Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Letter #50 (September 8, 2014)

It RAINED this morning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was so glorious. I love it. We stood out in it and actually got cold for once. That's right. Cold. Which is in stark contrast to biking in about 103 degree weather. It has been HOT. But good. But here is what's cool: our ward mission leader's daughter, Katie Bell (just like Harry Potter!), just got home from her mission on Friday. It was so fun meeting her because we've talked to her on the phone and on Facebook because she was working with her school friends via Facebook while she was on her mission in DC. So she would give us referrals and stuff. Anyway, her homecoming talk was this Sunday. It was fast Sunday, so she just bore her testimony first and then it was open for anyone else to come up. But what's cool is that she invited over 125 non-members to come see her speak, and quite a few did! So we were all asked to fast again for an end to the drought that we have been in. Last time we did this, it sprinkled the next day, but then that was it. And that was about 6 months ago. So we did it again. So all of Katie's friends are hearing the bishop and everyone talk about fasting for rain yesterday and everything. And then, lo and behold, it rained this morning! So hopefully they realize that it's because of faith and fasting. So cool.
Okay, so another funny thing about testimony meeting: almost every mentioned Sister Fjeldsted and I in their testimonies! It was ridiculous. They just kept going on about how great we are and what not. We just kept sinking deeper and deeper into our seats... It was so sweet though. We had dinner with this old couple earlier last week, and when we did the spiritual thought, the wife just couldn't stop talking about how we are just like angels and what not. She's so funny. But seriously! It was so weird! One of the sisters had just gone out with us the night before, and so she got up and bore her testimony basically about the "missionary glow." She said that as we were walking, everyone stopped to look at us. It's funny, because people stare at us all day every day, and I just don't notice anymore. So she went on about how they could tell that there was something special about us and what not. It was strange to be talked about in that way, because I don't feel any more special or anything than anyone else, but I am a representative of Jesus Christ, and sometimes I forget that I am very different from regular people. Anyway, I left sacrament meeting a tad bit embarrassed, but I'm sure glad that we've made a good impression! We've had a lot of people tell us, too, that we work really well together. And we do. Sister Fjeldsted is like my best friend. So we can really piggyback off of each other and we're not afraid to tell each other if we think that we need to change something. We really are striving to be consecrated to the Lord. Which is something that I always try to do, but it's hard to do that if your companion isn't trying to as well. I am NOT excited for her to go home! She leaves at the end of this month. Super bummed.
It was fun to meet Katie Bell. It was so weird though, because she all of a sudden just wasn't a missionary anymore. It was kind of depressing really. She was so funny though, she was giving Sister Fjeldsted tips about going home. Like "just dump all of your clothes onto you companion. You'll think that you're clothes are still cute, but then as soon as your released, you'll realize how hideous they all are! So weird!" And she freaked out when we got to her house because she felt like she needed to be with sister missionaries. It made me really sad that we never have sisters in my ward at home. I think that it would be so great to have both!
So this is already really long, so I'll try to just briefly go over some other highlights of the week:
We went to contact a less active, who apparently has moved. BUT. His stepsister still lives there and she is so cool! Her name is Ratchenla. We told her who we were and what we do and she's like, "well, I'm busy right now, but why don't we exchange phone numbers so we can meet? I definitely want to." WHAT?!?!?! No one does that. Not anyone. So she gave us her phone number and I gave her a pass along card with ours and she just kept saying "make sure to touch base with me" and stuff like that. So I'm way excited about her. I think she'll be great!
This week I taught a woman from Egypt! Her name is Afifa. We got her name and address as a referral on our phone. It said that it was a self referral! So we went by. She welcomed us right in, sat us down, and then said "so, who are you?" She had no clue about the church at all. So we have no idea where the referral came from. She was so nice though! We began teaching her the Restoration and are hoping to start teaching her whole family!

We also had another lesson with Justin. I don't remember if I wrote about him before or not, so brief background: His step-grandma is less active because she has MS. His grandfather is not a member. So we would go and teach the two of them sometimes. One day we went over, and Justin was there. He is 24 and just moved to CA fairly recently. He's from Kentucky, so really friendly. So we taught him the Restoration. And he is so prepared! He said that he'd get baptized and everything. It has been so incredible. Heavenly Father has truly been blessing us the past few weeks.
We also taught Susan and Rodney again. They're the ones where she is a member, he is not, and her mom lives with them and has Parkinson's. So we tried by Saturday night. Janice (her mom) was home with her caretaker, Mishi. So we went in and sang to Janice. It was so sweet to see her face light up. Then she asked us to read the Book of Mormon to her. So we did. She is so precious. She is very frail and speaks quieter than a whisper. But she still remembered about the Book of Mormon. The Spirit was so strong that entire time, and I think that Mishi could feel it too. The next night, we went back and just Susan was home. The Spirit really worked through us and we were able to alleviate some of her concerns. I really think that she will come to church on Sunday (Sister Fjeldsted and I are singing another duet). I can't even describe the joy that I feel when I teach that family. They are just so sincere, and so open to the Spirit. It's incredible how I can do the exact same things with two different people, and the huge difference between someone who's heart is open and willing to listen, and someone who is closed off. It really strengthened my testimony of the elect. There are people out there who are just ready. It's as simple as that. We just need to go find them.
(Okay, so maybe I'm not being too terribly brief)
Yesterday was just such an amazing day. The Spirit was so strong in church, so strong during Susan's lesson, and then (in between those two things) we went to a baptism! There is a nine year old boy named Paul that we started teaching when we first got here. His family was less active and trying to come back and we were the first missionaries that they really let in. (Well, Sister Fjeldsted and the sister that was there for a week or so before the emergency transfer). I love their family so so much. They are wonderful. We ended up having to pass them off to a different set of missionaries though because, while they live in our ward boundaries, they decided to attend a different ward. So the missionaries in the other ward finished teaching them. But we were able to go to Paul's baptism yesterday. His dad was able to baptize him, fully worthy once more. Having just received the priesthood the Sunday before. The Spirit was so strong. It was incredible. 

So just a couple more things and then I promise I'm done. 

We went to go meet a less active man in the ward. When he opened the door, he looked kind of grumpy, but then saw our tags and his face lightened up. He showed us a little stack of papers in his hand and said "oh, I was all ready for he Jehovah's Witness!" I was very glad in that moment that I wasn't one. He's no interested in the church anyway, but at least he didn't have a stack of papers to prove us wrong! Oh boy.

And. We're going to a wedding this Friday! There is a couple in our ward who is getting married. He is a member and his whole family are members. She just got baptized almost a year ago, and her whole family is Catholic. So it has been really rough of her unfortunately. But we've kind of been there for her and helped her out a lot. So we are being allowed to go to the wedding, more for moral support than anything. She's been going through a lot trying put the wedding all together. She doesn't even really care about the wedding, she's just looking forward to being sealed in a year, which I sincerely hope that I'll be able to make it back here for!

Okay. Now I'm done.

I love you all so much! Go out and do missionary work! Everyone needs the gospel. Everyone will benefit from having it in their lives. And really, if we love our friends, wouldn't we WANT them to have the greatest blessing they could ever possibly have?

Have a great week! Write me!

~Sister Kretchman

So here's one of us while we were helping our investigator with some stuff outside. She is asian, and a lot of the asians here wear big sunhats and medical masks to keep the sun away, and to keep out the air pollution. So when we went outside she insisted that we wear hats.

 Corn popsicles from the local chinese market

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