Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"I'm beginning to think things happen for a reason"

19 months
3 missions
4 mission presidents
5 cities and 3 states
57 temple trips :)
13.5 companions
17 different beds
32 historic sites
5300 visitors
2876 strangers off the street
and 10,000 miracles later....I'm home.

So i'd been praying for a while that we would have awesome experiences sharing the gospel on the flights home and boy, oh boy, how the Lord answered my prayers! There were many cool things that happened but i'll just give you the 2 highlights:

the first flight i sat next to a kid. the quote this week is from him. he really hasn't had a belief in God at all or prayed on his own, but because of the things he's seen this last yr while living in the US, he's beginning to feel like there's something more and he really wants to find out what it is. as we shared beliefs about God in general, he mentioned something about the Mormon book. turns out his manager at work was LDS and before he left to fly home, his manager gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon with his testimony in it. Then he sits next to me on the way home. What the?! Coincidence? Of course not. He mentioned several times that he really is searching. I promised him that if he would read the Book of Mormon this week and pray to know if it's true that God would speak to him in a way that he will understand it and know that it is and that God's real. He was such a cool kid and we were both going home after a long time away and starting over so we bonded over that. Yeah, cool kid.

So i got all the internationals, I guess. :) Martin is probably 40 or so. He's never been big into religion. He has a very successful business and just bought a nice new home that he was excited to show off. His family came on "holiday" to the US for 3 weeks but the two days into it, his dad became VERY sick and had to go to the hospital for surgery. now they've been here a month and are hoping the dad will be well enough to go home for Christmas. He's in the hospital in La Jolla so i asked if they've seen that big white building by the freeway. He said they had and had wondered what it was. I told him it was the temple and that if he goes with his fmaily and walks around it he'll feel peace and find answers.THis was the beginning of the flight and we still had about 3 1/2 more hours so over the course of the flight we just talked about life and God. He said that before he would've have cared about any of this but with things that happened with his dad, he realized he doesn't really care about anything other than his family. He has a lot of questions and WANTS to have faith but feels like he's seen some things that make him doubt. Over the plane ride we talk about the Plan of Salvation, about Joseph Smith and having a prophet on the earth today. We talked about what makes strong and eternal families. We talked about where we were before this life. It was so interesting because everything he wants to believe or believes deep down is right. Now he just gets to have more tools to get questions answered! I gave him a Book of Mormon and he felt so honored. He was really excited to read it and even before I said much more he said "I promise i will start reading this tonight! I'm really searching. I have a lot of questions. Can I get your email address too?" What a champ! He's very sincere right now and is going to be a great strength to his family. We really had a good plane ride and i feel so blessed that the Lord gave me so many chances to be around people who were so prepared and ready--even thirsting for the message we had to share. because of this i was able to work and teach and testify to the very last minute! I'm so grateful to my Heavenly Father for that. Also a miracle--the 1st flight was delayed and I VERY nearly missed the 2nd one. I was sprinting down the corridor with 2 50-lb carry-ons and in a skirt. what a sight! But i made it!

I was greeted at the airport by Mom & Kirk, Dad & Joanie, Katie & James, Scott, Joni Lilly, Kathleen and Lynn Muir, my aunt Gail (randomly in town from AK. Fun surprise!) and her boyfriend Dave, and of course, Kenley and Parker! It was very fun. Then we went to Scott's apt for CPK pizza and smoothies. More friends there. :)

Wasn't as bad as I thought. The only part that got me was in the closing prayer when my brother referred to me as "Andrea" and i realized i don't get to be Sis. Cartwright anymore. But it was good to have my family there.

so honestly i thought things would be more different when i got home. it really wasn't. kenley and parker are completely different people and there's a litter of new babies running around, but other than that, everythign's pretty much the same. i stayed up way late and had a sleepover with my sis then stumbled out of bed into my flip flops and went to get jamba juice. so i guess i'm acclimating fairly well. i even mouthed a few words to a song that was playing. that's not to say i didn't still try to contact people here and there or that i was ready to walk off by myslef in the grocery store. but i think i'm a little normal. scott parker was excited to be the first boy to hug me cause he wanted to help normalize me. luckily it was a good baby step since he's more like my brother. Also, I've been so excited to snuggle with Kenley when i get home, forgetting she doesn't actually like to. So I just had to wait til she was asleep then she didn't have a choice. Anyway, all in all, I feel like everything's pretty under control. I've been blessed to feel really calm and peaceful with everything. We're having a big family dinner today. I have many people volunteering to be my running buddies. Wahoo!

Alright, love you all. Gospel is true and from God. He has a perfect plan and if we follow it, things will go right in the little and big things.

"For behold, all things are done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things." -2 Ne 2:24


Monday, December 1, 2008

“Of course I’m waiting up for my kiddies!”

Quote compliments of Sis. Ludwig last night when we drove down to the Mississippi after zone conf and came home a little later than expected. We said, “hope you weren’t waiting up” and she reminded us that of course she was and then promptly made us hot chocolate and popcorn. :) They really are our parents this weekend. Love them!

Ok, so I always knew Nauvoo missionaries are spoiled (there’s really no arguing that) but now I’m officially among the most spoiled. I don’t think the other sisters get this email, so I can spill the beans. We came back to Nauvoo Sat around noon (after spending the night at the mission home in Peoria with the Ericksons). We then had lunch with the Ludwigs then went to the temple. It was amazing because afterwards we had nowhere to go so just sat in the Celestial Room for almost an hour reading scriptures and praying and pondering. Way cool! The first time in a LONG time where I didn’t have someplace to be immediately so it was so good to have the extra pondering time. :) From then on, just ridiculous spoiling. We’re staying at the Ludwigs house (in the general authority suite) and getting fed yummy food every time we turn around (in case we needed help gaining ALL our mission weight before we go home) and being hugged and doted upon by senior missionaries every time we’re out in public. Anyway, good, good times! The best part is that this isn’t how I necessarily would’ve scheduled the end of my mission. I would’ve had appts til the last minute. So I was worried I’d feel a lot of anxiety having all this “down time” and be a little resentful of getting pulled out of Peoria so soon, but I really have felt so peaceful about everything. It feels so fun to come “home” before we go home.

K, so Sun AM we woke up and it was dark and there were candles lit. The power had gone out in all of Nauvoo at 4:30 AM. The coolest part was that there was a beautiful thin layer of snow everywhere. So we were all in our PJs in the living room by the Christmas tree snuggling up and waiting to see what would happen with plans for church and stuff. We said a prayer and thankfully the power came back on pretty quick after that. It was a glowing blue from the snowy dawn outside. So gorgeous! Anyway, we had church later in the day. We did a fairly impromptu musical # (wouldn’t be Nauvoo without one) and bore our testimonies in sacrament mtg. That was unplanned too but cool cause it really gave me a chance to reflect. So cool to see the city in snow! We ran up to the temple this AM and took pics in it.

So we got to volunteer at the YMCA 5 mile turkey trot on Thanksgiving. Next best thing to running in it. It was way fun. We hung out a lot of the time with the kid dressed up as a turkey and got to talk with him a little about the Church at the end so it was cool to be able to say we shared the gospel with a turkey. We got to be at the finish line the whole time and cheer people on as they came in. It was a dream.

So while cheering on participants, one crossed the finish line and looked up and said, “Andrea, what are you doing here?” What the? It was a kid from Poway, Aaron Young. He’s going to the chiropractic school out there. Then later than night I met someone at a member’s house who asked what part of SD I was from then asked if I knew Kathleen Muir. I was like “What?! Yes, she’s like my 2nd mom!” Turns out one of the ward members is her cousin. Then tracting on my last day we met people in their garage. They didn’t want to hear too much of our message. On the way out Sis. Montgomery who I was with was like, “Oh, who in your family plays hockey?” I told them my cousins play hockey. Turns out their kid is good buddies with Peter from Anchorage. The Currys. And we found them in a random garage in Bettendorf, Iowa. So they were a little more interested in getting to know us after that. :) Haha! Seriously, what are the odds?

Our last lesson with Kayla (the 12-yr old) we went over the Plan of Salvation. We got to the part about the Atonement and as I explained it in little kid terms, it was suddenly so powerful to me. I asked her “have you ever felt sad or lonely or frustrated or mad? Have you ever felt like no one else knows what you’re feeling.” She’s a pretty quiet girl but she of course, had felt all of these things (she’s gone through tougher stuff at 12 then I have at 26). I got to explain that all of those yucky feelings she felt, Christ did too. And just for her. He knew her and loved her before she was born. She had faith in Him when she chose to come to the earth and He knew that she could pass this test successfully. He will be there every time she goes to Him with concerns, fears, or thanksgiving.

I’m so grateful for this gospel. I feel so privileged to have served the Lord and to have become a stronger disciple through experiencing greater resistance. I love the Lord and am excited to work this Christmas to feel a deeper connection with Him than ever before through study and prayer.

“Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.” –D&C 58:42. Don’t know why I put this quote. Not really related, but it just stuck out to me, so I hope it helps someone. This is the power of the Atonement.

Love you all!
-Sis C

Monday, November 24, 2008

"I can't wait to go home and play with my tractor."

This is a long one, but enjoy it while it lasts. Ha!

That's right, quote is by Sis. Soza. When we went to John Deere, we hit up the gift shop. Ever want John Deere windchimes? Or a John Deere retractable dog leesh? Maybe just a simple John Deere picnic set would do. That's right. You name it, they have it. Don't forget the John Deere strawberry perserves. The highlight (other than the riding lawnmower) was the 20 min film with some song about grain and soil to the tune of "Be Still My Soul". That's right. Very moving.

Anyway, enough about John Deere. Oh, but the point was that Sis. Soza bought a mini tractor that she then became obsessed with and couldn't stop thinking about. She'd just bring it up at random times throughout the day. Good times.

So there's a family that moved into the ward and most of them are members except the 12-yr old girl, Kayla. The mom and the other 2 girls are recent converts. We're teaching Kayla right now and the family's way into it. It's cool. Yesterday they came to church for the 1st time!

SIDENOTE ON CHURCH: That made it officially our 1st and only investigator at church in Bettendorf. What a way to go out with a bang! Precious cause we found out later that a ward member who'd served a mission and comes out to appts with us lots prayed that we'd have one at church on Sun cause we mentioned to her that we hadn't yet. The curse of whatever happens between Sat night and Sun morning that keeps people from coming. Anyway, precious. Because she prayed for it, it happened!

Anyway, point being, we met them because their relatives already lived in the ward...the Lemmons. We kept feeling strongly since we got here that we should work with them. Funny cause they haven't been to church in 14 yrs and don't have much desire to come back. But i realized last night that we never would've known the Richards moved in except for that we'd been working with the Lemmons. That's how the Lord works. Something I call pre-prompting promptings. This is why we can never second-guess the Lord. When the Holy Ghost tells us to do something, do it! (I'm not perfect at this, mind you. But every time I do it I remember why I should be.) Anyway, like as missionaries sometimes we feel prompted to go visit someone. It doesn't seem logical or like they'll be receptive but we do and on the way, we find someone else. Really it was that "someone else" who the promting was for but the Lord just gave it to us in a way we can understand cause we probably wouldn't be so in tune with promptings like "go to that spot in the sidewalk at 1:42 and look for a man in a blue jacket." But the Lord helps us find them in ways we understand. Anyway, I don't know how much of that made sense, but it's an important lesson to me.

so we're teaching this kid who's roommates with a guy who's a member but doesn't come. it's fascintating cause he's really philosophical. He studied theology in school. He went off the other day how he doesn't know that he'd want to live in the Celestial Kingdom and get to a point of perfect happiness and perfect knowledge because that would be boring. He'd prefer living life again. I think he was picturing eternity as eternal bliss without resistance. It was cool cause the member who came with us explained to him all about how you live life once and you have ups and downs and learn, and then you have kids and you learn everythign in an even deeper way as you watch them go through it and try to then teach them as parents. He reminded Mike that God's plan is perfect and that whatever Mike really and truly desired, within the bounds of God's laws, is what he would attain after this life.

My Peoria mission pres at interviews on Thurs. reminded us of the power that's in every day of missionary work and to keep finding, teaching, and testifying til the very end. So Sis. Soza and I are working on our week o' miracles. We're excited to see the things that will happen. We really want to leave the area stronger than we found it and leave the remaining sisters with lots to do. Anyway, so that's the plan. Go big or go home. Or i guess in our case, go big and go home. Ha! It's cool too cause even our travel plans were guided by the Spirit. As some of you know, our return date changed and is pretty illogical with how it lined up with transfers but it happened because those making the decisions felt strongly impressed by the Spirit to do it this way. That means they are people waiting on our flights home to hear the gospel. :) Anyway, that's all. I want to live it up here. Please don't think that means I'll be miserable at home. I'm living it up here so I can live it up there too. Give everything I have and come home with the things the Lord meant for me to.

Just so people know where I am...I'll serve in Bettendorf until Friday night at 5pm, then drive to Peoria and spend the night with the Ericksons (at the mission home). Sat AM we go to Nauvoo for a temple trip, Sunday is church and zone conference and we'll serve at Carthage, then Monday I don't know exactly what they have planned and Tues we fly home.

so i discovered this in my regular Bible reading and have decided to use it as a theme for the last week of my mission. It's when Paul's heading to Jerusalem and he's hearing all kinds of things about what it'll be like when he gets there. (Kinda like when everyone tries to talk to you about going home...):

"But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." -Acts 20:24

FAM-Some people to keep in your prayers this week:
As we work and pray for our "Week O' Miracles" will you keep these guys in your prayers (we finally have investgators!):
Heather and Billy; Kim Millage; Kayla Richards; Mike Levis; Rachael Gammel; Lynn Rolfes; and Cristina and whoever we have yet to find. :)

I know that's a lot but I know it'll help. Thanks!

Love you all,
Sis. Cartwright

P.S. Brock informed us today that we he grows up, he wants to be a missionary...and a cheerleader.

Monday, November 17, 2008

"Where's your friend with the long skirt?"

This is what an investigator, Cristina, said to her friend in reference to my companion. i am finally among them. the women in the long skirts.

so i don't know how many of you know this. but i have a life dream to ride a riding lawnmower. (not across the country like that wierd movie, just in a field of some sort). anyway, so i'm halfway there cause today we went to the john deere pavillion and they had tractors you could play on and yes, a riding lawnmower. we got good pics and had fun. i'm just missing the whole turning it on and mowing grass with it part.

So we had another lesson with Gustavo. It's funny cause I keep being in situations where i'm the only one in the room who's American. makes me feel very exotic. anyway, it was cool to be able to teach him parts of the Plan of Salvation--that we lived with God before we came here, that He has a perfect plan for us to come back as families. Everything seemed to make sense to him. The next day we taught Cristina at the Pages house and had a similar experience, and then again later with a guy named Doug who has many cool, deep ideas. he's big into mediating and drawing truth from where he can find it. it was a cool lesson because just with trying to get do to pure truth on his own, he told us lots of parts of the plan of salvation that has been revealed through the prophets today. it was a cool conversation because we really felt like we were touching on the truths he's known before this life. anyway, i love that lesson cause it everything so clear and every time we teach it, the person we teach is like, "oh. that makes sense." :)

so this week i discovered something grand. raincoats! i've never like umbrellas cause i acutally quite like the rain. BUT...it is kinda inconvenient here cause with the humidity and severe cold, you never really dry adn it becomes a tad uncomfortable every time you put your coat back on. my comp happened to have a spare raincoat. i tried it out and it changed my life. it's like getting rained on, without getting wet! man! why didn't anyone tell me?! then i realized, they probably did. but it's kinda like the gospel. it's the coolest thing ever, but all i can do is tell people about it. until they're willing to do something about it and try it out, they'll never really know. so my suggestion to you all, it to try something out you haven't before. whether that's reading the Book of Mormon, going to church, praying everyday, or any other commandment or spiritual something or other that has the potential to change you. try it out and see.

(note: this doesn't work for things like drugs or walking into oncoming cars. I didn't need to go out in an Iowa winter in a swimsuit to know it wouldn't be good.)

Last night it was 8:45 and our kid that had a baptismal date that we tried to drop by AGAIN wasn't answering. We had one more contact to get our goal but it was cold and not a lot of people were out. Down the hill and across the road we saw a car pull in. We booked it (in a dignified way :) ) down the grass hill, across the street, and flagged this guy down who was sitting in his car. We contact him, taught him a little, and have an appt to teach him and his wife. Heavenly Father definately took mercy on us. :) I love 8:45 miracles!

ok, thanks for all the prayers. keep them up. i want to go out with a bang and do everythign in bettendorf that Heavenly Father needs me to do.

love you all!
-- sis c

p.s. got an email from a friend who's had 2 babies since i've been gone. does that mean i'm about done with my mission?

Monday, November 10, 2008

"lead me, hide me, walk beside me..."

The version of "I am a Child of God" sung by Brock Herbst. (Real words= "lead me, guide me...")

It was such a tender moment. He sang it all to himself while he was being swung on the swing, all bundled up in his big coat, with his eyes shut, just relaxing.

Other Brock quotes:
"Mom, I love kissing missionaries."
Granted, it's just usually our arm or whatever he can reach while we're standing there, but it's a phase we hope he eventually grows out of. :)

and "I love missionary work" after a p-day morning of jumping on the tramp together, playing with the dog, and making smoothies.

Also, every time we leave the house Brock and Allison ask if we're going on our missions. Yes, we're going on our mission. Multiple times a day. I love it.

So we found the cutest, coolest girl. We were tracting in a rather "unsuccessful" neighborhood. We had one door where it opened, we introduced ourselves, and the guy just said "you guys are crazy" and shut the door. We didn't even have time to react. It was hilarious. We weren't sure if he thought the church was crazy or just us for being out in the 2 degree weather. Either way....it was a weird street but we didn't feel like we were supposed to leave just yet. We kept tracting and eventually knocked on a door where the girl let us in before we said anything. What the? Then we proceeded to tell her what we were there for and our message and she was getting so excited. She identified the Spirit even before we did. We started telling her what feelings to look for as evidence of God's truths being taught and she said, "oh, i already know. I've felt that the whole time you've been here." Everything we taught she'd say "this makes so much sense!" or "this is what i've always thought, and now it's right here staring me in the face." Man, oh man. She's so stinkin cool. Anyway, she was way excited but now seems to have disappeared over the last couple days. We're beginning to think we dreamed her up cause she's too prime. Keep her in your prayers that she'll resurface. She's amazing.

so one of the best things about serving a mission is seeing how to be a member missionary. there are some amazing examples in my ward of people who just do it. it's not anything extra that they do, necessarily. more of a mentality they've developed. we were over at a family's house the other night and talking about one of her friends and she says "you know what, i'm going to invite her to church." and she just picks up the phone and calls her and she came. another one went over to a family (the cool ones that seemed LDS) we'd introduced her to and just said "I think you guys are really cool and we'd love more friends. Do you want to do dinner." She's doing it even though we're not teaching them anymore and we didn't ask her to or anything. just cause she sincerely thought they were cool. I love these people. They just love the people around them and show it by including them and thinking about them.

So the other day on a doorstep i was standing there innocently holding a scarf (a homemade one that sharon made me that i love) and a random golden retriever comes out of NOWHERE and starts trying to take it from me. I tried to pull back but that's just what he wanted so he pulled harder. yikes! i eventually weaseled it away from him but i was dying. i felt like i was being punked or something. speaking of...

so the lady we live with is scared of missionary work and always teases us about our techniques in finding peolple to talk to. i tell her to stop making fun or we'll take her with us. we called her to go to an appt with us and then went to the house to meet her and she was sittinhg in her sweats by the fire not budging. she said, "if you were gonna play a joke, you could've been more creative that to pick disney names." the appt we had was with a couple named ariel and eric. only we really did have an appt. then she's like "sure, you're gonna take me to some random trailor park." only it really WAS in a trailor park. ha! after much convincing, we finally got her out the door. eric and ariel were no-shows but we did get to teach a guy who's wife locked him out of the house in the 20 degree weather cause she was mad. that was fun! and all in spanish so sis herbst was lost. the coldest lesson i've ever taught but that's what sis herbst gets for making fun. haha!

ok, love you all!

Here's a scrip to ponder: Moroni 10:32. Pick a way to try and do that this week.

love, sis c

Monday, November 3, 2008

"Right next to the Greek Orthodontix church..."

Sis Soza giving directions to our church bldg. Ha! We'll blame it on the language barrier. :) The best part was once she realized what she said she was almost laughing too hard to finish the phone conversation.

last sunday we were driving by a house where we've been trying to meet the member who lives there. we saw the light on so sis soza said, in a stroke of inspiration, "hey, let's try the kings." they answered and let us right in. the mom hasn't been to church in years but somehow she just recently showed up on the records.and she has a 15 yr-old kid who's not but he's definately been searching. he's SUCH a good kid. anyway, we asked him on the phone how he felt when he prayed about the Book of Mormon and we loved the way he described it. He said, "It felt really good. Perfect, actually. Very calming....kinda made me tired." Ha!

so remember last sunday when i did the really awkward contacting to the brazilians? so we're teaching one of them, gustavo. he works for John Deere (like 1 out of every 10 ppl we meet) and he knows engl but not tons--at least not as much when talking about the gospel. so we were trying to find ppl who spoke portuguese to go with us. the night before our appt the other sisters told us they randomly tracted into a house where the girl who answered exclaimed "i'm LDS! i just moved here and have been looking for the church!" wow. ok. :) even cooler, she moved from san diego! she was in the la jolla singles ward and was just baptized in like feb. her name's paula for those who might know her. even BETTER is that she's from brazil. so she came with us to teach gustavo the next day and got to testify in his own language. it was way cool. he's concerned though becuase his fam is the most importnat thing to him adn he doesn't want to go away from the religion that they all are because he doesn't want it to separate the fam. at the same time, he said they all have things in their church they disagree with. we tried to help him see that perhaps the Lord is showing him he gospel so he can take it to his family. I don't know what'll happen with him but he's an amazing guy who has amazing values. Hopefully we can keep teaching him adn it was so neat to see how the Lord looks out for us and sends us just who we need. :)

Also last night we were tracting in our neighborhood and we knocked on a door (after many less than glad-to-see-us people) and the man just kinda listened to us for a sec then walked away. Then his wife pops up and says, "hey! where are you from?!" We said, "oh, well, we live here in the area temporarily. We're missionaries..." "I know. Where are you FROM?" (This is a tip-off that ppl are either LDS or have friends cause most ppl don't know we'er not from here.) Anyway, we tell here and she says "I'm from Pleasant Grove! [UT] Come in and get some water!" Nevermind that it's 7pm and we just came from dinner. We weren't thirsty at all but of course we took her up on it. :) She was so stinkin sweet. Anyway, turns out she grew up in the Church. Her fam's all still members but she converted to another faith and is raising her fam in that. But she's lived in UT and ID her whole life til recently. Anyway, it was a cool connection to make and she lives right by us so hopefully we can see her more. We're going to introduce her to Sis. Herbst cause their kids are the same age. Cool cause hopefully even that little connection was an answer to her fmaily's prayers. she was so cute.

by the way, there are tons of indian fams here and now, jsut from tracting, we've experienced duvaldi (dewaldi...whatever) desserts and seen an evening prayer ceremonish thing. they always invite us right in to talk. they're so great! love it.

Anyway, scrip to ponder: Moroni 9:6. Did I just do that one already? Well that's the one I want to do, so sorry if i did. :)

--sis c

Monday, October 27, 2008

"This will probably make my hair have more volume!"

Quote by Sis. Soza when tracting in 70mph winds. Always looking on the bright side. :)

no joke yesterday, the wind was so intense. trampolines were blowing into other people's yards and we were getting mauled by inflatable halloween decorations in people's yards as we went out to share the gospel. but there is no bad weather! if it's miserable to be out, at least it means that someone might have enough pity to let you in. :) (sis soza and i also thought possibly that the "wind-blown" look might be alluring enough to get us in a few more doors. :) plus, there was a 92 yr-old woman out there too, going on a walk. but see, she survived the "winter of '36" so this was nothing.

First of all, they say "couple three" all the time. It's amazing! Also, the place where Field of Dreams was filmed is nearby. Scott, i'm gonna take you there. The weather is getting chilly but we just keep hearing, "it'll only get worse" and "girl, you better get you a coat." :) actually, i have one to borrow but i figure the longer i put off wearing it the less severe the real cold will seem.

so the colder and darker it gets, the harder it can be to stay out till 9. but the Lord sure blesses us when we do. I'm scared to ever go in early because it means there's someone we won't find. Last night we had like 8 min but we went out contacting anyway. first we had a pretty awkward exp. where i tried talking to these guys in their car. i wasn't quite sure what to say or what excuse i had to talk to them so i just ended up studdering like an idiot (that whole "given to you in the very hour what ye should say" promise wasn't quite working.) luckily, they spoke mostly protuguese so i tried to just look at them like it was the language barrier's fault that they couldn't understand me. after we sheepishly walked away and they drove off, we started talking to their friend. sis soza and him talked in spanglese (get it? spanish + portuguese) and set up an appt to teach him tonight. :) see the blessings?! so cool!

"This is just another delightful quote. this was by brock, the 2-yr old we live with when i complimented his sisters on her sunday dress and brock stood there prouldy in his plaid sweater and pants. :)

so we were going to the ward trunk-or-treating. i was worried it would be a waste of proseylting time if people didn't bring friends and it was a ways out of our area. we said a prayer that we'd have teaching opportunities. turns out one of the women in our ward is on some board of churches and brought a baptist minister guy. Rev. Quay. we ended up talking with him the whole time and leaving him with a copy of the BOM cause he wanted to read it and also giving him a tour of the church bldg. it was so delightful! and the members were right there helping and explaining and testifying. yay for halloween!

so have any of you ever googled your own name or anything? yeah, fascinating to find people with your same name. but even more fascinting to tract into them!!!! what the? we were in the trailor park adn started talking to this woman who was outside. when we came closer she looked at my tag and was like, "oh! we have the same last name!" way weird. then she looks at sis soza and said, "actually, i got a piece of mail for you two." yeah, no joke. she'd gotten my mail. anyway, we talked a lot aobut the gosp and taught what we could and then when we were leaving i asked her first name. yeah, Andrea. says it different from me though. i freaked out. then found out our middle names were almost the same too! we got a pic together.

we met a random guy in front of his house and got talking. he ended up telling us he has a lucky buckeye nut that he carries with him. turns out they're pretty rare but you can rub them and they become shiny. he also happened to have a bunch in his yard so we got to pick out our very own "lucky nut". i'm expecting many more miracles because of this.

GOTTA RUN...but i love you all. i'll leave you with a scripture. Alma 39:17-19. i'ts about why the Lord would want us to have a prophet today. we are precious. we are His children. I know He loves us and that he would and has called a prophet today. I know Thomas S. Monson is His prophet and that the most important decision we can make is the one to find out if Christ's church has been restored to the earth today and then to act upon that knowledge through baptism.

Love you all!
--Sis C