Monday, June 27, 2016

food banks and book of mormons‏

Good morning my wonderful family :)
So first things first of course I'm sure you know its transfers since our P day is on Tuesday this week. 
So the transfer board is pretty much exploding. We have a billion elders going home, and 7 of them are from our zone of 16 companionships, 3 of our sisters are training, 2 of them being in their 3 transfer and the Alexandria Elders area is being closed because we don't have enough elders to replace the ones leaving! ahhhh!!
Sister Pfleger and I are staying together as STLs in Alexandria but instead of being over Pineville and Alexandria we are just over Alexandria. 
I am so so so sad about this. I'm going to miss Pineville! I love that ward and area. :( 
But it will also good to be able to focus on one single area. :)
But in other news of this week...
On Thursdays we do service at the Alexandria Food Bank. This is still a new thing so we are still learning everything. 
The prison inmates work there everyday and so they teach us how to do whatever station we are doing. They are really kind and so respectful! They always ask us if we need something to drink :)
So last week we were working at a station with one of the inmates and he asked us where we are from. We tell him we are both from Idaho and of course he is amazed at how far we have come to be in Alexandria. This always brings up the topic of why we are here and that we are missionaries for our church. 
So naturally because ya know.. we are in the South and he finds out we are Jesus people, he starts telling us about how he has been in prison since '09 and that since he has been in jail that he has found God, he has been able to study the Bible and get his GED and a college degree. 
But he really starts talking about the Bible. His favorite Bible stories, teachings of Jesus, and everything about it!
Finally he takes a breath and I get to jump in there.
I tell him (his name is Kendrick) about the Book of Mormon.
How back in the time before Jesus, there was a family living in Jerusalem and the father was a prophet called of God just like Moses, Abraham, and Noah. God told him that Jerusalem was going to be destroyed and that he needed to take his family and all those who would listen and move away. So he warned everyone he could but no one would listen so he took his family and sailed across the sea to America.
How like the Bible the Book of Mormon was written by prophets called of God and passed down through the generations from prophet to prophet and that it is a record of God's dealings with the people in America.
How I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and it has changed my life and its why I'm here on a mission. Because I love this book and I want to share it with everyone.
Let me tell yall somthing. 
I have never seen someone get so excited about a book of scripture.
He was SO excited to read it! 
Our time was pretty much up because at noon they close down for an hour for a lunch break, so I asked him if he was allowed to take books back to the jail and he told me yes! So I let him know that I had a Book of Mormon in the car and I was going to go get it to give to him.
We run out to the car and grab the Book of Mormon but they have already locked up the Food Bank and taken the inmates on their break! 
Its a glass door so we knock and they let us in and I give the Book of Mormon to the volunteer coordinator lady, Carol. 
Now when we first started at the food bank which was only like.. 4 weeks ago. Carol told us all the cautions and setup and whatever. 
We have to put our phones and keys in a locker before we go out to work in the warehouse with the inmates so they cant ask to use our phone or ask for anything. Don't let them ask you personal questions. Be kind but basically not too kind. They are all lazy bums and don't even try to associate with them.
That was the message we got.
But when we started working out there we found them to be incredibly helpful and extremely hard workers. They work SO hard! They are so respectful and kind. When we are there almost every single one of them at one point of the 2 hours or multiple times ask us if we need something to drink and they will go get it for us and they are just kind. They are awesome.
So I had to go give this Book of Mormon to Carol to give to one of the inmates. When I told her about it and what I was asking her to do.....
Oh my. You should have seen her face. 
Basically the message on her face was "Um hello. Did you not understand when I told you not to talk about real things to the inmates."
But she took it and set in on her desk and we left saying, "Welp. That Book of Mormon will never get to him." I was kinda bummed. 
So that was last week. and we went back to the Food Bank this week it was our fourth time going.
So we go and Carol talks to us and we go in and help in the warehouse again but we go to a different section with a different group of inmates. And this guy that we worked with this week was 53 years old and he is getting released on July 19th but probably earlier. He has earned a college degree while he was in jail and already has a job set up for when he is released! He is the best worker for this section and pretty much its going to fall apart and be so disorganized when he is gone. 
Anyways, we are working and at one point in the day we see Kendrick! And I don't want to ask him about it right at the first because I didn't think he would have got it. But then we say hey how ya doing and then the first thing after that he says, "HEY! I got that book!! And I've been reading the first couple of chapters! I love it, its so interesting!I love how Lehi is a prophet and that God talks to him just like all the other prophets......" 
And he goes on to tell me a play by play of the first couple chapters of Nephi. 
Why do you have to be in jail. 
So basically my jaw drops and I don't even know what to say. I don't think I've ever got this far. I think I just say a bunch of nonsense but basically that I'm so happy for him and excited for him to read more because its so good. 
I don't even know. 
Then I go back over to my companion and do a little happy dance with her.
Then right as all the inmates were gathering around to go take their lunch break, he says to me as we are leaving, "Hey! I'll have some more study stuff about what I read next week!"
And I'm like, "a;sdgnaikwen OKAY!"
I'm shocked yall. 
But really that is so cool. I don't know when Kendrick gets out but it must be somewhat soon since he is on work release. But I know that his life will be changed if he really continues to read and study the Book of Mormon. 
Did we get a lesson in with Kendrick? no.
Will Kendrick ever be my investigator? probably not.
Will I get to count him as one of "my" baptisms? absolutely not.
So on paper...  counting up our lessons, new investigators, people on baptism date.
This encounter was completely useless. Right?
I have learned this necessary fact in my mission work recently.
Numbers. Do. Not. Matter. 
Numbers motivate and record progress yes. 
But they don't matter.
The people matter.
The Spirit matters.
My purpose as a missionary is to invite others to come unto Christ.
I think that through the Spirit I was able to talk to Kendrick and invite the Holy Ghost to stir up a desire in him to learn more, to read the Book of Mormon.
I invited him to read the Book of Mormon which will most certainly help him know more about Jesus Christ and come closer to him. 

I will never get a baptism because someones baptism is not mine to have! Its the Lords. Its not my investigator, its the Lords investigator. 
I am just the Lords missionary and happy servant :)
And I hope to be just that for the rest of my life!
I love yall so much!
and happy happy days! 
Alexandria for another 6 weeks :)
sister sades
also we found a beautiful road and had to take pics. so enjoy us being creative

Monday, June 20, 2016

hot champions‏

Hello my people :)

Happy Fathers day to a rad dad! Mucho love there xoxo

Well this week was swell. Wonderfully swell. 
The only miracle that happened was that we didn't die from heat stroke. 
And sometimes that's all the miracles that happen and sometimes thats all the miracles you need. 

Our teaching pool is still extremely low so we have been going finding alot so thats what this week consisted of in the missionary work side. 
The only noteworthy thing that happened was that we didn't die when we tracted an entire street when it was 105 and a billion percent humidity. 

I had a moment when I really thought we were going to die. 
I have never had the experience that just standing at people porches would make you literally sweat. and then walking not far at all from porch to porch would make you actually drip sweat. 
It was quite the experience. 
I don't think I would ever recommend it to anyone. 

Oh yes. A little bit more about this street. We knocked the whole street and got rejected alot. Ya know that southern style rejection where they will talk to you very nicely, offer you water, but then they will rejected you sweetly. 
So we went through this whole street of this and when we were getting to the last houses we needed a pick me up. We remembered that when we were going through Bishop Stocks mission photos from Boise that there was a picture of him and his companion standing at a door step. When we asked what that was about he told us that after someone rejected them they said, "Okay. Can you take a picture of us?"
We definitely did this. 
And it turned out wayyy better than expected.
Welcome to the South. 
*disclaimer* we are literally dripping with sweat and disgusting so yes we love each other but no we do not want to touch each other.
After she rejected us, we asked her to talk a picture of us and she says, (direct quote) 
"Oh yes! Like a selfie??"
Yes. yes ma'am. Exactly like that.
So in conclusion. We are champions. and we tracted this whole street with a trail of sweat. *midcrop
In other news
We also had ZTM, a meeting with all the missionaries in our zone, and its my first one as an STL and in a new zone! So that was a little unnerving because I knew some missionaries and all the sisters but that was it and as STL's we give an instruction and the Zone Leaders give an instruction. 
So not only did I have to meet a whole new group of missionaries, I also had to instruct them all. so wow. 
But we prepared and I prayed alot and in all honesty it went really really well! I really enjoyed it! I really felt a ton of love for our zone, it was wonderful.
This is our zone! they are a cute happy bunch :)

Sister gang.
Sister Bell, Manuma, Belnap, and Pfleger
Say goodbye to Elder Ross. He goes back home in 2 weeks :'(((
Also had another exchange with the Opelousas Sisters,Sister Fox and Sister Amezcua. Little known fact, Sister Fox is Sister Steve's bff from home. Like college roomies bff. So that is pretty rad. I've been hearing alot about her so we got to hang out and chat :) legend continues. She is purrty rad :)
 I was with Sister Amezcua. 
And family. Write down this day. I don't know whats going to happen but I think and I hope Sister Amezcua and me are going to be really really good friends. 
I have heard lots about her and have really admired her from afar as a missionary and person. Like alot. I really admire her
And apparently she has heard about me and thought the same! 
It was so so valuable to be companions with her and both of us felt like we are going to be really really good friends for a long time. So thats really exciting! Also I think I got her convinced to go to BYU H and maybe we will room together. (5/5 for the Hawaii team)
So pretty much this week was hot.
full of finding new people with no success. 
But its okay because we are trying to find the ones that Heavenly Father has prepared for us. 
Also new missionary friendships and changing mission culture. 
And fathers! 
I love yall so so much! 
Go take a selfie with a stranger. 
sister sades
This is what a southern storm looks like when its rolling in. 
This is what missionaries look like when we have to move people in during a storm.

Monday, June 13, 2016

spiritually exhausted‏

Welcome to madness week! 

We had a crazy awesome spiritually exhausting week!
Let me break it down for yall.

Wednesday: first exchange with the DeRidder Sisters
Thursday: Mission Conference with General Authority, Elder Kopischke
Friday: Missionary Leadership Council (MLC) with Elder Kopischke
plus the wonderful regular missionary miracles.
so much to talk about.

We had our first exchanges this week with the DeRidder sisters, Sister Bell and Sister Manuma.

For exchanges we really tried to do exactly what Heavenly Father wanted us to do, where we needed to go and who we needed to be with.
How our exchanges work is that both sisters come to our area and we split up and double work the area. One of us will take Pineville and the other Alec.
When we were planning we didn't know what to do! We had our schedule and visits planned out. We thought Sister Bell should stay in Alec and Sister Manuma should go to Pineville. But we both really wanted to go to Pineville!! So we prayed alot. It was already late from planning so we decided to really pray and ponder and then we would make the final decision in the morning.
So I prayed. alot. I really sincerely asked Heavenly Father to take my selfish tendencies away, all my justifications and wants and to replace them with His, to help me recognize what His plans where for me and this area. My greatest desire when I was praying was to go where He wanted me to go and to be with who I needed to be. 
In the morning, I prayed yet again and tried to focus on my answer. 
I felt like I needed to stay in Alexandria but I also felt that I needed to be companions with Sister Manuma. 
So I told my companion and thats how it went!
It was a very humbling experience, not in the way that I felt bad about myself but in the way that I felt empowered because I chose to choose God's will. I would do anything to change just to be aligned with what God wanted me to do. I was able to recognize my dependence on Him because I know I can't do anything without His guidance! It was a cool experience!

Sister Manuma and I had an AMAZING day. I looooved it. 
I really felt like it helped both of us! 
Sister Manuma came out with Sister Steve! She was born in Hawaii, woohoo! but grew up in Las Vagas. Her grandparents were immigrants from Samoa! So we got along really really well and we talked about everything, family, mission life, post mission plans, goals in the mission, why we're out on a mission..etc but mainly we talked about Polynesian culture and BYU Hawaii. and it was wonderful. 
(I think Sister Manuma is the 4th person I have successfully convinced to go to BYUH. #hireme #theyreallapplyingthisfall)

I LOVE SISTER MANUMA. She's amazing. and I adore her. 
We pranked Sister Pfleger with a fake mannequin hand in her bed. 
But honestly I learned so much from Sister Manuma. She has an absolutely incredible attitude that really helped me! It was exactly what I had been praying for. I really needed to remember what a privilege and blessing it is to be here. I don't need to count down the months until I get home because this is want I want to do! I only have less than a year left and thats not alot of time and I don't want to miss all these opportunities to talk to everyone I see! There is an urgency and joy in this work that I forgot about and I can't even express how grateful I am for Sister Manuma and her passion and love. She really helped me alter my perspective and attitude :) love love love exchanges! (we also had some really solid lessons that I learned alot from)

The very next day after exchanges was the Mission Conference in Denham Springs (my old zone :')) with Elder Kopischke of the Quorum of the Seventy. 
He visited our mission maybe a little over a year ago and he came back to continue to teach us! 
He came only a couple months before I came into the mission and that is allll I heard about. The trainings were all about what he said and thats all the missionaries talked about so I was very excited to learn from him.
And let me tell ya.
He did not disappoint.
Pic with an apostle part II
Elder Kopischke :)

Elder Kopischke is an amazing Spirit-led apostle of the Lord! He was so inspired and I took 7 pages of front and back notes. He was amazing. 
There is so much I learned and want to tell yall! but I think the one that stuck out to me alot is that he is so Spirit led. 

He didn't come with a plan. 
No lesson, no talk, no ideas... Just came to speak to us. 
He welcomed us and then let us think about some questions we have and then let us ask 3 questions and those would be the agenda items for the meeting. 
And it was FANTASTIC. 
He just came with the Spirit and his scriptures.
I hope to be like that someday. 
The crew (aka just us) headed to Denham. Our 3 hour car ride... :)

Since we had to wake up so early to leave for Denham Springs, Pop made us all sack breakfasts with our name on them 
We got to stay the night in Baton Rouge because Alec is sooo far away. a 3 hr drive. So we stayed with the BR STLs and got to go to MLC!
MLC is usually led by PHansen but since we had an apostle here it was led and instructed by Elder Kopischke! 
It was a more personal and directed meeting and so powerful. 

I loved it because he was talking about how being obedient is cool!
This is something that my mission really struggles with but that is really starting to change. 
Elder Kopischke really made being obedient to mission rules and the laws and covenants of the gospel cool! 
That is so important. 
"Why do we think that we would be able to follow the Celestial laws when we can't even follow the Telestial laws?" -Elder K
Me and the comp :)
SISTER O <333333 So much love for her

As a district, we have made a goal to go tracting everyday no matter what. 
So thats what we have been trying to do! Even if its just one street or the surrounding houses of an appointment. 
We just got done with tracting around a referrals house and still had some extra time so we decided to continue to tract. 
Blind tracting is so so so completely discouraging and useless and thats why tracting gets a bad rep. 
BUT. When we tract with the Spirit and get a referral from Heavenly Father of where to go.. Of course its going to be great!
So we prayed and searched for a good street and we were getting into the ghetto but then I saw some nice looking house and so we stopped there!
Then we found a street of nice houses and this adorable mint house. So we decided to go to the mint green house because it was really cute.

We go to the door and know and a man answers the door. We introduce ourselves as missionaries and before we say anything else, I just kinda blurted out that his house was super cute. 
And in my head I'm like, "What the heck?? you just told a man that his house is cute in the almost ghetto. what are you doing."
But then I was like, "Well. you already said it. act natural?" haha
Anyways we tell him what we are doing and he tries to tell us to leave because he has his whole family in the house, kids and grandkids. But then he pauses and says that we can come in!
We come in and start talking to him and his son or son-in-law about families and how Jesus Christ has blessed them in their lives. 
The man, his name is Donald, starts telling us that he is baptist and he has his own church and his wife is Jehovah Witness and she goes to church every Sunday and they are good with that... but then he paused for just a second again and tells us to come back on Tuesday night so we can study more. 
wait. what? 
He repeats himself and we heard him right. 
I fumble to get my planner out and write down his name and address and phone number. 
We pray with them before we leave and have a return appointment for tuesday. 
It was amazing to see how the Spirit worked on him in such a casual conversation. 
I KNOW we did not say anything to convince him to meet with us. It was purely the Spirit and his decision. 
It makes me so so happy that I get to have it with me all the time. 
It makes me happy that I have to work for it to be with me because its so so satisfying to know that when I have the Spirit it effects people so strongly. 
And that we are directed to people who are prepared. 

I love the Spirit. 
I love being a missionary.
I love being spiritually exhausted. (except when I fall asleep on my study chair, kneeling in that position for an hour. #couldntfeelmyarms #whoops)
and I love yall so much!!!
sister sades
on exchanges we went tracting in a not ghetto but almost ghetto neighborhood where a lessactive family lives.
We found this in the screet. (correct louisiana pronunciation) 
A full-fledged weave ;)
When its so flippin humid outside you step out of the air conditioned car and your glasses fog up. #notcool #suffocating 
Quote of the week: "Raining like a cow peeing on a river rock" -Pop

Monday, June 6, 2016

LDS Celebs‏

This week has been pretty rad.
Its been a bit slow but then we had some pretty cool miracles.
Sister Pfleger is going through some funky medical problems for a long time and they have really started to get worse this week so we had 2 or 3 days that we couldn't go anywhere!
and also it has been SO stormy and rainy and humid this week. Like wow. Buckets and buckets of rain. and lightning and claps of thunder that shake our house. Thats crazy business.
Moral of the Story: I watched Finding Faith in Christ and 17 Miracles for the first time ever and I approve of both of them! They are really good. hahah
the dynamic duo
BUT the Alexandria Elders had a baptism on Saturday! Baptisms are a very big deal in Louisiana because they don't happen very often. at. all.
And the statistics of investigators being baptized after attending a baptism are quite high.
So you put these two things together along with me not knowing anyone in the area, going on the third day of being stuck inside, and a phone full of contacts... it makes a good time.
On Friday I spent 3 hours calling every single contact in our mission phone(that wasn't a member)!!
This phone covers both Pineville and Alexandria and hasn't been cleared out, we firgured, in probably 3 or more years. So this is every person, investigator or random street contact or anyone with a number given to the Sisters in the last 3 years.
and I called all of them while Sister Pfleger was sick.
and it took 3 hours.
We figured I called over 100 people.
I left over 30 messages, deleted 20 or more disconnected, had several wrong numbers, had several with no voicemail available.. etc
But I actually talked to a couple of them!
Had some interesting conversations and a few kind but uninterested people.
but out of 100, 6 were committed to coming! And they sounded excited about it!
So even though we couldn't get out and work we still tried to get some new investigators through just a simple invitation.
Saturday roles around and we are getting ready for the baptism, people are showing up.
Jonathan Jones was getting baptized and he is a 14 year old getting baptized because his friend is a member and invited him to start coming to church.
Jonathan and his family show up, some ward members, the Alec and Pineville Elders, the Bishop and his counselors......
Then finally one less active family comes in that we invited and they bring a friend that had come to church before!
And thats all!
And that was SO cool that they came.
Even though no one from the phone came we tried.
And this is literally missionary work.
Talking to everyone you can, getting commitments, being disappointed, but then being surprised and getting a blessing straight from Heavenly Father.
Another cool experience.
We are now BFFs with a local LDS celeb.
Little known fact, Sister Neil F. Marriott is from Alexandria, Louisiana! and her mom still lives here!
Whenever she comes and visits her mom, she comes to church and sometimes gives a devotional. We got both yesterday!
As missionaries we stand outside and greet everyone that comes into the chapel. Well it was just a casual Sunday and we knew that Sister Marriott was going to come to church but ya know she's famous and we probably wouldn't get to talk to her.
So we're greeting and we're both talking to someone and a couple comes in and tries to slip past us but without thinking I caught them and introduced myself to the sister with a hug. Not even thinking about it and not recognizing them. Then after when I'm going in for the hug she says, "oh hi!" and I'm thinking... I recognize that voice.....
so we hugged. and it was great.
And then she went and talked to the bishop & wife and then had to come sit down and came and sat down by us! on purpose!!! and we had a conversation before church started!!
Then she had to leave after sacrament but then she was speaking at a devotional that night for the youth, that we were specially invited to by bishops wife to help serve refreshments.
So then we talked more and had a good time and got a pic.
And her mom still lives in Alec and is not a member and has had a really bad experience with missionaries so she hasn't let missionaries come in a long time and Sister Marriott is very delicate and particular about the situation so she hasn't wanted missionaries to go over.
But. Guess what two missionaries get to start meeting with Sister Neil F. Marriott's mom.
So blessed yall.
Our hero Neil
I love yall so so much.
Share the gospel.
Invite yo friends.
Love life and see good days.
LOVE yall
Sister Sades