Monday, September 30, 2013
Mum, Well, Annie and her kids asked me to speak at their baptism. Wow! and President Harding is going to be there...and Bishop Corbridge, and the ward, and tons of other missionaries....no pressure. I'm speaking on baptism and I am absolutely TERRIFIED! Sister Hixon is going to play the piano, but I'm so totally scared! Wow Mom...I've been out for 3 weeks and I was made a trainer. I'm training Sister Green who is from Orem too and she went to Timpanogus. I've been out 3 weeks and I can barely manage all this with what's going on and now I'm a trainer! Stressful!! I don't know how much longer I can handle this stress. I'm dying. Oh my Gosh!!!! I was on exchanges or whatever with Sister Green and I was the Senior Comp. We were having a 'crappy' day and none of our appointments were opening their doors...so we decided to go to the Library to make some phone calls. When we were headed to our next appointment, we had to cross the street to go where we needed to go...it's a busy street like Center Street but at 45 mph. I thought about crossing and I got the thought to not. So I walked about 20 feet in the opposite direction. I turned around when I heard tires screeching and 2 cars got in a head-on collision!!!!! Shrapnel was flying past our heads. Once I saw the crash I instantly took off running towards it; I didn't have a second thought. I was the 1st on the scene and I ran towards the 1st car. The guy jumped out and he instantly grabbed me. He was in major shock. I set him on the ground and immediately started to aide his wounds. Before I knew it, both he and I were covered in blood. I couldn't tell where the blood was coming from. When the ambulance guys came they took over. Thank goodness! The other guy cut up his face and both cars were obliterated. I gave both my witness testimony and my church testimony. I taught 16 different lessons that day and I realized that everyone at the scene was huddled around me. I was so calm and speaking with the spirit that everyone was Mesmerized. The EMT'S checked me out to see my level of shock and they were amazed that I was so calm and preaching about God.
(We went BMX biking as a district, Look at the street that I found on my GPS :), We get fancy making food out of random stuff, Sister Eckman went to a member's house and found this sign waiting for us!) THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SENDING ME ERIN'S EMAIL! I loved it! How has everything in Orem been? This week has lasted a year. Things are so spread out here... it takes us at least an hour to drive to zone conferences and whatnot. The lingo here is really weird. I have had tons of people tell me that I have a weird accent... they then ask me where I'm from and I say UTAH. They think my accent is super thick. Sometimes, they say that I sound like a foreigner. I couldn't stop laughing when people tell me that because I have just as hard a time understanding them. It rains so much here. Would it be possible that you could send me rainboots, or should I get them here somewhere? I agree with what Erin said... everyone here has at least a few dogs and cats. Some people have really weird pets too. My branch president has a pet pig, I know a lady who has a pet squirrel, some have indoor rabbits, and all of them have fleas. I guess I can tell you now... I cut my thumb to the point where it needed stitches, but it's all better now and I have a neat scar(the only reason I told you is because it is FINE now). There's no need to worry. We had the cops surround our building in the middle of the night because of a break-in. I guess I'll have to catch up on sleep in 17 months. :) Erin sounds like she's doing pretty well! She is SOOOO funny! It sounds like she has a lot of crazy experiences. She is an amazing missionary, and I hope that I can be as awesome as she is. I didn't have much happen this week besides that we taught the Clifford family (4 with a baptismal date) and they told us that only one of their daughters is going to be baptized and the rest aren't. :( It was kind of sad, but that's the way it is. "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass... it's about learning to DANCE in the rain." "When it gets too hard to stand, kneel." I got proposed to this week by a drunk guy. Twice. AWKWARD. Oh! Sister Eckman and I were doing some tracting and it was getting dark. We started to go up someones drive... (it's one of those that goes into the forest for about a mile before you get to the house) and we were about halfway up it when all of a sudden I felt to 'go no further.' I started to feel super panicky and told Sister Eckman to stop right now. I felt that we had to get out of there and get out NOW. We booked it out of there as fast as we could. I don't know why we weren't supposed to go up there, but I'm glad that I didn't find out. I feel scared even just thinking about the experience. What happened to DC? Was there a shooting some where? Have you heard about FEMA? Look it up. Also this week, we were tracting and met a nice old couple. They weren't interested in what we had to say, but they kept trying to set us up with their 9 grandsons who were all 'very good looking.' I was like "We're missionaries!" Thank you again for sending me Erin's email. I love loopholes. I have been starving for info about her. It sounds like she's getting a lot of gifts. I had a dream last night that I got emergency transferred, but they sent me to Erin's mission. WE WERE COMPANIONS! We didn't sleep at all in the night, because we played with glow sticks. So, I've been waking up tired everyday because Erin keeps me up all night. ;) DON'T TELL HER THIS, but I think I'm going to send her something. :) It will surprise her and hopefully make her day. I'm sending home a letter in the mail today! Look for it! I love y'all more 'en awll those pesky fleas y'all got thrrr.... (I still don't have an accent)
Monday, September 23, 2013
Oh, Mom. I'm so sorry you're so worn out. I really do wish I could be there to mow the lawn for you. It's strange, I actually miss it. We don't get a lot of physical labor here, and I'm really missing being active. Thank good ness I have my bike. I've lost weight and my face looks chubbier, so I don't know how exactly that one works. Did you get my letter in the mail????????? The colorful one????? I'm sending another letter this week and it has a remarkable story in it so look carefully for it. You are not going to believe it. My hand writing is terrible because my adrenaline was soaring. But it truly was a miracle of God.
Dear Family, This week was an interesting one (difficult as usual.) Well, I've survived my first month here... I'm not sure I can say that for the next 17. ;P I've decided that I don't like animals... I have a pure breed blue something pitbull attack me out of love, but it ripped my heavy duty gray skirt and scraped up my leg. I'm just glad that I was wearing my heavy duty skirt, because if I was wearing one of the others, it would have been shredded to bits. A man named Jeremiah who we're teaching told me that the U of U beat BYU! Yay! I like both teams... Sister Eckman is a BYU fan and I was rooting for the U, so we had a little rivalry going on and I won! It was funny. I've decided that I miss the MTC. It was sure nice to have 3 hot meals a day prepared for you. Yesterday, it rained so hard... I couldn't have been more wet. Just yesterday's rain was what Utah gets in a year. WOW. I love attaching pictures, so plan on getting some every week... unless I forget to bring my cord to the library. How did grandma's roofing go? Did you get it done? How was the big September 21? I hope you ate some pie for me! The culture here is wierd. It is polite to accept anything offered to you... no matter what it is. Also, it is good manners to have your elbows on the table because it shows that you're enjoying yourself and relaxed. some people. I learned that Brevard only has 7 thousand people! It's so tiny! It is kind of hard to understand people here when they speak. Most of them have the southern drawlllll mixed with an alcohol slurrrr. I sure hope you all had a good week! I still say that Pday is the best day of the week... because I get to wear pants for a little bit. We taught a family with a baptismal date the Word of Wisdom... yikes. It did not go too well. They were saying things like, "well, there's other kinds of baptism that don't make us give up tea." Ahh! This is the only true church! I sometimes wish that I could make some people's decisions for them. Then, they would be on the right path. :) I'm kind of looking forward to winter, so that mosquitos will die, and then I won't be so itchy. Haha. I've noticed that the average spider here is the size of a quarter if it didn't have legs. That's just the bum part. They are huge! The bugs are big, and the people are big. Welcome to the south. They have a bank here that's called the Fifth Third bank... I don't even know. Also, there is no speed limit here. You can drive however fast you want. Strange! So what area is Erin in? Is it still in Georgia? I got a letter this week from an elder Kunz from my district in the MTC. It was pretty funny and surprising to get a letter from him. He's in Calgary Canada. For sure I need to buy some rainboots, a super sturdy umbrella, and leggings. It is really wet here. Jen: How's Dace Face? Has he learned any new words? I love that he typed me a letter... he's so grown up. Are you still working at EEI? How do Richard and Diana like the basement? Mom: I'm so glad that your nose is getting better! I look forward to getting your letter sometime! Thank you mom and dad for teaching me how to work when I was little. If I hadn't learned it, I would not be able to stay on a mission, being as hard as it is. Thanks.... I have the meanest parents in the world. I love you all more than the number of particles of fog there are in the mornings here! Make sure you write Erin and send her letters too! (Do her before me, so you can make sure she gets something whether it's a letter, or an email.)
Sunday, September 22, 2013
First night in Georgia we got to ride in a golf cart to go get Wendy's. It was midnight and we were soooo tired.
It's been crazy. President Harding says once we give our all, we won't miss our family or want to go home....but I guess that doesn't work with me because I'm giving everything I have and I still am having a hard time. The days feel like months and it's super difficult. Dragging and dragging on. Sister Hixon's mom sent me a necklace from Africa in the mail and it's so cool! She owns her own business. I went to the hospital for my rash because I swell so bad it's hard to swallow and breathe sometimes. My face looks like a chubby cherry. The doctor has absolutely no clue what causing this so he put me on steroids and heavy duty allergy meds. If it's not healing by next week, I have to go get shots. I'm not running a fever, but my skin is hot, it's burning off my ear skin and my ears are hugely swollen and hot. A lady in our ward gave me her cute coral and grey scarf and she bought all us four sisters each a $42 lagoon blue scarf!! People here have money to burn!! The people's apartment right above mine had their sewage pipe burst so we came home to a poop filled kitchen. It oozed through our ceiling and pee water was like a waterfall from our cupboards. I now have no food because even if it's sealed, once you see a clump of poop on your jar of pickles, you don't really want to eat it anymore. I've been surviving off of Walmart's hot chicken sandwiches. I think my bad luck is gonna be like BYU-I all over again. We had a bunch of maintenance guys come fix it and I wish I took pictures. Next time I will. Sister Hixon turned 21 so sisters Eley, Aldous, and I woke up at 5:50 and made her favorite breakfast burrito with candles and balloons. It wasn't fancy, but we did good. Some poor kids left their happy meals on a cart outside of Walmart and they were there still even after 30 mins. It was Perfect: 2 hot happy meals for free for 2 starving missionaries! I soooo would have taken them but I didn't want to give a bad name for the church because I literally have Christ's name pinned to my chest. Jeez, I don't know if I became a slightly better person or if I'm losing my personal character. I left them there! :-( We were talking to a family about our Thanksgiving family traditions and they found out that I make the yams every year and the mom was like: 'Gir, ima getyu su gredients an 'yu gun make suma yi yams on wedzday! 'aight?' (translation: 'Girl, I'm going to get you some ingredients and you're gonna make some of your yams on Wednesday. All right?") I don't even know how I got into this situation but, I'll do my best! I don't have a recipe or anything so whish me luck. We had 2 investigators come to church for our stake conference and they both loved it. I can see them getting baptized. James: old, and Brandon 19. After church James hugged us which was awkward because we're not suppose to hug. But then the Bishop saw us and he came to greet us naturally with a hug. Mid-air, with arms wide open, he caught himself and got embarrassed. I thought it was funny. Nahum, the 4 year old was playing outside when we were tracting his street and he came along with us to every house and was a little missionary. I stepped on a grub this big (puffed cheeto size)then it looked like this (her drawn picture is gross!) It felt like stripping on a small water balloon full of fruit chunky Jello. Nice image huh? My name is quickly spreading around the ward. I have a line of people waiting to talk to me every week at church. I'm telling you...I'm famous. I feel bad though because everybody knows SISTER ECHOLS but I hardly know anyone else's names. But I still put on a friendly face for them. I got a priesthood blessing from Elders Hansen and Laws(our district leaders)and my appendix wounds do not hurt any more and my rash is starting to go away! The priesthood really works!! Our district here in the Peach Tree City are CRUSHING records. 9 baptisms on Saturday and all 9 are black. We had 11 investigators come to stake conference. Wow!! At Zone Conf. everyone was telling their districts to be like us. I had a dream one night that I was swallowing poison so my eyes started bleeding. I woke up startled and my face was soaked. I had in my hands an orange with a huge bite mark in it. I had taken a ginormous bite through the peel of the orange and it was so bad (you know the flavor of the peel...?) that my eyes would not stop crying. I don't know how I got the orange in the first place. Either I fell asleep with it or I got up and got it some time in the night. :-) It's a good thing I'm not allergic to dogs anymore because I have not met a single person who doesn't have at least one dog. They all have about 2-7 dogs is the average. Even the old people have dogs. Bro. Leavitt, who is our ward mission leader has a dog like in the 'Sandlot', and he has to be at least 300 pounds. He's so big, even I could ride him. I'll get a photo. I'm always covered in hair and my legs are always scratched up from peoples' dogs jumping all over you. Some dogs are extremely vicious and will full-on attack you if you get too close or if you look at them too long. I've had a couple instances where I punch or kick the dog in front of it's neighbor and that makes the person furious. But I'd rather have all my flesh still attached to my bones, so I defend myself. I heard about DC. 12 people? wow. It's certainly the last days. I wondered why all the flags were at half-mast and when we were tracting, there was a man who welcomed our prayer and had us pray for DC. We didn't know why so we asked him what happened. He was totally shocked and asked us if we lived under a rock....basically. We're so isolated it's crazy. I have absolutely no clue what's happening outside of PTC (Peach Tree City). 2nd Letter.... My testimony is really strong. As people lecture me and try to shove false doctrine (mostly about the trinity) down my throat, my faith in this gospel stands strong. I have no doubt about this church. Every belief and every principle/subject is truly the gospel of God. This Saturday we are having 9 baptisms and 6 of those are my investigators. We have 2 more next week and 3 more so far next month )and that's just the people I've taught: imagine all the other 250 Atlanta missionaries). Annie and her kids have asked President Harding to baptize them. How exciting!! They wanted me to do it but then we explained the priesthood to them, so they picked President H. "If there's no wind...row". "Life's not about waiting for the storm to pass...it's about learning to ride the wave". We got lost in Atlanta for about 5 hours when we went to the temple on Thursday. We drove around and around trying to get out but we got caught in some major rush-hour traffic. We were at a stand still so I taught pedestrians the gospel. I was literally hanging out the window giving people pass along cards. I taught some very spiritual lessons and the 3 other sisters were amazed at how bold I was. There I was, teaching an old cooky man about Jesus Christ an I was showing him a picture when this big black woman came into my business and started lecturing me on the picture. 'That's not Jesus!! Nobody knows what Jesus look like!! Nobody aint ever seen him!!" I asked her if he did what the Bible said he did. And ...she believed that he did perform miracles. I informed her that by performing miracles and by doing the things he did, he had thousands and thousands of witnesses who SAW him. She was kind of shocked at my comeback. She then asked, "Who's your Preacher?" --My reply was, "God. I came straight from the source Himself".--she literally stumbled backward...I don't think she expected that kind of answer. :-)
This week was crazy... I went on an exchange to an Indian reservation called Cherokee. While I was there, I taught a woman in Spanish! WHAT! I sure hope you like my pictures... they are kind of weird. P-day is for sure the best part of the week. I love getting emails! Did the post office lose a letter of mine? I don't think I sent one this week. (I have only about maybe 30 minutes a week to write anything because my companion doesn't really like writing letters.) It makes me sad. I could spend my whole Pday writing letters, but I never have time. I really have to write fast emails because she limits time on that too. Oh, well. It's not forever. I really miss Erin. I want to send her a love letter, but I don't know if I'm allowed to. I don't know how I can make her feel better from here. I wish I knew. We now have 6 investigators with a baptismal date and we're leading the zone! I'm so tired that I actually fell asleep when Sister Eckman was saying our closing prayer. I'm not going to lie, being a missionary is a very hard thing for me. I'm so out of my comfort zone 24/7. I feel like being a missionary isn't something you get used to. 18 months is going to last forever. I never knew how much I would miss being around people with a crazy sense of humor. Don't get me wrong, crazy is normal here, but having a sense of humor isn't. I feel like I'm being corrected in every aspect of my life all the time. What a weird thing... I thought I was near perfect already.:) You'd think with the seasons changing, that the humidity would go down, but Guess again! It's still as humid as ever! Did I tell you about my spider bite? This week, I felt something making my leg feel like it was on fire. I look down and I saw a welt the size of an egg on my leg. It was burning. It felt better after a day, but it itches like there's no tomorrow. Now, I have a pretty scar on my right leg. Oh well... what's being a soldier for the Lord without a few battle wounds? Have the leaves started changing color yet? I'm officially the haircutter for our district. I wouldn't have thought that a sister could cut an elder's hair, but our mission president is fine with it. WEIRD. I never would have that that would be be allowed. hmmmmmm. I got a letter from Bishop and Sister Paulsen. They sent me an update on what the ward is up to. I guess Parker got to go through the temple...yay! I really look forward to hearing from you next week! I love you more than the number of roadkill there is on the road! Mom: I'm so glad that your nose is getting better! I told you that you should have done it while Erin and I were there to help you... you sneaky mom! Have you started bruising yet? Most people would love the fact that they don't have to work for a while, but not you! :) Work really is a blessing. Love me some Dace Face! Dad: That's great that the Spitfire is so far along! Can you just sandblast the differential? I'm glad that Mikayla got baptized! Did you finish that project at work, or is it still going on? Kevin: It's awesome that you like your job so far. Speaking of wet sponges... if you leave a sponge outside here for a few hours in the dark, it will be soaking wet. HUMID! What does a caveman call a jedi with a hot flash? Luke warm. I made that up myself! Michael: You're back home already? Wow! I hope you get a great job. Do you think you'll go back to EEI? What's the plan? I've been working on my Spanish, but it still makes me nervous to use it. Do you miss Rexburg? Jen: What's the next project on your house? Any plans yet? How are Brian and Dace? Is Diana exhausted from his energy? I have been looking for a Titan's jersey, but I have absolutely no time to do any shopping or anything. Besides, where I am now, there aren't even cool stores. I will look some more when I am transferred to a more populated area. I will find you one eventually!
Monday, September 9, 2013
Dear mom, That storm sounds AMAZING! So cool!!! I can't wait to see pictures. Though I'm glad you're still safe from it. Did it come from the south east? Because it could have. We had a MAJOR storm last week where streets were flooding and lighting lit up like the fourth of July. And yep... We were still on our bikes. I have never realized how much I hate being wet unless I'm in a pool. I found out a few reasons why missionaries can't go swimming: immodesty, not wearing garments, Satan has power over the bodies of water (He rides the back of the waves waiting for somebody to slip into his grasp). Scary, Huh? We live in an apartment with the other sisters. We only stayed in a member's house for that first night. But it's a slumber party in our apartment. I am the designated chef. It breaks my heart when people slam the doors in my face because 1. it REALLY hurts my feelings and 2. they don't know that they are rejecting the true church. It makes me super sad and gets me down. I'm 1 week into my mission and I still have 77 weeks to go. I hope you DO recover fully from your surgery. I want to see pictures. :D Mom, I do like to eat, but we just don't have time(and it's expensive out here). We get to eat cereal in the morning, pb&j for lunch but then we don't get home until 9 or 9:30 and then it's too late. We can't just come home for an hour to eat at dinner time because we live miles away from out area (so we'd be spending that hour just traveling to and fro). And it's hard to carry food with you because it's all the extra weight on your back and shoulders. But... I GOT A BACKPACK!!!! Best 15 dollars ever spent. I'm so grateful for it. We did get to eat today. It's pday and I made fiesta-cheesy chicken for all my roomies. They LOVED it. The only time we really do eat around here is when members feed us; which is never. But there are left overs so I'll be eating it again for tonight. I really do love riding the bike. I don't know how I'd cope with all this missionary/800% spiritual/ non-stop work we'd be doing if I didn't get to ride a bike. It gives me time to think and to get my heart rate up. It just feels good having the air blow against you and getting to ride up and down the hills. I'm super buff (at least my legs are) and I love the exercise. By the time we get to our area where we rode our bikes, we have squished bugs on your face because it's so buggy here and your hair and clothes are soaked because it's so muggy here too. The humidity/sweat beads up on your skin. And at night it's gets freezing here so if you're uncovered, those beads of moisture turn to ice, and you have ice balls on your skin. So even in the evening, we need to go to bed wearing long sleeves, no matter how hot you are, so you don't get ice build up. I'm sending you a verrrrrry looooong letter in the mail sometime this week, so keep an eye out for it... you'll love the envelope I made you. I LOVE YOU MAMA! I hope you recover quickly from your surgery. Love, Erin
Mumsy! I'm so glad that your surgery went well! If you do start bruising, I want to see pictures! My companion, Sister Eckman, thinks I'm nuts. She thinks that I fit every stereotype of a Utah Mormon girl. Oh well. I'm Utahn and proud of it. That storm sounds freaky. I live in an apartment with Sister Eckman. Only us. There are 3 more apartments in this building and all of them are filled with smokers. Our apartment smells horrible because of it. I'm going to come home from my mission with lung cancer because of all the cigarette smoke I'm breathing in everyday. EWWW! I realized that I really don't like dogs. We keep getting attacked by them... big and little. I hope you liked my extremely long and hard to read letter I sent you. I had a lot of stuff to tell you. Missionary work is hard. Like really REALLY hard. I know it's worth it, but I keep thinking, "What the heck did I get myself into?" haha. Being a missionary is a good thing, but I've never been so tired in my life. I feel like I lay down and the alarm goes off. It is hard to not make fun of people's accents here. Oh! Some random information about North Carolina... No one flushes toilets here! I think it's a lost art.I wish P-Days were longer. Maybe even twice a week. :) THAT would be nice. We met a woman who I thought was drunk, but i guess that's just her personality. Her name is Sherry and she is really interested in the Gospel. I love crazy people... they always make for fun stories. I met a gay black guy named Tyrel... hillarious. He said, "girl, if you can fix my watch, I'll dance at your wedding!" and, "Next time y'all come around, I need to get my camera. (why?) So I can take a picture of you and put it on my ceiling!" SO FUNNY! How's Erin doing? I worry because if I think it's super hard, then I really worry about her.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
I got your cinnamon rolls! They were so yummy! Yes, the MTC smells nasty, but it feels like EFY... There is a different feel here than anywhere else. I LOVE the temple! I want to go everyday! I miss Erin and You, and Natha, and Heather. I guess our joyous reunion will have to wait a few years. ;) Thank you for sending me Erin's letter. She is SSOOO Cute! She will do great things. I know that because she has always been my hero. Sorry I haven't written in 2 weeks. Just the way P-days worked out when I came to the field. The mission field is a lot different than I was expecting. I thought it was going to be like the MTC, but it's WAY different. It is super hard, but it will be worth it. It rains everyday here. I HAVE AN AFRO! My hair is HUGE. Sister Eckman is way awesome. (I sent a letter in the mail today... make sure you look for it. It has a TON of info, so be excited!) I love my mission president. He is so nice, and his wife sounds just like Granny Bodily. Crazy. It is so humid here, that it makes it hard to breath. I am in one of the hardest areas in the south. They had to remove all missionaries for 5 years and brought them back only 5 months ago. People here are VERY anti-Mormon. THE CHURCH IS TRUE PEOPLE! Haha. I realized that I'm actually shy when I talk to complete strangers about the gospel. I can talk about normal things, but I freeze up when I talk about church. Weird. Only 18 missionaries came here to Knoxville. I am actually in Brevard, North Carolina right now. It's the place where they filmed the Hunger Games! I was even wearing a side braid when they told me where I was going. I love you more than all the seeds of the earth. Love Sister Echols (the Brooke one) I can't believe I forgot to add Dad, Kevin, Michael, Jen, Dace, and few others to the list of people I miss! SORRY ABOUT THAT! Oh, ya! And did you know that you can Mail bananas (sister cluff)?! Sorry the pictures are out of order. At least they're pretty easy to figure out! Sister Nelson, me, Elder Carlton (from England), Sister Bohanon, Sister Wheelhouse in the MTC. Me and Erin a few times. Me and my companion, Sister Nelson in class. Thanks for the pictures! I think I answered your questions in my other Email, but more info is coming in the letter I sent. I would like you to hand write me also, but if you don't want to that's ok too. I will hand write you more often than just once a month because I have so much to tell you! I can't wait for you to get me letter. You'll laugh at what I said. It's pretty hilarious. City: Brevard, North Carolina Mugginess: 1000% (unreal) Alex is in School: HALLELUYAH!!!! Time for a heel click! Kevin working: It's about time, good for him and at least he's not a bump on a log anymore. Don't forget to look for my letter! I love you more than the size of the ocean. I got your cinnamon rolls! They were so yummy! Yes, the MTC smells nasty, but it feels like EFY... There is a different feel here than anywhere else. I LOVE the temple! I want to go everyday! I miss Erin and You, and Natha, and Heather. I guess our joyous reunion will have to wait a few years. ;) Thank you for sending me Erin's letter. She is SSOOO Cute! She will do great things. I know that because she has always been my hero. Sorry I haven't written in 2 weeks. Just the way P-days worked out when I came to the field. The mission field is a lot different than I was expecting. I thought it was going to be like the MTC, but it's WAY different. It is super hard, but it will be worth it. It rains everyday here. I HAVE AN AFRO! My hair is HUGE. Sister Eckman is way awesome. (I sent a letter in the mail today... make sure you look for it. It has a TON of info, so be excited!) I love my mission president. He is so nice, and his wife sounds just like Granny Bodily. Crazy. It is so humid here, that it makes it hard to breath. I am in one of the hardest areas in the south. They had to remove all missionaries for 5 years and brought them back only 5 months ago. People here are VERY anti-Mormon. THE CHURCH IS TRUE PEOPLE! Haha. I realized that I'm actually shy when I talk to complete strangers about the gospel. I can talk about normal things, but I freeze up when I talk about church. Weird. Only 18 missionaries came here to Knoxville. I am actually in Brevard, North Carolina right now. It's the place where they filmed the Hunger Games! I was even wearing a side braid when they told me where I was going. I love you more than all the seeds of the earth. Love Sister Echols (the Brooke one)
September 2, 2013 EMAIL Dear Mom, YOUR SURGERY IS TODAY?!?!?!?!?! I hope you're okay and doing well. If you can't breathe, I know how you feel, I feel like I’m drowning here with all the humidity, you have to cough often to get the moisture out of your lungs because it certainly builds up. I would LOVE both emails and Letters! Sorry, our pday was moved to Tuesday this week because Monday was a holiday. We were out trackting all day long and blessed 750ish people, got 200ish new investigators, and 50ish baptismal dates. We baptized 56 people in august and 27 more just last week. Is it possible to email music? If so, I need hymns and MoTab... unlimited, that’s all we can listen to. The flight was crazy. It was like the Tower of Terror at Disneyland because we kept losing altitude and dropping suddenly, and when we weren't falling out the sky, we were shaking like our power was going out. It was terrifying, so I don't think I'll be doing much flying when I get back home. Can I just drive back? :) I had to say goodbye to Brooke the morning we went to the airport. We went on separate busses and I cried out my eyes. When we stopped hugging, I looked around and there were about a dozen other missionaries staring at us and crying as well. I think they were touched our sisterly love. I miss her like crazy and I miss you too. I need my best friends here. We never went to the mission home; we went straight to a church because the mission home isn't big enough to hold 50 brand new missionaries. 50!! My companion is interesting, she has a hard time with my sense of humor, but she is a good teacher, I'm glad she takes the lead. Because I'd rather follow when it comes to spirituality. I have a hard time being bold. I LOVE YOU MAMA! Love, Erin September 2, 2013 EMAIL Dear Mom, If you haven't gotten a scripture for my plack yet, please use D&C 6:36!! I sent a scripture in the mail, but I like this one better. We've had a couple of crazy storms here, and Sister Hixon and I are faithful missionaries and out on our bikes. It was cool riding your bike up a hill and having a waterfall rush down. It really made me want to go river rafting. We met with a kid and he is going downhill fast. He is extremely suicidal because he's been attempted murdered a couple of times. He was going to kill himself after we left. I had a thought to share my story about Alex, and I refused to share it. The thought kept coming to me and I kept ignoring it. The next thing you know is that my heart was pounding and my head was spinning and the story was coming out of my mouth. Obviously the spirit spoke through me because I wouldn't have told it otherwise. That was the most spirit I've ever felt in my life (and you know me... not spiritual). Well obviously the story worked because he's still alive today, a few days later. Wow. You wouldn't believe how much chicken we eat here! We are either starving and only eating cereal or we eat fried chicken. I've a couple of interesting southern meals here so far. Jalapeno cheddar biscuits smothered in mustard. Chicken galore. Strawberry pecan waffle. More Chicken. There are more Chick-Fil-A's here than McDonalds. Crazy As of today, I have 46 mosquito bites, and they itch like crazy. I've never been so itchy in my entire life. My legs look like a witch's face. I'm kind of sad because my roomies like to shop and go out to eat a lot. So we spend most of the pday shopping and we go out to eat at least once a day. I hate spending my money so I make that meal into two or three more. I eat very little of it that way I can save money. I've definitely lost weight since I've gotten here, but I probably picked it back up by riding the bike and building muscle. It's very hilly here so we get PLENTY of excursive. I love having all of the frogs here. You see them mostly at night hopping around, but when you see them in the day time, it's because they're flattened on the road. :) I could never live here though because of all the mosquitoes. I'm so sorry mom, I can't figure out how to load my pictures, I'll figure it out eventually. But don't worry, I'm taking lots. I LOOOOVVVVEEE YYOOOUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!! And I miss you like the sun misses the flower. September 2, 2013 EMAIL Dear Dad, Are you in St. George? If so... FUN! I'll bet it's nice and dry there and warm. We were trackting and found a missionary couple from St. George and they live 5 minutes away from the temple. They invited us into their home and they fed us chips and salsa. It was well needed. They were sure nice and I really like talking with them. After our visit they said that I was radiating the spirit. I didn't feel like I was, but they said I was glowing. I'm glad the ward is doing well, but I want to know... How are you? Is your finger healed yet? I'm sorry I don't have a lot of time, but read Mom's email and it'll tell you a lot about Peach Tree City. I LOVE YOU DAD!! Love, Erin September 2, 2013 EMAIL Daddio Spaghettio! I loved your email! I'm so glad that Ashlee's funeral went well; it's still weird to me that she died. I sent a letter in the mail, so be sure to look for it! I think it will make you laugh with my witty humor. :P I'm glad the Triumph is coming along. I can't wait to drive it when I get home. hehe. Believe me when I say that you haven't seen rain until you go to Brevard North Carolina. That's where I'm at and it's called "the land of the waterfalls and the land where the water falls." It feels like you're standing under a waterfall when it rains. Read mom's email I sent her. I'm short on time and I just want you to know how much I love you. I love you more than the vastness of the sky.