January 6, 2014
Dear wonderful family!
Isn't it just a beautiful day? Other than the snow, ice, wind, and smoke. :) I'm learning to love the smell of West Virginia. It is definitely something I will never forget! It is a bit cold right now, but nothing too unbearable. The snow is actually beautiful and it makes for fun tracting stories. :) I can now truly say I've tracted in the snow uphill both ways :).
Wednesday was a great P-Day! We got to go shopping, out to lunch with the other missionaries in the area, and did some cleaning. Best of all was the end of P-Day though. We went to pick up the new sisters! Only 2 sisters came in this transfer which is now abnormal, but they were ready to go! We had huge miracles happen while they were with us and I'm so grateful Heavenly Father helped us. We were told at first that we would only have them with us for 3 hours, then we would need to take them back to the mission home. We only planned for 3 hours. As we picked them up though, we were informed that we would instead have them for 5 hours. What?! It was amazing though, right as we received the change of plans, I had so many names of people that we needed to go see brought to my mind and we ended up finding 2 new investigators, and taught 3 lessons! We also had dinner with the amazing Cotrell family and they gave us 3 referrals. It was an amazing night! Heavenly Father is completely aware of our needs and as we live worthy of the spirit, He can bring those names to our minds. Oh and I took one of the sisters tracting for 20 minutes and were able to give out 2 copies of the Book of Mormon while the other sisters went and taught a lady named Peggy. I get to see so many miracles each day! I love it!
Thursday was transfers which was a sad and exciting thing. We had to say goodbye to Sister Shumway as she headed to Roanoke to be companions with Sister Wahlin. Sister Kitto got called to be a Sister Training Leader with me!!! Hallelujah! And we got another companion for a day. President Pitt said that because we are in Charleston, he has to use us more. We love it! Even though it made for an interesting week, we loved it! Sister Pitt even sent us a text saying, "Just wanted to thank you for all your help this week. You two are amazingly wonderful. And we love you. President and Sis. Pitt." They are truly one of the best mission president and mission president's wife in the world! They are so thoughtful and loving to each missionary. I appreciate them so much and hope they know how much I love them! I'm so grateful to get to serve near them and to get to help even more! I learn so much from them each time we meet.
Friday we took our sister that got to visit us for the day back to President and Sister Pitt before she headed home. We then got to work and were able to do some service for a less-active family in the ward, and teaching Mandy and Brad. It was actually very nice to be back to just Sister Kitto and I. We love serving together and although we loved those two other sisters, it was nice to get back to normal. With this being the start of a new year and a new transfer, we have set many goals! We are going to have a baptism this transfer! We are going to become better instruments for our Heavenly Father to use to help hasten the work! We are going to lose weight! (No seriously) We are working hard to improve ourselves spiritually, physically, mentally, and socially. Similar to what our Savior did in Luke 2:52. That is the theme of all my goals. I've set specific goals in each area and so far I've kept them! I'm so glad to have a companion that is so supportive and pretty much the same as me! We sing a lot, we laugh a lot, and we love being missionaries all the time! We love the people, this gospel, and feel united in all we do. It is such a blessing!
Saturday, we had one of our huge miracles this week when we met a woman named Judy. We knocked on her door while Sister Shumway was here and she practically begged us to come back. She told us that she hadn't been feeling well, but really wanted to meet with us. We came back and she welcomed Sister Kitto and I in. She then went on to explain her story. She said that when she was 17, she had given birth to her son and due to complications, she lost her eyesight. The doctors didn't think she'd ever see again and she was quite ill in the hospital for 47 days. Her sister-in-law's mother was LDS and requested a Mormon doctor to come and administer a priesthood blessing to her. She said the next day she received her sight. She had a difficult life, but 25 years ago, the missionaries knocked on her door and she welcomed them in because of her previous experience. Her husband at the time was abusive and kicked the missionaries out and later beat her up for having men in the house. She never forgot those experiences and had been praying to come closer to God when we knocked on her door. We have taught her the restoration and she wants to be baptized. We are going to meet with her tonight and hopefully put her on date to be baptized. Miracles are everywhere! As we are obedient and diligent in the work, Heavenly Father leads us to those who are prepared. I'm so grateful to be a missionary at this time. We then got to go do service for Mandy and Brad, then had a great discussion with our neighbor, Jolena, before heading to correlation.
Sunday we started off our day by going to church with Jolena. She goes to a non-denominational church called Maranatha. Talk about interesting! About 7 out of 10 people we find go to this church, so we figured it would be a great chance to learn more about them so that we could have a better conversation. I'm going to try to help you picture the experience we had at this church. Picture people praying out loud, hands in the air, some waving flags or tambourines, a live band, a preacher yelling as he teaches, people screaming, jumping up and down, and dancing. Yup. Pretty much sums it up! Good times! We then went to our ward and had such a wonderful meeting where the spirit was not forced, but felt peacefully. We somehow missed the water during the sacrament though and luckily another member of the ward (Brother Cotrell) noticed and he got permission from the stake president (who happened to be at a meeting after church) to administer the sacrament to us later in the day. He used to be a bishop and understands the importance of renewing our covenants weekly, especially as missionaries. The sacrament is so important! What a wonderful blessing for us to be able to renew our covenants weekly! It ended up being one of the best weeks I've had in the mission and we have high hopes for this coming week to be even better!
Today we get to go ice skating with the zone, and with how cold it is outside, we are grateful to be able to be inside most of the day. We then have two lessons planned for tonight. One with Judy and one with Mandy and Brad. We are going to help Judy prepare for baptism! Miracle woman! We aren't sure what happened with Lisa. She has been ignoring our phone calls and dodging us at home. It has been odd. We are going to try contacting her one more time and if she doesn't answer her door, we are going to leave a note and sadly have to move on. There are people being prepared for our message and if someone is not ready to change or become who our Heavenly Father wants them to become, we can't force them. Although it has been hard to see this happen to her, we know that through the atonement, this is not the only chance she will get to accept the gospel. The seed has been planted and missionaries in the future will be able to find her and help come unto Christ. Never lose faith! Keep up the prayers. I feel them daily and know that they are being answered.
I hope you all know or should I say y'all know how much I love this gospel. I know it is true! I know that we have the full complete gospel of Jesus Christ! I know my family is eternal! I know that we have a prophet on the Earth today. As you set your New Years goals, make sure that you involve your Heavenly Father. He wants to help you reach your goals and to reach your full potential. He know you and is aware of you! We have the restored truth! We are truly blessed. I also invite you to reach out, look for chances to serve and share your testimony. Heavenly Father will help you know what to say, open your mouth and He will fill it! Study the scriptures, pray, and go to church! Each of these things, though simple, are the only way to truly have peace in this life and hope for the next! I love you all!
Sorry for no pictures this week! I left the adapter at home again! I promise some next week! Also, tell Brother Hollembeak that I saw his son and got to welcome him to the mission! The APs already love him and the mission is blessed to have him! (He totally didn't recognize me at first haha) Have a great day!