Okay, first of all, you both are so amazing. Thank you for your love, and emails, and your letters. Dad, your handwriting does not stink - I grew up watching you write like that, your handwriting is YOU to me so if you do type your letters I will miss you even more haha. Mom, 8 pages is NOT AT ALL too long as a letter because I seriously love hearing all that you have to say. Please know that you don't have to email and write letters, one or the other is fine. I'm sorry for being demanding during that phone call, I feel bad that you've spent so much time writing emails AND letters when really just one or the other is enough. I want to be a low maintenance missionary :)
Thank you so so so much for sending the backpack and the talk and the story and the hymnbook. I use all of them daily! That cottage story is seriously the theme of my mission right now, and I am trying to be mold-able so that the Lord can make me into the most effective missionary. I realize that I am only as useful as the Lord makes me to be, and I need His help so much. It's funny though, whenever I get too focused on myself, the Lord puts someone in my path that is struggling more than I am, so I try to forget myself and just help others like the Savior did. Most of the time, that person is Sister Olsen. She is really struggling, and I feel bad because I'm not quite sure how to help her. Despite her struggles, she continues to work hard and be obedient, and I love her for that. I'm trying to be a low maintainence greenie so that she doesn't have to worry about me. And I'm trying to be the outgoing companion so that the ward loves the missionaries and doesn't see them as withdrawn/aloof. So I just try to be peppy and loving and endear ourselves to the ward. And seriously, I love our ward. They have taught me so much through their spirit and faith and fire. Mikayda is always driving us around and helping us with free speech alley, Jessie is a recent convert and his desire to share his new faith inspires me, Eric is super logical, but despite what he doesn't know, he has faith that God is real and that this is His church. I could go on and on about the amazing people we are working with here, but the bottom line is that I love them because I feel Christ's love FOR them and THROUGH them, and all that love just leads to a really uplifting atmosphere as you can imagine :)
Okay, here's my crazy missionary story for the week: SO at Free Speech Alley, this student from the "Jesus Talks" group came over to talk to us (Jesus Talks in this older gentleman in a t-shirt that says "Jesus Talks" and he's pretty much a non-denominational, born-again Christian. He has a small follow of students who like to sit and talk with him about Christianity. Apparently he really hates Mormons, even though most of his followers love Mormons and love hanging out with and talking to the missionaries. Weird, right?) Anyway, so one of the students came over and I asked him what he knew about Mormons and he said that he knows that we believe in multiple gods (because we believe that God had to come from somewhere) and that was just the beginning of the craziness. Sister Olsen and him started arguing about the Trinity vs. the Godhead, and the Spirit wasn't there at all. They were both throwing around historical facts and scriptures from the Bible, and eventually I interrupted and thanked him for sharing his beliefs with us and just said, "You know Joshua, you clearly know the Bible better than I do. But I know that when I read the Book of Mormon and live what it teaches, I have a feeling of peace and love that is different from anything else, and I know that feeling is from God." Bearing your testimony normally works in the movies, but Joshua proceeded to tell me that what I was feeling was a demonic manifestation and that I had been led by Satan to believe in a false Jesus. And oh boy did Sister Olsen and Bradly Smith (a member who was with us, RM, super awesome) not take too well to that piece of information. I just thanked Joshua for stopping by and told him to have a nice day. I was okay because I know what I believe, but it's never real fun to be told that you've been deceived by Satan, especially, when that "deception" feels so good and you've felt so much love from that source. We only have one more week of Free Speech Alley so hopefully we can end the semester on a good note.
Okay, thanks again for all the stuff and the sports updates! Go BYU! And go Blackhawks! Bummer that the Jazz didn't make it to the playoffs. And hopefully the Bulls get knocked out soon so that they can get some rest and a decent draft pick.
I love you both so much! Thank you for raising me in a home where I could feel the Spirit and the love of the Savior. You guys rock!
Love - Sister Chausow