August 29, 2016
This week was a very spiritually refining week. I guess that's what happens when you have zone conference, you spend six hours with a member of the first quorum of the seventy AND an area seventy, and you speak in sacrament meeting. What a week.
I don't really know where to start. I have enough from this week to talk about that I could probably write a book... This email might turn into a book... Be forewarned.
I guess I'll just start with Monday. All the interesting stuff started Saturday though so if you don't have much time skip down there.
Monday we had p-day per usual. We taught a lady named B and then taught Brother Clausen. We had a good discussion about the priesthood. Oh how grateful I am for the priesthood.
Tuesday we did some service for Habitat for Humanity. We taught Sister W and then a guy named J. The Wilson's came with us to T's and L's lessons before they fed us dinner. We taught our friend T and had a slam dunk restoration lesson. Then we went over to L's. We taught faith and repentance and the word of wisdom. We were all "ya gotta quit smokin' dude" and he gave us all of his cigarettes to break up and throw away! I had never even touched a cigarette before in my life. It was fun to destroy those little devils. While we were breaking them he kept saying "LITTLE LITTLE PIECES!" And then handed me his lighter and said "here! Top it off with this!" Oh man. He is the coolest. He is a man of mighty faith.
Wednesday we had a lesson with D. He is slowly progressing. Then we got to go have lunch with the DeLand sisters at Hunters. It was fun because I had been companions with Sister Larson, Sister Brown, and obviously Sister Simpson. We had a good time. I love them all so much. After our adventures to DeLand for lunch we went STRAIGHT TO OUR DINNER APPOINTMENT with Sister Alegro and Sister Helgeson... sometimes you have to call down the powers of heaven to help you eat two meals back to back. Then we had a "cinnamon roll discussion" with our Relief Society President, Sister Griffits, her daughter Kema, and Sister Griffit's neighbor D who is supper interested in the gospel! Oh man. We had a good time teaching her. Then we taught the R's, T, M, and T.
Thursday we had zone conference. This was only the beginning of the spiritual fire hose from the week. There were some really good trainings given. What stuck out to me the most was just how much I really do love this work. How I don't want any second to go to waste because it really does all go by so fast.
After zone conference we had dinner with the Wrenne's. Then we taught the coolest lesson with Sister Chilkott. Then we had a lesson with Brother Schmidt and Judy. Then we had a lesson with the Hewlets... Before we started the lesson they literally had us ON THE FLOOR we were laughing so hard. They are my very favorite. 90% of my out of context quotes from this week came from them. Then we also had a really cool lesson with them about time.
Friday we weekly planned. #FatFriday we also had dinner with Sister Hartgrove's and her friend Linda, then we did some finding and picked up a new investigator named C who is from Brazil! He told us he lived across the street from a Mormon church in Brazil but never went inside. He told us we can come back whenever we want. I also had a good conversation with his son who is a graphic designer who just moved from New York.
Saturday. Where do I even start with Saturday? We had a special Missionary Leadership Council with Elder Jörg Klebingat of the first quorum of the Seventy
(Y'all might recognize him from this conference talk ➡️ Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence.) AND Elder Douglass B. Carter who is an area Seventy and his wife. It gave me enough to think about that I probably won't be done pondering the things talked about for the rest of my mission.... Perhaps even the rest of my life. I have 29 pages of notes. It was very humbling. I know a whole lot more about the House of Israel and about my role as a member of the tribe of Ephriam. I have a long way to go and a lot I want to do. All I can say is I've never been so grateful to be a missionary. I've never felt so privileged to do this sacred work. We as missionaries often take it for granted, but this is the only time we will ever serve in this capacity. I don't want to waste any second of it being disobedient, or wasting my time on things of lesser importance.
I had the privilege of eating lunch with Elder Klebingat and Elder Carter and his sweet wife inbetween our two sessions. Somehow it came up in the conversation that I was speaking in church the next day. Elder Klebingat told me that the only time he would write down what he is going to say would be for General Conference because of translation stuff. He told me that sometimes when he goes to Stake Conferences he will ask to see all of the Stake President's and bishop's talks and then he will take them all and tell them to speak by the Spirit.
Then he challenged me not to use my talk on Sunday when I speak.
After lunch we had a solid Q&A session with them and our mission president and his wife. Much revelation was received.
After we got home we had a quick lunch at Firehouse Subs. Then we went to a lesson with L. We finished up the gospel of Jesus Christ and when we talked about enduring to the end we also talked about missionary work. We talked about how important it is that he share what he knows with others. He gave us a referral of a lady named V that ended up coming to church the next day! What?! Oh man. He's on fire. We also taught a less active named D who gave us bran cookies that tasted real good but looked real gross. 😂
When I finally got home Sister Simpson and I said our prayer of gratitude. We nightly planned and got a call from L. He had his friend V with him and he was like "Hey Sistas! I have my friend Valerie here me. Do you want to talk to her?" And we were like "sure..." So we started talking to her and SHE ASKED US when we can come over and teach her the same things we've been teaching L. We scheduled a time to come by and she gave the phone back to L. He mentioned something about church in the morning and we hear V say in the background "can I come to church tomorrow?" Haha of course you can V... after a few minutes of talking L said "I gotta go Sistas. I have some people I need to go pray with."
After we were done planning I retired to my little couch in the front room to pray. My knees hit the ground and stayed there for well over an hour. I had a lot to talk to God about. I knew that if I was going to follow Elder Klebengat's council to not use my talk when I spoke on Sunday I would need some serious divine help. Don't worry. God always has your back when you ask Him.
Sunday we went to correlation and then to Ward Council. Then after spending some time greeting people at the door as they came in I went to sit on the stand. Everyone and their dog showed up at church... Like less actives and investigators kept walking through the door and all I could think is "Is this a trick? God must love us so much." I watched as SEVEN of our investigators filed into the chapel. I've only ever had that many investigators show up twice in the last eleven months. We had a member come up and ask if we could teach her grandson so he could get baptized. I mean... I guess we can squeeze you in... OF COURSE WE CAN! We had a random former show up to church and apologize for not staying in touch with us and asked us if we can come back and start teaching her.
When I got up to speak I spoke about the one think I really know to be true. That Christ lives.
I told the story about how in my last area we knocked on a door of a part member family we were working with. Six year old Diena ran to the door and her little eyes appeared at the bottom of the window. She struggled with the door handle for a few seconds but couldn't open the door because there was an extension cord wedged in the door.
We listened as she ran to her family in the front room and cried "IT'S THE SISTERS! I LOVE THEM! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH I LOVE THEM? SOMEBODY OPEN THE DOOR FOR THE SISTERS!"
We as missionaries are making that same cry to the world that Diena made to her family.
"It's the Savior. We love Him. Do you have any idea how much we love Him? Somebody open the door for the Savior."
After church our new friend V was talking to our ward mission leader and she said "I think I found my home."
All I can say is "welcome home."
After church we taught V, and D, Brother Silver, and had dinner with Brother Schmidt and Judy.
Today we went to the grocery store and the lady behind us in line bought our groceries because we are missionaries for God. I love this. I love all of it.
Hurrah for Israel. I'm a missionary.
Out of context quotes:
"I had to pee in a bucket once"
"When Sister Hewlet Jr was talking about weighing her lead and Sr Hewlet Sr thought she was talking about weighing her leg and that it was only 15 lbs."
"I'm not real comfortable with legs... I'm much more comfortable with hearts"
"It reminds me of the movie Rent".... "Like rent and twain?"
"If you're not in a wheelchair... Get in one."
"I don't have any time to teach you because all you do is pee!"
"That's straight sugar... No it's not... The first ingredient is corn syrup.
I love y'all more than members love to give us leftovers. I have enough food to feed an army.