Hey cute people,
Another week down. Is it already Monday? Crazy. I hope everyone had a great week. Summer is just around the corner and I'm sure y'all are super excited. It's definitely been getting warm here in Charlotte and you can definitely tell that Summer is on its way. Just this past week there have been lots of carnivals, fairs, and beach festivals going on. The kids are getting excited for school to be out and the sun is staying out much later! It stays light outside until about 9:00 pm so it's been really great to be able to stay out the whole time and not have to come inside a little bit early! Mom, I hope you had a great birthday on Friday and partied hard. :) We had a pretty productive week and are really starting to get the hang of things. I don't think I will ever figure out my area or will ever be able to get to places without the GPS, but other than than, things are going well! We cover three stakes and it has been a challenge trying to navigate how far things are and use our time and miles effectively, but we are doing our best and I know that is all the Lord requires.
We had a zone activity today that was four hours long, so I don't have a whole lot of time, so please forgive me for this email being short and lame. In Kamryn's email this week she said, "Thanks for all you do and for your amazing letters that only take me about 2 hours to read."Hahahah. Bless her heart. I'm sorry. Thankfully we only have zone activities once a transfer, so future Monday's I will have more time.
We went to a big park and had a cookout and played lots of games and sports. It was pretty fun. The parks here in Charlotte are UNREAL. They are some of the nicest parks I've ever seen. They are so amazing! Always so nice, so big, and tons of things to do! I keep thinking how amazing some of these parks would be for a family reunion. Maybe we should all come to NC for a reunion sometime, yeah? You should definitely think about it. :) I've heard there are great beaches here too! Anyways, my zone is really interesting and quiet, so Sister Nunies and I have been trying to pump everyone up and get them excited. It's a zone full of lots of great missionaries, but some of them need some help haha. I am so grateful that my companion is so bubbly and outgoing. It helps so much! She is so fun and we almost never go a day without basically crying tears of joy because we laughed so hard. She is wonderful. I call her my little Hawaiian. We have a member of the ward who has made up a nickname for us so now we are known as "Peach and Pineapple." & obviously I'm the peach. It's quite entertaining.
This past week was full of lots of service! Combined, Sister Nunies and I did about 16 hours of community service. We can get up to 20 hours per week, but we usually never go over 10. This past week we had so many opportunities and it was really fun to switch up the work a little bit! I am so grateful that President and Sister Alexander are so into being out in the community and letting people see who we really are. Sister Alexander is a member of the city council or something like that and totally represents who we are! It's so wonderful! We have been able to see so many amazing miracles come from service. I had a friend email me a link to a conference talk called "Priesthood and Personal Prayer" by Elder Eyring and it is all about HOW you serve. Lately I have kind of been feeling like I haven't been doing enough or I could be doing more, but I have had to remind myself that when things get tough and I don't feel like i'm reaching enough investigators or making a big enough impact, I just need to focus on HOW I am serving. That applies to all of you as well. Whether it be in your callings, your families, or your duties, just ask yourself HOW you are serving and if you are doing your best and serving for the right reasons, with the right mentality, that's enough and that's all that is required. I have really been trying to focus on serving and loving my companion and the other missionaries where you serve. I am hoping that through my example and love, they will serve with a stronger passion and that their service will be felt by those they teach! We are all in this together and there are many people who need us and our dedicated service.
We were able to serve a few hours at a place called "Matthews HELP Center" and work in their thrift shop. It was a good time! We were also able to serve in the soup kitchen again and we are just forming so many relationships. I look forward to Thursday mornings every week because I get to be around some amazing people. It was pretty funny because one of our investigators showed up at the soup kitchen for a free meal and had no idea that we served there as well. He came up to us and said, "Wow, it's not like you already don't do enough service.
I guess you are just doing service on top of service." It was pretty fun and we definitely laughed about it, but we are grateful that people do recognize who we are and that they appreciate the service that we do! On Friday night we were able to attend an annual beach festival in downtown Matthews and volunteer in the bounce house section for a few hours. It was a crazy mad house! Sister Nunies was in charge of one bounce house and I was in charge of another and there were kids everywhere!! It was so much fun and felt so good to be around a bunch of little people. I'm getting sick of young single adults who just want to date and get married haha. It was definitely good to be out in the community and we were able to talk to many parents while their kids were bouncing. Many people were curious why we were in skirts and dresses, but they just went with it. It's amazing how much we really do stand out and how many people do look at us. We have met some amazing people through our service opportunities and have been able to see people's hearts soften and have a different view and perspective of Mormons and that has been such a blessing.
We were not able to meet with our main investigator Jose Garcia this past week because of his crazy work schedule, but we have been able to keep consistent contact with him through Facebook. He wasn't able to come to church either because of work, but we are still hoping to see him get baptized on the 28th of May. He is SO ready. It's killing me how close he is. He just needs to trust the Lord and do it! Thank you for all of your prayers on his behalf. I know it's a big decision, and a life changing one for that matter, but I am hoping that he follows the spirit that he has felt and that he follows through with it! That would make my heart so happy to see him accept the gospel. It would be so good for him and his family.
We were blessed to be able to meet 2 new investigators this past week and I am super excited for both of them. One of them is named Chris, and the other Xavier. We have had two lessons with both of them and they are both doing really well. One day Sister Nunies and I were just super hot and tired and decided that we needed to go take a 10 minute break and get some frozen yogurt to boost our energy. As we walked in, we were the only ones in the store. We got our yogurt and then decided to take a seat. This yogurt place is on campus so the guy working there was obviously between 18-30. Since no one else was in the store, I decided to talk to him! We ended up having a 45 minute discussion, over some yummy frozen yogurt, and it was miraculous. God also somehow made sure that not a single customer came in for 45 minutes so that we could talk to him with no distractions! It was great! Just another testimony builder to me that God puts us where we need to be, exactly when we need to be there. I don't think it's a coincidence that we were lacking energy when we were and that the thought of getting frozen yogurt popped into our minds. :) The spirit is so good. Chris gladly accepted the Book of Mormon and a return appointment. Both of his parents are preachers, but he has never really followed what they have done. He's always been super open minded and really curious about the Mormons. We went back a few days later and brought a member with us and had another great discussion. Now the next big thing is getting him to come to church. That always seems to be the struggle here. But, I get it. It's super hard to come to a church that you've never been to before and I'm sure even harder when you don't know a single soul.
That's gotta be super uncomfortable and super frightening. Sometimes I take advantage of growing up in the gospel and just never having to go through what my investigators are having to go through. Lately I have been trying to put myself in their shoes and have been trying to see how difficult it would be and how much FAITH it really does take.
Xavier was found by some elders in our area and they found out that he was a YSA so they referred him to us. (So kind by the way!) Most missionaries don't like to refer people they've found to us because they want to teach them, but then they don't realize that we can't teach anyone who is not between 18-30. We are still working on helping each missionary understand that if they give us referrals, we will give them referrals haha. Anyways, Xavier is a good kid, just trying to figure out his life. He is very shy and very reserved and so sometimes I think we freak him out. We are so happy and so bubbly that I think he gets scared of us sometimes haha. He is a very intellectual person and likes the facts.. And we are trying to change his thinking.
He's already read 50 pages of the Book of Mormon though and wants to meet us for our next appointment this week at the church so things are looking good. We are going to give him a church tour and hopefully help him feel more comfortable. Right now he is Catholic and that's all he's ever known, but is very open to more. At the end of our lesson we asked him if he would pray for us and he said "which one?" And we totally realized that he had no idea what we meant. He was thinking like a "Hali Mary" or the "Lord's Prayer" kind of prayer and we were just thinking of a regular prayer. So, came to find out that he has never just said a "heartfelt prayer." All the prayers he has ever said have been rote and read. Which don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with those, but sometimes it's nice to just be able to talk to our Heavenly father openly and express the desires that are on our hearts. We taught him how to pray and he committed to get on his knees that night and pray for the first time. We are super excited to hear how it went! I can only imagine what an experience that may have been for someone who has never prayed like that before. He is a great kid and we are praying that he will continue to progress and will keep learning more!
Other then that, things are going great! We are still trying to get to know the members more and are trying to work more with the recent converts and the less actives. The bishopric of this singles ward and their wives are absolutely fantastic and I love them all so much! Mom & Dad, it made me think of how great of a team you two would make in a young single adult ward haha. Dad, hopefully one day God will allow you to have the experience of being a bishop of a YSA ward hahahah.
You would love it. These souls are so great. There are definitely some interesting ones, but overall, these kids are great. I feel so blessed to be serving here. All the missionaries in my mission are so jealous of Sister Nunies and I because everyone wishes they could serve in the Hilliard YSA ward. I feel so blessed and thank my Heavenly Father every single day! It's definitely a different kind of missionary work, but it's so much fun. Just a few days ago we were able to set up a booth at the Charlotte open Flea Market. We were giving away free Popsicles and book of Mormons. It was quite the hit. In order to get a free Popsicle, you had to sign a poster that said, "What makes you happy?" Everyone loved it and we were able to hand out a few book of Mormons, lots of pass along cards, and a few My Family booklets! It was so fun and we are going to be doing something like that probably each Saturday! We are trying to get more creative. If you have any ideas, please let us know! :) Missionary work is just so fun. Absolutely the hardest thing I have EVER had to do in my life, but the joy that you feel is indescribable and makes up for all of the hard times you have.
Yesterday was a really wonderful day! I absolutely love Sunday's. Sister Nunies and I had to teach Relief Society and taught Howard W. Hunter's chapter 8 lesson on 'Taking the Gospel to all the World.' I thought we did a really good job and I definitely learned a lot from preparing for that lesson. That also reminds me to ask y'all for a favor. I have to speak in sacrament meeting in 2 weeks on missionary work and I am just having a hard time with knowing what to say and where to go with it. If any of you have any suggestions or could share some of your thoughts regarding missionary work with me, I would LOVE and appreciate that so much! :) I need some help! And who knows, maybe you'll just be special enough and I'll quote you over the pulpit.
Haha! Yesterday there was someone from the High Council that spoke and his talk really hit me strongly. He talked all about the still small voice and shared some neat experiences with us that touched me. It got me thinking more about the Holy Ghost and the amazing blessing that that special gift is in my life.
President Brigham Young once said, “The Holy Ghost … opens the vision of the mind, unlocks the treasures of wisdom, and helps people begin to understand the things of God..They comprehend themselves and the great object of their existence. If a person is going to get the most out of this life, he must comprehend the object of his existence." I have definitely seen how the Holy Ghost has helped me come to figure out myself more and has helped me figure out who I really am. Going back to what I talked about last week, one thing I've learned is that I have had to really repent so much on my mission. More than I ever have before in my previous life. Which is really ironic because I feel like I'm way more worthy and way closer to the spirit now than I was before, but I have realized that the scripture Ether 12:27 is 100% true. When you truly come unto Christ, like I have had to try to do on my mission, he definitely shows you your weaknesses and so I think being so close to the spirit all of the time, I am aware of those weaknesses and what I need to work on. It's all making sense, but is helping me become more refined and more like my Savior, Jesus Christ.
I am grateful that the spirit has helped me realize more of what I need to work on and realize more of who I truly am and who I CAN truly become. It's a beautiful process.
I remember a critical time in my life and how grateful I was when a still, small voice gave me direction to make an important decision, that decision being to come and serve the Lord in North Carolina. The only way that I was able to make that decision was because I was seeking and asking the lord to help me decide what I needed to do. If we want to have the spirit help us and be our constant companion, we must do our part. We must be worthy to receive such guidance and help.
The spirit is not learned from textbooks written by men, nor is it acquired through reading and memorization. It comes to whomever seeks with all their heart to know God and to keep His commandments with exactness. Once you understand the spirit, you are able to overcome barriers and overcome your challenges and are able to touch hearts. It's important that we keep the commandments and do our best so that we can receive the wonderful gift that we have all been given.
I was reading a conference talk this morning and it was talking about how gifts have only limited value unless they are used but the Holy Ghost will be our constant companion if we submit ourselves to the will of our Father in Heaven, always remembering Him and keeping His commandments!! It made me want to have the desire to use this gift more in my life and take advantage of the help that it can offer. I hope that we do not turn away the still, small voice. I hope that we aren't doing things that offend the Holy Ghost. I hope that we aren't allowing influences into our homes that drive the Spirit away. I know that the type of entertainment that we bring into our homes and the things that we do will certainly have an impact on the power of the Holy Ghost. Much of the things we have in our lives are of the world anyways and are offensive to the Holy Ghost so it's important that we stay away from those things!
I am so happy and am really doing great. Sometimes I struggle and have really hard days, but thankfully I am able to shake things off and get right back up. It's amazing how fast I'm able to shake things off and forget about things and move on. I am so grateful for the cleansing power of the Holy Ghost and how it can offer me peace in times of trial and tribulation. Sometimes I worry about my future and things back at home, but I know without a doubt that God has a plan for me and for each one of you and I know that as we do the right things, it will all work out. I have full trust and confidence in him. I am so grateful for this gospel and I know it's true with everything in me.
Like it says in Alma 5, “Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation."
I have to get running, but I hope you all have a great week. I cannot wait to see you! Thanks for everything. You each mean the world to me and I'm so grateful to have such amazing people in my life. Love love love love you! Xo