Hey y’al! All’s well here in the ABM- America’s Best Mission! Hahahahahahaha oh I’m so funny. SO much has happened this past week! I don’t understand how it’s possible to fit so much goodness into just one week.
To start off the week we met with Wendy! She was a referral from the elders and we just love her so much! She’s 26 and has 5 kids. They live with her mother in law who hates Mormons so she won’t let us come to her house. So we meet with Wendy at a splash pad and she lets her kids run around while she talks with us. It’s so perfect! We met with her twice this week and she is absolutely STARVING for truth. When we taught her about Joseph Smith and how he just wanted to find God’s true church she said, "wow that’s just like me!" She had some really terrible things happen to her at church as a child and it has taken her a really long time to even be able to think about religion again. She has told us that throughout the whole process she has seen God’s hand every step of the way. We are so so excited to keep learning with her!
On Wednesday we drove to Tupelo, Mississippi and spent the day there. There was a meeting with our zone and one other to meet President and Sister Sainsbury! They are so so sweet and I just love them sooooo much!! The first time I met President Sainsbury he said, "you know, my mission president’s last name was Oscarson… so I think pretty highly of you already." Hahahaha oh gosh it was so funny. They spoke for a little while and they’re just adorable! We drove to Tupelo and back on the Natchez Trace Parkway and it was beauuuuuutiful. SO green, SO many trees. We crossed the Tennessee River several times and it’s just gorgeous. I cannot believe how beautiful the south is. The sunsets are amazing every single night. Like how did I get so lucky??!? Oh and while we were in Tupelo we saw this monument to Elvis because he was born there. Pretty cool.
Church in Alabama is the most hilarious thing ever. I really wish I could write down everything that happens and tell you all of it. Basically I died laughing during testimony meeting. Southerners have no filter. Oh they keep me laughing every single day. I LOVE THEM. And there’s nothing I love more than little kids with strong southern accents. My grammar is going to be so
On Saturday we were tracting in an apartment complex and found a woman named Jasmine and her whole family was taught by the missionaries several years ago and her mom and sister had both gotten baptized. Her sister is named Sherwanda and she lives right down the street from us but we had never heard or seen her name anywhere. We went and visited her later that night and she told us how she had moved here from Hamilton and had no idea there was a ward here. She started to cry because she said her life had just been falling apart since she stopped going to church and she thought she wouldn’t ever be able to go again. The miracle is that Sister Griffith and her companion last transfer tracted her apartment complex, so we wouldn’t have tracted there again any time soon, so we never would have found Sherwanda. We were definitely led to Jasmine’s house to be able to find Sherwanda. Miracles are real y’all! I have seen an abundance since I’ve been here. The Lord is SO involved in His work.
We had pday switched to today since yesterday was a holiday and holidays are prime for finding and teaching since people are off work. It was such a good day. Members fed us both lunch and dinner and both grilled out so I ate soooo many hot dogs hahaha. (Alabama grill out= Utah bbq. Alabama bbq= real barbecue. Ribs, brisket, smoked meat, etc.) We did quite a bit of finding and were able to talk to way more people than we usually do and it was so awesome! And Sister Griffith and I both dressed obnoxiously patriotic and matching so I’m sure that helped with people wanting to talk to us haha. In the evening we went to a park were basically the whole city goes to watch fireworks. It was SUCH a perfect spot to go and talk to people. It is right on the bank of the Tennessee River and overlooks all of Florence and I have never seen anything so beautiful. They shoot the fireworks off from a boat in the middle of the river and it’s the coolest thing. There was lighting all night so that made it even cooler. Right before the fireworks started it started storming really bad. But that’s what the south does, It storms really really bad for several minutes and then it suddenly stops and is clear. Funny story- Sister Griffith’s mom sent a package with some 4th of July glow sticks in it. We were SUPER excited to wear them last night when we went to see fireworks. We put a bunch of them on and walked to the park… but apparently they aren’t a thing here. Nobody else had them so we really stuck out. But that’s nothing new hahaha. We’re used to it and it’s for our benefit.
I’ve been pondering Alma 58:10-11 a lot lately-
10 Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God,that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people.
11 Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.
In verse 10 they’re asking God to deliver them and take their hardships away. But they say in verse 11 that that’s not what He did.He blessed them with assurances, peace, faith, and hope. God is never going to just take our hardships away! He is going to bless us with the things we need to overcome them. How cool is that?! I LOVE verse 11. They recognized the things they had been blessed with and expressed their gratitude for it. Such an amazing example. I JUST LOVE THE SCRIPTURES SO MUCH.
It’s such a blessing to be a missionary in the Bible Belt. I’m learning SO much about other religions and how the Book of Mormon and Bible work together. A lot of people’s pastors and preachers warn them about us. I am not kidding you pastors teach classes on how to deal with the Mormon missionaries. So when people meet us they’re suuuuper surprised when we look normal and are nice to them. Because their pastor basically told them that we’re evil. A lot of people are really amazed that nobody in our church is paid. In all the churches around here the ministry is paid and there’s a lot of corruption because of it. A lot of people get super frustrated because there will be a pastor that leads a really poor congregation that has nothing and he lives in a mansion with expensive cars. You know what else I’ve learned? There is no other religion on earth that gets as torn apart as ours. You don’t hear about pastors teaching classes on how to deal with Catholics or Methodists or any other religion. And yet our church still stands as strong as ever. It’s like this quote from Elder Holland that I love-
(talking about the Book of Mormon)
"For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history—perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands. Failed theories about its origins have been born and parroted and have died—from Ethan Smith to Solomon Spaulding to deranged paranoid to cunning genius. None of these frankly pathetic answers for this book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator. In this I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so." (Safety for the Soul, October 2009)
Y’ALL THE CHURCH IS SO TRUE.
also side note haha. I’m getting real good at saying "y’all." Plus they’ll make fun of you for being a northerner if you say "you guys."
I love all y’all and each of y’all! Have a blessed week!
All my love,