Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas and Transfer Call (Week 12)

This week has gone by so fast! It has definitely been a slow week with the holidays but still good nonetheless. On Christmas Eve, we had dinner with Sister Haefner, one of the ward missionaries. She is so kind and fun to talk to. We had ham, potatoes and green beans with pumpkin pie for dessert. While we were waiting for dinner, we put together a puzzle. She even sent us home with one to do together.

On Christmas, we had breakfast with the Warmbrodt family. We had biscuits and gravy with fruit and muffins. It was so good. Then we got to see them open all their presents. With all their family there, they have lots of little grand kids with mental disabilities. It got a little loud sometimes but it was really neat to see how they manage their Christmas day. They are such a neat family and they even gave us missionaries some gifts. They gave us each a Chinese fan and a small Russian doll. The fan was so that we would remember their adopted daughter from China and the doll was to remember their adopted son from Russia. Those gifts I will keep and cherish for years to come. Their family sacrifices so much for others and they care so much for countless children who have disabilities. It was touching. 

We then went over to the Bradley's house to skype our families and eat lunch. It was such a blessing to be able to see them and talk to them. I loved it. After lunch we went back to our apartment, put the puzzle together (all of it), ate dinner, painted t-shirts and went to bed early.

The rest of the week was very slow. We did get transfer calls and both Sister Gunter and I are staying!!! We were so surprised. Not only will she be my trainer, but my follow-up trainer as well. It is so rare that companions stay together for more than 1 or 2 transfers, but we will be together for 3! I am excited to see the changes that we can continue to make in their area. I has been a challenge but we know that we can make this new year great. 

Thank you so much for all the wonderful gifts and cards that you all have sent me. It was so nice to open them all on Christmas morning and I felt loved. May your new year be great and filled with positive change. Love you!
I'm sorry to say that I can't send any pictures this week. We normally email at the local college which has free internet and printing and we have no trouble getting pictures to send. But the last couple weeks, that college has been closed for the holidays and so we have to go to a library to email. Their computers are not able to register the pictures for some reason. The college library should open up again next week and I will send lots of pictures then.

Our STLs are the greatest

Sister's p-day at the mission home.

This is the mission home. Isn't it pretty?

The mission home had a Christmas tree with a paper chain that had all the missionaries names on them.

Christmas morning going to the Warmbrodt's house for breakfast.

They have such a beautiful place.

Christmas night Sister Gunter and I made this entire puzzle in about 2 hours. Sister Haefner gave it to us for fun.

Our district.

Christmas is Here! (Week 11)

This week has been great. Our numbers are low as always but we have been able to do some great work. Sister Haefner, one of our ward missionaries, drove us to our appointments one day. It seemed like everything we did fell through or cancelled, but we had so much fun spending time with her. She is such a funny lady. At the end of the day she even showed us the Mississippi River. I can't believe that we are only 10 minutes away from it. I didn't take any pictures because we didn't get our of the car but it was really neat to see.

We also spent some time with the Ziegenmiers. They are an old couple in the ward who drive us every Thursday so that we can save miles. They are the nicest couple ever. Their conversion story is so neat and they are such a huge blessing with our missionary work. They have been driving the missionaries almost for an entire year! They are the best.

We had a wonderful surprise this week. We went to visit one of our investigators, Carrie. We were worried that we would have to drop her soon, because we hadn't seen her in the longest time. We decided to drop by their house and she was home! We even got to meet her husband and their son. We talked a lot about the organization of the church and we were able address a lot of the misconceptions that her husband had about the church. I hope that we can pick up her husband and son as investigators. Carrie is the most genuine person. She even bought us Christmas gifts. We have only been to her house a few times and yet she acts as though she has known us for years. I love the sincerity of her heart. I pray that we can keep teaching her through her busy schedule.

Sorry this email is short. We only have an hour because the library we normally email at is closed for the next couple weeks. I probably won't be able to respond to many emails.

Love you all! Enjoy this Christmas season! Remember the true meaning of CHRISTmas. He is the true gift.

Our beautiful tree full of presents

These pictures we took at the Sandy Creek Covered Bridge. It is a historical site in our area.

Week Ten!

This week has been good. This week we went on Exchanges with the STL's. I stayed in my area while sister Gunter went to Fenton. I was with Sister Heaps and I was super nervous to be in charge of my area for a whole day. But it went well. There are always miracles that happen on exchanges. We were able to see one of our previous investigators that we hadn't seen in about a month. We dropped them because we couldn't meet with them enough. We went to knock on their door, when at the exact same time, Adam (our investigator) pulled up in his cop car to his driveway. At first I was nervous and then I remembered that he worked as a cop, haha. It was great that we got to see him after all this time. He says he is interested but we probably won't see him until after the holidays. Wednesday was Sister Gunter's birthday. She turned 20 years old! Crazy to think that I will be 21 in a month. :) Appointments have been falling through still so it is a constant struggle to get our hopes up and spend time preparing lessons when they cancel. We have still done good work though. It just never seems to show in our numbers. We were able to help Sister Lindaman who is a member. She had us clean her house because it is really hard on her health. She is the sweetest lady and she loves having us over. It feels good to help those who care about us. We also had a good lesson with one of our recent converts, Angela. When we first got to the area, she was having a hard time with coming to church. But this week she came! She gets really nervous in large crowds so she was struggling with her anxiety but she made it. I think this is the first time in months that she has come to church. Sundays are always great to be surrounded by those who accept you and who welcome you. I love being able to take the sacrament and focus my week on the Savior.

3 Nephi 15:9 - Jesus is the light of the world. If we look to him we will live. The world can be a dark place but Jesus will always light the way.

Love you all and I hope that you are able to enjoy this Christmas season. I challenge you to not only make it a memorable Christmas, but make it one of the best Christmas holidays for someone else. Joy comes as we bring joy to others.
This was the highlight of our week. Sister Gunter made a huge mess in the kitchen. As you can see, she spilled her noodles over the stove as well as the floor

Week Nine- Miracles Come

This week everything has fallen through. Everything has cancelled and it is discouraging. Saturday came and I admit that I was not looking forward for another day of rejection and empty plans. But we did see a miracle after all of this frustration. We went to contact a potential investigator who lived in the dorms of Jefferson College. We found the apartment but the man we were looking for no longer lived there. But the girl who opened the door let us in to warm up a bit. Her name is Holly. We ended up teaching her and her friend, Tashina, the Restoration, gave them copies of the Book of Mormon, and invited them to be baptized. They both came to the ward Christmas party later that night, we gave them a tour of the building, and Holly came to church the next day. How amazing! All of this happened in less that 24 hours. It made me so happy and I couldn't believe how much different I felt. Miracles do come if you are just patient and keep moving forward.

This week We also got to have interviews with our mission president, President Morgan. He is a wonderful president and I am so glad that I got to talk to him. He helped me with not being so hard on myself. I think that all the weeks of rejection was getting me down and so it was so nice to have him bring me up.

I watched the Christmas Devotional last night and it was so nice to be able to sit and listen to the words of the apostles and the first presidency. I used to take for granted the quick access I used to have to listen to their words. I love hearing them talk because I know that they will never lead us astray or guide us to do the wrong thing. They are always uplifting.

I am excited to see what this next week will bring. I love you all. :) Merry Christmas
Some people have these creepy faces that they like to put on their trees. I don't understand them.


My companion Sister Gunter

I had no idea why someone would want a 10 foot duck with a Santa hat in their front yard but ok

These are some of the crazy road we have to deal with. This one was quite the adventure

There is green grass and it's December. I don't understand Missouri weather.

This pine branch made our car smell like Christmas for a little while. :)   

Our small Christmas Tree, yay!

Week Eight!

Not much has gone on this week. It seems like it has gone by so fast. We are finding more people here and there, but things still fall through with appointments. It seems like we have been the clean-up crew for this area. We have found multiple people who have fallen through the cracks. One lady who was one our Less active list said that she wasn't even a member. She said that multiple missionaries have come to her door in the past, but that she thinks her name but be mistaken for someone else. Crazy right? We thought she was a member but it turns out that she is a potential investigator. Another man we found said that he doesn't even remember if he was baptized or not. He didn't know who we were or where we were from. We told him that we had records saying he was a member but he doesn't even know. Hopefully we will figure it out and be able to bring him back to church. There are so many little things that we have been able to fix when it comes to the records. We fix wrong numbers, wrong addresses and find those who have fallen through the cracks. It's kind of sad to think that there are so many things that need fixing. I hope that even though our efforts don't show in our numbers at the end of the day, that we will at least be able to see the efforts of fixing the records we have.

I love the new Christmas Initiative that we have been implementing in our work. I have found that it is easier to talk to people when you just want to talk about the true meaning of Christmas. I feel like people are more willing to talk if it is related to Christmas. I feel like I have also been able to get over my fear of talking to people. It is surprising to find who will listen to us. We approach so many different kinds of people that you just can't judge them based of how they look. We need to share this gospel with EVERYONE. If you haven't seen the new video watch it at

Thanksgiving was great and we were able to spend it with members in the ward. We had wonderful food and we played a few games. Thanksgiving has made me realize how much this mission means to me. Everyday I am learning more about myself and I feel like I am coming closer to the Lord. I am so grateful because I know the blessings I have received now will not compare to the blessings that I will see in years to come.

Alma 26:3 - And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work.

Week Seven!!

This week has been good even though almost all of our appointments have fallen through. It seems like Satan is getting in the way of our most solid investigators. The holidays also make it hard to meet with them. But I am keeping them in my prayers and I know that we will be able to find some way to keep them moving forward in the gospel.

Some of you may know that on Wednesday there was a terrible accident. You could find more information online than I could give you but I will tell you what I know. Two Elders were heading to the transfer meeting on Wednesday and they were hit head-on by a truck. They both survived and by Sunday they were both checked out of the hospital. What miracles! The night they were in the crash, we prayed as a whole mission. I know that Heavenly Father watches over his missionaries and I know that they have healed quickly because of the prayers and generosity of the members.

I was touched by some things that the ward missionaries did in my ward. Sister Haefner called Sister Gunter and I to ask if we were doing ok. She reached out to us in love to comfort us. Sister Johnson called us to send a message to President Morgan. She wanted to offer her home as a place where the families of the missionaries involved in the accident could stay. She alone cares for her daughter who is paralyzed from the neck down, so for her to offer her home is a huge sacrifice. Both of them were great examples to me of the importance of charity and love. I love the members here. They take care of us and care for us.

Also you may be hearing about the events in Ferguson. I am living about an hour south of the city and so I am no where near all the protests and riots that are happening. the Mission President keeps us informed and always advises to stay far away from any of that activity for our protection. I don't think that I will see anything first hand, so know that I am safe. It's sad to hear all that is going on. That is the one thing that is nice about being a missionary. We don't watch TV and we are completely focused in the gospel. It is a blessing to be away from the awful things of the world.

In my studies I have been reading the Book of Mormon. I am in Alma 16 reading about Ammon. The more I read the more I love the scriptures. I know that they are the word of God and they are inspiring and uplifting. I hope to be able to finish the book by the end of the year. I have also started memorizing the Living Christ. I have about 2/3 of it memorized and it's starting to get hard! But it is great. It is strengthening my testimony of our loving Savior Jesus Christ and the wonderful blessing His life brings to us. The more I memorize this testimony of the apostles, the more it becomes my own testimony.

Love you all. Hope that you enjoy Thanksgiving!!!!!!! 

Momron 9:22 - For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto his disciples who should tarry, yea, and also to all his disciples, in the hearing of the multitude: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Week Six! - First Transfer Done

Wow! I am done with my first transfer! In my mission I will be here for the space of 13 6-week transfers. One down, and twelve to go. 

This week has been good and full of work. We are continually building up our teaching pool. We now have 6 investigators. None of them are really progressing yet be we are still working with them. It seems like our most promising investigators keep having Satan get in the way of their progress. One of our investigators just got called to a full-time job and another investigator is dealing with her sick husband so we can't meet with her. It's frustrating when Satan puts things in their paths that get in the way of meeting with us. We will just have to keep trying. 

One of the blessings we had today was with Sam. We haven't heard from her in a couple weeks and so we were getting worried. Sister Gunter and I decided to make her some muffins and write her a card with some uplifting messages. The next morning she sent us the best text! She told us that she had been reading the Book of Mormon and she wanted to make it more of a priority in her life. She wanted to meet with us on a weekly basis. How great! Charity works! :) It was a great thing to hear from her. She is a wonderful investigator. 

Thursday was a great day even though a bunch of appointments fell through. There is a couple in our ward. They are the Ziegenmiers. They take us every Thursday and drive us to our appointments and join us for lessons. They are the greatest couple ever. They are so sweet and so generous. Having them drive us saves us so many miles on our car. They said they have been doing this for 6 months now. They are such a blessing. They are converts themselves. They grew up Methodists and it was really cool to hear their conversion story. I loved getting to know them.

Funny story of the week. We were driving home at the end of the day when we see a bunch of teenagers on the corner of the street. One of them decided to moon all the cars passing by. We didn't think much of it but then we decided to turn around. We got our of our car, and some of them got scared thinking we were some type of authority coming to get them in trouble. Some of them started walking away but a few stayed. We talked to a few of the kids and some were genuinely interested. We gave them our number and left. 5 minutes later, they called us asking questions. We turned around again and gave them a few copies of the Book of Mormon. I don't know what will happen to them or if they will even read it. But we planted those seeds and hopefully they will get the chance to really learn about it. 

Last week we had a sister's p-day. We had food, games, and music. It was really fun to spend time with fellow missionaries and relax for a while. 

I am continually surprised at the generosity of the members in this ward. I really feel a part of their ward and I love the families. I will miss this ward because it is so great and there are some incredible people here. They keep me going when I have had a hard day. I love going to church on Sunday to see them all. When the week Is filled with empty efforts, it's great to be surrounded by those who care and who are a part of the gospel. 

Love you all!! Thank you for your continued love and support.

Mosiah 2:24 - Heavenly Father always blesses us. He is merciful and generous. We are always in debt for all that He gives us.

Sister Gunter and I 

Sister's P-day. We played the hand game if anyone knows it.  
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In district meeting we learned how to make pie!!! Our ward misison leader, Brother Weaver wanted all the missionaries to know how to make a home-made pie. He taught Elder Tolman and then Elder Tolman taught the whole District. He related the recipe to principles in Preach My Gospel as he was demonstrating. Our District from left to right: Me, Sister Gunter, Elder Davis, Elder Tolman, Elder Poore, Elder Hansen, Sister Huppi, Elder Peterson (eating the pie), in the front is Sister Limas and Elder Smithson.

Week Five

I am sorry that this email will probably be pretty short. We had to schedule a lesson this morning which cut into our email time. I won't be able to send pictures or respond to very many emails. I am sorry. This may happen in the future again so I may be writing my emails around noon for a while. But our lesson this morning was AMAZING! We taught this lady named Carrie. She has blue hair and when we met her, she said that she would be the most open-minded person we would ever meet. She has some quirks but she is great. We talked about the Restoration and she was so interested and loved what our church was about. She has leaned so much about different religions but says that she can't find the church where she feels like she fits in. I think that she has been prepared for us. She accepted the invitation to be baptized and said that she really likes talking to us. Oh, it was so great. This past week almost all of our appointments fell through and we had nothing really to show for our efforts besides some tracting. So to have such a great lesson with Carrie was so wonderful. 

Yesterday was great. We were able to get a ride from a member (Sister Haefner). We ended up spending almost the whole day with her. She took us to church, went to the missionary correlation meeting (she is a ward missionary), she taught Relief Society, gave us a ride home and then invited us to come back for dinner. We had breakfast for dinner. I can't say how much I love the members of the ward. I cherish the feeling of being in a members home where I feel at home and I can feel the spirit. 

We also met with a family who is becoming more active in the church. The wife (Alicia) is a member but hasn't been active for a while. She recently got married to Sean who is not a member. I LOVE this family. They are so great. I know that Alicia wants her husband to start taking the missionary lessons but he is a little apprehensive because his family is scared about the Mormons. Both Alicia and Sean have had a pretty rough past life but I could tell that this was the happiest either of them have been in years. There was a great feeling of love between their patched-up family. We had dinner with them and had a bonfire in their backyard. In Missouri, many people burn the leaves that fall of the trees. Since there are so many leaves, it is just easier to burn them than to clean then all up I guess. It was great to spend time with them. I really feel hopeful for their family. 

We had a service opportunity this week. We went to a member's house to help her clean. She is an elderly woman who has lung problems so we helped her get rid of a lot of dust in her house. Even though it was simple work for us, she told us how grateful she was for the work we did because it would be so difficult for her to do it on her own. I did get a huge splinter underneath my fingernail though. I pulled it out and it is still a little sore. ouch. Oh well, I just hope that it doesn't get infected or anything. 

November 7th was my 1 month anniversary from coming into the mission field! Hooray! It seems like it has been forever but I know that it is going to go by so fast at the same time. 

Some funny things that I have learned about my companion is that she honks the horn a lot, but she does it accidentally. She will hit it when her hand is resting on the wheel or she has laid her head on the steering wheel and hit it. or sometimes she will accidentally hit it when she is turning. It's funny think of all the times she has honked the horn when she doesn't mean to. She is great though. We are becoming better friends and better teachers.

I love you ALL. Thank you for all the love and support. The spiritual thought for this week is Miracles in the Bible Dictionary. Read it, it's cool. Miracles are happen based on faith . If miracles cease it is because faith has ceased. Miracles are REAL no matter how small they seem to be.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Week Four-- Progress!!

This week has been so great. The members of our ward continually surprise me with their generosity an kindness toward us missionaries. They keep us fed. haha :) Each of their stories are so unique and uplifting. I love getting to know them all.

This week we have finally started to see progress in our area!!! We went to teach Adam and his wife was there so we were able to teach both of them about the plan of salvation. They were really interested in what we had to say. They really thought the idea of the three kingdoms was cool. We invited them to be baptized. They were hesitant because they had already been baptized into their own church. So we talked about the Priesthood. It was surprising how quickly they understood it. I think we will really have to  work with them as we try to help them understand the importance of baptism with the right authority. Adam said that God would have to come right out and tell him personally for him to be baptized in our church. I hope and pray that Heavenly Father will open their hearts and help them understand. They are a wonderful couple and they appreciate the work that we do even though there may be differences in our beliefs. They gave us caramel apples when we left. yum.

We also got to teach Quentin. He is about 30 years old and he is a high-functioning autistic. His mom has been a little less active in church the past few years. They previous missionaries have worked with Quentin so hopefully we will be able to reach out to him and help him grow a desire to be baptized. His mom, Mary, really loves him and wants him to be baptized. She shared a wonderful testimony yesterday that touched my heart.

Sunday was awesome. It was fast Sunday and the testimonies that were shared were so amazing. I really felt the spirit. There was a moment when I realized where I was: in Missouri, hundreds of miles away from home. I barely know these people yet I feel like I am a part of their family. This ward is so great. I know they will always have a special place in my heart since they are my first area.
After Sacrament, we had the wonderful opportunity to go to a different ward in Sister Gunter's previous area. We went so that she could see a baptism of one of her investigators. It was really neat to see Tim get baptized. He was someone that Sister Gunter found while tracting and now she got to see it come full circle as he was baptized. Even though I wasn't a part of his conversion story, it was still really neat to see it.

The highlight of my week was Sunday night. We got to teach a girl named Sam. She is my age. She seemed so ready to hear the gospel. She loved what we talked about and was eager to start reading the Book of Mormon. I think that Heavenly Father has prepared her. I am really excited to see her progress. I invited her to be baptized and she said yes. It was really cool. I felt the spirit and after so many weeks of not seeing a lot of progress, it was neat to see Sam so ready to learn the gospel.

Halloween was awesome. We were able to spend it with a couple families in the ward. They gave us a wonderful dinner and then we just talked and talked. I felt a part of their family and I loved just being there with them. We roasted marshmallows over the stove and had smores. At our apartment, Sister Gunter and I put on fake mustaches and took pictures. It was a nice break.
I know that Heavenly Father has heard my prayers and I know that He watches out for us. He will give us success according to our faith and diligence.

The Fellowship of the Unashamed
“I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The dye has been cast! I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made; I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tainted visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, positions, promotions, plaudits or popularity. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience, am uplifted by prayer, and labor with power. My face is set, my gait is fast, and my goal is Heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear! I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, or let up, until I have stayed up stored up, and paid up of the cause of Christ. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till I know, and work till He stops me.”
P-day we went on a hike. The whole ground was covered in leaves. It made it a little slippery on the hills.

This was at the Mastodon
 State Park. I think they were celebrating their 150th anniversary.

Sister Gunter and I

Week Three!.

This week has been great. It is still slow progress with the work but our ward is still as amazing as ever. One day was filled with stepping dog poop, driving through dirt roads and small streams and other things just to name a few. What an adventure. We seem to find the craziest places to drive through. There are so many small dirt roads to get to people's houses. It makes it fun though.

On Thursday,we went to our District Meeting. We talked a lot about the importance of prayer in our missionary work. It was really neat. One of my favorite things is the Bible Dictionary about prayer. Read it if you get the chance, it is really cool. After the meeting we went to lunch together as a district. We ended up going to a barbeque place. It was really yummy but sometimes hard when the elder want to go to a more expensive place for lunch. I really like our district though. I always feel safe around those missionaries and it is cool to share our experiences and advice to one another each week. There is a lot of love there.

Later that day, we went through exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders (STLs). I left the Sandy Creek area to go to the Webster Groves area with sister Huppi. It was really cool to go to a different area and see how the work is progressing there. One of the appointments we went to was for a man named Mark. I have never met him before and Sister Huppi told us that we were going to teach him the plan of salvation. We we went in, he immediately started saying that he was finished with the missionaries teaching him and that he wanted to do some research on his own. We were so sad that he was dropping the missionaries. But Sister Huppi was strong. She convinced him to hear the message we had prepared for him so that he can at least know the 'why' of our gospel. He is a man who has lots of questions and gets hung up on the 'science' part of things. She asked him to leave all his questions until the end and he reluctantly agreed. We went through the entire lesson and he understood it. There were a few things that were interesting and new to him but he liked it. Furthermore, Sister Huppi invited him to be baptized if he learned for himself if the things we were teaching were true. He said yes! It was amazing to see the transformation of someone who wants to drop us to accepting the invitation to be baptized. I really felt the spirit there and if was a cool experience even though he was not my investigator.

Saturday was a little hard. All our appointments fell through so we spent the entire day tracting. I was tired, and there was a lot of rejection as usual. It's sad to see how so many people look at us with scared or angry faces. They don't understand how wonderful our message is and they just want us to leave. It hurts me to some extent. But I am more hurt for their well-being. It doesn't matter as much what they think of me personally so much as I want them to accept my message for themselves. Even through that hard day we did find someone. He was the very last house at the end of the street that we were tracting that night. His name is Adam. He is very knowledgeable about the Bible but he was willing to talk with us on his porch for a while. We ended up teaching him the Restoration, and giving him a Book of Mormon and pamphlet. He was willing and interested to read. He said that we was really going to compare it to the Bible. He seemed on the fence about the idea of another book in relation to the Bible. I really hope that he feels the spirit as he reads and doesn't find so many faults. Sister Gunter and I know that we are really going to have to study hard to be able to get through to him. I know we will have to back up what we say with the Bible and not just the Book of Mormon. It will be a good experience for the coming weeks.

Sunday was great. They had a primary program. The programs were left blank on the front and all the kids colored their families on the pages. It was really cute to see all the drawings. the programs was wonderful and in Relief Society we talked about the Priesthood. I loved it. This week we again had wonderful families to give us dinner. The Fishers, gave us barbeque chicken and baked potatoes and the Paniaguas gave us shepherd's pie. Our ward is so amazing. I love the people.

I feel like I am growing a lot and each day is unique and has it's challenges. I am really trying to work on feeling and teaching with the spirit. Love you all and I hope you are enjoying life.

Sister Madsen.
One day we went to visit the famous covered bridge in Hillsboro. It was neat

I didn't get many pictures that were of me and my companions but I got a lot of the beauty of  Missouri

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week Two!!

This week had been wonderful. It seems like we spend most of our time driving because our area is so big. We are constantly trying to find more people to add to our teaching pool. Each day is good, and productive. It doesn't show in our numbers but we are trying. Most of our efforts seem to go towards talking to less active members and previous potential investigators. There are some sad stories of people that we have met. I wish I could do more to help them than just to talk and visit. It made me think about how little we really do as missionaries. We are only the messengers. It is the spirit that converts and brings people back. It is the Lord's work. Not ours. I know that what I am doing is wonderful. But there are some situations where I really wish I could step in and physically help out some of these members who have fallen. It's hard when I know what they need but can't give it to them. Everyone still has their agency. We only invite them towards the gospel. It is up to them whether they will accept and act.
The members of our ward are wonderful. They are so nice and kind. Many of them have us over for dinner. This week we had three. Two of them were back to back and we ended up having the same exact meal at each house: taco soup and cornbread. haha I don't think they planned that, but it was funny. The third house we went to was gorgeous. They live on a farm on top of a hill. From each direction you can see endless hills covered in trees. It is so beautiful. They fed us home-made brats and twice-baked potatoes. Yum. Then they took us to Dairy Queen for ice cream. :)

Sunday was nice. It was the second time I went to church here and I am starting to recognize people. We had a Linger Longer after church where everyone brought food and dessert. It was yummy.

A lot of the appointments that we set up are falling through which is frustrating but we also have many set up in the next week. Hopefully we will start to see our progress in numbers. My companion and I decided to nickname our area the sleeping giant. It has so much potential and we are putting forth a lot of effort but we still haven't seen the blessings of our efforts just yet. We will keep trying and one day we will wake this giant up. We will do it!!!!

D&C 6:37 Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. 

The endless hills of tress are so pretty.

These were called the Stonehenge estates. They had this at the entrance to the neighborhood. How cool

We pass by this pretty barn a lot on our way to Hillsboro.

Oreo Cows!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes they exist. There were about 20 of them. All were black with a white stripe down their middle.

First Week in the Mission Field

Let me first start off by apologizing that I didn't get to send emails on my usual p-day. We had mission conference on Monday so our p-day was moved to Tuesday.
On October 7th, I had to wake up around 3:30 am. Yuck. We had to be at the travel office at 4:30 am. We rode a bus to the frontrunner station and took the train up north to trax. Trax then took us west to the airport. By the time we got there, the sun wasn't even up yet. It was crazy getting on and off the trains. The workers there had it down to a system helping the missionaries. We had 18 missionaries in our group. They had us get on the train as fast as we could and dump our luggage in a corner. Then they stacked up the luggage and has some of the elders ready to throw the luggage off the train as fast as possible. Kinda crazy. At the airport, checking our luggage and going through security went smoothly. Except for some reason the metal detector said I had something on my bottom. I didn't have any pockets. I was only wearing a skirt and tights. I have no idea why I would have set it off. haha oh well. they let me through anyways. The flight was about 2 and a half hours long. It wasn't too bad. I tried to get some sleep but it didn't work out too well.
We arrived in Missouri and I could instantly tell that it was humid. We met our mission president and his wife, President Morgan and Sister Morgan. They had their AP's there to help us with our luggage. We drove to the St. Louis Temple to take pictures as a group and then headed to the mission home. It was gorgeous!!!!! The sisters slept upstairs with their own beds and the Elders slept downstairs in bunk-beds. :) They gave us a wonderful home-cooked meal and let us just relax after a long day of traveling. I got to play the piano - first time in days. The Morgans were so kind to us and I really felt at home there. They seemed to go above and beyond to make that place one filled with the spirit.
The next day we had transfer meeting where the new missionaries would be assigned to their new companion and area. It was a little overwhelming and sad to leave my MTC companions but it was good. My new companion is Sister Gunter. She is so kind and a wonderful example to me of obedience. She is really helping me and encouraging me in my efforts. We are continually learning more about each other everyday.
We live about 30 miles south of St. Louis. We are in the Sandy Creek ward. Our area that we cover is huge!!!! It is about 60 miles east to west and roughly 40 miles north to south. It creates some struggle when we have to watch the amount of miles we drive every day. We don't have many people that we are teaching. The last two girls left to go home and it was really hard to try and pick up where they left off, when we don't know the area and we don't know anyone in the ward. So we are starting from the bottom. It has been a little discouraging because it seems like an impossible task to make a difference in such a big place. But our ward is great and the members are so kind and willing to help us out. I think I will grow to love the people in the ward. I will just have to take things one day at a time and keep moving forward.
Monday was Mission Conference. What a wonderful day that was. All the missionaries in the mission met together in a church building in Frontenac. There are around 240 missionaries in our mission. Elder Sitati of the Seventy came to speak to us. He is from Kenya Africa and he had a cool accent. He spoke a lot about the spirit and the need of obedience and humility in order to have the direction of the spirit. He said "The spirit will always invite us to do good." I love this because the spirit will invite us. We have the choice whether to act on it or not. and I also like that it says "to do good". The spirit will never lead us astray> If you have a good feeling, then it is the spirit. It is as simple as that. After he spake, they surprised us by saying that they had access to the new movie Meet the Mormons. We got to watch it!!! how cool!!!! I loved the movie and I highly recommend it. It was uplifting to see all the unique members of the church and how they told their unique stories. It was great.
I am continuing to grow and learn. It is a steep learning curve and it is a huge change but I know that it is for my benefit. "Good lumber doesn't grow with ease; the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees."
Me and Sister Fisher on the train to the airport.

Elder Sudbury and Sister Fisher on the plane

Look! It's Elder Spjut!!!! Grandma and Grandpa Durrant told me to look for him. He was one of the AP's. We were taking pictures at the temple and he took a selfie of himself with my camera. haha :)

Us at the temple

President and Sister Morgan. They are awesome!

The St. Louis Temple

Much of our area has curvy, small roads. They are so pretty. Its easy to get lost though

This is a unique speed bump. You actually have to drive into them with your car and they will bend. It took us forever to figure it out until a man plowed through them. We thought they were barriers at first. haha

Sister Gunter and I.