October 10, 2016
All sorts of exciting things. I don't want to ruin the surprise so you will just have to read the whole thing
First of all, yes I'm safe. I don't know if any of y'all have heard about/been keeping track of Hurricane Matthew, but Durham is fine. The southern areas of the mission have been hit worse, some places are flooding and have higher winds, but all the missionaries are safe. Each set of missionaries has a designated safe house and some companionships are in their safe house rather than their apartment, but all of us are fine. Durham is far enough north that we are just barely getting the outer bands of rain. On Saturday it was raining for about 24 hours straight, so there was some minor flooding but we weren't affected. Strangely enough, the elders were, even though they only live about half a mile from us. Even then, it wasn't too bad, their carpet is just a little squishy :) Sunday (the day after the 24 hour rain) was gorgeous though so I think the worst has passed. It was pretty funny to go tracting on Saturday in the rain. We got a lot of concerned remarks and questions as to our sanity. When we explained that we were out in the rain because everyone else was home, that seemed to make more sense to them :) Yep, only Mormon missionaries would go out in hurricane rain. Why? Because no one else in their right minds will and so we can find lots of people to teach (also meet people with some.....interesting..... beliefs.)
Next up, transfer news. I'm not getting transferred. Any and all birthday presents can be send to 88 Justin Ct, Durham NC 27705 as I will be here through Christmas :) No, a transfer is not that long, they are only 6 weeks. So, how do I know that I will be here for 3 more months? Because..........................................I will be training!! So I will spend (at least) 7 of my 13 transfers in Durham. Crazy huh? I will hit both Christmases, 9 months, and a year in the same city. It's a good thing I love Durham :) I have no idea who my new companion will be, I won't find out until tomorrow when I meet her. Right now, she is on a plane to NC and is probably just as nervous and excited as I was. There are only 4 sisters coming out this transfer, so I have a good chance of guessing right. 3 of them are from Utah, so I might get my first companion from Utah. Or I could have 3 in a row from California, that would be fun! I am more than a little nervous to train, I don't at all feel ready, but I have faith that President James prayed about it and this is what Heavenly Father wants me to do.
This past week was amazing! We found Lisa, Corinthia's mom, and had the most incredible lesson with her. It was by far the best Restoration lesson I have ever taught on my mission. We had gone to see Jarek, but due to a miscommunication, he wasn't home. Corinthia and Jarek have slowly been working with Lisa without us, telling her what we talk about and she had even read some of the pamphlets. When we taught Jarek the Word of Wisdom, Lisa decided to quit smoking and start living the Word of Wisdom. All without ever meeting us. When we showed up on Tuesday to see Jarek, she told us she was planning on coming to church with them on Sunday and that she had read the pamphlets we left. We asked if she had any questions but she said no. When she mentioned church we asked if we could come in and explain a little about what we believed. She invited us in and we taught a powerful Restoration. We had her close her eyes when we shared the First Vision and she had tears in her eyes when we were done. When we asked her how she felt, she couldn't speak at first. After waiting a little bit, we asked her again and she told us that she felt calm, peaceful, and happy. We testified to her that that was the Holy Ghost bearing witness to her of the truth of what we shared. She told us she knew that's what it was and continued to have tears in her eyes for the rest of the lesson. When we gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and invited her to read it, she hugged it to her chest and continued to cry. Sister Burkholder and I both felt that we should invite her to be baptized and we set her date for the 29th. She was so happy that all she could do was nod yes. She has been so prepared by the Lord and I have no doubt that we were meant to be there that night. It was not an accident that Jarek was gone. I am positive that Lisa will make it to her date.
Well, I guess that's about it for news from NC. I'm still in Durham, the Church is still true, and I still love all of you.