“Real solutions, not resolutions”

[^latest church sign quote]

Happy day before the day before New Years!

Christmas Eve was our District Meeting, so we were able to have a District Christmas party–white elephant gifts included.

Lookee here! A spongebob flashlight and camera!

Lookee here! A spongebob flashlight and camera!

While we dined on Little Caesar’s pizza (only the classiest food for us!) we had an amazingly spiritual impromptu testimony-bearing time. We were able to grow as a district and recognize our own testimonies growing as we talked about why we left on and stayed on a mission. Later that day we were able to go caroling, which is an amazing way to meet people. As soon as they heard carolers singing at their door, the whole family would gather around. We ended up caroling at a house where a Presbyterian church party was going on, and when we knocked on the door they had us sing multiple songs as more and more of the party joined–at the end we had around 30 people crowded at the door listening to us sing and some of our message about Jesus Christ.

Christmas was amazing here; the members are so kind to us. The Relief Society had us put together a list of what our apartment needed, and sisters in the Relief Society volunteered to buy us items from the list for our Christmas present. We now have a cheese slicer, a screw driver, and a mold-free shower liner. Life is good. :) In addition to the Relief Society giving us a huge box of goods, another sister in the ward put together a brown paper shopping bag FULL of food, toiletries, and our favorite cereal (the one thing which usually goes when you’re on a missionary budget and need to compromise with a companion). So much support and love from our ward family.

Also, we bought the Elders some Christmas ties from Goodwill. Apparently Elder Hunsicker, right before he left his apartment, said, ‘well, it’s a good thing I don’t look ridiculous.’  Elder Greene’s tie plays a really obnoxiously electronic version of Jingle Bells, and Elder Christian’s is boring and only has reindeer playing musical instruments dancing on a musical staff :)

missionaries ties

Elder Hunsicker, Elder Greene, Elder Christian

On Thursday Sister Szilagyi and I were knocking late at night (at 830. In reality, it isn’t all that late) and we started talking with a Methodist couple, K & A, about Family Night and the youth activities our church has. After the conversation we walked away, and tried a few other houses. We weren’t successful in talking to anyone else on that street, so we got back into our car to try one closer to our apartment, but K ran out after us and asked if we could come inside and tell them about what we believe. We came inside and answered some questions and talked with them about the Book of Mormon.

Early Saturday morning Sister Wood, a sister in another companionship who lives in the same apartment as us, suddenly and violently came down with food poisoning (did I mention it was early in the morning? We’re talking 12:30 am early here. Luckily I have a lot of practice taking care of that…) Late last week my companion Sister Szilagyi came down with the sinus black plague which has been circulating the mission, so there have been a lot of pushing through and trying not to die :)

Sister Szilagyi and I headed out to visit with some potentials and as we walked to one woman’s house, her neighbor saw us, said ‘you’re from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! Love y’all!’ and ran into her house and shut the door. Wait what? We knocked on the potential’s door, she wasn’t there, so we went back to that woman’s house, awkwardly asked if the woman who just ran inside was home, and met N! She introduced us to her sons by saying ‘these girls are from the church we used to go to!’ to which her son responded ‘Oh yeah, I think I was baptized there’. What? Oh okay. She continued on to say how excited she was to find out that girls went on missions, stopped what she was saying and said ‘ y’all aint on bikes now are ya? If ya are, I’m gunna run to that church with a pitchfork!’ We quickly assured that no mobbing is needed, that we are lucky enough to get a car.

Love you all! Thank you for the Merry Christmases and the well wishes!

Sister Waddoups
lauren.waddoups@myldsmail.net

“Plan ahead–it wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark”

Hello!

This week Sister Szilagyi and I spent A LOT of time tracting and finding new investigators–and our progressing investigator has suddenly been put into the hospital!

We were asked to drive up to Macon for a Mission Leadership Council Meeting where Brother Donaldson, a representative from the Missionary Department in Salt Lake, came and spoke to us. Fun fact; he was also the Mission President in the training videos for missionaries, The District. It was a mission changing meeting, apparently we’ve been teaching lessons incorrectly my entire mission! He taught us how to teach a restoration lesson in 5 minutes using a pamphlet! I have hardly used pamphlets, it’s a fantastic method :)

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This is gorgeous Valdosta:

Valdosta
So…this one night…we went over to a less-active’s house for an appointment but she wasn’t there, but as we got back into the car Sister Szilagyi smelled something and looked at her shoe. She stepped in dog poop! I laughed at her and then checked my shoe. Nope, I’m clean! Psych, I checked my other shoe and I not only got it on my shoe but also ALL OVER THE INSIDE OF THE CAR! Man that was a rough night haha

sad shoe
In other news, the Elders in our apartment complex, Elder Christian and Elder Hunsicker, got bedbugs! The poor Elders have been eaten alive and now are finally moving out and into the other Elder’s apartment, hopefully not bringing the bedbugs with them! We helped them move out and I’m going to be SO mad if we end up with bedbugs.

My new Valdosta District! We are in a four pack with the other companionship of sisters, we all live in the same apartment together :)

valdosta district
Left to right: Sister Wood, Sister Jepson, Sister Waddoups, Sister Szilagyi, Elder Christian, Elder Hunsicker–Elder Hunsicker looks very upset in this picture! I promise he’s an awesome Elder, he was just upset because they found out that night about the whole bedbugs thing :(–Elder Harding, Elder Greene, and the Nashville Elders I have yet to learn their names (even though we were in the same picture, I know, I’m horrible…in my defense they live an hour away!).

Our ward had a nativity exhibit where ward members brought their nativities on display and we opened it up to the public and had all the members invite their nonmember friends. It ended up being very successful; we were able to meet a lot of people and the Elders even had someone ask to be baptized!

nativity valdostaLeft to right: Sister Waddoups, Sister Jepson, Amber (a recent convert in our ward; our new best friend!) Sister Wood, and Sister Szilagyi

One more gem I just found:

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Life is good.

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

Hello from Valdosta!

Hello!
This past week was transfers and I am now serving in Valdosta, Georgia. I am in the deeeep south now, I can see Florida from my house! Not really but look, you can see signs for Florida:

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My new companion is super awesome, her name is Sister Szilagyi (like Salami but with a “gee” sound instead of a m). She and I are pretty much the exact same person, we’ve read all the same things and think the same way and both love the why’s of things (we’re both supposers). She’s from Washington and is studying to be a psychologist. She’s super awesome and very excited to be on a mission :)

new companion Dec 2013
She and I opened up a new area in Valdosta, so we’ve been working on building up a teaching pool and finding people to teach. Our first night here we knocked on some apartments and met two students from Valdosta State and they immediately invited us in. They both go to a Baptist church and D. is in charge of the dance ministry there. We asked what that was, we had never heard of it before, and she described it as “bootleg ballet; we try to be graceful and we point our feet a lot in full swishy skirts.” They’re amazing :) We ended up having Thanksgiving dinner at their grandma’s house.

We found an amazing investigator, A., who had heard of the Book of Mormon before and was really interested in reading it and learning more about it. She asked if it was okay if she could read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and was excited when we told her that it’s exactly what we want her to do with it. :)

The Elders in our area also whitewashed in, so we’re both working on building up our area. Sister Szilagyi is an amazing soprano singer and I’m an okay alto, so we’re excited to go Christmas caroling!

Sister Szilagyi and I knocked on a house and looked in the window and found this. (Really creepy of us, I know…) A deerhead with a bow tie!

IMG_1220There are a ton of cotton fields everywhere. Everything looks like To Kill A Mockingbird, the houses are awesome! I can just imagine it 50 years ago and Scout running down the street to the court building. It’s super cool (also To Kill a Mockingbird is Sister Szilagyi’s favorite book, too. I told you we’re the same person!)

I love you all!
Sister Waddoups
lauren.waddoups@myldsmail.net