Monday, December 30, 2013
Dear Mom, This week has been a blast. Aldous and Burckle are the best comps anyone could ever ask for. They have helped me through my whole experience with Sis P and they're so fun too. We make the best companionship ever. The ward has never loved missionaries more than they do us. Because we're hilarious and awesome. We all cried on Sunday night when sister B was being transfered and the "Triple Threat", the "Trouble Trio", the "Three Amigas", the "Three Musketeers", etc. was breaking up. Brooke Called it... I'm a sister training leader. I just finished training myself last transfer, and now I'm expected to boost the whole zone. I'm supposed to be the example, so I guess I'd better grow up quick. I'm supposed to be a mature person that others can look to. No pressure. Yikes. My new comp is Sister Whitney Ellis (Graduated from Orem High in 2011). On Sunday, the first person I saw, I walked up to her and invited her to baptism. She accepted. New investigator. Be BOLD!!! It was sooooooo good to talk to you guys on Christmas. I loved hearing your voiced and seeing your faces. Dad's letter was great.. keep sending them. Michael seems really happy with Anna. Kevin should shave his face and I miss him. Grandma looks the same. Dace has doubled in size. Jennifer's hair is getting long. Brian didn't say hi to me. Brooke looks like a barbie. And I miss my momma! us and the Houstons
Hey! How was your Christmas?? Mine was awesome!!! The very best part was, of course, SKYPE!!! It was at the Beckett's too (I wouldn't have chosen any other family to be with out here!) So, remember the Pearce family? They were the refferral from Mary Whitmire... Austin (the 16 year old) told us yesterday at church that he knows the Book of Mormon is true!!! And that this church is true! and that he wants to be baptized in a couple weeks!!!!! He also told us that he made the decision to go on a mission when he turns 18! What a blessing! He will make the greatest missionary. It's a missionary's dream come true! Also, we taught his mom and stepdad the stop smoking lesson and David (the stepdad) took it really well! He's smoked 2 packs a day for 31 years and he is very strong in his desire to quit. We also taught them the Restoration and David again took it really well. Austin bore his testimony of the Book of Mormon and had a talk with his mom for an hour telling her that it's true. HE'S GOLDEN! He convinced her to read the Book of Mormon and to find out for herself. We are expecting 3 baptisms coming up soon. Austin wants to get baptized in a couple weeks, then he can get the Priesthood and baptize the rest of his family. He really wants to do that!!! He is so amazing! I love you more than Southerners love Grease! Michael: Yes, I still love Gerard Butler... did you know he's waiting for me? HAHA!!!! Anna sounds to great! Even the fact that she loves stargate! Who knew? You got a long board? And glasses? You have to send me a picture of you wearing your glasses! Are they reading glasses or everyday ones? I always thought you had really good vision! I've been away too long... I'm missing everything! Mom: Yes! Send pictures of everything! It sounds like the wedding turned out really nice. And it took a lot of work too! Joji's funeral sounds like it was great! You should talk to the 'uncle' guy who made all the food and have him cook for mine and Erin's homecoming talks! Just a thought. Ya, my talk was very short notice. I was so terrified when they called me up to speak. I was shocked! It was a surprise! It's so funny that Erin spoke too! Dad: Don't be sad, Dad. I just wish that these next 14 months go by fast (ask mom, she knows why). The rest can slow down. I saw a guy at the store the other day who was wearing a shirt like yours! It was a grayish blueish plaid shirt. You wear it when you work on the car sometimes. Are you back to work already? Kevin: Write me! Also, I loved seeing you on Christmas! Sister Beckett told me that she really likes you because you were so patient with her as she tried to figure out the Skype thing. I said that if she had any daughters, they would have one heck of a guy to marry! Michael is already taken... I was talking about YOU! (Then, we could be related!) Jen: Did you have a good Christmas? What did Santa bring you! You weren't sick like you were on Halloween, were you? I love you! You are the greatest big sister ever! My Halloween Costume
Monday, December 23, 2013
Lots and Lots of Pictures to see. Dear mom, you can absolutely share those pics on FB. I don't care who see's me. After all, it is me. I thought it was hilarious!!!!!!!!!!! We couldn't stop laughing. This is from Sister Clarke in Peachtree City..... "Soooo, your daughter got up to look at our picture and see how her skirt is tucked in her shirt! I seriously thought she was goofing around, but nope! I made her let me take pictures cause it was so funny!!!" We all have laughed so much here at home just imagining this happening. It is Soooooo Erin!!!!
No Pictures this week. I forgot my camera at home. Hey family! This week was sure crazy. One of our less-active members named Mary Whitmire gave us a referral for Michelle Pearce. We stopped by Michelle's house, and she wasn't there... but her kids were. Austin (16), Victoria (7), and Brandon (almost 5). We taught them the restoration and we gave Austin a Book of Mormon. He told us that his mom's birthday was in 2 days... perfect! We went by on her birthday and brought her gifts. She was SOOOO touched! They invited us in to share some of her birthday cake. We taught Michelle, David (her husband), Austin, Victoria, and Brandon! They are all very interested! Michelle and David even told us that Austin had read a lot of the Book of Mormon. He had been asking them questions about it and was really into it. :) :) :) They are a GOLDEN referral! Mary did good! Michelle told us that she met Mary for a reason and that she thought this was it. David told us that he's very set in his ways being Penecostal, but that he thought if anyone was going to change his mind, it would be us and what we teach! We are still going to be Skyping from the Beckett's home on Christmas. We are going to be there around 2-5. We only get an hour. :( I wish I could talk to you all day! I love you more than a fat kid loves chocolate! Dad: How are you?? Have you been busy? Did you do Joji's funeral? Just curious, has the house been a lot quieter since 2 crazy girls left? I should think so! Thanks for sending a letter! I can't wait to get it! Kevin: I'm STOKED to call on Christmas! It will be the very best part of my mission so far! Have you started your Temple Prep? Mom: I LOVED the hot chocolate bar! Pinterest is the best! I'm glad I went off of it for so long because I really miss it. I'm glad I didn't have to go through withdrawls like some other missionaries. Joji died? At least she is dancing again! And with Brother Logan! Why did Erin's companion go home? Michael: Of course I'm excited for Christmas, because I get to talk to my favorite people on the planet (except Gerard Butler won't be there :))!!!! How are things going with Anna? Did you two do anything fun this week? I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. I doubt I'll ever know. If there was a way to make a living on doing humanitarian service in Africa, I'd do that. Jen: Oh my gosh! That picture of Dace Face is SOOO funny! His face is priceless. He seriously looks so different from the last time I saw him. I had Mom explain the whole 'Micah' thing. It does say 'Muah' but I thought it said Micah. You'll have to have Mom tell you my whole "Micah story" when she gets a chance. It's pretty funny the way it turned out.
Monday, December 16, 2013
Hi family! How have you been? This week was normal. In the picture of the 2 kids, the little boy is 4 year old Oliver. He sat next to me when we ate at the Beckett's yesterday. Next thing I know, he kissed me on the cheek and told me that he was aiming for my lips. HAHAHAHAHA! I could not stop laughing! When we were leaving, Oliver told me that he wished I was in his family, and then said, "I will marry you!!" in a very deep voice. I bust up again.... FUNNY KID! This week, we met with Shane and taught the Plan of Salvation... best part is that there were 6 other nonmembers there... we taught his whole family! It went great too, because they were all involved and asking a ton of questions. For Christmas, the whole day is a proselyting day. We have to be out and about and teaching people just like any other day. :( We will have to open presents and gifts when we have time throughout our day sometime. We are only going to be at the Beckett's for lunch and Skype, and then we have to go out and teach... doesn't seem like it will be very effective. I'm sad that we only get at most 1 hour to skype. How long does Erin get? What's her Christmas agenda? This week, it has rained so much! I think we are up to 8 feet so far this year. FEET! Roads are literally paved river beds. Good thing I'm a good swimmer... They say missionaries can't swim, but you have to around here in a subtropical rainforest. :) Thanks for sending me our family Christmas picture/letter! I take it everywhere I go! I thought it was funny that it says, "Echols Family" on the letter, and the picture is just Erin and I... :) I love you more than a fish loves water! Mom: I love that you have a countdown! Did you know that Sister Holden is in Utah now? She'll be there for over a month. St. george I think. Just like I said, Christmas is a normal proselyting day for us. Too bad. Did you like the Dickens festival? PICTURES? Dad: I got your letter! It's crazy how much things have changed since you were a missionary. I've loved the 12 days of christmas package! For roasting Chestnuts... MAKE SURE YOU DRILL A HOLE IN IT BEFORE YOU ROAST IT!!! Otherwise, they explode. I've learned a few things out here in the sticks. Kevin: YAYA for the temple! You'll do great! I really can't wait to see Catching Fire. And apparently, I'll have to watch Frozen too. I don't know what that's about, but don't tell me! It will be a complete suprise when I get home! Michael: What I meant was... 14 months is plenty of time to: 1) find out if she's the right one, 2) marry her, and 3) have a kid. Plenty of time... no rush. ;P Jen: I got Dace's hug! What a handsome boy! P.S. Who's "Micah?" You wrote his name on the thing you drew me.??
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Monday, December 9, 2013
Happy "you get to skype with your two favorite missionary daughters for Christmas"!!! We found out that we only get an hour to skype, but it's better than nothing! The Becketts are having us Skype at their house... which is fine for me because they are my favorites! They got Skype just so we could do that. :) This week was so busy! Sister Paxton has an unlimited amount of energy when it comes to missionary work. She is crazy good at being a missionary! This week, we met with Sam... He's 26 and he lives with some college guys. When we first met him, he was completely closed off to the gospel. Now, he's told us everything there is to know about him and he completely trusts us. He is into drugs, alcohol, and smoking, so Sister Paxton was like, "Sam, you need to change your life!" (Reproving betimes with sharpness when moved upon by the Holy Ghost!) We told him that if God was going to trust him with a good girl and some more kids, he had to live in a way that God would give those to him. We told him to quit smoking. When we left, I was like, "We should have taken his cigarettes." so we ran back up there and grabbed them and said, "Hey, Sam! Can we have these? Thanks. Bye!" and we ran away with them. He realized that we were serious about it. :) He even saved my life. His nickname is Spiderman, and he has a HUGE spider tattoo on his back, but this guy is TERRIFIED of spiders! Too funny! When we were talking with him, there was a massive creepy spider on me that I didn't even notice. He lunged forward, grabbed it, and threw it off the balcony. He then started to freak out. He was like, "I just grabbed a spider! I HATE spiders! Why did I just do that??? I must like you guys or something!" It was really funny. His friends gave him a hard time about letting us take his cigarettes and he was like, "Hey! Their trying to help me quit smoking!" It was great. He stood up for us. Oh ya, we went and dropped by an inactive lady because neither of us had ever met her. She threw a blender at me. Good thing I played basketball and could get out of the way fast enough. Let's just say that we were out of there before she could grab the knife block. :) We got to watch the Christmas Devotional last night! Elder Nelson is so amazing (I love how he's Sister Irion's dad, so he's like my mission grandpa!) We met with Vivian this week. She's 87 and only has 1 leg. She is thinking about being baptized! She has been VERY strong in the Methodist church her whole life, until we shared the Plan of Salvation with her. She was AMAZED! We extended the baptismal commitment and she said that she'd think about it! YAYA for old people! I love you more that all the books in the library of congress! Mom: Wow! So much snow! and the tree looks great out front! I can't believe Delyce is married already! She is GORGEOUS! Do you like her husband? Dace is making a pretty funny face in that picture. He looks so different from when I saw him last! I probably won't even recognize him in 14.5 months. Dad: I haven't got your letter yet, but you know these mountain people. I look forward to getting some more news from you and everyone else too. My companion loves hearing me tell about your missionary stories... like the one where you taught the Mistress's "girls." Kevin: I would LOVE to be able to go through the temple with you! But I think you should do it now, so that if Michael gets married, you can go through with him. Also, I want to go through the SLC temple the minute I get off the plane, so you'll be able to go with us then! ;):) Michael: You DEFINITELY have to keep me posted on Anna! Mom sent me a picture... I approve. Get a move on! P.S. You should write me a letter and send pictures too. Tell the rest of the family the same thing. :) Erin sent me a package
Dear Family, This week has been a rough one, but I'm still working my hardest. My arm is doing weird, it feels like it was run over by a tank, then I went bungee jumping with the rope tied to my arm... but that's just how it feels, at least it still looks like an arm. I'll be going back to the doc sometime soon and I hope and pray that they find something wrong so they can fix it. Did you know Paul Walker died?!?!?!?!?!? NOOOOOOOOOO! What a beautiful man... so sad. I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! More than Yin loves Yang! DAD: I'm glad the car is coming along. Cool that there's snow, we got snow the other day, a couple snowflakes floated, and the whole town shut down. Crazy. Thankyou sooooooooo much for your letter. It was so good to get one and to talk to you on the phone. And, no, I didn't get homesick... I needed that extra boost. MOM: Thanks for the letters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I loved them. It was so good to talk to you too. I wish we could have talked for hours. I can't believe Delyce is married! So weird to me! MICHAEL: I'd love to come home to a new baby. KEVIN: How do you like work? Any new movies you seen lately? BEST.DAY.EVER.Lots and Lots of Letters.
Monday, December 2, 2013
11/26/2013 Dear Mom, My Companions name is Sister Melany Perkins. She’s brand new from Augusta Georgia. She didn’t go to the MTC because she just came straight out for a ‘mini mission’. She’s serving a 3 month mission because she suffers some health issues. I go to physical therapy 3 times a week, and they all LOVE me. Well, its official…I’m in the club of ‘Missionaries who farted on a door step’. We were tracting and I approached a door and a toot just managed to squeeze its way out. Oops. I could not stop laughing. I was shaking so bad. Sisters Aldous and Burckle died when I told them that night. They embraced me with open arms because they’ve both done it. I cannot believe Brooke’s hair!!! Holy smokes, it’s so short. Is she liking her mission? Is she a trainer too? Does extreme stress cause your face to break out? Because I’ve gotten 3 zits in one week. That is not normal. I found out that I emotional eat too. Good thing it’s oranges. Could you get an over dose of vitamin C? Will you have the family write me letters! The only people who have written me letters are: Burnt and Teresa Oliphant, Grandpa and Grandma Bodily, and Allen Davis. The other sisters get daily letters and weekly packages. I don’t care if you don’t write anything. Even if you would send a blank piece of paper in an envelope. I would love it. I just miss seeing something with my name on it and hearing my name. The other day, I couldn’t even remember what my name was. It freaked me out so bad that I went raging through all my papers looking for something to help me remember. I thought I had amnesia because the only name I knew was Echols because it was on my tag. It was the weirdest feeling not knowing who I was. I think my memory is getting worse. I also get super confused a lot too. My brain pops a lot and then I can’t move. I think I’m going crazy. It’s pretty cold here now. You actually have to wear a coat and some tights. I’m extremely glad I brought my boots. I seriously wear them everywhere. I’m lucky too, because I get to wear socks underneath. I’m excited for the day when I can come home and snuggle up in sweats ant boots in front of the fire while I watch a movie and eat an orange. And so I can stay inside during those storms instead of being out in them. I’m also excited for the day when I can go to bed before 10:30-11. I can’t wait to see you standing at the airport ready to run and give me a hug. I can’t wait to see you in 15 months! I love you so much….more than Pluto loves being a planet. Love Erin PS..Sister Perkins told me that the only reason she's staying on her mission is because she wants to be exactly like me when she gets off of it. What?!?!?!?! that totally caught me off guard.
This week, as you know, was thanksgiving! We ate at Karla Bertleschoffer's house with her son Jonathan, and her Aunt and Mom. It was pretty fun. We were able to sneak in the gospel as we talked to them. Also, Sister Paxton is great! She's very different from Sister Eckman, but I know we'll be good friends. It's hard to change companions, but she really is great. Apparently at transfers, President Irion called Sister Paxton to tell her that he was putting her with a missionary that he really likes. He didn't tell her it was me, but he said he likes me! That's a start, right? :) haha. So, people here know Erin better than they know me! It's a good thing we have a lot of fun stories, otherwise people wouldn't know me at all. :P So, we got some more snow this week! It actually stuck to the ground, but it was mostly melted by the next day. Also, we got so much rain that it flooded the area where we live. It's a good thing that we live in the upstairs apartment, if you know what I mean... On thanksgiving, I met a lady who lives here, but she went to Orem High! She was here visiting her relatives, but she knew the Orem Tiger school song as well! This week, we set a baptismal date with Shane Owen! He is Shirley Owen's son. (She was baptized probably about 5 years ago) He has a fear of water, but I know he can overcome that. Shane even came to church! We also have been teaching Shirley Owen's brother, Robbie, and he said that he wants to be baptized too. And, we have been teaching Shirley Owen's cousin, Dennis, and his sisters, Martha, Ady, and Bobby. And Martha's daughter Katelyn, and Her grandma, Opaly. We just plan on baptizing the whole family!! So, at night time, my mind has been so active and crazy that Sister Paxton and I decided that I should make a TV series! My dreams are insane! How has good old Orem been? We have been getting crazy weather warnings here in Brevard. At 2 in the morning, the warning sound went off, so we checked our phone, and it said a massive ice storm was coming and that we should stay inside! Luckily, it passed over us. We met with a 26 year old guy named Sam, and he's really prepared for the gospel, but he doesn't want to accept it. :( Life as a missionary. At least I get to call home in exactly 23 days!!!!!!! That will be the highlight of my mission so far! :) :) :) :) :) I seriously can't wait! I don't think I'll be able to Skype, but I will call for sure! Also, I have some jam and stuff that I'm sending home. I don't want to carry it around my whole mission, so you can enjoy it! You can count it as your Christmas presents! Also, at thanksgiving... I tried Greenbean casserole for the first time.. BLECH! I felt like I was eating a salamander! Oh well. :) Michael: You have a girlfriend?!?!?!? And you didn't tell me? I know all, so don't try to deny it. :) Give me some details, boy! By the way, 15 months is plenty of time for me to have a new sister-in-law and a new niece/nephew by the time I get home. ;) Get a move on! Kevin: Just think, in 23 days, you'll get to hear my voice! I know, not anything spectacular, but it's something! :):) I love you too! Dad: Thank you for sharing your missionary experiences with me... I really like it a lot. It helps me to know that I've got some of your blood in me, so I know I'll survive. :) It helps me also to know that you love me! :) Mom: Holy cow! Dace Face looks so old! He's getting so big! Next time I see him, he'll be helping Erin do some quantum physics. I love the news about the family that you share with me! Thanks! Jen: You're son is so big! I can't really decide if he looks like you more, or Brian, but hey, you did good. He is one cute kid. I got me some new boots.
Monday, November 25, 2013
((Erin is the Bold letters and Mom is the italic letters)) My new comp is Sister Perkins. This will be the longest 3 months of my life. I'm her trainer, and she doesn't even have a testimony. Then you are her companion that she needs. You are supposed to help her find that she does have one. It may not be strong, but it is there. She will develop it in your care. Just let her know how you have gotten yours and how it needs to be fed in order to grow. YOU CAN DO IT. You are AwEsOmE! MOMMY!!!!!!! I love you! Please, pray for me harder than you ever have in your life. If these three months don't kill me, I'll shrivel into oblivion. Heavenly Father knows that you can do it otherwise he wouldn't have given the assignment to you. I know that it is hard and overwhelming. Just know that this was given to you probably not for you but for Sister Perkins. Maybe she will go on to a full time mission because of you. If not, the three months will be for her benefit. I am so glad that you are her companion. I will keep her in our prayers as well as you. We will beat that Beast (Devil)!!!!! And you are a wonderful missionary for doing this. A GREAT Sacrifice. President Harding says that this companionship is from a revelation... for what though? I'm not good enough to do this. Shannon Clarke can tell I'm struggling, so she is constantly giving me "mom hugs''. Thank goodness for her. I'm having Thanksgiving with her. It is a Revelation. This young lady needs you! You are the one that will help her the most. Get to know her and you will love her. She may be different, but it is YOU that she needs. She obviously has some hardships in her life that you don't know about. Have some heart to heart talks with her. Talking to her is hard. She doesn't speak. She acts like she doesn't want to be here. She is though. She may not act like it, but it sounds like she is testing the waters (so to speak). If this is a bad experience for her it will taint her perception on the church. If it is good, Her testimony will grow and you will have had a hand in that. But....it ultimately is her decision on what will become of it. Just try and do your best. That is all that is expected of you. President Harding knows that you are the one to help her. I am loving the pictures. You have had a lot of fun with those girls. Did Aldous get transferred? This was super fun. My arm hurts still. Aldous is still here... THANK GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know if I could handle any of this if she wasn't here. She's my bff out here. I have never cried so much in my life, in front of people. I bawl at least 10 times a day, no matter where I am, even in front of members and nonmembers. I'm going back to the surgeon next week or the week after. My PT says they'll x-ray it and do one of 3 things: rebreak it, surgery, or hope for the best. My luck is that they won't find anything, but it still hurts as if I broke it yesterday. Just so you know. I found Bryn Stevens! Where did you find Bryn????? Did you go to a Zone Conference? She just flew in. I thought I was going to be her trainer... transfer meeting. Let’s just say, I'm an emotional mess. This last three months were long, but these next three months will be looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggg. I hope I have to get surgery on my arm. I just want the pain to stop. I'm so stressed over everything right now. If I didn't live with Aldous and Burckle, I'd probably quit. I am sorry that you didn't get Bryn. You did get Sister Perkins for a reason. I just feel it deep in my heart. You have to break down the walls that she has. I hope that your arm will be ok. I wish that you didn't have that to worry about as well. Don't quit. You would regret that so much in the coming years. Oh, I'm trying my hardest. Sorry, we're eating thanksgiving at the Leavitt’s, we get Shannon for CHRISTMAS! I seriously don't know what I'd do if I didn't have a pday to talk to you. This is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do... worse than quitting basketball and losing my friends. Let’s just say, that my next companions will be a breeze. Yes. You may get all your hard ones up front and then it will be a breeze. Just know that you will get to "talk" to me each pday. Yay!!!!! 15 months seem like a long time to "talk" to you. I can't wait until I can squeeze you until your eyes bulge. I am sure that your eyes will be bulging with my hug back to you! Who ever knew that a mission would be so hard? I think I just have terrible luck and get the hardest of hard. That means that you will be the best Relief Society President around. Those make the most understanding people in their callings. They have experienced the worst of things and can help most everyone when they are struggling. Let’s hope that all this is for a reason, otherwise, this time sucks. Maybe, hopefully, I'll cry out all my tears and have none left. Seriously though, Aldous Burckle and Shannon Clarke are my 3 saviors at this time. Thank goodness for them. I also look very forward to pdays when I can talk to you. You will have tears. I still do. I am glad that you still have these other sisters to come home to. Shannon is there to talk to you at any time. Use that to your advantage. She can help you. I look forward to pdays as well. I miss my girls. But....I know you are where you are needed more than your mommy. I try to talk to Shannon, but I don't want to act like I'm gossiping, she can tell I hurt. She can tell that this is rough. Erin....Shannon is like me. She will not think you are gossiping at all. She can give you good advice. She is inspired as well and will know how to help you. She is like me, so TALK to her from your heart. Tell her everything. How do I tell her how I feel if sister P is right there? That would just be awkward. I will let Shannon know so she can get you alone for a few minutes without your companion. Thank you. Ya, I'll just follow her like a lost puppy. I love her. Sis P uses the bathroom a ton, so I jump on that opportunity with the other sisters. If your companion is kept busy with maybe BriAnne (Shannon Clarke’s daughter) Shannon can talk to you in private. Ya, hopefully. I could really use that time. The Clarkes are my favorite people ever. We're having Christmas with them. I am so glad. Make the time in the morning if possible. She wants to feed you breakfast. But on Thanksgiving when you go for dessert....she will find the time to pull you aside to help you to make it through this tough time. I LOVE THE CLARKES!!!!!! I'm so thankful that God gave me them, when He took away you. I don't know what I’d do without them or you. Sis P wakes me up about 4 times each night. I was getting 5ish hours of sleep on average; I'm now back down to 2. My body shakes because of the lack of sleep. Why is she up? She just walks around like a zombie. I have to go now, I love you mom, more than a cell phone loves its charger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE PRAY!!!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!! look who I found... Bryn Stephens (from Orem Utah-next street over)
Hello Family!!! This week was transfers... :( I was sad to see Sister Eckman go, but she will bless the lives of her future companions just like she has mine. My New Companion is Sister Paxton. She is from Bountiful Utah. She is really nice. I'm still in Brevard and it's FREEZING! It feels way colder than Utah. We are out of miles for the rest of the month, so we're on foot... in the cold. WOW. When I get off my mission, it's going to feel like summer time. I got invited to the McDowell's home for Thanksgiving! The sad thing is, they canceled because she didn't realize it was Thanksgiving. Oh, well... Wendy's it is. So, Sister Eckman and I started a new form of missionary work before she left... We call it Missionary Match Making!! We set up a young woman named Kate, who's in Asheville and she's getting baptized in December, with a less-active named Mason. Mason's family is in our branch, so we've heard stories about him. We set them up hoping they could strengthen each other and TA DA!!! They're going out and LOVING it!! I told them that when they get married, they have to name their first daughter Kimberly Brooke after Sister Eckman and I. :) YAY! Seriously! When I get back, I'm going to start the new program because it works... haha! We are meeting with Diego tonight and we are hoping to set a baptismal date with him. Last time he met with the missionaries, he was like, "how do you know when you're ready to be baptized?" Hooray! I love you more than the all the rain in a rainforest! Dad: You have such amazing life experiences, that of course people listen to you. It's just what they needed to hear. I really am going to write Aleece... I will do it as soon as I have any free time. Will you send my love to her? Would it be alright if I just sent her letter to you and you could get it to her? I don't know how mail works in prison... Mom: Nope, no stress relief yet, but I know I'll figure it out soon. :) So, kind of funny, you know that dark gray skirt you got me from Sister missionary mall? The zipper broke. :/ But, I've heard that anything you get from Sister Missionary mall has a 18 month warranty.. is that true? Because if so, I can send you both those skirts and they will replace them for free. :) Michael: You are seriously one of my heros. You and Kevin and Dad too. You all surprise me with how strong you are. You might drive me crazy sometimes, just like I do to you, but I really do love you. How's MiKayla? (however you spell her name. :)) Kevin: Of course you were sick! It seems like you are a lot. By the way, my new companion is named Sister Paxton and she's going to be your first date when she gets back. :):) She likes you AND Michael! haha! That's what you get for being so handsome! Auntie NaNa: Tell Heather to write me! :) This is Sister Paxton trying Frog Legs for the first time.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Dear Mom We got Auriana and Brandon a date for baptism. Nov 16! Lathan (Bridgette and Harry Crosby’s son) is getting baptized then too. My arm has been killing. I’m still not getting much sleep at all. Shannon Clarke has been really taking care of me and drugging me up a lot. I wish the doctors could find what’s wrong with it, but that’s never the case with me. I don’t think they believe me that it hurts. Sister Hixon told me to act like it feels. I guess it’s just my high tolerance for pain maybe. We got to meet Elder Oaks and his wife. We met with them with the North Mission too (I kept my eye out for Dusty but I never saw him). And there was 750 missionaries. They shook all our hands. When it was my turn, I grabbed his hand with my left hand, so he looked down. He gasped like a fish and looked like he was going to cry. It was so intimidating that I just kept walking so the line could keep flowing. Throughout his fireside he kept looking at me and smiling. Elder Ulesis Suarez (70’s) really likes me too. There were 4 other 70’s guys there too. Sister Oaks is the cutest and funniest old lady that you’d ever meet. She’s a hoot! As a district, we all got golf carts, got Chick fil A, ate at a lake, had fun driving around, and played some games. It was soooo fun! I look forward to pday every day of the week. It’s so relaxing to act normal and casual for a few hours. I can’t even describe how nice it feels. I’m craving the feeling of wearing sweats, socks and a t-shirt and laying on the ground in front of the fireplace, eating an orange and watching a movie. I really miss the simple things like that. My heart loooongs to hug my family and spend time with them. It was so nice to talk to you through email. I miss you Mom. You are one of my very best friends in eternity. God put us together for a reason. There’s no doubt of that in my mind. You’re my hero, my idol, and my inspiration. When I grow up, I want to be just like you. Sister Hixon and I go attacked by a squirrel. We were on our golf cart and it totally charged us. But thank goodness golf carts can out run vicious man eating-demons. We met a lady who I call “Brutal Brunhilda”. I have never seen a more vicious/ferocious person against the church. Her mouth was literally foaming as she spoke poisonous sentences. My soul felt shredded and burned. Sister Hixon just started crying and I did my best to defend our faith. But she wasn’t just possessed, she was pure evil. We left and have never felt that kind of pain. We had the worst day ever, even with our investigators, the Ingrams. They were extremely cold and we’ll be dropping them soon. We were both super depressed and discouraged. So the next day we stayed super busy and got a new investigator from it. I feel a little better. Madison Houston came home from Brazil and she’s still super sick. We baked some cookies and took them to her. We also took cookies to several other people and sang. They all love it. We stopped at Chick fil A for dinner and a cool song cam on. It had no lyrics, just a beat. I started singing a cool song (just making it up as I went (words and tune)). Before I knew it, Sister Hixson’s mouth was wide open and so were the people around us. I sang like a pro! Nobody expected that kind of voice to come out of a skinny little white girl. They even complimented me and were in awe. I seem to have gotten some musical skill since being here. I was even asked to sing a solo on a door stop once. Wow. We’re a trio!!!! Sister Baty (Bay-Tee) joined the club. Her section of Atlanta City was shut down for sisters from being too dangerous. She’s from Draper, adopted from India. Everyone here is sick except for me….it’s funny seeing 4 girls coughing their brains out while the girl in the sling is singing the Sound of Music at the top of her lungs. Haha, that’s me. Guess what? I’m now 5’7”!!!! I’m still growing! Huzzah! They measured me at the Orthopedic Surgeons office and I’m 112 lbs. which is still the same. The x-rays and MRI showed that I chipped/fractured the end in the elbow and got a spider web fracture towards the middle. I’m going through physical therapy because I had it in a sling for so long that I can’t straighten my elbow. My wrist is broken too. The doctor retook x-rays and his reaction was…”Whoa! How the heck did we miss that?” It was funny. We got to go to the temple again, and it’s so nice to take a break and just sit there. We then had our Zone training afterwards. I’m the mission’s example for “How to stay Happy even if you break your arm”! I’m also the official meal prayer sayer, everyone loves my fast ones. Apparently I’m betrothed. A Patriarch and his wife are in our ward. Their 5 daughters with their families live here too. He had a revelation that I’m going to marry his grandson, Alex Jenkinson, who is serving in Brazil. Now the whole ward knows that and is buzzing with excitement. What just happened??? Strange! Random people just come up and hug me and say…”you’re going to be my niece”!!! This is the weirdest thing ever to happen on a mission. We (all 5 missionaries) said goodbye to Niccole Clarke. She left for her mission in Idaho and we are all going to miss her sooooo much. Sister Aldous parents wrote each of us a letter. It was so cool. They forgot my name so they referred to me as Broken Arm Beauty! They’re so nice. I love you and I can’t wait to see you in 16 months!!!!!! Love Erin PS. I go to Physical Therapy 3 times a week, and it hurts! But I can’t tell you how nice it is to take an hour to be a normal human being. A “break” from being a missionary. I have a 6-pack! Huzzah! My face has gotten super chubby. Why? It’s so weird. I look like a person who’s been through Chemo. People have told me that it’s impossible to be sad when they’re around me, I make everyone happy. I’m still super famous. A guy literally came running up to me and asked for a picture and autograph. Who the heck do people think I am?! Who do I look like?! At least I got him to come to church. Haha Advantage! PSS. I miss you like a proton misses an electron. The reunion in 16 months is going to be the happiest reunion in history.
Monday, November 18, 2013
I went on exchanges this week to a place called Marion. It is super high up in the mountains and VERY cold. We were able to set a baptismal date with one of their investigators! Well, transfers came up, and I'm staying while Sister Eckman is leaving... she's going to be a Sister Training Leader!!! She's so great. Luckily, I'm not training, but I'm still super nervous about getting a new companion because she might be difficult. It's a stressful time. We found a family!! They live next to one of our Less actives, and it's a family of 5 and we're going to do FHE with them. Sister Eckman cut off her hair for locks of love too! I'm such a good influence. ;P I have the craziest hair ever!! When I wake up in the mornings, now that it's short, it sticks out in EVERY direction!! Next time, I'll take a picture. This might be a short email, but just know that it is written with love! This week, we also got fed 3 times!! WHOA! That's unheard of! The air here is cold... it seeps into your bones. When I get off my mission, it will be like summer time... almost, not quite. It's so cool that Mom got to have lunch with some people who's daughters know Erin! Small world! I still LLLOOOVVVVEEE Pday! It's my very favorite because I get to hear from my favorite people on earth! I love you more than the crystals on an iceburg! Mom: Haha! I love how you have a countdown on your phone! I miss Christmas music! Actually, I just miss music! I can't wait to buy some CD's so I can burn the music Dad sent to me! I will think of stuff for Christmas. Am I supposed to get all you something too?? I don't think I can swing that on a missionary budget. Dad: I think I know who you're talking about... And of course you mean so much to people! You make a huge difference in their lives. And, I'm glad you liked those Mormon messages...I know I did. Thank you so much for the talks from prophets you send... I really like them. You should read a book called, "the Infinite Atonement" by Tad R. Callister. LIFE CHANGING! Kevin: Isn't Dace just the BEST?? I love him, and I love you! If I absolutely love my companions, I'm going to tell them to write to you and also to Michael so we can be related someday. Haha... Just kidding! Michael: Wow, honestly, you kind of amaze me. Missions are hard, but you were still yourself and played with Legos. I will find something that I can be myself with... like Sea-monkeys... hahaha! Really though, You're so great! I love having Crazy brothers! (most of the time anyway... :P) Jen: Whoa! You wrote me! JK. You would be sick on Halloween. Typical. At least you know it will come again! Is my hair shorter than yours? It's crazy, but I figured that a mission was the best time to do it. NaNa: You are the best! I love hearing about Ol' LiLi. Did she get the letter I wrote to her? I sure hope so. Oreo's forever!! Haha, you would have Christmas up already! Nothing's changed there! :) Sister Echols, Sandy,Steve