If you all are planning on moving to the mountains while I'm on my mission, don't move to Cedar, move to Kentucky! Not that Utah isn't gorgeous, but you need to see Daniel Boone National Forest (where I live) before you make a final decision. Ok? Ok. I loved reading about the Native American Branch you went to. Tons of people out here have some sort of Native blood in them and I love being able to tell them that the Book of Mormon is about their ancestors. Sister Clemons and I are reading the Book of Mormon together in our companionship study and we're in the Nephis right now and I love reading about the prophecies of Lehi's seed. Laman and Lemuel's seed particularly. Those "seed" make up that branch you attended! Did I tell you all that Willard bought Sister Ralph and I each our own Indian Angel statues? It was very sweet. He also gave me a HUGE, bear-fur dream catcher of his when he found out I sometimes have bad dreams. It's really gruesome and I don't like it that much, but he insisted that I use it so it's hanging in my room, not over my bed though. What a sweet, little old Lamanite he is.
Mother, you must know that it's only my DREAM to play Ursula and has been for a very long time. Hopefully they'll be up for a revival by the time I get home.
I'm glad you plan on coming to my "Crazy Town 2.0: the Southern Chapter". I keep telling everyone how I want them to meet you all and I tell some of them how I want them to come out to Vegas when I get home. It's amazing to me how many people have never been out of the south, on an airplane or can't swim. Especially the swimming part. People here are terrified of water, but there's rivers and lakes everywhere. I don't get it.
Sherry came to church again this week. And this time she only missed the first part of Sacrament Meeting. She also brought her grand-daughter, April. We had FOUR investigators at church. It was awesome. And we have a bunch of new potentials right now. Sister Clemons and I are so excited for this week. Plus, Mary's getting baptized on Saturday! Hurray! The only downside is that Mary insists on me singing at the baptism and now that Sister Ralph is gone, there's no one who can play the piano. I REALLY don't want to sing a capella but I'm probably going to have to and it makes me really nauseated to think about it. Yuck.
We FINALLY got to do our missionary fireside that we've been trying to put on for a month. We did it during 3rd hour and it was pretty good, I think. We had a convert who was referred by a member talk and then we had a returned missionary whose son is on a mission right now talk about the importance of member missionary work. Then I talked about statistics and the commandment and our desperate need for member missionary work and then Sister Clemons talked about how the members of our ward can be member missionaries. We gave a list to our Ward Mission Leader of people in the ward we want to meet with and he's setting up dinner appointments with them and we really hope to get some of those new programs implemented that we learned at interviews. One of them is having a family in the ward (that the missionaries prayerfully select) host a family home evening for some of their friends and neighbors and have us come and teach a little bit and then hopefully be able to come back later and teach the people that were there in the original family's home one-on-one. Another one is to invite tons of people to baptisms using invitations because apparently 80% of non-members who attend a baptism will be baptized themselves. If we had 5 people at a baptism, four of them would get baptized. Then, at each of their own baptisms if we had 5 non-members there then we'd have 4 of those baptized, that would be a total of 20 people within the first wave. If we could get that going, we'd never have to go tracting again! Bahahaha! It's brilliant! Hopefully it's not easier said than done.
On Thursday morning Sister Clemons and I prayed about a day that we could use to hold a baptismal service with which to invite some of our gators to be baptized on. During the prayer, all I could see was the number 15 in my head. After the prayer Sister Clemons felt good about October 15th as well.
We had an interesting week with Sherry. She's house-sitting right now because her son, Jerry, works cleaning up after disasters and is in New York for the next couple weeks. Her son lives in Corbin so she's closer so we get to see her more often whenever Jerry's away on business. We saw her on Thursday and watched Finding Faith in Christ. The Spirit was really strong afterwards and we talked more about baptism and asked her if she would be baptized. She said that she still wants to wait and see. We asked her what she expected her answer to feel like. Then she said she'd just know when she got it. Then we talked about the Spirit that she's felt at Church and from our lessons and from the blessings she's been given and she basically bore her testimony to herself but she still didn't see it. We asked her if we could set a goal date for baptism and work towards it and see if she gets her answer by then (another new program they've started, there's no more hard vs soft commitment. There's an invitation and the gator eventually hardens the date on their own). She said she still wanted to wait. We asked her to pray about it with us and she did and the Spirit was thick in the room and she still said she wanted to wait. We left because it was curfew time and told her we'd see her tomorrow.
That night, at 11:00 pm, we were woken up by a phone call. I picked it up and it was Sherry. She said, "Sister Nelson, I'm sorry to wake you up but I just wanted you to know that I think the Lord wants me to get baptized. I really want to do it on November 2nd because that's my mom's birthday but for some reason God keeps telling me October 15th. I don't know why."
Aha! "I know why He keeps telling you the 15th, Sherry. It's because He told us the same thing earlier this morning."
At this point Sister Clemons was jumping around screaming because she was so happy. My sleeping pill had already kicked in so I just sat there, really happy, trying not to snore. Then, Sherry started praising Jesus the way they do in Holiness churches and I tried to calm her down and we were all really happy and it was awesome.
The next day she told us that her son had called her and asked her if he could read the Book of Mormon when he got home from his trip. A couple days later her niece came up to us with a prayer request (people around her do that. They think that if a "church lady" says a prayer for them that God will hear it better or something) then she asked us how our church is different than Baptists. Hurray! We talked a little. Then Sherry asked her if she's ever wondered where her soul is going after she dies. Hurray! Then we talked a little more. Then she, Kristy, asked how to know which of all the churches is true. HURRAY! (Sister Clemons and I were grabbing each other's hands trying not to explode from excitement.) She asked these questions as we were leaving for curfew and we were bummed we had to go but set up an appointment after giving her a Book of Mormon. The next day, of course (Satan!) she was really sick and had to cancel our appointment. But, we're not giving up. Hopefully Sherry will tell her family soon that she set a date. She's afraid to because she knows how they'll react, but I think that they won't react as badly as she's expecting based on her niece and her son this last week.
Yesterday we went to see a lady BYH. Her name is Gail and I've mentioned her before but I'm serious, she's a SAINT. Seriously. She's dying and I don't know how she's even alive anymore and she has barely any strength but she uses it all to do genealogy. She's done over 10,000 names and she's still going strong. When we got there she was crying and we asked her why and she said she was just saying a prayer to Heavenly Father thanking him for sending the missionaries to spend time with her. (She lives way up in the mountains and is pretty lonely). She had promised to teach us how to make her famous peanut-butter cookies. When we got there she had everything measured out and ready to be poured into the bowls. All we had to do was mix them together. She was so excited. Then we sat and talked about how much she loves the Lord. And then she dug up her ELVIS COOK BOOK and I died because it had a picture of Elvis next to every recipe. It was so fun. She didn't want us to leave, and we didn't want to leave. I'm surprised she hasn't been translated yet. Guess how she learned to read: she was in her 30's and wanted to learn how to read and write so she got her Bible and her Book of Mormon out and got them on audio tape and listened to them while she followed along for the whole thing. THEN, she wanted to learn how to write so she copied the Book of Mormon by hand. I'm telling you, this lady is a saint.
Sister Clemons and I get along really well. She and I are definitely the most alike than any of my other companions have been. We laugh a lot. And she really wants to work hard. I never believed trainers when they'd say, "I didn't train my greenie, my greenie trained me." I always thought that was a stupid way to pay a complement. But it's true. She's teaching me so much. The Lord has blessed me with her.
Every night, Willard makes us drive by his house so he can know we got home safely, especially now that it's dark at night. We never know when we'll get home we only know it will be somewhere between 8:30 and 9:30. The other night he said, "When will you be home?" "I don't know." Then he said, "See you at dark-thirty, then." Haha. So now we call it dark-thirty.
Extra Blessings: Sis & BIL, Grandpa Rex, Lauren Pieper
Phrase of the Week: Listen at. Not listen to. It's listen at. Claiborne said something funny. Willard looks at me and says, "Listen at him!" Sister Clemons is still having a hard time understanding the accents down here so she has to listen at whoever's speaking real hard. Dorothy the cat will only listen at me, because I'm the one who loved her first.
I love you all and I can't wait for General Conference! I hope you can't wait either! Just think, we'll all be having the same church in the first weekend of October. That will make me feel closer to you.
Happy Birthday yesterday, Dahlia! Happy Birthday on Thursday, Paige! I hope my present gets to you in time! The Church is TRUE! Share it!