Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had the best time celebrating! :)
This past week was lots of fun, we had been looking forward to a lot, and this coming week has even more that we are looking forward to! President and Sister Cottle have been touring the mission and going around doing a role play type thing with every missionary companionship so they can see how our teaching is. It's hard for them to get to all of us, especially so many that are far from them, so they are doing this for a few weeks. It works well, we had a good time with it and then Sister Thomas and I were lucky enough to be able to take them out to lunch with us :) President and Sister Cottle are the best mission parents ever I could not ask for anyone better! They make my mission so happy :)
We had our district meeting and took the Cottles out on Wednesday morning/afternoon, and then Wednesday night we were on lock-down for New Year's Eve. Our branch mission leader brought us pizza since we had to be in at 6:00 and we just had a party. Not much of a party by the world's definition probably, I laid on the floor and did nothing for a long time. Hahahaha. It was so nice and relaxing, I loved it :) Sister Thomas and I ended up talking almost till midnight, and I fell asleep but she woke me up at 12 and we said Happy New Year and then fell asleep. Happy New Year to y'all! :)
For the most part this week was pretty cool. There is a member in a nursing home here from Douglas. She has PPMS (Progressive something Multiple Sclerosis) and she asked if we could get anyone there to give her a priesthood blessing, she is on hospice and not doing very well. Two members of our branch presidency came with us to give her the blessing and on of them has Multiple Sclerosis. I honestly did not know that is what this member, Yvette, has. So that turned out to be a super cool miracle. They were able to talk about it and then he gave her a blessing, which was very humbling. He said his worse fear is ending up in a home like her, but as we were leaving he was smiling because of how cool the situation turned out with him being able to be the one to give her the blessing when they were both suffering from the same thing. He said he didn't know if I had known that, but he was so glad to be able to do it. I told him that I didn't have a clue that that's what she was suffering from, but I too was grateful for how that worked out.
We met some really special people today, and had some good lessons. A lot of potential for all of them. Carrie is doing well and is totally prepared, because her daughter is kind of crazy and tends to ruin lessons and flat out asked her mom (demanded actually), who is 83 years old if she was "fixin' to join the Mormon Church." Carrie told her daughter not to worry about it or what she believes. Hahaha. It was so awesome. I think she's been being prepared for a long time, it started with missionaries from years ago and she really was ready for us to come. Carrie is Caldean's mom, by the way. We're teaching Caldean as well.
We also met a lady named Frankie. She prayed about being right with God, went to a church to join, but felt that it wasn't right. Then we showed up. :) We have another appointment with her this week and I think things will really progress with her. It was a good first lesson.
This week was rough with Edgar, Elizabeth and Joey. Joey's ignoring us. He had stopped by to say hi one day and was talking about how he would be going to Hell and all this stuff and I started talking about the Atonement and forgiveness and he was like "you hush" and basically told me not to preach to him. Rude. But I understand he is going through a lot. He had called one of our members he is friends with that he knows is a convert and asked him what made him join. He told Joey that he listened. So if we can get Joey to LISTEN to us, things would be great. This member is going to go visit him this week though, which should be good. When Joey wasn't home we had taught Edgar and Elizabeth. Things really backfired and Edgar went all 'Baptist' on us and said he would never change us and we would never change him. He said we should be in college right now and... yeah. That made me really sad. I told him college couldn't teach me anywhere near the things I've learned and experience by serving a mission. Elizabeth kind of stood up for us there, but I guess with them we will just have to do short visits and share scriptures from the Bible and stay on good terms with them. Prepare them to hear and hopefully accept the gospel in the Spirit World.
Last week we met this 22 year old girl named Felicia. She is so cool! We set up a time to teach her and when we went back her 35 year old sister Cameo and her two sons were there too. We didn't really get to teach them because Cameo had to go to work, but they are so COOL! So kind to us and open to the message. Cameo has a ten year old son named Cameron, and a two year old son named McCai. It had been a rough couple of weeks with trying to find new investigators and find success in this area because so many bad/sad things continue to happen, but meeting this family turned everything around. I see such great potential in them and then in the 10 minutes that we met Cameo and her sons, little McCai out of nowhere walked over to me and reached up to where I was sitting on the couch and gave me the biggest hug. It pretty much made my entire life :) I didn't realize until I was writing in my journal that night that that was Heavenly Father giving me a little comfort and answering a prayer or two. It just let me know that He had heard me and He had His hand out. Little McCai is so my favorite... I do think though that he also knows who we are. Little kids are so close to the veil.
We've had some good miracles this week. The members of the branch in this area are so incredible. We've got one in the hospital in Atlanta for a bone marrow transplant and full body treatment of radiation I believe and so many other things. He is the rock of this branch. He is only 40 and was 97% in remission of his cancer and blood disease when it came back. He has 6 kids, the oldest is 12 and the youngest are twin 3 year old boys. It's hitting the branch hard. Another member that has been sick for a while had pneumonia in both of his lungs and then suffered a stroke. I think he is doing ok at the moment, so that's good. Another member had surgery and they had to cut open her breast bone and remove a tumor, hopefully it is not cancerous. And if it's not those things, the other members are going through so much. Their diligence, patience, obedience, love and gratitude amaze me. The service they continue to render to everyone, most importantly God, is so inspiring. I want to be like many of them members that I see here. I've really been able to see people pull together for the gospel and their families and I see how God pours out His blessings. The Church in this area is so amazing to me. Though they don't have enough members to fill callings, they manage. They know what it means when we call each other 'Brother' and 'Sister'. Hazlehurst and the members here will always hold a very special place in my heart. And you better believe that when I get transferred you will here that and more about it :)
I hope you all have a wonderful week! Start the new year off great! Good luck with school, work, and all of your endeavors this week! Love you guys!!!!
Me and Elois :) We found Elois a while ago and turns out she is a less active member. She came to church for the first time in a long time yesterday, and it was so wonderful! We were talking about gratitude in Sunday School and she had been quiet until that point and she told everyone that I and Sister Richardson and helped her out so much just by extending friendship when she really needed it. She said that to her, that was God reaching out to her. Sending us to her and answering her prayers. She is so sweet I love her!!
Sunrise this morning :)