*This is just a quick note from Bethany's mom. Bethany's birthday is October 21st. It would be so great if anyone reading this sent her a Birthday card or greeting! Her address is:
800 Waukegan Road #203
Glenview, Il. 60025
Greetings from Chicago!
October 7, 2013
So this week I think was good. I have no idea how to define a good week from a bad week, but I think it was good in that 1) I'm still alive ;) 2) we met a lot of our goals, and 3) we have two "new investigators." I don't know the sincerity of their interest right now, but at this point according to the definition, they're new investigators.
Thank you so much for all your emails! I loved reading all of them and will try to respond to everything (the most important things anyways :)
Wasn't conference just so awesome?? I loved it. I don't know if I can pick out a favorite or not! I really liked President Uchtdorf's talk about the Church and how true it is, and how addressed that it's natural to have questions, and that they can be answered, and how yes, the past of the Church includes imperfect people who made mistakes, but the gospel is true. I loved Kevin S. Hamilton's talk about continually holding fast to the iron rod. President Holland's talk about depression and not giving up AND addressing the need to also get medical help if needed was awesome. I also liked Terence M. Vinson's talk about how the Lord allows problems to come up and you solving them before they're resolved. And like Mom said, Elder Nelson's talk about caring for your body and developing spiritual attributes was also (I'm definitely overusing this word too much) awesome. One of the ones that spoke the most to me was Elder McConkie's about being a gospel teacher. That one I felt was particularly applicable to me in my life right now.
Funny stories from the week:
So we've been trying to reach this less-active lady, Tonya. Turns out, she doesn't live at the apt that we've been trying to visit, but we started talking to the guy who moved in. His name is Paul, and he's this eccentric 51 year-old single black guy, retired from the Air Force, working and just living with his cat. He seems to be willing to listen to us, so we visited back there on Friday night with another girl member (mission rules). (Note: I don't really know how to explain it in a way that's as hilarious as it was in the moment. Also, I feel like my sense of humor as a missionary is changing [hopefully not permanently] but humor sometimes is so lacking that I find myself laughing at the most ridiculous things now.) Anyways, we got there to our appointment, and he was not letting us in. It was really weird because he kept on keeping the door open while trying to keep his cat inside, so it was really distracting for all of us. Finally his cat managed to escape, but while Paul was trying to get the cat, the door closed. He locked himself out without any keys or anything. So with only twenty minutes before the apt. office closed, we ALL trekked over to get another set...Me, Sister North, this other member (Kristy) and Paul, in his socks and his cat in tow. That's pretty much the climax of the story and the most hilarious part. We were able to get everything squared away, and with all the excitement and everything we were only able to really share Moroni 10:3-5. We have another appointment with him this next Thursday, so hopefully that will go a little smoother.
I'll work on including some more pictures here in the next little bit--no promises. I have to write my mission president a letter real quick too.
Love you all SO MUCH and I'm praying for you all the time! I feel your prayers and support. Y'all are the best. The Church is so true.
A week in the life of this missionary...9/30/13
On the shores of Lake Michigan with companion Sister North
Thank you so much for all of your emails and pictures!! I loved them all so much, and if I don't respond to everything, I did in my heart (cheesy line for the day...). All of it meant so much to me.
I can't remember how much I've described about the area, but it's barely been open for about 8 weeks now for the sisters. So it's pretty fresh. We're doing a lot of less active contacts and potential new investigator contacts throughout the week. It's kind of been hard to figure out what a "productive day" is in the mission life. Mission life is definitely not what I expected, even though I don't really know what I expected. We have three progressing investigators right now and two main recent converts that we're working with.
On Friday night, we were really struggling with finding something to do around 8:00. It's so hard because it's already starting to get dark here around 7:30, even 7, but we need to be working until 9. If people aren't receptive already to tracting during the day, they're REALLY not receptive when it gets dark for some reason, so it gets difficult to not have an appointment. So there we were, and I was really to take my "dinner hour" and call it a night--we hadn't really even had dinner--when my comp had the thought to go visit one of our neighbors, Ivette. We stopped in, had a nice conversation, and the Church was naturally brought up. Somehow we got to talking about prophets, and that there was going to be a conference meeting next weekend where all of them were going to speak to us. This got her really excited and she agreed to come with us. That was a cool experience--I think the Lord knew what she would be receptive to and when, and we really hope that she becomes a new investigator. She's really open minded and said that she's still searching for the truth. *holla!*
I think I already might have mentioned this in an earlier email, but it's been a sweet experience to truly realize that this is the only time in my life when I can pretty much invite myself into people's homes and have them open up to me and feed me and I can get to know parts of their hearts that they wouldn't normally share willingly with someone, just because I'm a sister missionary. (On the contrary, it's also hard knowing that all of the cool people in the ward will never know the true me, Bethany, who can be funny and silly and outgoing, because I'm a sister missionary. It's hard getting past the nametag and trying to find the balance of being myself still...) Anyways, this past week we had some cool experiences with being in people's homes. One was going to Helen's home. She's a less active who I guess doesn't really have a strong grasp on the basic gospel principles at all. She's not going to church right now probably because of this, but also because she lost her husband in June. When we went over there, she welcomed us in, made us some apple cider, and just talked with us about him. There was one moment when she described how she gets up in the morning and still talks to her husband out loud, calling him "Hugbear" and then she answers herself as if he's talking to her, calling her "Huggie." For some reason, this really got to me and I starting tearing up, like, a lot...you might call it unwilling crying. It was a really tender thing for me and for some reason I hold it really dear to me.
Sister Bratcher is an older black lady in our ward, probably in her late 40s to mid 50s who still lives with her mom. I think she might be special somehow, but it's not identifiable, like maybe it's Asperger's or something. She's SO sweet, and she had us over for lunch. For lunch she warmed us up some Healthy Choice meals in the microwave. This was a really tender thing for me. It was very humbling, and I was really grateful to experience being able to be with her and enjoy lunch together.
So I need to email the Mission president right now, so I guess you could say I have to go. I hope that my email has been uplifting in some way, and that I'm including enough stories and everything that help you to know that I'm doing well and that my testimony of the gospel is growing stronger every day. I don't feel like I'm including as much spiritual experiences as I should be, but I feel like I'm being real and sharing things that I would as Bethany, which I'm assuming you'd like too. I'll try to include more spiritual experiences next time.
I love you all so much!! I hope that everything is going well for you, and I love all of your emails and everything! I I know that Jesus lives and that He loves us and provided a way for us to return to Him again. This is the true church. He wants us to get back to Him, and there's only one way, and that's through Him and the restored priesthood on the earth today.
I can't wait to receive your package! <3 Tell everyone hi and that I love them and have Nate and Hannah write me a letter too :D