Wow it has been quite a while since I have written a good ol' weekly email so it might be a little scrambled and all over the place BUT I'll try my best!! I guess I'll start off with the big news. I'll be transferred to... NOWHERE because our mission president pushed back transfers a week haha. So I guess I'll have 6 more days to stress about where I'll end up :) what a joy! But I am SO grateful I'll get to ring in the new year in Hayes and be with Sister Mekonnen! It's gonna be awesomeeeeeee. I cannot believe that 2015 has come and gone! When I think back on this year I just realise what a whirlwind it has been. Last New Years I had NO idea that I would be in London, let alone on a mission and I am just SO grateful! I wouldn't want to be anywhere else or doing anything else!
So... what has been going on... well, obviously we had CHRISTMAS WOOHOO!
Christmas on a mission is seriously so special. It has been amazing to focus more on the Saviour. There has just been a special spirit surrounding this entire week. I can't believe it's already gone! It was AMAZING to talk to the family on Christmas Day, and although it was hard to be apart from them, I realised how special it is to be around everyone here. And Hayes has done a wonderful job with making the missionaries part of their family. Ahhhhhh I LOVE this time of year!
Singin' with the choir!
Hmmmmmm so what are some exciting stories...
Sister Mekonnen offered to bring Ethiopian food to Christmas dinner for all of us to try (which is the BOMB by the way) and there's a bunch of stuff that you can't just buy at the grocery store. So we embarked on a journey to this little Ethiopian restaurant/grocery store that we have passed a bunch on the bus. It's just in a little random strip of stores, and not gonna lie, kind of a sketchy part of town. But she knew that was the only place she would be able to get some of the ingredients. SO we get there and for some reason she's all nervous to go in haha. She was all like "My Amharic isn't good enough anymore! They'll judge me!" And I was like "Wellllll this is our only chance to get the stuff so let's just do it!" So we make our way into the little restaurant and I'm not kidding I was sooooooo out of place. All eyes were on this random white girl that just walked in. They all just started talking in Amharic to Sister Mekonnen and I'm just sitting there like a llama not knowing what to say or do. We had to wait a minute for the owner to get the ingredients we needed, and as we are sitting Sister Mekonnen is talkin to this guy, and again, I have no idea what's being said. All of a sudden he comes over with some of his food and feeds it to her. Literally holding it in his hands puts it in her mouth. I remembered back to her telling me it's Ethiopian tradition to have the host feed you. So then he goes and gets me some and I was a little apprehensive because I had no idea what this food was and some random dude was just holding it up to my mouth, but I felt like it would be totally rude not to accept, so I just politely ate it. And ok it wasn't disgusting. The flavours were actually very good, but there was definitely some sort of meat that was very questionable. I really don't even want to know what it was haha! But I could not swallow all of it because I could seriously feel the gag coming on, so I just sat there with this chunk of mystery meat in my mouth, and then we got our stuff and left, and I got rid of that meat in my mouth ASAP. Then Sister Mekonnen was like "I don't even know what that was, that's not like anything I eat at home" and I was like "Well, that's comforting..." BUT I am glad to say I survived and did not get ill! Woohooooooo. Then she started telling me that the Ethiopian guys were saying, "I've never seen an Ethiopian hanging out with a white chick... she must be a cool girl" hahahaha I was cracking up! Such an interesting and hilarious experience.
With our pal Alicia
Another weird thing was one day when Sister Mekonnen and I were finding, we stopped this guy and chatted with him a bit and showed him the Christmas video. Afterwards he goes "Wait here for one second" and he runs off. We wait and like a minute later he comes back and says "Take this money!" and he's shoving it at Sister Mekonnen. We told him we couldn't accept it and would he please keep it. Then he say, "I'm a sinner" and gives both of us this super awkward hug and we were just like whatttttt. And then as we are still trying to give him back the the money, he runs away and we are left with this wad of cash. Get this, it was £100! Equivalent to $155... and were like what just happened?? haha! It was so odd. (Shilo mentioned in her Christmas Skype that they called President Stevens to inquire about what they should do with the money, he told them to give it to their Bishop... who then gave it back to them.)
Our BFF Sister Reeder
Today we are having a district pday and it's the first day since I've been on the mish that I get to wear NORMAL CLOTHES. It is such a free feeling. Just thought you would all like to know haha.
Now for a little spiritual upliftment. Since we're about to ring in the new year, I think this quote is fitting about persistence:
"That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do is increased." (Heber J. Grant)
So I challenge you all to stay committed to those New Years resolutions! Set goals that will help you excel, and persist in reaching those goals! Your power WILL increase as you keep on trying and keep on working.
I love you all! I'm sure that 2016 has amazing things in store for each and every one of you!