Monday, September 8, 2014

Decapitation by Journal!

Happy Monday!

So this week was just intense with preparing three different families for baptism. It was so intense, Sister Sullivan and I decided to buy Bluebell Ice Cream, which is the epitome of best ice cream of the South. We were planning on going out for Brusters Ice Cream which is also very well known here, but we figured, if we're both going to spend three bucks on two scoops of ice cream, why not just buy a half gallon of really expensive, really good ice cream for six bucks? I love Sister Sullivan's thinking! We got Magic Cookie Bar as our flavor because it reminded me of home! :)

We had Mission Council the day after Labor Day, and I can't even comprehend on how we spent six hours just talking about our numbers as a mission, and so on. It really gave me an additional desire to really raise the vision of our mission. Our numbers have been going down because we've been focusing on the Journey to increase member missionary work, and that's been a partial success. We have 108 companionships in the mission. If a companionship could baptize at least ONE person in a transfer, we'd be able to have almost 108 baptisms in a month compared to the 40ish that we've been having recently. If Sister Sullivan and I can baptize four this transfer, and then have one this Saturday for the next transfer that starts on Wednesday, then missionaries can most definitely baptize every transfer! We just have to figure out how to show them that they CAN do it, and it's the Lord's work, not ours. 
We taught T. (our wonderful investigator who has shared that he will NOT wear a white shirt after he joins the church) The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and all of the commandments in one lesson. Crazy, but I kid you not. We started with faith, and how faith leads us to follow the commandments. We started with the Ten Commandments, and branched off the other commandments we had to teach him such as Follow the Prophet, Tithing, Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, and Obey and Honor the Law. He was okay with all of it, but he's sad he has to give up his coffee, although he said that he's willing to obey the Word of Wisdom to be baptized! T. is just an awesome guy, and I'm so excited that he's going to be baptized this Saturday at 3pm. :) There's a lot of meetings this upcoming Saturday for all of the leadership in the church up in Brockett which is north of Atlanta, so we're hoping that we'll have some turnout for him.

It was so disgusting, as the bug infestation continues! Sister Sullivan found a palmetto bug in her bathroom as she was brushing her teeth (those are literally giant cockroaches, at least 3 1/2 inches long). She ran and grabbed an empty mason jar from the kitchen to trap it, and boy was it a fast little bugger! I was keeping watch on where it was (I was outside of the bathroom) and it ran right towards my feet as she missed it, and I screamed like a little girl as it ran underneath her bed. We didn't know how to get it to move so Sister Sullivan saw her journal, and she slid it across the floor to scare the bug. Amazingly enough she hit the bug and it was a clean shot! She cut it's head perfectly off with her journal and there was no evidence on the journal. Success! We move her bed and the body was still straggling around and it was just disgusting. So disgusting we had to take a video of it. (There's going to be SO many videos of the mission once I come home haha.) It was funny since it actually woke us up pretty quick so I was able to exercise a lot more effectively that morning.

We went over to Ta., Le., and Tak.'s home right before Elder Anderson was going to come and give the baptismal interview, and Ta. told us that she didn't want to get baptized on Saturday, but to postpone it. Sister Sullivan and I were thinking that the work has been going too perfectly with them and Brother R., and that Satan would stir up trouble SOMEHOW. There it is! She expressed that her husband that she's been separated from for twelve years wasn't going to give her money so she could look presentable at her baptism because she wanted to look the part as a member. We had to discuss with her the reasoning of why being baptized is important, the blessings that come from it, and would she let her wet undone hair and clothes hold her back from all of those blessings? There was other things that we had to talk about, but I was able to realize why I bought so many clothes throughout the mission! :P Sister Sullivan and I went through our closets and brought some clothes over the night before the baptism that we don't wear anymore, and they were so grateful for it. It was so precious because they bought us little mini journals and pens that were absolutely blinged out so we could remember them. We also bought them journals so they could write down their feelings and thoughts on their baptism day. :)

We saw Bi. and Bo. (the brothers) again this week, and Bi.s big concern is the Fall, and if Heavenly Father really is loving, why would he force man to sin, to make good choices? and then it branches off from there. He also has concerns about God being all knowing, and the Atonement. Now we're just trying to go back to the basics, and have him gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon (he's already read half of it) and to accept the teachings of the lessons. We're not sure if his Jehovah's Witness habits will stick with him, or if he'll really be able to have his questions answered. He mentioned the more he reads, the more questions he gets, not less. We will see what happens!

The last lesson with Ja. we asked her to pray more, and she actually prayed more than usual. Yay! We came over for a lesson and Ja. didn't want to come down due to her tween years (we all went through that) so we just went upstairs and talked to her about how she has a science exam coming up, and how she loves to read fantasy books. She and I bonded over the fact that she's going to read a book by Chris Colfer, the actor who plays Kurt in Glee, and we both 'used' to watch Glee. (Does anyone have any good fantasy books that we can suggest to Ja? Ja just needed to know that she was loved by us, and that we're normal too. She came down and we talked about the faith that Nephi had in 1 Nephi 7- his faith was so great that the cords that bound him loosed by itself entirely. We asked when we could come over again, and she proclaimed, "Tomorrow!" Her Mom was surprised and told us to come over Saturday, but it didn't happen because we were still cleaning up from the baptism. She told us that the lesson was awesome, which was great because we were able to express to her that the Beehives in the ward need her, since she's a leader and very friendly. We have two new converts in the Beehive class, and then her as an investigator.

Sister Sullivan is very proud at the fact that she has holes in almost every single pair of shoes she has. Well, it's been raining and pouring a whole lot this week (I'm ready for Fall) and a member gave her some of her daughter's shoes that she outgrew. We were about to go out for an appointment with a part member family, and the only shoes that she could wear were still in the car! I didn't have my umbrella with me so I got my rain jacket on, zipped it all the way up, and put the hood on. I looked absolutely ridiculous with all of my hair in my hood, and I really wish I had taken a picture of me in a rain jacket and a skirt. I run out there in the pouring rain, and I realized the flooding that was going on in the parking lot! Sister Sullivan is just watching me in awe, and was confused when she saw me turn around and retreat. I saw the huge puddles that would have gone up to my ankles, and I thought to myself, "Nope! Nope! Nope!" and ran back to safety. Sister Sullivan and I were laughing pretty hard, and we called to confirm the appointment that we were going to, and ended up rescheduling it. I'm grateful that we followed the prompting to stay and weekly plan, because we think lightning hit our parking lot as the storm continued.

It was so cool being able to teach Brother R. all of the lessons in one week. (He's the man whose wife and grandchildren joined the church in June.) I didn't think it was actually possible, but we succeeded! It was wonderful being able to hear his wisdom and knowledge on each lesson, before we even taught it to him. He has been taught by the Spirit throughout his life, and I am just amazed what he's gone through in his life up to this point. After we left each night before curfew, he kept calling us his angels, and how he can never repay us for what we have given him. On Sunday, Brother R. told us that we're part of his family, and that when we get married he's going to be there without a doubt. He's like my grandpa from Haiti! :)

So yes! The baptism did happen! All four of them were baptized on Saturday, and the Relief Society room was PACKED. It was standing room only, and we were worried that people wouldn't want to go since it was at 10am on a Saturday morning. We had some priests baptize them so they could have experience what it was like, and it was such a happy morning. The ward was so excited to have new members in the ward, and I was so thrilled to see Brother R. join the rest of the family as a member of the church. Brother R. and Ta. bore their testimonies on Sunday, and the blessings they received as they were given the Gift of the Holy Ghost were so intense. I love missionary work! I was able to have four baptisms on my ten month mark, how cool is that?!

September 6, 2014

Brother R, his sweet wife, and their family
It was Sister Freeman's birthday on Sunday, and we were able to decorate her room with Caution tape, amongst other things since this is her last transfer on the mission. She absolutely loved it, and today we're going to go out to lunch and have a paint war with all four of us sisters to celebrate. This is going to be good!
Sister Freeman--Our Birthday Girl! 
Decorating Sister Freeman's apartment

Brother R. mentioned something that I will always remember, "The Holy Ghost filled the hole in my heart that nothing else could fill." He was searching for the truth all his life, but the restored gospel was finally able to fill it 64 years later. It makes me want to be able to fill that hole for every person that I meet, and I hope that those who do have that hole filled, will have the desire to give it to their family and friends.

Have a miraculous week!

-Sister Sudweeks

P.S. Sister Sullivan and I aren't being transferred, we think I'm going to kill her off, woo! (Not literally.)

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