Howdy! Day 12 Houston/Day 27 mission

I have not seen a cockroach or scorpions yet, but I hope I didn’t just jinx it!

Things are just great here! We have Joshua’s baptism this weekend, it’s crazy how many things are pulled together last minute. And with the holiday, it makes it hard to find people to help out and serve!
President Mortensen arrives today I believe. We will meet him Wednesday at a zone conference.
It’s really sad to see the Pingrees go. They are such wonderful people and I love them so much! We got to go the temple (which is beautiful and smaller than I thought) this last week and received special instruction after the session with President Pingree and the temple president. SO AWESOME. It’s so true that there is so much to learn in the temple. I feel like a baby when it comes to my experience and knowledge of the temple and am so excited to continue learning and growing! An awesome question that was asked is “What does it mean to us to offer sacrifice in similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son?” Those who are endowed, go to the temple with that question! We had such a great discussion about it!
 
I finally met the ward mission leader. Brother Brown reminds me of a mixture of Grandpa Jeppson and Grandpa Howard. He is such a character! We struggle to get planning done because all he does is tell us funny stories and deep stories about the gospel. The fed us the other night for dinner and we just had a blast. 
 
I’m learning to say my “ya’lls” and feel like I’m already picking up on the “southern drawl”. Being around all these people just makes you mimic the way they talk!
 
I feel stuck. Regarding finding people out here. They are God loving, God fearing, very faithful, don’t stray from the Bible people. How in the world do you tell someone about the gospel in 20 seconds at their door step in order for them to be interested in learning about the church? We talk of Christ, they nod their head and say they’re faithful baptists. We talk of faith, repentance… they say they are the most faithful people ever, and they are. We talk of baptism, they have been saved already… We talk of our purpose in life, they say live it to the fullest! Sister Heaps and I are struggling to find ways to find people! Our area is only filled with homes and two grocery stores and gas stations (and little shops). So all we do to find people is knock on doors. We don’t get really any referrals. We’ve made some helpful goals, LISTEN to people, use bullet points in PMG (super helpful pg. 175 ish), articles of faith, ask questions, read from the scriptures…. We’re praying for help!
Approaching peoples doors gives me butterflies like crazy! I love teaching lessons and working with people but standing on their front porch when their eyes are searching your soul…. it’s hard to explain why in the world we’re bothering them at this time of day in the heat. Perhaps I’m slightly chicken, but I feel like I have to have a convincing sells pitch in order to get them to listen for 20 seconds! Else we get a good view of the front door slamming. That is what I’m focusing on right now, being better at sharing simple, clear, and to the point messages to catch peoples attention.
I taught a drunk man the other day for 45 minutes. Most interesting experience ever.
Members are so important! Be a member missionary. Give the missionaries referrals, go with them teaching! The most time we waste is trying to find members to join us to teach. Or working out how to teach someone by getting a member to come since we have to have a third female join us.
Do family history work! It’s important for salvation! (D&C 128- read, study, live it!)
 
Phyllis is working on getting her temple recommend so she can do bap for the dead for her family she found through family history work. She just barely started and has found SO MANY PEOPLE. She’s also going to get her patriarchal blessing. We are super happy for her.
 
We are teaching a man named Jesus. He is golden and prepared. Not enough time to tell his story! He is the first person I taught the first lesson with (restoration). It was great but tough!
 
Questions dad sent me…
It’s been hard and I feel like I’ve only begun to learn to recognize the spirit. I came into the mission knowing what it was like when I felt the spirit at home and when I had neat spiritual experiences. I’d get teary eyed and I would feel warm and awake and alive. But here in the mission, I am learning that there are SO MANY different ways to feel/act on the spirit. The spirit sometimes does testify to me the way it did before, with those tears, warm feelings, and enlivening feelings. Often that is when I’m in a lesson with investigators or LA/PM/RC. Or when I’m listening to someones testimony. But when I am speaking or teaching, or sharing to others at their front door; the spirit is often a nudge or just a thought that enters my head and since my mouth is open and I am talking, it is just filled. After speaking, I try to think back on what I said and compare it to what I had planned to say, and it is hard to remember what was said exactly. Often times the things that I say (that I recognize as impacting the person listening) is something that just happen to come out of my mouth. It isn’t me thinking, nor a pre-constructed thought, but just something the Spirit pulled out of my knowledge I had gained from study, preparing, planning, and setting goals. It is SO HARD for me to “open my mouth” and have faith that it will be filled. (don’t remember the scripture reference for those lines) But when I swallow my fears and replace it with faith, it just works. The people seem to receive is because it is by the Spirit. Nothing can bring anyone to conversion except by the spirit. Because it is hard for me to have faith to let the spirit guide me as I speak, I have only had like 2 experiences in which I feel as though it has been received well by the spirit. I don’t remember what was said but I know that when he/she walked away, a seed was planted, an invitation extended, and a testimony begins to grow in their hearts. Another thing that I have not been able to recognize as of yet, is when the spirit is prompting us where to be, who to talk to, or what to do. In planning, I stare at a list of names, a maps of streets, and our schedules trying to listen for something, feel something. I am still trying to figure out how the spirit communicates with me that way. Most of the time, when we are being obedient, prioritizing our schedules, and have the best intentions and desires for others, we just happen to be in the right place, doing the right things at the right time. But often, we sit stumped, staring at lists and maps wondering where we are supposed to go, with no idea how to know. So that’s kind of where I’m at. If that makes any sense at all. I’m sure there are many other ways that the spirit is prompting us but, it’s only week 2 🙂 I’ve got lots more to learn and experience.
 
There is so much to do, learn, and become! EVERYONE, read your scriptures, pray every single day! (We pray before doing anything and everything, so like 25 times a day? And it is not enough! Have a prayer in your heart always) And be a missionary whenever you can!
 
Much love! Take some of the humidity! And fire ants!
 
Sister Jeppson
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