Wednesday, February 22, 2017

If the Savior Stood at your Doorstep February 21st 2017

All the libraries were closed yesterday, so no I didn't drop off the face of the earth! At least not permanently :)
The past two P-days I had a ton of fun shopping, going to a Museum, and bowling. The sisters in our zone are awesome . . . but not much as me: I got a whopping 108 for my ending score.
Another highlight of the week was stopping by Andy's Frozen Custard, which for some heavenly reason gives all their mess-ups to missionaries. And they had a WHOLE BOX. Pictures or it didn't happen!

I also got to experience 'exchanges' for the first time, where we switch companionships for a day with the Sister Training Leaders and get the opportunity to learn and vent! Luckily, having Sister Bustillos as a companion, the only thing I vented about was our water pressure. Or lack thereof.
In general this week I learned a lot about what this whole missionary work thing is. We met with one of our investigators, Steve, and got to know his awesome family, but besides that not too much happened. Two older less active LDS women we've been meeting with promised but bailed out of coming to church that Sunday, which was pretty sad. Amidst all the doors to knock and people to see I've come to see that I'm doing what Jesus would be doing here. The love I have for the people of Crystal City is a little crazy, considering I know about 5% of them, but that's tiny compared to his love for them.

If Jesus Christ could, he would be going door to door, trying to invite others to come unto him himself. But this life is a test of our faith. And I'm noticing that a lot of people don't even take the time to hear our words, or looks at our faces. Would they recognize Jesus Christ standing at their door? Would you? Would I?
John 1:10 He was in the worldand the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.
It's a lot to think about, and it's made me realize even more how important our own personal testimony is. No painting or depiction of Jesus Christ will help us recognize him; it comes from learning about him, yes, but also relying on him, and receiving a witness from the Spirit that he is our Savior. It will be based on our testimony, someday when we meet him again, whether we fully recognize him someday. An amazing story I once learned in Young Women's comes to mind:

man died and was resurrected and waiting in room to be interviewed. The door opened, the man entered, and the door closed. The interviewer began: “I want you to tell me what you know about Jesus Christ.”
“Well, He was born of Mary in Bethlehem; he lived thirty-three years, spending the last three organizing his church, choosing his Apostles, and giving the gospel to direct our lives.”
The interviewer stopped him and said: “Yes, yes, that’s all true, but want you to tell me what you know about Jesus Christ.”
“Well, he suffered and died so that we could have eternal life. Three days later he was resurrected so that we might return to Heavenly Father.”
“Yes, yes, that is true, but want you to tell me what you know about Jesus Christ.” The man, little perplexed, again began: “Well, he restored the gospel in its fulness to the earth through Joseph Smithreorganized his church, gave us temples so we could do work to save our dead. He gave us personal ordinances for our salvation and exaltation.”
The interviewer again stopped him and said, “All of what you have said to me is true.” The man was then invited to leave the room. 
After he left, the door opened, and second man entered. As he approached the interviewer he suddenly stopped, falling upon his knees and crying, “My Lord, my God.”
I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Sister Fluegel 🐦

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dreams do come true in St. Louis February 13th 2017

SO. This week was hard, and worth it.
Sister Bustillos and I are in a lot of ways starting from scratch in this area. The Arnold/Imperial area of Crystal City that we cover is home to almost 30,000 people, and there are roughly five active LDS member families who live in it. Amanda, our one and only the start of this week, that is...doesn't even live in our area! She lives where the Elders serve, but wanted to be taught by sisters.
Anyways, with that in mind, there are no shortage of doors to knock on. A long range of "no thank yous," to "I'm Catholic/Baptist," a very few "Come back laters!" and then there are the fun times like talking to bible-bashers or when a lady told us if we ever came back on her property she'd sic her two rabid dogs on us. Lots of fun.
Then there are those few, crazy times the Lord blesses us. This week Sister Bustillos and I made a goal to find four new investigators, and Saturday night we practically ran into an older couple that had met with missionaries before and said yes to meeting this week again. THEN last night Sister Bustillos and I were going out strong, using our last two hours of proselyting time to keep knocking, and we met two amazing people. One of them was Steve, who we had a short lesson with and he asked if we could come back and teach with his whole family there this Wednesday.
The other we met was Amy, and it was an amazing experience. She told us she really needed direction in her life right now, and let us in. We only taught about half of the Restoration lesson before she broke down crying and explained that she was trying to divorce her husband and that morning he'd beaten her. She told us God had sent her two angels, the very night she needed it, and that she really needed a family right now. She's coming to church on Sunday and we will be seeing her twice this week! I only got to know her for about 30 minutes, but I could feel Heavenly Father's love for her. I knew we had been an answer to her prayers, and she'd been an answer to ours. It's amazing how the Lord is watching out for all of his children, and uses us as tools to bless each other. The whole week of rejection was worth Amy telling us: "Thank you for knocking, I'm sure you knock on a thousand doors, but just remember there's someone like me who needs you."
Thirty minutes left, and the Lord answered our prayers. This week will be a lot more teaching, and I'm so excited for it.
Meanwhile, the teaching we did do was so great! Sister Bustillos and I taught the Restoration to a few member families and not only did it help us learn how to teach together, it inspired those families to invite people to this upcoming Sunday service! It's called "Come and See," geared towards people who've never been to church before. Our ward is really trying to pick up the pace when it comes to missionary work, and I feel so blessed to be here.
Amanda recommitted to her baptism date, and is so open and willing to learn. She has such strong faith in this gospel, the commandments and lessons we've given her since she acts like she's just been waiting to live them! She told us how blessed her life feels, and how good she feels inside about herself and everyone around her. We are so lucky to learn from her as well.
That about sums up my week. Other random things: people have some cool mailboxes out here; the sunsets are still amazing; it's been 70 degrees!! TWICE!; Sister Bustillos has cool neat handwriting; we both share a love for Ryan Gosling and Mormon memes; my hair has been reintroduced to humidity and Sister Bustillos is a little frightened by it; she got so much Valentines Candy this week we gave half of it to Elder Cardiff and Durrant, the elders we share the ward with, and we STILL have way too much; I saw the Mississippi for the first time in a while, it was gorgeous and it's right along our borders; The MSLM (Missouri St Louis Mission) has a legacy of original rap songs that we listen to during p-day, and I found that crazily enough, you can feel the Spirit listening to a rap!!

Signing out,
Sister Fluegel 🐦
My address last time had the wrong zip code!! Also news, my mailing address IS fine to send packages to...if you ever get the inclination ;)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Valiant-tines February 6th 2017

Hello wonderful people.
I am here, in the Crystal City Ward, of the St. Louis South Stake of Missouri. Needless to say I'm crazy excited. My lovely trainer is named Sister Bustillos, and after less than a week with her my body aches from morning workouts, my mind has been blown with new understanding of the gospel, and my expectations have been thrown out the window when it comes to missionary work. One thing I did expect, though: It's WORK.
This area has been crazy slow before I got here, apparently, so our current goal is just to find people. Which means a lot of doors to knock. One particularly memorable experience was knocking on the door to the house of a woman who was nondenominational. "I believe what the bible says: No works can get you into heaven, only faith alone!" It's a good thing the MTC taught me not to Bible Bash, because I could barely hold my tongue from saying "James 2:20-26 FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD!" We said we believed in the Bible too, and the Book of Mormon, and her very large eyes got even bigger and she flat out told us, "Run from that, girls. I want to see you in heaven with me. Run. From. That."
So not too crazy, but we kind of both broke into hysterical giggles as we walked away when I whispered under my breath, "I'll run from you." Her eyes were scary, folks.
A COOL experience we had going door to door was talking to an older man whose father had just passed away. He talked about how faith has helped him not to be sad, but be comforted, unlike the majority of his siblings. It was crazy cold that night, but standing there out on the porch the man remarked that he didn't feel cold, and I realized neither did I. The Spirit really warms you up. He ended up turning down our invitation to meet again, but I really enjoyed the experience.
Overall I'm just surprised at how many grown adults are scared of two 19 year olds knocking on their door. Sister Bustillos and her old companion had been trying to get in contact with a less active LDS member named Sandra, but every time they knocked on the door the whole household would HIDE from them. Yesterday we stopped by again and the husband was out working on his car, and he vehemently denied that Sandra lived there anymore until we mentioned we just want to know if she wants missionaries to keep contacting her or not. He said he'd find a way to "pass on the message." More like go into the house and tell her!
My favorite moment this week was teaching our one and only investigator Amanda. She's 24 and only had two lessons before I met her, but we took her on a 'church tour' and explained the Sacrament in the chapel. The Spirit was so strong as we talked about the Atonement and the baptismal covenants. I had studied that morning about the Sacrament to prepare myself, and found a beautiful connection between scriptures. In 3 Nephi 18:1-14, Jesus explains the Sacrament to the Nephites, and how if we always remember him, keep his commandments, and take his name upon us, we "are built upon his rock." That phrase reminded me of Helaman 5:12. I shared both with Amanda, and felt inspired to explain that making these covenants would bring the blessing of strength that Helaman 5:12 promises. I asked her to be baptized on March 11th, and she accepted.
Funny story: We met with an older couple and taught them about the Restoration, and as Sister Bustillos described Joseph Smith's experience in the grove the woman started prayer whispering!! I've never heard of such a thing before! It's whispering under your breath things like "Hallelujah," and "Praise Jesus," usually during prayers. I was pretty startled.
Last but not least, I can't BELIEVE I forgot how beautiful midwest sunsets are. Every evening there's a beautiful one on the horizon. I'm not sure if the mountains cover it in Utah, or they just aren't as blessed as these midwestern folk. I sure feel pretty blessed.
Sister Bustillos's camera died so all the pictures I took on my polaroid will have to wait another week :( Enjoy these for now!

Hope you all have an awesome week :)
Sister Fluegel 🐦

Arrival in Missouri! January 31st