Hello from the East Coast!
This is the most amazing place! It's like living in another country, but I'm actually here in the United States. I already think that it's the best mission in the world. I am so sorry about not having the chance to update you last week.
My trip began Monday morning, at 3 am. I left the Mexico MTC and boarded a plane destined for the Dallas airport. In Dallas, the other missionaries and I all stopped for lunch because we hadn't eaten since 3 that morning. The first American food in 6 weeks. So good. Then, from Dallas to New Jersey, I sat next to an Evangelical Priest and talked to her about the gospel for all 3 hours on the airplane. I shared with her my testimony and asked questions about her religion. As I pulled out a Book of Mormon to give to her she said, "Oh, you better keep that one. I don't think I need it. I think I already have one". haha. First rejection. We continued talking until the plane landed, but before we got off the plane she handed me her business card for her church. She said, "Here's my card if you ever want to get a hold of me". I graciously thanked her and said, "Here's my card as well", as I handed her a pass-along card. ;) I explained the website on it and told her to visit. I didn't meet my goal of placing a Book of Mormon, but I gained a great experience from talking with this sister.
Once off the plane, I was picked up by the mission assistants (APs) and, with the other missionaries, taken to a plaza in downtown Newark. One of the assistants, Elder Harris, explained that every Monday night some of the missionaries get together and sing hymns in the plaza as a way to spread the gospel. What a great idea! Well, the joke was on me. Once we got to the plaza, we were assigned a senior companion from one of the more experienced missionaries. We began singing "Called to Serve" and once we got to the chorus, "onward, ever onward", our companions took off running and told us to keep up with them. Right then and there we began proselyting in the streets of downtown Newark. What an amazing experience! I saw miracles happen with people I just met. The first 5 people we talked to all were interested in the gospel. After we had talked to our 5th person, I turned to my senior companion and asked if people are always that open to the message of the gospel. She said, "No. That was a miracle." I know that the Lord placed those people in our path for a reason. All we had to do was open our mouth and share what we know!
From Newark, we drove to the mission home where we were able to meet our mission president. I love my mission president. He is an answer to so many of my prayers. He and his wife are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. To help you understand that I'm not just biased I'll explain. President Jeppson was in his early teens when his brother went through a traumatic car accident which took a toll on his family. A few year later, his dad committed suicide and left his mother in a very desperate situation. As he was preparing to go on a mission, he began having a pain in his left leg. He made it to the MTC, but was only there about half of the time because he was constantly in the hospital due to this pain he was experiencing. The day before he was to go out in the mission field, the doctors found a large tumor in his leg and decided it was best to amputate. After much time, and receiving a prosthetic leg, he served a full-time mission. Since then, he was married, has had 5 children, one of which died before the age of 7. Now, he is on his second mission, he has sung in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, he is the only mission president in the world who is also a Patriarch, and his son-in-law is Alex Boye. He truly is amazing.
The first night in New Jersey, they didn't have enough beds at the mission home. Two other sister missionaries and I volunteered to stay at the apartment of some other sister missionaries not too far from the mission home. They only had two beds to offer, so I volunteered take the couch. That was probably one of the nicest couches I have ever slept on....that or maybe I was extra tired from being up since 2 in the morning. haha. Either way, Heavenly Father blessed me with a really good sleep because I needed it for the next day.
The following day we had several meetings and then went to transfer conference where we would meet up with our trainer. All of the trainers and all of the new missionaries had a meeting together. At this point, none of the new missionaries had been assigned a trainer yet. During lunch, the mission president, his wife and the assistants prayed to know who should be the trainers for each missionary. Ever since I got my mission call I had been praying for a good trainer. Well...my prayers were answered.
My companion, Hermana Jordan (pronounced hor-dan) is from Bolivia. She is 21 years old. She is a convert to the church and has the most amazing testimony. I LOVE her. She has enough faith to move mountains. It is a huge privilege to be her companion.
After transfer conference was over, our apartment was 2 hours away in a city called Plainsboro. The whole way back, we conversed only in Spanish. It was amazing. I had no idea that I knew that much Spanish! The gift of tongues is very real and I am so grateful for it.
Since that day, I have grown to love more than I ever thought I could. I love my companion, I love the Latin people that I get to associate with, I love the Spanish branch that I attend, I love the food. I love everything.
As mentioned earlier, I live in a town called Plainsboro. This town is very close to a city called Princeton...as in...Princeton University. I get to proselyte at Princeton University! I feel smarter already ;) haha For those of you who have never seen/been to Princeton, this school is AMAZING. The campus is BEAUTIFUL. Beyond any that I have ever seen. It is very odd though. On one street you have Princeton University with it's beautiful campus and extravagant buildings, and then two streets down, where I spent most of my time proselyting, there is extreme poverty. To give you an idea; take the average college apartment living room and kitchen area...now cut it in half...and place 3 families living in that area. 3. My heart breaks every time I go into one of the investigators homes, but what heals my heart is the faith that some of these investigators have. Holy cow. I have never seen such faith in my WHOLE life. These people are special. I love them so much. Words. Ah. No words can describe how much I love them.
Living in New Jersey is like living in a different country....but it's the BEST!
I love you all so much! Big handshakes from this Jersey girl,