Monday, September 16, 2013

Ups and Downs

Happy Monday Family, Friends, and Followers!

I am at a different library this week that only gives me an hour to write this email. Sad day. So I'm gonna type like a madwoman and see how this email turns out. This week was pretty good! Full of ups and downs. I'm excited to tell y'all about it!

Monday was good. We played volleyball together as a district and whatnot. I learned that I am really terrible at volleyball. But that's what makes it fun.

Tuesday-Wednesday we did our Johnson City exchange. I worked in Johnson City with Sister Boggs and her companion came to work with Sister Bedke for the day. Was it weird driving around ETSU campus? Yes it was. We did a lot of fun service activities. We volunteered to feed the homeless, sing in a nursing home, and clean a recent convert's house. We also got in a pretty good lesson about fasting with a family of investigators. We had to go home a little early, but overall, it was a good exchange. I love exchanges because I get to learn from all the sisters in the zone. We have two this week! Busy stuff!

Wednesday we had our first official lesson with Mary, one of our new investigators. She has been having some health problems and the elders came by last week to give her a blessing. She was so touched by it that she agreed to listen to our message. We went back to teach her the Restoration. It was a good lesson, but a little frustrating. There's a member of the church who lives in her same apartment complex who has managed to offend just about every single person who lives in that entire complex. We've been contacting a lot of referrals there and trying to do a lot of missionary work in that complex, but that has complicated things a whole lot. What's slightly funny is that this apartment complex is actually located in an old high school. All who live there are older retired people. Even after all these years, drama still goes on there. It's so sad to hear so many people complaining about how they've been offended or hurt in some way. All members keep in mind, the greatest sermon you could ever preach is the way you act! People notice our behavior. We need to be recognizable as servants of the Lord. Mary is pretty open though, so hopefully we can help her progress.

Thursday we had Debbie's baptismal interview! Passed with flying colors. She is so solid! It was a crazy night that evening; we had a huge thunderstorm and got caught right in the middle of a Tennessee downpour. It was Sister Roundy's first one and she was really excited about it. I'm starting to get a little tired of them, but Fall is on its way! Which means that the summer rain (hopefully) is done until next summer.

Friday we had Zone Meeting! It was fantastic. We talked a lot about the Book of Mormon again and how we can show investigators that it contains the fullness of the Gospel. We had some great role plays and we learned a lot! I love Zone Meetings!
Friday night we ran into some mishaps. Sister Roundy got sick so we dropped her off at the Carter's. And then we ran over a nail. But we didn't actually know that. So the tire pressure light came on and we had to drive back to the apartment to figure out which tire was the problem tire. We didn't even have a pressure gage. Luckily, one of our neighbors saw that we needed help and he got his pressure gage. And then he came out with a pump! Tender mercy. He pumped up all our tires and that helped us get around the rest of the night. We checked it for problems but didn't see any. We didn't realize it had a nail in it until Saturday, when we came out of the aforementioned high school and saw a completely flat tire. It had been 5 years since I had changed a tire. Luckily, we actually had the Abingdon Sisters with us. They came early for Stake Conference and decided to proselyte for an hour or so with us. And guess what? One of them happened to grow up on a ranch, and has been changing tires her whole life. She changed it in about 10 minutes which got us to Stake Conference right on time. Coincidence? I think not.

"Who knows? Maybe I'll touch a spider later."

GUESS WHAT. This is a huge accomplishment for me. Yesterday I touched a spider. But I didn't just touch the spider. I held the spider. I held a tarantula yesterday!!! It was awesome!!! And I wasn't even scared!! This is a huge step for me in my life. This is important stuff. We were out proselyting with the elders, and they introduced us to a neighbor who owns two boa constrictors, two poisonous scorpions, and a taratula. I was going to hold the snake but it had mites. I wasn't about to touch the scorpions. Apparently if they sting you, there's no antidote, and you will die. I don't know why he even owns those. They're from Israel. Kinda legit. Anyway. Held a giant bug. Bragging rights.

Saturday was packed with ups and downs. I haven't been thrown through emotional extremes like that in a long time, but I guess a mission will do that to you. Saturday morning we received news that a dear sister missionary of ours, Sister Casper, had passed away due to health complications. She and Elder Casper were one of the senior couples who worked in the office. She was so sweet and so strong. She had had a desire to serve a mission ever since she got married, and she convinced her doctors to let her go. Her whole family got to the hospital just in time to see her pass. She will be greatly missed. We are so blessed to have a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. We know where she is, and we know that she will continue her mission on the other side. We appreciate everything that she did, and we will miss her.

A few hours after we received news about Sister Capser we had Debbie's baptism. It was a beautiful service. Sister Roundy and I did a special musical number, and that went really well! Our voices blend together really well. We had an amazing talk given by a member of the ward, and then Elder Darrington performed the baptism. It was his first one, so that was a neat thing to see. Even though I haven't known Debbie for very long, I felt just as happy at this baptism as I did at the others. It is so neat having the opportunity to see someone enter into the covenant of baptism. She was glowing as she came out of the water. I am so proud of her! She is so sweet and so solid. I'm excited to keep working with her!

Chelise got to meet her! That was kinda cool. Saturday night at Stake Conference I sat down and when I looked up I had a clear view of the back of Chelise's head. Even though we had run into eachother before, it was still felt a little strange. But it was awesome at the same time! So once again, the "twins" were reunited. It was awesome seeing her again! I got to meet some of the YSA's in her ward, and she got to meet my companions! I saw her again on Sunday for Stake Conference and I introduced her to President and Sister Irion. Sister Irion told me that when she saw Chelise she had to do a double-take. It was kind of weird for her seeing my face with blonde hair. President totally forgot that Chelise was up here when he was doing transfers, but he knows I was called here by inspiration, so he is just going to let it happen. He knows that Chelise and I aren't going to go out of our way to see each other, and he knows I won't get distracted. I really appreciate how much he trusts me. He and Sister Irion are amazing people, and I'm so glad Chelise got to meet them! And I'm excited she got to meet Debbie, and the other missionaries, and basically all my favorite people! It's pretty cool having her in this stake.

Time is running out! Not cool! So, I have a few spiritual thoughts from Stake Conference. There was a huge emphasis on missionary work, which made all of us missionaries particularly happy. Missionary work is made possible through the members. Missionary work without the members is trying to ski without a ski lift. It's just that much more difficult. One thing that really stood out to me is that missionary work takes sacrifice of comfort zone. God asks us to sacrifice our time, our talents, and our comfort zones to do His work. But after all that He has done for us, that is not asking much. It is so difficult, and sometimes uncomfortable, but He promises us that He will be on our right and on our left as we go about doing His work. So I want to encourage all of you to pray for a missionary opportunity this week. I promise you that you will find one. Whether it be a nonmember, less active, or anyone else, you will find a missionary opportunity as you pray for one. Pray for the courage to know what to say, and then open your mouth and see what comes out. I promise you that the Holy Ghost will give you the words to say as you put your trust in God. We have the potential to change eternities. We are changing people's lives forever. Sometimes I don't think we truly understand what that means! Another thing that stood out was the importance of never giving up. Don't be so quick to give up and walk away when someone goes astray. That really hit home for us. Sunday morning we received a text from a dear recent convert that she didn't want to be Mormon anymore. Things like that are heartbreaking. But we can't give up on these people. No matter what road or path they choose to take, they still have so much divine in them. They have so much potential. It is our privilege and obligation to reach out to these people and bring them to the well of living water, lest they keep drawing up empty buckets. They need us. Reach out to someone this week and bless his or her life! Blessings will follow. I promise.

I love you all! Wish I had more time! Thank you so much for everything! Y'all are the best family/friends/followers anyone could hope for!! Until next week!

-Sister Fox

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