I cannot believe you---YOU CRAZY PEOPLE!!! Haha what on earth were you thinking? I couldn't resist skimming your email really quick to see if you had a good excuse before I printed them out. For the rest of the world, I got quite the surprise this week...haha. I went to church all excited to meet our ward mission leader, who's been out of town since I've been here. When I saw him, I went over to shake his hand and said, "You must be Brother Kjar!" And he said, "Yes, (mumble mumble) Dad!" I think he spoke clearly, but I didn't know what he said. I assumed he made some sort of joke about being my "mission dad" because that's what Brother Dimond's role was in Coffeyville...so I laughed and said it was nice to meet him. But then he said, "No really, these are from your Dad!" and he held out the huge bag and thing of flowers he was holding.
My poor brain COULD NOT understand what was going on. "Oh, those are for us? Who are they from?"
"My real Dad?"
Yes. The punks showed up in Ava, and dropped things off at his house. Also, congratulations--you met him before I did. And you went to Ava drug! We were in town all of!
You crazy people.
But thank you, that was really sweet. And I'm especially excited about veggie straws, so thanks.
Anyway. We had a great week here in Ava...busy as normal, lots of great people to see. We've had a bit more rain than usual the last couple of days! It's SO FUNNY. My companions get super excited and whip out their cameras to take pictures of the flooding streets and sidewalks and clouds and such. Midwest thunderstorms, I'm telling you--nothing beats them!
On Tuesday, I got to go on exchanges to West Plains with Sister Felton. She's great! We had a lot of fun together. And we found five new investigators that day! We had a whole chunk of visits fall through that morning, and since she said they really needed new investigators, we went tracting. Now, you should know--tracting is not usually effective! But we were just happy, and people listened, and said we could come back. We were able to teach one man, and then a young couple. Soooo much fun! We also were able to have a great visit with a part member family, and the husband agreed to be taught! And then later that day, we received a media referral. I WAS SO EXCITED. So far as I know, those are so rare! It was a request for a visit from missionaries off of mormon.org. So, so awesome! We had a member that was with us that was willing to drive out to the address (she lived waaaay out there), and so off we went.
The name listed was Coty, so we didn't know if it was a woman or a man. When we got to the address listed, we saw a man standing up in the back of a truck, so we went over and talked to him. We found out that Coty was his daughter, and that she didn't live there. He gave us "ava directions" (meaning no road names, but based on landmarks) to get to her place saying, "Once you see the sign for the county line, turn right on the dirt road". We went off looking for the teeny dirt road with the county line...and then we got to the sign that said, "Welcome to Arkansas!"
Yup. I officially have been in all four states of the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission...as a missionary (hahaha). At the same time, all three of us went, "We're in Arkansas?!?" We laughed sooo hard. We even took pictures, as well as pictures of me with the "Welcome to Missouri" sign. I just had to :)
Anyway, we found Coty in Arkansas. She had typed in "free bible" to google, and mormon.org had popped up. She didn't really know what she was doing! But she has quite a story. (That would make for the best conversion story ever to be told at youth firesides all over). Her and her boyfriend of 11 years were both addicted to meth, and so their three daughters were taken away. She took that as a sign from God that they needed to shape up--big time. So she's involved in all sorts of addiction recovery programs and counseling, and they've been clean for about 5 months now. Lately, she's really been trying to go to church and learn more about God. She knows she needs to develop a stronger relationship with Him, and that they need to fill their time now with good things, so that they really can stay changed. She wants her daughters back more than anything--and they should be getting them in about 2 weeks! They've been going to his Dad's church and have loved the fellowship, but are looking for a new one that would be a better fit for the girls. She's trying to read the Bible to him (plowing through Genesis), but says that there's a lot she doesn't understand. But she has faith, and wants to change. So we taught her about the Restoration!
It was so awesome. She was totally nervous and giggly, but so open and willing to learn. And she kept mentioning cousins and grandparents and friends that were all looking for new churches...this could go a long way! It was so cool. I'm going to have to keep tabs on their story.
This week was Youth Conference, so Austin and Dalton both got to go to Nauvoo! They went to the temple, and saw the Pageant, and did all the other fun things. And looooved it. Dalton said that it was a "life changing experience". One of the things he's personally been working on is remembering to say morning prayers, and we had been joking about getting him a prayer rock. But he told us about how when they knocked on the door to wake them up, he was so excited that he jumped off the bunkbed, got on his knees, and started praying! ("It actually kind of hurt my knees!") And they both loved the temple. 4 and 3 weeks baptized, and they've already been to the temple! It just makes me so happy!
We also set a baptismal date with Randy this week! I love teaching Randy. He's the best. And he came to church this week! FINALLY! And he loved it, and wants to come back all the time. Ok! You can!
We had a ton of people at church this week! Howie and his kids, a single father we've been teaching, came...and everyone LOVED his kids. We've had two people call and ask us if they can invite them to FHE or dinner. This ward rocks! We had invited him to be baptized earlier this week and his response was literally, "Sure, why not?" We'll work with him a little more. Haha.
Rachael is still so excited for her baptism. A girl her age was telling her about tithing--something we haven't taught her anything about yet--and said we gave 10% of our income. And she just said, "Oh yeah, I can do that!" So good to know that lesson will be easy! She's so fun to teach. She just has so much faith!
Another hilarious moment was when the calender for Sisters to sign up to go on splits with us was being passed around in Relief Society. Linda, an investigator, got it and started telling us how much she wanted to come with us to go on visits. So she signed up for her and her sister to come! Hahaha. That's right--even our investigators come on exchanges!
Also in Relief Society, we found a new investigator! There was a woman there I had introduced myself to last week that had said she was visiting. I had invited her to come to class with us, but she had declined then. This week, I sat next to her and started chatting before Relief Society. And she said, "Well, I had been needing to talk to you Sisters--I figured that since I've known about the church for 24 years, it's about time that I should be taught!" Literally, I did nothing. I said hello, and she said, "teach me the gospel!" Such a tender mercy, and such proof that the Lord is preparing people for us to teach!
I love you all, and hope you're staying strong. Helaman--it all comes back to the basics! So make sure you have a strong foundation!