Tuesday, May 26, 2015

It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right...[May 25, 2015]

I sent my mom last week to find a title for me and she ended up just putting up my message to find it as the title...awkward.
Remember last week when I mentioned we met that guy that recognized me from before and he came to stake conference, well he called us on Tuesday and asked when the elders were planning on seeing him. We told him we didn't know and then he was like okay, and then we ended it and were like bye...and he was like bye and then an awkward moment and then said sweet dreams and we didn't' know what to do, so we just hung up. He was progressing well, but the elders haven't been able to contact them recently, so hopefully he's still okay...
Well, now I have a really sad story. Once upon a time there was this girl that was investigating the church. Her mom is a member but has been less active since she was a teenager. We got her from the elders when I got here over 3 months ago and have been teaching her when we can see her. She doesn't answer her phone (we think her parents blocked us) but we would text her mom and she would tell us if she was available for us to stop by. Well, Allisa wanted to get baptized, but her mom thought she needed to learn more, so we decided, we just needed to sit down with her and her mom and figure some things out and see what we could compromise. Well, her mom kept saying she was busy with school and we could do it after her finals. Well, during this we went to Allisa's orchestra concert and it was awesome. She pretty much was like a little sister we were trying to help out.
Well, then it was 2 weeks and her mom never texted us back and Allisa hadn't been to church. So naturally we went to her house to figure out what was up. Well, when we knock on the door some lady answers it and says oh I don't live here, I'll get them, like awkward. Well, her step dad (who is a buddhist of a couple years) answers the door with Allisa and he was like, I thought we made it clear that you can't stop by unless you text us. Which, Allisa mentioned offhandedly one day, but her parents never told us themselves that we couldn't stop by, unless we made an appointment. Plus, we just quickly wanted to see what was up with them not texting us back and her not being at church. Well, we mentioned her mom hasn't been texting us back and Allisa was like to her dad, yeah, she hasn't been texting them back and he was like well doesn't that tell you something that we are too busy and for you to not come by? What don't you understand.
I was not going to put up with his crap. We love Allisa and we know that her parents are uber controlling and I was just sick of them not communicating to us, if they want to drop us, fine, but if not we are going to try to do what we can to help Allisa. I was just so unprepared with all of this that I just said, our purpose is to help people, but we have to be able to see the people to help them. That is literally all I said and he was like how dare you come to my house and be disrespectful to me. Don't give me all this purpose stuff, you need to get a new purpose. You better leave right now. He then just slammed the door.
Yeah, I have never been so close to tears on my mission before. I was doing everything I could to help this girl and then her parents had the guile to call us disrespectful and treat us so poorly when all we wanted to do was help their daughter.
Well, we texted her mom later and said that we were super confused with the hostility her husband showed and all we wanted to do was support her daughter and we are sorry for any miscommunication. Well, she texted us back saying she feels we were disrespectful and crossed the line and said that we were never welcome by their house again and to tell the church they don't want any other visitors and all this stuff.
I'm sure her husband told her a very exaggerated story, because it all doesn't make sense, but in the end there is nothing you can do. I believe there is a very special place for parents like that that hold their kids back and it's probs not a super happy one. This is the second part member family that has dropped us with kids that we were teaching since I've been here.
I need to stop getting attached to kids.
Well, what this really is is Heavenly Father teaching me meekness and it's not fun. Ever since I read this talk on Meekness by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, I have been getting experiences like this and it's definitely a growing experience.
On the flip side we had spare ribs this week and then the next night we had steak. I love the members here! Now they just need to give us their friends to teach! lol.
We also got a pleasant surprise at church where a 12 year old that we met just visiting random less actives on the roster just showed up. We were sitting there and she comes bounding in and she knew the member behind us from school and was like Hi, Miss Wendy! and the member was like oh my goodness, what are you doing here? Who brought you? She explained her aunt dropped her off and I explained how we met her. I went to Young Womens with her and no one knew who she was, because she had never been to church while in Topeka. It was really cool, but it's too bad she didn't come to church a couple weeks earlier, because she could've gone to girls camp...they are still going to work on it though and see if she could make it.
Our ward mission leader (bro. scerbo) is literally the best ward mission leader in the world! When we told him our Allisa sob story at coordination he was like WHY DIDNT YOU CALL ME? We just hadn't thought about it and he was like I could've brought you ice cream or something. haha. but really sometimes I forget about the angels God sends us on this side of the veil as well. He also, came to our lesson after that and he gave this analogy about your favorite ice cream. He said that you can love it and describe it to people all you want, but really in the end all you can say is, you just have to try it for yourself. He said that was like God in the Pre-Earth Life where he described what it was like to have a body, but we just had to figure it out for ourselves. I thought of my favorite things to do with the senses I have: floating in a lake, listening to Mahler 5 in a pitch black room, running down a warm beach playing with dogs, eating my moms homemade chicken pie, etc. All things that I can't do while on my mission. Why would He deny me these things if we came to earth to have these experiences? I think He denies us these things, because when we do we are more spiritually in tune than we can ever be. We need to be able to have the Spirit with us so much that if we walk into a room, people can feel it's presence and know what our purpose is, just by being there.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Can't think of anything, just pick something...[May 18, 2015]

We found out the day that my brother is coming home from his mission (Mexico Puebla North Mission) and my mom said it was Jan. 20th, just a few days after me, then I contacted my brother and he said really he's coming home Jan. 21st which is the same exact day I'm going home! Crazy stuff. We get to be awkward RM's together...yay....
Well, I was counting down the days until we get ipads which would be 9 days today, but just found out that we aren't getting them when they are having the Mission wide training, but weeks later. I'm shedding tears right now, okay not really, but it's a sad day.
Oh, I also found out that I'm staying for another transfer. Since last transfer was 7 weeks, this transfer is only 5 weeks. This is the longest I have ever been in an area. Being somewhere one transfer, the members won't even acknowledge your presence a couple weeks later, because they don't remember you at all. The second transfer they would atleast say hey to you in the hallway or something. Third transfer is perfect. Anything after that you have a hard time keeping faith up for the area and need to get. out.
So I have an alarm set for 6:10 every morning which I snooze for 5 minutes and contemplate the meaning of life and then I get up and do this awesome dance work out. It's with Tracey Anderson and she is the bomb. I feel like I'm cheating on Sister Michaels (Jillian Michaels) but Tracey says things like I hope you're having as much fun as I am and she just keeps you moving the whole time, rather than Jillian who is constantly having you do exercises on the ground which is way to tempting to "rest" for a bit and she yells things like you better be dripping sweat right now. Things like that are normally what motivate me, but when my brain realized that Jillian won't be coming out of the DVD player to pummel me if I don't do her exercises it's now a moment of rebellion when I don't follow her.
Well, Wednesday I accidentally turned the alarm off instead of putting it on snooze. So we slept in til 6:45, which I felt bad about and then I felt weird not exercising, so I decided to throw some squats in. Well, I did 15 and then it was like, hey those aren't bad I can do some more, well about 40 more and I went to take a shower and then 24 hours later my legs felt like something with giant claws shredded my thighs.
We had dinner with the elders quorum president and he was telling us this story that Elder Holland told them during the Leadership Meeting. There was this man who found a marvelous pearl in his field that just was amazing and he wanted to be able to show everyone. Well, he decided if he wanted to put it on display he needed to create this awesome box to put it in. He went abroad to find the best wood to put it together and then he spent tons of time handcrafting it and then putting gold trim on it. Well, when it finally was on display thousands of people came to view it and when they left what they mentioned about was the box and didn't even notice the pearl. He was comparing this to what we do for the church. Our we too focused on the box or the activities or just extra stuff we do or do we focus on the pearl and the original foundation of the gospel of Christ.
Well, on Thursday, as we were eating these awesome homemade crunchwraps with the Jackson's. We were getting ready to go to this Relief Society activity and we texted this investigator last minute to see if she could make it. We told her there was an activity that night and we could give her a ride. (we were going with a member) Unfortunately I accidentally sent it to the Zone Leaders instead. They were super confused why we were inviting them to an activity and then inviting to drive them.....
How to make homemade crunchwraps. big flour tortilla, taco meat, nacho cheese, tostada shell, sourcream, lettuce, onion, tomato, cheese and small tortilla then wrap it up crunchwrap style and put it on the stove. yum.
We found this whole Micronesian family that is super nice and interested. It's just unfortunate, because they don't speak a whole lot of english...this should be interesting. We also found another guy we talked with on the street. He said he remembered talking with me before, it must've been with Sister Blood, totes don't remember him...awkward! Well, he was interested as well and came to Stake Conference and he said he felt really comfortable there, which is a miracle because the adult session he came to was all on Ward Council and there was even a speaker who just read from the handbook...God works in Mysterious ways. He really wants to change and he seems motivated so that should be good. Yeah, he's definitely passed off to the Elders.

Some bullet holes in a house we knocked....
good news no one  lives there!
It's the same apartment complex
we found both the guy I just talked about
and the Micronesian family.

Monday, May 11, 2015

No one else can feel it for you; only you can let it in...[May 11, 2015]

This last past week has either been pouring buckets of rain or just being warm and muggy and one such day we were walking down the street and after being rejected from a lady that was just sitting on her porch, we walked, shoulders hunched, trying to find the next house to knock when we hear someone yell, hey you wanna drink!? We look around and I see Vince, this guy that we talked with a couple weeks ago, who wasn't interested, but super friendly. We walked over and he said, I would offer you a beer, but I know better. He went in to get us some water as we played with the cutest little dog ever.
We now have walked about every street in Montara, so we have a lot of such guardian angels. One is named Jason and honks his horn whenever he sees us and another is Lucy who is a retired divorcee and spends probably every second of her day in her front and back yard which has no grass and is filled with all sorts of plants. She gave me some sort of flower that I named Fred. It sat in our car all day, so it got a little weepy, but I took it home and put it in a tupperware container and filled it with dirt. It'll take a miracle to keep it alive.
Now we just need to get these people interested in the gospel! We have been getting a lot of new investigators lately, so that is great. It's always people that you don't think would be interested. One such lady we knocked into and she seemed very iffy at first, but we started asking about her family and she opened up. We taught the plan of salvation and she invited us again for next week. As we walked away, we were about a block away when her 5 year old daughter comes up and tells us we have to come help her pick up her blocks and she grabs my wrist with a firm grip and would not let go. She drags us back to her house to help her pick up her blocks she spilled out. Her mom was super embarrassed she did that, but it was hilarious.
Tuesday, an investigator had a school orchestra concert and we got permission to go, so that was lots of fun, they were pretty good, it was super weird seeing an orchestra, though, but delightful.
In Topeka people are very possessive of the street in front of their house, we've had people come out of their house and ask us why we just parked in front of it. Also, we've learned that it's no bueno parking across from someone's driveway, because we also had some guy yell at us about that, because what if he had to leave his house, then he would have to turn when he backed out!
On Saturday, we had a zone training and part of it, they gave us small paper swords and we wrote our "weapons of rebellion" (Alma 24:15-19) or things that we feel we should leave behind to make us more consecrated for the work. Then we went out back and put them in a hole the zone leaders made in the back of the church and we all took a turn putting dirt back in the hole.
I got to skype my family on Sunday, so that was awesome! It was great seeing all their faces.

My District

District breakfast at Denney's
for Elder Bradshaw's birthday

Monday, May 4, 2015

2 down 10 to go...[May 4, 2015]

Well I shook an apostles hand this week, so I guess you could say that was a bit of a highlight. Elder Holland visited and everyone in the mission went to Wichita and he laid it down. Well after he shook our hands and looked into our soul. People like have described it like that, but really he just looks you in the eye as you tell him your name and where you're from and he just emanates charity. It was as close to shaking the hand of the Savior as you could get. The only difference is Elder Holland doesn't know everything about you, I still felt like he understood where you were at and he truly and earnestly cared.
He was so close to the Spirit and you could tell that he was receiving mad revelation as to what he was going to say as the other speakers were talking. Then he just ripped us apart, in the loving/yelling/passionate way Elder Holland does.
One of the things he mentioned was the story of the woman at the well. She is a Samaritan and the second Jesus started talking with her she asked why He (a jew) was talking with her and then later when the apostles came back they asked each other why Christ talked with her and then he yelled, don't ask why you are talking with people!!! We are in the talking business!! Open your mouth. The one thing that would make the KWM fail is if someone told all of you to just stop talking. That's what the adversary did to Joseph Smith when he was about to pray and receive the First Vision.
He also talked a lot about allowing your Mission to change you. He told us to be intense and change forever and then made us all feel like hypocrites as he said that is exactly what we are asking people/investigators to do. He told us that we are all God's investigators and that we are already new people with new testimonies, how could we ever go back?
We also had a lesson this week with an investigator who we have been seeing for about 2 months. Our District Leader and his companion came as well, because they like to do a joint lesson once a transfer to make sure we aren't failing at teaching. Well at the beginning she mentioned that she found out some news since we last saw her and that she was pregnant. The father is her neighbor....AWKward. The Elders just had this look of what did we get ourselves into. Well, later that week we asked her if she would want a priesthood blessing and she said yes, so we got the Elders to do it and in the same lesson we had this awesome team-up and then she accepted a date, after 2 months of just not progressing. Miraculous.
Well, as the District Leader was following up with how we did in the joint lesson he left to make a copy and I took his phone and changed our name to President Bell and he came back and we were planning on calling him, but then he was looking through his messages and must've seen texts we sent him, with now President Bell as the name and he was like WHAT THE? and looked at his companion, did you text President, but then he realized that we changed it. It was kind of hilarious.
Jordy, Ben's son, who is
the cutest 6 year old ever.

Sister Westwood and I, exhausted
after driving to Wichita and back and
having to wake up at 4am.

Sister Westwood, Me, Ben,
Elder Bradshaw's arm
(you can't trust Elders to get a good pic)
Elder Bradshaw and Elder Seamons.