There is a straight up BLIZZARD going on outside right now! A BLIZZARD! It’s crazy – I’ve never seen anything like it. It took us three times as long to get to emails today, because traffic was crawling! I’m fairly certain we’ll be put on a “car-ban” again, so we’ll be out walking tonight. Should be fun! Today has been crazy though… it started out with a “warm” rain (isn’t it crazy that I now consider 37 degrees to be warm?), then it turned to hail, and then snow. And it snowed 2-3 inches in one hour! What is this place?! We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto.
This week has been quite an interesting one! It’s weird to actually be working my area. Super weird, but also super fun! Sister Folmer and I walked 1.5 miles in a foot of snow the other day. Everyone was out plowing their driveways and sidewalks which meant we got to talk to a lot of people! It was super fun. Every time we saw someone, I was like, “Sis… we should go contact them :)” And she’d give me this look before charging off to go contact them. It was great. Honestly, there is nothing better than being a missionary.
We have been spending a lot of our time trying to build up our teaching pool. It’s amazing, because really we aren’t doing anything extraordinary, but the Lord is giving us miracles. We have a few people to teach, and it’s super exciting! Everything that is happening is the Lord’s doing. Nothing is us. Absolutely nothing. We just have to have the faith to go out and work.
On Friday, we went and saw a woman named O…. She is an 88 year old African American woman, who is super classy. We found her in our area book as a former investigator. Apparently, she’s had missionaries visiting her periodically for over a year, but nothing has ever come of it. Sister Folmer and I went over on Friday, determined to teach her about the Restoration! I’d visited her a few times before with Sister Williams, but she wasn’t a serious investigator. We brought an awesome member with us, Sister M, who just clicked with O! We went in, and for the first time, O was ready and wanting us to teach her about the Restoration. We began teaching her, and the Spirit truly spoke through me. It was an amazing experience. The Spirit filled up the entire room and testified to us all that we were sent to her because God wanted her to hear about the Restoration. Then she said, “I know that’s true. I can feel it right now. God wants me to hear this.” We taught her the Restoration, and it was honestly the most powerful Restoration lesson I have ever sat in or been a part of. It was such a sweet experience. The Spirit testified to all of us that it is true. Joseph Smith IS a prophet and the Book of Mormon IS the word of God! When we invited her to be baptized, she was said, “I think I need to… I can feel that this is true.” AMAZING. Truly, the Spirit worked miracles. This dear sister really wants to come to church, and Sister M promised to save her a seat. We are seeing her again tomorrow!
This week, we are determined to work this area as much as we can. We are trying to be as diligent and faithful as possible. We’ve got a ton of set appointments and a member team up for every single one of them. We want to do this work in the Lord’s way – effectively and powerfully. We are feeling really inspired because of a training that I received last Thursday. Brother Donaldson from church HQ came last week and gave an 8 HOUR training to all of the leadership in the mission (I got a special, surprise invitation, even though I’m not a zone leader or sister training leader!). The training was phenomenal. Our mission has had general authority after general authority visit our mission (L. Tom Perry came in the spring, I met the presiding bishop during the summer, we’ve had two 70’s come, and now Brother Donaldson), because, apparently, Salt Lake is really focusing on the north east right now. We have 7 million people living within our mission boundaries – that’s a lot of souls to save! He said something really powerful to us – he said, “The brethren [First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles] KNOW you. They KNOW this mission. And we are asking you to make some big changes to prepare you for what is coming. This is to prepare you for what you are about to be asked to do.” And then he just left it at that. Dun-dun-DUNNN! What’s about to happen? What are they about to ask us to do? I don’t know! He did ask us to make a lot of changes though. They are asking us to step up our game BIG TIME, and I couldn’t be more excited. The training was all about how to be an effective, successful, and powerful missionary, in the Lord’s way. It doesn’t sound exciting or earth-shattering, but, trust me, it was. My mind was reeling by the end of it. We have to change everything. Not that we were doing anything wrong, but we just need to be better. We have to be the best. The amazing thing is, what he was talking about (having the right mindset, how to do missionary work, etc.) sounded just like what my training experience was like. I truly had the best experience in training. We relied on the Lord in everything, and He wrought so many miracles. We weren’t perfect by any means, but I truly felt like an instrument in His hands. Then, I had a few transfers where missionary work wasn’t my focus, but now I am back. And I’m so grateful that we had this training at a time when I could attend and then apply it to my service. I have so many changes and improvements to make, and now we know exactly what the Lord wants us to do.
To answer a few of your questions: Yes, the sisters in Jersey get to serve at Ellis Island once a transfer! I’ve never been because I have served in the most northern area in the mission and the most southern area of the mission. Apparently, every where else gets to go there, though. Perhaps one day I’ll go 🙂
Want to know some more good news? Our recent convert C… (who also went less active) came back to church on Sunday. WOO HOO! Also, our less actives Sister W… and Sister D… came! We also got in to visit a less active brother who hasn’t visited with missinoaries in years. He is an endowed, Melchizedek priesthood holder who served a mission and was sealed in the temple (and then divorced). He is also less active. BUT, he let us come over on Wednesday with the Bishop and his wife, and it was amazing. They became fast friends. Miracles! And, Heavenly Father led us to a lot of potential investigators. Our less actives are
making progress and the Lord is helping us find people to teach! Also, our less active sister in the Freehold area (I taught her with Sister Houghton and Sister Rogers) called me the other day to tell me that she is going to church every week now! She lost her job, but she sees it as a blessing because now she can go to church. I feel so grateful.
I LOVE being a missionary. Every day is such a privilege. Who cares that it’s blizzarding outside? We get to be missionaries and out helping the Lord bring His children home. I can think of no greater blessing. Family, I love all of you. So very much. Thanks for all of your love, prayers, and packages of soup (that was a funny package – oh, I just love serving a stateside mission… I get so many interesting things from Dad, like pepper spray and framed artwork). Be Jersey strong, dear ones!
P.S. Have you ever heard of something called the wind chill factor? I’d never really known about it, because I grew up in Arizona. This is not Arizona. Let’s say that, hypothetically, it were 20 degrees outside right now. Well, the wind chill factor makes it feel like 5 degrees. That’s wind chill factor for you. Enjoy sunny Phoenix, you lucky ducks!