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.