This week has been an interesting one… but it’s ended well because yet again, the Lord answers prayers!
The week before, and now this week, we’ve been dropping people like flies. There were probably 50 names on our board that were “investigators”. Sister Allison hadn’t even met half of them in the 3.5 months she’s been here. The missionaries who’d found them were here 6 months ago… Yeah… I took an eraser to our board and wiped them out! We’ve been working from scratch. It’s HARD. Finding people to teach in the country is the most difficult task. But no one in 6 months has begun to progress! and the one’s who they were counting as progressing investigators definitely were NOT progressing; never reading, never coming to church, never changing, and had been “investigating” for 7 years. I couldn’t take it anymore! If I’m going to spend my time here, it’s going to be spent well. So we’ve been praying for direction and for people who are TRUELY prepared. Well the Lord has heard our prayers! We’ve been blessed to have referrals come in. It’s nice to be sent a direction rather than wander aimlessly hoping to find someone. Granted – not all the one’s we’ve contacted so far are interested, but it’s a start! We’ve been praying that our branch members will notice their friends and refer them to us. And they have!
We’ve also made plans to start teaching the restoration lesson to active members, then asking for a referral while they feel the spirit strongly. I want them to see that we are strong teachers who can listen and follow the spirit. Members need to trust us in order for them to give us their friends.
Our zone leaders came up with a plan called “The Ammonihah Effect”. It has to do with the story of Alma the Younger going into a city to teach the gospel and was not well received. But when he returned to the same city with a member of the community the people began to be open to him because one of their own trusted him. So the plan is that members come out with us. Each auxiliary is given a day (relief society, primary, elders, etc) and the presidents in those auxiliaries are supposed to find someone to come out each week. So every Wednesday a member of the relief society will come out for 2 hours with us. WELL. When we proposed this to our branch council, ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE. We were suddenly divided! Some were all for it, others absolutely refused. Well my golly – I was not going to have that. I unleashed the rath of sister stockinger on them and called them a bunch of selfish babies! That this is an inspired program that will not fail if you have faith! but already, your faith sucks! The church is an organization that requires us to stretch and improve, and do things we wouldn’t normally do! We aren’t asking you to give up your life and be nailed to a cross, we’re asking you to make some phone calls! Theeeeen we kind of sat there. I looked at sister allison for support; her eyes were glued to the floor. My branch president had his fiery eyes hooked on me and THEN people carried on arguing as if I never spoke, except they had a little more hate in their words. So we weren’t doing so good. So then I kind of unleashed on them again and they finally shut up. We all sat there, then one lady (who was on my side) bore her sweet, tender, testimony. After that, people said, “well I think I could make some calls…” and all was well. The branch is on board! I learned some things, 1) calling your branch council a bunch of selfish babies is not going to make you any friends 2) testimony will always invite the spirit and can soften peoples hearts 3) I can never, EVER date/marry someone who is not willing to do what is asked of them in the church. HOLY MOLY! A room full of leaders that complain and whine about something so small will never be okay with me. NEVER! And I will not date or marry someone who has an attitude like that.
We had exchanged this past weekend with the Jasper sisters. I got to go to Jasper and work with a sweet sister; Sister Boam. She’s from the outskirts of Logan so she’s never lived in a city. She is absolutely adorable! She’s been out a transfer less than me… but she took me to visit one of their investigators, Jack, who’s 80 in a nursing home. For being 80 in a nursing home, he’s pretty lively! We had a lovely discussion on prophets. Then he grabbed his guitar and played some AWESOME country songs he’s written. Now I’m not kidding – he was good. I was BLOWN AWAY! If he had a CD i would buy it! And he actually said that he knows a guy who knows a guy and they were going to try to get him recorded! haha 80 years old and living the dream… I loved it! But he’s had a wild life; he got shot by some young teenager who was trying to steal his truck, then drug himself across a busy highway – cars swerving all around him – until he could get to a place where EMS could be contacted. He swears on his life that the Lord carried him across the highway. Now I didn’t do the story justice, but hearing him tell it and bear his testimony that the Lord is always aware of us was amazing.
So our branch mission leader’s fingers are okay. The wall the bullet went through is not, however… It went through the wall, through his wife’s china cabinet, and landed in the next room. He ruined 6 large pieces of precious china and she is still unhappy about it. haha he said his wife cried over the china but not his fingers! It was pretty funny. Dolores has a thing for fine china, creepy porcelain dolls, and crystal candle sticks. But Ronny is fine… Since they couldn’t stitch anything up, he just has an open wound with antibacterial crème on it, then gauze wrapped around it. Since it’s an open wound, he can’t get them dirty or wet. So he sits in his office annnd… shops for guns. I told him he was crazy. But that’s the way of life out here! I guess there’s a lot of people here who have shot themselves in the leg or foot because they like to practice their fast draw. hahaha people are dumb…
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Joseph Smith and what he said concerning His vision. “I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it”… or something to that effect. We have such an amazing gospel! Our whole way of life is set up to bless us. We cannot deny what we know. We need to share it with others! I am so thankful to be a missionary for this Gospel. I love being able to see it change people’s hearts and minds. Take what you know and share it with others; you cannot deny what you know.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes Texas country so great…
Better clouds, better bbq, better biscuits, fried chicken, rodeos, heaven sent sunsets, everyone’s family, there’s always more room at the dinner table, cobbler, sittin on the porch shootin squirrels and spittin seeds is a daily activity, white picket fences, rolling GREEN hills, mullets, women have mustaches (which isn’t exactly a plus… just scary hilarious), people wear cowboy boots to church, 3 stop lights in town, it isn’t creepy to call a stranger baby or sugar, no sense of time, gumbo, meat loaf, mystery meat actually tastes okay, yes sir, yes ma’am, ma and pa… i have a bazillion more but don’t want to type them all. Texas is awesome!
I miss y’all and love y’all so much! I hope everyone is doing well. Thanks for all the prayers and emails!
— Sister Stockinger