Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Long Week

It's been a good week, although it seemed to drag on for forever. I'm not really sure why that was, maybe because we had to spend the first couple days inside so Sister Winsor could finish recovering. But by Wednesday we were back in the swing of things, which was good, because I was starting to feel like I wasn't going to ever be able to figure out this area before Sister Winsor leaves.  Somehow I think we're only going to be together for this transfer, but she really wants us to stay companions till the end of her mission in September, just because she thinks it would be funny if I "killed" her. We'll see. We had interviews with President Holm on Thursday, and it was interesting to talk to him about Sister Winsor and I being companions again. He said he just felt we needed to be together, he's not really sure why, but that's the way it needed to be.

It's sad to think that President and Sister Holm will be leaving us so soon, I don't think any of us really know what to expect with getting a new mission president. I kind of assume that most things will stay the same while they figure out what's going on and get the hang of things but once they settle down then things may change. I'm really going to miss President and Sister Holm, though. They're absolutely amazing, and I've learned so much from them.

Camden is a great little place. As I've been able to get out as see more of it, I've really liked it, and we have a great ward. Our area, the sister's area, covers most of Kershaw county, and the top of our area is actually the mission border, because the North Carolina mission scoops down and takes some of South Carolina. The area is pretty big, and mostly country, although we have a good part of the town of Lugoff, which is pretty concentrated, a lot like Easley. 

We have a car, but we spend a lot of time walking around, because it is a big area, and we have to conserve miles. But I don't mind walking at all, I love it. Although it is humid here. I knew; I just knew that I was going to end up in the Columbia area during the summer, because it's the hottest part of the state. We're at least a little ways out, so we get a slight ocean breeze every once in a while. The ward is very friendly, and we get fed a few times a week; members mostly like to take us out to eat rather than having us over to their homes.

We have quite a few people to teach, and a lot of potential investigators. The most solid family is a family with two teenage boys who have been meeting with missionaries on and off for 15 years. 

It's crazy to me to think that it's almost been a year since I left on my mission. I can't believe how fast time has gone by. And everyone keeps telling me the last six months go by the fastest, which is not good news. I've finally gotten to the point where I'm happy to do missionary work all day long. I can't even remember what it's like to be a normal person, to not think about the gospel all day long. The thought of sitting down long enough to watch a half hour tv show, let alone a movie, just seems ridiculous. I honestly don't think I'd be able to sit still for that long, or go that long without talking.

I've gotten used to the South as well, the humidity doesn't really bother me anymore and the things people do that I found shocking at the beginning of my mission I now find endearing. But now, or at least soon, I'm going to have to start facing the reality that missions don't last forever. Watching Sister Winsor, as she starts to head into her last few months, I'm realizing how hard it's going to be to stay focused and to not start worrying about or dwelling on the future. I think I'm going to need some help with that from y'all. Because I really don't want to get trunkie and waste part of my mission thinking about being home.

I rescued a turtle that had crawled out in the middle of the road :)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Not Going to Believe This

Deja Vu Companionship
It has been an absolutely amazing week, which started off with a really unexpected surprise at transfers. Based on what was said in the blessing Brother Kunzler gave me, I was expecting to get a companion who was very different from the ones I'd had before, so as we were sitting in the chapel at the beginning of transfer meeting I couldn't help looking around, wondering who she was going to be. All my previous companions, except Sister Bell, were there, but since we got there late I didn't have a chance to say hi to them before the meeting started. There were quite a few people coming and going, so the testimonies took a little while, but then we finally got to the slideshow. President got through Charleston zone, and he hadn't said my name, and then he went to Columbia zone. President announced the Camden ward, which is where Sister Winsor is serving so she stood up, and then he said "and transferring in is Sister Katelyn Rudy." 

At first I thought he had made a mistake, but he was serious. Sister Winsor is my new companion. Of course we were both super excited so we practically ran to hug each other. Shock doesn't even begin to describe how I felt. It's still really weird. But the longer we're together and the more we talk about it, the more I know that this is a very inspired companionship. 

It's been really great to get to skip all that new companion awkwardness that you normally go through, of getting to know someone and figuring out how they do things; we've just been able to pick up where we left off.  So in that way I definitely have seen the promise in my blessing fulfilled, that we would be able to unite early and make each day count. But it's also interesting to see how much we've changed and grown. 

At Sister Rudy's first transfer, Sept. 3, 2013
Sister Winsor is still the same missionary she was before, but she's a better version of herself. And I feel like I am too. It's so obvious how much more we know and how much more confident and experienced we are. I am so excited. Because I really feel this sense of urgency about this transfer, that there are things that the Lord needs us to do. And I know that Sister Winsor and I are capable of accomplishing anything that the Lord needs to have us do.

It's also very inspired that we're together because Sister Winsor has been having some health challenges lately that are making it hard for her to work. It's really been stressing her out lately. She's such a hard working missionary that it's hard for her to take time out of proselyting to take care of herself. 

Camden is wonderful; I am already falling in love with this little town. It's super old, and has all these cool buildings and even a Revolutionary war site, where a battle was fought. Plus, all the members are super amazing, so I think I'm going to love it here.

I hope you all have a great week, I love you!  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Day with No More Goodbyes

I've forgotten how much I don't like leaving an area. Saying goodbye to people is hard. I've felt this transfer coming for a couple weeks now, but now that it's official and I've had my last Sunday at church and had to say goodbye to some of my favorite members, it's hard. After Sister McNeece finished talking to her family, she asked Brother Kunzler for a blessing. I felt like I needed to ask for one too. It was a very comforting blessing. In it I was told that I'd accomplished everything I was sent here to do in this area. It was an incredible thing to hear, because it's so hard to know when I've done enough. There are so many things that as a missionary I'm supposed to do, sometimes it can be overwhelming and I feel like I'm not getting all the important things done. So to hear from our Heavenly Father that I've done the work He needed me to do was very comforting. It's allowing me to let go, to accept that this isn't my area anymore. 

I was also promised that the relationships I've made here will continue into the eternities. I love that we have that promise. It was a promise that I clung to a lot when Sister Rowley was leaving, because things were so good but I knew that once she left things weren't going to be the same, that we were never going to have quite the same relationship as we had at that point, that because of time and other things that would come up in our lives, we would still be sisters and still be close, but it wasn't going to be the same. I feel that way now about our investigators and the members of this wonderful ward, that things are going to change. Which is why I am so grateful to know that there will be a day with no more goodbyes, and when we will be able to continue to develop and enjoy the relationships that we have with everyone that we love. Little things may get in the way while we're on this earth, but it won't be that way in the eternities. 

Brother Kunzler also said some interesting things about my next area, that I'm going to have a companion who is very different from my last companions, personality and interests wise, and that we will be able to unite early on in our companionship so that we can make every day count. So, I'm very curious to see where I'm going and who I'll be with. 

There have been lots of good things that have happened this week. We were able to find a lot of very prepared people to teach, and I'm very excited for Sister McNeece and her new companion to help them to progress in the gospel. 

We also had something very sad happen this week. A recent convert/less active member called us on Wednesday and told us that the man that we'd been teaching the Word of Wisdom to last week had passed away. It was very unexpected and sad. And it's been really hard on her, but she has such a good perspective on it. She's turning to God for support and she knows that this was part of His plan for her and her friend. 

We had a really fun ward picnic this Friday out at our ward mission leader's house. We'd been talking about it at church for a month, and a lot of people were going to be coming. And then at 4:00, two hours before the picnic was supposed to start, it started to rain. The rain stopped at about 5:30, but it was still really cloudy. We weren't sure how many people were going to end up coming, but we actually ended up having a really good turnout, about 30 people, and most of them were recent converts or less active. Everyone ate and had a good time talking; the mission leader did a hay ride for the kids (we tagged along too). At about 8:00 the storm clouds started to get closer, you could literally see them rolling in, so everyone packed up and headed for their cars. Just as we were carrying the last of the stuff into the house, it started to rain. It was a great tender mercy from Heavenly Father, that we had that perfect window of time for the picnic. 

I loved talking to you, thanks for all your encouragement and support, it means a lot. I hope y'all have a great week, and I'll let you know where I end up! 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Word of Wisdom

The theme for this past week in Easley was the Word of Wisdom.  I can't even count how many times it ended up coming up in our lessons and conversations. It's not something that we teach very frequently, but after this last week I feel like my ability to teach it has really improved. Unfortunately, our new member is still having trouble with the Word of Wisdom.  We talked to Bishop about it on Sunday, and he said something she's said in his last interview with her had made him think that it may still be a problem for her, and that he'd talk to her about it. I love the way that Preach My Gospel tells us to handle situations like this, that we just need to treat it as an understandable, temporary setback. 

The other interesting situation with the Word of Wisdom came up when we were teaching the man that one of our recent converts takes care of. His doctor told him to drink a couple beers a day, to help with some of his health problems, something or other related to his kidneys. And so we talked a lot about that with him, about the Word of Wisdom and why the Lord gave it, and about the blessings we're promised. It's been an interesting thing to teach, because I've really learned that it's not just a temporal law, and that what it really comes down to is whether or not we trust God. Not all the things in the Word of Wisdom make sense, from a worldly standpoint. But I know, and we've been telling this to a lot of people, that God always knows what's best for us, and that if we have enough faith to be obedient, even when we don't understand why, that God is going to bless us. 

Transfer calls are this Saturday night, so I'll be able to tell you on Mother's Day if I'm leaving. In some ways I feel like I'm going to stay, but all the signs are pointing to me leaving--half our investigators have moved and we've been able to meet or re-contact some people that we've been trying to see for forever. A lot of good things are starting to happen. We met the Kunzler's neighbor, and set up a dinner and a lesson with him at the Kunzler's house. We ran into this guy we met in a parking lot a month ago, and he is so prepared for the gospel, if he'll just exercise his faith and act on our invitations to come to church. We're going to start reading the Book of Mormon with our less active member. And another investigator is back from Atlanta so we're going to keep teaching him. So there's a lot of good things happening, and I'm excited about all of them, whether or not I stay in this area. 

I'm excited to talk to you soon.  Thanks for all the prayers, have a blessed week!