Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Oklahoma... still the greatest place ever!

Hello everybody! Wow! It's been a crazy week! I know everybody has heard about what's been happening here in Oklahoma. Thank you for all your prayers! The people of Moore OK and other parts of the state really need the prayers right now. Ok... google a map of Oklahoma for this part of my letter. :)

View Clean Up Efforts in a larger map

Shawnee Clean up crew.
On Friday Sister Pfister and I drove up to Enid from Stillwater to do exchanges with the sisters there. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot at the church in Enid, the Zone Leaders called us and told us to drive back to Stillwater, get our equipment, and drive to Shawnee to do tornado clean up. Sister Pfister and I just laughed. We have tried doing exchanges with the Enid sisters 3 or 4 different times this transfer and nothing has ever worked out. Anyway, we drove back and finally... after 6 hours of being in the car.... from 8:30am to 3:30pm we made it to Shawnee. We were helping move debris from a family's home. I have never moved so much wood. It was good hard work. It was nice to be able to help and make a difference.
Sister Pfister after being in the car appx
5 hours. haha! On our way to Shawnee
to do tornado clean up

On Saturday we did tornado clean up in Carney. Our whole zone or 20 missionaries came to Carney to help. The Elders went to one persons house and helped clean up 80 acres of land. Then the sisters went to another house just up the road. The family we helped are dog breeders. They had 4 or 5 HUGE Alaskan Malamutes and we cleaned debris out of the kennels. With 10 of us working on the kennel, it only took 2 or 3 hours to clean it up. Then we went and started hauling logs to one pile, debris and trash to another, and other debris to a burn pile. It was a lot of hard work. But oh man... the transformation after we were done was amazing. At about 2 or 3pm the Elders came over because they had finished at their house. With their help we worked until 6pm and got a lot done. It was wonderful to work right alongside other missionaries and the home owners and others from the community who came to help.

Two Bibles and a Book of Mormon
At this house the homeowner found a Book of Mormon and two bibles that had been blown into her property. Before we left all 20 of us missionaries sang "Nearer My God to Thee" for this family. It was amazing and the Spirit was strong! I am not sure when I will get to help with clean up again, but I hope it is soon. I love to help and do what I can for the wonderful people who have lost so much in the last week.

This morning we taught a wonderful lady about the Plan of Salvation. We were preparing to teach her this morning and out of nowhere things got a little contentious. I was upset about something and my companion was also upset about something and the Spirit was instantly gone. It was actually really frustrating. As we left the house we prayed that we would have the Spirit. I'm thankful that God works with us even when we make mistakes.

The lesson was so amazing! A lot of her questions were answered. We read some verses from the Book of Mormon and told her some things about the plan of Salvation and she started to cry. She told us she really appreciated learning this because it helps her know she isn't crazy. She also told us she feels like God has been revealing things to her and she feels like this is what he has been telling her. She kept telling us that people can't put God in a box. We taught her things, but she also taught us a lot. Yeah... she is fantastic and SO open! We are meeting with her again tomorrow. :)

Well... I love you all! I am thankful to be a missionary. It is hard and at times discouragement comes, but God is always going to be there for us. I felt his guiding hand many many times. I have felt his peace and love in the hardest times. I have felt the joy that comes from serving and I am so grateful for this opportunity. Talk to you next week!
Love, Sister Record

Excerpts of a Letter to the Missionaries from President Taylor

“As you know, May 19th and 20th were historic days in our mission area. On Sunday night the 19th, the cities of Edmond, Carney, Shawnee, Little Axe and Wellston were hit by tornadoes that caused significant damage and the death of two people. On the afternoon of Monday, May 20th, an EF-5 tornado formed in Newcastle and traveled through Moore causing massive destruction and the death of 26 people. Hundreds more were injured and over 1400 homes were destroyed or damaged. The morning of May 20th I had an impression that all of our missionaries needed to find underground shelters instead of above ground shelter in bathrooms and bathtubs. I instructed the assistants to notify the zone leaders to contact every missionary and get confirmation that every missionary had access to a below ground shelter. I did not know that an EF-5 tornado was coming later that day but I knew you all needed to be in underground shelters if storms came. I was informed by the zone leaders and assistants that everyone had located an underground shelter. Now, after a week of tornado cleanup, I realize that people do not survive an EF-5 tornado with wind speeds over 200 miles per hour, unless they are underground. ”

Last Monday morning cleaning out the storm shelter, just in case we had to use it

“Your efforts have been extraordinary. Each of the Stake Presidents and Elder Southward have repeatedly praised the efforts of our missionaries. You have brought energy and faith to the clean up effort and the members greatly appreciate your involvement. We are building greater trust with our members and softening the hearts of those who are not of our faith. ”

President and Sister Taylor

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