Monday, May 11, 2015

Congrats Natalie!!! :)

Hey Everyone!

So first off, congratulations to my cute cousin Natalie on your baptism this week!!! The invitation was so cute and I am so proud of you! :) 

This week was interesting... so I've come to find out in Georgia that squirrels are like.... the dumbest animal ever. Extremely suicidal. They run to the edge of the road, wait for you to get closer, and then dart out in front of your car!! There are a lot of dead squirrels on the road here. Well, I've been out a while and so far haven't hit one--until this week. Dun dun dunnnn!! Not my fault though, we were with a member and we were the passengers and she hit the squirrel. Hahaha. It was sad but kinda funny at the same time.. man. That sounds terrible. But this member reminds me a lot of our neighbor Wendy and she has the same laugh and hearing it just made me laugh and remember old times and it was just a fun memory. On the way back to our house we passed the dead squirrel... RIP. 

I got to spend a lot of time with Elder Zwick of the Seventy and his wife Sister Zwick this week, as well as President and SIster Cottle. So fun! At our MLC (Mission Leadership Council) Sisters Gray and Richardson as well as Elder Wilkins were there, we were all in the MTC together and Elder Zwick spoke when we were there so it was a fun reunion for all of us. We learned from him and President Cottle more about have the faith to do things and having an 'I WILL' attitude instead of a 'I will TRY'; huge difference. So things are going good that way. Elder Zwick opened up the end for questions so I asked him what Sister Anderson and I can do to move forward with a family we are working with. Here's their story:

Their last name is Heuring. Brother and Sister Heuring are probably in their 30s, and they have 3 little boys, 8 years old, 6 and 2. All of the boys have a genetic problem with their eyes and the oldest will probably be blind soon. Sister Heuring was baptized when she was 19 and Brother Heuring has been a member for about 9 years I believe. They are both less active and Sister Heuring is kind of mad at God because she feels He's abandoned her. It is so rare for all three boys to have this problem, and it's not getting better. From our point of view, we know this is a huge test of their faith and that if they trust God, everything will work out; but Sister Heuring doesn't see that-also understandable. So I asked Elder Zwick what we can do because I really don't want to offend them. He focused so much on the principle of Hope and the Atonement. Sister Cottle has two brothers that are blind and since they were in the meeting and interested in us and this family on Saturday we invited them to come along next week to teach. We saw Sister Heuring on Saturday and as soon as we left we texted Sister Cottle back and said never mind, they are not ready for that yet. I was asked probably one of the hardest questions of my mission-- Sister Heuring was saying how the surgeries started for her oldest son when he was 15 months old and it has been the same for the others and she said what is a 15 month old little boy supposed to learn from all this pain and her having to hold him down for procedures and such, and if the trial is for her, why on earth would God put her son through this? ....I honestly did not know what to say. She was mad and she knew we didn't really have an answer. After a minute I told her the only thing I could think of was the story in the Bible where there was a man who was blind from birth and the people asked Jesus "who sinned to cause this, his parents or him?" And Christ told them that the blindness was caused by no one's sin, but it happened so that He could show forth his power and heal the man. And then he did. Sister Heuring didn't seem to like that though... Her sons get priesthood blessings before every surgery and she's upset because I think in her mind she thinks they're not working. Her sons aren't healed so therefore they don't work. I wish she could take a step back and see what we see--she has her sons, and they have an AWESOME family! There is so much love, and this trial will not last forever! We are working so hard on the right lessons to share with them, I care about them a lot. We realized we need to go slower and we're going to plan to go over next Saturday and start teaching about having hope in the scriptures and having the peace that they will bring to our lives. It reminded me again that if we're doing the small and simple things--reading and praying each and every day, we will have that peace and we will be able to get through trials better. They won't go away by any means, but we will be able to "bear up our burdens with ease." 

Hope is a powerful thing I learned this week. Hope in the Atonement even more so. Because of Jesus Christ, we CAN have hope. We can't afford not to have hope in things. I've been studying about hope and the Atonement a lot more and there are pages just dedicated to what we're planning with the Heurings so in my study journal it's titled "Hope for the Heurings". I thought it was creative ;) But I know it will come in handy long after we teach this family here. 

Well anyway.... that's the main focus for the week. We had a media referral a long time ago for this woman named Nisa and her daughter Imani. Sister Anderson met them when she first got to this area and had a really good feeling about them but she wasn't able to actually teach them--until Thursday. We had an AWESOME lesson with them, invited them to be baptized, just golden. Then in Zone Conference with Elder Zwick he called up four companionships to define a principle in Preach My Gospel, tell a story why, testify, and then back it up with a scripture and testify again. Sister Anderson and I got called on. Haha. So because the week had been so hard and we were having no success, we chose the principle of diligence and talked about that and shared the experience with Imani and Nisa since they were the awesome lesson we had after a really hard day. It was great. And then the next day Nisa texted us and totally dropped us... hard. It was so sad. So I guess the good news is I'm glad things were good and we shared the wonderful experience before we got dropped. Haha. Our Zone Leaders texted and asked all the companionships to text in a phrase to show they were pumped to finish the week strong and accomplish our goals and we were like "People be hatin' but we still be waitin' #trust in the Lord! #everyonekeepsdroppingus #nobodylovesus #onlyJesus" hahaha. It was so fun. They assured us that Jesus really did love us. Definitely true! It's just that every time we get a new investigator they drop us, so we have more work to do! :) 

We're excited for the week! I hope y'all have a good one as well. Just so you know, Elder Zwick told us in 2012 there were 8,000 sisters serving missions, and in 2015 there are now over 24,000. Boom Baby! President Cottle's quote I think goes well with that-- "Growth isn't always easy, but it's always beneficial." Have a blessed week!!!!

Much love,
Sister Applegate

See you on Skype on Sunday!! Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms out there!!!!

Last week Sister Anderson forgot her wallet in the car and since we can't leave each other we had to leave the cart. Or "buggie" as they call it here. We hid it a little, and they left our stuff alone :)

Faith card--you have to cut a hole in our small pass along card big enough to fit over you. Can YOU do it? :) One of the guys figured it out

Got to see Sister Taylor this week! 


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