Hello Friends and Family!
So no joke, a random guy just walked up to me 5 minutes ago and asked me what I thought the purpose of life was. That's a hard question to answer in 2 minutes or less. Though OYMing is so much easier when they come up and start asking YOU direct questions. I told him about the Book of Mormon and Mormon.org. He's interested but not really. We'll see if that amounts to anything.
So . . . This week was really weird. It felt productive, but it didn't, but it did. It is also one big blur in my memory. But! Good news! I feel pretty energized today. I've been doing everything I can to catch up on sleep this week, which is hard for a missionary, but it mainly entails sleeping as much as you can during your lunch and dinner hour. I feel back to normal and ready to hit off a brand new week!
I guess I'll start off this week with Tuesday because that was P-day and that is probably the reason why this week felt so weird. Tuesday we went walking down by the river with a member in the ward and her 4-year-old daughter, who I have concluded is the cutest thing under the sun. There is a beautiful trail by the river near downtown Chattanooga, so we were able to enjoy the sunshine for a few hours. I even got sunburned!! Woohoo!!! It is a sign that spring has sprung! It has been up in the 60s and 70s and I'm extremely happy about it. I'm tired of winter. It makes everybody cranky. But the trees are blossoming, the sun is shining, the tank is clean, and we are having a grand ol' time here in Soddy Daisy!
At random intervals Sister Day and I have been saying, "Guess what? We're companions" as of late. Because sometimes it starts feeling normal that we're companions, and then we remember that we've been best friends since childhood, and then it gets weird again, and it's fun to reflect on how weird and fun it is. She is an awesome companion! She is so fun! I have learned so much from her already. She is super organized and is always on top of everything. She always knows what is going on and is incredibly dilligent. I am so lucky to have her! I even made up a companionship logo! As missionaries we leave a flipping ton of sticky notes on peoples' doors. I have taken the liberty as of late to draw a little cartoon fox sitting on a cloud with the sun behind it on every sticky note. Fox and Day. It's our logo. :) Daniel thinks we should make it into a t-shirt. Hmmm. Possibilities.
I'm in a very strange mood right now.
Wednesday I went to Chatt Branch! Chatt Branch is a really fun area to work in. It's located in Downtown Chattanooga, and the missionaries there have to abide by a few extra rules to be kept safe. It was totally fun and safe though! Sister Jack is from New York and knows how to live in the city. She's also a fantastic missionary; I learned a ton from her! Their apartment is super cool; it's actually attached to an old manor which is now the LDS Church Building. They live in the old slave quarters! Coolest apartment ever. We had a blast throughout the day walking around downtown and OYMing people. We mostly spent our time on campus, where we found a new golden investigator! Tons of fun. :) We also took the bus to the outskirts of the city to meet with some less-actives. It was definitely a new cultural experience; I haven't been to downtown anywhere for a long, long time. And no worries, it felt perfectly safe. The missionaries never go to the questionable areas; the ward won't let them. So we stayed in the safe areas and stuck with members. It was way fun!
Thursday I don't really remember. This week we had a hard time planning because the entire week was thrown off. I'm sure it was productive though. :)
Friday was good! We were able to see Ethan again. I love this kid. He is so funny! We were able to show him Finding Faith in Christ and he loved it. He has been retaining a lot lately and is getting closer and closer to being ready for his baptism! I'm so excited for him. He's the son of a less-active who has been starting to sit in on the lessons. We're hoping that Ethan's baptism will bring his family together. We've been praying for his mom to get back into church so he could have the family support he deserves. She is dating a non-member who took the lessons once but lost interest. We're praying for a miracle! It's actually a bit heartbreaking. I love working with kids, but it is hard to see them grow up in a rough environment. Hearing him ask his mom if she would start reading the Book of Mormon and praying with him every night made my heart swell with pride and break at the same time. It has stregnthened my personal testimony of the importance of family in this gospel. I have grown so much more aware of the impact of parenthood and the importance of building a family around Jesus Christ. I wish we could fix all the broken families out here. I love seeing them come together again. It's heartbreaking to see families fall apart and struggle. I am so grateful for this Gospel, and how it provides means for families to grow in love and unity in this life, as well as to be united eternally in the next. Ethan is always in my prayers, and I am hoping we can get his mom back into church. During this transfer of miracles, that would be the miracle I desire over anything else.
Saturday we were able to see Shirley again. She is well on her way toward the temple! We are waiting for her to get well again so she can attend church, and until then we have been visiting her and teaching her the lessons. She is so cute. She is like another grandmother to me; she calls us "My little Mormon girls." I just love her! Ah! That's the best thing about serving a mission; you grow attached to so many people and change their lives from simple to profound ways. I know I say it in just about every email, but there's nothing better or more satisfying. :)
We also found a new investigator on Saturday named Erica. We found her through a member, and she is really open! We taught her the Restoration, and I'll be honest, it wasn't the best lesson we've ever taught. For some reason we struggled to find the words, but she wanted to learn more and gladly accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon! Her son is also interested; he's 11 and he's read the bible twice. I don't even think I've read the bible twice. I haven't even read the bible from start to finish once; just the New Testament. That takes a lot of dedication. Anyway. We're excited to teach them!
We also saw Nina on Saturday. She is moving right along! Just need to help her get to church. That. Is the hardest commitment. To help people keep. We have tried absolutely everything, and it all comes down to their agency. The biggest problem is helping them get up in the morning. It can be a real challenge for people. They are always in our prayers! We'll keep pushing until they make it!
Yesterday we had a fantastic Sacrament Meeting on the power of the atonement, and then we taught Ethan the importance of prophets. We also tried to see several other people, but our appointments fell through. That happens sometimes. We were able to see Janet again though; she has been struggling with her health, and we were able to lift her spirits with scriptures from the Book of Mormon. Another one of those "going after the one" experiences. I like those. :)
Well. This email is short, but I honestly and truly cannot remember anything else that happened this week. The work is moving along, we are tired, but so happy to be companions and be working in Soddy Daisy. The ward is great, the area is fantastic, and we keep on pushing every day. This work is the best. It's the greatest. It's so fulfilling. If you want to experience it, go out this week and touch someone's heart. You won't regret it. :)
I love you all!! Thank you for the prayers and support! Have the best of weeks! Until next week!