Is it almost Spring? We heard the weather has been really nice in Utah.. But Massena (Ma-seen-ah) has an extended winter, as it is right next to Canada. But it'll hopefully be here soon!
It is pretty crazy to think that I've already been out for 9 months. It has gone by pretty quickly, but it still feels like I've been out on the mission forever. But, it's still fun and exciting, so all is well. :) It's weird to think that already, that the sisters that left with me are at their half-way point! That's wild. I'm still pretty "young" in the mission though! So that much is good.
It is really cool that I'm so close to where some of our ancestors lived! It's really interesting being so close to Canada. When we were driving up to Massena (which is like a 4 hour drive.. Uggh.) we were driving right by a river for about 2 hours... And Canada was on the other side of the river! I'm thinking I might need you to send my passport out here. There's an Indian Reservation that is within our area, but the only way to get there (unless you're Indian) is to cross the border to Canada, then go through their bridge to the reservation. I'll check and see if that's even allowed by President Wirthlin first though. So I'll get back to you on that.My new companion is Elder Bybee. He is 19, and came from Salem Oregon. He loves the outdoors, motocross, etc and is way excited to be out here on a mission. He's a great sport and loves getting out and talking to people, which is really great.
It's been an interesting week. Getting ready to leave Syracuse was tough, but I was able to see a lot of people and get a lot of emails so that I can keep in touch with them. Elder Simmonds and I had a lot of fun together and we were both excited for the upcoming adventures.
The plane bringing all of the new missionaries had some problems, so they all ended up staying the night in Detroit and coming the next morning. We had to mix up our plans a little bit and work things out to do transfers in Liverpool, but it all worked out. We all had to wait a while, but we finally got the news that I would be training Elder Bybee! What's funny about that is I met him during lunch, and then when President Wirthlin was announcing who was going with who, I just had a strong feeling I would be with Elder Bybee. Sure enough, it happened!
Pretty cool stuff! We got all of our stuff, hopped in the car, and headed to Massena! It was a really long drive.... and we got there at about 10:30. After we unpacked a little and got our beds made, we both passed out until the morning.
Thursday was pretty eventful! When we woke up, I found out that.............. I had lost my voice. Almost completely. I have some weird cold that is just making it so I can't talk hardly at all. So that threw a curveball into the situation. We went to Malone to switch cars with the Malone Elders (Elder Baird and Elder Meyers) and had lunch at the Chinese place. The lady that put it on is Dave Nichol's wife. They're a great couple that live in Malone that take great care of all of the missionaries that come through.. And they're not even members of the church! Crazy.. But Dave teaches people how to make custom guitars and creates BEAUTIFUL work. Seriously, they were awesome. After that, we came back to Massena, met with the senior couple that just got here (The Huffs), and then did weekly planning. It was a long day and Elder Bybee was really tired at the end and my voice was getting pretty bad.
Friday was good. We got out and did a little tracting! I still couldn't talk, so Elder Bybee was kinda on his own. He did great though and we had fun! (Trial by fire, huh?) Then, we were back on the road back to Syracuse for the All Mission Conference the next day!
Saturday was awesome! Elder Bednar was great to get to meet and the Spirit was there very strong. It was interesting- Elder Bednar didn't really come with a training or anything mindblowing, but he just had us study before we came, then we all talked about the things we had learned. I learned a lot about getting out and acting. If we talk about something, it isn't going to do anything unless we get out and do it! We shouldn't just pray for things to happen, we should pray, then go out and try and solve the problems ourselves, then God will step in and help! It was sweet. I learned a lot of good things and feel like I'm going to be changed eternally a few ways because of what I learned. So that's pretty cool!
I also got to see Skylar Kennington (from Roosevelt) at the all mission conference! That was way cool. He has been in Utica waiting for his Visa, and it just came in, so he's heading to Brazil this week. Pretty cool!
When we got back to Massena, we just got to work. We taught a lesson to an investigator (so we have 1!) and got out and started meeting people on the branch roster. There's about 25 people TOTAL in the branch boundaries (6 of which are active), so we're trying really hard to reactivate people and find new people. The goal is to have the branch started up again sometime in the next 2 months... It's going to be tough work, but we're up to the challenge. We're definitely going to have to mix things up a little bit here though.. We've been told that tracting probably won't yield the best results, but that as we get out there and serve people we'll be able to find a lot of people. I'm praying and seeking revelation on what we should be doing to find people.. If Dad or Tyler or anyone has any ideas, feel free to forward them our way.
Massena is a city, but it's not too big. Maybe around 10,000-15,000 people. There is a Walmart here, and even a shopping mall! That was a big surprise. We're the only missionaries here though, and it's going to be awesome. I told Elder Baird a little bit about the dream I had when I first got out in the mission field, and he told me that I was going to open up Massena. Then when I heard it was opening up, I had the distinct feeling that I was leaving Syracuse to come here. Because Elder Simmonds had been in Syracuse so long, everyone was saying there was no way that I was leaving.. But here I am! So I am convinced that there is a reason that I am up here. I don't quite understand what that is yet, but I know that this is all happening because of revelation. It's pretty cool to think about! President Wirthlin is definitely guided by the Spirit!
Thanks for everything! I hope I was able to answer your questions.. But although I don't have a voice, I feel good and like things are all going to work out. I have a lot of faith for the future and know that if I do my best, God takes care of the rest.