Monday, April 27, 2015

Service with a shovel . . . and a smile! :)

This is Sister Bills reporting live from my swivelly library chair in Hanover, PA. Breaking news this week: my companion and I spent three hours mulching trees outside a state park office on Saturday and now our backs are really sore from shoveling and wheelbarrowing up and down the treacherous hills of Codorus, PA. 
Other services that we provided this week included: playing games with a less active family so that their mom could get some work done around the house, weeding an older sister's garden, helping a partially paralyzed brother do his exercises and build his strength in hopes of him making a full recovery, and getting our ward mission leader's home ready for a yard sale.
Consequently, we're feeling slightly exhausted and definitely achy.
The good news is, we're heading to Fairview tomorrow afternoon when the friendly chiropractor lives and we are going to get realigned and then we're going to rub the knots out of each other's shoulders and be good as new :) 
The other good news is, we feel very accomplished and spiritually happy. It was a good week! 

It's crazy to think that transfers were just this last Tuesday. I feel like that was ages ago. Everyone is in their new areas now, and we were able to see the transfer boards and it's so exciting to see where all my friends are serving and who they're serving with! One of the Sisters that I was just an STL over (Sister Aston) got transferred to Pitt 6th and is now serving in a trio with Courtney's little sister - Sister Crockett. Also, Hermanita Landa is now serving with someone that Sister Talbot used to be companions with! I think it's so fun to find little connections like that.  Maybe I'm just weird. I always like to see where my peeps end up. 

But, as you know, Sister Talbot and I were unaffected by the transfer and are so happy to be serving together for another six weeks. We are just starting to see our area take off and we're working with quite a few very promising people. We're hoping to be able to take a temple trip soon with Mammaw and help her get some of her family names baptized. That will be really cool. 

I was able to make some really good friends this week. One, I found in a field a Codorus. It was just laying in the middle of the field... a little dead fish. About 300 feet from the nearest lake. It was actually a pretty cool neature moment for me because the park officers were telling me about how the eagles had probably caught it and were taking it to their babies and had dropped it. So I just kind of felt a connection to the eagles. You can apparently watch the live feed of how they're doing online somewhere. I wouldn't know. 
My other friend was a hissing goose. I was in the middle of telling him how wonderful of a day it was and he just started hissing at me? It was the greatest moment of my life. But I started to feel bad when he walked over and pecked at the sleeping goats. I felt like it was my fault. I am the scum of the earth. 

We actually had a really awesome moment on Wednesday. I have been working at getting better at recognizing spiritual promptings.Wednesday was a struggle because we had so many appointments that were set and that were supposed to work out. We had so many that we were worried how we were going to make it to all of them. But then, seemingly simultaneously, everyone decided to cancel. So we were really sad. We were trying to figure out what the Lord wanted us to do, so we decided that we just needed to act. So we started just stopping by and trying to visit people... nothing was working out. So, we went home to have dinner and we were feeling a little frustrated and not able to motivate ourselves to go back out. A quote from "Ephraim's Rescue" came to my mind: "You can't move mountains while you're sitting on your backside." So, I told that to Sister Talbot and we both decided to go see this Less Active Sister who we hadn't been able to have any luck with previously. 
Well guess what?
Bet you can't guess what happened!?
I'll tell you.
Not only were we able to visit with her, but we also met her daughter who has been inactive for several years. They both expressed a desire to come back - told us that they've been talking about it for a while and they both feel like they're ready for it. We shared a message about sacrifice and about how we can be sanctified and receive blessings as we make sacrifices for the Lord. The spirit was so strong and it was so much fun to be there with them. 

We had similar experiences on Thursday and Sunday, as well - both with families that we had previously not been able to make any progress with. It has been so wonderful to see how, if you just give all your faith, will, and best effort to the Lord, He will somehow make it enough. Just like He did with the loaves and the fishes when He fed the 5,000. There was no way those things were ever going to be enough, but He just made them be. He has the power to do that with our efforts, as well. When we are sincerely putting forth our best effort, and giving all our faith to following Him, we will see miracles in our lives.

I know it. :) 

Hermana Bills


Faye's Day


This week was straight up awesome because FAYE GOT BAPTIZED. 
It was the coolest thing ever!! 
You guys don't even know!!!!!

So first off, Faye is just hands down the most incredible person I've probably ever met. She has been SO prepared by the hand of the Lord over the last 22 years that it amazes me. I would always say to her, "Mammaw," (we call her mammaw) "you realize that a potato could be teaching you right now and you'd still be getting baptized. You are so prepared." And then she would always talk about how it's all thanks to her granddaughters Courtney and Ally who were her angels and her examples of how the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bless our lives, and how they were the ones who convinced her that the church was true. 
Her story is incredible. 22 years ago, her daughter Cheryl and her son-in-law Greg (currently serving as bishop  ) ran into some missionaries and decided to join the church. Courtney was like 5 at the time and Ally was born a year later. Well, they lived and loved the gospel with all their hearts, and then Cheryl got really sick and passed away. Faye said she was amazed by how Courtney and Ally and Greg were able to handle the loss of their mother and wife. Then, Courtney was called to serve a mission in Rio. Faye said that watching Courtney go out and serve the Lord for 18 months was so incredible, she knew there had to be truth to the gospel she was teaching. 
That's where we came in. I remember my first night in Hanover, we were out on a team up with Courtney and she said, "I really hope you guys will be able to teach my Mammaw." and I thought to myself, "Yeah. We'll get her baptized." 
Well, sure enough... It happened last Saturday. The baptism was wonderful. She had so many people there to love and support her - people who knew and loved Cheryl, as well. 
The spirit was so strong. Faye was able to have a wonderful experience as she was getting baptized. She told us after the service, "I know that Greg was in that font and that his hand was on my back helping me up out of the water. But there was another hand in there, as well."
She's the coolest lady ever. We are so happy to have her baptized. 

Other than that... this week just kind of flew by like a blur. It is amazing to me to see how the Lord prepares you for specific moments. That because of your trials and your experience; your faithfulness and your obedience, you can help the people that He places in your path to strengthen their faith in and relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Some good things that happened this week:
Pal lunch. My favorite thing. Tuna noodle casserole and homeless people. Yo-ho yo-ho Pal lunch life for me. 
Our investigators Lauryn and Brady went to Florida and GOT HITCHED! :D
We got to do a lot of service for members in the ward!! #youwantfrieswiththat
We gave a Book of Mormon to a baptist lady and she asked why "all you mormons look so healthy?" So we've got a follow-up appointment to talk about the word of wisdom :) 
We had a wonderful lesson with our 9-year-old investigator about the Plan of Salvation and realized that we really don't know how to teach children so if anyone can help us out with tips or teaching tools... we need all the help me can get!! 
We went to Texas Roadhouse with a 90-year-old member and SHE drove us and she is like... hands down the spriest 90-year-old I've ever met. She loves her bbq ribs. Then, the next day, we had a combined ward activity for her 90th birthday and it was a surprise birthday party and it was great! Tons of people came and she was totally surprised! I told everyone that it probably wasn't a good idea to try and surprise someone of her age... but no one would listen to me!! It turned out okay, though. No heart attacks or anything... She's a sturdy one! Love her so much :) 
The saddest thing that happened this week was that the moving elders came down from Pittsburgh and we helped them move all of the things out of the Clarksons apartment and it made me so Clarkson-sick. I really miss them so dang much...  It's been really hard to have them gone, and moving their apartment out... it made me cry all over again! So that was a struggle. 
The good news is, we'll be able to see them next week at MLC and I seriously can't wait. 

Well... Today marks another transfer... this is #8 for me, so I've got 5 left after this one. I'm kind of wigging out. I'm to the point in my mission where the "younger folk" start referring to me as an old missionary, and I don't like that very much. I keep telling everyone that I just came out, because that's what it feels like! But whatever ;) 

But anyway. Sister Talbot and I are having a blast. We're learning and growing so much spiritually - individually and as a companionship. I honestly don't know what I'd do without her in my life right now. She is so great! 

Well... Alright. I guess that's about it for this week! Sorry it's short and sweet. Our weeks are super busy and fun, and PA is beautiful right now as spring springs up everywhere! 

I love you guys!! 

Hermana Bills