Happy Hump Day!!! Or Hump Week, I should say. I will have officially been out for nine months this! Holy moly!! Where did that time go....flew by too fast! I know the holidays are going to fly now and then I'll have been out a year! Ah! Nooo!!! Sister Jeppson wrote me two weeks ago and said she only has 5 transfers left---she's only two ahead of me! I only have SEVEN left! And boy do transfers FLY BY! This is just scary now.
This week definitely had its ups and downs. I do have to start with last Monday night though. We were meeting with Susan and going over the Book of Mormon and she pointed out a picture of Christ that's at the beginning and said in every picture of Christ she's ever seen, there is always this glow about him--this halo around his head. Then she said that Sister Richardson and I both have that glow. She was just looking at us and saying that right then, we were just glowing. I've heard people say that about missionaries before, but it felt pretty awesome to have someone say that about us, not going to lie. She said that other people see it too, the family that she is staying with agreed. One girl that lives there, her name is Mariah. She's 14 and she said that she could see the light too, and she said when I spoke in sacrament meeting the day before it was super bright all around me. I just think that's so amazing that people can see that. Susan said that's how she knows we're living out lives right, patterned after Christ. Living so that others might see His light through us. So I thought that was a pretty cool experience.
We also had the Fall Festival for the branch this week and it was a huge success!! I have lots of pictures to send with that. There were a lot of games, a chili cook-off and hot dogs, and trunk-or-treat for the kids. I think we may have had more fun than half the kids ;)
This week we were able to see God's hand in our lives a lot. One day we were in a time crunch and we had an appointment atso we were planning to take an early dinner but still in a rush and then an elderly woman from the branch called and said her Visiting Teaching partner couldn't go out with her and asked if we could help her finish her visiting teaching and we couldn't because it was when we were talking to her so we felt bad and after we hung up we got a text from the lady we had the appointment with so she cancelled and we just knew that it was meant to be--we were supposed to go visiting teaching with this sister from the branch. So we did. Nothing miraculous happened that I could really see, but I know for some reason, we were supposed to go.
Another day we had the thought to go see one of our newer investigators, Carolyn. Oh she is so cool! The first time we met with her she said she was interested in talking to us because she knew some Mormons and liked the way they lived their lives. And she said she knows how much we and the Church as a whole are persecuted and she "always roots for the underdog." Haha. So we had a great first lesson and so going to see her this time, her car wasn't there but we pulled by her house anyway and decided to say a prayer anyway because we always pray before going into a lesson. Well, she pulled into her driveway while we were praying! Haha. We taught her about the Book of Mormon that day and it went really well, she asks a lot of very good questions. So--even if you don't think it's the Spirit giving you a thought or a prompting, follow it anyway! The Lord is in charge, not us. I could probably go on and on with stories like this. We went out to see a less-active member and weren't sure what we wanted to share so I grabbed the Ensign we had in our car and flipped to a page and didn't read the article, but it was on the life and mission of Jesus Christ so of course it had to be good. We read it to her and it was pretty long, but the very last little paragraph was exactly what she needed to hear. It was PERFECT. She told us that was just what she needed that night. I am so incredibly grateful for the Holy Ghost and the role it plays in our life. His constant companionship is one of the best gifts we could ever have.
That covers most of the good stuff from this week. There were some tough moments though. If you remember me talking about Crystal, she was so awesome and it was so inspired that Sister Taylor came here on exchanges and shared her testimony with her. She had such a love for the gospel. But we went back this week because she had some great questions and we found the places in the Book of Mormon where those questions would be answered. So we knock on her door and she answers with kind of a rude look on her face... She told us she was busy and so I said we had found answers for her, so that we could set up another time to come over. She looked at me and very rudely said "I already GOT answers!!" Oh boy... you can just tell when someone gets antied. It's so sad! For how passionate she was about learning more to that, it just made me so sad. You really learn as a missionary to control yourself because seriously I wanted to punch a wall right there I was so mad at Satan. Hopefully she'll find out for herself later....
And if that didn't do the trick, Willie literally broke my heart this week. He broke both of our hearts. I don't even know where to begin or what to say about that meeting with him now.... He still had an issue with proper authority because he believes he was baptized by the proper authority of God. So we had the inspiration to go and read the Articles of Faith with him, focusing on #5 about authority and the laying on of hands to receive that authority from God. That totally backfired.... he read #11 and then got suuuper upset with us. He said if we believe in letting people worship how, where, or what they may, then why were we so persistent in telling him he needed to be baptized again? He's never gotten mad like that before with us...and then he said some blasphemous stuff about the scriptures and it was so sad. Throughout my mission I've prayed for experiences where I wouldn't just feel the good feelings that the Spirit brings, but that I really wouldn't feel that 'burning in my bosom'--that undeniable feeling that the Spirit brings when we know something is right and true. That feeling doesn't come to me too often, and it is something I've prayed for. I got that feeling sitting there with Willie. I started to bear my sincere testimony of the gospel, and why I knew it was true. I told him that we were so persistent because we had so much love and care for him. So much that he couldn't even comprehend. If no missionary were persistent, how many Saints now would have never received the gospel? Probably a lot. We are persistent because we care, and we're not going to give up if someone says no the first time. The gospel is too important. Their Salvation is too important. One day Willie will know that. He still wants to come to church and all, and we told him he can come for the rest of his life and still not get baptized if he wants. But I really feel like he will be a case like Annie from the branch--one who comes every week and then one day, everything will click and he will desire more than anything to be baptized. Those feelings will consume him until he does, then he will feel the biggest burden be lifted, and that will be a day he'll remember forever. I pray that day comes from him. I really, really do. It will be too sad for him not to progress past his present stage. :(
The gospel really is true. I have a different perspective as a missionary, a more eternal perspective. I pray that that is something I can keep when I go home, because seeing things in heaven's light, everything makes so much sense and you really can see what brings blessings to people's lives, and what lessens them. I always want to remember the things I am seeing and learning because I know it will make me a better daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, granddaugther, and future wife and mother. A mission really is the best year and a half FOR my life.
Black Santa with his head cut off. I couldn't stop laughing....
Me and a girl from the branch. And Olaf, of course
Cupcakes for the cupcake walk at the Fall Festival! We made the orange ones
Hazlehurst Branch Fall Festival!!!
Us and Lucille
Us and Simone
Elder Holt and his bright orange, very festive shoes :)
Elder Holt and Elder Peterson
Our car was the best.... but we're also bias
Fall Festival--games and activities
They had this Duck Commander game where you spray boats with squirt guns and try and win the race against your opponent-so fun!!! Aren't Sister Richardson and I's faces the best??? Loooovveee it! :)
Skyla and her three kids. The girl in the blue dress is her niece
Susan is in the light pink shirt on the left. Next to her is Charlyse (a less-active member) and her son Landon, who we are teaching. Landon reminds me of Parker
The cutest twin boys you ever did see... :)
Chili cook-off! Sister Richardson and Elder Peterson judged it
Some of the kids toilet-papered our car at the Festival :) They did a good job! Haha
Spiders on someone's doorstep. We were afraid they were battery-operated and would move or something. Sister R went on the porch by herself and then I came up behind her and pretended they moved and scared her so bad... hahaha
Package-Happy Hump Day! :)
Happy Hump Day ! :)
Happy Halloween!!! We were on lockdown beginning at , but we definitely made the best of it!! We had treats coming out of our ears! Happy planning session ;) Sister R's family tradition for Halloween is cornbread and chili. We had cornbread muffins and then someone gave us soup, and someone else gave us doughnuts, then we had candy, soda, treats from home, it was great!! :)
Some Extra pictures from last week
District Meeting! Last one in this District for Elder Wells (trainee who you can barely see in the back), and Elder Lambert, in between the elders in our branch, Elder Holt and Elder Peterson
Exchanges with Sister Taylor!! Whoo!!
Willie's Victory Party!! Willie>Smoking
We went in a store and One Direction came on. Sister Richardson started crying.
Funny house decoration, "Don't drink and fly"
Sister R burned a potato really bad in the microwave...our house smelt like smoke for a long time and this is how we kept the window opened a little bit. Redneck I know....
A very ironic sign in my opinion