Saturday, November 22, 2014

Week Six! - First Transfer Done

Wow! I am done with my first transfer! In my mission I will be here for the space of 13 6-week transfers. One down, and twelve to go. 

This week has been good and full of work. We are continually building up our teaching pool. We now have 6 investigators. None of them are really progressing yet be we are still working with them. It seems like our most promising investigators keep having Satan get in the way of their progress. One of our investigators just got called to a full-time job and another investigator is dealing with her sick husband so we can't meet with her. It's frustrating when Satan puts things in their paths that get in the way of meeting with us. We will just have to keep trying. 

One of the blessings we had today was with Sam. We haven't heard from her in a couple weeks and so we were getting worried. Sister Gunter and I decided to make her some muffins and write her a card with some uplifting messages. The next morning she sent us the best text! She told us that she had been reading the Book of Mormon and she wanted to make it more of a priority in her life. She wanted to meet with us on a weekly basis. How great! Charity works! :) It was a great thing to hear from her. She is a wonderful investigator. 

Thursday was a great day even though a bunch of appointments fell through. There is a couple in our ward. They are the Ziegenmiers. They take us every Thursday and drive us to our appointments and join us for lessons. They are the greatest couple ever. They are so sweet and so generous. Having them drive us saves us so many miles on our car. They said they have been doing this for 6 months now. They are such a blessing. They are converts themselves. They grew up Methodists and it was really cool to hear their conversion story. I loved getting to know them.

Funny story of the week. We were driving home at the end of the day when we see a bunch of teenagers on the corner of the street. One of them decided to moon all the cars passing by. We didn't think much of it but then we decided to turn around. We got our of our car, and some of them got scared thinking we were some type of authority coming to get them in trouble. Some of them started walking away but a few stayed. We talked to a few of the kids and some were genuinely interested. We gave them our number and left. 5 minutes later, they called us asking questions. We turned around again and gave them a few copies of the Book of Mormon. I don't know what will happen to them or if they will even read it. But we planted those seeds and hopefully they will get the chance to really learn about it. 

Last week we had a sister's p-day. We had food, games, and music. It was really fun to spend time with fellow missionaries and relax for a while. 

I am continually surprised at the generosity of the members in this ward. I really feel a part of their ward and I love the families. I will miss this ward because it is so great and there are some incredible people here. They keep me going when I have had a hard day. I love going to church on Sunday to see them all. When the week Is filled with empty efforts, it's great to be surrounded by those who care and who are a part of the gospel. 

Love you all!! Thank you for your continued love and support.

Mosiah 2:24 - Heavenly Father always blesses us. He is merciful and generous. We are always in debt for all that He gives us.

Sister Gunter and I 

Sister's P-day. We played the hand game if anyone knows it.  
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In district meeting we learned how to make pie!!! Our ward misison leader, Brother Weaver wanted all the missionaries to know how to make a home-made pie. He taught Elder Tolman and then Elder Tolman taught the whole District. He related the recipe to principles in Preach My Gospel as he was demonstrating. Our District from left to right: Me, Sister Gunter, Elder Davis, Elder Tolman, Elder Poore, Elder Hansen, Sister Huppi, Elder Peterson (eating the pie), in the front is Sister Limas and Elder Smithson.

Week Five

I am sorry that this email will probably be pretty short. We had to schedule a lesson this morning which cut into our email time. I won't be able to send pictures or respond to very many emails. I am sorry. This may happen in the future again so I may be writing my emails around noon for a while. But our lesson this morning was AMAZING! We taught this lady named Carrie. She has blue hair and when we met her, she said that she would be the most open-minded person we would ever meet. She has some quirks but she is great. We talked about the Restoration and she was so interested and loved what our church was about. She has leaned so much about different religions but says that she can't find the church where she feels like she fits in. I think that she has been prepared for us. She accepted the invitation to be baptized and said that she really likes talking to us. Oh, it was so great. This past week almost all of our appointments fell through and we had nothing really to show for our efforts besides some tracting. So to have such a great lesson with Carrie was so wonderful. 

Yesterday was great. We were able to get a ride from a member (Sister Haefner). We ended up spending almost the whole day with her. She took us to church, went to the missionary correlation meeting (she is a ward missionary), she taught Relief Society, gave us a ride home and then invited us to come back for dinner. We had breakfast for dinner. I can't say how much I love the members of the ward. I cherish the feeling of being in a members home where I feel at home and I can feel the spirit. 

We also met with a family who is becoming more active in the church. The wife (Alicia) is a member but hasn't been active for a while. She recently got married to Sean who is not a member. I LOVE this family. They are so great. I know that Alicia wants her husband to start taking the missionary lessons but he is a little apprehensive because his family is scared about the Mormons. Both Alicia and Sean have had a pretty rough past life but I could tell that this was the happiest either of them have been in years. There was a great feeling of love between their patched-up family. We had dinner with them and had a bonfire in their backyard. In Missouri, many people burn the leaves that fall of the trees. Since there are so many leaves, it is just easier to burn them than to clean then all up I guess. It was great to spend time with them. I really feel hopeful for their family. 

We had a service opportunity this week. We went to a member's house to help her clean. She is an elderly woman who has lung problems so we helped her get rid of a lot of dust in her house. Even though it was simple work for us, she told us how grateful she was for the work we did because it would be so difficult for her to do it on her own. I did get a huge splinter underneath my fingernail though. I pulled it out and it is still a little sore. ouch. Oh well, I just hope that it doesn't get infected or anything. 

November 7th was my 1 month anniversary from coming into the mission field! Hooray! It seems like it has been forever but I know that it is going to go by so fast at the same time. 

Some funny things that I have learned about my companion is that she honks the horn a lot, but she does it accidentally. She will hit it when her hand is resting on the wheel or she has laid her head on the steering wheel and hit it. or sometimes she will accidentally hit it when she is turning. It's funny think of all the times she has honked the horn when she doesn't mean to. She is great though. We are becoming better friends and better teachers.

I love you ALL. Thank you for all the love and support. The spiritual thought for this week is Miracles in the Bible Dictionary. Read it, it's cool. Miracles are happen based on faith . If miracles cease it is because faith has ceased. Miracles are REAL no matter how small they seem to be.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Week Four-- Progress!!

This week has been so great. The members of our ward continually surprise me with their generosity an kindness toward us missionaries. They keep us fed. haha :) Each of their stories are so unique and uplifting. I love getting to know them all.

This week we have finally started to see progress in our area!!! We went to teach Adam and his wife was there so we were able to teach both of them about the plan of salvation. They were really interested in what we had to say. They really thought the idea of the three kingdoms was cool. We invited them to be baptized. They were hesitant because they had already been baptized into their own church. So we talked about the Priesthood. It was surprising how quickly they understood it. I think we will really have to  work with them as we try to help them understand the importance of baptism with the right authority. Adam said that God would have to come right out and tell him personally for him to be baptized in our church. I hope and pray that Heavenly Father will open their hearts and help them understand. They are a wonderful couple and they appreciate the work that we do even though there may be differences in our beliefs. They gave us caramel apples when we left. yum.

We also got to teach Quentin. He is about 30 years old and he is a high-functioning autistic. His mom has been a little less active in church the past few years. They previous missionaries have worked with Quentin so hopefully we will be able to reach out to him and help him grow a desire to be baptized. His mom, Mary, really loves him and wants him to be baptized. She shared a wonderful testimony yesterday that touched my heart.

Sunday was awesome. It was fast Sunday and the testimonies that were shared were so amazing. I really felt the spirit. There was a moment when I realized where I was: in Missouri, hundreds of miles away from home. I barely know these people yet I feel like I am a part of their family. This ward is so great. I know they will always have a special place in my heart since they are my first area.
After Sacrament, we had the wonderful opportunity to go to a different ward in Sister Gunter's previous area. We went so that she could see a baptism of one of her investigators. It was really neat to see Tim get baptized. He was someone that Sister Gunter found while tracting and now she got to see it come full circle as he was baptized. Even though I wasn't a part of his conversion story, it was still really neat to see it.

The highlight of my week was Sunday night. We got to teach a girl named Sam. She is my age. She seemed so ready to hear the gospel. She loved what we talked about and was eager to start reading the Book of Mormon. I think that Heavenly Father has prepared her. I am really excited to see her progress. I invited her to be baptized and she said yes. It was really cool. I felt the spirit and after so many weeks of not seeing a lot of progress, it was neat to see Sam so ready to learn the gospel.

Halloween was awesome. We were able to spend it with a couple families in the ward. They gave us a wonderful dinner and then we just talked and talked. I felt a part of their family and I loved just being there with them. We roasted marshmallows over the stove and had smores. At our apartment, Sister Gunter and I put on fake mustaches and took pictures. It was a nice break.
I know that Heavenly Father has heard my prayers and I know that He watches out for us. He will give us success according to our faith and diligence.

The Fellowship of the Unashamed
“I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The dye has been cast! I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made; I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tainted visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, positions, promotions, plaudits or popularity. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience, am uplifted by prayer, and labor with power. My face is set, my gait is fast, and my goal is Heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear! I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, or let up, until I have stayed up stored up, and paid up of the cause of Christ. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till I know, and work till He stops me.”
P-day we went on a hike. The whole ground was covered in leaves. It made it a little slippery on the hills.

This was at the Mastodon
 State Park. I think they were celebrating their 150th anniversary.

Sister Gunter and I

Week Three!.

This week has been great. It is still slow progress with the work but our ward is still as amazing as ever. One day was filled with stepping dog poop, driving through dirt roads and small streams and other things just to name a few. What an adventure. We seem to find the craziest places to drive through. There are so many small dirt roads to get to people's houses. It makes it fun though.

On Thursday,we went to our District Meeting. We talked a lot about the importance of prayer in our missionary work. It was really neat. One of my favorite things is the Bible Dictionary about prayer. Read it if you get the chance, it is really cool. After the meeting we went to lunch together as a district. We ended up going to a barbeque place. It was really yummy but sometimes hard when the elder want to go to a more expensive place for lunch. I really like our district though. I always feel safe around those missionaries and it is cool to share our experiences and advice to one another each week. There is a lot of love there.

Later that day, we went through exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders (STLs). I left the Sandy Creek area to go to the Webster Groves area with sister Huppi. It was really cool to go to a different area and see how the work is progressing there. One of the appointments we went to was for a man named Mark. I have never met him before and Sister Huppi told us that we were going to teach him the plan of salvation. We we went in, he immediately started saying that he was finished with the missionaries teaching him and that he wanted to do some research on his own. We were so sad that he was dropping the missionaries. But Sister Huppi was strong. She convinced him to hear the message we had prepared for him so that he can at least know the 'why' of our gospel. He is a man who has lots of questions and gets hung up on the 'science' part of things. She asked him to leave all his questions until the end and he reluctantly agreed. We went through the entire lesson and he understood it. There were a few things that were interesting and new to him but he liked it. Furthermore, Sister Huppi invited him to be baptized if he learned for himself if the things we were teaching were true. He said yes! It was amazing to see the transformation of someone who wants to drop us to accepting the invitation to be baptized. I really felt the spirit there and if was a cool experience even though he was not my investigator.

Saturday was a little hard. All our appointments fell through so we spent the entire day tracting. I was tired, and there was a lot of rejection as usual. It's sad to see how so many people look at us with scared or angry faces. They don't understand how wonderful our message is and they just want us to leave. It hurts me to some extent. But I am more hurt for their well-being. It doesn't matter as much what they think of me personally so much as I want them to accept my message for themselves. Even through that hard day we did find someone. He was the very last house at the end of the street that we were tracting that night. His name is Adam. He is very knowledgeable about the Bible but he was willing to talk with us on his porch for a while. We ended up teaching him the Restoration, and giving him a Book of Mormon and pamphlet. He was willing and interested to read. He said that we was really going to compare it to the Bible. He seemed on the fence about the idea of another book in relation to the Bible. I really hope that he feels the spirit as he reads and doesn't find so many faults. Sister Gunter and I know that we are really going to have to study hard to be able to get through to him. I know we will have to back up what we say with the Bible and not just the Book of Mormon. It will be a good experience for the coming weeks.

Sunday was great. They had a primary program. The programs were left blank on the front and all the kids colored their families on the pages. It was really cute to see all the drawings. the programs was wonderful and in Relief Society we talked about the Priesthood. I loved it. This week we again had wonderful families to give us dinner. The Fishers, gave us barbeque chicken and baked potatoes and the Paniaguas gave us shepherd's pie. Our ward is so amazing. I love the people.

I feel like I am growing a lot and each day is unique and has it's challenges. I am really trying to work on feeling and teaching with the spirit. Love you all and I hope you are enjoying life.

Sister Madsen.
One day we went to visit the famous covered bridge in Hillsboro. It was neat

I didn't get many pictures that were of me and my companions but I got a lot of the beauty of  Missouri