Monday, September 27, 2010

Hey Everybody!

Last night we had a Missionary Fireside and it was so good. The elders and us put it together and it turned out so nice. If only more people would have come though. As active and less-active members we have to ensure that we continue to have spiritual experiences and last night was. Jamien Basso was baptized last week gave his testimony for the first time and also Liz and Bella Otis who just hit their year mark of their baptism. Liz is such a rock. I love her so much and she really strengthens me everytime we teach her or hear her testimony. She just turned 26 and her daughter just turned 10. She had a rough patch in her life, but it was necessary because she sees now how necessary a Savior is and how the gospel blesses us. As far as individuals that have changed me on my mission, she is right up there with the Hamilton family. Oh by the way, did I tell you Sis. Dunn got transferred back to NN1? Pres. Perry has no idea what our old areas are, so there is still hope I can go back there someday! She is there with Sis. Woodruff now. Sweet! Back to the fireside...Sis. Stewart in the ward is an amazing pianist and she composes music, so she played one of her pieces. Bishop Cluff spoke and he shared insights from a book about William Tyndale called Fire in the Bones by Michael Wilcox. I want to read that book when I get home. Tyndale was around during the reformation era and translated the Bible. He suffered a lot of persecution and was a martyr for the cause. You can also read about him and other reformers in PMG, Chapter 3, end of Lesson 1.

On Saturday we taught Kat again. She is so great and I want so badly for her to accept the gospel. She admits that she has a hard time praying specifically to know the BoM is the word of God and that Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration because she is afraid of the answer and because she is not quite ready to submit to the Lord's will. She helps to remember that this is real life. She reminds me a lot of me actually. Some of the things she says make me think if I wasn't born in the Church I would probably be like her. She has a great faith and is looking for more, so these are the times when we as missionaries develop patience and trust in the Lord's timing. But the lesson we taught was about real intent and asking questions in prayer. There is a lot of value in asking specific questions especially in regards to wanting to know truth and needing specific guidance. There haven't been many times on my mission where my own personal experiences have been relevant (never done drugs, never been to jail! haha) in a lesson, but in regards to asking specific questions I shared about when I was trying to decide where to go to college. I wanted one thing and I went for it and then ended up finally realizing it wasn't the right decision and then I made the decision to do what the Lord had in store. Kat is just so great!

We had a lesson with Jessica. I taught her once back in May. She is the young cute Navy wife who's husband is deployed and grew up in small town Baptist North Carolina town. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and she loves the idea of eternal families. The way she was raised (Baptist/Adventist) they believe you remember you were married to your spouse after this life, but you are just brothers and sisters in the end. She at this point in unwilling to change her religion.  But we are hopeful that she likes eternal families so much, that she will pray about it.

We were able to teach Shekaylia finally. We tried to pass her over to the Singles Branch, but nobody did anything. So we are hoping to see her every week! She pretty much fell less active after her baptism. Thank heavens that we rely on the Spirit to change people because we would not get anywhere with her if it was just us.
So we've been seeing lots of bugs and creatures lately. We had 4 cockroaches in our house. They were big ones too. Sis. V and I don't do bugs, so we yell for Sis. Case to save the day. The Kreitzer's took us to see this crazy spider at their house and when we were dropping off our laundry today the Kane's had a tree frog on their door frame. Ewww!

Relief Society Broadcast - It was soooo good!  I really liked Sis. Thompson's talk a lot.  She is great!  I have really gained a testimony of VT on my mission because I see the fruit of when sisters do it and the potential fruit if others would do it.  Sis. Long one of my favorite sisters in the ward came back to church about a year ago and she gives a lot of credit to her faithful visiting teacher, Sis. Royl.

 Have a wonderful week!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hey, Hey!

What's new this week? We had a great week. We had dinner last night with the Drake family. They are so cool. They invited Sis. Cobb and Sis. Cacho over, so it was a party. The Drake's were telling us how in Philadelphia they would get together with other dental students a lot and it was so much fun. Our ward here is pretty good about getting together and having FHE or dinners too. I hope my future wards in my life will be so fun like that. Bro. Drake also told me that Craig sent him a picture of a really disgusting mouth. I laughed because I knew that was my cousin. Haha

We had such a great lesson with this man named Anthony Calahan. We call him Bro. Calahan. We met him while tracting around a referral we received. He is retired Navy and was on the Enterprise for about 5-6 years. He grew up in Louisiana and was Catholic. I'm tempted to say his family came from the Carribean originally, but I'm not sure. While he was in the Navy he found himself a cute Filipino wife and has been married 23 years and has 4 kids. I talked to him this morning and he doesn't think his wife is very interested, but he already has read the passages in the BoM that we left with him. Now if we can get him to church and to pray specifically...! He lives around the corner from the Shealey's who are incredible and so willing to help, so they will be very instrumental in fellowshipping. Before we came to the lesson he had already read the pamphlet and looked at (which if you still haven't done it!). He seemed like he was skeptical, but by the end of the lesson he said he wanted to know and he knew that man would not give him the answer. So cool!

We had at least 7 less active families at church this Sunday. We again had to open the curtains! This ward is so awesome! Bishop Cluff is such a great bishop and is always willing to give his time and energy to serving. We always joke how he never sleeps. I learned early on in my mission that the leaders in the ward determine the success of the people in the ward. It's true and I've seen it over and over on my mission. Where the Ward Council is strong, so are the members and the missionary work.

Jamien Basso was baptized on Saturday. The elders have been teaching him for a couple of months. It was such a great baptism and was perfect for Jamien. We are super excited to have him in the ward. He is a man of many talents too. His mom is learning and so is his neighbor upstairs. They are both set to be baptized in October. They live on the roughest street in our area, so it's so awesome that the Spirit is changing it! There of course will still be lots of gang stuff and drugs on that street, but slowly but surely we'll convert the whole street! Bro. Corry used to live on it, but it was too bad he moved shortly after his baptism last August. The Lord has definitely prepared hearts in the ghetto areas here. I have had such an interesting experience in VA. I had no idea how many people were addicted to drugs and that it's normal for kids to be surrounded with it and with stabbings, etc. It's so sad. But I know the Lord will allow each of His children to choose to accept the gospel whether in mortality or in the Spirit World. I am listening now to a mom yelling at her kid in the library.  I am truly grateful for the way I was brought up and that I have the gospel. The gospel truly blesses families!

I'm out of time, but I have a funny story to share first. We met this lady named Rhoda when we were going to contact another member referral (love those!). She asked us all sorts of sweet questions and then we set up a time to see her. She had to reschedule that lesson and so we finally saw her last week. When we got to her house she wasn't home. We were bummed, but we called her and she actually picked up. Usually they don't. Haha. She was at the store and originally in her mind I think she wasn't home on purpose. But the Spirit prompted her to return home for the lesson. She had lots of great questions for us and also some strange ones. She asked us randomly if we were virgins. If we would go to the Holiness church with her (we really hope we can work that out!). And if we wore perfume. This is where it got really funnny. She walked us out to our car and stopped at hers and said she wanted us to have this perfume. It's called Black Woman. She put a bunch on our arms and the smell was awful. She was like isn't this so good and nice and soft? Uh yeah sure. Haha. Well I tried to wash it off 3 times and it didn't budge. It was so stinky. We were telling a member about it and he said we should put in on the elders bikes. So after our meetings on Thursday we put some on their handle bars. It was so hilarious. They called us and said "you know what they say about paybacks right". Haha. They still haven't done anything to us. I don't think they will, they are too nice. Haha. The perfume is so strong it wouldn't surprise me if they'll be smelling black woman for a few months. Haha.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Good Food Week

So I have finally been to a Tepanyaki place. It's called Wasabi. It was soooo good. We went with the Mitchell's who are one of the coolest families in the ward. They are so fun! They grilled up some good food right at our table and we had some sushi and some Tempura cheesecake. It was cool when we shared our lesson, Sis. Mitchell said they have been studying PMG everyday since we came a week ago. So cool! Then at church I talked to another sister in the ward and she said that she has been studying PMG too. We are getting into every member home and teaching PMG. We share every member lesson practically out of PMG, so we always make them pull it out. Quite a few have started studying out of it on their own, which rocks. PMG-a guide to missionary service. It's purpose it to help every member learn how to be a missionary. It's so sweet! The day after we went to Wasabi we went to the Williamsons for dinner and a PMG lesson on Missionary Work. We gave them some pass along cards and they immediately set the goal to each give 2 away by the end of the month. So cool! I love this family. She does hair, so the first week of last transfer we all went to get our hair trimmed. He is from Scotland originally and they just moved here so he could do his PHD at Old Dominion University. And they made us curry!! This has been a good week for food I tell ya. I miss Indian, Thai, etc type of food.

So we have recently had some cockroaches in our apartment. Gross! Sis. Vawdrey and I have found 3 of the 4 and we just usually scream really loud and yell for Sis. Case to come and kill them. We're not sure where they are coming from suddenly because our apartment is clean. I'm afraid they are going to crawl on me in my sleep or something. We've gotten really freaked out. I hate praying next to my bed after the lights are out. I've been kneeling on my bed just to be safe. Haha

Vinolia is doing well. She was at church yesterday and really enjoyed herself. I didn't get to talk to her much because we had so many people at church. The last 2 Sundays we've had to open up the back! We see Vinolia for another lesson tomorrow. Her and her husband spoke about finding a church together, so she was hoping he would come with her to church, but she said that he wasn't ready. He wants her to wait to be baptized, but he's not doing anything about finding a church, so hopefully she can talk to him more about just letting her do what she wants to and he can come along when he is ready to do something about it. We need to start teaching more of the lessons when he is at home, so we can invite him to listen in.

We had a lesson at Mildred and Theresa's and Mildred's daughter Paulette who owns the house who just got out of jail was there. She was really interested to learn more, so we are going to start teaching her too. She is really cool and seems open to learning. She said she'd try to come to church, but she didn't make it unfortunately. There was a man who was fixing their toilets while we taught the lesson and then we ended up talking to him in the parking lot for 20 minutes. He was interested in learning more, but he's more of the skeptical type. The problem is that he would meet with us, but he lives in my last area in Newport News. He said he doesn't want to talk to other missionaries because he said he met us for a reason. So we're not sure what to do about him yet. We didn't set a lesson, so we'll have to call him.

Sunday we had 2 investigators at church (should have had more, but that's pretty normal) and a bunch of less active members. We had this one family show up. She has now come 4 times since I've been here in Norfolk and her husband came with her yesterday. He is on the Enterprise and this last run they had he got hooked up with the church members and I think he is ready to get the priesthood now. He grew up LA and never got the priesthood. They are a young couple and have an 18 month old, so it's the perfect timing for them to come back to church. He deploys in January and there are a bunch of members on the E, so it'll be a good situation for him.

Well time is up and I've got to go!  I wanted to share some scriptures that I found recently that I have been sharing with lots of people because they've really helped me to understand more about the purpose of scripture study. I wish I had more time to elaborate, but I will share the scriptures and leave it to you. So read the section called Study the Scriptures on page 73 of PMG and then it's the verses on the top of page 74 I really like. My favorite is 2 Timothy 3:16-17. They are all good, but the Bible ones are my favorite. When I read this section the other day, it was like I had never read it before. I know that by studying scripture we can truly know what we need to do and who we can become. We learn about Jesus Christ and by doing so, can know what we can do in our lives to become more like him. We committed a member last night to read scripture everyday and I cannot wait to see how she is influenced because of it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hurricane Earl

Another transfer in Norfolk for Sis. Vawdrey and I. Yay! I'm going to make it to at least 6 months here. One of the other sisters is transferring and another one coming in. With the elders in our ward, Elder Meacham who came last transfer is staying and Elder Cook who has been here for 2 transfers is transferring and they will both be District Leaders. So we will be getting Elder Crossley. I don't know him yet. A lot of changes are happening each transfer with Pres. Perry. Sis. Dunn is going back to NN1 and will be with Sis. Woodruff. That's crazy that she is going back there...she's only been away 2 transfers. They are also taking some sisters out of areas and putting in elders and also vice versa. There are 2 areas being opened to sisters this transfer on the other half of the mission which make a total of 4 sister areas on the other side. And I don't think he is done spreading the sisters out.

We have started teaching this new lady named Olivia. She is so cool. She has the 3 cutest kids ever. She used to meet with missionaries years ago, met with the elders once earlier in the year and now we are teaching her. The elders saw her in Wal-Mart last week on P-Day, so that's crazy she keeps running into missionaries. She lives in a bad area of town where she was raised and she wants so badly for her boys to grow up with a better life. She is a great mom and is trying really hard to help them be good. The gospel of Jesus Christ will definitely help her with that!

We are teaching this lady named Vinolia who is from Africa. She met her husband while he was in the Peace Corps assigned to Africa and have been married 5 years now. She has 3 kids still in Africa and she is trying to get her 12 year old here with her, but it's really expensive! The elders were teaching her, but have recently had us start teaching her. (It is so easy to pass the men to them and they pass the women to us.) We taught her in the Kreitzer's home yesterday and had dinner. It was fun. The Kreitzer's have 2 little girls and 1 little boy and Vinolia does so well with kids and they love her! She is one of those investigators who you know will keep her committments and tell you what she is thinking about what she is learning. Yay! We have talked to her about baptism and her husband who is not interested in learning but supportive said that she needs to wait a while. So we'll see what happens with him.

Yep, we survived Hurricane Earl. Haha. It was supposed to hit in the middle of the night Thursday night, but it took another path. All day Friday was windy and rainy though. But not really what I thought it would be. It wasn't like the Noreaster last year. The preparations for the hurricane were pretty funny. We had to carry our 72 hour kits with us everywhere. We also had to flip a huge trampoline upside down and fill a bunch of buckets of water. The Wal-Mart was really packed last week. We were looking forward to being Hurricane survivors, but we're glad it didn't stick around and cause us to have to be in.   I had some weird flu last week and the day of the wind and rain it was the worst. But it's gone now and so is the rain.

Obviously the email is one day later than normal. With Labor Day, the libraries were closed, so we are emailing today. We forgot to plan it in our schedules, so we don't get the full hour. What were we thinking!?

Our youth had a fun activity this last Thursday. It was a YM/YW vs. Bishopric volleyball game. It was so funny! We wanted to go play too, but me in skirts and volleyball is a bad combo.