Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dear Family!

What a week! Oh my goodness it has been amazing and really hard at the same time. I guess Dad was right when he said that a mission would bring the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. There were just so many things that happened this week that I don't even know where to begin. 

Ok first of all WE ARE STILL WAITING ON OUR CAR! I am so frustrated and stressed. We were supposed to get it last Wednesday when we were in Hamilton but they said that it isn't ready and it probably won't be for a couple more weeks! I am so sad! Don't worry I am not being high maintenance I am just stressed because I am already two exchanges behind and now it looks like I won't be able to do an exchange for two more weeks. This means that I will have to do multiple in one week and I don't like that because I still have an area and investigators that need to be cared for. Now on top of all of that we have had to walk everywhere and we haven't been grocery shopping in three weeks and this week we finally ran out of the last of our food. We have been eating white rice and toast for just about every meal that we haven't had with members. It looks like we also won't get to go shopping again today either so I don't know what I am going to do. Sister Doole and I walked for an hour just so that we could get to the chapel and email. I hope you appreciate this letter because I went through a lot to get it to you :) But I am starting to panic a bit about the food situation because the grocery store is on the other side of town opposite of our area and we can't buy food and then walk two hours carrying it home. I think I am going to be loosing some weight this week. I have faith though that we will be taken care of because we haven't gone hungry yet. Yes we haven't eaten the best food or food that we wanted to eat, but we haven't gone hungry. Can I just say that I am sick of walking? Walking everywhere for the past four months has really gotten old. I don't mean to complain I am just stating a fact. I think it is also worse because we know that if the dumb elders hadn't wrecked the car we would have it right now and we wouldn't be out of food or exhausted from walking everywhere. This is one of the lows of a mission. 

Now to one of the highs. Sister Doole and I got to travel to Hamilton with our Zone Leaders on Wednesday so that I could attend Mission Leadership Council. Mission Leadership Council is a meeting where the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders meet with the Assistants, President and Sister Rudd to discuss the progress of the mission and the needs of the missionaries. It was the coolest experience. I know I have said it before but let me say it again that I love President Rudd. He really is the best mission president that I could have had and in a lot of ways he reminds me of Dad and so I just love being around him. Sister Rudd is also one of my favorite people ever! So at this meeting we started out by singing Joseph Smith's First Prayer (#26) but to the tune of Come Thou Fount (Try it! It's amazing) and the spirit was so strong. Then President got up and relayed a story from the day before where he and the assistants were attacked by this anti-mormon man who yelled and screamed and cussed at them saying that Joseph Smith was a liar and a fake and that they had all been deceived. President said that he started to get a little heated and he gave it back to the man. He also said that when he told Sister Rudd this she wasn't happy with him because she felt like the man got the response that he wanted. But then President paused and he was starting to get emotional and he looked up and said "No man is going to call Joseph Smith a fraud and a liar in my presence and get away with it." and then he bore the most powerful testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith and I was sitting there crying and thinking "I am not worthy to be here. This is amazing. I am not spiritually mature enough to feel this." It was one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever heard. After that we moved into the rest of the meeting which ended up being one of the funnest meetings I have ever been to. I kept thinking "It should not be legal to have this much fun!" All we did was laugh and get stuff done. I think they sent the funniest mission president and the funniest missionaries to this mission. My stomach was sore the next day from laughing so hard. But the amazing thing is that we accomplished so much and I left feeling like we had really done a lot. I am so lucky to be a part of this mission and now to be a part of this mission leadership council. 

Now back to a low for the week. So Sister Doole and I have been working hard with a lot of our investigators to help them progress towards baptism. However one thing after another has come up with each investigator and so none of them were any where near baptism. All week I have felt almost like a useless missionary because I don't know what more to do to help these people. It feels like what we say goes in one ear and out the other. Because of this we decided to drop a few of our investigators and focus more time on finding people. We even resorted to knocking doors this week because we were so desperate. I am getting payback for all the ding-dong ditching I did in my former life because now I am knocking on doors and no one will answer them. We have just felt so discouraged because we knew we need to look for more investigators but we didn't find any. Finally Thursday night when I was saying my personal prayers I broke down in frustration and I prayed to Heavenly Father to please bless us with a person who is ready to make the covenant of baptism. I guess I basically poured out my soul to my Heavenly Father and begged him to help. I felt like I was at my lowest point because we had been working so hard but we didn't have anything to show for it and I felt like a failure. I also felt like maybe my prayers were being unanswered, which I know is untrue but that is how I felt. I decided to just pray and lay it all out before Heavenly Father. I guess you could say that I had a silent breakdown during my personal prayers. But after I had said what I needed to say I felt better and I knew that everything would be okay. 

Now for one of the highest of highs. So the very next night on Friday, we went to the baptism of the bishop's little girl because she asked me to speak. Sometime throughout the meeting a man dressed in rough looking cloths walked into the back of the chapel and sat down and stayed for the whole baptism. No one knew who he was but one of the members introduced himself and then asked the man who he was and where he lived. The man said that he didn't have a home and so this member opened his home to this stranger and told him he could live with him. There was another baptism the next morning and the member who invited the man to live with him was actually the one performing the ordinance so he invited him to come. After the baptism we went to have lunch with this member, the man, and the members mom who is one of our recent converts Janet. We had a really casual but powerful lesson with the man and he seemed really interested. The next day at church the man walked in with the members and seemed happy as can be. He loved church and he seemed to be having the time of his life. That night we got a phone call from the member saying that this man wants to be baptized as soon as possible because he knows that this is the true church just from what he has seen and felt. We have an appointment tonight to go and teach him the first lesson. I just can't believe that Heavenly Father placed this man in our path just after I had reached out to him in desperation. We haven't had a chance to really get to know this man yet all we really know about him is his name is Green. We are just so happy and filled with joy because of all of this. Heavenly Father is just so aware of all of his children and he really knows how to help us. I am so happy! 

Well I guess that is all that I have for this week. I love and miss you all. I hope that things go well for you all this week! I get to meet Elder Nelson on Saturday! I am so excited!!!!! We get to shake his hand an everything. Imagine I get to shake hands with an apostle of the Lord! I can't wait. So yup it should be a pretty great week! I love you!

Sister Simkins

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