I LOVE THIS PLACE! Vidor is seriously beautiful. I mean – aside from all the trailer trash… but the fields are gorgeous, the trees are huge… IT’S AMAZING.
Last weekend or so, the 4th ward elders had one of their investigators move into our area. So we get to teach her! I thought it was kind of rude when Elder Harrington laughed and said, “Now she’s your problem”…. but now I understand -_- She’s a tough one. Her name is Amanda, she’s possibly still addicted to cocaine, and she has no sense of commitment. She’s a tiny bit crazy, but 100% lovable. I just hope we can actually teach her soon!
On Tuesday we had a lesson with a referral from our zone leaders. It was amazing! We taught the restoration… Her name is Brittany. When we finished up, I asked, “of all the things you learned today, what would you most like to know is true?” and she said, “I want to know if the Book of Mormon is true. I can’t wait to read it!” WOW! Perfect answer. So we got to explain how if the BofM is true, then Joseph Smith is without a doubt a prophet, and that this is the Lord’s kingdom again on the earth. She just beamed and beamed (: We expected to have her at church on Sunday but her dad had a heart attack late Saturday night… So off to Houston she went! But we should be seeing her tomorrow!
We also received a call from Aly, our 13 year old investigator… Her mom changed her mind and no longer wanted us to meet with her. Aly said, “My mom says this isn’t our religion… but I think we don’t even have one!” She is looking for so much more… She is so prepared! We just hope and pray she will find the church again in a few years; that missionaries will knock on her door and reinvite her to listen and receive!
Back on my first Sunday in Vidor, a recent RM came up to us and said he wanted to go out with us (in the most appropriate manner! haha). So he came out with us last night… It was awesome. You can tell that once upon a time, he was a GOOD missionary. We visited a more sketchy area with him (hurray for having priesthood out!) to stop in on some less actives. It went pretty good, but we’ll see how long-term plays out. But so this RM served in Chile and got home 2 months ago. He said the closing prayer at our lesson and he kept saying, “Bless the Arellano Familia, er, family…” it was so funny. He’s still in Spanish mode.
On Thursday we had dinner with a less active, Hillary Hanks. She made the yummiest gumbo! Mmm… She went to culinary school for 2 or 3 years. She can cook anything… as well as crochet! So this is nuts – try to keep up.
A very active member, Sister Smith, crochets like no one else I’ve ever met. Hillary is the same way. Sister Martinez knits, I crochet. So we’re all – hey! let’s get these two together and have sister Smith fellowship Hillary back in!
Well on Saturday we met this AWESOME lady, Misty. She had a very basic crochet project out, so we got talking about it… In the end: we’re starting a crochet group and found other Sisters who want to learn! This ward is lacking in socializing. They never do relief society activities, nor do they do their visiting teaching… ever… So we’re trying to spice things up! So far we have 3 active sisters who want to be in the group, one less active, and one investigator! TA DA! We’re getting things moving. Well – I guess I should say – if they DO do a relief society activity, it’s with all 4 wards, and it looks like half a relief society from a single ward showed up… It’s tiny. So we really need to get our women to be active and more involved.
Oh my goodness – that women’s broadcast! Absolutely amazing. I wish I had my notes with me… I’ll try to bring them next week. I loved looking around the room and seeing all the young girls there. When we sang that song? It made me cry. I’ve never noticed how the verses break up like that! A child and parent talking… awww! I may or may not have cried, wishing I was home with my own mommy and sister, but we can’t be too sure about that (: Mother’s day is sneaking up quickly, so my one last phone call home will soon be had! Eeek!
In sacrament meeting we had 86 people. We’re a little ward and a big branch. This ward is struggling… but testimonies were strong! I jotted down a few phrases… “We should be frantic to be at church – it’s where we take the sacrament”, “Our Father is waiting on us”, “Live His commandments and come unto Him daily”. Pretty good stuff. But I really love that first one; that we should be frantic to be at church. I think I’ve taken church so casually and so lightly in life, but as a missionary I can see how the sacrament is truly a saving ordinance. I was studying “Keep the Sabbath Day Holy” one morning and was reading in 3 Nephi 18. In this chapter Christ is establishing the sacrament here in America. In verse 4 it says, “And when they had eaten and were filled…” then again in verse 9, “And it came to pass that they did so, and did drink of it and were filled;…” I really thought a lot about those two phrases; eat and were filled, drank and were filled… They didn’t fill up their stomachs (though on some fast Sundays I could totally clear that bread tray! haha). But they were partaking of these emblems and being filled with the spirit of God. The Holy Ghost cleanses us during the sacrament; it’s the baptism of fire all over again. It just really meant a lot to me… that we have this saving ordinance to cleanse us and keep us coming closer to our Father every week.
I hope y’all are just as excited for conference as I am. I can’t wait to hear our prophet’s council. I know he is our Lord’s prophet! It’s making me sick to think the last time I watched April conference I was spending my 4th day in the MTC. Time has flown… But I know without a doubt that I love this gospel. I know it’s true! I know that Idaho State was a good choice, transferring to BYUI was a better choice, but serving a mission is the BEST choice I have ever made.
I miss and love y’all so very much! Thanks for all the prayers and love.
— Sister Stockinger