Monday, February 24, 2014

Feb. 24 2014

It feels like years since I've been able to email. Long week. I've wanted to beat my head against the wall for most of it.

transfer party was awesome. It was great to look around the room and see all the non-members we had found since coming to Madison who are being touched by the Book of Mormon and I loved seeing them mingle with some of the ward members! So neat! They are so special, and will always have a place in my heart.

The most WONDERFUL, CLEANSING, and HEALING experience is the spirit. No matter what happens, if we can be worthy of the spirit, and feel it working through us, feel it testifying to others through us, it takes it all away. Personal worship is so important, because when everything else falls through and no one else will back us up, the Holy Ghost will. Most important companion.

We went to mutual Wednesday night and built a great relationship with the YW. Love them and they love us. The members I've been able to meet are pretty awesome. Like Madison, they like feeding us. I talked with one couple at church, and they called us later with a referral they said they had been putting off for a couple weeks. Woot Woot!  This area is going to explode! I can feel it!

We also found a super neat couple moving in next to a less active member. We're doing service with them later today.

Thanks for all the prayers, I need them more than ever. Know that y'all are in my prayers daily also, and y'all are my motivation to keep going!

Love y'all!
Steadfast in Christ!

Sister Sheffer

Monday, February 17, 2014

February 16th 2014

 I had been working hard to prep Sister Platt to take over the area and impart everything that I had learned about the people in the area. There's been A LOT of work done, and I've been notating rosters and more or less writing essays for the other sisters who serve the ward as well as the ward mission leaders, RS president and clerks and everyone else. WE report on the work every week and have always worked closely with them, but we want to make sure nothing/no one falls through the cracks. THe curve ball is that Sister Platt will not be serving in the ward anymore. She is staying in the apartment, and will be companions with our roommate who serves a ward meeting in the same building in a TRIO. Another sister will be transferred in and join them. CRAZY. That threw us all for a loop and I hardly got a wink of sleep that night thinking about how the investigators and others we work with will take being handed over to completely new sisters. A member of the high council joined us for correlation and suggested a genius idea. Throw a going away party so that they can meet the sisters who will be teaching them as well as members. A member volunteered their home, and all of our investigators are planning on coming, as well as several less active families and many of the active families. It will be great for them all to mix and mingle as we say goodbye.

I am excited to get to serve in a new area. This area and these people will always hold a special place in my heart. It means so much more to me that I got to come in with absolutely nothing and work to build it up. The work is exploding! The members are growing more and more courageous, the investigators are changing and progressing, and the community is seeing more and more of us. I don't fear anything coming with transfers because after being double transferred and training simultaneously, I know that with God, we can do anything! He's in charge of where we go, and if we let Him mold us, He allows to fulfill our purposes.

So crazy that Kevin is going to Boise State. Nick is moving to Snow on Friday, but he has a summer job at BOISE STATE!!! Those two have GOT to get together. Nick is phenomenal.

 It snowed a lot one night, and our neighbor we helped move pounded on our door and invited us to come play in the snow. Epic snow battles ensued with my roommates, I was still in bed feeling lousy. The next day we went out to work and it was beautiful! WE had a few members see us walk through the neighborhood and start some snowball fights. Fun stuff. Sister Platt was pretty entertained at my amusement by the snow. I was pretty enthusiastic since I never really play in snow. The day after, all the snow men looked like they were from the walking dead (not that I've watched that), and the city generally looked like one of those Armageddon movie scenes. So bleak and dirty, hahaha. Everything is back to normal now.

Valentine;s Day was fun, we got to visit all the single ladies with chocolates and flowers. I bought a little stuffed animal for a single lady in the ward who has a collection. She cried and started kissing it, best feeling ever. We had extra chocolate, and I remembered some random people I had talked to the past couple months, and we just knocked their door and gave them chocolate (these were nice people who weren't interested in our message). It was good to keep good relationships. Sister Platt and I have made friends with employees at every corner store in in our Madison area. It's cool that even though they aren't interested in the gospel now, they like missionaries and have good associations with members. Someday they'll come around.

One new investigator I'm pretty excited about is Paris. We were biking by a gas station, and I thought that it was cartoons on her shirt, so I stopped and complimented it and asked if I could see better. Turns out it was actually cartoon scantily clad women on a motorcycle. Oops. Anyhow, conversation ensued and she's super cool, 23 yr old. She told us about her church, pretty much non-denominational, as she said it was so hard to choose and figure out which church was actually true. I excitedly told her about her connection with Joseph Smith and the Restoration. New investigator for the other sisters.
I'm sure going to miss all our investigators. Jackie Cobb is progressing, as are Thor and Mary who were super sweet in checking up on us during all the crazy weather. The teenage girls love the church. Peggy was released from the hospital and we have a good relationship with her daughter who cared for her. They're still trying to understand the Book of Mormon as the language is difficult for them, but they love the messages. The work is rolling, and the other sisters get to roll with it.

Sister Platt and I trained at our District Mtg, it was pretty cool. We trained on listening and having the image of God engraven upon our countenances (Alma 5:19). We shared part of our training with a ward member who shared part of it in sacrament meeting and then it was shared in RS. Pretty cool stuff. The scriptures are amazing. I got so excited during my personal study this morning that I was literally shaking. They make me so excited. I know I need to be so much better, but as I read about these prophets who are so insecure about their own weakness, I know the Lord can make powerful things happen from the small and weak. He can work with us, and use even our weakness to make miracles.

i'll update y'all with my new address and companion Wednesday, unless my comp is crazy and we don't do it until Monday. No worrying necessary if that's the case.

Love y'all!

Sister Sheffer

Saturday, February 15, 2014

February 15th 2014

What even happened this week.....well first off, yes, Mom. I lost Sister Platt. I am used to biking slower for my companions #thighsofsteel. I slowed down for Sister Platt when she had an itty bitty bicycle. She just got a new old bike from a missionary who went home and it's much better for the Madison hills. We were headed to an activity, and I was periodically glancing back as I always do to check on my comp, and she was doing fine. Then I got lost in thought about a lesson we were going to teach later, powered up a couple turns and hills, and finally jumped off my bike when we got to one that is simply to steep to bike. I turned around to talk to Sister Platt and she was gone. I waited for a bit, and she was still gone. I hopped back on the bike, and retraced my trail thinking she may have missed a turn. When I first started going and realized I was alone, I thought "wow, this is kinda nice, I'm NEVER alone" (one of the hardest things about being a missionary for me, I like alone time and it doesn't exist)...then I realized she wasn't one the road I thought she'd be wasn't nice to be alone anymore, it was crazy, freaky, weird, and I got really scared for my comp. It was in a long, windy, hilly neighborhood, you can't see far, and there were NO cars. I tried to sent mental signals to Sister Platt to just stay where she was, and I would check every street in the neighborhood since I know the streets well and she doesn't.  I ended up going to a member's house on one of the streets to get some help and because I was freaked out being completely alone. The Primary President opened her door as I was on the phone with our roommates telling them what happened. She got her two boys ready and we started to set out to find Sister Platt. Before we got in her car, I see a call from Mally. I answered with, "is Sister Platt there?" I hear Sister Platt's voice, "Sister Sheffer, where ARE you?" I'm really glad Mally was home, because she lives across a major street that I figured Sister Platt wouldn't go past. Very happy to have a healthy, safe, companion now.

We had zone training and it was awesome. Never thought I'd hear missionaries quoting "If I was your bf [companion]" by Justin Bieber (ironically in a training on staying together, haha). Nor did I think I would see Sister Hanks throw candy at PResident Hanks. We have such great missionaries and leaders. The trainings were awesome.

Speaking of Johnathan Santos, a ward missionary has a son who reminds me of him. He's an awesome kid, and getting ready to submit his mission papers. He came to the Book of Mormon class this week to prep. I told his mom how impressed I was with him and how well he knows the scriptures. She told me that he said the same thing about Sister Platt and me. It's exciting to see how the Lord prepares people, and to just know that God is going to do amazing things through them. It's not as easy to see this ourselves. An RM spoke in church yesterday and pointed out that as we humble ourselves before God, He shows us our weakness and how that is especially prevalent on a mission. You never see more clearly, your own hand stopping you from serving God the way you want to. Yet He still works with and through us.

God made a miracle out of miscommunication. Due to miscommunication, a group of sisters that they were singing for zone conference, and asked me to accompany. We practiced at Mally's the night before and it touched her in a special way. They didn't end up singing for zone conference, but it was worth it just for the practice at Mally's.

We found a new investigator, Marcus, last week from a  non-member referral. We got to meet with him and it was great. We took a member with us and she was able to recognize how he can help the Boy Scouts in the ward through his work. he is happy to help, so it's nice that he can feel helpful right off the bat. He wanted to come to church, but ended up going to Birmingham for the weekend where a couple of his kids live. he's divorcing from his second marriage. He wouldn't say much about his ex-wife, who still lives in the same house, but she works days, and he works nights, so they trade taking care of their two-yr-old. We ended up running into her. She is not at all interested in our message, yet loves us, and is perfectly content with us converting Marcus. Meeting her was a pretty interesting experience. We actually biked past the town home they live and saw her outside smoking, Sister Platt was riding in front and past her. We stopped after we turned on another street, and I told her I was pretty sure, we needed to go talk to her. Sister Platt and I were both a bit nervous about it, but we went for it and are so glad we did and were able to build a relationship with her.

Caleb, the 7 yr old with HSP (Mally's grandson) requested a priesthood blessing as his spots have returned and the doctors found blood on his kidneys. We were able to set it up, and it was also a special experience. The family isn't planning on coming back to church, but the first time, they did say they would like home teachers.

One more cool story. A while back we got a referral from one of my favorite families in the ward. It was their first time giving a referral to the missionaries. We contacted him just as he was getting ready to eat, and he did say that his neighbors were mormon (the family who referred us to him) and that while he wasn't comfortable giving us his number, we could set up a better time through them. We reported back to the family, and they said when they tried bringing it up with him, he got standoffish and their relationship wasn't the same since. Kinda depressing. We had dinner with them last night, and Nestor, the referral, happened to show up at the end of it as his daughter wanted to give valentines to the kids. Coincidence? I think not. He heard a bit of our message, and said that he really would love to hear what we have to say, and that we would work the timing out. It was very building for the family, and we're teaching him the end of this week in their home. #membersandmissionariesftw Working with members is my favorite. The other family with the girls still loves us, and we are teaching the discussions in their home.

Thor and Mary have also opened up more to us, and love us, as we love them. Good relationship, and they are reading the Book of Mormon together. We'll have to go pretty slow with them, but they have progressed exponentially.

I'm pretty sad about Nick moving, but then, I may be too. The members are starting to say, "You've been here a long time." It's sad when they get sad. Last night as we were leaving our dinner appointment (right after Nestor left), one of the family members said, "I'm sad already because you're going to leave sometime." It pains me, but it's true. At least Nick is moving closer to my home so I can attend his temple marriage in a couple years. :)

Lots of things happened as usual, but I think I'll end there. I made a pretty bomb split pea soup for some sick people. :)

My testimony and appreication of the Savior has also grown this week. It's just incredible that He gives us everything, and it is never a bad time to come unto Him. It's very humbling to be representing Him.

Steadfast in Christ,

Sister Sheffer