Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sinking Peter, Stumbling Enoch

So this past week has been an interesting one. It started off with getting Sister Baylon all packed up and sent off to Lacey. Before she left we had the opportunity to go and visit Teresa, who we found my first week here and turned over to the Spanish elders and now she is going to get baptized in the next week or two. She is amazing. They talked about Matthew 14, where Peter walks on water. As they were reading it and talking about it in Spanish, I had a little moment with Heavenly Father. I was like Peter. I saw a lot of really great things happen, I could see the Lord's hand in the work, my faith was growing, so I decided to walk out onto the water toward Him. But then things changed, the wind started blowing, and I wasn't in my comfort zone anymore. I started sinking. The Lord asked me, sitting in Teresa's apartment, wherefore didst thou doubt? I realized I have a long way to go with continuing to exercise faith. Once we get to a certain level, we don't get to stay there for very long before we are tried again and we have to prove our faith to ourselves and to God. We can do it every time, but that doesn't mean that it's easy.

I finished reading the Book of Mormon last Wednesday at the transfer meeting. I read Moroni 10 with Sister Balmforth right before she left. It was a really cool experience reading it that quickly and focusing on how often the Savior is mentioned throughout its pages. That book is so true and so inspired. I am so grateful that I get to read it every day and share its message of hope and salvation with people who are looking and prepared.
Speaking of last Wednesday, that was a hard transfer meeting. I hate transfers. They just make everyone sad and stressed and especially sending friends home just tears your little heart out. It was a really good meeting though and I was really grateful for it. Watching Balmforth leave was pretty tough. I think I hugged her a billion times and President had to come track her down and practically drag her out to the car. She is home and happy now though and that's good. Back to the grind for me.

So I have a new companion this transfer. She is from Pittsburgh and she's been on her mission a year. So far, things are going good. It's stressful taking over an area, I didn't have much time to learn it, but the Lord has blessed me (i.e. my GPS finally decided to start working when I was in a pickle) and things are going to be great.

We had 2 baptisms on Saturday, these two kids that we've been teaching forever. It was so great, the little girl, Leann, is so cute and so close to my heart. I helped her pick out what suit to wear for her baptism and she decided she wanted to wear a dress. Adorbs. I'll try and send some pictures soon.

A guy in our ward gave a really great talk yeterday on gifts he brought home from his mission. He talked about how much it has blessed his life and the effect that it can have on anyone who wants to serve. It was a great little pump up for me.

Hmm...trying to think of what else....not much. Moses 6:34 has had a lot of meaning for me this week. Enoch is freaked out cause he's the prophet and the Lord comforts him and says, "Walk with me." Remember to walk with the Lord. He will guide you every time, He will never lead you astray, and He will be there when you stumble and fall to pick you up.

We are going to the temple this week, on Thursday. I am so excited!!!! It's been so long. I can't wait to go. I'll let you know how it is next week.

Love you all so much!! Sorry I suck at letters. Talk to you soon!!



Monday, May 21, 2012

Well that was a shocker . . .

We got our transfer call early Saturday night. We were confident that we would both be staying, so when we answered and they said, "Sister Baylon, pack your bags! You are heading south to Lacey!" I thought they were joking. Really. It took me a minute to realize that they were totally serious. So, Sis. Baylon is leaving and I will be getting Sis. Eichenmiller. I don't know much about her but I'm assuming it will be great. I'm sad that she's leaving so soon though cause we had a ton of fun here and the work is exploding. We were right in the middle of tearing it up. We're starting off this next transfer with 2 baptisms on Saturday and our goal for the month of June is to baptize weekly. It is a definite possibility. Almost likely, even. But, I don't want to jinx myself so I'll just leave it at possible.

We had kind of a slow week this past one. Tuesday I found out that pudding does not agree very well with me. After dinner at a member's house where we had homemade chocolate pudding for dessert (it was really good, btw) we spent the rest of the night in the apartment updating records and planning and teaching lessons over the phone when we could. Not the most ideal situation, but at least I have a funny companion to hang around with.

Wednesday we had district meeting which took up a lot of time.....new number reporting stuff that's confusing (ok, random tangent, but I hate mission math. It's dumb. Go out and find people. Just do it. If you are doing everything that you can, God will supply the miracles. If I can reach my monthly goal of 5 baptisms without finding 20 new, then I'm not going to find 20 new. I'm going to find just enough people so that I'm not overwhelmed by our teaching pool and so that we still have people to teach once we baptize the ones we have already taught. Ok, I'm done now). It just took up a bunch of time. Then a member from Silverdale who knows both Baylon and me came down and took us out to lunch. Sis. Graves is the best!!! She even brought us Nutella and Nesquik. What else do you need? Nothing. It was so fun to see them and feel some Silverdale love. Then when we got home, my companion felt sick, so we had yet another chill night. Why can't these things happen at the same time? Or not at all? Either one would be more efficient. But, we did go out and tract for a little bit and we knocked into a really cool guy named Charles. When he answered the door he said, "Where are the other girls?" Turns out about a year ago the sisters at the time gave him a Book of Mormon and he has been studying it with the Bible and has questions about it. Every single question that he asked can be answered by the Restoration. We are going back this week to teach him. He is so cool. Also, Wednesday was my 6 month mark. I burned a sign that said "Greenie." I also almost burned my hand off. It was great fun.

Thursday we had zone conference. It was so good. Definitely the spiritual motivator and edifier I was looking for. We talked a lot about finding new people and ways that we can do that. Our bread and butter has been church tours and sometimes we forget that there are other ways to go out and find new people to teach. Another thing we learned about was immediately teaching when you talk to people. That is something I definitely need to work on. I'm not really an in-your-face kind of person and I don't like forcing things on people, but we should not and cannot be ashamed of the message that we carry and are willing to share with those who will listen. I wear a nametag with Jesus on it, so everyone already knows what I stand for, so why should I hide it? There is a difference between being pushy and putting something out there. So that is what I am trying to do right now.

Friday. Friday was awesome!! Sister Balmforth and all of the other departing missionaries (including my favorite Elder Dayhuff) were going to the temple and their companions needed somewhere to go for the day so we took Sis. Jensen and I got to see Balmforth!! We picked up Jensen in the morning and had a really good day. We had to weekly plan for a few hours, so Jensen had to sit there and twiddle her thumbs for a little bit, but we got a lot done and taught 8 lessons. It was really cool. We went on a split for finding. Baylon went and supervised a lesson with Pohai (she is doing awesome by the way. She is really learning the gospel now and starting to actually understand what we teach her. It is so cool!! The gospel is cool!! Haha) 

Sis. Jensen and I went out tracting. We started in this one apartment complex and knocked 1.5 buildings and no one was home. Literally. No one. So I felt like we should go across the street to another complex that Baylon had suggested. We knocked a few doors and I was feeling kind of stressed and didn't really want to be out knocking, but we kept going anyway. A woman answered one of the next doors and she was super nice and I decided that it was time for me to stretch my finding muscles and try the teaching on the doorstep technique. It worked! She is good friends with a lady in the ward and she took a Book of Mormon and agreed to have us come back and teach them. Her husband came home while we were standing there talking to her (I won't lie, it kinda made me nervous since usually husbands don't like random people knocking on their door and talking to their wives when they're not home and they're tired from work) but he was super nice and friendly. Their names are Apple and Steve. I am so excited about them. At the end of the night we took Sis. Jensen back to the mission home to meet up with Balmforth and we got to spend a little bit of time with them there. There are about 9 missionaries going home so there were quite a few people there with their companions. I got to talk to Balmforth about how the temple was. I was so happy that I got to see her. I can't believe she's going home in 2 days. So that was a really, really good day.

Saturday slowed down again. We decided to do some service and gave one of the elders a haircut. It was the first time either me or Sis. Baylon had cut someone's hair with clippers but we did a really good job and he still looks normal!! I was pretty impressed, especially since I was the one who trimmed his sideburns and the back. Scary, but good. Pat on the back for Sara!! I mean, Sis. Chronister.......eh. Then we got transfer calls....you already know about that part....

Sunday we got to go out to Anderson Island. There is a tiny little branch out there that we cover and we were invited to speak in sacrament meeting. I spoke on receiving answers to prayer and Sis. Baylon spoke on the Holy Ghost. It was a really great meeting. There are about 20 people in the branch, inlcuding kids, and they meet in a little house on the island. In the basement is the chapel with a tiny podium, sacrament table, and organ. They have 1 bread tray and 1 water tray and 1 deacon who just barely turned 12 who passes the sacrament. It was soooo cool to be in there. The Spirit was very strong, and you could feel the dedication of the members. They were so nice and friendly and they love missionaries. We are going to try and work with them more, but the islanders don't like missionaries and it's a 30 min $5 ferry ride every time we go out there (on foot) and they don't have any investigators for us to teach. It's a challenging situation, but I really liked being out there and it would be really fun to have someone out there to teach. Also, I got to meet my grandma!! Sis. Bradley was Sis. Balmforth's trainer and Steilacoom was her first area and she and another old companion decided to come out to Washingotn for the weekend. It was a tender little moment haha. She recognized me from the FB videos of me and Balmforth....oh dear....

So this week should be good. I'm preparing for a tearful Wednesday, but knowing me, I'll be just fine. I will be finishing the Book of Mormon on Wednesday, making it 6 weeks total. I'll let you know how it ends next week. It has been a really cool experience reading it like that. I don't plan on doing it again any time soon, but it's fun if anyone ever wants to try it. I'm trying to write more letters, I promise. I love you all. Have a great week!!!



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sister Chronister
Sis Balmforth, Sis. Chronister and The Finnegans
Sis. Chronister & Sis. Balmforth-Silverdale, WA

Sis. Chronister (secret wish to be a firefighter)
Sis. Chronister and her new car, Steilacoom, WA

Sis. Chronister & Sis. Balmforth trekking home-Silverdale, WA

Sis. Chronister, Sis. Baylon and new convert 5/12--Steilacoom, WA

Sis. Chronister,  Sis Baylon and another new convert 5/12!-Steilacoom, WA

Sis. Baylon, Sis. Chronister, & Elder-Puget Sound

Sis. Chronister with a Big Star Fish--Puget Sound

Sis. Chronister & Baby Starfish-Puget Sound

Sis. Baylon & Sis. Chronister-Puget Sound

Sis. Chronister in a pipe??  Half pipe??

Happy Mother's Day!

So yesterday was pretty cool. I got to eat steak for dinner! And call my mom. Yeah. That too. It was so good talking to the fam. I stayed strong and didn't break down, it was just fun hearing their voices. So yeah, that was pretty exciting. This week is going to have a pretty short email since the majority of time I will be trying to email pictures home. Yayyyy pictures!!

We had a really busy week, it was really good. WE HAD 2 BAPTISMS!!! Philip was baptized on Friday and Scott was baptized on Saturday and then both of them got confirmed on Sunday. It was way fun, I really like baptisms, especially when they're the people that you've taught haha. I got to give the missionary message at Philip's and Sis. Baylon gave it at Scott's. It was cool to hear her testimony. Seeing two teenage boys decide to be baptized is so cool. There's a lot of crap going on in the world, but these two kids chose to live the gospel and put God first in their lives. That's pretty rare and I have so much respect for both of them.

We saw a really cool lesson with Pohai. I say saw because we did not teach it at all. The deaf couple that we met with taught her the whole lesson in sign. She was pretty shy at first cause there were a lot of people around, but we decided to leave and watch from the window since we couldn't really follow what they were saying anyways. She got super into it and was signing a lot and totally understood everything they were teaching her. When Sis. Wilson signed the opening prayer, the Spirit rushed into the room, and I couldn't help but think how special these people were and how loved Pohai is by her family and her Father in heaven.

Last night we gave a church tour to these two Chinese girls and we realized about half way through, when we were standing in the chapel talking about the sacrament, that we jumped too far ahead and we needed to go back to square 0 and teach them about God and who He is and their relationship with Him before we could teach them anything else. So they were talking to each other in Chinese for a second and Sis. Baylon looks at me and asks if I can play the piano...right now. So I went over and played "Redeemer" off the top of my head. I only knew about half and made up the rest as I went, so it didn't sound super great, but it was what they needed to feel the Spirit. I'm excited to teach them again and see how it goes. I hope we can help them know God.

So the other day we were out tracting before one of our baptisms. We knocked a few doors and we weren't really feeling it, so we were headed back to the car to find somewhere else to go, when I remember, "Oh, it's two hours before the baptism. It takes 2 hours to fill the font. No one has filled the font. We need to fill the font." So I told my comp that and she grabs me with both hands and starts shaking me and goes, "Holy Ghost!! Holy Ghost!!" Needless to say she was pretty excited that the Holy Ghost reminded me to fill the font. That's about all I have for now. I am cruising through the Book of Mormon and I get to read 3 Nephi 11 today!! It should be pretty great. Love you all. Always working on writing soon. Byeeee!!

 Love, Sara

Monday, May 7, 2012

When in doubt . . . go to Lakewood House of Donuts

(this is really split into paragraphs but it's not doing it when I publish--good luck!) Ok so Lakewood has this donut place that's amazing. We went there on our way to our mission conference on Tuesday and they are pretty much the greatest things ever. Then on Thursday we were at our zone meeting and they had us do this crazy 10 minute finding scavenger hunt where we were supposed to try and take crazy pictures with people or get people on insta-tours of the church, but we weren't feeling it, so we took two other elders and went and got donuts again. I think we were the real winners. I won't lie, this week was kind of a tough one. We had mission conference on Tuesday and it was good, but really long. I learned a lot about what I need to do better. One thing that the mission president talked about was how missionaries and mission presidents are assigned to their missions and how revelation for area assignments is just as important and critical to our individual assignments. He said the areas we are in are our worlds, that it is up to us to make it the way we want it and the way it needs to be. We are in our areas for very specific purposes and we need to go out every day and work and pray to find out why we are there. That was way cool. Plus, I got to see Sis. Balmforth!! It was great. I kind of had forgotten what she looked like haha, but I was so glad I got to see her, especially since she's dying soon.....that's depressing. But, it's all good. A mission is 18 months for a reason, and, lucky me, I got to serve with her, and I get another year here in the WA-TAC :) I've been working hard on reading the Book of Mormon to reach my goal of reading it start to finish in one transfer. I am on page 350 right now, just cruisin through. I decided that I needed to do something to help me stay focused on what I was reading and not just skim through it and not pay attention, so from the beginning I have been highlighting in red every time the Savior is mentioned, by any of His many names. It's cool to flip through and see all the red marks throughout the book. It really emphasizes what is on the front cover: the Book of Mormon really is another testament of Jesus Christ. A lot of times I just stop and think, that if we would all just put the Savior first in our lives and put the gospel, those 5 basic principles, into practice, that our lives and the lives of everyone around us would be so much happier and so much more complete. This life is meant to test us and stretch us, but the gospel is there to strengthen us and give us a way to make it through all of our challenges. It's so simple!! Yesterday at church there was a running theme of temples and how we need to set our sights on them. I read a quote from President Packer's most recent conference address and, just summarizing, he said that the ultimate goal of the church is top see a husband and wife, happy at home with their children, bound together by the sealing power found only in the temple, and guarded by the principles of the gospel. I thought that was so cool. Missionaries get caught up in baptisms a lot and we sometimes forget that the ultimate goal is the temple. We want others to be able to partake in saving ordinances and baptism is simply the first one. That was another thing we learned at the mission conference that the general authority brought up. We need to look at these individuals as future priesthood holders, teachers, and members, not just as baptisms. A few cool miracles we saw this week: the other day we couldn't think of anything for this one part of the day, so we just decided to plan for finding. When the time came, it was a nice day, the sun was out, so we decided to go down to old Steilacoom and street contact. We were walking up the street and there was no one. Ok, like 1 guy, but other than that, no one. But, I had felt this impression that we needed to be there. Earlier in the transfer we felt a strong pull to that area, but not so frequently anymore. I wondered if it was just an old habit, or it was a nice day so I sub conciously (sp?) wanted to go down by the water where it was pretty, but we were there so we jsut kept walking. We saw a man sitting on a bench so we decided to go talk to him. He was a Korean man who told us that he was out on a walk because his family was fighting and he was having a hard time with life, was depressed, had considered suicide at one point, and just didn't know what to do. We told him about the Book of Mormon. He said he had lived in Provo, UT, loved Mormons, and if he was going to join any church, it would probably be the Mormons. The only catch is, he lives in LA and went back home the day after we saw him. We gave him the english BoM and then realized we had a Korean one in our car. We sprinted (literally) to get it, raced over (behind a police car, so not literally), and chased him down in the park and gave it to him. We told him he was supposed to be happy in life and that the book would help him find that. He cried when we told him that. It was so awesome. We also went to see Pohai, the deaf girl we are trying to teach. Actually,w e just went to see the family and she came out and was joking around with us. I pulled out a dictionary of ASL gospel terms that we had left for them and flipped trhough it a little, then handed it to her. She started going through all the signs, taught us a few, and we laughed and joked around and it was so cool. That was the first time I had ever seen her really interact with signing and especially signing about the gospel. Baby steps. I think that's about all I have for now. We are super excited for this weekend. 2, possibly 3, baptisms and I get to call home on Sunday!! It should be exciting, I'll let you know how it goes next week. Love you all so much!! I hope you have a great week and that if youget some spare time, you think of lil Chronic here in Washington and send me a little letter or something. BYE!! Love, Sister Chronister

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Keep this fire...burnin briiiiiight

Oh my gosh this week was killer. We started doing Insanity this week, getting ripped is our overall goal. It's kicking my butt haha. Has anyone out there ever done Insanity? Like the workout videos? Cause that's what this week was for me as far as missionary work. We were super crazy busy and it was awesome. There were miracles out the wazoo and I am so tired from all the work and stuff that goes along with it. Sis. Baylon was praying the other day right as we were leaving the house and she prayed that we could "keep this fire...burnin briiiiiight......amen." I hope Heavenly Father was laughing with us. Tuesday we had back to back church tours with Scott and Rolando and were able to put both of them on date for the 13th of May. Those were two huge miracles right there. Scott had met missionaries before but they were really pushy and he didn't like that they tried to get him to be baptized really soon, but the Spirit told us to go for it, so we did and he was all for it. Timing is everything in missionary work. Rolando needs the gospel so bad, he's made some mistakes that he is looking for forgiveness for. That's what got him interested when we first met him, that the gospel could get rid of the guilty feeling that he carries with him. That's the amazing thing about the gospel, is that there is something for everyone in it. Whether you are rich or poor or feel guilty or grateful, the gospel helps you put your life in order and focus it on something much greater and more permanent than just a new job or making it over the next hurdle. It sets your sights on something higher. Wednesday we met with Rolando again and he brought a friend with him! Rolando is our gift that just keeps on giving (oh, he also keeps bringing us small gifts at our lessons with him. He's very nice.) So we taught Rolando and Dave. Fun Stuff. We met with Phillip and Perry. Perry was baptized the Sunday that I got here and Phillip has been coming to church and wants to get baptized, but has been holding out for Christmas time. He just felt a draw to that time of year. So, we read Alma 7:15 with him (awesome verse, awesome chapter by the way, you should all go read it) and talked about how it made sense that Christmas would be a good time cuase Christ is the reason and everything. But then, I got him with this one: Christmas is good, but you also just missed being baptized on Easter. So he prayed right then and there (which he does pretty frequently, but his answer is always still Christmas) BUT this time, he agreed that it needed to be before Decemeber!! It was amazing!! He is getting baptized this Sunday and will be confirmed on Mother's Day. His mom is pretty excited. Thursday we were still teaching like crazy, still finding new people, and working our butts off. I was so tired by Thursday night. We went and saw this awesome family in our ward, the Agors, and we showed them the rat trap and talked about faith and laughed and joked around and I felt so happy and relaxed for the first time in a long time it felt like. It was so good. Friday things went a little downhill. We were just so tired from everything we had done that week. We ended up calling President Weaver to ask him how we could pump ourselves up to go out and work. I didn't want to make the phone call, Baylon wanted me to "get on her level" so she called his phone, then darted into the bathroom so I would have to talk, but I chased her and managed to chuck the phone into the bathroom then hold the door shut. Right as the phone hit the ground he answered and she hung up. It was really really funny. I ended up talking to him and he told us to go on a walk and eat some lunch. It kinda worked. Saturday we got to go to lunch with the Weavers and one of the sisters who went home the transfer I got here, Sis. Mills, who trained Sis. Baylon. That was pretty cool and I had a nice chat with President and Sister Weaver while the sisters were having a little reunion. It was cool to see one of the sisters come back and the impact that they have on an area. We saw Rudy again, but this time took Brother Agor, who is also a Phillipino widower. Watching the two of them talk was like seeing them look into a mirror, one side being what life is like without knowing the gospel, the other witht he gospel. We were able to get Rudy to come to church and he was able to meet someone who could relate to him and wanted to help him. He started to feel the love of the Savior. The Spirit was so strong as we met with him and Sis. Baylon bore such a powerful testimony and it was impossible not to feel the love in that room. You could tell that his wife was waiting on the other side, wanting him to learn the gospel and accept it because it would make him happy and allow them to be together. Sunday was.....blegh. A lot of our investigators came to church for the first time and it was kind of an off Sunday. One of them told us he probably doesn't want to come back cause it reminded him of what church was like when he was a kid and that wasn't a good sign. Eh it was just kinda weird. So I was really glad to be done with the week and be able to rest up today and get ready to hit it hard this week. Tomorrow we have our mission conference with the visiting general authority...can't remember his name....but, the great news is that I get to see Sis. Balmforth!! Haha, I know everybody is excited about that. We're working hard here and doing what we can. Alma 17:10. Scripture of the day. Love you all so much. Write me if you get a chance. Keep working hard. Byyyeeee!! Love, Sister Sara Chronister