Returning Home!

Monday, April 28, 2014


Hello hello hello!
This last week was pretty busy, yet not so much. Things in Corydon are a little slow right now.... actually, a lot slow. Last night I kind of had a break down because we taught maybe like three lessons to investigators this week. We taught quite a few active-member lessons, but we have just been struggling a lot with finding people to teach. I talked to President about it on Monday during interviews, and a lot of what he said really encouraged me, but by the end of the week I was still frustrated. We have been trying to contact potentials and former investigators all week, but literally everyone tells us they're not interested or "We told the last hermanas to never come back" (in a nice way). Nothing is turning up.

Friday night I got so frustrated because Thursday one of the Hermana Training Leaders was here with me on an exchange, and our main appointment with William fell through. So we taught some members during the day and that was that. I felt kind of embarrassed. So Friday night, I started a fast and tried to refocus. I realized I was forgetting God in all of this and relying more on myself to find people. That's not exactly good when you're doing God's work, right?
All day Saturday I just tried so hard to focus on what we should be doing, and then after we had our branch activity (more about that'll want to read that part hahaha), I talked to Hermana Wilkinson and we just decided that this week we really need to follow President's advice and focus on teaching the members in order to get referrals. President Woodbury told us that here in Corydon that may be exactly what we need to do since all the members know the rest of the hispanics in the area. They'll be our source of referrals because no matter how hard we try to find these people ourselves, it's inevitable that people will want to learn more about the church when a member introduces them and invites them to learn more. I can't remember exactly who said it, but one of the prophets said that missionary work is not just knocking on doors; you as members should be the one giving the missionaries things to do and people to teach.
We talked to our branch council yesterday about our dilemma, and they were totally up to us scheduling appointments with each family and teaching them. So that's what we're going to do: teaching the members, getting them excited about missionary work and rekindling the feeling that all of them felt when they were baptized and when they first knew the Gospel was true. All of our members are converts (within the last 5 years). They have amazing stories and experiences that will really help us in the work. Hopefully we'll get some referrals!

Pray for us!
Okay, on to some big news: WILLIAM CHANGED HIS BAP DATE!! He's getting baptized May 10th -- the last Saturday of the transfer! It's going to be like Josue all over again. haha. He has stopped drinking completely, and he told us on Saturday that he's been going running every day after work instead of drinking, and he says he's never felt better. He can really see the blessings of living the Word of Wisdom! :) Makes me happy! Josue and a bunch of less-actives and non-members have been going running too. It's like a little health party they created :) So yeah, William is getting baptized in less than TWO WEEKS now!! (It's just funny because we've really been struggling with teaching and finding lately, yet we have two baptisms coming up really soon. Ironic!)
Saturday night, we had a branch voleibol activity in the park. They barbecued chicken, we ate (as I was eating my chicken, I kept thinking "My mom would kill me if she saw me eating like this" because we pull it all apart with our fingers, put them in tortillas and eat em....greasy yum yum!), and we all played soccer and volleyball. We showed up in our skirts because we didn't think we'd be there long, but we found out that the whole thing was started in the last couple years just so the missionaries could bring investigators and teach a lesson there. What the heck! So this next Saturday we're definitely showing up in pants and not skirts.... All the kids wanted us to play soccer with them, so we had to play in our skirts... Not the best idea. Didn't last long. haha.
Okay, one last thing. In Church yesterday, one of our former investigators who got sent to jail a month ago randomly showed up! It was cool! We had three investigators there and a ton of less-actives. It was really neat! Tender mercies from the Lord all over the place. :)
From all the crying to frustration to seeing some tender mercies here and there, this week has been a growing experience -- this whole transfer actually. My companion and I are still trying to get to know each other and learn how to communicate better, and we had kind of a bro-sesh this morning (sis-sesh?) that really helped me. I guess I have just been lacking in energy and light these last few weeks. I need to kick it up a bit, which I didn't realize. Hopefully after today I won't be so zombie-ish (we had a pretty intense rain-thunder-lightning storm last night that kept waking me up every hour or so. Plus I had a dream that I was running from someone with Bradon and ten other people, so that made me mad. I hate running...).
Anywho... moral of the email, never let your light go out! It's easy, but do what you can to keep it up. Also, help the missionaries por favor!! You mean more to us than you realize! 


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Of Fish, Octopus, and Shrimp

Greetings from Corydon!
Our pday got switched to today because we had interviews with President Woodbury yesterday. Hence, I'm writing today :) Interviews were fantastic. It was bittersweet though because it was our last time getting interviews from President before he leaves in July. :( He really took his time to talk to each of us yesterday. I really needed it. Not that I have issues or anything, but it was just nice to hear certain things from President about the work we're doing (or trying to do) here in Corydon.

It's been hard here for a while. I'm not kidding when I say Corydon's the weirdest area in the mission, especially as far as Spanish work goes. We have a branch, and it comprises itself of about 40% of the hispanics in the Corydon area. The rest of the hispanics in the area are all former investigators or have talked to the hermanas before. We've been working on contacting potentials this entire transfer to find new people to teach, and so far we've only got one new investigator. I told President Woodbury that we area really trying hard to find new people, but nobody's interested still. We're taking hope in the fact that people change constantly. Hopefully one of these people we visit are ready to hear our message. I talked to Pres. about it, and he understands. He said to keep working hard but "don't worry." Knowing me, you can imagine the relief I felt after talking to him. President and Sister Woodbury are GEMS. I can't say it enough. They are some of the best people I know. I'm sad that they're leaving so soon.

I also hit my 6 month mark this week. WHAT. I have LESS THAN ONE YEAR LEFT. When did this happen?! Wasn't I just giving my farewell talk?! Wasn't I just in the MTC? I just don't get it.
As for investigators, William is doing great! He's completely given up drinking, which is a miracle in itself considering how much he used to drink before! We just need to talk to him about the law of chastity, and once he starts living it, he'll be good to go! :) We also have Maria Elena, who is just a gem. She came to church again on Sunday, and she participated in Relief Society SO much. She's great!
AND!!!! JOSUE GOT THE PRIESTHOOD!!!! He even blessed the sacrament! It's just so funny/great to see the change in him. Two months ago, he told us that he'd never get baptized, never wear a white shirt or tie to church, never teach the Gospel... and now he's doing all of that and more! He's doing great! I love seeing his conversion in action. He's doing great. :)
We also had a great District Meeting last week that I really needed. Elder Earl posed the questions: What do you want from your mission? and What do you want to leave behind? It was really powerful. Made me rethink a lot of things about my work here in the mission. It made me sad to think about having so little time left, yet so much work to do. I guess that's symbolic of life in general. There's still SO much work to be done here to build up the kingdom, yet we have SO little time left until Christ returns. I want to work my butt off as much as possible to make sure I can say I did my part and then some. I don't want to come home and go back to who I used to be before. Yall can hold me accountable to this when I get home: I'm going to be actively engaged in furthering the work in my ward or wherever I end up. I'm going to be a missionary forever! I can't NOT think about missionary work.... Everyone should be thinking about missionary work and what they can do to help out! Everyone has a part and can be doing something. Get on it!!! (please)
I feel like I'm understanding more and more each day why RMs have such a hard time adjusting to the real world when they get home. Every single part of my life now is emerged in missionary work. I kind of don't want to go back to school and deal with money, jobs, yada yada. I know it'll be good, I just don't want to think about it right now. I love missionary work too much!! I hope my family is ready for it when I get home because we're going to go missionary crazy! Get ready! Get studying Preach My Gospel!!! :) You've been warned. (That's part of my calling as a missionary right? To warn the people?)
Funny story for the week: I had to eat an entire fish with it's eyeballs and bones still in it. I wanted to cry with every bite I took. I had to crack it all open with my hands and pick bones out of my mouth while I was eating it. It was better than the soup the person made. It had fish chopped right in half with shrimp and crab floating in fish oil.... yuck yuck yuck. Oh also I think I ate octopus the other day and didn't know it. DISGUSTING. #neveragain
But yeah, such is life! Pray for the work here in Corydon, especially William and Maria Elena! I love you all!!!!

Hermana Porter

Monday, April 14, 2014

It's getting warmer!

What a week!
I have plenty of stories to share with yall! Let me share the miracle stories, then I'll share some other stuff we did this week.
Monday we were out tracting after p-day ended, and Hermana Wilkinson wanted to go tract a certain set of apartments, and I thought, "I doubt there are any hispanics there, but ok." And we knocked on this lady's door, and she let us in to talk with her, and it was just the best night ever. She was super Catholic and not interested in becoming Mormon (haha), but she had some of the greatest faith-building stories ever! We had a great night!
Tuesday we met another Jeanne on the street while we were waiting for Josue to get to the library, and she rattled off her whole life story to us for 30 minutes. I didn't understand half of it, but at the end she said, "You just put sunshine into my heart, ladies. I had a bad feeling before and some bad thoughts, but now you made me feel better." :)
Wednesday we met this part-Indian lady named Phyllis Wolfe, and she shared some amazing stories too about her parents passing away and how our Spirits live on forever. After the conversation ended, she said, "I'm sure glad I stopped and talked to you! I saw you two walking by and just thought, 'I need to talk to them.' " Isn't that sweet?!
Thursday, we had a really cool experience. Some of our plans fell through, so we decided to try some potentials, and I found this one guy's name (we'll just call him Juan) and I thought, "I've heard plenty about this guy, but we've never actually met him." So we decided to try the address, and it took us to a "ritzier" neighborhood, and we again thought, "There are no hispanics here...." Plus we could NOT find the address for the life of us. Right where the house should be, there was nothing. It was confusing us, so we stopped for a bit at a stop sign and looked at more potentials. Then this older man walked by and waved at us, and we couldn't decide if he was hispanic or not. I felt like we needed to turn around and go talk to him, but Hermana Wilkinson didn't want to. I just told her we should just ask him if the address we were looking for was around here. So we drove up to him and contacted him through the car window, and lo and behold, it was this Juan guy we were looking for! Somehow we had missed the big boulder in his front yard with the house number and his last name written on it.... Doy! We got a return appt. with him and his family. :) Woo!!
Then Friday...this one's cool too. We had 5 minutes before we had to meet someone for an appt, so we went contacting. I just thought, "Eh, we only have time to walk around the block, there won't really be anybody." And then we got to the corner where we had to turn left towards the liquor store. I thought, "Oh boy, we've had interesting experiences contacting outside that liquor store, I hope nobody comes out of there...." And we walked by...nothing. So we kept walking, but then something told me to turn around, so I did, and there was this guy, Matt, waving at us! Matt ran out of the bar a few weeks ago and asked what Hermana Lawrence and I were doing, and then we got his number to refer to the Elders and then talked about the Plan of Salvation a little bit. Since then I've randomly seen him and he always says hi. So this night, he comes over and starts talking to us, then says, "Can we all go sit on a bench over there and talk?" We ended up talking about the Plan of Salvation with him a little more and read in Alma 40 in the Book of Mormon (his mom, friend, and aunt have all passed away recently). And he's meeting with the elders this week! It's wonderful! I just felt like there was something about him. He's only 24, and he just seems like a good guy. A little drunk most of the time, but he's a good guy! I'm excited for him!
It was just amazing this week that something happened almost every day that just made us think, "We're doing exactly what we need to be doing." Whether it's tracting, contacting for 5 minutes, or just trying to find old investigators, as long as you're doing what you've planned to do and show your faith by doing it, you'll have little miracles here and there. It was great!
ALSO! We have two new investigators now! We had an awesome lesson with Maria Elena this week. Josue helped us teach her (he's doing awesome, btw). She came to church yesterday and bore her testimony! She said she had been praying for church that she would feel something and be able to understand, and she told us that she felt it and that she was excited to learn. Then there's also Noe, who is a guy who almost got baptized 4 or 5 years ago but ditched out the night before. We've been teaching him English, and this week he said he'd allow us to teach him again. Woo!! AND! William (our Cuban who has a bap date for May 24) hasn't been drinking for a week!! This is a HUGE miracle!!
Needless to say this week was great :) I feel like Heavenly Father knows that our area is struggling as far as the teaching pool goes, but we've been putting forth the effort to find more people, and He's definitely blessing us by strengthening the gators we do have and helping us find more. It's amazing!
We had Zone Meeting on Friday in New Albany. It was all about following up and working with members. Loved it! Then Saturday, President gave us permission to go to Thunder Over Louisville, so we went to that! It was SO fun and cool to watch! It was basically a huge fireworks show over the Ohio River right across from Louisville. It was really neat. Best fireworks show I've ever seen! Then yesterday we had to go back to Louisville for a charla (fireside). Lots of driving! But I got to see HERMANA LAWRENCE!!! I was SO SO SO happy and excited to see her! I miss her to death!!
One last thing (this is a long email....sorry). I talked to President Woodbury last night at the charla, and I told him I felt like I was doing a lot better with Spanish and with the area, and he said, "The Sister Training Leaders all tell me you're doing great--just a little hard on yourself, which is good sometimes. But you're doing great." Then he emailed me last week and said, "Being assigned to a young companion only six weeks more experienced than you 1) will force you to grow more quickly spiritually and in language and 2) evidence my faith and trust in both you and Sister Wilkinson." :) We love President Woodbury! I can't believe he only has two transfers left :(
But anywho! Such is life! The Church is true!! :) LOVE YOU ALL!

Hermana Porter

Monday, April 7, 2014

Oh what a beautiful mooooorning!

What a weeeeek.
First off, I don't have my "mom" anymore. Hermana Lawrence got transferred. :( We went to transfers on Tuesday morning, and she is now in a trio in Louisville (Fairdale) on a bike. LOL. I miss her to death. :( It's hard not having her around Corydon....just not the same!

My new companion is Hermana Wilkinson. She's from Colorado, and she's only been out six weeks longer than I have. She's really nice. :) She's 19. Our Spanish is about the same.... I can speak it fine now--not perfectly--it's just hard because I don't get 100% of what people are saying to me, and I can't turn to her and be like, "What'd they say?" because she got about as much as I did. Meh. It's going to be a growing experience, that's for sure.

This last week has been really exhausting. Now that we don't have Josue to teach, we really have to focus on finding new investigators, which is hard here in Corydon because Hispanics don't just walk the streets around here. All the Hispanics here know us pretty much.... Just have to find the ones who want to be taught. Pray for us!

It's also been exhausting because I feel like senior comp right now. I have to teach my new companion all about Corydon and the people here. It's hard work. I'm trying to make sure she gets it all just in case I get transferred next time and she has to take it over. So much has happened here in the last 5 months though. I hope I can fill her in on everything! She's also big on "HSI" (in Spanish, it stands for Speak Your Language). Hermana Lawrence and I didn't do a whole lot of HSI outside of lessons, like when we were in the apartment or out and about, and I feel like my Spanish is about where Hermana Wilkinson's is, if not farther along. I dunno. Guess I need to gain a testimony of HSI. She's an awesome person. Very positive, and she wants to work. It's just been an adjustment having to switch from Hermana Lawrence who was so bubbly and happy and laughing all the time, where Hermana Wilkinson is still friendly, just a little more reserved. I'm just realizing now how much I've picked up from Hermana Lawrence haha. I have all her little -isms. I get to see her this Sunday at a mission fireside! Woo!
Josue is doing well! We met with him when we got into Corydon on Tuesday, and he came to Conference yesterday. We're working on getting him prepped for the priesthood. :) He's a good guy. So solid. He's been setting up some appointments with his friends for us to teach this week and talking to them. Yay for missionary work!
Speaking of General Conference...WOW! I LOVED IT! Luckily I got to watch it in English (because I wanted to be able to understand everything, and if President Packer started telling another story about his garden, I wouldn't have a clue what was going on in Spanish...too much weird vocab I don't know yet!). Of course, I loved Jeffrey R. Holland's talk. His talks are always the best. I especially liked M. Russel Ballard's though about inviting and following up and how he invited everyone to study Preach My Gospel. I think he said, "It's the guide book for life" or something like that. It really is! As members we are supposed to be missionaries! We can't just sit back and enjoy these blessings for ourselves. We have to share them with others! And you as members have an even greater opportunity to help the missionaries because you know people that they don't know. Trust the missionaries! They've been called to that area for a reason, and if you have someone who you think is ready to be taught the Gospel, go for it! Yay for missionary work!
But anywho. I loved General Conference! I loved all the messages! I love our Prophet! We are so blessed to have a prophet on the earth today. I've had plenty of people try to tell me that prophets don't exist, but I know they do. Thomas S. Monson is the true and living prophet on the earth today. Like Jeffrey R. Holland said in his talk, there will come a time to defend your beliefs. As missionaries we defend our beliefs on a daily basis, and it's only made my testimony stronger and more sure. When I have to testify to others of what I know to be true and right, it only helps me reassure that the things I am saying are true. I love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! I love my Savior!
Keep on keepin' on y'all :) Les quiero!
Hermana Porter