So first off, I wanted to tell you about my crazy travels! We left the MTC at 9:00pm, flew all night long (with a layover in Atlanta) and then arrived in Pittsburgh at around 8:30am. I am so bad at sleeping on planes that I didn't get ANY sleep.... rough. So we got to meet President Topham, he is such a nice guy, and he took us to the mission home! His adorable wife fed us breakfast and he conducted interviews. Once we were done interviewing, he let us find a spot in the house and nap until we went to the church for instruction. The next day we had a little more information given to us, and then we met our trainers and we assigned to an area!!! My trainer's name is Sister Thompson, and I have been assigned to serve in the E-town(Elizabethtown) North area. She is 5'0'', from Utah, has a twin named Holly, and has only been out in the mission field for 12 weeks. Haha. She is really sweet, and we are learning together as we go.
But anyway, the people here really do talk so funny! It's mostly the older generation, but they do say "yinz" all the time and the best part for me is the way they ask questions. Everywhere else that I have lived, people usually use inflection at the end of the question, kind of going up at the end to make it sound like you are asking something. But here, they accentuate the word in the middle of their question! It's so goofy! It makes it sound like they are confused or something. Haha But yeah, the area is gorgeous. Driving to Elizabetown, which took us over 6 hours-craziness, was so beautiful. Everything is so green here, and we had to drive through their version of mountains. They just look like HUGE hills that are completely covered in trees. Another aspect of this area that I love so much, are the fireflies. Every night, they are everywhere! It's so fun to look outside in the open area next to our apartment and see little yellow lights flashing everywhere.
This first week has been so crazy! After arriving, the first few days were not the best. I didn't really know what we were supposed to be doing, so I was getting frustrated that we were hardly talking to any people in the area and we only had one investigator. I had been told time and time again that if I did everything I could, Heavenly Father would help and provide me with people to teach. I also felt that the most important thing we could do, is try and find people to teach. Sister Thompson has very little motivation to go tracting, but after a lot of explaining how I felt, she agreed to it. We tracted for about 5 hours over the course of 2 days and found zero success. We met very interesting people, but none that were interested in hearing our message. This was extremely disheartening for me and felt that I was doing something wrong, but couldn't figure out what it was. I kept praying with all my heart that we would be prompted to find those people that were prepared to hear our message. Finally Sunday came and our one investigator came with her mother (a less-active) to church. This was a huge blessing because she had a friend in the ward and immediately felt comfortable being there. The second miracle that we saw yesterday, was that we received a referral from our Ward Mission Leader's daughter. This strengthened my faith in the power of working hard, and never losing trust in the Lord.
One thing that has helped me get through this week, was actually a talk that my beautiful cousin Jessie shared with me before I left. It is by Thomas S. Monson and is called, "Finishers Wanted." There is a poem in this talk that has really helped me refocus in those moments when I have been frustrated or sad during this past week. It says:
Stick to your task til it sticks to you
Beginners are many, but enders are few
Honor, power, place, and praise
Will always come to the one who stays
Stick to your task til it sticks to you
Bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it, too
For out of the bend, and the sweat, and the smile
While come life's victories... after a while
I love you all! This work is hard, but I love this gospel with everything that I have. I will do everything I can for the time I have been given here in Pennsylvania, and I know the Lord will help me do it.
Love- Sister Walborn
p.s. The pictures! The one where I'm blowing a kiss, I had to take because I wanted to show everyone some of the things that day that reminded me of home- quilt from tammy, ugly doll from halle, inspiration quote/decoration from britter, necklace from grandma, and nametag from alex :) There is one in front of the Elizabethtown sign with Sister Thompson, a picture of 3 of the missionaries I was traveling with(they actually fell asleep the lucky bums), and there is one of me with my amazing MTC companion Sister Williams. Yay for missionary work!