Monday, November 23, 2015

Master, The Tempest Is Raging

(Sister Eckley (my actual companion), and Sister Nelson. 
I've been blessed to have three moms (Sister Carroll and these two).
It's been such a joy working with them both!)
Well, I'm here back in Arkansas. Honestly, I still cannot believe it. Sometimes it feels like a dream and I'm gonna wake up back in Hawaii. It's funny how Arkansas is like a dream and Hawaii was the real life... Kinda strange..

I have two AMAZING companions, Sisters Eckley and Nelson.  Sister Eckley is from California, most recently.  Her parents live in Olympia, Washington. Her Dad was in the Department of  Defense or something and they've lived pretty much everywhere. She is 24 and graduated from college. She doesn't live at home. She lives on her own in California, Bay Area. She's been out nearly 6 months. Sister Nelson is from American Fork, Utah and has been out for almost a year.

I have already learned so much from both of them. The three of us get along so well and it has been great. I was incredibly worried coming back, thinking that no one was gonna be able to measure up to Sister Carroll, however, they are great in their own way and I love it. And I'm lucky... I get THREE moms, when most people only get one. Some things are done differently, which I am trying to get used to. However, I've realized that that's okay. I feel like a completely different person than I did when I was here a year ago. Oh wait, maybe that's cuz I am. I have changed and so all of this feels different. But different in a very good and familiar way.

One of my first impressions of Sister Eckley is this.... She wears giraffe footie pajamas. And, in the morning, she was rolling out of bed, immediately, and not very gracefully. Actually, it was more of a fall. Yes, it was of her falling out of the bed. She's really got it all together. Hahah. That was definitely a great thing to wake up to. It was really quite hilarious.

Currently, I am in Cabot. It is COMPLETELY different from a Little Rock. Suuuuper country, but not redneck. It's way rural. I love it. We walk out the car and smell cows and horses and the like. It's great. However, Cabot doesn't have too many Black people. I haven't really met any yet. It's kinda odd. Little Rock was basically half Black. I love it here though. Southern accent is thick in some people.

The ward is awesome. We have a great Ward Mission Leader, and ward missionaries. The people are so excited to have sister missionaries back. It's great. Hopefully we don't disappoint!

The elders in our ward are great, too. It's our District Leader and his two companions. They've been super helpful and supportive. We are so blessed with awesome elders.

On Tuesday (my second day back in Arkansas), we spent pretty much the entire day inside. Why you may ask? Because there was a tornado watch and a flash flood warning. That was just grand. No big deal, right? We had District Meeting and as soon as it finished, we got a text to stay inside. We stayed at the church for FIVE HOURS. And with NO lunch. It was miserable. We were all getting cabin fever. However, we were productive in our waiting around time. We were able to meet with the Elders in our ward and learn all the ins and outs. Then, we spent the remainder of the day back at the house (once we finally had dinner) and did some 12 week training, which was good, and kinda not. Now, we have iPads, which I'm not a total fan of. It's gonna take a lot to get used to having them.

We have finally got started on doing a bit of missionary work. We've spent loads of time in the office and planning/studying the area. We've seriously been getting so antsy being stuck inside all day. It takes a lot of work to open up an area. I am seeing that now. It's been tough. But it is all worth it. The hours and hours of studying the area, members, less actives, and everything else as been paying off. We went to see some less actives and some referrals and were able to set up return appointments with many of them, as well as with some others that we meant via street contacting.

As rough and stressful it's been to not be able to do real missionary work and just staying in the house half the day studying, I know that I am supposed to be here in Cabot with Sister Nelson and Eckley. They both are helping me progress and we are all helping and teaching each other. It's incredible. I know that I am back out here and serving in Cabot for a reason. And I am going to figure that reason out! I feel so very blessed to be able to have this second chance to serve the Lord and show my willingness to follow Him. It's been a rough journey, and it's not over, but I am grateful for that path that I've traveled.

I've been off to a rough start, which I definitely expected. However, I know that as I keep pressing on, I will understand my purpose more fully. It has definitely been an emotionally and spiritually exhausting roller coaster.

I met with President Wakolo (my Mission President) upon my request tonight (Sunday). He came over and I had an interview with him simply disclosing what I've been feeling. He gave me a blessing, which was incredible. He helped, a ton. I've just been feeling this darkness covering over me, and haven't been a big fan of it. I am continually doing all that I can, with the Lord's help to be strengthened. But it's been a tiresome and trial-filled first week.

However, I know that I am supposed to be here I'm Cabot. I love it and I love being back on my mission. I know that as I continue to press forward, all will work out.

Sister Jessica Ann Smith
(My Mission President and his wife. President Wakolo was so happy
that I was returning, as was I. I'm so happy that I will have the same
Mission President throughout my whole mission, and the same one that I
originally came out to!)