Monday, February 10, 2014

It is so good to hear from you! (as always ;) ) How are things going at home? I am loving it here in Austin, and yes it is the SPAM capitol of the world! Haha there is a SPAM museum we are planning on going to later in the transfer ;) I am absolutely loving it here though, like it's pretty much ridiculous how awesome it is! There is a huge Hormel and QPP factory here, and so there are lots of immigrants who come to work here. There are mainly people from Africa, and they are so awesome! It's crazy, lots of them have degrees from universities in Africa, but they are not valid here, so they are going back to school. Most people from Africa are working here, and sending money back to their families at home so that they have money to buy basic necessities such as food. It sounds like there is very few jobs. They are amazing people though, so humble and willing to learn. The lord truly is gathering Israel! I can't believe I have such a wonderful opportunity to talk to my brothers and sisters from all around the world and teach them of the restored gospel! They are so so awesome! There are a few new challenges, but they are so worth it! Right now we are teaching to men in their 30's who are refugees from Vietnam. They are so spiritual, and so willing to do whatever God asks of them! :) One of them speaks English and Vietnamese, but the other speaks no english whatsoever, so we have to work through the one to translate. It is incredible though how strong we can feel the Spirit, and how we are able to communicate. It is truly a miracle! We are teaching two other people who are from a country in Africa. It is a similar situation in that one of them only speaks french and the other speaks french and english, so we have to work through her as well. Somehow though, we manage! It's truly amazing. :) We have 3 maybe 4 baptism coming up, it's so very exciting :) Yesterday we met a sister from Ethiopia who spoke arabic and a little english, which was neat. These people have such a desire to learn, and we are so excited to teach them! We have to teach very simply because of the language barrier, but the Lord really does help us. We are always taught that the Spirit is the true teacher, and that is so true! There is no way we could do it otherwise! I think we are being blessed with the gift of tongues in a sense. No, we don't speak their languages, but we can communicate and understand. And when we can't, there is always someone who is willing to interpret for us! It is such a contrast from my last area. St. Cloud was great don't get me wrong, but it's so different. We could tract all day and only teach one maybe two restorations, and here we taught two restorations within 20 minutes of tracting yesterday....and the people who we taught are both new investigators! We had 7 people come to church yesterday, which is about 6 more than we ever had in St. Cloud. ;) It is because these people are truly prepared though! I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to work here at this time, helping my brothers and sisters come closer to the Savior Jesus Christ. My companion is the best! Her name is Sister Amis, and she is actually a visa waiter. She has been waiting for 6 months for her Visa to go to brasil. This means that we have an hour of language study everyday (while I study the book of mormon, or something ;) ) and that I get to drive!!!!!!!! You have no idea how excited that made me when I found out! I love driving :) Mainly because then I don't have to make phone calls....but that's besides the point ;) I really do love it though, it is so much easier to learn the area and feel in the loop when you are driving! I feel very blessed to be her companion though. It is very different than being with my last companion. She laughs and smiles too! :) In this zone/area there is a huge emphasis on being yourself...not just a robot missionary. I love it so much :) I was struggling with that in St. Cloud, I was trying to be myself, but it was very hard given the situation if that makes sense. It's great though...and we are so much more successful here as we use the talents we have been given and just do our best! I know that we are given talents for a reason, and that we should use them. That we should not strive to be the perfect missionary, but be the best person that we can be! :) It's great to be companions with someone who feels the same way I do. It was a little nerve-wracking getting transferred, but I am so grateful that it happened. Anyways....back to responding to your letter ;)
That is crazy weather at home! I hope that all goes well, and that it doesn't flood! I can't believe you are getting rain's well below zero here...I think the high in the past week has been maybe 10. haha crazy! Another wonderful thing about Austin is that they have lots of apartments, and my companion and I tract in them all the time! We have lots more success in them, and they are warm! I can seriously wear half the layers I was in St. Cloud. Life is good :)
You know, I think it is very important that we take time to socialize with people. I have learned that out here especially church is so important because it gives us a good uplifting social network! It is very different than in Utah, but still. I have learned that who you are with effects you so much! Especially being with different companions, It makes a huge difference. So.....choose good people to hang out with ;) Oh my goodness, I am so glad that you were able to go to the temple! Go as often as you can! I miss it so much. It's a little bit ridiculous probably how much I miss it. I just loved feeling the spirit that is there. p.s. :dear kids, go do baptisms if you can. It is a good thing to do. I'm glad you were able to go though :) You and I were both saving souls.....I was saving the living, and you were saying the dead! We make a pretty good team,  just sayin ;)
That is great to hear that everyone is doing fairly well, I love and miss everyone! It's so great though to hear about everyone :) I would love pictures.....and that package that you sent was fanflippintastic!!!!! I loved loved loved the pictures! Except there wasn't one from you.....hint hint. ;) The letters were wonderful, and the plums a lifesaver! I love those things so much. Man, if I could just live off goldfish, plums and kisses, (of the milk and white chocolate variety ;) ) I think I would be happy! Thanks again so much :) I'll have to write J a letter soon....I think I will have time today hopefully! :)

Have fun in California!!!! And take pictures please :) That sounds like so much fun! Just do something crazy, okay? Just for me? Random sidenote, we can't dance on a mission. It's hard, just sayin....I have to resort to spinning in circles, and making weird faces. Haha gotta love it!
Can I just say again, I am so happy here :) There is a very good song that says I feel like a weight i've been carried's been carried away.....brownie points if you can name that song Jackie! ;) But seriously, it feels so good. :) I am able to be myself, and love the people. I can do things my way, and it works so well. I can make mistakes, and it's alright. I can have fun, and be happy! Anyways. I love you all, and hope and pray that all goes well. DRIVE SAFE!!!!! Especially if Jackie's driving! Jk, I know all will go well :)
I love you all very much, thanks for your letters, and support, and pictures, and everything! Have a great week!
Sister Christina Trickler
p.s. yes, I would love that music!!!! And if you are sending that, could you possibly send the Paul Cardell piano music? We have been listening to his CD in the car, and it is sooooooo goood! I think I will play it as prelude at district meeting or something :) No rush, thanks though! Have a wonderful week :)

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