Monday, December 19, 2016

Alpacas and President Hugs....December 12, 2016

This week has been a crazy long week, but yet it's flown by! It's already Dec 12th man!! Yikes. (Shoutout to Sis Kafu for embedding that word in my vocabulary ;)

Monday was a fun day full of dodgeball, shopping, and driveway mishaps. We went to Marshalls to get S.Hall some new dresses, and I just so happened to find a cute top there that fit me, so Merry Christmas to me! You'll probably see it in most of my Christmas pics I'm sending home in the next few weeks- it goes great with my red skirt haha :) We also played sports, yada yada...and then we went and ate at the Leete's house! They're some members that we haven't really talked to too much, but man oh man, we found out they are the coolest people ever!!! I adore their family. It was such a fun night! She talked a lot with us about her mission stories and it was cool to see how her kids knew some of her companions, and a lot of her stories- I want to be like that when I grow up! I want my kiddos to know the coolness of a mission, and that it's ok if you don't serve one too, it's up to them and God. Now, the Leete's have a crazy driveway that is a steep downhill that curves between rocks and a telephone pole. Getting in was hard...but then backing out?? Almost impossible! Aye ya yie, I had such a rough time backing out. Br.Leete had to come and help direct us because S.Hall didn't know what to do backing me, and even then it took almost 10 minutes. But I didn't scrape the rocks or the pole, so we good! Success!!! Haha

Tuesday was Traditions with the Taggart's in the mission home! It was soooooo awesome. The craziest thing about it though, was the fact that I had my departing interview right before it. The APs called me to arrive early so President could interview me...guys, I still have another 5 weeks for crying out loud! Lol, I was his first interview of the transfer! It was crazy, but I loved talking with him. He gave me awesome advice and counsel about my plans for college, life, job, etc. He really helped me set some goals and figure out my future. I'm so grateful I had those 40 minutes with him to talk one on one and to feel of his testimony, experience, and love. I firmly believe a big reason for my call to New Jersey was so I could serve with, learn from, and love like the Taggart's. They've become a second set of parents to me, and I couldn't ask for a better pair! Gosh, I just can't wait for the years ahead where I can continue to rely on them for support and happiness! I love em to death.
So the only bad part about having my interview before, was the fact that I balled my eyes out at the end when President hugged me...and then I had to go downstairs to where the rest of the missionaries in my zone had arrived while I talked upstairs...and they all saw my tear-streaked, red, puffy face the second I walked down. Yeah. I got a lot of stares and weird looks. Lots of them were super confused why I was having such a rough time lol! None of them knew I had my interview until later on hahaha, gosh, I'm such a mess! Curse my weak tear ducts.
For Traditions with the Taggart's they shared with us one of their traditions. Each year they write on a piece of paper a gift they want to give God that year. Then they put it in a box to open next Christmas. Sister Taggart showed us her box, and she has dozens of tiny pieces of paper full of the gifts she has given God over the years! I was so excited to write mine down and I keep the box by my clock so I can remember it every day. What a cool idea! Definitely something I'm going to continue.

Wednesday we had service and a doctors appointment for S.Hall, and then we went to dinner at Bro. Lloyd's house. You should have gotten a pic of me with a huuuuuge steak mom haha! He loves cooking and he's really good at it too, so it's always a pleasure to go over there :)  Right after that we went to the church to help out with a Relief Society Christmas dinner, where we got piles of food handed to us on plates and in Tupperware to take home. Ugh. You had to roll me home that day- I was SO full! But it was really fun to talk with and get to know the RS sisters better. This ward is stellar. I love love love love love everyone here! NJ has become a home away from home for me. I love this crazy state haha!

So Thursday a member backed into our car and left a teeny lil scratch on our bumper, but even though it was so small, we still had to fill out a bunch of paperwork and online forms about it. The poor member was distraught about it, but we've kept assuring her it's fine and it isn't even that bad. So we'll see how long it takes with the estimate and taking it in to the shop. We also have to get our oil changed and new windshield wipers....oh and our brakes checked. Lol! "This car is a disaster!" (Please read that in Esteban's voice from Suite Life;)

OKAY! Now time for the good stuff haha! Saturday we got to go to a........drum roll please........Alpaca Farm!!!! Yup. Alpacas. Here in NJ. Spoiler alert: they're super soft. Lol, our LA's son works there and they had a holiday extravaganza this weekend. We stopped in for 30 minutes to talk with him and show our support. He was thrilled we had come, so that was cool! We got to pet and feed and get our faces licked by a Tibetan Yak named Zak, and we got to pet and take pics with Paca-Claus! So, some interesting facts for you- yaks have no top teeth, they love eating donuts, and the babies are adorable. And alpacas are way nicer than llamas, they're super soft, and a sweater made from their fur costs $180. Overall it was a pretty neat experience haha! We got to talk to a couple of cool people too. After the farm we went to our ward Christmas brunch. That was also a blast! We had our investigator Lisa there with her 2 daughters and the ward just scooped em right up!! They loved the event and they had such a fun time talking with us and the members. The only problem with them is that they're super devoted to their church since they've been going to the same one for 22years- so we'll see where this goes. But the coolest thing is that the ward is gung-ho about missionary work! They all want to come with us to see them, and we've just been swarmed with people asking about Lisa. Hopefully we can keep the masses at bay, we don't want to overwhelm her and scare her off haha :) It was a beautiful Saturday.

And then yesterday we got to teach YW's!! I was SO nervous. It was weird haha, you'd think I'd be used to teaching people now, but I was really wanting to just go home sick from church or something lol. I'm so lame! But we talked about spiritual gifts and how we can develop them/recognize them/ use them to help others. It was a Spirit-filled 30 minutes, and I and a few of the leaders teared up a bit (though that doesn't take much for me...) I kinda miss YW's, in the sense that I miss my awesome leaders and all that they did for me over the years, and for the girls that made Wednesday's and camps fun :)  So it ended up going real well, and the leaders were grateful we had come. Woohoo! I'm glad that's over haha

One funny thing this week: I thought that most people in the ward knew I was going home soon, but it turns out that almost no one knows! The people I told had forgotten, and the others just didn't know- so that's been the talk of the town lately. The rumors spread like wildfire haha! I think pretty much everyone knows now, because I have random members from the Elder's area coming up and talking to me about it now haha. It's been funny to see everyone's reactions to the news 😂

I love you all!
Stay Jersey Strong.
Love, Sister McAllister
 first snowfall
 Zak the Tibetan Yak

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