Monday, March 24, 2014

Success in Caldwell

Hey y'all!
This week has been BUSY, yet SO awesome! So on P-days, we e-mail for two hours and then go shopping and then go to one of the church buildings to hang out with all the other missionaries! There are a LOT! We are so close to hitting our limit for missionaries in this mission! We're at 170 out of 200! WOW! Last Monday night, the Neals put together an FHE activity for the members of Caldwell 5th Ward to come and meet us. It was an awesome way to get to know some of the members. It was a pretty relaxed day. Today, we're going grocery shopping. There's an Ulta, Target, and Old Navy in Nampa and we just got "paid"...:)
On Tuesday, my emotions were so very scattered. We went contacting. We rode our bikes over to the Angels because they were the fellowshippers of Brian and Carol across the street, who were former investigators. Sadly, they weren't interested. So, we headed over to Grandma's and we saw a member driving by and we went over to her house to say hello. I cannot begin to tell you how sad their situation is. All of the kids are "homeschooled". I use quotations because they aren't being taught anything. All of the kids who are old enough to read....can't. The mom takes great care of herself and you would never guess her kids were hers because all of their clothes are dirty, and they've got unkept hair, and they aren't bathed. It's really sad. The house is dirty. When I say dirty, I mean there's dirt everywhere. The couches are torn. It's just so sad. Nine kids, one mom, no nurturing. When we left, I wanted to cry. We discussed their situation in ward council, and everyone expressed the same concern--especially the young women's leader, Sister Jackson.
Later on Tuesday, we went to visit a referral from another set of Elders. His name is Dakota, 18, wants to be a preacher, but has no specific denomination in mind. PERFECT! He agreed to take the lessons! We had dinner at the Anderson's and I sat by one of their sons, Isaiah who is SUPER talkative. If I didn't say something in response to him because I was eating my food, he would tap me on the shoulder and say, "Sister Tyler....Sister Tyler...." It reminded me of Sheldon Cooper when he knocks on Penny's door and says her name three times....THEN he asked how we felt about, and I quote, "Out-dated Winco." It was so funny! 
Fun fact: Unicorns are mentioned in Deuteronomy 33 #compstudy
Wednesday, we got out car! YES! It was like a dream. 2014 Toyota Corolla. Brand. Spankin. New. It rocks. We spent our day contacting new converts in 5th and 12th ward. They are all so awesome and their testimonies are so strong. One in particular, Katie Smith, grew up Anti and her parents and husband's parents are still Anti, yet her testimony in the gospel and the Savior is unwavering. It's so incredible. Her husband is in jail. Just listen. So, when he walked into his cell, the only thing sitting on his bed was a Book of Mormon. WHAT. So he's been reading and studying and he's gaining a testimony. Everyone can change.
Not much happened on Thursday. We had district meeting and just continued to build our relationships with the elders in the district. Don't worry, not that kind of relationship! Our District leader, Elder Hatefi dropped a jolly rancher on the floor and did the bend and snap when picking it up....we judged him so hardcore but laughed our tails off.
Okay, so FRIDAY, we literally knocked on 50 doors. We were just contacting members, and we started off in Pamela's Loop, and literally all but TWO families moved and one was freaked out by us for some reason. We knocked on Dennis McCarter's door and a woman answered and her eyes got super wide, and she asked us what we wanted and we just asked her if Dennis was home, and she started ranting and telling us to never come back again and shut the door. Her windows were covered up with lined paper and it was just really eerie. After Pamela's Loop, we headed to Crestwood for "Operation: Conquer Blueberry." So many members live on Blueberry Street. Come to find, all of them are inactive. At least 85% of our work will be reactivating members, which is great! We met David Bradshaw, who has been inactive for 15 years, but is so open to us coming back. He's married to a Colombian woman and his daughter hangs out with Bishop Barclay's daughter! PERFECT! We knocked on Tyler Jensen's door and his roommate, Sonny, answered and told us he wasn't there but wasn't opposed to having the missionaries standing at his door. What young man in the right mind would turn away pretty girls anyway?!
While walking back to our car, we were stopped by a woman, Tiffany, who happens to be a less active. She just moved from California and she hasn't been to church since she was 10 so she knows nothing about it. She wants to meet with us! So it's safe to say that Friday was a success!
Saturday was honestly my favorite. We taught Dakota the lesson on the Restoration. We walked into his house, the tv was blaring because his sister, Courtney, was watching it. His little sister was on the floor watching something on the iPad without headphones. His brother was in the kitchen doing something and his parents were in their room. We started talking to Dakota, and answered his questions, which are REALLY good. He asked us about Nephi and why he had to leave room on the plates to be abridged and all these other profound questions. Halfway through the lesson, Courtney muted the tv. Then, I started to teach the first vision, and just after I recited James 1:5 that leads into JSH 1:16-17, Courtney turned off the tv and listened. As I repeated the account of Joseph Smith seeing God and Jesus Christ, the spirit filled the room and the smile on Courtney's face was evidence of that. She felt that spirit. I know Dakota felt the spirit. Sister Ketring and I both felt the spirit and it was incredible. Sister Ketring asked Courtney if she would be interested in taking the lessons with her brother, and she said "no" this time, but we will keep inviting her to learn and to feel the spirit testify. I almost cried because the spirit was so powerful. We invited Dakota to read and to pray about the things and ask of God whether these things are not true (Moroni 10:3-5). We set up a return appointment with Dakota next Saturday and we are SO excited! These people are being prepared by the Lord and I can see it. 
This week has been so incredible and I couldn't be more grateful to be a part of this work. I am working alongside the Lord in His vineyard, bringing souls unto Him. This gospel is true. This is the church of Jesus Christ. We are in the last dispensation. We will never fall into another apostasy. The time of the coming of the Savior is imminent and I couldn't be more grateful to be a part of the hastening of the work of salvation. Be missionaries this week. At all times. Do not be afraid to share the gospel. This is why we're here! NOW is the time for men to prepare to meet God! I love you all, and I'm grateful for all of your support! Have a fantastic week! Remember who you are, and who you stand for!

With love,
Sister Tyler