So, here is the letter
I'm going to apologize for how scatterbrained this is probably going to be - there's just so much to mention!
The last couple tidbits from the MTC: I was kind of sad to say goodbye to the MTC, I learned so much there and loved it, but I left on a good note. On the last day my investigator Sam agreed to be baptized! He almost didn't but as we were leaving he shook our hands and said "I'll do it" and I was soooooo happy! :) Even though he was a fake investigator I seriously love Sam so much and it was amazing to see him grow. My teacher actually asked me to send him a message about my experience with Sam because no one can usually get through to him but my companion and I did! That means we were doing something right! My teacher wants future missionaries to see that it can be done. We also met with Lead one more time, and that's actually a really cool story, but long, so ask me if you want to hear it. My district and I ended our last night with getting called to the front desk. Long story short, (again, ask me sometime because it's a great story) my entire district ended up outside in our pajamas at 10pm outside the girl's residence hall with a box of brownies. I think it's safe to say that that's not something that usually happens, but we're not your average district. We used that as our goodbye, we sang God Be with You til we Meet Again, said a prayer, and said goodnight. The next morning our Elders actually got up at 3:15 in the morning to see us off!
And now I'm in Pennsylvania!! It's been crazy. First, I love being a missionary. It's honestly the best. I feel so happy all the time. Even when I'm exhausted. Anyway. The first night was spent in the mission home with the president and his wife and we learned all the rules and about the area and the history and everything. And my mission is honestly the best mission on earth. Everyone else's mission and the restoration of the gospel came to pass because of that which happened in my mission, and that's pretty amazing. The president and his wife say hello to George and Ruth and congratulations to their daughter on her sealing as well. :) yes, I'm an iPad missionary. Yes, I have a car. Yes, I'm pretty spoiled. And since I'm sure everyone has a letter that they're dying to send me, here's my new address:
Sister Rachel Petrick
700 Darby Road #201
Havertown, PA. 19803
So my area is called Havertown. It's right on the edge of Philadelphia. I live in a split apartment building. It's no mansion - ;) - but it's really nice. I'll try to send some pictures. It's just the two of us and it's open and cute and decorated. You can totally tell that it's Sisters who live here. Downstairs is Bob. Bob is great. He's made sure that we know that he loves having us upstairs, that he feels safe having us as neighbors, and that both apartments make it a home. He's not a member but he'll come to church and stuff. His older son says that he wants to be a missionary. We give him BOM passages to read and he draws them out for us. We just gave him Ammon. :) We're also going to have him teach us the Restoration soon.
My companion, Sister Ririe, and I actually cover three areas so we're so busy every day. We're serving in the Philly 1st ward with two sets of Elders. There are 700 less active members in the ward so since they can't always have a man present, we spend a lot of time in the Elders' areas teaching the women who they can't teach. Downtown Philly is actually super sketchy. Our church is gated and you need a special key to get inside. It's been a really humbling experience. The majority of the people downtown are African refugees who have multiple families living in one small home. they don't have a lot and it makes me so grateful for all of the blessings that I've always had. A lot of these people can't even read. It's amazing and so inspiring how they strive to know of the Savior. I love these people so much already. I just love the Africans! They refer to everything as "John." Too funny.
I feel like I have so many great stories, but I want to just quickly mention a few fun things. First is my African Grandma. Her name is Sister Boyoue and she's incredible. She comes and teaches lessons with us all the time and always tell us how much she loves us. Next, I have an African name! A woman in the ward says my name is Kwetta, which means "coming to America." I've been able to try different kinds of African food and it's really so good! I quickly learned not to ask what I was eating though. Apparently pig intestines are more common than you'd expect.
One lesson was particularly interesting. We were teaching a 17 year old girl, Diane. She asked me my name and I said "Sister Petrick." She looked up at me and said "Oh. that's weird." So my name's weird I guess. As we were leaving, the Jehovah's Witness missionaries were teaching her mom. So we totally taught a lesson with the JWs downstairs!!
I also already have a baptism! The sisters before me taught Davidson a couple of times before, but last night I got to invite him to be baptized. It was incredible. He was so happy and excited and so was I. This little boy is so ready. We had to plan it for January 14th because his mom needs that much notice to get work off, but it's all going to work out. She's also working toward baptism.
Philly Phun Phacts: I'm not a greenie here. The PPM uses the word Golden instead. Pennsylvania is gorgeous. I got here just in time to finish the fall and the trees are breathtaking. And I'm actually in Delaware County. It's super weird. I don't know. The other day we actually found some Book of Mormon graffiti. Someone tagged a wall with Alma 13. It's so funny. I also saw my first real YMCA. It was exciting.
Being out here is just incredible. I love it all so much. It's made me really appreciate all that I know. It's been cool teaching because we use words and phrases like "The Gospel of Jesus Christ" all the time. I always thought I knew exactly what the gospel was, but being out here has truly taught me. I challenge everyone to think about that this week. Learn about what The Gospel of Jesus Christ really means and apply that to your life. I know it'll be an amazing experience.
I love you all so much!!