I don't think I have had a week on my mission thus far with more random happenings thus far, so this should be a fun email to write (and hopefully read as well). I guess I'll start with last Monday when our zone got together and celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving. I think I've successfully confused everyone as to where I'm from, but that might be because the conversations end up going something like this:
Me: <something about my Canadian citizenship>
Everyone Else: but you're from Utah . . .
Everyone Else: ????
Anyway, it was fun mostly because it made Sister Olsen and Sister Kranc so happy. It's fun to have a companion from Canada because we can bond over what we share and I also learn a ton about Eastern Canada.
Sister Kranc really is a wonderful companion because she is so ready to get out there and do her best in serving the Lord and we help set goals for each other to be better. We've been working on only saying positive things, and I do notice a huge difference. We are also working on fearing no man, and that has been a lot of fun. On Monday evening, we decided to ride bikes. We didn't get very far because we met someone on our street named Nick. We decided to go talk to him, and I have been really nervous about talking to people recently. It's almost like being fresh off the plane again. But we talked to him, and at first he seemed really cold and didn't want to talk to us. We just did our best, though, and the Lord truly does make up the rest. Sister Kranc had an idea (revelation perhaps?) to invite him to our ward Fall Festival coming up at the end of this month, and that completely changed the dynamics of the conversation. Nick was a lot more open to talking to us. He was very excited to find out that Sister Kranc has some Polish blood in her, so they talked about that for a long while. He also told me that I look Jewish, so there you have it.
Serving in Arizona is a blessing and a curse because everyone knows who the Mormons are and everyone already has an opinion, for better and for worse. But I'm learning that that doesn't really matter. We also met another guy named Jake. We met him while we were trying to go visit an active member in our ward. He had a shirt on that said "Zion" on it, and the conversation was just amazing from there. Sister Kranc and I totally felt guided by the spirit and the entire contact went flawlessly. We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon, and he agreed to read it!
We rescued a dog this week, and that was such a cool experience. We were headed over to the church for weekly planning, and we found a dog hiding in the little bit of shade he could find right by the church door. He didn't have a collar, and he was shaking and seemed so scared. I got to pet the dog a bit so he got to know me, and then we decided to take him inside while we planned (I was not about to leave a dog by itself in Arizona heat). The zone absolutely adored him, and we named him T.J. T.J. warmed up to us super fast and spent most of planning asleep on my lap (poor little guy looked like he hadn't been able to sleep in forever). The sad part was that as much as I wanted to, we could not take him home because mission rules, so we had to figure out what we could do to help T.J. And guess what? God cares about all His creations and the desires of a little 20 year old sister missionary, meaning everything worked out so we could help T.J. A guy from the pound was going to come take him, but a lady drove up who was with a dog rescue group. She had seen little T.J. walking around by himself several days ago and was trying to catch him. So between the guy from the pound and this other lady, we were able to determine that T.J. was about six years old and very malnourished, and now he has a chance of finding a good home. I think the biggest miracle of all was that T.J. some how managed to go to a church building right before we got there.
We also got to go do a service project in Mesa. We helped out with the Special Olympics, which was a lot of fun. I got to help the Athletes go to their event and then walk over to awards. It was cool to see just how happy everyone was at the service project.
Sister Kranc did get sick this week, so that was one day we had to spend inside. It did give me an opportunity to get to love Sister Kranc even more by helping her feel better that day, which I am very grateful for. It also helped me see how awesome of a ward we get to serve in as well as how awesome the other missionaries we serve with are. The ward was so ready to help Sister Kranc with anything they could, and our district leader, Elder Freeman, was always checking in to see how she was doing. I'm really blessed to be serving in such an amazing place.
I'm learning that God does hear and answer prayers (even silly, seemingly insignificant ones). I'm learning to love everyone I meet like the Savior would. I'm learning that miracles are miracles no matter how big or small. And I'm learning just how special the Gospel of Jesus Christ is. I don't know what I would do without it. I love it so so much, and I only wish I could find a way to do more to spread this message. I know that Arizona is where I'm supposed to be right now, and I love it.
I love all of you, I am so thankful for your prayers, and I can't wait to hear from you!
Canadian Thanksgiving Zone Picture
Bella Vista at the Temple