Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Week 7: No Electricity and Swimming in the Font!

On Sunday our investigator, T, came to church!  She lives right underneath us and it was so amazing to have her come.  I think she and her little boy really enjoyed it!   We taught her a lesson in the church earlier in the week and the Spirit was so strong during the lesson!  Just being in the church allows for the Spirit to be there.  The only bummer was I guess they were working on the electrical or something because none of the lights worked or the AC, and it was BLAZING hot.  I said, "I promise the lights usually work, and the AC." Looking back, it’s funny that we were teaching her in the dark in a blazing hot church.   When we showed her the baptismal font it was so amazing- she was baptized a while ago in the ocean and we were able to explain to her about the priesthood and how important it is. 

 Ah! Cavan came to church! Miracle!  It was so amazing to see him there, and what was even more amazing was seeing the ward members all go up and talk to him.  We didn't even get a chance to talk to him because so many other people were talking with him!  We did call him after church and talk to with him, though.  

We were visiting a YSA Less- Active and we came back later in the week to help his mom with yard work, and as we were moving rocks around we taught her the restoration and it was cool to be able to answer the questions that she had.  She invited us to her church and we told her we would go if she came and visited ours!  At the end we said a prayer with her and her neighbor and it was awesome- we were standing in the middle of their yard in a circle holding hands and as I was saying the prayer they both were throwing in "amen!" or "mmhhmmmm" or "thank you Jesus!"  I didn't know if I should pause or anything while they were saying that so I just kept on praying, I could feel Sister Butts shaking with laughter next to me. It was an experience I will never forget! They are the sweetest ladies.  

We had New Missionary Training and I was able to see everyone that I came into the MTC with, and it was so fun to catch up a little!  President and Sister Foote talked about how important the Book of Mormon is as a teaching tool and how we need to constantly  draw from the scriptures.  It is amazing to see how God communicates through scripture. We were challenged at the MTC to always have a question before reading the scriptures- it has been such an amazing experience seeing the scriptures apply directly to what I am struggling with or need help with.  It is such a blessing to have the Book of Mormon and to be able to receive constant guidance from it.  

Sunday after church there were two boys getting baptized from the ward, and so many ward members stayed to support the family.  One of the little boys got in the font and started swimming around before his dad got in- it was hilarious!  

I have seen the power of prayer soften the hearts of so many people!   Even though a lot of people aren't interested in learning more about the gospel they always love to pray with us.  Prayer is such an amazing thing that can bring anyone closer to God!   A little girl was riding her bike around our apartment complex and saw that we were missionaries and wanted to have "Bible study" with us!  We sat down right on the grass and read the scriptures with her and she loved it!  We gave her a book of Mormon and wrote her a little note in it, and she was telling us all about how much she loves the Bible.  

I loved seeing all of the pictures of the kids! Leo is getting so big! That is so fun to hear about Zac coming home!  It is crazy how time flies- it doesn't feel like he left that long ago.  The package arrived safe and sound and I loved it! I have already been eating the snacks and listening to the Joseph Smith CD.  I am excited to be going Peach Picking in an orchard today!  The YSA Relief Society president is taking us.  The members here are so nice.  Oh, we get to go to the temple tomorrow – I’m really excited about that! I love you all (ya’ll) so much!


Sister Hunter 

 Tie dying T-shirts with Carolina and Jackie, two of our investigators

Christmas in July!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Week 6: YSA Luau Gone Awry

Hello Everyone! A few highlights from the week-

YSA Luau! We had a huge activity for the YSA ward, and it was fun to see so many people come out, and it was a great way for me to meet the members.  It was 1000 degrees and everyone was swimming while we sat on the side in a little pool of sweat.  That entire day felt like I was walking around in a sauna (earlier that day we went door to door with a YSA member and she said, "Georgia takes sweating bullets to an entirely new level", it is so true!)  They went all out and bought an entire pig and put it in the ground the night before to slow cook it all day! The funniest part of it was after digging the hole, buying the pig, gathering wood, making the fire and having it die down, and then burying the pig- it was still raw when we pulled it out! Ha, it was actually sad because they put so much effort into it, and they had been planning it for weeks!  They don’t know what went wrong!  They ended up just cutting it up and putting the pieces of meat on the grill.  

Sister Perry came back on Thursday, and hopefully the other sister will get her cast off today, and Sister Butts can come back for good! It has been a little tricky for me, because they come back not knowing anything that has happened from the week. I have to fill them in on everything, but it is keeping me on my toes!  Being over two areas has kind of been tricky as well. It totally has it's advantages though- we have so many amazing members willing to come on team ups with us throughout the week. I love it!

Today we are spray- painting t-shirts with one of our investigators and her little sister, so I will for sure send pictures of that next week. We are also planning on going peach picking with a YSA member next week!  I have started writing down every night in my journal miracles that I see throughout the day and it is amazing to see the role Heavenly Father plays in our day -to -day life!  Sometimes I get really stressed if we are on a time crunch with appointments or running late, but at the end of the day I look back and everything seems to fall into place every time!  And if it doesn't I can sometimes see the lesson I was supposed to learn from having that experience.  One was when we were filling our car up with gas, and I felt really prompted to go and talk to this guy. I went right up to him and asked him if I could give him a pass along card, and he looked at me like I was crazy. He threw his hands back like I was handing him the plague instead of the card. Afterward I was so confused as to why I felt prompted to go and talk to him, but from each experience I feel myself growing and getting a little bit stronger and more courageous.  Looking back it was actually pretty funny. I am glad that I have Sister Perry and Sister Butts with me, and we can draw so much support from each other! 

Some of the amazing miracles I have seen since I have been here have happened while working with less active members. It is wonderful to see how we are able to work with the active ward members, and together we are seeing hearts soften and change.  I love seeing the growth in the less active members, and seeing how actively participating in church can make such a difference in someone's life! 

Some quotes that have helped me throughout the week: 

"We love what we sacrifice for, and we sacrifice for what we love" - Ezra Taft Benson

"The Lord doesn't ask about our inabilities or abilities.  He only asks about our availability.  If we show our dependability, He will help us in our capability." - Neal A. Maxwell 

Love you guys!

This is sister Mason, the mission nurse!  She is serving a single sister mission.  She spent the whole day with us on Tuesday and it was awesome.


Monday, July 13, 2015

Week 5: Southern Hospitality

I just want to start out by saying that this week has been so much better!  I have been a lot less homesick, and I can testify that the power of prayer is real and that God loves each of us so much.  I felt strengthened everyday, and thank you all for your prayers and letters!

Okay, so this week Sister Butts came back and we were a companionship!  It is kind of crazy trying to update her on everything, but it has been good for me to really pay attention and be involved in the work!  I think my favorite part of this week has been hearing the stories of the members.  When I hear their conversion stories and see how much they have sacrificed for the gospel it amazes me!  Their faith and testimonies have inspired me so much.  One lady we visited with was so inspiring; her husband hated the church and was really mean to her, and she got baptized without him knowing.  Years later they got divorced and she has served two single sister missions in her life and is such a faithful member!

 I love hearing how people have grown in the gospel, too. Many people go through stages of inactivity, some longer than others, but it is so cool to see how everyone's journey is so different. We visit this elderly couple (she has been inactive for probably 25 years and he isn't a member) and it is crazy seeing her life come full circle.  It is amazing to see how the gospel can affect people's lives!  I spoke in the YSA ward on Sunday (we are at the church for 6 hours because we are over 2 wards!)  

 I have felt so much braver this week!  Doing door approaches has become a lot easier than it was before.  I thought it was funny when this lady opened her door and was definitely not interested but was super nice. She was all, " I really appreciate what ya'll are doing, it says right in the bible that we should all be out preaching the word, but you Mormons are the only ones who take that seriously."  Then she was telling us all about her pet squirrel... haha!  One funny thing, the members give us so many sweets! The best is "We are trying to lose weight, so please take our treats."  They really are so sweet and love to feed the missionaries. 

It has been super hot, but thank goodness the AC in our car works so well.  I can't believe I have already been out for over a month!  Being a missionary is an amazing experience.  It gives me such a cool perspective on people.  Even if people aren't interested or aren't nice, we love them anyway.  When I choose to love others no matter what they do, it helps me feel God's love for me and for everyone else.  This has been such a learning experience, and this is quite the adventure I am on! 

Love Ya'll!! (I literally try to say you all instead of ya'll and people look at me like I'm crazy, haha, before you know it I am going to have a full on southern accent).  Some people have THE strongest accents down here and I just smile and nod my head because I have no idea what they are saying.  Love you!  Thank you so much for the support and prayers, I can definitely feel them! 


 Sister Hunter  
 When the sun is going down it is seriously SO beautiful.

 There are so many trees here, it is crazy! 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Week 4: 4th of July in Georgia!

It sounds like you are all having so much fun in Rye!  The zip-line sounds awesome.  I wish I could be there to see all of the craziness! This week has been pretty good.  I have definitely been the most homesick since leaving on my mission.  I don't know why, but it could be because we weren't as busy this week.  A lot of appointments fell through, so I had more time to think about home and being with you guys!  We go knocking on doors sometimes (it is seriously the worst, I am trying to find a love for it- but it stresses me out and takes me back to selling coupons!)  Both of my companions have learned to love it, so hopefully that will happen to me over time.  Most of the people are actually really nice, but you get a few rude ones, and I just need to learn to not get my feelings hurt!  Another thing that was kind of sad was one of our investigators asked us to stop coming over.  We also had an investigator planning on coming to church who didn't show up, and our baptism last week didn't make it to church.  I guess this is all part of being a missionary!

Tell Kelsi thank you so much for the package!!! It was one of the highlights of my week!  I was so excited when I got it and it came right on the 4th, so it was perfect.  I started crying while I was reading the little note she sent me, it totally made my week!  

There were a lot of tender mercies throughout the week, though.  We had an awesome experience teaching a member of the YSA ward who hasn't been to church in 7 months.  The spirit was so strong while we were teaching him.  Even though his faith has dwindled in the past, you could see it begin to grow again in him!  He came to church this Sunday and it was amazing!  He bore his testimony and everything. Some other highlights of the week were going to get Thai food with a member family for lunch, and we have an investigator whose boyfriend left on his mission and is super interested in the church.  She is so cute and I love teaching her.  Because we have become such great friends it’s fun and easy to teach her.  We had “break the fast” with the singles ward yesterday, and it was a lot of fun to get to know the ward members better!  We visit a lot of families regularly to share lessons about being member missionaries, and it is so fun to spend time with them!

Oh I forgot to mention- Sister Perry came back this week and then Sister Butts went to go drive the other sisters for the week.  It has been kind of tricky transitioning every week to a new companion, but we will be a trio in about three weeks.  Sister Perry is so positive all of the time, and she is such a great missionary!  I love getting to know the members here, and the bishop's in both wards are enthusiastic about missionary work.  Our new mission president and his wife are amazing!  We met them as a zone and they spent about two hours talking to us.  They are so nice and funny, and I am really looking forward to getting to know them better. This week I felt so much closer to my Savior.  When I think of hard times I am going through or the people I teach are going through, it amazes me to think that He knows exactly how we feel and He is there to help us!  Sometimes all I have to do is look at my name badge, and our names are right there together!  I have learned to really rely on my Savior and I know that He will never abandon me and He is continually giving me that strength I need to get through each day.

Our 4th of July was awesome!  It rained SO hard until 11:00 in the morning.  We were going to go to the huge parade, but decided against getting soaked.  A lot of people were either gone or busy so it was kind of tricky being able to teach people, but when we got home we had a 10 minute celebration with the package Kelsi sent to me, and it was a blast!  Then we fell asleep to the sound of fireworks.  I love you all SO much, and right now I am missing all of you like crazy.  I know that by serving out here you will all be blessed back at home!  I pray for you all everyday!  Love you!   
4th of July Celebrations in our apartment!!

So many failed attempts at self timer, but it was fun to celebrate a tiny bit on the 4th!

This picture was a total accident but I thought it was pretty funny :)

We have matching night gowns... we were destined to be companions!