Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Welcome to Nashville: So Excited You Could Just Puke!

Heyyyy everyone. This has been a WILD week.

Tuesday morning we woke up early and piled into the 15 passenger van with Brother Christensen,Hermana Eastwood, Hermana Lapine, Elder Nez Elder Motes Elder Stange Elder Van Valkenburg, Sister Curtis and I, and left for transfers!!

While there I found out some elders have an investigator who somehow gets and saves all my pictures off facebook (I swear my security settings are on)... And several other people in the mission I hardly know seem to know me. I guess I've been here long enough, right? Lol
Transfer meeting was great though because I saw my friend Jaleta from Sparta who has decided to serve a mission! I also was able to say goodbye to Sister Cotton who went home, and meet my new granddaughter because my trainee Sister Kohler is training!!

The day after transfers I was whisked away for exchanges with some sisters (such is the sister training leader life) and we had a blast! I was with sister Herbert and Bishop and get this, we had to ride the bus EVERYWHERE. It was awesome!! Aside from getting really carsick, everyone is forced to listen to you because... Well they're stuck sitting there. I made a lot of new friends and contacted lots of new people! One of the highlights being a young couple I am now teaching on facebook, and a cute mom named Shayla :).
Also there are creepy people here that like to tell you you're pretty, ask for your age, and then question if you'll be at the sports illustrated swim suit model show-down on Broadway later. Ummm no.
We did meet some awesome normal people though! 
The Sisters have an investigator who works at Panera that they said had been avoiding them. I told the investigator when I met her I was only there for the day, but I'd be back for her baptism. She said she was working on it, but had to quit smoking first, so maybe give her a years time. So I asked why she was letting cigarettes come between her and God. The sisters were pretty shocked I said that... lol. But hey, it totally worked! They set a return for lunch the next day and are now planning on her baptism! 

We had another miracle with a less active later that night. After dinner with members they told us about someone we should go see. When we knocked on this lady's door she didn't want us to teach her or anything. As she was shutting the door I found myself offering a prayer for her family.  She hesitated, obviously not wanting to talk to us any longer but also not wanting to be rude. She finally complied. Then something cool happened, she invited us inside! And then she had her family come meet us! And then they all knelt down and we all prayed together! Something told me that was one of the first times a family prayer had been said in that home in a long time. After the prayer we all felt the spirit :). Only later did we see that she was on the wards "do not contact" list. God works in mysterious ways! 

When I got back with Sister Oldroyd she told me that the mom named Shayla I met the other day on the bus sat by her yesterday! I was so excited because I didn't get the chance to give Shayla any of our material or information- But I guess Sister Oldroyd didn't realize that so she never gave her any either. I was bummed. Then guess who came walking on the bus right as we spoke? Shayla!!  I told her about the moms in the Book of Mormon and gave her a pamphlet on it and she was interested! I hope we see her again. 

We spent some time tracting in one of the "smaller" neighborhoods this week. I say that in quotations because the houses here are what they call "mini-mansions". Everyone here is dripping with wealth and it's crazy. They have to do traffic control on Sundays for all the huge churches these people attend. Did I mention everything's huge and expensive? Oh and let me tell you, while tracting we met the parents of Hunter Hayes' ex girlfriend. I guess she's a big deal and opens shows for Blake Shelton and stuff, Hunter Hayes' song "Storm Warning" was written for her. According to her, he's actually kind of a jerk.  We also live near Carrie Underwood, my companion left her a pamphlet the other day. Oh and Rascal Flats are here. And the elders just tracted into Taylor Swift's banjo player. David Archuleta teaches gospel doctrine in the YSA and Nathan Pacheco just moved from the ward but don't worry the producers of the EFY music are still attending here. So yeah, that's Nashville. It's awesome. I can't wait to get some pictures of downtown Nashville for ya'll once we aren't iced in. 

So later that night We had a  lesson with someone neither of us had met but missionaries in the past had. His. He began by acting like he knew me, trying to flirt maybe? Then he tried to convert us to his religion... He was Muslim!! (We totally respect that). We gave him a Book of Mormon and gave us a Quaran. Hahaha

Lots of this week was going around and getting to know the members in the ward. I just want to say I'm grateful to be well rounded. I used to complain I wasn't great at any thing I was just okay at most things... But on my mission it's been a huge blessing because I understand Pokemon and Doctor Who, I can speak interior decorating and appreciate skiing, I get the anatomy the doctors are talking about and I can keep up with the sports stuff and the music groups. It's just nice because all these random things I thought were pointless give me common ground with these people and it's just pretty powerful.
 Friday at  3am I woke up puking, and continued multiple times every hour until about 11. I couldn't get out of bed all day it was awful. We told president we were staying in because I was sick and his response was: "Broken heart? Missing Paducah? Tell her I hope she gets better soon." Man, I love him. He knows me too well!  Come 7:00pm  the zone leaders popped in and gave me a blessing. It was the biggest tender mercy to have two Christ-like sets of hands promising me strength and in the blessing I was promised I could work the next day, so I held God to that ;) 

Okay so Saturday I spaced on it being Valentine's Day on account of being sick but I'm just grateful I was able to get out and work as promised! I still felt terrible but I was well enough to preach the gospel :)  [hoping it was food poisoning so she wasn't blessing everyone she ran in to with the stomach flu virus!]
We had a lesson with Jeff which I never want to forget. He found the sisters on the bus and actually started talking to them! I guess his opening line was: "are ya'll nuns??". A week later he called them to say he was taking the challenge to see if the Book of Mormon was true (this was his own idea) and then like four days later he called again to say he knew that it was. Currently he's in the book of Jacob and is completely doctrinally converted, now he's just waiting on the social. There was a point in the lesson when he got kind of emotional and told us and our members "you know, I've been looking for you guys for a long time". He's just so ready. I don't really get why I'm allowed to see things like this Haha. They're too amazing!

So we had a miracle knocking on the wrong door trying to find a lady we weren't actually supposed to see and met Robin, someone who is looking for a new church. The reason I include this is because in all my past areas I would take people like this for granted. But here in Nashville they are like a needle in a haystack. I remember my good friend Elder Lovell writing me before I came out and telling me that serving in the south was all about finding the truth seekers. They are rare but they're there. It's not until now that I understand what he meant.

Church was awesome on Sunday because It's a real life ward and I didnt even know what to do with myself! Everyone is really rich and awesome. Lol. Jeff came! And Tasha another investigator, and a less active guy who hadn't been in 5 years! 
I  also got to Skype in Lisa's baptism and that was amazing :). 

Like I mentioned last week about Faith and Fear... I was at first kind of afraid of being in this area with this companion. But then one night when I was praying  I was reminded that faith and fear can't both be together in the same place, and that right now I'm being ruled by fear instead of faith. A lot of people are counting on me to make a difference here, including Heavenly Father. I recognize that everything I've learned this past year has been preparing me for this moment. I know it was pre ordained. I know there are miracles to be had and something great for this companionship, this area, and myself. That's why it's so hard.

I love you all! I hope you have a wonderful week!
Sister Jennifer Hochstrasser

Write me!
New address for the at least Feb and March:

NASHVILLE TN 37211-7289

or Sister Jennifer Hochstrasser
Tennessee Nashville Mission
105 West Park DR Ste 190
Brentwood, TN  37027

or DearElder.com 

1 comment:

  1. It's inspirational and exciting to hear the lessons your mission exposes to you; highs, lows and all the in between. Hopefully you're feeling up to snuff again. We love you always.