Hey guys. I hit 9 months this week...so. weird. Luckily! I have another 9 months to figure out what on earth I am doing haha! But anyways, sooo, anyone for a blizzard? No? Me neither. Pretty much the pits right now in Beaver Falls. It has been a crazy week so far! Good, but crazy!!
Tuesday, we got to email because of Civil Rights Day. Funny how in high school you would pray for those random holidays. I mean come on! Celebrate everything! The 1st man on the moon, the first day of spring, anything to get us out of school! On a mission, it's a little different. Random holidays just throw you off. I mean Columbus day? Really?? But we are just lucky to email our families when we can! We had dinner at the Schmucks then had to race back to our apartment for our team up with Ruthy. It was SO epic. We saw Wendy and invited her to church talked about how important the little things are; like going to church, reading the scriptures, and praying. She said that she rationalizes things like "Well, I can't go to church because..." "I'm too tired to read my scriptures because...." "I don't have time to pray because..." but she said there really is no "because". There is no excuse. God has asked us to do the little things and they are so simple! Easy, probably but that is where the devil can sneak his toe in the door. It was a really good meeting. Next we visited with a man we hadn't ever visited before. His name is Brian and he served as Stake Young Men's President and some other "big" callings. He was ordained a high priest and is currently been less active for about 6 years. As we talked with him about his conversion, the Spirit was so strong. He said because a family tragedy he didn't know where his faith went and he wanted it back. He explained that he loved the church and he never wanted his name removed from the records. It was such a spiritual experience and simply phenomenal!
Wednesday was district meeting and I was in a funk. I was extremely tired and just so over it. haha! We went to lunch and then waited for Sister Burson to come and pick us up for a SUPER early dinner. We had Impossible Taco Pie....yum. ha. We then had to race to our teaching appointment with a potential named Brenda. We walked up to her door and before we could even say hi she told us that she knew that she couldn't meet with us and that we believed in a different God. We tried to explain that we really didn't but she wouldn't listen. She offered us a NIV Bible and we said we had a Bible and we believed in it, just as she did, to be the Word of God. She insisted we take the book so we did. We flipped through it and all I can say is that it definitely wasn't the inspired text that we are familiar with. It was really heart breaking and a hard way to end the night. No matter how many rejections I get, it still stings to my very soul. But we keep moving forward because someone is seeking the truth!
Thursday was pretty odd. We taught our new investigator, Dobie. I can't really tell where he stands quite yet, but he said that he is leaning toward our church. Which is good, but I don't know how much "real intent" he has right now. We might even start teaching his roommate Anthony. He was in the room as we were talking about Joseph Smith's 1st Vision. He was making coffee but he paused while we recounted it. He even said he would come to church! Who knows!! (: We worked on the area book and did some Mormon.org time and I put tons of Neal A. Maxwell talks on my flash drive! I am SO stoked to listen to them! Typical missionary?? Maaaaybe (: but they are SO good!! We went to Char's for dinner and then she told us to relax. 0.o what's that?? haha! It was so nice to just sit and enjoy the quiet before our Book of Mormon class. We had a rough start but it can only go up from there right?? (:
Friday=9 MONTHS ON A MISSION!!!!!! (:
We did some weekly planning and then went on team ups with Sister L. Neeley and saw Jean and Alice. It was alright. Jean is in a senior care facility and isn't doing super well and Alice is still Alice haha! We bundled up after coming home and prepared to walk to Beaver Falls (about 2.5 miles from our apartment...with a huge hill). We are so low on miles and are trying to be obedient so we walked. I can now tell my children that I walked uphill...both ways...in the snow. *win* Buuut it was about 14 degrees with a wind chill so I got sick...and I'm sore haha! it's what happens I guess. But Heavenly Father has really blessed us for our efforts, however puny they have been. To celebrate our 9 months, Sister Hanseen and I went to El Paso. Pretty much the only "Mexican" food place even remotely close. It was probably the best I've had out here. It wasn't phenomenal but I was starving so it tasted pretty good haha!
Saturday was awful because a nasty storm came through and we couldn't go work all day. After napping and listening to some Elder Holland Throw down talks, we meandered around the apartment until we were so bored we couldn't see straight. We tore up some old boxes and got a garbage bag and hiked up the hill behind the apartment and went sledding....eh. YOMO. (you only mission once). Apprently some of our neighbors found it super amusing as well and recorded us d: sooo if you see any crazy youtube video from PA...it wasn't me!! haha! We made a super awesome dinner of chicken and rice with what little food we had in the apartment (we aren't starving, just lazy haha!) and that was it.
Sunday was scary because the snow was still coming down but it stopped right before church. Sister Biernesser picked us up and we made it safely to church...after Sacrament meeting it promptly started snowing again. We went back to the Biernesser's for lunch and dinner and hung out the rest of the night because of the crazy weather. It is supposed to be in the negatives the 1st part of this week so pray for me!! haha!
Well, that is my week! Pretty crazy experiences I think. Over all though, I have realized how important obedience is. Little things matter, despite how much we might rationalize them. Is it horrible to have more than one set of earrings in? Maybe not. You are still good person and God loves you, but are you going to let a little thing like an extra earring keep you from the blessings Heavenly Father so eagerly wants to bestow upon you? We had an interesting experience with that this morning. It was snowing really hard when we woke up and we didn't know what that would mean for our P-day. We decided that no matter what, we would still do studies and do what Heavenly Father expected of us. In my study prayer, I asked Him for help that as we were obedient that we would see the blessings of that. By comp study, the snow had basically stopped and the roads were becoming clearer. These tender mercies of the Lord are so special to me. I am so grateful that the Lord sees fit to give us such individualized blessings to let us know that He loves us. "Through personal study, observation, pondering, and prayer, I believe I have come to better understand that the Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Truly, the Lord suits “his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men” (D&C 46:15)." (Elder David A. Bednar)
I invite you this week to ponder on the Lord's tender mercies according to your obedience to the simple principles of the gospel. If you haven't prayed individually in a long time, offer a simple prayer both morning and night. See what God can do. If you don't study your scriptures as thoroughly as maybe you could, try it every day even if you only get through a verse. See what God can do. If you want to get more from church, prepare through out the week for the sacrament and make your heart and mind open to the things you will learn in those meetings. See what God can do.
I too need to work on this and I am striving to make my studies and lessons more meaningful. I promise that as we do this together, miracles will be wrought, tender mercies will be received, and happiness will abound. Thank you for all of your faith and prayers! I love you so much and can't wait to see what miracles will happen in the next 9 months!! (:
Sister Kaitlyn Crockett