Monday, October 28, 2013

This Is Why You're Here

Want to hear the story of my week? Monday we went to Family Home Evening and SHAY CAME!!! She brought her mom and 2 sisters and they all enjoyed roasting s’mores and hot dogs and we all sang to Shay for her birthday. We also had Emed come. (He's from Egypt!! The sister's met his friend Morad at the Parthenon, and we went to Roma's where they both work to sing to Morad, and we met Emed and he is a Young Single Adult and he feeds us for free every time we go to Romas!!) Emed got his first taste of a s’more. He's been in America for 5 years but never had one! He looked at the marshmallow and poked it and said, "what is it?" So we were looking at the ingredients and I told him basically it's a sugar ball. He asked if you could eat it raw, so I handed him one and he took a bite and yelled "WOW!!!!" Hahahahaha and then he loved the s’more too!!! He was so funny! I kept joking that once he ate a s’more he would be a true American.

Tuesday night we met a man named Bob. He was outside playing with his dog (He's an older man) and he started to talk to us. He found out we were Mormons and told us about how his friend was Mormon. So we gave him a Book of Mormon and he said it was the greatest gift we could have ever given him! We were supposed to see him on Sunday evening but he wasn't in town. He loved our note that we left on his door though. He texted us and told us we had planted a seed!  So we're planning on seeing him tomorrow evening.

About Carre... We absolutely love her! She is the type of girl I would hang out with and we always laugh and enjoy ourselves. But she isn't reading from the Book of Mormon and focusing on the content of it. Her questions are dealing with the logical side of things. I had a cool experience with her though. I felt very strongly that I needed to challenge her to pray about it again. I told her she couldn't have any doubts in her heart or any desire to prove it wrong. Just a sincere desire to know if it was true or not. In Moroni 10:4 it says that you can pray and ask if it's not true... so I told her to do that because I know that the spirit will do it's job and she won't be able to doubt it. She gave us a challenge though... To prove the Book of Mormon using only Bible verses. We took the challenge. So we've got a few ideas but nothing is set. I wish I could have your suggestions... but since I can't because we're teaching her on Thursday... just pray for us and wish us good luck!!

We met with Vicki again and committed her to baptism on the 22nd. She said she would like to be but she wanted to pray and be sure about it. We also met a girl named Derrika while we were tracting. We gave her a Book of Mormon and prayed with her and she cried! We were able to see her again last night. It was Derrika and her friend Amanda who had a little girl named Ca'maya. Amanda said she wasn't religious and I felt she had the attitude of "I'm stuck here so I have to listen." They were both listening and we talked about the priesthood and repentance and prophets and baptism and it was so awesome!! Then we reached the end of the lesson and Sister Giles whispers "do you want to... " and she laughed and smiled indicating INVITE THEM TO BE BAPTIZED! I was so nervous and I got scared and thought "maybe if I pause long enough she'll just do it" But she didn't and so I asked if they would both be baptized by the priesthood authority... well I asked right as Ca'maya was making a fuss. They didn't hear me!! But Derrika looked like she was thinking so I just sat there.. And it was very awkward and they both just looked at us confused... so Sister Giles said "will you....... be baptized?" Derrika shook her head no. She said she wasn't ready and she wanted to pray. Amanda said yes! She really wanted to be!! It was so awesome! We set 3 baptismal dates this week!!!! Too bad none of them are Young Single Adult. But it was so cool! And then once we left, we went to pick up the sisters and they were talking to 3 Young Single Adults on a porch who were all very interested! I think Heavenly Father must have been saying "Sister Rokovitz, I'm here. We've got this. See. This is why you're here! Keep going!" It was insane!!! God is the best!

During the week we were trying to contact a former investigator and we met a girl named Savannah and she let us in to talk about the Book of Mormon. All she knew was what South Park taught her.. bad idea. So we started to teach the restoration and she had a lot of good questions. It was awesome... but then we got to the actual restoration and she stopped us and said she had to go and literally pushed us out the door. It was weird. Hopefully we'll be able to meet with her again.

My testimony has definitely gotten strong this week. I haven't had any doubts and I just keep getting stronger. I can do this! I have really learned what it means to humble myself and to rely on the Lord! It's amazing!!! I'm trying to do better. I have found that I am just loving to study more and more!! I am really getting into the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I'm going to read every word in the scriptures. I also bought a dictionary so I look up words I don't know and highlight them as they relate to the gospel and then I write them down to study and review later. It's really helped!

I am excited for more miracles, not excited for the transfers to be over because that means Sister Vandenberg will be going home. I love you all so much. I couldn't do it without you. Then again... I wouldn't be homesick at all if I didn't have you. Hahaha but homesickness just means I have the best family ever. Keep it up! Wish us good luck with Shay. We asked her last week to pray about a baptismal date and we didn't get to see her this week. So hopefully she got an answer. Oh and also we get to go in at 6 pm on Halloween and just study forever!! YAY!!!
Have a great week I LOVE YOU!!
Love Sister Rokovitz

Monday, October 21, 2013

Teaching, Learning and Staying Positive

Dear Family,

Things I've noticed about Tennessee: (1) There are SO many churches here!!! And I don't think I've seen a single one with the same name. (2) Nashville traffic is the worst traffic I've seen in my life. We can be 4 miles away from our house but have to leave 30-45 minutes before dinner to get home in time. (3) There are a lot of people making a living off of selling newspapers here... there's practically one on every corner. (4) The YMCA is big here.

My backpack straps are already starting to rip. So I had to sew those. I'm pretty handy with a needle and thread :P  Ok so Tuesday was actually pretty good. We visited a girl named Tiffany that we met at the bus stop one day but she's a referral for the other sisters. She's only 27 and has 4 kids! But she seems pretty solid. Also, we got a referral for someone named Fady. We thought it would be a YSA girl but, it was a married Egyptian man who had requested a bible online. He didn't really understand what was going on, but he let us in and we taught him and his brother and sister-in-law. Cool fact: He speaks and reads Arabic. We also had a lesson with Shay that day. She isn't getting baptized this Saturday because we felt like we were kind of pushing her into baptism a little too fast. She wants to get baptized but we want her to pray about a date and figure out when she'll be ready. She liked that idea.

Wednesday was quite the emotional roller coaster. Dad... How do you know?? How do you know that God is God and that Jesus is the Christ and everything else in the gospel. I believe, but how do you know? Also, what does it mean in 1 Nephi 12 heading when it says the disciples of Christ AND the apostles? And how would you describe what the gifts in D&C mean that say:
Vs. 15 And again, to some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know the differences of administration, as it will be pleasing unto the same Lord, according as the Lord will, suiting his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men.
Vs. 16 And again, it is given by the Holy Ghost to some to know the diversities of operations, whether they be of God, that the manifestations of the Spirit may be given to every man to profit withal.
And what does it mean for "the Lord to make bare his arm?" I've seen that come up a couple times.

Thursday we taught Carre that day. That was fun.. and difficult! She is amazing! Carre works for her church, so she said she couldn't miss hers to come to ours or she would get fired. She has a lot of knowledge and faith. She read almost all of 1st Nephi which was amazing! But I don't feel like she read to know if it was true. She had a lot of questions about Joseph Smith and she read on the internet and asked her priests questions when she should be asking us. She has questions about the plan of salvation too, but I love her so much!!!

I think that's the night I got a package from aunt Lisa :) She filled it with popcorn, mini brownie cakes, chocolate, Halloween candy :D Just as a surprise!! It made my night! I also got a letter from Allana. She said to remember to pray during my hard times :)

Thursday night we went to the hospital to visit members, and on our way to the children’s hospital we said Hi to a man and asked how he was. He stopped to talk and told us his name was Randy and he was visiting his friend Pat. We asked if we could come say a prayer and he said she would love a prayer! So we went up and met Pat who was in the critical care tower. We talked to them for a long time and they were just funny!! We ended with a prayer and Pat cried. She just loves christian people! She's a great lady with a strong testimony. We also went back the next night with the sisters and sang to her. She loved it and cried and asked us to sing a second song.

Saturday.. was a very very cold day. Very cold. Sunday.. During church I was studying my hymn book and underlining things and the song on page 45 stuck out to me. It's exactly my cry to my Father in Heaven. Read it. I'm going to do the things it says in my prayers each morning and sing it too while Sister Giles is in the shower. I'm also going to start each prayer by thanking Him for everything I can think of. It changed my mood that day. It was awesome. We enjoyed tracting that night in the perfect weather (and in my red coat.) One of my favorite actresses is a less-active in our area and our Relief Society president is practically famous and had her phone number so we got it and we're going to contact her!!! :D Don't know if anything will happen though.

A mission is hard. Thee hardest thing I have ever done and ever experienced. I've cried a lot and felt lonely... good thing I have Cuddles with me! My one piece of home that I can snuggle up with at night and he still wipes my tears off just as he did when I was little. Those poor paws are probably filled with my tears! So yeah. Hard week. I have high hopes for this next week though! I'm going to stay positive. I love you all and I miss you terribly but time is flying, so I need to enjoy it!!

Love Sister Rokovitz!

Lunch at Roma's

Singing in the rain and loving the use of my polka dot umbrella

Trying new ways to put my outfits together

Getting my hair braided by Makaya, Kevyaundra and LeiLei....THE MOST PAINFUL EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE

Monday, October 14, 2013

One Month Mark

I made it to one month :) It's flying by!! Yet some days just seem so long!! Like last night... we were out of Book of Mormons and we had no appointments and no one to visit... So we just tracted in the dark and found no one... and it just took so long! We did meet a cool member though! We were going back to our car and this man goes "You two are amazing!" We were kind of like... What did we do? haha but he was a member and he told us his conversion story. He "stole" a Book of Mormon from a Marriott when he was 17 because he loved collecting books and then he let a friend borrow it for research, but he never got it back. Then one day, 17 years later he saw a commercial for a free Book of Mormon so he called and got one and they asked if he wanted missionaries to come by and he said no... but they came anyways. It took 4 visits to soften his heart and then he read it and knew it was real and prayed about it and knew it was true. It took 17 years! But he converted and got sealed to his wife :)

Okay so about my week. I got to play volleyball on Monday for Family Home Evening. It was so fun! It was great to be in jeans and just play! :) On Tuesday we went to visit a man who introduced himself as Brother Bob the first time we met him. We thought he was so nice but during the second time we talked to him.... he bashed on us and said we were brainwashed and that our religion was limiting our minds to everything that's out there... and all sorts of stuff. So I called him (in my mind) Beastly Bob. We're not going back... ever. Haha.  We have 6 college universities around us so it's really cool to tract by the campuses because we meet a lot of Young Single Adults. We had one girl who was leaving for vacation and we forgot to give her a Book of Mormon so we left one on her porch, and then there was a grumpy old guy who's house looked like a hoarder's house... and he wanted nothing to do with us. So we left a Book of Mormon by his mailbox... and we drove by yesterday and it's still there!!! >:( Wednesday we had the best Zone meeting ever! We had a training by Sister Vandenberg that answered my prayers. She talked about how to be a successful missionary and eliminating the "small things" such as sarcasm and slouching and stuff. We also did role play's with good missionaries and bad missionaries. It was hilarious!! Especially when Sister Hulme was the bad missionary. We were all laughing so hard!! Also that day we went out to lunch with all the Sisters in our zone. After lunch our car window broke.... So we had to drive everywhere with my window down and at night it was cold!! Then we had to take it in Thursday and it was there till Friday afternoon. So we did a lot of walking. But we met a lot of cool people! We met Cameron, a student at Lipscomb, and we are going to set up an appointment with him this week. We walked so much that day! By the end of the day I was losing so much hope and just sad and bummed and tired and pretty much just gave up.

Then I had the coolest personal revelation happen the next day! I was reading in D&C 6 and it was like Heavenly Father was literally speaking right to me. I highlighted verses 2 and 5-14 which basically say - I've answered your prayers before. If I hadn't of done that, you wouldn't be on your mission. Um...WHOA! Then I highlighted 15-22 which gives me answers about the night I prayed when me and Chris broke up and I got such a strong answer about going on a mission!! I also highlighted 23-25, 27, and 32-37, which to me says - That Christ basically will walk hand in hand with me on my mission! And he does not condemn me for my trials and doubts because I have sought repentance and truth. Now I am commanded to faithfully do the work which I have been called to do. - I titled Section 6 "MY REVELATION". Isn't that amazing! I stared at the wall for about 3 1/2 minutes after with my mouth dropped wide open. I was mind blown!! It's so amazing how God has spoken to me! And I've read that section every day since then.

Also that day, we passed out 14 Book of Mormon's!!!!! :D It was so cool! We met a lady named Shica that was so cool! She kept saying "baby" Like "I know what you  mean baby!" Haha She read from the Book of Mormon and we taught her the next day and she loved it! We also taught her friend Rena. Too bad we're going to have to give them to the sisters... They're not Young Single Adult. Friday... we had a miracle! We were tracting and the second house we went to was a lady named Vicki. She let us in and we told her a bit about the Book of Mormon and read from it. There were two little kids making a lot of noise but the spirit was so strong that it just over powered the kids noise. She interrupted us and asked where our church was. We gave her the info (She didn't come ) and then at the end, Sister Giles said "If you come to know that these things are true, will you be baptized?" And she said YES!!! WHAT???!!! Yeah! We had just met her!! It was crazy cool! We're going to have to give her to the sisters too but it was just such a cool miracle! We left speechless just wondering what had happened!! Oh and Saturday had another miracle too. We were tracting again and we knocked on a door and this girl, Carre, just let us in immediately. It was her and her friend Bethany who were also missionaries for their church. So they wanted to hear our story and what we had to say. We bore our testimonies and I cried through mine... anyways. After about a half hour their friend Hailey joined us. So we had an hour and a half lesson talking about the Book of Mormon and the plan of salvation. It wasn't bible bashing, which was cool! It was an actual discussion! And before we could ask, Carre had her info written down and wanted to talk to us more and take us out to lunch!! It's so cool! Her friends were just visiting so Sister Giles is going to teach them on Facebook. Oh man it was just amazing! The spirit was so strong and they also bore their testimonies of what they knew. It was a great night! And they gave us hugs when we left!

So apparently I've become some sort of celebrity here with my music. People have found out that I've written my own songs and they think I'm really good or something. But I'm not that good. Sister Hulme is amazing! Anyways... I have gotten to play the piano :) Thank goodness! And I think that when I go back to school I want to minor in music

I love you and I will send my pictures as soon as possible! Time is literally flying by out here!! I can't wait to email you next week!

Love Sister Rokovitz

I love mail!!!

Being a Zesty Zester.

Monday, October 7, 2013

I Love It Here

This week was amazing!! Never has the spirit been stronger on my mission!! Monday night was a fantastic evening!! Sister Giles and I took Sister Hulme and Sister Vandenberg to the hospital with us. We had a member who was there with her son and her clothes were dirty and she just wanted something fresh. We found some clothes and took them to her. The sisters had an idea that we could sing to all the members at the hospital... problem though. There weren't anymore members there at the time! We had to fill out forms and lots of things to sing to other patients so instead we sang to the receptionist in the main lobby. I was nervous because there were so many people in the lobby... but we did it. On our way out we passed another desk and the man there suggested that we sing over the loudspeaker for everyone in the lobby. Oh man... we were scared!!! The man said "Be bold!! The bible says you need to be bold!" We freaked out a little and the man got the phone ready and handed it to us... So we did it. We huddled around the phone facing away from everyone and sang Lead Kindly Light. When we finished, the whole lobby started clapping!! One group asked if we had a CD.... we don't... obviously. But we did sing them another song and then invited them to General Conference! We pretty much invited everyone in the lobby to conference. We gave them pictures of the Salt Lake City Temple and they loved it! They were such a sweet group of people!

We started driving home and Sister Vandenburg said, "Wait! Take a right!" She felt impressed to stop by a less active home in their ward. It was Brother and Sister White. Sister White was in a wheelchair. She wheeled into the TV room and we asked if we could sing for her. Of course she said yes! So we did. She then told us with tears in her eyes that it was exactly what she needed. She then told us that they were struggling with their son. He was getting kicked out of where he lived and had bruises and wasn't doing well.. At that point I immediately thought of my own brother and had such a broken heart for her. I suggested we sing one more song, and so we did. While we were singing I was thinking the whole time of something I could share with her. At the end she shared some more about her son. Sister Vandenberg shared some amazing thoughts with her about enduring trials and staying close to God through them. Sister White expressed how hard things are for her. She explained that Michael (her son) was handicapped/special needs. He can't walk and he's non-verbal. They can't take care of him anymore and that's why he was in a different home. He has been abused by those who take care of him in several ways. I couldn't hold back my tears! I just wanted to hug her! Sister Vandenberg finished up and we said a prayer with her. I was bawling!! I knew I had to share my thoughts with her or I would regret it. Each sister gave her a hug on our way out. When it was my turn, I took her hands and she squeezed them tight. I said something along the lines of this:
   "If I don't tell you this before I leave I will regret it. My brother had some difficulties but not to the same extent of your son. I've worked with special needs kids throughout my life and they are special souls! People don't understand that! These special souls are strong angels that have been given a body that is different from ours. They can handle more than we can. They are stronger than we are and so they can handle their trials.
Others don't understand them. We love them and care for them. I once heard the testimony of a handicapped boy in my seminary class. He was in a wheelchair and struggled to talk. But I will never forget that day and what he said! He said that he couldn't wait to get to heaven! Then he wouldn't have to be in a wheelchair and he was going to have a race with everyone and he was going to win! I'm sure he'll want to race against your son one day! I know you have probably never heard the testimony of your son, but he has a strong one!"

Sister White was sobbing... and I was too! The spirit was SOOO strong! She said her mind was eased and it was just what she needed. She hugged me and thanked me. We all left and stood outside the car and just hugged each other. It was an amazing experience. That's why I'm here. Sister White needed me! And without all 4 of us sisters we wouldn't have been there that night! . Sister Hulme helped us want to sing, Sister Giles led us to the hospital, Sister Vandenberg led us to the Whites after the hospital, and I shared what the spirit told me to. Nights like that make all the worries and doubts and fears and nerves of a mission go away. God loves us so much and works in very mysterious ways. I'm so glad I'm here!

SHAY IS GETTING BAPTIZED!!! She is getting baptized on the 19th! How awesome is that! Her aunt got baptized on Saturday. Her aunt was so happy! She came up out of the water and said "AMEN!" She also shared her testimony and she was just so happy to be a part of the church family!

Jenna... said she wasn't interested in converting. So we told her that wasn't our purpose. We just wanted to talk and help strengthen her faith. She set up an appointment with us and then bailed.

I was reading my patriarchal blessing this week too!! Remember when I got it and you said that it said I would serve a mission? I laughed at you... I thought "silly mom. I'll never serve a mission." Well I read it and sure enough... plain and clear. I would serve a mission. You were right.

Dad, you really have studied the scriptures and I'm trying so hard to do the same so I can find these hidden treasures and share them with my investigators. I appreciate you taking the time to look up the answers to my questions. It feels like you're a part of my mission too :) We're studying together!! I have learned so much from you and I cannot wait till my next free moment when I can read the chapters you said and I can find more answers. I have learned to "doubt my doubt before I doubt my fears." I have come to the realization that I still have great amounts of faith and to use those. One thing that I have learned more than anything out here is patience. The Lord works in his own ways and on his own times. I cannot teach my investigators to be patient through their trials if I am not willing to do the same. I just continue to pray, search for answers, be faithful and patient, and trust in the Lord. A mission is amazing. It's hard... but... It's amazing. I can go for a couple days without success and feeling useless... but every time before I hit my lowest and want to give up, God gives me a miracle that sustains me a little longer.

I woke up this morning and sat right up instead of rolling out like I usually do, and I was happy and excited to start my day! I've wanted to study the scriptures so much that I've ended up reading at meals!! I love it here. I miss you and I just wish you all could watch me for a day to see how good I'm doing and how much I've changed. Well... I've got to go. I love you so much and I could not have asked for a better Father and Mother. I'm so glad both of you served missions. It has made our home stronger. I would be a hopeless wreck if I didn't come out here. I will talk to you next week. :) I love you!!

Love the super duper Sister Rokovitz!

p.s..... there are millions of chipmunks and squirrels out here!! There isn't a single day where I don't see at least 25 of them!! I love it!! It's like I'm in an enchanted forest! haha .... if only I could talk to them....