Monday, July 15, 2013


Dear Family and Friends,
I'm officially in rural Missouri. It's quite an adventure! Ava is a lot different than home, but in its own wonderful, wonderful way. It makes for a lot of crazy dirt roads and hills and interesting experiences. We even drive a truck so we can make it through okay on some of these roads! And everything's just...smaller? Haha. Everyone knows each other! Everyone! You run into ward members and investigators everywhere, and they all know everybody else! The connections actually freak me out sometime. My first full day here, Sister Garner was so excited to sing together, because Sister Burt and Mele (her companions last transfer) didn't like to sing in lessons. But she knew I did, and so we sang at every lesson. But by 4:00, we walked into a lesson and before we said anything, Paul told us "Now, I only want to hear you sing so long as Sister Burt pipes up too!" (She sings really quietly). Apparently, he had already heard that we sang from someone we met with that morning....crazy! Haha can you imagine them texting each other? "Hey Paul, guess what? The Sisters sing now!"
We had a great week. There's that weird transition time, as expected, but I think I pretty much have the hang of everything here. I told you about Monday last week...then Tuesday was our first busy day. One of the families we meet with blows me away with their faith and optimism every time we see them! Robert just got baptized at the end of May. He has an amazing conversion story, starting with finding a Book of Mormon twenty years ago...apparently he read it, loved it, and found the church this April and just showed up and told the missionaries he wanted to learn more! COOL. But their family has been through a lot, and a lot of it I don't even know. From what I understand, their last house burnt down and they lost pretty much everything. Then he lost his job, and the family had to move. Now, they live in this shack on the back of someone else's property. No air conditioning, plumbing, and only basic lighting. Most of the area is taken up by their two beds the family shares, and then one chair and a pile of what possessions they have left. But really, you couldn't meet a sweeter family. They have three kids, and the two little ones just loooooove us! They just hug us and hold on tight! And Robert's amazing. He has so much faith, and he studies the Book of Mormon like a madman! And he's sharing it with everyone he of those people was Paul, who was baptized two weeks ago. We love talking to Robert. We're just finishing up the last of the new member lessons, and it's so fun! He just really, really gets it.
Tuesday we also met with Billie Jo (who's another person Robert started teaching on his own). She's so funny. We were reading 2 Nephi 31 about the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we were about at verse five, her head popped up and she said, "Wait! I know why we're reading this chapter--you want me to be baptized!!" Hahahahahaha. Yup. But only because we know how important it is! So I had fun with that one....actually, I loved that lesson. I really felt the Spirit guiding me with everything I said and invited her to do, and helping me to be loving and bold. I felt it confirming my words, and testifying to me of how essential baptism is, and why we needed to help her to take that step! That's why I love being a missionary. Because when I can forget about myself and just focus on what the Lord needs me to do, I feel so....I don't know. I don't know if words can describe it. I feel like singing :)
Wednesday, we met with Pam--who's SO AWESOME! She's from a part member family, and has been taught for several months. She had a baptism date, and needed to stop smoking two weeks before then. We had been calling her every night to check her progress. The day of the 2 week mark, we told her that if she stopped then, she could still make her date. AND THEN SHE DID! She went from 6 cigarettes a day to none! That first day after that when we called, we were so amazed. But what's even more amazing is that it's been over a week now, and she's still going strong! She has so much faith. She knows this is the right choice, and so she pushes on! She's been gnawing on cinnamon sticks like mad. So funny. Whatever works! So she'll be getting baptized this Saturday...and we're so excited!
Thursday was weekly planning, and then we did splits with one of the ward missionaries. So I went off with Sister Lewis and we visited a bunch of less active families, while Sister Burt and Garner went and visited other investigators. It was so productive, and such a great experience!
Friday was just a busy, seeing lots of people was SaturdaySaturday we set a baptismal date with Rachael! And I've never, ever seen anyone more excited about it! She's so fun to teach. She keeps her commitments, she prays; she just embraces it all!
Other than that, we've been meeting with Dalton and Austin, who are recent converts as well. Both of them received the Priesthood last Sunday, and Austin blessed the sacrament yesterday! It was SOOOO wonderful! Sister Garner and I cried watching him. Sister Burt thought we were crazy. And we're going to watch the Joseph Smith movie with them tonight, since they're going to Youth Conference in Nauvoo this week....I'M SO EXCITED!
Okay. I should go. But I love you all!
 Funny tidbit for the week: we were visiting a man who usually comes to Sacrament meeting and then runs off to go to another church. The member that came with us asked him about it, and he jokingly told her that since he was such a heathen, he needed two doses of church. Then she looked up at him and said, "Well, if you stayed forSunday School, maybe you wouldn't be such a heathen!" His face. I wish I could have taken a picture. Bahahaha.
Sister Fuller

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