Andover is...the opposite of Austin. It is well to do white people, so it has been quite the struggle the past couple of days learning how to teach them, and getting use to knocking doors again. We were talking to some members last night who told me that I needed some humbling, so I was sent to Andover! Seriously, I think that might be true. Missionary work was easy in Austin, there were not many rejections. It has been hard, but I have seen some neat miracles. On Saturday we were tracting all day long. It was super hot, and I was not filled with much faith. I don't know the area, or the people, so it's interesting. AT about 2:30, my companion and I decided that we needed to take a quick bathroom break, so we drove to a gas station near by. We bought some water, because we were out of it, and went back to the car. I went to open my water bottle, and I couldn't! We tried for seriously 10 minutes, even using a pocket knife....anyways it wasn't working. I was so frusterated, and tired, and finally said a prayer asking Heavenly Father to somehow help me to get some water! I opened my eyes, and guess who is pulling in the parking lot? The Elders. It was crazy. We ran out of our car, and one of them was able to open it! It was such a simple thing, but a huge tender mercy for me. The ward here is absolutely huge, a big big change from Austin. We live in China....20 miles outside of town with a member. The closest city to us is St. Francis, which is little! We are able to email here at the library, but just for an hour, so that is a change as well. We are hoping to move into Andover in a couple months or so, but it will be a while. Crazy stuff! My companion's name is Sister Nelson. She has been out for 3 months so far. She is from Oregon, and just got out of the foster system there. She was in the foster system from the time she was 6 years old until now. Isn't that crazy, given my background with foster care? I think I found out pretty quickly why I am here. I don't think it is to teach a ton of people. It's to be a sister if you know what I mean. It has been really hard for me to switch roles, but it is going alright. Sister Nelson is very sweet, she has amazing simple faith. She has some learning disabilities, but she loves being on a mission. I am learning a lot about patience, and learning to love more like Christ did. Her birthday is on the 20th of August, so I'm hoping to do something awesome! ;) p.s. if the kids just happened to want to write/color a picture for her, I am sure it would be greatly appreciated! I had to leave all my plants behind, but I have faith that Sister Callister is taking care of them :) I haven't received a package, but I look forward to it! I will get you my address next week, but for now, just send things to the mission home. Thanks! It sounds like the kids are being kept busy, that is fantastic! I am glad that the celebration went well. How was your birthday? I hope that it was a good one....rumor has it that you received some flowers and a awesome looking cake? Is that true? :) I can't believe Jacob's birthday is already, holy moly! Time just flies. I will have reached halfway this week. Wednesday in fact. How crazy is that? I will have to send Jacob an awesome letter or something ;) Since we live out in the boonies, I think we have lots more time to write letters, which will be good. Relief Society is an interesting organization, I am glad you had that opportunity though. Thanks for the thoughts, I really like that. The world constantly tells us that we are not good enough, or smart enough, or pretty enough, or a good enough missionary, but when we realize that we are literally Daughters of God, that pressure leaves. All we can do is the best we can. That is all that is expected of us. Not perfection, just being ourselves. I hope that made sense. Thanks so much for the letter, I will write you more this afternoon. I am doing well, don't worry. We have been able to laugh. I know that I have been strengthened by the Savior this week. I have been forced to rely on Him and His Atonement. I don't know how else I could have had the patience, and strength and mental capacity that I have had! The Lord loves us, this I know. He lives. Everything He does is to help us to achieve eternal salvation. This gospel is truly the gospel of Jesus Chrst. It is restored to the earth. I love you all, and miss you so very much!!! You are in my prayers.
Sister Christina Trickler