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Monday, November 17, 2014

Fall in Pilot Mountain, North Carolina

Hey Everyone -
How are you this week?  We have had a pretty slow week this week.  We were only able to get about 5 lessons this week.  On the bright side, we were able to get in with an investigator named C. that we haven't been able to contact for 3 weeks because she has been working 65-70 hours a week, going to school, and she has a 1-year old.  So she has been a little stressed out.  But on top of all of this other stuff happening, SHE HAS BEEN CONSTANTLY READING HER BOOK OF MORMON!  YAY! 

Life in Pilot Mountain is wonderful with the exception of the bugs.  LIKE, DOES ANYONE UNDERSTAND HOW DEATHLY AFRAID OF BUGS I AM???  AND THEY ARE THREE TIMES THE SIZE HERE!  UGH!  Okay I'm done.  Sufficient to say Sister Burrows has the patience of JOB with me when I encounter bugs.   Same old me in that sense.  HAHAHAHA

On Monday, we had P-Day.  We went to King to have a Zone Activity with a lot of the companionships that wanted to come down and that was really fun.  We did that for most of the afternoon, but I couldn’t play Frisbee or anything because President Craven asked me to be careful with my ankle.  But there were lots of other sisters who were hurt that I could talk to, plus Sister B didn’t want to play.  So we sat and talked for a few hours.  After that, we had a few hours of unsuccessful street contacting, and we went to see Brother M and then we checked Facebook and went home.

On Tuesday, we had lots more unsuccessful street contacting and we went to the ward activity that night.  We were supposed to go to help out with the service project.  But instead, the members had us help the Senior ( More Seasoned and Mature ) ladies with the craft they were doing because they were all making wreathes.  We weren't allowed to make them as missionaries, but we caught on to the concept really quickly so we helped all the ladies.  And now I know how to make them when I get home.  The activity wasn't quite done yet and I looked at Sister B and said, "We need to go see C our investigator.  Like, now !"  We went over and caught her 5 minutes before she went to sleep.  But that enabled us to see her one more time this week and we have another appointment with her tomorrow!  YAY FOR LISTENING TO THE SPIRIT!

On Wednesday, we had district meeting.  That was interesting because the Zone Leaders decided that they wanted to do exchanges that day, so they were sitting in on it.  I will try to send a video home of a role play that Elder Richardson put together about wrestling that made us laugh a lot.  We went street contacting and tried to go see a couple of less actives that day again... unsuccessfully.  Sister B is starting to call the Sister's work here in Pilot the refiner's fire.  haha  She has actually been here about 3 months before I got here.  So she is expecting to be here until about December 20, but the rest of the district thinks she is going to "die" here.  That means that we think this is going to be her last area before she goes home in February.  But we will see. 

On Thursday, we went to see a less active Sister named Sister H.  We have been able to see how much the gospel is helping in her life.  She has come such a long way and is a funny, positive, self-assured women who meets life head on.  We are going to start teaching her the lessons again because it has been about 14 years since she has been to church.  But she comes to at least sacrament every Sunday and she is doing a lot better.  We also went out with Sister H that day.  She is such a sweetheart.  We have come to know that coming out with us every week really helps.  She has just a few stresses and working with us brings in the spirit and calms the stress.  Of course you would stress also if you were … the Choir Director of a concert that we are doing on the fifth that includes our choir, the Presbyterian, and Methodist choirs, a live nativity, and tons of people from the community coming. ( More to come on that later because the details are falling into place and I'm really excited! ) Plus she is extending her living room and she wants it done by Thanksgiving.  Plus she is having us over for Thanksgiving (NOTE THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION.  THEY H'S WILL BE FEEDING US THAT NIGHT AND I'M THRILLED!)  And she is having a ton of family coming in, along with having her calling, and having to teach an addiction recovery program at the church every Sunday.  The women in this wards superwomen, I swear!

On Friday, we had street contacting all day.. again unsuccessfully.  But oh well.  We got blessings that morning because the sister training leaders decided they wanted to do a surprise exchange, so they are coming to be with us this Saturday and it threw us both into stressed hysterics.  It was bad!  This is why I DON'T WANT ANYONE SENDING A PACKAGE UNTIL AT LEAST NEXT MONDAY WHEN I TELL YOU WHAT'S GOING ON!  Okay?  That would be great!  Because we get the call from President Craven this Saturday telling us if we need to be at transfer meeting or not, so I will let you know on Monday.  That night, we had dinner with one of my favorite families in the ward.  The Js'.  They are amazing.  They are so funny.  They just ordered Little Ceasers, we sat in the living room and just talked, had pizza, and chips.  They are so funny and down to earth! 

On Saturday, we did a service project with Sister L - She is amazing!  She is the only southerner that I have met so far that acts like a Utah mom.  She eats healthy, cute clothes, lots of kids, etc.  In fact, she is taking us shopping today for more winter clothes in Winston because we are freezing.  I am going to end up having to get a few more than planned because the shirts you bought me from Christopher and Banks decide to shrink a little more every time I wash them.  So if you want to send me a couple of shirts in the package, I wouldn't complain. Then we tried to go see some people in Holly Springs and were a little successful.  We went to see a less active that had been planning to go to church for about 3 weeks and she actually showed up!  She is the cutest lady who is physically unable to come most of the time.  Then after that, we went to see brother M again.  (We are having to teach him all of the new member lessons, that's why we go over so much.  Plus Sister M has been getting our help finishing some puzzles for the children's hospital that are due next week!  YAY SERVICE!)  Then we went home and went to bed.

Sunday was same old same old.  We went to church, choir, some lessons, and dinner, then Facebook, and home.  Although, at choir yesterday, we had told Sister H that we were going to try to practice some of the songs last week because we need to be two of the five people that lead the rest of the choir and when we walked in she said, "Everyone listen to the sisters!  They have been practicing really hard all week."  Her son started laughing because he saw my face and knew that we hadn't been able to practice this week and that his mom had just thrown us under the bus.  haha  But oh well. 

In response to your question, when we go to zone conference/meetings in Winston and Charlotte, I don't get to see anything but the outskirts of the cities.  BOO!  God knows I am a city girl and he put me in the boonies!  haha  It's all good though.  President says that I hope I enjoy getting fed every night here because if I ever get transferred to Charlotte, I'll get 1 or 2 meals weekly if I'm lucky.  haha

The weather has been bone-chilling cold because of the humidity.  It's really only been in about the 40's, but at night it is getting to about 18, plus humidity!  BURRRRR!  

I will be having a Christmas tree in the apartment.  It's about 4 feet tall I think.  I love you to Kolob and Back, to the Galaxy and Back, to Infinity and Beyond, no takesies backsies!  I WIN!



Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pilot Mountain North Carolina 
In the Fall - Can You Understand Why I Love It Here !!! 

Hey you guys!  This week has been soooooo slow.  So what I might do is send you a little bit of a shorter letter this week.  Mom - I have been writing the day by day letters because I have been horrible at journal writing the past few weeks.  So when I get home, I am going to print them all out and glue them into the back of the journal.  Oops!  Haha!! Still trying to get the hang of time management.  You weren't kidding when you said you literally have no time for yourself.  Ugh!  So this week isn't going to be day by day, but hopefully it'll still be good.  :)

This week started out with the trainer/trainee meeting down in Charlotte.  We had two options: get a member to drive us, or waste some of our limited miles (meaning 200 out of the 1,025) and driving ourselves.  Luckily, last minute the relief society president and her husband offered to drive us down that day.  The only downside was getting up at 5:30 in the morning.  We had fun at the meeting.  Just A LOT of guidance, rules, and role plays.  It is so difficult to follow every single rule out here.  I had one day this week where I swear Sister B wanted to kill me because I was so overwhelmed with all the things we can't do!  Haha

Then another time this week we went to go to a member's house in Westfield.  Apart from our stupid GPS getting us lost in the freaking boonies, we were alright.  Not kidding though, I was somewhat terrified.  It was like those movies where the people in the car get lost, drive into a forest, and get killed by people hiding in the trees!  Was that too dramatic?  Oh well!  You did say you guys missed my sense of humor!  ;)  When the whole ordeal was over with, we got to her house to find KFC on the table.  I am quickly learning that KFC really is some of the southerner's favorite food

There were about two days between the meeting in Charlotte and Zone Meeting down in Winston-Salem.  Let's just say in brief terms, that those two days consisted of A LOT of getting lost and unfortunately getting no new investigators.  :(  We are even having to drop some of our current investigators because they were never taught "How to Begin Teaching".  So they don't really understand the point of us being there.  So we are making it our goal to find new "gators" as Lauren calls them! ;)   (Lauren is a friend of Ashley’s who is serving her mission in Florida – with the Gators - Investigators)  The main areas we are focusing on is Holly Springs (Where the H's live) and Westfield.  Although, we tend to like Holly Springs more because it doesn't seem like people are going to chase us away with guns like it does in Westfield sometimes... Even though it's a little farther away.  :)

Let's see... The weather here is good.  Just getting colder and colder every day.  We woke up to frost on our car the other day.  But that melted fairly quickly.  No snow yet... Thank goodness.  Just really windy and cold.  But hey, I grew up in Spanish Fork!  I should be used to that by now... Right?  ;)

The work is pretty decent.  The problem is, like I've said before, (I think), Pilot has been knocked for about 5 years.  So our mission president doesn't allow us to knock doors in Pilot.  And since the fall/almost winter has come, people decide to go into their houses to hibernate.  So we are trying to branch out to both of the other cities that I told you about above for now and seeing where we get with that.  Not much luck this week, but we keep trying.  We haven't been able to teach many discussions.  The goal for our mission was 20 lessons a week before the training in Charlotte.  This time, president told us that the new goal according to the Standards of Excellence is 18.  This week we only got 7.  Not so great.  But the silver lining is that  I am here to help the people not achieve a number, and two of our days this week were taken up by meetings all day.  Haha

The way we go contacting is by walking around Pilot, driving/walking everywhere else because the houses are so far apart!  But oh well, life (and the work) must go on right?

Oh!  And last night, we had interviews with the mission president.  The thing about President Craven is that he is very in tune with things.  Even if you don't mention anything.  Sister B warned me of that before interviews.  Now as I have told you in previous emails, I have had a rash on my arms because of bell peppers, my ankle is still really swollen, and my migraine hasn't gone away.  So I go in, sit down, and he says "Sister Irwin, I am not going to talk about the work with you in this interview.  I am up to date on your emails to me and we talked in Charlotte.  So what's wrong?"  This threw me off a little bit.  I replied, "What do you mean President?"  He said, "There is something bothering you.  And I'd like to know what it is."  So he started getting specific and I figured it would just be better to tell him than to lie to him and say I am fine.  So I told him about all three emphasizing the fact that it is not impairing the work in any way.  He said he was glad about that, but that he still wanted me to watch them and work with the medical coordinators to see what we could get done.  So there is an ER Doctor in our Ward that we are going to go talk to about my head and my ankle to see what he says. 

I have been focused a lot on my patriarchal blessing this week because people keep talking about the state of the nation and politics and things like that.  Ugh!   Did you hear about the new senator of West Virginia?  She's 18!!!!  Like, you're not even old enough to know how to pay bills!!!  What the heck?  And she is prolife and pro heterosexual marriage!  And what's with Mia Love getting elected? Keep me up to date on that as well.

Know that I love you guys lots and lots!  As you saw on my Facebook post this week, I have also been thinking about what a blessing temples are and how much our eternal family means to me. Never forget how much I love and miss you!  To the sun and back!  (Because the Sun is farther than the Moon). ;)


I am currently working on getting a family history night started in the Ward.  So I'll keep you updated on that.   Tell grandma and grandpa thank you for the package.  (Check Beth's letter for what I want in mine). And also tell my sisters to step it up when it comes to letters.  I didn't get one from Cait or Beth this week.  Which is fine because theirs were long last week, but Em's was short and I want to hear from all of them.

And Daddy, so glad the Ward is going so well.  I constantly pray for you to have strength in guiding the Ward because working with the bishop here has made me realize how hard it is.  I admire you so much for it!!!!!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Happy Halloween - It's Not Snowing Here Yet !!!!  

Hey guys!  How are you doing?  I'm alright.  The first week a missionary is out in the field is appropriately called "Hell Week".  It is just really hard and overwhelming  I only call it "Hell Week" because it was soooooo beyond uneventful. 

Monday was VERY uneventful.  We were both so tired that we didn't have enough energy to do anything.  After I emailed you last week, we went shopping for food, picked up some lunch and went home to eat.  We planned on eating and then cleaning the car and the apartment, then going to dinner.  Well... Plans change pretty rapidly when you're a missionary.  Instead, we came home, ate, talked for a little while and both fell asleep because we were exhausted.  Only to be woken up by a phone call we received from a member that was supposed to be feeding us that night telling us that three of her family members were throwing up and it probably wasn't a good idea for us to come over.   She offered to drop dinner off to us, (which was very sweet and generous), but she failed to mention the time that she was going to drop it by.  So we stayed at home until she came, which was about 6:30.   So, after that we blew off the rest of the night, because we had to eat until 7:30 and be in by 9.  Let's just say that we taught NO ONE that night because Pilot Mountain is literally dead in the Fall/Winter evenings when it's cold outside!  Yay!  We knew this week was going to go one of two ways; really well or horribly.

Tuesday was a little more eventful, but not by much.  After studying, we went to a store on Main Street that one of our investigators owns. She had to put away all the Halloween/Thanksgiving decorations by herself, so we offered to help her bring out all the Christmas decorations.  We spent about 3 hours there and headed off for a few hours of very unsuccessful street contacting.  No one.  By that time, we had a dinner appointment at Talakipaki.  It is the Southerner's version of Mexican food.  As for cleaning I offered to vacuum the car for us on Tuesday and I ended up smacking my head on the car getting up.  So I have had a nice little migraine all week.  Anyway, after dinner we went street contacting again and did teach a lesson.  Unfortunately it was the investigator who has already had the Word of Wisdom Lesson 3 times. That concluded that night because all of our other appointments cancelled on us.  :/

Wednesday consisted of getting up, planning, and going to district meeting.  All in all it was interesting … We will just leave it at that.  The meeting ended and Elder R said "Okay, it feels like a cemetery in here.  It's too quiet.  Someone give me input on the meeting."  Which subsequently lead to me saying "Other than the fact that when we walked in for meeting preparation, I felt all the happiness drain out of me, I'd say it was fine."  Which made Elder H laugh really hard.  Yes I know I got a little mouthy. But it was called for. ;)   He then said, "Alright.  I guess we're being bold."  I said, "Well, if we're being bold, you're right.  It feels like a funeral home.  No one is happy."  Which made everyone laugh.  It's now a district goal to actually have fun in district meeting.  Imagine that!  ;)  The elders then said they were going to go to Subway for lunch before the service project that we were all going to.  They invited us to come along.  Elder H bought cookies for everyone with Elder R’s gift card and gave him $5 cash instead.  That turned into an all-out sarcasm battle which weirdly sounded a lot like fighting.  Haha  But we calmed them down.  Silly boys!  :)  So after we all ate lunch at Subway, we headed to a woman's house to do our service project.   After service, we had even more unsuccessful street contacting, made dinner, more street contacting, then we decided to see our investigator that works at the Wine house. We had a very nice conversation with him. Apparently, I am the only missionary that has ever taught him that he won't say no to!  :) :) :)  That puts everything on me because he actually follows through when he says he'll do things.  After our discussion with him, we headed home and went to bed.

Most of Thursday was weekly planning.  I still can't get over the fact that we have to do it until 12 or 1 every Thursday!  :/  haha  After that, we made lunch and decided to go see our less active member.  It was an okay visit. We sang her a song, invited her to come to church again and to keep reading her scriptures.  After that, we went home and finished getting ready because we hadn't put makeup on that day.  (Whoops! ;) )  Then we had Sister M offer to take us into the Urgent care in Mt. Airy so I could figure out what the heck is wrong with my arm!  There is a rash all up and down both arms!  (I have concluded that it was probably due to the fact that when I am at home, I avoid Bell Peppers because I had a feeling I was allergic.  Well, over the past two weeks, they have been cooked into A LOT of our meals).  Things didn’t go so well, and the doctor wouldn’t listen to me so I went out and told Sister M what had happened and she was furious!  She said that she would send me to the Herbologist in Pilot Mt. the next day and see what she said.  Turns out, the owner of the shop could tell me exactly what was wrong and gave me a spray and a cream that were all natural and topical that would clear it up in 3 weeks for $35 instead of the $75 they wanted for the steroid.  I was so mad!  Grrr.... haha  But after the fiasco at the Urgent Care, we went to the M's for dinner.  We had Long John Silver's.  Then we headed home and went to a viewing with Sister P in Mt. Airy.  

On Halloween, we got up, studied, went to the Herbologist which I talked about above, and made lunch.  We went out for EVEN MORE UNSUCCESSFUL STREET CONTACTING!  We did get one more lesson in that day though!  We had to tread really lightly that day because it was Halloween and everything gets a lot more dangerous.  Anyway, then we went and "practiced" a lesson with Sister N.  We got to count it as a less active lesson and an investigator lesson because non-members were present.  And here is something really fun, we ended up on the news that night because we started talking to the owner of the restaurant we went to.  They were talking about this bridge that has been closed for months and has put tons of companies out of business because people aren't willing to take the long way around to get here.  And the fact that it was closed for months blows my mind because the bridge is only about 75 feet long.  I have also decided that being in Pilot is going to make me really fat because the members always take us out to eat.  We are currently trying to form a work out plan so it's not as bad, but Sister B says this is the only area where that happens.  So enjoy while you can.  Two of the places they love are Sopper's and Tlaquepaque.  So we went out to eat  …  and after dinner we went to the ward Trunk or Treat to try and build up member/missionary relationships and it turns out that the people that showed up were the same people we already have great relationships with.  We weren’t there very long before it started raining, so everyone packed up and went home after about an hour because it's been getting really cold.  It's not snowing in the valley's yet or anything, just cold and windy. 

Saturday/Sunday were the days of Mercy.  That's about all I can say.  We did the regular things like street contacting, dinners,church, etc.  But the Lord provided so many opportunities to teach!  It was great!  We got up to 14 lessons this week in the matter of about 2 days!  We are supposed to get about 20 a week.  But oh well.  I don't worry about the numbers as much as the actual work.  It's still important, but not as important.   We went to Choir yesterday to practice for the program in December that I told you about last week.  Let's just say that the H’s make it VERY entertaining, even choir practice. 

This morning, we got up and went hiking up around Pilot Mountain Knob.  I will send you pictures of that and the new bike that Elder Richardson was nice enough to bring me this week.  Then we had lunch and now I'm here emailing you!  :) <3



P.S.  We are going to try to get to Mt. Airy's Walmart next week for a Rain Coat, LongJohn's, Healthy Food, etc.