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!