I feel super weird emailing the day after Christmas. It was NOT supposed to be this way! It’s a long story…
So that was cool. Skype!!! I was super proud of myself for not crying my eyes out. Whew…
Did I tell y’all I was coming to Summerwood? What the… I have no recollection of this. How did y’all know??! Err… But yep. SUMMERWOOD! Sister Stofferahn is awesome. We hit it off right away. She’s a nervous talker so I learned a lot about her on our first day haha! I love being here. I loved Woodville, but it feels good being back on this side of the mission. It’s my home ❤ Humble is just around the corner! It takes all my strength to not drive the car in the opposite direction… all the streets connect so I’m all, “Will Clayton? I LIVED ON WILL CLAYTON!” it breaks my heart. BUT I’m surviving…
Summerwood is fancy. As in… holy moly million dollar homes? It’s a little different tracting… Walking up to trailer houses is a little easier in my opinion. Last week on Friday we went to a Christmas party with our investigator Shelly (more on her later…) and it was the most incredible party I’ve ever been to. I kinda felt like I should have maybe been in my prom dress… Somehow, missionary attire just feels under dressed over here haha but the couples at this party were AWESOME. They scooped Shelly up and we didn’t have to drag her around the party. When they finally started the white elephant exchange it was 8:50 so we had to bolt. Except… Shelly gave us a ride to the party. Sister Stofferahn LIED to her and said we were going to a nearby members house and they would drive us home! -_- nope. we were walking home. In the dark. Down W. Lake Houston. In the muddy grass. I was convinced that some wild hog was going to jump out of the trees, but then… I remembered I wasn’t in Woodville (: haha So we took this fabulous picture as we left the party: totally over the moon with joy that our investigator was having so much fun and that we could actually leave her with members! by the end of this walk… we looked horrifying. It was SO HUMID and cars were spraying us with water… Ahh man. I forgot my camera so I’ll have to send it later. We were ugly. But still – we felt pretty good about the whole evening. Major fellowshipping success!
You think we’d have learned our lesson with the whole ‘walking’ thing. Buuut because we had to go to Beaumont to get my MRI, we are out of miles. So on Saturday we decided to walk to the other side of our area! It’s only about… 8-10 miles. No big deal. So we packed a lunch, put everything in baggies cause it looked like it would rain… We were smart about things. We made it about a mile before we realized how long this walk was going to take us hahaha. We made it halfway when some members (The Dunns) called us, asking what the heck we were doing walking down W. Lake Houston, and then told us to turn around. We looked behind us and they had pulled over in their van! Sweet! We hopped in and got yelled at. Apparently all of Harris County was on a tornado watch. Whoops! That would explain the huge dark clouds, crazy wind, and bits of rain… Well they dropped us off on the North side of our area anyways (: All our appointments then fell through. SUPER AWESOME. So we were just kind of… wandering around… and it started to rain really bad. My old District Leader, Elder Whimpey, had a prompting to call us. He called and said, “Sisters, where are you? I felt like I needed to check on you” “WE’RE STUCK WITHOUT OUR CAR IN A TORNADO WATCH!” “Sisters, call a member and go home!” Well… we were stubborn and did not. And it’s a good thing we didn’t! We found a new investigator! Matt. He’s awesome. He has a lot of questions and let us begin teaching. So then we felt high as a kite on the spirit! But then there we were… off walking again and the weather was getting really bad. It started to rain so bad we couldn’t see street signs 80ft away. But we were determined! So we started walking towards a member’s home. We were starving! We’d been doing this for about 3 hours. We walked to the Banda’s home… and they weren’t there. So we huddled on their porch out of the rain and ate our lunch on the ground haha. Well while we were eating a car turned into the driveway. I got so pumped; the Banda’s were home! They’re one of the few members I know out of the 250 active members so my heart was pretty happy to see them. I ran from the porch to the driveway (you couldn’t see around the corner we were sitting in) and some white girl is getting out of the car! The Banda’s are definitely Hispanic. So then I had two white parents and a little white girl staring at me… So I awkwardly walked back to Sister Stofferahn… Turns out it was a member; the Hales! They yelled at us to get in the car. But no, we said we’d be calling the Dunn’s soon! Secretly – we wanted to stick to our guns and walk home so we’d have something to brag about to our obnoxious elders’ haha. So the Hales drove away, we sat on the ground, and after a few loud claps of thunder we decided we should probably not walk home. We pulled our phone out of our bag annnd… It was broken. Completely soaked! and this is the 2nd time; the sisters before me dropped it in a huge puddle, it busted into 3 parts, they saved the battery and front half but the back washed down the gutter drain. So our battery is exposed and completely soaked! I looked at Sister Stofferahn SHOCKED and she looked like she was about to cry. Well… looks like we’d be walking home! Sister Stofferahn and I decided to pray specifically that a female member of our ward would drive past us and pick us up. Well we started walking down W. Lake Houston again… and kept walking… and walking… our spirits were low. We were cold. It was scary weather. Our phone was broken… Man. We dug a hole. We started coming up to Atascacita High School and my heart jumped out of my chest! SISTER DAVIS WORKS THERE! It was almost 3, so school should be letting out soon, so we could just go sit by her car like lost puppies and she could drive us home! Well we rounded the corner to start going into the parking lot annnd… No cars. Sister Stofferahn and I were in shock now. Then she yelled, “It’s Christmas break!” then we just kept staring at the empty parking lot, feeling defeated… Then she yelled, “PLUS IT’S SATURDAY!” Then we started laughing and nearly crying. So we kept walking, singing “There is sunshine in my soul” and trying not to cry. A few minutes later, a car pulled up and honked at us, then the window went down. SISTER HALE! She looked so mad, and yelled at us to get in the car. We opened the door and her whole family was in! haha ahh so embarrassing… Her husband felt prompted to come look for us, so he was just going to drive aimlessly around the Banda’s neighborhood. We had to squeeze in next to their teenage son; he made it so awkward cause he wouldn’t make eye contact with us and wouldn’t speak. He was mortified by us hahaha. ahh… but they took us home and life was good.
We learned a lot of lessons from this day! We learned: don’t deny members their blessings when they want to drive you places, listen to inspired priesthood holders when they call and tell you to go home, don’t walk around during a tornado watch, if you say specific prayers you get specific answers, annnd so much more… We also decided that walking around in the rain, looking like sewer rats, probably wasn’t the best impression for people to have of sister missionaries if they showed up on their doorstep. Man – we are on a roll.
Well I’ll try to make this quick since that was the world’s longest story… Shelly is 31 and her daughter grace is 9. The sisters had taught lesson 1 right before I came in, so Sister Stofferahn and I have had the pleasure of teaching everything else! Shelly is on fire. She went to a baptism 4 months ago and it really stirred up her thoughts. She finally contacted the missionaries on mormon.org. WELL. They set a baptism date for Dec. 29th; 2 weeks away from the day they met her. I THINK THAT’S CRAZY! We have been going psycho trying to get everything taught. But they have been so prepared! Shelly quit smoking and drinking coffee without us even telling her about the Word of Wisdom, Grace went and prayed all by herself about Joseph Smith, then cried as she told us about the answer she got… They are amazing. Grace understand the spirit better than anyone I’ve ever met. Grace is adopted; Shelly says she’s always known and talked about God even though Shelly has never brought her up religiously. So they are pretty much the best. Shelly goes into Houston almost every day to go shopping at the LDS book store and to stop by the temple. She’s a photographer so she has some free time… She bought US baptism gifts! She got us little necklaces with the mustard seed in them because we planted her seed! haha But she is awesome! We go places together and she says, “Uh, the investigator has a question!” They have no shame.
On Christmas Eve they went to a church service with her parents. The people there were all, “oh you’re new to our congregation” and shelly said, “Oh no, we’re Mormon”. They started pressing on her and kept saying stuff like, “Let us introduce you to Jesus!” This apparently set Grace off cause she yelled at the top of her 9yr old lungs, “NO! We are going to be Mormon after we leave your church service!” Then stormed away. Everyone was dead silent and just stared… While shelly busted up laughing. They literally have no shame. They are pumped and proclaim it to everyone around them!
I am so excited for this Sunday. This is going to be one crazy amazing baptism!
So that’s pretty much everything… I love this area, I love my companion, I love not wearing my sling… Things are going good!
Thanks for all the Christmas love and prayers! I miss y’all! Love y’all so much!
— Sister Stockinger