Monday, December 31, 2012


The last 2 weeks here in Skyline have been the biggest trial of my endurance of my whole mission.
I thought the last 2 transfers were just hard and that things would pick up because we were working and being diligent, but there are always things to improve on, so I spent 3 months thinking of new door approaches,
challenging myself to talk to EVERYONE,
not miss a single minute of a single 5 to 7,
study hard,
work hard,
be what I need to be.
And these last 2 weeks with a new companion with a fresh take on the area has really opened my eyes to it.
This area is bitter, slow, unreceptive, and angry.
One of the first days we were out tracting together my companion said she had never been in an area where so many people are so unreceptive. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to bash the area or the people here, it's just a comment on the general attitude of the people here. No one wants anything to do with missionaries or the gospel. It's heartbreaking, actually.
I have been reading possibly one of the greatest books ever written the last month or so.
The Infinite Atonement.
Never have I ever had, nor could I have hoped to have, such a deep and profound understanding of and appreciation for the Atonement of Jesus Christ in my life.
It was the most pure act of love that was ever performed
It exalts, sanctifies, redeems, purifies, and perfects us.
It is all based on mercy.
In the law of the economy of heaven, justice is absolutely fair, mercy is not. And thank God it isn't because it is MERCY that allows us to change and to become more, to rise above what we once were.
If we get everything that we deserve, we don't get anything, because none of us are perfectly obedient and God doesn't owe us anything.
But, in the economy of heaven, mercy outweighs justice and comes into effect to make us whole, to not just make the difference, but BE the difference for us.
That is when blessings flow.
Friday night we had a beautiful baptism.
Ayana was in town for exactly 1 week and she knew she wanted to be baptized. Less than 12 hours after she landed we were on her mom's couch teaching her the first lesson. Over the next 2 days we battled to get the green light for her to baptized-and confirmed-the following week. When someone is prepared to be baptized and wants it bad enough, nothing can stop it. God will make the path clear. As soon as she came up out of the water she had a beautiful big smile on her face. She told us the next day, the day she left, that when she was under the water she felt the Holy Ghost there with her. Children amaze me. The Savior's counsel has never been clearer: Become as little children.
The next morning changed everything for Sister Lee and I.
Personal study was one of the most profoundly spiritual moments I have had on my mission.
We both felt an extreme measure of peace from Heavenly Father.
His council was to simply go and work.
Whatever we do, He doesn't really care.
He just wants us to be diligent.
That was the most incredible feeling I have ever had.
Sunday, that feeling wasn't there as strongly.
I remembered that my comp suggested we fast, so I decided that's what I needed to do.
I pleaded for that feeling to stay with me.
I had to work for it, but for the most part it was there.
There were some great, little miracle that happened at church. Things just ran smoothly, people were happy and excited to be there. We got free fresh eggs. So I thought, eh, maybe I'll just go home and eat lunch. My comp isn't fasting (actually, she doesn't eve know that I am fasting) and I could just end it early. What's the point anyways? Good thing I decided to pray about it first.
Sitting at the table, I bowed my head.
As soon as I began praying, I didn't even have to ask my question.
"Do not end your fast. There is still more that can happen today."
I did not end my fast.
I was exhausted, it was freezing, but we went and worked anyways.
No one answered.
When they did they didn't talk for more than 30 seconds.
Dinner was at 5.
I was watching the clock, waiting until I could thaw out.
4:40pm. Soundview Sisters call, my good friend Welch.
"Chronister, have you been working hard today?"
"Have you been working hard this transfer?"
"Have you been working hard for the last few months?"
"What does God when you work hard?"
"He blesses you."
"He blesses you. Chronister, there is a miracle that is about to happen in your ward."
She proceeded to tell us about two 9 year-old girls that wanted to be baptized.
Their only hold-up was their dad, who wouldn't let them.
His Christmas present to them: He would allow them to be baptized.
They live in the Skyline ward.
I cannot describe to you the feeling I had following that conversation.
Tears welled up in my eyes.
Yeah, that intense.
I had the very distinct impression that this was a result of my efforts and desires.
We dropped by the house really quick to grab something.
While my comp was in the bathroom I dropped to my knees and all I could say was,
"Thank you."
God is real.
He works in our lives.
He works by our faith.
He works through miracles.
The work of God cannot be stopped.
He blesses those who follow Him and love Him.
Thank God for mercy.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry Christmas, T-town

Holidays in Tacoma are the best. As is anything that happens in Washington. The best. 

Skyping with the fam was legit. It was fun to see everyone at once, and it felt like it sped up the process to me. It was easier to tell what was going on when I could see their faces in addition to their voices. 

Christmas Eve we hung out with missionaries, since it was a P day, and went a little shopping crazy. Everywhere we went there was a great deal on something that I didn't really need, but really wanted. So I had to buy it. Merry Christmas, to me. Or, as they say across the pond, Happy Christmas, Harry. Christmas morning involved about 30 missionaries and a giant pancake breakfast (the pancakes were giant, not the breakfast), an awkward little run-in with some Samoans that didn't like sharing the church kitchen, and footie pajamas. Who could pass up that opportunity? Not me. 

It was a slower week last week. Ironically, most people are so busy celebrating Christmas that they don't have time to hear a message about the Man whose birth they are celebrating. It's not just about His birth. He lived the greatest life, gave us the greatest sacrifice, and lives today to guide and bless us. At our mission Christmas party a few weeks ago we watched a video of the Savior's life to "O, Holy Night." It occurred to me that the night He was born was an incredible, holy night, but there was a greater one. The night of the Atonement of Jesus Christ was the Holy Night. Where He put it all on the line, gave His all for us, so that we could find peace, love, joy, and LIFE.

Make the most of the gift that has already been given. Love you all.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Babylon we bid thee farewell!!!

Yesterday was one of the hardest days of my mission. Because of Christmas being next Tuesday the missionaries all have to fly out today (Tuesday) and in order to make sure we had enough time for transfer meeting before they had to go to the airport, we had it yesterday afternoon. There is nothing quite like watching three of your companions stand and bear their final testimonies and singing "God Be With You Til We Meet Again" to them. Baylon, Eichenmiller, Robinson. Dead.

I think one of the most important and cherished parts of a mission is the relationships that you gain. I love the people that I have met here. They have changed my life. The hardest thing is to watch them leave. You know they'll be fine and their family is excited to see them and all that jazz but things will never be quite the same. As a missionary we have a unique little club we're all in. You understand each other because you're all in it. In it to win it. So it's hard when it's time for them to leave the club and go back to the world. You cry a lot. And your friends laugh at you and take pictures cause it never happens. So now that moment is saved forever on someone's memory card. Awesome.

My new companion is Sister Lee. She is my sister. Meaning, she was also trained my Balmforth. This is also the last transfer of her mission. Meaning I get to kill her. President is really making these family trees weird and uncomfortable (who wants to kill their only sister? Jeeez).

This morning we woke up to a fresh layer of, you guessed it, SNOW. Snow on the ground. In Tacoma. What the heck. I also woke up to being sad. Watching your friends leave sucks (see above paragraphs). Thank goodness for divine intervention in personal study. I asked for help from God today. Not in the way where you pray for patience so He gives you opportunities to be patient, but in the way that I just needed to hear some things today but I didn't know how to ask so I just asked for help. What do you know, everything that I was studying that day, exactly where I had left off from the day before, was exactly what I needed to hear today.

Endurance is a difficult thing. But it goes fast. I love this work. I love feeling the Spirit and learning and understanding and growing in the gospel. Christmas is next week. Don't forget why we celebrate it. Christ is the reason. Joy is the reward. Love you all.

Sister Chronister

PS.  At zone meeting last week I was called on to share my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Oddly enough I had been thinking that morning about the gospel and how much it really can change people. It is all over the Book of Mormon. It is all over the details of our lives. I love the gospel. It is so simple and it works. And it is all because of the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. 3 Nephi 27:13. It all centers around the Atonement. Now we must go do our part.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Does anyone know what the song bring a torch jeanette isabella is about?

Cause I don't, and I can't ever understand the words enough to figure it out. Why do they need a torch? Why do Jeanette and Isabella have to go get it? I'm just going to stick with The Little Drummer Boy. That's my current favorite Christmas song. Overall winner will always be O Holy Night but drums and boys who drum them for Jesus are good too.
Last week for our wonderful P day activity we went to Zoo Lights!! Thanks to daylight savings it gets dark around 4:30, so we got to go at 5 and be done by 6 to go about the rest of our day. It was AWESOME. Christmas lights, animals, friends, crazy pictures. Life is good. And there was basically no one there so we got to take our time and see the animals (especially the fishes in the tanks and the new baby tigers) up close. Best activity ever.
Our mission Christmas party is tomorrow. Be prepared for some pics with ugly sweaters, vests, turtlenecks, and the sort. It's going to be a great time. And much better than last year, cause last year I didn't know anyone and had only been in Washington a week. I was hating life. But it all turned out ok, I'm still here and I'm looking forward to it. Yayyyyy.
We went caroling as a zone last night. Good times. Actually, I got there late cause I went to a baptism in Steilacoom for a guy named Spencer that we started kinda teaching right when I left. It was really cool. He is a very intellectual person, grew up as a preacher's son, and had so many questions about the Bible and life and God. He took a huge leap of faith and knew he needed to be baptized and did it. There were 4 missionaries there who helped teach him and we all got to sing "The Spirit of God" right before he was baptized (with yours truly holding strong as the only one on the alto part......ehhhhh) and it was pretty cool to get up and see everyone's faces when they realized we were back haha. Then, another surprise, I got to bear my testimony while they were waiting for Spencer to finish getting ready after he was baptized.
We have some really cool people we are working with. Juliana is from Romania and knew as soon as we gave her the Book of Mormon that it was true. When we taught her the Restoration she was literally hanging on ever word:
"Joseph Smith also wanted to know which church was right..."
"Yes. What happened??"
"He read in the Bible about asking God."
"Ok, then what??"
It was the most exciting Resto lesson I have ever given.
Alexandria is another one. She's never been baptized but knows she needs to do it and she wants to know what church is right. Good thing we gave her a book that helps her know exactly what to do about that.
Taylor is very smart and intellectual, and talking to him helped me understand more about how God answers our prayers. We asked him if he had ever prayed and he said he had but felt like he never got answers. I told him that God doesn't always answer us with words or visions but sometimes with feelings or through other people. When we pray, God doesn't just give us the answers, but rather the opportunity to see the answer. We learn better that way. He said that was deep. I agree. Thank you, Spirit.
I love Christmas and the spirit of it. It's all about Christ. I've been sharing a little message with members lately about Luke 2 when the angels come bearing good tidings fo great joy. Those angels were rejoicing over the birth of the Savior of the world, but they were not the only one's who ever had the opportunity to share that news. Today we have the privilege of sharing our testimonies of the Savior Jesus Christ and the even better tidings of greater joy that He came to the earth as a mortal and healed, taught, loved, suffered, and died. But it doesn't end there. The best part is that He was resurrected and lives today. He lives! That is the greatest joy that we can have, is to know that and live like we know it.
Love you all,

Monday, December 3, 2012

Does the illness ever end? Or overlap?

Enough with being sick. Robinson and I kept trading off days so we could never actually go out and get things done. Lameeee. So this week was yet again slow. But good things happened.
So the Tacoma Stake does a Festival of the Nativities every year and it was awesome!! We got to preview it on Friday afternoon as part of our sisters training. It was amazing. Hundreds and hundreds of nativities and pictures of Christ. My favorite was one room that was all about the life of Christ and as soon as you walk in there is a well, representing the well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life. It was amazing to see. Saturday night they had a big giant MESSIAH SING ALONG. Oh my goodness. I haven't laughed that hard in a really long time. They cut out about half of it so it wasn't so long, but we had fun making fools of ourselves and trying to sing "amen" over and over and over again and losing our place over and over and over again. I felt very cultured though. AND, oh blessed day, about half of the Steilacoom ward was there so I got to see so many people that I love from there. Made my whole weekend. But it did disrupt our church schedule. We had to go to a different building at a different time. That's a nightmare for bringing investigators to church......grrrrrrrrrrrrrhuighuiodfg.
The Garcia family finally got a hold of us again and they came to church!! It was hectic, they got there late and had to leave early cause the 2 year old wet his pants, but they loved it! And they are getting married in February and hopefully baptized then as well, haha.
Juliana is Romanian and wants to get baptized. Yayyyyasodgbj.
Jesus Christ lives.
What else do you need?
Have a great week. Love ya.