Monday, April 7, 2014

Week 6: Picking Up Sticks!

Hooray! Thanks for all the prayers, everyone! Sis. Pearson and I have lots of appointments set up for this coming week.  Plus, we finally found some new investigators!!!!

The weather has FINALLY warmed up!!! It snowed TOO MUCH one day this week. Seriously, I've never seen so much snow!!!! It never stops.   But today's weather is lovely. :D  We can actually talk to people outside! Now that conference is over we are back to working out only 30 min. instead of a full hour.  We went running this morning and I actually ran the whole time! Sis. Pearson is way too fast for me, but I feel that I'm definitely more "fit" than I started out! :P 

One of them is Jimmy.  He and his wife are actually part of a Christian fellowship at UWSP and Shelley is a missionary, haha.  They are Protestants but Jimmy is super nice and has clearly done lots of studying! He has read the Pearl of Great Price already.  He has asked us some very tricky questions about the Great Apostasy so thank goodness for Kyle's smarticle blog post to help us out! :P Jimmy has some potential.  He's like "please, PLEASE come back and tell me more!" which is both unusual and refreshing to hear. We hope he will read the Book of Mormon and pray sincerely for that is the key to finding a testimony.

There is also a Hmong lady who INVITED US IN her house!! Sis, Pearson was like, "do you even know who we are?!" And she was like "nope!" *lets us in anyway*.  hahahaha.  The hmong people don't believe in God. They worship their ancestors.  BUt this hmong lady has a cute baby AND a sister who is a Christian and she admires that.  She invited us back!

I got to go to institute for the first time this week! It was awesome. I absolutely LOVE institute! :) The focus of institute this week and the big zone training meeting we had was about how the spirit changes our hearts.  We studied about the people who listened to King Benjamin and how their desires were changed.  (see the beginning few verses of Mosiah 4 and Mosiah 5).  The Book of Mormon has such a powerful effect on us because when you read, it you feel the Spirit! That was definitely a key aspect to my personal conversion.  That, and asking questions! The Book of Mormon truly answers many of life's questions.  I thank my wonderful brother Kyle for teaching me that! :) I hope to make it my life's handbook, both on my mission and beyond.

I also love learning about the savior's grace.  It's amazing how the more we learn about Jesus Christ, the more humbled we become.  Like those people in Mosiah 4, we become humbled to the dust because of His matchless glory and perfection.  As we humble ourselves and have faith, With the Savior's help, we can truly accomplish anything!!! (see Ether 12:27).  I've seen that so much in my life.  In school, cello, my weight loss... I've had too many miracles to count. But I know that I couldn't have done any of those things without the Savior's help, and ultimately, the grace of God. I have had many of these "changes of heart" that have stayed with me to the present day. I'm so grateful for my Savior. :) 

Guess what? Our zone got 9 baptisms this month! Our numbers were the highest they have ever been.  9 is a lot for our zone.  Our goal this month is 3 baptisms, and I'm happy to declare that, (assuming all goes as planned!) Sis. Pearson and I will be contributing 2/3 of those. :) Skylor and Bryan! 

We are sad for Bryan though.  He has a bad past (a DUI) which prevents him from being hired.  And he needs a job so he can pay tithing!!!!! He kind of lives off of unemployment right now. We are praying for him. He loves to ride bikes and might look for a paper route job. Other than that he is totally ready. You can see that he really loves coming to church and that it has changed him. He is feeling the spirit and knows what to do to stay converted. He is almost done reading the Book of Mormon! He has such a bright future ahead of him... he's already looking forward to getting his patriarchal blessing and the temple (in a year from now!)   He gets baptized this Saturday! Hooray :DD 

And.... get this! We visit this less active lady named Sister Wilson, who is working on giving up coffee and smoking.  She is reducing it by 1 cup every other week, haha. Slow but steady progress! She is coming to Family Home Evening tonight which will be good for her.  Anyway, she has a niece that lives with her, Trish.  Trish is a sassy and hilarious lady! seriously, all she wants to do is chat with us and we always stay at her house way too long.  But, she grew up with the Book of Mormon and is not a member.  But she loves missionaries and wants to come to church. She tells us all the time she is ready to be a mormon and is ready to give up coffee, etc. and that she would totally like to join our church! Sweet. :) I think Trish has a referall for us, too! 

We also met the sweetest, nicest lady ever who has already met some missionaries, Rain.  We are going to teach her this week!! Hooray, new investigators! I've actually only taught 1 new investigator in their house.  So I'll be getting lots of experience this week.  We have a few more return appointments that I don't have time to mention.  But the Lord is truly blessing us!!!! We had fasted last week for new investigators.  

We also saw Abigail this week! We will see her this week. Pres. Cutler told us to be super bold and read her Matt. 29:19. Gasp! Read it, it's intense! This is the one whose fiancee is hard core Catholic and might break off their wedding if he finds out she's been investigating the church.  But she totally knows it's true! Pssht, men are lame and just don't get it.  They ruin everything! :P haha.  Actually, we've seen lots of instances where the girlfriend tells us the guy isn't interested (even after Sis. Pearson says they had a totally spiritual lesson! Grr...).  

I'm getting better at following the spirit!! I felt like I should follow up with investigators in a certain building and then... we ran into Olivia! (no, Kimi, we didn't literally run into her that would be rude! :P) Olivia is super stressed so we were able to show her a perfect relief from that stress... and read with her from the Book of Mormon! #lovethatbook.  We definitiely caught her interest I think, and we are gonna go back this week to read with her some more!

Now, brace yourselves everyone... I have found...  a cello!!!!!!! It definitely nothing fancy.  It's basically a Cindy (or an internet cello) but a cello nonetheless! One of the member families has a daughter who used to play for like 5 minutes in middle school and it's been in a basement ever since.  It needs a new C string and a rehair.  I sort of feel bad they have to fix it up  just so I can play it... but SIs. Pearson and I are going to play on Easter (the 20th?)! Actually, one of the members, Brother Martz, played the trombone in the symphony and was a music professor.  And he told us he arranged a super pretty song for cello and piano and we are going to play that one!! Hurrah!!!! :D That good Lord sure does bless me with lots of tender mercies.
I LOVED general conference! It was like Disneyland for missionaries.  Haha, maybe a slight exaggeration. But we took notes and watched all 4 sessions at the church.  I loved Elder Holland's talk!!!! I love how he raises his voice and gets slightly scary, haha. And at the end! When he was like "I'm more sure that all the priesthood keys have been restored to this church than I am that I'm standing before you right now!" My jaw dropped.  He's the greatest! I also loved Uchtdorf's talk about gratitude.  We are eternal beings so of course we don't like it when things "end." There are no real endings in life! I loved that.  I'm glad he made you feel all tingly, Mom! ;D  I also really liked Bednar's talk about spiritual traction.  And, Gary Stevenson's talk about how life is the 4 minute performance! And the vital checkpoints are attending sacrament meeting weekly and scripture study.  May I just insert right here how much I LOVE studying for 2-3 hours a day?! It's awesome. I know scripture study is super, super important and makes all the difference in life.  There is always so much more to learn about the Gospel and how to apply it to life.  

 I felt so bad for those missionaries that got spat on! That's so rough. I know one sister got punched in the face over in Milwaukee.  Luckily, that hasn't happened to me! (yet. :P)  

Also, last thing.  We have this HILARIOUS recent convert guy named William.  He's hysterical.  So he took me, SIs, Pearson, and the Elders out to La Pachanga (one of the ONLY mexican food places in town, ahah) for dinner!!! Mmmm... I sure do miss mexican food! I'm super jealous you went to cafe rio, Mom! :D When me and Sis. Pearson go out to eat, we usually go to Noodles and Co.  But lately we've been fed almost every night.  

Well, that's about it for now.  I can't include everything, but just know that I'm thinking of all of you back home.  I love you and hope life is treating you well! Remember to be grateful, for "the Lord thy God is with thee, whithersoever thou goest!"  (Joshua 1:9). 


Sister Woods

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