Monday, December 8, 2014

"Denial-Panic-Excitement-& Denial, a Followed Prompting, Amazing Palmyra Trip, Realization in the Sacred Grove, & Sister Langford bids you a final missionary adieu!"



Ok. I've put off writing this email as long as my hour and a half of allotted email time will allow.

Deep breath.

OH MY GOODNESS. THIS IS MY LAST EMAIL AS A MISSIONARY. I'm going to be honest, it doesn't really seem real. I go through these phases...

the first is denial.

then panic.

then excitement.

then denial again.

then just really, really sappy.

So anyway, That will be an outline for how this email will also go. Let's start with some denial that this is never going to end.

This was a really good week of missionary work. We taught a lot of lessons, and we saw a lot of progression from our investigators. But I have one awesome story that I want to share in particular. So last week, Sister Mason and I were driving down the road. We were stopped at a red light when I looked out the window to see what was going down in Saratoga. Just then I noticed two women, walking down the street with a baby in a stroller. Instantly I thought, "We should talk to them." But then I thought these things, "ok, A: We are in a car on the other side of the road. How would we ever go about that? and  B:  It's sooo cold. I do not want to get out of this car. and then C:  We have somewhere to be. So when the light turned green, we kept driving down the street. We got to our destination, parked and I just knew that we needed to go back. ASAP. So without further discussion I turned the car around and parked down the street from where we saw the women walking. Then we got out of the car and started walking towards these women. Well we came face to face and I pulled out my best and most awkward OYM approach, "Hey! can we talk to you for a minute?" The older lady kind of dodged me by saying, "oh sorry we need to get the baby inside." But I wasn't going to give up that easy. Not after I had turned the car around to talk to them. So I said, "Oh. Well can we give you this card?" The older lady kept walking but the younger one stopped and we got to talk to her. We bore testimony of the importance of our message, and she said we could come back. Then she said, "I've been looking for something like this." Well, this week we have taught this lady 4 times. She has had so many amazing experiences and is totally progressing in the gospel! I am so grateful that I followed the prompting to go and talk to her. I'm excited to see what will happen with her.

Ok now some panic.

OH MY GOSH GUYS. I'm going home. Oh my goodness oh my goodness. (deep breaths)

Now some excitement!

HUUUURRRRRAAAAAY! (at this point you can imagine the part in Tangled where she keeps going back and forth on how she feels) 

Now lets talk about Palmyra.

Ok. That place is so so awesome. We started the day by getting to go to a session in the Palmyra temple. Then we went to the Book of Mormon printing press, ran up the face of the Hill Cumorah (while it was snowing), went to the Joseph Smith farm, then to the Sacred Grove, and finished with a tour of the Peter Whitmore farm. It was such a great day... although all day I just kept thinking,  "Why am I even here? I'm not going home." haha. Hello denial.

Let me tell you though. My absolute favorite part of the trip was getting to go to the sacred grove. When we got there, it was getting dark and it was snowing. Pretty different from when Joseph went out there to pray. But the spirit there was so incredible. I took some time to just sit down by myself and ponder and feel the spirit. Man it was powerful. As I pondered I had this realization:

When I left on my mission, and really throughout the course of my whole mission, I have thought, "What can I give to the Lord. What can I do for Him?" Which is great, but then that sometimes leads to the stress of thinking you didn't do enough for Him. As I sat, and pondered I realized that my mission wasn't about me giving to Heavenly Father, or anyone else (although that happened and it was amazing.) My mission was and is one of the greatest gifts that Heavenly Father could have ever given me. Of course, there have been ups and downs, but my mission has forever changed my life. I couldn't think of a greater gift from Him.

Well, I'm going to finish now... with SO MANY mixed emotions. My mission is the best thing that has EVER happened to me. I am just filled with so much gratitude for everything that it has been. Ahh, I wish I could explain it all in the blog post.

But I'll see you all soon.

Sister Langford 

Monday, December 1, 2014

"Headed to Palmyra, Celebrated 18, Thanksgiving X 3, Coffee Shop Talk, No Tomatoes in Fruit Salad, Call 911!!, & Kaitlyn & kitty litter save the day!"


Hello everyone. Bah! I just had a small panic attack where I realized I only get to write one more of these things after this. Ok. Deep breath.

Let me tell you. You are all in for a treat this week. You think last week was a crazy week... oh man. It only gets better. So let me start by getting a few things out of the way.

1. I GET TO GO TO PALMYRA TOMORROW AND I AM SO STINKING EXCITED. I think I am more excited for the Palmyra trip than anything else at this point. We drive down to Utica tonight, so you won't get to hear about it all until next week. But it will be sweet, and I am way stoked.

2. I HIT MY 18 MONTH MARK THIS WEEK. weird. The elders keep using this against me. Anytime I say anything to them they say, "You don't even count anymore. Just go home." Rude! It's a pretty weird fact. But don't worry. We celebrated my 18 month mark by going to a really fancy restaurant. Sister Mason got a 30 dollar steak. haha. And lest you think we used our MSF for that, we actually tracted into the owner and he let us eat there for free. :)

...and speaking of eating.

3. THANKSGIVING. We had 3 meal appointments back to back. If you think I was dying you would be correct. By the last one I seriously couldn't eat another bite. At every meal they kept saying, "Oh we have so much food! Please go get more!" and we kept thinking "Guys. we still have 2 more dinners after this one!" Let's just say I would be fine if I didn't eat turkey again for a year!

4. The Saratoga ward got a new bishopric. So that was exciting talk of the week. The new bishop is Bishop Eucker and he is way way cool, so we are very excited. Our old bishop is now the Albany stake patriarch. Anyway, random cool news.

Now let's get into the good stories.

1. Ok I can't not start with this story. So.... remember my story last week about the lady who threw the puking cat at us? hahaha. Well, here's another story about her. So this week she invited us over for dinner. So we said, "Ok, make us dinner!" Well, everything was going ok. She was frying some chicken and making some rice. Now let it be noted that there was WAY too much oil being used to fry this chicken... but we let her do her thing. She finished cooking the chicken and set it on the table and then we were just waiting for the rice to be finished cooking. We sat down at the table to share our spiritual thought before dinner started. As we started in on the message all of a sudden we hear this huge "woosh" I look over and see some crazy flickering lights. "OH MY GOSH! I THINK SOMETHING IS ON FIRE!" We all ran into the kitchen. Well, she had left the oil on the burner and it caught on fire. She started freaking out. Thankfully we all knew not to put water on an oil fire. She tried to grab another pan and smother the fire, but the flames just kept coming on the side. Then she yelled, "CALL 911!" Sister Mason ran out of the room to call 911. I was just thinking... oh no. Her house is going to burn down. What do we do? The fire was now climbing all the way up the wall. Black smoke was making it hard to see anything at all. By pure inspiration I knew what to do! I ran to the living room, grabbed a container of kitty litter, (of course), and threw it on the fire. And thank goodness, we got the fire out. Then I ran back outside and filled the kitty litter bucket with snow and dumped that on it too, for good measure. Then we all ran outside just as like 6 fire trucks pulled up. Oh my goodness, we were dying. The fire fighters went in and blew all the smoke out and everything was ok. I think the best part of the night though was when we were standing outside, it's snowing like crazy, and they turn a spot light from one of the fire trucks right on us and the lady we are with just says, "Well, now this is just embarrassing." OH MY GOODNESS YOU GUYS. We have dinner with her again this week. Pray for me. ;)

2. Ok, here is another good story. Thankfully this one is a little less life threatening. So last Monday we had set up to meet with this guy at a coffee shop in town. Yes a coffee shop. Well, we meet him there and sit down on a couch in the middle of the shop. We start teaching him the restoration and it goes ok. It was pretty loud in there so it made it hard to really focus on the spirit. But nonetheless we got a return appointment with him and it seemed like a good evening. We were about to stand up to leave but another guy had sat down near us and had listened to our whole conversation. He goes, "I'm sorry you can't leave yet! I have GOT to pick your brains for a minute." Well... that sounded good to us, so we sat back down. We ended up having a pretty good conversation with him. He was pretty into trying to throw anti at us and argue, but it all ended well and we gave him a Book of Mormon! So then we finished that conversation and were about to get up and leave again, but another guy had sat down and was listening to THAT conversation. He goes, "Oh no, you can't leave yet! I have to ask you some questions." So we got into a nice conversation with him as well. With him though, it was a really uplifting and kind experience. He kept just commending us for what we were doing and telling us that we may never know all the good we do. That we are planting more seeds than we could ever know. It was really awesome and uplifting.

Later that night as I reflected on the experience I just kept thinking about the difference between the two men who had wanted to talk with us in the coffee shop. The first proclaimed multiple times to be a Christian. Yet, all he did during our conversation was try and pull down our beliefs and make us feel bad. He even tried to tell us that WE were anti-Christ's. Yet, the second man, never once proclaimed a particular faith, or even a strong belief in Jesus Christ. YET, he was kind, supportive and built us up. The difference in the two conversations was so stark. I guess it goes back to the saying that, "Going to a church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car." The second man had something that the first man lacked, and it was the Spirit. It was kindness, it was seeking the goodness where ever it may be. It reminded me of what WE BELIEVE. that, "if there is anything virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy we seek after these things." Anyway, I just learned a lot from the experience. and they are these things...

one- If you hang out at a coffee shop, people will invariably want to talk religion with you.

two- (this is a quote from the second guy we talked with): "knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad"

three- Being a disciple of Christ is SO MUCH MORE than wearing a name tag.

3. Ok... sorry everyone because this is getting really long, but just one more awesome thing. GLENN'S BROTHER IS GETTING BAPTIZED. He even has a baptism date for December 27. We are so excited. It has strengthened Glenn so much. Man. That guy is such a bomb missionary.

Alright, well I'm going to get going. Trying not to freak out. We will deal with that next week.

Sister Langford