**The first part of her letter is kind of pieced together based on questions I asked her**
Me: You gave me a fright when you used the term "shotgunned" in your last email. That made my heart race and I thought you had been shot or mugged.
Savanna: Sorry I used the term "shotgunned." that was not very smart of me. hahah. It's just the term here!
Me: Do you eat with the members a lot?
Savanna: Yes! Sister Rogers is the BEST. She fed us this adorable little lunch and told us all of these funny stories. Basically everyone In our ward is amazing. I love love love the members here. they are different in a lot of ways, but good. Very kind and missionary-minded.
Me: Would you like letters and not just emails?
Savanna: Letters are great. I haven't gotten anything yet, but I'm hoping I will sometime this week:)
Me: Do you know if we can Skype on Christmas?
Savanna: IM SO excited to Skype you guys. We already have a place where we are going to do it if we don't get transferred... I really really really hope I do not get transferred. Really bad. because I love this ward and if I went to a new ward... no one would know me well enough to want me over on Christmas Day and that would make me very sad.
Me: Frederick looks so beautiful!
Savanna: Frederick is GORGEOUS. You should see downtown, they already have all their Christmas lights up and it is positively breathtaking. The people here have a weird stigma with Utah people... I always get uncomfortable looks when I say where I'm from. Apparently Utah Mormons are perceived as very rich and stuck up and snobby. HAhahaha I was hello all I eat is ramen lololol. (I'm KIDDING, mom. That is not all I eat) AhhHHhhHh
HAHHA. Okay. Funny story time. Slash kind of spooky. Anyway. Wednesday night we came home and I was already in bed around 10:25 because #oldwoman and Sister Bartschi went downstairs to transfer her towel that she had put in the wash a little earlier. All of I sudden I hear her say "Sister Sanborn.... come down here..." And all of a sudden I had that sick feeling in my stomach like oh no something is wrong. I come around at the stop of the stairwell and I see her at the bottom with a white face and she whispers "I think someone is in our basement." I stop to listen to what she is talking about and there's this dull bang coming from downstairs and I start to open my mouth to say "Sister Bartschi, that's just the uneven washer" and then we hear this loud knocking at the door that comes up out of our basement. I run upstairs and grab our cellphone and call the Elders and Sister Bartschi is screaming and the elders tell us to get out of the house and I'm kind of just laughing because I'm like this cannot be happening. We run outside and the elders (picture this because It's hilarious) run out of their house with these huge hockey sticks, in their Christmas pajamas, and they run inside our house like they are a bunch of FBI agents or something and Elder Willis is like "check the whole house!" and of course we can't be in the same house as the Elders so we are standing outside in the cold in our pajamas and Sister Bartschi is like " OH my GOSH the ELDERS are gonna DIE in there" and I'm just like what is happening. We wait and several minutes and several loud outbursts from Sister Bartschi later, the Elders run out and they tell us it's all clear and I'm tired so I just want to go back in and go to bed but Sister Bartschi is not having any of it. she's like you, mom. she's like "We are going to get stabbed in our sleep!!!"and I was like no we aren't. we are going back inside. So we did. But sister Bartschi made us push our beds together and BOTH of us stayed up until like 3 in the morning jumping at every little sound. It was miserable and the next day during workouts I basically just put my face against the wall and moaned bc I was so tired. Anyway. we are 99% convinced our house is haunted.
Anyway. Sister Bartschi. I love her so so so much. She is the best and we get along so well. I really hope we can have Christmas together. She's a wonderful listener, a fierce friend, and a wonderful disciple. We have made SO many funny memories this week and there have been a lot of times when things are just so discouraging that the only thing you can really do is laugh. Like on Saturday, we were just having the worst of luck. We were on bikes and it was terribly windy. We must have street contacted or knocked on doors at least 50 times, and no one wanted to listen to us. no investigators were home, neither were members. no one was letting us in and we were cold and tired. We had no where to go and all of this time to fill. BUT THE LORD IS SO AWARE. That very night, we went to dinner at the Mchood's home, he is the 2nd councilor in the Bishopric, and they gave us like 10 referrals. TEN! it was amazing and JUST what we needed. The rest of the night we were over the moon happy about it.. even though we wee still freezing. We had places to go! The Lord works in very mysterious ways and He knows exactly how he wants His work to be done. Another example of this was on Thursday night, we were coming back from this crazy lady's house in our ward, her name is Shagufta (sounds like it looks) and she has two inactive kids. I love them, they are so great and they fed us yummy Chinese food in their sketchy neighborhood. Anyway, on the way back (we were on bike again and probably 2 miles from home) there were TWO accidents blocking the highway. Northbound AND southbound were both blocked by accidents, and they stretched across both lanes it's Kind of hard to explain, but basically there was no way for us to ride back. We sat there for an hour and a half, trying to figure out what we could do in the freezing cold. We finally waited out the accidents and rode home. When we were turning the corner, this liquor store by our townhomes had a motorcycle in front of it. This guy ran up to us and yelled "Sisters! Wait!" And it was Travis, THE GUY WHO OFFERED US RUM COKE. He flagged us down and told us about something very tragic that had happened to him earlier that day and he was just broken. Falling apart. You could see it in his eyes. he asked us if we could say a prayer with him, right there in that little parking lot. So we did. He cried and said thank you and went on his way. and I was like "Wow. That was so powerful." and then I was like "HAHAHA that's why You left us on the side of the highway for an hour and a half. You have a real nice sense of humor, God."
Anyway. That night we also visited this lady on the Less Active list. We knocked on her door (I swear, people in Maryland take forever to come to their door. You have to knock at least three times before anyone will open. that's everyone. members too.) and she finally came and squinted at us. she said "ya'll from the church?" And I said "Yes! We are the new sister missionaries! Are you Sister Armstong?" and she turned very sour and said "I'd prefer not to be called that. My husband and I left the church years ago and I want nothing to do with you. Get." and she closed the door. Sister Bartaschi just laughed and said "Well that's not the first or second or third time that has happened to me" but I couldn't stop thinking about it all night. I don't know why. but that night, asd I was laying in bed, still thinking about it, I made a promise to myself.
I will never ever ever ever become inactive. I will not. I have seen God in my life too much and witnessed miracle after miracle and have devoted so much of myself to Him that I refuse to ever let anything waver my testimony. I refuse. I know times will get hard and not everything will always be smooth sailing, but the church will never go on the backburner. Never. This gospel is everything and I will prove that until the day I die.
Last night I taught my first lesson to an investigator. her name is Beverly Banks, she is 43 years old, and she is just simply an angel. she is going through a LOT right now though, she's got 12 grandchildren living in her tiny home that she has to provide for all on her own. Hers is a heartbreaking story. But she has the biggest heart in the world. She came to church yesterday BEFORE we even taught her the Restoration, which is unheard of, and she accepted the invitation to be baptized. It was my first time inviting someone and I was actually really really surprised that she said yes. I was like. Wait what? Yes??? hahah. Anyway. she committed to be baptized and to read the BOM. I'm excited to teach her again on Thursday. Amzing things happen when you let the Lord take charge!
Anyway. I love you all so much. I'm learning so much out here and even though I still think about home a lot, it gets better. The members are so kind and so are the Elders and of course my wonderful companion. I can feel your prayers and your support and there is nothing that keeps me more motivated than knowing that you guys are being blessed for this. I can't wait to see you all again.
All my love,