Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pioneers, preaching and paradise fruit

Hello Family!

Thank you so much for writing me! I got all of your letters from last week late because my zone leaders forgot to give them to me! Thank you all so much for all of your support!

I am going to try and write a personal letter to you all, but I don’t know if I will run out of time this p-day. Just know how much I love you all. You have no idea how much it means to me to get your letters. I didn’t realize it until being on a mission myself, but what a difference a few words on a piece of paper can make. You lift my spirits — THANK YOU!.

Well, I got a lot of questions this time around, so let me try to answer some of them:

Where should we send letters?:
I am not allowed to email anyone but mom and dad. I can read your emails but I can only write you back. I might be slow at getting back to you, but I promise I will try to write. The mission home address is the place you write letters to. We can’t get mail to our apartment.

How many girls are in your apartment? Is it church-owned?
No, our apt isn’t church owned, there are other people living on the same floors as us. We only have two of us in one apartment though.

Where is the mission home from where you live?
The mission home is 20 minutes away. The Mormon Battalion is in Old Town San Diego. Chula Vista is seven minutes away from the Mexican border. We have a car, because our area is the furthest away from where we live.

Do you cook for yourself?
Yes. Except for we usually only have 15 minutes for meals as Battalion sisters, so even cooking is hard to squeeze in (don’t worry mom, I am eating my fruits and vegetables)!

What kind of music can you listen to?
We go by the mission handbook so any music that is uplifting and brings our minds closer to Christ. Nick, that would be wonderful if you could send me a CD. I didn’t bring any and they are awesome when we are driving in the car.


So a little about what is happening with me in San Diego. I love being a missionary! It is so hard sometimes, but so great! Actually, I think if you could catch a sneak peek of my time here so far, you would get a few good laughs.

Every p-day, Sister Tardiff wants to play sports with the elders at an outside basketball court near our apt. Those of you that know me know that Sister Newman and a basketball = DISASTER!

Another funny is driving. I HATE DRIVING! Mix that with California traffic, and you have one stressed out Sister Newman. Not as stressed out as when I was driving in England with you though dad!;-)

Sara, you would like this, actually I thought of Bobby when we went to a members house and she has a huge garden so we got to pick avocados from her tree. (Don't worry though, Bobby: I used my hands and not a rock, so no black eyes;) She also has a mango tree, a banana tree and a tangelo tree. The fruit here is SO DELICIOUS!

We have been so blessed to be able to teach a lot of people this week. Sister Tardiff is such a great teacher. She teaches by the Spirit and really helps them feel that for themselves. I am trying my hardest as well to tell these people what Heavenly Father needs them to hear. The hard part is when Heavenly Father tells me to tell them something they don't want to hear. It is kind of scary sometimes because I have had a few investigators get really upset at me, but thankfully, they must think I am too sweet to get too mad at. It is amazing though, Heavenly Father really knows what needs to be said and miracles happen when we listen to him.

Well time is almost up, but I want to leave you with a excerpt from my journal from this week. (and mom, this will answer the question about us working at the temple)

Entry 1: Today was another day of miracles. I don't know why it surprises me when a miracle comes my way- there are so many surrounding me! I think Heavenly Father has just given me a tender mercy of opening my eyes to notice all the miracles around me.

We started out at the temple this morning. Once a week, we have our turn being the "walking visitor center" and talking to people on the temple grounds and showing them pictures of the inside of the temple. Our goal was to get 2 referrals each. We were so blessed to have received 11 referrals. The most amazing thing was that most of the referrals came from the little children. One little girl started singing, "I love to see the temple" to us. Another little kid referred 4 of his friends. They have so much love, so much courage and so much honesty and purity. It was a great reminder of why Heavenly Father asks us to be as little children.

Entry 2: It was extra special working at the Mormon Battalion on Pioneer Day. No matter how many times I have taken tours or watched one of the pioneer movies, my heart is touched with the faith they had in Jesus Christ and the sacrifices they made. There is a quote from the tour that Zemira, one of the characters says:

"God gave us what we wanted most where we least expected it."

I don't think the Mormon Battalion realized the extent of what they were doing would bless the Saints for hundreds of years to come. I don't think the pioneers realized that their faith and courage would be an example to the nations, to families all over the world of what true Faith in Jesus Christ really means. I was thinking today that I think we all forget the effect every individual has in life. I am so grateful for Joseph Smith, for the pioneers and for every individual that has touched my life for the better. I hope to live up to their names an follow their example they set to go forward with faith never doubting never fearing in following the example of Jesus Christ.

Shout outs:

Natassja: thank you for the post card! You are the best. I hope you are having a wonderful time in London you lucky lucky girl!

Jessica: Thank you for the letter, I was so excited to hear how you are doing. I love you girl!

Grammy: You are the best, I love you so much and am so glad you and gramps are having a good time this summer with all of your adventures.

Hannah: Thank you for the letter and sharing your experiences with me. You are amazing sis and I know Heavenly Father is watching out for you.

Nick: Thank you for the email. I am keeping you in my prayers about applying for jobs. You are amazing at what you do. Dad showed me a clip of the blog- THANK YOU so much for doing that. It looks AMAZING!

Mom and Pops: As always thank you for your supporting words and guidance. You make me cry every time! I love you both. Thank you so much for the example that you give me! Mom, I know your lesson will be wonderful. I can’t tell you how much prayer means to me especially on this mission. He loves me and he loves you and I know that there is not one prayer that will ever go unanswered.

Sara and Chris: Did you ever get past that overhang we climbed before I left? You know, you can’t let your sis beat you like that! Let me know if you got it:) Hope you are having a wonderful summer.

Sara: How are you feeling about your next semester? You conquered the hardest part. You totally got this girl!

Time's up. Love you all!

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