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.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Halfway!! What?

I cannot believe this week will mark my halfway point! Where does the time go. I have thought a lot this week about what I have learned and all my experiences in the first half of my mission. The good times, the hard times. Through it all, I know the Lord has been there for me. Some of my most treasured things are the friendships I have made with the members and with other missionaries. I have made friendships that I know will last for the rest of my life, and have inspired by so many incredible people and missionaries. And President and Sister Craven have of course had a lasting impact on my life as well. I think the biggest thing I have had to learn is that Heavenly Father is always there. His Atonement is there to help me to overcome my weaknesses, big and small. Through the Doctrine of Christ ( I have learned so much about the Doctrine of Christ from President Craven) I can truly change and become the person I want to be. Another one of the biggest things I have learned is the importance of contagious optimism. Always looking on the bright side, and being grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord every day. They surround us every second. Heavenly Father wants us to focus on the good things in our life, not to focus on the hard or bad things! Do your absolute best, and leave the rest to Him. And be grateful and happy for His tender mercies. That is one of the biggest lessons I have learned. 
SO transfers were this week, and my new companion is Sister Chandler. It it fun because like I said, she came out with me and sat next to me on the plane. She is from Springville.My district leader right now is going home this transfer, and he is a little burned out. My new companion and I are only hitting our halfway mark this week, and so we are trying to "keep our steam" and trying to keep working our hardest every single day and not be burned out! Yesterday we were talking about how grateful we are for the opportunity to serve and how crazy it is we really only have 9 more months. 9 more months of our lives we get to spend in the service of God. We have 9 more months to serve, and eternity to think about it. So we are going to make it count! 
The Elders in our ward, and us all came out on the same transfer. So we've all been out 9 months. And Elder Teichert was my district leader in the MTC. He is hilarious. He's like my brother. He reminds me of Steve. 

We are teaching this family that is incredible. It's a Mom and Dad and a 12 year old daughter. So Sister Wright met them on an exchange, and talked to the Mom outside her apartment complex. She talked about how she wants a better life for her daughter and wants her standards to be high. But they were out of town for a week, but we finally caught up with them. We were able to teach them about the restoration, and then invited them to Young Womens on Wednesday! (Mom and Dad, remember Heather who came to South Jordan? She is the Young Womens President!) The girl had a blast. And while we were in Young Womens with her, the Bishop stole the parents and went and talked to them for a long while. Had a good conversation. And they have friends in another ward, we found out, that the Dad works with. And Sister Chandler knows their friends in another ward because she served there! It's so perfect! So then they came to General Conference, loved it. They felt the spirit so strongly. They have been through a lot and they came to the Sunday AM session and they felt like every speaker was speaking to them. It was so neat. Then they invited us over for dinner last night. And.. they have a baptismal date for OCTOBER 26TH! We are so excited for them. They are incredible. 
GOD IS SO GOOD. As we were going to the appointment with this family, a lady named stopped us on the street and was like "Hey I need to talk to you. My friend always tells me to talk to you guys". We talked with her and found out she has a member friend who as been trying to get her  to meet with missionaries for a while, she told her she sees us around the complex a lot and her friend told her to stop us. So she invited us over for breakfastSaturday morning. (yes.. we get fed a lot...) and she made this big breakfast, and her member friend was there too! It was perfect! And guess what.. this member is from a different ward so I I didn't know her, but Sister Chandler served in her ward and does know her! So there is definitely a reason why Sister Chandler is here! It was incredible we taught about the Restoration and the member told us about how she was baptized when she was 8 and she wanted everyone to know about the gospel, and went door to door the day of her baptism and was trying to give everyone Books of Mormon. She went on a mission to California, and she got to share it there, but now one of her friends invited the missionaries over to learn about the gospel she's like "This has been my dream since I was 8!!" She was definitely moved and bore powerful testimony to her friend. She also has a baptismal date now. November 2. She wasn't able to come to the church to watch conference, but she watched it at home. We'll follow up with her to see what she thought. 
Anyways.. so many miracles! Heavenly Father is so good. He is real. I loved conference, of course the spirit was so strong and I learned so much. I thought of how I have changed since last conference, and what life will be like next conference!
We had MLC this week as well, and got training on Christlike Leadership from the Assistants and President Craven.
We have 2 exchanges this week (YAY!) and 8 this transfer. It's so crazy going out of your area twice a week. We make it work though!

Love you all. Thanks for the support.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sept 30, 13

Hello everyone! This week was great. Sister Wright and I were able to go on exchanges with Concord and with Lenoir. I love being able to learn from all of these Sisters! It is incredible. We learn so so much. The Sister in Concord came with us for the day in Huntersville. Sister Maynes is so incredible. I love her. She is such a hard worker and such a great example. She is doing incredible things in her area. I went to Lenior with Sister Kenyon. She is fantastic. They are teaching 28 discussions a week, if not more. The standard of excellence is only 20. They are on fire, and I learned so much about teaching simply, short powerful lessons. 
We got the call on Saturday that I AM STAYING IN HUNTERSVILLE (so this will be my 4th transfer here aka 5 months) and Sister Wright is going to be with Sister Bowman (my trainer!) in another area, and Sister Chandler is coming to Huntersville with me!! I am so excited, because she came out with me and I sat next to her on the plane! We also were in the same district for 2 transfers. She is a fantastic missionary and can help get things going here!! She is from Utah. I think Alpine? I'll find out for sure when she comes here on Tuesday :) 
We were not able to see Susan this week.. she went out of town so we are hoping to see her again soon. 

FUNNY MOMENT: Sister Wright and I were out tracting in an apartment complex we had never been to before.. and we knocked on this door and a lady comes down the stairs from the third floor.. and she was like "Honey those are storage closets". We tried to play it smooth and were like "Oh thanks!" and just kept walking and as soon as she was out of sight we laughed so hard. We literally didn't know they were storage closets.. we just saw doors.
Oh and we taught Young Mens/YW who were combined for 5th hour this week at church, the Elders and us. We taught them about sharing the gospel on Facebook. We planned this really interactive fun lesson.. but they were all together.. and the boys were worried about what the girls would think and vice versa. So they were SILENT and it was like pulling teeth to get them to say anything. I realize what it must have been like for Mom and Dad when teaching seminary sometimes. Ha ha :) By the end they were participating a little bit..

I LOVE Sister Wright and I will miss her! She has taught me so many fantastic things. I am excited I am staying in Huntersville though, this ward is incredible. It has a lot of great people that I will miss dearly whenever I do get transferred, but I'm glad I have a little longer here :) 
I know the Gospel is true. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I am so thankful to be serving Him. I am very thankful for the opportunity I have to repent and change. I have so many things I need to work on to do better and to be better, and because of the Atonement I can. I am so grateful that a loving Heavenly Father provided a way for me to become the person and the missionary I want to be!