Friday, December 12, 2014

This Is the Testimony Last of All...

Well, I am not sure what to has been another great week!  Like all of them for the past 18 months :)  There have definitely been ups and downs but there is nothing that brings more happiness then sharing the gospel with others.  It's been filled with some of the best moments of my life and memories that I will cherish forever.  I've laughed, I've cried, I've seen people change their lives.  It's been wonderful!  More than anything, this experience has just reaffirmed to me that this church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, truly is Christ's church once again restored to the Earth and that only through it can we find the greatest joys and blessings this life has to offer.  It really is the Good News!!  I have seen it transform broken, hopeless people, into people who now have purpose and direction and happiness; if that isn't a miracle, I don't know what is.  I love it!!  I have also been working on memorizing The Living Christ (which I accomplished this very morning!) and it has just brought to my mind (especially during the Christmas season as well) Christ's role in each of our lives.  I am so thankful for Him!  His sacrifice, which has given me strength more times than I can count out here, is THE greatest gift that we have ever been given.  And as we try to become more like Him and do those things that bring us closer to Him, He will really reach out and support us and strengthen us and transform us into more Christ-like disciples, which is how we will find more joy in this life. He lives!  And this is His work, the greatest work that we can be involved in.  I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to be a part of it!  It's been the best 18 months ever.  :)
We'll, that's it for now and I guess I'll see ya on the flip side!
Sis Rae
Christmas tree decorating!

Lunch at Applebee’s and how perfect is that sign??

Reno at night

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Yummy, Yummy In My Tummy

Hope everyone had a most fabulous Thanksgiving Day!  It was a great day.  Good food, good company, good fun.  I would call it a success.  We proselyted in the morning (whoever said holidays and weekends were the best times to contact people LIED, just saying) but it wasn't too bad.  Then we got together with the other missionaries in the zone and played some football.  Gotta have football on Thanksgiving!  Then we feasted.  Man, any time you can get together and eat food and have a good time, I call it a good day.  Good thing we go running every morning....people love to give missionaries food.  And tons of it.  Our fridge is stocked for days.
Well, as to the work this week.  I was good!  Kind of slow because everyone and their dog was out of town for the holidays but we still kept busy and saw some miracles!  Our bishop has asked us to go through the ward list and go visit everyone that he doesn't know so that has kept us busy!  It's really fun because you get to meet a variety of people and MOST of them are nice because they are members and know about missionaries, even if they don't come to church.  We found a couple people that are even interested in us coming back and teaching their families, yay!!  So it was a lot of knocking on doors this week, thank goodness the weather has been nice!  We were even able to go without coats and boot for a couple days.  Tender mercies.
Funny story of the week.  So we are teaching these two girls that are young teenagers/preteen, cutest girls ever and so funny.  Well, somehow the conversation turned to boys and they asked us for dating advice!  Probably the last people to be asking for that....awkward before the mission and now haven't even talked to boys for eighteen months!  Anyway, they kept talking and their mom cuts in and says something about not worrying about it but working on yourself to become the kind of person you want to marry because you'll attract those kinds of people.  One of the girls right afterwards flips her hair back and says, without missing a beat, "I'M attracting!".  So funny!!  Probably one of those had to be there moments but still.  Then they talked about these t-shirts they were going to make with a huge gold star on it with their faces in the middle.  Then when they did something good, they would wear the shirt so everyone knew they got a gold star.  Sounds like a good idea to me!  Anyway, not a ton of exciting fantastic stuff, just good 'ol missionary work!  Oh!  Also, ya'll should go to and check out the video there.  It's probably one of the best Christmas videos I've seen all year!  A good reminder that the real reason for the season is Christ and to make Him a priority this Holiday Season.  #sharethegift

Sis Rae

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Faith, Goals, Miracles

This week was a wonderful week.  We had our Zone Conference which is always amazing.  President did a training on making miracles happen.  He talked about a runner who broke the 4 minute mile.  Everyone thought it was physically impossible to do that so no one had ever broken it.  But once he made it a goal and worked for it and broke it, people who once thought it was impossible realized that it could happen and runners all over the place started breaking a four minute mile.  He related it to the fact that we sometimes hold ourselves back from reaching our potential or reaching the goals that we could obtain in our lives just because we don't have the faith to realize anything is possible.  Especially when you are engaged in the Lord's work.  Nothing is impossible.  We just have to have the faith to make it happen.  It was really, really good.  If nothing else, the mission has really taught me that when you have faith, set goals, work your hardest, then miracles WILL happen.  Not only in just missionary work but all aspect of our lives.  So that was the great part of Zone Conference.  The bad part of Zone Conference was that I had to bear my final testimony.  That was heartbreaking.  Then we had our final interviews with President.  Since there is over thirty of us going home, he has been just doing them as he has traveled over the mission for the conferences.  That was depressing.
But the rest of the week was good!  We found two new families that have been searching for a church and want God to be a greater part in their lives.  Whelp, we can help with that!  They are super open and hungry for knowledge; it is so much fun teaching them!  Then one of the families surprised us by all came to church this week.  When we invited them they said "we'll try" which really means, 'nope!' so when they walked in it was a fabulous surprise. I didn't hear much of the talks because I was trying to keep the kids quiet so the parents could listen (it's always hard for kids their first Sunday, they aren't used to sitting still for that long) but it was great to have them there.  Speaking of Sunday, it was one of the craziest Sundays of my life.  Not only were we running around trying to get people where they were supposed to go, but Sisters Catlett and Grandy had to speak, then I had to teach Gospel Principles, then I had to play the piano so the Young Women could practice their song for the Christmas program, then we were asked to come in and talk to the Primary.   It was crazy!  I know Sunday is supposed to be the day of rest but it is the most UN-restful time ever.  Keeps us out of trouble though I guess.
Anything else that happened this week...??  Oh!  I, for the first time ever, proselyted somewhere other than Sparks Nevada.  So the Reno STLs are in a situation like we are, two of them are going home so they are in a trio as well.  Well, two of them were going to the Zone Conferences doing a training and the third one stayed in the area working so we were asked to rotate days going on exchanges with them so she wouldn't be by herself.  So I got to go with them for a day!  It was super weird.  Reno isn't that much different than Sparks but I've been in Sparks so long that even when I go on exchanges in other wards I am getting familiar with the people they visit and the streets and the members.  So it was an adventure.
Well, that's it for this week and I hope that everyone has a fabulous Thanksgiving!  Eat lots of food and don't forget to say thank you!

Sis Rae

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Weather Outside is Frightful

I feel like I have the same stories every week.  Hmmm....sorry these aren't more interesting!  Some weeks are just....story-less.  Let's see if I can come up with something....
It's been freezing cold!  I hate winter time as a missionary.  It's ok if you can stay inside and drink hot chocolate and wear sweatpants.  But it's no bueno when you have to be outside and nobody is home and you are in a skirt.  BUT!  It's cold, so we are justified in singing Christmas songs.  So we are cold, but happy :)  We went to see this one lady this week and when we walk into her house it's like entering a winter-wonderland.  Gorgeous tree and lights and decorations with Christmas songs and hot chocolate waiting for us.  She instantly became my favorite person in the world.
In other news...we were out contacting people and knocked on one door.  We could hear the lady come to the door and then asked who it was.  We said sister missionaries.  She ran away from the door and you could hear her say to someone the cops, or get my gun.  We weren't sure which.  Either way!  We didn't stick around to find out.  I don't think she was very interested. 
We also got some cute voicemails from a 4 year old in a family that we teach.  We promised her marshmallows if she was good, so she called us (the kids get smarter and smarter these days!) and reminded us almost every day.  It went something like this "Missionaries.  Please bring me my marshmallows.  Thankyouloveyoubye” Better than some voicemails we get :)
Man, I am really struggling to think of what happened this week.  It really wasn't that eventful.  Good lessons, good spirit, good miracles.  Life is good!  
Hope everyone has a fabulous week and keeps warm!
Sis Rae

Good ol Nevada

This lady had over 30 dogs in her house....this is only one of them :)

I was standing by the cage that was open and they just hopped up there!
Something to make you laugh

Monday, November 10, 2014

This week was NUTS!

So this week was crazy.  I am so glad it's over.  Even though these next two weeks are going to be even crazier....gosh no time to even breathe.  So here's a play by play:
Monday:  Another sister ended up going to the hospital (she is ok now) so her companion stayed with us for the day.  So there were four of us.  I felt like a gang.  
Tuesday:  We had zone training where we had to prepare and present not one, but TWO trainings.  We did one by ourselves and then one with the zone leaders talking about faith and miracles.  It was a fun topic and a good training, just kind of crazy!  We also have the largest zone in the mission (over 50 missionaries) and so that is a lot of people to talk to.  AND THEN!  President and the APs show up.  Eh, no pressure.
Wednesday:  Exchanges.  Those are always fun.  We got yelled at by a ghetto black lady.
Thursday: Sis Hermansen calls us and wants to come out with us.  Mission Presidents wife hanging out with us for the  So she went with Sis Catlett and Sis Grandy and I went together.  Then we went straight into another exchange.  The bags never get unpacked!
Friday:  Finished up exchanges and did weekly planning.  On a cool note, a Costa Vida just opened up in town and they were doing a special where EVERYTHING was free from 11-1.  Missionaries, we have a skill of finding and obtaining free food.  It was glorious.  Super fun too as all the missionaries ended up showing up at one time or another.  It's always fun when we can get together, even if it's just for an hour.  That's what I love about Sparks.  It's party central!
Saturday:  FINALLY a normal day.  And we ended up getting dropped by three of our most promising investigators.  Apparently they weren't that promising.  But that's ok!  Those seeds were planted and we found a family that day too, that is interested in learning more.  God always tries you before He sends in the blessings!  We just have to show him that we are ready to fight for what we want. 

Sunday:  We got to teach Relief Society.  Hmm...the topic is missionary work....who should we have teach it.....   It was good though, I actually kind of enjoy teaching classes now.  Before I would have said no way, but it really isn't that bad.  You learn a lot; that is for sure!
But that was my crazy week this week.  The next couple are going to be crazy as well.  Extra people staying with us, more exchanges, meetings, lessons....the fun never ends!  The joys of mission life :)  But really, it is a joy.  Best time of your life!  
Hope ya'll have a fabulous week as well!

Sis Rae

Monday, November 3, 2014

Back Together Again

Once again, I am sitting at this wonderful library trying to determine which of the amazing events this week are worth noting in this email. 
First off, this has been a great week!  We got Sis Grandy from Spring Creek (which is aaaaaaaaaallllll the way on the other side of the state) on Wednesday and it has been a party ever since.  It has been so much fun.  She is an awesome missionary but loves to have fun too.  So there is never a dull moment with the three of us.  I feel kind of bad for her because this is only her second area and she has 6 weeks to learn the area, learn the people and learn the ropes of being a Sister Training Leader before both of her companions leave her.  I would be a little stressed.  She can handle it though, she is awesome.
Recently there has been a lot of talk from our Mission President about breaking through plateaus.  Not getting comfortable and making little changes to be even better.  Little things can make a huge difference!  So!  As a companionship we sat down together and made some transfer miracles that we want to see (have 3 baptisms, find a family of 6, things like that) and little things that we are going to do to break through those plateaus we have and be worth of those miracles.  Not that we are doing anything bad, but there is always room for improvement.  And then to have a fast for these miracles.  Well, the miracles have been coming!  We have made goals to be 5 minutes early to studies instead of scrambling around trying to make it to our desks by 8, talk to EVERYONE no matter how awkward it is to get to them, and to plan actually dinner thoughts instead of just winging it.  Those aren't huge things but we have already seen the difference just in the spirit of the work.  And just yesterday, we met 3 people (2 families) that are willing to let us come back and want to listen to our message!  Do you know how hard it is to find people that are willing to do that?  And we found 3 in one day??  That was a direct result of our added effort, I firmly believe that.  Not that it was very much, but the miracles are coming!  Not that we are talking about this at all, but time is running short, and I intend to sprint to the finish.  Making these little differences has really helped me stay engaged and really push through this last leg.  And it's fun to see the miracles happen and see how immediate the blessings are when we keep His commandments.  
Also, side note.  Our stake president always invites all the missionaries to his house for breakfast and a little training every transfer.  He always asks by raise of hands how many times people have been there. Well, I have blown all records out of the water.  This was my 13th time at his house, boom baby!  One mission. One stake.  It was pretty awesome.  We also had a fun Halloween this year.  We were in meetings all morning and then had to be in after dinner so we had no proselyting time but while we were at dinner we got to answer the door for trick-or-treaters.  Several of them told us how awesome our costumes were ;)  Yeah, I think we do pretty good missionary costumes.  Pros at it.  Then we went home and ended up playing games with the elders below us.  We set up a big table outside, our neighbors were giving us weird looks, but it was super fun!  We live in the ghetto so no one came trick-or-treating to our house.  So it has been a good week!  Full of good adventures.

Hope you all have a great week as well and we will talk to you later!
Sis Rae
It's a wonder anyone wants to talk with us....

Reading Book of Mormon stories to the girls while their mom gets ready for church

An investigator gave us footie pajamas :D

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Beginning of the End

Well, that is depressing.  Today I started my last transfer.  Horrible!  But the good news is, Sis Catlett and I are staying together!!  We will be getting another sister, Sis. Grandy.  I don't know her at all but heard good things so it should be good!  It's super funny; I am ended my mission exactly how I started it.  Sparks 2nd ward in a trio.  How many people can say that happens to them??  Pretty awesome.  So I am going to have two areas my whole mission and will have never left the stake of Sparks.  Best place on earth!  Side note, did you know that Reno is so close to hell you can see Sparks?  Ha!  Some old man told us that this week.  
Well!  This week has been a good week, we broke 30 lessons which is the highest I've ever gotten, but most of it is a blur.  It goes by so fast!  We helped a couple people move and that was fun.  Any chance we get to get into p-day clothes!  Then we got into a prank war with the elders that live below us.  It ended with them giving us pancakes so I think it was pretty successful.  Sorry, this is kind of scattered.  I have been fighting a cold for the past forever.  I think Catlett and I just keep giving it back to each other.  She gets better then I get sick, then I get better and she gets sick.  It's crazy.  Someone’s trying to stop us from sprinting through the finish.  Too bad it's not working!!! 
We had a couple fun experiences this week.  This guy refused to give me a hand shake because we were Mormon, never had that one before.  Then we had a guy that wouldn't let us pray because our heads were not covered and we were women, then he tried to point it out in the Bible but couldn't find it and wouldn't let us leave until he did!  So I told him where it was so he would let us leave (thank you, personal studies!  I had just read it that morning ;)).  Then we had a guy that told us that having a family forever was the most ridiculous thing ever and that Joseph Smith taught against Christ because he taught that families could be together forever.  I don't know why you wouldn't want to believe that but ok.  It was actually pretty funny!  People are so amusing.  
Funny story!  So we were out walking and this huge wind storm came out of nowhere and totally blew me over.  Like I fell down.  Catlett got blown into some guy’s car.  I didn't think that ever happened in real life but it did!  Also, skirts were a struggle that day.  Thank goodness for biking shorts! 
Well, that's all I got this week.  Peace out and have a great week!
Sis Rae
The Temple

How we should all feel about life ;) and cake

Random Santa frog.  His name is Ephraim

Epic corn maze we did last p-day