Saturday, December 28, 2013

I Have a Testimony of Wendy's

December 23, 2013

So, I feel really bad.

I've been typing up long e-mails each week, and I found out I've been sending them to the wrong e-mail address! So now you get FOUR weeks of e-mails, in just this week! Merry Christmas to you, this is my present from me! [=

We wanted to have a tree for Christmas, so last P-day I bought a string of light and we shaped it into a little ghetto Christmas tree on our wall! It kept on falling, (and it was really embarrassing when maintenance came and saw it) so we decided to put it across our patio doors instead.  

Our pathetic Christmas Tree
Monday was a very eventful day. We are advised to have an appointment after P-day, which is from 10am-6pm. Sister Jarman and I taught these three younger women about the Plan of Salvation in a kinda sorta sketch place, and ended the lesson around 8 pm, so it was already dark. We assured them that we were about to get on a bus so we'd be safe. Well, we missed the bus by literally 30 seconds. We ran after it but admitted defeat. We started off on our trek to a semi safe bus stop. Sister Jarman and I had to walk at least a mile to get to a bus stop that had a light and a bench. We figured that the bus would be coming soon, so we waited, and waited--and waited. We called Sister Bird and Walton and told them that we missed our bus, but they were in an appointment. Long story short, we got on a bus around 9pm, just as the sisters were saying that they'd come pick us up. But we didn't want to stay at that station any longer because we didn't feel safe, so we got on the bus. That bus then took us to Metro Transitional Center, aka jail. We were going to wait for the sisters to pick us up but a police officer said we couldn't stay there because there were inmates around the corner. So we got back on the bus, and we thought it was going to take us to Civic Center station, but as of last Saturday, the bus routes and times have completely changed, and they didn't update the route papers. So the bus driver took us to Five Points (which is once again a complete sketch area). We were on that bus going to Five Points for at least an hour and twenty minutes. Since it was P-day we didn't eat much. We usually eat around 8 pm for dinner. I was hungry, exhausted, dehydrated, you name it. I was even getting sick because of the way the bus driver was driving. All in all, we got home around 10:30pm and we were completely shaken up. We vowed that we'd never get on a bus ever again. (But of course we've been on bus ever since).

Also, we were going to drop LaWanda, but we found out that she was very, very sick to the point that she couldn't do anything. She finally answered her door and she's back and ready to learn! So we're hoping she'll get baptized on the 11th of January. Sophia keeps on cancelling her appointments so who knows if she'll further progress or not.

I went on exchanges with Sister Walton, and I was in the other sisters' area. We taught some amazing lessons, and I'll try to share some of them if I have time. But we went to Wendy's and there were these two men Cedric and Larry, teaching these four boys how to play chess. We watched them and talked to them about chess and how we are missionaries, and then got our food. After, they motioned us over and said that they'll teach us how to play. Sister Walton and I told them that they could teach us, as long as we could teach them something. I started to teach them about the Restoration, and Joseph Smith and the First Vision. Larry was just completely engrossed in what I was saying, and the spirit was so strong. Cedric was telling the little boys that they needed to pay attention, because they needed to learn some knowledge. We gave them Sister Walton's contact information, and all of the little boys were talking about how we were so cute, "especially that one" pointing at me. One of the little boys actually gave me and Sister Walton a hug and it was pretty hilarious that 12 year old boys and younger had crushes on us.

At church yesterday, Cedric came to church by himself! I don't know if Sister Walton contacted him or not.  I greeted him at the door and I sat by our investigator, Loren. Now they're going to teach him and he seemed pretty interested in the church. I really wish I could teach him!

Sunday night, we had inspiration to go on the #162 bus, wanting to go to Natalie and Barney’s car—that is where they currently live. We ended up missing our stop because we started to talk to a woman named Shamel. She is amazing and we really hope that she wants to meet with us. We gave her a Book of Mormon and gave her a pamphlet on the Restoration. We also met Estella who has met with the missionaries before, and she really wants to meet with missionaries again so we got her contact information. We also met a woman and two little kids, and they said that they would try to come to church because they love going to other churches to see what they are like. Sister Jarman and I feel like there's a lot of potential in those people, so we're excited to see what happens. It was so sad because we talked to the bus driver when it was only us on a bus, but we forgot to give him a Restoration pamphlet! But he said that he's always there on the weekends and we should come visit him again so we plan on it.

I am so excited for this Christmas week! I know that so many great things will happen if we have Jesus Christ on our mind. I challenge all of you to have that missionary moment this week, and tell people about our church. Pray to have missionary moments, and have faith that the spirit will guide you on what to say. What I learned this week was to have faith is 'to act'. If you don't act, then you really have no faith. So that's what I'm going to try and work on this week. I love you all very much, and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas. Remember what Christmas is all about, and spend as much time with your families!

-Sister Sudweeks

"Jesus Didn't Do Dishes!"

December 16, 2013

I really need to figure out how to start these letters,

As my parents know, I was able to participate in making candy trains again this year! I was so bummed out thinking I was unable to make one this year (to the point where I was contemplating buying candy last week, but something told me not to), that I was overjoyed when I got a package a few hours later with all of the candy to make two! Be surprised, but my train is actually NORMAL this year. I'm hoping my parents will upload those pictures on Facebook with all of the rest so tradition will continue!
Sister Sudweeks' First Missionary Candy Train
Sister Jarman's First Candy Train

As I was reading one of the talks that was included in that package, I got a prompting to write a sticky note to our neighbor across the hallway. It read something along the lines of, "Whenever we get home, we get so excited when we see your Christmas lights on. Thank you for spreading holiday cheer, and Merry Christmas! Your neighbors #1327". Then when we got back home that night, we had a note on our door! "Thank you so much for your note, I really needed that this morning as I was headed out to work. Merry Christmas! Your neighbor #1323" So, I'm glad I followed that prompting. We're going to leave a little Christmas goodie bag when it's closer to Christmas. We're not entirely sure who they are, but we're not home at the same time.

From Sunday to Wednesday, I haven't slept well, and it really got to me. I had to get a priesthood blessing in hopes I'd be able to sleep. Since I'm trying to be so focused during the day on how I can be a better missionary, my mind runs wild at night since I believe I can think about whatever I want. Sometimes I would be up till 1am at night wide awake. I tried to write it out and say I won't forget, but it never worked. I'm slowly learning on how to shut down my brain at night. 

This week has been rough, I'm not going to lie. Every single one of our appointments either cancelled, didn't show up, or rescheduled. I feel like I haven't taught an actual lesson in a long time. LaWanda, the woman that was supposed to get baptized this Saturday, hasn't talked to us in over a week. Her sisters claim that she's not home when we go by for our scheduled appointments (Tues, Thurs, Sat, at 3pm), but her little kids say that she's in her room. So we have no idea what's going on, but it's not looking good because she's ignoring our calls and texts, too. But I guess this is just a trial of patience.

We believe that Sophie isn't entirely committed to be baptized. It's hard to get in contact with her because she only has a home phone and she's not home much. She went to 'her church' last Sunday because they needed her to sing in the choir, and she said she would come to 'our church' next week. We're going to try and change our appointment times and dates to days so she won't have something come up and cancel on us. 

Sometimes I get real discouraged when it comes to our investigators. I have a love-hate relationship when it comes to others and their agency. But I know that if I just continue to be patient, pray for them by name, and do what He asks of us it will all come together. I know that He knows what's going to happen in the future, and I just need to align my will with His. Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing something wrong which makes them not want to talk to us anymore. 

We had zone conference on Saturday and I had the privilege of doing a duet with Sister Walton. We sang "He Sent His Son" from the Primary songbook because there was at least a dozen other musical numbers to be sung and we didn't want a repeat. I had a few solos during that short 2 minute song, and I got one of the sisters from another district to record it. For those who are unaware, I've never done a solo in my life, much less a duet. I'm afraid to listen to it, but from the remarks of the other elders, I suppose I did pretty good. Elder Kallon said, "I didn't know you could sing like that! Can you sing to me on my birthday? (January 1st). So I'm going to sing his favorite hymn on transfers. Then Elder Obeng told me that I sounded like that one girl from Hercules (Meg) and it sounded beautiful. There were some other remarks so my goal by the end of my mission is to be able to sing an entire solo by myself so I can sing during Sacrament Meeting or wherever else.

This week we got fed a lot. The same sister that fed us veal, collared greens, and the works, fed us again last Wednesday. It was a lot better this week if I do say so myself. This time she fed us cheese and crackers, sparking grape juice, a glass of fruit, all for the appetizer! Then she continued on with a salad with artichokes, red pepper, and basically everything that I didn't like. But I ate it all, I'm so proud! I've also officially eaten gumbo- full of crab meat, rice, red pepper, and full of spices that made my mouth burn. Once again, I ate it all. Sister Jarman looked at me sympathetically because she knew I'm not a fan of spicy food and she knew it was hot. She then proceeded to feed us steak, Parmesan potatoes, cooked broccoli, and I don't even remember what else. Then she finished it off with lemon cheesecake (I was so sad it was lemon, because I'm not a fan of lemon desserts.) But I ate it all, or asked for a plate for leftovers and she was happy to oblige. When we offered to help with dishes, she replied, "No, no, no! You're missionaries!" We said that it's our job to serve and we're representatives of Christ. She then exclaimed, "Jesus Didn't Do Dishes!" and we laughed and said okay.

We also got fed by a less active named Darrin. His entire family is active but him, and he married a woman named Meg from Bulgaria. Her mom was also there. They fed us a salad that was straight parsley, tomatoes, bleu cheese, and other vegetables I wasn't fond of. I was surprised I actually liked those tomatoes. They also fed us Brussels sprouts, and my gosh, I couldn't handle those. I ate everything else like the sweet potato casserole; rice, green beans, and beef dish; pesto chicken and this apple-y dessert, but I could NOT eat those Brussels sprouts. I was gagging just smelling them on my plate and I felt so bad not being able to eat them, but I had three bites! I tried! While they were making dessert, the fire alarm went off and his sister in law was trying to fix the ice machine since it was frozen closed. They joked and told us to watch the Fire and Ice Show, and want to feed us again in the future.  If you want to remember me in your prayers that I will learn to love all this southern food that would be appreciated! 

Sister Brown is out of the hospital and didn't need her surgery, and Brother Brown’s surgery went great. He's already walking a ton, and they're both doing better than before. I know it's because of all of the fasting and praying that they are as active as they are today. I know it was a great testimony builder for the both of them, so I'm glad we are able to continue teaching them this week as they're quickly recovering.

On Sunday, Peggy (one of the less actives we taught) went to church with two of her kids, and one of her in-law's daughters. She mentioned in Relief Society that she wants to come back to the church and get to know everyone. I'm so glad that she wasn't afraid of not knowing anyone besides Sister Jarman and I! So I know that she's going to continually progress as she makes the effort.

So I wanted to quote something from, "Hastening the Lord's Game Plan" by Elder S Gifford Nielson. It says, 

 "This is the most remarkable era in the history of the Church. This is something that ranks with the great events that have happened in past history, like the First Vision, like the gift of the Book of Mormon, like the Restoration of the gospel, like all of the things that build the foundation for us to go forward and teach in our Father in Heaven's kingdom. Do you know what that great event is? It's the event that the missionary age has changed, and so many have answered the call to hasten the work."

I've realized more and more as I'm out here that this is the best decision I've ever made in my life. I had no idea how much I would have changed since I've been out here. My testimony has grown so much, and I have no doubt in my mind that this is the true church here on Earth. 

I also encourage all of you to read Families and Friends Forever on page 4 in the December 2013 Ensign. It's everything in a nut shell, and it's so true.

So all in all, I have ups and downs when it comes to missionary work just like the rest of the missionaries. I pray for all of you back home and hope that you can feel that I love all of you. I hope you are all having a great holiday season!

-Sister Sudweeks

Friday, December 27, 2013

There Once Was a Nut

December 9, 2013

Hey all!

So I had my first taste of collared greens last Monday. Oh boy, those are NOT my favorite. A less active who shall not be named, made us shrimp (gag), veal, collared greens (not cleaned well enough so Sister Jarman and I both got sick for the next 24 hours), baked potato (with sour cream which I do not like), clams (once again, bleh), and chocolate cake with ice cream (wooo!) So this sister is in her 80s, and her taste buds aren't like what they used to be. She was once a bartender so she really cares about the ambiance. Sister Jarman warned me that she would serve us huge portions and boy was she right. I was praying the entire time I would just be able to eat and not be phased by what I'm eating. I was praying that I wouldn't gag, and that if I did no one noticed. (Side note, no one noticed.) I was sneaky, sneaky and told her back in California, members would put their leftovers on a paper plate so they would be able to feed us for not one but TWO meals. She LOVED that idea so she quickly put the untouched portion onto a paper plate. But I did eat or attempted to eat EVERYTHING. You should be so proud of me, since I am one of the pickiest eaters alive. 

So for those who remember Belinda, a woman I taught in the MTC- we have an investigator who is EXACTLY like Belinda. A friend referred her to us through Salt Lake headquarters. As we were walking to her apartment because we didn't know what stop to get off at the bus, Sister Jarman and I started to sing, "Pioneer Children Sang As They Walked" (and walked, and walked, andddd walked.) It was funny and we now sing that a lot. This new investigator is from Iran and has been in America for 5 years. She told us we could come by and talk to us, but she refuses to be converted (she said that multiple times in fact). But she loves the Mormons because we're 'safe' and we have good standards. We were there for over two hours just answering her questions, and we're meeting her again on Friday I believe.

On Monday, we went to our church building because Salt Lake Headquarters have been going all around the world interviewing sisters about the age change and how it's hastened the work, and our opinion on things. I was able to see Sister Burrows, my companion from the MTC again and it made me happy!

While we were on a MARTA bus on Wednesday going to Leon's house (a recent convert), an old lady got off for no apparent reason and sat on a bench. Come to find out she was having a heart attack so the bus driver (remember how I wanted to be one when I was younger?) had to call 911 and the paramedics came. We were stranded there for over 15 minutes, and because MARTA had to file a report we had to wait for another bus to come. Sister Jarman and I kept thinking to ourselves, "Someone really doesn't want us to go to Leon's house." I hope the lady is OK. 

We finally made it to Leon's and we met Leon’s friend who I’ll call Sophie. She's been trying to stop drinking and we're hoping to get her to go to the Addiction Recovery Program. We taught her about faith and the Book of Mormon. Her favorite scripture is Alma 7:15 (I think) which talks about baptism. Because Sister Jarman and I were prompted to ask her about being committed to baptism, we did, and she accepted! She'll be baptized on the 28th, and she's SO excited! She was able to come to church last week, and she loved it. 

We had our hurrahs, and Leon gave us some pecans.  We had to cook them, crack them open with a can opener, de-shell them, and it was just a LOT of work.

But that's not all, Sister Jarman was making us dinner one day and she was baking them with cinnamon sugar, and burned them to BITS! We smelled something burning and we mourned because it took us a LONG time to crack and de-shell all of those pecans! 

But we tried once more with the rest of our pecans and were successful. Sister Jarman watched the oven VERY carefully.

We put the candied pecans on our ice cream, and we found itty bitty pieces of shells in our ice cream. IT WAS AWFUL.

We had to sort them out of our ice cream and the rest of our pecans and once again, it was a lot of work.

I honestly don't think it was worth it, and I'm never going to crack pecans again. I have a LOT more appreciation for whole pecans because I only cracked maybe one whole pecan the entire time we were cracking pecans. So, the next time you eat pecans, be grateful haha!

Speaking of pecans, the day ALL of our appointments fell through, we were eating pecan bars from a member as we rode on MARTA. We were going back and forth trying to decide if we wanted to eat Oreos, or pecan bars, but we decided on pecan bars. A woman sat down and asked what we were eating so we told her and offered her one. She accepted and she went on and on about how much she loves pecans. We ended up telling her about the Plan of Salvation and invited her to church. Who knew eating pecans could have struck up a conversation? Inspired to eat pecan bars? I think so!

We've continued to visit Sister Brown at the hospital. Her husband Brother Brown went into surgery at 6 am today and we've been continually praying for him all day today. Sister Brown has been transferred to the ICU when we went to see her on Saturday. It's so cute because whenever nurses check up on her, she says, "These are the sister missionaries from my church. Sister Jarman and Sister Sedwick. They're the sweetest girls ever from the Mormon church!" She just makes me smile so big. Her health has been going back and forth from being on liquids, to solids, not going into surgery, maybe going home, not going home. It's just ridiculous. But she MAY be going home today if health permits. Sister Jarman and I may be with her our entire P-day at home if she does go home, so we'll be calling her later on today.

We met with Peggy, who hasn't been to church in over 6 years. She had a wake up call and wanted to meet with us again, and so we taught her the Restoration. The spirit was so strong there were tears all around the room. I've been struggling to not plan on what to say next, which causes me not to listen as much as I should to what the investigator/less active is really saying. But I learned to just listen, and I'll know what to say next. It's been hard for me to do that, but I know if I constantly remind myself (I even have a sticky note that says 'just listen' about my desk) to just listen, I'll be okay. She came to church with her two little boys, and the less active that fed us took her to church. So two less actives for the price of one! Apparently it's a feat to get people to church, and we got two investigators and two less actives to go to church, woohoo! 

I love you all so very much, I appreciate all the e-mails, but to those who do e-mail me, send me your home address! It's so hard to get to everyone in just one hour, I'd love to send some snail mail your way.

-Sister Sudweeks

Thursday, December 26, 2013

I Met Jesus on MARTA...No Big Deal

On Sunday, December 22nd, Sister Sudweeks' called to set up a time to Skype for Christmas.  She mentioned an investigator she's teaching and when I said I had never heard that name before she was surprised because she had mentioned her in a couple of letters.  It turns out she was emailing all of her long letters about her missionary experiences to the wrong email address!  So, it's catch up time.  Here's the letter that was written December 2nd.  

December 2, 2013

Hello, hello, hello!

So I failed to mention that I went to the Georgia Aquarium last P-day and that's how I touched a shark. So if I confused any of you all, that's why. I promise I didn't break any rules and go into running water haha! But we went to the dolphin show and it was so much fun! All five of us sisters went, and we were like a bunch of five year old's clapping for the dolphins. 

Sister Sudweeks Sister Frietas, and Sister Jarman and the other two sister missionaries in her District on their Preparation Day as they visited the aquarium.  
I had a bit of a struggle when it came to believing that I would be able to know what to say to people when in reality I know nothing about them. In my personal study I stumbled across a quote. This quote hit me in the MTC and boosted me up during my last breakdown, but once again it really helped me last week as well. "Your confidence and faith should be in Christ, not yourself." I realized that I am the mouthpiece of God. I am a representative of Jesus Christ, and technically, I am not Emily Sudweeks anymore. I am Sister Sudweeks. So Emily may be shy to strangers and not really know what to say, but now I am striving to be more confident and outgoing, and not be afraid to be rejected.

Apparently in our area, there are people that are dressing up as missionaries, name tags and all. After they are able to get someone to open their door, they rob their house and so people are afraid of opening their doors for missionaries. We now have to show our white handbook and certificate verifying that we are indeed actual missionaries. I find that to be so low.

Thanksgiving was good. We went over to someone's apartment complex and had dinner with a bunch of families at 2 pm. They have a bunch of little kids and it was so cute because they wanted to wear Sister Jarman and my nametags, carry our Book of Mormons and planners. They would go around saying, "I'm Sister Olivia. I'm a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, can I make an appointment with you?" I never really realized how much little kids look up to missionaries, even though I was one of those kids back in the days. It makes me smile!

Friday was a great day, and I knew it would be a great day! Sister Jarman and I are getting colds, but we didn’t let it prevent us from doing His work. We even saw a ladybug on Sister Jarman's coat while we were waiting for the bus to see an investigator I’ll call LeWanda.  LeWanda is a woman who we've been teaching since Labor Day. She has 7 kids and she re-committed to be baptized on December 21st! We're meeting with her 3 times a week and just seeing the excitement in her eyes makes me love being out here!

Another investigator we're teaching is Sister Brown. Her husband, Brother Brown is already a member, and she doesn't want to get baptized until he's well enough to baptize her himself. He's going in for back surgery on December 9th, and we don't know how long it'll take for him to heal. But plot twist, Sister Brown went to the emergency room the day after Thanksgiving. She has an infected gallbladder so we've gone by and seen her twice. They were originally going to do surgery on her on Sunday, but because of her health circumstances it's now the last resort. She's on a blood thinner and to undergo surgery they'd have to take her off that. If they take her off the blood thinner she could develop blood clots and that could be fatal. But if they don't take her off the blood thinner, they could cut her and she could bleed to death. There were other circumstances which I don't have time to mention so we're really worried for her. We've been fasting and praying for that entire family, so if you want to join in too that would be appreciated. This elderly couple is who I consider to be my parents here. They've fed us dinner (nothing weird, sorry guys. Just chicken, potatoes, and pumpkin pie), call us daily to see how we're doing, and consider us their own kids. Because of the Browns, I know what it's really like to love your investigators.

On Sunday, we had to leave by 7:30 am to get to LeWanda's house and ride MARTA with her to get to church by 10am. She lives far away from everyone else, and the members who live in her area either don't have a car, or have no desire to go to church. It was a very long day, and it's a miracle that we got to church on time. A saying that Sister Jarman and I say is, "He loves us!" every time we don't have to wait for a train to come. Or if something we want to buy is on sale we say, "Heavenly Father loves us!" We say it so often, I consider it our motto. So remember, Heavenly Father loves you!

Since Sister Jarman and I are on MARTA all the time, we tend to run into some very interesting people. One of the people we met while going to an investigator's house, told us to read the last 2 verses of Revelations. He then claimed that he was Jesus. He was a bit of a creep, and he said that he's going to be on America's Got Talent on Valentines Day 2014. So guys help a sister out and see if he's actually on there! He can 'read people's minds'. He would tell us to pick a number and do an equation, then the end number would be the number he said. Sadly enough he wasn't even right at times. Another guy that we saw on Marta was singing songs really loudly (no, he wasn't drunk, just very into the music) and dancing. It was quite entertaining, but Sister Jarman and I were saying, "This is apostate music!" We met another guy and talked a little bit about our Thanksgiving plans. He loved the idea that we are missionaries and that we are Jesus people. He said that we were cool, and if anything were to happen at this bus stop he'd protect us.

Two other people I’ll call Natalie and Barney are another couple that we're teaching. Barney was in jail because he didn't realize he had an expired driver’s license. But he's back! He came to church with Natalie for a little bit, but didn't stay long. 

So, that's how my week has gone. I just want to leave a few quotes with you all because I LOVE quotes. If any of you don't know what to write me, just send me your favorite inspirational/missionary quotes and I'll be able to put them up above my desk.

"There is no limit to your potential."

"The field is ready to HARVEST, not be planted."

I love you all and have a great week!

-Sister Emily Sudweeks

Monday, December 16, 2013

All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth?

This blog post is from a letter Sister Sudweeks sent her parents....
I figured I’d answer all of the questions I failed to answer last week.  Once again I had only twenty minutes but I wrote way more people.  This time I actually wrote down what I wanted to talk about last night.  I’ll get the hang of this whole email in an hour. 
We have another set of sister missionaries in our district and more in our zone, but they don’t live with us.  There’s only two in our apartment since Sister Freitas flew back to the Temple Square mission.  Half of this entire mission is Sister Missionaries so it’s pretty cool.
My typical P-day is exercise, get ready, be at the library by 10 am (7 am your time), get groceries, clean the apartment, do our laundry, go on adventures like the aquarium and thrift store, and have appointments after 6 pm. 
On Sundays, we get ready, have a 9 am Correlation meeting, 10 am church, teach investigators after church if they come, have lunch and then it varies from there. 
We have district meetings once a week, and zone conferences once a transfer.
Sister Jarman and I check for packages in the morning because the apartment office is closed by the time we get home around 9 pm.  So it was hilarious last week because we were talking about Christmas traditions and I was so sad about not making a candy train!  Then lo and behold, that package arrived and I was giddy with joy!  We made the candy trains for our last P-day while listening to David Archuleta’s Christmas CD.  BEST P-Day EVER!  Thank you so much!  I love you a lot a lot!
Mom, to answer your question about how you can give out a Book of Mormon, I suggest you carry a copy of the Book of Mormon with you everywhere. Ask people if they've ever read it and if not, tell them about it and a little bit about the Restoration, and ask if they want to read it. "Do you like to read?" is a good break the ice question.
For Christmas I simply want family photos, inspirational missionary quotes, and snail mail letters.  If anyone asks what I want for Christmas just tell them to help the missionaries in their area because I’m learning member involvement is SO important.  (Also they can write me if they want.) 
Thank you so much for all the encouragement and support you’ve given me this last month.  I’ve come to the conclusion that serving a mission is one of the best decisions I’ve made.  I know I’ve learned a lot and I know I’ll continue to learn and grow. 
I love you and pray for you daily!
Sister Sudweeks

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cold Nose, Frozen Toes, and Bitten Ankles

 What a great looking group of missionaries that arrived in Atlanta, Georgia on November 19th.

My area is Downtown Atlanta and there are some sketchy areas.  But I know if Sister Jarman and I use our common sense we’ll be fine.  I failed to mention how we were getting around Atlanta due to lack of time.  The three of us got around thanks to Lawrence and Glozell:  our car and GPS.  But Sister Bird and Sister Walton in our district have the car as of today because Sister Bird is the district leader.

Today was my first encounter with MARTA.  We were supposed to have interviews with President Harding today, but nothing happened. He canceled them and we don’t know why.  Our schedule opened up and we weren’t prepared with gloves or scarves.  So Sister Jarman and I were freezing.  But we survived. 

Sister Jarman is amazing!  She’s literally one of the sweetest, most caring people I’ve met on my mission so far.  She’s from Utah and she wants to be a dental hygienist.   It’s perfect because she cooks and I clean the dishes afterward.  She’s a very good trainer and communicates her feelings and testimony very eloquently.  It’s crazy to think I’ve only known her for a week.  Sister Freitas left for Temple Square this morning and I miss her already.

I did inherit quite a few of Sister Freitas things which I’m grateful for--including a towel and finally have a desk of my own instead of the dinner table.  Yay!

I’ve been invited over for dinner twice, and that was Monday and Tuesday.  Monday we were served a delicious dinner of chicken, potatoes, beans, rolls, and pumpkin pie.  They have a dog and she LOVES to chew on your shoes and bite your bare ankles underneath the table.  It wasn’t a lovely experience.

We had dinner with another family on Tuesday.  He’s the assistant ward mission leader.  We had Italian and they treated us to Dairy Queen for chocolate dipped ice cream cones.  They have a little girl and she’s the brunette version of Kayla, only older.  She’s the cutest little thing!

So considering there are seven sets of missionaries, we don’t attend ward council.  This ward is just getting on board with helping the missionaries.  They want to help, but they don’t know how.  A lot of members aren’t aware of what we’re doing when it comes to visiting the less actives and shrinking their visiting and home teaching lists.  The ones that are aware appreciate the hard work we’re doing and give us referrals in return.  So we’re really in the planning stage of missionary work.  Beforehand, the missionaries here would be baptizing so many people but the ward didn’t know how to help the converts so they’d go inactive.  The game plan is to reactive those we can, transfer records for those who moved, and then really focusing on referrals.

Numbers really aren’t everything.  I knew that before I left, but I really know it now.  We have key indicators that our planner has and some days we don’t reach our goal.  But I honestly believe this ward is special. We may not have reached our Key Indicators, but we have been able to accomplish a lot when it comes to the ward member list, so I don’t mind.

I love you very much and I’m so happy that I’m out on a mission.  I know I need to overcome my fear of being shy and rejected.  But I know that admitting it is one of the steps to conquer it.  I am the Lord’s mouthpiece and I’ll say whatever He wants me to say.  

Sister Emily Sudweeks

P.S. I went to the Georgia aquarium on my first P-day and that’s how I touched a shark.  Kinda forgot to explain that.  Oops!  J