Monday, January 26, 2015



Equally Yoking
Hellloooooo from Paducah! :D
This was a week of miracles I tell you... I've really gained a testimony of God-time and grace. God-time is basically when you don't have any time but somehow you have enough time to do everything you need to. 
I've been really sick this week, and also had one of the busier weeks of the transfer. 
Wednesday I had to plan a training for our district meeting. We had a lot of fun because both the district leader and I incorporated games into our training. We had a three-legged race and an egg toss--reminding us to be equally "yoked" with our companions. (The district has been having a hard time with companion unity). 
After every district meeting the tradition is to get subway, and then book it home for our appointments. The Fulton sisters came and switched with us for an exchange, in which I was to go down to their area and work with them. I got to drive with Sister Tangataoalakepa and get to know her better. She's from Tonga and just a sweetheart. 
The Fulton area Sisters are a trio, so I actually went and worked with Sister Gillespie too. I want to share just a few miracles that came from this exchange:
Sis. Tangataoalakepa
Our appointment had canceled and so we were heading back to the car. For some reason, Sister Tangataoalakepa and I were kind of standing back and taking our time. Then, two YSA's came up to us and asked about our religion. We told them, and they asked if it was okay if they came to church with us. We gave them a Book of Mormon and set a return appointment. Both boys had been searching for more meaning to their lives. One of them told us he actually never talks to random people, but I know the spirit had guided him to stop and talk to us. People just stopping you and wanting to learn about what you believe is like a missionaries dream come true! "Do these sorts of things happen all the time here?"  
"Exchange miracles!" Sister Gillespie replied. Turns out, we spoke to soon. 

Sister T remembered a referral they had, so we went to contact them. We couldn't find their house, and then we got to a fork in the road. One way leading down a sketchy path, one towards smooth pavement.  "Choose the right!" Sister T sang... so the sketchy path it was! . It looked like it dead ended into some rusty tractors, but right as we were about to turn around I saw a light! So we kept going and saw an old trailer way up on a hill. We figured we should knock on it while we were there- champion tractors, right? 
"We are looking for a referral named Dakota?"
A YSA steps out barefoot on his front step and we ask him if he ordered anything online, and he said no. In fact, he asked us if this was a joke! Things were getting awkward, so we asked what religion he was and guess what? He said he was MORMON! 
So we're thinking, "Oh, he's a less active, cool!" But get this. Dakota had been fellowshipped into a church in Arkansas because of his best friend, and since then had been taking the discussions via the phone from missionaries in Arizona until they lost contact about 2 months ago. We asked when he had gotten baptized, and he said not yet... But he is ready to be! He had been taught all the way down to the word of wisdom.  It was one of those miracles you hear about in the Ensign. Nobody had any idea who referred us to him, or how they got his address, but we were there. And that is why you have GOT to contact all of your referrals! 

Back to being in Paducah now--we had a dinner appointment with a member, but had 10 extra minutes before the appointment, so we felt like going to a certain street to see if it would potentially be good. When we got there I saw a couple trying to get a couch into their house and so I pulled over so we could help them.  They were so happy! They have a church, so they're not interested in learning more, but she loves reading Christian books and they just got out of a shelter so it's all just a big deal. We decided to bring them baked goods and a Book of Mormon sometime :). 

Man, I hope that I can be willing to do things like that even when I'm not a missionary. It wouldn't be too hard to be a member and say, "You know, my church teaches a lot about how Jesus served others. Even people from my church called missionaries come to houses to teach more about Christ! I sometimes go with them. Would you be interested in us coming by here sometime?" I hope all of us will not be afraid to serve others and open our mouths about the gospel. It's amazing what you can do with 10 spare minutes! 
You know what the best thing is? Even though I've been sick, whenever we go into an appointment I'm able to teach with clarity of mind and hardly any problems. It's been a miracle! Especially because with being sick and going on so many exchanges I haven’t really been able to sleep that well, yet I'm pretty wide awake all of the time.

I also had an exchange down in Mayfield with Sister Clark. She's a hoot. We've served around each other for most of my mission!

Despite all the fun I've had in the exchanges this week, at the end of the day I just want to be in Paducah! It's become very much my home now.  Having Sunday with Sister Curtis and Paducah all to myself was really nice. 

Can I just tell you about all the church miracles? Lisa came with her WHOLE family, including Zach! Granted, he came because it was the only way he'd be allowed to see his girlfriend. But hey, they all came! They are a very special family and I can't wait for them all to be baptized  :)
Sister Curtis and I taught Gospel Principles class on the fly, and the spirit was really strong. It totally rocked! On top of that, the Elders had lots of investigators at church, including some who just showed up never having met the missionaries before!  Even the Hermanas had an investigator come! We had sooo many less actives come and just cry because they felt the spirit so strong, and our recent converts both came too! One of the Young Women made us a Banana Cream Pie, and my good friend Donielle took us to her place for lunch AND dinner. We had fun taking pictures with oranges... I look like I'm playing with fire. hahaha [I will post this picture as soon as she resends it]

We went out with a youth named Kyla and her 8 year old sister, McKenna. We went to try a potential and when he opened the door McKenna marched straight through. We were so embarrassed! Then she interrogated the guy on if he prayed every day and told him he should start doing it. Super awkward but hilarious at the same time! I feel like this is something my own little sister would do. #start'emyoung
MIRACLES have been happening here you guys. I've had the most blessed mission ever. I think about the baptisms I've seen and there is just no way they came because of me. They are so not mine they are all just His. It's all His work, so it's all His glory. My role was to insert a little faith and to be a conduit of the spirit- HE works the miracles. This week we had like NO time. With so many exchanges and lessons and trainings and being sick... we've hardly had a lunch break and have barely been getting to bed on time. It was quite the surprise when we reported our weekly numbers last night and realized how much we had done. Tears filled our eyes because there was no way we could have actually done that much work if not for the Savior. It was totally God-time. I think of all the times we were stressed and panicked and over loaded and now I see that he was carrying us all along. We knew he would, but it was really amazing to step back and see the bigger picture of our labors. 

So for the past few days I've been feeling actually okay about being 20 (Opposed to having dreaded it the past few months). Like, I'm kind of ready for this new stage of life. I'm thinking about my future in a more real way than before. Like, what I'm going to do and be. I feel like a different person since coming out here and I can't wait to just be the new me. I'm just happy in my Savior right now. You know?

So far, it's been a great birthday. Sister Curtis made me breakfast, I opened up the cards and packages from family and friends, and we went out to lunch with the Hermanas and Sister Long and Pill.

The Elders were even sweethearts and admitted to us that the "unpainted" door handle on our car was actually a big FAT PRANK!!!! Elder Nez is really good with cars so he switched out our red door handle for their chrome one and told us the Ford dealership forgot to paint it when they fixed our door and now we have to take it back in for like another few days. -____-

Tonight we are going to the Bishop’s house for a big dinner celebration and Alivia and the Hermanas will come. I can't wait! Sure love ya'll! Thank you for the Happy Birthday wishes. I appreciate you writing me.
-Sister Hochstrasser

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