Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Good-bye Suwanee :(


The time has come.. I am leaving my baby area!! I am headed off to Sandy Plains in the Marrietta zone which is the farthest west in our mission. I haven't heard much about the area other than the fact that the ward is on fire and they are teaching a lot. I don't know whether to feel super excited or super sad. I've been an emotional wreck for days ever since Sister H got her training call which meant that I was for sure outta there. So I've been preparing for a few days. Also... I chopped off my hair. Haha I know, typical sister missionary move. Getting bored with her hair, but I feel like now is the time I can try whatever I want because I don't have anyone I'm trying to impress.. right? Lol. 

This week was the longest week of my life. Not gonna lie. It snowed like crazy here and everyone was freaking out and it was nuts here in good ol' Georgia. Wednesday president said don't go out unless its safe... So Sista H and I took that as we could go out because we are both used to snow. So we left the apartment at like noon after calling a bunch of people and got home at like 7. Turns out that we were one of the only missionaries that went out. Hahaha. It was a super hard day but I look back on it and I was really glad we did end up going out because we saw SO many miracles. There was one point in the day that we were tracting and Sister H and I just started bawling because we had no idea what to do and it was freezing and everyone who would open the door was like "Girls why are you outside?" and then just slam the door in our faces. Ugh. It sucked. But too many miracles!! 

So we ran into this less active randomly on the street when we were walking to a member's house. He was like you gals should come over sometime. So we looked up his address in our ward book and went over the next day and it turns out that he did not live there. So just as we were walking down the steps getting ready to leave the apartment building we ran into him and set up a return appointment. If the timing would've been even two minutes earlier or two minutes later we would've missed him!! Also one night we were walking home for the night we ran into this lady named Brenda who was taking her dog out. Turns out that Sister George and I had met her a couple months back and we helped her bring her groceries up to her apartment and she wasn't interested in the gospel then. She told Sista H and I that she wanted to take the lessons and we met with her the next day. It BLOWS MY MIND how Heavenly Father's timing works. Ahhh I love it!

Debbie... was a lost cause this week. Neither Sister Galt or we could get in contact with her all week. She probably left the country again but I am just praying she gets home before Wednesday so I can say goodbye to her. MARSHA on the other hand.. GOLDEN investigator. LOVE her!! We had 3 lessons with her this week. On one of them she had pulled out the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the concordance (this huge Bible Dictionary) and was studying for like hours. She came to church on Sunday too and the Relief Society was on the Plan of Salvation and she kept telling us how she got the feeling that everything our religion taught seemed familiar to her. #chaching We are going to put her on date on Tuesday and she pretty much will get baptized at the beginning of March. No big deal. Right after I leave. 

Kathy is doing amazing. She is very open about how she reads the Book of Mormon guarded and so we pretty much have to break down her wall, brick by brick and just love her. She does have the desire to find out if the Book of Mormon is true and keeps consistently reading every day. She came to all three hours of church even when she is terrified of small groups and I am so proud of her. She calls me Sister Knightly because I remind her of Audrey Hepburn.. haha. I love Kathy and I'm going to miss her like crazy. Sister Watkins is positive she will get baptized, its just a matter of when. Maybe it will be after my mission so I can come back to Suwanee and see it? Who knows. It's in God's hands. 

We have like 3 new solid investigators this week too!! One is named Hyacinth, she is from Jamaica and she is a author and she is a seeker because she loves and admires Martin Luther and he was a seeker. Her lesson was stellar this week. Also this lady named Kristen and she has an adorable daughter. And then we finally got in with the Lockridges which is a part member family and he agreed to take the lessons!! We have been trying all transfer long to get in with them too!!! 

So many good things are happening here in Suwanee, just as I am leaving. We have finally been able to get in contact with a lot of our potentials and we had 9 LIMPS this week, which NEVER happens. That's almost like UGA status which is like what Sister Heyland is used to.The first week of the transfer we only had 2 LIMPS. But I know that I am leaving now for a reason and I can look back on my time here in Suwanee with no regrets because I left Suwanee better than I found it. I am just so excited for Sister Heyland and her new baby to baptize nations here!! Ward conference is in mid March and so many of our members already have friends and neighbors that they are going to invite. Can I get a yeehaw?! 

New Do!

1st Transfer

Hello from Sandy Plains! 

All I can really say about this area... it is nothing like Suwanee and I can already tell I have A LOT of work to do here. Over half the ward is less active and it is a small ward but I am trying not to compare it to Suwanee because I already know that I was trained in Zion and there are very few wards in Georgia that are like that. So I guess this is the norm. I really am excited to be here though because it just means that I will get to make a huge difference! It is a beautiful area though! Marietta is a town right outside of Atlanta on a mountain (its actually a hill but Georgian's don't know what a real mountain looks like) and our apartment has an amazing view of the city! It's gorgeous and on the plus side, our apartment has two bathrooms :) Sister Sorenson is from Idaho Falls, ha. I wonder how many more companions I'll have from Idaho! It's cool though because she knows Holli and a couple other of my friends from Utah State. It's a small world in the Mormon church! 

I'm already in love with a couple people in particular in the ward. Sister Williams is a thug convert who joined a couple years ago. She gave up her old life of making 3 grand a day selling drugs to celebrity rappers and is so happy in the church. She knows Usher, 50 Cent and Snoop Dog etc and told me to go convert them. I'd be down! The other is Evril and she is a less active YSA from Kenya who makes bomb food. She is such a strong woman and has gone through so much in her life and I just admire her! 

Lady and Arnold are the only investigators we really have and neither are progressing much but I got to meet both this week. Lady is from Mexico and speaks super good English and has the two most adorable girls in the world who have stolen my heart. Arnold is an old southern man who dresses in camo, hunts, etc. the whole stereotype of a souther rug rat. He is great though and we are working on building his relationship with god. 

Not much really happened this week though. Since I got here, we have been working on our area map a ton which is a complete foreign concept to me! Sisters have only been here since the end of last summer and they weren't so organized and neat with the area book and the map so we are just starting from scratch. I found out that Quinton L. Cook is coming to our mission this next month and rumor has it that we are getting ipads and will become a Facebook mission. I heard the plan is to make all the states missions Facebook missions by the end of the year, which is exciting I guess. I personally don't really want to be on fb but oh well. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Out on the town

Feb. 10, 2014 Book of Mormon Musical duty


What a wonderful week! I know for sure that when I look back on my mission, this will be one of the highlighted weeks for sure. Going to Atlanta was INSANE and I was surprised how quickly it took to get there from Suwanee. Atlanta looks a lot like Seattle and the weather was actually in our favor. We got there around 6 pm with the Sister Training Leaders from Coal Mountain ward, Sister Kelly and Sister Papbst. We were given 20 copies of the Book of Mormon to split between companionships and 300 mormon.org cards and there were 4 companionships there; two from our mission and two from the Atlanta mission. A sea of people flooded into the Fox theater on the busy streets before and after the musical and practically all I could yell is "The Book is true! Read it for yourself! The book is always better than the movie!" Teehee. We had quite a lot of fun with it. We had to split up on the streets because there were so many people. I participated in a prayer circle with two hobos, convinced an atheist to consider that there was a god, got filmed in a documentary on Atlanta's entertainment, and had so many other awesome contacts that were SO prepared! 

It was very spiritually challenging as well because you would get people that would take pass along cards from you and spit on them or throw them to the ground or say a storm of cuss words about Jesus Christ, the prophet and The Book of Mormon. Sister Heyland and I talked about our experience afterwards and discussed how we literally felt like we were in front of the Great and Spacious Building, clinging to the iron rod. It was cool because during intermission, you would catch the ones that left the musical because they were offended (the elect) and afterwards, people would just walk up to you and ask for a book or ask to take a picture with you in front of the musical poster. Haha. All in all, it was such an amazing experience, I got the contacting dream of a lifetime and all I can do is hope that those I planted a seed with will act and a baptism will come out of it. 

We had the COOLEST miracle on Monday. We found a FAMILY that was SUPER ELECT and so ready for the Gospel and.... they are Spanish. We thought the mother knew more english than she led on and when we took Sister Holgado to our first lesson, she was the only one that could communicate effectively with them. So we passed them off to the Spanish Elders and they are supposed to follow up on how their lessons go. We had two lessons with them and at the end of our last, Carlos (the father) said the most heart felt prayer in espanol and I could only catch some of the words that I understood, but I could feel the conviction in his voice and I KNEW right then that he would be baptized. It was the most sincere prayer I had heard so far on my mission. 

Friday and Saturday I went to Coal Mountain on exchange and we went to their ward council meeting Saturday morning and one of their ward's elders graduated from Kamiakin!! haha. Small world, right? I taught the restoration 5 times within the two days I was there and my favorite was with this lady and her 3 small autistic boys that are all under the age of 6. I was especially amazed that when we knelt down for prayer at the end of the lesson, all 3 of them knelt down quietly with us. #sotender #meltedmyheart 

When I was gone, I missed our lessons with Kathy and Marsha but they went really well. Marsha is taking seriously reading the Book of Mormon and Kathy committed to coming for ALL 3 hours of church!! Well, we texted her Sunday morning and she told us she was still planning on coming. When Sister Watkins got to church, she told us that Kathy had practically begged her to go but Sister Watkins told her to stay home because she was super sick. At least she now has the desire, right? She started her new job at Vallue Village this week and she said that a couple of her coworkers asked if she was mormon (even though she is not, and they had no idea that her mom was mormon). I would say that's a work in progress! :) 

Debbie Debbie Debbie... we didn't hear from her AT ALL this week and I was so confused and broken hearted to why she would just dump us like that with no notice. We tried and tried again to drop in on her at home but we didn't get anything. We tried one last time Saturday night at 8:30 pm because we didn't have much else to do before we had to be in at 9; and she was HOME!! She was eating dinner with Zane and told us that all week she had been crazy busy with real estate and she felt really bad that she could never get back to us. We invited both her and Zane to church and...... THEY CAME!!!!! Sacrament meeting was perfect and the speakers talked about faith, repentance, and Matt 11:28-30. It was exactly what they both needed especially because Zane had always questioned why we never use Bible references to anything. 

Jan. 27, 2014

My Dearest Family!

This week was an interesting week with all sorts of the highest highs and the lowest of lows. I don't know what it is, but everyone and their dog is canceling their scheduled appointments on us. I feel really bad because Sister Watkins and Sister Galt have been stood up with us at leason six times each, no lie. Because we didn't have a lot of people to teach.. lots and lots of tracting it was! It also snowed this week so we had to endure the week outside in the bitter cold pretty much every single day. I guess Heavenly Father is trying to teach me patience and perseverance, idk. Sister Heyland lost her voice in the middle of the week and she is still getting over it and so I have been in the lead with the teaching and talking and everything. Man, being the leader wears you out ;) Even though we didn't have many opportunities to have lessons, we saw a lot of miracles from our long hours of treacherous tracting. 

Thursday we had an appointment with a former investigator named Sam. We got to her place and her daughter came out and told us she was sick and sleeping. So we decided to tract the apartment complex. It was kind of a small complex and we did the first half of the place and Sister Heyland wanted to leave. She gets really antsy when she feels like we aren't using our time very effectively, but I had a strong feeling that we needed to stay and keep going. The first door we knocked in the second half of the complex, the lady told us to open the door and come in. He name was Ruth and she was laying sick on the couch with her grand-daughter. She recognized what church we were from and told us about her experience with going to a mormon church once in Alabama and said she loved it! We taught her the first lesson and she was very receptive, so hopefully that turns into something! 

Friday we had a lesson with a former's brother at his house. His name is Boy and he is Sister Ketchem's neighbor, so she came with us. Sister Ketchum and Boy were both Phillipino so a lot of the time they were speaking to each other in Tagalog and it was kind of awkward. We tried to slide in the Restoration but every time we would try, Sister Ketchum would shut us down and tell us that Boy was not ready for this kind of commitment in our church yet. She did share her conversion story with him though, which is one of the best conversion stories ever, and that brought the spirit. Its so important to have the members at the lessons but sometimes its frustrating, because they think that missionaries are too bold or shouldn't be teaching what we are teaching, but we have the authority to discern what to teach each individual! We are supposed to be bold but loving, in order to help people keep their commitments and testify with the spirit. Boy is going to read his Catholic Bible first before he dives into the Book of Mormon, but at least we planted a seed, right? 

We may or may not have gotten kicked out of the Walmart parking lot on Saturday. It was probably our third or fourth time trying to contact in the parking lot and it was really busy on Saturday so we figured it would be successful. After a little over an hour of contacting, these two Walmart managers walked out and were stalking behind us for at least five or six different contacts. Sister Heyland noticed that they were behind us and told us to bolt for the car because we didn't want to get kicked out. Unfortunately they caught up to us and told us to show them our soliciting licenses. I may have kicked in a little sass and was about to show them my minister's certificate, but Sister Heyland said that we thought we were allowed to, that we were sorry, and we left. Too bad Walmart contacting only lasted for so long. I love Walmart contacting. Its super awkwardly fun! 

Saturday night was the adult session of Stake Conference and President Wolfert told us to be there because the theme was "Hastening the Work." It was awesome and much needed. The members of our ward are so willing to help us out by feeding us or going on team ups and what not, but when it comes to refferals, they could use some improving. President gave a talk and basically threw down on the stake that we should be teaching in members homes every single night in order to fulfill our purpose here as missionaries. Sister Watkins shared her conversion story too and she was super nervous, but did so well! If you've never heard it, you need to call her and ask her about it. After the adult conference, the Billiter family told us that they had a family for us to teach this next week and this random lady came up to us and gave us this referral in our apartment complex. Yeah yeah yeah! 

Sunday morning was regional stake conference and it was broadcasted from the Orlando, Florida stake center. They said it was being shown to 48 stake centers throughout Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, and I guess it didn't really occur to me that there are that many mormons in the south! We heard an amazing talk by Russell M. Nelson about renewing our covenants weekly and recommiting to do better and try harder each week. He talked about not running faster than we have strength to, but remaining to live worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost and following those promptings with more precision and diligence. He also spoke of how we need to be more precise and specific in our prayers when praying for missionary opportunities. It was exactly what I needed to hear and I received so much inspiration during that talk. Sister Heyland and I went home for lunch and decided that we were going to pray specifically to have someone baptized on February 15th, the Saturday before transfers. Sister Heyland won't let me leave Suwanee without us having a baptism together, so we are going to work our butts off! 

We were pretty pumped to go out and tract Sunday afternoon. We both had an awesome personal and companionship study that morning as well as great spiritual enrichment from stake conference. I was on fire and I just wanted to to sing out loud "We are All Enlisted" from door to door. After about an hour we tracted into this lady named Barbra who was SO PREPARED. All week long I had prayed that I would specifically be able to recognize right up front that a person was elect and ready to hear the gospel. She almost didn't let us in because she told us that her 22 year old autistic son was running around fully naked... but then she got him under control. #awkward ha. We kind of gave her an intro to the first lesson and she explained that she was just about to dig further into her religion, but this was a sign from God. I threw a soft baptismal invite after commiting her to read the Book of Mormon and she said yesss!!! AHHHH!!! I think that after we teach her a little bit more about baptism and give her the rest of the first lesson, we will pick a date for her. #dowork

We had an appointment with Clara scheduled on Sunday but her boss made her stay at work late. We decided that we are going to be super bold with people this week and every single day we are going to commit at least one person to baptism. Tonight we are planning on Kathy and Wednesday we are planning on Ed... so i have no idea who in the world we are going to invite the rest of the days, but I have the faith that the Lord will give us opportunities if it goes according to his will of course. 

"And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it speaketh of Jesus and persuadeth them to believe in him, and endure to the end." -2 Nephi 33:4. 

New comp - Sis Heyland