Monday, December 1, 2014

Last Day in the Mission!

This week was so good!!! A good last week on the mission. I had my departure temple trip on Tuesday. It was wonderful. I went will all the sisters I came out with and we rode down to LA with Sister Tew (the mission president's wife). Then we did a session and afterwards we were all in the celestial room and it was so nice. I just felt really good about everything that was happening and with going home and such. Then we did a sealing session. Each of us took turns being the children and President and Sister Tew were the parents. So that was really cool. The sealer was a former mission president and he talked about how everyone at the end of their mission looks back and wonders if they have done enough. I felt like that was a reminder from heavenly father to me that I have done my best. Then afterwards president always takes the missionaries to get pupusas. President Tew served in El Salvador and so that is one of the foods they eat there. It was really good and it was fun to get to go out and eat together. 
Then on Thanksgiving we had a training for the He is the Gift initiative which is exciting. The church is putting a lot of effort into helping people be more focused on Christ at Christmas and to get more people to look into the church. Then we had district meeting and weekly planning. We did our weekly planning at a park in our area. It was really nice weather and there were lots of trees so it was awesome. Then we had thanksgiving dinner with a filipino family in the ward. They made a ton of food (all american) and it was really good. 
Then the next day we moved into an apartment. The apartment is SO nice. Like the nicest one in the mission apparently. We taught Anthony on Friday and we played the game where you fill a cup with flour and put it upside down and put a piece of candy on top. Then you cut away the flour and whoever knocks off the candy loses. We applied it to having a firm foundation with prayer, scripture study, and going to church. Throughout the week things cut away at our foundation but doing the"little things' will keep our foundation strong. Also we got to teach Rex!!! It was great to see him one last time. He is doing really well just basically waiting out the semester until he can move back to Buena Park. We taught the word of wisdom and had a great discussion about it and of course he has no problem with it. Then we got to teach Robert, Sister Eves, and Brother Collings on Saturday so it was fun to teach them one last time. 
Sunday I bore my testimony in church. That night was the departure fireside. They had some great musical numbers and I bore my testimony mostly on how I know that God knows us and the the atonement changes us. It was really fun to see people from my different wards and to get to say good bye to them. 
And then here we are at my last full day as a missionary. Ina few hours I have my exit interview with my mission president and then we have a departure dinner at the mission home. It is so crazy I can't believe that I am going home!!! I truly am so grateful to have been able to be a missionary in the CA Long Beach mission. And I am excited for what is ahead. See you all tomorrow!!

Sister Washburn
With President and Sister Tew at the departure fireside.  A member in the Cypress 5th ward made me the candy lei.  

Missionaries heading home, last temple trip.

                     A pupusa. It's kinda like a thick tortilla with meat and cheese and vegetables inside.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mission Newsletter- Final Thoughts

All the departing missionaries have to write a short little message for our mission newsletter that gets passed out each month. I thought that I would just send you what I wrote. 

One of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon is Moroni 7 where it talks about faith, hope, and charity. I feel like these three attributes are at the center of missionary work. Having faith isn't always easy but it is so important. I can look back on my mission and look at times where I felt like I was doing everything I could with little success. In these moments when the discouragement started to creep in I would try my best to keep trying just a little longer, to believe that God would bless us and He always did. But those blessings weren't always immediate and that is where hope comes in. I love that in the gospel hope isn't wishful thinking but trusting in God's promises. I know that that is true. As we put in our best effort, God always keeps His side of the promise. We might pray in faith and not find right away. We might go through many investigators until we find one ready for baptism. But as we do God's will we will always be blessed. The most important of these is charity. As representatives of Jesus Christ, loving others truly embodies who Christ was. We need to love ourselves and not down play our potential. We need to believe that we can accomplish great things. We need to love our companion. It's not always so easy but God will help us see the good in them. We need to love those we serve. Goals keep us focused but at the end of your mission you will look back and remember the people that you loved. And above all we need to love God. We are here on earth to come to know Him and to show Him love by doing His will. A mission is a great time to gain greater faith, hope, and charity. I know that the Lord is in this work and that it is up to us to each put in our best effort to build His kingdom. I know that he answers prayers. That He knows us and will show us that He is there. I wish you all the best on the rest of your missions! In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

"Drama" on the Mission

Well this is my last week. It is really surreal. I feel like this will be a good week though.
Last week a lot of drama went down. A bunch of stuff came up with some of our recent converts and less actives. One had word of wisdom problems we didn't know about and that are kinda serious but we are getting him back on track. Another less active we didn't know about suddenly came out of the woodworks and her home teacher got mad at us for not consistently visiting her even though she is in the Elder's area and we didn't know about her. Then another recently reactivated member has been struggling with his past and we are trying to help him let go and move forward. 
Then we had an incident with the lady we live with where she totally blew something really small out of proportion. I've lived in that house for 6 months and I have been so patient with this sister but my companion and I realized that it is just getting worse and so we are going to move out at the end of the transfer (well I'm going home anyways).
Then we had a specialized training. It was aimed at the mission wide goals set to try to help us and create unity. It was just the weirdest meeting I have ever been to on my mission. I mean I'm not going to lie my heart wasn't fully into the trainings since I'm about to leave. But you could tell some of the leaders weren't that into what they were teaching. Then one of the zone leaders started going off about how important goals are and how that should motivate us not our love for people because we really can't just love the people we serve but as long as we have high numbers that's what matters. And so my companion (who is kind of awesome) stands up and is like "No loving people is the most important thing we can do as missionaries." And then the zone leader who was teaching didn't handle it well and people started arguing both sides and the spirit totally left and then our mission president had to stand up and say that yes loving people is the most important, goals are just there to focus us and make us stretch. It was intense but I think my companion definitely did the right in in standing up to that guy. 
Then one of our investigators dropped us. Her husband doesn't really like us and told her not to let us come over. She asked him why and he didn't have a good reason but she wants to respect his choice. That was sad to hear because she is a really nice lady and open to the gospel which could really help her. But it just must not be the right time. Hopefully her husband's heart will soften. 
This week was just hard on me too. I think that I am a little more nervous about going home than I thought. My companion has been awesome and is helping me a lot but this week was just hard for me. Sorry if this email sounds really discouraging and complainy. This week just everything happened. Sometimes you have weeks like this but then better weeks come. It's just a little harder on me at this point because I'm exhausted. 
We gave talks in church on Sunday. It was a boy in our ward's farewell talk. It is weird to think about a long time ago when I was giving my farewell and how in a few weeks I'll be giving my homecoming. I spoke about Christ's earthly ministry. I really liked that topic because Christ really is at the heart and center of the gospel. It is our job to witness of him and to be the light that helps others learn more of Him. I have loved having the privilege to teach and testify of HIm for a year and a half. I will be forever grateful for the time that I have had to consecrate to HIm and to try my best to do His will. Being a missionary has been an amazing experience. Truly the most worthwhile thing we can do in this life is to follow the example of our Savior Jesus Christ.
I'm going to make it a good last week and enjoy every minute!!!
Have a good Thanksgiving!! Love you all!!!
-Sister Washburn

Monday, November 17, 2014

Prayer and Two Weeks

This week was good. Sister Moesinger got an ear infection so that took her out for a couple of days. If not one thing its another but we are back on track now. We taught Anthony this week. We taught Word of Wisdom and had him trace his hands on pieces of paper. Then he wrote the 5 things that are bad for your body that God has asked us to avoid and then we had him write 5 good things for your body. He really liked it and wanted to hang it up after he was done. He set a baptismal date with him! It's for the end of December so I hope that his family keeps coming and that everything goes well so that he can be baptized. He called us on Sunday and said that he was going to have to skip church this week. I asked him why and he said "You know those red balls you play with at recess? Well I tripped over one the other day and my body is really really sore." Haha the life of a 9 year old. He was sad he couldn't come but he should be there next week. We had diner with the whole family (mom and brothers) on Monday so that was fun. We got to know them all better and at the end we started talking about testimonies and Sister Hernandez whips out the conference Ensign and made Nathan read part of it, so that was cool. 
We taught the Cornejos the first lesson. It was really good they asked lots of questions and were excited to read the book of mormon. I feel like Sister Moesinger will be really good for them.
We taught Relief Society on Sunday last minute because the teacher wasn't going to make it (she had told us saturday afternoon). It was on a chapter from the Joseph Fielding Smith book and it was about prayer. We showed 2 mormon messages from Elder Christofferson called daily bread. It tied in really well and we talked about how sometimes you need to use prayer to just get you through day to day. To communicate enough with him to gain the strength that you need. Often experiences that cause us to rely on Him more and to have more fervent heartfelt prayer,s are really beneficial because they help us form more of a relationship with God. That is the most important relationship we can have while we are here on earth. The way that you get closer to others is by talking and communicating. So if we aren't consistently communicating with God we won't be able to have a good relationship with him. 
I starting calling people to invite them to my departure fireside. Its so crazy that its coming. It doesn't always seem real but it seems a lot more real than it ever has. 2 more weeks!!
Love you all!
-Sister Washburn

We went to a Japanese Ramen place for lunch, it was so so good. I'm going to miss all the good Asian food here.  

Monday, November 10, 2014

with Sister Moesinger

New Investigators and a "Last Meal"

So the start of this week was really awesome. We worked really hard and at the beginning of the week and we found 2 investigators! There is a part member family in our ward the Cornejos that we had never met and we are teaching their kids who aren't members (2 teenage girls and a 10 year old boy). They are really fun and talkative so it will be fun to teach them. We also had a really good visit with Brother Collings. He has had a hard life and is a paraplegic and we had a good lesson about using the atonement to let go of things that have happened to us in the past. I think he really internalized it and he hasn't been to church in a while so it helped him get back on track. We also met a less active in the ward we didn't know. Her name is Sister Honore. She has a son who has autism and he can be really hard to handle so she can't come to church. We are going to start reading the book of mormon with her. She was really grateful for our visit because people from the church hadn't been by in a long time. Anthony is doing well but it can still be a struggle to get him to church. His brother Nathan has come for the past 4 weeks so that is good. We are having dinner at their house sometime this week and we met his older sister last week so we are getting to know his family better which is good. 
Things were going really well until Sister Moesinger got the stomach flu and was throwing up for three days. But miracle of all miracles I didn't get sick! But she was so sick I felt really bad cause there wasn't much I could do. So we mostly stayed inside the rest of the week. I went out to a few lessons with a member. We visited this elderly man in the ward named Brother Murdock. He is the coolest guy. He can play the guitar, ukele, harmonica, piano, and he sings. So he always performs songs when we go over. And he has had a really hard life but is really positive and has a lot of faith. Anyways his dog had just died which was his bff especially because he lives alone. Me and Sister Henry went over and talked to him to try to cheer him up. It was a good visit and he was feeling a lot better by the end. Then the next day a member was going to take us out to dinner and Sister Moesinger was sick so I just went with her by myself (we can be apart if we are both with members so Sis Moesinger stayed with sister roper). Anyways I was out with Sister Knight and she was like "This is the last time I'm going to feed you before you go home. Let's go to Black Angus!" (aka a really expensive nice steak place) So then we had a super awesome dinner and it was really fun. 
Sister Moesinger makes it a point to constantly remind me that I only have 3 weeks left. I feel like it is going to fly by. So I am just going to work hard and enjoy these last weeks!
Love you all!!

-Sister Washburn