Hey Fam! It's been such a good week here in Beulah- so much work to be done! We are getting busy with appointments and finding and teaching, and it's been crazy! This is the first week that we've really gone out and tracted, and haven't been planning crazy amounts. It's exciting to get out there and talk to people...and super nerve wracking. But, when you've got the gospel on your side, you're safe.
Last Monday was (to take any excerpt from my journal) just another maniac p-day. I both love and hate p-day, and I'm always ready to get back to work after a day of running around doing errands. We had to get our car (whose name is Gina, of course) serviced, our laundry washed, our apartment cleaned, our dinner eaten...all before seven when we had to head down to Bismarck for our first exchanges. Oh man. We were a little late to most of our things (we're busy women!), but we ended up driving to Bismarck right on time. On our way there, President Thueson called and told us that Courtney Dobson doesn't want us to share a message with her at our dinner appointment. Can I get a sustained eye roll? Sister Finlinson still wanted to throw a Bible scripture their way, but it'll be a weird dinner regardless. High stakes. Courtney is a member, but her fiancé isn't...and she is super less active because of that. They had a super traumatic experience with the missionaries and has ever since been put off by the church. Disenchanted, if you will. We'll see what happens.
Anyway, Bismarck! I went with Sister Mansell and Sister Williams took my place for the day in Beulah. I was nervous, and I didn't really know what to expect, but it was so good! We taught two Law of Chastity lessons, and I only awkwardly giggled during one, enduring the rest of the lesson. I learned so much with her, and definitely gained a stronger testimony of tracting. That was my exchanges focus, and it definitely happened! Yahoo! What I love most about Sister Mansell is that she uses every second of her day for missionary work. There's not a wasted second, and it was pretty miraculous. It was hard to say goodbye after such a good day. It's so crazy how fast you can love a place and how fast it feels like home. Being Sister Williams for a day was oh so good.
|Sister Mansell and I looking adorable|
On Tuesday, we did the morning routine and had our Sister Training Leader call, so good. Our first real order of business was meeting with Liberty Roundy, one of our BFFs here in town. She's starting her papers and we've been meeting with her every once in a while to talk Preach my Gospel and missionary work. She's just a dream. I love her lots. Her and I have matching glasses and life is good. We're getting excited to find an investigator that she can tag along for lessons- it’s going to be so fun! She's just super excited about missionary work and learning about the whole bit, and we love talking with her. It's a win-win all around!
|Liberty and I selfie-ing so well together (totally obsessed with her and her fam, in case you didn't know)|
We headed over to Hazen after that to do some tracting and contacting before our lesson with Brother Lee. We had some success, which is always such a tender mercy. People here are just nice, which I am ridiculously grateful for. Even when they aren't interested, they will here you out and treat you with total respect. Oh, I almost forgot! Another mission hack I picked up from Sister Mansell during exchanges is to pray with everyone. Even when you knock and they are adamantly against it, you ask to leave them with a prayer and lives are changed. It's the real deal!
Our Lee lesson was rough. We planned to talk about families and family history, but the lesson took a tragic turn towards eternal families and temples. Things got super real and the spirit was gone...it was rough. But, the craziest part of it all was Brother Lee's insanely strong testimony of eternal families. He 100% knows it's true, but he doesn't understand the basics enough to desire the good stuff yet. It's all a bizarre situation. We think we'll teach him prophets next time and start building that foundation on the basics. It's just rough.
We ate dinner at the Roundy's (my faves, remember?). Their youngest son, Brigham, calls us, "The girls from Seattle". It's the sweetest thing ever. I just love them so much. I think they're the Beulah equivalents of us Robinsons, complete with a Mexican RM and a few more kids. We shared a message about member missionary work and it was powerful. They each bore testimony and OH MAN, how I love the Roundy’s. I just adore them. As we were leaving, Porter (our kindred RM) double handed shook my hand and told us to call if we ever need anything- to which Brother Roundy interjected about how he doesn't say that to every missionary, but they mean it with us. It was just so tender. I think I'm going to start a Roundy fan club, complete with sweatshirts and personalized pens. AND, Sister Roundy totes volunteered to teach me how to can. Like, love and respect 100% earned. In case you were wondering, I am in love with them all, especially little Brigham.
We stopped by Becky Moorhead after dinner, an less active that we keep trying to contact. She was home- yahoo!- and we had such a great talk with her. She invited us back next Tuesday to start teaching her son (and hopefully her boyfriend!) the lessons. Luke is 9, and she has a real desire for him to get baptized. It's going to be so fun!
Our last stop before heading in was Crystal, our dropped appointment from last Sunday. We shared the First Vision with her, and she nodded through the whole thing, like she already knows it's true. We left her with our number and implored her to give us a call when her schedule is less crazy, so we'll see what happens! I have a good feeling about that one.
Thursday was...hmm. Interesting? We did the routine, lunched, and started weekly planning. About halfway through the drudgery that is weekly planning, we heard a knock on the door...and my 1st Beulah package came! It was filled with eye popping pens and treats and Legos from Portland (said while sneakingly humming the Portlandia theme song, because #missionarylife) and Dad's MOA robot. It made me smile so much that I wanted to cry. You guys are just the greatest- I'm so blessed to have a family who sends amazing packages right when I start losing hope. That perfect little package gave me the strength to endure a long day of planning and tracting, that's for sure. I just have the greatest family ever, and I'm beyond lucky.
When weekly planning finally ended (Yahoo!), we headed out to tract. We decided on a street the night before and nervously stepped onto the first destined porch. We knock on the door, and a little boy answers- and immediately calls for his mom. She comes to the door, we do our introduction...and she invites us in. We take off our shoes and have a seat, still barely aware that we are actually in someone's home, that we actually just got invited in. She explains that her son Devoe has a lot of questions that she can't answer, and that his dad is Mormon. We offer a prayer, and Devoe wants to know why there is evil on the earth. But- and here's the real kicker- his mom Lisa has to help him through the whole question because he can't seem to remember having any questions. Hmm. So we pull out our little Plan of Salvation visual and start teaching. Devoe couldn't care less, but Lisa was hooked. She asked questions through the whole lesson, and ended up giving us her cell phone number and scheduling another lesson with us for next Saturday- outta control. The other two homes weren't as crazy, but we did teach both of them about the First Vision. It was so incredible!
After all that contacting, we headed to the Koehler's for dinner. I really enjoy them- such a good family. Their daughter Megan is 15, and she's such a sweetheart. They're one of those incredible families that gave us their cell phone numbers and want us to call if anyone drops the day of. This branch is just so good to us, and I love getting to know all the families and finding ways to serve them.
We headed to Hazen to tract and contact after dinner. We went through all the potentials with no luck and tracted into some not so nice people. But alas, we decided to try one more street before calling it a night. We tried a couple doors with no answer, and there was this last house we hadn't touched yet. We walk up to it, feeling a little apprehensive, and knock. No answer. We knock again...no answer. Sister Finlinson is about to turn back, but I'm feeling it. Someone in there needs to hear from us and I can feel it in my bones. I ring the doorbell, about to give up, when this adorable lady answers the door. We introduce ourselves and she promptly responds that she isn't a believer anymore- not since her brother's death. We offer words of condolence and comfort and give her a Plan of Salvation pamphlet. We both testify of the comfort this Plan has brought to our lives, and we ask her to call if she has any questions. When I saw that anger and grief start to become faith and hope, I knew she would call. Maybe not tomorrow or even next month, but Angela is going to call- because she could be happy again. Once we spoke to her, every disappointment from the day vanished and was replaced with awe and wonder. Heavenly Father knew Angela needed us, and that she was the reason we were in Hazen. I felt so humbled to have been led to her and to have touched her heart. I know that one day she will receive the gospel, and that's pretty incredible.
Alright, onward to Friday! District meeting day! We spent most of our day traveling with the Dunkley fam down to Dickinson, where we had a great district meeting about tracting (how appropriate, right?) and got our weekly groceries. We got back at 5:30, with just enough time to grab our stuff and head out to our Lee lesson.
|the cute Dunkley fam|
Friday was so good. SO GOOD. Happy monthaversary to me! (This is where the subject comes in, in case you were wondering). We had a pretty incredible day. We went to Halliday to meet with Crystal McGregor and the Greens, both of which were interesting visits. We've got out work cut out for us here, that's for sure.
We met with Crystal first, who is the non-member wife of our branch's Sunday School President. She very clearly told us that she has no interest in joining the church and is waiting for her husband to be okay with that. But then, she invited us back next week and wants us to stop by and share uplifting messages with her family. It was perplexing. We talked to Denise Leach about it at church, and Crystal told her how much she loved us stopping by and how ready to feels to learn more about the church. It's a little bit of a sticky situation, but she is the sweetest lady and has such infectious laughter...I have a good feeling about her.
The Greens are so amazing. Their house burned down about a year ago and they've been living out of their trailer ever since, and they are just incredible. They have such faith, and we talked a little about Christ and the Atonement. Talking to them was just cool, and they have crazy amounts of wisdom to impart on our youthful souls (sort of a weird thing to say, but supes true). We're meeting with them again next week, and they are super excited to read the Book of Mormon. Again, such good feelings.
Amid all the Halliday craziness, the Billmans left us a Dairy Queen gift card at the church for dinner- such a tender mercy! They cleaned the church that morning and noticed we didn't have an appointment, so they stepped in and made my monthaversary so special. It was delicious- and my new fave way to celebrate a monthaversary, really.
We tried contacting some random houses after dinner, but it was rainy and stormy and gross outside and we were slowly losing the will to work. It was in this state of pathetic wetness that we met Kevin. We knocked on his door and he had pity on out poor souls...so he let us in. It was super crazy. He turned off his TV and we talked about Christ (his wife was super sick in the other room- I promise we aren't heathens). He told us of how he grew up Lutheran but is now agnostic because of all the hypocrisy. He told us about his three kids- John, Janelle, and Sarah- and about the guilt he feels for the way their lives turned out. He told us about how alone he feels in the world, and of how grateful he was that we stopped by and gave him the chance to talk. By the end of our hour there, he had talked about all his concerns and issues, all the reasons why church isn't for him. We left him with a Book of Mormon and we scheduled another lesson with him. He gave us his number and said the closing prayer- even though when we asked him to day the opening he blatantly refused. It was the craziest experience, and I'm super jazzed to meet with Kevin again! It was insane to consider all the things that had to happen for us to meet with him, and I know we were led straight to him.
Sunday was so good. The Stake Presidency and their posse came for branch conference, and I was just loving it. Such good meetings all around. We dined at the Scheer's, my fave family of 6. They made enchiladas and homemade ice cream- gotta love the Scheers. They gave us leftovers and thanked us for coming over, such incredible people. Mission life is so good, especially when homemade ice cream is involved.
We tried potentials and less actives after dinner, and ended up heading back to Beulah to tract. We had yet another insane experience, with a perfectly prepared street to end our perfect little week. If you tract (or really, do anything) in faith, with perfect hope that people are ready, you will have success. It's just the truth.
Alright, my time is coming to a close. I love you all so much, and I treasure all your emails and mail and love! Thank you for your prayers. They make all the difference. I was feeling them during this whole crazy last week, and I am so grateful for each and every one of you. Thank you for all you do!
|an adorable free library that made my heart happy|
and one last selfie of our cute companionship (but seriously, aren't we cute). The picture theme this week was definitely selfies- I'm getting good at the camera selfie! So exciting!