Friday, July 26, 2013

Roller Coaster Ride

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!
Sis. Rae
Helga at her baptism

 Nevada sunset

Kailey and Ivy, two of the coolest kids in the ward
The coolest zone ever

Monday, July 15, 2013

Week 5

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! 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!
Sis. Rae
Verkist really likes stuffed animals

My new best friend!  George.

 The duck really wanted to go for a swim
(she threw it at me soaking wet after she took it out)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Happy (late) Fourth!

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 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!
Sis. Rae

Monday, July 1, 2013

One Month!

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. 
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.  
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!  
It was interesting to see the difference between Helga and Jordan.  After we had the lesson with Helga, we just sat in the car in silence for a couple minutes just thinking.  It was a much quieter, peaceful feeling whereas with Jordan, we were super giddy and bouncing off the walls (in a dignified manner of course).  It is interesting just how different people feel the Spirit and how God works in their individual lives.  This week more than any, has reaffirmed to me how aware God is of us and aware of our needs and the needs of the people around us.  So even though it wasn't a great teaching week, the Lord is moving His work forward and miracles are happening each and everyday!
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!
Sis. Rae
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