It's been a while since my last group message because things have been super crazy. I've been having problems with depression ever since I came out and since it's only getting worse, I'm going to be coming home this week. I don't want to come home at all because I love New Jersey and being a missionary so much. But, this isn't the place to get better. I've ended up serving for three months and they have been the hardest and best three months of my life - I wouldn't trade them for anything!
New Years was so much fun. The Woodwards, a family in our ward, took our entire zone out to dinner (16 missionaries). The poor waiters at the restaurant were so confused about which order went where because of all the people. In the parking lot after dinner, after the Woodwards had gotten into their car, we all spontaneously started marching around the car singing Called to Serve. It was so awkward that it wasn't even awkward at all. I was laughing the whole time.
New Years day our favorite team up invited us to her New Years fondue party. She had a couple of friends there who we were able to talk about the Gospel with. Neither of them had any sort of religious background so they were very curious. I loved answering their questions and seeing them accept it. I hope the next sisters that come to this area will meet with them.
Our investigator left yesterday to Puerto Rico for a month. We've taught her the entire teaching record and more. She's so ready to be baptized, she only needs to get married first. I'm hoping she'll elope and get baptized in Puerto Rico - we have missionaries set up to visit her there. I'm going to miss her a lot.
I wish I could write all my mission experiences but that would take forever! New Jersey really is the best place to serve a mission. We are literally preaching the Gospel to all the world here because of the diversity.
Love you all and excited to see you again!
PS: I finally got a picture with our less active's pet pig:)
Okay, does President Taggart even know about this?
Please get your teeth fixed before proselyting, sisters! - Love, Mom
We had a Christmas party for all the missionaries. It was so much fun to see everyone!
Sister Cobb and I have a little Christmas corner in our apartment where we stacked everything. The members have given us so many presents, too. We don't have a tree so we just drew a picture of one and taped it to the wall. Sister Cobb wants to open all the presents early, but I won't let her because surprises are too much fun.
Sister Cobb went to see Janelle on Saturday, but I was on exchange so I didn't get to go:( Apparently she's being very receptive though. Amanda finally came to church!! She's so ready to be baptized. We also had two less active members at church, which is a record for us. We also got into a house by Christmas caroling:)
Weird things about NJ: The house numbers never match up because they are just spontaneously built. No planning. 136 and 8 will be right next to each other.
It's a thing for the fancier houses to put a single candle in each window of their house. Not sure why, but it is really pretty.
Hope you have a great Christmas!
Sister Williams (right) on exchanges with her training leader, Sister Shimon (left)
Zone leaders decorated their apartment door while she and Sis. Cobb were out teaching
I'm finished with my first transfer! 12 more to go. I'm going to be staying in the same area with my same companion because I'm still in training, but lots of other missionaries are moving around. This has been the longest six weeks of my life but I've loved it:)
We taught a lot of lessons and visited a lot of people this week. We have one investigator who is the most prepared and spiritual person I've ever met. She glows when she talks about the Gospel. We taught her about the law of the fast on Saturday, and she told us completely nonchalantly that she had fasted before just because she felt like it would bring her closer to God. She is also receiving revelation when she prays. We're hoping she'll get baptized this transfer. She still has to come to church because every Sunday something comes up. Hopefully this week:)
I love being a missionary at Christmastime. Everyone is more open and we've been able to share the He is the Gift video with a lot of people. We also got to help our recent convert decorate her Christmas tree.
We went on a mini exchange for a contacting blitz. I went with Sister Ivie who is a Spanish Sister. I was so pumped up to share my testimony with everyone, but the first lady we ran into wanted us to teach her about the Restoration. That was great, except she only spoke Spanish. So, I got to witness a Spanish lesson for about half an hour. It was really cool and really boring at the same time, but at least that lady was introduced to the gospel.
Thanksgiving was a lot of fun:) The morning of, all the missionaries from the southern part of the state came to the Princeton stadium and we played football all morning. It was freezing and snowing outside, but still a lot of fun. Later that day, Sister Cobb and I went to a member's house for dinner. The members here take such good care of us. We had so many offers for dinner appointments because everyone wants to make sure we're being fed. This ward is very focused on missionary work.
Missionaries from Zone 11 at Princeton Stadium on Thanksgiving Day 2014
Now that Thanksgiving is over, we're trying to focus on the new Christmas initiative the Church is putting out. It's a short, two minute video called "He is the Gift". We watched it with a member and I absolutely love it. We're encouraging everyone to watch it and then share it. I'm starting to really love Christmas because it's a time when millions of people celebrate the birth of Christ. Also, no matter what your religion is, you are focusing on Christlike attributes (joy, gratitude, love, etc.). I'm so excited to share this with everyone.
Surprising reception in the 'hood
Best experience this week: We were trying to find a former investigator to see if we could continue teaching her. It was 8 o'clock at night and we were in one of the more sketchy neighborhoods in our area. We drove past her house, but there were two tall black men standing on the porch. We were kind of terrified to approach that house, but we decided we should. So, we said a prayer, locked our purses in the trunk and walked up to the house.
The two men had gone inside. We knocked on the door and when they opened it, we saw that the house was full of people. It felt cramped and they were blasting music. We asked for the former investigator and they immediately invited us in. I'll admit, I was kind of terrified because I didn't know what I was walking into. But, as soon as they saw who we were, they all got really excited, jumped over each other trying to talk to us, turned off the music, asked us to play the piano for them, asked us to pray, wanted to know where we were from, introduced us to everyone in the house, showed us family pictures, and told us their family tree. All in the space of about 10 minutes. It was so cool how excited they all got. We don't know how interested they are in the church, but it was great to be received so well. We are going back next week, so we'll see how that goes.