September 27 – “Buckets of rain, buckets of…tears.”

Dear Family,

 
How is it? By “it” I suppose I mean everything. How is everything? Thanks for the letters and such! (AMANDA — where did you find my trendy “kathryn” stickers?????!! I need those! Actually I suppose I don’t. The name “kathryn” isn’t really applicable here…)
 
Everything here is great! Today has been awesome. We found a microwave, and one of our elders brought a half a suitcase of popcorn. Life is good! We get to go to the temple this afternoon! 
 
 Cool fact: I move to Minnesota next week. 
 
It’s funny, I feel like I’ve been here forever, just because we pack so much into our time. But I still feel like a new kid, though we welcomed new missionaries in on Wednesday! And now we’re leaving in less than a week! I’m so excited! (Oh, I’ll likely get to call home sometime on Wednesday morn! Early! Plane: 8:46)
 
My district is so neat! Strangest assortment of people together, but it’s awesome! Sister Shumway got chosen to be in a cool choir that will be singing at the Relief Society General Broadcast this Saturday! The other sisters and I drop her off at the bus every morning to go to the main campus for practice.  We send her with a sack lunch and instructions to be kind to the other children. I then get to be a tri-panionship for a few hours every morning! The other sisters, Sister Davis and Sister Terry are very fun to be with and we get to teach our investigator together! We learn SO MUCH every day – I just hope I can retain it.  I love my teachers – I want to be friends forever with them. We’re also very punny. 
 
I’ve been trying to pretend I’m at a reformatory school. We spend a majority of our time in our little classroom. Study and class takes place there.  Despite my efforts, It doesn’t feel like a reformatory school at all! Being here on this campus – it feels more like real life. We got to walk to the Marriot Center for devotional the other night! That was awesome – in one room with sooo many missionaries! 
 
No one here checks up on us, so it’s definitely an integrity thing to follow the schedule. Our district is trying to make an effort to study together as much as possible.  Even if we’re not talking to each other or anything, we’ve observed that while everyone is in one room studying together, the spirit is so much stronger than if we’re just studying on our own.  I love being here in September – perfect back to school time! 
 
For gym time we must be pretty creative around here.  There aren’t really any gym facilities, aside from basketball hoops and grassy areas.  My favorite thing I saw this week was an elder bench press a bike rack! Creativity. And desperation for a good work out. We usually run around, try to get as much energy out as we can, play some lightning with the elders, or volleyball. It’s been rainy and fun. (Hence title – no tears though!)  Our Austrailian, Sister Davis, has never seen snow before (or felt cold before…) so that’s been exciting to see the snowy Provo mountains. Should it already be snowing? Crazy stuff. 
 
Best thing I’ve learned while being here is just more about Christ. More specifically, The Atonement and repentance and really the ‘WHY’ of everything in the gospel. Alma the Younger’s conversion story is so beautiful. We went through Lehi’s vision of the tree of life last night with our investigator. (Ok, so our investigator is our teacher role-playing, but when you take it seriously it feels pretty real – and then he can give us feedback). I tend to take over and just keep talking – but that’s not why we’re there.  Sister Shumway always brings in the Spirit and we’re trying to figure out better ways to begin a lesson. The Book of Mormon – it’s what’s up. 
 
Yesterday we got to go up to main campus and have “in-field orientation.” We learned about finding, contacting, planning, and working with local church leaders. In class we usually just cover doctrine and teaching fundamentals. It was a fun field trip! It means we’re leaving NEXT WEEK. Ready or not. We got to experience their food and campus for a day. We also took a picture of our district in front of that classy map! I’ll send it along. 
 
There’s my district! (minus Sister Shumway – she was at choir practice and it won’t let me send more pics…) Elder Jove, Elder Griffin, Me, Sister Terry, Sister Davis, Elder Roose, Elder Blackham. 
 
 I hope all is well! I did hear the football game from our classroom the other night! Twas quite funny! Provo-livin.’ 
 
Love you, praying for you. 
 
Love, Sister Gessel
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