Monday, October 28, 2013
I'm getting the scan tomorrow at 6:30 pm. This week we got fed 3 times!!! woot woot! The Houston Family's daughter Madison just got sent home from Brazil for health problems.... I hope maybe they will switch us and she can stay here and they will send me to brazil. I wouldn't mind having to go back to the MTC! do you think its possible??????? I would loooooooove that! I'll be home in 16 months! I cant wait! My Soft Cast and New Sling
What a crazy week... We got snow! Not a good snow, but a wet, heavy, slippery snow. The bad thing, is that the roads have to be perfectly clear to use the car. Looks like we're gonna be walking quite a bit. Good thing I bought a pair of fleece lined tights! The Senior Sister missionary who gave me a hug was Sister Beckwith from Erin's mission. I don't know why she was up here, prolly because Elder Corbridge came to speak to us? We went to the Halloween Festival they have here! We talked to about 15 people, so it was pretty productive. Also, our friend Marcus was the DJ and he was busting some tunes. A teen boy started to break dance, so the hundreds of people cleared a circle for him. It was the song Thriller by MJ. I was wearing my skirt and stuff, and I went into the circle too. I started to glide and the people went NUTS. They started screaming and cheering. I only did it for a few seconds, but it made people realize that Mormon missionaries are normal people. It was so much fun! We didn't have any appointments this week, but we just stopped by a ton of people's houses. While we were at the Halloween Festival, we met a guy named Sammy. As it turns out, he's been trying to win a ticket to go see MoTab for years! Sister Eckman's uncle is in it, so she is going to try to get him a ticket. He was so happy that he didn't have words. We are going to see him on Friday. I haven't gotten my package yet, but that's Ok. I'm sure I will get it on November 14th. I got a letter that was sent back in August. People run on Mountain time here. I have some bad news, we had a whole new batch of missionaries come in on Oct 9th, and I'm still the youngest sister. Ha! Several weeks ago, we ran into a group of HS kids on the sidewalk. We talked to them and gave away a few BOMs. Last week, one of the girls came up to us and was like, "me and my mom have been reading that book you gave me every night with the bible." We went and taught them and it was awesome! They are so open and ready! We are going to see them again soon! Wow, I feel kind of trunky... and I've only been out 2.5 months. Yikes. Yesterday, we had food at the Beckett's house! Halleluyah! Their son got back from his mission less than 2 years ago, and he's inactive. When ever we are at their house, he usually disappears, but yesterday, he hung around and we got him talking about his mission. About 2 weeks ago, we invited him to eat dinner with us with an investigator and he actually came! We talked to his mom yesterday and she told us that it made him more positive for the whole week. After dinner, his mom told us that he is starting to be happier. It was so good for him! They taught me some crazy phrases like, "more than you can shake a stick at, water under the bridge, bury the hatchet, scrootching, and baggon baggon." I taught them, "just a few fries short of a happy meal, and he's all that and a bag of chips." They thought I was crazy. :) I hope you have a great week, and I love you more than all the rings on Saturn! Kevin: The work is progressing slowly. People here have very screwed views of Mormons. We have had a lot of run-ins with crazy people. We still only have one investigator who's going to be baptized. I have handsome brothers. Do you still like your job? Michael: Thanks for your advice. I'm trying really hard, but it's not easy. Oh! I have a picture of you on my camera from Rexburg, and one of the girls here thinks you're cute! What a stud muffin you are! How's work going? Mom: How was your church experience? Did people try to stop and talk to you? Or were you able to make it out undetected? Can you use your Sentsy Warmer? Or does it bother you? I bet you are excited for the Olympics next year, huh? :) Love ya! I will write Heather as soon as I can. Dad: I'm glad that I got to chat with you for a second! It made my day! Thanks for the President Hinckley quote... it makes a lot of sense. I saw a guy on Saturday that had your same hair! (at least what's left of it anyway. :) HAHAHAHAHA) Just because I'm 3 thousand miles away, doesn't mean that I can't still tease you. Love you! Tell Raquel that I love her! Jen: Dace is going to be the cutest Link ever! Do you like the Tarheels by any chance? How was your week?
Monday, October 21, 2013
This week was pretty uneventful. Sometimes as a missionary, it is super exciting, but then, it is super boring. Life of a missionary. We had Elder Corbridge from the 70 come speak to us and it was really intimidating. We kind of got chastised the whole time about not teaching the way we were supposed to. Oh, well. I really liked it though, I learned a lot. While we were there, a senior couple came up to me and they said, "Sister Echols, this is from your sister." and they gave me a big hug!!!! I got a hug from Erin!!!! I asked them to take a picture so they could give it to her and they did. It made my day! It's not funny that Erin broke her arm, but... SHE WOULD. :) Leave it to an Echols to grow a tumor in his foot, or have to get stitches in their thumb, or break their arm while on the mission. FUNNY STORY: We met a huge, super buff, tatooed, shirtless black guy who had music blasting when we knocked on his door. He came out and said, "hold on, I'm gonna go turn this off." Sister Eckman was like, "who's this artist" to me and I said, "I think it's Chris Brown." When he came back, Sister Eckman was like, 'Chris Brown? (and he looked confused) Do you like Chris Brown?" He said, "uh, ya." Sister Eckman was like, "So do we!" We talked to him for a few minutes and then we went our way. When we left, I was like, "Actually, that was NeYo." No wonder he looked confused! He must have thought that we were so dumb! CREEPY STORY: we have been meeting with one of our investigators for several weeks. He is in his 50's and he had a lot of great questions. One night, he called us and said that he was moving to NYC and that he was never interested in our message, but that he was interested in us! AAAH! Scary. We went hiking with Bonnie today in Pisgah National Forest. We hiked John Rock and I couldn't even get close to the edge because it looks like this ^---,___ It is a huge drop off. We ran into a Jehovah's witness who tried to Bible bash. It didn't work, because he said absolutely nothing to her. It was a one sided argument that she was losing. Haha. aaaaaaaaa! President Irion told me that he wants me to be a trainer as soon as I get done training. I'm not too excited because I hardly know what I'm doing... How can he expect me to show a new missionary the ropes? I'm freaking out over here. I don't know how well that will turn out. I love you more than the number of rings on a sequoia.Oh ya!! Here, in Transylvania County, EVERYONE is crazy about Halloween! I'm living in Halloween town!
Dear mom. They x-rayed it and I have fractures all on my ulna in my right arm. I see the orthopedic surgeon on Friday and I can’t wait. I haven’t slept more than 2 hours a night in a week. Shannon gave me medicine, now I sleep about 4 or five, my body shakes because I’m so exhausted. Sister Hixon gave me a sleeping pill and she let me sleep for 4 more hours in the day and she let me sleep in until 9 the next morning. It’s so nice to have a companion who takes pretty good care of me. Delyce is engaged? noooooooo! I wanted Michael to marry her so we could be related to the Downey’s… officially. She was our last hope. Oh well, I guess Michael or Kevin will have to marry Gracie. Haha just joking. Yes, Courtney got baptized. I’ve been out 2 months and had 10 baptisms and 3 on the way. Sis Hixon and I are the number 1 baptizing comps in the mission. Elder Evans of the 70 came and spoke to us. When he walked into the room, everyone went dead silent. He singled me out in a group of 120+ missionaries and asked how I was doing and just kept talking about my arm. Talk about intimidating!!!! During his whole talk, he kept talking about me and making me sound like a hero!! Afterwards, he pulled me aside, through his security and body guards, and he and I and President Harding had a 5 min conversation, just us. Alone, without Sis Hixon even. He really liked me. And loved my happy attitude despite my broken bone. It was soooo cool! How often does a general authority become your bff? Fall here is ok. Days are hot and nights are freezing and wet. Early in the morning, you can see your breath. The leaves are turning vibrant reds and oranges and area starting to fall. So sad, I don’t like the cold. All the youth here are getting their calls to Brazil and other exotic places, while an Elder Straub got called to Provo! Look for him and try to feed him. I’m so glad you’re getting better, I was really worried. I love you and can’t wait to see you in 16 looooong months! I love you and miss you like peanut butter loves its jelly! (Hello sister Echols, this is Sister Hixon, I just wanted to send a real quick THANK YOU for the goodies you included in sister Echols package for me. I especially love the envelope of quotes! That was very nice of you! anyway, I just love your daughter so much and love being her companion. and I'm trying to take care of her and her arm. I'm making her sleep! thanks again! -Sister Hixon) Elder Laws, Courtney, Sister Hixon, Sister Echols Fall Leaves Hair I did by myself: Brooke would be proud of me
Monday, October 14, 2013
I broke my arm so there probably won’t be a letter this week and a super short email. I crashed my bike off a bridge and I’m going to see an orthopedic surgeon in 2 weeks. (Shannon (RS President) will keep you updated). A cop pulled over when we were talking to an investigator at the lake late at night. I had just broken my arm and I was holding it funny and the cop thought he had attacked us. Poor guy, I don’t blame him if he never wants to talk us missionaries again. It was sad, but kind exciting.I love you more than the sands of the sea.
This week was amazing. I didn't get transferred, so I'm still here in Brevard. We got a referral about a month ago from a woman who had been inactive and she ended up having a baby with a guy named Diego. She's active now and wants to introduce him to the gospel. We met him for the first time this week and he's really ready for the gospel. He told us that he will do what it takes and make the changes necessary to find out the truth. Also, we committed Bonnie for baptism!! I thought my heart was going to explode from fear because I was the one to extend the commitment. She said yes and it was amazing!!! She came to church on Sunday! We got a call from our district leader this morning... his first question was, "are you both alive and well?" It was kind of weird. A member in his ward had told him that a missionary had just been killed and he thought it was us. As it turns out, it was a missionary serving in California from our area. It it kind of crazy having people think you're dead. I fasted this week! For the first time in who knows how long. I was practically shaking apart when we were able to eat. Have you ever been rushed by a pig? Talk about intimidating. I wish we got pictures... I thought it was going to nuzzel me with its nose! Also! We went to a gourmet restaurant on top of a mountain. the chef is a friend of ours and he invited us to eat there free! He even came out and introduced us to the band and VIP's who were there. It was really cool! I had to take a stress-test this week for part of my training. There are four stages Green(good), yellow(ok), orange(get help now), and red(you're probably going to die soon). I was yellow! Yay! I'm doing better than I thought! I accidently killed a frog this week. It was under the tire and I didn't warn sister Eckman when she was backing out. oops. I hope it had repented. People here consider me to be a blonde. Like, literally. They think my hair is yellowish and not brown. Some people. Anywho...we went and volunteered at an alzheimers unit yesterday. It was funny and great. People here don't refer to us as the sister missionaries. They call us the sisters Echk. Haha! Missions are stressful! It makes normal life look like a walk in the park. I don't know if I've told you this, but southerners love pudding! They eat it with practically every meal. I think I'm going to be sick of pudding by the time I leave. :) How's yuins doin'? I love you more than all the toothless people there are in the south. Woop woop! I don't think we're doing anything fun today. I hope we just get to stay home and write letters. We went bowling last week with some of the elders, and one of them was going home Wednesday... lucky guy. I love you mom, more than you possibly know. You and Dad have made me into the person I am. Seriously, the best part of the week is P-day when I get to hear from everyone. Sister Eckman says that fades, but I don't think it will. I will always think P-day is the best because I get to hear from the people that mean the most to me. I love you!
Monday, October 7, 2013
I guess I'm getting Alzheimer’s a lot quicker than I thought. I think my memory is actually getting worse, because I can't even remember what our house looks like, or my clock. I also can't remember anything here, I'm totally lost all the time, and can't even remember how old I am. I'm sure there's a lot more I can't remember, but I probably can't remember what they are right now. I'll keep sending letters in the mail because I like writing more than typing. My fingers feel super awkward typing. So it sounds like Brooke is doing well, I'm glad she's doing great and loving her mission. Maybe I'll get transferred to Tennessee. She had a dream about me? Awwww, cute. I don't dream. I guess I'm just too tired for my brain to keep me entertained. That's how I feel too, there's no entertainment here... it’s just missionary work then missionary work then missionary work then some more missionary work. The only time I truly have fun is on p-days, I have to wait 6 loooooooooooooooong days for p-day to come. And even sometimes on p-days, my companion wants to go shopping, which is NOT fun. I also have fun at the Clarke's. They make me feel like I'm at home and I can finally relax when I'm around them. They're fun to be around and I feel like they actually care about me. I didn't get transferred... no one did in our district, we're all still here (except for sister Eley, she's headed to Taiwan tomorrow, and elder Holden, he's going home), thank goodness, because I LOVE our district. I feel like I've become super good friends with most of the people. I love you Mom, and I can't wait to come home in 17 months!!! I'm counting down!
This week has been so weird! Every week, we work at a place that feeds homeless people. When a certain guy walked in, two men ran over to Sister Eckman and me and just stood in front of us. We had no idea what was going on because you never leave your station. We were later told that that guy was a raper and that everyone in the building was looking out for us. It was intense. General Conference was so good! Also, we found a family of 7 to teach! We were walking around when the school bus showed up and 3 kids got off. They started talking to us and we told them that we teach people about Jesus. They then went home. Later, we were walking down the street and their mom pulled up. The kids told her about us and the little 7 year old boy yelled, "I really wish I could learn about Jesus!" His mom told him to go get us. The kids ran over and we taught their family. It was pretty cool. They have so many snakes here... mostly rattle snakes. I thought those were a western thing. Haha, I kicked a dog this week because it was violent. It then turned into a pansy. We met a guy who asked us if we were allowed to watch football. We told him that as missionaries, we don't do it while on missions. He was like, "What?!?! Jesus watches football after church on Sundays! I'm sure of it!" That was the quote of the week. Something's going on at our apartment because we keep getting cop patrols. People here call cops "polos." and they always say, "he was fixin'." I'm not sure what that means. Wow, being a missionary is expensive. I have to even pay to use this computer. Yikes. I'm going to go broke before I get back. We got the transfer call this weekend... I'm staying in Brevard with Sister Eckman for at least another 6 weeks. I feel like I've met everybody here already. We go to the store and I recognize most of the people there. It is such a small town. We had zone conference last week and I was asked to speak. I spoke on Patience (I know, right?) and everyone said I did a good job. Questionable. Blech, the smell of alcohol and cigarettes is nasty. I really don't like it. Hahaha! Erin is losing weight and I've gained 2 pounds. (I’m just going to claim that it's all muscle.) How weird! I am officially a cross country runner. We run at least 2 miles every day. It doesn't mean that I necessarily like it, but I could run 2 miles if I ever had to. Also, my arms are pretty buff from living in the country... we do a ton of service. Last night, I had a dream that Joseph Smith invited us over for dinner!!! I wish it was real. Wow, I really like seeing pictures from people. I feel so out of the loop as a missionary. Someone asked us if we lived under a rock because we hadn't heard about the tropical storm that came in today. Practically. I heard a normal song the other day (it wasn't country) and it was 'I knew you were trouble' by Taylor swift! We have been meeting with a less-active named Jeremiah since I've been here and he watched a session of Conference and received an answer to one of his questions! Yaya! I love you all more than the number of crazy people there are in the south! Dad: I saw a cherry red triumph spitfire convertible this week and I thought it was you at first. But then I realized that the car wasn't done yet.
Sunday, October 6, 2013
September 14, 2013 Hola familia! How’s everything going? Good? I’m glad! Let me just say….Missions are HARD! I know it’s worth it though. I feel like there’s something important going on on September 21st…hmmm. Let me think…. Psych! I know what’s on September 21st! Happy Happy birthday, from all of us to you… Guess what? I taught a woman in Spanish!! There was a Mexican woman living on the Indian reservation in Cherokee, which is about 2 hours away from me, and the sisters there didn’t know how to teach her. So they called me up and told me that’s where I was headed for an exchange. I spent 3 days there. I saw a possum! They actually look like they do in the movies. I went hiking in Pisgah National Forest & got stung/bit by something on my leg- talk about annoying. Sorry a lot of this is the same as my emails. They have so many crows here- it sounds super creepy…especially because it’s always foggy. We actually woke up one morning to no fog-unusual! I ate frog legs! They are pretty gross, but at least I tried them. I also tried sushi & Chinese jell-0. I didn’t like either of them. A sister missionary died on Sept 14. Her name was Sister Casper (She was a Senior Missionary in this mission). She just died from heart failure & her husband (Elder Casper) and her grandson (Elder Casper) are distraught. They both went home early. Her grandson (Elder Casper) went home 2 weeks early from his normal departure date. He was actually with her when she died. Poor guy. We have a member here who goes to the college and a bunch of his friends have had questions, so we met with all of them and gave away 10 copies of the Book of Mormon. It was cool teaching a crowd of people instead of just a couple of individuals. We went and saw some waterfalls with 6 Elders. One of them asked if I could cut hair. I wasn’t sure that was allowed, so we texted Sister Irion and she said that President Irion had said it was ok as long as we weren’t in each other’s apartment. Huh. I wouldn’t have thought that was acceptable. Oh, well. His haircut turned out nice. I’ve noticed that EVERYONE has riding lawn mowers here even though all the lawns are tiny. Some people. I really wish I had more time to write. I would just blame my sloppy handwriting on the rush, but it’s just me. I miss music! (Normal music) Church music is good, but I need something that pumps me up. Tell Dr. Peacock that I haven’t missed a day of flossing! He owes me Olive Garden when I get back. I miss dry air. I never completely dry off when I get out of the shower. A lady asked Sister Eckman if I was her daughter! I don’t look that young! Also, we had an 87 year old lady teach us the law of Chastity! She thought we were harlots or something. It was awkward, but funny. I’m in the Hunger Games! It’s really neat to see scenes they used in the Movie. I’m sooo sad I’m missing Catching Fire! Also, I heard that they’re making Pirates 5! It’s called Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men tell no Tale. Ahhh!!! I got a letter from my friend Elder Kunz from my district in the MTC. He’s in Canada. I have been here for ½ a transfer! That’s something to celebrate! I’m so excited for the leaves to start changing color because there are so many trees here! How is everyone? Sorry my letters are so random and kind of all over the place- that’s just how my brain works. Missionary work is such hard work that I’m hungry all the time! I can even out-eat some of our elders. We went out to lunch as a district and I shocked them all! On P-days, when I read your emails, I soak all that information in like an Oreo soaks in milk. I really wish I could regularly write/email Erin. I have so many questions like “what is her area like? What’s her companion like?” All kinds of stuff! I have such a nice tan line on my feet from my shoes- it’s awesome! Its official…I’m sick of country music. It’s all they play in stores and such. Oh well. Also, people here are OBSESSED with Elvis Presley. Go figure. We went BMX biking with our Elders and Elder Flynn (red Hair) biffed it big time. He bit his lip and his face/lip were all messed up. 6 stiches! Poor guy. I am so allergic to cats I think. If I go near one. I start sneezing and my eyes itch. Hopefully I’ll outgrow it while I’m here. Also I’m sick of cigarette smoke- it used to remind me of Disneyland, but now it’s just gross. They have a plant here that was imported from Japan. They brought it over here to help stop erosion, but it’s taken over everything. It looks like Ivy, but it covers entire sections of forest. It’s really neat looking, but it kills trees. It’s because it grows better here than in Japan. The roads here are so windy and up/down that I’m always carsick. I never was in Utah. Hopefully I’ll get used to it. That’s what missions are for! I love you more than all the cobwebs on earth! Life is good living the gospel life! Love Sister Echols (the Brooke one) September 30, 2013 I had more to write you! I read my patriarchal blessing all the time and I still learn new things every time. Everyone here gave me a nickname. It’s “Little Bit” because there’s only a little bit of me. I’m so sick of fried foods! That’s all southerners eat. People always tell me that I have a weird accent. Utahn and proud. I met a lady who lives in Atlanta and I told her to keep an eye out for a certain Sister Echols there. Our recent convert, Melinda made us handmade scarves. She stayed up all night making them. Awww. We were teaching an investigator who’s been being taught for months. She confessed to us that she’s not living the law of Chastity. But, still loves her family- We had no idea what to do or say. It was a titch awkward. (people always say ‘titch’) We keep being told about something called F.E.M.A. I guess something bad is going to happen around October 1st because they’ve been shipping in emergency supplies to NC for a while. They say it could be a government failure, terrorist attack, earth quake (natural disaster), rebellion or anything really. But people here are freaking out and bunkering down for it. People are going crazy…. Like in ‘World War Z’: At least the Lord will protect me if He doesn’t have other plans for me elsewhere. Wow…I’m sick of church clothes. P-day is the best because I don’t have to wear them all day. One of the hardest things about being a missionary is not being able to relieve stress in normal ways like 1. Watching a movie 2. Taking a nap or Listening to my favorite music. I haven’t been able to find a missionary-appropriate stress reliever yet but hopefully I will soon. I wish everyday was P-day. I know that’s a horrible attitude for a missionary to have, but it’s true. I really do say that writing you is the highlight of my week. I’m so tan! I have tan lines and everything! Transfers are in a week and a half. I don’t think I’ll be transferred for another 3 transfers-that’s the pattern here. People here worry about Sister Eckman and I. They tell us to stay away from certain parts of Brevard and Transylvania County, tell us not to travel after dark, and never leave populated areas. It’s kind of weird but nice of the. Where we live smells like rotting flesh because there was a squirrel squished by a car outside of our building. It’s nasty. We met a guy who pretty much worships snakes. His religion messes around with deadly snakes for their religion and he’s even been bitten and has had friends die because of it. But he thinks his is the only true church. Weird. We are having a General Authority come speak to us on Oct. 20! His name is Elder Coorbridge I think. I’m so excited for General Conference! I saw the Relief Society Broadcast and I saw Jessica Kirkby singing in the choir! I had to give a 15 minute training to the Elders in my district about studying the scriptures. I don’t feel spiritual enough to be a missionary sometimes. I feel like I’m left behind in the dust a lot of the time. I think my companion is supers sick of hearing stores about Erin and me and also about the rest of the family. Oh, well. She better get used to it because I have a lot more where that came from. Brevard is great but I don’t think I could ever live in such a small town. They don’t even have a Wal-Mart. But they do have a Wendy’s. So it’s not completely primitive. WOW! Time for a haircut…my hair is back down to where it was before we took off a few inches. And it’s still huge from the humidity. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get used to it. Well, I look forward to your emails and such and I look forward to hearing anything and everything you have to tell me. I can’t wait to have more crazy experiences so I can tell you all about it. Don’t forget about me while I’m gone! How’s the West? How often does Erin send letters…every week? The hearts represent things I love…(Aren’t I creative?) (These leaves are from the Hunger Games (even district12!) Enjoy them! Love Sister Echols (the Brooke one)