Am I the worst? Or am I the worst? You can say it. 'Cause it's true. No one told me that e-mailing gets harder and harder as time goes on in the mission. But it does! I have no excuse other than that. So here is some NEW news!
Did I mention that I am in a new area, as of 6 weeks ago? I am currently in Springfield, VA, serving over the Braddock Young Single Adult Ward. This ward covers the Annandale, Centreville, and Woodbridge Virginia STAKES. Yes, stakes. So it is ENORMOUS. But having just served in the Potomac Mid-Singles Ward, which covers the entire mission, I'm pretty used to the traveling time. This ward reminds me much more of the Solano YSA Ward back home. Most of the kids live at home and are working, some going to school. We have George Mason University in our area, so it's been fun to travel to that campus to meet some of the ward members. We've tried a few times to street contact there, but nothing has come of it [YET]!
Sister Hills has gone and left for Manassas 2nd Ward in the Centreville Stake. She is training a new missionary and pink-washing (taking over an area after two elders have left it). It's a lot of hard work, but she's the right girl for the job. I miss her a lot, but excited to attend U of U games with her when I return (hello Kyle Whittingham... I'm your relative!). She even gave me a shirt to rep before she left - what a peach.
My new companion is the lovely Sister Aubrey Kartchner! She is from Tucson, Arizona and is 20 years old. She attended BYU for a year before coming out to serve her mission. She's actually related to some Kartchners that I served around in Great Falls (small world, right?). Though she knows that they're here, she still hasn't run into them yet. Shocking, since she served in their stake for 6 months! Sister Kartchner undoubtedly has the prettiest head of hair in the mission. It's long, blonde, and beautiful, like Blake Lively's. Do I envy it? I try not to. But it's hard!
Our good friend, Andrew, is leaving for home in Waynesboro, Virginia this Tuesday :( He's finishing up his classes at GMU and won't be back until the Fall. He does have to come back for one more class next week, and we're hoping to have our final lesson then. Still debating on whether will transition him to missionaries down there or have Skype lessons with him so that he can come back and still be comfortable with the missionaries here. We shall see! We finished teaching the Plan of Salvation and he soaked it up like a sponge. He is ready to be baptized, but wants a certain friend of his to perform the baptism, who lives in UT. So hopefully it will work out soon that this friend can come, so Andrew can receive the fullness of blessings!
We have another friend Bre who is less-active in the Church. Her family joined when she was 11 and fell away soon after. But we showed up at her apartment last night to find out if she could come watch the CES fireside with us! She was cleaning her apartment, and we decided to help her finish cleaning so that we could all watch it at her place on the laptop. Wow, she pulled out a pen and paper and took copious notes on Elder Ballard's bold address on technology, pornography, and gay marriage. A favorite piece of advice that Elder Ballard gave (and SO fitting for our world today):
"Ask yourself, 'Do I have ANY personal quiet time?' We need to see and feel the presence of the Spirit in our lives. Take the time to FIND SOME, so that we may have a regular, personal interview with ourselves. We need to 'be still and know that [He] is God.'"
I remember being in Rexburg for school and just needing some of that quiet time. I would go on drives around the town, going into residential neighborhoods I had never seen before to look at the cool, old houses. I felt the Spirit as I enjoyed what I saw and felt the sun on my face as I drove. I invite you all to reserve some quiet time EVERY DAY so that you can feel the Spirit in your lives.
I love you all and appreciate your thoughts and prayers. They work!
Photo: Sister Kartchner and I with our friends, Andrew, Brigitte, Riley and Danny. Andrew cooked us a fancy Italian dinner - YUM.