It was SO much fun talking to you all on Christmas! I thankfully didn't get homesick in the slightest! Just love all of you more than ever :) The best thing was Amanda telling Breton to chew with his mouth closed... I felt like I was just at home :)
So many miracles are happening here, I am just seriously amazed!!! We are basically trying to get a lot of people in our teaching pool who are truly prepared, even if we don't see the success right now, we know that will help things progress a lot more later! It's really exciting :)
So, I can't remember anything before Christmas eve. I already told you a lot of what happened, but we had a district meeting. What usually takes us a half an hour to drive, took us an hour and 10 minutes. We've decided to just stick with the gps cuz I'm just too bad with directions :)
-That night, we went to the Kimball's house with the Campell-Copps (favorite British couple ever). SO fun. Sis. Kimball gave us pajamas. I still where pjam pants whenever I can of course. Oh, and found out Robert Frost is buried right by our apartment! We're going there today!
-Christmas morning! We opened presents (thanks mom and Sister Pew for everything! LOVED it all!) We then went to the Finnegan's beautiful home, played games and called home for way longer than I was supposed to! Woot woot! I love that you're all still crazy.
-We delivered cookies to people on the way home. They were super gross, hard cookies, but we tried and really, I think Sister Missionaries can basically pull off anything as long we're smiling. We walked around Bennington delivering cookies for the rest of the night. So fun! There are so many lonely people here... it made me kind of sad, but I like knowing how blessed I am to have such a loving family. And, of course, I called home for a few minutes before I went to bed! I love that we can do that!
-Tina absolutely loved her presents and she didn't suspect us at all! Bro. Behunin gave them to her and when we showed up hours later, they were all open and all over the place. I guess they were having their early Christmas party right when Bro. B! Other people had donated presents to her, so I think it was a wonderful Christmas for Tina's family. In our lesson yesterday, she had started reading the BoM and she committed to come to church on Sunday! She just invited herself so that makes me think she'll really come.
-MIRACLES!!! So, I never knew what an "area book" really was before my mission... but it's magic. I was a little creeped out at first of how much we keep track of everyone, but now it's glorious! While Sister Gochnour was writing her talk this week, I'd sit and just love that area book, writing down lots of people that they said "Try again soon!" years and years ago that nobody ever tried again. So, on Friday and Saturday we listened to some motivational Called to Serve motab and sang it as we walked the streets to get ourselves really excited to go find some lost kingdom builders. In Timo's letter last week, he said that.. "kingdom building families". I'd never thought of that before but suddenly I was craving a family like that... AND WE FOUND ONE! We found four wonderfully prepared people who all happened to live at the top of ginormous hills (Satan's trick, trying to stop lazy missionaries from finding them... ha, almost worked on me). I wish I had more time to tell you about them. But, the kingdom building family...
-So, we realized that we calculated our miles totally totally wrong and that we have an extra 250 to spare! So, we've been trying to spend our time in Hoosick Falls, NY, which has been neglected for years. After visiting some investigators there, we had time to try a few formers. None of them were interested, but were all very nice, so we went and tried someone named Hickeys. It was dark and creepy, the house was dark and no one was answering. Around the side was this little path, so I went down it. Sister Gochnour is the sweetest and for some reason was being stubborn and telling me to come back, refusing to follow me because it was creepy to go around the back. In about an hour, she would be thanking me as we both cried in the car home... because as I walked around the back, with Sis. Gochnour deciding to follow, a porch light flipped on. A man called out to us, we told him we were just missionaries, asked if he'd met with them before, he was thrilled and suddenly we were inside with the cutest most mormon family I've met thus far on my mission!!! We found out that the missionaries haven't come for 6 years! They stopped coming because the dad, Jeff couldn't quit drinking and chewing and was in and out of rehab. He has now been sober for 15 months, he proudly told us, and has obviously now ready!! He even ran and got his Book of Mormon when he saw it was missionaries!! After 6 years, he still knows where it is! They already know a few people in the branch and live just down the street from the Johnsons, our new investigator Leah's family! We left that house in a daze, sat in the car and cried and screamed and cheered and praised those wonderful elders 6 years ago for preparing this family so well.
I can't sleep anymore these days because I am just TOO EXCITED about what's going on! I am just too happy and this week will be incredible with the new people we've found and MLC (mission leadership conference). I get to go sleep at the mission home AGAIN. Guys, I LOVED all of the letters, Christmas cards and packages I've been receiving for Christmas! I'm just the most blessed missionary ever. But with the amazing ward family we have, I knew I would be. Keep them coming! :)
Sure love all of you!
Love, Sister Brynn Hallsted