I love you ALL!! So very much! I hope everything is going well and you all are healthy and safe and HAPPY!!!
Missionary work is just absolutely the best thing there ever was. It is so crazy to me how long and hard days can be but that I'm truly the happiest I've ever been. I’ve decided that 99% of missionary work is the hardest and then 1% is AMAZING. And for some reason that 1% makes EVERYTHING worth it. It truly is such an honor to get to have the opportunity to devote all of my time and energy to the Savior and my Heavenly Father. I have grown so much in the past couple of weeks it just amazes me. I am grateful to have 18 months of growth and see how much better of a person Heavenly Father can make of me than I ever could have.
This week was a week of MIRACLES. So many blessings. The beginning of this week Sister Barnes and I had the blessing of being able to practice patience and humility as EVERYTHING fell through. Its a good thing for planning meetings we have to have backup plans because the first couple of days were full of all of them because all of our lessons fell through, including with members who we had set up appointments with. They were long days full of talking to anyone just hoping we could have a solid appointment and actually get to teach something. BUT just like the scriptures say, it is only AFTER the trail of your faith that great things happen. On Wednesday night we were walking back from an appointment where the person had stood us up again. We had decided we would just go knock in a nearby area when as we were walking a man stopped us and said, " Is that the book of Moroni?" We both decided it was close enough and grabbed him and gave him the lesson of the Restoration right then and there. It ends up he had meet sister missionaries a week before who had given him a Book of Mormon but he had lost it. SO lucky for him we had a couple extra! ;) And HE HAS A BAPTISIMAL DATE FOR THE END OF THIS MONTH! He is just a solid investigator. He loves the Book of Mormon and has already told us that he believes it is true. OH its just amazing! Truly a miracle from Heavenly Father. The next day we went and visited with a family that are members and on our way out we met an elderly ladies who was resting from carrying so many bags. We offered to help her and it ended up with a return appointment as well. She was SO prepared. Already has the strongest belief in God and had heard of the restoration. She thought Joseph Smith had seen aliens and they lead him to money... so we'll have to clear it up for her! BUT she knew the name joseph smith so it was a place to start! :) At church yesterday we also met a young man who had come after a friend had told him about church. He loved the service and wanting to learn more. BINGO! So it was a weekend of MIRACLES. I'm so grateful for a Heavenly Father who is in charge of this whole thing. Looking through the week if our plans had actually gone through there would be NO WAY that we would have been at the right places to meet these incredible people. I've learned that even when things seem to be falling apart they really are falling into place. Heavenly Father is at the head of this work and he knows what he is doing! ALWAYS! And Im so grateful for him and his patience with me!
Sister Barnes and I hit our high steps day this week with 17,300! It was a lot of walking... Lots and lots of walking....
And Thursday is pretty much like CHRISTMAS because I will be getting my IPAD!! Oh I’m so excited! It makes life easier with e-mails but also mormon messages are SO POWERFUL. They truly change lessons because of their ability to bring the spirit in SO QUICKLY! So I'm super excited to have an ipad to start using those more often. So im super excited! I'll also get my debit card! Whoohoo!! All of the cards from the church that came for the missionaries in my group were stolen... :( So Sister Barnes has been over all my money as well! Which has been great but it will be nice to have it! :)
There is a guy here that Sister Barnes and I run into all the time on the streets! Every time he would yell out "My pretty ladies!" We finally met him the other night and he kept saying how he wants to marry me. I told him that he had to come to church first... so we'll see if that happens! :)
Last night at a DA I was fed Ox Tail.... haha! Oh goodness.... It was an adventure. But I ate my WHOLE plate! And I have to say I prefer ox tail over salmon. Anything over Salmon! :)
Peckham is craziness. I've mentioned a couple times to Sister Barnes that expect for on P-days, It just feels like I am in any big city. The area I am in reminds me a lot of New York, Or even San Fran. Just people EVERYWHERE and from everywhere. The flat I live in is about 10 minutes away from my good friend Big Ben so we really are just right in the middle of the city. Which is SO fun! Like i said before the culture is SO diverse though. Our ward mission leader was telling us that we just need to work on adjusting to the culture and Sister Barnes and I just laughed because everyone has a different culture and background. I’m not sure it would be possible to adjust to all of them! But we're doing our best to! I was told yesterday at church, that if everyone in the ward spoke their first language - not English :) - there would be 60 different languages spoken! CRAZY! So grateful their worship in English though! :) I would say that 80% of the people here are African. Then 15% are Latino and then 5% white! :) It’s a party! The flat I live in is the most expensive in the mission because of the area we are in! It is also the only 4 sister flat! Sister Barnes and I live in it with 2 Hermanas! They are GREAT! One is from Paris - S. Catogni and one is from Portugal - Sis. Cuhna. They are so great and it is so fun to get to laugh and have fun all together at nights! And it is a little bit of a scary area, just with it being in the city but I’ve never felt threatened. The mission has strict rules - we are supposed to be home by 8:45 until 9/9:30 like other areas to just avoid problems - and other things that keep up safe! I also know that Heavenly Father will protect us so it hasn't been a problem at all! But I'll definitely be smart too and stay out of bad situations! :)
Sister Barnes and I are DEFINITELY still getting along. I really do just love her so much! Its just like we've been best friends forever. She is great - always has a positive attitude and works her hardest. I can tell that she is tired - Her 16th months mark was on my 1 month mark. So she has been out for a while and a lot of our lunch hour is her napping but she works SO HARD still! Which I am so grateful for!! She has the strongest testimony of Christ and faith that we'll work miracles so It has just been great! And we also have so much fun! We have a whole wall next to our study table full of sticky notes of inside jokes. There have been multiple nights were I have been crying from laughing so hard. So like you said in your letter, I realize how important it is to laugh and I am so grateful she helps with that as well!
And the first week I was here it rained a ton but this week it has been SO WARM! Not really hot but just this like sticky warm. Which is fine until you’re sitting in a members house where there is no air conditioning and they live on the top floor and then they decided that you want Hot Chocolate. I'm honestly looking forward to rain a little bit... but its all great! I know it will come and then I’ll wish this back so I'm just trying to enjoy it while I can! :)
Being out here I have seen so many broken families. Just people who not only didn't grow up with the gospel but just without a mom or a dad, or without hardworking parents, or parents who do not treat their children right. Some of these people live in the saddest circumstances and have little of anything and it has just made me realize EVEN MORE how much I love you and mom and how grateful I am for all that you have done for me! Thank you for teaching me the gospel since I was young and raising me in a loving home where Christ was at the center of it. I am just so grateful for it all! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
But I hope you all are doing well! I love you all SO MUCH! Thank you for all of your love and support! You are all in my prayers every single day!!
I am so grateful that families are forever!!!
Keep me updated on everything!!
I LOVE YOU!!!!