I'm not going to lie... I probably missed home the most this week since Ashland, knowing that you were going to rendezvous. That is the best thing we have ever decided to do. Luckily, pretty much everyone in Kentucky could be a rendezvous person, and that made me feel a little better. I missed being there so much though. I missed being with you guys, missed our rendezvous family, and missed watching Meg freak out every time a gun went off.
I wanted to cry when I heard about Elder Ostler going home for knee surgery. It's like hearing that my own brother tore his ACL! You have no idea how amazing he was as a missionary and as a zone leader! He was doing such amazing things for the Buena Vista zone! I wonder who replaced him? We don't hear any mission news out here in the boonies of Pikeville.
This week has been pretty cool. When I was working with M----- and B-----, it was so great to watch her stop smoking, but it was also cool because the H---- family was so crucial in that process and they were really a bigger means of support and learning than the missionaries were. That's really the way it should be. But this week, I got to start helping T---- stop smoking. And guess what? He's doing it! He hasn't touched a cigarette since Monday!!! And he's been smoking 37 years! I'm so proud of him! Funny story though, the other day we were at his house just doing a quick lesson and checking on how stopping smoking was coming, and I was kinda squinting at my scriptures I guess, and T----'s mom is in the room and she says, "baby, let me get you some glasses." So she goes into the other room, grabs me some reading glasses, and makes me keep them. People out here are just like that---seriously the nicest people you'll ever meet.
Here's just a list of a few things that have happened lately:
We sang Amazing Grace with the Pikeville Elders at a funeral last Sunday.
We picked up a muslim as an investigator.
We had a district meeting in Paintsville where we shared testimonies around a camp fire. (It was on Friday. I think that was God's little tender mercy for me because I didn't get to be around a campfire with y'all at rendezvous.)
We played a prank on the elders and gave me a black eye with make-up, and they all thought Sister Tobler punched me. The funny thing was, they literally believed it.
Helped M----- with S------r's birthday party at a park in Open Fork.
Had an Easter egg hunt at the C------'s
Met a guy who made his own Tarahumara running shoes like the Indians in Born to Run. He usually runs in New Balance minumus like me!
Learned to make fried apple pies with the B----'s (they are my new grandparents! B----- L--- is on instagram and facebook and has a baking company! They are so cute! They look like Mrs. And Mr. Claus!!)
Got to visit the W------- family (who were oringinally taught by President and Sister Pitt! Now all that's left to do is get V------- divorced so she and her new husband can get married and he can be baptized!) They are so good to us and being with them feels like being with our family. V------- picked us some tulips from her yard for Easter before we left their house! They also have a killer pit bull, so we can't get out of our car when we get to their house until they lock him up. They live at the very end of a crazy holler and they don't even have a phone.
Doing service this week I also had an interesting experience. We were at a different church helping pass out food and I had to man the station where the people signed their name and everything to get the food. The second man I helped looked at me as I passed him the pen and paper and told him what to do. He said, "Could you do it for me ma'am? I don't write." I was caught a little off guard. I looked back into his eyes, and I fell in love with him. It just hit me so hard in that moment---the beauty of people. Of being human. I don't really know why, but something about this humble man, his sweet question in his gorgeous southern accent, I just fell in love with everyone in that instant. People are so amazing, and so beautiful. It doesn't matter where you are, what you do, what you CAN'T do, or who your family is. I can't even explain all the emotions I felt in that brief moment, or why I even felt them. But all I know, is God loves that man. And so do I.
I love being here in Pikeville. This place has given me such beautiful experiences and I'm learning so much. I'm so glad I'm on a mission. So glad. I hope y'all enjoyed Easter. I love you so much and pray for you constantly!