Monday, November 2, 2015

16 down 2 to go!

Dearest friends and family of me,

Today officially marks 16 months since I entered the MTC as a full
time missionary for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
In some ways, I can't believe that I actually made it this far. I
can't believe how long I've been serving as a missionary, how long
I've been away from home. In other ways I  think, "how in he world has
it already been 16 months!? Where did the time go?" It seriously just
flew by. I felt like I blinked and everything was pretty much over.

Each week goes by way too fast for me, they seem like a blur. I feel
like a week is only a day, but in some ways I feel like the days are
an entire week. But aside from some of the week long days, things
generally seem to be speeding up as I near the end of my journey. It's
a bitter sweet feeling.

This week was a lightning one, gone too fast.

Monday was fun, we went shopping so Sister Welch could get some winter
clothes. Then we went geocaching - my newfound hobby thanks to the
Beers family. They taught me all about it. We found two geocaches
which was awesome. It's like a giant treasure hunt for adults, for any
of who who might not have heard about it. I am absolutely taken by it.
I'm going to do it all the time, the Beers showed us a map of like
where all the geocaches are in the world and there are tons of them in
Utah!! And I'm gonna catch em all.

When pday was over, we had dinner at the DeMartinis, she made us this
giant feast, it was probably the single best dinner I've had so far in
Butler - steak and salad and potatoes and asparagus and garlic bread
and everything good in this life that couldn't even fit on my plate so
I had to go back for seconds just to get firsts of some things and it
felt like Thanksgiving day and I couldn't even fit it all in my
stomach I felt like I was going to die hahaha.
But yeah after that we had a lesson with them since her husband is a
nonmember but  basically he just straight up told us that he hasn't
been studying and he doesn't really want to know if it is true so
hahahaha we got dropped.

Tuesday we had a couple of really good lessons - one with Jonathan and
one with Ross. Jonathan was all set to be baptized Saturday but
he didn't come to church yesterday, so he's not gonna make it for this
week. We will have to reset him with a date. Ross also expressed a
desire to be baptized and is working toward having the desire to quit
smoking. We talked about how smoking keeps us from living in our
Heavenly Father's presence and tried to help him understand the
importance of living the word of wisdom.
We also got to participate in something called "produce to people".
It's like this food bank hat gives fruits and vegetables to needy
people instead of just the typical canned stuff, which is really cool.
So we bagged produce and then we stood in the line and handed it out.
We were in charge of cabbages and there were all these extra leaves,
so I took one out and put it on my head and everyone started laughing
at me. Then Grape Juice told me to take it off, and I told her that
people were enjoying it, so she put one on her head and pretty soon
everyone was laughing and having a good time, calling us the cabbage
patch kids and saying they liked our costumes. We had to leave early
to go to dinner and volleyball and they were all sad and I felt all
warm and happy inside cause we made a bunch of new friends :)

Wednesday was good, we had our district meeting and an awesome lesson
with a less active named Amy and she is really ready to start coming
back. She wrote a whole list of things she wants to change and it was
super spiritual and amazing.

Thursday was wonderful, as usual. Getting to spend he day doing
service at Katie's is always a highlight for me. This week we had a
bazillion pears and so we were cutting them up to make pear sauce and
we cut and cut and cut those pears until I'm pretty sure I gave myself
arthritis. But it was fun, some kids from the college in Slippery Rock
came over to help out and they were all really nice. So that was fun.
New friends rock.

Friday was super busy, running errands and getting stuff done. We got
to see Bill and we had dinner with the Eberlys at Chilis. I gorged
myself, I was so happy. They are the best kind of people. It was so
(Can you tell I get less and less enthusiastic about writing my weekly
email the longer it gets?)

Saturday was such a good day. We get to do service at this therapeutic
riding center  and I love working with the kids and the horses.
Usually we just walk alongside the kids and talk to them and sing to
them and help them stay on the horses. We were with William this week
and he is so funny, he always likes singing Old McDonald and he's a
real good singer. After Williams lesson, they didn't have anything for
us to do because everyone else cancelled for the day, so we groomed
Ally (she is the prettiest quarter horse in the whole place) and it
was awesome. We cleaned her hooves and wiped all the dirt. We were
talking to her the whole time cause she wasn't having a good attitude
about it, and at the end we were taking her back out to the field and
when we let her loose she just turned around and followed us, she
didn't want us to leave. It was so cute!
After that, we went home and had lunch and language and then we went
to Bill's house with one of the RMs in our ward. It was so fun, Bill
is the funniest. We took rags and wiped all the nicotine off of the
walls, and then we painted over them. He couldn't find any rollers, so
we were using these tiny little brushes and it was taking a lot longer
than we thought it would and we were laughing so hard because Bill was
about to give himself a heart attack looking everywhere for the
rollers and finally I just told him, "Don't kill yourself, Bill. We
don't even need them that much." And he just turned around and was
like, "that's your opinion." And it was so funny we were all laughing
for like 5 minutes straight. Because he hadn't smoked for about 36
hours, so he was really irritable and it was just so funny.
The good news is he still hasn't smoked, and it is so amazing! He's
been smoking since he was a teenager and tried to quit tons of times
and could never do it and now he's finally doing it!
After Bill's house, we went to stake conference. It was really
amazing. Elder S. Mark Clay of the Seventy was visiting and it was so
cool. We got to sing in the choir, and I just love the spirit that I
feel whenever I share my testimony through music, so that was awesome.
Plus it was amazing to see President and Sister Johnson. I talked to
her about some of the struggles I've been having and she helped me so
much, it was amazing. Somehow, she knew just what to say. I have such
a love for the Johnsons. If I can be half the woman that sister
Johnson is, I've got it made. So anyway, I was left feeling so loved
and just like Heavenly Father is so aware of me and the things I'm
going through that I cried pretty much the whole ride home, haha.
Sometimes you've just got so much bottled up inside and one thing just
sets you off. It was good to get it all out.

Sunday was more stake conference. There were some power house speakers
and the temple president spoke about how it's not a matter of "if"
there will be a temple in Pittsburgh, it's a matter of "when" and I
started freaking out because that is amazing. I would love for there
to be a temple here, that would be so amazing.
After church we had lunch with this amazing lady that we are trying to
teach, she invited us over for Sunday dinner with her family and we
got to know them all and they were so amazing and funny and family
oriented. It felt just like being at a family reunion or something.
Some day I want to be teaching all of them!! We are hopefully going
back to help paint her house this week, so maybe something will
After that, we had an appointment with this girl Norah - we teach her
and her mom English and she is super funny. Usually we just help her
with her homework to understand what it's saying. She reminds me of my
bae Cynthia Chan #shoutout mostly because she's Asian.
#datasianpersuasiondoe love you chan! ❤️
Then after that, we had weekly planning since Friday was so busy.

And that was my week! Today we went to the Pittsburgh zoo and we just
got back from that. It was super fun, we met up with the zone leaders
and the sisters in there ward and the Beaver elders were there for a
while, so it was super cool. I saw a sloth and almost had a heart
attack because they're so wonderful and I love them. We also saw a
really cute polar bear 
and the zone leaders decided that I should
climb the fence and hop onto his back and then he'd sprout wings and
we'd ride off into the sunset. So that was awesome. 

There was also a llama and some lions and cheetahs and tigers and a giraffe that really liked me and a baby gorilla and it was just all around a great day.
Plus this Sister Butler made us homemade cafe rio for lunch and so o
was basically in heaven when that happened.

More good news, we passed out apartment inspection so ✔️ for that. Now
it's time to move apartments haha... *sigh. The life of a missionary.

Anyway, basically everything is great and I'm having a great time. I'm
really starting to click with a lot of people here and it's starting
to feel so much like home. I also met this super awesome family and
they tell great jokes so hopefully I'll remember some of them so I can
tell them to you guys when I get back :)
My last interview with President Johnson is this week and I'm super
excited! I love that guy.

Anyway! I just want you guys to know that no matter who you are, where
you are, whatever - God is aware of you and He loves you. He knows
your individual trials and each of your goals and aspirations, and he
will help you reach your fullest potential. I know He loves us, I know
He lives. This gospel is true, never doubt that!

Have a good week.

Hermana Bills


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