So, I have a LOT of time now as opposed to last week where I had thirty minutes left when I finally got around to emailing....
and now i don't know what to do with myself.
Well, I went on exchanges with Sister Bullen on Tuesday, and we saw a lot of people up in Wasilla and Palmer area, which was exciting for her cuz she said it was the busiest she had ever been on her whole mission (haha, she's in her second transfer). First we went and tried the Woman In the Store at her house. She opened the door and said, "You threw me for a fluke!" Hahaha. She had dyed her hair a pretty dark color and it's crazy going back to an area for the first time in over half a year, you see everything almost the same but there are these little changes everywhere that totally surprise you. She was doing good but had no time to talk cuz she had (randomly) called into work that day (she now works for juvenile probation, no more store for her) and was trying to catch up on homework. She asked if I could come back up to Palmer on like, a Saturday, and I said I'd sure try, and we shared a scripture and had a prayer with her. She hasn't been taught since I left and there have been a couple of tensions in her marriage she said but everything is okay right now.
Man a lot of people have tension in their marriage and tell the missionaries all about it. Not that I mind. I just don't know how to help them! Just turn to the Savior, that's all I can say. And counsel with yer bishop if you've got one.
We went and saw Charlene, the woman who got baptized while I was there, the only baptism I've had so far, except for that ten-year-old girl that Sister Rivera and I helped the Pioneer Peak elders teach while I was in Palmer. Anyways. Charlene is doing sooo good. Going to temple prep classes, trying to get over a couple of things, her kids are making interesting choices so that is tough, but she's got a calling in her new ward (she moved, see) and she is gonna be working with the singles people age 31 and up. She just seems so happy. She's started reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning.
So that was exciting.
Then we went to go see an elderly woman in Sister Bullen's area that got moved to a senior citizen place now in MY old area and we got there and they told us she's in the hospital. She had pneumonia but looks like she's getting better. So, we started driving to the hospital to see her. Well, after this elderly woman we had planned to go see this young girl, about 12, who'd gotten baptized about 2 years ago and was the daughter of a less active, and she likes to draw anime stuff, so I will call her Miss Anime. I asked Sister Bullen if we should go see the elderly woman in the hospital now or go see Miss Anime, since she lived so close. Sister Bullen thought for a sec and then said, "Let's go see Miss Anime." So we did, she's doing good, we shared a quick thought with her, gave her a big hug. Then we drove to the hospital and we walked into the lobby and GUESS who I saw. Hahha. I saw Otis Marsh!!! From Petersburg! Just strolling along! Hahah my heck. I stopped in my tracks and was like, "Otis! What are you doing here?"
And he looked at me, all Otis like, all matter-of-fact, and said, "Diane's in the hospital!"
Now Otis is the father of the branch president in PSG who we lived with. Otis is the guy who got the wolf and his wife, Diane, called and was like, "Otis has got a dead wolf, if you wanna come see it!" in this sweet voice and Sister Hatfield and I stepped on the gas and booked it to their house. When Otis signed in my Alaska journal, he wrote, simply, "To the only girls interested in skinning wolves, Love Otis Marsh." Hahhaa.
Anyways. So Diane was in the hospital, nothing toooo serious, she got some bladder problems and they flew up here, they've got a son in Palmer. We went up and saw Diane and she was so excited to see me, waving her hands around and I of course started crying, not REALLY crying, but I kept having to wipe at my eyes, and I just love them. I just couldn't stop telling them "I just love you guys!" I'm a wreck. I might as well just up and move to Petersburg. I've never fallen so in love with an entire town before.
So that was so cool. SIster Bullen is so inspired to know that we needa go see Miss Anime BEFORE the hospital. If we'd walked into the hospital two minutes different than when we did, i have no idea if we'd have seen Otis. But I am so glad I got to see them.
We went and saw another woman, Sister Carley, Sister Brown and I started meeting with her when she was less active about a year ago, and by the time I left Palmer area I saw her give up lots of things and start going to church again. After I went to Petersburg I heard she got back to the temple. Well, it was so good to see her. She's been to the temple three times now. I asked her how long it had been since she'd been active and temple-worthy. She said since 1988. Oh my heck she's just so great. We barely did anything when I was serving there, we just met with her consistently once a week for months, and she made all those changes. I just love her! She's amazing!
We went to the church to meet with another less active, a guy in his 20s, in contrast he has not made any changes and still does not know WHY he needs God. It was hard to see him. He was very happy to see me and I was very happy to see him but I left that night still thinking about him and the next morning I was still bothered and sad. But I read Moroni 10 (and finished the Book of Mormon) in my personal study and read about how we've all been given gifts of the Spirit and Moroni pleads with us not to deny these gifts. And I understood that this kid has got his free will to accept or deny that God is there and wants to help us and I have done my part, I have told him straight up that the reason why he needs God in his life is because the only way he'll be able to happy and at peace after this life is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, otherwise he'll be lost. Sure, God will reward him a little bit cuz this kid is a pretty good person, likes to help others, all this stuff, but God has so much more he wants to give us, and that is eternal life---and peace. Well, he said, "I'll take the little bit," all brightly and grinning. Oh gosh. Hhahaha. Well, I told him he will always be my friend and I'll support him in whatever choice he makes, and he said, "Thank you." So, maybe one day he'll change his mind, but we'll see.
So that was Tuesday. It was exciting. I saw other people I loved at the church that night cuz people from Colony ward were there doing activities and stuff. And I saw the Gilmores for like 5 seconds, just stopped by the house and hugged them cuz we had to drive back to Eagle River.
Speaking of Eagle River, my area is doing good. We picked up a new investigator, a 13-year-old girl I will call Miss Shy, cuz she says she is "painfully shy." Hhaha. She's a former investigator, met with missionaries before, her dad is a less active. It's been a long time since she's met with missionaries--we are the first sisters she said. We've been meaning to go see her and then someone from the Meadow Creek ward actually referred her to us so we thought, "Okay, Heavenly Father is trying to tell us something." So we drove to the house and her grandma came out, she had a dog.
"She's not here," the grandma said. "Come back tomorrow, she'll be on spring break."
"Okay," we said, surprised. We came back the next day, turns out her grandma is a member, sort of active, also in the Meadow Creek ward. She let us in and we met Miss Shy and asked her if she'd like to be taught again and asked if her dad would have any problem with it (he won't they said) and we started teaching her, invited her to church, she said she was "painfully shy" and didn't have anything to wear. Grandma said, "I'll buy you a skirt and some shoes." And so we went to the Meadow Creek ward yesterday and Grandma took Miss Shy to church! And Miss Shy brought a friend from school. "I brought her to help me be less shy," she said. Hhaha. So we are excited to start teaching her.
Things are good. I love being a missionary. Hopefully I can keep it up till the end of my life, yeah?
I love you all,