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.

Laughing is Good for the Soul

October 11th 2010

Hey everyone!

So, something ironic happened to me today! I got a phone call from Bro. Curry (who we used to live with) and he said that a Mr. and Mrs. Giles had stopped by to say hello. Well at first, I was super confused on who it was. But then we made the connections. Dana Magleby's parents were passing through Wenatchee and stopped through to check in on me and see how I was doing. Way cool! We visited with them for about 25 minutes, but then had to leave. But, it really made my day. Dana, you have fantastic parents and by the way you totally have the same wink as your dad :) It was a good surprise!

So updates with the work. The work is pushing along. We are finding families to teach, and teaching alot in Spanish. Some days it comes out better than others. Sister Olsen and I are making a great team! We love serving together and there are no doubts in our minds that we are supposed to be serving together at this time. We have seen many miracles. We have met some amazing people. We have had our few share of ups and downs, but such is the life of a missionary.

Funny story for all you readers. So family, you may recall, that back home I used to talk in my sleep. Well, I still do and better yet, now I have even woken myself up from laughing in my sleep. So the story real quick, last night I had this funny dream and I started laughing...I woke myself up and kept laughing because I was laughing in my sleep. Then my compie woke up. Super confused. Was like "are you ok?" which made me laugh even harder, because I couldn't stop laughing. So for about 10 minutes, at one in the morning I laughed my little self half to death and then went back to sleep. My companion and I laughed some more about it today when talking about it. It was rather hillarious, and I guess laughing is good medicine for the soul. Sister Olsen and I have a lot of fun together. I guess we all could use a good laugh every now and then, whether it is in our sleep or not, it is still something I would highly recommend.

Hm, well unfortunately this is all the time I have right now to write. I want to say so much more! But, in the coming days, you will have a pretty sweet surprise coming your way. I'm excited! And I'm awful at keeping secrets so I will leave it at that for now. I love you all so very much.
I love you. I pray for you every day. Keep the faith and hope you have a good week. Remember to rely on the Lord for everything!