Monday, 25 November 2013

hello hello from Clinton, MO

Several of the Sister Missionaries on Transfer Day
Many of my past companions

So this week has been AWESOME. Full of finding miracles. I'm so grateful for Sister Boswell because she is such a hard worker. She was always like "Ok, Sister Call, we had better go, lets work, lets go find people, I'm only here for two weeks!" We have been pushing each other a lot this week to really find those that the Lord has prepared. It is amazing the difference between full proselyting and the Visitors Center. At the VC we would have maybe 4 hours a day for proselyting. Add in a dinner, that's only 3 hours, add in some meetings and you may not even get out that day.
We have ALL day here. It's been an adjustment but a good one. I have found myself far more confident in my ability to talk to random strangers and talk to everyone. I have made that a goal this week and for the remainder of my time here to talk to everyone I see about the restored gospel. And I don't even hesitate to do it anymore. This is a huge contrast to my very first day proselyting. Poor Sister Sant had to deal with me. I remember we had an appointment fall through and we had some extra time to knock doors. Don't ask me why but I freaked out. What was I expecting? That I wouldn't knock doors on a mission? Anyway, it stressed me out... I kind of had a mild breakdown and I figured if I could eat up enough time feeling bad for myself then we wouldn't have to knock any doors. It worked. I think that is hilarious now looking back that I was such a complete basket case. Bottom line is it is nice to look back and see the change.
That was something that I certainly have overcome with the help of my Savior. I love people more now, and I desire their happiness more. I know that the message we share brings that and I want everyone to have it. Even if they look scary or rich or whatever. It is amazing to see people's hearts soften as we testify and teach them.
So. Back to the miracles. I have a HUGE testimony of goals. They increase our vision of what we can accomplish. This week Sister Boswell and I set some pretty lofty goals. Go big or go home, right? We had an overall goal to teach 33 lessons and find 8 new friends to share the gospel with. We went out and we worked, and the Lord really did lead us to where we needed to be and who we needed to see. This week we taught 38 lessons and found 10 new friends! We exceeded every goal that we set. I have such a testimony that the Holy Spirit really does lead and guide us, and it is by simple things, like our thoughts. Nothing we did was extraordinary. We prayed, we listened, and then we went out to work knowing that if we were doing our best the Lord would take care of the rest. And he did. I'm so grateful for that. Miracles really do happen! 

Hmmm... Ok. Funny stories. We have met a few teenage boys tracting and EVERY single one of them ends up texting us. We invite them to learn more. They say they want to and then end with the line... "Well, I hope you girls know you are really beautiful". All of them! Obviously the conversation ends shortly thereafter. haha 

I don't even really know what else to say... Sister Penman, my  new companion is coming tomorrow. We will be in a trio for about a day and then drop Sister Boswell off when we have Thanksgiving dinner with her family. So that will be fun. It will be interesting to start all over with the 12 week program and training. Whoohoo! Miracle week round 2. I'm excited to meet her. It will be hard to say goodbye to Sister Boswell though. 

We got our picture taken for the Clinton newspaper. We ended up that very day on the front page, right underneath the picture of an obvious criminal. Whoohoo! Glad we were in such good company. Hopefully people will read the paper and will realize that we aren't criminals as we are traipsing through their neighborhood. 

I received word from Sister Harding that everything is going great with Sherry and JR. They are getting married and baptized December 7th. Sherry even invited me to be one of her bridesmaids. Can we talk about a dream come true family? I love them so much.

Historic Liberty Jail on the right and the Liberty House on the left.  It's been my home sweet home for the past few months.

One last photo at the HLJ - I am sure going to miss this place.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Clinton, MO

Sister Boswell & I ready to take off for the boonies

Ok. Ok. Ok.  Where do I even begin? This week has been NUTS. I honestly feel like it has been 5 weeks. So I guess my prayers for my mission to slow down a little bit have been answered because it feels like it is crawling, but that's always true with big changes and this has been a BIG change.

So lets start with Tuesday. Tuesday night was training calls. I found out I was going to Clinton,  MO to open up the area to sisters and train a new missionary. Whoohoo. Adventure time. Clinton is one of the most southern areas in the mission. We are talking in the middle of nowhere. So that was exciting. Also. I had recently given presentations at the jail to TWO families from Clinton. One of them had said they were supposed to get sisters soon and jokingly I said, "well transfers are coming up so maybe you'll see me in a few weeks." We had a good laugh about that at church this past Sunday when I saw them in Clinton!

Wednesday was my last day at the HLJ. The brand new missionaries always come through the Jail after coming from the airport. I had requested days in advance to take them on the tour because A) I love taking the new missionaries through and B) I wanted to see if I could pick out who my trainee would be. So I give the tour, it was actually my very last tour at the jail. SUPER SAD. I wanted to cry/did cry a  little at the end (which was kind of embarrassing.) Then President at the end of my testimony was like Sister Call I need to talk to you. Bah! So we went into the exit room and he told me that my companion wasn't in that group of new missionaries because she is sick in the MTC. So... I would be getting a temporary companion from the Warrensburg Stake. His exact words were, "Instead of looking for a 19 or 20 year old, you will be looking for a 17 or 18 year old." WHAT?! So I will be training her and then retraining my new companion when she gets here. So talk about stressful. She hadn't even been through the MTC! But I suppose Clinton and training two times will be the capstone project of my mission and I am excited.

The JR and Sherry family
To add to all of the excitement of the week JR and Sherry are getting married! AHHH. I can't wait! They will get married and then baptized on the same day, December 7th!  Talk about a miracle family. They are the best.  I will miss them SO much. That is probably one of the hardest things about leaving. I just have faith that I'll meet more JRs, and Sherrys, and Melbas, and Tracy's out here and be able to help them with my testimony. I cannot believe how blessed I was in Shoal Creek Valley. There are SO many people that I love there. Saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I've had to do on my mission.

Thursday was TRANSFER DAY. I was able to meet Sister Boswell, my new/temporary companion. She is awesome and so prepped. I can't believe she was able to come out on a mission in literally 2 days and was not freaking out. She has been really helpful to make the adjustment out here in rural Clinton. She is homeschooled so she was able to take 2-3 weeks off of school to come out and do this. We still aren't quite sure how long it will be before my new companion comes out. In the mean time I am having a great time teaching her how to be a missionary.  Our apartment is really cute. We live above a member and it's been all nicely redone and it is clean and I love it. The ward here is small but strong. There are some really awesome members and LOTS of work to do with reactivation and part member families. It is a full pros dream. Plus, the area covers not only Clinton, which has a population of about 9,000 but also about 10 other really, really small towns in the surrounding areas. So we do a lot of driving and a lot of careful planning.

This place is COUNTRY. They at least have a Walmart, which is good. I've learned more about hunting in the past 2 days than I have in my entire life. I ate deer on Saturday and a bunch of other canned foods and sulpherized water. Not bad actually. It is a major culture shock... but it always gets conversations going when I say I am from Southern California. People are like, what are you doing out here in Clinton!? The ward is the best and they treat us like a shiny new toy because they haven't had sister out here, maybe ever. 

So there is the low down on transfers. I'm really boosting my faith right now. I'm not going to lie it is a huge adjustment to be out here in the middle of nowhere without all of my best missionary friends surrounding me. I had no idea how spoiled I was at the VC. It's been great though to really rely and put all my faith and trust in the Lord right now to accomplish this huge task that I have in front of me. I AM the MTC. Bah. It's really neat to look back and see how the Lord has prepared me to be here in this ward at this time. I am so grateful for his hand in my life. My mission is perfect! I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store here. 
Here's one more miracle. We were out on Saturday and had a really great day, but poor Sister Boswell was getting a little discouraged. So I said a silent prayer in my heart/I may or may not have been begging the Lord to help us find some new investigators. Within 25 minutes we taught 4 lessons and found 3 new investigators. It was amazing. I couldn't believe what a miracle that was! The Lord really does answer prayers. All we have to do is ask.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013


HLJ all the way. I'm going to miss this place like nobody's business.

 Today is my birthday! Yay. I've been lucky to have two p-day birthdays! It helps it actually feel like a birthday. Man. I love my birthday. I woke up an extra 20 minutes early today because I was so excited that I was able to open my package and everything else. You wouldn't know I was turning a whopping 24 years old. Sheesh. Mid-twenties. I'm over the freak-out stage about that though.
We had plans to go to the Shatto milk dairy. I know, nothing says 24 like a good ol' milk farm. But unfortunately the place was booked up with school tours. Lame. So instead we went to Kansas City. The Brenchley's, who are the directors of the VC and the Stevensons, one of my fave senior couples joined us and the other sisters. It was the best impromptu birthday... and Sister Brenchley's birthday is tomorrow! Fun, fun, fun. We stopped by the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art and it was closed. Lame. But they gave us a really cool free photo book. Then we went to the Hallmark Museum and they gave us a free gift too! The best! 
Sister Harding and I at the Nelson Atkins Museum
 I can't believe I have spent my entire 23rd year in the service of the Lord. It feels like a dream the time has gone by so quickly. I have loved every minute of it and I am so grateful for this time in my life. I count myself lucky to have had two birthdays on a mission!
Transfer calls come tonight. Bah. Stressful, but not as stressful as normal. I've been feeling for awhile that I'd be transferred, and train a new missionary, and go full-pros, and open a new area. I don't know where I'm going... I'll find that out tonight, but I do know that all of those premonitions are going to come true. Whoohoo! Adventure time. On Friday I got the training call and the assistant was like, "Sister Call, I'm not even going to pretend like you are being called to be a potential trainer, because you aren't, you are going to be a trainer. For sure. It's happening." Then during the trainers meeting President Keyes was like "Yeah, some sisters at the Visitors' Centers have crazy schedules. Sister Call here has served her entire mission at the Visitors' Centers and knows lots about that, and now she will be going full pros for the last two transfers of her mission and she won't even know what to do with herself and all this free time. She'll probably be feeling like a brand new missionary." True story President. I was really grateful for the confirmation that I will indeed be leaving. I was able to give everyone a heads up on Sunday and then tonight I'll find out for sure all the details.

So here we go onto the next adventure. I'm really going to miss this place. Really, really going to miss this place. I love my area. I love going to church right by the temple. Most of all I love serving at the Liberty Jail. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve here. I have gained such a strong testimony of trials and adversity. I'll be able to put all my knowledge to action in these next two transfers. I have a feeling its going to be a bit of a learning curve and probably pretty hard. I'm used to being surrounded by missionaries and people-- I've lived in a house with 8 girls for over a year now. So that will be new if it is just my companion and I. But I am grateful. I feel like I'll be pushed out of my comfort zone and really be forced to rely on the Lord. That is where real growth takes place. I am excited.

In other REALLY exciting news J.R. and Sherry and Emily are planning to be baptized December 7th. I AM SO EXCITED! They are seriously the best. They are also planning on getting married sometime before their baptism. They are so excited about that too and mostly for the chance to change and learn and grow. Holy moly. I can't believe how awesome they are. I am bummed I have to leave before all the wedding planning happens, but I'll be able to come back for all of it. Hopefully. 

So all in all I just feel really really grateful. I've said really a lot in this email. I suppose I just feel like I need to add that because I am just really excited and full of emotion about everything right now. I honestly feel like I am starting this amped up version of missionary finals week in these next two transfers. I will get to put all of my training, all of my studies, everything that I have become into helping my next area grow and helping this new missionary become an effective instrument in the hands of the Lord. I am grateful for this chance to give everything that I have. I can't even express how grateful I am for the opportunity that I have had to have served a mission. If you were to have asked me when I was 12, 16, 19, 21, where I would be at age 24... serving a mission in Independence Missouri would have been far beyond my thought process.  I am so grateful that the Lord intervened and led me down this path. The growth I have experienced in this past year has been immeasurable. So here on my 24th birthday I want to express my gratitude for a loving Heavenly Father that knows me better than I know myself. My mission has been perfect for me. Perfectly tailor made for all that I needed to learn and experience, it really amazes me at times. I am grateful for His influence in my life, and the opportunity that I have had to share that influence in the lives of others. I am grateful for his Son, Jesus Christ, who has made all this growth possible through his atonement. I am grateful for this time that I have had to serve them, and for the one on one training that I have received on how to be a profitable servant for the rest of my life. I know this is truly Jesus Christ's church. His gospel changes lives. It has changed mine. So here's to two more transfers and another great year!
Look at this dead bunny. Just kidding. It's alive. I'm seriously obsessed with this thing. It's the best bunny in the world

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Man oh man.


 Ok. This week has been awesome.
Tracy was baptized on Saturday! It was amazing! I have been working with her since I arrived in the area four and a half months ago and she has grown so much. I'm so grateful to have been there from start to finish. Her progression was really a miracle. She hadn't really been keeping commitments, it was a little on and off because there were always a lot of reasons. And then probably about two months ago she was put in the hospital because she had pneumonia. Some part of that experience changed her and she really put the gospel first in her life. She has grown so much. She went from having a small desire to believe in God to really knowing that he is there. She is such a fiercely loyal mother and the gospel has blessed her to be able to help guide her family as well. Ah! Tracy is just the best. Her baptism went really well. She was so excited and she said she felt so clean and so good afterward. I love seeing how people glow after they are baptized. It's amazing. Sister White and I pulled off a never before practiced musical number. It was a baptism miracle.
Next up. Sherry and JR are THE BEST! Seriously. They are probably one of the biggest miracles of my mission. They are the definition of golden investigators. This past week we met with them probably every other day, well mostly with Sherry. She is cruising along in the Book of Mormon and teaching her friends about the plan of salvation. On Friday, she came and helped the ward with a swap and shop we were doing and she texted us "I love this place so much! I have been here for hours helping out. I love my new family!" I just keep thinking, 'Is this real life?' And it is!!!!! Sister Harding and I are loving all her questions, she is literally thirsting for knowledge. It is amazing. Sunday was an absolute miracle day. Sherry and JR both came to church-- we had two benches full of people (that never happens). It was like sitting at the cool kids table. We had Melba, Tracy and her family, and JR and Sherry. The night before we had taken them to the Liberty Jail. JR felt the spirit at the jail and loved it... but Sherry said she didn't. She was a little frustrated that JR felt something and she didn't because she had been putting in so much work. So later that night she was reading in her scriptures and flipped to three random verses on baptism. She was pretty excited about that and was telling us all about it at church the next day. Then, at the end of Relief Society Sherry was crying and obviously feeling the Spirit. She gets up after the closing prayer and bears her testimony! It was amazing! She talked about how she needed to get to the temple and how she wished so badly she had been raised with the knowledge she is gaining now. She talked about how this will already help her be a better mother! The Spirit was so strong and you could feel how much these things were being impressed upon Sherry's heart. I was just so grateful that God really does answer prayers. As a missionary I promise that witness will come with full confidence, and it always does, and somehow it still surprises me. I wish I could write about all the miracles with this family, but there have been so many!
Today I gave a training at a Specialized Mission Conference. It was for half the mission. I love/hate preparing trainings. I love it because it is so neat to receive revelation for other missionaries and then get to present it. I love it. It's totally not me prepping those trainings and it's the best. I hate it because I still get nervous and feel like my stomach will fall out once I get up there. It turned out well though. I just love teaching and I love teaching the gospel!!!! It is seriously the best thing in the world. 
The Shoal Creek Valley ward has been so good to me. I love this place and realllllyyyy hope to stay next transfer, but I already know that's reallllyyy wishful thinking. In other news. Next week is my birthday, and transfer day... it's the 12th for those that didn't remember :) I'm all about shameless self promotion, and even 14 months on a mission I still have to work on humility... although I have eliminated "sorry I'm not sorry" from my vocabulary. So that's an improvement.
Love you all! Read the Book of Mormon! It's the best. I'm almost finished with it again. I'm going to have it done in a week and a half before transfers. Here's a cool quote from our conference today. The Bible teaches us about Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon teaches us about the Atonement. That was from Elder Christofferson in President Keyes's specialized training. Pretty cool. It's true.