Well this past Monday, the 24th, we kicked off our ward’s 40 day fast! One family or individual for 40 days will fast for the short term ward mission plan, which is to pick a date and have someone in your home with the missionaries. SO. Our ward is fasting for their own efforts, but we get to benefit from it as well (: It’s been a pretty incredible week!
On Tuesday we met the new mission contacting minimum of talking to 20 people. It was awesome. We hadn’t really talked with anyone that day but then in the last 2.5 hours of the night we contacted all 20! It was amazing. Out of those 20 people we were able to set 2 return appointments. We also got to endure this crazy rain storm… seriously, it was probably a flash flood. We were on the feeder road which is 50mph (and everyone goes 65) and we were going 30! It was wild.
On Wednesday we had a mission-wide sisters conference. It was amazing! We have 80 sisters in our mission out of 210 missionaries. So it was pretty amazing to look around and see so many sisters. Our mission president loves to cry and he cried almost the whole day. It was great… We learned a lot of good stuff!
On Wednesday we had a great experience during hour of power. It was much needed since all of our hour of powers here in Summerwood usually don’t go very well. The member we had dinner with referred us to a house around the corner. That lady opened her door, immediately invited us in, and let us chit chat for a bit. She then referred us to two of her neighbors. It was awesome!
We also received a phone call from a guy in NY telling us that he was moving his nonmember friends down here and needed help unloading. He also wanted us to talk to them. We were like, “oh wow, he’s really setting these people up!” but we were excited. Pretty soon we realized his nonmember friends were sitting right next to him while he talked to us. It was awesome! However, we found out they were moving just outside of our ward boundaries so we had to refer them to other missionaries… BUT it was still a pretty neat miracle.
On Friday we were a little disappointed. Our relief society president goes above and beyond in her calling and hosted a lunch for all the new move in sisters. She also told us to invite Nona and Monika. They were both so excited! Buuut then they didn’t come… So we were really bummed. We had dinner with a new family in the ward and they were really neat. The mom has been fighting all kinds of illnesses; breast cancer being one of them. She has such a strong testimony and the will to endure! She was awesome. I want to talk to her all the time…. PLUS she’s related to the odom’s! So that was crazy. She has family in Woodville and Vidor Texas! It’s such a small world.
On Saturday we had a lesson with a young mom, Michelle. She lives in the really rough part of our area. We had met her on Friday while she was outside and asked if we could come back the next day at 1. She said, “yeah, yeah that’s fine” which to us didn’t sound very solid. Well, we went anyways (even thought it’d take a bit of our miles…) and she was waiting for us! We sat down in her garage and had the first lesson. I don’t think I’ve ever had a lesson go like this… She has had such a terrible life. It took everything in me to not cry. She has 4 kids, not married, been abused growing up (her mom just threw her out on the streets when she got boyfriends, then would drive around looking for her when the boyfriends were gone), was forced into drugs by men in her life, raped multiple times… she’s had it bad. So she doesn’t really have a lot of trust or faith in Christ and our Heavenly Father. She knows they’re there, but she doesn’t know how to talk to people who haven’t ever rescued her when she needed it. So we focused a lot on the Atonement (which you don’t normally do in lesson one) and how the restored gospel could heal her. She was a little stiff at the start of the lesson, opened up to us, and by the end of the lesson she PRAYED! I love prayers. Especially when investigators pray for the first time (: My heart was soaring! She had the biggest smile on her face after the prayer. We are SO excited to go back! She even said she’d come to church the next morning, and we arranged a ride for her. However…
Sunday morning at 7:45am we got a call from Michelle. She had just gotten home from the hospital and was so tired. Her friend Maria was beat by her husband really bad so they were there all night. I have never, in my whole mission, had someone call and tell me that was the reason they wouldn’t be able to make it to church. She wanted to come, but physically couldn’t. She just cried on the phone with us; so tired and upset. My heart BROKE. I know that as missionaries we tell them as they come to know the truth of this gospel, they may face challenges, but God would help them. Is this real life?! Satan so desperately doesn’t want Michelle at church that Maria suffers? Maybe it would have happened anyways, but it was terrible timing… My heart hurt so bad all day at church. It really broke my heart that that happened… I can’t imagine living in a way that you were fearful of your spouse.
Even though that was terrible, and we don’t ever want it to happen again, we are excited to keep working with Michelle. It’s experiences like these, ones that bring us so low, that make us soft and pliable for the Savior to mold us. Michelle has had a horrible life, but she is now prepared to receive a message of happiness! That she can change, that the hurt can literally be taken away. We had asked her if she’d be willing to place her sorrows at the feet of the Savior, and she hesitated. She really doesn’t know how. But we know, without a doubt, that the Savior can heal us. I LOVE this girl!
Our Bishop spoke to the relief society on pornography yesterday. It’s what he spends 90% of his time on as a bishop, and one of the top 3 things the general authorities are worried about for the entire church. It was a little scary at first… he told us that 9 out of 10 young men (10-20) develop a problem with pornography. It freaked me out. That means, that the chances of me meeting a guy who’s never been plagued with that disease is very low… It’s scary! But he talked about how the danger is when people slip and see it, then go months without it because they “have it under control” but then slip again 9 months later. it doesn’t seem like a problem because it’s occurring so irregularly. He said that people need to speak openly about it, that kids shouldn’t feel scared to talk to parents and spouses need to talk openly all the time. But then he gave the women all homework, which I think would be good for all of us… he said to visit the church’s website, combatingpornography.org and also put filters on your computers, smart phones, and tablets. A lot of them are free! he mentioned ‘net nanny’, and ‘covenant eyes’. Most of the time it’s all an accident, but you can’t get rid of it. So don’t take the chance and but the blocks up! Since I have two teenage brothers who need to get ready for missions… this would be a good place to start taking all defensive action against the adversary (: So yep, a little awkward in relief society but it freaked me out and made me worry about the boys. Brother Tuttle from the Saratov approach movie said to all the youth, “If you’re not worthy, get worthy. You either won’t be able to go or wont be successful”. and it’s true! So this is one of those things that you gotta take to the bishop and he’ll lovingly handle. So, LOVE YOU ALL! GO PUT UP A BLOCK EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM! (:
So yes, it’s been a great week. So many amazing things! I miss and love you all so much. Thanks for everything you do!
— Sister Stockinger