Hello to the parents that I love so much! Time is short so I'm emailing both of yall at the same time, so sorry. Please don't be offended.
Since Labor Day was yesterday the libraries were closed so we had p-day yesterday and then we had to squeeze in time today to email.
Sounds like life has been crazy up in Wisconsin. That's crazy that your last year of seminary/high school is starting! Guess what - we are substitute teaching seminary for 3 days this week, so we'll all be feeling the pain together haha. The Assistants gave us permission to alter our schedule a bit, so hopefully we'll get to bed a bit earlier than normal to make up for less sleep in the morning. It'll be a challenge but it will be a blessing too - there is a youth that only comes to seminary but not to church, and one of the active youth often brings friends to seminary, so I'm excited for possible opportunities to find new people to teach and help come closer to Christ. Plus I'm excited because I just like working with teenagers in general, and I love the gospel, so those two things go together perfect!!!!
Hope y'all have fun with Kevin! Caitlyn sent me a picture of him haha.
We might go have some Chinese food this week with Stanley, one of our returning members who is 78 and loves feeding and spending time with the missionaries. he is such a good example - he started coming back to church when he was 77 - it's never too late for anyone to come back!!!!
Ok, highlights of the week - and let me just say that it feels like Heavenly Father is giving me all the bang for the buck/last transfer of my mission. Seriously, He seems to have put this area into overdrive in terms of the branch needing help, as if to say - "Here! Work your heart out for the last few weeks!" It's exhausting, I might need therapy at the end, but it's awesome haha.
1.) We've had 2 inactive ladies call us within 2 weeks and ask for help getting their lives back in order. One is Miss P, an elderly lady who is abused/kind of enslaved by her posterity, and the other is Miss B, a woman who found out her husband was/is? cheating on her and it completely devastated her because they were very in love. So we've been helping them put the pieces back together spiritually and temporally - the branch has been helping out too, but the longer I'm here the more I realize that as missionaries our role is sometimes to just act as super faithful branch members and help out in whatever righteous way we can to support this small group of saints.
2.) We've been half biking/half driving this last week and it's been raining - I'm a little tired of being damp all the time, whether from rain or sweat haha. But we got a fresh batch of miles yesterday, hallelujah. No more biking in the ghetto for now! Yay!
3.) We went and toured the Konriko Rice Mill yesterday with the Elders and Stanley. It was really nice to learn about something other than the gospel for just a little bit. Normally on pday I just want to take a nap, but I'm glad Sister Groesbeck made us get out and do something because it really refreshed me mentally.
4.) Life with Sister Groesbeck = awesome. We are both coming out of our shells more and more and we just have fun and laugh and work hard together. I'm still figuring out this whole training thing, and I'm trying to be the best example I can. Dad, thank you for the advice to be obedient. That has really helped me. This is what I wrote to President about that:
I'm working on humility this month for my Christ-like attribute, because training has definitely humbled me. Here are somethings that I've learned so far-
-I do not have to teach Sister Groesbeck everything to be the perfect missionary. I feel that my main responsibility is to teach her to be obedient so that the Spirit can teach her and shape her into the missionary/daughter of God that she has the potential to be. I know that the Lord has a plan for her mission and I don't need to worry about teaching her every single thing she'll need to know.
-I need to make sure that we are diligent in studies because good preparation is required for a good, well-balanced lesson.
-I have to have the faith to let her talk during lessons, even if she doesn't want to talk. I need to help her develop the faith to open her mouth and trust that it will be filled.
-I need to be humble enough to accept correction - I'm so thankful that she's brave enough to point out deviations to me. I am learning that being over sensitive is a sign of pride, and I need to be thankful instead of offended when she calls me out.
-I was feeling really discouraged that the Lord wasn't sending experiences like what was shown on the District for my companion to have during her first weeks as a missionary. Instead, He's sent us curveball after curveball, and I've felt bad that we haven't been able to do How To Begin Teaching with a new investigator or teaching perfectly revelation through prayer/Book of Mormon/church attendance. We've made plans and tried to do all these things but time after time, the Lord asked us to do other things, help others, or teach something other than what we plan, and i was getting frustrated and discouraged. But as I prayed and pondered about this dilemma, I realized that is missionary work went perfectly and was like the District all the time, all she would need to do to be train would be to watch the District and mimic what she sees. One of the best gifts a trainer can give if to show the trainee how to respond to adversity - because there will be lots of it on the mission. The Spirit reminded me of one of my favorite poems that President Monson quoted in Conference-
"It's easy enough to smile
When life flows by like a song.
But the man worthwhile
Is the one who will smile
When everything goes dead wrong."
So I just replaced the word "man" with "trainer" and I found the strength to go on and not get discouraged.
5.) "R" is back on track to be baptized. She's been 48 hours without a cigarette, she's read her scriptures for 3 days in a row, and she actually got an answer to one of her prayers - it wasn't the answer she was expecting but we helped her see that God really does answer and will magnify her efforts. Please pray that she can continue to quit smoking and continue to develop a testimony of the restored gospel.
I'm just taking life one day at a time, and I'm doing my best to finish strong. I try not to think about the end too much, but I was wondering if you could schedule some appointments for me - I need to see the dentist and the eye doctor when I get home. Nothing is wrong, but I need a cleaning (working for Dr. Knutsen made me paranoid about my teeth), and I can't order any more contacts until I see an eye doctor.
I love you all so much - thank you for being the awesome-est! I love you more than all the dog hair in the world! (I have a lot of it on my skirt right now and I forgot my lint roller at home...blast.)