Monday, April 14, 2014

Three by Three v2.0, Maricopa Style

I'm in Arizona and it's HAWT!!! hahaha. It's actually not that bad, only 90 or so. My Idahoan companion is dying, though, hahahahhaa. After being in Rexburg and Idaho during the winters, it's nice to not be a wimp in extreme weather anymore. XD
 at the MTC, our last Sunday, we got to see Vocal POint perform!!! AHHHHHHHHH!!!! I GOT TO SEE NEARER MY GOD TO THEE LIVE!!! Guys, guys, if you haven't heard Vocal point's version of Nearer My God to Thee, PLEASE look it up on Youtube. I was in tears, hearing it live.
 And speaking of amazing Sundays, General Conference was awesome!!! I love President Ucthdorf's talk about getting through trials (President Ucthdorf is just so amazing and his talks are always so uplifting and feel-good, ahhh), and Elder Bednar is always amazing. I loved "Your four minutes" And who was it who talked about the truck in the snow parable? I loved that one too. General conference was so good.
 I met my Mission president. President Toone is HUGE. He's 7''1'. He's sooo tall!! Shaking his hand and looking up at him and saying "hi" was quite the experience, haha. He's so awesome, though. He's not just big, he's a spiritual giant, too. I'm so grateful he's my president.
 I'm in a trio again!! My poor, poor trainer, training two of us greenies, fresh from the MTC....I try to be as little trouble as possible, hahahhahaha. She's been real good, though. She's mind-blowingly patient. I wish I was as patient as her, haha. I guess a mission will do that to you. But seriously, pray for her. She's training two greenies in an area she's never been in before.
 I was looking forward to having my very own companion, haha. I loved mine at the MTC, and I love mine now, but....trios are haaaaaaaard, guys. They're so hard! haha. I've loved all my companions, and I've loved our miracles and all we've learned, but I want my own companion someday, haha.
 So we're all new to the area, and already we have four people on date for baptism. Which...blows my mind. Seriously, God's work is just going crazy here in Maricopa. I'm changing names, and no details, but here are some of our people.
 We have Rachel, who's been meeting with missionaries off and on for three yeras. Just a while ago she went "off" again and went to phoenix for two weeks, and during that two weeks, she just felt...she described it as a tugging on her heart. She was missing the missionaries, she was missing praying and reading, and she realized that fear was holding her back from doing what she had long known was what God wanted her to do. She was sad to see her missionaries leave the areas, but eager to meet us! She's getting baptised in may!!
 Linda and Tate are mother-son. Tate's been taking the lessons for a couple of months with his mom, and he's absolutely in love with the church. He's 13 and he was so happy to be at church knowing he's getting baptized this month, haha. He was smiling sooooo much!! He brought his mom with him, who's been looking at the church off and on for like twelve years. This was her first time at church, and by the end of it...she just had an amazing, powerful experience. The teacher accidently prepared the wrong lesson, but it was the lesson Linda needed. It really hit home for her. She's getting baptised the same day as her son. It's been amazing to be with these people.
 The fourth person we actually really haven't met yet. THe eldres were giving tours in the church building, and he was walking by and they asked him to come in. He's a 16 year old student, I'll call him Jake. He liked it enough that he asked them to come by his place (when his parents are home, of course!) and teach him more...and after one olesson, he wantes to get baptized. He's in our area, so the elders are handing them off to us. I'm so excited to meet him!!
 We've been teaching others. Our stake had a booth at a local festival and had people sign up for a free picture of Christ. We hand deliver it to their homes, and these people who wanted these paintings are so eager to talk about Christ!! Quite a few of them asked us to come back and teach them more. You guys, God's doing some amazing things in the hearts of these people. It's an amazing and powerful thing, and I'm so grateful and ecstatic that I"m here to see it and be a part of it.
 The people here are absolutely amazing. The strangers we meet are so nice, and they're concerned about our safety, three young women walking around and talking to strangers. They offer to give us water or a phone or whatever we need, and they say they'll pray for us to be safe. Maricopa's a small little farmy-urban mix, so the people are really friendly!
 And the members are awesome!! They're so excited about the Gospel, and to share Christ with their friends!! I had heard missionary work is powerful when members and missionaries work together, but man, to really see it in's amazing and powerful.
 Maricopa is so small that we can't get we've been living with members. We've actually kinda been living out of our suitcases for a while, since...well...there's three of us. It's hard to find a member who has room for three sister missionaries with all our clothes and books. We're working on that, though. I also feel really bad at dinners, because, there's THREE of us. the members here are so helpful, though, and it's really humbling.
 I love Arizona, and I love my companions, and i love the people, and I love this work! THere are challenges, and it's hard at times (and I know it'll get harder...we've just barely started, haha) but none of them have been overwhelming or insurmountable. THey're challenges, and they're satisfying to tackle and work with. And, honestly, it's God doing all the work, I'm just opening my mouth over here hoping something good comes out.
 I'm still safe and I'm still so satisfied and happy with my life right now. Thank you all so much for the amazing letters and the prayers!!
 -Sister Stratford
 p.s. yesterday I saw my first scorpion! yaaaaay
 someone please set the desert on fire those things are FREAKY when they move and they don't die when you step on them so fire's the only option

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