Monday, March 24, 2014

Amber Ltr: 2014-03-24

March 24, 2014

Hey it's me :)

What's good family?! I always love Mondays when I get to hear about how everyone is doing and what is going on at home. It is weird being so disconnected from all of you. But thanks for keeping me posted on everyone! I'm glad that Court and Brooke and Cameron got their letters and I'm working on the rest. And yes I did get that package :) Thank you so much Mom!! It made my day and I know that a lot of time went into it. You are the world's greatest!! I love you!

But guess who got baptized this weekend? Michael!!! It was the greatest :) So on Wednesday, we get a call from him and his wife and they asked us if we could pull a baptism together in 3 days. We said absolutely and we switched a few things around to get the rest of his lessons and interview in before Saturday. But we have some incredible ward members who helped us get clothing, refreshments, programs, and musical numbers ready. It all came together somehow and Saturday at 5 PM, Michael got baptized. He informed us on Friday that we were singing a musical number with his wife because, "If I can give up smoking for the rest of my life, then you can sing for 30 seconds." Touche. So we sang, "I know that my redeemer lives." It turned out really pretty and his wife has a beautiful voice! I will send some pics home today but as a warning, I look like I have been running around the church right before they were taken because that is exactly what I was doing. His confirmation turned out really great too. He is such an incredible guy and this decision truly will change his life and the life of his family. Have I ever told you his story? I don't know if I have. Sorry if you are hearing it again. But his wife, Roberta, was raised in the church and then left it when she was a teenager. She got into smoking, drinking, tatoos, etc. She met and married Michael and moved to Texas. Some missionaries tracted into them and Michael invited them back, wanting to give them a hard time and knowing that Roberta would send them away. But they ended up reading the Book of Mormon with them and it touched Roberta's heart and she decided that she wanted to start going back to church. This was back in August. Michael took the discussions but didn't have any desire to give up smoking or drinking and still had some issues with the book of mormon and the church. But then when Roberta went through the temple, he decided to get his act together and quit cold turkey. He didn't use patches or anything and hasn't touched cigarettes in about a month now. During his confirmation blessing, it talked about how he is now on the road to the temple and that his family will be so blessed from his decision to be baptized. He walked off the stand and did a huge fist pump and was like, "yes!" and he wouldn't stop smiling the whole meeting. I love him!!! And the ward has been so incredibly supportive of him and Roberta. I love this ward! One of them came up to us after church yesterday and tearfully told us how he believes that we were sent to this ward at this time specifically for Michael. I really think that is true. I love his family so much and it has been so rewarding to be a part of this experience. They are planning on going through the Salt Lake temple in a year so if I'm home, then I get to go!

Sorry that I haven't really talked about my companion at all. I really like her a lot I promise! She is a really good missionary and we get along really well. She has been getting really bad headaches in the mornings, related to allergies--apparently the pollen count is really really high here and allergies get pretty bad. But she pushes through. I am hoping that she stays my companion for another transfer because transfers are next week! What the? when did that happen? I can't believe how fast time is going and it keeps getting faster. 

Other than that, our other investigators have been super flaky. It is getting a little discouraging but that is our goal for this week is to turn our attention to them and to find some new people as well to start teaching. So if you could add that to your prayers to help us find people, that would be greatly appreciated. :) 

Well I love you all so much and I am so grateful for all of you. Thanks for the prayers and all you do for me!! I couldn't ask for a better family :)

Sister Bedke

PS Karl is getting baptized on April 12 now. He had some things to work through with Joseph Smith but they are all resolved now and he is all set to go for that date!!
PPS HAPPY BIRTHDAY BROOKE!!!!! A card should get to you sometime this week :) Have an incredible day and know that someone in Georgia loves you and will be thinking of you!

Amber Ltr: 2014-03-17

Subject: I wish chicks could dunk :)

March 17, 2014

Hola mi familia!

Hi from Georgia! It sounds like you have had a great week! Thanks for keeping me updated on life back in Utah :) And holy cow dad! I can't believe the hours that you are putting in! I am sure that has got to be wearing you down. Thanks so much for all you do for the ward family! I love you! And I'll keep my arms crossed for you Jace! Hopefully your headaches will start to go away. And "yes Jace I got your letter and it is true what you said about Courtney now that I think of it. If only you all knew what it says... ;) Haha I also got the one you sent me this last week too :) thanks bud! and I got a reply back to Brooke and I'm working on getting to a couple more today. 

That is way cool that Court's friend is coming to this mission! He has the cooIest name ever! I can't believe that that means transfers are coming in 2 weeks! This transfer has FLOWN by! But I will keep an eye out for him. He is coming to the greatest mission in the world!

So I get to see Sister Haderlie all of the time now. Our district meetings are in the same building and things are really good between us. She actually ran up to me and gave me a huge hug the first time she saw me which made me feel really good :) She has really enjoyed the companions that she has had since me so that is awesome! 

This week was similar to last week in that there was a lot of cancelled appointments and busy people but there were little tender mercies (and a big miracle) that helped us to keep going. We had a return appointment with a potential that seemed like it was going to be awesome and then about halfway through the lesson it just took a drastic turn and she just started yelling at us for the next 30 minutes about how our church is wrong and Joseph Smith is a fraud and how one day we are going to get to heaven and look at Christ and He is going to tell us that we picked the wrong church and have missed the boat. She stood over us and wouldn't let us get a word in at all and wouldn't let us leave until she finally says that she has given us a lot to think about and hopes that we will come back to the truth one day. So that was a little rough. But then right after we had this miracle:

And now for the title of my letter :) Michael is getting baptized either this weekend or next weekend!! Oh my goodness I am so excited!!! It was the best lesson ever with him! So we went over with Sister Perry, one of my favorite members who is like my mom in the ward. He started out by talking with us about how mormons always say that they "believe" instead of "know" and how that leaves room for doubt in what they are saying. We started talking about why that is and how it is a gradual progression of building testimony and then the Spirit caught up with our brains and we felt prompted to ask him what he knows. Which led into a great conversation about how he knows how the church is true, the book of mormon is true and that he is ready to set a date to be baptized!!! It was so cool!! It is either going to be this weekend, the 22nd, or next weekend, the 29th because he wants Roberta's (his wife who is awesome!) grandpa to do it so just as soon as he can get here! And that is when he told us that he wishes chicks could dunk :) haha he is so great! But it is such a huge tender mercy because I can't go to Karl's so the Lord is letting me have a baptism here instead! Best day ever!!! 

Nothing that woman said makes this church any less true and someday she will know and I want to teach her in the next life. But it always makes for a good story right? :) haha gotta love missionary life.

But I love you all so much!! Thanks for all the love, prayers, and support!! You are all incredible!

Love always,
Sister Bedke

Monday, March 10, 2014

Amber Ltr: 2014-03-10

Subject: Guess what???

March 10, 2014

Hey family!!!

Thank you so much for all of the letters that I got this week! I loved hearing from all of you even if it was forced :) (thanks mom!) Haha I love how they all started with: Dear Amber, Mom is making us all write letters to you... Haha it made me laugh! I will definitely get back to all of them but it might take me a couple of weeks to get to all of them.

I can't believe all of the changes that y'all had in the ward! Everyone will do such a great job with it though! And mom that is crazy that you will be in primary! How long has it been since you have had a primary calling? But that is exciting! And tell Mitch and Marissa, Caleb, Devin, and Lyssa congratulations from me :) That is exciting!

Yes I am still in a car :) Thank heavens. I still haven't touched my bike but I have a goal to do so at some point on my mission... I still have 13 months though so no hurry...

Good luck on the study Jace! Keep me posted with how it is going. When does it start?

So the big news for this week is that Karl (from Webb Bridge) is getting baptized!!!!! I got to see Sister DeBry on Saturday (which was the best) and she told me all about it! I am putting in her version of the story from her email to her family because it will have better detail this way:

Karl is on date for the 23rd!!!!!!!! :) :) :) Yep!! I'm smiling from ear to ear! We had a lesson with him on Tuesday and we were pretty bold with him as we talked about the principles and ordinances of the Gospel.  I was with Sister Grimnes, a sister training leader (kind of like a sister zone leader) and we focused on the blessings of having faith, leading to sincere change, and the blessings of baptism and the Holy Ghost.  As we left I felt good about the lesson but worried a little bit about how Karl took it.  He seemed surprised at our boldness and I worried that he'd back off.  But! The next night we had a scripture study class and he accidentally turned to 2 Nephi 31 and started reading, so with the Spirit, the other sisters decided to change lessons and read it with him. (we were late because of another meeting, so we weren't even there for this part). Coincidentally enough, the chapter is one of the greatest chapters focused on faith and baptism!! When we got there, Karl turned to me and whispered, "You'll be really glad to hear that we're studying about baptism!" and I just smiled and said, "Karl, do you believe in coincidence?" He just smiled back and turned back to his scriptures.  He gave incredible insight throughout the lesson and asked more questions about the temple and further ordinances. We didn't think much of it until we got a text from him the next night with some questions of some things he'd been reading about baptism in the New Testament.  We just chuckled to ourselves noticing that he was taking this a lot more seriously than we expected.  On Friday we got another text from him saying, "I read my assignment in 3 Nephi 11 and I want to talk more about baptism." We just about died! It was happening over and over again! We had a lesson with him that night to answer his questions and to teach him parts of the next lesson.  But throughout the lesson, we'd answer his question and then he'd change the subject. Then as we started teaching more of the lesson, he'd turn it back to baptism.  By the time we were about to say the closing prayer he said, "so... about baptism.... what's my next step?" I just sat back and said, "Ok Karl... you've been asking a whole lot of questions about baptism.  Are you reconsidering getting baptized?" He got the biggest grin on his face and said, "What's my next step?" So!!!! We told him the things he could start doing right now, set a date, and we're moving forward for the 23rd! There's some complications that we're going to have to work out because he'll be in Augusta the 22nd but it's all going to work out.  He came to church yesterday having downloaded the Gospel Library and the Mormon Channel.  Sitting in Gospel Principles in his suit and tie, with his handy phone out for scriptures, he'd looked like a real classy Mormon!! He's also told me that he is my newest uncle, and that he'll be planning a trip to come to Utah in 2015 to meet the rest of the family! :) He's the greatest!! Thank you for your many prayers in Karl's behalf! I'll keep you updated!! Heavenly Father truly brings miracles!!

Me again :) But I was SO excited to hear about it and I know that it was a huge answer to prayers! And Taareka is still going strong as well!! I love being a missionary :)

We had an interesting week in Collins Hill though. We had 10 cancelled appointments with our investigators this week, which is always a bummer when that happens. But we were able to see a lot of less active families which we normally don't have a ton of time to meet with which was a big blessing. There are some incredible people here and I love this ward!

Michael is still going strong with not smoking!! He is awesome! He and his wife were in charge of our ward adult party that happened on Saturday night! It was a murder mystery dinner that was based on the murder of the chief judge in Helaman. It was so cool and at the end, Michael stood up and taught everyone about the scriptures and bore his testimony! It was a good night to be a missionary :) He got a blessing from another couple in the ward (the Perry's who have become like my parents in this ward, I love them!) and they were talking to us just saying how incredible of a person he is and the Lord has so much in store for him. He doesn't have a date yet because it was such a crazy week that we didn't have a formal lesson with him but hopefully this week!

Tiffani Williams cancelled on us twice this week dang it. She literally cancelled like 10 minutes before both times. It was so frustrating. And we had a special session of stake conference yesterday (my 4th stake conference in 5 months) and she wasn't able to make it. But we will keep trying!

So we had a little bit of a relapse in the weather this week. On Thursday, both of our afternoon appointments cancelled on us, which translates into going tracting in the 37 degree weather in the wind and the rain. It was so tempting to just go home and call it, but we knew that wasn't an option so we started knocking doors. We kept laughing at how ridiculous we looked and people just looked at us like we were crazy. Maybe we are... But then we came to this one house where this older couple answered the door and let us come in. Their names were Ron and Charlotte and they were so impressed that we were out in that weather. They are both Catholic but had heard of Mormons and had a lot of questions for us. We ended up talking for about an hour and they want us to come back! Heavenly Father always provides those incredible tender mercies that I am so grateful for.

But the meeting we had on Saturday was incredible :) Elder Parker, Elder Pieper, and Elder Cook all spoke to us and it was a really powerful meeting. He talked to us about how this truly is where the Lord needs us to be and left us with a special blessing that our service would open the windows of Heaven and that our families would be blessed because of our service. It was such a good reminder of the Lord being aware of His missionaries and that this is where I need to be right now. And I am so grateful that I am here. I know that this Church is true. It is the only way that missionary work can be possible. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that President Monson is the Lord's prophet. I love this Gospel and I am so grateful to be a missionary for the Lord. Have a great week and know that someone in Georgia loves you and is so grateful for all of you!
Sister Bedke

Monday, March 3, 2014

Amber Ltr: 2014-03-03

Subject: What the 5 months out?!

March 3, 2014

Hey family!

Thanks so much for the letter! It sounds like y'all have had a great week! (I am pretty sure every letter I write to you starts out this way, I'll have to work on coming up with new intros to these letters...) But it is so crazy that it has been 5 months since I left. And it is even crazier that Ash has been home 2 months! In some ways it seems like forever and in other ways it seems like I just left. Mission time warp is a real thing. But life is still going good here in Georgia! I really am loving being here and there are a lot of miracles that are happening in this ward with our investigators.

One of the biggest miracles that is we have people to teach who are progressing! We are working with about 9 different investigators/families who are all really solid. I never had this in Webb Bridge and I am still wrapping my head around this. But I like it a lot :) The Lord truly is blessing us so much. These past 2 weeks we have had members come with us to almost every lesson that we have had with our investigators. The ward is really supportive of us and yes they are feeding us :). Are you taking care of the missionaries in our ward? I know feel really bad for ever being annoyed that they came over and ate a lot of food. Make sure they feel welcome, ok? Are they weird or normal? Court are they weird?

Some of the miracles from this week: Mike is still going strong without smoking! He has now been a whole week and it is finally getting a little easier for him. He has been smoking since he was 12 years old and he is quitting alcohol at the same time. He is a champ and really wants to be baptized. We are going to try and get him on date this week for the 3rd week of March. Lots of new experiences in this ward :) We had a really neat lesson with him about the enabling power of the Atonement and it was really powerful. I think he is going to pull through!

We found another family to teach this week! It is the Williams family. The mom, Tiffany, just got divorced and has 7 kids. She has been going to a non-denom church but she thinks that it is way too money driven and that 1 hour isn't long enough to receive God's word. Don't worry our church is 3 hours long! They were supposed to come yesterday but Satan ended up making them sick. He is the worst. But she is planning on coming this week! And the lesson that we had with them on the Restoration was really good. After sharing the first vision with them, I asked her how she was feeling and she was like, "I have a really weird feeling in here (pointing to her heart) but not in a bad way." We talked about how it was the Spirit and that could be more a part of her life as we taught her more about the Gospel. She has had a really hard life but I know that the Gospel will really help her out a lot. All of her kids sat in on the lesson with us too!

The Dunn's weren't home for their lesson this week though... We called them after and they just forgot about it. So they didn't blow us off but it is always a bummer when that happens.

But things are going really good here! Sister Webster and I get along really good :) She is a really good missionary and Court she actually reminds me a lot of you! You would like her a lot.

I can't believe that the bishopric is getting changed up! Why is that happening? I am excited to hear who the new ones are! Tell them all hi for me!

I did get Brooke's letter and I got one from Jace as well :) Thank you so much and I am working on a reply to each of you! Court and Madi I still haven't heard from you once in 5 months...

I love you all so much! Thanks for the prayers, love, and support! Y'all are the greatest!

Love, Sister Bedke

PS Elder Cook is coming to speak to us and the Atlanta mission on Saturday! So excited!!!