Mar 30, 2015

Ain't No Water Gonna Stop Us

The beginning of the week was a pretty cold and rainy one for the most part weather wise, but that ain't gonna stop us.

Monday, we were able to go to Old Market in downtown Omaha which was a blast! It's this cute little area where they have a ton of shops with jewelry, clothes, food, candy, all of the things that you need in life, really. In this one shop there are these rings that every Sister here has. So obviously I needed to get one. It was a fun time!

The rest of the week was full of teaching and meeting with people. My companion and I "pink washed" the Kanesville Ward area (meaning that they took out both Sisters in the ward and put two new ones in) so we have just been trying to get to know everybody around here. I honestly can't believe how amazing the people are here. They are all just so nice! I really mean it, though. Everybody, for the most part, is willing to talk to us and listen to what we have to say. That isn't to say I haven't haven't had some doors slammed in my face, but people here in the Mid West are overall very kind and hospitable people. It's so great!

Saturday was epic. Every Saturday morning, we have a training at the Trail Center, and this past Saturday we got to watch the "Because He Lives" video and get pass along cards to hand out. Ah. Everybody please go and watch that video RIGHT NOW. It's incredible. And it will make you cry. So prepare yourselves. We then got to do a service project for Habitat for Humanity and paint a house. We had such a grand old time. And then we finished the night with Women's Conference. Goodness. It was so great. I do have to say, it was a bit rough having the theme of the first conference I watch on my mission be on families. It made me miss home a lot. But then I remembered that that is exactly why I'm here: so that I can bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to others so that they can live with their families forever and have the happiness that comes along with knowing the truth. Everybody deserves to have that.

Watching the speakers made me so excited for next week, I can't even stand it. Easter AND General Conference? I can't handle the epicness that is to come.

On Sunday, we were on shift at the Trail Center after church and actually had quite a few people come on! Later in the night, we were able to meet Danessa. She is from Kentucky, and her niece has to do a report for school on Nebraska. So she and her sister drove all the way down to learn about the history. Talk about the commitment! While her niece was taking pictures and writing things down, Danessa went off her own and that is when Sister Young and I started talking to her. She began telling us how touched she was from seeing the sacrifices that the Pioneers made and she felt really comfortable and peaceful there at the center. We then told bore our testimonies to her and showed her the "Because He Lives" video and she got really emotional. She mentioned that she had spoken with Elders before, but didn't really give them a second thought. But she ended up taking a Book of Mormon and promised us that next time she sees missionaries she will let them talk to her. It was amazing. I love being a missionary! You get to see so many miracles!

Birthday shout out to my dad! I hope you had an amazing day yesterday. I miss and love you so much!

And I love you all of you so much! Have a great week!
 We found Frozen jelly beans! We were probably more excited than we needed to be. Oh, well. 

Is this Old Market or Italy? We couldn't tell.   

Gotta love service. Especially painting a house. Good times.
 We have these beautiful signs up at the Trail Center! #iwaspumped #BecauseHeLives #yaas

Posterity picture! From left to right: Grandma, Mom, Me :) Fun fact: Sister Gray (on the left) is cousin's with Sister Love, who is companions with my sister in Ohio! The world is so tiny.

Mar 23, 2015

A "Frozen" St. Patrick's Week

Hello lovely people! Another week has past and, my, what a week it's been. I know that I say that every week, but I never knew how much you could accomplish in a day if you don't have Netflix (Don't get me wrong though, Netflix. I'm coming for you in time.)

We were able to be at the Trail Center quite a bit this week which has been AMAZING. I absolutely love it there. The busy season is starting to pick up once again with Spring Break which means we get to meet so many great people. Something that I wasn't expecting was how many non-members come into the center. A lot of them are locals who are curious about the history of Nebraska. Apparently, close to the summertime, we get a lot of school groups that come in while they are learning about Nebraska history. So it's been quite the experience to be able to not only teach history, but also testify of the gospel. I feel so blessed to be able to have those experiences almost every day.

This week we were also able to meet with Dawn. She is a investigator who actually started meeting with the missionaries because she is really good friends with Dawn Armstrong (aka the missionary mom) in Meet the Mormons. Pretty crazy, right? (P.S. I didn't realize that Dawn was from Council Bluffs until I got out here. My mind was blown.) So because of her story, it made the other Dawn really curious, so she agreed to start meeting with some Elders and now we get the pleasure of seeing her. She's so great and I can't wait to see how she progresses. 

It really has been a great week. I was able to read "The Ricciardi Letter" and learned so many great things. (Side note- To any future, present and past missionary and/or any member: READ THIS LETTER. It will change your life). This letter has changed my view on missionary work and has made me realize what being a missionary means. I also realized, from the letter, that I don't want to be out here "wasting" 18 months of my life. If I am not out here learning, changing and becoming better each day while helping others, then why am I here? So a goal that I've made is to make sure that I embrace every second of this journey and learn something new every day. I want to make the most of my time out here because I'm never going to get it again. I'm never going to get the chance again to devote 100% of myself to the Lord and do His work every day. So I need to do what I can to make sure that I become who He needs me to be while I am out here.

Other events of the week: Had my first zone training. Good times. Went to PepperJacks. Apparently it's the cool thing around here. Went to a "Frozen" birthday party. Oh, to be young again. And we FINALLY got music for our car. Fortunately, we are allowed to listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir only (I say fortunately because I'm trying to be more positive), but I've missed music greatly so it was a bright spot in the week.

We also were able to serve in a free health clinic based out of a Lutheran Church (I think...) I loved it though because I went to school for community and public health, so it was fun to see my major put into action. We did mostly clerical work while we were there, but we got to help the medical students from The University of Nebraska by entering their patients into their system and schedule appointments. As weird as it sounds, it was actually really fun! I can't wait to go back.

Overall, it's been a busy week filled with a lot of lessons learned. One big lesson was on Tuesday. Is it bad that I didn't know that cabbage and corned beef was thing? Apparently that's what you are supposed to eat on St. Patrick's Day. It was pretty embarrassing when I had to ask what it was. Oops. But you learn something new every day, I guess!

I love you all so much! Talk to you next week! 

 We had a St. Patrick's Day photo shoot! (Thanks mom!) This is my "Don't judge me because I don't own anything green" face.

 Yay for St. Patty's Day!

 Our companionship in a picture. She thinks I'm a weirdo. It's fine.

 This is our "We are crashing a 10 year old's birthday party" selfie.

 This is Ciarra. She turned 10 yesterday. She loves Olaf and she's the greatest. 

I try to stay hip with the kids nowadays. 

Mar 18, 2015

Is Eating Muffins an Olympic Sport?

Hello all! Whatta week it’s been. I’m still getting used to the missionary schedule and it’s been a crazy ride doing it. But it gets easier each day.

It’s insane how many miracles you see as a missionary. That isn’t to say that they are all grand and magical every time (We are not, sadly, at Hogwarts after all). But when you take a moment to appreciate the little things that happen, it becomes so easy to see our  Heavenly Father’s hand in things. One example that happened this week was when we were on our way to visit a less active member in our ward, and as we were walking we heard someone yell at us “Hey! Are you Mormons?” We were like “Heck yes we are!” (Not exactly in those words, but you get the point.) When we went up to her doorstep she told us that she is a member but stopped going to church when she was 18. A lost sheep! Huzzah! Her name is Angel and she wants to slowly come back to church. Miracles I tell ya. Miracles.

Since we have been here in Kanesville, we have been meeting with a recent convert named Jennifer which is my mama’s name, so obviously she was gonna be awesome. And she is. Granted, the first time that we met her (my very first night in the field), she told us that meeting with her was a waste of time. She is just afraid to get close to any Sisters again because she is so devastated when they leave. But she is coming around. She has a daughter named Ciarra and they were both baptized within the last 3 months. They are so great. I simply adore them.

I was also able to work a full day at the Trail Center this week. Full day  meaning from 9-9. Goodness, I love that place so much. It is amazing to meet people from all over and be able to see what brings them them. I mean, we know that it’s the Spirit, but they always come up with something. Giving tours is the best thing eva. But really though. It’s so fun. And I have already learned so much from the people who have come in. We had a family that came in on Wednesday who were on their way to Salt Lake for a funeral and they were stopping at some of the church sites along the way. Throughout the tour, we could tell that the father wanted his kids to learn something. Something that he said to his kids that really struck me was when we were talking about the Saints leaving Nauvoo and the Mississippi River freezing over. He said “Wow. The Saints must have seen that sign and thought that the journey was going to be easy because they knew that God wanted them to go. They saw the sign with their own eyes. But it wasn’t. They went through really hard times, but with faith and the help of the Lord, they got through it.” That really hit me because that’s kind of how a mission is feeling like right now. I received confirmation from Heavenly Father letting me know that I needed to serve, so I figured “Ok, yeah. He’ll provide. I got this.” And He has definitely provided for me, but He hasn’t made it easy. But I know that if I trust in Him, he’ll help me through it. So that was a really cool experience. Don’t worry though, I’ll keep ya’ll updated on anything crazy that happens. I’m sure that the stories are coming. So stay tuned.

One of my favorite events that happened this week was when my companion and I came home one night. We are living with the most outstanding members, the Brockways, and Sister Gardner and I came home one night to find signs telling us to go into the kitchen. We headed on in there and see Brother Brockway standing by the oven and he asked “Are you ready for heaven?” I didn’t really know what he meant, but obviously I wanted to join. So we told him that we definitely would love to, and we see him pull out homemade banana blueberry muffins. Aw man. They were divine. The Brockways are honestly the best. I feel so blessed to be living in their home.
I also had my very fist zone conference this week! Whatta day. We got to have a little training by President and Sister Weston which was great. Sister Weston talked to us about happiness. A quote that she used was “Every day isn’t perfect, but there are perfect moments in every day.” So I decided to keep track of those perfect moments and see hot it affects my happiness. I’m excited to be able to “stop and smell the roses” I guess you could say. I’ve learned that it really is so important to take advantage of the small things and let them make you happy. Life is too short to let them pass by. We also had Zone Olympics while we were there. Goodness, it was intense. I didn’t know about it until 2 days before, so I didn’t participate. Bummer, I know. Next time, folks. No worries. The events included basketball shooting, sit ups, push ups, sprinting and stick pull. The Elders got way into it. But I’m so pumped to show them up next time. (False. But that’s ok. I try.)

P.S. WELCOME HOME ELDER TIMMERMAN! I know that you don’t get home until tomorrow, but I am so excited for you and so proud of you! Stay cool and we will party when I get home in 17 months.

Now on to week 2 of my very first transfer. I’m so excited to see what it will bring. You never know what is going to happen here in Iowa slash Nebraska town. I’m not going to lie, at this point in my journey, 18 months is sounding like quite a long time. But I’m here for a reason and there are things I need to do and people that I need to meet. So let’s do this. 

I love you all! Have a good week! 

 These signs made me smile.

 The Famous Muffins! They were oh, so delicious.

 Some of our Trail Center friends at Zone Conferenence. Good times.

 We're all a month old! We partied hard.  Don't you worry.

Sister Jensen was right. You can't really beat sunrises in Iowa.

Mar 10, 2015

Nebraska:The Good Life. you mean Iowa?

I made it to Nebraska folks! Let's back up for a bit though. Last Saturday, we went up to Temple Square again. And do ya'll want to know who I saw? My mom and dad. True story. Those rebels. I swear I didn't plan it! It was actually crazy how it happened. Me and my new companion for the night, Sister Leavitt, were walking out of the South Visitor's Center and when we turned right, my parents were walking right towards me! I know that Heavenly Father made that happen for a reason. It really was so good to see them. I honestly don't know how I got so lucky to have the most incredible parents on the earth. The rest of the night was so fun as well. We got to talk to a few people on the Square, and Sister Leavitt actually took me and some other Sisters down to the tunnels. You know, the tunnels that prophets and apostles use? So yeah. That was pretty cool.

Fast forward a few days and we are on the plane to Nebraska! It was actually harder than I thought it would be to leave the MTV. It became my kind of home. I was able to meet so many amazing people while I was there and learned so much. Great place. Great place. But I was so excited to get to the field!

Another funny story though... We ended up taking Trax up to the airport. I thought that was kind of weird, but I'm so thankful that we did it that way because when we got off of the FrontRunner to get onto the actual Trax train to the airport, I saw a man look at me and ask "Is that really you?" Yeah. It was my Grandpa Marv. Crazy, right? I'm pretty sure everyone thinks that I plan where I can see my family. I promise that isn't a thing. I just feel so spoiled with so many tender mercies. It's amazing what the Lord can do for us.

Once we walked off of the plane in Omaha, we were greeted by out wonderful Mission President and his wife, President and Sister Weston. They are seriously so great. Sister Weston is the cutest and sweetest lady that I have ever met. President Weston is definitely tough, but in the best way. I can't wait to work more with them. 

We then did some training and we got to tour the Trail Center and Kanesville Tabernacle where Brigham Young was ordained a prophet. Pretty cool stuff if you ask me. Come Friday, we had our first transfers. My first area? Council Bluffs, Iowa. You thought I was called to Nebraska? Well, joke is on all of us. I was really excited though and I figured Sister Jensen would be proud. Iowa Sistas foreva!

Now, I have officially been out in the field almost a week. And let me tell you something. It is not how I was expecting it to be. It's been really hard and I've shed a few tears. Being homesick is never a fun thing. But I've been trying my best to be positive and to remind myself that this the Lord's work. I'm on His time right now. I know that it'll get easier. I just have to push through it. 

I've been blessed to meet so many incredible people already though and have given a lot of amazing tours. Giving tours is so fun! I definitely enjoy it.

We have a few potential investigators which I'm pretty excited about. And we get to keep in contact with the ones from the Trail Center through email which gives us so many opportunities to teach. It's awesome. 

Overall, this week has been pretty tough. There have been so many moments where I wonder if I can really do this and I just want to go home. But then I remember why I am here. I'm so thankful to be at the Trail Center where I get to hear the pioneer's stories several times a day, and it reminds that my trails will pass and that they seem pretty insignificant compared to there's. And I know that our Heavenly Father is there to push us along and that the Lord is there to give me strength.

I love you all so much! Have a great week!

(I can't get my pictures to work on this computer so they may have to wait until next week. Ah I'm so sad!)
 Temple Square makes us happy.

 Einstein Bagels are my liffeeeee!

 GRANDPA MARV! It was so fun to see him :) I was shocked. What are the odds?!

 "On our way to OMAHAAAAA" selfie.

 We like to pretend we're pioneers. It's quite fun.

 President and Sister Weston. They are amazing human beings.

Say hello the my new comp., Sister Gardner :)
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