|My MTC Family at Zone Conference|
Monday, February 24, 2014
February 24, 2014
Can I just say how perfect your profile pic is? (by the way you DO know that it is your gmail pic for EVERONE you email to see, right? just checking :)
Thank you for Aunt Sharon's email! I am happy that you all got to celebrate Grandpa's birthday and that you are all able to go to temple work for Aunt Tess!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have such a strong testimony of family history work and its importance. I love how modern revelation makes it possible for us to do work for our dead.
This week we met with Nikki once more and learned that she has neither progressed nor worsened her smoking habit. We showed her the first half of a CES Fireside about the structure and organization of the church, but she became troubled by the assertion that there is only one true church upon the face of the earth. We reaffirmed how the FULL and complete authority had been restored through the prophet Joseph but she asserted that Revelations explained that there would be no church only one faith. We told her the need for organization in order to help strengthen the saints and accomplish God's work throughout the rest of the world and she agreed. She is also stuck on the fact that she has always had the Holy Ghost with her since she was baptized at birth. Although she cannot fully grasp the concept of the priesthood authority she still believes that the Book of Mormon is true and that what we teach is true as well. She just believes that authority exists all over, not just in Christ's church. So we are not sure what to do with her. We are going to teach her the Articles of Faith and commit her to pray specifically to know if the church is true and that Thomas S. Monson is truly God's prophet on earth. She is waiting for one of the members that she feels comfortable with to return from a trip before she goes to church again.
Now time for the good news: GUESS WHAT???? We might sort of almost have a Golden Investigator! Yesterday at church, we met a young woman named Jorie. She is a frequent visitor who dated the son of one of the members and wanted to learn more! We introduced ourselves and asked if she wanted to take discussions. She said yes! So we are meeting with her on Thursday. I sincerely hope that she will continue to want to learn and open her heart and mind to the gospel. It was funny, the Elders called us up talking about her because they went to dinner over at the member's house she's staying with and talked to her a little about the church, then asked if they could meet with her. She said she was already meeting with the sisters...BURN!! Haha Sister Anderson was so competitive about asserting that she was OURS, because she was the one who asked her, but we all laughed about it and we thanked them for setting the stage for us to teach her :)
Zone Conference was the BEST!! I love being spiritually nourished about how I can spiritually nourish others. While there I found my scripture case I have been missing since I've been here, just lying on the floor under a desk in the hallway. It's been there since I arrived a month ago!! It was the last place I would have expected! Miracles happen! Sister Hassler (or something like that) a missionary-minded hilarious speaker whose whole family has baptized more that 70 people in Madison, Wisconsin thanks to their member missionary efforts and a sweet prophecy about their family given by Gordon B. Hinckley, spoke to us about the need for social conversion first before the doctrinal can be fully applied. (She served in Kennewick, WA! I think it was Kennewick...) She told us to tell members we ask to keep us informed if ever they invite someone to an activity or church. It is the members jobs to invite, it is missionaries' jobs to teach. I thought of Dad the whole time: INVITE, INVITE, INVITE! I have her "The Missionary Next-door" CD and am probably going to send it to you it is so great!!
We were able to apply the principles and finding efforts learned at Zone Conference when we visited the Gardner’s in our ward last night and ate dinner with them. Sister Gardner wants me to sing next month at the mission-farewell of a young man from our ward. I told her I would love it!
[Side note: Our investigator, Dee, always wants me to sing for her when we are over, so when she made me sing Celtic Woman's "The Voice" when Sister Gardner was over, I kind of dug myself THAT hole (I should start committing Dee to baptism before I let her make me sing).] Anyways, I digress...
OOOh!!! Speaking of the Gardner’s, guess who their Sign-Language Mission son is serving with??? Levi Mitchell!!!! She showed me a picture and I almost died. She said she told Sis. Mitchell and sent her a pic of my companion and me. Tell Cathy, she was asking me about it. It was great and I have to tell Austin.
On Wednesday we had exchanges where Sister Anderson went to serve in the YSA for a day in Milwaukee and Sister Hurst from the YSA was sent here (she told me she's my great-grandma, a.k.a she trained the sister who trained my mom/trainer Sister Anderson). She was so awesome! So positive and brought the Spirit wherever she went. For example, we went to go visit a less active sister, but when she wasn't home, Sis. Hurst moseyed on over to a young man who was standing outside the apartment smoking. We said hi and he said "Hi sisters!" We asked if he had ever talked to missionaries before and he said that his mom inside was a member. I asked her name and he said Sister Renteria (from our ward who I had only heard about but never before met!!) So neither of us has met her, but were guided to her and once we were inside, we met her son's friend, Nicole, who knew nothing of the gospel. SCORE!! So, naturally, after finding out that she was about 30, Sister Hurst pounced on THAT opportunity to tell her about YSA and the Book of Mormon and left her with a copy. I love her!
It rained this week. Weee. And a storm raged later on. Weee!! A family fed us a Russian feast that I know Allison would like because they had like a spicy cleansing cider and a soup of beets and onions. Attached are pics :)
We had a really spiritual experience with a less active still living with her boyfriend. We taught her the Plan of Salvation, since she wasn't really sure about the concept/importance of eternal life, and she spoke with much spiritual understanding, hard to describe, when we showed her about Adam and Eve and the Law of Opposition and how we have to first know sorrow before we can understand the joy. I told her how I understood this life, as they’re being a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness can be temporary, but not necessarily lead to the joy we can experience in the eternities. We have to find the happiness in this life that can lead us to that eternal joy and the best way we can do that is through obedience and turning to God. It's like mission rules: as much as we may not understand the short term reason of them, we will have more opportunities to be obedient and thus, by obeying, receive blessings and spiritual strength from on high (because we need all we can get ha ha). Why else would we have so many rules?
I love how instead of telling people, all we have to do is show them where to turn, so that they can have the Spirit reveal truths unto them through their own personal revelation.
Love y'all! (Texas-native Sister Anderson has me saying that now)
P.S. Oh yeah...if you get a Khols card in the mail addressed to me, could you please send it my way? I signed up for one so I could knock $10 off a pair of tennis shoes I splurged on (SOOORRRRYYY).
Monday, February 17, 2014
February 17, 2014
Ma and Da (and everyone else you forward this to),
I wish I had oodles of time to write everything, but sadly...I don't :( However, this week was an amazing one: first off thank you for the package!! I now have hand warmers for weeks! For Valentine's Day we Sister Anderson and I left paper hearts on the doors of some of the investigators we have come to know. We visited about 12ish people and only got caught once! (Well it was her son so it didn't really count). We felt like weird Mormon Ninja Prowlers but we visited a few of them a couple days later and some still had them up :' ) They expressed how happy they were that we thought of them. A woman named Amber, especially, who struggles with depression and we have trouble getting appointments with.
We made chocolate bowls with balloons for Valentine's Day at Spring's house with her girls. The picture attached is all of us with them right before I accidentally set off our car alarm...
This week held many promising missionary opportunities with many investigators, less actives, and recent converts where the Spirit was able to teach. When we visited Dee this week, (a woman who has been investigating the Mormons for years) we spoke little about prophets and how God calls whom He will call, giving one authorized person in these latter days all of the priesthood keys necessary to do God's work. Being a learned woman who already knows so much doctrine about the church, she has had trouble accepting or believing the order of the First Presidency, although she agrees with much about Joseph Smith and the Restoration. But she was surprised to learn about that and it made a little more sense to her.
We taught Nikki again (the one who struggles with smoking and we are TRYYYYING to commit to a baptismal date) this time the covenant the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's made with the Lord to bury their weapons of war. We were trying to relate it to smoking, but she got confused and thought it meant that God doesn't want us to defend ourselves. We ended up smoothing that over with the story of the Army of Heleman :)
I was able to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a visual aid for the first time in detail to Sister Nixon, a less active member and could feel the Spirit strongly present during our meeting. We also met with Sister Alson who, because of her declining heath has not been able to come to church. She was very gracious and has such a strong testimony of her purpose in life and her ultimate goal: to live with Heavenly Father, with as much of her family as she can.
I am so grateful for the opportunities the Lord has given me to witness His truth through the strength and faith of the people I meet.
I'm doing....ok.....driving in the snow. What's embarrassing is how embarrassing I am driving when the roads are clear. Each intersection in Waukesha is so confusing you have to change lanes just to go straight and there are lights EVERYWHERE so you don't know which intersection you are in. I've been having my klutzy moments too. I messed up trying to begin a lesson for some members who fed us (in front of all four elders, ugh) and spilled some guava all over someone's nice tablecloth yesterday. So, all in all, if you could pray for my ability to focus, much would be appreciated :)
But enough about my spazziness...I'm glad that the Bishop was able to read Sis. Rutherford's talk. I have no doubt that she will be a wonderful missionary on the other side.
Sister Anderson is writing a boy who is in Cape Verde, Africa mission and whom I'm pretty sure she will marry, but she read to me a bit of his letter today. He said he had hiked up some mountain where he could feel the devil's presence and things occurred of a spiritual nature that he couldn't even describe and resulted in him casting the devil out of someone by the power of the priesthood. It is truly incredible how much trust the Lord puts in His children. He obviously knows our potential and our willingness to do His will, so how could we ever resist putting our trust in Him?
Especially on a mission where you have to FULLY rely on the Spirit. I didn't know what that meant until I came. It is something that only a mission sent by the Lord could fulfill. I was thinking the other day about how so many miracles were present during the Restoration--God, Moroni, Elijah, Peter, James, and John coming down, angles being seen atop the temple--and how it is so easy for us today to think about how ministering angels and miraculous visions are so rare in these the latter days of the last dispensation. Is it because miracles have ceased? No. It is because just as the time of the Restoration yielded Gospel knowledge through the strength of faithful members, so today is a time in which faith is of the upmost importance to exercise. We live in a time in which our knowledge will not be tested, but our faith. This is a dispensation in which faith must prevail. Since faith and prayer are the most powerful weapons against the adversary, why else would Satan be attacking this principle harder than he ever has before--at a time just before his destined binding torment will take place?
I love you all so much!! Please stay warm and safe in this tumult of snow you are getting over yonder West!!!!!
P.S. Tell Dad that I heard "The Thunder Rolls" country song at a member's house and thought of him :)
P.S.S. Look who I saw when doing part of my 12-week training course online! Elder Micael Cook, a family friend from Bonney Lake in our old ward Victor Falls, we served in the Richmond, Virginia Mission a couple of years ago.
|Elder Michael Cook|
|Elder Michael Cook|
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
February 10, 2014
Dear Family & Friends,
Don't worry Momasita! Love is being sent everyone's (including Aunt Sharon's) way as we speak! I'm sending Bro and Sis a package for their birthday, but Allison can give you the details. At least Allison got to spend some time with you and Cathy for her birthday :( I'm so happy to hear that she is applying for a job!! I am saddened to hear about Sister Rutherford, but I know that she is far freer on beyond the veil than her poor body allowed her in this life. What a stalwart woman!
I have been struggling with focusing on the spiritual this week, but I never cease to be surprised with the people God puts in my path to remind me. This week I met a woman named Nikki who is struggling with smoking, but has such a strong testimony of faith and the Book of Mormon. She ran into a man she knew at the library when we met up with her, and he cautiously gandered at the Book of Mormon she had placed firmly under her arm. She had asked him if he knew about the Mormons and he rolled his eyes and said he knew...a few. Before he could say anything offensive, she smiled and said "Good, there's two more right here!" He looked a little surprised as Sis. A and I waved to him and said nice to meet you :) Then he skedaddled. "Don't worry, I got your guys' back." She told me. As we sat and learned from each other that meeting, the Spirit was so strong! She told me that it was refreshing to see missionaries like me instead of the "quiet, overly-spiritual kinds." It's okay family, you can laugh. ...I wasn't sure if I should have been offended or flattered, but it turned out to be the latter. We discussed how important it is to be yourself-be real-when discussing the Gospel of Christ, because that is what God wants us to be. For me, at least, when I am relaxed and listen to the needs of the person, I can more easily share some of the relatable traits we share in regards to religion and beliefs. Only then, can the wall of judgment and misunderstanding be diminished and the Spirit can more fully reside and take over.
At the ward talent show this week, Sis. Cutler (President Cutler's daughter-in-law who is in our ward) spoke to me about how the President is very pleased with my work. I spared a glance over to Sis. A...surely he was talking about her since she's the one who makes all the calls and tells me where to go and answers all of my lame questions about who and what we are teaching. Anyway, it gave me a glimmer of hope as to any success that I am trying to achieve. The pressure of it boils down to this: this is not my work, or Sis. A's work, or the president's work...it is God's work. And I want, more than anything, not to mess it up.
Yesterday we met with Sis. Plehn (plane), who reminds me of a 60-70 year-old Chelsey :) We barely bother to plan a lesson, because she could talk for hours (which she did:) But I absolutely LOVED talking to her. She shared everything from short stories to history about MIA veterans to famous films and movie stars. She told me to look up a woman she went to school with who writes screenplays and works on TV shows like Law and Order, etc. when I get back.
|Sister Weaver & Sister 'A' Sledding|
|Picture of our flight flying into Milwaukee|
(Notice the frozen lake)
|People Protesting Obama Care|
I thought you'd get a kick out of the pic of people protesting Obama's healthcare whatever speech he gave at GE headquarters we passed last week.
Sis. A made Spring befriend Sis. A's brother on facebook so she would know the moment he got his mission call. During the ward talent night she texted her saying that he was going to Hong Kong! Wow! I am so happy he and Sis. A will be able to be out at the same time!
The ward is great! The talent show thing went off so amazingly! Sis. A played in a flute quintet and one man jammed out on a recorder to Bach!! It was so cool! My favorite had to be the four-chord song: 15 year-old Sis. Tatioca (daughter of our Polynesian ward mission prez who is awesome!) and Sis. Hansen sang a billion popular songs using the same four chords on their guitar. They even sang a song about David Archuleta and a few of his songs (make sure you tell ALLISON that one :)
I love you so much and am so happy for the spiritual words of comfort you continue to give me every week! Here's one from me found in Mormon 9:9, 27: "For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?"
I know this truth: God gives us this truth just as He always has...all that we have to do is listen, trust, and obey Him.
In answer to your questions, I don't care what hoodie...maybe my BYU white one or bright orangey / corally one from target. Also, don't worry about the makeup or printing off the emails. I don't get them until Monday anyways :)
Love you all more than I can express!
P.S. I got a letter from Sister Dawn Johnson!
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
February 3, 2014
Dear Family & Friends,
Yeah the flight was great!! I don't remember much of it since I was asleep the whole time. All I remember was Sister Wilson saying: "Look, it's white all ready to harvest!!" So the welcome wagon came to meet us as I said and Sister Cutler made us an amazing lunch and dinner :) Our AP's were Elder Beech, who is a 22 year-old British missionary and looks like a 12 year-old Bradshaw, and Elder Thoreson, who had only 2 days left on the mish and gave Sister Anderson (my new training companion) and I each one of his winter hats when we said our heads were cold (my hat was still in my luggage) :( Talk about sweet! But he didn't need them anymore haha
I'm in a small town about 30 min. from Milwaukee called Waukesha and our ward consists of 6 missionaries (our whole district)! 2 English Elders: Kimzee and (forgot the other); and 2 Spanish speaking Elders: Hubert and (forgot the other). As usual I am the oldest :) But I think our district contains the shortest missionaries in the whole mission ha ha, our ward is great though! A woman came in who is writing a paper for her church about the Mormons so we sat by her and I got to bear my testimony :) The Spirit in our ward is so wonderful; we have a lot of strong ward missionaries.
I've been trying not to drive my new 20 year-old training companion, Sis. Anderson, crazy, but she is very patient with me and my lack of not knowing what I'm doing. She's only been out 7 months and I'm her first trainee, woohoo! We both like music/singing a lot and she's introduced me to all the customs and great places to eat. She is also very organized and punctual in planning...I know, that just screams uh-oh is she in for a treat, but she like I said is a very loving and sociable person who goes with the flow just like me.
So guess who's the designated driver is...ME. Thinking I had the most driving experience in the snow, since my companion is from Texas, they thought I should. So far, I feel foolish since she knows where everything is and has to tell me. The weather hasn't been TOO bad (knock on wood). But I have a feeling it won't be for too long.
It is so frustrating when you have a message to share that is so enriching and so powerful and truthful, but people's hearts are not yet ready to receive it. I try and remember Elder Bednar relating the cookie monster to missionaries: "I want baptism NOW!!" ha ha But I have met SO many interesting people. Based on the people I've met thus far, many are converts. This is a place full of smoking, drinking, and who knows what else, but the miraculous change you see in them as they build their testimonies...nothing can compare. People that are so crazy and sweet that you just have to love them!
We did some service at St. Vincent Thrift Store and priced and organized belts and clothes. I hear we get a discount, so...look out! Just kidding I will be frugal. Speaking of which, could you please send the following:
Some more toe/hand warmers, black eyeliner and foundation (both in makeup drawer), and a hooded sweatshirt/zip-up hoodie. Thank you so much!
My first day out, we tracted and a man opened the door who said he didn't believe in God. His wife then came to the door and said jokingly, "You're talking to the WRONG man." She then invited us in and we heard her talk about her belief in God and that she had to have a belief in Him or else there was no way she could survive everything she had been through. She related a vicious past full of heartache and family chaos. We met her son, who was handicapped and gave us both a hug and kiss, and her other son who was around my age (who she was always trying to convince to date church girls instead of getting his heart broken all those times). I know, uh-oh. It was funny though, when he came in, she said: "It's okay...they're nuns." haha My heart really went out to her and we listened to her talk for almost 2 hours. Sis. Anderson said I need to prepare for people to dump everything out to us, but I really don't mind...when we understand the needs of our investigators, it makes our message of the gospel of Jesus Christ that much more precious and relatable to a person's circumstance in life. We set up a time to come back this Wednesday and I am so excited! I hope she stays interested :)
Ha! I can totally imagine Dad and Nani cheering on the football game. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom Mommy. I am pinning that quote up on the wall today :) Sorry I forgot my cord so I don't have any pictures this week but I promise I will next time! I am so happy that you are all taking on the invisible badge of missionary work in the ward and church! Sis. Chambers from the MTC sent this to me:
If you have an Amulek beside you, someone he can relate to—same age, economic status, whatever, and he testifies with his personal experience of the blessings of paying tithing (or any other principle), who do you think will do the astonishing? It’s going to be the member.
We learned that for every 700 doors the m’s knocked, one person would be baptized. The M’s didn’t want to knock on 700 doors. We also found you can baptize 2 out of every 3 in another way. When we taught an investigator in a member home, and it is the same home you stay in for the entire set of lessons, we baptized 2 out of every 3...
...Too often we don’t have the right member present for the investigator to relate to. Not a 17-year-old boy going to help teach a father and his family. Get someone the man can relate to on the long term.
I know that this is true. When someone learns lessons with a member present, the missionaries feel much better handing them off to the rest of the ward, because we know that they will fellowship and take good care of them when we leave.
Be the best missionaries you can be!! I love you all! I promise all my emails won't be this long!