Monday, September 22, 2014

Salt Life, Mud Life, Christ Life

I don't remember if this is really a thing out west or anywhere else in the country... but everyone around here like to have stickers on their trucks that say Salt Life. No one is really sure what it means, or why they have it, but everyone wants one on their truck. Unless they want a Mud Life sticker instead, which I am guessing means they like the backwoods more than the beach. And then there's the people that have "Christ Life", usually accompanied by a giant cross on the back of their truck, and I am thinking that means that they have forsaken outdoorsy fun and instead like to engage in intensive southern worship. This week, it's fair to say we have earned all three stickers.

Salt Life... we went to the beach today with some of our favorite sisters in the P-cola zone. It felt good to have the good old slightly sunburned face, sandy skin feeling. All that was missing was the salty hair. Guess I will have to save that for my future RM life. The water was warm and very blue, and Sister Lloyd got to experience the sugar sand for the first time. I saw it in Destin, but she has always served in landlocked areas, and has never gotten to see it. We also learned that it makes great sandcastles.

Mud Life... we earn this every time we go visit the Howells after a rainstorm... their parking area is all dirt and floods like none other. However, even with not much rain this week, we still got to enjoy some mud life because Sister Nelson and I on our exchange went walking to an appointment to save some mileage and get out to meet people. We got a little off track on the backwoodsy road, and ended up having to cross a little ditch where a stream had once been. I stepped on the bottom and sank with my brand new shoes about a foot deep into wet clay mud. They survived though and we still made it to the appointment.

Christ Life... Of course, being a missionary I would have to select this sticker to place on the back of our Maliboat. We are just trying everyday to help the people of Brewton learn more about Christ and following Him, even though most everybody thinks they have that figured out. Usually, we can at least get them to enjoy the Book of Mormon as a book that talks more about Jesus. See one of my favorite scriptures, 1 Nephi 19:9. Our lessons this week were a little challenging because people just aren't seeming to want to make commitments, much less keep them, rather just sit and hear the word of God. But it's all good because we get to live "Christ Life" everyday and try to help others do the same.

Peace til next time. Love ya happy followers!

-Sister Laura Cooper

New People to See

I'm going to make a semi short post this week! Having a case of writers block like I sometimes do. This week all of our investigator lessons were a result of the family history street contacting we did last transfer. That was great to see. Sometimes it feels like we are never going to get to see anyone new in this area, but somehow people come around.

That lady that I talked about in last week's email let us see her twice this week and she has started reading the Book of Mormon. She has a lot of random questions about our believes, and like most people, sort of gets the mission rules confused with the commandments (I don't blame her, missionaries do seem a little Amish!) But she is looking to gain hope and she wants to start turning more to Christ and to religion so we are looking forward to helping her.

We also got in to see the lady, Pam, that we've been doing family history with and had recently given her a pamphlet about the Plan of Salvation. She read it and said it helped her understand why she likes family history so much. She has many Mormon hobbies and beliefs (she wrote a little essay on America being a blessed land where a lost tribe is). She also teaches Sunday School at a local church. We just found that out. That can be hard on the mission. People are prepared to hear the gospel, but just don't think they are!

Well, I hope my writers block let's up next week. Love y'all!

Here's a scripture from my studies.... Proverbs 9:6. 6:9 is good too.

-Sister Laura Cooper

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Kids in Charge

We aren't sure what it was about this week, but we spent a ton of it running around seeing members. It's funny because we don't have very many members (and like most areas, half of the members on our branch roster don't even exist at the address listed), but we teach as many lessons as every other area teaches to recent convert and less active or returning members, because like every member in the group is one of those 3 things. And they all like to see us... a lot! We've been asked by more than a few members if we can come see them everyday. 

We have a joke of sorts going on between the missionaries that we can't leave Brewton for anything without receiving some call from members like "oh no where are you!" But this week it's no joke, because the Bowlers have gone home for a short time, a the whole group is like in a slight panic. And that is how us, the Elders, and the Relief Society President (thank goodness for her), are back to running the Brewton Group like we did between the reigns of the Jenkins and the Bowlers. Attendance was a little skimpy at church this week, but we didn't have any major crisis, and Sister Elliott got there so yay for that.

One of Sister Lloyd's nightmares was fulfilled this week when we had to go get a canker sore of mine burned off at the infamous Brewton hospital. We've decided that if we were allowed to go contacting there we wouldn't even have to work the rest of the day. The whole town is there even though everyone hates it. Sister Lloyd heard several life stories of individuals in the waiting room, as well as many stories about people's plans to get out of Brewton to somewhere with something better to do than sit around in the hospital.

Oh we had a meal appointment this week! We usually have one a transfer. It was a spontaneous one where Sister Elliott's nonmember husband (Britney's dad) was like "let's feed the sisters pizza" and then did. Maybe he's starting to like us!

Last story... we met up again with this lady named Chastity that we street contacted a while back. When we met her, I was like "it would be so funny to have an investigator named Chastity", but she wasn't too interested. We saw her outside last night and decided to stop by and check on her. We ended up hearing a life story, but more than that, she wanted us to tell her how she can have more peace and how she can help her daughter have a stronger family, and that kind of stuff which we happen to be able to help with. She said we can stop by in a few days, so we may well soon have an investigator named Chastity after all.

Appreciate yall! Keep prayin for Brewton!

-Sister Laura Cooper

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Beach Vacation

Before I came out on the mission, I think I had a limited idea of what a fun vacation is. Usually, it would have to involve swimsuits, theme parks, airplanes, and sand. This week we had our zwick vacation! And even though we had to stay dressed up the whole time, we had to drive there through backwoodsy roads, I slept on the floor, and it involved about 9 hours total of hearing old people talk, I thoroughly enjoyed Zwickcation! 

The half mission conference was held in Fort Walton Beach (hence the title of beach vacation, although we only saw the beach from a passing distance), and the night before we got to go to a member-missionary fireside as well. Not sure how long that was supposed to be, but we didn't get back to our one night residence of the Niceville apartment until like 10. Elder Zwick was basically calling on unsuspecting members to share missionary experiences like the whole time. People were scared haha.

At the conference the next day, the four west mission zones gathered to hear Pres and Sister Smith, and Elder and Sister Zwick. Elder Zwick told a lot of stories from his mission like the time he was training a new missionary and opening a new proselyting area. In order to do this, he and his trainee had to buy some horses in Argentina and swim them across the Bolivian border (which was illegal), and use them to haul materials to build a chapel in this little Bolivian villiage. He stayed there for 17 months, trying to finish the chapel and build a water well so that the people had something to drink instead of the corn liquor they were dependent on. I was like "whoa and I thought I was cool when me and sister bennion were the first Defuniak sisters."

And then in his after lunch talk, he was going on about working with members and I asked him how we could help a branch do missionary work on others, when they are still returning members or recent converts themselves. He ended up directing like half of the rest of his talk to me. It was too funny and a little awkward.

I had better move on to the rest of the week. We had a special experience with one of our family history contacts I've mentioned before. We have been just fellowshipping with her and doing some family history for her, but this week she asked us if we are in school or anything and we said no, we are nothing but missionaries right now. She was like wow you have it easy, you get to do family history all day, and then we got to be like, actually this is what we do! And I gave her a Plan of Salvation pamphlets. She said she would read it. :)

Another sweet thing that happened is we got to meet with the new relief society president for Jay and explain Brewton in its fullness to her. She told us all about her crazy younger years and how she feels like she can help the members of Brewton who struggle so much with addictions and hardships. She is going to be like our best friend up here. 

Okay, I've got to get on sending some pictures home from this members computer that will give me who knows what argument when I plug my camera in. Wish me luck lol!

Love y'all!
-Sister Laura Cooper