Sunday, September 28, 2014

My goodness, where to start. Well, last week I was still in Nauvoo, and had some incredible experiences with my beloved Sister Mills. 

Since it was my last week, I was tying up all of my loose ends in Nauvoo and I feel like I was blessed, big time. All of my investigators answered their phones and kept their appointments this week! It was great! I am so thrilled and excited to see how my investigators are progressing, and I love it :) Some of them will have to wait to be taught again until I get home, but I was able to help a few agree to local missionaries. 

One experience in particular was with a friend of Sister Russell's, my old companion. He was really struggling, and she asked me to call him. It was an incredible experience! I felt the Spirit just rush through me, and felt the words come to my mind. I know that my lesson with him was inspired, and that as he continues to pray he will find strength. For this man, his main problem was that he was taught how to pray by the missionaries, but not taught how to pray to find answers to his everyday problems and questions. By doing this and turning to the Lord with every thought, he will become a powerhouse!

On Tuesday Sister Mills and I helped Sister Etherington set up the big map that shows where all of our investigators are in the US. It was so cool to see all of the pins of the people the 12 of us are teaching! Also that night we helped Seniors make profiles and to make personal pass-along cards. These Seniors are so cute, and I miss them so much! 

On Thursday it was Sister Kupfer's birthday, so we all went over to their house early in the morning and woke her up with singing and making breakfast for her. Later that day, I was in Sarah Granger Kimball Home. It was a wonderful last site to be with Sister Mills, and we had a great time scampering about and having fun. I just love talking with her, we build each other up and help the other create high expectations for our lives. Since it was my last week I was able to serve in two sites, the other one was the Log School House on Exchanges with Sister Hintze. She is so bubbly and we had a great experience with a woman who was obsessed with David Archuleta!

Saturday was a packing day, and I got it all done in a pretty short amount of time! I realized though that if I am left alone in a room I have zero motivation to pack, so I had to have Sister Mills in there to just sit on the bed and to cheer me on. Ha! She was so funny, she was really tired because she had been cleaning and cooking, and so she was just flat on her back, occasionally responding in order to help me. What a sweetheart!

Sunday was a beautiful day. It was Sister Morales's birthday, and so Sister Mills and I had planned a lunch for everyone while I was at my Departing Interview. I loved that time to be with President Gibbons, and I am so grateful for my time here in Nauvoo. It is also Parker's birthday, and so I thought it was fitting that in honor of him, my last day would be spent in Carthage. Parker always loved Joseph Smith, and during my last tour of Carthage I thought of Parker's testimony of the Prophet. How I love being in that special, sacred place!
On Monday morning all of the Sisters came to say goodbye, and uhhhhh it is so hard! I love all of them so much and they are such incredible missionaries. It made it a little bit better knowing that I would be able to see Sister Hansen, Hughes and Mills in three months, but it will be a while for the other ones. They all are just so precious and dear to me, I love them with all of my heart!

So Sister Etherington, President and Sister Gibbons and I piled into the Mission President car and headed for St. Louis. We headed straight for the airport for Sister Etherington's flight, and I was able to walk all the way with her till Security. She started crying as she hugged me which was difficult to say the least! I love her so dearly, so I tried to maintain my composure as I said goodbye. Three months seems like too long till I see her again, but then at the same time it is not long enough for my Mission! I need longer!

After we dropped off Sister Etherington, President Gibbons, Sister Gibbons and I went to see the St. Louis Arch, or the Gateway Arch. It was really cool, and we went all the way to the top in the little elevator pods. Personally, I feel that it was cooler to look up at it than to look down from the top because the arch is so beautiful. Little did I know, but the Arch is just to commemorate the start of "The West", and below it is a museum. It was great too look around and then at my request we went to the St. Louis Science Museum. I wish the art museums would have been open, but it was fun to play with the science experiments and stuff. Not quite as good as the Exploratorium in San Francisco, but pretty close! We then drove to the St. Louis Temple to walk around, and we ended the night at the cheesecake factory. I love being with the Gibbons so much! They are simply delightful and I really enjoy their company. 

Then, Tuesday morning I got up bright and early, and went onto a plane! First flight was not too bad, the lady next to me was quite engrossed with the work on her laptop. The second flight was wonderful. Sat next two two men, one was a retired minister for a Lutheran Church up in Everett. With all of his stories, he always included how much people weighed, it was kind of funny. The other man who sat next to me was a man from Tulsa, OK and was headed to Seattle to spend time with his brother. It is also quite funny because the exact area of Seattle he was heading to was the one I am now assigned to! Which leads me to my next story....

So I am in a trio with Sister Imai, (like ee-mai), from Osaka, Japan who has 5 weeks left, and Sister Wawro (like Zorro with a W) from Dallas, TX who is a visa waiter for Tai Chung, Taiwan Mission who has only been in the field for one day! Kind of ironic that I know I am only here for three months, but I am the one person in the companionship who will be here the longest! We cover one of the YSA Wards for the University of Washington. It is right next to downtown Seattle, and it is beauuuuuuutiiiiiiiful!

I truly could not be happier. I love YSA wards! Also, here is the best part- it is a Chinese ward. WAAAAT? It is though! So half of the ward is Chinese, so it looks like Sister Allred here will be learning a little bit of Chinese in Seattle :) They are not changing my official Mission language from ASL to Chinese, but I am expected to learn as much as I can. Apparently most of our converts will be Chinese because they are so prepared and ready to learn the Gospel! Also, turns out I will be able to use my ASL here too. If there are any deaf students, I get dibs on teaching them :) Also there is an ASL branch close by (as in an hour by car), but they already have 2 companionships assigned to them. Turns out that those companionships are all Elders though, so if they need a Sister to be taught she will drive to me and I will teach her. Crazy right? Apparently though because everyone feels sorry for me that I will not use my ASL as often, I do get first priority though for interpreting Member Missionary Firesides which is for the whole Stake. Yay!

So for my Ward, Sacrament Meeting is all in English, and then there are separate classes for Chinese and English.... or at least that is what I think. Honestly, I am not the person to ask, I literally have not even been in this Area for 24 hours yet.... sooo..... this information is likely to change as I get to know more :) 

I am loving being here in the YSA 2nd Ward. It is delightful! I am thrilled to be with such wonderful companions as Sister Imai and Sister Wawro. I have a passion for working with students, and I feel blessed to be able to be here and to make connections. 

Sister Wawro and I have already had an experience with teaching someone. Last night we were busy changing apartments and did not have any appointments, but we were able to find a person to teach. Sister Wawro, Imai and I were outside of the first apartment, waiting for the other Sisters to  come by with the car. Because there are so many people here, we split up to talk to as many people as we can. To be honest, it just feels like the Visitor's Center in Nauvoo during Pageant time! It is about the same amount of people that reject you (it was always awkward when members rejected us, so at least now with non-members it is somewhat expected) and the same amount of people that will talk with you.  We talked with everyone that came by, and Sister Wawro and I met a man named Abraham. Well, it is pronounced Abraheem because it is Arabic. He is from Egypt, and is actually a master's student that has a job teaching the Islamic Studies at the University. He is quite a liberal Muslim, and Sister Wawro and I were impressed with his pursuit of knowledge. I was also very surprised with the confidence and natural teaching ability that Sister Wawro has. She is a powerful teacher and it is natural for her to ask inspired questions. It has been one of my goals to teach someone who is Muslim, so check off the list! Huzzah! We are going to meet with him next week and talk about the Book of Mormon. Abraham is already crazy prepared, and so I am excited to see how this turns out. 

I am also so grateful for Sister Imai. I am so happy that I am with an obedient companion, and especially with someone so sweet. She is a delight to be around, and a great example. I am so glad that I have someone this loving to be able to show me the culture of the mission and to help me to have a great start. This mission is quite different than the others I have been in. As in there are little rules for every way of life (like literally everything!), and part of me feels like it might be a tad excessive, but mostly I am on board. I love being obedient and doing my best, so at least now I have more ways to measure and record how I am doing my job. 

This morning was the first day of classes for the U of W, and so campus was busy! It was great, and we went to a place called Red Square. It is a commons area that had red brick, and that is where we go contacting people. I am personally more of a fan of doing member missionary work and having the members find investigators for us (leads to more lasting and natural conversion) but I think it will be fun to occasionally meet people there. I have already made a few connections and I am excited to see how this will work out. Also, it does rain as much as people say- my shoes are already soaked! Looks like I need to go get some rain boots!

Love you all! Have a great week!

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