May 31, 2016

I Tell You What, Wow.

I don't think I have words to describe this week.

Let's start with Zone Conference, shall we? Goodness, I love Zone Conference with all of my heart. I love hearing from President and Sister Gardner and the spiritual boost it's always able to give me. I think the biggest lesson that I took from this conference was that we really do have such a responsibility as members of this church to do missionary work. We have been so spoiled to have this knowledge in our lives, so why would we not want to share it with others? Some of time, it doesn't even need to involve the missionaries. If we can even be a Christlike example of love and service and helping others know that they are a child of God, that can be a great first step in helping them want to learn more. All that we have to do is be willing to act and make plans to help those around us in any way that can.

Fast forward to later that night, we met with Eli and Christine at President and Sister Gardner's home and talked with them about the sacrament. We tied in baptism and when we asked them about how they were feeling about being baptized, Eli told us "I have been thinking about it, and I think that January 21 is a good day. That day means a lot to me and I think it would be the perfect day for a fresh start." We all looked at each other and we were shaking our heads. We couldn't understand why he would want to wait that long! As we bore testimony and helped them realize that the reason we keep pounding the topic is because we we love them so much and know how much it will bless their family, you could feel the Spirit so strong. After some thought Eli looked at us and said, "You know what, maybe I have been putting this off for too long. There really is no need to wait. June 18 sounds like a great day." We were all crying. Christine has always been a little bit more hesitant so she couldn't commit to a date.

We talked with her a few days later and she told us that she felt like June 18 was too soon. Eli then began testifying to her and shared his experience of how he chose to be baptized. He told her that he just realized that this is a decision that he should have made a long time ago and that there really is no need to wait for those blessings that are in store for them. Christine nodded her head and we asked her, "Christine, will you prepare yourself to be baptized on June 18?" She smiled and said "Yeah, I think I will." I don't think I have ever been happier in my entire life. They have told us over the past couple of days that they have already been able to see so many blessings and I know that this decision truly is going to bless their little family more than they will ever know. I cannot wait to see what is ahead for them. This is what missionary work is all about: to help families be together forever. It doesn't get much better than that.
 This one is for you, Al.

 It was Zone Conference and Zone Olympics. So obviously we had to take a muscle picture.

 Field trips are the greatest trips.

We kind of like each other.

May 24, 2016

Because It's True

So. Many. Miracles. That basically sums up the week.

On Tuesday I was able to take a family on tour where the mother and daughter were actually members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or the Community of Christ church as it's now known. They told me that fact right at the beginning of the tour so I was a little bit nervous, but it ended up being so good! Throughout the tour we talked about the differences between the churches and they had a ton of questions about our church and our faith. It was so interesting to hear their side because their beliefs are very similar to ours and they know a lot about early church history, but it changes after Joseph Smith was martyred. They believe that Joseph's son should have been the next prophet because that is how it occurs in the Book of Mormon. I thought that was an interesting thought. They were also very interested in hearing our side and they were very open and respectful. Out in the cemetery, the daughter ended up asking me "Why do you think the Mormon church is so big?" The answer: because it's true! I read Moroni 10:3-5 with them and told them that millions of people have taken that challenge to find out the truth for themselves and they have been able to find an answer. I then challenged them to do the same thing and find the truth for themselves. After talking with them, it made me so grateful for the knowledge and testimony that I do have of this gospel. The church is so true.

A miracle that happened on Saturday was when Sister Abbott and I were tracting for a little bit and a truck with two Hispanics pulled up next to us. I'm not trying to be racist, but I was a little freaked out. We found out that one of them is actually a member of the church who is here from Mexico to work for a few months and he has been trying to find out where the church meetinghouse is. He didn't speak much English at all, but from what we could gather he told us that both he and his wife served missions and were married in the temple. He was such a cool guy! We were able to give him the number for the Spanish missionaries so that he could go to church. It is so amazing to see how the Lord puts us in the right place at the right time to be able to help people.

Another miracle... ELI AND CHRISTINE CAME TO CHURCH ON SUNDAY! Can you tell I'm excited? It has been almost a month since we started meeting with them and this was the first time that they have been able to make it to church. It was so good to see them there and they are now one step closer to being baptized! All that I can really say is that missions are the absolute best.
 Exchanges with Sister Johnson. Goodness, she's a superstar. But really though.

 Quote from Sister Parsons: "If you let Sister Slater pluck your eyebrows, she may take a chunk of flesh out of your eye. But it's worth it!"

I forgot to send this last week, but happy 15 months! We took this before Sister Murphy left us... but we don't talk about that.

May 17, 2016

Pioneer Children Sang As They Walked and Walked and Walked... And Walked

We did a lot of walking this week. Well, I guess that sounds a little dramatic. I've been spoiled my entire mission with a car, but it sure felt like a lot of walking. On Monday we were able to go to the zoo which is always a good time. And when it's the number one zoo in the world, how could you not have fun? We were pretty exhausted towards the end but it was totally worth it.

We were also able to have a really powerful lesson on the Atonement with Eli and Christine. We decided that we would focus on helping them understand what the Atonement really is and what it can do for them. As we read through Alma 7:11, we dissected the verse with them and talked about how Christ experienced everything that we have and ever will feel and that because of that, He knows exactly what we're going through. You could literally see Eli's face light up as he realized that there is somebody who understands what he's felt and experienced and that Christ can help him through that. It really is such a blessing to know that we always have somebody on our side and that there isn't anything that we go through that He hasn't experienced Himself. Because of that, He knows and He heals.

We did some more walking on Saturday for Florence Days! I totally remember dressing up like a pioneer last year and marching in the parade and I still can't believe that it's here again. But just like last year, we had so much fun! This year we decided to do an outdoor musical concert at a park after the parade to try to attract people to the Trail Center, and it went really well. We didn't have a huge turn out, but we were so grateful for those who did come. I loved being able to promote the Trail Center and help more people know about it, so hopefully we will see some more locals come in!

I saw an amazing miracle at the Trail Center on Sunday. Sister Irwin and I took a tour with a man named Glenn who drives a truck for a living and he told us that it has been a while since he has been able to go to church because he has to travel on the weekends. At the end of the tour, we asked him if he was going to go to church later that day and at first he said no and kept trying to come up with excuses not to go. But, after the Spirit worked on him a little bit, he said he would go! He ended up getting a ride with a senior couple and took the sacrament for the first time in years. That is what being a missionary is all about.
 Welcome to the desert dome.

 Sister Abbott was no amused.

 Aren't my kids cute?

 Sister Hyde. Whatta gem.

Gotta love them pioneer folk.

May 10, 2016

"If You Want Something Done Right, Let a Woman Do It."

I've come to learn that if there is one thing you can't avoid, it's change. Especially in mission life during transfers week. I found out on Tuesday that I will be staying here in Ralston with Sister Abbott for another six weeks which I was excited about! But a change with anything is always hard, at least for me. However, it's been a good learning experience for me to realize that everything really does happen for a reason and change is so essential for us to progress. An exciting change that happened is that the Trail Center got a sister from Sweden! Now we have two Europeans. Watch out, Temple Square. The Mormon Trail Center is stepping up their game.

At church on Sunday, one of the sisters talked about how you don't have to have a child to be a mother. It is kind of just in our nature as woman to be motherly and to nurture and look after others. There are so many people that I have met in my life who haven't had the chance to have children themselves, but they have been like a mother to me in so many ways. I realized how grateful I am to have them in my life and how blessed I feel to have my own mother. I honestly don't know how I got so lucky. It felt so good to be able to talk with her and my dad and Allie! I really do miss them so much, but I'm so glad that I get to keep them forever. The message of eternal families is probably my favorite thing to share as a missionary. How incredible is it that we get to have our families with us for eternity? Sometimes that might sound like a bad thing, especially when our patience is running low, but it truly is such a blessing. I love my family so much and I want to thank my mommy for everything so does for me. You amaze me, mom. I love you!

And a Happy Mother's Day to the other mommys too!

 Sleepovers as a missionary should not be this much fun.

Facetiming the fam. I love them all! So much so it's kind of ridiculous. 

May 2, 2016


Well, it happened. I had my first tornado warning this week. No need to worry, mom, the tornado itself touched a little north of where we were and we were only under warning for about an hour. But it was still pretty cool. I know that it's probably weird to say, but I have been waiting for a tornado my entire mission. So now I can officially check "having a tornado in the land of corn" off of my bucket list.

We were also able to work with Eli and Christine a few times this week and they are doing so well! We had a family home evening with them on Monday night with the Siows and they seemed to have fun. And you can't not love the Jorge and Renee so it worked out great. We then helped them make dinner on Wednesday and they invited us to lunch on Saturday to celebrate Braxton's, their son, first birthday. I think that it's pretty safe to say that they like us. The feeling is mutual.

Seeing people change and progress is definitely my favorite part of being a missionary. All of the times that you have to deal with cancelled appointments, people not keeping their commitments or even just being completely exhausted simply don't matter anymore when you see the gospel change somebody's life. As I was studying this week, I had the thought come to my mind "How could this church not be true?" All of this is here because a 14 year-old boy had a simple question and decided to pray. I know that this is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and I am so grateful that I get to share that incredible message with everyone around me.
 The pedestrian bridge. Always a good place.

 We tried taking a "spinny" district picture. Success?

 This is Murph. She's pretty great.

I got to take Elder and Sister Springer on tour. They were on their way home from the Ohio Coloumbus mission where, you guessed it, they knew my sister. It was so fun to meet them!

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