So much to tell about this week, but I am going to start with THE MOST exciting part!
We found out last week that Elder Halstrom from the Seventy is coming to visit our mission in May with an apostle, but they didn't know who the apostle would be yet. We found out this week....Guess who it is....
ELDER JEFFREY R. HOLLAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When I read the text from our district leader and screamed and told all the other sisters and then Sister Perrenoud and I did the biggest, most intense happy dance this world has ever seen! (But the missionary handbook says that missionaries aren't allowed to dance, so we had to repent afterwards) We are SO STOKED!!! Later Sister Perrenoud was like, "I really wish that we had that on film. I mean what other 20 year old girls would get this excited over an old man coming to talk to them? Mormons!" hahaha So true.
I'm training! It was so hard to say goodbye to Sister Stringham, but it has been fun to have a fresh start with Sister Ebersole. And she is from Arizona too! These two Arizona girls are taking on Avon. She is from Prescott Valley, AZ. In the first five minutes of meeting me she said, "I just want you to know that I am ready to work hard." Could a trainer hear any better phrase from their trainee?? I think not! She is definitely getting used to missionary life, but once she does she will be a stellar missionary. Along with being a trainer, that means that I get to drive! It was definitely super weird getting behind the wheel after 3 months of being a co-driver.
Well I had some good growing pains this week. The biggest lesson I learned this week was that I truly do need to depend on the Lord's help through this work. I cannot do it alone. I have this bad habit of trying to be this super woman missionary and thinking that I can do everything and don't need any help. NOPE! Not how it is supposed to be done. We need to rely on our companions, other missionaries, and especially Heavenly Father for help.
I am so grateful for this amazing gospel. I truly took it for granted before I came on my mission.
Sister Ebersole and I!
The Buchanans! I love them like they are my own grandparents! I miss living with them so much!
Wednesday night Sister Perrenoud, Sister Stringham and I are sitting in our room reminiscing on the MTC (which feels like yesterday). Then at about 10:15 our phone rings. I ask, "Who in the world is calling us so late?!" Sister Stringham looks at the phone, looks at me with baby bush eyes, then says, "President Vellinga...." Immediately I felt all of my blood pulsing through my body and got butterflies like crazy! I already knew....I was training. I was trying to stay calm on the phone with President but I'm sure he could tell that internally I was freaking out! Thankfully since then I have calmed down. A lot. I feel much more prepared for it and know that it will be awesome. All that matters is that President Vellinga, as well as Heavenly Father, know that I can do this and trust me. I am so excited to get to train a new sister and set her on the right path for the rest of her mission. I cant wait to meet her tomorrow!
I will never, for as long as I live, be able to keep up with Ohio weather. One week we had snow one day, rain the next day, sun the next day, then hail the next day. Then this week it almost hit 60, then the next day we were stuck inside because of a huge blizzard! What?? Cleveland! Make up your mind! It is March for pete's sake! I am ready for Spring!
We had Stake Conference this weekend and it was AMAZING!!!!!! Elder Kopischke from the Seventy came!! He is an incredible speaker! Saturday evening he had a few different people bear their testimonies and share experiences with missionary work, then opened it up for discussion about what we all learned. It was all centered on 'Hastening the work of Salvation'. So of course all of the full time missionaries were stoked! Then Sunday his wife spoke as well and she is the CUTEST little german lady ever!! You could just feel her enthusiasm for this gospel gushing out of here! Then yesterday we found out that in May Elder Hallstrom from the Seventy, as well as one of the twelve apostles are coming to Cleveland to speak to all of the missionaries! It's like Christmas for us!!
I feel like there was a lot more that happened this week but I just can't remember. Weeks start to feel like months, but other times they feel like days. Mission time has got to be the weirdest thing ever.
Yesterday we taught two of the best lessons we have ever taught together. The spirit was so strong. We honestly left not really even remembering what exactly we said. It is amazing when the spirit can completely lead the discussions. This work is so incredible and I feel so blessed to be a part of it. Miracles can happen every day!
I am so sad that our district will be changed tomorrow. I love all these missionaries so much!! Such incredible examples to me. I have learned so much from all of them! (And they are goofy which always keeps things fun:) )
I guess it's kind of pretty here sometimes
We celebrated their birthdays since Sister Stringham is leaving tomorrow. Their birthdays are one day apart in April!
How cute is she?! I love our weekly visits with the lovely Sister Kolenich :) She is 88 and there isn't anything she can't do!
Exchanges this week with Sister Gannon!
These honestly don't even do the storm any justice at all.
It was ridiculous. Broken telephone lines, branches falling out of trees. It was terrifying.
Apparently this is a French Canadian tradition. Sister Stringham made it for me this week. Pretty much it is just french fries with cheese curds and gravy over it. It was kind of weird, but not horrible. The cheese was squeaky...
We went to Kirtland this week!!!! We took Lynn on Tuesday because she really wanted to go and Sister Taylor came with us as well! It honestly could not have gone any better if we had planned it to! (Unless of course we broke the ice in Lake Erie and baptized her right there.) She absolutely loved it and said that the most amazing part was that she was actually walking and standing where Joseph Smith had once walked and stood!! (She loves Joseph Smith) It was so wonderful! Also it was the first time that Sister Stringham and I had got to do the full tour at Kirtland. Everyone needs to go to Kirtland!! Absolutely amazing. We are definitely coming back as a family.
Awesome story! This week during companion study we got a knock on the door and so I went to go answer it and guess who it was!! The Jehovah's Witnesses!! We had a nice little Bible Study right there at the door, then we taught them the Restoration. :) But then once the other sisters got home they quickly left because they were outnumbered. It was too funny though. They called us accursed because we believe the Book of Mormon. Good times, good times.
Thank you so much for the package!!!! So wonderful!!!! It got here the morning of my appointment in Cleveland and so we were so excited that we had new music to listen to for our long drive!! You are all so good to me :) I really do appreciate it! And thank you so much for all the stamps!! I was almost out! That was so helpful!!
Oh and lots of more words of wisdom from Sister Looney this week! (man i love that crazy woman) We were teaching about the Plan of Salvation and when we got to Adam and Eve she goes, "Oh! Well don't you know that they were much too busy to be having kids in the Garden of Eden!?" of course we were puzzled and upon further inquiry she told us "Well they were busy naming everything! You know....grass, trees, dirt, and so on!" Hahaha And then when we were talking about temples with her she told us that she won't go to the temple until she can walk there because that is what Jesus did and she is trying to be like Jesus..... When we explained that Heavenly Father has blessed us with modern transportation so that we can get to the temple she said that she would not drive there because Jesus could have rode in a golden chariot to the temple but he didn't, He walked. So that is what she is going to do. There was really no changing her mind.
Well I am SO happy that Steph is home safe!! Weird to be the only missionary out from the Olds' family now!! I love you all so much and appreciate all of your love and support! It makes all the difference in the world out here!!!
I love and miss Sophie, but Bruiser is the next best thing I have out here!! I love this dog so much!! He is too cute! He is a chug (Half pug half chihuahua) and is so hilarious!! I about died laughing watching him chase his tail. TOO cute.
He was making it difficult to get a picture
Doing my breathing tests at the doctors! (Sister Stringham thinks it is so funny, so she took pictures)
Ohhhhhhhhhhh that's what people meant when they told me that missions were hard. Now I get it!
Well this past week has definitely been the hardest week of my mission thus far. Monday we found out that we had to be out of the Buchanans house and by Wednesday we were moved in with the other sisters in our district out in Lorain. (Which is a good half hour drive from our area) We are still apartment searching though for something closer. Then the rest of the week there were just lots of little things that kept happening that kept adding to my stress. I honestly haven't been that depressed in a long time. Usually I am a strong advocate of positive thinking, but this week was just plain hard.
I came across this talk a couple days ago during personal study and I absolutely loved it!! It definitely helped me to turn things around a lot. It took a few days but I am back to my positive, happy self.
The thing that brought me the most comfort this past week was knowing that Heavenly Father allows us to have trials and problems along our way because He knows that they will strengthen us and help us to grow. Apparently Heavenly Father thought it was time for me to do some growing! He knew that I would make it through the week and I know that it is only because of His help that I was able to.
My new address is:
1310 Shaffer Drive
Lorain, Ohio 44052
Thank you so much for all of the love and support! It truly does help so much!! I love you!!!!