Monday, January 13, 2014

WE HAD A BAPTISM! Woohoo! I am still on top of the world. I can't explain to you how great it is to have a front row seat to so many miracles. On Saturday night Janet Phillips was baptized by her son and it was such an incredible experience. I cried it was so beautiful. I mentioned last week how this baptism was already a miracle but after this week the word miracle takes on a new meeting. Janet had more challenges leading up to her baptism than anyone that I have ever seen. Everything seemed to fall apart for her as her family completely turned their backs on her and her son. Despite what was happening though she remained firm and steadfast in her resolve to be baptized and she never looked back. When a person has decided to be baptized we start what we call "daily contact" which is where the person getting baptized is visited by either a us or a member of the church so that they can feel the uplift of the spirit everyday. Because Janet lives with her son who is a faithful member we didn't worry too much about the daily contact from us. On Thursday however I felt really strongly that we needed to go see her. When we got to the house we could see through the sliding glass door that she was reading the Book of Mormon and I was feeling like everything was okay so I thought we would stop in and say hello and then leave. Well when we got in the home I asked her how her day had gone and then she broke down and started crying because her daughter had said and done everything that she possibly could to prevent her mom from being baptized. It was so sad but we were able to talk through everything and Janet kept saying "I know I need to be baptized. I just wish they would support me." We ended up staying at the house for over an hour until she felt better about things. We just read The Book of Mormon and sang a hymn and when we left it felt as though a weight had been lifted off the home and off of Janet. When Saturday came she was so excited that she could hardly stand it. She just about jumped on the font. It was the most amazing thing. Then yesterday after she was confirmed she glowed. The light that shined through her eyes was spectacular. She is going to do amazing things in her life and I can't wait to see how many of her friends and family she brings into the gospel.

This week, as always, we had some pretty good rain storms except this time we also had a pretty mean thunderstorm. I love it when there is a thunderstorm because it doesn't happen that often and it reminds me of home. The only down part is that we have to be out walking in it. On Thursday after we left Janet's home we had an appointment so we had to walk in the pouring rain and as we were walking this tree not far from us was struck by lightening. It scared us all half to death but nothing bad happened. We probably should have gone home but we had an appointment that we couldn't miss. 

   Now it's no secret that as missionaries we are expected to wake up at 6:30 every morning. After we wake up we are supposed to exercise for 30 minutes and then proceed to get ready for the day. Normally we are pretty good about doing some form of exercise and then we walk everywhere all day long so I would say that we are all pretty active. The elders in the zone however aren't and they all have cars. I guess none of them do their morning exercises and then they just drive everywhere all day so some of them were pretty unhealthy. Well our zone leader decided to start this morning challenge thing where every morning he comes up with an exercise challenge and we are supposed to do the challenge and then report on what we did. One morning we did suicides and another morning we did jumping-jacks. Well Thursday morning we got the text that said "Let's see how many body-weight squats you can do!" so we took that challenge and went all out. It felt like we had been doing squats for ages. In the end Sister Pongi did 85, Sister Doole did 100, and I did 200. I really wanted to see how many I could do and by 200 I was pretty smashed but I could have kept going I think. However, Sister Doole pointed out that as always we would be walking all day so I decided to stop. We went about the rest of our day and I forgot about the squats. That night after dinner I went to stand up and my legs were so sore that I barely could. I thought to myself oh man I am in trouble and I looked at Sister Doole and her face told me that she was thinking the same thing. Lets just say that the next day we all struggled to walk which is a major problem because that is all that we do. Sister Doole said "As long as we don't walk up too many hills I think I'll be fine." We had a pretty good laugh about it all. The funniest part however is that we walking to see Janet after we had eaten a good sized lunch and the phone rang so I answered it and it was one of our favorite members and she said "Sisters I found a whole chicken in my fridge and I can't eat it all by myself so I wanted to know if you wanted to come eat chicken and salad with me." the thing is she sounded so excited that I couldn't tell her no so I said we would walk over. Now not only we still stuffed from lunch, but she lives at almost at the top of this mountain that is in our area. She literally lives on Mountain Rd. Luckily there is a short cut to get half way up the mountain but it involves walking up 200 stairs. I hung up the phone with the member and I looked at my companions and said "You are going to hate me! I just did something really stupid." When I told them what I had done they both burst out laughing because they thought I was kidding and then they laughed even harder when I told them I was serious and when they realized what that meant. So we walked up the mountain and climbed 200 stairs with extremely sore legs from all the squats we had done the day before all to eat chicken and salad that we weren't even hungry for. Luckily another member found us after we had finished climbing the stairs so we didn't have to walk the rest of the way up the mountain. It was a pretty ridiculous and funny situation.  

   Another great story from this week came when we were finishing up teaching a lesson to one of our investigators and the phone rang. I saw that it was the elders that we share a ward with. Since my companions were telling our investigator about sports night I decided to answer the phone because they wouldn't call if it wasn't important. So I answered it and the conversation went something like this "Where are you?" "We're in a lesson." "I have to tell you something but you can't freak out. When I tell you just say 'ok' ok?" Ok just tell me" "We just wrecked the car..." "You what?!" "I told you not to freak out!" By then everyone else in the room was looking at me so I said I would call him back and I hung up the phone. As it turns out the elders were driving out in the country to this house and they turned a blind corner and a cat ran out in front of them and out of instinct the elder that was driving swerved to avoid it but because of the rain the car slid and he lost control and hit the side of a hill the ran along the road and the force spun the car the other way where they slid into a fence. Luckily no one was hurt but the car is pretty beat up. The engine and everything like that is okay but it now needs over $2500 worth of body work done to it. The mission office is not happy and when the car goes in to be fixed it means that we won't have a ride anywhere any more. It should be a fun few weeks!

    So that is all for this week. I hope that you can see that I am loving life and having the best time! I love my companions, I love my area, and I love my mission! I love and miss all of you! Have a great week!

Sister Simkins

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