Monday, July 27, 2015

"I've got the skin tone, the gender, the religion....everything lines up for me to be a rapper!" - Me

I'm so sorry that I haven't emailed in so long!!! Things have been crazy. But I feel sufficiently reprimanded by all of you and I'm repenting and I'll try to have a good email this week. But I'm apologizing in advance - it's going to be totally disjointed.

First of all, transfers are on Tuesday. I'm staying in Uncompahgre, but Sister V is being transferred! Sad day :(   My little baby is leaving the nest and moving on to bigger and better things. Probably the city. I'll be follow-up training a new missionary, so it will be her second transfer. Whoever she is, she came out with Sister V, and we've been taking bets on who I'll get. Fun times.

A couple weeks ago I milked a goat! It was fabulous. And I got to cross it off my bucket list! We were doing service for a member, and basically everyone out here has a farm, so we went and helped on this family's farm. Mostly it was boring, like moving hay around and giving the animals water, but then I got to milk the goat!!!! She was so cute. I was nervous at first because I've never done that before, but I was totally a pro. I got it on the first try and the owner was super impressed. I filled up a whole quart jar nearly as fast as the member did! I guess I'm going to have to have a farm someday - I'm a natural :)  I didn't drink any of the milk though....that  grosses me out. Maybe a farm isn't the best idea.

A week and a half ago we had Zone Conference. Sister V and I sang a really cool mash-up of I Know That My Redeemer Lives and I Feel My Savior's Love and it went super well. People keep asking us to sing now. I also bore my testimony at the end, and I bawled the whole way through it! I've never cried over the pulpit before. It was brutal and I do not recommend it.

I learned a lot about repentance there, which was great because it's also something I've been studying and thinking about a lot lately and I feel like my knowledge of it was magnified at that meeting. I'm specifically working on the principle of daily repentance. Do you know how difficult it is to go through your whole day in prayer and repent of everything you've done wrong? It definitely doesn't allow for quick bedtime prayers, that's for sure. I'm starting to get calloused knees! It's so good though. I feel a lot more peace and strength and I can already see myself changing. And partaking of the sacrament each week is becoming a more meaningful and spiritual experience because I'm significantly more aware of my need for the Savior's Atonement and mercy. At church on Sunday one of the speakers said that when they are partaking of the sacrament they listen to all of the cups dropping into the trays and they picture each one as a drop of the Savior's blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. I thought that was a pretty powerful thought.

Repentance is real. It does change you. The Savior loves each of us and wants so badly for us to repent and to allow his Atonement to heal us. This morning I read 3 Nephi 9:13-14 which is the Savior speaking, and He says "Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? . . . If ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me."  I challenge each of you to think of ways that you can turn more to the Savior and rely on Him this week. And I also challenge each of you to work on daily repentance - I can promise you that it is worth it.

Last Friday was Pioneer Day and the Delta Ward asked Sister V and me to come out to their picnic celebration to sing Come, Come Ye Saints. We showed up and they were all just mingling and eating and they told us we weren't going to sing for a long time. We sat down to wait, and we totally chose the best possible place to sit! Sister V was sitting right next to this couple where the husband is a member of the church but his wife is not. They both come to church every week though. And get this - the wife was a former Jehovah's Witness, just like Sister V!!!! They totally hit it off, and that woman's heart was softened SO MUCH. Miracles! Then I sat right across from this guy who I thought was just a member of the Delta Ward, but his friend who was standing behind him turned to me and pointed at him and said "This is B. He's an investigator. Sic him!" It was really funny. And of course I totally jumped on that and within 20 minutes we had set up a church tour for the next day and I basically told him that he was going to be baptized and he agreed. It was amazing.

So we saw B on Saturday at the church! Apparently when he lived in Delta years ago he took the discussions, and he became really close friends with our Ward Mission Leader. We brought the Ward Mission Leader out to the church tour and it was an incredible lesson. We showed him around the church and the Spirit was so strong, especially in the chapel. Then we went to the baptismal font and taught him about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as we sat in front of the font. He agreed to be baptized August 29th :) I'm SO EXCITED. He has hardly any religious background or knowledge, but he's soooo prepared to make changes and follow Christ. It's the best. He kept saying that all he wants is to be happy. Thankfully we totally know how to help make that happen!
We invited him to church, and he came! That's a huge miracle right there. He already knows so many of the members in both the Uncompahgre and Delta Wards, and they love him a ton. What's really cool is that he literally just moved back to Delta a few weeks ago and wasn't even sure why he did, it just "felt right." He said he keeps being drawn back to Delta and back to our church. I told him that was a sign from God. He agreed. We will be seeing him again tonight and I'm stoked.

I've been running more lately and it's been really fun. My goal is to be able to run 3 miles by the end of this week and I'm almost there! Have I ever mentioned how hard it is to breathe here? I'm like a mile high and my lungs do NOT like it. I figure if I can run 6 miles here by the time I go home, I could probably run a half marathon no problem when I'm back at sea level! We'll see.

I love you all so much. But more than that, I love my Savior and my Heavenly Father. I would not be here today without their infinite love and mercy and PATIENCE. They are so good to me.

I hope you all have a fabulous week. Please feed your missionaries and help them out :) It means a ton!

Sister Koenig

Monday, July 6, 2015

"You're pretty good at rapping for a white girl." - White Guy

I never know how to start these. This week marks 15 months since I entered the MTC, so that's weird. And I've accepted the fact that I'm probably going to die in Uncompahgre. Not literally - just mission-wise. Don't worry. Although I think sometimes Sister V literally thinks we could die out here. But that's only when I take her out to Peach Valley. Which I did a lot this week. Sorry Sister V!!!

We met a lot of weird/cool/crazy people this week. But my mission brain has been pretty bad lately so I can't really remember anything. Oh we met an old retired pastor yesterday. We knocked on his door, told him our names, and asked what his name was. He said "I'm Reverend R W----" and all I could think was "Oh no." However, it ended up being a VERY pleasant experience! He was the nicest pastor I've talked to my entire mission. Apparently he had a coworker at a school who was a Bishop in our church, and they had a LOT of conversations, which I think made him like Mormons. Shout out to Bishop Bishop (that's his name), whoever and wherever you are, for making our lives easier.

We had Exchanges on Thursday and Sister B and I were together again in Uncompahgre. That night our last appt fell through and we didn't know what to do so we decided to try a less-active in the ward directory. We tried this one lady and it turns out she has a non-member son and husband. We started teaching her outside when suddenly this teenage boy showed up and said "Is that your car? You're taking up both spots." Whoops. We had to awkwardly pause the lesson and I moved the car. In the process, an active member from the ward came up to me and suddenly I remembered what S had told me when I first got into the area - he lives right next door to his inactive daughter and her kids (who we were teaching). I don't know why I can't remember anything. Anyway, then he invited us all into his house and we taught his adult daughter and her 11-year-old son and another sort of "adopted" son who is 18. We invited the sons to be baptized and they both said yes! I am really excited to see them again this week.

The Fourth of July was weird. We didn't know who to see and everyone was either not home or they didn't want to listen. We did get to see one of our new investigators, P. He solidly committed to go to church and we had his ride set up and everything, but he didn't show :( The member who was going to drive him said he knocked on the door for a good 5 minutes before giving up. Sad life. Anyway, that night we saw an inactive couple and that was really nice. They made us cupcakes today and they're feeding us dinner on Friday! And another inactive lady asked if she could take us out to lunch tomorrow! We're getting spoiled.

Saturday evening when we came home, our AC was totally and completely NOT WORKING. It was blowing warm air out even though it was set to 68. It wsa at least 87 degrees in our room but probably way hotter. I thought I was going to die. I tried turning it off and back on, I turned off the breaker to the furnace for a bit, I did EVERYTHING I COULD THINK OF and nothing worked. Finally around midnight I gave up and turned it all off and opened a couple windows to hopefully at least get a little breeze. I did not sleep well at all. But then the next morning it worked!!! I have no idea what the problem was.

Yesterday we had a lot of things that we had to do to hit standards for the week. We had to teach 7 lessons, do 10 surveys, and put two more people on date for baptism. I kind of thought there was no way, but I was SO DETERMINED.

Then came the trials and the test of my faith: After church Sister V had a horrible headache from fasting so she ate and laid down for a bit. Then I really thought there was no way. But once she was feeling better we persevered (somewhat frantically), and WE DID IT. Man I have no idea how, but we did it. The Lord blessed us soooo much, and did so right at the last second to keep us on our toes haha. We had a lesson with members at 8 and we only had from 6-8 to do everything we needed to. At 7:30, our last ditch effort, this HUGE storm rolled in and it was pouring. I cannot even explain to you how hard the rain was coming down. The clouds looked tornado-y. It was intense. After the initial crazy wave of rain (it was seriously more like a tsunami washing over us) when it was safe to drive I went to this random road that I've never even seen before. We ran in the rain from house to house tracting. It was so fun. Sister V said "Good thing I brought my umbrella today!" and I said "NO UMBRELLAS!!! The people need to pity us if they're ever going to let us in!!!!" Just so you know - it totally worked. She might have hated me for a minute, buuuuut in the end she realized it was a brilliant idea. :)

Yeah that was our week and I'm really tired now so we're probably going to go shopping and then nap. Hallelujah.

Sister Koenig