Tompkinsville, Morgantown, Whitehouse, Russelville, Elkton, Princeton, and Fulton... June-July 2011
"Now I am traveling the mission with Sister Turner, going to all the areas that don't have missionaries and teaching the people who need to be taught. It is a program that President Hutchings started about six months ago and it has been very successful so far. I am excited to be serving with Sister Turner again! We had fun last time we served together. We are living in Hopkinsville, KY with Sister Warwood and Sister McCall. We don't get to see each other much because Sister Turner and I are never home, but when do see each other we have a blast!
"Traveling is very exhausting so far. We drive at least four hours every day; its like a never ending roadtrip! I am constantly praying for an alert mind and eyes so that I don't fall asleep on the road. It is really cool though because almost all of the people we teach are progressing towards baptism. Yesterday we had a baptism in Fulton and today we had a baptism in Morgantown. Sister Larsen taught both of them and was able to come to both baptisms with her parents.. its been a spiritual high all weekend.
"Last night we stayed with the Gallatin sisters (because it was closer to where we were going than our apartment) and we drove out to Tompkinsville this morning. Tompkinsville is beautiful-so green and forested-but everything is so spread out and hard to find! While trying to find one particular family, our trusty (or not so trusty) GPS took us on this little gravel road that went straight into someone's private farm. Sister Turner followed the GPS without giving it second thought, and as we got deeper and deeper into this farm the road became less and less of a road. We thought it continued, but the barbed wire fence ahead of us (which we may or may not have run straight into) told us otherwise. It just so happened that the owner of this farm we were driving through was standing twenty yards behind us wondering what in the world we were doing. Thankfully, he didn't shoot us.. he just shook his head and pointed us in the right direction. Adventures!
"Things are going so well right now.. we see miracles almost daily in the wonderful world of traveling. We are teaching many wonderful people and preparing several for baptism in the upcoming weeks. One of them is Jaret-the younger brother of Jailyn who was baptized in June. Jaret is fifteen and is so easy to teach, he is completely willing to listen and do what it takes to follow the example of Jesus Christ. We are also teaching a man named Tony, who has been coming to church for months and now feels ready to make the sacred covenant at baptism. His wife Nancy has been right beside him all the way encouraging him, and every time we are in their home the spirit almost overpowers us. Such sweet and humble people.. I feel very lucky to know them.
"Tonight was definitely a night to remember. We are teaching a woman named Phylecia who came to church on Sunday for the first time and absolutely loved it. She told us that when she walked into the church building "it felt like coming home". She has been to several different churches throughout her life but never felt like she was where God wanted her to be. She said while she was attending a certain church, she actually started crying because she knew that truth was not being taught. We taught her about the Holy Ghost and how it testifies of truth, and she recognizes that what we are teaching is true because she feels the spirit. She said each time she opens the Book of Mormon it talks about repentance and baptism, and she knows that God is speaking directly to her through its pages.
"One year ago today I left the missionary training center to come to this beautiful land of Tennessee. I was anxious and excited but I felt like a foreigner to this place and lifestyle. Its strange to think that I've been here in Tennessee for a year. It has been the hardest/craziest/strangest/most interesting and most rewarding year of my life. I never knew how hard a mission would be, but I would never take it back for anything in the world. Sacrifice brings blessings, refinement, character, love, and appreciation for all the things God has given me. It is interesting to look back and recognize the changes that have taken place within myself. Its hard, but worth it. Speaking of opposition and changes that are worth it, my friend Emily has been on my mind a lot lately because she is experiencing so much of this. Her baptism is this Saturday, and it seems like everyone she knows is trying to prevent her from making this step in the right direction. I feel so bad that she has to go through all of this, but I know the blessings she gets in return will be completely worth it."