November 3, 2014
Ladies and gentlemen…
Needless to say, I already love her to death. Seriously, I think I might suffocate her with my love. I had to rein it in a little bit when we first met so that I wouldn’t overwhelm her.
Sister Williams is from Boise, Idaho. We had tons of fun on the night of mischief and on Halloween (mission rules – we had to stay inside). We carved pumpkins, made caramel apples, watched Legacy, finger painted, and made popsicle stick temples. It was a blast. We are having so much fun and working hard out here! I absolutely adore her. The full story of our companionship is actually really neat, so I’ll tell you more about it.
As you know, I have been more than a little worried about training a new missionary. I’m still ridiculously new and inexperienced, and I don’t feel qualified to be a trainer! I’ve been praying A LOT for comfort and counsel as to how I should train her and what we need to do to be successful in our area. I’m really having to rely on the Lord, because I don’t know anything; however, it’s amazing what the Lord will tell us if we just ask. He is always ready to comfort us and give us the counsel and heavenly help that we need (D&C 42:61). Last week, I managed to get Sister Gilchrest (a very nice, cookie baking senior sister) to share two things with me: her peanut butter cookie recipe and the list of incoming missionaries. Well, the second I glanced at the list of new missionaries, the name “Williams” literally leapt off the page at me. It was amazing. I just knew that Sister Williams was going to be my trainee, even before I discovered that she was an English speaking sister! Here’s how President decides on the trainer/trainee companionships: On Tuesday, before transfer conference, all of us go into a huge room and eat lunch. He goes into another room and prays with the assistants to know how he should pair the companionships. He receives that revelation, comes back out, and then announces the companionships. On Tuesday, Sister Dubon and I drove up to Morristown for the “Meet Your Trainers” meeting with all of the trainees! As soon as we got into the room with all of the scared-looking trainees, I scoured the place for Sister Williams. I marched right up to her, gave her a huge hug (it took her WAY off guard, ha), and pulled her into lunch with me. Of course, I didn’t tell her I was her trainer. That would just ruin the surprise. When President Taggart announced my name and called Sister Williams to be my trainee, I wasn’t surprised at all! Knowing that Sister Williams really was supposed to be my companion was very comforting. I know that the Lord does bless and inspire the priesthood holders who lead this church. I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ and that His priesthood has been restored to the earth once more. I know that this is His work and His glory, and I am so grateful that Sister Williams and I get to be a part of it!
Our first night in Eatontown was really fun. I am pretty sure Sister Williams was scared to death (I’m not sure if it was of me or of being on a mission…) and wondering what in the world she got herself into. We didn’t even unpack before we went out to go and meet the good people of Eatontown! It was quite the adventure. The next day, we went out contacting on the boardwalk at Bradley Beach (which was super fun, by the way… we met all of these really cool people), had dinner at our recent convert’s house, and met with the Bishop.
Proudest moment of my entire life: Sister Williams’ first contact! It was her first full day in the mission field, and she went for it all by herself! She was SO brave and started talking to this man named Howard while we were grocery shopping. He about talked her ear off (people in Jersey LOVE to talk), and she listened patiently and wove the gospel into the conversation. She was a pro. The look on her face after the contact was over was absolutely priceless: it was a mixture of shock, joy, pride, and adrenaline. We did a little happy dance in the juice isle of Shop-rite to celebrate.
On Saturday, we had interviews with President and Sister Taggart. Wow, I just love them. I’m actually friends with them (as a result of all of our hospital adventures last transfer), so it was great to be able to meet with them. President Taggart gave me some really inspired advice for our area and for Sister Williams. He challenged us to use the power of faith to find the prepared people in our area. Right after interviews, we went to our favorite trailer park in Eatontown (it’s also the only trailer park I am aware of…) to meet with some old investigators. They weren’t home, but I felt strongly that we needed to go and visit another former investigator, A. It’s a miracle we even know about A. She was meeting with the missionaries two years ago and even had a baptism date, but disappeared right before. Last transfer, while Sister Fjerstad and I were teaching G and D, A walked into their trailer! As soon as she saw us, she said, “Wait! I used to meet with you! I think I still have my Book of Mormon. I finally feel ready to come closer to God, and I want to meet with you again!” Amazing, right? Well, we never got to see her again before we got doubled out.
Anyways, while Sister Williams and I were driving to see A, I told her that she was going to invite A to be baptized. She had a terrified look on her face. We stopped outside of A’s, and I asked Sister Williams, “Do you have faith?” She replied, “Yes?”. “No, Sister Williams. Do you have faith?” She paused. After a minute of thinking, she looked at me again, this time with confidence, and said, “YES”. I nodded. We prayed in our car, and then walked through the rain to knock on A’s door.
When we knocked on her door, a man answered (we later learned that it was her boyfriend, A. He invited us in immediately and called for A. She came out of a back room, saw us, and gave us enormous hugs. She was so excited we’d come back to see her! It was amazing. We sang, “I am a Child of God” with her and A, and by the end of it, she was in tears. A told us that she could feel the Spirit and that she wanted to feel this way all the time. Sister Williams bravely charged forward and promised A that she could feel that way all the time. She testified of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost and invited A to be baptized… and A said yes! I don’t know who was more excited – A or Sister Williams! A wants to start meeting with us too, so we’re hoping to have a wedding and two baptisms this month. Miracles miracles miracles!
Being doubled back in to Eatontown has been a very interesting and spiritual experience. We are both new to the area, which I am now seeing as a blessing. We get the opportunity to rely completely on the Lord and set the tone for the missionary work in our area (just in case you were wondering, exactly obedient and hard-working happen to be our way of doing missionary work). It’s been amazing to see how the Lord blesses us as we work as diligently and obediently as we can. We’re already seeing miracles, and it is not a result of our talents or abilities. It is the Lord’s power and goodness that is making this work possible.
To quote Sister Williams (the best trainee in the whole world): “I like being a missionary! This is fun.” Being a missionary makes me so happy. I LOVE being a missionary. I love the Lord, I love His gospel, and I love you all.
Picture One: Meet Sister Williams! This was the moment my baby was born (a.k.a. President announced our companionship, we ran into the middle of the gym and hugged, while everyone cheered.. it was pretty epic)!
Picture Two: Meet all of my companions from the last 6 weeks (minus Sister Fjerstad)! Sister Taylor, Sister Rogers, Sister Williams, Sister Houghton, and Sister Dubon.