Jul 28, 2015

I Don't Know About You, But I'm Feeling... 23?

I think that it is safe to say that this may be the most exciting week I've had on my mission so far.

On Monday, we began the birthday celebrations by having lunch at The Cheescake Factory with Sister Young and Sister Savage. When Sister Durrant and I got home later that night, we walked into our room and found streamers, balloons and confetti everywhere courtesy of Sister Young and Sister Savage. They are so sneaky and so sweet!

The next day, Bob and Lucy woke us up by coming into our room with a cake and candles. I came to find out that my mom had sent a chocolate cake from Market Street Grill all the way from Utah for me. It's the same cake that she gets me every year and it felt like I was home! And the day just kept getting better and better. I was then lucky enough to end my 23rd birthday by singing the National Anthem at the Stormchasers vs Dodgers baseball game. Every year, they have a Mormon Night and ask some of the missionaries to sing the Anthem to start the game. We had so much fun and even got to watch a little bit of baseball! I don't know how many missionaries can say that they got to sing at a baseball game on their mission, especially on their birthday. So I felt pretty blessed.

On Wednesday, Bob and Lucy asked if we could join them for dinner. When I walked in, I saw what looked like my mom's bean dip recipe on the counter. As I looked around, I realized that they had made my favorite lime chicken tacos from home! My mom had given Bob and Lucy the recipe and they were kind enough to make them for me. My mom amazes me. And gives me so much more than I deserve. What am I going to do with her?

But Saturday was the best day of all. Tatiana FINALLY was baptized! It was a long time coming and such a special day. Tatiana has a hard time showing emotion sometimes, but you could tell how much it meant to her by the happiness and light in her eyes. We know how much this is going to bless her and her children and we are so excited for her. It is amazing how baptism can give us a fresh start and we can't wait to see what the Lord has in mind for Tatiana in this new chapter of her life. That day also reminded why I'm here: to bring others to Christ. The joy that comes from that is indescribable and I honestly would not want to be anywhere else right now.

It was such a good week! I just want to thank all of you for the amazing birthday wishes and love that I could feel all the way from home. I am so grateful for all of you and love you so much!
 I don't think it is possible to get sick of red velvet cheesecake.

 How cute is this banner? Thanks mom!

 Sometimes we try to be creative.

 We were ready for our close ups!

 Go Storm Chasers! (I guess...?)

 This was at the baseball game. No lie.

Best. Day. Ever.

Jul 20, 2015

'Tis Summertime

This week brought the best of what July has to offer here in Nebraska. We experienced both torrential downpours of rain as well as 100 degree weather. There are never any dull moments here in Omaha, that's for sure.

Wednesday we had zone training and I love it when we get to meet with the other missionaries here in our area! Our Sister Training Leaders gave an amazing training on how we can grow a deeper love for those we are teaching. By loving them more, we are able to teach them more effectively and know how we can help them. Sister Brower gave us a quote she had heard before which said, "If you don't love somebody, that means you don't know them well enough yet." I loved that because once you do get to know somebody and see them as a child of God and as your brother or sister, you learn to love them and see them as Christ sees them. You then want to serve them as Christ served and serves us because of the unconditional love that He has for each one of us.

On Thursday we went over to Judy's house for dinner and we were able to meet with Tanner. Judy is a less active member in our ward and Tanner is a nonmember who is living in her home as one of her tenants. Tanner built a fire for us and we were able to cook brats and s'mores for dinner which was a lot of fun! I felt like I was camping... in a skirt. So that was an adventure. But you can't go wrong with a campfire in the summertime. And we were able to talk to Tanner quite a bit about the gospel and he told us that he wants to come to Trail Center! We are really excited to see him again.

Saturday was crazy! I started the morning with my first interview with President Gardner. It went really well! He talked to me a lot about making goals so that I can become who I want to be during these next 13 months of my mission. I absolutely love President Gardner! He is very genuine and loving. You can tell that he really does care about all of us and wants the best for us and our futures. He told me that the most important people I teach aren't here on my mission, they are my future family. And while I am here, I want to become the person that they need me to be as well as who the Lord needs me to be.

I have to say that summertime in Nebraska isn't too shabby. I hope the rest of you had a great week! 

Love you!

 Birthday shout-out to the most incredible mom a girl could ask for. I love you so much mommy!

 Sister Durrant was in denial, but we got ice cream from Zesto's to celebrate her one year mark. Happy Year Sister Durrant!

 Moral of the story: always have an umbrella handy in Nebraska.

Jul 13, 2015

Please Keep Your Arms and Legs In At All Times

The mission could be described in one word: roller coaster. It's a roller coaster of emotions, time, health, sanity, all of the above. This week was definitely a testament to that.

On Monday we had a little fourth of July party at the Trail Center with the sisters. We played some getting to know you games, ate some ice cream and lit sparklers. It was the perfect way to celebrate!

Tuesday we were supposed to have exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders, but they ended up getting into a car accident the day before. They are both ok, but they were still a little sore so we just did a half day exchange. Later that night, Sister Durrant and I went out into our area and met with Brandon, they guy we met while he was washing his car. We taught him about the restoration and he seemed genuinely interested which is always a good thing. But he is very knowledgeable about the bible and kept asking us questions about how things in the bible relate to our church. I wish I knew more about the history behind the bible, so I am planning on trying to study and learn more about it.

On Wednesday we were able to meet Mary. She was a referral from the bishop and, let's just say, she makes me want to be a black woman. She is so cool! She has been to church before and wants to know more. She is about 8 months pregnant and just tells you how it is. We can tell that she's going to be fun!

A big dip in the coaster that we experienced this week was with our investigator, Tatiana. She was originally set to be baptized on the 11th, but on Friday she called us freaking out a little bit. We went over to see her and after talking with her, we decided that it is best to wait. She knows that the church is true and wants to be baptized, but Sister Durrant and I feel like the timing isn't right. Missionary work is the best. It really is! It can just be so discouraging sometimes. But we do have faith and know that everything works out the way that it's supposed to. The Lord is in control!

So although this week was full of ups and downs, it was also full of learning opportunities, tears and laughs along the way. This week was also transfers and I found out that I get to stay here in Eagle Run with Sister Durrant for at least six more weeks! We are both so excited to see what is to come for this new transfer.

I hope the rest of you have a great week! Love you!  
 You can't celebrate the fourth without some good sparkler action.

 I love mah TC Sisters!

 Sometimes I think I'm a gangster and Sister Durrant thinks she's a rat. We're know we're crazy.

Happy five months!

Jul 6, 2015

Happy Birthday 'Murica!

Not only was it America's birthday this week, it was also Sister Durrant's! She turned the big 2-0 this year. I remember those days... We celebrated throughout the day by eating cake, brownies, and then more cake. I don't think I will be able to eat sugar until my birthday. But it was a wonderful day and we had a great time!

On Wednesday, we got to meet our new Mission President and his wife, President and Sister Gardner. They started out by introducing themselves to us and we learned that they are from Ogden, Utah and have three kids. Fun fact: their youngest daughter is actually serving a mission in Cancun, Mexico right now. I am so excited to be able to serve with them for the next year! They both have such an incredible spirit about them and I have been able to learn so much from them already. Something that President Gardner really focused on while speaking to us was making sure that we love the Savior more than the life we had before. We need to love the Savior more than anything which is not an easy thing for our weak mortal minds to do all of the time. But being the Lord's missionary has taught me that He has already shown us His love by sacrificing everything for us. Now it is our turn to show our love for Him. I absolutely love President and Sister Gardner and I can't wait to get to know them better. They are amazing!

On Thursday, two special guests came into the Trail Center for a visit: Elder and Sister Slater! Also known as grandma and grandpa. We may or may not have been pushing the rules a bit, but it was so good to see them. I was able to give them a tour and learn so much more about the pioneers from them. I love the fact that I get to share this special place with them and I can't wait to bring them back someday. I love you grandma and grandpa!

And then came Saturday. The fourth of July is definitely one of my favorite holidays and it was so fun to see how Nebraska does it! I won't lie, Utah knows how to put on a parade, but Nebraska knows fireworks. They were everywhere! People spend thousands of dollars and have actually been lighting them off for a couple of weeks now. But it was a really great day! We spent most of the day serving at the Kanesville Tabernacle and then ended with dinner with Bob and Lucy and a good ol' photo shoot. We had a lot of fun! I really do feel so grateful to live in a country where we are free to choose and worship how we please. We are so blessed to be in this incredible country!

I hope the rest of you had a fantastic fourth! I also want to thank President Packer for the incredible service and hard work that he gave. He will be greatly missed.

Have a great week everyone! Love you!
Happy Birthday, Sister Durrant!

 Winter Quarters missed Elder and Sister Slater. So did I!

 Meet President and Sister Gardner! Are they not the cutest?

 An Independence Day photo shoot is a must.

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