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Monday, July 27, 2015
We did a lot a Tracting this week and as a result, I was fried. Multiple time. Yes I am wearing sunblock. I just can't out on enough fast enough. It has gotten to the point where i carry a bottle on me, have lotion & spray in the car and on my bike and in the house. I can't seem to keep it on. Hot summer weather. It will break, eventually. Haha. I have determined that I will get both skin cancer and lunch cancer from my time in Kentucky (Tracting and second hand smoke). Although, I know God will bless me for my efforts! :) the work is truly amazing!
This week in Somerset:
Baptists make the best Mormons because they are dedicated! We have had many trainings recently in our district on goals, talking with everyone and receiving revelation for us personally and our investigators. It has been wonderful! I love our district! We have three greenies (new missionaries, fresh from the MTC) and the greenie Fire is burning STRONG! There are 12 of us total, 5 regular companion ships, and we are privileged to serve with a senior couple, the Scheuning's! As we went out to work on Friday everything fell through, it was one of "those days". It had been such a promising day with a potential new investigator and an appointment with our solid investigator Julie, but everything fell through, they all canceled or didn't show and we sat outside a house and I just wanted to cry at this point. We had 30 minutes before going to a dinner appointment and we both felt strongly that we needed to go to Thacker lane. So we go over there, knock all 8 doors and not a single person answered. At this point we both were a little discouraged and just wanted to go eat. After dinner we put our heads together and quite literally said "what would Jesus do?" Normally this is a joke question but we received revelation of what exactly we needed to do. Training, applied! ✔️ I got the impression we needed to go to a place called Somerset village. As we were walking around finding some people we met the most incredible woman who wasn't interested at first but then took a Book of Mormon. She said something that really stuck with me. "First, I am a Christian, THEN, I am a baptist." I loved that. I love that she knows that Christ is first and then everything else. She was so awesome and honestly would make an incredible member of the church! She said "I will read this book and then I will ask God." Hey, that is all we ask! This is why baptists make the best Mormons! They are devoted! Haha! We then met some other super sweet ladies who saw pictures of the temples and asked all about them. Awesome! The night ended with a super cool guy named Chris and he told us "I am on a search for the truth. I have recently come to believe in God and I know there is more. I want to find it." WHY HELLO THERE, MY NAME IS SISTER HANNAH AND I HAVE WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR." We gave him a Book of Mormon. So after this crappy few hours of everything falling through, we ended with four awesome miracles. We handed out four copies of the Book of Mormon, talked to 10 people, got and contacted a referral,and got some sweet children of God to come closer to their savior, Jesus Christ! That is what happens when we are exactly obedient and apply all of our trainings! MIRACLES!
Baptist Billy. He is just awesome. We met him while out tracting and he was genuinely interested in what we had to say. He shared his beliefs on being saved and the rapture, the second coming and baptism. He is actually a baptist preacher. Well so he says. He teaches Sunday school at the baptist church. As we got to know him and share our beliefs, he came to realize how similar we really are. Everyone here loves Jesus Christ and they are so willing to talk about him! It is awesome! As we gave him a Book of Mormon he said "well you're not Jehovah's witnesses so I will read whatever you got." Jw's get us in so many doors. Win again for the Mormons! Haha we just laughed it off and are so excited to meet with him this coming week!
Julie- just love her. This is miracle Julie. We found her while entering those tedious paper records into our iPads. As we continue to teach her I just can't help but think how amazing she is going to be in our little branch. She has concerns, as everyone does, but she is totally open to the Book of Mormon and widening her horizons. She realizes that whAt she grew up with could be wrong and so she is a tad bit reserved. Pray for Julie! She is going to get baptized! We know it! We know it.
We had some other interesting lessons this week. One with a same sex couple and another with a guy who was not sober. They both made us cringe a little bit but overall they were ok. The two women, Jacqueline and Megan, were interested in the plan of salvation. It was so awesome to explain it to them and to see them understand it and want it. Living with God and our families forever is something we should all desire! We then had to explain our stance on marriage and what we believe. This strengthened my testimony so much of "the family: a proclamation to the world". We were able to tell them that we believe marriage is between a man and a woman and that is what is ordained of God. We believe children are entitled to a proper family with a mom and dad and that it is in our families that we learn, grow and progress in the gospel. We are meant to have a father and a mother. A proper family allows us to receive exaltation and a proper family helps us become more like our father in heaven. We were also able to explain that we are all children of God and we love everyone, we just simply do not support sin or sinful behavior. God has a law and that is what we live by regardless of what the government says. This truly opened my eyes to how horrible the battle against satan is becoming. He is attacking the family like never before and it is an awful battle. This was the first time I have encountered a same sex couple out here and it will be interesting to teach them more about the gospel. They have sincere desires to get as close to they can to Heavenly Father but we are not sure if they are willing to change from their current lifestyle. The other lesson we taught was too guy named Adam. He is living with one of our members and wanted to meet with us. We agreed and the meeting went up down and all around. He came into the meeting saying "I don't really care about your church" and ended it with "I feel closer to God when I smoke weed." So there was that. We got about five words out to this kid before we realized it was casting pearls before swine and sadly, his heart was too hard to even begin hearing our sacred and unique message.
On a brighter note, we saw the wonderful Teresa this week! It was a pre dunk or drop lesson, meaning we felt out where she was spiritually to decide whether or not we needed to drop her as an investigator or continue teaching her. It was the most amazing lesson. We sat outside and discussed Joseph smith, the Book of Mormon, Jesus Christ's church and the godhead. We asked a lot of questions and got her thinking. Something sister Starkey and I have been working on is "asking inspired questions". This was an inspired questions lesson. We asked her if she noticed a difference in our church. Her response was "I have done a lot of research and I feel as though your church has the most truth of any other church." Yes, yes we do! :) towards the end, I asked her about her belief in the godhead and she said, "oh well I believe in the trinity." WHOA, ROADBLOCK. That is a huge doctrinal difference! It was only by asking inspired questions that we were able to get to this confusion. We were able to clarify and she then decided should would ponder about God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost being three separate distinct beings. It was an incredible spirit led lesson!
It was summer nights cruise this Saturday and it was AWESOME. 1600 old, restored, beautiful cars. They also had new cars that had been modified, classic muscle cars and unique cars. I was in love. Welcome to the cruise capital of the states. The bomb.com. While we were out contacting it was HOT. It is 5 in the afternoon and 97 degrees, humid and I am just dripping in sweat. We approach this kid and talk to him but he showed little to no interest. He called his friends over and we talk to them about the Book of Mormon but they shoved it off as typical 'too cool for school' teenagers. At this point I was thinking "ok I'm out, It's hot, I'm a hot sweaty mess and I just need some ice water..." We said see ya to the teenagers and then as we walk away the oldest of the bunch screams back at me "HEY, YOUR EYES ARE BEAUTIFUL!" Thank you random fella. Thanks for making my day just a little bit brighter after many rejections. The car show was a success for fine tuning our contacting skills, which little did we know would come In very handy! On Sunday night, our district leader, elder Polson, always calls to collect information from what we did over the past week. He is a sweet elder and our companionship has a continuous bet & wager game going back and forth. It has been going on for a few months and this week it is all about contacting, who can contact more people on the street. We are absolutely determined to win because if we lose sister Starkey has to wear a yellow reflector vest and orange glow sticks (like airplane men who back the airplane out) while she backs me. We will win. We just need to think up something the elders have to do for when they lose. All ideas welcome.
I spoke in sacrament meeting and was told that I was speaking on Thursday. Both sister Starkey and I had 3 days to prepare. As I sat down Thursday to ponder it nothing came to me. Friday, nothing. Saturday, NOTHING. I was like "ok Heavenly Father, I am just going to get up there and give a talk then." All three days sister Starkey kept asking me what I would be speaking on and I honestly was just like "I have no clue but it's ok." I always get nervous when speaking in front of crowds but being out here has subsided that fear completely. Sunday morning rolls around and I literally have an hour left before I have to give this talk. I started praying and said "Heavenly Father. I am now desperate for some revelation." It came, I found some awesome scriptures and I spoke on enduring to the end. I love giving talks because I learn more from preparing than anyone else can learn from just hearing it. I love how Heavenly Father works that way!
This week was awesome and HOT. August is here. The rain is sorta stopping? The time is flying. I can't believe how fast time flies, really. It blows me away. The work is the best thing ever! I love my time here! :)
A dear friend wrote me recently and asked me how I truly feel about my mission. I was so grateful that they were impressed to ask me that question because it gave me the opportunity to ponder and reflect upon the time I have been in Kentucky. I will admit, I did struggle a lot at the beginning of my time here. It was hard for many reasons, but I regret having those feelings and have since come to LOVE and adore my time here as a full time representative of Jesus Christ. Over the past few months I have been in Kentucky, my love for the gospel has grown immensely. There is something incredible about watching it change a life from despair to hope, struggles to triumphs. I love my mission not only because I have been able to see the gospel change lives, but I have been able to see the gospel change me, and that is something I will be eternally grateful for. It is Something that could have never happened without coming here, sacrificing everything and truly learning and understanding who my Savior is for me personally. As I was reading in the Book of Mormon about a month ago, I came across this passage and realized Kentucky is my waters of Mormon because this is where I came to the knowledge of my Redeemer! The people were taught, instructed, given commandments, promised blessings and gained a testimony in this place of learning for them. Kentucky is that place for me. I am meant to be here, for certain people who I can touch and for those people who can touch and influence me for good. I am here to learn, grown and be edified as I help others do the same. I love this place, I love this experience and I am forever grateful to be a missionary!
Mosiah 18:30 "And now it came to pass that all this was done in Mormon, yea, by the waters of Mormon, in the forest that was near the waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever."
Kentucky is the place to be, the mission is the work to be in! This work never ends. Heavenly Father is always aware of each of his children and our savior, Jesus Christ, is always there for us to lean on!
So much love from the GKLM,
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Monday, July 20, 2015
Hello to all of my people!
Honestly this week was hard, but it was absolutely worth it. That is how the week before a baptism goes though! The greatest triumph of this week was that MIKE & BRENDA GOT BAPTIZED! After a six month journey, they were finally able to enter into the waters of baptism and make sacred covenants with Heavenly Father! It was the most glorious day! Granted, it was a little crazy and hectic getting to the actual baptism and confirmation, but it all ended well! We had to re teach some stuff (by that I mean all of the commandments and laws/ordinances) in two days and then get them interviewed, but it all worked out! We forgot to make the programs at branch coordination, so Friday night we went "CRAP!" And then the programs had the wrong name on the front. The water was a little hot and we thought we would have a piano that played (press a key & played a recording) but nope! It was all good. Nice try satan, but you didn't win! Sister starkey played the piano, the water cooled down and they were able to be baptized and we were the only ones running around with our heads cut off like a chicken. BUT. THEY WERE BAPTIZED. Happy happy day!
Some other miracles we saw this week:
We have been tirelessly entering old paper records into our iPads. This is the most tedious job ever. So many records, but we have to do it. There was a specific record of a lady named Julie and her record stood out to both sister Starkey and I. We decided to give her a call and she was so excited to hear from us! She had lost touch with the missionaries and was still interested! We set up an appointment and then she texted us and said "I am living with someone who wants to talk to other also!" We were STOKED! Blessings of getting these records in! So we go to meet her and this mystery person. We pull up and she is outside with a less active, Jessie, who I had recently lost touch with because he had moved! WE FOUND HIM, WE FOUND A NEW INVESTIGATOR and they are both so anxious to learn! It truly was the greatest blessing from Heavenly Father! :)
All week we have been praying for new investigators, binding the Lord. We may not have seen a new investigator each day, but as we dedicated at least one hour to finding each day, we have found some specific child of God that needed to talk to us. It has been incredible watching the hand of the Lord in our work! He is so aware of each and every one of us!
To top off the week, we were able to go to Lexington last night with Cora and the Stettlers to the mission home fireside. It was an incredible testimony meeting. My very first convert, Kathy, spoke and told of her conversion story. I could not stop smiling the entire time. My joy was so full. The changes the gospel brings are absolutely marvelous. There are no words to describe how miraculous these changes are. I know through Christ, anything can be changed or accomplished. Rely on Him! :)
That's all really! The work is amazing, is rains SHEETS here... Randomly there are down pours and instead of running to the car, you take a shower. It is wonderful, soaked to he bone always. I know this is the work of God. He is how we accomplish everything we do! I love his work, I love the Lord and I love Kentucky!
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Monday, July 13, 2015
DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!!
THIS WEEK, I GOT MY BABY!! Sister Starkey has arrived!! She is from Spanish Fork, Utah and is so excited to be here in Kentucky! I absolutely adore her and we get along so well! She is super cute and wants to work hard! :) WOOP WOOP!! Here we go!
On Tuesday I received Sister Starkey! We got well acquainted on our three hour drive back to Somerset! It is a gorgeous ride, way prettier than anything I have ever seen! I absolutely LOVE Kentucky countryside!
Wednesday was Sister Strakey's first full day in the field! It was an up and down day, a pretty typical one. It started with a nice face plant on the pavement during our morning run and she scraped up both knees, her hands and elbows. Thankfully, she was all good and we kept going. The rest of the day, the majority of our plan fell through, we tried everything, but it happens! That is missionary life! Not the best entrance into the field, but the next day got better? I thought.
We weekly planned, all of our plans went through and everything was awesome! It is days like these that I have to remind myself that she is brand new! She doesn't act it at all!
On Friday we had district meeting and it went so well! After that we had to bike up a huge hill, we were turned down by almost everyone and some random lady started to scream at us for preaching. It was a ROUGH day, but amid all of it, Sister Starkey pressed forward with faith and said "I don't care, let's keep going!" That's my girl!!
On Saturday we had two investigators get married and they will be baptized next week! mike and Brenda are truly the sweetest people ever and they are a solid couple! We were the wedding planners and it was so awesome! That night we also drove really far and used a lot of miles to see an investigator who we needed a phone number from. Their porch was being guarded by dogs and they wouldn't budge. we tried everything we could to get these dang dogs to move and not bite us, but nothing worked. It was either do something to get someone outside or drop these investigators. Sister Starkey received the revelation to yell at the house, because we knew they were home so we literally stood outside their house screaming "IS NATHANIEL HOME? THIS IS THE SISTER MISSIONARIES!" IT WORKED! his dad came out and we got the phone number! :) It was wonderful!! After a crazy week, that was the miracle we needed to see!
I would write more, but I am almost out of time! Check out the pictures! :)
I love this work, I love being a missionary and experiencing the JOY! :)
llife if swell!
Much love from the GKLM,
Monday, July 6, 2015
Every once in a while I get these little bursts of happiness that make me so happy to be here and be a missionary. I know it is the spirit testifying to me that this is what I am meant to be doing and this is so worth it. As a song says that sister Crofoot and I listen too, "when it gets tough, some days are bound too. And when it gets rough, I'm gonna push through. Just like the sons of Mosiah! I'll serve with all my heart, right from the start, the children of my father!" This is the true gospel of Jesus Christ, it will be hard, but it will be worth it!
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This week was crazy, hard, unreal, exciting and nerve wracking. Amidst all of that though, we saw many tender mercies, here are just a few!
Monday: We traveled down to Wayne county, the county south, to find some ancestors of sister Crofoot. She is related to Cherokee Indians who are buried somewhere in doublehead gap....no specific cemetery, just a general area. Doublehead gap is pretty much all of Wayne county. Thankfully she had 2 cemeteries to try to find Chief Doublehead. What I didn't realize was this was literally a needle in a haystack search... We just had a name and a list of possible cemeteries. So we end up losing service on Sister Scheuning's phone and get lost halfway into Wayne county. Somehow, by the grace of God, we were able to realize we went 15 miles past the first cemetery. We found a cemetery but no luck with the headstone. Back on the road we went with no service. The maps were out of date on the phone too so we had to pull over and ask someone where we were going. It was a long journey. We finally get to some random cemetery that isn't on Sister Crofoot's list and start searching for the headstone. Oddly enough, there are other people at this family cemetery too... This just doesn't happen. These cemeteries are 5 miles in he backwoods off windy roads. We happened to show up to this one right as these other people did as well. I am convinced that God got us lost so we could end up at this cemetery at this specific time to meet these sweet girls! Sister Crofoot was able to locate the headstone of her ancestor while I talked to these sweet girls about the gospel! It was so incredible because we saw two miracles in literally two minutes! She found the needle in the haystack and I found some new potential investigators. Following the crazy p-day activity we were able to have an incredible member present lesson with an old investigator we had lost touch with! Mark is an awesome young man who is sincerely searching for truth. He asks such soul searching questions and knows that he needs to make changes in his life. He just needs to actually change! He is so close! There are some struggles in his life, but he can do it! The gospel changes lives!
Tuesday: we have this wonderful investigator, her name is Teresa. She treats sister Crofoot and I like her own daughters. Man, I love Teresa so much. This is the same woman who dressed us up as Indian women last week (oh that was so interesting. She wanted me to get into the belly dancer outfit... Hahaha sorry, not taking my clothes off! Then having to explain garments to her way before we needed too.... Yeah! Well that happened!). Anyway, we stopped by before our dinner appointment and she was like, "here is some money, go buy good ice cream and we pray to God that it doesn't go to our hips and read the Book of Mormon too!" This is why I love Teresa. Ice cream and the Book of Mormon, what could be better? Haha!
Wednesday: Ok, I was kind of cruel this day. I wanted to go out finding so bad and decided Tracting would be a good idea. I waited until the worst part of the day, right as it started pouring, and I mean POURING. I was also using this as a teaching opportunity to help sister Crofoot become more confident at the door. So we are sopping wet and she is doing all the talking. I am sure she hates me at this point, but she was doing so great! I love watching her progress in the gospel! We saw some young girls and stopped to talk with them. They ended up getting their brother outside, Kishawn, and we taught the first lesson right there on the porch. The girls were 6-12 years old and Kishawn was 17. It was an extremely powerful lesson! You could see the wheels turning in Kishawn's head and at the end he asked "so my church is wrong because we don't have the priesthood right? I need to read this Book of Mormon!" It was an incredible miracle! We are excited to teach him!
Thursday: we traveled to the big city! Lexington! Zone meeting! I absolutely love the Lexington zone! We have the greatest missionaries and the best leadership! We drove up the 75 to get there this time and passed Richmond. Oh man. It was so bittersweet. I left so many great people and memories in Richmond. It made me miss it so much, but I was also reminded by the spirit that I will be able to be reunited with those people soon! The work I did there is eternal and I will be able to see the reward in heaven! I will always have those memories and I will always be grateful for my time there. I miss Richmond so much, but I absolutely love Somerset! It is so different but so incredible! There are many blessings that come from both areas! At zone meeting we were trained on the importance of the sabbath day and setting expectations with investigators from the very beginning. Both were very good trainings! Some thing I learned to teach my investigators was just how important partaking of the sacrament is. It is the only ordinance in the gospel that we repeat. We are never baptized again, we only go rough the temple once for ourselves and we are only sealed once. The sacrament is so important! We need to partake of it weekly! We were able to apply that training right when we got home too! We taught Patsy and she completely understood it. It also helps our investigators know why it is so important to come to church.
Friday: we were dropped, harshly. We have the cutest investigator, Ruby, and she was working so hard on getting to baptism. We hadn't seen her in a week because she was on vacation and when we showed up to teach her, her boyfriend met us on the porch. He started to violently scream at us for a simple misunderstanding. He then told us never to come back. It was so heart breaking because he wouldn't even let us talk to Ruby ourselves. This is a small portion of the pain and anguish Christ felt when He was on the earth. I was absolutely devastated that tim wouldn't allow us to see Ruby anymore and it breaks my heart that someone could withhold another person from something that makes them so happy. Satan is definitely working against us, but we will come off conquerer! He will not win the war!
Also on Friday, we missed a call from president Brough. Getting a call from president the day before transfer calls is the most unsettling thing ever. We called him back and he was wondering about the dental work sister Crofoot needs done. He then pretty much told us sister Crofoot would be leaving! :/ bittersweet, but then the anxiety was HIGH because we don't get transfer calls until tomorrow night unless president calls to inform us of a few things such as 1. Going to a leadership position, sister training leader. 2. He is asking you to train or 3. He is whitewashing the area. It was a day of craziness!
Saturday: HAPPY FOUTH OF JULY!🇺🇸 Waking up I was so anxious. I had a feeling we would be getting a call from president and sure enough, 10:15 president calls! My heart sank to my stomach. I don't know if I am ready for what he has to say! I knew sister Crofoot would be leaving so he would be calling to talk to me. Goodness. I don't even know what to do. He proceeded to ask me if I would be willing to TRAIN A NEW MISSIONARY!!! I was shocked, but kind of expected it because of a previous conversation I had with President. Just like taking over Richmond at 6 weeks and helping Sister Crofoot get on her feet in Somerset, the thought came to me, why does Heavenly Father trust me with this task? It is going to be a whirlwind, I still feel like a greenie sometimes, but I know I am ready for this experience and I need it at this point. The refiners fire is going to get a lot more real pretty quick here! I meet my baby tomorrow! (Tuesday) The rest of the day was spent trying to see people to say goodbye and teaching a few lessons before no proselyting at 6pm. We then headed over to the Bohannon's and had a wonderful Fourth of July dinner and celebration! They are the sweetest family! We were able to stay out until 11 to watch fireworks and it was so awesome! Sister Crofoot and I had to take a cat nap around 9:30 because we were ready to pass out! Thankfully Sunday followed and we didn't have to exercise. ️
Sunday: we got a door slammed in our face (again! Yay, wahoo!) and the next door was a golden investigator family! We taught them the restoration of the gospel in 5 minutes and they invited us back to learn more! It was such a huge blessing!
I love is area, I know that the Lord is blessing me for my efforts and the effort that sister Crofoot and I put forth as a companionship. It is bittersweet to see her go, but it has been so incredible to watch her grow into the missionary she has become! She is going to do amazing things in her next area and I know she is meant to be wherever she is sent! Here's to some more miracles in Somerset and a brand new sister missionary and being out six months! Time flies when you're lost in the work!
Journey is the destination, so "find joy in the journey!"
So much love from the GKLM,
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