Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Boy oh boy what a week I've had! We have been going non stop all week! I LOVE IT! Those are the best weeks.
Tuesday we had district meeting which was really good. Then we had a good lesson with Tara. We brought the YW President with us which was so good! She invited Tara to come to YW on Wed. and Tara said she would! So she went and had a really good time! She liked the girls and everyone made her feel welcome. I was so so so happy to hear that!
Wednesday was good. I can't really remember what we did.... but we did a lot of service
Thursday we had interviews with President. It went so good! He asked me if I loved St. Marys and I told him I LOVE IT HERE! and he asked me, "If I need you to leave, can you?" and I told him that I had been feeling for a while that I had accomplished what I needed to here in St. Marys, that it would be really hard to leave, but I could do it. He told me that he was probably moving me. That was good and hard to hear all at the same time. We also talked about when I was coming home and it wasn't a big deal at all, so that was great. I am so grateful for P. Vellinga. He is such an incredible man. After our interviews we had a lesson with Jim. He is doing so great. Still progressing! He's soaking everything up. He was sad to hear I was leaving, so we set up a night to go out to dinner. He's the sweetest. We also had a lesson with the "fiancé" of a less active in the branch. She is so prepared! She was feeling the spirit so strong the whole time we were teaching the restoration! She said that she would be baptized! I'm really excited for her. She's going to start progressing soon!
Friday we saw the Felvers! They are my favorite people! We had dinner with them and had a lesson on repentance. I love hearing Dane and Robin talk about how they are understanding these simple principles so much more this time, that it's different. They are doing so great. They are still reading and praying every night. They have such a desire to come back this time! It's incredible. They get it.
Saturday we had a lesson with another new investigator, Amber! She was taking the lessons in Lima a while back and moved to our area and hopefully we can help her get back into it! She's great, so bubbly and cute, blaring her country music. I like her a lot!
We also went over to the Felvers again to help them out with stuff again. We moved their wood pile, cleaned out their garage where they've had their 50 chicks and turkeys and ducks, fed their goats, and a ton of other things. We were so exhausted at the end of that day. They fed us too! He is such a great cook. I love that family so much.
Sunday was so great! We had 53 people there! And we had a lot of families that were out of town too! It was really exciting! JIM PASSED THE SACRAMENT! It was such a good Sunday!
Yesterday we had district meeting and then had some really good appointments with some less actives and investigators. It was a really good day. We got transfer calls last night and I am leaving. I'm excited but really sad at the same time. Serving in St. Marys has changed me. This area was so hard and I struggled a lot here, but it needed to happen. I have never worked so hard in my life as I have here. I put everything I had into this area. This area is so special to me and I know that it is a special place to the Lord. This is a sacred place to me. Things have happened here that no one will ever understand but Sis. Bakker and I. and because of that she is going to be such a special person to me forever. I'm so sad because this next sister isn't going to have any idea of what she's coming into, no idea of what St. Marys is. That's the thing - this area has become mine! It's going to be really hard to place it in someone else's hands. I have grown more here than any other time in my life. My testimony of the Savior is stronger than ever because of St. Marys. I will forever be grateful that the Lord sent me here. He knew what I needed to become what He needs me to become and St. Marys has helped me come closer to that. I love it here. I can't wait to come back with you so you can try and understand what I've experienced here! It's going to be so special.
I'll be leaving early in the morning and will find out where I'm going when we get to the transfer meeting in Kirtland. So I'll let you know next week.
I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! I'm excited to see you guys soon on Mother's Day!
It has been one awesome week!!! So many great things happened. Hopefully I can remember all of them for you guys.
Monday night we had a great lesson with Bro. Roode and his wife who isn't a member. She is starting to warm up to us. Bro. Roode is the former chief of police. He's a really good guy, we like him a lot!
Tuesday after district meeting we had a lesson with Tara. She's 17 and is the daughter of a less active sister in the branch. It's frustrating teaching her though because her mom isn't being supportive. Her mom wants her to get baptized but isn't willing to read the scriptures with her or pray with her or take her to church. She's expecting Tara to do this all on her own. Which she can do, it would just be more successful if her mom was more supportive. I don't think Tara's mom realizes we won't baptize Tara unless we know she's going to be able to keep her covenants, meaning she comes to church every week and actually DOES stuff... So we'll see how this goes. We're taking it slow... We also saw the Felver's Tuesday night! That went really well! We started teaching Heather the Plan of Salvation. That is going really well. Heather is really excited to get baptized. Dane is working on it!
Wednesday we did a lot of community service which is always a lot of fun! We love it! We also had an appointment with our investigator Doug. He said he was planning on being at church with his 2 granddaughters for Easter. He sounded pretty excited. we were stoked! The lesson went well and he said he wanted to find out if Joseph Smith was truly a prophet. We love hearing people say they want to know! That means they are more likely of being a solid investigator.
Thursday we had an incredible lesson with our investigator Patty. She has 2 sons that have been in and out of prison. One is still there... It's been really hard on her. She struggles with depression and other things. She said she prays and prays and doesn't feel like He's listening anymore. It was really sad. We talked a lot about the Savior's Atonement and watched the Because of Him video. It went really well. We also talked to her about priesthood blessings and how they can help her. She said she would like one. So that night we came back over with Bro. Roode. We had tried to get a few other men over but it wasn't working out, so we brought Bro. Roode. WHICH WAS A MIRACLE!!! He had been the one that arrested her son a few years ago, he had been to her house a few times and was pretty familiar with her situation. She couldn't believe that it was him that came with us. She said she was so grateful it was someone that she knew and felt comfortable with. She was grateful she didn't have to tell her story to a new person and have more people outside of her "circle" know what was going on. It meant a lot to her. It was a sign that the Lord was listening to her prayers, that He is aware of His children and sends them what they need when they need it. IT WAS SO COOL!!!! I love it when things "just work out". The Lord is so smart.
Friday we helped out the Felvers for a few hours in their vineyard. They make a lot of grape juice and jams and stuff and were needing some help to get things started. We had such a good time with them. We learned a lot about vineyards that's for sure! The weather was so beautiful and the sunset was gorgeous. We enjoyed just being able to talk casually with Dane about some of his concerns. We were also grateful we got to do some service for them after all that they have done for us. So it was great.
Saturday we had a good appointment with Josh, Jill's son. He's doing really good. He said he would com to church for Easter! We were pretty excited about that. He seems like he's wanting to come closer to Christ right now. We'll see. He's a punk so we're not quite sure where this is going to go. We also went back over to the Felvers to help out more around their barn and property. It was awesome!!!! He made us some racks of ribs and so much food it was insane! IT WAS ALL SO GOOD!!!! It was a lot of fun. We roasted some s'mores out back and had a good time. we had a lesson on faith for Heather and Dane and Robin talked about how their faith has been growing since we've been here and how they have such a stronger desire now. It was awesome. I loved hearing them talk about what this has been like for them. It's incredible. They are such strong and devoted people. They will be going back to the Temple with in the next 6 months, I know it.
Sunday was so wonderful. Easter is the best! We went to the church early to meet with Doug, give him a tour of the church so he would know what to expect for church. (no, he didn't show up......) but we're glad that we got there early because we met a new sister that just moved into the branch!!!!!! IT WAS SO EXCITING!!!!! We've been praying for growth and the Lord has answered that prayer. Grace moved here from Indiana with her husband who's not a member. They're in their 60's and just bought this beautiful farm house that we drive by all the time and wish we could go in. She's so excited to be here and can't wait to get to work with the branch. She's exactly what we need! We're so grateful she's here! We stopped by her place after church with the Jensons to bring them some dinner, they don't have any appliances so they can't cook or store food or anything. It was a lot of fun to get a tour of their beautiful house. I love it!!! (Don't worry, I'm sending pics). It was a lot of fun. We had dinner with the Davis' and it was great! We love them. They are the best people. They do a lot for us and are really supportive and excited about what all is happening in the branch.
This morning was so awesome. For Sis. Bakker and I's companion study this morning we tried to list all of the miracles we've seen since we've been in St. Marys. There are A LOT. It was the coolest thing. My heart just swelled with gratitude and love and joy and so many other emotions. I love it here. At the end of Sis. Lemmon and I's companionship I was praying that I would get transferred, that I would be able to leave. This was such a hard area and I was really struggling. But now I'm so grateful He knew better and kept here. One of the miracle I listed was my growth as a missionary. This area has changed me. the people here have changed me. I struggled and worked so hard and wanted to quit. And then I started seeing the miracles, the ones that had always been there, and the ones that were coming and the changes that were happening in the branch and in me and in our investigators. I am just so overwhelmed with love for St. Marys. It's so special for me because I have poured a lot of sweat and tears into this area. I feel like I pulled my handcart over the frontier and now am walking into the Salt Lake Valley. I suffered a lot here, but it was not in vain, it wasn't for nothing. It was for EVERYTHING!!!! It was totally worth it and if I had to do it again I would.
I am so grateful for my mission. It's been so much fun! SO MUCH FUN! I love being a missionary.
I love and miss you all so much! I hope you all have a great week and enjoy the beautiful spring weather! I know we've been loving it!
So the pics. there are some of the bon fire with the felvers, the house that Grace bought, the boots that Dane got us to work in the barn and some other stuff...
WHAT AN AWESOME WEEKEND OF REVELATION!!!!! I love General Conference! I love that we have these incredible men and women who are talking to the world, giving these wonderful and divinely inspired words of council and wisdom, and yet I feel like they are talking directly and personally to me. So many prayers and questions were answered this weekend.
It was also rough for Sis. Bakker and I. We went to Jill's funeral Saturday morning. I was asked to sing and boy oh boy was that hard. I had been praying all day that the Lord would help me just get through the song, that I could make it actually sound like I was singing. Man does the Lord come through. He sustained me the whole time. I sang "Every Life That Touches Ours For Good" and was actually able to keep it together during the song. Then I sat down and totally lost it, but still, He answered my prayers, I made it through the song. It was really hard saying goodbye to Jill. I loved her so much and she is and will forever be a huge part of my mission. I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to know her, teach her, and help her come closer to Christ. It was a good service. There weren't many people there, but her missionaries were there.
We had a TON of success with the Felvers this week!!!!!! Dane went out of town Monday and to help him keep the spirit we told him that we would send them a scripture every morning for them to read and keep in their mind all day. We also sent him with some cd's that had some great talks to listen to while he drove down to Knoxville. He read every scripture and listened to every talk. HE LOVED IT! He got home around midnight Friday morning and before he went to bed he read all of the scriptures over again, the articles of faith, and D&C 89. He said he needed to wind down after the drive before he went to bed. We went over Friday and got to hear about his week. IT WAS AWESOME! He said that he was done with the things that are keeping him from living the word of wisdom. He said he couldn't expect his daughter, Heather, to get baptized and live these things if he's not willing to do the same. He said he has that desire again to do better, to be better. He opened up to us a lot and shared some really personal things and how he's changing. It was so incredible. I loved just sitting there and hearing him talk about some of his experiences and how he's drawing closer to the spirit. He's making such fantastic progress! He went to the priesthood session Saturday night and we came over and had dinner with Robin and Heather. It was awesome! She really opened up to us as well and we got to know her so much better. They have had a rough time as a family, they've been through a lot. But they just keep going. They are making it work and are coming back. Heather is so excited to get baptized! For an 8 year old she's really mature and understands what's happening. It's so exciting for us too! I love it! I love getting to see the gospel and how it changes lives, really really changes lives. This is a different family than when Sis. Lemmon and I first met them. It's so delightful. Being a missionary is THE BEST!
Friday we had a zone training meeting that was so awesome! I really like our zone leaders. They are awesome elders and really brought the spirit to the meeting. They are so prepared and so in tune with the spirit. I gained a lot of insight for myself and our area. It gave me a lot of things to apply to myself and help me become a better missionary.
We had a good week over all. It was a crazy busy week and we accomplished a lot and participated in a great spiritual feast! I'm so excited to start hearing about your study of Preach My Gospel like Elder Ballard said! I love that book and am thrilled that we'll all be studying it together.
Love you mom!!!!
Sounds like you guys have had a great week! I'm so happy to hear that!
I hope things with Sarah get better soon. I hope that this summer when she's in Utah they can get things figured out! I'll be praying for it!
This has been one of the most memorable weeks for me in the best and worst way.
Jill came home from the hospital Thursday so we went over and saw her. She was doing really good! A little groggy from the meds but was doing great. Her brother, Jerry was in town staying with her for a few days. He is the high priest group leader down south and just seemed like a great guy. He was going to work on getting her place cleaned up and tobacco free so that when she was recovered she wouldn't have to worry about that. So we left Thursday night feeling really good about everything and really happy that Jerry was there to help out. Friday morning we got a call from Jilll's son, Josh, that Jill had passed away. It was so shocking. We couldn't believe it. I still am struggling accepting it. So Friday was rough. Then Saturday morning didn't really help. We got a call from Jerry saying that he had just gotten a call from the police that Josh, Jill's son, had told a friend that he was thinking about committing suicide and that he wanted us to go over to Jill's apartment to see if he was there and if he was okay. I really didn't want to do that, I didn't feel like it was something we should do but we didn't know what else to do. (Don't worry, I'm never going to do something that stupid ever again, I'll call the cops first.) So we went over, reluctantly, and walked into to Jill's old apartment and saw Josh lying on the couch with a blanket over his head. Sis. Bakker and I both thought he was dead. I started to panic. It was a-w-f-u-l. But then we saw him breathing and woke him up, he was just asleep. (I said so many prayers of gratitude) So we went in and invited him to the baptism we were having in 30 minutes. He seemed to be alright and doing well, that he wasn't a threat to himself. He didn't want to come to the baptism because he didn't have any church clothes, so we told him we'd catch up with him later. So then we headed to Jim's baptism. Talk about an adrenaline rush. I can't believe that we had just done that and now were going to a baptismal service.... not my ideal idea of the way I wanted Saturday to go.
We got to the church and started getting everything set up and together. We took lots of pics with Jim and were just glad that we were there at the church with him as he was getting baptized. It was awesome. Then President Vellinga walked in and we felt even better! It was so wonderful to have him there with us for that. The service went so well! Sis. Bakker gave the talk on baptism and Jim asked me to sing, so I sang "This is the Christ." Everything went so well. Then it came time for the actual ordinance. Jim was baptized before in a river and he said it was freezing cold and so we promised him that this one would be warm, that was the one thing he wouldn't have to worry about. He stepped into the font and it was colder than the river.... One of the water heaters in the church was broken and that water was freezing. I felt so bad for him. But he was baptized and said that it would definitely something he would never forget. haha. He was a really good sport about it. After the service we got to talk to a lot of Jim's family who aren't members. His sister and brother in law lived in Chesterfield for a long time so it was fun to talk with them about St. Louis! I loved it! Jim's great nephew joined the church when he was a senior in high school and then went on a mission to Vegas West and about a year ago was married in the Temple. So the family has been really impressed with the church and they all love it and love that Jim has joined it. We all left wondering why none of the rest of them had joined the church yet. We're all still really confused about that. But they are awesome people. They actually took us all out to lunch with them after the service! It was so fun. they are such great people, Jim is really blessed. President got to meet all of them and a lot of the branch members. He said he was really impressed with everyone and everything. He said the baptism was "perfect". PERFECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sis. Bakker and I almost hit the roof! We were so happy to hear that. After the 24 hours we had just been through that was definitely something we were excited to hear. We really needed something to help us get through the rest of the week.
Which is why I'm also so grateful for the Women's broadcast. It was WONDERFUL! I loved it. As soon as we sat down and it started I was hit so strongly with the spirit, it just hit me like a brick wall - SO STRONG. I think it was the first time this weekend that I got to sit down and kind of reflect on everything that had happened and to listen to women who were special servants of the Lord. It was so much what I needed. I felt the Lord's hand in that. I am so grateful for general conference and the opportunity we have to be ministered to by our general authorities. It helps us feel close to our Savior and feel Him close to us, something that Sis. Bakker and I needed so desperately.
Sunday was also a great day. Jim was confirmed and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. So special! The Felvers also were there again - 2nd Sunday in a row!!!! Heather is really getting excited to be baptized! She and Robin were at the baptism on Saturday. Robin cried the whole time, the spirit was really working on her and she felt it for sure. Heather is definitely what is driving this family to come back right now. It's so awesome! They are making some great progress. Dane is going to be out of town this week for business, so we are sending him a daily scripture text to help him stay focused and remember to stay strong.
We also went and saw Josh Sunday night. He seems to be doing really good. he knows that the Lord won't give him more than he can handle, so he's staying strong. I think he's going to make it out alright.
So it's been a crazy week. Lots of awesome things and a few not so awesome. But that's the price we pay for loving people. We're just so grateful that we were able to help Jill start moving in the right direction, she was making a lot of progress. We're happy she's in a better place and look forward to being reunited with her soon.
Thanks for all you guys do. I miss you all so much!!!!