This transfer and last transfer President Shumway has had a calling called "Traveling Sisters", basically there are two Sister Training Leaders who travel the whole mission for two transfers and go on exchanges with all the sisters. Since they don't have an actual area, though, they are both in the area of the sisters they are visiting. So there are two sets of missionaries in an area. On Sunday they texted us and told us they would be in Ozark on Wednesday. Needless to say, we were a little stressed! We had to plan for two days, in one! We also wanted both plans to keep us busy all day, and we have a hard time keeping ourselves busy from day to day. We got it all worked out though. The sisters came Wednesday morning, I was with Sister G--- and Sister S--- was with Sister M---. It was kind of cool because Sister M--- was Sister S---'s trainer! Sister G--- and I delivered bread with Sister ---. We found a couple of less-actives that we hadn't contacted yet, so that was cool! Sister S--- and Sister M--- found one too, it's an awesome story!
--- (one of our investigators) and his wife (an awesome member) --- have been looking for a new place to rent so they can move out of her sister's house. They found one that they were pretty confident would rent to them, so they told us the address so we could drive by and see it. Wednesday morning I was looking through the directory and I noticed that there was a less-active who's address was the same as the place --- and --- were going to rent. Sister S--- went by to see if she could find out from the neighbors where they had moved (we already knew the house was empty), so she knocked on one neighbors door and asked if they knew their neighbor, he said they had been gone for a year. She knocked on the other door and the man that answered said the same thing. Sister M--- asked Sister S--- what the last name of the person they were looking for was and Sister S--- told her it was ---, the man said "Well, my last name is ---(same last name), and my wife is a Mormon." WHAT?!?!?!?!? They're older, and don't have a car, but she has been wanting to get back in touch with the church! I thought it was cool that even though it was wrong on the directory it was only a house off! Also, it's kind of cool that Heavenly Father lead --- and --- to that house, and that because they are moving there, we found a less-active that we were looking for!
We went to the Farmer's Market and talked to P--- the Popcorn Man, he has read the Book of Mormon all the way to Helaman! WHAAAAAT? Way to go P---! He said he would call the missionaries in his area when he finished it! Lucky Republic Elders! He'll call them and say "I've read all of the Book of Mormon" he'll probably tell them he wants to be baptized too!
On Thursday we got a new investigator, ---. Last Wednesday we went to see a less-active lady, she wasn't there, but another member of the ward was (the less-active lady runs a small retirement center kind of, she has about 3 patients and they can't be left alone, so if she has to run an errand she has to have someone come sit with them), it was cool because when she answered the door and invited us in she said "I've been needing to talk to you, sisters! I have someone for you to teach!" Her niece just moved in with her parents (the girl's grandparents), the girl (who is 18) is moving out of her parents house, but she loves visiting her aunt and grandparents, because of the spirit and the love that she felt there. Now that she's 18 she wants to start going to church and get baptized!!! After we finished the lesson they brought up setting a date, so we invited her to pray about a date and her aunt said that she had asked how soon she could get baptized! WHAAAAT????
Saturday was a magical day! --- GOT BAPTIZED!!! YAAAAY!!! --- getting baptized has been a three year process. From the sounds of it, he's wanted to get baptized most of the time, but there have been different things holding him back, so Sister S--- and I are just the missionaries that were blessed enough to be here when it finally happened! It was awesome! --- is so amazing and has such a strong spirit! He got confirmed on Sunday, and we were just so excited all day, both days! He's now officially a member of the church!
On Sunday we also saw --- again and had a superb lesson! In Relief Society we have a missionary moment, so we get up and make any announcements that we might have and then people can share any missionary moments they had this week and --- raised her hand (which is kind of awesome because she's super shy) and said "I had my first lesson with the sisters this week!" :') I get all teary eyed and have warm fuzzies just thinking about it!
We also saw the ---'s (the family of 5) and finally got to Joseph Smith, sometimes it takes a while to get there, it was really good and very powerful when we shared the First Vision.
It's so cool though, all of our solid investigators and recent converts are all from member referrals. I've noticed that as a missionary, I don't want the members to help me with my missionary work, I want to help them with theirs. As missionaries, we need members! I think when we imagine missionaries, we normally imagine them tracting, and there are a lot of really awesome people to found through tracting, but it isn't the most effective way. The majority of the investigators I've known that are member referrals, get baptized, where as very few investigators found through tracting end up getting baptized.
The Ozark ward has set a goal for the ward to read Preach My Gospel together. They decided that each family should read 20 pages a month and that their first FHE every month should be from Preach My Gospel. I think this is a fabulous goal! I am so excited to see how much more excited the members get about missionary work! Preach My Gospel is awesome and it has a lot of great things for everyone, not just full time missionaries! I would like to extend this same invitation to all of you! Read Preach My Gospel! 20 pages a month is not much! That isn't even a page a day! Just 5 pages a week! How easy? I promise you will get more excited about missionary work, and you will find that you have more opportunities to share the gospel! I would also like to invite you to take Elder Ballard's invitation to "Prayerfully set a date with your family to have someone in your home for the missionaries to teach." (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2003/04/the-essential-role-of-member-missionary-work?lang=eng) I know as you read Preach My Gospel that you will find that person and you will have the courage to invite them to meet the missionaries in your area!