Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I am in VA

Hey Fam,

I guess I will start by saying I have an hour for email in the mission now AND I can print. So email me all you want. I didn't have any today and that was depressing. Oh and P-days are Wednesday for the whole mission. Oh and I can receive and send emails to people who are not immediate family. So bring it on friends :)
Well I am sure you are wondering where I am at. I've kept you in suspense long enough. My first area is the Newport News 1st Ward. My address is:

602 Riverbend Court, Apt #106
Newport News, VA 23602

I am actually in a trio and it's awesome. It's going to be weird when I go down to one companion. Both of my companions love being in a trio and I do to. My trainer is Sister Cox and she is from Fruit Heights, UT. She has been on her mission for 9 months. My other companion is Sister Case from Centerville, UT. She's been out for 3 months. They are both blondes too! They are seriously the best companions for me. They are both excited about being missionaries and understand that obedience brings blessings. They are both outgoing and like to talk. You'd think with 3 talkers it would be hard to get a word in, but it works out well. They are great missionaries and the three of us compliment each other's strengths and weaknesses. And they both like to work out, so that is awesome. We get up about 6am and run over to our apt complex gym. Yep, we have a sweet little (very little) gym.
The mission is so much different from the MTC. I had obviously figured that one, but it's amazing to be out here and see in how many ways it's different.
I'm learning a lot and getting lots of teaching practice, but I still feel like I am lightyears behind the other 2 sisters. That's probably poor thinking though. Of course I'm new, so I shouldn't feel like I have to be where they are. Hopefully at some point I will be where they are though. One thing that we are supposed to be able to do is be able to teach any principle at any time. That is what I am working on now and will be for a while. It's one thing to know the doctrine, it's another to explain it to someone. And in a way that makes sense to someone who has never heard of the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith, etc. So I am working on that. The best way for me to learn is to actually do, so we are working hard all day long. These sisters are workers and I love it!
I need to tell you about my area. Remember all the things people said about I won't see many baptisms and etc....? Well throw that out the window. The field is white and ready to harvest here in Newport News 1st Ward. My comps welcomed me to the mission with a baptism last Saturday. It was an 11 year old boy named Alex. His parents were inactive (and still sort of are) and he was never baptized. Then in one of his random visits to church he discovered he loved learning about Christ. Sweet.
And we have 4 baptisms (a family) set in November and another 11 year old boy set in December. And we have lots of investigators who are so close to setting a date. We had a really awesome lesson last night with a couple who lives in our apt complex. They are Rebecca and Tim and they have a 14 month old daughter. It was so amazing to be there. We taught the Restoration for a second time to answer their questions and clarify misunderstandings. We also watched the Restoration video with them. The wife said she was so overwhelmed watching it and we told her that was the Spirit telling her that what she has learned is true. The husband sounds like he does too, but he's more stern and quiet, so he doesn't give us much hint. Rebecca basically told him that she knows it's true and he has to find out for himself. They are coming to church on Sunday, so hopefully the ward will welcome them in.
The ward is really awesome and I have no worries about them fellowshipping. Pretty much the majority of the ward are converts to the Church. This ward really knows what is means to be a member missionary. They get it! And they live it! We get referrals and the members are so willing to let us teach in their homes or come with us to lessons. And they totally bring their friends to activities (esp. the YM/YW). They pretty much will do anything for the missionary work. The bishop is so rad. He is probably like 35 and has 6 kids. His wife is amazing too. She very much exemplifies quiet dignity. But Bishop Hamilton is pumped about missionary work. Currently we are having a 40 day fast. The stake's goal was to have 74 baptisms this year. We are I think 18 away. That isn't counting the 5 we already have and the probably 5 more we will have this year. This last Sunday we met a lady from Africa (totally have a bunch of people from Liberia in my ward) who was like I want to be baptized. She's come to church 3 times and so we are teaching her the lessons this week and hope to have her baptism next week.
Oh and I forgot to mention that we have 7 missionaries in my ward. Go read that sentence again just to make sure you read the 7. Yep. Crazy huh? We have a set of Spanish speaking elders and then a set of English speaking elders and our trio. We are a great team and always give referrals to each other and work with each others investigators to get them excited about the gospel. We went and took cigarettes and the lighters away from one investigator that the elders are teaching. That was fun. He's kind of a crazy old guy. He got into drugs a long time ago and it kind of messed him up.
So we went to deliver a DVD to a media referral yesterday and it was in a trailer park. I've always wanted to tract a trailer park and we didn't have any appointments, so we did. It was sweet! We found 7 new investigators and some of them have families too. It was so cool. So we are going back this Sunday to teach a bunch of them. I think we are actually going to get some to church on Sunday too. I love tracting! least so far :)
Since we have so many recent converts, we have been able to teach a lot of new member lessons. Those are the best. We have this one couple, the Esteps who I love. They are so pumped about sharing the gospel with others. They joke that they want to tract their apt complex. They already have their couple mission planned out for when they are old. Haha. She is younger than me, so that's awesome.
The missionary attire in my mission is way more relaxed that the instructions said. So all those cute clothes I bought in the guidelines are making me feel a little frumpy. Haha. And that backpack I bought at the MTC??? Sisters all have purses! So I will hope to find one today, so I am not the only sister with a backpack. Live and learn. So mom, feel free to send me some of my mid calf or longer skirts if you want. Prints are fine.
Well I guess I should end my email. Now that I have an hour, be prepared for long emails I guess. I can't help it...I type fast and have a lot to say.

Love ya,
Sister Talbot

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