Tuesday, September 17, 2013

and, it's fall!

I wasn't going to send this one, because it's gross, but then I realized
how funny it is. This was obviously a hot day haha. But who
wouldn't want to accept the gospel with these cute girls showing up
on their doorstep?!
Thanks for all your letters and support! I love them and appreciate how you are always so nonjudgmental, supportive, and understanding :)

It's been a pretty good week and we've stayed busier, which has been fun! Monday and Tuesday were 100 degrees and humid, and now it's like 50's and 60's, and it rained a lot yesterday! But that's OK, I'm trying to stay positive about it being colder, especially since the colder it gets, the closer it is until Christmas! (and you know what happens on Christmas!) Too bad that only works through December haha.

Here's some sad news, but I promise there's good stuff coming up: on Monday, we had the idea to stop by the home of one of our past investigators and give her an invitation to the Relief Society ice cream social on Tuesday. We have been able to chat with her a couple times since she dropped us, so we figured it would be OK. She tells us to call her before we come over, so we did - twice, and left a message. We went over anyways. She was livid. She was like, "Why didn't you call me?!" when we said we did, she said, "So I didn't answer and you just came over anyways? Don't you come over no more!" I handed her the invitation anyways, but holy cow did that one hurt! It was like ripping off the scab from the previous wound :P. She will always hold a special place in both of our hearts, and we just pray that someday she will remember the good feelings that I know she felt and turn to the gospel again.

Ok now for the good stuff! We had our first lesson in a member's home on Wednesday! The member family is so great. She is from Ghana! She is so nice and works with another Brother in the ward at IBM. We taught her the Restoration, and that Brother was a lot of fun and a great asset to have there. She's not officially a new investigator, because we don't have a firm return appointment, but we are really hoping we'll be able to meet with her again this week. She is Methodist and is the kind who seems to be looking for the truth but doesn't know that that's what she's working with, so we are really trying to help her to feel the Spirit and have those experiences. She also had a really cool dream about a Mormon lady giving her a check for $1 million, and because of that and other experiences she's had, she views that dream as a member of the Church giving her something of immense value...sweet, right?! I hope we can help her!!!

And in no small coincidence, we had a mission tour the next day in Iowa City with Elder Robert C. Gay of the 70, who was a mission president in Ghana! He told us about a man and his dreams and how he prepared the people of Ghana for 14 years to accept the gospel. It was amazing. That story is featured in "Pioneers of Africa," and we are hoping to show parts of that to Vera, especially since she specifically asked how missionaries got to Ghana. We are excited about that. So anyways, about the mission tour in general, we were in Iowa City all day with training, which was a wonderful experience! The first half of training, I was completely overwhelmed - discouraged, frustrated, feeling so weak and incapable. Elder Gay talked a lot about the importance of listening to both our investigators and the Spirit, and he was very bold (those who love us, chastise us! but he did so lovingly) and I just felt like I would never be able to do it. I was having all these feelings like I just wanted to go home (I won't, don't worry) or crawl up in a ball and cry. It's hard to explain. Well, we took a break for lunch (which was delicious) and went back for more training, and suddenly I felt so much more at peace! Pres and Sis Jensen and Elder Gay were so loving and reminded us all that "whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies." I remembered that Heavenly Father doesn't want me to feel discouraged. He loves ME - weaknesses and all. It was then such an overwhelming feeling of love, and I was so grateful. As a whole, it was an amazing meeting and the Spirit was so strong, especially as we listened to this Special Witness of Christ bear witness of Christ! Needless to say, by the end, I was exhausted - but happy :) Oh and it was so so fun seeing my friends from the MTC, as well as seeing Elder Caleb Wardle! He has been out for 2 weeks and it sounds like he's doing great! 

Elder Wardle and me!
(We grew up together in the same stake in CA)

Those of my MTC district who were at the mission tour (it was half the
mission on Wed, half on Thurs): Elders Eastwood, Manning (from Hawai...
clearly haha), Wood, and Olsen, and Sister Kissner, me, and Sister Stoffers.
It amazes me how much I love these people after spending just 2 weeks
with them!

Another cool experience: On Saturday, Sister Call and I decided to walk to the good 'ole Butterfield apartments, where lots of our potentials live, to try checking in on some people and inviting them to church. No one was there. As we were walking back home, we saw a lady struggling with her groceries. No one ever lets us help them when we offer, but we both quickly stuffed our books into our bags so our hands were free and I said, "Where are you headed? We'll help you carry your groceries there!" haha I didn't want her to say no. Well she let us, and it was great because then we saw the rest of her family come (they were still walking from the parking lot so we didn't see them at first), and it was her, her husband, and her two kids (7 and 8) struggling with this huge load of groceries. We helped them carry them to their apartments at Butterfield, which was about 2 blocks away. They were so nice! They came from Chicago to get away from all the junk going on there and try to get their kids to some better schools. They said we could stop by whenever, and I asked if we could come by sometime and share a message about Jesus Christ (we couldn't right then because we had a dinner appointment), and they said we could come by during the weekend, since they both work all day during the week. That was really fun. Oh and when we walked into their apartment they didn't have much, but they did have a Chess board out, and the dad said that he's teaching his boys Chess because it's good for the brain :) I told him about my dad and that made me smile!
Sister Call's MTC companion is training my MTC comp! Also, it was
frustrating because of course, the one day that was a mission
tour was my bad hair day. haha oh well. I promise it looked
better the next day!
We also had a good lesson with our inactive family. Actually we didn't teach much of a lesson at all, because we really felt like we just needed to listen and let them talk. The mom (who's only like 22 or 23) talked a lot about her past and her worries and things like that, so we ended up learning a lot about them and felt like she really needed that time. It felt good to be able to do that. We will teach more next time.

The RS ice cream social was fun, even if the lady we invited wasn't there, and we got to meet some other non-members, so that was good. Also, a cute girl at Hills and Dales painted our nails, which was fun - I'm sad I didn't get a picture before we took off the nail polish, but it had to come off pretty quickly because it wasn't the best polish job ;)

We've been having more meals with members, and we finally got our meal coordinator! I also had my first time as a missionary forcing down something I didn't like (usually it's steak/chicken, potatoes, and corn!) haha! This cute lady was excited because her neighbor gave her "fruit salad" so she decided to have that for dessert instead of making brownies. Well, this fruit salad was some mayonnaise-heavy sweat cream mixture with macaroni noodles, raisins, and some weird kind of dried fruit or something. It was pretty bad haha...her husband was like, "you should've made the brownies." Haha but it was fun and at least she wasn't the one who made it, though she was also the only one who enjoyed it I think!

I think that's about it for now. I am trying to read all of the last General Conference talks before this GC, which we are super excited about!! I am enjoying reading the talks. I love this gospel so much and am so grateful for the clarity and direction it brings in life. I know that it's true! Thanks for teaching me the gospel and being such a support! I love you all!

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