Last Monday we had fhe with a part member family. The mom's name is Joy and she has 3 beautiful blonde girls, two teenage, and one 6 yr old. They all converted a few years ago, but are semi-active. Her boyfriend JP just moved in with his two girls. They are an adorable family. The two families mesh beautifully and Joy and JP are the some of the best, nicest people I've met. JP came to church last Sunday which is when we solidified an appointment to do fhe. It was his first one and he was so excited! We had a lesson on recognizing the spirit, it was really neat. There was a powerful moment when Sister Hall was bearing her testimony and I know JP felt the spirit. He is a police officer and has a crazy work schedule, but oh, do I want to see this family become eternal! The girls came to mutual on Wednesday and it was awesome. It will take the whole ward to bring the family in in their entirety. I don't think Cato is out West, but it is one of the best department stores for sister missionaries. They sell lots of classy, skirts that are long enough for us to wear and have great sales on dressy clothes and jewelry. Every sister missionary here loves Cato, and we are fortunate to have one right down the road from us. We have popped in there to do some contacting and met the workers, who we're good friends with now. One of the names is Asterik, and she is so precious. When we stopped by to see her, she and her coworker were frantically trying to catch a lizard. We did some service. :) I was able to trap it, and Sister Hall had the courage get it into a trash can and take it outside. We then had a really neat lesson with Asterik on prophets while we helped her put out some new clothes. Pretty cool, but it takes a lot of discipline not to be eyeing the clearance while we're teaching. FOCUS. I was astounded when I learned that she has three children, one of whom is 13, and she looks not much older than us. People here age so gracefully! Nobody has wrinkles! Some people say it's the slower pace, others say it's the humid climate, I don't know what it is, but it throws me with people's ages.
Funny story. I've told y'all how the youth are super strong in this ward, and there are several laurels preparing to serve missions. We text them a scripture every day from our studies and challenge them to be use it during the day. We also had root beer floats between conference sessions with them so they could invite their not-yet-member friends. Anyway, we have lots of fun with them. We went out on team-ups with one of the laurels named Kiera on Tuesday. Kiera needed to eat dinner and offered to take us to Zaxby's--a good southern fastish-food restaurant. She told us that one of the young men from the ward just got a job there, but we didn't see him, apparently he was working int he back. While we were ordering our food, I ended up talking to one of the workers and inviting him to visit mormon.org. The next night we went to the church for our coordination meeting which starts a half hour after mutual--awesome because it gives us a chance to associate with the youth. The young man who works at Zaxby's came up to us and told us what unfolded after we got our food the evening before. His story went something like this, "So, apparently you gave my manager a mormon.org card with y'alls #, right after y'all sat down to eat, one of my coworkers went up to my manager and said, "Dude! That girl just gave you her number! And she doesn't even KNOW you!" My manager was like, "Nah, dude, it wasn't like that," and my coworker was like, "yes, it was dude, I SAW it!" "Nah man, it really wasn't, she's a missionary..." Then the member was able to tell them that we were from his church, and defend his poor manager. We laughed about it for a while, but at least all his coworkers know he's a mormon, and more people than the manager want to go visit mormon.org. We've had some good experiences tracting and contacting on our own, and did splits with the relief society presidency Thursday evening. So cool. I love straight up serving. There have been chances for us to show our love for members by cleaning for them after surgeries and getting to teach and strengthen the kids while we do so. The RS president is amazing. She just goes and goes. She is always tired, but she gives more anyway. We had zone training this week and it was excellent. The leaders in our zone did a wonderful job, and the 4 departing missionaries this transfer bore their testimonies. My mama, Sister Wright was one of them. I can't even say how wonderful it was to talk with her, and do a musical number with her for her last zone training. Our experiences together over a year ago mean so much more now. She is an angel and has changed for the even-better over the course of her mission. She gave a powerful testimony. One thing she said was, "own up and live up to the power and authority of your calling." Which way do we face? We met with Byra and were able to help her. She is having a really rough time. She got full custody of her youngest grandchild, but is struggling finding the means for day care. There is delay in the house she was supposed to move in to, so she is living out of boxes. Our last lesson wasn't being received well. She will not be getting baptized any time soon. But we will continue to serve her. She will understand the significance of all of this sometime. I sure love her.
Conference was amazing! What a wonderful weekend! So many prayers answered! After conference God super-blessed us to be able to exceed our weekly goals when we didn't think we would meet some of them, and we were able to find new investigators. One is another part-member family. Wife is less active, husband is Catholic, and with the other missionaries pretended not to speak English. For some reason, he didn't pull that with us, and when we visited them, actually opened up more than the wife did. He agreed to weekly meetings with us on his only evenings off. I switch on and off with Spanish with them, which seems to make them more comfortable. The others we haven't gotten to know super well, but they are a family that was referred to us. We'll see them tonight. They seem way cool. Once again, God answered our prayers thoroughly and delivered on His promises. I love this gospel. I love our leaders, they are truly men of God.
Steadfast and facing with the Savior,Sister Liz Sheffer