Hello my fam!
It's almost MOTHERS DAY! :)
Yesterday was my first exchanges on the mission! We went on exchanges with the training sisters, Sister Bills and Sister Tokunaga. It was a special privilege, because normally missionaries don't go on exchanges their first transfer (six weeks) out in the mission (Sister Palmer has been out 4 weeks). It was fun to go with someone else and be able to learn how to be a good leader. Sister Tokunaga (from Maui) was a great example of being lovingly bold, which is a neat talent to have. Sister Palmer enjoyed herself too, even though she has been having anxiety about it (it gave her so much stress last week it made her sick!) It is neat to be surrounded by people who want to do what is right and have a lot of Christlike attributes you would like to emulate.
Can I tell you how much I LOVE Charly and Tom? Those two are so funny. We played Bingo with them the other night so they could introduce us to one of their friends who is interested in being taught by us (his name is Nick Jeffries). His beliefs are completely in line with the gospel from what we have heard so far, he just doesn't EVER want to return to church because he has sinned and doesn't feel comfortable (we think). We need to help him see that EVERYONE at church has sinned- Christ's perfect church is made up of imperfect people- and try to help him come. Our ward is AWESOME! I LOVE the Hiram ward! We took one of our investigators to church on Sunday. We were a little nervous since it was fast and testimony meeting, and this lady hasn't been very good at listening to what we are teaching (she would rather talk at us than with us). She has had a difficult life, and we have been on the verge of dropping her because she hasn't been very teachable. But church went soooo well! I was praying so hard that this would be a good experience for Lisa, and it seemed like church that day was made particularly to fit her needs. Testimonies were centered on families, and she trying to be a really good mom for her kids. The entire meeting she was saying under her breath, "that's right," "Mmmmhmmm" "Amen girl!" It was SO funny! She has such attitude. Then our ward mission leader who teaches Gospel Principles was sick and almost didn't come to church, but he felt like he really needed to, so he came. He taught the lesson SO WELL, and it was completely tailored to Lisa's needs. After class I asked her what she thought, and she said she felt so good, decided she wasn't going to go to bars anymore and that she was definitely going to be coming to this church more often. Then when church was over, we overheard Lisa saying to some of the sisters, "hey, you are neat people. When is a time this next week that we can get together." It was a MIRACLE! Sister Palmer and I left church that day awestruck and so grateful! We talked all the way home about how our testimonies of church were strengthened that day. I realized that church is important because we get to renew our coveneants and learn, but mostly if we go to church to inspire others rather than waiting to feel inspired, we will make so much more of a difference. I am starting to understand Mosiah 18 better, where it talks about part of the baptisimal covenant is helping those who stand in need. It was SO COOL!!!
Sister Palmer and I were looking through our area book to find potentials that we wanted to visit. We came across a name (Melissa) that has been in the book since August 2011, and we decided to call. When we contacted her, we quickly found out that her family was going through a difficult time because their house had caught on fire, and they were trying to get everything taken care of. We offered our service, and they allowed us to come over to pull weeds. We were able to spend some time talking to them as we worked, and by the end, Melissa had started asking us what exactly we believed about what happened when people die. By the time we had to leave, they were so thankful and invited us to come to dinner to share our message with the family. It was so neat! They were the nicest people, I love them so much already, and I can already picture them in church and loving it, because they are going to LOVE it! They are so prepared! Dad, the family has all girls too, so Melissa's husband sends his condolences to you :) You guys are so weird ;) Service is the best- I wish we were able to do it more often. It is difficult to find ways to serve people when you don't know them well and they can't think of a way you can serve them.
The other day we went to go see Charly and Tom, and we saw their next door neighbor trying to carry grocery bags into her home. We offered her help. Two hours later she had given us an extensive tour of her trailer, talked our ears off (she is so funny :) ) and then... asked us if we could teach her what we believe!!!! I don't know if you are very well acquainted with missionary work, but that just doesn't happen! People are more likely to try to desperately end conversation with you than to pointedly ask for more information about the church. It was so neat! We were just about to get started when Tom comes and says, "Mahrty, Shorty, what are you doing here?!" That man cracks me up, and I love him to death, but I was SO not happy to see him at that minute! Tom ended up talking to his next door neighbor until it was 9 (time to go home), so we told her we would come back and share the message with her. Isn't it so great that he calls me Mahrty though?! It cracks me up! All my companions have been nicknamed Shorty because they have all been shorter than me :) You need to meet them sometime. You will get a kick out of it!
We've already taken way too long. P-days are way too short :) LOVE you all so much, and I look forward to talking/Skyping tomorrow!!!!