Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March 24 2014

Hey y'all!

This week was pretty awesome. We got to meet with some amazing ward members. Some families are just too stinking funny. It's so important to remember to have a sense of humor. A little humor can go a long way, especially when things get tough and depressing, it's a uniting thing to get to laugh with people.

Tuesday we started volunteering for a senior center. When we got there, an elderly man was singing karaoke--50s and 60s songs--the good ones. Sister Wells and I sat in the back with some residents and tried to bump the energy a little. There was this precious woman up dancing by herself, continually attempting, with no success, to get other residents to dance with her. She asked us, and we couldn't refuse her. It was the end of the song, so I danced a little with her and sat back down. The resident ERUPTED, and urged me to go back to the front to dance some more. The karaoke man said, "What a treat! We've got ourselves a professional dancer here! I've got the perfect song!" In my head: "EEK! Dignity in my calling?" Then I thought about Ephraim's Rescue that we watched on Christmas--one of the last scenes is a young man miraculously dancing a jig on his injured feet to cheer up the saints as they are struggling with starvation and so much death. Of course, this situation was different, but I felt ok about it, and danced some jive to Mr. Presley's Hound Dog song. It felt SO good to dance! The residents absolutely ate it up. "I haven't seen dancing like that for 40 years!" We'll be volunteering there weekly on Tuesdays. Love it. Love it. Love it. They are so precious! After the karaoke party, we helped make these wild brazilian centerpieces. It was fun. We just never know what's going to happen when we wake up in the morning.

Later that day we tried to contact a less active member who was busy, and we had time to knock one door. I tend to get hints from the cars--VWs, Corvettes and Camaros have always proven to be good signs. So I found a VW and we knocked the door. SThe woman we met very much needed us. The church is true. We got to teach her and comfort her with some things going on. She knew that we were sent from God.

We did the missionary lesson we were trained to with a family I've wanted to work with since I came into the ward. It was such a sweet experience. Every family member was so loving as they wrote names of those they cared about who they would like to see have the gospel. The father prayed over who they felt was ready and we waited in quiet for a few minutes. I shared a distinct impression I had: there were two people who they could call that very night. Indeed they contacted two people while they were there who needed the gospel. The kids are now working with friends at school, and we continually follow up and encourage. This family is amazing! I love seeing their faith in increase as they exercise it.

We taught the British lady. Precious! We're going to get her to the General Young Women's Broadcast, as well as another investigator lady who wants badly to do her family history. So perfect a returning less active member just got called to be the family history specialist! He is so good and so excited to work with her.

The temple was amazing! So much revelation! Sister Hanks pounced on me in the last room and used the minute before my comp came in to tell me how much she loved and appreciated me for what I was doing, and pleaded, "You're so strong, and you just get it! Don't go home!!!" I won't ever do that until the Lord sends me home. It meant a lot to know that she was mindful of my situation and that she loves me. I have the most incredible leaders!

We met with the man who has been led away by anti. We answered some of his questions (which were pretty inconsequential) and testified to him. I feel that he is progressing, he stays in contact with us, and still wants to meet more as he "figures things out." He is so confused! He did commit to readingt he Book of Mormon from the beginning, so we follow up on that.

Mallie took us to breakfast on Saturday for my birthday. It was so sweet! Emma is the sweetest girl, she is SO special! I just love her! We arranging a lunch with her and her mother next preparation day. I can't wait to meet her, they would be great in the church! The present was so sweet!! I love my journals, they are SO perfect and gorgeous! The one from India is pretty awesome. I was also super excited for good pens, and for MANGOS!!! They make me happy.

My birthday itself, we didn't do anything. My comp 'forgot,' and I wasn't going to sell myself out on it, so no one knew. In a childish, immature moment, I thought "I only get one of these on my mission, and we could get a plethora of appointments with this, could I get some attention!" Of course, it really wasn't my day. It was the Lord's day. and it was a special day. The Stake President announced that the Monte Sano ward could get THEIR OWN BUILDING!!! (such a blessing!) if they can increase their growth, attendance, and tithing. This has the ward so excited! He spoke of the importance of missionary work, and called all 4 of us serving in the ward to come introduce ourselves and bear our testimonies. It was a neat experience. The ward is willing to do anything to get their own building, so we are increasing member involvement even more.

We had a great team-up in the afternoon and taught a family the restoration. The parents were pretty nervous to pray, but it is important and we are gently persistent with that, and the 11 yr old ended up giving a beautiful closing prayer asking God to make him a better boy for his parents. The mom is coming to the broadcast with us on Saturday. She rocks! I'm so excited to work more with her.

We did the missionary lesson with another family yesterday and i twas pretty special. I was a little worried that some of the members weren't taking it seriously, and that would effect the revelation they would receive as the head of the household prayed over their friends they felt were ready. During the prayer, the spirit hit and I got tingly all over the left side of me and knew that the next name spoken was the prepared one, it wasn't name, it was "the other families," and I knew that there was a family not on their list that is prepared. I get tingly talking about it now! After a few moments of quiet, I shared the impression I had with them. After another quiet minute, the mom said, "Do you know who I forgot to include on my list?"...she gave the name of a family, and all the kids lit up and started talking about them excitedly. I got tingly all over my body as soon as she said the name! The spirit was so strong! We are arranging dinner with them and the member family. So excited!

Well....the gospel is true.

Favorite scripture hero? Moroni has been a favorite recently because he seems so human with his insecurities, but he does the Lord's will anyway, and uses lessons from other heroes. I just started the BoM over again, and Nephi impresses me at both his logic, and his ability to immediately forgive. Idk, there are many.

Love y'all!!!
Have an awesome week!

Sister Liz Sheffer

Note: Below are pictures from Elizabeth’s birthday breakfast. Mally Hatch (not a member of the church but loves serving the missionaries) took her out to eat at the Cracker Barrel.  The curly haired girl is Emma who joined them and whose family Elizabeth and her comp will get to meet on their next p-day.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March 17th 2014

A Good SHEFFER Must Know His SHEEF

The email title comes from our infamous eternalgator neighbor, Harold. He comes up with all sorts of nick names for us, and had to call us to tell us about that line he thought up. While humorous, and it makes me laugh, it also has taken on some meaning as a representative of the Good Shepard.

Sorry, I didnt particularly enjoy last week's preparation day as we spent nearly all of it in doctor's appointments for Sister Wells both for her sprained ankle and for other regular stuff. This is why email time was cut in half last week. She is doing much better and not limping anymore. I did get to make lots of contacts in the doctor offices. Two in spanish. No new investigators from it, but one lady did give me coupons for a Mexican restaurant, lol.

We had zone training this past week. It was purely relaying and practicing techniques from Brother Donaldson and Brother Littlefield. It was awesome. Since Sister Millard and I got to attend the training, we trained with the sister training leaders. That was way fun. I get so pumped telling my fellow missionaries about the miracles we've seen come from these techniques. They work!

Yet another doctor appointment for Sister Wells, but this one was in Birmingham. This meant 4 hours on the road for a 10 minute appointment. After workout that morning, I got super dizzy (yes, Mom, I drank lots of water). By studies, I couldn't move without the rest of the room moving and spinning. I was pretty scared to drive. I said a pretty fervent prayer, and told Heavenly Father that I was the designated driver AND Sister Wells' right foot was sprained, so I simply had to drive that day, and couldn't afford to be unwell. I had already been sick this year, and simply couldn't be sick that day, and asked if he would please make me well enough to drive my companion to her doctor's appointment. After finishing my prayer, Sister Wells told me that we didn't have to leave until a half hour later than we had planned. I thanked Him and slept for those 30 minutes, and when I woke up, I was still dizzy, but felt well enough to drive.

Coming back, we decided to go contact that new family with the old corvette. He had something come up and couldn't meet with us when we got there. As we were leaving, Sister Wells told me that a less active lived next door to him--this was a house we had tracted and no one answered. They weren't on the roster, but she said on exchanges last week, they saw a relative and they ratted her out as having moved and not had her records transferred. I had no idea about this, so was excited to go knock again and try to see her. She is an older lady and hasn't been to church for a long time. She was someone I felt a connection too. We read the testimony of the three witnesses with her and she bore a powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon. She said she really had no reason whatever that she doesn't attend church anymore. We got her excited to come to a YM fundraiser the next day, get a blessing for health issues, come to church, and come out with us!!!
While we were in the area we stopped by another less active convert who had fallen away through anti-mormon literature. His wife is very anti. He was very nice, and tried to give us an anti book, and I simply told him that the gospel makes me feel peace, joy, and the spirit, and books like that make me feel confused and frustrated and I can't feel the spirit confirming any truth in them. He took it back, and after a while we left him with our number. We were very surprised when he called us the next day and asked if we could meet up to talk more. He seems pretty sincere, it'll be very interesting to talk to him again.

Our investigators have not made any progress this week. So sad.

We stopped by another less active family who hadn't been super receptive to missionaries. They had just finished eating dinner in their front yard, and you could tell they weren't particularly enthused we showed up, but I was in a real good mood, and was excited to meet them anyway. They talked to us for a bit, and after a while were clearly enjoying themselves. There are two girls, 12 and 14, and there was another 12year old not-yet-member friend hanging out with them. Super cool! We shared a message on service and they all enjoyed it. The 12 year old said we were the most fun missionaries she had ever met. We got them excited about coming to the Wednesday night activities. The father went inside and didn't talk to us at all, but the mother said they had just finished up volleyball season (she coaches) and said maybe they could get active again or something. Ah, yeah. The ward needs this spunky family.

We had one appointment with a less active family who has every intention to come back and to prepare themselves for the temple. They have a 5 yr old son who is quite the character. They always tell us they will come to church, and never show up. This week, I figured we should make them our last appointment for Saturday night so there was less time for Satan to work between our visit and church. After reading from the Book of Mormon with them, we got on the topic of prayer. The 5 yr old said he had a prayer that his dad would stop smoking! It was the most precious thing. The wife texted us that night and said she had a powerful prayer with her husband after we left and they were coming to church. I was super disappointed when sacrament meeting started and they weren't there. 10 minutes after it started, Sister Wells punched me in the arm and pointed to the back. They were walking in! SO happy! The dad was anxious to go after sacrament meeting (addictions are nasty), but the mother was insistent on staying for one more hour. He said he would come back to pick them up. She enjoyed gospel essentials, and her son ran out of his classroom having to use the restroom. We walked with her and watied for him. He marched out of the restroom and right past us. His mom asked, "where are you going?" He continued marching and said, "Back to my class!" She smiled and said that she supposed they'd just have to stay for the last hour. Unfortunately, the dad didn't agree and got him out of class, but they promised their son they would be back next week. Pretty sad, but it's huge progress for them.

The rest of the sabbath was awesome!! I decided it was a tracting day, and Sister Wells had saved a street that we drove by that didn't have a no coliciting policy like most neighborhoods in our area. One lady we talked to while tracting said that her British neighbor might be interested. We had met a British lady store contacting a while back and wondered if it could be the same lady. It was! She was so surprised to see us, and said "I guess we're just destined to meet!" She was busy at the moment, but we have an appointment with her this week. The next door we knocked on we found our BIE (Best Investigator Ever). Her name is Jessica. She is a beautiful girl around our age, who is going through a transition from nursing to attending UAH for marketing. She said she has never had a church family, or known how to pray, but she feels a need for it now, but has no idea where to start with so many religions and no religious backgroud. Restoration was perfect for her. I'M SO EXCITED!!! Looking at her, images were just flashing through my head. She is going to marry an awesome guy in the temple and raise a righteous family and make such a difference for so many people. I love her so much already. Didn't stop there. The next house there was a family who as soon as we showed up said, "tell us what you're about, we just moved in and are looking for a church." WE taught the restoration and are teaching them again on Wednesday. We prayed with a few uninterested people, then met another girl our age. She is engaged to a minor league baseball player whom she met at school as he had a scholarship through baseball, and she had one through basketball. She is finishing up nursing school and wants to go to Africa through Doctors Without Borders. HOW DO SO MANY AMAZING PEOPLE LIVE ON THE SAME ROAD??? She said she is totally down for taking the discussions, but she lives in Cullman for school, and only comes here on the weekends. We'll work it out.

God is so good. We taught another girl last night who is the granddaughter of a less active member. He set up the appointment, apparently unbeknownst to her, as she wasn't thrilled when we showed up. By the time we left, she had said her first prayer aloud, and was excited to have another lesson. She has an independent spirit and loved the theme of revelation in the Restoration.

Spiritual thought. I was getting really down on myself  thinking about people who had sacrificed for the sake of me going on a mission and feeling like it wasn't making a huge difference because I'm not super successful. This is the first time I've admitted this, but I've hit my 8 month mark and still haven't seen a baptism. I remembered a letter from the ZLs/STLs and they said I have a particular spiritual gift. I thought, "yeah, right, I'm not good at that." I heard it again, from someone else and thought about Ether 12:27, I thought maybe God had given me a strength for my misison, the more I thought about it, I realized I had it back in high school too and even before that. NOt anything that I'm good at, just a gift that God gave me. Now that I recognize it, I can use it with more confidence to be more effective as a missionary. Our lesson in gospel essentials yesterday was on honesty, and the idea of being honest with ourselves was a hot topic. We talked about how we often make excuses by being dishonest with ourselves. A common lie Satan uses is that we are not good at things, but it's important that we are honest with ourselves in the fact that we are good. We are GREAT. The Lord IS pleased with us, but we HAVE to do better! We are more likely to improve when we recognize the gifts God has given us and use them for the purposes He intended. He can't physically be here, thus He helps us to acquire some of His attributes for His work.

I love the gospel. It's true.

Steadfast in Christ,

Sister Sheffer

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March 10th 2014

God loves us all SO MUCH. Crazy, irregular week. We got to go out with the Relief Society President to visit some less active members, always good.
We went out to find some lost sheep from the ward, and met very few of them, but tracted/street contacted and did meet some cool people. I saw this awesome, old corvette in someone's front yard and told Sister Wells I HAD to knock that house and talk to the owner. He was pretty cool, then we got to meet his adorable wife from Samoa and their darling little 18 month old boy. He said he wanted to raise his kid in church, but didn't want to raise him in the churches he grew up in where a preacher will yell and preach against other people and denominations. We introduced them to the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. They said they would read and come to church. This family is awesome, I'm excited to work with them more.

Thursday was the training from Brother Donaldson and Brother Littlefield. It was AMAZING. Such a tender mercy that I was selected to attend, and moreso than that, that I got to drive up and back with SISTER MILLARD (my MTC companion, LOVE HER!) It was great to spend time with her and to have a few hours to discuss the mission and all the lessons we've learned since the MTC. It was a sweet experience. I know God is looking out for me. I returned to a crippled companion! Sister Wells sprained her ankle walking down some stairs when she was working in Guntersville with Sister Millard's companion. She had to keep her foot elevated and iced for a bit, during that time, I completed our map of the area with all the members who we are allowed to contact. It helps tremendously to get a better idea of what is in our area, and realize the things we can do and who we can work with. We're still trying to figure things out. That afternoon we had exchanges and I got to work with a sister training leader in MADISON 2ND WARD!!!! TENDER MERCY!!!! I also didn't realize how much the STL and I had in common. We got to discuss challenges and how to work through them given our particular personality traits. It was amazing to be back in my old area and get to help since the sisters there are still fairly new to the ward. Walking between appointments, we started talking to a lady watching her daughter play with the neighbors. She was very nice, we asked if we could teach the Restoration, and she readily agreed. We taught using the techniques from the training we had just learned. She just kept saying "WOW," (it is an incredible message). By the end we asked if she would talk to her Heavenly Father and ask if the message we shared was true. She said she didn't need to--she already knew that it was true, and just thanked Him. She committed to be baptized at the end of the month. Miracles!!! Some people are SO prepared and ready for this gospel. They're just waiting for it. Brother Littlefield said that any given mission area (ward area) in the United States has around 17,000 people who will listen to missionaries, around 1,700 which would be baptized if they were found and taught. I know that's true. God said that MANY among all denominations, sects, parties, etc are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.
Such a tender mercy to get to see Mally! I just love that woman. The next morning, we swapped exercise routine ideas and I'm excited for the stuff she taught me--she is big into pilates. It was way nice to have a workout buddy. We did service that morning for some members, part of which included washing this thing that almost looks like a 4-wheeler, but it's amphibious and used by the rescue squad to get people out of water. So cool. Sister Kudlacek gave me a few minutes to cry in the car by the end of the exchange because I didn't want to switch back . I wanted to stay in my beloved Madison 2 area forever! Alas, God has called me to serve in Monte Sano. Bloom where you're planted.

When we switched back I was informed of an appointment we had with someone the other STL called from an old sheet of potential investigators from previous missionaries. That was an interesting appointment. She played ignorant and interested, then challenged us on where some thigns came from scripturally. They were easy to answer, but she said we couldn't take things out of context and asked if we could read the whole chapters there. We did and to me they were further strengthening the validity. She launched off on some interesting perspective, and then pulled out a triple, and numerous church manuals she has studied and said we were inconsistent with the Bible. Funny that every argument she used was further evidence to me that have a complete gospel. She did admit to being very impressed that we were gracious and listened to her and shared without getting contentious. So interesting that she will read so much church literature when she's so convinced it's not true...:) We're so blessed. We taught some other people we found to and from her appointment and those lessons went much better.

I met another one of our investigators, Brent. He's been through some hard things that have numbed him. We got him into the Book of Mormon. So cool that it answers every single concern any person could ever have. So cool!
W're also been able to strengthen some of the recent converts. Joining the church can be a rough transition, but they have so much to offer!

Sorry y'all. Time is being cut short by my companion. I'll keep y'all in my prayers, ask for prayers from y'all too. I need them.

Love y'all!!!

Steadfast in CHRIST,

Sister Sheffer

Pictures before Transfers !

Inline image 1
Biking in the Gold, AL is beautiful

Inline image 1
Gonzalez part member family we worked with, Love them!!

Inline image 1
Lay Methodist Pastor now taking the discussions and attending church!

Inline image 1
Mary and Phoenix, Thor wasn't home.
Inline image 1
Chris our Neighbor we helped move, daughter is reading the BOM
Inline image 1
Harris fam! Pretty much my fav fam in madison-- from AZ!
Inline image 1
Mally and Worthams

March 3rd 2014

In Ether 3, the Brother of Jared expresses in prayer his knowledge that the Lord is able to do mighty works which appear small to the understanding of men. A few little miracles this week:

Sister Wells was leaving a message for a referral she's had for a long time and hasn't been able to get in contact with. Mid sentence in the voicemail she had a 'stupor of thought,' stammered, tried to delete the message unsuccessfully and finally hung up. She called again to leave another message, and the lady answered! She found the stammering endearing and set up an appointment for the next day. I called another referral who finally answered and requested that we come see her in the perfect available time we had for the next day. Both lessons went well. One of them, Molly Green is a 17 yr old senior. Super sharp. She referred herself because her band director is LDS. She told us she wants to read the BoM and find the truthfulness of it for herself. So perfect! This girl is a rock star! The other lady is a massage therapist, super cool and into connection and what not, also reading the BoM.

Another miracle. Sister Wells and I were walking around a neighborhood visiting less actives. Sister Wells got super loud and was pretty much acting drunk. She is a diabetic, and I asked how her blood sugar levels were. She was super low. It just so happened we were closeby to a young family who we met randomly and helped give service to move them into their house. We weren't sure how to get into their house again, but we learned during the service that the wife is also diabetic and always has juice on hand. We were able to stop in so they could give her juice and get her feeling better.

We had a chance to do service, digging and spreading mulch and clearing out trees and what not for a member in the ward. Nothing to buoy my spirits like playing in dirt. So great and therapeutic for me.

Fast and Testimony meeting was awesome. God answers my prayers through others' testimonies.

Love y'all!

Steadfast in CHRIST,

Sister Sheffer