Okay... where do i start...
Sister Brog is the best. We have had a good first week together. She is the second oldest of 9 kids! But she loves sharing the gospel and i want to be able to teach like she does. At this point i have done a few door approaches and i give a couple comments during the lesson but mostly she does the talking and i love being able to learn from her. Everyone in the South is so open to talking about Christ and God. We say prayers on people's door steps probably 8 times a day and no one thinks twice about it. The hard thing about that though is they all think they have been "saved" and that's all the need. NOT!! but that's okay everyone has their agency. We met a lady by the name Lawanda our first day out and have a return appointment with her tonight. She loves Christ and seemed pretty interested. So im excited to teach her. We also met a lady named Samantha. She says she has been searching for the truth for quite some time and right now is studying with the Jehovah's Witnesses. We have had two lessons with her and are going back later this week. Tracting is fun, well in a sense. I love meeting all these people! and i want to share this gospel with all of them so bad!
We have found 8 new people to teach this past week and we are really excited about it. The elders before that didn't have a ton of luck finding new people so we are off to a good start. On Saturday we found a lady named Brooke. She is a single mom of a two year old boy, she had such a light about her. We feel really strongly we need to definitely keep teaching her. She is busy with school so we have an appointment with her next week.
At the beginning of each transfer we have meetings with the President so we had ours on Thursday. and then we had district meeting after. President McDonough is soo nice. He had surgery on his lungs a couple years back and so now he talks in a soft, high pitched voice. I was not expecting it the first time i talked to him. but now i can't see him with any other voice. Usually at district meeting we will switch the car with the other elders in our district but because we are both new to the area and have no idea where we are going, they are letting us have the car for the first two weeks. It is so nice! But one thing the mission does is "Thirsty Thursday's". Even if you have the car, everyone bikes on Thursdays because that is the day that the Prophet and his councilors go to the temple and pray for the missionaries. I thought that was pretty cool. Because we had meeting's in Texarkana on Thursday we biked on Friday. It was interesting! haha i haven't rode a bike in a long time and it was even harder in a skirt but i'll get use to it fast enough. The bike works great! When i first went to put my helmet on i couldn't figure out how to adjust it to fit to my head and thought you had sent the wrong size... But i figured it out eventually.
It has been interesting being fed by the members. Growing up whenever we were feeding the missionaries we would have them over to eat but the first family took us to a Mexican restaurant. The second lady bought us Chinese take out, dropped it off at our apartment and then left. But we ate with the bishop's family last night and they made us dinner. We had tacos and that was pretty good. I haven't had anything crazy yet. Thank goodness.
Well Sunday was probably the most interesting day of the week. Our ward is tiny! we had 100 people in sacrament and that was a good day. Our building is the smallest thing i have ever seen. haha there is no gym and because there is no gym there are no side doors, just front and back ones. There are no benches, just the fold chairs in the chapel. The stand only has one step so you are basically at the same level as everyone else in the congregation. They do things a little different.. so we were singing the sacrament hymn, and we finish the full song. (mind you we sing really slow) and so i shut my book and then realize that they are still singing. So i look over to see if they are still preparing for the sacrament. They aren't! they just sing every verse in the book, even the ones that are written at the bottom of the page. different!
We sat on the second row and in front of us was an old couple. (most of the people in the ward a really old) They had a grandson with them and he kept playing with his grandpa's hearing aid. He would put it in his own ear and then was playing with the wrinkles on his grandpa's face. And then he looks says, "Papa, take out your teeth!" me and sister brog were trying so hard not to laugh! it was awesome haha
This ward hasn't had sister missionaries in a reallllly long time so everyone is so excited. Which is good! we need all their help. But because we are new they had us introduce ourselves in sacrament and bare our testimonies.
After sacrament we went to the gospel principles class and the teacher wasn't there so guess who taught the lesson.. We did! It was on being honest and actually went pretty well. I was surprised we made it last the full hour. Because it was fifth Sunday we were combined and the lesson was on family history work. They had a big projector and anyone could ask questions. By the end of the lesson half of the ward had left and gone home.. weird! hahaha
Our main focus in this ward is to help it grow specifically in priesthood and by January. Our ward boundaries go into Texarkana, which is about thirty minutes away so they have talked about splitting the ward and making New Boston one by itself. But if they do that then we would become a branch. So we really need more priesthood holders.
While we were at the bishops house he went through the ward directory and told us who was active and inactive. The whole directory is 15 pages but you could fit all the actives on probably two pages. So we are focusing a lot on the part member families at first!
Well the only other weird thing i should tell you is that the street lights are side ways here. the poles are a lot lower and so they have to post them horizontal instead of vertical. They also have so many random dips in the road! the roads here are really bad because of weather and then they don't really fix them..
Oh a little about New Boston. Sorry i feel so scatter brained when i write emails. The town is really small. Most of the houses here are old and falling apart. But that also means the people are quite humble. excited to work with them!
Oh!! one night we were finding things to do so we went and introduced ourselves to everyone else living in the building. One of our neighbors lives there alone and she cooks. so later that night she came over and gave us her left over spaghetti. It was soo good! and so kind of her. We are hoping that turns into a teaching experience. She said she will bring us food whenever she has leftovers. Score!
Love you all. Thank you for all the support and love. Remember that God loves you always and you have never gone too far down the wrong path. A lady in sacrament shared this story. "if you were running a marathon and half way through realized you were running in the wrong direction you would not keep going in that direction. You have been training and working for the finish line so you would stop wasting your energy and turn around." The same is in life. If you find yourself on a wrong path you are never too far off that the atonement doesn't apply. That is the beauty of the Atonement. It can help us through any trial we may have.
Love, Sister Erika Kelly