Friday, November 22, 2013

Oops! I forgot to post last week!

This week has been so crazy busy. I look through my planner and I see that it was packed full and yet I feel like we didn't do much. But we did! We had a special sister training leader training meeting on Tuesday and Mission Leadership Council Wednesday and then we had a Zone training meeting on Friday Morning. We had an exchange Friday to Saturday and then had a very busy weekend. And all the times in between the meetings we were finding people. See we were busy! hahaha The meetings were so insightful. Our mission council is really doing everything we can to tailor our missions training to the needs we feel need to be addressed most. I have learned more about being apart of council this week than ever before. All our opinions and insights have been so important. It was been a real learning experience. 
Probably the highlight of the week was Sugar's baptism. All day Saturday she was worried about remembering the importance of her baptism instead of being worried about meeting her boyfriends parents right before the baptism. We gave her a scripture to memorize and then memorized it with her all day Saturday: 2 Nephi 31:12 "And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, Follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do." It seemed to help her so that by Sunday she was calmer about it all. On Sunday we had many small bursts of excitement as the time drew closer for Sugar's baptism. When the evening came we were asked to fill in on the piano for an invitation only baptism. It was super top secret for whatever reason. During the confirmation I realized that we had left the form at home for Sugar to be baptized. Knowing that the last time I had a baptism they requested to see the form. I started stressing because home was at least a 20 minute round trip run and it was a quarter to the hour. We flew out of the building telling people we would be back soon with the paperwork. We hurried as fast as we possibly could. As we were pulling back into the church parking lot we got a phone call from some Elders trying to locate us. We walked in and they sushed us. We stopped and realized that they had started the program without us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Okay I am going to breathe for just a moment because I am trying to let this go.) I have really had a hard time with our Stake President. Everything that goes with a baptism for whatever reason has to be under his control. He has to be present at each baptism.... we only do it on Sunday so people can attend (even if the person being baptized doesn't want others there), and they always push to start right on the dot even if the family for the person getting baptized isn't there. Here is what really gets me about last night: the baptism before us started 20 minutes late, and the Stake President didn't throw a fit like he did with ours not starting on time. But he starts ours without the missionaries who just taught the person being baptized for the last 6 weeks? Then he asks me if I am okay when I am upset and its very clear my companion and I are upset? Are you kidding me????????? If we had been 5 minutes later in arriving from getting paperwork they didn't ask for this time, we would have completely missed Sugar actually getting baptized. I am pretty sure I have been repenting hourly for this one because the man simple makes me want to become the Hulk and throw him through the roof to the next state or into the ocean. ;/ I am trying to support him as my leader but I most certainly do not agree with his politics. I know for a fact that I am not the only missionary that feels this way. We have all had it past normal stress levels with him. He makes getting someone baptized very difficult and then tears us down in the process. However with all that has been said and done I am trying to focus on the positives of the night. Sugar did get baptized and we did get to see it (barely :D ). Sugars boyfriends brothers girlfriend is soon going to be investigating the church (we are teaching her for the first time tomorrow) and many of our ward members came out and supported Sugar. It was a wonderful service and her confirmation was beautiful and simple. Just like it needed to be for her. So that was my week.
Throw in a little drama with Sisters arranging exchanges for themselves with other missionaries and not telling their leaders (TOTALLY AGAINST THE RULES ON ALL COUNTS!!!!!), then having to correct them and not have them hate you for it, then having another set of sisters lock themselves out of their apartment (they stayed at our place last night) and you have a very busy weekend.  hahaha missionary life is so weird!!!!!!! The things that make it an adventure are totally different than "normal" life worries. 
I am grateful that I have a new week ahead of me. Hope you all have a wonderful week too!
Hurrah for Israel!
Sister Cottrell


Okay first I must open with last Monday. Sister Kemp and I went and played tennis again with some of our ward members. We were there in the afternoon and had a blast. Sports are a great way to get to know members we have decided. The weather here has been very warm for "autumn," at least the fall weather I am used to. As we were playing we started to feel like we were getting sunburned. Sure enough we were!!!!! In fact all of us were. ITS NOVEMBER!!!! WHO GETS SUNBURNED IN NOVEMBER?????? It was a reality check for sure..... WELCOME TO CALIFORNIA! But the leaves are changing and that makes me happy. Also as the week has gone on there is a chill in the air. Its finally Fall!

This week has been super busy for Sister Kemp and I. We have been on 2 exchanges and they were amazing! I got to go back to Chatsworth and work the area for 24 hours. It felt so good to knock on the doors that were once so familiar to me. I don't know why that area holds such a special place in my heart but it does. We met many new people during exchanges and were able to teach alot. If I remember correctly, after the 1st exchange I didn't have much of a voice the next day because we had talked SO much! It was wonderful! On Thursday we helped President Hall during interviews. We trained a zone about setting daily goals of how many people to contact each day so that in the end we are baptizing more. It all stems from Elder Ballards talk this last conference. He said, "You full-time missionaries, if you want to teach more you are going to have to talk to more people." So the idea is to contact 50 people each day outside of specifically planned finding activities. In the end we want to talk to 1000 people a week! We literally must talk with everyone! During the interviews we got a call from the institute building. Apparently a young woman had walked in and wanted to talk with the missionaries. We raced over there and met her. She said that she had been on her way to buy cigarettes because she was mad and decided to do something crazy. As she was driving she decided to pull over to  the "church" building and give that a try first. In our conversation with her we discovered she is a less active member. We invited her to our upcoming activities and to actual church. The good news...SHE CAME! It was so wonderful to have her there.

At Sugar's baptism there was a potential investigator who attended. I'll call her Gem. Gem is such a sweet young lady. We had the opportunity to teach her with her boyfriend in attendance. Her boyfriend is the brother of Sugar's boyfriend and is a member of our ward. Are you seeing the pattern? hahaha I am happy to report that she is a new investigator! She has a 10 month old baby and she is the cutest little red head I have ever seen! We talked to our  Bishop about teaching her since she has a baby. In the end we decided it would be better for us to teach her since her fellowshipper and support (Sugar and her BF) attend our ward, and since her baby is too young to attend Nursery. We also had to take into account that Gem's BF is not a strong member and if we asked him to attend another ward we risk him going inactive. So the plan is to get her baptized and married from our ward before her daughter is old enough to go to nursery. ;D We are helping make eternal families from the singles perspective! It's so fun!

We visited one of our ward members who lives in a mental group home. She is such a sweet heart! During our conversation she discovered that there are quite a few movies I am not accquainted with which are popular. She asked, "Where have you been?" Sister Kemp being the wonderfully funny, and slightly absent minded person she is (I love her so much!) said, "I dont know, in a cuckhoo place?" I looked at her in disbelief and it caught her attention. I couldn't believe what she had said!!!!!! I watched as recognition of her statement came to light. We burst into laughter realizing that our member hadn't heard the comment. We were all laughing but for different reasons! It was hilarious! I think she does feel slightly bad but it was more funny.

I am constantly amazed by Heavenly Fathers intelligence in giving us opportunities to sympathize with others but to also learn and grow. This weekend has probably been the hardest weekend of my mission. I have helped many sisters get through homesicknessas a leader but I have never really experienced it myself....until now. I couldn't believe how debilitating it felt to miss home that much! During my lunch break on Saturday I literally laid down and just let myself cry. I cried myself to sleep. Once I woke up I felt much better. Why was I so homesick? Because I love my family very much and I knew that even though I am serving my Savior and I am where I need to be I was not present at a very special event where a majority my family and friends would be. It was so hard to pull myself out of my selfeshness and focus on the work. However I did get back to work.

Saturday night our phone turned itself off and wouldn't turn back on. We tried EVERYTHING to get it to come back on. This is a slight dilemma in our work since all anyone does is text us and we had alot of calls and texts to send that night. We also realized that our alarm clock wouldn't be available since it was on our phone. We decided that the normal beeping clock would not be a good thing to wake up to so we decided to use Sister Kemps ipod clock. When Sunday morning came around we woke up to a beautiful deep voice singing "Hallelujah". We slept through the bag pipes in the song but woke up to the deep voice. The group was the Canadian Tenors. I highly suggest trying them out. As I was laying there listening to the music I decided that I could wake up to them every morning! It was so nice and it was a lovely wake up call. ;D We got a new phone this morning but I think we will continue to use the ipod hahaha

Well that's it folks! I love you all very much! Have a lovely week!

Hurrah for Israel!


Sister Cottrell