Sept 29, 2013 I really am sorry about the quality of my emails for the past little bit--it's really crazy at computer time and most of the time I have to spend sending a letter to President Wall. I'm not meaning to neglect y'all, but between reading all the emails, writing to President, writing to our stake president as he's requested us to, and writing to you, I don't ever have much time to really think of details to put in. I feel bad for being upset with my missionary friends for not writing me back, because preperation day is just as busy as every other day, and it's the only day we can write emails or letters. (if I didn't have a lawn to mow, I would be fine!) I hope the pictures came in useful--it's the only way I could think of sending them with captions. Life of a missionary is crazy and I really do wish I had more time. Poor Teddy boy :( I miss our puppies and the kitties too. Last night we were at a less-active member's home and they have TONS of animals. I was petting one of the kittens hanging out by the house and she stretched and was holding on to my skirt as I petted her, but then she lost her balance and was holding on ONLY by my skirt. At least you guys know I'm a sucker for animals. Also funny--lizard roundup has begun again for the first time in a few years. I rescued a tiny one from the shower, and we constantly have to keep them and the toads out of our house. My companion thought I had actually gone insane when she heard me talking in the shower. It was after a really long day, so it was understandable. This week was not quite what we had been expecting: we had received promptings that we needed to go tracting (going door to door asking if people want to hear the gospel--sort of what you think of when you think of missionaries), but that's not the most effective way of working. But on our side of the river, there are only three members and two less-active members within a 5 or 6 mile radius. So we thought we were going to have a lot of investigator lessons this week. Instead, we ended up somehow only teaching three, but we taught 12 less-active members this week, which never happens. Our goal, which in our entire time together and in Sister Jones' entire mission, is to teach 20 lessons per week...this week, unbelievably, we taught 21. I have no idea how we did it. So, to respond to your emails, Dad's questions first: A transfer is a six-week period of time where we are in one spot, or area. Every six weeks, any of us could potentially be moved somewhere else, though usually we stay for more than a transfer. Every six weeks new missionaries come into the mission, and old missionaries leave. So my email headings are T2 W2, meaning transfer 2, week 2. sisters have 12 transfers in a mission. Last transfer meeting (on the Wednesday of Week 1) Elder Adkins got transferred and we got Elder Virgin as district leader, or the guy who's sort of in charge of the missionaries in our area. Sister Jones and I are hoping we get to stay together through next transfer (T3) because she goes home at the end of it and that means I get to stay in Vidalia for at least another 6 weeks after that. I don't know if I've grown taller in the heat :) but I know my hair has grown about an inch and a half since July. The closest temple is the Louisiana Baton Rouge temple, and we're about 2 hours away. We got to go last week, and it was much needed. I sent some pictures of the district home in the box. I think the closest temple aside from that is...Jackson? Not sure. I just know our temple here is the LA-BAT. There definitely aren't any in the neighborhood, no :) And as for the football scores, I don't know but I sure hope so! I only know when LSU is playing and caught a glimpse of the LSU-Kent State game. Mark sends me the USU scores though every week (and last week he sent me the Utah Gymnastics Schedule.) As for fire ants....I apparently taste really good to all kinds of bugs because I get bitten like no other, Just on my legs, though. I don't normally have issues with my arms. And I haven't gotten chiggers or red bugs yet though, which is a blessing.
I'm trying to include details! I really am! The mission website isn't loading so I can't email president right now, which is why you're so lucky :).
Katie, I'm sorry about New Zealand :( But I hope you get to go to Poland! That would be awesome. did I tell you I saw Emily King from Alta in the MTC? If not, she says hello. She's going to Poland (well she's already there.) It's been rainy here, but no snow thank goodness. I had enough snow last year to last me for this winter. I don't know where this email is going...it's sort of stream of consciousness, but you should expect that of me. The bishop here is moving into a really cool antebellum home in downtown Natchez, so we've been helping them clean it and paint. The missionaries have been helping for the past year or so, because it was seriously terrifying--they bought it for $50,000 and sold the stuff that the people left in it (they were hoarders) for $40,000. But we've been helping with drywall and painting and insulation and so on and so forth. So finish the remodeling at home before I get back, so I don't have to help :) Louisiana is very flat. Mississippi is very not. But I have now biked accross the Mississippi river and across a state line! I thought I was going to die, yet here I am. Carrie, Kalo looks good in his pictures, and you definitely look good on him. Glad my nephew pony is doing better :) So does Kalo just sort of hang out with the old farts and Ellie now? I feel like he would get bored. But I hope eventually when I'm not allergic to most things anymore I will get to come with you and go trail riding or something.
As for the work, especially with investigators...well, it's been a challenge this week. We have one investigator who for some reason just lit on fire this week, reading and praying and generally being awesome, but other than that...we don't really have much progress. The people are great, but one of our two solid investigators we gave to the elders and the other no longer wants to speak with us. We don't know what happened. But this week will be full of finding. Well...I don't know really what else to say. Pray, read the scriptures (I just got to Alma 11 this morning. If you need a good chapter to read, go read either Alma 5 (page 217), Alma 32 (page 288) or Ether 12 (page 508)). Work hard, play hard and I love y'all so much!! Sister Steele :)