I don't get why I'm so ridiculously happy, but I've been waking up with a ton of energy and enthusiasm, enjoying Sister Wells, and loving the work more than ever. Much credit can definitely be given to some quality time in the sun with Scott (my trusted bike). We have been biking mucho, and the sun and extra endorphins, and having my normal hue of skin and an awesome watch tan just make me happier.
The work has been going so well. Our ward mission leader assistant ordered 100 copies of the Book of Mormon and we created an index of awesome stand-alone scriptures from it that the ward members could highlight and we could later place. Sister Wells and I went to mutual with the young women this past Wednesday to pump them up about it and they also made bookmarks and wrote their testimonies. It was really sweet to watch them. One of the beehives said there was one scripture she was going to underline in a glitzy pen AND highlight it because she wanted whoever got the book to read it so badly. I promised her that the Lord would help us find someone very special to give her copy to. Another miamaid asked, "Sister Sheffer, is it okay if I give this one to a friend, and then highlight another copy for y'all to give out?" Um...YES!!!!!! It was awesome, and greatly increased my motivation to find elect to give these copies to. We've placed several and had some good experiences. There is such power in testimony. After reading the testimony of a young women leader and the Testimony of the 3 Witnesses, we asked our terminally ill investigator, David, what he was making of the testimonies. He said, "Well, I think I'd better read your book!" Love it. David is a good one. He drives a bright red Nova and on the days he feels well he is a lot of fun.
We're teaching another ill man named William was a referral from his not-yet-member neighbors. During our second teaching visit we started reading from 1 Nephi. He read out loud, and at one point I asked if he could pause so we could discuss what we had read so far, and he said he wanted to keep going. We couldn't stop him from reading the first two chapters. He said he was excited to read more. He's another good one. We potted flowers for him for his porch since he sits out there to read. They make it happier. In that same neighborhood, we saw a bucket of soapy water and some sponges next to Amoz's car. (He's the awesome 15 yr old kid we've had a hard time getting in contact with recently). We got permission from the oldest person at home (10 yr old kid) and washed the car. Amoz came home with a friend while we were washing it. He was surprised by the service, and we got to teach a lesson and watch a rugby mormon.org video with him and his friend. We set an appointment to meet the dad later today.
A lady we tracted into called and asked if we knew anyone who would loan her tables for a garage sale over the weekend. It was very last minute, but we were able to contact people in the ward and get her 7 fold-up tables to display things she was selling. She is having a hard time finding work due to some health issues and upcoming surgeries and was so grateful for the help in set-up. It also gave less-active members an opportunity to serve. Service is awesome.
On exchanges, I went to Decatur with an hermana to help a program called AHMEN that was created by the United Methodist church. The ward the hermana was serving in got a bunch of people to help prepare and load an 18 wheeler with medical supplies, glasses, crutches, wheelchairs, cleaning supplies, and all kinds of things to go to Honduras. I witnessed a miracles that day. I got the job of checking labels of boxes before they were loaded to make sure it matched with the pre-made manifest so it could go through customs. I watched the truck be filled more than halfway within just a few minutes. I looked at all the pallets they were hoping to load and thought there was absolutely no way it would all fit. The forklift operators said the same thing. I seriously watched after the truck was filled past the halfway point, these volunteers load boxes after boxes after boxes...and truck wasn't filling up. They were able to send ADDITIONAL supplies, and there was still some room. It was truly a miracle as I sitll can't make sense of it. The workers there said every year God would somehow either expand the truck or compact the load, and it would always fit. WE developed a good relationship with the volunteers there, and have set something up with the elderes in Decatur to help them translate documents for Honduras. That was pretty cool.
Stake Conference was this weekend and it was awesome! We attended with some less active members who loved it, and after the Sunday session we went on splits with the RS president and her sister. Sister Wells went with the president to return tables from our investigator back to the members, and I went with her sister to contact since we were behind on our numbers for unplanned invitations. It was raining really hard, so we had to change plans from going to a park downtown to going to stores and the indoor mall. I was so impressed with how brave she was! She said she would watch me to try to understand how to approach people. I don't feel like I'm very good at contacting, but I know that if I just open my mouth, it's good enough for the Lord and he blesses the effort. The first lady I saw had a super cute outfit, so I said something like, "you are dressed so pretty! Did you go to church today? How were services?" She was nice, but not interested. The next person we saw was a man dressed in jean shorts and a t shirt. Sister Green excitedly asked him, "Did you go to church today?" He responded, "no." She said after, "oh....do you want to?" He chuckled and said, "no, thanks." It was so cute. Sister Green is adorable, she is super pettite, older, and has the cutest face in the world. It was fun being her companion and we talked to lots of people, and the last couple we talked to with an adorable 3 month old baby accepted a return appointment! I'm SO excited for them, their names are Stephanie and David. David spouted off lots he knew about the mormon church from one of his LDS coworkers, it was pretty cool.
Downtown there was this huge event going on that people set up these booths with food and cool things. It got rained out--a great opportunity for Sister WElls and I to run around in the rain and help people pack up their things and load things in cars and what not. Service is awesome. People were so shocked that we would just help and not expect anything. It was awesome.
I love meeting so many people who are prepared because of the example their member friends. I always wonder when those friends will learn how instrumental they were in preparing them to run into the missionaries and have opportunity to receive the restored gospel. That is y'all. Y'all don't even know the good you are doing and how instrumental you are in God's work.
I've been pondering what it means to truly rely on the Lord. I've concluded that means I have to do the hard things, and push myself beyond the hard, uncomfortable things I can do on my own to the point that I'm doing things that I cannot do without the Lord's help. I've been so much happier being continually outside my comfort zone and doing things I wouldn't normally do. We are part of a work that is so much bigger than ourselves, and that is reason to rejoice!
It is so good to be a missionary.
Love y'all so so much.
Steadfastly loyal in Christ!!
Sister Liz Sheffer