Monday, November 17, 2014

Strep, Flu, Laryngytis, and Ear Infection-- Oh My!

Happy Monday!

So we had a lesson with Ro. on Monday, and she was able to feed us dinner- fried pork chops. (She's the one who came to church the previous Sunday along with her granddaughter after watching the Restoration DVD and loving it!) That's a new one for me, we're living in the South! She had just gotten a brand new printer where you could print pictures straight from your phone, and Ro. wanted to give me the very first picture from the printer.  So she took a picture of Sister Stewart and I, and voila! She signed it and everything. :) Ro. expressed to us that she enjoyed the service, but it didn't move her the way that she thought it would- it was unlike any church that she had gone to. I wasn't entirely sure if she was trying to drop us or not, because she said that we'd always be her girls, and that we still need to come back in the future. I testified my heart out to her about the Book of Mormon, and how I came to know it was true, and I honestly believe it made her think. We were able to read Alma 32 with her, and later on we found out that she talked to one of the members that we brought previously who really connected with her. Thankfully, we actually have FHE with her tonight at the Tuberville's home, and I'm really excited to see what happens!

We had exchanges on my birthday, and I felt so loved from the Tuberville's and other members when I told them it was my birthday. Every girl loves flowers on her birthday, and being a new missionary in the ward made it mean even more to me. During dessert they even put a birthday candle on my cinnamon roll and sang Happy Birthday to me. Good stuff!
I felt so loved by family, friends, and the members of the Covington Ward!
We were able to meet with C. (he's the guy we met at the Waffle House and when we taught him the first time, his mother also wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon) again this week on Wednesday, and we taught his sister Da., and his Mom A. the cup lesson. It was so sweet because when we got there, C's Book of Mormon, Bible, and Gospel Principles book was stacked up on the table ready to read. As we were teaching them C. would pipe up and say, "I remember hearing about him at church" or "I know this part" and he would explain to them part of the lesson. They really understood the lesson and we were able to put C. and Da. on date to be baptized on December 13th! A. said that she'd have to pray and read the Book of Mormon, but we'll see. It's hard because A. works 12 hour shirts from 7-7am, and she is going to try to come to church this week, along with Da.. C. came to church again this week, and so did Af.- a Muslim that the sisters have been working with for a few months. She absolutely loves the Book of Mormon (especially Mosiah with King Benjamin) and thinks it's the word of God. Except that she doesn't believe that Christ is the Son of God. Her husband knows that she's meeting with us, and she might even be going to the fireside with Elder Kopischke this Thursday. Sister Stewart and I felt so bad because one of the potentials we met as we were trying to find less actives, came to church with his son, and we didn't know he was there! We're meeting with him Tuesday. :)

We went by and saw An., and our worries were confirmed that her Mom got offended. She doesn't want to come to this ward anymore so An. won't be baptized until who knows when. It's so sad because it should be An.'s decision to get baptized, even though she's not 18. An. had the baptismal interview and everything and it was set. 
Weekly planning. Got the best candy right there! Sparkly jelly bellys?
So as I'm sure you could tell from the email title, I was very, very sick this week. I'm still getting over it as I still have to take antibiotics for two more days. It was awful because all we did was sleep, make calls, make the area book more manageable to use, clean, and repeat. It's been really cold for the last four days, and we tried to go out tracting on Saturday after we house cleaned for a member in the ward who just had surgery on her neck. But since it was so cold, and I wrapped up all warm and snug as my blessing told me to, the air just burned the back of my throat as I breathed, and I had immense pressure on my head so we had to head in. I know that losing my voice on Wednesday let Sister Stewart lead even more with Ca.l's lesson, so she could teach by the spirit more. I don't think it's coincidence that Sister Jarman also got sick when I was being trained, and I had to take over for a few days because she got sick. Except mine was much worse, and a lot more extreme.

But one of the fun things that I got to do while being sick was that I found a lizard in the garage where we live. Since we live in the basement of a members home, we have to walk around the back, enter into the garage where our washer and dryer is, and then enter into our apartment. Sister Stewart was doing some laundry so I put the lizard on the washer and waited for her to transfer her clothes from the washer to the dryer. I got it on film and her reaction was priceless! "Ruude." I got a picture with him, and his name is Phillip- Sister Stewart named him. :) He's like my old pet snake George in Fayetteville!

Phillip the Lizard--our new pet

So I got a pretty amazing email from one of my good friends, Franklin from BYU Idaho, and I just wanted to share a portion of what he shared with me, because I couldn't portray it the way he could.

"As you study throughout the day and allow God to fill your soul with light from the Scriptures, let him also fill you with the great light of His Son (the Light of Christ) that illuminates our understanding and allows us to see others as God sees them - children of great worth and potential, each one worthy of His Son's great sacrifice and a beloved child that He wants to embrace one day again in His arms. Let that light help you stumble through the dark passages of trials, and let that light warm your heart when the rest of the world is cold and indifferent to you.

Light up the darkness."

I know that the gospel helps that light shine, and I know that each of you have amazing testimonies and experiences that will help others see the light in the darkness of the world. We mean so much to Him personally, and He knows what we're going through. 

Love y'all!

-Sister Sudweeks
P.S.  I decided to get new inserts, look at those crazy differences!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Red Hornets Strike Again!

Happy Monday!

I'm just going to focus on the highlights of this week due to the lack of time I have because I've been trying to send pictures without a memory card reader or a camera cord. Technology these days, can't live with or without it!

We watched the Restoration DVD with R. on Monday, and she absolutely LOVED it. She wants to watch a full length DVD of Joseph Smith and his life. :) We brought a member with us and they really connected about their past lives. R. came to church along with her granddaughter Ka. I was asked to speak Friday about the Mormon Message 'Reclaimed' and I managed to write it in 50 minutes during personal study Saturday, and practice it Sunday morning. It was so cute because R. told me I should be a minster. Call me Minister Sudweeks! :P
Here is the link if you want to watch the video my talk was based on:
It was cool because we went to Waffle House about two weeks ago, and this guy named C. came up to us asking what church we go to. We got his number, and we met with him on Saturday and taught him the Restoration. His Mom A. came home right before we were about to finish up, and she saw that we gave him a Book of Mormon. She took it from him saying that she needed this more than him, and so we gave her a copy of her own so they could each have one. As we were leaving she asked the member that came out with us if we had any additional Bible studies, and we told her about the cottage meetings we have every Sunday at 6pm. (It's where people come together at a member's home, and investigators and recent converts can ask any questions that they have.) A. was going to be in Atlanta on Sunday, but she said that she'd try to come next week, plus church since C. told us in the beginning that she was looking for a church, too. But he came to all three hours of church, and he had a LOT of questions. We're looking forward to teaching him more because he doesn't have a lot of knowledge about the basic principles, so it's refreshing to teach someone very simply.

Ci. has still been sick with her cold, and we're afraid that it's going to turn into pneumonia. Her husband L. still isn't back from hunting yet (he should be back this week) so we've been praying that she'll get well so she can meet with us again.

We had zone training and we were able to go to the temple, and have all of the stake presidents, bishops, and ward mission leaders for the very beginning of the training.
Atlanta, GA Temple, November 5, 2014
Taking notes at Zone Training 

Listening carefully to the instruction from our leaders
 Our stake needs to be focusing on reactivating and finding the YSA less actives in the stake, because we don't know if they've married, moved, or still here. We've been struggling to find investigators recently, and ever since we've been focusing on YSAs, we have been finding investigators. :)
Celebrating my year mark on November 6th!  Don't you love the family calendar my sisters put together? 

An. never got baptized last week, and it's a bit of a long story. We haven't gotten in contact with her Mom recently, and we're worried that her Mom may have gotten offended. We're going to continue to pray that we'll get in contact with her.

It was cool because we were going store contacting, and we went to a store and we just KNEW someone was there that needed to hear our message of the restored gospel. We walked in near the boots, and we met this woman named B.. She went on about how cute we were, and how God told her to stay till 8pm at work, and she was supposed to be off by 7pm. She had no idea why she was staying, until she met us. We started to teach her more about the Restoration, and she was so excited because (1) she just moved to Covington, (2) she has been looking for a church, (3) she wants her 16 year old son to get into church, and (4) she's been asking God for guidance. We were just flipping out as we were talking to her! She was the sweetest woman ever, and she told us that she knew that we were Godly people before she even saw what we were holding and our name tags. She didn't know her schedule yet for this upcoming week, but we got her number and she's so excited to meet with us!

We had an AMAZING lesson with D. and his family with the seminary teacher in our ward. She was explaining the Book of Mormon so enticing, and I was completely enthralled as we went over the Parable of the Ten Virgins. We have never seen them so focused in a lesson before. We're pretty upset though because they didn't come to church like they said they would, and they didn't come to the cottage meeting either. They're no longer on date to be baptized this Saturday because they haven't had all of the lessons, and they aren't keeping their commitments.

I had some pretty funny stories happen this week, and we'll see if I have time to mention them all! Long story short we met this guy named Ja. as we were tracting, and he respected us a lot for being missionaries. We talked to him more about the Restoration, and the Book of Mormon until we saw this red hornet starting to buzz around. He yelped, "I don't want that red hornet in my house!" as it was hovering by the edge of the door. James practically slammed the door, and yet the red hornet made it's way inside sneakily. We yelled through the door, "Can we come back another time?" and he yelled back, "Sure!" Man, those red hornets strike again!

One last one was that we were waiting for a left hand turn during commute traffic, and I let a car get into my lane because they were trying to turn into it. Then another car aggressively got in front of me without me wanting them to. The semi truck behind me got really mad and started to honk his horn at me over and over again as it turned green. I was trying to do a U turn but failed, so he proceeded to honk his horn every time he saw my brake lights go on. He was so mad at me, but thankfully I was able to pull into a parking lot and get away from him. Not so much funny, but I'm never going to forget that left hand turn lane for the rest of the time here in Covington!

Happy Fall Y'all! :)

-Sister Sudweeks

P.S.  This is the Mystic Grill from Vampire Diaries :) They film part of it in Covington in the Square


Monday, November 3, 2014

Ebola in Covington?

Happy Monday!

Man, trying to apply for BYU and replying back to emails is such a crazy feat to do in a short little time. Especially as a missionary- college? What? Nooo, I'm going to be a missionary forever! :)

This week had it's ups and downs. We've been trying to get more members to come out with us, and it has been a success and sometimes not so much. It was upsetting when we've had appointments with male investigators, and then we had to cancel because our team up cancelled at the last minute and we couldn't find anyone else to go with us. But I loved this week because we were able to do a lot of service for many of the members in this ward. :) To painting the apartment we hopefully will move into, to gardening, and to setting up for a baby shower and taking it down.

One of the investigators that I absolutely love to meet with is R. The first time I met her she talked about how she can feel the love that someone has for God, but my love just bubbles out of me (hands motioning from her stomach up and out of her mouth) and how I have such a magnetic, radiating personality, and a sassy one at that! We were able to teach her more about the Plan of Salvation, and talk about the blessings of baptism. She was so close to committing to baptism, but I know that she's going to be baptized by the end of the year. She is such a solid investigator! She asked us if we could have someone come over to the house and bless her home because her granddaughter K. doesn't feel safe in her bedroom and she hears and sees things. We were able to get the blessing on R.'s home, and it went amazing. She really felt the spirit and we found out that our ward mission leader and his wife already knows her granddaughter K. Small world! She even asked to see us tonight although we just saw her on Sunday. :)

It was one of the coolest things ever- we give people our number all the time in case they need to call us, but I've never actually had a person call us before we first call them. The first Sunday I was here, we tracted into a guy named M. late in the evening before we had to go home. We were contemplating whether we should go home and do Twelve Week (training for Sister Stewart) or possibly get yelled at because it's late and 'we should be in bed already' as they so often say. But M. was very open with us, but we had to be quick because he had to be at an appointment at 4:30am for his work. I left the Savior's peace and blessings upon his home and family, and I was inspired to ask Heavenly Father that he would get better hours for his work, and that he would be able to spend more time with his family. He accepted a Book of Mormon, but he said that his work schedule is so hectic that he didn't know when we could meet with him, but he'll research our religion so it'll be good for him to read the Book of Mormon. 

Sister Stewart reminds me of ME when I first came out!  I can see why the President placed us together as companions. 

On Tuesday afternoon, we get a call from M. asking for the two ladies that came to his house on Sunday, because he received the blessing that we left him. He told us that when we asked him what we should pray for, he requested we pray for his family because he wants to be able to be a better provider for his family. On Monday he got a promotion at his job, and he knows it's because we prayed with him. M. said that he is very interested in learning more from us, and that we need to continue to spread the good news with everyone. We asked when we could come by and teach him more, but his schedule is going to become more permanent this upcoming week. He joked and said, "Don't worry, I already called you once, you know I'm going to call again." So he is such an awesome guy, and I'm so excited to teach him because he recognized the Spirit and how we literally represent Jesus Christ!

We were able to have our first lesson with C., (this is the wife of the couple we met last week that gave us a ride back to the church because it was getting dark) and she is such a talker haha! I knew that people in the South loved to talk, but I think it rings true even more here in Covington. She's excited to read the Book of Mormon, and she really wanted to come to the Trunk or Treat and church meetings last weekend. She's had cancer, and has been battling pneumonia two times this past year (she gets it for four months at a time and is quarantined to her home because she gets it bad.) So she was unable to make it, but really wanted to. She even read the pamphlet we gave her before we got there, and she wants us to put the Book of Mormon on her iPad when we go over there this week so she can listen and read it. We didn't have a dinner appointment on Thursday, so she took us out for Mexican, her treat. I loved hearing her pray because she prayed and thanked Heavenly Father for putting us in her life, and for the enlightenment that we've given her on our religion, and "who knows, maybe I'll come around one day." Do I hear the baptism font splashing with water in the future? :)  C.  told us that she and L. (her husband who went hunting) talked about how they wished that we were their granddaughters. Cutest Southern couple ever!

Oh yeah, we hear gunshots all the time, there's donkeys, mules, goats, and everything country here in Covington.  I love it here. :) Except for the fact that SO many people are hitting deer here. Pray that I don't hit any as I'm serving here!

One last story since I have to get going, but apparently there was this huge hoax that there was going to be three days of darkness in December before Christmas. It was all over Facebook, and they faked NASA confirming it. Let me tell ya, it scared the bejeebies out of Sister Stewart and I. We were reading Revelations and everything else about the signs of the Second Coming because we heard about that. We joked and wondered what we'd do in those three days--make calls to investigators and call them to repentance? We kid, we kid! But seriously, it was a long 24 hours before we found out on Halloween that it was false. But the same member DID tell us that there's an ebola potential in Newton County. Her husband was in Sierra Leon, and they don't know if he has it or not, so he's been in quarantine as well, and his wife works at the high school so that very well could affect hundreds and thousands of people. Let's pray fervently that he or she doesn't have it, because I'd rather not get evacuated from the mission and get transferred to a different one.

I hope all y'all had an amazing Halloween, and my quote for y'all this week is, "A happy person doesn't have the best of everything, they've simply learned how to find the best in everything."

Love y'all!

-Sister Sudweeks