Oh, my dear family. i miss you and love you with all my heart!
so here I am, typing from the Library in Gig Harbor, Washington. A Week ago today i was bidding farewell to my MTC amigos and speaking Spanish and doing laundry to prepare for the journey. Tuesday dawned at 2:30 am for me, as my Hermanas and I took our suitcases to the travel office and checked in. Lots of handshakes from the Elders and tight hugs from the Hermanas. The 9 of us have become the best of friends, and I wish I had more time to tell you how incredible they are! lets just say those 7 weeks were some of my favorite in my whole lifetime, filled with laughter, tears, Espanol, and the Spirit. I look forward to many times ahead with them in Rosario.
Elder Higginson and I were the last to leave, 5:00 am, headed for the Salt Lake Airport. As we stopped in the big coach bus, the MTC driver said over the intercom "have a great mission!" The way he said it sounded like he should be saying "have a great day at disneyland." In that moment i realized just how far I was leaving home. i Thought of Samwise, stepping out of the cornfield, realizing that the next step he was taking was the farthest from home he'd ever been. now, I won't be quite that far until I reach Argentina, but going to live in Washington Tacoma is still a pretty big deal for this little Molly Mormon in her Mary-jane Dansko shoes.
So I bid Utah farewell for the last time in a while, and boarded the Airplane for the first time since I was 12 years old on my trip with you to Nauvoo, Mom. It was a short flight, only 2 hours. I was SO PROUD of Elder Higginson! I was sandwiched by missionaries on both sides, but he had a Russian immigrant couple on his left. They began to ask 'who is this big group of people you're a part of?' To which he grinned, and replied, "oh, we're missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! Have you ever heard of our church before?" The next two hours ensued an incredible discussion between this sweet couple (parents of 7 children) and my exuberant and steadfast friend elder Higginson. He shared his testimony of the Book of Mormon as a witness of Jesus Christ and the importance of finding a witness for ourselves, committed the wife to read the book of Mormon, and answered the questions they had regarding the Word of Wisdom and Temples and more. It was neat to see him already sharing his testimony only a few short hours after leaving the training center.
After arriving at the airport, we encountered our sweet Mission President and his Wife, President and Sister Weaver. They gave us great big hugs and soon we were on our way back to the Church Building. The Washington Tacoma mission is affectionately called the WA-TAC by the missionaries here. i soon met my companion, Sister Ashley Brown from springville, UT. She is beautiful, spunky, kind, and loves to quote Harry Potter movies. We enjoyed some counsel from our Mission President and wife during Transfer meeting--this mission is SO MUSICAL! Between every testimony we were standing to sing. Every missionary seems to boom their testimony in songs like Amazing Grace and He Sent His Son. My tired soul rejoiced in the music. Sister Brown & I begin every Companionship study with a hymn and prayer, and often hum together between houses in tracting. D&C 25:12.
I have been assigned to labor in a city called Gig Harbor. We are in the thick of Washington Trees, and our little blue house (see picture) overlooks the harbor itself. We have a totem pole in the front yard, a chicken coop in the back (some members own this home, and we get the privilege of letting the chickens out in the morning! It's so fun!!!), and a fun little orange rusty mailbox. I Love it, Mom & Dad. The house is tiny--only barely enough room for we two sisters. I am mesmerized by the trees here, it's as though I've been dropped off in Lord of the Rings. Absolutely STUNNING! :)
The Ward in Gig Harbor is fantastic. The Ward Members work really closely with the missionaries to find people to teach, and they seem to be spilling over with love for us. I was overwhelmed with hugs and hellos yesterday at Church--I'm looking forward to coming to know all of them. we are fed every single night, a homecooked meal from a member. Oh, goodness, the scale frightens me--but the food is delicious and I'm grateful for their kindness!
most of our investigators have been out of town this week for Spring Break, so that has left us doing a lot of tracting and a lot of finding and a lot of lessons with Recent Converts. Tracting can be a lot of fun when you're going with Sister Brown :) When someone answers the door, we ask them how they are doing, and if they resist us as missionaries we simply ask what their beliefs are. i've learned a lot about different religions and different cultures already. We have 2 families that have invited us back to talk about the church, and I cannot wait to teach them but am terrified at the same time! I want very much to be an adequate teacher and to express how much God loves them.
The hardest moments came for me these past few days. saturday, I invited a kind Christian man to read the Book of Mormon and offered my testimony. He immediately bristled and expressed that such was a point of contention for him, and he doesn't believe that anything can be added to the Bible. Another moment was yesterday, While talking with a polite man at his door he expressed his belief that all should follow Jesus Christ, and he commended us for representing him and inviting others to follow him. He then followed to say that people don't need organized religion or leaders or our Book of Mormon to follow God. Our conversation was very civil and very kind, but as I walked away, my heart was ravaged. i have never felt such torment and sadness in my entire life, and I mean that honestly. In all honesty, I felt wounded and hurt that someone could reject that which i dearly love, and call it false, and call it useless. I have done a lot of soul searching these past three days, a lot of remembering, and a lot of reading. I want to bear my testimony to you, my dear family, that this book is of God. No evil man could write this book, and no Good man would write it unless it was sanctioned by God. it was written by ancient prophets in the Americas and thereafter translated by Joseph Smith. that I know. i love my savior, and I love this little blue book that testifies of him! I know it and I cannot deny it, despite the rejection of others.
i love you, my sweet family. I think of you all the time and hope to hear from you--all of you--soon. I am buoyed up by the love yuou have extended to me all my life.
Dad, I hope the app work is great. I would love to hear from you!
Mom, I have a lot to reply to from your email, I'll have to write it hand written. Give rachelle the biggest hug in the world for me on her special day!!!! :) I think a gift card would be best for a gift, but wrap up a box of star wars fruit snacks for her and lable it from me :) She'll understand. Tell her i love her with all my heart!!! And Reid's pretty great too ;) He'll take good care of her.
AUSTIN, HAPPY 17 THIS WEEK BUD!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE You!
Ty, Jp, Corey--you know I love you. Keep being awesome and doing good ;) How I love you.
LOVE! Hermana Boren