|Cut my haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaair|
I'm really running out of subject titles, so I stole part of the Everything is awesome song from the Lego movie that came out...last fall? Or winter? I don't really know, I've just heard little kids sing it.
So I got a new companion! Her name is Sister Aldridge and she is one of the funniest companions I've had. We get along really well, and she is an amazing teacher! People are starting to really progress with her here, and I am learning a TON from her!
This is how my week went. Monday we cleaned/packed Sister Santos up all day, and Tuesday morning (which we thought was transfer morning, but definitely wasn't) I dropped her off at the mission office. Sister Cook (a sister serving two stakes over from me) and I became temporary companions and we worked both of our areas for that day. Wednesday morning is when it got crazy. We woke up at her house, ran over to my house, ran back to her house because I realized I had lost the keys there, came back to my house, Sister Snyder got dropped off because she was waiting to pick up a new missionary that evening and couldn't find a split, ran Sister Cook back to her house to meet her new companion (who is Sister Ricks, by the way, my friend from BYU-I/ one of my companions in Kearns/ one of the nicest people on the face of the planet), came back here to meet my new companion, and then we were in a trio until we dropped Sister Snyder off with her ride to the mission office. I am amazed that we still have miles to use for the month. Thursday through Sunday was normal, except for re-learning to drive in the snow.
I am really really excited about the sisters in our zone right now. We have some of the best people! Sister Ricks and Sister Cook are both going to work a ton of miracles in their area. That area has been struggling for a looong looong time, and they are really diligent workers, they have a lot of faith, and they are both very charitable. They are exactly what that stake needs right now, and they are going to be used by the Lord to help a LOT of people.
Sister Snyder is still here, which I am thrilled about. She's been one of my favorite companions and I'm really happy that she's in the stake beside of me. I get to see her at least twice a week on Monday, and on Tuesday mornings during our district meetings. She's a really powerful teacher, and she doesn't give up on people. Sister Aldridge is just a great missionary, and people really listen to her when she speaks. This is going to be a great transfer!!
We started teaching a 14 year old girl named Jasmine that reminds me a ton of Olivia. She's got a lot of deep questions, and we're really excited to be teaching her. Now more than ever on my mission, I just have an overwhelming love for everyone I'm teaching. Charity is an attribute I've been working on for a long time, and I know that it says in the scriptures to pray with all the energy of heart to be filled with the pure love of Christ, which is charity. I'm seeing the answer to those prayers more every day. I don't think I've ever been as happy as I have been on my mission, I don't think I've ever loved people as much as I have on my mission. It's true that when we serve others, it helps us to love them, even if we don't know them very well.
Last night we had a lesson with Jordan and Marshall, who got baptized last month. They're helping with the sacrament on Sundays, and they're going to the temple this week!!! Well, Marshall is, Jordan might have wrestling practice, but he'll go soon if not Tuesday. I am so excited for them! They are amazing boys and I can't wait to see them get older and serve missions. We've been watching a few seminary videos with them for their new member lessons, and they actually really enjoy them! We do too. It's fun seeing their testimonies grow.
The weather in Utah is never really consistent. It'll be snowing for a few minutes, and then really sunny for a few minutes, we'll get ridiculous wind for a while, then it'll rain, then it'll get up in the 50s, then down in the 20s after an hour or so. Lately, though, it's been more cold than not. And as a result, hot chocolate is becoming a more popular beverage of choice. Sister Aldridge and I are thinking about setting up a free hot chocolate stand and giving away Books of Mormon and mormon.org cards and pamphlets along with it. Because if people run away when we come to them, maybe hot chocolate will help them come to us. We're not really sure how it's going to turn out, but our district leader didn't tell us no, so we'll see what happens. It worked for a set of elders giving away lemonade last summer, and if it can work for elders, I'm about 99% sure it'll work for sisters.
Thanksgiving is this week! And by that I mean I'm going to eat a lot of stuffing this week! It also means everyone is leaving town. That's alright, though. We'll find somebody to teach. If God can help us find a family that's living in a hotel, He can definitely help us find people home on Thanksgiving week.
I love you! Be happy!
So transfers are Wednesday! My companion is going home. So I'm excited to see who my next companion is! We're continuing to help the families we've found. This stake is thriving! I love being a missionary, it's my favorite!
Not too much else to say. I have some pictures though. Woo!
So this past week was crazy.
The work hasn't been everything it could be recently, so we decided as a zone to fast for the people we're teaching, for our areas, for help to know what we can do to be better missionaries, and let me tell you what! Fasting is REAL. God blesses us in ways we don't even think about.
So the first thing that started happening, was that we kept meeting people who were willing to let us use their names when we contacted people! Also, people who are willing to invite people to take the missionary lessons!! Wahoo!!!! That almost never happen!!!
Two days after that zone meeting we took two sisters in our zone on exchanges, and the one I brought to our area is new and hasn't had a very good start. I kept praying that she'd be able to see see a miracle while we were together. That afternoon, we were searching on a map for one of the Relief Society President's houses, but we couldn't find it ANYWHERE. After a couple minutes I felt like we should go to the house behind where we parked and then to one of our ward missionary's houses down the street. I ignored it at first because I was convinced it was just me. Then I felt the prompting a little stronger, so away we went. We set up a lesson with a part member family (hurray!) and then went to the other house. We walked up to him as he was mowing his lawn. The first thing out of his mouth "Sisters. There is no body I would rather see right now than you two. There have been a series of events that have happened today, and I know that you walking up to my house, right now, at this time, after the day I've had, is not a coincidence" and he had us sit down on his front porch. He told us about one of his family members who had fallen away from the church for the past 12 or so years, and about how their heart had been softened recently. The next day this family member would be moving into their home, and along with him were coming his fiancee and her daughter. He told our ward missionary that they were excited to start coming to church, and that because she and her daughter didn't know anything about the church, he wanted her to see temple square, and the conference center where "our prophet speaks to us."
We sat on that porch for probably 40 minutes while this man poured out his heart to us about how much he loves these people and how amazed he is at how the Lord has softened their hearts and prepared them. He's so proud of the one who fell away who is now returning to, and embracing the gospel of Jesus Christ. We sat there and cried with him. I know that they are being brought here by the Lord's hand. He is very much in the details of our lives, whether we realize it or not. If we ask Him to guide us each day, He will, but we have to listen to that guidance. I was so happy that this new Sister missionary could be with me for that experience, and I was also happy that these people were listening to the Lord's guidance. I know that every prayer is answered.
We're also teaching Katie from Korea, and it's difficult because she only wants to meet once a week, and we have to get the translator for each lesson. BUT THEN, last night Sister Santos and I, right when the lesson was totally about to crash and burn because she was confused and we just didn't know what else to say, were both inspired with a way to help her progress! First I realized that maybe she'd be better with reading English than listening to it, so I asked if that was true, she was better at reading to understand than hearing. Then Sister Santos asked if we could stop by and read with her in addition to lessons, to help her learn English and to help her study the scriptures. We tried it out for a little bit, and she probably reads out loud better than I do! It was so cool. Now she's not only going to progress with learning English, but she's also going to progress spiritually because of what she's learning from the scriptures.
THEN! Saturday night came, we had started planning for Sunday, and set a goal to find 2 new investigators Sunday, we had all kinds of plans lined up. We had stake conference this past weekend, so we weren't going to be in church form 9-4 like we usually are. It left us lots of time to go out and work. In the middle of our planning, we checked our phone, and saw that the Elders who are over the Tongan assignment (their area covers multiple areas) in our zone had texted and called us a ton of times.Through a crazy series of weird things that have happened over the past 2 months with the Tongan Elders and this man and some people from the Tongan ward, we were actually able to pick up 3 new investigators yesterday, and they are SUPER interested. There is a hotel in our area where a man has been living the past 2 months (it's a weird long term hotel, I didn't actually know those existed). He isn't a member of the church, and his wife and her son from China just moved here a week ago, and they want to learn more about our religion. They went to church yesterday and they said they felt "warm inside" while there.
I know that they felt the Spirit. I know that when we're willing to do everything God asks us to do, He'll bless us. I know that following Jesus Christ not only blesses the follower, but those the follower comes in contact with also.
I know that the only way these people could be found was because our zone was working together, not against each other. By all the companionships in our zone focusing on being exactly obedient and on helping each other, we've become very unified. Missionary work is not a competition about who's a better missionary, it's about doing everything we can to help out brothers and sisters who need the gospel in their lives. It's about finding those who have been prepared, and teaching them the truth we have been given by Jesus Christ, through prophets. It's helping them know that they can be close to God and they can look forward with faith, that because Jesus Christ died for them, they can be forgiven and they can live with God again.
We should switch the name from the South Jordan zone to the Zion zone.
Anyways, aside from that. We got a new stake presidency! That was exciting.
We (as in my and whoever my next companion is) are giving a training to our ward mission leaders and ward missionaries at the beginning of next month. I'm excited! We're going to talk about how we are here to help them, they're not the ones helping us. We're just a tool used to help with the harvest!
There's a scripture in John 4:37-38 and it talks about how bringing in the missionaries is just the next step! We're here to teach what we believe. But usually people aren't going to care about what we have to teach if they don't have someone who's invited them to hear us, and shared their testimony with them. Without a friend inviting, we're usually just freaky people that keep knocking on their door. And who wants to listen to something freaky people knocking on your door have to say? Usually nobody! So before we get to the door, make an invitation and make sure they know we're actually normal and that the message we have to share is one that will change their life, and that you've experienced that change yourself. And when you've started sharing the gospel with your friends, then call us up, and the lesson will be 4059834 times less awkward, and they'll probably be 32089132014 times more prepared than if we met them on the street or knocked on their door.
Anyways, that's all I've got for this week!
Be happy!! 3 Nephi 11:29 <- hahahahahahahahaha
Choose the right!! 3 Nephi 12:44-45
Be a good example!! 3 Nephi 12:16
So, in celebration of Halloween last Friday, we had a zone meeting on obedience! It's our missions focus this month. It was very meetingy, but luckily the Country Park stake has 2 MLS couples, and they brought us treats!! Hurray!
Also in celebration of Halloween, our stake had their Halloween parties recently. A lot of our evenings were spent bouncing back and forth from party to party trying to meet people that we haven't met yet. It was pretty fun! The first couple Sister Santos and I went to were pretty fun. One was Book of Mormon themed, and they had people dressed up as different BoM people running different games. That was one where our Ward Mission Leader was dressed as King Benjamin. The next couple happened last Tuesday, so we were on exchanges. Sister Collins and I decided to put those mustaches Mom sent me for my birthday to good use and we went as...missionaries with mustaches on? There's only so much dressing up we can really do. We told some people we were dressed as elders from the 1800s...because...you know...they had facial hair sometimes? Eh, it worked. People thought it was funny.
Well, some people thought it was funny, and other people ACTUALLY DIDN'T RECOGNIZE WHO I WAS. We couldn't believe how confused some people got that night, haha. It was the mustache, the short hair, and a different companion all combined. But I still had the name tag, that should have helped them out. Sister Collins is an amazing missionary, though! It was fun having her as a companion that day, we worked really hard and were able to start teaching somebody new!
The next day we decided to end the exchange at Cafe Rio. If you go there, the line is usually 324892 miles long, but if you go there at lunch hour the line is usually 238947231420347 miles long. So during our 238947231420347 mile wait, we decided to tell the man in front of us (who looked particularly grumpy, I might add) how awesome his Star Wars hat was. When we got to the cash register, he paid for all 4 our of meals! He said something about doing it because we were star wards fans. Yeah! Star wars wins every time.
Oh, so about my hair. I just woke up one morning and decided to cut it. I thought maybe it would make me not look like I'm 14 years old. Unfortunately, now I just look like a 14 year old with short hair. Also, because I waste sooooooooo much time in the morning washing and blow drying my long hair. I had Sister Meisenbacher chop about 10 inches off. Woohoo. Liberating.
This weekend is stake conference. Our stake presidency is getting released and they're calling a new one. We stopped by President Sohm's house last night to drop off a puzzle they loaned us and we got to visit for a while. He's sad, he loves his calling a lot. We talked a lot about doing family history work, that's something he's focused on. The families in this stake have found and done the temple work for thousands of names in the past year. Most of the work was done by the youth!! There were over 4,000 people's names found. THAT'S A LOT OF PEOPLE. It's incredible what family history work does in our lives. It's blessed the people here so much!!
Our mission president has been talking a lot about establishing the Church. We're not just baptizing people, we're helping each of them to have their own firm foundation on Jesus Christ. We want people to have strong testimonies, and to become converted throughout their lives. No wonder the River Stake is seeing so many miracles! They're establishing the Church, it's strong here. Their testimonies are growing and as they see their own lives blessed, they're reaching out to share the blessings of the gospel with those around them.
Family history is one of those things we know we should do, but we don't because we have that aunt or grandma who's "done all the work" already. But look at the people here, the people I live near, many of them have come from generations of LDS people who's records have been kept, they thought there weren't anymore names for them to find, but there are some incredible genealogy tools that have come out recently and 4,000 names later I'm starting to wonder how many ancestors are in our family waiting to be found.
Elder Nelson mentioned in a meeting with mission presidents recently that Salt Lake City is the heart (of course, heart surgeon) of the Church. If the heart doesn't work, the rest of the body doesn't work. It must thrive here, and if it's not working here, the rest of the world won't work. There is so much work to do here in Salt Lake. There are so many people that the Lord is preparing to receive Him. I know that if there are people being prepared in SLC, there are ABSOLUTELY people all over the world who are ready. We just need to do our part as members and open our mouths to them. We are the Lord's hands here on earth, and we need to serve those around us. God wants all of us to have the same blessings. He WANTS to bless us. We need to do our part in helping Him establish His Church. 1 Corinthians 3 : 6-11 <-- If we do our part, God will provide the miracles. Trust him and start acting. Not only are we helping Him establish His church, we also need to allow Him to establish us as individuals. We need to allow God to build us, we have the great help of His master builders (prophets, apostles, teachers, the Spirit) to help. As we listen to those master builders, we allow God to build us on a firm foundation. If we're not doing it His way, we're really just letting the world build us.. And we all know that the world will fall. It's foundation is weak. Read 1 Nephi 8, and then jump over to 1 Nephi 11: 36...or all of chapter 11...it's really good.
Anyways, I love you! Everything is great here. I know that there are more miracles to come here in our mission. I know that this is the Lord's work. I know that God and Jesus keep their promises. I know that we will know Them better as we do those small and simple things, like studying scriptures, praying, attending Church, going to the temple, working on family history. It might not seem like a lot. But tiny things lead to giant miracles.
Have a happy week!