|Annalyse Makenna Van Leeuwen|
First of all.....
I"M AN AUNT AGAIN!!!!! My little niece Annalyse was born this week, on her mothers birthday!!! I wish I could be there to hold her and love her! But I know I need to be here now, it wouldn’t be a real mission if sacrifice wasn’t involved :)
This week has been great!
I had my first experience with exchanges! I went to another area for the day with Sister Kraus (who is the sister of Ellen Neilson's Husband, so now Ellen Kraus. Small world!) She was so fun!! I learned so much from her about how to be a better missionary! Our goal was to talk to literally every person we saw...and we did it!! There was this woman who was getting out of her can in her garage and the garage door was closing so we ran up as fast as we could and sister Kraus yelled "We have a message of Jesus!" And the door stopped midway and then started going up! We looked at each other with this look on our face like "No WAY did that just work!". She actually just didn’t hear what we said, so she came out to see, and it turns out her son is a member and they are going through some family troubles, so we got to say a prayer with her (that’s called a blessing contact, best way to do it!) and then we left. But it was great!
On Wednesday I went back to my area and things kind of started to pick up! We taught a lot of lessons this week, it was wonderful! We found a new investigator, her name is Tori, she is so fun, when we first met her she told us she just wanted to learn what we believe because her half-brother is a member and she wants to be able to understand what his religion is. She made it very clear she wasn’t going to be converted. So we met with her and she just soaked it all up, she wants to read the book of Mormon. But she is going to be gone for the next 3 weeks or so!
We Met with Mary, our investigator who speaks Swahili......but we weren’t able to find anyone who speaks Swahili to come with us. So it’s been very interesting. We have a member in our ward (who is AWESOME!) he is from Fiji and he learned English by reading the book of Mormon, his name is Opetaia, and he came with us and just helped explain the gospel in really simple terms. Then he promised her that if she read the English book of Mormon that she would be able to learn English within a year! It was super powerful!! We have another lesson with her on Friday and our plan is to get pictures to explain the restoration lesson and then have a member translate some basic gospel words from English to Swahili and we will put it with the picture and go through it that way! So we hope it works!!
Sister Duane in our ward is AMAZING! I love her so much! She is married to a man name Mike who is just the funniest guy you will ever meet. He isn’t a member, but he loves sister missionaries! He has had the missionaries try and teach him many many times, but He hasn’t been really interested. We went over to their house on Friday to help paint the inside of the shop he built in their backyard, it was so fun! Then after wards we got to have a great gospel conversation about the second coming which stemmed into repentance which then lead into living a good life. We always leave with a spiritual thought so we didn’t think much of it, He had asked lots of questions and we kind of sparked his attention. Sister Harrison and I have talked about how we can’t try and force anything on him because other missionaries have done that and that’s what has turned him away from the gospel even more. On Sunday Sister Duane came up to us and told us that something we had said about repentance,” that it’s a change and you don’t keep doing the same thing over and over again”, really got to him. She noticed that in just the two days since we talked to him He had started acting a little differently, even if he didn’t notice it, she did. We are having dinner at their house on Thursday and she told us that Mike said to make sure we don’t have an appointment after...and if we do we need to change it, cuz he doesn’t want us to go running off. So that’s basically his way of saying he wants to talk with us but he would never come out and say that directly! He is just the best, I’m so excited!!
Saturday night we had dinner with Sister Hettinger, she is the sweetest lady in the world! She is basically our grandma! And she told me I had to write home and tell y’all that I am "A great missionary, and aside from being a great missionary I am charming and sweet and wonderful! And I will do wonders here!" she said if I didn’t tell you (and she will be checking) then I would have to face her wrath!
Oh and one other fun story! We helped a lady named Candy bring in groceries and the lady living with her, Angela, is mentally ill and she talks about the devil all the time, so she asked if there was anything we could do about that....we told her we could have some men come over and give her a priesthood blessing. so we are doing that on Wednesday.
Okay SUNDAY! Best Day EVER!!! Church was amazing! Sacrament meeting was all about service and missionary work. Brother Foot, who just came back from serving a mission with his wife, told a story about their daughter and how they were in the MTC together. The night before they left she told them she didn’t feel ready to serve and she didn’t know if she could do it, and then Sister Foot just held her and gave her the biggest hug. Then the next morning when they saw her she was welcoming new missionaries and she was happier than ever. They asked what changed and she said that once she started helping others she realized why she was there! So that was an amazing talk and it really hit me. Then after the closing prayer I looked up to see a lady walking over to me, I had to do a double take! My first thought was oh I know her, then I looked again and realized it was my GRANDMA!!! Grandma Peggy, Grandpa Glen and Uncle Mark and Page were all there!!! It was the best surprise in the world!! I ran up and gave her a hug as fast as humanly possible! She got to be the one to tell me about my new niece being born too! It was so wonderful to hear it in person from family! And I got to see a picture! It made it a little easier! What a blessing!! They also got to meet Lanee and Malu who came to church again!! I was just so happy!! It was exactly what I needed!
I love you all!! I love the work! And more than anything I love the gospel!!!