Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Lawrenceburg

I'm sure you've all been dying to know about all the change! Well, I know I've at least been dying to tell you! :)

First off, I wanted to clarify something I said last week. I do understand that the only way to return to live with our Father in Heaven is through the gospel of Jesus Christ which includes faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by the priesthood for the remission of sins, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. It's a plan for all of Gods children, and it's something that literally everyone will have had a chance to accept or reject before judgement. I just love that the gospel is the way for everyone, no matter who or where they are. 
In the words of Elder Maxwell:
Another cosmic fact: only by aligning our wills with God’s is full happiness to be found. Anything less results in a lesser portion (see Alma 12:10–11). The Lord will work with us even if, at first, we “can no more than desire” but are willing to “give place for a portion of [His] words” (Alma 32:27).
  

Okay anyway, WELCOME TO WEEK 1 IN LAWRENCEBURG. 
As you can see, I'm serving on the polar opposite end of the earth from everywhere I've ever been. Sparta in the north east, Paducah Kentucky way up north, Nashville right in the middle, and now Lawrenceburg - all the way down to the 'Bama state line! (That's Alabama for you city folk). 


It's SO fun here. I'm totally back in the sticks; Where everyone is kin, you don't see vegetables for miles around (unless you count macaroni and cheese), when someone tells you they're all ate up it means they're excited, not full! And nobody flosses, and 2 sister missionaries stick out like a sore thumb.

It began when I got Sister Gale, my newest most cutest companion. Sister Gale is from Portland, Oregon. Here's us :)
video

The transfer meeting was awesome. You can tell I'm at the end because I know everyone now, whereas the beginning of my mission I had no friends yet. 

The famous Nashville Leaders goodbye pic (Ft Elder Nez, Golightly, Myself and Sister Miller)
I also got the news that I have an AWESOME job lined up for me back home working on the housing and student living council at BYUI. It was all a miracle in itself even getting it since I can't really look for opportunities like that right now. Thanks again to Jason and Bro. Burton for all of their help! :)

So after getting to our area we had district meeting in Hohenwald (also nicknamed "hole in the wall"). We are the only sisters in the whole district. Before us it was just elders. So the whole thing was a little awkward because I don't think any of the missionaries knew what to do with us... Hahaha. It's not like Nashville zone where we are all great friends--everyone is so spread out here so you can't really form friendships unless you try extra hard. Which is fine by me because Sister Gale and our Savior are all one really needs in life ;) 

Upon looking through our area book, we quickly learned that it was six times the size that it should be, and it had been about six months since anyone had been visited. Literally no lessons were being taught. Oh it hurts my heart! I think what makes it worse is that this area is golden. This week Heavenly Father got us 18 promising new investigators, 5 people progressing, and had 6 investigators at church... We'd been here 4 1/2 days! [Sounds like they are going to transform this place like they did Sparta!]
  
Sister Gale and I are actually the first sister missionaries in Larenceburg in 15 YEARS. Needless to say, everyone is really excited. We were invited to the town rotary meeting to get our picture taken so we can be put in the paper next week, and the Ward was just so "ate up" with us that's all the testimonies and classes seemed to be about! 

Our first dinner was with Sister Licquia. She actually bought us a welcome gift... How sweet!

We taught her the restoration, and during it I felt something different inside me when I taught the priesthood part. I'd taught it lots of times, but this time I know it was the spirit witnessing the truth of what I said.

Of all the 18 investigators we found, the ones I'm most excited about are Doug and Katrina, our neighbors! When we taught them the first lesson, they were astonished. They thought Joseph Smith's first vision and the Book of Mormon were incredible. As I shared my testimony with them I started crying. Again, something I haven't really done on my mission when I teach. This is a really special place you guys. The spirit here is really strong. And people feel that. 

We are also teaching Luis, who is Hispanic. We can't communicate hardly at all. I had the great idea to teach him English using the Spanish and English restoration pamphlets.... But I learned really quick it's hard to teach your language to a person when you don't understand their language. We were able to help Luis learn how to pray though, and he committed to pray daily and be at church on Sunday :). 

I just feel like Ammon right now when he saw the Lamanites being converted...
"Now [Sister Hochstrasser and Gale,] seeing the Spirit of the Lord poured out according to their prayers upon [Lawrenceburg] ... who had been the cause of so much mourning among the [Missionaries] , or among all the people of God because of their iniquities and their traditions [because they had not been preached the gospel], they fell upon their knees, and began to pour out their soul in prayer and thanksgiving to God for what he had done for their brethren; and they were also overpowered with joy; and thus they [two] had sunk to the earth."

God is so good. I am so humbled at what he does and how much he cares. I, like John the Baptist, am unworthy to even unlatch his shoe.... Yet he would come down and wash my feet. 
He has given me more than I could've asked out of my mission. And I know that he will continue to provide for me even after this if I am consecrated and faithful. 

Saturday morning I went back in time to "The Square". In the center of Lawrenceburg is an old square with different shops and blues bands playing and people selling homemade jam and veggies from their gardens. Every Saturday morning all the old folk gather at the square for breakfast and to catch up on gossip and reminisce on old times. Brother Caudle, an author and lawyer, invited us to join him so he could introduce us to his friends. We had a Methodist minister, a Jewish person, and the town's news photographer just to name a few of the bunch. We had grits, biscuits and gravy, hot cakes, the whole deal. It was so old fashioned and southern I could hardly stand it [I think she was all ate up]! I love this town! 

My embarrassing moment of the week was locking the keys in the house. Our neighbor, Linda, who looks like the girl off of hairspray, brought her Kroger card over and got the lock undone for us. It was pretty funny. 
Also, I have pretty petite hands so my whole mission my companions have to open jars for me. Well, Sister Gale can't open things either so we are just kind of a mess over here. 
The struggle was real with the salsa this morning. But that's okay because the atonement is more real. :) 
I'm so grateful for those who have supported me even to this point. I know I don't have much more than a month left, but I would still love letters and emails from all ya'll :) jennifer.hochstrasser@myldsmail.net

1646 Sunset Rd
Brentwood, TN 37027

Good luck on your side of the vineyard!

Sister Jennifer Hochstrasser 

P.s. Check. Out. Our. Car. 


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