Thursday, September 29, 2011

How long have I been here?

Dear Family,
I was going to write the week number of my transfer, but I don't remember how long I have been here? is it week four or five? Anyways, however long it has been, it hasn't been long enough! I don't want to leave:) Whenever my visa comes, it will be an exciting day, but I will miss Montana dearly. My mission president, the ward I am serving in, and my companion have all been just so wonderful. My expectations for the rest of my mission are sky high, because this is all GREAT.

This last week has been Indian Summer to be sure! How hot has it been at home? Last Tuesday, in the morning on the way to a Zone Training meeting in Bozeman (an hour and a half drive) it was 25 degrees. I couldn't believe it. And then on Wednesday afternoon, it was 87 degrees. The rest of the week, it was almost 90 degrees everyday. Today it is something like 70 outside, so almost sweater weather. For the end of September, the weather has been just perfect for someone who has packed for Brazil.
I can wear lightweight cotton clothes with the best of 'em.

On Saturday, our ward mission leader and his wife went to the Rexburg temple and were sealed. Brother Mitchell, I don't know if you remember from a previous email, was baptized a year ago. His wife was baptized about three years ago and had already been through the temple. Anyways, he got his endowments out and then he and his wife were sealed in front of about a dozen returned missionaries and many ward friends. Everyone there did one of their family names for them. I was so sad that we couldn't go with them, but Sister Van and I did get to see them that evening when they came home and they were just GLOWING. It was one of the most touching things I have seen! Brother and Sister Mitchell are the most wonderful people and they are so supportive of missionary work. Every week, they host a dinner for our investigators and some less active members. Their love for people is incredible, I want to be them when I grow up.

Did I already tell you about Brother Gordon Coop in the ward? He has the coolest reactivation story. I am going to retell it. He had a very difficult divorce, and he doesn't have very much to do with his children. After losing his home and I am assuming his job, he moved up to Montana to stay in his sister's home while she works out of state. One evening he went into a crawl space to fix something and found a large plastic bin full of scrapbooks. The top one was a mission scrapbook for one of his other sisters who has passed away. She served a mission in Brazil in the 1960's (one reason I love this story, naturally). Shortly after he found this memory of his sister, the Sister Missionaries of townsend knocked on his door, and he let them in to honor his sister's memory. Since then, he has been coming back to church and he is a very loving, kind man. This is so touching! We never know how our missionary service will bless our family, or other future missionaries.

Montana is fun, I am certainly not in Sandy anymore. The other day, a sweet older woman took her dentures out after dinner and began to suck on them. Later I thought to myself, "I have officially been broken into Montana". The things you see as a missionary. We went to visit a woman one evening and her husband answered the door wearing swim trunks and sunglasses. He didn't have a swimmer's build. Another day this week, I got to dig a three foot wide, one foot deep hole for a member of our ward who is renovating their basement. They grow rocks in their garden about as well as the Becksteads do!

Zone Training was definitely a highlight from last week. We met for a few hours and talked about the Book of Mormon, each taking turn to bear testimony of what we are learning from our reading right now. There were about thirty missionaries there, so it took a while. I love being around other missionaries, I told President Gardner this and he smiled and said "when they are acting like missionaries... yes!" I must be lucky, I have only seen them be on their best behavior. I just love my mission president, I can't say enough good things about him.

I best be off, but as always, I love you all! Enjoy general conference.
Sister Smith

ps - the relief society talk about forget me nots was amazing, wasn't it?

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