Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Disappointment 9/29/14

Dear family and friends,
I honestly don't really know where to start with this one, other than this week was literally the hardest week of my mission. I cannot express how grateful I am for a new week! 
So last monday, right after we got done emailing, the Hernandez family txted us and informed us that they no longer wanted to investigate the church or be baptized. They had spent the weekend with their family over in Athens, and their family convinced them that they shouldn't be baptized. They feel they shouldn't abandon their family traditions or religion (catholic). But I know they fear the rejection they would get from their family if they did convert. The way it sounded, they really didn't want to stop investigating, but their family pressured them into it. It's so sad to see how Satan knows exactly how to hold one back from their potential and salvation, by hitting them where it would affect them most, their family. We really want to try and visit them one last time, just to say that we tried and did all that we could. We want to try and bring a hispanic couple who are from the spanish branch and are converts to the church so they can share their story and provide encouragement. So hopefully we can do that this week, I miss the Hernandez family already so much!!:(
So we've been trying to pick ourselves up all week since then. We went home and immediately said a prayer of gratitude to Heavenly Father for the experiences we've had with the Hernandez, and also for blessing us with the investigators we are working with. We told ourselves to look up,we had 2 more baptisms to look forward to.... or so we thought. 
We moved forward by preparing everything for Nikki's baptism. We had her interview and everything went great. Well friday morning in the middle of our personal study we recieved a txt from Nikki, explaining that she sadly had to cancel her baptism. I was the first to read it and look at the phone, and immediately i wanted to just crawl into a hole and cry. My heart was just crushed! Why was this all happening at once?! Well she explained to us that she had this long intervention with her mom and grandma the night before and had told them that she was going to be baptized. Well i feared she was keeping this secret from them, knowing she had a baptist background. She told us she didn't know of the 'formalities in the baptist church' and she was going to meet with the elders in the baptist church starting sunday. (we had our recent convert april who was a baptist tell us there are no elders for the baptist church):P. She thanked us for teaching her so much and the love we've shown towards her, but that she would keep in contact with us. I cried... and i prayed from the bottom of my heart all day friday. I seriously began to question if i had any motivation in me to move forward. I was tired, emotionally, spiritually, i was just exhausted,  To be honest i almost wanted to give up... but we didn't. 
 Well we still didn't feel right in just leaving it at that, but we had no idea how to approach all this. We finally decided to have our bishop's wife, Amy carter, to come with us and we would just drop in and try to discuss with Nikki what these 'formalities' were. Before we knocked on her door, SIster Carter suggested that each of us take turns saying a prayer, which gave us each a peace of mind and comfort, and moreover courage! We were a little fearful for what would happen, but knew that we needed to do this. SIster Carter, took our hands and said, 'I just want you SIsters to know that no matter what happens, i'm grateful to spend time with ya'll and you are still great missionaries!" ha well that did help a little!! So when we knocked on her door, she answered really fast surprisingly, but she was in the middle of a conference call for work. So we left her a little note saying to just call us when she had time and we could sit down with her and talk, and that we love her:) So we went to at nearby  bench and sat down, and she soon txted us. AGain, she said she feels our love and appreciates all we've done for her, but she's going through too much change and she needs to slow things down. So we just invited her to watch the womens broadcast online after she was done with work and let us know what her thoughts were. She said she would, so i hope she's really pondering and praying about things. I fasted with so much heart and prayer for her and the hernandez yesterday. We are now leaving everything in God's hands, and know that he has a plan. 
We had a good long therapy session with Sister Carter afterwards, and we learned a great important lesson. I know the Lord is hastening His work. To often, i tend to think that means more and more people are going to be baptized. But little do we know of what God's plan really is. What i've experienced on my mission i will never forget. I will never forget the power of the spirit and how i felt when i was teaching these people. I will never forget nor doubt the love i felt for these people and for this gospel as i taught and shared with them simple truths of God's plan. WE must never measure success in the baptisms or think that our purpose as missionaries is to baptize. The Lord clearly states that he has called us to declare and proclaim his gospel. As disciples of christ we are to preach His gospel. My pupose is to teach, and to invite. I cannot control their agency and whether or not they want to enter the waters of baptism. And if they do, what a blessing that is to them and for me to be a part of that. Baptism is only the first step we take into eternal life. The Lord wants to hasten his work by having a more choice and converted people in His church. He has more servants, or missionaries, out there in the world becoming more converted to His gospel, and he'll do whatever it takes. My whole mission has been a conversion process, our life is conversion process. I'm learning on my mission how to become perfect in Christ, and truly what that means. Salvation is not easy, it wasn't easy for him, it shoudln't be easy for us. We have to go through some kind of gethsemane in order to come closer to Him. I am grateful for the chance and opportunity everyday to preach His gospel, and to know myself that it is true, without a shadow of a doubt. I love to teach, and to treasure up the words of Christ. And I cannot tell you how excited i am to be a member missionary when i get home:) That's also part of the hastening,, so there will be more RM who will do missionary work in their home areas. God is a smart guy. 
I love you all so very much. ANd i thank you for your prayers and support. I hope you all are striving to gain a testimony of this gospel yourself and to share it with others. 
On a fun note.. i was asked to give the quote at district meeting on tuesday and I quoted The Living Christ haha.. took up about 7 minutes. Hey they challenged us i n the womens conference to memorize it and sister george and i already have!  I extend the challenge to ya'll:) 
I hope everyone of you enjoy conference. I'm looking forward to every second of it:) I know there is something in there to uplift SIster George and I! Take lots of good notes!
SIster Hulme

Update from Georgia 9/22/14

Hey ya'll!
It's been another great week in Loganville. I wish I had some awesome stories or cool miracles to share with you. It's still exciting here though! With this week and next week our ward will have a total of 7 baptisms! We'll be having one with our investigator Nikki this Friday, the elders investigator Deonte will be baptized on Saturday, and a girl named Autumn they're teaching will be baptized on Sunday. So one each day of the weekend! I think I'm more excited for next weekend. The Hernandez family is getting baptized on October 4th after general conference. I have grown to love that family so much! We're getting so stoked for that day! 
We're also very excited for Anel SIsic's baptism on October 3rd. This will probably be one of the most memorial baptisms on my mission. He's taken discussions from missionaries for a very long time now, and its been really cool to see him really progress the past few months and see the spirit change him. Not gonna lie, we had our doubts if this would really happen, but we're holding onto our faith and hope, and know that it will:)

So we had a good discussion with our bishop, who showed us this fun object lesson this last week. With the number of baptisms growing steadily all over the world, and especially in our ward, we're all seeing that retention is now very vital. He took us outside in the church parking lot and showed us this object lesson one evening. he had this string that was 2600 inches long. and stretched over the whole length of the parking lot. Each inch represented the number of times we go to church in the span of 50 years. He had us estimate or guess how long the average person investigates the church. We agreed over the time of about 2-3 months. Well during that time we are trying to welcome them into the church and fellowship them as much as we can. But it seems after they're baptized or stop investigating, members kind of forget about them and the fellowship stops. Well on the string, the 2-3 month period compared to the 50 years was nothing! But he mentioned that if we continue to fellowship and focus on the retention in their first year of being a member, using the new member progress report, its shown that 90% more will stay strong in the church. I don't know how accurate that is, but I will believe it! The main goal we want all to have is the temple, and we're helping each other reach that goal. The new member progress report focuses on getting recent converts to the temple, and the members have to help them get there. I LOVE how the Lord is hastening His work and my perspective on the work has changed. I'm focusing more on having an eternal perspective, keeping the temple in my sights, and helping others have that perspective as well.  I hope each of you have that same perspective and focus on getting your family or others to the temple:) The blessings this work brings are infinite and so grand. God is just showing forth His love and His great plan for us through these blessings. 

We also have been practicing teaching lessons to active members now. President  Bennion shared with us a message from Pres. Boyd K. Packer a few weeks ago about missionary work. Truly, we as missionaries are called to teach. That is our calling and we have to abide by it. There's the finding, the baptizing and fellowshipping, and the teaching, all are parts of missionary work. We're called to proclaim the gospel, to treasure up the knowledge and the words of Christ, and our most important duty is to teach. Therefore, President Bennion is having us teach one of the 5 lessons in preach my gospel to the members at our dinner appts, and the members are to role play with us! Well if any of you have served a mission, you'll always remember role playing and how much you love it. I have grown to really love role playing to be honest, its effective:) So the members are to act as one of their non member friends, or as an investigator, as we teach them the lesson. This will help them for one, understand and grow in the knowledge of the gospel, feeding their testimonies, and two, to know how what they need to do to share the gospel with their friends or family. They can receive revelation as to what step they need to take next to help their friend or what they need to say. So for the past week we've been doing this with the members, and they haven't been able to think of any of their friends as we share our lesson. But last night, we had spent quite a bit of time at our bishop's home talking about missionary work, (since we basically don't have a ward mission leader), and before we left we shared one of the lessons. They chose to listen to the first discussion, the restoration. That family is seriously my favorite! they have 6 kids all under the age of 13, and they took the role playing seriously! even bishop and his wife! they pounded us with questions and even stumped us with some! After the lesson though, the bishop looked at us and said, "thank you for being great missionaries, you sisters have helped our ward tremendously, and i just want to compliment you both on being amazing missionaries. We've had good missionaries in the past, and not so good, the ward knows who the good missionaries are. But you both are great missionaries, and we 're so grateful for your service." I'm not trying to brag, really! But you don't know how much that meant to Sister George and I! AS a missionary you just sometimes feel like another missionary in the ward to the members. But to hear that from the bishop meant so much to us! We know that he really trusts us, and really that we can trust him! So it was really nice to hear that from a member, let alone the bishop. I love the Carter family so much! He and his wife are actually both from Idaho and went to ricks college, so i naturally like them alot:) he's probably my favorite bishop i've served with, (not including my bishops from home:) ). 

I hope everyone has another blessed week! 
Love, Sister Hulme

Monday, September 15, 2014

An Eternal Perspective... 9/15/14

Hey ya'll! 
So this week is transfers..I'm really really grateful that Sister George is staying another transfer. We're having too much fun working together, and we have a lot of good things coming up! 
It was another crazy week, but a great one none the less. The highlight of my week was going to the temple with our recent convert April Pratt and to see her do baptisms for her family. It was one of the best things to witness as a missionary. She had 49 family names to take and had 130-ish ordinances to do for them. Of course, she could only do the baptisms for the females of her family, so she had the Musgrove family, who is her main fellowship and basically her family, come to help. When she was doing the baptisms for her, you could feel the spirit sooo strong in the room! With every name you could feel that person's presence in the room. I know her family has been waiting for her to do this for them for a looong time. They actually just did a waterside confirmation for them. When one of the men was baptized and confirmed for her dad, we were all full of tears. April had leaned over to us and whispered, "i know my grandma is here, i can feel it so strongly." After the baptisms, the musgrove family decided to go ahead and do initiatories and endowments for some of the names, and also do a sealing for her grandparents and their children i believe. We had to wait with April while they did so, and we waited for about 5 hours! She was feeling sorry that they had to spend their whole day doing this for her family. But as soon as they walked out of the temple, April was overjoyed for the work they did for her family. And the Musgrove family was so happy and willing to participate in the work. I'm sure she had so much gratitude and didn't know how to repay them. And it was awesome to see members be so willing and help out with this missionary work. That's the vision I want to see more with members. I wish every member could have an experience like that in missionary work, and they can! April is truly amazing. Her sights are always set on the temple and she can't wait to do more work for her family there. I learned so much from her experience. The adult session of stake conference was also centered on the temple and how it should be our goal, it should be in our eternal perspective. April hasn't stopped after baptism, she is continually progressing, she is gaining an eternal perspective. I love seeing the work hasten, and moreover taking part in it all. 

THe Hernandez family is doing awesome! Juan is doing good so far on quitting coffee and tea. He drink hot cocoa in the morning now:) The other night we had dinner with them and a couple other member families. They made this delicious mexican dish called Seviche. Oh man its heaven! FUll of shrimp and crap and all sorts of flavoring. I love to see the changes in that family. At stake conference yesterday, both juan and their little boy were dressed in black slacks with  a nice button down shirt and tie, they looked sharp! before he would come in kahki's and a polo shirt. But they're starting to look like mormons now:) Can't wait for october 4 for that family! 
And Nikki is getting baptized on september 27th:) love her to death. SHe didn't have any issues with the word of wisdom. I'm telling ya some people are just dry mormons, they just need to be dunked! 
ANd last is anel, He is actually pretty dead set on getting baptized october 3. We thought it would be iffy and he possibly wouldn't be baptized. BUt last night confirmed that he's dead serious! We went over the baptismal interview questions with him at the end of our lesson last night and he answered every one of the question with a firm yes, like he really knows! we were in shock and were trying to hide the excitement in our face. He doesn't do good with pressure, so we're just letting him go with the spirit! I'm telling ya, its the coolest to see the spirit change people over time. 
Ok, so i forgot to inform ya'll that this last week, on tuesday we had permission to take a little trip to the airport for sister George to see her brother during his layover. He was headed to peru for his mission. ANd it was the best to see that reunion. BUt talk about weird to be in the airport! i didn't want to see that place for 18 months! But instead of making me and sister george really trunky and homesick, we actually got a little greenie fire! we felt like it was just yesterday we were there and we knew it wouldn't be long before we were gonna be back at that place saying good bye to georgia. ugh. Part of me slightly wished Hans was also flying into atlanta at that time:)
WEll i hope everyone has a blessed week and enjoy the wonderful fall season at home! 
Love ya lots.
SIster Hulme

Only in the south do the streets have Christian names. :)

Sister George and I at the Atlanta Airport

Monday, September 8, 2014

Harvest Time 9/8/14

Hello family!!
This is my favorite time of year. Back at home it would be because it's hunting season, and its beautiful and perfect. On my mission it is because it is the perfect time of year for harvesting. For the field is white already to harvest and lo he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not:) (D&C 4:4) And harvesting we are!!!!!! 
I so wish ya'll could be here and witness and be a part of all the miracles we are experiencing! But i'll just have to share them with ya'll:) 
So this week we have been very busy with exchanges, meetings, and going to the temple:).. i can always make time for the temple... speaking of which we get to go again this weekend with our recent convert April Pratt for her to do baptisms for the dead. She is very excited and she already has 30 names from her family to take to the temple! I know they all have been waiting on the other side for her to do this for them. And her family history started from nothing! She's done alot of work so she can have an amazing experience. ... ok back to what i was saying. We've been very busy driving all over the place for meetings here and there. I actually haven't been in my own area for more than half the week! But it hasn't stopped the work from progressing. 

So the big news... We have a bit of baptisms coming up this next month:) yup! Nikki, The Hernandez family, and Anel Sisic. So we'll start wit Nikki. Nikki is the woman who stopped at the church to pray and referred herself and lives above us in our apartments. She's also going through a very rough divorce and is trying to get  a new start in her life. She is on date for September 27 and is very excited! I'm so grateful that i have the privilege of teaching her and helping her. I know Heavenly Father has prepared me in my life with my parents divorce so that I will know how to help her and can empathize with her. As hard as it was for me to experience that in my family and throughout my life. I've learned to be grateful for my trials, because I've grown from them and have learned so much.

Next the Hernandez family.. I believe i mentioned them last week. I have grown to love that family so much in so little time. We have someone from the ward who speaks spanish come with us to the lessons because the dad, Juan does not speak english. He understands a little but it helps to have someone there to translate. They want to stay in our ward instead of going to the spanish branch though so we are going to continue teaching them. Besides, the spanish elders only visited them once and then never came back, so we took matters into our own hands. They are on date for October 4! The parents and the oldest child will be baptized, the youngest is only 3. But that family is so prepared and very elect, I'm so excited for them to embrace the gospel! The dad, Juan, does drink coffee and some beer every now and then, so we're going to address that tonight asap so he'll have time to overcome that addiction. So please keep them in your prayers that they can keep their commitments! TEaching them has made me wish i was a spanish missionary, I wish I knew my spanish better!!!! Mom do you want to double check to see if i still have my spanish stuff from high school?:) 

ANd last is Anel Sisic. Anel is from Bosnia and married a member of the church. He grew up muslim but has been taking discussions from the missionaries and coming to church for a little over a year now. WEll i was on exchange when it happened, but Sister George and SIster Wilcox who was with her at the time asked him to be baptized on October 3. He accepted!!! He has been searching for a big answer from God.. an answer we're not sure about what it is.. His biggest concern or worry is that he'll get baptized  and then later fall or slip away from the church. He's a guy that stays true to his commitments to God! He realizes that he will make baptismal covenants with God and he doesn't want to break those. So he wants an even bigger answer that this is what he should do. Well he knows that the book of mormon is true.. But he wants to KNOW like we claim to know. So our last visit we taught him the restoration, but also explained to him that we didn't get the knowledge and testimony that we have now instantly, as some claim they do. But it's taken much time, prayer, study, and pondering. But i also explained to him, that he should only think about the happiness he'll gain if he gets baptized. What's he going to lose if he does this? He's following his Savior's example, is living a righteous life, and if he believes in the book of mormon, then he should believe in the rest. That one book if proof of this restored gospel. So we told him that if he will sincerely search and have the faith, that he should have october 3 as a goal, and we promised him that he will have his answer by then. He has to have something to work towards and a goal. He gladly accepted and he's still keeping his mind open for October 3. Well this last time we met him, he told us that the night before he had an experience where he was alone in a room and he was just thinking. He said he felt so much peace, calm, and assurance, he just felt happy with himself because he had just read his scriptures and he's been praying. He said that was the strongest he's ever felt the spirit. So we're praying that each day he'll feel it more and more and when october 3 rolls around, he'll just say out of the blue, "I know". I've fasted and prayed over anel, and I know its all in the lord's timing. WHether he gets baptized october 3 or not, he's progressing and coming closer to God. 

WEll family.. now that i've written a novel and shared with you my coolest miracles... i wanted to share a little bit of my temple experience this week. I love to go with a question in mind, but this time i didn't know what question to ask Heavenly father. So i just basically focused on the feelings i had and the peace the temple brings. I'm telling ya'll the temples are the little tastes of what heavens like. Its as close to heaven as we get. I know the temple to be the house of the lord, and the ordinances there are so sacred and special. I'm grateful for those covenants i've made with Heavenly Father in the temple, and i only encourage and invite you to try to go as often as you can. Oh how i miss the temple! Don't take it for granted. So at mission leadership Council this week, President Bennion informed us that as a christmas present, the whole mission is going to the temple in december! Because of this, the temple won't have enough clothing to rent out, so they asked us to get our own from home. So mom... i'm gonna need some temple clothes! I've always wanted my own:) anyways.. that's the big and best news from this week! I could share more, but i've written enough really:) 
I love you all so very much! Have a blessed week:)
Love Sister Hulme

Sister George and I at the Atlanta Temple.

I was so excited to see Sister Debry at the temple.

I was so excited to get the cap guns for my birthday!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Best News Ever! 9/1/14

Hey ya'll! 
It's been another great week in Loganville! I'm actually super excited and pumped for this week.... because WE GET TO GO TO THE TEMPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! if you can't tell i'm excited, just know that i am. I'm jumping up and down in my seat. The reason for this is because our mission has a goal of 42 baptisms a month, and those who participated and got a baptism.. if we reach the goal then we get to go to the temple! So because Sister George and I ( i basically walked into the baptism) had a baptism with April at the beginning of august, we get to go this thursday morning!!! We also get to go again this next saturday with April for her first time doing baptisms for the dead. That's a new rule President Bennion started. You can go with your recent converts for their first time to the temple, whether its baptisms for the dead or endowments. I'm sooooo stoked!!!! Here's the big deal.. so SIster George's last companion Sister Arbon gets to come to the temple with april too because she was involved in most of the teaching. Now sister Arbon is now companions with sister Motuliki in Collins Hill. The only problem we had was who was going to be sister motuliki's companion for the day while sister Arbon was gone?? I had the option of either going with her on an exchange for the day in collins hill!!!!! or go to the temple with April and the others:) Talk about the hardest decision and biggest dilemma of my life!!!!!!!!!!! it took me allllll day monday to decide. Eventually i prayed about it, and i so wish i could've picked up the phone and called mom to ask for her opinion.. but i came to the conclusion that i needed to go to the temple with april, because who knows if i'll have that opportunity again, and Sister Motuliki would just go with the other set of Collins hill sisters who had a car. Sometimes you just wish you could have your cake and eat it too. BUt i'll still get to see her that day when we pick sister Arbon up!!! I got to talk to her on the phone briefly on monday to explain the details to them.. she's still shy and quiet on the phone.. i only hear sister arbon!:) love and miss her

So the work has been great here, Niki came to church again and we're going to put her on date for baptism for the end of september. She is elect and amazing! She sat with the members and made friends with everybody.. she even had the newest sister ward missionary call her up and talk to her forever on the phone. I love it when members just welcome nonmembers with open arms. She really belongs and can feel that love reaching out to her. 
We've also started teaching a hispanic family.. the Hernandez. I've always wanted to teach a family!!!!!!! And now i totally regret not keeping up with my spanish throughout high school, i so wish to speak it! But the mom speaks english, so we teach, she listens, and then we have a member come with us to translate for the husband, and he listens! THey have two kids, a 2 year old and 12 year old. They did have the spanish missionaries visit them, but they didn't keep on top of that and i don't know why because that family is elect! oh well, we took the matters into our hands. And they live right next door to a family in our ward. We asked them if they would prefer to go to the spanish branch, but thats an hour away in athens and ours is closer, so they preferred ours. Only problem is we need a headset for her husband to translate everything. We have alot of members in the ward though that speak spanish so that's helpful. We are also going to put them on date for the beginning of october. We pushed it a little later, because the husband told us he drinks a little here and there, and also coffee. But they really believe and know this to be true and are excited! I'm excited too:) I explained in the restoration about the apostasy thats its like a glass table, the gospel of Christ being the glass and the legs the priesthood power or the apostles. Once the priesthood was taken away, the glass fell and the gospel was broken apart into pieces. Different people took a piece of what they knew to be true and created different religions or churches, but there wasnt the fulness with out the priesthood. But once it was restored and the priesthood along with that, we now have the full glass table again. THe husband, Juan, totally agreed and said it made sense, and he had no religion background! I love that family and am so excited for them:)

Oh, another note. I was on exchange with the Commerce sisters on friday-saturday... we attended the elders baptism, and i had to play the piano... i was glad to be of service:)... anyway.. sister George calls us saturday morning and said our apartment flooded!!! there was a really bad leak from my toilet and it flooded every room except our bedroom which was across the apartment from the bathroom.  So weve had to deal with wet carpet and big power fans blowing for the past 3 days. Nothing was damaged though. 

And i had a wonderful birthday:) thanks for the birthday wishes and gifts. I do have the best family in the world. I'm sooo stoked for the great books i got and to study them! especially the standard works missionary reference guide! I've already gained a great insight on the church history and of Joseph smith. SIster George totally surprised me wednesday morning of my birthday and decked out the living room with balloons and streamers with a birthday banner. She gave me cap guns for my birthday and said, here's to hunting season, sorry you can't go hunting but this is as good as it gets! we had fun:) a little too much fun with those.. we hunted for wildabeasts. yeah.. don't ask. reminded me of when we would go squatchin when i was in high school:).. We also had fried oreos for my birthday instead of a birthday cake! let me just say, ya'll are missing out. I will never go back to cake again. Fried oreos are the way to go. I've started a new tradition for my birthday.
anyways! well i love ya'll soooo much! thanks for everything and all you do:) REmember who you are...and don't let that get you down.. ha jk. BUt remember that sister Hulme loves ya'll most. 
Love ,
Sister Lexie Hulme 

i'll send pics next week.