Hello Everyone! Thank you for all your well wishes and love. A shout-out to my best friend, Kelsey Bucsko. YOU WROTE ME! Haha you're the best, and do expect a letter coming your way VERY soon!
This week has ALSO gone by insanely fast. But I love it! Seeing as we didn't get to teach a single lesson this week or have any progressing investigators, you think we would be down and out with a slow, uneventful week. WRONG. Sister Evans and I are a happy bunch because we know that those prepared people are out there! We just need to find them :)
So here are a few things that I've noticed about Virginia that I have failed to mention in my past e-mails:
1) Everyone has a dog. I haven't SEEN this many dogs since I lived in Bozeman, Montana last summer. I wouldn't consider Virginia to even be that dog-friendly, but apparently, it's the "in" thing to have a dog. And it turns out I HATE dogs now. I actually really, kind of do. They disrupt the Spirit and make it difficult to get into doors. Satan controls them - I just know it.
2) Mineral water. Why? That stuff is gross. But everyone here drinks it! I'll peer into cars (non-creepily) and see a bottle of Perrier just chillin' in the cup holder. We are always offered it at our member dinners too, and of course, kindly decline. Sister Evans doesn't like it either. We even tracted into a lady who let us in only to give us blueberry muffins and club soda. SICK.
3) Virginia apparently doesn't have an affinity for a variety of stores - of any sort. I can't tell you how many McDonald's I've seen here. Oh and Panera Breads. Then there's CVS and Staples. And can't forget 7 Elevens... with no gas station attached! YEAH! Weird, right? I encourage you all to look up store locations for each of these stores and SEE how many are in Vienna, McLean, and Tyson's Corner alone. It's insane.
4) Lastly, the traffic here is RIDICULOUS. Like, really crazy. Californians - be happy! We sit in about 20 minutes of IN-TOWN traffic on the regular. Not just on the freeways, but in town. It blows my mind!
5) Oh and there's lots of Range Rovers. And Colonial-style homes here. Those are your only options, apparently.
This week was so great though! On Wednesday, we were able to help out with a Young Men/Young Women activity at the mall called "Where's Malldo?". Basically, members from the ward will dress up in disguise and walk around the mall until the youth find them. When they find them, they'll ask "What time is it?" And the disguised members have to say "It's Great Falls time!" (Great Falls is our ward). Then you hand over a token and whatever team gets all the tokens first wins! So Sister Evans and I dressed up as bums! I had my flannel shirt on with my beanie over my long hair (which kind of gave me away, oh well). But it was so FUN! Grateful to have such a great ward and great youth :)
On Saturday, Sister Evans and I got to help with the youth yet AGAIN. So the McLean Stake was holding a Temple Walk, where the youth would walk 13.7 miles from the Arlington ward building to the actual Washington DC Temple! Our ward was in charge of the Bethesda, Maryland aid station and we were asked to help! Because this is out of our mission boundaries (it's in the DC North mission), our mission president had to ask Elder Hallstrom of the Seventy if we could go! WOAH. He let us go! It was a very short time, but we were able to cheer on the youth as they came into the station and cheer them back out as they finished the last 3.7 miles! What a wonderful experience! It made me miss youth activities, actually.
BUT I was EXTRA excited to go to Bethesda. Why, you ask? Because it is where the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series takes place! AH! I know, I'm a nerd. I felt like I was meeting someone famous by going to this town! It was very green and beautiful, with a cool downtown and gorgeous houses. Very impressed! And now I can say that I've officially been to Bethesda, Maryland :)
So unfortunately, we had to drop Sharon. She isn't returning any of our calls and we don't feel welcomed back to the house. SAD. We know that she'll come around one day though - she is prepared! However, we do have an investigator Glen, who I may have mentioned before. His wife is a less-active member and our lessons with them always go really well! We were SHOCKED to see Glen at church last week, by himself, without his wife. He didn't even tell us he was coming! And then he showed up AGAIN yesterday! (This time we did know beforehand). But it's amazing to see his progression even as he comes to church. He's making it a priority! We just need to get him to read the scriptures daily, and then we're golden :) But I'm so grateful for amazing ward members who reached out to him and are trying to become his friend. It's so important because we missionaries aren't here forever!
I continue to pray everyday that we find those that Heavenly Father has prepared us to teach. I LOVE this area, but it isn't easy. Never assumed it would be though, I guess! I still feel so blessed everyday to be out here and meeting people, members and non-members alike. I know that I wouldn't be able to have any of these experiences without my mission. I'm gaining a testimony of missionary work that I never had before I came out - and that's what's really important as I focus on progressing the work AFTER my mission as well!
LOVE YOU ALL!
1) Ecouragement at Youth Temple Walk
2) My district last transfer - two elders are leaving, but Sister Evans and I are staying together!