Monday, August 26, 2013

Time for GROWTH!

Hi Mama and Daddy!

Hermana Foster is showering so I'm writing down everything I want to say, so when I go to the library (now) I can just type it in an email.

Life is good. I've just seen miracle after miracle. The Lord loves me a ton. I feel so good when I see the Lord using me to touch other people's lives. It's so humbling.  But yet, so refreshing at the same time because you can just walk away and take a deep breath and smile to yourself because you know you've done something good.

Being a Sister Training Leader is HARD. I am growing and learning so much. Like, EVERY day. When we go on exchanges, and meet with the other Missionaries under our stewardship we ask what we can do better, how we could help more, or serve them better. Sometimes it is hard to hear the critiques when you are trying so hard. It feels like getting beat up sometimes. But I basically write it down and pour my love out to them as I promise to do better in the future. I know Heavenly Father is aware of how hard my companion and I are working, and how much we LOVE these Sisters and want to be the best Leaders we can be. The blessings are flowing like you cannot believe. Here are a few that I am SOOOO thankful for.

1.     Unlimited Miles- We never have to worry about using too many miles in our car because hellooooo, we have a huge stewardship, so we have to put huge miles on the car. Big blessing. Big.

2.     Companionship study with the Assistants.- That is pretty self-explanatory. Who else in the entire mission gets to do Companionship study with the Assistants? Elder Alldredge and Elder Hudson are some of the greatest men I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know and serving with. Elder Hudson was my Zone Leader in Palmdale with Elder Rockhill. Elder Rockhill was/is amazing too. He was called as an Assistant right before he went home, so when Elder Rockhill finished his mission and went home, Elder Hudson (my other former Zone Leader/served in my former ward) was called as the new Assistant. Elder Alldredge has been one of the Assistants to the President my entire mission and he got sent to the Bakersfield Mission to help President Wilson. I will be GREATLY surprised if Elder Alldredge doesn't become a General Authority some day. The man is basically a Mission President as it is. AND… I get to work with them :) What?!?!

3.     MLC- Mission Leadership Council. I get to go to the middle of the Mission every month, and meet with both sets of Assistants (because there is one set for the West side and one for the East), President Wilson, Sister Wilson, and the Zone Leaders in our Mission! We learn and teach each other, and then go teach the people in our stewardships. MLC is the greatest blessing EVER! You are surrounded by some of the best Missionaries in the Mission. It's an honor to be able to go, really.

4.     Awesome communication with the Zone leaders- the Zone Leaders become your best friends, like your go-to people. They take care and watch out for us, and we take care of them. It's a nice place to be, really.

5.     We are constantly learning and growing and relying on the Lord. I'm learning now more than ever to stop caring so much about what everybody else thinks and just put my focus on pleasing God and my Mission President, and taking care of my Companion. Because really, Heavenly Father trusts me, President Wilson trusts me, and so do the Assistants to Pres. Wilson, and the Zone Leaders, the other Sister Training Leaders love and trust me too, so I must be doing SOMETHING right. So I can't beat myself up about the people who don't agree with me, too much. But I do pray about their suggestions and want to always be open to improve, and grow.

So, there’s that. Now for some miracle stories. I gotta go soon. But:

We didn't have dinner scheduled with a member this week so us Sisters decided to go eat somewhere together! We were thinking of going to Panda Express but Hermana Foster doesn't really like it, or wasn't really in the mood. Anyway, I suggested we go to Wendy's! So that's where we all agreed to go, and off we went!

We got there and ordered and I just got a sandwich and the other Hermanas got something small because we had a later lunch and didn't want to stuff ourselves. So we ate and I was thinking "Hmmm...I want some French fries!..." (this part is only funny to the people who know that I love French fries) but then I thought "No... you don't NEED French fries, you already spent enough money and the whole point was to eat something light!" and then something just popped in my head that just said "JUST GO GET THE DANG FRIES!" so I jumped up and off I went...

I was standing in line when this man comes in and shows some other people on the other side of the restaurant a piece of folded up paper. And then he walks over to another table to show them the piece of paper, and then another. I thought he was trying to find the owner of the paper, like maybe somebody dropped it and it was important, so I didn't really think much about it. It was then my turn to go up and order, and the man comes up to me and doesn't say anything, but holds out the folded paper and it said:

"I am deaf. Do you have $2.00 to buy me some food?"

And then it hit me. He wasn't trying to find the owner of the paper, the man was hungry and needed some food!

So, I smiled and nodded "Yes!" and then pointed at the menu and told the cashier "And get him whatever he wants also!" Then I thought to myself, "No, dumby! Help him pick!" So I handed him a receipt and a pen and he wrote "fish sandwish" on it. But Wendy's doesn't have fish sandwiches and so he got closer to the menu and wrote "spicy chicken" and so I told the cashier guy "Spicy chicken sandwich please!" and then the man motioned to me and made a drinking motion and I thought, "Oh! He needs a drink!" so I wrote on the receipt, "What kind?" and for the first time he tried to speak and said "CO!" So, I knew he meant Coke! So I got his drink and sandwich and brought it to him (because after we ordered he sat down)  Then I motioned to the straws so he knew I was going to get him one. I went and got him a straw for his drink and some napkins and he smiled really big at me and said, ‘thank you’ in sign language. I smiled and went back to eat my fries. I ate like TWO before the Spirit reminded me that I always have that note-pad in my purse for a reason! So, I took it out and wrote "I am Sister Dodge. I am a Missionary from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" and then I nudged my Companion and asked, "Hey- do you have anything in English?" and she said,  “I think I do in the car!" So she and Hermana Wagner ran out to the car and brought back a General Conference Ensign in English! I then added to the note, "This magazine is a magazine put out by our church. This is a Special Edition that has messages from our church leaders. There are Missionaries just like us who share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people all around the world and there are some here in Lancaster that know sign language. They would love to stop by and share more with you!" So I got the Ensign, grabbed my pen and paper and my French fries and sat down by him. I gave him my French fries and started "talking" to him. His name is Larry. As he read my note he smiled really big and nodded  and wrote that he would like that but he was moving to the Morena or Movela Bay area to live with some family. He had been living here in Lancaster with his daughter and grandkids. Anyway, he taught me the signs for "God bless" and Bible, and Jesus Christ, and thank you, and you're welcome. It was amazing. We gave him our phone number just in case he needed anything he could call or text us, and we gave him the phone number to the Assistants to the President and said wherever you go, call this number or text it, and they will help you!

Best part- we talked to him about how he is a Son of God, and about how he has a loving Heavenly Father who knows him and knows everything that he's going through right now in his life. Larry got a little emotional and talked about how sometimes he tries to pray and everyone prays differently and I told him (well, wrote him) that Heavenly Father really is listening when he prays. He's there. And then we taught him how to pray. In the middle of a Wendy's. It was beautiful. We taught him to start with Dear Heavenly Father and then express whatever is in his heart, ask for what he needs, express gratitude for his blessings, whatever he wants and end in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. He said thank you about 100 times. It was one of my favorite lessons I've ever taught on my Mission, and we didn't even say any words. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, Mom. It truly changed my life.

I have to go now. Know that I love you! I'm trying to do my best. I love your guts. I love you a whole bunch!  Tell everyone I said, hi and to write me an email!

-Hermana Dodge

Trevor Bird and I say goodbye. He leaves in just a couple of
weeks for his Mission. He enters the MTC in Mexico City.
His family is great to all of the Missionaries.

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