Monday, May 19, 2014

Week of Miracles!

Hey Y'all!!

I'm pretty excited to write this email! This week was really good. Even though my allergies left my perfectly drained all week. 'Tis the season to be sneezin'. Which is funny, I've never had problems with allergies before back in Utah. Tennessee is the allergy capital of the country, however, so. Allergies. I love it here but I could never live here during the Spring.

Monday we spent the day with the Chattanooga zone down at Coolidge Park. It was tons of fun! We played ultimate frisbee, then I sat in the shade and wrote letters while everyone else played softball. I don't really like softball. One of the elders threw water on everyone who refused to play. So I got wet. But! I still enjoyed writing that letter on wet paper.
When P-day was over we had FHE with Amanda, her family, and the Larose family. It was so fun! We taught the Plan of Salvation to the kids and then enjoyed cookies afterward. It has been a while since I've been able to have a Family Home Evening, so it was really enjoyable! Their kids are just adorable. Pictures to come!

Tuesday we had MLC! I love MLC! I thought that my previous MLC was my last one so it was way fun going to this one. It was fantastic as always! We received incredible trainings on leadership and then counseled together about how we can improve our finding efforts as a mission, as well as our ability to work effectively with members. I got called to repentance a couple times, but that is what meetings like this are for. I really enjoyed it! Then, of course, we enjoyed a fantastic meal at the mission home. Cafe Rio style. My life became complete. I got to see so many of my favorite people! Like Sister Schwab! She and I did a lot of catching up, which was way fun. I just love her! A lot!

Wednesday was when my allergies started kicking in and the day itself was a little on the slow side. But I'm sure we did productive things. I just can't remember at the moment. One thing about being a missionary, it is shocking how quickly you forget things that happen. For example, I don't really remember what we did yesterday. Without my planner I wouldn't remember a single thing. Too much information swimming around inside your head just shuts your mind off, I guess. Hence my favorite saying, "The wheel is still spinning but the hamster's gone." I still use that fairly often.

Thursday was our day of miracles!!! One right after the other, it was fantastic! First, we were able to see a family that I have been trying to see since I got here in November. They are a part-member family, and we finally had the opportunity to sit down with two of them and visit. We got to visit with Sydney, who is 14. She's not a member, but her parents and grandparents are. We sat with her and her grandmother and taught the restoration. She accepted a Book of Mormon and said she would read and pray about it, but we're not sure how far that will go, because her mom has some anti-Mormon sentiments. It was a miracle we had the opportunity to teach her though! We're praying that hearts will soften and that we'll be able to visit with the whole family!

After that we finally saw Mickey again! He was the one who filled out the survey a few months ago saying that he wants to meet with missionaries. His wife just had surgery so it will be a few weeks before they can come to church, but he said that they are still interested and he accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon! Woohoo!! We have been knocking on that door once a week since Sister Day and I had our first lesson with them (which was perfectly awesome, by the way) a couple months ago. So! Progress!!

Then we saw Amanda and her husband. We taught the Restoration for her new member lesson, and we also directed it at Justin because he hasn't sat in on many lessons in the past. It went so well!! We committed him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and then he said that if he got his answer he would be baptized on May 31st!!! Woohoo!!! I love this family! Amanda was really excited. She loves the doctrine of families and that they can be together forever, and she wants more than anything to be sealed to Justin in the temple. One step closer! I love working with families. It's the best thing ever. :)

After that lesson we actually got to see Daniel, Olivia, and their mom!! I have been pounding on that door since their baptism and it has been nigh impossible to get in. Which has been a bit heart-wrenching, to be honest. But! I'm not giving up on this family because I love them way too much to see them go inactive. Melanie (their mom) let us in and she was so happy to see us! I don't really know what has been getting in the way, honestly. Just life, I guess. And lack of support from other family members. But we taught them about enduring to the end and committed them to a missionary discussion once a week, so hopefully things will turn around!

THEN! As we were driving home we got a call from a random potential investigator asking us why we didn't show up on Monday. We told him we didn't even have an appointment with him on Monday, but we set one up for this week! For those who haven't served a mission: potential investigators rarely call. Like . . . Ever. This is probably the second time I've received a call from a potential investigator. So! We're excited! Sister Johnson and Sister Lee will see him on exchanges, so we'll see how it goes!! WoohoO!!!

So POOF! There ya have it. Thursday rocked.

Friday wasn't as cool but that's okay because every day can be cool if you make it cool. Even if you take 6 hours weekly planning. Do you know how you can make a day like that cool? By going to Sweet Pea and getting the best frozen yogurt you have ever tasted. Ever. It tasted like Jolly Rancher deliciousness. Be jealous. It's so delicious my present self is jealous of my past self just thinking about it.

Saturday we were on exchanges with Signal Mountain, so Sister Lee switched places with Sister Crapo. It was fun! This was my third time hosting an exchange with Sister Crapo in Soddy Daisy, and I always love those exchanges because she served here before with Sister Schwab. So! She already knew everything that was going on! Except with our new investigators, of course. It's amazing how quickly your investigator pool will change. We had a full day! First we saw Gatona's husband, who is aspiring to be a politician. Apparently he's really famous, but I had never heard of him before. I'm told he's a Youtube sensation and has been on Glen Beck and Comedy Central. So! I taught the Restoration to a famous guy! He didn't like it though. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and I was more bold and direct than ever before, but he wasn't ready to accept the doctrine yet. He was afraid he would be letting God down by reading the Book of Mormon and we couldn't successfully talk him out of it. Maybe some day he will!!

After that lesson we taught Erica, who is another newer investigator of ours. We tried to teach the Plan of Salvation but she had kids and dogs running around and the lesson wasn't very focused. We extended the invitation for her to be baptized and she said she would pray about it. Hopefully that'll go somewhere!

Then we had Stake Conference! This one was really *really* good, especially the Saturday night session. One quick funny story, Sister Crapo, Sister Johnson and I were standing in the foyer right before we switched back with Signal Mountain and we were talking to a fairly new member of the church. He was staring at all of us and said, "I can't handle it!! It's too hard!" We gave him a funny look and he said, "I just want to hug you all SO BADLY! It's like Superman and KRYPTONITE!" All three of us simultaneously took a huge step backward. Oh the awkward joys of being a sister missionary.

Stake Conference was really good! We had Elder Arnold (Of the Seventy) give us really good counsel on being solid member missionaries. He made sharing the Gospel sound so easy. Cuz . . .it is! There are so many ways to share the Gospel. Like inviting nonmember friends to a family home evening, or handing out pass-along cards, or getting into Gospel-related conversations with people. You can relate ANY TOPIC back to the Restoration. Missionaries get particularly good at it. Sometimes it's a stretch. But! Your job really is the easy part. All you have to do is invite! The rest is up to them. I loved that meeting; it inspired me to be an active member-missionary upon returning home.

Sunday we had an extra session of Stake Conference for the new members and investigators and then we had the general session. Amanda gave the opening prayer at the general session and did and awesome job! I felt like a proud mother. Except. I don't actually know what proud mothers feel like. Once again Elder Arnold gave excellent remarks on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and it was a very uplifting meeting. I really enjoyed it!
Sunday night we had dinner at the Bushes and we laughed when they told us Sister Crapo used to say in her prayers, "We're so grateful to be eating among the Bushes." Oh the joys of having a common noun for a last name.

Well! Time is running short but I need to include a spiritual thought! The thought for this week comes from Elder Arnold's remarks from Stake Conference about the power of one individual's influence. Never underestimate the impact you can have on others as a faithful friend. You will always be placed in a position to impact lives; never miss an opportunity to strengthen, comfort, and serve those around you. So many people are waiting for your testimony! Whether or not you wear a nametag, you are a representative of Jesus Christ by being part of His church. We covenanted at baptism to take upon ourselves His name. We have a duty to reach out and bless the lives of those around us, even in the smallest of ways. So go out and serve someone this week!

That's all I've got! Silly time, it runs out too fast. This week truly was a week of miracles, and I'm sure more will follow! Missionary work is full of ups and downs, but all of it is completely worth it. It's the best thing ever and I love every minute. I love my companions, I love my area, I love my ward, I love being a missionary!!!
And I love you all! Y'all are in my prayers and I hope y'all have a week full of miracles as well!!

Much love,

-Sister Fox

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