Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Louisiana Week 2

Things are going well here, Louisiana is a really cool state. It is suuuper hot and humid, and actually really green, I am shocked at how many trees there are. It is swampy too, we were visiting an old man in the ward and he lives by a beautiful but shallow river and said that there's a 20 ft gator in it! So yeah I want to visit him as much as possible so we can see it! Luckily we actually are going to be having appointments over there because his neighbor living on that land is our new investigator! This old man invited him to church in October when he moved there, and he has only missed church once since then. He listened to General Conference, traveled to Monroe for Stake Conference and everything. The thing is he is really smart, an engineer, and he's trying to understand and figure out everything on his own, instead of actually reading and praying. Missionaries have sort of met with him before but they didn't seem to know very much and would take offense to his questions, and not be able to answer them. But we love his questions and he agreed to let us come meet with him this week! He knows, and trusts us as teachers from gospel principles class on Sundays. So we are really excited about that, reeeaally excited.
Our other investigators are doing alright as well, but we literally invited like 20-30 people to church this Sunday and guess how many showed up... yeah, none. But there were some less actives and stuff like that.
This was a really crazy week though, on Thursday morning Sister Johnson, our trainer, left us! She was supposed to get back Friday night but didn't get back until Saturday night. So it was Sister Brimley and I, missionaries in the field for less than 2 weeks, on our own, without a car, for 3 days. I don't really know how our Mission President trusts us that much but it happened. We live about 3 miles outside of town so we had to call the members a lot for rides and did our best to get to all our appointments, and do the best we could with the area we got dropped at. Everyday there are miracles and everyday there are stumbling blocks. Everyone here goes to church.  People will ask us to open to a scripture right on their front porch that they think proves our entire religion wrong. One man I just told we had to go, and he got real mad and told me I wasn't a real Christian because Christians are willing to learn and Christ always listens. I read in D&C the next morning the part where it says we are on missions to teach and not to be taught, and felt a lot better.
It is so cool how if you actually read and know the scriptures for yourself everything that is taught in the Bible is 100% in support of everything we teach, and everything the Book of Mormon teaches. There is just too much to study lately! Too much good stuff in the scriptures! I just finished the book of Matthew, I'm trying to read the whole New Testament before July ends, but it is hard to move quickly because of the references and connections and topics it gets me searching.
Well it was Jejum Domingo-- Fast Sunday and it was way cool because at least half the branch has to get up because it is so small, and of course the missionaries are expected to get up. The members gave great testimonies about missionary work, it was so cool to see, that branch is so small and only getting smaller but now they have like 5 missionaries working for them and they are ready to see some growth and more willing to help everyday. So since Mom is always so sad that she misses out on my testimonies I'll share a small part of mine. We got into a discussion on temples during companionship study this week and our bodies being temples is an awesome comparison because  are they beautiful and sacred and to be kept pure. So not only are they outwardly similar the purpose is the same, simply- the purpose of temples is to do the work of the Lord, and that is the purpose of our bodies as well. It was really random but we were talking about missionary work and it connected somehow.
Well anyways I'm doing well, and hope that everyone else is doing well and having a good summer! Haven't gotten any mail since getting in the field, so please change that!
Love you guys a lot. kbye.
ps bad news I sometimes fall into a Southern accent.


So we thought we were gonna get to Louisiana on Tuesday but we didn't end up getting there until Wednesday because of a huge storm that came through. We got a call from the President and we had to stay with some Sisters in Monroe for the night and then finally on Wednesday we got to our area. We are in the middle of nowhere in a town that's probably about the size of Redmond or smaller. The branch has about 50 members attend each week and about 10 are over the age of 70 so yeah.. It's pretty small. The less active list is HUGE though, it actually used to be a ward, and with the size of the town and member list there is no reason it should be a branch. The first four days we did like 8 hours of tracting, we are trying to get to know all the members and establish that relationship because we can see that the key is fellow shipping here. It is really sad, a lot of the less actives don't come because they got offended so it's hard. But that's what we've been doing, visiting all the actives and less actives we can, and making sure we put a good amount of time into tracting. We inherited only one investigator who has already been taught all the lessons and is getting baptized in June. So we will be spending a lot of time because we have to reteach her everything.
  Some of our investigators/potentials names are- Yolanda, Demitriss, Diamond, Flamika, and Chradazha. The older black people are way nice but they mostly end up giving you a life lesson and then not having time for your message. I'm not complaining though, those are my favorite. One woman, Ruby, talked to us for an hour and fifteen minutes without taking a breath I swear and then prayed before we left, she had us all hold hands, my favorite line from her prayer was "Father God, I thank thee that they came find me".

A few random things to answer some questions-- we get a car because they don't want the Brazil missionaries to have to buy bikes. It's a brand new car woooo. Our apartment is pretty nice but it gets crowded sleeping all three of us in the same room. Also it was a lady's who died and it smells like old person and cat pee. My trainer has been out 10 months and is one of the missions best, for real, she's a Sister Training Leader which is like being a Zone Leader for a girl.
Saturday night was a night of miracles so I want to talk about them briefly. Not gonna lie, this area is hard, we are having to start from the ground up and my trainer says people here aren't quite as nice as her other areas and so we were a little down Saturday and it was about 7 at night and we went to visit some less actives and see what we could do and we were in the ghetto part of town and they had moved away so we just kept walking and Sister Brimley liked the color of this house and was taking a pic and we told her she couldn't unless she knocked on the door. So we did, and behind it was a man who was converted at the age of 15 and had fallen away pretty quickly after but he told us to have his records moved back and that he wanted to come to church and had been wanting to for a while but couldn't because he doesn't have a car. It was stranger than it sounds, we were not expecting that, and it wasn't a coincidence that we knocked on that door.
After that we went to a less active house where a 30 year old man answered and we were looking for his Mom but he said he had been baptized too because his Mom wanted him to be and wants to learn more about what church he's a member of, and that same day had run into a member of the ward who recognized his name and talked to him about church. Then the next house a woman waved and we decided lets just say hi. When we introduced ourselves she said she knew we were of the Lord and told us that she felt the spirit and it turned into an awesome lesson. We saw her again Sunday and I invited her to baptism and couldn't even finish my sentence before she said yes. It was the best! The spirit was so strong!! I will keep you updated on that, we are soooo happy we found her, it was my first manifestation that the Lord really does prepare people for the gospel.
Anyways I'm out of time but that was our little night of miracles, sorry I'm so bad at telling stories.. We are working hard to get this area alive again. I miss you all a lot! Write meeee! Sorry I didn't have time to write anyone individually this week.
Seester Stevens