Here is the legend of the mystery of the story of the case of Jerry Berry
Soon after arriving, young Sister Fast and Sister Saunders created a map for the Brewton/Jay area because it was devoid of one when we came here.
As we plotted out where everyone on the Branch roster lives, we came across the name of
One of us commented about the extraordinary name and from there on out we decided that this human being must be legit as all get out because with a name like Jerry Berry how can you not?
We sent out our daily text of inspiration from the scriptures to all less active, active, and investigators and one day Jerry Berry texted us back.
We then asked him what day we could come visit because he has not been to church in many moons
but he started replying to most of the daily texts
so we decided to find his house.
We ended up down a dirt road, no house numbers on the mailbox or house
unsure whether or not it was actually his abode, we knocked ready for anything
like we do everyday.
no one answered
(which also happens just about everyday)
so we left a Book of Mormon on a pretty glass table next to the door
about two days later we received a text from the mysterious Jerry Berry
"Thank you for the Book Or Mormon"
that WAS his house!
Last week we stopped by and lo and behold Jerry Berry was sitting outside on his porch.
Turns out he is even more incredible than we thought he would be.
He is an older man and we noticed very quickly that he doesn't have much of his nose left.
It reminded me of the time Miki, Chancey, and I were at our church building in Utah and a man tapped one of us on the shoulder so we all turned around and this old man stuck his face right up close to ours with a bloody stitched up mess of a nose, skin graft hanging at the top of it, skin and vein and all about half an inch thick
shocked us half to death
and he said very forcefully
"Girls this is why you wear sunscreen. Your tan isn't worth it."
When we got over the shock we laughed and decided that sunscreen is a good idea!
back to Jerry Berry
Skin cancer. The poor man has been fighting cancer and enduring chemo once a week for a very long time.
He still works in his yard, and loves family history.
We got talking more and the Spirit was so strong as we all testified of the temple and how it has blessed our lives.
We shared our experiences and how we know that the Temple truly is the House of The Lord.
As we left he tried to give us some money and we replied that we would not take it.
It is actually against the rules in the good ole white handbook.
Then he explained that he is too sick and too old to take us anywhere to eat, and he can't cook for us because he is living alone, and he has missed out on blessings because he can't feed the missionaries.
He yelled at us and told us we better not rob him of blessings, so we took the money.
it was EIGHTY DOLLARS
what on Earth
I attempted to only take $20 and he yelled at us again :)
so we left and marveled at the man that is
We are meeting with him this week to do family history and help him be able to go back to the temple.
what a stellar human
Monday we emailed at the Pensacola State College Library so that we could have a District p-day afterwards.
We went to Wendys
I said the same thing I always say after eating a Baconator:
Especially because afterwards we went to the church and played soccer for a couple of hours.
Sister Fast and I at one point that evening were able to have a lesson with Dianne.
She can be reserved when it comes to the hard things she has gone through.
She doesn't open up to us a lot, but she did Monday.
It was a very special privilege to hear some of her life burdens, to testify that Christ can carry her load, and that we are there to help her.
Many of her sorrows are a result of the passing of her mother.
The discussion was perfect because we had planned to teach her about temples/families.
We read from the Temple and Family pamphlets that the church has put out, STELLAR pamphlets if you've never read them. Seriously.
They explain the priesthood, ordinances, covenants, temples, family history, so incredibly well.
Dianne loved it, she is just steadily progressing and ready for baptism.
Because she is going out of town, she will be baptized June 17th-
-two days after she gets home, so pray for her.
Satan is going to throw everything at her that he can to stop her while she is away.
but as one of my favorite Veggie Tales songs says:
"God is bigger than the boogieman, He's bigger than Godzilla or the monsters on tv, OH God is bigger than the boogieman, and He's watching out for you and me." :)
Something amazing happened this past week
I got to go on exchanges in GULF BREEZE
I was able to teach to Victoria Bond who I knocked on her door about a year ago when she was struggling with a horrible month of life and was prepared to come back to church
well now she is doing so awesome. It was good to be back in her home, it felt like I had never left. Besides her cute pregnant belly, that was different ;)
I seriously look up to this lady if I had to describe her in one word it would be
If I had a few more words I would choose twin. She is definitely my twin lost at birth and somehow five to ten years older than me ;)
I was also able to have a lesson with the famous Brumbalow family.
I have missed them SO much as well.
Hannah unloaded every crazy thing that has been going on in their life, I pray for them everyday and the trials they face.
It was so eye opening, to be able to visit and teach people I did a year plus ago.
Certainly a cause for introspection and surprisingly to me, a cause for satisfaction.
Later than night, exchange report on the beach, after having dinner with a family that recently moved in to the Gulf Breeze Ward with a VERY recently returned missionary sister who assured us real life is alright
at the top of a 20 story building on Pensacola Beach
eating tacos and talking about how we know Joseph Smith is a prophet
after all of that
on the actual beach with Sister Jackson whom I love dearly
sitting in the sand watching a storm roll in over the ocean
I felt Gods grace, His love, and I felt such a profound sense of joy
at the greatest accomplishment that is still unfolding...
at the greatest accomplishment that is still unfolding...
my greatest accomplishment is me.
I hope that is not mistakenly taken as prideful or boastful
this accomplishment of who I am at this point is not the end destination, but it still is a destination
Sister Ryanne Saunders
It is a result of months of wrestling with the Spirit, striving to align my will with my Fathers, sometimes succeeding sometimes failing, feeling the Spirit more intensely then I ever have in my life testify to people that I have loved more than any other group of people in my life aside from my own flesh and blood.
That realization along with an inspired letter from Sister Mikinon Hadley committing me to pray for compassion for myself and an inspired email from my father about how to approach the last two transfers of this my mission experience with diligence and joy, I have felt simply
I have an infinitely long way to go
but that doesn't seem so scary to me anymore
I feel the peace and love from my Father in Heaven for the service I have rendered, I feel gratitude towards Him for allowing me to render it, and a deep sense of love excitement and joy at the prospect of continuing to serve Him with my heart might mind and strength as I approach this my last 12 weeks as a special representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.
My Cup Runneth Over
So thankful for that day in Gulf Breeze and the reoccuring theme throughout this week
"Be Still And KNOW that I am God"
Some highlights of the rest of the week include teaching Corine and her friend the restoration of the gospel, Corine committed to be baptized and said that she believes Joseph to be a prophet.
Right after that we walked next door to see the baby that was born on the ninth of May
whose mom named her Ryanne after me <3
this baby.. is a doll
not surprised ;)
little Ryanne is the cutest thing ever and oh boy... the baby hunger is REAL
Who even came up with that phrase? Baby Hunger sounds super morbid but it in reality just means whenever I see a baby, I feel this crazy hormonal desire to have one..
PRAYING FOR PATIENCE ;)
sorry about that
another highlight was Dianne teaching us how to make her famous pound cake.. family you will thank her so much someday when I make it for you
this cake just about brings me to tears it's so good
While the cake was in the oven we watched The Prophet Of The Restoration, we had another appointment so we had to leave but Dianne didn't even want to turn it off so she told us to go on because she was finna watch the rest of that movie whether we were there or not.
hahaha we were so happy for her
She truly has a love for the restoration and Joseph Smith.
She came to church on Sunday with her sister, and it was a beautiful experience, then she invited us over for lunch where she taught us to make fried chicken wings that were the BOMB
She is just spoiling us left and right.
We had a miracle lesson with our investigator Sue Lutz
WAY too much happened but her heart is open and she is ready, we just need to keep praying and inviting. She says she is not quite ready to come to church
(she has heard a lot of nasty rumors)
We also had the second largest thunder storm I've had since being here in the south
it was SO loud but we still slept with the window open to hear the rain and thunder better, it shook the house like you wouldn't believe. It was awesome
one more miracle for the road
We called someone we didn't recognize on our phone and a man from Mexico answered that doesn't know English
I asked him in Spanish if he knew any English he replied no
so I told him that we are missionaries for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
He said he knew of us and that his girlfriend was a recent convert.
I told him she is who we were looking for
He told us sadly she had been deported back to Mexico because she couldn't get a job to get a work visa
I told him that was too bad and that I was sorry and hope he has a good night.
Now let me tell yall something
the gift of tongues is real
I had no idea how I knew what he was saying, but I did. I also don't know how I remembered all of that Spanish I learned for two years in high school because when I try to recall it usually my mind goes blank. WOAH
It was pretty awesome. My companion was also very surprised hahaha
Okay well I hope you have a fantastic week and know that I love you to the moon and back
have a zip-a-dee doo dah day <3