Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Just Another Week....Complete with Ups and Downs

I am so proud of all the guys who have been baptized in the YSA group. Aaron posts all sorts of things and there is always another YSA tagged in it. And he made a post about how the Book of Mormon is becoming way easier to understand. He goes to church on his own in the 2nd ward because of the time that the YSA meets and he has to work. I found a pic that Colton’s mom posted too of him and Jaykob.

Jaykob, one of the newest baptized YSA members and his friend, Colton. They look like a couple of missionaries.

Well... This week has been just another week. Complete with it's ups and downs. Here we go!

We had dinner with a sweet family named the Demer's. They have 2 little girls and a baby boy. The little girls were just adorable! I didn't realize this until yesterday, but I am getting slightly baby hungry. Not like "having a baby", just wanting to hold them. I want to hold them all!!!!

Then, we went and followed up with a guy named William who we tracted into on Saturday. He was home and his girlfriend and their two boys. We taught them the whole Restoration and they loved it! It was so cool! They really payed attention and the boys were good and quiet and we gave them a Book of Mormon and they wanted to come to church! Perfect! We had another appointment with them but they cancelled, we don't know why. So we're going to go try again this week. They are so sweet! And William's girlfriend is Evon. She is really nice.

We went to the Bishop’s Storehouse and all the orders were done FAST! Like within an hour we were done with everything. So instead, we did other chores around there. Sister West and I got roped into preparing lunch, stirring the eggs, hashbrowns and sausage for breakfast burritos. It was kind of fun!

We went on an exchange with the Hermanas and I stayed in the area with Hermana Dansie. It was pretty crazy. We went tracking at Darrell’s complex and met a lot of people who didn't want to talk to us, but we did meet one person who was Hispanic and he was pretty interested. It was funny because he looked confused and so did I, but then Hermana Dansie started speaking in Spanish and he responded. So that was a miracle.

We then went to visit Darrell and we thought we would have to meet outside because we didn't have anyone with us. But he said he didn't think we could get anyone to come with us, and so he invited two girls from his church. One was Mary who was in the choir, and the other was Caitlyn who was dancing around on the ground. They asked us a lot about what we thought of church, and since I was the only one who went, I had to answer all those questions. It took two hours and we were late to the next appointment. We rescheduled for Saturday when Sister West would be there.

We tried a couple of potential's after dinner, but no one was home. So we went to visit Debbie and taught  the rest of the Plan of Salvation. She found out that her brother is also a member of the church. She found out through her other brother. She was kind of shocked and her brother said that he wanted to send her a leather bound Book of Mormon. That came in the mail this week and she was so excited. She is making so much good progress!

After studies we walked to a lady named Marilyn. I can't tell if she is interested, or if she is avoiding us, or if she's trying to get us to leave without having to say it. She is really hard to read. We read the introduction of the Book of Mormon with her, and she really liked it and said that she would read the testimonies of the witnesses. She never lets us in her house which is weird. So we always teach her on her porch. Hopefully we'll get in next time.

On our way to the bus stop there was a man who passed us in a red truck. He looked at us really intensely. He turned around and came and stopped next to us, and asked if we were church people. We said that we were and Sister West had the pepper spray in her hand, just in case. He said that he lost his wife four months ago, and had her hair hanging in his truck. That was a little weird. He told us that he wanted some help, not money. He had a lot of skulls in his truck, and a swastika. We gave him the elder’s phone number. Later that night we were trying a less active, and we saw the truck parked in a spot there at that complex. The spots are numbered according to their apartment number, and so we got his address too and gave it to the elders.

It was such a nice day that day that I didn't even wear a coat the whole time that we were out.
We went to see Cha, and she is doing so good. She has been working on not swearing, and also praying more. She wants to be taking the Sacrament by the time her little girl is born, and be reading the Book of Mormon every day, and praying every day. She said that her baby shower is going to be on March 21st, 4 days before I go home.... That was a little gut wrenching. Every time I hear about something close to the time I go home, I just get so sad.

We tried a couple of our investigators, but no one was home. We also looked for a less active but he had checked out of his motel. By then it was getting cold, and so we got on the bus and headed home for dinner. After dinner we went and saw Heather, a less active and we helped her son get started on his Duty to God. It was rough because he doesn't want to listen. He is 13 and just kind of in that teenage stage.

We saw the Racey family after that, and they are doing well. We finally taught them the restoration, and they loved it. They all seem to get it, until we asked them to be baptized. They don't seem to understand the priesthood. Tim said that they had already been baptized. Then Sarah exclaimed "are you asking us to become Mormon?!!" It was so funny. We just told them we wanted them to find out if it was true or not. They said they would pray about it, and get back to us. It was an interesting lesson.

We went to see a less active named Crystal. She's doing well, and her husband is having his heart softened quite a bit. We talked to her about the rest of the Plan of Salvation and committed her to pray about it.

We had interviews that afternoon and it was something that I really needed. I didn't want to cry, but I ended up bawling. I told President about how I felt about last transfer, and how I am struggling so much this transfer, with personal struggles and weaknesses. We talked a lot about forgiveness, the atonement,  and prayer. He told me to study 1st Samuel 25, and also to study how to access the atonement. He gave me a lot of good advice.

After interviews we went to see Brittany. She is 18, and living on her own. She is pretty independent, but also a little immature. We had a good conversation with her, but she thought her roommate was listening in. She let a random guy move in to help pay the rent. So she grabbed some cake and ice cream, and we went to the clubhouse in her complex and talked there. We had a good conversation about her wanting to have the spirit in her apartment. So we gave her Alma 26 to read about Alma the younger and how he wanted to give up, but he kept going. She really liked it and agreed to read. She is making a lot of progress from the first time I met her.

Lastly that night we went to visit a member who has been really sick. I found out that she loves sewing, and she has made wedding dresses, quilts, PJs, and all sorts of things. She reminded me of you, Mom. It was fun to talk about sewing with her for a while. She is also a photographer. She was really nice and just needed an uplifting spiritual message to keep her going because she has been so sick and hasn't been able to come to church. I really love the members here.

We had an amazing weekly planning session, and got a lot accomplished. We also talked about what we learned in interviews, and figured out some things that we can do to improve in our companionship. After weekly planning, we went and saw Cathy. She is pretty shy, but is doing amazing. We taught her about faith, and had a great lesson for her. It makes a difference when you plan out a lot of details. She really paid attention, and learned a lot. We committed her to read Moroni 10, and pray to see if the Book of Mormon was true. She was really excited about doing that. She also said she would come to church, but she didn't show up.

A member picked us up after that to take us to dinner. The members here are so willing to help out when we don't have a car. We went to the Cooper's home, which is a really old couple who is so sweet. Sister Cooper made real Hawaiian punch, because she is from Hawaii. It is Kool-Aid, Ginger ale, lemon juice and pineapple juice. It was so good! We left a spiritual message with them and then went to knock on a few of their neighbor’s doors. One of the neighbors answered, and pretended to be on the phone. We asked if we could come back at a better time, and she just stood there and then said no and shut the door. I couldn't help but laugh.

Then the Cooper's daughter took us to our next appointment. It was supposed to be William and Evon, but they canceled right when we got there. So instead, the member who was supposed to come with us, took us to contact a few referrals. Sister Lynes then took us to our last appointment with Debbie and Sister Ridings was there with us. We talked with Debbie about faith, and she has so much faith. She is just powerhousung through the gospel. She loves posting things on Facebook every day about the gospel, and sharing it with everyone she meets.

We saw Britney, and she had read the chapter that we left her with! Miracles! We talked about the verses that she liked, and pointed out others that were really good too. We talked a lot about the spirit, and prayer. She was really honest with us, and it was really nice to hear her opinion. We told her that we would give her more chapters that pertain to her life. She is making a lot of changes, and she even said the prayer at the end. She has prayed a couple times in other lessons, but they have been memorized prayers. She said a prayer that day that was not memorized, and it was the sweetest prayer ever. She told God that she really was in a tough situation and she needed help. She was willing to listen and accept His help. It was really cool to see her make that step in her progression.

We had dinner with Bishop that night, and it was really good. It was shepherds pie without meat. It had lentils in it, which were actually not bad at all. Who knew I would ever think that lentils were good? We also had cookies and salad and lemonade and homemade bread which she sent the rest home with us. We tried to see a Less-active with them afterwards, but the less active was busy with a lot of things going on. A friend of hers had stolen a truck and dumped it off on her property, and the cops were there trying to take it. It was a big mess. The bishop and his wife then dropped us off at home, and we went to see the Racey family. They planned to watch the Restoration with us, and eat pizza. I have never felt so full in my life. I could not even eat that pizza. We got to watch the Restoration with them, the full-length version. They really loved it. When Joseph Smith was getting the priesthood, Sarah kept saying, “Wow that is amazing”, and that she could really feel the spirit very easily. She also said the closing prayer that night, and then gave me a great big mommy hug. I love that family, and they wanted to come to church, but Tim worked that day, and he's the only one who drives. But we had a great lesson with them.

Still no Investigators at church. We haven't had any yet this transfer. But church was good, and then we went to the Lynes' for dinner. They have two little boys, and the older one, Woodson, is SO cute! We built quite the train track while dinner was finishing. He would command us, "Move! No that don't go there! No don't touch." I was more of a supervisor.... Haha. Dinner was good and we had cookies afterwards with milk! I appreciate members who realize that cookies are eaten with milk. It is a must. And they let me have as much milk as I wanted. Heaven.

We taught an Indian girl English that night. Her name is Devanshi. She is really good. Sister West worked with her and I worked with teaching her little sister, Jia, the ABC's.
Teaching Jia the alphabet

We left to catch the bus and it was so windy and rainy and cold! My umbrella broke and we missed our bus by ten seconds. I had prayed earlier for a miracle though. As we kept walking, and getting soaked, a car pulled up next to us, rolled the window down, and someone said "Do you want a ride?" Sister West said sure, and we got in.  I didn't know who they were, so I just got in. Turns out, it was a less active who we had been trying to contact forever. She lives right down the street from us, and so we set up an appointment for Friday to have lunch with her. It was the miracle that I had prayed for. It was truly amazing to see that God answers prayers.

I'm trying to see the miracles more here. ... But it's hard because the people just aren't progressing. They are in some ways, but in others, not so much. I just want to have miracles! Like people getting baptized, and coming to church, and really wanting to change! It's hard to come down from such a high in the YSA... Anyways, that was my week. I love you!

~Sister Rokovitz~

Another fun Southern mailbox.

Railroad tracks are everywhere out here.

A day with the car.

Trying to sneak a picture of us teaching with sleeping kitty cats on our laps....but it kind of came out blurry.

Sister West and I at District meeting.

Being a good listener in District meeting.

Sister West and I with Sister Andersen (third from right) and other sisters in our District after our meeting.

Let's go teach!!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Calvin Was Baptized

I really like the talk you said Sister Yates gave! That was good to read about! I've thought about that just a little bit lately.. I've kind of evaluated how I'm being obedient. Am I happy to be obeying? Or am I doing it while murmuring?

Haha oh just wait until you hear about Darrell this week... oh boy. It's quite a story.

Cha came to the family ward last week but wasn't feeling good this week. She's going to start coming here to the family ward. She's doing so good though! She took the initiative to text us on Saturday to ask for a ride instead of us having to ask if she was going. She's making a lot of good progress!

This week I read a part that quoted Ether 12:27 and I thought "That's great that God will turn our weaknesses into strengths, but I just don't even have the energy on my end to try to strengthen my weaknesses. Then the next scripture that was quoted was Isaiah 40:29 which reads "He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength." I was so shocked. God just read my thoughts. I was blown away.

Ok now on to the week. The fun part!

It was a rough rest of the night.... I was just exhausted for some reason! We went to visit a less active family and I just couldn't stay awake. The mom was talking so fast the whole time and I was so lost... I made it out though!

We finished up the night with a visit to the Racey family. Tim has read a little in the Book of Mormon but not much. He said he prayed about it and that the answer was "all is right." He was kind of confused about it. I explained that it might mean that what he's doing for now is right and to just keep doing it. More answers will come later. They said they would all pray as a family. Sarah, the mom, also gives the best mom hugs! I told her I loved them because I'm so far from my mom and so every time we go to leave, I go over to her and we both say "Mom hug!" and she hugs me real tight. I love them so much!

We got to go to the Bishop's Storehouse for the first time this transfer and I loved it!! We fill truck orders that are taken throughout the mission and delivered to wards. The coolest part was that about half of the orders were for families in Clarksville that I knew were struggling and I was able to help them get what they needed. Then we also filled orders for members close by who brought them in. It goes so fast! There are just a bunch of shelves and someone tells us what to get and we grab it and put it in a box! We have the order filled in about 5 minutes. It was a lot of fun! I'm so excited to get to go back tomorrow!

Then I went with Sister Williams up to Joelton for an exchange. They are in our ward and just cover the really far away parts of it. They have a super nice apartment in a member's basement. It makes up for the hard work. Sister Williams is another sister who goes home with me. All my exchanges so far are with sisters who go home with me.

We didn't have tons of success, and so we went into Dollar General to contact people in there. When we walked in, the cashier was super happy and we immediately thought, "We need to talk to her." So we found some cheap candy canes to buy and went to check out. We asked her why she was so happy and she said she was just grateful for another day. We told her that we wanted to share something with her that makes us so happy each day. We gave her the Restoration pamphlet and she was so excited about it! The guy behind us said "Hey can you share some of your happiness back here?" I asked if he wanted a pamphlet too and he said "Of course I do!" The cashier was named Inga and the guy was Don. I really hope that Sister Williams and her companion get in contact with them again! We were about to leave and we were in the car and I just felt wrong leaving without contact info. So we pretended to be looking in the trunk for something till Don came out. He came out and we told him we had a DVD for him but didn't currently have any and asked for his info so we could bring it to him. He gave us his phone number and then he left. Then we ran back inside and we told Inga the same thing and got her address and phone number. Miracles! I was praying so hard for something like that just to keep the sister's spirits up, that there are still people prepared in the little town where they're at. It was a good night! Also, Sister Brown's bed had an electric blanket, so I turned that sucker all the way up and baked all night Haha.

We finally got to have our first District meeting! There are so many missionaries in our District! It's weird compared to my last one where there were only 6 of us, now we have 12.. or 14, I can't remember.

We went to see Darrell that day and we brought Shelby with us. She was a YSA in Clarksville who moved to Hendersonville which is in our ward. So we took her and they really connected right off the bat! He ended up telling us his entire life story.... it took an hour! We were there for 2 hours and I was fighting with everything inside of me to just stay awake! We ended by talking about the spirit and how He teaches us truth. It was a good, long lesson.

Next we saw Kimberly, who was a potential. She let us right in and we talked a lot about prayer. She said she doesn't pray much but she wants to get better at it. She was super nice and has an 8 month old named Arielle. We tried to see her later, but only found her toothless uncle babysitting. He said she was out "driftin" with her boyfriend. So they were racing cars.... that's normal.

We had dinner with our next door neighbors, Andi and Jayson (Andi is a girl). They are so funny! But I just don't understand how they are finding true joy in the lives they live. They are living together, smoking, drinking, swearing, and just "living life" and it doesn't seem happy to me at all. They seem happy, but I don't know if that happiness will last for much longer.... it's sad. I like them though. I hope one day they decide to listen.

Lastly we met with our new bishop, Bishop Sims. It was a really good meeting and it was set up before we even knew that we'd have a new bishop! We talked a lot about the missionary work and how to excite the ward. He loves missionary work. He mentioned something very true. He said, most members do not read their scriptures. They bring them to church and they may be active, but they don't read. And that's so true. So read. If you're not, start now. Read alone and as a family. Make this a habit. Life is better with it.

Lastly we saw the Racey family. They were expecting us and so they had chairs set  up and they turned the TV off and we read 1 Nephi 1 with them. Tim and Sarah had a couple questions as we read. It was so great. They really liked the chapter. We've been having a hard time getting them to read on their own though.

We only had time to visit one of our less actives before Sister Pennington picked us up for dinner. She cracks me up. She was driving like a maniac and when we turned on a windy country road to her house she said "Welcome to my racetrack" and hit the gas! I love her! They have the neatest library in their house full of all sorts of religious books! We looked at them while dinner was finishing up. They also had a board game called Jots and Tittles. Haha, I've never heard of that game.
                                                                With the Pennington's

While dessert was being prepared, I asked Brother Pennington how they met and he said they went to high school together and then he moved to Germany while his dad was in the army. She wrote him for a while and then Dear John-ed him. He came back for his Senior year and Sister Pennington had been in a car wreck. Sister Pennington's friend asked him to take her to the hospital to see Sister Pennington because he had a car. So he went and they started dating again and got married.

We went and saw Debbie with Sister Pennington after dinner and Debbie had her backpack all ready to go back to school and she had pass a long cards in one of the pockets. She also gave a Book of Mormon to someone. She is so amazing!

We had the best day ever! It was sunny and we had 4 member present lessons! The first was with Darrell. We started to teach the Plan of Salvation. We only did pre-earth life and earth life and then gave him some scriptures to study. He invited us to come to his church Sunday and we agreed to go so he can then come to ours. This will be the first church experience at another faith on my mission. Pentecostal style. Oh boy.. wait till you hear!

Next we took a DVD to a referral who turned out to be a Spanish guy and his brother who were attending the Spanish class taught by the Hermanas and Spanish elders..... We gave them each a Spanish and English Book of Mormon and they said they were going to go to church! And they did! Cool miracle right?

Next member present was with Cathy and Brother Sims. We taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she loved it! Instead of saying maybe she'd come to church, she fully agreed! But she didn't come... But she looked happy and excited about what we had taught her!

We also taught Debbie S. It was a rough lesson to stay awake in and then we went to see a less active and her non member husband. The husband never sits in, but for some reason this time he did! It was so cool!

It was the most beautiful day to be out walking! No coat! We walked to go tracting and then got picked up by a member to go to Calvin's baptism. I was so afraid that I wasn't going. I didn't get a ride until that morning. Sister West was going to stay and work with a member, but we used that member instead to drive us to Clarksville. He was so excited to see me and he looked so happy! He was just smiling the whole time and pretty quiet! It was a great baptism and we had Poptarts and milk afterwards. The Frogues took us home and we just told stories and laughed and had a great time! I love them so much and it's been a blessing to see them a couple times since I was transferred.
Me with Calvin at his baptism.

Many YSA, good friends and missionaries at Calvin's baptism.

We went to an awful buffet with a member after that. Even the member thought it was bad. It was just really gross cheap food and it cost her $40 for the 3 of us. Ridiculous! Then we went to try a few people with her but didn't have any success..... so home we went.

Church was so good! It was the first week I didn't fall asleep. As we were singing the Sacrament song, I just started crying! I had no clue why! A thought came into my mind that every single thing that I felt I did wrong this week, can and will be washed clean and completely taken away. I don't have to worry about it or drag it with me into the next week. I just felt  an overwhelming feeling of God's love for me. It was incredible!

After church, Sister West and I asked Bishop Wayment (the last bishop) for a blessing. It was the most beautiful blessing I have ever received. He really listened to the Spirit and took his time. He told me so many amazing things. A few of them were that weaknesses and trials do not determine worthiness. He also told me that God loved me several times and I felt that I really needed to hear that over and over. Many other things were said that I wrote down but I don't have them with me. It was amazing though.

We went to dinner with an amazing family and we had the best meal! I loved it all! And then... we headed to the Pentecostal church.
Brace yourself.
It started out fine. We went in and Darrell was up on stage in a choir of 7 people. They sounded good! Everyone was standing and clapping and had their hands in the air! Then the preacher came up. He gave a 30 minute lecture on trust in God. It was very good. Straight from the Bible and he used the story of Jehosephat to tell it. There was a lot of good truth in it. The whole time people would shout "Amen! Hallelujah! Right! Praise!" and some would jump up and put their hands up! Then... it got weird. The preacher told everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. I was the only one who didn't. I looked like a deer in headlights looking at everyone. He basically said a prayer for them. "Say in your heart Lord give me strength!" Then they all stood up at the end of his preaching... and Darrell full on started yelling obscenities! He just "Spoke in tongues" and yelled and then said "Jesus...." and started bawling and shaking and then another man did it. Darrell stood there bawling and whining and then sat down and just cried. I was mortified. Then they had everyone go to the front who wanted to and they knelt on the steps and cried and prayed and just hugged each other.... Then the preacher invited the "elders" up which were just random men and women. They said if anyone needed prayer to come to them. The whole time, music was going on in the background. This one lady went up and the "elders" all touched her on her head or shoulder or back and started yelling crazy things. The woman started shaking and convulsing and getting lower and lower and bawling and screaming. They did it to several people. The preacher's wife would just walk up to someone and touch them and start talking in their ear and soon they were convulsing and had a crowd around them yelling at them. Then they opened a curtain on stage and 2 kids were baptized.... and it was so loud! One man jumped out of his seat and booked it around the whole room and others took videos and jumped and danced and cried and music......

This experience has made my testimony as firm as iron. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true church upon the face of the entire planet. The Spirit was not there. I was so scared. The people who were yelling had angry expressions and it was not God that was there with them. Sure they taught some truth and desired to follow God, but their actions, were not from God and directed by the spirit. They were not. They were dark. There is a night and day difference between the blessing I got and the prayers they were getting. Night and day from our church and theirs. Night and day in the Spirit that was at their baptisms and the spirit at Calvin's baptism. It was quite the experience. I can't wait for Darrell to come to church with us and see what it's like.


Just take a breather for a second...

Well that was my week. It ended on quite the note. I hope you have a great week! I love you!

~Sister Rokovitz~

We had our carpets cleaned this week and had to get our beds out of the way.

Trying to take a selfie at the bus stop.....they never seem to turn out for some reason.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Hardest But Best 16 Months of My Life So Far

I've been having a lot of mixed emotions lately about the time ending on my mission. Wow it's becoming real. And I think it's best if we don't talk about it that much. I really miss my family because it's now hit me that it's been FOREVER since I've seen y'all and been able to hug you. But... I'm having a hard time dealing with the fact that I'm going to have to leave Tennessee and go back to Utah. I love it here so much and all the memories I have of this place are so tender and I just feel like when I leave, I'll be leaving those memories behind. I know I won’t be... but that's what it feels like. It's been the happiest 16 months of my life so far. The hardest, yes, but the best. I have 2 1/2 more months to pound out everything I have left. It's a great motivator.

This is what I wrote in my journal notes the other day!

My heat broke so much when I heard about Brother Gilstrap. I can't even imagine how hard of a time that family is going through... and for Kara to stay on her mission throughout all of that? Wow.... I know her and her family will be greatly blessed for that. I really loved Brother Gilstrap. He was always smiling and had such a great personality. I hope Sister Gilstrap is ok. I can't even imagine. I love that family so much and have known them for a long time and so it seems to hurt so much more. I've been praying for him so much this week. I guess it was just time for him to go. God's plan for us is so perfect though. We just have to trust in it.

I was so excited when I found out that the Hulls were related to Sister McKell! Haha we were in the car and they asked where I was from and then Sister Hull asked what school I went to and when I graduated. She thought I would know Branson but then didn't think so.... When she said his name I was like "wait... as in Diana and Brianna and Hunter?" She said yes and that Diana was her Aunt! How crazy! Small Mormon world... I absolutely love the Hull's! We had a fun dinner and they took us out to Dairy Queen after. Their little girl is so precious too! They are great people.

I can't even tell you how great Sister West is! We have a problem though... we love being companions so much and have so many MTC memories that we get distracted SO much from talking and then we don't have much time left after planning because we'll end up talking and laughing till 10:20 p.m. or something haha. It's a blessing and a curse all at the same time! And the Hermanas keep us laughing all the time! I just love them so much! We were all singing in the car on the way to the store earlier and I was just happy to be with such great sisters who love the Lord and who I get along with. It made me smile and relax!

Alrighty!!! Now about this week!

We had a miracle in the bread aisle in Walmart... yes, the bread aisle... We were deciding on bread and a guy stopped us to ask if we could only eat certain things as Mormons. We explained the Word of Wisdom and that we were just sharing food haha He said he's met with missionaries before but things didn't go well so he didn't let them come back. He gave us his info though and said he'd love to have us over to talk. So I was on an exchange when Sister West went, but from what I was told, it went great! She and the other sister brought a member and Darrell (the guy from Walmart) had 2 other friends over to talk. They had a great discussion and taught them a lot about the Book of Mormon. They all took one and invited us to come back. Later Darrell called us to ask about the Book of Mormon and also about church. He is so open and so willing to let us come over! He runs a little YSA group in his church and so we're excited for him to go check out the YSA in Nashville. He's just the perfect Investigator! We have another appointment set up with him on Wednesday so I'm excited to see how that goes! He's just a good christian kid and so enthusiastic about it all too!

Then we had dinner with the Hull's and they dropped us off at our appointment. After our appointment we had to catch the bus and we only had a few minutes before it came. Sister West can walk pretty darn fast and so she was booking it and I just kept looking at my little legs and thinking "why aren't you moving faster? What's wrong with you down there? C'mon!!! MOVE!!!" Haha I was panting and coughing and downing her water and as soon as we get to the bus stop, she veers off the road and jumps over a ditch running up to a car. I had no clue what was going on.... I just walked towards the headlights and turns out it was a member who had seen us and turned around to pick us up. I didn't know them, so their first impression of me was me saying "What's your name?.... Oh ok, well I'm the dead missionary" Haha I was practically wheezing for air!!! I am clearly out of shape! They took us to our last appointment which was perfect because if we had just rode the bus, we wouldn't have had time. We would have had to just go home. So we get there to teach the Racey family and Tim (the dad) opens the door and says "Get in quick!" We go in and he tells us that someone had just got shot a few doors down about an hour ago.... the guy died and the cops were investigating so another huge blessing that the Hillman's gave us a ride.

The lesson with the Racey family was incredible. We taught them most of the Restoration and they all really liked it! Tim had a lot of questions that we were able to answer for them. Oh it was just so cool. The Hillman's came back after and took us home which was another miracle so we didn't have to walk. The members here are so great. I kind of like being with a part time car because it forces the members a little more to help out. They are used to us not having a car so they are willing to help drive places and come to lessons. I love it!

We had MLC all day down in Nashville. The meeting was so good! It was full of great trainings and things I really needed to hear! I got to help with a role-play that the AP's did. I felt honored to be able to help and it helped me feel a boost of confidence that I've been needing! We learned about planning lessons, not letting Mormon messages take over teaching people, goals, faith and hope, and using all our tools. I really enjoyed it! I liked the planning and tools ones the best. They were a little chastening but then again really helpful because it helps me plan to use scriptures more in lessons. We've just kind of put away the idea of using videos for right now, because they are tending to take over teaching.

Taking notes in MLC

Me with Sister Andersen, Sister Oldroyd and Sister West at MLC.

With some of the Sister Training Leaders at MLC.

I love these girls! 

On the way home from MLC we passed some sisters from our mission out doing work. We had some of the elders in the car with us and they rolled down the window and yelled "HEEEYY". We told them the sisters probably just thought it was some creeper dudes. We told them that sisters get whistled at all the time and one elder said "I wish someone would whistle at me...." Haha without thinking about it, Sister West said "If I wasn't a sister I would...... (then she realized what she was saying and she got real quiet) whistle... never mind" Hahahaha we all died of laughter!!! She just keeps saying how awkward she is around guys but I think it's hilarious! That was a good way to end the ride home!

That  night we saw Debbie who was baptized last weekend. She is just ten times happier! She told us that a friend asked her to not post so much stuff about her religion and she said "That just makes me want to post MORE!" Haha then she openly addressed it with a quote about sharing light and she said she will not let her light be dimmed! She is so amazing! She also asked for a Book of Mormon that she could give to her bus driver. Missionary Debbie!

The weather was about 18 degrees all day, but the windchill made it about -2. And we were on foot. I learned something though. Layers really do make a difference! I wore a total of 21 pieces of clothing to stay warm. I couldn't hardly move, but I was warm!.... ish....

We walked to try a couple of people and no one would let us in! They all told us we needed to get in out of the cold.... um HELLO!!! We're trying to get in YOUR house out of the cold!!!!! We can't go home, so LET US IN!!! Sheesh.. you would think that someone would understand! So we got on the bus and rode down town. I talked to my first cross dresser on my first bus ride.... Hahahahahaha It was clearly a man and he did not know how to walk in a skirt. He had the worst wig on and had a deep voice and his nails were red and he told me he liked my coat, but that my hood made me look like a Nun! Oh my, it was quite the experience.

Wearing 21 different pieces of clothing to stay warm... and my hood that the cross dresser said made me look like a Nun.

No cold is going to get to me!

We did get into one house of an investigator named Cathy. Being in a warm quiet house.... made me VERY sleepy! GAH! It bothers me so badly that I fall asleep in so many lessons out here! I'm still catching up on sleep.... So I really can't remember what we taught Cathy. I was just fighting to keep my eyes open.

Lastly that night we had the BEST lesson ever with the Racey family! We read a little in the Book of Mormon with them and answered some of their questions. Then Tim excused himself for a minute as we were wrapping up the lesson. We asked Sarah (the mom) and Kassie (the daughter - teenager who has some disabilities) if they wanted to pray and they quickly said "NO". We taught them how and then I said a prayer to show them, and then Sarah said one. She said it really felt good to pray out loud! Then Kassie was asked and she didn't want to. Sarah was telling her how easy it was and that she could do it. Kassie went and sat by her mom, and her mom helped her get started and then Kassie finished. It was so tender! I love moments where investigators get to experience a joy of the gospel for the very first time!!! We get to go see them again tonight and I'm super stoked!

We had Zone meeting and I gave a training about planning. Ironically... I didn't plan my training about planning very well. I had so little time and so I did most of it during the elder’s trainings. Haha. It turned out pretty well though. I'm becoming more comfortable with those kinds of things.

After the meeting, I went to Lebanon on an exchange with Sister W. It was an alright exchange. It was cold and we did some tracting... with little success. I was also trying not to fall asleep at our appointments. Haha it was rough. The family we had dinner with was fun though. Sister W. complained about them the whole way over, but I just had fun playing with their kids and talking and laughing! I don't know why she didn't like them..... that night I was super cold all night! I used my two coats as extra blankets. I did take an extra hot shower that night though and used all their hot water! That luxury doesn't really exist when you have 4 sisters living in one apartment.

We got to do weekly planning which was good because it was inside, sitting down.... I was feeling sick and so sore. It was almost a time to recooperate without having to stay inside extra time. Planning went a little longer into the day than usual because we started later because of switching back from the exchange. So after dinner we hopped on the bus again and found a shortcut to where we were going which included hopping over some railroad tracks. Off roading in our skirts! It saved us about 2 miles thankfully! Guess who we went to see?! CHA!!! She is doing so good! I can see a new confidence in her. She has a strong desire to come back to church and read her scriptures and pray, she just needs our help to do it. She is so much more outgoing and happy and we just had a good time. I love her!

Then Chelsea from the YSA who lives near us, came and picked us up for our 8:00 p.m. appointment. It was with a YSA age girl named Brittany. She had a male friend there who we later found out was her roommate to help pay bills. Even though she loves the Law of Chastity, she let him move in because she can't afford her rent by herself. We taught them both part of the Plan of Salvation, but it was just weird with that guy there. He was hitting on all of us. I'm so glad Chelsea was there! She kept telling him to stay focused on the lesson. They seemed to understand though, and hopefully next time will be more successful with Brittany.

We had lunch with our amazing ward mission leader, Brother Sims... Jr. He just does his calling right and it's amazing! He keeps close contact with all of us and he handles 6 missionaries pretty well. He really listens to us explain our people and he does all he can to help them progress and he follows through on everything he says he'll do. A ward runs much better this way. It's incredible to be a part of this!

We then tried a couple other people with not much success. Finally we saw Aijalon and taught her the Plan of Salvation. She is so incredible and has already read some of the Book of Mormon. She was going to come to church, but her sister's baby died and so she went there to help her. Aijalon has 3 cute boys named Jakari, Akotti, and Princeton. They opened the door and Jakari is the oldest said "The sister missionaries! Aw I missed you!" Melts my heart!

Then later we had dinner with the Sims.... Sr. Brother Sims parents. We had.... STEAK!!! and so much other good food! I was stuffed! Also Sister Sims had a craft room and it just reminded me of my Mommy. Spools of thread on the wall and fabric everywhere and a dress form and all the good stuff. I actually got time to sew my button back onto my coat too. The members here just take such good care of us!

We taught Sherry our neighbor that night and her daughter Kia and Granddaughter Tastasia. We read the intro and 1 Nephi 1 with them and they all loved it! I love how when the spirit is in a lesson, things just click for people. They feel it and they know it. The gospel is so true.

CHA CAME TO CHURCH!! She looked so gorgeous and when members asked who she was, she sounded so confident, compared to last year when she would practically whisper her name. She was smiling and happy to be there!!! We got a new bishop that day. It was a day of mixed emotions. I had only briefly worked with Bishop Wayment, and I could tell he was a stellar bishop. But Brother Sims Sr. was called. He has worked with Bishop Wayment for years and so I have no doubt that the ward will continue to run smoothly. And now we can tell the Sims apart! One is Bishop Sims, and the other is Brother Sims. Brilliant!

Church was good but I started to get a massive migraine, like from the concussion. Walking a lot with my bag caused it I think. During Relief Society I was thinking of how I could overcome it. Water wasn't helping, Past Tense oil wasn't helping, I was starving, we had no car to get home for meds, and we had a potluck after that I would have to endure.... I couldn't do it. We went to the bathroom and I was shaking and felt like I was going to throw up and pass out. A member noticed and took us straight home. I felt so bad because we missed the potluck and just ditched Cha, but I couldn't do it. I took some meds and laid in bed in more pain than I'd ever felt. This was by far the worst migraine. I was in bed for a total of 16 1/2 hours from the time we got home till I woke up this morning. My eyes were constantly crossed and my ears hurt... I just laid trying to sleep. As I said my evening prayers, the thought came to my mind, "I bet your family isn't too far away from kneeling down to pray for you, and then they'll all say their individual prayers and pray for you, and your ward, and bishop, and prophet, and the members here, and family are all praying for you!" Tears rolled down my face... what a sweet blessing it is. I felt the power of your prayers for me last night. I woke up with it still there a bit. My ears still hurt and I still feel pretty sick, but I can function. Sweet Sister West took care of me and then while I slept, she still worked by making phone calls and setting up appointments. She's an incredible missionary.

Anyways... I'm so looking forward to this next week. We have some great things planned! I have so much love and joy for this gospel! I just want to share it with everyone! I have a very special relationship with my Heavenly Father. I was talking with people who aren't close to God, I felt sorrow for them, and joy for the relationship that I do have with Him. I feel Him around me constantly. I always feel Him near, and I talk with Him quite often. It's incredible. I can't even imagine not knowing about Him. I just wanted to share with you that I love this work so much! I love the gospel and I'm loving being with a companion that goes home with me because we're both just dying to work hard as ever! I've just had such joy this week. Mostly whenever I think about the gospel and how much it's blessed my life and how true I know it to be.... This is undeniably true! It brings me so much happiness and helps me do what I don't think I normally could!

~Sister Rokovitz~

Monday, January 5, 2015

Loving Goodlettsville

As I was laying in bed last night with all my new best friends around, I was thinking... holy crap... So much has happened this week and my family knows nothing about it! So I have a lot to tell you!

I'll Answer your questions first:
 - Soooooo, how are things with Sister West?
Things with Sister West are going fantastic! I love her! I'm sad that we'll only be together most likely for this transfer since we both go home together. Either of us could leave this area... I'm loving her though!
- It’s funny, I remember where Sister Evans was from and Sister Leavens but can’t remember where Sister West was from. Tell me about her. Even though she was an MTC roommate, I’m sure you’ve learned more.
She is from Kaysville UT (which I forgot too....) Something I didn't really know is how loving she is and how obedient she is. We don't see much real missionary action in the MTC, so this week has been amazing! She is SO obedient and she just loves everyone and is so generous. She always thinks of others. She ran the whole super p-day because I didn't know what we were doing and the other sisters just kinda sat around haha. She always picks up trash that is lying around and is just wonderful! I love her so much.
 - How long has Sister West been in the area?
She has been in this area for 4 transfers now. (A transfer is six weeks long)
At transfers with my new companion, Sister West (in the red.)

- How is your area/ward/people?
The area is so great! And I love the ward! The people are wonderful! One of my YSA's from Nashville was here yesterday. His name is Charlie and he got home from his mission a year ago and started going to the YSA. He just got home from school and is taking a semester off so it was fun to see him! Also... Brad Hull from the Nashville Tribute Band and from Due West is in our ward. I met someone famous! And we're going to their house for dinner tonight! I'm trying to contain my crazy fan status... but I'm so excited! Maybe he can teach me how to play guitar!

Amber with Brooke Hull, Brad's wife. (A fun fact: After Amber's email came today, I got a message this evening from our neighbor, Diana. Diana said her niece Brooke had just had the missionaries over for dinner at her home in Tennessee. When Brooke asked where each missionary was from and Amber said, "Spanish Fork", she asked if Amber knew her Aunt Diana....turns out Amber certainly does know Diana....she's our friend and neighbor. I got this picture from Diana tonight of her niece Brooke with our daughter, Amber - Small world!!)

We just had a baptism for a lady named Debbie who is in a wheelchair and has MS. She is so sweet and amazing! She had to give up coffee and tea and that was so hard for her but she's done it! She is such a happy lady! Her baptism was a lot of fun! Other than that I don't know a lot of our Investigators real well... So stay tuned for an update on that.

The members here are amazing! Several families have given us referrals and the family we ate dinner with last night prayed specifically to find those who are ready. I was blown away at ward council yesterday because it was SO productive and we have an amazing ward mission leader.

Also when I was talking to Charlie yesterday, Brother Sims (ward mission leader, already my best bud) came by and I said "Look! A YSA! Someone I can communicate with!" Haha, he said "Oh... I've wondered why you've been so quiet. We'll have to break you out of YSA mode." So many times when  I'm hearing about our Investigators and Sister West says "family" or "children", I pause and think "why are we teaching them then?" Haha YSA mode....

New Years day, one of our Investigators took us out to Olive Garden for lunch. Her name is Tawnya and that was our first official meeting with her. Then we went to the church with almost all the sisters in our Zone and played 9 Square and wrote letters and ate fruit and fondue and watched Frozen.

Playing 9 Square with the sisters.
Watching Frozen on New Year's Day 

Hermana Dansie, (one of my roomies) named us all as characters before it started and as we watched, it was so accurate! I was Sven, the reindeer. The clutzy one who always wants food Haha .
- How were transfers....tell me, tell me (I saw transfer pictures and you looked so happy in every single one. Even where you were in the background talking to someone else and didn’t know a picture was being taken.)
I was glad to get a new companion. I thought I wouldn't be as exhausted this week because I didn't stay up too late to pack, but I'm still so tired! The first week of transfers is always rough. I was falling asleep in lessons and in church and last night I guess I was really hyper and loopy. I was out fast last night! 

We live with two other sisters, Hermana Stokes and Dansie. Hermana Stokes goes home with us too. Hermana Dansie has been out for 4 transfers now. I love them both so much! Our beds are all in the living room and we have separate study rooms. We both have our own bathrooms as companionships. We've just had so much fun and we laugh a lot. We share the car with them and we switch off every other day. That makes it a lot easier for me to handle a part time car. Haha I've had a full time car my whole mission and I knew that if I was going to ever have a part time car, it would be in the winter. Time to be humbled! And bundled!
Hermana Dansie, one of my roommates.

Hermana Stokes, our other roommate.

So this week encompassed so much! Saying goodbye to the YSA just broke me... but it wasn't too hard because I got to see them all again Saturday when we went back for Jaykob's baptism and then I'll see them soon again for Calvin's baptism and when we all come back here in April too. Calvin does have a date set for the 16th and I already have permission to go back for it. I'm so excited for him!

We didn't have District meeting this week and we don't have it this next week so I have no clue who's in my District. We have MLC and Zone meeting this next week instead. On New Years Eve we were allowed to watch Ephraim's rescue and 17 miracles. AW I BAWLED LIKE A BABY!!!! We pushed our beds together and watched it on our little portable DVD player.

I'm feeling much healthier too! Sister West and I get up at 6 a.m. to read the Book of Mormon and then we workout hard core for 30 minutes. Ah it feels so good! I'm so glad I have a companion who's good and motivated.

On Saturday after we had Debbie's baptism, the Penningtons took us out to lunch with Sister Williams and Brown who also serve in our ward.....PAUSE!! I forgot to tell y'all.. so we cover Goodlettsville and Hendersonville, we just got elders in the ward who cover Madison and Old Hickory, and there are also 2 other sisters who cover Joelton and Ashland City. So we have 6 missionaries covering the ward!..... RESUME. So we ate at O'Charley's and it was so good! Our appetizers came and after a few minutes Sister Pennington goes "Oh we forgot to pray!" So we all bow our heads and it's silent... we thought Brother Pennington was going to pray... then we thought they were waiting for one of us... Us 4 sisters were looking at each other so confused! Then we saw their lips kinda moving and they were saying their own prayers HAHA!!! I just smiled and said a quick little prayer. I'm just in love with this area and my companion and I think that if I hadn't gotten transferred to such a great area, I would really have a much harder time leaving Clarksville...

We went back to Clarksville on Saturday for Jaykob's baptism. It was so good to be there and see everyone. I'm so proud of Jaykob and so glad I got to go back for his baptism. He's going to be a great member.
With Jaykob at his baptism.

Jaykob and the bro's at his baptism (left to right: Damien, Keith, Adam, Wayne, Jaykob, Colten, Robert, Aaron, and Ryan.)
I finally got Aaron to smile!!

This week I learned something special. It comes from Mosiah 21:14-16. The people there didn't listen to their leader and wanted to do things their own way. Their leader said "Fine! Do it your way! See what happens!" The people then get slaughtered by the Lamanites and that is when they realize they were relying on their own strength rather than the Lords.....
Being in an area for a long time, you forget. I forgot a lot - How much I needed God. I was getting down on myself because I thought after 3 days of being here that I would never know where anything was and I would never know the people. False! I've had to do it 3 times before and I was fine. I learned the area and the people and I survived. As long as I relied on God, I would be fine.

I'm trying to work my hardest. It seems like the minute I decided that, Satan tried to destroy me. He tried to use exhaustion and fasting and getting sick to slow me down. I'm feeling much better now that it's p-day. I'm so excited for everything that's coming up. It's going to be a great transfer!

I think that's about it.... More info will be included next week. Also, we have computers to email on and so you might get an SD card soon. Maybe. If you do, it will be your last time getting one and I'll wait till I get home to show you the rest.

I love y'all and hope you have a fantastic week!

~Sister Rokovitz~