Tuesday, August 26, 2014

This Week Has Seen So Many Miracles!

August 25, 2014

Dear Family & Friends,

The Best Family in the World! (But seriously, it's true)

Thanks Ma! Yeah I'm sorry to sound negative, it's still SOOOO different here and a pain that I am still trying to adjust. BAH! It's okay, I'll get over it some day. I shouldn't be focused on that anyway...I should only be focused on the work the Lord has for me to accomplish AND THAT'S IT!

I'm so glad Dad had a wonderful birthday doing what he does best: serving those he loves. I'm not surprised Allison is helping out everyone. She is very serviceable (even if she is getting paid haha) And no she did NOT tell me her track! Josh will remain in my prayers. He's a toughie and I admire how strong he is, I'm glad the treatments are going well! Love the pic of you eating, Ma...classy. That's cool you all are going to Astoria/Lincoln City/Tilamook. Sister Trent's family literally just got back from visiting there.

This week has seen so many miracles! On Monday, we contacted a potential named Gene whose son had died a couple of years past. After breaking the ice, we bore testimony about the Book of Mormon, and invited him to read the last paragraph of the introduction. We testified of how it has answered a lot of our questions about God's plan for His children and he was very happy to accept it. We are hoping to meet with him later this or next week and bring Brother Miller with us to teach him more about the Plan of Salvation.

We also contacted a former named Gina, who is 17 and very ambitious. She was so happy to read from and accept a Book of Mormon after we read with her 3 Nephi 11 about the Savior's ministry to the ancient Americas. SHE asked to schedule a time to meet with her again and also asked about attending church! We gave her the info and said she wanted to bring her sister and nephew. Sadly, though, she got called into work on Sunday so she couldn't come...but next week!

We invited the Stoll's to the chapel later in the week to hear Sister Trent play the piano piece she did in sacrament meeting the week before, because Luella was absent. Brother Stoll picked out a few hymns he wanted to sing as well from our hymn book and the Spirit was SO strong! They also came to the Miller's get together on Saturday and met alot of new people. During ward council the idea was introduced to invite them to the ward temple day in October...which I think would be GREAT for them to attend and walk the grounds and see the temple. The Nye's want to take them.

Exchanges were great this week! We invited all of the youth at YW/YM to bring one non-member friend to mutual next week and Sister Johnson taught me how to ask people for referrals using the Plan of Salvation lesson, while we taught a family of members.

I hope that you all have fun with the fam!! Send pics!

And now let me end this email with all my love and a line from my favorite song from the talented Mr. Mat Kearney: "Every hope and dream that's starting, every time that I see you crying, every step that you keep on climbing, I pray for you now...that you figure it out."

-Sister Weaver-

P.S. Sorry I couldn't get Grandpa Holmes' pic to copy because its protected on FamilySearch.org. You can see it there though :)

Sun Prairie District
Our District...yeah they have their moments :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I Gave A Talk In Sacrament Meeting On Covenants

August 18, 2014

Dear The Cool-iest of All Epic Families in the World & Friends!

Weather here has been muggy as usual, but hear it's going to get hotter this week. Bah! Don't worry Mom, I think I act my shoe-size far more often than Sister Trent likes. I am a child. Forever. And there's no escaping it.

That is like a mega-miracle about the BOM's at the musical. I hope that Bruce keeps on reading it!! I love how the truth shines through no matter what...we just have to be...as Elder Martino said at Mission Tour...SMART about it.

Thank you for your kind words and faith in me. I need it, because sometimes it's just A LOT to handle. I'm still adjusting to how things work around Sun Prairie, and sometimes I feel the fellowship and support of the other missionaries in the area lacking...I truly did take getting along with the Milwaukee ones for granted. Oh well, Sis. Anderson is right: either the people you work with are awesome or you completely clash. Thanks for the videos too! I was able to watch them. I love that pioneer one! It is true!

So I gave a talk in sacrament meeting again and this time on covenants. I just related how much they intimidated me before coming out on the mission and how no matter what is keeping us from making eternal covenants with God, we can overcome our fears through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Sister Trent also spoke and played the piano (we may or may not have used that as leverage for our investigator Brother Stoll to come to Sacrament Meeting) ...Also! One of our less-actives Harriett Shroud and her family (except for her husband Jim) came to church for her grandbaby Isabelle's blessing! I was so happy that they were all in attendance and that her daughter Cheryl requested that her baby be blessed by the Bishop! Brother Stoll was also there at Sacrament Meeting to hear Sister Trent, myself, and a recent convert Brother Miller speak. He said he was moved by the testimonies and stayed for all three meetings. Yay!

Guess What??? I found a pic of a awesome great-great-great-Grandpa Henry Holmes on Family Search.org. The grandpa whose journal entries I brought with me I read like every day! He's attached. He's is so epic, I can't wait to meet him in the afterlife :) Read his journals if you haven't yet. Nani should have them.

Mission tour!!! Elder Martino of the Seventy came and threw down the phenomenal cosmic pluthera of spiritual euphoria that is his vision for this mission to see baptisms before the October General Conference. He hit on the importance of the Book of Mormon in bringing others into the gospel, and also the mega-oober-importance of finding the right "Amulek's" (or less-active members) who can astonish others into the gospel, strengthening their own testimonies in the process.
Elder Schvanny and Wiscombe
at Mission Tour.
The gang's together again!
Although our numbers do not show it this week, we made major progress with the members in our ward in regards to who they can visit and fellowship into the gospel. We visited Sister Pitman, and invited her to be our go-to fellowshipper for our investigator Latrina. Latrina's daughter is a friend with Sister Pitman's daughter so they plan to invite her over for dinner sometime next week when they all can be there.

Patti is an investigator with a lot of promise. The Edgar's are fellowshipping her. She recently has gone through a nasty divorce so she is opening up and trying to find meaning in her life. The Edgar's are wonderful friends to her and she has been much more receptive ever since Brother Edgar boldly told her "As a friend, I feel very strongly about this: you need to meet with the missionaries." We will follow up this week with them and their invite for bringing her into their home so we can finally teach her.

We are also keeping tabs on a referral we received from the SP Elders who flagged them down and set up a time to ask them questions. We met with her and although she appreciated us answering her questions and testifying of the Book of Mormon, she declined our invitation to read and come on a church tour. Do you have any advice of how I can extend more bold invitations...but not too bold that I scare people away?

I have high hopes for the fellowshipping efforts in this ward and the members involved. I am so thankful for how missionary-oriented this ward is and I pray that we may continue to see growth and receptiveness from their friends and family so that this week we can reach the bounds that Elder Martino set for bringing others into the gospel.

Here's an excerpt from my talk:

"How often do you reflect that your covenants reach beyond mortality and connect you to the Divine? Making covenants is the expression of a willing heart; keeping covenants, the expression of a faithful heart.
Sounds so simple on paper, doesn’t it? Of course, the doing is where we prove who we really are. Thus, every time we reach out with love, patience, kindness, generosity, we honor our covenants by saying, “Here am I; send me.”
-Sister Bonnie D. Parkin, RS General President
I love you all and thank you for your continued service in the gospel and in our whole family unit in bringing our brothers and sisters into the gospel. It's a work far greater than who we are, and the more we realize this and continue only for the glory of God, the greater we can become.

-Sister Weaver-

Monday, August 18, 2014

Things Will All Work Out The Way They Will

August 11, 2014

Mi Familia and Friends!! (I don't know why I keep addressing you in Spanish)

Dearest Mother, do not worry about grad school for the present. Things will all work out the way they will. I wish I could go on the website, but I can't. Only mormon.org and lds.org. If you could email me some of the stuff about the grad programs offered, that'd be great...but if not, don't worry about it. I was talking to Sis. Shroeder (who is so knowledgeable about everything she reminds me so much of Chelsey it's not even funny!) and she said that the smart thing to do is to go to a cheapo school (like BYU-I) and get your Associates (make sure you get REALLY good grades) so you can go to a more uppity school like Notre-Dam or Yale (which would be cheaper because you would be there for only 2 years) to get your Bachelor's. The more diversity of colleges on your transcripts the more likely people will hire you. I wish I had known that. Let Allison know that before she heads off, if she wants to make money :)

Thank you for offering to send stuff. If you could do me a humungo favor and please send me the Gross Income total from my last two income checks from work that would be stupendous, for I do not think I have yet paid tithing on them. I will have to send the payment back home for the Bishop of my home ward though. As for my b-day...is there any way you could send me a DVD with all of the Bible videos/some Mormon messages on it? Or if you could get your hands on a Doctrine and Covenants: Church History DVD 3-disc combo pack that would be epic! But if not, we can just keep borrowing from the library :) Also, Sister Trent and I want to know if there is any Book of Mormon ones.

This week was jam-packed full of service! We helped a couple members along with a couple of re-contacted former investigators weed and do yard work. It has been a miracle to see how helping out others softens the hearts of those we teach and I hope it will continue :) When we met with the Stoll's this week, we talked a lot about trials and why children and the innocent go through them, particularly the people over in the Middle East right now. I related a little of President Faust's talk about how we do not know why, only God knows, but what they go through will stand as a testimony against those who do it to them in the day of judgment and that when the innocent die, there is no doubt that they are received into the arms of the Lord.

I'm finally beginning to break some of the ice with the Elders in our clan, it's just so weird how shut off they are compared to the cookoo district of Waukesha-land. But like I said before...things are extra normal here, so I am still getting used to not being on edge/my guard all the time.

I finally met Sister Reimer (a less active). I cannot understand what she says some of the time, because of her slow speech, but I feel the great power of her testimony! We also met another less active Sister Johnson yesterday who, surprisingly, welcomed us in such a friendly way! She asked how the ward was doing and the people in it. I guess that missionaries haven't been to see her in at least 7 months, I have no idea WHY she has not been visited in so long a time because she is such a wonderful person.

This week we have a Mission tour with someone from the Seventy coming. It is my first mission tour so I am nervous/excited. We have to prepare a 3-minute talk on "diligence," and I've been working on it so I hope that it will come together :)

Mother, thank you for the talk and for always serving me...what way can I better serve YOU? And Da? And Sis? And Cathy? And Nani? And anyone else I can help??

I was watching a talk from President Faust the other day and he said something so profound, I have used it throughout the week since "trials" seem to be the common concern lately:

Dr. Arthur Wentworth Hewitt suggested some reasons why the good suffer as well as the wicked: “First: I don’t know. Second: We may not be as innocent as we think. Third: … I believe it is because He loves us so much more than He loves our happiness. How so? Well, if on a basis of strict personal return here and now, all the good were always happy and all the bad suffered disaster (instead of often quite the reverse), this would be the most subtle damnation of character imaginable.” 1
President Kimball gave this insightful explanation:
“If pain and sorrow and total punishment immediately followed the doing of evil, no soul would repeat a misdeed. If joy and peace and rewards were instantaneously given the doer of good, there could be no evil—all would do good and not because of the rightness of doing good. There would be no test of strength, no development of character, no growth of powers, no free agency. … There would also be an absence of joy, success, resurrection, eternal life, and godhood.” 2
The talk is just too good, so I encourage you all to watch/read the rest of it yourselves:

I am so thankful for this gospel and the opportunity that we have to know the eternal perspective and that, in the words of Elder Wirthlin, we can reap the blessing of the glorious law of compensation; where every tear of sorrow we shed in this life will be replaced with tears of joy in the next life 100-fold.

I love you all! Keep the faith, endure to the end, and keep having fun! The pics are great!!

-Sister Weaver-

P.S. We decided to have a park our dart tournament. Don't worry, nobody died. And you can refrain from posting this pic if you so choose. Just saying.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

This Week Focused On Finding & Meeting Previous Potentials and Formers

August 4, 2014

Dearest Family & Friends,

Sorry Ma...last I heard Austin was using my arm-band-thing :( Check in my nightstand, or under my bed (don't get lost), or in the little white storage drawers on the right side of my closet. That is so cool about the Joseph Smith movie! I think I have watched it more than any other movie on my mission. Yeah...I'm slowing down. I'm the only driver. As for being Senior Companion, there really isn't much of a difference. It's usually just whoever has been out longer. Sometimes I feel like the junior still, because I have only been a couple weeks in a place where my companion has been for three months. HAHA! Tell Cathy to have fun, the poor dear, and that I thank her for her message :)

This week we focused a lot on finding and meeting with previous potentials and formers. Although not all of our appointments went through, nor were we able to find a new investigator, we were able to give away a lot of Book of Mormons and many people said they would read, so I am excited to follow up with them in the future. Oh. My. Goodness. We met the coolest Mormon-history-sympathizing-gay-atheist-yet-still-open-to-learn-about-truth-and-brings-his-kids-to-church-to-choose-if-they-want-to-be-baptized-for-themselves man who accepted a BOM and said he'd read it. He has a lot of respect for the Mormon's, has walked the Pioneer trail before and been down to Nauvoo and the only exposure he's had to the Book of Mormon was the musical (which we cleared up pretty quick). It's funny how we have heard more back lashing about the church from the straight gay-rights people than actual gays. Anywho...

Donald - WWII Vet
At the museum this week we met a cool guy named Donald who fought in WWII and wanted to see our WWII antiques. We went through a box full of Nazi stuff, which had some disturbing pics of a cremation liberated from a concentration camp. We also found a Japanese uniform pulled off a dead soldier from Hiroshima, and tons more. Donald showed us his book he wrote about his time in Singapore and it was cool to see all of the pics of him and all the other soldiers who, some of them looked younger than Austin!

We met with a former named Toywania this week and were surprised to learn that she knew a lot about priesthood keys. We plan to follow up more about the priesthood this coming week. She also brought to our attention a common concern about the Book of Mormon, saying that it is saying what the Bible says and questioned how it taught anything different. We told her that it contained the FULLNESS of Christ's gospel, and without it we would not have the complete knowledge, nor the credibility of the restored priesthood necessary for performing the ordinances of salvation. She said that she believed that one had to pray to know of truth, so I hope that she takes that to heart when praying to know if the Book of Mormon is true.

One of the members of our ward, Sister Nye, asked us to come over to give her a Book of Mormon to give to one of the people working on her house, who talked a lot with her about God and his beliefs. I loved what she said when he was asking why God would let the good people suffer and then let some evil people just go along without any pain. She surprised him when she said: "Because we NEED it. Heavenly Father didn't let the Savior go through life all hunky-dory, He had to suffer because it is a purification process that humbles us and sanctifies us to the point where we can be receptive to the Spirit. He had never thought about it that way before. She greatly believed that he would benefit from the BOM so we of course RAN to her house (in our car :P). She let us know that he was SO grateful for it and she saw him reading it in the car when he left. I am so thankful for the faithfulness of the members of the church in opening the doors of trust for those they come in contact with.

We finally met with Alex! This cute 13 year-old who wants to be baptized so bad but her Mom won't give her consent until they try other churches (which stinks because SHE is the one who asked the missionaries to meet with her daughter anyway). But we'll keep working with her.

During testimony meeting yesterday, a woman named Sister Norton bore her testimony and I cried when she talked about how she had just returned from the site in Idaho where her son, his fiance, and three other family members had perished in a recent plane crash. She talked of how one of the other women at the memorial who had lost family gave her a small white box with what was left belonging to her son. All had been either melted or singed and the lady told her that she would not believe what else they had found: she pulled out her son's scripture case an inside where his scriptures, unharmed. It was a testimony to her because the scriptures are what had brought them together during times of trial in testimony. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room.

We were talking with Kat yesterday about apostasy and how we can't imagine how some people who return from their missions and go through such spiritual experiences fall away...Sister Trent said that it is an act of mercy from the Lord. I had never thought about how being brought to such a low point could invite the mercy of the Lord, to bring you to a higher plane than you had been before, re-affirming what you know to be true and STAYING there. Sometimes people don't know the joy of belonging to the church or living in harmony with God's commandments because they have never NOT had Him in their lives. They do not know the difference between having the companionship of the Lord and not having it. Once they fall away or are excommunicated, they feel that darkness...and once they realize what is missing, they would do ANYTHING to get it back. It truly is a testimony to me about the Atonement and repentance and about how there is always hope for those who have strayed. It kind of rolls back to what Sis. Nye said about suffering purifying us. I myself have felt that darkness and will continue to testify that the joy of the companionship of the Lord is something that I never ever want to lose. It is a miracle to see how the Atonement carries us so far from who we were that it makes the person we were nearly unrecognizable to the people we are now due to the experiences we have gone through.

Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven (3 Nephi 12:16). Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do (3 Nephi 18:24).

My love to all of you. NEVER EVER lose the light!

-Sister Weaver-

Brother Fulmer in our ward is a
fantastical painter who paints
people as the unsung
Book of Mormon heroes.
Some Other Work of Art
Sister Trent holding one of
Brother Fulmer legit swords!