Monday, February 24, 2014

I'm Staying!!!

   I know you were all on pins and needles to know about transfers.... Just Kidding, you probably didn't realize they were even coming up! Anyway, Sister H and I are both staying, and I'm super excited.  This is actually the first transfer I've had without a change, so that will take a little bit of getting used to, but I think they're trying to do that more in the mission.
   I love being a missionary!! It's my favorite thing to do. I love feeling like an instrument in the Lord's hands--especially when it involves talking to His children.  There are so many times when someone will confide in us or tell us their problems. If it was just me, I would have NO idea what to say or how to help them, but the wonderful thing is, our Heavenly Father know EXACTLY what to say and do that will help them the most.  I love those times when, through the Holy Ghost, He helps me help them.  It's such an amazing experience.  We have had a couple of those this week. Often, when we visit less-active members of the church, they will open up to us about their concerns and reasons for not coming.  Sometimes it's getting offended, sometimes it's health problems, and sometimes it's a lot more complicated than that.  Every time, if Sister H and I are unified in the Spirit, we will have a scripture or a thought come to mind that helps them with that concern.  I testify that those promptings do not come from me.  I know they don't come from Sister H either. They come from our Father in Heaven who loves us and loves those we are trying to serve.
   I guess, in short, I am learning more and more that life is all about being a more worthy servant of God.  It's doing what He would have us do because He knows best.  It's being humble enough to submit our will to His.  It's being in tune with the Spirit and following the promptings that He shares with us. Truly, it is loving God more than everything else.  

Hay que tener fe!
Sister Pratt
Let's start off with some GORGEOUS scenery... I love this area so much

It's been a long day at work for Jackson!! Haha we decided that my plan B career path is going to be pet photographer!

So this picture actually deserves a long explanation.. we found this HUGE box, and decided to paint it for the Elders in our district. We made each of the sides of the box resemble one of the missionaries by customizing their ties and nametages, etc.  4 days later, at District meeting, they all file in with their cardboard ties on! It was seriously the funniest thing ever.

I realized I hadn't sent pictures of Jeffrey's baptism yet!!  Here are a couple.

These are from cleaning the church! Sister Hatch and I didn't know what job to take over, so I decided I should dust the lights in the gym because no one ever does that! It was pretty fun :)

we found a really fat turkey.... naturally Sister Hatch decided to become friends with it!

.....And some GORGEOUS sunsets. This place is unreal!

(I also found the sunset setting on my camera, so that might've helped)

super cute baby!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My First Baptism!

  I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures. I'll see if I can't possibly get them to you later in the week.  Jeffrey C_____ was baptized last Saturday! He is the little 10 year old boy I mentioned earlier. I'm not sure how much I told you about him, but he is the brightest 10 year old I know. He gets it. He has such a strong testimony of his Father in Heaven, and his prayers are so sincere. Many times, we've tried to ask him rhetorical questions, but he would just answer them with his knowledge of simple truths.  His mom is actually a recent convert of about 5 years and is almost completely blind. At first, the parents wanted to wait for Jeffrey to be baptized because they wanted him to know everything about the Gospel of Jesus Christ before-hand. However, as her condition has worsened, they realized that waiting might actually prevent her from being able to see the ordinance performed. They know now that everything is a learning process and that Jeffrey's learning of the Gospel will be enhanced as he is accompanied by the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  It was such a powerful experience to see all of their lives changed by the faith of this little boy.  
  Sorry this letter is unbearably short this week. I might just write a hard letter for mom to type up on the blog.... Don't hold me to that, though. I don't get much more time to write letters than I do emails!
  Love always,
Sister Pratt least I'm still alive!!!

This is Valentine. She's a great dane! We love her so much.  She is seriously so big that she can just sit on the couch with her front paws still touching the floor.

This was our art project this week. We found a HUGE box and decided to make it look like an Elder :)

Idaho City! They have a Sasprilla Ice Cream shop and it is GOOOOO-OOOD

Another thing Idaho City has is.......... LOTS of snow.

hehe we were in Jail

I found my home! It's called the "Pest House"

I don't think this picture really deserves an explanation.....

Bikes, the worst.

   Apparently Dad isn't the only one that had some excitement this week! Although, I never had to go to the doctor or anything.  This week, we had mileage cuts throughout the mission, so Sister Hatch and I decided to try biking... in skirts.... not the best idea. Everything was going swimmingly until I hit a speed-bump the wrong way and totally biffed it! Good thing I was wearing a helmet, so the damage wasn't extensive, and I didn't even get a rip in my tights!!  Even with the biking, though, I don't think I could have gotten more than 10 miles.  
   Then, on Saturday night, I decided to get in a fight with a slab of granite. Weapon of choice? My skull.  Haha I never thought I was one to be accident prone, but this week proved me wrong! The Miranda's thought I had a concussion for a little bit, but the headache got better, not worse, and I made it through with a good night's sleep.
   Valentine's Day was fun, and Yes, mom, I DID get your package, and it made me so happy!! I also got Jeanette's package in the mail, and I was so touched by both of them. In fact, I thought it was so special, that the family I live with felt bad for not getting their missionary something for Valentine's Day. I tried to explain to them that it was sort of a family tradition, but they promptly went out and bought their son some candy and stuff. It was funny.  Something else we did for Valentine's Day was make a bucket-load of cookies and bring them to basically all the less-actives in the ward. Some people just need to know that they are wanted at church.  Sister Hatch always says that we need to "love them back."
   HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROBIN!! I was totally pumped to be able to email you on your Bday, but I didn't count on it being a Holiday. Bummer. I can't even think of a memory--there are too many. I remember one time at BYU, you and I were lying down in the hallway of my dorm, quoting Emperor's New Groove and laughing our heads off!! I think over the years, being kind of isolated from the rest of the family by a sea of boys, we have developed our own language that emerges when we're together for a while.  Anyway, I love you!!
   Yesterday, for President's day, the Miranda's didn't have school or work, so they took us on a road trip to Idaho City! There are pictures to come, but it was just basically super fun :)
   In other news, I've decided that I'm going to learn Spanish. Living in a house full of Spanish speakers is getting to me! I want to be in on all their jokes! Haha, so I started reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish, but it's not doing a whole lot of good because most of the words I don't know are obsolete anyway. Bummer. 
   This week I've been thinking a lot about my missionary work (or lack thereof) before my mission.  As I look back on my life and especially high school, I know that I wasn't prepared to help those people who were put in my path. I wish I had had enough courage to see their readiness to hear the Gospel.  I know with an intense surety that there are people--not just one or two, but many--that are put in each of our lives to have to opportunity to accept God's word.  The trick is just listening to the Spirit as it prompts you to share.  I would encourage each of you to simply be more sensitive to the opportunities that are ALREADY THERE. We pray for opportunities to share the Gospel, but I know that the Lord has already put them in our path! Sometimes we just don't see them.  
   Doctrine and Covenants 4 talks about the field being "white already to harvest," not "brown already to plant seeds."  We need to trust that God has done his part in preparing and softening the hearts of His children to hear the word.  Now we need to do our part by sharing the simple truths that we know to have blessed our lives.
Love you all dearly,
Sister Pratt

Monday, February 3, 2014

It's still snowing!!!

   I thought winter was over! We had a couple days of beautiful sunshine and balmy weather, and then, just as Phil predicted, winter sprung again.  This morning we woke up to snow, and it still hasn't stopped. I guess you could say I'm rather disappointed... It's ok, though, I'll live.
   Actually, the past few days have been miserable despite the sunshine.  I came down with a powerful head cold, and despite our best efforts to work, we figured people wouldn't want missionaries in their home who looked like death and couldn't form coherent sentences.  The outcome: I've been unconscious for the better part of the past 48 hours. Woo! 
   Another thing fun that happened, was Sister H's Bday!! She turned 20, and it was super fun! Although we had to cancel one of the celebration appointments (my fault), we still got to celebrate with the Mirandas! It was so fun. We ate Little Ceaser's pizza and Costco cheesecake. AKA: The best party ever.  We also played a grueling game of Phase 10, which we didn't actually finish.  Sister Hatch won by Birthday default. 
   Something unexpected:  A lot of people serve missions in cultures that (for lack of a better term) force-feed you. Not only that, but they force-feed you gross food.  This was something that I totally thought I would be safe from.  #1 American's are pretty polite about you not eating a whole lot. #2 I thought I would have experienced most of the food they would be serving.  What I didn't factor in, was that the Boise area is a huge melting pot of many different cultures and has a pretty big refuge base.  I had 2 experiences this week that totally shattered my security in this regard.
   The first one was with this investigator named Janet, who doesn't speak any English. We went to meet her, but we brought a translator with us, someone who majored in Arabic and had spent a lot of time oversees.  We went into the lesson, and immediately, Janet made us some juice that was so good and set a platter of biscuit things before us.... not as good.  We couldn't tell what the pastry, crumbly things were, so we asked the interpreter.  She said,"You just need to eat them. She'll be super offended if you don't... unless you're allergic, we need to finish like this whole thing."  I was surprised at first, but totally game for it--until I took a bite. Ok. So they weren't THAT bad, but it was a chore to muscle down 2 of those... whatever you call them. It was a good experience overall, and the lesson went very well. I think the main thing was that it just took me by surprise. I had never been in a situation where it was offensive to turn down food. Welcome to the rest of the world, Sister Pratt! 
  The other experience was with a member in one of our wards. She was born in Iran, and she is just the sweetest thing ever. She wanted to take us out to lunch, which, of course, we couldn't refuse.  She took us to a really nice cafe, and we ate until we were STUFFED. She just kept telling us to order more food. Then, when we were in a food-coma, we went back to her place to share a message.  This is when she proceeded to spread out 2 huge trays full of goodies--chocolate, nuts, goldfish, more chocolate--it seemed like she put everything she could find on these trays.  Then she came and sat down and just watched us.  There was a little bit of an awkward pause, and then Sister Hatch and I just started to eat.  She seriously just watched us eat.  It was so weird because I had heard of this happening to so many of my friends and siblings that served in foreign countries, but I never really thought it would happen to me.  Needless to say, we left that house barely walking!
   Something else crazy, is I keep finding weird and crazy connections with people all over my area.  The weird one this week was a family in our ward is my 2nd cousin! Her grandpa is Percy Pratt!  It was weird to find that connection, but they are a super cool family.
   Anyway that's all I have for this week!
Love you!
Sister Pratt

We dressed Jackson in a Santa Suit.  He's so cute and patient!