Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Transfer Week!

Hey, guess what? I am TRAINING! What?! I am super excited/a little bit nervous. Really not too nervous, because I have no idea what I'm actually doing so I don't really know how nervous I need to be. Mostly excited. We got the transfer calls last Wednesday night, which is really early, so I've had lots of time for it to sink in. I figure if I can handle 23 seven year olds while I had vertigo and a sprained ankle, I can handle training a new missionary... with Heavenly Father's help of course. It will be good to see missionary work with fresh eyes, and it's been good for me to rededicate myself to the work. I can't wait to meet her! She comes TOMORROW! I'm staying in the same area too and I'm excited because I love the 4th Ward.
Joyce & I
  Joyce got BAPTIZED! It was such a happy day. Really though. She was so cute and so excited. She got there super early and stayed really late because she just didn't want to go home and have the feeling go away. It was the most spiritual baptismal service I have ever been to. She was so excited and everything was very heartfelt. She has truly been changed and you can literally see it. She just radiates happiness and peace that the gospel brings. Light. She just radiates light. Joyce bore her testimony at the baptism and she was so nervous! Which is so funny because she is a talker, and you can rarely get her to stop talking. Apparently she doesn't like talking in front of crowds but really wanted to share her thoughts. We helped her draft out her ideas and she did so well. She was confirmed on Sunday and it was the best. Her confirmation blessing said that "her Heavenly Father was proud of her as was her family on the other side." I know that meant a lot as most of her family has passed away, including her mother and her husband. She is planning on going to the temple to do their work in February!
I feel so blessed to be able to watch people learn and grow in the gospel. It was amazing to see the change in Joyce's life as we met with her and invited her to come closer to Christ. She accepted that invitation and I have been able to witness all the blessings that she has received, both physically and spiritually. Missionary work truly brings such great joy to all parties involved.
Funny story about joy. One of the members in our ward was like "don't you girls ever get sick of being happy all the time? You sister missionaries are just always smiling and giggling. It's got to be exhausting." At first I was like NO. I am not that "giggly sister missionary"!- but I AM! I am happy, always smiling, always giggling. I'd never been a giggler. I'm enthusiastic about everything. To others it might even be borderline obnoxious. Joyce was even like, "I thought you girls were faking being so nice and excited. But you can't help it." All day long I am doing the work of the Lord. I am sharing with them the beautiful message of Christ's gospel. It is the best! I love it. I may or may not have developed a sister missionary voice as well. Whatevs.  I was considering staging a self intervention, but I'm accepting it.
Sorry I'm not sorry that the gospel makes me super happy! (Even if I do have a slight sister missionary voice.)

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Missouri Winters are COLD

Missouri has the weirdest weather. It's 60 degrees one day and then 10 degrees the next. No joke. My fleece lined tights may or may not be the best thing that's happened to me this winter. The weather has been rather eratic and I feel like that's how this week has gone too. Just up and down and all over the place... mostly ups though.
- Joyce is recognizing so many of the blessings in her life from keeping the commandments. She is SO happy. All the time. And she has even stopped swearing... she told us she used to have a little bit of a mouth, but without even thinking about it she rarely uses those words anymore. It is so amazing how the gospel really changes people, even on the little things, without them even knowing. Ah! It is an amazing thing to watch.
- We had an amazing lesson with Joyce on tithing. We were a little nervous to teach this one, because it takes a lot of faith to commit giving 10% of your income to the Lord. She had had a lot of questions about it in the past and wasn't too keen on the idea. This was the last thing we needed to teach her before her baptism. The lesson was full of miracles. She fully understood the need to pay it and recognized that there were lots of blessings that would come from it, and committed to live the Law of Tithing!
- Joyce is also a walking Word of Wisdom ad... I was telling her how I have loved not eating so many treats... and she was like, "you know what you learned Sister Call... moderation in all things." Who is this lady?!
- We are starting to teach a second grader! Whoohoo! Her family moved back into the ward and are coming back to church... so they want to get her ready for her baptism! I'm so excited.
- It's been cold cold cold... That's all. Bundling up can get rather exhausting, but at least it helps me stay warm.
- I'm a little under the weather... I might have the flu. Going to the doctor today to get that checked out.
We have had some funny finding experiences. We talked to this one guy yesterday that was very obviously on something. It was unusually easy to set a return appointment with him, but whatever! He said he had met with missionaries in the past, so who am I to judge? It's kind of funny that I am learning more now about drugs and intoxication than I ever did in high school and college.
So all in all it's been a great week. As always we talk to so many different people everyday. Something that has really struck me is that God does not change. We talked to this one lady and she was talking about how "with it" her congregation was. How they really focus on current events and keeping up with the times. They don't focus much on the scriptures or any of that because it's just not as important as current events and things-- that the scriptures don't correspond well with the events of the world...
 I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the Bible to be guideposts in our life. I am grateful for the answers that they give me to my questions, and the guidance that they give me as to how I can live my life and be happy. I am grateful for the guidance of the scriptures to keep each of us grounded, through tests, through trials, through everything. It is such a blessing to be able to learn and read from their pages daily and I love study time as a missionary.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Becoming like Him

Joyce and I are both holding true to our commitments! She hasn't smoked in a week and a half! And I haven't eaten any treats. And trust me... There have been days where I have wanted to. We always follow up on each other and she really appreciates Sister Sant and I for going through a small part of these life changes with her. I love Joyce though! She's always like, "well, anytime I'm tempted I just remember why I am doing it! The Lord doesn't want me to smoke. So I'm not going to smoke." She has so much faith and is so excited for her baptism on Jan. 26th. I can't wait!
Lots of our other investigators are falling by the wayside right now. We have had trouble getting some of them to progress. So we have been "finding" a LOT. I love tracting right now. It is so funny to talk to so many different types of people. This week every door we have knocked on has mistaken us for RLDS (a break off from the LDS church). It's really awkward to have to explain the difference. I did take an RLDS couple through the Visitors' Center this week. It was super interesting to hear about the differences between our beliefs... because they are very similar but also very different. It's also hilarious... and by hilarious, I mean not funny at all... to have people tell me that I don't know the bible, or else I would believe in the Book of Mormon. What??  I just smile and politely try to explain, often I don't get a word in. What I would really like to say is, "Sir... I beg your pardon, but I do know and love the Bible!... seeing how I studied and lived it for four months in Jerusalem." Luckily I'm able to refrain the sass.
I've been feeling mildly seasonally depressed this week. Which is so silly because it's not even half as cold as Utah.... and it doesn't snow quite as much... and we have been blessed in many ways this past week. BUT I've been able to pump right back up during my study time and I've been learning a lot! Mostly I've learned about how much potential we all have to take control of our circumstances.  I can't believe I have been out almost 5 months! I feel like I've learned a lot but I have a long long way to go. I think about "becoming" all the time. Becoming who the Lord wants me to be.  A lot of who we become depends entirely on our attitudes, our diligence, our faith-- very little of it depends on our circumstances. I love love love this quote by M. Russell Ballard:
"Be a CREATOR of circumstances, not a creature of circumstances." 
I love the example of Nephi in the Book of Mormon. He was a CREATOR. He was placed in somewhat awful circumstances but persevered and created positive situations in each of these circumstances. He had the lousiest of brothers... Laman and Lemuel, who lacked faith and diligence, and tried to kill him, but he still loved them and worked with them to accomplish the things that the Lord commanded him.  He FOUND food for his family, regardless of his circumstances. He BUILT a ship, regardless of how much help he had to do so. He LED that ship and his family to the promised land.  All day-everyday, I Find people, Build them by teaching them about the gospel and Lead them to make promises with the Lord. My circumstances are much, much better than Nephi's, and yet I often find excuses. So that's my resolution for the New Year, to be a creator of circumstances. I know that the Lord will help us become who we need to be as we reach out to him in faith. He has helped me so much in the past 5 months, and I know that He will continue to do so. I'm so grateful for the scriptures and for all that we can learn from them! Mostly I'm grateful for this time to be stretched and to grow. #timetoshine2013 (that's Sister Sant's hashtag... I'm stealing it for today).

At the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri

Thursday, 10 January 2013


Who says I can't hashtag things anymore/I don't even know if that is still a thing. Funny story about hashtag. Sister Sant was writing a friend of hers and wanted to write something funny. I said she should hashtag something in the letter... because a well placed hashtag is always a crowd pleaser. So I came to read what she was writing and she put: I just found out that if you want to make something cool you have to "hashtag" it. I then informed her of what a hashtag was. Anyway. Now that I'm telling the story, it's not that funny, but it was at the time. Bottom line - I'm probably out of the loop already and I don't even want to know what I'll be missing out on come six months from now. #itdoesn'tmatter
This week has been a total miracle! Joyce has progressed SO much. So so much. I can't even explain it. We taught her the word of wisdom on Monday and she loved it. She loved it more than anyone I have ever met. She has smoked her entire life and would often go through a pack and a half a day. After that lesson she began slowing down. She has been coming to church regularly and LOVES it. It has been amazing to see her progression and love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as she has attended church. I think growing up I didn't realize how powerful church is - but it is! So we were sitting in Relief Society and the Elders texted us... random. They were like you should invite Joyce to be baptized, she is ready. We were like okay... let's do it. So after church we invited her to be baptized. We talked to her about the importance of setting a date, and how by having that goal it will make it easier to quit smoking.... because she will have something to work towards.  She was hestitant to set a date, but was like "Well, I want to join the church... bet you didn't think I would say that!" We didn't. So she set a date for January 26th. That's not even the miracle. Later that evening she told us that she didn't even know that she had wanted to join the church before that conversation... but those words just came out of her mouth! She had been praying to know what to do and that was her answer. It's funny because apparently she didn't even think she would say that either. So she quit smoking Monday night, and because of that I am giving up treats... to kind of relate. Not an equal trade off, but as close as I'll get. Let me tell you - it's a sacrifice because we are going to Cheesecake Factory today and I am not even going to order raspberry lemon cheesecake. I was depressed for a solid 10 minutes about it this morning.
Joyce at the Visitor's Center
  Another cool miracle is that Joyce's brother has started listening to our lessons. He is blind, and SUPER funny. He rarely gets out of the house and listens to the bible on CD like nobody's business. We were really nervous to meet him because he knows so much about the bible and we thought he would give us a hard time, but our first lesson was so fun! We invited him to come to the next one and he said he would. He told Joyce later "those girls are good... I don't even know how they got me to come again."He pretends like he's not curious, but he is.  What can I say... we are good. Just kidding! We are nothing, but the Lord works miracles!
I guess that's my theme for the week: miracles. They are real! They happen. I love love love the Bible Dictionary entry for miracles. Unfortunately the Bible Dictionary on doesn't have the info I'm thinking of. So I'll paraphrase and you can look it up. Basically it says that if Jesus Christ truly did perform the atonement--ie, suffer and feel all of our pains and sorrows, die for us, and then live again--then all other miracles cease to be improbable. It is completely possible that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. It is completely possible that our Heavenly Father could help Joyce quit smoking. It is completely possible that lives can be changed as people turn their hearts and faith towards the Savior. The key is faith and action. We need to have the faith and hope that he can do it. Then do something about it, and watch the miracles happen. Because they will! We see miracles daily. Really. The people that we meet and that are a part of those miracles may choose to use their agency in a way that would not lead them closer to the gospel, but that doesn't mean that it's any less of a miracle. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who still has a hand in our lives today.. in the smallest and the largest details of our lives. I know that as we look for the miracles we will see them! It's the best!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Happy New Year!!

It's 2013! I partied hard. And by partied hard - I mean we went to bed at 10:30 and worked at the Visitors Center on New Years Eve. I wrote some goals in my journal and called it a day. This week has flown by! I honestly don't even know where it went, but it was a very eventful week... here are the highlights.

1. We went to the temple! Yay! It was the BEST! Seriously. So peaceful. So perfect. We get to go twice a year and so we went on December 29, the last day we could go in 2012. We were supposed to go with Ray but the scheduling got mixed up so we just went ourselves. I am so grateful for the blessings of the temple in my life.

2. Joyce is progressing really well and is going to quit smoking! We are working out a plan for how it will all go down. I told her that I'd give up treats at the same time so that we could go through it together. I figure better to do it now so I can offset the road to diabetes that I am on... Dad all your diabetes comments scared me straight! Joyce has been smoking since she was 14! But she is bound and determined to quit and she knows that the Lord will help her. She has so much faith.

3. I got my first drunk dial! One of the men that we had kind of been working with called us at 4:30 in the morning. For whatever reason he only remembers my name... he left a barely understandable message and clearly at the end was like "I love you." So awkward.

4. It snowed! Sister Ho Ching and I went out and played in the snow. Of course. The Californian and the Samoan were the only ones that wanted to enjoy the fresh powder. We made a beautiful snow missionary... and then someone knocked it down with the broom that was sitting on OUR porch. They killed our snowman with our broom. So rude! But she was pretty cute. We spent a lot of time tracting in the snow and it was the best! Sister Sant was hating it, but I for whatever reason loved it. It's a Christmas miracle. 

5. One of our investigators asked if John the Baptist was a Baptist. Never thought of that before!

I've found myself rather distracted recently... like all the time. We have a lot of free time at the visitor center because it's been a lot slower recently. I have been so easily distracted! I think I learned too much from my seven year olds! So I have been using lots of that free time to study the Christlike attribute of diligence. I had no idea that diligence was so important. If you aren't diligent its really hard to qualify for the Spirit, because you aren't giving everything you have and are to the work.  If you are diligent you can work hard and know that you have done everything you could do. There is always a little more that we can do, but it is by those small and simple things that we are more fully converted. By doing the little things we qualify for the Spirit. Read your scriptures and pray daily, and attend church. SO simple. I think I've posted this scripture at least once before but I just love it! 

"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." -D&C 123:17.

So this is my resolution for the New Year. To cheerfully do all things that lie in my power to work, and serve, and love. I'm excited to see who I become this next year as I diligently work and serve the Lord. 
President & Sister Keyes, Sister Sant & I with the book President Keyes wrote.