Week 4: Baptism & People of Ava, MO

Dear Family and Friends,

I can’t believe that it’s already been a month!! Time goes by so fast! (I guess I’ve only been in Ava for two weeks but it seems like forever. Things are going great and we’re still searching for people to teach. We are looking for a family to teach. We are praying everyday that the members will give us referrals. We have been looking through formers who have been dropped previously to see if they are interested in taking the discussions again. The problem that we have been facing, which is why we got shotgunned, is that the sisters before us would just go visit less actives and recent converts almost every day. They didn’t have any investigators that they were working with except for Kevin, who just got baptized on Saturday so we don’t have anyone to work with. It’s a little frustrating because when they did have investigators they didn’t commit them to anything, so they were just teaching them lessons with no purpose and not focusing on baptism. We are starting to turn it around though. We had our first baptism this Saturday for Kevin. I gave the talk on the Holy Ghost and it was such a great experience to see someone so ready and excited to be baptized.
I am now going to talk about the people of Ava so you can kind of get a feel for the people here. They are soooo different from anyone else in the world! So the people here are sooo friendly. It reminds me of our ward at home. Everyone talks to everyone and is so nice. But everyone has their own little quirks. So the first day we got to Ava we went around with Sister Shults (everyone has interesting names as well) and she is an herbalist so she loves plants and everything natural, so eating at her house is always interesting, but super healthy, you never know what to expect when we eat at her house. She is friends with everyone. She has one really close friend, who’s in our ward as well, who is an herbalist too but she makes a lot of salves. We have a saying now.. “There’s a salve for that”. She literally has a salve for everything. She talks a lot about herbs and is basically a walking encyclopedia. Sister Shults has another friend who is an energy healer, she’s not a member, she says that she can feel other people’s pain and locate it so that she can use her energy and natures energy to heal it. And she has a daughter who says she talks to spirits and faeries, pixies and brownies. Don’t worry the list goes on. We have another member who says that he talks to tornadoes, he scares them away. He stands in front of them and orders them to go away so they won’t come into town. And he’s totally serious about it too! We have another guy who is on his way to being baptized who is super funny and thinks about the church and religion in his own way. It’s really interesting the way he thinks, he is a Levite and he says it all the time, he repeats it about every 5 minutes. Which I didn’t know what that meant at the time and I looked it up in the Bible dictionary but it’s kinda vague so if anyone wants to research that for me and give me a short definition that would be awesome. haha Also we went to an investigator’s home who was from Germany, I guess she got out of Germany and went to Poland to be safe and the Russian Government is still looking for her. She is really sweet and so funny, but she says that she sees ghosts in her house and they had a message for her but wouldn’t tell us what it was. She smokes but she says she wants to stop so we are hoping that she’ll actually start trying to stop. She reads the Book of Mormon and she says she knows it’s true and she knows Joseph Smith is a prophet she just has a couple of things to work through, and she’s afraid of water, so we’re going to work with her on that. We hope she’ll progress. She’s actually come to church a couple of times and had a positive experience so  that’s a step in the right direction.
That’s just a taste of what the people are like in Ava, there are a lot of strange people here and it’s such a culture shock! But we love the people of Ava!
I got my first real rejection last night. We were teaching a couple who got married about a year ago and they have a one week old baby. They are inactive. We were teaching them about families and why they’re important we were talking about prayer and scripture study and we asked them if they prayed or read as a couple and they said no. We asked them why it was important to pray and they gave a great answer. We asked them if they had any desire to pray and they said no. We didn’t really know what to do since we can’t force them to have that desire and until they do there’s not much that we can do except love them and pray for them.
We were eating dinner one night at a Mexican restaurant that had just reopened and our server was a really nice Mexican and we talked to him a little bit about church and gave him a pass along card, but he only spoke Spanish and we could tell he was interested. (When we gave him the card it had the Salt Lake Temple on it and he asked if it was in Paris, and we said it was in Utah. So don’t feel bad mom, he doesn’t know where the Eiffel tower is or what it looks like either. haha) So we told him to look on mormon.org so that he could learn about the church in Spanish. We are looking for someone in the ward who can speak Spanish so maybe we can go with them to talk to him later. I’ll have to tell you more about it when we find someone.
We have been showing a temple video to recent converts who are on their way to going to do baptisms for the dead. The video is so powerful! Every time we show it, the spirit is so strong and the recent converts mention that to us, that they could feel the spirit so strongly in the room. I wish we had a temple closer so that we could go. I’m so grateful for temples. I think you might be able to find it on lds.org. If i find a link to it i’ll send it to you but it’s a really great video.
Look I found it! Watch it! It’s so great!
Four recent converts are working towards going to the temple. Two are a husband and wife and the other two are sisters who we go visit about once a week.
There’s not much else to tell but when we start to get more investigators, which we will this week, there will be so much to tell you.
I hope you are all doing well. I love receiving your individual letters so please keep sending them.
I love you all and I pray for you every day!
And as mom always says.. Hurrah for Israel!
Love, Sister Moon
Here are a couple of pictures at Kevin’s baptism. The second one is his family and Brother Lewis who baptized him.
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