ARGYLE SOCKS AND FORGET-ME-NOTS - SEPTEMBER 26, 2011
The Prodigal Son has returned! Michael was dead to me, and is alive again; he was lost to me, and is found. I have begun to be merry!
Michael sent me a package! He sent me a tape recorder with messages from him and my friends. He also sent me cool Harry Potter stuff like every flavor beans and other things that I can't tell you about because I'm sworn to secrecy about them which makes me really cool because my companion is a squib and she's jealous and I'm awesome.
This week has been FULL. We set a baptism date with a guy who just married a member and we also set a date with two of those kids in that family I talked about last week. One of those kids is 8 so he'll be a child of record but the other is a convert. Not that that makes much difference.
On Monday our Zone Leaders came to the area and tracted around because they feel bad that we never get to do exchanges with any other missionaries. They found us some investigators who are deaf! So HA! To: Paige, Hayley and anyone else who ever got annoyed with my finger spelling. I've actually USED it on my mission. It's kind of crazy because we're already teaching a blind person and now we're teaching some deaf people. The two deaf guys are both named Dennie. Dennie Jr goes by DJ. They can't read lips and only DJ can read but not very well because ASL uses different grammar and sentence structure than English does. We took a little marker board to our follow up with them and wrote back and forth and I signed a couple things that I could remember and they taught us some signs and they said that they both want to know God but that no churches ever provide interpreters so they don't know much about Him. Thankfully, the Restoration dvd has an option to have someone in the bottom of the screen signing what's being said so we watched that with them and they both liked it a lot and they felt the spirit. They don't want to come to church till they can get an interpreter and I don't blame them but the only people in the stake who interpret live hours away and have callings in their own wards. So, we have people who want to learn, but no way to teach them. It's pretty frustrating. Interpreters cost about $35 an hour which is more than our weekly budget. We're still looking around though.
We saw Willard Monday night and he was like, "I set up a teaching appointment for yuns tomorrow morning at 11." He's such a missionary. We took him with us the next day and taught this lady who was VERY knowledgeable but also very set in her ways and we taught her twice this week and dropped her already because she told us flat out that she WILL NOT pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true. Still, Willard will be blessed for sharing the gospel with others.
We went up to Judy and Mary's and there had been a mix-up on times and days so they weren't there but Judy's husband, Wayne was there and he took us on a walk through their almost 200 acre property. Luckily, we had pants and tennis shoes on from a service activity we had just come from. We were planning on asking to change in their house but when he saw us dressed like that he assumed we came to see the property like he asked us to (he must have forgotten that we told him we'd be able to do that on a Monday and not on other days.) Anyways, he started walking and talking and since we're trying to get him to trust us and talk to us we followed him and had a good walk with him seeing their property and I managed to slip in some of the things we believe and at the end of our walk I asked him if we could teach him and he said that he'd like to think about it but that he probably would let us teach him sometime in the near future. It was pretty awesome. I think Heavenly Father wanted that mix-up to happen because without the pressure of his family he was able to talk and ask honest questions and get to know us personally instead of hearing Judy tell him that we're nice girls and stuff. He already told Judy that he wants us to come back on a Monday and take us fishing so that's a good sign, I think.
The service that we did on Tuesday was probably the grossest thing I've ever done. I can't talk too much about it because if I do I seriously might up-chuck all over the library. I honestly gagged three times that day. We cleaned the trailer of a girl that we're teaching and it was awful. Again, I can't go into too much detail without barfing but, at one point Sister Clemons and I had to walk outside because the smell that we uncovered was so wretched. We were emptying her trash can and there was this goopy, dark brownish-green stuff in the bottom and I thought it was something that should have gone in a diaper. We asked the girl about it because it was SO nasty and she said that a couple months ago she had been chewing tobacco and spitting it in the garbage can while drinking alcohol when she threw up in there and hadn't ever cleaned it out and sometimes the smell made her so sick that she'd throw up on top of it again. It had been adding throw up to it for the past few months and she never cleaned it up and I'm gagging so I have to stop.
We went tracting Tuesday night while we had a couple minutes to spare before an appointment and all of the doors we knocked were pretty blunt, short and abrupt with how they did not want to hear from us. I decided we'd knock one more door even though neither of us wanted to keep going when a man in his boxers opened it. "Great..." I was thinking. But, he put on some clothes, invited us in and told us that he wants to get closer to his two daughters that live with him, took a Book of Mormon and asked us to come back this week. It was awesome. Also, there's this street that Sister Ralph and I felt led to because of a long story but we felt like Heavenly Father led us there. Every time we'd go to tract it something would come up and we wouldn't be able to go. Even Sister Clemons and I get sidetracked whenever we try to go there. A couple weeks ago we tracted there for a little bit and we met a potential and we saw a house that I LOVED and wanted to knock but saw that there weren't any cars home so I decided to knock it later so that we could get someone when they were home. I don't know why but I LOVED the home. Anyways, yesterday we went looking for that potential we'd met and he wasn't there but we saw that there was a car outside of that house I loved. I wanted to knock it but Sister Clemons pointed out that there were balloons on the door and mailbox that said, "It's a Boy!" and she said, "We don't want to crash a baby shower, do we?" I was like, "Yes, we do." She didn't feel good about it and we were running late anyways so we drove off but I kept thinking about that house and about Sister Ralph and I being led there and about the Sunday School lesson I had just given urging all of these converts and investigators I love to follow the Spirit and I just turned the car around and drove back to that neighborhood and we knocked on the door.
A cute lady opened the door and said, "Come on in." Hurray! She told us that she had just gotten home from the hospital with her brand new baby she'd had the day before by c-section. She said that she and her husband are religious but very open and asked us to come back in a couple days when she's more settled in because she liked what we were telling her about the Plan of Salvation! Hurray! The Spirit is SO awesome! It was funny because Sister Clemons had been saying how she always heard these miracle stories that missionaries share and she felt like she hadn't seen any yet and that she wanted to and there it was. The thing is that the Lord can't do things like that until you weed through the mean people who shut their doors on you or who are rude to you. He's waiting to bless you, you just have to act first and he'll do the rest. We're way excited. And I just hope that I can make up for the times I've already had on my mission where the Spirit has been talking to me and I haven't been in tune or obedient enough. Because I know that I'm not perfect and that there have been times here I'm sure when I should have knocked more doors or turned back or said more. When we do those things, God will see our efforts, begin to trust us and then put people in our path that He can trust us with.
Sister Clemons did a great job of opening her mouth this week. We had to get new tires and while we were waiting I started talking to this older couple that were very nice but told us they weren't interested in anything to do with religion. Sister Clemons was a little saddened by that but that didn't stop her. There was this kid on the other side of the waiting room and she began talking to him and he WAS interested and we got his number and taught him part of the Restoration. At one point he told us he lived about thirty miles away and we asked why he came here to get his tires done and he said, "I have no idea, really. I just felt like this would be a good place to come, I guess." AWESOME!
We're teaching this other girl who is 10 with bright orange hair and she'll be baptized next month, I'm guessing. She kind of reminds me of Nina because she's a little flank and she's really smart. Her name is Molly.
I've been able to spend more time with Sister Holt (she's related to Laci Brandley, Mark's wife). Sister Holt is an AMAZING lady. I wish we could live with her. She's been through a lot. She prefaces stories by saying that her life is stranger than fiction and she wouldn't believe it if she didn't live it either and she reminds me of Mom. She's WONDERFUL. Instead of saying, "Bless his/her heart." she just says, "BLESS." and since I look up to her I've decided to start saying that as well.
Saturday night was the Women's Broadcast and if anyone missed it, male or female, they need to look up President Uchtdorf's talk on Forget-Me-Nots. He's such a powerful, loving man. I loved that talk. I loved every part of it. It was exactly what I personally needed to hear.
Yesterday was ward conference and our Stake President spoke and he's a powerful man, too. He talked about how when he left on his mission he had read the Bible, the Book of Mormon, Jesus the Christ, etc. He was as prepared as he could be. When he walked in that first day his teacher asked him why he wasn't dressed like a missionary. He thought he was in his suit and nametag. She told him there was something wrong with his socks. (They were argyle). He told her he thought they were conservative and she told him he needed to change them and made him go right then and buy some new socks to change into. On his way he was pretty upset thinking about all the things that he had sacrificed and prepared to come on a mission and now some lady says he has to change his socks right then and there! As he was fuming a thought came into his mind, "Sam, if you aren't willing to change your socks, what are you willing to change for the Lord?" From that point on he made a strict effort to change whatever it was that the Lord asked him to, big or small. God is perfect and we aren't and in order to become like Him we have to change, not Him. I thought it was a cool story.
Word of the Week: Deer Fly. A deer fly is like a horse fly but much worse when it bites you. Believe me, I know.
I'm crazy/excited about conference. I hope you are, too. I'll be thinking about you as I watch. We'll all be watching it at the same time! And during the rest hymn I'll be singing "Somewhere Out There" instead of whatever the congregation sings.
I love you all. The Church is True! Share it!
AGENT NELSON - OCTOBER 3, 2011
This week has been the longest week ever. It hasn't been miserable, I just can't believe as I look back at my planner that some of the things we did were this week. They seem like forever ago.
Did I tell you about the truck-driver that we're teaching from Minnesota? His name is Bob and he's really awesome and elect and prepared and golden and whatever else you want to call him. This week we taught he and his wife together which he was apprehensive about because she's Pentecostal and pretty weary of "Mormons" but it went really well and most of the things we told her she was responding like, "I believe that. I've always believed that even though my church doesn't believe that because if you read the Bible it tells you right there all about it." The only bummer part about them is that they have crazy/busy schedules because hes always on the road and she works graves at a truck stop diner. We saw Bob yesterday while his wife was at work and since we couldn't go inside his house I asked if I could go look at the inside of his truck becauseKubo and I have a dream of spending a summer as truck drivers. He thought that was a little weird but let me go look around in there and he even let me turn on the truck and he even let me pull the air horn. It was a childhood/college dream realized to pull that horn. When I got into the back where his bed and clothes are I saw that he has his Book of Mormon right in there in the middle of all his stuff! He's going to get baptized really quickly once he comes to church, I'm betting. He's so ready.
Tuesday we went up to Judy and Mary's and usually when we're up there Wayne stays outside to work on the hay or something or stays in his room. This time he ate with us and then when we started the lesson he got up and we thought he was leaving but he was just getting an extra chair! Haha! He stayed for the lesson and asked questions and when I asked if we could teach something next time he said that was fine! Thank goodness for the scheduling mix-up last week! He also told us he wants to fix us a specialty dinner he makes and wants to know more about prophets and I'm so excited because he's really awesome and Judy's been very patiently praying for him to be interested and it's happening!
On Tuesday night we went out to eat with Otis because we didn't have many miles left and instead of driving out to East Bernstadt he told us he'd meet us in London and take us to food. (Sidenote: whenever people out here take us out they want to take us to Mexican. And, no offense to my beloved Kentucky, but no one out here knows how to do Mexican the right way.) Anyways, we went out to eat with Otis and we expected Autumn to come with him but he told us she hasn't left the house in over a year. She's been telling me recently about how she thinks the government is following her and encoding secret messages to her in her walls and stuff like that so I already knew she was a little paranoid, but Otis told me even more on Tuesday. He said that the other day she told him, "Sister Clemons, she's with the Mormon Church. But Sister Nelson, she's with the FBI." HAha. No joke, she thinks I'm a secret agent. This worries me slightly that maybe I don't seem genuine or something but mostly it flatters me that she thinks I'm secret agent material.
Conference was this weekend as you all know and it was WONDERFUL! Here are some of the comments that I have about it:
-Thank you, Elder Scott for proving that we use the Bible along with the other standard works! It was exactly what Sherry needed to hear.
-Elaine Dalton's talk made me so grateful to have a father who loves my mother. As I sat and listened to that talk I realized that I was surrounded by women, young and old, who didn't have fathers or ex-husbands that were guardians of virtue like my dad. I'm so blessed.
-Elder Hales? AKA "Bob" as President Monson likes to call him. Is he ok? I wasn't expecting to see him like that.
-Hurray for the Provo Tabernacle becoming Provo's 2nd temple!
-I always love being in a church meeting and hearing my investigators singing the hymns along with everyone else. I don't know why. It's not THAT big of a deal that they're singing, but it always makes me so happy.
-If you close your eyes during the choir numbers at conference you can feel the Spirit a lot stronger because you can focus on the sound and not on the pink dresses or the facial expressions of the singers.
-Willard went to all 5 sessions and during the last session we were sitting next to each other and when President Monson got up to speak he leaned over to me and said, "Now there's a prophet!"
-Sis & Bil: I hope you paid close attention to Elder Andersen's talk from the Saturday Afternoon Session...
-Elder Uchtdorf's talk made me pretty weepy, and not just because I could relate to him when he talked about Southern Accents. When he spoke about how some of the greatest people who've ever lived will never grace the pages of history books, but God knows them and loves them, Sister Clemons and I looked at each other and at the same time mouthed, "Gail" to each other. She's the first person that popped in my head but there are many others here and in China and back in Vegas and all over who are so WONDERFUL. It's like this wonderful secret that Heavenly Father is letting me in on by being able to meet these people that no one else knows about. The part that really got me was when Elder U said that the most powerful being in the universe is the Father of my spirit. It's amazing how these truths that I've known all my life can come to me at certain times and seem so knew to me, like an epiphany that's been right in front of my face the whole time. (Sisses: Hidden in Plain Sight if you know what I mean...)
Sherry came to conference and so did another investigator named Leslie. She liked it, I think. She met an LDS guy online who lives out west and they've been talking for like 6 months now and she finally wants to learn about our church. She's in her 40's with 4 kids and he's 29! She showed us a picture of him and he doesn't even look 19! I hope she doesn't get her heart broken by this kid. We're trying to make things clear to her that a testimony shouldn't be based off of a love interest but we'll see how things go...
Yesterday was Willard's 59th birthday! Sherry and Clay came over to his place (which was nice because since Sherry was there we could go inside and didn't have to sit outside and freeze the whole time). Sherry and Sister Clemons made his favorite foods: homemade biscuits, fried potatoes and gravy, & fried chicken. Then we had lemon meringue pie for dessert. It was very good and very rich and very Southern... not to mention fattening. But it was fun. Sister Clemons and I got him a new shirt and some shoes because the one pair he has has holes so big that his toes stick out of them. He loved having attention and love like that. It felt like the five of us were a family. It was wonderful. This morning we got a picture of him in his new shirt. The beard is something he wore for 30 years that he wants to grow out again but Bishop saw it and told him it has to go if he wants to pass the sacrament again. Haha.
Sherry asked Clay and Bishop to baptize her in a couple weeks. ALSO, Willard said if we'd help him write it, he'd be willing to give one of the talks at the baptism! Did I ever tell you that until Willard was an adult he had a really bad stutter? He's crazy shy about talking in front of people but he said, "The Lord blessed me so much this weekend I figure the least I could do to show my appreciation is offer to help at the baptism." He melts my heart. He and Johnny Graff in the same room at the same time would probably make my heart explode.
Tonight I have plans with a member to go to his house and kill my own food, skin it and then cook it and then eat it! Sister Clemons has opted to watch. I'll let you know how it goes.
The leaves are starting to turn. It's getting more and more gorgeous each day. This place is so beautiful in every season... though I'm guessing I won't feel quite this way when the first snow falls. It definitely is getting cold here, too.
Also, I have to apologize for my atrocious spelling and grammar. I rush through these and don't have time to proof-read and I'm to the point now where I don't remember all of the correct grammar anyways sometimes because of the constant misuse I hear out here. Pray for me!
Extra Blessings: Papa Elf
Word of the Week: Verniller. Which do you prefer: chocolate or verniller?
Happy Birthday, Lily-Pad!
Next week I'm going to try and figure out how to send you some voice clips that I have of Willard telling his conversion story.
Have I ever told you about how Brother Bowen hangs up the phone? He says, "See'ya-bye" like it's all one word. I commented on it to them the other day and Sister Bowen said when he's on the phone with her he says, "See'ya-love'ya-bye."
PS - The Church is true - share it!
PS - The Church is true - share it!