Thank you for the letters everyone!!!! They were wonderful! (the people around me in the library right now probably think I'm crazy because I kept [quietly mind you] laughing at all the cute and funny things you all shared...)
The Story about Don:
One night we were looking at the map, planning where we would go tracting the next day, and a street name JUMPED out at me. The street was named Poplar. I got really excited when I saw it, and Sister Brown agreed that we could go there. We talked to some really cool people, and ended up setting up appointments to return to two of them. One was a girl named Cierra who is in high school still. She is really cool. The other was Don. As we were talking, before we even really said anything about our beliefs, he started telling us his beliefs and we were just thinking, yeah... that's true. yeah... we know. Almost everything he said lined up with something that we teach in the church. He had known about the church from family history and knew a little about our history and had in fact defended the church on a number of cases about the polygamy thing. Pretty cool. He is 63 years old and is unable to work becuase he has really bad osteoarthritis, but some minister gave him a blessing type thing about a year and a half ago, and he hasn't had a major attack since. Anyway... When he was younger he had actually studied to be a minister, but then decided not to be one afterall. He knows a lot about religions though and loves learning about them. He invited us back, and we gave him a mormon.org card to look things up before we came back to meet with him. When we called him the day before to confirm the appointment, he said that as he was looking at the website he kept asking himself, "Did I write this? Or did someone else? Because this is exactly what I think!" Can you say "GOLDEN" or what?? He also has two CRAZY dogs who are loud and yippy and don't like new people. When we went over for our first appointment, the dogs took about 2 minutes getting to know us, and then when we all sat down, they went to the living room and were quiet. The only distraction they caused was that Don was surprised they were being so good! It was really cool. He told us that he normally doesn't like talking to religious people because he disagrees with so much of what they say that he just wants to annoy them as much as possible and then get rid of them as soon as possible. But it's different with us. He loves having us come over! He also said that whenever he walks into a church, he feels uncomfortable. There are some churches he won't even go into anymore, because he just feels so weird when he's there. But when he went to one of our churches to work on family history stuff, he felt good and comfortable and calm. He said agrees with 99.9% of what he reads on mormon.org, and the other .1% he doesn't agree with is just because he doesn't understand it yet. As soon as we explain what it means, he's like, "Okay. That makes sense. I like that..."
His wife is, first of all really busy, so we've only ever seen her once, and second of all much more skeptical. They've had some bad experiences with churches in the past, so she is hesitant to really agree with anything at this point. All on his own, Don started telling us that he was working on his wife. He doesn't want to push her, but he really wants her to see and hear and feel what he does when he meets with us and reads from the Book of Mormon. He is working on getting her to come to church because HE really wants to come to church and he knows that if he can get her there, she will like it.
I'm telling you, this man is amazing! He is basically teaching himself and all we have to do is reassure him that it's true and help him recongnize that reason everthing feels so different with us is becuase it's true and that is the Spirit working within him.
Okay, now that I got that incredible story told, I can tell you about all the other funny little things that have been going on. There is a family in our ward (well actually 2, they are brothers and the one has 6 kids and the other has 10). They are related to some Hatches, so he asked me for some family history info and then did some research and found out that we are related through the Hatches that came to America with the pilgrims in the 1600s.
The other day we went to this apartment complex to try to see this lady: we've been trying to see this lady Patty, but her phone is always off or doing something weird, so we have been trying to just stop by. The problem is, the outside door to her building is locked and the buzzer doesn't work. Kind of complicates the situation. I have been PRAYING that somehow we would be able to run into her, and that day when we went, the door into the building just happened to have been left open. We were able to get inside, and though she wasn't home, we left a note with our number with the girl who answered the door. Hopefully she will call us soon.
A great thing I have realized, and very much appreciate, about the people of the Bolingbrook/Woodridge area: They don't scrimp on toilet paper. Almost every house I have been to, they use the soft, thick, good stuff. None of this thin scratchy cheap stuff. It's great :) (and yes I realize how weird that is to share)
Halloween is a SUPER awkward holiday as a missionary! Our job is to go around knocking on people's doors and to talk to them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Doesn't exactly work when kids are going around knocking on people's doors asking for candy... Luckily we found out that Illinois has a mandated time period for trick or treating, so we were able to work around that particular time. Which was convenient, but also weird. I have never heard of that before, but it's a great idea.
We have been very blessed with beautiful weather and I am very grateful for it. I love you all! It was good to hear from you. I will have to print off your emails next week so I can have them to keep reading because they bring me so much joy!!
Love, Sister Hatch