Sunday, April 10, 2016

April 10th, 2016

General conference was so good, obviously you guys know that!  I learned a lot from all the talks and was definitely strengthened by Elder Holland.  I thought of you guys all conference.  One of the biggest themes was families, I was so happy to have such an amazing family.  I can’t wait to get home and have so much fun with you again!  I learned from Conference that it truly will get easier.  I am having such a hard time because it’s not what I’m used to and it’ really hard, stressful, draining, restricting.  But I will come out “refined” from this experience.  So I gotta put in my time and work hard and God will help me.  Hopefully it will start working sometime soon…so as I said we watched Saturday conference at eh church both sessions, it was basically only the missionaries from our zone there, a few other people.  Then we wanted to watch the first session of Sunday at the church with our investigator Eddie, but he wasn’t able to make it.  So we still watched it there, more people besides missionaries this time.  Then we went over to the Waters for the second session, and we had them signed up for dinner that night as well.  So they fed us all after conference and we played the game Curses. 

Sandra and Toby and Jen didn’t get to the Waters for Conference until the end of Elder Oaks talk I think it was, whoever the first speaker was.  They didn’t seem totally into it, obviously.  Toby asked about “quorum” and “seventy” to brother Waters.  Sandra asked us if any young people ever got up there.  Haha, she asked “anyone without white hair?”  Funny cause brother Waters is late 40’s and has white spiky hair, we all laughed at him.  Sandra liked Elder Holland’s.  We really wanted to crash Priesthood session and go watch at the church, we wished .  But we did have a member for dinner, her husband went to watch it at the church, but she had it playing for us as we ate dinner.  We downloaded all those talks though and listened to them, SO GOOD!

Monday we did regular ole P-day stuff.  We emailed a little earlier, we will keep trying to do that now, just so you know.  But I am having such a hard time with emailing!  Like my time was up before I got to emailing President (which we’re supposed to do every p-day) and so I didn’t get to email President.  And I don’t feel like my mass emails are any good.  Ugh.  But after that we had a pretty good zone activity.  The zone leaders had texted us all the night before and told us we were going to do “glow in the dark sports”.  We tried doing capture the flag with glow sticks, it was fun but ended up not really working, we tried other things with the glow sticks.  They set up the volleyball net and we hung them from it, and they broke a few glow sticks and poured in on the volleyball.  We tried that, kind failed, but it was funny.  Then we just played normal volleyball the rest of the day.  It was fun.

We then ate at the Stake Presidents house!  Love them!  And then we had our lesson with Sandra that I told you a little bit about, Brother Lent, our ward mission leader, who we brought to the lesson, was just so excited and just wanted to testify every chance he could get, they were baptized 2 years ago and were sealed a few months ago. 

Tuesday we had an awesome zone meeting.  We also got a new senior couple up in Barstow in our zone now!  They seem sweet, I’m not sure if they will serve there their whole mission or not.  We then tried lots of people who didn’t answer, and we had dinner at home and then went over to Sandra’s.  She was being interviewed by President Pratt, our mission President’s first counselor for her baptism, so we went over there and met him there.  He’s pretty cool.  Interview went well and then we just stayed and talked to her and Jen for a little while.  It was interesting. 

Right now, almost every single one of our investigators aren’t progressing or we’ve only met once and can’t seem to make or keep a return appointment for a first real lesson because they all reschedule a lot.  Sheesh. 

Wednesday literally everyone we had an appointment with canceled that morning.  Sheesh.  2 investigators, 2 less actives, and even our dinner appointment at Sandra’s house.  We didn’t see many people.  Lots of people not home and/or not answering.  We did talk to these people though for a while outside their house, who we’d briefly talked to before, a guy and his fiancé, Zach and Sierra, pretty young.  But the first time we’d talked to them we walked by, it was a warm day, and they were out in their driveway.  He had a hose and was spraying her and they were laughing, he was super drunk, beer in his other hand.  We said hi, told 'em who we were, they said they went to HDC but cool that we were out and they had a church.  He pointed the hose at us and asked us if we “wanted to cool off”, he was totally joking, it was funny, his fiancé told him to stop hassling us, but he was drunk, they were nice enough to us though.  Anyways, so we went back to that same street on Wednesday to visit a potential who lives right next to Zach and Sierra.  We got there and Zach was sitting outside in a chair in his driveway.  He looked nice and sober this time.  We walked up and said hi and asked if he was the one that tried to spray us a few weeks ago.  He had no idea what we were talking about, we then questioned if this was the same guy.  He was like “oh no that must have been our crazy neighbor or something, I would never do that to you guys!”  We were pretty sure it was him, but he had no recollection, he must have been so drunk that first time that he really didn’t remember.  Because then his fiancé came out and he asked her “hey did I try to spray these girls ever?”  And she was like “yeah remember and we told them we had a church.”  Haha, he was like “oh well, gosh I am so sorry.”  Haha, it was funny.  And then we told him we were going to see their neighbor and he said “okay, good luck, if you can make that happen I’ll buy you guys dinner!”  We went over and knocked on the door, we could hear the TV on and I could see inside the house.  We waited there for quite a while and then left.  As we walked back from their door Zach and Sierra had this guy sitting with them.  Zach said “hey he’s over here, he was already outside on his way over here when you knocked and his wife is asleep.”  So we walked up to say hello, though his wife had been the one we were looking for.  We got talking to the three of them for a while.  They asked us lots of questions about our missions and a little of our beliefs and our “restrictions”.  They let us hold their new puppies that were born 2 weeks ago.  They were so nice.  They weren’t interested exactly though, but hey we made a friendship kinda so that was good.  The guy told us to come back the next day in the morning to catch his wife.  We finally talked to someone that day.

We had time on Wednesday, I downloaded all of the conference talks, yay!  I also put lots of pics on the USB, I should be sending a box home.  Monday, actually, I’ll just put this letter in it!  Considering it would send the same day anyway.

Thursday we went by that ladies house like her husband said and no answer.  Then we did lots of service at the Homeless shelter, sorted clothes with the Elders.  Was the last time we would see Elder Hurley because he goes home Monday.  Sad, he was super cool.  And we didn’t know it but that was the last time we would see Elder Haueter for now because we heard yesterday he’s getting transferred, he’s one of our zone leaders.  Then we went to go try potentials and lots of people weren’t home.  We went to the top of our area (which is pure desert) and we had 2 potentials on this road called Seneca, so we just tracted that street.  Mostly nobody home, our potentials didn’t answer, people told us no, and then at this one random house we picked up a new investigator!  We knocked on the door and this lady opened up a crack and asked “can I help you” (we get that a lot) we told her who we are and told we have a message and all that and we asked her if we could share that with her and she said sure.  She stepped outside with us because she said she had crazy dogs.  So we told her about how families can be together forever and we have a prophet guiding us from God and told her the brief message of the restoration.  She took it well, we gave her a restoration pamphlet and a Book of Mormon and asked her to read and pray about it and she said she would, we asked if we could come back and she said yes.  She was super cute and sweet.  Hopefully that works out.

Friday we had weekly planning all morning.  We do that for 3-5 hours.  We did a lot, and it rained tons on this day as well.  Then we went out and only saw one person.  A less active man David Love.  He’s 62 and his family lives with him, they’re active/ less active members.  He has lots of dogs.  He works as a car mechanic up in Barstow at some big company, they overwork them and don’t treat them well.  We wanted to tell him of the importance of church, because he doesn’t go.  He’s a convert, he knows the Bible so well.  But we got there and my companion asked why he wasn’t coming and told him the importance and he said he’d go if that wasn’t his only time to sleep.  She told him a relationship with God is like any other, you gotta put in effort to get much in return.  He said, “I can have a relationship with God right here without having to go to church, I read scriptures, I pray.”  Then my companion asked “okay, then why did God command us to go to church?”  Then we talked and she read him Isaiah 58:11, 13-14 where it talks about the Sabbath day.  He was caught up on the fact that he wakes up every day at 3 am, works 6 days a week, never gets peace at home with his family there, etc.  Finally he was like Okay I’ll try and see if God refreshes me just from going to church.  He says he doesn’t learn anything at church.  We’ll see how it goes.

Yesterday, Saturday we did tons of service…from 8 am to 10:30 am we went and helped with “clean the desert” day.  Our ward signed up for a stretch of desert through town and we picked up trash, we had little grabber things.  It was so windy.  Then after lunch and studies we helped this lady from the ward right next to us weed her entire lawn from about 1:30 to 4:00.  The Elders and a member invited us to come help and a few other missionaries.  We actually live in their ward.  Our apartment isn’t even isn’t even in our area.  That was some hard work, dirty, it was cold. Then we went and had ward correlation with Brother Lent.  Then we had dinner.  Then we met with Dina Rifner.  She’s the only one we saw all day, it was very interesting.  She’s a less active lady we always knock on her door but she rarely answers.  But this night she opened and let us in.  She was very heated and angry because I guess about 10 minutes earlier she had just gotten in a big ole fight (not physically) with her neighbor.  Oh she told us all about it.  Then she started to calm down and says she’s sorry and then she was like “Wow, God sent you guys right at the perfect time I just realized.”  And it was really the perfect time.  We calmed her a little bit, she cried, she knew she had said bad words.  Somehow we got into the Plan of Salvation and she was very interested, she didn’t remember it at all.  We read her some scriptures and talked with her for a long time.  God really did send us there. 

And now today is Sunday!  It’s the 10th!  Now I’ve officially been out for 2 months!  16 ½ now to go…still really struggling.  Anyways, today after studies we went to go see a potential Mosi.  We saw her in the area book a few weeks earlier and had went by once, but she was on her way out (she’s probably mid-20s) she’s super nice and cute.  She said she grew up with tons of Mormon friends, grew up going to Young Women’s every Sunday and Wednesday, she’s trying to help her friends from other churches see how great our church teaches.  She loves us so much.  We went back this morning, and I’m so glad we did.  She was there, totally welcomed us in, and for about 10-15 minutes sat there and told us how amazing we were.  And that even when someone slams a door in our face God is so happy with the work we are doing, and he needs us to help those who listen.  I honestly got teary eyed.  She sat there forever telling us how amazing we were and inspiring our hearts.  I know God sent us to her house for her, but mostly for me.  She told us to come by whenever, especially if we have a bad day.  Sweetest thing, I really felt the Spirit.  Last night I had been praying to feel God’s love because I was having a hard time truly feeling it, and then God sent us to Mosi.  Wow, I just realized that.  That was a quick answer to my prayers. 

Then, since it was fast Sunday and we came home for an hour for “lunch” but didn’t eat, I just wrote this letter, parts of it.  Then we had church.  Wow church was so amazing.  Testimony meeting was great.  We taught the youth Sunday school the Restoration and Apostasy.  Then in third hour Relief Society we talked about prophets and talks that have changed our lives.  One sister, Sister Thorup, probably late 50’s got up and told her experience of going on a mission.  She wasn’t going, her Stake President made her fill out her papers, she still said she wasn’t going, and she went to General Conference in 1985 and heard this talk by Elder Hartman Rector  (Oct. 1985).  I don’t know what it’s called.  I need to print it out.  Anyways I can’t remember exactly what he said but he said something like even if you don’t want to do what God has for you, that’s okay, do it anyway.  And then we heard about Elder Holland’s talk from this conference that said you get points for just trying.  I felt the Spirit so strongly, comfort me, and give me peace.  It’s okay I don’t want to do this, do it anyway though, I’ll grow and learn to love it, just try.  I cried.  I knew that was exactly just for me.  Then we tried to see our investigators Clay and Brittany, no luck, Brittany wasn’t home, how do we get ‘em progressing! 

I love you guys so much!

Love, Courtney

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