Archive | July, 2014

Highlights

28 Jul
Bozeman Zone Conference!

Bozeman Zone Conference!

As I was reflecting on this past week and trying to decide what to write about, I decided that I’d make this letter a little different. So instead of going day by day through the week, I’m just gonna write about the highlights! (They’re not really in any particular order.)

1. Tuesday morning, we had our first District Meeting of the transfer and it was so good. It was focused on the first mission goal (we have 3) which is genuine love and commitment to the Savior. The other mission goals are quality proselyting, and the standards of excellence.

2. This week, my cold got infinitely worse and I felt like death for the first part of the week. But I’m better now, finally! Thursday was the day I finally “kicked it”, but there’s this annoying phenomenon that occurs when you live with a companion 24/7… they tend to get sick too! So poor Sister Jones caught what I had and was sick during the last half of the week. I guess you could call that good companionship unity? Haha. We made the best of it though- we did lots of of studies, listened to talks by John Bytheway, and played Book of Mormon checkers.

Rockin' some curls!

Rockin’ some curls!

3. We had dinners with members every night this past week, which was awesome. Oh, and everyone here thinks it’s fun to show the missionaries their home videos, especially their wisdom teeth videos. I love it! It makes me feel connected to their family and it also just makes me laugh. And who doesn’t love a good wisdom teeth video? Especially if you know the person. We also ate dinner this week with one of my favorite families in our ward. They have two sons on missions right now, so they are super nice to us. During dinner, they asked us what kinds of things we write home about and what kinds of things we like to hear about from back home.

4. I won my companion a stuffed dog from one of the “crane games” in Walmart last preparation day. Yes, it is still one of my random talents.

Filling a watering can.

Filling a watering can.

Doing some service by watering the garden.

Doing some service by watering the garden.

5. Friday night, we went to the 2nd Ward sisters’ baptism. It was a little 11 year old boy who was just recently adopted from Haiti to a family in their ward. When he and his dad went into to the font, they realized that the water had been draining and it was barely up to their knees! Not to mention the water was scalding hot. Poor guy had to be dunked three times before he got all the way under. His testimony afterwards was two sentences: “I know that Jesus Christ is true. I felt very warm when I was baptized.” All of us had to stifle a laugh, because I bet he was warm after three dunks in that hot water! It was a great baptism service though for sure.

6. Sunday was our Ward Conference, and it was great. Sister Jones and I are in the ward choir, and we sang a nice arrangement of “The Lord is My Shepherd”. Bozeman 3rd ward has one of the best ward choirs I’ve ever been a part of- they’re consistent and actually sound pretty good! In Relief Society, a member of the Stake RS presidency gave the lesson. She spoke about how often times we are pretty good about believing in Christ, but often we don’t believe Christ. When Christ reminds us of our divinity, we shy away from it and don’t believe we are who He says we are. At the close of the meeting she had us all sing hymn #134 “I Believe in Christ”, but to change the phrase to “Christ believes in me”. It was so beautiful and I spent most of the hymn crying. The Spirit was definitely very strong today throughout every meeting.

7. Our investigator is still progressing well to her baptism date on the 9th! We taught her this week and she is so ready and excited.

Well, that’s about it for me this week! I really do mean it when I say that I love you all so much. Your love and support means so much to me and it strengthens me so much. Thank you for your testimonies and your examples.

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Baptizing the nations

21 Jul

Well, I am officially over the nine month mark! It’s an odd feeling- one of combined accomplishment and panic. The period of time that we get to serve as missionaries is extremely short in the long run, and I’m grateful for every day.

It’s been beautiful as usual up here in Montana, but if you’re planning a visit, I would definitely delay because you wouldn’t see the beauty through all the smoke! Apparently, there have been fires in Washington and now Idaho, and the smoke has drifted over and settled in the mountains. It makes them one big hazy blur, and the sunrise has been blood red because of the haze. It’s cleared up a little this weekend, but we’re due for another round soon supposedly.

Have I mentioned lately that I have the best area in the world?

Have I mentioned lately that I have the best area in the world?

This week we had some really good lessons with some new people. The elders in the University Ward found them for us, and did the “transition” to us teaching them. One teenage girl in particular was really great. Her dad is a less active member, and she met with missionaries when she was really young. She and I really “clicked” so I am excited to continue teaching her! We also met with another woman this week and set an official date for her baptism! It’s August 9th at 5:30pm, and building is reserved and we are setting up who’s speaking this week! She is so excited for her baptism, and she is totally ready. Sister Jones and I were reviewing her teaching record this week, and when sisters first met her she wasn’t interested in the gospel at all. Now look how far she’s come! So awesome.

On Thursday, we got up early and made the road trip over to Helena for Zone Conference! I was the driver this time, and it took a little less than two hours to drive there. We listened to some talks by John Bytheway to pass the time. This zone conference was focused on the new announcement that missionaries teach “lesson 5” (review Preach My Gospel for what that is) before and after baptism now. The emphasis for the meeting was on eternal families, and we also learned about how to teach and invite people to do family history. It was such a good conference! I also got to see a bunch of other missionary friends and catch up with them, which was fun.

Zone Conference!

Zone Conference!

After zone conference, we took a quick side trip to visit the capital building in Helena. Pretty nice place! Helena itself is a little run-down, to be honest, but at least the capitol building was nice.

This statue was HUGE!

This statue was HUGE!

Here’s my random story for the week. I was kissed by a boy for the first time since coming on my mission! Now before you start wondering too much, I’ll mention that he’s three years old. I have apparently won the heart of Cory, who is the son of a family that we visit every week. I tried to dodge his “kiss”, but he said, “No! Now just let me move your hair”. My companion was laughing so hard.

I hope and pray that you all are happy and safe! Hugs and kisses from Montana!!

Hot, hot, hot!

15 Jul
#neverwanttobetransferred

#neverwanttobetransferred

Well, summer is officially in full swing here in Montana! It’s been in the upper 80s and low 90s, which really isn’t that bad, except no one here has air conditioning! And I mean no one. Everyone just uses fans for the most part, so going into people’s homes isn’t really a relief. During correlation with our ward mission leader, they had their doors open because of the heat and a squirrel came in! It ran upstairs, and we had to help them chase it out. It was pretty awesome.

We have a couple fans at our apartment, and we keep the blinds closed to “beat the heat”. Our car has good AC though! It was the first week of the transfer, so that meant no district meeting this week. We also have zone conference in Helena this Thursday, so that will be fun! The entire mission is learning the song “Faith In Every Footstep”, so our district met up on Tuesday and practiced singing it. We definitely need a few more practices before Thursday… haha.

This week was unusual in that we had exchanges! So I went with a sister to work in the 2nd ward area, and her companion came with Sister Jones to work in our area. The exchange was the longest one I’ve done (from Wednesday to Friday), but we saw each other a lot, so that helped. On Wednesday, we visited an elderly less-active man who lives in an assisted living place. He was really nice, but at the end of the lesson he asked us to “pray to him”, which she explained was his way of saying “pray for me”. I was silently laughing so hard though. So she prayed, and then Don asked me to pray as well! Sister T forgot to fill me in that apparently they always pray twice at the end, hahaha. Wednesday night ended with a beautiful drive into the mountains to contact some referrals in the 2nd ward.

On Thursday, I got to see my companion while volunteering at the Food Bank, so that was fun. That evening, we visited a few people in a nearby trailer park and did some tracting. When we were walking home, we heard a “pop! pop! pop!”, and both of us jumped about a foot in the air because we thought we were being shot! Turned out to just be some leftover firecrackers, thank goodness. We ended the night with stopping by a “Shaved Ice” stand, and it was amazing! Plus, it’s owned by members, so they gave us all the extras for free, like coconut ice cream in the center, a “snowcap” which is sweetened condensed milk, and coconut flakes. The shaved ice and ice cream together was a little weird, but tasted kind of good!

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We had two really awesome miracles this week! First off, one of our less active ladies came to church! She called us on Saturday, and she said that she’d prayed about coming to church like we invited her to do, and she wanted to come. She could only make it to the 1 o’clock ward, so we went to our ward at 9am, and then sacrament meeting with her at 1pm. The other miracle happened over the course of the weekend. So on Friday, the zone leaders, district leaders, and our sister training leader in the zone had a leadership meeting. Sister Jones was very thoughtful and made the elders that had to commute some sandwiches because they are always starving after meetings, but they ended up just skyping in! So, the sisters took some of the food with them, and when they went to Walmart, they gave the food and a mormon.org card to the homeless man who was outside on the corner. Well, he ended up calling them three hours later, the sisters taught him a lesson on Saturday, and he came to church on Sunday! Pretty sweet.

Last miracle of the week- on Sunday, the Relief Society lesson was on baptism and we had our progressing investigator was there. She totally felt the spirit and wants to be baptized soon! We told her that if she want both Sister Jones and I there, then she’d have to do it in the next 5 weeks, and she was like, “oh, ok!”. So we’re pretty excited that we’re getting he back on date soon.

This morning, Sister Jones and I went on a hike with the 2nd ward sisters up to Palisade Falls. It was the most beautiful waterfall and hike! The pictures will show better than I can explain. Have a fantastic week!!

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Happy Belated 4th

8 Jul

Where did July come from? It totally snuck up on me. It’s been getting pretty warm up here in Montana this week actually. It’s starting to feel like an actual summer! It’s been low 90s, but the dry heat really is different than the humid heat back in Oklahoma. So trust me, no complaints here! Oh yeah, so transfer news: Sister Jones and I are both staying! We are so stoked.

A rainy 4th!

A rainy 4th!

Last preparation day, our zone met up and played ultimate Frisbee, but with a football! It was pretty fun, and I was the official “assist” because I’d always throw to the end-zone.

Best district evah!

Best district evah!

Tuesday, we had District Meeting. I gave a discussion on the relationship between setting goals and making plans. The way I chose to approach it was by talking about what Heavenly Father’s goal and plan is for us. In Moses 1:39, it says that His work and His glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. So what is his plan? Alma 34:9, which talks about the Atonement. I also had all the missionaries make “mock” plans and goals for situations that I gave them. It went pretty well! Tuesday night, we had elk meat, and I realized just how much I missed it! Reminded me of Meeteetse. I’m gonna need to make friends with some hunters when I get home so I can have access to some good wild meat. Also Tuesday night, we had our first lesson with John. It was a little scattered at times because he liked to go off topic, but overall was pretty good! We’re meeting with him again later this week hopefully. His friends that are members were so excited when we told them that we had tracted into him, and that he was interested.

On Wednesday, we got a new “provisioning” for our iPads, which means that we had to sit at the church for like two hours and let them update. Booo. But it was worth it, because now we use a version of Safari for our internet browser and it is much faster, and they will also soon be releasing an update for our area book/planner app, which is much needed! I saw on Mormon newsroom that the Church is taking the iPad out of the pilot phase and implementing them in a lot of missions. Pretty exciting! I’m just happy that I didn’t have to buy mine like the missionaries now will have too….

Fireworks!

Fireworks!

Ok, so our Fourth of July was just kinda weird, haha. Not necessarily bad, but just weird! We went over to a recent convert’s house for a cookout around 3, but the food wasn’t ready until 5. So we sat there really uncomfortably trying not to watch the movie she had on. Haha, it was awkward. It also started raining around 4pm! Thankfully, the weather went back to clear skies within a couple of hours. Our fireworks plans with a member got canceled, so instead we went up to a family in 1st ward’s house that was having a big celebration. But the 1st ward sisters that who told us about it ended up being super late, so we were kind of uncomfortable because we didn’t know anyone! Oh well, the mission really is a string of awkward events that you just have to roll with. Their house was up on the mountain, and the view was incredible. We could see all of Bozeman, and all of the fireworks in town. So cool! They also had their own fireworks that we got to watch.

Saturday was so crazy! Sister Jones wasn’t feeling too good the past few days, and especially on Saturday she was having a lot of shortness of breath and wheezing. We called the medical advisor that evening, and he sent us to the ER. What’s with me and having companions going to the ER?! So they ran a bunch of tests and gave her a nebulizer treatment. The elders came and gave her a blessing, but the blessing kept getting interrupted by the nurses. They eventually determined that is was an asthmatic flare and the beginning of bronchitis. They released her from the ER around 11pm, but we had to get her prescription filled that night so we went to CVS and had to wait for forever. Interestingly though, we met some members at the ER and they also came to CVS afterwards for a prescription too! They were from Belgrade, and the lady had sliced off part of her finger. Gross! But they were really nice and talked to us. I also set a new record for the latest I’ve been out on the mission- 12:30 pm! So we slept in Sunday morning and went to the 1:00pm ward’s sacrament meeting. We took it pretty easy on Sunday, and hopefully we can be back out teaching by Tuesday for sure.

I love you all so much! Have an awesome week!