Monday, October 14, 2013

Hello from Tennessee

Hi, family!

Alright, so it's been a very eventful week, and so I'll try to type extra fast to get through everything.

Firstly, transfers! We said goodbye to Sister Jacobsen on Wednesday and she went off to serve in the Ashville stake which is in North Carolina! It's apparently very beautiful there, and she seems to be doing well!

We also picked up our new companion, Sister Sume! She is 21, and is from West Jordan, Utah. She went into the mission field when I went into the MTC, so she's been out one more transfer (6 weeks) than I have. She served in Farragut before she came here :)

Anyways, I guess we should go with the bad news first...Cindy cancelled her baptismal date and kind of dropped us. We haven't been able to have a lesson with her in 3 weeks, and she's had a lot of questions and concerns especially about modern day prophets and commandments. We were finally were able to schedule a lesson with her and we set it up so it was going to be in a member's home, and she called us right before the lesson and cancelled. We were in another appointment, so we couldn't answer the phone so she just left a voice mail saying that she wanted to stop meeting with us for a while and think about things, and that she was looking at some other churches now. She said that she'd give us a call if she felt like she wanted to become a member.

As missionaries, we don't want to compel people to convert people to this religion. We really truly don't and if people don't want to accept our invitations, that's completely fine. We are only here the invite and to help.

With Cindy, however, I was able to see the joy and the light that she was able to gain from the gospel during our lessons. She is such a spiritual woman and has been searching so long for the truth, and I could tell in our lessons that she knew what we were teaching was true. She loves the Book of Mormon and told us that it feels like what she's been searching for her whole life.

Anyways, after we listened to the message, we prayed and felt very strongly that we should go see her as soon as possible. We weren't able to see her that same night, but the next day we were able to see her, and we talked to her for about an hour about what's going on. She has lots of questions and concerns about things, and we tried to help her understand that these concerns all go back to whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet and really did restore the Lord's church. We talked about how reading the Book of Mormon is how we are able to gain that testimony, and she said that she would continue reading and praying.

We haven't lost all hope with her yet. I know that if she really does earnestly read the Book of Mormon and pray with a sincere heart, she will come to know that this church is true.

Heavenly Father has been so merciful to us, however. We were pretty bummed about Cindy, but we were able to get 5 new investigators this week! That is more than we had all of last transfer! It was a flat out miracle! We started teaching this Indian family and they are so sweet and so open. The mother is very shy about her English, although she speaks very well, and so when we asked her to read the Book of Mormon before our next visit, she said that she wouldn't. We asked her if we found a Book of Mormon in Hindi would she read it, and she said yes. Challenge accepted! We called the mission office the next day, and they "just happened to have" a Hindi Book of Mormon. Coincidence? I think not! Anyways, we showed up three days later with the Hindi Book of Mormon and gave it to her. I don't think that she thought we'd actually get one, but she promised to read it, so it's all good :)

Also, we started teaching the Sanders family. We met them a few weeks ago on a "faith walk" I think I mentioned that. He's the one who went inside and got his entire family before we prayed :) Anyways, we came back earlier this week and prayed with the father again, and he was going into a job interview and he said that he'd been looking for a job for a long time. We prayed that his interview would go well and that if it was the Lord's will that he would get the job. He called us the next day to tell us that he got the job! It was incredible! We came back to teach him and his family and they were all so great. I felt very strongly that I should be bold with him and tell him that he should get baptized, and he said that he really wanted to! Him, his wife and two of his kids also said that they wanted to be baptized! What?! Anyways, they're such a wonderful family, and they are so excited to learn more about the gospel, and so we're going to teach him about the restoration tomorrow! So exciting!

I've come to realize just how true the saying is that when God closes a door, he open a window (or 5!)

Anyways, I love you all so much and appreciate so much the e-mails, letters and prayers.

Sister Pennington

Sunday, October 13, 2013

This week!

Hi everyone!

This week was pretty different than normal missionary weeks. We helped out at the ecumenical storehouse on Wednesday, which provides furniture for people in emergency situations who don't have any furniture in their homes. People come in and tell us what they need and we get to go through with them and help them pick out which things they want. It was so amazing! I helped this one woman who had nothing in her home. She was a single mom with an adorable 6 year old daughter. We were able to fill up her van with all of the furniture she needed. She was so grateful to us and the help that we gave her! She said that she was  looking for a church, so I gave her the address and time of ours, and hopefully we'll see her next week!

Funny story, we were contacting a potential investigator, and upon talking with him for a few minutes, it because very clear that he was extremely drunk. He was completely harmless, but it was an absolute waste to time to talk with him because guaranteed he wouldn't be able to remember anything we were saying. But he started to preach to us, and he got up really close to our faces and was saying, "you have the holy spirit, and you have the holy spirit, and you have the holy spirit" pointing to each of us in turn. We went on to do a nice little sermon that didn't really make any sense. It was pretty funny though.

I forgot to mention that last week was Sister Goates' birthday, so we went on a fun little explore in the woods, and it was really fun :)

Highlight of the week, however, was conference! It was so great! There's a wonderful member here, Sister Conneley, and she had meals between sessions for all 6 of the missionaries in the ward, recent converts, less active member and non-members. She had lunch on Saturday, breakfast and lunch on Sunday! She is so amazing!

Conference was absolutely amazing! If any of you missed it, members, non-members, go back and watch it! My favorite talk (if I had to pick one) was President Uchtdorf from the Saturday Morning session. It was amazing! Ya'll should watch it!

Sad news, Sister Jacobsen is being transferred on Wednesday :( Sister Goates and I will be staying here in Oak Ridge and we'll be getting a new companion (because they never leave a visa waiter in a companionship of only two people because as soon as I get my visa I go to Brazil). Sister Jacobsen will find out where she's going on Wednesday.

I don't have any stories that are too exciting this week, but I love the people I'm working with so much! I'm excited to go to Brazil someday, but I'm excited to be here now! I know there are people here that the Lord had put in my path to be a kind and loving to as I can!

I love you all so much and appreciate all of your love and prayers!

Sister Pennington