Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It's birthday seasonnnnnn :)

August 5, 2013

Hi Everyonneee,
It's been a wonderful, eventful week. We went to the temple this morning as a zone. I sat next to probably the cutest old lady I've ever met in my whole life. She kept trying to talk to me in the loudest whisper, haha, so cute. She was easily half my height, her little feet didn't even touch the floor when she would sit down. Just something that made me smile today... :)

Tuesday morning we left bright and early at 6 am to make the 8 hour drive up to Grafton to visit Sister Nauta (my first trainee) and her companion, Sister Benjamin, who she has just finished training - making her my "granddaughter". Sister Slade and I enjoyed the drive, it was so beautiful driving along the coast for some of the trip, nice green trees. There was, of course, some questionable rest stops and I took a couple wrong turns but nevertheless, we made it to Grafton safely! It was nice and warm, I could smell the fresh air, hear the birds chirping, completely opposite to life in the city. It was nice to go to sleep without hearing buses, the club across the street and honking. Pure heaven. The Sisters are doing really well in Grafton.  It's a newly opened area, total country town, not many people. It is only a small branch there, the members meet every Sunday in a large home which has been converted into a chapel. It's quaint...but cozy. 

We weren't greeted with a warm welcome our first night.  During our nightly planning, we heard a noise outside to see that the apartment had been egged. Oddly enough, we couldn't find any of the shell, just the yoke. Not the most efficient eggers..haha. It was good to get my door-knocking roots back in action. We talked to some very nice people who invited us to come back to their home to share more. Those who know me, know I just LOVE cute little old people, and there are lots of them in Grafton, I loved it. It was amazing to see how so many people we talked to, I know had been prepared by the Lord. For example, there was an older man getting into his car but I called out to him and came over to introduce myself. We started talking, I told him what we do as missionaries and asked him if he believed in God, if he believed in life after this. He then said he just received a call that morning to let him know his best friend had passed away.  He was just running to the store to get a card to send the family. After talking further, he invited us to come back on Friday to share more with him. Miracle. 

Example number 2: there was a couple who used to learn from missionaries but it's been a few years since they've got in contact with them, so we went over to visit to see if we could have any luck. The husband opened the door and invited us in. They were celebrating his mother's 80th birthday! He was such a nice man, showed us his backyard that overlooks the river and we started talking to him about our beliefs and asked him where he stood with his faith. He said he wanted to open up a little to us and shared that they've recently found out his wife has stage 4 liver cancer and they've started treatments but it's more of a "quality of life" process now. I felt prompted to share how the gospel helped me when I lost a loved one to cancer.  I think it was comforting to both of us to have someone who understood. He was grateful, and invited us to come back next week for dinner. The Lord is always preparing people for the missionaries. We are so blessed to be a part of this amazing work. I love meeting new people and hearing their life experiences and then seeing how the gospel can and does bless them. 

It was a great trip to Grafton.  Sister Slade and I were sad to go back into the city, not because we don't love the city, we LOVE the people, but we'll miss the fresh air and quiet peaceful nights, haha.

________, our recent convert, told us his visa expires and he'll be going back to Taiwan in a couple weeks. I am just DEVASTATED. I love him! He is one of the few who can make me smile no matter what. Ugh...but...I understand, people move on, life keeps going, but I will miss him so much. He's thinking about serving a mission now, I can't believe it. This is the little guy that I met 7 weeks ago and to see how far he's come is amazing.

This Sunday was one to remember. Time Out For Women was in Sydney this weekend, and guess who came to our ward on Sunday?  Yep..all the speakers. Sherri Dew, President Hinckley's daughter (forgot her name), Brad Wilcox, Hillary Weeks sang a musical number. Can you say perfect meeting for our investigators to attend!? Sherri Dew taught Relief Society, she is just brilliant. I was jotting down every word in my notes. In Sunday School they had everyone who has been baptized in the last 5 years raise their hand. It would be safe to say that over half the ward raised their hand, it was amazing. She talked about how that was the similar situation back with the early saints, members going on missions after only being a member for a year or two. It was a powerful Sabbath day...I'll tell you what.

This week we're off to Greenwich and Richmond, my old stomping grounds! I'm really excited to go back and visit.

Well I better be off, I love you all! Have a great week!

Sister Raitt

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