This week has been pretty good. Satan is trying hard to discourage us, but we're just sticking our tongues out at him and blowing big fat old razzberries! The work is moving slowly, but we are pushing onward, never fearing. We're on the Lord's side, the outcome of the battle we already know, and we're just getting the glad tidings of great joy out to everyone. Whether or not they will hear it is up to them.Mountain bike riding was SO MUCH FUN! I didn't use my bike--I borrowed an elder's, which made life interesting. And yes, I did fall and crash a few times, but it made us all laugh, so it's all good. Thank heavens I have long skirts so no one has to see my scraped and bruised legs. Don't worry Mom, I'm really okay. I now can see a great big benefit to being clumsy my entire life. I'm a lot tougher than I thought! Falling down and off things doesn't even phase me anymore. Yipee!
As for real important news, we're making some good progress with Tina. We finally met her this week, and had just an incredible lesson. She knows that what we're teaching her is true. Her only hang-up is her family, who are VERY anti. Everytime she comes to Brother Joffrion's to meet with us or when she comes to church, she has to lie to them and tell them that she's taking Bro. Joffrion to the doctor. Please pray for her. I can't imagine how difficult this must be for her. At the same time, it makes me appreciate my mom so much more, because of her courageous decision and sacrifice. So, it's bittersweet. Tina set her own baptismal date for November 16th. To all who read this, please keep her in your prayers. This gospel will bless her life so much...it's just getting her into that font! Sigh. Things will all work out in the end. And if they aren't working out, then obviously it's not the end yet! :)
We've also been working with a new convert, Jessica. This girl is seriously AMAZING! She pretty much walked right into the baptismal font herself, without any coaxing. She KNEW it was true from the moment she heard it. I mean, seriously! How many people do you know that actually go looking for the missionaries? She was being taught at her dad's house, and then she moved to Baton Rouge with her mom. Jessica wanted to get baptized, so she went out looking for the elders. Long story short, she found them, they baptized her, and now we're caught up to speed! Jess has a little one-year-old daughter, Jaycee, who is so darling! Anyway, Jess has been struggling lately because her family is very negative about everything. This girl is so incredible! She's helping support her mom and brother and sister as well as her own daughter. She quit her job because they weren't giving her Sundays off. She's going back to school to get her GED. She doesn't have a car, so trying to get to school and to church and eventually to her job is super difficult. And yet, in spite of all this, she is still steadfast in the gospel. Sister Dansie was telling her that obviously she is destined for greatness in the church; why else would Satan be trying so hard to discourage her? We told her that we are her personal 911 and that she can call us anytime. We talked to her about getting her patriarchal blessing, and we really think that will help her so much too. We're trying to teach her brother and sister, Junior and Iesha, but they haven't been very interested yet. But we're still trying! We even carved the Plan of Salvation into a pumpkin to teach them! We didn't get to use it though, because of the craziness of Halloween, so now we have this AWESOME pumpkin in our fridge that we're not entirely sure what to do with. We'll think of something.
Now for questions!
1. What did you do for Halloween? Did you have trick or treaters come to your pad?
Halloween, we were on lockdown from 6 PM on. So we ate candy and wrote letters. We had this really good idea for trick or treaters! We taped candy to pass along cards! But no one knocked on our door...so we just ate the candy.
2. How was the bike, it did have speeds on it right? Remember if you ride it with a skirt or dress, use a clothes pin to pin between your legs to make it like a skort, do you need a clothespin?
My bike is FREAKING AMAZING! I haven't got the chance to ride it yet; we've got a maroon Malibu. But it was all the elders' favorite at transfers...probably because they didn't have to put it together.
3. Anything you need from home, warmer pj's, ant spray etc.? Do you have a cd player so we can send some church music?
I do need a copy of my patriarchal blessing! I didn't get it packed from home. Other than that, I could use some T-shirts for Preparation Day (those didn't get packed either). And that letter about no jeans? Does NOT apply here. President Woods said jeans were fine. So you could send my old pair if you wanted. But they aren't crucial, I've got shorts and those other pants. We are allowed to listen to EFY, Mormon Tab, and some instrumental hymns, but we don't have a CD player at our pad, so that's no biggie either. We can pick a cheap one up at a Goodwill or something.
4. Myra says you won't see fireflies until spring, so how are the sunsets, I need a picture of a good one?
We haven't had any real good sunsets yet, but I'll try and catch one for you, Mom. Tell Myra thanks for the note about fireflies.
Oh! Also, this morning, we found the state bird of Louisiana crawling across our wall. That's what the picture of the pot and phonebooks is. I have NEVER seen a cockroach that HUGE before. And Sister Dansie said that it was a fairly small one too. I tried to go get my camera to take a picture of the bug itself, but we decided to catch it while we still could. *Shudder*...things that make you go BUUUUUUUH!
5. Maybe you should try a singing door approach like an old negro spiritual and you might get in, have you tried that yet?
We have not tried singing our way in yet...but now that everyone is all excited for Christmas coming up, we'll probably use that more often.
6. Any suggestions for possible Christmas presents, we will need to mail them early?
I sent Stacia a letter about this, but I need ties. Big, fat, 70's era, polyester ties. The wider, the better. If you can hold it in the middle, and it still sticks straight out, that's a keeper. It's a GLBRM thing. We give ties to our favorites.
Other than that, um...pictures! I love have pictures to put all over everywhere. Ooh! And could you send me one of my hoodies? My LHS volleyball one that Kathryn gave me maybe? It's a different kind of cold down here...it seeps into you! And you stay cold for a LONG time. Not like Rexburg cold. It's no bueno. :)
In all seriousness, I can't really think of anything I need or even really want. Just keep those letters coming! I love them more than anything else!
7. What is the funniest saying people say down there?
Hmm...that's a toughie. Remember that salt in the pepper shaker analogy I used? There are a lot of black people here, and that means a LOT of cool sayings. "I has been doing" or "I was like, you know, you know, whatever." I'm drawing blanks really for local sayings.Of course, missionaries will ALWAYS have the strangest catchphrases, bar none. Elder Jones, one of the office elders, says, "Dang 'me." It's hard to try and spell it the way he says it, though. You'll just have to ask me sometime in person. Elder Pickup (yes, that's his real name) says, "Dang Gina!" a lot, which makes us laugh. Sister Dansie says, "Excuse me?" and "Oh boy." I can't really think of anymore off the top of my head, but I'll pay close attention this week and see if I can't come up with any others.
8. Are there Piggly Wiggly grocery stores down there?
Yes, there are a few Piggly Wiggly stores, but I haven't been in one. The elders say that it's not really worth it; Walmart and Target have better things.
9. Why can't the members feed you? I was told you got fed every lunch and dinner and you just had to buy food for breakfast?
Members now can feed us, but they couldn't in the past because of past experiences in the mission when President Patterson was here. President Wood thinks that by having meals as priesthood directed visits, it'll create less of an atmosphere of a "hang out," and it'll also be a good tool to maybe activate some less active members. It's a new thing, so it's just getting started, but the members are thrilled about it.
We don't really have to shop for much. The members take care of that too. We give them a list every two weeks of things we need, and then they sign up to buy certain things, and we take home big old bags of groceries. It's very humbling, to see the willingness of these wonderful members. They just jump at the opportunity to do anything for us. It's made me love them so much more.
10. Seen any snakes or gators yet?
No snakes or gators yet; it's getting cold, so they're hibernating or something. I did have a nightmare about getting chased by gators the other night though. So I haven't seen any in real life, but they are quite active in my subconcious, apparently.
In conclusion, life is AMAZING, we love it here, the people are incredible, and "the work of God shall go forth boldly, nobly, and independant, until is has penetrated every continant, visited every clime, swept every nation, and sounded in every ear; till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great JEHOVAH shall say the work is done." To quote Elisha, "they that be with us are more than they that be with them." We have this wonderful message and duty to help everyone remember who they really are, whether we are set apart missionaries or member missionaries. Everyone you see, EVERY SINGLE ONE, is a precious, beloved child of God. They just can't remember it! How much better the world would be, if only we could all remember that! Talk to your friends, invite them to be taught. Invite the missionaries to teach people in your homes. The Spirit that is already there will intensify, and bless you and those who are being taught.
That was my soapbox. I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU!!!!!
2 Corinthians 4:5
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.