Hello! I have a cough still as of Tuesday. My keyboard is really loud as my companions are trying to sleep, but, we got locked out of our car today! It was pretty funny. The police guy came and struggled to get us in but he did. The car was running. We don't know really what happened ... But it was a good day! We had a good dinner and a good time.
Wednesday: I had my first zone meeting today! It was actually really good. Elders Z and H are very nice and encouraging. We talked about the goals we have and stuff, and along with us all reading the Book of Mormon by the end of the year, we are trying to remember to use the Book of Mormon more frequently in our lessons. Christ is the center of the doctrine, and the Book of Mormon testifies of it, so we need to be sure all of the members, investigators, recent converts, etc., understand the role the Book of Mormon can have in their lives. It was really good. We then got a little bit rebuked by the spirit on planning and counting too many people as investigators when they wouldn't even consider themselves as investigators. Then we role played, which I was dreading because I don't like role plays but it was actually kind of fun and we felt the Spirit. We talked about using members more in lessons and for finding people (if you ever have the chance out there in Utah, please reach out to the missionaries and inactive members. Help them bring people to church wherever and whenever you can. Feed them, love them, be uplifted by them, and help them bring others to Christ! It brings blessings to the members, the ward/branch, the missionaries, the new investigator, etc. :)) We also talked about having faith in Christ and in ourselves and having a good attitude. He asked us how Christ would react if He were to review our attitude about the mission right now ... and for the most part for me it was pretty good, but I still have a lot of work to do! This is supposed to be fun and exciting, not dreadful. I need to be more excited and have a better attitude. It was a good zone meeting. It was good to see and meet more people! I liked seeing the different companionships and stuff. For lunch we went to Umami's where they do the whole grill stuff in front of you and then serve it to you and then you eat it and it's sooooo good. It was only like $10 and the guy was really funny and entertaining. The rice. Oh my. I love food. The three of us and also Sister Brooksby were wearing dark green and black so we got a picture. :)
The Brooksby's drove us home and we stopped at Walmart for gas. Let me just pause a moment and tell you how grateful I am for the Walmart corporation. Yes, they have their faults, and not always the best quality, BUT in comparison to the Family Dollar, Walgreens ($$$$) and CVS's that we go to, Walmart is a dream. It's heavenly. Anyway, we ran in to use the bathroom while Elder Brooksby filled up the car. Sister Sipple asked if we could buy her a pack of gum while we were there (she stayed in the car). So as we went to the self-checkout, there was a worker there named P. As we walked up to the register, she smiled and I knew she was staring at my name tag. So I walked slowly and let her read it and she said "You know, you ought to give me one of those books one of these days" (we carry around a copy of the Book of Mormon and Bible everywhere we go). Ponce and I got a big grin and said "You can have this one if you want!" Alas, it was in Spanish. So we checked out and told her we would bring her an English one soon and asked how she knew about it in the first place. Something about her nephew giving her one but she had to leave it with him. Ponce and I ran out to the car and found an English copy and ran it back in to her and she said she would start reading it and we are going to go back to check on her this week. SO COOL.
B... We have a Book of Mormon class held at the church on Wednesdays but the only person who comes other than the missionaries is B! He's a member, and is going through the temple next week!! He's probably like 60 years old I think and he has a thick southern accent and he is so funny and just old and stuff. This week when we were at class, he sat down by me and said "I won't bite" but I thought he said "you won't die" so I made some lame joke about dying and everyone got really uncomfortable and I didn't find out what he said until after the class was over. Anyway, we had a good class and read two chapters in first Nephi, I can't remember which ones seeing as it is now Monday and I am not going to try hard enough to go back and look for the chapter. But, it was cool to hear everyone's insights on being obedient and stuff. At about the end of the class, B turns to us and says something like "You know, when my son (or grandson?) went on his mission, he and some of the Elders became good friends with the Sisters and we need to be careful because they committed matrimony." COMMITTED MATRIMONY. That was the funniest phrasing I think I have ever heard before! We were dying. And the Elders got really uncomfortable too. Then we kept talking blah blah blah and prayed and as we left I shook his hand and he said (really fast in his deep southern old man accent) "You know you are just about as pretty as a speckled pumpkin on a red wagon." B is my favorite member as of
that night. Haha he is so funny!
Thursday: We started teaching R, she is older and has grown up Baptist and now I think she goes to a Presbyterian church but I'm not sure. She has read the Book of Mormon and come to church 3 or 4 times but she is afraid to accept the church because she has grown up her whole life with anti-Mormon doctrine being thrown at her. And she says she knows that but just can't accept that Joseph Smith wasn't lying or making stuff up. She has been going back and forth for a few months now I think and she is really very kind and has a good heart but it's hard for her to overcome traditions. Finally I said that in order for me to know the truth, I had to try it out. If I want to know what the prophets are telling is true or worth it, I need to try it out with the intent that it is true. If I am half hearted or don't have a good attitude about it, that won't get me anywhere. But with a good attitude and lots of prayer, I can test out the word and grow and find answers. She agreed and I told her that she needs to take a step of faith and just try out the church. She said she would, but then wouldn't agree to actually come to church. I pray for her heart to be softened! We also had lunch right after with a member and she took us to a place that I can't remember the name of but we ate really good enchiladas and I made best friends with her adorable 3 year old son. She is so kind! We love her and her family. I remembered that R said something cool. We couldn't find the reference to the scripture but she remembered a verse from the Bible when Paul is talking about things that aren't firm won't last. She was saying that if the church wasn't true, it wouldn't still be standing. It's so true. It reminded me about the Conference talk that Elder Holland gave about the Book of Mormon a few years ago saying that there is so much more to it than the fact that people have given up so many things, but that Joseph Smith gave up his life in every way possible. No man would do that for something he made up for praise, he just wouldn't. As I've been reading the Book of Mormon, it's amazing how much I can still learn from 1 Nephi! The doctrine doesn't change every time, it's just what I get out of it that changes. Especially in Spanish!
Thursday was good.
Friday: Oh. Okay. The T's! They are members, they live in somewhere that I can't remember the name of. They are this cute elderly couple that feed us every Friday but somehow they can get at least one person who is not a member to the lunches every week! It's so amazing. They made us great chili stuff, and we had a long discussion with a friend of theirs about the purpose of the priesthood and why we need one true church vs. a bunch of partially true churches. My testimony about organized religion has really grown actually, I'm thankful for the leadership we have. I would feel really lost if I didn't have the leaders of the church to turn to for guidance. Sister T is the best missionary! Brother T couldn't talk much, I think he's just soft spoken but I also think his health isn't doing too well. He is really the nicest guy though! He remembers everyone's names. Apparently he has an amazing memory and really takes the time to know people which is something really cool and hard when you meet new people everyday. Sister T though is this tiny beautiful old lady that has these fat chickens. I've never seen such beautiful hens and rooster. They are HUGE. They are so fat and very dark red. Anyway, she grabbed a handful of chips and went outside and called for them and these three massive hens come booking it up the hill! I laughed so hard! It was so so funny! Good times at the T's.
We met with E again, I hope he is prepared for his baptism this Sunday! Many many prayers would be so appreciated. He accepts the gospel and doesn't have any problems, yet. I just have this fear that something will come up and he will freak out and leave or something. But, it's all in God's timing and God's hands!! It will all work out!
Saturday: We visited R again and talked more about faith and read the first chapter and the introduction. So, we have been challenged to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year, we started on the first of October. We are supposed to mark all of the times the Savior is mentioned in anyway. So R was frustrated that the Book of Mormon is all about bloodshed and war and angry things, and if it's another testament if Christ then why isn't He even in it? I told her about this challenge that we have and how it mentions His name on every page. Actually, I think there was one page so far that doesn't, but for the most part at least one mention of Christ is on every page. She was a little taken aback, and I said, "Yes His physical body is only there for part of the book, but his hand is mentioned throughout" (something like that, I'm not good with words when I'm put on the spot). She thought about it for a little bit and I encouraged her to read it again, noticing or underlining whenever the Lord or the Savior or Redeemer or anything like that is mentioned. We read Chapter one, and in the first 6 verses, Christ is mentioned 5 times. It truly is another testament of Jesus Christ!! We don't need to see Him or even have Him physically on the earth today in order to feel His love and His presence in our lives. I know that I have felt the Spirit testify to me, and now I can testify to others of the Savior and His true church. This is awesome stuff.
Oh man we went to this Thai restaurant, I prefer Indian, but that's not an option here. THEY HAD THE BEST SOUP OH MY HEAVENS. It's called hot & spicy and I'm surprised I had never had it before! The other stuff was average but that soup. I still think about it everyday.
I almost forgot the best part of Saturday! (other than proclaiming the gospel, of course.) We went to the race track! It's this old dirty track that these really old and really dirty cars race on! It's incredibly loud and dusty and way more fun than I thought it would be! Sometimes they spin off the track or they start on fire. Ha. Not funny. But, I love it. Suzy if you're reading this you know what I mean by loving the destruction right? (Please say yes.) It was really fun. At the end they brought out the school buses! Hahaha it was so funny. You know when you watch the Olympics and everyone is running really fast and being really impressive and what not, and then you go for a short run and you think you're doing really well but you're just not? Yeah, well, that was these school buses. I think that's how they feel, sort of like Sister T's chickens!! But wait. What if...
I... like....... NASCAR.....
let's not talk about it.
Sunday: I got to play the piano for sacrament and relief society! The opening song was a weird one, so it didn't go too well. Oops. But the rest was fine. I think it's really fun. Also it's no pressure to play the organ because they don't even have one!! Super great. I did another thing that wasn't as fun and that was teach gospel principles. Eek. I wasn't super nervous because I was like "yeah I'm super prepared and this will be fun!" I got through everything I had prepared by 11:33. So we basically read the book for the next 27 minutes. I don't know what I would do without sweet sweet Sister Sipple!! She has this ability to talk and talk and talk and talk about
nonsense but make it sound important and still bear her testimony about it! I would give her this look and she would start talking about whatever was sort of pertinent. So funny. She's great. The class members (one member, one inactive member, and two investigators, and 4 missionaries) were really nice, but no one would respond when I would ask a question. So I had to answer my own questions and it was kind of boring. But we talked about obedience and all that good stuff. It was actually a good reminder for me because I went over some of the commandments that were given in general conference. My favorite,"please esmile."
And that was my week!! I really have been enjoying missionary work. Teaching is fun now! I don't teach in Spanish very often though because the Hispanic people don't usually even open their doors or they are really at work all the time which seems realistic in this area. But I am so grateful for the prayers! I have felt strengthened
when I try to do something and remember that there are people praying for me and all the missionaries! So thank you.
Something that I have been trying to work on is the sacrament. For the past few months I have felt a little bit rebuked at my attitude about the sacrament! I thought I was doing it right, but I keep feeling like I am not quite there yet. Not that I was doing anything wrong, I just need to take it more seriously. So I really appreciated all the different talks that mentioned sacrament during General Conference. Especially Elder Vinas who talked about the fact that yes, it is bad to not be on time, we need to repent before taking the sacrament and
ponder the Savior during, examine yourself and your week before the sacrament, be reverent, keeping the Sabbath holy, be willing to do God's will, and stay the whole time at church. Good reminders.
I love this church! It is really the true church and I'm thankful for the experiences that I'm having that are forcing me to solidify my testimony. Thank you parents for teaching me how! Love you all. I love the gospel and my great companions!!!