Sunday, December 22, 2013

You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone

Well sad news friends. I am being transferred. I am going to Columbia, MO and I am serving at the University there and Sister Vilingia is staying here and training. I honestly knew this was coming, but I am really sad to leave. I was really hoping to stay here for Christmas and be with Sister Vilingia 6 more weeks, But hey waddyado?

So Indiana got hit by a ton of snow!!! It has been insanity. It's been cold but the snow has been beautiful! Sis. Vilingia and I have loved it because we have been playing in it and we tackled each other. Oh and we even went sledding!! It was really fun! But then we get wet and cold and then unfun. It's nice for a change in weather though!

The downer for the week has been that we had a lesson with some new investigators, and when they got there they told us they were no longer interested. They broke up with us right on their door step. Man was that hard. That was really discouraging. I literally wanted to wrap up in my blanket, eat some ice cream, and watch a chick flick. No worries though, I didn't let it get me down. The church is still true and the field is not brown nor green, but white and ready to harvest!!

This past Saturday was supposed to be the Christmas party, but due to bad weather, they postponed it til after church on Sunday. So because Saturday night I found out I was getting transferred, we milked it the next day to get less actives and such to come to church and the party to see me. :) Well the party came around and a less active family, who I have become very close with, came to see me. I totally cried. They said they knew that I was leaving so they and to come and see me. Then that night the Bishop went to their home and they said that they want their sone to have the Priesthood so they are going to come back to church. (oh and btw I mentioned the Priesthood and their son to them during the party-totally the spirit man.) Man was that a miracle to hear. I have been worrying and praying over this family for 4 months. I love them a ton and it's amazing to see the change in them.

We also and a lesson with the family we have been teaching and who are getting baptized on the 26th. Man that was probably the hardest thing I have and to do in my life. We did a short lesson on tithing and then I bore my testimony to them about how much I love them and about the gospel. Tears were def shed. Then we took a bunch of pics and then we had to get home. Saying bye to them was so difficult. I love this family with my whole heart and more. Seeing their lives change from this gospel has been remarkable. And when we got home, the husband texted us and told me that I was the reason he became interested in the Church. Needless to say, I cried more. I now believe that people are prepared for you when you come out on a mission because I know this family was.
Leaving Covington is going to be hard. A piece of my heart will always be here. The people I have met here have truly became my family! I even adopted a set of grandparents, the Newells. I have felt so at home here its crazy! I have grown so much in the gospel here and I feel infinitely blessed to have served among these people. I believe the chuch is a little more true in Indiana. I love this gospel so much and I am grateful to an instrument in the Lords hands.

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Hello there family and friends! I cannot believe Christmas is in 2.5 weeks! I hope you are all excited because I am so stoked!! Plus, it snowed here AHHAH. It's quite beautiful ,but I am freezing.

Some really awesome things have been happening in our area and I am just loving life here in good ole' Indiana. It makes me sad/ nervous that transfers are a week from Wednesday. When I email next, I will know whether I am staying or leaving so keep a heads up. Refrain from sending any mail this week! But the ward thinks I am staying because they asked me to speak on the 22nd.

So our family that we have been working sooo hard with (the ones I mentioned last week that admitted the Church is true) are doing fantastic. So the husband and wife said they wanted to get baptized but we weren't super positive about the kids. So on Wednesday, we stopped by their house and talked with the mom. We had a super powerful lesson with her and talked about baptism and the importance of it. Sis. Vilingia shared with her that she believes we all knew each other in the pre-existence and we promised her we would do whatever it took to find her family and teach them the gospel. It was sooo awesome and all of us cried. It was very very poweful. Then we planned to come that night and talk to the kids about baptism. We taught them the Gospel of Jesus Christ and asked them about baptism and if they seriously wanted to get baptized. They said YES! So we set a baptismal calendar right then and there for December 26. Ah it was so special and so wonderful. Later that week we also committed the husband and the wife to live the Word of Wisdom and we had the Bishop explain the eternal significance and they both willingly agreed to live it! It was great to have the Bishop there because he really explained to them that coffee, alcohol, smoking, etc are insignificant when it comes to living with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ forever! Ah man it was so great. They are sooo great! I just cant get over how much my life has been touched by being able to know them. I know Heavenly Father has prepared them for this work!

Ah I thank Heavenly Father every day for being able to see so many miracles on my mission. I am no where near a good missionary, but I love being able to share the gospel with others and I love being here. There is so much I need to work on, but I know with the Lord's help I can do it. The Lord's hands are in all things. The Savior has done so much for us, that what He has asked us to do is not even comparable. The Church is true! How wonderful my calling is. I can't believe Heavenly Father is letting someone imperfect like me share this perfect gospel. Thanks to my wonderful parents who raised me in way that I am worthy to be out here.

Tis the Season

Hello y'all! I can't believe it is already December! That is soo cray. I can't event handle it! Christmas is in 3 weeks and that means I get to Skype home in 3 weeks! I am so freakin' excited!!

Thanksgiving was wonderful. We spent the whole day with the other missionaries in our ward at a members home. It was so fun and so delicious. Although I was away from home and my family I felt like I was at home. I realized that even though I missed my family, I had too much to be grateful for to be sad. Ah Thanksgiving is the best.

This week did get super cold, but now it's starting to warm up!! I am happy because not gonna lie, I was freezing. I just don't want to admit it's winter yet. But we shouldn't see snow anytime soon so I should be okay for awhile.

Can I just say how much I love my companion.  We have so much fun together. But She has also helped me so much this transfer. She builds me up when I feel down and she makes me feel like a a good missionary. I appreciate her so much. We definitely got that unity thing going on. She's my soul sista. I am saying these things because transfers are in 2 weeks and its soooo up in the air if I am staying or not. I really hope I do though because I want to stay with Sis. Vilingia another 6 weeks and we are working so hard with these investigators!

Speaking of, so the family we have been teaching for the last 3 months, who I have mentioned a couple times, we had a miracle occur with them. So we haven't even picked up the husband as an investigator and we have been trying to talk to him, because he's been reading, but we haven't been able to pin him down. Well finally we set an appt on Wednesday to see him to see what's up. Well the wife called the Bishop and asked him to come to the appt too. So we all went and we kind of were like 'hey your kids are ready for baptism, how do you guys feel about that?" And the wife has been unsure and she feels like she hasn't gotten an answer to her prayers about it. So I read alma 32:21 on faith and testified to her of this gospel and the importance of it to her family, which I cried because I love them so much. And Bishop testified to her that they need to sincerely read the Book of Mormon if they want an answer. It was so powerful. Then the wife asked us to teach her husband the Plan of Salvation real fast because he hasn't heard it. So we taught it on a whim and it was soooo great! I am so happy the Bishop came because he made it really powerful. And the husband loved it. Then Bishop gave the husband a blessing because he's been sick, and we all cried the whole time. Man the spirit was so strong. Later she called us and she told us that her and her husband knows it's all true and wants to be baptized before the end of the year. I cried. (I know tons of crying.) But I have been praying for this family forever. I love them so deeply and I care about them so much. It is absolutely wonderful too see them accept this gospel.

Well the Church is so true. This gospel is wonderful. The Savior is wonderful. Like I said recently, I have been studying the Atonement and the life of Christ and its soo awesome! Christ did so much for us and he truly has experienced everything we have experienced. He knows what its like to face temptations and trials and he has felt our sorrow and our pain. Man I love the Atonement and I love being a missionary. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Oh man is it super cold here in Indiana. I can't even handle it. I am refusing to admit to myself that it's winter, whaddya do? 
But it truly is a wonderful season! Thanksgiving is super fun! All the missionaries got invited to go to a member's home ! Plus, we are allowed to watch football (if the tv is already on) and we will help the Tilmans decorate the tree! I am so freakin' excited! As I write this email, I am reminded of my families tradition of going around the table on Thanksgiving Day and saying what we are grateful for. I am so grateful for the gospel. I am grateful for the Savior and His Atonement in my life and that the repentance process allows me to change and grow closer to my Heavenly Father. I am grateful to be a missionary and to have witnessed so many miracles! 

Now that I got all sappy and spiritual (sorry to those who aren't used to this side of me), I will write about my week. We had Stake and Zone Conferences this week so we didn't get to do a ton of proselyting! It's okay though because we did fit in a couple lessons, saw a miracle, plus the meetings were so awesome. It made me realize how quickly the work is hastening and how blessed I am to be apart of it!

So the miracle we saw this week... While we were emailing at the library last week, I saw a girl walk in. Right when I looked at her, my first thought was "She super could be a member of the Church." But I brushed off the thought and kept emailing. My excuses being, I am super emotional looking at the pics from home and I am so lost in these emails. But as Sis. Vilingia and I were leaving, a car pulled up in front of us, asking us where the nearest church was, and it was the girl from the library. She pulled to the side of the road and we started talking. She confessed that she is a member but hasn't come in a long time and really wants to start coming back! She said she has been seeing us at the library the last couple of weeks and has been feeling prompted to talk to us but was scared. We exchanged numbers and we planned a time to see her when we gets home from out of town. She was so sweet and so kind, we loved meeting her! I was so mad though that I had ignored the promptings of the spirit. Because of that one instance, I spent the rest of the week closely listening to the spirit and strived to follow all the promptings I recieved! I truly felt rebuked for not listening the first time and I hope to not do it again!

We also had a really great lesson with some investigators who we have been trying to teach the Restoration too for quite some time! We finally pinned them down and they were super receptive and super interested. The wife even confessed that we were her only friends and that she trusts us and loves having us come around. This really testified to me that it means the world to people when we just sit and listen to their lives and establish friendships with them! The spirit we bring truly touches people!

Oh man I love being a missionary. I know y'all probably hate me by now for saying it so much but its true! I also wanted to say how grateful I am for all of you and your support and friendship. Y'all are truly the reason I am here today! Love you guys so much and miss all of you! Have a great Thanksgiving!

There is No Place Like Home

This title has plural meanings. First, it is true, tornadoes hit this area. The warnings and storms were intense there for awhile! We had to do a tornado drill in the Church, it was cray. I am fine though and Covington is safe! Danville, where we meet for church, is without power though. So things are still pretty chaotic. Second, my dear brother Carter is home, Although, I love being out here and I love being a missionary, I am sad that I couldn't have been home with my fam this weekend for such a wonderful occasion.

Speaking of weather.... IT SNOWED. Ah man was I cold. The longer I am in the cold the more inclined I am to live in AZ or CA for the rest of my life. But it was fun to experience plus my companion loved it. . Attached are some dweeb sauce pictures we took in honor of the first snowfall.

This week was great. Nothing crazy happened but Sister Vilingia and I are working hard. Side note: I LOVE my companion. We get along really well and we are very similar. I love her to death and she has already taught me so much. Its going to be a great transfer. 

We are working super hard with our most progressing family. They all came to church yesterday which was AWESOME!! This gospel is so perfect for them. When we were at a member's home, we were talking about the family that we are teaching and I started crying at the thought of them not joining the Church. And to clarify, it's not the fact that they may not join the church that made me sad, it's the fact that their family will be missing out on all the blessings that his gospel has to offer. But they are doing so great. I feel so blessed that Heavenly Father has allowed me to love them so much. Honestly, I can't imagine loving a family more than this. My heart is gonna burst because I love them so much!

We are also working with some promising investigators so all is going well in good ole Indiana!

I had a revelation this week. I kept thinking and praying out the people that we are teaching and I was like "what can I do more? How can I help them?" But then it hit me, it's not about me. It's about the Spirit and Heavenly Father, they do the converting. It's not about what I say or do, I am just the mouthpiece. It is all about the Savior. Because of His Atonement, it enables us to change and to grow. Ah man how I LOVE being a missionary. This is the happiest most blessed work I could be apart of.


It has really chilled up out here in Indiana. There is talk of possible snow storms in the next couple of weeks. Please keep me in your prayers for my Arizona blood may not be able to handle it!

So my new companion is Sis. Vilingia. (picture attached) She's tongan and sooooo rad.  We are co-senior companions, although she has been out longer than me. Since she has been out for awhile, she has so much great experience! I think she will bring the change Covington needs so I am excited to see some differences!! It will be great!

Saying goodbye to Sis. Scott was hard though. She really became a sister to me. Tears were shed when she left. Her last day here we said some goodbye's to people. We went to the Cxxxxx and gave them a picture of the temple and wrote our testimonies on the back! Then, they showed us their testimonies, they wrote down, of the gospel and the baptism. It was really touching. Tears were shed, again, I must be a girl or something. But I love their family a ton. The gospel is perfect for them and they are perfect for the gospel. They received the Holy Ghost on Sunday and Gary received the priesthood! Next stop, Patriarchal blessing! Soooo exciting!! 

Because we were in an out of Covington, due to Transfers, we really didn't see any investigators! But on Sunday, our investigators, whom we haven't seen since Oct. 30 and who said that something was holding them back from church, came to church!!! And it was the Primary Program I know they felt the Spirit! We are excited to follow up with them this week and see what they thought!

This transfer I decided to really focus on the Savior. I have started reading Jesus the Christ and other talks on the Atonement. My reason for doing this is because I want to be more like Him. I want to love the way He loved, and served the way He served. The more I learn about Him, the more I realize how much He and my Heavenly Father love me. In what other church will you find people teaching us that Savior and Heavenly Father have provided every single opportunity to have us return to them. At the last day, it won't be us begging for the Savior to let us enter the celestial kingdom. He will be telling us that He has paid the price for us and that He loves us enough to let us enter! Ah, I love gospel and I love that I get to wear the Savior's name on my tag everyday.

Sorry for those who think I am being mushy and spiritual, but I feel prompted to share my feelings. I hope that my testimony and touched some of you.

Melanie and Gary are Baptized!

First, thanks everybody for your emails and prayers. It really means a lot to me. I can feel your love and support everyday!

This email may be on the shorter side because I spent half my life in Champaign (which is an hour away). So transfer doctrine, drum roll........... I'm STAYING. No surprise, I pretty much want to live out the rest of my life in Indiana. But Sister Scott is leaving. She will be training and opening a new area in Crystal City Missouri. I really am gonna miss her but I am excited to spread my wings and fly! My new companion is Sister Vilingia! She is polynesian and has been out 6 months! The word on the street though is that she is super rad so I am excited for the change! But because Sister Scott is training, she had to take another girl who is also training (who doesn't have a car) down to St. Louis for the trainer meeting. So I spent the day with Sis. Collett in Champaign in the YSA ward! It was actually really fun and I learned so much from Sis. Collett. I could for sure see myself serving at a university in the future!
So the biggest news that I have to offer is MELANIE AND GARY ARE BAPTIZED! AAAAAHHHHHAAHAHHA. Can I just say that I balled all day Sunday. So we first met with Melanie and Gary on Monday to see if they were all ready for the baptism on the upcoming Sunday. When they let us in they were like we hope you can stay for the rest of the night, we made Ehtiopian food and prepared FHE and then we are going to carve pumpkins! First, ethiopian food is tres bon, second, it was nuts to go into their home and have them teach us something, and third, we finally got to carve pumpkins! I was going to do a cat but their daughter mary did it so I didn't want to copy her! Their family is just soo prepared! So Sunday rolled around and it was fabulous. Fast and Testimony meeting was soo spiritual, that's where the crying began. The rest of the meetings were wonderful as well. Then the baptism was right after church. As soon as Sister Strawser got up and gave her talk, Sister Scott, Melanie and I were done for. The water works just started. After the talks, we headed for the font. I went to the bathroom to help Melanie and hold her towel and she was just balling. It was sooo beautiful. The program was just fantastic. People told us it was the most spiritual convert baptism they had ever been too.
I am so grateful for the Cxxxxxx family. They have touched my life forever. I feel so blessed to be the missionary to witness their conversion. I can't believe Sis. Scott found her when she was walking down the street and saw Melanie sweeping her porch 5 months ago and now they are baptized. Man, I love this gospel more than I thought possible. I love these people more than I thought possible. During the baptism, all I could think was, "this is what this work is all about, this is why I am here, this is worth every sacrifice."
The restored gospel of Jesus Christ is the most beautiful gift Heavenly Father could give each of us. I can't describe how joyful and how happy I am to be a bearer of the truth and an instrument in the Lord's hands. I love my Savior so much and I know that through Him, all things are possible. I feel more blessed and more happy than I have for a very long time. I know my Savior Lives. I know that Heavenly Father loves me so much. I can see it every single day. I am thankful for the happiness and joy the gospel brings. Nothing is comparable to this gospel. So all of you dont give up, don't stop, don't let yourselves get tired. Because how great your joy will be when you bring one soul unto him! Even if it's your own. Because the work you do will affect past and future generations. I love my calling. I love being a missionary. Its sad that after the mission, my only worry wont be sharing my testimony every day.

This week was just full of stuff it was great! The downfall of our week though, it's freezing here now. It even snowed a little bit! AAH The Arizona in me can't handle this.

Our latest update with the Cxxxxx  family! I love them, I love them, I love them. This week we finished teaching all the commandments, which they willingly and faithfully agreed to live all of them! We meet with them a couple of times a week since their baptism is THIS SUNDAY!!!! But in our most recent lesson we decided that in addition to going over the baptismal questions with them, we would have a testimony meeting as well. It was beautiful. I cried, Sis, Scott cried, Melanie, cried. It was great. They both told us how much their lives have changed and how grateful they were for it. Melanie said it feels so good to finally know the truth. Their family is so wonderful and I couldn't love them anymore if I tried! Next time I email they will be baptized. Oh and Melanie ordered herself a quad (4 books of scripture) with her name engraved on it. She is so perfect! The Cxxxxxx are opening up and are just so comfortable in the ward, its amazing! Its nice to have another solid family in the ward, especially in Covington!

Our miracle this week! Last week, I emailed about the family we are teaching, Julie Xxxxx, and how her husband is against the church. Well we have been praying big time to have his heart be softened and we have see the miracles! The Newells set it up to have us have dinner with their whole family, including Txxxx. We got asked him questions and got to know him, and come to find out, we are teaching his sister and her family in Covington! (Indiana is the smallest world ever). Since the kids love us, they invited us to their home afterwards and we taught them about the Godhead! The lesson was wonderful and the kids just love what we teach. The whole time though, Txxxx was just in and out. But at what point the kids asked us "How does God answer our prayers?" And I told them the story about how Sis. Scott and I were praying to teach a family and we found them at the last house on the last street we tracted and on the last door we knocked. And I told them that it was Txxxx's sister we were talking about! Anyway, he stayed for the prayer and such but we didn't know if our lesson touched him in any way. Well, when we got home, Julie texted us and said he was reading the Book of Mormon and asking when church was! God answers prayers. I started crying because I was soo happy! She thanked us for everything and told us that her and her family really loved us. It's experiences like these that you are just like being a missionary is sooooo awesome!

This weekend was also our Fall Fest. We had a trunk or treat and a chili cook off (which the missionaries were the judge, yah babay!). It was really, really fun! I got to fulfill my life long dream of playing a dead person YES (a lady in the ward is certified in trauma makeup)! Pictures are enclosed but it was totally wicked. People couldn't even look at me it was so real! All in all it was so fun! Plus, all 3 sets of missionaries had investigators show up -Hooray! Our investigator, Victoria came withe her boyfriend and they really seemed to enjoy themselves! It is actually really humbling that she came because we were going to drop her this week because we werent seeing any progression. It's all about the Lord's timing I guess!

I love this gospel so much. I know Heavenly Father is there and he will answer our prayers. He loves us so much and is concerned with what we are concerned with! Always turn to Him no matter what!

There is a young family in the ward who the husband is from Az. So we bonded on our love of Mexican food and I mentioned how I make wicked guacomole (Madeleine's recipe) and he said he probably made better. So we decided to have a guacomole-off to prove who made the best guacomole. So we went to their home for dinner and they invited another family to be the judges. Dinner was sweet pork tacos, by the way, talk about a little slice of home! We made the guacomoles anonymously and they they tasted them. And guess who won?!?!? Yours truly baby! He was a little bitter, but hey I was so excited. Thanks Madeleine for the kick-butt recipe! 

Melanie and Gary are doing fantastic, as always! They are basically members already. This week we invited Brother Strawser to a lesson with them so he could talk about the Priesthood and the temple. The lesson started off a little rocky but it ended wonderful. The spirit was so strong I cried. They both committed to being sealed a year from now and they are really excited! I hope I will be able to go. But this lesson just made me realize how truly grateful I am for the Priesthood. I am thankful that I always had a worthy Priesthood holder in my home or access to one at school. I realize now that the Priesthood as made such an impact in my life! Aw man I love the Priesthood!

Things are going super well this week for another one of our investigators named Julie! She was a member referral and we have been teaching her for over a month now. Progression has been slow but she loves having us over and is really interested in the things we teach her.  This week we finally picked up her kids as investigators! She has 2 boys and one girl, and a girl that lives with her. They are the ages of 13 to 15! We taught about faith and the kids just loved it! They seemed to really desire to know more about Christ and develop their faith! They committed to read the Book of Mormon and pray more! It was so great. We love them and they love us. Now we just need to soften the heart of her husband. We will just have to keep praying for him! But we know this family will truly be strengthened from the gospel so we are excited to teach them again this week.

Man the work is wonderful out here. It hit me one day this week, while we were tracting, that my life couldn't get any more wonderful right now. I get to go out and testify of this gospel with everyone I meet. I get to be a representative of Jesus Christ and invite others to come unto Him. Man this gospel is beautiful. I feel my heart being changed everyday. 

P.S. Here are some pics from my adventures in good ole Indiana! Enjoy!