Monday, September 15, 2014

Thirteen Years!

Happy Monday!

Last Monday was so much fun as Sisters Sullivan, Freeman, Alofipo, and I had a paint war and for those who are familiar with Princess Diaries, attempted to create canvas art by popping paint balloons. Except it didn't work out the way we planned, so we finger painted instead, WOO! Then to top it all off, we poured ice water on ourselves for the famous YouTube challenge that was going around. Who says that missionaries don't have fun on their missions?!
That was fun!
One of the new rules now is that we're allowed to stay out till 9:30pm and we don't have a district accountability call anymore (we used to have one every night to report our day) and it's so weird to me since the last ten months I've been out we've always had a 9:30pm call, it's just changed here and there. But it's a good thing now because some people we want to teach get home late, so now we can teach them! :)

T. prayed for us the first time this week, and there's always that something special when you first hear an investigator pray. He filled out his baptismal record and it was shocking because we told everyone that he was in his late 50s, and he was born in 1939. We even asked Elder Anderson because we thought that he heard him wrong because he does not look 75! Oldest recent convert I've had? I think so!

The Perkins are one of the members that we're on the Journey with, and they referred us to their neighbor who just moved in a few months ago. We've stopped by briefly a couple times to see G., and her 16 year old son I. (He's 6'4"!) in the last month.  Last week we had the first lesson with them and taught them the Restoration with Sister Perkins, and it went well! They agreed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, so we'll see where it goes from there! We have a set appointment each week, and Sister Perkins said she'll be there. :)

We had a Missionary Mall during zone conference, and it felt like Christmas! I got a few things here and there, and I'm so thankful for the Fayetteville Stake for putting it on for us, we greatly appreciated it!
Missionary Mall:  It's Christmas in September! 
We taught Ja. and her family about repentance and prayer this week by reading the story of Enos. She's been doing well, and since she was able to receive a priesthood blessing a few weeks ago she's progressing. She wanted to go to the baptism this past Saturday, but due to Satan and his awfulness, she made it late and arrived after the actual baptism took place. We'll be teaching her tomorrow, so we'll talk more about it then.

The Okonkwo's is another family that had their Journey date come up, and I admire and respect them so much! They were out of town all of August, and before they left they set their date for September 15th. Friday and Sunday were the only nights they were available, and we told them Sunday we were booked. Tuesday afternoon we had a lesson with them and they tried their faith and committed to have someone in their home for dinner and a lesson on Friday. Heavenly Father delivers! K. and Ty. go to World Changers, but they agreed to have the first discussion. It was a lot longer than it was meant to be, and we'll see where it goes. K. said that if Sister Okonkwo cooks again, he'll come back. I don't really know how to explain the discussion, but there were a few tangents.

T.'s baptism was a bit hectic as we were setting up. There was a baptism previously at 1 and 2pm, and the 2pm baptism pulled the font plug! Thankfully we were able to catch it in time so we were able to start on time at 3pm. Sister Sullivan and I sung, 'I Feel My Savior's Love" afterward, and gave him a journal that we wrote in so he can write about Saturday and how he felt. After we gave him the journal we kept on seeing him sneaking some glances and reading what we wrote over and over again.  We asked him how he felt.  He laughed and said, "overwhelmed, but it's a good feeling." None of his family members came to support him, but he's been integrating into the ward just like his own family.
September 13, 2014-A special day for T and Sister Sullivan and I.  
We taught Brother R's family the first new member lesson (he was man who was baptized last Saturday whose wife and grandchildren joined the church earlier) and Brother R. invited his daughter W. to join us. She agreed and we started to teach the Restoration to her. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she started to read it as we were talking about Joseph Smith, and B. (one of her sons) recited the First Vision because he's learning Doctrine and Covenants in seminary this year. She mentioned she works on Sunday (she takes her Mom's shift [Bro R's wife] so Ju. can go to church. But when she doesn't have to work, she'll surprise us and she'll expect cake haha! W. agreed to participate in the future discussions, as we also have a set appointment every week with this family. Good things are happening!

We taught Bo. by himself because Bi. was at the hospital with one of his family members. Brother Turner has experience with Jehovah's Witnesses, and he relates well because he's a convert, too. Bo. was studying with the Jehovah's Witnesses last year, and we found out the majority of the family is JW besides them. I had a pretty big realization as Bo. said that Jeremiah 1:5 doesn't convince him that there was a pre-mortal existence. I don't have to convince people anything, I just present the information and they ask Heavenly Father whether it's true. I haven't been trying to convince people anything, besides Bi. and Bo. I asked Bo. if he's prayed about the things that we've taught him, and he said no. Due to that, we invited him to pray about it, and he said he will. We taught so united and I'm really excited to go back again.

T. received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and it made me smile that his blessing talked a lot about the temple. His passion for family history is going to make a big impact in the church. T. talked about how he spent three hours journaling Saturday night. We were surprised, but he talked about how he wrote in the journal we gave him, and also has a voice journal. T. doesn't journal a whole lot, unless it's something really special, such as a grandchild or great grandchild being born, or being baptized. He started from the very beginning, when two elders knocked on his door in 2001 in Maryland, and went from there. His journey took thirteen years to complete, and now he has another one unfolding right in front of him. I am so grateful for those two elders who biked up that hill and planted that seed, and I feel so privileged to be the missionaries who got to see him enter into the waters of baptism. They probably will never know what seed they planted until the after life! So all in all, plant as many seeds as you possibly can, you never know when they'll bloom! 
One of my favorite scriptures that I've found recently is 1st Nephi 9:6: "  But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen."

If you could just imagine how powerful and all knowing that our Heavenly Father is, and comprehend that we are his children. Everything that he wants to accomplish will be fulfilled, through his power and our works. He is an astounding Being, and we're the offspring of Him so we can also do extraordinary things like He has. If one ever feels worthless, or anything like that we can always remember that we are literal children of the most Supernal Creator. If that doesn't give me self-worth, I don't know what would!

- Sister Sudweeks

P.S. I met a member from the band Cleftones who were popular in the 60s or so. T. said that he's heard of them. Has anyone else heard of them? We're teaching him this Friday! :)

P.P.S. We got a picture of Lily the dog that Sister Sullivan accidently stepped on.  She didn't know how to hold her so Lily was being feisty and we were laughing SO hard!

Lily-the miracle dog!

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