Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Convert = Greatest Joy

Oh my goodness this week has felt forever long for me! This week has been pretty crazy. Not like any other week on my mission haha but throughout this week I have felt the prayers of y'all, other family, friends, President Andersen, the prophet, the temples, and everyone else. It's incredible. I felt Heavenly Father walking beside me the entire week and it's made me realize how much He really loves me. As I knelt down each night, there were things that I knew I could have done better, but I knew that I tried my hardest and that He was just there to comfort me. Each day I felt His guidance and it just carried me over what I thought was going to be a really heavy week. I was scared to death and not wanting to face it, but it turned out to be ok. It turned out better than I though and I look back being proud that I accomplished it.

One thing that made me feel really great was what I heard President say. I was talking to Sister Penrod, another STL and one of my great friends. She called me every other day to see how I was. She said President was up in her area for a meeting and she was talking to him about the whole situation and he said that he is really proud of me and the way I've stepped up. It made me feel ten times stronger than I thought. It was really great.

So this week might be kinda scattered because of everything that has happened and my mushy brain.
Let me just say this though, I died this week of Spanish food. The majority of our dinner appointments were Spanish and they just made my stomach hurt so bad. I was so grateful for my roast dinner last night with potatoes and veggies and gravy. Ah. That was nice.

We got to see Cha that night and we watched the Finding Faith in Christ DVD and she loved it! She is doing well. She's quoting hymns and knows scripture stories and is just a lot different from a year and a half ago. She didn't come to church because she was very sick, but I'm working with the ward to get her some great help.. Like visiting teachers and friends.

We got to go serve at the bishop's storehouse and that was a relief. It was nice to just get to serve. Even though it was fast paced, it was relaxing because it was service and it was with the spirit and with people that have the same goal. It felt good to be there. It didn't feel great to not have Sister West there though. I missed her. She was always all smiles and laughs. I have a goal to be more like that.

We went to see a Spanish Investigator named Roxanna and I had a great time sitting and trying to pick up Spanish words! ... Not. I was bored out of my mind. I was really hoping that I would develop the gift of tongues this week and be able to learn Spanish miraculously fast. It didn't happen. I did get to memorize Our Purpose in Spanish though! That was pretty miraculous.

The rest of the afternoon was spent doing Spanish stuff. We ended the night by seeing Debbie F. and she is just awesome! We talked a lot about repentance and faith because we are going through the new member lessons with her right now. We also gave her a scripture chase of scriptures about baptism. She was pretty excited to look them up! She just brings a smile to my face every time I see her! She is always smiling and always in tune with the spirit and just sharing the gospel with everyone! I love her. I can't wait for y'all  to meet her!

We had District meeting and I gave a training. I was going to do a cool demonstration where I had something written in white on a white paper and then I would use a colored pencil to reveal the white writing.... I practiced like 4 times in my study journal and they all worked. But the real one didn't work! Haha so everyone just laughed at me and I laughed with them!

After District meeting we had plans to go to lunch with the other sisters. Before District meeting one of the Hermanas just seemed so mad. Then she would act totally fine around everyone else, but when we got in the car with just our companionship again, it was bad. So we pull up at Chick-fil-a and I locked all the doors and said "We're not leaving this car till we work things out." I expressed that I was hurt by the sarcasm that's been going on and I feel hurt when I'm ignored but then treated fine around everyone else. It ended up being over an hour that we sat in that blazing hot car. I was sweating buckets.

The Hermana wasn't talking. So we sat there. I was sick of the negativity and not feeling the spirit in the companionship and so I wasn't going to let those things slide. Finally we worked it out and I made them all get out in the middle of the parking lot and we did a group hug. We had to miss lunch and just grab food and eat in the car.

Later, I was picked up by Sister Norris, a member, to go on exchanges.We first went and saw Marylyn. I think she's progressing, but I'm not really sure. She's kinda hard to read. But Sister West had a lot of faith in her and so I'm not going to give up. We actually made a lot of progress with her. We were supposed to see her again but she said she was sick. She sounded like she was really considering coming to church and bring her son and his family along too.

We then saw Cathy and she is kind of progressing, but not really. She basically said she doesn't want to come to church because she is getting her GED from another church and she is tied to them. She doesn't even attend there on Sunday's. So I'm not really sure what to do with her.

Last we saw Cha and we didn't have much time with her, but she is doing good. It was good to see her.

The Hermanas picked me up for dinner.. Spanish dinner.. And then we went to see William and Evon. We had to stop by because they aren't responding to when we could come back. So we popped in and then Evon asked "So if Joseph Smith was a prophet, are there prophets today and how would you know?" It was a perfect question. We had a really great conversation about prophets and showed them a clip of Thomas S. Monson and then William said a prayer to ask if the things we taught were true and if there were really prophets. It was so cool!  Lastly we saw the Racey family but when we walked in you could tell something was wrong. So we abandoned our lesson plan and talked a lot about finding strength  through trials and how much God loves us and then showed them a video about keeping faith in trials. It ended out really good.

This day was the first day that we had a relaxed morning and didn't have to rush off somewhere. It was great. So when it was time to go out, I went with Sister Counter. She is a Filipino lady and she is so funny! We went to see Crystal, a Less-active, and she just talked our ears off for over an hour. We didn't make much progress..... But I think it was good. But then the next lesson was with Brittany. She opened up, and she told us that she really has no interest in learning more.... This was after she talked for over an hour too. I could see Sister Counter yawning. Haha I saved it a little by telling her that we were there to help strengthen her faith, so she said we could keep coming. But I felt so bad that Sister Counter came and people just talked and talked to us for 3 hours! Haha

We got to have an American dinner that night and I loved it! Haha I got left behind until my temporary companion came, Sister Sims, our ward mission leader's wife. She finally came and we went to see Debbie S. Can I just say though real quick that the Sims are the best! Brother Sims is the ward mission leader, and his dad is the bishop. They all just care and are always on top of things and I have so much fun with all of them! They have become very special people to me. So I have fun laughing with Sister Sims. So Debbie S. is an Investigator and she has known missionaries for years. I wanted to do something else than share a scripture, so I asked what she expects from our visits. She told us that she feels she has to say goodbye to her home church before she can move on and look at other churches but she does want to learn more. What she doesn't know though, is that we are going to teach her all the lessons and she's going to feel the spirit, haha, she's great though!

We also saw Debbie F. and talked about baptism and our covenants and sacrament. I had a cool realization. Debbie outwardly lives her baptism covenants. You can physically see that she is keeping her covenants. She stands as a witness and she comforts others and helps them when they're in need. She is a walking example of what we should be doing. She is amazing.

I did weekly planning kinda by myself because we will have separate schedules again. Then Sister Abernathy picked me up. She is the stake President's wife and she is hilarious! Our 45 minute drive was actually 2 hours long because she kept taking the wrong turn! But we had so much fun talking and laughing and singing to Vocal Point and it was just a fun drive. I made it to Bowling Green and I went on an exchange with both sisters so I was just in a trio with them. It was actually really weird... I just felt like a third wheel tag along. There wasn't much time to talk to them to see how their area was going and what their goals are and stuff. I was only there for the last few hours of the day. Then the next day I left at 6:15 a.m. with a member from there to head back to Goodlettsville. It's funny how parents are ok with putting their teenagers on a plane to go to a random place alone and live with strangers and ride alone with strangers around a foreign state or country... haha. Glad I'm still alive.

I got home in time to get ready and then did studies and then I went with Laura C. from the Nashville YSA to visit some people. One of our stops was William and Evon and I think William was slightly hung over. They had shot glasses on the table and he was just drinking cup after cup of water. He still functioned pretty well though. We taught them about the Book of Mormon and read the intro with them. They loved it and said they will consider church!

During that lesson the transfer call came in and I'm getting Sister Gustaveson! I have served around her a lot and I know that she is an incredible missionary! I'm really excited to be getting her as my companion for my last 6 weeks.
Next I went with Daniel, Annemarie, and Emily from the Nashville YSA. We went and hung photos in Debbie F.'s apartment. We also put up a cool vinyl thing above her piano. It looks so cool!

Lastly we tracted and that was a lot of fun to do with them! Daniel was really good at talking to people at the door. He's really confident. It was a blast to be out with them!

Tracting with Nashville YSA

Then April W., a member here, took me to Clarksville for Wayne's baptism! The room was packed wall to wall with people! Sister Andersen even came. It was a beautiful baptism. Wayne's grandma flew in for a surprise visit from Colorado and she came to his baptism. She plays the piano super well and so she played while he was changing. When he came up out of the water he had tears and he just hugged Robert! It made me want to just burst into tears of happiness! Clarksville has a very special place in my heart.

At Wayne's baptism with the Clarksville YSA group.

Jaykob and me, YSA cool.

Aaron's profile picture - love it!

With my sisters at the baptism.

I was talking to Aaron after, the one who got baptized in December, and he told me he got all Sundays off now!! I said "How did you do that?!" He said "I just prayed..." He is amazing! All smiles all the time and I thought he was going to struggle a little. He's incredible.

On our way home we stopped by Chris's because he hasn't been to church since he was confirmed. He wasn't home... his car was gone. I left him a note and called him but he wont respond. I don't know what his deal is.

I was just passed off a lot in church. I had to sit in the Spanish sacrament for a few minutes and a little girl looked at me and said "Do you belong here?" haha I looked at her and said "....... no. I don't......." haha sad.

That evening I went out with Sister Frey and I thought I had made such good plans that we wouldn't get to it all.... everything fell through within 15 minutes. Sister Frey is in her 60's and is super hilarious and so we just tried everyone we could think of. We ended up sticky-noting a member's door and peeking in someone's windows and she banged on one Less-active's door and yelled "It's the cops! Open up!" Haha no one answered anywhere..... but it was a fun night full of laughter!

Sister Penrod called that night and we talked till 11:00 pm and I just cried to her because I was so burnt out. I was exhausted. She gave me a great pep talk and I felt better after that.

I want to tell you something that has brought me great joy this week. When I was praying the second time about if I should come on a mission, when I was at school, I got the overwhelming feeling and decided to come. Then I resumed my New Testament homework and everything I read was about missionary work. I remember one heading distinctly that said "Converts are a missionary's greatest joy". For the life of me I can't find it again. But I got a letter from Aaron this week and then he messaged me. He found out about Sister West and said "I need to write her". Aaron has gone through the exact same thing and he felt he needed to write her and let her know that he knows what it's like and that the gospel has helped. I can't even describe the amount of joy I felt. I'm sure you've felt it before on your missions. But as I was sitting in studies one day, it clicked. Convert = greatest joy. Fulfilled. God was right. I have had exploding amounts of joy this week from Aaron and seeing Wayne get baptized and seeing Jaykob speak at the baptism and seeing Calvin pray at the baptism. It's incredible! Keith got his patriarchal blessing yesterday and Calvin, Keith, Jaykob, and Aaron have been to the temple. I've never been happier! So I wanted to share that with you. My call letter was right when it said "More happiness awaits you than you've ever experienced as you labor among the Lord's children in love.."

I love this gospel and the joy I feel is carrying me, helping me work harder. I know Satan sees this and will try his hardest to stop me. But he won't. Mark my words, I will finish stronger than ever and I will come home without a single regret. Fact.

I love you so much! Have a great week!

~Sister Rokovitz~