Monday, May 26, 2014

Giant Cats, Snapping Turtles and Ant Covered Cookies

For this week, it was quite adventurous, let me tell you. I don't even know where to start. We had dinner with the Crawfords and I love them! They're a really sweet young couple who both went to school at BYUI and they have a GIANT cat! He weighed a ton.
Sister Rokovitz with the Crawford's giant cat.

We got to teach some lessons with Sister Paul this week. She came with us and taught Jully. I can't remember if I talked about Jully. We met her last week when we were tracting. She is from Columbia and came here to marry her husband. She was outside and we talked to her and her husband came out. She said she would come to church last week but couldn't find it and she didn't call us. Anyways, we taught her the restoration and then on Thursday she went to a Latina night at a member's home. Sister Behan speaks Spanish and has Latinas in the area over once a month for a party. There's another lady from Columbia who goes, named Adrianna, who is a member but her English isn't very good. We didn't think Jully would go but she did!! And we would have gone to support her but our phone broke and we didn't realize that we weren't getting texts for 3 days. She loved it and stayed at it way late! Then Jully came to church yesterday! She was so happy and she had friends already. Sister Behan and Adrianna almost stole her to teach nursery with them instead of coming to Gospel Principles with us. After church Sister Behan's son got baptized. Perfect? I think so. It was funny because Jully offered to film it and Sister Behan explained why we don't film those events. And then during the baptism Jully sat next to Adrianna and Adrianna was taking pictures the whole time! Oh my. So we have to make sure we teach Jully correct and then maybe she can help Adrianna understand. And Adriana took Jully out to lunch after church. Haha oh man. Oh well.

We finally got to see Peggy again. I don't know if I've talked about her either. She is toothless and lives with her ex-husband. She hasn't come to church yet and is real skeptical about coming because she doesn't know what it's going to be like. She understands what she reads in the Book of Mormon but she hasn't prayed about it. She's just kind of stuck. I feel like I can't get my investigators to feel the Holy Ghost. I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

We also finally saw Cathy. Last we had heard from her, she was in the hospital. She came home and we got to see her. She had kind of gotten in a fight and the guy punched her and broke her nose and ripped out basically half of her hair. This guy has been a problem in the city for a while. She's hoping they catch him. Anyways, ready for the miracle part: CATHY CAME TO CHURCH! This has been such a struggle and she finally came. Finally! She only stayed for Sacrament meeting because she had to go do some haircut but hey, at least she came. She wants to change her life so badly and she's finally making baby steps of progress.

So we had a total of 4 investigators at church yesterday!!!!! That's crazy! It's a miracle! And Sister Newnum came and Brother Hamilton! ( Sister Hamilton was sick) So we had Cathy, Jully, Abbie, and Cena. Only Jully stayed for all 3 hours but still... We've never had 4 in this ward at one time.

We did see Amber this week and we're going to see her again tonight. Found out she is engaged to the boyfriend she's living with but their wedding date is next year. So we're stuck on what to do. And she didn't come to church yesterday. So more progress update on her is yet to come.

No real update on Roxana this week. Her baptism is going to be postponed because she didn't come to church yesterday. Our Investigators are really struggling with testimonies right now for some reason. We tried to teach her the commandments but she talked the whole time. So... Yeah.

The festival... Didn't go. No one was willing to help and turns out we never did get a booth. We were told that we had one but come to find out, the application never got approved because it was about 2 months late when it was turned in. So it bombed. We drove by the festival a few times during the week on our way to lessons and it looked like it would have been a great place. Everyone laughed too when we told them we were doing it. They said the festival is like trash and they said good luck.

Thanks for the cookies... This story will make you laugh. The day they came, we were gone all day. We got home and Sister Schenk checked the mail and pulled out the little box. She said it was for me and I was like "Ooh! Yay! Maybe it's CDs! *shake* *shake* nope it's a treat!!!" get inside and set it on my desk... And then realize we had an ant hill in our mailbox a few days ago when I checked the mail. I panicked!!!!!!! I tore that box open so fast! Sister Schenk said "they probably haven't gotten very far though if they got in" I said "I bet they have... They've had all day to get to my treat!!!" I open it up and ants come pouring out!!!!! I screamed and ran outside. I was FURIOUS! We got a bag and I inspected them and threw the non infested ones in the bag. Only 2 bundles were covered in ants. I left the box outside for the night. I put the other four bundles on the kitchen counter and then we did our planning for the next day. When I was done I grabbed the can of Raid in a furry and went out and soaked the whole mailbox in it! Those ants died immediately! Sister Schenk was laughing at how much I sprayed on that mailbox. Then I went inside to eat cookies.... And ants were crawling around my cookies! So I got a plastic bag and put it on my hand and just started squishing. I squished probably 30 ants. Then I took one bundle at a time and open it and shook the cookie and inspected it and set it on a plate. I repeated the process and when I finished I looked at the plate and I saw 3 more ants! I was getting so frustrated!!!!!!! I squished them and got another plate and inspected each cookie more thoroughly and put them on the other plate. And then I warmed two up and ate them in anger with a glass of milk. I have not had any reports of other cookie ants. Haha I was not going to give up!!! You made those special for me! And I intended for those cookies to make it into my tummy! And it happened. 

Ok, are you ready for the funny animal story of the week! So we were headed to an appointment and I saw this turtle crossing the street and thought "we have to help him!!" I pull over and get out and I explain how we're going to pick him up and carry him to his destination. Sister Schenk forbid me!!!! It was a snapping turtle.... So I thought... "Let's push him!" I found a water bottle and poked him and he almost took my hand off! I had no clue how fast those beasts can move!! Oh.. And we named him Silencio. So I knew I needed a longer and stronger pushing stick. Off to the trunk to get the snow scraper! .... And my camera. Yeah... Two Mormon girls in skirts on the side of a busy road trying to document the poking of a large snapping turtle. He kept snapping at me and he was strong! It was like a mini rifle kickback!!! He wouldn't grip onto the snow scraper so I could pull him across the street and eventually he stopped jumping forward. He stood up real tall at one point and then sat down. He was MAD. Then I look up... And traffic is backed way up on both sides... How embarrassing. People slowly went around us and we just stood there and smiled. Eventually we gave up. He stopped progressing. He was so close to the side of the road! We were 20 minutes late to our appointment and on the way home... Silencio had become truly silenced. He was also so flat I could have put him in my journal! I didn't though, don't worry. Animals are crazy out here. ......

Trying to get Silencio to bite the ice scraper so we can drag him across the road.

Silencio, the snapping turtle....before he became Silencio, the pancake.

Sister Schenk and I get along so well!!!! She's also fun to scare too. She got in the car and had an ant on her and I knew she would flip out and flick it off, possibly towards me, so I said "get out of the car quick!" She bolted out and said "why?" I said "there's a bug on you!" She did the ant dance!! Haha she flew!!!! And then she ran to my side of the car and opened the door and threw herself across my lap and screamed "GET IT OFF!" I said "hold still" while busting up laughing! Haha it was gone and then when she found out it was an ant... She was mad! Haha it was a red ant though... She claims she wouldn't have freaked out but I think she would have!

I'm starting to slightly experience humidity out here and I already hate it! My hair poofs real fast and I look like a witch. And I get real sweaty real fast. I feel sticky all the time. Yuck. And the humidity hasn't even started yet. I don't know how I'm going to avoid heat migraines. I drink a lot more water now but I still get bad headaches. Summer will be miserable! I'm glad I only have to be out here for one Summer.

I did get to see fireflies this week! They were in the field behind Jeff and Abbie's house! They are huge and ten times brighter than the Utah ones!!!! And since they're bigger, they're faster too. Jeff caught one and we brought it home and let it out in our room, then we let it go outside. I'm so excited to see more of those!!

The firefly lit up in my hands

Our firefly in the jar

I have a question: If you had the missionaries over and they shared a message, what kind of message or invitation from them would help you get excited and motivated to do missionary work?
I think that's all for this week. This is so long!!! You're welcome.

I love you so much!!!!!!

~Sister Rokovitz~

I have hit 8 months in the mission field. I love my mission!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Music, A Bird Funeral and That Special Book

Finally. Time to email you. We were up early this morning and drove to Paducah and then got in a huge van with 8 other missionaries to go to Princeton Kentucky for choir practice. Sister Schenk and I are playing the piano... And the pieces are hard. I had a hard time because I got the music last minute so I couldn't play them and I couldn't even play the two vocal pieces at the same time. It was embarrassing. So lots of piano practice this week.

So we have been talking to our bishop forever about setting up a booth at a festival and handing out the Prepare The Way survey. Finally he said yes, we got a booth at the festival this week, and we only have 3 members who want to help for a little bit but then they expect us to do the whole thing. The purpose of the survey is to have the members get involved and the missionaries come for a few hours each day to help. Ah! Stress level is pretty dang high right now.

So are you ready for a story from the week? I killed a bird. So last night we were about home and this bird.... just flipped out and flew crooked out of a bush and I see him and hear *THUD* on the car. AH! Sister Schenk was freaking out and made me turn around to check on him. I got out and bent over and he was on the ground. So I run to the trunk and find a box... and some gloves surprisingly, and we pick him up and put him in the box to try to nurse him back to health at home. He died in the 27 second car ride home. So we went to our neighbor’s house and asked for a shovel. So Mr. Bird is in a box right now on our back porch and we will make a headstone for him and have a proper funeral. You know... our landlord Dave directs funerals. I wonder if he would have a bird sized casket and headstone, and then he can lead the funeral procession to the backyard. Yes! This will be lovely.

Anyways.....I have a special note for the Butler family. They gave me a Book of Mormon right before I left on my mission. They put in a family picture and their testimony and asked me to give it to someone on my mission. I was saving it for someone special and this week, that special someone was found.

Hey Butler family!
Do you remember the Book of Mormon you put your testimony in and gave to me? Well I have carried that book around with me every day for 8 months and prayed so hard to find the person who needed it. Sometimes I've thought "maybe this person needs it" then I say no. I don't normally think about it during the day. Well this week we met a new girl named Amber. (Great name!) She is 25 and has a really cute little girl who is almost 2, named Bailey. We taught her the first lesson this week which is the restoration. She had so many good questions! We had such a great time teaching her. We even asked if she would like to be baptized so she can have the feeling of choosing for herself and being clean. At the end of the lesson when we talked about the Book of Mormon, she was so excited about it! Unfortunately, we had none with us! We ran out! All of a sudden the spirit said "give her the one in your bag" I thought that was a good idea but then I thought maybe I should save it. My heart started pounding and I knew I had to give it to her. I said "you know what, I have one more Book of Mormon." I told her the story of it and how special it was. She accepted it with such a huge smile and even teared up a little bit. It was such a special experience! We will continue to meet with her and hopefully I can update you more on her progress. Thank you for the book! It was such a great experience to have now!

Well... I don't have much else to say. I'm just a little stressed with the whole music thing and the festival thing. But it will all work out. Ok.. That's about all now. We're going to get our nails done today. Whoo! I love you so much!!! Have a good day.

~Sister Rokovitz~

We've had soooo much rain. On this day, Sister Schenk decided she was going to just trudge through the flood while we were tracting.

We made an animal feeder on our back porch.....and it works!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day Skype and Mission Questions

(We got to Skype with Amber for Mother's Day last night. We were having big problems getting Skype to work on our end and Amber was running out of time before she had to be back in her apartment for the night. She was getting a little stressed and worried that we wouldn't be able to talk to each other. As soon as the Skype connection was made and she saw our faces, she started to cry. It was so great to see her and it wasn't long before we were all laughing, talking and having a great time.)
Amber during our Skype call.

I am so glad I got to see you last night. I was starting to get really bummed out and discouraged and that's why I cried when I saw you. I thought I had no chance at Skyping. I'm so glad it finally worked! It was very needed to see your face yesterday and to joke and laugh and hear your encouragement. I appreciate it so much!!! Thank goodness for technology right? I feel like Skype calls happen right when the missionary needs it. Skype calls... Inspired.

Dad I'm so proud of you for sharing the gospel!!! Yay!! Keep doing that. I have a goal when I get home to always have a Book of Mormon in my car and then always keep one with me as much as possible. You never ever know who you will run into. When we went to Stake Conference, we rode with our District Leader's Branch Mission Leader. After the meeting they stopped at McDonald’s for ice cream. The lady who took his money was so nice. She had accidentally given him back less than she should have but she quickly and nicely corrected it. Brother Johnson said, "She was so nice! She needs a Book of Mormon!" I saw he had one in the back seat where I was sitting. I pulled it out and said, "Here's one!" Haha so he waited till she opened the window again and said, "Have you ever read the Book of Mormon?" She said, " No I haven't." He said, "Would you like one?" She said, "Sure!" With a smile. He gave it to her and drove away. Simple as that. I then restocked his car with a Book of Mormon from my bag. Sharing the gospel is natural and there are SO many opportunities to share it with others. Thank you for sharing it. You never know what kind of seed you planted. Oh! And you can tell people about me and that if they have more questions they can add me and message me on Facebook. I'll teach them everything.

Ok now for all these questions. Hopefully I can remember things!

(~ Since we were able to Skype with Amber yesterday and did most of our conversing for the week on the call, I thought I'd email Amber some questions about her mission and see what kind of answers she would come up with. Here are her answers.)

-What is the best food you've eaten on your mission?
Best food... Strawberry shortcake. Until EVERYONE started doing it because it's warming up. There really isn't a big food difference here.
-What is the weirdest food you've eaten on your mission?
Octopus. And southern ribs and weird concoctions.
-What do you usually do on P-day?
Email, clean, shop, then write letters and be lazy.... Well it depends on the companion. That's my ideal p-day. Some companions want to always be out doing something. So today we are going to go make pottery, sometimes we just tour around. In Nashville we would play with other
missionaries or go to the zoo or museums or downtown.
-What service do you do?
Lots of moving people.. Also helping them clean and organize, planting flowers etc.
-What are some things you're missing from home, besides your family?
Lomax!! (Amber's car)My wonderful jobs and the people there, and I miss the dryness. And I miss fry sauce.
-Describe some things you see, hear, and smell as you’re traveling about.
There are tons of trees here! Like movie style. Lots of nature and animals everywhere. The wildlife is just all over! Meaning.. backyard status. There are also trailer homes and mansions, hillbillies and rich people. Birds chirping. Motorcycles. Lots of motorcycles. The morning always smells so fresh and clean! And it smells green too. Another common smell is smoke and animal pee.
-Describe what sort of things go on between you and your companion such as funny pranks, spiritual talks, odd things that your companion does. (Or past companions)
The song game, the road kill game, lots of talking about the second coming, accents are a huge mission entertainment. Odd things they have done... Doesn't kill spiders, waits for me to get up to start her personal prayer... Just kind of stares at me while I'm in the instant grumpy stage.
-What clothes are your favorite that you have out there with you?
My polka dotted skirts, and my tanks and button up shirts. And of course scarfs and belts.
-Describe your church meetings, what you do, where you meet, how many attend, how people get there, how far away they must come or what they go through to get there.
We meet at church... Just a regular building in Johnston City, we have about 150-175 that attend out of the 500 members in the area. Most people drive or carpool and it's at least a 20-30 minute drive for everyone.. Some drive an hour or more. We have church that's pretty normal like Utah. People sometimes come in jeans and a lot of people only stay for an hour.. By the last meeting we've lost half the people.
-Describe one thing you have learned or thought about this past week.
I have learned to never give up. I'm not perfect and it's going to take a lot of time to become the missionary I want to be. But it is possible and that's because of Christ. I've learned a lot about utilizing the spirit in the work and making sure to ask faithfully for His companionship. I forget that a lot or I do it repetitively. The spirit is key to everything we do and without it, there's no point.
-What was the hardest part about leaving on your mission?  The best?
The hardest part was leaving what I knew and was comfortable with and not knowing what was ahead. The best part was being excited to start a new adventure.
-What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far on your mission?
I have learned about the reality of Christ's atonement. It is real and it is so much more than we think. The atonement covers everything. The atonement is there for everyone no matter what your history is. It's there to heal us and change us to become more like Christ. It is there to help our testimonies and to give us hope when we feel it is lost. The atonement is the ultimate love of God. Through the atonement I can change, become better, and conquer anything. We all can. NO MATTER WHAT. Religion, race, habits, it doesn't matter. The atonement is there. We just have to choose to accept and use it.
-What have you learned from your companions or other missionaries?
I have learned that I'm a lot nicer and better than I think. Also I've learned that when you work for The Lord, nothing small matters. It doesn't matter if there are crumbs on the counter, dirty dishes, pens across the room, shoes left out. We all help each other and because we're serving God, we don't mind serving each other and then it emulates to the people. Life is just easier when you are focused on The Lord.
-What have you learned from your mission president?
That we can do it! Nothing can drag us down. Not Satan, not people, nothing. The Lord is ALWAYS there. He never ever ever even thinks about leaving your side. I can feel my Heavenly Father’s love for me through President Andersen. He is incredible. And he is so selfless which makes it easier for him to find solutions to problems. He sees everything in such a Christ like way. He truly knows Christ.
-What are the different methods you use to proselyte?
Tracting, biking, walking in stores and talking to people, Facebook, member’s friends, nonmembers at ward activities, asking for referrals from Less-actives and nonmembers.
-What have you learned on your mission so far that you think will help you throughout your life?
It's easier with Christ. Scripture study and prayer and service are small requirements to gain happiness. And visiting and home teaching is so important and it's so much more than a monthly visit! It can literally change lives!
-What is your favorite mission story so far?
My favorite one is Donnie. The end. Just Donnie in general. (Amber told us some great things about Donnie. Donnie was baptized about a month ago. He has handed out so many copies of the Book of Mormon, that he needs more. He wanted to go "contacting" with the sisters so they taught him pamphlet discussions and the first person Donnie approached, listened to him.)
-How has your mission changed you so far?
It's made me humble and sucked me into Christ. It's opened my eyes and made me love people no matter what. It's set my priorities straight. Everyone is so right when they say to put God first. It's made me more outgoing too!!
-What are some differences about Tennessee and Illinois compared to Utah?
It's humid. And green. And the people here are just nicer and easy to talk to. The homes are small and often falling apart because they're so old. People love cement statues.
-What has surprised you about the people in Tennessee and Illinois?
They let you right in! Even if they just met you! Or they will stand on the other side of the door and yell "who is it?!" And make you yell loud enough for the whole world to hear that the sister missionaries are at their door!
-What is your favorite thing about Tennessee and Illinois?
The clouds. The rain. Town squares and marque signs everywhere!
-What are some words that are pronounced differently in Tennessee and Illinois than the way you are used to hearing them?
People say "warsh" instead of "wash." On a ranch, they can have cows, chickens, horses and "shep." It took me a while to figure out that a "shep" was "sheep." And anything with "ville" on the end is pronounced "vull" like Nashvull, Cartersvull, etc. They also say, "Love yuns" instead of "Love you."
-What were you afraid of before serving your mission that you now realize was really no big deal?
The rules. They're really not as strict as they sound. Getting up at 6:30 a.m. and tracting really is fun. Some of the best stories come from there! Oh and transfers. Transfers happen every 6 weeks but you won't be transferred every one of those times. I thought I would be transferred every 6 weeks. You can be assigned to an area longer than 6 weeks.
-Do you have any advice for those who are thinking about serving a mission?
Prepare. Know Preach My Gospel and read the Book of Mormon. Dedicate yourself to The Lord and trust everything He gives you! Spend time with your family. Just prepare spiritually.

You should ask these again towards the end of my mission. It was fun to reflect and think on these things.
Well, that's about all for now. I hope this next week we'll have some good experiences to tell you about. I just bought Jesus the Christ and it came today so I want to read that. I love you!

~Sister Rokovitz~

At the end of our Skype session, Amber said that she loved her mission so much, that even if she had the choice to come home right now, she wouldn't. Strangely enough, that's exactly what we, as her parents, want to hear.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Love Y'all

I have just been so excited to talk to you today! And I'm even more excited to skype you next Sunday!!!!

We met for Ward council this week. It made me realize too, how much responsibility leaders have. I honestly didn't know ward councils happened until my mission.. and then I thought they only happened outside of Utah. We have a member named Sister N. She is the best! She is so sweet and funny. She is divorced and all her kids are less active. She just recently reached a less active status. She slowly stopped coming to church. She was called as a ward missionary but she hasn't done anything. She is slipping away FAST. The ward was discussing her in ward council and her temporal needs. They have tried helping her find another job. I said "We visited her this week and she just needs a lot of support..." I got cut off and was told, "we have supported her for years!" I bit my tongue.. and said no more. As I thought on that during the week, and as we visited her this week, I noticed she needs a lot of spiritual support. She said her testimony wasn't the problem, but her kids were there so she didn't say what the true problem is. She's mentioned before having no friends and feeling lost there. She needs spiritual support. The members can give someone temporal support for ever! But that will do nothing. It doesn't strengthen their testimony. It doesn't increase their desire to fulfill their calling. It doesn't do much. They may come to church for financial help at first, but our job is to keep them there because they understand the importance of church and have a strong testimony. One visit to a person who is struggling doesn't cut it. Brother Hirschi here home taught a less active member for 20 years faithfully... She just recently started coming back to church. Twenty years is what it took and it's still not done!! I have to do all I can to spiritually strengthen others.

President Andersen sent me this amazing letter about being called as a trainer. I got it and it just made my day. I'm trying so hard to be obedient. Sister Schenk and I just started the 40 day fast together today and it is going to be great! I have a lot to work on, but it's amazing what strengths Sister Schenk points out when we do companion inventory. She said I'm not afraid to talk to anyone and I was like "What?!" I guess I'm not. Sometimes I still am but not compared to at the beginning of my mission. It's awesome!!!

President Andersen gave us a challenge as a mission to read the Book of Mormon in the next 2 transfers. Thirty minutes a day and he said we will see a great increase in baptisms! I'm so excited. I'm just going to read a plain unmarked copy and I'm just going to read read read! I can't wait!

At the beginning of this week we rode bikes for 3 more days... every time we got back on them we just kept saying "ow. ow. ow. ow" haha my butt = mega sore!! We biked over 10 miles on Tuesday. Towards day 4 of bikes, we were riding pretty slow everywhere. But yesterday our plans were all close by and it was a beautiful day! So we biked all over. It was hot though. We were so sweaty and our hair was matted down by our sweat and helmets. Summer is going to be ... a blast.. I do love biking though. Yesterday I had on a skirt that was not bike compatible. Sister Schenk had heard of a trick where you take a clothes pin and pin your skirt between your legs. It didn't work. So then I got smart. I put the pin on the break cord that runs to the back tire and pinned the front of my skirt there. I looked like a total idiot but hey, my skirt didn't ride up.

So things with Terry went a little weird. We taught him lesson 1 on Monday and it went great! Then we couldn't get him to respond to texts. Finally Saturday he said he was at the hospital with family and that he wasn't sure if he could make it to church... and he felt lost and falling apart. We were worried!!! Well we finally got to talk to him on the phone last night. He's ok and we are meeting with him tonight and committing him to baptism!!!

This week we were out tracting and we came to a house. An older man answered and we proceeded with our little speech. He let us know he went to another church already and that he had a good faith in Christ. I started to ask "That's great! How did you gain your faith in Christ?" He was slowly closing the door the whole time I was asking him. He just looked at us and closed the door! Haha I tried so hard not to laugh walking away! Hey at least he was nice and didn't slam the door. He was very gentle with that door closing.

We got in contact with a lot of referrals this week too! Yesterday we had 2 referrals. The first was a referral from a member who met a lady in the park and shared the gospel with her. We tried 4 times to contact her with no luck. We went one more time yesterday after church with the member. Then I was bound to give up. As we were waiting for our member after church, we were hot, hungry and anxious to get home. I kept remembering times in the past where I've sacrificed something I wanted for the work. Our member came out and he followed us to her place. After 3 LOUD knocks, she answered! We went in, talked about the Book of Mormon, gave her one and set up an appointment! It was worth the extra hour of hunger sacrifice. And I wasn't even hungry while we were there!

The second was a headquarters referral. Brittney had referred herself on but she said she had just filled out a bunch of stuff online for help in the area. I was thinking "Dang it! A dead end." Well, I kind of nudged Sister Schenk to start teaching the restoration. Her son was outside playing with blocks and riding his trike but she was focused. She listened and asked questions. She is going to read the Book of Mormon and at the end, she said a prayer to ask if what we had taught was true! It was a picture perfect lesson! We have another appointment with her on Saturday.

Oh and also yesterday as we were strolling into the neighborhood for dinner, noticed our neighbors outside that we've met. They said "Hey girls!" We stopped and talked. Four houses of neighbors were all over at Shawn’s house. Shawn is single and has a really well trained dog named Rugar. Gail has grandkids that stay over on the weekends, Karen has a REALLY FLUFFY lassie dog named Bo, and Janet loves riding motor cycles. We were playing with the leaf seeds that had fallen to the ground. You can stick them to your nose if you do it a certain way. That moment was picture perfect too... the whole neighborhood knows each other and loves each other. Classic southern neighborhood. Oh... and I say y'all now. A lot. Oops.


Leaf seeds that stick to your face.

We taught Noel and Nanette, and once again we were bold. We showed them a video that talks about not procrastinating. I said "We need you now. We can't wait. We need your talents, your testimony, etc. Now." They are getting so close to getting married and coming back to church!!!

Friday we saw the Hamiltons again. I think I've told you about them. They are the best!!! Brother Hamilton asked for the missionary pamphlets so he can learn how to teach individuals simply. He went to the hospital and now has to have therapy at the nursing home, but his therapist almost was baptized years ago! He's so excited to work with her and hopefully have us teach her! His face was like a little kid’s who just discovered the Easter basket when he told us about this opportunity!

We also taught Peggy. Missionaries were teaching her a long time ago, before I got here, and then she dropped them. I met her just before Sister Ferrin left. Now we are teaching her again. We taught lesson 1 and then did a scripture study. That's how she wants to do it. A lesson, and then read with her in the Book of Mormon. She hasn't come to church yet because she gets harsh pain in her face and a few days before a storm comes in is when it's the worst. And we've had storms on Mondays and Tuesdays which means Saturdays and Sundays she's knocked out in pain. But she will get there one day!

Lastly, we had Stake Conference this weekend. All the missionaries were told to attend the Priesthood Leadership meeting on Saturday afternoon. We could not find a ride. Friday night, we were desperate. We texted our District Leader and asked what we do if we couldn't find a ride. They were going to drive themselves because no one in their Branch could take them. They got permission for us to ride with them, but later called us back and said their Ward Mission Leader and his wife would take us and they would go with their Branch President. We drove to their area and they took us to Paducah. The Saturday afternoon session was so good! I was taking good notes. It was all on missionary work. Then they fed us dinner. They fed only the missionaries, haha and it was good!!! The evening session was even better, but it broke my heart at how few people attended. In the evening session they talked about numbers... why are we decreasing? Over the last few years our numbers of baptisms have gone way down. This year it’s predicted we will baptize only 20 as a stake. The number is linked to how many lessons are taught with a member there. When the members were more present, the baptisms were higher. When less members helped, the numbers dropped. I wish they had shown the graph Sunday so everyone could have seen it. It hit me. Members ARE the KEY!!! We CANNOT do the work without them. It's impossible. The prophet COMMANDED members to work with missionaries. Are you keeping that commandment? People don't understand that missionary work is incorporated in every calling. You don't have to completely shift gears to be a missionary. There was a story told about someone who saw a big problem and said "Lord why don't you do something about this?" The Lord replied "I already did. I created you" Powerful right?! We have had 0 exchanges with members for the last month. Our weekly goal to have members present has decreased from an average of 11 to 3. And we can't even get 3 in a week. So... CHALLENGE TIME! At least once a month, go out with the missionaries, if you can. I know the missionaries there are swamped, but fight your way to help them. They need it. I loved stake conference. All I hear coming from church leaders now is missionary work. The Lord is coming. SOON! He is coming and we need to do EVERYTHING we can to prepare. Dan Clark said we need to wear ourselves out doing missionary work. If I arrive in front of the Lord on my hands and knees, dragging myself because I've worked so hard that I can no longer stand, then I will be happy. I couldn't help but smile during every activity yesterday! I looked like the biggest idiot biking yesterday in a helmet, with my skirt pinned to my bike and smiling from ear to ear. But I felt great and I was happy because I was doing everything I could to share the gospel and do the Lord's work. It was truly amazing. I want to do all I can because I love the Lord. What about you?

Lastly in this novel, I wanted to share a special miracle. Sunday, Stake Conference consisted of testimonies and stories from returned missionaries all across the stake. Mostly people who had been home for a LONG time. I was kind of bummed because the members didn't get to see the graph or be taught about needing more member missionary work, but for me, it was still special. They had a couple people bear their testimony in their mission language. There was Chinese, Italian, Korean, Sign Language, and English. Each time, the spirit flooded me. I had no clue what they were saying, but they said it by the power of the spirit which bore witness to me that it was true. It was so powerful and cool because I have never experienced that before. The gospel is true. No matter where you are or what language you speak. It's true.

I love you and I can't wait to talk to you. My mind is blown that I'm almost half way finished with the best year and a half of my life. I can't believe it's week three of the transfer! Time is going faster than before! But I'm excited to keep working hard. I love you! Or should I say.... Love y'all!!!

~Sister Rokovitz~

The bishop's youngest daughter, my little buddy, got baptized this week.

It's getting SO green here.

All the pollen on our car.

Jeff and Abbey caught 4 of these baby turtles at the lake. 

Sister Schenk with the larger turtle that was trying to get in the church last week.