Monday, February 13, 2017

This email was sent by Sister Welker on January 23rd.  We received it on January 22nd.

Week 24: Memb 70, More Miracles

Elder Craig A. Cardon was our guest speaker at zone conference on Wednesday.  I was fortunate enough to hear from him while I was in the MTC, so now I've had the chance to hear from him twice!! Elder Cardon loves referencing scriptures to back up his talks.  He'll often give us a scripture to locate, then he'll make a comment or two and find another scripture to reference, which I quite like because you're never bored and it's interactive and provides opportunities for you to participate.  Today he talked a lot about the Abrahamic Covenant which is something I know very little about.  It's basically a promise that the descendants of Abraham (whether blood related or adopted) will inherit eternal life, which not only includes being able to live with our Heavenly Father, but gives us an opportunity to become more like him.  The purpose behind discussing the Abrahamic Covenant was to answer the question of "Who are you, and What does God expect of you?".  Unfortunately, the best I can do is summarize, but basically as missionaries, we are not only God's children but we have been found worthy as one to represent Him despite our weaknesses. According to the Abrahamic Covenant, we've been promised eternal life and are considered to be an extension of God's arm.  SO that's pretty cool if you ask me.
This email was sent by Sister Welker on January 16th.  We received it on January 15th.

Week 23: Blonde Moment, Budgeting, and Member Missionaries

For those of you who don't know me well, I can be quite oblivious sometimes.  My family and I like to call these moments "blonde moments".  Granted I also happen to have blonde colored hair, so it makes for a great excuse sometimes.  So anyway, Tuesday morning I woke up and said my prayers and then turned to my companion and realized she wasn't feeling well  She requested some painkillers.  So I ran down to the car and grabbed the painkillers from the glove box and came back up to the flat.  The rest of the morning went just like normal, getting ready, breakfast, and then studying.  After finishing our companion study, we packed up and got ready to go to District Meeting (meeting with other missionaries in our area).  We were about to head down our staircase when I realized I didn't have the keys!!  I looked in my bag, looked on the counter, looked in our bed room, looked on the table and they were no where to be found.  We informed the District Leader that we would be late and continued searching for the keys.  We looked EVERYWHERE in the flat.  It's not a very big flat, so it would be hard to lose the keys there.  Then we thought of the possibility of me leaving the keys in the car, but unfortunately, the car was locked.  All we could do was peek through the window and see if we could spot them, but we couldn't see them there either.  By this point it had been a good 20 minutes or so, and I was starting to stress.  Sister Fuggle and Sister Ah You left District Meeting to come and help us find the keys, but they couldn't find them either.  We called Elder McGregor, who's the missionary responsible for the mission cars, and explained to him what had happened.  We then arranged to have someone come and unlock the car for us.  Once they unlocked the car, the four of us missionaries searched the car and had no luck finding the keys.  I was super stressed by this point and was wondering if I had dropped the keys. Someone might have picked them up and walked off with them.  At noon (2 hours after I realized the keys were missing) Sister Reynolds and Sister Ofa meet us at the flat to come help look for the keys as well.  The six of us, then divided into groups of three to ask the businesses within the apartment complex to see if anyone had turned in any car keys.  Still no luck.  Just when I was about to give up, Sister Reynolds found the car keys!!  They were tangled up within the pages of my missionary planner in my bag/purse.  I was SOOO EMBARASSED!!  There I was with six missionaries spending hours looking for our car keys that were in my bag the whole time.  Though it was stressful in the moment, it's funny to laugh at, and now I have a great story to tell haha.

About two months ago, we were given a training on how to budget money.  So this last week, I decided I should try it out.  It was a complete and utter FAIL!!!  Now I have a lot of respect for Mom, and I understand why she's always trying to stretch the dollar and pinch the pennies.  Ironically, the week I tried to budget is the week I ran out of money on the mission card.  So we had to improvise with our meals including everything from scrambled eggs, to fried eggs, to eggs again.  My poor companion is probably sick of eggs by now haha.  However, the Lord is always aware of our situation, and on Friday every appointment or visit we went to, someone offered us either L&P or chocolate or some fried rice and noodles.  They had no idea that we had been living off of eggs for the past couple of days, but the Lord knew, and he was watching over us.

This week we've been really focusing on gaining trust with the members, and trying to get them excited about missionary work.  Thursday we were visiting with two members.  I'll use the names Sister Adams and Sister Woods.  The two of them are roommates and live in the same house.  When we arrived to have lunch with them, you could tell they were annoyed with each other.  We had a nice lunch with them (which happened to be New Zealand Samon and was super yummy!!) and tried to change the tense atmosphere into a nice conversation.  At the end of our visit, we asked if it was ok if we shared a message with them.  Of course they agreed, and listened as we explained how my companion and I were working on giving better spiritual thoughts.  So rather than opening our scriptures to a random page and reading a scripture, we took some time to think about the message we wanted to share with them and read from Moroni 7 (Book of Mormon), which is the chapter that talks about charity.  We had such a good discussion and Sister Woods even shared an experience she had this week with an elderly gentlemen that she works for.  This elderly gentlemen has dementia and so he'll, at times, forget important details.  This time he had forgotten his pin number to his card and had a stack of groceries in front of him that he needed to pay for.  They asked the cashier if they could leave the groceries, go talk to the bank, and come back to pay for the groceries, but a lady behind them interrupted and offered to pay for his groceries, which ended up being a total of $85.  A complete stranger was willing to help an elderly gentlemen pay for his food, so he wouldn't have to stress with coming back to pay for them later.  It was such a cool story!!  We committed them to pray to have charity, and after putting our shoes on and leaving, you could hear Sister Adams and Sister Woods complimenting each other and helping each other out with the dishes.  I turned to my companion and said "Sister Jabeque, I think we left them better than we found them."  During relief society, Sister Wood told us of a time later that week when she bore her testimony to the Jehovah witnesses.  Afterwards, she told Sister Adams how excited she was that she participated in some of her own missionary work.

That's all the time I have for now, but I just wanted to bare my testimony that I know that God is aware of us and knows what we're going through.  He is watching over us because he loves and cares about us.  I know that missionaries can't do this work alone, that we need the help of every member just like Elder Dallin H. Oaks said in the last talk he gave in general conference.  Thomas S. Monson says "Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together to labor in the Lord's vineyard to bring souls unto him."  I'm so excited for the progress that we've made this week, but I know that without the Lord none of that would have been possible.  He lives and loves each and every one of us.  In the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Hope you all have a good week.  Keep smiling and keep being the amazing people you are. 

Sister Mandy Welker

Sunday, February 12, 2017