Weekly update! Alright, my district is going to a cotton gin today so I don't have a ton of time so I'm gonna try to cram everything into this letter as fast as possible! Sorry if there are typos or you can't understand it! Haha alright, nanner puddin'. The greatest stuff ever! So many people make it here in the south and it is amazing. (It's pretty much an amazing version of banana pudding) Sadly this past week we had to discontinue one of our investigators because he just wasn't keeping commitments and it was suuuper hard! But, one of our other investigators by the name of CJ is progressing wonderfully and I cannot wait for him to get baptized!! We saw a Model T driving around the other day but I was too slow to get my camera out so I don't have a picture.. But crazy! We were riding with one of our members a few days ago and he drove over a possum! It was the worst feeling ever!! Ugh!! He was really funny about it and tried to convince himself that it wasn't dead. But yeah, it's totally dead. Cook Out!! Is from the heavens. It is this fast food place that has amazing shakes and hamburgers and hush puppies and everything is soo good! Thanksgiving went well! We actually did have a member invite us over for lunch and it was delicious!! We got so full! Our mission president wanted us to tract and store contact from 6-9 so we did! It was super amazing!! Elder Rogers and I made these little Thanksgiving pass along cards to give out and I think they were a success! Last Friday, we had 6 lessons and it was a super busy day! In one of the lessons, the woman opened her door and three HUGE dogs came jumping onto us! They were seriously at least up to my waist in height. Terrifying. On Saturday we worked out super hard in the morning, had our basketball / volleyball thing with our investigators in the afternoon, and raked leaves for our landlord all night. I am SORE! It's alright I suppose because it only means I'm going to be super buff afterwards.. ;) I am sick again!! I think it might be Strep. It's going around.. But alas, I am working crazy hard anyways and trying to forget myself and not let it hinder me in the slightest. Quick story! Last Tuesday(?) we had a lesson with an investigator by the name of Manuel and we were playing catch afterwards and I threw the baseball and my ring came off with it! There were leaves everywhere and I thought I lost it! But! I told Manuel to pray for it and that if he did, we would find it. After about 15 more minutes of searching, they were about to give up when I found it! It was under a huge pile of leaves and I know that I would never have found it without the help of the Lord. And it was such a great experience for Manuel to see the power of prayer! Maybe I should "accidentally" lose it with other investigators too? ;) A super good week! I hope y'all have a great one too. Also, it is my glorious sister's birthday tomorrow so everyone tell her Happy Birthday for me! She is turning 20!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MADDY, YOU ARE THE GREATEST!!!! I love you all.
Wow! Is it Preparation day already?!? This week was again packed full of many things! Last Wednesday we had a zone training and our entire zone blitzed one of our areas for an hour and tracted! It was amazing!! I love tracting. So much. At the end of the training, we went on exchanges and guess what?! I became a Godfather!! An Elder by the name of Elder Christensen came with me back to Clinton and I had a night full of work ready for him! It was really fun to be in charge of the area and to introduce him to our investigators. I also got to drive for the first time in over two months! Man, that was an amazing feeling. That is, until I drove into a ditch... Hahahaha yeah... It's a long story but pretty much I didn't see that there was a driveway to one of the homes and I tried to drive onto their lawn (apparently everyone here parks on each others lawns.. It's super weird..) without seeing a ditch.. Luckily I cleared the ditch, but the car pulled up quite a bit of grass where I hit the other side.. I was honestly terrified.. I said a quick prayer though and with faith got out of the car. Guess what? No damage at all to the car! Woohoo! Also the next day I had to drive through the craziest rain storm of my life! There was at least a few inches of water on the road, it was really dangerous.. But I guess that is North Carolina for you! We ran into a man by the name of Kent this week and he talked to us for an hour about how Jesus is black and all of this nonsense.. I tried to say something so that we could leave, but he was pretty persistent that we hear him out. He was also in a few gangs back in the day so I was a little hesitant to be too pushy.. But yeah! Crazy town! Elder Rogers took me to this place called Bojangles and he bought me a Boberry biscuit. It was amazing!! I am addicted now. It's incredible. Seriously. I have a quick tracting story! So Elder Rogers and I went tracting in this neighborhood full of Presbyterians and this one man answered his door and almost immediately said "I'm very strong in the Presbyterian church and I doubt there is anything you could do to change that." and without skipping a beat I promptly replied "Challenge accepted." Well, he didn't seem to like that very much and slammed the door in our faces.. Haha Elder Rogers thought it was pretty funny though! With Thanksgiving coming up, I bought a little solar powered turkey last week and we decided to name him Freddy. He's the best. He dances all the days long on our dashboard. Speaking of which, Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Eat a ton of food and get super fat for me!! I love you all and continue to pray for you!! Have a great week everyone. And really be grateful for your families this Thanksgiving, I know I am for mine.
This week FLEW by! I cannot even believe how fast time is going. Well, I have a lot of stories so I guess I will just jump right into it! Last Tuesday I believe we were on our way to contact a potential investigator and I said a prayer that he would be there that day because every other time we go to see him, he is not. Well, getting out of the car, we didn't see his truck and were slightly discouraged. But! A few kids in a nearby park yelled at us to come play basketball with them! We accepted and I told them that if we won, they were coming to church. :) Well, we lost... But they still said they would come! Anyways, while we were playing, our potential investigator got home so we were able to stop by and talk to him! The Lord answers prayers in very mysterious ways! Even if it does require losing a basketball game.. We had FHE last Monday at a member's home and we taught the lesson. We talked about the importance of member missionaries and challenged them all to be missionaries and gave them each a specific assignment. It was a very powerful lesson. Apparently a few members of the branch told our President that we are getting the branch excited again for missionary work! Woohoo! They also said that we are the purest examples of Christ they've ever seen! I don't know about that, but we are definitely trying to do God's will in all things. Oh, by the by, I guess Clinton is the pig capitol of the world! Fun fact. We had exchanges this past week with the Zone Leaders and afterwards, we met up in a small town by the name of Autryville and we played pool and ate breakfast. It was fun. We ran into the ice cream man too so I got a picture of me and my ice cream. :) My companion didn't understand why I was buying anything, but I told him "It's the ice cream man! You can't just not buy anything from the ice cream man!" Mmm, that was a delicious decision. We play Volleyball and Basketball every Saturday to try and mingle with our investigators/less-actives/members/pretty much anyone and it is a really fun time! I mean, just look at the attached picture and you will understand how awesome it is. ;) I have really noticed this past week that the more you forget yourself and focus on the people, the happier you become! I love the people so much and really have felt the mantle of their salvation resting on my shoulders. Missionary work is not easy, but it is sooo worth it! I just want to quickly share two really special experiences I had this past week. We went to visit a woman in our ward the other night by the name of Sister Gaona. She is remarkable. She is a burn victim and is pretty mangled. It actually is quite a miracle that she is still alive. I believe she was about 90% burned. Anyways, we went and gave her the Sacrament. It was one of the most impacting moments of my life. Watching her hold the Sacrament cup with her stubs and slowly bringing the love of Christ to her lips, I was in tears. I have such a strong testimony about the power of the Sacrament and how much it really means. Too many of us take it for granted. It is a blessing to be able to be renewed each week through the Sacrament. I challenge you this next week to truly reflect on the importance and the meaning of the Sacrament. Alright, one last experience. Last night, we were eating dinner at a member's home and they had invited one of their colleagues from Medical school to join us. We taught him and his girlfriend the message of the Restoration focusing on the gospel's ability to bless families. Well, let me just tell you that the spirit was stronger than I have ever felt in my life, apart from the Temple. I could tell that our message was really impacting him so after we committed him to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, I invited him to be baptized. I was so nervous. It was my first time actually invited someone myself! I wanted so badly for him to say yes. I had no idea what to say, but I knew it needed to be said. I opened my mouth and the Lord filled it with His words. Immediately after I challenged him to follow the example of our Savior and be baptized, he replied "Yes." I broke down. I bore a strong testimony to him of the power of this gospel and of the blessings he would receive as a result of his decision. I just want to close by saying the I know my Savior lives! I know that I am not doing anything save it be by the grace of His hands. I love this Gospel with all of my heart. I continue to pray for each of you and wish all of you a great week! Thanks for reading. :)
Where do I begin?? Alright, I've got a lot to cover in not very much time. Let's see. In the past two weeks... Well, my last Tuesday in the MTC, we had a member of the Seventy come and he told us that if all goes according to plan, every mission in America should have iPads by the end of this year/early next year! So that's exciting! My companion broke his hand a few days before we left the CCM, so we spent a few nights in the hospital in the middle of Mexico City so he could have a surgery and what not. Last Monday I was able to talk to my family at the airport and it was amazing. I just want you all to know how amazing and how important families are! I know I love mine. SO much. I am serving in Clinton as my first area and it is a great little place! My companion and I are the only elders in the area so we speak both Spanish and English. It's actually one of the bigger areas of the mission so we are traveling all the time. I love the people though! After every single lesson I am in such a good mood and am just so happy to be out here serving the Lord! I want to hug every person I see and tell them that Christ loves them!! Our branch is full of amazing people and there actually is a sweet old lady that makes the missionaries lunch every Sunday. It was sooo goood!! Probably the first good meal I have had since I've been out to be honest.. My companion is great! His name is Elder Rogers and he is just about done with his mission. In fact, I'll probably be his last companion! He is the district leader so he's always on phone calls and in meetings and such and such. It's been great out here! The culture of the south is phenomenal! Pretty much everyone we teach is in a trailer home and I love it. There are trees EVERYWHERE!!! Hahaha it's the best. My mission president is President James and him and his wife are blessed people. They truly are so lovely. They are very loving and warm to everyone and I can tell already that It's going to be a great ride. It has been pretty tough at times to adjust to everything, but it has all worked out in the end. I often wish I could see or even hear my mother's voice, but then I remember that I am on an important mission for the work of the Lord! I testify that He will help with anything. There is nothing he cannot fix, there is nothing he has not felt, and there is no one he cannot succor. This past week has gone slowly, but I think future weeks will pick up. My address is 309 B Sampson St. Clinton, NC 28328 if anyone is wondering! I love you all and think about each one of you regularly. Keep being the wonderful people you are!!!
Lots of love,
1. The sandwich is his companion's specialty called "The Samoan." Ingredients include Ramen noodles, one egg, one hot dog, one chicken patty, lettuce, ranch, seasonings, and cheese. Glad to see missionaries have gotten more creative.
2. The first picture below is of Joey with President and Sister James, his mission president and wife. They're from Utah and have been out about 3 months.
3. The next picture is of Joey with his trainer, Elder Rogers.
We didn't get a letter from Joey this week because he was traveling but we had a wonderful call with him from the Atlanta airport while he waited for his flight to North Carolina. His P-day in Raleigh will be Monday so we'll have an update then. We got the picture below when he landed in North Carolina.