In my last email I neglected to say much about my beautiful companion, so I'll start by answering some questions that I was asked about her. Sister Allyson Ririe grew up in eastern Washington on an asparagus farm which is now an alfalfa farm. She's the last of six kids and we celebrated her 21st birthday my first Sunday in the field. She's great and seriously loves all of the people here so much. She went to BYUI before her mission and is going to be an elementary school teacher but really wants to be a white girl rapper. She's in the Mormon Message "Teaching the Gospel in the Saviors Way." She's the girl who looks like she's wiping a tear from her eye like halfway through. And that is Sister Ririe in a nutshell. :)
Tons of people also have asked me if I've been okay with how cold it is up here. Surprise! Utah is like a bajillion times colder than Philadelphia right now. But that won't last for long. We had a conference call with the entire mission this week and the man speaking said "Get ready for the cold. Especially in downtown Philly." Jokes on me because that's my area.
I feel like in my last email I didn't do downtown Philly justice. It's awesome and so ghetto. The stores have been one of my favorite parts. Two of the best stores that I've seen are, I kid you not, Live Poultry and Human Hair. That is what they're called. I can only assume that that is what they sell. Hahahahah one of the elders was in the bathroom of an investigator's house and a rat ran from out of the bathroom mirror into the garbage can. Hahahahahahah it's so wonderful! I really do love it. Like I said, it's very humbling to see these people who are in hard situations give everything they have to serving Christ. And luckily only the elders live in Downtown Philly. We live in Havertown which is more upper middle class. So no worries.
It's so incredible to see all of the miracles that Heavenly Father provides. First, we were talking with Grandma Boyoue and found out that she doesn't have a coat because she made sure all the kids in her house (not all of them are hers) had one and she can't afford another one. We came home and cleaned out a closet where missionaries have left just random things and we found a coat! Sister Boyoue was so happy! My second story was super awkward for us. So onFriday all of our appointments fell through. And our back ups fell through. Since we had a while before our next scheduled thing we decided to go try the door of a new investigator our ZLs transferred to us. We were knocking, no answer. But one of the sets of Elders in our Ward showed up saying that they had an appointment at that house. Super awkward for us because it was their area. But no one was home. We decided to try the door of a less active single sister before we went back to our area. No answer. We pulled over to tell the elders that we were really leaving their area and they said that they also had an appointment with the house we knocked. WE WENT TO THE SAME HOUSE AS THE ELDERS TWICE IN A ROW. That doesn't happen. We felt bad and told them to go talk to an older man we saw on a porch. Later they called us and said our encroaching on their territory wasn't in vain because they never would have thought to talk to this man and it turns out he really needed a message. They set up an appointment!! So cool. Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways but with Him everything does work out.
One really cool thing that I get to do is teach an English class. It's for the Africans who don't know how to read and write. We teach two nights a week and our part is basically helping them know key words. We teach the alphabet and the sounds the letters make and them help them sound out words they'll see on a regular basis. Then another man comes and teaches them about writing. It's again been so humbling for me. Being in this area I've had to completely change how I taught from when I was in the MTC. We so often have to teach so simply and so direct. The language barrier has been tough, but I'm learning every day. And I truly a, learning that I'm not the teacher. There's no way that these people understand all that I'm saying. With the language barrier and how fast I talk it would be impossible without the spirit. I know that these people are learning and I know that it's not me. It's beautiful.
With Thanksgiving coming up this week I hope that everyone takes note of all of the good that Heavenly Father has given us. I've decided that this week to help me notice more of the good Im going to slightly change my prayers. All week I'm just going to give prayers of thanks and asking for blessings for others. I'm not going to focus on what I may want. This week it's all about blessing others and giving thanks and I encourage everyone to do the same. I know that it's going to be a pretty eye opening experience.
I love you all and I love the work!
"Look unto me in every thought. Doubt not, fear not."