MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM MANTI! I still can't believe I'm up here. I feel slightly isolated but it's a good feeling. Before I was used to seeing tons of missionaries each and every day since there was a lot of us down in St. George. Plus I served in the VC that whole time. But this...this is the smallest town I have ever lived/served in. Only 3000 population and 80 non-members in Manti. And oh my goodness it is just the cutest little town ever. It's already become home for me. I don't think I've ever gotten so many warm welcomes as I have here! Everyone says "Oh! We have a new one! Welcome to Manti!"
We go to this adorable little post office to pick up and send our mail. Everyone knows us there and even calls us if we get packages. This town sometimes makes me feel like I'm on one of those old small town 90's movies... does that make sense? Right now we are in the cutest little library! There are a total of 3 restaurants here and not a single signal light. Everyone knows everyone. If you moved here 5 years ago, you're considered new.
And talk about a GORGEOUS temple! We went to the temple on Saturday with one of our recent converts. He was doing baptisms and wanted us to be there with him. We were SO excited to go and see him and feel of the spirit that's there. Their baptistry is one of kind. It's so fun being in a temple that's so old! I can't believe that my whole mission I've never been more than 10 minutes away from a temple. We can even see it from our house!
Sister Lasalosi is awesome. She is honestly a hard worker and I mean that. She doesn't waste time. AND I LOVE THAT!! I love being with a companion who has such a strong desire to find, teach, and baptize. She is the sweetest Tongan I've ever met.
We live with the sweetest couple ever, their names are the Valentines. They live down a dirt road in Manti on a farm. She is the director of the family history center here and she is AWESOME! She reminds me SO much of Aunt Becky. You guys will love her. She is one of a kind and just totally down to earth. And her husband is secretly hilarious. They are in Arizona now for Christmas. I was so sad when they told us they were leaving for two weeks :( I feel like I am just always missing people! They are having us feed their ducks, chickens and cat and check on the cows and such. We thought we would be living in the apartemnt in the barn but we actually live in their basement :) And it's about 50 degrees down there. ...heh :)
In our district meeting this week, our district leader gave us atraining on the "Doing Good" section in Preach My Gospel. He committed us to pray for and seek service opportunities. We've included it in a lot of our prayers since then and holy guacamole. God has answered our prayers. We went to contact a non-member referral the day after that training. It was just a single woman and she was very stressed out; dirty house, needed to get things ready for leaving out of town for Christmas, emotional stresses, etc. We kind of walked in her home uninvited and put our coats down and told her to put us to work. We cleaned. And while we cleaned she told us her whole life story (score). She kept talking and talking and saying things like "I don't know why I'm telling you all of this!" And honestly I'm not sure why she did tell us all of it. It was all a little intense. Maybe it was because we were cleaning her house for her. Maybe it was because she grew up in St. Louis too (go figure!). Or maybe it was because we are representatives of Jesus Christ and she recognized that. Our listening and cleaning while she talked and talked helped us to know her needs. When it was time to go, we shared with her a message of Jesus Christ; a message of peace, and hope and comfort. We gave her a "He is the Gift" card/ I have never seen anyone so thrilled to watch that video as she was. She thanked us over and over again for cleaning, listening, and easing her burdens. That last one really touched me. She said we were angels and kept asking us how we knew to come over to her house at that exact time. She then invited us over to her house for some "religious discussion" the next week :)
There is more teaching here than any of my other areas. Which is totally ideal, don't get me wrong, but time is going by sooo fast. I don't quite like that aspect of it. I was talking to this greenie in our district meeting last week and he asked my companion and I how many months we have left (not very many months left...). He replied with "Lucky. I have two years left." I imagine that's probably how I felt as a greenie at first. It's crazy how much you can change in a year.
I love you all very much :)
Love, Sister Martin