Monday, February 23, 2015

I Got Re-Assigned?!

Happy Monday!

So this is going to be a very interesting email seeing as I forgot my planner (and so did Sister Stewart) which had what I wanted to write about today. This is a pattern of what it's been like since we've moved on Friday. We didn't want to unpack anything (or we just threw it in Thursday night/Friday morning and couldn't find it.) because we didn't know if one of us was leaving on this transfer. We both keep forgetting things, or losing things, sad day!

So there was an ice storm this past week, and we were told Monday night that we weren't going to the temple because it was snowing in Sandy Springs (where the temple is at) so we hardly had any appointments on Tuesday because it was going to be an all day temple trip and zone training day! Same thing happened when we were told on Tuesday that we were going to go to the temple on Thursday. Wednesday night we were told that the temple wouldn't be fully staffed because most of the temple workers live up north (and we still were having icy weather), so we went to the Conyers building instead. Since we didn't go to the temple, zone training wasn't as long, but we didn't have any appointments set up for Thursday. But it gave us time to do more service to get our apartment ready, and to try to see more less actives in the western part of our ward (we can never afford the miles to get there.)
Our Conyers Zone Training

Back to the ice storm, it happened Monday night, but it melted by Tuesday morning when we were driving to help finish the apartment up in time to have us move in on Friday, and I'm really glad we went. :) We found a family where we practically taught them the Restoration during the initial contact. They let us in right away, and they wanted us to come back on Friday. We were so excited to have a return appointment since it's been a good minute since we've found investigators, but we forgot to get their number... They weren't there on Friday and we were so bummed! But they live less than 5 miles away from us so we're going to drop in on them when we can. :)

On Wednesday it was so exciting because we were asked to assist in teaching the Beehives for Mutual. Sister Miessner (anyone from Stockton remember that family's name 22 years ago?) wanted the Beehives to go on missions, so they got to get mission calls, and I was re-assigned to Madrid, Spain! We had language study, the MTC, and so on. It was so cute and fun! At the very end, all of the Beehives were able to ask both of us questions about being missionaries. One of the girls was so adorable and wanted to be a news reporter and write down all of our answers because she had pre-written hers out. All of the Beehives said they wanted to go on a mission, and it was fun bearing my testimony on how I was able to decide to go on a mission, and how a mission is the best thing ever! At the end, we had 'minion'aries that were Twinkies for the treat. :) You can't really see the 'minion'aries in the picture, but close enough!
These cute Beehives will make GREAT sister missionaries!
We have been able to teach Va. and Sha., and they have been reading the Book of Mormon again, and we're so proud of them! We taught them the Word of Wisdom, and since Da. has been a fabulous member missionary, they already knew what it was. They have been keeping it since they knew what the blessings were from keeping it, and it was one of the easiest Word of Wisdom lessons I've ever had the entire mission. All of them were super sick (Da. included) for church and Satan is trying so hard for them not to go to church! It's awful! We had to tell them last week that one of us might be getting transferred, and they were so upset, and Sha. even prayed that we wouldn't leave :( They didn't like the thought that I'd be going home in April.

We were able to move on Friday, and we woke up early Friday since we started packing on Thursday (I will never procrastinate the day of packing ever again) because ya know, we're missionaries. We do missionary-like stuff, and we can't afford to go home and pack. We prayed that we would be able to clean and pack by the time the moving trailer got here at 10:30. Well, let's just say Heavenly Father knows we're not superhuman, and so he made the trailer get lost, and got there 2 hours after they said they would! We packed and cleaned for 6 hours straight, and I've never been more tired in my life after that!

Jo. is doing fabulous, and she came to church once again this week. We met her Mom as she dropped her off for dinner at a members home. Jo. told us at church that she read the Plan of Salvation pamphlet (even though she had the lesson in Young Women's a few weeks back) and then read it again before dinner just to make sure. She is such a seeker of the truth, and Jo. helped us teach the Plan of Salvation because she is like a sponge, and loves hearing knowledge. We gave her a baptismal calendar so we're going to be seeing her before Mutual, and on Sunday. She's hoping that her parents will come around, and they've been reading the Restoration pamphlet that we gave to her, to give to them. Her Mom is coming around more, and we hope that they'll start coming to the lessons as well. Jo.'s excited that she's getting baptized on Pi Day 3.14.15 say what?! She gave the closing prayer for the first time, and it was one of the most sincere prayers I've heard in a long time. :) Members are SO important in Hastening the Work of Salvation! Member referrals are the most promising referrals that we can ever get, and I invite all y'all to be aware on who needs the gospel in your life.

So, I am sad to announce that Sister Stewart and I will no longer be companions. This morning we were both freaking out about the phone call because we weren't sure what was going to happen. I pranked her and made our phone ring because I was 'choosing' a ringtone and she freaked out big time during personal study. When she realized it was a joke she got up out of her chair (stubbed her foot on her desk whoops!) and punched me in the arm two times. The funny part was that not even 5 minutes later, the phone rang again and I squealed like a girl, and we couldn't find the phone! Sister Stewart is leaving me for another companion, and she's going to be an STL where she'll be serving. :) I'll be getting a new companion for my last transfer!

I am just so grateful for the time that I have to dedicate myself fully to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. There is no greater work that I could be doing! I'm grateful for the experiences and the lessons that I've learned thus far, and I can't wait to see what this last transfer brings. 

-Sister Sudweeks

P.S. The picture with all of the kids I've attached- I've decided that we're related (their parents are from Lodi) because all of the girls have such curly hair and we look so alike! Cutest kids ever, and I'm so glad that I get to see them for another transfer! :) They hug us sister missionaries every time they see us.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Gangsters: Dead or Alive?

Happy Monday!

As it is President's Day, Sister Stewart and I were really worried that our library we go to would be closed since it's a college library, and it's been closed before. So we called them this morning, and the guy that always helps us with our visitor passes answers, "Georgia Perimeter College, yes we're open." I laughed, and thanked him because that was our question. When we call, the caller ID says LDS Missions, so he knew it was us making sure it was open. :)

Just like times before, we were having dinner with Sister Trust (shout out to her family, she's amazing!) and we decided to stop by and see Mi. again with her, because she was home the Monday we got her on baptismal date. We taught Mi. the Plan of Salvation, and I loved that she was so trusting, and willing to ask questions about things she's been previously taught from church relating to the Plan of Salvation. She had questions such as "we wouldn't remember or recognize anyone after this life," and Mi. was happy to hear that it wasn't true because she didn't like that idea. We were supposed to see her on Valentine's Day, but she had a family party go over, and our schedules didn't match up with each other so we haven't seen her since. She's no longer on date because we haven't been able to teach her enough, but she will be soon enough! :)

It was so sad because I got the stomach flu on Tuesday after District Meeting, and it was so fun because all of us missionaries brought each other Valentine's. The Conyer's Sisters gave us bracelets that say, 'My ♥ Belongs to Jesus.' How cool is that?! Wearing that everyday for the rest of my life! So anyway, we had to cancel all of our appointments on Tuesday, and I slept all day on Tuesday practically, (along with doing more paperwork).

We haven't been able to get a hold of Sh. and her family this week unfortunately. We're thinking they went out of town because of winter break, so we're going to pop in on them since she hasn't been replying to our texts or calls. Update: Just as I was typing she texted us, and Sh. still has a cold! Yay, she doesn't hate us! :P

We have been helping getting both of the apartments ready as the Lamph's finally left for home. They went to Savannah and Charleston before they headed for home last week, and while they were gone we took out the old carpet and we were cutting carpet squares, and tiling the bathroom. I feel so handy now that I'm learning to do all of these things with Sister Belleville. :) The Payne's are moving into the Lamph's apartment (the Payne's house got caught on fire a few months ago) and we're moving into the apartment that they were living in. So it's going to be a swaparoo moving on Friday! 

If you need my new address, please email my Mom! 

V. and Sha. are still doing well, and still waiting to see if they're moving to Atlanta. They haven't been reading the Book of Mormon recently, so we went over the introduction with them, and it created a new spark for them to read again. As it was winter break, a lot of members around them were out of town, so it was really difficult getting Da. (V.'s recently baptized sister) a ride to church. We were trying to find one that morning, and we're so grateful that a member said yes! We couldn't find V. and Sha. a ride, and we're bummed because they really wanted to go. But thankfully we found one for them this week! :)

The Stake Missionary meeting that we had on Thursday was absolutely outstanding! The shift of missionary work in this stake is going to be so pivotal now. Instead of the missionaries worrying about making appointments with investigators and being there, finding them a ride to church, activities, and so on.... they have redefined on what a 'fellowshipper' is, and it's up to their fellowshipper so we can focus more on teaching other people, and setting up more appointments, than freaking out who's going to pick them up, and which member will come with us. Brother Avery, our ward mission leader (along with the rest of them) has been asked to pray about who their fellowshipper should be, so they will accept their calling because it's been inspired by God. We're continuing on seeing the members weekly, and more members are getting on board so it's been monumental I'd say!

So J. is friend's with Brother Avery's son, Marlin. She was curious to see what he believed, so she invited herself to church, and she came for the 3rd time yesterday. Her parents gave her approval to take the lessons from us, and we were able to teach her yesterday in the Avery's home. She has already done research about our church on reputable sites, and when we asked her who Joseph Smith was, J. told us, "He was one of the prophets of God that led the people in righteousness in the 1800's." or something like that. Sister Stewart and I were so shocked that she already had started gaining a testimony of Joseph Smith we couldn't remember what J. said exactly. :D She understood the restoration pretty well as we explained it to her. We taught her more about the authority, and explained the significance between Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and how they go hand and hand. She has already been prayerfully reading and is on 1st Nephi 7. She accepted to be baptized on March 14th, and we invited her parents to join us on the discussion, so we'll see what happens with that family this Sunday! :) There are so many out there prepared! 

As we were driving, we heard police sirens and saw two police cars speeding behind us. I was trying to slow down and pull over, I saw in front of us two parked police cars to the left of us. The police officers outside of the cars had loaded guns creeping across the street toward the sidewalk to the right. I realized quickly that where I was about to pull over, was where the police officers were walking toward so I quickly sped up. The officers behind me parked, and as we drove on by we saw a bunch of gangsters underneath the highway bridge on the ground face down. We weren't entirely sure if they were dead or not, so I guess y'all can be the judge! It reminded me of Atlanta when I saw a dead guy in the street a mile or two away from the church. It seems like God is preparing Sister Stewart to go to Atlanta! ;)
Downtown Atlanta--My first area!  And maybe Sister Stewart's second area?!
I'd appreciate prayers as I drive to the temple tomorrow- there's supposed to be a huge ice storm that hits Georgia and I'd rather not hit black ice and get into an accident.

I quote the famous Elder Lamph- "There is nothing quite as contagious as enthusiasm, except the opposite thereof." I love to relate that to missionary work, and how, "As your testimony is strengthened, your desire for the welfare of souls is increasing." If we have a strong testimony, a desire to share the gospel with enthusiasm, it will radiate and others will catch the fire of serving our fellowmen. :) 

I hope all y'all had a wonderful Valentine's Day!

-Sister Sudweeks

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Our Area is Haunted?

Happy Monday!

So P-day last week was pretty fun, I took a good minute making my heart shaped tye dye shirt, and I don't think I want to tye dye for years. If anyone has their hands dyed and they can't get it off, diluted bleach works WONDERS!
Whenever I wear this shirt, I'll think about Covington and the sister missionaries I served with!
It was Elder and Sister Lamph's last district meeting (they are the senior couple serving in my ward), so they took us out to lunch one last time at the Mystic Grill- famously known because of the TV show the Vampire Diaries. We're going to miss them greatly. Saturday evening we had a Southern Flair Farewell Dinner for them, and it was a huge success! Many members who haven't stepped foot in the church building in years came to say goodbye to the Lamph's. Since we were close to them, they asked if we would sing a duet for them during the program. I hadn't sung a duet since the first Christmas I've been out, but I told myself I wanted to develop my singing abilities. We ended up singing, "I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go" and I survived haha! I should be careful on what I wish for because now we're singing next Sunday in sacrament meeting!

A Piece of Trivia: 
Fans of the Vampire Diaries will know all about the Mystic Grill from the show, but until recently it was not an actual restaurant.  However, the building that housed the Mystic Grill for the show has been transformed into an actual restaurant in downtown Covington in 2014.

The Exterior of the Mystic Grill--made famous by The Vampire Diaries
We taught Sh. and her family again this week, and Satan does not want this family to progress in the gospel! We had a strong impression to show The Restoration DVD and Satan did everything in his power to prevent the DVD player, X-box, and TV to work. The kids were working on the wires and buttons for a good twenty minutes, and I got up and tried to figure it out before I suggested watching it on a laptop. They agreed and we started the movie. The CD was skipping whenever a really important scene was happening, and especially during the First Vision! We had just cleaned the CD and I was praying the entire time the movie was playing. Sister Stewart was sweating like a sinner at church, and I'm pretty sure Sister Seegmiller was praying it would work too. But we're really glad that Sh. came in for this lesson, and she was asking us questions on what denomination we were. We let them keep the movie so they could watch it again after it's been cleaned again. Sh. told us that they were planning on coming to church the first week we saw them because Sh. quit her job and is no longer working weekends. :) But they were stopped in their tracks because of darn Satan. The family committed to come to church again yesterday, but just this morning Sh. texted us and told us she got sick on Saturday, and wasn't able to make it. Since she has to go to the doctors on Wednesday, we had to reschedule our appointment. We just know that this family is going to be such a strong family once they're baptized!

So I have this crazy theory that the entire mission is going to get whitewashed. We've been asked to have a lot of organization papers when we go to zone training this week and next week. (We're going next Tuesday) and these are the type of papers missionaries would love to have if they were getting whitewashed in (meaning, two missionaries come to an area at the same time, knowing nothing.) We had our email from President this morning, and it makes it sound like it's more possible than not. "We are taking a new step up in out-planning the adversary and building a great foundation so that any area you are transferred into will be better organized for success." So if I get transferred on the 25th, I wonder where I'll go! :P
We taught V. and Sha. again this week, and we taught them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They were planning on coming to church yesterday, but W. (their son) was up all night screaming with V., so she didn't get any sleep. Sha. has type two diabetes, and he woke up really sick yesterday so they were unable to go. Ca. officially moved to Atlanta, and now he's going to the ward that I was in originally! :D We think that's the best for him so he can be close to his two sons, and also there's a YSA ward up North that he'll be able to transition to once the missionaries get in contact with him. I'm so glad that I knew where the Atlanta ward was or Ca. wouldn't know where to go.

This week we've been focusing a lot more on seeing members to heed to the prophet's invitation to help the missionaries and members unite together in helping the work of salvation hasten. We had to intricately plan on being down south in our area all day on Friday to see a lot of the members that we're working with. After our last appointment, we had to drive all the way back up to our house (over 20 miles away) and it was really dark as we were taking the shortest way back. The back roads, dirt roads, and abandoned houses don't look intimidating in broad daylight, but it looks a LOT scarier in the dark. There aren't any streetlights, and we got a really eerie feeling as we were driving back. This wasn't the first time we had to drive home from the South, but it felt a lot different than the other times. We started blasting some hymns to drown out our creepy thoughts, and I was focused on the road. Sister Stewart gasped as she looked past my window, and told me saw a ghost in one of the houses. I flipped out and I told her not to tell me anything else, and we kept locking the doors over and over again. She looked so white, and I'm getting the heebie jeebies writing about this. It appears that a good chunk of our tracting area is haunted, and I never want to go on those roads ever again!

My favorite quotes that I've encountered this week,

"If you don't know where you're going, then which path you take doesn't matter." -Chesire Cat
I think that quote is so fitting when it comes to the Plan of Salvation, and when it comes to planning on where you want your life to head in the next direction. We should always have goals and plans on how we can become more like our Savior Jesus Christ.

-Sister Sudweeks
P.S.  This is Sweetie.  The member who owns the goats that we helped out with also owns this cat. She's the fluffiest cat I've ever seen in my life. Sister Stewart and I thought about buying a cat this fluffy when we're grandparents, but then we thought about all of the grand kids and their sticky hands all over this cat. -shudder- Thanks, but no thanks! :P

Monday, February 2, 2015

Cannibals in Covington!

Happy Monday!

Man, what a week. 

Another thing that we were invited to do with members was to have them more involved with what we do when they're coming out with us. We had Sister Pearce with us Monday evening after they fed us, and our appointment fell through. If something falls through, then something greater is about to come to pass. We had a list of investigators that we could go see, and so we prayed that we would have a unanimous decision on who we should go see. Sister Pearce picked the place, and it was amazing! We ended up seeing Mi., who is related to the recent converts in our ward. Sister Stewart taught them the Restoration when I was on exchanges, but then they got busy due to the holidays. We ended up teaching Ka. the Restoration on the spot, and she accepted to be baptized on February 21st! Her brother J. was also taught the Restoration while I was on exchange, is now being taught by the elders, and is getting baptized on the same day. How cool is that?! Mi. came to church this week, and she loved it. :)

It was pretty sad, but we had arranged to see Pa. (our Jehovah's Witness friend) and T. at the church because they live only 3 minutes away from the church, and they never showed up. We called them, either they hung up on us, or didn't answer. We're not entirely sure what happened to them, but P's family may have gotten to him. :( We're going to stop by P's one day this week to see if we'll be able to figure out what happened.
A fun card that we found at a random store...

As we had gotten the invitation to tract around members, we had a miracle before we had dinner with one of our members. We met a woman named Sh., and she immediately let us in once we told her that we're representatives of Jesus Christ. She has four kids- J. (10), Jer. (9), Z. (6), and Je (5). We knelt down, and prayed for the family, and for Je. to feel better because she was getting sick. As I was praying, Je. spoke up and told Sh., "Mommy, I'm feeling better!" it was so precious, and the spirit in the house was very strong. Sh. told us that they had just moved into the area a year ago, and her husband told the family that our church was going to be their church home because it was the closest. They tried to go to church on December 31st (Bible study?) but no one was there. Then we knocked on the door, and it was amazing!

Later on that week, we taught the kids the Restoration, but Sh. was making dinner, talking to her friend, and on the phone in the kitchen while we were in the living room with the kids. She was partially paying attention, but not really. We were so bummed, but Sh. told us that we could come back anytime so we're seeing them tomorrow. Sh. told us that they went to a church that only spoke Creole, and so she wants someone to teach the kids about Christ. We're hoping we'll be able to get Sh.'s full attention at the lesson tomorrow when we watch the Restoration DVD.

We did some service for a member in our ward, and we were able to help her outside with all of her goats! She's having so many baby goats recently, and one was born just before we got there. May I say I never realized how adorable baby goats are?! They just prance around looking all cute and all that jazz. Sister Denison told us that she likes to name the goats to remember when they were born, so now there are two baby goats named after both of us. I've never had someone named after me! (Of course my niece Marie was, if her name was Emily it'd be too obvious.) ;) As I was feeding the goats, one of them bit me and now I can say a goat bit me haha!

Va. and Sh. are still doing well, we don't know when everyone is moving, but we taught them the Law of Chastity, and the Ten Commandments this week with Ca. and Da. That was a crazy hectic lesson in itself!

We saw D. and Se. again this week, but the Mom wasn't there again. Since tax season is getting closer and closer, she's now working 7 days a week. We've collectively decided that it would be best to hold off their baptism until the Mom can take the kids to church herself, rather than having to rely on someone else to give them a ride. We're still going to do service and teach them every week, because the Mom really wants to take them to church if she ever has a Sunday off.

So last P-day, we spent the majority of our day at a members house. She told us that her chickens would eat anything, including chicken nuggets. So, what did we do for part of our P-day? Well, feed her chickens chicken nuggets of course! It was pretty hilarious, and I can't believe that chickens are such cannibals. ;) 
Introducing Covington's Cannibals!
This week we're having a sisters P-day, and we're tye-dying shirts and it's absolutely freezing and windy outside. We'll see how they turn out!

I hope that everyone is doing well!

-Sister Sudweeks

P.S. So... I realized I have a lot of leopard print, so I put it all on and I asked Sister Stewart if she'd still be my friend if I walked out like this in public. She said no. xD