Aug 31, 2015

Who Ever Said Saving Souls Was Easy Work?

We had zone conference this week and I think that attending zone conference is one of my favorite parts of being a missionary. While there, President Gardner talked to us about the rules and some of the changes that he is applying to the mission. He had us look at the white handbook and said that these guidelines are the "higher law". He explained that if you can't live the higher law, then you personally might be asked to live a "lesser law". This could be applied to life in a lot of ways and it made me stop and think about how important it is that we use our gift of agency to help ourselves learn and become better, not to show that we can rebel and choose to do whatever we want. He then told us that we are adults and should make our decisions as such and that he trusts us. Which means... no more MoTab! It isn't that I don't love the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, because I definitely do. I'm just really excited to listen to other types of music. Can you really blame me? 
Also, a few weeks ago, President emailed us 12 scriptures and said that if we memorize them by the end of the month, there would be a reward, which was also announced at zone conference. He told us that if we meet the challenge, we would be allowed to watch the BYU vs Nebraska football game next week! To say I was excited would be an understatement. It is going to be so much fun! There are so many good times ahead. 

Missions really are the best, but I can't lie to you, they are hard. This experience of being a missionary has been the hardest thing that I have done up to this point in my life. I am tired all of time, I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing and nothing ever seems to work out the way that it should. But I have never been so happy in my entire life. I absolutely love waking up in the morning with a purpose and knowing that what I am going to do that day matters. Don't get me wrong, there are still moments where I just want to give up and head on a plane home. But that is only because it would be easier that way. Nothing is worth having if you don't have to work for it. And I have definitely been working harder than I ever have before. But I have been able to learn more than I ever imagined and have been able to strengthen my relationship with Christ in so many ways. I love my Savior so much and I am so eternally grateful that He trusts me enough to be doing His work. 

I also wanted to give a massive birthday shout out to my baby sister! I guess she isn't really a baby anymore. How in the world is she 20 years old?! Goodness, we are getting ancient. I hope you had the most incredible birthday Allie Wallie and know that I love you to the moon and back. Twice.

This next week is going to be so good. GO COUGS! And Huskers? Oh, no. This is going to be tough.
 I love that I can now look at my companion in the eye without standing on a chair.

 Why not take a selfie with Sister Gardner?

 The TC Sistas.

 The sign for our ward "birthday" fair on Saturday. So fun!

The Eagle Run ward knows how to put on a good party.

Aug 26, 2015

"One Big 18-Month Awkward Moment"

On Tuesday, I went on exchanges with Sister Powell. We stayed in the Lake Cunningham area and we definitely had some crazy adventures. In the morning, it started raining pretty hard as we headed to our first appointment to see Rosharra. The rain kept getting harder and harder and we could see the road starting the flood. Sister Powell had never met Rosharra before so she didn't know exactly where she lived and Rosharra wouldn't pick up her phone. We ended up walking around outside trying to find her, but with no luck. After walking through rivers in the road for about 45 minutes, we headed back to the car and we ended up having to put our clothes in the dryer during lunch. We were soaked! But by 2 that afternoon, the sun was shining again. Welcome to Nebraska.

On Wednesday at our district meeting, our District Leader talked to us about how taking the name of Christ upon us helps us become better examples and representatives of Him, which is essential as a missionary. But that doesn't mean it's easy. He told us that "The mission is one big 18-month awkward moment. But that is because we are changing and growing so much." How true that is! After he said that, it made me think about how awkward junior high is when you are still trying to figure out who you are and who you want to become. It is such an awkward time in life and it can be really difficult to know where we fit in. A mission and life in general is the same way. Each day we are trying to figure out who God wants us to be and we are changing and growing as we are learning. It can be such an awkward transition because we don't exactly know how it will all turn out. But Heavenly Father knows what is best for all of us and will help us get to where He knows we can be.

It was also transfers this week and we found out that Sister Durrant is on her way over to Kanesville and I will stay here in Eagle Run with Sister Smith as my new companion! I am so sad to see Sister Durrant leave, but we will still get to see each other all of the time at the Trail Center which is such a blessing. She will be amazing over in Kanesville and I'm excited to start this new chapter here in Eagle Run. It is going to so good!

Have a wonderful week ya'll!   
 Sister Powell is pretty cool.

 The good ol' Lake Cunningham district.

Meet Sister Smith! We're both shorties which is fun!

Aug 17, 2015

I Blinked and It's Been 6 Months

On Monday of this week, Sister Strong and Sister Ferrara joined us on a trip to the pedestrian bridge. It is a bridge that covers the Missouri River and makes it possible for you to walk from Nebraska into Iowa. They even have the state line marked so that you can be in two places at once. We had a lot of fun! We were also able to have a little party with the sisters at the Trail Center. We had a waffle bar and a relay race and even added a little Book of Mormon charades in there. My stomach was sore from laughing so hard.

On Thursday, we had a zone training and talked a lot about why we serve missions, why we decided to serve a mission, and how our missions are going to prepare us for our future. I love my mission, but sometimes it feels like I'm going to be here forever. But I do know that the end is going to come before I know it. So I have made it a goal to embrace every moment I have out here and to work as hard as I possibly can while I am here on the Lord's errand. I only get to be His full-time servant for so long, so I need to make the most of it while I have the opportunity to.

We then were able to go to the temple on Friday! I love the temple so much and my love for it grows the more I go. There is also something so special about the Winter Quarters temple. I absolutely love looking at the "Tree of Life" stained glass window in the Celestial Room and think about the statue in the cemetery that is on the other side. I can only imagine how excited and overjoyed the pioneers were when that temple was built. It is such a sacred and special place and I feel so blessed to be able to serve here.

I cannot believe that I have been a missionary for 6 months now. It's been the fastest/slowest/craziest/best 6 months of my life and I am so ready to see what this next year is going to bring. I love and miss you all!
 I don't know how many times in your life you can say you've been in two places at once.

 A companionship divided.

 A companionship divided.

 We probably laugh too much. Oh, well.

Happy 6 months!

Aug 10, 2015

Learning To Be Perfectly Imperfect

So far, August has treated us pretty well. The humidity has been a little rough, but the people here make it all worth it.

Sister Durrant wasn't feeling well at all on Wednesday, so I ended up getting a ride with Sister Brower and Sister Powell to our district meeting while Sister Durrant rested at the Trail Center. I think that district meetings are my favorite part of the week. I am always able to learn so much!
The biggest thing I learned this week was "Practice makes progression. Christ makes perfection." I loved that quote because a lot of the time, I find myself focusing on trying to become "perfect" in everything which only leads to myself having unrealistic expectations and being let down. But I learned that instead of comparing myself to those around me, I should only be comparing myself to Christ because He is the perfect example in all things. He knows my potential and I know that He will help me get there.

On Thursday I was able to take a class from BYU on tour. They are taking courses on church history and as part of their class, they spent 5 weeks doing service in Nauvoo and are visiting the history sites as well. They obviously knew more about the history than I do, so it was so fun to be able to learn from them as I took them around. Their professor shared some insights as well and I felt like I was in school again! It was amazing to be able to learn more about the history of the Saints, but also be able to help the students feel the Spirit and think about the sacrifice that the  pioneers gave for us. Sometimes we find ourselves focusing on how and where things happened, but forget that these were real people who went through real trials. My appreciation and love for the pioneers grows more and more everyday as I am serving here, for which I am so grateful.

It really has been such a wonderful week and I'm starting to understand why people say that serving a mission was the best decision they ever made. I absolutely love being a missionary and am so thankful to be here in Omaha. I hope you all have a wonderful week! Love you!
 Wendy's after the Trail Center? Why Not?

 We got the recipe for Swig cookies and thought we would try them out with Minda and Bella...

 It was kind of an epic fail but we got an A for effort!

This is Sister Funk. And yes, she is funky. But in the cool way.​

Aug 3, 2015

It's Winter Somewhere, Right?

Sister Durrant and I wanted to finish out the month right. The way to do it? Christmas in July. We have been listening to Christmas music (again) and even put up a Christmas tree! We may be starting things early, but we figure that Christmas is going to be here before we know it, and there is never a wrong time to celebrate Jesus Christ and His birth. Listening to Christmas music also helps with this heat. So, why not?

On Tuesday this week, we were able to meet a new investigator named Susan. She is an older lady and has actually been going to church almost every week for the last 7 years and has never been baptized. She hasn't been for the last few months because of some health problems, but almost every body in the ward knows her. As we were talking with Susan, she told us that she loves the people in the church and agrees with a lot of the teachings. But she is a very intellectual woman who seems to have her own ideas about things. She told us that believes in reincarnation and even believes she is psychic, so it was definitely a very interesting conversation. She also said that she has found some historical holes in the Book of Mormon which actually made me really sad because I really have grown such a love for that book. It makes me sad to think that she won't let herself feel the spirit of truth that comes from the Book of Mormon because of little details. We are hoping to meet with her again and help her be able to see past some of those things and focus on the Spirit.

I gave a training on Wednesday at our district meeting about how repentance can help us avoid the deceptions of the adversary. We were able to have a great conversation about it and came to the conclusion that by changing our focus and by looking up towards our Heavenly Father and Savior rather than the distractions around us, that is how we can avoid the temptations that come at us. I find myself getting distracted all of the time by the world around me, even as a missionary. But I learned that we must be willing to have the strength and courage to shut those things out and focus on what we know we should be doing. Our Heavenly Father will bless us in so many ways if we are always willing to put Him and Jesus Christ first in our lives.

On Thursday we had dinner with Holly. She is a less active member who is living with her (now) finance Tim. She is awesome! She went to culinary school so she makes the most incredible food. She made us dinner and then had us help her make mint chocolate molten lava cakes. I was in heaven! They were so indescribably delicious. We had a really good lesson with her afterwards and are hoping to see her at church!

I can't believe that August is already here! Here's to hoping it won't get too hot. Have a great week! Love you all!
 Our wee little Christmas tree!

 The cake. So. Good.

 Sometimes we go a little crazy in the humidity.
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