Monday, 29 July 2013

this week deserves a novel...

Ok. Not really, but I wrote one anyway.
Let's talk about the weather right now. I would say 25% of my conversations with people begin with a comment about the weather. So here you go. Everyone told me how terrible Missouri summers would be. Here it is July 29th and it is 67 degrees and raining. Welcome to Missouri. I'm not complaining.
Joel got baptized! Yayyyy! Saturday was a great day. This whole week was great. We had two dinners at members homes with Joel. It was awesome to see how much fellowship within the ward helps. We have had a few members really take Joel under their wing to help him feel welcome and comfortable and free to ask them questions. It makes all the difference.

The baptism itself was awesome. I sang a duet with Sister Thurston, who used to be in this area and came up for the baptism. Too bad she was late and we didn't have time to practice because I was stressing big time. Turns out that we can wing it pretty well and it turned out great. There were even a few wet eyes... Kind of funny, when I was little and would sing in sacrament I used to love seeing how many older ladies I could make cry. Not nice, but funny to think about. I'm still working on staying humble apparently. Ok. Back to business. Joel was so happy after his baptism. I love seeing friends that I have helped teach directly after their baptism. It is the best. They are always glowing and so happy. It is neat to be able to see that change in people within a matter of minutes.
One of my jobs as sister leader is to prepare trainings for the sisters at the jail. This last week Sister Wilson and I prepared an awesome training. I have really been thinking a lot this past while about the sacredness of the Liberty Jail. It is such an amazing place. Literally when you walk in it feels different. It is peaceful, quiet, and calm. I believe that the site itself bears testimony of the restoration of the gospel because of the events that happened there. I had been thinking about that a lot. We often don't have a lot of time on these presentations, and we have such varied and large groups-- so essentially I have maybe 2-4 minutes at the end and a few minutes throughout to help strengthen the guests faith in Jesus Christ and the restored gospel. The training we prepared talked about how we as missionaries can create a holy place and carry that spirit with us as we bear testimony. It was a really amazing experience for me to prepare the training because I felt very inspired as to what to share and how we could help strengthen each of the sisters' testimonies.  So that paragraph was a long way of saying I'm really grateful that Heavenly Father answers prayers. I'm grateful for the chance to serve here and serve as sister leader so I can be taught and instructed by my Heavenly Father even more fully as I serve.
Sister Wilson and I
My dad sent me an article from about my ancestor Anson Call. He lived near Far West during the 1830s... I live only 40 minutes from Far West! Anson and his family were driven from their homes by mobs just after Joseph was in the Liberty Jail. This is the history I teach every day and he was a part of it! It blew my mind a little bit to read about my great-great-great grandpa getting struck in the head with a barrel ring for trying to come and reclaim his property. Crazy town. Mobs back then were nuts.  Funny thing is, I have ancestors on my mom's side that were also in Missouri, but not mormon.  Some day it would be interesting to learn if some of the mob members were from my mom's side of the family. 

Let me just say how much I love this place. It is an honor to serve here. My testimony has grown so much. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, called to restore Christ's church to the earth again today. I know it. I get to teach people about it daily and I love it. I also know that God is in the details of our lives. He loves us. He answers our prayers.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Livin' it Up at the HLJ

Man, oh, man I love serving at the Historic Liberty Jail. I listen to the same narrations everyday, multiple times a day and I still love it! I haven't gotten sick of it yet. I am constantly learning more and more about the history and constantly improving my presentations there. It has also been a really neat experience to serve as sister leader because the jail is really "young" right now. There is only 1 sister that has been at the jail longer than a 6 weeks and I am the only other sister that has served at the visitors' center for longer than 6 weeks. So this makes our job really important-- to help teach and inspire the sisters how to help the guests have meaningful experiences. ALSO that means that I have to figure out how to do that in a very short amount of time. I have really felt like my Heavenly Father has been teaching me and inspiring me how to teach and inspire others. I LOVE that feeling. I feel like I have already grown and learned so much and I have been here just over a week.
One of our good friends, Joel, is getting baptized on Saturday! He is the best! He seriously has come pre-taught. It's funny because we will ask him about a principle or commandment and he will give an answer that is word for word out of the book. Sister White and I typically look stunned and he is always asking if what he said was ok because we look so surprised... basically we should just have him teach us. Miracle, miracle... I love seeing how the Lord prepares people's hearts and minds.
OK. Freak out time. People keep asking me how long I've been out and I tell them "just under a year"... and that is true! It really is just under a year. I have four transfers left, which is NOTHING. I can't believe how fast this time is flying.
Brother Sanders took this picture of me and texted it to my mom.  She loved it!

The Sanders family came in to the Jail and I got to take them through a tour! It was the best! It's so nice to see a familiar face and to get to show them this place that already means so much to me.
The wonderful Sanders Family (minus Katie who is serving a mission)

On a funny note I answered the phone at the jail this week and a lady said that her cousin was there. So I went upstairs to check and realized that her cousin isn't at the Historic Liberty Jail, but is at the Clay County Detention Center. So I gave her the phone number. I can check that off of my HLJ bucket list.
Here is my favorite scripture for the week. I've been using it in all my presentations. It is from the very last verse of the revelations received by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Liberty Jail and is from a letter written to the church, while the prophet is in prison.

It says:  "Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power. Then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God and for his arm to be revealed."
I love that. It teaches me that as we go through our trials we can be cheerful, we can stand tall. I love knowing that the Lord can change us through our difficult experiences. We must do everything in our power to serve our Heavenly Father, to follow our Savior and then we can stand still... I love that imagery. We can stand firm knowing that he will help us. I have seen that in my life, and especially this week.

Monday, 15 July 2013


I actually left Independence. I kind of thought it would never happen, but I made a long 20 minute drive on Thursday to the Shoal Creek Valley Ward in Liberty. I am now serving at the HISTORIC LIBERTY JAIL and I am a sister trainer at the jail! What?! I am so excited to be here. It was the dream transfer. My new companion's name is Sister White and she has been out one transfer, so I am finishing up training her, but I feel like it is the other way around. She is the BEST! She is from Riverton, Utah. I don't know how I keep getting so lucky with companions.

Sister White & I (an awkward photo, but the best I have)
I kind of feel like I am on vacation right now because I haven't settled in to my new house yet and everything around is really new. The Liberty Jail is surprisingly different than the VC. We focus a lot more on the history here, rather than teaching gospel principles. We help people learn about gospel principles by teaching the history so that they can learn from the examples of those that have come before. It is really amazing and I am trying hard to live up to this wonderful place that I have the opportunity to serve.
We have investigators here! I love it! We are teaching a man named Joel that is planning to be baptized at the end of this month. He is awesome, so sincere in his desire to grow closer to the Savior and know the truth. We have been teaching a ton! Literally teaching everyone we talk to, not everyone is interested but they will talk to us and we have had some great discussions. This area is really nice... really nice... and right by the temple.
This week we had a total miracle. My grandpa passed away on Thursday and I found out Friday morning. That was pretty rough, but it strengthened my testimony of the plan of salvation so much. I KNOW that God really does have a plan for us and I know that we will see our family members again in the next life. It was amazing to know that although I miss him I could feel complete and total peace. So... the miracle... We went to go contact a part member family that had just moved into the ward. Sister White had tried a number of time, but didn't have any luck. We show up and they were home! It turns out that Heather had just lost her uncle that week and that her father was in the hospital and had sufferred a massive stroke. It was such a miracle that I was able to share with her my experiences and my testimony of what I had learned and know to be true. I don't think it was a coincidence that we were able to meet her in that moment. I can't wait to see what happens with that family!
I feel so blessed and so totally overwhelmed right now! Which is a good place to be because I feel like I have been needing a stretch and here it is. I am learning a lot. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve as sister leader. It will be really fun to apply what I have learned throughout my mission to help the Jail! My testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith has already grown so much. It is amazing to teach and testify of his experiences at the Liberty Jail and beautiful revelations given there. 
READ THEM- Doctrine & Covenants Sections 121-123... here's the link
Man, I love this place. My mission is the BEST. I am realizing more and more how tailor made it is for me. My experiences, my trials, the people I have taught, and the places I have served have all been perfect.
Here's the link for my new home for the next few months.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Transferitis/ Some Kind of -itis

4th of July! We are fireworks We got to usher at a dance concert held at the Community of Christ auditorium
This week is transfers! Stressful. Sister Morris and I both got training calls. This means a) I am training again and b) I'm going to be a grandma! That means that my daughter (Sister Morris) is going to have a daughter to train. I've always wanted some mission posterity. So that's exciting. 
I have a bad case of transfer-itis because I am almost certain I am leaving the Visitors' Center. It is high time, but I'm pretty sad because I've been here so long. Independence is the mecca for missionaries-- there are so many so it will be weird to go where there aren't as many.
Also this week I had some sort of other -itis and was sick sick sick most of the week. I think I wrote about that in my last email, but that took up most of the week I feel like. The last time I had a fever I ended up with vertigo for 4 months, but I think I've been able to steer clear of any long term effects. I think it was good though because Sister Morris was able to take over, which she will be doing next week. So there's a blessing.

Although we weren't in our area much we saw some major blessings yesterday. Sister Morris and I have been focusing a lot on the Book of Mormon these past few days. I LOVE the Book of Mormon. So yesterday we had some extra time during companionship study. Sister Morris thought we should go over some of the sections in our teaching manual, Preach My Gospel about using the Book of Mormon. So she picked an activity to think about how the Book of Mormon could help people understand why we have organized religion and why we have religion in general. I have been thinking about that a lot because there are so many great people that don't have a religious background, so how does the restoration help them? How can we teach them more about it? We studied that and practiced it. Then got to work. The first door we knock on this guy comes out and basically tells us he is spiritual but not religious and doesn't believe in organized religion. BOOM. We were able to lay it down for him and help him have a desire to read so that he can know that God's church and the church of Jesus Christ are back on the earth. How cool is that?

Mary Dreher's baptism! Mary is such a cutie. She lives in 4th Ward and came into the VC for a lesson really early once. We hit it off and became good friends. She asked me to speak at her baptism. I later found out that she lives on Joyce's street, so she is the fruits of my tracting many months later! So cool!

Monday, 1 July 2013

Temple, temple, temple!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

. Reunited at last. This was a happy happy day! Some of my bestie sisters and I at the mission conference
 Mostly the best thing in the world this week was that we had a mission conference on Wednesday. That means that I got to see EVERYONE I love!!! And to top it off we got to go to the temple! Pretty much that never happens and they went through a lot of work to make it so that all the missionaries could go. It was the BEST! Seriously. The perfect day.  I'm pretty sure we were a little out of control when Sister Ogletree, Sister Stobbe, and Sister Hyer and I were all reunited but I didn't even care. All of them have been out full proselyting and I have missed them! The temple was amazing. I love the peace there. It just carried with me throughout the week. Not being able to go to the temple all the time has really made me appreciate it more. I have gained a strong testimony that the temple truly is the House of the Lord. The work done there and the things that we learn there are real, it is true! I love it!

So I've been sick, sick, sick the past few days. I think I have West Nile Virus... just kidding. But seriously... maybe. Apparently West Nile isn't as serious as most people think. Only about 1/150 people have very serious symptoms, the rest of the people have very mild symptoms or no symptoms. Anyway most people probably don't care, but that's the hypochondriac coming out in me. Being sick on a mission is the absolute worst. I feel worthless. Plus I am crammed up laying on a mattress at the Visitors' Center all day. Lame. 

We taught Kara this week on the phone! She is the best! I feel so blessed to have had all these opportunities to teach people in the online mission. Kara is moving soon to another part of Kentucky. It is so cool to me how we meet them at the exact right time. It would be hard for her to meet with missionaries right now because she is getting ready to head out and all the fellowship and everything would be in a ward she won't be attending. But now we can teach her and help her progress until she gets to her new ward and can really get going there. Miracles!!!

Transfers are next week. That's exciting. I love the area that I'm at and being with Sister Morris but I am pretty sure I'm heading out. I've been at the VC for awhile. It will be fun to see where I end up. I've felt like I've been in a mild shlump for a little bit, which is never a good thing, and certainly not a good thing on a mission. Maybe I feel this way because I've had a fever for 3 days...  Either way change is good. It will be good to get out of my comfort zone, because the Visitors' Center has certainly become my comfort zone. It will be good to get a new companion to learn from and a new area with new challenges and new people to invest faith in. I am excited.