Monday, May 30, 2016

Rain on the Parade and Other Adventures - May 30, 2016

                   "Couple of Beach Biscuits" (See the pictures below for the explanation)           

                     Happy Memorial Day friends and family! I trust you all had a good, safe week either participating in graduations (congratulations siblings!) or just by wrapping up school or the spring in general. I hope we take at least a moment today to remember the sacrifice made by those who love our country before we dig into our BBQ's and pools.
                    Sister Ritchie and I actually helped this morning with and watched a Memorial Day Ceremony for Biddeford and Saco (it was supposed to be a parade but it was cancelled due to the rainy weather, hence the title) and something that really struck me was the Master of Ceremonies welcomed everyone "...not as citizens of cities, of Maine or New England, but as citizens of this country that we are blessed to be in." I really appreciated that because obviously I'm not from Maine but on this day we remember the sacrifice of those who gave their lives so we could be where we are right now, even so I could be on this mission. The ceremony also reminded me that because of them we have the freedom to worship, because of them we have the freedom to serve. How great it is to be a part of God's army right now! All I want to say about today is Onward Christian Soldiers!
                    Well, that was just today's highlight. Due to the rainy weather and Zone & District P-Days coming up today's P-Day will probably be pretty mellow. LAST WEEK THOUGH Sister Ritchie and I went to Old Orchard Beach! We did all the other P-Day stuff as quickly as we could so we could head to the beach and spend what time we could there. While in Biddeford as we were entering our car a family (that you could tell didn't know English very well) stopped us and asked if we could help them get to Old Orchard. It was really serendipitous because that was when we were heading out there ourselves. So we said sure, and lead them to the beach until we pulled off for ice cream. When we ourselves got to the beach we saw them and they came up and told us they were so grateful for helping them, they didn't realize how lost they were haha! It was such a cool experience to help someone get to where they want to go, with their family mind you. It's almost like it’s something I strive to do every day...
                    Tuesday a member took us to lunch to a Chinese buffet. As much as I loved the Chinese buffet in my last area this buffet... It was easily 3 times as big with a lot more options. Not necessarily better food quality but still delicious. And while we weren't eating we spent a lot of the day hunting for people because our plans had fallen through. We eventually got to the last name with a lot of hope at least someone would answer, and someone did! She was super sweet and was really confused who we were at first but as we shared the Book of Mormon with her she became more interested! That was such a testimony builder to me that you don't give up!
                    Wednesday was District Meeting and Coordination, followed by Thursday which was filled with more appointments falling through! We are getting really good at using back up plans, let me tell you.
                    Friday was busy with weekly planning, service with a member, and a meal appointment. We remembered we had a gift card for a local pizza place so we decided on a Friday night to drive down and pick some up. The Challenge: The closest available spot was a parallel parking spot. You'd think I would just naturally pick up that skill after living in New England for 10 months, but I guess it isn't transferred by osmosis. And earlier in the week I had totally botched parallel parking in front of the library but this time pizza was on the line. So Sister Ritchie coached me and I was able to do it after like two minutes! Now we had even more reason to get that pizza.
                    Saturday was the epitome of "Warm before the storm". The temperatures reached up to 92 plus humidity and of course our plans fell through, even our regular service opportunity. So when members asked Sunday how we survived Saturday I told them I truly have no idea!
                    And yesterday was Sunday.... Oh Sunday... We had a really nice sacrament meeting and church service. Third hour the Primary President had us missionaries come in to act Scripture heroes. Let me tell you, I make a pretty cool Enos by just sitting and praying for a long time. And then we did service at a nearby assisted living home. We work with a man who is a big Star Wars fan and I unfortunately came to the area when he got his copy of The Force Awakens. Remember last week when I had one spoiler given to me by a kid at a meal appointment? I wish that only happened. Instead of the one NOW IN RETROSPECT minor spoiler, I basically got the whole synopsis of the movie.... And died even more inside... Sister Ritchie felt pretty bad and told me there was still some surprises he didn't mention. Some, but not many left. So yeah, I guess I don't need to get too excited for the Force Awakens anymore.
                    But as I said, I hope you all have a good Memorial Day and good upcoming week. I love and miss you all! I can't believe we are going into June! 10 days to 20! Have an awesome week!
Sister Wright

See last week's post about Sister Wright's volunteer work at Heart of Biddeford. She says, "Sister Ritchie's window." 

"My lobster I painted"

"My entire window. It was good I grabbed the pics when I did, they were gone by Saturday."

"There's a theatre by Heart of Biddeford, which isn't safe for me" (Sister Wright loves to go to the theatre)

"Cool mural in downtown Biddeford"

"View looking towards the ocean BLOCKED BY A TRAIN"

 "Poutine because Canada"

"Hipster antique bug"

"Welcome to Old Orchard"

"Ah, the Atlantic"


"Panorama because we totally already looked like tourists"

"Fielder's Choice Beach Biscuit (three baseball size scoops of ice cream between two cookies). Best thing to eat on the beach"

"Made it to the beach!"

"Comp Selfie"

"For Mom"

Sister Ritchie "The best part about this photo is the total Sasquatch photo bomb?"

"Did I mention I love New England?"

"The glorious pizza I successfully parallel parked for"

"Still OCD about the odometer"

Monday, May 23, 2016

May I Please Have A Normal Week? - May 23, 2016

Sister Wright reunited with her MTC companions-L-R Sisters Rogerson, Dickson, Watson, and Wright

                    Hello friends and family and brace yourselves for another wild week in the life of Sister Wright. No fish heads or shot guns (when both companions leave the area) this week but we do get a guest appearance by an apostle of the Lord so here we go!
                    So last Monday was pretty great, we didn't get to the beach yet but we got a lot of cleaning and organizing of the apartment done. We also had a cool member meal, well, scratch that, it WAS cool. Until one of the kids completely and unapologetically spoiled the Force Awakens for me. As anyone who knows me about spoilers could have guessed, I was mentally broken for a good five minutes and just sat there eating dinner in silence for five minutes. The mom noticed and wasn't too happy about the situation but still. Not cool kid.
                    Tuesday we did service downtown in a place called Heart of Biddeford. Going to be honest, I don't really know what they do but they let us help out so that's good. The last two weeks we have gone we have decorated their windows, both painting them and putting decorations. It really lets me use my creative/design side so yeah, might be my favorite service opportunity. Maybe soon I'll get pictures of my window display....
                    Tuesday we also went on exchange in Yarmouth with the Sister Training Leaders, Sisters Bishop and Payne. Sister Bishop was my companion for the exchange and we basically make an awesome companionship. We also spent 50% of the time talking about her trainer and my former companion Sister Harward but she also was just an awesome missionary example to me. All four of us had a lot of fun doing service by raking A TON of leaves and avoiding ticks. Wednesday morning we rewatched the Worldwide Missionary Training from January with them. While Sisters Payne and Ritchie went to a member lunch Sister Bishop and I planned on taking our time during lunch hour. Until a member called and said their lesson with the friend had to be right then instead of later in the day as planned. So Sister Bishop and I skipped lunch, tossed on make-up, and jumped in the car to the appointment. It went really well despite the craziness of the situation. We also had a tick crawl across the dashboard while we were in the car so basically Sister Bishop and I bonded really quickly trying to kill that thing.
                    That was really the most exciting part of Wednesday and Thursday was relatively calm. All our appointments fell through which is always tough but we pushed through and actually ran into one of the people we have been teaching so go perseverance blessings!
                    Friday. Oh Friday. Friday was weekly planning followed by lunch with some members at a cute little restaurant called All Day Breakfast. Did I order breakfast? No. Should I have ordered breakfast? Probably. Why? Because something in my lunch was touched by Satan trying to keep me from meeting an apostle of the Lord in the form of food poisoning. So yeah, Friday night, 2 am (Saturday morning), party in the Saco apartment. But like we learned Thursday YOU PERSEVERE. Even though I was dead tired I picked myself up Saturday morning and drove two hours to Concord, NH. And Concord is where we had a three hour mission conference with Elder Rasband. His grandson actually was in my flight group out here. And in all sincerity from Elder Rasband, he had the assignment to come to Concord stake conference before his grandson was assigned to serve here, before he was ever called as one of the 12 Apostles. It was such an amazing opportunity I knew the adversary worked really hard to try to keep me from experiencing. He told us later that when he shook our hands he didn't look at our name tags but in our eyes and that it helped him see into our soul. He also trained us on how to be sweetly bold (in my opinion, like a BBQ sauce) and that we need not have anxieties while serving our missions. I wish I could condense my 3+ pages of notes into this email but I’ll just have to disperse the wisdom as time gets on. And Saturday evening we crashed because, again, party at 2 am.
                    But now we are back to Monday. If we get time Sister Ritchie and I might get ice cream in Old Orchard Beach before the tourists start to take over. This week was crazy but I've learned the craziest weeks aren't only the most memorable but also the weeks you grow and learn the most. May we all have a great and memorable next week!
Sister Wright
And congratulations to my cousin Caroline! Wish I could have come for the wedding but I enjoyed all the photos. And congrats to my brother for finishing high school! You walk at graduation like Luke Skywalker walks at the end of A New Hope!

"Looking thug at mission conference"

"The Saco Chapel is way pretty"

New Hampshire Manchester Mission with Elder Rasband and Elder Bragg

Monday, May 16, 2016

Am I Old? - May 16, 2016

                   Sister Ritchie and Sister Wright               

Hello friends and family from the wonderful east coast, in the beautiful Saco, ME area. Yes, I am now in Saco, the Augusta Stake, which means I have officially served in four out of the five stakes in the NHMM. I would definitely call that a level up. I can also tell you I have already seen the Atlantic Ocean in my time here (granted, it was from the car as we were trying to contact a member in Old Orchard) and still have had no lobsters. The chances of me actually having fish within the next five weeks is slim because Sister Ritchie is allergic but maybe she'll make an exception for my birthday. You can only hope, right?

                    So I guess I will give a brief follow up of this last week and what being in Saco is like. Last Monday Sister DeWidt and I had our/her last P-Day together. The highlight was probably the member meal with Chinese food. Chinese food is always a plus, especially with crab rangoons. The landlord also sent us $30 in credit to Walmart to make up for the plumbing madness, which turned into money we spent on food for the new sisters coming in. Hopefully they like frozen chicken and coconut milk.
                    Tuesday was transfer day. Sister DeWidt and I packed up the car and cleaned up before we left. We made it to Manchester (my beloved Manchester chapel) and I was pulled into the new trainers meeting with all the actual trainers. That was as cool experience to have President quickly train us on how to be a trainer. While in Manchester I got to see Sister Harward and Sister Daughety! I love them both so much! And while I was sad I was losing three great companions I didn't cry like I expected too.
                    Once I said goodbye for like the tenth time I piled into a van that would take me to Portland from there I would meet Sister Ritchie and go to Saco. In the van I slowly started realizing I was the oldest one there mission-wise... And they were all talking about missionaries I hadn't met yet... And I was realizing I was there WHEN we first got the Tiwis. Basically, overnight I went from being a baby junior companion to this old senior companion who was surrounded by baby missionaries. That really threw me off, especially when I realized Sister Ritchie was basically brand new and things I was telling her to her seemed really old. So yeah, that was my minor crisis of the week.
                    Wednesday was District Meeting in Cornish which took us an hour to get there. It was then I realized I was no longer in the city anymore. Sister Banda would be so proud to see me in the boons. But my district is pretty much the best, not going to lie. For all you RM NHMM peeps we have Elders Urry and Benson, Elders Sanders and Hannig, and Sister Jensen and Whitney. To finish off the Saco Squad we have Elders Rappleye and everyone' so favorite, Elder J. Williams. Yes, I already have my commemorative Elder Rappleye Dragon Drawings and Elder Williams.... He is still Elder Williams. Serving in the same unit with him twice had already been interesting, but at least he gets to help me follow up on Brewer.
                    Well, Sister Ritchie is my new trainee. She has been in Saco for six weeks so I'm calling her the bravest missionary ever. You can tell she loves the work and as I'm sure every sister missionary has ever said, she is teaching me a lot. I can't believe how much she already knows about how to be a missionary but she does!
                    The Saco ward actually celebrated its 20 year birthday since it has become branch this weekend. Saco is a ward but the chapel is half of the chapel back home. The ward membership is small too but they are the coolest saints ever. One member we had dinner with is 107! I have already enjoyed getting to know the members up here and getting to work with them! Saco is so cool.
                    Besides being a flat lander by mispronouncing city/town names out here (town of Arundel, you would think would be pounced like the setting of Frozen but is really pronounced "a-run-dell"), Sister Ritchie and I have been hitting the pavement hard trying to contact people. Sad news: The sisters don't cover Old Orchard Beach, that's Elder's territory (and what P-Day is for *wink wink*) but you can feel in the breeze from Biddeford (pronounced Bid-duh-ford) that you are near the coast. But I better same time to write everyone else. I trust you all continue to enjoy anticipating summer! I love and miss you all!

Sister Wright 

"Had to say goodbye to this one"

"Talked Sister Harward's ear off"

"I was reunited with this wonderful sister missionary"

Sister Daughety brought her a whoopie pie

"These are the things we learn in Gospel Principles"

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

13 Weeks of Somer - May 9, 2016

A final goodbye to Sister DeWidt, at least until after the mission

        Hello and happy Monday friends and family. You will probably be relieved to hear this week was a lot less stressful as last week. Well, at least in the sense that the plumbing worked and we didn't have to seek refuge elsewhere. It was still pretty crazy considering SISTER DEWIDT GOES HOME THIS WEEK! Ah! This is such a crazy time for her and me. I have three former companions going home at once: Sister Harward, Sister Daughety, and Sister DeWidt. I'm way sad I won't see them around the mission anymore but I will email them and will be able to keep up with them on a weekly basis so I can't complain much. And you all were such wonderful companions and will do awesome things in the world! Go forth and conquer!
                    In other news, Sister DeWidt's last week was full of tiny miracles. We got in contact both over the phone and personally with people weren't able to contact for forever, we had six appointments in one day, we even had May the Fourth and Cinco de Mayo! Needless to say, we made this week fun. May the Fourth we brought Blue Milk (for all you Star Wars and Kid History fans you need to see their Cantina Video to get this) and Sister DeWidt wore her hair in Leia buns. You gotta make the mission fun, especially on a fandom day! We actually had enchiladas and tacos for meals on May the Fourth but nothing Mexican themed on the fifth. Yes, not even Dos Amigos. (We actually avoided Dover on the fifth, Dover is a party town for UNH). But things are progressing fairly well here in Somersworth. Our investigator, Allen, who came to church last week came again this week so that was exciting. He really is a major blessing in our lives considering he self referred himself on He is so prepared! Him and the six lessons we had on Thursday reminded us that we are furthering the Lord's work here, whether our numbers reflect it or not. And we left some great people in the hands of two new sisters. Yes, not only is Sister DeWidt leaving but I am leaving for Saco, Maine, to follow up train Sister Ritchie. I will be her second companion after six weeks of her being in the field. In missionary lingo I will be her "step mother", which I think is funny considering I'm basing my mission off Cinderella and here I am going to be a step mom. And this makes my second "shot gun" out of an area. But I'm excited to go to Saco! I have learned a lot these last thirteen weeks that will definitely help me as I train. But for now I must pack aka panic for my next adventure! May you all have a blessed week! And in the words of my trainer (for May the Fourth) May the Holy Ghost be with you, always.
Sister Wright

I couldn't resist adding in pictures from our "FaceTime" on Mother's Day

"Inca Kola! A Peruvian special"

"We had BLUE MILK on May the Fourth"

"And yet another photo of my favorite food. I made a bread bowl"

"Transfer #7 planner"

"Back of small PMG"

A lighthouse in Saco, Maine

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

 "Basic burrito selfie (thanks to Dos Amigos) with a basic filter"

Hey Happy Monday people. This last week was basically crazy and I don't even know how to introduce it to you in a cute introductory summary so we are just going to jump right into the story of this week.
So there has been some debate between Sister DeWidt and me on when exactly the wackiness of this week started. Some may say it was Monday when we put the completely wrong address for the member meal we had Monday evening and headed the complete opposite way. Others will say when after service at the Thrift Boutique Tuesday it was snowing, the latest it's snowed this time of the year since the 1940's. We like to believe it started when at the beginning of the week we walked up the steps to our apartment to find a fish head sitting on our neighbor's side of the porch. Why there was a fish head, we knew not, and we weren't going to judge our neighbor and her interesting garbage so we went about our day until the next day the fish head sat in front of our side of the porch. We still think nothing of it but after multiple discussions with our neighbors, no one in the building knows where it came from.
So Monday and Tuesday went pretty normally and Wednesday was fine until the elders got lost trying to get all of us back from Sanford for District Meeting to Somersworth. That kinda killed their miles and we felt kinda bad. But we pressed on, went and did service at the clothes closet where I started to notice my throat getting sore and raw. I brushed it off, figuring it was the dust from the air of old clothes being moved. Wednesday night Sister DeWidt and I had a blast at the ward's YW Pie and Cake auction (with a full variety of desserts). We fully hoped we would win some sort of small treat, even if it was just cookies. Unfortunately, Sister DeWidt and I are on a missionary budget and most treats went for up to $50, some even over $100. But we would be enthusiastic in our small starting bids and some awesome members bought us pull-apart bread, apple pie, and sticky buns, all at no expense to us. That was truly a tender (and sweet) mercy haha.
I woke up Thursday morning feeling no better than I did the night before and could hardly talk, in fact it hurt to talk. So I didn't speak unless it was necessary and we prepared for our member lesson that afternoon. We walked to the member lesson and on the way back we had a former investigator we decided to stop by and see if he was still interested. He wasn't interested even though he was super nice to let us in, with his wife.... Who turned out to be another man and we aren't sure how accountable either of them were.... We fled that scene as quickly as possible, to say the least.
Due to illness we did what we could Thursday and we came back Thursday night the same time as our neighbor (around 8:40) and her kids. They walked in and then stuck their head out asking if our apartment smelled like sewer. I honestly couldn't smell anything as I accepted I had a cold due to allergies and Sister DeWidt didn't smell anything so we all suspected it was the washer in their apartment and suggested running a rinse cycle. By some miracle when the rinse cycle in her apartment started one of us was in the kitchen to see water starting to fill in our kitchen sinks. We panicked, I started dumping bowls of water from the sink into the mop bucket as Sister DeWidt ran to tell them to stop the rinse cycle. From there, chaos ensued. The other neighbors in the building started having plumbing problems and we alerted the landlord. We also decided to not use the water for the rest of the evening until a plumber could arrive the following day.
We woke up to the "no water rule" (we still went to the bathroom shhh but we didn't shower). Overnight the kitchen sink (with some of our dirty dishes, WE ARE BAD MISSIONARIES FOR NOT DOING OUR DISHES OK!) must have filled with our neighbor's water and had a layer of brown gunk over everything. So that was fun to wake up to. I was so sick and so confused by the mess that was the plumbing that I spent most of my personal time in the morning praying to understand what was going on. Eventually, the plumber came. And eventually his friend, another plumber came. And they started suspecting it was a sewer problem. And the problem just got bigger and bigger until they decided they needed to tear up the parking lot in front of our home to fix a pipe. The plumbers also asked about the fish head. We explained to them it was an anomaly of its own. Our apartment was the path to least resistance so we bailed, taking our dirty dishes in tow, to the church where we washed our dishes and finished weekly planning. The church is literally a refuge.
Because they were tearing a hole in front of our apartment we packed an overnight bag, hoping to find a members' home to stay in for the night, eventually finding overnight shelter in the Portsmouth Sisters' apartment (which is in our area anyway) and stayed the night, got showers, and just recovered from the plumbing madness.
Saturday we woke up, got ready for the day, and did what we could despite my illness.  I insisted we get burritos because spice helps with sinuses. We had the all clear that our apartment was fine so we went to our home and followed the mission nurse's counsel to get some rest. So after a two hour nap (Sister DeWidt cleaned the post-plumbing mess) and realizing we didn't have "sick people food" at the apartment we drove to the Chinese buffet we had gift certificates for and had two bowls of egg drop soup. We went back to the apartment. And from there on we have assumed all is well.
So Sunday was relatively uneventful compared to the rest of the week. We had church and had an investigator show up which was awesome considering we hadn't seen him this week! Sister DeWidt also bore a powerful testimony as this was her last fast and testimony meeting as a missionary. Honestly, this last week has probably been the craziest of her mission. Happy second to last week Sister DeWidt!
Well, all is well that ends well. I'm mostly over the cold, still with the sniffles. And the Lord has definitely blessed us and kept us safe through this all. Maybe this is what I get for sending so many boring weekly mass emails lately haha. But I know we are loved by a loving Heavenly Father. May we all continue to notice His hand in our lives!
Sister Wright
"The fish head that started it all"

"Snow in late April...Nice...."

District Meeting

Pie and Baked Good Auction - "This cake went for over $100"

"Cute YW Cake"