Monday, September 23, 2013

Love and Correction

Family, Friends, and Followers, 


I! AM! SO! . . . . tired. So SO tired. I can't even describe how tired. This missionary. Is. I'm just . . tired. I might just . . take a nap. Until February. Except I'm not actually going to do that. Because I have important things to do. Trying . . to stay awake. And focus. Anyway. Here goes nothing. I'm. Really tired.

This week was good! I can't really figure out why it was so tiring. It just was. We spent most of it in the car and I'm still exhausted. And it wasn't all that eventful. I'm just really tired. Anyway. Monday we played volleyball all day. I'm getting better! When I hit the ball, most often than not it actually goes back over the net and stays in the boundaries. That's a step up from the last time I tried to play volleyball. Improvement!

We had to end our p-day a bit early to fix our tire on our car. We took it to a tire place and the owner said he would fix it for free!!! He was so nice! He told us he appreciated what we were doing, and he likes missionaries, so he fixed our tire for free. When we asked him if we could do anything for him, he said, "Just spread the word! . . .Well, you already are, but I mean tell everyone about us; we need business." I liked him. He was a nice man. Blessings for him!

I don't remember what happened Tuesday. We volunteered at the Library and then met lots of people. We found a couple people who were baptized like 20 years ago and haven't been to church since. We have no trace of them on our records. I love finding these lost sheep! It has been happening a lot here. Woohoo!

Wednesday was really good! Sister Bedke went up to Greeneville for the day to work with the sisters there, so Sister Roundy and I continued to work in Kingsport together for the day. It was fun getting to know her even more. She seriously is the cutest/funniest person. She is also really positive all the time; it's good for me when I feel really tired. Like now. Love her lots! Wednesday morning we went to see Debbie, and she is just glowing! She talked about how much she loved her baptism and how good she feels. We talked about Family History and she has already gotten started! She's traced her lines back to the 1700s already. I decided that I want to take up Family History when I get home. Because I have no idea how to do it and it needs to be done. Take note Dad, you're gonna teach me. :) Also, do you work with a Bedke? Sister Bedke says her dad writes the program for family search too. That would be pretty cool.

After Debbie we visited Pam and did a bit of a drop lesson with her. It's hard to drop investigators, and at first I told myself I would never drop one, but sometimes people just aren't ready yet. She hasn't been keeping commitments for months. We told her we have done all we good, we've taught her all we could, but she wouldn't grow or gain a testimony if she didn't put the work into it. Hopefully she'll be ready soon. Until then, there's a seed planted in her heart, and now she just needs to decide whether or not to nurture it.

After Pam we had a fantastic lesson with a less-active named Ginger. She took the lessons years ago but she doesn't really remember a thing. She didn't become a member for the right reasons, but now she wants to turn her life around and take the lessons again. Her boyfriend, who isn't a member, sat in on the lesson with us! He really doesn't like organized religion and was pretty open as to why. We had a really good conversation though and he said he would give it a shot and take the lessons! WOOT! They were also going to come to church, but Ginger called Saturday night and said she had lice. Bummer city.

Wednesday evening we drove up to Greeneville, back to Kingsport, and up to Abingdon, which is a total of about 3 hours in the car. That's the joy of leadership! I loved getting to see the countryside though; we took the scenic route. I've been able to basically tour the entire zone, and it is gorgeous up here! Part of it trickles into Virginia and Kentucky, so I feel like I'm getting quite the cultural experience up here. I need to start taking pictures! It's so lovely. And the trees are slowly turning! Still speckled. I'm so excited when they actually turn!! It's gonna be awesome!

Thursday I spent the day in Abingdon with those sisters while Sister Bedke and Sister Roundy spent the day in Kingsport. It's interesting working with a companionship instead of individual missionaries. It's cool how much you get to learn though, and the people you get to meet. I even got to walk a little on the Appalachian trail! It was pretty cool I guess. We also met a lot of neat, genuine people. Abingdon is lovely; it's up in Virginia, and the people are open and friendly. It was fun being there for a day! Until I got sick. Right about at dinner time. I just started praying that I would be able to make it home. Miraculously I felt better just as my ride showed up. The Church is true and God answers prayers!!

Friday we had a fantastic district meeting and then we had a lesson with a referral named Debbie. To keep the two straight I'll call this one Debbie S. She is fantastic! She has been going to church for 6 months, but she has been going to Powell Valley ward, which is really far from her place. We invited her to come to this ward because it's a lot closer, and she said she would! She's not a member, but her husband is. They've been going to the other ward because her father in law is in that ward. As we were talking, she talked about how she has been meeting with missionaries for a really long time, and the only thing keeping her from being baptized and going to the temple is her smoking problem. One thing about the South: everybody has a smoking problem. It's really sad. Out of all addictions, it's the hardest thing to shake. It's also so inspiring to see how people can shake it though, when they have that determination and that trust in God. We're looking forward to working with her and helping her quit so she can be baptized!!

Saturday was Dylan's baptism! We taught Dylan exactly one lesson, on Alma 32, before we realized that he is actually not in our ward. So we gave him to the elders. He was baptized Saturday!! It was a fantastic service. I had a funny experience there. Out of the corner of my eye I saw someone come in the room and I had to do a double take to realize it was Chelise. Then I just started laughing (quietly to myself because the speaker was talking). Didn't expect that one. You think I would start getting used to this. Once again, it was great to see her! I guess she came because he's in the YSA. Makes sense.

So, this week. I've been thinking a lot about charity. We're reading the Book of Mormon together as a mission again and they wanted us to study one topic. I don't remember if I've mentioned this or not. Anyway, the topic I chose to learn about is charity. How we can develop it, how we can reflect it, what it is, what it means, everything. I've learned a ton about charity this week. I think what I've learned as a missionary and as a SisterTraining Leader can be summed up in this inspired quote by Abraham Lincoln:

"You cannot win a man to your cause unless you convince him first that you are a true friend."

I've been reading a lot in Nephi and just how many times Nephi corrected his brothers. Every time he did, he talked about how sorrowful he was. He never talked about getting angry or vengeful. There are a couple verses, when he corrects them, where the footnote leads to "Family, Love Within" in the topical guide. I've learned as a missionary and as a leader that charity, the pure love of Christ, requires us to correct others out of love. If we truly love someone, we won't just let them walk down destructive paths without first trying to do all we can to help them, as far as the Spirit directs us. As a leader I've learned that the hardest thing for me to do is correct. I really don't like it. But if we want others to reach their potential, we must give direction. And I've learned that the best way to do it is out of pure, unselfish, Christlike love. We must convince them first that we are their friends. We need to establish that trust. We do that through charity, by showing them love, serving them, and praying for them. Once they trust us, they will take direction from us. The same rings true in any relationship. Love must be present for change to occur.

Anyway, I need to close for now. I love you all so much and I appreciate all your letters! I got a bunch this week! It makes me happy on the inside. :) You are all in my thoughts and prayers!! Have a fantastic week!

-Sister Fox

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