Archive | November, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

24 Nov

Happy Thanksgiving! I sure am grateful for all of you. We will be spending Thanksgiving with the members that we live with, which will be great. Actually, Bro. Henderson will be away on a business trip in New Zealand, so it will just be us and Sister Henderson and our former housemate/current ward member. It’ll be a blast! I think we’re going to sew matching Christmas pajama pants together. This was President Mecham’s counsel on Thanksgiving for us: “I invite all missionaries to engage in proselyting activities with all your heart, might, mind and strength every day, except Thursday”. Haha, I love that man.

At the baptism!

At the baptism!

I’ll start out with the most exciting news… Mary and Jessica got baptized!! They have been working towards baptism for so long, and it was wonderful to finally see them enter the waters and make those covenants. Their baptism service included two other ladies that the elders had been teaching, and the elders had another girl baptized in an early service, so in total there were five baptisms for fourth ward on Saturday! That also meant five confirmations at church on Sunday… it definitely took a while, haha. When the elders went to go fill the font on Saturday, they couldn’t get the hot water to work. They checked it out, and the maintenance people had temporarily removed the water boiler! So the elders ended up boiling water in the kitchen and running back and forth to dump it in the font to make it warmer. Oh the things we do as missionaries. By the second baptism service, the water was getting a little cold but we made the best of it. It’s better than being baptized in the frozen river, that’s for sure! Mary and Jessica were so happy after their baptism- it was a great occasion.

On Tuesday, we had a new multi zone meeting with President and Sister Mecham called Mission Leadership Training. Any meeting with President and Sister Mecham automatically becomes my favorite, and I greatly enjoyed this one. We talked a lot about what it means to “go to the mountain” to receive revelation (see 1 Nephi 17:7 and Moses 1:1). We also talked about being leaders of “self” and not waiting for a title. After the meeting, we said farewell to one of our ward members because he is entering the MTC! Derek joined the church a year and a month ago, and is in the MTC right now, eventually to head to Hungary. He has been so active in missionary work here, and we are so sad to lose him, but he will do wonders on his mission!

Derek before he leaves for the MTC.

Derek before he leaves for the MTC.

We met with one of our investigators again this week, and it was great. We had planned to teach some kind of lesson, but when we got there I felt like we should change it. I felt impressed to ask him: “If you could ask God anything right now, what would it be?”. He replied, “Why”. I said, “Why as in what?” He said, “just Why”. Immediately the scripture Moses 1:39 popped into my head. We read the preceding scriptures too, and I felt the Holy Ghost testify through me that the real reason “why” God does everything he does and did everything he did is to fulfill His purpose: Us. We, His children, mean everything to Him. And in moments when we feel inclined to ask “why”, we need only remember His purpose.

Friday was another exciting day! So at the baptisms I have attended here in Missoula, I always noticed how gross and dirty the walls of the baptism font were. With so many baptisms happening the next day, it made me sick to think of baptizing them in mold. SOoOoo, we took an hour and deep cleaned the font! The Elders had brought up the idea of cleaning it a few days earlier, so we enlisted their help too. By the end, it actually looked kind of decent! I wiped off the back on the mirror that hangs and there was literally half of an inch of dust on there. I had dust in my teeth for the rest of the day, haha.

Coughing up a lung from all the dust!

Coughing up a lung from all the dust!

That night, we participated in an Institute activity. The LDSSA hosted and combined with the other Christian campus ministries for a Fast and Food Drive. To end the fast Friday night, we did a progressive dinner between the different church buildings. It was a great way of building trust and friendship with the other churches on campus. I ate dinner next to the Lutheran Pastor, and while I think he was kind of uncomfortable, I greatly enjoyed our conversation. It’s funny how the name badge makes people treat us so differently. I find it overall amusing to observe.

Sister Randall and I start our first Facebook exchanges this week with the missionaries in our zone- ought to be exciting! We got trained a little more on Saturday which helped, so I’m actually pretty pumped to get the missionaries excited about using Facebook productively. I now spend most of my time on Facebook teaching and finding instead of posting, but hopefully I’ll start posting a little more regularly too. Sunday night, we contacted a less-active that someone in the ward had referred us to. It was amazing to watch her start to feel the Spirit and get so excited about it. She’s an older lady, and had been active her entire life until she got a divorce, and she felt like people treated her differently afterwards so she left the church. It was sad to see the effects of her leaving the church, because now all of her children have left too. We talked to her about her experiences in the temple and she just started crying. Sister Randall and I both received the strong prompting that she is ready to come back- now is her time.

Well, I wish you all a happy holiday!! Eat lots of turkey and give service to someone who needs it. Love you all!

Baby, it’s cold outside

18 Nov

Please pardon my premature use of Christmas lyrics in my subject line, but oh my, did winter hit hard this week! The mornings have been about zero degrees, with wind-chills in the negatives, and the highs in the teens. It’s pretty unusual for it to be this cold this early in winter, so hopefully this is just a temporary cold snap. I broke out my winter coat finally, and I feel like a new missionary all over again because that coat carries so many memories.

It was 6 o'clock pm when we took this picture... it looks like midnight though!

It was 6 o’clock pm when we took this picture… it looks like midnight though!

Last Monday basically all I did was say goodbye to people! Our zone got decimated over transfers. I was looking at our zone picture from when we went to the temple in September, and it’s only Sister Martin and me left! Crazy. We were able to meet all the new missionaries to the zone this week though, and it was kind of funny because my old Wyoming North zone is getting back together! Plus, Sister Jones (my old companion) is serving in my zone now, so I’m excited to get to see her more.

Mary and Jessica are getting baptized this Saturday!! They had their baptism interviews this past Saturday, and they are all set to go and they are so excited. They’ve been working with various missionaries for over six months now, so this is a long time coming. While we were waiting during their baptism interviews, we got to talking to their mom, Pauline. She expressed a desire to quit smoking, so we talked to the elders about giving her a blessing. When they gave that blessing, the Spirit that filled that room was practically tangible. Afterwards, Pauline asked us if she could take the lessons!! We are excited to see them coming to the gospel as a family. The only problem we are running into with the baptism this Saturday is finding enough jumpsuits! The elders have 3 people also getting baptized in 4th ward, so we are having a combined service with 5 people being baptized. It should be awesome!

Our investigator Karen came to church this past Sunday with her boyfriend! They both seemed to really enjoy it. We set up times to meet with them each separately this next week, so that ought to be good. Adriana S. is still progressing towards her baptism in December. She is going home for Thanksgiving, so we won’t get to see her for a little while, but thankfully her Dad is returning to activity in the church so she will probably get to go to church with him. We had a lesson this week with her and her boyfriend for the first time. Her boyfriend is a hoot! He’s from somewhere in northwest Africa, and has a great sense of humor. He is very open to religion, but has his own spiritual beliefs already. We got a twenty minute rundown about how animals are reincarnated sinful people, and when we eat meat we are eating their sins, so therefore we should all be vegan… oh the things you encounter on the mission. He also invited us to his Buddhist temple this Sunday, but unfortunately it conflicts with our ward’s meeting time.

This week we did a lot of contacting referrals, and we saw a lot of success! We found two new less-active girls in the YSA ward that are definitely ready to come back. I’ve found that with young single adults, it is primarily social reasons that keep them from church, which was the case with both of these girls.

The funniest thing that happened this week was definitely our adventure last night. We were having a Book of Mormon study with one of our recent converts, Paula, and at the end she mentioned that she thought her computer ate one of her CDs. (She has one of those desktop computers where the whole computer is in the monitor, but it does have a pop-out disk drive.) We checked it for her, and at first glance it appeared totally empty. But when we grabbed our phone flashlight, we saw that the CD had gotten caught in a little metal gap right outside of the disk drive. (it’s hard to describe, so just run with it). Well, long story short, I end up on the ground with the flashlight on my mouth and two butter knives and tweezers in hand trying to pry it out! Sister Randall tried for like ten minutes too. Alas, it was to no avail because we couldn’t get it, but it sure was an adventure!

Sister Randall's turn to try and get the CD out!

Sister Randall’s turn to try and get the CD out!

Tomorrow we are having a special zone training/leadership-council/mini-zone-conference thing with President Mecham, which I am really looking forward to! I am also very excited for the upcoming Christmas zone conference. Sister Mecham asked me to be the accompanist for the choir music we will be singing, which I’m pretty stoked about. 🙂 One of the songs is “Just Beyond the Manger”, composed by Joseph Martin. Look it up! It makes me cry every time.

Stay safe and warm this week!! Love you all so much!!

* ** *** Snow*** ** *

10 Nov

Transfer news…. we’re both staying! Oh yeah, so with the transfer, Sister Randall and I also got a new assignment to be our zone’s Facebook Specialists! Not really sure what all that entails because it’s a brand new calling in the mission, lol. Basically we’re the go-to people for all Facebook questions and we’re supposed to lead by example. We also do online proselyting exchanges. Should be interesting. We’ll see what happens!

We match!  Didn't' do it on purpose though.

We match! Didn’t do it on purpose though.

Well, it finally happened: winter has arrived. We woke up to our first snow fall of the season this morning! We were both pretty pumped about it until we had to clean off our car… it brought back so many memories of last winter. Everyone here has been talking about an “arctic blast” coming through, and one elder made the comment, “Isn’t that a dessert you can get at Dairy Queen?”. The work of the Lord moves onward regardless of weather! Rain, snow, sleet, hail… we will preach without fail!

First snow!

First snow!

IMG_6267

Our investigators are doing really well! We set a new baptism date with Adriana S. for December 13th. We had to push it back so far because she’s going home over Thanksgiving and then there are finals for all the students. Karen is still progressing too, but won’t commit to a date. We think her semi less active boyfriend is what’s primarily holding her back, because he’s not fully committed to coming back to church. BUT, we met with him last night by himself and had an incredibly spiritual lesson. He committed to reading the Book of Mormon. I told him that finding God is the greatest adventure you’ll ever take in your entire life, and it will have the most meaning too. Mary and Jessie are still all set to get baptized on the 22nd! There are going to be nine baptisms in our zone on that day, which is making scheduling the font a logistical nightmare. But it’s a good problem to have, so no complaints. The guy I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, Brad, finally accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and promised to read some. **happiness**

Last Monday night for FHE, the ward did a series of “Minute to Win it” games- it was so fun! One of the girls in our ward, Lacey, totally dominated the chubby bunny game… eighteen marshmallows! I think everyone loved watching the missionaries doing outrageous things, haha. A big key in serving in a YSA Ward is being willing to just get involved and have fun. I did a discussion in District Meeting on Wednesday that turned out pretty well. It was a last minute assignment (given Tuesday morning!) and our schedule was completely full until right before the meeting. I was singing “Let the Holy Spirit guide” all of Tuesday in my head, hahaha. I had a burst our inspiration about thirty minutes before the meeting, and I made a little candy land type board game with questions and role plays on the cards. Everyone got pretty into it, and it was nice to do something kinda unusual.

Family history booth on campus

Family history booth on campus

On Friday, we did another family history booth in the university’s student union. This one went much smoother than last time. We got creative and had a world map on a poster and asked people where their heritage was from and then let them put a pin on it. We actually had two new less actives come approach us and talk to us for a while, which was great. One of the girls had attended BYU for two years before coming to UM, and she said that she felt like she was “with her peeps” again with us.

I found a little piece of home!

I found a little piece of home!

Hmmm, we had a couple funny moments this past week. So we always pray in the car right before lessons, right? Ok, so we were praying before going into a combined lesson with the elders (we teach a couple ladies in 4th ward together), and in Sister Randall’s prayer she says, “…and we are grateful that we can teach this lesson today with these sisters… umm… ELDERS”. We both just busted up laughing. The other funny thing that happened this week was when we were walking up to our house at the end of the day. It’s been pretty dark in the evenings, but there was a full moon that night so it wasn’t as dark as usual. As we were walking up the driveway, I see Sister Randall stop and freeze. I look further ahead and see a shadow from the tree. I think, “haha, she thinks it’s an bear.” But once I think that, I start to view it as a bear too so I gasp and freeze. So Sister Randall feeds off the fact that I now think it’s a bear and we both are freaking out! After we both gathered our senses, it really was just a shadow, but both our hearts were pounding for like an hour afterwards.

On Saturday, we did a bunch of raking for the the members we live with and their neighbors. When were were out teaching in the afternoon, one of their neighbors came by the Henderson’s and told them that they had just gotten back in town from one of their father’s funerals, and it meant so much to them to have us rake their leaves for them. They wrote us a really sweet thank you note. I know I say this all the time, but it is seriously my favorite thing to find out later that something you did or said made an impact. Saturday night, we met with a less active girl in our ward that we see pretty frequently. She gave us both a present- spoon rings! So what she does is that she takes old silver spoons and cuts off the handles, then forms them into a ring. I love mine so much!

That’s about all I can think of to write about this week, so I’ll wrap it up here. Have a happy and safe week everyone! Love you all!

Rain, rain, go away

4 Nov

Halloween has come and passed, and now it’s on to Thanksgiving and then Christmas! The stores here have already started setting out their Christmas merchandise. I have a feeling that these next couple of months are going to go by very quickly!

Pumpkin time!

Pumpkin time!

Last Monday night for FHE, I got to carve a pumpkin for the first time in two years! I made a little kitty face. The more important part of carving pumpkins however is collecting the seeds. Thankfully another member of the ward, Derek, also loves to roast them so we worked together to sort them and cook them up in the oven. They were delicious! Tuesday was the start of the rain and the clouds. The clouds haven’t gone away all week!

Beautiful Missoula!

Beautiful Missoula!

Tuesday night was successful though because we got to contact a less active referral, and he was pretty cool. Not really interested in coming back to church, but we had a good lesson with him. So something we do is that when we contact a referral or visit someone, we always knock on the door of at least one of their neighbors. Well, Tuesday night we tried to contact a girl form the ward and it turns out that she moved. So we knocked on her neighbor’s door, and he was interested! He had had a roommate in the past who was a former member of the RLDS church, so he knew a little about that and was curious to learn about the LDS church. Near Missoula, there is a town called Pinesdale where a ton of fundamentalist polygamists live… we get lots of questions because of that, haha.

The middle of the week is kind of a blur right now, and all I can really remember is teaching a bunch and getting ready for our table on Friday. So yeah, we did a table outside on campus on Friday for Halloween! We made little sucker ghosts and attached an invitation to FHE and handed them out to students. We gave out close to two hundred suckers! We shall see tonight if any of them show up. 🙂 I’d say about half of the students on campus were in costume, which was amusing to watch. Funny story from the table: so we were watching this kid ride his bike, and his cape was just flapping behind him. Then, his cape got stuck in the tire and he came to a halting stop (he wasn’t hurt, just embarassed, haha). Without missing a beat, one of the members of our ward yells out in their best “Edna” from the Incredibles voice, “NO CAPES!”. We all died laughing.

Halloween table on campus

Halloween table on campus

Apart from the table, our Halloween was fairly relaxed and nice. We helped some members of our ward set up for the ward halloween party after we got done with the table on campus. President Mecham put all of us on lock down after 6pm. The members we live with, the Hendersons, went out to dinner so we stayed and handed out candy for them. It was so fun! We also got to watch one of the two approved movies in our mission- Ephraim’s Rescue. I’d never seen it before, and I really enjoyed it! It was nice to get to just stay in and watch a movie, not gonna lie. 🙂 I think Sister Randall and I ate more candy than we actually handed out though… oops! Haha.

On Saturday during personal study, I finished reading Jesus the Christ! It took me four months to read it by reading it for fifteen minutes a day during studies. As my understanding of my Savior has grown, my love for him has also grown. I bear witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, and the Son of God. I have felt this strongly confirmed to me at several times throughout my reading. After studies, we did some service for the members we live with and raked their front yard leaves for them. The nice thing about Missoula is that you don’t have to bag them! All you do is rake them into the street, and then there is a set day where they come by and scoop them up and take them to a landfill. Pretty nice! Bro. Henderson told us that we were an answer to his prayer by doing that for them. 🙂 We taught a ton this weekend, and we are seeing a lot of progress from our investigators. Adriana came to church again with her boyfriend, and they really enjoyed it! The boyfriend, Michael, participated a ton in Sunday School. We had the Spokane, WA Temple President and his wife there at church with us and they gave an awesome third hour address.

I love lessons where your investigator brings their bunny... I love single's wards! Haha. Bunny selfie.

I love lessons where your investigator brings their bunny… I love single’s wards! Haha. Bunny selfie.

So Daylight savings in super messing with my sleep schedule! I keep waking up at 5:23am because that’s when my body is set to wake up. And we were both dragging all night, especially during planning because it felt so late! It’s a challenge with it getting dark so early too. We’ve pretty much decided that we aren’t going to do anything on the streets after 8pm, so we’re trying to get as many set appointments for that time as possible.

Love you all so much! Thank you for your prayers and support. Have a happy week!!