This week has been a little crazy! On Tuesday and Wednesday we had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders. On Friday
we saw Marsha. I love Marsha and how happy she is! She had read the
first chapter of the Book of Mormon but was having a hard time finding
the teachings of Jesus Christ in it, so we helped her to see how the
Book of Mormon is full of His teachings and testifies of Him and His
Atonement. The spirit was very present as Sister Stephens and I bore to
her our testimonies of the Book of Mormon. Her heart was softened and
she said she would be willing to read more and find out for herself if
it is true. I love the Book of Mormon! Along with the spirit, it is our
most powerful resource in helping others become converted to the gospel
of Jesus Christ.
we received a call from President Smith with the sad news that Sister
Stephens is going to be leaving Fort Walton, but the exciting news that
she is going to be a head Sister Training Leader in Tallahassee and that
I will be training a brand new missionary here in Fort Walton! Wowwee! I
was surprised, then scared, then very humbled, and now I am excited!
I'm really sad that Sister Stephens will be leaving- she has taught me
so much and we have had so many fun and spiritual experiences together-
but I am really excited for this opportunity to learn and grow as I do
my best to train this new sister. I feel like I have no idea what I'm
doing sometimes, but I know that God knows exactly what He's doing. I
kind of feel like a deer in headlights, but I know that God qualifies
those He calls! I trust that as I do my best and rely on Him, He will
help me to be the kind of trainer that He wants me to be. We leave Tuesday afternoon to drive to Tallahassee, and on Wednesday morning I'll pick up the new sister!
this is short- we have a lot of people to see this evening as everyone
wants to say goodbye to Sister Stephens. :) I love you all!
This week has been crazy, but awesome! Last Monday
for P day, Sister Stephens and I played volleyball at the beach with
the other sisters, the English elders, and some young adults from the
ward, which was super fun! That evening, we had an appointment with
Justin who we contacted on the street last week. We found what we
thought was the address and knocked on the door. But to our surprise, it
wasn't Justin who answered, but Marsha, a lady who we had met two
months ago! It wasn't even Justin's apartment! Back in July, Marsha's
friend who is also not a member but loves missionaries told Marsha to
call the missionaries for help with moving. She contacted us, and we had
helped her move a ton of furniture into a truck, but we had assumed she
had moved! Nope! Marsha invited us in, thinking we had come by to see
her, so we went with it! She's officially moving in October once she
retires. We talked about her friend's interaction with missionaries, as
well as Marsha's background, her family, religion, etc. We found out she
has a very strong relationship with God but hasn't gone to a church
since she was little. She talked about her desire to find a church that
fits her, and we talked a lot about prophets since she had a lot of
questions. She was really open with us and she's so kind and willing to
learn more about our beliefs! She is such a happy person! We came back
another night and talked about the Restoration. She wants to keep
meeting with us! It was a miracle that we knocked on her door! Sister
Stephens and I later realized that we had looked at the address wrong,
but we know that was no coincidence! Marsha is so prepared!
We did eventually get to teach Justin, too, but it was a little crazy because he kept having to chase his toddler down. :) On Wednesday
we had zone conference in Niceville. Our zone has such awesome and
diligent missionaries who are so fun! President and Sister Smith are the
best! I learned so much from them and from the missionary leaders who
taught at the conference.
One more miracle! One
evening, we visited with a sister who hasn't been at church for a few
years since she married her husband who isn't a member. We invited her
to come to church on Sunday, and she said she would because she did miss it. Lo and behold, she was at church!!! She sat
with friends and every lesson and talk made me think, "wow, that's just
what she needs!" After church, she thanked us for inviting her and said
that everything she heard was perfect and just what she needed to hear.
of my favorite lessons at Zone Conference was "Teach People, Not
Lessons; Be People,
Not Robots" :) where we talked about utilizing the personality and gifts
God has blessed us with as missionaries and being ourselves as we do
His work. We each have unique things to offer to God and to others as
the individuals we are. Our goal is to become like Jesus Christ, but
that does not mean we are all going to be the same. We each have
different ways to bless others' lives that become evident as we serve
them and as we strive to be more Christlike. We can pray to recognize
our strengths so we can focus on developing and utilizing them as God
would have us.
I love seeing the strengths and characteristics that others possess! It helps me to love them more.
P.S. A lot of the pictures are from other weeks, so look back at old stories. :)
Some beautiful flowers
Nicky met a new friend, but their taking it slow ;)
Sister Stephens and I have been blessed so much this
week! We were able to teach a lot more lessons and see more of our
investigators and other people. On Monday
we had dinner with Christophersons. Brother Christopherson and his son
told us all about helping with the flood cleanup efforts in Louisiana.
We heard from them and a lot of people in the ward that went, and how
they gutted homes for people and hauled out all the destroyed items.They
said there were about 9,000 Mormons over there helping. Everyone camped
outside the stake center in one of the towns and there were two
enormous sacrament meetings of standing room only! They said the
destruction was awful, but that it was an amazing experience to be able
to help people there. Sister Stephens and I wish we were allowed to go
to Louisiana to help, but it sounds like they have a lot of people
helping, which is awesome.
we went on splits with Alli and Alivia Brill! It was way fun! Alli came
with me to teach Melissa. She told us she didn't feel ready to be
baptized in a few weeks. She really liked coming to church and wants to
come more, and she believes the Book of Mormon is true, but felt like
she hadn't received an actual answer from God yet. On Sunday
she wasn't able to come to church because of work, but afterwards,
Sister Stephens and I went by her house. She said she had really wanted
to come to church, but that she had received an answer that the Book of
Mormon is true! She said she feels closer to Jesus Christ and has been
happier from reading it. She's progressing so well!
we went with Sister Tedonne to Susan's house (a different Susan than
the one I've previously written about.) This Susan we met while she was
walking her dog. She's a sweet lady in her seventies who's from the
Philippines. She told us all about how she met and married her husband
who was an American stationed at a military base in the Philippines. She
kept laughing about how she married a stranger, but that it worked out.
:) They were married for 52 years until he passed away two years ago.
Susan is Catholic, but she's interested in learning more about our
beliefs. We talked with her a little bit about the Plan of Salvation and
are meeting with her again this week.
day, Sister Brock picked us up to go teach some lessons with us. On the
way to one appointment, we saw a big turtle in the middle of the road!
We didn't want it to get hit or anything, so we found a plastic bin,
helped the turtle into it, and drove down the street to a gully that led
to a big pond and freed the turtle there. :)
I've been studying this week is the nature of Heavenly Father and Jesus
Christ. Their whole desire and purpose is for us to live again and be
able to have eternal joy. They are perfectly kind, loving, selfless, and
possess every virtue in its complete form. Everything they do is to
direct us to the source of true joy, which is Jesus Christ and living a
life centered on His teachings. I know that Heavenly Father is the
father of our spirits and that we can become like Him. Jesus Christ
suffered and died for us so that we can overcome every challenge,
weakness, and sorrow we face, and ultimately become even as He is-
Not a lot happened this week, so this is going to be a kind of shorter email, but that's okay!
we played volleyball with both pairs of elders and the other sisters in
the church gym, which was super duper fun! That evening we had breakfast for dinner with the Brills!
I love the Brills! Brother Brill shared some awesome stories from his
mission in Germany and we had fun visiting with their daughter Allie who
just came home from England.
we had an awesome district meeting about talking with everyone we meet.
That's something Sister Stephens and I are working on! God commands
missionaries to open our mouths "at all times and in all places" and
we're trying to be better at that!
We taught Roderick and Akeria about Entertainment and Media and helped them to download some awesome music from lds.org.
Then we had a dance party to some of our awesome mission-approved
songs. As long as it directs our thoughts to Christ and invites the
Spirit, we can listen to it. Roderick and Akeria can be so crazy, but we
sure love 'em! That evening we had dinner with the Orse family. We had
cheesecake for dessert and talked with them about their family mission
plan, which was awesome! It helps families set goals and make plans for
how they can do missionary work as a family.
we tried to see a bunch of former investigators. Sister Tedonne came
with us to go see her sweet neighbor from Holland. She took a
Restoration pamphlet, but she wasn't interested in learning more. Some
day! :) Wednesday
evening we went to Young Women's- Sister McSheehy likes for us to come
so the girls can see that missionaries are really normal people and that
being a missionary is awesome! It seems to work- a lot of them want to
go on missions, which is super cool! We made sugar cookies, frosted
them, and delivered them to some less-active young women.
this week, we taught Jim and Vicki about the Law of Tithing and Tess
and Yogi Nystrom's house! Wow did Jim and Yogi click! They're
practically best friends now! They bonded over their heart problems, the
insulin brand they take, and their crazy adventures from when they were
younger. And they both love to talk and talk. :) And Jim and Vicki both
committed to pay tithing (Jim once he's baptized.)
we went to Sarah's house with all the missionaries to tackle a bunch of
projects. We ripped out the inside of a closet that needs to be
re-walled and tore down an old shed in her back yard. Then we went with
the other sisters to help clean someone's house.
Church was so powerful yesterday!
I learned so much- about having a firm foundation in Christ, the
importance of family history, and the importance of the family. Since
being on a mission, my desire to have a family of my own that's centered
on the teachings of Jesus Christ has increased so much. God is our
Father- His perfect joy comes from His perfect and eternal Fatherhood,
and He knows that having righteous families is what will bring us the
most joy. Despite the world's disintegrating views on the family, we can
stand firmly and faithfully in the teachings of Jesus Christ through
scripture and modern day prophets that teach us how to have families
that bring joy now and in the next life.