Monday, February 23, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,
We are still having ice storms and lots of cold weather.  I found out on Saturday that I'm going to be staying in Pellissippi for my last transfer-- so I'm going to serve here for SIX transfers.  That is CRAZY!! I know that the Lord has a reason why I am here, it's just up to me to figure that out!  I'll have spent 8.5 months here by the time I leave!  It's like home!  It's strange that this is my last transfer as a missionary. 
We had a lesson with the S family, and they are doing so well!  When I was in the Hardin Valley ward, Brother S still wasn't sure if this was all true and had a lot of questions.  Now he's getting the Melchezidek priesthood on Sunday!  They have plans to go to Utah to get sealed this summer and are going to talk to the Bishop about their patriarchal blessings.  So neat!  I mentioned to them that two years ago joinging the church wasn't even on their radar and he said, "now it's completely changed our lives." I am so happy for the chance I had to meet their family and see how happy they are with the gospel now in their lives.  
We also had a lunch appointment with a sister who served her mission in Italy about 15 years ago.  There was only a district in Rome at that time, but the people there were promised that one day there would be a stake and eventually a temple.  It seemed so long off because the people were so unreceptive.  It's neat to see that the Lord's promises always come to pass!

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A Buddist Temple around the corner from our house

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Shoveling our walk
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Beautiful icicles

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hello Family!
So the weather has been kind of crazy this week!   Everyone warned us that a "big storm" was coming Monday, and when we were out grocery shopping we started to get some freezing rain and got a text telling us not to be driving.  So we headed home and camped out there for the rest of the day.  It started to snow later that day and we woke up with a bunch of snow everywhere!  (Well, a bunch of snow for Tennessee!).  Here the snow turns to ice which makes it different from back home.  We had an inch of ice all over our car yesterday.  But we had to make it out so we could go hear Elder Christofferson! He was delayed a lot and we had to cut our meeting short, but it was still really neat. Learning from an apostle of the Lord is always a special opportunity.  One thing he said was, "The Lord leads this church.  He's a very active leader of this church.  Take it from someone who knows."  

All of our lessons this last week (except for 2) were with members. It was a lot of fun to be working with the members a lot more this week.  It's been fun to work with the people in Hardin Valley in addition to the Pellissippi ward.  People are making progress!   It's exciting!! 

Sorry I don't have time to write much this week.  Know that I love you!  Hope you had a safe trip to California, tell Aunt Doris that I love her and that I'm praying for her!  Hope you have fun playing ping pong!  Joseph, hope you get feeling better!  Happy Birthday!  

Love y'all!   
ice covered trees

petting a beautiful horse

the Sharp family

Monday, February 9, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

This week we got the privilege of having the mission department from Salt Lake City come out and train us on Thursday!  It was neat to see a little bit more of the big picture and be reminded of the importance of this work and to learn ways we can share the gospel better.  That same day we were able to meet with our stake president and talk about missionary work in the stake with him.  He was a convert when he was in his 20s and he said that he's still in touch with those missionaries today.  Even though individually we play a small role, everyone's best efforts to live and share the gospel can make a huge impact. 

I'm grateful for the simplicity of the gospel and for the power of the Book of Mormon.  As I've been studying it everyday, I feel the power that it brings!  I know it is true and contains the fullness of the gospel!
Sister Ramon's mom made these dresses for Emily and her companions

Cracker Barrel -  a quinessential southern affair
delicious crepes

Monday, February 2, 2015

Hello everyone!  We were blessed with some nice weather this week!  It's hard to believe that it's January/February when it's sunny and in the 60s!  However, it's snowing right now so that probably makes up for it ;)  

I learned a lot from this 10 year old girl I met this week named Manuela.  Her mother is a member, but Manuela's never been baptized.  Two weeks ago, she came to church with a friend who was staying with their family.  Then when the next Sunday rolled around, Manuela said that she wanted to go to church again.  So the mom calls up her ex mother in law and asks her to take Manuela to church and they've been the last two Sundays!  We went over and taught Manuela the restoration this week and though she was a little shy at first, she warmed up to us and began to ask us good questions about what we were sharing with her.  She wants to know what makes our church different from the other churches around and has a desire to find out what church she should join.  She believes that prophets are important and that we need a prophet today.  She committed to read from the Book of Mormon and ask God if it was true.  What a special little girl!  We sat by her at church and another little girl came and grabbed her and said, "let's go to primary!" So off they went. We found out after sacrament meeting that her grandmother hasn't been active in the church for years.  I think it's so neat to see how someone only 10 years old is influencing her whole family for the better!  Then again, a 14 year old boy's prayer changed the world.  It's incredible what the Lord can do with those who are have a humble and sincere desire to follow Christ!

I'm so grateful for this gospel and for the strengthening power of the Atonement in our lives.  I know that this is the only way we can find true and lasting peace for now and eternity! 

Sister Ramon (from Micronesia) is so excited to see snow!