Monday, October 27, 2014

Hitchhikin' in the Country!

Happy Monday!

So it's really weird being on a college campus to email instead of a library... But I love how I've served in downtown Atlanta, a ritzy(ish?) area, and now the downright boonies! As I was driving to email today with Sister Stewart, I almost hit a squirrel and we both screamed hahaha! Sis Stewart admitted she would have cried if I had hit it, and I'm pretty sure I would, too! I can see a lot of myself in her, so I can understand why we're each others companions! She's from UT and loves theater probably more than I do. On the first full day together, we wore almost the exact same thing as each other and it wasn't even planned!

Sister Stewart and I

It was so much fun after our last District Meeting. Four out of the seven missionaries left Fayetteville, so we took some pretty wicked district photos. One of my favorites we hereby named "The Seven Commandments". You can figure it out if you know what each one means. :)

Seven of the Ten Commandments

The Commandment they depicted
The Triple Threat--Together One Last Time!
Being here in Covington is so different, yet the wasps and crazy critters are the same. We were having dinner my first night at a member's house, (no worries about me not being fed in this ward, a previous sister went from a size 2 to 12 in this ward,) and there was a black wasp in the house as they were setting up for dinner. During dinner I felt something in my ballet flat sock, so I scooped it out. It ended up being the black wasp! I almost screamed because I could have gotten stung, but I totally played it cool with the members. They killed it but my heart was still racing for a good minute.

The next day we were at a Relief Society activity and we were about to leave because we needed to go finding, but something prompted us to stay. A little after, someone asked if anyone had Benadryl. I carry practically everything that someone needs in my purse JUST IN CASE, so I got it really quickly. One of the sisters had a bad allergic reaction, and I know that she wouldn't have gotten it in time if we weren't there. I'm so grateful for following the promptings of the spirit!

So this area is pretty spread out, and I feel one of the reasons I'm in this area is to get it more organized and put together. We don't have a whole lot of miles for the end of this month so we've been walking a lot, and I haven't been used to walking since Atlanta, my first area! We're going to be focusing on getting new investigators closer to the church so we don't have to ask members to drive 50 miles to drive down south for an appointment. We're trying to build up our teaching pool a lot, and to get the sisters more involved in missionary work. Sister Stewart and I are going to help make this area ROCK.
So on Friday we did a lot of walking from the church to find new investigators. Boy can I just say I am SO grateful that I wasn't born in the pioneer's time, since I don't think I would have survived! I feel like one of those old time missionaries that only walked on foot. We were about to turn back to walk home after walking over an hour or so, but we knocked on one more door. We met this cute Georgian couple named C. and L. who let us right in so we could pray with them. They are the epitome of southern hospitality.They gave us water, they offered us money (which we declined) because they knew if their kids were out on missions they would want someone to do the same for their kids. They refused to let us leave their house because it was getting dark, and they insisted on driving us back to the church so we'd be safe. C. talked about how she had an LDS coworker, and asked him, "Why haven't you invited me to your church?" R. (her co-worker) replied, "God can't handle you right now!" because she used to cuss, smoke, and other things, but she's quit now. She's accepted to take the lessons,and she wants to come to church this week! Her husband L. will be out of town hunting, but I'm excited to teach him too! So I really didn't hitchhike, but close enough! :P

So last night we got D. and his kids on date to be baptized, so we have four people on date! A nine year old girl is getting baptized on the 4th as well. It was funny, I almost said, "Do y'all want to get baptized?" to D. and his kids, but I figured that wouldn't be the best.

Have a wonderful Halloween! Send me pictures of your costumes! :D

-Sister Sudweeks

P.S.  Sister Stewart broke the chair.....Actually it was already broken.   Haha! 

Monday, October 20, 2014

I'm a Killer, I'm a Step-Mom, and I'm a Mormon

Happy Monday!

I have a joke for y'all that I made up, and we'll see that if you can guess the right answer. :)

What house from Harry Potter would missionaries be in? (Scroll down to the bottom for the answer.)

Okay well, I guess this Monday is not the happiest for me, since I'm being TRANSFERRED. It was a total shock since none of us thought I would be going since Sister Freeman is going home this transfer and Sister Sullivan the next. We'll probably have a sister who doesn't know the ward very well and she'll have to take over both of the areas that we're working with. A lot of people predicted that Sister Sullivan and I would train a greenie as a trio, and then I would finish the 2nd transfer of training after Sister Sullivan leaves, and then transfer later on once the greenie is more adjusted. But I am training a greenie during her 2nd transfer, so I'm going to be in a whirlwind of new experiences this transfer! I'm still in shock mode and I don't even know where to predict where I'm going next.

So last P-day it was fun because all of the sisters in our zone got together and I was able to teach them how to make planner holders that I was previously taught by my training Moms. :) I needed to pass the knowledge down to other sisters! They had a blast and we ate pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls, apple cider, and made ghost Tootsie Roll Pops as another craft. It was so much fun being with all of the sisters,although we didn't get a nap in and we were really tired this week!

A few of the Sisters in our Zone! 

I went on a transfer with Sister Watts and Sister Freeman, and it was so much fun! Sister Watts has also decided that she wants to go to BYU in the Spring, and be an EFY counselor as well! It's going to be great! We taught the freshman and some sophomores seminary that morning, and afterward we kinda got a little carried away with taking pictures at the pulpit. We just love preaching to the choir haha! :)

Practicing for our homecoming talks!  Wouldn't it be cool if we came home the same day and spoke in the same Sacrament meeting?

I also went on our 2nd exchange with the traveling sisters. It was so funny because it gets super dark super early, and we ended up going to the wrong houses in the dark! I was trying to stop by and see one of our potentials, and ended up going to their neighbor (that Sister Sullivan knew that was a potential) and their faces we're hilarious. Then we were trying to see M., La., and D'a., and ended up again at their neighbors house. I had to go to the bathroom, so Sister Burckle met D., C., and J.. Their Dad is Catholic, and the Mom is Baptist so there's a strain in the family because of it. We talked more about the Restoration, and invited them to be baptized. It was so cute because C. and J. said yes right away, and how they've been asking to be baptized for a long time. The girls are in volleyball and cheer so we're going to see them in a few weeks after their schedule dies down. We then found out that D'a. already invited them to church, but they had other plans, but they were a lot more interested to come after D'a. invited them. Those two families have been lifelong friends, so if they both come to church, they'll both already have a friend! :)

During the exchange with the sisters, we taught Da., who is Lo.'s oldest son. We taught him the Restoration, and he's on date to be baptized on November 15th! I'm going to be so sad if I get transferred far away, and I won't be able to get special permission to go to his baptism.

This week has been a week full of service, and I've absolutely loved it! Later on that week we helped Lo. twice with her kitchen since she's been remodeling it for a few years. Lo. wanted Da. to get a priesthood blessing for his 18th birthday, so she wanted to finish her kitchen before Saturday. It was looking great when we got there for dinner, and for the blessing. That family is just an amazing family, and I can't wait to stay in touch with them. Da. is excited to learn  more, and we're hoping that his younger brother D. (names sound familiar Faulk family?) will join in the lessons as well. We also helped clean another house this week, and I've really remembered how much I've loved serving others. I'm somewhat glad that I'm no longer an STL, so I'll have more time to do service! I'm pretty sad that I haven't been to Hope Memory, and I don't have time to go one last time. :(

I'm not going to update y'all a whole ton about our investigators since you get to love a whole bunch of new ones next week! But we were able to have a great lesson with Ja. this week. She feels a whole lot better, and she's been studying the pamphlets we've given her more. Janet agreed to have a church tour on Saturday, and it was such a spiritual experience. She was marveling over all of the paintings of Christ, and everything that was hung up on the walls. The Primary Room had Families Are Forever everywhere, and she loved the thought of it. When we were in the chapel, she couldn't deny the peace and comfort that she felt when she was standing there. We mentioned that the Primary program was tomorrow and she was very tempted to go. But sadly she didn't come, but W. did! :)  (W. is Brother and Sister R's daughter.) 

All in all, I've learned so much being here in Fayetteville, and their are many members here that will always be in my heart. I can't wait to implement some things that I've learned here to strengthen future wards. I'm really sad that I was unable to take pictures with all of the members here, but that just gives me more of an incentive to come back to Georgia and visit them! :D

I love the Park  family so much!  They said they would come to my wedding since they work for Delta.  Flying Perks! 

My name is Sister Emily Sudweeks. I'm killing off Sister Freeman so she can go home back to Utah to her family. I'm going to be a greenie's Step-Mom this upcoming transfer. I love our Heavenly Father, and the plan that he Has for me this upcoming transfer. I'm excited for the adventures that I will have for the last six months of hastening the Lord's work, and the many people that will touch my heart, and the hearts that I will touch. I know that this is Christ's church, and I will proclaim it to the world. And I'm a Mormon.

-Sister Sudweeks

Answer: Hufflepuff, they're particularly good finders. ;)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Emily's Always Make Great Nuns!

Happy Monday!

So this week has been an awesome week, and it started off with zone training, and going to the temple. As many of you may already know now, my parents are moving back to my original hometown (after living four years in my new hometown) due to employment. I went to General Conference with a prayer in my heart trying to figure out whether I should go home in April or May, and whether I should go to BYU or BYU Idaho once I get home. I always recalled the promise given to us that if we have any question, it will be answered in General Conference. Unfortunately, I never got that answer, the answer that I've been waiting for, for a long time. I've been trying my hardest not to be impatient, and not to plan way ahead like my usual self, and to put my desire in the Lord's Hands. It made more sense when I found out last Monday that we were moving back to my original hometown, and my future plans went haywire and became very confused. In the Celestial Room I prayed very fervently on whether I should go home in May, or in April. I was going more towards May as I was second guessing myself, since I didn't have a reason- more on that later. Zone training was great and our zone was pumped because it's been the standard to teach 20 lessons to investigators with members present. The entire mission was striving to get more and more than ever before, and we were able to beat our previous goals so that was amazing. :)

We were able to teach Dw. again, who Sister Warner and I taught once, and then we taught him again a few weeks ago. He said that he would be baptized if he knew it was true, and he's very spiritual.  Dw. notices the positive energy that comes into his home when we're there every time, and has such a powerful testimony about prayer. We were testifying to him about baptism, when all of a sudden we hear a knock on the door. Dwi. answers, and there were Jehovah Witnesses following up to see if he ever read the pamphlets that they gave him.  He said no, and he asked them if they wanted to join us studying the good word and praying. Sister Sullivan gets up and walks toward the door saying "hello," and they told him that they had people waiting for them, and that they'd come back later, trying to get off of the front porch as soon as possible. Sister Freeman and I didn't see their facial expressions, but apparently it was priceless when Sister Sullivan came to the door and they looked at her name tag. I've never had that experience before, but I'm very curious if they're going to come back. :P

This ward never ceases to amaze me, since more and more members are coming with us as they give us their friends as referrals. We have at least five or six investigators that we're working with in the beginning stages that are from members. One member knew that her friend was going to pick up someone from piano practice, and told us "to happen to be there."  She was fascinated with the History of Christianity, but couldn't come. We're going to be able to teach her on Wednesday, and another one of the member's friends on Saturday.

Sister Lester is one of those amazing members!  She spoils us with very delicious, very filling "P-day" lunches! 

An. is doing well, and we were able to finish the Restoration with her this week. She wasn't able to come to church because she wasn't feeling well, and we're kinda bummed about that. We're just hoping she recovers quickly from her surgery.

It was funny, but as we were at someone's house for dinner, one of the little boys whispered to his Mom that I looked British. Then the other little girl said that I looked pretty. Kids say the darnest things! :)

We have a return appointment with D., one of the recent convert's sons. We asked his Mom Lo. if we could come over and see him, and she mentioned that he's studying and won't be able to talk for too long. We went on a three way split to see D., Wo., and Bo. and Bi. (Our first three way split ever.) Da. was waiting for us and opened the door before we could even ring it, and was so excited for us to see him. He's in a band and wants to give us their CD after they're finished recording, and I'm totally going to keep it until I'm home so I can listen to it! He's an awesome guy, and he wants to get a priesthood blessing for his 18th birthday next week. Amazing family.  :)

We were able to teach Wo. this week, (Brother and Sister R.'s adult daughter)  and she's going to be able to get Sunday off so she can come to church this upcoming week. We were on a three way split She's been reading the Book of Mormon, and Tr. is still being a missionary to her Mom. We wrote down all of the R. family's testimonies to give to our mission, and Brother R. asked for our full names so he can write them down and remember. Sister R. replied. "I'm surprised Emily is Mormon, Emily's always make great nuns!" It was so funny and we all laughed. :)

This picture is of Le., one of the Brother and Sister R's grandkids. I want to
name a girl after her since she's so cute and adorable

Bo. and Bi. (the two brothers) hasn't been progressing too much, although Bi. did watch conference. We're going to just have the members invite them over for dinner and see what happens, but we feel that Bi. hates authority, rules, and the thought of prophets today. We're not entirely sure if he's going to make any progress.

We're still teaching Ja. (the young teenager), and we're not entirely sure if the text we got from her Mom Jac. was per her request, or the Mom's. Since we were teaching Jac. about Family History and baptisms for the dead, and Ja. was participating the most in the entire lesson we'll see what happens with her!

Last night I was asking Sister Sullivan and Sister Freeman questions about BYU summer semester, and how long it was etc. The Faulk Family Reunion is the exact same week it starts, and I was contemplating if I could afford to miss an entire week by talking to my professors about it, and then doing as much homework as I could during the reunion. It still didn't feel right to me, and I was trying to figure out what Heavenly Father knew what was best for me. I've been praying and praying but there was still no answer. Finally one of my companions told me that I could always apply for spring, since that starts the end of April. An overwhelmingly strong feeling of peace came over me, and I knew that's what was in store for me. Everyone got quiet, and later on that evening both of them admitted that they both felt the peace that I did. I hope to be able to get into BYU, go to the family reunion, and still work in the summertime being an EFY counselor or some other job. I've learned a lot about revelation, patience, and really listening to the spirit this week. I'm so grateful for the things that I learn on the mission, and I'm so excited for the last six months of the mission!

Shout out to Heather and Jennifer for having birthdays last week! :)

-Sister Sudweeks

P.S.  A picture taken with Sister Watt's--another sister from my home ward! 

A note from Emily's Mom:  Emily told me that because her 18 month mark is between transfers, that her mission president allows the missionaries to go home right before their 18 month mark, or after their 18 month mark.  That's why she was trying to decide whether to come home in April or May. 


Monday, October 6, 2014

Transfered to Jonesboro?

Happy 11th Month Milestone Monday! :D

So last week was full of meetings and conferences! There wasn't as much missionary work going on, but it was still fruitful! :)

May I just say that I love my companions? 
Mama Lester took this picture when she took us to lunch at last week's P-day.
I had to go to the doctor's last Tuesday during District Meeting because the next available appointment was on October 15th. I went with Mama Lester all the way up to Jonesboro while Sisters Freeman and Sullivan went to District Meeting. They walked in all silently, and sat down waiting for it to start. They asked where I was and they told them, "Jonesboro... She left this morning." They were all upset that I got transferred since that's exactly how it was when Sister Alofipo was transferred- no one knew except us. They go through the motions of District Meeting, and one of the elders mentioned that it sounded better with me singing because Sister Sullivan plays the piano, and only Sister Freeman is singing along with the elders. Finally my companions couldn't take it anymore and said out loud when they got a November calendar. "Yes, Sister SUDWEEKS and I, are moving apartments on this date!" I wish I could have been there when they realized they got punked since apparently it was priceless! One of the elders said that he was so mad, and that his stomach was just churning because he couldn't believe it wasn't true. I felt so loved by my district--they love me, hahaha! :)

I was so sad because the British guy D. had just moved in, and he didn't give us his correct address because he didn't know it. He gave us directions to get there, and we tried our hardest to figure out where he lived. We were literally doing a search and rescue as President Harding would say! We got a few new potentials while doing so, but he was nowhere to be found. Sister Sullivan has tracted that neighborhood before, so she said that it'd be easy to eliminate certain houses, and that we'd be able to find him again if we took the time.

It was pretty amazing since we met the mother of this one adorable family that was a potential last week as well. Sh. opened up to us completely about religion, and her life which was very powerful. The love that she has for her family made the spirit so strong--stronger than I've felt with an investigator in my entire time being out. Her family is super busy (just as Da. and Co. her children said) and that they're never home at the same time. But as I was getting my medication at Kaiser, we saw Sh. again there and I think God was just trying to tell her that He wants us in her and her families life for a reason. :)

R. B. (the man who broke his knee) texted us last week and said that he's going to be attending his wife's home church since they had a good time there, and that we don't need to come by anymore. It's amazing how Satan can really influence someone, even if they've had a baptismal date before. His wife wasn't supportive, which probably made him not want to come to church even more.

Another disappointing experience that happened this week was as Sister Sullivan and I were driving to an exchange, Ja.'s Mom, Jac. texted us saying that Ja. doesn't want to be baptized, and that she's not going to be taking the lessons anymore. Ironically I didn't have time to write about her last week. Two weeks ago she was praying and feeling confident about being baptized, but she realized she needed to read the scriptures more to have the desire to be baptized. We still have to teach Ni. and Ja. the new member lessons, so we'll still see her.
Our parking neighbor
During the exchange we experienced a miracle that just made my day. We parked by this plane that I got a picture with  and Sister Boyer, Hendricks,and I were contemplating for a LONG time if we should knock on this house where this boy lives who is the only member, since he's living with nonmembers. Finally, we knocked on the door and met G.. She later told us that she almost turned us away, because she's been excommunicated for 15 years. She told us on the doorstep that she was hungering for us and the spirit that we bring. G. let us in and she shared her story. The night before we showed up, she had knelt down and gave a heartfelt prayer asking what she should do, and to please direct her in her life. G. doesn't feel worthy to pray because of what she has done, but she wants to come to church, but the times that she has gone she feels judged, and that people will remember her past. It was amazing because scriptures and stories were popping into my head right and left that brought her to tears. All of us were able to testify to her that God loves her, and that He would answer all of her prayers. She is going to start going to ARP so she can continue repenting, and the missionaries there will be sitting by her at church. She actually knows people in the Fayetteville Ward, and I told her to visit us here, and she said she would. :) I barely know her, but I love her so much because I felt the love that God has for her as we were talking to her.

We had Mission Council and we were able to see Meet the Mormons early! I was so excited and it's seriously one of the best movies ever I've seen on the mission. (I've seen a few.) I know "Bishop" Sullivan, who is actually now the Stake President of Atlanta. I saw the Atlanta Ward in the documentary, and I was just a giggling mess the entire time he was on the screen.  So if you're curious to see where I went to church, go see the movie and see all of the amazing people in the Atlanta Ward! If not, go see it anyway. :) We have zone training tomorrow so we get to see the film again because all missionaries get to see it early so they can promote it. We're also going to the temple so I'm excited as well because we haven't gone since August.
Sister Burrow's and I at Mission Council.  We were companions at the MTC!  Wonderful reunion!

An. went to the Generals Women's Conference and she is the fiancee of a less active member that we're working with. We had the first lesson with her last week, and she was SO close to committing to be baptized on the 25th of October! An. told us that she would be, but she didn't think that she'd be ready by the 25th. We're excited to teach her because we feel that she'll help J. return to activity, as well as his entire family that lives in that house.

St. and H. are an adorable couple that Sister Freeman and Sullivan have been working with for a few months already. St. is a truck driver so we meet with them every Saturday, but they haven't been able to come to church. We've given St. the Book of Mormon CDs recently, so he's finally progressing along with Hi. Bishop Waldorf and his wife invited them over for the 2nd session of Saturday's General Conference, and it went amazing! There was some bold talks in there for them considering they aren't married, and how we should follow the Lord and trust him. It was the perfect session for them to watch. We're hoping that St. will pop the question soon, since I did mention to y'all that I wanted to plan another wedding on the mission. :)

One of my favorite talks for General Conference was Elder Hugo E. Martinez's who talked about how we can all have our own personal ministry. We should discover the needs, and tend to them. Observe, then serve. One of my other favorite quotes was, "Decisions determine destiny." Which also tied into the talk from Elder Godoy who had us think about this question: Will the lives we're living now give us the blessings that are promised to us in our patriarchal blessings?  I'm going to think of that question every day to make sure that I'm doing what I need to do, so I can reap the blessings that are mentioned in mine. 

-Sister Sudweeks

P.S.  This seems like a GREAT street sign to celebrate my mission!