Coming April 2013: Merlin Erven Nelson Anderson! or Merlina Erveneesa Nelsdotter Andersdotter!
HURRAY! HURRAH! HURREE! HURREW! HERMIONE GRANGER!!!
Congratulations to my beautiful, pregnant sister, Paige, and my beautiful, non-pregnant BIL(brother-in-law), Nick! Spokane better watch out, 'cause Baby Anderson is going to sweep any and all cutest/chubbiest baby contests they have next year, hands down! No contest! I'm so excited! And happy! And grateful! Huzzah!
I'm also grateful and excited for Salem. We had interviews with President Woodbury this week. When he and I were talking he told me that he doesn't usually do this but that he's giving me the call on this next transfer. He said that he knows I've been in Salem for a long time and if I stay this transfer that I'll probably end up staying here for the rest of my mission (because I only have two transfers left and if I stay next transfer it would be weird to get transferred on my last transfer). He said that he knew it would be unique because then I'd only have had two areas on my mission and will have stayed in them nine months apiece. But he can see that the ball is just getting rolling here and he doesn't want to lose momentum. And neither do I. I told him that I don't want to leave. We're about to start teaching Mark and we've been finding more and more and I feel like good things are about to happen in Salem. So we both felt like I should stay. But he told me that he'd give me two weeks to think about it. I'll give him my final decision then. And he promised that no matter what my decision is that I won't be with Sister Hunt after this transfer ends. So I've been thinking and praying about it. I'll do whatever the Lord wants me to do. But I hope that He wants me to stay in Salem. And it could change, but right now I'm feeling like He does.
Mark Hobson got back from Florida on Saturday. I'm going to give him a couple days to decompress and then we're coming for him. I've been studying up on some of his questions and I've been thinking about how I want to explain faith and how essential a testimony of the Book of Mormon is.
Yesterday, Sister Hunt and I went to the park to contact people. We spoke with a couple people that weren't interested and then we approached two guys that were sitting on a picnic table passing a guitar between themselves and playing different songs. We asked them a question of the soul and they both said they've wondered that before and we asked them if we could answer it for them right then and they said they had all the time in the world. We ended up summarizing the plan of salvation for them and briefly told them about the restoration. Then we sat down at the table with them and read the first part of 3 Nephi 11. They were both eating it up and we finally had to go because President Woodbury was trying to get ahold of me about a different person in Salem and he had called a couple times. But we talked to them for a little over and hour and when we asked if we could meet them again they were like, "How about tomorrow?" Best response ever. Their names are Josh and John. Josh is 17 and has had a crazy, awful life so far but the night before we met him had felt like instead of listening to his heavy metal music that he should listen to Christian music, so he did. He's been between foster care and his parents his whole life and in a five year period he was sent to 50 different foster homes. He dropped out of high school and has had a lot of painful things happen in his life. But he's really excited about the Book of Mormon. He kept telling me he wished his foster mom was there because she needs to hear what we were saying because she's pretty lost right now. We're going to try and make contact with her this week. John is 30 and his mom passed away but before she did they used to write Christian songs together. He can't read, but he can play the guitar really well. I'm going to ask him if I can teach him how to read and use the Book of Mormon as our practice. They're great.
We've also taught this girl named Kimberly whose mom owns a Mexican restaurant on the town square. She's 15 and she really liked the story about Joseph Smith and said we can come back any time. We want to be able to teach her mom sometime, too.
Sandra is making slow, but steady progress. It's hard because we aren't allowed to be there if her boyfriend is home and a lot of days he just decides not to go to work or to come home early so she has to cancel. But when we do get to teach her, she's very receptive and feels the Spirit.
We did an exchange this week and Sister Roberts came here to Salem with me. She's a greenie this transfer but she doesn't act like one. We were walking down this busy highway and she had no fear talking to people. She also smiled and waved at every car that passed. And it wasn't just a head nod or a little tip of the hand, it was a full on wave using her whole arm bending from the elbow. It was cracking me up. She said she just wants people to have a good impression of us. We came up to a guy at a gas station and he flat out denied me before I could finish my sentence. It made us a little sheepish and we were scared to talk to the next guy, but we did anyways and he was really nice. We talked to him about the Book of Mormon and he told us he has one and that he used to meet with the Elders and that we should stop by sometime. It was a sweet reward after building up courage.
A couple of things I think are weird:
First thing is that since I've come on my mission, all of my friends are at least twice my age. For example: Willard-59, Otis-66, Sherry-56, Reed-54, Claiborne-64, Judy-60, Mary-83, Wende-61, Kim-52, Brother Winslow-73, the Vonnahmes-71 & 73, Rowena-83. Why not anyone in their forties? or thirties? Nope. They're all my parents ages or older. And they're honestly my friends that I'd rather hang out with than the other people I know that are my age out here. It's weird.
Second thing is that no one can understand me. Sister Hunt can be across the room and whisper and they pick it up loud and clear. But I can be sitting three inches from their ear and shout myself hoarse and people still can't understand what I'm saying. I asked Brother Winslow about it the other day and he said it's the tone of my voice. Something about it doesn't carry as well as other people's. It reminded me of that home video we have of Christmas when I was like 3. Joel and Derek were 8 & 9 and they sound like Chip & Dale, their voices are so high and squeaky. Then dad pans over to the little blonde girl in the frilly nightgown and asks me a question and a bullfrog croaks back. Oh well.
Things are looking better and better here in Salem. Thanks for your prayers and your support.
Extra Blessings: Otie
Quote of the Week: "The Holy Ghost is a tattle-tale!"
Explanation from last week's quote: Mom and I had been couped up in the hotel all day. At night there was a severe storm starting and mom decided she wanted to watch it. "I'm going to open the window. We haven't seen the sun all day--" FWHAM! The absolute second that she opened the curtains, the building directly in front of our window was struck by lightning. Haha. Mom was so scared/shocked by it that she fell backwards, screaming. It was awesome.
I love you all. I love this gospel and the hope and peace it brings to me and those I love. The Church is TRUE! Share it!