Monday, July 28, 2014
Just thought you'd all like to know that I conquered the 21st birthday without the aid of alcohol, something I believe most of my other young adult peers throughout America can't claim! It was a really happy day! Quite a few people had heard it was my birthday so I was wished several happy birthdays! They even surprised me by singing to me randomly in the middle of dinner!! So fun! I bought ingredients for a lemon lime birthday cake to take to last district meeting, it turned out cute! I'll try to remember to send pictures! The district sang to me on Tuesday and several of them told me I was allowed to have a birthday whenever I wanted... haha!!
Thank you so much for the many many many kind emails and letters the past few weeks from so many friends and family members! I was nearly or in tears in every email today! Ya'll are the best, I'm so grateful for such an amazing support team cheering for me back home! It makes it easier to take this next step knowing I have loving arms to welcome me home.
This week has been bittersweet. My heart it torn in two, half of it in Alaska, and the other half in Manti. I love Alaska so much, I hope so badly that my life's journeys will eventually bring me back here. The people in Alaska are just amazing, and they have stolen my heart. As I've reflected on the past 18 months I'm just so grateful for the opportunity I've had to serve Heavenly Father at this time in my life. I realize before President Monson's inspired announcement that this email could have been the first email in the MTC rather than the concluding email of my mission, and although I'm sad that this is all over, I'm happy for the timing that brought me to the people I've met during these months.
I will very much miss the time I've had to devote and concentrate 100% to the Lord, but I do look forward to seeing you all soon! Thank you for the love and support over these 18 months!
Posted by Marissa at 6:49 AM
Monday, July 21, 2014
So I'm sitting down to a delicious salmon Sunday dinner when who interrupts, but MOM. Hahaha, How crazy was that timing?!? I was in Wasilla, having dinner with members that I've never had dinner with before that are trying to set things up for their son's wedding in Manti! I met them when they were in Valdez a couple months ago and gave them mom's number and then mom calls them when I'm randomly at there house for dinner! That was really fun! Mom must've been inspired.. ;)
So they didn't have a place for us to stay in Valdez, we were essentially homeless, the next closest missionaries were in Wasilla so they had us drive in Friday and we'll be finishing our missions here.
So I'm working in the COLONY and FISHHOOK wards! (only in Alaska would they name a ward "Fishhook" right?) The Elders were covering three wards before so we're just here trying to lighten their load! It will be a bit crazy because we'll only be here for a couple weeks (as I recall I'm going home in the near future..) but we'll do our best to love the people here, work our hardest, and leave it better than we found it (that's my goal in every area!). Wasilla is about an hour north of Anchorage so it was only 4 1/2 hour drive to Wasilla from Valdez.. hahaha (only 4 1/2 hours oh sheesh..) Wasilla is kind of the farm area of Alaska. It's here that they grow really huge vegetables because there is so much sunlight. Lots of horses and fields, it's not Valdez, but it's still beautiful.
So here's another fun story, Sister Grayson and I played a musical number in Sacrament Meeting for the Fishhook ward and who came up to me afterwards but the Cooks from MANTI! Haha that was so fun to see them and have a little bit of my home stake in Alaska with me! Sounds like they'll be getting to UT just a few days before me, so I'll be following them in! I love those fun connections, it's such a small world!
Sending it to the mission office will probably be safer, but this will be faster! We're having Angie Christensen forward our mail home too so if you start seeing mail for me, that's why!
We have much to celebrate this week! Sister Grayson and I expire on the 23, Pioneer day is the 24, and I believe Sunday will be my 21st anniversary of making it around the sun. I will be legal to buy alcohol. What an accomplishment! hahaha
Last but not least, this bit is for dad, I thought he'd be proud to know I caught a 23" Salmon weighting in at 5 pounds, 7 ounces this past week, all those years taking me fishing paid off! I've now joined the ranks of bragging fisherman-hooray!!
Thanks so much for all the love this week, I think this past week was the best mail week of my entire mission! I have the best friends and family ever!!!
Posted by Marissa at 8:31 AM
Monday, July 14, 2014
FIRST THINGS FIRST: HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! man ;) still as beautiful and young as ever. ALSO, thank YOU for the many many birthday cards!! They have been a blast to get a few each day. Certainly a tender mercies. :) I smile every time I see those envelopes. ;) BEST PEOPLE EVER.
It's been a week and it's been weak. haha man, where to begin.. So Thursday morning at about 2:30 I was doing what any other reasonable person is doing at that time of day.. I was sleeping. Amiss my pleasant dreams I heard banging and shouting and commotion, we both woke up and Sister Grayson asked what time it was through my sleep brain I mustered up "2:34, but I don't know if it's p.m. or a.m." I think in my brain I was thinking it might be p.m. and we must have like slept through our alarm or something because of the noise, and that's when I heard someone yelling "FIRE!!!" outside! We bolted up and I grabbed my tennis shoes and raincoat, Sister Grayson didn't even get a chance to grab her shoes, and then we stood outside for an hour and watched the fire and cried. The firetruck was super fast and it turns out they were just finishing another call so they were able to come straight over, otherwise it would have been worse. Our landlord (whose is also a member) called the bishop for us and we tried to sleep the rest of the night at his place. The fire wasn't out by the time we were gone and it sounds like it took them a while to get it out.
Then bishop's wife made us french toast which was awesome... A lady in the ward (Sister Banner) called us and told us we could stay and her place for a few weeks, so that's where we've been. After dinner Thursday night, we just mega packed and put as much as we could fit into our three bags of luggage and hauled it over to their place to start on laundry (thank the heavens for a truck). I HAVE DONE SO MUCH LAUNDRY THIS WEEK. I don't even know how much I lost track. So we tried to sleep again (not with much luck.. I didn't really sleep until last night.. haha) and throughout the night I kept hearing the laundry beep so rather than just laying and staring at the ceiling, I got up and changed it, folded it, and then laid down again. Every loud or sudden noise has put me on edge.. and I about go into a panic attack now when I smell smoke.. ugh BUT the laundry was done by Saturday evening (which was my goal!!!) so our little room that we're living in is smelling less and less like smoke. yay! A lot of my make up had to be thrown away but I was able to salvage what I use the most so that was good. One super awesome thing about living with the Banner's is that she has two little bathrooms downstairs because she has a preschool downstairs.. so we both get our own bathroom.. it's kind of amazing. That little ducky bathroom has become my safe haven, and Sister Grayson confirms she feels that way about her ocean bathroom.
Then Friday evening we got a call from Bishop telling us that the priesthood was going to be over to move us Saturday morning... well we hadn't even started packing the rest of our apartment.. so after dinner we went back and started on the packing up the dishes, kitchen, and going through all the random stuff in the apartment. Missionaries have been there for a long time so there was a ton of stuff in the spare room that had to be gone through.. a lot of stuff that had to be thrown away because of smoke damage. but some how through miracles we were able to get it ready during the two hours we had Friday night and the hour we spent Saturday morning before they came, no doubt there was divine help for that strength, especially when you're dealing with me not be able to lift much and Sister Grayson having a bad back too! But the men showed up Saturday (which apparently many of you saw on FBook) and they got us moved out in like 30 minutes, so nothing is left and I don't think we'll ever have to go back to that apartment again.. thank the heavens.
So in other news, while ya'll are dying in the HOT Utah heat, it's a pleasant 59 degrees today! Sunny with a very slight breeze. Just another day in paradise. Sister Grayson and I are keeping with the tradition and going fishing today too. Wish us luck! Hopefully the salmon are in! They're suppose to be in mid-July! Oh and also the primary sharing time went well yesterday. I've decided I just want to be a primary teacher for the rest of my life.. that would be living the dream.
LOVE YOU ALL so much! Thanks so much for the prayers and emails, especially this week, so grateful for each one of you!
Posted by Marissa at 4:42 PM
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Hi family :)
Life is good in the AAM! It was so fun, we got to meet President Robinson and his wife this past weeks and holy smokes they're amazing! I'm actually really sad I can't have them longer. He is just one of those people that just radiates with love for everyone and he was so easy to talk to! I felt like I had know him forever, and he gave me the big hello from you guys, and Sister Robinson gave me the hug! It was a really positive experience!
So here is the neat story of this week, it's in weird font because I copied and pasted it from my letter to President Robinson:
We had a really neat miracle happen this week! On Saturday we got a call in the morning from a less active member that we had been told specifically not to visit because they are anti and DO NOT want visits! I was a little puzzled but answered the phone and the lady told us she'd been reading some things about Joseph Smith and angels and had some questions.. We were apprehensive but agreed to meet with her at the church. The meeting was probably the most spiritual experience of my life! Her heart has been so softened and as she went through her questions, they were all questions that Sister Grayson and I could answer. Some of the questions were on extremely random topics even that I had just been studying very in depth lately! The relief from the burden of those questions were just completely lifted and she came to church Sunday for the first time in many months! She has begun her journey back!
So that was amazing! Also W had us over for dinner this week and that was a blast- very delicious and had a great conversation. T was also at church and they keep just progressing great. She knows she wants to be baptized, and is just waiting for her husband to come around. We just basically had the best gospel principles lesson ever and then I hurried off to sub piano in primary again! (it was my third time.. I love being in primary although sometimes it makes me a little trunky haha)
So life is good! I'll send pictures from our fishing trip this past week! We're going again today! I think fishing every p-day might become a tradition! Fishing for fish on Monday, fishing for people the rest of the week! hahaha
Posted by Marissa at 6:18 AM