Thank you so much for your emails - I love hearing from you!!!! It is seriously COLD in Illinois right now. It's not snowing (yet) or anything but it's just so freezing when you walk outside!! NOT a fan. Anyway, we were pretty busy this week with zone conferences and things like that and in just a few days it's THANKSGIVING!!!!!! Yay!!! Sister Johnson and I are going to do a 5K on Thanksgiving morning called the Gobble Hobble and then we have the rest of the day off! We are going to the Rose's and the Kraude's for Thanksgiving and then we will probably just visit other families in the ward for the rest of the day. I'm definitely going to miss our Thanksgiving food though because I personally think it's the BEST and I'm going to miss Thanksgiving leftovers:( But it's alright! I'm so grateful for the families that invited us to come to their home!!!
Monday was p-day so we just like emailed, grocery shopped, and looked in a few little stores we have in Highland. That night, we went to sushi with Quinn and it was so fun!!! She asked us a lot of questions about missionary life and she is really excited about getting baptized and it just went really well and I think she had fun too.
Tuesday we had O'Fallon zone conference and it was good! Sister Johnson and I did a training on baptism and confirmation and it was fun. We started out by having 3 bags out that everyone could see and 1 of them had chocolate chips in them, 1 of them had a baked cookie that was missing sugar, salt, and baking soda, and 1 of them had everything but the chocolate chips. We had 3 people take a bag and taste the cookie and then tell what it tasted like and then talked about how just like a cookie needs ALL the ingredients, our investigators need to have ALL the qualifications in order to be baptized. Then, we talked about how during the process of teaching our investigators, we need to help them become part of the church even before they are baptized because we need members that will help build up the church and people that will be contributing members and not just people who join for welfare purposes. So we talked about how each one of our investigators need a friend, service opportunities, and a "place" in the church even before they are members and then at the end, we gave them all chocolate chip cookies! There's this member in our ward, Bro. Gualandi, and he's like known in the whole ward for his amazing chocolate chip cookies and he made them for us!!! They are so yummy!!!!
Wednesday we had Champaign zone conference and Sis. Johnson and I trained on inviting investigators to church and how to do it. We talked about how we can help our investigators overcome the 3 fears they have about church: People, place, and procedure and it went really well! I actually really like planning for trainings because it's fun to think of ways to make it creative and fun for everyone else.
Thursday we had our last zone conference for the Springfield zone but it was in Decatur. The theme was miracles and Sis. Johnson and I trained on teaching investigators to pray and read the Book of Mormon. All the trainings were based on what Bro. Donaldson taught us when he came a couple weeks ago. For our training, we first went around and had everyone introduce themselves and say their favorite book. Then, we watched a bible video of Jesus performing a miracle and then each of them wrote down on a sticky note their favorite miracle from the Bible and we listed them on the board. Then, we had them list off miracles that occur today and talked about how even though we don't see water turing into wine or people being raised from the dead like in the Bible, miracles still happen and in order for them to happen - we need to have faith! In the Bible dictionary it says that "Miracles should not be regarded as deviations from the ordinary course of nature". So since our mission is trying to get 450 baptisms and we are like 70 or so behind, we need to just expect miracles to happen and do our part to make it happen. Then, we talked about how in order to build that faith, we have to pray! And that is how our investigators will build their faith as well. So then, we had cut out pictures from a mountains calendar and taped them on the board and told them they had 15 seconds to memorize the pictures and what order they are in and everything and then after 15 seconds we covered the pictures up and asked them to tell us what they remembered and obviously no one remembered. So we talked about how that is like prayer and how they were so busy trying to memorize the pictures, they didn't even pay attention to how beautiful the pictures were or how they made them feel. Then, we compared that to how investigators feel when we teach them to pray and how when we teach it like a formula, that's how it will come out when they say it so we need to help them focus on the feelings during prayer, rather than HOW you say it. Then, after we taught them how to invite investigators to pray, we went back to what everyone's favorite book was and asked them how long it took them to read and the average was about a month and we compared it to how we should invite our investigators to read the whole Book of Mormon and not just assign them chapters (unless that's what they need). Anyway, we had fun doing the trainings and coming up with them! Then, at lunch time it was so cool!!!!!! The lady that made lunch was sitting at the table that Sis. Johnson and I were eating at and we started talking to her and she asked where we were from and I told her and she was like "my brother lives in Sandy, he was a stake president there!" and so I asked who her brother was and it's President Dahl!!!!! And I was like "He was my Stake President!!!!!" Small world right??? I took a picture with her so I will send it to you!!! I believe her name was Sister Ison or something like that.
Friday we had district meeting and Sister Limas was training on patience and she had 2 of the Elders come up and she gave them 3 minutes to do a french manicure and long story short it looked terrible but it was so funny. After district meeting, we went on exchanges with Sister Limas and Sister Linton and I spent the day with Sister Linton. We had a lesson with Jim and his wife because they are going out of town and we wanted to see them before they left and he's still thinking about baptism but he's not ready yet but apparently Quinn is really excited which is so cool!!!
Saturday we went to this restaurant called Cleveland Heath and it was so good!!! The owner actually came from a restaurant in Salt Lake City which is pretty sweet. It's just a really cute place and it was fun to try something new. Anyway, afterwards we were able to contact a media referral we got last week and we set up an appointment to see him next Sunday! That night, we visited Alannah and she is so depressed. Like it was this time last year that her husband went into the hospital and then in January he died and she doesn't want to be around anyone but she knows she needs to and she just isn't happy. We don't really even know what to do because she's not really open to changing or joining the church right now but we feel like she still needs some kind of good influence in her life right now so we just don't know!
Yesterday, the Bishop had all of the recently baptized people share their testimonies in sacrament meeting and it was really neat! Steve shared his testimony and it was amazing. You would seriously think he had always been a member of the church!! After church, we had a lesson with Steve on service and then we visited some members and that night we had a lesson with the Worthens! Deana Worthen is a member but hasn't been for a really really long time and doesn't know very much about the church either and her husband, Aaron, was baptist and said he would be willing to take the lessons from us! They are a really fun family!!! Deana really wants to start coming back to church and talked about how she doesn't know much about it but she knows on the inside that it's true which was cool to hear and Aaron is really receptive so we will see what happens!!
So ya! That was pretty much my week!!! This week we are going on exchanges like ALL week and then Thursday of course is Thanksgiving!!!!!! Sis. Johnson and I are planning zone pday for next monday because the Elders plan the most boring things every time so we are going to have it at a members house and have a Christmas party and watch 17 miracles and have games and decorate cookies and stuff so hopefully it will be fun!!!
Anyway, I hope you all have a super fabulous week and a great Thanksgiving - I am going to miss all of you!!! I am so grateful for you all and that you are my family and are so supportive and you're just the best EVER!!!! Be safe and smart and healthy and don't do anything dumb and drive safely wherever you go!!!!!!! I miss you all SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH and I LOVE YOU BUNCHES AND BUNCHES AND BUNCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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P.S. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!