Thursday, March 20, 2014

Earth Shaking!

I will start this email off by telling you that we survived an EARTHQUAKE!!!!! You probably didn't hear it on the news. It wasn't very big. It was classified as a 3.9/4.0. It was on Saturday morning at about 8:15. Just on the other side of the lake. I was kneeling down to pray to start my studies (I was running behind that morning) when all of a sudden the floor started shaking.  It stopped quickly and paused. I thought good heavens what are the neighbors doing!!!!!! All of a sudden there was another big shake! That was all. It was the weirdest feeling ever. Besides the shaking and the rattling of our dishes and the somewhat subtle roar it felt like there was a suction cup underneath us. By the second shake I was up running to the bedroom. I think my "tornado warning-get up and move" training kicked in. I was looking for cover. Sister Hatfield loves telling people my reaction =) I just keep telling myself that if it was any worse she would have been a goner because she didn't move at all!!!! But she felt all of it hahahahaha We had more aftershocks for the rest of the day but didn't feel many of them. So we survived an earthquake. We just found out that there was another one this morning in the south of our mission that was a 4.7 I think I felt it because I woke up around the same time this morning feeling like my bed was shaking. WELCOME TO CALIFORNIA! Dont worry we are taking extra measures as a mission to be prepared. 
This week has been an interesting one to say the least. I have had highs and lows spiritually. We had interviews this week with President Hall. I had things to tell him but by the time I got to meet with him I couldn't remember what I wanted to say. I tell you why this happened.
 For interviews the Zone Leaders and the Sister Training Leaders set up a tour in the church building totally focused on Jesus Christ. They started us off in the waiting room where we were assigned to read Alma 26. When the tour started we were asked to forget all the stress and the worries and the concerns for our area and the work and totally and completely focus on ourselves and our needs and to think about our testimony of Jesus Christ. We were then taken to the chapel and we watched a Mormon Message on "Lifting Burdens." It was amazing and I was able to pull several things out of it that I needed to hear. The next room was full of Pictures of Jesus Christ. They read scriptures that were central to Christs life. After we were asked how the scriptures made us feel or what we felt as they were being read. The 3rd room was another movie, "Climbing High Mountains" (?) by Elder Eyring. That movie had me near to sobbing. We discussed who we turn to in our trials. It was so intense! The final room was another waiting room (for our interview) They had us ponder what we learned and how we felt the spirit, think about Christ and then read The Living Christ and add our own testimony to the back of it. Talk about prepping a Sister to cry before she goes in to see President Hall. I cry anyway!!!! But regardless it was an amazing experience. The church was a temple that day. You didn't want to do anything but whisper. It was an amazing experience, truly inspired and a miracle for myself.
More Miracles: my companion got really sick this week (that isn't the miracle!) and I was able to take a day to just study. It was so wonderful. I studied several talks that have to do with the Atonement and being a missionary. I did an activity that Pres. Hall asked us as trainers to do. I have never done it and thought that I would do it since I had loads of time! The activity was this: Imagine your last day in the mission. What differences would you want people to notice in you? What do you want to say you have done as a missionary? and What do you want to have become? I felt that my answers were totally generic answers from a missionary. Well as I read these talks I found my answers totally validated. I discovered that I am on the right track and that my answers were perfect for me! It was so relieving. 
I am struggling with this area and the members being rude most of the time over us being obedient. Seriously I am not kidding. We totally threw a wrench in their "ignorance is bliss" life style in being around the missionaries. Frustration City! (As one of my dearest companions used to say. ;) ) But what made it totally worth it was Friday night. A member family actually thanked us for working so hard to be obedient after we apologized for the behavior of the missionaries previous to us during the dinner appointments. It was what I needed that night and it helped push me forward until Sunday when I totally lost it and in my way kicked and screamed and ranted about how immature the ward members are acting over the stupid dinner calendar. I would rather NOT have dinners! Anyway I am going to move on now...... 
 I got the dreaded green paper in the mail this week that tells me when I am going home. YUCK! I cant believe how fast time is going by. This thin paper has given me such a hard time. I can't focus!!!!!! Well sometimes when I am at home I cant focus. So, as we should, we stay outside all day and then I can focus. =) Its much better that way. 
We are working hard everyday to find new investigators. We found a 1/2 family last week. Its a single father and his kids that he has shared custody over. He has had some really influential friends who have been members their whole lives or who have converted recently. We love teaching them! His boys are super intelligent and ask really good questions. There is a lot going on with him right now and so its hard to get a hold of him. We teach him at the members home who referred him to us. So please pray for him! He needs as many prayers as he can get right now. His email name is Rock. 
Well everyone I love you all so much! Keep hanging in there. Its going to be a great week!
Hurrah for Israel!
Sister Cottrell