Monday, March 31, 2014

The Small and Simple Things

Being a missionary means having your eyes opened to the small miracles and the simple jokes. It's pretty interesting what can bring a smile to your face when you're in Sparta Tennessee... For example, with the idea that we would die and go to the spirit world, being very excited to see all our favorite Book of Mormon heroes, only to find out that they were only talking themselves up about being "large in stature" and were all actually just shrimpy beanpoles, had me and Sister Pinkston laughing our heads off. "Moroni you lied!! And in the Book of Mormon!!" HAHA... oh boy, I don't even know what's going on with that. XD (tired?!)

Another funny thing was meeting Porshe McDonald. "Fast food, fast car!" she says. She's an employee  we met at a store who actually came up to us and asked to give us HER number! I hope we can come to be good friends :).

OH and before I forget, a shoutout to GAVIN BROWN for his way cool mission call! Also, to Gabe Graham for getting a haircut! I'm super proud of you both ;).

So this week basically all of our favorite investigators dropped us :( It's been really hard to go through that rejection. Everytime it happens, Jeffery R Hollands words run through my mind: "I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation was not a cheap experience". I think of what the Savior went through, and when I am turned away by others I know that I am "standing shoulder to shoulder with the best life this world has ever known. The greatest missionary" and I can stand tall with Him.

There is a 15 year old girl here that I have mentioned before. She's recently had some really traumatic things done to her... like, it's really hard not to ask if I can't just send her home to my family so she can have a greater opportunity to reach her potential as the beautiful daughter of God that she is. We knew some horrible things had happened, so we brought the Ben and Jerry's ice cream and had a "girls night" where she just talked to us about everything and we were the non-judgmental ears to listen. I wasn't thinking about baptism. I wasn't thinking about what to say next. I wasn't calling her to repentance. Yet in that moment I KNEW I was being a true representative of Jesus Christ by being there for her as her friend.

Do you remember the miracle of the spanish pamphlet from last week? Well this week we had another funny incident over there. We pull up to their house and notice there are alot more cars than usual. We knock on the door and the dad comes, asking us in spanish if we are the espanol missionaries. Of course we don't really know what it is he's saying because it's in spanish, but we get the idea of it and respond. He lets us in anyway, and we see sitting on the couch THREE spanish speaking elders!! There are NO missionaries in Sparta or anywhere near it for miles around. Sister Pinkston and I just froze for a second. It was so funny! The elders didn't have a lesson planned, so us Sisters came to the rescue with our Restoration dvd in spanish that we had brought. So there we were. 5 missionaries, 2 of which have no clue what is being said, and a family all sitting in this little home around the tv. The spirit was so strong as we watched the story of Joseph Smith. It was great and probably something I'll never experience again haha.

There are some really promising people we are helping right now, but I don't want to say anything about them until there are some tangible results I can talk about, haha.

So I guess it's time for my awkard story of the week. We LOVE tracting in stores. There's one young man we've talked to a lot that works at a store nearby. We've given him a Book of Mormon and one day decided to go see him and make things a little more serious. We went over and asked him for his number so we could set up a time to teach him, in which he said he didn't have a phone at the moment. So we then asked for his address, only to see him turn bright red and awkwardly tell us he didn't feel comfortable with that.... pretty sure Sister Pinkston was halfway out the door in embarrasment before I had a chance to try to make that less uncomfortable for everyone. So next time, remind me not to be so bold when it comes to getting the contact information of single young men who I've only ever talked to during his work hours.... *face palm* 

But after a long week of rejection, we had zone conference! THAT was the best pick-me-up ever!
This is my zone! The girl in blue is my companion, and the other 2 girls next to me are the other sisters in my district.
The first thing President Anderson told us was a story about when he was called to be our mission president. He said he was feeling like he just wasn't good enough. God told him "you don't have to worry about that President, I'm sending you the very best". President then said that that was another way of God telling him "even you can't screw this up". Heavenly Father has a great love for the Tennessee Nashville mission. What a blessing for ME to have been sent among the best so that even I can't "screw this up". It was so good to go and be surrounded by other missionaries and even to see some MTC friends! I ALSO got my first package and it was the best thing of my life! Thanks again for that :). Getting mail from other missionaries was also really cool for me. Elder Oakes in the Philippines, Elder Anderson in India, Elder Risk in the Marshall Islands, Sister VanCammen in Peurto Rico, Elder Peck in California, Sister Lythgoe in Arizona... it's just way cool to me to think that we are all in such different places, surrounded by such different people, having so many different experiences in different languages... yet we are all teaching the SAME message. That Jesus Christ lives and that His gospel has been restored to the earth.

I know I'm on this earth for a reason. I got to watch part of the womens broadcast this week and I felt almost a spark of remembrance from my time before I was born. I recognized that I had an understanding of what was to be taking place when I came to earth. I was so excited and felt very prepared to come get a body, find my Savior, help others come unto Him, and then return to live with my Heavenly Father. It is the same for each of us, I think.  I'm so grateful for the guidance we have been given in this life to be able to know these things and to know how we can return to live with Him. I love to take the sacrament every week, and be cleansed by the healing powers of the atonement just like when we are made clean at baptism. I could practically FEEL the power of the atonement when I partook of it this week. I adore studying about my Savior. Personal study time has never been so exciting to me as it is now.
So even though some of this week's lessons were a flop and nobody really wanted to talk to us, it was still wonderful. The sun is shining, 
everything is beautiful, and I know that I am in the promised land.
I sure am going to miss these long country roads someday....

Sister Hochstrasser

Tennessee Nashville Mission
105 West Park Drive Ste 190
Brentwood, TN  37027

or for 49 cents :)

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