Wednesday, July 23, 2014

7 Steps to Break Mediocrity

To start off this week, I just wanted to share something our Mission President has been talking to us about.  Right now, he is really focusing on not just being 'good' but striving for excellence; being the absolute best we can be.  When we are 'average' we are the best of the worst and the worst of the best, not the most rewarding place to be.  So he told us 7 steps to break the pattern of mediocrity and achieve excellence:
1. Purpose precedes the plan
2. Don't just talk about it, DO it!
3. Evaluate small changes that could notably enhance your performance
4. Be willing to do the hard work
5. Make the positive choice
6. Devote 4% of your day to achieving excellence
7. Find the target and focus in your day on that target
Pretty easy, just doing a little more each day until it becomes a habit.  So that's my goal in life right now.  We'll see how it goes.
This week has been pretty crazy.  We had trainings we had to do in the two zones that we are over plus two exchanges this week.  Those always wear me out.  I like being in my area with my companion, it makes life easier.  Because either you are in a strange area with all new people or you are with a different person and have to learn how to teach together for 24 hours.  But you learn a lot!  I actually really do like doing exchanges, they are super fun, but it just wears me out.  Thank goodness for Mondays!  Nonetheless, it has been a great week!  We had another baptism.  His name is Chuck; he is the one that read like 10 chapters in the Book of Mormon in one night.  He is pretty awesome.  He's kids are also learning but weren't quite ready for this weekend, they still have to be taught a couple things, but hopefully in the next week or two they will be baptized as well!  And he will be able to baptize them!  Which will be awesome.  The Lord has really blessed us with some great families and experiences!  There are people that are prepared and wanting the gospel in their lives all around us; the trick is just finding out who they are.  Also, there is a youth temple trip coming up this week and four of our recent converts are going to be going with to do baptisms for the first time.  Which means that we will be able to go as well!  I love this new rule that we can go with.  It's the best.  So that will be something awesome to look forward to this week!
So, the Sparks Stake is awesome.  And crazy missionary minded.  We had this fireside this weekend that the Stake put on that was for the sole purpose for people to invite their friends to so they could hear a little about what we believed.  It was called Come Listen to a Prophets voice.  They showed a bunch of Mormon Messages about some of our fundamental beliefs and then at the end, showed the talk President Monson gave last General Conference.  It was really good, and lots of people came.  Every person in the Stake was invited to hand out these invitations that were made to at least one person and us as missionaries were given 18 each (so 36 per companionship) to hand out.  We had to get more because we are boss.  And some people actually came which was even better!  It makes missionary work so much easier when you have the support of the ward and stake.  That is really when the miracles happen.  
Sorry this is kind of short and devoid of stories, but it will be better next week :)

Hope everyone has a great week!
Sis Rae
                                             (There is a picture here that didn't upload properly)
                                                                  S’mores for dinner :)
​Liam is getting baptized this month (he just turned 8!) and made us a wall when we came over for dinner

Us at MLC (mission leadership conference)!  They brought popsicles :)

​Chucks baptism, woo!

Bugs and Trucks

Crazy week.  I'll start with the fun stuff first and then get to the awesome stuff.  So.  This week we got new beds in our apartment that had been in storage.  With spiders.  We woke up the next morning and Sis Sweany had about 9 spider bites that were pretty nasty looking.  And then we had to spray our apartment to make sure all bugs and creepy crawlies were dead.  Let me tell you, the next night we did not want to get into our beds!  Then our car broke down.  Twice.  And it was Wednesday night so everyone was at meetings or activities so we were stranded.  But then someone came and saved us and had our car towed.  They have no extra cars in the mission and we live about 10 miles out of our area, plus having to do exchanges every week so President took away the APs truck and we get to drive it.  So I'm ok with our car being broken; we can drive the truck, it's so awesome.  And all the elders are super jealous :)  Welcome to the week of a baptism, they are always crazy.
But the miracles always happen!  So first off, Sandy was baptized.  She is so amazing.  She wanted to bear her testimony at the baptism and it was so strong and brought the spirit that much more into the service.  Everyone that came said it was one of the best baptisms they had been too.  It has been such a blessing for me to be able to be part of her life and being able to teach her.  I definitely learn more from the people I teach then they do from me!
Another cool story about following the Spirit.  So as you know, we took over the other side of the ward that I was in a year ago.  Well we were driving around past a street that I had tracked last year and we see a girl sitting on her front porch.  I get the strangest feeling that we NEED to go talk to her.  So we park the truck (yes!) and walk back to where we saw her.  And she was gone.  That's always depressing when you think you felt the Spirit so you follow it and it doesn't turn out to be what you thought.  We started walking back and we see a guy in his front lawn.  I was going to just walk past because I distinctly remember talking with him last year when he was very drunk and very not interested in organized religion.  So we start walking by and he calls out to us; he remembered talking to me from a year ago! He asked how we were doing etc. etc. and we end up inviting him to learn more and he says yes!  We continue talking and find out he has been working on getting clean and has been for a little under a year.  A week after I saw him last time, he went into rehab and had gotten all cleaned up and realized that he needed to make God a little more of a priority in his life.  Then he saw us walking around and wanted to learn more about what we believed.  So we set up another appointment and go back to see him and before we even start the lesson, barely even started the how to begin teaching, and he asks about baptism.  So we talk about what it means and why we do it and then invite him to be baptized and he said yes!  It was so amazing.  It was a great testimony builder to me that God cares about all of us and will always guide us to the path we are supposed to be, we just have to trust his timing.  Also that we should not give up on anyone.  I was going to avoid him because I thought that he was still the same person but that was definitely not the case!  Everyone can change and does.  Plus, the Spirit always knows what’s up and how to get us where we are supposed to be when we are supposed to be there.  Even if we don't always realize why.
Missions are amazing and the church is true!  I hope you all are doing great and I will talk with you again next week!
Sis Rae
Me and Sharron. Our mascot

Sis Catlett, Sweany and I at MLC

Sandy at her baptism!

Us and Sandy with our ward mission leader and the two elders that gave her the blessing

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Miracles and Blessings

Happy 4th everyone!  Hope it was great.  We had a great show and were able to stay up and watch it.  A member always has a ton of missionaries over to watch them (she lives right by the casinos where they shoot it off) so it was a huge missionary party.  We got home super late though so it killed us the next day.  Used to be able to stay up till 12/1 every day and not have a problem but the mission wears ya out!  Too much to do not to get your sleep.  But it was worth it!  Good food, good company, and good fireworks.  One good thing about the casinos, they have good shows!
So this week I had the coolest experience of my life.  Well, let me start with another one first.  We have this investigator that loves what we are teaching him but has really been struggling to read the Book of Mormon.  Has trouble understanding it and staying focused.  Since the Book of Mormon is so key in gaining a testimony, we have really been talking to him about it but it didn't seem to go anywhere.  We'll we had a fast for a couple of our investigators and included him as well, that he would understand and want to read it.  Well!  He shows up on Sunday and tells us that he woke up that morning and just felt like reading it and got through TEN CHAPTERS!!!  It was so stinkin awesome.  When they catch the wave like that it just makes your life.  That what makes every single thing worth it!
Now to the coolest experience of my life.  So we have this investigator, Sandy, who is pretty much the most golden person I have ever met.  We only met her about 4 weeks ago and she is getting baptized on Saturday.  But Satan hates her.  She's had it rough.  But one of those things that happened was that she was in a pretty bad accident about two weeks ago.  We heard that she was in an accident and then weren't able to get in contact with her for a week (stress!!!) because her phone was off and she was always at the doctors.  Well we finally got into contact with her again this week.  Come to find out, the doctors had found a benign brain tumor when they were doing an MRI on her.  She had these horrible headaches and ringing in her ear that nothing was helping, even the pain pills the doctors had given her.  She was not in a good place when we saw her again.  So we offered a blessing and she almost starts crying she is so desperate for anything to help.  Well we couldn't get a hold of anyone from the ward so we call two elders that work in the area next to ours and they bike over.  So we explain the blessing and what they are going to do and then they start the blessing.  Coolest thing ever.  As soon as the blessing started the spirit just FILLED the room.  So much that it actually surprised me into opening my eyes and I had to look around to see if there was anyone else there.  No one was :)  But then I saw Sandy's face and the Elders faces.  They were completely changed.  Almost like all three of them were glowing.  And all the worry and stress from Sandy's face was completely gone.  You could definitional tell it was a blessing straight from God.  The blessing ended and we all just sat there.  Waiting for Sandy's reaction.  She was looking down at the floor and looks up and just says, "That’s scary".  I start getting nervous, what happened, I thought it was good!  Then she goes on to say that her headache and ringing are completely gone!!  It was incredible.  We started crying.  She has such incredible faith; it is such an example to me.  That was almost a week ago and she still talks about it all the time.  She even told her doctor about it when she went back in and EVERYTHING is completely fine now!!  The doctor was amazed and told her that it was a miracle from God.  Look at her being a missionary and she isn't even a member yet!  It just reaffirms to me how amazing the Priesthood is and how lucky we are to have it in our lives.  It is such a gift from God to have His power and authority on the earth once more. So that is my crazy life this week!  Oh, and I got a hug from a homeless man with no teeth and no shirt and a beer belly and was super drunk. It was great.  But I hope you all have a great week and enjoy the beautiful weather!
Sis. Rae

Sweany and I, you can't really tell but we have whipped cream all over our faces.  Surprise attack!

Fourth of July Party!!

Saturday, July 5, 2014


I have come to the conclusion this week that the law of physics applies to God's work as well.  For every action, there must be an equal and opposite reaction.  The harder we are working and the more good that happens, the harder Satan is going to work on us and on the people we are seeing.  Good thing God is on our sides and He always wins!
So, best thing that happened this week was that one of my investigators, Elizabeth, from Eagle Canyon got baptized, and since I am never leaving Sparks, I got to go!  Her name is Elizabeth and she really is a miracle.  She met some Elders in Reno and talked with them a bit and showed some interest so they sent us over to see her.  Well she was dealing with some family and medical issues at the time so she was NEVER home.  We literally tried almost every day for a couple months to see her because her phone got disconnected so we couldn't reach her that way.  I don't know why we never gave up trying her house because we thought for sure she was avoiding us or something but for some reason we always felt like we should go back and try her house.  Something always took us down her street, until we had gotten that referral we rarely ever went down that way.  But we would knock every time we went by, might as well, right?  One day, she finally opened!  And this is like 4 months after we had gotten the original referral.  She was so open and wanted to learn so much.  She actually asked us if she could come to church and be baptized the very first time that we met with her!!  But she was still dealing with a lot of stuff and so we were only able to see her off and on for the next couple months because of circumstances, but she would always say, "don't give up on me, I'm a comin".  It was so stinkin cute.  It was actually the week that I left that things started calming down in her life and we met with her almost every day.  And now she is baptized!  It was so awesome, when I walked in to the church and she saw me, she yelled "baby girl!!" (she gives all of us missionaries nick-names) and ran and gave me the biggest hug I have ever had.  She's part-poly so she gives the best hugs :)  
The rest of the week has been pretty crazy like normal.  We had transfers and a sister that was going to the east side stayed with us for a day.  She was so much fun!  We are also getting used to the other side of the ward and are so stinkin busy!  There wasn't a whole lot going on over there but enough that it makes every day super super busy! That along with trying not to get lost in now unfamiliar streets.  I recognize some of them that we went to a lot but most of them are very new to both of us.  It brings back a lot of memories too because when I was here a year ago, we spent much more time over on this new side than we did on the other side that I got put into at first.  So it's a new adventure every day!  Also, we found this stuffed duck in the apartment (that was actually sis Verkist's from the first time I was here!) and now we hide him all the time in the most random spots trying to scare each other.  I got Sis Sweany good when I put him in the shower.  The littlest things entertain while out here on the mission.  Gotta make your own fun!
Love you all and have a fabulous 4th!
Sis. Rae
me, sis. Steavenson (going to Ely!) and Sis. Sweany

me and Elizabeth