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West Branch: A Second Big Rapids & 9 MONTHS!!!

Good morning! It has been a crazy week! I’ve been trying to keep my posts shorter lately so I don’t stress myself out and so I have ample time to reach out to everyone I need to (Ex. My Mission President). I wanted to take a moment to just thank everyone who has been reaching out to me, especially over the last few weeks. It’s been so busy that I haven’t been able to find many opportunities to reach back out. I’m in a slower area once again, but I will still be more busy than Big Rapids. I am determined to work harder than I ever did in Big Rapids. So thank you for your patience with me as I’ve been trying to figure everything out.

Last Monday I finished up packing for West Branch. My dear companion, Sister Peterson helped me in so many ways as I struggled to fit everything. She helped me pack, cleaned our apartment while I packed, made meals for us, and did so lovingly and patiently. I can’t thank her enough for making packing the least stressful it could have been.

So now I’m in West Branch! We haven’t found anyone to teach yet (as many of our friends that the previous sisters taught have not been responsive quite yet), but we are still reaching out to them and giving our all to find opportunities to teach people. So far, social media has been a huge blessing, and it’s been our most successful way to communicate with new people. I strive to develop new relationships in the area with my purpose as a missionary never hidden, but also never forced unless I feel inspired to be bold with someone. I’m excited to get to know the people here. They have so much energy!

Me and my new companion, Sister Mullen, both arrived for the first time this last Tuesday (so we "white washed" the area). We were able to get in contact with some of the members here in our small branch and they asked us to prepare a 5 min talk for their Christmas program as well as a musical number. It wasn’t very stressful at all. We basically just shared a couple of scriptures and that was that. And we just sang a hymn. 🙂 And I got to HARMONIZE. Oh how I missed it. Honestly haven’t been able to do that with a companion since Sister Harris. Though Sister Peterson has a wonderful voice, she preffered to sing Alto. So we did our harmonizing with our violins.

Our members are so wonderful and colorful here! They are so unique and so fun! I can’t wait to get to know all of them…and remember their names. We made our rounds right before church asking everyone what their names were and a lot of them merged together in my head so I will have to Faceboom stalk them so I can put a face to a name to practice. After church yesterday, we had a linger longer and it was probably the first linger longer I have been to my entire mission. Half way through haha.

Oh! That reminds me! I hit my 9 months this last Friday! I didn’t post anything because I didn’t have an opportunity to go and take pictures, or buy balloons or anything, and also decided that I will be posting a special video along with those, hopefully soon. I’m going to try and film it today. Look out for it! And if anyone has any cool ideas to celebrate, let me know!

We had Zone Conference last Friday and I got to participate in the missionary choir. We sang an arrangement from Rob Garner, who happens to be one of the composers we sang music from a lot in Millennial Choir. It was so special to feel almost like I was back in a much much much smaller version of MCO again. I miss it a lot. It brought the Spirit so strongly. Music is so powerful to me, so it was really special that we got to sing that.

To close, I have found a wonderful joy and energy since moving here to West Branch. Even though I still have my moments of trial due to no teaching, no friends, and a slower area, I feel like I’ve been blessed with the energy I need to build momentum in this area with my companion. It’s building my desire to accomplish hard things, and I’m trying to develop faith to see miracles here in West Branch. I know they are possible and I know that there is one person here that Heavenly Father has prepared to receive the gospel to bless their life. It’s never my work, but His. I just have to do my part in putting in every effort to allow Him to work through me. He’ll never force it, but I want to be that on my mission, and for the rest of my life. I’ve never been happier. Sure, I have my down moments, but that’s all it is, a moment.

Christmas may prove to be a little hard for me as it is my favorite holiday and I am spending it away from home for the first time. I will miss the many traditions we keep on Christmas, but there are several people in my life working hard to make this Christmas special for me, and I can’t describe the gratitude I have for them. Please enjoy the Christmas season. There is so much additional joy and peace to be found when Christ is at the center of the season. There is so much love and joy from knowing and celebrating the birth of a Savior that loves you perfectly, and from striving to do what He does. There’s a reason Christ is perfectly happy. Try experimenting with what he did while he was on the Earth and see what that does for you and the people you care about this season.

Have a merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Stay safe! 🤍❤

Sister (Katie) Malan

P.S. I am currently following all but one of my previous District Leaders (the last one- Bonsignore- went home) and they are serving together as my Zone Leaders hahahahaha (Elder Zacher & Elder Houskeeper). I am also following one of my STLs. She hasn’t been my STL for just one transfer since she was called as an STL (Sister Hansen). I love following them around! I’m also finally in the same Zone as my MTC comp, Sister Evans!

Pictures! (Final District Pic- Elder Sorenson view- Nichols • Yeomans • Bradford-Again lol- • District Leader Bonsignore • Me • Peterson •, STLs- Peterson • Ross • Schmidt • Me •, New Comp! •Sister Mullen•, WEST BRANCH, The Return of Sister Evans, BR District- • Brown • Zone Leader Zacher •)

Published by Katie Malan

Sister Malan is currently a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in the Michigan Lansing Mission (United States).

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