Monday, February 3, 2014

I Survived the Apocalypse!!

Happy Monday!
According to Atlanta on Tuesday, literally the world was ending just because of 3 inches of snow. I don't know how aware each of you were about the national news coverage about Atlanta, but lets just say it was one of the most interesting experiences I've had on my mission!
Tuesday we were told that it was going to snow at 12pm, and we had District Meeting at the church at 10. We were making copies afterward, and we saw that it was snowing constantly and we had a day full of appointments with less actives and investigators. We hurriedly went to the MARTA Station and the snow was attacking our faces and we couldn't really see where we were going. It was so cold our faces were going numb just because how frigid it was.
We got on the train to go up north, and about one station up we hear that there is a Medical Emergency at Five Points, repeated over and over again. The train wasn't moving, and later on we hear, "We are turning off the power on the train, the train will go dark. The doors are going to close! I repeat, the train will go dark!" over, and over, again. Hah. So we were stuck at West End, two stops away from Five Points, and five stops away from home. The doors were closed, and it was dark, and people were mumbling on how they need to get home. People started spreading all of these rumors that someone fell on the tracks at Five Points and died. Others kept on saying that someone fell on the tracks and a bus caught on fire. Another said that SWAT came in for some strange reason. MARTA kept on changing their story since they also said that there were technical difficulties because of the snow. But locals told us that people fall on the train all the time because they're intoxicated so they have to shut down the power, but it was never off for this long. So I'm guessing more towards someone fell and got injured, I guess I'll never know!
Everyone ended up having to get off the train, and MARTA said that there would be buses to take us up to Civic Center, which is one stop north of Five Points so we could be on our way. All of the trains stopped entirely going in and out of Five Points, which is the main station to go North, East, South, or West. People were getting so mad about how they needed to get home, and fights were happening as everyone was trying to find those buses. In the end, none of the buses were going to Civic Center, and we were just waiting around trying to figure out what to do. We made friends with some people who had smart phones, although they weren't interested in the Church. But it's okay! After a while, MARTA started to single track trains, and everyone ran to go up North. I have never been so packed into a train before, and I really hope that I'll never have to go through that again. This one guy was trying to get on, and the doors were trying to close but couldn't because he was in the way. People were yelling and shoving at him to get out of the way so the doors could close, but in a more colorful language so to speak.
We walked home, and cars were packed bumper to bumper, with swearing and honking every two seconds. I was so glad that I wasn't driving! I'm going to admit, I was jumping in the fresh snow because I haven't seen it in over a year! Sister J. kinda laughed at me since she's from Utah and is totally used to the snow. As we were walking home, a man was on the phone and his side of the conversation went something like this, "This is like the show The Day After Tomorrow! The city is shutting down, people are trapped on the roads, cars in the intersection. It's the end of the world my friend! I hope you've stocked up on food because this is the end!" We laughed since honestly everyone thought the world was ended in Georgia.
Yes, I did survive the Apocalypse of January 2014!
It ended up taking us 2 1/2 hours to get home, when it would have taken us about 35. Great fun! Later that night we went outside to see if we could help people up the hill that we live by. We pushed cars up the road. We ended up seeing a MARTA bus that got hit by not one, but three cars! Elder B. and Elder M. are the only MARTA riders in our district beside us, and they told us another bus tipped over. I'm so glad they weren't on that bus and they got home safe!
Traffic was a mess--especially for this MARTA bus.
Sister B. also had her surgery on Tuesday, and it went great. Her oxygen levels were down and the doctors said that she should stay overnight to monitor her. Brother B. didn't want her to stay overnight, because he knew that the snow would be so bad, and he wouldn't be able to come in and see or, or take her home. They even ordered her a bed, and that really meant she was staying for the night. Brother B. told us that he went to the bathroom, and knelt down and prayed his heart out that if it was God's will, that he would be able to take his wife home. He went back into her room, and apparently the doctors left the building after they ordered her a bed, and then came back to check on her once more. They let her go home that very day! Miracles, and the faith of that couple! I honestly think those two could move mountains. We saw Sister B. on Saturday, and she's recovering quickly, but not as quick as we wished she would. She had a lot of gallstones the size of a silver dollar which is why she was in so much pain. We don't know when she'll be baptized, but tonight we're showing her the Restoration DVD with Elder and Sister N., the senior couple in our district.
Wednesday we had to stay in the entire time. We had a mission wide conference call to let us know to stay home with instructions to call every single member on our ward list. Uh huh.  Nine hundred people, five companionship's, one snow day. Sister J and I split it all up by zip code, and we made 103 calls! New record, woo! We gave many spiritual thoughts to less actives and active members. Many people called us that morning to make sure that we were okay, and if they needed to buy anything for us and I felt so loved by the ward members! This truly is an amazing ward that I'm in.
A view from my balcony.
I learned a very valuable lesson this week, and I've learned it before, but it really just hit me this week. I know the plan that Heavenly Father has for me is to have a life full of service. I'm the type of person who likes it when people show their appreciation. This week I realized that I should give 110% to everyone and anyone, but not expect anything back. Never do anything just to get praise. Which is somewhat a hard thing for me since a mission is just all service. But now I've learned not to get upset when I see others get praise for something I did as well, or anything like that. Now that I can keep that in mind, I'll be able to have more of a positive attitude as a missionary when my hard work goes unnoticed.
R. (the homeless man) was supposed to met with us on Wednesday, but couldn't because of the snow. He couldn't come to church either since I believe he was going to go to his own since he has a calling there as well, but we are going to meet with him this Wednesday.
Thursday we walked to the library (and it ended up being closed) and we met a lot of amazing homeless people. We literally talked to everyone that we passed by, and everyone was so engrossed with what Sister J. and I were teaching them about the Restoration. There was a motorcycle store across the street, and right when I was telling them about Joseph Smith, a guy would revv his motorcycle loudly. S. one of the men we were teaching commented, "Every time you get to the good part, that guy revvs his motorcycle!" Haha, but we were able to give our contact information to everyone, and it was great. I especially admire a guy named R. who wants to be an architect, and said that he'll draw the Salt Lake Temple for us, and he said it was so beautiful. We taught him as well, and we're hoping to see him whenever we're in the area. We were waiting for the bus, and he was worried the bus would drive on by. He stood out in the street waving his arms saying, 'STOP! THE MORMON CHICKS NEED TO GET ON THE BUS!" He was so proud of himself and told us we were his art angels--how precious.
L. (the woman who was baptized a couple of weeks ago) came out to teach with us and she absolutely loved it. She told us that she wants to come out and teach with us whenever she can, and never be afraid to ask. She helped us teach N. and B., the couple who live in their car. It was an intense discussion. They have some pretty interesting beliefs, such as B. believes that the ancient scrolls will tell us the way we need to go, and he only trusts Heavenly Father. They ask us so many questions that aren't important for our eternal salvation. Such as, "Who did Cain marry, and what was her name?" and so on and so on. They keep on asking us questions, and our answer was the same every time practically, "Read the scriptures, and pray." 
Missionaries were finally allowed to use cars again on Friday, and so we were driving home to get our area book to go see less actives because our appointments cancelled. We saw the entire crowd of the audience that went to go see the Book of Mormon Musical. I was just dying to go talk to them about our church because if they were willing to see the musical, why not hear the actual facts from a reputable source? We parked and we walked to Fox Theater since it was so close to where we were at, and we prayed and got the answer that we needed to walk around although it wasn't our day to do so. (Technically we haven't been told when we're going, so who knows when that will happen.) But I felt so empowered walking around. I also learned the lesson on how the Spirit communicates with me on where I should go. I was able to clearly tell whether we were supposed to go left or right on the streets. I wasn't afraid that these people just saw a show that made fun of us. It was interesting considering I would smile and say hello to people, and they wouldn't look us in the eye. Sister J and I feel like that in a way, they were ashamed that they went to go see that play. Earlier that week, we were on the bus and we went by the Fox Theater and it had the advertisement for the musical. This woman mouthed to us, "Are you Mormon?" We said yes and started to talk to her. She later on said, "Now that I've seen you, I no longer want to see that show." So although I wasn't prompted to talk to anyone as we were walking around since the crowd died down a lot, I feel like since they've seen actual missionaries we've influenced some people just by seeing Sister J and I laugh and smile as we waved to the other missionaries.
Sorry for the long e-mail, but I just want to end it with a quote that I love by President Gordon B. Hinckley, "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy. Not on fighting the old, but on building the new."
If you want change, focus on the positive, not the negative. Your desire to change must be stronger than staying as you are. Always move forward!
-Sister Sudweeks

No, this isn't my car or my sign--but don't you love it?

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