Monday, November 9, 2015

Just Chinchillin

Hello all,

What a pleasure it is to be writing you all again. I can't believe
another week has come and gone. They are flying. It's insane.

This was just another average week in the life of a missionary. Well,
we had interviews with President Johnson this week, so that was
unusual and great. He just is an all around stellar guy, he always
knows exactly what I need. He let me go very last and our "15 minute
interview" seriously went for about 30-45 minutes. And before my
interview with president, I got to have one on one time to talk to
Sister Johnson about some of the things I've been struggling with and
she is an absolute angel. She gave me ideas on what to do and just
talked and listened to me. She had the best suggestions and I'm super
excited about starting them up this week! After she helped me, I asked
her what was the hardest thing about being a mission presidents wife
and she was able to talk to me for a while about some of the trials
and struggles that she's gone through, and I told her how grateful we
all are for her and how much of an impact she has on us and so that
was a really good talk, too.

And, of course, my interview with President was marvelous. I know that
one of the reasons I was sent to serve in this mission was so that I
could meet President and Sister Johnson. They have seriously done so
much for me, they will never know the impact that they have had on my
life. But, since it was my last official interview with President, I
tried to let him know to the best of my ability just how much it meant
to me to be serving in their mission and how much good they were
doing, and how all the sacrifices they had made would be worth it
because, even if they didn't change anyone else's life in the whole
world, at least they changed mine (D&C18:15-16). It was a good talk.
We were laughing and laughing and crying and laughing some more. I'd
write about all the awesome things he said about me and how I'm
basically the best, but I wouldn't want you guys to think I was
boasting, so I'll spare you those details 😉. No but really, he gave
me just the best advice ever for how to finish strong and what to do
to prepare to go home and stuff and I just felt so much love and
comfort. I am so grateful for the Johnson's. Just really grateful.

Anyway, moving on.

Some updates... Bill is doing great. We had an awesome dinner with him
this week... He texted us the other day and told us he was eating a
fried bologna sandwich and I just felt so sorry for him that he had to
go through that cause, you know... ew? So, we set up dinner and a
lesson with him and the Bonetti's (cause her food is always on point,
and we thought their family would be super good to fellowship him),
and I mean, yeah we expected it to go fairly well, but it ended up
going waaay better than we originally planned. Cause here are the
caliber of people that we were having dinner with... We mentioned in
passing how Bill is quitting smoking and stuff, and how it's been kind
of a struggle but he's staying strong, and then Brother Bonetti just
jumps in and tells this incredibly heroic tale of how when he was
first learning about the church, he wanted to get baptized but he
couldn't quit chewing tobacco and he was trying so hard but he kept
slipping up, and one day he got down on his knees and begged the Lord
for help and went a couple of hours without chewing anything but then
he had to give up because he was craving too bad and he took a dip and
put it in his mouth and he said it was the most disgusting thing he'd
ever tasted and he spit it right back out, and he couldn't get the
taste out of his mouth for three days straight and he never took
another dip again and now he's a baptized member in Christ's true
church, and gosh dangit if God can do it for Brother Bonetti, he can
do it for you, Bill! And I think there were even a couple fireworks
that went off and we definitely all burst into applause and there
couldn't have been a dry eye in that room, folks. There's just no way.

So yeah, that was pretty awesome and I think highly motivating for
Bill. He went seven whole days without a cigarette which is
stupendous! To my knowledge, that's the longest he's gone in 35 years,
which is seriously just incredible! He's the best. Unfortunately, on
Friday his dog Mercedes passed away and he was really sad and stressed
out and so he smoked a cigarette. But then he texted us and we talked
about it and he's right back on track to get baptized on the 21st now,
so that's gonna be amazing! We were over painting his house again on
Saturday, doing the second coat and starting on the ceilings. He seems
so hopeful and happy, just a little frustrated. His big question is,
"why do you guys expect me to be perfect before I can become a member
of the church?" He talks about how every other church will accept you
and let you get baptized no matter what your sins and follies, etc.
how it seems backward in his mind that he's working so hard and wants
to be a member so bad but can't because of one addiction he can't
quite kick. So that's what we're helping him work through right now.
Honestly I feel like he's one of my very best friends in this area.
He's a little old sassafras so we get along really well and he just
loves the church. Yesterday,  as we were sitting down, about to start
Gospel Principles, the teacher welcomes him to the class (because he's
an investigator). Bill tries to explain how he's not really an
investigator, he's just working out some minor kinks in order to
become a member haha but the teacher keeps on insisting that he's an
investigator since he hasn't officially been baptized and whatever.
Anyway. Finally he asks if Bill would say the opening prayer and Bill
says yes, and haha he almost had Sister Welch and I rolling on the
floor laughing. He stands up and starts the prayer and everything is
going well, and he asks for the Lords help and spirit to be with us so
we can understand the lesson and feel of its truthfulness, and all the
sudden he's like, "although I guess I'm an investigator... But I'm not
really investigating anything because I already know it's true."
hahahaha it was so dang funny. I just about gave up the ghost right
then and there.
So yeah, that's Bill.

Also, Perry is doing decently well. For a minute we thought he'd
broken up with Dawn but now we think they're back together? I think
officially the Facebook status says single still but... who knows. He
came to church and I think he's still hoping to get baptized. He's
just gonna have to have that conversation with Dawn and we don't know
how she's gonna react. She's studying right now with the Jehovahs
witnesses and isn't exactly open minded to our religion, and we don't
think she'd be thrilled about Perry getting baptized?? Anyway. I don't
want to publish their whole relationship in this email. The short
version of the story is that we know Perry is gonna join the church
some day because he knows that it's true. We just don't know when it's
gonna be. Hopefully something will work out. Maybe Dawn can get
baptized, too?? Idk.

This week we also visited with Roberta, Jeanette and Tiny. It was
Roberta and Tiny's birthday on Wednesday, so we went over and spent
some time with them. They're working on getting things cleaned up and
sorted through since Joe passed away. Jeanette has been struggling but
Roberta seems pretty resilient.  They're good people, they'll make it
through. We are just trying to do all we can to be there for them.
We saw them Saturday as well, since it's our "Evans City day" and
that's where they're parked, so we swung by to check in. When we got
there, they were trimming some bushes out back, but Tiny seemed worn
out and Jeanette seemed frazzled so we took over and started making
them laugh and feel a little better. Jeanette is an absolute wiz at
genealogy - she can do anything for anyone! So she was doing some of
that for Sister Welch and I and she made us little turkeys out of
yarn, and she also is knitting me an afghan because she's always
serving people. They're both amazing, I love them to death. They treat
us like we're their own kids. I always wonder if I'm actually doing
any good for any of these people, because I feel like I'm always the
one who comes away feeling better when I'm trying to serve them...

Anyway. We also did service for our "investigator" Lisa, and Michael
(her son-in-law) was there to help. He is super cool but smokes a TON.
We were painting her front room white and it was really fun. A lot
easier than painting Bill's house because she actually had rollers ;)
haha. She was really nice and Michael paints professionally and said
he would hire us so that was a nice bonus!!

Other than that, we made our regular appearance at Katie's kitchen!
This week it was tuna noodle casserole... Took me right back to the
good ole days working at pal lunch in Hanover... Tuna surprise every
time. Haha it was making me nauseous, so we went out and helped
arrange the produce and cut up the cantaloupe. There was a cute little
Girl Scout troop that came in to help out, so we kind of just bossed
them around and made some new friends and it was pretty fun. I always
have a blast at Katie's. Those people seriously feel like family.

As far as service goes, the only other thing I can think of that we
did this week was that we helped out at the youth talent show. We had
originally planned for me to sing some sort of song, but I halfway
chickened out but also halfway lost my voice with this dumb flu going
around and so instead I cracked a couple jokes, we played "chopsticks"
as a duet, I made a goat noise and then Sister Welch actually played
something worthwhile ;) the audience got a pretty good kick out of our
little impromptu show though. So at least it was a crowd pleaser. You
guys shoulda been there, haha. But yeah, there were actually some
seriously impressive talents. One guy got up and played the bagpipes
which rocked, someone else played the trombone, and another kid played
the saxophone... Two of the youth put whipped cream on their hands and
slapped it into the air and caught it in their mouths and that was
pretty neat. It was a great show, we have a pretty stellar ward out

We also met the Clark family this week and I just fell in love with
them. That was another family that I just clicked with super well.
They had us over for a dinner and I seriously could have just talked
to them forever, they were so funny and nice. Karla even started
talking to me about some things I could do to help me get ahead in my
major when I start going back to school, so that was awesome. She said
her dad sells lab equipment for the kind of stuff I'd like to go into
and she offered to let me come by and give me a tour some time and I
totally want to take her up on that! So, more exciting things to come!
They're another less active part member family, so maybe something
could happen there? Her husband didn't seem interested at all though,
so maybe further down the road.

Another fun dinner was with the Hendrix family. They had us over for
a western PA specialty - hot sausage. It was SO. GOOD. I was dying! I
loved it. And then like not to mention the fact that they had a
flipping pet chinchilla! Like you guys! They literally had a pet
chinchilla named PIKACHU. And I was dying because they let us hold it
and they told us all about chinchillas so basically I'm an expert now
and it was one of the most legit moments of my entire life so I did
not leave that dinner appointment disappointed like you guys. A real
live chinchilla living in their house. This is not real.
But it was.
And there are pictures to prove it.
And then plus on top of the whole chinchilla nonsense they had hot
sausage and chocolate cake!! But honestly PA just has some of the best
foods ever, like Pittsburgh salads and pork and sauerkraut on New
Years and I can't wait to bring all these things home to you guys and
make you love them like I do so yinz get pumped n'at.

I love this place, I have the best life. I have the best mission.
Everything is awesome.

Transfers are next Tuesday. (Not tomorrow, like 8 days Tuesday.)
I can't believe it's my last transfer.
I am wiggin out.

Anywhoozies. I'll catch you hosers next week.
¡Besos y abrazos!

Hermana Bills