Monday, March 10, 2014

March 10, 2014 Kearney, Missouri

Dear Family, 

Man, I'm bummed that I missed a "Young Guns vs Bishop's Bandits" Basketball Tournament! I love those!! I don't think you said who won...or maybe I missed that detail. Mom, thanks so much for the package, I got it last Friday, and no, it doesn't agree with my diet, ha-ha! But, Easter is 6 weeks away, so I'm sure by then I will cave for a piece of chocolate...everything in moderation right J. Also thanks for sending Uncle Glenn's Christmas card and for all of your Easter notes, it was an awesome surprise!

Well, this week was crazy! Poor Sister Jarman got really sick for two days so we were house bound. She got a nasty flu, and Sister LeNeave, the member we live with, was shocked I didn't get anything. What can I say, I have a really good immune system

Oh, I got to hold a baby duck at our member's house; hopefully you received the picture. Sister Shafer sent it to your email....I've held so many different creatures on my mission so far. Who would of thought that would happen in Missouri. Everyone has been saying their farewells to me, because transfers are coming up next week. I don't think I'm getting transferred yet and I don't want to leave Kearney yet.....not until Sam and Jeff Stringfellow get baptized.

So on Friday we went to the Visitor Center with Sam and Jeff and I took them through the VC. It was like old times. All the sisters were at some contata at the church, so the only people at the Visitor Center were the senior couple. The senior couple asked if I would just take our investigators through like old times. I couldn't believe how much stuff I actually remembered! The stickiest thing was remembering specific dates. It was awesome! Actually Sister Jarman has been asking me a lot about church history and different historical sites lately and it is cool that all the knowledge I gained at the VC, I've been able to share with her. Anyways, Sister Jarman and I had hoped to put them on baptismal date that night. However, they kept taking the conversation a different direction. We ended the night by going through God's Plan for his family, which I must admit Sister Jarman and I hoped would inspire them to get remarried. Hey, the gospel can heal all wounds right......but, I don't think it has worked quite yet. 

We had such a great evening and then right before we were about to leave, I quickly mingled with some of the sisters who got back from the cantata. As we were heading out the door, Sister Jarman and I looked at Jeff and asked where Sam was; she had literally disappeared. He said she was outside. Oh she was outside alright.......smoking in the parking lot! Aaaaaaah! But, hey, she's working on it and we have come up with a plan to help her completely quit smoking, but it will take some time. Of course, Jeff made some snide remark to her about her smoking, just to get under her skin, so she cussed at him. Needless to say our evening didn't exactly end the way we had hoped. We tried putting them on baptismal date, but Jeff refused to set a date because he says he's not willing to just kick Sam out of the house and so he told us he wants to get baptized in Bishop's pond on October 17th with his son Grant who turns 8 years old that day. OCTOBER IS FOREVER AWAY!! Also, how he got the idea of getting baptized in Bishop's pond, I had no idea until he said Bishop told him he could baptize him in his pond......Apparently President Keyes has ZERO tolerance for missionaries even asking if their investigators can be baptized in ponds. So we know that one is not going to fly and we are not accepting his idea of October 17th! That is way too far away for him.

So, we have a few challenges ahead of us, but we know the direction we need to take to help them progress toward baptism. The good thing is: Jeff wants to be baptized and he is so involved in the ward. In fact Bishop wants to give him a ward assignment since he can't actually give him a legitimate calling, which is something Jeff has been asking to have for the last few weeks. Even when he came for the church building cleaning, all he talked about afterwards was how much he felt the Spirit as he cleaned. He is so cool!

Well, things here in Kearney are going well. On Sunday Sister Jarman and I were asked to come in for half of Priesthood class and pump up the ward mission plan. Definitely, the first for me being in priesthood, but hopefully we helped re-motivate the ward. I'm thankful that Bishop Walker has so much trust in us and I'm thankful to be able to serve in this ward. They are making progress, slowly but surely. I'm really hoping I don't get transferred and that I get to stick around until May. Also, guess what today it is 70F, its warming up and you know what that means..... crazy drivers, allergies are starting up, lots of road kill is TORNADO SEASON!!

I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Sister Luening 

Monday, March 3, 2014

March 3, 2014, Kearney, Missouri

Dear Family, 

Well, it sounds like you have all had quite the busy week and I am glad that things seem to be going well for you overall.

You're probably wondering why this email is titled, "The Cat's Meow", so here's the story, ha-ha! Sister Jarman and I have decided to start a diet and exercise regime this week and we had it all figured out last week of what we are going to eat. We decided to tell the other missionaries about it, because it really is an awesome plan. Well, the Zone Leaders later told us that they decided they need to be healthier, and so they said they are going to make it into a competition with us. So whichever companionship loses the most weight before transfers wins. That gives us 3 weeks and we are doing "weigh-ins" today, ha-ha! Anyways, we were telling our investigator family, the Stringfellows, about all this and Jeff just looked at us with a very quizzical look and said, “I don't know why you're doing that. I'm not trying to flirt with you or anything, but you two are beautiful. No seriously, you two are the cat's meow!". It was soooo funny! Ha-ha-ha-ha, so there you have it! He's said it on a few other occasions this last week, he is hilarious! Also, the Stringfellows call us every night to make sure we have a dinner appointment because otherwise they insist they feed us. They are full of so much love for us and they have already told us that if we ever come back to Missouri to visit that they insist we stay in their home because we are their family. They are so sweet! I love them!!

Anyways, this has been a wonderful week. The baptism on Saturday with Dalton Stringfellow (the 10 year old boy) went really well. It was probably the most wonderful baptism I had ever been to. The Spirit was so strong and Jeff and Sam (the parents) bore their testimonies and each one said one of the opening and closing prayers, it was so great! After the baptism Bishop took us and the Stringfellows out to Red Robins and the 24 year old waiter turned out to be RLDS. The Stake President's son is his best friend. He told us he is practically Mormon because he believes a lot of the same thing and he went to all 4 years of seminary with his friend. He was so awesome. We had a great talk with him. We asked him if we could send missionaries by his house, but he said he's met with missionaries in the past and they haven't been able to clear up his finer detailed deep doctrinal differences. We were kind of bummed that we couldn't help him more since he's out of our area, but we hope his friend keeps working on him, because he is so ready for the gospel.

Also, we were able to find two new investigators both of which were referrals from members. The one lady lives across the street from us, and we were finally able to catch her the other day. She is so sweet and said she has some questions, so we are going to start teaching her. She met with elders years ago in Florida, but her husband didn't approve. We're excited to start working with her. Also, our recent convert Kate has a friend that just moved to Lawson from Joplin and she is interested in learning, so we are going to teaching her as well.

Church got cancelled because of a snow storm that rolled in. We got 10 inches of snow and it was 1F outside with a -19F wind-chill. We went out and shoveled, and I felt like my legs were getting frost-bite. Dienna and her family, our new investigator across the street, came over and helped us shovel. So, instead of shoveling taking an hour it only took about 20 minutes. They are so nice! We have discovered there are a lot of challenges the ward members are having with one another and with the ward mission plan. I know with the help of the Lord and the ward council we will be able to become tools in the Lord's hands. He will be able to refine us and become the tools to help refine this area. I'm thankful for the miracles I have been able to see so far in this area and I'm grateful for the families and individuals that I have been blessed to help come towards the gospel path. I love you all, and I am grateful for the examples you are to me in my life.

 I hope you keep having a great week, and that you are able to receive the answers you need in your daily decisions and decisions in your callings. I know the Lord lives, and that He is anxiously engaged in this work and seeing how it continues to move forward. I am grateful to be a servant of the Lord!

All my love,

Sister Luening