Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Lower Lights

Do you like church music, but not all the time? Are you a fan of Mumford & Sons? Enjoy some twangy folk music to rock out to? On a mission and have restricted music options? Then you'll love The Lower Lights!! Their song "Ye Elders of Israel" is AMAZING. I first heard in the MTC and found it the other night and me and one of the other sisters had a mini freak out when we heard it. Even Sis. Finnegan was feeling it. She was dancing and bouncing around and bringing it around town and feeling all Scottish or something. It was way funny. So that's my latest obsession with music.

We had a Sister's Conference this weekend. We all met in Tacoma on Friday night, had dinner, went down to a park by the Puget Sound, took pictures, watched the sunset, walked around, went back to the mission home and decorated Easter eggs and burned new cd's and watched a video about John Rowe Moyle then stayed up way too late with 25 sisters in one house and had a giant sleepover. Then in the morning we had breakfast and had some training from President and Sister Weaver and the AP's. It was some really great stuff. All of us had a chance to share an experience from our missions so far that has been a significant thing or a testimony builder for us. It was so awesome to hear everyone's testimonies and to see how the gospel and missionary work means so much to everyone in so many different ways. The spirit was so strong in that room. I loved it. It was such a good weekend. And, we have sunshine Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and today!! It's amazing how much that can affect your mood and other peoples' attitudes toward you. Everyone is so much nicer and I felt so much more motivated to go out and work. Awesome stuff.

Yesterday Mariah got confirmed! That was pretty cool to see. So she's official now and it's incredible to see how the gospel is blessing her life. It makes me really excited to see that and it makes me want it to happen for others even more.

On Wednesday we had interviews with President. Sis. Balmforth went in first and talked with him, then I went in and first thing he says is,

"Well you and your companion are setting a record."

"A record"

"For transfers together."

"Oh yeah!"

"How is that going?"

"It's great! I love her so much and we work so well together, etc. etc."

"Well, all good things must come to an end." My heart sank and I'm pretty sure I had a panicky look on my face, so he followed that with, "At some point, right?" And then he laughed it off.

So, pretty much, President stabbed me in the heart and it's looking like, barring some major revelation, Sis. Balmforth will be finishing her mission here and I will be transferred out this upcoming round. We won't know for sure for another few weeks, but I think that's most likely what will happen and I'm really sad that I'll have to leave Balmforth, it will be good. I still have a long way to go on my mission and I'm strangely excited for my next area, whenever I get there.

In other news, my companion is still not fully recovered (ATTENTION PARENTS: she is doing well, out working and smiling and laughing, just still not a hundred percent like we would like her to be, but we are doing our best to take care of her) so Sis. Weaver called on Wednesday night and basically told her she had to go back to the doctor the next day. So we had to go to the doctor on Thursday. She got blood drawn and they were going to look at how her thyroid was doing. The next day, the doctor called and said her blood work came back great, but Sis. Weaver wanted to do an ultrasound just in case. So we went and waited in a waiting room for an hour and then finally she got an ultrasound. Nerdy little me is sitting in the corner with my eyes glued to the monitor. I thought it was cool....Balmforth just wanted it to be over with. They told her right there that everything was fine and nothing was wrong with her thyroid. So, she just is waiting it out to go away. It will soon, cause Heavenly Father said so. The only variable is the word "soon" cause soon to Him might be 3 years to us....but probably (definitely) not.

Hmmmmmmm what else happened this week? Not much. We are focusing on finding new people to teach. It's kinda hard haha but we know we need to just suck it up and go knock on doors and be bold and ask people if they know anyone that wants to learn more. I was reading in the Doctrine and Covenants the other day and found the phrase "the laborer is worthy of his hire." Just thought it was an interesting phrase and how it can have multiple meanings. It was cool. My three favorite phrases lately have been:

-The evidence of your faith...

-The laborer is worthy of his hire....

-We are part of something greater...

My brain is too jumbled right now to try and go into detail about them, but they all work together and relate to missionary work...somehow haha. I love being here. It's such a blessing even though it's hard. Love you all!! I'm trying hard to catch up on my letter writing. Have a great week!!



Monday, March 19, 2012

My Joy is full, my heart is brim with joy!

HEY, GUESS WHAT?!? WE HAD A BAPTISM YESTERDAY!!!!! Last week we met with Mariah on Tuesday and spent 2 hours teaching the Plan of Salvation and the commandments. At the end of the lesson, Sis. Balmforth goes, "Well, we need to pick a date for you to get baptized." Textbook delivery. She said she hadn't thought about a specific date yet, so we told her we could do any day, usually we do Sundays but if she wanted a Saturday or whatever that would be fine too. She thought about it for a minute, just sat there, and then looked at us and said, "I think I want to do it this Sunday." We were in shock. It was so cool. So, yesterday evening we got to see Mariah's baptism. It was so awesome. I had been hearing forever about how great it is to see one of your own baptisms and how great it feels, and now I understand. While she was getting dressed after she was baptized, I got to give the "10 minute resto" where we talk about the person that just got baptized and share the story of the restoration. It was way cool. I was so nervous, but I'm really glad I got to do it. Mariah was so happy to get baptized. She texted us later that night and told us how happy she was and that when she walked down into the water, it felt like there was a hand on her back guiding her down, and she felt so great. Next week, she will be confirmed and receive the Holy Ghost. She told us how much we had changed her life, but it doesn't feel like we did much. This was a huge miracle. 4 months and 2 days into my mission, I got to see how the Lord works to prepare people and how important it is for us as missionaries to just be in the right place at the right time. She was so ready for the gospel, and her life is going to be so blessed because of it. As a member of the ward was bearing his testimony about the gospel and baptism, I had a very distinct thought that we are all part of something greater. Our lives are meant for something greater and the work we do here is how we make that possible, it is how the gap is bridged, and how the plan of our Heavenly Father is taken to those who need it. I can't really explain it very well, but that was a very sacred moment for me. It made being a missionary that much more important to me, and it made me so appreciative of the knowledge and opportunities that I have. It is so amazing to me that God allows us to participate in this work. I am so excited to keep doing it.

So that was our really big event this week. I'm still super excited about it, and I'm pretty sure I won't ever really grasp what a huge miracle that was. We got to teach seminary again this week, mostly just playing scripture mastery games with them. And I told them the story about Jezebel's death. It's a good one if you haven't read it. It involves eunuchs, walls, and dogs. Kind of a bummer, a recent convert who is 16 told us this week that he wants to still explore other religions because he's young and doesn't want to commit to anything too soon. It's sad because the reason he probably feels like that is because he hasn't been to church in so long, he forgot what it feel like to have the Spirit constantly in his life. It reminds me of that part in the Book of Mormon where Nephi talks about how the devil can lead us away, sometimes by flattering, other times by convincing us there is nothing wrong. We can't ever be complacent though because if we aren't moving forward, we will for sure start moving back. We are still trying to work really hard to find new people. Tracting is still a big challenge for us though.....We are working on that and at least trying to show that we are willing to work. When we do what we are asked to, like go knock on doors for 2 hours every night, we see things start to happen, regardless of whether or not it comes from knocking doors.

St. Patrick's day was fun, a member from the YSA ward fed us corned beef and cabbage cause she heard Sis. Balmforth wanted it. She served a mission in Lithuania and had some crazy sodas and drinks and stuff for us to try, but she knew we wouldn't like it very much so she gave us some in shot glasses. So, yeah, I did shots on St, Patrick's day....on my mission.....yay. Haha. I promise, it was just soda. Promise. For reals.

I can't really think of everything else, that's the main stuff. It was such a good week. I am so grateful I got to see that miracle. I wanted to see one so bad with Sis. Balmforth, and now I have! There is no other feeling like it. It just makes me really happy to be here and to be able to take part in the work. I love being a missionary!! Every day I get to put a name tag. It has my name on the top and Jesus Christ underneath. That is pretty amazing, and I love every minute of it. Being tired, having sore feet, getting cold and wet, all of it, is so worth the effort. I could keep going forever but I'll end now so you don't get bored :) Alma 26:8,11-12

Love you all!! Have a great week!



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It's 5 o'clock somewhere . . .

Daylight Savings!! Ok, so I actually really hate daylight savings, it's pretty dumb. Why can't we just have it stay lighter later all the time?? Anyways, so now it's not dark until after 7 pm so tracting is pretty ok now. At least now we can see when people's crazy dogs are about to chase after us. P.s. thank you Sis. Balmforth for the email title.

Pretty interesting week, very exhausting. We taught seminary on Wednesday and Thursday at 6 am. Normally 6 is early, but when you're a missionary and already short on sleep, it's killer. And it was way boring haha. We were talking about 2 Kings and wicked and righteous kings of Judah and Israel and we're going over this list of crazy king names and half way through I stopped and was like, "This is so boring!" So we summarized the lesson really quickly and then told funny stories. Much better. The next day we took them donuts and talked about how important the scriptures are. That was cool, cause the scriptures are important, ya know?

Oh, on Tuesday, we woke up and went into our living room and it seemed unusually light outside for 6:30 so I looked out the window and what did I see? Popcorn popping on the apricot tree! Ok, not really, just a bunch of snow on the ground. That was pretty crazy but it melted by the time we had to go out and work so it was ok. Basically Washington weather has been pretty moody cause in the last week we've had snow, sunshine, and, today, we're back to regular rain.

On Sunday we both got to speak in sacrament meeting again. I don't know who keeps thinking this, but missionaries don't just have time to prepare a 10-15 min talk in 4 days or less. We got the assignment last Wednesday. Sis. Balmforth spoke on "Doing the right thing, at the right time, without delay" (a really great talk from last conference by Elder Alonzo) and I got to speak on "A Witness" by President Eyring. It was really cool preparing for that talk. It was one of those times where you are assigned that topic because there is something you specifically need to learn about it. He talks about 3 promises we make when we are baptized: that we will become charitable, that we will become witnesses, and that we will endure. He says that a truly converted child of God is someone who strives to keep these three promises. I talked about my step-dad, Joe, and how he has been a really great example of this to me. Sis. Balmforth talked about following the Holy Ghost and how being on a mission she has seen a lot of miracles because she was doing the right thing at the right time, how Joseph Smith was a really great example of doing the right thing even when it was hard, and about seeing her dad always serving others. It was a really great meeting, finished up by Elder Finnegan who spoke on the teachings of Christ. I loved speaking with both of them, the Spirit was so strong hearing their testimonies.

So, I think I talked about our new investigator Mariah last week. She came to FHE on Monday and when she introduced herself she said (you can't make this up), "I started learning about the church last Thursday, I haven't officially joined yet, but I'm up next to get baptized." WHAT?? That was so cool. We were supposed to meet with her on Wednesday and we were going to commit her to be baptized....on Sunday......but it fell through cause she and her roommate, Meghan who was baptized last week, weren't feeling that great. So we met with them on Saturday instead and had a really great lesson about the Restoration and Mariah was just soaking it all in. You could tell she understood it and knew it was true. She's been reading the Book of Mormon and feels the Spirit when she does. When she was at church yesterday and saw Meghan get confirmed and receive the Holy Ghost she told us afterward that it felt like the Holy Ghost was right there with them. She is so prepared and we are so excited to keep teaching her.

Zebediah is coming along. We had to go on a split last Tuesday so I didn't get to teach him, but we are still working with him. He's had all the lessons and now we just have to help him get to the point where he wants to be baptized and not wait. I went and taught Sonia, who we haven't seen in over a month. She hadn't been reading her scriptures or anything so we talked about doing that more and how it would help her in her life. It was way cool because she is concerned that she isn't sure if her faith is strong enough and she doesn't want to change if she doesn't have faith, etc. but I promised her if she just put it to the test that her faith and her desire to change her life would grow together. They have to grow together, they can't work separately. When I promised her that, she looked at me and said, "I have no doubt that that will happen." Now she just needs to do it and she'll understand why the gospel is true and why baptism is so important.

We read a really cool scripture yesterday in Sunday School. It's 2 Nephi 26:23-25. It talks about how the Lord works in light, not darkness, and he invites all men to come unto Him. It's so important to remember that Heavenly Father wants us to be happy. I read a cool quote about how the commandments are not barriers or meant to get in our way, but they are guideposts for our lives and they will help us go in the right direction and not fly into outer space or anything crazy like that.

That's kind of all I have for this week. We had a really fun week, laughed a lot and worked hard. Things are going great here and they're just getting better. I love my mission, I love Jesus, I love my companion, and I love my mom. And the rest of my family. Really though, you don't realize how awesome they are until they aren't around you so much anymore. Other families are great, but they;re just not your own. Hope everyone has a great week. Write me some letters, send some pictures :) I promise I'll write back...it just takes me forever and a million years. I'm getting better at it though. Love you!!!


Sister Chronister

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I bet the missionaries in the Preach My Gospel DVD's never did this . . .

Well hello.

This week has been pretty cool. Today we went down to Bremerton and got to check out the USS John C. Stennis. We walked around the flight deck and everything. It was pretty cool. Yeah, I have pictures. Then, when we were getting ready to drive home, we looked at the Nimitz, the carrier parked right by the Stennis, and it was getting ready to leave to Everett. So we stayed and watched the Nimitz pull out of port. Pretty cool stuff. By the way, the title of this week's email is brought to you by Thursday night's planning session. We were eating ice cream and trying to figure out what to do all day Friday and basically couldn't stop laughing long enough to get anything done. My genius companion just wanted the ice cream from her Hagen Daas ice cream bar so she was biting the chocolate off and spitting it out. For reals? Anyways...don't worry we figured out what to do on Friday. The point is, those awesome little missionaries from the Preach My Gospel dvds probably never ever ever did that. It was funny. Probably had to be there.....

Let's see, where to begin. This week we had transfer meeting down in Tacoma. That was pretty fun, especially since we weren't getting transferred :) We are pretty fang lucky we got to stay though, so we're going to work our butts off this transfer and have a baptism. Not really sure who yet, but it will happen. We got a new investigator last night!! It's a way cool story. Let me tell you.

So, a year ago Sis. Balmforth was serving up in Sequim. They would go visit this lady pretty much every week if they needed something to do and wanted to share a message with a less-active. She didn't ever know what happened to her, she kinda fell off the face of the planet for all they knew.. Fast forward to Saturday. We get a call from the zone leaders saying they have an 18 year old girl they found on Wednesday and are baptizing on Sunday. They knocked on her door and she had been taking the lessons in Kansas but when she moved to Washington she didn't know how to find the missionaries to get baptized. So they needed our help getting some friends there for her from the YSA ward. We're standing there shooting the breeze (phrase of the week, by the way) and Balmforth looks down the hallway and sees the lady she taught from Sequim standing there. She goes and talks to her and turns out the girl getting baptized, Meagan, is her daughter! It was so cool cause after Meagan was baptized her mom got up and bore her testimony to her. Afterward she grabbed Sis. Balmforth and pulled her over to her daughter and said, "Meagan, this is Sis. Balmforth. She helped me and now she's going to help you." AND Meagan'a roommate, Mariah, is super interested and wants to get baptized...so yeah, we're all over that like white on rice. That was a way cool miracle, one that we've been looking for and one that we are super grateful for.

On Wednesday we had a lesson with Zebediah that went pretty well. We taught him the commandments. First time teaching them, wooo! The best part was that we brought some girls from the ward to help us teach and everyone had a grand ol' time. He came to church on Sunday, the first time by himself (his member friend Zack had duty) and sat with his new little friends. +1 for the missionaries! I think he'll get baptized soon, it's just a matter of him realizing it's what he needs to do. He and Allison were supposed to come to the baptism so they could see what one was like, but neither of them showed. That was a bummer, but I think it needed to happen cause of everything that we discovered while we were there.

Oh, guess what? We are teaching seminary on Wednesday and Thursday!! Yeah Old Testament! Anyone know what goes down in 2 Kings 14-25? Yeah, me either, but I will soon. It should be fun. The only problem is...we have zero time to prepare a lesson. It will work out I guess...either that or we'll just go and tell crazy missionary stories for an hour.

We have the best wards here. Everyone takes such good care of us and they are willing to do anything to help us out. On Friday the family ward had a spaghetti dinner/auction to help raise money for youth camps and everyone kept buying stuff and giving it to us. We made out like bandits. They didn't care, people just wanted to help out the youth, so they figured the missionaries needed even more sugar in their apartment. That's the great thing about being in an area for a long time, you really get to know people well and they are so supportive of you and the work. I love it. Whenever I do leave Silverdale, it's going to be hard, but I have at least another 5 weeks here, so it's all good.

Came across/remembered a really cool scripture yesterday in sacrament meeting. Psalm 23:4, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." I've noticed a lot of my favorite scriptures have to do with not fearing and trusting in the Lord. Fear is something that is so easy to do, especially when every day you are out talking to strangers and putting yourself and your beliefs out there for the world to see. It's scary. But, the Lord always takes care of his children. Here's my version of the verse: "Yea, though I walk through the alley of the side streets of Keyport, I will fear no dogs: for thou art with me; thy scriptures and thy promises they comfort me." God is a God of miracles and blessings. We just need to stay obedient and our lives will be immeasurable changed for the better.

So, I love you all. Please keep sending me letters, I know I am TERRIBLE at writing back, but I promise I haven't forgotten. I think about all of you and hope that life is just dandy and everything. I hope everyone has a good week. Miss you and love you!!!