Monday, July 11, 2016

Final testimony, Humidity and Machete!

June 27, 2016

Hey Family,

So this past week has been crazy. We have been all over the place and in the car for so long.
So Monday, we had a really fun P-day.We got to do all of our emailing and shopping down, then we played some rounds of Apples to Apples and that is always a fun game. Then we got to have a Nerf war and that was a lot of fun!!!! It was Durtschi and I against the Elders and we were playing capture the flag/play-doe. Us sisters were winning then the elder caught up, but at the end of it, we called it a tie. We were so tired after the game, but had so much fun and laughs. Then after we got to go over to Debbie's house to help clean her house. She always looks forward for us coming over and we always love going over to help her out and to give her company. 

Tuesday, we got to go help out at St. Vincent's and that is always our favorite to be with such great people and helping others. After then we got to help Sister Herron with picking up branches that had fallen in the storm. So it took us about an hour to pick up all the branches and it was really hot outside but we were lucky that the trees were giving us some shade. Then when we got home, we got all ready and started driving down to Vicksburg, so that we can sleep over and don't have to get up so early for Zone Conference Wednesday. SO we drove down and got to hang with the Vicksburg Sisters, Sister Kendall and Sister Pitt. I love these two girl's so much, we had such a fun time talking and laughing!! We had a great time just getting to know each other better and we finally able to go to bed at a reasonable hour, haha.  

Wednesday, we got to the Clinton bright and early in the morning and got the cars all cleaned. Then we made our way inside and got already for the meeting. President was the first to talk and he started the meeting off with watching a video, "The Atonement: How it applies to Missionary Work". Watching the video, it just invited the spirit so strongly into the meeting. It totally helped remember that The Atonement is so important in this work and the only way to teach others the Atonement is that we ourselves to understand The Atonement more fully. I know that the past 16 months, I have gained a stronger testimony about The Atonement of Jesus Christ. Missionary Work is never easy, but I know that Jesus has gone through much more then I will ever go through. And he is with me every single day, "And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, yo bear you up (D&C 84:88)." "We have every reason to stand tall, and to be grateful that the Savior and Redeemer of the world knows all about our sorrows and our afflictions. And that for a moment or two in our lives, we will understand what He went through for us (Elder Holland)." How amazing is it to know that our brother, Jesus Christ is always with us and knows exactly what we have, will and are going through. He is truly the only one that knows because he has gone through it also. Oh how I love this Gospel!!!!!

Then after the video, President got back up and gave a little joke and said, "Well after watching this, we can go back to our areas and work." Of course he was joking, but it is so true. We are out here teaching people about Christ and how we need to repent to come closer to Him. Then President talked to us about repentance and how we need to know how to repent so that we can show our investigators how to repent. 

The Zone Leaders then got up and talked about confidence and how us missionaries need confidence in our lives. We need more confidence going around and sharing this great gospel. It was just so great and I know that I can do better with my confidence and so I really needed to hear this.
And of course this is my last Zone Conference and so they have those leaving the next two transfers give their final testimonies, so there were 8 of us that got to do that. It didn't really hit that I am almost done with my mission until I was sitting up on the stand hear others give their testimonies. Finally, it got to the time that I had to get up and give my testimony and all the feeling that was going through me was just amazing that I couldn't hold back the tears. I am so grateful that I can serve a mission and help bring others closer to Christ. And I wouldn't still be out here if it wasn't for The Atonement and knowing that He is always here with me. But the most important thing that I have learned out here is that I am A Child of God and He knows me. That is the one thing I am so grateful to know and that is why I am here. So that others know that they are children of our Heavenly Father. We all need to know that in this crazy world we live in. When we are told we are ugly, dumb, or just ugly words, we all need to remember that someone sees us has Beautiful, Genius, and just plain Amazing and that person telling us that is our Heavenly Father. 

After the meeting, we got to go on exchanges with the STL's, Sister Harrison and Frandsen (they both go home with me) in Richland. I got to go with Sister Frandsen and we had a lot of fun. We got to go do service at a place called the Food Network and it is a pretty cool place. A bunch of other missionaries were there and also ladies from the jail were there to work there. We got to talk with them for a little bit and got to do service too. After, we meet the elders at the Brandon building and a bunch of memories just came flooding through my mind. I was just great to drive through it and then we went and got Cane's which it has been a good minute since I have eaten there. I just couldn't stop smiling while we were eating there because of all the good times there. Then we headed back to Greenville so we could get back in time to go out with Sister Turley. And of course the drive is always long but beautiful at the same time. 

So we got back in time for Sister Turley to pick us up. We got to see Sister Martin, which she is going through a divorce right now and is having a hard time. So we visited her and at first she was talking about her ex and we were able to turn it around to talk about the Book of Mormon and it was just a really visit and the spirit was very strong. Then we figured out that she needs help with painting her house the next day, so we figured out a time that she can pick us up to help her out with that.
So we got up Friday and got already for service and then Sister Martin got back to us and cancelled. So are whole day basically fell through and we were pretty discouraged about it. So we just decided to go see potentials from the area book. So we started walking and it was REALLY Hot outside, but we found ourselves over by Sister Washington's house so we stopped inside to cool off. As we were visiting with her, a neighbor came over and asked a little bit of what we do, so we got to talk with him about what we do as missionaries and also about the church. He sounded pretty interested and we got to invite him to church, but he said not this week so hopefully next week. Then we left and started walking again to find people and we got to stop at a park to cool off. We got to talk with this family for a minute and they were really nice. Told them a little bit of what we do and they commended us doing what we are doing.

SO we left him and starting walking at a good pace and then we got to the house we were looking for, but Durtschi saw this women across the street so we went over to talk to her. She was watching her kids play in the pool and we just got to talk with her and get to know her (her name is Courtney). We got to talk with her about why we are called Mormons and got to share with her a little bit about the Book of Mormon and she told us that her mom has a Book of Mormon. She was really opened to hearing more, so we got to invite her to come to the Turley's for dinner and she said that she will hopefully come. So we are praying for that to happen. 

So after we left her, we were heading back down the road but we felt that we should go another way so that we didn't have to see the guy again. SO we found this back alley that we walked through and was able to avoid him. As we were walking we saw this power truck parked and then we saw the bushes move and this guy came out. He totally scared Durtschi and she told him that and he joked that at least he wasn't an ax murder, but the creepy thing about it was that this guy had a machete in his hands. So after we saw him, are pace quickened, haha! What is up with me meeting all these weird, crazy people. 

As we were walking, we felt prompted to go try to see Ms. Sherry Valerie. Ad as we walked by her house, we saw that she was home and we got to visit with her. She is doing much better then from the last time we saw her. She has been praying a lot and has noticed a difference in her life, which we were so happy to hear that. She always makes us feel good every time we come over and that we have made a difference in her life. I love visiting with Sherry and we got to invite her to come to church before work and she said that she can do that and might even bring her mother. So we were really happy to hear that. 

And then Sunday we just had a normal Sunday, but we did have really good talks about Obedience and Missionary Work. They were really good and learned a lot from them. We were really happy because Sherry came to church but she had to leave early for work but we were happy that she could come for a little bit. Then we got to have dinner at the Turley's and they are the best. We were waiting for Courtney and she texted us that she wasn't going to be able to make it but we were able to set a time to see her this next week. 

So this week has been pretty crazy and busy but we had a lot of good things happen. Things are looking up and we are excited to see the changes. I can't believe that it is almost July and it is almost time for me to come home. Time truly does go by fast on the mission. Thank you for the prayers and everything that y'all have done for me. I love you and miss you soooooo much!!!!!!

Sister McKenna O'Connor

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