A Companion from Thailand

Who loves transfers? Nope. Not me. So, end of the first transfer (7 weeks for the MTC lapse) and Sister Moore and I were thinking we were safe. I’m only halfway through my training and TYPICALLY the trainer stays the whole time, except for last transfer when three trainees were separated from their trainers. So, not unprecedented, but very unusual. When the call came they told us that I would stay in Irondequoit and Sister Moore would be leaving! There were many tears. I love Sister Moore so much! My new companion is Sister Phoomphuang from Thailand! She’s been serving in Buffalo, so I hadn’t met her before today. Everyone I talked to loves her and says she’s hilarious. One of the first things she asked me was whether I like to have fun, so I can tell we’re going to get along just great! The only thing is that because she is international, she can’t drive…which means I have to….which means there’s a 97% chance I’ll kill us both before the transfer is over…Yeah, I’m not really sure why I agreed to be a certified driver, but your prayers are appreciated.

DSC02758

Miracle of the week: We chatted with a man from Guernsey Island, in the middle of the English Channel! He was soo cool. He was saying how he really wants to join the church but has some doubts. He asked some really tough questions, but we answered them the best we could and apparently we helped a lot. We called the elders who are teaching him (yeah, new feature we found, we can call other missionaries and coordinate efforts with referrals and teaching. They are the main teachers and when we follow-up with referrals and chatters, we just want to be a support system and answer/clarify any questions, pretty neat) and they told us all about this guy, James. He’s a preacher over in the UK and when they first met him he was trying to prove that the church was wrong, but now he really wants it to be true. Sister Moore is going to keep in contact and let me know what happens. He was really excited because he found General Conference bingo on lds.org for this weekend. He is so funny.
DSC02751
March 26, 1830 was the day the Book of Mormon was first sold in Grandin’s book shop, so here’s my commemoration pic. I took a tour group by myself this shift and it was really good. The family was super nice. I’ve definitely come to realize that the tours we take are meant for us specifically, either so we can use our personal knowledge and background to help them, or for them to help us, because I learn so much from the people I take on tour.  
This Saturday is my first shift at the Whitmer Farm! It’s two hours away so we don’t serve there often from Irondequoit, but I’m so excited to be there during Conference. To watch it where the church was organized! Just imagine! I’m so excited for this weekend.

Tourism Increases & Hungry Seagulls

Our area is….dead, yeah it’s pretty dead. But I’m seeing it as a blessing. This week we are at the sites everyday but P-day and Sunday. Factor in studies, travel time, visits, and meetings and we have about 6 hours in our area. So even if we found people to teach, it would be difficult to do so with our limited schedule. We are still teaching a couple of people, and visiting our pool of less-actives. Our area may be struggling but the sites are great as ever. Lots of online work to be done. The Easter campaign has brought in TONS of referrals. We can’t make a dent in them currently. And we have been getting a lot more visitors at the sites and have taken a lot more tours. I had my first shift at the Grandin Building. Iiiincredible. Spring break has brought lots of people to New York. There are miracles every day, whether in our area or at the sites. 

Miracle of the week: Saturday Sister Moore points out that we are about out of gas, but that we can make it til Monday. Sunday I ask her if we have enough gas to get to the stake missionary fireside. The lady we do a lot of service for, Dorothea, was speaking and we love her so much and had been telling her all week how excited we were to hear her. So Sister Moore says we’ll have enough gas to get us to the Stake Center and back. Then on our way to our dinner appointment Sister Moore says we won’t have gas to go… Hmmmm. So we call the part-member family we are teaching (and trying to get the 11 year old to come to sacrament meeting so she can be baptized) and ask them if they are going to the fireside and if we could get a ride. So we carpooled with them and it was an amazing experience. The fireside was great, they met President Francis and a lot of other members, and we just had a great time spending the evening with them. It was really good for them to be there and I’m sure that if we hadn’t needed a ride, they wouldn’t have made it. Miracles.

IMG_5328We had zone meeting on St. Patrick’s Day. For some reason the little holidays are so much more exciting on the mission. Something to look forward to. So we went all out on our green. Check out Sister Graham’s and my socks. Fabulous. And zone meeting was really great too. I learned that I’ve been obedient and I’m working hard, but if I don’t have the faith that there are people being prepared in my area, I won’t have success. 

DSC02724So at the beach we had the most terrifying experience ever. Sister Moore thought it was hilarious. It wasn’t. We took bread to feed the ducks. But the ducks were weird and kept swimming away. Finally we found some geese to feed (there are tons of Canadian Geese here). So we start feeding them when all of a sudden a flock of seagulls come and dive onto the bread. When they realized the source of it they swarmed us and we were just chucking bread into the air that they would catch. They were literally about six feet away from us, just hovering and we kept throwing bread. Their calls were deafening. It was nuts. I was terrified because live poultry is scary. We were coming to the end of the bread supply, and I didn’t want to see what they would do to us so when the food stopped we quickly threw the last of it into the lake and ran for our lives to the car. Now whenever I hear seagulls, I flinch. Scarred for life. Sister Moore is still laughing about it. That was our adventure for the day.

DSC02721

Here’s us on our commute to Palmyra. I ate an unhealthy amount of Reese’s Puffs on this particular ride. Thus is missionary life.

 Enjoy Easter week!

Grandpa’s Funeral, etc.

This week was full of all sorts of fun stuff. On Tuesday I went on exchanges with Sister Goates. Exchanges are convenient when the STL’s are your roommates. They serve in the YSA branch so we got to teach some lessons and go street contacting in the city. It was lots of fun. Then we got to go see the first part of the Face2Face event with Elder Holland. That was fun. I guess you guys got to see him face to face for real last weekend [at Grandpa’s viewing]. That’s super cool.

Miracle of the week came on Wednesday at the Hill. We were doing our online teaching and we get a chat. Before we could welcome her to mormon.org she says, “Hello, I’d like to know more about how to become a mormon.” I’m like, “well we can help you with that”! So we will hopefully start teaching her until she feels comfortable meeting with local missionaries, the end goal for us. Also online we do referral confirmations. People ask for a Book of Mormon, a Bible, or to meet with missionaries, and as soon as they send in the request we call them up and confirm that they want it and when would be a good time for local missionaries to come by. This leads to some golden opportunities. I got a call from a guy who was meeting with the missionaries and he moved and lost his BoM in the move which he was reading everyday. When I asked when missionaries could come by he wanted them right then. So then we text the local missionaries and say, “get your fannies over to this address right now!” Just kidding, we don’t say it like that, but it’s pretty much the amount of urgency we convey.

Thursday we went to Palmyra and had our Adjusting to Missionary Life meeting with the president and the other newbies. We talked a lot about stress, how we’re doing and that stuff. Then we got to go to the temple! It was fabulous. Palmyra is a really small temple and we had a huge session. It was great and it was a rainy day as well. My favorite.

On Friday at the Hill we had a lot of visitors. It was great. Lots of missionaries brought people in, which we love. I met a couple from Richfield and the man’s parents were baptized by Phil Murray. Pretty neat. Here are Sister Moore and I at the monument.

DSC02540

President told us at the temple that on Saturday he would meet us at our church building ten minutes before Grandpa’s funeral. I thought maybe he had contacted you guys and there was a plan, but we get there and he says, “alright, who are we calling?” I’m thinking, “Shoot this isn’t going to work, they’ll be in the family prayer and their phones are probably off!” But we called and texted the lot of you, (the numbers I could remember at least) and I just prayed that someone would check their phone and Dad did! I was so happy that worked! The video cut off a couple times, but it worked great. We could hear it, screaming babies and all, haha. But really it was perfect. The first musical number was AMAZING! President wanted me to sing…I was singing in my heart with you guys. Timothy’s talk was my favorite. The call failed at the very end after the letters [from the 1st Presidency and Elder Oaks] were read. Such a great funeral, I’m really glad I got to be a part of that. President Francis is theee coolest.

IMG_2438

The reason I have 0 time to write is because WE WENT TO THE ZOO TODAY!

DSC02617

DSC02599

Giant Calzones & the Garbage Plate

On Wednesday we had a shift at the Hill in the morning. (It’s about thirty miles away, but an hour drive as we are going city speeds almost the entire way). We teach online as soon as we get there and then study while we wait for visitors. And wait for visitors some more. We’re slowly getting out of the slow season. Then we did studies after our shift because we had site meeting that night and it’s not worth it to drive home and back. For dinner we went to Nima’s, a famous place in the mission for good calzones. Sister Moore and I decided to split one, and when they brought them out I couldn’t believe how big it was! Photo evidence was a must. But it was sooooo delicious and then I also had lunch for the next day!

DSC02497

On Saturday we had our first shift at the Smith farm!! Here’s us online.

DSC02517

We serve with a senior couple, so when a group came in they took them out on a tour. So as always happens, when we get one group we get 10 at once. Some Japanese ladies and a family from Texas soon followed. This was a problem. Someone has to always be in the welcome center, so Sister Moore took them out and I was left to hold down the fort on my own. With no companion. Weird. But as you can see, it is still standing. Then the senior couple came back and I ran out to join the group and finish the tour. My first tour! Or at least half of one. It was awesome! I’m gonna love it so much!

DSC02521

Then we went to stake conference. The adult session was amazing. On Sunday we sang as a missionary choir (the second week in a row I’ve sung in church, our ward choir sang last week). We marched in before the meeting to Called to Serve and sang a musical number (Sisters of Zion/Armies of Helaman medley, my absolute favorite, I cry every time). It was a really great conference.

Miracle of the week happened while tracting. We came to a house and the lady who answered asked us to come in right off the bat. Then she told us to sit down and tell her what we believe. ???Is this real life??? We taught the restoration and she had questions about prophets and stuff. I offered her a Book of Mormon and she said, “Oh perfect, I was gonna ask if you had another copy, I’m gonna read this right now.” Yep, definitely not real life. Then before we could ask SHE ASKED US if we could come back. It was amazing. I can’t wait to go back. Her name is Dorian and she is SO nice.

Today we went to get a garbage plate, Sister Moore’s and my first! I’ve heard soo much about them, they really are more than famous. So we go to the super sketchy part of town, and order a cheeseburger garbage plate (macaroni salad and home fries with two cheeseburger patties on top, smothered in meat sauce, mustard and hot sauce. You could probably get a heart attack just by reading the description. Verdict: Seriously SOOO GOOOD!!! I felt so cultured, I’m officially part of New York now! Here’s the exterior of the building and a super sketchy staircase leading to an unknown door. I needed a picture obviously.

DSC02525

DSC02528

And then the beautiful garbage plate. (I realize it seems like all I write home about is food, you probably think I eat out a lot. I really don’t. These are special occasions). When getting a garbage plate it is important to go to the original. Nick Tahou’s is the original and they love having missionaries come in.

DSC02532

Landed in New York

tessa @ grove[Our Visitor Center Training in] Salt Lake was great. Gave out my pass-along cards, I even placed my first Book of Mormon, but really I did! Got a new online investigator. Good stuff. Flew first class from Detroit to New York. I don’t know how that happened but it was cool. The president and his wife were waiting for us when we got off the plane. As we drove through the city the president gave us a tour with lots of neat information about Rochester. The office couples had an awesome dinner waiting for us at the mission home then we had orientation and interviews with the president. He’s great, always smiling. We stayed the night there and the next morning we drove to the sites and got a tour from the president himself. We had some personal time in the Sacred Grove to pray and think about what we wanted for our mission, then to the mission office to meet my trainer! Sister Moore is from Goodyear, AZ.  She’s really awesome and we get along great. We drove with the Sister Training Leaders to the apartment we share. We live right outside Rochester in the suburb of Irondequoit. We drive (Sis. Moore drives, I’m the keeper of the phone) a 2016 Nissan Rogue, one of the newest cars in the mission. Our apartment is…not as nice. It’s pretty sketchy, most things are broken. The next day we had a site meeting at the Hill Cumorah where I met more sisters and couples. I love the visitor center already. Right now they have a special art exhibit of Liz Lemon Swindle paintings – my favorite! So we had a shift there on Thursday from 3-9. We gave a practice tour, taught my online investigator a lesson, and I familiarized myself with the stuff. This is dead season right now, we get about 0-3 groups a day. So the first visitor I get at the center was Hannah Hammond from Manti! There was no snow when I landed. It has now snowed every day since I’ve been here. I brought winter with me. It’s been freezing here and on Saturday it was 0 degrees but with windchill it was negative 25. We’re not allowed to go out past negative 20 except for an appointment.