October 7 – HARK! Conference in Cottage Grove!

DEAR FAMILY,
 
GREETINGS FROM COTTAGE GROVE, MINNESOTA!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Ask me how excited I am right now??????? Real excited, to be sure.
 
Let me tell you about things! The flight was good. Fun talking to some of you at the airport! It was awesome to see the trees and fall splendor from the plane! (Alas – on a note of sadness – I would send pictures but my unfortunate camera is a definite goner. It’s ok – I’ll get a disposable one, haha. Or you have permission, father, to rifle through my bank account and purchase a new one?)
 
President & Sister Clements are so awesome! Seriously the best! Love them already.
 
My trainer is Sister Breedlove (funny name right?) from Snowflake, AZ. I love her. She has been great – been out since February! She kinda looks like Katniss, and is very kind and funny. And exactly obedient! Everyone loves her because she loves them. I look forward to being with her for the next while! We are pretty funny. have you ever heard of the Lamb of God musical thing? We listen to that LOTS.
 
I’ll tell you of Cottage Grove! Our ward boundaries cover about 3 cities – even a bit of Wisconsin! We’re relatively close to St. Paul. Cottage Grove is a quaint suburban town. We cross over the Mississippi river every so often! It is BEAUTIFUL. The trees are changing colors and everywhere reminds me of Grandma’s house. The houses and streets look like Steven’s Point. The people and religions are very diverse. The ward is BIG! There are 3 sets of missionaries in it – us and 2 sets of elders. We live in a member’s basement – The Phillip’s. I’ve been trying to come up with an accurate description of their home – it sort of looks like a garage sale from the 70’s. Pretty fun. We’re going to be moving soon though! We’re excited to have a kitchen and such!
 
Some of these PEOPLE are AMAZING! Everyone here belongs to one church or another. Seriously.  There are churches everrrrrrryyyyyyyyhwerrrrrre.  We’re trying to get the message across that we’re not just another church. I don’t know. It is so aweosme to see people’s faith.
 
Let me tell you of our friend Joanna! She has been meeting with the missionaries only a few times and is really excited about getting baptized and turning her life around. We taught her about the law of chastity, thinking that it was going to be awkward and potentially offensive, but it was great! She says she was just talking about getting married to her boyfriend already. She came to conference yesterday and brought her little son! They both received blessings from the elders. SO AWESOME. She can’t get a job right now (because she’s an illegal immigrant from ghana, cough cough…) but things are really looking up for her!!! (Oh and an elder that was in my MTC zone is in my ward! Elder Kelsch!)  I’m realizing fast that some people are just READY and prepared for the gospel and some are not. Many people get kinda defensive when they see our nametags. It’s ok – we’re planting seeds wherever we go, am I right?
 
Ok. Let’s talk about GENERAL CONFERENCE! What that amazing or was that amazing???? We watched it in our chapel with the elders and some other members. Did you have any favorites??? I have never loved conference so much — and never love President Monson so much. We have a prophet of God here on earth – it’s kind of a big deal. I thought about you all quite a bit during a few particular talks! Mommy and Daddy – Bednar’s talk, am I right??? There was one for all of you! Can’t wait for the Ensign. I was thinking – if I was home I should like to initiate a better family scripture study time. Maybe you could have a Gessel Gospel Study moment every day! What do you think? I’ve been here for like 4-5 days and I already see the great importance of member missionary work!!!! Not much gets done without the member’s support – seriously. They are there to offer rides to our investigators, teach with us, fellowship — it’s all awesome and necessasry! I encourage you all to see yourselves as missionaries too. Was it Boyd K Packer who spoke of that? Among others of course. I recall someone saying to reach out to someone before Christmas! What a good world wide goal!! Just reaching out a bit helps a lot! I know you all are awesome and willing. Also, when you get the chance – feed the missionaries!!!! That’s seriosuly the best thing EVER. And, Ben, I was thinking about you – pay attention in seminary. I wish I had! And you have Bro Hedland – that’s awesome! Tis never toooo early to start prepping.
 
Among other good things, I HAVE A BIKE!! It’s the best! Every morning I ask Sister Breedlove if we can ride bikes, and she says, “No, foolish young one, it’s too rainy or too far.” Not in those exact words, but, I mean, you know. I love getting to ride bikes! We have a car too! Our area is sooo spread out. We’re going to try to bike more though becasue the weather is looking up and we don’t have many miles. Today is the first day I’ve seen the sun!!! Can’t believe it snowed in Layton, hahah.
 
It gets dark out really soon. People don’t like answering there doors after like 7:30. We’re trying to creatively fill our 8th hour. (we work till 9) Last night we wrote a bunch of scriptures on sticky notes and put them on doors and stuff. Trying to do something – our appointments and stuff all fell through. Any ideas? I remember some missionaries at home having a youth night like once a month where all the youth could come, invite friends, share a message, etc. They used to do it at the Larkins? Any way, maybe something like that!
 
Alright. Well that’s my current life! Love it! Love all you too! Tell me your favorite parts of conference!!
(Thanks for the funny pictures and the addresses Ma! I was thinking… how bout giving your bros a call? Being here – I can’t help but be reminded of all my wisconsin cousins!)
 
Love, Sister Gessel !!!!!!
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