Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Transfered to Carrollton/Whitesburg, GA

This has been the longest and craziest week of my life. My email this week will probably consist of multiple lists so just prepare yourselves:

I have officially been transferred to the City of Carrollton. It's a little town in west Georgia, right out in the country and along the Alabama border. I LOVE IT. I went from serving in the smallest area in the mission (PTC=approx. 5 sq miles) to one of the largest ones in the mission (Carrollton=approx. 500 sq miles). There are lots of dirt roads, lots of porch-sitters, lots of trailer parks, lots of accents I really can't understand most of the time, and very few teeth. I really have no idea how to describe this place to you other than I feel like I'm on a totally different planet!

My companero is Sister Freitag (fry-tag). She's super tiny with tons of energy and this is actually her last transfer in the field! Fun facts about her:
1. She is part-Korean, part-Native American (this is an important detail for later in my email)
2. She loves Shakespearean drama, ballroom dancing and any kind of mom-related activity (aka cleaning, cooking, etc.) CUTE
3. She is 4'11'' tall.
She's great, and I'm really excited to spend her last transfer with her!

The first 6 days I've spent here have been unlike anything I've ever experienced before in my life. The minute i got here, one of the first things Sister Freitag said to me was "Soooo 3 out of 4 of our most progressing investigators are on parole."...............k. She also let me know that the ward is incredibly dysfunctional..............k. She also let me know that there are several areas we aren't allowed to set foot in because someone has been shot, molested or robbed there in the last year.................k. *MOM DON'T FREAK OUT, I'M SAFE. I PROMISE. WE NEVER EVEN GET CLOSE TO THOSE PARTS* She also said that our neighbors like to smoke weed so several nights a week, we come home to an apartment that smells like marijuana. WOO!

It's been quite the adventure to say the least haha. And a major 180 from PTC.
Here is a taste of the best people I've met so far in 5 days:
Day one:
-Von: We walked into her trailer to teach her, and she immediately went back to get a crying child from her back bedroom. When we turned around to see where she went, we saw a bedroom PLASTERED from top to bottom with Rastafarian posters where the child lay. She then proceeded to tell us that her last church kicked her out. When we asked why, she said "They don't like gay people.".......oh. We were a little taken aback hahaha.
-Sister G: When we walked in the house, she locked eyes with Sister Freitag and said "What tribe are you?" .... "Sioux..??" ....... "Ahhhh...Lakota." She then pulled out her Native American drum and proceeded to play her drum "to the beat of her heart" and taught us how to do so as well. It was actually amazing. We have been invited back for culture lessons and gospel discussions in the future because she was disgusted that Sister Freitag knew nothing about her people. . #culture
Day two:
-we met several extremely toothless old women who yelled at us from behind their glass doors.
Day three:
-As we were driving past a super ghetto gas station, we pulled in because a man was selling 36 pairs of socks for $10 out of the back of his van and i almost took the deal! he was nice though.
-We visited our investigator who's mother is a member of the ward. When we walked into the house, i was immediately overwhelmed with several photographs of Donny Osmond's face plastered to the walls. She has a bit of an obsession.
-A woman named Dixie saw us walking down the road and invited us to come sit with her on her porch. Her couch was falling apart and her house was just sad. But she had a cute dog sitting inside a baby crib so that was weird.
Day four:
-A man answered the door wearing a skirt and pearl earrings.
Day five: 
-Tim: His normal attire consists of a camo button up shirt, boots, jeans and a long gray pony tail.He's a little off. He came to church with the elders on Sunday and while we were sitting in Gospel Principles class, the teacher asked "How does God show you He loves you?" Tim said "God showed me endangered species in the wild doing what they do."........that's nice.

I really just wish everyone could experience living here in Carrollton because there's not a way I could ever give it justice through my descriptions and terrible use of words. 

It's been a wild week, but also full of lots of spiritual breakthroughs. As a lot of you are aware, my time in PTC was incredibly draining and I was really struggling a lot. When I received the transfer news, I was less than thrilled for the upcoming transfer. Something just told me that it was going to be yet another long, hard transfer which I really wasn't prepared for.
I wanted to share a little bit of an email I wrote to my President today about an experience I had this week:

Hi President!

So far my time in Carrollton has been quite the adventure. I'm really loving it and Sister Freitag and I are getting along great! 

I wanted to tell you about something really awesome that happened this week. As you already know, the time I spent in my last area was some of the hardest, most stressful and exhausting times I've had in the mission field. I will be honest, when you read out the transfer announcement for me, I was less than thrilled. I really had no clue what to expect and I literally looked for every possible reason in the book about why the upcoming transfer was going to be just as hard and exhausting as the last 3 had been. I thought my companion was going to be hard to get along with, the area was going to be difficult and the ward was going to be tricky as well. Reason after reason popped into my head the entire drive home to our apartment.

Upon arriving at the apartment, my companion showed me the map and told me about the area and I felt so overwhelmed and stressed out because I realized that there was SOOOO MUCH work to be done to help make the area successful. I really didn't know how we could do it and and I felt extremely discouraged.

We took a lunch break an hour after getting home, and I went to my room to "take a nap", crawled into bed and just cried. I decided to hide out in the bathroom for a while before we started our studies and to calm myself down and to say a prayer. I prayed that God would give me knowledge and understanding about why I was here with who I was with and for guidance to know how to help the area.

We continued with the day and went out wandering around trying to find someone to talk to. It was a pretty unproductive day to say the least. At the end of the night, we came in to start planning and as I watched my companion plan out the next day, a thought came into my head at 9:39 pm. I literally heard a voice in the room tell me this: "Sister Lawson. You screwed up the last 3 transfers with your past companions so I have sent you here to be with Sister Freitag at this time to let you redeem yourself because this is her last transfer. I have given you several gifts and talents that I want you to use to make her last transfer in the mission the best one she's ever had. Serve her, love her, focus this entire transfer on her and helping her be successful and I promise you, everything will work out."

I hadn't felt the Spirit that strongly in a really long time. I knew that this was the answer I had prayed for earlier in the day and that what Heavenly Father said was true.

I want to let you know that since that first day here in Carrollton, I have tried my hardest to do what God asked me to do and this transfer really has been the best one I've ever had. And it's only been 6 days! I hope it's been as good for Sister Freitag as it has been for me.

I know that the power of the Atonement is so real. Jesus Christ gives us the strength when we need it most, and he really does make all the difference.

I never know how to put my thoughts into words for these things, but I just want you to know that my heart has been changed. Thank you for sending me here with Sister Freitag. I'm excited to see what the rest of the transfer holds in store for us. 

Annnnddddd I'll leave it at that. :)
bye y'all! Talk to you next week!

Sister Lawson

1. A small taste of Carrollton/Whitesburg.
2. Me being happy with Jesus <3
3. The "original" sock man.
4. Last day with Mr. EJ :(
5-6. Me and compy (Aka "Small Frei" and "Higher Law")

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