Yes, I'm alive! And shorter e-mails would be better from you, if you want longer ones from me. In one hour I have to send my report to the president, read my other emails from him and the mission secretaries, read your emails and email you. Plus I LOVE getting mail! Especially pictures! When are you going to send me that picture book mom? You know the one you bought but never filled with pictures? Jackson has one. What, is he better than me or something? But before I answer your questions I made of list of stuff that would be helpful to me.
First I need my contacts. And also we can play Cd's in our car, but we only have one CD with 11 songs on it, and they are good, but getting SOOOOOOOO old! So if you could make one from my iTunes, or even have Saydi make one from hers and send it to me, that would be wonderful! I do kind of want one with just hymns on it though. Sister Chen and I both like the song I Believe in Christ a lot, so you could put that one on one.
And yes, I did get the coat. Sister Chen and I had fun taking pictures of me in it. Really mom, do you realize how long that coat is? And was the belt in the same package? Because I didn't see it. I"ll look when I get home.
Yeah, but I love letters.
So Sister Chen is awesome. She's taught me a lot about faith and having faith in Christ. Sometimes she can't understand what is being said in a lesson, so she relies on the Holy Ghost to know what to say. The first couple of days were rough with trying to understand what she was saying, and I got frustrated. But now that I've been around her enough I can understand her, most of the time. Although I don't think she understands what I'm saying a lot. It's kind of funny. So I just go along and figure it out eventually. Because she can't speak 100% english (you should hear her mix up her verbs) I've had to learn to take part in the lessons. I don't just share a scripture like most greenies do. I actually teach. And now in tracting I take every other contact. At the beginning I HATED tracting! It's spiritually draining. Well that's what Sister Leahman said (I went on splits wit her). And yeah, it is. Because people are telling you they don't want this awesome, better-than-Maui gift! We had one lady open the door, say "No Thank you" then close it before we got a word out. One guy told us that he thought religion was a magical fantasy that people had to help them out in this life. Yeah, it does help us, but it's not magical.
The areas I'm in aren't dangerous though. There's a lot of people everywhere, and I'm only afraid at night. Like a few days ago we stopped at an investigators house, and let me tell you, Illinois doesn't believe in street lights. There's this road, Butterfield, and it's a 50 mph road, and there is not one street light on it! And there's thick trees surrounding it! Somethings wrong with that. So anyways we go up to Debra's house, and it's dark, but we have to go around back. So pretty much everything is dark, and I get so nervous. Like it's scarier than feeding my bunnies. I don't know if it was just because I'm scared of the dark, or it was the spirit. But she wasn't home, so we went to go see if a part member family was home, and all I was thinking was, "Can we just go home?" They weren't home, so we did go home. It was weird.
Oh, but I found out something cool. So when tracting instead of saying, "We're missionaries from the church....and we want to share a message with you and your family about the importance of families." yada, yada, yada. I was reading in PMG and I got this idea to bear my testimony instead. So the first time I did that I just said, "I know that we can be with our families forever, and because Jesus Christ lives, we can live again too." And guess what? We got a return appointment! Except he's getting his wisdom teeth out. Yeah, not fun.
But we're meeting with this guy, Lynnwood tomorrow. He's black and loves Jesus. It's kinda humours. We have one investigator, Kelsey. I love her sooooooo much! She's 23, has struggled with depression and one time tried to kill herself. She's Catholic (who isn't around here?) but she says when she prays she hears static. She's read the BOM three times, and only recently started to pray. We took a recent convert with us to our appointment with her last week. The RC is around her age too. Those two clicked right away. So I was really glad we took Lauren (the RC). But I remember when Kelsey was talking about something I just felt this feeling that the Lord loved her. It was so awesome. So I told her that. I also shared with her Alma 7:11-12, about the Atonement, and how the Lord knows exactly what "you, Kelsey are going through." She said she'd come to General Conference, but her meeting went late, so she didn't come. And we haven't been able to get ahold of her since. I really want to meet with her again. I know that this gospel can bless her life so much, and she can come to an understanding of who she is, and that the Lord is really there listening.
Earlier that day we met with Lauren, and I don't remember what we were talking about, but I asked her very boldly if she knew that the Lord loved her. I know that that was an inspired question. Because as she was talking to Kelsey about it later she said that it really made her think. And then two days ago we were at Lasonja (a black lady) house. She's less active. She said, "Sometimes I feel 100% faith in Christ. I feel that no matter what, I can do anything, and He'll take care of everything for me. But then when other people come to me with their problems I feel, 'Why do you worry? Everything will turn out for the better!' So is that bad? I feel that when I don't have 100% faith that I'm more humble." Yeah, tough question. I really listened to the Spirit. But I asked her if there was ever a time when Christ said, "You have too much faith." And she said no. So I helped her realize that you can't have too much faith. Then she said that maybe she was being impatient with other people. And I told her, that yes, she probably was. But it was so awesome to help her realize that it wasn't because she had too much faith that she was feeling proud, but that she probably needed to be more patient.
Oh, and driving. OH my heck, I don't like it, but the Lord has blessed me so much. I know the major streets around here, and I know not to go on I88, because that's a toll highway, and if I don't get in the right lane, then I have to pay. We have a little sticker on our car so that when we pass through the Church pays for it, but you have to be in the right lane, or else you have to pay. And you don't know which lane to get in until about .1 miles before your supposed to go through, and your going about 40 mph. Yeah, not fun. And then the stupid GPS sometimes will take me in a wacko way. Like it told me to go into a parking lot one time. Really? That was a stressful night. But no, I know the major roads, and usually I can find my way back home without the GPS. The Lord is really protecting me. Elder Gates (the AP) said that Sister Chen can't drive because she only has a Taiwan licence. And plus she was asking me questions yesterday like, 'Why don't you go when the light red?" I was making a left hand turn, and she said that her last comp, Sister Rousson, went when it was red. I explained that she was probably making a right hand turn, and you can go right when the light is red and there's no other cars coming.
OH, and can I tell you that the worst pizza I've ever had was in here in the suburbs of Chicago? It was at Cici's pizza. Some members took us out to eat on Saturday in between sessions. And the pieces were small, greasy and not soft. I really want the pizza that's right by the Conoco station. That pizza was good. But the members feed us SOOOOOOOO much! Every house we go to they just give, give, give! On Sunday night we went to the Newcomers. Sister Newcomer is from the Philippines, actually there are quite a few members in the Wheaton ward that are from there. But it was like this party thing, where there were quite a few people there, and there was so much food! Then there was desert afterwards. Saturday night we went to go teach a member family so we could practice and get to know them, and she gave us cinnamon rolls. Last night we went to Rosali's house, also from the Philippines, and she had this seafood dish that was interesting. It had muscles, shrimp, and other seafood in there. She had really good rice, and the best egg rolls I have ever had, no joke. They weren't greasy, and they were homemade. What's more is that they had beef and pork in them, and I STILL liked them! I asked for the recipe. But then she had this "cake." Oh my gosh, worst thing in the world! It was made from the Yucca plant...I think. IT was basically a fruit in the Philippians and she ground it up, cooked it and put cheese on top. Grosse! But I ate what she gave me! Then I went home looking for some chocolate.
A couple nights ago we went to the Mitchel's. Brother Mitchel was out of town, but his wife, and two of their sons were there. I could tell that she wasn't too thrilled to have us over. But I pretended like I didn't notice. I talked with their 15 yr old son, and during dinner all of us were taking. We gave them the family mission plan, and she said that she was working on some of her neighbors. I could tell that when we first came over she didn't really trust us with them, but then by the time we left she said, "I should have invited them over for dinner too, so they could meet you!" I think Sister Chen really touched her wit her conversion story, and how she decided to go on a mission. It was cool. And she gave us this french dish. It was rice, then on top beef and green beans. And it was sooooooo good! I don't like beef, but it wasn't stringy or tough. was good. Then she had this french apple desert. It was a crust, with apricot jam and apples sprinkled with sugar on top.
Okay, this is funny. I just looked around, and all the computers names are president's names. Mines' Lincoln. Oh, the Mitchels named all of their sons after presidents that begin with T, There's Tyler, Trumann, and Taft. Then their daughter is the daughter of a president. I can't remember her name.
Oh, and I know how you can help me! HELP THE MISSIONARIES IN OUR WARD! Well if you trust them that is. But honestly life would be so much easier if we had more referrals. Tracting is okay now, but in my opinion it's not the best way to baptise people. If people have Mormon friends then they already know a little bit a bout the church. Plus they have an immediate support system. Also members at lessons are awesome too! I don't think the missionaries before have been utilizing the members as much as they should. So Sister Chen and I are really trying to get to know the members more.
Oh, on Friday I think we have an appointment with a less active member. She was at General Conference and she's a piano teacher. I found out that she has a Steinway piano! Sister Chen wants to hear me play, so we asked Sister Moffett if it was okay if I brought music with me. She said yes! I was excited! Sister Chen was like, "Please don't cancel, I really want to hear Sister Ostler play piano!" It was funny.
Okay, time's up. Hope that answered the questions.