Monday, May 13, 2013

Last email ever apparently

Long time, no chat :) P-day just got moved next week because of the holiday, so I think this is it for me, last p-day. And my last email is one of those awkward emails where I just talked to you yesterday so no one emailed me and I have nothing new to say hahaha sorry bout that.... Well, this was a really good week! Tina's kids started sitting in on the lessons, which we're so excited about. Mikey is 11 and he's very hesitant about it all because his mom (Tina's his step-mom) is Native and so he agrees with Native beliefs, but he listened closely and had great questions and took it all really well. Tatum, the 7 year old, loves everything we share and eats it all up. Her mom is already starting to try to prepare her to be baptized when she turns 8 in November. She had the best questions about the plan of Salvation as well, like "So in the Spirit World when people from the Spirit Paradise come teach people in Spirit Prison about the gospel, are like the king and queen of the Spirit Prison mad at the missionaries and try to kick them out and keep people from leaving?" and "If we die, and the body goes to the ground, and the spirit moves on, and the bury the person, but then in a few hours the spirit comes back and the person isn't dead, then what? Would you like go to jail for pretending to be dead or would they for burying someone not dead?" and "So if you take your insides, like let's say you die and we put your lungs in someone else, do they get part of your spirit in them too? How do they have 2 spirits in one body if that happens?" HAHAHA! She really did make me think though about the Spirit Prison, if people don't want others to accept the gospel and try to convince people to stay. After all, we have our same spirits, and you can see that happening all the time on Earth. Not sure...But we explained there's no king and queen of the spirit world, as far as I've heard hahaha. We had exchanges with the Hermanas, like I told you. It was pretty hilarious because Sister Fisher freaked everyone out that she saw because they all thought I'd gone home and they'd missed me haha bonus is now we have a hundred meal appointments this week because everyone wants to say bye. Going to Kitchener was really fun, it's different working in a big city. Sister Fisher and I have some insanely high goals this week and are so excited about them. We're gonna triple our member present lessons from last week! My mission president told me one week his last transfer he and his companion set high goals and tried to do everything because there was nothing to lose, and I've been trying to take that to heart and just go for things and try things without worrying about failing. Faith is the opposite of fear, and faith yields miracles, so I'm going to just throw my fear out the window and have a miraculous week. Love you all. So good to talk to you all yesterday! I'll talk to ya real soon :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Stake Conference and Sunshine

Sorry, I have like 5 minutes to write today. But i'll skype with ya in less than a week, so I'm not feeling too guilty.

This week was stake conference, which was awesome because it was 100% about missionary work. We all had to sit on the stand and sing the first verse of called to serve, then the RMs joined in the second, then everyone sang the whole song again together. The Stake President challenged everyone to set a date to introduce someone to the gospel, so we now have an excuse to ask every single member what their date is and how we can help them. YES!

Oh Mom, remind me sometime to tell you about Sister Scott's talk about thoughts at zone conference. It goes so perfect with what you said. Basically she told us we completely control our thoughts and need to have only faith filled thoughts so our minds become a holy place. She read a TON of scriptures about it and told us to read Alma 36 and just pay attention to the role of thoughts, which was awesome to do.
Tina may be perfect, seriously. ADORE HER. She basically bore her testimony to us about everything this week and always says "I just want to get baptized!!" Her 7 year old daughter Tatum is becoming my best friend too, love her too stinking much. She sits by me every time we come over and drew me this GIANT picture.

We set a baptismal date with one of the part member families we've been teaching, Nick. It was a hilarious lesson because he's so scientific so he answers everything different. We taught the plan of salvation and Sister Fisher asked "which sounds like where you'd want to live, the sun, the moon, or the stars?" We got a mini lecture on how the stars are the best answer because of their warmth and brightness and variety, and then he said "the moon is just a mystery to me..." Which rather than address we completely ignored and moved on. We asked him to say the closing prayer, and at first he didn't want to but he agreed and said "Saying it out loud is probably good anyways because of the vibrations in the air. The universe knows our language, you know, so the universe responds to positive words...." ....Okay....whatever works...?

It was kind of a weird week with all the meetings, but so good. IT'S FINALLY WARM. I got a sunburn and everything :) I'm dying over the amazing spring they get here, the dandylions are my favoite thing and as Sister Fisher says "the trees are growing hair! they aren't bald!" hahaha

Love you all! Talk to you on Sunday!

PS--I forgot the best story!

So turns out, my companions LOVE me.

I got my travel plans at zone training this Friday, and Sister Sorensen teases me EVERY DAY by telling me how long I have left. So she wanted to see my travel plans and took them and read them pretty much before I did. So I turned around for a second to talk to someone, and then turn back to find her staring at me BAWLING. She just cried and said "I can't believe you're going home! You can't go home! I can't serve without you!" HAHAHAHA it was so unexpected I could not stop laughing at her. Ever since she sits by me in everything and has basically made herself my companion again lol poor thing. Love her.

Anyways, have a grand week!

Monday, April 29, 2013

You're here to learn character...

Hey family! Sorry emails keep coming later and later....p-days are getting increasingly insane. At least we have a car this week!

 So yesterday was zone conference with Elder Paul Johnson of the 70, which was fantastic le duh. He basically talked about commitments as a missionary- why we invite others to make and keep them, and the importance of keeping them ourselves. He drew a line at a 45 degree angle going up and explained how that line is like our progression and while we're all at different points of the line and thus taking different steps- or keeping different commitments- the principle is the same. We all only learn spiritual things and develop by acting and obediently taking the next step. No one step of obedience can be skipped, we can't move forward until we take it. So if we're talking about the gospel we never progress, no matter how much it seems we are. Only action moves us forward. Thinking about it is good, talking about it is nice, but only doing it produces results in our investigators and results in us. If someone isn't acting, there's no point in another lesson. We need to properly teach them HOW TO ACT and then let them do it. Other good lesson: "Don't be weird. You're here to learn character, not be a character." True Doctrine, Elder.

So wonderful Peggy Lynn came to church this week! She had to leave right after sacrament meeting because her back was killing her, but she loved it. Tina couldn't come because her fiancee and step-son were running in a race that morning- but she did fast and is doing AMAZING! She told us the coolest thing this week. A while ago I asked her if she thought her fiancee had noticed a change in her since she started learning the gospel. She told me on Friday (over all you can eat sushi-I love that woman!!) that she had asked him that about a week ago, and he had called her the day before and told her he'd been thinking about it and couldn't explain it but there was a different feel in the house. The kids were better behaved, she was happier, and the home was just better. She was SO excited he could feel the Spirit!

I think that's my life......I love you all! Talk to yous in a week!

Pictures of the week:

With Sister Scott and Sister Johnson

The Brantford Sisters

Some of my favorite people in Ontario


Monday, April 22, 2013

Love from Canada

Morning loves- (my new favorite member of the ward is from England and calls us love haha) You live in Utah now! Weird! Haha glad to hear you are taking advantage of seeing everyone though. I hope you're all planning the giant get together party for me once I'm home! If anyone has requests you better send them now- I'm already planning on bringing Cobe ketchup chips as requested a year and a half ago, but if the cousins want anything else please let me know. Guess what? I got snowed on this week too! I hate winter. And it's not even winter anymore! Still, I can't complain- Sister Fisher has been having the coldest experience of her life and it's never even gone below freezing. I love happy faith-filled companions- the area has started TAKING OFF! I know SIster Von Niederhausern and I did alot to lay the ground work for now, but I know that's Sister Fisher's never ending faith is the cause of the current success. One of our new investigators from last week we've dropped, but the other is Peggy-Lynn and she's the SWEETEST woman and we saw her almost every day this week. We do some service for her because she has health issues and she stinking loves us, she told us she knows God sent us. The actually teaching is going slowly but really well, she's gone from saying she'll never convert or come to church to asking us to arrange her a ride for next week. We met her because she's renting her basement to a referal, Phillip. We're now teaching Phillip, Peggy-Lynn, and her friend Mary Anne, and her sister in law Mary Lou sat in once and her fiancee is thinking about sitting in. Best house in Brantford haha! Have I mentioned Tina is PERFECT!? I LOVE her, I can't even explain how great she is. She's so excited we have fast Sunday next week instead of in May due to stake conference because she's so excited to fast. She's still working so hard to figure out how to change her living situation so she can be baptized, other than that she is so ready. She made a comment this week about how she wants some kind of renewal and that's probably not going to come till baptism so she just wants to be baptized so bad! A few weeks ago she had said she needed confirmation about baptism to be as sure about that as she is about the Book of Mormon, and then this week she was talking about how she knows she needs to be baptized and can't wait. I told her I was so excited she got that answer, and the next day she told us she was caught off guard when I said that because she'd forgotten she wasn't always so sure about baptism haha. Also, she feeds us at least once a week so I obviously adore her. She and her daughter Tatum came to church this Sunday, both loved it and are coming next week. We did a Brantford exchange this week and I got to work with Sister Sorensen's companion, Sister Ormond. It's so funny working with the baby of your baby, it felt like I'd trained her because she had all the same work style and habits as me lol. This next few weeks are CRAZY! We have skills training and interviews with President Scott tomorrow, Zone Conference with a member of the 70 Monday (I am so excited, I LOVED last time a GA came!), and then zone training that Friday. We're also probably going to do another Brantford exchange and a zone sister's exchange. And my district leader asked me to do district meeting on the 7th. BUSY MUCH? We had to take in the car to get the bumper fixed this week so we're going to be carless again....Back to the buses, where all my skills disolve and it's like I'm back in Owen Sound again and suddenly scared to talk to people. I'm determined to be better this week than I was last time I was on the bus! So I'm trying to finish the new testament and the Book of Mormon before I go home, and I love reading the 2 together. Admittedly Paul goes over my head alot, I'm not really smart enough to understand all of the Bible, but I love seeing how the 2 really do go hand in hand. The same themes and principles will be in both, if I notice something in the Book of Mormon the same thing will pop up 3 days later in the New Testament. I love the way they support each other! I guess that's all. Love you all! Have a great week!

Monday, April 8, 2013

God is a prankster

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you very much for answering my prayers- you're always really good at that. However, if I may make a suggestion, it would be cool if once it happened in a way that didn't make me die a little inside. Sheesh, you'd think you were trying to help me grow or something. When I asked for all those blessings and help, I really just wanted it to magically happen, not for you to create a situation where I could make it happen. Funny how often you do that to me.

I think the transfer call shouldn't have been so much of a surprise. I definitely had gotten promptings to prepare me for it, I was just happily chucking them out the window because I was so sure it would make no sense to get a transfer call my last transfer. But nothing is ever guaranteed on a mission.

I'm gonna miss Sister Von Niederhausern, she was a really fun companion and sending her all the way east to Kingston means I won't even see her at the next zone conference! But she's so excited about it I guess I can't complain. We're gonna spend today doing anything she wants to do and going to Kitchener for a last zone hurrah.

Being asked to train AGAIN, however, was quite the unpleasant shock! But after a long night of trying to figure out WHY ON EARTH you would have me start training another new sister for my last 6 weeks, I've come to terms with it and am actually excited. I love training, and it's always a great source of motivation to work hard and be better than I currently am, which is much needed at this point on my mission. I would have never guessed though that in my 3 transfers in Brantford I would train 3 times.

The news about Sister Sorensen training again is also a massive shock, President Scott told her a few days ago he had no plans to move either her or Sister Wise. I guess something changed though. I'm thrilled Sister Wise is going to Woodstock though, that was my favorite area and I'm stoked she'll still be in the district. Brantford is officially my legacy, in 4 months will have hosted me, 2 of my babies, and 2 of my grandbabies hahaha!

By the way, 8 sisters and 2 Elders in one district? Yikes! That will be different. Before I went to Woodstock there were only 6 Elders in this district!
Also, I need to thank you for the fantastic week. Tina had an AMAZING time at General Conference! She had opened up to us about a lot of very legitimate and hard fears she has about joining the church, but all of the talks she was there for were perfect to address them. Even though that was one of the most intense conferences I've ever seen-I've never heard so many warning about how we need to strengthen our families!- it was also a very refreshing weekend. 

I'll never stop being grateful I got to be here for Shawn's baptism too- that's 2 of my investigators I got to see Sister Sorensen baptize after I left the area! And Tina said she loved the baptismal service. It's always good when investigators can see one and feel the Spirit that's there.

Catherine is a really cool new investigator, I'm excited about her. Thanks for the unusally strong prompting that led us to knock on her door, and for helping us not be discouraged by the super rude man who lived at the house we knocked just before hers. Her lesson was almost picture perfect, Sister Von Niederhausern was super bold in challenging her to a date even after she didn't give a firm yes or no to the baptismal invitation. I was really proud of her even though Catherine still turned it down haha besides I think she'll agree to a date soon, she's definitely seeking the restored church.

Thank you for prompting Sister Williams to send me those old entries out of her journal from when we together. Not only were they HILARIOUS- my favorite was probably the entry from when we were first put together and she was plotting to convince me to let her cut my hair- and uplifting-she praised me way more in her journal than I would have ever suspected- but it also created a cool miracle. After reading them I started flipping thorough my old entries from when I was training her, and found an entry where I talked about OYMing this amazing woman on the street. Unfortunately, she wasn't from Bowmanville, she lived in Brantford (which I misspelled-Bramford. I had no idea where that random city was hahaha) so we had to pass her information on! I can really vividly remember that meeting, which is unusual to remember a random person you stopped on the street, so I looked in my old planner and sure enough I still have her address and phone number. Best part is she even lives in my half of the city! Her neighbors said she out of town right now-explains the over flowing mailbox- but I'm going to follow up on that potential and baptize her this transfer.

I got my parents' package this week and was ESPECIALLY delighted over the new sweater, I didn't think they'd send me clothes anymore even though I officially hate everything I own at this point. And now I have something to wear to trainers meeting tomorrow. I'll be praying extra hard all goes well with the move and that they're all settled when I get home so I don't have to help any with the unpacking (kidding).

Thanks for listening to one of my many many rants to you. Again, thanks for the chance to train again, and pleeeeeease HELP ME.

Love Sister Jensen!

Monday, March 25, 2013

We can't teach anyone of the Gospel, the Spirit has to do it.

Some member was telling me about the blue bonnets being out in Texas this week, as we were standing out in the snow. Cruel eh? Haha actually SPRING is FINALLY here, ask it doesn't go much below 0 degrees during the day, so I can't complain much about the cold. Here's hoping we've had our last snow!

 Leadership was so good, turns out it was only for trainers/trainees and the zone leaders, and we just went over all the basics of the mission that the babies may not have heard- the standards of excellence, the steps to raise the bar we focus on, ect. It was a really good refresher and good to see all the new missionaries get really excited about the stuff that isn't new to me anymore-good rekindling of faith about it all. Plus, anytime I get together with Svesta Williams and Le Cas (Sisters Williams and Casner) I'm happy :) AND Sister Wester was there, it was a happy little reunion party!

 Exchanges was really fun, I went to Kitchener with Sister Monthe from Leon, France. She's a convert of 5 years and is hilarious, she's Sister Casner's last companion. Cutie. Everytime I go to Kitchener it reminds me of the hilarious joke God keeps playing on me of putting me in little towns when I LOVE bigger cities haha. The highlight was probably teaching 2 Muslim brothers, which was actually just one of them trying to convert us to Islasm. The other brother seemed really sincere though, he just listened to us and his brother and then explained what he had read in the Book of Mormon since their last visit. Testimony builder of why we have to teach and get answers from the Spirit- the kid had a wonderful scientific explanation of why he was right, but it didn't mean a thing to us. Likewise any answers to his questions we gave didn't change his mind one bit. We can't teach anyone of the Gospel, the Spirit has to do it and if the Spirit isn't present there's no point in being there. Thankfully Sister Monthe and the member we had with us were really good at bringing everytihng back to the need to pray to know if it's true or it could have been a huge bash, but it was actually pretty good all things considered.

 Tina is doing SO GOOD, we taght her twice this week and also taught her mom twice! Turns out her mom used to meet with missionaries years ago but got caught up on Jospeh Smith. So we answered all her questions and she wants to meet again. Too bad she lives in Smith Falls! Still, it was awesome. Future Celestial Family.

WE GOT A CAR THIS WEEK! Huzzah! Life is infinitely easier now :) I also got the best news ever this week....WE GET TO GO TO THE TEMPLE ON SATURDAY!!!! SO EXCITED!!!! Last transfer Brantford wasn't invited, we were out of the boundaries, but they've JUST changed it because there are so many new areas. AND WE GET TO GO!!!! I didn't realized how much I've missed they temple until they told us that. I would laugh last transfer because one of Sister Sorensen's hobbies was plotting ways to get permission ("What if I have a big enough break down?" You can't fake a break down Sister. "What if we go 2 hours early on transfer day?" President won't approve that. "What if we go on a p-day and a member drives us?" It's closed on Mondays. "DANG IT!") but now we're probably equally excited, I'm craving the temple.

Whelp just found out we're probably going to Cambridge for p-day, so gotta go write the prez. Love ya! Have a grand week!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Time to go find some more of those prepared people!


So one of my investigators from last transfer was baptized this week! Paul Henhawk, he's from a part-member family. His wife was just glowing the whole time and he had the biggest grin when he came up. Made me all warm and fuzzy,  even though I haven't been the one teaching him.  I'm glad I got to be at the baptism. All 4 of us sisters sang at the baptism, and not gonna lie it was crazy good, I don't think any of us are perfect singers on our own but it was a dang good combination.  Time to go find some more of those prepared people! I got a blessing at the start of this transfer where I was told that there were still people I was meant to find, so I plan to see more baptisms soon.

We started teaching a new investigator, Harvey. He married a member about a year ago. He's a trucker so he's hardly ever around, so it'll be a slow process, but we shared the plan of salvation with him and his wife and he said he'd thought about what happens after this life and has questions like everyone else. We're seeing him again next month, and his wife afterwards was like "Yeah he's always gone now, so it'll be hard, but he retires in 2 years so....." Hahaha we're all scheming!

This week we met Wayne Gretzky's dad! Wayne Gretzky is a big shot hockey player who's from Brantford and his dad still lives here, and apparently loves the missionaries and will give him free stuff and get him autographs so they "accidentally" tract into him every so often. Ever since hearing this Sister Von Niederhausern, a big hockey fan, has wanted to go find him. But then one day we were walking down a street to a member's home and this man was outside and waved us over and started giving us free hockey calendars. He gave us 5 and was disappointed we wouldn't take more. We tried to talk to him but he was interested, so we thanked him for the calendars and carried on. After the appointment with the member Sister Von Niederhausern asked her if she knew Wayne Gretzky's dad's address and she looked all surprised and told us it was the man that gave us the calendars. Hahaha we we accidentally found him, rather than "accidentally"! Sister Von Niederhausern still wants to go back for a picture though.

This upcoming week is nuts. We have leadership training tomorrow, district meeting Friday, and exchanges Saturday- all in other cities. I'm going on exchanges with Sister Monthe, Sister Casner's last compaions who's from France. We also have 4 super solid referrals we're hopefully going to teach this week! So I'm really excited and ready to go.

Okay, gotta finish emails- this takes a lot longer now that I can actually email people! 

Love you, hope all continues to go well with the house! Catch you cats on the flip flop later!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Inspiration, not ignorance!


Things continue to go well, those as usual not as I would have it go. But generally that works out best anyways.  For example, we're still sharing the car but S. Von Niederhausern and I also now have bus passes. One of the first time we used them we got on the bus and then our appointment called and cancelled. Instead of just getting off though we decided to just ride the bus full circle and talk to people, because I struggle at that turns out so I wanted to practice so we can start finding on the bus. SO I talked to this guy for a good 10 minutes and end up setting up an appointment with him. I was all happy, and thaen he asked where we were getting off. I told him out stop and he smiled and said "You're on the wrong bus." Turns out the buses don't just drive one route, everytime they go through the transit station they switch what bus they are. Fail. But we got a sweet contact so I'm going to call it inspiration, not ignorance!

We found 2 new investigators this week. One is this hilarious Danish woman who was really excited to meet a Jensen, she immediately asked if I was Dansih. I told her my dad lived there for 2 years and she was just tickled pink, she descibed where it was so I could ask if he lived there but I can't remember it at all. U-something. She loves everything we share, the hardest part will just be helping her undstand that she's not too old to do anything about it like she claims she is. The other is AWESOME, she's a member referal and she sat us down and told us "You're here because I want to be closer to God, so I want you to teach me about your beliefs and I want to read the Book of Mormon and pary about everything I learn, and then decide if I think it's true and should be baptized." Um, perfect. That's what we were going to tell YOU we wanted you to do! We're really excited about her, she didn't set a baptismal date but said she wants to read the whole Book of Mormon by May instead.

They changed the email rule! I can email anyone I want! HUZZAH! Email time just doubled haha.

I loved all the pictures I got emailed this week, looks like yall have been having a fun time!! And that's nuts the house is basically sold and gone, wowzers....Hope all goes well with the inspection! Make sure you email the office about the move, they're probably going to be planning flights and stuff soon.....

My address is:
15 Sympatica Cres. #412
Brantford, ON
N3T 1P6

Packages and letters are always welcome :) And it's never too late to send me new clothes. Never.


Monday, March 4, 2013

A finding week

Dear family-

Good to hear you finally got the house up! Keep me posted about when it sells and when you find a house in Utah. 

Splitting the area has been nutty, sharing a car keeps things interesting haha the first couple of days all 4 of us lived in the house together, which was so much fun but so disorganized. We're now in our new apartment, we have matresses and dishes and that's it! I think we're supposed to get furniture this week.....
My new companion is Sister Von Niederhausern, which I'm so proud I can now pronounce and spell. My first couple of mdays a good chunk of my prayers were dedicated to asking for help saying her name and practicing lol she's from Logan Utah and went to USU to study social work as well! So we get along dang well! She's 20, and Sister Sorensen's companion Sister Wise is 19 and also from Utah. So our little quad is three 20 year olds from Utah and me hahaha! I keep finding out all of Sister Von Niederhausern's secret talents- she's a black belt in karate, a singer, plays piano, dances, and on and on. She may be one of the coolest people I know.

I don't know what to email about....I feel like my emails get progressively worse each week.
All of our investigators went to the south end, so it's mostly been a finding week. It's fun finding with a new missionary because we'll do something for a while and then she'll say "So...have you ever actually had any success doing this?" So I get to tell her all my mission stories to try to build her faith in finding. I love it.

This week at church was really rewarding, we have 5 less actives we've been working with come out and 2 of my investigators that are now in the south end. Now we just got to get some of our own people to bring.
I can't believe it's spring break. We have had so much nasty wet slushy snow this week. Jealous!

Yesterday in studies I found something that blew my mind- go read 2 Nephi 1:23-25. Don't look at the context of the verses, just read those and think about who "your brother" would be symbolic of. Then read 28-29 with that mind set as well. Cool eh? I love the Book of Mormon, I will never get over how much it teaches about Christ.

Whelp.....I think that's pretty much my whole life right now. Love to all!

Pictures of the week:

Check out my sweet family tree: 
my 4 babies, 5 out of my 7 grandbabies, and my great grandbaby

Sister Von Niederhausern and I

 Me and the sisters in front of the house

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I'm getting transferred.....?

Dear family, So I'm getting transfered, all the way up to Brantford North. I'm technically opening a new own area...It's going to get weird. I'm really hoping though that means I get to finish out my mission in Brantford, because I really hate the idea of only being somewhere one transfer. I like to get my roots sunk in. But it's going to be SO FUN! Sister Sorensen and I will both be training, and for the first few days we're all going to live in the same house I'm in right now until March 1st when my companion and I can move into our new apartment. SO PARTY IN BRANTFORD!

So my next week will consist of trying to figure out who's now in which area, getting the new furniture and food and stuff for the new apartment, learning how to share a car, and still trying to actually find and teach people. I pity our poor new companions haha. Our district this next transfer will consist of: 4 elders (one of which has only been out 5 weeks and is still being trained), 3 sisters being trained, 2 sisters training who have only been out 5 weeks, and myself. But I'll give you a quick run down on the week and then we gotta jet and get ready for transfers.

 This week was SO GOOD. We're in love with our investigators. Too bad the all live in the south end and will be staying with Sister Sorensen! At least I'll get to go to all their baptisms, because we're teaching SO many solid people. We left so many appointments this week just beaming.

Paul is making so much progress, we see alot of missionaries who used to serve in this area and I was talking to some of them on Friday and they were shocked we were seeing him regularly. I guess alot of missionaries have tried but never gotten very far, but it's finally his time and he's doing so well. He's started reading the Book of Mormon on his own, which he said at first he wouldn't do he would just have his wife read to him, and he said the closing prayer at our last lesson when again he'd said he would never do that! Their family is too precious.

Shawn, who we met street contacting, has been surprisingly awesome! We had like a week between our first and second appointment, and in that time he read the 4 chapters we left about the plan of salvation, the introduction and testimonies, the first 15 chapters of Nephi, and the suggest readings at the back of the pamphlet we left. When we started his second lesson he said he didn't see himself coming to church or praying for several weeks, and at the end he said the prayer and said he wanted to rearrange his time he visits his son on Sundays so he can come to church. It was amazing!

It's been cool to see too how recently everything Sister Sorensen and I have studied in companion study and in district meetings we've been able to apply that day to our lessons and seen amazing progress from it. I love inspired studies :)

Love you all!

Pictures of the week:

SNOW DAY! This was a few weeks ago, it snowed all this in about 6 hours. It was so bad we weren't allowed to go outside, we spent all day going through the area book and going stir crazy. But of course we went out for a few pictures.

 We LOVED you valentines day box!

We went bowling as a zone this last p-day. 
Sister Sorensen did REALLY good. I did not. But it was too fun.

Elder Dewey had never bowled 10 pin before, they usually bowl 5 pin in Canada, but he was annoyingly good at it. 
Even when we bowled between our legs, I guttered and he got down like 8. Gah!

I thought you'd enjoy this- this is us with our zone leaders (and Sister Wester creeping in the background). Elder Silva and I are the same height, Sister Sorensen and Elder Lynn are the same height, but when standing on a ledge we're all the same height! Hahaha the first time I saw Elder Lynn and Silva standing next to each other I turned to Sister Sorensen and said "Is that what we look like?? That's hilarious!"   I forget I'm short sometimes.

The more pictures I send the more I realized I've told you nothing about my life this transfer.
After bowling on p-day we went on exchanges with Woodstock, so I got to spend the day with Sister Stats in Woodstock and Sister Wester came to Brantford for the day. It was SO FUN! First of all, that ward clearly still adores me- score. And I loved whenever we saw members it took between 45 seconds and 3 minutes before they realized I shouldn't be there hahaha. The first night we visited my recent convert, Robin, and the branch president dropped in by chance and did a huge double take on me. Secondly, Sister Stats is so cute and also openly adored me and just soaked in everything I said as  great advice because she was so nervous about potentially training this next trasnfer (she is btw). So it was just a day of feeding my pride. And I got to go teach Jessica, who we found literally 2 days before I left and who is close to being baptized, along with her 2 cousins. I loved it. And Sister Wester and Sister Sorensen had a crazy and hilarious day, so we spent the next 3 days swapping stories about how cute Sister Wester is.
Anyways, this is us exchanging back :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I've never been so busy in my life

This week has been and is going to be insane.....Our entire upcoming week is completely booked, people have to give us about 8 days notice to see us :) We're going to have to arrange some splits this week to see all of our investigators.

We're teaching the BEST new person! Paul is the husband of a member and we have no idea why he isn't baptized. We taught him one of the best plan of salvation lessons I've ever had and committed him to March 17, which turned out to be 1 day before his wife was baptized 12 years ago. So they're both super excited about it! He really just has to go through the lessons and see if he's missed anything while coming to church on and off over the last 5 years. We started to teach the lesson and I was filled with so much love, seeing this family with 2 little girls all sitting around a table learning about the plan God has for them was one of the sweetest sights I've seen on my mission. You could just picture them in the temple becoming an eternal family in the year. I LOVE WORKING WITH FAMILIES!

We're also teaching a man we found street contacting this week, Shawn. We stopped and talked to 2 men and had one of the WORST contacting experiences of my whole mission, I don't know if I've ever been cussed out so bad and for no reason at all, we didn't even invite them to do anything or talk really but one of them exploded at us so Sister Sorensen grabbed my arm and dragged me away before he got to finish. So we walked around for a bit and cooled off, talked to a couple of people, and then found Shawn. I'm pretty sure he was Heavenly Father's direct blessing for the earlier 2 men, because Shawn also hates religion and religious people but in the last few months had some really positive experiences that has made him more curious about the Bible and interested in finding a church. We also taught him the plan of salvation this week and he loved it, he was so grateful to have an alternative to the fire and brimstone interpretation. He set a date for April to work for baptism.

Roger is finally over his awful flu and we're going to meet with him again today- and by we I don't mean me haha we're doing Sisters exchange with Woodstock today! I'm going to Woodstock with Sister Stats and Sister Sorensen and Sister Wester are going to work here. We're all really excited. I'm going to go visit the Butlers, the family we started teaching right before I left and whose niece is getting baptized this Sunday (YES!!!!!), hunt down my recent converts and drag one of their butts back to church, and tell one of the families there that we're reactiving their son who lives in Brantford and he's started going to the addiction recovery program with us every week. Oh, and I guess visit people Sister Stats has planned for us :)

But anyways, Roger and his grandson Anthony are doing really well, they both came to church this Sunday. They're going to set them both with baptismal dates tonight. Brantford's going to baptize like nuts next month!  I've never been so busy in my life. I'll be SO sad next Sunday if I get moved (and I have very little faith I won't be.)

I hope everything is moving forward with the house still!

Love you all, talk to you in a week.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A day of Gratitude


Oh man, today is a day of gratitude.

So throughout my mission there are times I feel like I'm never doing quite enough and I worry so much that I've missed opportunities and let things slip past because of my mistakes and weaknesses. Obviously I realize no one's perfect and I take comfort in the fact that Heavenly Father knew I was going to make those mistakes when he sent me to areas so it must be okay in the end, but there are still times or days I just really feel my imperfections and can't seem to find how to overcome them. Pretty standard for most missionaries I think, but this last week I'd had all those feelings weighing on me extra heavily.

Then I got a call last night from my first ward mission leader. His daughter is in our ward and so she passed on our number. After first telling me I'm perfect and they all love and miss me (what else is new), he told me he really called to tell me that my very first investigator ever is getting baptized. Like, actually. He's set dates to be baptized so many times but never made it, but Brother Parsons told me it's been announced, he's been interviewed, he tried on clothes, and he asked Brother Parsons to do it. So it's finally happening. Best part is, guess who's the missionary there right now? Sister DeRuvo! So I got to start teaching Steve and then train the missionary that would finally get him to baptism!

He then told me about a family that my companion and I tried to contact while I was in Owen Sound. He was this golden guy who studied online with missionaries for months while in Afghanistan and he walked in the church one day with his 3 little girls and told the bishop he wanted to be baptized. But his wife was really against it so he disappeared and we never were able to teach him. But he's been coming out for a few months now and has almost worked it out with his wife. He told me "So the effort you put in there wasn't a waste." It was interesting because when we couldn't get a hold of him we prayed to ask what we should do and we got the answer, Wait. When we told Brother Parsons that he said the missionaries before us had the same experience. So the timing just needed to be right, and again now Sister DeRuvo can help harvest that family.

THEN he told me about the little boy who had been baptized a few months before. He's the son of a less active who we tried to see but couldn't very often. So again, not really someone I felt like I was working with at all. But it was so interesting as he told me all these things, I got to see the plan for these people be laid out how Heavenly Father had seen it all along. It really is true that no effort we put into sharing the gospel is wasted! We have no idea what Heavenly Father will eventually do with the little bit of energy we invested.

I dunno, it was just really cool and it brought me so much peace that if the one person who I most had regrets about how I aught and my imperfections is now being baptized, the rest of my mistakes will be compensated for as well. One of the missionaries said one time in a zone meeting right before he went home "There's a lot I would do differently, but I have no regrets, because I did the best that I could in that circumstance and there's a perfect Atonement to make up for the rest." That's the feeling I've had ever since that call. I love it. And it motivates me to do so much more and really put in effort every minute of every day so that those seeds can be planted.

Anyways, it was a really good week here. We're teaching Roger's grandson Anthony now along with Roger- they both immediately got sick after we taught them and have been down all week so that's stunk, but I think Anthony is going to be baptized the end of this month! We also started teaching 2 people, Brandon and Kevin, who are so fun to teach. For example we asked to start with a prayer and Brandon immediately said "Okay but explain everything you do and why you do it." He prayed at the end and both opened and closed "In the name of the Heavenly Father" haha it was cute. And they take in every word you say and ask really great questions about it. Sister Sorensens said "God is our loving Heavenly Father, and we lived with Him before coming to Earth" and they had about 10 super solid comments and questions on just that. We kinda taught all 3 first lessons in one hour lol.

We're going on sisters exchange next week, and I'm going to go back to Woodstock to work with Sister Wester's baby! I'm so excited! I'm already planning people to tell them to make appointments with, especially the Butlers, who we started teaching the day before I left and who are getting really close to baptism now.

Okay, I'm going to go experiment with EFY. Wish me luck! Love you, good luck with all your projects!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Another busy busy week of white wash miracles

Cioa bellas,

Wow, another busy busy week of white wash miracles.

Seriously, if President makes me white wash train every transfer for the rest of my mission I'll be totally happy. You're too busy to think about yourself, you have to be focus on just the ward and your companion, and you see crazy amounts of success. Basically it's all the best parts of missionary work multiplies.

We have 7 people we're teaching now. Our main investigator is Roger, this amazing sweet man who's actually been coming to church for about 2 months but somehow the Elders were never able to meet with him. He's friends with a member couple in the ward and wanted to change his life so he started coming to church. We invited him to be baptized and he told us he had a goal to do it in a month, which was the weekend we were going to commit him to so perfect! He may have to move it back a bit because he's living with his fiancee right now so it depends on when they're going to get married, but he's already made a ton of progress, including cutting his smoking down by half.

Remember that awesome finding miracle I wrote about last week, Suzanne? Well we taught her that night and she's crazy prepared, she's really busy but our next appointment she's going to bring her husband as well. It was Sister Sorensen's first lesson, and when we left she said "I feel like I'm getting pranked and I'm still in the MTC, she said things that are so perfect it was hard to remember this time it wasn't an actor!" Hahaha!
The last like 10 sets of Elders here left AWFUL records- Erin, tip for you mission, KEEP TEACHING RECORDS FOR CRYIN OUT LOUD- but they did leave a huge fatty stack of phone numbers from contacts that had, so we've been calling them (way more effective than hunting down interested people's numbers yourself). So far we have 1 new investigator from that and i think 4 more appointments this week. And, not that this should be a motivation, but it's also nice to do some finding from the warmth of your home. It has been COLD and SNOWY ever since Sister Sorensen came in, she brought that freezing Utah weather with her!

And the less active work here is almost out of control here, no wonder they're putting in more missionaries. We have at least 4 appointments every day this week, and we haven't even set one with all our investigators yet. GAH awesome but crazy!

So basically, I love this place :) and Sister Sorensen continues to prove to be amazing and adorable. She's so funny too, we were going to teach Roger a super brief law of chastity and word of wisdom so he could start working on those things, and she looked at me right before and said "YOU TEACH IT." So I was like, okay, I can, we forgot to role play it this morning so she's never practiced it, that's fair I guess. Then the time came and she taught both of them perfectly. Afterwards she apologized and said "I don't know what's wrong with me, I talk to much! Even when I don't want to talk about something and don't know how, I say it anyways just because I can't stay quiet!" Hahaha works for me, she's training herself. She also finds things most missionaries find annoying or disheartening hilarious. Like we talked to this teenager and he wasn't interested, so we asked if he knew anyone who was and he said "Try buildings Q and R, I don't know them very well but there's a rumor they're religious" and then immediately took off to his home to watch us from his window. I wasn't going to tell Sister Sorensen that was definitely a bogus referral, probably a prank on his friends, but then she turned to me and was like "Well that was a big old lie!" ut of course we went to contact them just in case- and of course both were not only not interested but close to the opposite. But she was just cracking up during the whole thing and afterwards was like "Props to him, that was quit thinking! He didn't even miss a beat! How funny!" It was be hard to get discouraged with her as a companion.
I can't believe I've been here 2 weeks already. Mind blown.
I don't know Sarah very well but I adore her mom, that's super exciting! And that's amazing Sophie's in the field- you'll have to watch her for me and see if she has to train immediately lol.

Hahaha I love little kids, you have the best calling ever. The button story KILLED me. I didn't know you taught with Bridget, that must be too fun.
Whelps, gotta mail the prez. By the way, he said I can apply for EFY so I'm going to start that next week. Any suggestions about what weeks or places to apply for? I may just do everywhere in utah for June and July and see what I get. LOVE YOU, have a great week!

Monday, January 28, 2013

My life is crazy

First, my companion is the single cutest person on Earth, I adore her. She's from Pleasant Grove Utah and is 20 and a rock star, I feel like this is more President Scott retraining me than the other way around. And I'm not saying that to be cute and supportive, she's genuinely awesome in every way. I'm learning so much! President Scott flat out told me in my interview this week not to get comfortable here because he has his eye on her to train in 5 weeks, and he's not going to make her white wash train already so that means I'm going to get moved, most likely to white wash train again. It's not guaranteed  but Sister Sorensen is the most solid new missionary I've ever met so I knew she'd be training after about 5 minutes.

Which is SO sad because Brantford is amazing! You'll be happy to know we're some of the best fed missionaries in the mission, and now that there are sisters in the area the ward is extra excited to have us so we're SUPER booked up. It's great! And the members are being so good with referrals, Sister Sorensen asks everyone who we can go see about 2 minutes into the conversation and most members have a name for us. I love when you call in to report numbers and your district leader say "How on Earth did you contact so many referrals ?" Sister Sorensen asked if that was a lot for a week and I lied and said no that's normal, expect that many every week haha.

Only upside to getting transferred again will be white washing again, I've been having so much fun this week, I love being fresh in an area. And you're so busy trying to get a hold on the area you have no time to be distracted, lazy, or anything. Although they are splitting the area this transfer (the official verdict is "we aren't sure yet what we'll do" but we met with President Olsen from the mission presidency and he said he and President Scott have known for a few weeks that they're for sure splitting it), so maybe they'll just move me to the upper half of the city and have Sister Sorensen take over the bottom half. We're both fans of this plan so we could help each other out.

We were told coming in we had a lot of investigators, but we haven't been able to get a hold of any yet. But they also left us a sweet stack of potentials and we have several appointments for the upcoming week, including 2 tonight. The one family we have been able to see so far is SO cute, it's The Miracle girls. 2 11-year old twins and a 9 year old, they're too sweet. Their dad is a member, they're parents aren't and aren't really excited about the idea of them being baptized, so we're going to work on seeing how we can change that because they have amazing simple testimonies.

Other than that it's been a lot of paper work, a lot of finding, a lot of meeting people. It's been so good!

And I would love to apply for EFY, I dread thinking about coming home and having nothing to do. I'll email President Scott and ask today. I loved this- "Please wait until you come home from your mission to attend an interview." DUUUHHHH hahaha!Also, before you pack it up lol, will you find the instructions I left about applying for my classes for next semester? I don't remember when you need to start emailing people and telling them I still want my spot in my program....

You'll be happy to hear I saw ANOTHER mission doctor about my tummy today and may finally be getting cured :) well not cured but he said the symptoms should be gone in a week, and then it's 6 more weeks of meds to keep it that way. So I'll start that next week and may finally be rid of my stomach issues!

Here's my miracle story for the week: So we had an appointment with a less active one night but when we went by there was only her daughter home and she said she wasn't there. So we parked somewhere, picked a street to go tracting on instead, and then started driving over there. We drove past the less active's home again and there was now a car in the drive way, so we realized we must have missed her by like 5 minutes. So we called to make sure that was actually her and see if we could some back, but the phone would NOT connect to open the contacts for like 5 minutes. So finally it did, so we started to call, and the phone randomly shut off. It was so weird, so we decided we weren't supposed to call so let's just go tracting. So we pulled up on the street and got out of the car, and there was a woman shoveling her driveway that we started talking to- Christian but no denomination, and totally open to us coming and teaching her whole family! So that's one of our appointment tonight, we're really excited. She was the first person we talked to who was interested, so as we walked away Sister Sorensen did this tiny little fist pump and whispered "YESSS!" Haha too cute.

I think that's everything...I guess don't really send things to the apartment this transfer, letters are probably okay for a week or 2 but it may be best to play it safe and send it to the office. Love to everyone! Have a good week! High five Brittany for me and tell her way to shock people. My roomies in the MTC were going there I think so I can teach her what I do know... "WO-man! Mega Run!" No idea who to spell it or what it means, but they practiced saying those 2 things for like an hour one day haha. Have a great week!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Transfers in the morning make me happy, transfers in the morning make me cry.....

TRANSFER DAY, oh boy oh boy!

I'm gettin' transferred again!

I'm also white washing again, and training again! So crazy crazy weekend...again.

I'm going to Brantford, about a half hour east of here i think, which means I'll stay in my district and zone. Brantford was actually the district leader area this transfer (so I'm replacing Elders again...good new is this time I've heard stories of how my district leader believes in having an apartment the spirit can be in so he spent his first few days in the area doing nothing but cleaning lol).

Other major upside, I already know my address: 38 Wadsworth Brantford, On N3T 3V6

Sister Wester is going to stay in Woodstock and train her first baby. It's odd though, because that means that our district now has sisters in 2/3 of the areas, and the other area with Elders in it wasn't given a district leader assignment.....So I think they're rearranging the district. I guess that makes sense because they're opening 40 new areas this transfer haha it's just nuts because no one told us who our district leader is. Guess we'll find out tomorrow?

This week was SO GOOD, I'm so sad to leave! We found 2 amazing new investigators, Charles and Jessica. Charles' wife is a less active we've been working with for about 2 months now and who has come out a few times now. She made her husband promise to come with this Sunday so that he could help with the 5 boys, so we went by on Saturday and talked to him about why he didn't already come with her and where he stood on religion. He's Anglican but was really curious about the idea of eternal marriages, so we taught him the plan of salvation and about temples and committed him and their niece Jessica, who sat in on the lesson, to be baptized. It was awesome! He sadly ended up not coming to church, but Jessica came. It was such a great boost because we've dropped about 8 investigators over the last week or so, some of which we were really sad to let go. But the Lord always blesses us when we're following the Spirit and when we're willing to drop people so we have time to find those who are prepared he leads us to them!

Daniel continues to be the world's most perfect investigator. He talks to us every day about how his reading is going and is really developing a testimony. His parents told him he can't be baptized until he's 18 and living on his own, and he's being really respectful of that but is already planning to be baptized once he goes off to school. And he's going to priest/laurel conference next month and is really excited for it. It's funny though because we keep seeing him everywhere. He came by when we were at a member's home for dinner to pick up their daughter for a date and ended up sitting in on the message, and then the next night we ran into him on the elevator in our apartment- turns out his grandma lives 2 floors beneath us! Unfortunately we had to cancel our next appointment with the transfer, but they're going to keep seeing him every week during his spare hour of school. (AH SAD, I typed we there at first on accident...:( transfer blues.)

Hmm other than that I don't think I have anything. I'm just super excited for this next transfer, the Elders were NOT happy to be leaving, I guess they have some super solid investigators and the ward mission leader is the model mission leader for the whole mission so it's gonna be good!   I'll just end with some fun fact about what's happening this transfer that President sent out last week. Love you all bunches! Talk to you in a week!!

P.S. Sister Wester asked about the Christmas letter comment about the "glowing reports" you get about me. I told her that was a lie because I'm 95% sure yall don't talk to President Scott and that probably referenced like one comment he made when they called about my surgery. True or false?

"In anticipation of the remarkable growth and historic changes that our mission will experience over the next few months I want to share some details with you and ask that you look for ways to help each other, especially the new missionaries that will be joining us in the coming months. We will all need to adjust our expectations and be flexible as these changes occur.

Over the next few weeks and months our mission will grow from about 205 missionaries to 285 missionaries. That growth is unprecedented and exciting but it will require the help and cooperation from everyone in the mission.
For example, the church has not had enough lead time to order the new cars needed to accommodate the additional missionaries so for the next 5-6 months, and probably longer, many areas that have had cars in the past will now be walking, biking, busing, or sharing a car. I would ask that as these changes occur we stay focused on our purpose to “invite others to come unto Christ” rather than worrying about changing modes of transportation. Worrying won’t bring any more cars to the mission and the adversary could use it as a tool to distract us if we let him. We will find new investigators in new ways and in new places as we approach these changes with a positive attitude. This is the Lords work. He will continue to place people in our paths. I promise you that we will find people we would not have found otherwise.

We will be opening up about 40 new areas. That will be exciting and create wonderful opportunities but it will also create unique challenges that will require flexibility, self reliance, and cooperation from each of us. If you get to an area and find that you don’t have everything you need please be creative and improvise until additional arrangements can be made. There will also be more white wash areas so keep good records and make sure that you leave each area better than you found it so the next missionaries can get off to a fast start.

 Due to language, gender, or other issues, we will have some missionaries training after being in the field only 5 weeks. We will also have some trainers training more than one missionary at a time. They will need our help. Do everything you can to encourage and lift those that will have extra responsibilities.

This recent change in the age for missionary service is another testimony that the Lord is hastening his work. As we enthusiastically embrace these changes the mission will see growth and blessings that we could not have anticipated when we first received our calls even a few months ago. What a blessing to be serving during this historic time. The Lord must have known we were capable of handling these changes because he chose our time to lower the age of missionary service. You are literally making history. What an opportunity! The Lord will bless us. This is His work. He knows what needs to be done. We just need to be humble and willing to do His will."

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hola Familia!

Hola Familia!

Sorry if this is going to be short, I have 15 minutes (I'm on an express computer) so let's see what I can pump out!

First of all, I made a major discovery this week. I do not speak Spanish. Haha I went on exchanges to Kitchener with the Hermanas and spent the day in Spanish work! It was fun...and terrifying. I spent the whole day having a new appreciation for Melissa serving in French haha because I doubt 9 weeks would have made that any easier. I did learn one of the most important phrases though- "Yo se que el libro de Mormon es la verdad!" I also learned the word for sin what a woman went off for about 10 minutes about why it would be wrong to be baptized a second time. (Even before Hermana Ence translated for me after I understood when she compared it to killing someone. Yikes.)

I had an amazing experience with it though. We dropped by this woman, Maria, that the Hermanas had met about a month ago but never gotten a hold of again. We went in and started to teach her about the restoration- thankfully she understood English pretty well. But after a few minutes her husband came in and joined us, and he spoke almost no English. I mean, I think he could say the basics, but he couldn't talk about God or religion in English. So Sister Ence taught in Spanish and I taught in English. It went something like this:
Jose: *speaks Spanish*

Hermana Ence: "He wants to know how we know if a prophet is from God or not." *speaks Spanish*

Me: "Let's turn to a scripture in Matthew...." *they read it in Spanish* "This scripture teaches us we can look at the fruits. If the things they teach bring us closer to God and make us feel good we know they are teaching truth."

*Every talks more in Spanish*

I never knew if I was repeating Hermana Ence or even any where on topic, except one time when she looked at me and said "Do you want to teach them about Joseph Smith?" And I have no idea if they understood me at all, but it seemed like she only translated what I said once. That lesson should have been a disaster but it was so good! I've rarely had such interested and focused investigators. You could see that despite my pitiful contribution to the lesson the Spirit was so strong and just working on their hearts. They agreed to be baptized (I didn't even realized that's what they agreed to until after Hermana Ence was using her hands to demonstrate baptism by immersion and I realized they had asked how baptism worked) and Hermana Ence told me after in th closing prayer Jose thanked God for sending us to teach them. Such a good reminder that what we say doesn't matter, because we as teachers fall pretty short. But when you feel the Spirit what was said doesn't matter, you know what is true. I'm going to stalk the weekly email list of the baptisms for their name!

The other great story from this week is our new investigator, Daniel. He's 17 and I actually taught him a breif restoration one time when he was over when we came to dinner. He asked his friend for a Book of Mormon and reads it all the time, he took it on Christmas vacation and said when homework stresses him out he takes a break to go read it. He's awesome! So we sat down to teach him and asked him if he had any expectations about meeting with us, and he said "Well I do have a question about the Plan of Salvation.... What's the Plan of Salvation?" HAHAHA! So we taught the Plan of Salvation and set him with a date for March 3rd :)

AH out of time!  Love you!

Monday, January 7, 2013

This week has been super crazy

Hey family-

This week has been super crazy, I'll try to give you a good greatest hits though.

Most exciting new investigator ever is Corey, our Jehovah's Witness we're teaching. He's awesome, he stopped and talked to us out of curiosity and pity because he did a lot of missionary work as a kid. He hasn't been active in his church for years and feels too much guilt to go back, but he's been working towards that for a while now. We asked him is he could ask God any one question what would he ask and he said he's ask if his church was actually the right path. Jolly good question Corey! So we talked to him about how he can get rid of guilt and shame and how to find out what is true through prayer. Our first actual lesson was a little crazy- turns out been an inactive JDub does not in any way diminish your Bible knowledge, he could quote scripture like a beast- but we're going to teach him and his wife this week about the Restoration and we're really excited.

Laverne came to church this week for the first time. Testimony meeting is ALWAYS a good first Sunday in this branch, although there was a lot of talk about Joseph Smith which is Laverne's big concern. I guess in a way it's good because after church he opened up a lot about what he was and wasn't willing to do to find out if Joseph Smith was a prophet, but it was also a good reminder that we can't get more caught up in the means God uses to do his work than we do the actual work itself. Joseph Smith isn't important; it's the fact that God speaks to us still and restored his church to Earth that's important. Our focus needs to always be on the Savior and how to access His Atonement, not on the actual church that exists just to help us to do so.

John, one of my former investigators, came to church again as well! He loves testimony meeting so he actually comes almost every first Sunday, but afterwards he was talking to us and said he wanted a Doctrine and Covenants because he had a lot of concerns about Joseph Smith and a member had said reading the Doctrine and Covenants helped you know him better and see his role as a prophet. So we ended up setting up an appointment with him this week to teach him about the restoration and again, so I'm pretty excited about that. We knew when we stopped seeing him it would be a temporary drop, but I didn't think I would be able to teach him again.

We've been going out a lot recently with some return sister missionaries in the ward, which has been really fun. I love seeing how people from different missions worked. Best was one who served in Salt Lake City, who gave me tips on how to be useful RM in Utah since there's a billion and so if you just ask the missionaries to take you teaching you may or may not get used. Her best advice was what I knew anyways but reaffirmed I need to make a focus: actually have someone for the missionaries to teach. Basically the last year has just been training on how I need to actually do member missionary work when I get home.

Well, hope you feel better this week Mom! Good luck with the packing and sorting. Hope you don't have quite as much excitement this week! Love you!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Amazing finding miracles

It's been such a crazy week, Christmas holidays are always interesting as a missionary. People have the most free time they have all year and yet are the absolute busiest lol but it was great. Highlight was Robin getting confirmed on Sunday! Especially when he told us after that about 10 people had told him to hold off till next week because his wife was too sick to come to church. Thankfully his wife kicked him out the door and sent him, so he didn't have that postponed.

We've been having some pretty amazing finding miracles as of late. I told Sister Wester I must be really thick, because I have to have the same lesson again every day- be diligent. As Sister DeRuvo always said, I'm so good in theory at this, but the application....not so much. But every time I am I see blessings. For example, the other day we were tracting for a few hours- pretty much the first time ever we've had both the time and the health to do a large chunk of finding time. And it stunk. Hahaha we both felt so rusty and there were only some people answering, fewer willing to talk long enough to even hear what we were doing, and no one interested. So after about 2 hours we were heading back to the car to head over to our dinner appointment and this guy pulls up to his driveway in his truck. I hate talking to people right as they get out of their car because I feel like I'm bombarding them when they just got home and want to go in, I always feel so awkward, and we were freezing and Sister Wester's boots were squeezing her toes so we were trying to beeline for the car and pretend he wasn't there. But I've been working on talking to absolutely EVERYONE possible so I made myself turn around and go talk to him. Ugh it was just as awkward as I thought, he stared at us with wide eyes and at one point said "Sorry you're really catching me off guard with these questions, I don't even have time to think about a real answer." Awful. Yet somehow he ended up being totally nice and interested, he took a Book of Mormon and actually texted us at the number we left him and we're seeing him tomorrow! Afterwards we were both like, OF COURSE, that's always what happens, it's always when you have every reason to not talk to someone that a prepared person jumps in your path! I should have learned that when we almost didn't talk to Brian and then he got baptized a few weeks later and now his entire family is investigating, but the Lord seems to have to go through it with me again on a daily basis.

We did it again yesterday, we were leaving the hospital from visiting an older member of the ward who is in there and we were almost to the car when Sister Wester told me there was a man she'd wanted to talk to but didn't because she felt awkward doing it on the hospital property. So we turned around and went back and he was still waiting for his taxi. It was literally maybe a 3 minute conversation before his cab came but as soon as we introduced ourselves he said "You know I don't usually tell people this but...." and started pouring out about this crazy experience he had where he knew God was real, and he gave us his address and took our card as he was getting in the car. We were both like, WHOA WHAT WAS THAT?? Thank goodness Sister Wester spoke up, because my head was down trying to hide from the snow and I didn't even see the man, let alone pay attention to any promptings to talk to him.

We finished the Book of Mormon as a zone! Got through the whole thing in 28 hours. I loved it, ESPECIALLY 3 Nephi 11. Not gonna lie, I like that chapter a lot but usually when I read the account of Jesus Christ visiting the Nephites the part I LOVE is chapter 9-10 when the voice speaks to the people in darkness, so chapter 11 is almost a little anticlimactic for me. But reading it this time was amazing, everyone got so still when we started reading about Heavenly Father's voice introducing Christ and the Spirit was burning in me as we read about him coming down. I could just feel the love in everything he said to the Nephites. The Elder who read the beginning of the chapter actually recited it from memory, he stared at the table to pretend to read to not draw attention but it was a really cool experience to just hear someone say those words. It made you step back a bit from reading and notice more the Spirit and feel how true that account is.

Whelp that's pretty much everything. Woodstock's good and snow covered! I finally remembered my camera cord so I'm going to try to email you some pictures now. Love you all!

P.S. Normal p-days on Monday start again this week.

Pictures of the week:

The family whose house we were at when I first got sick.

Me on pain meds in emerg! Before I have any idea about what's going on. 
This is the only pic I took in the hospital, Sister DeRuvo has about 30.

Sister Wester washing my hair our first night together, because I wasn't allowed to shower and get my stitches wet, and hadn't washed it in 3 days. 
  We got to know each other real quick.

Zone Conference


Robin's baptism! 
He has his eyes shut in EVERY picture except the one of just the 3 of us.

HAPPY NEW YEAR'S EVE! Good bye 2012. 
This is Sister Messer (Sister Wester's trainer and Sister Casner's current companion), Sister Wester, Sister Casner, and me. Probably the funnest part of the Book of Mormon Read-a-Thon was sleep over with Sister Casner and Messer afterwards.