Monday, May 12, 2014

I've Shed Blood, Sweat, and Tears This Week!

Happy Monday from Fayetteville!

Life has been crazy with all of the packing, transferring, moving, and unpacking. The culture shock coming here from Atlanta could have not been more drastic. I miss Atlanta greatly, but I know that this area is going to be the best area yet because it's my new area. [=  I love my new companion Sister Warner- she's from Washington and she's been out about 11 months. I feel like I've known her forever, and we're going to learn a lot from each other bring so many people unto Christ!

I'm going to miss Sister Bradford!  She was an awesome companion!

My new companion--Sister Warner

I'm just going to recap what's happening with my other investigators back in Atlanta because the other sisters who originally have the car on Tuesday, gave it to us because they wanted me to say good bye to people. Brother and Sister B. just absolutely broke my heart, and they told me that I will always be their daughter, and they'll pray for me every day that I'll have success and be safe. I had to say the closing prayer before we left and I just bawled right on their coffee table. It was kinda awkward cleaning it up with a tissue after we said amen.I don't think I've ever received such huge hugs from one person before.

W. did not get baptized last Saturday, because according to Sister Bradford, he almost got shot. Good bye Atlanta, I'm so grateful I'm in the safe city of Fayetteville? He's going to get baptized this week,
along with P.   D. (P.'s relative who was investigating the Jehovah's Witness church) came to church yesterday and she absolutely loved it!

D on the left, P. on the right and baby T.
We taught S., the wife of Brother M. on Monday and since we were finally able to get a member that spoke French to help us teach, we progressed so much! S. is a sassy little firecracker who really has
that desire to know because she would ask so many questions. I loved it because she originally just nodded her head whenever we tried to teach, but now she finally has a personality and I'm so excited for Sister Bradford and Sister Joseph to teach her!

Sister Joseph was originally in Atlanta before I got there, so she's familiar with MARTA and the area of Atlanta so Sister Bradford is saved from getting lost on MARTA every time she gets on or off a bus! God really does know what he's doing with each and every one of his children. I predicted that she would get a former Atlantian but I don't think she believed me.

K. is just a miraculous story to tell! I sent out a mass text to everyone on Monday, but K. didn't reply. The first thing he said to me when we walked in on Tuesday was, "You're leaving me?!" and he sounded devastated. We asked if he's gotten his answer yet from the blessing that he received, and he told me. "You were the answer and reason on how I got my answer." I was trying to include Sister Bradford and the other set of missionaries that he got in contact with in the last three years to be polite. He said "No," pointing to me, "It was you. When you testified to me telling me that I would get my answer at General Conference, with tears in your eyes and you looked straight
into my eyes. I knew deep down inside that this church was true, but you just validated it." I was shocked, but then he continued, "You don't speak much compared to your other companions because they've been out on their missions longer, but I wish you would. When you speak, there's so much power, and I can see God in you when you speak." I just got chills and felt the spirit so strong because I knew that he was telling us the truth. I wanted to cry again because he said that he knows that God has a plan for me wherever I'm going next. I'm going to touch the lives of others elsewhere just as I had touched him, and all of the people I met in Atlanta.

K and I saying good-bye   
K. got a great temporary job offer in New York City for about 1 1/2 weeks and he'll be making a lot of money being a chef there. Thankfully he'll have enough money to get caretakers to take care of his parents after he gets home, so he can finally come to church! Through these last six months I've never seen a person be so persistent in trying to come to church, and now God has finally blessed him with a way in having him do so! He'll be baptized on June 14th, and I'm going to try and get special permission to go to his baptism since it's only about 20 minutes away from where I'm currently serving. The best part of it all, is that K. finally prayed with us! K. has never prayed in
front of anyone that wasn't considered family, but since he knew I was leaving and I meant that much to him, he closed our meeting with a prayer. Now if that isn't a miraculous miracle, then I don't know what is! =D   I am so grateful for this amazing experience!

It has been so hot in Fayetteville, and since it's more upper class versus Atlanta, not very many people want to talk to us here while tracting because they're comfortable in their religion and all that
jazz. A LOT of them are set in their ways, and they pray for us that we will come to the truth of which church is true. We tell them all the time to pray about it and ask God and they'll receive an answer, but most of the time we just switch pass along cards. I can really see why certain people serve in the South. People question your testimony all the time as we encounter ministers and pastors, but I have a firm testimony of the gospel, and it cannot be shaken!

I'm so blessed to be in a car all the time now so I don't have to endure all of the humidity! All of the members are telling me my hair is going to get even curlier, which will be a sight to see! The ward is
SO great when it comes to feeding us, and getting team ups. The only difference is that the member only comes out with us for an hour, and back in Atlanta they would come out with us for as long as we needed them to. But it's still great that they want to be doing missionary work. Members are wanting to teach their friends here, they just need to gain the courage in doing so. We have 18 ward missionaries, which is absolutely crazy, but so good! The ward list is only twelve pages vs Atlanta's 48. I'm so happy I don't have to focus as much on less active work here in Fayetteville, and I can really focus on my purpose as a missionary.

We are teaching a few people, as it's really hard to get in contact with someone after the first lesson or sometime contact. We're teaching a man named W. who came to church for the first time this
week! He was afraid that he wasn't going to feel welcome because that's one of the issues he had with religion in the past. But he has some pretty solid fellowshippers who really relate to him, and we're
going to teach him again tonight. He's been praying about a baptismal date, and he said he'd decide after he went to church. So that will be one of our topics for tonight, so that's exciting!

One of the cool people that we met while tracting was Rachel and her daughter Ally. One of the things I'm getting better at is to show others that we as missionaries are just normal people. I somewhat hate small talk, but I know it's necessary for people to get comfortable since we are
strangers randomly knocking on their door. We were driving and we saw this guy petting his cat outside. I joked to Sister Bradford that I would awkwardly say, "I like your cat" in a weird voice as our opening line... But by the time we got to their yard he was gone, so we had to knock on their door. They ended up being very laid back. They asked for one of our pamphlets and where our church was located because their church is about 1 1/2 hours away so they haven't attended
too recently. We found out that they go to the Community of Christ, a branch off of our church. I wish I could have seen the look of their faces when they read about Joseph Smith in the Restoration pamphlet! Either it's going to go really bad, or really good. I'm hoping for the latter. [=

Sister Bradford is allergic to gluten and she noticed that my stomach hurt every time I ate it, so I went to the doctors for some blood work to see if I have it as well. I know that I have the celiac gene thanks to my dear sister Christie, so I will be finding out around Saturday if I have to stay away from bread and pasta, my favorite food group out of them all! It was fun because I was able to talk about the Restoration to the doctors due to paperwork complications of being a missionary. It was great to realize that I planted a seed into their head about the gospel. [=

See my Boo-Boo?  (This is the Blood Part of my Title--get it?) 

It's great to be a servant of the Lord, because that's exactly what we do- serve. Serve our fellow being, serve our God, and to just remember to serve everyone! "By learning the answers to someone's prayer, we often find the answer to our own." - Elder Uchtdorf

 I love you all so very much, and I hope you all had a great weekend celebrating the joys of motherhood!

-Sister Sudweeks

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