Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What a Wonderful World: 8/11/14

This week has been slow but fulfilling. It's one of those weeks where nothing huge has changes but you look back to who you were a little while ago and realize, "Wow! I'm not who I was anymore." Not in a bad way! I just have grown this week. I can't point out what it is exactly, but I feel like I have a much better grasp on the world and my part in it. It has been a very successful week. we fasted to work with the ward more and get more integrated and member trust. This week we harvested the fruits of that fast, we were able to be involved in a Young Women (youth program) activity night and do a Q and A portion. We also were able to help out at a Relief Society (women 18+) night and use it as a missionary tool.

The best thing about this week is Josh. He is a less active guy who fell away in his early youth. We Have been working with him for a while, but this week we got a member to invite him to hear the lessons at his house. The result was simply magical. In that first lesson, the spirit was so strong. We invited him to prepare for the temple and he is now striving for that. It has completely changed everything. He is going to be such a strong member that does so much good and that will never fall away again. This is important. I feel it, the eternal effects of him coming back; I feel it. I am so grateful to be part of it. Seeing the change in him has changed me and has strengthened my testimony a lot.

It's hard to describe why missionary work is so fulfilling. It's not about what we teach or learn. It's about what we can become because Christ does live. He did suffer for all the effects of The Fall: the sins as well as the pains. And because He lives, we can truly live also. We can have hope and happiness in our lives, because Christ justifies and cleanses all of the bad things that are in this world. He has changed my life. There is joy when you follow the principles that Christ taught, The Gospel of Jesus Christ. Living that good life brings joy and a literal light to our lives. I can't imagine life without it. 

Funny Moment: The JW's were knocking door hard core this week in our neighborhood. That's usually bad because then people are less likely to like us. We actually do not go door to door in our mission, which makes me very happy. So the other day, we walk into our apartment and on our door step what do we find? A Jehovah's Witness pamphlet! Missionary inception! I really do hope they knock on the door when we are home one of these days. How awesome would that be :)

I hope everyone is doing good and is enjoying life. I've reread a quote this week that I would like to end with. It is by President Gordon B Hinckley on The Spirit of Optimism.

"Stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight"

There is plenty of sunlight in our stormy world. I strive to always remember that.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Nothing to Lose: 8/4/14

I can hardly remember what happened this week. I know it was a good one. a few minor disappointments but mostly exponential growth and improvement  with all those we are working with and the area. Transfers were this week, which is always a little distracting. We both just got here so nothing was happening with us most likely but it still was in the back of our minds. The verdict: we are indeed still together in Gardnerville! The surprising part is with the Spanish Elders in our ward. They have been together 4 transfers, as long as I was with Sister Wood. We though for sure one of them was leaving. To our utter shock, they are are also still here for their fifth transfer! almost 8 months they will have spent together by the end! They were a little disappointed though, just because the work in their area is frustrating. We felt bad in Coordination meeting when they only had to announce that 3 separate of the people they had been working with and were suppose to be baptized next week dropped them. Then it was our turn to coordinate with the ward member and we had nothing but good things, exciting things to report. Then I realized. We have nothing to loose! We started with nothing. And though a few people drop us, we met them only once! We have nothing to loose! I think we are at that perfect point. We have enough going on that we are excited, but we don't have anyone far enough down the line that if doesn't become anything we aren't heart broken.

So we have things rolling. It's fun. Nothing big to report.

OH! Most exciting moment of the week: An older lady (88) that use to only tolerate us, LOVES us. When we visit, she actually puts in her hearing aids now. Her Book of Mormon Audio Book came and she is excited to read it! We think something happened with her pastor when she told him she was meeting with us that made her just want to meet with us more :) She was on the verge of telling us when the phone rang. Maybe we will find out the whole story another time!

Also, I got to wear pants for service twice this week! Yay pants!

We have lots of little miracles everyday.

We've been showing more Mormon messages lately. This one is my favorite to show. It's just so cute and uplifting. 

Hope everyone has a great week!

Monday, July 28, 2014

I Don't Have a Title But Being a Girl Sucks: 7/28/14

This week I was sick. I threw up a few times from the pain of cramps. Since it wasn't something anyone could catch, I went out and worked like normal. So that happened. Then Wednesday came along and we got off our bikes and were talking with a family we had been working with. Then the world started to move and I saw black dots and...It wasn't good. For the rest of the day I couldn't stand without feeling like I was on a boat. I talked to our mission nurse. She said it was either dehydration or malnutrition from the throwing up. Luckily, after four big things of Gatorade and protein bars I am back to normal now! Yay!

I was thinking. Crap. We didn't do anything this week. Then I started filling out the progress record. It was crazy! We actually did a lot! Here's my favorite story from this week:

I was finishing up reading 2 Nephi. Then I got to the point where He's dying. That is always a sad moment. He's is one of my favorite prophets to read about. He's so courageous and yet so incredibly loving. You can tell how much he cares about the people. Then I read 2 Nephi 32:7 and I just had to laugh

And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.

Amen Nephi! Amen! That's most common and frustrating thing we run up against is just plain old apathy. It's much easier for people not to care, so they don't. And I realized, even  NEPHI could get frustrated and discouraged! Then I continued reading. He talks a lot about using the Spirit and continuing to help the people. And I realized, I want to be like Nephi. I want everything I do in my service to others to be guided by the spirit. So, when we got to a point in the day when all our plans fell through and it was time to pick a back up. I said, "Let's pray about it!"

You always hear these stories of missionaries who pray for what to do, both companions have the same prompting before even speaking, they follow the prompting, and a absolute miracle happens. I've experienced that already. Well, you could imagine our disappointment when we have completely different answers. Not only that, we felt very strongly about our two different answers. Awkward. Well, we tried my idea first because it was the closest. We headed down Cottonwood to meet the F. family. They weren't home. I felt like a fool. Then we headed down to where Sister Anderson thought we should go. On the corner of the two streets, we saw a lady on the street. I used the "Hi, how are you today!" approach (If they are answer more than silence or a cold hello back, we stop and talk for a bit). She replied "I'm doing great, how are you today!". Of course we stopped. She sees our tags and she says "LDS MIssionaries! Finally. I've been hoping to see you today." It was as if she had been sitting on the corner just waiting for us to arrive. She is a homeless lady. We helped her this week to get to a homeless shelter. Mostly, we helped her by just talking. She begged us for a Book of Mormon and cried because she had lost hers and was wanting a new one. It was a neat neat experience and we wouldn't have been there if we weren't on our way from the two different locations. It's amazing how the Lord puts us at the right place at the right time.

It's been a good week (minus being sick). I hope everyone else had a good week as well!

Happy Birthday to the Ground: 7/22/14

I don't know if you have seen the Lonely Island skit of "I throw it on the ground!" but you should. 

It was my birthday this week. It was good! We woke up to our car being wrapped in saran wrap and had to cut it to get use of our vehicle. We went out like any other day to proselyte. Made a few visits. Went to a special training where President and Sister Hermansen and the missionaries surprised me with loud singing when I came back from the bathroom. Then we went to dinner. The Funks made me a beautiful purple birthday cake, the kids made a banner, and they got me a present! It was really special. Then the dumb part. The first time on I got yelled at on my mission. Ugh. It was dumb. I wish it was a stranger that did it. They were the ones in the wrong. It was a less active guy that needed a ride and we, as sisters, could not give him one. Sister Anderson cried. I wasn't too happy. We went back to the apartment to get our cool. Then just walked around but luckily God made sure no one was on the street because it would not have worked. Then, we were about to go to bed and call it a day when Sister anderson talks about how she has to put away her laundry. I tell her to throw it on the ground. She does and quotes the music video. Before she did that I was pulling in our cell phone to charge and ever so conviniently had the phone in my hand still. "this isn't my dad! this is a cell phone". I threw it on the ground. Then I look at sister anderson. she looks at me. I say "We have birthday cake downstairs......". "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE GROUND!!!! I'M NOT A PART OF YO SYSTEM!!!! I'M AN ADULLLLTT"!  And suddenly the night was much much better! hahaha It was a pretty good birthday if I do say so myself!

It's been a good week. Last week was good statistically. This week was good progression-ally. It really has been. All the less actives we have been working with came to church! Sister L. is seriously working on going back to the temple. Josh, who fell away in the teenage years, says that he is back and never falling away again. We found out that the day before we came to visit him the first time he had prayed for the first time in 12 years! We showed up the next day and every day since then has been better than the last. Everything that he has prayed for has come through. We have a couple people agreed to the lessons. Our Ward Mission Leader is very happy with the work we are doing and says that he is already seeing miracles because of us. It's been a good week.

It's amazing how you can begin to see all the people that God has placed specifically in your path. The lives that you are able to bless. It's good :) I like being a missionary. God is definately aware of every single person on this earth. Oh, how he loves us.

There was some serious rain, serious for Nevada at least, on Sunday that knocked out the power and caused tons of flooding. It made it so the system was down on Monday, which is why I'm writting now.

Well, I better get back to missionary work! I hope everyone has a great week!

Best Week So Far in Gardnerville: 7/14/14

I saved my mass email for last and am now out of time. Opps! Awks. 

But you all have to know how amazing this week was. Usually missionary work is a lot like.... you put money in the vending machine, you press the right button, but instead of a cookie coming out, a bird craps on your head. But you continue to do that because eventually the cookie will come out!

Not this week. It was so awesome. We have met a lot of people and have really gotten into a groove here. We have 3 new investigators that seem pretty solid. Two of the people we have been working with accepted a soft commitment to baptism! My favorite part member family here agreed to hearing the missionary lessons--they are feeding us dinner tomorrow and then we start the first lesson after we eat! We must have done something right, because something right is happening to us. The Lord has absolutely been spoiling us this week. People must be praying for me or something. Most of missionary work is quite tedious, but then you have those moments where you are like--woah.  This is all worth it. I can actually make a difference in someone else's life. That has been this whole week. It's been awesome. 

One of the funnier moments you may enjoy: we have befriended a 10th grade bike gang. Yep!

Hope you all have a great week :)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Aunt Marah: 7/7/14

I'm a firm believer that the bigger the sacrifice, the bigger the blessings. I knew that it would be hard for my older sister to have her first baby, my first nephew while I was on the mission. All my companions have gone through it and told me it wasn't too bad. But I had to think they did not understand how close me and my sister are. I missed her ALOT this week. I know that if the Lord wasn't helping me through this to keep my mind focused it would have be WAY harder.

Tender Mercies:
-The day before the water broke, I asked a lady in the ward if she would be the middle man and keep me updated on Jack 2014 Baby Watch. Bless her heart, she was SO excited for that task! She texted Katie saying call at ANY time of the night. Even though, what I had heard last was it was going to be on time, I had a person set up to let me know.
-The birth went well and little Jack is healthy :) 
-We went to the ladies house the next day during lunch and I was able to see him! I love my little nephew so much already!
-Once I was done being caught up in seeing him and being happy, I was able to refocus and go to work. 
-This week I feel like I actually have a head on my shoulders and feel confident in what we are doing. We have people to see. It's been a great week :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Gardnerville: Off to New Horizons: 6/30/14

Gardnerville is actually normal. I miss how crazy Wells is. It was ALWAYS an adventure there. I think coming here is more what I expected of missionary work, but I miss the randomness that optimizes Wells. But enough of missing Wells for now.
I'm in Gardnerville, near Carson City. It's funny how everyone from here calls it a "small town". Both Sister Anderson and I came from towns of less than 800 people and were shell shocked by how many people were here. It's going good. The Elders we are replacing actually cleaned which was super nice. There currently isn't much work so we have spent most our time getting lost, finding our way, meeting leadership--the normal double transfer routine. It's actually normal here and I don't come home smelling like smoke and wet dog and horse crap.... I never thought that would be something I miss but I do. But Sister Anderson and I are getting along and having fun. It's been good. We are in the designated Spanish branch. We cover the English families and the Spanish elders get...the Spanish people. At church yesterday suddenly the conversation slips into a different language and I'm like.... oh my gosh what am I doing here. Good thing I know so much Spanish right? And by that I mean I took one class in 8th grade and know nothing. Hahaha. It's kinda cool though. Inside the ward there's a "Spanish Group". Every other week they have their own sacrament in the primary room that was once the old chapel. The other week (supposedly) there is a translator that talks into an earpiece.

One new thing: It's so weird to actually see other missionaries and we see them at least once every other day. It's a new experience. Same with amount of cars and people.
It's going good. I'm sure sooner or later I will love it as much as I love Wells.  

Katie Here!  These are some pictures Marah sent me this week.  

This is a family Marah was very sad to say goodbye to in Wells.

This is Marah's new companion Sister Anderson and a family in Gardnerville!  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

6 Months: 6/23/14

I have officially hit my six months on the mission. How insane. I feel like I just got here. I feel like I just left. A third of the way done. At the six month mark, Elders usually burn ties. I felt like I needed to burn something equivalent.

Yep! I burned a pair of nylons. They sizzled and disintegrated. It was pretty cool to watch. I would recommend it but between those and retired flag later that day we discovered Nylons don't smell too good.

Other news: It's been Six months of my mission and I am leaving my first area and first companion. I am sad to go, but I am so incredibly grateful that I have had this long. I absolutely love it here and I love the people. Everyone is a little shocked. Usually the senior companion leaves, especially if it's the trainer, but I'm glad to know a lot of prayer went into this and it's a "god thing" as Trish would say.

I was holding strong until we were at the church and Bishop with the bishopric comes up to Sister Wood and asks for the news. I was talking elsewhere. They called me over and Sister Wood had informed them I had to inform them. So I point to myself and say I'm going to Carson City. Bishop with his little mustache, golf tie, and cowboy boots starts to get all teary eyed and simply says "Sister Goldin'!" as if he couldn't believe it was true. It was only then that I began to cry. Yep. I cried. They also made me speak in church. I was blubbering the whole time, but I think I managed to say something useful. It was in a very squeaky voice, but I don't think it mattered what I said. They know how I feel. I love Wells.

As I told ward members I was going. I would get control of myself and another person would start to tear and give me a hug and I would loose it again. What I said in my talk involved 3 Nephi 17:4-5. Christ was bidding the people of the Americas goodbye because he had the lost tribes of Israel to see. It was his time to go. Then he "cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer." Christ did stay and bless the children and performed miracle. I, on the other hand, have to go. I read my favorite lyrics from "God Be With You Til We Meet Again". My favorite part is the phrase "with his sheep securely fold you". I know the people of the Wells and Ruby Valley Wards are part of God's sheep. There are many sheep, though some have strayed or have become lost. According to John 10, his sheep are those who hear his voice, he knows them, and they follow. Christ did everything for the sheep. "I lay down my life for the sheep" (John 10:15) He will do Anything for his sheep. He knows us and "he calleth his own sheep by name". As I looked at the congregation, I knew the names of every person there--children and adults alike. I could tell you who everyone is related to and how they are related. If this is my love for those who I've been able to serve, how much greater is God's love for us?

"I am come that they might have lifeand that they might have it more abundantly." 
-John 10:10

I hope that those I have been able to touch and help may have life more abundantly  because of something I said, or did, or even what I was.

I've been studying Henry B. Eyring's talk "Rise to Your Call". It has meant a lot to me. I'll keep this brief because I got to go, but I saw a promise fulfilled. 

"In the world to come, thousandmay call your name blessed, even more than the people you  serve here. They will be the ancestors and the descendants of those who chose eternal life because of something you said or did, or even what you were."

I was amazed. We were in the grocery store. I literally ran into this lady. It was her cart. I have no clue why but I had been looking at House air fresheners which I had no intention of buying. I was still looking at them when I exited the isle and ran into this lady's cart. I apologize and say that she can go ahead. She thanks me. Then she sees my tag and begins to weep and thanks me again. As I got talking to her she told us that by just existing, by just seeing us, we answered her prayers. She needed that hope in humanity, hope in goodness, and a visual reminder that there is a God. We helped he just by being something we "were". It slapped me in the face with how jaded I have become to the importance of my calling and what I am doing. We asked to leave her with a prayer. You would have thought we were offering water after she had been on a long walk in the desert. "Can we really do that?!?" "We can in you would like us to. If your comfortable with it we are". She began to weep again. By the end of the prayer her face was completely wet. She hugged us and thanked us multiple times. "I hope you have a great day because you sure made mine". I will never forget that lady.

I'm looking forward to my next adventure and find out all that the Lord has in store for me there--of course with a little sadness for those who I am leaving, but I know I will one day see them again. I know that this is a "God thing" and I wish the best of luck to the next sister coming here and pray that she will love the people as much or more than I have. Change is good. Change leads to growth. You may have growing pains, but growth is good. That's why I'm here.

I will be going to the Carson City zone in the Pinion Hills ward. Me and another sister who came out with Sister Wood are being double transferred in. We will see what lies in store. My new address is:

1486 Hussman Ave #D
Gardnerville, NV 89410

Random Fact: It snowed this week. I'll miss Wells weather.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Rocky Mountain Oysters: 6/16/14

About a month ago we asked our bishop how we could help him, he responded "June 13, come help with the branding!" He has reminded us almost every time we have seen him since. Finally the date has arrived! Warnings I have got: Rocky Mountain Oysters are cooked cow balls, they don't taste like chicken. I also was warned since I was a newcomer I could expect cow balls to be thrown at me. So I can mentally and physically prepared.
How they brand at this branding: A set of ropers get the cow by the hind leg(s) and the other one the front legs or head. Then someone pulls the calf by the tail to the ground or they (what I call) body slam them to the ground and rearrange the ropes to tie both feet. Then a couple things happen simultaneously: (1) They get 2 shots (2) Antiparasitic is poured on them, which was Sister Wood's job (3) They got branded (4) The heifers, which I now know are female cows, get warbles cut on their neck and the bulls get turned into steers by pulling out the testicles. 

Well, my job was the collect the "oysters" in my little Box O' Balls. Of all the things I pictured doing on my mission... I can't say this was one of them. At least I had control of the box and I knew there were no surprise attacks. One time I didn't stand up because I thought from far away it was a heifer and I hear "Sister Golding, Heads Up!" I see them flying in the air. I stand up, hold out my box, and catch them! Proud moment. At first I was somewhat squimish, but mostly it made me laugh. Of course this is the job they would give a "city slicker"! I think it was a game for them who could make me the most grossed out. They thought I'd be grossed out by the fact they fried them up and ate them. I already knew it though. Bishop takes it a step farther and takes the cake. "You can also eat em raw!" I say "yeah right! You do not do that". He reached into my box, picked one up, and slurped it in! I was in laughing shock and he was just smiling. Sister wood walks up and says "Bishop, you have a little blood on your face?". He smiles and I just say "He just ate a cow ball raw!"

All in all it was a fun day though. We got about 200 cows branded. The dust storms were crazy. I felt like I was seeing people from the ward in their natural habitat, the Wild Wild West. We were D-i-r-t-y afterwards.  It was fun though. Unfortunately we had to leave before the Post Branding Dinner for an appointment so I never ate the fruits of my labors, but I did tell them if we stayed long enough I would. I'm all for saying I've done weird things. I can now add collecting cow balls at a branding to the list.

As for the rest of the week... it has been less than inspiring. It's been a long week with a lot of empty doors and streets. It's been a lot of work with very little progression. Hopefully this next week will be better. We just gotta keep working and trust that we are here for a reason.

Preach My Gospel Moment: This week I've decided to study out "Questions of the Soul" in the the Book of Mormon Chapter. One of the questions was "How can a relationship with Christ help me in my life?" It then pointed to reading Alma 36. It's the experience of Alma the younger talking to his son Helaman. It is a simple testimony of how his life had been blessed after changing his ways from complete rebellion to being converted and being a disciple of Christ. He speaks of deliverance from trials and afflictions as well as deliverance from sin. He was being racked with the torment of a damned soul (v16) until he remembered the words of his father and called upon christ.

20 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!
 21 Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.
And then he testifies to his son
24 Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
And that is why we do what we do. It's not to shove our religion down peoples throats, but it's because we know the joy that comes from faith and want to share it. 
Hope everyone had a great week! 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Goats, Graduations, and Good Times: 6/9/14

We pulled up across the school in front of the park gazebo for the graduation party. I get out and see a truck window is rolled down and I see an animal inside. I walk up to the truck and say "Is this a cute doggie?".... It was a GOAT! Only in Wells.

This week has been a good one. Lots of stories. Sister Wood had to leave for a leadership meeting 6 hours away in Reno, so we had Sister Cook in town for a few days. We always have told her that there is always a story everyday. She was surprised that we weren't exaggerating. First stop, there is a man sitting outside. I originally thought was naked so I said Hi and then averted my eyes... Sister Cook walked up to talk with him. He starts to stand up, I'm freaking out. He was wearing short black baggy shorts that were just scrunched up funny. She asked what he though his purpose in life was... he said smoking ribs. He wasn't interested. He said we could leave him with a prayer...and then walked away. Next stop, lady told us we could visit her yesterday. And thus went our days. When Sister Wood got back it was back in the normal groove. We were invited to Graduation Parties and it was just so much fun! We were able to meet a lot of people and talk to a lot of people and just show face. It was fun to see how much the community has come to love us. We got teased and we teased right back. One of us would get up to throw something away, get food, get a napkin and we would be talking with someone for 30 minutes or more before we got back. Sometimes even longer because on the walk back you got talking to someone else. People I never would have imagined we have impacted found out one of us might leave in two weeks and members and nonmembers alike told us we weren't allowed to leave. I love this area. I love these people. This is our area. We are the Wells Sisters. I just can't see how that will ever change. I know it will, but we've changed missionary work here and there part of us here that will never die.

I love missionary work. We get to talk to so many different people. We get to devote our time to helping others. Service truly does bring you closer to God and brings happiness. 

This is us getting back to Wells after being apart for two days. We were excited.

 My kick of the week that I have been leaving as a spiritual thought and just thinking about myself is 2 Nephi 20:3 (which quotes Isaiah 10). It hasn't even been the whole verse. It is one line "And where will ye leave your glory?" It is talking about the Second Coming of Christ. How there will be destruction prior. When all is said and done and this earth passes away, where will ye leave your glory? God's glory is to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man". His purpose, His glory is to bring us happiness that we can live with Him forever--more knowledgeable, more refined, glorified in Him. Satan's... he is nothing. What is he that we should give him our glory? Where will we leave our glory? I know that if I were to die tomorrow, and maybe this is a little morbid, but if it were to happen I would have no regrets. I've spent my life trying to do good. While a lot of 19-20 year olds are doing something much different, I'm in Nevada devoting this time to God and helping others by trying to do what I believe the Savior would have done and just loving the people. I'm so glad I did this. It is something I will cherish forever. I know where I want to leave my glory.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Miracle Healing: 6/2/14

Monday was okay. I think it may have been allergies because I had more of a watery eyes than runny nose. Tuesday came in with a vengeance. Wednesday wasn't much better. I prayed so hard to feel better for Trish's baptism. Also, that my nose wouldn't be Rudolf red and bleeding because it was so dry for the pictures. Despite the two benedryl I was up all night. That did mean more neosporin for my nose and Vick's chest rub. When I finally got to bed at 3am and woke up at 6am for the drive to Elko for zone conference, I COULD BREATH AGAIN!!!! My prayer worked! There are tomatoes! I could breath and even though it was a bit vain I didn't have a red nose--tender mercies.
We had to rush back to Wells. We were running late, our Ward Mission Leader was joking slash it wasn't funny that the font was freezing cold, we found out 20 minutes prior to us getting there that there was a PRESCHOOL GRADUATION going on right next to the baptismal font at 6 and they were rehearsing with a microphone, the people who did the graduation didn't know about us so they destroyed the room we had set up the night before (which we found out when we got there late)--needless to say, we were stressed. Then there was Trish as calm as can be. "It's no big deal. It doesn't matter as long as I get baptized. It will start a little later and it will be great." We knew it but we just wanted it to be so perfect and we were feeling like chickens with our head chopped off instead of happy and peaceful.

We moved our stuff to the Relief Society room and calmed down. Lots of people showed up to support Trish in this step. Once the song and prayer was done, there was nothing but peace. The whole thing was beautiful. The spirit was so strong. I didn't cry but I was so moved the entire time. It all worked out and was wonderful. I don't think I have ever scene Trish more excited than when her husband saw her in her white jumper and he said "I feel like I need one of those!" WE told him we could get him one. He quickly laughed it off and took it back, but Trish was just the happiest. Before she entered the font we asked her how she felt. She considered it and looked off into the distance and just smiled and nodded her head and said "I feel at peace." When she said it she was glowing. Perhaps it was just her happiness, but I swear  she was literally glowing. Then she recieved the Holy Ghost on Sunday. She was happy then as well. She is just as wonderful as they come, perfect in every way.

We also said goodbye to a dear friend this week. We met her our first Monday here. She has been through so much! She is finally getting back to New York with her dog Floppy! We love her and wish her the best.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sickly: 5/26/14

Our Zone leaders just called and asked how our week was. We were kinda quiet for a while and then finally managed "....Sickly?". Tuesday night Sister wood came down with nasty sinus thing that took her out asleep the whole next day. I got a bottle of Orange Juice and chugged it. The next day we managed to work and where able to get a lot of work done. The next day.... I think we used up all of Sister Woods energy and she was out like a light almost the whole day. I thought I had escaped it and my OJ chugging had payed off. Then Saturday I coughed a few times--didn't think much of it. Sunday I had a congested nose and sore throat. Today I have full blown something or other. Maybe it's just allergies, but my eyes will not  stop watering. It's not as bad as Sister Wood's, but now we are both sitting here typing and sniffling away.
The most exciting thing this week was a little boy's birthday party. He just turned seven and we have grown really close to the family. All of our little friends were there. When we pulled up and got out of the car they all ran to us and started attacking/playing with us. Lars was our only protector. Then we got shields and noodle swords and the battle was on. This was as the battle was ending.

Then after that we went to get lunch at McDonalds and a member stopped us and made us let her buy us lunch (she would not take no for an answer. She is so nice). As we start to pull away, we have to wait for 3 old people with walkers and canes to cross the street. Before they get halfway across, about 15 more pop up and start to cross. We inch forward. I look down to our food and hear Sister Wood exclaim, "HOLY OLD PEOPLE! It's ALL the old people!" There were over fifty old people steaming forward. They were swarming! It looked like a zombie apocalypse of old people with walkers and canes! It was insane! Finally we make it through and there's a big travel bus and they were still coming strong! It was one of the more funny things of my life. I wish I had got a picture or video.

Okay, actually that wasn't the most exciting thing. Last Monday we got a call from our Bishop's wife. She had been talking to someone in the post office and came to find out that she had had the missionary lessons before and now wanted to finish them and be baptized! You do not get calls like that everyday. We got to meet her on one of the three actual days we had. She is really cool and nice. I look forward to meeting with her more. There does have to be a marriage to the fiancee before anything can happen but they are already engaged so we don't have to be awkward and rush anything. 

Well. That's all I have for you this week. Oh! Talk of the town is finally away from my animal attack and now to my companions. Our Ward mission leader now owns Sugar Gliders. It REALLY liked Sister Wood. The feeling wasn't mutual. Because it could leap/fly though, it kept coming back.

Here is a picture from last week down in Ruby Valley.

Oh! and here's a picture with me hiking with Trish and her husband and dog!

And lots more pictures.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Closest Thing to a Vacation: 5/19/14

Now that people from here look at my blog I feel SUPER self conscientious about what I write and what they would approve of me writing but I have to stop and be super excited for two seconds. TRISH IS GETTING BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!! She is such an amazing person and we have just loved teaching her. While she was talking to our  former Stake President who is soon going to be a mission president in Mexico, she said that it all happened because of something I said our first meeting. It changed her life. President Bowler asked me if I remembered saying it and I did. Trish asked "Are you guys different from other churches, and if you are is it important to be different?" It was probably the only thing I said in the two hours we were there but I answered the question and I could feel the spirit carrying my words far beyond my natural capacity. I said the "We aren't different. We believe in almost all of the same fundamental things as other Christians, but we have more. Not different, just more."  I guess that was what made the difference. How amazing is it that we have been with her from the beginning.I am so grateful for being part of her conversion. I know I haven't done anything. I has all been between her and God and Christ and the holy ghost; we were just here to help her along the way.
So back track to the beginning of the week. Sister Wood and I were in a slum. I didn't think I would take the Mothers Day phone call so harsh. Monday was our day off and then we went and saw the F. family and had a great time there, but come Tuesday and the first three doors we try they aren't home and I'm missing.. I wasn't even missing home, just normal life. I wanted to take a nap, I wanted to watch a Disney movie, I wanted to check my Facebook at night. I just turned to Sister wood and said in defeat, "I just can't do this." "Do what?" "All of this". I wasn't sure why I'm here, I started to doubt if it was worth it, I felt like I'd be fine if a mission lasted half a year. So, Sister Wood pulled the car over and we talked for a little bit. She was feeling the same way. Then the thought came to us--we needed to go to Ruby Valley. So, we threw all our plans out the door to spend two hours driving to see the Hoovers. It was perfect. We had a nice long talk and sparked the thought that we needed to spend the weekend in Ruby Valley.

Then we just started following the spirit. A person would come to our mind and we would throw out all plans and see them. Every visit was so obviously needed by those people we saw and wonderful and perfect. By the end of Tuesday I was back to normal. By the end of the week I walking on air and just wanting to do missionary work for the rest of my life.

We got the phone call Thursday. Trish called and wanted to tell us that she has decided to be baptized here and she wants to do it while we are still here because it feels important. While she was on speaker phone Sister Wood and I placed the phone down, silently freaked out, gave each other a hug, and shed a few tears of joy. We were so happy that we already had plans to go up there to see her. Saturday at noon we made the trek down to the Refuge. Once we got there, Trish took us on a tour down to Shannytown and made sure to stop by everyone she knew to introduce us and then before we could there she was inviting everyone to church and offering a ride. It was so much fun meeting everyone and seeing Trish so excited about the things she has learned. We complimented her on how great of a missionary she was and she just said "Well, there's nothing to be shy about!". I wish everyone had that attitude. I wish I had it more. Then we were going to talk about the logistics of her baptism while hiking in the mountains, but her husband decided to join us so we kept it a bit more casual. There we were in the second most remote national forest in the lower 48. It was absolutely breathtaking. 

Then we drove up and had dinner with the Hoovers, attended a broadcast--which was amazing, and spent the night in the Hoovers cabin. I cannot describe how amazing it felt to wake up in a beautiful cabin in the mountains in this beautiful rustic town. I woke up and I knew. I knew that I was in the right place at the right time. I am here for a greater purpose and the Lord will magnify all that I do, because I have been set apart and called by a prophet.

I wish I could describe every miracle this week and what made it so amazing, but I don't have time. I think it will suffice to say that the difference has been that we put the Lord back into His work and gave it over to Him and took the time to just enjoy what we were doing and miracles followed.

No pictures this week. I forget my camera cord at home. But we did take some good ones because it was Ruby Valley and our other pictures did it absolutely no justice. 

Spiritual moment: I did go over the next little section in PMG, but I was so touched by the broadcast I wanted to share portions of it. It was Elder Robins of the seventy and Elder Keel that spoke to us. It was spot on with what our investigator needed, but it was also just good in general. A main topic they were on was love. Love is the most important, wonderful, magical emotion that God has created. He did not set it in motion for it to end in death. He did not create it just for it to stop. Without Christ's Atonement, we could not love, we could not love forever. God has commanded us to love. Commandments are given as opportunities to exercise faith and make the choice to choose God's way. Because he commanded us to love, it is a choice we can make and should make to love.

So those are my thoughts on the week. At least some of them. Hope you have a great week.

Also, my companion was just talking about how she dislikes mass emails because they feel so unperson-able, but I hope you know that when I write these I think of the people who will read it and I get excited for them to see. Like Jenna Michnick! I'll do a quick shout out to you! I think it's so cool that my babysitter from so long ago still finds interest in my life. I was a little shock but also so happy to see you add your email address. I thought it was so cool. 

K. Now I'll go for reals. Bye!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy Mothers Day: 5/12/14

I cannot even remember what happened this week! It's all been wiped away from talking to the family last night! Everyone talks about how it's so hard to talk to your family and it just makes you want to go home. For me, well. Talking to them was just so great and fun! It felt so normal. The hard part is that I know I won't be able to do it again until Christmas and I had so much more to say and wanted to hear. Well, it's over now. Back to mission life.

So onto missionary stuff and things: It is official. We (Sister Wood and I) are staying in Wells together for another transfer. Everyone is pretty shocked. That is 6 months and a third of our mission together. It's a great thing that we love each other and this area :) The ward is pretty happy about it as wells.

Most of this week we spent doing service--house cleaning, yard help, and moving--or we were in Elko. Tuesday we had a Zone Training and we hit up Walmart afterwards. Then on Friday we had a member of the Seventy tour our mission. It was Elder Teh who spoke in General Conference. He was super nice and it was great to have hime. However, my mind was a bit preoccupied the whole time because I kknew that afterwards I was finally getting my staples removed!

I GOT MY STAPLES REMOVED! It was a happy day...the next day. The day of, I had scabby dandruff and was bleeding again. Also they ripped out chunks of hair with every staple. I whimpered like a puppy. They told Sister Wood she could do one when I got them in. The looser ones didn't hurt so bad, so I let her pull out the last one. She was excited. I got to keep all my staples and the staple remover! Now my head it doing great. I can't even find it anymore without Sister Wood. So I'm put back together and fully functioning!

Here's us at Zone Training. Sister Wood told me she would come stand by me. This is me actually yelling at her because she betrayed me to fend for myself.

Then another fun moment: We were eating at the Bates house and Lanny leans over and says "Do you wanna shoot a Blowdart?" I think over the rules... It's not a firearms and we have fifteen more minutes for dinner. So I say back "I think that is necessary" and we shot blowdarts at the wall and tried to hit the orange dot on the tape he put up. I think that is one of my favorite parts of being a missionary is people having you in their homes and random things ensuing. 

Well, great. Now it looks like all we do is mess around. I swear we do spiritual things as well. Most the time we aren't messing around, but you have to find fun along the way. And we do. 

Spiritual moment: One of the things we talked about with Elder Teh is why we were on missions. A lot of missionaries stood up and told both heart wrenching stories of disbelief turning into something miraculous and good, stories of love for the Savior, stories of overcoming so much opposition. Every time Elder Teh would say, "Yes, your story sounds familiar". Then he pulled the story in the Book of Mormon of Alma the younger and he said that when it boils down to it, our stories are all the same. The doctrines found in the church have touched our lives and we want others to have what we do. And that is the truth.

He showed us What Alma the younger had to say to his son and I think it is so beautiful because it shows the juxtaposition of the state we are in without a savior from our sins and guilt to our life with the savior and being cleansed. But also, it shows that to everything bad in the world there is an equal and greater force of good. No matter how bad the world can get, there is light; there is hope. Yes, there is darkness, but do not dwell there because there is also light. There is a joy that comes from living a life of goodness and giving and faith beyond measure and beyond explanation. I'm glad for the chance I've had to have faith in my life and I'm grateful for the opportunity to share that with others.

"Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy." -Alma 36:21