This week has been very interesting and really long and tiring. We traveled to far away places on 4 different days, and spent much of the day in each of those areas.
On Tuesday we went to Tifton for our Zone conference meeting. We were told that there was a representative from Salt Lake coming to inspect our cars and so we needed to have our cars as clean as we could possibly get them. So last Monday Sister Danible and I went to an investigators house and she taught us how to detail our car so it would look super nice. That was fun! (really though it turned into a water fight). When we got to Tifton, we had to back our car into a parking spot, and after we finished inspecting it, and filling all the liquids it needed and whatnot, the vehicle coordinator for our mission told us that he was going to switch our car with some of the other elders in our district who ironically had just gotten the car that I started my mission with. We were a little disappointed because the car we had was a Ford Fusion with a USB port, and the car the Elders had was a Chevy Cruze that doesn't have a USB port.. So we were sad to loose all the music and talks that we had accumulated through our mission. Well not lose them, but not be able to use it for the foreseeable future.. And then the vehicle Coordinator surprised us with the keys to a brand new Toyota Corolla! They sold the car I started my mission off with. So that was pretty awesome! Also while we were there, we found out while we were in the meeting that the reason the representative from Salt Lake was there was because he was installing something called a Tiwi in all the mission vehicles. (it is commonly called a black box by other missionaries). The purpose of it is to teach us how to be better drivers. It speaks to us at real time if we are speeding, hit bumps too hard, take hard turns, stop hard, or speed up too fast (and other things I forgot). Any time you do one of these things, it will tell you what you did and then cite you for it. Those citations go to the mission office, and if we get to many then our driving privileges get revoked. We have talked to the tech people a lot about it in Utah because a lot of the speed limits are wrong and so we are trying to help them update them. We also got new phones (except they are still basic slide phones). Still no ipads though.. Maybe when the new mission president comes! haha..
Wednesday we went to Cuthbert (about an hour away) to try to track down some of the old referrals and some of the less actives that live there. Our goal in these far away areas is to try to update toe ward roster for those people that keep moving, as well as try to find out whether or not the people who we get referrals to online still want missionaries to come visit them. Unfortunately we keep finding out that there are a lot of these that say they have been contacted when they have never seen missionaries or received the things they asked for. Some of them are for over 6 months ago too.. Its been pretty crazy trying to track them all down.
Thursday we went to Blakely (which is about an hour away from us). We tried to track down some more of the people that we weren't able to see yet, and it took us a long while to find some of the houses. Some of them are seriously in the middle of nowhere, and the GPS thinks its 5 miles in a different direction. One member we found told us that he hadn't seen missionaries since he moved to Blakely and that was two years ago. He was also surprised to see us because as far as he knew, no one knew his current address and he hadn't changed his address either so he was in complete shock for about 40 mins of how he found that. And then add to that that his current address isn't found in the GPS. It was pretty awesome though, because he surprised us on Sunday and actually came to church! Which is pretty amazing considering he lives 55 miles away from where the church building is. He said he is going to try to start coming back which we think is super awesome and honestly a miracle since no one knows how his address got here and how we happened to catch him home at the exact moment that he was home on a day off that he rarely gets off. The Lord definitely works in mysterious ways.
On Sunday our Spanish investigator came to church!! And that was a miracle in and of itself! His family was supposed to take him, but last minute changes made it impossible for them to take him to church. We ended up calling a member at 10 at night to see if he could go pick him up for church the next morning. The member said yes! It was even better because the member is a RM who speaks Spanish, and had come with us on a previous visit to meet Enrique. So they already knew each other! And then on top of that, Enrique lives about an hour away from the member and from church, and so the member drove a total of 4 hours to get this investigator to church and home! And he even stayed with him through the whole 3 hours of church to act as his translator so that he would know what was going on in church since everyone was speaking English. That was far beyond anything I expected a member to do, but it was so awesome because it allowed this investigator to go to church for the first time since he had come to America. Other circumstances (like not knowing where the church was or not having a ride) kept him from going this whole time, and it was so exciting to see him finally make it to church. :) We also went to go see his family, and taught them the Plan of Salvation. It was really awesome to try to teach them in broken Spanish and English, and it was really a testament to me of the power of the Spirit when the niece (who speaks English as her first language and Spanish as her second) said that this was clearer to her than anything else she had ever heard, and she really wants to learn more. She and her husband even promised to pray about baptism, and she is really excited for the prospect of becoming a forever family. A lot of the time when I teach about the Priesthood, especially the importance of having the correct authority and the power it has in baptisms, I compare it to marriage. In almost every other religion (as far as I know) when two people are married by the churches authority, they are married until death do they part. That is because that is all the authority they have. They cannot marry anyone further than this life because after life is God's domain and God's power. So unless they have his real authority, they can't marry for any longer then that. It is that same power by which people are baptized in other religions. So it is an awesome thing that they have done, and there is no doubt that their baptism will help them progress in this life to be closer to God. As soon as they die however, just like marriage, it will dissolve. When we explained this to Hannah (the niece) she said that she had never thought about it that way, but that it made perfect sense to her, and it also made her really want to have her marriage forever, because she doesn't like the idea that the marriage will end when one of them dies.
I am certainly grateful for the knowledge that my family is a forever family and that my parents have been sealed in the temple for time and all eternity! I love that I have that potential as well, and that I grew up with that knowledge, and so never had to worry about any of my family being separated from me, whether by distance or death, because I know that eventually we will all be back together again! I was talking to Cassidy earlier, and we were talking about how many of our cousins are getting married, and how many cousin in laws we have. I realized that when we have a family reunion in later years with more of our cousins married, there will be (just including our cousins) close to 75 or even 100 people there. Including everyone else it will be even more!! And then I realized that that will be a lot like how the reunion in the Celestial Kingdom will be, except it will be 75 or 100 BILLION people.. It will be a wonderful experience:)
Love you all!!
-Sister Monica Walker
Sister Dayton and I saw each other at Zone Conference!! It was so much fun to see one of my last companions:) Especially one that has become one of my best friends that I found on my mission:)