It's been a strange week!! Why you might wonder!! Allow me to explain. Long email coming up! And it might be a bit more introspective than usual. In fact, it will be! :)
As you can see from the picture, we went bowling with the Elders! In our skirts! It was way fun. Although the elders did not, of course. :P It was one of the best p-days yet. I actually did pretty well and got 4 strikes!
Shoutout, thanks to Ashley for the Korean Christmas presents!!! I really like them. :)
I have officially recovered from a cold! In less than a week! Or maybe I haven't, but I'm ignoring it. :) Zycam is an amazing thing, in case you wondered.
We had a really, really great zone training on Tuesday. It was actually followed by an exchange! We, the Sister Training Leaders, and the Fond du Lac sisters went to get mexican food first. It was my first time doing an afternoon exchange and espeicially so early on in the transfer! But it was good. We went to West Bend. We got to play volleyball and help a cute old lady move her furniture around, including all her electronics. It was actually a very strange exchange and it was quick. That was the day it was the coldest! It was -20 with windchill. Sister Morales said: " I don't get what everyone is FREAKING out about. It's 1 degree!" Haha.
The sad news is we got dropped by 3 investigators this week. Amanda, Carin, and Dan and Erin. That's never fun. But you know what? It's sad. But it's also okay. Seeds have been planted and life goes on. We still have enough people to see that we don't have to tract in -10 degree weather so that's always a great thing!
We also didn't do our singing/violin and cello playing ordeal in sacrament this week because SIster Moffitt is sick again!! Oh no! :( She wants me to play her favorite, often overlooked hymn, hymn 37: "The Wintry Day Descending at Its Close!" It didn't work out this week but perhaps in the near future!
I want to talk about the experience I've had at zone training and New Year's goals and such, but first, I want to interject and mention the experience we've had helping the Vazquez family move this week. Tons of people arrived from the ward and it was a very quick and efficient move. ( I think I was sent to Oshkosh to work with this family for a specific purpose. The Lord must have wanted to teach me to have greater patience and skill in dealing with children! Especially challenging ones. I was able to prevent the whining by playing catch with them. It's become a fun new tradition after lessons. :) ) They have a great new house and I'm excited for them. HOWEVER. There is a big no pants problem going on over there! Every time, and I mean EVERY time, we go over, we or the elders,someone isn't wearing any clothes! Scandalous!!! It's happened with every member of that family except the Mom (there are 5 kids). They are either stark naked (#birthdaysuit) or they are only wearing a blanket. Well, this last week, SIster Peel and I were told to close our eyes for just a sec while Brother Vazquez put on pants. xD Bahahahahahah.
I've also been requested to talk more about the people we are working with. Well there's this one lady (who frustrated previous elders so much that they tore up her teaching record) who was baptized a year and a half ago and was never confirmed. No one knows why! She just wouldn't go back to church to get confirmed. So, long story short, it's been too long and she has to be baptized again! She is infamous for cancelling appointments at the last minute and texting us in all capital letters if we don't respond within 3 minutes of her text. She is quite the character and we will get the privilege of working with her from now on! :P
We also gave the "Blueprint to Christ's Church" talk to a biblical scholar!! Haha. I wonder what she will say! Her name is Kathleen and she is really nice. She is writing a book about how women invented Christianity. We always learn a whole lot when we go over there, especially about women in the Bible. She has a Ph.d. in the New Testament! She can't believe there are girl mormon missionaries so she likes talking with us. We are like collectibles! :P
We are doing lots of "on the side" projects, like teaching the lessons to a family that might be getting a divorce soon. The little girls are so cute, but they are quite understandably shaken up about the whole thing. They have lots of spiritual questions and are in need of an extra boost of faith. So we have a new weekly routine of going over there and having dinner and a lesson. This is the lady that makes the yummy cornbread!! :)
Oh, someone is feeding us spaghetti this week and Sister Peel told me she doesn't really care for spaghetti. Well, the last time she said that about lasagna we were fed a giant mountain of it! So, I'm predicting we will have a whole bunch of it this week!! xD #snowflake (that means please eat this, comp, so I don't have to!)
Okay, enough stalling. Now I'll relate the amazing zone training experience we had. So, as you might expect, setting new year's goals is something highly encouraged amongst missionaries. So we were each instructed to choose a Christlike attribute we want to develop this year and make specific plans for doing so. I did choose one, in case you wondered, and it is charity (which, for those who may not be familiar with the way Mormons think of this term, is the highest and strongest kind of love. It is not merely affection, but the love that Christ has for each of us. It can be a difficult attribute to attain. It is a gift that can be given to us if we seek for it.). This is something I have been able to increase in on my mission, but I want it to be a more prominent feature in my life. Anyway, I particularly enjoyed this meeting because each of us had the opportunity to share how our natures and desires have changed because of our study of the Book of Mormon that we did before Christmas. It was so neat to share my own (I've been able to develop a greater sense of hope and internalize the reality of the enabling power of the Atonement, which has helped me to feel confident doing hard things. It has done wonders for me!! :)) and hear the experiences of the other missionaries as well as to observe the commonality we all had, which is that our conversion and testimonies have deepened. We have internalized the atonement and allowed it to change who we are. One missionary in particular said that the Book of Mormon has helped him to prioritize what really matters in life and what doesn't. I really like that and I know it is true! I'm really grateful my mission has taught me to study the Book of Mormon for a specific purpose. It is a practice I've greatly enjoyed and will continue to do throughout my life. I know that it's true that true doctrine understood changes our attitudes and behaviors.
I've made it my goal to read the Book of Mormon 5 times this year (since it's 2015) with a specific purpose each time. Currently, I'm looking for examples of faith and charity. It has been really great so far! (Who knows, maybe one day I will attempt to be amazing like Kyle and read it 13 times in a year like he did in 2012! :P. Haha. Baby steps. :)) It's amazing how much there is to learn each time I read it!
I was also able to set some other goals that are very meaningful and have kept me extra busy ever since! But I'm enjoying it so much. One of those is completing the standard works and mission library before my mission is over, which should definitely occur.
I could go on and on about the things we discussed and learned in this meeting (the importance of having "sacred studies," allowing the Spirit to guide us in which finding tools we use, and developing eyes to see the vision the Lord has for these people) but I fear this email is getting much too long already! Let's suffice it to say that I was inspired. And I recommitted for the hundredth time, probably, to be better, to give my mission my all, and to work my hardest. So far so good. I've never been more tired on my mission!! When I'm not working I'm studying. There is so much to learn and so little time.
I have also been able to see that my current companion and I were placed together for a specific reason! Perhaps more than one. I've started to notice that I've become more assertive, more firm in my convictions and ideas because of her! And that is neat to me because that is an aspect of my personality I have wanted to develop more. I am in turn able to help her be a sweeter and softer comp. We have learned much about each other's personalities, especially about our own, and we are good friends! :) It's amazing to me that these experiences of a mission are helping me become who I really am (if that makes any sense!).
Here's something I observed in my studies this week. Turn to 1 Nephi 17:13, which reads: "And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments." I like that this is a conditional statement. I imagined God saying this to me. God can do so much for us, He can make more out of us that we ever could on our own. Yet, He will never force Himself upon us. We must invite Him into our lives by the way we live. I also love 1 Nephi 20:10. If you are going through a challenging time right now, this is for you!
This email has become much too long!
Love you all, and have a great week!!!!
Sister Lacey Woods