Friday, April 1, 2016

April 1, 2016

Family, wow... Hi guys! I love you all so much! Sorry it's been so long since I've written a letter about some of my experiences. It's been a crazy 2 weeks. But for the record, the last time I got a letter from anyone was over a week ago :-( That's okay, I know you guys are busy!

So, I'm doing good. I'm learning a lot. Obviously. I'm growing, learning, failing, trying again. This work is hard, and draining. But I'm learning that it's all worth those 300 people a day (dramatic number obviously) telling us to go away, for that one person who needs to hear what we have to say-- it does suck though because there's not humble people in this area... Very few. So rarely anyone wants to hear from us. It does suck. Anyways, Lots has happened lately that I share with you! Sorry this letter will be so long!

First thing, as you already know from my previous letters, we had been sick, and Monday morning we got a blessing from the elders. We called our Zone leaders Elder Haueter and Elder Shumway to do it for us, and they brought a set of other Elders with them from nearby Elder Golden and Elder Faussett. So Elder Golden anointed me with the oil, and Elder Haueter gave me the sealing and blessing. It was really good, because he gave me a blessing that I would overcome my sickness and get better, etc. And then in the blessing he said “at this time I'd like to bless you and tell you that your family is doing well. They are doing okay, and your service is truly blessing their lives, and they are very proud of you. They will be ok, and God need you to know that they love you.” I felt the spirit very strongly when he said it-- he doesn't know me all that well, he doesn't know the struggle I've been having, he was told to bless me so that I could get better and do well. It was a true blessing from God, I knew he had spoken by the spirit. It gave me some peace. Anyways the rest of that P-day was like the most boring. Ever. First of all I apologize for not having much time to email, that sucks. And then there was no Zone activity, and my companion doesn't really care for just going out and doing much, so we came home from emailing and just sat around for 3 hours... Did nothing! So I transferred all my notes for my old scriptures during that time.
Wednesday was pretty crazy. I told you guys about Raelynn, our investigator and told Dad in some of his letters more about a few of the experiences. So we went to go see her first thing that morning. I was so nervous for this lesson, I didn't know how it would go, wondered if I'd studied well enough, I was wondering if they'd read any of the Book of Mormon and was nervous for everything. We get there, knock on the door, she let us in. We ask if she has time to meet with us today. She hands us The Book of Mormons we gave them and said “well just no. Sorry I just don't believe what you believe.”
  So that was big, she totally dropped us. So we said alrighty have a good day, and left. Never to return... But you know, I wasn't too worried about it... Tried my best, we tried our best. But after her, we went to see our investigator Wendy. We hadn’t planned too much of a lesson for her, except just to follow up. We got there, she let us in, we talked with her, she hadn't read any, had been too busy. So we read over the introduction to the Book of Mormon with her. She didn't have too much commentary. She's kind of shy. She just said how regardless if her husband wants to or not (which he doesn't really care about religion) she wants to raise her son with something religious. She goes to First Assembly of God, here it’s a Pentecostal Church. She said it's weird and it's not really comfortable, “people talk in tongues”randomly and she hasn't gone in a while. She wants to come to one of ours. She went before when she was younger with her cousins to our church. We asked her to really pray to know what the truth is and what God wants her to do. She said she would. That went pretty well. Then, that day we tried a whole lot of people who weren't home or didn't want to talk to us. We then had a lesson with Sister Witter, a less active member, whose husband is not a member and believes in the Great Indian chief is God. I think I told you before about him. He has bone cancer. Anyway, we got there and he was there with us, and her daughter and we talked with them for a while just about stuff, try to be friendly. Then we started with our thoughts, asking them how they knew God loves them, they gave so many good reasons. We told them “how does God know you love him?” And we talked about that. And then Sister Thomason had a genius prompting to read Alma 18: 24 - 32. It totally related to her husband Bob, it was so good! Then we had dinner with the Greens at Olive Garden for a late happy birthday from them to Sister Thomason. The Greens are awesome, young couple, three boys, her father is our Bishop. I had her send the picture of us to Mom, and saw mom that you replied :-) :-) :-) hope you guys like that!
Then, that day we got a text from Sandra our investigator. She had come to church on Easter and her husband came, with her, which really surprised us! So she text us and said “ hey when can we meet next? And I think my hubby wants to sit in.” what! So cool! We were thrilled, we set up an appointment for the next day. So so so cool.

Then Thursday we did service at the homeless shelter with a few companionships in our Zone. We then went and met with this artistic 28 year old guy Charles, he's a member, recent convert a few years. He lives in our boundaries, but goes to the young single adult ward, in Apple Valley. His mom is a less active member who he lives with. They initially would go over, because he would ask to be taught, but they wanted to meet the mom. So we go over almost every week and just give him a nice thought. We can never get in to meet the mom. Anyways, then went and walked, tried lots of people, a few who had met missionaries before, said we could come back, lots of people turned us down. Then we met this guy Dan on the street. He was painting the house numbers on the curbs at people's houses. We were walking, he stopped and talked to us. Thought it was cool “girls our age were out spreading the word” and he said “I hope to find a nice girl like you girls one day, from Utah” it was funny. We gave him an Easter card. Then we had dinner at the Cuevas’s house. It was interesting. The Cuevas family mainly speak Spanish, but sister Cuevas switched to our Ward to learn English. She is our Relief Society president. She speaks good English but doesn't understand as well. And I guess because of her culture when she feeds us, we go in, she has two plates of food, drink, and dessert set up... Just for us. She serves us, and either sits there and just talked with us, or goes and does something if she's busy. So yeah, she doesn't actually eat with us. The rest of the family doesn't either. It was kind of weird. And she gave us so much food and little Easter presents,  it was really good. And she's sweet.

Then we went to have our lesson was Sandra!!! We asked brother Waters to come with us, for her husband, and he brought his son-in-law Donovan. Brother Waters is a good friendshipper of Sandra, and can relate perfectly to Toby.   When they had come on Sunday they'd stayed for gospel principles class. Luckily we didn't have to teach it. Sandra's been before, they both seem to like it. Toby (her husband) seemed interested and has asked questions. We gave them all gospel principles book to keep. They apparently through the week had been reading the book, super cool! And Sandra finally started reading in the Book of Mormon! She was so excited when we got there! Sad thing is, that week when she’d been reading, she had gotten so excited and had tried to call us but we had been busy and then she forgot all what she thought was so cool. Anyways so the lesson went so well, we started answer her questions from some of the concepts in the Gospel Principles book.  Asked Toby what questions he had.  He said he had questions about the restoration, but he’d save them for us for another time so we can get to Sandra's lesson. He also said he really liked it there. He liked that the bishop came and introduced himself, and the other people came up to meet him too. He said he never met the pastor at HTC (High desert church) and there so many people, nobody acknowledges his existence, he liked how ours did, and we had one on one classes, and we would openly answer his questions. It made me so happy to hear him say that!! He really felt the love. The spirit has totally been working in that house. (By the way they have two kids of their own living at home, 2 married kids, and 3 foster kids that live with them). So we taught the word of wisdom and tithing, and then just talked with them, answered their questions, testified. It was really good. And other kids were lingering in the area nearby, the whole time, intrigued :-) Sandra even said it herself; we're going to be stuck in that house forever! Haha! Started with her daughter Jen, then Sandra, now Toby, and now two of her foster kids said they “want to sit in next time”! So cool! One of them asked for a Book of Mormon of their own! Then we called Sandra this morning and she said both her and Toby had been reading!!!! You don't even know how happy that makes me! I can see their whole family getting closer and happier because of the gospel and turn their life! Then when we left Toby even said “see you Sunday!” which sucks because we had to explain there's no church, but we told him about General Conference and Brother Waters invited them to his house to watch with his family and have lunch, and today Sandra asked us for his number because they wanted to watch conference with them!! Yay so happy! Sandra is excited for her baptism, she wants all her family there to see her and then she said “feel inspired”. Sandra is so awesome and so funny! I love her! Jen has been out of town at her sister’s but really hopefully this week will see her and set up her new baptismal date.

 So anyways... Yeah Thursday we were out walking, trying people and I was like man, this really sucks, nobody wants to hear from us, why do I even try. So I prayed in my head and just asked God to please help us help change someone's life today, directly after we went down, and then later we had our lesson with Sandra and Toby . That's why I said earlier in this letter that I guess the millions of people that tell us no are worth those few who we can help. I don't know why I can't get that through my head. Okay I swear this letters ending soon, I'm sorry! But today's been probably in the top ten hardest days for me mentally... I don't understand why this is so hard for me. I'm better now. I realized we have to try to give everyone the chance to accept the gospel. God is not just going to throw us the ones who will accept us, we've got to go through the people that don't care. We have to give everyone a chance and we have to show God we are willing to “feed his sheep”. Man this is a really hard lesson that is going to take me awhile to truly learn. Because even though I know these things, I still am not accepting them. Man, pray that I will get over this I just keep dreaming about the day I return home, and I truly can't wait to get off the plane and hug you all, but this is the worst battle going on in my head right now, I know I need to find joy in my work here now. I have to not just suck it up, but truly embrace it. It's hard when I feel that I personally I'm not changing anyone's life. God's teaching me this lesson and I'm squirming.  But don’t worry about me. This will all be for my good and I'll come out stronger. God keep showing me the scriptures: D&C 122: 7-9 and Alma 26: 27 and Alma 31: 30 - 33, 35, 38. Why can't I learn this already? It will come... I know.
I hope you all know how ridiculously much I love you guys. I thank God everyday for such an amazing family, I don't deserve to be so blessed! By the time you get this General Conference will be over, but I'm so excited for that, it's going to be so good! I truly love and miss you. I pray for all of you all the time.

I love you!

Love, Courtney

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