Monday, June 30, 2014

Let Me See Your Halo!

Happy Monday!

So much has happened this week, and I absolutely love it! We had FHE with the Richard's family with a member and his son who are coming back into activity.  We had a lesson about how we should build our foundation with good things, and to always gain our testimony.

Helaman 5:12

This picture was taken by the Richard's two year old son.  He's a cutie!

I forgot to explain a picture from last week's email. Rebecca is a young woman who wants to go on a mission, and she comes out with us on team ups all the time. We were sitting on a little itty, bitty baby bench, and I just had to take a picture with her because she's the best!

Brother G. took us out to IHOP for lunch, and he is such a great guy. It's so cool that he's coming to at least sacrament now after being less active for ten years. He's kinda like a grandpa who spoils us.

A delicious lunch!

E. (our 11 year old investigator) is doing great, and he is so set for the twelfth of July. We get
to see him almost every day, and he's progressing so much! I hope that his family sees how much he has changed since he's started to attend church. His older brother is LDS but he isn't active at all
whatsoever. He moved back home two weeks ago so now his girlfriend S. and their baby are there a lot. S. has been coming out of the apartment and listening every now and then when we're over, so we're wondering if she's would want to be taught as well. We gave her a Plan of Salvation pamphlet, and she was flipping through it as we left. E. told us WAIT! so we turned around. He gave us a nickel saying, "This is your tip, go buy yourself a steak dinner." E. says
the funniest things!

We went out tracting a few streets, and we didn't realized that Fayetteville has some old fashioned South here! We have a song on one of our CDs that sounds pretty country (but still appropriate) and we blasted it with the windows rolled down as we drove by tractors and old fashioned houses. We may or may not have stopped to take a few pictures along the way. A lot of our investigators aren't contacting us anymore, so we're just finding more and more people each day.

Knock knock...anybody home?
Sister Warner--enjoying time on the verandah

We went and volunteered at the Hope Memory Center again, and two elderly woman kept telling me that I had beautiful teeth, and that I had such a pretty 'dress' on over and over again. We played a card
game with them. Each of them got seven giant cards faced up all in a line, and then Sister Warner and I had a normal deck. We called out the card, and whoever had it got to place it face down on the table.
Whoever won, got a little prize, although everyone won. We played that game at least 4 times, and I got a bit sick of calling out cards- I always have to pause before I say it's a spade or a club. But I was
more than happy to call out cards than having to play balloon tennis, my anxiety would have gone way up if I had to deal with those balloons. Tender mercies. :)

(A note from her mother:  Sister Sudweeks has a real fear about balloons!  It started when she was four years old and her older sister had a birthday party where people sat on balloons and popped them.  She even looked up her fear later in life.  It's called globophobia or the fear of balloons.  Needless to say, we won't be greeting her at the airport with balloons when she comes home from her mission!)

We went tracting and we knocked on one door and met J. who has four kids. She's a spiritualist, so we prayed for her and left the Savior's peace and blessings. She told us that we could come back anytime, and so we have an appointment with her tonight. It was originally yesterday, but we then met her husband T. who was just driving up saying that they thought we were joking. But they told us that it would be perfect tonight. Hopefully all goes well! :) The funny part was that after we prayed with her she ran back inside shouting that she has something for us. We were a bit nervous that it was some anti-Mormon literature, or something from her church. But it ended up being halos- part of her business because everyone needs to remember gratitude and love. Sister Warner and I have pictures with them on, but my camera died so everyone will just have to wait a week to get them. :)

I figured I'd make E.'s paragraph two instead of one long one. :P We taught E. not once,not twice, but at least three times before he prayed out loud for us. He's told us that he prays in his head, so it might have been his first prayer out loud too! :) We taught him the Ten Commandments, Keep the Sabbath Day Holy, and Word of Wisdom this week as well. He was so bummed about how he's drank black tea all his life. He had questions like, "Can we eat popcorn? How about white bread?" He
was talking about how his brother eats all of his food, and so he confessed, "I cut a hole in the middle of my mattress to hide my pineapple juice." I really hope that his Mom doesn't find out! He told
us that he knows that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, which is why he tried to throw away his Mom's tea after we left. She wouldn't let him though. E. even brought his five year old friend to church, and told him that he can come with him every week. What a great missionary!

I felt we were inspired to go see one of our potentials from a month ago. Her daughter ended up answering the door, and she has some LDS friends. N. straight out declared that she has no issue in reading the Book of Mormon if it's like the Bible. She accepted a copy along with a Restoration pamphlet. N. calls herself a floater because she's gone to so many churches and how it doesn't feel quite right, or she doesn't agree with some of the doctrine. They're going out of town, but we got her number so we can see her sometime next week! :)

President Harding had a mission conference call with us before we Weekly Plan on Thursday. He told us that when he was at a mission president's conference last year and an apostle told him that the
missionaries that they have in their mission right now are the honorable, good, and choice spirits that are mentioned in Abraham 3:23. Talk about a self confidence booster right there! :)

S. is doing absolutely amazing, but G. her grandmother hasn't progressed. and now she's back to where she was before. S's four younger sisters just moved in last week, and we taught them about the Doctrine of Christ in 2nd Nephi 31. They all want to be baptized, but G. didn't take them to church so their date has to be pushed back a week! We were hoping that they'd get baptized the same day S. would, but one has to go to church at least two times before they get baptized. S. told us that she prayed if this is what Heavenly Father wanted her to do, and if the church was true- and she got an answer that it is! I was so excited, and she just glows now because she reads the
Book of Mormon every night before she goes to bed. What a miracle!

These past few weeks I've been struggling with the fact that I think I'm not working hard enough, or not doing enough, being obedient enough, and so on. In Atlanta it was so easy to talk to people right
and left thanks to MARTA- but being in a car and when we knock on doors most people are usually at work it's hard sometimes to even talk to ten people a day. Where in Atlanta people were so receptive, it's a miracle if someone talks to us for more than 30 seconds. I am so grateful that we had interviews with President Harding so we could express our concerns to him. He was telling me that I was being really hard on myself, and that when our Heavenly Father is tearing us down to create us into the potential that He can see us become, it can REALLY hurt.He sees that I've changed a lot since I've been here, and I'm grateful to be able to look towards Christ's life and how much he went through so
I can look at mine in comparison to see that what I'm going through isn't all that bad. One of the members in the ward sends a quote of the day to everyone and I've been writing them down in my planner so I can always look up. One of my favorites is "One of the happiest moments is when you find the courage to let go of what you can't change." President told me I should just focus on what I can influence and change, and then let God do the rest and accept his timing and plan.

I hope that everyone has an spectacular 4th of July, and to watch some fireworks for me!

-Sister Sudweeks

The saddest sight for a missionary to see is a CLOSED post office!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Eating Spider's at a Member's Home!

Happy Monday!

Both of our elders were transferred out last week, and Sisters Freeman and Sullivan made a cake for them. If you look at the picture you'll see Elder Weathers from my first district. :) Elder Taufa was
originally with Elder Bernard, but Elder Weathers and Bernard swapped leadership positions for one to two weeks. So Elder Bernard is back, and now we have a new district leader. I found out that my old district leader Elder Ercanbrack is now my zone leader! I was talking to him about a
referral, and then we talked about how Atlanta was doing. K. never got baptized because he didn't come to church. K! :( (To refresh your memory, K. is the one that took care of his elderly parents and grandchildren.)  Sister B. still isn't baptized, (she's the one that owns the very naughty dog Karma) but Atlanta is just booming with baptisms. It's great to hear that my first area is still going well. :)

We'll miss you Elders!
I ran out of time last week, but we also have an eleven year old boy, E. M. on date to be baptized for July 12th! It was originally July 5th, but his fellowshippers who have been AMAZING are going to be out of town, and they really want to make it special for him. They're going to buy him church clothes, do the programs, make the refreshments, and so on. The Campbell's have been picking him up for Family Home Evening, church, scouts, and just including him in everything. His Mom was investigating the church off and on for the past three years, but she doesn't want to let go of some of her habits but is excited for him to get baptized. E. has been coming to church for the past few months, and we've been teaching him for the past couple weeks. It's so great to see how member involvement makes such a huge difference when it comes to someone investigating the church.

It's been so hot here in Fayetteville, never been any cooler than 85 degrees. We enjoy doing service each week, and Sister Warner and I were joking that we would just wash members cars for service. We don't need them to talk to us, just let us accidentally spray each other with a hose as we're washing the car, no big deal. Haha, we'll see if we actually get desperate enough to do that.

We had an appointment with one of our potential investigators, but we ended up teaching her Mom, N. that's been visiting for a month. We've taught her twice already, but she wasn't there for her last
appointment, and she doesn't have a phone. She said that she would be baptized if she knew that the Book of Mormon was true, and we think she has good potential because she read the entire Restoration pamphlet before we expected her to. N. has a LOT of kids, grandkids, and great grand kids who haven't been exposed to religion at all. One of her sons is a member, so it's cool to see how everyone connects. She lives in Oregon so she'll probably continue investigating the church there once she goes home in July.  Journey came out with us for one of her lessons, and we sang "Families Can Be Together Forever" at the end because N. loves her family so much. Journey said in the car, "Was that the Spirit, or do you always sound that good?" We laughed and we told her that we sing as a companionship every morning before we start companionship study.

We haven't gotten a hold of a lot of our amazing potentials, but we've gotten a lot more good potentials this week! Not so much actual investigators. We're going to start specifically praying for
investigators who will keep their appointments, read the Book of Mormon, and progress. I've noticed the investigators who don't read the Book of Mormon, don't progress, and those who do, do progress.
(It's not rocket scientist, but it helps me remember to stress the importance of it.)

I'm so excited because a less active member that we've been working with hasn't smoked in over three weeks! A's been using the e-cigarettes and the patch, and she came to church with her entire
family who are also members of the church. We've been working on their Mom, so hopefully she'll come back to church too. It's been amazing to see how much progress she has made since I've first arrived here. She wasn't smiley, huggy, or as open compared to now.

We had exchanges last week and I was with Sister Freeman in my area and it was just amazing! She and I have so much in common, and I know we'll be good friends after the mission even if we're never companions. We had a really good lesson with G., (she's the grandmother of S. another one of our investigators) and I'm ecstatic to say that she has great intentions. She can't read the Book of
Mormon easily because of her poor eyesight and cataracts, and G. asks every day if her Book of Mormon on CD has arrived yet. She has noticed that S. seems so much happier because of the church, and it even made her cry. S. wasn't there, she was at youth conference with all of the youth in the stake, and she absolutely loved it! S. brought her 'friend' J. to church, and more of their family
and friends have joined them too, such as F. and D.. D. lives with G. and S., but she doesn't listen to the lessons. F. lives in Jonesboro but we taught her last night as well as the rest of the crew. F. has read half of the Book of Mormon already, and wants to be baptized so we gave her to the Jonesboro sisters. We taught J. (the friend of S. to help you keep track!) as well and he asked for a Book of Mormon, and he wants to be baptized as well! But he lives in Griffin, and that brings the
whole circle to why I talked to Elder Ercanbrack- he's serving in Griffin. So they'll take good care of him. Since we were unable to teach S. this past week, we're pushing back her baptism to July 5th,
and hopefully G. will get baptized the same day she does.

We went over for a lesson at the Campbell's and she served us spiders! Okay, they are called "aranaitas" which means little spiders in Spanish. They were deep fried plantains that looked like little spiders and they were so good! I think I'll eat little spiders more often.

T. came to church, which was SUCH  a miracle! We only taught him once, and he asked interesting questions such as what do we do for people who are struggling emotionally, mentally, and if we provide any services for members. He's an all call therapist, and he's been to church before a few times. He decided to come to church yesterday, and sacrament meeting was all about family history. We held our breath because we weren't sure if he would be interested in that or not. Come to find out, family history is his PASSION, and he's so excited to come to the family history work lab on Wednesday nights.  T. has never stayed past the first hour, but I was able to convince him to
stay for Sunday School. We talked about the gift of the Holy Ghost, and he was even participating. Then our Ward Mission Leader whisked him off to Priesthood and T. seemed completely okay with that. After church, he said that he loved church and he was so happy that he stayed! He said that he'll be on call this Sunday for work, but we'll see him the week after. He's been church hopping for the past three years, and I think he's finally a lot more interested so I'm really excited to see where this takes him. Miracles!

We have a magnet on our fridge that says:
The Everyday Powers of Christ

C. Cleansing Power - Jesus has the power to cleanse and make us pure.
H. Healing Power- Jesus has the power to heal us physically, mentally,
emotionally, and spiritually.
R. Restoring Power- Jesus has the power to make right (At-One) all of
the wrongs of mortality.
I. Identifying Power- Jesus has the power to understand, empathize
with, and guide us.
S. Strengthening Power- Jesus has the power to give us strength beyond
our natural ability.
T. Transforming Power- Jesus has the power to change our very nature.

I hope everyone asks themselves daily, what can Christ do for you?

Have an amazing week!

-Sister Sudweeks

Monday, June 16, 2014

Got Locked Out! Keys and Phone in Car!

Happy Monday!

Well, last Monday wasn't too happy. I was going to go print out pictures of W. and S.'s baptism from Sister Bradford and I realized that my flashdrive wasn't  there.  (These were two baptisms in Atlanta that occurred after I was transferred.)  I searched the past week trying to find it, and even went to the library in hopes someone turned it in. No luck, so at least the first four months of my mission I don't have any pictures of besides the ones I sent home. I'm continually praying that I'll be able to find it, but I know that stuff falls out of my purse all the time. I don't zip it up all the way trying to be quick in getting out a pamphlet, Book of Mormon, or anything else like that to give to someone. I'm still going to pray that it turns up somewhere.

Sister Warner and I went back to the Hope Center--a Memory Care Facility--and we just sat with them out on the patio in rocking chairs enjoying the sunshine. We were telling a bunch of different stories and making them laugh. Sister Warner even started to dance and one of the ladies tried to dance too. But she fell back into her chair and she decided that was enough for one day! It's so sweet seeing them every time we come because they always ask if we're going to sing for them. I love going there, it just boosts my spirit and self confidence because they always tell us how young and beautiful we are haha! :)

S. wasn't at her house when we went for her appointment- I wish people would understand how important our message is and how everyone could benefit from it. If so, people would probably never miss a lesson!

I love how the spirit guides missionaries on what to say just perfectly. One of the things that we do in this mission is to leave the Savior's peace and blessings upon a family and home. We ask them if there's anything or anyone they want us to pray for in specific, and if not the spirit has to guide us on what to say. Most people include their family, or something similar. But when we knocked on P's door and he said he couldn't think of anything. I said the prayer and it was really amazing how I prayed that he'd be able to find his purpose in life, and that he would have his future be guided by our Heavenly Father. It came absolutely out of nowhere. After the prayer Sister Warner and I both knew that we were supposed to talk about the Plan of Salvation. We weren't able to get a return appointment with him, but we do have his number so whenever he's available we'll be able to meet with him. We shall see!

It was pretty entertaining, we were out tracting and we met a guy who was in the middle of dinner. We said that we'd come back and he offered us red beans and rice. We were just laughing because we've never been offered food before when someone is busy. We don't think he was interested at all, but that just shows you the Southern hospitality here in Georgia!

G. had back surgery, so we taught S. this week. (G. is the Grandmother the Elder's referred to us a couple of weeks ago and S. is  her granddaughter.)  We taught her more about the Book of Mormon, and taught her the importance of baptism. S. accepted to be baptized on the 28th of June, and G. and S. were at church yesterday even though G. is recovering. Miracles!
Sister Robinson, a member of my ward, was taking us to an appointment and she was telling us about how Lionsgate Studio moved here to Fayetteville, which produces the Hunger Game movies. It is so cool how so many movies and television shows are made in Georgia. Another reason why I want to come back and live here! Sister Robinson was an extra in Blind Side, an extra in Drop Dead Diva (yes Mom, one of our favorite shows!), and her daughter was in Vampire Diaries, and so on. I've really connected with that family, so we've decided that when I come back to visit I'll stay with them, and I'll be an extra in a movie since that's been one of the things on my bucket list.

As we got to the appointment, no one was there so we were going to call them. We found out that Sister Robinson brought the wrong set of keys with her, and she didn't know the code to get back into her husband's car! We had both left our phones in the car, so we knocked on G.'s door to see if she was home because she lives two houses away. (G. had to rescheduled her appointment because of zone training, but now she wants her husband to be involved in the discussions too, miracles!) No one answered, and we knocked on a few more doors with no one answering. We all prayed that she would remember what the code to the car was so we could get inside. It worked! Sister Robinson remarked that her hand was guided by the Spirit, and she can't recall what the code is anymore. Yay for tender mercies! We called our appointment and they weren't answering, sad!

We had zone training and it was a lot about how we should bring up families, and family history whenever we meet someone. A lot of people have a close relation to their families, and they'll have a desire to be together with their families forever. Before I got to this mission, they were doing certification and it ended before I got there. Well, it's started up again until October. Missionary Training Plan, aka Certification 2.0. It's pretty intense since we now have to get up at 6am instead of 6:30am (Goodbye a full 8 hours of sleep, which I never got anyway), and an extra hour in the morning to do certification, so we leave our apartment at 10:30am instead of 10. There's so much memorization involved, getting higher key indicators, reading talks, doing activities in Preach my Gospel, and so on and so on. It really overwhelmed me considering on how much memorization there is involved because that's been one of my weakest skills my entire life! Any ideas on how to memorize long passages? I've memorized a few short scriptures already, but I could always use more ideas! :)

One of the other cool things that I realized at zone training is that God TRULY speaks to his prophets, apostles, and mission presidents. They are inspired, and they are literally the mouthpiece of God. If President Harding is telling us to "Go faster, we need to reach more people so they can hear the restored gospel," it's like God is telling us that we need to go faster.  It was cool because I learned that I should pray for experiences that will strengthen my testimony, and the Savior knows what we need, when we need it. I love zone training!

Last week the other sisters came over and we made some hilarious videos and pictures. Sister Warner and Freeman put 'eyes' on their chins and laid down. We covered their nose and eyes with a shirt, and covered their body with a blue blanket so it looked like the sky. (If you're totally lost, don't worry I included pictures.) They role played and it was the funniest thing this entire week!

We work hard--and we play hard!

We met T. and L. briefly, and we talked about the importance of reading the Book of Mormon to gain a testimony of it, and the importance of church and baptism. They are out of town this week, so we'll be meeting again with them next week. T. has literally been taught everything, and even had a baptismal date. We think that since L. has been having problems in quitting smoking, she's been holding them back, and that's why they stopped meeting with the missionaries last year. We're praying and crossing our fingers that we'll be able to teach them what they need to know!

We were going to clean one of the less active's houses for service but she ended up feeling sick and didn't want to infect us. So instead we talked to her Primary aged kids. We asked them about 2 Nephi 32:3, and why they think it says "Feast upon the words of Christ".  J. said that it's so we could remember the Last Supper with Jesus. Then we also asked them about how we could support the priesthood. His sister J. proudly declared, "Give them snacks!" Kids say the cutest, darn-est things.

We were knocking on doors and we met a guy named M. We taught him the destination and route-  Our Heavenly Father wants to give us the greatest blessings in this life. We'll be able to receive a remission of our sins, have constant guidance in our life, and obtain eternal life. If we have faith in Jesus Christ, repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end we'll be able to obtain all three of those. We were testifying and teaching so powerfully, M. told us that he felt the spirit so strongly, and he accepted to be baptized on July 5th when he comes to the conclusion that the Book of Mormon is true. Unfortunately, he lives in Conley, Georgia, so we had to send him in as a referral for other missionaries. But it was so neat to see that people are really THAT prepared to hear the gospel, we just have to find them in our area! :)

J. (the very sweet lady who told us we should dust off our feet when people reject our word) has been busy with her four special needs children, but we dropped by in on her and she told us in her mind when she saw our car, "There are my girls!!" She gave us a huge hug and talked to us about how she carries five flashlights with her all of them ranging from dim to light. J. told us that the brightest one reminds her of us because we're out proclaiming the gospel, and we're letting our light shine to everyone that sees us. She always makes us feel good although we don't always get another appointment! :) But J. has told us to always call her to see if she's free.

Lastly, we were going to have another lesson with S. but she and her grandmother weren't home so we decided to tract their street. We didn't have much success until we knocked on the last door before having to go home to make it to curfew. We met N. (another N., just like Atlanta) who was previously taught by missionaries in Maryland over a year ago. She mentioned that there has never been missionaries in this neighborhood. N. was practically waiting for us to arrive! It was so exciting because her friend, C. that was visiting was curious about what we believed, too. We set up a time to see her this week, and we'll figure out when to meet with C. because she's moving to Fayetteville. The work of salvation is hastening! :) :)

I hope everyone had an amazing Father's Day, and I am once again so grateful for my Dad and how much he has done for me.

One of my favorite hymns is Savior, Redeemer of my Soul-

1. Savior, Redeemer of my soul,
Whose mighty hand hath made me whole,
Whose wondrous pow'r hath raised me up
And filled with sweet my bitter cup!
What tongue my gratitude can tell,
O gracious God of Israel.

2. Never can I repay thee, Lord,
But I can love thee. Thy pure word,
Hath it not been my one delight,
My joy by day, my dream by night?
Then let my lips proclaim it still,
And all my life reflect thy will.

3. O'errule mine acts to serve thine ends.
Change frowning foes to smiling friends.
Chasten my soul till I shall be
In perfect harmony with thee.
Make me more worthy of thy love,
And fit me for the life above.

It really makes me feel full of gratitude and although I may never be able to pay back the debt, I can proclaim the gospel and try my best to align my will with our Heavenly Fathers. We are all striving to become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ, and I'm so privileged that I'm on a mission so I can focus on doing that for 18 months, along with inviting others to come unto Christ.
-Sister Sudweeks

Monday, June 9, 2014

Just Dust Off Your Feet! Dust 'Em Off!

Happy Monday!
It's crazy to think that I hit my seven month mark last week. I can remember being at the airport flying to Georgia just like it was last month. [=

So we met G. on Monday and found out that F. doesn't even live in our stake, but we're also teaching her granddaughter S. We really don't know what the elders taught them because they didn't give us their teaching record, and were a bit vague. G. and their family are related to the L. Family in the Whitewater Ward (they meet in our building too) who just recently got baptized earlier this year. We're a bit wary on what their true intentions are for wanting to join the church, so we're being careful. G. wasn't on date to be baptized, but she and S. said that they would if they found out that the Book of Mormon was true and they felt prepared.

We met and got back in touch with some amazing people this week. God has blessed us with some amazing investigators, who show some potential! It's such a drastic change from getting two investigators to eleven investigators. Some of those investigators weren't there for their return appointment, but we know they have some potential!

Sister Warner and I had about twenty minutes before our dinner appointment. We prayed and asked where we should go next, and He guided us to where a former investigator once lived. As we stopped near her house, we decided that we would knock on one door. I prayed that we'd be guided to someone who would be receptive and would want us to come back. We ended up knocking on the door we parked by, and met J. G.!  She is the cutest lady I've ever met! We talked about prayer, faith, and how she wants to minister the word to everyone she meets and is so grateful for what we're doing. She kept going on about how we need to dust our feet off every time someone rejects us at the door in the most enthusiastic way possible. I kept grinning because she was just glorifying God and how good He is to all of us. She prayed for us, and I've never heard such a Southern prayer in my life! We came back and taught her part of the first lesson, but only got up to prophets and how there has been the gospel in many dispensations. We're both so excited to teach her again!

Sister Warner and I brought the blanket fort back! We roasted marshmallows when there was a huge thunderstorm two or three nights this week, and we wanted to sleep in a tent too! I don't think I'll ever want to take it down, it brings so many fun memories to the mission!

We also got a hold of someone that we tracted into that also lived by a former investigator, Memorial Day Weekend. G. hasn't gone to church in a while, and her husband mentioned to her recently that they needed to start going to church again. We are building a trust with her so we got to know her during the first lesson, but we have another appointment with her this upcoming week. She said that she couldn't come to church yesterday, but she's going to come this week hopefully!

I'm sorry to report that George, the snake is dead dead. May he rest in pieces. As we were walking for lunch I saw that a bird was pecking at him, and he was a goner! I wanted to bury him, but I figured that would be just too weird.

Sister Warner and I also got a hold of S., and we have another appointment with her this week. I'm telling you about all of these appointments because I'm confident and I'm exercising my faith that all of these will go through, so I can talk to all of you about them next week!

One of the new investigators we had a discussion with was an evangelist for the Church of Christ. I hate to admit that he made me teary eyed because of some of the rude comments he directed right at me as I was trying to bear my testimony of the Book of Mormon. We have come in contact with a lot people who either say that Jesus is God, or that Jesus isn't the son of God, and so on. It really made Sister Warner and I so grateful that we have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and since we know that it's true, everything else after it is true as well. After I prayed in gratitude for our testimonies, Sister Warner declared, "Our shake is unfaithen in the Book of Mormon!" I laughed really hard, since she said it so proudly. How I love my companion!

It was such a miracle because we got in contact with one of the inactives in the ward earlier this week as well. Her husband for 52 years passed away within this year and she's been having a hard time adjusting. V. is one of the coolest people I've met, and I really hope that she considers coming back to church. She and her husband aren't sealed for time and all eternity, so I pray that she'll come back and make that one of her goals.

So it's been REALLY humid this past week, and I think the heat and humidity are taking a toll on me. Sister Warner and I act REALLY weird after we get in from tracting for a long time. We were both wearing maxi dresses, and we REALLY enjoyed pumping up our air conditioning as Sister Warner drove. She even mentioned to me that "I think that we'd be really good squirrels together." She's hilarious!

I've really loved studying for two hours every day. I've been able to incorporate the Ensign magazine, the Gospel Principles book, Preach my Gospel, the Book of Mormon for kids that has the stories in simple form with pictures, the Bible Dictionary, True to the Faith, and many other resources. I encourage all of your to broaden your resources as you study the scriptures every day. You'll be able to get a lot more insight, and a lot more knowledge. I thought I knew everything that was in the Gospel Principles book, but boy was I wrong! It's always great to look up the scripture references that go along with everything as well.

Brother G. wasn't at church yesterday, but C. L. was, and I was so happy to see him there!

I don't have much time left, but we have this poem magnet on our fridge:

"I asked for God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly and obey.

I asked for health, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things

I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all the things that I might enjoy in life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for
But everything I had hope for.

Almost despite myself,
My unspoken prayers were answered.

I am among all men, most richly blessed."
-Unknown Confederate Soldier

It's so great to think that God gives us what we need although we may not entirely ask for it. We should always be looking at our trials as a blessing, considering we received them to be able to learn important lessons from them.

Have a great week! :)
-Sister Sudweeks

P.S.  "P.S. We got a Duck Dynasty puzzle from Sister Warner's family. Hopefully we'll be able to finish it although it's all camouflage!"

Monday, June 2, 2014

We Have a Pet Snake, George!

Happy Monday!

May I just say, I don't think I've ever learned so many lessons this week, compared to previous weeks on the mission. This past week we were trying to contact formers and potentials, and tracting for 4-5 hours each day. We tracted for five hours straight because we weren't feeling inspiration to contact potentials which took a lot of miles. It was the end of the month and we were running low on miles since we had to drive to the temple last month, AND drive to Riverdale/Jonesboro for my blood work. Practically no one listened to us or opened the door for us this entire week- not to mention all of the appointments that we had from new investigators last week fell through, too. Talk about a humbling experience!

Random funny story, last Monday we were shopping, and Sister Warner was so bummed that Aldi's didn't have any more avocado. We were putting our groceries in the car and I found an avocado on the ground! I laughed and showed it to her, and she was SO excited. God is mindful of us always!

Journey is going to the Philippines on her mission, so she's been going out with the sister missionaries a lot to help prepare herself. We happened to be on the street that she used to live on, so she asked if we could knock on her old house to see if anyone would answer. D. ended up answering, and letting us in so Journey could see how different the house has changed in over a decade. We had a really good discussion about prayer and how her work schedule is really difficult to get to church, but she lives the commandments and tries to do the best she can. We were supposed to call and get an appointment with her since she didn't know what her schedule looked like yet, but she hasn't been answering our calls.

We went to the Broadway Diner with one of the members, Sister Daniels because she needed a time to de-stress with all of the people that are living in her house. She ended up buying us this HUGE piece of cake that was SO good. It was great to get to know her better as well!

Sister Daniel's is delightful and this was delicious cake!
Another cool thing that happened this week is that on Thursday's we weekly plan for next week and it can take hours to do it thoroughly. Sister Warner and I both wanted to take a break at the same time, and go for a walk. We ended up knocking on a potentials door that we knocked on last week. R. ended up letting us in, and told us that she was praying for us that we would come back considering she felt really bad that she told us, "Not today" and didn't give us any water because it was so hot outside. We found out that all of her kids were baptized at a young age! She has some interesting beliefs when it comes to Adam and Eve, and she can't come to church since she's a CNA who works from 7-7 six days a week at least. We've been unable to contact her when it comes to setting up an appointment, but I know that she's been prepared from Heavenly Father considering she believes a lot with what we believe too.

Sister Warner and I are officially in the "Secret Service". -wink wink- One of our investigators who is going through a hard time with a death in the family, needed to get some of her yard work done but refused to let us come and help her. With the inspiration of God helping us know when she wouldn't be there, we went over and pulled a lot of weeds and raked up her leaves. I wish I could have seen her reaction when she came home, but knowing that we helped her not feel so stressed about her yard was good enough for me!

We had an appointment with W. last week, but he wasn't there. We're afraid that we're not going to be able to teach him anymore because of what was said to him, and he hasn't been reading the pamphlets nor the Book of Mormon like we asked him to. It's so sad to see the adversary working on someone who was so ready for baptism, but then to hear false doctrine and not wanting to progress anymore. But thankfully we were able to see his neighbor J.! We had a really good discussion with her and how in Acts 19:1-6, people had to get baptized twice because they weren't baptized by someone who had that proper priesthood authority. I also showed her Acts 8:13-22 where someone wanted to buy the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which isn't allowed. It opened her eyes to new ideas and she reminds me A LOT of K. (a man baptized in Atlanta) because one of her main issues is priesthood authority- something that a lot of people have issues here in Fayetteville. She committed that she'll come to church on the 15th because she has previous commitments for the upcoming Sundays.

R. was one of the investigators we met the week before, and he was really curious about the history of the pioneers. He took a Restoration pamphlet if we would come back and study up all about the history. I'm so glad that I read almost the entire book of "Our Heritage" before we came back with the Smiths, an older ward missionary couple. In the end, he didn't even read an entire paragraph in the pamphlet because he wanted to learn more about Brigham Young and all that jazz. I committed him to read three pages of the pamphlet (of course the  most importance ones of all--(Jesus Christ establishing His church, the Great Apostasy, and The Restoration). He said it wasn't necessary for us to come back and didn't accept a Book of Mormon. I later found out on Sunday that Sister Smith wrote him a letter about how the Book of Mormon is an entire history about the native American Indians and gave him a copy of his own Book of Mormon. I can't wait to see how he reacts when he gets a Book of Mormon in the mail!

We found a snake on someone's driveway, and we decided to save him from a painful heat wrenching death! So George has been chilling with us in the car next to the air conditioning vents. I think he's pretty dang grateful that we saved him from almost getting run over by a car or two!

Meet George the Snake--although perhaps the snake should be called Georgette instead.
Sister Warner may or may not have pretended to eat him.

Question: So what's the strangest thing YOU ate on your mission? Answer: Snake!
Since I was feeling pretty down in the dumps at the end of the week, just wondering why the work wasn't going forward although we were constantly trying to find people every hour on the hour. I fasted that we would be able to find constant investigators, and that I wouldn't feel so hopeless in being in Fayetteville, where no one would even let us talk even a little bit about our unique message. I fasted that I would be more optimistic, more hopeful, and that I would get out of this funk amongst other things. I really didn't understand why we weren't being successful and seeing the fruit of our labors. I didn't want to just plant seeds for the next missionaries to come around, I want to BE those missionaries.

On Sunday we went to the Hope Memory Center and did a little devotional for all of the patients that lived there. We read some Bible scriptures about Jesus, and sang four or five songs about Christ. They absolutely loved it, and they were so appreciative of what we were doing, taking time out of our Sabbath to come sing to them. At church, Brother G. came just like he promised at our lesson last week and sat by us. He told us before sacrament that he wanted to tell us something afterward. The testimonies were just AMAZING. It really reminded me that I should focus more on Christ's life, than mine. I should seriously forget myself and go to work.

After sacrament meeting, he told us that the woman he was in a relationship with has had the harshest feelings about the church for the past 2 1/2 years- she got home from her trip on Saturday and she told him that she would consider coming to one of our church services in the future. How amazing is that?! She has probably seen the changes in him since we've been coming over, and wants to know what's changing him for the better. I am so excited to see where this progresses!

After sacrament meeting, the zone leaders talked to us about how they have a referral for us- they were teaching G. and F. who ended up being in our area! They've already been to church twice, and they're on date to be baptized on June 14th! Sister Warner told me that she was fasting that we would have a baptism in June, and here we go, two baptism potentials given to us. Heavenly Father is so mindful of us! Of course as I was going through Sunday, I could see more and more of Heavenly Father in my life, and I felt so loved.

After church, we went to go tract a street that has been on our minds for a while, and it really stood out to us last night. I prayed that we would be able to connect to the people on this street- that we would find them, and find out their concerns, questions, and know what they needed to hear. The driveways were so long, especially the first one we tried and it was gated, but we kept on going. The second house looked like no one was home but we walked and saw a woman sitting on her porch talking to on the phone. She was SO friendly, and gave us a flower to put in our hair and she guided us to her backyard since her chairs were more comfortable there. Her yard is just beautiful, and it was so peaceful. Sister Warner and I were thinking she was that new investigator that we've been waiting for! We asked for her name, and we found out that she was a less active! We were in complete shock because we  had forgotten she lived on that street, and we had planned on skipping her house because her husband isn't a member, and to respect her requests of not dropping in on her. She started to cry, because she knew that God sent us to her for a reason, to remind her that He loves her so very much, and that he wants to hear her pray more than she has previously. Sister Warner offered to take her out to lunch, but her schedule is busy this week, so we'll be doing that next week. God is so mindful of us!

This week was especially hard, but it's been one of the best trials I've had this entire mission. I've learned what being a successful missionary really is. It's not hitting the standard for goals on member presents, or new investigators- which I was doing my last transfer in Atlanta. In Preach My Gospel it states that a successful missionary is someone who "works effectively every day, do your very best to bring souls to Christ, and seek earnestly to learn and improve." Someone who "loves people and desires their salvation", "obeys with exactness", and much much more. I was able to learn that God's Timing is the best timing there is, and I really need to be patient because my timing isn't ideal. God is so mindful of each and every one of us, and I am SO grateful to be able to notice God's Hand in my life!

An amazing quote by our former President Truman, "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets it done."

Have an amazing week- and an amazing June!
-Sister Sudweeks

P.S.  Elder Taufa says hello to everyone.

P.P.S.  Don't worry.  Our pet snake was already dead when we picked it up.  He's now living outside our apartment sliding door.