I want to start of by letting you all know how thankful I am for you and the positive influence you've had in my life! I'm so blessed to have such strong family and friends. Thanksgiving was wonderful. We had a breakfast, lunch, and two dinner appointments. It was great to be around families again and feel of their love and excitement (it's such a different feel just being with YSA's). I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and are working on your leftovers. Someone sent us home with half of a smoked turkey, and we also got two whole Costco pumpkin pies, among other leftovers. We're doing just fine on food! ha ha. When we didn't have meal appointments, we were weekly planning so our day was full. I was very happy with how the day went.
On Tuesday night we drove up to Colville to go to their institute. So, our ward boundaries for YSA includes all of the 18-30 year old's in the North Spokane and Colville stakes. Geographically that is 1/5 of the mission boundaries. It's huge! We never get up into the Colville stake because it's boonie and far away. We just haven't been allotted enough miles to make it up there (I'm working on changing that). Anyways, we scrimped on miles during the beginning of the month so that we could make the 130 mile round trip to Colville. We attended their institute and met a lot of active young adults and tried to recruit them to come to activities during the week and church. But I don't know how many will come. For some of them it would be a 2 hour drive to the church building... But they were so excited that we came up and knew who they were and cared about them. I'm glad we went. Sister Stratton and I really want to go up to Canada (it's in our ward boundaries) but we just can't find a way to get up there ha ha. We'd probably end up going on a p-day.
On Wednesday we went on exchanges. There are so many sisters going home the next few transfers. All last transfer I went on exchanges only with sisters who were going home at the end of the transfer and I am doing that again this transfer. Each time I go on them I realize that there are so many ways I can improve as a missionary. I try to implement the things I'm learning. I guess I'll never have it all down before I finish. But I'm sure gonna be trying! Speaking of missionaries going home- because one sister went home early in our zone, her companion was left... companionless. We talked to her last Monday and she felt like she wasn't needed or wanted in any areas because she's been bounced around in different companionships. She won't get a new companion until transfers in 2 weeks, and President Mullen told her to just be in a trio- he didn't assign her to anyone specifically, so she's been jumping around. So we adopted her! So now we're in a trio :) Sister McCabe is with Sister Stratton and me and it's great! We split our time working between the two wards. It works out perfect because YSA covers the whole stake- so we'd be in her area part of the time anyways, whereas when she was with other companionships she felt like she was really taking away from the time they could spend in their own area. It's a win-win. Plus it's nice having a 3rd missionary in lessons and in the car. There's less tense moments between my companion and I. They're both so great, and it's been fun teaching and working with them. It just gives me this boost of confidence when talking to a stranger because now 2 people have my back instead of 1 (and last transfer it felt like none). So I'm loving it! Plus, Sister Stratton served in Colbert for 7 1/2 months last year so she knows the area perfect, and I've been organizing her whiteboard and area book. It feels so good to be able to help her because she was so stressed out before! (she has only been serving in Colbert for a few weeks and knew nothing and no one). I love helping- and organizing!
Over the course of our week we were dropped by 4 of our 12 investigators. I'm not too heart broken about it because they were people we were about to drop anyways. Back to the drawing board though to find more people and keep our teaching pool up (it's better than the zero we had when I first got here!) I want to leave this area better than I found it. I feel like my specialty throughout my mission has been reactivating less actives and unifying the ward through the active members... and that's a lot of what has been going on in Shawnee YSA. They've needed it. They had a ton of baptisms in the beginning of the year, but now all of those people are struggling. My prayers are so focused on other people that I forget to pray for the things I need myself. I need to just take the time... but I'm so exhausted at the end of each night... I don't think that'll ever change, so I just need to suck it up and pray longer ha ha.
Side note- three times this week middle aged/old men commented on my red hair. And not like "Oh, you have nice hair" but more like "Who's that beautiful redhead I haven't met yet?" Or "All redheads are either drop dead gorgeous or homely as I'll get out... Don't worry- you're one of the beautiful ones." The weird thing is, that they came from members, not strangers. I basically thanked them but told them that made me feel uncomfortable... At least I know when I get back, if I can't find anyone my own age to marry, I've apparently got an in with old guys... Awkward.
Well, sorry I couldn't remember many spiritual experiences. I know there were plenty. Most prominently I'm just grateful for the strong influence of the Holy Ghost right now. I feel it each day and never want it to leave. I would attribute a huge part of that to how constantly we pray as missionaries. I don't want to lose that habit of praying often throughout the day.
I love you all and hope you have a great week!
p.s. here's a meme that I love that perfectly segway's Thanksgiving time into Christmas time. Can you believe it's already December?? I'm in denial!