First, I must apologize for not writing last week. Our P-Day in the MTC was on Tuesday, and we flew out Tuesday morning so we had to skip one. But they're on Monday's now so I will be sure to write on the same day as all the other wonderful missionaries in the world! The MTC was incredible, and it was kind of hard to leave it. The whole 13 days we were there we were excited to get out into the real world and put to action what we've learned, but then when the moment finally came to leave the MTC, we all panicked that we didn't know enough! The MTC was a 13 day experience that will always be dear to my heart. I have officially decided that when I get home I shall teach there. :)
I arrived in Portland, Oregon on Tuesday morning at around 10 a.m. and met the Mission President and his wife waiting for us just before baggage claim. President and Sister Taylor are two of the most wonderful people I have ever met. So sincerely kind and loving for all their missionaries, and simply the sweetest people! From the airport, Sister Maughan and I rode with President and his wife to the mission office, where we had sort of an "orientation" until around 4. Then a bunch of missionaries from the area came to take us with them to practice "OYM's" (Open Your Mouth), which is basically just inviting any random person to act on something. So giving out a pass-a-long card, bearing testimony and inviting them to do something, etc. I went with a trio of Sisters (Spanish speaking Sisters mind you), and since there were four of us, we split up. I went with Sister Ramos to an old apartment complex that I assumed they had been to before. Alright. This is where the story takes off.
Sister Ramos told me to feel free to teach in English, and she would just translate, but that of course made me SUPER nervous! I thought we were practicing OYM's, not actually TEACHING anything! So we knocked on a door and a tiny older lady peeked through her curtains at us, Sister Ramos crossed her fingers, and the door opened. The lady invited us in and started talking really fast in Spanish. All I understood was that she thought we looked pretty and that she was making homemade tortilla's and we were welcome to have some. I quietly said, "Mi nombre es Hermana Guilott," and she replied something long and fast in Spanish. That was embarrassing. Anyway, we sat down and her and Sister Ramos talked for a bit, but eventually she got up and went into the kitchen. While she was gone, a younger man came from the bedroom and sat down in front of us and started talking to Sister Ramos about "Jesu Cristo." Hey! I know that one! We were so excited that he knew about Jesus Christ, so Sister Ramos began talking to him about... Well something about the Gospel. Then she turned to me and asked me to give my piece. I had NO clue what she had already said, so I started talking about the Book of Mormon. That it is the direct word of God, that it is an answer to prayers, etc. etc. As Sister Ramos was translating, he kept looking at me, so we asked him if he spoke English, and he DID! Oh thank goodness! We taught him in English, and to keep a long story short, after asking him what he would do if Christ knocked on his door and asked Pedro (that was his name) to follow Him, what he would do, and he said he'd follow Him, the lesson took off. In the short 15 minutes we were there, he committed to a return appointment on Friday before he goes to church on Sunday (which he also committed to), reading some verses in the Libro de Mormon we gave him with a pass-a-long card as a bookmark, praying to know if the words of the Book are true, and he committed to be baptized on February 22nd. ...WHAT?! I was the one who extended all those invitations (not all at once, nobody panic), and he was so ready! After we had taught him about baptism, he was so excited to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be made clean. It was such a wonderful experience! After we left, Sister Ramos kept saying, "Oh Sister! That was a miracle! You were the miracle they needed! I can't believe that happened! Oh Sister! Oh Sister!" I was confused. Isn't that what ALWAYS happened in the mission field? Apparently, some other Sisters had been teaching the nice little woman MONTHS ago, but she had stopped letting the missionaries in. She would peek through her curtains, then lock the door. This was the first time in about 8 months that she had opened the door, and they had never met Pedro before. Isn't is crazy how the Lord works? It was quite the experience for the first 15 minutes of my mission. :)
After going out with the missionaries, all the newbies were dropped off at the Mission Home for dinner (that's also where the new Sisters would be staying for the night). We ate a wonderful dinner, had a "get to know your President" devotional thing, and went to bed a bit early. The next day we met our Companion's and got assigned to our areas. My area is called Lacamas Creek, and it is BEAUTIFUL! My companion is Sister Major! She is Isaac and Kylie's cousin! Isn't that fun? She's absolutely amazing, and I couldn't have asked for a better trainer. We get along wonderfully, and we work really well together. :) Oh I love me my Sister Major! We are living with a member family in the Lacamas Creek Ward, Vancouver East Stake. The Combs family are who we are living with, and they are great. We live in the basement apartment of their beautiful house, and boy are we grateful for their hospitality.
We actually have only had about a day to be out and about since we've been here, because it snowed. A LOT. And whenever it snows here, all of Washington shuts down, and President tells us it's not safe to drive our cars. That wouldn't be a big deal if we could walk places, but we live far far away from the rest of the ward and it would take us a very long time to get anywhere on foot. We live in the woods. It's magical. :) The snow was truly a blessing in disguise though, because I have been super sick with a nasty cold all week. There is no way it would have gotten any better if we had been outside. Heavenly Father knew that I needed to be trapped indoors to work on getting better. It's amazing the things that happen that are obviously His hand in our lives. It has been nice to be able to stay inside and work on getting better while we study diligently and do our best to stay focused on the work. Today is the first day that the roads have been safe enough for us to get out. Sister Combs took us to our dinner appointment last night, and we got a bit of tracting done after dinner, but other than that, we haven't really been able to go out. We did get a new investigator last night though! Her name is Meg, and she is a very sweet lady. She's married and has two sons, all of which seem very interested in what we have to say, and it seems that they will be very receptive to the Gospel. Meg is reading the Book of Mormon, and we have a return appointment for Wednesday!
Nothing has brought me more joy than serving the Lord. I know that this is long letter, but I had to tell you as much as I could in the short time that I have today. I am so grateful to be out here in Vancouver serving my Father in Heaven daily. Bringing these people to the knowledge of the Gospel of our Heavenly Father is blessing so many people, and that has been made so apparent as we have been striving to find His children who are prepared to receive it. I can not fully express how much I love these people, but I love being able to feel this Godly love for every person I meet. This mission is already incredible, and it's only been a week! AND we've only gotten out for a few hours, but I can already see the blessings that come from being here. I love this Gospel, and I love my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Till next week!
Sister Nicole Guilott