Monday, August 18, 2014

August 11th 2014

Hey y'all,

It was a long, awesome week.

My testimony was definitely strengthened in my last few days with Sister Dodini. We taught Tim, our recent convert, service from Lesson 5, and watched "On the Lord's Errand" with him. It hit me so hard the kind of person I want to be. I want to be the kind of person that if the Lord needs something done, He will know He can count on Liz Sheffer to do it. President Hanks told us in a council about how thankful he is for the missionaries he has who he can send anywhere in the mission with full faith they will be happy, make their companion happy, and they will do the work and baptize. It doesn't have to be inspired, or meant to be for us to volunteer our services and just do it for the Lord!

Sister Dodini and I shared the Plan of Salvation with the Lusane family on Tuesday. Ms. Lusane has lost two baby girls, one a still birth, and one died 3 months into her life. As we shared our beliefs about their purpose in coming to earth, and what happens after death, she immediately started crying and said, "That means so much to me that you tell me this, no one has ever told me this, but it's what I always felt about Quinlee and Storie." This family has such a special place in my heart. The kids were super excited to come to church, they said they had been looking for a church that focused on families. They didn't make it on Sunday, and haven't been responding to our contacting them recently, but we still feel good about them, and aren't going to give up yet.

Wednesday was transfers!!!
I am now serving with Sister Ella Rae Madsen. She's adorable! I LOVE this girl. She's from Santa Cruz, CA, and is a total beach girl. Even though she's really unassuming about it, she's hard core--surfer, skier, lifeguard, taught a bootcamp thing type deal for kids, and she's just a bucket of fun. I was excited when our pictures popped up together on the transfer slideshow. I didn't know her well before, but I remembered that at some of the misssion functions, she randomly would give me super sweet compliments. From several months ago: "oh my goodness, you are so pretty! Brown hair and blue eyes is my FAVORITE combination, it's what I'm hoping for in the resurrection!" From Wednesday morning before we knew we were going to be companions: *comes up and touches my hair, "Oh my goodness, this can NOT be natural! You are so well put-together!" She is the sweetest sister in the mission, I'm positive.
After the transfer meeting, we were loading her bike onto the car, and she asked if we bike a lot in our area, I told her yes, we only have enough miles to use the car when we're driving to other areas for exchanges. She said, "Oh my gosh, God is so good! I LOVE  biking!" Most positive bucket of sunshine ever!
While being so cute, little, and adorable, she is BOLD in approaching people and inviting them to be taught. I love it. People fall in love with her instantly.

Thursday, we had three appointments in the evening that all fell through. We tracted a little, and decided to go contact someone a little bit away. As we started to head in another direction, a door caught my eye, and I asked if we could do one more. She happily agreed. We found at this home, a lady who had taken the discussions previously, and said she had just been thinking about it, and missing the gospel. She is active in another church, and said some thigns had happened recently that had been calling her to rethink things. She wasn't feeling very well. We testified boldly, that God had led us to her that night, and she was the reason the rest of our plans for the evening cancelled. By the end, she committed to reading the Book of Mormon and accepted a soft invitation to be baptized. It was powerful. Before we left, she said she felt so much better, that even the physical pain in her chest was gone, and she knew it was by God that we met. It was dark by the time we left, and the street was bare. Sister Madsen starts jumping and dancing, and said "I know I'm not Pentecostal, but sometimes I DO feel like just dancing and praising God for how good He is!" She then did three airborne heel clicks! This girl, I seriously LOVE her.

I'm happy anyway, but I can't help but be uber happy around Sister Madsen. She is the healthiest companion I have ever had, and being so hard core, is the most physically-challenging comp I've had. We've been motivating each other in our food/portion choices, and exercising. We have literally walked all day every day in the heat since Wednesday because her bike is out of commission at the moment. I have seriously already lost some weight being her comp. We run and do insanity in the morning. She's a champ. She got sore from insanity, and I got sore from running, and we're just happy.
We talk about the gospel all day while we're walking to and from appointments and finding opportunities. I'm amazed at how she gleans precious truths from everything and retains them. She will quote things I said a few days previous and then connect it to something else, so we are learning so much from each other already. I'm so excited for the influence she will have on the sisters in the zone. She is going to be so good for them! Our zone changed quite a bit from transfers, and we're super excited to start our exchanges and training this week.

None of our investigators came to church yesterday. We were expecting many people who committed to come who had recently found, and who we had been teaching previously. It was really disappointing to me, but I know we go through every struggle and disappointment shoulder to shoulder with the Savior. He suffered sacrifices and gave His all, even if people wouldn't accept the gospel and repent, so we do the same. The disappointments are only an opportunity to become better-acquainted with Him. I was thinking about all this during sacrmanet meeting, and starting to feel better after being a little down and just deeply disappointed about our top investigators falling off. I glanced up and saw our convert Tim sitting at the sacrament table. It was his first time blessing the sacrament. There is ALWAYS ALWAYS reason to rejoice. It made me happy.

Nicole texted us that she biked to Oneonta to see her boyfriend. That's a 7 hour bike ride. She is still up there as far as we know from her grandma, and we haven't been able to reach her.
At the end of the week, none of our investigators were progressing, but we saw multitudes of miracles. Random lady we met in the park yesterday said we carry a special spirit, and knew that God led us to meet, and she referred us to her son. I got to make some Spanish contacts, and we have several appointments this week from people we met, so we will see what comes of everything. Always an adventure!

Love y'all!

Sister Sheffer

August 4th 2014

We're on our bikes and see this cute little black lady walking a
slowly in the opposite direction. We stop.
Sister Dodini: HIII! HOW ARE YOU??!! We're missionaries--
Lady interrupts without stopping her walk: Oho, I know who y'all are,
I ain't got time for dat, I'm finna go to da bafroom, that's why I'm
walkin FAST.

Pretty awesome week. Went up to Gadsden for an exchange. While there,
the sister got a text from Anniston sisters in a neighboring area with
a church HQ referral. We went out to see them and it was AWESOME.
Emily, a 21 yr old, put in the request, we met her, and then another
21 yr old comes to the door, and introduces himself as her husband. He
said that as the head of the household and her husband, he feels
responsible for ensuring his wife's gospel education is accurate. They
have some other friends over, so we all sat down, prayed, and
discussed the gospel. The husband, Dalton had lots of questions. In
the beginning he asked if we were nervous, we responded that we
weren't, and he told us he was a baptist preacher, but just left his
church for some things that were going on. They were really nice
people. He did say he loved the JWs coming over, and would let them in
every time, but by the time he opened up his bible to them, and asked
questions about their doctrine, they couldn't do more than stammer. We
were able to answer all their questions and taught and testified about
the restoration and the Book of Mormon. The spirit was so strong.
Sister Gimmeson and I could both feel of how open their hearts were.
By the end of it, Dalton said, "I do have to tell you that y'all are
the best evangelists that have ever come into my home. The modesty is
appreciated, the manners are appreciated, and I appreciate that you
don't push anything on us, but just invite with conviction because you
seem to really feel this is true, and trust that we can find out for
That's what missionary work should feel like. I'm way excited to see
what happens as the Gadsden sister work with them.

Wednesday we had in interesting experience. We were invited to a
non-denominational bible study. It was interesting, we invited two of
the guests there to come to church, and they came yesterday. :)

Thursday we taught our last bible study at the Leeds summer camp. If
you know the lesson on the atonement when the seminary teacher offered
a donut to each student, but one student had to do 5 or 10 pushups for
his classmate to have a donut--even when they didn't want one--anyway,
we did that with them and it was awesome. Our pictures leading the
bible study with them made the local newspaper with captions that
included our being missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints in there, so that's cool.

We are teaching the neatest girl that Sister Dodini found while I was
in Gadsden. Her name is Kayla, she's 17 and searching for direction.
She loves what we've taught her so far. So excited.
We had our last district meeting of the transfer. Sister Dodini and I
made some fun little awards for the missionaries in our district. It
was way fun. Awards included
Sassy Sister Award
Where is the Love?
Hold your breath
Nicest teeth
Should've been a stunt man
The voice,
I made one for Sister Dodini, it was the LOL award for the joyful
eruptions of laughter, the angelic singing, and perfect balance in all
things.  She made the Insanity award for me for the upside down piano
playing, popping and dancing while we're tracting, the insane
workouts, the beastly biking and the best one liners.
Of course these are all loaded with inside jokes, we have fun in our
district, and we need to or we would all go insane.

Saturday we met and taught some new investigators, and finally taught
a man we've been trying to meet with for a long time. At one point he
said that he wished he were us and that we ma ynot even know what it's
like to NOT have the conviction that we do about the gospel. Before we
even challenged him to read the BOok of Mormon he said, "Well, I guess
what I have to do is get me a Book of Mormon...I can find it at the
library, right?" Gotcha covered. He left for out of town, so we won't
get to teach him in person until next week.
We had some powerful lessons with less active part member families,
and met with a lady we were referred to. She's 72 and has cancer. She
really wants to be a mormon. She said her mom was a 'full-fledged
mormon,' but she herself was never baptized but, oh she wants to be.
She begged us to teach her grandson because "he really needs to be a
mormon." We're excited to work with her.

One of my studies this week, I frustrated myself greatly trying to
find biblical evidence of some things we teach that we are challenged
on occassionally. In regards to dispensations and apostasies, there
were things with the timeline that still don't make much sense to me.
During my whole study I was frustrating, dispelling some fallacies I
had heard people and even missionaries explain that have no scriptural
evidence. I had a passing thought/question of how I can be set apart
as a minister when I know so little.. One of my favorite verses I
found was Alma 4:19. I love the power of 'pure testimony.' I thought,
"I can do that." I can bear pure testimony, because the one thing I
can always fall back on is the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
There is no way that I could ever deny that book is true, I know it's
true with a greater surety than I know anything. That knowledge means
all the other claims that go with it are true too. I don't have to
understand all of them perfectly. The atonement is real, and the true
and comple gospel helps me to have access to it, and helps me help
others find access to it, and that's all I need.
I so love this gospel.

Sister Dodini is getting transferred along with lots of the sisters in
our zone. I get to train a new Sister Training Leader, so I'm pretty
excited. I'll shoot y'all a brief email on Wednesday when I bring my
new comp back here.

I miss y'all SO much! Reading about everyone, I am amazed at how
involved you are in the work, and the goodness that y'all have. I
can't wait to see y'all in under 6 months now, but I am pretty hooked
on this work here for the time being. Thanks so much for writing me,
praying for me, and for everything y'all do at home.
Love y'all!