Oh man, it feels like a century since I've emailed! How are you? How is life? I am so glad that everyone is just chilling, and that the weird two day late e-mail isn't too traumatizing for the masses. Here's the dealio. Monday was Labor Day, and therefore no e-mail abilities, thus cancelling our usual pday adventures. Yesterday was pure craziness, and was the day containing the story of the subject (we'll get to that in due time, don't you worry). SO, here we are, two days late and super excited to give you the scoop about this incredible week! It's been so great, and I've learned that any week can become better when you make the choice to turn out and focus on others. It makes all the difference- it's pretty incredible how big of a difference that simple fact makes. I could muse about that life lesson for a few more paragraphs, but we've got two extra days of e-mail to type up! I've gotta hussle!
Alright, let's start this off. Last Monday was a total party, complete with an adorable rummage sale thrift store, where I got penguin earrings and Sis Finlinson got sassy red sunglasses. We spent a total of 75 cents, and life was good. We ran to Hazen to shop and wash our car (we've been trying out the name Greta, and we think it could be it) and do some laundry. The grocery store in Hazen, Krause's, was unexpectedly luxurious...we ended up buying more than we had planned and wandering around in awe. During our wandering, we were contemplating whether or not to buy pancake mix when Sister Lee popped outta nowhere and slapped that pancake mix out of our hands! It was dramatic, but she ended up giving us her famous homemade pancake recipe. Needless to say, this week has been a good one in pancake consumption alone. Oh man, Sis Lee makes some good pancakes. We've found great joy in that.
We went to the Wieland's for dinner, who are still the greatest ever (dontcha know). We did family home evening with them and talked about the spirit- such a great lesson. I am just so grateful for them, and so grateful that they have joined the church. I don't know what the branch did before the Wielands, but I also don't know what the Wielands did before the branch. It's who they are and everything they embody, and I am so thankful for Elder Wallace and Elder Lott, and for their complete faith in Brother Wieland. I can't believe that I ever thought better and thought I was too good for this mission. Pride'll get ya, that's the truth. I'm already a better person, missionary, church member, and me by knowing the Wielands, even if that's so corny to admit. We took an adorable picture with them that you know I printed and glued it into my journal. It brings me dumb amounts of joy.
Tuesday was such a good one, all because we pancake'd for breakfast. All hail Sister Lee! We did the morning routine before heading over to Kevin Bills, an inactive member from Idaho that we tracted into last week. We also talked with his roommate Doug, and it was...interesting. Yeah, that's the adjective to describe that crazy exchange. Interesting. Both are pretty bitter about their church experiences, but it ended up being a weirdly nice experience to chat about the good bits of the church and try to move past the not so good ones.
We stopped by the Nottingham's after that, who we were feeling oddly inspired to meet with. We shared a scripture about tender mercies, and it was just exactly what she needed to hear. It's so cool to have those moments where you become an instrument in the Lord's hands. We had no idea why we felt like we should go there, but Heavenly Father was totally in the know. It was just such a cool experience.
We drove off to Halliday after that, trying potentials and referrals with no luck and feeling discouraged...until we met Kyle. He was actually waiting for the bus and totally came up to us and starting asking questions. We gave him a Book of Mormon and two different pamphlets- he was crazy interested. Sis Finlinson and I both felt afterwards that he was the reason we came to Halliday early. It was random and pretty amazing. As Sis Finlinson put it, we had to be desperate enough to talk to the one person that needed us to talk to them. We were 100% lead to him, and I just love those experiences. You are not in control on a mission, and your life is not your own. It's just the truth, dontcha know.
We ate at the Leach's for dinner, who gave us referrals and fed us pie and let us play with their itty bitty kitten. Life was good. We actually stopped by one of their referrals before heading home, and we had a good porch chat about the gospel. I've got a good feeling about that Miles. I think maybe I just have good feelings about everyone these days. It's something I need to work on. When we got in for the night, the air smelled like vanilla (no lie, it was so delightful) and my heart felt full. I'm learning quick during the mish life that a good attitude makes all the difference. Our path is truly guided and remembering that makes each day meaningful. Recognizing the Lord's hand and heeding those promptings makes this work good and worthwhile. It's just the greatest.
Wednesday was another good one...even if I say that for everyday. It really was good! We were busy and in tune. The Clines called us during personal study and invited us to lunch- gotta love the Clines- and Sister Schellenburg texted at the same time to tell us we were having curry for dinner. With news like that, you know your day is going to be good.
Our Cline lunch was so fun, and we headed over to the Lee's for our lesson afterwards. We read 3 Nephi 11 with their family and just talked. We tried to keep it casual after last week's disaster, but Brother Lee still feels so ridiculously close to me. You can tell by the way he reads the scriptures that he knows its true. One day, one day. Steve Lee is gearing up to change, and I can feel it in my bones.
We went to Courtney Dobson's after, our fave less active. She's engaged to Nueley, a nonmember rancher (I don't really know why I felt the need to specify, but whatever). We always have the coolest conversations with Courtney, and we left with a fancy candle and another book to read. She is the coolest and I just love her. Any day you get to meet with Courtney is bound to be a good one.
We dined at the Schellenburg's after some finding and tracting, and their curry changed my life. They just moved here from Houston, where they befriended some crazy cool Indians (like you do when you're in Texas) who taught them how to make authentic chicken curry. We (obviously) got the recipe and worshipped (righteously) the leftovers. We've been lunching like royalty since that blessed Wednesday. Curry leftovers even made weekly planning day bearable- pretty unbelievable, I know.
But, even with delicious food, weekly planning still had to happen. After the drudgery, we stopped by Sally, who we tracted into last week. We ended up having such a cool conversation with her about the gospel, and we gave her a Book of Mormon! AHH! I am super excited to see what comes with Sally, because I think it's going to be good. When she saw us pull up, she grabbed chairs for us and was super excited to talk more about our church. It's moments like that when I am so grateful to be a missionary. It's the greatest!
We went to a barbecue in Halliday for dinner, nothing too crazy to report. It was fun to meet some members we haven't been able to yet, and chat with President Thueson. He's always trying to pull shenanigans on us, that crazy cat.
Friday was our last district meeting with Elder Elison, our beloved district leader. He heads home on the 18th, and it was pretty bittersweet. We played Jeopardy and I distributed eye-popping pens (such a party pleaser- thank you Mammy and Daddio!), mourning throughout the loss of our fearless leader. We took one last family picture (eye popping pens in hand, of course) and drove home with heavy hearts. We've got such a good district, and I'm a little nervous to see what happens with Elder Elison leaving. It'll all work out...right? Oh man, I'm nervous.
We ran from district meeting to Kevin Kady's, where we met his lovely wife Kim. She doesn't hate us! Yahoo! She told us that Kevin reads his Book of Mormon to his chickens, and I just about died. That man is so ready! If reading to your chickens doesn't scream baptism, I don't know what does.
We headed to the Lee's for dinner, where we had scout potatoes and watched "The Hope of God's Light", which is possibly my favorite Mormon message. It's just so good. Go watch it, people. It changed Brother Lee's life- it would change yours, too! No crazy commitments this time around, just the assurance that his answer will come when he is humble enough to receive it. The time is coming, slowly but surely. Ahh, that Brother Lee. He's a hooligan, no doubt.
We found a few potentials after dinner, and we had a pretty successful district meeting day! Yahoo! Usually, we don't get crazy amounts done, but Friday was just good.
Okay, we're going to speed through the next few days so I can get to the good stuff before time runs out. Saturday Halliday day, with an incredible Faye lesson about the Restoration that Sister Thueson came to and finishing up weekly planning (seriously, it's never over). We dined at the Rogers, who invited their nonmember friend Kayla. Kayla teaches English at Killdeer High School, and we hit it off so well. Definite BFF potential. Sunday didn't bring anything too crazy, just a glorious break the fast AND A LESSON WITH KEVIN KADY. We taught him the Restoration and he loved it, ahhhhh!! I love Kevin Kady, in case you didn't know. Teaching him is just the greatest, because he already understands and believes so much of the doctrine. It makes things so easy. Monday was a lot of fun and a little tricky to do missionary work- holidays, dontcha know. It's so weird to not have holidays off as a missionary. But alas, we still did super cool things and met with a lot of people. Monday funday lives one!
Oh man, finally time for the subject. Yesterday was perhaps the greatest day ever...or at least the greatest day of my mission. Elder and Sister Renlund came and trained us, and it was just the coolest. Elder Renlund spoke at last Conference, and his talk was one of my faves. Needless to say (maybe the title already gave it away), I was freaking out. We got in this line and each introduced ourselves and shook his hand. Man, my hand was so clammy and I could barely muster out that I'm from Seattle. AND THEN, his wife went in for the handshake and I went in for the hug. I stole it, man. It was embarrassing, but I was just in awe and couldn't pass that chance by. She was wearing a string of pearls and an ascot, and I'm expected to give her a wimpy handshake?
I was stressing over the handshake interchange, but then we were trained by these two spiritual giants about how to be effective missionaries and it was so crazy! Elder Renlund asked for our comments about a talk we read in preparation, and then totally taught by the spirit. It was the most amazing experience. We ate lunch at the first round of training, and watching a General Authority eat (how creepy am I?) is the weirdest thing. I think I always just assumed they absorb nutrients or something, because that wigged my out. Seeing someone you watched talk about General Conference eat a sandwich messed with my head big time. I can't even explain it.
Before the training ended, Sister and Elder Renlund took questions. All I could think of were crazy things, but other people react normally to General Conference speakers and asked good things. I don't think I even let myself think too much about it all, it was just too crazy. MAN, such a cool experience. My head is still spinning about everything he said, but it was cool. SO COOL.
Alright, that's been my week. It's been a crazy time, and I'm loving the mission life! Thank you for all your letters and support and love- I love you all so much! Keep 'em coming! Reading your letters brings me almost as much joy as stealing a hug from a General Authority's wife did!
|the motorcycle of someone we are teaching|
|Hazen water tower (because who doesn't love a good water tower picture?)|