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Monday, March 31, 2014

Baptism, Baptists, Branch Conference - Oh my!

Welp! Transfer calls have been made. Hermana Lawrence is getting transferred. D: Sad day, but I knew it was coming. As for the rest of our district, our District Leader, Elder Edwards, is going Zone Leader, and then Elder Earl became our new District Leader. Then Elder Lefevre is getting transferred. So basically our whole district is going to transfer meeting tomorrow. haha.
I'm sad to hear that Dad's been in the hospital all week. When I left the library last week, I didn't know what was going on, so I've been praying that things would be okay. Keep me updated.
HAPPY LATE BIRTHDAY TO BRADON!!! You're cool brotato chip!
As for my week...let's see...what happened.... Oh! I remember! JOSUE GOT BAPTIZED!!! WOOHOO!!! Finally! It's been a long time coming, but it happened! He got baptized Saturday night around 5:45 (it was supposed to start at 5:00, but Mexican Standard Time + Mormon Standard Time = yikes). Lots of people came! Even some of his nonmember friends came and supported him. It was great!
The baptism went off without a hitch. Everyone was super excited and happy for him. Of course a few things could've gone better (none of the baptismal suits fit him, so he had to wear a size XXXL.... he looked like a cholo), but the important thing was that the Spirit was there. We had two people come up to him after who said that they were next. Yay! Lots more work to do. I tried really hard to make sure everyone was reverent and quiet when they went into the room with the baptismal font. The Spirit was definitely there. I love being a missionary!
Yesterday we had Branch Conference, but the way they did it was weird. They combined both the English and Spanish branches. We had all the translation equipment ready to go, but somehow the power cord got we couldn't use any of it. The Stake President (President Porter...haha) wasn't too happy because someone had to stand up front and translate after every few sentences he said. Meh. But I enjoyed it. I actually participated in one of the classes and understood what was going on! It's a weird moment to realize, "Huh. I know Spanish." I like it! But it's still weird.
But anyway, I loved Branch Conference because we talked about the 5 Prophetic Priorities. I don't know if it's something they're talking about in your wards, but it's a list of 5 things that we should be making priorities in our lives: 1. Hastening the Work of Salvation 2. Reach Out and Rescue 3. Strengthening Families Through the Priesthood 4. Come Follow Me and 5. Family History and Temple Work. It was fantastic. The main thing I got out of it is this: We have been blessed with testimonies from God about the truth (Dieter F. Uchtdorf said: "In many, many cases He entrusts a testimony of the truth to those who will share it with others."), so our responsibility as members is to share it with others. There's a scripture in the Bible that says something along the lines of, "And when ye have been converted, strengthen thy brethren." Help others come to the same knowledge that you've gained! Help them gain testimonies!
Oh also we watched the Women's Conference on Saturday night while we were in New Albany after the baptism. It was awesome!! Just what I needed to hear. I loved every part of it. :) 

Earlier this week we volunteered at a Baptist Food Ministry. We helped pass out drinks during a free dinner night. Lots of people were talking to us and asking who we were. Surprisingly a lot of them already knew who we were because missionaries had helped them in the past with this or that. I love it when other missionaries and member give us a good rep! Thank you! :)
I also got a haircut today. Sister Van Uitert did it. I have straight across bangs again, but I kept the length. She just fixed what the people at Fantastic Sam's messed up last time. haha.
So that was my week! Missionary life is a busy one. One second you're just getting here, barely speaking Spanish, the next you're already 6 months old and taking over an area. And President & Sister Woodbury leave in just TWO TRANSFERS. It's crazy! They leaves at my halfway mark. I don't even know how time is flying so fast. I just don't get it. I'm going to have to have a talk with Heavenly Father someday and ask why it flies so quickly here on earth. He's probably got a good reason. I just wanna know. :)
Keep it real!

Hermana Porter

Monday, March 24, 2014

What to Do in Case of a Baptism

So...JOSUE'S GETTING BAPTIZED!!! When I emailed last week, it was still up in the air as to whether or not he'd be ready. He's been saying a lot how he wants to feel it before he makes a decision, but after an eventful, spiritually-exhausting week, he told us Friday night, "I'm getting baptized on the 29th." IT'S OFFICIAL!!! A BAPTISM!! We're SO SO excited!!

We've been pretty busy planning it all. I'm so excited for him. For the longest time he's been saying, "If not the 29th, then for sure in April." But our R.S. president, Jessica, talked to him in a lesson this week and said, "If you're going to do it, why wait?" (amongst other things.) He was thinking about it for a bit, and finally he decided he was going for it. He's been inviting everyone to his baptism, even all his old drinking buddies. We thought it'd be like pulling teeth to get him to tell anyone he was getting baptized, but he actually started telling people he was getting baptized before we ever decided on the 29th. What a goober!
Planning the baptism hasn't been too difficult. We announced it in Church, and now everyone and their dogs are bringing food, drinks, helping out, doing this and that... We don't really have to do much! Our members rock! It's nice being in a branch where everyone is related. One big happy, helpful family! :) The branch is really excited. It shocked everyone that Josue is getting baptized, but they are sure pumped now. I love it :) Keep praying that everything goes accordingly! Everything is planned, we just have to get him to the font, which shouldn't be too hard.

It's amazing to see the change in Josue. Two months ago he cringed at the word "Bautismo" (Baptism). He still pretends not to like the word, but he's secretly excited. He's telling all his friends now. He even told his brother before he told us! It shocked his brother, but he's fine with it. We're hoping his brother is next in line -- his wife is a member. We'll see! I l just love seeing the change the gospel brings to people's lives. It's amazing! I can't wait to send out the baptism pictures next Monday :)
Btw. Transfer calls are on Saturday. We find out if one of us is going to a different area. I have a feeling Hermana Lawrence will get transferred. I'll letcha know on Monday! The worst thing is, we'll get the call right before or right after the baptism.... so bittersweet! 

Aside from planning the baptism, we've had a pretty busy week. We had zone meeting on Thursday in New Albany. A lot of the training was on prayer. Then today we had a district pday. We all went to Marengo Cave together and did a couple trails. It was fun! We have a great district. While we were waiting between tours, all the elders did this thing called "The Crawl" which is a box maze that simulates caving. It was hilarious! There were peepholes all throughout the box and you could see them popping their heads out and crawling everywhere. I couldn't have done it -- too claustrophobic! haha

A few things that made me laugh/smile this week:
1. On Wednesday we were having pizza with Jessica, our R.S. pres, and I saw through the window that someone had pulled up to Josue's house across the street. I told Hermana Lawrence, "Look who it is!" And Hermana Lawrence got up, saw who it was, freaked out and then straight up smacked her face into the window! It was a hard smack too! Jessica and I were on the floor laughing for so long. I'm still laughing about it!
2. We had a lesson with our Cuban, William, on Saturday. We watched the shorter video about the Restoration. When it was over, I asked William what he thought or what he was feeling, and he said, "I don't know if it was the Spirit, but at one part in the movie -- I don't know why, but I started getting tears in my eyes." It was so precious!
3. When we were coming home from emailing last Monday, we were driving to the store, just singing la la la, then out of nowhere a dead cat was right in the middle of the road and we ran right over it. We were just screeeeeaming for like 5 minutes, horrified.... ever since then we've seen at least 3 more dead cats. WHAT IS WITH CATS AND ME?! They follow me everywhere -- dead or alive! AH!
But yeah! That's been my week! I'm exhausted from walking around those caves.... I think that means I need to exercise more because we really didn't do anything but walk for two miles. Woof.
I hope everyone is doing well! I love hearing from yall! I will have lots to share next Monday :) Love you!!!
Hermana Porter

Monday, March 17, 2014

Jellyfish Potatoes

Well well well, another week in the life of Hermana Porter!
This week was interesting... weather-wise. Tuesday it was 80 degrees out. 80!! We were out contacting, having a grand old time, loving life. Then Wednesday it all dropped back down, and yesterday it snowed a bit. Not enough to close the library though! ha ha!
Ok, so three main things happened this week....
Jellyfish Potato Guy: We were just getting home one night around 9, and when we pulled into the apartment, there was an older man (about 60-65) by his car next to us. Perfect opportunity right? We started talking to him about the weather, etc. And then he found out we were missionaries... This guy... I don't even know where to begin!! He started asking us questions about the Holy Ghost, quizzing us on the Bible, who-said-what, yada yada. But then he started getting all conspiracy theoretical, and I just went bonkers in my head. I felt the Spirit leave because he was not saying any sort of correct doctrine. He kept saying stuff about how it wasn't Adam and Eve, but Adam and Lulleth. He also started using our doctrine of the three kingdoms of glory against us, saying that "I don't know what God's going to do with you all and your gold plates, but I know I've made it into your Celestial Kingdom with God." He then started talking about why the sun is so bright, that all of our food is poisoned from the radiation in the air, that GMO's are in the potatoes (he was telling us some farmer in Idaho crosses his potatoes with jellyfish, so if they glow, he knows they need water....), that the trumpets are already going off around the world.... We were stuck talking to him for an hour and a half. I mean, he wasn't mean or anything, but he just thought he'd take it upon himself to teach us everything he says he knows about religion and God.... I just remember going into the apartment and saying in my prayers that night that I was SO SO grateful for the sure knowledge that I have of God's plan, who He really is, who Jesus is and who the Holy Ghost is, etc. I just can't imagine living a life where I don't know these things for a sure fact. There's no guessing with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We know through modern revelation and prophets of God what the true doctrine of Jesus Christ is and everything else we need to know in order to progress in this life and make it back to Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father again someday. It's all there. Small and simple. By small and simple things are great things brought to pass!
We had interviews with President this week and a training from the AP's. That was fun. Except we had to do teaching role plays in English, and I realized how much I fail in English now. I have a hard time teaching in English. I'm so used to teaching in Spanish now that I don't have the words for English. It sounds weird. My interview with President went well. He talked to me a lot about 2 Nefi 4 and how to recognize when Satan's being a jerk, basically. It was what I needed to hear. Hna. Lawrence and I both have a feeling that she'll be leaving this next transfer and I'll be taking over Corydon. AH. I don't want to think about it. Hna. Lawrence is just too awesome.
Josue's baptism is still a-go on the 29th!!! PRAY that it all goes as planned please! We're working our butts off trying to get him 100% ready and excited. He talks a lot about his baptism now, so that's awesome. He even talks to other people about it. They'll be talking to him at work, telling him not to get baptized, that it's stupid, and he'll tell them, "I don't care what you think. I'm getting baptized." I wish you all knew him! I wish I could package Josue into a box and send him to you all so you knew exactly what I am talking about!!! I can't explain him! He's had such a miraculous change in his life from what he used to be. I actually wish you all knew Corydon like I do.... I can't do it justice. I'm going to miss these people when I leave. I can't imagine being anywhere else. D:
Hermana Lawrence and I were talking last night about the mission and how a year ago we never imagined being where we are now. I didn't even know a year ago that I was going to serve in Kentucky! The mission really prepares you for everything else in life. And the things you experience on a day-to-day basis on the mission are things you can't explain to anyone else. It's impossible. I can already tell I'm going to have a hard time going home and trying to share with you all what I experienced these 18 months. I just can't! The longer I'm out, the more I learn, the more I experience.... I just can't do it justice trying to explain it to yall. I can try, but unless you've served a mission and experienced the heartbreak, the joy, the exhaustion, the happiness that you experience only on a mission, it's not something I'll ever be able to share. Meh. I don't want to think about it. I'm on a mission for the rest of my life.
One last thing. We were talking to Elder Earl, one of the English-speaking Elders here in Corydon, about the new family history program we're getting started here in Corydon, and somehow we all started talking about missions, being missionaries, and especially about the age-lowering of missionary service. Hna. L and I both said that if the age hadn't been lowered, we probably wouldn't have served--which is weird since we couldn't imagine being anywhere else. And he said something that really hit me: "Can you imagine what's coming in the future if God is needing 2-Return Missionary-Parent Households?" Gave me chills! Most children born into the church in the future will have parents who both served missions. The work is definitely hastening! The Lord needs parents who focus their children on missionary work and sharing the Gospel.
I love you all!
Hermana Porter

Monday, March 10, 2014

Mud, Cars and Chopping Wood

Did the title get your attention? Listen closely y'all, cause this week is one for the books.
Where do I even begin?
Monday night we were at an investigator's trailer by the sawmill, and the member that came with us got his car stuck in the mud and ice. We were sitting in the car after the lesson, watching him try to get his car out, but it wasn't going. We said a quick prayer, then went out and tried to help him. Finally we decided to push it and boom! It rolled back and he drove out like nothing had happened :) We thought we were invincible!
Then Tuesday happened.
We were trying to contact a referral on this place called Rosenbarger Hill. It's a dirt road that goes up a hill to a warehouse/shop place. We see this trailer but couldn't decide if it was the referral's place. Then I noticed a little dirt road right next to it that went back into the forest, so I told Hermana Lawrence, "Let's just go down there and see if it's back there. If not, we'll try this trailer."
And this is where we learn never to follow the advice of Hermana Porter.
We go down the dirt road, and it's all covered in melting snow, and we're thinking, "Wow! The mission gives us great cars to drive in! We can do anything!" We eventually got to a dead end about two minutes into the forest, and I got out to back up Hermana Lawrence...and then the car got stuck in mud. We thought, "No big deal. We just need to back up a little more to get traction." So we backed up....and get more stuck. Eventually I tell Hermana Lawrence, "Just back up all the way down the hill and try driving back up. I don't think this is all mud."

That's a lie if there ever was one! The entire hill was thick, Southern-Utah red mud, with puddles from all the snow melt. The tires on our car couldn't get any traction, so they just kept spinning. We called our District Leader, and he told us to find some boards and try shoving them under the tires. We found some, but we weren't strong enough to get them all the way under the tires. Eventually we made it to the bottom of the hill and couldn't get back up. We were on the phone with the Mission Car Adviser, and he told us to walk up the hill and look for help while he called a wrecker.
We walked up the warehouse to see if we could find anyone and we found two Mexicans (hallelujah!). They got in their truck and drove down to help us. They were getting ready to pull us out.... and then THEY got stuck! How. Embarrassing. They called their boss, and he was pretty upset with us. We took the blame, saying we didn't know, we weren't thinking. He told us he'd call a wrecker that he knew and to just stay there.

So the tow truck guy comes and starts laughing at us of course. Nice guy. Then he hooks up the other guys' truck and starts pulling them out.... and then the TOW TRUCK got stuck.

You can imagine what I looked like at this point.
The tow truck dug himself out eventually, and we all got out...after 3 1/2 hours. We got everything squared away, and the tow guy undercharged us for his service. Then we called the landowner, Ronnie, that night and apologized and told him we'd do anything to help fix what we did -- we'd dig holes if we had to. So he told us we could come chop wood with his 16 year old son Ryan on Saturday to make up for it. He said, "It'll be good for my son. He's not a bad kid, but I think it'll be good for him. He needs a little Jesus in his life."
So that's exactly what we did. 9:00 Saturday morning, chopped wood until 2:00. They had a log splitter there, so Hermana Lawrence used that while I learned how to use an axe. I HAVE NEVER BEEN THIS SORE IN MY LIFE. I have arm muscles now though! And thigh muscles, and back muscles, and other muscles that I had no idea even existed. It was a fun day though. My sinuses got nice and infected from all the wood shavings. I looked like I was weeping the entire day. They bought us Wendy's for lunch and gave us our own working gloves. Then Ryan showed us around the shop. I got to sit in a Semi! I also chased a rooster and Hermana Lawrence fell in poop.
OH! Funniest thing of my life! Really quick: I told Hermana Lawrence that it's impossible to crack and egg by squeezing it with one hand, but that I can do it. She's been practicing for months and still hasn't been able to do it. Saturday, Ryan found a bunch of chicken eggs, so I taught him how to do it, but Hermana Lawrence still couldn't break it. After five minutes, she still couldn't get it, so she chucked it at a tree... and it bounced right off and onto the ground. I was DYING.
Anyway. I'm calling this the parable of mud:
Sometimes, you make bad decisions. You travel down paths deep into the forest in your nice white car, thinking you're fine, and then you get stuck in some pretty deep, nasty, sticky mud. Your car gets pretty messy, and no matter how hard you try to get out by yourself, you just can't quite do it. You pray and work and it still doesn't work. You need help from someone other than yourself. Humbled, you find help, and these merciful people pull you out. And then they continue to extend their mercy to you by undercharging you for the tow, paying you for chopping wood, buying you lunch. Eventually you make it to the car wash and wash all the mud off your car until it's a nice white car again.
It's just like that with repentance. Our Heavenly Father knows we're not perfect, and we're going to make mistakes that will humble us and require us to call out for help. That is why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior. He knew we'd make mistakes and become unclean. That is exactly why He died for us: so that we'd repent and come to Him to be made clean again. What was once covered in the thickest, messiest mud can be white, shiny and clean again. No matter what kind of mess we get ourselves into, there's always that cleansing Atonement that can make the situation better. We don't have to sit in the mud forever. Otherwise we'd never make it back to Heaven. I'm so grateful for the Atonement because I make mistakes every day. But because Jesus Christ died for us, we can repent and be made clean again and have the chance to make it back to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
God is in everything. What seemed like a simple act of obedience lead to lessons learned, friends made and testimonies strengthened.
Hermana Porter

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

[No Subject]

Hola todos!
Well well well. It snowed. AGAIN. It always happens on a Sunday, meaning the library closes on Monday, meaning we can't email on pday. Church got cancelled here in Corydon because a huge storm was supposedly rolling in. It didn't start until Sunday afternoon though. It was all hail and freezing rain. We would go into an appointment, come out an hour later and our car would have a nice thick layer of ice on it. We'd scrape it off, go to the next appointment and do it all over again. Fun times :) Then we got 3-4 inches of snow overnight.
I learned a lot this week. We went on exchanges again on Wednesday. This time Hermana Marsden came here with me while Hermana Lawrence went to Shelbyville. So I was in charge of my area for the first time. I was really nervous at first. I thought, "What if I can't understand so-and-so?" "What if I can't do this or that right?" "What if I don't have as good of a relationship with my members and investigators as Hermana Lawrence does?" But it was actually a really good day. I survived AND I was able to understand and talk to everyone we had appointments with that day! It was good for me to see that I can survive without my trainer and that I'll be ready to take over this area if my trainer does leave next transfer.

My trainer is HILARIOUS. We have SO much fun together! I hate thinking about leaving her or her leaving me. It's inevitable, but we are just having a blast out here right now! Everyone says that we are just what Corydon needed. Last night we had a cool experience: We haven't been able to get a hold of our Branch Mission Leader all week, and it was starting to worry us because he NEVER ignores us. We try to contact him daily and see him once a week for coordination, but for some reason he wasn't answering our calls or the door or anything. But finally he called us Sunday and invited us over to see him. So we went over last night and had a nice talk about the Restoration, and we had a lot of laughs and brought the Spirit into his house. In his prayer he thanked Heavenly Father for sending us here to Corydon and for us "having a way of cheering everyone up." I loved it :)
Sometimes I get discouraged and think that I'm not doing everything the Lord is asking me to do. But I realized this week that as long as I'm doing what's in front of me as best as I can, then I'm doing the Lord's work. It doesn't have to be something huge or grand. It can be something as small as going over to our Branch Mission Leader's house and cheering him up. As long as we're following the Spirit, we're doing what the Lord's asking us to do.
Josue is doing ok. He's technically not progressing anymore, and we had to push his bap date back because he drank. -.- We're doing what we can to get him on the right track, but people have their agency and can choose to do whatever they want to do. Just pray for him please!
Since Church got cancelled on Sunday, we went down to our District Leader's ward in Brandenburg, KY (right across the river from Indiana). That was weird, being in an English-speaking ward again. I've missed it! I love my branch and my Spanish-speaking people, but it was nice to have something familiar again. :) 
Also, our kitchen sink broke this weekend, and our apartment maintenance changed their number.... so we're stuck doing our dishes in the bathtub. We're just grateful we're not sleeping in hammocks or waking up to spiders on our faces. :)
Aside from that, all is well! Trying to get better every day. I can't believe I'm almost to my 5 month mark.... didn't I just leave the CCM?! It's insane how fast the time flies! I have so much to learn! Gotta get to steppin!
Love you all!
Hermana Porter