Thursday, May 24

#23


Hello!  It's been so crazy!  AUGH.

Haha, I guess not really crazy.  It's gotten up in the 90's this week and I have accumulated the first of many farmer's burns.  :)  We got to go do service at a convent of sorts, which was wonderful fun.  It's always surprising to me how much joy putting on a pair of jeans and doing whatever work is needed has become.  I mean, before the mission it was like: "Oh, sure, I guess I'll go and spread compost."  Now it's like: "WHAT?  We get to go spread compost!?"  :D  Which is exactly what we got to do for a few hours.  So now we are a little more colorful and a little more aware of the need for mosquito repellent and sunscreen at all times in Waukesha.  

Anyways, I feel like I've become super busy... like suddenly after Derrick was baptized tons of people that we are responsible for teaching and fellowshipping just ERUPTED out of the woodwork.  Except maybe that is because now since I am the most familiar with the ward I have to actually remember names and schedule appointments for the most part.  (*cough* not that I wasn't doing that before.)  But Sister Bastian is learning everyone and everything quickly and she is a fantastic companion.  :)  

So this morning during studies I was reading about Abinadi in Mosiah 16.  (I love these chapters.)  It's funny how certain things will just suddenly pop out to you during a particular read through.  I guess I suddenly realized that Abinadi is talking TO ALMA during his entire sermon.  Especially in versus 14 and 15.  He says: "Therefore, if ye teach the law of Moses, also teach that it is a shadow of those things which are to come- Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord who is the very Eternal Father."  Abinadi is not asking the wicked priests to change their ways.  I mean, he is, but I think he recognizes that their hearts are too hardened for such a change to take place.  I think he is pleading with Alma.  

Following this episode, Abinadi is put to death, his blood sealing his testimony.  Alma flees before this happens, having asked Noah to spare Abinadi and being condemned for it.  The last words he hears Abinadi speak is the petition to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He hides himself away and eventually retreats to the place of Mormon, where he (18v.7) "did teach them, and did preach unto them repentance, and redemption, and faith on the Lord" just as Abinadi had asked him to.  Eventually (v.35) he and those who follow depart into the wilderness-numbering about 450 souls!  

The other day we were tracting and a very typical scene occurred.  The head of house answered the door and, upon hearing our message, explained that "thanks, but we have our own religion" and went to close the door.  His two sons watched from behind his shoulder.  Before he could, I felt the need to testify of our prophet--that he leads us in these days and that Heavenly Father loves us dearly.  He basically shrugged it aside and said "thank you" and turned to go.  So, we turned away and moved on to the next house.  As we were knocking at the next door, I glanced back and saw one of his sons watching us.  He only looked to be about 7.  But his expression really struck me.  And I suddenly felt very aware of how important it is to speak of the glorious truths of the gospel--even to those we don't think will listen.  

Perhaps this young man will recall our words in the future as he seeks his own way, much as Alma did.  

Anyways, I am so grateful for this mission.  I say that a lot, and I truly am--even with all the awkward moments and the lack of comfort zone.  I only hope in the future I will be less hesitant to testify than I have been in the past.  

Love you all!  Sorry I've blabbered on so.  Have a glorious week!  My little sister is graduating on Wednesday (I believe), so please send her a congrats on Facebook or something so we can make up for my terrible absence.  ;)

Why isn't it spelled "Wendsday"?

Whatever.  Here's a baptism pic for ya.  :)  Exciting, isn't it?

-Sister Black

Monday, May 14

#21 and 22

May 14th
Hello all!  What a lovely week it has been!  

Derrick was baptized on Saturday, and we are so excited for him!  Bad news though, I have no pictures yet because I asked Sister Huber and Brother Thompson to send them to me and they HAVEN'T.  So, unfortunately, you will have to wait till next week.  But it was fantastic.  :)

We got our conference edition of the Ensign, and I've begun reading it intently.  In light of Mother's Day I love especially Elder Baxter's talk.  He commented that "there was a dignity about my mother, a tremendous source of determination and sheer Scottish grit."  I think his mum and my mum would get along just fine, don't you?  :)  He almost described her to perfection.  It was sweet to be reminded about the things that admire in my own mother.  

Yesterday the bishop asked me just before sacrament meeting if I would be willing to bear my testimony about mothers.  (You don't really say no to the bishop in such circumstances, ESPECIALLY if you are a missionary.)  So after the youth speaker I plodded up to the front and testified of the great joy and strength my mother is to me.  (I even started crying a bit, which is terrible, but what can you expect from a girl away from home?!)  I know motherhood is a sacred calling.  I am grateful that I can serve this mission and perhaps be a bit of a better mother for it.  And I am especially and eternally grateful for my own mother.  She is one of my fondest blessings in this lifetime.  :)

My newest companion is Sister Bastian.  She is the first who is actually my age (we are only 7 months apart!) so it's interesting to have a similar frame of reference.  She is incredible.  One of those amazing obedient missionaries that every mother hopes her son or daughter will be.  :)  I am grateful for her example, (exasperating as it can be to realize my own weaknesses and try to rise to the occasion) and I think this transfer will bring great things.  She is a red-head with the disposition of a Disney Princess.  :)  (Incidentally, she loves Disney movies.)  She has been out for about 10 months.

Anyways, no baptism picture, but I have one of Sister Bastian, Encarnation (who we live with) and her daughter's family.  We had a surprise birthday party for Sister Bastian yesterday with a cake that was sent BY MAIL.  (What will they come up with next?)

Also, that isn't a plea for cake by mail.  I have no need of cake.  ;)

Well, that's about it!  This week has been pretty crazy.  We have some potential investigators, so that should keep us pretty busy over the next week.  It's getting warmer.  0_o

-Sister Black




May 7th
This is super lame, but I wrote a nice long rambly post and then I
clicked "send" and it disappeared.  Booooooo.  (As Sister Huber would
say.)

So I'll just summarize what I had before because I only have a few minutes.  :P

Sister Huber is getting transferred back to Wauwatosa with Sister
Brady again.  I am staying in Waukesha and my new companion, Sister
Bastian, is coming from Marquette Michigan.  Crazy!  (I want to be
that area in the winter.  They get upwards of like... 12 feet of snow
in some areas.)  So that will be Wednesday.  :)

Derrick is set for baptism.  He passed his interview.  :)  So please
please PLEASE keep him in your prayers!  This'll be a final stretch.
He is so excited!  He has made some pretty amazing changes in his
life, and it's been such a blessing to witness the miracles that have
taken place as his heart has been changed and his righteous desires
have increased.

Those are the only "big" news.  I love you all so dearly!  It has been
raining like crazy with huge dark thunderstorms.  If nothing else, I
know Heavenly Father wanted me here to experience Wisconsin
thunderstorms.  :D  So awesome.

Be safe!  Go watch some Youtube videos for me.  ;)

-Sister Black

p.s. Pictures!
1) Our Spanish Elders.  Elder Henderson is getting transferred, so we
are sad.  :'(  But Elder Loertscher gets to train, so that should be
exciting.  They are incredible teachers, so it was awesome to work
with them a bit.  :)
2) Ray took us out for ice cream for Sister Huber's b-day.  :)  She is
moving to Utah this week!  So that is sad, but when she was talking to
her son Mason (not in the picture) she told him "Next time we see the
sisters we will be able to call them Leslie and Beth!"  Haha, that was
a little weird to think about.  But it's true.  :)  I'm excited to get
to see them next year.



Wednesday, May 2

#20

I can't believe it's another p-day. Ridiculous.

First I want to thank everyone who has been praying for us to have success and to be safe. I know these prayers carry great power. This week we had some incredible finding experiences and I know in my heart they are due to the faith shown by those who are praying for us in the ward and back home.

This week I've been thinking a lot about following and receiving promptings from the Holy Ghost. At a missionary correlation meeting we had last week, Elder Loertscher (one of the Spanish elders) precluded a suggestion by the following: "I have an idea- slash- probably a prompting from the Holy Ghost."

He's a goof, but the comment really struck me. I know I need to be better at following through with ideas and hunches that come, and stop waiting for the glorious inspirational epiphanies we tend to read about. Seems as though the silliest thoughts and hunches lead to the greatest joys.

Anyways, we were checking up on applications that we had put into a shelter. The "head honcho" let us in and we started discussing when we could come in next week to start training. She asked us where we were from, and when she heard I was from Utah, she got excited and started talking about how much she loved Utah, that she had been investigating the church and had really liked it, that she missed going to the Mormon church, and could she start taking lessons again?

...

We are very excited. :) After a week of searching, we are so blessed to come across a family prepared to be taught once again. We all know about and recognize tender mercies in our lives. I spend much of my mission looking back and realizing that Heavenly Father has been carefully working on me through his tender mercies.

When we teach anyone about the gospel, we are trying to prepare them to make covenants--to keep the commandments and then to recognize and desire the fruits of righteousness. These fruits build our faith in ways that I am only beginning to fathom. He continues to carve away the darkness inside each of those we work with and--if they are willing to recognize and seek after it--fills those cavities with light and truth.

In other news, we had to move our investigator's date back a week, so he is set for May 11th now. Please please keep him in your prayers! He is excited to take the plunge.

No pictures this week I'm afraid. :( We have been lazy with the picture taking. But busy in all other ways, which is what is important, right?

Sorry I'm not a very entertaining writer. I think these get worse as my mission goes on. Only 14 more months, right? ;)

Love and miss you all!

-Sister B.