Monday, October 25, 2010

Hello from Richmond!

I am officially living in Richmond now. How weird. I never thought I would live in Richmond, but it's really cool and a lot more diverse than Newport News and Norfolk. There is no military, which is a bummer, but we have a lot of people that attend VCU. It's diverse because we have the really nice historical homes, but then we also have the Projects. As sisters we have areas that we cannot go to unless we have an appointment and then only during the day. We call it the "never zone". And we also have areas that we try not to be in after 5pm unless we have an appointment. It's weird because I came from Norfolk, which is super ghetto. But ghetto doesn't necessarily mean dangerous I guess... Don't worry, we are careful!! I know what you are all thinking. But trust me, we are not being silly sisters. We are following the restrictions. The Branch is small and they have most of the leadership positions filled by members called in from other wards. So half the ward is out of our boundaries. We have a few African families and a bunch of college students. Two of the YW, both from the African families, when they met me were in amazement of my hair. I wore it down and they kept touching it and telling me they like it. Haha. After Sacrament started I realized that I was one of 2 people with blonde hair and the other ladies was dyed. I tend to stick out with my blonde hair. That's strange because I'm in America. Haha.

Because it's a branch, there aren't as many members and apparently a lot of the women work too. Church is at 11am. I've had 9am church my whole mission and then for almost 3 years before that, so it's different meeting later in the morning. We don't get out till 2pm, so we were starving after! We get an hour of study in the morning before our bishop meeting, which is different. I've never had Sunday study! It's great.

Sister Adaniya is great. We are very similar to each other as far as the work goes, so it's going to be a good transfer. She is a convert of 5 years (sweet!!! to have a convert for a comp!) and her dad was baptized a couple of years ago, but her mom and brother have still not joined. She is Japanese Okinawan, but 2nd generation raised in Hawaii. She likes foreign foods and is a good cook, so we are going to eat good this transfer. We are both excited because she hasn't really had any comps that are into foreign things really. She has done some traveling, so we are going to have a lot of fun this transfer. And we both have some really good ideas of how to help the area grow.

We have a recent convert named Raymond Woods. He got baptized not too long ago at the age of 90. Sound familiar?

I told you about the prank we pulled on the elders right? About the Black Woman perfume on their handlebars? I hope so. Well Elder Meacham finally got me back. He dumped this really smelly cologne into my purse. We were out with a member in Norfolk and I was in front of her and Sis. Vawdrey and they both were like you have to walk behind us, you stink. So now everywhere I go I smell like stinky man cologne. Hopefully with P-Day I will have time to wash my bag. Haha.

Well here is my address:

3300 W Grace St, Apt 3
Richmond, VA 23221

Thursday, October 21, 2010

October Pictures

The Kreitzer's with Vinolia Simmons

At Wasabi, the Tepanyaki place

We get creative when we tract...when no one is home

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Transferred - email from Oct. 18, 2010

So we got our transfer calls last night. Based on some things Pres. Perry said to me in interviews last week I thought I would get to stay another transfer. But I am being transferred to.................................the downtown Richmond Branch! My companion will be Sis. Adaniya. She came out 1 transfer before me and was in the trio in NN1 right before I got there. She is from Hawaii! I don't really know much about her, but that and that she is a hard worker. So it's going to be awesome! Sisters have only been in the Branch for 6 months because of the danger risk. Sister Case opened the area, so she's been excitedly telling me all about it. Apparently there are areas we cannot enter after 5pm and some areas we cannot be in period as sisters. That's kind of like Norfolk except we didn't have actual restrictions...we just follow the Spirit.  It's a way different experience than anything else in my life and I love it! Mom and Dad, you'll just love visiting my areas. Haha. In the Branch we serve with the Zone Leaders and they are usually a trio, so there will be 5 of us. I'm excited for the new change because change on the mission is great. BUT, I am super bummed about leaving Norfolk 2. I love this ward. The members are so great and so supportive and the area is just one of a kind. Sister Vawdrey has been awesome to serve with. We are so depressed to be separated, but we knew it was coming. Pres. told both of us a change in companions was happening.

When I spoke with Pres. we had a really random conversation about all sorts of things. At one point I think he was encouraging me to marry a younger man. Haha. It's likely to happen, let's be honest. Last P-Day we had a zone sports day and Elder Ghelfy, one of the Spanish elders was making fun of me because I am "going to be so old when I get home". At conference he asked how old I was and we ended up figuring out we were the same age for another 2 days anyways. So at P-Day he was telling me that I would be 27 when I get home and all sorts of lies! And I told him he was old then. But he said because I am a sister that makes me old and that I am going to be single forever because I am going to be old when I get home. I was so mad at him! He is blacklisted from the cool elder list.

So I got a phone call from the office the other day saying that I need to decide now if I am going to be going home in February or April. Ahhhh! I don't know. That's forever away! I am supposed to let them know asap. How can I make that decision so far in advance? I didn't think I would be given an option because Pres. Millburn said that we go home whenever our release date is...Feb 22. But Pres. Perry is a little different and he lets us decide. So I need your advice and opinions on what you think. Please, send me these in your emails next week because I told them I will let them know after I hear from my family about it. I keep thinking, it's just 6 weeks why not stay? And then I keep thinking how I have no idea what I'm going to do when I get home, so I should go in Feb so I can start figuring it out before school application dates close in. Ahhhh! I really have NO idea what I'm going to do when I get home.

Yesterday we had dinner with the coolest family. The Peterson's are such a sweet family and are in Norfolk for med school. She reminds me so much of Christina, it's crazy! They have the cutest son too with the whitest hair! His name is Brayden. He served in Russia, so he said he'd make us Russian food. We had Solyanka (soup with pickles, sauage, bacon, olives, random things) and then Pelmeni (potstickers basically). It was so good and we ate both with lots of sour cream.

We also went by Sis. Dietz house and she had a friend over who when they were both in Hawaii had been scheduled to be baptized, but then her husband wouldn't let her. It was so cool to talk to her and she has been thinking lately about church again, so we are going to start to teach her and hopefully through a lot of prayers and fasting her husband will soften his heart. There are so many amazing things that are going to happen here next transfer and I'm excited for Sis. Vawdrey to get to experience it! And somehow hopefully I'll get to hear about it!

We taught David Payne the Word of Wisdom this week. He is a sweet tea drinker and at the end we asked him "Will you start now to live the Word of Wisdom?" He said hold on a minute and picked up his tea, took one more drink and said okay now I will. Haha. It was so cool. He has so much faith! He has been really sick, so he couldn't come to church unfortunately, but next week!

We taught this awesome lady named Sheilia this week. Her 7 year old daughter Alexis was there and so excited for us to come. Her mom tried to schedule when her kids would be at school so there wouldn't be a distraction, but there was early out and when Alexis walked in and saw us, she's like "yes they're here". Haha, it was so cute. She has a 5 year old son named Dylan. He's so tall. I've never seen a 5 year old that tall ever. The lesson went really well and she came to church! It is so hard to get people to come to church here after just one lesson, so we were so excited! And her kids of course loved it. It helped that it was the Primary Program too. We found Sheilia tracting to find the apartment number of a less active member. They are friends and upstairs/downstairs neighbors, so it's sweet. We left a note for the member on her door and she randomly showed up to church last week. It was so cool. That never happens. She actually had recently come back to church, just in the Mt. Pleasant Ward with her fiance who is also coming back to church. We are going to see the member tonight and talk to her about encouraging Sheilia and sharing her testimony with her. So cool!

Well the next time you will hear from me I will be in Richmond! Maybe I'll find that BBQ place. Hmmm...can you look it up and tell me where it's at?

I love you all and hope you are doing well!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Another Week

Aiden is soooo cute! He looks a lot like Tyler. Wasn't one of the other kids 7lb12oz? Ashlyn? How do Ashlyn, Hazen, and Rigg feel about the new baby? I'm glad Tyler approves. He looks like a good big brother! How cool Tyler got a certificate for being smart. He must take after his aunt :)

I was thinking the other day how I'll have to take Ashlyn and Tyler on a road trip to Eagar with me when I get back. Make sure I get the new address for Cody's family.

We've had a good week, but it's also been a really weird week. I'll spare the details of the really strange events.

Erica was just too much for us this week. One funny thing...we were looking at Erica's conference notes and one thing she had written down was "God reveals His gospel to His chosen serpents." Yes, serpents. Didn't you know. Apparantly she didn't find anything strange about that because she didn't say anything to us. Isn't that crazy? Another funny thing...ok I've told you about Erica, I don't know how much though. She has some mental illnesses and we're not quite sure her accountability level, but in school she gets a's and b's, so we're not sure about it all. Anyway, so somedays we teach her it goes really well, but others not so well, which is more often. It's a little frustrating. We've been debating as to whether we should stop teaching her. She comes to church but we think it's really because she wants to get out of the house and she can get free stuff (like raiding the lost and found) and she has Sis. Cobb to pick her up. So here's the funny story: Sis. Cobb was teaching about developing talents in Gospel Principles and had an object lesson. She had 3 people come up and gave them each a gift bag and inside was full of candy. The first looked inside said pretty much thanks but no thanks and threw the bag in the garbage (part of the object lesson). Erica was shocked and I heard her say, well you didn't have to throw it away, I'll take it. The next looked in the bag and quietly sat down, not saying anything. Then the last person looked in her bag and was so excited and wanted to share. But while Sis. Cobb started explaining it all, Erica went all the way across the room over to the garbage, got the candy out and took it back to her seat saying, well if he didnt want it, I do, I'm going to take it. It was hilarious. She was so focused on the candy being thrown in the garbage that she didn't even listen to the point Sis. Cobb was trying to make. We officially decided last night that we have to stop teaching her. When we feel like we have to bribe people to keep committments, it's not right. She wants to come to church, but she's not willing to consistently keep committments and she doesn't really care about reading or praying. She gets mad when we ask her about it too. She's a really great person, but we are just not going to continue teaching her. Maybe later on she'll be more ready.

We've seen David a couple of more times this week too. He is so cool. He knows the gospel is true, so whenever we teach him he just accepts the teachings as true. It's so cool. That is how Rodney was too. We hope his twin 15 year olds come along too.

Well sorry for the lame-o email. It really was a strange week, but we still had fun together!

Love you!

Sister Talbot

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Do We Have a New Baby Yet?

A 5pm c-section? That means it will be 8pm here. That's forever away! I am so excited to see pictures of Tyler Jr. So what are we naming this baby anyways? Liam sounds like a good name to me ; )

Just a side note from Katy's mom - Aiden Kean Judd was born Monday, October 4, 2010 at 5:32 p.m.  He was 7 lbs. 12 oz. and 20" long.  Mother and baby are doing well and he really is a Tyler look alike.

This last week has been so great! Time is passing by really quickly. Last transfer seemed long, but this one is flying by. Mom, you asked if I would get a chance to see any other part of VA? I have no idea. I assume I have one more area in my future, but who knows if it will be somewhere new. I had a dream once about 2 months ago I was going to Harrisonburg. That'd be cool. They don't have sisters there now though. Pres. Perry has really been sending sisters to the other side of Richmond though, so you never know.

We taught this man named David Payne this week. We actually taught him twice this week. He has been friends with a member in VA Beach for 30 years or so and over the last 4 or 5 months David has really had an opportunity to read from the Book of Mormon and talk to his friend about the Church. So a few months ago the Stake had a High Priest Group social and he went and met Bishop Cluff and talked to him for a really long time. Bishop gave the elders his info and then the elders passed it to us because he lives too close to the beach. So we finally got to teach him and he is awesome. He already has a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. He has committed to be baptized on November 20th! He has colon cancer and has been able to beat the odds over the last 2 years he's had it. He knows he's going to die and we know he will too. But that is why having the restored gospel is so wonderful and amazing. We know that because he will receive the ordinance of baptism he will be one of the valiant missionaries in the Spirit World. His testimony will convert many. He asks the question, why not be happy? He's dying of cancer and he asks, why not be happy? This man is incredible. He has two 15 year old twins who hopefully will be able to soon start the lessons and come to mutual activities. They need the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation to prepare for the inevitable event sure to come over the next year. Sister Dietz has come to both lessons with us and after the first lesson she said, I like him, we should keep him. Yes, we should and we are. David has to wear a bag to use the bathroom (tmi, I know) and mentioned that would be a concern in order to be fully immersed and before we could say anything about it, he said he'd check with his doctors and it will all work out. Seriously family, this guy is awesome. We will for sure visit him mom and dad when we come back next year.

We had some random man who may or may not have been under the influence of something shout to us as we were walking "ya'll are gorgeous ladies." So let it be known, the mission weight isn't too bad. As Sister Pinter and Sister Case say, we wear it well.

General Conference was so awesome! I forgot to bring my notes to the library with me :( So maybe next week I will give a conference review. They focused a lot on strengthening ourselves through faith and consistency. And they spoke a lot about agency as well. They quoted from 2 Nephi 2 more than anywhere else I think. If you haven't read this chapter in a while, it would be a good one to chase conference with. One quote I really liked was from Pres. Uchtdorf and it was proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstance. I like the idea of doing what is realistic for you. Sis. Wixom said that it took them 3.5 years to read the Book of Mormon as a family. They started by only reading a few verses a day, which was realistic for them at the time and then slowly increased as the kids got older. I am so glad she shared that story. Even if it is just one verse a day, it's something and it's showing the Lord we are willing. I also really liked the 14 points of why we need a living prophet and what comes with that. The prophet today is more valuable to us now than the standard works!!!!!! WOW!!! I talked to a member before conference and he said he told his 8 year old daughter that there was no church today. What!?!? I cannot believe people think General Conference is a weekend off. Just like Nephi says in 2 Nephi 33:15, "what I seal on earth (or what any prophet does), shall be brought against you at the judgement bar..." Makes me want to listen! I liked how Pres. Monson said at the end how our testimony should be a protection to us when the times get hard and someone also commented how the testimony should continue to be strengthened, so when hard times come we will have our strong faith to get us through. I read 3 Nephi 4: 10 this morning and I love the last half...the people were prepared and received strength of the Lord. Now is the time to prepare ourselves spiritually...but remembering to proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances. Conference rocks!

I hope you all enjoyed Conference. Sister Vawdrey and I were talking this morning about how surprised we were at how many people we've talked to didn't watch it because they are waiting for the Ensign or just don't care about it. The prophet speaks for God...Conference is God speaking to us.

I seriously love this ward so much. The members are too cool and if I was married with kids, this is definitely the ward (not necessarily the city!) I would want to be in.

I love you!!!!