Monday, 26 August 2013

three days.

That's all I have left until I hit my one year mark. BAHHHH. That's how I feel about that.
It freaks me out that I've been out here this long because it feels like haven't been out here at all/been out here for forever/can't imagine not being a missionary/feels like I still don't know what to say when I knock on a door... that might never change. There are lots of conflicting feelings about this.
Overall though I am very grateful that I've been able to spend a year in the service of my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Also I'm surprised by how much I don't miss In-N-Out and my iphone and instragram. Chick-Fil-A has a special place in my heart as my Missouri fast food obsession... although Sister White won't let me go once a week anymore.
What really freaks me out is the fact that my freshman year at BYU was 6 years ago and now Maryn, my little baby sister that I remember being born, just started her freshman year at BYU! WHAT?! I'm still 17... at the very oldest 19. So basicaly this week has put me into quarter life crisis mode.
This week has been A-MAZING. Seriously seriously. Basically I am getting frustrated with myself because I can't put into words how awesome this week was. So know that what I write below is my sad attempt to illustrate how amazing life it. Too bad I don't have the writing skills of Alex Thomas (ehem.. I mean Sandvik) and Jordyn Canady. If I could have it my way these posts would make people laugh and cry all at the same time. Instead I've taken to coming up with dumb bible jokes.... More on those next week-If I remember them! I'm going to be so awkward come February.
First of all we didn't get transferred. All the sisters at the jail are staying. We made history! This is the first time during President Keyes's time here that everyone has stayed at the jail... maybe even in the history of the Liberty Jail visitors center. So. That's a miracle.
Melba is getting baptized on Saturday and this week has been filled with powerhouse lessons with her. She has been going strong with the Word of Wisdom, which is a total miracle. On Monday we went to the Visitors' Center in Independence. It was so nice to go back to my old stomping grounds and show her around. I love the VC because of the peace that is there. Melba felt it and she did not want to leave... at all. She has so much faith and has really begun to see the blessings of the gospel in her life. Kind of a bummer that we couldn't stay there all night... it was so peaceful and wonderful.
On Saturday we took Melba to the Liberty Jail and taught about prophets. It was awesome. She soaks everything in and loves it. We showed Melba the Liberty Jail and played the narrations. She loved it and really gained a respect for Joseph Smith. At the end of the lesson we invited Melba to offer a kneeling prayer right there at the ledge of the Liberty Jail. We invited her to ask if Joseph Smith really was a prophet and if we really have a prophet today. She did. She offered one of the most heartfelt prayers, because Melba already believes, she has such real intent to receive the answers to her prayers. She has such trust in her Heavenly Father. After her prayer, we were standing there taking it all in. She said, "My heart feels like it has something hard in it and tight..." and I said, "Melba, that's the Spirit." She described the warm, burning feeling she had and I was able to help her recognize that that is the Spirit of God. That was her answer to the prayer she had offered not even a minute before. It was SO AMAZING to see that process happen. She didn't know how it felt to feel the Spirit in that way, she had never felt it before. It wasn't contrived because it was REAL. She really had the Holy Ghost witness to her that these things are true. It was so amazing, and such a testimony to me that God answers prayers. 

Monday, 19 August 2013

visitors and vision

This was one of those exhausting weeks where you are READY for p-day to come. I literally came home and practically passed out of the floor, poor Sister White practically planned for the next day all on her own. It was exhausting in a good way though, but boy did I sleep well last night. My mattress here is a fluffy cloud mattress and I have had the strangest dreams recently. But enough on exhaustion. We had a miraculous week. 

Last Monday we played laser tag. Remember how I get super competitive about the dumbest things. Still true. Our team won though, just sayin'. 

Tuesday was a miracle day. It was one of those days where everything that happened made me think "Is this real life?" Can things really be this good?!

It started at the Jail, where every presentation I took was wonderful. There is nothing better than having a group come in and knowing that you were teaching by the spirit. I feel like I am finally beginning to be semi-consistent at this. Where I move past going over the history and explaining the stories and move to sharing specific details and experiences of the early saints and really painting a picture to help these people come closer to their Savior and develop a greater testimony of the restored gospel. It makes me SO, SO, SO, grateful for my calling as a Visitors' Center sister.
Then we headed out to meet with Melba. We fasted this day because we were teaching Melba the Word of Wisdom and she certainly has some obstacles in this area. We headed over and she really wasn't feeling well because she had a broken tooth and was on some pain medications, but we had a little lesson in our member's car. She started out by saying "Ok. When are you going to teach me everything I need to know before my baptism? I know I need to quit somethings, like coffee and smoking, and drinking. I've already been working on the smoking, but that coffee will be hard." She also mentioned how she had been looking up stuff online and had come across some anti things and it didn't even phase her! Miracles! We taught her the Word of Wisdom the next day in a members home and she is living it! She is so excited to get her life in order and follow her Savior. So amazing. 
Then we went to contact a referral for a man named Michael. He had been baptized in Germany over 25 years ago when he was there in the military. When he came back to the states he fell away, but he had been feeling this deep urgency to grow closer to God. He walked into the temple last week looking for a Book of Mormon and he gave them his info. We knocked on his door a few days later to introduce ourselves. He is the definition of prepared and searching. He wants nothing more than to come back to God and help serve others. I am so excited to teach him and help him take those steps back. 

The rest of the week was wonderful too. Sister Wilson and I gave some gave trainings at theFriday AM Training meeting at the VC. We all got to head down there, which is always a good time. I love preparing trainings. It's super stressful but fun and I always feel like I have the best studies when I am trying to plan what to teach other people. This week's training was on vision and creating a vision for ourselves. This is something I am mildly obsessed with. Seriously. It's been one of the greatest lessons I have learned on my mission. I'll give you the basics.
- All things begin with a vision. Think about it. Almost all great scripture stories begin with vision: the birth of Jesus Christ, Moses, Lehi and his family, Alma the Younger... the list could go on and on. God gives these spiritually minded men glimpses of what will happen or what they can achieve in order to enlarge their understanding and help motivate them to act. They do and their lives, and the lives of others are changed.
- Our lives are no different. We can create a spiritual vision for who we can become. On a mission we set goals... all the time. Really though, everyday. These goals are in a way spiritual creation, they are plans for what we can accomplish... then we go and do and they become real. 
- Before my mission I created a vision... a huge vision for who I wanted to be on my mission and the type of person I wanted to be stepping off of the plane. Here I am now 6 months away from stepping off of that plane and it is amazing to realize that I've become in part who I had set out to be. As I have deliberately acted and made choices to become who I set out to be I have accomplished that... still a work in progress.
So essentially we are in complete control of who we are, who we are becoming, and who we will be in 5 years from now. No matter where you are in life we all constantly need to be progressing and growing and changing. It was pretty neat to see some of the Senior couples come up and thank me for my training because they wanted increased vision too!  

That's my life lesson for the week. 

I had a few surprise visitors this week! These past two weeks have been the best with people coming to the Liberty Jail. 
Yesterday I was in the exit room at the LJ and who walks by but Mckelle and Cam Chubbuck! I literally freaked out and ran out of the room to say hi. I was able to take them on a presentation and meet their adorable little girl,Milly, who was born while I was in the MTC! So crazy.

Then Sister Sant came to visit and I was able to meet her family. They probably think I'm nuts because I love their daughter so much. 

Last week Lauren and Lisa Jarvie came and visited me! I was able to take them on a presentation as well! It is fun to see so many people that I love so much.

Monday, 12 August 2013


Wow. What a week. I feel like a lot happened but nothing happened all at the same time. I feel like I learned a lot this week... a lot of pondering and reflection, which was well needed.

This week I went to my first Mission Leadership Council! It felt like the good ol' boys club with all the zone leaders, AP's. There are only four sisters that attend. It was a spiritual feast/fiesta. We ate a lot of yummy food, but more importantly learned a lot from President Keyes and the assistants. They talked a lot about getting back to the basics and nourishing the soul. I've been feeling mildly strapped lately with everything that I have on my plate and it was a well needed training. Probably the greatest thing that I learned this week was how to watch my thoughts. President Keyes gave a training on how to nourish the soul and most of the counsel was comprised of the very important basics-- scripture study, prayer, etc... but then at the end he had to throw in watching our thoughts. Obviously important, but very difficult to execute. So as I am sitting there wondering how in the world to make that happen he says, "now you may be wondering how to do that"... just don't think about those thoughts. Don't think about the fact that you are thinking about them... because then you will still be thinking about them! Just replace them and move on. So I did that this week and it worked! 23 years of failed attempts at that and there is the answer. Hopefully everyone else reading this has learned that lesson already but in case some of you are as dense as I am there you are! That's the ticket.
Melba came to church on Sunday and loved it. We introduced her to the Elders in the other ward in the hallway at church. She told them that it was her second Sunday at church and that she would be there every week and no one could stop her from coming and that she would be baptized on the 31st. When she walked down the hall the Elders were like "man, Sisters are so much more blessed than we are... it's not fair."... maybe true... sorry I'm not sorry. I do feel very, very grateful though and the dry spell in Blue Springs has made me even more grateful for these new friends.

Sometimes I feel like my soul is going to burst while I am here. I have too many feelings! And those that know me well know I was quite fond of feelings before. It is amazing to feel real Christ-like love and charity for people. People that are so vastly different than me-- in education, in personality, in likes, in dislikes... but I love them because I serve them. Life is beyond good. 

This is how I feel! 

"Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.
Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land."

Monday, 5 August 2013

SCV--Living it up in the Trailer Park

This week has been all over the place. I've been sick with a dumb cold. I still can't seem to shake this thing although I've become very familiar with the bed in the janitorial closet of the HLJ... too much time in supply closets this past month. The guests at the jail get to hear man-voiced Sister Call try to give some semblence of a presentation even though I feel like I have a beach ball in my sinuses. Somehow they still think I do an ok job.
BUT this week has also been a week of miracles!!!! For real. We started the week with no one really progressing and ended with two people planning to be baptized at the end of August! Both of them live in the trailer park in our area... so we are there prettymuch everyday. This place is the best. I love it. There are always kids playing outside and everyone is super friendly. Tracy has 4 kids that are members. She was planning on being baptized in the last area they lived in but it didn't happen. She moved here and we have been trying to work with her ever since. She bailed on the church tour we had scheduled but we decided to go over anyway and had a great talk. Luckily my companion is super bold and she invited her to be baptized that night. We have been a borderline obnoxious and stop by everyday, but the her and the kids are warming up more and more. I can't wait to see where this family goes. 
The other woman is named Melba. She is friends with Tracy and is so awesome. She is so sincere in here desire to follow Jesus Christ and get her life back in line. They are having a lot of family problems right now, but she realizes that the gospel can help. We took her on a church tour, which is the BEST because our chapel is right next to the Kansas City Temple. We showed her the baptismal font and before we could even say anything she was like "wow, I could see myself being baptized in there." We invited her to be baptized and she accepted. She was so excited to begin going back to church because she knows it will help her family. The whole time I was thinking 'is this real life?' mostly because it was unreal, but also because I was borderline having a fever... somehow I've gotten through this week.
I feel so blessed to be in this area. It is the best. Sister White is the best. We have people to teach. I get to serve at the Liberty Jail. Man. I love my life.
Here are my Liberty Jail ponderings for the week.
I love Caleb Baldwin. There were 5 men in the Liberty Jail with Joseph Smith... he was the oldest of those men and was involved in the Far West militia. So here is a man that has 7 daughters, 2 sons, and a wife that he has left at home. His family is left destitute and he is about to be imprisoned for who knows how long. He arranges a private hearing with the judge and explains his situation. The judge tells him that he will arrange safe passage back to his family and will let him go, on one condition. He must renounce his membership in the church and deny that Joseph Smith is a prophet. He didn't do it! I love him for that. He wouldn't deny his testimony and spent 4 months in prison with Joseph Smith. These are the type of men I get to teach about everyday. I love them!
I always feel stupid complaining about a cold when I'm testifying of men that spent 4 months in a freezing cold prison, with little food, and sick the whole time.  So other than this cold, keeping me humble, I couldn't ask for anything more.