Monday, July 28, 2014

Zone Conference!!

Hey Y'all!!!

This past week was zone conference! I love my zone! It was probably the most entertaining ZC I've been to. President Cottle was talking about how we have weird companions and they can get annoyed over the silliest little things... like having the toilet paper roll on backwards or singing in the shower. Sister Cottle apparently does those things cause President was making themselves as examples... I don't know think she thought it was terrible funny, but all of us missionaries were laughing. I love my Mission President and his wife. :) The Ap's put us into 4 different groups and we had to draw a story from the scriptures and then everyone had to guess. It went along with role playing and how to study as a companionship better. 

We saw Nikki!!! She is back from vacation and is very excited to keep learning! We talked with her about what she has already learned and helped her answer her own questions. She just needs to come to church! She is always gone during the weekends. Thank goodness school starts again on August 7th down here, people will be staying put! So much easier to teach and find people during the school year. 

I spoke in sacrament yesterday. Apparently having the last name 'Willie' makes you an expert on pioneers. Its a good thing that I love history and know a lot about my ancestors! I spoke on pioneers, in the past and present. Majority of the people down here don't have ancestors who crossed the plains, so they find it fascinating to hear of their stories. Yesterday after church many people asked that our spiritual thought be a story of my ancestors. It was pretty neat to share something that I personally love. :) 

We are reteaching 3 in-actives! They are great and two of them are really progressing! Janean's husband is not a member, but he sits in with us and tells us that he likes to rock the boat when he goes to different churches. lol I told him he should definitely come to ours and rock the boat there, cause you learn by asking questions. Hopefully one day! :) Janean doesn't really remember that much from when she was taught back in the 70's. But she is drinking it all in and is loving the BOM!!! I love watching others testimonies grow!  

Funny story.... well I hope so. So yesterday we were driving farther out of town visiting potentials when all of a sudden this little ditch jumped right in front of us and ripped our front bumper! (true story!) Well thank goodness it wasn't as bad as we thought. The Elders came and helped us. We just have to take the car into the shop. :( But the car is still drive-able! We just had to tie the bumper up somehow and luckily the Behrends lived close! So they came and helped us out with it. And it was the middle of the day and VERY hot! So yes beware of those little hidden ditches that like to jump right in front of you!  

Hope all is going well! I love you all very much and keep sharing the good news!!!

~ Sister Tara Willie

 The Behrends gave us giant otter pops to help cool us down! 

 Awesome storm that hit us! Beautiful southern Georgia! 

 With the Turner family! They are crazy, but I just love them! :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"First I Obey, Then I Understand." ~ Marjorie Hinckley

Hey y'all! The weeks are flying by! Yesterday was my 8 month mark.... ya ummm I really don't feel like I've been a missionary this long. lol I still feel like I am "new" in a sense. But it has been a great 8 months so far! Lots of learning, growth and miracles! 

Last week was great! We had lots of miracles! I think I have mentioned Debbie before? She was baptized in January and used to be a Jehovah Witness. All this time she has struggled with certain questions and understanding. She was having a hard time with Jesus Christ being called Jehovah and not knowing God's name. When we were visiting with her last week we had this conversation (again) and she told us that she feels like to have a personal relationship with someone you need to know their name. But the good news was that she finally accepts and knows for herself that Jesus Christ is truly Jehovah! As we were talking with her I had so many thoughts and impressions come to mind. I decided to ask her a question and see if she could "teach" herself, just like Christ does in the New Testament. :) I asked her "if this was imperative to her salvation?" She paused and then said "I cannot answer that right now." Then she paused for about a minute and then started talking and answering her own question! It was awesome to witness! I felt like I needed to say one more thing. So I said "you may know two Johns. One can be mean and the other can be the sweetest person you know. Does the name make them who they are?" She then realized that knowing His name doesn't show us who God is and it doesn't bring us closer to Him. But we need to understand his personality and how much He truly cares for us as individuals. She told us how she no longer needs to know, her question had been answered! Woot woot! Sis Abad said that Debbie has been having this question since January! I love being a vessel for him and helping other people come closer to Him!!! :)

Another miracle was the two different times we taught Glen. The first we were talking about keeping the Sabbath day holy and not working. He works every Sunday and rarely can make it to church. I felt like I needed to encourage him to find a new job and promise him blessings... ya I was pretty scared to tell him that! But I took courage and did it! He was open to it, but isn't 100% ready to make that commitment. The second visit was a lot more intense! We talked about Temples and Forever Families. Brittney can go to the Temple in a year, but not with Glen. So he feels like he is holding her back, etc. Lots of fear with being left behind, but he can make the decision to be baptized... he is just a slow mover. He told us that he knows this church is true because of how it has changed Brittney and his family. But he isn't converted fully yet. He wants to know everything before making a decision. The coolest thing was when I felt like using Debbie as an example and how she still had questions when she was baptized. He connected with that and it helped because he knows her. We asked him to pray for a date, he was hesitant and scared. He asked for one week to receive an answer. so we will see what happens! Keep him in your prayers please! I love being bold when the spirit prompts me to! Even though it is a bit scary. :) 

Well I hope y'all are doing great! Keep smiling and remember God loves you! XOXO

~Sister Tara Willie

With the Sisters after ZTM! 

We got caught in a down pour! And we were soaking wet!  

Sister Abad and I have an "inside" joke about Superman with the Elders... :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Georgia grown watermelon is SO delicious!

Hey Family and Friends!

Happy belated 4th of July!!! I hope y'all had a great time celebrating our nation’s independence! Cause we sure did! :) Since the southerners take any excuse to drink all of us missionaries were required to be inside our apartments at 6pm. But the day was still grand! Many members invited us to join their families to celebrate, which was nice since people are not that friendly when you knock on their door on a holiday. I tried boiled peanuts for the true first time and I like them! (Or at least how this member makes them.) Also we may have schooled the Elders in a water balloon fight. ;) 

A week or so ago an Elder came home to the Cochran ward, so this past week he has been going out with us and it has been very successful! All of our investigators and new converts love him! lol... we may or may not be using "flirt to convert" with him... :) jk! But it sure did help with getting Tariaya and Keikei to church yesterday! (the first time they came in a month!) Also Glen (Brittney's husband) came to church yesterday! woot woot! :)

We had a mini miracle! Sister Abad and I were on our way to visit some peeps and then see Miss. Doris. We were almost to their apartment when I felt like we need to go see Miss. Doris now! SO we went, not thinking too much of it. When we got there she let us in and told us that family was coming over real soon for a party, but she want to talk to us about the spirit world. So for 5 minutes we were able to share and testify to her and answer some of her questions. Right when I had finished and no other thoughts were coming, someone knocked on her door, it was her family and they were there to party! Perfect timing! And as we were saying goodbye she told us that she was going to be out of town for about two weeks! :( We promised her that she if she reads and ponders the BOM she will receive an answer to her questions and know for herself of the truthfulness of Joseph Smith. She promised us she will and to come back in two weeks. Wow the Lord is so mindful of all of us and knows what we need and where we should be! 

We had two lessons with Nikki this week! The first lesson we just answered her questions and talked about her reading in the BOM. We didn't feel the need to go over the lesson we had planned, but the next time we went over she was asking questions that lead right into the Law of Chasity.  It was an amazing lesson! She testified herself how she knows from personal experience that it is true, she even got emotional and told us how much she want to do the Father's will. She is so ready to be baptized and continue on this path, but her life is so busy, she just needs to realize this is the most important thing to schedule! She is getting more and more excited about reading the BOM, but has this fear that when she reads it she is replacing the Bible. We addressed her fears and helped her to realize that the BOM is truly a companion to the Bible. Then we gave her ideas on how she can study them both. She will be gone for two weeks as well. :( But she said that she will try to come to our BOM class this Tuesday night! Now we just need her to come to church! :)

Also every week we visit a less active lady. She hasn't been to church in over 30 years but she knows it to be true. We had invited her to prepare to go to the temple and she said she will think about it, so last week we followed up and she said she wants to go but she doesn't want to be sealed her deceased husband. We have talked to the Bishop about it and he is excited for us to help her receive her own endowments! yippie! :)

I hope you all are doing great! Keep smiling and being positive! Much love! 

~ Sister Tara Willie

 Trying boiled peanuts!

Water balloon fight @ the Morris' 

Giant watermelon! So yummy!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I Am Happy!! :)

Hey y'all!!!

Last week we were so busy! I learned how to 'dougie' at Brittney's.... and it was there that I was told that I dance like I am white... lol! But they promised me that they will teach me how to 'gangsta' dance or I should not ever dance again. ;)  We had FHE with them and it was a great experience! We taught out of For the strength of youth pamphlet on families and friends. Brittney, Glen their two oldest: Shon (11), Beanie (9) and two friends: Niah (11) and Zario (7) where there. They loved it! Beanie is such a great little missionary! She is reading the BOM with her friends and now they want their own! Hopefully we can get their parents permission to teach them, but for the time being we will teach them whenever they are at Brittney's house! Glen really enjoyed FHE, his heart is truly softening and he loves when we come over! Tonight we will be having FHE with them again but Brittney is teaching! She is so excited! Plus we are in charge of the game! :)

Nikki is still as busy as every but we saw her and taught her the word of wisdom. She understood it but she questioned coffee and tea (which is normal) but the funny thing is she doesn't drink coffee or tea... lol but she said she would try living the WOW for a week to see how it blesses her life. She didn't make it to church either. :(  We are trying to get members to go with us to teach her! Hopefully that will help her! :) 

I had a neat experience last week. We had stopped by to see Miss. Doris and her grandchildren. They were playing outside so we had a nice conversation with her. We talked about Joseph Smith and how she doesn't agree that he would be the only one to see God or receive the priesthood, because what about all of the slaves, they couldn't have heard about this message in this life. I felt prompted to explain family history work and baptisms for the dead. She grasped a greater understanding and I saw a light go on in her head! Woot! She has been at a stand still in learning more for over 3 months, so hopefully this has helped her to start progressing again! 

Yesterday in sacrament meeting Our high councilor was speaking on being happy and responding to "how are you doing?" with "I am happy" it was pretty inspiring and I am gonna try it out! :)  There was plenty of time left over, so Bishop Thompson got up and said he had felt prompted to invite people up to bear his testimony... first he called on Sister Willie (me). As I walked up to the pulpit my mind was blank, nothing was coming to my mind and I had no idea what to say. I did what I do best, smile REAL big! I looked out in the congregation and said "Well hi everyone!" And once I said those words the thoughts started flooding in! It was incredible! I don't remember half of what I said, but I do remember saying things that I had never thought about before. As I was speaking I wasn't sure if the things I was saying made sense or flowed very well. Once I finished and sat down Sister Abad turned to me and said "Wow Sister! That was incredible! How come you didn't share those things with me before?" I told her that it all came from Heavenly Father, I just opened my mouth and he filled it. :) It was incredible experience! After me Bishop called Brother Glen Arnold up to the stand, he started out with thanking me for my testimony and then went on telling everyone about his first time meeting me. He had asked me if I was related to the Willie handcart company? I told him yes, the captain is my ancestor. He and half of the congregation finds it so neat! Then he slightly turns towards Bishop and says "I know we all would love to hear more about her ancestors, so there you go Bishop I found someone to give us a talk soon." lol the whole congregation was laughing. :) (Because they aren't the ones who have to give the talk. lol) But it was funny and Bishop did come up to me after and said I might have to give a talk... lol. Actually a lot of members came up to me after words because they found it very interesting about my ancestors or they loved my testimony or both! :) Over all it was a great sacrament meeting!

I hope y'all are doing great! I love you very much and pray for you daily! :) I invite y'all to pray for a missionary experience and the to act on your promptings, because if you do you will be so happy and your testimony will be greatly strengthen! Much love! 

~ Sister Tara Willie

 No words can express this.....

With Beanie and her friends after they taught us how to 'dougie' 

A sweet member bought us Korean food!!! I love the yogurt drink a lot! :)

Working Hard = Blessing Beyond Belief!

Dearest Family and Friends!

Transfers are this week but Sister Abad and I are staying together!!! Everyone was thinking she would be leaving since she has already been here for 6 months! When they didn't call her name during the conference call we screamed! loo :) We are having so much success and love each other very much! 

This past week was a great one! We some how ended up with a referral that was back from 2005! We were confused but we went and visited her. Tonya let us teach her lesson one, it was an ok lesson but at the end we both had strong over whelming feelings to not wast our time on her! (wow this btw is very rare, most of the time we have the feeling they just need time before we come back) We asked her for referrals and she pointed us the direction of her neighbor Jennifer. Sister Abad and I had 15 minutes to drive to our next appointment and we only had about 20 minutes till we needed to be there, so we were hesitant to knock on her door in case we ended being late. But we knocked anyways and miracle upon miracles happened! Not only was Jennifer home but she let us in and had her 3 daughters join us and turn off the TV! They all participated and were very interested! During the lesson the spirit kept prompting us to say and do different things, the lesson was one of  the best that we taught and was super powerful! They even want us to come back! Woot! I have a goal to baptize a family on my mission! :) We were late to out next appointment but that was ok since he had just pulled up when we got there! We were able to see Miss. Donna and share a scripture with her and thats when her daughter showed up. They both were receptive and loved hearing about the BOM and the next time we came the dad was super excited about what we share! Its just hard to catch them at a good time... but once they realize the importance of our message they will make time! 

Speaking of making time for our message, Nikki has been super super busy but she makes time for us! She is SO awesome! We kept having conflicting schedules, since we go to Eastman every other day and she was either in Atlanta or her kids had softball tournaments, but we were able to have a great lesson and she had so many good questions! I love when our investigators have questions cause it truly means they are learning! We talked about what faith is to us and about conversion and reverence. I was able to ask her if she is willing to be baptized and gave her a date for July 26th! She said YES YES! But she needs to talk with her husband first... he claims to be Muslim. But she is super excited and can't wait to learn more! We hope to start teaching her whole family soon! :) 

Brittney is so amazing! She is excited about being a visiting teacher and having a calling! I love her enthusiasm and willingness to serve in the church! Glen (husband) is a lot more open to listening to us! He was afraid that when Brittney was baptized that he would be left behind, but all those fears are gone now! We are having FHE with them tonight and he is really excited and said he was in charge of the game! As he notices how this gospel is bring his family closer together his heart will become more open and he will except the truthfulness! Then his family can be sealed in the temple!!! :)     

I just love being a missionary! I love the area I am serving in and all the hard work that we do here! I hope y'all have a great week and keep smiling! Remember to share the gospel with someone, even if they are already a member cause your testimony will be strengthen! Love 
~ Sister Tara Willie
Tracting down a dirt's super hot!! 

Random sign in Eastman! 

My name :)