This past week was awesome! Since there are just too many things to list them all, I'll just give y'all a breakdown of what happened each day!
- Nothing miraculous on the missionary work front happened today. But a member of the Holly Springs ward took us out to dinner and she is AWESOME! She is 70something and has so much energy! She is always traveling (although her kids often protest) and going on these crazy adventures. She reminded me a lot of my second companion, so it was almost like meeting the 70 year old version of her :)
- Miracle after miracle today!
#1: Kellie. We realized that most of our work was in Swift Creek so we decided to go tracting in Holly Springs. We met this amazing girl named Kellie. She doesn't really have a church that she goes to but she has incredible faith. She had a really difficult childhood but has seen Heavenly Father's hand in her life. She is so humble and grateful for all of her blessings. She was so open to the Spirit as we taught and wants to learn more. She was so excited at the idea that Christ's church could be on the Earth again. She was a little hesitant to set a baptismal date, but that was just because she wants to know more before saying yes :)
#2: Tom. So, back in December before I got here, the sisters had been working through this awesome member in Swift Creek to find people to teach. They invited her to set a date by which to find someone, rather than being so focused on a specific name. The date she set was Jan 24 (today). She had told us about her friend Leslie and her family. We hadn't been able to get up with them yet, but we had planned to stop by this evening anyway. In the morning, our member texted us saying that it was the miracle day and asked if we had been able to see this family yet. When we went by in the evening, Leslie wasn't home but her husband Tom was! We were able to have a great discussion with him and get to know him a little bit. He became a new investigator, proving that the Lord helps people when they set a goal and work their hardest to reach it. I don't think we could have found Tom without our member and I know we were supposed to meet Tom before Leslie. He was really open to learning more and wanted us to come back another time to see the whole family.
#3: Tracy's prayer. Little bit of a back story, Sister Wall and I have been trying to be more consecrated. We have been focusing on doing the Lord's will and doing the work His way, not ours. It is a continual process of trying to purify our hearts and minds to be better servants out here. We stopped by to see Tracy because we were in the neighborhood and an appointment fell through. We didn't have too much of a lesson with her, but we invited her to pray at the end. She prayed that we would be led by the Spirit to those that wanted to listen and that our hearts and minds would be more in tune with the Spirit. It was such a tender mercy to know that Heavenly Father noticed our efforts and that He was going to help us. Tracy isn't a member, but that does not mean that she can't be influenced by the Holy Ghost. Her prayer was exactly what we needed at that time and I am so grateful for it. <3
- Worldwide Missionary Broadcast. A lot of big changes were made to our schedule and what we report on. Now instead of planning at 9 when we get home for the evening, we do our daily planning in the mornings. All missionaries, even those who are new or learning a language, will be out working at . We can schedule our companion study/language study/12 week study during the day at whatever time works best for us that day. It is so much better! Planning at night is always kind of rough because we are always exhausted by the time we get home. Now we get to plan in the morning when we are actually awake and not falling asleep :) When we get home at 9, we can go straight to updating the area book and writing in our journals. That's a great one for me since I am about 4 weeks behind in my journal..... Also, our preparation day has been extended by 2 hours! It starts at instead of , which means we won't be rushing to do everything we need to do every week! The key indicators have also been changed. There used to be about 13 we would report on every week, but now we only have 4: baptism/confirmations, baptismal dates, investigators at sacrament meeting, and new investigators. The Missionary Executive Council chose these 4 to help us focus on our purpose and not focus so much on getting a certain number of lessons. We have noticed a huge change in our outlook, even just over the past few days. Rather than being excited because we had a lesson just to have a lesson, we are more focused on helping people prepare to be baptized. It has taken some adjusting since I had a year of the old schedule and key indicators, but I really really like these changes.
- Barbara. She is by far the miracle for today. Sister Wall tracted into her when we were on exchanges last week so I hadn't met her yet. Barbara is from Brazil and is here as an au pair. She is so sweet! Similar to Kellie, she has incredible faith and knows that Heavenly Father answers her prayers. We taught her the Restoration and the member we had with us was perfect! Our member was so excited about Barbara and invited her to sit with them at church <3 We were telling Barbara about the Book of Mormon and she wanted to read it! She said reading in English is still hard for her, so Portuguese would be better. We were going to look into getting her a copy when the thought came to me to see if the app comes in Portuguese. IT DOES! She downloaded the app and guess what? It is in Brazilian Portuguese, not Portuguese from Portugal! Tender mercies are real!
Side note: We texted Barbara to see if she had been reading/listening to the Book of Mormon. She replied saying "not that much yet. I just finished 1 Nephi".....Ummmm, what? That's awesome! She has listened to 22 chapters !
-Samuel. I'm pretty sure I mentioned him in my last email, he is the Bible referral who is totally prepared. We went to go see him and his almost-fiancee (the ring is on its way! he's planning to propose soon!! <3) but she wasn't home so we couldn't go inside :( BUT we were still able to talk to him and he is still totally excited about learning more! He had been reading the Book of Mormon a little and was just about to pick it up and read more when we knocked :)
Also, we had dinner with some members of the Swift Creek ward. As we were wrapping up our thought, the husband asked if we could do something for their family. Of course we said yes, hoping it was a request to go teach his friend. Instead, he asked us to bear our testimonies of the Savior. It was interesting to be a little surprised. We do that all the time, but not very often do we get asked. It was really cool to be able to bear our testimonies of Christ and it reminded me that that is the most important thing I can do.
- Sister Wall and I have been trying to be more consecrated. After MLC and reading through the Fourth Missionary again, I realized that I often am withholding part of my heart from this work. I have no problem being out working all day, but I often feel like I'm only doing it because I'm supposed to, not because I truly want to. I made the decision to be more grateful for the privilege of serving a mission. When we were tracting, I would say a silent prayer of gratitude as we walked up to each door. I thanked Heavenly Father for the blessing of being here in NC and being able to have the opportunity to teach His children. This didn't change the amount of success we had (we didn't find any new investigators and only found a couple potentials) but it definitely changed my outlook. I was a lot more positive while we were tracting and I enjoyed it a lot more that I usually would have. Thinking of each door as a privilege and a blessing really put into perspective the work I'm doing. I truly am grateful for this time that I have to serve the Lord. It is going much faster than I would like it to, and I want to use the time I have left the way that He wants me to.
Also, Booker. We met Booker last week while he was walking his dog. He was confused as to why there were so many churches and wants to find a good church for his family. Our ward mission leader came out with us to see him. Booker's wife was sick, so we couldn't go inside, but I'm definitely gaining a greater testimony of doorstep lessons. We shared the First Vision with Booker and I know he felt the Spirit. Our ward mission leader bore his testimony and shared how the gospel has blessed his life.
- Well, no one came to church. We went to an appointment and found out our investigator has moved to Apex. And our investigator who was supposed to come to a fireside with our mission president got sick. BUT one of our recent converts was still able to go, so all was well! I love firesides with the mission president! This one ended up being all recent converts, two of whom got baptized the day before. It was so powerful to hear their testimonies and how much the gospel has changed their lives. I truly know that this gospel changes lives for the better. I am blessed to see light enter the lives of those that I teach and I know that I have had more light come into my own life as I come closer to my Savior.
This was Sister Ruske's reply to the picture of 'how to be saved'
Look, we're famous!!
A member of our bishopric called us one afternoon asking if we had been tracting in his neighborhood the previous night. When we told him that we had, he read this to us. Apparently someone thought we were all kinds of strange :) I think the funniest part is that this person was so confused that our skirts were below our knees, shocking that 20 year old girls don't all walk around in miniskirts, huh?
1) We tend to not ring doorbells after 7 because we don't want to wake up your sleeping kids. You're welcome. Also, we don't usually knock 3 times...unless we lose count and knock again :)
2) We did NOT say anything about a collection, and we never will. EVER.
3) Yes, we are in fact missionaries. Yes, we will come to your door at .
Oh, we also made a neighborhood FB page in our other ward. People complained about us waking up babies by ringing doorbells at . Hahahaha at least people know we're out working hard