Archive | June, 2014

Happy 4th of July

30 Jun

Hello again from Montana! Once again, it rained pretty much all week. I didn’t now that June was the rainy season here! Last Monday’s preparation day was relatively uneventful.

Tuesday’s District meeting was so good and very inspired. My companion led a discussion on purification, and we decided that we are really going to try to purify our companionship. That means no quoting worldly songs or movies! It’s been a really good change for us and we’re starting to see the benefits. Also at District meeting, we each shared our favorite scriptures about the Atonement and why they are our favorite. So I’m gonna pose that question to each of you! What is your favorite scripture about or relating to the Atonement, and why?

My most recent white board drawing for the apartment.

My most recent white board drawing for the apartment.

Tuesday night, we had about twenty minutes before our dinner appointment, so we decided to tract the neighborhood around it. We tracted into an awesome guy! He’s an older man, and he has some very close fiends that are members and those members just got home from a senior mission in South Africa. He said that his “only religion right now is watching the Mormon Tabernacle Choir every Sunday at nine thirty”! We taught him part of the Restoration that night, and we have an appointment to meet with him tomorrow night! Tracting isn’t always desirable, but it is definitely effective sometimes. Also, one random thing about tracting- I was taught once by another missionary that we should always knock twice if they don’t answer the first time. Once for their salvation, and once for ours! Everyone gets second chances.

On Wednesday, I had a new food for the first time- Pho! (Pronounced “fuh”) All of us sisters went to lunch together at a place downtown called Pho’real, and it was pretty good. It’s basically an Asian broth and noodle thing.

Eatin' some pho.

Eatin’ some pho.

We didn’t get to teach too much on Wednesday or Thursday because my companion had a bad head cold. No bueno! I did a bunch of organizing and cleaning around the apartment through, and that was much needed. On Friday, I finished the Book of Mormon again. This is my third time since coming out, and I still can’t get enough. My testimony has increased so much of my Savior. Being on a mission hasn’t diminished my love of reading for sure, and as such I’ve read all of the Doctrine and Covenants, the New Testament, and all of the missionary library except Jesus the Christ, which I am reading currently and am about 1/3 through. I love that being a missionary affords you time to study the gospel exclusively!

Saturday and Sunday were long days, but effective. We taught a lot of less active lessons and did some service. We were able to help to 1st ward sisters move apartments and clean their old one. The apartment had been primarily inhabited by elders, and let’s just say that some deep cleaning was due.

Cleaning the apartment is fun to do, fun to do, to do, to do!

Cleaning the apartment is fun to do, fun to do, to do, to do!

Saturday night, we also finally met one of our neighbors officially, because we had to borrow his phone! We got home and noticed that ours was missing. We had a pretty good idea of where we’d left it (at the 2nd ward sisters’ place) but it was on the other side of town. Thankfully, our neighbor was in the hallway and he graciously let us borrow his phone to call ours.

We just found out from President that we are allowed to go to a fireworks show if we go with a member or with an investigator! And we can stay out until eleven! He also challenged each companionship to give out 100 pass along cards during the day at various activities. We’re up for the challenge!

I love you all so much, and I hope you have a happy 4th of July!!

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Liquid sunshine

24 Jun
Montana is GORGEOUS!

Montana is GORGEOUS!

Hello again! It’s a beautiful day up here in Bozeman, Montana, and for once it’s not raining! No lie, it rained every single day this week. We did get caught in it a couple times, but mostly we watched it from the comfort of our car or an investigator’s home.

It's raining, it's pouring!

It’s raining, it’s pouring!

Last Monday, we played ultimate Frisbee as a zone and it was so fun! I haven’t played ultimate since back in the YSA ward, so it was fun to play again. Last Monday evening, we contacted a referral that the Elders had given us of someone they had met on the street. it went awesome! We met a woman, who is a less active, her boyfriend and their sweet little 9 month old son. She has a brother on a mission in Mexico, so she was very welcoming to us missionaries. When we invited them to church, it was her boyfriend that was the most excited even! They didn’t end up coming on Sunday (sad face), but I still have a lot of faith in them and they are great.

Bozeman Zone

Bozeman Zone

On Tuesday, we held our first district meeting of the transfer, even though it was already week 4! It was nice to have it because we always leave feeling very spiritually rejuvenated. On Tuesday as well, we saw the coolest double rainbow!! Apparently, Bozeman has a “rainbow season”, and we are in the heart of it. I’ve seen 3 rainbows this week already, and they were a perfect, full arch and bright. We were in a lesson with a less-active family when some of their neighbors came and told us to look outside, and we saw the double rainbow. Pretty sweet.

Double rainbow all the way!

Double rainbow all the way!

Wednesday was just plain cold! We also biked all day which didn’t really help! Sister Jones and I discovered our new food addiction though: chocolate Jello mousse! It’s super easy to make, not super bad for you, and sooo yummyyyy. We had to get whipped cream for it though, and we made a really dumb joke about it by quoting the old Johnny Lingo movie: “For 1 or 2 dollars, a missionary can get quite a decent can of whipped cream. For 3 or 4, a superior one!”.

It finally warmed up a little bit on Thursday. We did yoga again as a district, which was pretty fun. When we got home from yoga, the Livingston Elders called us, which was unusual because it was so early. Their question: “How do you get a tick off?”. Gross!! Apparently one of them got a tick on his back while sleeping. Ewww. We suggest burning it with a lighter and then gently pulling it out with tweezers. They were like, “ok, stay on the line, we’re gonna try it”. With much yelling and howling on their part, and much laughter on our’s, they did eventually get it off thankfully! Now I’m all paranoid about getting a tick though.

Church on Sunday was super good. When we showed up for choir a little late, I noticed that our pianist and back up pianist weren’t there, so our poor choir director was trying to do it all. So of course I volunteered and sight read the music, which thankfully wasn’t too difficult. Thank you Mom and Dad for letting me take piano lessons all those years! I love being able to share my talents. Afterwards, Bishop Larney came up and to me and said, “Well, aren’t you just a regular Swiss army knife!”. I thought that was a nice compliment.

One last funny thing! So we have a lady in Relief Society who is quite elderly. With a kind of on-topic comment, she told this cute story: “I was always taught that my Daddy’s snoring meant that he was protecting the house. The louder the snores, the more protected we were!”. Haha, I loved that.

I love you all dearly! I love getting and reading your letters- they mean so much to me. Thank you for all the support and prayers. Love you and miss you!

Miracles in Montana

17 Jun

Hello! Well, today is my eight month mark on the mission. Crazy, huh? Last Monday was a fairly relaxed and easy preparation day. Just lots of emailing and some routine stuff. Tuesday, all the sisters had interviews with our sister training leader. That was really good and definitely helped me self evaluate where I am as a missionary. Even though I’m getting to being a decently “experienced” sister I guess you’d say, I love that there is something that we can always be working on and improving. I guess that’s one thing that I’ve definitively learned on my mission- always be pressing forward!

Love these crazy sisters! (Me, Sis. Draney, Sis. Jones) Photobombed by Elder Curtis.

Love these crazy sisters! (Me, Sis. Draney, Sis. Jones) Photobombed by Elder Curtis.

On Wednesday, we had one of the coolest miracles of my mission so far, no joke. First off, you need to know what the “Liahona experiment/principle” is. So Brad Wilcox wrote a book about it, but basically it’s where you pray in faith with a question in mind and then let your scriptures fall open, and you start reading in faith and you find your answer. First off a disclaimer, this is not to be used as a “seeking revelation in all things” type of thing- so don’t ask what you should eat for breakfast. But, I really gained a testimony of this for sure on Wednesday.

So my companion lost her bike lock keys on Sunday. We had looked for them several times, but to no avail. Finally, Wednesday night, we decide to make a concerted effort to find them. Please note, we were starting to reach desperation and thought we might have to call the police to come cut the lock. I said a personal prayer and felt prompted to try the Liahona principle, and specifically to do it in the New Testament (which was unusual because typically the Book of Mormon is better). So I section out the New Testament in my quad and let it fall open. It falls open to Revelation 12, which also happens to be the only place in my New Testament where I have a piece of paper tucked in from seminary. Feeling kind of disappointed that it fell open there, I still decided to start reading in faith, so I start with Revelation 11 on the left. I get to Revelation 11:8, which says “And their dead bodies shall lie in the street…”. The Spirits hits me so hard and I yell to Sis. Jones, “We’re going outside to look in the street!!”. So we go outside and I’m looking along the street, and the spirit hits me again and tells me to go look by the bike rack. It takes me a second to obey because in my mind I’m like, “we’ve looked there before!”, but my faith is pretty strong at this point so I head over. No sooner can we see the bikes than I see her keys lying on the sidewalk! It was soooo awesome. I love the Holy Ghost so much! It meant so much to me to know that Heavenly Father was aware of two sister missionaries in Montana with a set of lost bike keys. Also, the scriptures are an amazing source of revelation!!

Thursday morning started out kind early with us getting up at 6am to meet the other missionaries at the stake center at 6:15 for yoga! One of the sister missionaries is a yoga instructor so she led us in a couple exercises. It was SO. HARD. Haha, not gonna lie, I have a new respect for yoga. I did better than I thought I would, but I definitely felt it for the next couple days.

This past weekend that had a huge four stake youth conference at our stake center, and we helped out quite a bit with serving food and such. The best part of helping out though was that 8 of us missionaries did a “panel” for one of their classes! It was a Q&A format, and it was cool because even though we did it four times for each rotation, each class was unique and different. Several of the youth said that it really inspired them to more seriously consider going on a mission.

Me and Sister Joyner! (Jessica now I guess, lol)

Me and Sister Joyner! (Jessica now I guess, lol)

This weekend we had a surprise visit from a previous sister that I served with! She went about three months ago, and she’s at school in Rexburg which is only like a three hour drive from Bozeman. It was fun to get to see her, even though it was weird because she wasn’t a missionary any more! She had served in Bozeman for a while, so she went with us to several teaching appointments.

Well, that’s all I can think of to write this week! Love you lots!

A week of General Authorities!

9 Jun

It has been such a busy week since I last wrote you! First off, the weather here in Bozeman has been just beautiful. It hasn’t gotten above 80 degrees yet and it’s been clear, sunny skies. What more could a missionary want? The beauty of the summer here totally makes you forget the horrors of winter, haha.

On Tuesday, we left Bozeman at 5am to head off for Billings for Mission Tour! Mission Tour is basically a zone conference where a General Authority comes and “tours” the mission. Half the mission met in Billings on Tuesday and the other half met in Helena on Wednesday. The GA that came was Elder Carlos Godoy of the first quorum of the seventy. We arrived around 7:30am at the church building in Billings, and I quickly sat down and tried to do some last minute preparations for the discussion Elder Vaughn and I were leading. Then, one of the assistants invited me to play some prelude until the meeting started at 8. In my head I was like, “Nooo, I want to prepare!”, but I agreed. It was such an inspired invitation though, because playing the music of the church brought the Spirit more into my heart than anything else could have. Instead of feeling stressed and unprepared, I felt the Spirit’s calm assurance that it would all work out. And it did! Elder Vaughn and I focused our discussion on a talk by Tad R. Callister called “Becoming a Consecrated Missionary”. We talked about the various things that we need to figuratively “lay on the sacrificial altar”, such as disobedience, pride, fears, romantic passions, negativism, and sarcasm. The missionaries all participated a lot and and I learned a lot from the comments given. Several missionaries thanked me for the discussion and told me how much they enjoyed it, so it must not have been too bad.

I also got to play the piano for the general session of Mission tour. When all the missionaries started singing “Called to Serve” in Portuguese, apparently Elder Godoy’s face just lit up. He commented later on what a fun surprise it was, and he said, “I was suddenly understanding it so well and I thought I had the gift of tongues for English!”. Everything about Mission Tour was awesome. Elder Godoy was so funny and inspiring. He talked for a while about how to choose an eternal companion, which was kind of different. I loved this statement from him: “To marry the right person, you must have the courage to not marry the wrong person”. He later went on to praise how well our mission is doing. He said that of the 22 missions in N. America Central, we are number 1 by miles in every category. I don’t tell y’all this to brag, but just to express how grateful I am to be in the Montana Billings Mission with President and Sister Mecham. They are truly inspired and I could not wish for a better mission president and wife.

This week I finished my first mission journal! I remember flipping though the blank pages in the MTC and thinking about what it would feel like to finish it. Well, it feels pretty good! Looking back on these past almost eight months brings so many memories and smiles. There were good days and bad days and those in between. But I couldn’t imagine my mission without a single one of them. They are the missionary I am today, and also my dreams for who I will become. I am grateful for everyday I get to be a missionary for the Lord full-time.

Every sister missionary needs a crown, right?

Every sister missionary needs a crown, right?

The middle of this past week is a blur of lessons and service. On Saturday though, we headed down to Billings yet again! This time, it was for a multi-stake auxiliary training and the missionaries were invited if we could get a ride with a member. We were anxious to go, because the Primary, YW, and Relief Society General Presidents of the church were all there! A lovely lady in our ward with two sons on missions drove all 6 six of us sisters from Bozeman in her van. So kind! We got to sit in on the meeting with Sister Linda K. Burton as she addressed the relief society presidencies. I was struck by her love and care for the individual sisters there. After the meeting, the missionaries got a group picture with Sister Burton.

Sister Burton with all the sisters from Bozeman and Billings.

Sister Burton with all the sisters from Bozeman and Billings.

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

In the Bo-zone

3 Jun

Well, another week has come and gone! And as the locals would say about Bozeman, everything’s great in the Bo-zone. I shudder to imagine what the weather must be like back home… I’m hangin’ out in 70 degrees, and it’s great!

Our fancy new bikes (the trails here are gorgeous!)

Our fancy new bikes (the trails here are gorgeous!)

I guess I’ll start with the most interesting/exciting news first… we got bikes! On Wednesday, our zone leaders dropped off our brand spankin’ new bikes for us. We’re the only sisters that get them in Bozeman right now because they are running short on bikes and our area is the most “compact”. I love getting to bike! Bozeman is a pretty “all-natural” and “go-green” place, so there are bike lanes in all the streets and tons of bike trails. Everyone here bikes, so it’s nice to not be the only ones! I had to get a bell for my bike though so I could warn pedestrians when we come up behind them, cause there is a lot of foot-traffic too. Bozeman is kind of on a slope, so biking south is a good workout for sure! The bikes are such a blessing though, cause now we can stop and talk to people or serve them. Pulling over the car to help someone take in their groceries just makes you look like a weirdo, haha.

Hmmm, what interesting things happened this week. Well, on Wednesday we were looking for a store to go talk to a referral, and we almost walked in to a medical marijuana place. Oopsies! We were all like, “ugh, it smells weird over here”. Well, I guess we found out why… haha. We didn’t end up finding the referral yet, but we’ll keep trying! On Thursday, we volunteered at the food bank like usual and we packaged little bags of pasta for like three hours. We played 20 questions with the other sisters doing it with us, and I learned that I am terrible at geography! Gonna have to work on that after the mission.

This week in my personal study, I am finishing up the book of Alma. As a mission, we are all finishing the Book of Mormon by the end of June, so I’m ahead of schedule! I also started the book of Revelation in my New Testament reading. I was kinda nervous about it, but it’s turning out pretty well so far! There is so much doctrine in it, and it is so motivating because of the promises of good always overcoming the evil. Heavenly Father remembers still His covenants! This weekend, we got to take our progressing investigator to a baptism that 2nd ward had. The entire service was in Spanish though! She still was able to feel the Spirit and loved it. We’re re-teaching her all of the lessons, and she should be baptized hopefully by the end of the transfer. We also were able to set up some appointments with some new less-actives this week, which was great!

Tomorrow we have Mission Tour with Elder Godoy from the First Quorum of the Seventy in Billings. One of the Assistants called last night and asked if I would be the pianist for the general session. When he asked if I could play Called to Serve, I said of course, but then he said, “No, can you PLAY Called to Serve? I hate it when it’s slow! It needs to be peppy!”. I assured him no worries, cause goodness knows I hate slow hymns too! I was also given a nerve-wracking assignment in addition. While there is a leadership meeting from 8-9am, the rest of the missionaries will be in the chapel. And the AP asked if I would be a discussion leader with an Elder who I don’t know for that hour! So basically we’re leading a discussion for an hour for half the mission on whatever topic we want. *Gulp*! PRAY FOR ME!

Well, that’s all folks! I love you. Hope you have an awesome week!!