Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Hi all!
Merry 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 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 witness it!
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 ;)

I love you all so much!
Sister Ruth

Monday, December 9, 2013

Lots of Ice

Hey family!!!!

This 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.
The 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 leave.
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 missionary opportunities!
Love you all!

Sista Bible

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
Square donuts. Hannah says, "Everyone here thinks these are better than Krispy Kreme. Not sure about that, but they are dang good!"

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

"Things I wish I would have brought"

I forgot to post on here last week!  Here is a letter we were sent on November 25, 2013.

"Hi all!

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 anything out.

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 neighborhood.

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 system.....
We're 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 appointments.”

“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. :)