Monday, November 30, 2009

Transfers & Turkey Bowl

Dear Family,

Thank you for the prayers. I feel a little embarrassed to be tearing up in the library, but hearing that you and others pray for me feels really good.

Right after I emailed last week, we got the transfer call. Sister Gingrich was transferred to the singles ward in our stake. We were super surprised! I tried to help relieve the stress that Sister Gingrich had about packing and saying goodbye to people, but it was hard. Transfers are stressful! Moving your whole life and leaving everything and everyone you know in a few hours! I had no idea what a big deal transfers are. I felt pretty nervous about turning over the area, but grateful that I had taken the time to learn the area and get to know the people we teach. My new companion is Sister Smith and she served in Ralston six months ago. It helps that she knows the area and the members, but our teaching pool is completely different than when she was here. She is really good at helping the members get more involved in missionary work and I love it.

Sister Smith and I had a great Thanksgiving. Our ward actually had a Turkey Bowl! It was invigorating! Definitely a great way to start the transfer! I was so happy that President let us play. And he was there, in his sweats, running around with the rest of us. I thought it was weird to see him without a suit, so I'm sure the members thought it was weird to see me without a skirt. I had a great time and even made a few good plays. It also helped me get to know the ward members a bit better. President actually wrote the following in an email to me. "You are a great athlete and held your own at the Turkey-Bowl!" That made me smile.

After the Turkey Bowl we had three Thanksgiving dinners. It was hard to restrain myself and only eat one or one and a half plates at each one, but I did. That way I didn't get too full to eat at the other dinners. The members were all very excited to see Sister Smith again.

Sister Smith and I have seen several miracles in our short time together, but my favorite happened last night. We were going to visit a convert from Colombia named Rosa and her husband Carlos. It turns out that her sister, Cecilia, and two nephews, Alejandro and Estevan, have moved in with them. Cecilia and her boys are not members, but they went to church in the Spanish ward and liked it a lot. They don't speak much English but I understand their Spanish and Rosa would translate for us. So, we taught them about the Book of Mormon and praying to know that it is true. Cecilia really felt the spirit, both at church and in the lesson. She even told a really funny story that happened that day. I guess Rosa showed her a picture of Joseph Smith at church and she said "I dreamed about him. In my dream, I was his girlfriend and he was sad because my mom said he couldn't give me shoes." We all laughed really hard at that. Still, I think it shows how prepared this family is to receive the gospel. They were all so happy and excited to learn and we had the best time laughing and learning and feeling the spirit together. We are going back later this week with the Spanish Elders.

Well, I love you all and hope you make the most of this holiday season. I've found that focusing on others is the key to happiness. When I care about others and put them first, all my selfish cares and worries disappear. It's an amazing but simple principle.

Sister Mortensen

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