We stopped by 11 homes Monday and Tuesday evening so I could tell people goodbye/so we could share the He is the Gift video. They were hard visits to make. One of my favorite families gave us Christmas gifts from the Target dollar spot that were cute. We were already excited, and then when we found a fifty dollar Target gift card between the two pair of warm holiday socks we are even more jazzed! We definitely have to make a trip back to Mesa now after my mission because I promised a bajillion people I would come back and visit them. The Target gift card family told me that they are moving to Minnesota though and they want to meet my family when they get up there! The husband is from Minnesota and the wife and kids love it so they are moving. They're thinking it will happen in May. The wife already Facebook creeped you, mom and liked all of your little home renovation crafting things.
Needless to say, I was so sad to leave my area. I had a hard start to the week. My first night in my new area I felt like I was back in the MTC. I was sad, wanted to cry, and didn't know why I was here. I was overwhelmed at the idea of creating new relationships and I just wanted to cry. But I didn't. I prayed so long on Wednesday night that I fell asleep on my knees with my head resting on my bed. I was asleep for at least half an hour before I woke up because my legs were tingling. I had a lot of meetings my first few days in the area, so that didn't help because I felt like I wasn't getting anything done in my area. Additionally, we have to do four hours of studies a day so Sister Rasheed's English improves, so we really didn't get much done my first two days in the area. On Friday I decided I couldn't be sad anymore so I just prayed and asked for the strength to love the new people I was meeting. In my personal study I read Matthew 10:8 (because I decided to read the four gospels before Christmas Day) and the line that said "freely ye have received, freely give," jumped out at me. That was the official end to my pity party because I realized that I have been given so very much and all Heavenly Father wants me to do is love and teach new people. He isn't asking me to chop of a limb or give up Reese's for the rest of my life. I have been given so much, so I can give to others. In a new area.
Cheesecake Factory mom's parents are in my new ward! I am so excited because it means I will be able to see them occasionally when they come to church with her parents. Her younger sister gets home from her mission in a few weeks so she said they will for sure be at sacrament meeting for her homecoming talk the Sunday after Christmas
I sat through approximately 8.5 hours of meetings on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Another meeting I was supposed to have was postponed so our four hour meeting from Thursday that didn't end where it needed to could be finished on Friday. So I will have another 2 hour meeting this week on top of ZTM (that I have to give a THIRTY minute training at) and a breakfast meeting with the high councilman over missionary work in this stake. These meetings don't include the correlation, weekly planning, and ward council meetings that I normally sit through! They were all wonderful though. Our long one Thursday that carried over into Friday is called Mission Leadership Council (MLC) and that happens once a month. Normally it doesn't take two days, but this month we had a lot to discuss! We talked a lot about what leadership looks like and how leaders help people grow. I loved when we talked about missionaries that come into the field at a 2 and leave at a 3 and how that growth is huge even though it doesn't seem like it. PKJ said that we all probably came in at a 10, but if we don't leave at a 15 the other elders and sisters still made more of an improvement than we did and that we need to remember that. Growth should always be looked at within one missionary, not between one missionary and others. We also planned how we are going to prepare for a super baptism month in March. We set a lot of small goals for December, January, and February to help improve the quality of missionaries that we have and to increase their faith so we can find enough people to have 100 baptisms in March. I also had District Leader Orientation (DLO...seriously, missionary work is all about abreves, I guess). That was pretty straight forward and short; I was just trained on how to be a district leader by my zone leaders, and then helped them set goals for the transfer and talked through the needs of the missionaries I am serving. I also sat down with three of the five sisters in my district and talked with them one on one about goals and expectations and how I can help them. It isn't required of me to do that, but I really felt like it was important. I want each sister to know that I love them and that I will help them reach their goals and keep them accountable.
We had the Aspen Christmas party on Saturday and it was so fun! A decent amount of the homes in that ward are on huge plots of land. I think they're acre plots, but I am also bad at estimating, so I don't know. The bishop lives on one of those plots and he has an amazing backyard. He has a full size basketball court, a covered outdoor kitchen and pavilion, in ground trampoline, batting cage, BATHROOM, projector, fire pit, garden, legitimate park-like playground, and some yard to spare. The Christmas party was in their backyard. I was in love. We went early to help decorate and set up the food tables. The bishop's wife is President and Sister Jenkins' niece and the daughter of one of the mission presidency members. Her brother and sister-in-law were there to help set up and they are in my other new ward. I really like all of them, but especially the brother and his wife. They're hilarious and not super Mormony. The wife is a reporter and reported at the Sochi Olympics for NBC. #legit. I spent a lot of time talking to one of our investigators at the party and that was good for me. I know her well enough now that I feel like I can connect with her in lessons. The bishop has a four square court as well and I was so excited! I played with a group of ten year old boys for a bit. The next day at church one of them told me he was going to beat me at four square someday and that we had to play again. I'm already making friends with people in my mental range.
The fire alarm went off in the middle of sacrament meeting in our first ward yesterday. It was eventful! Every one sat there for about 45 seconds and finally a member of the bishopric stood up and we all followed suit and filed out of the chapel. It was a false alarm, but some people just went home because we stood in the parking lot for 10 or 15 minutes while everything was examined. It was kind of funny.
We were invited to YW to help with the lesson in Aspen Ward and it was so fun. One of the YW forced me to give a lengthy introduction of myself and when I was done I heard her whisper to her neighbor, "I like this missionary!" Hopefully we can work with them as much as we did with the TK YW.
Sister Rasheed says a lot of funny things. This week's favorite was her interpretation of Jingle Bells. She was singing "Jingle Man! Jingle Man," all day on Saturday because she thought those were the words to Jingle Bells. I also love her prayers. She always says, "Bless me and my companion we teach very well," and, "thank you for all the blessings." Sometimes she says, "bless my tongue that I speak English." It's so cute! She said she wants to learn more real world words, so I've started teaching her a few a day. Drive thru and dollar menu were probably the most useful.
President and Sister Jenkins had good friends in Mesa this week and they sat in on some of our meetings. They're pretty important people in Idaho. The husband has advised President Bush and Obama in cabinet meetings before and is the top guy over education in Idaho. President Jenkins had him share words of wisdom with us a few times. During one of the stories the friend shared, he said, "I took my daughter and President Jenkins' daughter on a little trip one Saturday when they were 6 or 7. We stopped at a gas station and I went over to get a fountain Diet Coke when I noticed his daughter looking at me. I asked her if she wanted one and she replied, 'no, that's what Laman and Lemuel drank!'" We all died laughing because it sounded exactly like something President Jenkins would have told his children when they were young.
I did my first Christmas lights shift on Thursday and am looking forward to doing more! I have an in with all the snow birds and love it. They don't always want to talk to the missionaries, but I have found that I can spot them pretty easily by their wardrobe (or lack thereof) and then I say something along the lines of, "you must not be from here! It's too cold to still be sporting sandals and capris!" Then they tell me they're from Minnesota or Canada and I tell them I'm from Minnesota and we are friends. We work every even day at the temple. Our shift is always two hours, but changes depending on the evening. We are either 6 to 8 or 8 to 10. It's so fun!
I have decided that I want to find and baptize a family in this area. I am praying for it every day and am devoting all free time to contacting potential and former investigators. I've already made lists and we are going at it! Sister Rasheed keeps saying, "Sister! We so busy!" It's good for us.
Love you all,
Sister D2 and my last trip to Golden Spoon together
Harry and his fiancé and her daughter and I with Paco the pup.
Sister Rasheed and I!
Sister Childs didn't have her ears pierced, so we went as a district
today and she got them pierced! These are the things
you can do with an all sisters district.