I can't believe we just finished week 5. My first transfers are in a week! I'm probably going to stay in my area, but you never know! Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes!!! They really made my day! I've decided to create an email list (finally) just tell me if you'd rather not be included. :) I'd love to hear your responses! And I will respond when I can... unfortunately we don't have a ton of time to email. If you send me your addresses though I can send you some snail mail!
So this week.
I MET JON SCHMIDT.
I mean... a ton of really great things happened also this week. But those 15 minutes... Ha! I'm such a fan girl. His son Chris totally masterminded the whole thing too - we were supposed to follow up on a commitment that we left the family last week. Half of the family were missing, but Chris said, "This is your obligatory 'meet the crazy redhead' moment." So that happened. And he fist-bumped us in a goodbye salutation. Greatest. Family. Ever.
I'm never washing my hand again. ;) Ha! SUCH a fangirl!!
But seriously - go youtube piano guys if you don't know what I'm talking about.
In addition to Jon Schmidt - the ward mission leader for that ward found out that it is my 25th birthday this weekend. 25! Whaaat?? So he's decided that we're going to celebrate. I have no idea what this is going to entail, but I feel so loved. Don't worry - missionary work is happening too. We made sure that he invites all of the nonmembers and less actives in that ward that we're working with. One of which is an Olympic medalist in figure skating from the '80s. So if he and Jon Schmidt come. I mean. That'd be a pretty rockin' quarter of a century celebration.
Ok, but I love the people here. One of our dear friends is a woman named Sharon. She is super sick a lot and she can't do as much as she used to be able to. She's receiving chemotherapy for something (not cancer) and it seriously wipes her out. She's not a member of the church, and felt weird about asking us for the help that she so desperately needs. We LOVE visiting her. She's a HOOT. She has a lot of questions about the church as well. On Friday we stopped by her house to drop off a note that we had written for her. But no one was home - we were just about to leave when she pulls up! Great timing, right?? Even better because she had been shopping after picking up her 6 year old daughter from school and was SO exhausted that she let us help her bring in the shopping and put it away! At this time I was on exchanges (we swap companions for one day every 6 weeks to learn from each other, so this wasn't Sister Haddock that was with me) and so I was taking the lead with all of the work that day. Crazy hard. But I practically BEGGED Sharon to let us come back and help her clean, since it was bothering her so much and since she just didn't have the energy. And she did! Sister Haddock was back with me by Saturday and we spent about 3 hours with Sharon helping her clean her house. It was so great! Mom - you would have been so shocked! We also made plans to come back and help her paint the spare bedroom from the boy theme into a girl theme so that her little girl can move into that room. Apparently I'm an expert painter now from all of the time I spent helping my parents with the rental properties.
Some of the things Sharon said. "I need to get some sauce for the washer" You mean laundry detergent? "Yes! The sauce. :)" And I am now 'Sissy Tippy.' She's so hilarious! This woman has us in stitches when we visit. I'm so happy we can help her and her family!
This has really been a week of service. We taught a few lessons, and attended a few meetings, and tried to meet some of the people that the members and Bishops referred us to. But mostly it was service. On Friday we washed windows for this elderly couple. He's 90 and she's 80. They were also so wonderful to talk to! They've been married for 47 years. And they showed us their daughter and her 7 kids. They kept saying that they were so blessed - they were only able to have one child, but they were so blessed to have so many grandkids! Partly because this daughter kept conceiving twins - she gave birth to two sets of twins, and conceived two more sets of twins but lost one in each of those pregnancies. So in 5 pregnancies she only conceived a singleton ONCE. Crazy. We also helped an older woman weed her garden on Saturday. It was actually so relaxing and fun. It was great to focus our efforts on helping the temporal needs of some friends and neighbors.
We also taught Paul and Mechel. They are both members of the church, but they were baptized as children and their testimonies really haven't grown much since then. We teach them the same things that we teach to non-members, and it is SO rewarding. Mechel is going to General Conference with us!! Sunday morning!! This is where we meet every 6 months to learn from our church leaders. I am so stinking excited for this!!! And so is she!! She has changed so much in the 5 weeks that I've known her. She said yesterday that she felt like sometimes in church that people said things that were meant just for HER. And she keeps saying how much better she feels on Sundays after going to church. Before I arrived, she would never even let the missionaries in to visit. My first Sunday here was the first time she let us in, but even then she wasn't really interested. She's just such a wonderful person, and I can feel God's love for her every time we go by. I love that we are able to help her get to know Jesus Christ a little better, and to develop her faith, and to help her make her life feel a little better. Last night we talked about the restoration of the gospel, and how the people of the world were living in darkness for so long because they didn't know where to find truth. She said that that's how she felt in her own life, and that it felt so wonderful to find that light at last. LOVE HER.
Also, Paul. Wow this family. I feel so drawn to them! His wife is a wonderful person. And Paul is a lot like Mechel in that he hasn't ever really prayed or felt God answer his prayers and he has spent most of his life searching. He has a hard time forgiving himself of past mistakes, but he is TRULY a wonderful person. The way that we feel when we visit with this family is nearly indescribable. Again, we just feel God's love pour out for them. It's so wonderful to be able to teach people about faith and repentance and the atonement. It's ok! You can make mistakes in your life! Try to do your best, but don't beat up on yourself if you fall short. When children learn to walk, a parent doesn't yell at them for stumbling. And God treats us the same way. He WANTS us to get back up and to try again. To rely on Him and to become strong. If you have a minute, youtube "Because of Him." It's a Mormon Message that teaches about Christ and what He did for us. I want so much for the people that I know and meet in life to understand the truth of those statements. I've been feeling it so much that I am brought to tears. It's just incredible. I love that I get to spend this time of my life helping others to realize the truth of that message.
Being a missionary is wonderful hard work. I miss all of you so much. I miss my family like crazy. But I know this work is so eternally important. It feels so wonderful at the end of each day to realize that we worked hard and to think "I did something good today." I wouldn't trade this opportunity for the world.
Love you all! Thank you so much for your support and letters!