Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy 2014!!

Hello everyone! So good to talk to you on Christmas! We had a great Christmas here. We went to a members house for breakfast and then to two less actives, and we had plenty to eat. On Christmas Eve we went caroling as a district.We went to some less actives and part members in our area. It was fun to just be together with the other missionaries on Christmas. I have really come to love the other missionaries, and they are like family :) 
Last night the Alexandriana Sisters let us teach their neighbor. Their apartment is in our area, so their neighbor was interested and we got to teach him. He's great and he has a lot of potential I think. We'll hope he comes to church and progresses!! 
This morning Sister Chandler and I were just reading about how much missions really bless our lives. I LOVE LOVE LOVE having the Gospel Library on my Ipad and being able to access it. It's the best. We watch videos of old conference talks and old apostles, and it's great. I watched "The Joseph Smith Papers" as I was running. We read a few talks from a long time ago and read from President Hinckley about how missions bless the rest of your life. We read a talk called "The Fourth Missionary" about how we need to give all of our heart, might and mind to the Lord. It's a good reminder to us, now entering the last stretch of our missions. I really love Sister Chandler, we have gotten to be really close! 
We have a lot of great member families, and so we have been thinking and trying to figure out how to help them share the gospel with their friends and neighbors. We always share spiritual thoughts at dinner, and ask about who they are working with and who their neighbors are. We decided we need to take it a step further and talk about making a plan with specific families about specific steps they will take! Hopefully we will see some fruit from that. 
I love being a missionary. I truly know this is God's kingdom here on the earth, and how much it blesses those who embrace it. I am so grateful to be sharing it with others! I know how much it can bless their lives. I love in a talk I read this week, it said sharing the gospel is like going around with $100 bills. If people don't want it, that doesn't change what it is worth or how important it is, you just find the next person who wants it! I love that analogy. 
So neat to hear about the Plums and their mission! That will be a great experience, and it'll be interesting to hear about what happens! 
This week is Missionary Leadership Council, but we got a voicemail from the assistants saying that it will be an over night conference? I guess we will be staying in Charlotte at another Sisters apartment. President wants to spent all day Friday with us and half the day Saturday. Not sure what we're going to do for that long but we'll see!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas everyone! I hope everyone is having the most wonderful Christmas. I absolutely love Christmas on the mission. It really is wonderful. Of course I miss family and friends, but it's really amazing to be able to share the gospel and help other people feel the spirit and the real reason for the season. 
And the weather here is fantastic, it has been 75 Degrees ALL WEEK and it's actually been really hot, green grass and nice temperatures for Christmas, I'll take it :) 

This week was wonderful. Sister Chandler and I went caroling with our IPADS and met a few great people. We didn't go on any exchanges this week, because transfers were this week so we don't have a list of people to go on exchanges with yet. 
We did a lot of finding and street contacting and different ways tried to fill our escalator. We are still working on finding new people, we have been so focused on Bradley and Gladys that now we need to fill the escalator and find new people.
So all of the students from our ward who were here in the summer and went to schol at BYU came home for Christmas and they were all at church yesterday... surprised to see me still here in their ward after so long. I've been here 7 months now! Funny! I'll be able to have lots of new friends when I get back though :) 
On Saturday our ward had a ward Christmas party, Hawaiian style. It was so fun. They had a lot of great food, people did talents, and it was really fun. The Elders and Sister Chandler and I came up with a skit/song that was called "tracting in a winter wonderland". The video is too long to email but it was really funny. 
Oh and on Sunday BRADLEY GOT BAPTIZED. It was a wonderful service. Bradley is so funny and cute and the family was so happy. Bradley has been taught for a while, but they have been waiting for the older brother to come home from college for Christmas to do the baptism, so I know this family well and love them. 
Today we are off to a Zone Christmas "meeting/party" with President and Sister Craven and 2 zones are getting together to do it. It will be fun. I love getting together with old companions and friends :) :)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dec. 16

So.. this week we started out with a bang by getting IPADS. We drove down to the Gastonia building and spent a few hours as a Zone getting trained on how to configure them. So that was so fun! It is an amazing tool to help our missionary work and a great blessing. We now have access to email, Skype, Facebook, Blogs, Siri, and everything. Mostly we have been using them to show videos in our teaching. It has really been a blessing. I have a world clock on my ipad that shows the time in different cities around the world, I have programmed the Philippines, Uganda, Sweden and Salt Lake :) Sister Chandler and I have had fun downloading lots of mormon messages, and "I'm a Mormon" videos. If we download them, we don't need internet to play them. And another nice thing is we have a "translator" app where we can speak into it and it speaks spanish. I don't know how accurate it is. But we used it to teach a less active Hispanic family and they loved it. Usually their Son has to translate and he was very excited that he didn't have to :) 
We have been using the closest internet connection, which is our clubhouse. The Clubhouse isn't open all of the time though, but the Gym in the clubhouse is open 24/7 and we go in there to use the internet to do our Facebook time. But we still have to be in proselyting clothes. So we sit and workout while teaching lessons in our proselyting clothes. Must be funny for people driving by. But that's ok :) Ha ha. We have actually found one investigator, and taught a couple less actives lessons on Facebook. We have Facetime, but we haven't used it yet. They haven't said if we get to take these Ipads home with us, but I hope we do! It's amazing I have more technology on my mission than I did at home.. Ha ha.
Even though we had an MLC last week, and usually that's only once a month, they called another one this week because we had a visitor, President Donaldson. He works in the missionary department and also was the mission president in the District 1. ( ps the District is great, you should watch it). He talked to us as the missionary leadership council how to best use the pamphlets, invite people to church, and just made it really simple. I loved his training. He talked about enlarging your vision, not just having people read one chapter in the Book of Mormon, but having them read the whole book of Mormon. He talked about having powerful exchanges, and really helping missionaries become the best that they can be. He said it's our responsibility as the leadership of the mission to pass on our best practices to the newer missionaries. I can't believe I am now getting to be the one of the "old ones" in the mission. After my year mark in a few weeks, then I will be officially over the hill in mission time. But right now I am more like middle age. 
We had one exchange this week, with the Hickory Sisters. They are incredible. I went with Sister Whitmer. I learned so much. I learned about serving each other and being a servant leader. I learned about a positive attitude. 
Bradley (remember the 10 year old we've been teaching for a long time?) has a baptismal date for next Sunday at 7:00! There is a few things that might get in the way.. and his family has a lot of things going on and are kind of last minute planners, but we are hoping everything goes through! We have grown to love his family. I have been teaching him and seeing them for several months now, and they are incredible. They are so kind and loving and really sweet. You would love them. 
We are having a Ward Christmas party this Saturday, and us and the Elders are supposed to be doing something. Like a funny skit. We haven't figured it out. But it's going to be great. Heather ( the one you met who came to our house!) she is in charge of it :) 

The Elders in our ward are doing great. Like I said before, one of them had their father pass away of cancer a week or so ago. It's hard to see someone go through that, especially when I can't do anything to help. He is going to stay on his mission though! He has a lot of Faith. They both have helped each other a lot through it and I think they'll be life long friends. President will probably keep them together for a long time because they have been a great support to each other and they don't need any change right now. 

Sister Chandler and I are staying together! Woot! This will mean I have been in Huntersville for 8.5 months by the end of the transfer!! Ha! Maybe I'll stay here my whole mission. Who knows. I love the Ward though. Sister Chandler and I have spent Halloween, Thanksgiving, now Christmas, New Years, and our year marks together! It'll be great. 
MOM thanks so much for the Christmas Package. At the Ipad Meeting, all of the other missionaries were jealous, and said that my parents must love me more than theirs. I could not disagree with them. Ha ha :) I know you show your love with much more than presents though, but thank you :) :) It's sitting in my closet.. taunting me. Sister Chandler won't let me open it though, don't worry. It'll last till Christmas. Maybe I will open it on Skype :) 
Is there any chance Heather's family can come to our house so we can Skype with both of you or something? Just a thought :) .... probably a crazy one though. 
We had a great lesson yesterday on keeping Christ in Christmas. Remember the reason for the season this year, and share the gift of the Gospel with someone!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Dec. 9

Hello! This week we had a lot going on. Some really great moments though. Let's see.. on Monday we went bowling for a Zone Activity. That was super fun. It was strange though because they were playing really loud hip hop music the whole time.. weird. But it was fun anyways. 
On Tuesday, we went on exchanges with the Newton Sisters. I went with a new Sister I have never gone before. She was doing good, but she's really shy and I tried to help her learn to talk with people. But it was really good for her to be in her own area for the day, to be "in charge" for a while. It helped her step up and she did wonderfully. After exchanges, we had dinner with the Elders and one of our favorite member families. And after that we were going to see someone, it fell through, and I felt like we should go street contacting in this apartment complex. Even though it was super dark and cold and nobody was out. BUT we met this lady named Amy who we had a great conversation with! She "has her church" ( I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard that. Seriously), but she just had a hard day and needed someone to talk to and we helped her out and now we are friends with her on Facebook and hopefully we'll be able to keep in contact with her! 
On Wednesday, we had district Meeting, took pictures by the Christmas tree at the church, and went to lunch at Wendy's. So fun. We did some more street contacting in the cold rain. After Coordination, we saw Bradley and his family. They are doing great! They are wonderful. Bradley is having mouth surgery this weekend, and so their family wasn't able to come to church, but they did set a date for his baptism on the 22nd! Yay! He is the funniest little kid. And his family is so sweet. We love them. 
Thursday we had our shift being hosts at the "Nativity Festival." It was so neat. All weekend, the church was filled with hundreds of nativities. it was an open house from 10am- 9 pm. Lots of people brought friends and neighbors, and it was the best.We were just helping being ushers and meeting people. We met this lady ( who unfortunately doesn't live in our boundaries..) who had 3 adopted kids from Uganda! So neat! So obviously we talked about Uganda with them. :) Then Paula picked us up and Gladys, we went up to the church for her Baptismal Interview. She did wonderfully. Then we took Gladys and her fellow-shipper, Paula to the festival. We went to the dress up corner (that was mostly for kids, but we went, obviously) and dressed up as the nativity. It was one of the funniest moments of my life. I was Joseph, Paula was an angel, and Gladys was Mary, and Sister Chandler was a cow. Ha we were laughing hysterically. We sang "silent night" and Paula and Gladys were singing seriously, and Sister Chandler and I were just dying laughing. Just imagine, funny old ladies and two Sister Missionaries dressed up as the nativity. I took a super funny video, I'll try to email it to you. I will remember that moment for a long time. :) Thursday Night we did our weekly planning, which we usually do Thursday morning, but we did it at night because our shift at the festival was in the morning. 
Friday we traveled to Charlotte for Missionary Leadership Council. It was fantastic. We learned so much from President and Sister Craven and the Assistants. We were also there all day, from 9-3. But it is always such a great meeting. Call me weird, but meetings are one of my favorite parts of the mission. Then we traveled to North Wilksboro, to go on exchanges with them. I was here in Huntersville with Sister Mena. She's amazing. Love her. We went to dinner with a Sister in our ward who made us home made Cafe Rio. It made my LIFE it was so good :) Then afterwards, we saw this cute less active (only because they have to work on Sundays) couple who moved into the Ward. They are from Burma, don't' speak much English, but they are the kindest people. They were actually in the Mountain Island ward when I was there, so I knew them before and they just moved here into our boundaries! Sweet! Saturday, we contacted a few referrals we got from a random guy, invited a few people to the festival, and then drove back to North Wilksboro (1.5 hours away, 1 way) and drove back and went straight to Gladys' baptism at 4:30! It was so sweet. Best baptismal service ever. She was so excited. She's the happiest person. The Ward loves her. When she came up out of the water, she was saying "Hallelujah, Praise the Lord!, Thank you Jesus!" But respectfully, and she really meant it. It made everyone smile :) Then we went to the Nativity Festival with our neighbor, Sandra. (remember the one we  spent Halloween with). She's a nice lady and she LOVES us. She is a "devout catholic", so not really interested in learning about the gospel, but she LOVES us and thinks we are the best neighbors ever, so we took her to the festival and she loved it. It was really neat to feel the spirit there. Then she took us to the best ice cream place in town after, and it was so good :) 
Yesterday was Gladys's confirmation. Another great experience. She was blessed that she would be an example to her family, who will someday be receptive to the gospel! We are hoping her daughter and granddaughter join the church someday!! Then we ate with another one of our favorite member families for dinner, it was so good. And we made gingerbread houses after. And then we went to our recent converts (remember Mary who got baptized back in June? the 75 year old lady?) We went to her house to watch the Devotional. We got curled up in blankets and had hot chocolate. :) It was fun :) Really got us into the Christmas spirit. 
Needless to say, we didn't get much time to find new investigators this week, so our "escalator" isn't as full as we'd like it. It was a crazy busy week, between 3 days at the nativity festival, 2 exchanges, Missionary Leadership Council, District meeting, a baptism, and the devotional. But I wouldn't trade it for anything :)  
We are OFFICIALLY OFFICIALLY getting Ipads on Tuesday. People from Salt Lake are coming to train us.

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2

Wow! I can't believe it's December already! I LOVE the Christmas season and I am so excited. I love seeing all of the Christmas decorations going up. 

This week was wonderful. We had a really great lesson with a Less Active and her non-member husband on Monday night. Honestly, it was freezing cold and raining so we were glad she let us inside. She is not usually home. But we had a wonderful lesson with her, and her husband is a non-practicing jew. Really not religious much at all. So we taught him about the first principle, in the first lesson, about how God is our loving Heavenly Father. They are really great, but they are out of town a lot, and moving soon. :( To Tennessee. But I'm sure the missionaries there can continue teaching them :) 
For Thanksgiving.. we ate at the MacDonald Family's house (Not at MacDonalds, don't worry!) and they cooked a wonderful meal and had some families from another ward over. It was a great time. I felt fine, it just felt like another day to me! Get back to work! They ate in the afternoon and we went out street contacting some of the day, and then when it got dark we went to the black friday lines and handed out invitations to a nativity festival! It was so fun! We even asked the cops there if we could do it and they said "Are you selling anything?" We said.. "NO!". Seemed like they wanted to say no we couldn't do it, but they couldn't think of a reason why and our faces were just so cute and happy they said "Good luck." It was fun to go out to Target and other lines and invite people to the Nativity festival. It was COLD though, it's getting COLD at nights here! 
 
One day this week.. it was super cold and raining and we didn't have any appointments all day. So we were just.. walking around street contacting and tracting in the pouring rain and the rain soaked through my boots and my socks and shoes were wet. Ha ha. Sister Chandler was very nice to put up with my attitude that matched the rain. But she's so happy and she made me laugh. We work well together. 
On Saturday we had a wonderful meeting! We had a "Sisters Only!" training. All of the Sisters in the mission got together and President and Sister Craven and their Daughter (who is married with kids but in town visiting for a few weeks) gave us a training. Sister Craven trained on Modesty. President Craven trained on how the Priesthood and womanhood work together and should compliment one another, and I learned a lot. There is still a lot I need to learn about the Priesthood. Our mission President is very much a gospel scholar, he reminds me of Dad in that way :) I thought of how neat it'd be if I get to travel to visit Mom and Dad as mission presidents somewhere one day. It's going to happen, Dad. You would be an incredible mission president :) Mom, you would be a wonderful support! Their Daughter went to Australia on her mission a few years ago and shared some experiences and told us how the mission has blessed her life. She talked about the "Three painful moments" when you get on the plane, when you get released, and when you wake up the morning after you get home and can't put your nametag back on. She said when your done, you'll get down on your knees and review your mission with the Lord and he'll either say "Well done" or "You wasted my time". Pretty intense. She also talked about  the 3 C's, "Criticizing, Comparing, and Complaining" and how and why we have no right to do any of those. It was a wonderful meeting, and I learned a lot.
We were supposed to go on exchanges this week.. but the Sisters got sick, so we did an "exchange from a distance" and called them on the phone throughout the day. 

Gladys is doing great. So.. turns out she has diabetes, and she was too sweet to tell us last week at church that she needed to eat (Sorry Dave I should have known) but.. she stayed for 3 hours of church, and 1 hour of Choir afterwards. And.. on Mondayshe went to the Hospital because her sugars were off! Whoops!! She recovered though, and now she's fine. We just need to make sure she is going to eat at church. Ha! But she is doing great, came to church this week. She even bore her testimony at sacrament meeting this Sunday. She didn't use the microphone like everyone else though, she just stood up where she was at. She did great though, bore her testimony of how grateful she was to meet us and how she loves the Book of Mormon. The Elders in our ward also brought two investigators, and one of them bore their testimony. It was wonderful and the spirit was very strong! I also bore mine, because there is another transfer before next Fast Sunday and thanked the Ward for all I have learned from them. They have truly touched my life so much. 
One of the Elders in our ward I know pretty well, all 4 of us actually came out on the same transfer. One was my MTC District Leader. They are going through a hard time, one of their father's passed away of lung cancer this week. He is such an incredible example of me of faith and strength. Hardly any missionaries or members know, and he has decided to stay on his mission. It's really tough to see him struggle but he has a wonderful companion, and they help each other. They know the Plan of Salvation is real. 
P.S Sister Chandler and I have been working out extra (during our breakfast hour) in the mornings. We both decided we want to be fit when we get home, and we are going to start now! It's fun we get to go home together. She has a fiancee though, that's weird. . When she gets off the plane, he'll be there.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving




Hello!
Hello everyone! Hope your week has been great. Last Monday we played basketball/Frisbee/volleyball for a Zone activity at the church and it was fun, but I played hard, and I was sore the next day. Unfortunately, being in a full car area doesn't put you in the best of shape, and Southern Food doesn't either. Whoops.
We went on exchanges with the Lenoir Sisters this week, Sister Campos came with me to Huntersville. We had a blast. She is hilarious. She is a hard worker and a dedicated missionary, and we worked hard, but we just had a blast after planning. She used to be in an area with the Assistants, and sometimes we don't think they are real people. But she told me some funny stories about them. Sometimes it makes me feel old to think I am older than them. AND most missionaries out here...But that's ok.
We also went with the Mooresville Sisters ( Dave I think that's where you were when you came here. :) I was with Sister Sanft. She is fantastic. They are doing great things there. We did end up teaching this man though who was really trying to bash with us.. and we kind of got stuck there though and were late exchanging back. Whoops.

We have seen Gladys this week of course! With her Fellowshipper, Paula. It's so fun to teach her. She's just a hoot. She is "praising the Lord" and "Thanking Jesus" the whole way. We told her about the Sabbath Day and how to keep the Sabbath Day Holy. We told her she'd be blessed as she lives it, and she was like "Well, I just want to tell YOU that YOU will also be blessed as you keep the Sabbath Day." We had to laugh. She's fantastic, she came to church yesterday, of course, and had a wonderful time. There is a missionary who got back two weeks ago, when she came was his homecoming. We told him that she was going to her old church last week to tell them she wasn't coming anymore. He was like "Good luck with that.. not going to happen." He was surprised to see her at church again! And we were really excited. The Ward really isn't Southern, they are all from out West, so they like her because she is so Southern. She is so excited for her baptism on the 7th!!!! It's going to be a really sweet baptismal service.

Bradley came to church as well, his family is doing great and progressing! He has a date for the 22. He is a funny little boy.

OH and on Friday. NO BIG DEAL... but ELDER QUENTIN L COOK came and spoke to us as a mission. Oh my goodness it was incredible. We all got to shake his hand. What a great opportunity, to shake someone's hand who probably has seen the Savior in person! Definitely felt the spirit strongly, he told us about when he was companions with Elder Holland. He told us how much the Mission will bless our life. He told stories of his life and it was incredible. Definitely felt the spirit strongly. And his wife had us sing "put your shoulder to the wheel" and all stand up and do primary actions chanting "Push Along" putting our hands forward and back, and also chanting "Work Hard" putting our hands to our shoulders and then to our hips, then we had to sing it in a round... felt like primary kids!! Ha ha
We are going to eat with a family this week for Thanksgiving, definitely will be taken care of. Hopefully nobody breaks a glass bowl over the table ;) hem hem...

The pictures this week is from us eating with a great family that has the cutest twin babies ever!!
Oh and after Elder Cook, we went to the Mission Office because the Sisters we were driving home needed their car.. but we also got a NEW CAR. Yes we traded in our 2010 Malibu for a 2014 Chevy Cruze. YES 2014. A brand new car with 5 miles on it. Sister Chandler and I definitely have fun in it ;) It was sad to say goodbye to our Malibu though, I have been driving that car for 7 months now. So I had a moment with it and took a picture. Don't judge.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Nov. 18th

I love reading everyone's emails every week from missions around the world! I especially love hearing that Heather is safe and sound in the Philippines, and that her mission hasn't been too effected. In Church yesterday, they read a story about missionary Sisters in the Philippines that escaped the flood but almost drowned, that I'm sure you have heard by now yesterday that was incredible!
This week started off with a Zone Activity where we played Football with the Zone! Of course, the Elders all played Football, and the Sisters played volleyball/wrote letters. :) But it was fun. And really weird to see everyone in not proselyting clothes... strangest thing ever. 
Gladys is doing GREAT! AHH! I can't tell you how much I love this woman. She's the sweetest lady ever, and really spiritual. So we met with her twice with members present this week, who were able to help her learn about the Plan of Salvation, and the Doctrine of Christ. Of course anything we say to her she's just like "Ohhhh, Praise god!" "Thank you Jesus!!!" But really sincere about it too, she LOVES God. So she went to her other church this week to tell her pastor she didn't want to go there anymore, of course we tried to talk her out of it. Maybe she could email, or call or something, but no she felt like she needed to go in person and thank him and tell him she wasn't coming anymore. She has been going for about 6 months. We prepared her for things she may hear the best we could. We told her to testify to him of the things she's learning, and tell him how she's feeling that God is leading her here. On Sunday we had a fast that everything would go well. We were really praying and nervous for her all day. BUT God is soo good. He answered our prayers and fasting, and we went to see her last night and everything went well, everyone was kind and respectful, and she wants to continue learning about the gospel and to be baptized onDecember 7th! YAY!! What a relief, and a blessing :) :)  We are so excited. She also has a daughter and granddaughter who live with her we are going to try and start teaching. She said though "Ya'll better have some gas, because I'm going to be coming EVERY week now!! :) :) " We were so excited, and she's the cutest. 
Bradley's family came to church as well! They have been really progressing and having good experiences at church. We set a date for December 22 for him! He's so excited. His brother is finally coming home so the whole family will be there! I love this family as well.  
On Wednesday, we had District Meeting, and it was really great. Sister Chandler and I trained on protecting our baptismal dates, since everyone in our district has some :) We went to visit with the Relief Society president for a bit after District Meeting about some of the Sisters in the Ward and who she wants us to visit. 
Friday our ward had a fundraiser dinner for the scouts. It was so great. We went early and helped make scones, and cut up the salads. We went with Sister MacDonald who is incredible and I love her! She is an incredible missionary. We made Navajo Tacos for 125 people. They fried them with Lard though, so you can imagine we smelled really bad after frying for 2 hours. But we had a fun time. And.. this ward is very wealthy as you can tell, every person paid 20$ to get IN the door to this fundraiser, and they had a cake auction with 15 cakes where each cake went for about 100$ as well.. ya. Very well off. And 3 of the cakes went to us, people bought them and gave them to us. Sister Chandler and I were going to try and eat healthier, so much for THAT idea.. we will find something to do with our 3 cakes. We obviously can't eat them all. We have interviews tomorrow, we'll bring them and let the Elders have at it. On Saturday we did some street contacting and invited a bunch of people to the Nativity festival! We are so excited about this. At the church, thousands of nativities are displayed, choirs from a bunch of other churches come, and it's a really great opportunity to feel the spirit, and for people to realize Mormons are Christian.. 
Sunday church was fantastic. Great talks, great spirit. I know I say this every week, but seriously I am in love with the Huntersville ward. This has become like home. I have been here for 7 months, and the area isn't very big, it's like 5 miles by 5 miles. So other than exchanges, I don't leave my "hunters-ville bubble" much :) And my other two areas actually border this one, so I really haven't left this area much. It'll be easy to visit someday though, when they are so close! Ha. Mary, our 75 year old recent convert was there! She hasn't been able to come much because of health reasons, but we and the ward were so excited to see her. 
I know the Church is true. I know there are people out there who are prepared, just like Gladys, to receive the Gospel right now. I have been blessed to teach so many wonderful people on my mission, and I thank the Lord for that opportunity. I have gained a testimony that working hard to find people is worth it when you do find the "Elect". They ARE out there. Even if it takes a little work to find them :) I am so excited to be a member missionary when I get home. Sometimes I feel like I can do more work as a member than as a missionary. BUT I have the rest of my life to do that. I'll focus on this for now.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Nov. 11 2013

Hello Family and Friends! This week was great. It started out with an exchange with Newton sisters. They are fantastic. I got to go to Newton with Sister Nielson. She is an amazing, diligent, hardworking missionary and I learned a lot from her. Some of our plans for the night had to change, because we got stuck behind this big giant accident on our way to go to Family Home Evening with a Less Active, and her bike tires were flat so we couldn't bike there either. But she handled it like a champ. We reevaluated and were able to meet this wonderful lady that hopefully they will be teaching soon!
Wednesday we had Zone Meeting. It was great. The Zone Leaders trained on effective planning, that went really well. And Sister Chandler and I trained on working with members. We got trained a few weeks ago by Elder Kapiska of the 70 on how to pray WITH members to find people to teach. Simply ask them to pray with you that someone will be lead to one of you (wether them or you) who is prepared to receive the gospel, and set a date to find that person, and teach them in that members home. 
Friday we had dinner with the Campbell family (in the picture) and they are so great. Sister Campbell loves feeding us and helps us out alot. That family is fantastic. (Sister Chandler wore my skirt that day as you can tell, we like to switch clothes a lot :) ) We also went to see the family we were teaching a few weeks ago that stopped progressing. Things have been so crazy for them lately with work, and some real health problems, that they just weren't able to make time to learn about the Gospel. We had a great talk with them, and hopefully they'll be right back on track soon! We set an appointment to see them next week, they were going out of town for the weekend, but we're going to see them when they get back. 

Friday we did an exchange with the Ashboro Sisters! It was a nice drive, it's a good 1.5 hours away! BUT they are so great. I got to be with Sister Zarbock, she came to Huntersville with me. She is so sweet. She is super nice, and she goes to BYU and went to London on a Study Abroad. She went to Norway on her "weekend off" one time and decided she wants to marry a Scandinavian. I was like "Hey, what about someone who serves in Scandinavia?" She was like "Ya, that'd do" and I showed her a picture of Steve, she thought he was cute so I'm going to have her write him!! They both got to BYU and she gets home like a month after him. It's perfect... :) BUT anyway.. We were able to teach this great lady named Gladys. We met her a few days earlier and we were so excited. She is this older black baptist lady who loves the lord so much, she praises the Lord and thanks Jesus every sentence, wether that has anything to do with the conversation or not. But it's so cute and we love love love her :) :) We taught her about the Restoration, and a little about the Doctrine of Christ. She said she wanted to be baptized, she would pray about December 7th!!!! AND she came to church this week! We warned her that this service might be a little.. quieter.. than she is used to. She was quietly still praising the Lord though, it was so cute and the members loved her. She said she felt a "Blanket of warmth and love" at church. She is one who is never negative about ANYTHING though and anything you tell her she'll be like "Oh yes, lord, PRAISE GOD! Thank you JESUS!" so I don't think there was any chance she wouldn't like church. But she is so sweet and truly has a lot of faith. We had a follow up lesson with her after church, she really liked it. We asked her to pray about being baptized, and if the church was true, because she has "obligations' at this other church. But she sincerely prayed, and the spirit was so strong! She said she'd keep reading and praying about it and we helped her at least recognize she felt good :) :) YAY GLADYS! Also she is obsessed with Gladys Knight. We gave her a Gladys Knight CD we had in our apartment (it has like 2 songs on it) but she LOVEDDDD it :) I can only imagine what her baptism will be like :) :) 
We did go to the Child of Record Baptism on Saturday.. unfortunately we didn't meet any neighbors or friends, but it was a nice baptism :) And the Grandma in this family grew up Jehovah's Witness, and she got baptized with her grandson! It was so sweet. I actually taught her the first discussion, at their home after a dinner once, but then they decided to hand her over to another ward's Sisters because she doesn't live in our boundaries. So I didn't get to teach her after the one discussion, but she did get baptized at our building because her grandson was and so that was so neat to see! She's the sweetest lady. 
Sister Campbell ( in the picture) went with us to see the Eternal Investigator, Peter. His wife is a Less Active and he has been meeting with missionaries for like 10 years. His wife is the sweetest lady. I think I have written about him before. But Sister Campbell, she's fantastic, she bore really powerful testimony to him about the Proclamation to the Family (which we read with them). They invited us all to dinner tonight, so that should be fun! 
ALSO the Part Member family we have been teaching who has been recently coming back, they came to church yesterday again, they have been coming regularly now and it's been great! Their 10 year old son (the funny little Bradley) can finally get baptized in December, hopefully the 16th. We're going to set a solid date with them tonight, because their other son is coming home from college for Christmas and that's why we have waited on the baptism. But he's so ready, and he knows what he is doing. The family is excited and has had really good experiences at church. We LOVE this family. 
OH and transfer calls were yesterday. I am staying in Hunters-ville, and Sister Chandler is too. Can you believe it? This will have been like 7.5 months I have been here by the end of the transfer. Crazy. BUT I am excited, I love the area, I love the ward, and we do have Bradley and hopefully Gladys getting baptized this transfer, so I am excited to be here for them! AND of course it's not up to me it's where the Lord wants me. Apparently I am supposed to be here still for something. :) 

FUNNY STORY FOR THE WEEK: When I was on exchange, when I first got there to this new apartment that I had never been to before, I set my stuff down I went to the bathroom real quick. I come out, and my companion is GONE. Not in the kitchen, not in the living room. I was like hmm... I couldn't see her in the study room either. PANIC ATTACK!! I was really starting to freak out, and thought I had lost President Craven's missionary. THEN she comes out of the other room and I was like "WHAT? Where were you?!" There is another bathroom in there that I didn't know about. Ha ha. Serious panic attack though!!!

I know the Gospel is true. I know it is true wherever you go. One of my favorite things of the week is reading emails from friends all over the world and the experiences they are having. Love it :) The Lord is hastening his work, all over the world. I know the Gospel is the way to happiness. I know miracles happen. I know the Lord is in charge. Love you! Thanks for everything.

Monday, November 4, 2013

November!

 

 
Hello everyone! Here's some beautiful North Carolina in the Fall scenery for you :) But of course I can't do it justice with my camera. But I'll try :) This week we went on exchanges with North Wilksboro. Sister Mortinsen ( who is actually from the Parkway Stake in South Jordan and I knew her from High School, not very well but I knew who she was)  and that was fun! She is a very hard worker. She is one of the hardest working missionaries I know. They had a baptism last week from a person they met knocking doors! Sometimes it is frustrating and tiring when you have to to tracting instead of working with members or less actives (that is the better way) but sometimes you do have to do tracting, and sometimes it is successful! They met a girl who got baptized last week and wants to go on a mission next year. What do you know. 

On Wednesday we had District Meeting, it was our District Leader's last district meeting, so he was pretty emotional and having a hard time. We have learned a lot from him this transfer though, and he is a good missionary. It is weird when people do go home and move on with life. Here, you only know them as a missionary and sometimes you forget they are real people with real lives too. On Thursday was Halloween. What do missionaries do on Halloween you might ask? Good question. Well first we went to a members house who had a party for some members in the ward. We ate with them, and all of their neighbors thought we were in costume. I think in their heads they said "Oh mormon party, and they are dressed up as missionaries! Funny!" Ha ha. But then we went to another members house who had all of her neighbors over for a neighborhood party and we got to meet a lot of people. We met a guy from Belgium, and I told him my Dad lived in Belgium for two years so I got some cool points there. ( I also have a picture of ya'll on my scriptures I pull out to show people :) ) Then we went back to our apartment, our neighbor Sandra, she is an old catholic lady from Columbia. She is super nice, not really interested in coming to church, but she likes us, we remind her of her daughters. We were supposed to proselyte, but obviously knocking doors won't be effective, and setting appointments with anyone on Halloween will be distracting. So we asked if we could watch a movie with her. We watched "The Testaments of one fold and one Shepard" with her. She doesn't have a TV in her living room, just in her room. So we sat on her bed and watched it :) It was SO Fun and we had a blast. She is the funniest, cutest lady. She also accepted a Book of Mormon after the movie! Sweet! 
Friday we had Missionary Leadership Council. All of the Zone Leaders, Sister Training Leaders, assistants and President and Sister Craven go to it. I love those meetings. The Assistants trained on how to work with members, praying WITH them to find people to teach. President talked about how in October, there was a low number of baptisms, and how we can improve next month and month after to still meet our goal for the year. We counseled together on what happened, and how we can do better. Right after the meeting, we drove to Kannapolis to go on exchange with them. I was SO excited because I got to go with Sister Buckley. She is the sweetest Sister who actually came out with me, but I have never been companions with her but we have always wanted to. I got to spend the day with her and I was so excited. She's such a sweetheart. We went to a "child of record" baptism. I hadn't really thought of it before, but she said it's a great opportunity to find people to teach. I was like wow, why haven't I done that before??? And we had a great time together. And she taught me how to be more effective on Facebook, I taught one of my recent converts in another area a lesson on Facebook and that made me happy. Sometimes I don't know what to do during Facebook time to be effective. But I am learning. 

I love you all so much! Thank you for your support and your love. I know the Gospel is true and I know that by living it it will make us the most happy and the most successful in this life. The Elders in our ward, one of them his father is dying of cancer. He is debating on wether to go home to be with him. It's hard to see him struggle, but he does want to stay because he knows he is engaged in the work of Salvation. I know I am too, and I am glad that I have the opportunity to be here, and that my family at home is safe and healthy! I am so blessed. I love ya'll so much.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Oct. 28

Hello Family and Friends! 
So this was a wonderful week. Sister Chandler is really positive. On Tuesday we both were just kind of groggy when we woke up in the morning, and Sister Chandler decided it would be a "rainbows and butterflies" day and we were really trying to be optimistic about whatever happened that day, no matter what. AND it was an amazing day, we taught 5 lessons and found some new investigators! I know that contagious optimism is definitely something that President and Sister Craven stress a lot. And there is a new "dealing with stress" booklet the church has put out that is wonderful in helping new missionaries deal with stress of being a missionary. 

I got to to on exchanges with the Hickory 1rst Sisters. They are wonderful. They just started their area this transfer, so are doing a lot of groundwork in finding new investigators. But they are so positive about everything. We went to a members house for dinner and the Hick
ory Zone Leaders were there, Elder Lino, Elder String ham (The one from Magrath he is in the middle) and Elder Fox. They are hilarious. And the Sister I went on exchange with, Sister Rust, she knows Dad!! She took an institute class from him! Isn't that funny. Small Mormon world. AND we rode bikes. I took a picture of me on a bike to prove that I have ridden them. A few times. The Sister Training leaders get cars full time because of all of our exchanges, and the Elders tease us for never having to ride bikes. SO here's the proof :) 
We saw the Gonzales family this week, they are still having so much going on in their lives that they are having a hard time making time for church and learning about the Gospel. 
We have seen Cyndi this week, an "eternal investigator" who has been meeting with missionaries off and on for like 10 years, who we are trying to help see the relevance to coming to church and also helping her find the importance to get work off so she can come. 
We had a great lesson with Sister Harris. She is the neighbor of a member. She is very pentecostal and is very spiritual. We are helping her understand the importance of the Restoration and the FULLNESS of the gospel. She is the sweetest lady. 

We had a Mission Conference with Elder and Sister Kopiscka and Elder Parker this week both from the 70. They are incredible. Sister Kopiska is from Germany and she is the sweetest, smiliest blonde haired lady. She was sitting there smiling and looked like a cute "utah" grandma. But she got up and she spoke in a wonderful deep German voice and accent, and it was fantastic! She is a great speaker and spoke about their time as mission presidents in Germany. Her husband spoke about working with members. It was great. He talked about how we can work WITH members better. Saying "You know, we love your family. We want to teach someone in your home. We know how hard it is to find someone to teach, we do it all day. Let's pray together, you pray and we'll pray and by this date let's work together to find someone to teach in your home." It was a great example, and I learned alot about how members and missionaries should work together. Elder Parker was from Atlanta. He is a big black man and sounds like a Baptist preacher. I loved it. He talked about members and missionaries working together like members "jumping out of an airplane". If they have never done it before, it's scary! We have to be their "flight instructor" and help them know what to do. I loved that analogy. 
How do you work with missionaries in Utah and other places? I know that I have learned a lot about how missionary work works, obviously, since I have been out here because in Utah we just don't see the missionaries much, so I wasn't sure what exactly they did or how we were supposed to help them. 

SO I love the Huntersville Ward. I know I say this all of the time but it's so true. I have gotten to know them pretty well over the past almost 6 months and made a lot of great friendships with the people in the ward. We had a "trunk or treat" this week, so we invited everyone and their dog to the Halloween party on Saturday. Our ward had a great Halloween carnival. We handed out invitations all week to less actives, part members, and random people all over the place. We got a lot of referrals from it, and it was a great finding activity. There were a few people who came! The party was super fun. The picture is of the Burton family, who dressed up as Napoleon Dynamite (Bjork, you might appreciate that :) ) It was so fun and we did have a neighbor of a member come and a Less Active family. Remember Bradley? The son of a less active who we have been teaching for a while but his brother isn't getting home till December so he can't get baptized till then? Well.. his Mom booked a flight and he's coming home soon so we can set a date with him! Yay! 
I love this work. I truly and so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve the Lord. I know it is the "training center" for the rest of my life. I am learning a lot. I am not perfect, but I am trying. There are a lot of great missionaries in this mission I look up to. I am learning to learn from them, not to compare myself to them! President Craven says "NO comparing, criticizing, or complaining". I am trying to eliminate those and be the best that I can be. If at the end of the day I can say I did my best, that's all that really matters :) I love this gospel. I know it is true, I know how much it blesses families.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hello from North Carolina!


Hello from North Carolina! Whew sorry this will be a short email because we just had a meeting with Elder Zuick from the 70 today. It was fantastic though.

This week started out with Zone Conference all day on Tuesday. Sister Craven talked about sanctification, and gave an analogy about a guy who went fishing and caught all of these big fish, but kept throwing them back because he only had a small pan to fry them in. She said to "pick up the pan" and raise our vision and our expectations. She is amazing. There are so many meetings (literally 2 or even 3 most of the day meetings every week) this month it is CRAZY. I feel like we hardly have any time in our area. Add exchanges on top of that, and it's ridiculous. But it makes us work hard with what little time we DO have in our area. 
We went on exchange with the Lake Norman Sisters, Sister Teoupa ( she's from Hawaii) (Hello free place to stay in Hawaii when I get home!!) :) She came to Huntersville with me and she is fantastic. Such a hard worker and a great missionary. 
About half the mission was able to go to the funeral of Elder Paige. It was an incredible experience. He died in a car accident on his mission in California, and was from here in Charlotte. I never served in his ward, or knew him or anything. But some of the missionaries did play ball with him and went to his farewell and things. It was a really moving experience and solidified to me that the Plan of Salvation is TRULY real. It was heartbreaking to see the mother say goodbye to her son for the final time at the Burial Plot as they lowered the casket into the ground. But she knows that he will rise again, and she was incredibly strong actually. She had already lost her husband, and the member of the 70 who spoke at the funeral said he and his Dad are serving as companions on the other side, and he just got transferred. I thought that was beautiful. We all sang "Called to Serve" at the graveside.
The family we had been teaching have kind of slowed progression, but we are still hopeful they will start soon. Basically changes at her work (SATAN is so dumb) now make her work EVERY Sunday and she has been going through some health problems too. She is kind of the center of the family and they do what she does so they won't really progress until she is able to. But we know they will. They just need some time. 
We have lost contact with some of our investigators.. but we are striving to find new ones! We know the prepared are out there. 
We took a lot of invitations to the Halloween party the ward is putting on next Saturday out to some people at the park and they were SO excited! It was very successful, and we hope to hand out a lot more this week! 

Today we had an amazing meeting with Elder and Sister Zuiick of the 70. The whole mission was there. It was incredible. They both are amazing speakers. They talked about our "spiritual trajectory" on our mission and throughout our lives and ways we can always improve and do better, and keep our trajectory going up today, tomorrow, and forever. NEVER stop learning, or hit a "plateau" was their main message. It was incredible. They were Mission Presidents in Santiago, Chile (TIFFANY!) and they are fantastic. She is an incredible speaker as well, that is what I was impressed with. 
It was so incredible to see everyone from the whole mission all together. I truly have made lifelong friends here, and it is like a big family reunion when we get together. I took a picture with all of my "daughters" a.k.a all of the Sisters I have trained :) They make me a "proud momma" 
I KNOW what I know. I know the Church truly has been restored to the earth today. I know we are lead by a living prophet of God on the earth today who has called ME HERE in Charlotte, for a reason. I KNOW I was meant to meet the people here, and there are people here who need me, and things I am supposed to learn from President and Sister Craven, my companions, investigators, and Ward Member. That was another point Elder Zuick talked a lot about, how we are called HERE to Charlotte, North Carolina for a very special purpose and directly from the Lord. He was prophetic in his talking about the Hastening of the Work and how it will go forth to the whole earth as missionaries and members work TOGETHER. Work with the missionaries! They are not here to do it alone. They are here to help YOU in your missionary work. I know there are people all around us who are ready to receive the Gospel right now. I know, and Elder Zuick talked about this too about how the Lord truly has a personal hand in all of this, and in all of His work, as it truly is his. 

I love you all, thank you for your love and support! This week will be crazy, AGAIN we have 2 exchanges to go on and an all day meeting on Saturdaywith another member of the 70 but it'll be great :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 14, 2013

Hello friends and family! Love you all! 

This has been a great week. So many miracles. Sister Chandler and I started out going on exchange with the Mountain Island sisters. I went to Mountain Island with Sister Diaz (who I trained) and so that was so fun to be with her again. AND it was so neat and touching to be back in Mountain Island where Melanie and her kids got baptized (back in February) (her baptism picture was my cover photo on Facebook for a while) and they are still very strong, active members and she is preparing to go to the temple, and she just got called as the Gospel Doctrine teacher. She is amazing. She is why I do what I do. Because there are people out there just like her, ready to accept the gospel. It's so rewarding to see what the gospel can do to a family, and seeing them 7 months later, and that they are still strong in the gospel, it's amazing! AND she has an incredible house built in the 1800's that is an old plantation house and it is HUGE and.. the Sister Missionaries now live in her basement! How crazy is that. So I got to stay at my recent converts house on exchange, that was SO neat! Her testimony is incredible. It was also fun to be with my "trainee" 5 months later and see how much she has grown as well :) 

Then this Tuesday Sister Chandler and I were going out to visit a Less Active.. Sister Miller and I went to see him on exchange back in June (sister Miller you probably remember) he was bringing in groceries, and went right in and we asked if we could come back and see him and his family, and he said no. That was a few months ago.. we decided "why not" and we went to see him again. This time.. his 20 year old daughter was there and we talked to her a little bit. She said she had grown up at a church, but kind of got offended and didn't want to go any more. We were talking to her and her Dad pulled in and we were like "uh oh" because we didn't know how he would react. BUT.. he came out was was like "Hello Sisters!" and he was super nice and said he knew he needed to come back to church and had been feeling like he should lately. It was quite the miracle! We are hoping to teach his daughter soon. It'll be a slow process, he is very hesitant, but we are so excited! We prayed in thanksgiving after that miracle. 

The family we have been teaching is doing great, we have to reset their baptism date though, probably forNovember 2 or 9th because the Mom got called into work on Sunday and they weren't able to come to church. It was probably for the best though, because they haven't actually been to a regular Sunday of church and don't really know the ward. This week was Stake Conf and last week was General, and so they need a few weeks in the regular ward. I think that will be great for them, fellow shipping is SO important.

That's so neat family that you all fed the missionaries! I hear about how many missionaries are in Utah now and I think it's so neat. I remember only a few times having the missionaries over, so I think it's neat you get more interaction with them. 

I LOVE the Huntersville Ward. I know I have said this before but seriously they have changed my life and they are all so incredible. It will be hard to leave this ward whenever I do. 

This week we have Zone Conference with President and Sister Craven and everyone tomorrow, that will be so neat. I always enjoy our meetings. They seriously have been the highlight of my mission. AND on Saturday from 10-12 three zones of our mission, including mine get to go to the funeral of the missionary who was killed in an accident, he was from here and I think he was in California. I don't know the family, I have never served in their ward or even their Stake, but I am honored to be able to go.