I'm in SPOKANE, WASHINGTON. My new companion is Sister Huddleston, and she is awesome. She's been here FOREVER, so she knows this area like the back of her hand, which is perfect because I have so many questions all the time. SO, a little bit about what happened when I left the MTC until I came here:
On Monday, Sisters Astorga/Tulande-Vasquez left at 4:00 a.m. to New York. We all woke up early and helped them wheel their luggage to the bus stop/wave goodbye to them. Sister Tulande-Vasquez kept crying, but we all promised to find one another after our missions... They're THE BEST.
After we dropped those sisters off, Sister Tsoi, Sister Ting, and I finished packing our luggage and left for the bus stop. Shout out to Eric Backman who helped the missionaries load their heavy luggage into the bottom of the bus. It was good seeing a familiar face for the last time. Anyway, we boarded the bus and drove to the airport. When we got there, we got breakfast and then HANDED OUT OUR FIRST BOOK OF MORMON!! There was this guy sitting across from us, and we were SO NERVOUS because we were dealing with a REAL PERSON instead of just a teacher or actor in the MTC.
We discussed and debated on different ways to approach him in Chinese (so he couldn't understand, obviously), and then Sister Tsoi was like, "Let's ask him if he has a pen!!!" (She was speaking in Chinese.) SO, we DID ask him for a pen, and he didn't have one, so it was super super awkward, and the conversation died like three times becuase we kept asking him pointless questions like, "So, you're going to Spokane?"... DUH! EVENTUALLY, we asked him about his family, if he had ever heard of our church, and we found out he was Presbyterian.
Then, we bore our testimonies, and I gave him a talk by President Monson about blessings. Sister Ting had a Book of Mormon, so she gave him one with her testimony from 2011 written in the front. SO, first contact = SUCCESS. We felt ON FIRE. When we boarded the plane, there were like 10 other missionaries that were really excited about the work, so EVERYONE was talking to everyone, and pamphlets, copies of the Book of Mormon, and mormon.org cards were flying everywhere. It was pretty fun.
So, when we landed in Spokane, we met our mission presidents, President and Sister MULLEN!!! - YES, the twin of Brother and Sister Mullen from our ward at home! They are identical twins and sounds EXACTLY the same. They picked us up and brought us to the church where we did "fear busting" which is where we were paired up with a random sister from the Spokane mission and went tracting for the first time.
My companion and I were able to teach TWO discussions and commit both investigators to pray and read the Book of Mormon. It was great. We also ran into a Jehovah's witness who was fixing the phone booth, but he was obviously not very interested.
Yesterday, I met my trainer, Sister Huddleston. She is awesome, and I took a picture with her, but I FORGOT my camera cord in the car and don't want to make both of us walk out to the car again. I PROMISE I WILL INCLUDE PICTURES ON MONDAY! (Mondays are our P-days, but we emailed today since I missed it this week.)
Sister Ting and Sister Tsoi both got sent to the same area, different than mine. They are probably going to be speaking a lot of mandarin since they are teaching in the Washington University student wards. At first I was a little jealous, but I know that the Lord has a plan for each and everyone of us. Sister Huddleston says she knows a family with a foreign exchange student from China, and so we are going to get in touch with him tomorrow! I also might get to teach English (AND THE GOSPEL) to two other people from China. I CAN'T WAIT!!!
We have our own car, phone, and apartment. Everything here is so big and spacious. The ward members are awesome and SO friendly. Yesterday, we taught one investigator, who we were able to commit to come to church this Sunday!! But that's not it! In the beginning of our lesson, we asked her to pray, and she said no, but at the end, we got her to pray!!!! Sister Huddleston and I were jumping and smiling SO BIG after we left the apartment because she has NEVER prayed in front of the missionaries before. She also has two beautiful daughters, and her husband is a less active. We really want them to get married and enjoy the blessings that come with keeping the commandments.
I also played Liszt, Chopin, and Ravel for this recent convert who lives in a nursing home over here. He is 80 years old and was so happy when we came to visit him; however, he's not in our area anymore and really only likes sister missionaries, so we have to gradually let him go because the elders in his area need to take over. What a cute old man.
Also, everyone here knows that I can play the piano, so I'm ALWAYS playing all the time. It's great. My companion and I get along really well.
Anyway, yesterday we taught 4 lessons. It was really fun meeting all my new families and investigators. I love them already and can't wait for them to make covenants with Lord. We also are meeting with an investigator tonight who is needing the baptismal interview! AAH!!! So excited to meet him.
Today, we had our first district meeting. There are 6 sisters and only 4 elders. It's so weird to have more sisters than elders in a district. SISTER POWER!!!! I can already tell that it's going to be an awesome transfer. I know the Lord has sent me here for a reason, and I can't wait to be shaped by His will.
Washington is beautiful. The trees are gorgeous, and the weather is fairly warm!
Alright, time for shout-outs:
Also, my new mission address is as follows:
820 S. Pines Rd. Ste 101
Spokane Valley, Washington 99206-5595
Hope you all have a great week!! Remember God loves you, and SMILE!!!!
Sister Verina Chen