Monday, January 19, 2009

Milk Day

My testimony in so many things has been strengthened in so many ways this week. Visiting teaching is amazing. Monday night we got a call from Freya, a sister who visit teaches France Charles. She had been dropping off cookies and notes to her without much success, but Monday Freya got a call from France saying that she needed help, she needed to return to God, she needed to get her life back in order, and that she'd like to meet with the sister missionaries. We've had the chance to meet with her twice and the Elders had a chance to administer a blessing. Freya brought France to church on Sunday and her countenance is already so much brighter! We are going to continue to work with her, with her visiting & home teachers as well, so that she can develop her own strength.

I've been strengthened as I've had the opportunity to teach by the Spirit, not just with the Spirit. Two of our lessons this week (one with Erin another with Farah) were different directions than we had planned on going. I shared my experiences with prayer and the gospel and how they have helped me in my life in both instances, but shared different aspects that met the needs of the investigator. It was a wonderful and uplifting experience. We also had the opportunity to set a baptismal date with Farah. She hasn't ever had a relationship with her Heavenly Father (at least not on this earth) and is struggling to, but dedicated to developing that relationship. We talked about goals in Enrichment the night before and how it takes 28 days to develop a habit. We invited her to take the next 28 days to develop that relationship with her Heavenly Father and then show her love for Him by making the covenant of baptism. She is really excited and is blossoming before our eyes.I am so thankful to get to have the opportunity to start to teach her and then to see her enter the waters of baptism. It really is amazing.I also love fellowship! The Tallahassee 5th Ward Relief Society is the best! We had two investigators at church yesterday and they invited and signed up both to play in the stake women's basketball tournament. They take time to talk and get to know anyone and everyone that we bring to church. It is so nice to know that those we bring will be well cared for and loved. It makes the work so much easier :)

I've had a migraine the past few days, but I have been very blessed at the same time because they have been cloudy and quiet days with lots of lessons so that I didn't do too much tracting. Plus, I got a letter from Waybne, Grandpa Alma, and Grandma Lou all in one day! It was great! Thanks for the email from Katie Lee and Mindi- who I had only a slight idea might be pregnant due to the small bump evident when she came to visit me before I left. Congrats!!! I think you should name him Al. Happy Birthday Chase! Too bad I'm not there to help your brothers embarrass you ;) Thank you for all of your love and support.

Oh, and Martin Luther King, Jr Day is now one of my favorites because you can also call it MLK day, or Milk day! Hooray Milk!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Be Clean!!

I love cleaning! Cleaning out the Area Book, the ward lists, the cupboards full of stuff from missionaries we've never even heard of, the vacuum cleaner (I'm pretty sure that had never been done -- GROSS!) Today I cleaned our apartment. It is nice to get it all back in order again and to have clean floors. It is nice to have clean dishes, clean sheets, clean clothes - everything :) I am so thankful to my mom who taught me how to clean, and how to keep things clean and orderly - even if my room was rarely clean - I was paying attention. I used the tool kit I got for Christmas (the Elders were all jealous and have borrowed it) and took the vacuum apart and cleaned it. I was even able to put it back together again. I am my mother's daughter.

In other news,This week was wonderful! This is truly the Lord's work. Farah came to the institute game night on Friday and to Church on Sunday. We have another appointment with her on Thursday. She is so happy and excited to be learning and making new friends. The Tallahassee 5th ward is the best! They do such a great job welcoming all our investigators and making them feel right at home! We had an amazing lesson with a girl named Erin. The previous sisters found her tracting last fall, we called her & she was really excited to meet with us. She expressed that she doesn't want to commit to anything just yet, but she said she would read the Book of Mormon and we are meeting with her again tonight. She lives in an apartment complex right next to the church and it is also the one the Relief Society Pres, Jacqueline, lives in. It is so cool! We've seen her twice since we taught her on Thursday. We'll have to go a little slower with her, but she is very prepared by the Lord. His time, not mine.

We also had an amazing experience tracting down by FAMU. We found 3 new investigators, several potentials, and we taught over 20 other lessons! It was amazing! We were exhausted because we walked for 5 1/2 hours and Tallahassee means 'hills', but it was worth that and so much more!Friday we had a less-active come with us to Friday Forum and she got to know a few of the other members of the ward. Sunday was raining in less-actives! There were girls there that were on the records, but no one knew who they were. One of the girls wants to take the lessons again and her new years resolution was to come back to church. There were miracles all over the place!Saturday Sarah Altee was baptized. The FSU Sisters started teaching her and passed her off to the TCC Elders before they were transferred. She is such a sweet girl (not to be confused with a 'sweet spirit' -- she is really cute too) and is going to do great things. She has a strong desire to learn and grow and will continue to do so. I think one of my favorite things about being a missionary is that you get to watch people change their lives. Some it is a physical change - hair cuts, clean clothes, a general neat appearance, others it is a personality change - happier, friendlier, more outgoing, but for all it is a spiritual change or growth. The Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses the lives of all that live it. I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to get to witness the Holy Ghost work with others as they come unto Christ. I am so thankful that I get to bear testimony and feel the Holy Ghost bring thoughts and words to my mind. It is an amazing experience. The Elders often talk of how amazing it is to give a blessing because it is like you are reading something, the words aren't your own. Sometimes, when I'm teaching I experience the same thing. Often I have a train of thought enter my mind, but on special occasions, specific words come to me. I am so thankful for the desire to be obedient that has been instilled in me because it is through obedience that I am worthy to have the Holy Ghost with me. Living righteously is the only way to be happy!

I love you all! Thanks Ted & Meg for the great package! The muffins were delicious and the little toys have kept me very entertained when I can't really think anymore. Thanks Waybne for the letter on such excellent paper. Mom I love your emails! Thanks Grandma Lou for faithfully writing each week. As for the rest of you.... I'd appreciate it if you followed the example of Jarom, Omni, Amaron, Chemish, Abinadom & Amaleki and at least write some words. I'd love to hear from you!

Love always,Sister Alissa Marie Short (There is an Alissa in the 5th ward who spells her name right!)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Monday Jan. 5, 2009

This week has been full of blessings, even though I was even less worthy of them than normal. I felt like I didn't put in nearly enough work this week, let alone to be able to have such amazing things happen.Monday night we got a referral! My first out here :) There is an investigator, Eddie, in Crawfordville that worked with a girl, Farah, here in Tallahassee. She is really sweet and totally prepared. We got to have a lesson with both of them as well as the Crawfordville Elders before district meeting on Tuesday. It was such a spiritual lesson and Farah was really excited. Eddie bore a very powerful testimony at the end. He is 21, so he may start coming to 5th ward- I'd love it if he did. We had set up an appointment to meet with Farah again Wednesday, but she called to reschedule because she couldn't get a ride. She wasn't there on Friday though. When we called she said she was sorry and still wanted to meet with us, but her family wasn't very supportive. Sister Wilcox and I worried and prayed all day about how to handle this- Farah is so ready! We called Friday night to talk to Farah about going to Eddie's baptism on Saturday, but she wasn't home. We ended up talking with her mom and she apologized for Farah not making the appointment. She said that Farah has never been so excited or interested in something before and now that she realizes how important it is to Farah, she is going to do all she can to support her. She also invited us over to the house to meet her and to teach Farah. It went from a potential problem to a potential investigator!

We got another referral on Thursday for a girl, Jerika, whose parents are being taught in Gainsville. We met with her on Saturday and were surprised by her 3 cousins also being there for the lesson and they were all interested in learning more. We had set a goal for 5 new investigators - though we usually try for 3 - and it was because the Lord knew that Farah, Jerika, Cora, Allison & Kaylee were ready to hear the gospel. It strengthened my testimony of setting goals and the importance of key indicators. We didn't set a goal of 5, but we set a goal to find those girls, we just didn't know their names yet. It was an amazing experience.

I also received an amazing Priesthood blessing this Saturday. Since about Tuesday I haven't been feeling well. Thursday I lost my appetite. Friday I couldn't eat much without my stomach hurting, and by the time I woke up Saturday morning it just hurt - fetal position hurt. I got a blessing from the Elders (E. Clasby anointed and E. Rasmussen sealed) and it was amazing. I've also been having nightmares since I got into the field. They have been progressively more frequent and more vivid. It was messing with mine (and since I yell, Sister Wilcox's) sleep. I told the Elders about that when I asked for the blessing as well. It was very powerful and I was commanded to be healed and to be at peace. My stomach instantly felt better and I wanted food (right before fast Sunday of course). I also felt at peace. I was promised that as I continued to be obedient I would have the Holy Ghost to watch over and be with me while I sleep. I've slept perfectly since then. There were several other promises and words of counsel that I needed as well. I am so thankful for the Priesthood. I am thankful for the faithfulness and worthiness of the Elders. I am thankful for the blessing I received from President Hall as I was set apart. When he said that I would have the best health of my life while I was on my mission I thought it meant I would never get sick, instead it meant that I would always be healed. It has been an amazing and testimony building experience.

The Church of Jesus Christ is on the earth. The authority and power to act in God's name has been restored to bless our lives. I'm in Tallahassee sharing that great news with all who will listen. I love being a missionary! I love all of you and pray that you are well.