Tuesday, July 26, 2016

One and Done...Round Two! -July 26th, 2016

Hey y'all! 

This past week was fantastic! 

We started out by having interviews with President Sainsbury on Tuesday! Mine went really well and it was awesome to be able to spend some personal time with President and get to know each other better! 

Then on Wednesday, I had the immense privilege of going back to Bessemer for Jeff's baptism! I also was able to be the one to baptize him and it was an amazing experience. The night was perfect and it was so amazing to be able to see their whole family now members of the church and thriving in the gospel. If y'all remember, Jeff is Nickie's husband and I told you that Jeff was having trouble quitting smoking to be baptized while I was there. Well, a few weeks after I left, he got sick and when he recovered he absolutely hated cigarettes! The taste mad him sick! So because of that miracle and blessing he was able to quit and get baptized! I'll include a picture of me with their family! 

The rest of our week was great as well, but those were the two main highlights!

Well, besides transfer calls on Saturday...oh yeah, I'll be leaving! Surprise! I'm being transferred to Russellville! Hence the title of the letter, this will be my second area in a row where I only serve for a transfer then leave! I will go where He wants me to go though! I'm excited for the new adventures that I'll have there and all the new people I'll be able to meet! I'll shoot yall an email on Wednesday and let you know my new address! 

I'll include a few pics from the week as well! The first is like I said, of Jeff's baptism. The next is of the awesome district that I've been able to serve while in Clanton. And finally, when it gets so hot that you just give up and get in the fridge to cool down lol

I hope y'all have a great week and I'll talk to you next Monday! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Droppin' Like Flies! -July 19th, 2016

Hey everyone! 

I hope you all had another good week! It's crazy that it's Monday again, the weeks are seriously going by so quickly! They're just... *insert title of email*!

Not a whole ton happened this week, just your average week of missionary work! 

So since I don't have a whole ton to report on I thought I'd share one of my favorite Mormon messages! 

It's called "The Will of God" and its about how God uses love-inspired correction to guide us to a future we do not or cannot now envision but which He knows is the better way for us. We all have trials and struggles in our lives. Sometimes we can't understand everything that happens to us and we find ourselves asking "Why me?". But this message teaches us why Heavenly Father puts those trials into our lives. All out of endless and incomparable love for us. 

I hope yall enjoy:)

Oh yeah, and this is the last week of the transfer so we'll get calls this Saturday and find out what's happening! So I'll let yall know on Monday!

Love all of you so much! 

Monday, July 11, 2016

An Emmausing Experience -July 11th, 2016

Hey y'all! As always, I hope each one of you had a good week! 

Our week here in Clanton was pretty good! Whenever we have a week with p-day on Tuesday the rest of the week just flies by! 

We had some amazing lessons with our investigators and most of them are progressing very well! We're also starting to focus our efforts on the less actives and part member families in our branch. We have something like 300 people on our roster, enough to make a ward, so we going to try our hardest to access all the potential there!

I wanted to share a pretty amazing experience that I had this past Saturday though for most of my letter. 

So Saturday morning we get a call and a text from a man we had never met. He said he had been talking to missionaries at the headquarters in Salt Lake for a few hours. He said that he didn't know anything about our religion but he had an experience that sparked his interest. So I called him back and talked to him for a while explaining some things about the church and trying to set up a time to go over. He said he would ponder what we talked about and call back in a few hours if he wanted us to come over. So a few hours pass by and he calls again but we were in a different lesson so we missed his call. Shortly after, we finally get a text from the referral missionaries telling us to go over ASAP and bring him a book of mormon. So instead of calling him back we decide that we'll just go over and talk to him in person. So we go over to his house and he lets us inside. We chat for a while, answer a lot of his questions and teach him about the restoration of the church. Then he told us more about what exactly sparked his interest in the church. 

He told us he had heard a story about how the church absolutely changed this woman and her family's life. He told us how she was at the lowest of lows, pretty much every bad thing you can think of happened in her life. He told us how she had come in contact with the church and how they had helped her turn her life around and how she's completely different now. Fully focused on the Lord and good things. Elder Stuart and I were both thinking this was just some mormon message he had seen. But he told us this story a few times and every time I had the feeling (prompting from the spirit) that he was talking about Nickie.

So, for those of you who can't remember, Nickie is a recent convert who I had the immense privilege of teaching and baptizing while I was serving in bessemer, my last area. I watched her as she and her family made this amazing change. Coming closer to the Lord and becoming completely different people. And now Jeff, her husband, has been able to quit smoking and is being baptized soon as well.

Anyways, the last time he told us about this story, I just took a shot in the dark and asked him if this had happened in Alabama. He told me it had! I got kind of excited and asked if by chance her name was Nickie and he was a little taken back, and at first said no. I explained how I taught some people back in bessemer that had a pretty amazing story that was pretty similar to the one he was telling. He stopped and just kind of looked at me and said that it actually was Nickie who he was talking about. He then told me that he is her Uncle! And that he had heard this story from his sister, her mother, who I had also met and tried to share the gospel with. I was so shocked and just speechless! I told him that I was actually the one who baptized Nickie and her son. I reached for my bag and pulled out my camera and showed him the pictures of us from her baptism. He became speechless as well and we both just kind of sat there in unbelief of what was happening.

I was only in bessemer for six weeks and while I was there I was able to be a part of this families amazing conversion story and then I was sent to Clanton where I then met her Uncle who we are now teaching and is now interested in the church because of her story. WOW! Just wow. We got back in the car and I freaked out to Elder Stuart a little and said a prayer of thanks in my heart. This was such a powerful Emmaus experience for me. Strengthening my testimony that the Lord is involved with this work and my life. I am in Alabama for a reason, and last week I found out one of the reasons why I was sent to Clanton as well as Bessemer. I am so incredibly grateful for this opportunity that I have to serve the Lord for two years and help others draw closer to Him as I do the same. I LOVE THIS MISSION, THIS GOSPEL, AND THE LORD! 

I say these things in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen. 

Till next week! Love yall!

The picture of Nickie's baptism. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Week of Festivities -July 5th, 2016

Hey y'all! 

It feels like it's been a while since we last talked! Well, I'll touch on a couple of the main things that have happened this past week!

Last week was, as I said in my last email, when President and Sister Sainsbury would arrive in sweet home Alabama. And on later in the week we were all able to meet them! Both President and Sister Sainsbury are spectacular, and are a perfect fit for this mission already. I'm so excited to be able to serve with them for the last year of my mission and learn all the many things they have to teach me. 

We also had a great 4th of July! A member in our ward fed us and took us to a pretty cool replica/reenactment place centered around America's history and independence and what not. It was pretty interesting! We were also able to catch some awesome fireworks that night in Prattville with our Zone Leaders. So it was a good fourth:) 

Other than that Elder Stuart and I have been working our hardest to get the ball rolling here in Clanton, and it's slowly coming along! We've had some pretty great experiences and met some amazing people.  Elder Stuart is awesome too! Such a great missionary and has so much potential.I don't know if I told y'all this but his family runs a mechanics shop back home and he's crazy about cars as well. So it's still in the making but we're actually planning on starting our own race team😏 it's gonna be pretty cool.

So yeah it's been a pretty regular but great week! I was also able to go on a couple exchanges with the Elders in our District and that was great. 

Well, I hope y'all have a great week and I'll talk to you next Monday! 

Pics: While in Downtown Montgomery we found this pretty cool graffiti so we decided to go into GQ mode and get some pics. While there we also had some fantastic burgers at this hole in the wall restaurant that has been around for a good minute! Anyways, I hope y'all enjoy! 

*Also included are photos sent by a member on the 4th!