Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I Feel Like a True Missionary

Hey everyone!

So I know all my immediate family knows I talk in my sleep, so how about a story? I told (well, warned) Sister Turner when I first got here that I talk in my sleep and she's heard me mumble and talk a little bit before but it's never really bothered her--until this week. :) She has been literally attacked by bugs and she has bites covering her legs and she can't sleep because everything hurts so bad. And I have a couple bites that don't bother me at all.... lucky me! But these past couple of days since she hasn't been able to sleep she's heard me talk like no other in my sleep and she's like "what the heck..." it was really creeping her out a couple nights ago. It made her nervous and she told me Saturday night she was just thinking to herself "oh please don't start sleep walking...not right now please don't.." hahaha. So.... I still sleep talk and it wakes people up and then they're not happy in the morning. :) <---I have a big smile on my face right now. I don't like not knowing what I do during the night, but it really is hilarious to me. 

The rest of the week! Okay so Bradley, totally amazing, super prepared, coolest guy ever! Sister Turner said she's been waiting her entire mission to meet someone like him. We met with him on Wednesday and he handed me a money order and I was so confused and asked him what it was. He told me that it was his tithing. Are you serious?! We hadn't even taught him about tithing yet! He wants to hear every little detail about the gospel and gives up going on road trips and being with friends on Easter because he doesn't want to miss our "study groups." The gospel is his escape. I loved hearing him share his own testimony about that because it's my escape too. Somewhere to find peace and answers. He's also been telling us about how his coworkers have seen a change in him, in his countenance. Everything that comes out of his mouth is a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and how it is changing and blessing his life more than he can even comprehend. I'm praying I don't get transferred this transfer because I want to be at his baptism soooo bad!! Wait until you see him--if I am moved to a different area I'll take a picture with him before anyway so you can see. Sister Turner and I just love him because he's so corky, but when you're with him you can't wipe the smile off of your own face. I honestly feel like I've known him forever. I feel very blessed to have met him at the beginning of my mission, his story will carry me through a lot. 

I hate to say it, but Bradley has really been the only bright spot this past little bit. We're having trouble with the Porter family and finding the dad's records so he can baptize his daughter and the whole thing is just a mess. And then to pile on more, I hate to even say these words, but Micheal has dropped us. We hadn't seen him in more than a week and went to his house and he was home, but his family members hung up the phone on us when we told them it was us on the phone and had asked to talk to Micheal. We're actually teaching his uncle Larry as well, so as we were sitting on his porch all depressed Larry asked if we were wanting to talk to someone and we said yes, Micheal. We asked Larry to go in and talk to Micheal and he did. When Larry came back out he said he didn't want to hurt our feelings or anything, but he was going to tell us the truth and the truth was Micheal didn't want to be bothered. I'm pretty sure my heart literally broke in half. We've only talked to Larry a couple of times and I wasn't sure he was really progressing, but after that conversation with him, I know he is. It seemed almost out of the blue he said he was ready and would be at church on Sunday, and he was bringing a friend as well. Then as we talked about Micheal, he knew that it was the adversary who had gotten to Micheal and it scared him. Larry truly does know we love and care for Micheal, and we're only here to help. We told him Micheal has been to church twice and we know he felt the Spirit there--Larry had no idea. It's like he knew exactly what we were talking about though. He said he was going to do his best to get Micheal to come to church with him.

 Neither of them ended up being at church yesterday, and I have never felt so heartbroken. I feel like a true missionary because I have such a love for Micheal and he knows and I know the gospel will bless his life, but he got scared. That's really what I think it came down to. I know if he would sit down with us we could talk it all out and really help him, but he doesn't want to see us right now and having to refer to him as a 'former investigator' of the Church, seriously I just want to cry. Ok, I have cried. Micheal does have his agency, but I've found myself just pleading for Heavenly Father's help with this situation. Our car has been in the repair shop since Thursday and it was bad enough having all of our investigators live far away (shortest distance to walk is an hour), but then we have investigators that don't want to see us. It's just been rough. This whole situation has been weighing heavily on my mind and I need to express to many family members something, and I just pray in my heart that it will be heard/read with understanding and no offense or anything like that will be taken. As I look at the situation with Micheal, I look at how devastated I am because he is falling away and how I want so desperately to help and am unable at this time. Many family members and even friends and acquaintances have been on my mind a lot this week. As I look back, I've wondered how I can be so devastated over Micheal, and see that I have family and friends back home who are in a similar situation. What I mean is I see people who are falling away, or who don't have the gospel yet in their lives and I knew that back home but didn't do much. Being here, I see Micheal as family and my heart has broken over him. Then I think about the family members back home who are also not enjoying the blessings of the gospel and my heart has just ached and been so heavy for them. I just really don't want to get to a point, or even where I'm at right now, and be sorrowful because family members and friends are not there with me. Lehi's dream in the Book of Mormon--he wanted his family to partake of the delicious fruit, better tasting above all else--but members of his family and others chose not to partake and Lehi grieved for them. 

I want my family to know, ALL of my family, each individual, and friends, that I am thinking of you and praying for you. I hope you will read this letter and will be able to feel my love through it. I really want you all to have the gospel in your lives and be a participant and a recipient of the blessings that come from it. I began in my study journal this week a list of all the ways the gospel has blessed my life. I will be working on it for quite a while, but I know that by doing so I will begin to see more of the blessings the gospel brings to my life and appreciate them more. I think it would be awesome for everyone to do that as well. Really look at how blessed you are. The knowledge you have, the Spirit you feel, the peace you have access to. We live in a world of chaos and turmoil, but the gospel of Jesus Christ brings peace and comfort, that I promise you. 

I really do love each and every one of you. To me being a missionary is seeing every person for who they are--a Child of God. They deserve to know that Heavenly Father loves them personally, and that Jesus Christ took upon all the sorrow of the world so that we could turn to Him and He would carry us when we don't have the strength to stand and walk on our own. For me to see that, when people begin to take other paths, I really do grieve for them. I don't want to lose any of my brothers and sisters. I know there will be a lot of heartache, but I want my family, earthly and spirit family, with me forever, with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to be on a mission at this time. To see what's really important in life. To see the eternal perspective that God has for each of us. I'm thankful for all of the prayers in my behalf, and know I am praying for each of you as well. I hope you have a wonderful week, and I will write again soon.

All my love,
Sister Applegate

Some at the end of this is of Sister Turner and I and Natalie, the 8 year old we're teaching. She's hilarious. She wrote in chalk "I love Sister Applegate and Sister Turner". Then the other girl with me is Sister Baker, who came to Albany for exchanges Tuesday-Wednesday. Last picture is me with the cute Easter basket that Aunt Laura sent, it was so cute! I loved it and the card she sent, tell her thanks a million and I need her address so I can thank her personally!

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