"Happy Summer Days!
Another week has come and gone. It was a full and busy week with
plenty to do! It's still as hot and humid as ever but I've just
accepted it. In these weekly emails home I try to provide some humor
because we all need to laugh a little bit more. And the life of a
sister missionary is as awkward and hilarious as anything out there.
And I also try to inspire you all to rise to a greater vision. Whether
that be a greater vision of missionary work or any other gospel
principle. I want you all to know that I am so grateful for the time
you take to read these emails and the responses you give back to me. I
know that The Lord is in the details of our lives and that He is
perfectly shaping our mortal experience.
So here is the humor story of the week. Last Monday we went and
visited an 90 year old less active member. She's lost most of her
hearing but refuses to get hearing aids because she doesn't want to
accept that she's lost her hearing. My companion failed to inform me
that we would be yelling the entire lesson. And when I say yelling I
mean it's a good thing I had so much practice yelling from the
football stands each year or my voice would have given out! She asked
me to say the opening prayer and before I could get started, Sister
Clayton whispers, "You have to yell Amen!" So I start the prayer in
what feels like the most un-reverent manner with my voice reaching the
heavens. I figured since I was already yelling I wouldn't need to say
Amen that much louder so I close my prayer "in the name of Jesus
Christ amen." When i look up she had fallen asleep in her chair!
Sister Clayton saw this coming so all of a sudden she yells
"AAAAMEN!!!!" Like she's at a basketball game and not in a house. All
of a sudden this adorable sister jolts awake and mumbles an amen. She
looked at us like she hadn't missed a beat and we start the lesson.
Well the lesson we had planned she couldn't hear the video, so we went
to plan B:) This same experience was repeated for the closing prayer
and when we left my voice was hoarse for the rest of the evening.
We met with Catherine this a week and she hasn't smoked any more! She
wasn't able to come to church yesterday though because she got sick.
She's pretty much our only progressing investigator right now because
we are in a big finding stage.
The biggest news of the week came in the form of a talk given by Elder
Russel M. Nelson. Maybe some of you have seen it but it has a lot to
do with recently baptized members of the church. In Preach My Gospel
the method was that the missionaries would teach the first four
lessons before baptism and then after baptism the members would slowly
take over in teaching lesson 5 in Preach My Gospel. Well because of
low retention rates in the church, this has been changed. Elder Nelson

1. Missionaries will teach “Lesson 5: Laws and Ordinances” in chapter
3 of Preach My Gospel both before and after baptism. Formerly, the
lesson was taught only after baptism.

2. Mission presidents will actively teach and reteach the Lord’s
standard for baptism, as recorded in Doctrine and Covenants, section
20, verse 37. “Two phrases are particularly important in preparing the
investigator for the covenant of baptism: ‘having a determination to
serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have
received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins.’ …

3. “When possible, missionaries will work closely with each new member
for at least three to four months after baptism and continue to keep
close to them for at least a year and hopefully for many years and
even generations. …

4. “Missionaries will take the lead in reteaching all five of the
lessons in Preach My Gospel after baptism."

So it's not a major change but I can see why it's necessary. In Pekin
the retention of recent converts in the church is sadly low. Many
recent converts who were baptized a year ago have still not received
the new member lessons. And as I was studying those who have and those
who haven't, all of those who had continual teaching and contact after
baptism are still active. Those who did not have fallen away from the
church. I know that this comes from the lord and this is part of
Hastening the work. I am so grateful to know that being a member of
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a life long
commitment and we must endure to the end.
This week I also made the official decision. After much prayer and
fasting I will for sure be coming home on November 26th 2014. That is
the day before Thanksgiving and so you all better plan the best
Thanksgiving meal ever:) And I expect the whole family to be together!
No exceptions:) I assume I'll fly into Skyharbor but you'll get my
travel plans a few months in advance. It kills me to write those
words. In my mind I just feel like I'll be a missionary forever. But
all things must Come to Pass, as the scriptures say over and over
again. Now that that's out there, I don't want any of you bringing it
up in your emails! I plan on serving with my whole heart and I don't
need any of your willy nilly comments making me trunky. So I ask of
you to please not mention it. Please and thank you:)
I hope you all have a safe and happy 4th of July! We have to be in by
7:00 PM and are not allowed to watch fireworks so I will let you all
enjoy them for me! Stay safe and I love you all!"