Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Choosing the Joy

Hey-oh! I can't believe it's already p-day again, and that it's already been six weeks hanging out with Sister Luker! Man oh man, time is flying. We've had crazy moments of trying to figure out just how six weeks have already come and gone since transfers...and we were both a little sweaty about transfer calls this time around. We were sitting in studies (they always call in the calm of morning studies, so you have all day to weep and mourn, ya know), feeling a little anxious but nothing too crazy...when our dear district leader calls! Oh man, we both jumped like two feet in the air. I was freaking. He just told us that him AND his freshly trained comp are getting transferred to two different places (Williston and Aberdeen, SD)- their area is getting washed, two fresh elders! So, we were FREAKING OUT. So unexpected! But alas, we never got a call and we're thankfully safe for the time being. Here through Christmas, yahooooo!! I'm getting a little antsy about after that (with Sister Luker being all trained at the end of this new transfer...), but it'll be great. Gotta enjoy every second I get to spend here in this perfect little area.

So, long intro over. No transfers! I figured I better just get that whole story outta the way, crank it out and lessen all your stress. This week (other than the random transfers stress, haha) was so good! We're learning to always be optimistic and joyful, even when things don't go exactly as expected. And this week was definitely crazy after crazy. So good, but so random. It was great! And now, we've chatted about transfers and my unnecessarily cheesy title. Such progress! 

Okay, let's chat! We started off the week with last Monday, a beautiful p-day full of errand running and Christmas pondering and picture taking. I'm realizing pretty quick that a clean apartment is my p-day priority (who even am I?), and we're mastering the art of making the most out of p-day. Slowly but surely! I think we're getting it down to a science, but it's tricky. So much to do and so little time- and the real joy comes from the random shop wandering! We're figuring it out (which has been my motto as of late) and it's been pretty glorious. I think we've got the perfect schedule for today...and I'm sure this is what you're all dying to read about, haha. I'll stop talking about how much I stress about getting everything done on p-day. It's just exciting! We're doing it!

But anyway, we ate at the Johnson's Monday night, and it was great. I love that family! We had FHE about prayer and played some Scattergories with their sweet fam- Sister Johnson dominated big time. She's the queen of that crazy game! It was such a good end to a good p-day.
the tripod life!! (us and the Johnson's

Tuesday was a total partay. We started off with the morning routine and began comp study with finalizing our plans for the day...and everything fell through. Disheartening! I was feeling antsy since wake up time...and then it all sorta fell apart. So, we tracted. I wanted to just waste the day away trying people that wouldn't be home, but my faith filled and wiser than all comp knew better. And honestly, it was amazing! We taught crazy amounts of lessons and shared "A Savior is Born" with everyone- and we even got into one house! Sometimes, you gotta rejoice in that one lady named Martha that we gave a Book of Mormon to and told us about her Mormon nephew. It made my whole Tuesday! So, in conclusion, missionaries still have bad days and bad weeks, but when you focus in on the Marthas, nothing actually feels that bad.

We dined at the Cline's that mildly slow Tuesday night, where we ate ribs and sweet potatoes and decorated their Christmas tree. It's crazy being a missionary in December (mostly because the crazy lack of snow makes it feel like fall, ugh), but I am so grateful for families like the Clines who involve us in all their Christmas-y traditions and blast Christmas-y music when we come by. Somehow, it makes it feel like December and like Christmas is going to be absolutely joyful. Man, I am so grateful for Beulah. It's the greatest place to be a missionary during this warmer than usual holiday season. I just want some snow! Bring it on, North Dakota!
the Chloe and me update of the week (still going strong in the BFF department, obviously)    

We ended our night at the Rice's, where Sister Rice loaded us up with chili leftovers and we all sat on their kitchen floor and chatted about the gospel. Man, it was so sweet. Bro. Rice kept asking us what our moms make for Christmas, because he wants to make sure that we feel as at home as we possibly can...basically, I wanted to weep all the time this week. We are so loved here, and it makes everything so much more joyful! Huzzah for a Beulah Christmas!

We had a beautiful Wednesday as well, where we were super led by the Spirit and saw crazy cool things go down. We tried some people and ended up having crazy times with my newly rediscovered camera tripod (it's lit'really changing my life, people! SO MANY SELF TIMED PICTURES!!) that I can only vaguely elude to because it's all part of beautiful holiday plans...but it was great fun! We headed over to Zap after that, and shared "A Savior is Born" with Katie Maupin, the wife of an uber less active member and generally an amazing person. I don't know if anything will come of it (they're both big fans of using the spouse card at every given opportunity, so fun), but we'll keep at it. We got some killer suggestions about moving forward with her from the Branch Council, so hopefully she'll become a more permanent fixture of my weekly emails. We'll see!

We ran to Golden Valley after that to do some tracting...and I just wasn't feelin' it. I turned to Sister Luker and we both decided to do one more drive around town (it's so itty bitty, haha) and see if anything stuck out to us. We got about two blocks from Main and Sis. Luker pointed to a house...so we jumped out of that car and knocked that door! We met Shirley, who was babysitting her grandkids and is from Stanley. We chatted for a while, and she told us about her friend Jacob, who is the bishop in Stanley. We ended up giving her a Book of Mormon and praying with her- it was so sweet! She hugged us both and thanked us for stopping...and man oh man, the church is just so true! It was just crazy!

We headed to Halliday after that, where we tried Faye with Sister Thueson. Her and Kevin were outside when we came by, moving boxes and such, and Faye basically avoided us the whole time. We talked with Kevin and Sis. Thueson chatted with Faye...and Faye asked us to leave. UGH. It was super sad. But, Sister Thueson (like a total boss) suggested some people we could all try and we ended up busting out a lesson with Mr. Hart, the welding teacher at the high school. I don't know what will come of it, but it was a great time! He's such a sweet man. He potentially has potential- we'll see! We also tried a former investigator who was suddenly super receptive because Sis. Thueson is beloved in that town. It was great!

We ate dinner at the Istilart's (turkey noodle soup, so good) and went with them to the tree lighting in Killdeer. It was so fun! We sang carols and drank hot chocolate (and Breanna, their six year old, became my newest BFF) and tried not to fall asleep the whole ride back to Halliday. It was a party! Breanna made me sit in the backseat with her and Braxton, and it was the most fun. They chatted my ear off and I was in heaven. Braxton may be the next mission marriage proposal if I play my cards right, so that's exciting!

the Killdeer Christmas tree and us with the Istilart kiddos 

Thursday was a little icky, because of planning...but it was fine. We're mastering the art of the weekly planning session, and we even had time this week to schedule every day out and make appointments. 'Twas great! We mostly had crazy amounts of time because we had to get new tires for winter, so a good hour was spent chilling at Lignite with our homies there. So much planning!

We stopped by Tiffany's once we finished up with our tires (which really are luxurious, so much traction!), where we helped sew on Girl Scout patches and braid hair for the Hazen tree lighting ceremony. We shared "A Savior is Born" with their fam and Felicity said the closing prayer- it was great! Felicity got her Santa list and prayer confused for a sec, totally adorable. We ate dinner at the Johnson's and Alissa gave us both TWO coloring book pages, such fun.

We taught Ariel after dinner, and found out that he's moving to South Carolina! I think he'll eventually find the missionaries again, but it was nice to share "A Savior is Born" and pray with him. I know that he felt the spirit as we've been teaching him these past months, and I know something will come of it- even if it's forever down the road!

On Friday, we ran to Bismarck early in the morn for Zone Training Meeting at the mission home- it was pure bliss! I loved it, even though the transfers feeling was afoot and I had to exchange some super tender handshakes with some of my favorite Elders. Oh, the joys of mission life! We Walmart'd after our meeting, and it was glorious. I just love that beautiful store. Thank heavens for crazy training meetings and Wal-Mart runs!

We went to dinner at the Billmans, but we stopped by the Parsons before heading to dinner and shared "A Savior is Born" with their fam- it was great! I love that sweet family! It's been a while since we've seen them, and it was just so nice to chat with them. Dinner at the Billman's was a total party. They go big at Christmas, complete with a rotating Christmas tree and festive place settings. It was just joyful! They also just got two black lab puppies that I held the whole time, such bliss. Getting my dog fill! It was just such a nice night.
us and the Billman's puppies (and the rotating Christmas tree, so magnificent!)    

We stopped by Becky's once back to home base and chatted with her for a sec before heading off to Barb's. It was nice to have a productive night after a mildly cray cray day! Busy busy. But so good!

Saturday was lots of tracting and a Bobby lesson that went SO well. SO WELL. Our crazy random referral is becoming less crazy- the gospel is the real deal, people! He's our big focus this coming week, and we're hoping to get member involvement and make amazing things happen with him. Our big push is getting him to the Christmas Partay on Saturday, and I am so jazzed. Go this branch for being the best!

Sunday was also good, lessons with Cynthia and the Furr family and the Pippingers and "A Savior is Born" all around. It was just good! Basically, we're obsessed with "A Savior is Born". EVERYONE NEEDS TO WATCH IT. SO GOOD! It was sweet meeting with the Furrs, because Nate (the member husband living in a crazy Catholic/Native American family...we tracted into them eons ago and Lisa let us right in and we're slowly unraveling the crazy string) offered the opening prayer! It was amazing! He lets us come by but he doesn't want his records moved up here or home teachers...we're getting to the bottom of it.

I just realized that I didn't even stick one emoji in this email- AHHHHH!! There's two for the road to make up for my utter lack, haha.

But anyway, it was a great week! Good vibes all around! 18 days until Christmas and no sign of snow! Exciting, exciting! I am just so grateful for all of you, making it feeling all December-y and joyful and happy! I love you all so much!


Sister Robinson
We've got a cute Minion tire stack    

a little taste of how big Beulah really goes for Christmas    

my first Candy Cane Oreo blizzard of the season (HAPPY DECEMBER, MY DEAR FRIENDS!!! I was seriously so jazzed that it's FINALLY Candy Cane Oreo blizzard time. So joyful!)    

us and the Istilart kiddos. They're adorable!

A funny North Dakota newspaper article that gave me a good chuckle    

a super classy Christmas tree in Beulah    

Mostly, I am just obsessed with Christmas. That's the real story behind these pictures.

and 18 DAYSSSSSSS!! 

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