So I'm officially here in Dodge City! haha Also, my new P-day is! It's so different than the MTC because it's real! Real people, real stories, real spirits. It was great to chat with Dad for a bit at the Airport but I was sad to have missed the rest of ya. Fun fact, my companion/trainer is Sister Mortenson, Sister Jamie Mortenson. Name sound familiar? So when my mission president showed me a picture of my mission companion I was like, "hmm she's kinda familiar, pretty sure I've seen her at Girls Camp" And in fact I have. haha She's from Cameron Park. We were both familiar to each other, but we didn't really know each other before. Also, cool thing, Mckenzie Howell is also here in Kansas serving a mission, somewhere....haha And yes, Katrina, there are lots of fields here of Milo apparently. Also, thank you for sending my letter on to Alyssa in Japan! She wrote me back and so that was real fun to get :) The weather has been pretty warm, it's just super windy all the time. Thanks for the Jacket though mom! I think it'll be good enough til' I go, and I don't think I need to buy anything clothes-wise here, but we'll see as it gets colder :) Tornado season is over, so sorry, no tornado photos....haha
Here in Dodge my District has 4 elders and me and my companion Sister Mortenson. Pretty small. The elders are all Spanish speaking, and my companionship is English. There's a meat packing plant here in Dodge so there are a lot of people from Mexico here that only speak Spanish, or very little English. (Also, I had to buy a bike from Wal-Mart, so I got the cheapest I could that works for women because we only have the car every other week) Anyways, we were out tracting and stopped by a lady's house who is a member, but is less active. She doesn't speak any English at all really, so I got to try out my Spanish skills. Let's just say I'm trying to keep the Portuguese and Spanish separate in my head, but I was able to communicate and understand ok. It's like Portugespanol that I speak now. haha THe mission president has encouraged even the English speaking missionaries to learn some Spanish, so I've been studying Portuguese mostly during language study, and a teeny bit of Spanish. I know the Lord will help me to understand as I try my best to communicate with and strengthen His children in the gospel, and befriend them, and love them. I let the Spanish people I talk to know that I was learning Portuguese so what I say is a bit of a mix, but I'm so grateful now that I took Spanish in High School and a semester at BYU!!!! I think the Lord knew I would need help for learning Portuguese, and that I would be able to use it here in Kansas.
Also my MTC companion Sister Jackson is currently serving in Lawrence Kansas, I think. She gets to be around a college campus which she was excited for. I think she'll be able to relate really well to the people there and help them to see the amazing impact the Doctrine of Christ can have in their lives and in their hearts.
Speaking of sickness, my companion got a 24 hour flu bug so we stayed in our apartmentto watch conference rather than go to the church building. The senior couple, Elder and Sister Williams were kind enough to bring their laptop over so we could still watch. Oh what a wonder conference is! I just want to tell everyone we talk to that it's available online for the world to see! I also noticed how much the apostles and leaders of the church speak in scripture. They quote scriptures all the time! I was looking a bunch of them up because I want to remember them for later reference when needed during lessons. Conference has never passed so quickly before. I was sad it was over, but I'm glad that I have notes to refer back to until we get the conference Ensign and can treasure up the talks once again. I seriously learned so much that I don't even know what to share!
Mom, that's so fun you were able to visit with your sisters! Also, cool thing about Ephraim's Rescue, the man who directed it, Ron Tanner, came and spoke to us one time at the MTC. He also co-produced 17 Miracles, or something like that. He showed us a clip from Ephraim's Rescue which was amazing and totally made me cry. It also left us on a cliff hanger. haha Something he said in that devotional was "my heart was softened and it became a labor of love" Why do we think sometimes that when something is hard, that it's not worth it? Sometimes that means that there is a greater reward in it! I know it's important to make this mission into a labor of love because I love the Savior and I love His children, but I'm working on making that love into Charity. I encourage all of you to pray for charity, especially towards the people you may not necessarily get along with. I got a glimpse of itat church when I was looking around at all the faithful members there watching conference. Neat experience :)
As we were biking aroundon the way to Laticia's house (sorry don't have much detail past that since I'm still trying to learn names and backgrounds) We stopped our bikes and talked to a man sitting on his porch. He was nice and not interested because he goes to another church, so we went and talked to a lady setting up a garage sale on the same street, and she said something similar. Yesterday, since Sister Mortenson's bike tire was flat, we knocked on the doors of people who live in our apartment building. One sister, in the apartment directly across from ours, said she's looking for a church, but one that meets in the evening because she works in the mornings on Sundays. We told her what time our church starts at, but we didn't even talk to her about the Book of Mormon or anything! Sheesh, so we're going to stop by again tonight and invite her to learn more, because she's searching!!! We talked to a few other people, and I think we made a pretty good impression on one man, Doug even though he's content with the religion he currently has. I need to learn to be bold, because this gospel is important!!! Everyone needs it, it could help them so much to experience a lasting happiness, and receive relief from the burdens of sin and guilt. I know I need that every day.
I just want to thank all of you!!!! Thank you for the wonderful examples you all are to me. "Your devotion strengthens my devotion" (Elder Eyring) I can see how important it is for families to be together and how we strengthen each other so much as we love each other unconditionally and talk with each other every week. You all have wonderful strong testimonies that I know can be even stronger. I'm learning how much of a surface testimony I had on various subjects of the gospel, and that it can touch me so much deeper as my understanding increases. I love having personal and companionship study every day. It's my time with the Lord, to be strengthened, to be taught, to be inspired concerning myself and those we have planned to teach for the day. I know our Savior is with us. He will NEVER forsake us, for He is loving and merciful to all His children.
Yesterday in-between sessions, my district, including Elder and Sister Williams and some recent converts went to the Dameron's for lunch. Taco Salad, DELISH! anyways, haha It was wonderful to meet them. They have 5 children, 4 daughters, and their youngest is a boy. Their oldest is 19 and preparing to serve a mission! so cool :) Anyways, one of the little girls Abby took a liking to me I guess. She came up to me and gave me a jinormous hug. I was a little awkward about it cause I'm not supposed to hug children! so I patted her on the back, haha She said that I look like Hermione and that Sister Mortenson was Ginny because she has red hair and I have curly hair. Perfect! haha she also liked that Abby and I both have green eyes. So cute. Sister Dameron paid me the compliment of saying, you're not 19 are you because you seem more mature. hahah I'm 20, I replied! Yay! I hope that will help to establish some confidence with the members to trust their friends into our care as we follow the guidance of the Spirit. I look forward to seeing the difference in my heart as I allow the Lord to influence my decisions, and help me to become truly converted, so I can better help others to become truly converted as well. Also, Elder Sweeten gave the spiritual thought at the end of lunch, and Brother Dameron afterward asked me to share my testimony in Portuguese to everyone. He told his children that even though they wouldn't be able to understand what was said, to pay attention to how they felt, and that the Spirit would touch them anyways. A lot of pressure! haha jk Brother and Sister Dameron both speak Spanish because they served Spanish speaking missions, and a little Portuguese as well. So I got up and bore my simple testimony, I was really grateful to him for giving me that opportunity. Sister Dameron said she understood all of it, which is cool :)
Anyways, whew what a novel. haha I hope you feel the Spirit when you read at least some sections of the e-mails you get every week. That's my goal :) Love you all! Eu sei que Jesus Cristo e meu Salvador. Ele Vive and Ama todos nos. Em nome de Jesus Cristo Amem. I hope everyone feels better soon!