Monday, January 30, 2012

And, I'm Calling it Sara

I hate role playing. There. I said it. We all have our weaknesses and that one is mine. Whatever. Well, that and SIs. Balmforth told me this morning that my only flaw is that I don't like country music. Crazy person. So we're sitting there trying to study/role play and Sis. Balmforth gets this huge knot in her back and we're still going back on forth like, "You're making me laugh!" "Focus, man!" "Stop making faces!" "I hate doing this!" etc. etc. and she goes, "See, I just got a new knot in my back." I asked if she was blaming me for it. "Yeah. And I'm naming it Sara." Well, so much for comp study that morning.

So we're back down to just the two of us again. The tri-panionship was just a temporary 1 week adventure (whew) and now we are getting back into the swing of things. I know we only had 3 of us for 1 week but it was still kind of weird adjusting back to only 2 of us. Mission life. Speeds right by you. It was good getting back to it though. I won't lie, this week was kinda weird. We had a lot of appointments set up and a bunch of them fell through so we had some great lessons planned and we didn't even get to teach them.

We did get 2 new investigators this week, Paul and Allison. They are two kids of a recent convert in the ward and they came to church last Sunday so we stopped by to visit them and they said they would like learning more. Boom bam investigator. I think the gospel is really going to help both of them, they've had some pretty crappy stuff happen to them in their lives but they are still trying to be good people and do the right thing. One of them said they were having problems with depression but didn't want to go to a doctor or go on any medication, and in my head I was thinking, the only other thing that can help something like that is Jesus Christ. That's what the Atonement is for> Alma 7 talks about how he suffers pains and afflictions and temptations so He may know how to succor (i.e. help) His people according to their infirmities. How cool is that? Christ went through everything just so He could know how we feel and how He can help us. Isn't that the problem most people have when they struggle? It's that no one understands, but there is someone who always does. It's so amazing. I posed the question one morning of whether or not the Atonement could have been complete without having to suffer pains and afflictions and things like that. I liked the answer I got, He needed the one to complete the other. The two parts of the Atonement that we use, to repent and to heal, work hand in hand. I think that is so amazing and I am so grateful that it is something that is available to anyone. We just have to ask for it.

Our investigator that came to church last week didn't come this week and we didn't get to meet with them last week. Kind of a bummer, but it was because her 10 year old had a band concert they forgot about but they invited us to go and it was good, she really appreciated us going. I love Hot Cross Buns, let me tell you.

Hmmmmm not much else happened this week. I got a little sick, my stomach was acting up, but I'm feeling much better now. I got some medicine and my companion made me sleep an extra hour one morning and it helped a lot so I'm back to normal finally and I just want to get out there and work and help people be happy. Thanks for the letters n such. Read your scriptures, go to church, say your prayers and I promise you'll be happy. The end.


Sister Chronister

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Acts Are A Little Soggy

Ready for this? It SNOWED here! Like, a ton. So, long story short, Sis. Balmforth and I are allowed to leave our apartment if our third companion is not ready to go. So it snowed a bunch and on Thursday we weren't allowed to drive anywhere and they told us to reschedule appointments so we went over to the Finnegans and watched church movies and stuff. I was going crazy. I hated staying in there all day. It was so small and there was nothing to do. The next day we were told be careful but go out and work. So we went to an appt at 10:30 and it was AWESOME, no really the Spirit was so strong and I loved being there and teaching it, but trying to leave the appt was a different matter. The hill that we had to drive down hadn't been plowed so we couldn't get back up. We parked it at the member's house (it was a less active we were teaching) and hiked up the hill where the elders came and picked us up and drove us back. So we get back to the apt and, again, long story short, we end up leaving our companion home because she wasn't ready to go. So we walked everywhere to go see people in super slushy snow and rain and it was so fun. I was so happy. I fully realize I sound like an idiot saying that, but I was! We trudged everywhere and got soaked head to foot and all of our stuff got soaked cause our backpacks weren't waterproofed so everything in there got soaked too. I pulled out my scriptures and the book of Acts (along with a lot of other ones) were pretty soaked. SOAKED!! I don't think I said that word enough so I threw it in again. They're all good now. I was so happy though because I finally felt like a real missionary cause my scriptures were showing it. I don't know, it was cool.

I had a way awesome week as far as teaching and stuff goes. I taught Sonia, our investigator on base, last Tuesday all by myself on a split and it went so well!! Sister Finnegan said that it was the most she has seen her open up and see her so into the lesson. All we talked about was faith, but the cool part was that I hadn't planned on teaching that at all, it just went that direction based on her questions. We talked for a long time about it though and a bunch of different scriptures and it was so cool because half the time I didn't know what I was saying but she said she would be at church on Sunday and that she would read more from the Book of Mormon with her family and they would talk about it. And.....she came to church!! It was so great. I was so stoked the whole time and I didn't know that I could be so excited about something like that, but I was :) After the lesson on Tuesday when I told Sis. Balmforth how it went she couldn't stop smiling and saying, "I am such a proud mom right now." Total spiritual high.

And, the other night I placed my first Book of Mormon on a doorstep! We were talking to this lady about her religious background and stuff and how she studies at home mostly with her dad and I suddenly became very aware of the Book of Mormon I had in my hand and I knew I had to give it to her. So I did. We walked away and Sis. Balmforth just said, "That was totally Spirit-prompted, huh?" It was so COOL. Man, I sound like such a dork but missionary work is so exciting!! And then last night we were talking to this lady on her porch and we gave her a Book of Mormon too, and she was a witch. No really, a legitimate witch. Like a wicken witch looking for a coven and everything. But she's really open about religion and stuff so we'll probably see her again.

I felt like a lot of really great things happened to me this week, and I was so grateful for it. When you work hard and do everything you can, the Lord will bless you. It's amazing :)

I read a super cool scripture this week about life and death and stuff. It's 2 Nephi 10:25 and it talks about how death (physical) is overcome by the power of the resurrection and everlasting death (spiritual, separation from God) is overcome by the power of the Atonement. So true! I love reading the Book of Mormon because you can definitely see that the plain and simple truths of the gospel are there.

Keep praying for the missionaries, we all need it. Love you all!! Talk to you next week :)


Sister Chronister

Monday, January 16, 2012

Go Climb that Mountain

We're on a mountain theme these last few weeks. We had interviews with President last week and they went well. He's always really awesome to talk to and he told me in my interview that it was his hope to keep Sis. Balmforth and I together in Silverdale but nothing was set in stone. I was just really excited that he wanted to keep both of us here. Then after her interview.......wellllll......and our transfer call on Saturday..........We are getting a third companion, Sis. Soelberg. So. That's the mountain we get to go climb right now, for the next 6 weeks. The thing is, we knew it was coming after interviews and the more we thought about it and talked to some people about the possibility, the more it just made sense for her to come here. Yes, I was a little stressed when the call actually came, I couldn't bring myself to answer the phone, but we both feel really good about it. I'm excited to see how we will work together and make everything run smoothly.

Hmmmmmm...........Not a ton happened last week. That, and I forgot to bring my old planner so I can't really remember haha. Our investigator dropped us. She was super nice but told us that she was doing some soul searching and this just isn't the direction she wants to go right now. I wasn't very surprised at all. I'm glad she gave us a chance to teach her but she just wasn't ready for it. They're moving to South Carolina soon with the Navy and I hope that when the missionaries knock on her door there that seed will already be planted and she will be willing to listen to them or at least let them in her home.

That night was super crazy though with tracting and appointments and everything, but we had a church tour with a less active and her non member boyfriend and it went really well even though all odds were against it happening, including us not being able to use our chapel because of an addiction recovery program that was happening there that night (stake president requested that no one else be in the building), we had to get the keys, rearrange two other appointments, figure out how to get someone over to a member's house on base for a blessing, and everyone and their dog being at the church when we got there. Needless to say we were stressed but it went really well and we are going to meet with him again to teach him, but the only problem is that his schedule with the Navy is really sporadic and he's never sure what time he'll get home at night, but he said he wants to learn more. I'm super excited for it, he's a really nice guy and it was really cool getting to talk to him and learn more about him.

Funny thing of the week, this will make a few people in Taylorsville chuckle: Sis. Balmforth got a letter this week from her mom telling her that my email home last week was much more detailed than the one she sent and it was copied and pasted in the letter, so she sat there and read my email home and laughed at me while I made scrambled eggs (detail! haha). I laughed too.

Let's see...............<------Apparently I like those little dots a lot today, probably cause that's what is going on in my brain right now. I learned a lot studying this week. Can't really remember it, so we'll just leave it at the Book of Mormon is really awesome and you should read it. 3 Nephi 27 is a raelly awesome chapter that talks about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how each part of it (faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) all revolve around the atonement. Ok, so that's what I got out of it, but it made sense to me. Maybe one day I'll draw the picture for you. It's pretty.

Hope everyone has a good week. Write me a letter. That would be nice. Thank you to everyone who has so far. You are the as my slightly outdated companion would say (don't hate, she's been gone a year and doesn't know what's in now). Love you!!

Sister Chronister

Monday, January 9, 2012

High on the Mountain Top

Well, this was definitely an interesting week. Wednesday night we played floor hockey with the YSA ward for their activity night and when they took a break for a few minutes, Sis. Balmforth and I decided to play a few minutes of one on one. It was great fun. Two days later, we wake up early to go down to the church building and play basketball for a while, but Sis. Balmforth can barely move. Her back was killing her, but she wanted to play real bad. So we did. We got home and she laid face down on the floor for 20 minutes, not being able to move. We tried going to visit people, but by 4:00 she couldn't handle any more so we went over to a member's house that we were already planning on seeing and she got some real good pain meds there. Which meant that we were stuck there the rest of the night. I helped the family with dinner and stuff and tried to be busy while she was zoned out on the couch. She got a blessing that night and we just kept praying that she would be better the next day. She kind of was. After our meeting with the ward mission leader though, I tricked her into going back to sleep. I told her we were going to do personal study on the couch and I would read to her. Like it's possible for anyone to stay awake while someone is reading the white handbook and the Bible to you. She fought falling asleep for a long time and finally went and laid in her bed, but said to wake her up in 20 minutes so we could go work. That wasn't happening. She slept for an hour. Then we went back to the member's house that we were at the day before and got her some more drugs. DISCLAIMER: I don't want anyone thinking my comp is a druggy or anything, but she was in a lot of pain and needed it pretty bad. Anyways, we were sitting there feeling pretty useless, at least I was, when she said that I should go on base with the Finnegans. At first I was super against the idea because that would mean that I would be all by myself (kind of) and I'm still a little baby greenie missionary and I don't really know what I'm doing, blah, blah, blah.....but the longer we sat there the more I knew I needed to do it. So the Finnegans came and got me and we went on base. We didn't get to teach a single person. Everyone was busy and could only talk on the doorstep. So I was relieved about that, but I felt good about going. I think the Lord needed me to know that I could be a missionary and that I have learned a lot. I can do hard things. It didn't matter to Him that I didn't share a message with anyone, it just mattered that I went.

That night we went home pretty early so Sis. Balmforth could sleep. She fell asleep around 9. I asked her if she needed anything. Nope, she was good.

A few minutes later I had to go in our room to get some laundry and she said the Manette sisters called but they never said anything when she answered. And the district leader might be calling.

Ok, I can take the phone. Go back to sleep. You doing ok?


Need anything?

Are my heating pads out there?

Yeah, do you want them heated up?


So I go heat one up and try and get it so it's keeping her back warm but it's kind of failing, so I look for the sock one that we got from a member. I have to take it from her hands cause she doesn't know where it is.

I get her all ready for bed, she's doing good, then,

Thnks fr ll yr hlp tdy.


Thanks for all your help today.

Oh. Hey no problem man, you needed it.

Lllvv y.


Love you.

Oh. Love you too man.

Super funny.

An hour later I go back in so she can take the rest of her medicine, but she didn't want to take it. So I felt bad that I woke her up, but she said it was ok since she needed to say her prayers, but she was just going to do it laying down instead of kneeling. I said I would check on her to make sure she didn't fall asleep. She said if she didn't answer it was probably because she was still praying. I thought, orrrr ya fell asleep again, but either way she would be happy. So we're both saying our prayers and in the middle of mine she goes, "Hey, I'm done, just so you know." Cool.

Sunday rolls around with it's 6 hours of church. We skip out on one of the Sunday Schools to get her some more medicine and go the rest of the day. The pain pills made her really lethargic, so it was funny to watch. We watched the CES fireside, which was really good by the way, it was all about the Holy Ghost, and the Finnegans know the guy that spoke. They talked about it for a week. The opening song was "High on the Mountain Top." I leaned over and said, "I think you're a little high on the mountain top." And then we laughed through the whole opening song and I found a really great title for my email.

So, sorry that was so long and that was the most exciting thing that happened all week, but I was grateful for that chance on Saturday. It was a really simple thing but it meant a lot to me. And, I got the best surprise ever when we went over to the Finnegans this morning. She opened the door and was on the phone. She asked how Sis. Balmforth felt and then looked at me and said, "And how are you today Sister Chronister?" "Awesome." "That's awesome. Come on in." So we walk in and to the person on the phone, she says, "Well it was great talking to you Sister Ballantyne." "WHAT!!???" She was talking to my mom! So. AWESOME. It totally made my day.

I guess I should end on a spiritual note. I was planning a lesson for a less active and came across this scripture and absolutely loved it. Moroni 7: 27-28. Those who have faith in Him cleave unto every good thing. So simple. That's all I got for now. Oh, and thanks for the responses on the song and the talk, they were great :)

Love you!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!!

So, it's 2012. Wooooo..... Supposedly the world is going to end this year, so I guess it's time to buckle down and work hard. Man, I am drawing a blank right now on what to write. We started getting up in the mornings and running. There is a loop around our apartment that is about 1/2 mile long (we found that out later, after we clocked it with our car) and every day except Sunday we've dragged ourselves out of bed and ran. I'm so proud of myself, mostly because it's freezing. Luckily, because the altitude is so low here it's super easy to breathe and I have some awesome ear warmers that help a lot when it comes to trying to maintain body temperature. This morning though, since it's P day we decided to run at 9 instead of 6:30, which was a good thing since a certain companion of mine was a little (a lot) bitter about getting out of bed that early. It was pretty funny.

I have a special request. I love the song "Nearer, My God, to Thee" and I was wondering if somehow someone could look up the history of it (who wrote it, any stories behind it, etc.--try Wikipedia) and send it to me. Just curious. Oh, and I've been trying to get a hold of a copy of the talk by Elder Holland Called "None Were With Him." So, if someone is bored and wants to look into that for me and mail it to me, that would be great.

New Year's was pretty interesting. We had to be in at 7 unless we were at a member's or investigator's home, then we had to be home by 9. We hung out at the Finnegan's. We played some games (5 Crowns, I completely dominated. No really, everyone else's scores were like 200+, 168, 187 and I had 39. Yeeeahhh.) and watched the Testaments. The Testaments was wayyyy good and I haven't laughed as hard as I did playing cards in a long, long time. We were in bed by 10:30 but we stayed awake until it was midnight in Utah and Arizona (11 WA time) and fell asleep a few minutes after that.

We got to teach our new investigator again this week. That was an interesting lesson. She has a super short attention span so we just went over the Book of Mormon, but we forgot that we hadn't talked about Joseph Smith and our relationship with God or anything like that so we had to backtrack some and just tell her that we would show her a video (Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration) next time. She was ok with that. She's been really religious all her life so she likes to say prayers at the end of the lesson. That's a pretty great start if you ask me.

This week we ended up studying a lot about consecration and what it really means to live a consecrated life. It's really interesting because the more you think about it, the more it's in everything that we talk about, we just don't always realize it. I also got to speak in church yesterday. I was the youth speaker and I talked about how Christlike attributes (I picked obedience, faith in Christ, hope, and humility) help us become better followers of Christ. I was glad I got to speak on that because it was a really great opportunity for me to study those attributes and see what I need to work on. I love studying the scriptures and the gospel. It never ever gets old.

We're going to work really hard this week on getting referrals from members, being super diligent during our 5-7's and coming up with better ways to approach people about learning more about the church. We don't have much going on in the way of teaching, but we know we just have to work harder and try everything we can and wait for that miracle that the Lord has waiting. It is definitely testing my patience and faith but if that's what I need right now, then that's what I'll do. I just gotta keep swimming.

That's about all I have for now. Love you and miss you.