Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter at Disneyland

I can't believe how much happens on a mission! It goes by so fast! At the same time though, I'm grateful it's not slowing down. I would hate to have a day drag on or time feel too slow. I guess I'll just start from the beginning of the week and work my way to today.

On Tuesday we had to take our car into the shop, but that's okay, we had lots of member willing to take us out! Oh wait... they canceled. HAHA. So Sister Pinkston and I spent the first 3 hours of our morning assembling our bikes!

We had an appointment over on Disneyland Road. And let me tell you, it was about as far away as Disneyland, and we sure did experience some wild rides trying to get to it! Starting out, Sister Pinkston's handle bars started to fall off, so we had to stop at the local farmers' co-op place and get some help. Then I noticed that she was really struggling up the hills and we were taking longer to ride than if we were just walking! I prayed for her to receive strength, and as she pushed up to the top of the hill where I was waiting for her, I decided we needed to switch bikes. We did, and I soon realized what was slowing her down-- her bike's brakes were on! We had no way of fixing it, so I said another prayer and with some serious heavy breathing and a determination to get to our appointment on that accursed bike, we made it!  Now remember, Tennessee is basically all hills, so riding 7 miles to someone's house on a bike with the brakes all messed up, isn't really a piece of cake. Also, Sister Pinkston and I haven't been on bikes for probably 2 years... haha. Boy let me tell you though, that lady's home on Disneyland Road definitely felt like the "happiest place on earth" when we arrived... I was SO sore and sitting down was amazing. Haha. 

On our way back home (another 7 miles) my muscles started to heavily protest and I worried we wouldn't make it back. We began to call everyone we could asking for help, but to no avail. We biked a little further up the road until we came to yet another monster hill. We dismounted our bikes and trudged up to the top. "Let's try calling someone again," my companion suggested. We did, and we found a lady who could do it! We knelt in prayer right on the side of the highway and gave thanks to God for the miracle. With new found courage, we biked a few more hills until this Sister's beautiful white truck drove gloriously to our rescue. We recounted to her our sorry tale of skirts flying up to our faces, bruised bottoms, and Sister Pinkston's broken bike that I rode. She scolded us for attempting to ride 14 miles down the highway in the first place... It sure was an adventure! I think yesterday was the first day I wasn't feeling bruised from all that. It's lucky I've always taken my morning workouts pretty seriously, otherwise that bike workout would have REALLY killed me. I think the thing that made the experience so miserable was just sitting on that bike seat for so long... ouch.  It was all worth it though when the lady who saved us told us about her grandson. He's living with her, and is 2.5 years old. When she told him it was time to go pick up the missionaries, he turned to her and said, "You're going to get Jesus' sister?" MY HEART MELTED. Jesus walked such a long hard path utterly alone, much harder than biking up some hills in a skirt with a companion! I can't even imagine how much he probably hurt doing what he did for us. His ministry wasn't easy. There were no bikes or cars back then.

"And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head"   -Matthew 8:19-20

Jesus sacrificed everything to help bring salvation. Even his life! I am so blessed to wear his name on my chest and have his spirit in my heart. I love my Savior so much and I hope we all will be able to better sacrifice ourselves to help build up the Kingdom of Heaven.

Wednesday was our district meeting. It was a great time for me to really reflect on my mission and how much I've grown even in just these 2 months that I've been out. As Sister Pinkston and I went out proselyting, we had a really great experience that just made us feel like real missionaries. After being at the church, we started to walk back to our house. On the way, we stopped in an old antique store to talk to a girl that we knew, and invite her out to church. She was so excited to see us! She was going to have to work on Sunday, but we gave her our invitation anyway and she really took it to heart. I wish every investigator was as excited about being invited to church as she was! After stopping by the store, we continued on our journey until we came across a lady with a bunch of groceries, walking our opposite direction. I had a feeling we should go to talk to her, so we did. We helped her carry her groceries and got to talking. She is the BIGGEST Jonny Mathis fan I have ever met. She showed us her picture album of him and talked about him the whole way to her house. When we got inside, it was decorated with pink plush things that she had made herself, and there were pictures of her beloved singer everywhere. She told us she was interested in coming to our church, and so Sister Pinkston and I are so excited to go teach her soon! On our way out of her house, we ran into Gerlene, an elderly lady going on a cruise in her electric chair. We talked to her about the Book of Mormon, and it was the most amazing thing to see the light in her eyes as she heard about what it was. The Book of Mormon is my favorite thing to teach around Easter time, because it's about the resurrected Jesus Christ coming to the Americas! It was so fun to spend that day talking to new people, and running into ones we already knew. I love being a missionary!

Thursday we found out that if we can get a 120 average at church for the next month and a half we will get our building!!! While we were out teaching this day we came across two people sitting in front of a burned down house. I had a prompting to go back and talk to them but I wasn't sure if it was a good idea and debated with myself until we were way down the road. Finally, I said something about going back and found out the member we were with was feeling the same way! So, we returned and I'm so glad we did! We were able to clear up a lot of misconceptions they had about the church and show them that Mormon's aren't as weird as they thought.

Friday our car was still in the shop, so we continued walking around and just teaching random lessons on the streets. We were needing someone to visit so I started looking through the branch directory and found a random name that didn't look familiar. We put her on our list as a backup for the night, but when it came time to going out again after dinner I decided she needed to be first and foremost. We found out that she was a less active who was struggling with her faith. It was a great lesson, and was actually the only one that we got to teach that night! I learned the importance of following even the smallest of promptings and paying attention to even the slightest flicker of a feeling when it comes to who God needs us to talk to.

Saturday was spent inviting EVERYONE to church.. we also got our car back! I think the highlight of the night was receiving an Easter basket from some members :)

FINALLY it was Easter Sunday. Sister Pinkston and I were so excited, because all week long we had been teaching everyone and their dog (here in Tennessee, you can take that phrase pretty literally) about Easter and we were so anxious for it to begin! Church had an AMAZING turnout and the lessons were all wonderful. We had a lot of less actives come and it was just so exciting! After church we went to TWO lunch appointments and then had our dinner appointment. Unfortunately there was a bit of a mix up with all these meals, because in the South when you say "dinner," it actually means lunch... so we were about to have 3 lunches in a row but luckily one of the families said it was alright if we came at supper instead (which is really dinner). Yikes....

That night as we made our rounds, we had one sweet single sister in the ward talk to us about our role as sister missionaries. With tears in her eyes, she told us how grateful the sisters of the branch were that we had come. She said that they had been struggling, and that if we ever wondered what on earth we were doing in Sparta, Tennessee, it was because the single sisters prayed us there. They needed our strength and the spirit that we leave in their homes. It was probably the kindest thing I have ever heard while out on my mission, and it definitely gave me a newfound determination to serve with all my might. I know I'm here in Sparta for a reason. I'm SO happy that I get to stay another transfer here. I love walking down the streets and knowing everybody and having them know me. I also love my companion! We have our rough spots, but we ALWAYS are able to come out stronger from them with the help of our Savior.

I pray for the safety of everyone back home, and again, I thank those of you who keep me in your prayers and who take the time to write. I hope all ya'll had as great of an Easter as I did!

Sister Hochstrasser

Sister Jennifer Hochstrasser
Tennessee Nashville Mission
105 West Park Drive Ste #190
Brentwood, TN  37027

or (49 cents!)

No comments:

Post a Comment