Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"I need to opt out of this program"

Hey y'all!!

Oh wow! This week went by so slow/ so fast! So many things have gone
down! So I'm here in Sugar Hill now, and it's awesome! My companion is
sister Mitchell and she's gorgeous! Think of Anne Hathaway and Lucy
Hale from pretty little liars combined and that's my companion. She's
such a hard worker too. It's been awesome.

Right before I left Madison though, sister Lauritsen and I found two
new investigators! And they both were so solid!! Ones named Cleo and
the other Mary and they both want to be baptized! I was so stoked that
Sister Robinson and sister Lauritsen would be able to take great care
of them after I left. I was super sad to leave Madison because the
branch members were amazing and the people were so kind and Madison is
just gorgeous. But I'm grateful to be here in Sugar Hill.

And the night before I left Madison the Jackson family fed us, and
they are seriously so awesome. Brother Jackson used to be super anti
about the church and wouldn't ever meet with missionaries, but
eventually he finally softened his heart and opened his door and is
now the 2nd counselor in the branch. He became like a grandpa too me,
and he even started to tear up and tell me he was always a phone call
away if I needed him, aww man. I will miss that sweet family.

And on Tuesday it was so awesome, we had district meeting and sister
Bennion ( president Bennions twin brothers wife who's serving in this
mission as well) made us homemade cinnamon rolls for my birthday and
they all made this super sweet card for me, it was the best! Thank you
all by the way for the happy birthday emails!!! It made my day!! :))
love you all!

And then I asked our district leader elder oyler for a priesthood
blessing because I was a bit sad to be leaving Madison and I just
wanted to hear from Heavenly Father and wow.... It was so powerful.
Everyone came in while it was being given and said they could feel the
spirit. I am so grateful for the priesthood power and for all of the
diverse and special ways Heavenly Father communicates to us.

And on Wednesday when we got here to Sugar Hill ( 2 1/2 hour drive
from Madison) I met my new companion and sister Lauritsen picked up
hers and then we went tracting for a bit, then I met Tasha who is just
awesome! She's been meeting with missionaries for about 9 months and
her and her husband basically could be baptized tomorrow if it wasn't
for her smoking. So we ask that y'all keep her in your prayers. They
are amazing and I love them so much!! And then were also working with
Simon who's from somewhere in India and works at the shell gas
station. The sisters met him one day and just invited him to church,
he has now been going to church religiously for two months! Haha he
goes to 12 stone, and then comes to our church, he's awesome. We
taught him a little of the plan of salvation on Friday and it was so
good! One of our recent converts came and she helped him out so much!!
He loved the three kingdoms and said it rang true to him.

We've also been going around to meet some of the less actives and
there are sooo many!! And all that we've met so far want us to come
and visit and our just awesome, we just need to get their butts to
church! Haha. Exocet for one we went by, it was so awkward. She
answered, then said " are y'all cold?" And we said "yes! It's
freezing" , she said she had to go get her husband real fast, while
still letting us stand outside and was gone for about five minutes and
then said, " I'm sorry, but we're gonna have to opt out of this
program. I am now Catholic and my husband just doesn't want to
practice anymore, have a happy holiday!" It was so weird, I couldn't
stop laughing when she said "opt out of this program" it's not like
it's a membership you pay monthly.. Goodness! But bless their hearts

Also, we live in the coolest little apartment thing. The pritchard
family have the cutest house on lake Lanier, and have had 99
missionaries living in this apartment! I'm the 99th haha I was so
bummed I wasn't the 100th, but I still think it's awesome. They are
the cutest little old couple and LOVE to eat the coolest foods. They
are us breakfast Christmas morning and I'm pretty sure they squad
Swedish pancakes and Belgian waffles.. Yea I'm so excited!! And of
course to talk to my sweet family!! :)

I'm sorry this is so short, I love y'all!! I just want to share this
quote from a talk called," you are my hands"  that I love so much,

"True love requires action. We can speak of love all day long--we can
write notes or poems that proclaim it, sing songs that praise it, and
preach sermons that encourage it--but until we manifest that love in
action, our words are nothing but “sounding brass, or a tinkling

        Christ did not just speak about love; He showed it each day of
His life. He did not remove Himself from the crowd. Being amidst the
people, Jesus reached out to the one. He rescued the lost. He didn’t
just teach a class about reaching out in love and then delegate the
actual work to others. He not only taught but also showed us how to
“succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen
the feeble knees.”

        Christ knows how to minister to others perfectly. When the
Savior stretches out His hands, those He touches are uplifted and
become greater, stronger, and better people as a result.

        If we are His hands, should we not do the same?"
I hope we can all be the saviors hand not only during this Christmas
season, but every day.

I am so grateful for the Savior. He has become such an understanding,
loving and patient best friend to me. I know that he can become your
own personal savior as you learn to let him into your life. Read from
the scriptures, pray and reach out to others. That is how you will
truly come to know who he is to you, by doing the things he was always

Merry Christmas y'all!!

Love, Sister Cunningham

Monday, December 14, 2015

I'm going to a pretty "sweet" area, I almost tripped on the apostle, and "Twenty One" hahah

This week has been SO, SO good!
This Tuesday we had a wonderful zone training where President Bennion really put a focus on the Book of Mormon. Our Zone Leader Elder Burrows talked about how in the Japan Mission it was really hard to give away Books of Mormon because they really didn't understand how important they were. So the missionaries started to wrap the Books of Mormon in a white, silk handkerchief, which in Japanese culture, is a sign of upmost respect, and reverence. They would then see just how valuable it was by the way they presented it to them and the numbers of those who took them and cherished them increased greatly! But I thought of my own reverence to the scriptures. How am I showing the people here in Georgia how much I love the Book of Mormon by the way I outwardly treat them.
ALSO! cool miracle this week, Sister Lauritsen and I decided not to go to one of the streets we had planned and went to the street next to it. We both felt like we needed to be there and realized why so soon! The second house we knocked on we started talking to this guy outside and just did some getting to know you questions and I asked if he had family around here and he said, "Yes, in Rutledge!" I have never asked this question before in my life on the mission because who the heck will I know in a town I've barely been to? he said, "Claudia Reckter is my mama." Sister Lauritsen and I just stare open mouthed! Claudia Reckter was one of the members we had found that we had no idea she had lived in the area and were looking for her records! He was very interested in the Mormon church even though he is now part of the "born again" religion! Oh wow. SO COOL! Definitely no coincidence we were on that street, and that I asked that question! 
This Thursday we also went to go see our Recent Convert Sister Foster. This lady is hilarious and so fun! She gets SO lonely though, and then will start smoking so we've been trying to visit with her twice a week. So on Thursday we made some wreaths with her out of tree twigs and pinecones! It was awesome. And we talked to her about Elder Holland coming the next day, and she got so excited. Her daughter who is a non-member came and she was like, " Kimberely! An apostle of the LORD is coming! You need to come with me to listen to him." haha she's a rockstar!
Then on Friday we weekly planned, and then drove to Greensboro to meet Sister Johns and Sister Nuusa and we drove up to Athens to eat at Olive Garden before we went to the stake center to watch the Broadcast of Elder Holland speak to all the woman. It was amazing. One of my favorite things he said was, "God loves broken things." It takes broken clouds to nourish the earth, it takes broken ground to grow the wheat and it takes broken wheat to make the bread. Although at times we may have broken hearts over loss, over lost children, over our weaknesses, over things that Won't go right, think of the savior. He went through every broken heart, and he endured it well. He always kept his will to the Father, he always did what was best out of his love for Him. I love the account in Mark 4,
"37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm."
The Savior was so tired, he was even sleeping through a storm on a rockety boat. And The apostles had the nerve to ask the question, "Carest thou not that we perish?" And instead of an eye roll, the savior lovingly walks up to calm the sea.
WHY? '
Because he loves them. And He is always doing the will of the Father. Even through his tired state. He may have had a broken heart a little, to see the lack of Faith of his apostles, after all he has sin thus far in his journeying through helping the people and seeing how they are far from our Heavenly Father. But a broken heart is even more of an excuse to look to our Father in Heaven, and to his Son. Those two are they ONLY sources we should be looking for to strengthen us and repair our broken hearts. I promise that as you do so, the Lord will repair all broken hearts, as it says in Revelations 21,
" 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."

After that wonderful meeting with all the women in Athens, we drove to Brasleton! Where my mama (Sister Gerard) And my good friend sister Felton from the MTC are serving! We spent the night there, and they even surprised me with some balloons, confetti and cupcakes for my Birthday! Those sweet ladies. It was so much fun! That next morning we all drove together to Tucker, Georgia to go and see Elder Holland live! IT was amazing! This would be the only time that we would ever see our whole mission together at one time too, since our zone conferences are now only with two other zones rather than the whole mission. The Atlanta, Georgia mission was also there! They were a fun bunch too. And then as Elder Holland came we all had the opportunity to go and shake his hand! Well, Sister Johns had her purse lying out in the middle of the line and my shoe caught on it and I almost feel on the poor guy! haha he grabbed my arm and said, "oh dear! Don't trip sweetheart!" haha! I then told him my name, and that I was from the great Mesquite, Nevada and he got all wide-eyed and said, " Mesquite! Not too many people are from there! That's great!" haha. Super sweet, and such a power house. His talk hit home and answered all of the questions of the soul. One of them was, " Are you a progressing investigator to the Lord?" Super thought provoking. I hope you can say you are progressing as much as we expect others to.

ALSO! BIG NEWS! I'm leaving Madison!! :( It was crazy though! A week ago I just knew I was leaving, and I even guessed to the sugar hill zone! I have wanted to serve there since getting here though just because the name was so cute! haha I know ridiculous, but I am super pumped! I will miss Madison so much, but Heavenly Father has always blessed me with calm, and " That's where i'm supposed to be" confirmations each transfer! And I will be getting a new sister named Sister Mitchelle! She's been out as long as sister Lauritsen and is SUPER cute! I am stoked! Sister Lauritsen will be staying here and her companion is the hilarious sister Robinson! I am so excited for her, they will continue to further the work here in Madison!
I don't know my new address yet so PLEASE don't send me anything this week to this address until I let you know my new one!

ALSO! I'll be twenty one tomorrow & Packing like crazy haha!! AHHH! SO weird. Brailee..  I can't forget the vine.. "twenty one. " haha

I love y'all so much!!! Have such a great week and know that I love you each so much, and y'all are always in my prayers.

Love Sister Cunningham

12/07/2015 Letter

Good Morning!
This week has been INCREDIBLE.
Sister Lauritsen and I have been working so hard this week and have truly been blessed for our efforts. After such a hard few weeks, this week was truly heaven sent.
Will is now an official member for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints and it was such an awesome day. We made lots of cookies, and went to Monroe with brother Fossum and his adorable kids to fill up the font around four and it was STEAMING! The water is so hot, so we filled it with ice and it still felt like it was a hot tub! But Will said it was nice, and the Whole Davis family was able to attend. Which is an incredible feat because most of them are basically in active, and want nothing to do with the church.

Then after the baptism we received TERRIFIC news about Alicia and Geno. They are in the Greensboro side of our branch, so their in our Branch but in the Greensboro sisters area so they are working with them. They have been meeting with Missionaries before including my last companion Sister Russell, and the sister who passed away in the car accident sister Barnard. Well, They have been on the fence about baptism for the last year now, and our basically members and want to be baptized they just needed to take the initiative and just say when! Well there last lesson with the Greensboro sisters they had prayed about a date and Alicia felt very prompted to do January 2nd, and she was so serious about it she called Sister Barnard's mom and told her.. and January 2nd is actually sister Barnard's birthday!! Oh my goodness. She is definitely here with us helping further the work! It was so incredible.
We've also been able to find 4 members in the Branch that no one knew about, because there records were never sent here and the members had just become in active. But ALL of them were super welcoming to us and want us to come and stop by and we have plans for members to bring them to church this next Sunday! Wahoo.
We've also been meeting with Brittany, I forget if I've told y'all about her or not, but she lives across one of our other investigators homes and we knocked on her home one day and she basically taught us the plan of salvation. She is so golden, and we had found out the sisters had found her mom out in Greensboro and were teaching her as well! No coincidence I'm sure. Well things were going really well with Brittany's mom we were told, and then out of the blue she dropped them! We were a little worried that it would influence Brittany, and she wouldn't want to meet with us as well.. Well that night her mom had dropped them, Brittany called and asked us to come over and keep meeting with her! WE had an amazing lesson about her influence as a mother and how vital it was that her and her children knew who they were to Heavenly Father and how he would continue to help her as she fulfills her calling as a mother. She then expressed how distance she felt from her family, and that she wanted to find friends and a family to help her! We of course told her how coming to church was like coming to a Family Reunion and that it would help her feel closer to her Heavenly Father! She came to church this Sunday, and LOVED it. She also brought her two adorable kids ( RJ and Zee) who are super rambunctious, so we took babysitter role and lassoed them during sacrament so Brittany could have a  spiritual experience. And this sacrament meeting was probably one of the most spiritual meetings I've been in. All of the testimonies touched Brittany's heart, and Alicia and Geno got up to bear their testimony as well. Sister Lauritsen who was sitting next to Johny heard him say, "Next time I want to get up there." It was incredible! And after Sacrament The fossums took Brittany and her kids to their home to have lunch and to watch "Meet the Mormons." She said it was so nice!
Eli Fossum and I, this kid has my heart!

The members here are just so loving and so willing to help everyone here feel at home. Sister Lauritsen and I feel so privileged to serve here!
We went over to Quita's house and had an awesome lesson with her in The Book of Mormon, and also talked to her about the importance of coming to church. She is amazing and sincerely just wants to do what God wants her to. So she fully relies on all of the teachings in the bible and has a hard time believing the Sabbath day is on Sunday, so we promised her that as she continued to pray for confirmation that the Book of Mormon was true, and show faith by coming to church God would tell her in her heart through the spirit that it is the true Church and we celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday. She also sweetly told us after we told her one of us may be getting transferred this week how much she'd miss us! Oh man, I already know how hard it will be to leave Madison when that time comes. :(
ALSO. Elder Holland this Weekend! We are SO stinking excited. We not only get to see him this Saturday, but he's broadcasting a devotional to all the women that we get to watch on Friday! Wahooo! It's like General Conference all over again.
On Sunday I was reading in Nephi about how he was truly expressing his sorrows and the pains he felt as he was trying to get his brothers to repent and how much it grieved him that he had to pray to Heavenly Father for strength. It then led me to read in Moses, and I love the part where Satan tempts him and asks him to worship him, but because he says, "son of man" Moses knows that it is Satan and disputes back with, "I am a son of God." And then he acts on his true character and prays to his Father in Heaven. AT times I feel straight up weak, and sad and things can be tough! But when I acknowledge who I am, and act on who I am. I receive strength from my Father in Heaven. I want y'all to remember that you all are a son or daughter of God. And yea life can be tough, but y'all are tougher than that because y'all belong to the most important, all knowing God. So like it says in the Lion King, Remember who you are. And ACT on it. Pray to Heavenly Father! Do his will, not yours! He knows what will strengthen you and uplift you! :) I know this is true because I've been striving to do the will of our Heavenly Father and I know that his way is the only way that works! I love y'all!
And Heavenly Father does too! :)
Another thing I wanted to share was an article I read in this months Ensign, it shares a story of a brother who had Kidney failure and he needed a transplant so desperately and his sister was the matching donor. They both went through the surgeries, but because it caused his immune system to become so weak he had to be in isolation for a time and not see his family or his sister after surgery. He then received special permission to attend a family Christmas party and this was a direct quote from the article,
"Wearing a face mask, Ed walked in the door, headed straight for Dottie, and enveloped her in a tremendous hug. As they embraced each other, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Everyone could feel the love emanating from them. A sister had suffered in order to give her brother the gift of life. It was a gift of love, a gift of sacrifice, a gift he couldn’t provide for himself.
As I watched them, with tears streaming down my face, it dawned on me: this could be what it will be like to meet the Savior face to face. He did something for us that we are unable to do for ourselves. Only He, being divine, was able to endure a sacrifice so great that the law of justice would be satisfied. And only He, being perfect, was worthy to atone for the sins of all mankind so that the law of mercy could be extended to all who accept Him as their Savior.
As I savored these insights, I recommitted myself to do all I could to show my appreciation for the Savior and His sacrifice. I would strive to live my life as a disciple so that someday I might be worthy to enter His presence, embrace Him, and personally thank Him for loving me enough to make such a sacrifice." (Ensign December 2015)

I hope that this Christmas season, and all year round we can all recommit ourselves to show appreciation for our Savior. I cannot wait until the day I can see his smiling face, and I can hug him. I know that what we do in this life is the opportunity we have to thank him. How are you thanking the savior?

Y'all are my favorites. I love each of you tremendously and pary you have the greatest week ever!

Heavenly Father loves you and I do too!

Love, Sister Cunningham

p.s. the title for this e-mail came about because last night we had to teach one of our recent converts about not encouraging her little children to taze drunk people, just because the cops do it. hahah it was hilarious! :)

11/30/2015 Letter

Hey everyone!
This week has been SO good!
A lot of crazy things happened. Like our apartment flooding, yea that was pretty crazy (&not our fault), AND it happened on Thanksgiving. But that's okay! We're alive and the apartment just smells funky now.
The Kridlers fed us the most amazing Thanksgiving dinner, and even sent us home with our own Turkey! It was so good.
We then found out Will made his own baptism date, and just barely told us this Sunday! I feel horrible, because he was being so stubborn about it and I was just frustrated. But Will is getting baptized this week on Thursday! Super soon! And we're SO excited for him, we just are now scrambling around trying to make sure everything is ready for his big day! Wahoo for Will! It will be in Monroe, which is the closest baptismal font for our stake, and its an hour and a half away. I really took for granted a church building ( yes, Monroes is a double wide trailer) and having it only a few minutes away!
We also have been working with SO many less active, part member families lately and its been so cool! We've had so many "came at the perfect time" moments and where the spirit has been so strong! One of my favorite's was with Ray Allen. This guy is a stud, reads the book of Mormon for an hour each day and LOVES to talk about it with his friends. The only problem is he makes up SO many excuses to come to church and we have no idea why. We've tried everything, President Monson even came to house right before church to talk with him and basically carry him in the car! So please pray for him, and that we will be able to found out how we can get him back to wanting to come!
We've also been having Cottage Parties, and that's where Anyone, both investigators, recent converts or just some of our members friends who have questions about the church meet! We sit and eat finger food and just have a discussion. It's been SO successful and we've had so much fun. We usually pick up Brenda, and she just bore her testimony and brought the spirit so strongly! She's incredible. She basically lived in a crack house, had THREE boyfriends ( she's 74) and smoked 2-3 packs a day! And she wanted to go to the temple. So she left all of that and moved into the Madison home so nothing could tempt her. She is incredible and an amazing example to us all!
I was recently reading in Jacob 5, and just thinking about how hard the Lord worked in his vineyard, and wept and diligently strived to help all of the Olive trees. The love he had, and the time he spent. The Savior is the most genuine example. I am so grateful that he works with each of us. That he spends the time with us as we go through trials, as we weep, and as we bear bad fruit. I know that he is constantly asking, "What could I do more?" but we really need to be asking ourselves that question, "What can I do more?"
I promise that as we strive to do MORE. More scripture study, more getting down on our knees and sincerely talking to our Father in Heaven. Just doing more. Heavenly Father will have the power to uplift and strengthen us that much more, because we will be doing the things to help us see that.
I love y'all and I hope y'all had an awesome Thanksgiving. I'm so grateful for all of you, and for My Father in Heaven and for his son. I love being here in Georgia, and I'm even more grateful i'm here in Madison.
Have a blessed week!! :)