Lots of cool that's been happening, and will yet happen. First item on the list:
Don't worry, President Doll had us in by 4PM, but we went in at 2:30 because that's when the snow started coming down. It was so cool though! The snow just kept coming. I tried taking pics, but it didn't do it justice. At about 7 that night I got tired of being inside and organizing all my letters so I said, “Sister Chen, we have to go outside and run around!” So that's what we did! We had a snowball fight and everything. And I got some fun pictures! The next morning, oh my goodness! Cars were buried, not completely, but pretty bad. Drifts were as high as right below my hips. It was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. We went out and shoveled from the door to the parking lot, then we swam to the cars and shoveled around them so when the big plow came up people wouldn't have to shovel around their cars as much. Hey, we had nothing else to do. The roads were cleared pretty quickly. But I have NEVER seen that much snow! It was so crazy! I guess the DLs car was in a 5 ft drift. The whole thing was an adventure. And we had plenty of food too. I did get tired of being inside all day. But hey, I'll never experience a storm like that again! It was so cool! I can't even describe it. Just the snow coming down and the wind, and the drifts, and the atmosphere of everyone slowing down so we could get the snow out of the way. It was kinda cool. I've never seen Chicagoans move, think, whatever so slowly.Second item on the list:
|Me fighting the storm|
|The day after. I'm standing on the sidewalk.|
Check out that snow!
Second item on the list:
I started getting a feeling on Monday that something was going to happen. And it didn't have anything to do with the storm. And I felt that I was getting transferred. At 10:30 pm on Monday the ZLs text us and tell us to stay up for another 30 minutes with phone on cuz APs will call about transfers. 11 rolls around, no call--no one's getting transferred. So we go to bed. At 12 the phone rings, Sister Chen gets it, and I can tell it's President Doll. I hear Sister Chen say, "Okay, thank you for this opportunity for me to serve. How do you spell it? H-O-W-E-L-L?. So I'll be staying here? Okay, thank you President. Sister Ostler, he want's to talk to you."
“Hi Sister Ostler.”
"Hi President Doll."
"We're going to be taking you away from Sister Chen."
"I figured as much."
"We are going to have Sister Chen train the new missionary, Sister Howell, and we are putting you with Sister Clark in Rensselaer, Indiana."
"Okay, that's awesome. I heard that's a great place.”
"It is. There's a branch down there that meets in an office building. Sister Doll and I spoke in it a few weeks ago and there is such a strong spirit there."
"I'm really excited." (and I was!)
"So Sister Clark will be leaving in March to go home. So we're planning on either you training someone in 6 weeks, or being the senior companion."
And I don't remember what else was said.
But that was the conversation.
So yeah, I packed during the storm, rolled my luggage through packed snow (not fun), met Sister Clark and now I'm in Rensselaer!!!!
She is awesome! She's an old missionary, but still likes to work hard. She's lactose and gluten intolerant, so today we had squash spaghetti, beans and rice. It was actually pretty good. The members feed us rice and veggies, so I'm a gonna get healthy! Yaya!!! She speaks a little Spanish, and she's from Utah. She loves smiling and loves life, and likes deep doctrine questions. She's served in this area for 9 months.
Oh my wow! Completely opposite from Wheaton! It's country! It's the best mission in the mission, according to Sister Clark. It's pretty far from any one else. There's a tiny branch here, but it's growing. Our investigators know each other, and we have a baptism this Saturday (tomorrow!) Crazy, huh? The driving is so chill. I'm not stressed out when I drive. (Yes, I"m still driving. Sister Ika prophesied I'll be driving my whole mission, and she was right). Speaking of Sister Ika, she served here a year ago. Back then the area was dead, but now it's really golden. I'm scared to take it over because I don't want to kill it. I look up to Sister Ika so much and she loved this area, she left her heart here, and I don't want to mess it up. I want to make her proud. But God wants me here. He obviously knows that I"ll do a good job. I'll just be relying on the Spirit and not my own brains. He's smart, I'm not. Sister Clark is my GPS, but I know how to get to two investigators' houses, the library, and I think the church. So that's cool.
This little branch is really growing too. I have a feeling I'll be here for awhile, that this will be my area. We're the only sisters in the Valparaiso Zone. Every elder in the zone loves us. I'll definitely miss my old zone, but I'm looking forward to meeting new missionaries. There's not as much snow here, but there's still a lot.
We have a next door neighbor, Stacy, and her family are members. She's been a long time investigator, and she just stopped smoking cold turkey, so she gets nervous. So guess what we go over to do to help her? We play nertz with her and listen to 80’s music. How cool is that? Sister Clark says they try to change the music to religion pop, or something like that. But yeah, I get to play nertz! And I guess Sister Clark is really good. But I'm really excited. And I don't know, this is such a small town and big area (we cover a lot of small towns) and I just love it! It's so quiet, and there's corn fields everywhere. They're covered in snow, but Sister Clark has been pointing them out to me. Our apartment is nicer than the Wheaton one. The bathroom is clean!
Oh, one more thing. I have to learn SPANISH!!!!! Can you believe that? Half our investigators speak broken english. Sister Clark learned it in 9 weeks, but she had a Spanish companion. So my goal is to learn how to pray in Spanish, read the Book of Mormon in Spanish, and learn 2 words a day, one regular word, one gospel word.
Rensselaer, IN 47976
Note: Sister Clark can't have gluten or milk! And we have a food storage.
Okay, I better go. I have about two minutes left, and I want to make sure this thing sends. I love you all! And thanks so much for your letters and pictures! I'm gonna need a bigger photo album. And I'm not sending my card home until next week!
Love you again!
The new country girl ;)