Well things are good and I am alive here in Ohio! We are buried in snow that appears to never stop. I was serious about not wanting to live in the snowbelt. As one of the old senior missionaries said "no human beings should have to go outside in weather like this" hahah couldn't agree more. But the good news is I am finally over the flu! That was bad stuff. The worst part was that once anyone hears anything about you being sick... NO ONE wants you to come to their house.. for understandable reasons.. but it makes missionary work kinda challenging. But we still had a pretty good week!
Don't even worry... I started off the new year right. We all woke up at midnight (because we still have our 10:30 bedtime haha) and we ate a whole thing of ice cream. I was pretty proud of us. And I wore my turtleneck. I mean there is just no other way to start the year than looking like a 48 year old bald french man eating ice cream. My companion thinks I am a freak but I am so it is okay. ALSO SHE FINALLY COOKED FOR ME! Yes my companion who graduated from culinary school finally cooked. She made crepes and they were pretty awesome so I guess I will believe her degree now. haha.
I had a cool tour at Kirtland the other day! It was awesome that we got a tour considering it is January and the slowest time of year. But it was a family that had 3 young girls ages 8-12, and the little 10 year old girl was so in tune with the spirit it was so neat. When we were in the School of the Prophets I asked how they thought they would feel if they saw Heavenly Father.. and she said "I would feel happy I think." And I asked her how she felt right then and she said "I feel really at peace here. I don't have anything to worry about while I am in here. I feel really special to be somewhere Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ were." And it was so sweet and so sincere.. and she really just summed up my feelings about Kirtland. It is such a special place. I won't lie and say I loved every single minute of serving there, because it has been really hard a lot of times. But I have had some of the most sacred experiences that have truly changed my testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I wish I could take you all to The School of the Prophets and just let you experience the calm peaceful spirit in there. Everyone that comes can notice a difference. I think it is just so spiritual because Jesus Christ was such a part of Kirtland. There is a quote by President Hinckley that he said when he was dedicating Kirtland.. and he said there was no other place where Jesus Christ was so revealed to mortal man than here in Kirtland. And His spirit is still here so strong. And just like the little girl, I feel so special and grateful that I have got to spend so much time in a place where the Savior truly was and still is.
Also...so the other day we were at the visitor center.. and we were at a station watching the nativities making sure no one touches them... and I was about to loose my mind of boredom.. when this really cool lady came and and started talking to us! She had lots of questions about our missions and what we do, and it was cool because we got to talk to her for awhile. She has a son on a mission for her church and she was just really impressed with us and the face that we leave our families and school and everything behind... so she brought us free Chipotle! Is that not the nicest thing ever. God really is all about the tender mercies!
We also got a new investigator named Rick this week! We don't know a ton about him.. but he seems like a nice guy. We also, I don't think I have ever talked about her, are teaching the COOLEST GIRL EVER. She is 17 and just so awesome and is getting baptized this month! Hopefully while I am still here!! She just got adopted by a family in our ward.. and she has the strongest testimony I have ever seen. She inspires me a lot. She has wanted to get baptized for a long time, but never could because she wasn't adopted yet. But she has been going to church and young womens and has just been dying to get baptized. She even went with the youth to the temple, and just sat in the waiting room because she couldn't go in... and then she bore her testimony about the spirit that she felt in the temple, and how grateful she was to just be there.. even if she couldn't go in.. and how excited she is to finally get baptized. It was so powerful! And it made me realize that I totally take what I have for granted. I don't even realize how big of a blessing it is to have the freedom to get baptized and to enjoy all the promised blessings that come with it! She has really helped me to be more grateful for the simple things I have. And just to appreciate the temple. Between her and not getting to go to a temple for a year and a half... I really have a whole new appreciation and love for it and am DYING TO GO BACK.
Okay tender mercy 3000 of the week. I was walking back from a tour at kirtland... when I saw the PORTZ from the Ashtabula ward! And I literally about died of excitement. They are like the funniest craziest people in the world. The are the ones with all the cat statues and clocks and night lights... and no teeth.. hahah. Yeah so I saw him and then he went to get his wife to see me.. and she walks in the visitor center and yells "MY BABY! Give me a hug. I am going to cry." and I was about to laugh because I didn't even realize she loved me so much. And then she practically chocked me. And she was just being so funny. She was like "I cooked up two ducks for the Christmas feast." and yeah that is scary. And then she said "You get to go home so soon and see your mommy and daddy and sibbies (what is a sibby?) and your friendies." And then she started crying when she said goodbye to me. And I said "Have fun up at temple tour!" and he yells across the visitor center... "We will! It will be better than alcohol!" hahah he would know. Yeah cracked me up.
I think that lately I have just really been realizing the importance of trusting in God and His timing, and just remembering that everything happens in His way. And I have been really humbled and know that every small thing we do to help people makes a difference. A lot of times on a mission, and in life for that matter, you do things and never get to see the results. But one of my favorite quotes that helps me a lot says " Be of good cheer. Do not think of today's failures, but of the success that can come tomorrow. You ave set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost." And I really believe that. No effort that we put forth to help someone, or to learn, or to improve someone's life is ever lost. Even if it is small and we don't realize it. I saw a little glimpse this week of how little things we do can lead to big changes. I found out that someone I taught in Lorain, who I didn't think we were able to help much, got baptized! I would never have thought that would happen. And it did! And I got the nicest letter from my investigator in Ashtabula telling me how much he misses our lessons and all of the fond memories he has. And he just said the nicest things about me and it helped me to see that God has been and is using me to bless people that I don't even know. And honestly nothing really makes me happier than knowing God is using me to help people in who need it.
And I am grateful for the way my life has been blessed by all the amazing people I have met here in Ohio! I sure am going to miss it. It has been the greatest experience I could have hoped for. I am cherishing every minute of it.
Have a great week! I love you lots!