Family! Friends! Iowa loves me!!
First things first-
I am serving in the YSA branch in Iowa City with Sister Bevan and Sister He. Sister He (pronounced Huh) is from Taiwan and is leaving tomorrow to go back to finish her mission at Temple Square. She is hilarious and has a lot of experience under her belt. I’ve learned a lot from her. My trainer is Sister Bevan from Utah! Get this… she’s only been out on the mission two more weeks than I have. Yeah, she’s that good!! She keeps telling me it’s because I don’t need a trainer but it’s not true- she has taught me a lot about getting to know branch members, the area, and setting goals that will stretch ourselves. Our apartment is a quaint little thing complete with a weird smell. I love it. haha I can’t believe I’m a "real" missionary!! When did this happen?!
Miracles are already happening here in Iowa City! Because these e-mails go on the blog I’m not going to write the names of those I meet (since I’ll be in this area for at least 6 weeks) but I’ll share with y’all the experiences! We were in the library waiting on our next appointment and we saw a young woman sitting beside us. Naturally we struck up a conversation and she opened up to us about a bad relationship she had just gotten out of. A similar story happened the next day as we met with a less-active member who had recently moved into the branch. She opened up to us about her family life. I love them both dearly. They have such tender spirits and I’m glad that they trusted us (and felt the love we had from them) enough to open up.
We met with two investigators, both from China and man… I wish I knew Mandarin!!! but thankfully Sister He helped us out. They both are ready to accept the gospel and both mentioned how it seems like they knew this before. Miracles, people! I’m telling you I’m witnessing miracles here!!!
Now let me catch up from the airport- it was great talking to y’all!! After I hung up the phone, I gave away my first "Mormon.org" card!!! Lee is his name and he was on his way to Canada to go fishing. We talked about why I was on a mission and about his family. On the plane I sat next to a man named Miguel who spoke little English and between the little Portuguese/Spanish I know… we talked for the entire 40 minute plane ride!! He also accepted a Mormon.org card. There was a family of 5 sitting in front of me with darling kids. They kept asking for their parents to tell them stories but the parents couldn’t think of any "scary" or "drama" stories (as the kids were asking for) so when we got off the plane I approached the dad and gave him a Book of Mormon and told him that it was a great story book 🙂 I also mentioned how it was very special to me and that is could change his family’s life. He accepted the Book of Mormon and went on his way. Once I met my trainer, a bunch of us headed out to eat at Steak N Shake where I saw a couple sitting by themselves. It looked like something heavy was on their minds and hearts so I hopped on over to talk with them. Kay and Tom are their names and we had a very special experience where Kay opened up about her parents passing away in the previous years. I bore testimony that she will see them again and she shed a few tears. I gave them a Mormon.org card (it was all I had) and they left. A few minutes after the manager approached me and said that Kay and Tom and paid for my meal. This time I almost shed a few tears!! The small act of service really touched my heart and I want "service" to be the theme work of my mission. Service brings joy. Joy brings the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost testifies of truth.
I love y’all so much. Missionary work is a work- it’s an exercise of daily agency to choose to serve the Lord but you know what, that’s how life is! Every day we get a chance to re-dedicate ourselves to God. Read the Bible! Read the Book of Mormon! Be diligent unto prayer and most importantly- serve!!! I promise that as you serve people you will feel your batteries re-charge.
address to send letters:
815 Bowery Street #3
Iowa City, IA 52240