by K Fletcher

Tornados, Floods, and Tears

This last week, the Goldsboro area was hit by heavy storms and a few tornados! Unfortunately/fortunately I didn't get a picture of a tornado, but here is the aftermath:
This is one of our prime tracting spots, and the street was completely flooded. In a series of short, only slightly exaggerated sentences, this is what happened that day:

We go out. We teach lessons. We get a tornado warning but don't notice it because we were in a lesson. We park our car. We make phone calls. Car dies. We trek across a swamp. We teach a lesson. We ask scary relative of investigator to jump our car. It works. We start to drive to another appointment. We play in flood. With the teamwork of 2 girls, three children, and 4 Spanish speaking people, we unstop 2 drains. We get text telling us to take cover #tornado. We stop in at Huber and Nancy's house. We stay for three hours #tornado. We watch 17 miracles. We have a christian dance party. We eat pizza. We go home.  
We also had a pinewood derby in our ward! It was really fun, and I've never participated in one before! We won 4th place thanks to the generosity of Brother Swenson!
I know this e-mail has been a little different, but I want to end with 4 short experiences I had this week:

The first is our investigator, who really wants to learn and get baptized, brought up her own baptismal date in front of us and her mom! It was so great! She is so wonderful and wants to do right. 

The second was the worst. Our wonderful investigator with an incredible 9 year old son that wanted to come to church so badly that we asked her scary husband if they could come, knew what we were offering at face value, and rejected it. I cried. It was horrible. But we can't make people change or accept it, we can just offer the thing of most worth and move forward with faith.

The third was a real heart-to-heart with another investigator who didn't come to church (again) and hasn't read anything in the Book of Mormon (again). It was a make or break lesson with him. We can keep teaching the rest of the family, but unless he wants to change, there is nothing we can do to help him. It was really hard. I cried. It was kind of a crying day.

The fourth was a spiritual experience that our long-time investigator had! He went to a baptism for the first time, and when the child came out of the water, he hugged his grandpa and in his own words (translated) our investigator said, "I felt something I couldn't explain. It was good." 

The first seeds of a testimony :)

Find your testimony. Get through the hard days. Enjoy the good ones. Never stop planting seeds.

Con Amor,
Hermana Fletcher

by K Fletcher

Birthday week!

After e-mailing on Monday, we were driving and someone mentioned pizza. Yeah! Let's get pizza! So we stop at this super sketchy domino's at a gas station and order our two large pizzas. The sisters here were super nice and treated me to birthday pizza. 

We zoomed off while our pizza was cooking and went thrift shopping (with the money some certain people sent me. Thank you SO much!). I bought 2 new skirts and 3 new shirts and it is such a relief to have different clothes than I've been wearing every day for 14 months. 

We grab our pizza and findings and head back to the apartment. We set up a movie day - The Testaments - we set up snacks and a big comfy pillow pile. 
There were many comments during the movie, mostly making fun of mormon culture. A few of my favorites:
"You are a specter of the gods. Walk with me." 
 ---- How to ask someone on a date in Provo.
"Her father can't deny you know. Go."
 ---- How every returned missionary feels.
"Is the place of records far?"
 --- How to get out of an awkward marriage proposal.
Afterwards we an an impromptu dance party to EFY and Christian music and then Hermana Buchanan lit something on fire to celebrate another year of my life (candles. They may or may not be allowed)
I think the greatest gift I've recieved this brithday is FOOD. We are getting fed so much now, and people send us food in the mail (thanks Nanny!) and money to buy healthy food (thanks everyone!).
Then the wonderful Spanish class members threw a little party for Sister Marshall and I (our birthdays are one day apart).
That was all good and wonderful. But the greatest part of this week happened on Sunday. That was the baptism this last week. It was the grandson of a member whom we LOVE and this member knew we'd have an investigator there who had been investigating the church for almost 5 months but wanted to see a baptism before committing to it himself. Well, he went, and the person who did the baptizing was the most amazing because after saying the prayer for the baptism, he proceeded to repeat it in Spanish. The spirit was incredibly strong. There's no way to ignore it. 

If you want a reminder of how great the covenant you have made is, go to a baptism. It is the greatest moment in the world to know that you are clean and that because you've made this promise with God you always can be. 

And at the last day we will be spotless before him, completely comfortable to enter into his presence. 

I love you and I love the Lord.
Go forth with faith.
Con Amor,
Hermana Fletcher

Here's an impromptu during a lesson that a little girl took of us. I give them my camera to keep them entertained and quiet.
Me posing by a submerged bicycle that we fished out the the water. 
Walking awkwardly by a SUUUUPER redneck house. The sign out front says, "White history matters too!"
And us eating noodles with our hands. We asked a member to bring us food (scariest thing to do ever) and she did and it was delicious, but she forgot forks! haha.

by K Fletcher

Valentine's and Birthdays

It's been a fun week. Really really long, but fun. Let's run through a few pictures:

I love this ward. It has some of the best people I've ever met and they are so loving and kind and thoughtful. They really do watch out for us and love us. To quote the Swensons, "You tell your family that we are watching over you!". Well, the wonderful girls in activity days invited us to join them and then presented us with our personal Valentine from each one of them, to each individual missionary. They are lovely!!
Valentine's Day is really fun because it gives us an excuse to make flowers for our companions that are concerned they won't get any flowers for Valentines day:
as well as bake a ton of cupcakes to give to investigators and members
And in my case my Valentine's Day is always amplified by MY BIRTHDAY. For those who know me, I LOVE my birthday. I love celebrating it. Since I'm e-mailing during my birthday, you'll have to wait on the actual festivities, but for now, some packages!
From my parents (with a LOVELY yellow skirt, and a bunch of fun things):
From T/Harm, my best friend:
And a blanket fort from my favorite companion:
She and I are always painting and sometimes late at night it deteriorates into a finger painting session:
Mission life is really hard, but it can also be really really fun. One of the hard parts this week was a 2.5 hour long training by President Baker on roleplaying. And it was really long and really hard. I mean, we are good teachers, but roleplaying the same lesson 4 times in a row gets a little annoying. We felt like no one we teach (aka Spanish speaking person) would ever respond the way the English speaking person we were talking to responded. 

Well let me tell you a miracle. That very same day we went to teach the Plan of Salvation to an investigator. We taught it how we roleplayed. And she responded exactly like we had roleplayed it. It was amazing and I was chastised. Now we roleplay. 

Another hard portion was when we were in a home and something I said just made me get verbally attacked. It wasn't the gospel, it was about me. When it is about the gospel, no problem. No matter what they say about the gospel, it is still true. But when they start going after me, I really can't fight with them. I am just a little 22 year old girl that doesn't know very much about the world. 

I let it get to me. But then my mission president said something in his weekly e-mail: "I would like to say something about the power of our agency. So many things people believe are imposed on them are actually within their control -- within the sphere of their agency. For example, no one can "make me angry". I choose whether or not to be angry. No one can "offend me". I choose whether or not to be offended. I choose whether to have a good day or a bad day. The apostle L. Tom Perry observed that he never had a bad day in his life. When I heard that, I thought to myself that the day his first wife passed away must have been a bad day. But evidently it was not, because he chose to not view it that way."

Love. That's what it is all about. 
Love is not easily offended.
So go love someone. 
Happy Valentine's Day.

Con Amor,
Hermana Fletcher

by K Fletcher

Dream Team 2.0

Finally, the long-awaited (and by that I mean no one noticed they were missing), transfer pictures:
Hermana Limb and I
Sister Everett, Sister Kocavs, and I (for a few hours in Greenville)
Hermana Buchanan and I!
This week was really great. And kind of dirty. We got muddied, we got slobbered on, we got charcoaled, we got soda-ed we got cat hair-ed, and of course, we got rained on almost every day. But it doesn't matter. We're still representatives. You can see it in our smiles. 

Hermana Buchanan commented that we should keep a running tally of days we've gotten dirty. "It has been 6 days since we went 24 hours without something getting on us" It's an interesting area, and I love it. It's also funny though because it does feel like we are camping a lot. There are days when we don't have the miles to go home for food, and don't have the money to go out for food. So we dinner it in the car. One day was particularly low and this is what happened:
But we've seen miracles!

We have an investigator who told us she would read a verse in the book of Mormon every day and she has! She writes down the blessings she sees that day, and sometimes gets so excited to share that she texts them to us! She is incredible.

Another day this week we were visiting a bunch of ninos. Well, one of them was being a punk and not giving me a hug. One thing led to another and he and his brother were rolling around in a mud puddle. Now here he is soaking wet and covered in mud and he says, "I'll give you a hug now!" and starts walking towards me. Well, I'm already a little muddy so I call his bluff and go to hug him but he runs away. Then his little brother blindsides Hermana Buchanan in her nice white shirt and then older brother kicks a huge splash of mud on us. 

At the end of the day we were covered in mud, but I did get my hug. :)
On Sunday we had an interesting day in that we only had two Spanish speaking people show up to church (Nancy and Huber, woo hoo!) and they weren't even members. Luckily they both speak english so we moved to the English gospel doctrine class. Then we were going to teach Young Women's, but 15 minutes were for announcements and then 30 minutes for setting aparts, and then we taught about reverence for 15 minutes and made everyone take off their shoes. 

After church we went to the Islas and ate a TON of food (and when I say a ton I mean 8 tacos and 2 cups of jarritos and a large helping of jello and cream). After the lesson we went next door to contact an investigator we hadn't seen in a while and they invited us in, we sat down, they were watching football (Not soccer. Football.) and then gave us pizza, chips, and sprite. I think we just got invited to a party. It was one of the strangest hours of my mission. But do you know how funny it is to make a Spanish speaker try and say "shrug"? It's hilarious. Sunday was weird. But do you know what? Weird days happen. What matters the most is that we went to church and we partook of the Sacrament.

I'm going to go back a bit. You are probably wondering why everyone had to take off their shoes. 
Exodus chapter 3:1-5 says, "Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

When we enter the church building, we stand on holy ground. Nothing common or profane or unholy should mar that experience. Instead of putting off our shoes, do we put off our electronics? Our thoughts of work or school? Our weariness? Our complaining? Do we put off our doubt and fear and trust that we are in the presence of the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob?

"And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey"

Trust in the Lord and find reverence in your life.
Con Amor, 
Hermana Fletcher

PS- If you ever need to be inspired to do missionary work, please view this photo:

by K Fletcher

It's been a good week‏

Who remembers Nate the Great? I remember Nate the Great, and I will never forget Nate the Great! Well, we've been having a really hard time getting a hold of him and he hasn't been to church in the past few weeks, so what do missionaries do? Hunt them down

Just kidding. We just stop at his house, a lot. Well, we saw him once go into his house and then pulled over the car in a slightly illegal way and went to knock on his door. He didn't answer. We moved on dejectedly. Another instance, when we go by his home, I see a figure in the window. It is definitely Nate. We knock on the door and I go back to the window, but now he's gone. I peer inside and he's in the middle of cooking chicken. There is a nice pile in the sink. Well, to my companion's amusement, I crouch down in front of the window for a few minutes and then pop up all of a sudden. Yeah, he was there. He definitely ran away. So, like the person I am, I check to see if the window is locked. It's not! So I open it up and leave a note on the kitchen sink. I might have knocked the blinds down in the process, but I only said I cared about people, I never said I was smooth while doing it.

In the crowning moment of the try-and-get-in-contact-with-Nate story, we come up, and the lights are on, and I am about 90% sure I saw Nate inside. Well, we knock, then, because I'm that kind of person, I check to see if the door is locked. It's not. I open it. We stand in silence for a few minutes, then a head pops out around the hallway all full of dreads. We hear mumbled words as it ducks back. Well, now we know 100% that he is there, but we can't go in #notathirdfemale. Then, miracle of miracles, ROSE (Nate's sister) drives up! We prance right on in and ask her to go looking for him. 
He's not there! Or he is hiding? There are only 2 ways in and out of the house and we could see both. Well, we shrug, give up, and teach a lesson anyway. Then, after the closing prayer, I whisper, "We're gonna try something. Just roll with it." So we say good-bye hug and etcetera, and then I open the door, close it, and Hermana Buchanan and I are still inside. Everything is quiet for a moment or two. THEN WE HEAR NATE'S VOICE. We tried to lure him out into the living room, via his roommate, but to no avail. Unfortunately we had an appointment and had to leave, but we aren't giving up yet!

It's been a good week. 
Our best miracle was following our plans. We had tried contacting a couple less actives, but no fruits from it. I just wanted to drive to where we normally tract, but knew that we made plans for a reason, so we tried the last person on our list. There was no car outside, but then she was home! We no have a regular teaching schedule with her and she wants to follow the gospel because of her 2 year old child :) 
(a note from Hermana Fletcher's Mom, "I left the last sentence unedited. As Hermana Fletcher gets more immersed in Spanish speaking her English has a grammatical Spanish sound to it")

So, now, my picture essay:
Monday morning I was working out and I got a little too excited with the music and did a couple ballet leaps. Then I made a horrible decision and pointed my toe. Yeah... I curled my toe under and put my full body weight plus jumping stress on it. We heard a distinct pop. I probably broke it, but there isn't much you can do for a toe. So I'm on orders for wrapping and limited walking (as limited as you can get as a missionary). 
Hermana Buchanan LOVES to tell people I broke it by 'leaping'.
A birthday party for Nancy's daughter. She's only 1 more year away from 8 and Activity Days age! We gave her.... A marked copy of the Book of Mormon (with notes from us), Play-doh, and a whole lot of candy. Because what more does a 7 year old need?
Also, sometimes it gets to be freezing cold and we parked our car a long ways away and we've recently contacted everyone in the neighborhood we are in and I have a broken toe so I can't walk and we have an appointment in 15 minutes. That is when you just sit on the ground like a hobo and make phone calls outside. #Hobomissioanries
Hermana Buchanan also recieved this super cute Valentine's day package from her mom. There is more candy than we can eat, but it was great and so fun to open.
(please don't send me candy. If you do, make it really good chocolate. But mostly warm food items I can make are my favorite)
And I really like cookies. I REALLY LIKE COOKIES. I like making them and I like eating them.
This is how much I like cookies:
That is also how much I like you!
Con Amor,
Hermana Fletcher

Hermana Buchana is an honorary member of the Elite team, because we made Ninja together!
 (Thanks Nanny!)
A shout out to Mi Padre who is 56 years old today!
I love you dad!