Oh my heck [Sister Ashbrook says that ALL the time and has me saying it now!] This week was absolutely INSANE, but oh so fun! We left PSG on Tuesday morning and flew to Juneau. We weren't sure if the plane was actually going to leave because we'd gotten so much snow, but it did! The flight was only about 24 minutes, so it wasn't too bad. When we got there the elders picked us up from the airport and treated us to lunch! Isn't that nice? [Actually, it was E. Hartelius' mom who bought us lunch, which is really nice of her!] After that they sent Sister Ashbrook and I out to visit some women in the Juneau area. It was really fun neat to get to know some of the wonderful women that are up there. On Wednesday we had a Zone Pday- which NEVER happens in Juneau Zone because we are all scattered across the islands of the SE. We made a group trip to Costco [which was completely overwhelming since the biggest store I've been in for the last 5.5 months was a small Walmart, which was over 3 months ago!] After Costco we headed over to Booyah Grill for burgers. It was really good food and excellent company. Some of the elders here are just so funnt! They had us in tears we were laughing so hard the entire week. After lunch we decided we were going to "walk to the glacier" [that's what the elders said it was... a walk. HA!] We got there as the sun was starting to set [about 2:30] and trekked through about a foot of snow across a frozen lake. The "walk" was about 3/4 of a mile one way, but in that much snow it felt like 6 each way. Needless to say, Sister Ashbrook and I quickly found out how out of shape we were. Thankfully, the elders are super Christlike and were encouraging us the entire way. On Thursday we had a day full of training which was really nice. The purpose of Zone Conference is to "re-align our compasses" as President says. We learned a lot and did a lot of fun activities. The Zone Leaders did a relay race as part of their trainig and Sister Ashbrook and I had to race and eat Muk Tuk [whale blubber and skin... a native delicacy]. It was AWFUL! I vowed the first day I came to AK that I would never eat it, and I was forced to. The elders were laughing at me the entire time because I was literally gagging it down. The blubber was fine, kinda oily, but the skin was like chewing a tire. Anyways... after all of our training, we had a Christmas Party with a White Elephant gift exchange. I got a tie and a VHS of Free Willy and Sister Ashbrook got a toy dinosaur. Haha! President was giving a training in the other room and had asked me if I would sing for it, so we actually missed most of the gift exchange, hence the gift I received. On Friday morning, we had interviews with President, which are always so incredible. He just makes everything all better again. He brings me back to reality while still helping me stay focused on the work. We talked about some changes that are coming up in my future and I'm excited. I think I'll have some good learning opportunities starting after Christmas. On Friday, we flew from Juneau to Wrangell where we were welcomed with open arms! The branch here is just as big, if not a little smaller than our branch in PSG. Everyone here has been so wonderful and kind. The last time they remember having sister missionaries was about 20 years ago! We are staying with Brother and Sister Buness [who are the parents of a Sister in our ward in PSG] and they are the absolute best. Sister Buness literally just came out and brought us some herbal tea [some kind of yummy christmas flavor. People in AK LOVE herbal tea. We drink it at least twice a week] and some really yummy treats [rice krispie cereal, dates, pecans, brown sugar, butter and cocuonut [my FAVE] rolled into powdered sugar] to enjoy while we email :) We've been staying pretty busy here in Wrangell visiting some investigators and less-active members of the branch. It's been a really fun trip, but we are ready to get back home to PSG and get ready for Christmas.
Welp, things are going good and definately looking up. Sister Buness was just talking to us about missions and we decided that they are just like pulling taffy. You are pulled and stretched in every way imaginable, and let me tell you it is tough work, but it is so very worth it. I love Alaska. I love the people of Alaska. And most importantly I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope you all are having a wonderful week.
Love always, Sister Hatfield