Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A week in my missionary life in Pittsburgh

BRENTWOOD, Pa. -- Can't believe I can say I've been out a month! Pretty insane how weird time is on a mission. Must be what is like in the Spirit World, days are long, weeks are short, months don't really exist and what is a year?

Monday afternoon, we met with an investigator named Mike and his mom, Mary. We taught the 1st half of the Plan of Salvation and committed him to BAPTISM!  Well, kind of. We offered him a date but he wants some more time to really ponder on whether or not it is true. His mom just follows his lead so we gotta work with her a little more.

Then, we were following up with a referral from the AP's (assistants to the mission president) which was at an apartment complex that had a porch out front. The man we were looking for no longer lived at that address, it was a Nepalese family. They weren't interested but on the porch was a woman and she was listening intently to the conversation we were having with the man who lived there. We went over to talk to her and found out her name is Kala and she wants to learn more about the Gospel. She accepted the Book of Mormon and said she would read it! Hopefully, she will still be willing to listen.

Tuesday, we were BACK in the mission office so Sister Montgomery could finish the map of the mission (which she did thankfully). The Fleet Coordinator, Elder Warnock, said we did such a good job that we got to pick the color of our new Toyota Corolla when it came in. 

So we lost our great Balroc (Lord of the Rings...Moria...? that crazy beast. yup), our 2013 Dodge Caravan. (ok here is the story with Balroc. We live on the 3rd floor and it takes us 56 steps to get to the laundry room/ garage and so we call it Moria. Since the Caravan is kind of a beast we refer to it as Balroc.)
This is Balroc

Wednesday, we had a Little Mermaid experience!! Who knew I had two legs?!?!? We wore jeans to do a service project for Maria, a less active. We got to paint her kitchen and living room, it really was fun to help her out and talk to her about the Gospel. She knows she needs it and wants the best for her daughter, Andrea, who is 15. We also met with Amanda, who lives with a couple who are very active in the church. She still has a lot of questions, we may have overwhelmed her with the Plan of Salvation but we have her coming to church on Sunday, even if it is Fast Sunday. We are a little hesitant with that, but we are sure it'll be ok...hopefully. 

We robbed the Elders' area book of former investigators (the area was split and they got the old area book). We plan on going to find some of those, not the ones who got dropped because of the drug deal that happened right in front of them....don't worry. (:

Thursday, oh dear Thursday. We taught Malik and umm yeah we dropped him. The moment we walked in, something was off. We had weekly planning on Friday and had a pretty cool experience with that. Sister M suggested we write down our vision for him but I kept hitting a wall. There was something that wasn't letting us help him get to baptism. I flipped open the New Testament in frustration and "happened" to open up to the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. Basically, the Pharisee is praying on the corner and shouting to the world how great he is spiritually, and the publican recognizes he is a sinner and begs for forgiveness. I read it to Sister M and she gets this look in her eye and flips to the Book of Mormon where Alma and his brethren go to visit the Zoramites and they are praying on the Rameumptom. 

We had found the problem. Malik needed help overcoming pride. He wasn't willing to let us help him and kept trying to "save our souls" so we had to drop him. It was unfortunate but maybe he will come around. After that devastating experience we were a little rocked.

We went to Dania's and she was simply lovely!! We can't help but love her as a child of God. She seemed so much brighter and when we shared a scripture from the Book of Mormon, even though they were "exercising" on the floor, Jaeda and Jasmine both stopped and listened. We suggested they read from the Book of Mormon and I suggested 3rd Nephi when Christ comes to the Americas and Jaeda and Jasmine both flipped to it and started to read right then and there. They are so thirsty for the Gospel and Dania knows it, too. We are just building trust and helping them to the best of our ability.

Later that day, we had a CRAZY rainstorm blow through. It rained all day and was FREEZING! We had an appointment with a family in the ward named the Goettman's (Get-men). They are a cute little family with 2 kids, a 2 year old little girl and a 6 month old boy who remind me SO much of Hayley and Andy when they were little. Actually, the whole family reminds me of David and Suzanne, but Sister Goettmen is from Laos so...uh yeah. She made some pretty amazing egg rolls and rice. It was SO good and left us feeling grateful for being in a members' home again.

She did not enjoy the cold rain.

So this is kind of confusing, but BACK to the Zoramites. They don't listen, right, and Alma goes to the poor people who are thrown out of the churches and stuff. So get this, we got to this neighborhood and some how manage to get in to this locked apartment building that is kind of run down, but we wanted to go visit this less active named Faith. When we knocked on the door, this short little African woman answers the door. She stares at our name tags as we ask for Faith. She tells us Faith isn't home but continues to stare at our name tags. We thank her and say we will try back later. As we turn to go she stops us and says "Please come back so we can talk of Christ." So I "happen" to have a Book of Mormon with me to give to her and we promise to come back and visit with her. Agnes is her name and she is a new investigator. We can't wait to get back to teach her.

We had another long session of weekly planning. We did get to go get our new Corolla which we picked RED of course....The turn radius is SO much better and yet our car is a little stubborn...so what did we name him?? Gimili of course. haha! We are a little crazy but like to keep things interesting (neither of us cares too much about naming inanimate objects but they just fit so well!). So we drove home (hit up taco bell for lunch--I NEED REAL MEXICAN FOOD). That was our Friday.

Saturday was a lot less eventful. We visited with Andrea and Maria again. Andrea didn't seem too keen on us being there talking religion and all that jazz, but she is 15 so we will work with her some more. Sister M got super sick and passed out for 3 hours so what did I do? Read Jesus the Christ again. (I actually finished it yesterday ): ) Then she woke up feeling much better and the Diffendaffers (yes that is their name) took us to Applebees for dinner. Pretty sweet.

Sunday, I had to speak. -__-. It only got worse from there....We went tracting that afternoon and one of the last houses we were at we had this experience: A woman answered the door and the conversation went a little like this:

"HI! Can we share this card with--

"No, no I know your group! I'm an orthodox Christian and I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior."

"Great! So do we--

"No. No you don't. I don't want to discuss it."

And she slammed the door in our face. I held on to my name tag as tightly as I could and we walked back to the car so we could make our dinner appointment. I laid my head against the car and said "I want to meet that woman again in the next life and ask her 'Did you finally accept Him?'" We got in the car and I blared 'Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer' by Vocal Point (the song from 17 Miracles). I closed my eyes and sobbed the entire way as I listened to the words of the song over and over again. 

That woman struck me to the very core. Her countenance and demeanor was so negative and hateful. 
No matter what she said though, I believe in Christ. He is my Savior and Redeemer. He did die so I could live again. He knows my weaknesses so perfectly so He can help me when I can't make it on my own, which is often. I may not be perfect and I may have doubts sometimes but I KNOW MY SAVIOR LIVES AND LOVES ME!! She cannot tell me I don't. 

After that experience I was pretty shaken up for the dinner appointment, but the goofy Elders made up for it. They were a tender mercy even if they are ridiculous!! (: This work will go forth because it is true. Nothing can change that. Satan may be the worst brother ever, BUT CHRIST is the best. He is the only One we can have true hope through.

Sister Crockett

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"A bible, a bible"

BRENTWOOD, Pa. — Even though I've talked you to less than 24 hours ago, I'll keep you updated.

My trainer is Sister Montgomery. She is 22 and from Washington (yes, we already discussed Twilight and she hates it just about as much as I do for ruining our states). She is so amazing. She went to the Philippines for a month but got sick and had to come home, so now she is here!! (: I really lucked out. Funny story, she was working in the office and all the new missionaries pictures were hanging up and she looked at my picture and Sister Cook's (my new friend and I'll hopefully send pictures home soon!!) and said to her companion, "One of these sisters is going to be one of our companions. Just watch." And when we were eating lunch before our companions were assigned I was hoping she would be my trainer. Out of the sisters there, she stuck out, mostly because she said "I struggle in life more than most do," as she poured half her water bottle down her face. Got to love companions. 

So, tracting: pretty much brutal here in PA. Everybody here is Catholic and "happy with their religion" or "I was born Catholic and I'm gonna die Catholic." It's pretty crazy. We have tons of potential investigators who rarely turn into more than that. Like the first woman we taught here was an old Catholic woman named Coletta. She was really interested in living with her husband forever, but when we came back to talk about Joseph Smith and the RESTORED gospel, she started putting our lesson away and just said "no, no. no. I'm ok with being Catholic. I want to be Catholic." It nearly broke my heart, but you just have to keep moving. Then this woman, Dania, she was baptized in 2005, but went inactive because she thought the church was prejudiced and some other interesting things, so Sister Montgomery and I can't wait to get back to teach her and her twin 9 year-old girls, who haven't been baptized.

The weather here is pretty all over the place, it has been pretty rainy actually. I didn't realize how much I missed the Arizona sun until I had to walk in the rain — every day of my life —and freeze. Because you know, I was planning for mostly humid and warm, not 100% humidity and cold haha! But it is an adjustment I'll have to make.

The ward here is 45 strong... people that is, not families. So pretty tiny. All of them amazing people who are very generous in feeding the missionaries — there are 5 of us!! The "moving" elders are in our area so they share the ward with us. That is a whole other story...

Elder Reamund is going home at the end of this transfer so he is pretty trunky (which makes it hard for a girl like me who JUST got here to not be focused on home life). Elder Thomas is here til October and Elder Sutherland is here til February and has the thickest hick accent as one can get, he is also from Southern California. They are pretty...interesting. But at least we can get rides from them every once in a while. (We are in a walking area and yes, President approved that we ride to church and other mission things with them).

Thank you every one for the letters in the MTC!!! I felt so loved!! Even though I haven't or couldn't write back I really appreciate it from everyone!!

My new address (and I'll be here for about 12 weeks hopefully) is:

Sister Kaitlyn Crockett
Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission
3336 Brownsville Rd
Pittsburgh, PA 15227

so if you feel like writing me, I would be one happy missionary!! (:

I love ya'll tons and thanks for everything!! you are awesome!!


Sister Crockett

Thursday, May 2, 2013

1st letter at the MTC

PROVO — Finally had a preparation day after our schedules got shuffled around a lot, so I finally am able to email. 

I'm so glad you guys are doing well. As our previous zone leaders said, just got to make it to Sunday. I can hardly believe that it is Thursday. 

I leave on Monday at 4 am and my companion is going to a different mission, which is pretty annoying actually, because even though we tease and don't get along (as sisters, as most of the girls in my district describe us) we love each other. It is so amazing how much love you can have for people when you met them literally a week ago.

I saw Steele Crandall today. He seemed somehow...subdued if that was possible. I warned him about the food but he said it was greatboys. Seriously, if the sleep deprivation doesn't kill you, the food will. Nah, it's amazing how much prayer can do for you. I'm sure Heavenly Father is tired of these desperate "Please just don't let me fall asleep" prayers. But I definitely knows He answers.

In our district, we have 3 sister companionships and 2 elder companionships.  Sister Sowards is my companion from Provo, then Sister Cloward and Sister Shipley (sis Cloward is from Mesa, went to Mt. View. She is awesome, so I forgive her). Then Sister Moore and Sister Winkler. The Elders are Elders Almond (district leader) and Demke, then Elders Gibson and Taylor. 

EVERYONE is from Utah here, like a good 50%. Plus the weather is wacko. I'm freezing up here!! Never can have too many layers thank goodness I planned for that. Pittsburgh might just freeze me though....

So Sunday was a pretty awesome experience. For Relief Society, we had Sister Oscarson come and speak to us, you know the new General Young Women's president. She talked about Jacob 5, which is normally a huge turn off, but she pointed out near the end of the chapter (which I encourage you to look up which verse exactly) but it is when the Lord of the Vineyard is calling extra servants to try and save His vineyard one last time. The cool part is it says something to the effect of "they labored with all their might and the Lord did labor with them."

There are so many times where I have felt Jesus Christ help me along here. It's only been a week and I have learned so much (plus the reassuring factor of Elder Holland is kind of the most legit when talking about the Atonement and the Savior.) I encourage you to study that because President Faust says that, "The Atonement is the most important part of the gospel, and the least understood." This place is just fantastic, minus some stuff but we all have something to improve on. (;

I joined the MTC choir, which is phenomenal. We sang "Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer" for the devotional on Tuesday. 

We heard from President Packer for the devotional!!

Allan F. Packer that is....his son (SO CLOSE!!! haha!). His talk was on family history, which he is over, then our Branch President got into some deep stuff. We also watched a devotional from Elder Bednar, but seriously, watch it. Read it. It was so deep and profound and simple. It's called the Character of Christ. I am very excited to study about and come closer to my Savior.

I really appreciate the packages and letters! It's pretty much the best part of my day. Plus, mail gets checked twice a day, so that's even better! I don't feel overwhelmed, I feel excited to hear from friends and family. Sister Shipley even got some letters from her little sisters stuffed animals, so if any of the inanimate objects around the house feel like writing me a letter, I wont object.

I just want to say that I love you and miss you. However, God knows my weakness for my family and has blessed me with the courage to continue on. When I study and do things completely focused on the Savior and lessons I'm teaching, I almost forget how much I want to be home. It is such a tender mercy and I am so glad I am able to be a servant of the Lord at this time. Keep choosing the Right, and God will bless you ever more.


Sister Crockett (!)

P.S. I read this scripture this week and man, what power: connect to 3 Nephi 17:17 (thinking of the Atonement) D&C 45:3-5