So this week was pretty good!! Cindy, who I mentioned in last week's email, we were able to go out to her house and see her (she lives out in the middle of nowhere, she's going to have to come in to town for lessons now, haha) and she is just plain amazing. That's all I have to say about her. We taught her about the Book of Mormon and she is just thirsting for the gospel. She can't read very well but really wants to learn herself about the gospel and teach her kids, and she has the Bible on CDs that she's been listening to and we are going to get her the Book of Mormon on CD as well. She is so humble and ready to be taught. She's telling everyone she knows about us and the Church and is planning to bring a lot of people to church with her. Her oldest daughter is 20 and has two kids and doesn't live with her, but Cindy told her still "her house her rules" and she's coming to church, because it's different than any other. Haha, I love it. We were able to answer more of the questions she had and we invited her to be baptized. We found out she has Crohn's disease though and may be going in for surgery on, so we've had to hold off on setting a date for the time being. But it will happen, she's ready :) During the lesson she asked how long we have been in this area and I said I have been here a little more than two months and she just looked at me and was like "Why couldn't I have found you sooner??" Oh my goodness that kind of broke my heart a little, knowing that missionaries have been in this area for a lot longer than two months and she's just been waiting. I feel like even though we all wish she could have been taught sooner, during that time waiting she was being carefully prepared to receive the gospel and she is now ready to learn more and make the first steps into the gospel. Boy are we so stinkin' excited!! :) I see meeting and teaching her as nothing short of a miracle.
Alrightwas AMAZING. Elder Kopischke, a member of the Quorum of the Seventy, came to our mission to speak and train us more. It was such a great day. At the beginning of the conference he was talking about how every church service and meeting should be a spiritual experience and how if you come prayerfully with a question, it WILL get answered. I have put that to the test before, but it was so awesome having it reconfirmed . I know a lot of people's questions were answered, and there were some very special and sacred answers that happened for people that I am aware of, myself included. So cool. And the coolest thing ever--Elder Kopischke, out of all the tables he could choose to sit at for lunch, sat at OUR table!! How often do you get to eat lunch with a member of the Seventy?!? Not very often is my guess!! Haha, he even said that when he sat down. He was led by the Spirit to do that I believe, because the things he shared were for me personally and another Sister as well. It was awesome. God really does use people around us as His instruments to help and strengthen us. While at lunch I asked what some of his insights were that he might share with us. Here are the two main points he shared with us at that time:
1) The Lord WILL help you. Just go and do. It will be out of your comfort zone, but trust Him. It may be a church calling, moving, something with school, anything. Just trust Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 "5. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
2) The Church wants you to be successful. Everyone in it will help you because they want you to have success. It's so true. No one is rooting for us to fail; everyone is on our side. It is such a blessing to be here and everything from God and the Church is to help us. People are on each side of you to "bear you up" and help you to continue on. That really is just so cool to me. I can really feel all of the support from back home wanting for me to succeed, and I know that we all have Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ on their side and because of that, we WILL succeed. We're here to help people along. Like one of my favorite quotes by President Monson says: "Along your pathway of life you will discover that you are not the only traveler. There are others who need your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save." I know I've shared that a few different times, but I really do believe it. Members of the Church or not, everyone around us is our brother or our sister and they really do need our help. We have the little bubbles we're in, but I know there is such a great need, just outside of our comfort zone. If we were all to reach out, to even one person or one family, can you imagine the change?
There were many times during the meeting I felt like Elder Kopischke was talking directly to me, and it was so amazing. I felt a personal connection and I know that he and all other leaders of the Church care for each of us personally. They pray for us daily and they really do not think of themselves as higher up. They care, the same way Christ does. Elder Kopischke was so funny saying how all the General Authorities are learning every day as well, and went on to tell us how President Boyd K. Packer was trying to teach Elder L. Tom Perry how to use an iPad. Hahaha, can you just picture two 90 year old guys trying to work one? So cute, haha. I love our leaders. On a side note, Elder Kopischke looks kind of like President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and he's also from Germany and had the accent. Super cool, I felt like President Uchtdorf was there haha.
I'll try and just give you a short summary of the rest of this week, we have been teaching a family with 8 kids I believe and they all have names that start with 'J' except for the youngest, whose name is Bri. We've really only taught 3 (and a half) of them, and their names are Jamarion, Jamaica, and Jamille (Juh-me-uh). We taught Jamon (Juh-mone) a little bit too. Jamaica and Jamille are sooo cool--they are 23 and 22 years old and they have been waiting for us as well. We had really good lessons with each of them and they really want to come to church so hopefully we can get them there this week!
Then a while ago when I was with Sister Jeppson we had taught this family and the mom and daughters really weren't interested, but I thought the sons were. We went back to them yesterday and ended up having a great lesson with them. We had taught them about the Restoration and given them Books of Mormon, but Jamaal, who is 17, said he wouldn't read. I really felt like this was something for him though, so we went back yesterday to talk about the Book of Mormon and were able to sit down with him, his 13 year old brother named Juan'ya (Juan-yay), and their other brother Mario, who is probably 11. We wanted to show them that questions they have are answered in the Book of Mormon so we asked them what they had questions on. Mario wanted to read about repentance, so we read part of Enos. We broke things down and they really had a good understanding. Jamaal said he didn't like to read because he didn't understand, but because of how we broke things down and talked about it he understood. So that was super awesome. They had good questions about knowing how they are forgiven when they repent and it was a really cool teaching moment to be a part of. And here's the best part-when we went over, they were watching the Suite Life of Zack and Cody on tv. Honestly, how cool is that? Three teenage boys home alone and out of everything on tv, that's what they were watching. It really impressed us. I can't wait for these boys to come to church they are awesome.
Well this is super long so I'll try and wrap up... haha. Myra was rushed to the hospitaland then transferred to Augusta for surgery to remove gall stones. She's really sick because there are other issues, but I think she'll be okay. We're getting in touch with the elders there to see if they can go see her. Diane is having a really hard time and really isn't stable mentally and emotionally, but we are still trying to let her know she's loved and we'll keep working with her.
Last but not least--I figure I'll mention a guy named Bobby so y'all know who I'm talking about if he comes up again. I was getting super frustrated with him because he was saying things that really weren't ok to say about Jesus Christ, but he did come to church yesterday and he came with a question, which got answered. He knew he really upset me and I tried to be nice to him still and he said he is doing it kind of on purpose (like I knew) to "step on my toes" and test my patience. He said he's teaching me more patience and he's helping me. Hmm... sound like Mitchell maybe? Haha. Nah, Bobby is worse and I'm still annoyed. But that's why I'm working really hard to love him anyway and still help him. He'd be teaching me patience just fine without purposely trying to push me further than my limit...haha. I'm sure we'll have more stories about him later.
I think Dad was right saying these weeks are like roller coasters, but this is what happens! :) Trying to give you guys the full story of my experiences. Is it keeping you on the edge of your seat? Haha, it's good though. Sometimes it's a struggle emotionally, but I am learning so MUCH! So it's good. I'm learning a lot about other people and their circumstances, and about myself. There's a lot of growth to be found in serving a mission.
Y'all are the best in the West and I love you dearly!! Have the most wonderful week.
We caught ANOTHER lizard!! We didn't know this one was in our trailer and I about had a heart attack when I saw it. If you look, that trap was turned the other way and against the wall before the lizard got on it. The darn thing almost got off of it! It was squirming a lot when I picked it up and threw it away. I feel so guilty... but I'm glad it's not in our house anymore...
For some reasons companions and I always walk out wearing the same thing....twinners! And Sister Taylor and I have the same first name and spell it the same, so that's cool too :)
Zone Conference with Elder Kopischke!! We took a group pic, hopefully they'll send that to us soon and I can forward it to you all. I was able to see Sister Turner (my trainer) and Sister Jeppson (my last companion) while I was there, so it was a fun little reunion :)
A cute girl in our ward had her birthday yesterday and all she wanted was to have dinner with us, so the missionaries were her present! It was so cute and fun, I remember looking up to missionaries and thinking so highly of them and I feel so privileged to be one now. I don't know, something about seeing missionaries, even now being one is just so awesome to me.
Nats, mosquitoes, ants or chiggers.. I've heard them all. I don't know what's been biting me, but I think it should stop. Haha. Everyone who sees our legs just grimaces (if that's the word)