This has been the craziest, busiest week! Hopefully I can get everything in…
Last Monday was sister Martinez’s birthday. We had the BEST homemade cheesecake from Sister Smith. Wow! It was to die for. We also taught a lesson to Aaron; Word of Wisdom! Apparently he smokes a pack and half a day and drinks coffee every morning. We had no clue. So he committed to quitting! We went and picked up tons of cinnamon candies, gum, toothpaste, and grapefruit juice to help him out.
Tuesday we had a great morning at our crochet group. It’s growing! We’re trying so hard to get less actives there. We’ll see how it all pans out. Aaron was so committed to quitting that he made himself violently ill at work, so he did have to smoke a little that day. He cut down to only half a pack!
On Wednesday we met with a former investigator who has a lot of emotional problems. She’s only 16 years old and has SEVERE depression. I never know how to handle these things… I feel like I’m not very sensitive to emotional struggles because I just can’t fathom them. So being sensitive and not talking to her like she’s a baby is difficult for me. So… we’ll see how it goes.
I also found a member who does doTERRA and has the big oil book! Wooo! Making friends where ever I go (: haha
On Thursday we had a great hour of power. We had our dinner and thought with the Quirante family. They are HILARIOUS. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much, so hard, in such a long time. He’s a counselor in the bishopric at church, a PA, and just too much fun. We all had a great time. He seriously has incredible faith though, as does his wife, so we had a great spiritual thought with them. They were so excited about hour of power! We met some good people, set a return appointment annnd…
Met a man with a pet squirrel.
I asked him if I could take a picture of him and his squirrel. He said, “You can hold it!” “OH. I don’t want to hold it.” “Just hold it. *hands it to me*” “Oh. Okay” “put it on your shoulder!” “OH. I don’t want to put it on my shoulder” *take the squirrel and places it on my shoulder* Meanwhile, sister Martinez is LAUGHING and taking pictures. Well, while this squirrel is on my shoulder, a car drove by and scared it. That little sucker JUMPED DOWN MY SHIRT! It was so awkward. I was screaming, the man was shielding his eyes (thank goodness) and sister Martinez was shocked. Well that stupid little squirrel POOPED DOWN MY SHIRT! But I didn’t find that out till 3 hours later… So I walked around with poop pellets in my shirt. SO NOT OKAY. But I guess that’s the sacrifices we make as missionaries… President Crawford DIED laughing when we told him. So, it’s all good.
On Friday we met a guy who also suffers from severe emotional problems. His name is Jeremiah. People call him Frog. or bullfrog. If you catch the joke… But the elders were with us (Thank heavens) so they kept an eye on Frog as he asked me to take a walk with him so he could open up and tell me personal traumatizing events from his childhood. This poor guy needs help. But we’re supposed to meet with him soon! The elders went all “papa bear” on us the whole time; they were scared he was gonna snatch us up! But he’s actually very nice, even though he has a rough exterior.
On Saturday we had our studies with President Harris; a counselor in the stake presidency. We’ve had one study session with him before. WHOA. He just blows your mind. We learned about the atonement, details in the scriptures, deep doctrine… It was incredible.
We also got to go follow up with a potential, Chris. He has some problems as well… most people in Vidor do. But we went to see him and his buddy Tom was there. We sat down and talked a bit about the restoration; a lot about baptism and washing away our sins and the past. They both accepted baptism invitations and set up a time to meet with us! Tom is stinking awesome though. He has tattoos all over his face, smokes, and uses crude language… I am SO excited to see how the gospel will transform him life, if he’s willing. Chris is extremely respectful and kind. They are roommates so we should have all our lessons with them at the same time.
We managed to get Aaron to come to a baptism. He’s been to one before, but we wanted him to feel the spirit. He REALLY enjoyed it. Things are going good!
We went store contacting Saturday night. This lady with AWESOME fashion came up to us and said, “Sisters! Come to my house for Easter lunch!” “uh, okay?” Turns out all her step kids are members in the other 3 wards. She and her husband are not… The kids’ mother passed away, and she had been the member, so that’s how they all came into the church. They have one son in Guatemala right now, and other leaving for Lima, Peru in July. She is AMAZING and definitely needs to be baptized. Her name is Renee Tamayo. However, she lives JUST outside our area so we’ll have to pass them off to the 4th ward elders.
So Sunday we had 1 lunch date, 1 dinner, and 3 desserts. It was crazy, but so much fun. The Tamayo’s are all Mexican so we had the most incredible fajitas. I was in heaven. The guacamole they made was seriously sent straight from heaven. WOW. Renee kept shoving food down our throats though. We were SO FULL! and we had our own dinner appointment in 45min by the time we made it out of there. No one on her husband’s side speaks English, so we just sat there and pigged out the whole time. haha! Awesome.
We had dinner with the Johnsons. They are so great. He’s also in the bishopric. They have a 15 or 16 year old daughter who’s autistic; Stephanie. She’s so funny. We have the best time. So we ate as much as we could there, but I thought I was going to die. Plus dessert! But we watched a few Mormon message videos with them and had some great conversation. They are an amazing family.
After that, we went to have a lesson with Aaron where we had our 3rd dessert. How can you say no to blue bell ice cream? It just doesn’t happen. Especially when they have “I ❤ Chocolate”; chocolate ice cream, fudge, brownie pieces, and chocolate hearts with smoothing running melted chocolate in the centers. I don’t know how they do it. BUT IT’S AWESOME! So we talked a lot with Aaron. He’s been doing GREAT with word of wisdom. He’s come to church 3 weeks in a row, and stayed for all three hours yesterday. Actually, next week, they asked him to coteach in priesthood with brother Allred! He’s kind of excited. It’s on the talk from Holland in October, “Like a broken vessel”. So we watched the talk, watched some Mormon message videos, and talked about setting a new date for him to be baptized. The 26th is just too soon and he needs to be free of smoking. So sometime in May is when it will happen! He’s very anxious. I love him and his family SO MUCH! They are the best.
So finally, Sunday night – last night. Earlier in the afternoon we had called a potential to set up a time, Bobby. Well while we were visiting with Aaron, bobby had called and left a voicemail. When we got it, I was so scared. He called, crying, asking where the church was because he needed help. You could hear cars zooming by in the background. He said he needed help now or something bad would happen… So we called him back! Turns out, he was about 100 yards from where we live, looking for our church. We went and found him, sat down, and had a discussion. We did our best to lift his spirits, but I felt like I had nothing to say. My mind was blank. He kept talking about “ending things”; his life is extremely hard. He’s only 28 and both his parents are bed ridden. He’s the main provider. He’s gotten messed up in drugs and mild drinking, so we talked about stopping that. Finally, we just called the elders to come rescue us. They came speeding down North Main (they live 15 minutes away) and came to help us out. They ended up giving him a blessing of comfort which was AWESOME. Bobby looked much better by the time we all left.
This was so scary! I couldn’t stop shaking. I’m just all, “What is going on?! Why is everyone depressed?” And that’s why we need the gospel. People have no clue how to cope with things. They have no idea how to receive answers to prayers. The world is falling apart – the gospel is our only stable support. This week has totally strengthened my testimony in the Savior and power of the priesthood! This gospel is for everyone, and everyone desperately needs it!
I seriously love serving in Vidor. It’s a unique and special place. I’m excited to see what kinds of changes happen in people as we start to teach them the truth. I LOVE being a missionary! I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
I miss and love y’all so much! Thanks for all the prayers and emails (:
— Sister Stockinger