For those of you who don't know, I received a paper from the Travel Office in the MTC on Thursday, Dec 18, regarding a reassignment while I finish waiting for my visa to go to Taiwan. I was reassigned to the Colorado Springs, Colorado Mission! I was so excited! They had us all leaving within the next 24-48 hours. So, Friday, Dec. 19, I left the Provo MTC at 9:30 and got on the TRAX system in Provo, Utah to head up to the airport with 3 other missionaries. It was crazy leaving the MTC. I was there for so long but I loved my stay. I learned so much!! Saying goodbye to Sis. Lindsay and the rest of my district was probably one of the hardest things. Bryan, you were right, leaving the MTC is SO hard. I think I cried more leaving than I did entering. It was amazing being able to talk to mom, dad, and Marissa on the phone in the airport. I can't wait to talk to Lachlan and Alexa this coming Thursday on Christmas!!
So, Colorado....We arrived around 4:30ish. There was a total of 10 missionaries that were reassigned to the same mission as I. We got split up to get here because there was not 10 seats on a plane. The other 6 elders were supposed to get here before us...but, they missed their connecting flight in Denver. So, we got to wait for them for about an hour in the airport with our new mission president and his wife, Pres. & Sis. Rehm and the Assistants to the President. They were all really fun. It was like a mini reunion when they got off their plane. We were all so excited to see each other because we thought we weren't going to see each other after the MTC. President took us all to Golden Correll and then we went to 'transfer meeting' to find out our new companions!
Because we came in the middle of a transfer and we have no idea when we are leaving, Pres. but us all in tri-companionships. My new companions are Sis. Grant and Sis. Cook. Sis. Grant is from Houston, TX. She has been out for 16 months and will be leaving her mission in February. Sis. Cook is from Payson, UT and also has been out for a while-but not as long. She will return home in August 2015. They are both amazing Sisters and I have already learned so much from them.
We are assigned to the Jackson Creek Ward.
We live in the basement of the Nickels' family. I actually haven't met Sis. Nickels yet but Bro. Nickels is very nice! We have our own little kitchen and living room.
First off, I have never seen so many dogs in my life. EVERYONE has a dog! Most people have two or three dogs! AND they are huge!!!! I see them everywhere!
Second, gas in Colorado is $2.09?!?!!? When did it drop so low? Is it like that in Idaho too?
Third, I am assigned to an area with a car--so we get to drive everywhere.
Fourth, ELDER DIEPEVEEN (in my district from MTC) is also in my district here in Colorado!!! I got to see him last night! It was so fun to talk to him!
Saturday: So with training, we have personal study, companion study, training, and then I have an hour of language in the morning. It was weird doing language by myself. My companions felt bad that they couldn't do much...but, it was great! I will be able to continue studying Mandarin while I am here waiting for my visa. Saturday morning there was a baptism for our ward for two 8 year-old boys. As missionaries in Colorado, they teach the 8 year-old's the discussions and invite them to invite their friends to come to their baptism. It was neat being able to meet a couple ward members there. I talked mostly to a couple. She is the primary president and he is the Young Men's president. They were so nice! It was neat being able to attend the baptism. It reminded me of when Alexa got baptized earlier this year!
One of the investigators we have in our area is named Kami. She is currently out of town on a Disney cruise with her family. Sis. Cook & Grant offered to walk her dog while they were gone so after the baptism, we went over and got the dog. We went Tracting with the dog and she was not very cooperative. Haha since we had Holly (the dog), we didn't knock any doors. We talked to a couple people on the street and gave out He is the Gift cards and invited them to watch it. We talked to a mailman. He was younger and told us he doesn't have any religion he goes to but we told him where the church was and invited him to come. Sadly, he didn't come to church but hopefully we will run into him again...I guess we will see. We did some quick grocery shopping for me to last me the weekend and then went to a different area to tract. We were going to go visit one of the less actives we are visiting but Sis. Hayes wasn't home. This time, we knocked doors. This is probably one of the scariest things in the world!!! You have no idea what is behind the door! Almost no one was home-they were probably out getting some Christmas shopping done-but we handed out a couple He is the Gift cards.
We visited a member, Jenn and her children, who live in the area. We had dinner at the Clay's home. I love Sis. Clay. She is from France. Her husband is in the military and is currently deployed to Niger. She has four boys. AND she is a health/workout freak! It was fun to get to know her and share a thought with her.
After, I had my first lesson with an investigator. Her name is Sis. Johnson. Her husband has always been a member of the church. She has been taught the lessons about 20 years ago and went to church 4 years straight during that time but since then, hasn't returned. She is very smart and knows her Bible in and out. She works in the Library at the Air Force Academy. She has a hard time with the gospel and doesn't understand why it is the only true church on the earth. Her husband is a very faithful member and sits in on the lessons. Sis. Cook told me that he normally doesn't have very much to say but tonight, he said a lot! We planned to talk about Faith..but when we were done following-up with her, we quickly changed the topic to the Holy Ghost. The lesson was very good and the Spirit was definitely there. It was hard though because as soon as she felt the Spirit, she would get distracted by her two huge dogs! I guess that happens a lot here... I was quiet in the lesson. I said a couple things but not very many. It's so different teaching someone who is actually investigating the church and isn't a 'fake' investigator. Sis. Johnson is very artistic and creative. She helps students make cards up at the Academy. So, after the lesson, we all made a card. I will write in mine and send it home. You can definitely tell that it is homemade :).
Sunday: Yesterday was a great day! I loved being able to go to church. I joined the ward Choir Sunday morning and then we sang in Sacrament Meeting for Christmas Sunday. It was a beautiful meeting. I thought a lot about home and how you were all probably doing the same things. I missed not being able to be with you all. During Second hour, the missionaries teach the Gospel Doctrines Class. We have a couple where the wife is a member and the husband is not. He actually had a baptismal date at the beginning of the year but then his wife felt like he wasn't ready yet. We actually visited them a little bit later after church. On the way over, Sis. Cook told me that he follows all the commandments and attends church every week. We are going over on Christmas day to watch a video with them. Anyways, back to Gospel Doctrines...we talked about Charity and it went well. Relief Society was also great. After church, we did some visits. I got to meet a couple more families. One family named the Lovejoy's are in our ward but he is currently serving as the Bishop in the YSA. They are the sweetest couple. When they found our I was from Idaho Falls, they told me they had family there. I figured because I graduated with a Lovejoy...we connected and it was his nephew. It was funny.
At church, I was able to meet the Jensen family. Their home is where we are going to be Skyping home on Christmas. Bro. Jensen is super nice and told me he has some tricks to make my visa come quicker. haha. He is excited to meet you all on Thursday. They currently have a son serving in Brazil who waited 10 months to receive his visa.
We ate dinner at the Strate's. They gave us all Christmas presents. It was so nice! They gave us all an infinity scarf and a small, cute wallet. Their daughter just returned home from Pennsylvania serving a mission a couple months ago and attends BYU-I.
Sunday night we met up as a district and when and caroled!! Caroling was so much fun!! The Elder's and Sisters I serve with are all so fun! We caroled a street in almost all of our different areas. Elder Diepeveen was there. We talked a lot and I was able to practice my Chinese with him as we walked from house to house. He is super happy and loving every second we have had out here. All the missionaries are so welcoming and loving!! It's like we are one big family.
This morning, we had personal and companion study and then we went over to Sis. Clay's and did an AWFUL workout. Dang, she pushed us so hard! It snowed during the night last night so our warm-up was shoveling her driveway. Lets just say, I am going to be so sore for a couple of days.
I have loved my couple days out in the field. I love being a missionary. I love being able to study everyday from the scriptures and be able to share with others the fullness of the gospel. Marissa, I am so proud of you for being a missionary at home to the Allen's granddaughter. Keep talking to her and become her friend. Get together and read the Book of Mormon together. You can also get a Restoration pamphlet and read through that with her. Keep me updated on your efforts! I am excited to hear what is going to happen!
I can't wait to talk to you all on Thursday,
Bryan, I hope I will be able to see you too!!
I love you all!!!
Us caroling last night. (My selfie isn't that great...I cut off some people.)
My new companions the night of Transfers
I forgot to add...Since it snowed during the middle of the night and the snow plows don't plow very good here, trying to come email, we got stuck leaving the neighborhood. It was actually hilarious. We were sitting there spinning on ice trying to go up a hill. It was pretty awful. Sis. Grant and I got out to push the car up...it took about 15 minutes. But we finally got to the top. There were so many cars that passed us and no one stopped to help! We all laughed about it...but here's to the beginning of many mornings pushing a car up a hill.
Our first picture in the Colorado Springs Airport.
It is beautiful here...