(sign at Phoenix City Church of Christ)
This week was a week of miracles!
Last Tuesday we had the opportunity to hear from Elder Aidukaitis (once again) in a zone training meeting! He gave us very specific and inspired advice and information, including completely reorganizing how we did our weekly planning! (EveryFriday morning we take a couple of hours and plan who we are going to focus on and what we are going to do for the next week) We used to plan what we wanted to teach investigators and got a pretty general idea of what our week was going to look like, but Elder A told us to plan for every hour of every day for the next week! It took a long time (about 5 hours. Our Zone Leaders took 6!) but it makes daily planning so much easier and we’ve already seen the blessings it brings!
Elder A challenged us to contact 10 people each, and so Sister Ballard and I took it upon ourselves to do it! We met a lot of people and have alot of new investigators, many of which were miracles! We ended up coming just in time to help a 70 year old hold up a falling chandelier, zip tie and bungee cord a front bumper to the car, and find many people who are searching for the gospel!
On Thursday during our mormon.org time (we get an hour a week to look on mormon.org and lds.org to know what is on the websites we are sending our investigators to) and we saw a referral come up on the referral site (people who look on the webpages and request a visit and more information send their contact information to us to come visit them) so on Friday night we headed down to meet her. We visited her and as we were visiting her, she mentioned the Elders who came by the night before!! We felt super bad that we went and accidentally visited the elders’ investigator, so we talked a little bit more and ended. […]. The Elders ended up swinging by right as we were leaving! Awkward. We’re going to try to let the Elders keep her as their investigator, but we might end up teaching her, we’ll see.
(from a New Revival Christian Church sign)
This weekend was pretty exciting –J was baptized! He was the investigator who came to church with a less-active member and told us he wanted to find a church which could take him higher than his church could–and asked if he could learn more! Sister Ballard and I started teaching him that week and he progressed very quickly. […] He wasn’t able to attend church the Sunday before his baptism, but he looked up the church up where he was and attended that congregation!
(l-r) Sister Ballard, Sister Waddoups, Sister W, J, D, Elder Faleao, Elder Heilbut
Yesterday we had the opportunity to have Elder Aidukaitis of the 70 come and teach a Missionary Leadership Council Meeting! (A Missionary Leadership Council meeting is where all the zone leaders and sister training leaders come together and talk about ways we can best help the mission and the missionaries and receive training on how to best serve as a leader) It was super helpful, especially because this is my second week being a sister training leader and I have very little idea of what I’m doing! Elder A talked alot about desire and diligence in finding new investigators to teach, that is something the mission struggles in. He challenged each of us, each missionary in the companionship, to talk to contact 10 people a day, and quoted Elder Ballard who said that if we each contact ten new people a day, he promises that the number of baptisms will double or triple! So that is our mission’s new goal–for each missionary in the field to contact 10 people daily. One of our Assistants to the President said that contacting people is a way of contacting referrals from the Lord. So I’m definitely going to strive to contact a lot more!This is a small Revolutionary War cemetery in the center of Columbus…the car dealership was building their parking lot a few years ago and accidentally dug up this grave…so they moved it over a little and built a small cemetery for it.
One of my favorite church billboards; we pass this a couple times a week on the way to church
I love you all!
p.s. [from her family letter]
I wish I could email/write everyone who writes me every week. But we can only write letters on P day and I only have an hour on the computer–I’m still trying to catch up from my first week out!
[We asked about being a Sister Training Leader, which is her new role] We have STLs for almost all the zones, the North Augusta and Augusta zones only have one sister training leader. A STL goes on exchanges and helps with the sisters in her zone…so it’s similar to a zone leader which is way scary because I’m still in training and I have no clue what I’m doing, much less be able to tell other sisters what to do and how to be a better missionary! But I guess if Heavenly Father thinks I can do it, I can do it! There are three other sets of sisters in our zone, including Sister Christensen, who was my MTC companion! I’m going to end up driving (a lot sooner than most!) and we’re going to be driving all over the zone. We’re planning a sister’s zone conference (first in the mission ever! We’re finding out if we can get the president’s permission for it) where we’ll train the sisters and get to know them better :)
This Saturday Sister Ballard and I got a call letting us know that we are not transferring this week, we are staying in Flat Rock as the new Sister Training Leaders for our zone!
A picture of our district (l to r) Sister Ballard, Sister Waddoups, Elder Faleao, Sister Bush, Elder Darke, Elder Bush, Elder Heilbut, and Elder Stewart. Everyone in our district is staying except for Elder Darke. He was waiting for his visa and he finally got it! He’s leaving today for Brazil. Elder Stewart has been in the ward here in Flat Rock for eleven months and has three more months until he’s going home and he’s going to stay here another transfer and begin to train a new Elder, probably for another twelve weeks. So he’s probably going to be in his last area for 14 months. Everyone in the ward loves him and is excited he’s here to stay.
One of Elders Heilbut and Faleao’s investigators was baptized this last Saturday! Sister Ballard and I have had the opportunity to teach him some lessons when the Elders (who are the zone leaders) are out of the area on exchanges and can’t teach him. It was an amazing experience to be able to help him overcome some challenges and see the joy he had at his baptism. (l to r) M, Sister Ballard, Sister Waddoups, R, Elder Heilbut, and Elder Faleao.This is a woman in our ward who has adopted us as her kids and calls herself our southern mama. She has us over every week and feeds us dinner and invites her neighbor over to learn more. She has a bird that talks and whistles to us :)
Love you all!
Sister Lauren Waddoups
General Conference was amazing this weekend (General Conference is where the apostles and prophets of our church speak to the world and give counsel); I love noticing which topics are repeated–this conference missionary work was highly emphasized! (It was also interesting how the role of women was more emphasized as well).
I know that when members and missionaries work together, investigators and recent converts are able to become even more strengthened and will help both the members and the investigators become truly converted and endure to the end! As a missionary we always appreciate it when a member asked when this week they can come to a lesson with us and help us with investigators and referrals. This morning Sister Ballard and I received a phone call from a member in the ward telling us about a girl he works with and how they watched general conference together and that she noticed the different feeling she had when learning about our church rather than other churches and asked us if we could begin to help teach her. He has already began implementing what we are asked to do by our prophet!
This week has had its ups and its downs. Sister Ballard and I have gone to visit some less-actives in our ward and a majority of the people we met do not remember they were baptized! That is surprisingly common in our area, but usually they remember as we ask about their life. In one case this week she had never heard of the Book of Mormon or heard even of the church. But she was a sweet woman, she invited us in and fed us and we talked about the church. She promised to read the Book of Mormon and said we could come back, so maybe she’ll remember the church as she reads.
On Wednesday we held our weekly Book of Mormon class and afterwards we had a lesson with [the two men I talked about last week]. We had them read 3 Nephi 11, which is when Jesus Christ talks to the people in the Americas about baptism, so we talked a lot about baptism and answered their questions on Wednesday. They are both ministers at a prison, and they enjoy deeply studying the scriptures, including the Book of Mormon. They always come to lessons having read more than we asked them to and with insightful questions and comments. Sister Ballard and I extended the invitation of baptism and they both said yes, but didn’t want to commit to a date to prepare for.
On Friday [we learned that we would be transitioning the two men to be taught by the elders in our ward for a couple of good reasons]. Sister Ballard and I were sad to lose [them] as investigators, but we understand. So, they are now being taught by the Elder Faleao and Heilbut. This morning the Elders called to let us know that [one of the men] called them early this morning and told them that he wants to be baptized on October 19!
I love you all,
[Family’s note: No pictures this week but we did finally download the photos from Lauren’s family farewell party we held here in Australia before she left:]
The fab four. Two sets of sisters–Dallas, Georgia, Maddy, Lauren.