I'm just going to start my letter to you today. Don't worry about me!! I've never been better! I think my letter last week was so short because... I'd forgotten how to talk. :P Sister Navarro and I had a SUPER awkward first week. Awkward silence all the time. We have talked about it since and both feel like we could be friends outside of the mission, but for some reason we have a hard time figuring out how to work together. She says I'm really strict and high-strung-- and she's probably right... I just haven't figured out yet how to be obedient and work hard without coming across as too much. It's hard to have a companion where you can constantly feel their annoyance with you. So last week I had all of that floating around inside my head and didn't feel like I could talk about it. This week, I'm walking slower, talking slower, letting her take the lead as much as I can, and trying to practice humility and patience. It's frustrating when I let myself start thinking about how much more effectively we could be working, but then I remember, if I'm not loving my companion, how can I expect to really love anyone else?
Not only is there a stigma against saying anything negative as a missionary, (any Sister Training Leader will tell you when asked that they are "SO good!") but for the past 9 months I've been focusing on becoming a more positive person. I don't want to worry about things I can't control, so then I have a hard time talking about my struggles. That's probably the biggest reason I haven't talked much about the hard stuff in my emails home. Another piece of my personal pride puzzle that I'm working on chipping away. Don't get me wrong, I'm having a lot of fun with Sister Navarro. She's a good missionary. We've had some really good laughs where there were tears coming out of our eyes and we were worried we were gonna crash the car. XD
Anyway. Questions. 1: Katherine has scoliosis?? So does Sister Luke, actually. Get that taken care of as soon as you can! The only thing that really helped Sis Luke is a weekly massage and she can't get permission to do that on her mission.
2: What IS crucial conversations?? Is it a book of conversations? Or how to have conversations? Or is it just a novel with a funny name? I've never heard of it before your last few emails have mentioned it. "It must be good!" ;)
3: The Idaho Falls temple is closing for 18 months?!!! Noooo... It will be so beautiful when it opens again... but I was looking forward to going there :P I'd heard about this, but hoped it was a rumor. Haha it'll be worth it though :)
4: No email from Dad today? How's the work-and-stake-president load for the week? Sure love him and have a lot of respect for how much pressure he's under!
And a couple comments :)
5: YES, I got your beautiful package!! Thank you soooo much! I laughed so so so hard at the "tops and bottoms" thing. And had a lot of fun with them, as you can see from the picture. I think this is the best combination right here.
6. Mom, if the Lord is directing your thoughts toward working with these people, than that is DEFINITELY missionary work! He doesn't want anyone to become a statistic. He loves His children too much for that. One of my big goals in this new area is to work on retention and reactivation with these young adults. Too many kids fall by the wayside because they don't feel like they have a good friend at church. A lot of recent converts have gone less active and we're doing our darndest to get them back to church, and enlisting the help of the active members to be good fellowshippers :)
You know, I'm not really sure yet why the Lord has asked me to bloom and work in this part of the vineyard right now, to answer your question. Work in a YSA ward is fairly easy, as much as missionary work can be easy :P We get a lot of referrals from the other amazing hardworking missionaries, and we just drive around meeting all kinds of golden young adults and setting them with baptism dates. It's pretty cool. But there must be something more I need to learn about working with YSAs, or I wouldn't be back in a singles ward!
We have an investigator named Karen who was going to get baptized this Saturday but we had to move the date because she invited too many friends to church and they made her late. Isn't that a great problem to have?? She's SO excited about sharing the gospel that she had to drive around and pick up 3 different people, and they all walked in together after the sacrament was over. One of her friends actually ended up being a less active member and we are going to help reactivate him.
This week we also started teaching a girl named Ehidy (pronounced Heidi). She was introduced to the church by a friend (YEAH!) who took her to the right ward even though he lives in Henderson. Now that's a good friend. She came to the Why I Believe fireside with us yesterday night (I finally get to go to those again, now that I'm in-valley!) and was really touched by the story of the recent convert whose catholic family was completely not supportive. She said "the way his family was, is exactly how my family is right now." But she's still going forward because she knows the church is true! Go Ehidy go! :)
A few other people we're teaching right now: Kassie, the sweetest girl who grew up in foster care and is getting baptized with Karen; Cruz, this super tall bball player who is continually surprising us with how much he wants to learn, and Selena, Karen's friend. Selena has been reading and praying and got her answer in a dream! Her big hangup right now is the boyfriend. But she had this dream where she looked in the mirror and she was a handsome young man. As this handsome man she walked out of her house and saw a ton of beautiful women along the street. She could discern that even though the women seemed desirable they weren't beautiful on the inside. So she walked past all of them and saw one girl that was plan and small, wearing a red dress. But she walked up to her and asked her to dance. She told us, "I interpret it like-- the women are all the churches, and the girl I danced with was the Mormon church!" Because our church doesn't seem as flashy as others, but it's beautiful and the right choice to those who have the eyes to see it.
We've had some pretty funny things happen lately. Las Vegas is crazy... in some ways crazier than Old Kingman... and that place is crazy. There are SO many people here. It's like an anthill, and I love it. We saw a man on the side of the road air-drumming violently to the music in his head. We met a man who's convinced he's the smartest man in the world and once killed 50,000 people "with his bare hands and feet." We street contacted a homeless guy and he dug through a cooler in his shopping cart to give us each a bottle of water. The thoughtfulness! I didn't drink it... but that is true charity right there. :)
At the Why I Believe I got to see DJ, Michael, Amber, and a bunch of other kids from Robindale again. DJ made a little bit of a scene running up and hugging me in the chapel... but I couldn't have been happier to make a spectacle of myself! I love her so much and it's so good to see her happy and strong in the faith. Seeing those kids just warmed my heart right up. It blows my mind how much room God can give you in your heart to love more and more people.
I also got a call from Sister Hame and she told me some amazing news! Andy is getting baptized next week, and so is Kate. Did I tell you about Kate?? She is the 20 year old nanny for a family in Boulder Springs ward. She started coming to church two weeks before I got transferred, and she signed my transfer journal saying "by the time I see you next I hope that I will be a member." It was a huge tender mercy to hear about her because Boulder Springs struggled for so long. It was because she was starting to investigate that I felt like my work in Kingman was done and I could leave without any regrets. She is really an incredible young woman. I wish you could meet ALL of these people and understand how cool they are!
There's the highlights of my week in a nutshell! President and Sis Snow invited Sis Navarro and I to the mission home for dinner and family home evening. How fun, right??We were preparing our thought this morning and were like... What do you share with the mission president and his wife for a spiritual thought that they don't already know?! We decided to talk about Jesus Christ and becoming like Him as we study His life. As with any lesson, we hope and pray the Spirit will be there and do the teaching. :) So I guess you could say I'm going to go have a "Snow family home evening" with the extended family! I expect there to be chips and salsa! ;)
New favorite scripture: Matthew 10:29-31. Heavenly Father notices the little things. A sparrow can't fall out of its nest without His notice. He notices your triumphs and struggles, the big ones and the small ones. He celebrates with you and mourns with you even when you think you're the only one!
Love you so much!