Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy New Year to All!

Jan. 6, 1014

Dear Family!
Happy New Year!!!
....Well...I sat here for a second trying to think of what to write first and the only thing that popped into my head was "Mom, I wish you were here to pluck my eyebrows for me..." Hahaha! (I can pluck them myself, but they don't look as good as when you do them!)
     Well. I'm not going to lie. This week was rough. It had a lot of great moments. But in all it was rough. 
So thank you thank you thank you to those of you who wrote me.
This week has been crazy.
     Tuesday was crazy busy. We had District meeting that morning because the mission president was interviewing all of us. We had a great lesson on Elder Uchtdorf's talk in the Ensign this month called "The best time to grow a tree" and also Elder Causse's talk (You'll need to find it on
lds.org) "We are the architects of our own happiness" You need to read both of them! They are so good and perfect for the New Year! We then wrote letters to ourselves that our district leader Elder P promised to send to us at the end of our missions (We all go home before him...) and then we made a list of 5 goals for the rest of the year. Interviews with President went great! He is amazing and I really enjoyed talking with him. He is so inspired and he always has the spirit with him. 
     We got invited to a bunch of meals and stuff but didn't go to very many. New Year ’s Eve was kind of random actually. We spent our last two hours of proselyting doing service for T at Dragon House. I need to send you a picture of T soon. She is the sweetest and she is really growing a testimony. We're hoping she'll accept baptism soon, but she doesn't want to do it alone. She wants her husband to do it with her if she does, and that would take a bit more time...He's Chinese and he's actually beginning to warm up to us. He's a great guy, but he's so busy in the kitchen all the time. We usually go back there and talk to him and give him chocolate because he is obsessed with it! It's really funny. He never comes out in the dining area unless we are there, and he'll personally bring our food out. T says that's a good sign.  But anyway we spent two hours doing dishes in the kitchen from 7-9:30 New Years Eve. They were super busy, and T was really stressed, so we and one of our fellow shippers named L (She just got off her mission from Canada) were in the back doing dishes for her. 
     Afterward we were so tired we just went home and went to bed at 10:30. On the mission, the bed time doesn't change if it's new year’s...but the wake up time does... we got to sleep in until 7:30 which was absolutely heavenly! We weren't allowed to go proselyting on New Year ’s Day until 2pm, so our district had a new year’s party that morning instead. We had a white elephant gift exchange, drank sparkling cider, and ate those chocolate long stick things that look kind of like cigars...you know? The ones grandma Volmer always had. But we laughed a lot playing cards.  After playing Egyptian Rat Screw our hands were all red from slapping the card deck, and each other’s hands.  We had a count-down to noon because we all didn't get to stay up till midnight. It was funny because Elder R from Chile was trying to read some game ideas and didn't know how to say them in English so Sis A was trying to help him. She read it out loud and was like"...I don't think that's English...it's pronounced Cha-raid-ez..." then I looked at it and started laughing. "Sis A that says charades..." Hahaha it was great! 

 Then it was back to work.  It's Cold!  Here in this picture I'm worshiping our space heater.  My hands were COLD!
    Thursday came around and I had a hard day. I've really been trying to step it up so that I could help Sis A out more, and we set a goals that would help me do that. But it means a lot more of me teaching and starting out lessons, it means a lot of roll playing, and it means a lot of re-evaluating myself over and over again. It means a lot of acknowledging weaknesses and feeling overwhelmed. I'm really struggling to teach by the spirit recently. I feel like Sis A says "Just go by the spirit." and I'll try but my head will go blank.  I've been praying a lot for it. It says in my patriarchal blessing that I am "blessed with the gift of inspiration and even revelation, so that I will know in advance those things that I should do and say".... I’ll keep praying.
     Friday was planning day. Planning sessions usually last 3+ hours and take forever because we are planning lessons for every single person we teach that next week and we also have companionship inventory.  We love it because we get to think about the members but it's a lot of paperwork. When we finally said the closing prayer, Sis A said "Dear Heavenly Father... thank you so much that planning is finally over..." and then she couldn't go on because we were both laughing too hard. 

                                                                                                           Green smoothies in A.M. - YUM!
     But later Friday night and Saturday were just hard days...Not because of me specifically, but because of the people. I love the people here so much. I love them, I really do. As a representative of Jesus Christ I get to feel how the Savior loves them, and that sometimes is very painful, overwhelming, and sad.  I have seriously taken my life for granted. I've been raised in a glass box where my world has been perfect. My whole family is active. My extended family is active. We all follow the commandments, we are blessed, we are happy. We have trials, but we have each other and we overcome them and stay strong.
      I seriously plop face down on my bed every night and think "how on earth can I help these people??" I feel so inadequate. I have no idea what they're going through. I've lived my entire life in this imaginary fantasy thinking nothing could touch me and nothing can hurt me or the people I love. But being out here...I've seen how quickly people's lives can shatter and it hurts.  It hurts me so bad because I love them and I want to do everything for them. I've never understood what it's like to be    like them.  I felt so selfish, and spoiled.. I thought of times that I  had thought my life was so hard or stressful or just terrible. Which it isn't.  It never has been. I wish I knew how to help them more. I want to so bad. I wish I could put into words how much I wish I could give them all what I've had. I wish they just knew how God can help them.
     When we had President interviews this week president told us a story about a girl who had been to Brazil and then moved to Provo because of health issues. When he asked her what she thought she said "Brazil is physically very hard. The weather is crazy, there are bugs, and a whole new culture. But Provo is really hard emotionally and spiritually. The people here are harder to teach, help, figure out, soften, everything."  
    We work so hard. Anyone who said Provo was an easy mission had no clue.
But I love this.  All of it.  I love my mission.  And it's hard.  I work my fanny off.  But my mission means everything to me. I know that the Lord lives and loves us. He wants to heal us so badly. He wants us to be happy. He wants us back again someday. I know through Him and my Savior, all things are possible. I'm ready for a new year, and I have a feeling that this next year is going to be one of the most influential years I ever experience. I love this gospel.
  I miss you all like crazy. Hope your week of going back to life after the holidays has been a smooth and good one. The gospel is true. I love you!
Love Always,
                                                                                                        Favorite food - microwavable!

Sister Lenise Diane             Volmer                                                                 

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