Wait, you're in Hawaii? Why? I thought you were just there? What happened? Don't leave me hanging! I hate it when you do this!
And yeah, we haven't received any mail all week. But we're cool with that. We blame Stacey, our nertz playing neighbor, for it. She's awesome though. Really funny. She has a dry sense of humor.
So yeah, Rensselaer...I LOVE IT HERE!!!! You know I would cuz it's the country. But yeah, I have to learn Spanish, and it's hard! I mostly understand it when people aren't speaking too fast, but yeah, it's hard. I don't know how to speak it, which is hard. I've been trying to learn how to pray in Spanish...that's my first step. Then it's actually speaking. We're teaching this Spanish family right now. The aunt is Rose, and her niece is Diana, and then there are two little boys (actually there are kids everywhere) but there's two little boys that are so cute! We go over there and sing "Soy Un Hijo De Dios" and they're getting pretty good at it. We mostly teach Diana because she can speak English. But Rose has been sitting in on a few lessons. They like it when we come over. One time the little boys said, "Las Hermanas! Otra Vez??!" It was so funny! I love those little Spanish talking boys!
Sister Clark is pretty good at Spanish. She did a lot of praying and fasting for that gift! She learned it out here. And when I say she's older, I just mean older mission wise. Like I'm 5 months old. She's 18 months old (she's staying another month cuz President Doll asked her to.) So yeah, that's what I mean. She leaves in March, which is way sad. We get along so well. We both like to have fun, and that's what we've been doing. Like yesterday after lunch we made red velvet cake cookies for Gabby's b-day. And for district meeting yesterday. And this morning she made heart pancakes for breakfast! It was fun! And we stay up and talk, and we talk everywhere. She's so awesome and is such a good missionary. She doesn't attack people, which is what I do sometimes, because I get impatient with them.
Everything is so different than Wheaton. And yeah, Rensselaer is pretty small. But our area is huge. There's a lots of driving! It's crazy! We drove 1 hour to get to district meeting yesterday, and it took 1/2 hour to get out of our area. It was crazy! And there's no traffic either. But the sky is so big and beautiful all the time! And people here are pretty humble. We get a lot of good gospel conversations in. And Sister Clark is just teaching me a lot. I don't think she realizes it. She really reminds me of Danica though. She'll say the same things as her, and sometimes her voice sounds the same too. And she has the sweetness of Devey. She always compliments me, and is always serving others without even thinking of it. She's just so friendly. And instead of talking to them about the gospel right away, she'll sometimes get to know them. Like my second day here we tracted into a lady, Mary, and she let us in right away, then found out we were Mormons, and didn't want to talk about religion. So we talked about life in general, and eventually talked about religion. Not really about the Restoration, but about Christ and how he helps us get through trials. We did mention living prophets and scriptures, but not a lot. So it was really cool to do that.
Then yesterday, oh man! It was so great!!!! So we went to find some formal investigators in Wheatfield. We went to one house, but they had obviously moved. We tracted around their house and one of the first doors was a returned soldier from the war. He didn't really believe in God, but asked us questions. We pretty much taught him a condensed version of lesson 1 and 2. Sean really liked what he heard, and we got him to invite us back. We left him with Enos 1. It was great because as we were deciding what chapter to leave him with, Sister Clark just said, "Do you have any questions in life?" I would have never done that before. And from his answer we knew what chapter to leave him with.
Then we went to find another formal investigator, but the road didn't exist. We passed a farm house with the sign, "llama's for sale," and Sister Clark was like, "Llamas!!!!! I want to go see a llama!" So we actually turned around, drove up to the house, and a lady come out and asked what we wanted. She was an older lady. Not too old though. She was maybe 50-60. Well Sharon, after finding that we were there to see llamas was like, "What are you looking for?" Sister Clark was just like, "llamas!" So she showed us her llamas, and told us all about them. I guess a couple of them were nationally famous. Like Rocky Ramone. Look him up. Cuz I saw him!! They like sniffing our hair too. They were sooo cool! Sharon started talking about her 20 year old grandson who was living with them. He has escaped from a bad situation down in Florida and turned his life around. Except he was still doing some not so good things...Just stupid things that would only get him emotionally hurt. Sharon let us in her home where we met her husband, Jim. Sharon and Jim Boltz. Well Sharon kept suggesting that we come back and meet him. We could tell that she saw something in us that she wanted her grandson to have. His name is Corey by the way. But Sister Clark was so good. Every time she suggested we come back and talk with him/meet him, she said, "Yeah, we'll come talk to him about Jesus! We have a great movie that we want to show him." So we're actually going back tomorrow to show him finding faith in Christ and talk to him about something.
Later that night we compared ourselves to Ammon and how the king offered him his daughters and how he declined, but instead taught them the gospel and they were baptized. But yeah, Sharon was like, "Corey's going to be disappointed when he finds out that he missed two pretty girls!"
But what's kinda cool is that they are active members in their Lutheran church, and their preacher has been working with Corey and whatnot, but she still wants us to come over. It's that glow that we have ;)
But yeah, life here is awesome! We're the only sisters in our zone, which is really weird. I’m used to having two other sets of sisters in the zone, with one of them being in our district. But I’ll get used to it. Sister Clark likes hanging out with the Elders, which is good, cuz I do to. So I think we’re going to go to Hebron or something and play volleyball with them. I hope it's not basketball, or elimination. They play that sometimes, and I can't throw to save my life!
So about Miguel and his baptism. So I guess Sister Ika actually started teaching him about a year ago, and was going to drop him, but then Sister Clark came and saw the potential in him. They actually dropped him at one point. But then later he started to progress. He's a single dad. He has the cutest girls! Gabby, who just turned 8, Emma, Billy and Juana. They are some firecrackers, but so cute too! And he wanted to get baptized so bad too! The water in the font was freezing. Alejandro, who was baptized just 4 months ago, and is Miguel’s friend, baptized him. He was like, "The water’s cold!" And Brother Fernandez, the mission leader, was like, "Oh just get in!" Later Miguel told us, "The water was so cold, but afterwards it didn't really matter." And he also said, "I feel like a new person. I feel like I'm going to start a new life." Isn't that so cool?
We're hopefully going to have some other baptisms before Sister Clark leaves. There's this one guy, Todd Siebring. He's an old big guy with diabetes, and I don't know when the last time he took a shower was. He also smokes, but he has such a good, gentle heart. I love him. He wants to get baptized, and he's really starting to understand what we're teaching him. I love teaching him. We taught him the Word of Wisdom, and he said by Sunday he'd be smoke free. It took a long time to get him to say that though. But he says he likes the smell of smoke. Weird, but whatever. We think he'll get baptized.
Then there's Caressa. We love her! She's a single mom of two cute kids. She's looking for more peace in her life. Monday was the first time I had REALLY met with her. I had briefly met with her before. And Sister Clark had really only had one or two lessons with her. That day we were going to teach her about how coming to church draws us closer to Christ and how we can find strength and answers from coming to church. Well, we got there and Caressa said, "You know, I drove past your church on Sunday and there were cars in front of it. I was about to stop and go in, but I got too scared." We were amazed. We hadn't even talked to her about coming to church. So committing her to church that day was easy. And we set up a return appointment for Friday, and she was like, "Good, then you can remind me to come to church!" How cool is that! Usually it's us that says, "We'll call and remind you to come to church." But instead it's our investigator that reminded us! We loved it! We think she'll be baptized. Hopefully before I leave.
Oh man, I hope I stay here. I really do love it here! But I don't want Sister Clark to leave in March! She's been here for 9 months in March and knows the area and ward so well. The ward trusts her and she's like a part of it. She's not just a missionary. I want to become like that. I just have to get out of my shell. We're going over to the branch president’s house on Friday so Sister Cameron can teach us how to make cookies...sugar cookies with that shiny frosting on top. See, we just do fun stuff like that. I think that that helps me personally to work better when we actually go out and work. Like yesterday we went to district meeting, went out to eat with the elders, then went to work, and we got a lot done yesterday! We got 6 potential investigators. I can't even tell you how happy I am to be with Sister Clark right now! She's had some difficulties in her life, but she's over come them and now is an awesome missionary who loves everyone she comes in contact with.
Okay, well, I gotta e-mail a pic to Elder Ostler.
Oh, so there was this member in the branch who's last name is Frome. He's no longer in the branch anymore. I just thought that was funny.