Gloucester 7-29-13

I don’t even know where to begin. I don’t have enough time to cover everything that happened this week, but I’ll do my best to cover the main stuff.
 
So this week we’ve been pretty limited due to the mile alottment that we’ve been given, so it’s been difficult to find enough rides to go everywhere we need to and fill the time that we have to. But because we’ve been relying so heavily on the members to take us to lessons, we’re able to introduce our investigators to the members and it works out well. One lady we have been meeting with lives about 50 miles away from us. So we always try to get a member to take us to see her. We had one lesson on Sunday of last week where we walked in and she saw us as an answer to her prayers. This week we saw her with another member, and she sat us down and explained how she wouldn’t be seeing us anymore because the Book of Mormon was not true. We were able to ask her questions enough to find out what her concerns were, and we tried to address them. She finally allowed us to teach the lesson of the Restoration and explain more about where the Book of Mormon came from. By the end of the lesson, she decided that even though she had a hard time with 3rd Nephi with Christ’s ministry to the Americas, she thought Joseph Smith must’ve been a true prophet. We were surprised when she said that because of how hard she’d been fighting that, but we were excited to hear it. We asked what made her feel differently, and she got up and left the room. We looked at each other and wondered what to do, but she soon came back in with an armful of spiral notebooks. She showed them to us and we read them out loud. She explained that they were her prophesies about the destruction of the world and her revelations for the earth. She was starting to believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, but was apparently having a difficult time understanding what exactly a prophet was. We tried to explain more clearly that a prophet is a man who holds the priesthood authority and the keys to be God’s mouthpiece on the earth, but she seemed to miss the first part and jump to the conclusion that she was a prophet too. So we’ll continue to work on that, but we know as she reads the Book of Mormon and prays to know it’s true and gains that testimony, the rest of it will be taken care of. She even gave us some referrals to some other people we plan on teaching soon too. That’s usually how it goes, that once you meet one hispanic they lead you to more, because the same thing happened earlier that week. We met a lady at Walmart and set up an appointment with her. We ended up teaching 3 of her co-workers before her, and she had invited her brother and sister to her appointment. And after their appt. they pointed us across the street to a housefull of men they worked with as well. We went over and taught them as well, getting a return appointment to teach 8 of the people that lived there too. There are lots of rules we follow to stay safe in many different situations, so we’re always taking precautions when we teach or do anything. But I guess there are always risks associated with teaching anyone. Physical safety is often the first that comes to mind, but there are others that we as missionaries just don’t even think of when going about the Lord’s errand. Which is why the phone call the next day was such a shock. One of the muchachos called us the next morning and started talking about what we thought was the Book of Mormon and how much he liked it. We were very excited and for some reason he kept asking if we understood him. We kept saying yes, but he still seemed unsure. After a few more minutes of conversation, we were ready to commit him to baptism. But he had a different kind of committment in mind. Finally we realized that he wasn’t talking about the book, he was talking about ME. Once that clicked I immediately explained about our rules and how we didn’t have relationships as missionaries, and no, not even if they got baptized, he finally understood and then asked if he could still read the Book of Mormon anyway. So after explaining the situation to our District and Zone leaders, we were given permission to continue to teach the men in their house as long as we brought members with us, did it in daylight..etc. So more precautions, but at least we’re still teaching them, because out of that day alone we had 9 new investigators! We’re definitely starting to see more and more miracles happen every day and I’m so grateful to be in this area. We have a pretty busy week coming up, so hopefully we’ll see even more! Take care everyone and I’ll update again next week!
 
Love,
Hermana Karson

Gloucester 7-22-13

I think the ball is starting to roll. It’s been very slow going
lately, but we see things changing a little bit every day.  In the
beginning of the week President Hamilton (the Stake President) and his
family came up to Gloucester and took us out to dinner. We got to talk
to him a little about his vision for the area and get some ideas of
how to help the area. The next day we went to visit some less active
members. We weren’t able to really get anywhere with a few of them, so
we came back a couple days later in service clothes and asked to help
with something. They were a little hesitant at first, but it didn’t
take long for them to put us to work. We spent most of that day
sweeping, mopping, dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing, spraying, washing,
mowing, you name it. We were wiped out after a while, but we feel like
some of the families we helped started to finally see us as servants
of the Lord. So we’re hoping to continue to do missionary work like
Ammon to soften the hearts of the people. We’ve been working mainly
with less actives this week since we’ve had such a hard time finding
people to teach in Spanish. But we had heard from several sources that
Walmart was the place to be on Friday nights to find Hispanics, so we
asked permission to stay out late, and spent a few hours walking
around there. And waddya know. Around 7 o’clock, we started seeing the
first of many Spanish-speakers walking down the isles of Walmart. By
the time we left, we had 5 new lessons set up and many more names and
numbers. So we plan on doing that every Friday night from now on. When
we’re not visiting less actives or walking around Walmart, we spend
our time traveling to other towns around Gloucester to find people to
teach. It’s been something of a wild goose chase so far, but yesterday
we talked to one of the counselors on the Stake Presidency, and he
gave us lots of helpful names and information to find more people to
teach. So we plan on following up on all those this week and we expect
things to really start moving forward.
Last night we got some members to drive us up to Deltaville, a little
itty bitty town at the top of our area, for a few appointments we had.
We had three different lessons scheduled with three different people,
but ultimately each and every one of them stood us up. It was a bit of
a bummer, especially since we had members driving us. We were just
about to leave when it was suggested that we pray. So we did, and the
thought came to visit a friend of someone’s that lived in the area
before we left. We drove over there and it looked like there was
nobody home, but we decided to knock anyway. As we were just about to
knock, the door opened and she invited us in. So we came and sat down,
and over the course of the discussion she told us that she had
recently left her church because she felt that she could no longer
serve the Lord sufficiently there, and had prayed to know where the
Lord would have her go next. She was waiting on an answer when we came
up to the door. She then told us how she truly believes the Lord
answers prayers through other people sometimes, and here we were. Then
she turned to me and said, “Just look at you. You’re glowing. You’re
positively glowing.” Then she told us that we must be her answer
because of it. So she asked for all the information to our church and
promised to come next Sunday and bring all of her hispanic friends
that she could, because she knew the Lord was giving her an answer. As
disappointing as it is when people blow us off for appointments, it’s
all worth it when the Lord puts you in the path of someone who’s
searching for answers. Getting doors slammed in your face and people
yelling and cursing at you never gets any easier, but the work is
always worth it.

Love,
Hermana Karson

Gloucester 7-15-13

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New companion, new area, new ward, new people, new apartment, etc.
This has been a week of changes. I’m in a place called Gloucester VA.
We’re opening up the area to Spanish which is so exciting! We’re
spending most of our time looking for Hispanics to teach, and hadn’t
had much luck where we’re living, sodecided to take a trip up north
to Deltaville to follow up on some leads. We seriously feel like
detectives. We were lead from one place to another on the word of some
people in town, and it was like a treasure hunt. We finally ended up
at a big farm, and found a bunch of migrant workers. Because of food
regulations and such, we couldn’t actually talk to the workers, but we
left lots of pamphlets and Book of Mormons with the boss, so we plan
on following up in a couple days. The members have been super helpful
and we already have lots of referrals to contact whenever we go back
up there, so we’re excited about that. We’re living with a member
right now that goes by “big momma” in the ward, and she’s just about
the sweetest little old lady you ever did see. They’re working on
getting us an apartment up further north so we won’t have to drive so
far every day, but until then we’re being spoiled living with Big
Momma. The area is really pretty and the people are super friendly. I
miss the Spanish branch a little. Church in English just isn’t the
same. Most of our ward are converts, and we seem to hear some
interesting new doctrine every time we talk with them.

Every time someone goes up to the pulpit and says “good morning brothers and
sisters,” there’s always the response “good morning!” by the
congregation. My companion and I couldn’t help but laugh when we went
to the ward for the first time yesterday. Like I said, they’re
friendly. Speaking of my companion, her name is Hermana Valdez, and
she’s from Utah. She’s a native Spanish speaker (thank goodness), so
she only spend 2 weeks in the MTC. She finds knocking doors very
exciting and we’ve been doing a lot of that lately, so it’s been good.
We’re working hard and very hopeful about this week. I miss all of
you. Shout out to Will Welch who’s going into the MTC this week! The
work is hastening. Don’t let it move on without you! Love ya’ll!

Love,
Hermana Karson

 

Newport News 7-8-13

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First and foremost, Happy late Fourth of July! Thank you to all of the men and women who have fought for our freedom, and who keep our country safe. Your sacrifice is appreciated. 4th of July here was great. We got the day off, and got to stay out late (until 10:30). We were going to watch the fireworks, but decided we wouldn’t be able to make it back home in time, so ended up making s-mores in the oven, which in my opinion, taste way better than fireworks. Oh. Back to the beginning of the week. So Monday I got my haircut. Like I told Benjamin, if he cut his hair I’d cut mine. And he did. So I did. It was getting too hot to walk around like Cousin It, so I decided to chop it. 10 inches. Gone. It’s taken some getting used to, and with the humidity sometimes I look like a lion, but it’s so much cooler, and therefore worth it. Monday was also the first official day of the Virginia Chesapeake Mission, so Tuesday when we had Mission Conference we met President Baker and his wife. There have already been some pretty big changes, but he’s an inspired man, so I feel confident with the direction he’s leading the mission. And it’s a good thing I gained that testimony the first day I met him with the phone call we got yesterday. Since the Richmond mission split, the Chesapeake mission was put a week behind to coordinate with the transfer periods of the MTC or something, so we lost a week. So instead of transfers being next week, they’re this week. So instead of transfer calls being made next Sunday, they were made yesterday. We were teaching Spanish at a member’s house when the phone rang, and since they only call if a change is being made, we knew one of us were leaving. And since the caller ID said President Baker, we knew it was a big change. We excused ourselves and put it on speaker, and he asked to speak with me. Most of what he said was a blur, but from what I remember and what my companions have told me, I’m going to Gloucester. I’m opening the area for Spanish speaking missionaries. And. I’m training a new Hermana straight from the MTC. And I’m not even finished with my own training. So this Thursday I’m going to the training meeting where I’ll receive more information, and then the transfer meeting where I’ll receive my trainee. Hermana Flores and I opened up this area when we came to Newport News, but there had already been Spanish missionaries here for a long time, just not Hermanas, so it was really different. This time there are absolutely no Spanish missionaries there and they don’t have a Spanish branch. Which means from what I gather, that we’ll be bringing Spanish investigators to the English ward and translating for them. So here’s hoping my new companion already speaks Spanish, because if not our investigators may be hearing a very different message than the one I translate. Fake it til you make it right? Ha. I know the Lord knows what he’s doing, but I sure don’t, so hopefully everything will work out! I’m still a little in shock, but really I’m excited to go and find some people to teach in Gloucester. The Stake President’s vision is that one day this will turn into a Spanish Stake, so I guess what better way to start than to get some branches started. I hope all is and are well back home and I love each and every one of you! Good luck to Will who’s leaving on his mission to Argentina next week, and Rachel who’s just started hers in the MTC! Keep up all the missionary work.

Love,
Hermana Karson

Newport News 7-1-13

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This week has probably been the craziest week of my whole mission. Lots of ups and downs. The beginning of the week started off slow. Well just Monday. And it might have something to do with the fact that it was preparation day. But by Tuesday morning things were in full swing and never slowed down. We had an appt with an investigator who confessed a bunch of sins to us, and I had no idea what to do with all that information. I guess people feel like they can trust us since we’re missionaries, but it starts to weigh on you after a while. I guess from what I’ve heard it’s something I’ll just have to get used to. And I can’t remember if it was this week or last week, but either way I forgot to mention, so…we got robbed. Yep. Someone broke into our car and stole a GPS (which we were borrowing), and a DVD player (which we were also borrowing). So that was a bummer. And I don’t remember if it was before or after that, but our downstairs neighbors got in a fight in the parking lot and we had to call the police. So that was fun. Actually not so much. But now they had to move out so hopefully the next tenant will be a cat lady. Then we had Family History Training and we are now officially FH consultants. That was really fun. I would strongly urge you to do your family history work. Okay so then we had a baptism!!! And everyone agrees that handsdown it was the most disfunctional baptism yet. Among many other things, our pianist was camping, the water was cold, my nose was bleeding, the branch president was confused, and the confirmation was NOT approved for right after the baptism. But other than that, the service was beautiful :D . Ha. But she got baptized, and that’s all that matters right? Then Saturday we had a blitz and handed out flyers for the open house of the new chapel opening up. We knocked so many doors and were drenched in sweat afterward because of how stinkin humid it was, but it was nice to get to talk to so many people. We said goodbye to a very active family in the branch this week, but two more families showed up to church that hadn’t in years, so it was really nice. We had a few very sobering lessons, and a few lessons with people who were not so sober, but either way, I know this Gospel is true. Keep the faith.

Love,
Hermana Karson