Don't you just love this month??? It is currently 76 degrees here in Hazlehurst, GA, so it feels NOTHING like December! But, it does feel pretty wonderful outside so that is good :) Maybe I'll go throw some cotton around later and make homemade Georgia snow ;)
I hope y'all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, from what I heard it sounded great! We ate with Edgar, Elizabeth, and Joey and some more of their family, sadly we did not actually have fried turkey... it was baked. But it was good :) They had greens (turnip/mustard/collard-I don't know the difference) rice, dressing (still don't know what that is either), crackling bread (still couldn't explain it to ya), um... ham, rolls, and.... a few other things. I liked the turkey, ham, and roll. Hahaha. I did at least try the majority of it though :) Found out I didn't like most the stuff I just named for you all. Haha. When we asked people what kind of desserts they do here for Thanksgiving everyone said pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, and a pecan pie here and there. At our dinner they had pumpkin and key lime, and I was glad Sister Richardson made a chocolate hazelnut pie. I know I need to get over being such a picky eater, but it doesn't change over night! Or in 10 months... :) That's right, I hit 10 months this week! What??? Crazy. I loved eating with Edgar and Elizabeth because they are just so old and adorable!! During dinner Edgar grabbed his fork and reached across the table and was just stabbing the table cloth and his son Joey was like "dad what are you doing??" and Edgar was like "trying to get some ham!"--the ham was nowhere near him... hahaha. Oh my he is just the sweetest old man!!
On Friday Lucille had invited us over for dinner and we had spaghetti and texas toast, it was great! They won't be getting married any time soon and I wasn't liking what Glynn said to me about it (when Lucille was in the other room) so that broke my heart and I know it will shatter Lucille's, but at this point there is nothing we can do. He's just playing her which is so, so sad! I hope she will find out soon, she's been through so much in her life and prayed for a good man and believes with all her heart that Glynn was him but he showed us otherwise that night. We went over a little early to do service for her and help decorate her tree and house for Christmas. Best service we could ever do! We've had a few people this past week ask us to come help decorate their Christmas trees and it is so much fun! Friday night we decided that even in a small town people would probably flock to Walmart for their 'Black Friday' shopping so we went to contact people-brilliant! We were right, even in a small town it's still nuts. Not nearly as bad as Utah, but still a lot of people and a lot of craziness. We met all kinds of people, "naughty" and "nice". Haha. Had to phrase it like that... just because :) This one lady was rude and said we were a cult and if we read more we would finally know for ourselves and blah blah blah. She was one of those ones who was like "no way I'm talking to you I'm Christian." And we're just like "We're Christian too... hello...see our nametags? They say Jesus Christ on them..." And we pointed that out to her and she was like "just because it says that doesn't mean it's true." Wow, OKAY then. Whatever. Pretty sure I believe in Jesus Christ though, I'm serving my mission for Him. But there was also this super nice guy who said he really appreciated us and other Mormons and he's grateful for the good work we do and all of our efforts, so he really made my day.
We were trying to contact a referral this week and we couldn't find her house, so we decided to knock on this other person's door. It was this older lady and she wanted nothing to do with us. She just wanted to bash. But we finally left and then later that night we decided to try a potential who used to meet with elders until she moved. So we went over to her house and she said she was expecting company but that we could still come in and teach. We had just started the lesson when we heard a knock on the door--guess who it was. Yep! That lady. Man oh man... she's one of those one's who has to have her opinion heard, and it's her way or the highway. The look on her face when she saw us was priceless. Full of shock and horror. Hahaha. She came in and just started bashing and trying to anti her friend we were teaching (Silvia) with everything she had. Sometimes I can't even believe the disrespect. We figured God really wanted her to listen to us since she kept popping up so we kept teaching. She kept interrupting, but we kept on going. She jumped in any chance she got, always cutting us off. She kept saying all this baloney about Joseph Smith and we were trying to explain that we don't worship him at all--so we were explaining the First Vision and the Restoration of the priesthood and she was like "you say you don't praise him but everything you say is Joseph Smith Joseph Smith Joseph Smith!" Oh my goodness. We're giving you the information! Then she kept saying how the Bible didn't name him specifically and Sister Richardson was like "well yeah, he wasn't living in Biblical times!" Hahaha. She's right, we don't read about Abraham in Adam's time, not specifically by name. Eventually we just ignored her completely and only responded when Silvia said something. Lucky for us Silvia is awesome and said her friend is crazy and she can learn about whatever she wants and no one can tell her otherwise. Haha, yay! She said she has her own brain to think for herself. Very true :) I can't even remember half of what that lady said but she was trying so desperately to anti her friend. UNSUCCESSFUL! :)
We have this great new investigator named Dasia. She is 23 years old and is expecting a baby I think in April. She is seriously the cutest thing! She loves food, and is just so happy. So real! She makes me so happy when we see her, we were able to teach her about the restoration on Saturday and it was just great. We are seeing her again tonight :)
One of our less active members, Bonnie, things in her life are pretty crazy right now and she's ready to leave this town and she wants more than anything to go to Utah. She's a convert to the Church and the elder that taught her, Elder Parker, lives in Lehi, Utah with his family. Anyway, she called him (they've stayed in contact throughout the years) and he's been helping say the things she needs to hear, really helping her out. She speaks so highly of him, all the time. She tells us how he changed her life, and how he says his life changed the moment he went to her door the first time on his mission. I feel the Spirit so strongly when she talks about him and it makes me so badly want to be somebody's 'Elder Parker'. She told us his first name, but she always calls him Elder Parker because that's what she knows him as. We must always, always, always remain worthy of people's trust, especially our converts. Had Elder Parker gone home and gave up on Church, things would be so drastically different, and not in a good way, for Bonnie. For her to know that he is home and worthy, having three of his five kids serving missions right now, I can't even tell you how much that means to Bonnie, myself, and everyone. It must mean so much to Heavenly Father, as Elder Parker is still striving to become the person He would have him be. I always want to be worthy of my converts' trust, and I want to be their 'Elder Parker.' Maybe I'll be like dad when his convert Zelma calls and always calls him "Mista Applegate" ;) Oh how great it is to be a missionary!!!
Someone last night asked me what the hardest part about serving a mission was. She asked me if it was leaving television, my phone, Facebook, or what. I have to say, those answers would have never even crossed my mind. Those material possessions, the worldly things, I don't miss them hardly at all. I think my answer to the hardest thing about my mission at this moment deals with knowing how much the gospel will help people in their lives, and them just not even wanting to partake of it.... People are constantly saying they want it, but never putting in the effort to have it. Salvation is not easy. It was not easy for Christ, so how could we ever expect it to be easy for us? "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it." The things that are worthwhile in eternity are not going to be easy for us now. Life really is a test; the treasures of heaven are not just going to be handed to us. The greatest things in life are not material things. They are our families and our family relationships, they are the teachings of Christ, the gospel. Without them we really would have nothing. I read over an amazing scripture this week, it is found in Alma 26:12-
"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many might miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."
Alma 26 is probably one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon. There is so much there for us to learn, to realize how great God really is. I know that without me, God would still be God. But without God, I would be nothing. I couldn't do anything, I can't do anything, without His divine help from above. I am eternally grateful for Him and Jesus Christ, for the Sacrifice, and for the sacrifices of others, ancestors in particular, that make it possible for me to be here. I'm thankful for a family, immediate and extended, who make the gospel a true part of their lives so that I could grow up seeing and knowing how important it really is. I am grateful for restored truths, especially about the Plan of Salvation, so that I can know that my family can be together forever. Really, where would we be without this knowledge? That is something I do not even want to think about.
As we enter this wonderful Christmas season, don't forget to thank Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for all the things we really do cherish. Maybe a good gift to Them would be to let them know of our appreciation for the restored gospel, for the scriptures, for Them, and for each other. It's that appreciation that will make this "the most wonderful time of the year."
I hope you all have the most wonderful week, and start to this Christmas season! I love you more than I can even tell you.
Hugs and kisses,
Sister Kaylee Applegate :)
Glynn and Lucille's house and tree, Sister Cunningham's tree (a member in the branch) :)