My Dearest Family,
My first week here in AK has been amazing. It's been a long week, but we've done a lot of work so far. Time is such a weird thing. I never know what day it is, even though I look at my planner about a million times a day. Days go by so slowly, yet I have no clue where the last week has gone. Weird, huh? Anyway, last Monday was just a lot of travel. We woke up at 4am to get packed and to the airport by 7am. We had some time to kill and were allowed to call our parents. I must say, it was wonderfully painful to talk to you mom and dad. I loved hearing your voices and telling you all about the MTC and how I was feeling, but it was so hard knowing that I couldn't hear them again until Christmas. Anyway, the flight to Anchorage is 5 hours long. I spent most of the time trying to sleep and catching up on my journal writing (I'm trying to be so good, mom! I may have slacked a little at the MTC...don't judge me). When we got to Anchorage we were greeted by President and Sister Beesley and the APs. We took some pictures and headed off to the mission home. I placed a BoM with a really sweet girl in the AK airport. Sister Beesley was really impressed. :)
We had dinner in the mission home and just spent some time getting to know everyone at the mission office. Then, we went tracting around where the mission home is. It was quite an interesting experience. It isn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be, but the first door is scary as heck. Plus, you never know what/who is behind the door. Everyone in AK has HUGE dogs that love to bark. Haha it's a neat experience. That night we found out where we were headed and met our trainers. The next day we just did a bunch of training and got ready to head out to Fairbanks. Sis Gardner and the 2 other sisters up here don't like to/can't drive, so I get to be the designated driver. Haha! We spent all of Wednesday driving up to Fairbanks (about a 7.5 hour drive north).
Fairbanks is BEAUTIFUL! There are so many trees and wildflowers everywhere. I think any picture you take here could be on a post-card. We are serving in the YSA branch here which is a really weird experience. I just came from a YSA ward, so it's hard to find the balance between friend/peer and missionary. We are working really hard and have a LOT of less-active members we are trying to teach. We are white-washing the area which means that we are both brand new missionaries to the area, so basically we are starting from scratch. We also are the first sisters to serve in the YSA branch in the last 10 years! President must really trust us. :)
We are teaching a girl named Miranda. She is INCREDIBLE. She is the best investigator that we could hope for. She is ready to make changes in her life and really wants to work hard to find the answers to her prayers. We taught her the first lesson on Saturday, she came to church on Sunday, and we are teaching her the second lesson tomorrow. Needless to say, we are so excited. It's a great way to start the mission.
The ward is great here. There are about 8 or 9 members who are interested in serving a mission, so Sis Gardner and I are probably going to start teaching a mission prep class. We're also going to have them come out and teach with us. I am very excited to see how many of them actually serve. They would all be great. I really feel like, even though it's super hard work (and not in the way you would expect, much more emotional), this is where the Lord needs me to be. I know that I can do amazing things here in FBX and am excited to be here for as long as I am needed.
Technically, since we are serving in the YSA branch, we cover the entire zone which goes from (now is the time to pull out your map, folks!) North Pole all the way up to the very tip of AK which is Barrow. Thankfully, we have a really nice SUV (Jeep Compass, silver, brand new!) that has 4-wheel drive. There are a lot of back roads here and we end up on a lot of adventures. The weather has been pretty crappy these last 5 days. Mostly cold rain. Generally, FBX is the warmest city in AK in the summer (up to 80 or 90) and the coldest in the winter (about -40 or -50) and the snow starts to fall in October. Don't worry though, Sis Beesley gave us some really nice warm coats.
I am very happy here and am striving to do my very best and to give everything I have to the Lord. He needs me more than my family or friends do, so I am trying to be diligent and obedient in everything He asks me to do. I am really learning how to rely on the Spirit always, and it makes a huge difference. My teaching is going really well, but there is always room for improvement.
I hope you all are happy and doing well. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers and feel free to send me a letter or two. Read your scriptures and say a KNEELING prayer twice a day. You will be amazed by the happiness that comes from talking with Heavenly Father. I love you all!
P.S. My address is 3250 Strawberry Rd Anchorage, AK 99502
P.P.S. Pictures are coming soon! :)