My companion is Sister Houston, affectionately referred to as "Hermana H-Town" by me every once in a while. She's from Mesa, AZ and is wise in the ways of ballet, martial arts, violin-playing, and cooking. She arrived in IF from the MTC last Wednesday, so she's still very green, which I love. The pair of us took the place of some elders that covered this area for the past 4ish years. Aka the IF West stake hasn't had sisters in a looonnng time... and the apartment we live in proves it. We spent a good chunk of time on our first day de-eldering the apartment... and organizing what records were there... and trying to get ahold of who the elders had been working with. It's been a whirlwind, but it's been good and everyone we've talked to seems ecstatic that there are new missionaries. We're still a little bit in the deer-in-headlights phase of things, but we've already seen miracles:
There were some records of investigators that the elders had been working with, but it looked like none of them had been visited within the past 4 months... uh.. wut. So that's been a huge priority of ours. None of them have a baptismal date or anything.. so after asking our district leader who might be a good investigator to visit, they told us to see Cody and Ericka... which was all fine and good.... except there was NO RECORD OF THEM ANYWHERE. Aka we had no idea what ward they were in, or where they lived or anything. We found what we thought was their number in our phone, called them up and set up a time to come over that evening. Cody is actually a member, just hasn't been to church in years. His girlfriend, Ericka, is a nonmember and has been wanting baptism for a LONG time now, and finally committed Cody to marry her THIS WEEK so that she can. We didn't even know any of this beforehand!!! Cody has some bad habits he's working through right now, but is talking to his Bishop so that he can baptize Ericka at the end of February!!! #holla #lujah They're the best and so elect.
So, Saturday night and all-day Sunday were designated by President as P-days since it was the holidays. We went to church of course, but he said the rest of the day could be a pday.... Hna H-Town and I, however, felt strongly to just do what work we could that day. We didn't have any appointments with investigators but every hour of the day was set up with appointments with all of our bishops and ward mission leaders to see what in the heck is going on in this stake and what in the heck ought to be going on in this stake. It was very useful... but that's not even the main miracle. We walked into a church to find our next appointment with the next Bishop, and while we were there, some random man comes up to us and says "Sisters, I'm glad you're here - there's a woman who has some questions for you." So obvi we follow him. And he takes us to a foyer, where sacrament meeting had just finished for a ward. He took us to a group of people - an older couple, a young woman, and a woman in her 30s holding a small dog, crying. Here are sub-miracles in the story:
The older couple that I met are the grandparents of one of my MTC companions and dear, dear friend, Sister Anderson!! They introduced themselves and gave us big happy hugs. Then, they introduced us to the woman with the small dog, Heather.
So, Heather got out of prison not super long ago, and has been hopping around living place to place. she remembered a couple of LDS women in prison that always talked about Christ and it made Heather feel SO hopeful amidst all that was happening. Earlier that sunday morning, she just googled "LDS Church" and found what time her sacrament meeting started. She showed up with her dog, not knowing a soul. Thankfully our ward mission leader, and my MTC comp's grandparents (The Mikles) took her under their wing, answered her questions, took her to the classes, and offered to host the missionary lessons in their home. After meeting with the Bishop real quick, like we had originally planned, we went to the Temple Visitor's Center with Heather and all of her new friends where we watched a video about the Plan of Salvation and sat by the Christus statue and talked. She kept saying "nobody's ever told me that before" over and over again to everything we talked to her about - that we lived with God before, that He knows us personally, that he loves us, that we have a purpose, that SHE has a purpose. She was a sponge. She was just in tears the whole time. The spirit was so strong.
I love you all! Be good, be happy, and please, please, please, be believing.