Hey Mom and Dad-
So I made a note to make sure that I tell you that I really am okay. Me and Sister Olsen have bonded, and President Wall just told me that when things get iffy, to just create my own bubble of happiness, and that is what I've been doing. Most of the time, we work really well together, we really support each other, and she said that she has felt the Holy Spirit more in this area than in any other area that she has served. I'm so glad she said that because I have been really worrying that we don't have the spirit enough with us. So thanks, Dad, for sending that scripture about having the spirit ..."and they knew it not."
So I love the ward and I love working on campus. It's really hard--the Lord is pushing me right in the ways that I am weakest, and at first, I was a little mad because I didn't want to have to change, I just wanted to help other people change. But then I realized that if Heavenly Father is going to work through me, I need to be more in line with His will and with what he wants me to be. Even though it is hard, it will be worth it. Some people here have totally helped me to feel of Christ's love for me, and now that I have felt that, I have an intense desire to do the same for other people. I feel like I know now how Alma felt when he talked about "singing the song of redeeming love." I know how that feels and I want so badly for others to feel that too. And they can feel that through me if I let Heavenly Father take over and make me into who I was meant to be.
Which leads me to ask if you could find that story or poem that talks about how we are like a cottage, and we think we are nice and cozy, but then God comes in and tears down the walls, puts up new additions, and it hurts and we don't understand, but when it's done, we have been turned in to mansion. I really want to read that story again and have a copy of it, so if you could find it and send it to me that would be awesome.
Okay, so here are some Louisiana things: I LOVE Louisiana, or Baton Rouge at least. Everything grows on everything else. It's like the bromeliads we saw in Peru times 27,000. On the LSU campus, once or twice a week we do this thing called Free Speech Alley. Which is this walkway on campus where different groups set up tables/displays and give out info or talk to people about their cause. So there are tables/groups handing out info on like the Right to Life/Anti-Abortion or on Free Trade, etc. etc. Then you have our booth which is called: "Ask a Mormon" where if people ask us a question about Mormons/Mormon faith, we give them a free tie like the kind the male missionaries wear. HaHa! It was hard and scary at first to put yourself out there and encourage people to talk to you, but it got easier and we talked to some really prepared people. We will see what comes of it.
So I had my first encounter with Louisiana "wildlife"! Last P-Day we visited Mike the Tiger, and he was just like Jack, lazy, laying in the sun/shade, sleeping. So funny! Google LSU Mike the Tiger for more info. I also stepped in a red ant hill and got bitten a few times, that was exciting. We were riding our bikes to campus (side note: Dad, the bike that you sent me is freakin' epic and gung-ho. The tires are almost 2 inches fat and can take on anything. The frame has some "sick shocks" and the color is Tiger Wood's Sunday Shirt Red. It's seriously awesome) and so yeah, we stopped at a stop light, and I put my foot down right into the ant hill....oops!....the itching and stinging didn't last too long, thank goodness, haha!
One last note--who showed up the first night in our area to give us a ride to Wal-Mart but Jasmine Berthleson!! It was a tender mercy that someone from my past showed up to help us out. We thought we had called on some random girl in the ward (I didn't see her full name) and when we started talking and she found out that I was from Wisconsin, she put the pieces together and then I recognized her and she's been a huge asset ever since. We ride our bikes to campus, the Institute Building, and to the members/less active houses nearby but we rely heavily on the members for rides and one of the sisters in the ward needs to go with us when we teach males. Jasmine has her mission call to Chile so she is super stoked about missionary work right now.
K- I love you all so much and please give everyone big hugs from me! I thank you with all my heart for raising me in the gospel and encouraging my desire to enter in to this great work.
Hugs and Smaaashes!
p.s. I freakin' love you guys!! Seriously! Heavenly Father put me with the best parents ever!!!