Friday, May 30, 2014

A Year Ago Today...

Exactly a year ago, I was set apart as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  And it has been one of the best years of my life.  Being a missionary is the best thing ever!  Just in case you didn't know it.  I have had the amazing blessing of seeing people changed their lives and play a part in that change.  Nothing can compare to it.  It is truly one of the greatest miracles that can happen.  Onward and upward!
This week has been has been crazy.  We have quite a lot of people set for baptism which means the adversary is working overtime on both us, and them, so that they don't make those covenants with God.  Quite a roller coaster ride.  Some amazing, spiritual experiences, and also some crazy psycho things.  For example, this past week, we have found ourselves in the middle of some marital disputes, shall we say.  Three of them to be exact.  Like I said, the adversary is working overtime.  One lady ran into the house in the middle of a lesson, starts yelling at her ex-husband (not very nice words either), grabs the t.v., which is not a small t.v., and tries to run off with it since it was "her" property.  Turns out, she has a restraining order against her and so people are threatening to call the cops while she is still yelling profanities and trying to get the t.v. out of the house.  People are crazy.  But it turned into one of our best lessons ever.  Once she was placated and left the property, we said a prayer to bring back in the spirit and he told us that he wanted to be baptized along with his two kids and it was just an amazing experience.  He even came to church on Sunday for the first time!  But it's been things like that with most everyone that we see.  Ultimately it shows that this is the true church or Satan wouldn't be hosting a full on attack when people want to change their lives and join. We actually had a couple people tell us that.  Yes!!  At least they recognize it and aren't pulled away from the church because of it. 
Another story, a miracle story.  We were walking around one of the complexes we have and walk up to and start talking to this lady who is walking her dog (people walking their dogs is the best because it is an easy conversation starter ;) ).  We get onto the subject of religion and she tells us to come over later that night. Well we come back over that night kind of expecting her not to be there (the mission jades you that way) but she was!  And we had a great lesson and she asked us if she could be baptized before we even got to it!  It was amazing.  The Lord is blessing us so much right now in this area, it's almost unreal.  Fantastic though!
But it's been fabulous.  We had 6 people come to church for the first time this week which is enough to make any missionaries life.  In addition to making them feel comfortable, Sis Sweany and I both had to speak AND do a presentation on missionary work during third hour so it was a crazy crazy day.  I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day!  I got a nice ol' sunburn to show off but it was a good day, nice weather to be outside.
The church is true and life is good!  I hope everyone has a fabulous week :)

Sis Rae

Good Week

Every week is a good week out on the mission.  There is never not a week where something amazing has happened and miracles weren't happening every day.  Now I just have to remember them to relay to ya'll!
First off, Brianna, who I was teaching up in Eagle Canyon, got baptized this week!  It was a really good service.  She had to make a lot of life changes to make it to that day, but she did it!  It was so great.  At the end of the service, she bore her testimony and it was pretty powerful. I love listening to people's testimonies that have just entered the church because everything is so fresh and new and wonderful to them that they just say it how it is.  Brings the spirit into the room every single time.
Then last Monday, someone that we are working with gave us an art lesson.  We painted mugs (see picture).  It was so much fun!  She is an artist for a living, paints the most gorgeous pictures ever and has traveled all over Europe studying art.  So she knows a lot.  Her house is so beautiful.  Pictures (that she herself has painted) all over every inch of wall.  She does a lot of rodeo/native American/western themed pictures that are just absolutely amazing.  And she loves to share her talent so she gives us painting lessons!  Not quite to her level yet but not to shabby if I do say so myself.
Sis Sweany is a lot of fun to work with.  She is from Maryland and went to BYU-I. We are pretty sure we have seen each other up there. She is pretty crazy; never a dull moment with her around!  But it's been fun, so many miracles happening this week; people that are not only willing to let us in but people that are willing to let us come back! that's the trick ;)  This week we ran into this family that is part member but we didn't know about; they invited us in and she told us that she was wanting to get back into the church and that her husband and daughter are interested in learning as well.  And then they came to church yesterday!  THAT never happens.  Miracle.  I don't know if I have mentioned Burt, he's a 96 year old that LOVES learning about God and tells us all sorts of stories from WWII and the Cuban Missal Crisis (he was air force/part of the missal defense).  But the other day we were teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End, but he brought up baptism and asked if he could be!  We had held off asking because he is 96 years old and we don't want to break him!  But that made us very happy, hopefully it will work out but if not, at least his desire is there.  SO many good things happening!!  I would be here all day if I were to tell you all of them. Anywho,
I hope everyone has a great week, the church is true!

Sis. Rae

Brianna's Baptism

Saturday, May 17, 2014

God Has a Sense of Humor

First off, it was SO good being able to call home.  Seems like there is never is enough time to say everything that I want to.  Love you guys!
Not really much to say since yesterday...except....transfer calls came!  I know most of you won't appreciate it but EVERYTHING got mixed up.  President has combined zones to make them bigger and then has made more and smaller districts within the zones.  So there were double transfers and moves all over the place.  And when you are a missionary, life revolves around these moves and you pray that it ends well for everyone ha-ha. The sisters that share the ward with us are both moving out and they are putting elders in (which is going to be so weird) and then Sis Whipple is leaving me to go to Reno. So sad.  I wish we would have been able to serve together longer. But my new companion is Sis Sweany, I am SO. EXCITED.  I have served around her for the past 6 months or so and just love her.  I actually sent a picture of her a couple weeks ago!  It was the picture of us and the jackalope, lookin kind of crazy.  She is so much fun and I am stoked to be comps with her!
This week was really good.  Lots of amazing meetings.  Elder Teh from the Seventy came and spoke with all of us.  There was a fireside on Tuesday night for everyone we teach as missionaries and then on Thursday we had an all-day conference with him, just us missionaries.  Whenever you hear direct council from a leader like that specifically to you and your job, it's always amazing.  Leaves you on a spiritual high.  But made for a very, very busy week.  Especially since we had to present training to the zone on Tuesday as well and then had two exchanges this week with sisters.  Kind of glad Sis Whipple will be packing today because that might mean I get a nap!  Sorry, I can't think of much else.  My brain always fills like mush after transfer calls...especially when things are getting mixed up!
Well, I hope you all had a good Mother’s Day and we will talk to you later!
Sis. Rae

Hermana Toli fell asleep :)

​This was the most serious one we had...  Hma Bautista, Sis Whipple, me, and Hma Toli

We were having a ding-dong ditch war with the Hermanas and they decorated our door

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Why did the Boy Throw the Clock out the Window?

Because he wanted to see time fly :) haha
That's how I always feel when I am back here at this computer.  Has it really been a week already?!  I honestly do not know where April went.  I think they must have skipped it on all the calendars and we went straight from March to May.  This week went even faster than most because we had meetings and two exchanges so we were running everywhere.  I guess a good prep for next week.  We are having Elder Teh (a Quorum of the Seventy) come visit our mission and talk with us.  I love meetings as a missionary though, they are always the best!  Extra awesome.  
Well.  This week was kind of slow.  We moved 3 of our investigators who are getting baptized this month basically across the street....but into the Elders area. Sometimes it stinks being in the same town as 52 other missionaries, they steal your investigators!  Good thing it's the same gospel wherever you go and they aren't too far away.  So now that we have all that 'free' time, we have been walking around a lot to meet more people.  We usually park the car once we get into our area and walk everywhere we have to go.  Especially since it is so nice outside now!  Man, I love it.  You meet lots of interesting people that way!  ...when you can get them to talk with you.  People see the name tags and they run.  Quite comical actually.  One guy pulled up in his car and reaches behind him to get a pizza box, sits up, notices us walking in his direction and freezes with his hand on the door handle with a deer in the headlight look.  Which is awkward for us because do we keep walking or do you stop and wait for him to get out and freak him out??  We decide to walk slower and wait for him to get out.  Well he keeps looking at his door and then at us and I'm not even kidding, throws the door open and bolts to his house!  With the pizza box!  One of the funniest things I have ever seen.  A big tall guy scared of two little girls walking down the road.  Then we had another guy, very nicely and concerned-like, tell us that we needed to change our ways and believe in Jesus Christ or we were not going to make it to heaven.  I don't get it when people say we don't believe in Jesus Christ.  Do you not see the name tag?!  Any who, he even prayed for us, bless his heart.  Most people are very nice though!  We were trying out different approaches to make it less awkward to randomly go up to people in their yard and one lady even complimented us on our tactics.  That's the word she used too. AND is letting us come back.  Yes!  And now that it is getting hotter, people are always offering us water bottles.  Hey, anything to get a conversation going!
So nothing crazy.  Lots of walking.  Lots of sun.  Lots of feeling the Spirit.  Lots of fun.  Missionary work in a nutshell.  Sorry I don't have anything more interesting to report, it's all turns into a blur.
But I hope everyone has a fantastic week and I am so excited to Skype home this weekend!  Happy Mother’s Day!!
Sis. Rae

Say What???

This was a pretty fantastical amazing week.  We found two new families that are all set with a baptism date in June.  Boo yeah!  Kinda crazy how we found them too.  We are super low on our miles this month so we just drive to our area, park, and then walk everywhere (which was not fun this week because it was cold and rainy, but what can you do?).  So we were out walking and this 8 year old kid walks up to us and starts talking with us.  Wants to know everything, asking all sorts of questions about God and what we do and even if he can have a name tag and come to church with us.  Pretty amazing kid.  Then his dad comes out to see who his kid is talking to and we start talking with him.  Turns out, his daughter was baptized and went to church with a friend for a while and he investigated the church a little bit to see what she was getting into.  Well, he invites us back for later in the week (we couldn't go in because there wasn't another female in the house) and start walking away.  Well, the boy starts following us and asks if he can come teach people about Jesus with us!  He also points out a house and tells us to go visit them because they love God.  Ok!  Why not?  So we knock and we get the best reaction I have ever gotten my whole mission.  We introduce ourselves to the lady who answers and we hear a scream "MISSIONARIES!!!" something crash and someone run down the stairs.  A girl about our age appears and invites us in while offering us drinks, dinner, snacks and whatever else.  It was awesome!  Apparently she has a friend she is really close to on a mission and just loves the missionaries.  She said she hasn't been feeling at home in the church she goes to now and wants to explore different options.  Music to a missionaries ears.  So we started teaching them and they love it.  God is preparing so many people to hear about Him and it is always so exciting when we find them!  Makes any missionaries day.
Another fun thing that happened this week, we went on exchanges with Pyramid Lake sisters.  They live way out in the boonies so we both went out to their area.  I didn't realize just what they were talking about when they said was like a western film out there.  We timed it and the closest houses together were about 3/4 of a mile apart all on these tiny dirt roads.  And everyone has a ton of cows, dogs and guns.  We literately had a guy wave a gun at us and threaten to set his dogs on us...needless to say, we got out of there.  Most people were pretty nice though, let us feed their horses and we got a ton of fresh eggs.  I'll have some pictures for everyone next week.  We almost hit a cow crossing the road as well; I've been in the city so long it was really fun!  Felt more like home, hearing coyotes at night rather than sirens. 
Life is good!  I hope everyone is enjoying the wonderful spring weather and loving all the flowers and green stuff coming out.  Have a fantastic week!
Sis. Rae
Yes, that IS a jackalope

Rain over Sparks

Happy Easter!

The week of Easter.  It was so great.  I love this time of year; the sun is coming out, the flowers are up, and everything is focused on our Savior and His glorious Resurrection.  Plus, people are more willing to let us in and come to church, which is a nice change ;)
This week had a couple of firsts.  The first is that Sis Whipple and I got to go to an ARP (addiction recovery meeting sponsored by the church) with a couple of our investigators.  I liked it, it was very similar to what we do on an everyday basis with helping people understand and let the Atonement work in their lives to overcome hardships.  The guys that we brought are super big into NA (narcotics anonymous) and want us to go with them to that since they came with us to ours.  We are pretty excited; it should be an interesting experience.  There are so many amazing people out there that struggle with some really hard things and it's great that there is so much support and help for them.  It just really hits home to me the miracle of the Atonement and that we can come back from mistakes (whether big or small) to become new people and always have that option of change. It's pretty amazing when you think about it.
The second first; we had to break into an apartment.  We run to the church every morning with the Hermanas who live below us and then play basketball or exercise in the gym there.  Well, when we get back to the apartments they realize that they left their keys in the church building, which is now locked.  So we climb over a fence to the back of the apartment complex to get to their bedroom window.  Then, since I am the tallest of the four of us (surprising, I know) I have to ninja crawl/stand on a ledge and finagle the screen off the window with a bobby pin.  Then we slide the window open and crawl through the window.  It was pretty fun.  I can only imagine what the neighbors were least we weren't in our skirts!  Oh, the life of a missionary.
Well, I guess I'll end with an Easter thought and one of my favorite songs: I know without a shadow of a doubt that God lives.  He sent His Son to the world so that we could live with our Heavenly Father again.  Christ came to save us and provided us the only way back, because He loves us.  He sacrificed Himself so we didn't have to travel this world and journey alone, we could have help and we could triumph over those human weaknesses that are present here on this earth.  He loves each of us so much and wants all of us to succeed and return to live in total joy with our Father in Heaven one day.  And it is possible through Christ and His Atonement!  I am not very good with words so here are some someone already wrote and that I believe with all my heart!
1.     1. I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead.
He lives, my ever-living Head.
He lives to bless me with his love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in time of need.
2.     2. He lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with his eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul's complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.
3.     3. He lives, my kind, wise heav'nly Friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while he lives, I'll sing.
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath.
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare.
He lives to bring me safely there.
4.     4. He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"
He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"
I hope everyone has a fantastic week and remembers our Savior and the amazing sacrifice He has made for you.

Sis. Rae