When starting this email, I thought it'd be really short like last week, and then my fingers started flying on my new Bluetooth keyboard and this week's is actually quite long.
It's sad to say that the most exciting part of our week was that Sister Watkins got sick. On Wednesday, she said she wasn't feeling good and then Thursday morning she said she needed to go to the doctors because she had a hard time walking. One trip to the doctor's later and a stop by the pharmacy, she was drugged up with antibiotics, but nothing for the pain, so we sat around a lot both Thursday and Friday. Friday night, however, she got a priesthood blessing to help her get better.
On Saturday, I let her sleep in for a couple of hours and when she did get up, she was hobbling. It looked painful to breathe. She acted tough, but it was obvious that dying probably looked like a better option. However, she took a bath Saturday morning, and when she got out, she was healed. Like miraculously. She felt completely fine--a little sore, I think she said--but you would not have been able to tell that she was "dying" just a few minutes before. (She was never actually contagious, but it just sounded good in the subject line).
This week, we did the inevitable. We have been teaching CJ quite consistently this past month or so, but we had a feeling he didn't live in our area. On Tuesday, we were finally able to get him to tell us his address, and sure enough, he did not live in our area. Even though we found him, helped him get a testimony, committed him to be baptized, and taught him literally all he needs to know before being baptized, we have to pass him to other missionaries. It's kind of irking and annoying, but it's the way it is for a reason, I guess. We passed him to an area that gets a couple baptisms a month and the Kentlands curse is still in effect--that we have had one baptism this year and before that, it's been about 2/2.5 years since the last baptism #KentlandsCurse It's just hard being in one of the lowest baptizing areas in the whole mission :/
Our Polish family has now come to church 5 times and some of the ward activities as well. Joanna and her daughter came to part of the General Women's broadcast on Saturday and she enjoyed it, but she said that if she had to watch it at her home, she wouldn't.... So we'll see how General Conference next week goes. Their family is really good about telling their friends what they believe. They've even recently started telling them that they go to the Mormon church. Which is interesting because we haven't been able to teach them the first thing about what Mormons believe yet...we're working on working around both our and their busy schedules...but at least they're excited :)
Another cool story for this week! So at the VC, we send missionaries referrals of those who come online to Mormon.org to request free copies of the Bibles etc, and then we stay in touch with them to make sure the missionaries give them what they asked for and to see if they're interested in learning more about the Church. What's awesome is that a lot of those people actually do learn more and some even get baptized because of our efforts :) At the VC we have a goal of getting one baptism a day for a monthly goal of 30 or 31 baptisms. This month we were struggling hardcore, with 9 baptisms on the 22nd of the month. So the Sister Training Leaders got us all together and told us that we set the goal of having one baptism a day and we set that goal with faith, so Heavenly Father is going to help us reach that goal. We were told that we needed to focus all our efforts for the rest of the month on finding those that have been baptized that we haven't followed up on. This was a daunting task seeing as we had 8 days to find 21 baptisms, but we trusted in the Lord and went to work.
We all got out our old contacts and started to call and text everybody we haven't followed up with. I personally, am pretty good at staying on top of those I send referrals to, but some sisters were calling people that they hadn't talked to since April and before. Those of us that either don't have a lot of people to follow up with or those that have followed up with all those that we have were then given another task.
An "upper box" is what we call a little card that a person who comes to the VC can fill out with their name and information saying that they want to learn more about the Church. By the end of a VC sister's mission, they can collect a hundred of these little cards, but also by the end, many of the sisters (at least recently) had gotten lazy and many cards remained uncontacted. Our task, was to go through some of the bags of these cards of the sisters who have recently left and follow up on every single person. This task was almost more daunting than the first.
Sister Watkins and I decided to take up Sister E Wilson's bag and call all her contacts. We weren't surprised with what we found. There was one that was a bit surprising though. Thursday night, Sister Watkins found somebody who had come into the VC over 3 years ago and had been baptized not very long after that. So that means, this card was passed down from at least one other sister to Sister Wilson to Sister Watkins before anyone ever had the idea to call the person to see how they were doing. That shouldn't happen. But we added a baptism to the list and were one step closer to our goal :)
Last night--still going through these cards--I found a guy who was so prepared to hear the Gospel. He had come in either a year ago or two years ago, or even longer ago for Christmas time, and he had never had missionaries come by his home. He was so ready that he even took notes about what the Church believes while I was talking on the phone with him. It was awesome. However, at one point he asked me about what the meaning of the Church's name is. This was a first. I explained that we are the same church Christ established 2000 years ago, hence The Church of Jesus Christ. Then I explained that "Latter-day" meant "last days" because we are living in the last days, all whilst, he was taking notes and saying "uh huh, okay". And when I thought he was satisfied, he asked what the "Saint" part meant--what it meant to be a saint. I wasn't exactly sure how to answer this question. Here I am, my entire life, saying "I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" and I don't even know what I'm saying. Little did he know that this was a teaching moment for both him and I when I told him that a saint is a person who tries their best to follow Jesus Christ.
It's as simple as that. Jesus only wants us to try our best. That's all He can ask. But He also knows what we can become if we try our hardest and push ourselves to become greater than we now are.
"Keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever."
~Elder Jeffrey R Holland
Love you all so much!
|All (but two who were sick) of the Visitors' Center sister missionaries.|
Also, a senior missionary couple and the VC director and his wife.
|VC sisters chatting in the hallway after their meeting|
|Sister Galli and Sister Watkins|
(Someone sent this pic to me via text yesterday - LOVE it when that happens!)