Monday, February 25, 2013

"Planting Seeds"

     How is everyone?? I miss you all so much and I hope everything is going well!!! This week was so good here and I'm so excited to tell you about it!!! On Tuesday we had dinner with the Baileys.  The husband is a neurosurgeon and went to school for 26 YEARS and the wife runs a Montessori school from their home and it is so cool! She took us on a tour of it and I totally want to send my kids to a Montessori school.  Their daughter Sarah has Downs Syndrome but they have her involved in a lot of stuff around the community and one thing she has done is bake bread! They gave us a loaf of her bread right out of the oven and it was so good!!!! Really good. 
     On Wednesday, we visited Jane (less active) because she had surgery the day before and she is seriously my favorite.  We read the talk "Forget me Not" (which by the way I'm obsessed with that talk and probably read it like atleast 2-3 times a week) and she really liked it.  We also talked about having prayers answered or feeling the Lord's love and comfort through other people and how important it is to make sure you're doing the right things in your life so that you can be an answer to the prayers of others.
     So anyway, basically this last week was going SO slow and we were kinda down just cause either no one would be home, we had no referrals, no one wanted to meet with us, etc. etc.  But no worries... just keep reading!!
     On Wednesday at district meeting, Elder Christensen had us draw our favorite scripture story in 6 squares on a paper and then tell the story from it and apply it to our lives.  I'm pretty sure I did this in primary mulitple times but the point of it was to simplify things and how important it is to apply things to our lives so that investigators get the most out of lessons. 
     On Thursday morning, Sister Johnson had a new trainers meeting since we are getting a new companion.  All the sisters are going to be in threesomes... anyway. While the companion that was going to be training was in the meeting (Sister Johnson), their companion (me and like 15 other missionaries) got to tract.  The day before, we had heard about how there was supposed to be a crazy snow storm and they shut all the schools down for Thursday.  Anyway, as soon as we started driving to the meeting it started blizzarding and then when we got there and Sister Johnson was in the meeting, the rest of us tracted in the freezing cold cold cold snow!! Haha I was with Sister To'ala (she's from Samoa), Sister Crandall, and Sister Woodward (from the MTC).  We had so much fun though!!! Sister Toala and Sister Crandall are going home soon.  But it was so great, we went to every door all together with the four of us and people were surprisingly super nice and would let us in their house cause they felt so bad for us that we were in the snow.  Anyway, sister Toala is so hilarious and she made it so much fun even though we were freezing cold.  So when we got back, the assistants to the president took everyone from the meeting to lunch.  But then they all got back from lunch and the roads were TERRIBLE.  They told us to go straight home and park our cars for the rest of the day and until tomorrow afternoon.  The roads are terrible for a few reasons:
  1. no one knows how to drive in the snow because it rarely snows here - mostly rains.
  2. They don't have a very effective process for plowing the roads.
  3. the snow here is super icy. 
Sister Johnson and I started driving home and people were sliding all over the place and I think the top speed we reached the entire time was 12 mph.  It took us 2 hours to drive home and it is a 20 minute drive.  But on our way home, the windshield wipers were iced to the windshield so i got out to fix them and I forgot I had put the phone in the door.  Like 20 minutes later I couldn't find the phone anywhere in the car and realized that's probably what happened.  So... ya I lost our phone.  But on the way home we probably got stuck at least 3 times but luckily we made it home alive!
     On Friday we got a new phone! They were so nice and we even got to keep our same number.  But the bad thing is... we lost all of our contacts.  We had weekly planning on Friday also and we're down to basically 3 investigators.  We felt kinda stressed about that. After weekly planning we went out to our car and it was stuck in the snow and this other guy was trying to get his car out of the snow also.  So we went and helped him and then he helped us and then we started talking to him and he said he would be interested in hearing more! So we got his number and we will see what happnes - his name is Majeed.  We went to visit Grace and Ethan and as we were walking to their apartment, a little dog ran out of this ladies' apartment and came right up to us so she went chasing after it and ended up right next to us.  We were kind of in a hurry and stuff but we told her her dog was cute and then I was just like, we teach lessons about our church, would you like to take them? (Ya, probably the worst way I have ever worded that) but she was like Sure! She (Jade) told us she had been kicked out of like every other religion so she would be very interested in learning about ours.  SWEET!! But like seriously, we were like where did she come from? We had been feeling so down and then she just came running out of her house so were excited to see if it actually goes somehwere! That night we also had dinner with a member and she took us to this really good mexican restaurant called Mi Ranchito.  It was so good!  Earlier that day we had been reading an article from the Ensign from Elder Ballard about pre-judging others and how we don't know who the Lord has already prepared so we shouldn't pre-judge others on whether they are ready to hear the gospel or not, she we should just be confident and tell everyone! I really liked it and I think sometimes I do judge others based on their appearance whether they would like to hear something or not. 
     Saturday we were still kinda down because even though we had 2 new potential investigators, we still only had 3 investigators and since we lost all our contacts we had no idea how we were going to get Tom's number.  But literally like an hour later, TOM CALLED US!!! He wanted to make sure he had the right address for the church.  We love Tom.  We also had a lesson with Eugene scheduled and we had a member that came with us and everything and we had called him that morning to make sure it was still a good time and we got there and he didn't answer the door (we know he was inside cause his van was there).  And he just keeps on using us to do service for him so we really think we are going to drop him.  He started smoking again and you can just tell he doesn't even want to meet with us.  So, anyway, later that afternoon we stopped at Target to get some cleaning stuff for our apartment and while we were there, we met his lady Pam whose mom is in the hospital.  We told her about our church a little and gave her the address and she said she can't come this week but next week she would really like it.  She told us shes supposed to be Catholic but never goes and I think since her mom is in the hospital she is looking for something.  We told her we would pray for her and when she said that she started tearing up and was like thank you so much and walked away.  We got her number and stuff so were going to keep in touch with her.  
     Well, I think that's really it!! Sorry if this email made like no sense! But I've been thinking and I decided that when the temple in Rome is dedicated we should all go to the open house!! Sound like a plan? Okay cool.  Well, I hope everyone has a super great week!!!! I love you all SO SO SO SO SO SO MUCH and I love hearing about what is going on at home and in your life.
I MISS YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"Night at the Museum"

Hello everyone!!!!

     Thank you so much for your letters and emails - I look forward to reading them every Monday!! Except, since yesterday was Presidents Day, the library was closed so that's why I'm writing today! In church on sunday I learned something that was a good reminder to me! The speaker was talking about gossip and how even though something might be true or is true about someone and it's negative, it's still gossip and you shouldn't do it.  I thought it was a good reminder.  Last Monday we had zone p-day and we just played get to know you games and then while we wrote letters and stuff the elders played basketball and volleyball.  And then we were at Trader Joes and this guy was like "Hello Sister... that's what it says on your nam tag right?" I told him that I was a missionary and he started talking about how he has always admired our church because we are squeaky clean in a really good way and All-American.  We talked to him a little more and got his name and number and he got our number and he said he was really interested in learning more.  His name is Tom.  So, a couple days later we called him to set up a time and we decided we would meet on Sunday.  On Sunday after church, we met with him and talked to him about the Book of Mormon and a little bit of the restoration. He has been going to other churches and told us he doesn't like how other churches change their doctrine based on what the world is doing.  Obviously our church is so perfect for him!!  He talked about some other opinions he had and they are all seriously in line with what we believe. It was so awesome!!! And unlike a lot of other people he told us he can't say anything isn't true yet because he doesn't know! Usually people are like I don't need to find out I already know the Book of Mormon isn't true.  So we gave him a Book of Mormon and told him to pray about it and stuff and then we said a prayer and everything and when we were putting our stuff away we were asking him when he would like to meet again and he was like, well would you like me to come to your church next Sunday or something? We LOVE TOM!!!! Who asks that?? Anyway, so he is coming to church and we are so excited! It's so weird, how like usually I feel like I would be super embarrassed to talk about this kind of stuff in public but like I wasn't at all.  We had three Book of Mormons on the table in front of us and people coming in and out of Starbucks and we probably looked ridiculous but it's weird how that has changed for me since I've been here.  Sister Jonson and I know that he is definitely one of those people that have been prepared and it's such a good feeling!
     Last Tuesday we had service and I always love going there.  Today, one of the ladies, Linda, told Sister Johnson and I to come with her. We followed her down a hall and into a room where a ton of quilts were hanging that her church made and she said, I've already bought one for each of you so pick one out that you like.  How nice is she?? It made our day, she was so sweet to do that for us and the quilts are cute! On Monday night the exchange sister, Sister Grover, and her companion Sister Ash came and then we went on exchanges Tuesday and Wednesday.  On Tuesday I was with Sister Grover, she goes home in April.  She is definitely a good missionary and all but she is your typical sister missionary with the tone and all.  She hardly ever let me talk in lessons or tracting so it got kind of annoying, but I still learned from her.  And it was hard cause she wasn't conversational at all and so I got to know her pretty well but she  never asked me questions, but oh well.  We visited Jane and Dorothy.  They are less active members but have been coming regularly for the past couple months.  They are getting ready to go to the temple so we talked to them about it and we read the talk "Temple Standard" with Jane.  It's a really good talk and you should read it.
     On Wednesday, we did something called a blitz where multiple companionships tract a certain area.  Me, Sister Johnson, Sister Grover, Elder Christensen, and Elder Nelson all came to Frontenac and tracted for a couple hours.  Since we were still on exchanges, I was with Sister Ash and Sister Johnson was with Sister Grover.  Sister Ash was so sweet!! I loved her.  We both came to St. Louis at the same time.  She is Samoan and Tongan and we just talked the whole time and it was fun to get to know her and talk to her.  Sister Ash and I found 2 potential investigators! And we had 1 lesson too and no one else did. 
     On Valentines Day we visited a less active because it was her birthday and talked to her for about 45 mins.  She has had such a hard life and it was so sad.  I'm glad we got to go over and visit her.  We tried to visit some other less actives in the area near her but none of them were home. 
     We had a lesson with Grace and Ethan.  They are doing so well!! Grace is 11 and she followed up on her reading assignment and understands everything and likes coming to church.  Ethan has a hard time paying attention but when he has something to say it is so sweet and he understands as well. 
After that, we had a dinner at an older ladies’ home in the ward and she’s totally losing it and it is so sad! When we got there, she hadn't even started dinner.  But so she put the roles in and she forgot she put them in and they burned and then corn was sour and the salad dressing was expired and she kept gassing like a lot but it was so sad.  She was so sweet though and gave us valentine cookies and all the leftovers.  But after a little, her daughter came and she used to work in admissions for the accounting program at BYU! cool huh?? She doesn't anymore though.
     Bad news :(.  Remember Soucha?? Well we totally thought we were going to be able to set a baptism date for her and that everything was going well.  Then, earlier this week her mom texted us and was like "Soucha wants to stop having you come over and teach.  She doesn't want to get baptized and doesn't want to be asked why not.  So it's best that you guys hold off."  It was so terrible. We were so bummed.  We talked with the leaders in Ward Council on Sunday about her and they think a lot of it is her mom because her mom doesn't discourage baptism but she doesn't encourage it either and always tells Soucha how she's going to get in lots of trouble when she's older.  So... we can't meet with her anymore.
     We had a lesson with Julie on Friday and it was kinda our lesson to decide weather to drop her or not because she's been taking the lessons for about a year now.  We read the talk "Doing the right thing at the right time without delay" (another super great talk you should read) and she really liked it and it meant a lot to her.  We challenged her to watch a Mormon Message everyday, starting with "Your Potential, Your Privileges" (definitely watch it).  The online elders that are teaching her called us yesterday and said something has definitely changed in her and she is making an effort to move forward.  So that's exciting!!!  On Friday we also went to the temple!!! We are allowed to go once a transfer.  It was so beautiful and I really looked forward to going there all week.  When we got there, the office sisters (they are all like grandmas) were there too!! After, they told us to come to pizza with them at the pasta house and they bought us pizza.   The office sisters are our favorite. 
     A lady in our ward told us about this non-member knitting group that meets at our church so we were like, um perfect! So we went there and they are just a ton of old ladies that literally spend their day knitting.  They make some super incredible things.  But it didn't really fulfill our purpose in going there.  We thought we were going to be able to talk to a lot of them and stuff but it was mostly listening so we probably wont go again.  But I learned how to knit haha... not my thing.
     Yesterday was our Pday!  Me, Sister Johnson, Elder Nelson, Elder Christensen, Elder Anderson, and Elder Sims all went to the Science museum at Forest Park.  It was kinda lame to be honest... but anyway, so I figured I was going to be inside all day and warm, but we got bored at the science museum so we decided to go to the zoo "across the street" (in the Elders terms).  So anyway, since I thought I was going to be inside and everything, I left my coat and bag in the car, and I decided to wear flats and not my boots.  So the Elders were like, lets just go to the zoo, it's right across the street.  Not only is it cold and windy outside, but a mile and a half later, we arrived at the zoo, just in time for it to start pouring.  By then, Elder Nelson had given me his coat and Elder Sims gave us his umbrella. !
The zoo was closing early that day so we left and had to walk all the way back to the science museum where our car was.  Except, the Elders don't have a car so they take the bus.  So they only had to walk like 5 minutes and they were at their bus stop, which meant we had to give the umbrella and jacket back, but Sister Johnson and I still had like over a mile to go.  Elder Sims let us keep the umbrella though.  Anyway, there I am with no coat, no umbrella, flats, while it is POURING rain (when it rains here it doesn't stop), running across the freeway (the "shortcut" the Elders gave us).  We went a little further but decided it just wasn't a good idea so we called a taxi.  We still had so far to go!!! But it was fun. But the zoo there is apparently one of the best zoos in America and Forest Park is larger than Central Park.  It's actually really cool. There's apparently a super super awesome art museum in it and Sister Johnson and I are going to go to it next week.  Since it's Sister Johnsons birthday next week, we got permission to switch our P day from Monday to Thursday (her birthday) next week, because the Art Museum isn't open on Mondays. So I'm excited!
     Well... I think that's all! I will send some pictures from the last couple weeks! New missionaries are coming next Wednesday so we have the potential of being put in a three some.  We hope not but the chances are pretty high.  Anyway, I hope you all have a really great week!!! I love hearing from all of you and everything that is going on in your life! I love you and miss you so much and you are all always in my prayers.  I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!