This has been quite a long week… We have worked our tail ends off but felt like we just spun our wheels. It was HARD. But Ether 12:27 teaches us that God specifically gave us weaknesses so we can become stronger… We are waiting to be made strong. haha. Woodville is an awfully stubborn place.
The week started great though! Last Monday after we emailed we went to a resale shop. On the last Monday of every month they do a ‘$2 bag sale’… Basically, anything you can fit into a Walmart bag, you get it all for $2. We went cardigan hunting. President has asked us to start wearing them to ALL meetings. Normally we’d be bummed about this, but it’s starting to get very chilly here so we’re welcoming this new standard (: haha. And by chilly we mean, 59 degrees… We cant stop shivering!
On Tuesday Sister Allison fixed some banana bread to cook while we studied. She made it for the man who helped push us out of the sand when we got stuck in Ivanhoe. So we went and spent the WHOLE day in Ivanhoe… Ivanhoe is a terrible place. It’s really run down; drugs, unlivable shacks are being lived in by hobos, messed up roads… It got trashed after the hurricanes. I guess back in the day it was the place where all the rich people retired. They have a booth at the front of the city (one way in, one way out) where you had to check in with a guard, tell him where you’re going, get a slip of paper to take to the person your visiting so they could sign it and time stamp it, and tell them when you’re leaving. They had the whole place timed; they new how long it took to get from the gate to every single house, so if you weren’t there when they patrolled by, they knew you were off causing problems or fishing/swimming in one of the private lakes. Apparently they wouldn’t let black people in there either. But anyways – things have gone down hill. It is a DUMP. No one wants to go to Ivanhoe… but we went. And we took the banana bread back to Joe. He was so surprised to see us! He was sweet though, very kind and humble, just amazed that we’d think to bring him anything. We gave him a card with our number in it and a scripture from the Book of Mormon. haha… maybe someday he’ll let us teach him! 🙂
We’ve been focusing on the youth in our branch, trying to solidify their testimonies and get some referrals from them (: haha So we went to mutual with the Young Women to get on their good side. Oh my goodness – BEST ACTIVITY EVER! We played a game called “Whack a Cracker”. You thread fishing line through a Ritz cracker, tie it to your belt loop or around your waist, then roll up some news paper, and try to whack the other persons cracker off. But you have to stay within an area; you can’t run all over the place. But oh my goodness – it was so much fun! The crackers didn’t break like i thought they would… and even if it chips you’re still good – the whole thing has to fall off. It’d be an awesome reunion game. hahaha we had so much fun.
Our members have been trying their best to implement the Ammonihah Effect. I’m excited to hear their thoughts from conference on members going out with the missionaries… (: but we had 2 members lined up to go out with us and both our lessons fell through! We were so bummed. We didn’t get to see any of our investigators this week, which is challenging, but we were able to spend some good time finding.
On Saturday we watched conference with Denese and Tim Durr. It was nice! They’re so sweet. It’s weird watching conference in church clothes though… haha. But some stuff that stood out to me was Uchtdorf’s talk; “Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith”. I think that so many people believe any thought that pops into their minds, which is usually something negative about themselves or their situation, that they never question it. We never challenge our own thoughts. But our thoughts can lie to us; we have to learn to develop a positive form of thinking. So if you’re doubting things – especially something concerning the gospel – doubt your doubt before you doubt your faith!
I also had a spear go through my heart when Elder Ballard said, “To you full time missionaries: if you want to teach more, you have to talk to more people!” Which is something we hear all the time, but I’ve also noticed how sometimes I chicken out when just walking straight up to someone. It’s easier to knock on the door for some reason. But I had the thought “We need to talk to at least 10 people a day”. We go a lot of days when we don’t see a single soul (the country is a curse). So sister Allison finally borrowed a bike from the mission. Her parents haven’t sent hers and she can’t buy a new one, so I made her call the office and ask for one. haha and look – they lent her one! Perfect. So we had her bike for day, and right after conference ended I said, “We need to get on our bikes and go meet people!” So for an hour we went and rode around, put aside our fears and pride, and just rode up to people on the streets and started talking to them. Guess what: Heavenly Father is so merciful. He is so kind. Oh my goodness – He loves us so much! I get emotional thinking about how silly this story is, but it was a miracle to me… In that hour we biked around we were able to meet 10 new people. Out of those 10, 2 were willing to let us come back and share more of our message. For this area, THAT IS A MIRACLE! I just know without a doubt, if we follow the council of our apostles and prophets we will be blessed. We just have to be willing to step outside of ourselves and open our mouths! The Spirit will take over if you’ve done all you can (studied, prayed, looked for opportunities…) You think all these fears would have been set aside by now, but they come in waves. It’s the weirdest thing. But I am so thankful that the Lord put into my mind, “Ten people a day” and that very day we talked to ten. It’s amazing! Don’t ignore spiritual promptings (: All things are possible!
So we have our work cut out for us, but I know we can accomplish whatever the Lord wants. I think it was a man from the seventy’s, Gordan Nielson? I don’t know… I’d have to check my notes. But He’s from Texas! Whoop whoop. He was talking about how Joseph Smith said that the Lord will begin to hasten his work when the time is right. Directly following that he simply stated, “It’s time”. Ahhh maaan! We really are in the final days. 80,333 missionaries! That’s one big army and it’s still growing. If every member of the church got on board and shared the gospel (like so many general authorities have asked) that army would be HUGE! I am so excited and thankful to be a missionary during this time. It’s crazy… It’s just crazy to see things change.
But thank y’all for everything y’all do! I miss and love you each so much. Hug each other and kiss the dogs for me! And Keirsten – kiss her alllll the time for me.
THE CHURCH IS TRUE! Don’t take it for granted (: Keep your covenants!
I love you.
— Sister Stockinger