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.