|Recent convert Bonnie's son, Caleb -- the most lovable baby in the world.|
AH talking to you all yesterday was absolutely fabulous!! I LOVED IT! Y'all are the greatest, funniest, folks around! And I missed Jon and Bri but it felt like I got to see them with all the pics and videos and everything, so wonderful. What a great wedding, it seemed like!
|Bonnie's front yard -- a beautiful estate. |
She was baptized last fall and we sisters help her out a lot!
Well, I already told you a little but here are some details. My companion, trainer, first mother, Sister Malloy is with me again! It is absolutely crazy how long we've been able to serve near/together, but it's the greatest! She is super awesome and I learn a lot from her! We live in Seymour, TN, just outside of Sevierville/Pigeon Forge, in a big white house in the upstairs of a members home. We have nice spacious rooms and a big wooden staircase. Every morning we cross the highway the house is on, to go running in a really expensive neighborhood with Pride-and-Prejudice-like houses, and the sun is just peaking above the Great Smokey Mountains . . . It is surreal!
The drives to church are long, (which is the struggle with this area: our mile limit is low) curvy, super green and lush with fields, rolling mist, and trees. The people here are a mix of Southerners of all kinds, including some Hispanic families.
|Little Matthew. We're best friends basically.|
A week from yesterday Sunday, right before I got here, the sister's investigator Raisa, (pronounced Rye-Sa) was baptized! So I got to meet her, and get to know her. She's hilarious, originally from Cuba, but speaks more English than Spanish. She is super intelligent and comprehends a lot, (when the sisters asked if they could come to her house to practice Spanish, she had their intentions figured out by the 2nd lesson, but continued to learn), and so loving. I already love her so much. There's also this investigator, Lisbeth, who is HILARIOUS! She calls Sister Malloy and me "Alicia" and "Madeleine" because she says, "I'm sorry, I just don't believe in callin' you 'Sister.' "
The ward is fabulous, I've had the chance to meet and serve less active members, all of which call on us to help them and know we're willing, and all of which want to feed us. We've stacked picture frames, rearranged furniture, deep-cleaned rooms, gardened for 3+ hours already! So they know how to put us to good use at least :) And then they always give us food in return - it works out really well, I believe.
The Sevierville ward has been trying to get SLC to permit an extension onto their building for years, and it was finally passed this spring, so construction's already begun. After many prayers they found a place to meet on Sundays, until October: An unoccupied theater, right across from the Hatfield and McCoy and the Titanic, among other attractions on the strip of Pigeon Forge. Haha! Yesterday was the first day of church there, and although it was really chaotic, the Bishop mentioned how blessed they are to have a place to meet, and to encourage everyone to think of the pioneers that didn't have places to gather and worship. It was pretty cool to see all the faithful saints come and worship together! Raisa was confirmed and she just turned to me right before and said, "This is really, really different." Bless her heart. But the spirit was really strong during her confirmation still!
There are a bunch of Hispanic families in the ward, most really young, from Honduras, and most are related in some way. They're super awesome and I'm excited to get to know them better!
Our ward mission leader had us over to Skype. His name is Pat Sheets, and he is awesome, the most involved ward mission leader I've heard of on the mission. He and his wife have 7 kids and 20+ grandkids, and a lot were over at their home yesterday so it was just great to be in that kind of environment. I really love that family already!
|Las hermanas rubias de Rocky Face.|
As far as Sister Training Leader stuff goes, we have Mission Leadership Conference tomorrow, and going to play violin in that meeting so I'm excited for that. Then we'll begin to exchange this week too which will be a blast! I know that the Lord will give us the strength we need to fulfill this calling, I know I'll learn from it more than anything!
I have goals this transfer to speak in Spanish more around the house, be more obedient (because it's the only way Heavenly Father's obliged to bless us) and work more with the ward.
So I am really enjoying Sevierville, my companion, and the work here. I'm praying that we'll be able to work hard and see the fruits of our labors!