Saturday, March 14, 2015

Ox Tail Stew, Lunch with President and Sister Anderson, and other fun adventures

Hello!!! Greetings from Sheepville, USA! We actually haven't done anything with sheep this week. IMagine that!! It was good to get a good break from that for just a bit. Right after I leave, in about a month, we might be helping another member family brand cattle! And I'm going to miss it! DANG IT!!! Ahh well. What can you do?

So, about that Ox Tail stew--it's a real thing!! Some less active members fed it to us and it is officially the weirdest thing I have ever eaten in my life! It's regular stew with carrots, potatoes, onions (I've just gotten used to having allergic reactions by this point, and the Lord is for sure blessing me to not react as much as I normally do), just with an added oddity. Ox tail bones look like vertebrae bones, and the meat sticks to it (the cartilage gets all melty and gooey), and it's pretty elastic-y and chewy. It was not that good. But! What can you do? Sister McConkie and I did our best to eat as much off the bone we could, but neither of us finished. So guess what they did with it?? They KEPT our left overs to finish them after we left because they like it so much!!! What in the world?!! That is not okay!! Oh man, it was so weird. So, everyone back in Utah, never complain about the "gross food" you have to eat because it could be ox tail soup!!

This week was Zone Training Meeting, my last one as a missionary, and it was so good! All of them have been awesome, but I tried to make this one extra special. My favorite training was Sister Anderson's training on gratitude and how much of a difference it makes in our lives. At this point of my mission and heading into non-missionary life, it will be vital to remember to be grateful IN my circumstances and to be seeing the positives in whatever situation I find myself, especially with my mission ending. That is really throwing me for a loop and I feel at some moments like my life will literally have no purpose as a non-missionary, but I know there are still things I need to learn and do that I can't do out here, so I will keep trusting in my Heavenly Father and cleaving to Him at this time of my life. Although, I was sick (again, this time with a sore throat..yippee) and there was a lot going on, so that added a bit of stress, but it was still super fun. We had a nice long talk after with President and Sister Anderson about a bunch of stuff, which really helped us out. From there, we went out to eat and just picked a place by random, Qdoba, and we walk in and who's there? That's right--President and Sister Anderson! SO we got to eat lunch with them, one-on-one, which was really fun because that doesn't happen every day! Most of the time everyone's trying to talk to them, so it was so fun to get some personal time with them. They are awesome!! And so happy and just plain amazing. Remember how the mission is splitting? Well, it's actually happening on April 28, we found out and so my group that goes home with me is going to be the last group to go see Mount Rushmore with the Mission President and his wife of the SDRCM! How crazy is that?! (That's the tradition now for all the missionaries going home, is going to see MOunt Rushmore the day before going home). The mission home moves up to Bismarck the end of April. It's going to be so weird. SO that's the latest SDRCM news! I'm part of the last group EVER to return from the SDRCM. All the other transfers will be from the NDBM (North Dakota Bismarck Mission). It weirds me out! 

The LOrd has really been blessing us with good appointments and people to teach, especially less-actives, which has been great! A lot of people are starting to progress and to move forward! Corbin and Sylver are doing pretty good, we only saw them twice last week, but they still love us coming over and they even gave us a present last week: a SOns of Provo CD! Oh brother! Corbin was so excited to give it to us, but since it's unapproved, obvi we're not going to listen to it. So, parents, we'll have to listen to it on the way driving up to Belle just for that reason. They didn't come to church and didn't have a reason not to, so that was a bit frustrating. But we'll get them there! We'll keep working with them and doing our best! 

We're starting to work more with a less active, Sister Bowers, who is so awesome and prepared!! She is trying to quit smoking and coffee on her own because she knows it's wrong and hurting her body. It's pretty awesome to work with people who are self-motivated and doing everything they can to come closer to Christ. So we're super excited to keep working with her and to do everything we can to help her along the path she's already on! :)

I feel like a lot happened this week, and it did, but most of it was going to doctor's appointments, having Sister McConkie get an MRI, driving to Rapid and Spearfish getting all of this figured out, so it's just been one of those weeks with a lot of stuff going on! But everything is looking up and we're doing everything we can to get Sister McConkie back to tip-top shape!! 

The scripture I wanted to share for this week is Ether 12:4: "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith , maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God." I LOVE the image of an anchor. Anchors keep a ship from being tossed by the waves and wind around them; faith helps us keep from being tossed by the trials and questions we have. It's easy to forget sometimes that faith is so important, it's easy to look over because it's so simple. But having faith and building faith needs to be one of our very top priorities. It's something that constantly needs effort, and as we grow more faith, more is required to keep it growing. But it always bring so much more peace, joy and contentment into our lives as we have more faith. We are built upon the rock of our Redeemer, "a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall" (Helaman 5:12). Check out the talk "Make the Exercise of Faith Your First Priority" by Elder Ballard at         for more study on this great, awesome subject that all of us need!! This has been a great scripture for me at this time because I have started to feel so lost at the prospect of ending my mission and becoming a normal citizen again. But, no matter what, I still have my faith and I can stay strong in that when I'm not a missionary! In fact, in some ways, I feel like it will be even more important for me to cleave to my faith after my mission. 

I am so grateful for your support and prayers! 

I love you!
sister leslie.

Us at ZTM :)

The Coolest semi ever!

Voice Recording: Happy Birthday, Daddy!!!!  Hope it's the best one you have EVER had!

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