Monday, February 24, 2014

More Blessings in Carmel

This week was fantastic!!!! So many miracles. We have been so blessed. But then again, this is the Lord's work, not ours.

Our mission for the past couple of months has had a standard of excellence. Part of this standard of excellence is teaching 20 lessons per week and since I am in a leadership position for our companionship some further standards are to teach 8 member present lessons with 2 of those lessons in a member’s home. Sister Barrett and I have been doing pretty good and most weeks we get somewhere between 18 and 22 lessons. BUT this week we had 34......... IT WAS CRAZY!!!! We were also able to have 11 member present lesson and we had 4 of those lessons in a members home. We were so blessed this week!! I am glad to be serving in such a fantastic ward with members who are so willing to have us teach in their homes. With members who care about who we are teaching and are so willing to come to lessons when we ask them too. And not that numbers by any means determine our success- but to think that each one of these numbers represent a person, a soul, someone who is precious to the Lord. This truly is His work.

Last week, I told you about Sam, and this week we started teaching his older sister, Sabrina! She is 21 years old and was just sworn into the Navy. She went to Catholic college for 3 years and has a strong roots in that faith. She is not sure that she wants to convert or that she ever will, but she is looking for more peace in her life (little does she know.... this is exactly what she will get ;) She came to church on Sunday and she is reading the Book of Mormon now!! She says that even if she doesn't convert, she has decided that these are truths that she wants to live that she wants to be able to be a support for her Mom, her Aunt and her Grandma who are all recent converts!

We had a lesson with Sabrina on Saturday night at 8pm. She told us that she was on her way out the door after to "hang out" with some friends, which from what she explained didn’t sound like she would be in the best environment. We ended up having a fantastic lesson on the Holy Ghost and how she can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost right now in her life and after baptism she can have the Gift of the Holy Ghost and that through the holy Ghost she can come to know whether or not these truths that she is learning are true for herself. We left this lesson excited about how well she received everything and how strong the spirit was and thought that she would just be on her merry way to go "hang out". We found out that after this lesson..... she decided NOT to go out!!! She told us that it just didn’t feel right and that she just wanted to stay in so she would be well rested for church on Sunday. Little does she know that staying home that night is applying exactly what we taught and acting on the influence of the Holy Ghost. The converting power of the gospel is so strong and so true! I love it!!!!!

 Here are some picture from my adventures in Carmel!!!

 We had a small ice storm on Monday of last week... and then I found this beauty
 We had dinner with R and C last night--Delicious Hatian food-  mmmmmm
The Indiana Temple is coming along

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New Investigators with Baptismal Dates!!!!!

So many exciting things happened this week!! Again so many blessings :) The Lord never ceases to amaze me.

Transfers were this week, so we have another sister, Sister Ruth with us Monday evening and Tuesday up until transfers on Wednesday morning. There was also not enough room for the 10 new sisters who got to Indiana to stay in the mission home on Tuesday night, so we got to take 2 of them home with us :) Five sisters to one bathroom with only an hour to get ready is NUTs, but it was super fun to have all of them with us. It was so fun to feel these new sisters energy and excitment for the work. They really are so prepared to come out here and to serve!! One of them that stayed with us, Sister Clegg is getting trained in an area in our stewardship, so we will still get to see her and teach with her!!

So we have 3 new investigators with BAPTISMAL DATES!!!!!!!!!!

1. Riannah. She is 8 years old. Her parents are not members, but her less-active (but now returning member) Grandma, Sister Clerevoix is. She had come to church a few times, but never consistently. We went to meet with Sister Clerevoix a couple of weeks ago and BAM there Riannah was. We asked her if she wanted to learn more and she said yes. At the end of our first lesson we committed her to baptism. She said "Yes, I was to keep ALL the commandments of God!" She was at church this Sunday as well. She loves every minute of meeting with us. She ALWAYS has something to say though, it is kind of hilarious! Her grandma says that she is a 25 year old in an 8 year olds body. We were able to extend the date of March 8th to her just this week!!! (Which is a whole other story in and of itself!)
2. Cory. He is 12 years old and Sister Clerevoix's son. He came to church when his mom was active, but hasnt been for almost 7 years. We were having a lesson with Riannah and invited him to come and listen. It was so perfect because we were teaching the Restoration- specifically the Savior's Earthly Ministy to Riannah that night. He listened and asked so many questions!! He loved that the Apostles recieved the power and authority (the preisthood) to act in God's name. We talked about how when you are 12 years old that young men can recieve the preisthood. So then at the end of the lesson we committed Riannah to being baptized ont he 8th of March and Cory asked "Can I get baptized on that day too?" YES YES YES YES YES!!!!!! And they both came to church this Sunday and loved it! We are so excited to help Riannah and Cory prepare to be baptized on March 8th! (probably the highlight of my week!!)

But the excitement doesn't stop there!! Sister Barrett and I with all of these snow days have been calling lots of former investigators. Mostly we leave messages, but sometime they call you back and they want to meet again!!!

3. Liz. Liz is in her 30s and is from China. She moved to the United States about 10 years ago. She is super sweet but her English is not he best. She met with Sister in 2007, but when those Sisters got transfered she sort of feel through the cracks and hasn't met with missionaries since. She has read quite a bit of the Book of Mormon, but not all of it. She doesnt remember much of what she learned, but she remembers exactly how she felt. She came to church on Sunday as well!! It was a little bit awkward because she doesn't love talking to adults because of her English. She does understand almost everything, just has a more difficult time communicating back. In our very first lesson we met at the church and just taught the principle of prayer and God is our Loving Heavenly Father. She expressed that she hadn't prayed in years because she felt as if she wasn't worthy. The more we talked, the bigger she grinned. At the end of the lesson she exclaimed "I feel good! I feel good!" Though she does not understand the Gospel in its fullness yet, she is begining to experience and understand God's love for her! She loves how she feels when she comes to church, when she prays and when she meets with us. She accepted a baptismal date of March 29th. I am so excited to continue to teach her and watch her grow in her testimony and the gospel!!! This will be totally different then anyone that I have taught before. But so amazing :)

We are getting to know our land lord really well..... because surprise surprise our water heater went out....... for 3 days. This morning it was finally fixed. Never have I ever enjoyed a hot shower more :) (plus it lasted longer then 30 seconds......)

We have another investigator, Sam who is 9. (for some reason I seem to teach only kids.... hahah). Sam's mom and grandma just got baptized last fall. Sam attends church regularly with his Mom (well the weekends that he is not at his Dad's) and also comes to scouts. He loves primary, but he told us "I am just not sure how I feel about that Joseph Smith guy. Not sure it is true. I like the Catholic Bible." He told us this when we stopped by to teach his mom and shovel their driveway. We asked Sam if we could share a short lesson with him about the Book of Mormon. We taught him about Nephi building the boat and about how because he was obedient he was able to help his family. At the end of the lesson we asked him if he would like to know more about the Book of Mormon and the stories in it (becasue Sam LOVES his adventure Bible. He falls asleep reading it everynight.). He decided that he did want to learn more about what his mom beleived and more about the Book of Mormon. Just this week we taught about Joseph Smith and where the Book of Mormon came from. To our surpirse, HE LOVED IT!!! He retold his aunt and his grandma and his brother (who lives in NC :) the entire story perfectly! We gave him a Book of Mormon reader which he now reads every night. I just can't wait to teach Sam about baptism!!

Other adventures for this week:
1. We got grounded....again...
2. Got rear-ended in an intersection due to ice and snow. Thankfully no damage to us and only a small scratch on the car :)
3. Water heater went out
4. Have a new Elder in our ward who just came out. His uncle is our Bishop (SO EXCITING!!!)
5. Went to Sam's basketball game
6. Gave a talk in church about Missionary work (no surpise there....hahah) But more specifically it was about our new stake goal of 1 prayer focused on missionary work every day, 1 gospel conversation a week, and 1 gospel invitation every month!!
7. A member took us to eat at Chick-Fil-A and chick fila always makes me happy :)
8. Oh and weird... my trainer is now home

I love you all and hope you each have a fantastic week!!!
<3 Sarah

Monday, February 10, 2014

Brrrrrrrrr and tummy bugs

Last night we got our transfer calls and I am staying in Carmel, with Sister Barrett for the next 6 weeks :)

I caught a gross stomach bug earlier this week and got snowed in... AGAIN.

Considering the snow and the sickness and trainings and exchanges we still had a pretty miraculous week. We were able to teach a lot of members and meet with almost all of our investigators.

Ronnita has probably made the most progress this week. We were able to meet with her and talk about a baptismal date. She is going to get baptized on May 1st. She still has a long way to go, but she now has a testimony of her Savior, Jesus Christ. It is amazing to see the change that has come over her. While she has always had a testimony of God, she now better comprehends His love for her because He sent His son, Jesus Christ to atone for the sins of the world. We saw her on Saturday and she was a little distraught, because she found out that her sister had been stealing from her, but she expressed to us that this was an opportunity to turn to God and to rely on Him. She then said "I want to do it your way, I want to pray in the name of Jesus Christ now. I want to be baptized."!!!!!!! AHHH the spirit was so strong. It was so amazing to hear to her say this, because that was her biggest hurdle. She was Islamic before and didn’t understand the role of Jesus Christ. How amazing to be a part of this and to watch her begin to experience peace in her life. She has a lot to learn and quite a ways to go, but the journey has begun.

We were also able to share a picture of the temple with two of our other investigators, Muttie and Sue Fleener. They are an older couple (exactly.. I kid you the couple from UP) but they are listening intently the to the discussions. They have started to read the Book of Mormon and are praying about being baptized. They are not sure that they want to change, but Muttie sure soaks up every word. They like the idea of priesthood authority, but need that confirmation of truth for themselves. It was awesome to see how much they lit up when we shared a picture of the temple with them this week. They know that it is a house of God.

This week it has been amazing to see how when those people are ready, the spirit can come into their lives and change their hearts. I am going to be honest, at first I doubted that Ronnita and Muttie and Sue would ever change. I love seeing the converting power of the Gospel come into people lives. I love being a part of that. It makes every second of this freezing COLD and SNOW worth it (cheers to the worst winter Indiana has seen in over 30 years)!

I love you all and thank you for your continued prayers. <3 Sarah

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Furnace Fun

This week was CRAZY!!!! Hopefully that means I have some half way decent stories to share because of all of here goes nothing!!!

Tuesday Morning we woke up a little bit chilly. Okay, a lot bit chilly. We went to check the thermostat and it said it was on... but the temperature gauge read about 60 degrees. So, not too bad, but a little bit cold. So then we messed with it a little bit and we couldn't get it to turn on at all!!! Lucky Elder and Sister Smithhart, the senior couple who are in charge of housing just happen to be our neighbors and live right beneath us. So we went and knocked on their door at about 7:15 in the morning. We called the landlord and about an hour later when we went back upstairs.   The apartment  was now 55 degrees.... it was getting colder and getting cold FAST!! The Smithharts we so kind and let us shower at their apartment and do our studies there as well. The guy who knows how to actually fix furnaces couldn't come until the next day!! So when we had to come home for the night, we planned in our coats and under LOTS of blankets!! The landlord let us borrow a space heater which kept our room at about 55 degrees (a little chilly) BUT the rest of our apartment when we woke up the next morning, according to the thermostat on the clock was 38.3 degrees...... NUTS!!!!! Long story short we are nice and warm now after a couple of very COLD days! Thank goodness for neighbors and space heaters!

Ashley got confirmed this week!!!! And her fiance came to church with her :) They met with the Bishop and he is going to marry them in May!! How exciting! She was so welcomed by the ward. I am so grateful that they are so loving and so accepting. She said that now she feels like she is at home, something that she has never felt before! She described how she felt as she was being baptized and I loved the way that she put it. "It didn't feel like it was actually happening, just like I was watching it happen to myself. When I went underneath the water, it felt like 1,000 hugs all at once!" She told us that the next step for her is going to be going to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. I am so excited for her :)
Two of our investigators, 10year old twins who are part of a less active family, did not make it to church again this Sunday. I was heartbroken. ( may or may not have had tears involved....) We have been working with them for the entire time that I have been in Carmel. We have taught them almost all of the lessons. Every time we come to their house their family promises us that they are going to come to church. The kids want to come to church so bad. It was a good reminder to me of just how important our agency is. We always have the choice to come closer to Christ. They have experienced quite a bit of opposition, but I know that I have been able to catch a glimpse of just how much Heavenly Father loves this family. Hopefully next week will be different!

President said that I have another transfer in Carmel!!! So hopefully that is true... but he does make a lot of promises.... hahaha

I love Indiana and even more than that I love the Lord. To be a part of His work and help to bring souls unto Him has brought me so much joy! I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the opportunity that I have to share it!

Love you all <3 Sarah

Sarah with some family friends-- The Cannadays.  She and and a sister she went on splits with had dinner with them last Sunday.