Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Texas Update - 4/29/13

Dear Familia: (is that Spanish for family? I think it is. I REALLY wish I knew some Spanish because we run into people who only speak Spanish ALL THE TIME and I just have to stand there and feel like an idiot because I can't say anything to them.)

Anyway, this week has been really good. I am kind of freaking out right now because I have felt really strongly all week that my visa is coming soon. Then I read in your emails that Annette said something about Lexie's visa maybe coming and then I just got an email from Annie saying that her visa came and that she leaves a week from today. So yeah, I'm basically freaking out and we are going straight to the mission office after this to find out about mine. Ah, freaking out. Breathe. 

Alright so update on the past week:

Monday was P-day so after we finished emailing and laundry and grocery shopping and all that fun stuff we went to the mall to pick up my companion’s birthday present from her mom. It was a Texas necklace from James Avery. Everyone here is OBSESSED with James Avery. I'd never heard of it before I got here but it is a silver jewelry store. They have some really pretty stuff but way out of my price range, especially on a missionary budget. Monday night we went to dinner at a members house. He works for Carabbas, the Italian restaurant (he is pretty high up in the business) so he brought spaghetti from there for everyone. It was so good! We also got to teach Ronesha on Monday. We taught her the restoration and she is progressing towards baptism. Unfortunately she didn't come to church again yesterday (so frustrating when we do so much to try to get them there) so we have to push her baptism back to May 11th. 

Tuesday morning after studies we had district meeting. I had to give a talk on the Atonement. I learned so much in preparing for that talk. I ended up using a poem that my companion wrote in the MTC. She's a really good writer. Here's the poem:

My Lord, My God, My King
By: Elizabeth Ricks

Oh my Lord, my blessed Savior
I ask thy help my faith won't waver.
Help me to be who you know I can become
Take my burdens make my sins undone.
I dedicate myself to thee and thy work,
Conveying thy love, a diligent clerk.
Help me to speak of thy words and will,
Sowing forgiveness, helping the restless be still.
Peace you grant and freely give,
You overcame death that we all might live.
Gentle and meek you condescended,
The beggar, leper, and sinner defended.
Bold as a lion you fight for us,
Brothers and sisters, children less than dust.
To thee we praise and thank God's lamb,
Everyday strength helping us to stand.

Beautiful words, huh? Anyway, after district meeting we had district lunch at Red Robbin to celebrate two birthdays. The rest of the day Tuesday was FULL of appointments and we had a lot of successful lessons. We also went to see one of the less active members of the ward. We are trying to get him to come back to church but I think it will take some time.

Tuesday night around 8:30 we went to meet some other sisters and I went on exchanges in Mission Bend (another area of Houston/Sugarland). I worked all day there on Wednesday with a different companionship. It was a great day! We were really successful and it was really helpful for me to see how another set of missionaries works and learn from them. I came back to Memorial Wednesday night.

Thursday is weekly planning day every week so we are always in the apartment until about 2:00. We had to make both our weekly goals and then also do our monthly goals for May. It took a lot of time and a lot of prayer but we figured out what Heavenly Father wanted us to set our goals as. To reach the goals it is going to take A LOT of faith and hard work but I know that Heavenly Father will help us. There is no one that is as invested in this work as He is. Thursday we had some good appointments and lessons. We saw the familye have been teaching. The mother and father have decided to get married so they are trying to get paper work and everything for that. She can't be baptized until they get married so we are just kind of waiting at this point. Hopefully they can get the paper work because both the mother and son are SO ready to be baptized. 

Friday we met with several of the active members during the afternoon and it ended up being really successful. We got a lot of referrals from them and ideas of who we can see/teach. We also had some great appointments with our investigators and were able to see a lot of LARCs. (Less Active/ Recent Converts)

This is during the storm on Saturday.
 It doesn't show it super well but there was A TON of water.
Saturday morning after studies we went to help clean out the apartment of one of the men in the ward who died last week. It is a small, one bedroom apartment but he had a lot of stuff so it took a long time. We were there for most of the morning and into the afternoon. He had a piano and SO much piano music. Everyone said that he was really musically gifted. After we finished that we went out teaching. We taught Kathy the Word of Wisdom and keeping the Sabbath day holy and she committed to come to church! While we were in that appointment is started POURING rain. Like seriously more rain than I have ever seen. It was crazy! We went to dinner at a member’s house. When we came out of her house after dinner it was still pouring rain. We were going to try to go to Ronesha's for our appointment that night but the roads were starting to flood and we aren't allowed to drive through standing water so we weren't sure what to do. The zone leaders called us and told us that we were to go back to our apartment and call it a night. So we ended up being inside and done for the day around 7:00 pm. I've never seen such a crazy storm. Roads were flooding all over Houston. Apparently a couple sets of Sisters flooded their cars and ruined  them because they drove through standing water. :/  I tried to take some pictures so you could see how much water there was but it's hard to tell because it was through the car window.

By Sunday morning the storm was all cleared up and it was beautiful yesterday! We had to be at the church at 7:30 for Ward Council. Then church starts at 9:00. Kathy came to church which was great! Unfortunately none of our other investigators showed up. Even the ones who had members picking them up didn't come. Frustrating. But we do all we can do to get them there and ultimately they have their agency to decide whether or not they are going to come. After church we had missionary correlation. Then we went back to the apartment and had lunch and did our studies since we don't have time in the mornings on Sundays before our meetings. We had dinner with the family of one of the bishop's counselors. After that we had our first lesson with a new investigator. He is GOLDEN! He is someone that has definitely been prepared by the Lord. He is from Nigeria. He was raised Muslim but has been Christian since he was 21. He is going to school to finish his PhD right now. Yesterday we taught him the Restoration. He was super excited about everything and committed to read The Book of Mormon and to pray about it and he also accepted a baptismal date for May 25th!

So yeah, this week has been good here! Sounds like everything at home has been going well too! 

Well I am running out of time so I've got to go. I love you all so much! I will let you know as soon as I hear anything about my visa. I can't wait until it comes! I will be very sad to leave Houston but so excited to go to Australia! 

Me and my companions
 at the investigator devotional last Sunday.
The church is true. Heavenly Father loves us and answers our prayers. Christ's atonement gives us the enabling power to do things that we would never be able to do on our own. 
Love you all from Houston and back!

Sister Lauren Baker

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