Hello from Arkansas!!
How is my family this week? Thank you once again for your love and support. I always love reading emails from y'all each Monday. It makes me happy :)
Momma, Happy Birthday tomorrow!! I am glad you got my card and classic sign picture. I hope you have a wonderful day and know that I will be thinking of you throughout the day.
So, BYU lost huh? Well, at least it wasn't as bad of a loss as last year. Last season the game against Utah was just terrible and made me pretty sad, so at least we improved. We'll get ya next season dad.
Well, let me tell you about my new area. I LOVE it. Arkansas (at least this part of the state) is absolutely beautiful. There are hills (which is as close to mountains as I will get on the mission) and green trees everywhere. We have had a lot of rain this past weekend and I feel like I am in Oregon or Washington (even though I have never been there). I just feel like I am on the coast somewhere. It really is beautiful. I see possums a lot too...they are mostly dead on the side of the road though. It makes me think of that one night we looked up possum pictures for hours at Andrew's house and yep they are really that scary looking. Creepy teeth. Anyways, so there are critters here. It's kinda fun though.
I live with the Sperry family. I will take pictures this week of our little place and their house. We live in their basement. They have a beautiful home. They have 5 children too. So, it is a busy household! They wake up around 5:30 am. I wake up to little feet running around, children playing the piano and violin, and singing primary songs together. The first morning I was like, "Is this real life?" Haha I know I was not that cooperative as a little McCall so it is just funny to see. They are amazing though. Sister Sperry is a zumba instructor and so she comes down at 6:30 am and does zumba with us every morning. It is so fun. I am terrible at it because you are supposed to move your hips and stuff, but it's still fun. She has choreographed all the routines to EFY music and other LDS music so that we can do it with her :) Brother Sperry is actually in Vegas right now for a bike convention so he said he will tell my homeland hello for me!
The members here are AMAZING. Like, I just watch them do missionary work and am wow'd by them. They love missionary work and I feel so blessed to just be here and learn from them. I feel like I am in a Preach My Gospel video. You might not know what that means. We watch PMG videos of examples of how to do the work, work with members, etc. and I feel like they are just perfect and could totally film "The District 3" here. I may write the missionary department and just tell them that. The dinner calendar is filled for every single night. When we go over most the time they have a non member friend there that we just get to know. If they don't have a friend there, they talk about missionary work most the time and tell us who they gave a Book of Mormon to this week. They are always inviting friends to church and are always giving us referrals. Like I said, I just feel blessed to be here and learn how to be a member missionary for after the mission.
We cover 2 units - the Bella Vista Ward and the Rogers YSA branch. So we work with 2 ward mission leaders and 2 bishops, etc. It is awesome. I love the Bella Vista family ward - it reminds me of Utah or GV ward. Very active, very involved,etc. Most everyone is from the west coast who lives here and they work for Walmart. They say that Walmart recruits a ton from BYU so that brings them all out. We have some Walmart CEO's in our ward. Pretty successful people out here. Or if they don't work for Walmart, they work for buyers and supplyers to Walmart. I am learning more than I ever wanted to about Walmart. Next time you eat something from the great value brand, check out the back - it will say Bentonville, AR :)
Oh so since we cover the YSA branch we can go anywhere in the zone. So we go to Bentonville and Rogers often too to teach or check referrals, etc. The YSA branch is amazing. In fact, I was lucky enough to witness a baptism on Saturday. I just swooped in and 3 days later got to be a part of a baptism. Her name is Kate and she is wonderful. She has zero support from home, but knows that this is what she needs to be doing so here she is. She got confirmed yesterday too. During the service she leaned over and said, "Man I just wish my family were here." But she knows that she has a new family in the ward and knows that it might just take some time. I am excited to continue teaching her and get to know her better. She is such an example to me and I just loved witnessing a baptism.
On Friday night, we had an amazing Restoration lesson with a guy named Rex. He is dating a girl in the ward and is interested in the gospel. At first he was hesitant, but a few Sundays ago all the talks answered all these questions he had on his mind. He leaned over to her and said, "I want to be baptized." Awesome. So we had our first lesson and the spirit was so strong. We watched the Restoration video and discussed it, etc. and when we asked him his thoughts he just said, "This is just right." We are setting a baptism date with him tonight. He had the opportunity to drive up to Independence and the Kansas City temple. Just great things are happening for him and once again, I am blessed to be a part of it.
Oh random but even the kids here wow me. For example, we had dinner with the Evans family. Their 12 year old girl was telling me that she has just started studying Isaiah because she felt it was time to start it (Is that even how you spell Isaiah?). Anyways, she showed me this huge study guide she made her parents get here and she is already through a quarter of it. I was like, what's that, what's this and she knew all the answers. Pretty sure the elect are coming haha. Instead of feeling lame cause I haven't cracked open Isaiah, I just figured I can start now and go to the 12 year old with my questions.
Let's see...oh we had a zone meeting this Friday. Love my new zone. They are just great! A brother from my ward came and spoke to us about how to respond to anti mormon stuff since people are asking a lot about us with Mitt Romney and such. His name is Brother Tvedtnes. Send me any questions who have about whatever and I can ask him. Seriously he is a genius. He worked at BYU and a research place in Provo where he worked with the apostles and answered some of their questions. Yeah so he is kinda smart. Look up some of his stuff.
Sunday was absolutely crazy. We were at the church at 7:15 am for ward council. Then we had church for the Bella Vista ward 9:00 to noon. Oh and they called on me to come up and share my testimony. I guess that comes with being the new missionary. Then after we had a lesson with the Burnetts (one of the TWO families we are teaching). Then we ate lunch in the church kitchen that we brought from home. Then we prepared for a dinner lesson. Then we had church again from 2:30 to 5:30. Then we raced to dinner. Then came home and finally got to study. Exhausting. So Sundays here are just crazy and I will hopefully start getting used to it! Awesome wards though, it is just a lot of church!
People are very prepared here. The members are helping us so much and I just feel blessed. I know I said that honestly 3 times already, but this area is amazing. Oh and did you know Elder Bednar was the first stake president in the Rogers stake?? His picture is just hanging up in our church building right across from his picture as apostle haha. I will have to send a picture of the picture for you.
Oh wait, I didn't even mention my companion. She is amazing!! Her name is Sister Knutson. She is from NC so this green scenery is pretty much normal to her. She is fun, outgoing, and an amazing teacher. This is her last transfer so we will make it a good one. She needs to teach me all she knows about the area in just a short 6 weeks. Kinda scary but I can do it right? Anyways, we have a lot of fun together and help each other keep going especially with crazy sundays :)
I also love being by civilization again. We passed a panera and a firehouse subs...yes they have firehouse! We are going to eat lunch there after I finish this email :) I am pretty excited.
Well, that was a lot of information. Just know all is well and I really do love this place. Such a blessing to be here. I love all of you a whole lot. Have a beautiful week!!
Much love from AR,
1st two pictures: us eating at the church cause we live there
3rd pic: Us and Kate before her baptism!!4th pic: A picture of the Rogers Zone from Friday's meeting