Well y’all already know how last Monday went… Fishing was SO much fun!
Tuesday we got to go visit a less active who really needs to have the gospel back in her life. Her name is Bell; she’s from Samoa. Sometimes I wonder how low the Lord has to bring people before they realize they need to pick themselves up and get back to doing what they need to do. Bell just had a baby girl. She is PRECIOUS. There’s a ton of drama though… Bell has had a lot of kids by a lot of guys. It’s sad… It’s really hard to see people suffer and know that the gospel can fix it all.
On Wednesday I had probably one of the best days of my life. We went and did family history with the young women and men and also helped a nonmember boy get his account set up. When they all started to trickle out, I logged into mine for a minute. A member, Sheila Gibson, helped me sort through things… THEN: she showed me how to reserve names. I went WILD! I hope dad doesn’t mind, I reserved a ton of names on his side. I did this because I saw that someone was doing our family history! RUDE! I want to do it! So I started grabbing all the names I could before they could take them from me. hahaha I can’t wait for our next temple trip!
On Thursday we realized we were running a little low on miles for the week. So we went to Ivanhoe – the glorious land of sketchy people – and parked our car and began walking. We were walking towards a member’s trailer so sister allison could use the bathroom, when all of a sudden 8 dogs came out of no where. Sister Allison HATES dogs. One of them seemed especially aggressive. They were walking towards us, growling, barking like crazy… It took everything in me to not pee my skirt. Sister Allison and I whipped around and tried our best NOT to run, but walked really fast. We were so mad! This member we were going to has a daughter who needs some help with the gospel, who recently moved back home. But we couldn’t walk back to our truck – no time, no miles. So I said a prayer in my head, stopped, and told sister allison, “I think the dog is all talk”. So we turned around and started walking towards them all. One of them looked like she just had pups. The closer we got, I started talking to them like they were babies. The female stuck her tail between her legs and started walking towards me, really cowardly like. When she got to me I started to pet the crap out of her. She was peeing everywhere, her tail was wagging, and slowly all the other dogs stopped barking. We started walking towards them all again, and this lady talked walked beside us, completely happy! Soon all the other dogs started to disappear into the trees and we just walked firm with this sweet dog. I kept talking to her like a baby, rubbing her sides, and just kept moving. It was so scary! I have never been afraid of dogs until that moment. I thought we were going to get mauled.
What’s so significant about this story is I felt like we were living the scriptures! Sounds silly, but we were. It was like Alma – he wasn’t having any success until he had Amulek on his side. When Amulek went with him into his city, the people saw one of their own accepting Alma. They were able to baptize thousands! Yes – they endured hardships, but they were able to accomplish what the Lord needed. Alma didn’t give up, had faith the Lord would provide, and the Lord sent Amulek – who had been a not so righteous person, affiliating with the wrong crowd for some time. And look – a little faith in the Lord that I wouldn’t get ripped into by dogs, he sent one to befriend us, and she set the example for the others that we weren’t there to cause any harm. It was pretty cool to me.
On Friday we went to Jasper for our district meeting. Again – worried about miles – we weren’t sure who to call to take us. Well sweet Dolores Lovelace texted us that night. “Need a ride to Jasper tomorrow?” ??!!! Uh, yes?! We had the best time. We went with her and her sister Loretta. They went to get their nails done, so they were able to drop us at our meeting. On the way back we stopped at the famous alligator sign and took some pictures. Dolores is so funny… She’s just the craziest old lady. She has dementia, which has progressively gotten worse since I’ve been here, and her husband finally revoked her license. So he and Loretta have to drive her everywhere now. It’s sad, but it just makes her even funnier. I love her!
Friday night we had dinner with Emelie and Ava. We had taco soup… for like, the 3rd time that week. I don’t get it. Of all the foods in the world, missionaries go on a run with the same meal ALL the time. It’s the weirdest thing. But it was good! No complaints (: Just a weird phenomenon. ANYWAYS – after dinner Emelie took us out to a huge pasture to meet her cows, donkeys, and horses. They were adorable! My favorites were ‘Uh Oh’ the mini horse, ‘Slick Willy’ the bull, and ‘Friday’ the baby donkey. They were too precious.
Emelie is so awesome. She tries so hard to be a good member-missionary. I love it. She is constantly telling us neat stories about sharing the gospel. Most of the time she gets to talk about her baby brother, Jarom, who’s on a mission. Soooo I know mom is trying to be better about sharing the gospel… Maybe y’all just need to strike up conversation, tell a funny story – like the bob cat – about my mission and then get them to wonder what the heck a mission is? I don’t know. Follow the spirit and be member missionaries! It’s fun.
On Saturday we had a slightly disappointing morning. We went to this heritage festival that happens every year. Everyone was telling us that last year the missionaries spent hours, and hours! there sharing the gospel. Pretty awesome! So we were all, “heck yes! let’s go and share the gospel at a FESTIVAL!” We went, we looked at shops, and people talked to us about the gospel! But any time we asked if we could come visit them, or send other missionaries to them, they would say no. Then they’d sort of shoo us away. It was sad… So we were only there for a couple hours. BUT we did get some pretty cool Texas pot holders. haha ahh…
This week really has been a blessing though. We’ve been working really hard at being exactly obedient. On our zone obedience challenge we’ve been steadily improving over the last 3 weeks. Along with that, our total lessons have been steadily increasing as well. We’ve been blessed to meet more people, teach more lessons, feel the spirit more, and listen to it’s promptings.
We’ve also been able to find a lot more lost sheep! Our branch list is FULL. If people would come to church, we could turn the branch into a ward. Yesterday we only had 68 people at sacrament. Which is the sad, cause it’s the most full meeting. We have relief society, then sunday school, then sacrament. So people don’t show up for the early meetings; they trickle in around 10:45 for sacrament. But what can ya do? We just keep visiting, and visiting, and finding, and finding. Good thing we know the Lord makes up the difference! He will always provide.
Sorry there isn’t a whole lot to report this week. We finally have a ride to Beaumont so we’re going to go get our hair cut and whatnot. Woodville is so small none of the hair salons are open on Monday. Everyone just decides to take a 4 day weekend I guess. But I haven’t had my hair trimmed since the end of my first transfer! So that’s now… about 5.5 months. It’s pretty dead. It’s gross.
But I love y’all and can’t wait to hear more good things from y’all! Keep doing all you can to share the gospel! THE CHURCH IS TRUE!
— Sister Stockinger