Tuesday, February 28

#11

What-ho, all?

This week has been pretty awesome, I won't lie. Not really because of any particular events, but because I have really begun to settle in. When I wake up in the morning, my first thought is: "Hmm, what am I going to do about so-and-so" not "where am I?!" It's a nice adjustment. Just helps me to see that there is life after transition and that perhaps I'll settle into this system enough that I won't be so edgy about everything I get to do.

Anyways. Things are still going well! We have several people now who are actively progressing in their learning. It's a great blessing to be a part of this... I begin to see that really, Heavenly Father could do any of this through other means, but he has blessed me greatly by helping me to hang on long enough to be a part of each person's life. It's always odd to me to realize that it's only been two months. I feel as though I've always been here doing this. (Which is a pretty comfortable mentality, so I can't complain.)

The chastity lesson went very well... though only because the couple we taught actually were already pretty much living it and had already discussed such things together. Haha... but they are still living together. :/ So that'll be the next thing we have to explain. Hopefully that goes well also.

One of the hardest things about this area, I think, is the distance. The little chapel is in Steven's Point, and when we go out to areas like Waupaca, it's hard to encourage people with no money for gas to come to church. We aren't even allowed to do any tracting in those areas because we need to focus on areas where people will be more willing to come to church. It's always a little sad to drive through those farther areas to visit less-active members and other members, just knowing that the entire area is under my stewardship and that the people within know barely anything of the church. Hopefully we can establish a greater foundation of strong members in Steven's Point so we can have a better chance of maintaining members from more distant areas.

Well, that's about it for today. I'd just like to encourage all of you, as usual, to seek opportunities for missionary work. :) It is music to my ears when a member approaches me and mentions that they've been working with one of their friends and they'd like me to come meet them.

Love and miss you all! I appreciate your letters and prayers.

-Sister Black

(And some cheese dishes for your entertainment. The Rudolph's Cheese Factory has several cases of them. I love the round one especially.)

They say: "'elp yersel to more" "Say little but think much" and "enoughs as good as a feast". All very gorgeous. :)





Tuesday, February 21

#10

Hello all! Sorry this is a day late--holidays are generally reserved as "prime proselyting days", so they moved p-day down to Tuesday so we could be out an about. (I have my suspicions though. We spent the whole day trying to contact and we only actually found about 2/20 people home.) Still, the work goes forth. :) We may have found a new person to teach, so that might just be awesome. We'll see Thursday how our first lesson goes.

Hmm. This week we had a lot of cancellations. :/ It's been a bit discouraging, but we also set our first baptismal date! One of the Chinese boys we are teaching agreed to March 17th after only his second lesson! We're pretty excited, and we hope we can help him prepare for that day. :)

This week has also been pretty boring. I guess mission life is just meant to be routine so we can focus, right? We were looking for scriptures involving death penalties for sin (don't ask why) and we came across Deuteronomy 19:5. We probably laughed for about 20 minutes straight, though I don't really know why it's so funny. Just goes to show... we may be losing it. :D

Also, I've discovered that my "ministerial certificate" which is given to missionaries to validiate their proselyting services if anyone questions them, is valid from Dec 14th 2011 to Dec 14th 2013. So I guess they are secretly going to keep me for two years, so what-ho. You are all warned. ;) Sister Johnson's is only valid to the end of her mission (October) so I am very suspicious.

Anyways. Sorry, this email is kind of random and all over the place.

It's snowing again. Yep. Not too exciting.

Uhm... We're teaching our investigator couple the Law of Chastity on Wednesday. Please keep me in your prayers, because I am pretty nervous about it.

Also, I'm having some homesickness issues so I'd appreciate prayers in that regard. Seems as though things are getting better and better, but I still have hard days. I love you all and appreciate the letters and support I've recieved. :) I'm excited to be here.

-Sister Black

p.s. Oh! I finished my first transfer this week. :) Sister Johnson and I are still together though, so no changes. Still, that's 1/12 transfers down. I gotta get moving! 0_o

p.p.s. Pictures: We did some volunteer work at the Humane Society with some cats. I was careful not to touch my eyes (some of you may know that I'm a bit allergic) but when I got home I forgot and rubbed one of my eyes... or something... so I got to go to my next lesson looking like a weirdo. :) As you can see.

Second, the Bowrings have a "Christmas Tree" their family made them to hang on their wall. :) Jeeves and Wooster pictured therein.





Monday, February 13

#9

Another lovely week.

Actually, it was kind of a normal week... still, a mission week is always lovely right?

Haha, yeah... yep.

*cough*

Well, this week Sister Johnson was buying heart-shaped wax-sealed valentines cheese (sorry friends, I'm too poor for cool things like that) and she was looking on the back and she said, with awe in her voice, "this cheese doesn't expire till July of 2013!"  We were pretty excited, especially when I realized that that was when I go HOME.  So this week's great resolution is: "I will outlast that cheese."

This week we started teaching the ex-convict I mentioned in my last letter.  He's really taking everything well, though with probation he won't be baptized for quite a while.  But he loves learning and hearing abou the gospel.  We also had the opportunity to drop him off at his current residence--a half-way house.  As we were leaving, one of the men there was asking about why we were there.  The matron-secretary casually asked him "do YOU want to go the church?"  He's like: "YEAH, I want to go to church!"

We were laughing all the way home.

In other news, I have recently acquired a photo of my beloved Jeeves and Wooster (thank you mum) and I will be flat-stanley-ing them for the duration of my mission.  So be prepared.  This week we used them on a poster for our LDSSA/institute poster.  :)  (Photo included.)

In other news, I've finished my Christmas candy.  :(  I guess it's a good thing.  I tried to make it last as long as possible.  ;)

This year we're studying George Albert Smith in relief society (as you all know).  I've never really studied ANY of the prophets before, but I have immediately begun to love reading of his teachings.  His focus on charity is so vivid and inspiring!  I've been thinking a lot about charity... and about how we are nothing without charity.  Think of it!  Charity is everything, in a way!  It is our ultimate weapon against Satan, against the natural man, and against fear of any shape and form.  Hopefully I can continue to seek after greater charity.  Preach My Gospel has some great advice on doing so, if any of you are interested.  ;)  The Christlike Attributes section is incredible.

Well, love you all!  Sorry this is short--I've had a bit much to do on the computer today.  Hope you all know that I love you and miss you.  Your support and prayers are felt.  :)

-Sister Black

Pictures:
Our district (it's transfer time, so we're losing some of our numbers) and our LDSSA poster




Monday, February 6

#8


This week was pretty random.  We had a couple of appointments drop and weren't able to see all of our investigators this week, so that's a little scary.  But things are looking up.  Yesterday we had two of our investigators come to church for the first time! 
We met a gentleman at the library on Friday when we were doing the family history tutorial on the missionary website.  He's been recently released from prison, and he'd been in since 1996 for gang activity.  So he didn't know how to use the internet at all.  (Can you imagine?)  So we helped him a bit working with an internet browser.  Then we had to go, so we left him a Mormon.org card and asked him to visit the site.  We got a call that afternoon!  He wants to learn more, and he wanted to come to church!  So we invited him to come and arranged from someone to pick him up from the halfway house he lives in.  He came and participated in the discussions, and even bore his testimony in testimony meeting about how this was the first time in weeks he'd felt peaceful.  We're pretty excited to teach him.  He is so earnest in his desire to figure out life again.  He asked us if our church believed he could still go to heaven, and it was a great joy to be able to testify to him that he could if he followed Christ and did the things He asks. 
(When he called us, he remembered Sister Johnson's name.  Then he said: "I remembered Sister Black's name because of my black jeans!"  I get a lot of random comments like that.  My black tag, my black shoes, etc.  I have a wonderfully easy name to remember, so that's a benefit.  ;)
I know this is the Lord's work.  I hope I can continue to learn to do what He desires me to do.  This week I'm trying to really act on the "hunches" I get.  Sister Johnson mentioned that even if the random hunches we feel to do something aren't really beneficial, by acting on them, we show Heavenly Father we can be trusted to recieve spiritual promptings and act on them in a timely manner.  So hopefully I can get better at that and stop doubting my thoughts and feelings and being afraid. 
No exceptionally funny stories this week, I'm afraid.  I went to the ER for the first time with one of the women in our branch, so that was pretty crazy.  She was throwing up the whole time, and I was amazed to find myself able to help her and support her the whole time, even though I generally have a weak stomach myself.  The Lord can do anything he needs, I guess.  :) 
Sunday we weren't allowed to go tracting because of the super bowl.  (Yes, I'm serious.)  I guess some of these people get a little violent... pulling guns out if we interrupted plays and such.  (I still don't know whether that's true.)  Needless to say, I was quite happy to get some extra studying in. 
No pictures this week, I'm afraid.  I always forget... or I don't know what to take pictures of.  Requests are welcome!  ;) 
Thank you all as always.  The letters I recieve and words of comfort written are nearly always inspired and come just when I need them.  Love you all!
-Sister Black