are so excited for them. Diego asked, "I have to be 8 to be baptized right?" and when we said yes he told us in three months he'll turn eight, so we told him that his dad will be able to baptize him. He was so excited. Also, his parents want him to serve a mission in Mexico--probably to find, teach, and baptize all their cousins. Aren't they the greatest? I think yes.
Basically, Heavenly Father is so good to us. I love being a missionary and sharing the gospel with everyone. I especially love giving cards to cashiers and random people in the store and sharing a simple testimony of Christ and His restored Gospel. The Gospel is so true. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and so is the Bible. Joseph Smith is God's chosen prophet in these latter-days to restore the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's prophet on the earth today and the only man authorized to receive revelation for the entirety of the human family. I know that when we follow his counsel and the words of the ancient prophets found in the holy scriptures, we will not fall off the path and one day, we too will partake of the fruit of the tree of life (see 1 Nephi 8).
Love, Hermana DeBuck