It's official folks, I am here in Minnesota! Right now I am staying in a place called Minnetonka. It is absolutely beautiful out here! Cold, but beautiful! My trainer and companion's name is Sister Bone. She is 22 and from Utah. She is doing a great job at teaching me the ropes. We are staying with some members out here on Lake Minnetonka in their... mansion. No big deal ;) That first night I was here, when we drove up I honestly couldn't believe that this was going to be my home for the next 3 months! We have the entire basement to ourselves. Oh and I was worried about having to workout outside in the freezing cold, but don't you worry, we have our own private gym down stairs just for us. I have to say I think I may have the best missionary set up EVER! But most importantly, the members we are staying with are so kind and loving. They are always checking in with us at night and wanting to hear how are day went. God has truly blessed me with coming out to the Minnetonka area!
Outside in the snow.
My new companion, Sister Bone.
Where I am living.
Getting out here was quite the trip though! It all started last Wednesday, the 26th of November, when my alarm went off at 2am. There were 19 of us missionaries who came out to Minnesota together. We first got on a bus, which we rode to the front runner train. The train then took us down to SLC. Once we were in SLC we hopped on trax and took that us out to the airport. Now you have to remember that each of us missionaries were carrying around two huge suitcases plus our two carry-ons. It was absoluetly crazy with all of the stops and having to get on and off with a matter of so many seconds. Talk about stressful. Thankful we finally got to the airport in one piece. I can't tell you how happy I was once I was able to check in my two giant suitcases! Man, I thought my arms were about to fall off! Our flight was delayed twice because the weather out in Minnesota was too bad for us to be able to fly out there so Sister Steadman and I busted out my sheets right there in the airport and took a nice nap—considering we work up at 2am!
Once we finally landed in Minneapolis, Minnesota all 19 of us missionaries just hung out there in the airport for awhile just waiting for someone to come and pick us up. Finally, the mission president and his wife and his assistant came and got us. The rest of the day was one big giant mess! Nothing was organized and no one knew what was happening. I definitely didn't think this was how I was going to be welcomed into my mission here, but I guess you just roll with the punches. That night I met my trainer Sister Bone and had to say goodbye to my district from the MTC. I hated saying goodbye to them! They had become my family. It was especially hard to say goodby to Sister Steadman. We had grown very close, and when it came time to give each other our last goodbye hug, I didn't want to let go. I'm sure going to miss her!
MTC companions. Sister Zimmerman and Sister Steadman.
At the MTC.
Some of my district got matching superman CTR shirts.
Elders Heaps and Koster – love those boys.
My district boys MTC at temple.
Being silly and doing laundry.
Being silly in bathroom.
My district going to MN.
Favorite Sis. Steadman!
That night I had my first real appointment. We met with a new convert that just got baptized the Saturday before. Her name is Mercy and she is from Kenya. Her cousin Obed ended up just getting there from Kenya and we were able to teach him the Restoration lesson. The lesson went great and the spirit was definitely there! At the end I asked Obed if he would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the proper priesthood authority of God and guess what?!?!? He said YES!!! I was totally freaking out inside, but I played it cool. We are going to be passing Obed along to the Elders to teach because it will be nice for him to have some guys he can connect with. But Obed was at church on Sunday and after when I talked to him, he told me how happy he felt being at church! I'm so happy he can already notice the difference the gospel brings into his life!
Thanksgiving we ended up spending with the Nelsons (the couple we live with). It was a great day. It was kinda like a P-Day (preparation day) so I was able to relax a bit. I unpacked and even got a nap in :)
Later that night, we went and met with Angie. Angie has been looking into the church for two years now. She is a bit stubborn (but then again aren't we all in some way). We were able to talk to Angie about Faith and how everything simply starts with a desire. We challenged her to read the Book of Mormon and pray everyday this week and she said she would! Sister Bone told me that was huge for Angie! The spirit truly touches people and changes lives IF we will simply knock down our walls and open our hearts.
I have had the chance to teach a few other lessons this week and meet with a few other investigators, recent converts, less active members and even strong members of the ward here in Minnetonka. I LOVE being able to teach. I am still trying it figure out how to best be led by the spirit, but I am trying and I know God will help me as I continue to practice listening to the spirit and being directed by Him.
Saturday, November 29th, I went tracting for the first time! Oh boy! I was a bit nervous, I won't lie, but I figured, what the heck what is the worst thing that can happen?! The first door we knocked on I froze and let Sister Bone do all the talking as the man nicely declined our message, but after that first door I was just fine. I can't say were able to teach anyone a lesson, but we did meet a couple sweet people where we were able to talk about Christ and the importance of Him in our lives. I sure do appreciate good, kind people! There was this one house with a sweet looking tree house in the backyard so we the man of that house opened the front door I very enthusiastically said, "You have the COOLEST tree house EVER!". I was so excited to talk to this guy sadly this guy was NOT excited at all, in fact, he was quite the opposite. Oh well, I will never forget you Mr. Tree House Man and your sweet looking tree house!
Yesterday, was my first Sunday to go check out the ward! We have a pretty solid ward I would say. Everyone seems to be friendly and very welcoming. I guess in the past they struggled with missionary work, but within the last nine months that really has been changing and there ward is BOOMING with missionary excitement! I can't wait until I get to know that ward and can feel a part of their ward family. I know as I serve here I truly will grow to love them!
I was able to see Mercy's sister Judy pray for the first time with the missionaries this week- which is HUGE because Judy was really against the church for awhile and didn't want Mercy to be getting baptized, but she is coming around and opening up her heart. I also have been able to spend a lot of time with several different families with little children. Children are just fun! It is great to teach children because their minds are so pure and they just want to understand. I wish we all could be more like children!
Overall, I have to say, LIFE IS GOOD! GOD IS GOOD! I am trying to figure out the swing of things out here. I am sure it will take me awhile to really get into the routine of being a missionary, but I am looking forward to it.
I know this church is Christ's true church. I'm so grateful for the understanding I have of God's plan. I feel so blessed to know that we have a prophet today that leads and guides us and gets direct revelation from God just like the Prophets of old in the Bible. I love my Savior and am eternally indebted to Him for His atonement. I hope that as I strive to take upon the name of Jesus Christ people will be able to recognize the light of Christ in me and want to know what I know.
I love you all. I pray for you daily. I hope all is well and that you can personally recognize the Hand of God in your life today.
Till next week-