October 25, 2010
Well this week has been good in some ways and hard in others. Last p-day it was good to be able to write to you. I wrote to both sets of Grandparents and to Aunt Bethy and to some friends and Sister Bolander. But I had a good p-day. That night was a good night as we met with Nae. He is a deaf guy in the branch. I don't know if Melanie told ya but she sent me a sign language book but I haven't gotten a chance to study from it. But it's cool to see Sister Smith sign to Nae. She knows some sign language! Then we went to go see this Catholic family! There are so many Catholics down here, it's crazy. Its weird how many different religions there are. But this family is really nice and they fed us. We didn't know they were going to but they love the Missionaries even though the mom says we won’t convert the family. We had an interesting visit with them talking about God's plan and she thought it was interesting that we believe that God has a body of flesh and bones. Luckily Sister Smith knows everything what to say. I said a couple of things but it just strengthened my testimony more to know that God has provided a plan for us and that He knew us before we came here on earth. But we didn't get them upset; they just like talking about their faith and ours and to see how ours is different. It was neat to experience.
On Tuesday we went and saw Ethel Joseph. She is a new investigator and she lives in Lake Arthur and has a 5 year old son. We taught her the first 2 lessons and she seems to like it. Her life is a struggle from her past but she wants to come to church and to learn more but she is struggling right know with some health problems. Hopefully she will get better soon. Later that day we went to Iowa and met with Sandy Broussard. Mom, I love this lady. She is so cool! Next time I see her I will try to get a picture with her. But we have taught her the first lesson and watched the Restoration video with her and read some from the scriptures. She has lived a pretty tough life. But this lady Sandy has changed so much and she has a deep faith in the Lord and loves it when we come and see her! She has a big fish that she pets and plays with and the fish sucks her finger -- no lie! It's was cool. She also feeds her fish other fish for treats. But anyways she is amazing and I think one day she'll join but she is interested a little bit.
Tuesday night we ate dinner at the Touchets home. I love going over there. We always have so much fun. We talked about weight and she saw me in Wade's wedding picture on your facebook and says I look really good now. She showed Sister Smith because I had told Sister Smith that I was bigger than I am now. They couldn't believe how much I have changed and Sister Smith thinks I am losing weight even though it doesn't feel like I have but who knows. But we had a good time spending time with the Touchet family! They are really cool!
On Wednesday, me and Sister Smith and Sister Frazier, who is in our little branch, cleaned the church and then we went back to our apartment to clean before President and Sister Moldenhauer came to see us. They had called early that morning to say they wanted to take us to lunch. We went to a nice little restaurant and I had a yummy salad. It was fun spending time with them because we are so far away and we never get to see them. But the interview with President went very well. I told him what I am scared of and how I am doing and shared a conference talk from Henry B Eyring about trust in the Lord and going and doing. I can't wait for the Ensign. I really had a good talk with President Moldenhauer and he thinks the counselor here, Ken, is really going to help me out. He talked about how I need to keep running and not go sit on the bench because he asked what I like to do and I told him running. And so he said just keep running this race and don’t give up and he said just imagine your family all in cheering outfits cheering me on to finish the race. We were talking about conference and I told him I saw you. He began to laugh because he thought it was funny because it must have made it even harder for me but he also thought it was cool because who can say they saw their family on TV. After meeting with President, I got to visit with Sister Moldenhauer and she gave me good counsel as well. She seems like me of how she is scared of things. She told me as a little girl she was scared and couldn't leave her parents and she also said she feels that me going on a mission was a really big step for me and she knows this is hard for me. She says I am going to learn and grow and at the end of the mission I am not going to want to go home. She asked me what I felt about that. I told her it's really hard to believe that right now but she said I will and that I will get lost in the work and that Ken will help me and that the Lord is there to help me as well. She also suggested that I highlight Jesus Christ in my reading of scriptures instead of the other things we are suppose to highlight but I am kind of doing all of them but it's cool to see how much Jesus Christ is in the scriptures. It was a really great visit with them! They are so AMAZING! I am sure going to miss them with they leave in June. Who knows who is going to be the next President but I know he will be called of God and that I will learn to love them as I love President and Sister Moldenhauer.
For the rest of Wednesday we went to go see the Billeaudeaux Family in Kinder. They have 3 girls that are getting baptized and two are over the age of 8 and the other one is 8. We taught the girls some of the commandments and about praying, reading your scriptures, and obeying the prophet and other commandments. We did the Word of Wisdom with them and we made a fridge and a garbage can a while ago on paper to teach them what is good for their body and what is not. It went well. We had a great time teaching them and visiting with them.
But then after seeing them we headed back to Jennings and visited Brother Martin. He was in bed but we shared a scripture with him and I found the scripture. It was about sharing your testimony to others because he lives in a veteran’s home he has lots of opportunity to share his testimony so I thought it will help him to do that and to not be afraid. He liked the scripture. I need to get a picture with him. He always brightens us up because he has such a humble heart and he just loves the gospel. He just forgets a lot of things and I am so grateful to learn to write in my journal so that I can look back on my mission and remember everything that has happened. Then when we were leaving we ran into this guy named Shelton that we had met the week before. We had shared with him what we do and had given him a Book of Mormon. When we saw him again he said he wants to learn more and talk about the gospel so I think we are going to try to meet with him. He lives in Lake Charles which is out of our area but he works here so we will see what we can do. But after seeing them we headed home.
Thursday morning is weekly planning where we plan for the week and we made plans for our baptisms this week with the girls for Thursday and for two other boys that I will tell you about later in the letter for Friday. We made plans to visit people and also made plans for our Zone Conference that we will be having on Wednesday. It will be my first one so we will see how that goes. Sister Smith says it's really good. Later that day we went to Iowa and saw Sister Ramsdel even though we needed to talk with Brother Ramsdel because he is the Branch missionary leader. But we had a good visit with his wife. They are an older couple but she is Baptist and doesn't want to change but she just loves us and loves visitors because she never gets outside of the house. We challenged her to read a chapter in the Book of Mormon so we will see if she did it. But then we went to the Caples home and they are an awesome family. President Caple is the President in the Branch and they always feed us on Thursdays and we always have a fun time there. We had yummy BBQ Chicken tortillas that were so good and yummy peach cobbler with yummy vanilla ice cream. They have two kids, Ryanne and Austin, a girl and a boy. They are big Utah fans and they are really cool!
Friday was district meeting where we meet with our district every week. It's always fun to see our District and also the Zone leaders where there. The meeting was good and we learned more about the Doctrine of Christ and how we need to ask more questions in lessons. I had to play the piano which I kept messing up but hopefully I'll get better. But after our meeting we went to a yummy restaurant that I hope to take you one day and dad too. It's called Nina P's. It's so good. This time I had a really good salad.
After we ate, I went to go see Ken. It was a “get to know ya” talk and I had to fill out papers and told him about my past. He shared with me that he will be able to help me and teach me to not be afraid anymore. He told me I will get feeling better and feel more like myself and to be happy. He reminds me of dad. He is big but doesn’t have grey hair lol. But he is a cool guy and I feel comfortable and not scared of him and he is my first boy counselor so we will see the progress that I hope to make with him.
But then after our visit and our meeting in Lake Charles we headed to Iowa. It was cool because we got to see the homecoming parade. We couldn’t go tracking so we walked over to a member’s house, the Skinners, and watch the parade with them. The parade was fun but I didn't take pictures. I should have but I was too busy watching Sister Skinners’ boys having fun and talking with Sister Skinners because she has been super busy. I love this family and we see them every Friday night. She feeds us and she has three boys. I think I already told you about them but they are the ones getting baptized this Friday. It was fun seeing them since they have been out of town on a cruise and they have been busy camping and they just recently got hit by a drunk driver so that was scary for them but they are all okay and doing well. After the parade and visiting them we went to meet someone that we tracked into, Suzie and Sissy, but they forgot that homecoming was that night so we rescheduled. Then we went tracking for a bit and got 20 contacts in an hour and that’s hard to get but we met some cool people. There is this one guy and he wants to stop drinking but he is deaf and I don't think he knows sign language but he wants to change but we will see if he comes to church or gives us a call. Then we went back to the Skinners to have a yummy, and I do mean yummy dinner. We had Poor Boys and it’s a sandwich. A big sandwich with roast beef with gravy, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles and fries and lots of gravy and it was so good and it was messy. I'll have to make it for ya'll when I come home so make a list of food that I tell ya'll so I can remember what to make ya.
But after dinner we taught the boys about tithing and that was fun because we had monopoly money from the Touchet family that we borrowed and they boys liked it. But they are so excited for this Friday. They are getting baptized before a big Halloween party in Lake Charles that we are going to. The baptism is in Lake Charles and they know a lot of people down there because when the mom was inactive the boys would go with their grandma so hopefully they will have a lot of people there for support. So it's going to be good.
Saturday we went to go teach this family that we tracked into and their names are Josa and Rhonda Bravo. We just taught them and not their kids. It was hard to teach because I didn’t feel comfortable and I just didn't feel that I could teach and so I think the lesson went okay but Sister Smith said it went great. I didn’t talk much but we will see. We are going to see them tonight so hopefully they read and want to learn some more.
Then we went to a birthday party for the Richard family. Their little girl turned one and all we did was just sit around and talked but it was fun to communicate and to relax for a bit.
Then we had to go see the Billeaudeaux family again. It scared us because when we got there the one who is 8, her name is Daisy, said she didn't want to be baptized because she was mad she couldn’t go hang out with friends because we were coming. But by the end of the lesson she wanted to get baptized again. It seems sometimes in life when we can't go do our own thing but have to do something to help us better in life, we will receive more blessings. I hope Daisy will see that by making that sacrifice and meeting with us, she will be blessed. But the girls’ names are Gloria 11, Jessie 10 and Daisy 8. We had a good time teaching them the commandments and it was weird telling the girls about the law of Chastity but Sister Smith took care of that part and it wasn’t too bad. We also taught them the law of tithing and so they excited to pay tithing. But after our fun time with the Billeaudeaux family and Rosie the mom, they told us that after we leave when that time comes they hope other missionaries still comes and see them. They live far away from Jennings but they need missionaries to keep helping them and their family. I told Rosie that we will leave a big note for the new sister missionaries to have them come see her and she smiled and laughed but I knew that gave her some hope and peace in her heart.
We then headed back to Jennings and tried a couple of different people but had no luck. We hadn’t had dinner yet so we went in for dinner.
Sunday I had to play the piano again for church. It went okay but I still made mistakes. Sister Touchet says that I do great and it's good to have the melody played so we can be able to sing, kinda in those terms, but I love her, she is awesome. Well church was good. We missed Sunday School because we had a meeting with Brother Ramsdell about our baptisms this week. I loved Relief Society. We had a good lesson. Sister Caple gave it and she talked about a conference talk about going back to the basics and she talked about how sad it is that people don't love themselves. It totally made me think of me and it was sad but I have been praying to help me love myself because I don't love me. I hate how big I am and how I act and how I put a shy shell on and how I am afraid of everything. But I think it was an answer to my prayer saying that I need to love myself. And I need to see how I can do that and I need to talk to Ken about that and to see what I can do. But after church I was down and Sister Smith talked with me because I feel so out of place and lost because I still just don’t know things and the area and where people live and we have a month left till transfers. It’s a week after my birthday and I'm so scared of what’s going to happen. But she said she is going to help me the best she can to help me not feel so stressed.
So after our talk we headed out to Crowley and we met with some people. There is a sweet lady, Sister Young, and she is an inactive member because her car is broken and there are no other members that are active to drive her to church. I just love to go and visit with her. We never plan for anything because the spirit directs us on what we need to say. And I had a feeling to ask her what’s wrong with her car. She told me it's something electrical and that some guy friend of hers has a friend that said he might could fix it. Then I asked her if she has called him and she said no. Then I felt to tell her that she needed to and that this might be an answer to her prayers of getting her car fixed and she said I might be right. Then we talked about how we need to have faith and need not to be scared and that the Lord will be there to help us. And after we got done visiting with her it was like wow…that is me. I need to have that faith that the Lord will be there for me. But boy its weird teaching people but you really teach yourself.
But after her we went and saw Sister Joiner and she is inactive too because she can’t drive. She loves it when we come and talk with her and share scriptures with her. She started to cry and told us that she loves us coming to have her feel of the spirit because she has us and the Jehovah Witnesses come by and that’s the only way she can feel the spirit. And it broke my heart of how far away she is that no one can take her to church. But hopefully one day there will be members in Crowley to take her. She is an older black lady and it’s always fun to go talk with her. She always calls us “baby.” That is a thing lots of people do here in Louisiana and Texas. It’s really weird and different but hey it’s Louisiana!
Then we saw some other inactive members, the Monsoe family. They have been inactive for a while. They have lots of dogs and its fun to play with them but Sister Smith is not a fan of dogs but it was fun to visit with them and to invite them to the Halloween party this Friday. The visit went well. We talked about the iron rod and how we need to hold tight and that we need to read our scriptures to help us through the day. But oh ya, earlier we were trying to see another inactive member and his name is Brother Burnett but he wasn’t home. He had his black lab on the leash and I was holding the lab so Sister Smith could knock on the door to make sure he wasn’t home and to leave a note on the door. It was so funny. I could have let go and had the dog run and go lick her but I didn’t. I love her too much. She got a picture so I will send ya it. But luckily I love dogs right! But anyways that was Sunday.
I sure hope this next week that the baptism for the girls works out because their grandfather, who hasn’t been in their life lately, now wants to be and so we might change the baptism date again or he might be able to make it Thursday hopefully. We will see. The Lord knows what is best when the girls should get baptized and the grandfather is not a member so it will be good for him to see it so we will see what happens.
But wow, what a week and I bet you are just crying and so amazed at my week and what has happened uh. I know I need to write more of these letters to tell ya about the work and the area and to tell you what I am doing. But I sure hope you enjoy this letter.
I love you mom and I hope this letter brings you comfort and joy to read to see how your missionary is doing.
I love you and I can't wait to hear from you and dad. And I’m glad dad loved his letter. I will be writing him more and you too. But I love you and got lots more letters to write. I love you bye.
Love Your Favorite Missionary,
Down Town Crowley -- one of their areas
A painting on one of the buildings in Crowley
Haveing fun with the Touchet kids
(Sister Hawkins just loves this family!)
Sister Smith and Sister Hawkins
with one of the children they like to visit
Sister Hawkins protecting Sister Smith!
Don't worry Sister Smith ... I will protect you! LOL
Taken at the library when she was writing the above email