Some fun facts to start us off: 1)People go to bed REALLY early here, and by 5:00 is is DARK. Both of these make for very interesting contacting/finding in the evenings... 2) I have discovered a store like-unto Winco, which makes me happy :) It is called Food for Less and you bag your own groceries like Winco and it really is cheaper! Thankfully they do take credit card though. 3) The wind is so LOUD here! In fact, there is so much wind, that I swear you can almost see it sometimes...
I picked up the package this morning and it is wonderful!!! Thank you so much! It really was perfect. And the gloves are nice to have now because my red, possum fur ones seem to have disappeared. Luckily I have still had the little stretchy gray ones, but it is still sad to lose those ones. That little angel is adorable Mom! And the pine cones smell so good! And thanks for all the peanut buttery things. Mmmm...
Saturday was incredible. It was supposed to rain all day and be really windy so we were nervous. But, God knew what we needed and the words to "Be Still my Soul" kept running through my head: "The waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below" because it didn't rain, the wind didn't start until after we were done, and in fact it was actually quite nice and warmed up a bit. So many people from the ward came to help and it was wonderful. Don and Rose were astounded that so many would come to help and that they did such a fabulous job. Every time we talk to them, they express their extreme gratitude. It has been really neat. Sister Brown and I were also able to go inside and talk with Rose for quite a long time and answer lots of her questions. We had a really good discussion with her and they said they are definitely coming back to church this week! They weren't able to attend Stake Conference this weekend, but they said they WILL be there on Sunday. Yay!
Stake Conference was really good. They had three recent converts/ recently re-activated members talk about what it means to them to "be a Mormon" and they all did a really great job. The Stake Presidency all gave really great talks as well and then the Temple President and his wife spoke. He said that some people would never even dream of missing Sacrament meeting, and some people wouldn't even consider not paying their tithing - so do we feel that way about the Temple? It was a pretty cool perspective. He also said that we shouldn't just be going to the Temple to get a spiritual renewal, but that we should be gearing up spiritually so that we can go to the Temple. He said it much better than that, but that was the point he was making. Another thing I really liked from Stake Conference was from the Stake President. He talked about how conviction leads to action and action leads to revelation.
I don't remember if I ever thanked you for the letter you sent wit all the notes in it! THANK YOU. Thank you Mom and Dad. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa (also thank you for your letter Grandma!). And thank you Quilting Mothers! When I lost Dad's original "fear not" note, it was really hard for me. It was a silly thing I know, but the note meant a lot to me - they all do - and to lose one was difficult. I prayed that I would be able to find it, and I knew that Heavenly Father could easily give me a miracle in which it would turn up. I didn't understand why He wouldn't give me such a small thing, especially because it gave me so much comfort and courage. And then when your letter arrived I realized why Heavenly Father hadn't answered my prayer - at least not in the way I had asked Him to. It was because He had something better in mind for me. If I hadn't lost that note, I wouldn't have gotten all those others and the added love and support and joy that came with them. It's a small example, but it has really taught me that although it may seem like He sometimes doesn't answer our prayers at times, we have to understand that He knows what He is doing, and that what He is doing will be so much better than we could have even imagined or hoped for.
The same day that we met Don, we met a girl named Cierra (who also lives on Poplar) and we have been teaching her, but because she is so busy, we have only been able to meet with her every other Tuesday. We met with her for the third time yesterday. The last time we met with her we read 1 Nephi 1 with her (because she hadn't been reading since our last appointment) and then invited her to read something everyday. When we went back yesterday and asked her how her reading was going, I couldn't have been more pleasently surprised. She has read up to 1 Nephi 22! We were also able to have her say the prayer at the end of the lesson and it was really beautiful. She is wonderful and I am so excited for her. She said she might come to church this Sunday because she doesn't have any dance things this weekend, so we are praying that she WILL come.
For Thanksgiving we are going to the Otto-Piech family's house. Cecily asked if we could help them put up their Christmas tree afterward and I told her only if we could listen to Christmas music ;). Thursday evening we are trying to set appointments with members so that we don't have to be out proselyting and having everyone think we don't celebrate Thanksgiving.
Sister Brown and I continue to grow closer and we are starting to have a lot of fun together. I am very happy.
A lot of my scripture study this week has been bringing with it a recurring theme (that really has been a theme since I was in the MTC with things people have said etc.) That theme is FEAR NOT. Funny how that all works out, right? I have been praying to know how I can become a better missionary, and the answer I seem to be getting is that I need to stop being afraid of inconvienencing people on the sidewalk, or in the store, and just talk to EVERYONE! A scripture related to this theme that I have decided to memorize is D&C 6:33-34. So that is my goal for the next little while: To take advantage of those opportunities Heavenly Father gives me to talk to more people, becuase who knows when one of them will be searching for the Truth.
I love you all so much! Happy Thanksgiving! Our district leader asked us to text him on Thursday and tell him one thing that we are grateful for from that day and one thing that we are most grateful for out of everything, and the thing that I am most grateful for in all the world is My Family. You are such amazing examples to me, and you bring me so much joy and happiness. You are my greatest strength and your loves sustains me through all of the heartache and challenges I have faced in my life, all of those I am now facing, and I know it will through future challenges as well. Thank you for being the wonderful family that you are. Knowing I can be with you all for eternity makes everything else worth it.
All my love,
Ali (though technically I suppose I should say Sister Hatch)