Saturday, January 1, 2011

Third and Fourth Quarter is Where the Magic Happens

December 27th 2010

Long time no talk! I was so happy to be able to call home on Christmas Day. Wow, was it the greatest Christmas present for me! It's difficult to describe, but transitioning from missionary mindset to family mindset was quite an adjustment for me. I dealt a little with "homesickness" Christmas day, but I figure out of 9 months of my entire mission, what better day out of the entire year than Christmas would it be ok to feel a little homesick. I'm so grateful I was able to talk to you guys and I hope that you were able to enjoy the conversation on your end as much, if not more, than I did on mine. I miss you guys. And I love you so very very much.

Ok, since we didn't have much time for me to update you with the work, here's the latest.

Right now we are working with some pretty great people. Agustin Reyes Lopez is one of them. He is the best friend of a recent convert in the branch. He speaks perfect English and Spanish- so our lessons are often times in Spanglish- where we will switch back and forth throughout the lesson. On Wednesday, we had zone conference, which was all centered on fulfilling our purpose as missionaries. We talked a lot about focusing on the doctrine of Christ with our investigators and teaching from the BOM- faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. Then later that evening we had an amazingly spirit filled lesson with Agustin. We read 3 Ne 27 with him, which talks about the gospel. To be honest, it would be nearly impossible to recap the entire lesson, but let's just say the spirit was definitely guiding us to say all that we needed to say. We were able to get some of Agustin's concerns out, and when we were talking about baptism- he said, "that's what I need". We proceeded to extend the invitation for him to be baptized, and to set a date for Jan. 22. He didn't say "no", per say, but he said he would pray about it. Then on Christmas day, he had us over for lunch which was Passoli, and then he came with us to our Branch President's house for Christmas dinner and spent a couple hours with us up there. Miracle of the week was that he came to church. He works a couple jobs right now, one is at the car wash and the other snow plowing. He was scheduled to work Sunday, and the only way he would have been able to come to church was if it rained that night. Well, we prayed for rain...and sure enough...we woke up Sunday morning and it had rained! We called Agustin to express our excitement and he was already dressed and going out the door on his way to church! So miracles do really happen!

This Christmas was a very special one for me this year, although I wasn't able to celebrate with all of you. On Christmas eve, we helped make tamales!! We had an amazing Christmas eve dinner with the Vazquez family, who are super solid recent converts in the branch. It was lots of fun and a very memorable time. Christmas day, I kind've already mentioned...but we opened our presents first thing Christmas morning, studied, got ready, called our families, had lunch with Agustin, then dinner with the President Condon and some other members from the branch, then proceeded to visit other people throughout the night. It was a fun day!

Other people we are working with. Carlos Herrera who I mentioned last week that came to church, was busy with family all this week. He doesn't have a phone so its been difficult to contact him, but hopefully we will be able to this week. Some of our other progressing investigators are the tres hermanos- Mateo, Gilberto, and Jorge. Mateo is the one who seems to be progressing the most, but he is loving the BOM and learning about the gospel. He has a light in his eyes that seems to be brighter every time we see him. All 3 of them are so great and they were so sweet to get us Christmas chocolates as a present when we stopped by to visit them on Christmas eve day. They're great.

Yesterday was a very interesting day for Sis. Hamaker and I. Sis. Naylor had a very bad migraine so she wasn't able to come out with us. So she stayed home with Sis. Mulloy (the member we live with) while we went out and worked. This meant, with limited miles left for the month on our car, not knowing the area at all, and having limited people we could visit considering most of our investigators are men.....well, it made for an interesting adventure full of laughs and a few moments of frustration and confusion. I have to laugh at it now, but driving around trying to contact people merely by looking at a huge map and not having a clue about where we're going or how to get there makes for some good entertainment. I guess it was a good preview into how Tuesday is going to be for Sis. Hammaker and I, because Sis. Naylor is going on exchanges. I don't know if I mentioned this before or not, but Sis. Naylor is the traveling sister for the East side of the mission -which is kind've like the ZL for the Sisters. Once a week she goes on 24 hr exchanges with the other Sisters in this part of the mission. It seems like a pretty hefty job, but if anyone could do it she most definitely can. Not to make any speculations at this time, but her theory is that one of the reasons we're serving together again is so I can take her spot as traveling sister when she leaves. Ah, that's scary - lol. I know that whatever President has in mind will be what the Lord needs, so for now I will just make the most with what is placed in front of me. I do love missionary work, and it has been a stretch for me at times....but I also know that when the Lord calls, He qualifies. Hence my very early experience on the mission of training a new missionary just my 2nd transfer out. That experience taught me a lot, and it forced me to grow and to become the missionary the Lord needed me to become. To this day, I am still becomming someone different. I can still feel Him molding me in His hands and at times the heat from the refiner's fire gets a little warm. It is a very humbling experience to be called to serve and to preach His gospel among His people. There is no better place I would rather be at this time then here, serving the amazing people of the WA Spokane Mission. I'm passed my half way point now, so it is onward and upward. Kind've like the 2nd half of an intense bball game. I always felt I played better in the 2nd half, so it's go time! I'm excited for what the future has instore and I'm striving to leave everything I have out here on the court :)Love you all so much!

Change is hard, but it allows us to grow

December 20th 2010

Wow, can you believe Chirstmas is in just 5 days?! I am so very excited to talk to all of you on Christmas morning. As of right now,I'm planning to call you around 11am (10am my time- after our studies)We justreceived permission that we'll be able to call from our mission cellphones, but we will only be able to talk for 40 min. I'm guessing they want us to call from our mission phones so they can monitor the timeon the phone calls made. So, yah it wont be super long, but it will be so good to hear all of your voices and to get to talk to you! ThisChristmas has been a very special one for me so far this year. It hasbeen such a blessing for me to be in the service of God and to testifyof our Savior especially around this time of year when we celebratehis birth.

This week has been a very interesting week for me, but it has been good overall. First of all, my companions are AMAZING! I am loving being in a trio, there is never a dull moment. We are having a lot of fun together and working hard :) It is pretty cool to be serving with Sister Naylor again and our other compie Sis. Hamaker is just the sweetest thing in the world. Sis. Hamaker is from Houston, TX and still waiting for her visa to Brazil. She's been out in the field justover a month and has been serving just English until this transfer.This was her first week speaking Spanish and already she is able to speak it nearly perfect. Not fluent of course, but she is way diligentat studying the language and she speaks it pretty darn good. Way better than I could at that point on my mission. She has a strong testimony and is alot of fun to be around, it will be sad when she gets her visa and has to leave us.

On another note, the Spokane Valley is WAY different than Wenatchee. I think one of the biggest adjustments for me this last week is that we are teaching practically ALL single men ages 20-40ish. Its one of the reasons why we're in a trio, cuz otherwise missionary work would benearly impossible to do around here. Having a 3rd companion allows for us to go into homes we otherwise would not be able to. The first lesson we had my first night here, was kind've strange for me....butI'm getting used to it...I think? So, when the time comes that Sis.Hamaker does get her visa, Sis. Naylor and I are going to have to get pretty creative on who we can teach, when and how we can teach them.

To be honest, it hasn't been the easiest of adjustments for me coming to this area. Everything is so different and I definitely feel it is allowing me to be streched so that I can grow. If it weren't for myamazing companions, I think the adjustment would be quite a bitharder. It is different going from the lead/senior companion to notreally knowing anyone or anything again. Of course, its nothing like the very first week in the mission field, for I have 9 months experience now, but its just different... For Sis. Naylor its been an adjustment as well because she too is used to leading (considering she has trained 4 times and has been the traveling sister for the lastcouple months). Her and I both are kind've used to just "doing it all", as in being the main one in teaching and contacting and what not. So now we are just trying to find a balance that works best for us, considering we are on a much more even playing ground. Change is sometimes hard, but I know that I am supposed to be here. I have no idea what the next 5 weeks have instore, but I can sense that some miracles are definitely around the corner.

People we are working with. Well there is this way cool guy, Carlos,who is from Cuba. His accent is super hard to understand, but he has amazing potential. He's been on date for baptism in the past but felloff because he didn't come to church. So this last week, we had a waygood lesson with him where the spirit was strong. I could see itworking on him throughout the lesson and that he was recogizing why heneeds to come to church and commit that time to God. And sure enough,our prayers were answered when he showed up to church yesterday! Yay!So, we're hoping that he is willing to make that a habit and that wewill be able to see him enter the waters of baptism in the coming 5weeks. He has a lot of potential and its so refreshing to have someonecome to church again. It had been a long while since anybody inWenatchee had made it to church. And as you might guess family, churchattendance is the highest correlation for baptisms. We aren't here tojust baptize people. We are here to invite them to come unto Christthrough baptism, which is their personal commitment to God that theywill serve him and keep His commandments, and endure to the end.

Let's see what else. Well I love this work, despite thechallenges that come. I am so incredibly grateful to be serving amission. I have never felt so incredibly close to the spirit in all mylife. My testimony is strengthened daily. I love this work and I lovethe people that I have the opportunity to serve. I know that I am a disciple of Christ and truly there is no other place that I wouldrather be, than in the service of Him who has made me the person I am today. Through this work, He has been refining me and I have felt the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost take effect into my own life in immeasurable amounts. I'm a better person for having come on a mission and I know that the Lord's blessings will continue to pour out upon each of us as we remain true and faithful to our covenants we havemade with Him.

Remember each of you is a beloved child of God. He loves you. I know He loves you and I know that He will always be there for us no matterwhat! The church is true! Hope you have a great week getting prepped for Christmas.

A Bitter Sweet Goodbye

December 13th 2010

Well if you all didn't already guess by the title, we receive transfer calls last night and I am leaving Wenatchee! Crazy the emotional rollercoaster that I have felt over the last 24 hours. I hardly slept last night, due to my mind just would not slow down, but I'm excited for what the future has in store. So be prepared for your jaws to drop because mine sure did when I heard the news. SO I am being transferred to Spokane Valley- all Spanish speaking- and will be serving with......... Sister Naylor again!!! Can you believe it?! Yah, me either...but how cool is that! We actually will be serving in a trio together. Another Sister who is waiting for her visa, I believe her name is Sis. Hamiker...but I'm not 100%. Sis. Naylor wasn't sure either. It is her 2nd transfer in the field since the MTC so Sis. Naylor and I will kind've be 2nd training together. Crazy right! Oh my goodness I'm stoked, but now its the actually leaving part I'm struggling to fully embrace. As mentioned in my email home last week, I felt that a change was coming soon. And it feels right, it feels like its time and it truly does feel like everything has happened in the Lord's due time. Some are taking it harder than others, I had a very sad conversation on the phone with Jakki just a little bit ago and she was bawling on the phone. That's hard. Also, there are others who are taking it hard as well, but trying to put up a good smile and wishing me all the best- like Maggie. Maggie gave me this beautiful locket that says "peace be with you" on it, and while putting it on today, it almost made me cry. I LOVE the people here! I have never felt so much love for anyone in my entire life. As I've said in the past, my heart will always be here! I have grown so incredibly close to the people we are teaching and to the members of the Mission Ridge ward. For many of them though, it is not quite a goodbye for truly feels more like a "see you later" and for sure we will keep in touch. I feel so apart of this ward, and so many of these wonderful people have truly touched my life forever. Not enough words could be typed in this email, to adequately describe my love and appreciation for the people here in Wenatchee. It truly is a bitter sweet goodbye for me. It isn't easy to leave, but I know that where I'm going next is where the Lord needs me to be. There are specific people that I'm meant to find and meant to bring the gospel to. Every thing happens for a reason; and I believe there are no coincidences in Heavenly Father's perfect plan. I surely will "trust and not be afraid, lean not unto my own understanding, in all my ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct my path".

So my new address is as follows. Remember if ever in doubt you can always send to the mission office who will forward it on to me.15418 E. 24th St.Veradale, WA 99037

As for Sis. Blain, she will be staying in Wenatchee and serving with Sis. Kakuska who came out the same time as Sis. Olsen and Perez. I have learned a lot while serving with Sis. Blain. I call her my "just do it" companion because she just "does" without ever being asked. She is a fantastic missionary and it has been such a blessing for me to be able to watch her confidence in the Lord grow and to see her improve in so many ways over the last 6 weeks. We've had some fun together and I'm excited for her to be able to stay in Wenatchee and to continue working with all the amazing people we are working with right now. She is just fantastic! Also in other news, Sis. Perez is going to be second training this transfer the Sister who Sis. Naylor just first trained. SO that is pretty cool. I love transfer days because I get to call all my companions on the phone and reminisce for a little bit, because it is against the rules on any other occassion. One thing that will be different this coming transfer is I now will be serving on the East side of the Mission, and away from almost all the Spanish missionaries. From what I hear, it is quite different, but missionary work all the same. I'm excited for what the next 6 weeks has in store! OH and I am so excited to be serving with Sister Naylor again! And this time around, I will actually be able to speak the language!! Yay! It is going to be a much different experience than our first transfer together, but it will be amazing still. Sis. Naylor and I have a very close friendship and I truly admire her in so many ways. It's going to be so much fun!

Well, I'm pretty much packed now...I've been packing all morning. Wow 7 months of stuff is alot. We have a few errands to run, and I have SO many people I need to say goodbye to and then it's back to work tonight at 6. We are in a trio for 2 days with one of the other sisters from the Castlerock ward, who's companion went home yesterday because she finished her mission. So now we are working both areas together, and we've got lots to do.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

This Week is Officially Titled "Finding" Week

November 15th 2010

Wow! Was this week just the greatest! Although our numbers most definitely will not reflect our efforts, this week I am officially titling my biggest "finding" week. We have met so many amazing people by knocking doors and talking to almost everyone we see on the street. Most have not been interested, but the seeds have been planted, in which with those who have shown some interest we hope to be able to add to our teaching pool this coming week. It still amazes me how powerful the Spirit is in this work. Never in my life have I met complete strangers (although they are not strangers to God) and had so many in "depth" and personal conversations with people. Multiple times throughout this week, we have met people who literally with in minutes were in tears while talking to us at their doorstep. Although with many of them we never made it past the doorstep, the opportunity to express love and comfort those who stood in need of comfort, even if just for a brief moment, has truly been such a blessed opportunity. I am often reminded of the fact that we are the Lord's hands here upon the earth. I recently read a few conference talks from the April conference and although I cannot remember who said it now, I know that even the smallest acts of kindness that may lift someone's day is indeed apart of this the Lord's work. Even just a simple smile can turn around someone's day. It is a matter of reaching out to all those within the realm of our influence: friends, family, acquaintances or maybe even strangers, that does indeed make the biggest difference. Remember, "It is when we are in the service of our fellow beings, that we really are only in the service of our God."

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I have come to recognize I have SO much to be grateful for! I am especially grateful for each and every one of you! You, my family, mean the absolute world to me. And although we cannot speak face to face or even have a phone conversation until Christmas, there is not a day that goes by that I don't think of each and every one of you. I talk about you often, especially to people that we meet. I have so much love for you and I am forever grateful for your prayers, love and support. I have also come to realize how incredibly grateful I am for this gospel and for the testimony that God has blessed me with. Rather than at times focusing on the things that I know I lack, I have been trying to focus on the things I know I have and am grateful to have. Specifically my testimony. As mentioned before, there probably has not been a day since coming out here on my mission where my testimony and faith has not been challenged, whether indirectly or directly by somebody else. But it has caused me to cling tighter to the precious truths of the restored gospel that I hold so very dear to my heart. On another note, I am also grateful for the ability we have to choose and make choices that can bring us the greatest peace, joy, and hope in this life and for the life to come. Although, the choices of others can be heart-breaking at times...I know that it is by our choices that we can experience life's greatest joys. When we make righteous choices and use our agency to continually rely upon the merits of Him who is mighty to save, the reward is eternal life. I am grateful for the Atoning sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If it were not for Him, I would not be able to make it through the days that sometimes are difficult to endure. Every morning that I wake up, I truly am grateful for another day that the Lord has blessed me to live another day and to be here in the service of Him in this, the Lord's work. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary. I am constantly learning, changing, growing...and maturing spiritually in ways I'd never quite imagined! Lately, I have even become more unusually attached to my name badge, that inevitably does declare to the world, that I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to represent Him. I earnestly strive to do the things He would have me to do; and the ever so constant prayer in my heart is that my words may be His words, my actions His actions, and my thoughts His thoughts. I love this gospel. I love my Savior and my Father in Heaven. Each day is a blessed opportunity for me to prove my faith and to give thanks for all the many wonderful blessings that I do have. I have 10 more months to be fully consecrated to the Lord and to serve full-time in this part of the vineyard, so I know that I am so very blessed! I want to continue to labor diligently, with all my heart, might, mind and strength...and hopefully bring many more people to a knowledge of the truth! Whatever it is that He would have me do at this time, whether it be planting the seeds in the hearts of others, making someone's day better just by a simple doorstep conversation, or teaching the restored gospel and inviting those who have been prepared to enter the waters of baptism that open the gates to the Celestial Kingdom, I will do what the Lord needs me to do!

This coming week we have many more planned finding activities again, in hopes to find those whom the Lord has prepared. We just recently set a very high baptism goal for the month of December, in faith the mission will have a very "white" Christmas this year. We are working with some great people right now. I failed to mention earlier that we very recently started teaching the Mendez family again. This is the family Sis. Naylor and I were teaching when I first came out to the mission. They are a great family, with STRONG potential. We feel that in the Lord's due time, they will most definitely come into the fold of God- as a family! It is always the ideal situation when you have the Dad who is interested in listening and interested in doing what is absolutely best for his family. Please add them to your prayer list :) Moises, Margarita, Yesenia, Julisa, and Lupe. Julisa, who is 11, looks just like Alex! It's crazy how much they look alike, and it makes me miss you baby sis even more lol.

Well, fam I gotta go now. Today we are doing up to Leavenworth to take some old fashioned photos as a district. I know I need to send pics soon, so I'll try to do that in the immediate future. I miss you all so very much! Hope you have a fantastic week! Until next week, hope to hear from ya'll soon. Hugs

We Are So Blessed to Have the Gospel In Our Lives

November 8th 2010

Hey ya'll,Well fam here I am yet again another week has come and gone, almost within a blink of an eye. It really started hitting me this week that I only have 10 1/2 months left on the mission. I reach my 8 month mark on the 17th. Crazy right?! It seriously blows my comprehension. I am now in the start of my 2nd week of my 5th transfer out in the mission field.

This week has had it's fair share of ups and downs, as all weeks do in the life of a missionary. But, this week in particular, I feel I have spent even more time on my knees and praying for the strength and will power to get through the more trying times. As you know fam, this week we had transfers. It's been an adjustment for me, only because my new comp and I are so different, but she is a great missionary. She has a strong and powerful testimony, and she is so meek and humble. I am learning a lot from her already. Where I've seen the Lord's tender mercies has definitely been with the language. Sister Blain is kind've on the more quiet side and it's been a struggle to not over-dominate in the lessons and in contacting people. After being out now for 7 1/2 months, the language is finally starting to feel more comfortable to me. Which I am grateful for because if it weren't, our Spanish lessons would be a lot more difficult to communicate. Sister Blain has been out now for just shy of 5 months. She is from Memphis, TN. She is great! This is her first transfer serving in a twosome companionship, so it has been an adjustment for her. The difficulty in any companionship is finding a good rhythm between the two of you, and then when you throw 3 in the's even more difficult to find a balance between all 3 of you. I only have seen glimpses of the difficulities that a trio can have at times. Of course, in the MTC, my companions and I didn't have many...but I do recall that often times in our "practice" lessons it was difficult to find a balance between the 3 of us and who would teach, etc. And since coming on my mission, in the few times I've been temporarily in a trio, I've learned even better some of the difficulties that can come. But, Sister Blain and I are working hard to find what works for us and I know that with the Lord's help, we will be able to do what it is He needs us to do at this time.

In updates with the work, well we are working with these two really great girls from El Salvador. Maria Pacheco and Estefani Martinez. They are sister-in-laws. Maria is 25, and Estefani 20, but Estefani has 2 kids...Maria none. How we found Estefani was in attempt to contact Maria, who was a former investigator that the Elders before had taught and a little of the Sisters. Estefani has a lot of faith and such a great spirit about her. A few lessons ago, we invited her to be baptized. She said she wants to and since then has had a few doubts, that we are now trying to work through. Maria also accepted the invitation to be baptized, but they both have work on Sundays and so we are working to help them get to church and then hopefully we will be able to work toward a date. They are loving reading in the BOM though, so hopefully they will keep that up. They are our most progressing Spanish investigators right now. As for the English side, well we are anxiously looking for more people to add to our teaching pool. Rick is of course our most progressing investigator right now. We have a lesson with him tonight and Wednesday. He was pretty sad about Sister Olsen leaving, so now we are trying to establish a good relationship with him and Sister Blain too. It shouldn't keep him from progressing, because its not us the missionaries that we are trying to convert him to. It is to the Lord. SO considering this is the Lord's work, I know that if Rick continues to read and pray about the BOM he will eventually get baptized. We may very likely be talking about baptism in the coming lessons, which is a huge step and it is exciting. How great would that be if he were to get baptized during the Christmas season and then next year be sealed to Rose in the temple for time and all eternity. Sounds like the greatest Christmas gift to me, and how great would it be to be able to see that happen and to be able to have 2 "white" Christmases in a row.

Let's see, what else. Well, today is a day of shopping. I'm finally going to get me some boots and leggings. It's getting cold here, burr. And now with the time change it gets dark at about 4:45. Crazy right?! Yah, I thought so too! It makes it a little difficult for contacting people at night...but I suppose we are just going to have to start getting creative haha. Thanksgiving is around the corner. What are ya'll doing this year? I'm looking forward to our Thanksgiving, we are planning to be have Thanksgiving dinner with the Kings. Surprise, surprise right?! They are practically family to me now, so it will be a good Thanksgiving this year I think. Of course I will miss all of you, but hey just think in about a month and a half I will get to talk to all of you on the phone! It should be good times! I'm greatly looking forward to it.

I wanna express gratitude to all of you and for the letters and the support. Every day I am so incredibly grateful for the blessings I have seen from me serving a mission. I have learned a lot about myself, and about who i want to be. I have learned so much about the gospel and what it takes to truly take upon the name of CHrist and to always stand as a witness of him. I have witnessed the blessings that come from having a testimony of the restored gospel, and I am incredibly grateful for the testimony in which my Heavenly Father has given me. I wish so badly for the people that we are teaching, to feel what it is that I feel when I talk about this gospel and about our Savior. The message we share is the most important message I could ever share. We do have something special and something to be grateful for every day of our lives. I know that the Lord is preparing the hearts of his children to receive us. Until next week, keep us in your prayers and know that you are in mine every day. I love you!

Sharing Our Testimony Through Music

November 1st 2010

Ok so I am so sad because I have like no time to write, the server was down today for our email to president and I couldn't get on here for a while. Since there were technical difficulties, I now have 20 min to email you guys so I will try to type fast.

First off, Transfers!! Well, guess what?! I will be staying in Wenatchee another 6 weeks!! Yay!! This means I am still in my "baby" area and that I get to spend Thanksgiving with the people I have come to love and care for so very much! This is definitely a blessing, although I almost had myself convinced that I was going to be leaving this time around. So the verdict for my amazing comp Sis. Olsen....well, she is leaving. Sad day, i KNOW. But she will be opening up a new area to sisters in Quincy, WA- which is actually only about 45 min from Wenatchee. She will be serving with a temple square sister who is from Mexico, so her Spanish is gonna kick butt! I'm excited for Sister Olsen because I know she is going to learn and grown a lot from this experience. We have had an AMAZING 6 weeks serving together! I have learned and grown so much from her. She is a fantastic missionary and I know she will see great things as she continues throughout her mission. My new companion is Sister Blain. She has been out now for 3 months. She is from Tennessee and served with Sis. Perez this last transfer in a threesome. I do not know much more about her other than that, so I am excited to get to serve with her. I think for me, it is going to be a growing experience for sure. I will be senior companion once again and I'm looking forward to learning lots from her too. The key to becoming a better missionary is to be humble and to be teachable. I believe in a lot of ways, I will be have to take the lead on this one, especially because I know the area and the people we will be working with. But, with time I hope to be able to learn and grow together in unity with my new compie. It should be some good times! I'm excited! Other transfer news, Sis. Naylor will be training AGAIN! So I have a 4th "sister". Amazing! Sister Naylor definitely has an amazing ability to lead and to love, so it should be no surprise to me that she is training again. 4 missionaries in a row! With the exception of one transfer not training in the mix.

Ok, So in other news! Rick is amazing! He is doing so well with his reading and his testimony. We can feel that baptism for him is definitely around the corner. Hopefully this transfer. We feel so incredibly close to the Klinge's and always without fail the spirit is so strong in their lessons. Oh I can't wait until you get to meet all the amazing people out here in Wenatchee! I just love it here! Last night, we made a surprise visit to the Klinge's home and sang hymns to them. Rick really loves the song " I am a child of God", andSis. OLsen and I had sang that song earlier that day as a duet accapella in our combined rs and priesthood meeting, as we launched the ward mission plan to our small but amazing ward! The meeting was amazing! The spirit was so strong, and many people in the room were in tears by the end of the song. I have greatly enjoyed being able to share our talents with others. There is real power through music, and Sister Olsen and I have sang quite a bit in lessons and in meetings, and have seen how music can soften and open up people's hearts.

Fam, you already know, but I truly do love what I am doing right now with all of my heart. I agree with you Pops, I am trying to "leave it all out on the floor" as I did when I played ball. This gospel means everything to me. I know that this church is true and that living the principles of the gospel in our daily lives is the only way to true happiness. I love you guys so much! Letters and package coming your way. HUGS

Power in Moroni's Promise

October 27th 2010

Well, I hope you can all know I have been anxiously waiting to email you. As mentioned last week, we changed our p-day so that we could attend the temple today. It was 3 hours there and 3 hours back, but well worth the trip. So naturally, right now I am kind of exhausted from the drive (definitely not used to being in a car for that long as a missionary) and we only have a little bit longer left of our prep day but just long enough to email home real quick. Dad, thank you for the email and I'm glad you enjoyed the gift.

A- As mentioned above, there are a lot of exciting things happening here in the Mission Ridge ward. This coming Sunday, we are launching the Ward Mission Plan in the combined relief society and priesthood meeting. The goal is to then have the members create auxiliary mission plans and then family mission plans. Many exciting things are happening and we love working with the members! I know that when the missionaries and the members are united in their efforts, we can and will see miracles. This is the Lord's work and no unhallowed hand will keep it from moving forward.

C- My companion is doing great! She has such a great love and passion for this work, which makes working with her super great! We definitely make a great team. She helps me to be a better missionary, and I believe that we both are learning a lot from one another. Although we have our differences at times, we both know that our strengths far out weigh our weaknesses in this companionship. Together we have grown in love and we love this work!

T- My testimony and faith continues to grow each day. I believe it is through the tests of faith when it has grown the most. I'm incredibly grateful to my Heavenly Father for all that He has been teaching me throughout this mission experience. I am grateful for the gift of charity and love. I know that when we pray for charity, Heavenly Father does bless our hearts to be more full of his love. I truly do have a deep love for the people here in Wenatchee, and wouldn't trade my time here for anything. I know that I was called to serve in this mission for a reason, and to serve here in the Mission Ridge ward for a reason. I will continue to place my trust in the Lord and go about doing His business, because I understand that it is His errand that I am on. I feel so very blessed to do so.

S- The power of prayer continues to amaze me. A few nights ago, I betook myself to deep personal prayer to my Heavenly Father. I poured my heart out to him, and prayed about the things that have been weighing on me lately. I felt the comfort and strength of the Holy Ghost, and I know my Heavenly Father was listening. It is amazing to feel His loving embrace and to be strengthened in moments when we are down on our knees. I have felt my Heavenly Father's love for me, and for others, and for that I am truly grateful.

OK, now for more updates about the work. Last friday, we had zone conference. It was all focused on the power of the Book of Mormon in conversion. I just finished reading the BOM for the 3rd time that same night. Wow, was that an amazing experience. This was the same night, that I got down on my knees and really poured my heart out to my Heavenly Father in prayer. I won't go into too many details about my experience, because it is sacred and personal, but let's just say I prayed for quite sometime. I prayed to know the truthfullness of the BOM, and once again I received that same strong conviction in my heart that leaves no doubt whatsoever that the BOM is true. My personal testimony of the BOM has been strengthened over the course of the last 7 months, and even since I first read it when I was 17. If it weren't for the Book of Mormon, I would not be as strong in my testimony of the restored gospel as I am. I would not be able to do what I am expected to do as a missionary. Reading the BOM everyday has strengthened my faith, and it goes back to the principle that we need to nourish our testimonies daily. If I were not doing that while out here on my mission, I know I would not have the strength to go out every single day and proclaim the restored gospel to every one we come into contact with on the street. Fam, unfortunately I do not have enough time to share every experience that I have had on my mission, but I will say this. Every day, my testimony is questioned by the comments or actions of others. Every day, I have to cling tighter to what I KNOW to be true, and have the strength to stand firmly and boldly. But through it all, if it were not for the BOM, I would not have a sure foundation. EVERYTHING in the church weighs on whether or not that book is true. And just like Elder Holland so powerfully stated, one cannot come to full faith in this gospel without having read it and taking account for those 531 pages, that each of us will someday be judged from at the judgement-seat of Christ. With that said, I continue to encourage you as a family and individually to study from the good book daily. And then when you finish the final pages, put Moroni's promise to the test (MOR 10:3-5) and you will receive a witness from the Holy Spirit that it is the word of God, and the most correct book on earth. It is truly another testament of Jesus Christ, and one will draw closer to him through reading the words of that book. President extended a challenge to us at zone conference, to read the BOM from the beginning and to mark every reference to Jesus Christ. So he gave each missionary a clean copy of the Book and we are to finish it by the end of the year! So that is 2 months! By Jan. 1, 2011. I will have read the Book of Mormon for my 4th time.

I'm excited!Ok in other news with mission life. Well, it is getting colder here fast. Currently I am borrowing a jacket from sis king, she may let me borrow it for a while. And I have a few places I can go to bargain shop for some boots. Time is the biggest thing at this point, so I will prob have to browse around next Monday. Also, transfers are coming up. We get calls Sunday. Updates in a few days.

Rick is really progressing in his reading of the BOM right now, and he is really coming along. The spirit is so strong in all of his lessons with his wife Rose. The Klinge's are our neighbors and a sure reason I know why we were to live at the Burnett's. Please keep Rick in your prayers. He is so so close. He has made great leaps of progression. We love them both so very very much!

Monday, we got 7 new investigators! Well, that number is skewed when we find families! But we are excited to have added new people to our teaching pool. Sometimes it is hard and discouraging when people don't progress the way we wish for them to, but such is the life of a missionary. We really teach people according to their needs, and it makes it difficult at times because everybody's needs are different! There are no "memorized" or organized lessons and many times, what we plan to teach ends up being something different than what we actually teach. Such is the power of the spirit in this work. I am learning more and more each day how to follow the promptings of the spirit. Sometimes I wish we had a spiritual GPS system so we could just "KNOW" where the people who are prepared are. But, with faith and patient perserverance, the Lord does indeed lead us to them.