How are you doing? I'm doing GREAT!!! I'm really tired actually. We just finished walking the freedom - which ended in the Bunker Hill Monument...which has 294 stairs...which we skampered up rather quickly in an attempt to practice up for "the Porter Challenge" that I believe I mentioned last week. It feels really good to sit down and just let my fingers do the work for a little while. It was super fun to do the whole freedom trail altogether though. I really enjoyed the exercise. There are a bazillion tourists! It was fun to get to listen in on french conversations and pretend I know what they're saying. Probably the highlight was a street performer who was hanging out in front of Quincy Market. He was really funny and knows how to work an audience. At first it was impossible to tell what he was going to be doing - but as he went on he pulled out a 9 foot unicycle, a bagpipe, and some juggling machetes....and amazingly enough was able to utilize all three at the same time :) Quite the sight! Boston is full of funny people!
This week we were super blessed to get 2 new investigators! Elder Yim had received the referral from the AP's because he speaks Manderin and these girls do to, but he's going home in a few weeks and thought it would be better to just get some members involved (we have 5 or 6 members in our ward who went to Tiwain so that's pretty cool!). So, we went with Elder Yim and Elder Leonard to have kind of a pass-off lesson. It was really cool because most of the time it ended up being Manderin-time. It transported me right back to the MTC when I couldn't understand a single thing people were saying to me. It might be super useful to pick up a little Manderin - now 3/4 investigators we have are Chinese.
Porter Challenge is going down on Saturday. We're pretty stoked for it! We've been getting up at 5:50 to go running over to Boston College and go up a big staircase they have on one of their hills. 168 stairs or something like that. We're going to be ready! We are going to dominate!
Elder Hallick, the member of the seventy over our mission, has been here touring the mission and we're having a zone conference with him tomorrow - I'm really looking forward to that.
We had a funny lesson with Sherry this week. She is so adorable and sincere and sometimes just says the funniest things. This week we were talking with her about prayer and about how the Holy Ghost answers our prayers in different ways. She said, "I think I know why the Holy Ghost hasn't been answering my prayers - he doesn't speak Manderin." We had to assure her that that's not true :) Also, after I finished talking about some of my personal experiences with the Holy Ghost, she leaned close to me and was staring into my eyes, so I reciprocated and started doing the same thing jokingly. Then she remarked, "I'm trying to read the Holy Ghost in your eyes." She is seriously so adorable!
This week really has been super great - yesterday was super refreshing. I felt all sorts of energy and excitement to be a better missionary after all the meetings we had. Part of that stems from the overall topic I got out of church which was recognizing God's hand in all things. Another part of that comes from the really great Missionary Correlation meeting we had with our ward mission leader. He's really energetic and super excited about missionary work and is really going to get things moving this year. He gave us a cool homework assignment last week that I spent the week thinking about and working on. The homework assignment was to make a verbal sketch of what the perfect missionary day would look like if we were somehow miraculously turned into a really high-baptizing ward overnight. Then after we discussed all our answers yesterday we talked about how to make it happen. I am super excited to be working on that over the next weeks and months.
Last thing and then I probably really ought to go - I had a really cool experience on the bus this week. I sat down and the woman I chatted with at the bus stop sat next to me. I was pleasantly surprised because usually people who start talking to us and find out we're missionaries like to avoid us afterwards. I have been really taking a very natural approach to contacting on buses and so I just started asking her about her life and her experiences. She told me about how she went on a mission to Africa for her church and she's lived in Boston for 20 something years by herself just because she loves the diversity (her family is from Vermont). She's one of seven kids and is a breast cancer survivor and goes rowing on the Charles' river every week. My heart really opened to her and I just started feeling all this love towards her and sympathy for some of the sad situations she's been in. Then, right before she went to get off I just had time to give her a mormon.org card and tell her about the church website - she said, "Oh, that will be great! I already have the book but I'm just not sure where to start reading it. The website might be better. So I asked her about her experience with the Mormon church and she said she's had 2 missionaries visit her before, "because they were the only two people who would really ever take the time to talk to me"
The poor dear! It made me so sad for her! And it also filled me with lots of motivation to make sure that I don't know any people who feel that way - I want everyone I know to feel like they can talk to me and I want to be the kind of friend that is always reaching out to those around me. I definitely have learned a lot about being a true friend here in the mission and hope it will extend to my later life.
Thanks for staying tuned in despite this rather long and scattered email - I love you all!!
Have a fabulous week!