Friday, March 20, 2015

Week 23

This week went by so fast!!! Monday was great!!! It was Brother Allan's 50th Birthday. He is our ward mission leader and he is the greatest! Sister Edgel made him jell-o because we heard stories about how he would always win jell-o slurping contests. We thought it would be funny to make him jell-o. I made him a picture with the scripture "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."  Sister Edgel bought finger paints at the dollar store and so she was making pictures and I suggested she make one for Brother Allan too. We went over to his house but we felt bad because we had no idea they were having a big party. Brother Allan loved the gifts and he even had everyone join in on a jell-o slurping contest. I filmed it and it was hilarious. I wish I could send the video but I think it is too big to send :(. 

On Tuesday we went to a Bible study of a person we met tracting. His name is Brock and he invited us in the first time we met him. He has quite the story of how religion has changed his life. He didn't really take our word about the Book of Mormon but he said that he would welcome us back and even invited us to his Bible study one night. We were a little nervous but it turned out to be great. They watched a video and the shared some scriptures from the NIV version of the Bible. Sister Edgel shared some wonderful insights and everyone there was very welcoming. It was a great opportunity to meet more people. And even though we didn't share the Book of Mormon with anyone, I think this could open the doors for future miracles to happen. Before we left I gave Brock a Finding Faith in Christ DVD to add to his collections. I hope that he will one day share that video at his Bible study :). 

We picked up 5 new investigators this week! What a miracle!! One morning we made a goal to pick up 2 new investigators because we were going to have a lesson with a couple that night. But they called and canceled the appointment. We were a little sad because we were not going to achieve that goal. But Heavenly Father had a plan. We knocked on the door of Brianna who is the grand-daughter of  a less active member. She let us in and was interested in us teaching her. Her father walked in and started listening. I don't know how convinced he is and he seems a little protective of us teaching his daughter but they invited us back. We were able to achieve the goal of picking up 2 new investigators after all!! One of our other new is Shanee who is the friend of another less active member. The member is Tamela and we have frequently gone over to her house to help her and give her comfort. She is struggling with taking care of her 4 little kids. We decided just to go over the basic lessons of the gospel and Shanee joined in and we set up a return appointment. Heavenly Father was definitely guiding us this week. 

We were able to meet another less active named Rosie. She lives in a house that is in the middle of nowhere. We have tried to meet her several times but no one has ever answered the door. But she finally did. She was kind. We still don't know why she is less active but she was grateful that we visited her. Hopefully we can continue to meet with her and help her come back to church.

Saturday there was a couple that took us out to dinner. Their names are Kelly and Mark. They are a couple that Sister Edgel taught in her last area. And they really wanted to take us out to dinner. They drove to Champaign so they could meet us. We went out to Olive Garden. It was great. They bought Sister Edgel roses which was a nice surprise. 

There were so many other people that we met and so many other great stories but I just don't have the time to write them all!!! I do have one more funny story though. On Saturday we were at a missionary coordination meeting with us, the zone leaders and our ward mission leader, Brother Allan. (the zone leaders are in our ward). We usually eat lunch at Brother Allan's house while we are going over things for the meeting. We had fried rice and there were a few different sauces there if we wanted them. There was a Korean hot sauce that Brother Allan said he "inherited' from someone. He said it was super hot and her has had it for a while. Sister Edgel decided to try some because she likes hot stuff. She said it was really really hot and the elders tried a little too. I didn't though. I am a wimp when it comes to hot stuff. A few minutes later I decided to look at the label. Most of it was in Korean but there was some English too. I read the ingredients and I stopped on one that said "spirits" (aka alcohol!). I turned to sister Edgel and showed her the label. She then turned to Brother Allan and was shocked that he had never realized that the hot sauce had alcohol in it! haha we all laughed really hard. And Brother Allan immediately threw it away. It was really funny. It was an honest mistake but Sister Edgel thought it was funny that now she could say that she had alcohol on her mission at her ward mission leader's house. haha Brother Allan went off and told us about how there was a bible story about the difference between sinning and sinning in ignorance. It was so funny. 

I love you all! Good news is that it is getting warmer here. It got as hot as 60 degrees this week. I really think that this weather is bipolar. One minutes is pouring rain and the next there is not a cloud in the sky. I can say that the Midwest has the prettiest sunsets ever. I have never seen a dark red sunset before until last night. I tried to take a picture but it was too dark to pick up the colors. Love you all!!!!!!!!!
I forgot to tell you that transfer calls are coming this Saturday! I am a little nervous for what changes may be coming but most likely I will be staying in Champaign. For those who don't know how transfers work: A transfer is a period of 6 weeks. At the end of the transfer there is an opportunity that we could move to a different area, but it is highly unlikely to get moved every transfer. You usually stay in an area for at least 2 transfers if not more. On the course of my mission, i will go through about 13 transfers and about 4-5 areas. I have been in Champaign for 1 1/2 transfers (the extra 1/2 came from the emergency transfer in January). also a cool side note, our planners cover 6 weeks so it is cool to have a new planner for every transfer. I hope this is making sense. Sometimes it gets confusing. I will let you know how transfer calls go and if I will be moving or not. :) Love you all!!!!!

We had to get pie for pi day!! (march 14th = 3.14)

The sunsets here are the greatest!!!!!!!!!

Look how pretty!!!!!!! a camera doesn't do it justice

These are the gifts we made for Brother Allan for his 50th birthday. I made the quote and sister Edgel made the finger painting. :)

Sister Herdman and I on exchanges

Olive Garden with Kelly and Mark


Week 22

This week was great! There were a lot of ups and downs but still good. Monday we went to the Bishop's house for dinner and it was so good. They are such a wonderful family and we even had FHE with them. They had us play a few missionary initiation games. They were so funny. We played the Key game, and the Gorilla Game if you are familiar with them. 

Wednesday was filled with great lessons. We saw one of the recent converts Robin. She is so great. She is preparing herself to go to the temple but she is the only member in her family. She is going to the Nauvoo temple and her family is going to go to all the church history sites while she is at the temple. So cool. Her family is really supportive of her and it so great to see members of the ward fellowship her and love her. 

Thursday was exchanges! And oh what miracles did we see! I stayed in Champaign and Sister Edgel went to Springfield with Sister Berret. I was of course nervous to stay in Champaign with an STL. It was my first time staying in my area for Champaign. I also had to drive. Normally, Sister Edgel drives but on exchanges i had to drive around. I was hoping that I would be able to find my way around the area well and be on time for all the plans that we had. Sadly all of the appointments we had dropped but in their place, Heavenly Father placed so many miracles. First, I had the feeling that we should go visit a potential who was interested in family history. We parked a street over and walked over, but he wasn't there. I thought it interesting that I had a prompting to go there but nothing seemed to come of it. When we were walking back to our car, Sister Herdman decided to knock on a few doors. The first door, a man answered and immediately shut the door when he saw us. The next door a woman answered and she was happy to see us. She has an incredible story including being shot in the head and surviving. She used to be religious but had had bad experiences in the past and so she said that she would be interested in coming to our church. We also set up a return appointment! 

Another door we knocked on brought something surprising. Sister Herdman introduced who we were and the lady looked at us, then pointed to a young boy in the house and yelled, "He needs Jesus!" She seemed pretty heated up and she proceed to try and get him to come to the door and said that we needed to lay our hands on him. We tried to explain that that's not what we do. I am guessing that she expected us to drive out whatever was making the boy bad.  Luckily, the boy didn't want to come to the door so we were able to dodge that bullet. haha I don't know what we would have done if the boy did come to the door. 

The next door we knocked on, another lady told us that she would only listen to us if we would be willing to pick up a rag and start cleaning. We told her we would! She was joking but we were totally serious. We convinced her to let us help her and she invited us in. Her name is Paula. She owned a cleaning business and she was cleaning this rental house for the next people who would move in. We helped her clean for 2 hours and talked about almost all the principles of the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. It was really cool. She told us all about her life and she even had a few friends that were Mormon. At one point she was a flight attendant and she told us of stories how she used to dance in the isles of the plane with a man who had gone to BYU and had taken ballroom classes. haha I thought that was funny. She was such a nice lady and she even tried to pay us. We got her information and I gave her a Book of Mormon.  

Later we were trying to contact one of our investigators but she wasn't home. there was a man standing on his porch a few doors down and we gave him a card. No more than 10 minutes later, we get a call from an unknown number. It was the man who we met on his porch and we explained some of the basics of our beliefs. I have only had one other time where someone has actually called our phone from a card that we had handed out. I don't know if the man will ever be interested in taking the discussions, but it was a really cool moment. 

Exchanges was so great and it really increased my testimony of a few things. First, it strengthened my testimony of how the spirit works. Sometimes the spirit will prompt us to do something and it may lead us to what at first seems like a dead end. But there is something else in store. If I hadn't heeded the prompting to go to that potential's house, we never would have knocked on those doors and met those people. Second, it strengthened my testimony of how much Heavenly Father is in control. I was so worried that I wouldn't be able to handle all the stress of exchanges, but He took control and took care of everything. He provided miracles and placed people in our path. 

Saturday we had a lesson with Tommy at the church. We gave him a church tour and then had our lesson in the RS room. It was great and we talked a lot about the Book of Mormon. Sister Williamson was so great and she bore a wonderful testimony throughout the lesson. 

Church was great and there was so many great talks and lessons. Brother Allan, The ward mission leader gave a great lesson on the gathering of Israel. I loved how much detail we went into. In sacrament meeting we also had a great talk on charity. I love this ward. Unfortunately none of our investigators came to church. that was really heartbreaking because we really thought that some would show. 

On a positive note, it is starting to warm up now! I don't know if there are still some cold days in store but this next week will hopefully be as warm as the 50's. yay! thank you everyone for your support. I love reading your emails and getting letters. :) You are the best!
Pretty sunsets!

This is a rare thing in Illinois: hills. You know it's flat when the only hills that kids can sled down are the hills created by the overpasses of the freeway. haha :)

Week 21

What a wonderful week. We had less lessons with our investigators this week than we normally do but the ones that we did dhave were great and were filled with the spirit. On Monday we had a lesson with Minnie. We went through the rest of the Restoration with her. We talked about how the pure gospel has been restored. She paused for a while and asked, "Can that really exist in this world?" And without hesitation, Sister Edgel and I said in unision "Yes!" I really feel like she is beginning to understand that pure truth really exists. She is hesitant to go to church with us because she is in the habit of going to her church, but hopefully we can change that. :)

On Wednesday we had Zone Leader Training. Sister Fisher is in my new zone. She is one of my companions from the MTC. The Zone leaders did a fun object lesson. They asked for one missionary to stand in the center of the gym. They placed cups on the floor around him which represented different things about the church (temples, baptism, family, the gospel, etc). They asked the missionary to defend the cups from falling down as the two zone leaders tried to run and knock the cups down. It was impossible for the one missionary to defend all of them. They tried again and they added missionaries to help defend the cups. Eventually it took all of the missionaries to defend the cups. The last time we tried, the sisters took the cups and put them in the center. We circled around the cups and the Elders ran and tackled the zone leaders. it was quite funny and a really good object lesson. It is not enough to have just one valiant missionary trying to defend the gospel from the adversary. It takes ALL of us missionaries to defend and uphold the gospel.

Unfortunately, we had to drop on of our greatest investigators, Jonathan. We came to his house one day for an appointment, and Jonathan's father came to the door. He said that his mom told Jonathan he could meet with us no more. It was devastating to have to stop meeting with Jonathan because his mom didn't want him to. Jonathan said he loved meeting with us, and he had a wonderful testimony of Christ. I pray that God with prepare a way for him in the future to keep learning about the gospel. Sister Edgel and I were having a really hard time that day so we went and got an small ice cream cone to soften the sadness. That night was amazing though. We went with Joanna (a return missionary) to visit a less active member. Without Joanna, we wouldn't have been able to find her and we came at a perfect moment in Kylee's life. It is amazing how Heavenly Father puts people in our path and provides for us the work we need to do. 

Saturday was filled with service. We went to Monticello where they were doing a big service project. We packaged dry ingredients of rice and vegetables for families. There were a few hundred people there helping out. We were able to package nearly 100,000 meals. It was really cool. Sister Edgel and I even bought a t-shirt to be able to remember this area. That night we picked up two investigators. Dashawnique and her sister Datia (yes that is how you spell them). It was so wonderful. We meet them nearly a month ago and it was amazing how the Lord placed us in their path at the perfect moment in their lives. This night we were able to go through the entire restoration and the spirit was definitely there.

Saturday night brought a big storm which left us with a foot of snow Sunday morning. Church was cancelled and the District Leader asked us to keep our cars parked for safety. This made it a challenge to stay busy on fast Sunday but we did it. We did a lot of shoveling snow, and we were able to see some recent converts with the help of members giving us rides through the deep snow. That night we were able to have another lessons with a pretty new investigator, Bianca. We read the book of Mormon with her and her son came in and said "We have to pray!" He always likes to pray with us.

This week was definitely different and brought some sadness and challenges but it is still good. I love the sense of purpose that I feel as a missionary. I am learning how the spirit speaks to me too. it is a slow process but I am learning little by little. I love all of your support. thank you so much. The support of family and friends means so much to me. Thank You!! I love you!!!!!
Sister Edgel and I studying at our desks.

Sister Edgel parked so close to the car next to her that it made it difficult for her to get out

Me in the snow. You can see how much snow there is on our car.

This is when we got ice cream. Yum!

Sister Edgel wanted to do a snow angel


Week 20

What a cold week! And its supposed to get colder! Grrrrr. I am not looking forward to it but I will survive. This week has given me more things to add to my list of reasons I won't live in Illinois. It is so much colder here. I thought I knew what cold was, but I was wrong. The humidity here makes everything so much colder. 

Tuesday we visited Virginia. She is doing well, but her health is not helping her. :( She is still going strong and I love hearing her testimony. We got to see Jonathan that day too. We tried to help him understand the idea of baptism with proper authority. He has already been baptized and loved his experience and with the language barrier, it makes it harder to help him understand. We had dinner with the bishop's family which was wonderful.

Wednesday we finally took a day off for Sister Edgel. She had been sick for the past week and she hasn't really done anything for her health. I think Heavenly Father really provided a way for her to get better. Our appointment for Tuesday night as well as Wednesday morning cancelled on us and we weren't able to makes solid plans for Wednesday. I am so glad that we were able to find time for her to rest. While she slept in, I still went through the normal morning schedule, and i organized the whole member area book which felt good to get done. I was able to clean a lot and I enjoyed reading and studying more. It was really good. And now Sister Edgel is doing much better. Surprisingly I have been able to stay away form getting sick. I hope that it stays that way. 

We were able to meet with Jonathan again and it was a wonderful lesson. He said that he wants to get baptized! We told him that he has to come to church for at least three weeks and he misunderstood and thought that he could get baptized after three days. it was funny. His parents go to a different church and so I hope that we can help him come to our church. He is 18 and a Junior in high school with no car or driver's licence since he is from the Congo. He didn't come to church this week. It is also hard to talk to his parents because they are never really home. We have no idea how his parents are taking us meeting with him. They speak even less English than Jonathan so when we do see them it is hard to really get to know them . i hope that we can help  Jonathan come to church and really help him progress. 

We picked up a new investigator this week! It was great! We had met Bianca tracting and she was a little interested. She recently moved here and is looking for a church for her children. We were able to teach her the Restoration and give her a book for Mormon. I really hope that she keeps her commitments and that we can continue teaching her. her story is quite amazing and she is so nice. 

On Friday we went to visit a recent convert, Indea, that moved into our ward. When we went to go visit her though we found out that she was in the hospital. She has multiple health issues. We went to the hospital and we felt so out of place. We didn't' know where we were going and it was so quite. We eventually found her though and talked to her for a little while. Hearing about her story really touched me. She has been through so much that I could never even imagine going through. I think it was Heavenly Father's way of helping me realized how blessed I am and how wonderful my life really is. I truly feel blessed to have this gospel in my life. I am fortunate enough to have grown up in the gospel so I didn't have to search very far to find the truth. 

Saturday, our cars had to be parked in the morning. Every once in a while the District Leader will tell us that we can't drive our cars because of weather conditions and for safety. But we still wanted to do missionary work so we walked. and walked and walked. Sister Edgel had a shovel in her hand and I had a car scraper in my hand. We decided to shovel Virginia's drive way, but when we got there it had already been done. We had walked for about an hour in a foot of snow to get there to find out that Brother Allan had already done it. haha We were on our way to the Allan's house for the Missionary Coordination meeting when we got the message that we could drive our cars. It would have taken us another 40 minutes to walk back home so we just walked to the meeting instead. Brother Allan joked telling us that he saw us walking that morning. After the meeting, Joanna, his daughter, drove us home. Later that day we visited Robin, a recent, convert, who is preparing to go to the temple. We watched Mountain of the Lord with her and it was really great. 

Sunday was great as always. I love being able to go to church and be surrounded by great members. We had dinner at the Goodrich's home and they had a yummy dessert called earthquake cake. I really liked it. This week has been good even though it was a little slower than the past weeks. I am still so grateful that I can do this missionary work. it truly is a blessing. Love you all!!!!!

"Consecration is the only surrender that is also a victory" -Neal A. Maxwell

Week 19

This week has been a little slower but it is to be expected with the wonderful week we had last time. On Tuesday we were able to go to the family history center and help a non-member start their own family history. I think it was a great way to introduce someone to the gospel. It was a really positive experience. We also taught Virginia, one of the recent converts. We are going through the recent convert lessons, and today, it was about the Priesthood, relief Society and callings. We watched one of the church videos called "Only a Stonecutter". It was a great video. We thought it would be good too because in the video the main character has one foot and Virginia only has one foot too. :)It was a great lesson filled with the spirit. Later that day we had Jamie, one of the Laurels, come out with us. She is thinking about going on a mission. We decided to go tracting and we ended up meeting a man who let us in and we taught the whole entire Restoration. It was really cool. He pretty much told his whole life story and about how God has been a huge part throughout the things he has gone through. It was incredible the things that he has been through to get to where he is. He was hesitant with out message but he was willing to let us back. I hope that his heart will continue to be prepared when we go back.

 It seems like when people look at our black tag, they don't see our name with the Savior's name. To some, it says, "Tell me your whole life story and all the things you have done in your life." it is kind of crazy the things we know about people simply because we are missionaries. As a normal person, there would be no way to know those things, but having that black tag opens people up.

Wednesday, we taught Tommy! it was really cool. He is well versed in other religions and has even read the Koran. he was open to what we had to say but of course is skeptical. We were able to go through the whole Restoration and invited him to be baptized if he learned for himself if these things were true. He said that it would take some serious study, but he did say that IF he really did believe the Book of Mormon was true, then he would get baptized. he told us that when we knocked on his door the first time, he had been praying about 30 minutes prior. I asked him what he had been praying for. he said that he was praying for strength and direction. I know that it was no coincidence that we knocked on his door minutes after his prayer. Unfortunately he didn't come to church like he said he would but I still have hope. I think that the people who are more skeptical and cautious are in the long run, more solid in committing to being baptized. Of course we always love and look for those who accept the gospel without question. But it is still amazing to be a part of a bigger and slower change like I hope Tommy will be. 

District Meeting was really great. My new district will be great. Sister Edgel and I are the only sisters now though. Our new Zone Leader is Elder Moore. He was my District leader in my last area so it seems funny that he is now my Zone Leader. Small world. We went to Buffalo Wild Wings for District Lunch and it was kind of overwhelming. Their restaurants are lined with massive televisions around every wall. I wasn't a huge fan with the bombardment of worldly advertisement but we were able to meet a member who worked there. Her name is Gabby and she is thinking of serving a mission. we got her information and we hope to include her in future lessons. 

Saturday was filled with delivering Valentine's to people. We didn't have really any appointments which is not surprising since it was Valentine's Day. A couple days earlier we made a bunch of Valentine's with Joanna (The ward mission leader's daughter). She is a return missionary and has helped us so much  with lessons. We were able to make a bunch of Valentine's which gave us an excuse to see certain people that we normally don't see. 

We also had a coordination meeting with the Zone leaders and our ward mission Leader, Brother Allan. He is so awesome. Their whole family is the kindest people I have ever met. It seems like they are people who truly know what is means to consecrate their lives to the gospel. I love them. 

Sunday was great. I gave a talk on the importance of missionary work and the Atonement. After the first speakers were done, i was left with about 25 minutes to speak. i was super nervous but it all worked out. People came up to me afterward and thanked me for my talk. They said that i had this peaceful power when I spoke. I never really thought I talk like that but it was really nice to think that others were touched with what i say. I love the members. 

That night we went to visit a potential, Dashawnique (yes that is how you spell it). We knocked on her door a couple weeks ago and she was kind. The second time we found out that just a few hours prior, her sister had committed suicide. We have kept in touch since then and even Heart attacked their door (We cut a bunch of hearts out and wrote uplifting quotes and scriptures on them and then tapped them to their door). last night we were able to talk to them about the basics of the gospel and even the Book of Mormon a little. It was really cool to look back and see the relationship of trust that we have been able to build with them by just being caring and reaching out to them in love. I hope that we get to really teach them in detail and who knows where it will go. :)

This week was wonderful and I an trying to stay warm. i love you ALL!!! I hope that you had a wonderful Valentine's Day. 

John 3:16 - For God so LOVED the world that He gave his only begotten Son.

Week 18

This week has been great!!! We got transfer calls on Saturday and Sister Edgel and I are staying together in Champaign! The way that transfers work is that each transfer is 6 weeks long and so every 6 weeks there is a possibility that we could be moved to a different area although it is unlikely. These next 6 weeks will be my 4th transfer and still my 2nd area. (My first was Sandy Creek in St. Louis). I was so happy to find that Sister Edgel and I were staying together because we lost 20 missionaries going home this transfer and so we only have 208 missionaries in the mission right now and it will continue to go down. The surge of missionaries when the changed the age limit is finally leveling out and so we are going to lose a lot of missionaries and not be getting very many in. 

It is also exciting that we are staying because we saw such a huge miracle just last night. We picked up 2 new investigators within and hour of each other!!!!!! WOW!!!! We met them both while tracting: Havier and Tommy. Havier is a student and he really wants to strengthen relationship with God. Tommy is  a little different. He grew up with many different religions in his life. He has studied SO many over the years and we suggested he go to and check it out. When we came back last night he said that we had started a little fire in him and he couldn't stop researching until he went to bed. Unfortunately he visited all the websites pertaining to Mormons, both the good and the bad. He learned about each extreme of our religion, but he is still very honest and desirous to learn more. We told him that instead of going to the internet for information he should go to the source (This is where we gave him a Book of Mormon :) ). He said he would read and he was to come to church and see what it is like. I'm sure that when we come again he will pound us with questions. He is very educated about religions but also respectful about different religions. I am so excited and nervous to teach him. I hope that things will turn out well. Before we left he said that the first day we met him, we was praying and about 20 minutes later we knocked on the door. I hope that he realizes that we were an answer to his prayer. :)

Another great moment was teaching Virginia. She is a recent convert who is preparing to go to the temple. We showed her the video: The Mountain of the Lord and she basically cried the whole time. It was so wonderful. I love her desire to follow this gospel. She is so strong. Her testimony and desire really strengthens my testimony of the divinity of this work and the blessings of this gospel. It is amazing that I have grown so much even in these past few months. Even if I don't end up seeing anyone get baptized, I will have strengthened my desire to embrace this gospel so much more, as well as my commitment to the glorious blessings that await those who live it. This gospel is the best!!!

ANother miracle we saw was on Monday. We decided to go to the mall because we had some gifts that we watned to exchange. I had some earrings to exchange and with the sale that was going on, I ended up getting three times the amount of jewelry for only 50 cents! Haha it was great. I went in intending to spend a little money but I only spent a little. So then we decided to go to Panera Bread for lunch and again, we didn't spend money. We walked in and couple walked up to us saying that they wanted to treat us for lunch. They made us buy the whole shebang. They even bought us a loaf of bread to take home. It is so wonderful to find those who make your day bright. 

So many miracles. SO much love. Heavenly Father IS watching over us and He knows what we desire. He is the greatest. This gospel is what will bring us joy.
free chair (from the email last week)

The sweet couple who bought us Panera Bread

Our District: me, Sister Edgel, Sister Webb, Sister Schwenke, Elder Rose (I went to high school with him), Elder Randall

Sister Edgel slipped and fell while there was freezing rain. This is the mark she left on the ground haha :)