Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I love Dacula so much

Hey y'all!

This week was so good!
I will start off with this last pday! It was sooo good! We got
permission from president to go to stone mountain, which is pretty
close to Atlanta, and is out of our mission! A member from the Spanish
branch here, came and picked us up, and then we met the three other
sets of sisters in the mission and it was so stinkin fun! We had
soooooo many contacts and so many people wanting to get pictures with
us! We also talked with this Jamaican couple who were so fun! They
walked up with us and took some jumping pictures at the top! It's such
a different hike than I am used too, but it is so crazy to see
basically all of northern Georgia with no mountains in sight, and you
can see the skyline of Atlanta!
View from stone mountain!

And I think I told y'all about Peggy holloway and her grandkids I
hope? She's a less active who has had just a ton of medical issues..
The poor thing! She just recently found a black spot on her leg, which
is really bad when you're a diabetic.. And the doctors told her she'd
possibly have to amputate her leg! But the optimism she had while
telling us all this was insane, she just kept saying, "well I know I
can handle it or the Lord wouldn't let it happen." She was supposed to
be admitted into the hospital this Last Friday, but where she takes
care of her grandkids she didn't want to go that soon without making
sure she would be okay, so she's not going in til tomorrow to start
receiving antibiotics! Peggy is such an amazing example to me, I feel
like such a pansy sometimes thinking about all the trials I grope
about, but there nothing compared to what she's gone through, and how
outward she turns to think of her family through her own struggles.
We got sister Lohnes (the member we live with) and brother and sister
porter to come over with us and we gave her a priesthood blessing and
then cleaned her entire house and read the Book of Mormon with three
kids before they went off to bed. It was probably one of the most
humbling, best nights out here. I love the ward here in Dacula so
much, and I love Peggy holloway and her grandkids so much too! Please
keep them in your prayers!

Then on Wednesday we had sister longoria ask us to come see her, (a
less active and recent convert in the ward) and sister Gerard and I
would always just bike to her house to save miles, so I said sister
Russell, "let's bike." Haha and I laugh because sister Russell HATES
biking. And I feel so bad, because her house is 14 miles round trip.
But we are so close to our mileage limit, so we really needed too. As
scary as biking here is, like REALLY sketchy, there is no shoulder and
only one lane! But we had so much fun. The weather has really cooled
down and the leaves just keep getting prettier! Once we got to sister
longorias ( HILARIOUS older black lady) she took one look at sister
Russell and turned to me, "Cunningham, you're gonna kill her." Hahah.
I love sister longoria. She has her opinions about the church, and
sometimes she hears anti Mormon things that she'll bring up, but that
day she just testified of the change she's seen in her heart and how
much kinder of a person she is since joining! It is so true too! She
could take on Goliath with her pinky, you don't mess with Dolores
longoria. Haha it was such a fun visit! It's amazing to see the change
in her.

Then, on Thursday I got a letter from sister Gerard, and y'all know
how much I lover her! We became so close in the six weeks we were
together. Well one thing I loved most, was our companionship studies!
We would share what we studied during personal studies, and it was
crazy how in sync we were with our studies! And sadly we always forget
to plan our studies the night before, but it was amazing how they
always were similar and helped those we were teaching. Well In her
letter she told me she was studying how to better align her will with
gods. I just had such a strong impression to read a talk I had book
marked after reading that, and in the talk it said," the only thing
God doesn't have is our agency." I know that the ultimate challenge in
this life is to give our will completely to Heavenly Father. That's
why the savior was perfect, he gave his will to the father! I know
that as I remember this is the lords time while I'm out here, it makes
the mission amazing! Obedience is rewarding and protecting, talking to
everyone is so much fun and the abundance of love you feel for s
complete stranger just comes! I know st this is true with every point
we are in our lives!
We went to visit Misi and his sweet family the other day, he is a less
active and the only member in his family. He grew up in Samoa and his
family way back was taught by a missionary! They couldn't pronounce
his name in English, so they named him an island name.. MISI! Haha and
he told us that all of the boys are expected to serve missions who
carry his name. Sadly Misi never served a mission, BUT, he talked
about how he wants to do all that he can to be a missionary now. He
wants us to teach his wife and kids, and is a firefighter and
paramedic, so he can render his services that way. He told us had he
served a mission, he wouldn't have been able to handle people talking
Ill about the church, he said his tie would have been used in harmful
ways if he did hear it! Oh man. Misi is amazing. And the fact that his
goal is to turn his will over to Heavenly Father by serving him in all
that he can for others and his family is amazing! He has two sweet
girls who are four and two, and they totally look like lilo from Lilo
and stitch! They're adorable and teach us Samoan dances when we come!

Then Sunday a lot happened! Valerie finally came to church for the
first time! The night before we made sure she would t have any excuses
not to go, and made sure her granddaughter kaylee had church clothes
and shoes, and then went with a member to pick her up! It went pretty
well, it was hard because a member from the high counsel came to speak
and it was on family history.. So that was hard for Valerie to
understand why they didn't talk about God and Jesus, but she loved
gospel principles and relief society and fell in love with a few
members who were so kind to here, and one of the members even invited
us(sister Russell and I and Valerie) to have dinner with her on

Then, Eric and Michelle came too with their adorable
daughter lily! I'm so sorry, we are teaching quite a few people and I
forget who I've talked about to y'all. But Eric and Michelle are
amazing! They referred themselves on Mormon.org and have been meeting
with missionaries since February! To read their teaching records and
see the progress they have made is amazing! They had a hard time
praying and understanding why we needed the Book of Mormon, and now
read from it daily and pray before to receive answers and have strong
testimonies. Their only hold up with being baptized is they need to
get married first, and they want a pretty extravagant wedding with
their families all there. Well, they met with us and the bishop after
church and said they really wanted to do what they could to get
baptized and agreed to having a smaller wedding with just making sure
both their parents were there so they could be baptized sooner!!
Ahhh!! I am so stoked for them!!! The blessings and miracles we see
each day is incredible. I know y'all are receiving them too, and I
challenge y'all to strive to see gods hand in your life and then write
it down! I promise you'll receive a much greater understanding of gods
individual love for each of you!

I love Dacula so much, and I've begun to feel so comfortable at home
here.. And that makes me so nervous because I just have a feeling I
may be transferred this next Wednesday! :( I have been told by
everyone I may be training though so I am so scared! ( I still have
faith everything will work out, promise) but that would be pretty hard
to train in a whole new area. But I know that whether I stay here with
sister Russell, or leave and train or whatever happens is where I need
to be. It's amazing how each transfer I learn and grow so much! and I
know it's all because of the savior and his atonement, I challenge
y'all to watch the Mormon message," my new life" it's amazing! And
such an incredible way to see the atonement at work! I know our
confidence should be in our savior, with him, we can never fail!
I love y'all so much!
Have such a great week!
And I love how so many of you share your testimonies, or cool
miracles, or your studies!! It is incredible and I've been able to
share some with those we have been teaching and it's brought the
spirit! Thank you so much!
Love sister Cunningham!

Stone mountain Trip, Sonia and Valerie BFF's, Spanish Mission exchange

Man, I think of the all the cool things that have happened this week
and it seems so overwhelming to write it all and really express how I
felt, so I'll try to summarize and hopefully you can get a glimpse of
just how amazing this gospel truly blesses each of our lives!

On Saturday we had a lesson with Valerie planned, and I thought about
this amazing lady and how she's from Jamaica! Well I think y'all know
from my emails the Sonia Stephens lady, who's granddaughter is one of
our investigators! Well she was having a rough time with liking church
and staying active, and she's only been a member for about a year.
Well she's from Jamaica and she's just so much fun to be around, so we
just prayed that if we texted her and asked her to team up with us for
this lesson she'd come. GUESS WHAT! She totally did. And it was
AMAZING! I just want to cry with happiness for how inspired that idea
was to have her come, the lesson went amazing and sister Stephens
talked most of the time, and bore such powerful testimonies of the
prophet and the resurrection. And her and Valerie are basically best
friends now! They hit it off. It was amazing! In the car ride home
sister Stephens just continued to bear her testimony, and express the
love she had felt for Valerie so easy. Guys, Heavenly Father is so
aware of us!! I can't express that enough, he knew that Sonia Stephens
needed this, and that Valerie needed her! How cool is it that he just
inspired one person after the other just to help both of them feel
loved, and helped them feel their importance. Cause guess what! We are
all so loved and so important.
Valerie and her Granddaughter

And then on Wednesday we had exchanges and I went to a Spanish
speaking mission for the day! Haha I wish I could say my years of
Spanish in high school paid off, but I sadly only could go so far..
Haha. It was so much fun though! It made me wish I knew Spanish! The
Hispanic community here in Georgia is amazing! They are so welcoming,
and so kind! We were at one door step and sister van luevan, (my
companion for the exchange) talked for forever and the lady just
seemed so interested and kind! I could feel the spirit!! But as we
walked away, sister van luevan told me she wasn't interested,. I was
so shocked by how she was so willing to listen though, and to even
offer us water bottles and some food too! Then we taught an amazing
family that night! Well.. Sister ban luevan taught., haha but we could
feel the spirit as I followed along in the English Book of Mormon and
they read from the Spanish one. It was so neat! I'm so excited for the
Spanish sisters in our zone and all the amazing things they are doing!
And I love going on exchanges and just learning so much! It's amazing
:) I've actually made it my goal during my personal studies to learn
more sign language, because there's a potential who is deaf who really
does want to be taught more and we can only do so much for her, so
hopefully the gift of tongues can come through my hands as I practice
each day.
The weather here has been so amazing lately!! The leaves are changing
and the humidity has been so low the past few days!! It's been so
awesome. The members feed us such amazing food too, and the miracles
just keep coming!

I love being a missionary! I love Georgia! I love y'all and your
emails and letters!! They make my day so please continue to update me
and share your spiritual experiences!!

Sister Russell and I are off to go to stone mountain today!!! Ahh I'm
so stoked!! It's like the only mountain here, and it's a pretty legit
hike, I think y'all know how excited I must be to go hiking!  It's
been too long!

Random selfie with funny guy at Stone Mountain

Dinner with Tremblay Family

Heavenly Father loves you, I love you! Have such an amazing week!! :)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Two Month Mark

So I've hit my two month mark, and I can honestly say I think I feel
like Georgia's my home now. I could probably get you to three
different places now without using the gps! Which is a huge
accomplishment! Haha

Its so crazy how just having a new companion changes your mission
though, we do things differently now. We're really just trying to get
to know everyone! We visit as many people as we can and introduce
ourselves and try to share a message. Most of them are less actives,
so we can focus on getting to know active members at church, and when
they feed us!

We have met some pretty awesome families, one of my favorites are the
greers! Sister Gerard and I have tried to stop by their house in the
past sooooo many times, and finally sister Russell and I were able to
catch him at a rare time that he was home. He travels all over! But I
would have to say, he's obnoxiously hilarious. The picture I'll send
of the guy with " I pee in pools" is him! Hes super cool, and has a
testimony. He I guess just has a few issues with the church that of
course can be fixed with the spirit, and persistence as we continue to
visit him!

But I felt a bit overwhelmed at first to train someone on the area
when I've only been here for six weeks, and she's pretty shy and still
trying to get to know people, so I really feel like the trainer. It's
been such a blessing though, I can see how much I've grown these last
two weeks! It's been amazing, and sister Russell and I have really
gotten so much closer! I think the hard part was she's been going
through some rough trials since the death of her trainer, sister
Barnard. She was the girl who got in the car accident here a little
before I came out here. I can't imagine how hard that is and sister
Russell has really dealt with it pretty well. She's such a careful
drive too! Which I am super grateful for, because Georgia drivers are
crazy! And we have so much fun biking together, we've had to bike a
little more because we've gone over our miles, but we've been having
such success on bikes! And we usually find a park to spend our lunch
at, and we swing for most of that hour.. Haha and get massive

But Valerie is doing so good!!! She sadly is going through some
surgeries this last week and next on her esophagus, I guess she has
blockage in it. So they have to go through with a tube and scope it
out, so she has t been able to attend church yet, so her baptism will
be pushed back. But we've been able to visit her almost every day to
just check up, and do service and teach her more. We love Valerie!!
Please keep her in your prayers. And Norma! We were able to visit her
on Friday,and we brought her some rice casserole and then read from
the Book of Mormon with her, it was so spiritual!!! We read from
Mosiah 24 which has become one of my favorite stories from the Book of
Mormon, each time I read from it, or share it, the spirit is so
strong. I truly know that the lord strengthens us through each of our
trials. Which is so awesome, if he did take our trials away we would
never grow or become better, he truly just gives us power to handle

It was so cool, because in my personal studies I decided to be a bit
selfish and I read from my patriarchal blessing. I decided to read
each of my promises, and then write what I needed to do to make sure I
received those promises, but really wanted to make it applicable for
my mission. And one line really stood out to me, "as you do those
things that you have been taught and done in your youth, you will
continue to have the spirit in your life, and it will enable you to be
a great blessing to those around you, and bring joy and satisfaction
to you, helping you to know you where you are supposed to be." And I
thought about how I was as a little Nina, and I seriously did apply
the saying, "there's those you love, and those you don't know. " I
never cares about what others looked like, or what I looked like
myself. I never worried about just going up to somebody and being
their friend. Now it seems a lot harder! It's awkward, and
uncomfortable to just talk to anyone and everyone and not worry about
what they think of you. But I have seen just how much Heavenly Father
is willing to share the love he has for each of his children as we
just forget about hose silly worries! As I have forgotten about my
silly fears, and truly just loved each person I talk with... I have
been so much happier, it makes the mission SO WORTH every bug bite
I've ever gotten, or every hill we've ever biked, or every mean
sentence that has been spoken to us. To feel the love that our father
in heaven has for each one of us, is so powerful and it's felt so much
more when we stop putting fears or doubts in our minds. So
remember,y'all are so awesome, and so is the person next to you.. So
don't be afraid to tell them that.

I have it tell you about the cottrall family real fast too, they are
awesome. So missionary minded and just saints. But anyways, their dad
bought them a tea cup pig! Haha he just randomly bought one and told
sister cottrall about it, and she couldn't resist the cuteness. So
last night before we drove home for the night, we stopped by for a few
minutes and saw this pig. MOM. Please buy a teacup pig. They barely
grow much more than ten pounds, and they are so stinkin cute!!! She
was so tiny, smaller than most kittens I've seen! Hahah and it's
adorable little nose.. Haha but I'll send some pictures!!

Anyways, y'all are so awesome, SO, SO awesome. And so loved! I miss
y'all and pray for each of you!

Have such a good week, and then write a letter telling me about it ;)

Love you all!

Sister Cunningham