Well we just finished week 4 of the transfer… just 2 more weeks and I think sister Allison will be leaving Woodville! She’ll be hitting her 6mo mark, so it’s time for a new area for her… It makes me nervous! I don’t want a new companion!
This week has lasted forever. It’s been quite a struggle and test of faith for us. I apologize now if this is short….
But before I get into everything, the mormon.org videos I loved this week were ones called “God’s greatest creation” and “continue in patience”. In one of those videos, I believe President Uchtdorf said, “The more you trust and rely upon the spirit the greater your capacity to create”. I really liked it. I thought it could apply to many areas of our lives cause as humans, we’re always trying to create something new. Relationships, food, crafts, knowledge, testimony… You never know. But trust in the spirit!
On Thursday during our hour of power we got yelled at by a crazy, half naked agnostic man. It was awful. I just couldn’t believe that there was someone in Texas who didn’t believe in Christ. It was really sad! He lived in a dumpy trailer house and just didn’t look happy at all. The gospel could bless his life, but people have their agency… It’s terribly frustrating at times.
We’ve been working with a less active named Lois. She’s HILARIOUS. She’s living with her fiancé right now, and isn’t really sure when they’ll get married. She’s trying to quit smoking though! She’s feeling discouraged though because her fiancé and her best friend both smoke, so it’s hard to go cold turkey when everyone around you won’t give it up too. But she’s a sweetie; has a lot of kids. She knows what’s right just needs a little push. I guess she was raised in SLC and her parents are super-duper active… She just kind of fell off the wagon. Super sad. She’s always excited to see us though!
A couple in our ward had their 50th wedding anniversary. They had this huge party at a restaurant called “The Picket House”. They told us to come because there’d be a lot of people to contact. We were pretty excited! Well…. We got there, and yes there were a lot of people, but the whole event was very formal. There wasn’t an opportunity to mingle. We just sat there for a few hours, getting fat off fried chicken and this fruit dip stuff, and tried to guess when an appropriate time to excuse ourselves would be. But they were so precious! Dancing, so happy… They are leaving this weekend to drive to LA. They were sealed in the LA temple and they get to go back on the exact day they were sealed – it’s even on a Tuesday! They haven’t been back in all their 50 years, so they’re pretty psyched.
This week was a big test of faith though. We were able to gain a new investigator, taught the first lesson, set a baptismal date, and committed him to come to church. THAT’S HUGE for Woodville. However, his wife is a less active who has never wanted him to join the church. He’s in a nursing home and can’t be removed unless you have her permission. SO. Denese Durr called and asked if she could pick him up for church, Betty (the wife) said that his doctor just told her he isn’t strong enough to do anything. Well, me being me, asked the nurses the next day if Mr. Sisson was strong enough to come to church. They cheerily said yes, that’d actually be very good for him to get outside and go somewhere! So I was pretty psyched. Well – we went to have our lesson with John and he immediately said that he needed to stand firm in his church and not move forward. So all in the course of a week, we had a super prepared investigator commit to progress, then drop us.
It broke my heart. It was obvious by some stuff he said that his wife persuaded him to drop us. It was awful. Woodville has been such a difficult area… We officially have no one to teach, so it can only get better from here. All of these people can be so stubborn. Sometimes it feels like things would be easier if we just quit and gave into despair, but we know that’s not the most productive thing to do. It’s just a struggle to meet people and convince them that they don’t actually want to go to the cowboy church where they wear blue jeans and smoke, but that they’d rather come to our nice chapel in dress clothes for 3 hours! Ya know? Satan REALLY has his grasp on these country folk. It’s obvious to see why a person wouldn’t want to change; they have such a simple easy lifestyle that demands nothing of them. We’re just trying to figure out how we can bring the spirit into their lives since that’s the changing and converting factor.
I just feel like we are missing something. We’re doing so many things, yet hardly making progress. It’s like we’re missing one little piece of the puzzle that will make all our prayers, efforts, and time come and work together. I’ve been studying the lessons, studying faith, a chapter in PMG is all about developing the faith to find that I’ve poured over, and have also made my prayers extremely specific. I just figured that if I want the Lord to bless me a certain way, I have to ask for it. I can’t keep assuming he’s going to understand what I want… In the bible dictionary under ‘prayer’ it says that there are certain blessings you can only receive IF you ask for them. Heavenly Father wants us to ask for things – he’s waiting to bless us.
We’ve challenged a lot of our branch members to ’30 days of gratitude’ starting on November 1st. We’ve asked them to read their scriptures each day, then write down their thoughts or even just a bullet point, of something they learned from the scriptures that they can be grateful for…. We had a guest speaker at church last week who spoke on gratitude. He blew my mind! He told the story of the brother of Jared, but said something so incredible about it! In the story it talks about how the winds tossed them about on the sea, causing them an uncomfortable journey. However, a few verses later, they give thanks for the winds that kept pushing them ever onward towards the promised land. Crazy, eh? They gave thanks for the very thing that was causing them pain, because in the end it brought them closer to the Lord. It just made me think of my own trials and struggles as a missionary (like, no investigators?) that I can learn to be thankful for. The Lord must be trying to teach and refine me…
So starting on November 1st, be sure you read your scriptures every day and keep track of what your grateful for that you learned! 2 Nephi 4:15… Nephi delights in the scriptures and writes down the things of his soul for the learning and profit of his children. It’s time to delight in the scriptures!
Well I have to get going… I miss and love y’all so much! Thanks for all the prayers and love!
— Sister Stockinger