Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas


Christmas was great!! It was so good to get to skype with you guys, for sure the highlight of my Christmas. After we skyped we met the rest of our zone at the church. We played some games and ate pizza and then we played volleyball for a while. After that we watched Ephriam's Rescue which was pretty good (it was so weird to get to watch a movie). Then we went over to a member's house for dinner. The dad had deep fried a turkey which was pretty good and they had a lot of their relatives over so that was fun. And that was our Christmas. The next day we got back to work. 

This week has been super hard to meet with people though since it has been the holidays. We did have a good lesson with the Blakes on Sunday. They committed to coming to church this week. We taught the plan of salvation and they asked lots of questions and they were really excited to open up their books of mormon and follow along with all of the scriptures that we used. It was great, I love teaching them!! 

We got transfer calls this week and Sister Le and I are staying here in Fountain Valley. I was glad because I feel like the work is starting to pick up here and so I want to keep working hard to hopefully get a baptism soon. We are moving into the Hoke's house (the members with the million dollar home), so I will send some pics once we are moved in. We gave short talks during the third hour of church because our ward mission leader was presenting the ward mission plan. Sister Le was really nervous to get up in front of the entire ward to speak but she did a great job (I was a proud mother). 

Also another Sister Le -ism, I was cold during morning studies so i had a hoodie on, my skirt, and some fuzzy socks. I asked sister Le what people would say if I walked around outside and she was like "Ugh, you look like mafia." So apparently mafia means weird in vietnamese, so now anytime we see someone doing something weird we're like "ugh, mafia." Maybe you had to be there but I think it is funny. 

Well hopefully this will be a good week! I am excited to keep learning and to have a whole year left of my mission to do work! Have a good new years!!

Love you all!!

-Sister Washburn

 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas


This week we had our mission christmas conference. It was really fun. We got to watch the christmas devotional, the RS made lunch for us, and we had a reading of the living Christ which included some clips from the bible videos. We also had a white elephant gift exchanges with the other 100 missionaries that were there and I got a giant paper clip. Our mission president gave a talk about our mission vision for next year which is "discover what we can do." I love this because I think that I am at a point on my mission where I know how to do missionary work it is just pushing to become better and to see what I can accomplish. Also our mission has had 81 baptisms this month which is the most we have ever had in one month so far in this mission! 

 

We taught the first lesson to the blake's this week. They agreed to get baptized but wouldn't set a date yet. They are starting to love the book of mormon! They said they would start trying to read every night and to have family prayer. They seemed a lot more committed than last time so that is good. The holidays make it so that we won't see them for a while so hopefully they will get right back into everything afterwards. 

The ward christmas party was this week which was good. There is a part member family whose dad isn't a member but comes to church and we are going to start teaching him after the break!

Also this week we went on splits with 2 young women. It was a lot of fun and the girls really liked seeing how missionary work was since they are thinking about going on missions. One of the girls named Kaitlin is a recent convert and I think david usevitch taught her. We also went to visit a less active in the ward (sister curtner). She spent the whole day making tamales so we helped her wash her dishes and then she gave us a bunch of tamales and mexican food to take home. They are soo good!! And sister Le doesn't like mexican food so more for me. :)

Other than that this week was a little slow since a lot of people are gone for the holidays. Church on sunday was really good because they had a musical program where they just sang a lot of christmas songs. 

I am so excited for christmas!! Only 2 more days!!! Love you all!!
-Sister Washburn

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Investigators!


Hello!

We have new investigators! It is a family! The mom Kim and her husband Nick were taking the lessons a year ago but stopped. We went by and they are interested in learning more. They were achoholics (you wouldn't guess though) and have been sober for 4+ months and so they are really looking for a new direction for their life. Also their 9 year old son Michael is awesome. I have never seen anyone so excited to see the missionaries. Also when we were talking about the Book of Mormon he ran into his room and got the copy he had and wanted to read from it. Kim's sister is a member so that should help too hopefully with getting them to commit. We have our first full lesson with them this week which is exciting! Basically I totally have a testimony of patience and faith. Sister Le and I have been working so hard this transfer. Last week I was talking to one of my zone leaders. I was telling him that I felt like we were working so hard but with no results, so I guess we would just have to work harder. He said that sometimes its not that we have to try harder its just that we have to keep trying. And the blessings are coming!

This week was really busy because there were 2 ward activities. I finally feel like I am getting to know a lot more of the ward members which is good. We also went on exchanges and so my sister training leader Sister Andelin came to my area. I always learn a ton from exchanges so it was great. Also we rode our bikes and it has been forever since I have been able too so it was kind of fun (minus the wearing a skirt part, that's still kinda annoying). Sister Le is still learning how to ride her bike better and so we don't usually ride them. (she has to get better before she is allowed to ride in California traffic) 

I also got to go on exchanges with Sister Perry. Their investigators that we taught were awesome! The 12 year old daughter was even taking notes. It was nice to teach a full lesson since we hadn't been able to for a while but now we have the Blakes (nick and kim) so we will be teaching a lot more. :)

Sister Le has made up language study goals for herself so I have been helping her with her english. Sometimes she says funny things like one night we were walking in the cold and she was like "I need to get a scrap." I was like "what?"  Well she meant scarf. And she calls hot chocolate, hot chocalek. It makes me smile. 

Christmas is the best!! I have been thinking about what an amazing miracle it is that Christ was born, that he lived a perfect life, and that he paid the ultimate sacrifice for us. Jesus really is the center of everything we do and it is only due to His sacrifice that we can return to our Heavenly Father and that we have the chance to become like him. I use the atonement everyday to give me extra strength, comfort, and to help me to turn my will into the Lord's will. I know that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of the world and I am so grateful that he completed His part in the plan because he loves us so much.

Love you all! I get to call you next week!

-Sister Washburn

Monday, December 9, 2013

Looking for Miracles


Thank you so much for the packages!!! I loved the tree and everything so thank you to everyone who sent the ornaments I loved them!! Basically I have the best family in the world, just sayin. This week was really busy. We had a great lesson with our investigator Ali! You could tell that she really recognizes God's hand in her life and how he has led her to where she needs to be. Also we assigned her a chapter to read and a few days later when we stopped by to see her she had already read it and wanted us to assign her more! But sadly she is singles ward age and since we know she needs the fellowship from people her age we had to pass her off to the singles ward elders (story of my life). But that is okay because I know we will find someone!! We had a really good training about helping members to invite friends to activities. In our mission 85% of the people that get baptized are members referrals. We talked about how a lot of times when people have the missionaries over and they ask for referrals the members feel really guilty and they don't know what they need to do to do missionary work. But all they need to do is invite their friends to something. Even if their friends say no thats okay, they still did missionary work. We aren't expecting members to have someone ready for baptism but to just invite people. Anyways christmas on the mission is awesome!!! You get to focus so much more on Christ since you don't have to worry about all of the extra activities. I already feel like I can feel the christmas spirit so much more because Christmas is really about the miracle it was that Christ was born and he lived a perfect life and he died for us so that we can have  hope to overcome our mistakes. Sister Le and I got Pho this week (its the most popular vietnamese dish) and it was really good!! Sometimes being a trainer is hard because I want her to become really good at everything. It definately makes me realize all of my weaknesses. But I think I am learning just as much as she is about becoming a better missionary!! Sister Le is funny sometimes she says english words wrong like she called her scarf a scrap and chef a chief. Its great. ALso I have to teach her words like chimney (she didn't know thats how santa gave the presents) and ghetto (a potential we went by lived in a more run down area). In vietnam they don't really celebrate christmas since everyone is buddhist so it have been fun teaching her all about christmas (she already knew some things). In our zone we have been looking for the miracles that happen everyday and at night we text each other our miracle for the day. It has helped me a lot to really notice all the good things that happen each day even if our numbers are low. LOVE YOU ALL!!! Merry Christmas!!

-Sister washburn

Thanksgiving and the Atonement


Hello everyone!

This was a crazy week. For thanksgiving we had our district meeting in the morning, then weekly planning and then we got to go to as many dinner appointments in the evening as we wanted. We went to a family in our ward name the Wells. The food was so good and they are a super great family. We also went with Sister Wells to visit a lady in the nursing home near by which was cool. Then after that we went back to their house and had pie and watched the kids play some games. Then around 7 we went and visited a less active. Her husband passed away a while back and she visited some family in the afternoon but she said she would be home alone in the evening. It was good to visit her and keep her company. We helped her make an apple pie and she told us that she considers us family, so that was neat. This week was a lot easier companionship wise since Sister Le is getting a lot more used to everything and we are becoming friends more. She has been able to talk to some Vietnamese people lately which is really cool. She is teaching me how to say the name of the church in Vietnamese. It is really long and sounds like Chinese so its kind of funny to say.  Our new investigator was sick when we went by this week. We ended up talking to her dad and uncle for a long time and answering a lot of their questions about our church which was really cool. We invited them to learn more but they said they weren't interested in committing to something right now. Even though it could change their life forever! (agency) We are working hard in our area so hopefully we keep finding more people to teach. This Sunday was kind of rough. An awesome family in our ward had their dad pass away suddenly from a heart attack (he was only 45) on saturday. At church there was definitely a damper on things and people would randomly be crying in class or in the hallways. It was really sad because he was an amazing guy. He would always shake our hands when he saw us at church and talk to us because he has a son on a mission so he loved talking to the missionaries. It just makes you grateful for the plan of salvation because without the gospel the loss would be so much harder. I am excited that it is December. People go way out with the christmas lights and decorations so we have seen a lot of cool houses already. Also today is my 6 month mark!! I can't believe I only have a year left, it really goes by fast. 

This week I have been thinking a lot about how the atonement really helps us in all areas of our lives. It really does help our natures to change as we focus on becoming like Christ and doing what he wants us to do. Its not just for when we sin but it is for helping us to overcome all of the obstacles that are in our way and all aspects of the natural man that we want to overcome. The atonement really can change our hearts and desires if we are willing to let the Lord work with us and to strengthen us. Well I love you all!!!

-Sister Washburn

With Sister Le

 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

                                             With Sister Le

Monday, November 25, 2013

the Vietnam Connection


Hello everyone!

This week I got my new missionary fresh off the plane! Her name is Sister Le (pronounced "lee") and she is from Vietnam. She has lived in Utah for the past four years so her english is pretty good but she still has a pretty strong accent. She converted 2 years ago and now she is on a mission! She is adorable!! She is really small and short. It has definately been a little different with training so far since she is a convert and some things get lost in translation sometimes since she is still learning english. It was really funny on the first day here she asked me "Trainer can we go to the American market?" (yes, yes we can go to walmart) Also the other day I made a comment about Harry Potter and then I realized maybe she doesn't know what that is so I asked her and she said she didn't. So I started explaining about how it is these kids who can do magic and they go to this school to learn how to become wizards. All of a sudden she was like 'Oh! Harry Potter (said in a british accent)" It was funny. One night this week we didn't have a dinner appointment so we went to a vietnamese restaurant near our house (there are a lot of those around our area) The food was really good! I got fried rice (one of the safer things on the menu) but Sister Le really liked getting to eat food she was used to. There are a lot of vietnamese people in our area so hopefully we will be able to convert them all now that we have Sister Le! Also training is going pretty well, it isn't as hard as I thought (even though there are a lot of things I could be better at but I've alreadt gotten a lot better at a lot of things). This week we got a new investigator! Her name is Ally. She was on our list of potential investigators and she said that she would like to learn more about our church. So hopefully she is open to our message! We are teaching her tomorrow and it will be Sister Le's first lesson. So keep Ally in your prayers that we will be able to teach her. For thanksgiving we can go to as many dinner appointments as we want in the evening so that will be fun. A less active family invited us over and also a really awesome family in the ward so we are excited! Sister Phillips isn't with me anymore and she got her visa so she will ship off to Brazil at the end of December. That's crazy that all of those boys are getting home. Have a good Thanksgiving!!! Love you all!!!

-Sister Washburn


                                         With a family in the ward

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

                             Sister Phillips, Me, Sister Robson-dinner at a member's house

Monday, November 18, 2013

There Is A Frist Time For Everything


So this week is transfers. We transferred every 6 weeks. And I'm training!!! I'm getting a new missionary that I pick up tomorrow. So it will be my first time training by myself, first time as senior companion, and first time driving. So it will be kind of crazy but I am excited. I am staying here in fountain valley so that is good. This week we just were trying to meet more of the new people in our ward. Some random facts about this week:

1. California drivers are crazy. Also they love using their horns. I have never seen so many people get honked at in my life.

2. Having a companion from the south is a lot of fun. Especially when she says things like "I'm more tired than a mongoose." or "She's wilder than a road lizard." Its quite entertaining.

3. Never put a breadstick in the microwave for a minute. On sunday I was hungry so I was heating up a frozen breadstick that a member gave us. Well it somehow caught on fire in the microwave but I realized that the microwave was smoking so I turned it off. We had to open up all the doors and windows in our apartment to get all of the smoke out. Then when we got to church people kept telling us that we smelled like burned toast. So yep that was a memorable experience.

4. Our ward mission leader is new (not the one we had in our old ward but he is awesome). He is a convert and he grew up in the Bronx.

5. One of the ladies in our ward makes really really good orange rolls. She  gave us some the other night and we ate them for breakfast. I love those so much.

6. One of our recent converts took us to this really good fish taco place that is down in huntington beach like a block from the beach. I've never had fish tacos before but they were really good.

I am going to pick up my greenie tomorrow. Also I am going to send you some pictures soon.

Love you

Sister Washburn

God Loves You


This week was kind of long and kind of rough. We have been trying to do a lot of finding and do even more contacting. We still haven't found anyone to teach but I know we will eventually. Our mission president is getting us all to make visions goals and plans for what we want to accomplish individually and as companions. This has actually been really good for me to see what I want to work on and to help our companionship to be more unified. We had a choir practice for when Elder Packer (the quorum of the seventy one) comes in a few weeks and it was fun because I got to see all of my friends from the mtc and other missionaries that I know. I really like our new ward mission leader, he is awesome!!! He is so fired up about missionary work and is really willing to arrange splits and to help us out however he can. It is kind of hard having to meet all of the new people in the ward but it is fun at the same time to get to know more people. This is the last week of the transfer so I am going to make it a good week so we finish the transfer off well. :) This week I have just been thinking about how awesome it is that Christ understands us so well. He knows exactly how it is to be in the situations we are and to go through the things we experience. I found a quote by Elder Christofferson that I love he says that we are "infinately valued, loved, and perfectly known." I love that. We mean everything to the Lord, he loves us unconditionally no matter what we do, and he knows us better than we know ourselves. This is one of my favorite things to share with people. To remind them that they have a loving heavenly father who loves them more than anything. A lot of people don't know that. They feel like they are all alone and they may feel rejected by th people around them. But no matter what circumstance they are in the Savior loves them and the atonement is there to remind them that they they don't have to do things on their own. One night this week we were visiting one of our less actives named Sister Curtner. She is a fun, awesome lady but she has been through a lot in her life and now that she is older things from her past sometimes get her down. We shared a scripture about faith and how when we believe and trust in the Lord things work out and we are able to climb the mountains that are in front of us. Then Sister Phillips bore testimony that God loves her and and he is there to comfort her if she just reaches out and trusts in him. The spirit was so strong and Sister Curtner started crying. I think that a lot of people just need to be reminded of God's love. As representatives of Jesus Christ we are the ones that get to help people realize and remember what Christ would tell them if he was here. I love that about being a missionary. That when we have the spirit we can touch people in a way that Christ would. I love this church. The people aren't perfect but the gospel is. When we do the little things to strengthen our relationship with Jesus Christ we will realize that it is truely through Him and his plan that we can find the most happiness in life. By doing His will and not just our own. I love you all and I am praying for you!! Have a good week!

-Sister Washburn

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Change Someones Life, Every Day


This week has been crazy. I didn't realize how the ward boundary changes would bring so many changes. We had to trade investigators (sadly we didn't get any new ones), figure out who are the new less actives and recent converts in our area (we don't get a ward directory until next sunday), and meet over half of the ward since we don't know them. Also our ward got all new leadership and everyone got new callings on sunday so it is a lot all at once. I kind of feel like we are whitewashing the area (thats when two missionaries are put in an area that neither of them have been in before). So it will probably still be crazy this week but it will be good.

 

We have been doing a lot of finding lately but we still haven't found anyone new to teach. We had exchanges this week and i was talking to my STL (sister training leader) about how this area has been hard lately. As we were talking I realized that there have been some good things that have come out of it. I have gotten a lot better at contacting and using all of the different ways of finding. Our companionship has gotten more unified since we have been able to focus on our needs a little bit more like being more exactly obedient and making the changes we need to be a little better everyday. I still feel like the Lord really is guiding me and is mindful of me. Sometimes patience is hard to have but one of our APs told us that the numbers don't matter, what matters is if every day you can say that you changed a life that day.  I know that we really do influence a lot of people whether it is random people that we talk with on the street that we pray with or remind them that God loves them. Visiting with recent converts and helping them to learn more about the gospel and to aim for gaining a stronger testimony and eventually making it to the temple. Talking with less actives and try to help them re-build thier faith and commitment so that they can realize the potential that God sees in them.

 

Also today we went to the Newport beach temple (which is why I am writing on tuesday) It is a really beautiful temple in a really rich neighborhood. I love love love the temple! I wish we could go more as missionaries. I love how much peace I can feel there and how it really is a haven from the world.

I know that the Lord is preparing people and we will eventually find them!!! This area is great, I have a lot of pictures from people who aren't in our ward anymore (i promise that I have been taking pictures, one of these days I will find acess to a good computer on p-day so i can send some)

 

My companions are awesome. Sister Phillips is super motivated to get out and work everyday which I need since every once in a while I'm not that excited about a long day of work. Sister Robson and I are getting along a lot better. and have become really good friends. She has been through a lot and has come such a long way in just the time that I have been her companion. I feel like this transfer has taught me a lot and that the Lord keeps building me into the missionary that he wants me to be. I love you all!!!

-Sister Washburn

Monday, October 28, 2013

More Changes


This week has been crazy!!! First of all we got an awesome referral from a member in our ward. The referral was for Lou who is Haitian but he has grown up in the U.S. Basically I was pretty excited becuase he is the first person I have met on my mission that speaks french. We went over and got to teach him part of the plan of salvation (some of his family members died in the earthquake in Haiti a few years ago) It was such a great lesson, he is so humble and he had lots of questions and you could tell that he was open to listening to everything we had to say. He is a college basketball player so we have only seen him twice since he has a crazy schedule. Then we found out that he is 20 so we will have to give him to the singles ward elders. But it was great to meet him and to get to teach him a little.

Also this week we had a funny experience when we were knocking. We knocked on this lady's door and she let us come in and talk to her. As it turns out she was like 92 and so she kept repeating herself becuase she couldn't remember what she had already told us (stuff about how she used to sing in the Salvation army band and how her son lives near by and she can pay her own bills!). So my companions start trying not to laugh because the situation is just ridiculous and so finally I just jumped up and shared a scripture with her and asked if we could pray with her. During the prayer my comps were still trying not to laugh and then as we made our way to the door as she kept telling us the same three stories over again. All in the average day of a missionary I guess.  T

his week we also had tune-up training (for trainers and their trainees) which was really good. We have a new AP and he is a really good missionary. Then we had zone conference which was about teaching with power. Also we have been teaching the after baptism lessons to a 16 year old recent convert named Ally. We took one of the other young women with us and it was a really good lesson. Ally has started going to seminary and stuff and I love how excited recent converts are to learn everything they can about the gospel.

We had a blitz this week in our area (where all of the missionary in the zone work in one area for a couple of hours) It was really good and we met a Jehovah's witness that we talked to for a while. We have run into Jehovah witnesses beofre but usually it is just when we are knocking and we awkwardly see them going around knocking in the same neighborhood. This guy we met outside of a yogurt shop and he was really nice. He knows a little bit about mormons and he said that he read the book of mormon and he knew that it was inspired. But he said that he had been called and chosen as one of the elect that will be saved and now he is waiting to be taken since he is no longer of this world. I've heard weirder before and I think it was just because I don't really know what they believe. But anyways the point of me saying this is that this guy randomly opened up and told us his life story. Sister Perry (who i was out with ) and I were talking about how this happens to us quite a lot. People that we talk to randomly open up to us which you wouldn't think because we are complete strangers who are just walking up and talking to them. Probably because we are representing Jesus Christ and people can feel the spirit when they are talking to us. So anyways it was just cool to think about.

We also got to go to our ward's trunk or treat this week which fun especially because we have to be in at 6:00 on halloween and we have to deep clean our apartment for 3 hours. But the craziest thing that happened this week was that they re-aligned all of the ward boundaries in our stake!! So bascially half of our ward isn't in our ward anymore. We are kinda bummed becuase we are losing a lot of the active families that we love a lot. Also Viv is in a complete other ward so we won't be able to teach her anymore. As of right now we don't even know what ward we are in anymore so it will be interesteing to see how everything works out. Its just weird having all of these changes in the middle of the transfer especially because I was finally getting to know the ward really well.

Overall it was kind of a hard week just because the work has been going really slow in our area and we haven't had a ton of time to proselyte because we have had a ton of meetings lately. But I was also thinking about how grateful I am to be a missionary. Heavenly Father has blessed me so much with helping me to overcome a lot of my weaknesses and to become a better missionary. He has surrounded me with a lot of good people to help and encourage me and we have been in a great ward. I just really feel like this is exactly where I am supposed to be right now  in my life and I am just grateful that Heavenly Father has guided me up to this point to where I am. Being a missionary has blessed my life in so many ways by helping me to become a better person and to have a better relationship with my Savior.

Anyways I love you all and hope that you have a good Halloween!!
-Sister Washburn

Monday, October 21, 2013

"Finding"


Hello!!

This week was good minus the fact that we had to get flu shots. I was already a little bit sick and so the flu shot made me more sick so I was out for a whole day. But the beauty of being in a trio is that my comps dropped me off at a members house for a few hours and then went out and worked. Sister Phillips is awesome!!! She is from Tennessee and she was going to BYU and she is 21 and she has a little bit of an accent and she is just the best trainee ever. We all get along really well so it has been a lot of fun to be in a trio. Oh also she is going to Sao Paulo Interlagos, Brazil. She will be here for at least 6 weeks and then she will leave whenever her visa comes. They are super backed up for Brazil though (apparently 500 missionaries are waiting for their visas to go there, I guess the soccer world cup is in Brazil this year and so that is making it hard) We have her practice her portugese on us every morning for a few minutes and even though we have no idea what she is saying (actually I can understand some of it cause some words are similar to spanish or french) it helps her a lot to remember things.
 Last week when we taught the YM/YW we talked a lot about first having the desire to share the gospel, then acting on the desire by trusting that the Lord will help give you opportunities and help you know what to say. Then we kind of made it like a district meeting where we had eveyone get into pairs and practice teach. We had them practice different senarios of answering questions their friends might have or asking their friends to come to a chruch activity. I think that it really helped them becuase we ended up passing out 12 book of mormons at the end to people who wanted to give one away!! Our stake has really been emphasizing missionary work lately and I think that it has pushed a lot of members to do more. In stake conference our stake president said that "we could double our stake." Afterwards when all the missionaries in the stake had fhe with him, he said that the spirit prompted him to say that. He was nervous becuase that is a big commitment but he felt like that was what the Lord wanted him to say. I think that this is awesome!! The Lord really is preparing people in our stake to hear the gospel! It is so exciting to be a missionary in this area where church leaders are focused on really making missionary work a priority.
We have really been trying to work more on finding lately. We have a few potentials that we have found lately so hopefully they work out. Things with Viv aren't going too well. She hasn't been keeping any of her commitments and while she loves learning and knows that what we have taught her is true, she doesn't want to change. I think it is just kind of scary for her because she would have to change a lot. We were going to drop her if she didn't come to church this sunday (which she didn't) but she said that she doesn't want us to give up on her so we might try a few more times. We might bring Mario over to tell her his story (the guy that was homeless) because he didn't want to chang eeither at first. He always tells us that he used to be Korihor at first. He had been agnostic all his life and had told people that they don't need to believe in Jesus or God. But after the missionaries taught him and he realized all the things that the Lord had done for him, he had a change of heart. The Lord has done so much for Viv and if she would just realize that and let it motivate her to change hopefully she will be able to commit herself again. Training has been a really good experience for me. I feel like I have already gotten better at a lot of things since I have to be the one leading and being the example for how to do things. I feel like I am a lot more confident in contacting which can sometimes be hard for me. We had a blitz this saturday and me and the Sister I was with were talking to everyone we saw. We even practically ran down the street to catch some people who were getting out of their car. (there aren't that many people out and about in this area so we have to use every chance we get). We are going to keep focusing on finding so hopefully we will soon have some more people to teach. Also you should pray for the missionaries in the ward back home by name. One thing that I have learned on my mission is that specific prayers are so much more powerful. It will really help them a lot!! Last week for p-day we went to PCH again so Sister Phillips could see the ocean. It has been beautiful weather here lately and the ocean looked so pretty.

This week I have been thinking a lot about faith. As a missionary I have learned that faith can be one of the hardest things to have. I have also learned that a lot of times we have to act and to show the Lord that we are willing to try and that we have the faith that as we do what he is asked he will bless us. Sometimes we won't have a flood of blessing come the minute we act on our faith. But as we show the Lord that we are willing to do whatever is asked of us we will eventually see the blessings come.

Love you all!!
-Sister Washburn

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Now a Trio


 

Hello!

I have like no time to write this week because it is a holiday and so we all have to share the computers in the family history library. My new comp is Sister Phillips. She is from Tennesse (so she has an awesome accent) and she was going to BYU before her mission. We had a really good lesson with Viv this week. Also we taught the YM/YW a lesson on missionary work and I think they really like it. At the end a bunch of them wanted Book of Mormons to give out to their friends. Being in a trio is really fun so far. It was a little hard to teach at first but we have gotten used to it. Got to go but I will write more next week. Love you all!

-Sister Washburn

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Pictures from Fountain Valley

 
With an Elder in my zone -ouch, check out that sunburn.  September is one of the hottest months in So. California. * With sisters in my zone, Me, Sister Wadsen, Sister Robson & Sister Perry

 
The beach from the Pacific Coast Highway.  * The pier just down the street from downtown Huntington Beach.

There is an El Paso street in our area. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Training a "greenie"


I'm having a baby!!!! haha jk But I'm going to be training a new missionary :) Sister Robson and I are staying together this transfer and we are training a visa-waiter who is going to Brazil. (so she will be with us for 6 weeks) I'm really excited!! New missionaries always have extra enthusiasm and motivation and it will be good for Sister Robson and I to work harder since we have to be extra good examples.This week was really good. We had two church tours that went really well. One with a less active and her boyfriend who both enjoyed learning more about the church. At the end of the tour the less active said the closing prayer and it is the first time that I have heard her pray! Then the other tour was with the non-member wife of a less active. She is awesome and she really loved the tour and getting to learn more about the church and how it runs. She said that she could feel the peace in the chapel that was different from the rest of the church. We keep visiting her and her husband in hopes that he will come back and she will get baptized. I think that it will take a while but they are definately warming up to it all. We also are still working with Viv. She really is progressing and her prayers are getting better (a lot more sincere and focused on others not just herself). She is also building her faith and even helps us to remember to rely on our faith when things get rough. We had an awesome zone meeting this week. We talked about pride and how we shouldn't compare our numbers or our success to other missionaries. As long as we are trying our best and working hard the Lord will bless us. We also talked about having unity in the zone. The zone leaders talked about how the Elders and the Sisters aren't on separate missions that we need to work together and become friends so that we can support each other. It was just really good. And conference was awesome!!! So many good talks. We watched the sessions at the stake center. We stayed and ate lunch there (we brought it with us) so we were at the church from 9:00-3:00 all day. But it was great. I loved the talks on missionary work. I think that even as a missionary I am sometimes hesitant to pray for specific things to happen because then I will have to act on them. I am going to work more on praying for specific aspects of missionary work and talking to more people (not just when we are knocking and contacting). There were also lots of good talks about keeping the commandments in a world that is getting farther and farther from good morals. I also liked the talks about bringing people back- that is missionary work too! Being a missionary is awesome! I know that the Lord really is hastening his work and that he is preparing people to receive the gospel. Sharing the gospel can be hard but if we pray for opportunities we will find them. And the Lord promises us that if have faith we will be given the words to speak. I have seen this on my mission that there are times when I have no idea what I am going to say but when I show the faith to open my mouth the Lord makes up the difference and the spirit guides me to know what people need to hear. I'm also so grateful to have a prophet on the earth and leaders who are inspired to teach us what Heavenly Father wants us to know. When we follow their counsel we really will have peace and lasting happiness in our lives that we can't get from anywhere else.
Love,

Sister Washburn

Monday, September 30, 2013

Heavenly Father Knows Us Individually


This week was a lot better. Our investigator cam to church!!! We have been trying to get her there for like a month so it was great. Sitting next to her and her boys in the chapel was the best thing ever. We also taught the plan of salvation lesson with her and it went really well. She has been really stressed out for the past couple of days. She is putting her boys back in school because she doesn't have time to do homeschooling, she is in school right now, and since she is a single mom and doesn't have a job things have just been piling up for her. She doesn't have very many friends and so we are one of her main sources of support. I think that faith has really hit home for her this week because she has just had to trust that things will work out. She has been praying and she got a blessing from the Elders which really helped her a lot. She is progressing slowly but I can totally see how the gospel has helped her so much already. This week I got a blessing from one of the Elders just because this transfer has worn me out since I have had to deal with some extra stuff companion wise. The Elder gave me one of the most beautiful blessings, everything he said was exactly what I needed to hear. It was a testimony to me that Heavenly Father knows me and exactly what I am going through and what I need because there is no way that that Elder could have know to say those things. This week things have been falling into place, and through prayer and trusting that the Lord is there to help me, I feel like things just always work out. We have some church tours scheduled next week with part member families. We have also been telling people we meet and less actives about conference. The RS broadcast was awesome. I loved what they said about how keeping our covenants is a reflection of our love for Christ. You should have seen the gym for the dinner after mom. It was really cute and they had cakes at all of the tables for people to try. This is the last week of the transfer so we will know soon if things are changing.

Love you all!!!

-Sister Washburn

 

Monday, September 23, 2013

"Walk like an Egyptian"


This was a really good week. (minus me being sick for 2 days, but I'm better now!) Last Monday we went down to PCH and I got to see the ocean! It was so pretty and the weather was really nice. Then we went to main street in Huntington beach which has a lot of souvenir shops, restaurants, and surf shops. (huntington beach is called surf city) We have randomly contacted a lot of Egyptian people lately. Two of the them came to church but we realized they live in a different ward boundaries so we had to pass them off. Another Egyptian family that we met lives in our apartment complex. We went over and talked to them about our church. They are muslim and I never knew that we had so many similarities with them! They don't drink, smoke, gambol, they pay a form of tithing, they pray and read their scriptures, they believe that we are God's children, they believe in prophets, they believe families are important. The main difference is that they believe that Jesus was just a prophet. It was a great discussion but they weren't really interested in converting, just curious about what we believe.It made me think though just how important it is to believe in Christ and have faith in the atonement and how much they are missing since they don't believe that. Also we are still working with Viv. Sadly she didn't come to church on sunday and her reason was that she was going to an exclusive red carpet event at the Emmys. (welcome to orange county) But we had a great experience with her this week. She has been having trouble keeping commitments especially since she started her nursing class. A few nights ago we were over at her house and I asked her how she was doing with saying her prayers every night. She told us that she was trying and that she had had an experience this week. She was listening to music and when she started to listen to the lyrics she suddenly thought about God and how much he loved her. (coming from someone who has been atheist her whole life this was awesome!!) It was a Rhianna song (which doesn't have anything to do with God but the lyrics said something about "where have you been all my life") As she was telling us she broke down into tears and told us that she just never felt this way before and never felt so much love. We told her that what she was feeling was the spirit and that, however random it may seem, God knew her and he knew how to talk to her even if it was through a song. It was just a great moment because I can see her faith growing in just knowing that God is there and He wants her to be happy. I made a comment  to her that all of these little moments are bringing her closer to the truth. She agreed but she said that this wasn't a small moment. She said that it felt like lightning struck and things just clicked. This was a good reminder for me. Sometimes it can be frustrating when investigators won't even do something as simple as praying. But for her realizing that God was there was a huge moment for her, since she has never known he was there. It was great. This week we also had a finding training where we were taught about how to be better finders and what we can do to try to get more people to teach. We are trying to still find right now which can be hard in our area but hopefully we will keep getting better at it. We are getting excited for conference because it is ten times more awesome when you are a missionary. Also our mission president told us this week that there are 80,000 missionaries out right now which is crazy!! The work really is moving forth!

love you all!!

-Sister washburn

Monday, September 16, 2013

Games at Zone Conference


Ya I got the package mom, thanks!!! My companion loved the bookmark. We have a car but we are only allowed to use it in the evenings after dinner and on Mondays and Sundays. All other times we have to walk or bike.(We asked if she could take an investigator to the BYU/Long Beach State women's soccer game next Saturday) I wish that we could go to a game but I'm pretty sure that its not allowed. Also we aren't allowed to go out of our area and Long beach is too far from where I am. This week we gave our investigator Viv a church tour and committed her to baptism! (oct 12) she seemed a little unsure because she has been atheist her whole life so this will be a big change but she said that if she gets a testimony she will get baptized! So we are going to keep teaching and working with her. We also had a guy we talked to on the street show up to church!! Hopefully he lives in our area because we still don't have his address. Last monday we had a zone activity instead of basketball because our zone leaders wanted to do something to get everyone involved. So my comp and I were in charge and so we played signs and do you love your neighbor. It was so much fun!!! We are out eldered in our zone (4 sisters 14 elders) so it was fun to have an activity to get to know everyone better which wasn't basketball. Also we visited a recent convert that sister white baptized 6 months ago. He was homeless and really discouraged about life and everything when they found him. They taught the lessons and he came to church and ever since he has been a member his life has completely turned around.  He has a job and is a really strong member. Its always great to hear stories of how the gospel changes lives. Other than that there isn't a ton of new things happening, just trying to find people to teach and to visit less actives. 

Love you!!

-sister Washburn

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

New Church Videos- "Mormon Missionaries"

What do Mormon Missionaries do?  Check out this video.  For more information on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, go to www.lds.org and click on the 'Introduction to Mormons' videos.

A little kindness for a missionary

*Samantha's current companion is Sister Robson.  She is a convert, doesn't have any family support and never gets anything from home.  Sam asked that if the next time I send a package,  I put in something for Sister Robson.  I thought I'd let you all know incase you plan to send anything in the next few weeks while they are companions.  Thanks :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sidewalk Chalk in the Park


Fountain Valley is good, I think I am finally getting used to it here. My companion and I get along pretty well so that is good. She has been out for 13 months so it is nice to be companions with someone who is more experienced. This week we went on exchanges with our sister training leaders. So I went to Huntington beach with Sister Fulgham. We had a really good time, it is pretty close to the ocean so there was a nice breeze and you can smell the ocean early in the morning. We walked all day though so by the end of the day I was exhausted. I felt like I was on pioneer trek again. It was good to have a change of scene and to get to learn from Sister Fulgham and see how she does things. We don't teach the after gospel lessons or gospel principles- the ward mission leader does. He always has really good lessons. Last week the lesson was about conversion and the role the spirit plays in becoming converted. The lady that the missionaries saved her life is still an investigator. Her name is Viv and she has 2 boys (11 & 8). We had an fhe with her and a family in the ward. It was kind of chaotic with the kids though so we didn't get to teach very much. She was supposed to come to church on sunday but she got sick and couldn't come. So we are going to try for next week and hopefully teach her more this week. We went over and did service for her the other day and she told us that she has never had people help her out like this before (she has a rough past). She is always amazed by how nice we are and we tell her that as members of the church we help everyone and we try to do what jesus would. Hopefully this week we can teach her more and see some progress. The lady in our ward with the cute house, her daughter is serving in Jacksonville, Florida. We haven't been over to her house in a while (she lives in the elders area) but when we do I get a picture to send to you. We visited a less active this week who grew up with Brother Usevitch. His name is Bruce Johnston and it was crazy that he knows their whole family. Also this week we did a really fun finding activity. We went to the park along with two other sisters (sis wadsen and sis perry) and we drew out the plan of salvation in sidewalk chalk. It was so fun! It was a great way to talk to people and it was cool because we got to literally walk them through the plan of salvation. We have been going by Marie and Theresa (the recent converts) and reading the book of mormon with them. They are so excited about learning and are soaking in everything like a sponge. It is great to see their enthusiasim for the gospel. It has been really really hot and humid this week and so it has really been tiring me out being in the sun all day. It's weird here becuase it is super hot in the mornings and then it gets cooler in the afternoons because of the ocean breeze but then it is still hot at night. September is the hottest month here but hopefully it should be cooling down soon. 

Love You!!

-Sister Washburn

Friday, September 6, 2013

Welcome to Fountain Valley!


Hello from Fountain Valley!

So this area is a lot different than my last area. It is closer to the beach and is at the southern edge of our mission right by Huntington beach. The ward is similar to our home ward with a lot of families and a good amount of youth. Our ward mission leader is awesome. His name is Brother Monson (no direct relation to the prophet that I know of) and he has been a bishop, in the stake presidency, and a mission president. Also our ward has 9 ward missionaries!!! Its crazy. The area is wealthier so it is kind of hard to find people who are willing to listen. Also it is harder to contact people there aren't has many people out and about here like there were in my last area. It has been super hot here the past week. We walked all day on wednesday and I got sunburned pretty bad (even though I put on sunscreen!) It should be cooler this week though because since we are closer to the ocean it doesn't usually get as hot as it would in my last area. My new companion's name is Sister Robson. She is from Wyoming and she has been on her mission for a year now. 

I kind of came into the ward during in the middle of a bunch of things. First off there was a baptism this week!! I don't know if I can fully call it my baptism because I just met them a couple of times and then showed up to the service, but my new companion and I are the ones that baptized them I guess. It was a mother and a daughter. The mother (marie) is 70 years old and the daughter (theresa) is 35. They are the nicest ladies and were so excited to get baptized. Baptisms are 10x more awesome when you are a missionary. You realize just how much this step will help them in their lives and you get to feel the joy from their choice to follow Christ and to join his church. So that was great. Also one of our investigators has a crazy story. She was a referral from a member of the church who met and talked to her her when he came over to spray for bugs. Then a few days later the sisters came over to meet her. After they left they gave her their number and reminded her that if she ever need anything that she could call them. Then a few days later she got super sick. She called everyone she could think of to try to find someone to drive her to the hospital but nothing was working out. Finally she called the sisters who were able to find a family that took her to the hospital and that watched her two boys while she was gone. So a few days later when I came to fountain valley we came to visit her and try to help her out since she was at home just trying to heal and get better. As it turns out the family that took her to the hospital has a lot of random connections with her. Also she has been atheist for most of her life due to having bad experiences with different churches. She tells us that she has never felt so loved and not judged by anyone in her life than by us missionaries and the members she has met. The elders came over and gave her a blessing a few days ago. After the blessing she told us about how she feels like there is light around us and that she could feel that light when the elders gave her the blessing. So that was a perfect opportunity to talk about the holy ghost! Anyways she has been through a lot and it will take some time to help her regain her trust in God but we feel like she has totally been led to find the members and to have the missionaries in her life like she has. The missionaries basically saved her life because at the hospital they found out she was bleeding internally and if she hadn't been taken to the hospital right then she probably would have died. So ya, kind of dramatic but the Lord has a way of putting people where they need to be when they need to be there. We are teaching her at the Kennedys (the members that took her to the hospital) tonight for fhe and so hopefully her heart is ready and open to our message. 

I'll send some pictures next week, we have limited time since today is a holiday and the library is closed we have to fight 35 other missionaries for the computers at the family history library.

Love,

Sister Washburn

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Great Week and Being Transfered


This week was really good. We went to see Lowden again and asked if he had read the chapter in 2 Nephi we assigned him. He was like "Ya I did and then I just started reading from the beginning and I'm in Jacob now." We were like "What?!!" It was awesome. We taught him the plan of salvation and had Alex and an RM who just got back at the lesson with us. Also he has a baptismal date for sept 14!! We'll see what happens though because his parents are getting a divorce soon so they aren't very willing to give him permission to be baptized right now. He also came to a ward activity and a missionary fireside. The ward activity was a big dinner at one of the parks. A lot of less actives came and we got to meet some of the Elder's investigators. One is a really pretty brazilian lady and the other lady named Shirley didn't believe there were sister missionaries like the elders said until she met us! It was a really great activity for fellow shipping and getting people to meet the members. We also stopped by Irene (the eternigator) and she told us she gave up drinking and got rid of all the beer in her house. It was awesome! (she's tried to quit before so hopefully this time it will last) She's definitely taking her time committing but maybe if she keeps taking little steps she will eventually be ready. We also did a lot of service like helping an older couple repaint their house and helping Natalie out (the lady pregnant with triplets). Also we were at dinner at a members house and the mom said that she really appreciated us because she could tell we are good missionaries and that she would trust us to teach any of her friends! It is awesome to know that the members trust you and have faith in you. I think some of the missionaries in this ward in the past haven't been as committed or mature about being missionaries so it is good that the members are really trusting the missionaries again. We also contacted a teenage girl who seemed interested and we also went by a potential investigator and met his daughter who was really nice and seemed interested in the book of Mormon. One of our less actives has been coming to church for 5 weeks in a row! Another less active family has been coming the past 3 weeks and took us out for lunch a few days ago. They thanked us for bringing the spirit with us and helping to uplift them.
And so, since this was a really great week, guess what? I'm getting transferred!!!! I'm going to Fountain valley which is in Huntington beach, so it is going to be a big change. I'm sad to be leaving everyone behind that I have really gotten to know and love but it will be exciting to be in a new area!

Love you all!!!

-Sister Washburn
The Zone.
This is me and Sister Reinsch at the LA visitors center.
MTC Map
Back at the MTC.
This super awesome Hawaiian family that love the missionaries.
 This is a shopping area right next to where we live, the shops are pretty much all Korean. Welcome to Cerritos!
Another from the MTC.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

SIDENOTE!

She is really grateful for all the packages people are sending her.  CDs are good but she has enough Mormon Tabernacle choir now and instrumental, so if you really want to send a CD, just something churchy with vocals.  And, they aren’t allowed to chew gum in public because it looks unprofessional so maybe don’t send her gum.  Thanks for all your support! 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Temple Week

This week was way better!!! We had zone conference this week which is basically a bunch of trainings from 9:30-3:30. It was really good though. We had a training on teaching while you listen and listening while you teach. It makes a HUGE difference in lessons and teaching situations when people realize that you are truly listening to them and that you are invested in what they have to say. People are able to open up so much more and can really feel Christ's love through you. We also had a training on teaching clearly. This includes a lot of things but the sisters that taught this focused on defining words. A lot of times we throw out words that we hear all the time at church but people don't really know what repentance, atonement, prophet, priesthood, all mean so we have to make sure to explain things better so that we are better teachers. President Tew gave a good training on Christ and how his last lecture and one of his last acts before the atonement was about service. He washed the disciples feet (which was something you just didn't do) and told them that if He would be willing to do this for them they should be that much more willing to serve others. Focusing on others really is what this life is about. The things that make us unhappy are based on us worrying about ourselves. Ultimately everything Christ did was for others so in order to become more like him we need to serve those around us. I also like how president mentioned that Jesus was born into a poor family, in the lowest of circumstances (a stable), and his family was also looked down on since Mary wasn't officially married yet. Jesus was born into a situation where all of the odds were against him yet he rose above it all. I really like this because I feel like some of the people we meet have had a rough past but this shows that anyone can change and that the gospel can bring you peace and happiness no matter what you have been through because Christ has been through it.
We have a new investigator named Lowden. He is 17 and his family investigated the church a while back but then decided they weren't interested. We taught him about the book of Mormon when we first met him and then we met with him again on Sunday. We brought one of the priests with us to the lesson. Lowden seemed like he wasn't really all that interested. He liked learning about our church but he wasn't interested in converting. (he's a musician and he said that all he needs is his music) Anyways Alex (the priest) has had a rough past. His mom left him and his siblings with his aunt and uncle because being a parent was "too much." He had been inactive for a long while but started coming back to church 2 years ago. He bore his testimony that this church changed his life and help him to be happy even through everything he's been through. He said that he isn't as angry anymore and he realizes the important things in life. He said that before he came back to church he wasn't that interested either, he thought he was living life fine without religion. But once he gave the church a chance it completely changed his outlook on life. So members are awesome!!! Alex was able to say some things that Lowden really needed to hear. Sister Reinsch and I bore testimony about how this gospel has helped us. For me I mentioned how if today I lost everything that I have the only thing I would have left is my faith in Christ. Then we taught him the first lesson and by the end of the lesson he seemed so much more open to moving forward with this. He said to give him a few weeks to read some of the book of mormon and pray and then he will decide if this is something he is going to do. So hopefully his heart will be softened to the message and he will be able to receive an answer. Other than that we have just been working with less actives still (four came to church on sunday!!) and talking to people we see and going by potential investigators in our area book.
Also we got to go to the temple this week!!!! (thats why I'm writing on a tuesday, our p-day got switched to a tuesday this week so that we could go to the temple) We get to go every 3 months. The L.A. temple is huge!!! And we also got to go to the visitors center and see the family history and distribution center that are there. I wish we could go to the temple more often but it was really nice to get a chance to go again.
Some good things that happened this week: we were knocking and we met this really nice hindu lady who let us come in and talk to her. Hindus believe that all religions are correct since they all help us find the "way." Anyways it was still nice to talk to her, she was very nice and we talked about some bollywood movies that we've all seen so that was cool. We also have finally been able to contact some less actives that have been out of town for a while and finally meet them. We did some service for a less active lady who is having triplets!!! Her name is Natalie, she is a convert from 6 years ago, and she is the cutest 38 year old I know. We helped her clean out her office which she is going to turn in to the babies room. We also visited a less active lady from the Philippines and got to eat some more phillipino food (phillipino food is kind of hit or miss but they always feed us good stuff). We also gave a church tour to one of our "eternigators." It was a good experience and I still don't think she is ready to change because she has word of wisdom issues that she is not willing to give up, but hey I think we are still helping her testimony grow little by little.The mormon ad you sent me was great because we recite D&C section 4 everytime that we have meetings. This whole section explains what we as missionaries do. We also recite our purpose at every meeting. Our purpose as missionaries is "to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost and enduring to the end." As we invite others to learn more and help people come closer to Christ, their faith will grow and they will want to repent and make those covenants that will help them to receive the blessings that the Lord has in store for all of his children who follow Him. So that is what we have been really trying to keep in mind this week. To do the little things like extending commitments and teaching principles that will help members, less actives, and non-members come closer to Christ. I love you all!! Have a good last few days of summer!


-Sister Washburn
 ^LA Temple^
 ^The view from the temple.^
  ^Me and sister Reinsch.^
  ^Me, Sister Decker, Sister Curtis, and Sister Reinsch.^
^Sister Washburn!!!!!!^

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Faith

Hello!!
So I'm not going to lie this was a really hard week. It just seemed like nothing was going right. No one was keeping their appointments with us, the 2 refferals we had weren't interested, and we bascially have no investigators and no one to teach so we were visiting a lot of less actives but most of them are not that willing to change. Also I think the "greenie fire" that I had from being a new missionary finally kind of wore off and I realized that being a missionary is hard!! I can honestly say that I have never tried so hard at something in my entire life, all day everyday no matter what the results are. Sister Reinsch and I were feeling really discouraged and we had a few moments where we were like "I honestly don't want to go out today because I'm tired of trying so hard." But thank goodness for awesome district leaders and zone leaders!!! Since we were discouraged we weren't trying as hard in our work and so things really weren't moving forward which got us more discouraged. So since we didn't know what to do we called our zone leaders and were like "Help us! We feel like nothing we are doing is working and we feel really confused and unsure about what more we can do." They talked us through it and we realized that being discouraged and not wanting to work was because we weren't having faith. Sometimes I really hate knocking since we're lucky if someone listens to us and if they do listen we're lucky if they want to meet with us again. But as a missionary its not about what you feel like doing its about doing what you have to do. Showing the Lord that you are willing to do everything there is to find the people he has prepared. I feel like so far I have had a lot of faith and have been trying to rely on the Lord to guide us and to help us in the work. But after this week and letting the discouragement get to me I feel like I am starting all over and having to rebuild my faith again. We met with the zone leaders and they talked to us about how we can develop the faith to find. We need to do more in order to find more people because right now we have no one to teach. We need to put all of our efforts into finding. We also talked to our district leader and he said that he has had these kinds of weeks before. But surprisingly the answer for not wanting to work is to work! You have to show the Lord that you are willing to do everything he asks you in order to find people and to be blessed in your efforts. So we are doing a lot better and I am really trying to have faith (its just a lot easier said than done). Also we got to participate in a blitz this week which was exciting!! Some of the sisters in our zone have been having a really hard time in their area particularly in finding (sounds familiar . . but it wasn't us). Anyways so what a blitz is is that all of the missionaries in the zone get together and we each take a section of these sister's area and for one arfternoon all of us go and knock and contact in their area. We contacted a few people so hopefully they find someone to teach soon! So ya this has been a really long week and honestly I am just trying to forget it and move on and do better this week. I have been reading in the scriptures in Mosiah and I love the story of the people of Alma. They were in bondage to the Lamanites and were persecuted, mocked, and smitten. But through it all they had amazing faith. They relied on the Lord and prayed to him for strength and comfort. Because of their faith their burdens were made light and they were able to endure their trials with patience and cheerfulness. This story is amazing to me!! When hard things happen it can be really hard to be cheerful and try to endure patiently (for example this week). But I know that things always work out better when we turn to the Lord for strength. He never leaves us alone even when we feel like things aren't working out the way they should. He knows exactly what we are going through and he knows perfectly how to help us and comfort us. We put pictures on our planners and this transfer the front of mine has a picture of Christ with a quote by Neal A Maxwell. The quote says "I testify that Jesus is the perfect example and leader, not asking us to do what He has not done, not asking us to endure what He has not endured, giving us enough, but not more than we can manage." Christ knows we can endure those hard weeks! He knows how it feels to be discouraged and to not have anyone listen to you and to feel like what you are doing isn't making that big of a difference. And if we have faith in him we will be able to see that we really are doing his work and we are making a difference even though it might just be small moments or we might be doing things where we can't see the effects right away. So stay tuned because this week is going to be awesome and miracles are going to happen!!! Hurrah for Israel!!
Love,
Sister Washburn

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sisters Conference

Hello everyone!
This week we had a Sister's Conference. All of the 45 sisters in our mission got together (we are getting a few more sisters in a couple of weeks!) and we had some training, get to know you stuff, lunch, and a slideshow of pictures of the sisters. The Conference was based on President Uctdorf's talk at the young womens broadcast "Your Journey Home." If you haven't read this talk go read it NOW! It is so good! It's definitely on my list of all time favorite talks because there are just so many great parts and I love the way that President Uchtdorf says things. Anyways the conference was great because I got to see all of my MTC buddies and some of the other sisters I got to know last transfer. So this week was busy but we had to drop a lot of our investigators. Leslie hasn't been keeping her appointments and Aaron we haven't been able to contact in a really long time. Our other referrals weren't interested. Finally we went to try one of the referrals for the last time before we were going to drop him. He answered the door and we ended up giving the first lesson. And at the end he agreed to be baptized! But then we found out he's 18 and just graduated so we had to hand him over to the elders in charge of the singles ward. So basically we are back to square one and we are just trying to find people. We have been challenging the members to hand out mormon.org pass along cards. Also we have been really trying to talk to everyone! Its hard because sometimes we see someone across the street or getting out of their car or something where we have to really go out of our way to talk to them even if though it might be easier to justify passing by. We haven't gotten any return appointments yet but we have been able to talk to a lot more people and teach them more about our church!! We met this Korean preacher the other day who was really nice and we ended up clearing up a lot of misconceptions he had about the church so at least we are helping people to understand mormons better.
Well our schedule is like this
6:30 wake up (every day-no sleeping in :/ )
6:30-7:00 exercise, Our mission is a running mission so we have to run for our exercise. We go to the high school track by our school and run (well walk and run because Sis Reinsch has even less endurance for running than me but we're working on it)
7:00-8:00 we get ready and eat breakfast
8:00-9:00 is personal study (I just started the book of mormon again and sometimes I read talks too)
9:00-11:00 companionship study (It's two hours long because I am still in training but once my training is done it will just be for one hour)
11:00-1:00 out working
1:00-2:00 lunch
2:00-3:00 PMG study (Since I'm in training I have an extra hour of preach my gospel study but once I'm done with training we will be out working right after lunch)
3:00-5:00 out working
5:00-6:00 dinner
6:00-9:00 out working
9:00-9:30 go home and do our planning for the next day
9:30-10:30 get ready for bed (we can go to bed as soon as we are ready after planning we just have to be in bed with lights off by 10:30 at the latest)
So ya our days are pretty busy. Mondays are different because of p-day and Thursdays are different because we have district meeting and weekly planning. There are about 200 active members in our ward (out of like 500 something) so I guess it is kind of small. It's bigger than some of the other wards in our district though so I guess it sometimes feels bigger than it is. Ya we have a set of elders in our ward as well (the zone leaders). So that is really nice because they help us figure things out and how to best work with the ward. The ward is split in half so we each are in charge of half of the ward. Our ward area is pretty big in general. Just our half is 3x as big as most sister's areas in our mission. Over the years a lot of people have moved out of the ward and a lot of korean, chinese, and indian people have moved into the area so the ward has gotten a lot smaller I guess. One of the less active families we visited this week have the cutest kids!! The dad is from taiwan and the mom is half japanese so they are teaching their kids chinese. Chinese is crazy! The dad was explaining that for the word "ma" there are five different pronunciations and depending on how you pronounce it, it means a different word. We also visited another less active family that is from the Philippines. They fed us lunch which was chicken adobe (a popular chicken dish in the philippines) and also they had some really good mangos. I usually don't really like mangos but these ones were really good. They were yellow instead of red and green on the outside so maybe I just like this kind better. They have a five year old daughter who is a really good singer!!! She sang "girl on fire" and "what makes you beautiful" for us. She is opening for a famous philippino singer who is coming here to perform so that's pretty cool. Oh and another cool story. This week we were knocking on a certain street that we had felt prompted to knock. Only one lady had answered and she wasn't that interested. We got to the last door before we were going to go home for lunch. The lady who answered the door said that she was trying to get back into religion. She said her daughter had a friend who was mormon who is home for the summer and that she really wanted her daughter to join the mormon church. She lives in Cypress (which is out of our area) but works for a lady there on that street. Even though we won't teach her since she lives somewhere else, it still seems like a really good referral for some other missionaries!! I really know that Heaveny Father is guiding us in everything we do. Even if things don't always work out or we can't always see an immediate benefit from what we are doing, I know that he is preparing us and leading us to people to teach.
Thanks for all of your prayers!!
Love,
Sister Washburn

Monday, July 29, 2013

Hello from The Great California Long Beach Mission!

Hello from The Great California Long Beach Mission! (as my mission president would say)
 
This was a good week other than my companion getting sick! She was sick in bed for 2 days so I just had to sit around at home all day. Basically I finished the book of mormon, organized all my stuff, read the whole ensign, read my study journal, took a couple naps, and tried not to be too bored since there wasn't much to do. I got to go on exchanges with Sister White this week!  So that was super fun cause I miss getting to see her. I'm getting along a lot better with my companion. I think that once we merged our ways of doing things and figured out more what we are doing we are really getting along. We got 4 headquarter refferals this week!! This like never happens. Headquarter referrals are when someone requested the missionaries from mormon.org or missionaries street contact someone who isn't in their area so they send the info to you. Usually you are lucky if you get one referral  a transfer so we were really surprised! One of them was a hindu lady who just wanted a bible so she could teach her kids about Christianity (but she wasn't interested in the discussions), another one we have a return appointment with a guy named Richard, and the other 2 we haven't gotten ahold of yet. The investigators we have right now have been really busy and our appointments have been falling through. They aren't home when we go to their house for our appointments and they are hard to contact. Hopefully things will work out because we haven't been able to meet with Leslie in like 3 weeks! As a district we have all been praying that each companionship will be able to see someone they are teaching enter the waters of baptism this transfer. We try to remember this in every prayer and since we pray at least around 20 times a day, it is really helpful in keeping us focused! Hopefully someone we are working with or someone we will find will be committed enough so that they will join the church! I rode my bike for the first time last week. It's hard to ride in a skirt and I hate wearing helmets because they are super dorky and mess up my hair but oh well-- all in the name of safety right? We usually just walk or drive. Our area is 3 times as big as most of the areas in the mission so we drive to a certain part and then walk around. Also I went to ward council for the first time on my mission (finally!) The ward has good intentions to do missionary work but hopefully we can help them become more actively involved. Sister Reinsch and I want to do splits sometimes with some of the sisters it is just hard because they are either older ladies who aren't super capable/willing or they are young mothers with a bunch of little kids. So we will see what we can do. I just finished the book of mormon but I read the books in random order so I finished with Alma. Suprisingly the war chapters were some of my favorites. Captain Moroni is awesome!!! I love how devoted he was to God and his country and how even when the Nephites seemed outnumbered or they weren't sure how they were going to get back a city, he always told his people to trust in the Lord. As they showed obedience to God and his commandments, time and time again they were delivered by the hand of the Lord. And then come in the stripling warriors who had so much faith, strong testimonies, and courage that they did not doubt that God would help them. They ended up fighting with so fearlessly and with miraculous strength that not a single one was killed. These examples have helped me a lot to remember that if I continue to have faith and to show God that I am willing to follow him and do what he says that he will guide us in our efforts. Sister White used to always say "sometimes we are the seed planters, sometimes we are the growers, and sometimes we are the harvesters." As missionaries it is easy to just want to be the harvesters all the time and to see people getting baptized right and left. But a lot of the time we are planting seeds or helping people grow in the gospel. It we have faith and work diligently God will lead us to those who are ready and through patience and obedience we will be able to see people enter the waters of baptism.
Love you all!!
Sister Washburn
 
Me and Sister Reinsch, yes that is a super fancy library in the background.