Friday, March 20, 2015

Week 23

This week went by so fast!!! Monday was great!!! It was Brother Allan's 50th Birthday. He is our ward mission leader and he is the greatest! Sister Edgel made him jell-o because we heard stories about how he would always win jell-o slurping contests. We thought it would be funny to make him jell-o. I made him a picture with the scripture "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."  Sister Edgel bought finger paints at the dollar store and so she was making pictures and I suggested she make one for Brother Allan too. We went over to his house but we felt bad because we had no idea they were having a big party. Brother Allan loved the gifts and he even had everyone join in on a jell-o slurping contest. I filmed it and it was hilarious. I wish I could send the video but I think it is too big to send :(. 

On Tuesday we went to a Bible study of a person we met tracting. His name is Brock and he invited us in the first time we met him. He has quite the story of how religion has changed his life. He didn't really take our word about the Book of Mormon but he said that he would welcome us back and even invited us to his Bible study one night. We were a little nervous but it turned out to be great. They watched a video and the shared some scriptures from the NIV version of the Bible. Sister Edgel shared some wonderful insights and everyone there was very welcoming. It was a great opportunity to meet more people. And even though we didn't share the Book of Mormon with anyone, I think this could open the doors for future miracles to happen. Before we left I gave Brock a Finding Faith in Christ DVD to add to his collections. I hope that he will one day share that video at his Bible study :). 

We picked up 5 new investigators this week! What a miracle!! One morning we made a goal to pick up 2 new investigators because we were going to have a lesson with a couple that night. But they called and canceled the appointment. We were a little sad because we were not going to achieve that goal. But Heavenly Father had a plan. We knocked on the door of Brianna who is the grand-daughter of  a less active member. She let us in and was interested in us teaching her. Her father walked in and started listening. I don't know how convinced he is and he seems a little protective of us teaching his daughter but they invited us back. We were able to achieve the goal of picking up 2 new investigators after all!! One of our other new is Shanee who is the friend of another less active member. The member is Tamela and we have frequently gone over to her house to help her and give her comfort. She is struggling with taking care of her 4 little kids. We decided just to go over the basic lessons of the gospel and Shanee joined in and we set up a return appointment. Heavenly Father was definitely guiding us this week. 

We were able to meet another less active named Rosie. She lives in a house that is in the middle of nowhere. We have tried to meet her several times but no one has ever answered the door. But she finally did. She was kind. We still don't know why she is less active but she was grateful that we visited her. Hopefully we can continue to meet with her and help her come back to church.

Saturday there was a couple that took us out to dinner. Their names are Kelly and Mark. They are a couple that Sister Edgel taught in her last area. And they really wanted to take us out to dinner. They drove to Champaign so they could meet us. We went out to Olive Garden. It was great. They bought Sister Edgel roses which was a nice surprise. 

There were so many other people that we met and so many other great stories but I just don't have the time to write them all!!! I do have one more funny story though. On Saturday we were at a missionary coordination meeting with us, the zone leaders and our ward mission leader, Brother Allan. (the zone leaders are in our ward). We usually eat lunch at Brother Allan's house while we are going over things for the meeting. We had fried rice and there were a few different sauces there if we wanted them. There was a Korean hot sauce that Brother Allan said he "inherited' from someone. He said it was super hot and her has had it for a while. Sister Edgel decided to try some because she likes hot stuff. She said it was really really hot and the elders tried a little too. I didn't though. I am a wimp when it comes to hot stuff. A few minutes later I decided to look at the label. Most of it was in Korean but there was some English too. I read the ingredients and I stopped on one that said "spirits" (aka alcohol!). I turned to sister Edgel and showed her the label. She then turned to Brother Allan and was shocked that he had never realized that the hot sauce had alcohol in it! haha we all laughed really hard. And Brother Allan immediately threw it away. It was really funny. It was an honest mistake but Sister Edgel thought it was funny that now she could say that she had alcohol on her mission at her ward mission leader's house. haha Brother Allan went off and told us about how there was a bible story about the difference between sinning and sinning in ignorance. It was so funny. 

I love you all! Good news is that it is getting warmer here. It got as hot as 60 degrees this week. I really think that this weather is bipolar. One minutes is pouring rain and the next there is not a cloud in the sky. I can say that the Midwest has the prettiest sunsets ever. I have never seen a dark red sunset before until last night. I tried to take a picture but it was too dark to pick up the colors. Love you all!!!!!!!!!
I forgot to tell you that transfer calls are coming this Saturday! I am a little nervous for what changes may be coming but most likely I will be staying in Champaign. For those who don't know how transfers work: A transfer is a period of 6 weeks. At the end of the transfer there is an opportunity that we could move to a different area, but it is highly unlikely to get moved every transfer. You usually stay in an area for at least 2 transfers if not more. On the course of my mission, i will go through about 13 transfers and about 4-5 areas. I have been in Champaign for 1 1/2 transfers (the extra 1/2 came from the emergency transfer in January). also a cool side note, our planners cover 6 weeks so it is cool to have a new planner for every transfer. I hope this is making sense. Sometimes it gets confusing. I will let you know how transfer calls go and if I will be moving or not. :) Love you all!!!!!

We had to get pie for pi day!! (march 14th = 3.14)

The sunsets here are the greatest!!!!!!!!!

Look how pretty!!!!!!! a camera doesn't do it justice

These are the gifts we made for Brother Allan for his 50th birthday. I made the quote and sister Edgel made the finger painting. :)

Sister Herdman and I on exchanges

Olive Garden with Kelly and Mark


Week 22

This week was great! There were a lot of ups and downs but still good. Monday we went to the Bishop's house for dinner and it was so good. They are such a wonderful family and we even had FHE with them. They had us play a few missionary initiation games. They were so funny. We played the Key game, and the Gorilla Game if you are familiar with them. 

Wednesday was filled with great lessons. We saw one of the recent converts Robin. She is so great. She is preparing herself to go to the temple but she is the only member in her family. She is going to the Nauvoo temple and her family is going to go to all the church history sites while she is at the temple. So cool. Her family is really supportive of her and it so great to see members of the ward fellowship her and love her. 

Thursday was exchanges! And oh what miracles did we see! I stayed in Champaign and Sister Edgel went to Springfield with Sister Berret. I was of course nervous to stay in Champaign with an STL. It was my first time staying in my area for Champaign. I also had to drive. Normally, Sister Edgel drives but on exchanges i had to drive around. I was hoping that I would be able to find my way around the area well and be on time for all the plans that we had. Sadly all of the appointments we had dropped but in their place, Heavenly Father placed so many miracles. First, I had the feeling that we should go visit a potential who was interested in family history. We parked a street over and walked over, but he wasn't there. I thought it interesting that I had a prompting to go there but nothing seemed to come of it. When we were walking back to our car, Sister Herdman decided to knock on a few doors. The first door, a man answered and immediately shut the door when he saw us. The next door a woman answered and she was happy to see us. She has an incredible story including being shot in the head and surviving. She used to be religious but had had bad experiences in the past and so she said that she would be interested in coming to our church. We also set up a return appointment! 

Another door we knocked on brought something surprising. Sister Herdman introduced who we were and the lady looked at us, then pointed to a young boy in the house and yelled, "He needs Jesus!" She seemed pretty heated up and she proceed to try and get him to come to the door and said that we needed to lay our hands on him. We tried to explain that that's not what we do. I am guessing that she expected us to drive out whatever was making the boy bad.  Luckily, the boy didn't want to come to the door so we were able to dodge that bullet. haha I don't know what we would have done if the boy did come to the door. 

The next door we knocked on, another lady told us that she would only listen to us if we would be willing to pick up a rag and start cleaning. We told her we would! She was joking but we were totally serious. We convinced her to let us help her and she invited us in. Her name is Paula. She owned a cleaning business and she was cleaning this rental house for the next people who would move in. We helped her clean for 2 hours and talked about almost all the principles of the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. It was really cool. She told us all about her life and she even had a few friends that were Mormon. At one point she was a flight attendant and she told us of stories how she used to dance in the isles of the plane with a man who had gone to BYU and had taken ballroom classes. haha I thought that was funny. She was such a nice lady and she even tried to pay us. We got her information and I gave her a Book of Mormon.  

Later we were trying to contact one of our investigators but she wasn't home. there was a man standing on his porch a few doors down and we gave him a card. No more than 10 minutes later, we get a call from an unknown number. It was the man who we met on his porch and we explained some of the basics of our beliefs. I have only had one other time where someone has actually called our phone from a card that we had handed out. I don't know if the man will ever be interested in taking the discussions, but it was a really cool moment. 

Exchanges was so great and it really increased my testimony of a few things. First, it strengthened my testimony of how the spirit works. Sometimes the spirit will prompt us to do something and it may lead us to what at first seems like a dead end. But there is something else in store. If I hadn't heeded the prompting to go to that potential's house, we never would have knocked on those doors and met those people. Second, it strengthened my testimony of how much Heavenly Father is in control. I was so worried that I wouldn't be able to handle all the stress of exchanges, but He took control and took care of everything. He provided miracles and placed people in our path. 

Saturday we had a lesson with Tommy at the church. We gave him a church tour and then had our lesson in the RS room. It was great and we talked a lot about the Book of Mormon. Sister Williamson was so great and she bore a wonderful testimony throughout the lesson. 

Church was great and there was so many great talks and lessons. Brother Allan, The ward mission leader gave a great lesson on the gathering of Israel. I loved how much detail we went into. In sacrament meeting we also had a great talk on charity. I love this ward. Unfortunately none of our investigators came to church. that was really heartbreaking because we really thought that some would show. 

On a positive note, it is starting to warm up now! I don't know if there are still some cold days in store but this next week will hopefully be as warm as the 50's. yay! thank you everyone for your support. I love reading your emails and getting letters. :) You are the best!
Pretty sunsets!

This is a rare thing in Illinois: hills. You know it's flat when the only hills that kids can sled down are the hills created by the overpasses of the freeway. haha :)

Week 21

What a wonderful week. We had less lessons with our investigators this week than we normally do but the ones that we did dhave were great and were filled with the spirit. On Monday we had a lesson with Minnie. We went through the rest of the Restoration with her. We talked about how the pure gospel has been restored. She paused for a while and asked, "Can that really exist in this world?" And without hesitation, Sister Edgel and I said in unision "Yes!" I really feel like she is beginning to understand that pure truth really exists. She is hesitant to go to church with us because she is in the habit of going to her church, but hopefully we can change that. :)

On Wednesday we had Zone Leader Training. Sister Fisher is in my new zone. She is one of my companions from the MTC. The Zone leaders did a fun object lesson. They asked for one missionary to stand in the center of the gym. They placed cups on the floor around him which represented different things about the church (temples, baptism, family, the gospel, etc). They asked the missionary to defend the cups from falling down as the two zone leaders tried to run and knock the cups down. It was impossible for the one missionary to defend all of them. They tried again and they added missionaries to help defend the cups. Eventually it took all of the missionaries to defend the cups. The last time we tried, the sisters took the cups and put them in the center. We circled around the cups and the Elders ran and tackled the zone leaders. it was quite funny and a really good object lesson. It is not enough to have just one valiant missionary trying to defend the gospel from the adversary. It takes ALL of us missionaries to defend and uphold the gospel.

Unfortunately, we had to drop on of our greatest investigators, Jonathan. We came to his house one day for an appointment, and Jonathan's father came to the door. He said that his mom told Jonathan he could meet with us no more. It was devastating to have to stop meeting with Jonathan because his mom didn't want him to. Jonathan said he loved meeting with us, and he had a wonderful testimony of Christ. I pray that God with prepare a way for him in the future to keep learning about the gospel. Sister Edgel and I were having a really hard time that day so we went and got an small ice cream cone to soften the sadness. That night was amazing though. We went with Joanna (a return missionary) to visit a less active member. Without Joanna, we wouldn't have been able to find her and we came at a perfect moment in Kylee's life. It is amazing how Heavenly Father puts people in our path and provides for us the work we need to do. 

Saturday was filled with service. We went to Monticello where they were doing a big service project. We packaged dry ingredients of rice and vegetables for families. There were a few hundred people there helping out. We were able to package nearly 100,000 meals. It was really cool. Sister Edgel and I even bought a t-shirt to be able to remember this area. That night we picked up two investigators. Dashawnique and her sister Datia (yes that is how you spell them). It was so wonderful. We meet them nearly a month ago and it was amazing how the Lord placed us in their path at the perfect moment in their lives. This night we were able to go through the entire restoration and the spirit was definitely there.

Saturday night brought a big storm which left us with a foot of snow Sunday morning. Church was cancelled and the District Leader asked us to keep our cars parked for safety. This made it a challenge to stay busy on fast Sunday but we did it. We did a lot of shoveling snow, and we were able to see some recent converts with the help of members giving us rides through the deep snow. That night we were able to have another lessons with a pretty new investigator, Bianca. We read the book of Mormon with her and her son came in and said "We have to pray!" He always likes to pray with us.

This week was definitely different and brought some sadness and challenges but it is still good. I love the sense of purpose that I feel as a missionary. I am learning how the spirit speaks to me too. it is a slow process but I am learning little by little. I love all of your support. thank you so much. The support of family and friends means so much to me. Thank You!! I love you!!!!!
Sister Edgel and I studying at our desks.

Sister Edgel parked so close to the car next to her that it made it difficult for her to get out

Me in the snow. You can see how much snow there is on our car.

This is when we got ice cream. Yum!

Sister Edgel wanted to do a snow angel


Week 20

What a cold week! And its supposed to get colder! Grrrrr. I am not looking forward to it but I will survive. This week has given me more things to add to my list of reasons I won't live in Illinois. It is so much colder here. I thought I knew what cold was, but I was wrong. The humidity here makes everything so much colder. 

Tuesday we visited Virginia. She is doing well, but her health is not helping her. :( She is still going strong and I love hearing her testimony. We got to see Jonathan that day too. We tried to help him understand the idea of baptism with proper authority. He has already been baptized and loved his experience and with the language barrier, it makes it harder to help him understand. We had dinner with the bishop's family which was wonderful.

Wednesday we finally took a day off for Sister Edgel. She had been sick for the past week and she hasn't really done anything for her health. I think Heavenly Father really provided a way for her to get better. Our appointment for Tuesday night as well as Wednesday morning cancelled on us and we weren't able to makes solid plans for Wednesday. I am so glad that we were able to find time for her to rest. While she slept in, I still went through the normal morning schedule, and i organized the whole member area book which felt good to get done. I was able to clean a lot and I enjoyed reading and studying more. It was really good. And now Sister Edgel is doing much better. Surprisingly I have been able to stay away form getting sick. I hope that it stays that way. 

We were able to meet with Jonathan again and it was a wonderful lesson. He said that he wants to get baptized! We told him that he has to come to church for at least three weeks and he misunderstood and thought that he could get baptized after three days. it was funny. His parents go to a different church and so I hope that we can help him come to our church. He is 18 and a Junior in high school with no car or driver's licence since he is from the Congo. He didn't come to church this week. It is also hard to talk to his parents because they are never really home. We have no idea how his parents are taking us meeting with him. They speak even less English than Jonathan so when we do see them it is hard to really get to know them . i hope that we can help  Jonathan come to church and really help him progress. 

We picked up a new investigator this week! It was great! We had met Bianca tracting and she was a little interested. She recently moved here and is looking for a church for her children. We were able to teach her the Restoration and give her a book for Mormon. I really hope that she keeps her commitments and that we can continue teaching her. her story is quite amazing and she is so nice. 

On Friday we went to visit a recent convert, Indea, that moved into our ward. When we went to go visit her though we found out that she was in the hospital. She has multiple health issues. We went to the hospital and we felt so out of place. We didn't' know where we were going and it was so quite. We eventually found her though and talked to her for a little while. Hearing about her story really touched me. She has been through so much that I could never even imagine going through. I think it was Heavenly Father's way of helping me realized how blessed I am and how wonderful my life really is. I truly feel blessed to have this gospel in my life. I am fortunate enough to have grown up in the gospel so I didn't have to search very far to find the truth. 

Saturday, our cars had to be parked in the morning. Every once in a while the District Leader will tell us that we can't drive our cars because of weather conditions and for safety. But we still wanted to do missionary work so we walked. and walked and walked. Sister Edgel had a shovel in her hand and I had a car scraper in my hand. We decided to shovel Virginia's drive way, but when we got there it had already been done. We had walked for about an hour in a foot of snow to get there to find out that Brother Allan had already done it. haha We were on our way to the Allan's house for the Missionary Coordination meeting when we got the message that we could drive our cars. It would have taken us another 40 minutes to walk back home so we just walked to the meeting instead. Brother Allan joked telling us that he saw us walking that morning. After the meeting, Joanna, his daughter, drove us home. Later that day we visited Robin, a recent, convert, who is preparing to go to the temple. We watched Mountain of the Lord with her and it was really great. 

Sunday was great as always. I love being able to go to church and be surrounded by great members. We had dinner at the Goodrich's home and they had a yummy dessert called earthquake cake. I really liked it. This week has been good even though it was a little slower than the past weeks. I am still so grateful that I can do this missionary work. it truly is a blessing. Love you all!!!!!

"Consecration is the only surrender that is also a victory" -Neal A. Maxwell

Week 19

This week has been a little slower but it is to be expected with the wonderful week we had last time. On Tuesday we were able to go to the family history center and help a non-member start their own family history. I think it was a great way to introduce someone to the gospel. It was a really positive experience. We also taught Virginia, one of the recent converts. We are going through the recent convert lessons, and today, it was about the Priesthood, relief Society and callings. We watched one of the church videos called "Only a Stonecutter". It was a great video. We thought it would be good too because in the video the main character has one foot and Virginia only has one foot too. :)It was a great lesson filled with the spirit. Later that day we had Jamie, one of the Laurels, come out with us. She is thinking about going on a mission. We decided to go tracting and we ended up meeting a man who let us in and we taught the whole entire Restoration. It was really cool. He pretty much told his whole life story and about how God has been a huge part throughout the things he has gone through. It was incredible the things that he has been through to get to where he is. He was hesitant with out message but he was willing to let us back. I hope that his heart will continue to be prepared when we go back.

 It seems like when people look at our black tag, they don't see our name with the Savior's name. To some, it says, "Tell me your whole life story and all the things you have done in your life." it is kind of crazy the things we know about people simply because we are missionaries. As a normal person, there would be no way to know those things, but having that black tag opens people up.

Wednesday, we taught Tommy! it was really cool. He is well versed in other religions and has even read the Koran. he was open to what we had to say but of course is skeptical. We were able to go through the whole Restoration and invited him to be baptized if he learned for himself if these things were true. He said that it would take some serious study, but he did say that IF he really did believe the Book of Mormon was true, then he would get baptized. he told us that when we knocked on his door the first time, he had been praying about 30 minutes prior. I asked him what he had been praying for. he said that he was praying for strength and direction. I know that it was no coincidence that we knocked on his door minutes after his prayer. Unfortunately he didn't come to church like he said he would but I still have hope. I think that the people who are more skeptical and cautious are in the long run, more solid in committing to being baptized. Of course we always love and look for those who accept the gospel without question. But it is still amazing to be a part of a bigger and slower change like I hope Tommy will be. 

District Meeting was really great. My new district will be great. Sister Edgel and I are the only sisters now though. Our new Zone Leader is Elder Moore. He was my District leader in my last area so it seems funny that he is now my Zone Leader. Small world. We went to Buffalo Wild Wings for District Lunch and it was kind of overwhelming. Their restaurants are lined with massive televisions around every wall. I wasn't a huge fan with the bombardment of worldly advertisement but we were able to meet a member who worked there. Her name is Gabby and she is thinking of serving a mission. we got her information and we hope to include her in future lessons. 

Saturday was filled with delivering Valentine's to people. We didn't have really any appointments which is not surprising since it was Valentine's Day. A couple days earlier we made a bunch of Valentine's with Joanna (The ward mission leader's daughter). She is a return missionary and has helped us so much  with lessons. We were able to make a bunch of Valentine's which gave us an excuse to see certain people that we normally don't see. 

We also had a coordination meeting with the Zone leaders and our ward mission Leader, Brother Allan. He is so awesome. Their whole family is the kindest people I have ever met. It seems like they are people who truly know what is means to consecrate their lives to the gospel. I love them. 

Sunday was great. I gave a talk on the importance of missionary work and the Atonement. After the first speakers were done, i was left with about 25 minutes to speak. i was super nervous but it all worked out. People came up to me afterward and thanked me for my talk. They said that i had this peaceful power when I spoke. I never really thought I talk like that but it was really nice to think that others were touched with what i say. I love the members. 

That night we went to visit a potential, Dashawnique (yes that is how you spell it). We knocked on her door a couple weeks ago and she was kind. The second time we found out that just a few hours prior, her sister had committed suicide. We have kept in touch since then and even Heart attacked their door (We cut a bunch of hearts out and wrote uplifting quotes and scriptures on them and then tapped them to their door). last night we were able to talk to them about the basics of the gospel and even the Book of Mormon a little. It was really cool to look back and see the relationship of trust that we have been able to build with them by just being caring and reaching out to them in love. I hope that we get to really teach them in detail and who knows where it will go. :)

This week was wonderful and I an trying to stay warm. i love you ALL!!! I hope that you had a wonderful Valentine's Day. 

John 3:16 - For God so LOVED the world that He gave his only begotten Son.

Week 18

This week has been great!!! We got transfer calls on Saturday and Sister Edgel and I are staying together in Champaign! The way that transfers work is that each transfer is 6 weeks long and so every 6 weeks there is a possibility that we could be moved to a different area although it is unlikely. These next 6 weeks will be my 4th transfer and still my 2nd area. (My first was Sandy Creek in St. Louis). I was so happy to find that Sister Edgel and I were staying together because we lost 20 missionaries going home this transfer and so we only have 208 missionaries in the mission right now and it will continue to go down. The surge of missionaries when the changed the age limit is finally leveling out and so we are going to lose a lot of missionaries and not be getting very many in. 

It is also exciting that we are staying because we saw such a huge miracle just last night. We picked up 2 new investigators within and hour of each other!!!!!! WOW!!!! We met them both while tracting: Havier and Tommy. Havier is a student and he really wants to strengthen relationship with God. Tommy is  a little different. He grew up with many different religions in his life. He has studied SO many over the years and we suggested he go to and check it out. When we came back last night he said that we had started a little fire in him and he couldn't stop researching until he went to bed. Unfortunately he visited all the websites pertaining to Mormons, both the good and the bad. He learned about each extreme of our religion, but he is still very honest and desirous to learn more. We told him that instead of going to the internet for information he should go to the source (This is where we gave him a Book of Mormon :) ). He said he would read and he was to come to church and see what it is like. I'm sure that when we come again he will pound us with questions. He is very educated about religions but also respectful about different religions. I am so excited and nervous to teach him. I hope that things will turn out well. Before we left he said that the first day we met him, we was praying and about 20 minutes later we knocked on the door. I hope that he realizes that we were an answer to his prayer. :)

Another great moment was teaching Virginia. She is a recent convert who is preparing to go to the temple. We showed her the video: The Mountain of the Lord and she basically cried the whole time. It was so wonderful. I love her desire to follow this gospel. She is so strong. Her testimony and desire really strengthens my testimony of the divinity of this work and the blessings of this gospel. It is amazing that I have grown so much even in these past few months. Even if I don't end up seeing anyone get baptized, I will have strengthened my desire to embrace this gospel so much more, as well as my commitment to the glorious blessings that await those who live it. This gospel is the best!!!

ANother miracle we saw was on Monday. We decided to go to the mall because we had some gifts that we watned to exchange. I had some earrings to exchange and with the sale that was going on, I ended up getting three times the amount of jewelry for only 50 cents! Haha it was great. I went in intending to spend a little money but I only spent a little. So then we decided to go to Panera Bread for lunch and again, we didn't spend money. We walked in and couple walked up to us saying that they wanted to treat us for lunch. They made us buy the whole shebang. They even bought us a loaf of bread to take home. It is so wonderful to find those who make your day bright. 

So many miracles. SO much love. Heavenly Father IS watching over us and He knows what we desire. He is the greatest. This gospel is what will bring us joy.
free chair (from the email last week)

The sweet couple who bought us Panera Bread

Our District: me, Sister Edgel, Sister Webb, Sister Schwenke, Elder Rose (I went to high school with him), Elder Randall

Sister Edgel slipped and fell while there was freezing rain. This is the mark she left on the ground haha :)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 17

This week has been wonderful! There have been some great adventures. On Monday there was some freezing rain. I never knew what it was until I came to the midwest. It feels like mist but when it touches the ground it instantly freezes, so there is a layer of ice on every surface. We went tracting after p-day and we were laughing at each other as we shuffled across the icy sidewalks. We stayed warm and I didn't fall, but Sister Edgel did once. We had fun.

Tuesday was great. We got to teach Ananayanee (Thai) and Minnie. Ananyanee was great as always. I love the desire that she has to learn about the gospel. It is so interesting trying to teach someone about Jesus when they don't have a Christian background. She is so wonderful. We also taught Minnie. She is an older lady who recently lost her husband. We has been encouraging her and just trying to lift her up through this hard time. We haven't been pressing the gospel on her but we were able to go through the first half of the Restoration in detail. I love her so much. She was worried one day because there was a crash near her neighborhood and she thought we were involved. She told us how she prayed so much for us not to be hurt because she knew she needed us and she couldn't bear the thought that we wouldn't be able to come to her house. We came the next night and she was overjoyed to see us and find out that we were not involved in the crash. We also got to visit the activity day girls and help with one of their lessons. Afterward, the Holmes asked us if we had a dinner appointment, we didn't and so they ended up feeding us too! We had breakfast for dinner. It was great!

Wednesday we got to visit one of our recent converts, Robin. She works at the police station (the same one mentioned in the last email). It's funny how everyone who works there knows who we are. We taught her more about the gospel of Jesus Christ. And she told us how she is trying to share the gospel with her family. I encouraged her to read "Our search for Happiness." If you haven't read it. Please do!! It is only about 100 pages long but it is sooooo good.

Thursday was filled with appointments. We visited another one of our recent converts, Virginia. She is the best. She only has one foot, so she rolls around in a wheelchair. She gives us the biggest bear hugs when we see her. She says she is always afraid she will break me in half because I am so tiny. :) haha. She has the greatest testimony and she is so strong in the gospel. She has been called to teach in primary and she loves it!

Friday we had District Meeting. We usually have it on Thursdays but we had to move it. I gave a training on conversion and I also did a musical number. I was a little stressed with all the preparation I had to do, but it went well. I am glad that I have had opportunities to share my talents because I know they will grow if I share them. I also received the belated birthday presents and cards. Thanks everyone for the letters :) That night we had dinner with the bishop and his family.

Saturday morning we had a meeting with Brother Allan, our Ward Mission Leader. He is the greatest. Partly because I love his first name, Kingsley. haha I think it is really cool name. He is also so hard working and helps us so much with our missionary work. We met in his home with the zone leaders and whet through our past lessons and talked about plans and stuff. His daughter made us lunch and they let me play the piano after the meeting. They brought out a bunch of their music and let me play. One of the songs I played was one of Sister Allan's favorites and she was so excited to hear me play it. :) Joanna, their daughter even made some copies of the music that I love. Their whole family is so great. I love them all. Later that day we did some tracting and I had one of the funniest replies at the door. A man came to the door and I introduced ourselves and told him how we are sharing a message about the strength that can come into our lives as we follow Jesus Christ. His reply was this: "That is a very true statement, but I'm going to go back to my peanut butter sandwich." And he closed the door. I have never had that response before and I thought it was so funny.

Sunday was great but is started off strange. At 5 am, we were woken up by our smoke alarm. We didn't see any smoke but we put on our shoes and coats and walked outside our door to find that our alarm was the only one that was going off. None of the other apartments in the hallway were affected. We were confused so we went back inside and turned it off. We thought maybe is was a carbon monoxide warning instead. But it kept going off every 20 minutes. We struggled to get it off the ceiling to try and fix it. We called our district leader as well as one of our mission leaders.We thought is was a faulty detector and we finally got a hold of the maintenance people to come check it out. They came at 6am and we sat in the hallway while they ran tests in our apartment so we could get some fresh air if it really was CO. We were so tired and frustrated at that smoke alarm. Turns out that it was faulty and they replaced the alarm for free. It was a hard start to fast Sunday but we survived. Testimony meeting was wonderful and all four of us missionaries shared our testimonies. The other 2 hours of church were cancelled because of weather conditions. We were able to meet with Tamela one of the less active members. We came at a time where there was some crazy things going on and stressing her out but she let us in. By the end, she was smiling and her kids were quiet. You could definitely feel the spirit change as we met with her. It was great.

When we came home there was a tender mercy waiting for us. There was a chair at the bottom of the staircase of our apartment building with a note on it saying "FREE CHAIR please take to a good home" These past 2 weeks, i have been using one of the hard kitchen chairs as my study chair. I didn't mind it and we had nothing else to use. But I was so happy to find a nicer rolly chair waiting for me that night. I felt like it was Heavenly Father's way of saying "You're doing a good job. Here's a cookie (or rather a chair)." A new chair was not something I needed or even praying for. But I knew it was a way of Heavenly Father letting me know He was looking our for me. Little things like that make the days great.

I love seeing the little things in life. Sister Edgel likes to say there are 3 kinds of angels: The kind of angels that warn of danger, the kind that bring good news, and the kind that save sister missionaries when they slip on ice. She says that she keeps the 3rd kind of angel very busy. :) And now I can also say there are angels that give you a comfy chair for studying in. :) i love the tender mercies of the Lord. Your life will be much more enjoyable if you look for the small things that give you joy! Love you all!!!!

Week 16

This week has been great. It has been a challenge adjusting to the new area. But I am loving it at the same time. Many of our investigators do not speak English as their first language. We are teaching people who speak Spanish, French and Thai. It is so neat to teach them. There are members who are so amazing who come with us to lessons and help translate and break the language barrier. I realize while teaching these people that the spirit is so important. There is no way that we would ever be able to get our message across without the help of the spirit.

Maria (Spanish) She has struggled with starting to read the Book of Mormon. We had Adrienne, on of the young women, come with us because she speaks Spanish and helped us translate. She is great! In the lesson we started reading the Book of Mormon with Maria and I think she really felt the spirit. She told us how it is very similar to the Bible in the way she feels when she reads. I really hope that she will start to read on her own and feel the spirit testifying to her that it is true.

Ananyanee (Thai) Her husband is a member and she has come to church for a while but without a Christian background, there are so many things that she doesn't understand. We have been going over the restoration with her very slowly. We teach her by using the pamphlets in Thai (which a member found for us and printed out), and the pamphlets in english. We also use a lot of pictures and try to explain things to her in very simple terms. It is really neat to hear her responses when we teach. It was also really challenging to try and explain to her who Jesus is. Hopefully we will continue to help her understand.

Johnathan (French) He has such a strong testimony of his Savior. He loves anything that talks about Him. He is only 18 years old, but it seems he has gone through many things that have strengthened his testimony first-hand about Jesus Christ. We read the Book of Mormon with him in our last lesson and it was so good. We would read in English and he would follow along in his French Book of Mormon. Then he would repeat back in his broken English what was happening in the book. I love teaching him because he knows the routine of our lessons. He even asked if we could start with a prayer before the lesson. :) We asked him to pray to know about the Book of Mormon and if it was true. He said he already believes it is true because it talks about Jesus Christ. He is great.

Exchanges were great. I went to Springfield Illinois with Sister Berret. I can't believe at how much they love Abraham Lincoln there. There are really cool murals painted on the side of buildings of him. There is also a neat museum there with his tomb. I didn't get to go there but I heard cool things about it.

I have also come to love the members in this ward. I feel so welcomed and I always feel at home when I am with them. On our way back from exchanges we met at a gas station so we could swap companions again. i was putting my luggage in the trunk and I noticed there was a lot of food in the back seat. I asked sister Edgel where it came from and she said that a Sister Price just decided to make us dinner that day but she had to give it to us that morning because she was going to be busy later that day. She had given us a crock-pot full of 6 chicken breasts, 9 rolls, a huge bowl of salad, a whole bottle of salad dressing, and a big jar of applesauce. We felt silly driving around with all that food. On our long drive back to Champaign, we were getting really hungry. We stopped in Monticello and decided to eat some of the food. Brother Carter is the chief policeman there and he offered to let us eat at the station so we didn't have to eat in the car. I never thought that the first time I would step into a police department would be as a missionary carrying in a plate full of food and eating it in their back room. haha it was so crazy. then later that night we were out with a member, Joanna, trying to see some people but our appointments fell through. We needed to make some phone calls and she offered to let us do it at her home so we wouldn't have to sit in our cold car to do it. Her dad is the Ward Mission leader. We went into their home and we were able to make all of the phone calls. Joanna made us hot chocolate and I even got to play the piano. She even made some copies of the music I liked. The members here are the greatest. I love them. and they do so much for us. There are many more examples of how wonderful the members are and how much they sacrifice to help us in this missionary work.

Cool fact of the day: The Stake President is President Bednar! Yes he is the son of Elder Bednar and he looks just like his dad. He was visiting our ward as stake president this past sunday. I didn't get to meet him but it was neat to see Elder Bednar's son.

Love you all!! You are the greatest. I am sorry but I don't have pictures to send this week. I sent so many last week that I took a break from taking so many. I love you all.

Here is my address if you missed it from last week:
2503 W Springfield Ave Apt. G6
Champaign, Illinois 61821

The ice pond . . . .

It looks like water but I was standing 2 feet from the wheel and it felt like I was standing on solid ice

Me and Sister Haefner one of the ward missionaries. I love her!

I bought this for my birthday from Bread Co. It is called a bear claw. Sooooooo yummy!!

At zone conference I wanted one last picture of my district after I found out that I would be leaving. I love these missionaries!!

One last picture with the Newman Family. They are from Riverton!!!!! Small world!

Sister Cox and I. She is the Relief Society President and is the one that took me out to dinner on my birthday. :)

This is the map of our area. Sister Gunter is pointing to our home way in the corner.

T-shirts that we made together. They look backwards because we took the picture in the mirror. They say MSLM (Missouri St. Louis Mission)

Week 15- The Most Adventurous Week Yet

Hold on to your seats because this week has been SO crazy.

Monday: Sisters P-day! YAY! We went to the Gateway Arch which was so fun. I loved it. They have a really cool museum underneath and a cute gift shop. We even went up to the top as well. You get into this small pod that barely fits 5 people and it's about a 10 minute ride to the top. The small pod tilts back and forth to fit through the tight curves of the arch. It was really neat. At the top they have small windows you can look out to see the skyline. So fun.

Later that day we hit a fox! It was so sad. We saw a squirrel run into the road and then it got away before we hit it but we had no idea that a fox was chasing it. We ran straight into it! We heard the thud of it hitting the car and we thought we killed it but then we heard a cry underneath our car followed by another thud as it got unstuck. We stopped the car but we could not find the fox. Our grill was popped out of place. We were so sad. It was really hard on Sister Gunter. She was devastated about it but she is doing better now.

Tuesday: We picked up a new investigator yay! It was a really neat experience and the spirit was really there. She has such a strong desire to really know the Book of Mormon. I pray that she will feel the spirit as she studies.

Later on Tuesday we got stuck in an ice pond. haha We were trying to contact a less active member in a trailer park. Many of these parks do not have roads that are taken care of very well. We came to a part that looked like there was some ice that we could drive through but we had no idea that it was actually several feet deep! We didn't get very far. Only our front of the car got stuck. The ice covered about half of the tires and it was enough to where the car would not more an inch. We thought hitting the fox was bad enough. haha. We called some members who we knew had a big truck. We ended up waiting over an hour by the time Brother Bradley had a chance to come tow us out. He just laughed at us and he was very surprised at the mess we got ourselves into. There was no real damage to the car at all. It runs fine.

Wednesday: My 21st Birthday! Horray! Sister Gunter gave me a sweet card. During lunch this old man came out to our car thinking that our car was having troubles but we were just eating lunch. he invited us into his house asking if any of us played the piano. I told him I did and I played his old piano for about a while. It was a great way that we were able to talk to him. I hope Sister Gunter gets to go back and see if he is interested in the lessons. Sister Cox took us out to dinner and we went to the St. Louis Bread Co. (Panera Bread). It is the mid-west equivalent of Kneader's, but better. It was soooo good.

Thursday: Zone Conference! What a great Conference. I learned so much and it was a day filled with the spirit. We learned a lot from President and Sister Morgan as well as our District Leaders, Zone Leaders, and STLs. The fed us lunch and Sister Huppi and Sister Heaps took me and Sister Gunter into a room. They had news to tell us that there was going to be an emergency transfer and that I would be leaving. I did not see this coming. They told me I had to be packed and at the mission home by 1pm the next day. Apparently one of the sisters has some circumstances in which she needs to be closer to St. Louis. So I would be taking her place in Champaign Illinois.

Friday: Ever since the news I was so nervous. I was sad that I wasn't going to be able to say good bye to many of the members because I have gotten so close to them the past months. Packing in less than 24 hours was crazy too. Sister Gunter and I were so sad to be separating but I knew that President Morgan knew that it was needed. We went to the Mission home and waited for the other sister to arrive. President and Sister Morgan assured us that this change was not because any missionary had been disobedient or and situations that were unsafe. There were just circumstances that required this change and I was the one chosen to be a part of it. My new companion is Sister Edgel from Las Vegas. The car ride to Illinois was 3 hours long. I am now part of the Mohamet ward in Chanpagin Illinois.

My new address is:
2503 W Springfield Ave apt. G6
Champaign, IL 61821

I was very nervous but I got through the day. The first lesson we had together as a new companionship was with this man named Johnathan. He is from the Congo and his first language is French. I noticed that through all this stressful changes and anxiety, I found peace and comfort in teaching the gospel and bearing my testimony. It seemed the only thing that I could rely on through all the changes. It was also amazing to hear Johnathan's testimony of the Savior. He stumbles with the English language but one of my favorite things that he said was "Jesus . . . . is awesome!" He knew that the Savior was an important part of his life. It was so neat to hear him talk about Jesus with such enthusiasm even though I hardly know him.

There have been some hard adjustments but I am doing a lot better know. The ward welcomed me warmly on Sunday and I really like this area. It is very flat. so flat and so different from my Sandy Creek. I am looking forward to finding what I can do for this new area. I know that there are miracles waiting to happen. thank you for all of your love and support. Love you all!!

"Good timber doesn't grow with ease. The stronger the wind, the stronger the trees."

Sister Gunter and I near the Arch

So pretty.

Someone had scratched "Elder" into the side of the arch.

 This is the door to the pod to go up to the top. It is about 4 feet tall and only a couple feet wide.

This is the west side of the arch

Sister Gunter looking out one of the small windows.

These are some of the sisters in our zone

Sister Gunter and I

You can see the shadow of the arch over the Mississippi River.

Week 14- The Cold Comes

This week has been better. We are still trying to find. Teaching is hard when you have not one to teach. But we keep trying and we are trying to rely on the Lord and what He wants for this area. it has also gotten a lot colder. There are some nights where it gets close to 0 degrees. There are not many snow storms but I have heard that they do get ice storms. I am not looking forward to those.

We did meet with a less-active member, Sister Onanian. At first she didn't want any visits from the missionaries but we decided to go over anyway. And now she said that she really enjoys our company. I hope that we will continue to meet with her so that we can soften her heart and bring her back to church. She is a wonderful lady.
We have seen some miracles happen though. On Saturday, we had some appointments scheduled but the all calcelled in the morning so we decided to go spend some time on the border of our area since we don't go there too often. We decided to drop by Holly's apartment since we haven't heard anything from her in the past month. We knocked on her door and she was literally just moving back into her apartment for the next semester of school. It was perfect timing and she was happy to see us. She came to church the next day and we were able to pick her up as an investigator again. The Warmbrodts even invited us to their house for lunch and we watched the Resoration DVD with Holly at their house. And of course the lunch was amazing. If those appointments had not cancelled, we would have never gone out to that part of our area and found Holly again.
We went to the Cox's for dinner one night and we made homemade pizzas. they were so good and I put lots of mushrooms on mine :). Sister Cox is the Relief Society President and she is so great at cooking homemade food. She had taught me a lot. I have a few recipes from her that I am excited to take home with me.
I am also grateful for the Bradley Family. They had us over for dinner and invited one of their friends so that we might be able to teach him. It sounds like he wants to learn more so it will be great if we can pick him up this week.
This next week will be great and I am excited to spend my 21st Birthday in Missouri. I never thought that I would be in Missouri for my birthday but I know that it will be great. If you have sent anything this past week to the mission office, it may be held there. We will be having zone conference this week so they sometimes save the packages and give them out during the conference so it saves time and travel. Thank you for all your support. Love you!
D&C 64:33 "Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great."

Week 13

Well my trainer and I are staying together for another transfer. We are excited to see the miracles that will happen. This week has been good. But our numbers are probably that worst that we have ever had so far. Due to the holiday season, we have had to drop nearly all of our investigators except for 1. I hope that we will be able to pick them back up again but until then, we tract. Yes lots of tracting. We spent three days this week tracting. We went through 2 entire mobile home parks and filled up two pages in our planners of potential investigators. That's nearly 40 people who we could possibly teach. One such girl was Aimee. She let us into her home and we were able to teach her the restoration to her right there! It was amazing. She said that she wanted to be baptized but hasn't done so because none of the churches she has studies seems right. She was really interested in what we talked about and the spirit was definitely there during the lesson. I loved it. I really hope that we can continue meeting with her. It seems like whenever we get new investigators we can't get past the first two lessons before they disappear. I know that finding her was definitely a blessing. I know that Heavenly Father has shown us where to go and because of our diligence, we have been able to find a lot of people.
Sunday was great. The testimonies that were shared were great and we even went to a members house to break the fast. They invited a lot of members so it was great being able to spend more time with them after church. We met this one lady who I hope I never forget. Her name is Sister Lindsey and she is a new convert to the church. She is probably in her 50s or 60s. She gravitated to us missionaries like a lot of recent converts do and she told us her story. I don't think that I have ever met someone who genuinely cherishes the gospel as much as she does. It made me realize that those of us who grow up in the church take for granted the wonderful message that the gospel brings. I loved talking to her. And I hope one day that I will love the gospel as much as she does.
My New Years was great. We had dinner with a member but we went to bed long before the celebrations happened. As a missionary you learn to love your sleep no matter the holiday.
Happy New Year! Love you all.
D&C 50:24 That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.
Keep learning and seeking for light. We don't have to know everything now. But God will help us grow and learn the more we seek after the light.