Guuuuuueeeeeess what?! Only 9 more days until the best day ever! I am beyond excited to celebrate Christmas as a missionary. What better present to Christ than sharing His gospel with others?Speaking of presents. Sis Ward and I are about to get the best Christmas present ever. Karen is getting baptized on Saturday! We are so excited because she is so ready and wants to be baptized more than anything. She also just finished the Book of Mormon! I have never seen anyone read it so fast. It was funny because we didn't realize she was reading it so much and she just casually mentioned that she was going to start over at the last lesson and we were like, "what??!". It took her just over 4 weeks. Her husband also wants to be baptized but needs just a little more time so hopefully that will happen in the near-ish future as well! It's been a good week.
Monday, December 16, 2013
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
This week has been COLD! We set records this past week with how cold it has been. Yay for us! Sis Ward is from South Carolina and it has been very funny watching her reaction because she has never seen anything below the 20s before in her life. Last night we were driving home and the temperature started out at like 12 degrees but almost every minute I would hear something like "oh my goodness! Now guess how many degrees it is outside!!!" Too funny. When it hit 1 degree, she was like "you can't even say degreeS anymore!! What is this?!" It was also her first time driving in snow! And we are both still alive to tell the tale ;)So yeah, it snowed. A lot. Tuesday we had a huge storm come in in the morning and we were told to not go out until it had cleared up a little bit. So what do we do? The 8 of us that live in the complex got together and had the best snow fight every. Have to say, it's the first time I have ever had a snowball fight in a skirt (we weren't planning on a snow fight to begin with) Super fun! Then we made a tiny little snowman; the snow wasn't good enough to make a big one. And of course you have to have hot chocolate after that! The snow finally stopped enough to go out at around 1 but it was a good morning!
Sis Arnold and I got attacked while making beautiful snow angels. (of course it was sis Ward's idea)
Friday, December 6, 2013
To begin with, I hope everyone had a GREAT Thanksgiving! It was a wonderful one here. We got together with all the missionaries in Sparks in the morning and played board games and volleyball and basketball and card games. I dominated in Gestures. The whole morning was spent in games and snacks and then we went to a members house for turkey dinner. Then to another members home for more food. I was so full, I was about to die. Everyone invited us over to their houses and we were only allowed to go to 2 places for dinner so many people just gave us a dinner to go! One plus to serving in the states ;) It was a good day, nice to get a little break from the hum drum of things.The next awesome thing that happened this week was the Inwood family got baptized!! It was so fantastic to see John be able to baptize his family into the gospel. There was not a dry eye in the room. Plus! Their family (who are all non-members or less active) came to the baptism and Heidi's parents came to the confirmation the next day and said they wanted to learn more! Then John's parents, who haven't been to church in ages, told them that if they went through the temple, they would prepare to go with them so they can all be sealed at the same time. How cool is that?! Just from one person wanting to learn more, a whole family is affected. Makes all the tough days as a missionary worth it to be part of that one moment.
Sis. Catlett and Sis Arnold like giving Sis Ward hugs :)
Heidi, Carley, Chay and John at the baptism (and Sis Ward and I)
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
So Saturday night, our Zone Leaders called us with our fate for the next 6 weeks and .....*drum roll* Sis Ward and I are staying YET ANOTHER transfer together in Eagle Canyon. Apparently we are doing something right (or have something more to learn) because 3 transfers together with the same companion is rare and 4 transfers NEVER happens. We are excited though and the Holidays are going to be fantastic!!This week has been great. We have been working with our several families to get ready for the baptisms coming up. John got the priesthood yesterday so he can baptize his family on Saturday! It was such a neat experience, he said afterward that he felt like he had just gotten out of a nice hot shower--clean and refreshed. It's been quite a journey to get there and so worth it! We are excited for the rest of his family to follow him this Saturday. Wooo! They are such a great family, I love them.
ONLY 30 MORE DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!!
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
This week was a blur. So much going on that I can't even remember what I had for breakfast most of the time! I have never had so many set appointments and been so busy during a week. I love it!! Down time is probably the worst thing ever as a missionary. But none of that this week!
So, forgive me if I already mentioned this, but about a month ago we had a special fast to find a family of five that was ready and prepared to hear the Gospel. Then we went to work. Then we met Karen (who we just committed to baptism on the 21st of December!) who brought her whole family of, you guessed it, FIVE to church with her this Sunday and two of her girls even participated in the Primary Program! We talked with her husband and he said he wanted to learn more because he has seen the change that the gospel has made with Karen so we are teaching the whole family! We have a lesson tonight and hope to invite the rest of the family to join Karen on the 21st for baptism. It is so amazing to see how the Lord answers our prayers and our desires. May not come in our time-table or how we want it but it always comes. But yeah, so we are super excited about it and all the miracles that are happening in our area.
We also got to meet (well, see) the local legend here in Sparks! There is this major highway that runs through all of Sparks called Pyramid and it is the cleanest highway you have ever seen. How the story goes, a veteran came back from service in the Military but was injured and couldn't find a job. So he decided that if he could keep Pyramid highway clean, his life would still be worth something. Everyday, he goes out and walks up and down the highway picking up trash and the other day we saw him!! He is so respected that we have heard stories of people pulling others who throw trash out the window off the road and give them a good talking too. And on national holidays, he carries a flag with him. So that was my excitement for the day :)
Well, hope you all have a fantastic week and do good!
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
It has been a week of miracles. Just fantastic! So. For the longest time, Sis Ward and I have been praying and fasting to find some families to teach since our teaching pool is pretty slim of investigators (mostly less actives). We have been asking for this miracles for at least 3 months now and this week it finally happened and is even better than we imagined! Sometimes you just have to work a little bit before you can get the reward.Well, this week we started teaching two new families (families!) and BOTH families came to church and have accepted to be baptized. Keep in mind that we just met them. It's every missionaries dream.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Pretty great week! I don't know if I already said this, but our stake, for the months of November and December are doing a missionary fast. Anyone feeding the missionaries that night, fast for missionary opportunities and then break the fast with us. It only started this week but already miracles are happening!! We have had so many referrals this week and most of them turned into something. Which rarely happens (in my experience anyway). So it has been pretty great! If this is what's happening at the beginning of this fast, I can't wait for when it really gets rolling!On another note, this month our miles were cut because we added some extra cars to our zone so we have been out walking a lot! Which has been pretty great because we meet and talk with more people. Well. One such of these people were a group of Jehovah Witnesses, like 5 of them. I was super excited because you aren't really a missionary until you have had a run in with the JWs. So we say hi and start talking to them. They were pretty nice but you could tell that they thought they were talking to 'competition'. Pretty funny because it was a group of older (and much taller!) men who thought that us two girls were threatening their work. Maybe it's bad of me but I loved it. We can't help it if the truth always wins out ;) When we walked away, I said 'good luck' because they ARE trying to help people and bring them to God and I know how much fun it is to knock on doors all day; you should have seen their faces! They were pretty surprised that we would wish them good luck. Like I said, pretty awesome.
Also, I am officially a missionary for another reason (like I said, pretty eventful week). I wore a hole in my shoe!! Means I am doing more then sitting on my tush all week! ;) Anywho. Hope everyone has a fantastic week!Love from Nevada,
Monday, October 28, 2013
So I know that it isn't Halloween yet but we were at our ward party so that's as much Halloween as we get out here ;) We wanted to go 'tracting' on Halloween but President said no. Sad day. But the party made up for it. Craziest, funnest party I have ever been too! And every missionaries dream. There were about 200 people there (yes, in a tiny ward building) and we didn't know most of them so we went around and just talked to everyone. We were in charge of the doughnut game and it was so entertaining to see all the little kids trying the eat them without hands. Some of them made me laugh so hard, especially the little little ones. They looked like little birds trying to get to the food. So cute! Maybe I have just never really lived in a neighborhood but this area really gets decked out for Halloween! Lots of people have sensor motioned creepy things on their porch so when you walk up things start wailing at you and moving. Makes tracting a little more interesting! There was this one skull that it's eyes turned red and it started laughing when we walked by. It was funny, Sis Ward jumped out of her socks and was down the porch and out of there before you could even say boo.The rest of the week is a blur....it was kind of crazy. If missions were a movie, they would not be G-rated. Several things came up and a couple people we were working with either had family pass away unexpectedly or end up in jail or relapse while in treatment for alcoholism. I was scared to go see anyone else because we would just hear more bad news! Just kidding...but really.
My new best friend
Best costume award goes too....!
Can you tell what I was for Halloween?Love,
Monday, October 21, 2013
Well, this week has been a crazy week. Everyone has been sick so most of the people we regularly visit canceled on us. BUT that freed up some time so we were able to try to see some former investigators that we have been trying to get a hold of for the longest time. That was probably the highlight of my week.One lady in particular, her name is Sue and has a 6 year old son named Michael. Her boy has some severe developmental and health problems which is why it has been so hard to get a hold of her (and the reason she stopped taking the lesson from the Elders about 2 years ago) because they are always at therapy or the hospital. It was a fantastic lesson though. She has some issues with Joseph Smith and if he really saw what he said he did, which is understandable, but told us that she was willing to read the Book of Mormon and pray 'extremely hard' to know if it was true. Which is all we ask! During the lesson, it was so cute, Michael would scoot around and just giggle at us and then start signing. Sue could continue the conversation with us AND sign to Michael at the same time. It was really cool to see. Michael has surgery this week though so we don't get to see her this week for a lesson but please send your prayers that it will go OK and that we can meet with her again!
Nice and comfy!
A downtown statue
I forgot my nametag so I wore Sis Wards extra one :)
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
So this big news this week is....*drum roll* Sis Ward and I are staying in Eagle Canyon together! So tons of big changes haha. This week was such a great week, end the transfer with a bang! We had our highest lesson count yet and didn't even see a couple of our 'regulars'!General Conference worked some miracles and we had several people at church that haven't been in years including a couple families. We also met with this family (Brent and Katie) we have been working with for a while. She has been a member all her life but hasn't been to church since High School and he is a convert of about 3 years. He told us his conversion story and it is the coolest thing ever. So he was at work on the internet and saw a couple ads for Mormon.org. One of them was advertising/explaining the Book of Mormon. When he saw it, he heard a voice in his head, plain as day, say that he needed to read that book. That was right before lunch. Brent goes home to eat lunch and cannot get the thought out of his head that he needs to read that book. Which he thought was ridiculous because they didn't even have a Book of Mormon! He would get it later from someplace. Then he heard someone telling him to go to a box in the garage and look through it. He goes out and rummages through the box but doesn't see anything so he turns to leave and he felt someone turn him around and tells him to look in the box again. At the very bottom is a Book of Mormon. How cool is that?! He was baptized in 3 weeks. It gave (and still gives) me goosebumps. The people that have gone before have such a hand in missionary work now and it is comforting to know that they are there helping us and guiding us. If I can help this family get back to church and sealed in the temple, my life would be complete. It's crazy how much love you can feel for people that you have only known for a short while. It's my favorite part of being a missionary. Seeing how much the gospel changes peoples lives for the better. Lots of people have such good lives already but the gospel brings that much more joy and peace into them.
Monday, October 7, 2013
This week was crazy busy! In addition to General Conference, we had Zone Conference which took up our whole Friday. Good stuff though! Always fun to get with other missionaries and see ways we can improve.So this General Conference was probably the best I have ever listened to. Let me tell you why. So for the past couple weeks we have been extending an invitation to everyone we teach. We ask them to write down a couple questions or concerns they have, to pray about them, and then to listen to Conference and they will hear an answer to their question, no matter what it is. Sister Ward and I joined in the experiment as well. Several people told us their questions so we were aware of what some of their needs were. Things ranging from tithing to depression to schooling. As we listened to Conference, EVERY SINGLE question was answered. In multiple talks. Such a testimony builder to me and the Spirit was so strong! I can't wait for this next week to talk to people about it! I'll let ya'll know how it goes.
Sorry again this is kinda short, still typing with one hand. The long letter from Rae Elder should make up for the shortness of this one ;)
Have a fabulous week and give your missionaries some referals!
Dearly beloved parents and loved ones of Nevada Reno missionaries.
I just wanted to let you know that my sweet wife has updated the mission blog, which you can access at nevadarenomission.blogspot.com. Pictures from the site can easily be saved and stored on your computer by right clicking on the image, then “saving picture as” and indicating where you want to save it on your computer.
I hope you enjoy seeing pictures of many of our missionaries, including your own sons and daughters.
Thank you for your support, prayers and faith in our behalf in this mission.
All the best,
David N. Hermansen
President, Nevada Reno Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
1146 Prater Way
Sparks, NV 89431
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
So! This email might be a little short because right now I only have the use of one hand. Last Monday (you know, those crazy P-days) we were playing volleyball with all the missionaries in the zone and about halfway through, I hit the ball weird and sprained my thumb and wrist. So my hand got (and still is) super swollen so I get to learn how to be left handed! Sis. Ward has also been feeling really sick so we spent a lot of this week at the doctor's office. Fun fun. We are the crippled companionship. I don"t have an arm and she can no longer eat any gluten.Then we got a call from my two of my favorite people, Randy and Petra, who said they had decided that Christianity was not for them. They are so sweet though and deep thinkers so it is fun to talk with them. Last time we were there they spent 10 minutes telling us about watching a bee get pollen from a flower and it was fun to listen to!; they just find joy in the smallest things. But they said we could come back by this week so we'll see how things go.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
So this week we had some interesting experiences while tracting. To begin with, we knock on this door and a guy in a bathrobe comes to the door. He says he is about to head to bed and to make it fast. So we say we are missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and he interrupts us! and starts talking about how he is a minister at a local non-denominational church. One of the fundamental beliefs/practices of his church surrounds food and what we should eat and how we should eat it. He then spends the next HOUR (standing on his front porch this whole time) telling us how food is God's love for us and that by cooking food we are denying God's love for us. He believes that we should go back to how they ate in the Garden of Eden and that anything else is sinful. Then he told us about the medical mafia and how the medical/drug community was planning on the take over of civilization by making us so sick that we would do anything they asked. Finally, we were able to cut in enough to tell him that we had to go and before we left, he started SINGING the Lord's Prayer and clearly expected us to join in. I can barely SAY the Lord's Prayer, let alone SING it. So we mumbled along for the most awkward minute of my life. He did let us pray with him though so that was one plus! Then...we went to dinner and they got pizza for us. Opps ;)K. So a couple days later we were knocking on doors again and this lady opens up and invites us in to talk. Turns out she was 7th Day Adventist and was more interested in converting us and telling us we didn't obey the 10 Commandments than actually listening to anything we had to say. Anyway, she was the head of the nutrition group at her church and told us almost the EXACT SAME THING as the guy before. She was less crazy though. Didn't tell us we were going to hell for the things we ate. She gave us like 5 booklets of natural healing and what was called The 10 Commandments for a Better Life, which actually has some cool stuff in it, but not something I would 100% rely on though. Both people told us to look up the movie Fork over Knives. So if you are bored and want to check it out, apparently it will change your life.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
1. Finding a box of Ensigns makes your whole week (dating back to 1963!!)
2. Dog are attracted to you like magnets
3. Receiving mail is like a man dying of thirst receiving water
4. People stare as you are backing out of the parking lot
5. Backpacks are an extension of your body
6. Monday's are the best day of the week
7. Have no qualms about talking to total strangers
8. Rides a bike in a skirt
9. Still uses pencil and paper to record everything
10. Find entertainment in the smallest things (nerf guns, chalk, throwing leaves at people, card board boxes....)
Anyway, those 10 things basically sum up my life right now! This week was good, stayin busy and out of trouble.One thing that has really stood out to me was God's hand in each of our lives. We were talking with one of our investigators this week and he was telling us kind of about his life journey and the bumps along the way. I could not help but notice how ever single thing prepared him or changed him in such a way that he was willing to listen to the gospel; because there were some things that he definitely had to go through before he would be willing to even give us the time of the day. He has gone from not even believing in God as a child to asking us if he can come to church with us. So amazing! Then we also got a hold of someone who is a member but hasn't been to church in years. She invited us in and we ended up talking for a long time wherein she told us about some deaths in her family and how she wasn't able to answer her 8 year old daughters or even her husbands questions. Before, she had told missionaries to leave her alone and that she wasn't interested but now things had just aligned so when we knocked on her door, she was open to talking with us. I love hearing these things and how the Lord works in each of our lives and how aware of each of us He is. It's pretty amazing! Those are the highlights of this week. Other than that, just work as normal!
Have a great week, everyone!
Monday, September 9, 2013
This week was a pretty great week! I hit my 100th day being a missionary. There is another sister that lives in the apartment with us that came out with me so we had a little party that included root beer floats, nerf gun wars, and other funnish like stuff.One of the best things this week was the fact that everyone's gardens have started putting off food so they have vegetables and fruit coming out there ears. Everyone is so generous to missionaries and end up giving us bags of fresh produce. I think I'll stay a missionary forever. Yesterday, a member gave us this huge bag of nothing but raspberries. Pretty much made my life.
Walkin under the Nevada sky
EVERY SINGLE HOUSE has one of these bears.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
So begin with, I had my first earthquake this week! We were at dinner and then everything just started shaking with no warning. I thought it was just a large truck going by the house but it just kept getting bigger and bigger. Apparently we were right by the epicenter so we felt it all. And it wasn't a bad earthquake but for someone that has never felt one before it sure got my heart a poundin! The family we were with had several little kids and that Sunday at church, their mom told us that we were now their favorite missionaries ever because we reminded them of the 'cool earthquake!' Hey, if that's what it gets for people to like us, bring on the earthquakes!This week we also saw blue sky for the first time in about two weeks. It only lasted for a day but hey! Some is better than none!
Thursday, August 29, 2013
This weeks been kind of crazy! I feel like I was literally here just a few minutes ago writing a letter but then so much stuff has happened this week. We have been keeping busy, that's for sure!For the most exciting news, Jordan got baptized! It was nice to be able to go see the baptism even though I am not in that area anymore, and to see the people from the ward again. It's funny how attached you get to people in just a short six weeks! As always, the baptism was so good. The spirit was strong and it is my favorite thing in the world to see someone come out of the water. There is nothing that brings so much happiness than to see their face after they have come out of the water and the joy that is there. So amazing! I wish everyone in the world had the opportunity to see it because it just testifies that they are on the right path and doing the correct things to bring them closer to God.
This week. There have been lots of fires in the area and in California so the whole entire town is covered in what looks like a fog and it smells like a campfire 24/7. I like the smell of campfire but it's better if you can roast some marshmallows as well! We are supposed to get some rain storms in this week so hopefully those storms will blow out all the smoke and we can actually see where we are going!hmmmm...stories from this week. It has been pretty uneventful.
The best part of the week was one day we had some interesting experiences tracting. Probably the weirdest tracting day ever (well...so far.) So we go up to this first house and knock and (of course) we hear the dogs barking and running up to the door but we don't hear anything else. Then the door opens and all we see is these three huge dogs standing in the door barking at us. No humans in sight. We call out hello but there is no answer. There is no one there. To make it even weirder, they had a screen that makes it really hard to see anything so it looked like a three-headed dog. Like Cerberus or
Outside the Reservation
Driving Home (sorry it's upside down)
So this week has been for the most part a pretty regular old week. Hitting the streets, talking to everyone we see, teaching people, and doing service. Pretty great life if I do say so myself!This week, we had a baptism! Glen was baptized on Saturday and it was such a neat experience. The rest of his family is members and have been trying to get him interested in the church for many years so it was so fantastic to see it finally happen! I watched his two kids faces when he came out of the water and they were just beaming from ear to ear, it was so amazing. You could see the happiness roll off of them that their dad had decided to join them as a family in the gospel. The (second) best part was the after party. His parents (well, whole family) is Philippine and when something happens, there is food, because food makes people happy. They invited the whole ward over for a dinner at their house afterward and there was SO MUCH FOOD! I made the mistake of sitting by his mom and she made me eat 3 plates full. Not that I am complaining because it was some of the best food I have ever eaten; homemade spring rolls have now rocketed up to my top favorite foods. Then she sent us home with more food than we can eat in a week. Good thing we are on bikes or you would have to roll me home! It was fun to see everyone together and the built in family that come with joining the church and the support of the members for Glen and his decision. That makes all the difference to someone coming in!
Thank goodness for kindhearted people! ;)
Getting caught in the rain
Monday, August 5, 2013
So I have come to the conclusion that the harder a day/week is, the more miracles are going to happen. It seems like the crazier the week is, the more people we meet who are accepting of us and our message. Makes me (kind of) look forward to those hard times because I know that if we push through it, then God has something great in store for us!
Well. My week started off on a good note with almost being eaten by killer birds. There is this lady that we teach, Kelly, that lives up on the Indian Reservation and has ELEVEN rescue parrots. They are all birds that have been abused and are considered so abused that they can't be saved, so Kelly and her husband takes them in. Since there are 11 of them, when they molt, dander gets everywhere and gets into her lungs and makes her really sick. So she asked us if we could come and help her clean the house and the cages. Of course we can't say no even though I am terrified enough of these birds when they are IN their cages. Monday, we go over to clean and I get the lucky job of vacuuming and sweeping out the bird room while Sis. Ward gets to go beat/dust the blinds out in the yard. There were several birds out of their cages and I had to go in there with a super loud vacuum and clean around their cages. Every time I passed a couple of the cages, the birds would cuss at me (shows what sweet birds they are) and fly at the cage bars. One bird in particular, a huge white Macaw, stared me down with its feathers all ruffled the whole time I was in there, and this one was NOT in it's cage. I thought it was going to eat me. Then! She asked if I wanted to hold it!! After she had just shown us all the scars that these birds had given her. Thanks, but no thanks. As we went to leave, she said she wanted to give us something in return for helping her. We were expecting like some pop or water or something but she comes out with what looks like a wand and puts a spell on us for protection and safety. Apparently, she is wicken/pagan/Mormon. Don't know how that works but she really is a sweet lady and was concerned enough for us to offer us protection haha They are always interesting visits up there!
The rest of the week was spent contacting people in the ward that don't usually go on Sunday or we have never met and tracting. When we went tracting, on one street we literally didn't get past 'Hi! How are..." before they said they weren't interested and shut the door. We also got TWO door slams out of one house on that street, I think that has to be a record. However, the very last house on the street, we were walking up and they were coming out. They saw us, got really excited and told us to come in and that they were just finishing up some cookies. Apparently they have met with missionaries before and just happened to have a Book of Mormon sitting on their shelf. They had never read it but asked us to pick our two favorite chapters out of it and they would read it for our next visit. How cool is that?! Even better, they gave us some of the most delicious cookies I have ever tasted to take home with us. So those are the highlights of my week, it's been a fun week. Can't wait to see what the next one has in store for us!
Love you all!
Saturday, August 3, 2013
The week of transfers is always insane, but I survived! My head is spinning with all sorts of new names and faces and roads but I am slowly getting it. So our area is a pretty ritzy side of town and includes an Indian Reservation up in the mountains which is pretty cool! My favorite part of my area is the road names; Running Deer, Prairie Moon, Talking Sparrow turns into Silent Sparrow (I think they got tired of listening to it and just killed the poor thing) Penguin etc. It makes me want to laugh every time someone tells me where they live. Since we have the Indian Reservation and live quite a ways out of our area, we have a car but don't have enough miles to use it all the time so we bike everyday, all day. And our area is NOT flat. I am going to be tanner and in better shape than I have in my whole life after this area. Last transfer, they were double transferred in and mainly focused on people who were not active in the church, so the area is still really slow and we only have one investigator now (that is being baptized on the 10th of August!) so we have done a lot of tracting and finding this week. It's a lot of work! No one warned me before I came out that missionary work was so exhausting in every aspect. But it is so amazing at the same time! We have had some awesome experiences just in the last week with running into people who are interested in religion and one lady even asked us if she could buy a Book of Mormon from us before we even introduced ourselves! The Lord provides if we just get up and do.My companion is Sis. Ward and has only been out one transfer longer than I have so we are both really new. She is from South Carolina and is SUPER quiet, well, quiet when other people are around. In lessons she barely says anything but when she does it is super amazing. She has a strong testimony and is really fun to work with. Not much to tell this week, it's just been a lot of knocking on doors and talking to random people! Always a joy :)
Our inheritance in the apt.
Best street ever
My new companiera!
Friday, July 26, 2013
Man, has this been a crazy week; it has had the highest highs and the lowest lows, one heck of a ride! So first order of business, this week is transfer week and on Tuesday, I am leaving to a new home! I am being transferred to the Eagle Canyon ward which is still in Sparks but on the complete opposite side of town. My new companion is Sis Ward who I have heard is pretty cool, so that should be good! Sis. Nunn is staying in Spark 2nd ward with two new companions and Sis. Verkist is being transferred to Reno. It was totally unexpected! They never move someone after only 6 weeks in an area, especially when they are still training and usually keep them with their trainers but we all got split up. President told us that there was too much awesomeness in one companionship and he had to split up that fire and spread the love a bit ;) So onward and upward to the new adventure!
Now on to the crazy adventures of this week. Earlier this week, there was an emergency that called away Sisters Verkist and Nunn so they called in a sister that is in another trio to come into the area with me so we could still work. She has only been out one transfer more than me and knew nothing about our area so I was made senior for the three days that she was here, I even got driving privileges (which was awesome)! It was kind of crazy, especially since they told me it was happening about 10 minutes before Sister Jackson got to our house. It was a stretch but such a learning experience! We survived, didn't get lost (too badly) and this week is our record high in lessons taught! It was weird teaching with someone else because I have gotten so used to how to work with the other two that you have to adjust and work a little harder to make things flow and adjust to how each other does things. It was fun though!
The next exciting thing that happened was Helga's baptism! Probably the most stressful thing of my life, no joke! So this week we visited Helga every single day just to provide support etc. because things always happen the week before the baptism. Every single day, something happened and it was more bad news after another but through it all she was so excited for Saturday and to be baptized. Friday night we were talking to her and she was in such a giddy mood about the next day and told us that Heaven or Hell, she would be there and the devil himself couldn't stop her. So Saturday rolls around and we talk to her in the morning and she is as excited as ever! That night, we show up at the church early to fill up the font and set things up. People start showing up and as it grows closer to 6, the more nervous we get. 6:15 rolls around and still no sign of Helga and we can't get a hold of her or any of her neighbors. We are a little panicking now. Then we (finally) get a call from Helga and she is just sobbing and tells us to come over. So we tell the Bishop that the baptism is off and we run over to her house. Outside her house, there is a ring of cops, swat team, ambulances, everything. We walk in through the cops and they let us in because we are representatives of the church (which is pretty dang cool) and finally get to Helga. Apparently, one of her son's friends is a fugitive and was hiding out in their garage and the cops found him and shots were fired and a whole bunch of other stuff went down. It made the news! And we found out later that we had met this guy that got arrested just the day before and shook his hand! First time I have ever talked to someone who is a fugitive! But then some other things happened too which really shook up her life and has turned her world upside down; I am naive and sheltered enough to think that stuff like this happened in the movies. We talked to her for a while and asked what we could do to help and she said she was so sad she couldn't be baptized and she wanted to still do it today! The font was still filled so we called the bishop back and got two witnesses and had a baptism! It was small, just a song, prayer and baptism but it was the best experience ever. Before her baptism, her whole face was down and she looked unhappy (understandably so!) but then she went into the water. When she came up, I have never seen someone glow so much or have such a smile of happiness and peace. It was a complete 360 change! The Spirit was so strong and there was not a dry eye in that place. She said to us when we sat down that it was as if a huge burden had been lifted and she felt like the happiest person in the world. She said nothing would stop her and even though literately all hell broke loose, she lived up to those words! God has something so amazing in store for her because of her faith and just the things she is going through right now in her life. I have never seen so much faith in a person!
Then the next exciting thing that happened was our fireside that was about the joy the gospel brings to people. We had members invite their friends and then asked some converts to share their experiences. It was so amazing. The people that we had speak were truly inspired and had such powerful testimonies that just light up their faces. At the end of it, TWO people came up to us and said they wanted to learn more and be baptized. Can we say miracles?! It was an amazing end to my time here in Sparks 2nd ward! This gospel is so amazing and is the true restored church of Jesus Christ on the earth and provides each of us with so much joy and comfort in this life! I love this opportunity I have to share that joy and blessings with others, it is seriously the best thing in the world.
I love you all and you are in my prayers!
Helga at her baptism
Kailey and Ivy, two of the coolest kids in the ward
The coolest zone ever
Monday, July 15, 2013
This week we had Zone Conference, my first one! We spent aaaaaaaall day in meetings; from 8am-5pm. Good thing they were good meetings with lots of good stuff! The day before, we were at a members house for dinner and there was a toy gun sitting on the counter. Sis. Verkist told me that I should try it, that it was a laser. So I did! Well...it was not only a laser but a shocking toy. I jumped pretty bad and threw the gun almost across the room, it startled me so bad. So we played with it all night and were enjoying it so much that the member let us borrow it! She was dying laughing at us. The next day being Zone conference, we couldn't pass up that opportunity! So we took it around to different people and got them. We got tons of good laughs from it; Sis. Nunn even got President with it! That one was good though because he didn't flinch and said it was dead and Sis Nunn totally fell for it. She got shocked. It was great.
This week was full of it's ups and downs. To begin with, we have been trying to meet Ricky for several weeks and he keeps bailing on us but then saying we should come back at another time but then bailing again. So we went over to see if we could find out what was up, some of his concerns etc. Well we go over and Jeff (an occupant of the group home) was standing outside so while someone went to get Ricky, we talked with Jeff. We found out that he raised Thor and taught him all he needed to know about using a hammer and that he is the American John the Baptist. He'll baptize you any day you want, just fyi ;) And that I, apparently, look like some of his 'kin'. Nunn and Verkist had a hayday with that one, let me tell you. So Ricky comes out with this girl and since the door is open, we can hear what they are saying as they are coming out. Ricky says something about us always coming back and the girl says that he should just call the cops on us and some other not nice things. Well they come out, and it is the girl, not even Ricky!, that tells us basically that he isn't interested and then they walk off. Well Jeff is standing there the whole time and he leans over to us and whispers, "I don't like that girl, she's mean. I know Jesus said to love everyone but I can't just do it. But you girls should still love everyone. Because it's what Jesus said to do and you are Christian ladies." He gave us a nice little pep talk and told us how great we were and had us on the floor laughing.
The up, is that Helga had her baptismal interview and is definitely set for this Saturday! I am so excited for her and you can see how happy she is. Her faith never ceases to amaze me. She had some pretty crazy things happen to her yesterday but she still showed up for church with all the kids. It was only for the last hour but she was there because she knew how important it was for her and the kids. I honestly don't know if I would have shown up if it was me in her situation. I feel like a lot of the times that the people we are teaching are actually teaching me! It is such a testimony builder. I have been told that the week before a baptism is one of the hardest weeks ever because Satan goes into overtime and I can already see that happening! But it is also one of the best weeks because when extra temptation comes, the Lord also sends extra strength. So this week is going to be a great week and I am so excited! This week is also transfers so I get to find out if I am staying here and possibly training adefjigreat week and your prayers are felt and are much appreciated!
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
This week was a pretty fantastic week! The best part was...I finally can solve a rubix cube! Now, we have races between the three of us to see who can solve it the fastest. That just shows how nerdy (and awesome) we are.
So I had a couple of adventures this week. Both Sis. Nunn and Verkist are convinced that I am going to be training at the end of the next two weeks so they are making me do the Senior Companion duties. Monday, we got into the car and Sis. Verkist handed me the map and said where are we going? Lead us. All I'll say about that is I am glad Sis. Nunn doesn't mind making lots of U-turns! I have also had to lead all our planning sessions and decide what we are doing that day. It's pretty fun! I just hope (and pray) that I am not going to need these skills for at least another 6 weeks. This week, we also went out tracting with a youth from the ward and they had me go with her while they went together so I could lead someone that had no idea what they were doing. The blind leading the blind! But from that, we got a couple people that said we could come back and talk with them more, so I guess I didn't fail entirely! ;) That day, I also became a true missionary. One of the houses we went to had a fence around it and we didn't see the dog before we were already in the fence...it wasn't a very nice dog. I wasn't aware that it was possible to jump a fence in a skirt, but I am here to tell you that miracles happen and you can clear a fence in a skirt. Although I would not recomend it.
Independence day! So usually on holiday's we have to be in by 5 but this year, there was a rule change! It would be a normal day and we could go to parties if we got a member ride and still were able to procelyte and didn't have to be home till after the firewords ended. A cool change! Thursday is our weekly planning day, a day where we look at all the people we are teaching and decided on what we are going to teach for the next week, so we decided that we would do that in the evening instead and stay home. Sis Nunn cooked us an authentic southern dish and Sis Verkist and I made cookies and we planned and had our own little party! Later that night, We have the perfect view of the downtown tower where they shoot of the fireworks, so we went outside and sat on a wall by our apartment and watched the fireworks. Pretty good day if I do say so myself!
The highlight of this week, though, was two new investigators we have. So the other week we met this lady tracting and came back and taught her a lesson. Her husband was there but didn't join us. This week we had another appointment set up with Terri and showed up to teach her. So the first thing Terri says to us is 'Sorry girls, I didn't get very far in reading you're book' and we're all like, that's ok, where did you read to, at least you read, kind of things. Then she opens it up and says 'only to page 34'. What?! Noone ever reads that much. I was thinking like the intro or maybe a couple verses in 1 Nephi. So the lesson started on a really good note! We had just barely started when John (her husband) pulls up a chair as well and listens in. The lesson was on the Restoration and it was my turn to talk about the First Vision. So I start talking about it and recited how Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in his own words and you can feel the room just get super quiet. When I finish, John sits back in his chair and just says "wow". And it wasn't a 'you're all lunitics' wow, but an amazed wow. It was so cool! They are going to be out of town for the next three weeks but have agreed to read the Book of Mormon together. They still have their hesitations, especially about organized religion, but are listening to us and reading! And nothing is more powerful than the Book of Mormon so I have high hopes for them! It makes me unbelieveablly happy when you see people take those steps to bring themselves closer to Christ which will provide them with more happiness in their life. We also had a first lesson with a lady named Annie. Her boss is a bishop of a different ward and has been talking with her about the church. She is so golden. She wants to learn more but said she wants nothing more than to be baptized. I was blown away with some of the comments she made during the lesson and her prayer at the end. It was basically like "Thank you God for leading me to this church and to know more about Thee." Miracles really do happen everyday and it makes me more excited for the weeks to come!
In addition to trying to kill me by making me take the lead in everything, Sis. Verkist and Sis. Nunn cornered me the other day before bed with glasses full of water in each hand. I was able to get some of the water on them but I looked like I had fallen into the tub with all my clothes on when they were done and like we were trying to install a swimming pool in our kitchen. Things just happen, ya know?
Well that's about it for this week! Hope ya'll had a fantastic week and will have a fantastic week!
Monday, July 1, 2013
I have officially been on my mission for one month! I know that isn't very long but it seems like I have been out here forever.The next day we decided to go tracting because, once again, we had most of our appointments cancel on us. It was more successful then I ever thought tracting could be! Everyone that allowed us to talk to them, invited us back to learn more. Five different houses! We don't know how many will actually be interested but it was such a great day! Then later that day we went to see Jordan, a 15 year old boy that we have met with once before. Our last lesson, we taught him about Christ. He didn't even know why we celebrated Easter and Christmas! He loved learning though and read the couple chapters from the Book of Mormon that we left him to read about Christ's appearance to the Americas. He is golden. This lesson, we taught him about Christ's gospel and how it is founded on principles of faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, baptism, and enduring to the end. At the end of the lesson, we asked him if he would like to be baptized, and you should have seen his face. He got this HUGE smile from ear to ear and said yes! So we have a second baptismal date on the 27th of July! Even as we were driving off, he was still grinning like crazy and you could see the happiness just roll off him. It's moments like that that make those hard days worth it!
So this week has been a really really slow week but a crazy amazing week as well! To start off with, let me say that this week we have again been praying like crazy for some miracles and new people to teach. We also felt like we should ask for a miracle of having a baptism on the 20th of July. Something that we felt was a little far reaching to be asking for but nontheless, that's what we were working towards. Wednesday we got to go to the temple, which is always nice. Helga has been on our mind recently so we decided to fast about how we could help her when we went to the temple. Her life has been kind of hectic right now and she had to cancel on us 4 times this week. We had this awesome lesson planned; we would go to the church so she could feel the spirit, have someone watch the kids so there was no distraction, a bomb lesson about the Holy Ghost, it was going to be great. And then everything went wrong. Satan was really working hard on her (and us) this week to keep that from happening! So we finally got a hold of her and a time that we could meet. We couldn't get the help from the ward we needed to go to the church so we planned on showing her a movie about Joseph Smith and saving that other lesson for another date. Before we go in, we pray that there will be a calm environment that she can listen to us and feel the Spirit. We go in and it is crazy town. Her son and girlfriend were there (which is never good) and the kids hyped up on sugar. We were a little disheartened. But then her son asks if he can take the girls and go to a storage shed out of town. So it takes about 30 minutes (with our help) to get the girls rounded up and in the car. Miracle number one. This was the first time we had a lesson with her that it was quiet and we could actually talk without interruptions. There wasn't enough time to watch the movie so we decided to talk about conversion and do an on the fly lesson. It was amazing. The topic turned to the Holy Ghost and it was the first time you could really feel the Spirit strong in her home. She ended up telling us her concerns about why she pushed back her baptismal date and about where her life is now. We were able to address them and talk about how much the Gift of the Holy Ghost can help her during this time. She started crying and said she wanted that as soon as possible. So we brought up the date of the 20th of July and she wanted to be baptized that day and that she couldn't wait! It was worth all the disappointments of the start of the week.
Also this week, was Sis. Nunn's year mark! It is a missionary tradition to burn a shirt so that's what we did! We went to a members house and Sis. Verkist used her crazy skills to build a bonfire and Sis. Nunn burnt her 'holy' shirt (it really was full of holes), then we made s'mores. It was a great night. We also rode our bikes more this week just so we could be out and people could see us since we don't have a very large teaching pool right now. That was an experience. Sis. Verkist wrecked her bike trying to get back on the sidewalk after crossing the street, Sis. Nunn nearly got hit by a car opening it's door, and I nearly died getting up this one hill that overlooks the city. It was super pretty once we got up there though! And then it started raining on us. It was actually nice though; cooled us down! It hasn't been under 100* here this week, I feel like a fish with all the water I've been guzzling down! Whelp, that's about it for this week; I am sure I will have more great stories next week for ya'll!I love you all and am grateful for the prayer and thoughts. Hope you have a fabulous week!
Three of Helga's grand kids, Alyssa, Megan, Olivia. Apparently, grape leaves taste like grapes.
The view when I finally got to the top
My first bike wound
Sis. Verkist, me, Sis. Nunn at the temple
The shirt burning
What happens after planning