Monday, December 7, 2015

letter from Alyssa - Dec. 7, 2015

This week was weird. I feel like we did a lot, and we did, but nothing went according to plan. Of course haha.
Tuesday we took Lori to the temple grounds and talked about the plan of salvation, the ordinances performed and the need for baptism, and of course blessings and more blessings from it all. It was a neat experience! She is starting to progress! Sister Hobbins went with us and helped SO much. She's a wonderful member missionary, and so is her husband. Lori says she wants to begin reading the Book of Mormon again, and on Friday she came to the ward Christmas party and really enjoyed it.
We have also started volunteering at the community service center and we go for an hour every Friday morning. The person we work with, Dawn, we found out lives right next door to a part-member family, the Klapps. Sister Klapp is awesome, and she's very active, though I have not met the rest of her family. She is inviting Dawn and her twin 19-year-old girls to the relief society Christmas party Wednesday (which I found out is at the Coto de Casa Valley Country Club, the biggest gated community in the world). So we will start to get to know Sister Klapp, her family, Dawn, and her daughters better altogether!
Joanie came to church!! AND she brought her daughter, Kristan, who is Elder Everett's mom (he was with me in the MTC, and he baptized Kristan since he's been out in the field). She loved it and stayed all 3 hours! She struggles to make and keep any commitments, but we have plans to go continue to teach her this week. Oh, and Kristan bore her testimony in sacrament meeting for the first time! It was a neat spiritual experience.
Inci is very very interested in the Book of Mormon. On Friday we got to teach her about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and prayer. She talks openly with us and expresses her beliefs with an open mind. We are taking Emily (laurel that speaks Turkish) with us to teach her this week. Inci also gave us real Turkish delight straight from Turkey, it was kinda weird but pretty good! Just hard to chew. And there's a lot of powdered sugar. That kind was orange, she says she's bringing pistachio next time though.
On Saturday we went to see Sister Judd and help her and her husband clean out their garage and plant flowers in their front yard. We were only planning on an hour or so, but she got really really sick suddenly, and we didn't want to leave Brother Judd alone to finish the yard, and garage, and take care of his sick wife, and the baby, and with her parents coming the next day. So we ended up staying another 5, but we got the job done and were tired after! He really really appreciated it, so that was really neat to be able to help their family. And they're bringing lots of friends to an event this weekend!
Speaking of this weekend, there's this HUGE Christmas even that hundreds of people  all over the mission come to in this area, called Follow the Star. It's a short play of the nativity, straight out of the scriptures, with real animals, children and adults playing parts, a real baby, and an authentic set up outside the church building. We are inviting EVERYONE we see, and most all our investigators, potentials, less-actives, and friends are coming and bringing friends. :D
Also this weekend we have transfer calls, the transfer day is the 15th and anything could happen. I honestly don't want to leave the area, I love it and the people here too much. But Sister Ward will have finished her training and I'll have been here for 4 months, so we will see what happens! I will know Saturday night.
This week is so so so so busy. I may have said that already but I don't remember. Tomorrow is Dad's birthday (I didn't forget I promise! Like it or not something's coming! ...but it'll be late. love you still:) and we have the Mission Christmas party that night. I'm not sure what all that entails, but sounds fun! Wednesday night is the Relief Society Christmas party, Thursday we're having a special training for Sisters (don't know what that entails either...), Friday we have breakfast at the Stake President's home again with Brother Hobbins, Friday through Sunday is Follow the Star, and everything on top of that. Whoa! It feels good to be busy as a missionary though.
Let me say it again, the ward members here are amazing. Sister Klein just got news that her cancer is back, and she came to us Sunday with a Christmas gift to break our fast, her famous and reeeeeally yummy peach bread. Sister Ranck (less-active, her daughter has a concussion) signed up to have us for dinner on Christmas. Many of the ward members have been grabbing for the dinner calendar to have us over again before transfers. The Bishop, Ward Mission Leader, and other auxiliaries are incredible supports in the missionary efforts. The primary kids come give us hugs and I have almost all their names! I have all the young women's names easy. One of the greatest and most rewarding feelings I have experienced is seeing others feel of Heavenly Father's love for them through one other, I have felt that from those around me and try everyday to pay it forward.

The church is true! Love you all!
- Sister Shumway

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