Last P-Day In Wasilla: I got the majority of my bags packed and we played tennis at this park out in Willow with the zone. I mostly just sat and wrote in everyone's transfer journal and had everyone sign mine. We had to leave a bit early to go hiking with the Henson's and Bobby D. He really wanted to go hiking with us so the Henson's drove us to Thunderbird Falls. That probably was the best hike he could ever hike because he could hear the waterfall. Usually hiking is a scenic adventure but with the roaring of the waterfall, Bobby was able to experience a hike the best way a blind and hard-of-hearing person can.
Fly to Fairbanks: We had changed up our logistics a bit as Sister Peterson felt that she should stay with Lazy Mountain where there are three beds and she needed to finish packing. I had spent the night with Sister Johnson in Eagle river prior to driving to Anchorage. We showed up to the Brayton chapel and saw the 20+ new missionaries outside taking a picture with their trainers. There are only two sisters who came out and one is named Sister Willden. I got to talk with her and take a picture with her. I want to find out how closely we are related.
We drove to the airport and got on our flight. The plane was half full, so I got the whole row to myself. Great time to nap. There are 6 sets of missionaries just in my district (the norm is 4) and 3 sets are being white washed including us. Also majority of our zone is training new missionaries. This is going to be an interesting transfer. We probably have the biggest area in the world as a companionship; as we are YSA Sisters, we can go anywhere our skate goes. Our skate is huge as it covers Fairbanks, North Pole, Delta Junction, and all the way up to Barrow which is the highest city a person can go to in the world...It is huge !!
Food Bank: We have a weekly service helping out at the food bank. This week we actually did back-to-back days. The first day we helped to shop for orders. I had to pretend basically that I was the mom of the family and get the amount of food I would need for a family of 2 or 4 or whatever number we were given. It was a lot of fun. We got fed lunch afterwards, which was wonderful. We also are allowed to take home 10lbs of produce and bread which will help me to save money on groceries. The next day we helped a lady in the back with packaging up boxes to ship to some of the villages. This cook machine they have puts this plastic band around the boxes to secure it shut. It was a lot of fun and I never got tired of how much it excited me.
Other Service: We helped out with bingo at the Pioneer Home which FBX 2nd Ward Elders showed up to as well, because it was in their area book. Sisters used to be in second and elders used to be in the YSA, but we switched this transfer. So the elders who are now in the 2nd ward have what the sisters used to do for service. We decided to let them continue to help out with bingo and that we would just help out with glamour nails for the elderly ladies on Tuesdays. The elders were cool with that. Thought I think one was okay to help out with nails :) This week we also helped out at the fair. Our Church had a Family History Center booth there that rotated the missionaries and some members to help run it. We took over for the North Pole sisters. What little training I have with FamilySearch.org, helped quite a bit. We had people come by who were interested in genealogy and liked that we have a site that is free to use. I talked to one lady about why we do family history in the Church and she seemed interested in the fact that we do it in an eternal perspective. We enter this world in a family here on earth and our families can be perpetuated beyond the grave. Family History work is very important and it helps to bind families together to last after this life. Matthew 18:18, "Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." God is bound by certain laws as we are. Our families won't be together in the after-life without being sealed together and that only happens in our temples. Family history work helps us to find our ancestors to bind them together for eternity.
YSA Branch: So what I thought was a YSA Ward (Young Single Adult) is a YSA Branch. All this means is that it is a really small ward. They said the Branch's size will shrink in half by mid September when most people leave to go to school down in the lower 48. We do a lot of activities though in a singles ward. They have finished the summer semester of Institute last week and we don't know when the fall semester will begin, but those are Thursday nights. We have FHE (Family Home Evening) every Monday. Normally families will just get together to have a spiritual discussion and then do a fun activity together as a way for the family members to bond. Well, in a singles ward (branch), we don't necessarily have our families with us so the ward (branch) as a big family that comes together to do the same had we had our families here. On Saturdays they plan extra activities for the Branch members to participate. The best thing about it is that it is a lot easier, and less of a commitment, to bring non members to. It's something fun we do and all friends are welcome. When we talk to people who are between the ages of 18 to 30, we try to invite them to the activities to meet members of the church and have some fun with people who live in their same area. We have been doing a lot of less active work, trying to know who the members of the branch are, and trying to meet all of our investigators. Most investigators we will have will be referrals which is good because they already have a friend in the church.
Sent from ALASKA!
Sister Shelley Willden