I just looked at my blog and realized it didn’t have all of my weekly letters and figured the first step in recording my story is the catch up. If you have been wondering what happened to me—why I am home and what lead to it--this will only continue telling stories from when I thought I would be a missionary until I ended my service in July. If you are looking for more dialogue about my mission and the funny things that happen or the spiritual moments, you came to the right place.
A Wonderfully Exhausting Week 8/18/14
In the mission field, you have all these plans of who you want to see and appointments of people who said you can come back. The plans never go like you think they will. Most the time, all the plans fall through. The appointments that you think are going to be big "make it or break it" moments are actually quite small. The moments that you never anticipate are defining factors.
The Lord has blessed us a lot. We have been able to see the scripture in D&C 127: 17
"Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."
I think it is important to stand still. Just stop and recognize that God's all loving arm, his all loving plan is being revealed.
When we got here to Gardnerville, in reflection, we really had nothing. We had nothing to work with, no clue what we were doing, and no real progression in the area. But for some reason we pressed forward cheerfully. We had no reason to be cheerful, but we were. Now we are truly seeing, with the utmost assurance, God's arm being revealed.
Highlights. Moments that make it worth it:
-We got dropped by a supposedly golden investigator that we have talked to since we got here. One of the couple even agreed to baptism. For some reason it didn't matter though. Since they cancelled on us, we were able to spend more time with the grandkids of a less active convert to the church. Her grandkids had no clue who God was. By the end of our meeting we taught a ten year old how to pray. She thanked us in her prayer or teaching her. It was so tender. I knew we were supposed to be there instead.
-Sister Lollypops told us a story: She was at a race, I believe it was a marathon. One of the runners fell and was seriously endured. Instead of finishing, one of the racers near the lead turned around, ran back to where the other runner had fallen, picked her up, and helped her over the finish line. Then Sister Lollypops looked at us with teary eyes and said, "That's how I feel about you two. You are picking me up and helping me to finish my race." It's moments like that. They make it all worth it.
-We were biking down the road. We see a guy outside. Friendly. We stop to talk. Not interested at all. We asked if he knew anyone who could use "an uplifting message about Jesus Christ". Most people just blow us off and say no, we offer service, they say no but take our card. I'm about to get the card out of my pocket when he gives a half-hearted, "The lady two doors down. I don't know the story or her very well, but she's looked a little down lately". We only had 15 minutes before we had to be somewhere. Sister Anderson jumps on the bike to head to the church when I just say, "Let's contact it now!". We talk to another not interested neighbor on our way to the door. During our talking over the fence, Elizabeth opens the door. We introduce ourselves and ask if she needs any help. She begins to get teary eyed. She needs hip surgery soon, she can't bend down; she had been praying all day for someone to be able to turn on her water for her to water her lawn. She had been praying. All. Day. It's true. God is real. He answers prayers. Being a missionary, God makes sure that you are at the right place at the right time to answer people's prayers. Sometimes we are blessed to find out (usually down the road) when that happens.
-There's a little girl in a family the we have gotten very very close to. The DuPont-Moore's daughter got baptized this week. In the program, there are a few minutes between the baptism and when it continues because of needing to be re-dressed. We felt so honored They asked us to say the opening and closing prayer, as well as share a message during the break. It was such a lovely baptism. I know the Lord was guiding us on what to say and do, because the spirit was so strong.
-Jake told his mom that he is coming back to church. Oh man. I just can't imagine. Can you imagine being that mom and receiving that news! That is better than a baptism.
There are so many highlights. I can think of at least two more moments like these, but I have to be closing off here soon if I want to send any other emails today. But it has been just a magical week of being on the Lord's errand in a labor of love. I do love being a missionary. This week is proof of it. Last week my mom wrote me about how hard it was for me to be away. She said something along the lines of "No one tells you how hard it's going to be, I just thought I'd be proud to have a missionary out and it would be like you going off to college". I miss being home. I miss my friends and family. But, it's worth it. How could this not be worth it?
I hope everyone has a great week! I think I say this about every week, but it's true.
Here are some things you may be interested in.
This is the Mormon Message (short video clip) that we showed at the baptism. It talks about how the Lord is always with us and to keep going. This may be a weird thing to show at a baptism, but we felt inspired to share it. It will make you laugh, and it may make you cry. I love it. We felt it connected because of the people of Alma who were baptized. They then fell into bondage and were heavily persecuted (Mosiah 24). But the voice of the Lord came to them saying, "Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. " us and to keep go I know that it is through those covenants or promises that we make with the Lord that I have been sustained through life's challenges.
THIS IS MY STAKE!!! Remember that storm that knocked out the power and I couldn't email? Then it rained hard a couple of times after that. This lead to a lot of flooding. There was a huge stake service project for it. This is on the border of my area, but it's on the other side of the road so they are in the other ward. Therefore we were not invited to help out. But tons of people from my ward went and I believe are mentioned in here!
This is an article from our church magazine I really like. Especaily the part quoting Thomas S Monson. But it you are short on time, definately watch the first link before this one :)
Sense Of Humor 8/25/14
God has a sense of humor. We have been praying and fasting to work with the ward; He breaks our car.
Our car battery died. Due to all the appointments we have actually had this week (Please note how awesome it is that we actually had appointments and not just days and days of drop by visits and street contacting), we had to rely a lot on members and other people to give us rides. It was kinda cool to see the Lord's hand even in our car being broken. A lot of our rides ended being from less active members and investigators. It was frustrating to have a broken car and tiring to bike SO much--literally at least half our time was spent biking--but there were opportunities that wouldn't have been there if we hadn't had a broken car.
There are two people that we have really been working with this past week that we had never really met before. We will call them Victoria and Ella.
Victoria has been investigating the church for 8 years. She was set with a baptismal date with the Elders before us, but it got pushed back indefinitely. When Sisters got here everyone was excited because maybe we could be the ones. Well, she never met with us. Her roommates are very Anti-Mormon and have been telling her horrible things of how she is going to Hell and likewise. Finally she has cracked. She called us up and wanted to meet with us. We now see her every week and she wants to be baptized in a month. When we first met with her, she admitted to depression problems and couldn't break any of the darkness. It has been amazing to see the joy that has entered her life, the light, just from relying upon the healing power of Christ's great sacrifice.
Ella is an older woman who believes that every religion is the truth. She was in a very very dark place when we met her. We've been doing service and then talking afterwards. It was amazing to see the darkness leave and the joy enter as she talked with us. While we were off cleaning, a commercial on the TV came on for "Helping Angels". I don't know what it's for but I heard Ella say "I have two of those in my house right now!". That's what she calls us, her little angels.
This week just flew. I have no clue where it went. Picture a little red head in a skirt biking and you will know most of my week :)
Have a great week!
Miracles and Bird Flu 9/2/14
Those random Monday holidays are the worst as missionaries. No mail and no open libraries and no email. Thank goodness for Tuesday I guess!
The most exciting thing we have to announce: we have an investigator preparing for baptism! I wish I could say we did something to lead to this, but it is all her. We are so excited and happy. Our next step? Make sure she has very solid fellowship. Currently that is lacking, but we will get there.
Another Big Moment: our 88 year old investigator who tells us every time that she won't convert and she won't pray, prayed. Then, she didn't say she wouldn't convert at the end like usual. YAY!
On Wednesday we did a service involving years of bird nests, feathers, and droppings. The next day,we were down. We were down for a few days. We aren't sure what it was but it took us completely out for two and a half days. I am barely getting my appetite back up.
You know? While we were getting stir crazy in the house trying not to puke, Sister Anderson and I discussed how some missionaries get sick and stay in and have trouble getting out again; we were just anxious to get out. Well, I won't lie. It's been a struggle getting back to missionary life. I think part of it is I'm still a little weak from being sick, but we've got out and are back to work. So far so good. Sister Anderson has been helping with her never ending supply of energy and enthusiasm for the work.
So, that sums up the week! We saw miracles and then we saw the bowl of the toilet a lot. We were, as my family says, "praying to the porcelain Gods".
I just really love God. I love the Atonement, that great sacrifice of Christ. I know that it truely is sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify. That's what it's all about. I was thinking of that line in Alma 5 during the sacrament this week, "If you have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask can you feel so now?". Have you let you faith go dormant? Are you really taking this sacrament as a symbol of his suffering and death? So, I turned to the scripture and looked to the footnotes to see what else I could find. I found Alma 26:12-16.
12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.
13 Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice?
14 Yea, we have reason to praise him forever, for he is the Most High God, and has loosed our brethren from the chains of hell.
15 Yea, they were encircled about with everlasting darkness and destruction; but behold, he has brought them into his everlasting light, yea, into everlasting salvation; and they are encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love; yea, and we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work.
16 Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men?
Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.
I absolutely love that. I can tell you I have seen people encircled about by that everlasting darkness and destruction. I am so honored to be part of bringing them to that everlasting light, to see them encircled about by the matchless bounty of God's love. Of all the miracles I have seen on my mission, the greatest on of them all is that it's true. It is all true. I'm grateful to be a part of it.
A Normal Week 9/8/14
Not that any normal week happens on the mission. What we are doing isn't exactly normal. But, as far as missionary work goes we had a normal week this week, an awesome week this week. I won't lie, I left my planner at home and have somewhat forgot all the things that happened. We saw all the normal people and had fun. Of course there are the Lollypops :) Wally called Lila on the way back from Costco and asked if we were still there and said "Keep them there! I'm bringing home a rotisserie chicken." and holy cow, that was the best chicken I have ever had in my life. They really spoil us. They got Gatorade and ice cream and some other things for us to take home as well. They have three dogs. DeeDee is a little overweight and eats everything. I told them if I was one of their dogs, I would be DeeDee :) Then we also saw the Beland, Elizabeth, the Roaches!
Weird Story/I guess we are on that level now: There's a lady and we were at her house. About 30 minutes into us being there she says "Make yourself at home, I'm gonna go take a shower!". She promptly left and took a shower and we sat there confused.
I am loving here in Gardnerville. It's fun. I still miss Wells a lot. Maybe you can't replace your first area, but I have learned to like it here a lot. I really like my companion too. It's been good.
For my message, I wanted to share something I learned. I read an article in our church magazine. It's the last page of the August 2014 Ensign( https://www.lds.org/ensign/2014/08/replacing-my-fear-with-faith?lang=eng). There's a member who shared an experience she had and it she a new light on a well known story. She went through a breakup and found herself feeling lonely and sad. She found comfort in the story of Mary Magdalene and the apostles finding an empty tomb. "He is not here, for he is risen" (Luke 24:5-6). That's when she realized "I was looking in the wrong place for comfort. Wallowing in the past and “yearn[ing] vainly for yesterdays” was not consoling me or motivating me to fruitful action. I realized I needed to stop looking in the tomb of past experiences."
How brilliant is that? I realized I have been there before, looking for the savior--hope and healing--in the wrong place. Only forgiveness, repentance, faith brings healing and forgiveness, repentance, faith are all in the future. Healing is heavenwards. But I've found myself not believing that. I've been as the apostles that Easter Sunday, where the words "seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not" (Luke 24:11). It seems unfathomable and too good to be true that the savior really can heal us from our pains, or if not heal us at least comfort us and make it bearable. But he is not found in the tomb of the past. He is never found in holding onto the past, but only found in looking forward.
Hope that everyone had just as good of a week as me. I wonder what next week will bring. we have transfer calls this week and the possibility to get moved by next Tuesday. I think I will stay but you never know! Talk to you in a week!
It has been a good week. It's been a long one too. It's been a strange week. I really can't tell you what happened because I don't remember much. I just flew by and everything was so random this week. Good, but random. Most of our plans fell through and we ended up seeing a bunch of new people. TONS of new people. Where we normally talk to about 10-20 new people everyday, we saw about 25-50 new people everyday. Most people are nice but uninterested. I feel like that's how I would be if missionaries from another faith walked up to me as well, so I always walk away feeling good having at least met a new friend.
We are staying another transfer together in Gardnerville! As Sunday drew closer and closer Sister Anderson and I would look at each other and say "I don't think we are leaving yet." It's a funny thing, when you are leaving, you can feel it. You draw away from your area and the people a little bit. God prepares you to leave. We were even telling members, "yeah, I don't think we are gone yet". Lo and behold, we get our call and we are staying! After a week of ALL the appointments falling through, I'm not so sure what it is that we are suppose to do and why we have to stay together, but I think we will know soon.
I'm sorry this is short today, I just don't have much to say.
This week I've been studying God's love. I found this scripture and I love it. 2 Nephi 26:24
"He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation."
He doesn't do anything to us except it be for our benefit. He loves us so much. He wants all of us to return to Him. He wants us to return, because he loves us. NONE are told that they should not partake of His sacrifice, His cleansing, His empowering. All are welcome into the all loving, all merciful arms of God. He is the loving Father of our spirits and wants all of us to "return unto God who gave it" life (Ecclesiastes 12:7). I think God is a firm believer in "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" and he knows what he is doing. Though it can sometimes feel like we aren't getting stronger at all and he doesn't understand. He does and He cares. Bu even death, he know when we have accomplished what we need to. To Him, death is not the end but only a part of his plan to make us better. I trust that it all makes sense in his omnipotent eyes.
Worm Status: HALFWAY 9/22/14
I have spent most of my computer time looking at pictures and now I have to go.
BUT EXCITING THINGS:
I hit my Halfway mark this week! I have been out 9 Months! Here is us burning the shirt!
I learned how to use a floor buffer. It's dang hard. You have to be pretty buff to work them.
The New Spanish elder in our area in a greenie straight for the training center: that's fun. Here's us at the Greenie meal prepared by our forner Ward Mission Leader
Elder Lawrence of the seventy came and gave awesome talks at our stake conference about Light and Darkness. "Success or Failure in this life depends on how much light we gain". Very interesting.
Wish I could write more but I am a worm. To all the Family in Disney World, I hope you all have fun! To everyone, send pictures and letters! I may not be the best at responding but I love to hear from people :)
Facing the music 9/29/14
Last week was a little discouraging. This week was supposed to be a ladies Baptism. It didn't go through. So this week was a little rough too. BUT we are facing the music and going to be finding a lot. Even more then before I guess. The cold weather is coming in so we gotta do it now or else we will be hurting soon. So far not much luck, but we hope that will change soon. Blech. I dislike finding. 60%of the time you are annoying people, 30% of the time people just don't care, 8% people like you a lot but aren't interested but say you can come back, and the other 2% are people that love you and allow you to change their life. I just made up that.
We are in Carson today because our computers are down at the Gardnerville library. Our ride is coming nowish so I got to go. I don't think I replied to anyone this week so please don't be too hurt. I was only on for about 45 mins.
Love you sll and hope you have a great week!
A lady with a rotten tooth tried to pull it out in front of us
A guy is actually believing in God after being agnostic
We used a toilet that had a pull string. It was awesome
Shirley wants to listen to the Book of Mormon more so a lady bought her a CD player. There was no power cord #SATAN!
Our Zone leaders got "stickerfied" at dinner and carrots thrown at them. I love Sharla
I SAW SISTER WOOD!!!!!! We had a giant service project in reno and I saw her :)
A TV week 10/6/14
This week has been awesome (minus the fact that I'm sick again) because we were able to watch a lot of TV.
First off: We got to preveiw a church released film Meet the Mormons. Really it's more of meet 6 really amazing and cool people that will inspire you that there is hope in life and they happen to be Mormon. It's awesome. You will love it. I recommend watching it. It will be realeased in select theaters this weekend and then on the internet afterwards.
Then we got to watch General Conference. I have a lot of favorites like always, but I really liked Bednars talk to the nonmembers in the audience about why we don missionary work :)
I always think it's neat when they pray for the missionaries. It helps to remember that all the church is praying for missionaries like me. did you know there are over 88,000 missionaries right now? That is crazy! It makes me glad to know there is a force for good in this world.
I hope you all liked conference and it was great!
I got to go. Maybe one of these days I will write my mass email first :)