Monday, October 20, 2014

Birthday Coming Up

Thank you all for the wonderful emails. All of them seemed to be particularly good and full of love this week, so much so that they almost made me cry. I don't know if it's just the fact that it's my birthday, or just that I finally am starting to realize that I only have 8 more emails till I see y'all again. I don't know how this transfer has gone by so fast. I'm kind of glad that I was so oblivious to how fast the time was passing. 

Being companions with a Temple Square sister has been so fun and distracting that it's kept me from getting trunky. But all the letters and emails I got this week reminded me how many good things are waiting for me when I get home. But I'm still glad I have a good while left here in South Carolina! We just have such an awesome ward with so many amazing members. I love them all so much. My life is so good. I feel very blessed this week.
State Fair Sisters

We had a really interesting and different experience this week. On Tuesday afternoon as we were walking down the street this guy sitting on his porch called us over. We started talking to him and his wife, at first the wife wasn't interested but the longer we were there and the more we talked the more they liked us. They're a fun couple; they're from the Bronx, and moved down here a few months ago. They go to a Methodist church, but were open to talking with us. We set up an appointment to go back, and during the lesson she invited us to their church. Since it started an hour before ours we said we'd go to a little bit. 

So on Sunday morning we went to Unity Methodist church. It was a lot of fun, and very interesting. We stuck out like sore thumbs though. It's not a very big church, and I was the only white person in there. And the whole congregation sang us a "Welcome Visitors song". It was an interesting experience. But they were so excited that we actually came. He told us to just name a date, and they'll come to our church. And he said they're bringing a whole crew with them. I'm excited for that. And then all throughout that day we kept bumping into people from that church, which is amazing because like I said it wasn't a big congregation.

Other than that our week was pretty uneventful, but still good. We were able to at least contact more of our investigators and less active members. And hopefully we'll be able to get more people to church next week. Lately I've been feeling this really strong impression that we need to make sure that all these people we're teaching have good friends in the church, especially the less active members. The last thing I want to do is cause a person to become totally dependent on the missionaries for fellowship and encouragement. I really feel that we need to make sure these people have someone in church that will look out for them, notice if they don't make it one Sunday, offer to sit by them,  and that these people would feel comfortable turning to with questions and concerns, instead of just relying on the missionaries for those things. So I think we're going to work a lot on that this week.

I love y'all, thanks for all the birthday wishes, I'm looking forward to it. 21 seems like a good age.

Have a great week!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Slow Progress

It's been a pretty slow week here. It seems like all of our investigators have either decided they're not interested in learning about the gospel anymore, or they've been too busy to meet. I think that's been the biggest problem on my mission, is actually being able to schedule a time to sit down with people. We meet lots of people who say they're interested in talking with us, but we can never pin down a time to see them, so we just keep stopping by hoping to catch them at a good time, and that never happens. I guess that means those people aren't really interested, because the things that people care about they make time for. It seems like the things that matter most to people around here is doctor's appointments. People never miss those. Someday meeting with missionaries is going to be more important than a doctor's appointment, that will be a great day :)

We have been starting to teach the guy we taught last week in between conference sessions on Sunday. We taught him a couple lessons, and he's really started to open up more to us and talk more. And the most amazing thing is, he was there for both of our appointments! That's a miracle all in itself. We taught him about the restoration and the plan of salvation, and he seemed to believe most of it. He said he'd be baptized, but he doesn't want to come to church. So I think this week we'll teach him about why church is so important. He's in his early twenties, and he says he knows he needs to make changes in his life, or he'll be probably be dead in five years. So obviously he's got some things to work through, but he seems to be genuinely interested and willing to change. 

We also met a lot with one of our less actives. She came to church this week and at the last minute we invited her to a member's fireside and she came. She's funny, but there's a lot about the church's doctrine that we need to teach her. She just likes to talk so much that we really only get about a verse in each time we go over to teach her. But I think the thing that's going to be most important with her is getting members of the ward involved, so then she won't be attached to just missionaries. 

We're going to the state fair today, so that will be fun. I'm sure I'll have lots of pictures next week. 

I love y'all and I hope you have a great week! 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Good Week, Really Good Weekend

It's been a pretty good week and a really good weekend. I loved general conference! All of the talks were so good. And I loved having the speakers speak in their native language. The church is such a global organization and it was really cool to see more of that diversity. It's so funny though, General Conference always makes me a little homesick, just because I miss watching it with all y'all at Grandma's house. I'm excited that I get to do that next conference.

Tuesday we had our ZTM, which at the last minute was moved to Columbia, instead of Windsor Lake, and that building is a maze! It's three stories, and has all of these staircases and doors. We got lost a couple times trying to find our way around. The meeting was really good, the focus was on studying better, planning better, and finding better. I feel like those are the exact things we need to work on in our area to get things moving and so we got lots of good ideas to apply. 

What it really comes down to is just doing what it says in Preach My Gospel. Everything we need to be successful missionaries is in there. But somehow we have a tendency to look to other sources for ideas, or I know I sometimes make the mistake of thinking I know everything in there, so I don't have to study it all the time anymore. But Preach My Gospel is a lot like the scriptures, you can get something new from it every time you read it.

We also had interviews with our mission president Tuesday, and it was good to talk to him some more. The Turners are really great, and I like them a lot. They're definitely very different from the Holms in the way they do things, but their love for us and for the gospel is the same.

After interviews Sister Christensen, one of the Elgin sisters, really wanted to go to Cookout, which is a Southern hamburger place with really good shakes. Well, when we got there, we saw that there was a Panda Express right across the street. I didn't know they even had those in South Carolina. We were all very excited, so we got our Cookout shakes and then went to Panda. It was good. We kind of regretted eating so much, because we had dinner with a member about two hours later and we were still stuffed. We didn't eat very much and I think the member was a little disappointed. I love her. She's a returning less active member, and she feeds us every week. She just started temple prep classes, and I'm so excited for her.

One of the main focuses at the zone meeting was finding new investigators. That's something that Sister Torino and I have been focusing on as well, because we need to find more people to teach. But throughout this week we didn't have much success. 

Sunday came around, and we hadn't found any new investigators yet. But we were able to teach a potential investigator, who opened up a lot to us and was genuinely excited to read the Book of Mormon. So that was one new investigator. And then at 8:30 at night we stopped by a former investigators' house, and were able to teach all four of the people living there, so by the end of Sunday we had five new investigators.

It was really cool that after a long week, that was kind of unproductive because of all the meetings, we were still able to see success in the area that we were trying to improve.

I love you all, and I hope you have a wonderful week!

Sister Mathias, Sister Rudy, Sister Wheelock and Sister Torino

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Sister Winsor Homecoming

We loved being able to attend Sister Winsor's homecoming talk in sacrament meeting.  She emphasized how small and simple things can contribute to mission service and to living the gospel.

Super Crazy Week

It has been a super crazy week. So much has happened, I can barely keep up with it. The first crazy thing that happened was we had 21 people at our Book of Mormon class on Wednesday night! Normally, there's only about 5 people. But this week everyone came. A couple other members from the ward showed up and then our elders brought four of their investigators. And we were all crammed in a tiny Primary classroom.  It was really cool. We had a great lesson and everyone seemed to love it.

Then Thursday morning we had another adventure- a flat tire. Don't worry this one went much better than the last flat tire I had. We called Elder Larson and he told us where to go to get it fixed, and we were able to put enough air in the tire to get us to the shop, so we didn't have to put the spare on. And the people who fixed it were very nice, and got it done quickly, so we weren't stuck there all day.

But the coolest thing that happened this week was we found an amazing family to teach. We were walking down this dirt road in the middle of nowhere, and we saw a teenage girl outside her trailer. We talked with her and she invited us to come back and talk with her parents the next day. We went back and talked with the mom. Apparently, she stumbled across BYUtv and loves it! She would watch it all the time, and so she's already seen general conference and knew a lot about the church. She told us she'd found out awhile ago that there was a church in Camden and had been wanting to go for a long time. 

We invited them, and they told us they would come. Sunday morning came, and sacrament meeting started and they weren't there. Sister Torino especially was really disappointed. But then, right after the opening prayer, Sister Torino poked me and said really excitedly, "They're here!" They stayed for all three hours and loved it. And they're planning to come back next week for general conference. We went over after church and talked with the wife for awhile. She is so prepared to receive the gospel. She asked us what happens after we die, and when we told her she said, "You know, I must have been born a Mormon and didn't know it, because I've always believed that but no one has ever taught me that." Everything we talked about just made her so excited. But she really wants her family to be united in whatever they do, so her husband is going to be the key to getting that family into the church. He's the one who's had a hard time with churches in the past, but he seemed to really like our church. So we're really excited about them.

Also, Brother Nelson was released as our ward mission leader on Sunday. That really surprised all of us, Brother Nelson included. He's only been the ward mission leader since the beginning of the year. But our new ward mission leader is Brother Prows. We've met with him and his wife before, they're really nice so it should be good. I'll miss being able to have dinner with the Nelsons; they're the cutest little family.

We're looking forward to another great week here, we've got a lot of good things happening in the ward; it's really exciting. Thanks for all the letters and emails. I love y'all, have a great week!