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