Because sister missionaries only serve for 18 months, many of them do not have an entire year spent on their missions. I think it's so awesome that all of my 2014 will be spent serving the Lord :)
And we had a great start to 2014 as well!!
Alexus was baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday! Her less-active dad was there from Las Vegas and her non-member grandma and stepdad were there for her baptism. Also her mom, who was less-active until Alexus started being taught, gave a very touching talk on baptism. I played the piano for the baptism, which was cool but a little nerve-racking. Anyways, all went well and smoothly. There was a great turnout from the ward- much support for Alexus, for which I was grateful. We received many compliments from the ward for how well the baptism ran.
We are looking forward to the return of many college students so we can begin to work with them. We have so many people who have expressed interest in taking the lessons and learning more- the struggle has been actually setting up those appointments and having them not fall through! Ultimately I suppose it takes each of them putting forth the final effort to actually meet with us...
Because it is the New Year, many mission, zone, and district goals have been set. One was to include pamphlets in 75% of all of our lessons. Since the challenge was set forth, Sister Pickering and I have used a pamphlet in every lesson! (We have pamphlets for a majority of the PMG lessons- in case you're not familiar with them, they're in the Gospel Library under missionary) We're setting a goal for 100%.
One of the mission goals is to have an appointment every evening at 7:30 or later for January. The preference is that the lessons are with investigators or less-actives, but we can teach active families as well if all else falls through. The idea is to make sure we have somewhere to teach every night, since finding is harder in the dark and we get more opportunities to improve our teaching.
Another goal is to finish the Book of Mormon by the end of February, marking Christ's name and also attributes of Christ. So while I am reading, I'm underlining any reference to Christ and also faith and the blessings of having faith. I'm loving it! I'm kind of OCD about marking my scriptures, so I am marking in one of the paper copies of the BoM. (I had bought it in the MTC before I left for Montana) It really helps me to focus on why we need faith and how the Book of Mormon is truly another testament of Jesus Christ. So I offer it as a suggestion. I didn't think it would be helpful, but I found that it is.
I guess I can share about our New Year's Eve- we spent the evening at a young couple's home in our ward. We had permission to be in the home of a member until 10:30. We didn't spend that long, but it was a nice evening. This couple had another young couple over, whom we had met previously. Last time, they told us their friends were in the other ward. But it was this time that we learned that the wife wasn't a member! Thanks for not telling us haha we passed the referral on to the elders in the other ward.
The rest of the work is about the same- searching out less-actives, trying to instill some kind of motivation in them - trying to get investigators to church, help them work past their excuses, etc..
I want everyone to get motivated and have that desire NOW - but I'm learning that the Lord has his own timing, and that the important part is planting those seeds. And many of those seeds will take years to sprout - but I know they eventually will. What is important is to find and determine who IS ready now. And they are out there.
I suppose I will tell you about our medical marijuana investigator that we essentially dropped this week. She loves the Book of Mormon, and believes it is true - just as equally as she believes the Quran is true. So the main concern that she brings up every single time is how all religions are good, and that any one religion condemns all other religions. The last time we were over there, I tried (for probably the third time for me, 100th time for the sisters in this area) to resolve that concern - I shared about how everyone gets the chance in the spirit world, and the degrees of glory, and the restoration containing the full truth and other religions containing many pieces but not all the truth. By the time I finished speaking (and it's a miracle that she didn't interrupt me while I was speaking), she did not bring up elements of that concern again. She still has a bucket full of concerns and still isn't ready, but I am hopeful that perhaps that one concern has been resolved..
Anyways, because it has been New Years, we have shared the Mormon Message on the New Year quite a bit. It's actually pretty entertaining, so watch it if you get a chance!
That's about it. Just freezing cold, but I understand the rest of America is freezing even more. I am so grateful I choose to bring a super long coat and for all tights and leggings that I now have and hats and scarves. :)