Monday, January 5, 2015

Bennington, VT #10 "heavenward"

Dear Family,
There is so much that happened this week. We cannot believe how long ago it feels like we emailed. And I forgot my planner at home so I can't quite remember everything. But, this subject title comes from New Years Eve. Sister Gochnour and I have been on a roller coaster of emotions this week, but I've grown a lot! On New Years Eve, we tried to stop by Tina's but her son said she was in the hospital :( Super depressing for us. Sister Gochnour was kind of sad all day because 2014 was ending and along with it, her mission. I was just thrilled to start my year of missionary work, so it was hard for me to relate and help her. We stopped at a gas station and sat in the car summing up 2014 to help her. We bonded tons from it. We also decided our word for the year. As a substitute for New Years Resolutions that never get done, Sister Gochnour's family each chooses a word each year that stands for what they hope to work on for the next year. I LOVE that and will do that forever. So, my word is "heavenward". I want my thoughts, words and actions to always point towards heaven and as I do so, align my will completely with Heavenly Father's. I want me and heaven to be one :) 
We then went to the Behunin's and had dinner and made gingerbread houses with a lot of people! Best new years I've ever had! Charlann was there, a super crazy rcla couple named Chuck and Barb and Mary Lou (the cat lady). So, it was a party full of swear words, no teeth and non stop talking about cats.

Thursday afternoon we left for MLC!!! It was basically the funnest thing ever. We slept on the bunk beds with Sister Sigleer from the MTC and her companion. She missed my sleep talking. I missed her laugh so much. I taught the Restoration in my sleep just last night! I feel like MLC made me feel really small, but also excited for the potential that I have to someday become like these old, incredible missionaries. I've been working on having more charity towards other missionaries, especially elders, and I learned tons at MLC of how to have that more! I actually contributed to the meeting and Sister Gochnour quoted my theme of "zoom out and refocus" and they put it on the MLC notes to give out to everyone :) I made lots of friends there, and people told me they were shocked that I had only been out for a couple months. Made me feel a lot better! President Wirthlin was really emotional that day. He cried every time he spoke. At the very beginning he said he felt inspired to tell us who the new mission president would be. I guess he had just gotten the email but he told us not to tell. I'm excited to have two mission presidents to learn from, but I'm kind of sad to think of President Wirthlin ever leaving. Apparently he's one of the oldest mission presidents and the strictest! I like all of the rules, so it will be strange if the new president changes anything in July.

We got back late Friday night and then got to work on Saturday! We stopped by so many people and picked up an awesome new investigator Charlie. He's a Mexican man in his 20s that just got out of jail. He was a headquarter referral from forever ago I guess and he just randomly texted us and told us he wanted to meet! He seemed super promising to Sister Gochnour. He's the first totally sane person I've taught so I was kind of scared! Haha! There were huge snow storm alerts in Utica so the APs and Zone Leaders were calling us a lot asking us how it was here. It really wasn't bad so we continued with our plans to go to the Branch Mission Leader's house and go teach the Less Actives in his area like we do every Saturday. The rule is to pull over and stop driving if it's snowing, but we decided to just be super careful. We were almost there when the Zone Leaders called us and told us President wants everyone to cancel their lessons and be in their apartments as soon as we can. We had already driven 45 minutes and weren't turning around so the ZLs said they'd kill us if we got in a crash. Well, it ended up being a waste anyways because our Mission leader guy didn't want to go out because of the storm and forgot to call and tell us. We made it home safely and since all missionaries were inside, we had a conference call with the ZLs and the district leaders in our district. Which basically meant me and Sister Gochnour painted our nails while we listened to them :) It was weird to have to say a prayer over the phone to everyone. 

We didn't get to see all the people we wanted to this week because of meetings, planning and the snow storm. We still met our standards of excellence for the mission, but not the goals we set... but I hope next week will be amazing with exchanges and Zone Training Meeting. I'm a little bit nervous because I have to give a small part of the training, but the rest of it sounds like it's going to be amazing. Every single week brings something totally new that I've never done before, but it seems that's what a mission is all about. Thanks so much for your prayers and letters and love :) I am SO grateful for the family and friends that I have. My mission has stretched my heart more than I ever thought and increased my love even more for all of you!
See you next week!
Love, Sister H

1. Accidentally crossed mission borders into Massachusetts (little sign in the back). Tell no one!
2. Gingerbread Bennington temple that we made on New Years Eve.

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