Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May 12th 2014

The past week, minutia deterring us from missionary work proved to be bothersome. Starting with my trusted bike, Scott. I love my bike and have had no problems with it besides flat tires now and again. I felt rather inept when I tried to add more air to a tire and ended up deflating it and not being able to air it up again...that same tire has fallen off twice in the past week. Thankfully, our district leader is a champion and helped me out with finding a problem with my pump adaptor. He used his to pump my tire so we could set off and do our work. I have Sister Wells bike in front because otherwise I go too fast and don't know when she needs to stop if her blood sugar levels drop or what not. As we were biking to our destination, I feel my bike begin to drag. I hopped off, figuring that my tire was just falling off again and that I could get it tight enough to ride in a few minutes and catch up with Sister Wells as I had done a few times before. It wasn't falling off--it was just flat. I glanced up and called to Sister Wells, but by then she was a ways away. I shouted, "don't worry, just keep going! I'll catch up!" I proceeded to run and drag Scott along with me. I can only imagine what passerbys must think of us crazy mormons. When I caught up with Sister Wells, there was nothing either of us could do but laugh. Lots of struggles either with Scott, or with blood sugar levels, or just generally not being able to make it up the mountain and having to adjust plans.

We had some amazing lessons with members and opening their eyes to opportunities to share the gospel with their friends. One woman said to us after in regards to one of her friends, "She is totally prepared and open, I had honestly just never thought about it before." Revelation is a beautiful thing.

Our investigator Williams, hadn't been reading the Book of Mormon the past few days, so we had a good talk with him about the power of reading and praying. We promised he would have a desire to be baptized when he came to know of the truth himself. He is older, but young in his relationship with God and relies on his pastor to know what to do. We promised that he can gain revelation himself from God about the truth, and things make so much more sense now as he reads with a greater purpose and goal in mind.

The family we met in the mall is awesome! Stephanie has been reading the Book of Mormon and had some great questions. David hadn't read, but seems excited to every time we discuss it. We read the introduction with him, and he said it changed his perspective in approaching reading it. He was impressed that it doesn't command us to believe it, but simply invites to read, ponder, and pray about it to receive an individual answer from God. I'm really going to miss this family.

It's been great to get relief society sisters to come with us to see less active sisters and to watch friendships grow. It makes it easier to leave knowing they're loved and cared for by people who will be around. God puts all of us in the locales we need to be in--it's part of our calling to love them whether we're full-time missionaries or member-missionaries, or just good people.

We had zone training this week and it was so good! This has seriously been the greatest zone! We set our baptismal goal for 4 in June, and set a goal to committ 12 people to be baptized on a specific date in June. (Statistics show there has to be 3 people committed to a baptismal date to have one baptism).
We also had an activity to practice contacting and inviting others to be taught the restored gospel. Half of teh missionaries carried papers of what random people's shirts would say, and they walked around the room, while the rest of us had 7 minutes to invite 5 people to be taught.
 This is part of the work that all of a sudden got hard for me in the past two weeks. I had been doing pretty well with being courageous in talking to strangers and testifying of truth, but recently it has just been hard. I was excited to get the practice in with missionaries. I was slaughtering every practice. I even had a chance to approach using music, and I didn't do anything I was supposed to in a contact. It was pretty bad. After the activity I went back to my seat and wrote three things that need to happen in each contact. I got some ideas of how I could have done those contacts better. I prayed for an opportunity to redo those contacts with real people.

The next day I got to play for Mally's recital. I thought this would be a great opportunity to share my talent and get out in the community. I surprised by the cold shoulders we got from nearly every person in attendance. Most of the parents blatantly avoided and ignored us as we tried to talk to them to tell them of how well their children did. It was sad. Their kids are great, and I hope they don't learn to ignore as their parents do.
After Mally dropped us off, our appointments for the evening canceled, so Sister Wells suggested we bike up the mountain to go see a less active member. I was surprised she suggested it, as she doesn't exactly particularly much enjoy biking up any kind of hills and the route she wanted to take would be comparable to biking up South Mountain. I agreed since we did need to see the family up there, and there are neighborhoods up there that permit tracting. After a short while biking up the mountain (glorified hill), Sister Wells said she couldn't make it up the mountain. We decided to instead go contacting in a big, public park downtown. Among the many people we talked to was a college-aged girl named Nedra. Sister Wells complimented her tattoo. I looked at it, and it was a star formed by 8th notes! A chance to contact using music! I asked her about the significance of her tattoo, and we discussed the power of music, especially in testifying of the Savior. We taught her the restoration and she said she knew that she was meant to talk to us that day because she had woke up that morning with questions addressed in the restoration!!! Answer to prayer and a miracle!!! She agreed to take the lessons, and Sister WElls will teach her on Thursday. A while later, as we were preparing to get back to our bikes and get back to our apartment, a young man approached us and asked if we were the mormons. His name is Calvin. He was very excited and asked if we would please teach him. He had a shallow knowledge of the background of our church, and said he had a special feeling that there is truth to be found in the mormon faith. He taught him the restoration and before we even began, my heart was burning to invite him to be baptized in June. As he talked about his background and relgious knowledge in other churches, he got DEEP. We testified of plain and precious truths, and how we know what truth is. We asked if he would be willing to act on the answer he would get from God of the truthfulness of the restored gospel. He said he would have to. I invited him to be baptized, he accepted. I promised he could receive his answer soon and be prepared for baptism by our baptismal service on June 28th. He accepted, and prayed that he would be prepared by that date, and committed to coming to church.

We biked back home flabbergasted at what happened. We tried hard to focus on planning for the next day as we were so wound up and happy from what happened and anxious in awaiting our transfer calls. I was surprised to see a call, not from the assistants who normalls give us instructions, but from President Hanks! I answered and he asked to speak to me in private. I walked out of the apartment, and walked back in about a minute later in tears--surprising to Sister Wells as I we were so happy. I told her President Hanks asked if I would accept a call to be a sister trainer leader. I was honestly expecting that I would get to train a new missionary in this area. (My zone leader tipped me off when he asked me how I felt about training). We had been sure Sister Wells would be the one to leave since she's been here longer and has been in Northern AL for most of her mission.
Sister Wells said it seemed like a good time to give me a gift. She managed to get me a willowwood symbol for courage. She said she was amazed from the time we first became companions at my courage in the work--in talking to strangers, and in being lovingly bold in teaching and testifying. Sweetest thing ever!!!! That was really touching to me. I hardly slept that night trying to process everything. I have honestly never wanted to be an STL. They have to deal with sisters and sisters are crazy, and they are scrutinized even more than regular missionaries, and they have to travel every few days which seemed ungrounding when missions are already ungrounding. I know God will help, and have gotten more excited at this opportunity.

Sunday was great. We had a wonderful Mother's Day program. Calvin didn't make it to church, but a part member couple the Elders have been working with did, which was way exciting. They are so neat, and I love them so much already even though I have to leave.

After church, we spent some time contacting and met some neat people and passed out the Family Proclamation. No new investigators or signs of potential. Had an awesome dinner and a great Skype with y'all--then, we went down to New Hope to see our favorite single, less active sister who has to work Sundays. We were surprised to find her outside talking with a coworker who had cut her grass for her. We started talking with him, and ended up teaching a lesson, and getting a return appointment for Tuesday. He's a good man, and a true Christian. We are so excited! His name is Charles.

God is so real. He is truly in every detail, and has planned way aheard to give us little experiences preparing us for great things.

Love y'all so much!!!

Steadfastly loyal in Christ,

Sister Sheffer

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


It's definitely been a week.

Last Monday we had a zone activity--we played lots of kickball and then some broom hockey. I schooled in that naturally, but most of the zone wasn't feeling it--plus they were breaking their brooms and cutting their hands, so the game was cut short. Still, just the chance to play something close to hockey did this Sister much good. This has got to be the BEST ZONE ever. I'm continually amazed by all of them. Along with being incredibly powerful champions for the Lord, they are some good athletes. We have way too much fun together. At the end of the activity, we knelt and prayed to thank Heavenly Father for the people who made the baptismal covenant last month and to help us and those preparing to be baptized in May. We then received instruction to be in our apartments due to the storms on their way.
It was a good night to get to know Sister Wells better, talk about the work, and watch The Testaments. The tornado sirens went off a few times, and the weather radio and phone were going off like crazy when it got close to us. We got instruction to get in our lower bathroom with our bike helmets on. Fun times sleeping a few inches away from the toilet for a few hours. The next day, we had a mission wide conference call and heard of President Hanks' birthday experience with the missionaries in Tupelo. Thankfully God protected His missionaries. We were to be in  by 1:30 giving us little time to work and lots of time in our apartment. I don't mind it. I always find work to do or things to study.

It was great to get back to work and find more prepared people! Debra accepted a soft invitaiton to be baptized in the first lesson we had with her. I had to knock her door--she had cactus in her front yard!!! I knew it was a sign. She offered to give me a piece so I could plant it, but of course I couldn't do that. We met other people in her neighborhood including a man who had met with missionaries, but had some points he disagreed with the doctrine. We asked if he read and prayed about the Book of Mormon. Nope. He committed to read and pray and visit our church.

Remember the family I met on splits with SIster Green in the mall? They rock! We taught them the first lesson and they had lots of questions. It was great. They are super nerdy, but love to study and think things out. They also committed to read the Book of Mormon and want to cook for us this week.

We were able to make contact with several less active families who missionaries haven't been able to see for a very long time. A few of the families said their kids want to come back, so they probably will. It's great to see families coming back. We had a good turnout yesterday at church--probably partially due to the sustaining of a new bishop. Bishop Magonigal is headed out to Korea for a year while his family stays here. Tough time for them, but he bore beautiful testimony on trusting the Lord and His plan for us. We can trust Him.

One of the young men organized a blood drive for part of his Eagle Scout project and President said he couldn't see anything wrong with missionaries giving blood. The rest of the missionaries in my district were pansies, but I happily donated alongside our good neighbor Mr. Harold right before our last district meeting of the transfer. I am still so amazed and inspired by every single missionary in my district. It was bittersweet. Our district leader goes home at the end of this transfer and this was very last district meeting. All of the Elders were crying. He has made a big impact on so many people in this mission. It's amazing to see. Every missionary in my district is incredible, but I can normally pinpoint the trait that impresses me about them, with our district leader, it's every Christlike attribute. He's a true example of what kind of person a missionary should be at the end of their mission. We're all growing in the Lord. We would be completely helpless without Him, but with Him, He changes us. He sacrificed everything for us. I used to think that serving a mission was just giving up my personal life for 18 months, but it's so much more than that. We don't go home to same lives we left. We have to give everything we have and are to the Lord. As we give of ourselves, the Lord fills the gap with miracles.

I love that the Lord can change us. Sister Wells and I dealt with some frustrating things this past week (not between us). Last night as I was reflecting on it, I was discouraged and flustered and slept little. This morning I promised the Lord that despite it being our preparation day and having appointments in the evening, Sister Wells and I won't go in tonight  until we have invited 10 new people to be taught the restored gospel. In order to realize that goal, I have to be happy and cheerful to muster up the courage to talk to people (I guess it gets a little easier, but it's never easy). The Lord helped me and my personal study helped to buoy my spirits and faith. I told Sister Wells in our comp study this morning that I want to be a missionary forever. It's a sweet experience.


Sister Sheffer