The other cool part, though, is that we are the first sisters in the area in a couple of years. There are some things about "pink-washing" that are really dang fun. The Elders that were leaving weren't told that sisters were coming, and so no one in the ward knew. We keep getting texts that say "Hey, Elders, welcome to the ward!" And then we get to reply and tell them that we are sisters. And then we get texts back with no small amounts of exclamation points and promises to sign up on the dinner calendar. It's awesome. It's not only with members, though, we'll be looking through our area book and just see a bunch of formers that say something like "dropped us because they liked the sisters better" or "needs sisters." Those people are at the top of our list.
A little bit about my companion, since I know mom and dad will want to know. First of all, she has a "NEO" board where I can type out experiences and then just plug them into the computer and email them. Basically, it's like we are iPad missionaries and emailing becomes way way less stressful. It's what I'm using right now. So, that's helpful and legit. Sister Anderson is about 9 months into her mission. She has served in way different parts of the mission than me, and so I didn't really know her. But, she was companions with Sister Bell too! Basically she's hilarious, and we were instant friends. I'm so pumped to work hard and build up the Lord's Kingdom in this area together. It's kinda nice to be with someone who has been out a while and we are both pretty used to being missionaries. There's nothing holding either of us back from just working really hard.
Here are some reasons why I know that we both need to be here with this companion in Duvall.
1) We were looking through our area book and writing down people who were sticking out to us that we thought we should visit on our first day here. Basically trying really hard to get our feet underneath us due to the lack of information that we had due to white washing in. We wrote down about 10 people. Then, on Saturday, we were at a pancake breakfast that the stake presidency was putting on for all of the missionaries. One of the counselors was talking about working with the youth, and he was talking about a girl that had almost gotten baptized. We recognized that it was one of the girls from the area book that we had written down. So of course we talk to him afterwards, and find out that she is going to the same college, playing softball where Sister Anderson's sister is currently playing softball. Connection. Then he tells us that she is really good friends with his daughter. And then he tells us that his family lives on a farm. His daughter rides horses! Connection. There are a lot more details involved in the situation that are proof that we are meant to meet this girl. God's hand is so obviously involved in His work.
2) Being a sister training leader is weird. And scary. Sister Anderson and I are both completely new at it, and so it's definitely an adventure. We have to account (call our sisters on the phone) every other night. At first it was pretty awkward, because we hadn't even met half of them face to face. (We are over 3 brand new sister missionaries and their trainers). We're learning as we go. But, we ended up having to do an emergency 2 hour exchange with one companionship. It was really interesting to see how both of us were able to do and say exactly what we needed to do and say. We've never been trained to be STLs, but it was almost like an instinctive thing. It was one of the strongest times I've felt the spirit working through me on my mission. It was like I knew exactly what I was doing. All of the sudden, I felt confident. The power of God working through His missionaries is pretty cool. I was nervous about being a sister training leader, but I've figured out that it's exactly what God needs me to be doing.
Random observation: Americans and Russians are more different than I had previously thought. You can just be a lot bolder with Russian people, and they won't think it's weird. Why can't you just tell someone to do something and they'll tell you whether or not they will do it? Why is it so hard to just be honest and say "yes" or "no?" Hm.
This is easily the longest email I have sent since the MTC. And, there are 400 more things I could say. I could write a book about this last week. Luckily, I have a journal for that very reason!
I love all of you! I hope that you are having a wonderful summer. Don't overheat. Take it easy. Drink water. Don't forget about me (even if I'm in the middle of nowhere). Don't forget about Jesus either.