I'm getting slightly scared because I keep speaking all this spanish all the time and all the spanish Hermana's have told me they're going to tell President to switch me to spanish. :/
Anyways! Hello. What a crazy, insane, amazing, difficult and happy week it has been. As I have said last week we've had amazing opportunities to serve but this week it has beeen EVEN better. (Quick side note, I write more detail in my journal because I have a little bit more time so maybe when I get home I can just read you guys my journal, Psych! but maybe I will haha)
We were supposed to do service on Wednesday of last week but our zone didn't go because it was to far away and the weather wasn't the prettiest. So we had to re-plan everything but it was good. We went to a couple of people and talked to them. It was snowing (really sticky stuff) and pretty cold. I wore my new boots! Can you believe it? Two days after I bought them I was wearing them. Things are changing, that's not normal haha. We went and taught a few people and got return appointments with them and had to be in by six because of the snow storm coming in. It snowed for a while but it was gone the next day so I haven't had much snow yet but I know I will be getting some more. There were still some missionaires that didn't have power and so another companionship came to stay with us. Sister Soto and Swann. They are spanish sisters. Maybe God is just preparing me because all the sisters that have stayed with us have been spanish sisters. They are so awesome! It's crazy, God knows who to put in your life to help you become better and teach you things. And I definitely have seen that in just these few weeks I've been here. Sister Soto is leaving in a week and I've gotten along with her so well. She's from Brooklyn, NY. Sister Swann is amazing as well.
Thursday was Jody's birthday! YAY!! Happy birthday, sorry I'm late. I wanted to take a picture of me holding up a sign that said "267 months" But I ran out of time but the thought was there. It was our walking day and planning day and it took forever because we hadn't planned for two weeks because of the storm. Sandy has been crazy so far. Stories to come shortly. We went on exchanges for the first time and it was scary, I won't lie. Sister Dicou left the area so I was in charge for the day. Sister Morrison from San Diego was my companion for the exchange and we have so much in common. She's awesome. Friday was a normal tracting day but we have a member come out with us for most of the day. We taught a few lessons and then went to dinner with a member. We had breakfast for dinner and it was delicious.
We were going to exchange back Saturday morning and that was the plan but then we got word we were going to different places to do service so we were with each other for another day. Which was great. It's nice to know more sisters because Sister Dicou is leaving in a week :( I don't want her to because she has taught me so much but she's going to be so amazing in the real world.
*This is the part that gets crazy cool!*
So we woke up on Saturday early early in the morning to go down to EATONTOWN for service. Now I have no clue where that is but mom you said you follow the places I say. It's down on the Jersey Shore. We drove down with Hermana Swann and Soto because they stayed the night again. We got there quite early so we went to McDonald's for breakfast. (By the way Dad, you owe me probably around 30 breakfast burritos. There are a LOT of deer here :) ) But on the way back we were blasting an Alex Boye song, Have I Done Any Good? with Carmen Rasmussen, if you haven't listened to it, do it. Its incredible! So we were blasting it as we drove into the parking lot of the church and who do you know, none other than Alex Boye, was standing in the middle of all these missionaries as we're blasting his song in our car singing so loud. He started laughing and it was so cool. We saw a lot of familiar missionaries and I saw the sisters that had stayed the week with us and it was SOO good to see them again. But we got our assignments for service and got in the car and pumped up the jam again and Alex Boye ran over and started recording us on his phone singing his song. So keep on the lookout, we might be on youtube or mormon.org or something haha.
We went to our service project and we were assessing the damage of all the people down on the Jersey Shore. And like many of you know me, I want to be out helping people, I want to be helping them with their houses and doing the manual labor rather than the assessing. So that was kind of tedious but it paid off. We went to some people's houses and one lady started crying when we asked if she needed any help. It's so cool to see God's hand in their life and softening their hearts. I love it. I LOVE SERVING!!!! So after all the assessing we went to Union Beach and started looking for people to help. I found a house with an old lady outside and we asked if she could use any help. They didn't really want the help at first but we kept on insisting and they said that the back room was the only thing left that needed to be cleaned out. So we did just that. Sister Swann and I went in and tackled that room. It was so sad to see everything just get thrown away. She had books, and yarn and I'm sure a lot of possessions that were dear to her heart that were ruined by water. It was crazy to see the damage. And it humbled me. The Elders started coming and so the owners said why not there. So we demolished about the whole house. Took out all the walls, kitchen cupboards, and counters and just about took the whole house apart. (Don't get me wrong, it was very humbling but very exciting at the same time. you can definitely get all your anger out by hitting a wall with an ax.) I did probably the most disgusting thing I've ever did in my life and will never forget it. I tackled the fridge. Nothing was cleaned out of the fridge since the hurricane and it had been about a week so if you can only imagine the smell. It was SOOOO rank. Stinkiest smell I've ever smelt. But I did it. We continued to take everything out and the poor old lady was just watching everything be taken out and thrown into a garbage pile. She was crying after we were all done. It was so sad but I'm glad I'm helping them put the next step into fixing the problem.
Sunday was even more exciting. Can you say STATEN ISLAND!? Yep, Sister Dicou and I went to Staten Island on Sunday to do more service. The damage was worse than Saturday. The pictures are so sad to. I'll try and send some but If I don't get to it. I'll try another time. The whole houses were just thrown. It's crazy to think wind can do something like that. We saw a church completely off its foundation. People devestated. But we were there to help. We help three families take our their walls and insulation and posssessions. They were all so humbled by our work. It makes me feel good because God knows us and knows where to put us to touch the people's lives around us to also touch our own lives. And I've been touched. I've been touched by the people I've come in contact with. With our investigators, our ward members and especially the missionaries I've come in contact with. All of them have blessed my heart and I can't wait to continue to learn and grow in the gospel. The final house we helped, one of the brothers blessed the house and the spirit in that prayer was so strong and the family that we helped were all crying after the prayer. And I know that was the spirit working. And it's amazing to see those miracles happen every day.
I gave a training in District meeting on how the Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ today. It was kind of scary because it was my first training but I learned so much from it. It's crazy, and I know that whenever someone gives us a talk or a training opportunity, we will gain so much more from it than those we talk to. The Lord knows what we need and certain points and that was definitely something I needed to realize. The Book of Mormon truly testifies so much of Christ. The words in the Book are words from the ancient prophets and testify to us that Jesus Christ lives and that he will come again and that if we do the little things, have faith, repent, be baptized and endure to the end, keep the commandments we will gain and have eternal life. I'm so grateful for everything I've learned so far on my mission and can't wait to pour out my testimony to those who I come in contact with.
It was been an amazing week and I'm starting to get the hang of things. I mentioned before but Sister Dicou is leaving this next week and I'm really sad. She's been such a huge example to me and has taught me so much. This transfer flew by and I know I could have done a better job and putting my all into this work. But I'm continually striving to be more like Christ and center my life on him and I know that if you all do that you will be more happy than you can imagine. So I challenge you to become more Christlike and I know you will come closer to God. Also, mother and father, you should get a preach my gospel booklet and study it. The words and activities in there are not just for missionaries but for all members of the church. Every member a missionary. So I challenge you to get one and study the words that are in there.
As for housekeeping. The salsa has been delicious! Thank you and we did have chips on hand. I thought you made the bag and I know you'd love Cary if you met her, mom. She's so fantastic. We're actually going over there tonight to make cookies and eat soup and teach her tonight so I can't wait for that. And Thank you Jody for the pictures. I knew they were from you. :) I love that you have been serving so much mom. It makes you feel good when you do huh? Even the little things count. I'm SO EXCITED FOR SARAH JACKSON! Please tell her congrats from me. She's going to do so amazing.
Cary (the quilt lady) answered my prayer. I wrote Kimber and asked her which beanie would be good for them so I got some ideas in my mind. i can't wait to send them out to you guys.
You'll have to get me the name for Annie's in laws because I can give them a referral. I don't think I'll ever serve in Jersey City because it is a spanish area but those Hermana's would love it if I gave them a referral. So If you could get me the name I'd love that! I know Camille told me a little bit about them and maybe if I went on an exchange there I could visit them.
The church is true! God lives and Jesus atone for us. I'm so grateful for the plan of salvation and know we can return and live with them again through Christ. This work is great. I've had amazing opportunities already and can't wait to have more. I know I leave a lot out but I'm short on time. Any word on the GPS as well? Love you mucho! Take care. Miss all of you! You are amazing. Tell everyone hello.