Monday, March 31, 2014

Letter #28 (March 31, 2014)

So this week I made up an object lesson. No big deal. (I was pretty dang excited about it).

So it was about the importance of going to church. We sliced some slits into the bottom of a water bottle that represented our investigator/his less active mom. Then we had a big cup that represents going to church and a smaller cup that represents weekly spiritual things like seminary, daily prayer and scripture study, RS activities, etc. So Sister Child drew the two of them on the bottle and then drew some pictures on the two cups. Let's just say she's not quite an artist. Granted, if it had been me doing the drawing, it would have been even worse, but still. She draws Brad's (our 14-year-old investigator) body first, which looked decent. And then she drew the head. A teeny peanut head. And then she drew the hair, which ended up looking like a 'fro. I laughed SO hard. What made it even better is that before the lesson, Brad started talking about how his hair would look like an afro when it got windy when his hair was longer. I basically started dying at that point. Which made him really confused and really curious about the lesson. It was pretty great.

So anyway, this is how the object lesson worked:

When you go to church, you are filled with the Spirit (we pour the "church" cup into the water bottle). But throughout the week, the Spirit drains out because life is crazy and we have school and work and rude people and whatnot. (The water drains out of the slits in the bottom of the bottle). Throughout the week, we do lots of wonderful, spiritual things, but they don't fill us up completely (we pour in the "other" cup). We need to go back to church the next Sunday to get filled up again.

It seemed to go alright. Anyway, I just thought that it was cool that I made up an object lesson. Pictures to come (which are probably much more exciting to me than to you, but oh well).

Anyway, on a less-than-cool note, Adriana seems to be stuck right now. Her husband James is still intending (and super excited!) to be baptized on April 26th, but Adriana is not intending to at the moment. We're not quite sure how to help her because she can't seem to put into words what is holding her back. We think that a lot of it has to do with anxiety about coming to church/being baptized because the only time she leaves her apartment is to go to doctor's appointments. We also think that while she believes that it's all true, she hasn't gotten a concrete witness from the Spirit yet, which is causing problems. We'll see what happens. 

We were also really frustrated because we were expecting three investigators to come to church yesterday and only one came. I just don't know what to do with the other two. We really thought that we might have gotten to them finally, but I guess not.

Anyway. A REALLY cool thing happened on Saturday. We have been trying to find a baptism to bring James to. But there seriously aren't any coming up in our zone. James' baptism is the next one coming up. But he got to see one this weekend.

So get this:

We usually teach James at two on Saturdays and the stake usually has their 8-year-old baptisms at four on Saturdays once a month. Well. This week we changed James' appointment to three so that a particular member couple could come with us. And the stake just so happened to change the baptism to three because of the women's conference. So we get to the church, and what is happening? A baptism. It was so perfect! We watch the baptisms and then snuck out and taught James the Plan of Salvation. It made him even more excited! He seriously is the sweetest little old man ever. So cute. But really, it is so amazing how Heavenly Father is really looking out for all of his children. He made things work out just right so that James could see a baptism. Amazing.

A couple of other cool/fun things:

1. I finally felt an earthquake! It was so crazy/slightly scary/really cool! It wasn't big enough to be terrifying or anything.

2. We ate at the Tonks' house a couple of weeks ago. SO cool. They named their dog Lupin and their chameleon Nymphadora (how appropriate). We're basically best  friends now. Not really, but they are a pretty dang awesome couple in my book. I wish my last name was Tonks!

3. (So more than a couple) I LOVED the women's conference on Saturday AND we had an investigator there! The Spirit was SO strong. I loved the music, I loved the talks, and President Eyring? I'll tell you what! SO GOOD. Oh man. The whole thing was just incredible. I am SO excited for conference!

Speaking of which, I want everyone to do something for me. Everyone get out a scrap of paper and write down what you would ask God if He were sitting down across from you. Just you and Heavenly Father in the room. You can ask Him anything. How to be a better friend/mother/daughter/father/son/employee/student/missionary/etc. How to overcome _________ struggle. Anything. 

I know that as you really pay attention during conference, and as you pray this week to receive the answers to your questions, that one or more of the speakers will say something that will answer your questions. All of them. As you listen with the Spirit, you can and will receive personal revelation as you watch conference. 

I love you all SO much!

~Sister Kretchman

Here's a picture of Brad with mini-Brad with an afro.

Letter #27 (March 24, 2014)

Holy cannoli. I don't even know where to start. A LOT happened this week. I was seriously the coolest week of my mission thus far.

I guess I'll start with the silly stuff.

So first, we are teaching this couple (I wrote about them before, James and Adriana) and they live in a gated apartment complex. Well. There is a really simple way to break into the back gate (we have permission to go in, but Adriana doesn't know how to buzz us in so we have to sneak in instead). But they fixed the gate! Sister Child and I were like, "are you serious?!" The trick to get in has been passed down generations of missionaries! They can't just fix it! Dang it! There are members in the same complex though, so they can USUALLY let us in. We still haven't figured out how to get in if they aren't home. Oh well.

Another silly thing. We borrowed the elder's vacuum because ours is broken. So we asked them about getting it back to them and they told us to just drop it off at their pad. They told us that they always leave it unlocked because their key disappeared somewhere down the road with past elders. But get this: One of the sisters that I lived in the 6-pad with used to serve in this ward, so when she found out that I was serving here, she gave me two keys from this area. One of them is some sort of key to a church building, and the other one is "an apartment key for some missionary pad, I don't know which." So as soon as I get to Glendora, I ask Sister Child and her previous comp if they know what the keys go to. Nope. So they just sat on my dresser for a couple of weeks. So when the elders told us that, I look at Sister Child and say "no way, I think I have their key!" She was skeptical. But we tried it out and it totally was! So we saw the elders right after we dropped the vacuum off and played it cool. "We are SO sorry elders, but we forgot and locked your door." They looked like we just told them that someone blew up their puppy. Then I whip out their key "luckily, I've got your key." I don't think that it registered at first. Then the one elder's eyes got SO big. It was hilarious.

Okay, now that I have probably bored you with stories that I think are super funny, let's get on to the crazy spiritual awesomeness.

Oh man.

Okay, so first of all, for any of you that I have hard core talked to, you know that I have always struggled with recognizing promptings from the Holy Ghost, and that has been really hard on me because I try SO hard to do everything that I'm supposed to and really pay attention to my thoughts/feelings/etc. So basically when I feel like I might be getting a prompting, I just act on it and hope for the best. Usually absolutely nothing happens from it, which has been really frustrating, especially since I have missionary friends who have countless stories about receiving miraculous promptings. So one night we were out with a member and we were just going around inviting people to a RS activity that we had this Thursday. Well, we're driving around and I get this idea that we should stop by this one lady's house (her name is Sylvia). She is a potential that we have stopped by SO many times and she has never been home. So Sister Child is like "are you sure?" and I'm just thinking, I can't NOT follow this, because what if it really is something for once? So I said "yeah, I mean, it can't hurt right?"
So we stop by. And she was there. We didn't invite her to the activity, but we DID set a return appt for the next day!

And THEN we stopped by another semi-investigator that lives right across the street from Sylvia. Again, we've stopped by a few times and nothing. So as we knock on the door, we hear someone crying and when Karen opens the door, we hear a door slam. She was having a really tough time with her son who has some severe anxiety. She was hesitant to let us in because obviously it was a bad time, but Sister Child and the sister that came out with us talked to her about the activity and everything. I was standing there having an internal battle. I felt like we needed to share this Mormon message called "Mountains to Climb" (if you haven't seen it, look it up. For reals). But I'm just thinking "I don't know her, this is obviously not a good time, I don't want to bother her" etc. But again, I didn't want to completely reject a prompting if that's what it was. So as the conversation is winding down I just say "Karen, I really feel like we need to show you this video. It won't take long at all, it's just a few minutes long." At first she kind of gave me "well, maybe another time" kind of thing, but finally she invited us in with a "let me just check on my son really quick." When she came back, I pulled the video up on my ipad and set it in front of her. When the video was over, she really opened up about what has been happening with her son and everything. She told us that she feels so much peace and calm when we are there. As we were leaving, she told me that she is really glad that I showed her the video. 

It was so incredible. I am so grateful for a Heavenly Father who can multitask like that. He gave me a prompting through the Holy Ghost that not only got us an appointment, but also really helped one of his beloved children that was in need of some spiritual nourishment. I am so grateful to be a missionary. To be one of his servants. He really worked through me that day. That wasn't me at all, it was all Him.

Okay, so now about the best day ever. Which was Saturday. And we rarely have appointments on Saturday.

 So we had four appointments set this Saturday. One with Sylvia, one with Karen, one with James, and one with Gary (who I'm not sure if I've written about before or not, he's the one that learned about the church in prison). 

Sylvia's lesson went okay. She has some doubts, but she is really an amazing lady. She has so much faith and she has been through an awful lot. I think that as long as she allows us to keep teaching her, the Spirit will be able to testify of the truth of the things that we teach. 

Karen cancelled because she had a really bad migraine.

James' lesson was one of the best lessons that I have ever been involved in. We taught the gospel of Jesus Christ while doing a church tour (best way to teach the gospel, I'll tell you what). So we started in the lobby and talked about Faith and Repentance there. Then we showed him the font (which he has never seen) and talked about baptism. He was practically giddy! He told us that he is getting really excited to be baptized! The Spirit was SO strong. We also talked about Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost at the fony. Then we brought him into the chapel and explained the sacrament (which he has, of course, taken) and talked about Enduring to the end. He was just so excited, it was such a sweet moment for us. After his lesson, Sister Child and I knelt down and thanked Heavenly Father for helping him to really feel the Spirit.

Our last lesson was also a church tour. We thought that James' lesson was good. This one was even better. Holy cow. So we did a more basic tour with Gary. For the most part. So we talked about how everything is centered on Jesus Christ. Then we brought him into the chapel and talked about how sacrament meeting works (with the speakers, and hymns and stuff). And then we brought him up to the sacrament table and explained the sacrament. He was so excited when he found out that he could start taking the sacrament before he is baptized! We of course explained that taking it now is just in remembrance of all that Christ did for us, whereas when we are baptized we have the added meaning to the sacrament (being that we renew our covenants and are re-cleansed when we partake of the sacrament). But he just seemed so happy that he didn't have to wait to take it.

But here is the best part. Earlier in the day as Sister Child and I were getting things ready for the tour, Sister Child (who also struggles with promptings) felt like we should have Gary go INTO the font. Which is not regular procedure for tours. I was kind of skeptical to be honest, but if I've learned anything this week, it's not to ignore anything that could possibly be a prompting. So we decided that that's what we would do.

So we lead Gary to the font, but we have the doors closed. We sit him down and watch a Mormon message (another amazing one) called "Choose This Day." After watching that, our member was crying, and Gary finally told us some of his concerns that we have been trying to dig out (discern) for ages. Then we opened the font and had him go around and step in. He immediately told us that he could feel a special feeling (the Spirit) as soon as he went down the stairs into the font. Then we had him close his eyes and Sister Child described what his baptism will be like, what will happen, how he will feel, etc. We were all crying by the end of that one. Gary looks up and is like "why is everyone crying all of a sudden?" It was funny, but he had tears in his eyes too. The Spirit was so crazy strong. It was amazing.

Now get this. While Sister Child was describing things to Gary, two elders walk into the church. I see one of the elders and I'm horrified. I'm just thinking "Don't ruin this moment! This is what everything has been leading up to!" I look at his face and he looks horrified too and quickly sneaks away silently. So after the lesson, we go talk to the elders (the other elder is our district leader) and the elder that I saw (Elder Smith) told us that he started to walk down the hall (the font is in the hall with a room in front of it that is just partitioned off from the hallway) and then felt like he hit a brick wall. He couldn't keep walking. That's when he saw us and figured out what was happening. I firmly believe that there was an angel pushing him away so that he didn't ruin the moment.

This week strengthened my testimony even more of the power of God and the Holy Ghost. I am deeply grateful to have this opportunity to be an instrument in His hands. It is truly amazing. You know, returned missionaries would always tell us (when I was at home) that you can't describe a mission. I completely understand that now. I wish that all of you could feel what I felt this week. Words really can't describe this. It is just incredible.

So funny story really quick and then I promise I'll stop. After the lesson with Gary, we started walking to catch a bus to our dinner appointment. The bus passes us and stops at the bus stop that is still decently far from us. So we are sure that we just missed it, but keep walking. The bus just sits there. And sits there. And sits there. So we're thinking "we're actually going to make the bus! What the heck?!" So I am literally a few feet from the bus when the doors close and it drives away. We just start busting up. We couldn't care less. We had just had the best day ever. Who cares if we missed the bus? It was even funnier because the elders were passing us on their bikes right then and so saw the whole thing. Elder Pope (our district leader) yells "you have got to be kidding me!" We just laughed even harder and then found a ride to dinner. It was pretty funny.

Anyway, sorry about the novel, but this has seriously been such a crazy amazing week. For anyone that's not sure if they should serve or not: do it. You will have some of the hardest times of your life here, but you will also have some of the best. My first six months have been so hard. I have been in two areas that were just hard areas. I worked SO hard every day and got SO frustrated with myself because I felt like I wasn't good enough and so we weren't having success. Heavenly Father knew that I needed a break. Those first six months are totally worth it for the experiences that I have had here in Glendora so far. It just really confirms to me that this is the Lord's work. Some areas are just hard. And I learned a lot in those six months that I'm sure that I wouldn't have learned if things were going well. He knows what He is doing, we just need to trust Him unconditionally.

So I'm not going to properly reply to most of the rest of my emails, just so you know, because I don't have much time. I will try to get to everyone, but if I don't, I will at some point. We went to the temple this morning (we left at 3:30 AM to get to the 5:00 session) and then came home and slept, so we lost a lot of time to do things, but it was worth it. The temple is the best. Oh, and that's why I didn't email yesterday.

Okay, NOW I'm done, sorry I totally broke my promise a couple of paragraphs up... Haha

I love you all so much and pray for you all the time!

~Sister Kretchman

I was just a little excited to go to the temple:

We were there so early that it was still dark outside:

Letter #26 (March 17, 2014)

I go home in exactly a year today. Woah. I'll have to find a cute outfit with green in it... But really. It's SO weird to think about. I don't like to think about it, I'm just going to stay here forever.

But anyway, Glendora is really great! The members here are AMAZING. They are so helpful! We always have members to help us out and everything just revolves around missionary work, as it should. It is SO nice to be in such an actively involved ward. I love it!

Some really cool things have happened this week. That sweet old couple that I told you about are Adriana and James. Adriana still hasn't come to church, but James has come for the last three Sundays! And he is so cute! When we taught him on Saturday, he said that he became interested because he has really been able to see changes in Adriana since she started meeting with us. He said that she used to be a lot more grouchy, it was so funny. We have a baptismal date set for the two of them, but unless Adriana comes to church, it's not going to happen. We just don't know what to do with her! She always talks about how she wants to be a good Mormon and everything and how she is determined to come to church, but then, come Sunday, James is there and she is not. We just don't know what to do.

Oh, funny thing about them. We've never actually seen the two of them together. Apparently their dogs are crazy, so someone has to stay in the other room while we teach the other one. So we've only ever seen Adriana OR James at any give time. Weird no?

But anyway.

We also had a couple of really spirit-filled lessons. One was with an investigator that found the gospel in prison. He is realy amazing. He is trying so hard to turn his life around and is really excited to be baptized. But. He is still married to his wife while living with a woman that he considers to be his wife. He hopefully filed the divorce papers this weekend, but he said that it usually takes around 6 months to take effect. That's a long ways away. But we're hopeful that he really will be baptized once he is able to marry that other woman.

The other one was really frustrating. It was with a part member family. He is a less active RM and she is a non-member. We taught them about the BoM and he bore his testimony about how it is true and even told us that he recognizes the Spirit when we are there. But he's not ready to change. He knows that it's true, but just doesn't care. It is so frustrating! He is a really nice guy and I just hate to see him ignoring all of these blessings that Heavenly Father is just waiting to give him. They are trying to have a baby though, so hopefully he'll snap out of it for the sake of his child. His family could be so much happier/have more peace/guidance in their lives. I really think that if he showed the example, she would follow. I really hope that he changes his mind. I guess we'll see.

I'm done ranting now.

So some funny/cool/weird things:

I live off of Route 66!
I got a caricature done during a member dinner. I've ALWAYS wanted one of those!
We have a crazy cat that poops on our mat in the backyard. We named it Sir Poops-a-lot. When it meows it sounds like it's giving birth. We threw the mats out and it hasn't pooped out there since, but we still hear it meowing at night. Bizarre.
We did another mini missionary activity. Cool story about that: one of the YW that went with some other sisters had the prompting to go to her one NM friend's house. They taught him the first lesson and committed him to be baptized!
For St. Patrick's Day, we looked up "green" in the LDS music app and so sang "Dear to the Heart of the Shepard." I looked down and saw that the music was written by someone who's last name is Kirkpatrick. I thought that that was appropriate for the holiday. 
And last but not least, we came up with "couple" names for our companionships. I'll attach the picture. It's pretty great. There wasn't really a good way to combine Child and Kretchman.... It makes me think of the Jungle Book.

Anyway, I love you all a ton!

~Sister Kretchman

PS- Top-ah-oo is how you say Tapau

My caricature! Which was drawn the ONE day that I didn't wear a flower in my hair. Oh well.

Letter #25 (March 10, 2014)

So this week has been lots of fun! I love Sister Child, she's so funny! Apparently I'm her littlest companion yet, and she's definitely the tallest companion that I could get. It is so fun.

Here's something that she said "there is a rule in the white handbook that you are always breaking?" What?! "Never be alone with a Child!" Corny, but it made me laugh. She's so silly.

Glendora seems like a really great area. The ward is awesome! They are SO missionary minded! We don't have to struggle to find members for our lessons and they are all working on people for us to teach. 

We are teaching an cute old couple right now who referred themselves. It's crazy. She wanted to learn how to become a Mormon, so she asked her upstairs neighbor (who is a member) how to do it! So the sisters started teaching her a while ago. She has already been taught all of the lessons and watches BYU tv on a regular basis. BUT. She hasn't been to church yet. She has a load of physical problems and so has trouble getting out of her house. BUT. She sent her husband in her place (it doesn't work that way, but there you go) a couple of weeks ago and now he wants to be baptized! He came home and said "how much you wanna bet they'll baptize me before they baptize you?" So we taught him the first lesson on Saturday and then he came to church again yesterday. It was so awesome!

And then there's our fourteen year old investigator. He has also had all of the lessons, but can't be baptized because his dad won't sign the permission slip. He apparently carries the permission slip in his wallet everywhere he goes. He wants to serve a mission and is already trying to share the gospel with his friends and he's not even baptized yet! It's really sad, but I think that him carrying the slip with him is the sweetest thing that I've ever heard.

I'm really loving being in Glendora already. My last two areas were pretty dead, but there really seems to be a lot of good things happening here! I'm so excited to be a part of it!

I love and miss you all!

~Sister Kretchman

PS- Someone should send me The Lamb of God CDs. They are SO good. We're borrowing them from some members right now. There's this one song by Mary Magdalene that I want to learn/sing really badly. It's so pretty. 

PPS- Someone should also send me The Messiah. That is all.

Anna and her new comp:

 The whipped cream game:

And Chad and Sarah. They are basically the best people ever. He's the ward mission leader in Pasadena, and she's his wife. He helped orchestrate the music in The Hobbit and is now working on Godzilla! They're the ones that I invited myself over to birthday dinner. Sarah drove me to Glendora at 7:50 in the morning. You have to be a pretty awesome person to do that.

And one more. This is the Ngos. They are Sarah's parents and they are just as awesome as Chad and Sarah are! AND Brother Ngo has an I'm a Mormon video. Cool huh?

Two of her areas on on street corner:

Letter #24 (March 4, 2014)

Well hello there everyone! I am writing you from Glendora, which is where I live now! My new-companion-every-transfer streak is still going! I am now with Sister Child who is our medical missionary. She is from SLC and is 6'2" which makes the two of us an interesting sight since I'm one of the smallest people in the mission (not height wise, I'm 5'5", but I look shorter than I really am because I'm so tiny.) It's a lot of fun, we're already teasing each other. 

So transfers were CRAZY this time because the whole Glendora zone was recruited to clean up a bunch of mud. Basically a mountain nearby caught on fire and then it rained a ton, so mudslides occurred. So I had to either transfer on Tuesday instead, or get to Glendora by 8:30 AM. So I did the latter because there was already too much going on on Tuesday for Sister Lee because she is training and picking up her trainee today. Luckily Pasadena ward has the best person in the world in it and she picked me up at 7:45 yesterday morning and drove me to Glendora where I quickly unloaded and then headed out to "muck mud." So I spent all day yesterday sweeping muddy water down someone's driveway/into their pool, and then passing huge buckets of dirt down a hill while avoiding beating hit in the head by flying empty buckets. It was actually really fun, but really exausting too. We are all SO sore today! Plus I hit my elbow really badly off of a screw that was sticking out of this little retaining wall that was holding up the dirt that we were shoveling into the buckets that were being passed down the assembly line. It's swollen a little bit, but I don't think that I broke anything. We might be doing more of all of that tomorrow. I'm not really sure how that will work out since our whole zone is dead tired and sore all over, but we'll do our best!

So that's why I didn't email yesterday. And now I don't have much time. I might write some more tomorrow, we'll see.

I love you and miss you all!

~Sister Kretchman

Letter #23 (February 24, 2014)

Where to start? As you know from last week's email, my week didn't
start put too great. Well, it went from bad to worse to great to
worst. I'm not even quite sure how to explain.

Maybe I'll just do an overview and then explain some things a bit more fully.

So this week I (not necessarily in this order):
Talked to a nun
Broke out into hives
Started teaching a dwarf actress
Got pulled over by the world's nicest cop
Waited for the bus for over 6 hours
Started teaching a crazy person
Hosted mini missionaries

Sounds like a pretty exciting week, no?

So let me briefly explain some of these.

The missionaries in my area went to a presentation by a Catholic lady
about missionary work, which is when I talked to some really sweet
nuns. I had no idea what the lady was talking about most of the he
time, but luckily a former Catholic (he converted last year) drove us
home and explained some of it to me.

I broke out into hives after doing service for the dwarf actress that
we taught after cleaning her very dusty porch. She is amazing.
Seriously. That was definitely the most powerful lesson that I have
ever been in. She totally believes everything. All of it. She started
crying when we had her read the first vision. By the end of it, all
three of us (her, me, and my companion) we're crying. It was
incredible. The hives were worth it.

On Wednesday we had zone conference. We were sitting at the bus stop
in front of our apartment and it was NOT coming. (Which became a
reoccurring theme for the week). Luckily I was completely inspired to
call one sister from the ward who I have never talked to before. She
happened to be right in our neighborhood. Which doesn't happen, ever,
because we live 15 minutes (driving) out of our area. Buts he happened
to be there. It was crazy. Well on the way to the conference, we get
pulled over out of the blue. She hadn't done anything wrong. We'll
apparently one of the tail lights was out. She's scrambling for the
registration (it was her daughter's car, not hers) when the cop asked
where we were going. She says "I'm driving some missionaries to a
meeting" and he immediately was like "well, I don't want to keep
you,here's your license, have a great day!" What?!?! We got pulled
over by good cop. Seriously.

Heavenly Father definitely helped us out 100% with that one.

So basically we take the same bus a couple if times a day. It goes
straight from out apartment to the metro Goldline station. The only
one that can take us to our area. Well, it's been anywhere from 45
minutes to an hour late every single time we try to take it. It's
awful. And getting rides from members is really difficult because we
do live so far away and everyone in the wad is super busy all the
time. So we've been getting really frustrated with that.

And then there's our other new investigator. I'm not going to go into
details, but let's just say that I have been even more tired than
usual, have had a steady migraine, and have been on the verge of tears
for most of the week. And I'm actually handling it pretty we'll
considering. There's no good way to explain, so I'll leave it at that.
She's getting baptized on March 22 though, which is really exciting.

And finally, we hosted some mini missionaries this weekend! Four young
women came to our pad Friday night and then one came out with each of
us for the day on Saturday. Luckily that was the one time that the bus
decided to actually come on time. It was actually really fun! I
honestly wasn't too excited at first, only because I was completely
exhausted from the rest of the week (we had just had our second lesson
with the afore mentioned investigator, we taught her twice and then
she came to church yesterday). But it was nice, the young woman that I
had was really great. She didn't complain at all, even though it was a
crazy amount of walking (I took advantage of having an un-injured
comp, poor Sister Lee has been such a trooper, but it has been really
difficult to do a lot of walking) and we didn't even veto teach any
one. Although I wish that I could tell her that the less active member
that we stopped by came to church yesterday! I was so excited! He
didn't stay for all three hours because he felt out of place I his
jeans and plaid shirt, but he said that he'll definitely come next
week In a white shirt and slacks! But anyway, the mini missionary was
great and I really enjoyed just having a less hectic, regular day in
the life of a missionary. The rest of the week definitely has not been
the norm, in good and bad ways.

Anyhow, I hope that you didn't fall asleep reading the novel that I
just wrote. I'm sorry for complaining so much, I really am so grateful
to actually have some people to teach and to be on my mission. I am
definitely learning a whole lot of patience right now.

Please pray for me and my companion. We really really need it.

I love you all so much! Write me! I didn't have any letters this week!

~Sister Kretchman

Ps- I wasn't able to send my weekly email to everyone last week, so
I'll resend it.

Her and her comp at Panera Bread:

Letter #22 (February 17, 2014)

We'll hello there! As you can probably tell from the subject line,
this is being sent from my new iPad mini! Crazy huh? I don't really
like doing email like this though because... The iPad doesn't seek to
have my contact groups, so I have to actually put people in here
individually. And I only have the emails of people who emailed me
since I got this on Friday. So I'll have to get that figured out.

I also don't like typing on this very much, although I've had some fun
autocorrects already! But please be aware that any typos/random words
are due to using a touch screen.

But anyway. The iPad is actually pretty nice in a lot of ways. It's
funny though because we're a pilot program (just like for Fb and not
having cars) so this is the .7 model or something like that. Not even
1.0 yet. As such, there are a bunch of glitches still. It's pretty
interesting. It's nice having pretty much all of our info all in one
little device though. I'm still getting kind of bittersweet feelings
about not carrying around physical scriptures though. I love my paper
scriptures, but they are really heavy. Especially considering that we
are walking most of the time and can't use a backpack. So it's nice
that my bag is so much lighter! And I love that I can have Mormon
messages with me all the time. Handy!

Anyway, this week has been so crazy! Sister Lee fell wiped out on her
bike on Wednesday and scraped her leg up really badly. Then I wiped
out on the way back to our pad. I'm fine though, I just have some
little scratches on my legs and a bruise. Not even photo worthy. We
took picture of hers though as soon as we got home. It's pretty gnarly

I also broke the garbage disposal yesterday morning. But not until
after cleaning up spilled milkshake from all over the kitchen. I was
putting dishes away out of our drying rack to make room for the dishes
that I was about to wash when I knocked over some cutting boards that
were propped up behind the rack. They turned the garbage disposal on,
which has a couple of spoons in it. I quickly turned it off, took the
spoons out (threw them away) and tried the disposal again. First it
made funny noises and water started gushing out if the side down into
the drain, then it just stopped all together. Yikes. I left a message
not the housing sister's phone this morning. I'm slightly terrified
for the return call.

Then this morning the blinds in front of our sliding door broke.

Hopefully this means that we'll find a new investigator this week!

Speaking of which! A former investigator randomly texted us on
Thursday, asking if we can meet! So we did. She seems pretty cool, but
we're not sure how really committed she will be yet. Hoping for the
best! Then, we sort of picked up a new investigator at church
yesterday! There's a young man in the ward who is awesome at inviting
friends to church. He just baptized his best friend before Christmas.
Well, he's been bringing another friend to church, and he said that
he'd take the lessons from us! So we're working on setting something
up. We'll teach him at that young man's house most likely.

So it's been a really exciting week! In both good and bad ways, but
I'm just really excited for the good!

Anyway, that's all for now! I'm going to see if Brillante can get on
here to send this to the rest of my mission list!

I love and miss you all!

~Sister Kretchman

Letter #21 (February 10, 2014)

First of all, let me thank everyone for your birthday wishes! I can't believe that I'm not a teenager anymore! It's crazy. I can't say that I'm a 19 year-old missionary anymore. Sad.

Anyway, now that that's out of my system...

My birthday was pretty nice. The sisters that I live with showered me with balloons (which I finally popped this morning because I didn't know what to do with them) and I had a great birthday dinner with my ward mission leader and his wife. They (Chad and Sarah) are my favorite people in this ward. Sarah is only a couple of years older than me and she's awesome! We were her first ever dinner guests! They moved into their little house last month (I helped them paint/clean/overhaul the living room) and they just got the cutest puppy of my life this week. His name is Copeland and he is seriously too cute to be allowed. It was great though, because I'm not allowed to hold babies, but I can sure hold an adorable puppy! Anyway, Sarah made us lasagna and the PB chocolate cake that I have every year. It was delicious and I converted Chad to it. It was great too because they invited some non-member friends to the dinner, so my birthday dinner was fun AND productive. It doesn't get better than that! We had a great discussion about why we have the Book of Mormon. Hopefully something we said will help their friends to come closer to Christ. 

Guess what! We're getting Ipads on Friday! I have kind of mixed feelings about it. I'm excited in some aspects, but most of the things that I've been excited for require Wifi, which we don't have most of the time. We'll be popping into McDonald's and laundromats a lot. Or awkwardly sitting in Starbucks, resisting the urge to teach everyone in there about the Word of Wisdom. 

So in the future, I'll probably be emailing from an Ipad mini. Which I don't like either because I hate typing on touch screens. I'd buy a keyboard, but I've heard that they're super expensive. If anyone happens to stumble upon a cheap one on Amazon or something, let me know!

Update on Ebonee:

She still hadn't been responding to us at all, but she wrote Happy Birthday on my wall, so I seized the opportunity and wrote to her one more time. She responded! We're going to give her a little bit more time and then try stopping by again or something. Hopefully we'll be able to start meeting with her again!

Other than that, there's not much happening right now. We work really hard every day but are still struggling to find anyone to teach. Hopefully things will start to pick up. 

I love you all so much!

Happy Valentine's Day! (It doesn't mean much out here, but I hope that you all have a good one!)

Borrowing an Elders sweater while caroling:

The temperature on Christmas:

How they did heart attacks on Christmas

Knocking too hard:

The float she worked on for the Rose Parade:

Her favorite float: