red hot

Good old Carlos Town has a new Sister! Sister Blanchard, bless her heart, is a wonderful lady. She’s a twin. She’s from Colorado. Her favorite kind of ice cream is mint chocolate chip. And so forth. I had been praying for a companion who would just be a total workhorse and who I could have an amazing working relationship, and Heavenly Father totally followed through! Nice one! She and I jumped right into teaching in unity, which is missionary jargon for saying approximately the same number of words. It’s harder than you might think. It was sad to say goodbye to Sister Pratt, my Big Sister. She might be the last Big Sister of my mission considering my age and everything. We don’t really have senior or junior companions in the mission (I’m not really sure which one I am at this point, for example) but now that I’m finished training and feel like a real missionary I might not ever be able to have the comfort of following another missionary around all the time.

Speaking of which, I’m taking over the area right now??? Taking over an area is when you’re the companion who has been there longer. Sister Blanchard doesn’t know anyone here so I am introducing her to the area and the ward and the people we’re teaching. It’s liberating in some ways but I miss the suffocating warmth of being under a huge blanket/being a trainee. I think Sister Blanchard will probably know the area as well as I do within a week, though, because she is very diligent and solid. It’s been amazing to see Charles Town through her eyes and remember how magical and wonderful our area is. Saying goodbye to Sister Pratt was very sad and took place at a large emporium of chaos by the name of “transfer meeting” where all the missionaries get together and trade companions and cry and the ones leaving and coming in bear their testimonies. I’m sure you can imagine all the crying. It’s wonderful because you get to see all your missionary friends from past areas (aka from the MTC, in my case). This time around, there was an overturned milk truck on the way there (I won’t even try to make a joke about that one) and one of the outgoing elders did not arrive until long after everyone had finished up with their testimonies. The poor mission president had to keep speaking and speaking to stall but eventually the belated elder (is that the name of a mystery novel? The Belated Elder?) burst in through the chapel doors and ran up to the pulpit to deliver his parting words.
In baby animal news (the most important news) we pulled over at the side of the road the other day because there was a field of lambs!!! and their parents. We watched them literally frolic and prance through the literal meadow they were in. Have I convinced you all to move to West Virginia yet? If not, try this one on for size: THE FIREFLIES ARE OUT!!! They are so beautiful! Their time of the day is the time we  come home and start planning and there is a big meadow behind our palace so we just stand behind our house for a few minutes at twilight watching the fireflies. Just look at the words in the above paragraph: lambs. frolic. prance. meadow. twilight. fireflies. Do you want to move to West Virginia yet? I don’t know how I’ll ever leave.
Something fun about being a missionary is that the people you hang out with are chosen seemingly at random, in other words by revelation. This means that the missionaries I’m around are all jocks, even the sisters. This morning I had to attend not one but two athletic experiences, including ultimate frisbee and kickball. I sat on the sidelines and read Jesus the Christ, and I was the only person who wasn’t way excited for the sporting. I hope the other missionaries know what a sign of love and devotion to mission unity it is that I would be in such close proximity to a game or a match or whatever of any kind. The poor elders also really struggle to spell my name right, as does everyone else. Missionaries all have these journals that we write little notes in when we part ways, and two different elders addressed a “Sister Aspland.” I should call the mission office and figure out who she is so I can deliver these heartfelt messages. This same sister was supposed to say the benediction at a recent baptismal service, according to the program, but she wasn’t there so I did it instead. Sister Aspland is a total flake. On a serious note, though, I really do wear a name tag with my name spelled on it at all times. I’m not sure how I can be so prone to failure.
Something amazing that happened this week is that I discovered that red lipstick is allowed in this mission! I went straight to CVS and bought some. I feel like myself again. I found a nice bright summer red with a matte finish that wears long too, so I’m in heaven.
Sadly this week we parted ways with Yvonne. She just loves being baptist so she decided to stick with that. We will miss her but we’re meeting with some of her neighbors so we will hopefully get to stop by for a little visit every once in a while. In case you don’t remember Yvonne, she is the ancient, mostly blind Jamaican lady we’ve been meeting with for a while. Before we left she said, “Wait! I must show you some music. If you can listen to it and not cry, you must have a heart made of stone.” and then she turned on some gospel reggae and proceeded to sing and dance along to it while her grandson did his fave Power Rangers moves and her daughter just looked at us like we were a camera in The Office.
OK I love you all. Read the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, this week, it’s a great one. And as always, write me soon! at 14 Deerbrook Drive/Charles Town, WV 25414.
Sister Aspland

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