Okay, I am so sorry that I didn't write last week! We were at the library and because of the amount of people, the computers cut off early... silly. I was momentarily stunned. haha So, this week's email will include 2 weeks worth of information :)
To start off - Thanksgiving is so soon!!!! :D I am so happy that everyone will be in Ohio for thanksgiving because those were always the best, even though it means you will all only be roughly 3.5 hours away from me..... uh. haha My relief society president and a group of women went down to the colombus temple this last week to do a few sessions, when I told them that almost my ENTIRE extended family lives just outside of colombus, they were shocked. They made a few comments about calling them up to see if anyone wanted to join them at the temple and get a picture for me, but I didn't have a number to give them. haha Oh well, it was a nice thought. We have 2 dinner appointments on Thanksgiving and I am very excited to get to spend time with the members, and build those relationships with them :)
Oh! Destiny was baptized on the 16th! :) She is doing so great. It actually was kind of a rough situation because satan was trying really, really hard to prevent her from being baptized. The day before her baptism she was doing some research on the internet (she LOVES to read and is constantly looking for more knowledge - so cool) and came across some anti-mormon literature :( She said that it was about Joseph Smith and that even though she knew right away that it gave her a nasty feeling inside, it made her momentarily wonder if she wanted to push back the baptism. Ah! But then she said that she took a moment to think about it, and she realized that whenever she thinks about the church, the members, or her baptism, she has nothing but happy feelings! So she decided to continue on and NOT call us to push back her baptism (thank heavens). Then the next morning as Sister Wazaneggar came to pick her up, she opened her door to find a Jehovah's Witness version of our pass-along cards stuck in her door! Then she told us she thought, "holy cow! I just need to hurry up and get to the church!" haha When she got there, everything went great :) She kept saying "I have found God's real family! I am so happy to be adopted into HIS family!" She has so much faith. Yesterday, she received a calling to work in the family history center :)
I have gone on 2 exchanges this last 2 weeks, and both of them were so wonderful. The first, I was able to go to Cranberry and serve with Sister Burnett!! Remember the day I received my endowment and I met a girl in the Celestial room that was coming to this mission - that is her! We were together in the MTC, and when we got to see each other again last week, Sister Burnett said, "it's like seeing family!" And I felt the same way :) We had such an awesome time serving with each other for that short 24 hours. Then, just a few days ago, I got to go to Avalon which is a walk area about 45 minutes from Butler. IT WAS SO FUN! I seriously hope Heavenly Father calls me to serve in a walk area at some point in my mission because I really felt like I got to talk to so many more people! Their area is pretty ghetto though. We went to main street for the time we had planned to street contact, and while there, I heard an enormous amount of profanity, talked to a couple people who were either high or wasted, and witnessed a man getting arrested. That same man who was arrested, Bryan, actually helped us. As we were walking down the street in his direction, he yelled out, "hey! You girls know a John Smith?!" ...haha We politely corrected him, and walked over to where he and his friend Damon were standing. Bryan told us that he was baptized when he was 22, "straight from the penitentiary!" He was a little loopy from the alcohol he had recently consumed, but they few things he did say grabbed the interest of his friend Damon :) Damon turned to us and started asking us questions about our badges and the pass-along card we had just given him, what the "beautiful building" was and what we do everyday. During this conversation, Bryan had gotten into a huge argument with his sister which led to them screaming profanities at each other from across the street, causing the police to show up and get involved. As this was happening, Bryan looked over at us and yelled, "Yo Damon! You gonna help me out?" Damon looked at us and said, "I'm not getting into trouble for him." So we starting walking the opposite direction. As we were walking, Sister Hansen ran into another man that she knew, she they started a conversation while Damon and I continued to talk. He was talking to me with such genuine curiosity, it made me so happy! At one point, he turned to me and sincerely asked, "so what made you decide to do this and come out here?" I got to bear my testimony of the gospel and the blessings it has brought me. I really felt my testimony as I was telling him! It was a very neat experience :)
Ah... life is good. It is beginning to get very cold here and today, there is a thin layer of snow on the ground. Apparently we are expecting 3-6 inches here in the next couple days which is a really big deal for the people here. haha. I'm glad that I was raised in Michigan so I know what to expect and how to "survive"! ;)
Well, I love you all so much!! Enjoy every minute of Thanksgiving together and know that I am grateful for you! I am realizing more and more the many blessings that I have been given throughout my life and many of those blessings are the people in my life... :) LOVE YINZ!!
p.s. Pictures: 1) Sister Draper and I with Destiny at her baptism :) 2) Me with Destiny's grandson - his name is Justus and he has been through so much! He is only 5 and he has been through 11 surgeries including some for the stage 4 liver cancer that he fought. He is so cute though! 3) Sister Draper and I in the beautiful snow!
Have a fabulous week!!