This week was the best week of the mission so far. Most of the time, we don't have a whole lot of success in our finding efforts. People are friendly and polite, but you can still get the vibe that they would rather we let them alone and talk about anything religious or not. We have met some great people though. One of them is known as Alabama Grandmama, we discovered her while looking for a member who hadn't attended church in a long time. Turns out she passed away, but we found her sister who lives on the same street. She is a Methodist and has no inclination to change that, but she said she had Elders coming to her house for years because they knew they could get food there. She spoke very fondly of them, and invited us to come over anytime we wanted to visit or eat food. We may stop by and see her again as she is a widow, but it can be very hard to get out of people's houses because Southern folk speak in novels and dissertations. :) I love it.
I think the reason this week went so well is just because I know Sister Wright so much better now. I now know what makes her laugh, what she is and isn't fond of, and the best way to communicate with her. Living with a complete stranger and being with them 24/7 is kinda difficult, but we're not strangers now. We have had some amazing comp studies together and are growing and learning from each other. I'm still adjusting to the slower pace down here, but I'm slowly learning to embrace it.
We had a lesson and a church tour with Kevin. He has a ways to to, but he is reading from the Book of Mormon and keeping his commitments. He brought his teenage son who is taller than him to the church tour, so that was pretty cool, Kevin Jr. He was out of town this weekend for an athletic tournament--he coaches football, basketball, and wrestling, so he wasn't able to come to church, but we texted him scriptures to read, and he has been keeping up on them. :)
Our other progressing investigator, Cathy, who is pretty much my favorite person in the world came to church for the first time yesterday. It was beautiful, we sat right in front, and I loved sitting next to her so I could hear her quiet "mmhhmmm"s, "okay"s and "amen"s. She was compeltely engaged the whole time and took notes in Relief Society. God truly has a hand in all things because she happens to know one of the less active sisters in the ward who also came yesterday, and they get along great, so they can strengthen each other in the church. We did service painting Cathy's house (that was a nice break from weeding which we do ALL THE TIME for service for lots of people). Service is great, and seems to be a good use of our time. Unfortunately our ward has had some not so great experiences with missionaries in the past, but we seem to have the members' trust and are reestablishing a good reputation.
The missionaries in my zone are great. The zone leaders are awesome, and came and rescued us when our car battery died--we weren't sure how. They are completely focused and constantly working without complaint or ever poking fun and some of the ridiculous problems that come up with the sisters. We were pretty embarrassed when our car battery died again two days later. We were rescued by the Senior couple who is over Military Relations, Elder and Sister Aston, they feel like my parents in the mission, they are great. We learned that our TIWI (this little device that monitors our driving and tells us in an intimidating voice "check your speed" and such) was not turning off as it's supposed to and that's what drained our battery. We are getting a new one and hopefully won't have any other issues with the car besides our limit on miles since my companion hasn't been feeling super great and biking is hard on her.
We went on exchanges with the Sister Traning Leaders and that was way cool. We didn't get to do a whole lot of finding, since we only got them for the evening and we were weeding for service, but it was still a good experience to elarn from them. My temporary companion gets the same Subway sandwich as me and also does insanity, so we got to work out together.
Yesterday was the best Sunday in the mission because church was so awesome, and because of our finding experiences in the park after church. I came across my first hispanic family. Sister Wright said something to the mother, who shyly smiled and nodded. I started speaking to her in Spanish and her eyes lit up. We talked a little about the restoration and she said she wanted to learn more. I was happy to get to use Spanish, and was surprisingly way more comforatble doing initial teaching in Spanish with her than I have been in English. She is a sweetheart, I gave her number to the Spanish sisters in our area.
About 15 minutes later, we talked to a gorgeous black lady about my age with a 17 month old little girl. This was one of the best experiences thus far. She was very nice, but not interested at first. With most people, I kind of feel like we are wasting our time, because they are clearly not willing to make any changes, but with her, I felt like we needed to talk it out some more. After a while she said that her perception of Mormonism changed by talking to us, and she thanked us for the information, but said that she wouldn't read the Book of Mormon because she doesn't even read the Bible regularly and she knows that is the word of God. As I looked her in the eye and testified of the truthfulness and power of the Book of Mormon and what it could do for her and her daughter, I could visibly see her faith increase, and felt an overwhelming love for her as my spiritual sister. I asked her if she could commit to reading one chapter (3 Nephi 11) and pray to know if it's true. There was a visible change in her and she said yes and accepted the book.
This church is so true, and the only way we can grow spiritually is by turning outward as Christ does and serving with compelte obedience.
I love you all so much!! Keep me updated with news from home! I can't tell you how much I love hearing from y'all!