A wonderful week, and a tornado I’ve always wanted to see

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November 27, 2013 by sisterrachelknecht

Dear friends and family,Wow, what a really wonderful last week. Looking back over my planner to try and remember what happened, I’m kinda at a loss. But there were definitely so many highlights, and lots of fun challenges. I say fun, because now I can look back and laugh it off. The beauty of hindsight.

For p-days, we drive all the way down to Madison from Springfield to do our laundry at Elder and Sister Johnson’s apartment. Oh they’re wonderful. They always have hardboiled eggs for us. Cookies too. We do our morning studies there, wash our clothes, and then p-day begins! They’re the best. Tuesday, we worked in the bishop’s storehouse, which was way fun. I will definitely keep that up when I get home. I remember going one time for a young women’s activity, and we pushed around these huge carts. That was somewhere in Sac. This one is pretty little comparatively, but it’s so much fun. Except, I freaked out when they asked me to go into the little freezer and get hamburger meat. I didn’t know how to open it back up. Definitely panicked, but all you had to do was push. Of course.

We had noche de hogar with a family in Madison that night too, which was so much fun. We gave a really simple lesson/game about prayer, but the Spirit was there. Just one of the moments where you truly realized how blessed you are to be a missionary. The girls were adorable too, they braided/twisted my hair, and now they do it every time we go back 🙂

That Wednesday we had a tri-zone conference in Lebanon (!!!) with Elder Pino of the Seventy. AND I SAW SISTER AYRE THERE! It was a glorious reunion in Lebanon. We hugged, and almost cried, and reminisced, and caught up. The conference itself was amazing. Elder Pino has a very distinct, almost strict way about him, which I think was exactly what I needed to hear. He just told it like it was. I’ve been feeling at a loss as what to do with the area, but I received so much direction there. I forgot to bring my notes with me, but here are a few things that I learned:

  • Take your studies seriously. You can go out and work hard without studying (or studying well), but you’ll be really ineffective. It’s like trying to chop a tree down with a dull ax. Sharpen your ax!
  • If you have a mental barrier or a lid on, knock it down or take it off! Don’t let that imagined limit keeping you from reaching your potential.
  • If you keep your sights set on your goal, you will have success, and you’ll be able to maintain balance and focus. That goal will influence and guide every choice you make.
  • And, my new favorite phrase, “let’s work hard and intelligently”

There were so many other things, but those were four things that I really implemented this past week, and will continue to do so. Then I went on exchanges in Lebanon that night with a brand new hermana that is now with Hermana Kepler. Hermana Stokes, she’s sweet. She just graduated this year, crazy! But it was good. I was already homesick for Lebanon, they had Christmas lights up on the square, and I was tearing up driving as I knew exactly how to get to their plans that night. Random white house? Oh, I know exactly how to get there, I’ll take the backroads. But, I knew in my heart that my time there was done. It was good. And when I went back to Springfield, it felt like home. Oh, also! We sang “Guiame, oh Salvador” for the zone conference. It went great, Sister Jones is a great pianist with such short notice. Blessings.

Thursday we had an awesome experience. Our plans had fallen through that night, including our backups. We were at the lovely awkward 8:15 time. So, we said a prayer with a few people in mind we could try. After the prayer, Hermana Davis was like, “we should try the vanilla cones at Burger King, I’ve only ever had McDonald’s”. And of course, I was like, um brilliant idea. Let’s do it. And I’m a firm believer that if you pray for guidance, and receive promptings like that, you just do it. So, we went to Burger King, ordered our vanilla cones and I ordered those lower fat Satisfries. Only so-so, I don’t get the point of them. Anyways, Hermana Davis starts talking to the young cashier, “Jose”. She simply asks him, “do you speak Spanish?”. What a great question, which led the conversation to talking about our calling as missionaries, which led us to discover that he had met with the missionaries consistently, five years ago when he was 12! He went to church, his cousin got baptized, and he almost did too, but they just stopped going to church. He said he used to sleep with the Book of Mormon under his pillow. While Hermana Davis was talking more with him and getting his info, another employee came up to me and introduced himself as our upstairs neighbors that just moved in about a week ago. We had never even seen him! He said that he had met with missionaries in Clarksville when he lived there! So we gave him a pamphlet and said we would love to talk with him some more. He’s living in the apartment with his girlfriend, and I’m really excited to get to know them more.

Heavenly Father loves us, and is in control. This is His work, and He will guide us if we will ask.

Friday and Saturday were really weird days. With the Elder Pino conference in mind, we’d been keeping our goals at the forefront of our mind, and truly seeing blessings from that. But for some reason, we had trouble finding new people to teach. So, we decided that we needed to pray and fast on Sunday, and ask Heavenly Father how we could better work with members, and how we could find and teach a family, with the hopes of them getting baptized. Sunday, we got to stake conference, which was so wonderful. And so many men receiving the Melchezidek priesthood, including Brother Dailey! Our prayers were answered sooner than we thought, when a woman next to us asked where we were serving, and when she found out we were in Springfield, she excitedly told us that she had been preparing to introduce a young couple (with a baby!) to the gospel. They were friends of her daughter, who had even been outside the temple at her wedding. She gave us her number, so we’ll be in contact with her to see about meeting the family. Several other ward members that day also talked to us about teaching their family friends. It was a miracle. Such a blessing. I just cried because I was so full of gratitude.

Missionary work is wonderful. I want to never be discouraged ever again! Obviously I want that, but I know that there will be many more times where I will be discouraged. Which leads me to one of the things I learned from stake conference:

When the reality of our lives collide with our faith, never be tempted to think that your faith is wrong. President Bell gave the example of the story of the men walking on the road to Emmaus. He will reveal Himself to us when He is ready, when we are ready. And He will reveal that He was with us all along the way, even if we felt as if He was far away. And the things we learn along the way are necessary for our growth, and such a blessing.

I definitely didn’t do it justice, but it was amazing.

Oh family, the gospel is true. The Lord loves us so much. Just hold on, see it through. There are blessings around the corner, and lessons to be learned. I love you all so much and pray for you daily.

And I love Tennessee and the people here.

Hope you have the best week ever.

Love,

Hermana Rachel Knecht

p.s. There were tornado sirens yesterday! Tornado warning in the county we were in, which is worse than just a tornado watch! Tons of lightning, crazy rain, warm wind. It was AWESOME.

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