Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hazlehurst, GA, Tifton East Zone

Hey everyone!
Well it feels like I've started my mission over for like the 8th time... always a new area and/or companion. BUT at least for the second time in a row I've been reunited with someone I already knew!! I am in Hazlehurst, GA and my companion is Sister Richardson--my companion from the MTC! So that's good news, another tender mercy from the Lord :)
Hazlehurst is another small town and I love it! The city itself is laid out super weird and confusing... but if we ever do get the hang of it we'll be pros. We live in a small house so that's a little different, something I thought was cool. I forgot to take pictures so I'll try and send some later. We're a part of a small branch here and I think it is the coolest thing. I've always wanted to experience what a branch was like, compared to a ward. Average church attendance for members here is about 40 people.
It was good I did go to transfers this last week, because my awesome trainer was there for the last time! She goes home at the end of this transfer in October. Time goes by so fast. Speaking of that, this past Friday marks exactly one year ago that I opened my mission call. Isn't that crazy??? One year ago I received my call to serve in the Georgia Macon Mission, and look at all that has happened since then. Things at home before, and in the mission field since. InSANE!
But anyway, another tender mercy to tell y'all about--Sister Taylor is MY Sister Training Leader! We were sooo happy when we heard that! That means she is in my zone of the mission and it is her and her companion that we will do exchanges with, so I still get to see her! Heavenly Father likes to test and try us and help us grow, but He definitely still cares about how we feel personally and He will make sure things are alright :)
We have a few good investigators here to tell you about! There's an older guy named Willie that is really cool. The sisters left him with a baptismal date to pray about, and I feel like he is almost there. There are a few things he's concerned about, but we told him a few days ago to come to church with a question because every time we do, it WILL get answered. So on Friday he had his question, and during our meeting he mentioned some things and I gave him a chapter in the Book of Mormon to read. We came back Saturday just to check up and make sure he was ready for Sunday and he said he was, but he had to think of a new question. What he had read in the Book of Mormon answered the question he had. Hehe, I love the scriptures. :) That's what they're meant for! A less-active member we were working with also just had an epiphany and realized that the Book of Mormon fit her life so perfectly and she realized that the things recorded were meant for her--it really showed her what was going on in her life and helped her know how so solve some concerns she had. It was a very cool moment to be a part of. Willie did come to church though, I can't wait to go back and hear about his experience.
We are also teaching an older woman named Lucille. She is so solid it's not even funny. We've only met with her one time since I've been here and we read a little bit from the Book of Mormon and she explained to us everything we're supposed to learn from it. Haha, it was awesome. She has a great understanding of the scriptures. She wants to get baptized and the only thing really holding her back is two of her kids, they have concerns. But she knows it is what she wants and things will be worked out.
The elders have an investigator named Simone that will be getting baptized this Saturday. I've been working really hard at talking to everyone, being more outgoing and always keeping conversations going. I'm not always the best at it, but I was trying really hard on Sundayto get to know people and Simone was one of them. I talked to her before and during Relief Society, told her about General Conference and the Women's Meeting that is being broadcast this Saturday, and it was just a good conversation. We also talked about her job as an RN/home health aide (since I could relate) and it was just a good bond. The elders texted us later giving us the specific time for her baptism and also said she asked if I would speak at her baptism. That really makes me feel so good that after only knowing me for like an hour she would ask for me to do that. So Saturday should be a good day!! A baptism and the Women's Broadcast!! I hope all you girls and women ages 8 and up are watching, it will be AMAZING! It was in April and I feel it will be even better this time. It's something to really prepare you for and get you even more excited for Conference. Best time of the year for sure!
That's about all I have to report for my first week in Hazlehurst, sounds like y'all are doing well too! I really do have a testimony of this work, no matter where we are at. I know Brandy was right, that I was needed elsewhere. I know President Cottle is inspired and he really does follow Heavenly Father's direction. I know the Priesthood is real. Last Monday was a very sad day saying goodbye to the people and the place I had grown to love so much, but I was so comforted by a blessing that was given to me by Brother Cartmell. Seriously, a rockstar blessing. I don't think there's anything better than a man who is worthy to hold and use the priesthood of God. Brother Cartmell really was just the voice as Heavenly Father told me everything I had been longing to hear. For months I had been struggling with something and praying about it, and when Brother Cartmell gave me the blessing it was just like Heavenly Father was speaking directly to me, answering all the prayers I had said. Prayer is a powerful thing, and I know God always answers them. I know this Church is true. I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are at the head of it. I know we are sons and daughters of the Most High God, and He is in the details of our lives.
I love you guys. Have a blessed week :)
Sister Applegate

Saying goodbye to Christy
And to the Cartmells...

Goodbye to Waynesboro and our trailer... what a forced smile I was so exhausted, haha

Sister Taylor and I
Sister Richardson and I
Mama T and I for the last time!! I'm gonna miss my trainer!
Me, Sister Taylor, and Astrid. Astrid is a convert from Sister Taylor's first area, Hilton Head SC. She came up to transfer meeting

There are some things you'll only find in the South...
Redneck Commandments
Check it out!!!! Elder Holdaway found this street sign in Augusta!!! He printed a picture just for me :) I never thought I would find one that said Applegate, I was so excited! I guess there's also an organic farm somewhere close to here that's Applegate. Never knew our name was so popular ;)

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