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. 

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