Dear Family and Friends,
I'm officially in rural Missouri. It's quite an adventure! Ava is a lot different than home, but in its own wonderful, wonderful way. It makes for a lot of crazy dirt roads and hills and interesting experiences. We even drive a truck so we can make it through okay on some of these roads! And everything's just...smaller? Haha. Everyone knows each other! Everyone! You run into ward members and investigators everywhere, and they all know everybody else! The connections actually freak me out sometime. My first full day here, Sister Garner was so excited to sing together, because Sister Burt and Mele (her companions last transfer) didn't like to sing in lessons. But she knew I did, and so we sang at every lesson. But by, we walked into a lesson and before we said anything, Paul told us "Now, I only want to hear you sing so long as Sister Burt pipes up too!" (She sings really quietly). Apparently, he had already heard that we sang from someone we met with that morning....crazy! Haha can you imagine them texting each other? "Hey Paul, guess what? The Sisters sing now!"
We had a great week. There's that weird transition time, as expected, but I think I pretty much have the hang of everything here. I told you about Monday last week...thenwas our first busy day. One of the families we meet with blows me away with their faith and optimism every time we see them! Robert just got baptized at the end of May. He has an amazing conversion story, starting with finding a Book of Mormon twenty years ago...apparently he read it, loved it, and found the church this April and just showed up and told the missionaries he wanted to learn more! COOL. But their family has been through a lot, and a lot of it I don't even know. From what I understand, their last house burnt down and they lost pretty much everything. Then he lost his job, and the family had to move. Now, they live in this shack on the back of someone else's property. No air conditioning, plumbing, and only basic lighting. Most of the area is taken up by their two beds the family shares, and then one chair and a pile of what possessions they have left. But really, you couldn't meet a sweeter family. They have three kids, and the two little ones just loooooove us! They just hug us and hold on tight! And Robert's amazing. He has so much faith, and he studies the Book of Mormon like a madman! And he's sharing it with everyone he meets...one of those people was Paul, who was baptized two weeks ago. We love talking to Robert. We're just finishing up the last of the new member lessons, and it's so fun! He just really, really gets it.
Other than that, we've been meeting with Dalton and Austin, who are recent converts as well. Both of them received the Priesthood last Sunday, and Austin blessed the sacrament yesterday! It was SOOOO wonderful! Sister Garner and I cried watching him. Sister Burt thought we were crazy. And we're going to watch the Joseph Smith movie with them tonight, since they're going to Youth Conference in Nauvoo this week....I'M SO EXCITED!
Okay. I should go. But I love you all!
Funny tidbit for the week: we were visiting a man who usually comes to Sacrament meeting and then runs off to go to another church. The member that came with us asked him about it, and he jokingly told her that since he was such a heathen, he needed two doses of church. Then she looked up at him and said, "Well, if you stayed forSchool, maybe you wouldn't be such a heathen!" His face. I wish I could have taken a picture. Bahahaha.