Tuesday, May 20, 2014

4 Months!!

Can you believe it was a just a week ago that we were talking to each other???  It seems like a lifetime ago!  Mom- you asked me if I was homesick or if talking to you guys affected the work this past week.  It was actually something that I was really worried about.  I prayed so hard to Heavenly Father to help me continue to be focused and motivated after I got to talk to you.  It was seriously the biggest tender mercy because we ended up having a really good and successful day that day!  So many miracles had happened that day.  I KNOW that if we had had a bad day, then talking to you would have made me feel super homesick and not motivated to do anything.  But because it had been such a successful day, I was excited to get back to work after talking to you.  I know that was a direct answer to my prayer and a blessing from Heavenly Father.  Talking to you actually really gave me the push and the motivation that I needed.  Knowing that you guys are proud of me and that I have so much support from the people that I love most has made a world of a difference.  I know that getting to talk to your family is an experience that is different for every missionary, but I was so grateful for it!
Monday-  Ok so last Monday there were CRAZY rainstorms.  Like seriously some of the craziest weather I have ever seen.  There were 3 flash flood warnings.  Sister Newton and I were lucky enough to be caught outside right in the middle of one, so that was interesting.  But we are alive and here to tell the tale.
Tuesday was Zone Conference and it was absolutely amazing.  I really just can't speak highly enough of the Cutler's and how inspired they are.  They gave us trainings on how important the family is.  That is one thing that I noticed in my setting apart blessing as I was reading it the other day.  It counsels me to preach the importance of families and how we can be together forever as much as I can.  I was grateful for this training because I do want to make families a focus for me personally here on my mission.  It really is the biggest blessing that we get to be together forever.  We also talked about finding "the one" that we were sent here on our missions to find.  I really think that there is at least one person in every area that I serve in that needs me, Sister Courtney King, to find them and share my testimony with them.  I am determined to work hard to make sure that Heavenly Father will always be able to bless me with those specific opportunities.  Zone Conference was awesome because I got to see Sister Tanner again!  Boy, have I missed her.  It was really funny, Sis. Tanner volunteered me and Sister Newton to do a musical number at the zone conference so we decided that we were going to get her back.  Earlier in the week we had sent her this fake letter from an ex-boyfriend pretty much proclaiming his love for her and asking for her hand in marriage.  It was legit!  When we got to zone conference she started telling us all about this letter that she had gotten.  Sis Newton and I started CRACKING UP.  She totally fell for it!  Haha one of my prouder moments... :)

Wednesday was a MIRACLE day!  We found this brand new part member family and they are THE BOMB!  It is this couple that is engaged and they have the cutest little 1 year old daughter and another baby on the way.  The mom is a member and joined the church back when she was a teenager.  She hasn't been coming for the past couple of years because her fiance isn't very religious.  But we got in there and established a really good relationship with them.  We are so excited to start teaching them.  We were super nervous because we knew that a lot was riding on this first lesson.  But then a few minutes after we left we got a text from her that said,
"Thank you so much for coming today.  You guys were so perfect, and my fiance is already excited to see you next week.  I know now for sure that he will join the church, maybe sooner than I thought.  Never thought this day would come."
I can not even begin to tell you how much that text meant to me.  After getting the training the day before about finding "the one" I really think this family could be the one for me!
Later that day we had another lesson with our investigator T.  I think I told you a little about her last week.  The lesson went so amazingly well!  We taught her the Plan of Salvation.  She loved the idea of the Spirit World and how everyone will have a equal opportunity to accept the gospel there.  I have never really thought about that a lot before.  I think I have taken that for granted sometimes.  It really is amazing that our Heavenly Father loves us so much and he is so merciful that He wants to give us every opportunity to make the right choice so that we can make it back to live with Him again.  How grateful I am for the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation!
Thursday was my 4 month mark!  That is a good chunk of time!  It doesn't seem like very much when you think about how I still have 14 more months ahead of me, but hey!  My mission is almost a third of the way over!  There is so much that I have to learn and so much that I want to accomplish still!  Time is going by fast and slow all at the same time.  To celebrate we went to Organ Piper's Pizza for dinner with the sisters from Muskego Lakes because Sister Pope came out with me so it was her 4 month mark too.  It is the coolest restaurant ever!  Glad we got to go.

Friday we met with F.  Last week's lesson didn't go so hot.  He hadn't been reading in the Book of Mormon.  But this week was so much better- he had been reading this week!  I don't think that is a coincidence.  Later that night we had dinner at Sarah's house.  When we got there, we decided to invite T over to join us last minute and she ended up coming!  It was so fun!  They get along great and their daughters are the same age so they love to play together.  Sarah is so excited to help others learn about this gospel now that she has seen how much it has blessed her life.  We had an awesome discussion about how the Book of Mormon has changed our lives and the Spirit was so strong.  She has started reading the Book of Mormon and has already seen a difference in her life.  It was such a wonderful night!
Saturday we had another lesson with our investigator.  She is seriously my new favorite person.  We taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she loved that as well.  She is so golden.  So grateful that Heavenly Father is letting us teach her.  Later that night we went to visit a less-active lady in our ward.  She has MS and lives in an assisted living center.  She can hardly move and can't talk very well.  So trying to talk with her didn't work very well.  Instead, we decided that we would sing hymns to her.  The Spirit was so strong in that room as we sang and it brought tears to her eyes.  There were even some of the workers there that stopped in to listen to us singing.  Such a cool experience. 
Sunday T came to church and this time she brought her 16 year old son  too!  He is way cool and has a lot of potential.  T is seriously the biggest miracle. 
That is pretty much it for this week.  So many good things are happening here in West Allis!  Thank you so much for your letters and e-mails!  You are the best!
Sister King

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's day

Oh my goodness getting to talk to you guys last night still just doesn't even feel real!!!  It was so fun!  It is so weird that one second it is against the rules to talk to you guys and then all of a sudden it is ok.  And now it is not again.  haha but I seriously can't wait for Christmas!!!
Here is a rundown of this past week!
Wednesday-  It took us the whole entire day to make it over to our appointments house and then as soon as we got there, the lady called us and cancelled.... typical.  haha.  But that's ok.  So that pretty much took our whole day.  In the evening our favorite Sister Stewart came out with us to some appointments.  She dropped us off back at our apartment and we still had like 30-40 minutes of proselyting time.  That's  really hard in a bus area because that is how long it takes to even wait for the bus.  So we decided to just walk around the block a few times and see if there was anyone that needed to talk to us!  We prayed so hard for someone to be placed into our path that was ready as we walked for 30 minutes.  We walked... and nothing happened.  UNTIL right when we got back to our apartment at 9 o'clock.  There were these two girls sitting outside. They are so awesome.  They have both been through a lot and we shared how the gospel can help them in their lives with everything that is going on.  So we will be meeting with them again tonight and I am so excited!
Thursday-  We met with our less-active.  He had been making a lot of progress but when we went to visit him this time you could tell that he had fallen back a little bit.  He hadn't been reading him Book of Mormon for the passed 2 weeks and you could see it in his countenance... :(  But we re committed him to reading everyday and he is already doing better again!  It is seriously crazy the difference that the Book of Mormon makes in our lives.  Then we had a lesson with our investigator, the guy that is an elder in his Lutheran church.  Lessons with him are always interesting.  He knows the bible reallllllllllly well and I don't so that makes things really interesting.  He is a really nice guy though so we are praying really hard to know what do get to teach him this coming week and how to handle all of his intense deep questions.  So that should be interesting.  AND THEN we had our first lesson with our new investigator T.  She is seriously the bomb diggity.  She is so cool and so prepared.  Like I feel the same way about her when we taught Sarah for the first time too which is a really big deal.  We taught her the restoration and she accepted everything and absolutely loved it!  I can't wait to start meeting with her more.  You will probably (and hopefully) be hearing about her a lot more in the weeks to come!  She lives kind of far away so while we were there visiting her there was a referral that we received a loooooooong time ago that lives in the same area.  But we had never been able to get a hold of it.  We decided to stop by today and we were finally able to make contact with the people that lived there.  It is a newly wed couple and the referral was actually for the wife, but when we went her husband answered to door.  They are super good, religious, Christian people and while they are very active in the church they go to they said that they would love to learn more about what our church teaches.  So seriously all they need to do is read the Book of Mormon and feel the Spirit and they will be golden.  So pretty much Thursday was a bomb day.
Friday we had our weekly planning sesh.... but we made it fun by having a cereal party.  #reese'spuffs.  That night we had dinner and a lesson with Sarah who is doing as awesome as ever!  We talked to her about missionary work and how she can share this wonderful gospel with other people that need it too.  She loved it!  She is so excited to share the gospel.  After dinner, the plans that we had cancelled, so we decided to head to this bus stop that we had been to a lot.  At this particular bus stop we run into a girl  sometimes.  She is way cool and we hadn't seen her in a while so we decided to stop by.  She has never been super interested in meeting with us, but she has always been way nice to us and I know that her heart will soften eventually.  So we headed to the bus stop and guess what!  She was there.  As soon as we walked up she said, "Sisters!  I was hoping I would run into you again soon!  I lost the card that you gave me and wanted another one so that I could check out that website."  What the heck how cool is that!!!  No doubt it was a spiritual prompting that we needed to go see her at the bus stop again that night.
Saturday morning the new senior couple that moved in down the street had us over for breakfast.  So that was way fun.  Later that day our ward had a baptism.  It was a family that the Elders have been working with for a long time.  The dad just got the priesthood a couple of weeks ago and on Saturday he baptized his 9 year old and his 8 year old boys!  The spirit at the baptism was really special.  Also- they didn't have a pianist there so I got to fill in on the spot! haha I actually didn't do too bad.
Sunday-  BEST DAY EVER!!!!!  Our investigator  came to church!!!  She loved it and she was participating in the lessons and everything.  Her daughter  loved it too.  T is about the same age as Sarah and their daughters are the same age too, so T and S already have friends and feel comfortable coming to church!  It's great!  Spiritual conversion to the gospel is really important, but social conversion is important too.  Having a friend there to support you and answer your questions and bear their testimony is KEY.  For example, Sarah had the Dominguez family and the Feezor's.  So I don't think it is a coincidence that our recent convert just happens to be the perfect fellowshipper for T.  It also gives Sarah a chance to bear her testimony too so that is way cool.    After church we took Mother's Day cookies around to some of the investigators that we have been working with.  So that was way fun.  Then.......  We went over to the Boston's to talk to our families!!  Totally the highlight of my past 4 months here!  You guys all look so good!  I sure do miss you.  It was totally a tender mercy that we had been having such a great day, because if it had been a bad day I think I would have gotten pretty homesick.  But Heavenly Father was looking out for me and made yesterday the best day ever.  And for that I am grateful.  While at the Boston's, there is this tradition that you show all the new missionaries this Yoda poster that they have in their family room and while they are looking at it you run and tackle them into the bean bag chair.  Let's just say I NAILED Sister Newton.  haha so that was fun.  And then to top off the most amazing day ever, T texted us right before we went to bed and said, "Thank you so much for bringing me to church!  I can't wait to meet again."  It is days like today that make a mission worth it!!!
Also- here is something cool that happened.  The record for "other lessons" in the sisters area in West Allis is 22 in one week.  And Sister Newton and I had 22 this week so we tied the record!  But don't worry, we will break it this week!
Hope you all have an amazing week.  Thanks for being the best family ever!  LOVE YOU!!
Sister King

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's day "visit"

It was wonderful to get to skype with Courtney for over 40 minutes on Mother's day! She is doing great and we love her so much! Casey and Bryan from Asia, were also with us via facetime!  It is amazing how small the world has become with technology!!

Greg and Lynnell skyped with Ryan in the morning.  Since they were at our house, we also got to "visit" with him for a couple minutes.  He is doing great and it was a fun time.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Chicago temple

Courtney and her new companion, Sister Newton
Can't believe another week has already come and gone!  The days are kind of slow, but the weeks are going by so fast!
This past week was kind of hard.  We had a lot of miracles last week that didn't end as well as we would have liked.  But hey- that's mission life!  Also, if there is opposition then that means that big miracles are coming!  So I am excited to see what lies in store for Sister Newton and I this week.  But not a lot of cool stuff to report on this week.
Tuesday-  Our first district meeting with the new district.  Our new district leader has a lot of high expectations for us this transfer.  And it makes me really excited and motivated to work harder!  So that is good.  I was really worried about getting to district meeting though because get this- the day sister tanner left they changed a lot of the bus routes due to construction!  Haha OF COURSE.  There is a saying here, "There are 2 seasons in Wisconsin- winter, and construction."  And it is so true!  The freezing cold winter makes the roads so bad and then they spend all summer fixing all of them just so they can get ruined all over again in the winter.  So it has been an adventure trying to figure out the busses, but Heavenly Father has definitely blessed me to be able to navigate my way around Milwaukee.  That night we had a lesson with a less active that we have been working with for a really long time that really hasn't progressed at all.  It ended up being a really intense lesson and after a lot of hard work, we committed her to read the Book of Mormon everyday for at least 10 minutes and see the difference that it makes in her life.  I have so much faith that if she puts forth the effort, it will change her life!  I just hope that she puts forth the effort.  So I am excited and nervous to follow up with that this coming week.
Wednesday-  We had our first lesson with a new investigator!  He was the guy that we met a few weeks ago at the gas station that came up to us and said, "why have no missionaries knocked on my door yet??"  It was an awesome lesson!  He is so cool!  He is an Elder in his Lutheran church, but he admits that he doesn't believe in everything that the Lutheran church teaches.  The spirit was so strong during the lesson.  Seriously- all he needs is to read the Book of Mormon and I KNOW that he will know this church is true.  But he is super hesitant to read it so we have been working on that.  

Then later that day... WE GOT TO GO TO THE TEMPLE!  It was an amazing experience.  I really have come to love the temple so much and I miss it terribly.  The temple is such an amazing place.  It was such a blessing to get to go as a missionary.  The Spirit that is felt in the temple, specifically the celestial room, is undeniable!  I love it.  I didn't want to leave!  When I was in the temple, I knew that Heavenly Father was so proud of me for how hard I am working.  The Chicago Temple is absolutely stunning!  It was so fun to get to go because mom was there not too long ago, and it made me feel close to her!  Haha so that was cool.  I love the temple.  Don't take having so many temples so close for granted.  Go as often as you can!
Thursday-  Maybe I should just come right out and say that Thursdays are always a weekly planning day so they are usually pretty slow and not a lot goes on.  So not a lot of excited news for Thursday.  But we did get to go to the Boston's for dinner!  They are so great!!  That is where we are going to skype you guys this next weekend!  I can't wait!
Friday-  We did a lot of street contacting and finding.  We are trying really hard to find new people to teach and to enhance our teaching pool.  We met a lot of cool people, but nothing really to report on.  Then we went to Sarah's for dinner and she is doing as amazing as ever!  Her testimony is continuing to grow every single day!  I am so happy for her.  Her life really has changed.
Saturday  we spent all day visiting different less-actives.  Some of them are really coming along, but some really haven't been progressing too much.  We have really been pushing the Book of Mormon.  Preach My Gospel says that the Book of Mormon together with the spirit is the most powerful tool for conversion.  I really have a testimony that it is.  So we have been pushing that a lot lately.  I have faith that miracles will come from that.  Then later that night we got to meet a new senior couple that just moved into our apartment complex, the Lenhard's!!!  They are so cool and I love them so much.  They seriously are already like grandparents to Sister Newton and I.  They actually won't be serving in our ward, they will be serving in the Inner City Branch, but they are still so close!  So I am so stoked to have them here. 
Overall, this week was a lot of work.  We have walked 76.01 miles since the start of the transfer!  haha so we are tired all the time but we have met a lot of cool people and are so excited for what lies ahead of us.
Hope you all have a great week and I am literally counting down the seconds until I get to talk to you on Sunday.  LOVE YOU ALL!!!!
Sister King