Monday, May 16, 2011

Bike Adventures & Oopsies.

So I got in a bike accident on Friday May 6th and landed right on my shoulder and side of my head. As the weekend went by my shoulder began to get worse, so I went to the Doctor on Wednesday. We had to go all the way into Houston a little under 2 hr drive and I was diagnosed with a concussion and he said "it probably won't be normal for a month"  I asked him how long I would have to be off my bike, and he said a week, so this week we were riding in style, in the 2010 Chevy Malibu which is a pretty nice car.  The negative side to being in a car is we have less exposure to people, it probably would seem pretty creepy if we jumped out of our car to contact someone verses jumping off of our bikes.  However, it was easier to use time wisely, and I figured out how many miles we bike a day too. We bike 15 to 25 miles a day!  We are on those things usually 11am to 930pm. 
On Wednesday after the doctor we stayed out in Texas City, (our area isn't only Galveston but Hitchcock, La Marque, and Texas City) We met two great families, but as I opened the box of Books of Mormon with our car keys and set down the keys to grab the two books and handed them to my companion and shut the trunk...I totally locked the keys in the trunk. This was our first lesson, so we were pretty much unwanted guests in the home waiting for rescue.  The homeowner seemed fine, "It's not like I would make you sit outside" she said.  Elder Rogers, one of the senior couples in charge of bikes and cars had to travel all the way from the mission office to Texas City and open our car. We spent 1 hr with them for the lesson and an extra 2 hours waiting there for keys.  We later called to invite her and her husband to church and when we heard the husband say on the phone "Its the sister missionaries" we heard a "what?!" and they hung up, if it was a mistake they would call right back, right?  Awkward...
The family we just baptized on Easter is doing great. They are having regular family and scripture study daily.  We stopped by to say hi and the mom wasn’t home so we couldn't go in the house (oldest is 17, a female over the age of 18 has to be present in order for us to enter a home) The Mom told us the next day at church "my husband said you were like vampires at the door and couldn't come in" I busted up laughing, it's so true!  They also said they want to have me over for dinner on my birthday, the 26th of this month and asked what cake and food I like. They are so nice to me, I love them so much.  Also, it's so cute! The mom is a couponer and gets things for so cheap, or free, or pays her!  She gave us juice and also much needed Tide Laundry soup.  I love this work and the people, I am so grateful I have an opportunity to serve in this great work. 
Numbers, never liked 'em much.

 Good numbers- This week we had 25 lessons, goal was 20, 20 is the standard by the first presidency to have.  Our goal for teaching new people was 5, so about 1 a day, we got 21 new people!  Despite being confined to a car all week this is amazing!  People with a baptismal date goal was 12, we got 19 at one point, now back down to 14 though, that's what happens when you extend it on the first lesson.
Bad numbers- we had 0 at church, yeah 0, planned and arranged for 29 to come to church, all said "yes, I'll be there" and 0 attended.  It hurt, and now some peoples dates to be baptized will be moved because in order to be baptized have to come to church a certain number of times. Also, our goal of 6 being baptized this month (was 7 at one point) is gone, we will have 0 this month.  Also there was an investigator devotional last night.  So we invited those who didn't come to church to come to that.  My companion says I am very persistent.  We had 11 coming though!  Then one car broke down just as they were leaving Galveston, so negative 4, then the other car load of 4, told us they didn't know it was so far, and turned around only 2 exits away from the location, so negative 8, so only 2 were able to attend.  Plus we got so lost ourselves, so maybe it was a good thing they didn't come because we arrived after the closing prayer.  So maybe it was good those 2 car loads didn't follow us, seeing as we got so turned around and arrived late, but it shows God is truly in charge.  The people who spoke at the devotional stayed after and we had a lesson.  Our investigators opened up and we now know how to better meet their concerns as we listened.  I sometimes wonder why people have to go through such hard times in life. It made me thankful for the wonderful family that I have and that Heavenly Father doesn't give us anything we can't handle.
I love being a missionary and sharing the gospel to all my brother and sisters.  I love seeing people repent and come closer to our Savior and Heavenly Father.  I love that I am called by a prophet to do this amazing work.  I know when  I talk to someone their conversion has just begun or I am a part of their conversion that has already begun.  I am so happy we all have our freedom of choice and He loves us so much he gives us chance after chance to choose Him and His true church.  “This church,” as I heard from a person who just got baptized a month ago, "It just makes sense... Why would God stop speaking to us after Revelations [in the bible]"  He has spoken to us through a prophet since the beginning of time, why would he stop,  He loves us.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

May 9th letter / Happy Mothers Day

Hope you all had a Happy Mommy Day! I know I love mine! We had an amazing steak dinner and waited for parents to call. It was so much fun to get the call from home yesterday. I love my family so much. I love them lots and lots, I wish I could give them all a big hug soon. I heard they are going to Maui, lucky! I wish I could lay out on a beach and read the scriptures in the sand. I feel like everything I like to do is against the rules like swimming, dancing, snowboarding, listening to music with a beat, flying in the plane with dad, babysitting, playing with my dog etc.

We had transfers and I have a new companion! Her name is Sister Pope, she is from Orem Utah, actually all the elders in my district are from Utah, pretty funny, huh? Sister Pope finishes her mission in July so she will stay in Galveston until then. I will be here for this transfer, and if I am here for the next one then I will be here through August. I don't know if I want to be here through the summer, seeing that lots of people come in from out of town and most of the people I talk to would be referrals for other missionaries.

I never knew how hard it would be to get people to church.  In order to get people baptized they have to come to church a certain number of times.  Which makes sense, seeing it is a commandment to renew the baptismal covenants we enter into by going to church every week.  So they have to attend so they will get into that habit.  It is very hard though- night before we call investigators to confirm they will be coming, call members and have them pick them up, and then Sunday morning it's like a mad frantic, calling investigators to make sure they will be coming and are up arranging rides, wake up calls, and if not up cancel the ride or send it anyways or ourselves knock on the door so that they can come to church and make the date they have set as a goal.  If they don't come to church they won't make their baptismal date.  And of course we have a number goal to how many people will attend church, which we fell short of this week, again.  
I love being a missionary but I don't like updating records, managing time, figuring out who to see, what time , coordinate a day to have minimal travel time, when members can help us, depending on others, etc.  I like sharing the gospel but that's it. I have no other joy.  I hate goals and recording numbers that reflect my efforts because most are a reflection of people's freedom of choice like getting baptized, the standard is one a month, or lessons, like 20, or new investigators or how many lessons and how many new people say yes, or someone progressing. People have to choose to keep commitments, the list goes on and on. 
Our area not only covers Galveston but Texas City, La Marke, and Hitchcock, which is overwhelming trying to schedule time to go off the Island and contact referrals and set up appts, because if they cancel we have to have good backup plans and we don't have GPS, and already got a lost a few times for our one trip out there. There is a difference between Virginia and Virginia St.  And they are not exactly close to each other.