Sunday, August 4, 2013

Big Kevin

Thanks for writing me!! I can't tell you how much I enjoy hearing from home and eharing that y'all are anxiously engaged in missionary work! I was one of 34 new missionaries who entered the Alabama Birmingham Mission last week, and over half of them are from Utah. I'm honestly glad that I'm not because when we do role plays and are asked to think of a non member friend to play as the investigator, many of the missionaries from Utah can't think of a non member friend. They are all talented and prepared for this mission, but I know that part of my preparation was growing up where I did and knowing non members.

I loved the MTC, but I couldn't be happier to leave there and get started with real missionary work with real people. As soon as we left it was weird being in the real world. I look at EVERYONE differently now. It's really something. The planes were an adventure, the second one was too heavy so they asked one lady on standby to get off, and without telling us, moved half the luggage to another plane. Most of the missionaries didn't get all their luggage and had to wait several days, I was lucky that I only had one suitcase and it made it.

Sister Wright is a good missionary and trainer. She has a great testimony and a great love for the people she serves, I am learning from her. Again I can see how we are good for each other. I am adjusting to a slower pace from my last companion, but that seems the way that most things operate here in the South. people just take their time. I love it here. It is green and beautiful. Montgomery is nice, even the supposedly poorer areas we serve have beautiful homes, and everything is green. people's backyard's are literally forests. The ward boundaries are ginormous, there is another set of sister missionaries, and a set of elders in the ward so Sister Wright and I only cover 1/3 of the ward boundaries. We have the nicer area. People are super nice and friendly (with few exceptions) and I haven't met a single person who doesn't love God, so most are at least willing to talk about God. Most people, while friendly, polite, and hospitable, aren't interested in our message, but Sister Wright and I had a few miracles and managed to get two new investigators this week which for this mission is phenomenal!

Thursday was kind of a tough day, we got lost a few days, and dealt with some less-tan-friendly people, and just weren't having any success. We were walking through an apartment complex trying to find an address when God sent a miracle. A BIG miracle, in fact this miracle is over 300 pounds with 33 inch biceps (actually I'm not sure). We passed Kevin, when I turned around and asked if he knew where the address was. As soon as we said hello, both Sister Wright and I felt that we were supposed to talk to him. We found out while he was looking up the address that he played basketball with mormons when he was 14, as we continued to talk, Kevin opened up a bit more, and we learned of some pretty grievous things that he had done, but is now taking full accountability and turning his life back to God to make things right, as we taught him there on the street, he testified to us that our running in to him was divinely inspired by God and that we were God's angels. He accepted a Book of Mormon and set up an appointment with us. Sister Wright and I both had to fight not to cry audibly as we walked away, and once we turned the corner, finally stopped and cried and hugged and prayed to thank Heavenly Father for putting us in his path. The truth is that as missionaries, we really do nothing. We try our best to study and work hard and be worthy just so we can have the spirit with us so people can feel it as we talk to them. Kevin's spiritual moment then wasn't a result of anything that we said, it was just the environment that we created so that he could communicate with God. that was amazing.

We met another family riding our bikes around. Oh! By the way! I got a sweet deal from a bike shop run by a Stake President who give me missionary discounts and I LOVE my bike. Biking is an awesome thing for missionaries because it makes it so much easier to talk to people. I don't if it is thanks to my sweet bike or Shawn T that I was biking in grass up a hill thinking about how much fun I was having, and my companion turned around red-faced and said "there's no way I can bike up this hill." It hadn't crossed my mind that it was a hard thing, but it was a steep hill. Biking is so much fun! My companion doesn't exactly share my enthusiasm for biking, and we do have a nice car, but when I got here the car was already over on miles for the month, so we've gotten to bike quite a bit. Anyway, while we were biking, a lady was out bbqing with her kids running around, and was totally receptive to the restoration and accepted a Book of Mormon, we have an appointment with her this week as well.

Saturday we had stopped on our bikes to discuss where we thought an address was and I noticed a little girl staring at us from her porch. I suggested that we go and talk to her and thus we met these adorable kids age 13 and 10, Tamaya and Jairaishon are awesome and walked us to our next appointment, they gave us their mom's number because they thought the gospel sounded pretty cool. Hopefully their mom thinks so as well.

The ward is mostly white, there are only a handful of black members, but most of the other people we associate with and our two progressing investigators are black. The ward has a lot of military men which is pretty cool. I love the ward and am excited to serve there. We had a few young women go out with us this week. It was a good experience.

I am wearing new marsk of a missionary--I already have some pretty righeous tan lines from my flats and my watch, and if you look at my legs you'd think I have chicken pox from all the bug bites. We did service weeding some yards, and there are lots of weeds--many of which I thought were pretty plants that were supposed to be there, and lots of bugs. It's good. The weather has been pretty kind to us, it got up to 100 one day, but I wasn't bothered by it. I love biking and the heat. It's good fun.

So pretty much, I love this! It is hard and there are lots of hard moments and adjustments, this lifestyle is so different, but I am way happy to be serving where I am. The people are great. I've got Southern black vernacular DOWN. It almost creeps Sister Wright out how much I can sound like one of our investigators. They make me laugh pretty hard with some of their stories. They are great story tellers and I love the way they talk. I am glad that I ams erving English speaking because this is awesome. I can't think of any hispanics I've seen, but it's probably the area because there are ltos of Spanish speaking missionaries who have plenty of people to teach.

Well, that is all for now, I may be able to get on after Sister Wright and post pictures, but we'll see. The camera is good.

Love you all sooooo much! Please make sure to post my new address on my blog if you haven't already and remind people how much I love mail! :D You are awesome, keep being the amazing people you are, you are doing so much good.

Sister Sheffer

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