So the weather here has been quite the opposite of the work. While the work is getting hotter, the weather is getting colder, but I'll take it. :) I'd much rather have that than the opposite! It's been chilly and we even saw fresh snow in the mountains. Someone told us there is a 70% chance of snow today, but I'm hoping that 30% will favor us!
Sorry again for the short email last week, things have just been so busy that we honestly didn't have anytime until today! This email might be on the extra long side just because there is SO much that has happened (Tuesday in itself could have been a whole long email!) But I'll try my best to not leave out any details (as requested by dad :) )
Zone Conference was two weeks ago which resulted in permanent scars on the inside of my throat. Just kidding, but kind of not. For part of zone conference we went on a hike and for an activity and we "held to the iron rod" (a rope) that lead us through weeds and branches etc.. so here I am on my merry way just holding to this rope when a bear comes barreling through the trees... (this is where the damaged wind pipe comes into the picture) and of course it comes straight to me, and of course it took me several seconds before I realize it's only an Elder dressed in a bear skin. No need to fear, my heart has recovered but that was exciting to say the least. The rest of Zone Conference was great as well! There were many trainings that proved to be really helpful and have helped us a lot this week as we've worked!
A highlight of being in Anchorage was visiting several of my people! We had dinner with the Willis' Monday night (one of my favorite families from Inlet View) and we also got to see Karen and Laura, two Turnagain people! Poor Karen hurt her shoulder so badly! She's been working on getting to the temple and when I told her when I'll be shipped out she wrote it on her calendar so we can go to the temple before! She's hoping to get a temple recommend and go through while she's down south,and then we'll be able to go through some time before!
Laura is working on the temple too! It amazes me to see how much she has changed since I first met her last August. She said she hasn't had coffee for over a month now and she's been going to church every week!! Woot woot!
So we stayed with the Palmar sisters while we were in Wasilla for Zone Conference and.. the water wasn't working!! So a sweet lady in one of the other wards opened up their home for us to shower in the morning.. That was certainly nice of them and helped us not feel quite as gross! Also we went on splits with the sisters there and it just so happened that one of the ladies that we stopped by was a former missionary in Glennallen! She was able to get a few phone numbers that we didn't have as well as more information and direction so we went though it would be easier to find the members there.
We rushed straight home from Palmar to a leadership meeting and that meeting probably changed my life! It was sooo good. It was by Brother Donaldson in Salt Lake and he works with the missionary department. We were able to ask him questions and he talked to us about new ideas and making sure we're approachable etc. Implementing his ideas have been so helpful this week!
We had a fun memorial day last week regardless of not being able to email ya'll of course! :) The Relief Society president (Sister Belnap) had us over for lunch and then we spent the afternoon playing some games with our investigator J that they've been awesome at fellowshipping. Then we went to the O'Neil's (he's in the bishopric) and had a fish fry. . . oh my word that food was about to die for. Some of the best fish I've ever had! So it was a fun day! Today is the first cold p-day in a while.. which might actually be a good thing because it gives us a reason to stay in and write letters and clean instead of going and playing outside.. haha it's been so nice most Mondays that we spend the whole day playing in the mountains instead of preparing for the week.. cough cough. President Beesley recently reminded us that the P in p-day stands for preparation, not play.. opps. ;)
The other week I got to asked to play at Lilly Belnap's baptism which was really neat! J came too which was perfect and he mentioned how touched he was. It was very apparent he felt the spirit! I love baptisms for that reason. They are one of the most spiritual meetings in the church!!
Okay so now here is the good stuff.. following up about last week! M is incredible! She was at a dinner we had when all the missionaries were here! So listen to this, she was the leader of religious teaching for one of the churches here in town and that was her job, but she just barely resigned a few weeks ago! She told us she's been "church hopping" and looking for a new church. We taught her the restoration and she just attached to it! When we gave her a Book of Mormon she was like "I'll see how much I can read this week, but I might not finish it by our next lesson!" Haha we just told her to read as much as should could and to pray! She is super sincere and she even invited Sister Pankau (the lady that had us all over for dinner) to come to our next lesson! So perfect!
OKAY and W! Man I don't even know where to start with her.. She is just incredible! I don't think I've ever taught someone that is so excited about learning about the gospel. Although she grew up in a rough life, she is truly seeing the healing power of the atonement and yesterday at church she mentioned that she feel at peace about things in her life that she hasn't felt peace over for years. She is so pumped for her baptism on the 21st and already started inviting people! We gave her a calendar leading up for her baptism and she mentioned she's not even on call the week before her baptism. Per-fect. I don't know if I mentioned her story before, but just out of the blue she came to church on Mother's Day, and usually she just hates Mother's Day, but it ended up being exactly what she needed to hear. There have been so many incredible experiences leading her to this point in her life. She works at the hospital where several other members work, and she use to live in Homer and she lived in the same apartment complex as the elders there. She noticed their quite positive example and heard more about us as missionaries (how we're away from our families and don't have a lot of money for food etc.) and started leaving them food! Isn't that so cute?! So anyways, she's just about as golden as gold can get and it's been such a privilege to get to be part of her journey.
Another amazing experience started last Monday night! There was family the elders tracted into that just so happened to be a part-member family. They mentioned that we could come back and we'd been meaning to for a couple weeks but we'd been so busy that we hadn't gotten to it. Monday night Sister Dotson mentioned that we should try the E and it was perfect. We knocked on the door and a teenage boy answered the door. It was apparent that he had some hearing problems but we asked if he mom was home. She was in the back and as soon as she came to the door it was as if I could see right into her heart. Looking at her she looked fine but I had the feeling that something wasn't right. The feeling was so strong that I burst into tears and asked her if she was okay! That prompted her to start crying and she mentioned that they were getting kicked out of their apartment Saturday and didn't know what they were going to do from there. She also mentioned other concerned and challenges and she asked if we'd pray with her. We prayed and then set up a time to come and help her clean and pack. We contacted the bishop and although her husband is against the church (apparently he was forced to go growing up so it kind of turned him off from it) he sat and talked to the bishop this week and Sister Emerald mentioned how much peace she felt afterwards. They were moving a bunch of stuff into storage Friday but we were going to Glennallen for the day and so we wouldn't be able to be there to help. We contacted a few people though and they helped load up everything and she just mentioned what a help that was! We had just taken more of the service approach with her but Saturday she texted us asking if we could talk to her about the church some time. We set up a time to meet with her yesterday and she said her boys were so impressed with the service from the church members that they wanted to learn more. She's Lutheran, so she's planning on going to the Lutheran church every other week and ours the opposite weeks, as well as meeting with us! So that was pretty incredible! I wish I was better at typing out stories.. it's just been amazing.. Oh and they have two different options from the members for housing so they won't be homeless! Everything has worked out!
We went to Glennallen all day with our Relief Society president which was a blast! I just love her so much, she's just incredible! She is quite a bit younger and I kind of think of her as an older sister! I just adore that family. We were able to see a new sister while we were there. She's a 74 lady with.. wait for it.. pink highlights! Yep! Straight up! I guess something has to make things exciting when you live in the middle of nowhere! We had a great day, I've decided Sister Belnap deserves a trophy for spending the whole day with us.
We also had a dinner with an awesome family last night that is on fire with missionary work! They're the family that we fasted with to know how to share the gospel! They all came up with a plan that should go through his week! I'll have to tell you more about it next week!
I'm running out of time! I'm sorry I wish I could write (because I have so much more to write about!!) but I better go! Thanks for the love and support! Anyone who read this whole letter probably deserves an award.. ;) haha love you guys!