We haven't seen Matt and Amber... they had to cancel and said they were packed for the next two weeks, but 2 weeks is up on Thursday so we're going to stop by. I've just been begging and begging for people who are prepared to hear the gospel! I'm getting so desperate that I am just willing to do anything to find those people!!!
I am so glad you asked about Frank! The man who was following us in the creepy truck and had his wife's hair hanging in it. We went to the church one night and his truck was there! The elders were giving him a church tour. He was SO excited to see me and started telling the story about how he found us and how I gave him a pamphlet and everything. Then he showed up to church the next Sunday. He also came last week too! He was in Sunday school just asking so many questions and the class loved it! We all tried answering his questions and he said he really enjoyed the class. So it's actually going really well. Yesterday the elders said he really wants to serve and so he might come help out at the store house next week. You really never know who is prepared to hear the gospel.
Alrighty.... Here's the most recent updates of the week
Well.... that day was just awesome! I got my fancy boots. I am in love with them and can't wait to wear them more often.
We rode the bus to Cha's and her boyfriend was there. She's 22 and he's like.... 30 something. We talked to them a bit and her boyfriend does want to know more. They both said they'd come to institute.
We then had to run back to catch the bus. We made it to the bus and headed to the church for an appointment. The Hermanas had met a guy named Matt M. a week or so ago and he said he had met with missionaries before and wanted to learn more. They ran into him twice on the bus and so we called and set up an appointment. He never showed up. I guess he was taught before and was known for missing appointments. It was a real bummer. We had a member there waiting with us, and he never showed. So instead we went to see Aijalon. She is doing so good! She is reading the Book of Mormon and she is loving it. We talked about faith and how to receive answers about the Book of Mormon. Then Sister Ridings shared her story of how she came to know the Book of Mormon was true. It was a very good lesson!
The storehouse was cancelled today... BUMMER!! So we went on an exchange with the White House sisters. Sister Traughber came here with me. I had so much fun with her! We actually had a really successful day too. We presented the new ward mission plan to a member and she didn't seemed too thrilled about it. She made the normal excuses that she didn't know anyone and that she didn't know any service opportunities. Part of the plan is to commit them to 3 things:
1. Invite someone to hear the discussions within 2-4 weeks
2. Host a lesson at your home within 1-2 weeks
3. Invited someone to a church service with you within 3-6 weeks.
She just tried to get out of it, and she had typical fears. But we overcame them all and committed her to 3 dates.
After dinner that evening we saw 3 people. First was Debbie S. She is just a spit-fire! We taught her about the priesthood. At the end she sat there and said "Hmm... I'm going to have to think about that." It went really well. We're also going to try to set something up to take Hermana Stokes over there and have a waffle dinner before we go home.
Next we saw Charlene. She was Less-active for 20 years and is just now starting to come back. She is incredible. Health has been keeping her from attending church the last couple weeks, but she's really trying. She's been trying to get back to the temple too. I really love her.
Our last appointment for the evening was Debbie F. She got home late from school so we didn't get to see her for very long. She fell the other day and now she has to have surgery. It was a pretty bad fall and she's been struggling with arthritis in her legs for the last little while. Keep her in your prayers because it's going to be a rough surgery. It's probably going to be this week or next week.
We went to bed so exhausted that night because we were just running from place to place and teaching a ton! Those are the kind of days I love though.
We brought donuts to District meeting just to get rid of them because they were given to us. As we walked in the room there was a whole table heaping with donuts and sugar and junk! AH! That is part of being in a District with so many elders!
Sister Sims picked us up for dinner and they had a "night of favorites." They made Tuna Casserole for Sister Gustaveson and they had a box of Honey Bunches of Oats for me. Under Sister Gustaveson’s napkin was a surprise that I knew about. She lost 2 transfers worth of photos from her iPad being wiped out and so Brother Sims messaged members and companions and gathered pictures and put together a book for her. They are the best people on earth. No joke. I absolutely can't even grasp how kind they are. I love them.
We tried to contact some Investigators after dinner but no one was home. So Sister Sims dropped us off and we tracted in our complex, just getting soaked from the rain. We actually met a cool girl named Haley who was very talkative and invited us to come back! She wasn't home when we went back and so I'm trying to stay hopeful that we'll be able to contact her again and teach her.
We were iced inside again!!!!! This time it was very productive though. We did studies and weekly planning and so we were in our room planning and studying for a total of 9 hours. We only left once for lunch and then went right back to our room. It felt good to get so much done! So many things that we had been wishing we could do and we finally did it!
A member had signed up for dinner that night and so they just brought it to us instead. She kept saying “soup” on the phone and then once she said “chowder.” I figured it was just a Southern saying for soup. So we warmed it up and all started eating. Sister Gustaveson said, "This is Clam Chowder." I said "No it's not!" We kept talking and joking and debating and then Hermana Gamble said "Yeah I've found clam pieces in here!" I dropped my bowl and said, "Be quiet! That's not real! You're joking!" They weren't joking. It was Clam Chowder. The interesting thing is, it didn't taste bad at all. But within 20 minutes I was so sick. I laid in bed the rest of the night because I just felt awful and it gave me a migraine. So I've discovered that sea food literally makes me sick and Mexican food doesn't agree with me either.
We went on an exchange with the Hermanas. I stayed in the area with Hermana Stokes. We had a great day lined up, but it all cancelled! So.... long story short, we basically walked around all of Madison. My feet were so dead! They still hurt pretty bad. My calves are super sore too! That night though we saw Aijalon. We taught her the second half of the Restoration using cups. She really seemed to understand the priesthood and she also noticed that the Holy Ghost is after baptism. Most people don't notice that detail. She is amazing. I felt bad though because I was kind of rushing so we could catch the bus! But... lo and behold we missed our bus. And it was the last connector bus! So we started walking. We walked for 30 minutes back to the main road and waited for the bus. Just before the bus pulled up, the Sisters pulled up and rescued us and took us home. We walked so flippin much that day!
We had a pretty packed day that we needed to stay on schedule with. We were out the door right on the dot when we needed to be. We did Facebook and then contacted a few people near the church. One guy was just not interested haha Bummer!!!!
We saw Cha and it was a really awkward lesson. .... haha we were hitting that 2:00 tired wall and she wasn't feeling good and we were trying to get across the point that maybe her boyfriend wasn't the best option for her to stick with because he didn't meet any of her values that were important to her in a husband... so it was just all together awkward.
We did tracting which felt so good because we haven't tracted much here and I want to be obedient so we can have blessings, so tracting is part of that obedience. We didn't really find anyone, but we did run into a former Investigator. Brother Sims knows him and says he was kind of a tough one to teach, so we're going to send the Elders and see if they can make progress with him, if not, we'll put him back in God's hands.
We had dinner that night with Bishop and his wife. I always love going to their home. They are the best! We had left a note in bishop’s mailbox the last Sunday and he thanked us for that note. He told us he really appreciates us and that was just nice to hear.
We finished that night by attending a party at a member’s where they had non member friends. It was a fun little fiesta! One of their little boys was pretending to be a doggy and climbed across my lap and I was thinking "Hey if I don't put him on my lap myself than it doesn't count right?" Haha I want to hold children so bad!!!
We had lots of meetings, like usual. Then I was really trying to pay attention to church because I realized that I'm not the best at doing that. I go through the motions a lot with that one. I've never been really good at paying attention for a long time, so it was kind of tough. But I did my best and I really felt a lot better!
We presented the ward mission plan to another member that night and they really took it well. I'm excited for them to start meeting their goals and help in the work. It went a lot better than the first time. Then a member dropped us off at Darrell's church. There was a revival with a prophet so we went to check it out because he invited us. We missed it and so instead his friend Caitlyn took us to meet everyone. She kept telling people "I want you to meet the Mormons!" The preacher looked scared out of his mind when he met us! He didn't talk to us for more than 20 seconds. It was weird.
One small miracle happened that night. I've been trying to listen to the Spirit more... As I try to give my full effort. Well we were walking to an appointment after Darrell's church and we were on a sidewalk (imagine that - a sidewalk in Tennessee.) and we heard a loud rustling in the bushes. Sister Gustaveson took off running across the street and without a second thought I heard the prompting "Run! Go!" And I followed. My shoe came untied but we kept running. The rustling from across the street followed us fast and got louder but as I ran I begged Heavenly Father to keep us safe. He did. Nothing happened and we made it to our appointment safely. It was very cool for me to feel that prompting and to follow it. I don't know if it was just an animal or what, but I knew I had been told what to do, and I obeyed and that felt good.
Today we got to go downtown again, and while we were there a number called and I answered. It was a member from the neighboring ward and he has a friend he invited today to hear the discussions and so he asked if we could meet at the church with him at 8:30 tonight!!! It's a miracle!!! I have been praying so hard to find those who are prepared! Now we're going to have a member present lesson, a referral contacted and a new Investigator!!!! It's incredible what the Lord does for us!!!
I also had a great study this morning that I'd like to share with you. This week was good, not really any complaints, but it was kind of hard. Our teaching pool is taking a dive and we just keep dropping more and more people. We don't have hardly anyone who is progressing and really searching for answers. I noticed this week that I just am not expecting much anymore. When we go knock doors, I teach someone and I immediately think "They're not interested." And then I don't put much effort into going back. Sister Gustaveson will get really excited about people we've just met who say they will come to church and in our meetings she'll tell the Ward Mission leader that we're expecting like 5 Investigators and I just think "No we're not. No one's coming." It's gotten me really down! So this morning... I decided to study faith. I opened Preach My Gospel and read the section on faith and realized a lot. Faith is trust and knowing that God will guide us. I finished the section and then there was a few scriptures listed. I almost skipped them and went to study Endure to the End, but I decided to read them anyways. The first scripture I read was 1 Nephi 7:12 and it slammed me in the face. "Yea and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to His will for the children of men if it so be that they exercise faith in Him? Wherefore, let us be faithful unto Him." Basically God saying to me "How have you forgotten? Have faith! We can do it!"
Then I read Moroni 7:34 which says "If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me." Then I read Moroni 10:7 "And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; Wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; For he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever."
I remembered that yesterday Sister Gustaveson and I were talking about modern miracles and the reason we don't see a ton of them or see the prophet walking around healing people left and right is because of lack of faith and I brought up the scripture that says if miracles have ceased it is because of no faith. I realized that I have had no faith! I have just completely forgotten that this is God's work and I am His instrument. I remember now that if I study and pray, He will guide me. Words will come. We will find the people who need to be found. It is possible.
It was an amazing study! A bit chastening, but very needed. I need to remember to have faith and to remember whose work this is and my role in it. I just wanted to share that with you. I thought as a "seasoned" missionary that I've got it down and didn't realize myself slipping from the basics. Faith. The first principle of the gospel. It is there that everything begins and without faith, nothing follows.
I hope you have a great week and remember your faith. Do you trust Him? Well I have to head back out to work. But I love y'all so much. And I'm loving being here and still learning more. Have a great week!