Carry on, carry on, carry on

Hello!

This week has been crazy and full of miracles! On Sunday Sister Hathaway went to visit an investigator, and when they answered and we asked for [the investigator], we realized we had knocked on the wrong house, that our investigator actually lived int he identical house next door. The man who answered was ready to quickly shut the door on us, but his sister and mom came up next to him to see who was at the door, and they exclaimed ‘Sisters! come on in!’ We were very confused and walked right in. It turns out that the man was a very less active member who just ‘happened’ to have his active mom and sister in town that one day. They invited us in and we talked with them, his mom gave us all his information, and encouraged us to come on Friday to help him with his yard. Later she told us that morning she had prayed that someone would come to help guide her son back. Heavenly Father is so good, He loves us and watches over His children and allows us to be the answer to his children’s prayers.

My new companion, Sister Hathaway, is FANTASTIC! We skipped that awkward getting-to-know-you period on the companionship and we’re able to get right to having fun while we work and being accustomed to one another. It’s great :)

Last night we were able to (actually) teach the investigator and his wife (the one that we knocked on the wrong house for). They are the most adorable older couple I have ever met. They have such a strong faith in Jesus Christ and in His grace and mercy, as well as enduring to the end and continuing to read and pray and build their faith. I am so excited to talk with them about the Book of Mormon and how they can continually grow and learn and progress through personal revelation and modern prophets :)

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

PS I had some fantastic pictures this week, but I forgot my memory card reader! I’ll send some next week

The week that was

Hello all!

This was a really rough week and so much has happened. I’ll try to go in order :)

On Tuesday I went on exchanges with Sister Drollinger and saw so many miracles and blessings–one of which was a man, C, who we met at a potential’s house. We talked with him and helped him build his race car for a little bit (I know, the things you never think you’ll do as a missionary) and he asked us if we were the ones with ‘another book’. We explained the Book of Mormon to him, that is is the record of ancient prophets here in the Americas, which goes hand in hand with the record of ancient prophets in the Middle East area (the Bible), and he was excited that it was a record of the ancient American Indians because his grandfather was 100% Indian. When we followed up on Saturday he had read the first two books (1 and 2 Nephi) and was loving it and loved the teachings he found in it :)

We were also able to give S (the German exchange student) her last lesson before she left to return home to Germany. I love her so much–she is going to do amazing things and will continue to be an amazing person. I can’t wait for the email with the pictures of her baptism :)

(sorry, it was a hot day and their a/c was broken. It was 90 in the house and 115 outside, haha

(sorry, it was a hot day and their a/c was broken. It was 90 in the house and 115 outside, haha

While we were on exchanges on Tuesday President called Sister Jackson and told he she is going home, that it would be better for her to receive the immediate medical help she needs in order to find out what has been going on and fix what has been causing her so much pain (for the last week and a half she has been at a constant 9.5/10 on her pain scale). It ended up being a hidden blessing that we were on exchanges when we found out–we were both able to deal with it on exchanges and be more okay with it when we saw each other–we missed each other’s initial reactions.

Wednesday afternoon we received another call from President telling her that she will be leaving the following morning. Her parents had sent her a package which arrived that afternoon–a little message from Heavenly Father that everything was going to be okay. In the package they sent me a little gift:

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Yup, those sure are matching cockroach necklaces! Sister Jackson had written home about an experience we had a few weeks ago: we were sitting on J’s porch and all of a sudden he squashed a cockroach which was crawling on his porch. We both thought he squished it dead, but a few minutes later it flipped back over and limped off to a corner, recovered, and came right back stronger and smarter than it was before. Sister Jackson applied it to our companionship–we get squashed down a whole lot, but we come right back and we will not quit. It was a perfect reminder and comfort to receive at just the perfect time.

I love Sister Jackson so much! Her leaving had me think over the two and a half months we spent together–the only two and a half months of her mission so far. Did I do everything I could to make this the best mission experience she could have? Were we 100% diligent to serving the Lord? Did I do everything I could to help her through her pain? Could I have done more? It changed my perspective of my mission–between reaching my halfway point and Sister Jackson going home, it’s caused a lot of reflection of my mission so far and what the rest of my mission can be.

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Thursday morning we were able to have a district breakfast right before Sister Jackson left with a member who was driving her back so Macon (Elder Moyo and Elder Noll were on exchanges, so Elder Moyo was gone and we had a random Elder in there haha).

I was put in a trio with Sister Hathaway and Sister Eggett, the other set of sisters serving in our ward. Another hidden blessing–we had two sets of sisters in our ward and I was able to remain helping our investigators along with the new sisters.

On Saturday the sisters had a baptism for an investigator they’ve been working with for a while–D! She is amazing and as soon as she stepped out of the font and the sisters handed her a towel, she just buried her face in the towel and cried, she was so happy and peaceful and clean.

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For Mothers Day this year the Elders brought us all roses, so for Fathers Day we made them duct tape ties. And of course, we had to model our creations :)

DSC09712Also in honor of Fathers Day, here’s a video about how wonderful Fathers are (I love you Dad!) All families come in different shapes and sizes, but no matter what, we all have a Heavenly Father who loves us, watches over us, and wants the best for us and will help us return to live with Him again: click here.

Thank you for your prayers and love–I feel them every day. I love you all so much.

Love,
Sister Waddoups
lauren.waddoups@myldsmail.net

“Y’all was sent here for me!”

Hello!

This week was a little bit of a rough one! The climax of the week included Sister Jackson throwing up from the pain in a Subway bathroom, absolutely refusing to go home, going to Book of Mormon class, completely breaking down in the bathroom at the church and finally going home. We’re working on figuring out what’s wrong, she’s been in serious pain for about a month and a half now! But she is an amazing example to me–she still wants to go out and work even when she’s at her worst and we need to go home because she’s in so much pain she’s crying. We went to the doctor’s this morning and she should be getting some more tests done this week to figure out what’s going on–the doctor’s thinking its something with her gallbladder, an infection or stones. Or it’s a parasite. Who knows. Only time will tell.

A few stories from this week:

-We found a road that is a little sliver of Valdosta! We were walking around and a man a little ways down the road begins to wave his arms and begins to shout things like “Over here! Y’all was sent here for me!” We shrugged and headed over to talk with him and he led us to talk to all of his friends. He introduces us as “angels who just walked out of the woods to speak the word of Jesus”. We tried explaining that we actually came from the car which was parked near the woods, but he wasn’t having any of that haha. He ‘introduced’ us to E, who we had actually met before and were going back for our return appointment. E is a wonderful man who, the first time we met him, told us that God sent us to him to help him make a change in his life to become more like who he should be.

-We’ve been working with S for a little while now, and yesterday she told us she finally got all the paperwork she needs to get married, that all she needs is a ride to the courthouse to get the marriage license! She wants to get married as soon as possible (they’ve been living together for 6 years now and she feels that weighing on her and can’t wait to be baptized) so she’s talking to her boyfriend about getting married this Saturday and baptized on the 21st!

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

Learning and growing

Hello!

This week has been crazy! Sister Jackson still isn’t feeling well, so we’re trying to find the cause of her pain. But she’s such a great example to me–even when she is in pain, she still encourages us to go out and work hard.

-Talent show! This weekend we had what is probably one of the best ward talent shows I’ve ever been to. Some of my favorites: a cartwheel–just one :), stake president’s family reenacting a scene from Frozen “fixer upper” (finally got a sneak peak!) as well as playing Teach Me to Walk in the Light using musical tubes hit on their heads and, for the grand finale, us! The missionaries in the ward did the cup song (like the one in pitch perfect) to a medley of I Hope They Call Me on a Mission/Called to Serve/Army of Helaman. It’s on Youtube. We’re going viral. We have 115 views as of 5 pm last night. We’re kind of a huge deal, haha.

-Tuesday night we had a movie night with the youth–we had them invite their friends and we watched the Restoration with oven smores and popcorn. There were many nonmembers there and we were able to talk to them about Joseph Smith and begin teaching a few of them.

-Yesterday was testimony meeting (the first Sunday of every month where there isn’t any assigned speaker but members of the congregation are welcome to come up and share their thoughts and feelings on the gospel). For the first time since she’s been going to church since January, S bore her testimony! She is the German exchange student staying with the Orrs and she has been wanting to be baptized for several months now. Her mother wants her to be baptized in Germany when she’s 18, and Sarah is devastated. She is planning on going on a mission and going to BYU as soon as she can :) She attended the baptism of one of her friends from school and she cried the whole way through because she was so happy for her friend and so sad that it couldn’t be her. She bore such a strong and powerful testimony of the church and the change she has seen in herself as she learns more about the gospel and applies it to herself. Because that is what this gospel is about–learning and growing and changing to become more like Christ. She is going to do amazing things.

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

p.s. [from Annie, Lauren’s mom] A woman in their ward sent us the link to the missionaries’ talent show entry:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzlJe8xoTFY