It was ssooo good to see and hear from you yesterday! I loved it :) :) I was so happy to see all of you together and hear your voices, now it'll have to hold me through till December. To answer your first question from skyping, I'd say the highlight so far of my mission has been teaching Miranda (who's getting baptized on Sunday!!), when people actually let us share a brief message on their doorstep, and running to different parts of the bay whether to a pier or canal or beach each morning.
I didn't know what to tell you about last week and I felt bad it was so short, so I made myself a list of things last night :) On Saturday we helped set up for a fundraiser walk for the cystic fibrosis foundation. They had people dressed up as Darth Vadar and a storm trooper come haha :) At the end they had ttttooonnnsss of bagels and muffins and apples leftover, and they gave them all to us! It's crazy! We're sharing them between all the missionaries at the loft (our apartment building's name) and we'll definitely end up throwing a bunch away too.
The past two weeks I've been reading from Our Search For Happiness for a small part of each personal study. It's by Elder Ballard and is a explanatory introduction to the church for nonmembers. It's really helpful for me seeing everything in a new light through his eyes and more ways to explain things better. I'm really enjoying it!
Some things about my area and probably Long Island in general. There are bunnies and squirrels everywhere!! I'll try to remember to take a picture next time, but I see them way more than any birds. It is very rare for there to be just one immediate family living in a house here. More likely for parts of an extended family to be together or each room of a house to be rented out. There are a few areas we've been in where the houses look more like Utah and it's just one family, but we don't have any investigators there, and it's really hard to catch them at home. Like people say there are a LOT of sketchy and very scary things that happen here and in the city. We hear about them happening to investigators and their families. Thankfully though, Heavenly Father protects us and we are never in the areas when things are happening and haven't seen anything too bad. They have a place called Blaze pizza here and I went there the 2nd time this week. It's pretty cool, it's like a subway for pizza! You put on your toppings then they stick in like a stone-fire oven and cooks in 3 minutes.
So Miranda! She is the coolest sweetest girl. She definitely doesn't fit in with New York. Along with that she's pretty quiet and shy unless you talk directly to her and ask questions so the youth have been awkward to her, which is sad. She has such a strong testimony and is so ready and excited to be a member of the church and "get baptism" as she would say :) shes trying to transfer to a school in Texas and is going there this summer, so she probably won't stick around in the ward..but she will definitely stick around in the church wherever she's at. She takes the train to church here and already asked for our help to find the church in Texas. I'm so excited for :) depending when she goes to Texas we may be able to take her to the temple too, she definitely wants to go soon!
We also are working with Mary, who is a miracle! She had been "dropped" and never given the Book of Mormon she ordered because she was sick for awhile. But she really wants to learn and give it a chance, and boy is she doing that! She grew up Catholic but wasn't super fond of the way they ran things and made her feel. We gave her the Restoration pamphlet and her Book of Mormon, when we came back the next week she had read the pamphlet and through 1 Nephi 13. That never happens here!! She understood and believed all of the pamphlet was either true or made sense and could be true. She felt peace and like she was really learning for herself in a new way as she read the Book of Mormon. She is truly searching for the truth in her life! She really wants to come see what our church services are like, but has had a hard time so far because of her work schedule. That will be a problem for her, but I'm excited to see where this will go with her.
She lives directly beneath us and was baptized 7 months ago. She is our go to girl and a friend to all the missionaries. She goes out teaching and knocking with us all the time. She is our source to the full internet when we have a question and need help. (For example: train schedule, how to tell if a fruit is ripe, latest world news-Nepal earthquake) She buys us food and is the closest we get to having dinner appointments. She makes us laugh and helps us not drive each other too crazy. Jessica is awesome!! I felt like with how great she is and close we are that you needed to know more about her :)
Also a little bit about my companion Sister Layton. She is from centerville and went to SUU for a year. She laughs all the time, about everything. She works very hard and keeps us very busy. She starting going deaf when she was 5 and got a cochlear implant when she was 11. She can't hear you unless you're close by and still has a hard time understanding what people say sometimes. Music doesn't sound good to her because it all gets jumbled together, but let's me play my iPod in the car all day as we drive because she knows it helps me. She gets full super fast and so doesn't get it when I go for more food or don't have leftovers. She's really nice and tries her best but we're both working on patience with each other.
I love each of you so so much!! Thank you for your love and support <3