Hello there! It's Monday again, and sadly today I only have an hour, so it's a really good thing I type an average of 110 wpm. Because I have lots to say.
First I have just one request: I want pictures! Of basically everyone. Everything, everyone. I want pictures of my nephew, and pictures of my family and fun things they're doing, and maybe pictures of my friends because I have a surprising lack of those, and Chelise, you know who I want pictures of. I bought a shiny new photo album! But there aren't very many pictures in it. I didn't bring very many. Thank you Marissa for sending me some!!
So, this week was just plain weird. Sister Stone was transferred Wednesday morning, and Sister Mortensen and I have been out on our own. We both just finished our training, so now we are doing our best to figure things out. Things are going really well though! The first thing we did is purchase a GPS. You would too if you had to navigate this state. No mountains, no numbers, just winding street names. And the street names change right in the middle of the street. You think I'm kidding. We named our GPS Lia (short for Liahona. I know. We're so clever), and renamed our car Nephi. It makes us happy inside.
I absolutely love Sister Mortensen! It's so much easier to click with companions when there are only two of you instead of three. These past few days have been a blast getting to know eachother better, and we have hit it right off. We're always laughing and having fun together, and she's a real powerhouse. I was impressed by how assertive she has been the past few days; she's a fantastic missionary. I'm excited to take on this area with her this transfer!
I thought I would begin this email with a few quotes. We had two absolutely hilarious dinner appointments, with two different families with tons of kids. Here is how the first dinner appointment went with the Rose family:
4 year old girl: (incredulously) Are you *real* missionaries?
me: Yes, we're real live missionaries.
4 year old: Boy missionaries are real missionaries.
9 year old girl: I love sister missionaries! I've never met them. But they've always been my favorite.
6 year old boy: How old are you?
9 year old girl: Don't ask that, that's rude!!
Me: It's ok, I'm 20 and she's 19.
9 year old girl: Well, you *look* really young.
6 year old boy: My name is Parker!
Sis M: Really? The town I'm from is named Parker! You must be named after it or something!
8 year old boy: I'm named after a prophet!
6 year old boy: Prophet of the United States??
6 year old boy: Are you mommies?
Sis M: Heavens, no!
9 year old girl: Do you even like boys?
Me: Well, I have a boyfriend on a mission in Argentina.
9 year old girl: OooOOOoo
And dinner at the Moberly family:
5 year old boy: Do carrots have lungs?
7 year old boy: No vegetables have lungs. Except meat . .."
7 year old boy: A bun . . .is a cow . . .with two breads on it.
7 year old boy: A heart isn't really heart shaped, it's more of a squooshy circle.
4 year old girl: *carrying a piece of string* It's a puppy! Pet it! Ooh it's so cute!
Kids. Aren't they the cutest?
So I guess this week's email will basically consist of updates on the investigators we were able to work with this week. We had a pretty good week! First of all, Sister Mortensen and I have done a ton more tracting. Sister Stone never really liked it, so I only went about 5 or 6 times my first two transfers. Sister Mortensen and I want to do it a lot more often, so we're trying to go almost every day. We've had all sorts of fun adventures so far! I am pleased to announce that I pet a possum. This is a vital part of the Tennesseean experience. It was a little baby possum that one of our potential investigators had rescued. It was actually a cool experience, we knocked on her door and offered to share a prayer with her. She said she really needed someone to pray for her family, so we prayed with her on her doorstep for her family, and she was in tears by the end. She said she really needed that. We told her we were missionaries and wanted to share a message with her, and she invited us back! We're going to go back Tuesday. Sis M really wants to hold her baby possum. I do too, actually. Who knows? Maybe I'll actually get to hold a possum! That would make my life.
This week we were able to see Travis for a short while. His whole family put together a huge dinner to see Sister Stone off. Travis is progressing really well! When we saw him he said he was having a rough time giving all of his drugs up cold turkey, and he had purchased a box of cigarettes. But, after talking to him for a few minutes, he threw them in the trash! We were so proud of him! He then allowed us to break them. It was actually really entertaining. We even got pictures! We're so excited for him and Angel! They are going to be married this weekend and will be baptized next weekend with Marty! Happy day! Happy missionary. =D
We also got to see Caitlyn this week. She is also progressing really well; she has been reading her Book of Mormon and she really wants to go to church. Unfortunately her boss keeps giving her ridiculous hours to work on Sundays. We told her the story of Esther and talked about how she was able to obtain the courage to approach the king uninvited after her people had fasted and prayed for her. We told her approaching her boss would be difficult and she would need to take a leap of faith, but we would all pray for her. Hopefully she will be able to approach her boss this week and ask for Sundays off. We're praying for her! She needs to come to church!!
Speaking of coming to church, guess who we FINALLY got to church this week? Kathy and Jerry!! There was much rejoicing. Sister Mortensen and I even did a little dance in the foyer. They have been wanting to come to church the past three weeks, but something always comes up in their family that keeps them from going. We visited them Saturday night and by divine intervention, their four year old grandson was there. The secret to getting people to church is actually getting to the kids. Jerry said they wouldn't be able to come because they had to take care of their grandson. So we turned to their grandson and asked, "do you want to go to church tomorrow? You will get to be with a lot of other kids, and sing, and pray . . " "Sing?? I wanna go! I wanna go! I wanna sing!!" That did it. Brilliant. He ran to Kathy and started begging her to take him to church the next day. It was the cutest thing I think I've ever seen. She promised him she would, and he got super excited! If I had a nickel for every time he said, "I'm goin'?" I think I could pay off the rest of my mission. He kept begging her for about 30 minutes even after she said yes, and wanted to leave right at that moment. We had to keep telling him we wouldn't go until the next day, but I'm not sure he truly understood the "tomorrow" concept, because apparently he thought we went to church without him when we left their house.
Kids. Aren't they the cutest?
So, naturally, we saw Kathy, Jerry, their four year old grandson, and their 16 year old grandson at church the next day. Score.
This area is still thriving! The elders are doing a fantastic job in the southern areas of the ward, and they are reaping investigators left and right! Together, we have about 5 or 6 baptisms planned for May 11th. The missionaries in our adjacent area also have about 5 or 6 baptisms lined up for May 11th, so we're hoping to see about 10 to 12 people be baptized next week! I just love this gospel. The Church is true!!
Well, those were the highlights of my week. Sister Mortensen and I are really excited to see what's in store this next week!
Thank you so much for all your prayers, your love, and your support. I hope you all know I am always praying for my family back home. You are all the greatest! I love you all so much!!
Quick spiritual thought before I sign off:
Yesterday Sister Mortensen and I were discussing true discipleship as part of our companionship study yesterday. I have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a true disciple. In Relief Society we were discussing what it means to be in the world, but not of the world. The mission has put that in a completely new perspective for me. We are in the world, but we are so separated from the world. Everything we do, every thought, every action, is focused on doing God's work. We center our lives in Christ and strive to help others do the same. Now we don't all have to live a missionary lifestyle to be in the world, but not of the world. But we should all do a little bit of soul-searching. What, or who, is at the center of our lives? Is Christ a big part of our lives, or is He at the very center? Sometimes we tend to put our religion on the backburner. We'll say our prayers, we'll read our scriptures, but then we'll go out and spend time on trivial things. Are we really centered on Christ? Are we devoting our time and talents to building up His Kingdom? Christ devoted His entire life to doing His Father's will. That's what life is about. That's why we're here. We are here to make it back to God, and to help our brothers and sisters do the same. What are we doing each day to help bring about this purpose? Food for thought!
Also, read Romans 8. It's a fantastic chapter.
Love you all! Until next week,