Monday, November 25, 2013

I Touched a Shark!

Emily "touching a shark" on her first Preparation Day in Georgia!  Exciting!  Thrilling!  Dangerous? 

Hey you! [=
So I only have 20 minutes to type up this letter versus an hour because I was so busy reading all of your letters! I loved hearing from each and every one of you!  I've loved the encouragement but I'd appreciate it even more in a hard copy because I'll actually be able to ponder and read it more in depth when I don't have a time bomb blinking at me every second. :)  My new address here in Georgia (At least for the next six weeks) is: 
Sister Emily Sudweeks
240 North Ave NE #1327
Atlanta, GA 30308
So once again I had a breakdown on Thursday at the MTC (surprise, surprise) but this one was even worse than the previous week.  I was able to get a priesthood blessing and I felt better the next day. I'm proud to announce that last Thursday (the week I couldn't write) I did NOT have a breakdown on Thursday. So the pattern of having breakdowns on Thursdays has been broken, yeah me!
So if you remember Belinda from TRC, we actually committed her to baptism! She read the entire Book of Mormon in 2 days and she believed it and prayed about it. We were completely awestruck considering our past sisters said that they were the only sisters successful in getting her to pray. We told our teachers Sister Looney, Brother Adjei, and Brother Ahkahihifo and they didn't believe us, but we did it!
On Saturday it was the most amazing experience ever. We did a role-play where for example, I taught Elder Olsen, but he was pretending to be me. So in reality we switched off and we taught ourselves. All of us had to be so vulnerable and so willing to let each other know our insecurities to be able to teach properly. There wasn't a dry eye in the room, and we were able to put our weaknesses behind us after the lesson was complete, since the spirit was so strong telling us we didn't need to be afraid of our weaknesses.
When we went to the Provo Temple on Sunday, there was a protestor there spewing off blasphemies. Some of the missionaries actually went over there to try to talk to him, but his mind was already made up and wouldn't budge from his opinion. 
When I got here in Georgia it was so surreal, there are SO many trees! The flight was somewhat awful because it was really turbulent. It didn't help that most of us got up no later than 3 am. The sisters didn't sleep at the mission home that evening, but at some member's homes. I was asleep by 9 pm while the rest of the sisters (Burrows, Jackman, and Stephen) stayed up until 10:30 pm, but I was exhausted.
On my first night in Georgia, I accidentally had a missionary moment! President Harding says we should ALWAYS carry a Book of Mormon with us. We went to Walmart and I bought some things at the self checkout, and I forgot my Book of Mormon there. An employee picked it up and as we were leaving. I realized I forgot it so we headed back. I talked to her and she actually wanted to keep it, and she said she would try to come to church. But she didn't, but I don't blame her since she doesn't even live in our area. She said she may go to our church nearer to her house, so I hope that's what she did.
Emily and her two wonderful companions--Sister Freitas (on left) and Sister Jarman (middle)
So I have TWO companions, I'm in a trio! Sister Freitas is actually a Temple Square sister and she's leaving Wednesday morning. Sister Jarman is going to Brazil but is waiting on her visa so who knows when she'll be leaving for Brazil. They're great and the ward is great. I'm in the Atlanta West area, and it makes me sad to see all of the poverty in the area. A lot of members have to take the MARTA (like Bart for you California people) to church, walk, or get a ride from someone else. Not many people have cars in our ward.
Speaking of my ward, we have over NINE HUNDRED people in our ward. But we only have 200 or so active. Our main goal as missionaries in this ward is not to baptize, but to re-active those 700. We go to a lot of less active houses to see if they've moved or are still around. Most of the time they don't live there so we have to do the paperwork to let our leaders know they’ve moved. We do tract around their homes but we haven't been successful much. According to my companions we're going through a dry spell when it comes to teaching, but I somewhat prefer that for my first week. I think I would have freaked out in having to teach lesson after lesson. I feel like I need to ease into this mission and I'll be just fine after another week. 
Don’t worry about Thanksgiving, all of the members are taking care of the 7 (yes seven) companionship's in our ward. They may not have much, but they try their best when it comes to the holidays.
When it comes to accents, I cannot understand any of them one bit. It's so embarrassing because one of our investigators, Joyce (her husband Billy is a member) asked me if I liked tuna, and I thought she asked me if I was eighteen. I was so embarrassed because when I look back, there's NOTHING in common when it comes to those two questions. But I haven't gotten the drawl yet. It seems to me that none of the missionaries get the accent here, which makes me kinda sad.
I have 54 seconds left! I must get going! I love you all and I am so happy to be here in Georgia! I hope you're all doing well and the church is true! (Man, I never thought I'd be one of THOSE missionaries at the end of an e-mail.)
Sister Emily Sudweeks

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