Monday, May 16, 2016

April 28/ May 5, 2016

Dear Family,

Wow what a week it has been.  You wouldn’t believe all that has happened this week.  That’s why you haven’t gotten a letter in a while, I’m very sorry about that!  Well I don’t even know where to start.  I guess I’ll start with the biggest news...I am now a trio!  We got a new companion! (Yes, you are thinking correctly, we are halfway through transfers)  So it is now Sister Thomason, me, and now Sister Dinkle from the Silverlakes ward in our zone.  Some crazy stuff happened.  But to say first, I’m kinda excited to have Sister Dinkle, even for just 3 weeks, because she goes home this transfer—which is in 3 weeks.  Oh and other news going along with this, I am doing much better, I had an amazing week.  So where do I begin to tell you what all has happened…Also, as I tell you all that has happened, I know that a lot of things are confidential and I won’t be able to tell you some things, but I will tell you as much as I can.

So let’s start with my week.  I already told you a bit about Monday.  After we came out of the library we got stopped by a guy wanting to bash with us.  And then we went to the zoo!  There’s a zoo in Phelan called “Forever wiled-exotic animal sanctuary” and it was really good!  Lions, tigers, monkeys, sloths, parrots, etc.  And we heard they had been on Extreme Home Makeover years back.  It’s a nice place!  It was really fun; we went with the Wrightwood Sisters!  But the bad thing was a storm was rolling in (for once) and it was so windy and cold!  I took some pictures.  So that was a good day. 
Then Tuesday I had a really good day too.  We had a district meeting in the morning as always, which was really good.  I learned a lot about relying and listening to the spirit.  And I knew I should have a package from you guys, and Aunt Melissa said she sent one, and I had still yet to get the package they said they made us at the Women’s conference.  So I was expecting to have 3 packages.  And when the zone leaders got there they only had missionary supplies.  So at the end I asked one of them “hey I should have like 3 packages by now and there are no boxes?”  And he was like “Haha ohhh yeah, that’s our bad, we forgot the boxes at our house, you had some packages, we will bring them by your apartment tonight.”  So it’s a good thing I asked.    Oh yeah, also after district meeting an Elder from eh other district showed us the new missionary parody of “Hello.”  A member put it on a flash drive for him and he showed us all it.  I have to say it was so cheesy and weird, but it was also THE funniest thing ever, and so spot on and true!  The part at the end where a lady finally lets them in ad you see them just fill with joy, I felt the spirit watching that so strongly, because the pure astonished excitement and unbelief they expressed at that part of the video is so true!  It is really what missionaries go through!  And the words to their song, so great!  Haha, I love it!  If you haven’t seen it go watch it, I heard it’s gone viral.  The difference though from that video is, we don’t sit and sing on peoples porches J Haha.  But also funny thing about that video is none of the other missionaries know the real song Hello besides Sister Johnson and I because we just got out and everyone else is too old!  Haha. 

Anyways, then we tried lots of people, Linda a lady we’d tried before, and finally had talked to out on her lawn last week and said we could come back said when we got there, in tears that her brother in law died a few days ago.  Very sad.  We tried to comfort her, we said we’d come back, and she even came out and gave us such heartfelt hugs, and said thank you.  Then we tried a lady who said it was her daughter that had been taught, so we talked to her, probably 18, she said she’s trying to look at all the religions to see which is right before she picks one.  Super cute.  Gave her a pamphlet.  Then tried lots of people who weren’t home or weren’t interested.  Then we had dinner with the Keserich’s, a returning less active family.  She’s a health freak, so we just had big ole salad with lots of healthy toppings, and dressings, it was actually Reeeally good.  They shared their plan with us about their non-member friend who’d been to church; they’re trying to get a plan for him to meet with us.  So cool!  Then we went home.

Now Wednesday, it was probably my best day of my mission so far.  It was such a great day.  So Tuesday night and Wednesday morning I decided to change.  I figured out I was not being selfless and truly loving God.  So many prayers were answered.  So as you know I’d been having a pretty terrible week, sad, missing you guys, wanting people to teach, wanting to be more bold, wanting to be able to recognize the spirit, and not having a good attitude.  The biggest reason is because I haven’t been truly loving God.  I learned that by listening to the talk “The first Great Commandment” by Jeffrey R. Holland.  I’ve heard this talk a million times before, and it finally hit me Tuesday or Wednesday whenever we had it playing in the car.  When Jesus asks Peter 3 times if he loves him.  And then as the story goes Jesus asks him basically why he isn’t fully giving himself to the Lord and just feeding his sheep.  And then a scripture, no, two scriptures popped into my mind: Matthew 10:37-39: “he that loveth Father or Mother more than me, is not worthy of me.”  And Luke 9:61-62 “And another also said, Lord, I will follow the, but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.  And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”  It made me cry of course.  I realized I was not truly loving God.  I’ve been worried more about my family and how easy life was back home; I haven’t been truly putting in my whole soul and hastening this work.  So wow.  Then Tuesday night after I realized this, I decided I was going to just have a good attitude.  My family is fine, my attitude doesn’t technically physically change anything at home, so why not put my whole heart in it, and I decided that.  And that night and the next morning I was just naturally more positive and ready to work.  Then God was so great.  I’ll tell you about Wednesday.  So we were able to text and call so many people and make so many appointments.  Oh and by the way I had also been praying so hard to find those being prepared for us, because I wasn’t really seeing any, and I’d lost hope that there was any.  Anyways, Wednesday started with studies of course, which went really well, I learned a lot.  And in comp study I was more positive and contributive.  Then we went and saw a less active Sister Hearn.  He is making so much progress, it is just so great.  Read the Book of Mormon with her and answered questions and explained things.  She’ trying so hard, doing everything she can to improve.  So that went really well.  Then we went over to Jennifer and Abel’s who we had briefly talked to last week.  We went in, talked with them, our first lesson with them and we taught the whole restoration and they took it SO WELL!  When we asked if they knew who Joseph Smith was he said he didn’t know a ton, but he must have been a good man.  Then said he’d, they’d, like to read the Book of Mormon and build on their faith.  We gave them one, they said they’d read it together and AH it just went so well!  Two new investigators there!  They received the lesson amazingly and seem so promising!  It made me so happy.  Then we went to go see less active Sister Coleman.  We have tried her so many times; I’d never met her yet.  She let us in; we talked, she was happy to have us, and then shared so much heartache and trials she’s been going through.  Her father died, her rent went up, she can’t get a job, and they turned her water off.  Sheesh!  What next! I cried.  IT was terribly sad.  She told us she was ready this morning to stop meeting with the Sister Missionaries, but God had been preparing her.  Last night she did all her laundry and dishes, and then this morning her water was turned off.  We were going to share Alma 7:11-13 with her.  But when we got talking I felt prompted to share D&C 122:7-9 with her that talks about when Joseph Smith was in jail, to be patient in his afflictions, it will give thee experience, to remember God is there and to trust him.  Bad thing though I didn’t pull that scripture out right away.  I was hoping Sister Thomason would read the Alma 7 first, and then I’d get out D&C 122.  But then Obviously Sister T had a prompting as well, and she read D&C 121:7-8 same story that I liked and wanted to read, same story where God tells Joseph to be patient in his affliction and endure it well and God will triumph you.  So then after she shared that I shared mine.  And Sister Coleman really loved it.  She knew she had God, and she felt loved, and she felt a little more comfort.  It was so good.  It made me cry and made me soo so happy.  Before we left she told us how amazing we were for being on a mission, and if it weren’t for missionaries she wouldn’t be here today, so to keep working.  That always helps me so so much.  I know God speaks to me through those sweet people.  I felt the spirit.  Then we went home for lunch and some more companion study.  Which was really good and effective, I was mentally being more cooperative.  Then we went to go bring dinner to Keith and Sheryl.  They are the cutest things!  We brought them dinner from a member and they invited us to come in and sit down and we talked with them and we talked about Keith and his diseases and everything and then they said how him getting sick has really opened their eyes and brought them to God and faith.  It was so good, but we had to get to dinner so we just shared Alma 7:11-13 with them and they loved it so much.  They said they would look at their calendar and have us come by for a real lesson and that they had some questions and they said they were almost done with the Book of Mormon!!!!  Then we had to go to dinner, but how great is that, right?!  Dinner was with a less active—returning less active convert.  It was really good and we helped her print out some names for temple work!  So good.  Then we went over and had a lesson with Sandra, we had made that appointment that morning, and had gotten Sister Ratliff to come for a member present!  We taught her the last needed lesson with service and missionary work in the church, it went really well!  She’s golden.  And she even shared an experience with us about how her husband went “back into his shell” and is having problems again and things weren’t going great.  And I can’t remember exactly what she said she was praying for, but she said as she was praying she realized God gave her unconditional love and she felt him saying “you want unconditional love from me when you won’t even give it?”  So she told her husband and said she loved him.  So it was a great night.  We came home and did all we needed then went to bed, like normal.

Wednesday night we went to bed like we were supposed to.  We were fast asleep, and at about 11:18 pm the phone rings, waking us up, I look over and pick up the phone and the Silverlakes Sisters are calling, Sister Stallings and Sister Dinkel.  And it was actually Sister Bergstrom and Sister Dinkel and they were on exchanges.  But we were confused because they had been on exchanges the day before, and they only last one day.  We answered the phone and it was Sister Bergstrom.  She said, “Can we come over to your apartment?”  We said sure and she said “we’ll explain when we get there.”  So we were so very confused, had no idea what was going on, hoping they were okay and hoping they weren’t bringing any bad news.  So we got out some extra sleeping pads and blankets from our closet and waited like 10 minutes, really hoping everything was okay.  They arrived and told us the story, but all I can say is that there was an emergency transfer of one Sister, and the others had a prompting to leave their apartment, they didn’t feel safe.  So yeah now Sister Dinkel is moved in with us and for now we are covering two wards.  I like it so much.  Sister Dinkel is so awesome and fun!  It’s so much more fun.  I love being in a trio.  It will be sad to see Sister Dinkel go home in 2 weeks!  I’m doing pretty good, still just trying to figure out how to teach better.  I miss you guys so much!  I love you so much!  I can’t wait to talk to you! J