Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Week 16: Back to Peach Tree City and the Whitewater Ward!

This week has definitely been an eventful one! I was sad to leave Sister Russell and Snellville- it is crazy that I was only there for a little over two weeks because I felt like I got so close to some of the members in that short time!  The experiences I had there were so awesome and maybe one day I will be sent back!  Transfers were crazy- I had already had it set in my mind that I was going to Centerville.  During our transfer meeting, President Foote said,  "Whitewater: transferring in is….. Sister Hunter" Everyone gasped so loud!  Haha I was so shocked! My jaw nearly hit the floor and then President said, "Welcome home Sister Hunter!" It has been so fun being back!!  It was great to surprise everyone at church on Sunday. There must be some reason why I needed to be back here, and I am excited to work hard and see what that reason is!  Sister Barrett is the sister I am training and she is so awesome, really sweet and really positive!  We have definitely been having an adventure on the bikes and driving the mini-van around!  

Some of the Miracles that we have seen this week:

We knocked on a potentials door, visited with her, and said a prayer.  As we were walking out of the complex a guy was sitting on the stairs and asked if we were Mormon.  We told him we were and he said that he has been really interested in learning more about our church and asked if he could have a Book of Mormon. That was a miracle!  We talked to him a few days later and he said that he has read almost half of it!  That never happens!! We are meeting with him later this week- but we are going to refer him to the YSA missionaries.  We’re still really excited to hear about his progress though! 

We knocked on the door of a man who we had left a Book of Mormon with a couple months ago.  His wife answered the door and as we got talking she was telling us that she had investigated the church for about seven months a long time ago when she lived in California.  Since moving back here she has been attending her old church, but she was excited to see us and we told her about conference this coming week, and she told us that she was excited to watch it!  She had kept her Book of Mormon and everything else the missionaries had given her.  We are excited to go and see how she liked conference! 

We started talking to a girl who works at our local grocery store and when we told her we were missionaries she said, "I've been wanting to come to your church for a long time!"  We were so blown away!  I love that Heavenly Father puts those small miracles in our path! 

This week I have been reading in Alma about the Stripling Warriors, and it has helped build my testimony of the power of faith and of obeying your parents!  Since being out here I have had to rely on faith more than I ever have in my life.  It helps me have a positive outlook and gives me the strength I need to get through the day because I know that my Heavenly Father is there to help me through everything!  Another thing that I have come to appreciate so much since being away is family.  Dad, I think I am starting to inherit some of your emotions because literally every time anyone gets up to bear their testimony about their family or talk about their parents I get all emotional!  All I can say is that I am so grateful that families are eternal because I sure do miss all of you! 

Last funny story- we went to a big car show is Senoia (I am so mad I forgot to take my camera that day) and there were tons of people that we could talk to.  We started talking to an older man and he said, "Dale Murphy is a Mormon!! I love that guy!"  I played the whole "He was actually my neighbor!" card, and he thought that was the coolest thing in the world!  It was fun making that little connection and he was going on and on about how great of a person Dale is!  So a shout out to Dale Murphy for helping me as I meet new people here in Georgia! 

Love you!  Thanks for everything! 

Love, Sister Hunter 

Right before we headed out on our first biking day! It rained almost the whole time!  

 Me, Sister McFarland, Sister Manzer, and Sister Barrett! 

Catching a fish on P-day

I'm going to miss Snellville!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Week 15: Goodbye Snellville

I'm sad that I already have to leave this place!  It has been such a fun two weeks with Sister Russell and we worked so well together!  I know that the Lord has great things in store for both of us, though. Luckily we get to stay in the same district and see each other weekly at District Meetings.  This next transfer is going to be crazy- I am going to need some serious prayers!  I am transferring to an area that hasn't had sisters.  I am also going to be training a brand new missionary- so the two of us will get the chance to whitewash the area!  When President Foote called to give us the news I was also shocked to hear that it is going to be a biking area.  I’m pretty sure we are the first set of sisters on bikes in this mission!  This is going to be a serious adventure - I will keep you updated on the bike situation if I don't melt from the humidity.   Let me give you a day by day of last week. 

Monday- P-day was great. We had dinner with an awesome member, and we made so many calls to book our week with appointments!

Tuesday- District meeting was a great meeting- I feel like I learn so much from the elders in my district.  They are such great missionaries.  We wrote letters to ourselves to open at the end of our missions, and it was so cool because it puts into perspective how much I have already grown and changed on my mission and also where I would like to be at the end of my mission. 

Wednesday-  Ah! Okay, I am running out of computer time- basically Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday every single appointment we worked so hard to set up fell through. Literally, every single one! It was sort of discouraging, but we visited a lot of members in the ward and were able to get to know them better.  Then on Sunday all of the miracles started flooding in!  Eight less active members came to sacrament meeting.  We also had two investigators at church, which was such a blessing!  One of the less active members who has recently started coming back was able to get her patriarchal blessing.  We taught a lesson to a lady who is best friends with a member in the ward.  We read out of the Book of Mormon starting where she had left off.  We read 1 Nephi Chapter 4, and most people have concerns with this chapter, but she loved it and the Spirit was so strong as we were reading!  Then we read 2 Nephi 31: 8-12 and invited her to be baptized and she accepted without hesitation.  It was one of the most spiritual experiences I have had on my mission so far.  She has such strong faith, and her desire to be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost is really amazing.  She is so prepared, I am bummed I won't be able to keep teaching her, but I will be able to come to her baptism! We had set a date in the middle of next month and when we were writing her baptism on the calendar she said, "Let’s just move the date up sooner!  I am ready!"  She is seriously so amazing.  Then we went knocking down her street and we made return appointments with four people. Sunday was seriously the light at the end of the tunnel for our week! 

 We went over to the bishop’s house to tell him all of the good news (this area struggles with baptisms), and as we were leaving we overheard him as he was closing the door, "Another baptism! Wow!"  It was so sweet to hear how excited he was.  Sister Russell is such an amazing missionary and hard worker, and I know great things will happen in this area.  I am sad to be leaving, but I am anxious and excited for this next adventure! 

Haha, this is the only picture that I took on my camera all week...  this pretty much describes our relationship.  Love her! 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 14: Welcome to Snellville

After being notified that I was getting emergency transferred we ran around like crazy saying goodbye to the investigators we have been teaching and the members that I was really close to.  It was sad to say goodbye but change is inevitable on the mission!  President and Sister Foote and I drove about an hour and a half up to my new area- stopping at Chick-fil-A along the way, because there are just about as many Chick-fil-A's as there are churches here - which is a TON.  It was cool because I will probably never get to spend that time alone with the mission president and his wife again.  They are so funny and the nicest people.  Right when I arrived in Snellville my new companion and I instantly clicked.  Sister Russel is amazing!  We get along so well, and I know that this is the place that the Lord wants me to serve!  She loves “Psych” and “That’s So Raven”- I mean what more could you want in a companion!  No, but really, she is such a hard worker and a powerful teacher.  I am already learning so much from her.    

This week we had a baptism!  It was so amazing to see how everything happens in the Lord’s timing!  The boy who got baptized is 16 years old and has been investigating the church for 2 years (which in missionary time is a long time!) and he made the decision to be baptized, and he was completely glowing after!   It goes to show that we can never give up on people because with patience and faith miracles can happen! His friend that moved out of the ward came down from South Carolina to baptize him, and so many people came to support him.  It was so amazing to see the love from the ward members and how much they care about him.  At the end of the baptism a member of the ward came up to us and introduced us to his 10-year-old granddaughter and told us that she wants to be baptized. She just needs to be taught the lessons!  MIRACLE! As missionaries we work so hard to bring people to the waters of baptism, and it is such a testimony builder for me to know that Heavenly Father is mindful of his servants because He sent us that miracle of an opportunity to teach this girl!  We went over and taught her two hours later, and she is scheduled to be baptized in October. 

People seem to be opening up to us and it is great to witness how the gospel blesses their lives! There are so many old people here!  Ha!  We love it - my companion and I go on team ups with all the little grandmas and it’s the best!  They love the missionaries and they are so supportive.  The weather has been cooling down which has been amazing! I forgot what it feels like not to be sweating while being outside.  It is so nice!

I have loved it here so far and I am really hoping that I don't get transferred- transfers are in a week and a half and I hope Sister Russell and I both get to stay here!  

Love,  Sister Hunter  

It was hard to have to say goodbye to this wonderful investigator family in Peach Tree City

One last picture with Sister Perry and Sister Taylor before heading to Snellville

Sister Russell (from Gilbert, Arizona) and I hit it off instantly!

My first week in Snellville started off with a baptism.  After investigating the church for 2 years, this sixteen year old was baptized.  It was easy to see the joy in his face - he was glowing!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Week 13: Emergency Transfer

*Mary Alice found out she is being transferred due to a sister missionary having to return home for health related issues.  President and Sister Foote will be driving her about an hour and a half northeast of her current location in Peach Tree City to her new location in Snellville.*

Wow, this week has been crazy!  I feel so lucky to have had time to say goodbye to the amazing people I have met here before I head north tomorrow.  I have so many mixed emotions about everything, but I do know that God is in charge, and all I can do is have a positive attitude!  Attitude is everything, right? (A good lesson I learned in all of those years of Extreme Rhythm clogging!)

This week we had a really cool opportunity to teach a lesson to one of our investigators at President and Sister Foote's home!  It was kind of intimidating at first, but they are so amazing and really connected with Mary.  We talked about fasting and prayer and the Spirit was so strong!  It is such a blessing to be able to combine prayer and fasting and see so many miracles come from it.  We started a fast as a mission over a mission wide conference call on Saturday night, and it was so cool to think of all 200 missionaries sitting in our apartments all over the mission bowing our heads in prayer.  I know that as we sincerely pray and fast for those around us that miracles can happen.  At fast and testimony meeting a lot of people talked about how much of a difference the small and simple things make in our daily lives.  I have been studying a lot about faith lately, and I have come to realize that it is the building on the foundation of those small and simple things that will create an unshakable faith.

We taught a lesson to a referral that we received. When we knocked on her door she welcomed us right in just like we were old friends.  It was so neat to hear her story.  She has five kids under the age of eight and they were running all over the place the whole time!  Haha it was crazy!  But it was cool at the end when all of us (and the crazy kids :)) knelt in a circle and said a prayer.  The Spirit was so strong and I pray that they continue to progress! I am bummed that I won't be here to teach them, but I have a lot of confidence in Sister Perry and Sister Taylor!

Sorry this letter isn't very long. I am nervous about this change, but I know that the Lord and so many others on the other side of the veil are watching out for me!  Everyone in the family- if you read this know that I love you and pray for each of you every single day!  Thanks for everything!  
I wish I had more time to tell you all of the little details that happen during the week!  I am almost done with my journal, so I can send it home when I finish and then you can read about every single day.  Love you!

Love, Sister Hunter 

The Haycocks! Such an amazing family!! Love them! 

 This is Jack- He is the one who got baptized the week before I got here.  He is such an amazing person and I feel so lucky that I was able to teach him about the temple and that he did baptisms before I left!  He doesn't like saying prayers out loud, but because I am leaving I convinced him to say one for us and he said "please watch over and protect Sister Hunter in her new area, bless her to meet awesome people like me."  haha he is so great! 

Bernice- We visited with her every week, and when I was saying good bye she said "I am so glad that you came and said goodbye to me because they (missionaries) never say goodbye before leaving!"  It made my day!