Hi! I don't even know where to start! The mission is awesome! I love Ohio! So many awesome things going on here!
Well, first I'll tell you about my companion Sister Burns. She is awesome! She is super pretty (as you may already know mom due to the Facebook stalking). She is an amazing singer and she did all sorts of musical theater stuff in high school and in college. She has already graduated from BYUI in interior design and she's pretty much the best trainer. In fact she's only been on a mission for like three months I believe. Sister Burns is the bomb and we work so well together so that's great :)
My area is the Shaker Heights North area. Its super spread out and has a wide variety of people. Part of our area is as ghetto as it gets in Ohio and then part of the area is filthy rich so we get to teach all sorts of different people. The Ward is awesome. I thought I was in Utah because there were soooo many kids. They were like everywhere. The ward is a combination of young families who are going through medical school and converts from all over Ohio. I'd say about 50% of the ward are converts. That also explains why there are three sets of missionaries in our ward. I came in right after they had like 6 baptisms so we currently have very few investigators. But the Ward is great! The people are so loving and willing to participate in mission work so that is super helpful.
So far we've met with a lot of families from the ward, mostly recent converts and less actives. The first family I met were the Markles. The first night in my district we had dinner at there house. They are truly some of the sweetest most sincere people I've ever met. This family was all recently converted. They've been members a little longer then a year. Brother Markle had taken a little more time in the process but he eventually got baptized and this week he finally got to go to the temple to be sealed to his family. They also both got to speak on Sunday about their experience and it was so neat!
Then I got to meet Connee and she is a hoot! She and her two sons and husband got baptized also around a year ago. Connee's conversion story is truly a miracle. Long story short she was a super stud when it came to reading the Bible so she had the missionaries over to prove them wrong. Eventually she softened her heart and started listening and praying. Her sons and husband also eventually came along. Its funny because her husband and her don't even live in the same house because they used to always fight, but since the missionaries started coming they have gotten along better and have a better spirit in the home. The family is coming back together. They used to be super contentious and they were rarely all in the house at the same time. Lessons were super hard because they were scattered. Sometimes the missionaries would come over and only Connee was home, or only one of the sons. You get what I mean? Maybe? I don't really know how to explain it. Anyways, every since I got here they haven't been fighting and every time we come over the whole family is there. Its truly a miracle. The Gospel helps families so much! AHH its awesome! (Also I'm eating Thanksgiving dinner at their home. It should be interesting because they are all on a strict diet because of health issues. No carbs. Absolutely no carbs. Its gonna be a healthy Thanksgiving that's for sure)
Oh, then there is Sister Brown. Also a recent convert. She's also a hoot. Both her and Connee are bestest friends and they're both "insane, not crazy" as they like to say. Sister Brown is hilarious! She is also a recent convert of about a year.
Oh, and there is another member I met. She's soooooooo cute and I love her to death! She had us over for lunch because she loves the sister missionaries. The funny part is she's less active. Like she's been a member forever but she married a man who wasn't and he just sees no need for church. She's around the age of 27 maybe and has a little boy. He's almost 1 and is literally the cutest thing I've ever seen. Sure wish I could hold him but I'm following mission guidelines. Anyways, a miracle happened. She hadn't been to church in foreverrrrrr. After having lunch with her we helped her baby-proof her house. Afterwards she asked what time church was and then this last Sunday she ended up coming with her husband and her baby. She sat right next to us and through devised plan (we're so sneaky) we made her stay long enough for a member of the Bishopric to give her a calling. She was so excited! They asked her to be the Relief Society activity coordinator which is perfect for her. AH miracles! Hopefully she does it. I think it will help her make friends in the Ward and make her feel like she needs to be there.
Ahhh I have so many things to tell y'all! I'll tell you more about the other families next week. Or maybe in a written letter!
Okay, so the Visitors Center. My companion and I are assigned two days of the week to work the Visitors Center during the winter -- (summer months are different because it is busier). The rest of the week we proselyte, do LOTS of service, and visit members, recent converts, less actives and so forth. We get lots done in one day, its pretty amazing.
We actually live on site too. We live in a building called the Boyton. I can see the Newel K Whitney store out my window. It was some man's house during the 1830's who was a member of the church but then got excommunicated and stuff. (Its kinda a sad story but you should look it up. Unfortunately, I can't remember his first name.) The house is super old and kinda gross but cool cause historyyyyy. Our house currently has 6 sisters living in it but sometimes less and sometimes more. There are sisters called the satellite sisters who come and stay there twice a week. They live in apartments closer to their area so they aren't traveling back and forth so often. They come in the night before they have their shift at the visitors center. Oh, also because the house is old, its pretty drafty. I think today I'm going to go out and buy another blanket.
Hmmm what else should I tell y'all. Oh right, the sites. Okay-- well so far I've given 3 tours which is a pretty big deal during the winter so I've heard. The first day at the sites I didn't get to give a tour but we chatted to people on Mormon.org all day. Yesterday was another site day and it was super busy which was unexpected. I guess Thanksgiving break started yesterday so a bunch of families were coming in. It was way cool. Also kinda frustrating because kids literally want to touch everything. But its all good. I'm learning patience.
Ah its crazy though to me that I get to come to the sites twice a week and be where Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ both were. Wow, I can't even explain. Y'all know about the school of the prophets right? Joseph Smith was told to make this school of the Prophets so that he could teach the brethren whom were going to serve missions. It was basically the first MTC (Missionary Training Center). Anyway, the coolest thing about the place though is that Joseph told them that if they had great enough faith that they would see Heavenly Visions. And guess what? They did! And they saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. In that room. So cool. You can tell when you walk into the room that great things had occurred there. The spirit is so strong there that sometimes we will be giving a tour or I'll be watching a tour and I can't help but tear up. Ah before the mission I swear I really wasn't that much of an emotional person!!!! But wow this place is coo!
I am so beyond grateful that I made the choice to go on a mission. I know that I was meant to serve here in the Cleveland Ohio mission and at the Historic Kirtland Visitors center. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan and a purpose for everything. I know He loves us so much and that through prayer, reading our scriptures, and just by doing our best, that he will guide us and help us reach our full potential! I love witnessing the gospel change peoples lives for the better. I have never been so happy in my life! The church is true people!
Love and miss you family!!!!
- Sister Call