Tomorrow will be my one year mark in the field... so closer to my thirteen month mark of starting my mission. How bizarre!
This has been a pretty great week!
Last Wednesday after preparation day was over we went to the Simmon's place to celebrate their 40th anniversary. That is the couple we've been teaching temple prep to. We brought cornbread muffins (Brother Simmon's favorite), gluten free brownies and vanilla ice cream. We watched Together Forever to celebrate them preparing for the temple!
Friday Feb. 22nd:
Our investigator Mary is such a joy to teach :) We taught her the Plan of Salvation and were able to answer her questions by turning to chapters in the Book of Mormon. I love experiences like that! Her daughters who are already members were going to do baptisms for the dead the following day so we helped her connect that her daughters would be performing ordinances for those who are in the spirit world. Also she cracks us up! Mary is black and apparently can cook very well. She's feeding us sometime this next week so we'll see if that is true ;) She was asking us if we can eat food in heaven. She wants to 'cook for Jesus!' We planned out her baptismal program and she wants a cake that says "Happy Baptismal!" I asked her if she wanted it to say Happy Baptismal or Happy Baptism and she said whichever one is right =P Later she realized which one it should be.
That night we drove around Yonkers looking up different members from the branch. We were able to see all three of the sisters we were looking for,
We went with the elders in our area to a nursing home near the church. We wanted to meet two of the sisters in our branch who live there. I loved it. It reminded me of the days I would pick up my Grandma Campbell on Sundays to come have dinner at our home. When I am home from the mission I want to try to visit a nursing home semi regularly to become friends with the regulars =)
Sundays in our branch are becoming one of my favorite days of the week! After church we met with two of the Elders Quorum members to discuss in more depth the needs of our branch and how we, as sister missionaries, can be of the most help. After that the Denison's invited us and their neighbor Rena (the one I was able to be an answer to her prayers when we were unshoveling cars after the blizzard) over for dinner. Sister Denison is a wonderful cook. Rena is funny. She makes the best facial expressions when she tells stories.
Shortly after we left there we had another meal to get to. It was with the Stilson family. I adore them :) Especially their four year old son Easton! He taught us a cool handshake when we first had dinner there. Double High five (both hands), double fist bump, and wiggle! Natasha also came. She is someone the Elders have been teaching and she's getting baptized this week, Saturday March 2nd!
For dinner they fed us Navahoo tacos and scone desserts! Both were amazingly delicious! I'm going to have to get the recipes.
We had an appointment Monday night with a family in our branch and they are great! The daughter has a toy doll and I got to hold it! haha it was a pretty big deal because I miss holding babies/children. It's a mission rule, for safety precautions in many ways to not hold kids because of increasing legal complexities. Thus, I was able to get my baby fix and still be obedient.
Tuesday Feb. 26th:
This was one of my favorite days so far!
We helped Elder McCullam create Natasha's baptism program and then went to eat.
Afterwards we went to do a look up in Tarrytown but turns out it was only the college address so there was no way for us to find her. We decided to tract some homes near there. It was a really cold day but the houses were all so cute! We had pretty good success with yellow houses. Most people weren't home. The first woman we talked to was really nice just busy but gave us her number and invited us to come back another time. We met a guy who was pretty nice but his wife wasn't interested or comfortable with us there.
Finally we came to a house where a Jamaican lady answered the door. She worked their as a home health attendant. Anyhow the owner was fine with us coming in. We spent about 45 minutes - hour in the home talking to Herbert (who's probably in his 90s) and Shirlee Louis (who is probably in her 50s). Herbert served in World War Two as someone who flew and jumped out of airplanes. He was also at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. He didn't have too many details to tell us but I was so impressed just sitting there getting to know the both of them.
We taught an overview of the Plan of Salvation and focused a lot on the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Shirlee was pretty receptive to the Restoration because of the things she had told us about her religious background. We gave Herbert a copy of the restoration dvd to watch and he seemed excited. I believe Shirlee said he has dementia. He seemed pretty with it, with the exception of forgetting a few details from his past (war experience). He has a daughter who lives near by who called when we were there. We heard hear voice when she was on the phone. She wasn't totally sure about how she felt about us there. Mostly she didn't want us to bother her father. Shirlee told her that he liked our company. I've been praying that we can keep teaching Shirlee and Herbert and also teach Camille and her family. That would be sweet!
Once we left there we went to the Hippen home for dinner. We had Hawaiian Haystacks which are definitely some of my favorites now! It was absolutely delicious! I love having dinner there on Tuesday nights! After a wonderful time together we taught a fun lesson=) We assigned everyone a character and had a few props and we acted out 1 Nephi chapters 3-4. Sister Awerkamp and I narrated =)
The work is picking up and we are building relationships with the branch =)
The Simmons are going through the temple today! We didn't get permission to go because it'll be after pday but we just stopped by there =)
I hope all is well with you!
Feel free to write me letters =P
Transfers are in one week (this is a five week transfer) and it's crazy! So many of my favorite missionaries that I've served with go home this next week. Missionaries going home are, but not limited to, include: Elder Stratton, Elder Topham, Elder Mattai, Elder Head and Elder McCullam WEIRD!
I love you! I am grateful for this time I have to serve the Lord and strengthen my own testimony. As I teach others and look at the eternal perspective things become clearer and more important. I invite you to increase your understanding and faith this week about a gospel truth. Ponder and pray about what you would like to understand with more clarity and then put it into action!
Sister Emily Johnson