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