Well, I was hoping you all would have emailed me your transfer predictions...but you all would probably be wrong. I know I was! Sis. Cox and I both felt like we would be staying here in NN 1st. But I am being transferred to Newport News 2nd Ward. Sis. Cox gets to stay in the 1st Ward and she will be training yet again another greenie. After me it should be a breeze ;) haha It's really weird that I will be leaving Sis. Cox and this ward. And that I'm only going down the street. This has got to be the closest transfer in the history of the mission. It's breaks my heart to leave the Hamilton's! But I know the 2nd Ward needs me, so I'm excited to see what it's like. This new ward is actually pretty cool because it's the ward for Fort Eustis. I guess there is a branch on post that meets, so we work with them as well. I've heard the members aren't so missionary minded, so maybe I can help with that. Coming from the 1st Ward...they better be prepared for me! After our 2 baptisms tomorrow (technically I'll be 2nd Ward then, but I'm going to the baptism!) Sis. Cox and I will have seen 12 baptisms together. We had a great companionship and I am really going to miss her as my companion. I will be with Sister Dickson who I came out with, so it'll be fun. She's been in the 2nd Ward the whole time we've been out. The Spanish Elders are becoming a trio (I'm guessing that kid from St. Johns maybe...) and Elder Timmons is going to Chesterfield. So Elder Frampton will get a new comp and he was made District Leader. Back to 7 missionaries in the 1st Ward. I know that Bishop was praying really hard that all of us stay, but the new missionaries will be great. Pres. Millburn called us last night and told us the news. Then a few minutes later he called us back and wanted to express how impressed he was with our companionship. Sis. Cox said that's never happened to her before. Needless to say, I'm not really ready to leave Sis. Cox. But that's the mission I guess!
Ahh!! We just got a call and apparently there is a snow storm in SLC, so the new missionaries won't be coming for another day! So I will still be in NN 1st tomorrow! Yeah!
The Barkdull family is finally all baptized now. It only took 3 baptismal services, but they are all baptized. I told you about them on the phone. They are totally awesome and have the cutest kids. Ethan is 11 and he is going to be a scriptorian. He is so darn smart and he wanted to be baptized I swear more than anyone else in his family! The baptism yesterday was so incredible. The ward is doing another Book of Mormon read-a-thon and we read Mosiah 18 (Waters of Mormon) and then went and had the baptism. It was sweet!
I'm overwhelmed with emotions right now, so I don't have much else to say in words. We have seen so many miracles in this ward in the past 3 months it's incredible. I cannot believe how joyous I feel right now. We have truly seen real miracles. Sister Cox and I read in the Bible Dictionary this morning about Faith, Hope, and Miracles. We truly will see miracles based on our faith. I have had a perma smile like you wouldn't believe.
We had Zone P-Day today and went bowling. It was a lot of fun!
So last Friday we had a baptism for Ashley Pauley. She is 13 and her testimony rocks! This is number 3...not everyone we set for baptism has gotten baptized yet...soon though hopefully.
We had exchanges again and Sis. Cox went to Smithfield and I was with Sis. Halliday again. It was weird being without my trainer, but I actually felt really confident. So I feel like I am getting better and my knowledge is growing.
It's so crazy Christmas is next week! I don't know when we'll call yet. But it's probably going to be whenever we want. Our P-Day is moved to Thursday, so I can tell you then. But chances are Sis. Hamilton will let you know.
We have a Mission Conference tomorrow in Virginia Beach. We still don't have a ride...but we will! It should be fun. We will meet with all the sister's for an hour beforehand.
P.S. We are having a white Christmas. We right now have 3 baptisms, but that could change one way or the other. I'll keep you posted.
Yo se que La Iglesia de Jesu Cristo de Los Santos de Los Ultimos Dias es verdadera. I am working on my Spanish. We knock a lot of Spanish doors, so I am creating my own door approach. Haha
The YM/YW had a really fun mutual activity last week. They did ice cream sculpting. They had a big gallon thing of ice cream and had to create something from the Book of Mormon. One group created the Book of Mormon opened to Moroni 10:3-5. Another did a fortified city. It was so fun to watch and it gave them opportunity to meet new people, work on teamwork, and think of a Book of Mormon story.
So I started reading the Doctrine and Covenants again. It's so interesting how before I read it as direction given to Oliver Cowdery or Peter Whitmer, etc. and not so much me. But if it was just for them, why would we bother to have it in print right? What I've come to realize is that we are to apply and internalize all the instructions given to those men. Those revelations in D&C were given to men in this dispensation for a reason. We are all here at this time and in this dispensation (the last!!) to help and prepare each other to meet God again. We know that Christ will come at the end of this dispensation! The people born in the other dispensations were also responsible for missionary work, but they were not called to declare repentance like we are. The whole book talks about how we are to "declare repentance" and that what should be of most worth is the work of helping to save souls. In other words, we all should be a part of the missionary effort throughout our lives. My mission is teaching me a lot, but I think the thing of most value is what I am learning about who I want to be after my mission. Sis. Cox and I talk all the time about how excited we are to be members when we get back. And how we will hold each other accountable for what we say now!!
So the Ellis' are doing pretty good. He came to Church on Sunday, then we taught the kid's the Restoration. Monday night they came to an FHE at the Turner's house. It was sweet! (The Turner's are one of my favorite families in the ward.) We are going to teach Plan of Salvation tomorrow. We are going to a thrift store today...you know how much I love those!!! We are going to find some dresses for the mom and daughter. This will be fun!
For some reason I don't have much to say this week. So I'll work on sending some pics. Now that my battery works I can take pics again!
I love you family. Have fun with the holiday preparations! I still don't know the plan for Christmas. No Skype though. I think we may call from our phone...not positive though. And we can talk for up to 40 minutes. I don't think we will have a designated time, so we'll probably just pick a random time and let you know.
How is everyone doing? All is great here! I cannot believe it is December already. I've heard time outside of the mission stands still and I am experiencing that right now. I feel like it's September!!!! It was pretty weird how on Dec. 1 we had a little frost on the grass when we went running. Suddenly the weather got a little chillier. But it's already warmed up again though. The running joke is that if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes. That's so how UT and AZ are too!
P-Day is an awesome day never to forget. Why you ask...because Sis. Cox and I went and got free massages!! It was awesome and can I just say well needed too. There is this lady that we met who is an instructor at a tech college and she was telling us how we could get massages for free. Okay, twist our arms. So we called our Zone Leaders and asked and they said we could. It was sweet!
The sad thing about today is I went to apply for my VA driver's license. They punched a big hole in my AZ one :( I need to figure out how that will work with residency though. I think I can get a change of address form and fill it out... So in 7-10 business days I will have a new driver's license...only a temporary paper one for now.
Sis. Cox and I spoke in church on Sunday about Christ. I tell you what, it's much easier coming up with a talk on the spur of the moment now than it was before! Writing talks is not something we have time for, so we kind of just got up there and went for it. Pres. Hansen spoke as well, so it was a sweet sacrament meeting to have our investigators at. I cannot tell you how nice it was to not hold my breath hoping that the talks aren't crazy! Bishop spoke in the 3rd hour and it was amazing. He said that the Lord will keep giving the ward new members for as long as we can care for them and handle it.
Thanksgiving was so fun! Thanks for the video you sent! That was cute. I loved the Turkey song Ashlyn!!!! And I am so glad Tyler did his letter B thing. I thought of it a few weeks ago and couldn't remember exactly how it went. We did our weekly planning session that morning and then went to the Hamilton's. We cancelled all of our other appts.! We ate some good food...including sweet potato souffle!!!!! Yeah! Thanks mom for sending the recipe. It was a HUGE hit. Bishop really liked it and Sis. Cox could not find the words to describe it. She just kept saying WOW! WOW! It was hilarious. Then we hung out for a little while and then went bowling. We bowled with 2 of the Hamilton kids and then one of their friends. We bowled different ways each time. We did the "slide" and wow, I have a sweet bruise on my knee. Who knew I got old and couldn't do a sweet bowling slide very well?!?! Haha. But we are for sure going to have to make bowling one of the new T-Day traditions. It was so fun!
We have been working hard and really fighting against anti material. It seems that everyone we teach gets anti within 5 seconds! It is horrible! Apparently anti-Mormon stuff is preached from the pulpits here. I had no idea. I think it's so weird. But that is one of the best ways for Satan to attack our investigators. Because our stake is having such a push right now (reading the BoM and fasting, etc.) for the rest of 2009, Satan has really been working hard. We've had investigators in the hospital and family members die and get sick and all sorts of weird stuff come up to keep them from coming to Church. Bishop once said that he'd hate to be related to an investigator right now. It's sad, but true. Everyone we teach has something really dramatic happen in their family. But it's so obvious - it is because Satan is trying everything he can to stop them from doing good things that will bless their lives.
We just got into contact with one of our less active families yesterday. They are so amazing and really do want to come back to church. They have had the worst luck throughout the year, so they really need the blessings from coming to church. They used to have a nice house and lived a normal life. Then he was out of work and came to Newport News for a promised job, which fell through. They put all of their belongings into storage and firgured they would move all the stuff to their new house. But because the job fell through, they had no money. So everything in the storage was auctioned off including personal stuff like photo albums. They've been in and out of dumpy long stay hotels and he picked up smoking again. She found work, but he still hasn't because he's overqualified for everything. He works in mental health for adults, so a lot of those jobs have been cut recently. They've got 2 or 3 kids...not sure. But 2 are of baptismal age and have not been baptized yet. They said they will be at church Sunday and then we'll meet with them Sunday afternoon and again Monday night for FHE...both at member homes. They are such a cool family that ran into some serious back luck. But they've been humbled in a way that they will be rocking members once they are consistent. We are excited for them, so look for future updates. They are the Ellis family...
Well things are great in NN! I hope with the holiday season we are all looking for ways to serve our fellow men. Cody-it sounds like your family's ideas are awesome! I can't wait to hear about how it goes.
Making this suggestion has been on my mind for a few weeks, so I'm just going to suggest it. Ways to serve your local missionaries: 1) meet their investigators at church and invite to take them to classes 2) tell the missionaries that you would be willing to have lessons in your homes 3) ask the missionaries when you can go with them to lessons (don't worry...it's not scary) 4) invite recent converts, less actives, or investigators to your house for dinner, FHE, etc. (this is even cooler if you just did it without the missionaries.) 5) invite your non-member friends to ward activities or a dinner at your house (and tell the missionaries, of course!) I don't know who will take these suggestions, but these are great ways to serve the ward. Retention is a big job and missionaries come and go, but the ward stays around. If they get the HT, VT, and fellowshipping they need, new members will be more likely to stick around and keep developing their testimonies. The first little while is hard for them because they are completely changing their lifestyle. Imagine a life totally opposite of you and then think of the process it takes to go from that to where you are now. Crazy eh? Okay, done now.