So Monday we had FHE and it was one of the best I've been to. We had about 20 YSA there. We did a cookout with hot dogs and marshmallows and then played a whole bunch of games. We did the cookie face race, potato sack races, stringing cranberries fast, knocking down cups with a rubber band, knocking cups off the table with the air of a balloon, passing an orange down the line with your neck (that one was so awkward! We as missionaries were between two girls.. But it was still awkward!) and passing a life saver down the line with a toothpick in your mouth, and a few others. I was laughing so hard that I got a migraine! It was so funny and everyone had a blast! We had a lot of newer people there and everyone got along and participated! I'm such a proud missionary. That night we swapped for an exchange with the Fort Campbell sisters. Sister Johnson came with me to the YSA.
With all of the YSA for FHE
My exchange was rough... Everything cancelled and I just had no clue what to do. We didn't teach a lot of lessons and I wasn't very prepared for the ones we did teach. It just felt awful. Sister Johnson was great and they aren't really struggling with much, but I just felt terrible at the end of that exchange.
One thing I noticed this week is I was trying to rely on my own strength and not God hardly at all. I never prayed for His help throughout the day when things went wrong. I never prayed for inspiration or guidance or help. I just panicked that nothing was happening. It's a lonely feeling....
We switched back and went to Stake correlation. President Craig is such an inspired man. He cares so much about his stake and the people in it. He really wants to do the very best for each ward and bishop and he just loves them! It's amazing. He left us with a spiritual thought and I was just in awe that a regular person could have so much spirit in them. That's how I want to be when I get home.
We met with Aaron on campus. That kid is one cool guy... He is so sincere. He texted us a few days ago and said "To be honest, as much as I think you guys are awesome and how grateful I am to meet you guys and how so much closer I am to God, every time I go to that church I don't feel like I belong there...every time. The singing is the only time I feel at peace. So what I'm saying is, soon before this month ends, I'm going to be fasting all day to find an answer and if I don't get it I will still be reading the Book of Mormon I will still be praying for an answer but I don’t think I'll attend church for a while." Who in the world, at age 19, fasts all day for an answer?! Holy moly! He's incredible!
So we met with him and he said he was starving haha but he felt incredible. We taught about prayer and how to recognize answers and also about the Book of Mormon. He's really reading and praying for an answer. He told us after that he didn't get an answer but he felt amazing! What he doesn't realize, is he's received answers.... He just doesn't know it. When we asked him if he was coming to church Sunday he said "I believe I am, surprisingly!" He didn't, he slept in, but he wanted to. He is so cool! And he's going to get an answer and be baptized so any extra prayers for him would be much appreciated.
This is where the week started getting rough.. I was exhausted for some reason.. I've been that way lately and I firmly believe it's because it's too cold to go outside for exercise and so we don't exercise as well. So I just started getting down on myself. Sister Hargadon talks a lot in lessons and so I talk less.. So then I become so much less confident in my teaching skills and so when it's my turn to speak I stutter and don't know what to say and don't teach as well. So I just don't teach as much. So I was starting to feel pretty down about that. So the rest of the night I just didn't teach hardly at all. I entertained children to keep them quiet and kept myself quiet too.
Thursday - Thanksgiving
We taught Calvin... There is a physical difference in how happy he is! He told us he prayed about a date and..... HE CHOSE JANUARY 6!!!! Calvin is going to get baptized! He's feeling so much more confident about the whole thing. It's so cool! So we taught him about the priesthood and showed him a few videos and he really liked it and seemed to understand. It was a really cool lesson!
This whole day was fairly good. We visited some members to share a message with them. Most didn't really go well because they were cooking or eating... People here eat so early! But it was fun! One member was outside deep frying their turkey and for the last few minutes put fries inside the turkey. Mmmmmm those were good fries!
French Fries in the fried turkey. Southern Thanksgiving.
We got to have dinner at the Bolos' and they made so much good food! I had it all! I ate until I was in pain and literally falling out of my chair. Everyone was laughing at how much I ate haha.
Thanksgiving at the Bolos'
We then immediately went over to the church for a dinner with the YSA. I went in feeling so sick. Brother Frogue was dying because every time he turned around I was there with something else on my plate. We had fun with them and we had such a good turnout! I was worried we wouldn't have that many, but we had 20 people there and TONS of food! It was so much fun! When we got home we both passed out! We couldn't even stay awake long enough to plan! We crashed on the couch and then at 11:30 p.m. we stumbled upstairs. #foodcomafordays
This day was so rough. I had no motivation to do weekly planning at all. I wasn't feeling very good and I just wanted to be alone. Sister Hargadon basically planned by herself and I feel soo bad about it. She asked me what was wrong... and I realized that I just wanted to feel the spirit. I felt so disconnected from God and I was trying my hardest to get close to Him again but I just couldn't do it! I also told her I didn't want to go on our exchange. I would be going on an exchange with a sister that Sister Oldroyd had a rough time with last transfer and I just did not want to go. I cried it out and then I was fine... I packed up and went on the exchange. I walked nearly 10 miles on that exchange. My body still hurts from it! It was good though because the sister and I had good talking time. It wasn't like I thought it would be. I thought she would criticize me and not want to talk, but she was laughing and open and we had a good time! I slept oh so good that night... I was dead!
Sinclair picked us up to switch back from the exchange as she passed through Cadiz. We went with Sinclair and headed down to the temple! One of Sister Hargadon’s recent converts was going to do baptisms and she only has a few months to live so Sister Hargadon got permission to go with her. When we got there, Sister Hulme and Penrod said they weren't going to do baptisms.... and so Sister Hargadon decided not to also... I was SOO bummed! I was so excited to do baptisms and I had prepared and now we were just going to sit and watch?! Sinclair and I decided to do them anyways because we didn't want to come for nothing. So we changed and sat in our way too tiny jumpsuits for an hour and still hadn't even been confirmed. So we thought of a plan.... And the plan worked SO perfectly! Sinclair is endowed and so technically she could be with me as a companion. So we went and did a session. Sister Frampton was there for a girl getting her endowments and so I got to sit next to her. I borrowed some clothes and we did the session. I very badly needed the session. I've felt really distant from God lately. It was so wonderful to be in the temple. I was able to really focus on receiving revelation for myself. I went into the Celestial room and just prayed to feel God's love and the feeling was overwhelming and really apparent. I then picked up the scriptures and read D&C 6 and had so much confirmation that God was there and very very aware of me and knew me and loved me. It was incredible. I needed to feel the spirit so badly. I'm so glad that it worked out for me to go. I got to read the chapter twice actually and just sit and ponder and enjoy the beauty of the room. Oh it was so glorious. So special. I wish everyone around me was able to be in that room and feel that kind of love from God for them individually. It's a very small taste of eternal happiness and when I feel that way, I know that things will work out. The gospel brings that assurance. The temple is my favorite place on earth. I desire so badly to be in God's presence and to see Him and to just feel His arms wrapped around me. I want to be in His presence forever. I know it will come one day. For now, I have to trust He's there, feel the spirit testify of His love for me, and labor for Him. I love my Heavenly Father. He makes everything work so well.
At the temple with Sinclair
We went to church SOOOOO early because we got a ride with the Frogues and he has early morning meetings. We had a great turn out! We had a total of 12 members there. One was a recent convert, 4 were very Less-active, 1 investigator, 5 were priesthood holders. There was also 10 leaders. Frogues, Spanns, Achesons, us and Bolos. And 1 kid. So 23 bodies total in the room! Such a success! The YSA is getting close to it’s 1 year mark. From 4 people at the beginning, to 12 YSA!!! It was so cool.
But get this... One guy walks in and introduces himself as Jaykob and sits down. I thought he was a new member in the area. Lots of new soldiers come in. No.. turns out he's an investigator that the other sisters met at Walmart last night and invited him to come to church and he came! He has other LDS friends and has even gone on trek before and had a spiritual confirmation that this church is true.... his whole family is very Baptist though and so he's scared to convert. But we set up a lesson with him later that night. It was so cool!
After church we studied and had dinner and then I got kinda upset with Sister Hargadon because she didn't tell me about her exchange and the sister is really struggling...... I guess it's personal but I felt so not trusted. It wasn't that big of a deal and so I was angry with myself for getting angry over such a small silly thing. And so I shut down. I didn't talk much at Jaykob's lesson... (which by the way was picture perfect. It was at a member’s home and Colten [the YSA fellowshipper] participated and his parents did too.) At our next lesson I didn't say a word. I wish I would have though. The girl is amazing and such a miracle. Sister Hargadon found her on her exchange. They tracted a building we've done before but she didn't know that. They found a Less-active who is 17 and pregnant and putting her baby up for adoption to a Mormon family. So now we're meeting with her to help her come back to church and get fellowship with the YSA. She is really cool and we have a YSA who went through the exact same thing and we brought her and they had such a good time talking because they understood each other perfectly. It was cool... but I didn't talk.
On the way home Sister Hargadon asked if I wanted to talk. Torture! No I don't want to talk! But I did. I told her how I felt our teaching was uneven and I wasn't mad at her, I was mad at myself. We had such a good talk about how to work through these times and how to keep the spirit with us and work through it together. She is a great companion. She really cares and is helping me overcome my weaknesses and turn them into strengths. I felt so much better after. We're going to work to plan better and teach more in unity and understand each other. It turned out to be so good.
So I've ended up learning a lot this week:
--God is there. He knows me and He loves me and is constantly listening. He will never leave me.
--The Atonement is real. I can be forgiven for all of my silly little mistakes. Thank goodness!
--The church is true. Because only in this church can I feel the Holy Ghost with me. Only here can I attend the temple and feel God's power and love. Only here can I receive priesthood blessings and hear God's plan for me. This is the only place to receive it ALL. No other place can offer that.
Sister Hargadon's nativity thing is this Saturday and they're letting me play a couple songs too. THANK GOODNESS! Otherwise I would feel so left out and unproductive. So I'm excited.
Ebony is still doing great! She has 3 kids, 2 twin boys, and 1 baby girl. They are the cutest! Steven doesn't really care if Ebony gets baptized but he has been willing to bring her to church lately.
With Ebony's twin boys - Sa'Vion and Da'Vion
Well I’ve had a good week. I'm glad it's p-day. It’s always good to relax and not think about anything for a bit.
Thank you so much for all your love and support. You're the best! I love you!
My Army sweatshirt
I love you!!!!