Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Last 2 Weeks

(most recent letter on top - sorry I'm a little late posting)

July 22,2013
Dear Family,

Life is getting painful!  Am I getting old or what? I find myself being annoyingly sentimental about everything...I can't leave the South!  The trees, the beautiful country side, seeing turtles making their way across the highways, the humidity, the yes ma'ams and no sirs, walking with Brother Bledsoe, doing missionary work with Sister Hawthorn all day, fried ochra....I done did my time and now I'm movin in with Sister Hawthorn so she can teach me how to be a hard working southern woman.  She has already scoped out some property for me to move to.  She will then teach me how to milk cows, garden, take care of chickens, can, and quilt.   I'm fixin' to go hide so that President Petersen can't find me. If that doesn't work maybe I'll just have Mom teach me.

Sister Bridgewater's old imitation of me keeps coming to my mind.  In her highest voice she would throw her arms up and say, "Everything is Wonderful!!!!"  As if I really sound like that!  Well...it's getting worse.  These people really are wonderful.  I keep telling my new companion that she came to the best area in the entire mission.  Because she did.  Someday she'll believe me!  haha.  Her name is Sister Hicken and she comes from Kamas Utah.  I said, "hey I know where that is!  My best friend's grandma lives in Kamas".  Yep, turns out Michelle's grandmother lives in her ward. :)  Small world eh?  Well Sister Hicken has been...culture shocked to say the least.  I realize how long I've been here because it doesn't phase me anymore that most people live very differently than they do in Utah.  She didn't tell me all this til last night, but that first night I brought her here from the mission home she didn't know if she was going to be able to make it here cause she hated it!  It didn't help that the whole time I'm floating on a cloud introducing her to everyone and saying things like "I have a feeling you're going to be here a long time Sister Hicken."  She'll get used to it.  But we both decided I'm not leaving.  

Another fun fact: I finally saw a girl I went to high school with.  I knew she was in the mission but I didn't see her til last week at transfer meeting.  McKenna Austin.  Cute girl.  Many new sisters continue to come to our mission.

We had a great week. Our days were filled with meaningful things and we are seeing progress in our area. Jennifer will be getting baptized this Sunday. I have learned in a new way what it means to seek learning by study and also by faith. As I've contemplated how to help our progressing investigators enter the waters of baptism, I felt the prompting of the Spirit to read the Book of Mormon searching for specific scriptures to share with them. This sounds like a simple task, one that we should always keep in mind as we study. Although it is simple, it has transformed my study and my teaching. Having searched the scriptures with that specific investigator in mind, I have found truths that I can't wait to share with them. When we teach to our investigator's needs, they are more willing to listen and accept the things we teach because it is personalized to them. We have seen great success in the past week from doing this. We applied our faith to action as we fasted and prayed for Jennifer to come to church. She wasn't sure if she could make it because it was supposed to rain yesterday. Due to health concerns, rain makes it hard for her to get up and get moving. We prayed that the rains would hold off so that she could come to church. The skies were clear yesterday morning and she and Nora made it to church. They had a wonderful time. Not even an hour after church was over it began to rain. We all knew Heavenly Father answered our prayers.

As I put my focus on Preach My Gospel, I am more committed and determined to help my investigators receive the ordinance of baptism. "What more can I do to help my investigator to be baptized?" What a wonderful question to ask myself daily. Just today my companion and I were studying in Preach My Gospel the words of President Eyring. He stated that we must declare the Lord's standards boldly and without apology. This is not a negative thing-because of the blessings the Lord has for us when we reach this standard. We are promised the guidance of the Holy Ghost and personal peace in our lives. I learned then that I am grateful for the times I have not experienced peace in my life, because I now understand the blessing that it is to receive it. What we wouldn't do to obtain these blessings! We must help others to do the same.

Let me tell you a story, and preface it with "Only in the South".  We were down in Murfreesboro yesterday with Bessie Burnett looking for a few members of our church that we have lost addresses for.  We saw a cop driving by and Sister Burnett flagged him down.  She asked about the family, he knew exactly who they were and where they lived.  As he began explaining it to her he said "I can just take you there, do you want to follow me?"  When does that ever happen??  He was so nice.  He took us right where we needed to be.

Well I've rambled for far too long.  Hope you have a great week.  I love you all.

love sister wilde

July 15,2013

My family,

Believe it or not, the transfer is coming to a close.  I am going to be training a new sister for 6 weeks..and she better be good because I then have to hand her my area.  I'll admit, I'm a little possessive.  But great things are happening in Glenwood.  The Holy Ghost truly is the most important element in this work, and really in our lives.  We must live in a way that we can hear the voice of the Lord through His spirit.  It brings meaning to our days.  We will find so much greater joy as we learn to be like Samuel and say, "Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth"(1 Sam 3:10).  I witnessed this last Monday, as a dear sister in the branch (Tammy) listened to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  She was going to pick us up for dinner at her house.  About 15 minutes before she got to our apartment, she called and asked if we wanted to invite our investigator Jennifer and her daughter Nora to come with us.  Jennifer had had a hard day, and was happy to receive the invitation.  We had a wonderful evening of fellowship and spiritual growth.  I know that Tammy answered Jennifer's prayer that day.  A simple act of kindness, but it changed all of us for the better.  As we seek the Lord in prayer and through the scriptures, these promptings will come more often.  Our faith and ability to face trials will increase.

Have I told you about Jennifer yet?  She lives in our apartment complex.  We met her on our first day in Glenwood.  We began teaching her a few weeks ago, and she has progressed quickly.  It has been amazing to see the change in her in such a short period of time.  She is seeking the Lord.  She wants to have "bible study" with us every day and told us that she feels that God is pushing her towards baptism.  Last week during one of our lessons with her she said, "So..what changes do I need to make in order to become a member of your church?"  Music to a missionary's ears. :)  I'm not sure I've ever heard those words on my mission.  It's been a joy to teach her and see her countenance change.  I know that the gospel truly changes us-from the inside out.  I have personally seen her change.  The light of the spirit that comes into our eyes as we accept and follow Jesus Christ is real.  Nothing about the gospel is fake.  I hope that Jennifer will be baptized within the month.

Happenings in the branch:  
Me and Sister Jager had the great opportunity to speak in church yesterday.  Our joy couldn't be contained...  It was our great luck that the stake president showed up to our meeting that day. haha.  Okay it wasn't that bad.  Well he came and spoke and afterward interviewed Brother and Sister Bledsoe for their temple recommends.  After church, Brother Bledsoe walked up to me and with tears in his eyes showed me his temple recommend.  He did it!  My joy really couldn't be contained then.  They will leave in about a week and a half for San Diego.
I threw Sister Jager a surprise birthday party.  The wonderful ladies in the branch made her a cake with her name on it and everything.  We all had cake and ice cream after church yesterday.  I guess she's never had a birthday party before..so I was happy to be there for her first one. :)
Our recent convert Adam(who got baptized last week) received the priesthood and was ordained to the office of a teacher.

We had a marvelous experience this week with our investigator Alice. Her son married a member of the church and then became a member. He referred her to us. As we talked, I was amazed and touched as she shared her experiences. She has gone to many different churches, but none of them have ever felt right to her. She said she felt the spirit might be pushing her towards our church. She has been reading the Book of Mormon before we ever got to her. As I listened to her experiences, I was amazed and honored to be able to witness the Lord fulfilling His promise to lead us to the elect. Alice is the elect! She knows what the Holy Ghost feels like. She has been close to God her whole life, but she knows something is missing. She shared with us her concerns. With tears in her eyes she told us of the prayer she offers to Heavenly Father every day- "what church should I go to? What is your will for me?" This is real intent. I promised her that as she continued to read the Book of Mormon, pray, and come to church that God would answer her prayer. She will know it is right. The most touching thing she said was a comment she made about her son. She said that she saw a peace come into his life when he married his wife. I know she can also have this peace. 

Sorry for the short letter today.  We are going out to lunch with Fred and Jane. :)  I'll get a new companion on wednesday.  I hope you all are well.  I miss you more and more each day and pray the Lord will bless you as you do much good for His children.

love sister wilde

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