Monday, April 13, 2015

"They set off the fire alarm! HAHAHA"

Goooooood morning! It's a beautiful day in Hotchkiss, CO and all is well. I've officially been on my mission for a year! AND I'm officially 21 years old - I feel ancient. Thank you all for the sweet birthday wishes! It means a lot :)

Thanks for the birthday and Easter treats!

This week has been eventful, for sure. On Monday we drove over to Gunni, and on the way there we saw a bunch of cop cars on the side of this narrow, sketchy highway that we have to take to get there from Paonia. To the side, falling off a little cliff/hill thing, was an upside-down car. We found out later that someone had rolled and they died like 30 minutes before we passed....eek! Needless to say, we drove really safely for the rest of the way to Gunnison.

On Tuesday we had a busy day. We saw B, one of our investigators. He is kind of old and he has MS so he has a really hard time doing stuff. He loves the church and comes every week, but his memory isn't the best and he can't always remember that he has a testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel. That's not good. If we spend an hour with him and talk about it and resolve all of his concerns, he can tell you that he knows Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and he wants to be baptized, but then the next time we see him he totally forgets all of that and has all sorts of concerns that we have to resolve again. It's a little bit frustrating. But he's doing well, and we talked about the Savior and watched Because He Lives.

Later we went tracting and we were also trying some potentials. We were looking back on the potentials forms for the area, which date back to like 2009, and found a man named RS. He was a Headquarters referral from 2010, but we had no information except his name and address. We don't know if he sent in the referral, or someone else, or if missionaries ever contacted him - nothing. We felt like we should see him, but he was almost 30 minutes from where we were at the time. We considered not going, but then we had another little nudge from the Spirit and we went out there. He lived on this windy backroad, next to NOTHING. Kind of in the middle of nowhere. But we knocked and this cute old man answered and said "COME IN!" We were like "Uhhh.....ok!" and we did. We were able to teach him about the Restoration and mentioned the Book of Mormon. He is really interested and wants to learn more, and wants to read the Book of Mormon! So we're meeting him at the church on Wednesday for a church tour and a lesson. The whole time he was talking about the Second Coming and how it's getting closer and closer and that we need to prepare for it. We were able to bear powerful testimony that the Book of Mormon and modern-day prophets and the Priesthood can help him to prepare for when the Savior comes. It was a great lesson and I'm really excited to see him again.

We also saw L, this crotchety old man (I'm saying that lovingly) who got baptized last year. He is adorable and I just love him. He also has MS, and he is in a wheelchair because of it. We taught him outside on his porch (bad idea - I got a sunburn on my whole right side. So attractive.) and talked about conference. Somehow we got on the topic of names and Sister Pittman told him my first name. Then I told him that my middle name is Rose, and he said "Rose....that's a good name for a hooker." Then he told us the difference between strippers, hookers, and call girls. Hahaha thank you L! You're darling. He also showed us his gun last time we saw him and waved it around a bit. This time he asked us how many Young Single Adults go to the activities that the ward has for them, and we said not very many. Then he said "What you gotta do is go around to their places with a gun. That'll get 'em there." and we said "But L, you can't force people to come to church. They have to WANT to come." and then he said "Yeah, but if they have a gun pointed at their heads, they'll REALLY want to come to church!" He has a valid point! :P

Later, we went to a birthday lunch at this amazing Mexican restaurant in town. Mmmmm it was good. Then we went to the Gunnysack and Sister Pittman bought me a Pizzookie! It's a huge cookie that looks like a pizza and it had peanut butter ice cream on top. SO GOOD. Man, Paonia is seriously lacking in the restaurant department, but Gunnison has got it figured out. We were so stuffed, I thought they were going to have to roll us out of the place.

We also saw our investigator L that night. She's like 14 and in Middle School, and she's really cool. We taught her about the Plan of Salvation and she really liked it! We're going to invite her to be baptized this week which we're really excited about.

Right after that we drove back to Paonia. It started to snow on our way out of Gunni, and we were a little worried that it would get bad because Gunnison is like the second coldest city in the United States, but it was mostly just wet and didn't cause any problems. It was beautiful to look at though! We got back just in time (ok, maybe a little bit late) for our Missionary Coordination Meeting. I think the Bishop and Ward Mission Leader in Paonia are a little worried that we're stretching ourselves thin working in two areas. They were very concerned about us driving all that way, and working too hard, and they kept asking what they could do to help us with our missionary efforts. It was so sweet! Honestly, I'm having a blast working in both areas! Yeah, it is a little challenging, but who doesn't love a good challenge? It's the best.

It really is beautiful here!

In my Zone, the Elders and Sisters are having a "friendly" competition revolving around Because He Lives. Every time we share it, we get a certain number of points, and every time we hand out a Because He Lives pass-along card we get points, and every time we find a new investigator from showing them the video we get points. The losers have to buy the winners lunch. So us Sisters are rallying together because we absolutely refuse to buy lunch for the Elders - and you would too if you saw how much they can eat!!! So all day Thursday we shared the video with EVERYONE that we could. It was fun. I have the whole thing memorized at this point, music and all. And I still love it and learn something new each time I watch it!

Thursday night we saw J and T. We asked J how he is doing with living the Word of Wisdom, and he's doing great! He told us that he has been drinking hot chocolate in the mornings at work instead of coffee, and he didn't have his can of chew in his back pocket like he usually does. That was really exciting.

On Friday, I turned 21! And we did our weekly planning all morning. Alannah sent me a box of lemon bars and we made them and then had a mini celebration - just me and Sister Pittman :) We lit all 21 candles, and Sister Pittman sang, and I blew out all of the candles in one breath, and then....the fire alarm went off. Hehe whoops! Our neighbors downstairs must have heard Sister Pittman singing, and also must have heard the alarm because we heard them say "They set off the fire alarm! HAHAHA" and then they laughed for like 5 minutes. Embarrassing! Fun fact - their son turned one the same day I turned 21. So I think they were just jealous of our rockin party, tbh.

 Birthday party time!
Having so much fun together!

Friday night we met up with the Uncompahgre Sisters and went on Exchanges! I went to their area with Sister Patera, and Sister Thompson (the greenie) came to Paonia with Sister Pittman. Sister Patera and I basically tracted all day Saturday. We didn't really have any big miracles, but we were able to teach quite a few people so that was fun. Uncompahgre is a strange place.

 Yup... I'm holding another chicken!
More friends we met along the way!

Meanwhile, in Paonia, Sister Pittman and Sister Thompson saw J and T and taught them the Law of Chastity and invited them to get MARRIED on May 2nd!!!!!! J is kind of opposed to marriage, but apparently the lesson went slightly better than expected. He didn't say yes yet, but they are going to fast and pray about it together. Please pray for them!!!!! We want him to be happy and I know that living the commandments and becoming a member of Christ's Church truly brings more happiness than anything else can! But it can be soo hard sometimes to start living the commandments and to change. I know he can do it, though! J didn't make it to church on Sunday because he was still processing everything, but T was there. She is so fantastic and she's ready for marriage, and I think he is too, he just needs to take a leap of faith. But once he does, the blessings are going to POUR out of Heaven like a monsoon. So hopefully soon I'll be hosting my first wedding on my mission! Pretty exciting :)

Church was great yesterday. The talks were on Praying with Faith - something I'm always working on. It's not easy sometimes; it actually takes effort and work! But it is so worth it in the end.

After church we saw C. She is 17 and her dad is a member but her mom is not (they're divorced). When she's staying with her dad every other weekend she comes to church and we get to come by and teach her. She's so neat and is really just a good kid. I think she'll get baptized within a year or two, but it's hard because her mom is really opposed to the church right now. It always absolutely amazes me when people, especially young people, are able to have such strong testimonies and knowledge despite having so much opposition in life. It gives me hope for the future.

Today Sister Pittman and I are going to go to Montrose with the Uncompahgre Sisters for a Girl's Day! We're getting our toes done, getting lunch, and hanging out. I'm really excited to feel like a lady again :P Then we'll be staying with them because tomorrow we have a Sister's Conference in Delta. Sister Pittman and I were asked to do an interpretive dance on Knowledge....uhh, how?!?! We don't know. We're kind of freaking out about it a little bit. Any ideas?? HELP US.

I hope you all have a fantastic week and that you see amazing miracles each day! Remember how much God loves you!!!!

Sister Koenig

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