Sister Smith at Work

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Easter Sunday was definitely the highlight of the week. Church was incredible, we served at the Grandin Building and walked through the Grove after our shift. New York is starting to come alive, and it is very exciting. I SURVIVED ANOTHER NEW YORK WINTER!! *knock on wood* It snowed last May, so I know we’re not in the clear, it’s just exciting to see spring is finally here. So much new life springing forth in the Grove. It was a great reminder of the rebirth we experience continually because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 

imageOn Wednesday we began our next round of site trainings for the new sisters. Each Wednesday we train them at a different site, and this week we started at the Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center. Wow, I love the Visitors’ Center, it’s my home away from home. The new sisters are just the sweetest. Listening to them teach is incredible, we are very excited to have them here. Pictured above are the four new sisters with their trainers. Woohoo, training days are my favorite days!

Zone conference was incredible. Because we couldn’t attend the Palmyra Zone Conference (we had to cover the sites for all the other sisters to attend), we packed up our minivan and trekked to Rochester, my old stomping grounds. It was so weird to be back in the stake center there. Here’s a tidbit of what stuck out to me, coming at ya from the Bible Dictionary (I LOVE the Bible Dictionary) “We pray in Christ’s name when our mind is the mind of Christ, and our wishes the wishes of Christ–when His words abide in us.”  Now that is ‘mighty’ prayer. I challenge all of you to make sure you are praying like this. Sister LeBaron and I got to hit 15 months together at the conference. She is such an incredible missionary. I learned so much from her in the MTC and I’ve been learning from her example ever since.image

Life is so good. And it’s going way too fast. The months are flying and I’m cherishing every minute. The church is true, and I love telling people about it! (I had a professional photographer, David Winters, in my tour group one day who snapped a few pictures of me.)
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An Amazing Week & April Showers

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What an amaaaazing week! So much happened, starting with CONFERENCE. So we didn’t actually get to watch hardly any of it as it was broadcasted. A talk here, a talk there. On Saturday we were serving at the Whitmer Farm (where I was last April Conference) and we were so busy all day and through the sessions. On Sunday we were equally busy at the Grandin Building. But we are slowly catching up during companionship study. The talk I’ve used on almost every tour since I heard it Sunday was from our beloved prophet. Wow. With 3.5 minutes what did he talk about? THE BOOK OF MORMON. I echo his words, “If you are not reading the Book of Mormon each day, please do so.” Enough said.

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Because we didn’t have church on Sunday and conference didn’t start until 12, we took the opportunity to visit some of our neighboring churches in the area. What an interesting experience. There are four different churches on each corner of the main intersection in Palmyra. We picked Zion’s Episcopal Church. This was my first time going to a different church’s service and it was very insightful. Pastor Susan gave a sermon, we declined the wine and wafer, but everyone was pretty friendly. Then we walked through their labyrinth path/meditation thing, and toured the main old church that was built in 1832 (the service was held in a newer wing). It was a beautiful building and a wonderful adventure. So grateful for an adventurous companion! And for Christ’s restored church!

Miracle of the week: A few weeks ago my knee was really hurting after exercise one fine morning. I don’t know what caused it but it soon went away. Then on Monday we ran our 3 mile loop. About halfway from home my knee started hurting again, but by that time there was only one way home and that was running on it. By the time we got home I was in so much pain and I couldn’t straighten my leg. Sister Jacobsen asked if we needed to go to the doctor and I laughed and said, “I am NOT going to a doctor.” So what happened? The Lord sent a doctor to me. A couple walked into the Visitors’ Center and Elder Nielsen showed them around. They were moving from New York to Arizona and the packing they thought would take all day, with the missionaries help, only took them 15 minutes. They used their extra time to come to the sites one last time. Elder Nielsen and I were talking about my knee and he said that the man, who was in the back, was a doctor and he might be able to help. Just then the doctor came to the front and I asked, semi-sarcastically, “You don’t happen to know anything about knees do you?” He said he’d been a sports medicine doctor for thirty years and knew everything there was to know about the knee. His wife said, “you couldn’t find a better man to look at your knee.” All of a sudden the Visitors’ Center turned into a clinic and he was poking and stretching my knee in all sorts of painful ways, but he shortly had a diagnosis. I have isolated Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome. He called the mission nurse and explained everything, told me to ice it and was on his way, just like that!  To quote Elder Bednar, “I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are real and that they don’t occur randomly or by coincidence. Often the Lord’s timing of His tender mercies helps us to both discern and acknowledge them.”

On Tuesday we got to go to a lesson with the Macedon sisters. They are teaching an 18 year old boy, Michael, and he is just soaking it all up. They needed an extra female to teach him that night so I volunteered us and it was such an incredible lesson. Michael has gone through so much in his short life, and his mom recently kicked him out of the house. As I sat across from him in the lesson I just felt so much of God’s love for him, I just wanted to give him a big hug. They taught the Plan of Salvation and invited him to be baptized next month and he accepted! It was good to teach a real investigator in person again. Another tender mercy.
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On Thursday I had the great opportunity to go on exchanges with Sister Cahoon. She is part of the other set of full-time sisters. We served at the Smith farm and it POURED all day! We still had a blast, as you can tell. Sister Cahoon is the kindest, sweetest person. It was so great to spend the day with her.
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Our new wheels, that’s right, we got a van. It’s funny because Sister Jacobsen and I always joke about how being full-time VCT’s is total prep for when we’re soccer moms. Now we have the vehicle to prove it!
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The highlight of my week/mission was being able to see Jannik get baptized Saturday morning. I’m so grateful for my German brother and the decision he’s made!

Fun Fact: I love being a missionary and I love you all!

Disney Princess Practice

Wowza, what an exciting week to be alive and to be a missionary in Palmyra! We had quite the adventure Sunday morning at 12:35 in the AM. We woke up to the most annoying alarm in the whole world. It wasn’t the smoke detector. It wasn’t the carbon monoxide detector. We couldn’t find the blasted source! One sister was packed up and heading to the car, another was about to dial 9-11. Finally we discovered it was coming from our very creepy basement. Now I’ve probably talked about some creepy basements I’ve had on my mission, but nothing compares to the current one. The high pitched wailing was finally found on the stairs in the form of the FLOOD ALARM! With all our snow melt we had a few inches of water in our basement and the pump was broken. We got one of the facilities management senior missionaries to come and fix it and a couple of hours later we were able to go back to bed. The next day we were comparable to zombies, and that’s how the week started.

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Later on Sunday, man with a fancy camera came to take pictures at the Smith Farm and he took some pictures of us missionaries serving there. Just notice the Sacred Grove in the background. In early spring.. (Therearenoleavesandallthevideosyouseelie)..Anyway, it was freezing on Sunday, and this is what it was like when Joseph went to pray! But he didn’t let anything stop him, not the cold, not the wet, and not Satan. When he was “seized upon by some power which entirely overcame him” and when he felt as though he was “doomed to sudden destruction” he exerted all his powers to call upon God, and his prayer was answered. Here’s a quote from Spencer W. Kimball, I might have sent in in a previous email..oh well! “A spot of hidden solitude was found, knees were bent, a heart was humbled, pleadings were voice and a light brighter than the noonday sun illuminated the world-the curtain never to be closed again. Heaven kissed the earth, light dissipated the darkness and God again spoke to man.”

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Luckily Sunday turned to Monday, which was probably the greatest day of my mission thus far. ‘Twas the day to celebrate the publication of the Book of Mormon! It was first sold on March 26th, but as it was a Sunday we did our Family Home Evening activity at the Grandin Building on the 27th. We dressed up in period costumes and had games and cookies for the guests. It was so.much.FUN! I had the privilege of dressing up as Harriet Grandin, E.B.’s wife, and got to explain the binding process in a dress that Sister Bradford made for me just the week before. She’s the best, and a master seamstress since it fit great! I had so much fun! We also had shopkeepers in the bookstore, Martin Harris explaining the contract, Emma Smith telling about the translation in our Harmony display, Pomeroy Tucker (the foreman) in the print shop telling the printing process, and little ole me in the bindery. The sisters who were guiding groups through were also dressed up and it was a blast. I was in heaven! I figured that dressing up like Harriet Grandin and teaching kids how to make a book is just like being a princess in Disneyland, right?
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Tuesday we got to go on team ups with some of the other site sisters. I am so grateful for the opportunity I get to serve with these great sisters. They are incredible and I love them all! Yesterday we took the new sisters and the THREE new senior couples (yay, more grandparents!) down to the Whitmer Farm to be trained there. It was cold but it was amazing!

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Now everyone stop what you’re doing and go to mormon.org for the new Easter video. It’s a good one! Share it with family and friends and make sure you participate in each day of Holy Week by following the suggestions! Yayayay Easter, woohooooooooo! 


Conference weekend! Oh how I love conference! Tune in and then tell me which were your favorite talks! 
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A Nor’easter Interrupts Spring

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Well, we had our first snow day of the year! I’ve heard it called a Nor’easter, Bomogenesis, and Stella, but we did indeed get a storm worth naming. It snowed a few feet on March 14th & 15th. We were advised not to leave our apartments. So we CLEANED and STUDIED, and did all that good stuff. All day. Now it’s melting like spring is really here. Oh New York. I love this place. I know I was asking for a storm like this all winter, but it’s the end of March. Really? Really?

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The greatest news is that we got to serve at the WHITMER FARM! That’s correct, after a long winter of no sisters down there, we’re back and here we are in it. I love that place oh so much. I tried not to break the snow there.image7
We’ve had more and more people come into the sites these days! General authorities from Ghana on their way to General Conference, a FUN group of students from SVU on their Spring Break, sisters from Buffalo bringing their amazing investigators, interesting wedding parties, and the cute families from all over the country who bring their kids to learn more and see the places of the Restoration. One thing for sure is the fact that the guest makes the experience. If they are prepared and willing to learn, the Spirit is just poured out on the whole tour. We as missionaries do all we can to make it a good experience but it all comes down to the guest and the spirit they bring. 
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St. Patty’s Day! I love St. Pattys Day on the mission. I’ve been holding on to those socks and scarf since last year. Not every day you get to wear those.

And 14 months at the Whitmer Farm. Don’t I send one of these pictures home every other week? How is this possible?!image9

In other [important] news, Chill ‘n Grill opened again for the summer.

Climate Change

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Do Do Do Do – Do Do Do Do (The Twilight Zone theme music)

“The place – Palmyra, New York. The year – 2017. Two young Mormon missionaries, Sister Jacobsen and Sister Smith have just recently been driving to the Grandin Building in 73 degree weather. Now they’ve been mysteriously transported back to winter and are found exclaiming, ‘What the…?!’  What happened? They just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.” 

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Stripling Warriors + Two

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The thing about my Pday is ya never know when it’s going to be. I don’t even know when it’s going to be until a couple days before. It’s a surprise every week. So hear I am, writing again. Let’s see…we had an all day Hill Cumorah shift on Saturday, we were in Primary again on Sunday so the teachers could attend their teacher council meeting. I’ve attended Primary way more than Relief Society the past four months. Yesterday we were at the Grandin Building all day. It’s exciting because more and more people come in saying they’re on spring break. Busy season is just around the corner! Sister Jacobsen and I are keeping busy enough right now though. Lots to do! We come home from a shift and it’s back to work but sometimes we just pretend to be Stripling Warriors.

Snow storm is here. It’s currently pathetic. New York needs to man up. They cancelled school for the next two days. It’s supposed to get worse I guess.

A part that’s been sticking out to me lately from the Christus audio is from D&C 19:23- “Learn of me and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my spirit and you shall have peace in me.” Three simple invitations: learn, listen, and walk. And then we can have peace in Him. I know that it’s only through Him that we can find true peace. He is the Prince of Peace! Get ready for an upcoming Easter initiative! So exciting! I haven’t even seen it yet, but it should debut soon.

 

 

My Weekend Was Better Than Yours

image1 4Wow, I’m going for gold here. This is 18 days without a real Pday. Last week I took a couple hours to email, pack and buy food, so really my last Pday was when I went to the dock at Sodus Point. No wonder time is flying! What feels like one week was actually three! Honestly the past few weeks have been packed and we’ve been working so diligently, and I’m just full of so much joy. I love being a missionary and wow, let me tell you of the incredible week I’ve had. 

Face To Face. Where to begin. This was quite the production that came to town, let me tell you. The Smith Farm was taken over by teams for lighting, broadcasting, sound, social media, music, security, makeup, I could go on and on. It was NUTS!! So cool to see the behind the scenes.  And everyone was so nice and cheerful. It was a blast. image3
“Look Mom, I’m on TV!” You can’t really see a lot of the setup but let’s just say this is
not what our welcome center typically looks like.


Friday night we had the amazing opportunity to hear from President Eyring and Elder Holland in a fireside for the Palmyra Stake. It was incredible. A lot of things they talked about was actually repeated in the Face To Face. THEN the next morning we had a special meeting with ELDER HOLLAND as a mission! Everyone came in to the mission office and we set up for the group photo we got to take with him. As we were setting up they said that President Eyring wouldn’t be able to make it, even though he was planning on it, he needed to prepare for the Face To Face. Then they said Sister Holland wouldn’t make it either. Would we even be having a meeting? And then he came in! Elder Holland himself! We took a photo and then we all shook his hand. Later in the meeting he told us that he was interviewing us each as we shook his hand and as he looked into our eyes for those 2 seconds. Wow. We then proceeded to have THE COOLEST MEETING EVER. Our mission put in so much spiritual preparation and wow, it paid off, the Spirit was there in abundance. He talked about how we have the coolest mission ever (yeah, knew that, but it was still cool to have an apostle agree), and then he continued to teach us about the Book of Mormon. Wow, mind blown. He had a chalkboard and he was showing us how in just the first fourteen pages you have the message of the entire book, all summed up 1 Nephi 1:12-“And it came to pass that as he read, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord.” Wow, I love the Book of Mormon. He also said, “No matter how committed to the Book of Mormon you are, it is not enough.” So amazing, I love that man. Wow, it was only 10:30 a.m. and the excitement of the day was not done! The Face To Face. So good. We watched it at the stake center. First off, the boy host, Kobey, is my favorite youth ever! He’s in the Orchard Park Ward and his family is one of my absolute favorites! I was so proud of him when I heard he was chosen. Also, the violist, Sister Crofts, did such an amazing job. We were all so proud of her. She was the VCT before I came. I also knew about half of the youth in the audience from past areas and wards. And the interview itself was so amazing. Such powerful men. I need to go back and rewatch it. There were great questions asked and the answers they gave apply to everyone. We went back to the Farm after the event and watched them take it down and pack up in less than 2 hours, it was crazy. So much excitement for the weekend, I’m soo glad I got to be a part of it all. 
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After they cleared out we took the opportunity to pretend we are cool. Just sitting in the chair President Eyring sat in. Oh I love these sisters. Best friends FOREVER.image7

Sister Jacobsen. Seriously, I can’t even begin to tell you how blessed I am to be her companion. She is amazing, kind, funny and from Central Utah! What more do you need? We talk about places and people we know and we seriously get along so great. Plus she’s a runner. The other morning we ran three miles. Just wait, when I come home I will be so fit for the first time in my life. And she is a hard worker, which is great, because we have a lot to do at the visitors’ center. image12This picture describes our companionship. We feel like we’re in the middle of a windstorm, there are so many things coming at us, but we’re also having the time of our lives! Woohoo, bring it on, we are ready for it!!!

So, you might be wondering what I do all day. My new life as full-time visitors’ center trainer is absolutely fabulous. We are at the historic sites or the visitors’ center everyday and then we train the sisters, do orientation for the new sisters, teach online, schedule, work on training plans, and our list just keeps on growing. We are so busy all day every day and it is a blast. 

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Here we are training the new sisters at the Hill Cumorah.  My favorite part of my calling as a VCT is working closely with all of the sisters.image14
Also, since we don’t have an area or members to feed us, we get to eat dinner with the senior couples, aka our grandparents. Dinner with the Bergstroms. I love the Bergstroms. The other sisters in the picture are the other set of full time VC sisters, Sisters Cahoon (Canada), Ankeny (Arizona) and Cortez (Ecuador). They’re a fun trio.


Hmmm, reading back through this I see that I said wow about a bajillion times. Sorry, that’s annoying. But it really sums up how I feel! I’m so amazed at the incredible experiences I’m having. I’ve never been happier. Life is so so good. Yesterday we had zone conference and President Evans talked a lot about preparation. I now understand the impact spiritual preparation can have, and we have the incredible opportunity to listen to our leaders in a couple weeks. I don’t know how it is coming up on General Conference again, I swear we just had it a month ago, but I know if we’re spiritually prepared, we will see so many blessings. 

I love you all and I love being a missionary!

 

Goodbye Palmyra, Hello Palmyra!

Wow, big changes!! So transfers happened. But to explain them I have to back up a little. Our mission is undergoing a significant change, and I get to be a part of it! Thus far, all sisters called to this mission who serve around the Palmyra and Rochester areas also serve
part-time at the sites and visitors’ center. This is not how it is in other visitors’ center missions. In other places they have some sisters work part-time and some sisters work full-time at the visitors’ center. Our mission is starting the transition to this. Starting tomorrow. As Visitors’ Center Trainers we, and one other set of sisters, will be serving full-time, all day everyday at the visitors’ center. Then as time goes on we will receive more and more sisters and more companionships will be added full-time. It’s so exciting! We will be living in Palmyra in some really nice apartments just down the road from the Smith Farm.

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Unfortunately one of us is not makin’ the transition. That’s right, Smith and Barrett are being separated! It’s not fair! One transfer was not long enough for this dream companionship. It went by so fast it honestly felt like a dream. Sister Barrett will be staying in Farmington and she will be training! That is one lucky sister coming from the MTC to be her companion. I’ve learned so much from her, luckily we just live around the corner so we’re still planning on exercising together and sharing clothes.

Speaking of exercising, it’s not every missionary who can say they run to the Sacred Grove in the morning for exercise! I have been waiting my whole mission for that day, and this week it was warm enough! On Wednesday we ran to the Grove, walked through, said a morning prayer, and ran back. The next day we ran up to the temple and walked around and then ran back. Seriously the coolest experience ever! I live in the greatest place on earth. Hands down. My life is a dream.

And my dream gets better because I get to be companions with Sister Jacobsen! I’ve been waiting my whole mission to be companions with her. She came out two transfers after me, with sister Ewell, and she is such a rockstar. We’ve been in the same zone, but besides that we haven’t served near each other. So I’m so so excited to be her companion and she is from NEPHI! We’re neighbors and we have mutual friends. Stoked for the next transfer.

In other news this week, we deep cleaned our church building on Saturday as a ward. Apparently some important people are coming here this weekend, does anyone know any-thing about this? Just kidding, PRESIDENT EYRING AND ELDER AND SISTER HOLLAND ARE COMING TO PALMYRA THIS WEEK! Gah, does life get any cooler? And I have the amazing opportunity to be in a couple of meetings with them. Wow. Wow, wow, wow. I’ll tell you everything next week. I expect EVERYONE to tune in to the Face to Face, whether you are a youth, or a hundred years old. They’re broadcasting it from my favorite place and you will literally get to see where I serve.

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image6And here is Sister Smith ready and waiting for people to get on mormon.org. I love you all and I love being a missionary!

64 Degrees in February!

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Biggest event last week was the MLC (Mission Leadership Council) on Friday. We went to the mission office on Thursday with the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders and received such great training. It was awesome. President Evans is just the coolest.image2 I accompanied Sister Barrett on a musical number, Come Unto Christ, and it went really well. She is such a talented singer!image3

The other big news of the weekend is the weather!!! Holy shpamoley! Soooo nice, spring is in the air. It was over 60 degrees on Saturday and Sunday and we took advantage of that fact to do some tracting! It’s a reason to be smiling when the sun is shining. I love the winter and the snow, but I’m ready for the warmth. We haven’t felt the sun in months!

We had some extra miles so we went on a mini road trip first thing this morning to Sodus Point. It’s on Lake Ontario and it’s one of the most northerly points in the mission. Very much a tourist location in the summer. It was a ghost town when we went today. I’m sure people thought we were crazy climbing carefully over the icy dock to the lighthouse. Still a super fun adventure. It was pretty cold next to the lake with the wind, but it would be amazing in the summer. I love seeing the different areas in the mission.image7

How is it 13 months already? I swear I was just burning my skirt to commemorate my 1 year anniversary just last week! This past month I’ve been studying the Christlike attribute of humility and yesterday I read an awesome talk from October 2003 General Conference, The Empowerment of Humility, by Richard C. Edgley. This was my favorite quote, “Humility and gratitude are truly the twin characteristics of happiness.” This past month I have been given many humbling opportunities and I have grown so much. And I’ve been so happy! I’m grateful for so many things: my companion, my calling, but above all, the Atonement of Jesus Christ which allows me to change and try harder every day. I’m on the six month slide, and it’s speeding up. It’s a sprint to the finish and I’m making the most of each moment! I’m also grateful for my amazing family and friends, I miss and love you all and I love being a missionary.image10

Lovin’ February

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The adventures of Smith and Barrett…

1: Farmer Smith.  We fed the cows hay and put down fresh straw. I learned a lot like 1) the difference between straw and hay, 2) the difference in pitchforks and their uses, 3) the difference between silage and haylage..both stink horribly, 4) being a farmer is fun….for a day.image2

2: New photo exhibit at the Visitor Center! Large photo stills from the Bible videos. So cool. I love this photo in particular because the authority He is giving His apostles is the same exact authority we have today! So cool! And it’s the same authority that set me apart as a missionary, something I am forever grateful for.image3

3: A lady in our ward gave us GIANT stuffed peppers. None of us had 
ever had stuffed peppers so we stuck them in our crockpot and prayed that they were stuffed with something good. Success!image4

4: Back in the pilots chair. Online teaching is so cool. I chatted with a guy from New Zealand who wants to learn more but isn’t ready for missionaries so I’m going to keep in contact with him and answer his questions. We also have some people we have sent to local mission -aries who are getting baptized this week. So cool. 2 Nephi 39:8 “and it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall commence his work among ALL NATIONS, kindreds, tongues and people, to bring about the restoration of his people upon the earth” ..that’s what I get to do online! Teach the world!

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5: I went on exchanges with Sister Embley! She was my STL in Buffalo and so we’re already exchange buddies. Exchanges are convenient when it’s your housemate. We did service at the library covering old books in plastic, lots of tracting, visiting less actives and doing all that good stuff.

6: Investigators. Before I came to Farmington they were working with an 8 year old boy named Cameron who is a less active’s grandson. We’ve been trying to meet with them for so long and we finally caught them at home! And he still wants to learn! And there was another girl they met before I came, named HEAVEN, how cool. We finally got in contact with her too and we’re going to go back and teach her family.

7: Things at the sites are still going well. It’s kind of slow, but we are using our time to prepare for when the spring breakers come. I had an awesome family come in the other night to the Hill Cumorah. They only made it to the Smith Farm, so I took them to the back room with all of our cool displays and we just talked for over an hour. I told them all about the others sites and they were just soaking it up. They were awesome and I was reminded of why I love being a site sister. Teaching the gospel to people is just the best, and when people come to US wanting to learn, it’s so cool. I love these sites, these stories and everything about my calling.

8-9: Happy belated heart day from us. I just really love being a missionary.

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