“we ended up on a four-wheeler with a preacher”

First of all, no, I was not the one on a four-wheeler with a preacher, much to my own disappointment. I don’t even know how many mission rules that would probably break.

In any case, this week was PIONEER DAY! Yay!! I just love Pioneer Day. My people! To celebrate, our ward had a barbecue that ended up having a great turnout and which included a live spinning wheel demonstration, a banjo, a stick pull, and some excellent jello. It was a perfect Mormon holiday. Pioneer Day is personally significant to me because it causes me to reflect on my heritage. I would encourage you to do the same! I have been really enjoying teaching people about family history and I have found something maybe a tiny bit radical in its being a sort of DIY history. Go interview your grandma! She has important things to tell you. To celebrate Pioneer Day we also were meant to have a special number from the Primary, but it seems like about half the ward is out of town. When the Primary children were called up to sing, there were only about five of them in the congregation. I heard the Bishop and Primary President murmuring “Plan B? Plan B.” to each other and then the Bishop got up and said, “We’re going to move to Plan B. As a rest hymn, we will now sing ‘Come, Come, Ye Saints.” It honestly felt fitting because I think the poor pioneers must have always been moving to Plan B. In our missionary planner, there is a column entitled “daily plan” and to the right of it a column labeled “backup plan.” There’s something kind of beautiful about it.

This week was also exchanges. It was a little scary, to be honest, because I was the one taking over the area for a few days. I still feel new here even though I probably shouldn’t after a month or so, but here we are. It ended up that we had kind of a hard exchange for completely different reasons than I expected. I thought I would have no idea what to do or who to plan to visit, but the issue ended up being that we just couldn’t seem to get in anyone’s door. This had a major bright side, though, because my temporary companion and I got in a lot of time walking around and getting to know people. Street contacting is definitely not the easiest part of missionary work but it is personally rewarding in the sense that getting face time with a random selection of God’s children is just a fun and strange experience. I think everyone should try walking around a strange city and introducing themselves to everyone they see. People are fascinating. I tried to think of how Jesus would street contact, and I kind of imagined Him taking an intense interest in everyone He met. I tried that and it was very fruitful. Exchanges are also a great chance to get a fresh perspective and advice on the area. I am really grateful for them.

ingrid mish 7-27
In baby animal news, we had dinner with an awesome family who is a perfect specimen of the regional dialect because they’ve both lived around here their whole lives. One of them is named Wilma and is from the nearby town of Flintstone. Incredible. I could listen to them talk for days and I just never wanted to leave. This family absolutely loves turtles and built their backyard into a perfect turtle habitat, so they keep wild turtles not exactly as pets but more as backyard friends. We got to meet one of them, and she was tiny and orange and we named her Esther. It was kind of perfect.

I love you! God bless us, every one, as my mission president wrote to us this week. I would love to hear from you, my address remains 923 National Hwy, LaVale, MD 21502. Or you can shoot me a li’l missive on dearelder.com!

Love,

Sister Appleston

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