Monday, July 7, 2014

Facing Your Fears

On the little bikes

Results of Florida Rainstorm
Water anyone?

4th of July Breakfast    Red, white, and blueberry! Mmmm...

Do you really wish you were here?

  Not only are there more bugs in Florida, but they are bigger too!

I decorated our missionary meal calendar during Sister Stitt's weekly
conference training call. I thought it looked so great... Until I saw
the 2nd ward's board. Haha!
My forehead looks huge in this picture because of the light, but the
bamboo in the background was pretty cool!
Is there something wrong with this picture?
The wrong way truck is being towed.

Hello ya'll!
Let's start with Monday... On our way out to do shopping with the Gainesville 2nd sisters we stopped by to let Sister Stitt put the garbage in the dumpster.  When she got out she pulled a muscle in her lower back and could hardly stand up.  She hobbled around like an old lady for the rest of the day.  We were supposed to be on bikes but since she could hardly walk we called our dinner appointment to ask for a ride.  Sister Tams was so sweet!  She picked us up, and then she spent the rest of the night trying to fix Sister Stitt's back with heat, ice, stretches, gosh she even had some kind of device that sends electrical pulses into your back.  She was the right one to go to!  I hung out and talked to the family, and   got to wash the dishes so Brother Tams could get baby Zoe to bed. Before we went home Brother Tams and another brother in the neighborhood gave Sister Stitt a blessing.  Tuesday night a chiropractor in the  2nd ward came over and looked at Sister Stitt's back. He does in home calls so he literally brought his  practice to us. He has a fold up table and everything! His wife came along so they could come into our apartment.

Tuesday we had district meeting.  I think I am the only piano player in the district so I should get to play a lot! Yippee skippee!  We talked about fears.  I love the definition of fear in the Bible Dictionary: "fear is spoken of as something unworthy of a child of God, something that “perfect love casteth out” (1 Jn.:18). The first effect of Adam’s sin was that he was afraid (Gen. 3:10)... Ever since the Fall, God has been  teaching men not to fear, but with penitence to ask forgiveness in full confidence of receiving it."

Our challenge was to choose one fear to face this week.  So many choices... :) One thing I wanted to work on was tracting in Haile.  We made it towards the end of the week, but we had all sorts of  scheduling conflicts so we only had about 15 minutes. The first door we knocked on was empty.  The second, however, was a woman from Pakistan who is Muslim. She came out on the porch and we took turns talking about our beliefs. She agreed to let us come back and talk more.  I'm not sure if she would be willing to change because she loves her religion so much, but if there is anything I am learning on my mission it is that the gospel changes lives and that we can never judge who will accept the gospel.  My last week in YSA Sister Fife and I ran into a man named Andrew. He is covered in tattoos and has big gauges in his ears, and he belongs to a band. Not to be judgmental but he didn't seem too interested.  Well, I read Sister Fife's email last week and he is getting baptized on July 20th! How amazing is that!!?! This gospel truly is for everyone.

We had a really great Zone meeting too! Also, the miles have been cut all across the mission so we are now allowed 450 miles in a car for our companionship. In YSA we had unlimited miles so I'll have to be really careful now!

Biking was so much better this week! I've been doing a lot of exercises and stretches and I can ride a bike across our area without feeling like my knees need WD40 to keep moving. I think a mission also really teaches the truth found in Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."  Missions are hard in all areas- physically, emotionally, spiritually... But the rewards are eternal!

I got to face another fear Sunday evening after our dinner appointment. When we looked outside we knew a storm was coming in. We borrowed plastic bags to protect our iPads and started home. We stopped to see a less active member, but they were busy eating dinner. We had been hoping we could talk to them and take shelter from the rain, but so goes missionary life.  We started home and the lightning started filling the sky.  It's a really good thing I'm from Utah because lightning scares me... Especially when the thunder is loud enough to literally shake the ground like it does here. I really don't mind being wet but I saw too many lightning documentaries in my junior high science classes to feel safe being outside in a lightning storm.  Recently in my studies I felt like I needed to read the Bible more regularly... I'm serving in the Bible Belt so it makes sense I would need to be prepared. A couple days ago I read Matthew 14 where Peter walks on water. We also talked about this in our district meeting training about overcoming fear so I guess there was a message I needed from this story. I love Peter's faith to start walking. But how often do we, like Peter, start moving on one path and then we begin to doubt ourselves and even the Lord? Well, as the ocean dumped on my head I thought back to this story and I knew that we could make it home through this storm.  I know that like in that story Christ is always there to reach out and save us when we turn to him.  I started singing "Master the Tempest is Raging"  in my mind and rode as hard as I could. Soon the lightning began to fade and all we had to face was the torrential water pouring from the sky.  We were literally driving through 3 or 4 inch deep rivers of water that were running over the sidewalks.  My shoes filled with water and I could hardly see past the rain.  We made it home safely, drenched, but safe. When I stopped I realized that along with the water spraying up from my wheels I had sand all over my bag and back, clear up to my neck.  Hey, who needs to go to the beach when you can ride through a storm in Gainesville?

Another eventful story happened to the 2nd ward Sisters, Sister Winkler and Sister Montgomery. They were doing service for a member by building a fence. I guess they didn't have anything to hammer bars of metal (I'm guessing some sort of rebar) into the ground so Sister Montgomery thought she would step on it to push it into the ground, she had done that before. The only problem is that she had boots on the last time and this time she just had a pair of Converse on. The bar went right through her shoe and right into her foot. They called 911 and she had to get stitches. She will be on crutches for a couple weeks too. We are trying to figure out if they will need the car more than very other day now.

We didn't really do anything different for the 4th of July. Friday is our weekly planning day so we spent most of the day organizing and planning. We did eat some candy and I  made red, white, and blue oatmeal for breakfast. We went tracting at night. The only people home were: A. Sleeping, B. Not interested (I already have Jesus!) or C. Didn't speak English. We did get to see a few fireworks through the trees on our bike ride home though so that was fun. And Sister Stitt  broke into a chorus of God Bless America. So that's how missionaries  celebrate the 4th of July! The ward had a breakfast on the 5th which  was really fun! Stefanie Manners, a member of the Jax YSA was there visiting a friend so we got to talk to her. That was so fun!

The work is going well, but it hasn't really taken off yet.  I'm excited to see miracles here though! I really appreciate all of your prayers!

Thank you! I love ya'll!

 PS- Brother Tams's aunt lives in Paradise, Utah. She was our substitute band teacher a lot and she is in Janese's ward!