Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Sit down and have a Coke with you...[Dec. 28, 2015]

So it was Sunday and we still didn't have any new investigators this week and Sister Mertens was looking at the old paper area book that we still have. Pretty much the whole thing hadn't been put in the area book app. Well, we found some former investigators to try and the first one was this single mom that has 7 kids living with her all baptismal age. We knocked on their house and before we could introduce ourselves the daughter let us in and the 5 kids that were there and the mom all sat with us as we taught the Restoration, it was soooo awesome.

    Then we still needed some new investigators to count as our found through member ones. Well, we found a potential that was a referral from a now less active recent convert that he referred several months ago. So we visited her and we could tell she had a lot of friends over, but we knocked anyways and she let us right in. Her name is Patty and she is pretty old and has that scruffy voice that long-term smokers do. We found out right away that one of the ladies there was a member who hadn't been to church in several years and her nonmember daughter. After 2 hours of laughing our guts out because Patty is hilarious, both Patty and the daughter became investigators. I love how apparent God shows His hand in this work.

     Anyways, more about Patty, she smoked at least half a pack within the span we were there. She offered us diet Dr. Pepper or Coke my companion asked for a Coke and I made the mistake of asking for diet Dr. Pepper (which btw is my recent go to, when I am in need of a caffeinated beverage which is necessary a lot here with having to drive so much) anyways, she was handing it to me and asked, "do you have diabetes?" "No...." "Well, your not fat. Are you constipated" No...." "Well, we're going to have to work on you."

     Pretty much any topic of conversation goes with Patty. We went from visiting teaching, to our 'magic underwear' and then the social occasions that would require one to wear a bra. (Apparently shopping at Walmart is one that doesn't.) Anyways, I'm pretty excited to start teaching her, but now with Patty "musk" on us, everyone we meet is also going to start thinking we are chain smokers.
So Christmas was fun, we got lots of chocolate and that's all that matters. Skyping the fam was a delight as well.

     Lacey is set to get baptized on Thursday, so we are super pumped about that. I love her so much and this is going to be the greatest thing she's ever done....so yeah....it should be kinda fantastic.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Near, Far, Wherever You Are...[Dec. 21, 2015]

We finally got to move into our new apartment today, so it's been kind of hectic. You have no idea how much stuff apartments accumulate after housing missionaries for just three years. So I'm trying to email in half the time I normally do....hopefully this works out.

Yesterday was a bucket of crazy. Well the night before our district leader was talking about the mission presidents devotional that was happening in Liberal, Kansas the next evening. He mentioned how awesome it would be if we could get Lacey to go. So we made this crazy plan of asking a certain member to drive her and us the 2 hours and 45 minutes to the devotional. (Yeah, that was where they were doing it for our stake) the member was all for it, but she said she only had two seats besides herself. So we needed a member to drive us. We were exhausting all resources and finally as we were talking about it after the block a member overheard us and said you need a ride? We can take you. Haha, no you don't understand....its to Liberal, KS which is almost 3 hours away. Yeah, we can take you. What!? So we went and had lunch with them (this is the same member that fed us goose last week) and we were going to meet the other member at Lacey's house. Well when we got there we found her getting sick on the side of the road so that was a no go and considering the members small car we were in only one sister and Lacey would fit, so me being the graciously generous companion I am I offered Sister Mertens to hang back with the Fillmores all day...haha jk, no she was a doll and said it was my last chance to go to a mission presidents devotional and let me go.
I called the ZLs...no answer....called the district leader and he said GO so me and my companion went on splits....for 7 hours 169 miles away. We had a good discussion with Lacey on the car ride there and the devotional was #worthit. Lots of testimonies from recent converts and lots of talk about acting on faith and the importance of the BOM.
Then I made sure she met President and Sister Bell afterwards which was really good. He told her she was ready and she just needs to take that step of faith...its just faith from now on. Everything that evening came together so well, it definitely was the hand of God. I also chalk up it up to eating that hairy goose.
The ride home was also sooo necessary she opened up so much and I think we FINALLY got to the root of her concern. I also got a call from the ZLs saying the assistants called them and to tell me never to go on splits 3 hours away from my companion again....I imagine that though it will be somehow tempting with all the opportunities that would present themselves over the course of this next month to go on 169 mile away splits, through the grace of God I'll have the will power to overcome such behavior.

We also had our Christmas zone conference this week which was delightful...besides the fact that I had to give my testimony because it's my last transfer....so weird and not okay!

 Pic 1 zone Conf
Pic 2 Lacey and I

Monday, December 14, 2015

Our House in the Middle of the Street...[Dec. 14, 2015]

So, I was just about to write this when the elders texted us asking if we could come out to give them the car keys. After grumbling about why they couldn't just come to the door I go and open the door....see that there is an iPad a few feet away recording and then I look down to see some sort of animal skin on the Fillmores porch and then it slides away as Elder Michaelis giggles reeling it in, because he had attached it to a fishing pole. They were kind of disappointed I hadn't screamed and I almost felt bad, but they're going to have to try a lot harder than that!
I showed them a pic of my brother and Elder Michaelis said hey it's Elder Porter and Elder Porter said, hey it's me a few years down the road.
The main topic/struggle for this week was definitely our housing drama. It's been going on quite a while, but it reached its peak this week. I got permission from our mission housing several weeks ago that we could look for a new place. Our apartment is 2 miles outside of town and we can't go back for dinner and it's too long to walk so when it snows we always have to get rides. One day we just had to eat crackers in the elders garage in below freezing weather, because we didn't have a dinner or transportation. Anyways, so it was a problem and I was trying to fix it...well our bishop owns the place we are at and his wife was beside herself that we would want to move. We ended up calling the mission housing people back after we viewed a perfectly fine apartment that is in the middle of town and has everything we need and they talked with the president and we are getting moved. We have dinner with bishop tonight, so let's hope that's not awkward. Lesson learned here: don't rent as a missionary from your bishop. Super excited to not have to walk an hour in freezing cold weather to finally see people!
Lacey is progressing more and more rapidly! She just keeps going through all of these concerns. She mentioned, okay guys, I've been holding back an addiction I have...I smoke weed. It's like Lacey, we know your house reeked of it when we first met you, but it doesn't anymore we thought you quit....well yeah I haven't had it for a few weeks....and your concern is?? Well what if I want it again! Do you want it? No, not right now....okay....but she really is concerned about it. She of course said the classic, well it's like an herb from the ground. God created it for us...uhhhh. #onlyinCO She completely gave up alcohol and it was because she saw her friend get sick from it a couple nights ago and just realized it's not worth it. Then last night Pshe was like, guys I know what to do! I'll smoke weed right now and you'll see me act all not myself and I'll realize I don't want to be like that anymore. Yeah no! How bout lets be obedient to all of Gods commandments...yeah? Anyways, her countenance has changed so dramatically since I first met her. She is a completely different person....well not different, but a glowing shiny version of herself.
Sister Mertens is my new companion and she is awesome! Unfortunately she hasn't gotten her driving privileges yet, so I had to drive from Wichita to Lamar pretty much straight 6 hours. We have been able to see a lot of miracles since she got here. We have a few new super promising investigators and we have been able to contact a lot of people that it's been hard for us to contact before. Super excited to see what this transfer has to bring.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away...[Dec. 7, 2015]

We watched the Christmas devotional at the church last night and it was so good. Sometimes a French horn player I know plays with them and he was there last night. He was on the chamber orchestra tour I went on right before I left and he was being really friendly on it. I was not at all interested in him, but it still was discouraging when I saw his wedding ring. I have no contact with all of my music school or brick oven friends and I'm going to have to take some happy pills before going on Facebook when I get home to see what I've missed. I feel like I started watching a tv series on Netflix, and I told myself oh I'll just watch one episode, 5 episodes later I've procrastinated everything else I need to get done for so long that I might as well finish the series. I now understand why people used to beg for extensions.

Tomorrow we head for Wichita at 2:00 to get there by 9:00. Then I drive back with my new comp the next day.....fun times living in the middle of nowhere on the edge of the mission! Last week we had
interviews and then the next day zone training, both in Garden City, so that was 8 hours in two days, I complained, so of course we have a drive of 12 hours in two days this week. Karma.

Onward to my last transfer! So incredibly crazy....how did I get here!?

Yesterday I woke up feeling sick to my stomach, but I was good enough to go to church and everything. When dinner arrived after fasting all day I was a little worried how my stomach would hold up. Then we were eating this wild goose, which was good up until my last piece. I turned it over and it was hairy on the other side. I looked up and the hostess was watching me. I could tell she knew what I was thinking, so I looked down and I put on my big girl pants and stuck that hairy goose meat in my mouth. I felt like standing on my chair and yelling, what! What now! Bring it on hairy goose!! Long story short, my stomach, with the help of Chamomile, held it all.

We had a movie night where we watched Meet the Mormons. Some active members were being bums and told us, you know the missionaries did this a few months ago and only two people showed up. Well we advertised and told everyone and 28 people showed up, so that was super awesome!

We had a super spiritual testimony meeting on Sunday which was perfect for Lacey. She was crying and told us she's really warming up to coming to church on Sunday. She even had comments and questions in Sunday School and Relief Society and everyone was so nice to her. Ug, she just needs to get baptized already!!

I feel like so much more happened, but I don't have time to write. Love you all!

Pics: Sister Fillmore, Sister Birks, Lacey and I

Zone training

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

It's our problem free philosophy...Nov. 30, 2015

This was kind of a bleh week. We had exchanges with the STLs and they were stressful as always. That combined with everyone else I'm working with made me feel about as useful as chopped liver. I was having a breakdown afterwards and asked my companion...well should I just clock out? "No" but really I think that's just the easier route, because everyone else thinks they know how to do things better than I do, so why bother? I also realized that this is my first area where there is no major hurtle I have to push myself to overcome. Nothing that is making me go the extra mile. Other areas I whitewashed, led, trained, and saved from being closed. This area is just fine and my companion is competent. Who knew that the trial I needed was feeling the lack of being needed in an area that was trial free. Well, obviously God.

An experience yesterday kind of sums up how the work went this week. We went and tried a potential we both hadn't met that was in the area book. She was a teenage girl and let us right in. We taught her the restoration on her couch and she took it well. Then we invited her to baptism and she was like to be a Mormon!? Uh...yeah....she said no, then we invited her to read the Book of Mormon...no, I'll stick with the bible...then we gave her a card to Christmas.mormon.org

We had thanksgiving with these members that are RAs for the dorms at the community college here. A couple college kids showed up....they're new investigators now!

I'm trying hard to show gratitude for everything that God gives me. Isn't it cool that we have a holiday that reminds us to do that? But I really think that is key to happiness.

"Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I'm suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstance- whatever they may be....Being grateful in our circumstance is an act of faith in God. It requires that we trust God and hope for things we may not see but which are true. By being grateful, we follow the example of our beloved Savior, who said, 'not my will, but thine be done.'" President Uchtdorf

Sister Fillmore let us help her make pies.

Thanksgiving dinner.
Elder Michaelis and his food baby with Elder Porter.
Outside our window this morning. Mother Nature decided to welcome our bike week in with some aerial bestowed powder.

The weather update....we call this area Lamar beach, because there is a river bed that had a beach and some elder way back from California started calling it the beach and it stuck. I thought. Super ironic the weather update showed the beach...