Dearest family and friends,
Sorry, I thought we would be able to email last week, but since we got to call our families that took the place of email. And oh what a wonderful hour it was talking to my family!!! I couldn't even talk half the time cuz I was crying... I keep imagining everyone changing so much while I'm gone, but everyone sounds exactly the same! Except Joshie--your voice is a lot lower :)
Christmas was great--we ate dinner at a member's home and they gave us lots of gifts :) People take such good care of us here, it's crazy. Sis. Crosby and I are getting nervous for next transfer...I have a feeling I'll leave Zionsville, cuz I'll have been here 6 months. Ah! That is so long!! I can't imagine being anywhere else! This is all I've known of the mission so far. But I know I will learn whatever I need to wherever I'm sent next.
We were given a referral from a member (that never happens!) and we went to contact the family but they weren't home. We tracted a street by them and had no success getting in to anyone's home. It was freezing outside and our toes and fingers were about to fall off. But I had a feeling we should try the referral one more time. So we trudged through the snow up to their door and knocked...and they answered! It was the dad and his son, and they talked to us for a bit and were really friendly. They said they have always been Baptist, and I just got the feeling he wasn't interested in talking with us about religion. We returned the tupperware the member of our branch gave to us to give to them, and before I said we needed to leave, the mom came up to the door and was super excited we were there! She said, "Oh, come in!!" She was way talkative and peppy, and I was caught off-guard when she said she wanted to talk with us. We didn't have any other appointments, but I said, "What day would work best for you for us to come by?" People don't just have time to visit right there, so I didn't know what to say! We started looking through our calendars, but I just kept thinking, Just stay here, they have time to talk! So I said, "Well, actually, we could stay and talk with you right now!" She got really excited and went and got her Bible and notebook and cleared off the kitchen table for all of us to sit and discuss. She said she loves talking about religion--and we got the idea that she isn't interested in changing so much as just getting to know what we believe, where the Book of Mormon comes from, why we believe certain things, etc. The whole discussion was so intense, but I am pleased to say we stayed true to the doctrines from Preach My Gospel and we didn't let it turn into a Bible bash at all! It was a very friendly interaction. The woman even asked, "So, how do you know the Book of Mormon is true?" Sis. Crosby bore a powerful testimony and the spirit was so strong. The woman especially was curious about the apostasy and history of the Book of Mormon, so we will talk to her more about the Restoration at our lesson this week (return appointment!!). We invited her to start reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning, cuz that is where she will get her answers. We left that lesson thinking, "What just happened?" That is a typical thought here on the mission. And every time we come in for the night we say, "What a day..." The mission is crazy!!!
One night a couple weeks ago we were sound asleep...and all of a sudden someone started pounding at our front door. I looked at the clock and it said 11:30. I was scared to death. Sis. Crosby sat up and we looked at each other. We didn't dare get up to see who was at the door. After a minute Sis. Crosby said, "Should we pray?" She said a prayer and then decided to look at the phone. Thirteen missed calls! From the assistants, our district and zone leaders, President Collins... Apparently we had forgotten to text them that we were in for the night. If Pres. Collins hasn't heard from every single missionary in the mission to know that they are in and safe every night, he will not rest until he finds them. Our phone was on silent so we didn't hear it ringing while we were asleep. We realized, "Oh my gosh, that's probably President Collins outside." The pounding had stopped, but a minute later it started again, and we rushed to the door. We were in our PJs, and so was President Collins! We must've looked scared to death because he said, "I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you! We just hadn't heard if you were in for the night, so I was just checking to make sure you're ok! Now go to bed, it's past your bedtime!" He is the most loving man in the world. We couldn't get to sleep for about an hour after that...and now our phone is always on vibrate at night! I flinch whenever someone knocks at our door now, even if it's during the day!
Day to day, the mission is so up and down. But when you look at the big picture, it's always up. Sis. Crosby have really seen improvement in ourselves and in our goals--we have worked really hard to reach our goals and it is starting to show! It's hard when we don't see immediate results, but very rewarding when you look back and see that we really have made a difference. We are teaching a lot of new investigators, and a couple families which is so exciting! There are families who are searching for a church that will allow them to raise their kids with good solid values, not churches that are run like businesses. I love this gospel and it's so exciting to teach it to people. I have been marking all the promises (if...then statements) in Preach My Gospel, and God promises us so much if we just obey Him and act on the spirit! We rely too much on our own understanding, and it takes practice to trust that God is always right and He will always lead us in the right direction! I love this work, and I love love love being on a mission. 2013 is going to be an incredible year, because we will be getting so many new missionaries!! These are the last days, and the work is moving forward so fast! It's so amazing to be right in the middle of it all. Ah! The church is so true! It all makes so much sense!! Go tell all your friends!!!
Happy new year :)
PS--I don't have my camera cord with me this week, but I'll try to remember next week so I can send pictures!