How are my favorite people doing? How was your week? I hope everyone is doing well and that you all had a wonderful week. Tell me about it. What's been going on? How is everyone doing? Tell me! Tell me! Don't worry, don't be alarmed over the subject of this email. All is well and I am alive. Oh what a week it has been. Let's just say I have created some great memories and have had some great journal entries. Missionary work is so wonderful! It has been such a fun and exciting week here in Tanglewood. One of those weeks that I will never ever forget! I just can't wait to come home and share with you some of the experiences that I have been having. Mission stories are the best stories. I never thought I'd have mission stories to tell (because I never thought I'd serve a mission) but I am so grateful and am so happy that I chose to serve. :)
I think the best way to go about this email would be to go day by day and explain everything that happened. We were able to witness lots of miracles and it's been one of the better weeks so far! So, we have lots to talk about! First and foremost, we got transfer calls this past Saturday and Sister Cottis and I are staying in Tanglewood together for another transfer. Holla! I am so excited, you have no idea. Sister Corrigan is leaving us and going back to Utah tomorrow, but I am super grateful that I get to serve with my favorite hermana for at least another 7 weeks. :)
So, Monday after I emailed you was great. We had dinner, which was really great, and then instead of doing our usual FHE with Pat and the Scotten family, we went over to the big hospital in Winston- Salem. My dear Pat has been in the hospital for the past week. She has not been doing so well and she needed to be admitted to the hospital. We found out that she was on the behavioral health floor and has been dealing with some serious mental health issues, along with her personal health. We got permission to go and see her and it was a very spiritual and profound experience for me. It was amazing to see one of God's children in such a hard situation, but knowing that she is being taken care of and that he is aware of her. I am so grateful for the chance that I have had to work with her and for the chance that I had to cross paths with her. She is doing much better now, and is out of the hospital, but is still going to need lots of love & prayers. I love being able to serve and give myself to others. It's probably one of my favorite things about missionary work. Turning outward and serving others.
Tuesday was just a day that I'd rather not even talk about. It was just one of those days. We didn't have much success and we weren't able to teach a single lesson, besides our dinner lesson. And that DOES NOT happen here in Tanglewood. We never go a day without teaching at least one lesson. I don't know what happened. No one wanted to talk to us and every door just got slammed in our faces. It was a good day because it made us frustrated and made us want to punch Satan in the face and kill it the next day. We were able to go serve with our elders at our nursing home, so that made it not too bad. I love those people to death. Serving there is literally the highlight of my week.
Wednesday was great! See, sometimes we need hard days so it makes us appreciate the good days. We had a wonderful district meeting and then all went to lunch as a district. We went to the Waffle House and I wanted to throw up. Blahhh. I swear all we ever do is eat. It's never ending. Sister Cottis and I started a no carb, no sugar, only fruits & vegetables diet thingy and that's really really helped. We gotta get fit. :) After lunch we decided to use some miles and make a trip to Mocksville. It's towards the outskirts of our area and we don't get up there too much. We were able to see lots of success and were able to meet some new people and teach a few lessons. It was super super windy and the weather started to go insane. We got stuck in a CRAZY rain storm and I literally had to pull the car over and wait on the side of the road for a while because it was raining buckets. The wind shield wipers were going so fast and it wasn't even doing anything. Lightning was striking down and it was intense. Well, it cleared up after 20 minutes or so and then we decided to get out and contact some people. As we were outside walking around, all of the sudden we heard these super loud sirens. We were super confused and I had never heard them before. Come to find out, they were sirens for a tornado warning. What! It was intense!! We decided to get back in our car and start heading for home. The skies weren't looking so great and we were kind of starting to get scared. Three girls and a tornado probably wouldn't be the bestest of ideas. Ha. Actually, that would probably be a really hilarious sight. We had a great dinner that night with some of my favorite members and I went to bed feeling really good, exhausted, and happy. :) Those are the best nights. The instant I put my head on that pillow, I was out cold. Lately we have been using a humidifier with lavender essential oils in it to help us fall asleep and it's been working like a peach. Oh how I love my essential oils.
Thursday was a pretty good day. We had lots of things planned and most of them actually happened, which is rare. :) We had our three hour weekly planning session and set some really good goals for this week and this next transfer. We have some solid work to do. Some of the sisters in our zone are really struggling and we must step up and help them. Sister Cottis and I have come up with a few things that we want to start doing and are excited to see what happens. We are trying to come up with new ways to get close to our sisters and build our relationship and our trust with them. We were able to teach a great lesson to a man named Michael, and we had Robert come teaching with us. Oh. My. Goodness. He is AMAZING. Like I know I say that every week.... But he is incredible. You just have no idea. Seeing him teach with us was one of the greatest things ever. He has such a powerful testimony. I was blown away. He really helped with this guy and I just sat there in awe. Watching this recent convert bear his testimony and sit there and say that HE KNOWS that this church is true and that the Book of Mormon is true, just filled my heart with complete joy. It made all the difference in the world for our investigator as well. If you ever have the chance to go out teaching with the missionaries, please go. Having members present in our lessons make all the difference in the world. You have no idea how much we LOVE member presents!!!! It just makes such a difference. We were also able to teach one of my favorite less actives and that was a good time. His dog just had puppies and they were out running around during our whole lesson so it was kind of hard to stay focused, but it made me happy. I love the little tender mercies that God places in my life. :) He knows me way to well. I cannot wait to come home to my little Lulu! Oh how I miss her so much. Well, the rest of the night was exciting, but nothing that's worth writing about ha. We shall move onto Friday.
Friday was a day. Whoa. We had extra miles so we decided to go out to Yadkinville, which is on the opposite side of Mocksville, and the opposite side of my little Tanglewood. We met a lot of new investigators and were also able to catch up with some of our former peeps. We stopped by this one house and were able to talk to some former investigators that we had met a few months back. We sat down and had a really neat conversation with them. They really opened up to us and it was amazing to see the spirit of the lord come into the room. We were sitting and talking to this cute little old black grandma and her 12 year old granddaughter. This young 6th grader has been through so much in her short little life, you have no idea. She went on to tell us that she has been molested, abused in every way shape and form, was thrown out on the streets when she was 5 years old, purposely wrapped in a blanket of bed bugs and flies, has had alcohol shoved down her throat at age 9, and has seen a lot of things that she shouldn't have seen. There was a whole lot more to it, but I better stop there. I sat there thinking about her life and why she has had to go though some of the things that she has been through. Why? I just don't understand. No one should have to go through that. She is literally the most mature and grown up 6th grader I have ever met, and it makes sense as to why she is that way. She has been through SO much, and has been through it all without the knowledge of the atonement and her Savior Jesus Christ. After talking to them for awhile, we had to get going. Before we left, I went and gave this sweet girl a big, long, hug. As we embraced, tears started rolling down my cheeks. I have never felt the spirit so strongly as I did in that moment. It took me back to Haiti, and the time that I have spent there, with some of God's greatest children. I remember going into the room full of babies and picking up and holding one little baby, and taking him to the upstairs of the orphanage. I remember sitting on the floor with this innocent child in my arms, and staring into his eyes. I remembered looking at him, and looking up at heaven, and feeling the love that our Savior has for his children. Especially his innocent and perfect ones. Hugging this daughter of God brought me closer to my Heavenly Father than I have ever been. During our whole conversation, I just kept asking myself why I got so lucky and why I got so blessed, and why she didn't. While hugging her, it was as if God was telling me that he knew this child of his. He knew what she was going through, and what she has already been through. He told me that she was one of the most elect, courageous, and brave soldiers fighting the war in heaven. He told me that she volunteered to be placed with a mother and father who would mistreat her. He told me she volunteered to come to earth without the Gospel in her life. He told me that she was going to be okay, and that he has a plan for her. It was then and there that I felt peace and felt the healing power of the atonement. I know that one day she will accept and understand the gospel in her life. I know that she will be able to see through the veil, to the life that she once had before her life here on earth. I left feeling so empty, but so full at the same time. The rest of the day I just couldn't get her out of my head. I couldn't get over the thought of what she told me and just how unfair this life is. As we left, I just couldn't stop thinking about how grateful I am for the gospel in my life and for the parents and family that I have. I am SO blessed. We are SO blessed. We have no idea what some of the others around us have had to go through. I couldn't believe it. I am so grateful that God placed me in a home where the spirit is there, and where the doctrine of Christ is understood. This week I want each of you to just remember how blessed you are and to really show appreciation to your father in heaven, and to one another, for the great life that you have and for all of the things that you have to enjoy. We just have no idea how good we have it.
We did a few more things up in Yadkinville and that leads me to my next story. We we're trying to go contact a less active that we didn't know and we couldn't really find her house. We looked for a little bit and determined that we were just going to try the next person on our list. So, that being said, I decided to turn around. Well, little did I know, I wasn't going to be able to make the turn, so instead of having Sister Cottis get out and back the car, I just went a little bit on someone's lawn, thinking everything would be okay. I literally barley touched their lawn. Well, as we began to drive away, this guy came running out of his house and began yelling and screaming and freaking out, waving us down and telling us to come back. We were scared out of our minds. It was so hilarious. He was SO beyond mad that I barely drove on his lawn. We didn't really know quite what to do. We didn't know if we should have stopped and turned around and talked to him.. Or if we should've just kept driving, so all three of us decided that we were just going to keep driving. The man was literally insane. He was like scary and it wouldn't have been good for us, or for the church, if we went and talked to him. So, we drove away pretty fast and had to get away as he began to chase us down! It was super super scary, but we had a good laugh about it. I felt super bad and definitely repented that night, but I hope one day I will be able to see him and ask for forgiveness haha. I don't know if I did the right thing or not, but I hope my father in Heaven forgives me for driving on his lawn. I definitely learned my lesson and it will not be happening again. I will make Sister Cottis get out and back me NO MATTER WHAT. Then, to top it off, for dinner that night, we had raw tuna steak and gross, nasty vegetables. AHHH, you have no idea. It was awful. I love tuna from a good sushi restaurant, but this lady literally took some huge steaks and seared them for two seconds and then put them on a plate. EW. Not my thing. So, we all went home and had a bowl of cereal. Sister Cottis hates seafood too... So it was just not a good dinner appointment. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. The rest of the night was great.
Saturday was miraculous! The week just got better and better as the days went by. We were able to teach a lot of lessons and talk to lots of people. We met some really great people and it was one of those days that I just loved being a missionary. I was so happy and felt myself engaged in the work, 100%. I love those days. We had appointment after appointment and we were busy all day long. It was wonderful! We were able to see Melissa and guess what, she broke her foot! Poor girl. She is having trial after trial. It was good to be with her and I think we helped her a lot. She is still doing well and her testimony is still super strong. For dinner that night, we were able to go over to Pat's and the Scotten family. This is where the biggest miracle of the week came. Sister Scotten has been telling us about this lady that is renting the room in their basement and how she has been talking to her about the church. Well, when we went over to dinner, we were able to meet her. She came and had dinner with us, and then mid way into our dinner, this boy comes in the room! His name is Jesse. He is a friend of one of our members and he had previously investigated the church, but had lost contact with the missionaries. He said he has been to church several times and absolutely loves it. He kept making comments about how after he's baptized, he gets to be called our brother and that he gets to be a missionary! It was hilarious. He's totally getting baptized. He was also able to join us for dinner and then they both joined us for a lesson afterwards. It was incredible! We talked about faith and read in Alma 32. We were able to get a member present that night, and a member home lesson. (Those are things that we have to report as part of our numbers every single week) We have another appointment with them both tonight after dinner and I am so excited. We are going to extend a baptism date to both of them. Talk about miracle! God is definitely answering our prayers and putting people in our path.
Sunday was just as good as Saturday. I love my sabbath days. They are so good. We had a few people at church and it was also our ward conference. The Tanglewood Ward is being split, because it is too big, so there were definitely a lot of emotions in the room. The ward had a really hard time with it. Our stake president announced the new bishops and announced where the dividing line is going to be. I don't know how it's going to effect us yet... We are still just waiting to hear from the mission president. I know that they are going to put one set of missionaries in the Tanglewood ward, and one set of missionaries in the new Lewisville ward. It's either going to be us or the elders, so we shall see. Today was also really great because Robert got the Aaronic priesthood. He was sustained in Sacrament meeting and my heart was just so full. Then, he also got asked to speak at ward conference and it was AMAZING. His testimony is so powerful. I sat there and had tears running down my cheeks the whole time. Robert is my favorite! It made me so proud and he just killed it. I cannot wait for you to meet him one day. You are in for a treat. Then after church we knocked on this lady's door and she opened it up and let us right in. She gave us some water and then we began talking with her. As we were getting to know her, she said, "So, do you have a message to share with me?" What! No one says that. It was incredible. We taught her the message of the Restoration and got a return appointment. Talk about elect daughter of God! She's going to get baptized too. :) We had a wonderful dinner with another one of my favorite families and then didn't get out of there until about 8:15. We decided to go contact this referral that we were given and it was on this super sketchy road, super dark, and guess what, as we were walking up to the door, he totally was looking out the window and had a gun in his hand!! It was so scary. Oh my goodness. He set the gun down on his table and opened the door. He wasn't too happy with us... He said that we came too late and he had no idea who we were, so he grabbed his gun. Regardless of the situation, it was scary and we were out of there pretty fast. We went home and went to bed, and I slept like a rock!!
And that lead us to today. Monday! & preparation day! We went to the mall today and have just been hanging out at the church for a few hours. I played some good basketball and am a little bit worn out.
My studies this week were great. I am learning lots and am constantly amazed at the things that the spirit teach me. I read Isaiah 53:4-5 and that really hit me this week. It says, "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." I decided to change some of the words.
"Surely he hath borne MY griefs, and carried MY sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for MY transgressions, he was bruised for MY iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes I AM healed."
My quote for you this week is: "The Atonement is not simply God’s method for righting wrongs and satisfying the demands of justice. The Atonement is rehabilitative, a miraculous power that can help us change who we are: I once wondered if those who refuse to repent but who then satisfy the law of justice by paying for their own sins are then worthy to enter the celestial kingdom. The answer is no. The entrance requirements for celestial life are simply higher than merely satisfying the law of justice. For that reason, paying for our sins will not bear the same fruit as repenting of our sins. Justice is a law of balance and order and it must be satisfied, either through our payment or his. But if we decline the Savior’s invitation to let him carry our sins, and then satisfy justice by ourselves, we will not yet have experienced the complete rehabilitation that can occur through a combination of divine assistance and genuine repentance. Working together, those forces have the power permanently to change our hearts and our lives, preparing us for celestial life”
I am so grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ and for the Gospel in my life. I have to get going, but I just want you to know how much I love each one of you. I am so grateful for your support and constant prayers. I feel them, and I hope you know that I'm praying for you as well. I hope you have a wonderful week, and a GREAT month of March!!! It's going to be a good one. I love you all. Talk to you in seven! Sending all my love, hugs, and kisses from North Carolina!!! I LOVE YOU!! Xo