Greetings from Missoura!
I can't even tell you how I love not having a red timer in the corner as I write this email to you. This is much more relaxed. I'm in the public library in Independence. Really nice place, too.
So. Lots has happened!
First of all, I. Love. It. Here.
I was able to talk to Mom and Dad at the airport and that was SO great. I'm sorry it may have been the most expensive phone call of our lives. We boarded the plane and it was a nice 2.5 hour flight to Kansas City. The airport was really small. Comparable to the Idaho Falls airport. The 10 of us in the group (4 Sisters, 6 Elders) were met us the mission president, President Van Komen and his wife, Sister Van Komen. I have fallen in love with them. They are the kindest people. The 3 AP's (Assitants to the President... it's just a calling a couple elders fill) met us outside with a huge Ford van and a travel trailer for our luggage. Sister Jones and I had the privledge to drive back to the Mission Home in Independence with the President and his wife while the other 8 missionaries were in the van. They had a lunch made for all 10 of us and we were able to drive by the Kansas City temple before heading to the mission home. I got a couple pictures. The entire outside is basically done, and Moroni is not perched on top how in all his glory. It has been said the temple will be done next spring, so in a year! Basically, I get to go to that open house and they may pull the sisters in for tours, too. Needless to say, I'm STOKED.
We all got to the mission home and found out where we were to be serving for our first area. Out of the 4 sisters, I'm the only "greenie" that they put straight into the VC. That's right folks... Sister Moore is in the VC. Which I thought was ironic, because in the MTC I loved the normal 3 weeks of proselyting and such training and really didn't care for the VC training. I have been humbled. Heavenly Father is good at that. My trainer and companion is Sister Browning from Vancouver, WA. She's the Sister Leader in the VC. Oh my goodness, she's like another Whitney, sort of! I just love her. This is actually her last transfer and will be going home to Washington in May. So... I might send her after some of you to come say hi! You'll just fall in love with her. Take her wakeboarding! Somewhere along her family line is a blood relative that invented Browning Guns, which was the first automatic rifle to be invented in the world. Out here in Missouri it's very popular. Apparently she gets a lot of comments on her name. Pretty cool, eh? She attends BYU-Idaho and will be going back there eventually. We have lots in common. We have fun. :)
While in the mission home we were interviewed, assigned, and had pictures taken. We were given lots of information such as insurance information, credit card for funds, and such. In order to drive in the mission, we have to become a "Level 5 Teacher". This is kind of cool. In Preach My Gospel, there are outlines of the 5 lessons we are to study and teach as missionaries. We are to memorize each bullet point, each sub bullet point, and memorize one scripture to go along with each main point. Then, by memory, teach either our companion (Level 1), our Distrcit leaders (Levels 2 & 3), and our Zone leaders (levels 4 & 5). Each level corresponds with the lesson. My goal is to get that done in my first transfer. I'll be teaching Sister Browning the first lesson here in the next couple days. Also in the mission home they basically bestilled the fear of the Missourian chigger in me. I never knew what those things were, but apparently they are little insects that bury into your skin and lay eggs. They aren't poisonious or anything, but are irritating just like a mosquito bite. I have to avoid tall grass and bushes and such like the plague. My companion keeps laughing at me assuring me that those people at the mission home are crazy, but we'll see when they come out in the summer. We spent the night in the mission home, and were up at 5 the next morning. We caught a huge tour bus and rode that, along with all of our luggage, to the stake building right next door to the VC. This was transfer day: Thursday the 31st. There we said bye to the people we have been traveling with and hello to the new zone and district members. Apparently, the mission has 160 elders and 40 sisters. We went straight to work!
So, here's how the schedule works. I am in the VC for a 6 hour shift (except Sundays where it's only 3 hours, and except P-days which are Mondays) and then we proselyte (door to door, appointments, referrals, etc) for 6 hours. I serve in the Independence 2nd ward and the ward meets in the stake building right next to the VC. I'm in a regular ward on Sunday and have already met several of the members. Love them dearly already. Sometimes we're in the morning shift, sometimes the evening shift in the VC. The VC feels like a home, though. The spirit is so strong there and the other sisters are so great. There is also always a senior couple serving there. I love coming home to the VC. It's like I have my own little family there and a building to call home. I've already given a few tours, too! I love taking families through the "God's Plan for the Family" walk through. It gets me everytime. If you all are ever at a VC (there's one in Idaho Falls, SLC, etc) please go through that, Family. A family came through from Idaho Falls. They fell in love with me for whatever reason and might contact Mom and Dad... so just be warned. :)
The "seashell" is right across the street from us. We look out the front door and BAM, there it is. It's a fascianting building. I don't really know how to describe it. We're actually going to go take the tour of it right after I send this email.... :) It's the Community of Christ temple. Also, the Temple Lot dedicated by Joseph Smith is literally kiddy korner from the VC. Our church doesn't own it, unfortuantely. Sister Browning and I were waiting for an investigator so we went outside and stood on the lot. I was so surprised, but the you can feel the spirit on that sacred ground. My heart just started burning as we stood in a patch of grass. It was incredible. I had no idea.
I've met so many investigators. It's pretty great; Sister Browning and I will just be planning or something and she'll randomly call out a name and say "Oh! We need to go visit them!" And it's someone that was new from the day before. So many people... so little time. With only 6 hours of proselyting a day, we really have to plan carefully, and even then nothing seems to go as planned. Ha, it's great! Out of all these people I've met, I don't know how to describe it, but they all seem familiar. Whether they might remind me of parts of people at home by the way they look or act, or if I just can't place my finger on them, everyone seems familiar. I think that's a good thing. I know I'm supposed to be here in Missouri.
We had a fireside (and apparently the church worldwide is trying to get rid of the term "fireside" and start using the term "devotional" for everything. Sad, eh? My first LDS experience was at a fireside after Oklahoma! Remember, Deej?) last night. The first Sunday of every month we have this President's Devotional at the VC where recent converts share their testimony and story and we hear a message from President and Sister Van Komen. It was so uplifting. Sister Browning and I did "special musical number" and everyone was amazed at the fact that I've been out in the field for 4 days and was already up in front of people. They don't know that I really love to sing and enjoy doing that, ha!
I experienced my first midwest storm last night! SO AMAZING. I love natural disasters! When they don't destroy things, anyway... At the end of the day, all the VC sisters gather together and sing and pray in front of the Christus. As we were all leaving, the thunder and lightning started. Before I get into that though, The first 3 or so days I've been in Missouri had been mildly chilly. high 40's, low 50's. Yesterday it got up in the 80's and I got my first taste of a Missourian summer. They aren't kidding about the humidity. So anyway, last night was the storm. We went back to our apartment to plan and have a "Candle Party", as deemed by the wonderful Sister Browning. Basically a heart to heart. We could hear the rain coming down but we keep all of our blinded shut at all times for safety reasons. I opened the door and my level of joy went by exponentally! I have never seen a harder rain storm in my life, and I grew up in NW Oregon! In our PJs, we took an umbrella (forgive me, Oregonians), ran about 10 feet from our protected porch, and then had to go back. We got soaked as the water was coming in sideways. AMAZING. I tried to get pictures but it was dark. The thunder shook the apartment. The lightning made the night took like day. I was in love. But today it's back to being in the mid 40's. Bi-polar weather.
I love Missouri.
I love being a missionary.
I can't believe it's only been not even a week already. 6 days seems like forever! I only have less than 17 months to do this whole mission thing!!!
I don't really know what else to report... There is a rather large population of Polynesians out here and they all want to feed us. We constantly get either cash for lunch or offers for meals. But because of our crazy schedule we don't get a lot of time to exercise... I'm trying to be better. We did run a mile this morning! :)
Whitney and I are starting a challenge together! We are going to try and read from the Book of Mormon reading one chapter every day, starting tomorrow, and send our findings back and forth. Whitney is expecting her call here soon. WHITNEY, YOU BETTER TELL ME FIRST WHERE YOU'RE GOING! After your own family, of course. :) I talk about you all the time. Hahahaha. And I got your snail mail letter, by the way. LOVE YOU. I'll write a snail mail letter here soon.
I got an email from Trish... FINALLY. It's so good to hear from you dear! I have missed you and your wonderful husband! Keep 'em coming! Unfortunately, this shout out will be the only thing I can email to anyone. Send me your snail mail address, please! I'd love to start writing you! You can email me. I know you stuggle with letters. :)
A few of the elders from my zone in the MTC are already writing me and sharing with me experiences. Apparently, one of the elders named Elder Davis who is now in Fort Worth is a really good cook. His companion makes his bed and does his laundry for him as long as he stays in the kitchen and cooks. Hmm.... is that all I have to do for my future husband to do the household chores?
Also, one of my district leaders, Elder Wilde, and I were chatting inbetween conference sessions yesterday. Apparently, his first semester at BYU-Idaho was Winter 2009. So was mine. He took his American Foundations class from Brother Walz. So did I. Same time. Same class. he sat right in front of me in that class over 2 years ago. Small world, eh? It's awesome! He goes home the same time Sister Browning does, so he'll be out in Rexburg in the fall. Rexburgians... go find all these awesome people!
Well, I love you all. Please continue to post this to the blog and forward the email to Will, Kimberly, Whitney, Derek, whoever really. I'm not picky.
I just want to thank everyone for the letters and support you've given to me. Whether I see it first hand or not, I know I couldn't do this without the support from home. When I got to the mission home, I had 8 letters and postcards waiting for me. It's that support that keeps me sane and know that I'm not alone. All of Scappoose and parts of Rexburg are here with me in Independence and I am all the more powerful because of it. Because of my desire to stay obedient, I can still only write immediate family on email. Anyone can email me, but if I don't have your address when you email me I don't know how to respond. If you want to send it my way that would be grand. And I will write back as I can. I promise. :)
I send you all my love from Independence, Missouri. I'm praying for you always. I know the Lord is there with you. Until next time!
(and for Daddy... Victoria. :D )