“Try to see your obstacles as opportunities” (St. Paul Church, Columbus GA)

Hello all!

This week I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders! We served in the YSA branch in auburn for 24 hours in a trio with Sister Snyder and Sister Van Wagenen. It was so different being in a trio and in a YSA branch! We spent our time on Thursday at a booth on campus at Auburn University inviting students to attend the bible class or institute class on campus as well as answering questions, clearing up misconceptions and offering to teach more about the church. It was cool seeing the different methods of missionary work for each different area and situation as well as being with a different companionship and using their ideas to better help our investigators.

This week we were able to have a lesson, a preacher who has been looking for a church that can take him higher. His girlfriend is less active and when she heard that she told him that he needed to come to her church, which is how we met them! He is living with a friend of his who is ready for the gospel and open to learning more about it, so we have been teaching both [of them]! They’re both super awesome and have been reading more in the Book of Mormon than we asked them to :)

Picture One:
This week I saw my first cockroach! Unfortunately it was in my blanket, but we were able to catch the monster and bring it outside. A member was telling us that all the insects and rodents are trying to come inside for winter this year, so it should be a bad one. Maybe we’ll even get snow!

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Picture Two:
One of the Elders in my district, Elder Faleao, found out a few weeks ago that he has family in his area! They invited us all over for a big Samoan dinner and we met about 30 of his family members. Elder Faleao and I sang “I feel my Savior’s love” as a duet with his ukelele and his little cousins sang some songs they learned at their church. It was really cool to hear the mix of cultures and religions all together.

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Love you all!
Sister Waddoups
lauren.waddoups@myldsmail.net

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Hunting treasure

Hello!

Writing emails at the library with the other district missionaries

Writing emails at the library with the other district missionaries

This week has flown by! On Monday after we emailed home my district (and M, ward missionary) went geocaching! For those who don’t know what geocaching is, you should do it asap. It’s pretty much a grown-up treasure hunt. We saw there was one across the street from the library, so we headed over to find it. We couldn’t and so we went to the next one nearby. As we were searching for the geocache Elder Faleao led us into the middle of the forest, still in our Sunday clothes, in search for the geocache. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find it, but I’m sure we looked ridiculous with the seven of us all in ties or skirts and missionary badges heading into the woods.

Attempting to geocache (we were more successful when we went without the Elders)

Attempting to geocache (we were more successful when we went without the Elders)

Tuesday night we received three referrals from a woman in our ward, three friends who are going through difficult trials. We visited with one of them on Wednesday and she is golden and has been searching for more in her life. Unfortunately, when we were there, we found out that she doesn’t actually live in the Flat Rock ward boundaries but in the Rivercrest area. So we are going to begin co-teaching her this week with the Rivercrest Elders.

On Thursday we met a family that moved into the ward last year but has flown under the radar. The husband works in the Fort Benning ER but will continue training for the next two years. They haven’t ever been visited by Bishopric or Home Teachers or visiting teachers; we were the first ones to make contact with them in the year they have lived here. Our ward includes a training base, which really means that families are here usually for only three-six months. It’s tricky to find and meet everyone who moves in, a lot of people slip through the cracks. But our goal while we’re here is to find those people and love them back :)

On Saturday we received a call from the Elders and they told us of a member who we needed to visit asap. We visited her Saturday night, had dinner with her because our dinner appointment cancelled (which never happens) and we visited her and got to know her. She’s a convert and is pretty lonely. She lives in a big house all by herself and just spend time with her bird and kitten. We went over and visited with her, looked through her pictures, and just spend time and showed our love for her. Just through that small act, spending a little time with her and showing our love for her, she said it made her week. By small and simple things, may great things come to pass :)

This week I have pictures (thank you mom for the memory card reader :) )

At zone training meeting last week I ran into my MTC companion Sister Christensen! She's serving in Phoenix City in Alabama :)

At zone training meeting last week I ran into my MTC companion Sister Christensen! She’s serving in Phoenix City in Alabama :)

Love you all!
Sister Waddoups

[p.s. we (Lauren’s family) post her letters for her here and take out most people’s names and other details.]

Teaching & finding

With Sis. Ballard, my first companion

With Sis. Ballard, my first companion

Hello!

This past week was a little bit crazy; we spent most of our time contacting less actives, recent converts, and part-member families. Our ward has a military training center, Fort Benning, in our boundaries, which is its own challenge. We have a lot of less-actives living on base, and we aren’t allowed to tract on base or just drop by, we need an appointment, so that makes it difficult to meet with the less-actives. Because we aren’t able to get in contact with them, we don’t know when they move, so our ward ends up being a little bit of a records dumping ground. The members of the ward who are military are here anywhere from three months to two years, so the ward is very transient, it can be tricky.

Last Monday we went to the home of one of our less actives, and we met his wife, S, who is not a member, and their five year old daughter. A couple minutes after we started talking to her she told us that she can’t wait to get baptized into the church! Now she’s on date for October 12 :)

On Tuesday we finally found an investigator whose address was written down incorrectly in the area book (the Elder who found him is our district leader so when he asked how he was progressing we got his correct address) and we went and visited him! Unfortunately between the time the last time the missionaries met with him and when we found him, someone had given him an anti-Mormon DVD. When we tried to talk to him and understand what questions and concerns he now has, he did not want to hear anything we were saying or want any part of the church, even though he knows the Book of Mormon is true and has read it three times and prayed about it and has come to church many many times. When someone doesn’t want to listen, there’s nothing we can do. It feels like we were dumped :( haha.

Last night we went knocking before the ward coordination meeting (where the missionaries talk to the ward mission leader about the past week) and when we parked we decided to knock not at the house where we parked the car, but at the house a little ways down first. We talked with her for a little while, then went over to the house where our car is parked and knocked. No one answered the door, but as we were walking up the driveway, a car pulled in and we chatted with her for a little bit. Apparently she was baptized when she was a senior in high school! We didn’t have her records or knew she existed, but we have an appointment to come back this week!

Love you all!

Sister Lauren Waddoups
Email: lauren.waddoups@myldsmail.net

. . .

(Some answers to questions from our family letters):

What have you learned this week?
My mission president has challenged each of us to read the Book of Mormon in 90 days with something in mind. I’m reading looking for ministering of angels–earthly and heavenly. It’s been really cool! I want to challenge you to read it doing the same [but your own topic]. It comes out to about 6 pages a day. :)

What did you do on your P day (Prep Day)?
Today we’re going to go geocaching with M (from the ward) and the elders in our district. Last week we played monopoly and volleyball in the church gym.

“I’m sorry, I’m a devout (insert name of church here)”

First day in the Georgia Macon mission

First day in the Georgia Macon mission

Hello from Columbus, Georgia!

Last week I was sent out into the mission field and, man, is it different from the MTC. My new companion is Sister Ballard (yes, she’s related to Elder Ballard but are distant cousins haha) and we were put into the Flat Rock Ward in Columbus, Georgia. The area has been whitewashed, which means that both of the sister missionaries who were here have been transferred out and my companion and I are completely new to the area. We’ve mainly been working on getting to know the ward and the less actives; the last sisters didn’t leave us with many progressing investigators, but we’ve slowly but surely been getting to know the area better.

We go out and knock on doors a lot and the constant response we get is “I’m sorry, I’m a devout          .” It may be Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, it doesn’t matter; everyone belongs to a church, attends every Sunday and reads the Bible consistantly. Man is that different from anywhere I’ve lived! In Massachusetts and Australia there were very few people who went to church every Sunday or read the Bible consistently. But that just means here we already have a stepping stone to build off of: their faith in Jesus Christ. But everywhere we go, people are kind and nice to us and are interested in the idea of a mission. We haven’t had a door slammed in our face, that’s a good sign! Most people just kindly turn us down or don’t answer the door if they know who we are (the name badges are pretty identifiable).

Sister Ballard tells me that in every ward there is someone who knows exactly what is going on in their ward, for us it is [M]. She holds three callings as the Primary Teacher, Cub Scout leader, and the ward missionary. She is a fountain of knowledge and is our best friend. If we need anything, information, a ride, eggs, she’s the person to go to; she knows everything and everyone. She is pretty amazing.

I love you all!
Sister Waddoups

She made it, y’all

President & Sister Cottle, Sister Lauren Waddoups

President & Sister Cottle, me

[No letter from L this week since she was traveling on Monday and that is her Prep Day (and emailing day) for the rest of her mission. She did get to call home, however; since the rest of the missionaries had been able to chat with their families from the airport and she hadn’t been able to because the payphones restricted international calls, her mission president invited her to call and chat for a few minutes from his home when she arrived.  She sounded fantastic. The next day we received an email from President Cottle about L’s assignment.

She’s in the Flat Rock area of the Columbus Georgia zone, which is on the Chattahoochee River on the border between Georgia and Alabama. Fort Benning is in that zone and, since she grew up attending a ward that included an Air Force base, we imagine that it’ll be a great fit for her first area.]