-Preparation day/Halloween. We couldn't go out tracting (obviously) so we spent the evening passing out candy at the ward mission leader's house. This year was a pretty slow year for them, we only got about 500 trick or treaters. He told us that in past years they have had close to 800. It was cute to see all the little kids in their costumes.
- Our appointment with Laura fell through so we tried to contact a referral. After a lesson with a different investigator, we went tracting and ended up finding two new investigators in about 20 minutes! That was awesome! Then after dinner we had a lesson with Lisa and talked about family history. We are trying to get her to the temple as soon as possible. She is so excited to be able to be baptized for her mom!
- Well, I was sick this day. Don't worry, it was just a 12 hour bug and I am completely fine now. Poor Sister Ruske was bored out of her mind but she was really sweet and took care of me. We rescheduled most of our lessons but kept one for her to go to. A member took her and another member took me to her house to sleep. Unfortunately, the lesson ended up falling through, so Sister Ruske had only a very short break from boredom. I was totally exhausted and couldn't make myself stay up for more than about 20 minutes, so I spent most of the day sleeping. The elders came and gave me a blessing that night. The best part of the day was the amazing ward members. One member took me to her house to sleep while Sister Ruske tried to see someone, someone else brought us soup/crackers/"sick people food" and a bunch of people called to see how I was doing. Being sick as a missionary is awful but this is a great ward to get sick in, everyone here is just so sweet.
- The biggest miracle/tender mercy was that I woke up in the morning and actually had enough energy to do things again! It ended up being a really good day and I am so grateful that Heavenly Father helped me to get better so quickly. After we did our weekly planning we went to contact a referral. When they weren't home, we went tracting for about an hour and met this man named Bryan. We had a fun conversation about how people always try to spell our names with an i instead of a y, the right way :) Anyway, he is really nice and we are going to see him and his wife again this week some time! That evening was the Relief Society activity and we went with Laura. The topic was really good but the best part was being able to talk to a less-active member who was there. She is so sweet and really wants to be active. She was telling us about some of her struggles as the only member in her family and how she has some concerns about things she has heard. She definitely has a testimony and she knows the church is true, she is just struggling right now. BUT she is doing what she can to stay strong and I just love her.
- Laura passed her baptismal interview! Not at all surprised, but it's always nice to be official. We went to contact a referral who we had called before but had never answered. We stopped by her house, but she wasn't home. We started writing a note to let her know that we came by, but then she walked up! We taught her the Restoration and invited her to pray about it. She had been wondering which church is true and it was amazing to see that all of her questions are answered by the gospel. Side note: Sister Ruske is doing so well!! She still sometimes feels nervous teaching but she does such a good job! She taught most of the lesson and didn't seem nervous once. I'm so proud of her! Then we went to go see a less-active who is trying to turn her life around and come back to church. She has had an incredibly hard life but she is still so sweet and kind. She is raising her teenage son and is also letting two of his friends (who have gotten kicked out of their own homes) stay with her. We were able to bear our testimonies to her about the Atonement and the power that it has to cover every pain in her life. I had heard a lot of not so good things about her, and it was so sweet to see that they are wrong. She is doing her best to overcome her past and become the person she wants to be.
- Pretty much everything fell through today, but we were able to help the less-active we saw . She called us and said that she was feeling overwhelmed and asked if we could come help her clean her house. It turned out that all she needed us to do was wash her dishes, but she was so grateful for that small act of service.
- Testimony meeting. Oh my goodness this ward is so great! Two or three people bore their testimonies and shared an experience they have had in sharing the gospel. It was wonderful to hear of their experiences and to feel of their love for the gospel. I'm hoping that more ward members see that missionary work isn't hard or scary and get to experience the joy of sharing the gospel. I had the thought that missionary work is nothing more than bearing your testimony. That is what I get to do all day every day as a full-time missionary, but it is something that everyone else can do. And it doesn't have to be a formal thing, it is as simple as telling a friend something that helped you. "I know when I am struggling, reading the scriptures always helps me find peace" Being open about your religion and not hiding it is also missionary work. When people know there is something different about you and you let them know that it is the gospel, they will be interested. So answer questions, let the joy of the gospel be seen in your everyday life and love the Lord. That's all it takes to be a missionary.
When I'm home, I try to do a daily gratitude post on Facebook for the month of November. Since I don't get on that often as a missionary, I will just include them in my emails for this month.
Nov 1- My body and all that it allows me to do
Nov 2- Priesthood on the earth/love and support from ward members
Nov 3- Good immune system
Nov 4- Sister Ruske
Nov 5- Scriptures
Nov 6- The ability to take the sacrament every week
NC in the fall
This is the road on the way to the church, so I get to see this often throughout the week. I am so in love with all the colors here!!
Go home GPS, you're not making sense
Only in NC would the GPS directions specifically tell you to leave the road. The best part was that there wasn't even anywhere to drive where it told us to turn.