Ok, so, here's the run down on my situation since transfers-
1. We are still in a trio. Sister Venable, a service missionary has been with me for about 2 weeks. She is great. She has a really sweet spirit and is really humble. My new companion, Sister Reckseik, trained Sister Venable in McComb Mississippi so she is really helping me to help Sister Venable feel comfortable.
2. Sister Reckseik is freakin awesome! We were in the MTC together and we have waaaay to much fun together now. Seriously, I haven't laughed this much and this hard for my whole mission. She is really helping whip my bum into shape - I was slacking a little bit in the obedience department but she is helping me get better at that and I know we will see miracles because of it!
3. Our first exchanges as sister training leaders is this week with the Hammon sisters. We have no miles left so I don't know how that's going to work but the Lord will provide a way! I'm really looking for to traveling around the zone and getting to know the sisters better - we have some awesome sisters down here and I'm so freakin excited to get to love, serve, and teach with each one of them! I am determined to have a better attitude this time around. My first time being STL was good but I had kind of a bad attitude about the whole thing. I really didn't want to be a leader and I complained a lot. This time I want to accept my calling and magnify it and trust that the Lord will help me fulfill my responsibilities. It helps that I've had more time in the mission too, because I feel a little more capable of helping sisters with personal/missionary problems.
4. Weather = crazy. They canceled school down here on Friday, haha because it was in the teens all day and it was sleeting/icing/snowing all day. We had to scrape thick ice off our windshield twice and people kept telling us "Don't go out if you don't have to!" and me and Sister Reckseik just laughed because we deal with this all the time. The roads were wet but not icy, so we just went about our business as normal, except one family canceled their appointment because they thought it was too dangerous. :) They did shut down the freeways because the bridges over all the rivers and overpasses did get really icy so getting in or out of Baton Rouge was a nightmare - it is pretty much surrounded by rivers.
5. Peeps we are working with - We have an investigator that wants to get baptized on February 15th. Hooray! It was really weird though. During sacrament meeting she kept telling me that little demons were crawling on her, and she said that during the last few weeks demons had been crawling on her and in her house. We took her to Bishop because I didn't know if she's just crazy or she is really seeing spirits or what. But he has the gift of discernment and he gave her a priesthood blessing and she felt better after that. He also sent the Elders and the ward mission leader to her apartment with us to cast out any bad spirits that were there and to give her a blessing of healing. Interesting. It was really weird but it helped her feel better and we keep trying to stress that faith precedes the miracle. A lot of our trials don't go away in a poof (which is what she wants) but sometimes we have to work at it and then the miracle comes. So we encouraged her to keep reading the bible and book of mormon and singing and praying if the demons come, and don't give up. She seems pretty determined. We are going to start helping her quit smoking on Wednesday. Again, she wants the desire to smoke to just go away in an instant (since that is how it happened when she quit doing drugs) but we need to help her see that she's got to DO some stuff and then God will change her heart. Pray for us!
H and R are kind of progressing. We gave them a challenge yesterday to read from the real Book of Mormon with their mom every day and pray daily as well. They seem discouraged because their mom is always too busy with either work or their ADHD little brother to help them read the scriptures. I don't know what to do to help them. We asked them to think about getting baptized on March 1, but if D doesn't help them they aren't going to make it. Sometimes I feel like I'm playing guess what's in my head with Heavenly Father. I'm like, God, what do you want us to do with this family? What is the plan for them? And I don't get an answer, other than: just keep doing what you're doing. Semi-frustrating but I'm trying to have faith and patience.
6. Me/My Health/My Feelings - Good. No worries. Just trying to improve every day. I think the thing I battle the most is no longer panic attacks (hooray!) it's just general frustration. I wonder sometimes if I'm doing something wrong because we haven't had any baptisms in Denham Springs since I've been here. I also battle fear - there is a big push in the mission right now to find new investigators, and that means talking to strangers about the gospel and lots of tracting. Which is a huge bummer because I hate tracting honestly, and it requires that I get out of my comfort zone. And as a Sister Training Leader, I have to be an example of a good finding missionary, so that puts more pressure on. So please pray that I won't be so paralyzed by my fear. Like John said at Christmas over Skype, I need to be more ok with rejection because I will get rejected, and it's ok, it's not going to kill me, I just think it's going to kill me. I feel like you play lots of mind games on a mission. Blech.
My health - I am in a bet with President Tolbert, 1st councilor in the stake presidency, to try to lose 10 lbs by March 31st. I gained weight this week but so did he so that's encouraging. Cutting sweets is so hard - people keep giving us cake and Sister Reckseik showed up with a whole box of junk food/candy/snacks so I'm having a rough go. I loved the "Healthy Rules" you sent and I'm trying to abide by them the best I can. Every day is a battle, but I'm determined to do better and better each week, knowing that I will mess up but it's ok.
7. Thanks so much for the package! I loved loved loved it! And I can't wait to put up all the valentine decs today! You are truly the bomb diggity :)
8. Could you maybe send me a few talks. I know I haven't asked for this in a while and sorry to make you send something else, but I'm low on time and coins so I haven't been able to read/print some of the talks that I've been wanting to read.
-Pres Uchtdorf's message for the month - The Best Time to Plant a Tree
-"Our Missionary Purpose" -Elder Christofferson
-"The Love of God" -President Ucthdorf
-"Desire" - Elder Oaks
-Elder Callister's CES devotional from January
-Any talks you find about communicating with kindness and love. It's something I'm studying right now. I got inspired by Ephesians 4:29 :)
Hope you have so much fun with the Elders tonight! You should ask them for some simple ideas for how you can do missionary work! That's what would make me the most happy - if ya'll invited someone to be taught the lessons and invited them to church/to read the Book of Mormon. I think as a family maybe we can all work on being a little less afraid of opening our mouths together. It's tough but I know the Lord will help us! :)
I love you more than all the King Cake in Loosiana! (It's a mardi gras tradition and it's delicious, you should look it up)
PS: I know, this whole thirty minutes to use the computer thing is lame. But I've found that if I write the mission president and the stake president first, I NEVER get kicked off. How awesome is that! Hence the super long email today :)
PPS: Please tell Sinos that I got her letter and freakin loved it and I loved the poems she sent. So awesome! I wrote her a letter last week but just put it in the mail today. Oops. I will also get a birthday card in the mail to Grandma Lovely today.