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Monday, August 25, 2014

E. T. ....a new planet called Woodstock

Hey there!

     Well, the title does not lie. Except it does not stand for extra terrestrial because I want to go to the celestial kingdom it stands for EMERGENCY TRANSFER so I am no longer in Greensboro. Yep I am in Woodstock truly another planet because it is 3 hours away and back in civilization so I am back in culture shock. There are people and cars and stores everywhere. Woodstock seems awesome for the 3 hours that I have been here and I am excited for what is ahead. My new companion is Sister Haderlie she is from San Diego California and that is pretty much all I know because like I said 3 hours... So I'll give you more deets next week. 

      We had Zone Conference this week and they role played and gave us a challenge to be bold,  so Sister Andrus and I really wanted to put it into action and show Heavenly Father that we are willing to be instruments in his hands even more. Being bold and inviting people to change as well as bringing the spirit is a liberating feeling. I think it really does help me love the people more and focus on that they are children of God our brothers and sisters. It is awesome. 

     Neal is still doing well. He has so many questions and thinks deeply about the lessons that we teach him. We brought a member over this week and it was the best. He made a pretty good connection with Brother Fossum and we could see he desire increasing. We got to teach him the world of wisdom and before we even told him anything he knew that our bodies our temples and gifts from God. It is amazing to see that he recognizes these spiritual and eternal truths from Heavenly Father and that he knew it before this life and that is why it makes him feel so good. His heart is being prepared. But he was really mad when he found out that I was leaving. Turns out that transfers are really a hard thing for people to grasp and they just think the church is mean and ask who they can call or beat up to change it. Not possible. haha. 

     Monica and her children are still doing well and are the cutest ever. She knows that there has been a change in her life because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she can feel the spirit in her home and the change it has made. I love it because we didn't point it out to her and she just mentioned it. That is what true happiness is all about. It was hard to say goodbye to them because I thought that I still had time and I am sad that I had to leave but I know that they are in good hands.

     I love a Mormon message slash a talk. It is called the Will of God by Hugh B Brown. Many people have heard it so you probably have too but we had a stake Relief Society conference yesterday in the Athens Stake and the Stake president shared it. And I really like a certain part that he says in it. So in the talk he tells the story of the currant bush and how he thought it was crying and he thought he heard it ask why he cut him down and  his response is “I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to be. If I let you go the way you want to go, you will never amount to anything. And someday, when you are ripened in life, you are going to shout back across the time and say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me.’” And a part of that really hit me the part where it says. I know what I want you to be. If I let you go the way you want to go, you will never amount to anything. I think that is so true. What we want is NOT the best way. Heavenly Fathers will is always best and if we let him take us where he wants us to go and continually mold us we will thank him and truly become what he wants us to be. I have been praying for that lately to be willing to accept his will because I know that is what will be best even if it is hard. I don't know why I was emergency transferred but I do know that it is his will and that is what I want to do because even if it is hard it will help me grow the most and I am excited for the experiences and miracles that are ahead.

So we live with another member here who also lives on a golf course.  haha. The apartment isn't as big as our other mansion, I mean apartment but it is really nice. :)  We live in Bridge MIll which is the largest neighborhood in the United states. WHERE AM I? haha. Well I'll update you next week. I hope that all is well. Love ya lots and have a great week you are always in my prayers!

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I got the golden ticket....except it is blue.

Hey there,

     It has been a good week many funny moments and those where we know that we are truly blessed. 

     This week we have been working with Monica still and her mom Mildred and one of her friends. They have a lot of questions and it is amazing to see her help teach and her testimony deepen. It is true that you can find it in yourself by bearing it. She had a rough week with  many things from getting money stolen to a flat tire and her kids father wanting to fight. It is like a movie. It has been pretty interesting... and it was hard for her to read the Book of Mormon while all of that was going on but we talked to her about it and she said that she noticed the difference and she said after this week I never want to miss a day. Mildred really wants to learn but has a learning disability so the progress is slow but she is getting it. We see her everywhere though. She doesn't drive so she just walks everywhere she goes and we have been walking down the street many times and see her, it is too funny. 

     The other day we were tracting and Sister Andrus said "man I forgot mosquito spray and now I am going to get salmonella..." We both busted up and I said "What a chicken is going to peck you?" haha. But the best part is we saw a chicken just run across the road yesterday in the middle of town. It could happen. Why did the chicken cross the road in Greensboro? To give Sister Andrus Salmonella! hahahaha 

     I finally go to go into Reynolds plantation. I was in awe. Sister Andrus and I were like little kids in there taking pictures in her backyard. I had no idea people actually lived in places like this. I thought they were just for show or something. It is huge and so beautiful. Haha I got the invite, the golden ticket except it was a little more blue. I have been hoping all this time. It was like a dream. (one of the members lives in there and apparently invited them in to see her.  she never feeds them because her husband is not a member but helps them out with groceries.  She is a great lady to help out the missionaries.)

     Neal has proved to still be a miracle. Since we found him last week we have met with him several times. When we have lessons he really ponders what we are talking about and takes it in. He really has a strong desire to change although he know it won't be easy he still wants it. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and taking notes! I think there has been a change in him since last week even. He is starting to gain the peace of mind that he is seeking. I love to see the sincere and true desire in others. I think it is a testament that Heavenly Father prepares and softens hearts.

      This week in my studies I have been reading about the Brother of Jared. He is such an amazing guy with an incredible amount of faith. In Chapter 2 of Ether he asks the Lord for specific guidance and direction and He gives him part of the answer but then with the last part, the guidance he was seeking about not being in darkness Heavenly Father gives him the answer "what will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels?" I think that this light can be light and knowledge that we are seeking in our lives not physical light but often spiritual light. Heavenly Father doesn't give him the answer but tells him to find it out. So he finds a solution and asks with faith and the gets to see the hand of the Lord provide the light. I think that happens with us in our lives. He manifests his hand in our life and we get to witness miracles that bring light into our lives. Truly it is amazing. We have to do our part and often it is hard and takes a lot of effort but when we do we can see some of the greatest miracles of all and feel the light of our Savior in our lives.

      Well that is all for this week! Love y'all lots and hope you have a great week you are in my prayers!

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)
 
 (Looks like the new place they live is pretty nice - don't feel a bit sorry for her.  I told her to enjoy it while she can because it will not last forever.  She is just thrilled that they do not have cockroaches and she does not have to wear shower shoes.  Reynolds Plantation is another gated community that is quite wealthy and is located on Lake Oconee.  The pictures we have looked up are stunning.  It is quite the area and she has wanted to go in for some time.  You have to be invited in.  She was thrilled.  She said she didn't know people actually lived like this.  She said they were like little kids talking pictures.  Oh how fun!)
 
Athens District - Their district leader (second from right)  is from Guatemala and his dad is a Seventy.

Our Humble abode in the new place we live.

Our Kitchenette - all we need since we are never here.

Our bathroom

Our bedroom/ closet

Reynolds Plantation - from the backyard

Members house that we visited in Reynolds Plantation.  It's like a dream - such a beautiful place.

Another picture of the yard in Reynolds Plantation which is a gated community and kinda feels like you are dreaming.

Backyard at Reynolds Plantation.  Such a beautiful place!  In is located on lake Oconee

Our shower

 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Huge Driveways lead to Miracles later.

Hey there!

     It was a pretty good week here in Greensboro. This will be cut kinda short because we are running out of time. 

      Monica is doing very well and sharing her testimony with her family it was amazing to see her just tell them what she believes. Without being asked she just bore her testimony about Joseph Smith in the middle of a lesson. She is being a great example to them. She has even been standing up for her testimony and beliefs with her friends telling them that this is what she believes and it doesn't matter what they think. I love it. It is great to see her testimony grow and her desire to live what she believes. It can't be easy to change your life that much but she is proving that it is possible along with many others. The Lord can truly change hearts if you trust in him. 

     Then we had a little miracle moment with tracting. Last month we were looking for a former investigator and couldn't find him in the places that we were told to look but his teaching record never said why he stopped investigating the church so we were confused. We were tracting in a place that we had picked the night before and met a guy named Neal. It was the same guy. He told us about a huge driveway that he used to live up and that sisters had visited him in the past and we knew that it was him. The driveway he described is unforgettable. Seriously. I have never seen a driveway so steep and long. He said that he was in a rough spot last time he met the Sisters and he is finding himself in a similar situation. He wants to meet again and is willing to experiment and see if it can truly bless his life. Heavenly Father knew exactly where he was and told us to find him. We are never lost to our loving Heavenly Father. 

     Sister Andrus and I , a couple weeks ago,  were trying to find a place and everything was going wrong and we couldn't find it and we were getting a little frustrated, and so I was like ay ay ay and she said we need to do what fixes all problems and I said "pray?" she said okay the second thing so this time I responded "sleep" She said okay, the third thing that fixes all problems it rhymes with Blice Bleam. Sound it out. (It is ice cream) If you needed a hint. hahaha. I busted it up. So funny we are so tired and delirous everything is funny though so just pretend like you think it is funny. :)

      Also the mission office is not going to be forwarding mail anymore because they have to repay the postage so you will have to send it to our apartment. Our address is 1030 Quaker Ridge Rd Greensboro 30642. Just so you know. (All mail and packages are to be sent to her apartment.  If it is  transfer week then it should wait a week I guess to get the right address and then send it to her.  that is definitely a change,)

     Well, I think that is all for this week. Our apartment is great just farther away from the area we work so we are spending a lot of quality time in our car for 2 meals a day. We just make our own fun. Well I love you lots and you are in my prayers. Hope that you have a great week. Pictures will just have to wait until next week. Sorry!  
      (They moved into a members basement.  It has a separate entrance and a small kitchenette with a hot plate, microwave, toaster and toaster oven, and a fridge.  But they only eat breakfast there I guess and then pack stuff in coolers to eat for lunch and dinner and they eat in the car. She said they eat salads and sandwiches and fruits and veggies.  I know her comp has a few diet restrictions too. The new place is about 8 miles out of town so they only are there in the morning and return in the evening.  They only get fed by members about once a week in this area.  The member they live with said he was worn out this week just watching how busy they have been all week long.  That is a good thing.  Her emails will come a bit later now because they get done all they need to at the apartment and then they leave and don't return until night so they go to the library in the late afternoon.  I asked about the Ipads in her mission and she said she heard it would not be until the first of the year but they do not know for sure.  She hasn't heard too much really.)

Love ya bye!

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)

Monday, August 4, 2014

"These things I now KNOW...."

Hey there family!

     This week has been interesting, our top investigator who is 17, her Mom said that she is no longer allowed to meet with us. It was pretty hard because she was loving it. She knows that it is something good and was recognizing the spirit and she didn't want to stop meeting with us so it was hard. Definitely had to put or trust in the Lord on that one and pray that he Mothers heart will one day be softened.

     Last Monday night we did something very special... haha. The BBQ place that is on "Sweet Home Alabama" aka one of the best movies ever... from what I remember anyway. It is called "Stella's" Well guess what it is in Georgia in our area at the very edge. We had extra miles so we decided to go. No regrets. haha. IT was AWESOME. My life is complete. It is actually called "Heavy's BBQ" I have walked where Reese Witherspoon has walked. Kinda weird. It wasn't open but I have pictures to prove it. 

     We just moved today!! I cannot even describe to you how much excitement I am filled with right now. I can't even describe it. A member from the branch came and helped us move this morning and it is a HUGE house that we are going to be living in the basement of. So nice that we aren't even allowed to wear shoes in it. I am going from not wanting to shower without my flip flops to skipping on the carpet. haha. Then Sister Andrus told  the member that was helping us move "we are trying to hard not to have a girly moment right now." and his response was it is okay you can scream if you want. It almost gave me permission but not quite. I could not for the life of me wipe the stupid smile off of my face. OH man. My life is a dream. I am in LOVE. haha.  Now we just have to unpack our things in our gorgeous basement of a huge house in a gated community right on the golf course. This is the only time in my life where I will ever live like this. I am such a girl and I just wanna SCREAM.

     So we have been working on finding this week but didn't get to talk to too many people. But we don't want to get discouraged and we are trying to find the people that truly need the happiness of the gospel. And we are just doing our best to rely on Jesus Christ and his spirit to lead and guide us. 

     We are still working with Monica and her kids and it has been amazing to see. This Sunday she paid her first fast offering and tithing.  We know that she has been struggling with money and she still did it. That is a big leap of faith for a member of 1 week, it is amazing to see the trust that she puts in Heavenly Father in leading and guiding her family. This week her boss gave her a couple days off so she could take her kids to school on the first day and he say you know you just go baptized I'll give you Sunday off too so you can go to church. It was a big tender mercy for her because she thought that she wasn't going to be able to make it for a couple weeks but she got to come to church and she loved it! She and her kids are progressing so much and she is loving reading the Book of Mormon. She has such a strong desire to learn. I love to see it, it strengthens my own testimony. 

    There has been a couple things that have really stuck out to me in my studies this week that I would like to share. The first thing is a phrase that I love it has been said many times over the pulpit at general conference and around the world but I love how Elder Holland puts it in his talk "Lord I Believe" He says "These things I now KNOW..." and then he lists the things that he can truly say that he knows. And surprisingly there isn't a huge list of things just the 5 basic concepts of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, The Restoration and the Book of Mormon and Prophets walk the earth. But I love being able to say as part of my testimony that I do KNOW those things as well and I love when I can deepen my understanding but like I said it takes hard work. I love to add the things that I can say I know to my study journal it is a great testimony builder. Gaining knowledge is not an easy task and requires faith, trust and strength in our Heavenly Father but we can know. Helping other people sometimes gain that at times seems like such a heavy burden and I can't do it for them but I want so badly for them to be happy. Not something that is up to me. Only the atonement can do that and it has taken trust and faith in the principle of the atonement. It is strengthening me and the spirit is giving me the words to say and everyday I want to push myself just a little father than I think I can go. Every principle and commandment has a promise. (D&C 130: 20-21) That was kind of scattered but the last part is when Elder Oaks came to the mission he said the same phrase about knowledge and promised us that if we served a mission like we were supposed to that we would gain 10 things from it and the meaning and understanding of hard work was one of them. Hopefully I am getting there. 

    Well, I hope that you have a great week. I love you all! Be happy. :) 
Peace and Blessings. 

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)
 
 
This is from the Movie Sweet Home Alabama " Stella's BBQ"  aka Heavy's BBQ.
Move of Stella's - How cool is that!

More pictures of Heavy BBQ

She said 10 pts for Grffindor if you can pronounce this name.

Now I have proof  I was really there.

"How cool is this I was really there!"

Sister Andrus sharing the gospel with a few cows.

Stellas Roadhouse from Sweet Home Alabama.  Too bad it was closed but it was so cool to be there.