Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Snow Day!

Okay. Let's talk about weather. Missouri is the strangest place in the world. Last Thursday we had this freak snowstorm. We woke up at 6:30 AM.-No snow on the ground.  By 8:30 we had about 4 inches. By the end of the day we got about 10 inches. Not only that but we had thunder snow! Thunder and lightning and snow. What the heck?! It was the best. Seriously. We went and shoveled people's walks and driveways, which I had never done. Today we got another 8 inches and we are grounded again! This morning for exercises we made a slide down our back steps-- which are about 12-15 feet high. Man... I love snow days. And today is our p-day so I don't even have to feel bad for not being in our area. For whatever reason I love the snow now. I swear I got seasonal depression in Utah, but I act like a seven year old with these big storms. The only downside is that we had to postpone Bobbie's baptism, so that will be happening this week instead of last week.

Keeping it classy while shoveling it up!
 Rick is getting baptized! It is such a miracle! I am so amazed by the power of the Book of Mormon. We have taught him 3 times and he is fully committed, because he has been listening to the Book of Mormon daily! The man practically converted himself. I think that is how it usually goes though.  I, as a missionary, don't have a whole lot to do with it. We teach and testify and invite. The people we teach have the choice to act on our invitations.  If they do, they will receive answers to their prayers and they will come to know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is truly the church of Jesus Christ. I love how simply it works and I am so grateful for the miracle of being able to be part of it. Anyway-- Rick is so happy about it his decision to be baptized and can't wait. Joyce is really excited too because she sees a huge difference in his life. He has a purpose now, he has direction, and he is happier. It is so neat that they will be able to progress together. 

In other news, living at the Willis House is a dream... other than the fact that we have mice, again! We all freaked out when our little furry friend joined our yoga during our morning exercises. We deep cleaned and set some traps-- and then he ate all the peanut butter off of the traps! So we knew we needed to bring out the big guns. Sister Hyer bought a Tri-kill mousetrap and overnight we caught our first rodent... it was sick. I still feel really guilty about killing it because we read The Mouse and the Motorcycle in my 2nd grade class last year. 

Our mission is splitting! Crazy! In July we will split into the Missouri Independence Mission and the Wichita Kansas Mission. Crazy! So I don't know how that will all work, hopefully I'll get to stay here. It will be weird for some of my fellow missionaries to be moved to another mission, but I am super excited. Also there is now an Irvine California Mission! So that is exciting. 

Visitor's Center Missionaries having a "Dress like an Elder Day"
Also, the best news I got today was that my little sis, Maryn, got into BYU! Wahooo! I'm glad we will have another cougar in the family. Let's hope her dorm room has space for a blow up mattress.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

I Love Love.

Valentines day was great! Well, it really wasn't anything to write home about, but here I am writing home about it. Anyway we ate a lot of treats, no one should ever let me loose on a box of Lofthouse Cookies. I can't contain myself.

The real reason this week has been great is because I have been thinking lots about love. Love! It is the best thing in the world. I have been thinking about it a lot because the ability to love is something I am constantly striving to develop, as a missionary. We are meeting all sorts of people, with all sorts of personalities. Not to mention the fact that I am with a companion literally 24/7 who has different habits and ideas. It doesn't even matter if you get along really well, there will always be little quirks and things that don't jive. So that being said love is a very important trait to develop as a missionary. My dear friend Marin sent me this scripture in a valentine and it was a much needed reminder.

"And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."- Moroni 7:45.

What I wouldn't give to have all of these attributes, but boy is it a work in progress. I think as a missionary I have grown a lot in love. It has always been easy for me to love lots of people, but I think that's because for the most part I get along with people. I like them, and they like me. As a missionary people don't always like us... it comes with the black badge that we wear and who we represent. I've been learning how to develop love in the face of rejection and in the face of disappointment. It has always been one of my mottos that it never hurts to be too nice. It's true. Anyway. Now I am rambling. I'm really enjoying having the opportunity to grow and develop that Christlike love in my life-- so this is probably one of the most successful Valentines Days I have ever had.

This week we started teaching Joyce's brother, Rick. He is blind, and absolutely hilarious. We got him some Book of Mormon cds so that he could listen to the Book of Mormon and brought it over. As we were introducing it to him Sister Ewell invited him to be baptized and he said yes... when he finds out it is true! He is really seeking for the truth and wants that peace in his life. He has been studying and listening to the bible for years and it has been fun to teach him. I've been able to get into the bible a lot more than usual and bust out all the good stuff I learned in Jerusalem. Joyce and Rick are hilarious together and fight like pre-teen siblings. It is perfect though because she is there and learning but also answering his questions.

Bobbie is getting baptized on Friday! That will be fun! I'll have more on that next week.  In other news I am still loving the new hair. Thank you for all the compliments, it gave a me a needed boost in ego. There are still some nights after post-pony tail days where I look like a 90's mom, and I think, what did I do?! But for the most part I am loving it. 

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Oh, hey. It's Valentines Day.

So really that title has nothing to do with my week, but it rhymed, and Valentines Day is coming up. This Valentines will be hard pressed to beat last years V-Day... The second graders know how to party. It will be a great day though because everyday is a great day, really.
This week has been great! Really busy and long and tiring, but great. I think that's what missionary work is. That sleeplessness that I wrote about last week didn't last very long, thank goodness. We have seen so many miracles this week! Yesterday was a perfect example. We knocked and knocked and knocked yesterday... no one was interested, everyone was rude or not home. Sister Ewell was getting a little down, I could tell. Being rejected is something that you definitely have to get used to. We had about 45 minutes left and were about to leave this apartment complex when this lady came out to smoke. I made a comment about how I like her grill... you get real good at starting random conversations as a missionary. I made some funny comments about how I didn't even know people really cooked meat in ovens because my family would always grill their meat (truth), and the conversation began. We talked to her about our missions and shared with her the Book of Mormon. She was like "oh yeah, I've been wanting to read that book!" What? Miracle! Golden. So we are meeting with her next week.
Then we ran into some people that were moving furniture into an apartment. We always offer to help serve but people usually take one look at my skirt and skinny arms and say no, but these people said yes! We talked to them and helped them move in. Then they let us share a message. We taught them a mini version of the Restoration, and the spirit was so strong. I was able to share with them Joseph's experience in the grove of trees when he prayed to our Father in Heaven: "I saw a pillar of light, exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two personages whose brightness and glory defy all description standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name, and said pointing to the other-- this is my beloved Son-- hear Him!" They both were like "wow, that is amazing"... they didn't even know what to say. It really is amazing. I love teaching the first lesson because it is true. Everytime I bear testimony of Joseph's Smith's experience and the power of the Book of Mormon I can feel the power of the message the we share. Christ's church has been restored to the earth! I just get so excited about it. It's the best.

Joyce is doing SO well. I love that lady so much. This week she began reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning. She LOVES it. It is so funny... she was like "Gosh, I just hate it when I get interrupted with my reading, I just love Nephi, I just want to know what happens and I can't put it down!"  
Soooo yeah, that's the week. Can you believe that I have been out almost 6 months? At then end of this transfer it will be 6. C-R-A-Z-Y.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Training Training Training

Everyone said that about 5-6 months into your mission you start thinking at night. Thinking so much you can't even sleep. I was always like whatever; like that will never happen. I can barely finish my prayers sitting up without dreaming I am so tired at night. But this week it happened! I wake up at 5:30 AM and my brain starts racing with loose ends and people to call and doors to knock on and things to teach! Ah! Training does that to you. All of a sudden the majority of the decision making falls on my head and I don't have Sister Sant anymore to pick up the pieces. All in all it is going really well. My new companion's name is Sister Ewell and she is great! She is a super hard worker and a very contemplative teacher, which balances me out I think. We will make a great team. I suppose the hardest thing about training is that I want her to be and feel successful, to learn and to be obedient to the rules. So it is a fine balance between constructive feedback and love and everything else. But it is good. The best part is that I actually love practicing teaching and everything like that. Takes me back to my OCHSA days because we do a lot of practices... kind of like improv!
So I cut my hair! There aren't many things I have control over on a mission... but I do have control over my hair. So I chopped it off and donated it make a wig for a cancer patient. It was on my lifelong bucket list of things to do, so what better time than now! I actually really like having shorter hair for a change. I'm getting used it only taking 2 seconds to brush it. So weird. A lady in my ward says that I now look "zesty and vivacious"... I'm taking that as a compliment. And hey, I wouldn't hate any positive reinforcement about it in the form of letters (how is that for some shameless self promotion?).

Okay. Miracles happen when you are training. Sister Ewell and I went to go knock her very first door. I am praying in my head, "please at least be mildly receptive and friendly... por favor?" We knock on the door and the lady starts talking to us. She's super friendly. We bond over her dog Barkley J. Bigglesworth and she lets us in. SHE LETS US IN! On Sister Ewell's first door. That never happens! Then we are talking and she's like "what time are services on Sunday... I need to get back to church."  What?! That also never happens. She didn't end up coming but we are going over this week. I'm keeping Sister Ewell around because apparently she is really good luck. 

The next person that we street contacted was a man and his son playing basketball. I usually get apprehensive to street contact people, but I'm getting over that. We politely interrupted their game, taught a mini-restoration lesson and set a return appointment. That also NEVER happens. I know that Heavenly Father is really blessing us with people to teach so that Sister Ewell can practice her teaching skills and get to see the joys of missionary work. I am so grateful that He is so willing to bless us with the things that we need, even before we think to ask for them. 

We started teaching a girl named Bobbie. She is 9 and her mom is coming back to church. She is going to get baptized this month! It is so fun to work with kids again. I do miss teaching sometimes... so it will be fun to combine my classroom skills and teaching the gospel when teaching Bobbie. Anyway, she's adorable and I'm really excited about it.

I am so grateful for opportunities to learn and grow. Everyone said training is hard, but I felt optimistic and excited for the challenge. I guess a lot of that confidence comes from knowing that the Lord will provide for everything that I lack and that trials help us become more than we are today. It is hard, but I am learning and growing. I am so grateful for these stretching opportunities so that I can really tap into my full potential. I'm also grateful for the trials that I had this past year, honestly training is a breeze compared to constant dizziness and herding twenty-three 7 year olds while teaching 2nd grade. Mostly I am grateful for a loving Father in Heaven that knows who we can become and loves us enough to help us get there-- he provides opportunities to stretch, grow, and expand who we are so that we are better able to love and serve others.