Monday, January 6, 2014

Squirrel and Rabbit

So last night we got to attend this really cool candlelight service at a Presbyterian church in Buena Vista. They do it every year, and invite our ward to join them. It was held in this tiny little church house---I wish I would have gotten a picture of it! It was so Virginia. It is one of the oldest church houses in this area and everything is made of gorgeous old wood and it was just packed full of people. There were lots of musical numbers mixed with the pastor of the Presbyterian congregation reading scriptures from the Christmas story and Isaiah. There were a few songs where everyone sang together. The music just filled up that tiny little church and it just felt like Christmas! Right before the very last song, Silent Night, we each got a candle and passed the flame from one person to another. Then we sang Silent Night together. It was one of the most beautiful experiences I've had on my mission. I just stood there, next to Sister Pierson and the Lexington Elders, with members of the Lexington Ward that I've come to know and love so deeply, mixed with members of the Presbyterian church. Our singing filled up every inch of that beautiful little church, and I just had one of those moments where I knew I was exactly where I am supposed to be. I wouldn't have missed that moment for the world. How lucky am I that I was called to the West Virginia Charleston Mission, transferred from Ashland to Lexington, so I could be in that little church at that exact moment, and I could feel how deeply God loves me, and how aware he is of me, and that I could share it with these people, especially Sister Pierson, all of whom I've grown to love so much. There is no better place to spend Christmas than Lexington, Virginia.

After the service everyone moved over to a building next to the church where we had food and treats. We got to talk to a less active man, Brother B--- there! We've left notes on his door but never got to actually talk to him. We got chatting with him and he got talking about how he plays the banjo in this old time band! We were sitting next to the Zone Leaders as we talked to him and he was telling us we should come to this civil war ball that his band is playing for. As he's telling us this and we're like, "yeah, that would be sweet," he looks over at the elders (who weren't part of the conversation yet) and he says, "Hey, my band is playing for the ball in January; you guys should take these girls!" We just all laugh and Elder Smith just laughs and is like, "Well, we'll have to see what we can do." Brother B--- is such a funny guy and he had no idea that we're not allowed to date or anything like that. We kept talking to him and somehow it came up that he was into... drumroll please... archery!!!! Finally my strange rendezvous skills are coming into play! We got talking about bows and he was all excited and was telling me how he's part of the Rockbridge Archery Club and has taught classes and does competitions and everything! Then he invites us to come up and shoot with him one evening! It may or may not be against mission rules to shoot archery.... but, it never actually says that in the white handbook.... so we'll see how that goes! But for sure I'll get to go up and see his bows at least! It just made my day to get to make that connection with him that we had laughed about back home... but it really happened! 

Another backwoods event occured on Tuesday of this week. We went out to visit this woman we were referred to by Sister Pierson's aunt. So we go out to visit this lady whose name is
 H----  B---. Yeah, that's really her name! Sweet, right? So I'm already pumped to get to meet her. We drive down these GORGEOUS country roads to her little farm tucked in the hills. (I'm head over hills for Virginia. I want to go to VMI. I LOVE LEXINGTON!!!) We knock on her door and give her the cookies we had brought for her, expecting to just have a quick visit and try and get a return appointment or something, but she invites us in to see her chicken who had gotten broody. They kept her inside under a light and she sat on some eggs that had just hatched! They had put some banty eggs and some americauna eggs under her and so she had a few different kinds of chicks! It was so sweet! And so fun because I could talk chickens with her! So we talked about chickens for a minute then she says, "Well, come on in and meet my kids who are home from college." We go into her kitchen and get to meet her adorable daughter who is our age and her son who just BARELY graduated from VMI! So we chat with them for a while and just really hit it off! Sister Pierson gets to talk about her aunt to them, and it just felt like we were with family! Apparently H--- and her kids felt that way too, because she said, "Why don't ya'll just stay for dinner?" Of course we said yes. They had so many questions about our job as missionaries and what we did and it was so fun to answer them! They were such a fun and funny family. The best part of it all though, was that the VMI boy had gone hunting that morning... squirrel hunting. AND HE COOKED US SQUIRREL!!!! It was one of my mission bucket list items to get fed squirrel, and it was just icing on the cake that a VMI boy, who is a great cook, made it for us! And it was so yummy! It was seriously one of the best things I've eaten on my mission!  We got to watch him cook it, because we were all just chatting around the island in the kitchen and helping get dinner ready, and he definitely had some sweet cooking skills. It was just an awesome night, and I felt like I was with family.

A few nights later we got fed RABBIT by a member family! I might have mentioned them before, they are some of my favorites, the S----------. They have an adorable daughter and the cutest little autistic son. They also have two hound dogs. EVERYONE out here has hunting dogs, even if they don't hunt. It's the land of hounds and hunting dogs.... and dogs with fleas. Pretty much every dog here has fleas. And speaking of dogs..... we got to go out to Collierstown this week and visit a less active member. There's this holler with about 7 houses down in it with people who are all related, and all less active. We call them the M------ clan. I totally forgot to ask the lady we visited if she was related to any M-------- out West.  Wouldn't that be so sweet if we were related? She was telling us great stories about hunting coons with her hound dogs and how her daughter shot a bear this week!!!  There are apparently a lot of bears out here. I love these people! I knew there was a reason I grew up in a family of hunters---even though I sorta hate killing things!

Also out in Collierstown we found a street named Lytle street!!!! What the heck!!!! And apparently there are some Lytle's out in Buena Vista people keep telling me about.

The last two great things from this week are T----- and S----- getting confirmed, and helping do Christmas boxes at the Horse Center in Lexington Saturday morning. We spent all Saturday morning at the Horse Center helping pack boxes of food and presents for people in need in the area! So fun! and the Horse Center was sweet! And T----- and S----- are officially members of the church now!!! They got confirmed Sunday and it was so beautfiul! It was really cool that their son, who is down for the holidays, got to be there for that as well. Seeds are being planted! 

It was such a good week and I can't wait to talk to you all on Christmas! I love you and pray for you every day!

Sister Pierson at the Horse Center

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