First off, I have to apologize for forgetting to mention something huge! Last week was Zone Conference, and there was a portion of the Conference that was a Talent Show. Every Zone had to do something, so our Zone was sitting around trying to think of something to do when we realized something great. My District Leader, Elder Finau, is from Hawaii (originally Tonga) and is a beast at the Haka. We decided to have him teach us the Haka and we could do it for the Talent Show! So in our Zone there are 13 Elders and 4 Sisters, so the Sisters just spread ourselves out and we busted out the Haka. For about a week, we would come to the Church during our Lunch Hour and learn how to do it. When we performed it everyone loved it, and if I do say so myself it was the highlight of the show ;) haha just kidding, there was this other Elder that was really, really good at the guitar, so I say we tied for the top Act :) The Haka is super fun, but the bummer is that you hit your thighs really hard, and I had bruises there for a few days. At the end of the Haka we had the guy who was the leader (Elder Finau) shout, "North Rigby!" and we yelled back, "God's Army!" It was a lot of fun :) We still are keeping up on our Haka though because when our local Wards heard that we can do it, they started calling us and "Booking" us to perform at their Ward Christmas party! We figured it was a good way to get some awareness about Missionary Work, so now every Friday and Saturday night we go to the Church for a half hour and perform. Every week I just think it is so funny the crazy things we do on our Mission! Who would have thought I would learn the Haka?!
This week has been a great week in Rigby. This Wednesday I received a phone call from President Brinkerhoff, my Mission President. I was so scared at first because I thought I was going to be Emergency Transferred out! Emergency Transfers happen when there is an issue in an area and they need someone to come in and fix it, so needless to say I was a bit breathless when I saw the Caller ID and kind of whispered, "Hello?". Luckily an Emergency Transfer was not in the cards! President Brinkerhoff actually invited me to attend Mission Leadership Council. Mission Leadership Council, or MLC is a monthly meeting where all of the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders come together and talk about what is going on in the Mission. It was a very cool experience to be invited and I felt very honored. It was a fun day and we got a lot done!
We recently have been working with a family towards baptism. We set a baptismal date just before Sister Hendertilo left, but the Mother was having a hard time wanting to change some addictive habits. We brought this to the attention of the Ward Council, and they decided that we will propose a Ward Fast for her on the 29th of December. I have been so inspired by this ward (the Rigby 7th Ward) in how they get behind Missionary Work. This Ward really stands out, and I love how much they are willing to band together and help a person in their community come closer to Christ.
We also decided that we would start a 40-day Ward Fast, starting January 1st in that Ward for Missionary Work. It will be kicked off by having us, the full-time missionaries speaking in Sacrament Meeting and talking about the Savior's own 40-day Fast. We want to get the Ward fired up. We are excited for the enthusiasm of this Ward, and the time and effort the Bishop is putting into Missionary Work.
In that Ward we also came up with the idea of February being Family History Month. This was sparked by a report that my Dad sent me from home. In 2002 there was a study done in my home mission, the Sacramento California Mission that if Recent Converts go to the temple within 30-60 days, the Retention rate is 90%! I shared this with the Ward and how I feel that the gateway to doing baptisms for the dead at the temple is to do Family History. They got behind our idea and we are now helping to pull off a Family History Month!
Oh, I don't remember if I mentioned it but we ended up only having a car for four days. The other Sisters got better, which was great for them, and we were grateful for the time we had the car because those days were pretty cold! This week has been full of fog. The fog has not been a misty haze, but full-on, impenetrable fog. When we get rides from Members, it can be scary because you cannot even see the road. I am just glad that they know where they are going!
We also met with a Ward that has been struggling a little bit as far as Missionary Work has gone. We have made our attendance at their Sunday meetings a priority, and we feel like they are now beginning to trust us a little more. The Bishop is not very optimistic towards Missionary Work, but with the help of an awesome Ward Mission Leader we are going to start a 40-day Ward Fast in that Ward starting in February. The new Ward Mission Leader in that Ward has been wonderful in helping us get started, and we are excited to see what has happened already from working with that Ward. Since we have started to focus on that Ward, we have had a service project for a Non-Member set up, and countless referrals given to us for people in that Ward. I know that I may not be in this Area long enough to see the fruits of my labors, but I can already see a difference in the Ward.
This week was awesome for lessons. There is a lady we are teaching who's name is Connie. She is just the sweetest woman. She has three cats, and they full-on beg! Not just look at you, but they sit up on their haunches and beg. It is the funniest thing I have ever seen! Connie is wonderful though. She has grown up around here and has had a lot of exposure to people who are LDS. She has investigated the church before in 1985, and kept the pamphlets in perfect condition. She reads the Book of Mormon every morning now, and uses those as a Study Guide. I surprised her with the current pamphlets that we use, and we went through the Restoration of the Gospel. Connie has an incredible amount of faith. She lost her mother a few years ago and her husband two years ago, and found peace in studying the Bible. I know how much the Gospel can bless her life, and I anxiously anticipate our appointments with her to see if this week she will agree to be baptized. She knows that it is true, I can tell! She says that there is a feeling of peace when we come over, and we just need to help her realize that is it the Spirit testifying of truth.
We are excited for the prospects of this New Year and how involved our Wards are going to be in Hastening the Work. I love being in Rigby 2 and serving with Sister Blankenship.
----I don't know what it is about Idaho, but I swear all of Ireland just decided to move here. There are so many Irish families, and not just, "Oh ya, our family is from Ireland" but full-on, "I'm Irish!". These families keep all of these traditions, and are loud, Irish families in South-Eastern Idaho! Green everywhere, clovers too, and sometimes the older generation (60 yrs old and above) speak with a weird accent. It is like a mix of Irish with country.
---So there is this lady we teach who's name is Krissy. She is so much fun, and I know that we will be life-long friends. She is getting ready for Christmas, and her 11-yr old wanted a chinchilla. She found one just in time for Christmas, who's name is Gus! She started to go all, "his name is Gus Gus!" And we would laugh because of course it is a Disney reference from Cinderella. Oh, also turns out I am still allergic to Chinchillas, which is a pity because Gus is so cute. Anyways, Sister Blankenship starts to hold Gus to keep her entertained and she really could not do much, (she was not feeling well that day) and was apparently a little loopy. She starts to look at the little guy, and then holds him up in the air and sings at the top of her lungs, "AAAAAAHHHH Sabenya, ya babisti baba!" For those that have not seen Lion King, it is this little chant that is sung when Simba is raised on Pride Rock. It was the most random thing that I have ever seen in my entire life and I was laughing so hard I was crying for 5 minutes!