Oh, my! You thought we had a lot of relatives in our ward? Ha. Everyone. Eeeveryone is related and they know how they are related. 2nd aunt's husband's brother's daughter's half-brother. Family upon family and not with the same last name necessarily. Missionary nightmare. It keeps us on our toes ;)
Friday we went to check on a lot of individuals who are less-active/part-member families. They make up about 70% of the ward so we've got some work to do. We only met a couple of them but we did some knocking on some trailers...ran into my first real southern baptist. They tried to return a restoration video they'd gotten in a stack of DVDs they'd bought. We told them no...we have plenty of them. The next trailer was my favorite person this week (I can have favorites!). Her name is Ryder, about my age. She comes from a very hard background and has recently been able to get back on her feet--off of the streets after a year or so. We taught her the 1st (the Restoration). We use analogies A LOT down here, which I love. But Ryder came up with an even better one than what Sis. Derrick was using. We use the analogy for the apostasy that of a plate shattering (after Priesthood and apostles were taken) and people trying to gather all the pieces up and put them back to gether, but inevitably you miss shards and little pieces--or big ones--and it's never put back to it's original form b/c there's no priesthood. Ryder said it was more like a glass because even if you try to put it back to gether it won't hold water anymore, it can't contain the fullness. We are hopefully meeting with her againt his week. There are some definate hurdles before being baptized but lots of hope.
Saturday was my first real day of tracting. Long. Long. Day. Lots of contacts. It was probably the most concentrated area of members in our ward. One of them fed us grilled cheese sandwiches and lemonade :) Sis. Ronson. Southern to a T. She's in the RS presidency and knows everyone. We visited her great-uncle (?)...He's in hist 80's. He told us about the Korean war and being stationed in Japan. And he has altziemers so he told us some things then felt bad because he'd remember some of what he'd told us accurate :(
Yesterday was great. I love church in the south; my trainer even said this is the most southern ward she's been to :) We had a very baptist sacrament meeting. It was great. You had to smile. Rosa, a black woman (probably around gma's age), spoke (...more preached) about loving our neighbors and helping them in the ways that we help or take care of ourselves, especially praying. "Do you pray for your neighbor as earnestly as you pray for yourself and your own household?" was the theme of a story she told.
The youth had an activity last night and they gave the left-over ice-cream to the missionaries after church. Sis. Derrick and I made the mistake of eating it...then having dinner at a member's home. We had dinner and that definately filled us up...then they brought out ice-cream AND cake!!! I really hope I still fit in these clothes after a few months.
Last night it was dusk but we had about a half-hour left of tracting to do so we went to a few houses with porch-lights still on. I met a nice man who was married 2 yrs ago and had an adorable little girl. He and his wife had "rededicated [their] lives two weeks ago!" I did probably one of my least awkward jobs of handing out a pass-along card. I gave him a card with "the address to a sight that has other people from all backgrounds who have rededicated their lives and how they come closer to Christ." It's so much easier when you can tie in what little the people tell you about themselves. Down the street we met a potential investigator who we will call and meet with some other time (it was getting late).
Got to go. Oh, opening new area FOR SISTERS. Elders had the whole ward before but now they've split the ward geographically with them and only go into their area at request of the bishop.
Have a blessed and happy day!