Monday, May 26, 2014

In Greensboro we drive a truck!

Hey there,

      We have seen many miracles and tender mercies and I know that the hand of the Lord is in all of it and I am so grateful. We met with Stevie, one of our investigators, and we were able to bear our testimonies about the importance of reading and being able to gain knowledge and a testimony. He said he wants to know like we know and we told him there is a way but it takes action. Stevie is searching and when he knows he'll know. We invited him to read everyday and he didn't say yes but he said he would try his hardest so we're praying for him. He loves sports and we whipped out a little sports analogy and he really liked it. :)
      We also met with Margarite who lost her husband a couple weeks ago. We had the opportunity to explain the Plan of Salvation to her and the Sisters left a pamphlet with her when they knocked on her door just a day after her husband has passed away. She met with missionaries 11 years ago and she said she knows that the Lord has been preparing her all this time. She still has the Book of Mormon that they gave her and she has been reading since they last talked to her. She wants to go to the temple to be sealed to her husband and she said this Plan brings her a lot of peace.  She knew that there had to be something else that He wasn't just sleeping.  Heavenly Father has definitely been preparing her!  She loves to talk.
      Then later in the week we were tracting on a road in the middle of no where (not an uncommon occurrence to be in the middle of no where) and asked a lady if she knew anyone else who would be interested. She referred us to her neighbor who wasn't really understanding what we were saying, but she had a 6 year old girl with her who said,  "I want to learn come and talk to my mom!" So we followed her to her house and her mom let us right in. We taught them the restoration and she said the prayer at the end of the lesson and she said thank you for answering my prayers I think that I have finally found what I have been praying for. So pretty much we got a referral from a 6 year old and she is so cute! It was amazing. Heavenly Father knew exactly what she needed and led us to a street in the middle of no where to find her. We have an appointment with her this week and are so excited to go back! :) We really have seen so many miracles.

       Then we were teaching a first lesson when we asked the guy how he has felt Gods love manifested in his life and he said that He helped him through a surgery that he had to fly to California and have. He showed us a scrapbook of pictures about it and I opened it and right in the middle of it he had a picture of the temple in California.... WHAT?!?! Um Sir.... Do you know what this building is? No but it sure is purty. So we explained about temples and forever families. It was so cool. I thought I was seeing something wrong but don't worry ladies and gents there was a gold angel Moroni right on top. Oh the irony. Out of all the things he could of talked to us about and show us he whips out a scrapbook with a picture of a temple in. ha-ha.

     It was a good week we have seen many miracles, some rain, way too many bugs and roaches and lots of heat. My feet look permanently dirty because of the shoe tan line. Ahhhh this is the life. 
      We are still in our great big Chevy Silverado truck and get many funny looks. Two white girls climbing out in skirts. A rather amusing scene to many. Hahah. Oh brother... We are too used to it and don't want to return it except for it sucks gas. Whooo

     Well I love you all, have a great week. Be happy and enjoy the last days of school and then your summer vacation. What time is it?!? SUMMERTIME Schools out scream and shout! hahaha!

Love ya bye!

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)

(I was so happy to hear from her today.  I was uncertain with the holiday and all, but they traveled to Athens to the Family History Center to write because they did not have enough time the rest of the week.  But she was excited because they met with other sisters and were going to the zoo and do their grocery shopping.  She got to be with Sister Carrigan a little again today and was excited to see her.  It is about a 45  minute ride from Greensboro to Athens.  She said she has only seen about 10 white people besides at church since she got to Greensboro.  It is predominately black - about 2/3 of the population.  She said they have had lot of people listen and believe, but a lot of people lack commitment.  White girls in a big white truck in dresses - it is a bit funny if you do ask me!)
Rachel, sister Kunz and the big Chevy Silverado rental they drive until theirs is fixed.  (The elders are a bit jealous)

Brother and Sister Gibson from Lilburn.  They took good care of her and she has called me several times to report on her.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Lives changed with pure joy.

Hey there family!
       I got to go back for the baptism yesterday and it broke my heart a little to see everyone and then have to say goodbye again but I made it. :) And I am so glad that I got permission to go because that pretty much never happens.  There is so many great people there and I have come to love them. But, to see the pure joy and light of Christ in the faces of Q, Jose and Angela was worth every minute of driving time, tears, hard work, time on my knees, pondering, studying, worrying, and more praying. It was all worth it. And it will always be worth it. They hold a special place in my heart and there was a lot of opposition and crazy situations this week but they made it and now they can start their new life together. Sister Blaylock and I's hearts were filled with pure joy. The spirit was so strong and I was so happy. It was a wonderful day. The last zone I was in our theme for the transfer was no excuses, no regrets. I think that is fitting for just about anything in life. I want to live everyday to its fullest it isn't always easy but I want to be doing my best with some "gratitude of the soul." We are truly blessed. It is easy to say that but this week, I really want to feel it. It was a great experience to go. And a member invited us over for dinner in Lilburn afterwards and we had Cafe Rio Pork and chocolate cake with Heath bits on top. No regrets. :) So good. Yum yum yum.
       Being in Greensboro is a HUGE culture shock compared to Lilburn. The first day I kept looking around wondering where I was and where all the people were. Definitely a strange feeling. There is limited tracting area too. Just not that many people here. Sister Kunz has tracted all the streets in Greensboro already haha. We are just finding more people to talk to. We find quite a bit of people to talk to and a lot of them let us come back or just let us in right then, so we are booked solid. It is kinda strange. We have taught the restoration a lot and it has been good for me. It has made me want to deepen my understanding of it and really feel it within myself and listen to what their spirit is saying during the lesson. We have met a lot of cool people. We knocked into a lady named Sandra whose mom passed away over 13 years ago and she has never been able to find peace over her death. We explained a little bit about he Plan of Salvation and her eyes lit up. Her spirit is thirsty and searching for the gospel. I am so excited to go back and visit with her this week. 
      It was a crazy week with transfers and packing up and moving in. But I think I finally made it. I am getting settled in and finding places to put my things. We live in a little town house type thing right next to the only grocery store in Greensboro. Ingles. ("And guess where he said we should go?... The gro-ce-ry Store.") Name that movie haha.
      The church is in Madison, so it actually isn't in our area. There are 25 members that live in our boundaries. It is a big change of pace but they are all awesome. It has been fun so far to get to know them. My companion is Sister Kunz like I already mentioned. She is from Mapleton Utah and is 21 years old. She is about my height with curly hair. Everything is spread out here so we pretty much live in our car. And wait for it..... Drum roll please.... In Greensboro we are driving a truck!! hahaha. They had to get a rental car too, same thing that was wrong with our car in Lilburn. It is pretty much the best and all the elders are super jealous. It is kinda hard to get in, in a skirt but we leap and make it work. We are pretty cool. Pictures will come next week! It is pretty funny. It is a big 2 door Chevy Silverado. Take that world.(She told me the truck is the rental until their car is finished. - but she still thinks its pretty cool.)
      Well, I think that is all for this week because I can't think of anything else. But I love you all and you are in my prayers always. Keep praying and being happy.
Love Sister Weeks
Or as the Spanish elders call me Hermana Semana.... Oh brother...
     (She told me that her companion is very quiet and they haven't talked too much.  She said her comp doesn't think she is anywhere near as funny as she thinks she is (referring to herself).  She is from Mapleton Utah and is 21 and has been out for 14 months. They will be just fine and have some great experiences together.
     This afternoon I got a call from a lovely lady in the Lilburn ward that Rachel visited often and she just loved having here there.  She adores Rachel because she reminds her of one of her granddaughters who is on a mission in California. She has called me several times to tell me how she is doing.  She always makes Rachel play the piano for her when she goes there - so she does not loose such a beautiful talent she told me.  Anyway she told me Rachel and her new companion were able to come back for the baptism of these 3 people and she played the piano at the service.  She said she did a lovely job as usual.  She said the people in Lilburn loved her so much and she will be greatly missed, but she said she had a sweet new companion.  She said the new area, Greensboro, she is in is quite rural but a beautiful area.  The church they go to in in Madison which is a branch and about 25 minutes away.  She said that Madison is a beautiful town because during the war it was never destroyed like some of the other areas so it has some lovely old beautiful homes that are enormous.  There is also a resort are called Lake Oconee with is quite ritzy and has many million dollar homes.  She said it is very beautiful.  She is so delightful to listen to on the phone as she gushes about Rachel.  I have so enjoyed having her call and tell me a few things about her.  What a delight.
     Here area is also backed up against the Oconee National Forest Area.  She is in the Athens Zone.  It will be a very different experience for her but she will learn to love the people there alsoShe sent a lot of great pictures.  We love her and miss her, but wouldn't want her to be any other place.
Lilburn District

Rachel got to go back for the baptism of this great family.  She was so grateful.

Sisters Weeks and Blaylock with Q, Angela and the other children.

Three were baptized on Sunday.  What a great day!

Jose, Q, and Angela on baptism day.

Love these cuties.  What a great day.

Sister Weeks and best helper Mallory.

Sister Jessen from the office and Rachel.

Sisters Weeks and Blaylock in front of a really cool house.

Sister Campbell and Sister Weeks - biding farewell is so hard.  She gave her a few new clothes and she was so excited!

Great Family in Lilburn.  It is so hard to say good bye!
Office staff that Rachel loves so much.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Miracles take patience

Hola! Feliz Cinco De Mayo! 

      It was an eventful and exciting week here in Lilburn. We got quite a few opportunities to do service this week. It is so fun when people actually let us help them. We have been meeting with Tara who owns the bagel shop but haven't been able to get in with her lately so we went by on Wednesday and helped her clean up and close her shop and do dishes and she actually talked to us the whole time and opened up about some of her feelings. We got a chance to bear our testimonies to her and some of her walls went down. And she said we could stop in any day and help her clean up and we could talk. It is amazing what serving others can do. Preach My Gospel is so right! 

     This week we have met with Q and Jose a couple times and we started teaching their daughter Angela. They are progressing very well and as you probably already know they are getting married at the mission home on the 17th of May! The perks of being in Lilburn. We just call in a few reinforcements. And then they are getting baptized the day afterwards. Q is so excited to get baptized and so is Angela, it is humbling to see her interest in the gospel and children's sensitivity to the spirit. I can see why Elder Oaks said don't take the basics for granted and I love the quote in PMG about unfolding the gospel and teaching it as you would to a child, they really understand so much better. Q has been taught all of the lessons and she told us that this week she was reading about Joseph Smith and she felt the spirit testify to her once again that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet. I am so happy for her and that she is putting for the effort to study and learn daily. And her and Jose are actually having conversations about it and growing closer to God together. 

     We went tracting on a street a couple weeks ago and felt like we should go back yesterday. So we went back and the first door we knocked on we met a lady named  Connie who asked what church we were from. We told her and she said to come in we were excited but a little puzzled and she told us that she was baptized when she was 11 years old and went to church for a long time. She did baptisms for the dead. She even told us that yesterday morning she was thinking about fast Sunday and coming back to church. She was crying and said she knows God loves her and that she wants to come back to church she just doesn't know how. Heavenly Father knew that we needed to see her yesterday. He definitely loves all of his children. 

     This week in my studies I have been studying a lot about the atonement because I want to understand it better.  I read the talk the Purifying Power of Gethsemane by Bruce R McConkie it was so good. In it he talks about 3 gardens and as we study the Atonement we will see in our mind those three gardens and their significance in our lives. He said to better understand it we must search the scriptures and accept them as the mind, will and voice of the Lord. Then to hearken to the spirit. I think I already knew those things but this week they have touched me in a different way. The word atone means to reconcile so we are literally be reconciled to our Heavenly Father again. God literally gave Christ power and because he never sinned he was able to receive the power and carry our the Atonement. He never gave in and because He was perfect he was freed from the demands of justice. He had the power or redemption and he had no dept to justice he paid for the debt for those who repent and turn to him. That is a pretty amazing concept. That is how he carries each of us through everyday. His power is unstoppable. 

     Then this week we had to take our car into the shop because there was a recall on the axle. Seems pretty important and we didn't want to die so we took it in. We sat there for 4 HOURS. And then they finally told us they were going to have to keep it for a undetermined amount of time and they were going to get us a rental car. We knew it was  a possibility but we didn't think it would actually happen. So we finally got it all straightened out and got the rental car which by the way is exactly the same car as the one we have just a different color. Then we went to dinner  As we were walking up the steps to their house  I remembered. Oh brother... Oh man... Oh no... The keys to our apartment are still on the key ring which is on the other side of our area in the Chevy place. So after dinner back we went, only to realize, that of course the people there wouldn't/ couldn't open the box where the keys were. Now what do we do. We're clueless and of course we don't have the phone number for our apartment complex. After making about a million calls we got a hold of Sister Jessen who is in charge of the apartments and she had a key. Prayers are answered. I really didn't want to sleep in the car. We are sooooo lucky to be in Lilburn. We got in and by bed time I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. I guess Crisis+time=humor.... It is a little funny, now that we have a key. Some rather unfortunate circumstances... Then I left the key in the door ALL NIGHT LONG.  Man oh man, thank you for protecting us!

     And we went tracting this week to those HUGE houses that I sent pictures of last week! Oh yeah. We talked to one of the  guys for a long time and he knew about the church. He gave us his phone number and said come back anytime and play tennis and take some pictures... SWEET.

      Then today we were shopping at WalMart and as we were walking out. This lady with Tattoos  chased us down yelling "Sisters Sisters". We stopped and she came up to us and said. I am Mormon and I used to be a sister missionary. She started talking about her mission in Provo and how she still has a testimony. But has just lost her way a little. She told us that the hardest part is that she promised her converts that she would always go to church and they would too. She can't handle it anymore. She gave us her number. So hopefully we can get in contact with her again  I am glad we were there when we were. 
      This is a major testimony to me that His love never changes.  Never! He always has perfect timing to show his children his perfect love. 

     It turned out to be a really good and productive week and we still got to talk to a lot of people, only with Heavenly Fathers help because with my own strength I so couldn't have done it. The Atonement really does carry us through!

     Well, I hope y'all have a great week! I will see ya soon... In fact on Sunday. That kinda crept up on me and we don't have any plans so we'll be in touch. You're in my prayers!

Love ya bye!

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)

Bye Bye Lilburn

Hey there!

     I talked to you yesterday so I don't know that I have much to say... I'm not very entertaining though so you get a weird me... It was weird to see you but goood! Hope that you all had a good day! ( Isn't it wonderful to be able to Skype with missionaries!  It was so wonderful to be able to see her and talk to her.  She looked good and sounds so happy and is loving what she is doing.   It made for the perfect Mother's Day to be able to see her and talk to her.)

      This week we have been working a lot of Nini. We tracted into her last week and we were originally talking to her brother. We asked him if he knew anyone that would be interested and she came running around the door and she said "I am!" She had met missionaries who gave her a Book of Mormon several months ago and  she hadn't had a chance to read much of it. But she is 18 years old and a senior in High School. She came to church on Sunday with a member and she really enjoyed it. She said that she really wants to get baptized and feel peace. We took her on a church tour and she really felt the spirit. Heavenly Father has been really preparing her. We invited her to pray about the date of June 1st. She really enjoyed church and she said she wants to come back. YAY!

      Q and Angela are getting really excited for their baptism on Sunday. They have progressed so much and are ready to make that step and commitment to come closer to Jesus Christ. They have an inner peace and light now that wasn't there before. They truly want to do what they can to come closer to Christ and follow him for the rest of their lives. They know it won't be easy and it hasn't so far but they are doing it. It has been so amazing to see. I am grateful to have been a part of their lives and see their change and the light of Christ come into their countenances. The Lords tender mercies and blessings are all around us.

     I found a pretty cool scripture this week (I found it a little bit ago but just remembered it...) , it is in Mosiah 14:12 Christ the most powerful and glorious being to ever come to this earth was numbered with the transgressors for us. He had that much love and that much power to do that. It blows my mind. I LOVE the words intercessor and advocate I feel like they are perfect for describing the act of the atonement. And why we pray in Christs name. He advocates for us daily when we pray to him. We are so blessed, we have the most powerful advocate pleading our cause and cheering us along. I don't know how I could do it without him. 

     TRANSFERS. It has been fun to serve in Lilburn and I have learned a lot. I pray that I continue to become a better instrument in the Lords hands in Greensboro. I'll keep you updated on how life is in the sticks. (The mission president told her Sunday that she was going to be transferred but since she has worked with Q through the whole process she would be allowed to come back for the baptism.  She was excited about that.  She is going about 74 miles south east to Greensboro.  It is half way between Atlanta and Augusta.  It is a much smaller area - about 3300 people.  She will be in a branch.  The closes church I could find was in Madison which is about 20 miles west.  So it will be a different experience for her.  It looks like a quaint little town.  Don't you just love Google earth!  Anyway she was a little sad to be leaving  - she quite liked that area, but looks forward to a new adventure.  She will be just fine.  She said she has found out what rain and a real down pour is.  Plus she is getting an introduction to humidity and being sticky all of the time in the warmer temps.)

      I hope you all have a great week! I love ya and pray for you always!

Love Sister Weeks
She had some ward members help surprise her companion for her birthday.

Sister Weeks and Blaylock have loved being together working in Lilburn

Look What street I found this week.  Love a good street sign!

It's been a great place to be and I will miss it!

This is a cool mural they found on a wall in Lilburn.

Pretty daylilies in spring!
A lovely sister in the Lilburn Ward fed these girls yesterday and she took a pictured and sent it to me.  A great companionship!