Thursday, October 9, 2014

10.6.2014 East Texas, y'all!!!

Hello family! Wow I love y'all so much! It has truly been a whirlwind of a week! Monday was truly crazy! We met down at the exchange building, loaded into a big old van with 11 missionaries and 1 driver and pulled away to set off on our adventure to east Texas. Well, we made it about 20 minutes into our journey and the van starts being really bouncy and uncomfortable. Next thing we know, the back tire blows out! So we pull over and are just chilling on the side of the road for like an hour or so trying to fix the tire. Some highway service repairmen came and a really nice man so we just chilled on the shoulder and wished we could help fix the tire. By that time, we were pretty much already supposed to be meeting up with our new companions, but we were still in the metroplex! So we filled up the tire, bought some water because it was about 1000 degrees outside, and went along our merry way. Sister Griffin who served in the Allen 5th ward was being transferred out to Tyler, so we got to be with each other in the van. That was nice. 

After finally arriving in Lindel (the exchange place) and meeting my new companion Sister Christopherson, I hopped into a little car with some really nice members, the Whittemores and off we went to Gilmer. We got home, brought my suitcases in, then ran right back out the door to go to a lesson with some potential new investigators! Ahh!! It was crazy. But it was really nice. Ta* and Ji* are their names and they are a referral from a member of the bishopric, Brother Patton. After a great lesson with them (except for the fact that we didnt' have any book of mormons to leave with them . . . awkward), we rushed off to the Bishop's house. Bishop Miller. Mom, his daughter Brittany sent you a picture of us. :) It was really great to get to know him and his family better. Then I crashed into bed because I was exhausted.

Life in Gilmer is very different than life in Allen:

First and foremost: I'm in a car. Our area is huge and there is literally no way we could get any work done on a bike. We even have a hard time getting to all the parts of our area in our car due to lack of miles.

Second: my companion and I are the only sisters in the zone, so that is a big adjustment from before.

Third: our district meeting is held 30 minutes away rather than a 10 minute bike ride.

Fourth: Our living area is just the front part of a member's house just sectioned off. It's pretty cute and nice. It sort of reminds me of a cabin. We have a bedroom, bathroom, living room, and a little kitchenette type thing with a hot plate, toaster over, and microwave oven, and fridge. 

Fifth: We get to continue to do lots of less active work which I love.

Sixth: life is very slow-paced out here. No hustle and bustle.

Seventh: Everyone here is either an active mormon, less-active, or has a close friend or family member who is a mormon, or at least knows of the church's fairly prominent position in this area.

Eighth: Pretty much everyone in Gilmer is related to each other. That's not even a lie.

Ninth: Gilmer is the main town, but there are lots of little railroad "communitites" scattered around. We live in Kelsey - which was one of the first mormon establishments out here in east Texas.

Tenth: East Texas = the SOUTH. wow. so many funny sayings, traditions, etc. Southern grammar reigns (I'm dying a little bit, but trying to get used to it.) Whenever I was; as the crow flies; over yonder; fixin' to; y'all. All the good stuff. My english is dying. But such is life. haha.

Eleventh: in Allen, we tried to contact 140 people a week and we usually exceeded that. Here, 40 is like a big impossible push. But we're gonna get it!

Tuesday we got to do some service at a member's house. We helped her organize her daugther's room and clean up. I actually really enjoyed it. We ate at a little Bar B Q place called Bodacious. It was delicious. :) The members here are friendly and helpful. Everything is just super spread out.

Wednesday: I got to meet a LA (less active) we are working with Sister Du*. She is just the sweetest lady. She was super accepting of me, so that just made me feel loved and welcome. It's hard to replace a very loving, very loved missionary, but I'm just trying to be myself and do my best to fill her shoes. :)

Thursday: A CRAZY storm hit Thursday night. It was windy, lightning-y (ratatouille), rainy and just stormy. But we braved it and still met with a couple families. Good times. The people here LOVE to talk. Like I said before, it's slow paced and no on is in a hurry. So people could talk forever, but you gotta try to get a word in.

Friday: We went down to a part of our area called Big Sandy. It's about half an hour away down a VERY twisty road. After our appointment there with a LA named Ma* (she's great by the way) and driving that road again, we were feeling nasty. But thankfully we had some sprite in the fridge to help us. For dinner we went with a member and her non-member husband to a place called Walking S Steakhouse. I got fried catfish. It was pretty good actually. After dinner, the member called us and said that we did a perfect job with her husband. She was worried if we talked too much about the church that he would get defensive. But we talked about our missions and kind of what we do as missionaries as just part of our regular conversation, and the sister said it was perfect. I love when amazing things like that happen.

There have been a lot of tragedies and heart aches here in Gilmer over the past couple of months. But we (as in the missionaries) have been able to work with people and help them recognize the importance and blessings of the church and more importantly the gospel.

Ahh! Wasn't conference just amazing?!? It's always SO refreshing to hear the words of the prophets. I love President Monson dearly and I'm so grateful for his love and his sacrifice for each one of us. I don't have my journal with my right now, but I did have some wonderful insights and answers to questions during conference. We watched conference with our members. Sat morning: bishop miller and fam. Sat aft: the whittemores. Sun morn: the fullers ( and had a HUGE breakfast to boot) sun aft: the millers again.

Saturday night we decided to have a little girls night party. So we invited a couple less actives to come over to the bishop's house. we had food, talked, and played laugh your head off! It was seriously so hilarious and I haven't laughed that hard in a LONG time.

Miracles/amazing moments of the week:

1-During our planning session, Sister Christopherson and I were trying to figure out what member we could have come with us to a meeting with an investigator. We were thinking and I was looking at our ward list. At the exact same time, Sister C and I said the exact same person. It was an amazing moment. The thing that was truly amazing though, was that I hadn't met the investigator or the member who was going to come with us. This week has been amazing. I'm still trying to get to know ward members, less actives, and investigators, but I have truly truly seen the Spirit help me and guide me as I try to wrap my head around everything.

2- we got a referral for the elders between sessions of conference

3-a less active family and a bunch of their relatives all watch conference!

4- we were able to teach an elderly lady in our ward how to use her laptop and be able to go back and watch general conference.

Sister Christopherson is from Clinton, UT. She's 22 and graduated from Snow College. She'll be going to USU after her mission (woot woot). This is her last transfer, so I get to finish things off with her. She loves to scrapbook, craft, and sew. She's really funny and we are very similar. I would attach some pictures, but the computers at the library here prohibit that. So, I'll print off pictures at walmart next week and mail them to you.

Mom: I would love it if you sent a bunch of those quotes from the women's session. There's one about power and light that I love? sorry that doesn't really help . . . but Sister C would love a copy of all of them, and we'd love some to give to people also. I'm assuming that there will be a bunch from conference also, so maybe send some of those too? they are really fun.

I'm trying to think of other things, but that's pretty much all that comes to mind for now. The time is really short today, we are off to Dallas to watch MEET THE MORMONS and do an exchange with the Sister Training Leaders.
Well, I love y'all so much! Do good and be good!

My scripture for the week is Moroni 7:47. It's all about charity!

Sister Gretchen Gilbert in Gilmer. :)
(I sure do love the letter G).

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