Monday, May 12, 2014

The MOTHER of All Weeks

I'm so thankful for my mom because she taught me to be fearless. Like when I see a spider in the car and my companion pulls over and runs away screaming in less than 10 seconds while I have to stay behind to kill it.... HAHAHA
I'm thankful for my mom because she faithfully attends her church meetings. We went to teach an investigator about the Book of Mormon and were instead prompted to talk about church attendance. Changing lesson plans last second can be a little daunting, but as we follow the guidance of the Holy Ghost he always takes us by the hand and helps to direct the lesson. If I didn't have such a great testimony of church attendance because of my mother's example, I wouldn't have been much of an asset to the lesson. But because I did, this investigator came to church this Sunday and stayed for the full 3 hours! (this never happens)
I'm thankful for my mom because she taught me not to be awkward. Like when you get invited to dinner only to find out the other people bailed and you'll be eating by yourselves with a young single adult (male) ... but instead of cancelling and running away you end up making it a positive experience by sitting outside and swapping mission stories. We sister missionaries hardly talk to young men, so you can imagine it's a bit awkward when we try to have conversations with them... let alone dinner! But don't worry, it ended on a great spiritual note.
I'm grateful for my mom because without her I wouldn't be on a mission. It was her gentle push that got me down the path, and now I'm out here and I never want to leave! I have finally found the reason I'm in Sparta. Her name is Megan and she is the greatest person Sparta has ever known. If she can live the word of wisdom, she will be baptized June 1st! Everyone keep her in your prayers :). Megan has an amazing testimony, and has had a great experience with the Book of Mormon. We have all become great friends and I just know we were pre-destined to teach her.
I'm thankful for my mom because she taught me how to look past people's living conditions and focus on their hearts. When mice are scuttling about your feet and bugs are crawling on the walls, you have to work hard to not let your reactions disrupt the spirit. We taught another animal-crazy lady who got more excited about the Restoration than any person I've seen yet!  In the closing prayer, she blessed that her other churches would be able to get the priesthood so they didn't have to be "lost" anymore. It was adorable.
We had a luncheon with lots of investigators this week. One of them we haven't taught in a long time because she dropped us. She began to bring up some of her anti-mormon talking points and our golden investigator, Megan, totally answered all of her questions and disproved her points! I was so proud! I'm thankful for mothers everywhere who teach their children to walk in the ways of truth. That same night we had a movie night where other investigators showed up. One of them even brought a friend! Again, I was very proud.  
I'm so thankful for our Mission President's wife, Sister Andersen, who takes care of me when my own mom who is so far away can't. We had interviews with both her and President, and the amount of love I felt from both of them filled me enough to last this whole transfer! Sister Anderson looks at me as if I'm the greatest missionary in the world, even though I'm far from it. I couldn't ever disappoint her, or my own mom. I try everyday to follow their examples, along with that of my Savior, and be the best missionary and the best future mother that I can be! I am so blessed to have such great role models in my life.
We experienced the most beautiful thing this weekend. Our first baptism! We have been working hard with a beautiful family, the Whitakers, to help them come back to church and prepare for sacred ordinances. One such ordinance that had yet to be done was the baptism of their son, Eric. Eric was over 8 years old and still needed to be baptized into the church. I almost cried as I reflected on just 2 months ago, when I was listening helplessly as his mother cried about the hardships their family was facing and the lack of the gospel that was in their home. Now, I was watching her speak about the power of the Holy Ghost and bare the most amazing testimony I've ever heard in front of her whole family and members of the church. I'm SO proud of them.

I am thankful for my mom because she taught me how to be healthy. People out here are overweight, sickly, and not taking care of themselves. The other day I had the most depressing realization... I reak of cigarette smoke!! Also, I've gained a lot of weight... UGGHHH. But that's okay, it's time to buckle down and quit the cigs and start dieting. JK JK, I don't smoke, it's just that I'm around it all the time. haha. But I CAN control the weight thing, so I'll get on that!

I am thankful for my mother that I got to see on mothers day!!! 
It was the greatest Sunday ever. We had 6 investigators at church and lots of less actives that we have been working with... it's so beautiful to really see the fruits of our labors begin to come forth. That same night we made a plan to go see all of the single mothers that we could. We didn't get to many though because Sister Pinkston put in the wrong address and we ended up driving way out of our area! It was super funny; we had to call our Zone Leaders and report it... haha. But we just all laughed about it.

So in conclusion, I am thankful for my mother, if you couldn't already tell, and I love her so much! Countless times I have used lessons she has taught me in my youth to better myself and better those around me. Being a missionary is the greatest, and I wouldn't trade it for anything! But I know I have an even greater calling, and that is to one day have a family that I can raise in righteousness and be sealed to for time and all eternity. I am thankful for ALL the women in my life: family, friends, and leaders alike!!
Your favorite sister missionary in Tennessee,
Sister Hochstrasser

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

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