After a forever long week, we got our FIRST NEWS from Nashville. Tatum didn't have time to upload photos, so all photographic evidence has been embellished by me. That's what mom's are for, right?
I finally got a P-day! Oh man, I only have a short time on the computer and this computer blows, so sorry for the lack of pictures this time. Here is just a quick run down okay?
First off, I arrived safe and sound. The mission president and his wife are awesome! They picked us up from the airport and we were supposed to "work the room" while waiting for our luggage. Man, that was scary. I wanted that luggage to come SO bad. We slept and ate in the mission home the first day. President Anderson is so passionate about mission work which is really, really fun to see. I was so nervous about who my trainer was going to be. I went up and read my name and area on the stand in Transfer Mtg. and all of the sudden Sister Hargadon was running at me. She picked me up and swung me around. I felt so much love as she welcomed me into her mission family, as she called it. I knew at that moment everything would be okay. The funny thing is that when I saw her earlier, I thought, "She looks just like Jessica Biel" and "She is the most naturally beautiful person I have ever seen. I wanna be like her one day." Then boom. The Lord knows, people! She lets her hair go natural, doesn't wear a lot of make-up, and rocks her own style. She has only been out three months, so she just got out of training.
I am in Mt. Juliet,which is a small suburb town 20 minutes out of Nashville. Everyone says it is the best ward in Tennessee and I believe it. The ward mission leader is on fire, and the people here really are the nicest things on the planet. Holy cow, I have gotten homemade fudge, banana muffins, banana muffins with chocolate chips, and bottled water from NON-MEMBERS!!!! A couple named Don and Dixie gave us bags of extra groceries because she knows the missionaries are poor. And when we tried to deny it, she looked at me bold, straight in the face and said, "Are you gonna deny me these blessings?" Long story, short I took the groceries. They aren't even Mormon and don't even like our religion really, but man they will treat us so good. I can't believe it. It is beautiful. The people here have taught me a lot more than I could ever begin to teach them.
Oh my goodness, you guys would love it here. I think of Dad fitting in here perfectly whenever I go into people's homes. The first day I was here we were stopped on the side of the road, and this 19 year old girl came out and was like, "Are you guys okay?" And I said yes and talked to her about why we were there. I mentioned Jesus Christ and she goes, "Oh my gosh, HE IS MY FAVORITE SUBJECT!" All I thought was, Where am I???? How crazy is that?
And this part member family, the Douglasses, the Dad hasn't gotten baptized because he won't do it in a man-made font. He believes the only way to do it is in God's river. And in my head, I am like "YA BUDDY!! I AGREE COMPLETELY" They live such a humble life in a trailer, doing everything they can to make ends meet. Ah, but they know what life is about.
Another example, these two ladies, both named Mary, who live in a trailer together--mother and daughter. They fenced in their yard and refer to it as their garden of Eden. They have three dogs and a DUCK!! She was cradling the duck like baby, and I got to pet it! Ducks are unbelievably soft. But she was saying how they found peace and happiness in their garden. The older Mary said, with a huge sincere light smile, "I feel like I am a billionaire, I am that happy." I can't even describe it, but she gets life. SHE GETS IT!!! Her and her daughter were talking with such peace and real happiness. I wanted to sit and listen for hours. I wanted to make a return appointment so that they could teach me. Moments like that are so fun.
I'm not going to lie, I have been exhausted. The mission schedule is brutal, and I am trying to be obedient minute by minute. I want to study, but my eyes burn like beast. Sometimes I chew jerky and stand up at the same time to get through personal study. I am hoping it gets better. We are both new to the area so we have a lot to figure out. I have been blessed though.
Dad, Happy Birthday! Yesterday, when I remembered it was your birthday, I shouted to the sky, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!" I hope you heard it. I got really sad for a moment because I had no way to reach you and tell you that. But it's okay, its all worth it.
I have felt the love of lots of prayers coming my way. I have never felt that before, but I do here. Thanks for that. I have no time. Oh man, but I will write you a hand written letter too okay. I am excited for the package. I love you so much! All of you! I pray for you guys all the time. Know that I am working my hardest for you.
Tell Grandma Frampton that Dixie means, "God created me because he wanted to!" My friend Dixie told me that I thought that was the coolest.
Love you lots!!! Think about you LOTS!!