Christmas! How are all of your Christmas parties and plans going? It's
been great out here! We actually have no snow now. We've had rain for about 3
days straight. It's dry today, but very cold.
This week has been super crazy. We had several lessons fall
through because people were in the ER, BUT I was able to invite an
investigator to baptism on our first real lesson with her! She said as
she found out for herself that she would do it :) She's such an amazing
woman who is going through some hard things, but I think she really
knows that this gospel can change her life for the better.
Our Investigator, K, is adorable! Unfortunately we've not seen
her as much as we'd like this week, but we did get to meet with her one
day. We never got to our full lesson with her about the Word of Wisdom
because she is a talker, but I love it :) She and her husband were
ecstatic when we told them who our bishop is. (He's a big-to-do judge
out here, if I haven't already mentioned that.) Funny thing is, they
actually know our bishop! K's husband was being charged falsely with
something and when bishop told him that it was his lucky day, he said,
"Thank you, Jesus!" and walked right out! haha they're crazy, but they'd
make great Mormons!
Thursday all 250 or so of us missionaries went to Fishers for
our Christmas Conference. It started at 10am and didn't get over until
7pm. We had a great training session on the attributes of Christ from
our APs, Sister Training Leaders and Presidency. I'd encourage all of
you to either pull out your Preach My Gospel or go onto LDS.org and find
the section in PMG titled, "How Do I Develop Christlike Attributes".
Each attribute is pretty short, but it cuts out all of the fluff and
gets to the point.
After the training session, we had a great lunch provided by
the Fishers 1st ward ( I think), games- compliments of Sister Cleveland,
and a talent show which was THE BEST! Our Sister Training leaders went
first and were hilarious. They did some sort of Christmas medley on
Kazoos and they sung as well. We had a lot of pianists (and a lot of our
elders even wrote their own music which was beautiful), a violinist, a
few singers, an elder played the ukelele and the very best (or worst)
was the last. Our APs and a few of their favorite elders had a rap
battle about who was better: Purdue or IU. Purdue won, but only because
they had an elder do parkour- he even did a flip off of the stage over
President and Sister Cleveland's heads onto the gym floor.
Friday night we went back to Fishers and spent the night with
Sister Vidmar's old companion because Saturday, there was an Indian
family that she had taught that got baptized. 4 out of the 5 were
baptized (because the youngest was 3). They all had to be dunked
multiple times because their names were pronounced wrong, but they're so
solid! The mom who got dunked the most said after that she almost
wanted to go under more because it was the most amazing feeling!
President came to that.
Sunday was the best day by far though! In Terre Haute, our
bishop's mother got baptized! President came for that as well. Including
family, friends, ward members, investigators and the missionaries in
our zone, there were over 100 people at Sister Vs baptism! She is the
sweetest thing on the planet. It was a great confirmation to me about
how we should always share the gospel with others, but allow them their
agency. As we share the truth of our gospel, it will stick with them and
when they're ready, they'll accept it with a full heart and be truly
devoted to the cause of Christ. Sister V is already having missionary
moments with her friends and her other sons who aren't members. Next
Sunday she'll be confirmed. I wish you all could have been here to
For Christmas Eve we will be with the same family that had us
for Thanksgiving, and then we have three family's we'll visit on
Christmas Day: one to watch the kids open presents, another to have
lunch and a third to have dinner and talk with my mamma! Hehe be jealous
week has been super busy. We've had lots of appointments and
unfortunately a lot of them fell through, so we ended up doing a lot of
contacting. We still had a great week though and were able to teach a
lot of people. The Wabash Elders (they're in the other ward) had been
teaching a woman named
K, but she was actually in our area. They handed her off to us and
while we were teaching her, she told us the most amazing stories about
revelation she's been able to receive from God about her life, her sons
and about the Book of Mormon. While we were there she was just hugging
and kissing the book like it was her child. The Spirit was incredibly
strong with her! She's pretty much all set for baptism (cross your
paws!). We just need to
finish a few lessons and set a date officially. She's supposed to be
coming to Church next Sunday with her husband. Pray she actually does!
We've been covered in ice in the Haute (PS we are known as the
Terre Haute Pterodactyls, pretty cool, eh?). Thank goodness today is in
the 30s. It's been in the 20s the last few days, so it's been a pain
getting around but we're safe and warm! My boots have definitely been broken in.
Last night we had dinner at a members house and they had their
neighbor come over. She's the sweetest, smartest little old thing
you've ever met and she has an incredibly strong testimony about Jesus
and agency. The elders in our district- Hill and Wallace, taught her the
Restoration and I've never felt the Spirit so strong in my life! Since
I've been out here, my respect for Elders and everything they do
has grown so much! Sisters could never succeed without Elders, honestly.
We had a baptism on Saturday afternoon. This girl is 11 and
was being taught by the previous sisters. She is adorable and incredibly
smart. Everything went well and she only had to be dunked once. We've
got another baptism in 2 weeks for our bishops mother, and we're
planning on at least one more next month. The boy we're baptizing next
month is 10 and in a tough situation with his family, but when we were
talking to him he remembered just about everything he'd been taught
before we got here. He told us all about the Stripling Warriors and
Abinidi. Mostly we're just reviewing all of the lessons with him since
he pretty much knows it all.
Hopefully we'll be able to have K baptized around the same time as this kiddo.
members here have been so supportive and have missionary fever! We
taught the boy at a member's home and their three sons were there to
help as well. They're 13, 14 and 17, but they were all really into the
gospel discussion and were so good at fellow shipping him and being
really friendly. We constantly get referrals and names of less-actives
we should go and see which has made finding people so much easier!
In about a week and a half we'll have a Christmas Conference
for the ENTIRE MISSION! Did I tell you there's over 250 missionaries
here? Doesn't seem like a whole lot, but when you get all of us together
it definitely is. The conference is about an hour or so away from the
Haute, so we'll be gone from 8:30am to 7pm by the time we get home. I'm
super excited for it!
I hope you all got to watch the Christmas Devotional last
night! I only got to see President Monson talk and then we needed to
Lately me and my companion have been using Ether 12
a lot, as well as 2 Nephi 29. I'd encourage you all to study those
chapters and see how you can increase your testimonies and look for
Love you all!
Hannah sent me some pictures. Here are a few!
MTC-Hannah and her Companion Sister Sessions at "The Map"
MTC- The whole district and one of the teachers, Brother Barrett. Left-right: Elders Earl, Marshall, Gurney, Twitchel, Bro. Barrett, Sisters Odermott, McMillan, Me, Sessions, Brooks, Oskins
MTC- The Girls Dorm, all 6 of them were together
Terre Haute- Tiny Apartment Kitchen
Terre Haute- Giant map to help them navigate without the Grid System
donuts. Hannah says, "Everyone here thinks these are better than
Krispy Kreme. Not sure about that, but they are dang good!"
I forgot to post on here last week! Here is a letter we were sent on November 25, 2013.
So the Hoosiers don't really have accents. If they do, think Sanpete county.
Unfortunately I got sent southern in Indiana to the part where they weren't
affected by tornadoes. I really wanted to go to Kokomo, but whatever. Right now
I"m in Terre Haute (pronounced Terra Hote) and should be here probably for
the next 3 months, but you never know. Normally they do training for 12 weeks
with the same Trainer in the same area, but sometimes they transfer you halfway
through. We'll see in 6 weeks what happens. I'll add my new address at the end
of this. Also, I'm not sure about receiving packages here... You can send me
mail to my address, but I"m kind of in the ghetto- the apartment is livable
but there isn't a safe place to put packages. I'll let you know if we figure
It's been crazy out here. We got double transferred which means my Trainer
hasn't spent any time in this area before, and neither have I so we are kind of
left on our own to figure out who was being taught through the area book. We
think we've got most everything figured out now and we've got a pretty busy day
ahead of us. Our P-day is today (Monday), but since Thanksgiving is this week
we only get half a p-day today and we'll do the rest of our stuff on Thursday.
We've met some really cool members out here that are converts. Brother S (our
ward mission leader) was a heart surgeon for 22 years. He told us this great
story about being a surgeon for the Army (I think) and the most expensive
pace-maker he ever used. He was stationed in Germany and he called the company
in Belgium that made the pace-makers for a patient. Originally they were
planning on doing the surgery a few weeks out and he was just calling the company
to make sure the device was sent at the correct time. Well there was a
miscommunication between him and the person on the other line and Belgium
thought he needed the pace-maker right then (they thought he said his patient
was on the table now), so they put the pace-maker in an F4 jet and got it to
Germany in about 30 minutes.
He's super sweet. He also teaches Gospel Principles which is pretty cool.
There's also another woman that we met, her name is Sister J. She is a convert
of 20 or so years. She converted when she was a young adult when she was in the
air force academy. She met her husband there (which is a big no no). They just
became friends when he was a senior and she was a freshman, but had to sneak
around since mixing with other grades is against the rules. He told her that he
needed to tell her something and he made it all dramatic so she though that he
was going to tell her that he was gay. In actuality, it was that he was LDS.
She had gotten some pamphlets about he church when she was a girl from the
Donnie and Marie studio in Orem, Utah and had baby-sat for an LDS family when
she was younger, so she told him she wanted to know more. They started to fall
in love within that year and she got baptized. After she was baptized, he
proposed on New Years. Her family was livid because they were catholic (but her
parents were divorced so they weren't allowed in church), and he was LDS. They
didn't want her to change religions, but also she had to leave the air force so
that she could marry him. But they're happily married and have several
children. She's so amazing.
Last night we were able to contact a woman, I'll call her H. She was sort of an
investigator from the previous sisters and she's actually moving, but she'll
still be in our area so we're going to help her pack up on Saturday. She is in
1 Nephi 21 right now and she loves us already even though we only talked to her
for about 10 minutes. She's an absolute sweetheart.
We have 2 people that the previous sisters had set for baptism, so we'll have a
baptism December 7th and one on the 22nd which should be really cool.
The first night we got here we didn't even get to see our apartment before a
woman from our ward came and took us out to dinner. She's super sweet and told
us as much as she could about the area. The people here are nice, but stubborn.
Our apartment apparently had bed bugs for 3 months before us, so they cleaned
it out and we got brand new mattresses. They're super nice BUT I was freezing
the first night since apparently they don't provide bedding. Who knew? I guess
that's why I packed a jacket and socks. Thankfully my sheets were there so I
had a little something. I had to go the next day and buy a cheap blanket, but
Mom if you could send me my blue fuzzy blanket, that would be nice. Just send
it to the mission home. Hopefully I can get it then... At the very least I'll
have it in February which is the coldest month here. We also don't have a screw
driver which is really annoying. Our door handle in the bathroom is falling off.
Our bathroom is small, but if you can imagine, it's still bigger than the guest
bathroom at home. I almost feel spoiled out here.
The mission home was pretty nice. It's just a big old house in Carmel
surrounded by trees. Obviously the mission president and his wife are set
financially because everything was beautiful in it and it was in a ritzy
Not sure what else to write. Send me questions and I'll try to give more
details next week. Love you!"
Sister Hannah Marie Ruth
803 East Springhill Road
Terre Haute, IN 47807
Excerpts from the letter she sent me November 25, 2013.
“Things I wish I would have brought out here: blanket. They
did NOT have bedding in my apartment even though they were supposed to....I wish I would have sent my sheets, blanket, pillow, extra towels
and extra garments to my apartment before hand. Laundry is WAY expensive out
here....In my apartment to do whites and
one other load it's going to be 5.50 for washing and drying. That's not
separating out different colors or delicates or doing more than 2 loads. Also,
GPS. Luckily an elder in our area that's going home the next transfer hand one
that he gave to us but outside of Utah and Idaho, they do not use the grid
starting to figure out how to get around, but honestly GPS is the only way to
go out here because almost every street in a name. Poplar, Margaret, 8th ST,
8th AVE (which intersects with 8th ST...) Walnut, Faggin (yup...). Names names
names. Love ya!”
Excerpts from the letter she sent me December 2, 2013
“The time difference was a little
hard- mostly I just couldn't sleep well for the first two nights. But it wasn't
as bad as it could have been seen Indiana is only 2 hours ahead and I had to
get up about 3am Utah time, so really it was like getting up 5am Indiana time.
If going to bed early is an option, that helps a lot with the jet-lag. The
apartment is livable although the housing coordinator in our mission as well as
our zone and district leaders are determined to get us out of there haha.
They're so sweet ;) It's not too bad, but there is a quarter sized hole in our
tub, the plumbing isn't hat awesome- the water goes cold after about 3 minutes
and almost n water comes out in the kitchen faucet. There is however a nice big
space in the living area for exercise in the morning.
I did get a blanket from Wal-Mart
for about 5 bucks, so it's been ok. Our cousin Jenny Gibson just sent me a nice
blanket which made my day! So I’ll be good for now. I still want my blanket
from home though. Homesickness hasn't been too bad to be honest. Bringing
pictures from home is good, but I’m glad I only had Rachel send me 3 or 4 so
I'm not tempted to look at them a whole lot. The main advice I have to keep
homesickness at bay is remember what you're doing out here and get lost in the
work. Fight with your thoughts until you have total control over them- that
makes it easier to keep your mind from wandering back to home, boyfriends,
school, etc. Also, priesthood blessings! As sisters, you will probably be
surrounded by Elders in your missions, so use them! …The Priesthood and doTerra
oils are magic!
Almost every night in our area we
have dinner with members so they mostly feed us meet of some kind or pasta. The
best dish I had from a member was a chicken gnocchi soup inspired by the
gnocchi soup from Olive Garden. Delicious! I wish I'd gotten the recipe. We've
also got some members that make authentic tostadas and tacos. When we're on our
own, me and my companion eat a lot of hummus and pita chips. I also got some
yogurt, whole wheat bread for toast, sandwiches and French toast. I've made
pancakes and we've got some frozen chicken breasts so maybe I'll make chicken
pot pie or baked chicken in a week or two when we aren't packed with dinner
“I'm glad you had a good
thanksgiving though! We got to eat with members, so it was almost like home
except they really do eat mashed potatoes with pasta on top! I didn't try it...”
I hope any future missionaries out there found some of that helpful! Sister Ruth apologizes for not sending out a mass e-mail last time. She didn't have very much time. :)