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

I Love to See the Temple

Crazy busy week!  This whole transfer has been crazy.  So many things going on that we have been a little behind on exchanges and have had to cram them all in.  This week, Sis Catlett and I barely saw each other for 3 days. Just long enough to switch companions and then drive to another exchange and then switch again!  It was crazy.  It made me very, very grateful to be back in my area again with my companion when at last the crazy ended.  And it makes the time fly too which is not always a good thing; it's going way too fast!!  Onward and upward though.  I enjoy learning from the other missionaries though, it helps to make me a better missionary!
Hmmmm....I can't really think of anything TOO exciting.  Missionary work as usual.  We met this lady from the Ukraine who is amazing and her house is just covered with pictures of Europe.  It's kind of hard to understand what she is saying (very thick accent) but she has the coolest stories and experiences.  Then we met this big buff guy that was walking three little Pomeranian dogs, he wasn't really interested but it was kind of funny seeing such a macho guy with little princess dogs.  And we finally met a guy who we see all the time walking around town and swinging on the swings at the parks.  Everyone in the area knows him because he loves just walking around and we finally ran into him and he came to church with us this week!  Crazy miracles.  I love it when God hands us little blessings and miracles.  It makes me happy :)
So this week we got to go to the temple.  It was wonderful.  I really miss being able to go whenever you want, but grateful I am still in Sparks and able to go once in a blue moon!  It was fantastic like always.  As we were driving there, a HUGE rainbow was arched over the sky and it looked like it was leading us straight to the temple.  And as we got closer, it looked as if the temple was the pot of gold at the end (pictures to be included next week).  It just made me think about how all roads lead to the temple.  Everything we do is so that we can be worthy to enter into the temple and enjoy the blessings of eternity; being able to be with our families forever.  Everything comes back to the family.  It's the center of everything and the temple allows us to be with them for forever.  Such a happy thought!  As missionaries, we aren't here just to dunk people and bring them into the church, we are here to help them get to the temple (the ultimate goal) and be sealed as a family forever.  It was a great little reminder as we were driving up to the temple to see God's symbol of peace and love arching over the place where heaven and earth meet.
Whelp!  That's it for this week, folks!  Have a fabulous week and the church is true!

Sis Rae

Sunday, October 19, 2014

1 Nephi 13:12

Happy Columbus Day!!!  We have been singing America songs all day to commemorate the finding of this awesome Country.  Always a party :)
So, we are back to being a duo.  The dynamic duo.  Sis Wood was emergency transferred to Reno this week so it is just sister Catlett and I again.  It's been fun.  Even though we haven't really seen each other this week because of exchanges.  And next week is going to be even crazier!  With all the stuff that has been going on, we have had to push back exchanges and so have been doing two and sometimes three a week.  It wears you out!!  But it is super fun because you get to get to know new people, see new areas, and learn different teaching techniques.  I think that's why I am a Sister Training Leader, I need all the extra help!  It's not enough just to learn from my companion but I get to learn from all the sisters in Sparks!  
We've been keeping busy, teaching lots of people, doing a lot of walking, talking to a lot of people.  We met this really cool guy this week.  He was a paraplegic, he had gotten his neck broken when a drunk driver hit him.  But instead of letting that get him down, he took up wheelchair tennis and ended up winning the U.S. Open in wheelchair tennis!  How cool is that??  I didn't even know that was a thing, but apparently it is.  He was super religious too and had some amazing stories about how God had helped him through his trials.  It was amazing to listen to him and hear his stories.  I think that is one of my favorite parts of the mission, all the amazing people we are able to meet!  So many amazing experiences and people out there.
Crazy cat story.  We had parked and were getting ready to get out and the phone rings.  So I answer it and start talking but leave my door open so we don't bake in the car.  Well there is this cat that is just chilling in a garage across the street.  He is staring at us and they just starts walking over, sauntering over, I should say.  We are watching him this whole time while I am talking to the person on the other line.  He continues until he reaches our car, stares at us for a second, and then jumps in the car onto my lap and plops himself down!!  I had no idea what to think, this random cat just coming over and getting into our car.  It was a fat cat too and would not get off.  My companion (we were on exchanges) is sitting in the car dying with laughter and this cat is just sitting on my lap very content.  Too bad the owners were not outside and we could have used that to start a conversation!  
Anywho, I hope everyone has a great week and watch out for those crazy cats!
Sis Rae
My beautiful Sparks :)
My crazy companion

Just chilling

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Meet the Mormons

So this one is going to be a kind of short one today, sorry!  It's been a crazy week.  We didn't have a full day of proselyting once this week, which never happens!
First things first.  We saw Meet the Mormons!!!  It's the film that is coming out this weekend.  Go see it.  No agency.  We got a special showing, just us missionaries so we could talk to people about it and answer any questions or anything that came from it.  It is fantastic.  Not pushy at all.  It just tells the story of six people’s lives and how the gospel and impacted them and made them into who they are.  People from all over the world, different jobs, different cultures, all amazing.  It made us laugh, and cry and everything in between.  Maybe it was just because I haven't seen a real movie in almost 18 months but it was SO GOOD!  It's not to be used as a proselyting tool, in fact, we have strict instructions to not even be near the movie theaters while it is playing (so people don't feel bombarded by missionaries after they walk out of a Mormon film) but just to get rid of the many many misconceptions that plague our religion.  They start the movie out by playing clips from popular movies and shows that talk about Mormons and who we are.  It's pretty funny!  So go see it and take all of your friends to go see it!
Second things second.  We are now in a trio!  One of the sisters had to go home on medical leave and for the rest of the transfer, her companion, Sis Wood, has been put with us.  It's been interesting.  It's always different working in trios, making 3 opinions work instead of just 2.  Especially when one is very opinionated.  But it's all good.  She came out the transfer after us, so she knows what she is doing and is a good teacher, which is always nice.  The Lord knows what He is doing!
Third things third.  Conference.  SO AMAZING!  I just love that we have a prophet who speaks with God here on the earth today.  I don't know what I would do without that guidance.  They know how to be happy because they have lived it and then just share with us that same council.  And conference is always better when you are on a mission because you listen with the intent of how can this bless those I am working with.  And you can always bank on the Prophet!  He says it best.  There was a lot about strengthening our moral convictions.  Being able to stand up and out for our beliefs.  It all boiled down to a few themes; feast on the scriptures, have sincere prayer, worship in the temple.  Pretty easy, yeah?  When we do those things, we build on that foundation of Christ; a foundation which will never fail.  A very, very comforting thought.  
Anywho, to sum it up, go have a good date night, watch Meet the Mormons and if you didn't catch it, go to and look up some General Conference!  It's da best.  Hope you all have a great week, cheers!

Sis Rae

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

Sis Catlett and I started a challenge to take a picture a day.  So that is what this week is going to be!  :)

​Creepy doll found on the sidewalk by the zone leaders

​Teachin lessons

​Living it up in Sparks!

​Saving people from breaking the Word of Wisdom 

WWe had a huge service project, over 175 missionaries were there, where we cleaned up a park here in Sparks.  So much fun!!  We cut, and scrubed, and picked up trash and had a grand ol time!
Those were the highlights of our week, hope you all had a great week as well and don't do anything I wouldn't do!

Sis Rae

Sunday, September 28, 2014

That Was Awkward

This week has been a really good week.  Crazy busy.  We had transfers which is always crazy, especially when you're companion is going home!  Sweany and one of the Hermanas, Trujillo were both going home so I and Hna Toli were together for a day.  Covering two areas, Spanish and English.  That was interesting.  Going from an English lesson, then to a Spanish lesson.  It was fun though!  And good for Hna Toli.  She is still pretty new (well, for learning a language) and it was her first time being the only person in the companionship that spoke Spanish.  I just sat there, smiled and said Bueno ha-ha  Fun as always though!  The Hispanic culture and people are just so amazing, I love being able to be around them.
And now I am companions with Sis Catlett!  It has been SO much fun!  We are already good friends and so we didn't have that awkward, 'I don't know you' phase that sometimes happens when you get companions.  We were able to just jump right into teaching and helping her learn the people and area.  That's always kind of stressful too because I am basically planning everything until she gets a hang of the people and area.  But she catches on fast so it's going to be an amazing transfer.  It feels like old times, being back in Spanish Springs because we were roommates there for forever.  Good times.  
We've had a lot of good things happen this week!  Been able to do a lot of walking and meeting a lot of new people.  Awkward story.  So we were walking doing this street, contacting potentials, and see these two guys pushing a stroller walking towards us.  Before we reach them, they turn down this street, the same street we need to turn on.  Then they turn down another street.  The same street we need to turn down again.  So we are creepily following these guys.  Too far away to call out to them but close enough they can clearly see we are following them.  Well, there is a malfunction with the stroller so they stop long enough for us to catch up with them and we start talking to them.  The one guy looks very familiar to me but I can't place him and they don't say anything that would hint that we had met them before.  We ask them if they know anyone that could use a message of Jesus Christ and one of the guys points to a house and tells us to ask for Jessica.  That she needed God because she did drugs.  Ok....So we go to the house.  This guy with very little teeth and no shirt opens the door and says 'are you here for Jessica??’  We are a bit taken aback but say yes.  He walks away and tells us to follow him.  Ok.....  So we walk in and he tells us to go down the hall to the left.  Creepy!!  No way am I just walking into her room!  So we hesitate and ask if she knows we are here or if she is expecting us, which there is no way she could because we just randomly stopped by!!  Well Jessica hears us talking and comes out of the dark and creepy hallway and is surprised to see these random chicks standing in her living room with her dad (?).  We tell her that a friend told us to stop by because she might want a message about Christ and she stands there and says 'I don't believe in God'.  And we couldn't remember the kid’s name that sent us so it was even more awkward.  Ha-ha By now, her dad is like who did I just let into my house and she is weirded out.  Just super awkward.  Well.  We finally stumble our way out of the house and start down the street to get to this address that we were trying to find in the first place.  We knock on the door and guess who answers it.  They guys that we basically just stalked down the street!!  Sometimes God has one amazing sense of humor.  They were kind of startled to see us but....they said we could come back!  That doesn't give the situation justice with awkwardness but we are still laughing about it.
That's my story of the week.  One of my district leaders used to say that we paid for 18/24 months of awkwardness so we might as well get our money’s worth!  So true.  People just expect us to be weird so we might as well capitalize on it. The rest was full of other (but less awkward) situations and lots of fun times. Always a good time on the mission!
The church is true!

Sis Rae

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Alma 17:23 –Story of My Life

Me and Ammon are buds.  We have the same outlook on the place where we are sent to labor....perhaps until the day I die. 
So transfer calls have come and gone once again.  And I am (yet again) not coming and not going.  Not that I'm complaining!  Sparks is the best!  Actually I am super excited about this next transfer.  I am staying in Sparks 2nd ward and my new companion (since Sis Sweany is leaving me....) is Sis Catlett!!  I am stoked!!  We were in the MTC together, then roomed together for six months, and then have been STLs together and so have seen each other all the time at meetings.  She is one of my favorite people EVER so I am thrilled to death that we are going to be companions.  Even if only for a short time.  
I've been stressing about that call all week so I'm glad the week ended with a good note.  Actually this whole week was good.  We got to go to the temple twice!  Once with Annie, someone I taught when I was here the first time (actually the first person I ever committed to baptism) and hasn't been able to get to the temple yet but finally got to go!  And since I taught her before baptism, we got to go.  Oh yeah!  Then we went later on the weekend we went with Christina and Jesse, which was SO amazing.  She just started crying when she walked in the lobby and just started saying "I made it, I can't believe I made it'.  It was so sweet.  She has been working a long time to change her life around and she has done it!  The miracle of the gospel right there. 
Then on Sunday I got con-ed into singing in church.  I didn't die.  Sis Sweany played and I sang with a recently returned missionary in the ward.  The plus side of that was an excuse for everyone to come to church, and they did!  We had so many people come to church for the first time, it was the best.  Nothing better than having people you invited to church actually come.  Missionary Christmas.
We also had something really cool happen to us.  So we were trying to save on miles so we were walking.  Well we got out of an appointment late and started booking it to the next one and were running/speed walking past a park.  As we come up I see this chick just staring at us, kind of creeped me out.  But as we were about to go by, she yells out to us "are you Mormon sisters??"  That stops us in our tracks and we go talk with her (sorry other appointment).  Turns out, she has met missionaries before and has hit on some really hard times and wants God to be a part of her kid’s life.  How cool is that??  She asked us to say a prayer with her and then invited us back the next day.  Then she is actually there the next day too!!  Which rarely happens.  So we had a fantastic lesson and she called us today and told us that she has been reading the Book of Mormon and loves it.  Can I say, miracle?  God really provides those people that are ready to hear the gospel and places them in our path.  Patiently persevere until you think you can go no further and then God provides a show of his love.  That's the things that I think I have really learned the most on my mission.  It DOES get better, God is always watching out for us.
Also, funny story.  Sis Sweany and I were out and about and this lady see's us and you can see her reading our name tag and then looking at us back and forth, and then back to our name tags, super confused.  Then she asks us if we are sisters, we reply yes, thinking she meant our title.  She looks even more confused and then asks us which one of us is adopted!!!  I nearly died.  Funniest thing of my life.  Poor lady was super confused.  But she got it in the end; we had to explain it to her.  
Well, I hope you all have a fantastic week!

Sis. Rae
Yes, that is Jack Sparrow in the flesh

Our crazy district.

Yeah, we hiked that hill/mountain whatever behind us (Hnas Trujillo and Toli, and Me and Sweany)

At the temple with Annie and a couple members

Christina's baptism

Friday, September 12, 2014

I Believe I Can Fly

Well.  It's been an exciting week I guess you could say.  First things first, we had a baptism this weekend!  (I just realized I forgot my camera so pictures will come next week).  Christina is probably the last person you would have thought to join the church but that's what makes it such a miracle!  I wish I could take before and after pictures because her whole countenance is so bright and happy which it was not before.  So the reason she started meeting with us was because she was struggling and needed help.  Her husband just got baptized a couple years before and encouraged her to go see the bishop.  The Bishop told her that he would send her to and pay for a therapist on the condition that she listened to the Plan of Salvation by the missionaries.  The elders were still in our ward at the time so they went over and did the first lessons.  Then they got transferred.  And we took over.  Christina did NOT like us.  She glared at us, was super short and used the F-bomb every other word, and was very emphatic that she would never pray or read the scriptures.  But we invited her anyway and invited her to pray about baptism.  *shrug* it's what we do.  Then she started changing, and very quickly too!  Soon after, she started reading, and praying and even fasted about baptism.  Started going to church and received her answer that the church was true and she needed to be baptized.  It has been a miraculous transformation; definitely the best part of being a missionary is to see this transformation in others!  Now she doesn't hate us ;) , is super solid, is almost done with the Book of Mormon, prays all the time and her greatest desire is to get sealed to her husband and two little girls in the temple.  So amazing!

Second things second, Satan did NOT want us to have a baptism. This week was crazy.  No one wanted to see us and everyone got sick and to top it all off?  Sis Sweany got into a car accident when we were on exchanges and Christina fell down the starts and ended up in the emergency room.  It was fun.  So.  Story time.  Sweany first.  They went to the church for exercises in the morning and the other chick was driving.  They live at the top of this super tall hill that when you get to the top, it turns sharply to the left.  The sun was right in the way on their way up and you would think that if you couldn't see you would slow down instead of continuing to go 50 miles an hour up a hill that you have driven every day for the past month and a half that you know is coming to an end soon.  But that would have been the smart thing to do.  This sister was singing and not paying attention to Sis Sweany warning her that the turn should be coming up soon; went off the road, into a ditch, through a fence and landed in some person’s yard.  That they had just tracted into a couple days before.  Awkward.  The other sister wasn't hurt but sis Sweany got whiplash pretty bad so we have spent quite a bit of time at the chiropractor this past week.  It's horrible; her very last week on the mission and she gets injured.  She wasn't very happy.  But at least no one got seriously hurt.  Then Christina.  She was getting up in the middle of the night for a drink and slipped on a toy sitting on the stairs and hit her head pretty hard.  They thought she had fractured her neck but she got a blessing and it turned out ok.  But both of them have bruises and are poppin the IBU.  Christina just wanted to be like Sis Sweany because she is that cool ;)  Just kidding.  
That's what always happens when something good is about to happen!  Satan works his darnedest not to let it.  He tries everything to get in the way.  Good thing God is more powerful and even though crazy things happen, He is there still protecting us and helping us through it.  And it just lets you know that you are on the right path.  If not, then why would the adversary try so hard to stop it?  Also, makes for good stories, right?
But this week is going to be awesome.  Next week is transfers and since Sis Sweany is headed home :(  I will be getting a new companion and (probably) staying in Sparks yet again.  I might as well just get a house and live here....You know you've been in the area for a loooooong time when everyone in the stake recognizes and knows you.  It's fun though  :)

Hope you all are having a fantastic week and don't do anything I wouldn't do!

Sis. Rae

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Missionary Work and the Atonement

This was a great week!  Filled with ups and downs and sideways and crisscrosses.  Actually it was just good.  I have had a cold for the past couple days so that makes life a little less fun but the work has been good!  It makes me grateful for how busy we are so we don't have to walk around much trying to stay busy; we can spend more time inside, sitting down, with water.  

Something cool that happened this week!  We have an investigator, Christina, who is getting baptized this Friday and she is sooooo excited.  Inviting everyone and anyone to come watch.  But she had some friends that fell onto some hard times (like losing their house and all their possessions....long story) and she has been helping them.  The wife is a member (very, very inactive) and her husband is agnostic.  Or was :)  They have been staying with Christina until they could find a place and we have been seeing Christina everyday so they have been sitting in on the lessons.  Well, through a series of events (not all unfortunate) they ended up coming to church to talk to the Bishop for some help.  They were able to find a house, get him a job, get some clothes and food for them and their two kids.  It was so wonderful!  AND they told us that since they have been sitting in on the lessons, they read the assignments we give to Christina every night as a family and have been praying together!!  Which is huge because when we first met them they, especially the husband, were super skeptical of the church, especially of missionaries, and didn't really believe in God.  Christina even got the husband to agree to pray at her baptism.  She tells everyone that she "missionaried him".  Super funny!  AND yesterday we were over there and he told us that he and his daughter (who just turned 9) want to be baptized!  Such a miracle; totally took us by surprise.  They don't live in our area anymore but we handed them over to the missionaries in Reno and they are on fire.  Hopefully we still see them though!  It was a really cool experience though.  Again, just that affirmation people can change and the gospel is for everyone.

The highlight of my week this week was Zone Conference.  Probably the best one I have had on my mission and I kind of wish I would have had it earlier!  But c'est la vie.  At least I got it now!  It was so great because it was ALL about the Atonement which is the most amazing thing in the world.  Literally.  It was based on the talk by Jeffrey R. Holland called Missionary Work and the Atonement.  You should read it.  While I was reading it, and while in conference, something really hit me about the Book of Mormon.  I have always known that it is a powerful book and that it is a miracle producing book but I have never really realized why that was.  I'm a bit slow but I finally realized it!!  The first thing we must have is faith in Jesus Christ.  When we have that (and continue to build that faith) it leads to action, mainly, a deep and lasting conversion.  Well, the Book of Mormon is nothing but prophets’ testimonies of our Savior!  What better way to build our faith then to read about Jesus Christ, His role as our Redeemer, and how He lived and what He did while on the earth?  The Bible of course talks about Him but the Book of Mormon mentions Him even more times than the New Testament and is that additional witness that He did live and did love us.  That's why we are told that the Book of Mormon is the capstone of our religion.  It holds everything together and encourages an abiding testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ. One of my favorite quotes in the talk is:

"There are several reasons for bearing testimony. One is that when you declare the truth, it will bring an echo, a memory, even if it is an unconscious memory to the investigator, that they have heard this truth before and of course they have. A missionary’s testimony invokes agreat legacy of testimony dating back to the councils in heaven before this world was. There, in an earlier place, these same people heard this same plan outlined and heard there the role that Jesus Christ would play in their salvation."

Again, that is why the Book of Mormon is so crucial!  It's a compilation of testimonies from prophets who have actually seen the Savior and can testify with a sure knowledge of what He has done for us and the Plan that His acts fulfilled.  What's more powerful than that?? Don't know why it took me twenty-two years to figure that out but I'm glad it finally hit me!  I feel like that was kind of scattered so hopefully it makes sense.  I was just so excited when that light bulb went off!! :)

I hope everyone is well and enjoying the fall in the air and school and everything like that!  (p.s. Walmart is already bringing out their Halloween things, how depressing is that?!)  But anywho, have a great week and don't do anything I wouldn't do!


Sis. Rae