Monday, June 30, 2014

Amber Ltr: 2014-06-30

Subject: Let Freedom Ring :)
June 30, 2014
Hey family!!

I'm glad that a lot more of you are home now and that y'all are doing great :) No I didn't know that Jace is working for that guy. Way to go bud! And I'm glad to hear that Brooke is doing good. And Madi, you will look super cute in braces :) I hope that all comes together ok. I sure miss all of my siblings. I love you all!

Well it has been a HOT week here in Georgia! Hot-lanta is a real thing, let me tell you! It has been in the 90s all week and it rains almost every day but it's great :) you just learn to love and embrace the sweaty, sticky mess that you become, haha. Our apartment stays pretty cool which is nice. We keep it at like 68 degrees. During the day, we just drink a lot of water and run the a/c whenever we are in the car. But it all works out and only 3 more months of summer right? :) Yes I'm sleeping a lot better still.

We had another busy week which was really good :) We got a hold of Shawn again and it was so good! Her daughter is turning 27 on Sunday. Since medicine has no more answers for them after her surgery, they are trying more naturalistic forms of medicine like juicing. Shawn had mentioned that she had been spending a lot of time peeling and washing carrots to juice so we had the thought to buy a couple of bags and wash and peel them and drop them off with one of the copies of the conference ensign that you sent me and points of her blessing that we typed up. It went so good and she was so appreciative of it. I really do think that it is going to happen with her, it is just all about remembering that it will come in the Lord's timing. He really does know best. 

Donna is back in town! I missed her a lot. She is doing so good still and has been getting invited to doing different things with members of ward. :) She just seems so much happier and has that peace in her life now. She bought flooring and it is going in this week! Her house is looking so much better. We went through her HUGE collection of movies, books, and cookbooks. It was crazy how much stuff she has. I felt a lot like you Mom as we went through everything and she had to say either keep or get rid of. She considers herself a "border-line hoarder" so thank heavens we found her in time, haha. But her house is really coming along!

With the bug situation, thankfully, we haven't had any in our apartment. We run into spiders and spiderwebs all the time as we go up to different doors, mosquitoes are very prevalent here, especially in the evening, but they tell me that we live above the gnat line which is great :)

We had a really great lesson with the Clays this week. Bro and Sis Perry came with us and it was an awesome team up to have. We are going to start meeting weekly and go through different points of the Gospel and help them understand the Church's understanding of it. He is not working as a minister or going to any church because none of the churches follow what the Bible says. The way that they do church is they have different studies on various gospel topics. They are such an awesome family! Also when they came for the church tour, I brought those scooby doo fruit snacks for their 7 year old son, Gabe, and now he is also converted to them :) Julie told me that when they went shopping he asked if they could buy a big box of them and they did. Haha he is such a cute little boy! When we went over to their house he showed me his swing set and wanted me to swing with him. It was so fun!

Sam--unfortunately there still isn't any change in the situation. We weren't able to meet with her this week because she wasn't feeling good. But she is still reading and praying and basically doing everything except being able to come to church.

Anna wasn't able to make it to church either. We taught her the first part of the plan of salvation and it went pretty good. We talked with her about how she feels about getting baptized on the 12th still and she said that she wants to have a few church services under her belt before having a date for baptism. But on Friday she got this new job and she had to work yesterday. She didn't know what her schedule was going to be for Sundays in the future so basically Satan is the worst... But we will keep meeting with her and show her how Satan is going to do everything that he can to keep her from church. 

Also we have a new mission president! He got here on Saturday and the other sisters in the ward had a baptism that day and we get there and there is our new mission president! He and his wife seem very nice, very shell shocked and not exactly sure what they are doing yet but who can blame them? They are from Salt Lake. We have a mini zone conference tomorrow where the rest of the mission gets to officially meet them which will be fun. President and Sister Wolfert are from the Salt Lake valley as well. They sent us all a voicemail saying goodbye on Friday and I am going to miss them a lot. It will be interesting to see how the whole transition goes.

Well I think those were the highlights of the week. I love you all so much and I am so grateful for all of you. Thank you so much for sending that song to me Dad. That was incredible. I was thinking about the patriotic fireside that was going on last night that you went to. We had a cool combined 5th Sunday lesson about Liberty and it was awesome. I love this country and I am so proud to be an American and I am so grateful for the men and women who sacrifice so much to keep us free. Have a wonderful week! 

Love always,
Sister Bedke

Monday, June 23, 2014

Amber Ltr: 2014-06-23

Subject: Keep trying, keep believing, be happy, it will all work out :)

June 23, 2014


Well the transfer calls came today and me and Sister Castleton are officially staying together another transfer :) Which I was expecting and I am also really happy about it. I really love this ward and I'm not ready to leave yet or am finished what I need to do here. I can't believe how fast this transfer has gone by though. Everything just seems to be picking up speed and it is really weird. But life is going good here in Georgia :) President and Sister Wolfert go home this week and President and Sister Benion arrive on the 27th. I am going to miss the Wolferts a lot! It has been so great serving with them on my mission so far. I am curious on how the whole transition is going to go. But I'm sure that the Benion's are also great and it will be fine. :)

It sounds like the cattle drive/branding adventure was a success!! That is so awesome that it all turned out and that everyone made it back alive! Where did everyone else sleep at? And how many boys and leaders were able to go? And I'm so happy that Brooke is loving it up at the ranch! What a fun way to spend the summer :)

It was a crazy week. We had a lot going on, which is the best way to have things as a missionary, and I sure learned a lot. I got to go on exchanges with one of our STL's who is one of my really good friends. I really needed that. It was so nice to be able to talk with someone and we had a lot of fun together and even found a couple of new investigators :)

The next day we had an awesome lesson with Anna. It was our first "official" lesson with her, the other 2 we have just talked with her on her porch. She had been reading the Book of Mormon and was really enjoying it. We taught her the Restoration from the perspective of the Atonement. She has a lot going on in her life and she is just recently having God come back into the picture. The Spirit was there really strongly and she accepted the invitation to be baptized on July 12th! She already had some family commitments already yesterday so she wasn't able to make it to church but she is planning on this coming Sunday and she seems really excited about this decision. So we are really excited about having things move forward with her :)

That night we had a church tour with Mike and Julie Clay. I was talking to the member who told us to go and see him (Bro Beaton the bagpipe player :)) and he was like, "you got Mike Clay to come to the church?!" and was just like, "well done sisters!" Haha I love him! But it went really good! At the end of showing them around, we talked in the chapel for a little bit and he told us that he is reading the Book of Mormon again! That is huge! This is the ordained Baptist minister guy. We asked him what he thought about it and he just smiled and said, "I'll let you know." I was talking to Sis Castleton and we think it is going to be one of those things that as soon as that light bulb goes on then things are just going to explode with their family. They are going to be such great mormons :) I am really excited to see how things progress with them.

We also had an extreme makeover--Donna Jackson edition going on this week. All of her carpet and kitchen floor is gone and all of the staples are removed! It is going to look so nice and it smells a lot better having all of that nasty carpet out of there. It is just great to be helping her have this new start on life. She is very much in need of that :) Sister Castleton and I were the ones who removed all of it. Donna is thinking about asking the elders to help her install the flooring though. We will see. I have become pretty proficient in my career as a general contractor, maybe I will change my major to contruction...

A woman in our ward, Sister Spencer, came with us to teach Sam this week. It was a really great lesson! We talked a lot about courage and having the faith to talk to her dad. And she did! She asked him on Saturday if she could go to church on Sunday with her friends. He said no but it is a really big step that she asked him. We texted her on Sunday morning and she sent us the sweetest text. We told her how proud we and Heavenly Father was of her for trying and that it will all come together in His timing. She replied back that she will not let her faith give up and that she is going to keep praying and keep her faith that one day her dad will let her go to church on Sunday. She is a sweetheart :)

That night we had a lesson with Shawn Stevens. We were finally able to get a hold of her and she told us that the doctors found another tumor on her daughters heart. She is going in for surgery on July 11th and Shawn was having a really hard time. We asked her if she would like a blessing. She agreed and we set up a time the next night with Brother Collins again. He gave her a beautiful blessing and in it he talked about how she knows that this is true and that it is time to fully yoke herself up with the Savior, not halfway like she has been doing. The Spirit was so strong and as we were talking afterward she agreed to baptism but now the challenge is finding a date. She talked about the beginning of August but I really feel like it needs to be sooner than that. We told her to take it to Heavenly Father and to find out when she is ready. That was a hard night. I just don't know how to help her without pushing too hard or not enough and I just don't want to lose her. She means so much to me and I just really hope it all works out. It was one of those really humbling nights where I learn that things don't happen in my timing and to just turn it over to the Lord like I was telling Shawn to do. Thank you for your prayers for her. I know that they are helping.

Michael gave a talk in Sacrament meeting yesterday and it was so good! I felt just like a proud mom listening to him. We had dinner with them on Saturday night and he cooked for us and it was amazing! I just love their family!

I do know that everything all comes together in the Lord's timing. I love President Hinckley's quote of "Keep trying, keep believing, be happy, it will all work out." It is so true. This is His church things really do all come together somehow. I know that this is where I need to be and I am so grateful to be serving the Lord here. I love all of you so much and I am so grateful for each of you. Have a great week!

Sister Bedke

PS I had my first Georgia peach this morning and I am really sad to say that peaches in Utah are better... There is something really wrong with that picture.

Amber Ltr: 2014-06-16

Subject: Georgia is really hot...

June 16, 2014


You guys have had a crazy week at home! But it sounds like everyone is doing good :) Thanks for keeping me updated! I about died laughing at the pics of me going down to southern utah with Kim and Brit. Hahaha that was seriously the best thing ever! I'm glad that dad got my fathers day card! That is so weird that it has been 2 years since our family has been together... That seems like forever ago! Good luck at high adventure dad and Jace! And to Brooke as you are starting out the whole ranch adventure! I am excited to hear all about it!

Thank you so much for my package Mom! I got it on Saturday and it made my day :) I wish that you could send Madi in it too! haha I love you beautiful! But that was all perfect. Thanks for getting it all together Mom! I love you!

We had an interesting week. It was really hard trying to get a hold of everyone and get back in with people. Sam is about the same story still. We saw her on Friday finally and gave her a quad that she could give to her dad but she hasn't tried talking to him yet and didn't make it to church again yesterday. I know that it things aren't done in my timing but I don't know what else we can do. I really hope it starts to come together soon with her. But we have to push her baptism back again because she hasn't made it to church still.

Shawn we are pretty sure was out of town this week. She wouldn't answer our calls or texts and we tried stopping by a couple times with no luck. So we will see what happens this week...

The Dunns... We tried calling them a few times with no answer so we stopped by and they were home. She was sick last week which is why they missed church but they said that they would try and make it yesterday but didn't... So we will try and meet with them this week and see what happened there.

The Clays we got to stop by and see for a bit. They are hilarious! But somehow (I still don't know how this happened) my new little missionary ended up talking to the ordained minister/bible scholar Mike while I was in a conversation with Julie. I was trying really hard to focus on both conversations but when that wasn't working too well I just prayed that everything would go ok. He analyzes everything very in depth and they are trying to figure out if what the Mormons believe is the same thing as what they believe. It will be a great teaching/learning opportunity if nothing else at the end of all of this.

Anna, one of our new investigators, we just had a porch lesson with her this week but she said that she really enjoys meeting with us and that she feels very comfortable with us. She is a sweetheart and we are meeting with her on Wednesday.

We did a lot of tracting in the rain this week. It was super hot and humid! But what can you do but smile and laugh at the whole situation? Haha always a good time in the mission field.

Good news though is that Donna's house is all painted and we have now started the process of removing that nasty carpet! It looks so much better in there and it is a lot brighter and happier! So that has been a lot of fun :)

We did have a really cool miracle on Saturday. As we were tracting we came up to a woman outside who was smoking and just looked really depressed. As we were talking, she really opened up to us about how she has had a really hard time lately. She has had to move back in to take care of her mom and is having to do a ton of housework and doesn't really have anyone to turn to. We talked to her about turning all of her burdens over to Christ. We were able to say a prayer with her and give her a book of Mormon. She was really touched and told us that she was going to read the whole thing that night. Her name is Connie and she was such a sweetheart.

Also that same day we found a less active member of our ward who moved in 2 years ago but was never contacted and stopped coming. We didn't know that he lived there, we just happened to tract on his street and found out that he was in the roster under the wrong address. So that was awesome! He wants home teachers and will hopefully start coming back soon!

So there were definitely those little miracles that kept us going throughout the week. Sister Castleton has grown a lot and is starting to understand things more. We have been working really hard this week in spite of everything and things are going to start picking up again soon. I love you all so much and I am so grateful for all that you have done for me. Have a great week!

Love, Sister Bedke

Monday, June 9, 2014

Amber Ltr: 2014-06-09

Subject: A missionary is someone who leaves their family for a time so that others can be with theirs for eternity :)
June 9, 2014
Hey it's me :)

Thanks for the letter mom! It always makes me smile and feel very loved when I see the time that you send those to me. You're the world's greatest! And the front yard looks so pretty! You and Traci did a great job! Thanks for sending the pics.

It is crazy how fast these weeks are flying by. I can hardly believe that this is week 4 of the transfer. And things are just picking up speed. This Wednesday we have the 1 month follow up meeting for new missionaries in Lilburn. This will probably be one of the last, if not the last, times that we get to see President and Sister Wolfert. They did their goodbye to all of us at this last zone conference and it was really sweet. They are awesome and I am going to miss them a lot. But yesterday in sacrament meeting the brother of one of my favorite families in the ward was visiting. He has been called as a new mission president in Argentina and he will be in the MTC at the same time as our new mission president. I was asked to speak in sacrament meeting yesterday and he came up to me after the meeting to introduce himself and he told me that he wished he could have 50 missionaries just like me, which made me feel really good :). I can't imagine what all of the new mission presidents and their wives are going through as their entry date gets closer and closer. But I am sure that President and Sister Benion will be awesome and are exactly who the Lord needs here right now.

We had a really good week here. The week after you have a baptism is always like alright what and who is next. We were very blessed to find some new investigators to work with who seem to have a lot of potential and we are really excited about helping them move forward and progress. One of them is a couple named Mike and Julie. He is an ordained minister in the Baptist church and they have worked with several sets of missionaries. They are hilarious though! We had a blast talking to them and they said that we are welcome to come back anytime. So we will see how that goes haha :)

Another cool experience that we had was on Saturday we were going tracting and we had picked a neighborhood and as we were on our way there, I had the thought to go to a different one but I ignored the thought and kept going to the original one we had picked. We were there for about 20 minutes and not one person answered the door. I told Heavenly Father that I got the hint and we went back to that other neighborhood and at first we had no luck, but then just as we were getting ready to go, we knock on one last door and the sweetest old southern couple opens up the door and they invite us to come in and sit down. We ended up talking to them for about half an hour, getting to know them and then they asked us to share a message with them and we read 3 Nephi 11 with them. They were both really touched and had remembered that their old neighbors were mormon and that there was something different about them and as we were getting ready to go they asked us when we were coming back and gave us their neighbor and told us to come back anytime. Their names are Joe and Mary if you could keep them in your prayers. I am always so amazed at the Lord's willingness to lead us to those who are ready to receive the message that we have to share.

Donna is doing great! A few ward members have invited her to do things with them and she went to the RS activity on Thursday night. She is just awesome :) And the awful moss green paint in her house is gone!! It is now a light shade of gray and it looks SO much better. We had a lot of fun helping her and it is cute to see her so excited about all of these changes. I don't know if I ever told you about her dog, Blue. She is an Australian shepherd and she was 14 years old. Donna says that she used to be really nice and friendly but she has been getting really old and in a lot of pain and this past week Donna had to put her down. It was really sad. But in her last years of her life she had peed everywhere in Donna's house and that was the main reason why it smelled so bad. So our next project is tearing up that nasty carpet and putting in hardwood floor. It will be such an awesome transformation in that house! I am so excited!! Probably almost more so than Donna is. :)

Donna actually came with us to our lesson with the D's this week! It was such a great lesson. The Spirit was really powerful in there and the whole family sat in with us. We each shared different times in our lives when we have felt the closest to God and then we read Ether 12:6 and talked about how most of those times were during different trials in our lives. It was really cool.  They told us that they have started going to 12 stone though but agreed to attend both services (ours and 12 stone) yesterday but sadly they didn't show up. I was really sad but hopefully they will be able to make it next Sunday!

Sam is about the same story still. We did have a cool lesson with her about faith but no change with her dad. Sister Castleton is very determined to make a break through with him, but I am pretty skeptical, not going to lie. He really doesn't seem like the reasonable type from what we have heard of him but we will see how it goes I guess. We are probably going to have to push back her baptism again... I just have to keep reminding myself that it will all come together in the Lord's timing and not mine.

We got back in with Shawn this week! We had another awesome lesson with her. A member who used to live in our ward but moved next door to the Dacula ward who has been with her from the beginning of her journey with the missionaries came with us and it turned out really great. We read the talk, "spiritual traction" with her from Elder Bednar's last conference address. Shawn, Bro Collins (the member) and I were all just crying as we talked about how the Savior is so ready to receive her into His arms and how the gift of the Holy Ghost will bless her so much. We talked with her about getting baptized on June 21 and she is soft committed to that date. She just really wants her family to be supportive of her decision. But so far she still hasn't talked to them and didn't make it to church yesterday. I love her so much but she is just breaking my heart that she isn't doing what she needs to do. I really feel like she is one of the reasons that I am here and I just want this so badly for her. Continued prayers in her behalf would be greatly appreciated. Is there a way you could put her on the prayer roll in the temple? Her name is Shawn.

So yesterday all 4 of the sister missionaries in our ward were asked to speak in sacrament meeting. Sister Hulme (she is also training a new missionary) and I both gave talks and then each of our companions bore their testimonies. It was a really powerful meeting and lots of people told us what a great job we did. I was asked to teach the story of Jonah and relate it to missionary work. I used the book, "The power of everyday missionaries" a lot. I love that book! I just really hope that we can start using the members to help us in finding as well as teaching. They are so great and I was just praying that we would be able to teach them how to share the gospel with their friends and acquaintances. Bishop Adams came up and shook my hand after, gave me a big smile, and said "You nailed it!" I was really happy with how it turned out :)

Well I think that about wraps up the week. Happy Fathers Day on Sunday Dad!! A card should be coming your way in a couple of days. I love you so much and I will be thinking about you that day! Thank you so much for all the love, support, and prayers. I truly can feel them and I couldn't do this without all of you!! I love you all so much!!


Sister Bedke

PS Humidity makes a HUGE difference in how hot it is!! My hair is on top of my head every single day and the only make up I wear is mascara because you just sweat everything else off. I bought several light cotton tshirt type shirts to stay cool which have been a huge help. Hot-lanta is a real thing. :) But come what may and love it right? :)