Monday, December 22, 2014

Bennington, VT #8 "Woot! Woot!"

Dear Family,
Woot woot stands for... a baptism this week!!!! Yeahhhh man. This entire week was so wonderful and so long for some reason. But in a great way! It feels like me and Sister Gochnour have been together for years. Quite the inspired companionship, let me tell you.
She locked herself out again this morning. It's literally impossible to do so... story of our hilarious companionship though :)

-So Tuesday was rough. The last time I looked at the clock before I fell asleep, it said 3:30. We sisters wake up at 6:24 for some reason so it was a really rough night for sleeping. Honestly, I have been getting sick for a while now, but that day my body had just had it. I also didn't eat because I was worried I'd throw it up, so my body was just freaking out! We did everything like normal, but every movement hurt my stomach so badly for some reason. Sister Gochnour could tell of course, but during Charlann's lesson I couldn't go anymore. "Mamma Char" came out and forced me to go home and sleep during dinner instead of going to Jessica's, but I ended up sleeping much longer. I think as a missionary you say you'll rest and get better when you have time, but I've found that there will never ever be time! So, Sis. Gochnour moved our lessons for that night and I slept for nearly 13 hours! It was sooo needed. My body just loved me the next day and we were able to work really hard!

-Wednesday! We had zone conference! The strongest I've felt the Spirit since I have been in the field. It was focused all around our patriarchal blessings with was pretty amazing. I had to give a spiritual thought. We had a little sister training leader meeting afterwards too. During lunch, President Wirthlin started playing Christmas music that we're not allowed to listen to and then he accidentally started playing that apple bottom jeans song or one that sounded just like it. It was freaking hilarious! He stopped it, looked up and said "Was that me?!" Cutest old man ever. I love hearing him read quotes or talk about his dad (aka Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin) :) Super cool.

Now, here is where our Christmas miracle story I wanted to share gets even more amazing. So, do you remember our new investigator named Tina? She called us last Monday and was crying. Tina hasn't been able to keep a job because of her cancer, her husband passed away a year ago, she has a 17 year old son and her daughter's grand baby that she wants to get presents for, but she doesn't have any money. She was wondering if we knew of any organizations that help people out around Christmas time. We said we'd call around and get a list of some then call her back. She was SO thankful that we were willing to help her out. We hung up the phone and both were nearly crying. Sister Gochnour's dad had sent some money to her to help somebody out this Christmas and right then we realized who would be the perfect person to spend it on. We texted around but when we asked Charlann she immediately called us. "Who needs help?!" she told us she's going to the store to buy her stuff right away. This absolutely melted me because Charlann has absolutely nothing for Christmas. But she doesn't even realize it because I don't think she's thought of herself for a minute of her life. All she wants is a good relationship with her parents and kids. Because of her being baptized, she doesn't even have a family to go to on Christmas :( Yet, she immediately bought things for this absolute stranger. And it's not to do a good deed or check 'service' off her Christmas list of things to do. Char has absolutely no thought of recognition come into her mind when she does things like this. Not recognition from others or God or even herself. She amazes me and I want to be like her so badly each time we come out of a lesson.
Sorry, anyways, we were sooo excited to try and make Tina's Christmas a little better, but we were having a hard time thinking of what a teenage boy would like. So, when we went over to the Behunin's for dinner on Wednesday, we thought we'd ask Dylan what kids his age like. His sister Danielle heard us telling Tina's story and she decided she wanted to help too! It was the sweetest thing to see people completely drop all thoughts of themselves and their own Christmas to help someone else. Brother Behunin is dropping them anonymously off tomorrow! So so excited :)

-Update on Jackson. Ugh. I don't even know, but I want him to come back. He's still traveling all over and says he's getting closer! Who knows though. He promises he'll be here for his baptism but he's only ever been taught the restoration and read the Book of Mormon!

-Saturday was Charlann's baptism: I really can't remember what happens at a baptism except that they get fully immersed so I was pretty stressed out. But all was well!! Sister Campell-copp showed up (my favorite british convert ever) and made everything much better! Me and Sis. Gochnour sang "He Sent His Son" and it was honestly pretty awful, but it made Charlann cry and that's really all that matters :) Charlann was pretty nervous so Pres. Finnegan held her hand the entire time :) He is the most loving person! He gives literally everybody a hug on Sundays except us. He amazes me. Charlann did such a good job at the baptizing part! Only took one try and she did this little classic Charlann squeal when she came up out of the water. As she was walking up the steps out of the font, she's holding my hand and says "One year till temple!" That's my girl :) I didn't even get to say good bye to her before she left cuz she was just too popular. I adore her.

-Sunday we had our branch Christmas program! Amazing for missionary work. Sooo many people from our branch brought non-member friends and nearly all of the people that we invited came! The sticky note miracle is the Johnson family. We had visited them that week and the kids absolutely adored us. They actually have a little girl who wants to be baptized: Leah. Not a boy. They said they wanted to come to church on Sunday! The grandma: Barbara, mom: Jessica and even her boyfriend: Kahlil (yes, it's awesome) all wanted to come and we hadn't even invited them yet! Bro. B happens to have a car big enough and they all came! Bro. B tried explaining us how amazing that was because people have been trying to get them to come for years. It was awesome.

-Today, we just had a district activity at our church because everyone is obsessed with finding some excuse to get to Vermont. It's silly. We played games forever, ate and had a white elephant gift exchange. SO much fun. I'm always so awkward around other missionaries, but when I start laughing, I cannot stop. I am also getting the greatest reputation amongst the sisters as the sister who teaches lessons in her sleep. So proud of my sleep talking :) 

I am so so so excited to talk to you guys on Thursday! I hope I have a niece waiting for me, but if you can't manage that, I will forgive you. I have also loved getting those packages and Christmas cards from the ward!!! Especially the ward Christmas package. So much fun!!!
I love you guys all so much and I hope everyone has a very happy Christmas.

Love you all tons, Sister Brynnie Hallsted

Ps. So sorry this letter is so long.

Quotes from Bennington... too many:
"Hm... fuzzy arm." (rubbing my hairy arm during our lesson) -Michiko
"Noooo. You don't give a dress to a pet cat!" -Charlann 
"I sometimes act out my problems." -Char
"Look! I got a white bra for my baptism!!!" -Char
"Anybody want a bread and butter pickle?!" -Char
"I think I need to work on moderation in my chocolate intake." -Char
"Heavenly Father... please stop scaring Sister Hallsted with... the lamp." (Lamp then falls on my head) -Char
"Ask the sisters... they do real mish-marry work." -E. Butterfield
"So I had to ask myself... am I an alter boy or am I a drunk?" -John
(said with an english accent) "There is literally a chicken crossing the road! Peter would love this! He loves chickens!!" -Sister Campell-copp
"Heavenly Father, please help Sister Gass to be in a band. I think she'd be really good at it."-Mary Lou
Visiting Charlann before her baptism: "Am I supposed to abstain from food before baptism?... Oh good! I'm starving!" She thought she had to fast all day. Haha

1. Baptism!
2. Some more dead beavers :)

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