This last week on Monday, because we didn't take a P-day, we helped put things together for FHE that night. It was the last FHE where most people were going to be there before they all left for the summer so we did a big FHE night that they called the "elementary field day on steroids." It was super fun! We went shopping that afternoon with some of the branch members and went to the church afterwards to set up. We did a fire and roasted hot dogs for dinner (it was funny cause we only had hamburger buns to we did "ham dogs" haha) and then made banana boats for dessert. If you don't know what a banana boat is then you should look it up. It's super good. It's a banana with marshmallows and chocolate chips then roasted over the fire. YUM! After that we did a water balloon toss and water baseball. Super fun night and a good day to not have P-day :)
Tuesday we went to lunch with a branch member, Sam. She took us to a restaurant called Otto's. It was super good and I had my first experience with authentic Pennsylvanian food. We had Perogies for an appetizer which is like a noodle stuffed with potatoes and cheese I think? And then I got a Philly Cheese steak. Yum it was so good! They told me that cheesesteaks are better in the West and that they're disgusting in actual Philadelphia. It was good though.
The highlight of my week was being able to go to the temple. We went Wednesday to the Washington D.C. Temple. It was so beautiful! Pictures don't do it justice. We brought two recent converts with us and one of them brought a family name. We had tried to get a family name for the other, but after searching for two hours the night before with no progress, we just decided to try another time. Sister Jones and I did splits for the temple. She went with a couple of the members to do baptisms for the dead and then I along with some members and the other Sisters in our branch went and did endowments. I love the temple SO much! Every time I'm there I just get an overwhelming feeling of the love the Heavenly Father has for us. He has given us so much and it is so cool to go to the temple and get a greater perspective on the things that we learn about from primary. I can't adequately describe how blessed and loved I felt being there. There is just a great Spirit and peace that come from the temple which strengthens my testimony that it is the House of the Lord.
After the temple we went to Ben's Chili Bowl for lunch. If you haven't ever heard of it before then that's crazy because it's famous! Haha no worries if you haven't heard of it though. I hadn't either. It's super good though. They're known for their chili dogs. Lots of famous people have been there like Obama and Bill Cosby and it's been on a lot of food network shows. You should look it up and then be jealous that I went there haha. Also I kinda saw the Washington Monument which was super cool! We didn't have enough time to drive through the city and see the Whitehouse or anything but I saw it from a distance. It was crazy to be so close to that!!!! I basically saw Obama lol
Thursday we had district meeting in the morning and we were all really sad because it was the last one with our district leader Elder Shuppy. He got emergency transferred that evening to go fix some problems that other missionaries caused in another area. He was an awesome DL though and it was sad to see him go because we had all really learned to love him. He was a good example to us and always had good advice and helped us when we needed it. We also taught a new investigator on Thursday. Her name is Ryan. She goes to Penn State but it also taking online courses at BYU. She's catholic but has heard her BYU professors talk a lot about the Book of Mormon and religion and stuff and so she was interested in learning more about it. It was cool cause she approached us and asked if we could meet with her. That morning when we were studying for her we had planned on teaching her the Restoration lesson because obviously she wanted to learn more about the Book of Mormon, but then Sister Jones and I really felt like we should teach the Plan of Salvation instead. It didn't make sense at all but we did it anyway and the lesson was way good. She had a lot of good questions and really liked the idea of the Spirit World and that everyone will have the opportunity to hear the gospel and be able to accept it. She said it really shows that God is just and loves all of His children to be able to give them all that equal opportunity, which is so true! She liked what we had to say and was interested in meeting with us again so we have another appointment with her next week and hopefully it goes well.
Friday was full of goodbyes since everyone is leaving for the summer. Goodbyes are hard haha. We had to say goodbye to a couple of our favorite branch members Sam and Mikelle. We may or may not have cried, but that's only because we love them so much. I think the thing that makes goodbyes so hard is not knowing when you'll be able to see them again and knowing that when you do see them again, things will be different. Change is just hard. Thank goodness I'm a missionary and have to deal with that everyday haha XD Friday morning we put together a display for the Spiritual Center on campus. We made a flyer for our church; when services are, FHE, institute, all that fun stuff. We also gave them a Book of Mormon, Bible, and a Restoration pamphlet to put in the display case. It turned out really cool. For lunch we went to a Chinese restaurant downtown that everyone loves. It's called Big Bowl. It's good food and it's fairly cheep so that's nice. We also ate dinner with the Kendall family that night. Sister Kendall is so cool and always does themed nights when we come over. So Friday night was Italian night and she made Spaghetti with salad and bread sticks and then gelato for dessert. YUM! Haha I love how all of my highlights involve food and what I ate for the day. Food really is the most important thing in life ;P haha jk but it's super good!
Nothing too special on Saturday. Haha of course the highlight of my day that day was dinner. We decided to do a breakfast for dinner night with all of the missionaries in the area. We did it in the lounge of our apartment complex. It was a lot of fun to be with everyone and we learned a little more about everyone's families. We've got a great group of missionaries here in State College!
Sunday was really good. We taught a lesson to a Chinese investigator that morning. His name is Shaun. He's 38 and was here for the last couple years studying agriculture but mainly researching mushrooms haha. He is a professor back in China and has a wife and a couple kids. It was the second lesson we taught him and it was so good. I love teaching Chinese people because they have no concept about God or who He is just cause they don't have that opportunity in China so I love teaching them about God and that He is our Father in Heaven. It's cool to teach people that and see them gain that testimony for themselves. He said a really good prayer at the end of our lesson. The best part was when we asked him if he'd want to meet with us one more time before he goes back home (he leaves next week for China), he told us he was too busy. We were sad and just left it at that but then he asked us if the church was in China as well and if he could keep learning more there. Man that's so cool! So we got him the contact info of the area 70 in China and hopefully he'll be able to contact them and keep learning more!
I'm excited for this week because on Thursday we will be getting our Ipads!!! YAY! All the missionaries from our mission will be going to a training that day in Cranberry, PA. We'll be learning more about how to use our ipads and keep better records and teach more effectively from them and all the resources we'll have on them. I'm super excited to see everyone. Because we have so many missionaries here and over such a big geographic area, we don't really ever all meet at once so it'll be a cool meeting to have everyone there. I'm also super excited for Ipads and all the new opportunities we'll have with them. Our work will be so different but it'll be a lot more effective and we'll be able to reach a much wider range of people. YAY! Get ready for that PA!
Also this week I'll be in charge of leading out the area with me and my companion. So I'll be in charge of our schedules and what we teach and all that good stuff. It's a lot of pressure but it's part of training and it'll be a good test to see if I'm really ready for a mission lol Wish me luck!
Well I hope everyone is doing well. Congrats to Jake and Drew Wensel for your engagements. I saw some pics of the family parties and it looked fun.
I love and miss you all!
Sister Kayla Johnson