Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Merry Christmas!!

Christmas as a missionary is the BEST! Seriously. So so wonderful. Here is why:
 
1. I got to talk to my family! It was weird because it was like no time had passed and that hour seemed to go by so fast, but also seemed to last forever at the same time. weird. We were able to skype so I even got to say hi to Kwazi and Fin too! Anyone that knows my family knows how entertaining that phone call was. I'm also especially grateful that I haven't gained a bunch of pounds and look pretty much the same.
 
2. I got to open all my gifts-- and while I was excited about all my gifts, it was so meaningful to feel the love of family and friends all over the country who took the time to package up some Christmas joy and send it my way. Thank you all so much for all the packages and letters!
 
3. Visitor Center sisters are super spoiled at any holiday. I almost feel bad about it, but only almost. We have had treats coming out our ears for the past few weeks and we had a delicious Christmas breakfast yesterday morning with President Keyes. He read us a children's book he wrote. He's the best.
 
4. We went caroling with the Elders in our ward. They were a little slow to warm up but by the end of the night we had a good thing going. It was fun to join efforts with the Elders and visit all of our investigators and members of the ward. Everyone is so surprised by carolers. I want to go every year now! People eat it up!
 
5.  I found out that Katie Packer is ENGAGED! WHAT!? So exciting! Write me. ASAP.
 
6. Christmas music NON-STOP.
 
7. We were constantly able to teach and testify about the importance of the birth of our Savior. This has been the most meaningful Christmas I have ever had and I am so grateful for it! I know that he lives and that he loves us. I am so grateful for his birth, many years ago. I know that he truely brings us glad tidings of great joy.
 
In other news I think Christmas kicked in some A.D.D. tendencies because my brain was NOT functioning for about the past week. It was really hilarious because I'm already mildly awkward at times, but this just brought it to a whole new level. Sister Sant is a little worried about me. I'm blaming it on all the sugar and anticipation for Christmas, hopefully by next week I can pull myself together.
 
Our investigators are progressing really well. Mary has a baptismal date and she is so excited for it! We had two people come to church on Sunday! SO exciting. We've really had a hard time with that, but both Mary and Joyce came and really loved it.  
 
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Monday, 17 December 2012

What shall we give?

The two Sister Calls in the Missouri Independence Mission

 This week was an emotional roller coaster.

Tamara dropped us... over a text message. It was really sad. Almost as bad as a break up. Seriously. It is still kind of a mystery as to why she dropped us. She said she wants to go to the Catholic church and that LDS is not for her. We went by to see if we could talk to her and she wasn't very friendly and shut the door on us. It was really strange because just the Friday before she had been talking about all these things she wanted to do with us. It is so sad to really pour your heart and soul into helping someone, to feel that love that our Father in Heaven has for them and then to just be dropped. It did make me contemplate how our Savior must have felt and how much he must love us. He has faced all that rejection and sorrow.

I got asked out on a date! Kind of. Funny story, actually. So I am ordering some food at Wendys and the worker starts talking to me about my badge and asks where I am from, etc. etc. I tell him that we are missionaries and whatnot, and we kind of start talking about church. Then for whatever reason I was like "yeah, straight up" and the guy was like "woah, this girl just said 'straight up' and she's like a church girl! Yeah, I'll come to your church!" So I got him and his coworkers numbers and we invited them to church. The coworker was the one that asked us/me to go bowling... we hadn't really gotten a chance to tell him our purpose as missionaries.

Joyce is doing SO well! Ah! She is so great! This Sunday she called us because she was having a really hard time the anniversary of her husband's death. We invited her to read 2 Nephi 2. When we saw her again she told us that that passage changed her whole perspective on the situation. She had been struggling at this time of year for 13 years, and wasn't sad anymore. She thanked us for helping her grow much closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and told us that SHE DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IF SHE HAD BEEN SAVED BEFORE! That is huge! This is coming from the lady who was convinced she was going straight to heaven and had been saved. She is starting to realize how much more Heavenly Father has to offer her, more happiness, more love, more opportunities to serve. I just can't get over what a miracle all this is, that we found her, that we talked to her about just the right things. I can't wait to see how she progresses.

I love Christmas as a missionary. I miss my family a lot, but I secretly (and not so secretly now) am glad that I will have two Christmas's out on my mission. Sure, I miss having a real Christmas tree and getting together as a family on Christmas Eve. I will miss watching my dad fidget with the gadgets that he gets and eating cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. I will miss opening presents one at a time, youngest to oldest. But on my mission I have come to realize more fully WHY we celebrate Christmas and HOW to celebrate. It is not about what we get... it's not even about giving presents to others. It is about giving GIFTS. Gifts of our talents, time, love, thought, effort. It is about what we will give to our fellowmen and it is about what we will give to our Savior Jesus Christ. He has given me every happiness in my life. Literally. He has given me the greatest gift, His Atonement!-- the
ability to change, grow, repent, forgive, and do everything I can't do on my own. I have very little to offer - a willing heart and mind. But it is everything and all He wants from me and asks of me. I have been thinking a lot about what I can give my Savior this holiday season, and I invite you to do the same. What can you give Christ?

Please enjoy this message from the Prophet Thomas S. Monson about Christmas.





Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Tis' the Season!

It seems like life as a missionary just gets busier and busier during the holiday season, but rather than stressing about finals and gift-giving, we just focus on teaching people what this season is really about... Our Savior! It is the best. I already know that this will be my best Christmas because I am a representative for the Reason for the Season. We have been so blessed this holiday season, and SO busy!
This week was great! We taught several solid lessons and are really starting to see people progress. The area is really picking up and we feel so blessed. We went to the Liberty Jail with one of our investigators, Tamara, on Friday. It was so great! Sister Ogletree (my Missionary Training Center companion) gave us the presentation and she did such a great job. It was so fun to see how much she has grown and what a great missionary she is. The whole experience was a total miracle. Everything said was so pertinent to Tamara and the Spirit of God was really strong. I just love all the lessons you can learn from what happened there. Some of my favorite scriptures are in Doctrine & Covenants sections 121-123.  Read these, especially if you are having a hard time with something, and even if you aren't.
Joyce is really progressing. We taught her 3 times this week! She is so cute and wonderful and just so fun to be around.
In honor of the Christmas season I have been thinking a lot about our Savior, Jesus Christ. I think on my mission I have gained an even greater appreciation of the breadth and depth of His Atonement. Let's be real here, I have lived a pretty sheltered life... Newport Beach, CA to BYU has given me only a small view as to the trials and the many struggles that many people face. As a missionary, we see it all day everyday. The atonement covers all of it! All of it! The pain, the sickness, addictions, family drama. Everything! And it all stems from love. One of my favorite scriptures is 1 John 14:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.
Our Savior had that perfect love for each of us. He knows us personally and perfectly. I hope we all strive this Christmas season to cast away our fears, our insecurities, and doubts and come closer to Him by loving Him more and loving others more. I know that that is something I am really striving to do! I even gave away a pass-along card in a Chick-fil-A today even though I thought it was totally awkward. Sometimes I still get mildly freaked out about how awkward most of my life is right now. Knocking on people's doors, chatting it up at gas stations. Most of the time I am really good at embracing the awkward on my mission.  Considering I am a mildly awkward person, I guess it's something I've always gotten pretty used to. Anyway. All of this is beside the point... bottom line is this Christmas season I have thought a lot more about others and much less about myself. It's been the best Christmas season and the best time being a missionary!
Some sisters I work with at the Visitors Center

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Joy to the World, the Lord is Come!...


 This week has been SO full of fabulous happenings. In fact, I think it has been the best week of my mission. I can't even express my gratitude for how much we have been blessed in our area. We have been given so many people to work with and they keep coming. It's wonderful! It's really simple things that make me super happy such as:
- People kept their appointments!
- We actually had appointments for people to keep!
- We found two new people to teach!
- We were busy busy busy!!

I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ! and I just LOVE being a missionary. I love it SO much. Anyone that knows me knows how much I love to tell people how much I love them or how I love whatever it is that we may be doing. So here you go. I love being a missionary! I love the gospel! Ahhh! It is the best. It is so wonderful to come home at night and be so tired and exhausted but to know that you spent the day inviting people to do good and helping others. There is nothing better. Life is simple and SO happy.

I have noticed a pattern in my life and on my mission that often trials precede great blessings. A few weeks before this miracle week we had been having a really hard time in our area. No one was keeping appointments, we were working hard but seeing no fruits of our labors. So of course, being imperfect beings, we got discouraged and lacked a little faith. It has been amazing to see that as soon as we picked ourselves back up-- bolstered our faith and continued working with faith, blessings came pouring down. I think that's how it is in all of our lives. I am so grateful for all of my trials-especially the really hard ones because they precede great learning and great blessings.
Case and point. We had a lesson this week with one of our new investigators named Joyce (I love her by the way!) We had some members come with us, the Andree's. Sister Andree comes out with us a lot because she is a ward missionary, so she knows the ropes. Brother Andree on the other hand tends to get into some deep doctrine. It was our first lesson with Joyce, so we were trying to keep it simple. He went off on about every tangent possible! EVERYTHING. (polygamy, baptisms for the dead, the celestial kingdom, tithing) The only thing he maybe could have brought up that would have been more random would have been Kolob. It was literally a missionary's worst nightmare. Not even exaggerating... well maybe a little...Regardless, Sister Sant and I were freaking out inside and PRAYING that most of it would go over her head... turns out part of it ended up being a total miracle. He brought up baptisms for the dead and Joyce looked totally freaked out. So Sister Andree explained that we have the opportunity to do baptismal work for those that have passed on. Joyce was like "you mean I can get baptized for my family, like my mom." She was so excited about that idea. I was grateful that a blessing followed that storm! She has been so excited about temples and everything else ever since. So even awkward teaching can turn into miracles. Joyce has really been progressing. It was really neat to teach her the first lesson! I recited the first vision and afterwards she was just like "woah." So COOL!

I came across this scripture this morning during my studies and I LOVED it. First of all, it was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail which is in my mission.  So that just made it even better. Here it is, D&C 123:16-17.
"You know, brethren, that a very large ship is benefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves. 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 love this! Often it is the smallest things that make the most difference.
Reading the scriptures, daily prayer, attending church. They are huge! As a missionary it is SO important to be obedient to every rule, even the smallest rules. As we do this we gain great power and the guidance of the spirit. As each of us look for small ways to improve our spirituality and to have the spirit with us.  We will be able to stand with an assurance that where we are going and what we are doing and who we are becoming is good. I also like the part about "cheerfully doing all things that lie in our power." We only have so much control over our circumstances, but we can be cheerful about doing all that we can and having faith that the Lord will make up the rest. I know that He will, and that He does. I see it in my life every day. I am so grateful to have a daily witness of the Lord's love for us as I see his hand in my life and the lives of others. The message that we teach is true! I love it! I am so very grateful for it!


I had a fabulous time updating the bulletin board in the Visitor's Center.

BEFORE

AFTER
Elder and Sister Anderson

Thursday, 29 November 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

 

 Decorating the Mission Home Christmas tree

 My handmade ornament ;)
 
 with Sister Keyes, the Mission President's wife
 
I know... my blog titles are getting cheesy.  This is why I used to title my blogs Week # ____.... sooo at least I'm trying a little harder with this one. This week has been SO wonderful. We have been so blessed! Seriously. I don't even know how I can keep up with all the blessings we are recieving right now. I swear it's because of the Christmas season. I love Christmas!

Miracle #1: We had contacted this lady named Joyce about a week or two ago and decided to try back with her. I kept thinking of her apartment because I had sworn I saw some kids run inside once... we have been really wanting to teach a family so we always try to talk to people with kids. So turns out she doesn't have kids in the house, but she let us in (it is so nice to actually be let in!) and we had a good long conversation with her. We found out she loves geneology! She's been doing it for years and really feels connected to her ancestors. She is really interested in the afterlife and has had a lot of ideas that really coincide with the Plan of Salvation. We have an appointment with her today at the visitor center and we are really excited! We have really been praying to find people who will progress and that we can teach, and we found her!

Miracle #2: This morning during personal study we got a phone call from this man that we have kind of been working with. He has been really busy and doesn't have a car and is often working on Sunday, so we have taught him a few principles over the phone a few times. He randomly called us this morning and I answered. He asked "who is this?" and I said "Sister Call" and he said "Oh, I didn't even know I had you programmed into my phone. This is a miracle and a sign from God! You weren't even programmed into my phone! I want a ride to church on Sunday."  Turns out he quit his job this morning and kind of hit rock bottom. He thought he was calling his mom, but instead he called us.  We are teaching him tomorrow, and of course I am excited about it!  I know that he really needs the restored gospel in his life right now.

Miracle #3: The sisters in the 3rd ward gave us a referral to this really great new investigator. She had moved into our boundaries. I am so excited to teach her, we haven't actually met with her yet, but we will this week.  I feel so blessed to have so many people to teach and to work with. I hope that we can keep up with it all! 

One thing that has really stood out to me this week is that the gospel of Jesus Christ can help EVERYONE. It doesn't matter what your background is or what problems you may have. There is always an element of the restored gospel that can help you. For Joyce it will probably be the Plan of Salvation, for David most likely the redeeming and enabling power of the atonement, but for everyone it is something related to our Savior Jesus Christ. He truely is the head of this great church and all aspects of any doctrine we teach tie back to Him. I love this quote from Preach My Gospel: "As we rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, He can help us endure our trials, sicknesses, and pain. We can be filled with joy, peace, and consolation. All that is unfair abour life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." Everyone in life has some sort of burden, some sort of something that they are struggling with, but everything can be made right through the Atonement. I have certainly felt that on my mission. I still have a lot of the same challenges of health that I did before, but as I focus on following my Savior, on relying on Him, on loving and serving others, that burden seems small. I am able to go throughout the day and find the strength that I need when I need it. Often He doesn't remove the trial but he gives us the tools to endure and remain positive and happy.  I am so grateful to have a knowledge and a testimony of the reality of a living and loving Savior. I know that the power of the atonement is real. That is the only thing powerful enough to shape and change a person's very nature. I am grateful that God is in the details of our life!

 Decorating our apartment with my cutie housemates!

























Congrats to Abbie on finishing her mission!!!!! Whoohoo! You are such an example to me and I can't wait to write you and see you in a year and a little bit!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!! :-)

Thanksgiving!
 
Thanksgiving is this week! Whoohoo. This will be my first real holiday as a missionary, because I didn't really feel like I was missing out on too much during Halloween. I mean Provo Halloween's were always a let down, I could only take so much dance party hopping. Anyway. Thanksgiving will be weird because we will probably go dinner hopping. I hope I don't explode.
 
We had zone conference this week. I loved it for a number of reasons.
 
1) It was like EFY on steroids... without the dancing. Bummer. But it was still great and really uplifting.
2) Being with so many Elders is SO funny. Elders are just funny, but mostly it is funny because it's very segregated.
3) It's fun to be with so many different missionaries.
4) I love President Keyes.
5) There is yummy food.
6) We got to sing a musical number-- look at me using my talents!
 
Okay that was probably a really boring list. Sorry. Anyway. We talked a lot at zone conference about qualifying for the work and really giving your whole heart. We are only going to be successful if we give all of ourselves, and we can only really be fully happy (on a mission and in everyday life) if we give all of ourselves. I liked this note that I wrote "The greatest battles you will ever have are deep in the chambers of your heart... Once the Lord has won, you both win." It made me question what I was holding back. What more could I give to the Lord? I think we can all ask ourselves that question. He asks us to love him and serve him with all our heart, might, mind and strength. But you notice that heart is first. That's the hardest, to give up our dreams, our desires, everything - to make our first desire that His will be done. And then he makes us new and whole and perfect through him. I think that is one of the great lessons I have learned this short time that I am on my mission. It is not enough for me to be out here doing missionary work. I need to become a missionary. I am so grateful though that I have this opportunity to give him everything. Literally. I don't have anything to worry about, but serving him. I love it!
 
Our investigator, Tamara, is progressing a lot! We are really excited for her to move forward in the gospel. It was pretty neat experience this week.  We were in the middle of an awesome lesson that we had planned, when Sister Sant turned to me and said we need to teach prayer, and I had been thinking the same thing. So we did. We bagged all of our great plans and switched to prayer. It was exactly what Tamara had been thinking about this week and was really an answer to her prayers. I am so grateful to be able to teach by the Spirit!
 
I just LOVE working at the visitor center. I love giving presentations and helping people come closer to Christ. If you live by a visitor center, GO! It is the best. It's been getting rather slow, which is a bummer BUT I have so much time to study. I have been reading the Book of Mormon, did you know that Jacob 5 is the best chapter ever?! Well it's up there. Maybe not the best. Anyway I never had the patience to pick through it before. I love it. I am learning so much. I just love being a missionary! It is the best thing I have ever done. I don't know who reads my blog (besides my mom and Marin Rowe) but if anyone is on the fence about a mission, GO! Just do it. It will be the best thing you can ever do.
 
Well, happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'm still accepting birthday cards and letters (haha... but seriously... Katie Packer!)
 

Monday, 12 November 2012

It's My Birthday!

So I don't have much to update on this week. My preparation day has been switched to Monday this transfer. It's convenient because today is a Monday, and it's my birthday. What more could you want as a missionary?
 
Today has already been great. I woke up and opened my presents (thank you mom and dad!) and then we did studies. Later we are going to go on a little hike/nature walk. It's kind of cold but whatevs. Nature walking is my thing and was a lot better than some of the other options Independence has to offer. Hopefully lots of the trees still have their leaves. We will see I guess. Then we will go to lunch, probably with the Elders. I'm not sure where yet. It's really funny to go to lunch with the elders because it's really segregated. After district meetings we will all go to lunch but the Sisters sit on one end and the Elders on the other... and then we barely talk to each other... but they always want us to come. It's strange. Maybe that was just with some of the last Elders in the zone. We will see if it stays the same.
 
Ray was ordained in the priesthood yesterday! Whoohoo! He's so awesome. Seriously.
 
After Ray was baptized, we didn't really have any people to teach that were progressing. We had two people that were supposed to come to church. Neither of them came... we were really bummed. But then Ed brought his girlfriend, Tamara, to church. We have taught her two lessons this week and she is so excited about learning more! She had so many questions growing up about what happens after this life and she was taught that it was bad to question or explore different teachings in regards to religion. She always wanted to know more because she felt like she didn't have the full picture. Everything that Ed had told her about the Plan of Salvation just made perfect sense. She is really ready for the gospel and can't wait to learn more. Heavenly Father blesses us so much! Right when we had no one to teach Tamara came out of nowhere so now we have at least one person progressing!
 
So we were tracting the other day and came upon a lady who was really sick. We left her with our card and didn't think much of it. She ended up calling us about a week ago because she wanted to come to church. That never happens so we were really excited. We called her back to let her know that we were able to get her a ride and her friend picked up the phone. She was going on and on about how Marianne really needed the truth and how she was a Jehovah's witness (the friend) and how she was really glad we were bringing her to church. We were confused and didn't know for sure that she thought we were Jehovah's Witnesses, so we just let it slide. Hey, if she was coming to church she was coming to church right? Well she didn't come to church, but then we went over to her house later on in the week. She kept talking as if we were Jehovah's Witnesses and we were both thinking how the heck do we get out of this one. Finally I was like "we have to be honest with you, we aren't Jehovah's Witnesses." She was like "You aren't?" And then I told her we were Mormon and she was like "Ohhh good, I'm RLDS. I was just doing this to get my friend off my back." So funny!
 
Being a missionary is the best because we talk to so many RANDOM people, that talk about RANDOM things. People trust us and will talk to us about their secrets and tell us their whole life story. We've been getting that a lot this week. I have talked more about crack/cocaine in the past 6 weeks with people than I have in probably my entire life. Apparently it's a big problem here in Independence. People tell us about their relationship problems, past drug addictions, health problems, dealings with the devil. You name it - I've probably heard about it since I've been out here. I love it though! I had lived a pretty sheltered life, which has been wonderful, but now I have a nice safe way of getting out of the sheltering I guess. The best part is we get to help people work through their problems.
 
I already did a post on my birthday reflections, So I'll spare you that. I was just thinking about how my whole 23rd year will be dedicated to serving the Lord! So cool. No other year in my life will be so rewarding or filled with growth. I can't wait to look back in one year and to see how much my testimony has grown and who I have become. I don't think I have shared my testimony on my blog yet, bits and pieces maybe. So here goes:
 
I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father. I know that he answers our prayers and continues to teach us and provide us with the things that we need to know to be happy, just as he has done throughout the bible and all time. He has answered my prayers and has had a personal hand in my life to help me become who I need to be.
 
I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, that God chose him to use as an instrument to restore the church of Jesus Christ. The evidence of this is the Book of Mormon. I know that it is true, and that it was translated by the power of God. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon. It answers life's greatest questions and brings peace each time I read it. I know that as we search the scriptures, God will teach us and help us to answer very personal and individual questions we may have. I am grateful for this powerful tool in my life, especially on my mission.
 
Most of all, I know that our Savior, Jesus Christ lives! He loves us and knows us perfectly and personally. I am so grateful for the power of the atonement. It has the power to make bad men good and good men better. I know that through the atonement we can find happiness despite trials or hardships. We can change. Through the atonement we are able to return to live with our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ.
 
I am especially grateful to be teaching people these important truths. I love being a missionary and I am so grateful that Heavenly Father humbled me enough to help me make the decision to come on a mission. I know that my life will be forever changed, it already has been.
 
If you want to know more visit mormon.org! Or if you already know a lot still visit mormon.org!
 
Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes I have received already! I have the best family and friends. Seriously. I miss you all, but not too much.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Ray's Baptism and Transfers!

 Life as a missionary is so strange... the weeks are so long but so short at the same time! Time has flown by since I have arrived in Missouri.  I can't believe that I have been out one transfer! Sister Sant and I will be together next transfer (transfers are every 6 weeks), and I am really glad about that! We have lots of work to do. I've been thinking a lot about what I've learned so far on my mission. I think the greatest lesson I have learned in the past 6 weeks is that it's not about me. It's never been about me. If I am tired, or feeling sick, or scared to knock on that person's door... it doesn't matter. It's not about me. It is about being an instrument in the Lord's hand and finding and loving people. All of his children. No time is wasted if I am losing myself in His work. We can all do this, regardless of whether or not we are on a mission. Selflessness. I am so grateful that I am learning this early in my mission because there are hard days when I don't feel well, there are times that I just don't want to talk to that person... but then I remind myself - It's not about me. It is about them. Our Father in Heaven loves them and they deserve a chance to hear more about his restored gospel. And let me tell you, the times that I forget myself, I don't feel as sick, or as tired, or as scared. I feel fulfilled and happy and excited to talk to more and more people.
 
The biggest news this week is that Ray was baptized! It was the best day! The spirit was so strong at his baptism and I am just so astounded by his commitment to follow God's will. The baptism went really well... aside from a few less reverent moments. We have this hilarious senior couple in our ward... they are the ward missionaries. Brother Andree was conducting the meeting and butchered just about everyone's name (except for mine)... and then his wife was playing the piano, so to start the opening hymn, he was like "hit it babe." SO FUNNY. The rest of the baptism was a bit more reverent. Elder Adams, the Visitor's Center director officiated in the baptism. Ray spoke after he was baptized and he is the BEST! Seriously. He talked about how he was glad the sisters were persistent/borderline obnoxious. He was like I wouldn't call them back, but they would keep calling and calling and then started sending text messages. My theory is - until they tell me to stop, we will keep inviting them to meet with us! It worked for Ray. He told us the day before he was baptized that he knew that he wanted to join the church when he watched the video at the visitor center called "God's Plan for the Family." (if you haven't seen it, go watch it... it's at every visitor center). So Ray is a total visitor center miracle. He expressed to us how he is truly happy as he has taken the steps toward joining the church. Prior to this point, he didn't have that complete happiness. It is amazing to see how people's lives change! Anyway, back to him speaking at his baptism...(Ray used to be a journalist so of course it was well written.) He talked about how it is one thing to get to the base of the mountain and another to climb it!  I like that a lot because I think all of us have our mountains to climb. Often we know what we need to do to BE better and DO better but it takes a lot of courage to then climb those mountains. I am grateful that Ray has taken more steps up his mountain. He will be an amazing member of the church and has so much to offer!
I sang a duet, "Nearer My God to Thee", at Ray's baptism and at President's Devotional that night. The baptism performance wasn't too bad... but Sister Sibbett and I had literally 5 minutes to practice. It was a miracle, but it turned out okay.  Sister Sibbett had also taught Ray, but was transferred to another area.  When we sang at the President's Devotional, it was another story! I was fine until I got up there and then I was like "what the heck am I doing up here? There are probably 100 people here!" I hadn't sung in front of people like that in years... like probably 10 years. Anyway it was another huge miracle that it turned out well!  My health hasn't been the best, so I believe it is really true that God will help magnify your talents as you use them... hopefully I'll come back from my mission and be an amazing singer :)
I got to see my friend Chelsea Paxton at President's Devotional! That was really cool. She is a ward missionary in Overland Park. It was strange that it wasn't strange to see someone from my non-mission life. It was really good to see her!
  
We had a pretty cool experience this week with answers to prayer. I had been reading Abbie's emails (she is my friend on a mission in southern california) and in it she prayed that she would know those that were prepared for the gospel by the things that they said. So I thought I would try that out. I prayed to know who was really ready and interested by the things that they said. That day some amazing things happened as we went and found people. We talked to this man named Matt a lot about his relationship with God. He really opened up to us and was asking us questions about how the atonement has helped us. We new exactly what he needed and how the gospel can really help him. We did a lot of tracting in between meeting him and our dinner... we had a few minutes and we decided to do just one more house... and I am so glad that we did! We met the cutest girl named Jessie. She has a darling baby and husband and they are looking for a church! It was so humbling to see how Heavenly Father really does answer our prayers. 
 
                                             Cute Independence, Missouri

Thursday, 1 November 2012

It's November!

Woah, this month has flown by! My birthday is in 12 days... so everybody had better be getting their letters in the mail. Just kidding.... but seriously. Halloween was whatever. Being a missionary, it's weird to have holidays because they aren't really holidays. I did attempt to dress festive for our ward party and on Halloween... that's about the best I could do. We also made a hipster pumpkin. There aren't many hipsters out here in Missouri.




Tim is baptized! Whoohoo! It is crazy to think that I met him a month ago and he has grown so much. He loves going to church and is just so ready and willing to serve and grow in the gospel. The atonement really changes people's hearts. I have seen it so much on my mission! I have seen it in my own life! I love it!

Tim and the Elders who baptized him

Ray is getting baptized on Saturday! We are so stoked. He is just such a perfect example of LIVING what so many profess to believe. Its been great to watch him progress and open up to us about his testimony. He is so heartfelt in his faith and seeks only to do the will of the Lord. He is going to be such an amazing member and really be an example to everyone in the ward.

So far we have about 6 different people we are very close to working with. Everyone is so BUSY. But we will drop by their house and they will be so excited to see us. So we know they are genuinely busy. Its really hard to set appointments though. So this next week I'm sure I'll have more to report on that.

We had exchanges this week so I went out for a day with Sister Atkin. It was SO fun! She is a really great missionary and I learned a lot. I have kind of struggled with door approaches because I feel so bad imposing on people. Its always kind of awkward, like hey... I'm at your door and yeah... This probably stems from the Call family tradition of screening phone calls and always running upstairs to see who's at the door before you answer it. Being on the other side is almost humorous. I've had people lock the door on us. Peek out the window and then not answer it, sit in their car to avoid talking to you. Do I look like a freak/crazy person?  It's funny though. Anyway... my whole view of door approaches changed after my exchange with Sister Atkin. I need to be asking more questions, and they can be as simple as "Have you heard of the Book of Mormon?" At the very least most people are intrigued and want to learn a little more about it. Most people are really interested in it. I am really excited to go out there and knock down some doors!




Birthdays are always a time of self reflection for me and about every other year, I have a minor quarter-life crisis. It happened while brushing my teeth this week. I was like "woah, I'm going to be 23!" I know it's not old, but it feels pretty old. I have thought a lot this week about what got me here...On a mission. To this point in my life. This past year I have done a lot of growing, and learning, and have been very humbled... The Lord has been with me every step of the way. It is so apparent looking back. Between teaching school, break-ups, vertigo, and sprained ankles, Heavenly Father gently (or not so gently) molded me and reminded me of who I really am, and how I can gain the greatest happiness. I was reminded that in order to be successful and happy in life, I NEED my Savior. I need to rely on the Lord. I need to give it ALL to Him. Once I did that, I was happy. I was happy despite being dizzy everyday, I was strong enough to do the things that I needed to do. Often He doesn't lift the burden, because we need that to grow, but He will make it bearable for us. That's what He did for me this year. So at that point, deciding to serve a mission was easy. I had enough faith in His plan for me. I choose that everyday. To have faith in His plan for me, and those that I am  teaching. I have faith that I will find those that are searching for more in their life. I am fulfilling my purpose and I am so happy. So there is my soapbox for the week. I just encourage everyone to look back at their life and see how the Lord has lead and guided them.... because He has. For every one of us. In the MTC, one of the speakers said "the Lord has a perfect plan for your day, how much of it are you going to follow?" He has a perfect plan for our life as well, it is up to us to decide how much of it we are going to follow. Will we allow Him to make us the person that He knows we can be?

I hope I didn't get too philosophical. The visitor center has been slowing down quite a bit, which allows for a great deal of reflection :) I love it though. Life is good. Being a missionary is the best!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Miracles, miracles, miracles!

THIS IS THE BEST WEEK EVER! Seriously. I know I say that almost every week, but seriously. It is. I'll explain why.
Ray is getting baptized! I am SO excited. I always have to contain my excitement when I'm over there because he is a Nigerian bachelor and I don't think he would really appreciate me being overly excited. So I just freak out after we teach him because I am so happy. He is such an example to me of someone who REALLY gets what it means to be a Christian. He just gets it. He lives it and he loves it. Everything we teach him he is already doing or is willing to follow it because it is God's will. He gives his life to teach and serve others, even when he wasn't going to any particular church. Everytime we teach him I come out feeling taught. Anyway, he is getting baptized November 3rd and we are so excited!
Tim is getting baptized on Saturday! Yay!!!! I can't wait to hear how it goes, and I am really sad that I am missing it. It is so strange to care about someone so much that I haven't even met. I just wish I could be a part of the whole process as he gets to know his new ward and recieves a calling and all of it. I am excited to see pictures though.
About a week ago we had this bomb lesson with a guy named Willie and we were so excited about it. It was literally the ideal restoration lesson. We got to know him, taught him, asked him questions and taught it in a way that applied to him. At the end we invited him to read the Book of Mormon and he was so excited! And of course we were so excited, because honestly that never happens. You rarely get a chance to just have this perfect lesson with everything taught in order and have the investigator get it and love it. And then he disappeared. We went over for our next lesson and he had a job interview or something. We tried contacting him a few more times and nothing. So naturally we thought he dropped us. We went over this week just to be sure and he was SO excited to see us. He was like "sorry for not texting you back... I love it when you text me though because it reminds me to read." What?! I guess he had a lot of family stuff, but we are teaching him on Saturday and I am so excited! Total miracle. I need to stop being so surprised when people actually want to talk to us haha... I guess I am still getting used to this whole rejection thing. I don't mind being rejected but it always takes me by surprise when someone is actually interested in talking to us!
Speaking of rejection... I used to have a total fear of rejection. I wouldn't really do things if I thought I could fail at them. Mild perfectionism coming out in me I guess. I have had to get over that real fast being a missionary. People don't like us all the time, okay, a lot of the time. I have had people look at me like I am going to come in and rob their house! For the most part I feel like I have gotten over that fear of rejection. Its not about me. They aren't rejecting me. They are rejecting this message that I have to share, they are rejecting who I represent, which is Jesus Christ. And that is heartbreaking. It makes me really sad. As a missionary we have this wonderful opportunity to see people for who they really are, and who they can become. I knock on a door or see this family, or person, or anyone and see their potential. When they aren't interested in learning more it just makes me sad. This gospel has been the most important thing in my life, it has the power to change lives, to change hearts. It is such a blessing to go out and share it each and every day.
Anyway. I'm not going to bore everyone with all the details, but we taught some other awesome lessons, that hopefully I'll have time to write about next week.
We have a mouse in our house. It is SICK. Seriously. I don't mind the mouse itself... I've never had a problem with rodents. They are cute and fluffy and everyone knows how I feel about cute and fluffy things. We caught one but there is at least one more. My main beef with the mouse is that it lives in our vents and now our whole house smells like a mouse cage. Not okay. So any advice for killing a mouse. This one is smart. It ate all the peanut butter off the sticky trap and then ripped itself off. Crazy. The new house is great though. I have my own bathroom! And its a nice bathroom. I have never had my own bathroom before!
This week the weather has been crazy and I am pretty sure it has been making my blood pressure totally wacked out. I haven't been feeling really well and its been really hard to handle it. I was feeling really bad on Sunday and just frustrated because I don't want my health to affect my ability to work. I don't know how to manage it, or how to make it better, so I just felt really helpless. I've realized though that all of our experiences in life help us to better rely on the atonement. I was frustrated because I didn't have enough faith. I want to be better and I wanted to be better right NOW. But what I realized is that our timing is not always God's timing. The experiences I have had this year with being sick have made me rely on my Savior. They have helped build within me a deeply rooted testimony that his atonement can help cover anything. I am still building and relying on that testimony. I have already had experiences where I was able to testify that I know that the atonement is real! We have real power when we rely on it. And it isn't just for helping us repent. It is for everything. It is for helping you know how to love more. It is for helping you get through stressful times at work, and at school. It is for helping us know how to raise our families. As we rely on the atonement we learn to submit our will to the Lord. We humble ourselves. And after we give him our will, he makes us something better than we could even imagine. I know that all of my health drama is just a small part of helping me become who he wants me to be.
I love you all! Thank you for all of the wonderful mail and letters from (Ashley, Canon, Maryn, Chelsea Paxton, and Mama). I loved seeing all the pictures from Alison's blog! So fun! I am sad I missed out on the party, but we are too busy here!

Friday, 19 October 2012

The Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives!



Sister Sant and I in front of our new apartment!
 
We moved today! I don't really know why but they switched us with two other sisters from the Visitors Center. So we packed up our stuff yesterday and moved it all out today. Kind of stressful. I am really excited about it though because we are in the cutest house and it is way nicer than our other apartment. Plus we will have two bathrooms! Crazy! We will be living with two other companionships, so that will be different because in our old apartment it was just us. I'm sad we won't be able to do zumba anymore with Sister Hansen and Sister Grange.
This week has been great though. Tim is getting baptized! Tim is our online investigator that I met on chat in the MTC. We set a baptismal date for him last week, and it is all coming together now and its really going to happen. I talked to the bishop of the ward he is moving to last night and the ward sounds amazing. They already had a baptismal service planned for the date Tim set! We were really worried because he wanted to be baptized on the 27th and that is only 10 days away! We got in touch with the missionaries in the ward and they are on it. It was really cool because the Elder in his new ward is leaving at the end of this month. He had a goal to have three people be baptized in this ward before he left. He had one and then all of a sudden Tim showed up... the Bishop is like you must be really faithful because they are dropping out of the sky! I am so excited for Tim! He is so prepared and so excited to join the church. He keeps telling everyone that is going to be a Mormon. I feel so blessed to have met him and to have gotten the opportunity to teach him.  He was SO ready to receive the message of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ!
We have another investigator named Ray, he's from Nigeria. He is AWESOME. We had a great lesson with him yesterday and he made us yummy African food. He is so smart, so its kind of intimidating to teach him, but the spirit really helps us to know how to answer his questions.  Yesterday he was asking some tough questions, like how baptism into this church is different and how Joseph Smith is different than any other really righteous good person, basically what sets our church apart. Sister Sant and I both thought for a second and then it came to me... continuing revelation through a prophet of God, but also, I would say an equally important thing that sets our church apart is temples. Our church is the only Christian church that makes covenants with God in a temple. We are given new insight and power in the temple. We can be sealed together as families for eternity in the temple. Earlier this week I had felt very impressed to study temples and their importance, as well as how to explain what they are and what we do in temples. That preparation allowed me to teach Ray about the temple, and about how it is so important to our church. I am so grateful for a) the spirit because there is NO way I could have coherently taught that lesson and b) temples. I love them!
We meet the most random/most wonderful people everyday. Being a missionary is hilarious!
Example: We are at Wendys to grab a quick dinner and this older gentleman is sitting in the dining area and he keeps smiling at me.  I was getting a bit weirded out so Sister Sant and I went to sit on the other side of the room. Then he's like "Oh hey, come sit over here. I don't have anyone to eat with." I"m thinking...this guy could be mentally unstable, but whatever - we can eat with him and then leave. It will be an experience, right? Right. After making small talk with him for awhile, we ask him what he is working on because he had all these books and things. He goes on to tell us all about these physical formulas he has been working on and how they work and the differential equations and formulas he is using for who knows what. I was wishing I had paid better attention in algebra! Apparently he has been working on this for over 16 years. So we ate our dinner with him and went on our way. SO random. So funny.
Example 2: I took these two adorable older gentlemen on a tour with Sister Park the other day. Seriously we were kindred spirits. They were so funny, and Kenny couldn't hear anything so we were yelling the whole time. he was also wearing this awesome native american button up. He would have been a hipster if he were younger now. Are hipsters even a thing anymore? I don't even know. Anyway. Their insights were amazing. Jim kept getting teary eyed when we mentioned home teaching. He loved home teaching SO much, because he realized how important it is to go after the one.  Visiting teaching has never been my favorite thing - but I will change that when I get home.  It really is so important. I encourage all to do your home and visiting teaching... it changes lives. Just love people, and they will love you back.
The iPhone 5 came out?! I have only been gone a month and a half and I already feel SO out of the loop. That's fine - our ghetto samsung touch screen is too advanced for me, so I don't even know if I could handle the iPhone 5. Send me pics if you can. People in Missouri aren't really apple people so I haven't seen one.
Thanks to Ashley, Marin, Katie, Kierston, and Dave Woods Family for all the letters recently!
I took these pictures on a walk we went on in Independence.  The green grass in this first picture is the temple lot when the Mormons were in Independence in the 1800's and the church doesn't currently own this land.  The spire is the RLDS/Community of Christ temple.  The LDS Visitors Center is to the right and you can't see it in this photo.



This is a cute pioneer house we saw on our walk.



I am so grateful to be a missionary! Each day I realize more and more what a blessing it is to be a member of this church. It truly is the Lord's kingdom on the earth today and I am so grateful to be a part of building it. The gospel really has the power to change lives! It changed Jim's life. He went from being an alcoholic chain smoker to being the High Priest group leader. Tim has found so much happiness and strength in the gospel. I can tell just by talking to him over the phone, the change in his outlook on life and everything is amazing. The atonement is so powerful and EVERYONE of us needs it. We need to give everything to him, and by losing ourselves we find ourselves. Its funny how that works. The church is true! I love it!
 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Faith and a Field Trip

























This week has been a great week! I am finally feeling settled and FAR less overwhelmed. It is amazing that once you choose to be happy, you will be happy. If you choose not to be overwhelmed/discouraged, guess what, you won't be overwhelmed/discouraged. General Conference was the perfect uplift for me and helped kick me into shape. I realized that I have NOTHING to be afraid of. If someone doesn't want to talk to me, whatever... I did my best by being a friend and sharing what I know. I love talking to people everyday. Really random people.  I get to hear about their lives and get to know all sorts of strangers. It is really fun! It is amazing as a missionary how much you can love people you barely know.
 
So last week I totally forgot to even mention where I am serving! Silly me. I am serving in the Independence 4th Ward and at the Independence Visitor Center. My ward is great and I have loved working with the ward members. They are really involved in missionary work, and SO helpful. My area is really diverse. There are all sorts of people and neighborhoods, so its fun because you never know what you'll get everyday. Overall the people are really nice to us, even if they aren't interested in talking to us. The best address to reach me is the mission office, because its right next to the VC and sisters go get the mail there everyday for us.
 
On Friday we got to go on a FIELD TRIP! It was the best. We went to Liberty Jail, Far West, and Adam-Ondi-Ahman. Most missionaries only get to do it on their last day, but VC Sisters get to go one other time during their mission so that we can tell our visitors about our experiences. I got to see Sister Ogletree again too! It was fun to relive a lot of our inside jokes. Missouri is BEAUTIFUL in the fall and far west was super pretty. There are just rolling hills with green grass and fall leaves. I love it! Adam-Ondi-Ahman was really neat too. The whole area is pristine and pretty untouched. It was cool to think that that was the centerpoint of where everything started and where everything will end. I can totally see why. It is beautiful and timeless. The pictures I'll attach don't do it justice by any means.
 
So we have been teaching the man that I found on chat, Tim! He is SO AWESOME. Seriously he has so much faith.We started teaching him over the phone... which can be kind of awkward, but we are getting the hang of it. Everytime we teach him, he is one step ahead. The last time we taught he set a baptismal date! I am so impressed by how much faith he has to do the things that we ask him to do and try it out. I told him to go into conference with questions, and pray beforehand and promised that they would be answered. He said that three of his questions were answered in the very first talk. Not a coincidence! I was so grateful that he had the faith to try it out and to begin recognizing and learnign how Heavenly Father answers our prayers. He has been making big changes in his life, and keeps thanking ME for teaching him! I don't do anything! It is all between Heavenly Father and him, I just feel blessed to be a part of it.
 
One thing that has really stuck out to me this week is that we all really need to follow the plan that the Lord has for each of us, and be patient with his timing. Example: On Monday we decided to go out to this area we hadn't been. We found some good people to visit in our area book and figured people would be home because it was a holiday. NO ONE WAS HOME. Nobody. We knocked two whole streets and talked to one person. Then we went to these apartments that I felt like we should go to everytime we passed them. They were locked on the outside so we couldn't even get in to knock them. So we started walking down the street and saw this duplex thing and we were like THERE. Lets go there. We met this girl named Katie and she had to go get ready for work but then her dog got out. So we were like don't worry we'll catch him. So we drop our bags and start running after this little doxen. It was SO funny.I was like I am totally a sister missionary right now. Anyway, I think maybe chasing her dog down softened her heart but we get back and Katie just starts telling us her whole life story and about how she met this mormon lady and everything is falling into place and then we show up at her door and she was just really excited. And we were really excited. I was so grateful that we didn't talk to anyone earlier that morning because if we had it probably would have been too late to meet Katie.  Its the same for our lives. Heavenly Father has this perfect plan for each of us. Sometimes we are too stubborn to really follow it, but if we are trying our best to do whats right he will give us the course corrections we need.
 
This scripture is the Visitor Center theme and probably will be one of my favorities throughout my mission:
"But all things must come to pass in their time. Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days." - D&C 64:32-34

The Lord doesn't require a lot of us... just our best, and as we give that we will be happy! I love it!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Off to the Mission Field!


Hello from Missouri! I am finally here! Whoohoo! First off, mission life is crazy. Really crazy. For everyone that said it will be hard... but couldn't tell me why, I now know what you mean. It is really hard, especially the first week. It's a huge adjustment because I am retraining my brain to think of others before myself... not something I have done for the past 22 years (I am ashamed to admit). But I have been working hard and putting my faith in God and have seen definite miracles and it is getting better and better! Heavenly Father has his hand in everything! It is amazing.
My companion's name is Sister Sant. She is great! We are already good friends and work and teach really well together. She is a great trainer and is very helpful but not bossy (you know how well I deal with bossy people haha). We live in this ghetto little apartment in an old house, definitely not Santa B or Condo Row. It is clean though and there aren't any cockroaches, so I am good with that. President Keyes was telling me about Sister Sant in our first interview and he was like "your area isn't really spanish, but you can still practice your spanish with Sister Sant." I about had a mini heart attack because I don't know spanish and I'm not speaking spanish. I told him I wasn't and I guess he had thought I was... so luckily I'm not in a spanish speaking area or i am pretty sure my adjustment would be even more difficult! The first day here was great, we had 25 people in our travel group, which is the largest that the mission has ever seen! We all stayed in the mission home and it was a party. Also, my mission is the biggest in the WORLD! It has the largest number of missionaries. Cool huh?

I love the visitor center! Oh my gosh, it is the best thing in the world. I love giving tours and teaching people about the history. I took the cutest couple through on my first tour!  They are from Arizona and the man was a bishop.  The photo is Sister Baker and I from my first tour.  I told them it was my first tour and they were really nice about me forgetting a lot of the dates and things. I am really trying to make each of my tours a meaningful experience that helps the visitor strengthen their testimony of Jesus Christ and have a desire to come closer to Him. It was really cool because we had a great discussion and they both expressed to me their gratitude for helping them think about church history in a whole new light. He even said I've never thought about my testimony this way before. I was really grateful for the positive reinforcement because it helped me understand that the spirit really is helping me teach. I could not have done that on my own, but I know that through my Heavenly Father's help I can.


Working at the visitor center does make working on our area kind of stressful though. We only have half the time in our area! But Heavenly Father makes up for that by helping us find people to teach.
One thing I have learned in the past week is that sacrifice brings blessings. The early Saints in Independence sacrificed so much to come here and build their community. They were selfless as they built Zion and really tried to be of one heart and of one mind. They lived in destitute circumstances, but still everyone was happy and joyous because they were serving God and their fellow man.  I have applied their stories to my life. What can I sacrifice to serve others more fully? I think each of us have things that we can sacrifice in order to show gratitude for our many blessings and come closer to God. As we sacrifice our faith increases, and we are better able to recognize Heavenly Father's hand in our life. Not to mention that as we sacrifice we literally see miracles. I have seen so many this past week.
I don't even think I got to write about Temple Square, that seems like forever ago! Well, I got to go to Temple Square and Sister Jarvie and I were companions! It was so fun to work with her. She is an awesome missionary. I am so glad that we had that opportunity to teach together!
I know that the Lord has called me to be here, and I know that I have work to be doing and I am grateful to be doing it. it is hard at times but it's through those hard times that we become stronger and better.

View from my first apartment.  We live across the street from a cemetery.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Last week in the Missionary Training Center

This week has been the best! Seriously. And I think that every week but it just keeps getting better and better. I know that I have been changing and growing a ton. Example. I have church songs stuck in my head 24/7. And random church songs too like "Welcome, Welcome Sabbath Morning"... and its not even Sunday. I am turning into a real sister missionary! Its mildly obnoxious, but mostly I love it. We are singing all the time and always happy!

On Sunday Sheri Dew spoke at our Relief Society. She is such a rockstar and I am obsessed with her. She gave an awesome inspiring talk that made me want to be bold and be "fearless in building Zion."  So cool. Anyway she stayed after to meet people but we had to go to this health meeting. Sister Ogletree and I snuck out and met her. She is from Kansas so we told her that's where we were going and she gave us a high five. We promised her we would rock it. Apparently I missed some really important info about washing my hands at that meeting. Pity. 

Thank you to everyone that has written me! I love the letters and packages and everything. So in order to repay you here are some shout outs... Thank you: Jordyn, Marin, Katie, Jake, Canon, Kierston, Maryn, DAD (finally!), mama, Aunt Jeanette, Peter, Betsy, the Ivey Fam, and the Stock fam. So if you want a shout out write me. I love you all.

We started Visitor Center (VC) training this week and I am SO SO SO EXCITED! Oh my gosh I am so excited. So most people think VC sisters are just there to give nice tours and look cute and whatever, but it is SO much more than that. Really it is like the Disneyland version of a regular proselyting mission. At the visitor center we get people from all walks of life coming. They all have needs, and questions, and ways they can come closer to Christ. We have to figure out what those are and teach by the spirit to help them have a real conversion experience where they want to go and DO something about what they felt at the visitor center, rather than just a feel good experience. We get to use all the resources of the visitor center and stories from church history to help people have that experience and to help answer their questions (that's the Disneyland part). So we get to teach using all these awesome resources. The tough part is getting to know them and meeting their needs in such a short amount of time, and with many people on a tour. I know that through the spirit we are able to do that. We are able to teach by the spirit and ask the right questions to discern what our Heavenly Father wants them to know. I love that as his missionary I can know that he loves them. He loves them so much that he won't let me screw it up that bad. So that's always a relief. I am so excited though to teach so many people and help bring them closer to Christ. Its a little overwhelming because I have lots to learn, there is SO much history to know. 

Another cool part of being a visitor center sister is that we get to be a part of the online mission. Every VC has shifts to online chat with people who have questions. You can set up return chats and calls and that sort of thing to help teach them until the local missionaries arrive. We started it yesterday and it was SO cool. The online mission is the highest baptizing mission in the world and people from all over are able to come closer to Christ. There have literally been people from every country in the world that have converted to the church because of the online mission, even countries where missionaries are not allowed. SO COOL! It's even tougher to chat online because we are trying to help people and meet their needs but we can't even see them! The online chat will be something that I have to get used to, but I am really excited to be a part of it. 

In other news, the choir director, Brother Brenchly, is the new VC director in Independence. We love him. He is a) hilarious b) so fun and c) so amped about the gospel. He arrives in January. 

We get to go to temple square tomorrow and teach people! I am so excited and kind of nervous. I often think "wait, I'm not ready for this, I'm not a real missionary yet." Wrong. So wrong. I have been a missionary for almost a month. It is crazy! And I am ready! Whoohoo! I got to see Sister Jarvie on Wednesday. It was so fun. She brought me muffin tops and everyone was jealous!



Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Week 2 in the Missionary Training Center



Sister Ogletree and I at the Provo Temple
I think the MTC is in a time warp because I feel like this past week lasted 2 days, but at the same time I feel like I have been here for months. The days have kind of run together.  On Saturday we went down to the west end of the MTC and listened to the BYU game. We sang the BYU fight song and Call Me Maybe and I loved it. All while studying our scriptures. Haha. My life. I love being a missionary! Our district leaves on Tuesday morning. I am going to miss them so much. We have really grown a lot together. Sister Wilson, Sister Ogletree, and I will be on our own for a day and then we have visitor center training next week! I am actually really excited. We will be on temple square in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Sept 19, and Saturday, Sept 22.  It will be nice to get out of the MTC bubble.  Hopefully, I will see my friend from home, Lauren Jarvie, who is serving a mission on Temple Square.

This week we had the funniest lesson in the TRC. The TRC is where people come and you teach them lessons. Sometimes they are members, sometimes they aren't, but you never know who or what you'll have to teach. So Sister Ogletree and I knock on the door and before we even tell her who we are she invites us in. Its the cute little Polynesian lady. Usually you have to ask some questions to get to know the person, but she just starts going off on her life story and how her brother died and Sister Ogletree and I are like, duh, we will teach the plan of salvation. So then we start talking about it and she is like "oh, you mean the plan of salvation, I wrote a poem about that. I actually have a copy for you both." And we were like wait? What? So the whole lesson was hilarious because she kept saying things like she was a member but then remembering that she wasn't supposed to be. Basically she just wanted to teach us and was rattling off scriptures she knew. We left with three hand crayola-ed handouts and a two page poem on the Plan of Salvation. It was the best.

I love being on a mission! I am seriously so jazzed about the gospel. We have the amazing opportunity to bear our testimony every day, multiple times a day. When do we ever get to do that? Never. And when you aren't bearing testimony you are studying the gospel. My testimony has grown so much. I've done a lot of really awesome things in my 22 years. I've gotten to live in two different countries. I graduated from college. I taught school for a year. I can honestly say that I know that my mission is better than any of them. Already in these two weeks I have grown more and progressed more. I have learned SO much and felt myself growing in ways I didn't even think possible. IN TWO WEEKS! I am grateful for all the experiences I have had because I know they will help me throughout my mission, but I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be here and to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. It makes me so happy. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us so much. Because of this the gospel has been restored to the earth. We have a living prophet who leads and guides our church. I love the Book of Mormon. It can help answer any of life's questions and I learn something new every time I read it. I am so grateful for the power of prayer. We pray all the time here, because we constantly need the guidance of the spirit. I pray probably 10 times a day, at least. I love it! I know that Heavenly Father personally answers our prayers. I am so grateful that he loves us so much to have the fullness of Christ's gospel restored once again on the earth. It has given me every happiness that I have in my life.



We are all going to the Independence, Missouri Mission
My district at the MTC

Cleaning duty at the MTC

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

My first week in the Missionary Training Center

Week one is done and I love being on a mission! Seriously. Love it. I love it so much I get really spazzy excited some times.This week has been great! I can't even believe that I have only been here a week. It feels like forever. I have been learning so much it is almost overwhelming, but I love it. It is like EFY x 1000. So yeah. I love it.

My companion's name is Sister Ogletree. She is the perfect companion and we complement each other really well. She is from Dallas, Texas and went to BYU Idaho. She is going to Independence as well. She is super fun and funny and we have a good time. She is also really chill, which is helpful because I tend to spaz out a bit here sometimes. The other sisters in our district are also great. Sister Wilson is going to Independence with us and Sister Semones is going to Carlsbad, CA. All the elders in our district are going to Carlsbad. Their mission borders the Anaheim mission, which is really cool! We have an Elder Call in our district. He is this hilarious farm boy from Idaho. Sooo that always gets us a lot of funny comments.

The MTC has been super humbling, probably not too surprising because I wasn't super humble to begin with (look how humble I am admitting that!). Heavenly Father has really helped me understand my weaknesses and where I can improve in my teaching. I have been learning a lot because of that.

My teachers at the MTC are great and I am learning a lot. Mostly we have a lot of fake people that are looking into the church. We plan lessons for them and learn how to talk to people and meet their needs. It is actually really fun and great practice for getting to know people. We also study gospel topics and have a lot of personal study time to work on what we want. I have already learned so much about teaching and teaching by the spirit. I love it!

I was assigned to be coordinating sister for the zone. I was a little overwhelmed when they called me because it was our second day, but I am really excited now. Basically I am like the relief society president for our branch and I help look after all the sisters in the zone. I also help with zone trainings and such. I am really grateful for the calling because I think it will help me learn a lot. I have found that I tend to sit back sometimes in social situations here because we are with people all the time and that is my way of being independent. I know it will help me really think of the needs of others and will force me to get to know the sisters in my zone, which is a great thing. I know that Heavenly Father knew that I needed the extra help. We get three new sisters in the zone today, so today will be my first day! Its exciting!

Yesterday (Tuesday) was a really great day. It started out as my worst day here so far. I was getting homesick because we didn't get any mail on Sunday or Monday and was just feeling a little overwhelmed. We had a lesson in the morning and it was okay, but my perfectionist overachieving tendencies came out and it wasn't good enough. And then we had TRC appointment with an investigator that we had never met. I WAS A MUTE. Seriously. Luckily Sister Ogletree is a really great talker, but I said maybe four things and was freaking out because I felt dumb and didn't know what to say. It was pretty bad. And then I was pretty bummed. After that we went to gym. It was okay but I was getting really good at throwing myself a pity party. Then we had some study time and it was an answer to all my prayers. I was studying in Doctrine and Covenants about teaching by the spirit. I came across D&C 68:5 which basically says the Lord will give you what you need to say, and then I read verse 6 which says "wherefore be of good cheer and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, that I am the Son of God..." And I realized that I was being so fearful. I was lacking confidence in myself, which is the dumbest thing. This is the Lord's work and he will be there with me. I am not helping anyone by selling myself short and second guessing myself. I have learned already that this is His work. Heavenly Father loves all his children so much, so he won't let me fail and he will help me teach his children. Then we had this awesome devotional by Elder Kophishke and his cute wife. They just said everything I needed to hear. I went to bed so happy and so excited to be here that I almost couldn't sleep. I am so grateful for the scriptures and the peace and inspiration they give us. God is so good to us and blesses us so much more that we even deserve! I can't wait to see my testimony and the testimonies of others grow throughout my mission.

 Wednesday, August 29, 2012 -



katie and me

mom wanted to hear my voice one more time
Uncle Rog & Aunt Angie, Kylie, Kendall & Sadie take me to the MTC





Uncle Roger taking me to the MTC


LOVE this girl!
big hug!!!
 

I'm officially Sister Call


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

 

My Bestie Marin!! Enjoying Yogurtland with me!

Katie was my companion for the day and took me to Heber to see my students.

No, this is not Angelina in Africa, this is me at JR Smith Elementary
We had the best year in 2011-12!  These kids will go places in life!