Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Lord Blesses Us - Even in Times of Trial and Strife! :)

HEY EVERYBODY!!! This past week has been CRAZY!!! Oh! And really quick - I almost forgot to mention a little detail from the week before in my last e-mail! So, one day about a week and a half ago, Sister Schramm and I visited a less-active member of the ward and had lunch with her. This woman is very sweet and I love her to pieces, but she has THE WORST, stinkiest horder appartment I have EVER seen/been in! It was AWFUL! Honestly, I didn't realize just how good I had it in SO many ways in the wonderful City of Crystals (Crystal City), but I really DID have it SOOOOO good! Everybody there (or, at least 99 percent of the people I met there) is very clean and mostly high class - even the homeless people are so clean that you can't even tell that most of them are homeless until you start talking with them. True story. So, after coming from that to here in Kingstowne where there are some really nice, ritzy places, but there are also some REALLY ghetto and awful smelling apartment complexes. Really, it can be pretty bad. So, basically, that was it. We had lunch over there and I was struggling to choke down my Subway soup and salad (we buy our own food and bring it there to eat cause it's so dirty and smells like cat urine). But anyways, it just makes me sad more than anything when I see people living like this poor, sweet woman. I really just wish that I could help her! And I suppose that we are helping her in our own way through bringing light into her life through the gospel of Jesus Christ. :) Ok! Now onto this past week! I was really sick with a terrible virus cold that has been going around here lately. Seriously, SO many missionaries have been sick/are sick lately, it's crazy. So anyways, I've been taking TONS of cold medicine and amping up my vitamins every single day to try to fight this thing! Thankfully I only had one REALLY sick day, though. I ended up staying in all day on Wednesday and just sleeping for literally most of the day. It was really nice to finally get the rest that I know my body so desperately needed. As I mentioned in my e-mail last week, I started feeling kinda sick that Saturday before, then it was a lot worse when I woke up on Sunday, and it just got progressively worse each day since then. So Monday I wasn't feeling too great, but I still made myself go out and work HARD that night! We went and visited Sister K., and she was in quite the mood - she kinda scared me a little bit, to be quite honest with you. But it's all good. I ended up just mostly sitting on her recliner and Sister Schramm helped her clean and unpack some things for about two hours or so (since Sis. K. had just moved into a new apartment). Anyways, that was pretty much Monday. Not too terribly exciting. Tuesday we went to District Meeting, which was fun, as always! Seriously, I LOVE District Meeting! :) And my District Leader, Elder Stone is WONDERFUL!!! :) After District Meeting, we all went out to lunch at Panda Express (pretty much as with the other District in our zone), and that was really fun! I just LOVE any time that I get to spend with a group of other missionaries! It really is SO fun! :) That night, we went and visited a little family in the ward named the Mele's. They're really great! :) After that, we went to our Gospel Principles class, which was taught by the Elders this week - Elder Stone and another Elder who he was on exchanges with. It was a really great class! After the class, we went to visit former investigators and people on the Bishop's List (people who the Bishop has asked that we check on. They're usually people who want nothing to do with the church anymore, so they can reject us quite harshly). We actually found a woman on the Bishop's list who gave us the nicest rejection I think I have ever had on my mission! She told us that she's not really a part of the church anymore; however, when we asked if we could stop by another time, she welcomed us to come back! It was truly a mircale night - that's for sure! :) Wednesday was my all-day sick day. So I really just slept for most of the day and watched Legacy. Then that night, one of the Sister Training Leaders (Sister Roper), and my dear, sweet, Sister Butts, who Sis. Roper was on exchanges with, stopped by to visit and see how I was doing since they heard that I was sick! So they stayed over for a little bit and chatted, and then eventually Sister Butts and Sister Schramm went on a mini exchange together to go visit some members who we had scheduled to visit that night, and Sister Roper stayed in with me until they came back. It was really sweet! I love them both! I'm actually going to be going on exchanges with Sister Roper TOMORROW! I'm excited! She's SUPER sweet and I know that I can and will learn a LOT from her! :) Thursday we did our volunteer work at the local food bank. Then that afternoon, we tried doing some street contacting in a part of our area where Sis. Schramm had never been before, but it didn't work out very well cause it was all neighborhoods and houses, so granted there weren't many people out and about walking around at 3:00 in the afternoon. However, we did have some fun finding a butt tree! HAHA! Seriously! We found a tree that has a part of it at the bottom of it that's literally shaped like a butt! Don't worry, we both took pictures by it, so I'll be sure to send you some! :) Also, after that, we went to check on another person on the Bishop's List since we had so much luck with it the day before, and this time we had some luck as well! We met a sweet girl who looks like she's about in her early 20's, and her name's Kaitlyn. She was very welcoming to us and said that she was the only one home at the moment and she was getting ready to go somewhere, but invited us to come back some other time! We will reactivate these families and bring them back to Christ! I am SO excited for this! :) I really do feel like this is a big part of my mission - not only to bring souls unto Christ who don't know who he is, but to strenghthen the faith of those who already believe, and who may have already been baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This, I feel, is my main mission out here. Maybe it's because I feel such a strong connection with so many of the less-active members, but I really feel like a big part of what I was sent here to do is to bring people back to the loving arms of our Savior. Late that afternoon, we left and headed to the temple with the ward for a youth temple trip with our recent convert, Jenny! Jenny was baptized about two weeks or so before I came into Kingstowne and she is amazing! The temple was great! We didn't actually do baptisms or anything, we were just there as support for Jenny. But it was funny cause since they were a little short on temple workers that night, they didn't have enough to have a female temple worker be in the baptistry and confirmation room, so they actually split up Sister Schramm and I and called us - the Sister Missionaries, who have their own rules about being alone with the opposite gender - as the official ones to make sure that there was always a female in there with the other females. So needless to say, I just made sure that whenever the last girl was done being confirmed, I just went out of the room with her and then sat and waited in the chapel area until I was needed again. It was really interesting. So, I guess we were needed there for a lot more than just supporting Jenny. :) After the temple, we went out to dinner at Chille's with Jenny as a little celebratory event. It was SOOOO yummy! I LOVE their chips - and their salsa's pretty good, too. But if I had to choose between Chille's or Los Hermanos, it would be Los Hermanos; they win the best chips AND salsa! Haha. But anyways, Jenny was SO sweet and she even bought our meals! I just love her! :) Friday was crazy! We had a million different things going on! We finished a little bit of weekly planning, then we went and tried having a lesson with Fasaad (one of our investigators who Sis. Schramm and her last companiero met shortly before I joined the area), but he was busy, so we scheduled another time to see him. Then we visited Sister Nixon, our Stake President's wife. After that, we saw (and I met) Katy and Abby - a mother and daughter. Katy also has a son named Auggie (short for August) they are SOOOOO cute and sweet and I just LOVE them! They immediately threw their arms around me and just welcomed me into the area and made me feel SO loved! :) They seriously should be members already, but they're barley even investigating the church. They're just really amazing potentials, actually. Haha! But we set up a time to see them this week and we will actually have a lesson with them! I am SOOOO excited!!! :) That night, we let Elder Stone and Elder Harper take our car for a bit cause they had a dinner appointment kinda far away and they were walking, plus Elder Stone was getting the same thing I had that whole week, so he was NOT feeling good. So while they borrowed the car, we did some street contacting for a little while, and it actually turned into a miracle night! We met a guy and his son in the parking lot of their apartment, and we started talking with them. We told them that we're representatives of Jesus Christ and that we invite others to come closer to Jesus Christ and told them a bit about the restoration of the gospel and asked if we could talk with them about this very important message sometime - like right now. The dad looked down at his son and said, "What do you think?" the son smiled and said, "Ya," and the dad said, "Ok. Wanna come in?" We said, "Yes!" and followed them into their apartment, where the man's wife was sitting on the couch. They're a latino family from Honduras, so they are VERY kind and listened to all that we had to say! We taught them the whole restoration and most of the Book of Mormon lessons! By the end of the lesson, however, the parents weren't too interested, although they were still kind to us. But the son (who's probably about ten years old or so) spoke up and said, "Well, if it's alright with you, Papi, I would like to read The Book of Mormon and see what it's all about because I really enjoy reading the Bible." His dad said that he could keep the Book of Mormon and read it. It was AMAZING! We tried and tried to get a return appointment, however, the parents wouldn't go for it. But at least we planted a really good seed in their son's heart, if nothing else! And right before we left, the wife asked us if we could accept gifts, and we told her that we can. So she went into the kitchen and brought out a wooden napkin holder that says "HONDURAS" on it and looked as though it had been hand crafted, and GAVE IT TO US!!! It's really beautiful! I just LOVE latino and hispanic people! Why couldn't I have served a spanish speaking mission?? Haha. It's ok. I get it enough here in VA anyways, so it all works out! :) Saturday was AMAZING!!! We finished weekly planning that morning. Then that afternoon we went to Ashby Heights to try to do some street contacting, which turned out to not be a good idea cause it was another really cute neighborhood, so there was nobody out to street contact. But it was a cute area to look around. :) Later that afternoon, we had an INCREDIBLE lesson with Fasaad and PUT HIM ON DATE FOR BAPTISM!!! ...This is yet to be determined if he wants to be baptized more for us, or for the gospel. Haha... It's rough being a Sister Missionary sometimes! That night we visited a cute family in the ward named the Fitzgeralds really quick, just long enough for me to say hi and for all of us to introduce ourselves, but I already love them! They are wonderful! After the Fitzgeralds, we went over to Bobbi's house and visited with her a bit and then watched Legacy with her! It was SO much fun! :) Sunday was crazy! We barley had a lunch break, and we didn't get a full dinner break! We had two really great member visits - first with the Carver's, then with the Sheng's! I love both of them! I'm slowly but surely starting to fall in love with Kingstowne; however, I'm not gonna lie, it has been a REALLY hard adjustment for me since I left Crystal City. But Heavenly Father has been showing me SO many tender mercies this week - especially yesterday! It was the Primary Program at church (SOOOO adorable!!!), and right after Sacrament Meeting, I saw a woman from the Crystal City ward standing there, so I went over and said hi and gave her a hug and talked to her for a minute! I told her how much I love and miss Crystal City and the ward and she told me how much her and the ward love and miss me! It was very much needed right then, so I am thankful for a Father in Heaven who is so mindful of us and our needs! :) After church (we have church from 3:00 to 6:00 pm), we didn't even have dinner and we went straight to a lesson... who wasn't even there... but it was ok. Cause then I was MUCH happier when we actually were able to go home and have a bit of a real dinner break! :) After that, we went over to the Grigg's home and had a lesson with our wonderful investigator, Kayla... AND her athiest dad! It was INTENSE! The lesson went really well cause he just sat and listened to us and what we had to say. However, after the lesson when we were trying to sneakily remind Kayla of her baptism date and re-invite her to baptism, that's when her dad piped up and we had about a twenty minute discussion about it. However, what it all amounted out to is that once he feels that Kayla has proved how much she wants to be baptized, then she can be. So hopefully he'll see how badly she wants this sooner than later! :) I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! Through the ups and the downs, the sour and the sweet, the good and the bad - it's all wonderful in the end! I love you all! :) PLEASE write me!!! :) Thank you SO much to all y'all who have been writing me! LOVE ALWAYS, Sister Aubrie Orrock P.S. Read Moroni chapter 7. I LOVE IT! :D

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