Monday, September 30, 2013

A New Investigator and Speaking in Sacrament Meeting

Hey there all! Life in Virginia never ceases to be a surprise. New things are always just around the river bend :)

Monday-- We went referral hunting from the members because we were out, and our plate isn't quite full yet, so of course we'd keep looking! However, looking is much more effective when somebody points in a direction for you to head in, I gotta say.

Tuesday-- We taught Bobbie about the importance of women in the church, and how we serve a very vital need in the church, even though we don't hold the priesthood. That's been a concern of hers--that women are 2nd class citizens in the church--so we decided to try and help clear that up for her. We were also able to coordinate our efforts with the new Relief Society President so now we plan to work a lot more closely with the women of the ward. 

Wednesday-- We found a very elect lady who is just super ready for us to teach her! We asked her what her religious background is, and she just replied, "I'm a mess!" Sweeter words have never been heard by a missionary, I'm telling you. We want people to teach who recognize that they haven't got it all--there's something more. Something more to feel, something more to do, something more to know. Wonderful, wonderful things to know, do, and feel :)

Thursday-- We taught a lot of our long-time investigators that like to move at a very...'comfortable' pace, haha. It's okay, though. While people are trying to learn, I just pray that they will pay heed to the Spirit. There's something there, and the fact of the matter is that that 'something' will always be there for them. It's just a matter of them realizing that they've got to move their own feet to learn more about it.

Friday-- We taught Bobbie how to have FHE with her family (her husband and granddaughters) and we just had a grand old time :) The gospel has this amazing way of pulling family ties closer and closer so that you can all support one another when one family member is weakened by something. 

Saturday-- We did service project with a smile all day! (The smile may or may not have been induced by the glory of being able to wear pants for the better part of the day.) We cleaned the pavilion at Back Creek Elementary and then we went to the animal shelter and fed all the animals. I felt like a Disney Princess, noooot gonna lie. There are deer and other critters there that will eat right out of your hand, and so of course the only feasible thing to do a that point was to start singing like Snow White. 

Sunday-- Sister Herring and I spoke in church, and it was super nerve-wracking! Bobbie's whole family came to church to hear us (Bobbie always comes, her family does NOT). Little miracles, one day at a time? Yes please :)

Love you all! Have a wonderful week and pray that all the little buggies out here trying to gobble me up will die in the cold :)

(Bit morbid way to end but it's true. They must be smitten down.) 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Searching, searching, searching...

 The planning area
 Lots of walking...lots of shoes

No week as a missionary is ever boring, as long as you are being obedient and striving to truly do your best. We meet new people each day, just looking and looking and looking for those that truly desire to change and come closer to Christ. This Gospel is sweet, and it boggles my mind that anybody actually turns us down (which actually happens quite often haha). No matter! The Lord will prevail, and truth and righteousness will always triumph.
Monday-- We never have anything note-worthy happen on P-day...sooooorry...we are lazy bums on this day and we enjoy it :)

Tuesday-- We got to clean out this big puddle for a member in our ward...we had to clear out the drain that is supposed to be taking care of that so I got a lot of mud on me and it was quite the experience haha!

Wednesday-- We taught Bobbie again, and while she is living the Word of Wisdom, she declined our baptismal invitation. We pray for her each and every night, but in the end it's up to her. While we may be able to see how much this would bless her life, she has to choose whether or not to take the plunge for herself. 

Thursday-- Man, this day we had a hard time filling in our schedule. Especially after it gets dark! Everybody here is either old and goes to bed at like 7 or 8, or they have little kids that need to go to bed to be able to wake up for school the next day. It also doesn't help that it is really just not the culture around here to make appointments. It's more of a "come by when you wanna" kind of place. However, because of this, you also have to be polite and not knock on doors after it gets dark. As missionaries, we're supposed to be out till 9:00, but that is becoming a very hard thing to do.

Friday-- We had District Meeting and I gave a 5 minute lesson on prayer! It was nice, because with that I have already started my talk for next Sunday! We also went to go see one of our favorite less-actives, Jimmy & Rose Neighbors.  They are now going to be feeding us squirrel next Thursday...haaaaaahahahaha.  I am so going to do it. If for nothing else but to be able to say that I did!

Saturday-- We had a Relief Society luncheon, and we had been inviting like craaaaazy to this thing. When nobody showed up, did me and Sister Herring become discouraged? OF COURSE NOT! We got some leftover cake and took it to all those people that we invited but didn't get a chance to come and see us there :) 

Sunday-- Church is always nice, and Bobbie was there.  Josie was also there.  She's another investigator that is 17 and dating a boy in the ward...she took the lessons, and really wants to be baptized, but her mom won't let her, so she does what she can. She is totally awesome though, I'm not gonna lie. She signed herself up for early-morning seminary, which is more than I can say for myself at 17, haha.  While we were hoping to see others there as well, that just means that we're going to be teaching a loooot about the importance of church attendance this week so those people can gain the desire to dedicate the Sabbath day to the Lord as that is what he asks us to do on that sacred day. Also, we went tracting and ran into this totally nice Jehovah's Witness couple. It was basically just each of us trying to convert the others, but it was nice to talk to them nonetheless :)

This week has been a lot of learning the importance of keeping your chin up even when it seems like it's not going to do much good. As missionaries, it is so important to always be consistently faithful in all that we do. In obedience, in working, in the little moments that you don't think matter.  Because that's just the thing:  

EVERY moment matters as a missionary. Every single little one. No matter what we do, we are either serving or preparing ourselves in some way to serve. To become a Preach My Gospel missionary is to 'have an eye single to the glory of God' not just for yourself, but for everyone around you. We must be constantly thinking: 'How can I bring this person closer to their Savior?' 'What steps does this person need to take to repent and receive all of the goodness that the Lord is waiting to pour out upon their heads?' And always, always, ALWAYS: 

'How can I help?'

That is exactly what being a missionary of the Lord is.  

This is the nutcracker that watches over letters from home.  To demonstrate their faith and desire to find investigators to teach, Sister Nisse and Sister Herring agreed that they would sacrifice opening letters from home until p-day. So they place their letters by the nutcracker--kind of like presents under the Christmas tree--and wait until Monday to open them.
Their cute little kitchen
Sister Herring, from St. John's, AZ
Writing home at the library

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sister Nisse and Sister Herring
This week has been full of adventures and crazy happenings. The work is a different ball game each week, I'm learning. 

Monday-- P-day, so nothing crazy. However, every month on the 2nd Monday, they have this thing called 'Empty Nesters' which is when all the empty nesters of the community (whiiiiich is basically everybody) come out to have fun with the Mormons while we eat and listen to a live bluegrass band. The missionaries go because we meet about 101 non-members. They love talking to us, because we're young and interesting (not my words) but it really was a very fun night!

Tuesday-- We contacted a lot of referrals, not a lot came of it, but tracting really makes you feel like a missionary, let me tell you. We had a few lessons, but none of them were all that eventful.

Wednesday-- Craaaaaaaaaaaaazy day! All the stuff that we had planned the night before fell through, so about 2 hours into our day we were grasping at straws, which is never fun as a missionary. However, I'm learning that when that happens, the Lord is just basically saying, "Ya, those plans were nice, but look what else I've got in store for you!" I say that because while we were just trying our hardest to stay out and working, we got 3 new investigators! Two of them are formers investigators that we looked up in our area book and really wanted to contact them, due to the section in PMG that talks about trying out your formers. They were interested and oh my goodness--me and Sister Herring were just on cloud 9. The 3rd investigator is Jessica, the momma of the Mexican family that I told you about last week. Miracle--we knocked on the door just as her 9 month old baby had gone down for a nap and she only woke when we were done teaching her mom. Jessica is super nice, and she's interested in  learning more, as she had brief contact with the Church in Mexico...haaaa she thought that we were polygamists...funny stuff :)

Thursday-- Had specialized training basically aaaaaall day which was AWESOME, but we didn't do much besides go to our dinner appointment after that. 

Friday-- Tracting again, and lemme tell ya. These bugs our here just simply adoooore me. My legs seems to be the must-try diner of the bug world.

Saturday-- We went to Jessica's yard sale, and she was very friendly, but there was also this Baptist preacher there who started to give us a little mini-sermon about how as long as we're all just trying to follow God it doesn't really matter what faith we're a part of...in any case, he started his little thinga-ma-jig by saying that he'd always had questions about the Mormon faith, and so I ended up giving him a mormon.org card when he was done preaching to us :) Hahahahahahaha I'm too funny, I tell ya...after that, everything fell through again, which obviously means that we had another miracle :) We were on our way to contact a referral when we had to stop due to the fact that there was a lady picking up her trash which had been strewn all across the road by some bears. We of COUUUURSE got right out to help her! She is interested in learning more, and it was just really awesome talking to her. She said that she feels guided to where God wants her to go to church (aka church shopping. regular practice out here...you just keep trying churches out till you find one where you like the pastor/minister/whatever the heck as well as the congregation). Which will make it quite the thing  to teach her about having the same gospel all around the world :) 

Sunday-- Committed a stubborn but hilarious 80-year-old named Bobbie Lavender to living the word of wisdom. Pretty much made the rest of my day the best thing ever :)  We hope to commit her to baptism by the end of the month.

Being a missionary, you see people where they are in their lives and you just have this amazing ability to see where they could be with this wonderful message that we've got. It's process getting them there, but it's definitely worth it. I can't say it enough...missions are the best :)

Deer and wild turkeys in the yard
Virginia is beautiful!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Meaghan with President and Sister Pitt
Things I've learned while living in the South:

1. You never call to get just one detail sorted out. There WILL be chit-chat.

2. When you have exchanged hugs/handshakes, you are approximately 75% of your way out of the door.

3. You eat all the food on your plate. However, you always begin with saying, "Oh, how in the world am I going to eat all of this??" 

4. ALWAYS ask how a person is doing/how their day is going. (Be sure to actually listen as well.)

5. You can say whatever you'd like about a person, and as long as you end with, "Bless her heart", everything is just fine and dandy.

The culture of the South is pretty different, haha. People are friendly, and all the conversations are long. However, I love love love it here! Life as a missionary is pretty wonderful :) People are coooonstantly trying to feed us or give us money for food. Me and Sister Herring are about 95% sure that they're all secretly playing a game of 'Who Can Make the Missionaries the Fattest?'

Many miracles! We got a referral a couple of weeks ago for a Mexican couple that have just moved into the area, and while our first try didn't work, we now know why: we needed to spend more time with this one sister in our ward from Chile! She offered to go to lessons with them, and maybe even have them over for dinner to speak Spanish and create that bond. I imagine that coming to a place like this would be hard if you were used to being surrounded by Spanish all the time. Luckily, we've found a way to help them with that :) Also, we were able to help one of our less-actives in a big way this week. They had a friend recently die, and while we weren't planning on visiting them, we ended up doing just that. They needed to hear in that moment what we had to say about out Heavenly Father's plan for us after we die. It's amazing to me how much the Lord cares for His children and knows their lives and their struggles. What's even more amazing is that I get to be a part of that. 

Love and miss you all!


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First Area: Roanoke, Virginia

I am in the Back Creek Area, in the Roanoke Zone! However, Back Creek is basically just the fancy part of town in the outskirts of Roanoke. Settling in has been interesting, because the sister that I replaced had been here for 5 months. I hear a lot of, "Where's Sister Tuckett?" and "Aww, i'm gonna miss Sister Tuckett." It's alright though, they'll definitely learn soon that having a redhead is quite the little blessing :)

Sorry that I didn't email yesterday. We email in the library, and since it was Labor Day yesterday, we're doing emails today.

We got into Charleston at about 11 am on August 27, and I was deeeeeeead tired. They had some meetings for us to be at, but they let us go to bed at like 6:30 due to our flight circumstances (I was traveling all night and didn't catch a wink). However, I totally passed out in the middle of our testimony meeting at the President's house. Sister Williams had to wake me up because I was making noises apparently...hahaha. The classy streak continues.
 Charleston, West Virginia

The sisters (there was 14 of us) stayed at a nice hotel in Charleston for 2 nights before we headed off to meet our trainers. My trainer's name is Sister Herring, and she is 24. She has also been out for a grand total of 6 weeks! We have fun in our area, the people are amazing. We've gone tracting 2 times now, and both times yielded new investigators! Tracting is truly an act of faith. In all fairness, it was more guided tracting, however. We had a referral that we wanted to tract into, and so we just did all the surrounding areas as well. Last night we found 2 families that want to meet with us later today (SOOO EXCITED!!!) and as for the other time, there's a little story that goes with it. 

We had stopped at a member's home, and she told us to go and see if we could say hello to this little family that had just moved in, coming from Mexico. We tracted down the street to their house, and they didn't answer their door, so we just continued down the street. We had finished and were walking back to our car when we a car started coming down the street to pull into the house that we had just knocked on. We waved, and she stopped (OMGosh). She rolled down her window and said that she'd like to learn more (OMGoshOMGosh). We had a Book of Mormon with us, but for some reason it had been misprinted, so we had to go back to our car to get her a new one. It started to rain, and so she ended up letting us inside (OMGoshOMGoshOMGosh). We talked to her more about the Book of Mormon, and she said that she'd be happy to learn more.



I love tracting.