Busted backyard bonfires and answers to prayers

Hello!

Our week started out very well, all the missionaries were able to do service for a family in our ward. There was a bad ice storm here in February and it knocked a tree down in their backyard which demolished a shed and hit their roof. We were able to help them clean up the debris and chop up the tree and hit things with a crowbar :) We took the extra wood we destroyed and made a big bonfire. We gave a spiritual thought, prayed, and when we looked up from the prayer, three firemen had decided to join us. They put out the fire with their fancy hose and told us not to make such a big bonfire next time. I could see the headline: Mormon Missionaries Busted at Backyard Bonfire.

Looking back on the pictures, I guess it was pretty big…

Elder Hunsaker, Elder Robbins, Elder Moyo (in back), Elder Seedall, Sister VanDyke, Sister Jackson, me, Sister Eggett, Sister Drollinger, Sister Ramsden

Elder Hunsaker, Elder Robbins, Elder Moyo (in back), Elder Seedall, Sister VanDyke, Sister Jackson, me, Sister Eggett, Sister

We’ve started teaching our neighbor! We were walking around meeting our neighbors when he was outside, so we stopped and chatted with him. When he realized we were missionaries, he told us that he’s having a hard time believing in and trusting God. Yesterday he texted us and asked if we could stop by that night, so we came by and we had an amazing lesson with him. His mom died a few years ago, and he had a really hard time and blamed God. Randomly, in the middle of another conversation, I felt prompted to interrupt and ask if he’s ever prayed. He started crying and told us the one time he’s prayed was a few months ago and he received an answer so powerful and peaceful it was undeniable. But he hasn’t prayed since, because people were always telling him he could only pray with belief, and he felt like he didn’t have belief, so he didn’t want to pray. We talked with him about praying with real intent, how when you pray with real desire and a knowledge that you will act on the answer you receive, you will always receive an answer. It was amazing to see the peace and calm he felt by the end of the lesson as compared to the beginning and joy that the Spirit which was there brought to him.

We had a really good lesson in Relief Society yesterday all about faith vs belief. We talked about how belief leads to faith, but in order to make that transition, works is required. In order to know without a shadow of a doubt, you need to pray, read, and study it out in your mind. It was amazing to see how Heavenly Father prepares the way for people to receive the gospel. On looking back to [our neighbor], our goal for him this week was to pray with real intent. On Sunday we had a lesson on acting to develop faith, then he texted us, then we were in tune enough with the spirit to ask about prayer, and he was able to share his powerful experience with prayer. Heavenly Father truly knows best, there is no way we could have orchestrated that :)

I love you all!
Sister Waddoups

Survey says…Augusta!

Hello! And survey says….Augusta! I am now serving in Augusta, GA, on the border of South Carolina. I opened a new area in the Stevens Creek ward, bringing the grand total of missionaries in the ward to two sets of Sisters and one set of Elders. They all seem hard working and have a true desire to serve God.

Conveniently, Masters is also this weekend! Hello traffic, lots of visitors, and golf carts a plenty :)
I don't think I'm in Valdosta anymore....

I don’t think I’m in Valdosta anymore….

My new companion is Sister Jackson, she’s from Fort Collins, Colorado and is just starting her mission! She’s great and I’ll enjoy getting to know her better :)

Sisters in my District: Me, Sister Jackson, Sister VanDyke, Sister Eggett, Sister Ramsden, and Sister Drollinger

Sisters in my District: Me, Sister Jackson, Sister VanDyke, Sister Eggett, Sister Ramsden, and Sister Drollinger

We’ve spent a lot of time finding investigators, because we opened the area there were no investigators, potential investigators, or formers to work with. So many miracles have happened here. One miracle happened the day after we got here; we knocked on a door and that’s where we met D, a 20-something-year-old guy who answered the door rather defensively, rather harsh, and very uninterested. We talked to him about his faith journey and about because in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus Christ suffered for all of our pains, afflictions, illnesses, hardships and trials, he knows exactly how we feel and so he knows perfectly how to help us because he understands us perfectly, that “there is no pain He hasn’t suffered first” (Elder Bednar’s Conference talk). As we were talking to him about Christ, he visibly changed. He opened up and told us about how he has met with missionaries before and he has read some of the Book of Mormon and told us some of his worries and concerns. He asked us if we could come back to tell him more, how he can feel true love and peace from the world. The difference just between how he was when he answered the door and by the time we left him with a prayer, he had changed. That is why I am on a mission. Because the Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives.

I love you all!

Sister Waddoups

lauren.waddoups@myldsmail.net

 

p.s. We got home last Monday night [before leaving Valdosta] and were bummed that all the parking spots were full. Then we looked more closely and our beds were in our parking spot! The sisters had the Elders help them move the entirety of our beds into the parking lot. Rude. :)

bed joke

The end of a season

Well, the end of the transfer is upon us! Sister Jeppson, Elder Ditty, Elder Hunsicker and I are all being transferred to new areas tomorrow.
Fourpack
The fourpack will be no longer…Sister Szilagyi and Sister Tevi are staying in Valdosta and training new missionaries, and Sister Jeppson and I will go to another area and also train new missionaries!  Sister Jeppson and Sister Tevi took our sheets off of our beds and pinned them all over our walls. They are such pranksters! Sister Szilagyi and I have tried to retaliate, but to no avail. Our pranks always fall through!
D- and G-, a member's kids who are being baptized on 12 April. I love them so much, they are amazing examples to me :)

D- and G-, a member’s kids who are being baptized on 12 April. I love them so much, they are amazing examples to me :)

K-, a recent convert in our ward. I love her so much!

K-, a recent convert in our ward. I love her so much!

Sister R, this is for you! :) This is the yard decoration of Sister R, our Relief Society President.

Sister R, this is for you! :) This is the yard decoration of Sister R, our Relief Society President.

Thank you Jim the Mailman, between the package and the note it made my day! Jim the mailman knows our apartment quite well, we’ve become good friends. We gave him plates of cookies at Christmastime and he knows us by name and pulls over if he sees us walking around Valdosta and chats with us. He’s a sweet old man :)
Sorry for the short email today; I have some packing to do!
I love you all!
Sister Waddoups