So first off, SO stoked for all my friends and fam receiving mission calls right now! Missionary work is so bomb! All of you will be such awesome missionaries! My advice is the same to all of you: Work harder than you ever thought possible, be obedient, and by far the hardest one for me, forget about yourself! These two years of service are not our own. We are called to do what God wants us to do, and where he wants us to do it. For me it was, and still is, hard sometimes to get past the thought process of only thinking about what I want, how I feel, and how I want things to go, but I can now say from experience the happiest times I have had on my mission have been when I have gotten over myself (which is so hard when you are as in love with yourself as I am #JK #Kinda ;) and turned my thoughts completely to others. But once again big congrats! Go through the temple ASAP!
So it's been another sweet week in Lebanon! I'll tell you what, opening an area as your first area is tough! We spend a ton of time just knocking doors trying to find people! We've had quite a bit of success this week though, I think I told you about a guy we've been teaching named Rojino and his girlfriend Christina. This week we had some awesome lessons with them and some members. (The Spanish members here are some of the most steadfast, humble and amazing people I have ever met in my life, and they know how to cook some darn good authentic Mexican too #SOFresh) and yesterday Rojino came to Church which was a HUGE step!!!!!!!!! We hope to set a baptismal date with both of them this week! Also, the English elders who we live with have been teaching this lady named Joy and her daughter Rachel. There is no man in the house so when a guy from the ward can't go with the Elders to a lesson, Elder Holder and I have been going. The first time we went with them was the night I got to Lebanon, and Joy was very nice, but she looked really kind of sad. We challenged her to be baptized and she accepted. Since then we have also challenged her daughter Rachel and her preacher to be baptized (long story for another time with the preacher, lolzz). Both Joy and Rachel have accepted and are preparing for baptism. One day we went over, taught the Word of Wisdom, and that day, she quit smoking cold turkey. She looks like a completely different person. To see the change that the Holy Ghost has brought about in her is an incredible testimony builder to me of just the power that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has to change people.
It has been so sweet being in Tennessee, SOOOOOO different from the west. Lebanon in the Civil War was a huge Confederate stronghold and there was a pretty good-sized battle here. The only Confederate monument that doesn't face North is also located in Lebanon #ThoseBoysArePatriots. I will definitely be getting a picture of it at some point. I have so many good pictures but I keep forgetting to bring my USB cord to the library to send them!
Last Wednesday our zone got to attend the Nashville Temple with President and Sister McKee. It was such an awesome experience. The Nashville and Reno Temple are built exactly the same and it made me think back to the two times I have been to the Reno Temple, both of them with family, especially the time with both sets of Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and Parents, and just how happy I was, and what an incredible experience it was to be there with people that I love so much. Family and friends, I miss you all so much and I am so grateful for all of your love and support that you give me through letters, packages and prayers (I got two awesome packages this week from the Ladle fam and from my new favorite college homies Maeser, Carliegh, and Kassie;)).
I am so grateful for all of you and I try my best to live everyday in a way that would make each of you proud. I am so blessed to be a part of this work and I am so excited for so many of my friends to soon have the chance to be a part of it as well. Just know, it ain't easy... like ever, and quite frankly it's not always insanely fun, but it's all worth it when you see the change that the Spirit makes in a person you have come to love. Don't let yourself get discouraged and always remember the power of prayer. And all you homies called to preach in the Celestial Language recuerda este: No Hay una falta de Escogidos, en todo el mundo hay muchas personas que estan listos a oir nuestro mensaje. #FindEm.
I love you all so much,