Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Snow. Spring. Easter.

Things are picking up here in the Independence 1st Ward! I am finally getting the lay of the land (literally) and don't get lost on my way to every address-- despite the fact that Independence has THE craziest street system. There are literally at least 6 different segments of the same street  with the same name in our area for every street.
We had a miracle on Sunday. It snowed 6 inches Saturday night (hello spring!) and church wasn't cancelled... basically if you wanted to come you could and if you didn't you didn't have to. So we went. It was the best. We had fast and testimony meeting and it was just a great meeting. The best part was this little kid that was like "I am so glad my cousin is here today, he isn't a member, and I want him to get the Priesthood one day" So of course my missionary ears perked up and we went and introduced ourselves to the family. The mother is returning back to church, as is her mother and she would like us to come and teach her son and daughter! So we have investigators!!!!!!! Total miracle. I'm so grateful for that little boy and this snowy Sunday. Now I can teach Sister Morris how to plan for investigators, and study for them, and teach them.
We also met Melanie's daughters (she was the miracle lady we met a couple of weeks ago). These girls are seriously the smartest girls I have ever met... and I have met a lot of kids. They were like "okay, let me get this straight, so if Jesus Christ was in America, why don't we know about it? Where is the evidence? How can I know?" It was so fun to teach them and they are so excited to read the Book of Mormon. This family is one of those that I have automatically fallen in love with. It's the weirdest thing on a mission you just love people, right off the bat. That's how I feel with them. I'm really excited to see how they progress.
Mostly I can't believe how fast time is flying. I am on the downward swing of my 5th transfer. I only have 7 left! Bah. Freaking out about that.
I love holidays on the mission. Christmas was the best and Easter is shaping up to be the same. I love this Mormon message by Elder Holland. It seriously gave me chills.
I am so eternally grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that he lives, and that he loves us. I know that through him all things are possible and that one day we will be able to return to live with our Father in Heaven again because of his sacrifice. I know that he is aware of the details of our lives and that his purpose and desire is to help lift us, so that we can help lift others. I am grateful for his perfect example.   I am grateful to be able to feel the love that he has for me and for others as I bear his name as his missionary. I am just so grateful for him.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter and reflects on the miracle of this wonderful holiday.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Finding, Finding, Finding.... Finding.

This week has been lots and lots and lots of finding people to teach. We still haven't had one return appointment yet and so we just go out all day and find people. Not going to lie finding used to give me legit anxiety. I remember when I first got out on the mission about 100 excuses would flash through my head for why we couldn't go out and knock doors. The first day we went out to knock some potentials and such I actually got so nervous I cried! And then I was glad about it because Sister Sant talked me down from the ledge and it took up all the time we had to knock. I'm pathetic. I know. BUT I actually enjoy it now, for the most part. Everything that used to scare me doesn't anymore. Sure it can be way awkward stalking people down as they get out of their car, or knocking on doors with no soliciting signs, but I always think to myself this person could be my next miracle! This person could really need the message we have to share. I've never been more tired my whole mission though. It has amazing to rely 100% on the Holy Ghost. Sister Morris and I don't know the area, we don't know the members, we don't know the non-members. So we go out everyday with a prayer in our heart hoping to find those that are prepared to hear the message we have to share.
I'll just share one of the many miracles we have seen this week. It was Wednesday and we didn't have a car, so we had to walk to our area... it's not far from the VC so I won't let myself get dramatic about it. We walk outside and it is a breezy spring time day. Perfect weather. About 70 degrees with a slight breeze. We go out into our area and talk to some people, have some great conversations, have some not so great conversations. We work for about a solid 3 hours and I am exhausted. Straight up tuckered out. This lady walks out onto her porch and of course what goes through my mind is "oh she's busy, oh I'm tired, oh it's about time to go back" but luckily I fought through all of that and walked straight up to her porch. We made the awkward small talk and she invited us up. Turns out she had met with missionaries before, she wasn't interested but was open to talking. So we talked about her life. We talked about her kids, she opened up to us about a lot of really personal things. So we shared some scriptures with her from the Book of Mormon. Sister Morris shared a scripture that she found in her studies that morning and that we felt like we should share with someone that day. She LOVED it. We were then able to teach her more about the Book of Mormon-- somehow the other missionaries failed to mention that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, about his dealings with the people in the Americas. She was so grateful we stopped because that evening was the only evening she had had in a long while, and would have in a long while, that she would have time to think and ponder and feel settled about where she was at in life. We met her that very night... the only night we could have possibly met her and really the only moment. That meeting on that porch was probably one of the sweetest experiences I have had on my mission. We were able to bear testimony of the gospel and of God's love for her, we were able to share with her just some of the pain she was feeling, but also the joy that Jesus Christ brings to our lives. I was so grateful for the courage that I had built up to talk to everyone. I'm so grateful to be a representative of Jesus Christ, and to help those that need it. To share with them a message of peace, and joy, and love. Sister Morris and I walked home happy as can be. It was a great day.
Rick was baptized this week! It was amazing! The spirit was so strong, despite many things going wrong before the baptism. Once it got started it turned out perfectly. I am so grateful to have been able to teach both him and Joyce. He is so deeply converted to the restored gospel. When he came out after his baptism he said "I've been baptized twice before and I hadn't felt the Spirit, not like that. I knew this church was true before but that confirmed it... even though the water was freezing!" Rick's daughter lives in 1st Ward, and we are going to meet her on Wednesday! I am so excited. I know that Heavenly Father has big plans for this family.  I can't even believe that so much has come from knocking on that one door in November. I have found such great joy in just teaching Joyce, and then teaching Rick, and now his daughters want to learn more. It is such a blessing! Heavenly Father really does lead us to those that are prepared.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


Sister Morris and I
So I did get transferred but not too far! I'm in the Independence 1st Ward, training, and opening up the area to be double covered. There are already sisters in the ward right now, so we are a new set! It's exciting/terrifying/I have no idea what I am doing so it's hard to be stressed. Everyday I'm like "Ummm. Sister Morris, this isn't how it will be your whole mission." We have 0 investigators. Not one. So we are going to be finding, finding, finding, which is my worst thing... I am excited to get good at it though and I know I'll be learning a lot from this. I am excited because I know that I am here in the 1st Ward for a reason. There was a sister coming in from full proselyting and she is now follow-up training Sister Ewell. She could have just as easily trained Sister Morris, so I know I'm here for a purpose. I am really excited to see what that is and to have this blank slate to work with. We have to work by following the Spirit 100% or we won't have success. It is going to be great!

Sister Stobbe and I
My new companion's name is Sister Morris. She is adorable and we make a cute couple because we both have semi-hipster/not hipster glasses and get along really well. She is from Mesa, Arizona and is one of the new 19 year-old sisters! SO cool! Right now we are also in a trio with Sister Stobbe who is one of my insta-friends here on the mish. She and I are the same person. Seriously. It gets borderline ridiculous. Her companion is sick in the MTC right now so that is why she is with me and Sister Morris. That has made things semi-complicated because she has all her investigators but then we need to find investigators so we are just praying that the Lord will make it all work out, and He will. In the mean time, we are having way too much fun having slumber parties every night. Inde 1st is very different than Inde 4th ward... it will be a welcome challenge and change. There are a lot of polynesians in our ward-- so I will be very well fed. And the best news is I won't have to miss Rick's baptism! Whoohoo! Oh also I am still in the Willis House! #dreamscometrue2013
So I have no investigators to report on because we have none. We have had some really awesome experiences finding people to teach. Times when we know for sure we were being led by the Spirit and just perfect timing of meeting people. It is amazing to recognize how the Spirit works and to help Sister Morris recognize that as well. It is so much through our thoughts--small impressions that come to our mind. As I have followed those impressions I have realized, more often than not, they are from our Heavenly Father. It is such a blessing to have the Holy Ghost to lead us, guide us, and teach us... as we are living the commandments and striving to follow His will we will be successful and be able to find, teach, and learn by the Spirit.
It's been fun training again too! This time has been a bit of a challenge because the MTC training was shortened and there are a lot of fundamental skills that the new missionaries weren't taught. A lot more of the teaching and training falls on us as trainers. It has been fun to teach those skills, but also a challenge.
Sooo that's the update. Hopefully by next week miracles will have happened and we will find people to teach! And hopefully by that point I will know what I am doing in this new area. Until then... keep me in your prayers!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Another Transfer...and Another Trainee?!

I never know what to title these posts... Every week is a miracle week so that is getting way too cliche (although it is true). I'm losing my clever subject line skills.
You would think after two study abroads and the childhood training from my mom in how to use a Thomas Guide I would be able to read a map... but something in my brain turns off when I try to think of cardinal directions. Yesterday I went on exchanges with Sister Aldous in North Kansas City and we set off on our way home and she and I got totally lost. Turns out Independence Avenue on the map is not the same as Independence, the city. So we ended up in downtown Kansas City--- 45 minutes away from the Visitors' Center, in the hood. It was quite the adventure. I think I might have been a bit more dependent on my iphone's GPS than I anticipated.
Bobbie got baptized on Friday! Bobbie's father passed away last year and I know that her baptism was really special for her and the rest of her family. We went over some of the baptismal interview questions with her before her baptism and it was so amazing to see her faith. Before we would even finish a question she would be like "Yes, I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet.... Yes! Of course God is real!" Even at age 9 she has such a powerful understanding of her Savior Jesus Christ. It has been such a blessing to see that childlike faith. I want to be more like that. Her baptism went really well. She was so happy to be dressed all in white.  She came out of the font and was like "I feel so good!" It was the best.
Rick is getting baptized! I don't remember if I wrote that last week. He knows that the Book of Mormon is true and cannot wait to be baptized. He quit smoking this week and has made so much progress. We had a really neat lesson with him on Friday of last week and he expressed how much peace he felt. He hadn't felt this kind of peace in years and years. It is so amazing to see how much peace comes from living the commandments of God, from trusting in Him and building a relationship with Him. It is amazing to see these people progress and to watch peace and joy enter their lives. I just love being a missionary! I would have never imagined the joy and happiness I would receive from teaching Joyce and Rick when I knocked on Joyce's door in November. Both Joyce and Rick can help each other progress in the church--Joyce has been such a good example to her brother, and honestly he has been an example to her as well. It has been such a blessing to witness their conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to them them the principles of the Gospel.
We had "Spirit Week" in the Visitor's Center - just to mix things up a bit.  Here are some photos of some of the other missionaries I am serving with.  

So, transfers are this week on Thursday. They came up very quickly. Training calls came out last Friday and I got another call to be a potential trainer! But I am already training! So I don't know how that is going to work. I have tried thinking up all the options and I've exhausted myself so I am just not going to worry about it. There is a high possibility that I will be transferred from this area. I am super sad but also really excited about the next chapter of my mission. I have loved this area so much and the people... and I would have loved to finish training Sister Ewell! I am just hoping that I won't have to miss Rick's baptism! So I'll keep you posted on that. Transfer calls come tonight! I feel really settled about all of it though... which is so weird. I feel calm and peaceful all the time on my mission, even when I am stressed. It's great! Just goes to show you that you really have no need to stress in life. Just do your best and the Lord makes up the rest. I'm really grateful for past trials that have taught me that.