Like my parents both included in their emails to me, this week will mark one year since I left--that's so insane to me! Definitely doesn't feel like I've been out that long. One year ago this Thursday I started the greatest, most worth-while adventure of my entire life thus far and I don't regret one thing! Being a missionary is the best, and this week supported that! So much happened, and it has been wonderful I can't wait to tell y'all about it! I'll be typing 100 mph because I have a lot to say but hey, what else is new? Haha.
So on Monday we met with Rachelle and I've always known there was something special about her and I've wanted to teach her and help her progress so much. I knew though that if we didn't have a solid lesson we might have to give her a break because we need to teach those who are really desiring to know more. We were about 10 minutes late for our appointment and when we knocked we got the usual "who is it?!" but this time it sounded a little more....stressed I guess. Not so nice from her. We said it was us and she let us in and we found out her and her husband had just gotten off the phone with her husband's daughter's aunt in Alabama-they're kind of in a custody battle and the news for that night wasn't that great. Almost seemed like bad timing, but it turned out to be perfect timing. She hadn't kept her commitment to read in the Book of Mormon like we had invited her to do so we went over and just read with her. We read 1 Nephi 3-4 and after that she talked to us for a little bit telling us different things and stories and we were worried it wasn't going to get super spiritual. BUT THEN, then she shared a story where God had truly had His hand in her life. Where she knew He was in the details of her life and helping her with the things she had pleaded for. I had her turn to Alma 26:37 and read that aloud. She read it, and then she reread it. She looked at me with this almost surprised look on her face like "how did you know" and her eyes welled up a little and I looked at her and said "this book is true." and that's all I needed to say. The Spirit was there and it was a great moment and I was waiting for Sister Wood to invite her to be baptized and she wasn't saying anything so when Rachelle looked back down at the Book of Mormon I nudged Sister Wood like "ask her, ask her!" hahaha. Seriously, this happened with me too, but my trainer just blurted out the invitation without me, hahaha. Remember that Sister T? ;) I really do laugh at how Sister Wood does the same things I did, it brings a smile to my face. But she did invite Rachelle to be baptized and Rachelle accepted that invitation and is preparing to be baptized on March 21st :) Miracle!!!! :)
Also on Monday, before we went to see Rachelle we went to follow up with this couple we met and had set an appointment with but that fell through. Here's why though! We started tracting a little bit around that area and we met this awesome lady named April. April has been through a lot and is really struggling right now. In different ways we can tell she's been being prepared though. We had a great first lesson with her and we are seeing her again tomorrow! I can't wait to tell you all more about her!
We tracted into this guy named Harris this week who I wasn't sure would let us teach him or have us come back, but he did! He's 25 and very... "professor-like". He's curious about the religion though and we've had a couple of good lessons with him! I thought he looked familiar and the second time we met with him I found out why-he works at the hospital and I totally saw him there when Sister Richardson and I were visiting Joey a few months back. He remembers me too! I'm way excited to keep teaching him he has great questions! Some we don't have answers to, but we're trying our best! He has great potential.
We also were able to meet with a 74 year old woman named Wanda. She was a referral from Jean, they are best friends. Wanda has been through, wow, so much in her life and I KNOW she needs the message we have to share. She has a wonderful heart I really love her. She let us teach her about the restoration and we are taking her a Book of Mormon tonight, so hopefully that works out! She is special to me I just can't wait to see her fulfill her potential :)
I definitely have a testimony of referrals! We could knock on doors all day long every day and we may never find that one family member, friend or coworker of yours who you think could really benefit from us going over. We met this lady and she said we could go see her sister, because she might need a prayer. So we did. Her sister's name is LaTosha and she is great!! She lives right by Charlene so whether or not she just wasn't home when we tracted that area I don't know, but we wouldn't have gone back to that trailer that soon had it not been for this referral. Tosha is so great--so happy and she has the most contagious laugh. Between hers and Sister Wood's I'm always laughing :) Tosha was so excited about the Book of Mormon and just wanted to keep reading and reading. She has a roommate named Cheryl she also wanted us to talk to and we were able to meet with both of them yesterday. We taught Cheryl about the restoration and the Book of Mormon and then we watched the Restoration dvd with both of them. That was a really good lesson, different things touched each of them and they really want to learn more, so of course Sister Wood and I are super excited :)
We met with Preston this week and asked him what he thought of baptism. We talked to him more about what he thought and invited him to be baptized. He kind of said no, but so do a lot of people. We invited him to really honestly pray and ask and he said he would. That was on Friday and we're not seeing him until tomorrow, and I know people feel the Spirit and often times have their "converting moment" when we aren't there, so we're giving him this time but we are super anxious to go back and see him. I'm praying he does get his answer, because with everything he says it's like "well I'm Baptist, for right now...." that's how we take it :) He's so golden though I know he'll get the answer to get baptized. Last week was so exciting and this week looks so promising as well!!
We met another potential named Samuel and taught him-another person who didn't think we were serious when we said we'd come to an appointment but we went and had a great first lesson. We found a whole new area I didn't even know existed and I think great things will come from it. This week has just been so great! We came up with a lot of ideas for games/lessons to teach kids and families the gospel and I'm so excited to put them in play I can't even tell you! This area is about to be LIT UP! I love it here!!
And on top of that, we had stake conference this weekend in Tifton and guess who's in this stake?! ALBANY!!! My home/first area!!!! We rode up there Saturday night with Cindy and we went to Zaxby's for dinner and when we pulled up, there getting out of their car was Brother and Sister Isberg, Brother Marbury, Sister Singleton, and Bishop Tolman!! AHHHH!!! I almost died! I ran over there and started shaking Brother Isberg's hand and he grabbed me and was like "forget that I'm giving you a HUG!" and he squeezed me tight and Sister Isberg gave me a big hug and kissed me on the cheek and it was just like being back with my family! Oh it was so great! I was looking out for other "family members" from Albany when we got to the stake center but I didn't really see any. When we were getting in the car to head home an elder ran to our car and was like "Sister Applegate someone wants to say hi to you!" and I got out and it was Sister Hall!! Sister Hall is one of the biggest inspirations to me I love her to pieces!! It made me so happy when she ran out to see me! Sister Hall gave me some updates on what's been going on with her and they were just answers to both of our prayers. Pleadings from her that I knew Heavenly Father would answer. If I ever struggle or feel like giving up in life, I know I could always turn to Sister Hall--she is the best example I have ever seen of enduring to the end. She will forever be one of the greatest testimonies to me.
I really am just so HAPPY! Things are going great. There is always a reason to be happy,and Heavenly Father will magnify that. Look for the positive! I can't wait to update y'all on this next week, like every other, it will be full of miracles! I hope you are all seeing the miracles in your own lives as well, because I know they are there. Thank Heavenly Father for them every day, and He will give you more and more.
"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference"
I love all of you and can't wait to hear from you soon!
Hugs and Kisses,
Do you think the humidity did that? Hahaha
Charlene and I
Sister Wood didn't know we had large plastic bags... gotta hand it to her, she's creative!
That moment when you realize your milk expires on your one year mark.... :)
Mansion house we found. It was just like a scary movie walking up to that door, birds flew away out of nowhere and everything. No one answered, but they had country music on inside and a Romney/Ryan campaign sign in the yard so we're totally trying back again. They MIGHT like our values and they totally like country, so we're a good fit for them :)
The Isbergs' new van! They told me they were going to do something like this, but it looks better than I could have imagined! I love them!! They put the Seattle Washington temple on it because that is the first temple Brother Isberg ever saw. They are both converts and SO AWESOME! They are serving as missionaries right now as well and those black tags look good on them! Sorry I don't have a picture with them, I should have done that right when we saw them. Hopefully I'll get the opportunity again soon!
A picture just to prove that everyone here parks on their grass. This one is at a church, but notice their handicap parking spaces. No one uses actual driveways... can't knock em though, we drive all over our grass too :)