Just walked in from the nice, warm 25 degree weather outside–so fun! 🙂
FIRST, thanks for all the letters you wonderful people! Mom, that package was great and I loved hearing from all the kids. Jacob’s five dollar letter? I was dying of laughter. Brin’s was adorable to, and Brig’s of course are always classic. 🙂
Um, Missy Hay Bay, where is yours dear?? I need a full detailed report on homecoming, plus the rest of life, so if you could get on that pronto that’d be awesome. M’kay thanks. 🙂
I also got letters from FRIENDS!! I mean family ones are great, but friend ones are a different kind of great. 🙂 Sister Jakins, once again, you seem to ALWAYS know what to send! I mean let’s start off with the Burt’s Bee’s, and then Cliff Bars?? Seriously, you and Tarryn are the best non-visiting visiting teachers ever. 🙂
RACHEL CHOW!! Ah, SO fun getting your letter! I’ll hopefully have time to write you back later today, but of course you would be my one faithful and true friend! 🙂 Haha, and I loved the pic by the way. You’re gonna make millions as a coloring book artist someday.
I also heard from Sister Montgomery! How she finds time to write me letters while she’s on a mission of her own blows my mind a bit–apparently she’s sending several more so I’m excited to get them!
Also, I found out that I got a few dear elders in the MTC, but I had already left. I think one was from Justin, so sorry I never replied or anything. 😦
Also, would it be asking too much to request a mailed copy of the family letter from Grandpa? I don’t have quite enough email time to look through it online, but would love to hear about all their great adventures! 🙂
Okay, I think we’re good with shout outs, so I’m excited to tell you about a bunch of my ‘firsts’ I had this week as a missionary!
So far, Tuesday’s seem to be my lucky days. 🙂 I got to go on my FIRST exchanges! The Sister Training Leaders (STL’s) came up with the Beesley’s and AP’s for their trip to fairbanks, so I got to go with Sister Grayson for a day! And it was awesome! We had a lot of great chats–spiritual and about missions in general. Honestly, the best thing about it was she taught me to rely on the spirit even more–whether it be picking out a name of someone to visit or what to teach them, but she also was just a great confidence boost. She’s so good at finding the good things about people and pointing them out, but doing it sincerely. I felt very loved and confident afterwards. 🙂 We got to go tracting for my FIRST time, and didn’t really meet anyone, but still had good small experiences, including a lady who told us she’s “already found Jesus” but she’ll “see us in heaven!”. Can’t wait to meet her again there. 🙂 We also felt like we should really go visit this one guy who ended up living forever away–and then it wasn’t even his house. I don’t think he actually needed the visit, but we needed the driving time so she could give me a bunch of good mission tips!
That night we switched back to normal companionships, and Sis Hart and I didn’t really know what to do because we only had half an hour before we had to be back in, so we decided to go try to visit this one guy that was never home. Then he WAS–the FIRST time in three months that Sis. Hart’s been here! Except, it wasn’t actually the guy we were looking for, but it’s okay, because it’s actually a YSA dude, and he was totally interested! BLESSINGS! Ah, we were such sister missionaries and had a little squealing party once we got back in the car because we were so excited. And then we were pumped for the rest of the night. Ah, too good. 🙂
Wednesday was my FIRST time eating at Great Harvest here! Haha, okay, maybe I’m trying a little too hard to stick with the whole ‘first’ thing. Anyway, I got a fever this day so that was a little rough, but we had training with the whole zone since the Beesley’s were here, which was great. My favorite part of Wednesday though was Katie, who took us to Great Harvest to eat. She’s a member, but wanted us to teach her since she can’t make it to institute because she’s coaching a middle school basketball team! Can you see how we connected?? She’s totally like my little Haylee here! Grown up a bit of course, but still, super cool. 🙂 We had such a good chat with her and she told us about everything since she doesn’t really have other people she likes to talk to. But she’s so cool, and some of the things she was talking about tied in EXACTLY to what we had decided to teach her! It was so cool, because the night before when we were deciding what to teach, Sis Hart was reading out topics from PMG and Endure to the End just stood out. I couldn’t tell you why, but it did, and it was PERFECT. That’s one thing I’m learning is just how STILL the still small voice is. It’s so subtle, but it’s there pointing out tiny details, and I love it!
That night we also had interviews with Pres, and he’s really so sweet. It’s also so powerful to hear him pray for you, and that’s something we’ve tried incorporating is praying for the person we’re teaching when we meet with them. To thank Heavenly Father for the wonderful people they are and the blessings and talents he’s given them, and then ask for specific blessings. We’ve had some pretty cool experiences with that already.
Thursday I made my FIRST person cry! Haha, don’t worry, they were happy tears. 🙂 We had two lessons earlier with William and Bianca, and they really just hadn’t gone all that great. We taught what we felt we should, but still came away feeling bleh. Luckily we had English lessons that night, so while we waited for anyone (aka no one) to show up, I got to play Hymns on the piano. I’m not a concert pianist or anything, and it was all right handed, but it felt SO good and helped bring a peaceful spirit. While I was playing Sis Hart had the thought to go visit Chelsea, even though we hadn’t even written her name down as someone to go visit. So we went! We came in and started chatting and I asked her my favorite question that I use to talk to everyone–how’d you end up in Alaska? That question tells you pretty much everything–where they’re from, why their here, what they’re looking for–basically anything you’d need to know about what’s hurting in their soul, and then the spirit tells us what part of the gospel can help heal that. And people love answering–it gives them a chance to just talk about THEM, and so they usually end up spilling everything. This case was no different. She started talking about falling away from the church, getting into bad things, and how she decided to break up with her boyfriend and go back to high school, even with her son, and is coming back to the church. Our spiritual thought was on hope, and I shared with her how through the Atonement, Christ doesn’t only stitch up our scars, but he can completely erase them. That definitely hit her heart, and this is where the tears come in, but it hit my heart too to see how even just the truth of the gospel can be so powerful. After that she asked us how she can do a better job reading her scriptures, so we gave her a few tips, but mostly it was cool to see how hearing the truth got her back to taking the little steps to follow Christ. It was really sweet. 🙂
Friday was SO stinkin’ awesome. It was the FIRST day that I really thought, “Wait, you mean I GET to do this for a whole year and a half??” It was great. I had my first opportunity to teach the whole restoration to a potential investigator, and it went so well! He is such a cool guy, and it was cool to be the one teaching, but not really knowing where the words were coming from, and having things come out and transition so smoothly, but really none of it is you. So awesome, and he came to church Sunday. 🙂 Then we got to teach William. We weren’t super excited because we had NO idea what direction to go with him or what he needed to hear. We were going to teach with the elders, so we hoped that maybe they were getting the revelation we weren’t, but then they didn’t show up–and it worked out SO WELL! We just started talking to him about life, and his health and everything, and we suddenly realized what to teach him, but really just HOW to teach him more than anything. Seriously, so cool. 🙂 Once again, I don’t know how to explain what happens or how, but the spirit is there and it just WORKS and teaches through you.
Dinner was so cool–we got to eat Falafels in a Yurt. I’ll give you a second to go look those up in the dictionary. 🙂 Haha, a yurt is a mongolian tent, and this guy in our ward lives in one! It’s actually really sweet because he’s letting his girlfriend live in the house he owns, but since he doesn’t want to live with her, he’s out in this yurt. He’s a tough guy cuz it’s always freezing in there and it’s all one room with a refrigerator that keeps food WARM, but he does it! His Girlfriend, who was there, is less active, and there was a really sweet, cozy spirit there. I think he was very grateful for that, and I know I appreciated it a lot as well. 🙂
Also funny story, Friday we had the first zone ‘scandal’–Elder Stepanaik called me by my FIRST name at dodgeball that morning. I know, can you say sketchy? Haha, oh the life of a missionary.
Saturday was my first ‘Click’ Day! I’ve been out one whole month! Crazy–it’s easily been the longest shortest month of my life. 🙂 Haha, but it was also my first time driving south to go to North Pole! Santa lives there, but we haven’t visited him yet. Instead we joined the NP Elders and their Bishop and Sister Hardt at Pizza Hut for Elder Landon’s birthday, and then we got to go help clean Sister Hardt’s house. It was so weird because Sis Hardt reminds me SO much of Grandma Nita! She’s a very jolly, loving person, so I felt right at home. Sister Hardt’s been a convert for about a year-ish now and was so excited to have gone through the temple a few weeks ago. She told us some of her story and it’s incredible to see the impact the gospel can have. She had gotten into some bad stuff, but once she changed, she just wanted to see her daughter again. She called/texted her daughter EVERY DAY to tell her that she loved her, and would love her for eternity. Finally her daughter realized that she really had changed, and they reconnected and Sister Hardt was able to see her grandson that her daughter had told her she would NEVER let her see. It was such an example of how central families are in this life. After all was said and done, Sister Hardt just wanted to have a good relationship with her daughter, and through the gospel, that was made possible. It was really sweet to get to hear her story. 🙂 She’s also just a sweet lady and showed us all her fox fur and beaver fur–it was just great. Cleaning out the moldy fridge was fun too. 🙂
We visited a girl named Mari next and her mom and sister joined in. We honestly just spent an hour complimenting them on their artistic skills, and they were so excited to show EVERYTHING they’ve done to us. It’s incredible to see how much people just need some love and attention, and that’s what we’re there for! That night we had dinner with a LA and it was cool to hear her story a bit and how/why she’s coming back now. We also got to visit the mom of one of our less actives right as she was having a bit of an emotional breakdown, so it was wonderful to help her out. 🙂
Sunday we had three investigators at church! Whoo! Then had dinner at the Maines house–so cozy and it felt like Christmas. Haha, yep, just getting at my hopeless romantic side a bit. 🙂 Mom, they fed us pot roast–made my DAY. We also got to talk to the two girls on the basketball team at UAF that are in our ward! Hay, I thought of you the whole time! There’s also two girls on the swim team as well in our ward! We got to go visit a girl named Arial who lives way out in the boonies, but it was a GORGOUS drive, even though we almost got stuck in the snow once. 🙂
Well, I wish I could tell you everything that happened, and every detail of lessons, and all about the people we meet, and the little things the spirit tells us to do, and the funny moments Sister Hart and I have together that bring us even closer, but there’s just not enough time! I hope something in this letter lifts you up though! I hope you’re all doing fantastic, and sure love you and think about you guys all the time. Not to the point that it’s distracting, but I just really love you all. 🙂
I’ll try to write more later today, so look for mail! You’re the greatest ever! The Gospel’s true!
Love, Sister Harrison 🙂
It snowed for the first time this week too! Forgot to include that! It’s seriously so beautiful here, pictures really don’t do it justice. 🙂 LOVE YOU!