Monday, July 28, 2014

Kiddie Pool to Baptismal Font

Hey there family!
     Thanks for you all your prayers this week I know that it helped because it was CRAZY. It was madness down here in Greensboro. First on Tuesday we got a call right before district meeting that our apartment was flooded. Right before I was supposed to give my training.... that didn't help me calm down at all.  Welcome to the Kiddie pool. Yikes. haha. And now it smell like a stinky wet diaper in there because it is humid things don't dry very fast. It was a crazy incident with the washer. But we got that over with. (She said the fill sensor  had a problem and just kept running and flooded  a bunch of the house.  They were in Athens at the time and the landlord happened to stop by and find it.  Quite messy and smelly of coarse.)
     Then for the weird story of the week, we were just finished filling up our car with gas when a guy dashed over and wouldn't let me close my door he was saying a whole bunch of crazy things. He was pretty tipsy. haha. We were laughing so hard at him. He just sat right down on the door frame and wouldn't leave...He said he wanted us to come teach him. Legitimate? I'm not sure.... He asked me who the CEO of the church was I told him God he disregarded that information quickly and asked where he lived and I told him Kolob. hehe. So funnyyyy. He asked What?! And I said never mind -  in the sky. And he was full of nonsense. Seriously strait from the peanut gallery. He kept us there for 40 minutes. We finally got away. We died. Oh the adventures of Greensboro. Oh and just as a side note, it is impossible to teach drunk people about the restoration. No I don't care if Jesus Christ is black, white, purple, green, or yellow. I know he is God's son and that is all that matters to me. 

     After doing all that studying on conversion and change this last little while it made me do a lot of thinking on the process of change and how I can more apply it in my life. I think that is one of my favorite parts about being here in the possibility for change in everyone, myself included. It is so possible. It kind of hit me this week that time is precious and I want to use it more effectively to see that change. So Sister Andrus and I did a lot of talking and we set some goals. Even thought about the blessing we were promised and we studied the goals that we wanted to set. And then together knelt down in prayer and promised each other and Heavenly Father to truly "forget ourselves and go to work" . It was not an easy promise to make and I can see that there have been times where I have truly done that and that is when I feel true joy in this service but I want to do that all the time. It wasn't easy because we knew how hard that it would be. And it hasn't been easy so far. But as we were sitting in the car last night it felt good. Hard work feels good. Sister Andrus said,  "Remind me of this feeling when it gets hard again." We are doing it together with Heavenly Fathers help.  So here we go. Change is possible, Heavenly Father has softened my heart and so many others. He can do it for anyone. 

     Monica and her kids had their interviews on Thursday. On Wednesday night we went over all the questions with CJ and Dasia and they did great and then we gave Dasia a tour of the church in Athens where we had to meet and played with her in the gym before and she got in there and told Elder Galvez "I was just playing in the gym and I don't remember anything..." Guess an elder from Guatemala is just too intimidating. haha. It was funny she is so cute. But they all passed and of course CJ said I got an 'A' that was a piece of cake. 

     Then we had the baptisms on Saturday. It was absolutely fantastic. Simply perfection. I love the spirit at baptisms. Their faces and smiles as the came out of the water showed complete joy. They are the cutest ever. I am so incredibly grateful to have been a part of their lives so far. Dasia was so scared before and started to cry. Sister Andrus and I weren't sure what to do so of course we resorted to candy. Not ashamed. :)  It works miracles. She cracked a smile and then as soon as she stepped in the water she relaxed and she was glowing. She was so happy afterwards. And of course CJ is the tough guy he was just excited and said that he wanted to go before Dasia and he did.  He is a great older brother. He was really excited after as well. The greatest pay day there is. When someone is standing in the water it is like there is a flashback of everything that happened through the whole teaching experience and I see how far they have come and the true joy that is now on their face. The peace and the spirit is radiating.  Their confirmations on Sunday were incredible as well. They sat perfectly still and were quiet. It is a miracle! It was the perfect end to this week. The cutest little family. Their faith is so strong and like I said change is possible it has happened with them and they are ready for it.

     Well, we are gearing up for another crazy week. We are supposed to be moving next Wednesday so we have to clean out the wet diaper we live in and get everything packed up. Wish us luck. We will keep the roach swatter handy. haha. :)

     Well I love y'all and hope you have a great week. You are always in my prayers. 

Love you bye!

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)
Pretty Georgia Sunset.

The perks of living in the middle of nowhere.

Baptism pictures - Cutest family ever.

Monica, CJ and Dasia with Sister Weeks and Andrus and some family on their baptism day.

Dasia's attitude hmmm mmmm. haha. Don't worry she was happy afterwards. :

Our ceiling.... We have an agreement if the shower falls through the other one runs to their rescue with the other sisters robe and towel. Why do you have to make silly agreements like this you ask. Because it is possible and we're missionaries planning especially back-up plans it's what we do. :) hahhaa Only a few papers got wet and nothing was ruined.  Good thing we had cleaned the desk off that morning!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Life of the Crazies

Hola Familia!

     The week has flown by with many crazy events and miracles. Monica's baptism is scheduled for this Saturday still. Her children CJ and Desia are so excited for it. They truly do love learning and are soaking it up. We had a family home evening with her and some members. We had to pull out some creative skills to teach the Word of Wisdom to the kids but with Heavenly Fathers help some colored drawings, a couple paper bags and candy we made it. Artist extraordinaire Sister Weeks and Sister Andrus. 

     A precious story for the week. Both CJ and Desia (Monica's kids) have really bad burns and Monica said that last year in July that one of their neighbors threw a spray can in the fire and it exploded and Desia who is 8 went to get her bike and just got caught in the fire and was getting burned so CJ who is 10 jumped in there and pulled her out. Amazing. What a great older brother. She was in a coma for 3 weeks and they were both in the Hospital for a little over 2 months. I can't believe it. It is a miracle and they are both still the cutest. They are so excited to get baptized.  The week before a baptism is always super crazy to so buckle up for the ride. Satan is against it all and tries to make everything hard. Sister Andrus and I were talking and there is a part on Anastasia where she is stepping on the glass vial and saying this is for me and this is for.... Well Sister Andrus said that is what she wants to do to Satan in the next life. "This is for the hard times you gave to this person for the anti you let this person get a hold of and so on" haha. It's happening.
     I have been thinking a lot lately about conversion and what it means. I have to give a training on "Our Purpose as missionaries" and The Doctrine or Gospel of Jesus Christ and conversion this week in District meeting on Tuesday. And I am freaking out because I don't know what to say. This is probably the hardest training I have had to give yet. I don't know where to go with it I just have a lot of idea's floating around. It should be done already but it is not. I really love Alma 5 and I think that goes perfectly with all of those topics I am just trying to figure out a way to tie it in. But I found a quote from Elder Bednar that I really love he says "Knowing that the gospel is true is the essence of a testimony. Consistently being true to the gospel is the essence of conversion." It takes action. That is what is sticking out to me. Just like in Alma 5 all of the questions that he asks they take faith, contemplation, reflection, study and true soul searching and honesty. It takes a mighty change of heart. I love those words, It seems that it would be a single event. Something where an Angel appears and marvelous light fills the room but it's not for most people. Something I know we've all heard a million times. But for me it is a lot of little events where I can clearly identify that the Atonement is real. Change is possible. And God and Jesus Christ live and love me. I don't know how or why but they do. It is a "steady earnest consistent effort in doing the work of the Lord" (PMG) It comes line upon line precept upon precept. So the steps of the gospel faith repentance, baptism - renewing that covenant every Sunday, the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. That we continually have to practice to truly find the nature of conversion. Jospeh Smiths words sums up it all for me "I knew it and I knew that God knew it and I could not deny it." True conversion takes time hard work tears lots of prayer, faith and so much more. I want to be there but I can see it deepen and it feels so good. 

      Well, it truly was a crazy week and I am steeling myself for another one. Thanks for all your prayers. You are in mine. The gospel is true and we are truly blessed. 

Love you bye!

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)

Greensboro, Georgia

This is the deluxe model of an official US post office in Greensboro.

A bit of a package we sent her for her 9 month mark in the mission.

It's what they do in the Philippines. Mostly we just think we're cool. It means guapa guapo, it's called pogi (beautiful or handsome). Anyway.....

I made it half way and it is so awesome!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"I Will Not Be Still"

Hey there family!

     It was a pretty crazy long, but good week here in Greensboro. Monica and her kids CJ and Desia are so excited to get baptized on the 26th of July. She faced a little opposition with church this Sunday. She wanted to be able to come so bad and even wore her church clothes to work. Her boss told her that she could get off early. So her kids were at her Moms house all dressed and ready to go. Her boss wouldn't let her off early and the girl that was supposed to come and replace her was late and another one went home sick so they wouldn't let her off. She was pretty sad when we told her that her baptismal date was going to have to be moved but she is doing well she has such a strength and a positive attitude about her. She is so excited to get baptized with her children. When we went to her house Sunday  night CJ met us by the car and say "we're really sorry we missed church I really wanted to come." It broke my heart to hear that but it helped me see the sincerity and innocence of children and he wants to follow Jesus Christ's example so bad. Even though it was hard I think it was a good experience for them and it helped strengthen their faith. 

     We had a lesson about a change of heart and conversion with Monica. It was an amazing lesson. It opened some pretty neat doors for a discussion. We talked to her about joining the church - The Lords Kingdom on this earth - that it is forever. That her and her children have the goal of the temple and eternity in sight.  She said that she loves teaching her children right from wrong, well the gospel is the perfect place to be. We also were able to share the story of the stripling warriors not doubting that their mothers knew it. She expressed that she has seen a change in her children and she wants them to have this. CJ and Desia are really remembering what we have taught them and love the lessons. They are fighting over who gets to get baptized first. haha. The pure excitement is contagious. Missionary work is so rewarding. :)

     And we did an object lesson with pepper, dish soap and water and they were completely fascinated by it they made us do it 4 times.  You just sprinkle the pepper and water and put a drop of dish soap on your finger and touch the pepper on top of the water and it scatters to the side. Then later in the week Monica's 4 year old (Cartez) brought her pepper and water and said "I want to do it mom. Do it" She didn't understand what he was talking about and said what? He poked his finger down and said "separate". haha. We made an impact. :) Too cute. 

      We are also meeting with Brenda. She is a members sister. We took some other members over there and the lesson was great. She was really able to feel that connection with them and I think that it changed her perspective a little bit. She felt a connection with them and expressed her desire to quit smoking and start coming to church. She felt the love from the members and knows that there is something good here. As she even admitted that it is truth and promised to come. She knows that it will change her life because she saw it do that for her Sister and Brother in law. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Members are so important in this work! When they have someone they can relate to they can truly feel how it will help them in their lives. 

     And on Sunday I got permission to go to Lilburn to go to the Memorial service for Jose. Q is such a champ, she is handling it so well. She just stood up in front of everyone and bore her testimony of the gospel. How much the Plan of Salvation means to her and that she knows that they can be a family forever and she is so excited to go to the temple in a year. Angela, Jose and Selena ambushed me with hugs when I got there. They are the cutest things ever. Even they know that they get to go to the temple in a year and are so excited. All the Sister missionaries (me included....) Got up with the kids and sang "I am a child of God"  I am not good at singing but it was sweet to see them sing it. I got to see Sister Blaylock too. She is the best! I miss her so much she goes home in 4 weeks which is super weird. She is a rock star missionary. She is one amazing Sister missionary. 

       And yesterday we gave our truck back. It was sad to see it go and it is weird to be in a little car again we could just get squished like a bug. And I had to drive the truck on the last day because Sister Andrus wasn't feeling well. So I can say I drove it but I can't necessarily say that I enjoyed it. I was white knuckling it the whole time, but the seat wasn't wet when I was done. But I was petrified. Glad to be done with that. haha. :)

     Last thought, I can't even imagine how hard it is for investigators and what a huge leap of faith to have two 20 year old girls knock on their door and say that we can come in and then not only that but keep letting them come back. All because of the converting power of the spirit. This gospel is true. And then after a very short time they become like family. It's the best. Sometimes it gets to be a crazy whirlwind around here but we just roll with it.
      I'm listening to the song "I Will Not Be Still" and that describes exactly what I feel about this situation. How can I be still with how I feel. It keeps me going every single day. "I don't have the words his truth deserves...He calls me to serve and I cannot fail him. The one who has given me all that I have. I place my trust in him a lone he knows the yearnings of my soul. Because he believes in me I will go willingly. How can I keep this gift to myself? When I can lift somebody else. I am a witness of his miracles and his mercy. I put my future in his hands knowing he's made me all that I am. When I put my faith in him the truth begins to speak. His power is real it moves me until I will not be still. Lifting the hands that hang down in sorrow, strengthening knees that bend in despair, reaching the hopeless hearts who do not know his love. Seeing their lives begin to change I know I'll never be the same. how can I keep this gift to myself when I can lift somebody else..... His power is real I trust in his will I will not be still."  It truly is a motivation.

     Well, I hope you all have a great week. Love ya lots. Have fun and laugh and love often.

Love ya bye!

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)

"I got cheesecake for my birthday!!"

Farewell truck. You have been a trusty steed. In the Philippines that is the hand signal that they do. Mostly we just think we are super cool.....

Greensboro as we see it.

Sister Andrus and Weeks

We got em!  Gross cockroaches.

Athens Zone with new President.  President and Sister Bennion.

Rachel and sisters with Q and her family at Jose's Memorial Service.  She was given permission to go back and go.

A guy at the library gave me a balloon for my birthday

Rachel and Q's children at the service.

Rachel and Sister Andrus - A ward member decorated our door for the 4th of July!!  It was cute.

My birthday balloon  and my comp Sister Andrus.

Saying goodbye to our truck after such a long time our Blue Chevy Cruze is back and it seems so small.

Sister Andrus likes to capture frogs.  she caught two.  She was quite proud of herself.

Oh I just love it when she send pictures!  She seems good and looks so happy.  She has had some interesting experiences and has met many new lifelong friends.  Next week she has a baptism and will be moving into a new place.  A member offered up their basement for them with she is thrilled to be cockroach free soon.  She also said they give service each week at a christian thrift store and help a few other people out when needed.  This week they were on the road a lot but had a real good week.  On Tuesday they went and met with the new mission President and had interviews.  She said they are wonderful, spiritual and humble people and it will be great to be able to learn from them.  They are President and Sister Bennion.  They are from Utah.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Come unto Christ

Hey there!

     It was a pretty good week here in Greensboro. Turns out that it is a pretty small town and they don't do anything for the 4th of July so we just made our own fun. No fireworks here. I heard a few though. (Apparently no drunk accidentally blew something up because she told me that would be the only way she would get to see fireworks!)

     We got to meet President and Sister Bennion this week. They are just the cutest.  He is a lot taller than she is. They are so sincere and loving and very humble. He is a definitely a man full of the spirit. We are all excited for him to be here.  Sister Bennion is very musically talented and is trying to whip us all into shape and make us sing. She wants to start a choir. That would be great for Sister Andrus her voice is pretty much like an angel. I just like listening to her. My singing abilities are uh... Well lets just say I won't be joining the choir. haha :) She was in the musical "Anything Goes" too! Seriously she is a boss at singing. 

      We have been working a lot with Monica Gresham still. She is amazing. We started teaching her two children last night CJ who is 10 and Desia who is 8. They want to get baptized with their Mom on the 19th. The sincere excitement that they show towards learning is amazing. I love being able to see it. Monica is loving reading the Book of Mormon and she is just soaking up the knowledge that she gains. Her sincerity in wanting to learn is evident because of her true desire to change and the effort she puts forth to understand and learn it's teachings. I am grateful to be apart of her life and be able to see her change she is becoming more and more confident in her testimony of Jesus Christ and his love for her.  It is truly strengthening my faith and testimony. And the restoration video has so much power I love to use it as a resource. It really bring the spirit and testifies of the truthfulness of the restoration of the fullness of the gospel so strongly.

     We have met a lot of people this week who have showed interest and we are excited to meet with them again this week.  On Saturday night we were looking through some former investigators which is how we found Monica over a month ago. And it was about 8.40. We were in a town that we don't get to very often called Woodville and had just tried one and she wasn't there. So we tried another one named Carolyn. The teaching record said that she wanted to be baptized but it didn't really say why she was dropped. We pulled up and started walking toward her house when she started walking towards us. She said hello acting like we had met before. She asked if we knew the rules... uh rules what rules...and of course we didn't.  Later we found out that she stays with her Grandmother who does not like the church and does not want her to have contact with it so we just walked with her and talked for a minute. She met missionaries in 2011 and through some weird string of events her baptism was cancelled because a member thought that she wasn't SURE that we wanted to go through with it. So every year since then she picks several baptismal dates and prays and asks God when he wants her to be baptized. What? So she has a quad and knows a lot about the church. She actually lives in Athens but hasn't been home in 4 years. The problem is we can't call her or knock on her door but she said just drop by again and she knows that the Lord will prompt her to come out again. That is some faith. It was a crazy interesting experience. We are excited to meet with her again and invited her to prayerfully start reading the Book of Mormon again and join us in a fast yesterday.  
     This week in my studies I have been thinking a lot about "coming unto Christ" and what that truly means. It is part of "Our purpose" as missionaries and I want to be a more effective instrument in the hands of the Lord in doing his work in his way. There is a song that Sister Andrus and I are doing for Zone meeting (pray for me, I don't want to make a fool of myself...) called "Come Unto Christ" And I think that it describes perfectly the relationship we can have with him and the rest and peace we can find when we abide with him always. I am so grateful that, that is possible and that the Atonement carries me and the Lords investigators through every day. I know that this would all be impossible without him but with him we see miracles.

     I'd like to end with a few words of the song. You've probably  heard it before it is the youth theme song for this year. "He's the one who taught forgiveness and who showed a better way. He's the one who helped the hopeless and those who'd gone astray. He's the Savior and Redeemer, the Bread of Life the Prince of Peace. If you're hungry, lost, or captive He's the one who'll set you free. So let Him in and you'll remember who you are. He will mold your life and change your willing heart. Come unto Christ. Come unto Him, and by His grace be made holy again. He's calling your name. He's waiting for you with arms open wide. Come unto Christ. And you will find eternal life. Come unto Christ. Come unto Him, and by His grace be made holy again.  He's calling your name. He's waiting for you with arms open wide. Come unto Christ."

He is waiting for us all. Come unto Christ.

I love you all. I hope you have a great week. Thanks for the Birthday wishes. You are the best and I am so lucky to have you in my life. 

Love ya bye!

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)

     Today was Rachel's 20th birthday and they were going to Athens to have a sisters p-day.  She was not real thrilled because she didn't want anyone to fuss about her birthday.  Next week her p-day is on Tuesday because they have interviews with the new president on Monday so her letter will be  a day delayed. She told me this in a short note I thought it was kinda funny so I thought I would share to see if there were any ideas. "Want to know something kinda creepy... Well if you don't I'm telling you anyways. Yesterday in church a lady who said that she see spirits said that a lady in a prairie style dress with a 3-4 year old boy and 6-7 year old girl were staring at me and pointing at me. She said they were from the 20s and that the only name coming was Annie or Anna.  She said she has long brown curly hair and her face was shaped like mine... hmmm.. Well I don't know what to make of that. I didn't know whether to believe her or just be creeped out. Do you guys know of anything in our family history about that. She ended  with "One day you will find her and this day shall be brought to your remembrance...." "  Miriam has been going through family history to see is there were some possibilities.  Kind of interesting or creepy as she said.  She seems happy and enjoying the work.  We love Mondays and her letters and answers to questions.  She told me they need to look for a new place to live because their utilities are way high and a member volunteered to let them live in the basement of their nice home so they are waiting for things to work out so they can move.  She says the cockroaches are a daily nightmare for her.