Monday, February 10, 2014

Many are cold but few are frozen

Hello Family and Friends!
Oh my goodness, where do I even begin to tell you everything! The good thing is that we get two hours each week to email instead of one like I thought! I love being in the mission field. These past few days have been kinda crazy because I am still adjusting and I am just trying to soak everything up and learn everything! But anyways, I guess I better get started telling you everything!

So we left the MTC on Tuesday morning super early. It was harder than I thought. I became so close to my District and my Zone. But I knew that as much as I would miss them, there were far better things ahead! The bus ride was FOREVER long because it was snowing and so freezing, but I enjoyed talking to all the other missionaries and sleeping (hehe). So we arrived at the Mission Home about 1 and we met everyone including the Senior couples and the APs. Everyone is so awesome! President and Sister Curtis are wonderful. The APs we have are awesome as well. Elder Barhens is a carbon copy of Jeff Lang and actually he knows him which is the weirdest part! Haha. And Elder Cook is 6^11!!! He is a giant. Elder Saalman is from Germany and he has the coolest accent and is so funny. They are all so helpful and always checking up on us which is so nice. So we had lunch all together as new missionaries and we had meetings and talked all about the mission. Then we did some more role plays. I am telling you I can't escape them. Then that night, we headed over to President and Sister Curtis house for a nice homemade dinner! There were only 9 of us new missionaries so it was nice to get to know everyone. After dinner we had a testimony meeting with everyone and it was amazing! The Sisters stayed at the Presidents house that night and they had the most amazing beds!!

So that was day one. Day 2 we had our transfer meeting! It was so crazy and overwhelming because there were so many people and I didn't know anyone! So that is where we got assigned our Trainers and our areas! My Trainer/Companion is AWESOME! Her name is Sister Ramsey is she is super cute and fun. We are definitely way more alike than my last companion. She is from Tampa Florida. Everyone that we have met calls us Sister California and Sister Florida and everyone makes comments about "Oh you must be having fun in cold Idaho." It's getting kinda old haha. But she is awesome. We laugh all the time and we get along great, and have similar past experiences and a lot in common. Anyways, so my first area is Twin Falls! I definitely was not expecting that. But I love it so far! I just have to tell you about our first day in the field because it is hilarious.

So Sister Curtis drove us and all of our luggage to our apartment. We got totally lost getting there and it took like an hour to find it. So we drive up to our new apartment and Sister Ramsey and I just looked at each other and were both thinking, Holy Cow this is so ghetto. Haha. It is this little tiny complex that is super old and really gross. And it smells like death outside our apartment all the time. So we asked Sister Curtis what that smell was and she said oh there is a pig/slaughter farm right up the road. So gross!!!! So we walk into our apartment and it smells like smoke.It isn't bad inside though. It is really big and pretty nice for being so old. All of our neighbors are nice, but they all smoke, so we definitely plan to teach all of them the Gospel:) We just got dropped off, we had no bikes, no food, no area book, no phone numbers. We were basically stranded. So we are opening up this new area. Because the mission is still so young, this is a brand new area, they call it whitewashing. So we had no clue what to do. We didn't even have a map and we both didn't know where anything was. So we decided to walk like 4 miles to the nearest gas station to try and find a map. It was so cold!!!! My face was frozen and I couldn't feel it for the rest of the day. So we get to the gas station and they don't have any maps! But we run into this totally drunk guy who is making no sense and I was totally freaking out. This is my first day as a missionary and nothing is going right! But we just had to laugh it off. So we had no idea what to do. So then our Ward Mission Leader called us which was an answer to our prayers! He has set up a correlation meeting that night because he knew we knew nothing. He is awesome and so involved! So we went to that and learned all about the area and all the investigators/Less actives.

That first night was kinda rough. We still hadn't unpacked, we had no food or anything and my bed was sooooo hard I could not sleep. But I learned you just gotta laugh about things:) Because missions are weird and really funny and uncomfortable, but I am learning! So the next day we needed to get groceries and stuff, so a sweet Sister and new convert from the ward drove us. Then we had to figure out the bike situation and nobody seemed to be very helpful. They were like oh, all our bikes are in the shop, and so I said that I could buy my own and they kinda brushed it off. I was like, what the heck?? Our area is huge and we have no way to get around! So we went back to our apartment, and finally got a ward directory and started making some calls. A few hours later there was a knock on the door and it was the APs and the transportation coordinator, and we thought they were bringing bikes, but guess what?? They brought us a car!!!! We were so happy because it is so cold and our area is huge! I am so grateful for that car:)
So finally we could do stuff! That first day we just made visits to members and less actives which was fun! Friday we had District meeting and I love them! We went out to lunch after and the pizza place fed all the missionaries for free which is awesome! Then there was a huge blizzard. As we were driving home from the restaurant, there were tons of cars just sliding off the road, so we pulled over and helped push a ton of peoples cars back onto the road. We made it home safe, but the mission President called us and told us not to go out and work, to stay inside because it was too dangerous. So we stayed in our warm apartment and unpacked, organized, and studied.

Mom, I am going to finish emailing in a little bit. I am out of time at the library, but I get another hour at the Family History Center in a little bit, so I am not done telling you everything, I still have so much more to say so stay tuned for the second part of my email in about an hour or 2. I love you!

After we got snowed in, we had dinner at a members house and made a few visits. So basically I am just adjusting to this new life filled with studying, teaching, and visiting. Church yesterday was awesome! The ward is so involved in missionary work and is so willing to help us out in any way that they can. Everyone seemed happy to have Sisters that's for sure! It was fast and testimony meeting yesterday so Bishop made us bear our testimonies, but it was a good experience and I better get used to it! 

We are teaching so many people right now and I am loving it! We are teaching a part member family, the Hunters. The wife really wants to get baptized but she won't go to church because she has social anxiety so we are trying to get her to take that step. Her name is Nancy and she is awesome. We are teaching a guy named Renee and he has such a strong testimony. He wants to get baptized, but has to marry his baby mama that he lives with first so we are trying to make that happen. We are teaching a few kids actually who's parents are inactive but want their kids to be baptized. There are a lot of part member families as well. There are soooo many less actives in the ward, it is crazy! So we make a lot of visits to those people. We have so much work to do here! I don't know much and not a lot has happened so far with the people we are teaching, but I am sure as I am here longer I will be able to share more details. I really enjoy meeting the people here and making visits to less actives. Everyone seems to think that us Sisters are better than the Elders:) 

Being a missionary is nothing like I ever expected. But I love it so much! I am still adjusting so at times it is really hard. I am tired like all the time and our days are long, but they are filled with good things. I love having study time in the mornings. I am reading the Book of Mormon over again so that I can gain a stronger testimony. This is the first time I am really reading it and paying attention and learning so much it is amazing! My goal is to be done by June so hold me to that! Sister Ramsey and I have so much fun together. We do Yoga in the mornings and she is teaching me! We can't go running because we live right next to a busy Highway and it isn't safe. Plus it is too cold in the mornings. Funny Story: So last night for some reason, the alarm clock we have out in the kitchen went off at midnight. So I got up to turn it off and I come back into the room and Sister Ramsey is praying out loud like it is the morning already. I was like, "Hey Sister Ramsey, it's only midnight." and she was so confused and she just kept praying and I was dying laughing. I tease her a lot about that:) Anyways, we belt out Jenny Phillips in the car and we have lots of fun and joke around a lot. Sister Ramsey is a great teacher and is so good with people I am learning a lot from her. But I love that we make this fun. :)

Our apartment is starting to feel like home finally! We bought a lot of candles to cover up the stink and we decorated with pictures and Christmas lights! They have one washer and dryer for the whole apartment complex and they are really gross so we do laundry at the Bishops house. I am telling you the members are great here. I love love love the people here in Idaho. What Idaho lacks in warm weather, they make up for in warm people:) There are so many people that we teach and visit that live in these tiny little houses that are falling apart. It has really made me appreciate so much all the nice things that we have and the nice big house we live in. People here are so open to learning about the Gospel. Pretty much all the non members and the less actives smoke, so we come home every night smelling like it. But that's okay! The people here are different, but I am learning to love it. 

I can't tell you how amazing it is to be here. I am already seeing the reasons why the Lord sent me here. It has been hard. At times, I feel inadequate and like I can't do this. Sometimes, I am so tired I don't even think I can go on, but I have learned to rely on my Heavenly Father and I see His hand in my life every second of every day. Because my testimony has grown so much, I love sharing the Gospel. What other time in my life will I have to only focus on the Gospel 24 hours a day? That would be never. I love to serve and listen to people. I am so happy that I made the decision to come here. I think about what my life would be like if I didn't. I have changed so much for the better. The Atonement is real, and it gets me through each day. Being a representative of Jesus Christ is amazing, and I love that I get the opportunity to bear testimony of Him each day. I love it here and can't wait to do more of God's work. I love you all so much! Keep the mail coming, because I love hearing from all of you and about your lives. If I left anything out that you want to know, just ask. It has been a crazy week but I couldn't be more excited to keep learning and growing and teaching. Your Father in Heaven loves you so much and he wants you to be happy! Have a great week. XOXO

Love, Sister Bigelow

P.S. Mission Motto: Many are cold, but few are frozen. Hehe

Jokes from Sister Ramsey: "Are you the sword of Laban? Because you are exceedingly fine!" 

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