Thursday, April 20, 2017

6 weeks down!

April 10, 2017

So I made it through one whole transfer - 6 weeks in the mission field! I don't feel a whole lot wiser, but hopefully that will come with time! (Sister Anderson and I celebrated by trying BOILED Peanuts for our first time! I guess it's a Southern thing! They didn't even taste like peanuts, they tasted like salty beans, it was so weird! ) And everything changed in the zone this transfer, too, so I have to learn all the new leaders' names in the Zone! This Tuesday is Zone Meeting, where they will all present a training on how we can improve our finding and teaching skills, so I will get to meet them all then!

This week we have been contacting a lot of former investigators to see if they would be interested in learning about the gospel again. We were actually able to meet with one guy, too - Abel, who recognizes there are inconsistencies in the Bible and is willing to read the Book of Mormon and even come to church! He really has a lot of potential, I think. He says that he has a problem with "blind faith," though - like believing without proof, so we may have to work on that with him! The really cool thing is that faith isn't blind just because we can't see it - we know it is true because we have personally felt a witness from the God of all and seen the way it can bless our lives as a source of peace and comfort and joy through the fulness of Heavenly Father's plan for each of us! And as we act on that faith by living the gospel, the faith grows and we know!

It kind of reminds me of one of the conversations we had with a apologetics door contact this week. Apparently, he used to be Atheist, but since he discovered evidence that Jesus Christ lived, he had to be saved...he kept on asking us how we can believe in the Book of Mormon or any of our doctrine without seeing physical proof! I couldn't believe it! Because that is NOT the way faith works, bud...I wanted so bad to tell him that we walk by FAITH, not by sight! That is how we come to know God - by believing in Him and then seeking to follow Him and live in His ways! There are no shortcuts, no proof because God wants us to learn for ourselves! It just confirms to me how important it is for us to have a firm and growing testimony built upon our faith in Jesus Christ.

Thank you all for your love and support! I love you all! I will report on our investigators next week - I am excited to start teaching two new people this week!

Sister Lauralee Yount
Georgia Peach 2

First New Investigator!

April 3, 2017

Yes, we found our first new investigator this week! It was actually on exchanges this week on Wednesday, and Sister Mitchell and I were tracting in the evening on or last street. She serves on the University of Georgia campus, came to Braselton and we did a lot of good tracting. She taught me a lot about believing in myself as a missionary and being happy and excited (which she constantly is, so it rubbed off!) to meet people because even if they aren't interested in the gospel message, they will see that it is important to you. I directed us via maps to the places we were going, and on Wednesday evening during our last tracting street, we knocked on the door of a lady named Charlotte and she let us in! We were able to teach her about the Book of Mormon after she told us that something she is searching for right now is to have a more real connection with God as she studies the Bible. She wants to feel him there the same way she does when she looks at nature, which is where she feels God the most. We promised her that if she would pray earnestly before reading, she could feel what she is seeking and also testified of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. She accepted a copy to read and even said, "Maybe this is the missing piece I am looking for!" God definitely works miracles in tracting! Just when I was not feeling as if anyone would listen on the doorstep and a lot of our follow-up appointments fell through, we were able to reach out to someone who really needed to hear our message! This is what being a missionary is all about, and it feels so good! We are meeting with her tonight to talk about the Restoration and I am so excited!

Enjoying lunch in between Conference Sessions
General Conference was also really great! My companion and I went to the church building both days for all the sessions, and we got to spend the time with the other missionaries serving in wards and branches who share the building. It was really cool to meet all of them and hear different stories from their missions. We had a late lunch and studies in between sessions, then fed our souls the rest of the time! 

I really liked Elder Rasband's talk about following the promptings of the Spirit. Although I doubt I will ever have the courage to stick my foot in the door, it was an excellent reminder to act on the first prompting so that God can accomplish His will through us. I will definitely be improving upon that this week! I need to recognize and act the first time and I know that miracles will follow!

I also got asked to sing Easter Sunday by the branch president - "I Know That My Redeemer Lives." My companion and I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to get in with a less active family who is very musically inclined, as well, so wish us luck! Transfer calls came last night, so I am now officially 6 weeks out! Sister Anderson and I are both staying so we know that we have good work to do here in Braselton still! We know that the Lord will be able to work in and through us as we make goals and plans to accomplish His will.

Talk again soon!

Sister Lauralee Yount
Georgia Peach 2

Sister Anderson treated me to my first gatorade - it just tastes like flavored water I guess haha

planting flowers in Sister Stavron's yard -  in our skirts!

Lunch with Sister Henderson - she is less active but always willing to lend us a helping hand - this time, it was a ride to the store to get groceries last week.

Visiting with Sister Fife, who is recovering from a hip surgery. She always brightens or day! Sister Anderson found a fancy hat Sister Fife's granddaughter left there and decided to wear it!

It was Elder Hernandez's birthday at our last official district meeting before transfers, so the birthday banner and cat ears are in our district picture!

Stormy Georgian Weather

March 27, 2017

This week has been a crazy one - a lot happened, and I'm not sure how to cover it all, but I will try my best! It has been really busy, and missionary work has been moving forward. In particular, we have been able to see a lot of the less-active families that usually aren't home or don't really talk long with us.

In one such family - a part-member family, actually, the mom let us in and we were able to talk with her about the trials that God gives us. We may not always understand why, but we just can't question: we must be believing and put our faith and trust in God, that He will heal us and we will be able to move forward with peace and joy. She shared some of the trials her family has been through lately, and my companion and I were glad to be there to help her get it out and assure her that Heavenly Father is aware of this trial, and He knows what they are going through! It was really a miracle to be there, and to comfort and testify of the Plan of Salvation, which ended up also being something I would need later in the week.

Not one day later, a big storm rolled in on Tuesday night, which is crazy since it had been a perfectly sunny, warm and calm day! Nonetheless, around 8:00 that night, we started to hear thunder and wind at our dinner appointment. We quickly said our goodbyes, and RAN out to our car in the pouring rain. They bid us farewell and a safe drive home, and we went on our way. I could not BELIEVE how hard that rain was coming down, not to mention the thunder vibrations and gusting wind or the lightning forking through the sky all around us. We were very grateful when we made it safely home. And looking back on it now - it really was a miracle. I could feel God's protection that night, almost as if we drove in a bubble that night as the storm raged all around us.

Come to find out, not all were so lucky. A member of the branch - a young dad - was killed when a huge tree was uprooted and fell through the house on top of him. I couldn't believe it - why, how could that happen??? The whole branch was in shock, Sister Anderson and I were too. And yet, it had happened. It was sooo sad. I am so grateful to know about God's Plan of Salvation. We can see those we have lost again as eternal families, and we know they are happy now in their new calling as missionaries. It definitely mirrored the experience from earlier this week. We may not always know what to expect from this, life or what God plans for us. We simply trust in Him and have the faith to follow His plan for us. That was what brougt me peace this week, amidst all the grief. I know that God is aware of all we may be going through, and Jesus Christ has felt. That is why this gospel is for everyone!

I continue to pray for that family and the faith that we all must exercise  to rely more on our Savior and His Atonement in our everyday lives. This week has definitely been a testimony-builder to trust in God and His plan for us. He is aware of what we are going through and provides for our needs when we trust Him. He has clothed the grass of the field and so He will clothe us. What a miracle is His great love for us!

Love you all! I look forward to this next week and the experiences that will bring! I continue to improve in my faith and in teaching all the time and look forward to sharing the gospel, even when people may not be ready to hear it. I know there are those prepared waiting! Sister Anderson and I continue to knock on doors and improve together in our teaching together. Transfers are in  a week, and I really hope to stay here in Braselton and strengthen the branch here, but I guess we will see! 
Sister Lauralee Yount

Georgia Peach 2