The office we email at has been so busy this morning and people have been in and out and so my time on the computers has been limited. I gave this lady my computer and she told me that was a very Christian thing to do. I am grateful to have this nametag on to remind me who I represent at all times... and to keep my "ginger-temper" from coming out when I don't have time to talk to my people! Just kidding. But seriously. Haha. Speaking of being a redhead... in so many strange ways my hair has been brought up this week.
1. I see a bumper sticker on a car that says "Don't pet the redhead"... What the heck!?
2. As we are tracting a man says to me... "Ah! A real redhead." ... I don't really know how to repsond to that so I just awkwardly say, "You're right sir! A real life redhead!"
3. My investigator said he thinks I have a side he hasn't seen before due to the color of my hair. He's probably right.
4. Another investigator told me the first time she met me she was cuaght of guard when I had an American accent and not an Irish one. She then proceeded to question me and my heritage and couldn't accept the fact that I am zero percent Irish.
5. A mom in the ward told me that her son thinks I am Merida from Brave. She's a butt-kickin' kinda gal. I'll take it.
6. An elder told me my animal look alike is a cat- due to my big red hair.
Now, onto far more important things than mop that sits atop my head (which, you may or may not like to know, is a good way of knowing what the weather is like... AND holds all the mission secrets!)
Have I told you lately how much I love being a missionary?!
It is exciting to me that every time Mondays roll around I have a whole list of things I need to tell you about! That goes to show how much I am learning out here and how much I am being pushed on a daily basis! I love it so so much! This week flew, and really, time is just flying by. I am to the point where poeple ask me how long I have been out and when I tell them, they give me the "look" and then proceed to ask me a million questions about how I am feeling.. and what my future plans are. Here is my response... I am so grateful I have more time out here because right now, all I can say .. all I can think about.. all that matters to me is that I am a representative of Jesus Christ and I GET to preach the Gospel!
This week was zone conference. We spent Monday and even part of Tuesday in preperation for that! At these meetings they check and inspect our cars ... we completely forgot we had to take care of the car and so Tuesday rolls around and our car is a disaster! We rush to Pep Boys to find about 5 other companionships getting their cars ready as well! Not to forget that we have to wash and wax it! Have you ever seen 2 girls in skirts waxing a car in the middle of the day? Somehow... I can just imagine it isn't a pretty sight! The good news, we passed inspection and "The Lord's automobile" has never looked better. Zone Conferebnce was absolutely AMAZING! It was my last one as a missionary! That was crazy. I was expecting to be more emotional and freaked out, but an overwhelming peace came over me and I realized everything is good and that there is a time and season for everything! We learned a lot from our Mission President and his wife and me and Sister Summerhays are really going to try to incorporate getting our members more involved! At the end of Zone Conference the missionaries who will be gone before the next one are encouraged to share their testimony. I was so grateful to stand in front of so many people who have changed my life and influenced my beliefs and share with them, as well as the Lord, just how much I love my experience out here.
We have a new ward mission leader and he is great! Change is always hard, and we loved our old ward mission leader, but thankfully he isn't moving away (even though it felt like he was) and it will be good to learn from someone else as well! This ward is awesome and the longer I am here the more I realize how close I am to each of them! I love that part of missionary work, even though you are away from your family you get to build another one! --- at this point my family is huge, exactly what you would expect of a Mormon!
Clarisa, our top investigator, is a rockstar! We finished up teachign her the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she is so smart and spiritual! She is still going through some opposition with her family but she knows how important the Gospel is to her, and is willing to do anything to have it in her life! What an example she has been to me and everyone who has had the chance to get to know her! Every time we leave appointments with her I feel so uplifted and thankful for everything I learned! Sometimes I forget she is an investigator and not a motivational speaker! I love her! Keep praying for her and for her family!
Rita, a lady we met last sunday and taught the Plan of Salvation, let us back in and we were able to teach her about the Restoration. The Spirit was really strong and she is progressing right along! I am so excited for people who are willing to learn, who want to know, and who soak this gospel in! I dont' think they even realize how much the Gospel will change their lives... having it makes everything just so so so much better! Being involved in their journey of coming closer to our Savior and Heavenly Father is unreal. I love teaching and testifying!
So I have a funny story, we have been meeting with this lady who is in a rest-home and she is wonderful! I'm not certain that her mind is as sharp as it once was, but that happens with age, right?! I mean.. sometimes I forget simple things like my name and I'm only 22... I can't imagine what's in store for me when I hit my 60's! Anyway, she is a talker, and me and my companion are lucky if we get 2 words in durring a 45 minute visit! So this week we had a plan... and that was we were going to go in there and get right into bidness! We wanted to share the introduction of the Book of Mormon with her. So we got through it, and then we were showing her the pictures. Oh boy, and this.. my friends... is where things got interesting... we showed her the waters of Mormon picture, ya know the one where they are baptizing the people... and before we can explain she is telling us about how these are the Mayan people.. and how they were GIANTS!.. and how there are tunnels that they traveled through to get to Utah to meet the pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley.
Let me just say, there isn't a single thing in Preach My Gospel to prepare you for how to repsond to that. So... I just restored to silence in order to hold back my laughter. On the inside... I couldn't breathe, I mean really! What a story!!! Thank goodness for my companion, and her ability to hold it together and teach the Doctrine. Oh the life of a missionary...
Yesterday was awesome! We had to cancel our scheduled dinner appointment with a member because a family we tracted into and taught the Restoration to wanted to feed us! We had the most enjoyable dinner getting to know them and asnwering their questions about the Church and Missionary work. We also got to find out about their strong faith in the Catholic church and hear about how they met and the history of their cute little family! It was such a blessing to sit, eat, get to know them, enjoy their company and teach all at the same time! They showed us the chickens they were raising in their backyard and told us of their dreams for how they want to raise their children. It was just real... and good... it was real good. Before we left the father asked us a question I had never been asked, and never even thought about... He said this...
"A lot of people lose their way and kinda do their own thing and really have to figure their faith and religion out. What kept you from falling away?"
My answer was simple... and so profound for me personally to realize.... I know this church is true. I always have. I know that the teachings that are found and taught are not that of mans, but of Gods. I know that because I do the simple things like read the scriptures and attend church, I've never really had room to wander. I know that becaue my parents raised me well, and taught me everything I needed to know, my foundation is strong.
It hit me, that NOT having the Gospel in my life.. or leaving the church.. could never, has never, and will never, ever be an option. Why would I turn away from that which is true. How could I? I am so grateful and so blessed to know with every inch of me that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is where the Lords wants me, and wants everyone to be.
I am so excited that I have my entire future to build a life that is centered on the Gospel, to do things that the Savior wants me to do, to learn.. to go through trials.. and to endure with the help of our Savior. I know life isn't perfect, but with the Gospel and with the knowledge of Christ, it is.
This here, is my testimony. It has been strengthened most because of the mission the Lord is allowing me to serve. I have seen these principals applied to my life, but what is even greater than that, is seeing others do the same thing.
I love missionary work. I love God's children. I love Georgia. I love the Gospel. I love teaching. I love Christ. I love God. I love conversion. I love that this is my life.
If things right now are rough for you, or if you are in, what I like to call, a "wierd place"..... say a prayer that you will be able to feel the love of God. I know he loves you. He wants you to be solid in that love.... If you are sturggeling with your testimony, or if you don't have one, but want one. Do something about it. There is too much at stake! --- Too much you are missing out on! I testify that you want this in your life... because "this" is what happiness is; a Christ centered life.
I love you people! So so so so so so so so so so so so so much.
Godbless and Godspeed