Monday, December 1, 2014
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!!
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
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.
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!!!
Monday, November 17, 2014
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!
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
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!!
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
This week was better than last week but it was a little rough. This same thing happen to me at the end of the time that I was in Fountain Valley. I have just been here so long that it is hard to be as positive and motivated about the area. But I am trying to be grateful for the small things so that we can have a good last month of the transfer. We got a call this week from Rex. He decided to stay in school to finish his masters degree so he won't leave the seminary and move back here until December 19. He is still getting baptized and everything but not when I'm here. :( I was pretty bummed about that. We haven't seen him in a long time and there is a chance we will see him the week before I leave. But it's okay as long as he gets baptized I'm happy. Halloween was a pretty normal day for us we had to go in and clean after dinner but then the zone leaders told us we had a last minute zone meeting at 8:00. We had no idea what the meeting was about and I think we all got nervous for no reason. The mission has been struggling lately to meet our goals and to be as motivated and united as we could be. I think a big part of it has to do with the fact that 15 missionaries go home with me and then by the end of December 40 missionaries will go home. Just a lot of people are going home soon and so I think a lot of people have kinda started slacking. Anyways President changed our goals to focusing less on finding and teaching with members to bring people to church and helping our investigators progress. Also we have to write down 1 miracle everyday in our "I will hasten my work journal." We have to pray for our zone every morning and night. And the whole mission has to read the BofM by the end of the year. And each missionary has to make vision, goals, and plans for what they want to become by the end of their mission. So I think this is definitely needed and will help out a lot.
We have still had trouble getting Anthony to church (mostly because we can't get his mom to come). But his 2 older brothers have been going to the young mens activities. One of them, Nathan, has been coming to church on his own for the last 2 weeks. Then last week was fast Sunday and the young men president got up to bear his testimony. Then he had all of the young men come up to the stand and then he told them they were all going to bear their testimonies. They didn't look too excited because I think a lot of them probably haven't born their testimony in private much less in front of the ward. They did a good job and Nathan even bore a short testimony about how he was grateful to be here to learn more about Jesus Christ and the church. So that was pretty cool. We have also been visiting this lady in the ward named Sister Talley. She was baptized 3 years ago and then was less active for a while but is coming back to church and is going to go through the temple soon. She still needs more of a gospel foundation though so we try to teach her once a week. We found out she really hasn't read the Book of Mormon that much at all so we started reading it with her. At this point she still doesn't really know its true so we definitely want to help build her testimony of the book of mormon. I really know that the scriptures are what helps us gain more understanding, guidance, and faith in the gospel. I feel like lately I have been able to find answers to a lot of my questions in the scriptures. I read a talk recently by Elder Bednar called "A Reservoir of Living Water." He talks about different ways to study the scriptures and how it really keeps us close to God and on the right path.
So missions have this sneaky way of bringing all of your weaknesses to the surface and making you work through them. I think that for most of my mission I have had to be encouraging and help my companions with their struggles. Then every time I get a solid companion (mostly Sister George and now Sister Moesinger) they need help but not as much so I have more time to focus on myself. I have been praying to overcome the insecurities and doubts I have about myself and my work as a missionary. I know that Heavenly Father is proud of me but I still sometimes doubt if I've done enough or if I've reached my potential as a missionary. I know that I have learned and grown so much though. My mission hasn't been easy but I feel like I've honestly tried my best and given everything I knew how. I just want to leave my mission feeling accomplished and being able to accept my offering of this year and a half to the Lord. I know as I pray for this confirmation that the Lord will help me to know that I've done enough. I feel like I have changed a lot but it can be frustrating sometimes to realize that I still have a way to go. Sister Moesinger always tells me "You haven't changed you're changing. It's a process, you're not done yet." Changing into who we want to become is definitely something that takes a lifetime and that as we look back on the days weeks and months we will be able to see the small moments where we were changing. God wants us to become who we are and he will help us as we strive to be a little better each day.
I like this quote from President Uchdorf's talk in conference "Lord is it I?" about changing. "And if the Lord’s answer happens to be “Yes, my son, there are things you must improve, things I can help you to overcome,” I pray that we will accept this answer, humbly acknowledge our sins and shortcomings, and then change our ways by becoming better. May we from this time forward seek with all our might to walk steadfastly in the Savior’s blessed way—for seeing ourselves clearly is the beginning of wisdom. As we do so, our bountiful God will lead us by the hand; we will “be made strong, and blessed from on high."
He definitely can make more of us than we can on our own. I can't believe I only have one month left. I'm excited for this week. We have some potential investigators we will hopefully pick up and I think that things will just keep going up! Have a good week. :)
Monday, October 27, 2014
This was a pretty slow week. We were sick for a few days after getting our flu shots. Then we had lot of meetings and a few other appointments. But this week should be a lot better. The upside of having to stay in for a good part of the week is that me and my comp had some bonding time. I really like SIster Moesinger, we get along really well and we both like being really open about things and want to help each other so it works out great. A lot of people have trouble opening up about things but that just makes companionships harder.
We had our ward trunk or treat on Saturday. We had a less active family come so that was good. Also Robert usually works at night but he was able to come too. And Anthony and his family came. So it was good to have so many of our recent converts and less actives there.
Other than that the week wasn't too exciting. We had a lot of appointments fall through but such is life. I know that we will have a better week this week.
I was reading Uncle Gordon's talk that he gave a while back at a BYU devotional during studies the other day. It is about recognizing and following promptings. Something that stood out to me is that often our answers don't come in one big moment but piece by piece. Before when I had thought about this I had thought well ya not all of us are going to see angels and hear the voice of God, often our answer comes with a strong feeling or thought. But I think that even those strong moments we have had, where we felt a strong warmth from the spirit or had it put clearly in our mind what to do, are also big answers sometimes. Before I came on my mission I prayed again to know if the Book of Mormon was true. After I prayed I had a warm feeling come over me and I knew that it was the spirit telling me that the book of Mormon is true. But other times when I pray and ask questions that same experience doesn't happen. Sometimes I will just have a conversation with someone that leads me to think about things in a different light. Or I will read in the scriptures something that could be a piece in leading me to my answer. Or after trying certain things and learning from mistakes I realize what the answer is. Often times it really is line upon line, precept upon precept. Each day as we ponder and search we are given pieces to our answer until over time we come to know. If you think about Joseph Smith he didn't just one day think "which church is right?" and then that night pray and ask and immediately get an answer. He thought about it and thought about it. He talked to people, he read the scriptures, and he thought about where and how he would pray. Then finally he got the answer he was searching for. I just think that a lot of times there are a lot of simple ways that God is reaching out to us that we take for granted. Then we get frustrated that he isn't answering or doesn't care or that we can't understand how he is speaking to us. But as we continue to search He will reveal things to us. I think that coming to recognize these little answers takes a lot of effort and is something we learn over our lifetime through practice and trying to understand how God is leading us.
Hope you all have a good Halloween!!
Monday, October 20, 2014
This week was good. Sister Moesinger and I get along really well and it is nice to have an experienced companion (she goes home the transfer after me). She's from Springville, UT. She's been a member her whole life but has only been active the last 2 years. She's a good missionary so I am excited for this transfer, I think it will be really good. We did a lot of service this week. One of our members lives in a trailer park and they were having a big fall festival this weekend so we got to help out. At the end of the festival the manager got on the loud speaker and was like "We'd like to thank all of the young men and women from the Jehovah witness church who came to help us out." Forever being mistaken for JWs, its kinda ridiculous.
Anthony finally came to church! The young men president finally got over to visit their family and Anthony's older brother Nathan came to mutual and wanted to come to church. So Nathan, Sister Hernandez and Anthony all came. It was so good! And it was the primary program. Gotta love a ton of little kids singing. One of them had a super loud monotone voice. Another little girl when they were "I stand all amazed" would stomp her foot and yell the "OH, it is wonderful" through the whole song. It was pretty funny.
A member took us out to eat at the chicken dinner restaurant at Knotts Berry Farm. Apparently people would come from miles to buy boysenberries so they started feeding people chicken dinners and they have had that restaurant open ever since. It was really good. Another member took us to Farrells and Sister Moesinger and I unintentionally ordered a huge brownie chocolate ice cream sundae. Basically with the way this ward is feeding us I am just going to hope and pray I don't gain a bunch of weight before I come home.
We weren't able to see Rex this week and we probably won't see him this week either because he has a lot of loose ends to tie up at his seminary before he can move back here. Word has gotten around the ward and lots of members have been like "I'd love to come to a lesson with him sometime." Sheesh, I wish people would have the same enthusiasm to help us with our other investigators.
Maria is doing well. She is pretty involved in another Christian church so we will see how the lessons go. We had a good lesson with David. We are trying to help him gain a testimony of the book of mormon. Gaining a testimony definitely takes effort but if he will pray on his own and read, we know he will get an answer. I think that the biggest part of gaining a testimony is having spiritual experiences on your own that allow you to gain a witness from the spirit that a certain principle is true. Then no matter what may happen, you can always fall back on that confirming feeling you felt that was from God, telling your spirit that these things are true. For a lot of our investigators it comes down to that. If they are able to put in the effort to come to know of truth they will progress because they will know that this church is right and that this path will lead them to a better life. I think that is the biggest thing with Rex. Even though he does a lot of research and tries to logically understand and prove things, it was a personal experience he had where the spirit confirmed these things to him that led to his conversion and desire to be baptized. In a recent training we had our mission president read in Peter where the apostle talks about how he has seen the risen Christ. But then he continues on to say that there is a stronger witness than seeing that allows us to know and believe. That is the witness we receive through God's spirit. I know that as we search to feel this spirit in our lives and allow it to give us answers to our questions, we will gain a testimony that is stronger than seeing with our eyes. That is where true conversion comes from. The conviction we have from knowing because we have searched out these things with an open heart and real intent. God will lead us to truth if we diligently seek to know. He will allow us to gain a conviction that can withstand the philosophies of men or what our natural man tells us. He will teach us things and give us guidance and strength beyond our own ability.
I was talking with my companion this week about testimony because she has struggled with her testimony on her mission. I told her that you have to get to a point that you are in this church not because of the people or the social aspect or because you were raised in it or because it seems like a good organization. You are in the church because this is where the fullness of the gospel and Christ's power are. Even if you were the only member of the church in this country, you would stay a member because you know the doctrine is true and because you have a personal witness that it is right. I think that my mission has really allowed my testimony to stink deep. There were a lot of things that I believed were true before my mission but I have now come to know they are true. I am grateful that God is so willing to answer our prayers and to help us gain a better knowledge of his gospel and of his plan for us.
Have a good week!
With my two "daughters" who are now companions
with the McCays- she is one of the best member missionaries ever!
Monday, October 13, 2014
Want to see what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is all about?
Check out this new movie "Meet the Mormons" in theaters now.
go to www.meetthemormons.com to watch the movie trailer and listen to the awesome theme song.
Have more questions about the church? go to www.lds.org or www.mormon.org
Check out this new movie "Meet the Mormons" in theaters now.
go to www.meetthemormons.com to watch the movie trailer and listen to the awesome theme song.
Have more questions about the church? go to www.lds.org or www.mormon.org
So we got transfer calls and . . . I'm going to die in Buena Park! I'm kinda glad. I was praying that Heavenly Father would put me where people needed me most, so it looks like I still have things to do in BP. Also Sister Culala is going to Lakewood to be companions with Sister Le. So my daughters are going to be companions!! I'm excited, I think it will be good for them.
This week we worked hard and had a good end to the transfer. We found a new investigator. Her name is Maria. A sister in our ward brought her to the Women's General Conference and she really liked it so now we are teaching her. We also got a lot of referrals this week which was awesome. We did some more service for a member in our ward. We also taught Rex. He was getting into some deep doctrine questions so luckily we had a knowledgeable member with us cause I don't really know how to answer some of those things. It really made me appreciate the simple doctrines of the gospel. It is always interesting to hear Rex talk about what he has read and studied about the church and how it has added to his testimony. But then when we teach our lesson, going over some basic principles, that is when the spirit can be felt the most. There is just a lot of power in really understanding and believing the simple aspects of the gospel. We also committed him to be baptized. He was like "Of course I will, I would be stupid not to." So we are super excited. as soon as he moves back here and starts coming to church we can set a baptismal date. After our lesson we were talking to Rex in the parking lot. I really like something he said. "Well one day we'll be in heaven and we'll finally realize all of the many, many people we helped in this life that we didn't even know about." I think that his is so true sometimes you get to help a catholic priest get baptized and sometimes you just talk to people on the street all day with no results but the hope that they were able to feel some of Heavenly Father's love for them.
We also had our zone conference this week. Sister Bauer told me at the beginning "I heard we are going to watch Meet the Mormons." I was like, no I don't think so, we are missionaries and missionaries just don't watch movies whenever they come out. But it turns out we did get to watch it!! All of the mission presidents got sent the movie and we were allowed to watch it so we could encourage people to see it. It was really good. I like how it showed the diversity in the church and how our church puts a lot of focus on helping others. The last part about the missionary mom almost made me cry. I remember my first day I came out in the field so well and now I am almost going home. Speaking of which, my new companion is Sister Moesinger. She goes home the transfer after me and so it is going to be fun to have her as a comp but also hard to keep us both motivated and make sure we don't get trunky. I think it will be good though. Also there are two other sisters in my zone that I came out with so we will get to serve around each other for our last transfer. Well, hope you all have a good week.
7 more weeks!
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
This week we had a lot of meetings and training which I didn't mind cause I like trainings but we didn't have much proselyting time. On Wednesday we had a specialized sisters training. All of the stls gave training on stuff like trusting in God, being positive, being bold, how our missions are preparing us for life,ect. So it was pretty good. It is weird because the mission is really different now. I just feel like I don't know half of the sisters here cause their all new (well new as in like 3 or 4 transfers old) Also after the meeting I ran into one of my old district leaders at the office and as I was talking to him I realized that him and my current district leader are the only district leaders from my mission who are still out here.
Then on Thursday we did some service for Sister Mitchell. She has needed some yard work done in her backyard for a good while now and she is always so willing to come to lessons with us and so I got some elders to come help us with her yard. The day before sis culala and I went over to see what needed to be done. I checked her weed whacker to see if there was enough string in it too. Anyways the next day when we showed up to help the Elders were already there. We were racking some branches and leaves and Sister Mitchell came over. She said "Um, Sister Washburn I think you might need to go help the Elders with the weed whacker." I was thinking "what they don't know how to work it?" Anyways it turns out they didn't. And so I got the glorious opportunity to one up the Elders by doing the weed whacking for them. It was a great moment. Having to mow and edge the lawn all those years paid off.
On Thursday we had our "practice lesson" with a part member couple. It turned out to be one of the best lessons Sister Culala and I taught. She taught really well and we did a good job of switching off. The spirit was definitely there in the lesson due in large part because Brother and Sister Wagstaff have such a good relationship. Even though Brother Wagstaff isn't a member, they get along really well and really love and support each other. So they had good heart felt comments. Also the Joseph Smith account of the first vision just brings the spirit every time. This time especially as I receited it I could just feel the spirit so strong and Sister Wagstaff started crying. It was a really cool lesson. Brother Wagstaff isnt magically converted and they are going on a cruise for the next 2 weeks, but I think that he definitely felt the spirit so that was good. He has seemed more and more open to the church every time we see them and I think that he will join one day. He told us he just needs to take his time and not be pushed into it (some elders a while back were really pushy about baptism and he refuses to let the elders visit him now). Also after the lesson we were asking Sister Wagstaff about her mission years ago. She said somethings I liked. She said, "I honestly don't know if I accomplished everything I could have on my mission. But if I didn't help anyone else I helped myself because my mission changed my life." I just thought that this is so true. I have been blessed a lot lately in my missionary work, but even if I hadn't ever had a baptism at least my mission has helped me.
Conference was so good. Somehow eight hours of talks flies by and I feel like its over before I know it. I really liked Elder Christensen's, Elder Klebingat's, and Elder Bednar's. Oh and Elder Oaks. Well there were a lot of really good ones but those are the ones I can remember most. Also if the Sunday session didn't have a pretty clear theme then I don't know how much more emphasis the Lord could give to say that we need to sustain the church leaders and do what the prophet says! Cause he is saying what God says and he's not just making it up. Also I think it was kind geared to possible anti or other people who might be influenced by worldly ideas (Also loved Elder Andersen's talk about Joseph Smith) If you read the Book of Mormon you can see what happens to the people that reject the prophets or dissent from the church, just sayin. But it was cool to hear in Elder Nelson's talk a little more about how the 12 apostles and first presidency definitely don't always agree but they seek revelation to become unanimous in doing God's will. This church truly is led by Him and not by man.
We got a call from Rex in the middle of the priesthood session Saturday night saying he was currently watching President Uchtdorf speak. I'm sure he loved conference. It is so cool to get to teach an investigator who is so enthusiastic about the gospel and you don't have to try to convince him to do things because wants to take in as much as he can. We are going to see him on Saturday and I'm sure we will get to hear all about what he thought.
Things are getting real because this week I got my TRUNKY PAPERS!!!! Its weird because it makes it seem like it really is coming yet at the same time it kinda feels like I'm just looking at someone else's papers cause I'm just going to stay a missionary . . forever. December 2 is less than two months away. This is the last week of the transfer so we are going to work hard so we can end well. Also I have no idea what is going to happen to me at transfers because for some reason I feel like there is a good chance I could get moved or stay here. We shall see. Love you All!!
with a Filipino family who fed us dinner
The "Weed Whacker"
Sister Training Meeting
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
This was a pretty slow week. We did a church tour with Anthony which was really good and at the end his mom said they would be at church on Sunday. But they still didn't end up coming. We had dinner with a part member family. The sister (who is a member) had heard that we were practice teaching with members and her husband (the non-member) said that we could practice teach with him. So that will be great because as soon as we teach the truth and he gets hit with the spirit there will be no turning back. :) We got to go to the temple today which was awesome. We went to the 5:30 session so I wasn't too thrilled that we had to get up at 3. But it was totally worth it of course. We sat in the Celestial room until everyone left and the next group was getting ready to come in. Our district had a district brunch the other day. We made waffles and omelets. It was fun. We have just been trying to find new people to teach. We haven't found any new investigators for a while so hopefully we will soon. The women's conference was really good. It made me think about how important it is to remember the covenants we have made and to prepare for future covenants. I also loved President Uchtdorf's talk of course. I really liked the analogy he gave about keeping the commandments. Sometimes we think that keeping the commandments is like there is a cloud of blessings locked up in the sky and we have to meet a certain standard to get a blessing to come down to us. But really it is like the Lord is raining blessings down all the time but sometimes we put up an umbrella to block them out. But as we start doing the right things it is like we are putting down our umbrella in order to receive what the Lord is so willing to give. Well its a short one this week. Hope you all have a good Conference! Love you!
Monday, September 22, 2014
This week . . . was kind rough, but also so so good. Well it started off with me getting the flu (I know mom I know. No need to freak out I am fine now. Me and the mission nurse are like bffs so we figured I just really need to do things to strengthen my immune system because that is the main reason why I keep getting sick). So ya laying in bed all day reading New Eras was not how I planned on spending the first part of the week but hey Sister Culala got some good practice leading out and teaching with members. Then on Wednesday a miracle happened. I finally ran into to people I know. We went to Claim Jumpers with a member and Dan and Jen and their kids were there! They just happened to be in town going to Dinseyland and stuff and just happened to be staying at a hotel in Buena Park so they just happened to go out to eat at Claim Jumper at the same time we did and we just happened to not sit in our normal spot somewhere else in the restaurant but right next to them! It was crazy. One of those coincidences that is such a coincidence that it proves coincidences don't exist. It was so good to see family and get to talk to them. Then the next day we had dinner at the McCay's house. They knew that I had been sick so they made pizza for dinner because they knew it is my favorite food. It was the best. Then the kids came over again (even a few more than last week when we taught them). We taught them about service and how they can help others. Then we taught them how to sing Love One Another and taught them the sign language. They really liked that part. Then on Saturday we had a lesson with our investigator Rex that is seriously one of the highlights of my mission. We had 2 members there who used to be Catholic but converted. We taugh him the gospel of Jesus Christ. I always find it kind of ironic that here we are two 22 year old girls teaching simply the basics of Christ's doctrine to a man in his 50s who as studied religion and theology for years and can read the scriptures in Hebrew and Greek. And yet as we teach the Holy Ghost is there as we simply testify of truth. Really though as we talked about faith an repentance and his ideas and experiences, it was just so good. Then we asked him if he has any questions which he always does. He asked again about the apostasy, also about what happens to all those people that lived in spiritual darkness, what does the sacrament mean in comparison to the holy communion. (the funny thing is, is that he usually already knows the answers to these questions he just wants to hear how we explain it "I like seeing you all get so passionate about things" he told us). Our member shared his conversion story and how much the gospel has blessed his life and his families life which was so powerful. Then when we asked Rex how his book of mormon reading was going he shared this experience with us. He said "When it comes to the Book of Mormon, I know its true. And of course Joseph Smith was a prophet." So I'm thinking "yes! he prayed and got an answer." But then he kept going. He said "I've had some spiritual experinces lately and there is one that I want to share. When I was in Las Vegas waiting at the airport, I was looking out at the mountains and I realized how happy I was. There was just this joy that I have felt from studying the Mormon church that I haven't felt about religion since I was a teenager taking these same lessons from he missionaries. Then I was reading in Alma and found a verse that describes exactly how I feel. (Alma 19:6) "Now, this was what Ammon desired, for he knew that king Lamoni was under the power of God; he knew that the dark veil of unbelief was being cast away from his mind, and the light which did light up his mind, which was the glory of God, which was the marvelous light of his goodness-yea, this light had infused such joy into his soul, the cloud of darkness had been dispelled, and that the light of everlasting life was lit up in his soul." He went on to say "So I know I ask a lot of questions and research things but you don't have to worry, I'm converted. And I have decided to send in my resignation for my priesthood ordination so I can join the church." I had been smiling through this whole thing because it just made me so happy to see how much joy and light the truth has given him. But when he said he wanted to join I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped to the floor. This one was all Heavenly Father. It shouldn't be that easy to convert a catholic priest! But really it just all comes down to the spirit and that the message we share is so true. I know it is. If I know anything it is that Christ's church is again on the earth and we are truly blessed each and every day of our lives to be a part of it. Rex asked us to pray for him because he will face a lot of opposition these next few weeks as he resigns from his Catholic seminary, something he has been working towards for the past 7 years. So he can definitely use as many prayers has he can get. There was just such a sweet spirit in that lesson. The sister we had with us said that she felt priveledged to be a part of the lesson and that she felt like she was going to go home and cry after becuase she had been so touched. Sheesh I practically felt the same way. So he can't resign until October and then there might be a few things he has to work through until the end of November. But still he wants to get baptized people! God is so good. Then on Sunday night we went and visited a member that night. We have been visiting members around 8:00 because that is hard time of night to proselyte most of the time. We practice teach lessons on them which is really good for Sister Culala to practice teaching and work on her English. Anyways, we taught Sister Ikihahifo who is from Tonga. She has such a beautiful testimony that as we asked questions about the Restoration you could just tell how much she believes and lives it. When we were talking about Christ she said "I am always humbled and absolutely amazed by Christ's sacrifice. We can't even comprehend what he did for us and I am just so so grateful. My favorite way to think of Christ is to think of the picture where his arms are outstretched. He truly beckons all unto him and wants to wrap us in the arms of his love." It was another good lesson (even though it was a member). Then we didn't have time to eat cake she had made so she was like "I'll just give you some to go." I was just expecting a few slices on a plate, but no. She gives us half the cake, a whole carton of ice cream, 2 bottles of apple juice. Then she throws in some oranges, apples, a rotisserie chicken, salad, and potato salad. Then on our way out the door she tells her son to take a case of water out to our car. I love Polynesians. So getting sick was totally worth all of the tender mercies we had this week. God really does watch over us and bless us. Lately I have been working on praying more to Him throughout the day. In a recent training they committed us to change the way we pray. I think in the past a lot I would think of things throughout the day and say "Oh I need to remember to pray about that tonight." But know I just send up a short prayer right there. Talking to Heavenly Father more makes me feel more connected to him throughout the day and like He is close by when ever I need Him. Have a good week!
Monday, September 15, 2014
This week flew by. It's always weird when at the end of the week you look back at things that happened earlier in the week and it seems like that was forever ago. On Monday we had our last zone activity before transfers. We all went to the insitute building in our zone where they have pool, pin pong, air hockey and other games. Then our zone leaders made us all waffles. And then before we left we all sat in a big circle and told one of our favorite stories of something that happened to us that transfer. I told about finding and teaching Rex. Some people told funny stories about their companions. There were some pretty good ones and I don't think I have laughed so hard in a long time. Then later that day we were out tracting and we ran into one of our less actives who is getting re-activated. His name is brother Collings and he is a para palegic so he rides around in a wheel chair. We have been teaching him the lessons and it is crazy to see how much he is changed and how his faith is growing. He told us that he talked to the bishop about getting the priesthood. We were so excited! It is going to be great to help him prepare for that.
Then on Tuesday we went out with one of the relief society counselors and visited some less active women in the ward. Later that day we taught Anthony the 10 commandments. There are hand signs that go with each one to help you remember them and so he liked that a lot. One of his brothers was in the kitchen while we were teaching and he joined in too at one point so that was awesome! (the brothers usually aren't too interested)
Then on Wednesday we got to teach some more kids who live in this trailer park that a lady in our ward lives in. The kids don't come from very good homes and they love missionaries. Two girls ended up showing up to the lesson and we taught them about Jesus and how to pray. We told them that they could pray anytime when they need help, to feel comforted, to say what they are grateful for, or just to talk to heavenly father. One of the girls said "I think that it will help if I pray when the evil spirits try to come into our house." That was so sad to hear. I know that a lot of people in that trailer park are involved in drugs and stuff so who knows what kind of environment they are growing up in. Everytime I see kids getting raised in broken homes or being surrounded by bad influences at such a young age it is just so sad! I just wish I could gather all of these children and take them to primary and help them to see how much God loves them and what their lives could be like, how they can make good choices and see their true potential. Anyways somestimes when Sister George and I would go tract in this trailer park and we would see the kids we would sing "A Child's Prayer" to them. They LOVE that song so the girls were begging us to teach it to them. We taught them the words and then we were all singing together. The spirit was so strong in that moment singing with those 2 little girls. I hope that these moments are things they remember especially later in their life. Their parents aren't interested in learning from us so their is only so much we can do to teach them and stuff but simply knowin ghow to pray an dunderstanding that God really loves them is a good start.
Then on thurday we had our district meeting just like every week. The training was on humility. It was about how humility is recognizing your dependence on the Lord. It deosn't mean putting yourself down or minimizing your talents but just realizing that you can accomplish great things with the Lord's help. After we went to lunch with 2 other sisters in our zone. One of them is a sister that came out with me. It was fun to catch up with her because I haven't served around anyone I was with in the MTC since I was in training. We went to the Pizza Studio which is this really awesome restaurant that is kinda like subway cause you pick what kind of crust that you want and then they have tons of sauce and other toppings that you can put on and then they cook it for you. Basically it would be so great if they could build one of these in Provo.
Then Thursday night to Friday I went on exchanges. I got to go to another area which was so nice to just have a short break from my area for a change. We taught Aly and AJ's uncle again. He comes to church every week and I think that there are a lot of things he likes about our church. He was just raised in a Lutheran church for so long he has a hard times switching from what he has been taught all of his life to what we believe. He is genuinely intereted though and always have some aspect of the church he has been studying that he asks questions about. This week it was about authority and why his baptism as a child was "invalid." We explained about preisthood authority and used the bible to explain how even Jesus walked miles and miles to be baptized by John becuase He knew that he had the preisthood authority. Then the next day we biked over to a former investigator they had named Jeff. Jeff has definately had a rough life, has been in and out of jail and dealt and did drugs for a long time but he is really trying to change his life. He read the whole Book of Mormon while he was in jail and he told us this story about the book of Enos. He said that he had been running away from his parole officer and he knew that he just needed to turn himself in so that he could do his month of jail time and then move on. But he just couldn't turn himself in. He was at a park hiding and he started just praying to god to help him to do what he needed to do. Suddenly he felt peacful and was able to turn himself in. Later on when he was reading in the Book of Enos he saw that it was the exact same situation he was in. He had also cried mightily to God and had been given the strength he needed to change. Later that day we taught another investigator they had named Chin Yu. She is a foreign exchange student from Taiwan who wanted to learn more about the church after some one invited her to church on Sunday, Our lesson with her was so interesting. She doesn't speak english super well so a lady from the ward that speak Chinese came with us. We basically started from the most basic of the basic because she doesn't know anything about Christianity. We asked her what she thought God was and she said "the sky?" So we taught her about how God is our Father and we can pray to him. Then we taught about Jesus. It was crazy to me because I had never taught anyone before who literally had no idea who Jesus Christ was and had never heard his name before. Most people in the U.S. have a least heard of him. We explained how he was the Son of God and he was perfect. That he did lots of good things here on earth and that he died for our mistakes. When we tried to explain the Atonement she was just so surprised. "Why would this powerful perfect man die for the mistakes for everyone on earth?" It was hard for her to grasp that someone would do that for her and everyone else. So the sister will next time teach more about Christ's life and how his teachings apply to us personally. It was a really interesting lesson and made me think more about how blessed I am to recieve the hope and strength that comes from knowing who Chrst is and how He can help me in my life.
The weekend was so hot it was ridiculous. September is the hottest month here and it was high in the 100s the past few days. The heat has really been getting to me just cause it tires you out so easily. On Saturday we did a blitz where we all went and worked in one of the areas of some of the Elders in our district. The area Sister Culala and I were going to was right next to the church so we just started walking there. About an hour in tracting, we were sweating a ton and I had forgotten my water bottle so we decided to back to our car and just drive around. I can't wait until it cools off!! I am definately so so so ready for fall and colder weather.
Overall it was a pretty good week. We had a training a few weeks ago about the power of prayer and having "our hearts drawn out continually in prayer unto him." This week I have been trying to be more sincere in my prayers and to really say the things that the spirit wants me to as I pray. I also try to talk to Heavenly Father throughout the day. Sometimes I will just say a short prayer in my head or ask him for help in moments when I just feel really tired or need His strength. It definately helps a lot and helps me to feel more connected to Him. Thanks for all of your prayers and support. I feel like the hardest thing at this point on my mission is I now how to do things and what I should do but I am kinding running out of energy to do everything. But I keep trying to work as hard as I can every day and I know the Lord will bless us as we put forth a greater effort.
Have a good week!
We went over to this lady in our ward's house to practice teach the plan of salvation with her. Well, you know you have visited the stake relief society president when you come home with a basket of goodies. Sister Culala was like "It's like Thanksgiving early!" haha I told her "If you think this is cool just wait until actual Thanksgiving."
Monday, September 8, 2014
So, no surprise I am staying with Sister Culala for another transfer here in Buena Park and finishing her training. I can't believe I am starting my second to last transfer!! The amount of time it takes to train a missionary is the amount of time I have left on my mission.
So this week was pretty good. We found, we taught, we had no one at church (but we are working on it! you can only influence people's agency so much) And our favorite 93 year old got baptized!!! Sister Eves had a really nice baptism. Two of her non-member grand-daughters came. The talks on baptism and the holy ghost were really good and not too long. The one on baptism was about burying the old man of sin in the water and rising out of the water being a new man alive in Christ. And Sister Redding who is a great speaker talked about the holy ghost how she felt it when we was holding her son for the first time and how she felt that she would one day have a daughter and then ended up adopting 3. It was just cool to hear her personal stories about following the spirit. Elder Henry baptized her and did a great job (she only had to be baptized once) A lot of her friends from the ward and even some from back when she used to be a member were there. Overall it was just good and the spirit was definitely there. On Sunday she bore her testimony about how for the past 30 years she has been searching for the right church and now she is finally back were she belongs. And Robert blessed the sacrament for the first time!! He did such a good job. He also got a calling to be the gospel principles class president. And he just finished reading 1 Nephi in the Book of Mormon (he takes his time so he can understand). We're just so proud of our recent converts!
This week we went out to lunch with Juana. She the non-member neighbor of a member in our ward and she loves having the missionaries over but says she isn't ready to take the lessons. We always end up talking about the gospel though so hopefully she will open up to it. It has been so hot and humid this week. It 's been horrible. September is the hottest month here so 90 degree weather mixed with humidity is not my friend but we're missionaries and we work no matter what so I put up with it. But I can't wait until cooler weather. I want to wear cardigans and scarves so bad. (also that would switch up what I can wear because I am really tired of my clothes)
So ya, other than that just a typical missionary week. Sorry if my letters are sometimes boring. I think that I am just so used to missionary work at this point that it doesn't seem like anything too exciting happens even though there is probably some thing you all would be interested in hearing about. I'm just so used to it now that it just seems normal. Also by the time Monday rolls around i have forgotten some things.
But we did have a good lesson with Anthony we talked about the Book of Mormon and explained what the story of Lehi's family is about. After the lesson Sister Hernandez pulls out her quad and starts reading the articles of faith with him, and we didn't even suggest it. So that was cool. There just seems to be something that comes up every week on Sunday to prevent them from coming but for some reason I feel like we just need to keep working with them and teaching them and it will happen eventually. Also that day had been hard for me, I was just kinda frustrated because members kept dropping from coming out to lessons with us. But as soon as we got into the lesson and we were teaching I felt way better. I felt like I was right where I needed to be, helping this family and bringing the spirit into their home. Missionary work is not easy but those moments where you can feel that you are truely helping people and changing their lives in any small way, make it all worth it.
We're ready for another great transfer! Love you all!!
and it rained today and it rains like once every 6 months here so it was a big deal (also we are in a drought so it was really needed)
Monday, September 1, 2014
This week was super busy. I was sick earlier this week but am way better now. But that meant we had to squish all of our lessons into Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We got to teach Rex this week and his lesson was priceless. So he shows up to our lesson and pulls out a brand new quad. He said "Well I went to Deseret book the other day to look at some books about Joseph Smith and I bought a few and bought myself some scriptures. I'm up to Alma in the book of Mormon." So that was an awesome plot twist we were definitely not expecting. He was so excited to tell us what he had learned about Joseph Smith. Then we taught him about the plan of salvation and were able to answer some more of his questions. At the end of his lesson he was asking what opportunities there are to serve in the church. He said that he has been praying and thinking about our church a lot. It would be a hard decision for him to make because he has been in catholic school for the past 7 years and is nearing his new priesthood ordination and he would be leaving his profession, family, and friends to come to a new religion. But he's seriously thinking about it which is crazy! For now though he is living in another city to finish up his training so we won't be able to see him for a while. We had a good lesson with Anthony and his mom. She said she really wants to go to church just things keep coming up. We asked her and Anthony to pray that they would be able to come. We also asked if there was anything we could to to help make sure they are there. She said she needed a black slip to wear with her skirt so we found a member who gave us one. We did a lot to try to get them there but sadly on Sunday they weren't there again. So we are going to keep trying and hopefully they will start coming soon. Also we have been getting things ready for Sister Eve's baptism. She is so excited its great. Other than that we have just been working hard and trying to schedule appointments and have members come out with us and all of that other stuff we gotta do. Sorry to keep it so short but next week is the last week of the transfer so hopefully we have some good things happen to end the 6 weeks. I know that God's grace really can give us the strength we need when our efforts seem to fall a little short. He is always there to listen to our concerns and to help us along the way. Love you all!
from a few weeks ago) doing some service for some members in our ward who were re-siding their house
then I had to throw another pair of shoes away because they were just too worn out
Monday, August 25, 2014
This week we had more miracles! We were able to start teaching a family! There is a phillipino family (the Dorotheos) in our ward that plays basketball at the church on staurday morning with some of their friends. Last week we showed up and met some of them and one of the families invited us over. So on Monday night we went and had dinner with them and taught the first lesson. They had lots of questions especially since they have known the Dorotheos for so long. The teenage son said that he has a friend a school that joined the church and so he knows about the book of mormon and doctrine and covenants and everything. The lesson was really good and the parents have a crazy work schedule but we will hopefully see them again soon. Then on Tuesday we stopped by the house of this teenage girl we had met and talked to. We ended up teaching her too and picking her up as an investigator. Her family practices this interesting hispanic "spiritual" religion, but she seems really interested. We are going to try to get her out to mutual soon. We taught Anothony again and his family said they would all come to church and they didn't again. So that is a bummer but I think that if we can get the ward more involved they might be more comfortable coming to church. Also we had our mission president's wife Sister Tew come out with us and study with us on Friday. That was a lot of fun to have her with us and to practice teach with her in our studies. Then we found out that Sister Eves got her clearance to be re-baptized! She has been waiting for 5 months so she was so happy. So we get to start planning another baptism. Also the Elders passed off one of their investigators to us named Gloria. She is dating someone in our ward and wants to be baptized but she can't until November. She has grown up super catholic her whole life and her parents are against the church but she believes it is true. Anyways she teaches catechism and has some other obligations with her catholic church that prevent her from being baptized until November. But it was really cool to teach her because she really loves the teaching of the church and even shares the gospel with people at work and stuff. So now that we have so many people to teach things have been really busy. We were doing our weekly planning on Thursday and I looked up at our white board where we write down who we are teaching and stuff and I was like "Sister Culala, we have 10 investigators right now!" Given we will have to pass off a few soon but man, Heavenly Father has been blessing us so much! We have been working hard and I am just really glad that Sister Culala has been able to have so many opportunities to teach and work with investigators and everything. I know that this work is so important. That this is the only way that people can recieve salvation and be able to return to our father in heaven. On the days where we are super busy and I have a million things to remember and plan for I am just grateful that the Lord is always helping us. There is no way that we would be able to do everything we have to without him. I am grateful that the Lord just asks us to do our best and that he will make up for the rest. He is helping us and hears our prayers.
Have a good week!
Monday, August 18, 2014
This week was so busy but it was really good. On Monday we visited an older couple in the ward who it turns out lived in El Paso a while back. Then we did some contacting and met this guy named Robert who said we could stop back by. Then on Tuesday we had a new missionaries meeting which was good. Its always good to get trained on some of the basics because they are so important. Then that night we went out and worked and I had a feeling that we should go stop by Robert's house. We did and he was there and we ended up teaching him part of the first lesson and picking him up as an investigator. Then on Thursday we got to teach our investigator David. He is really interested in learning and has been reading the Book of Mormon but I think he sees our visits as more of a nice bible study. We have taught him about preisthood authority a bunch of times and I still think that he doesn't quite get it. If he doesn't come to church soon we will probably have to drop him. Also that day we had a super awesome lesson. So last week we got a media referral for a man that requested a copy of the Book of Mormon. We stopped by and dropped it off and talked to him for a while. As it turns out he is a catholic preist who wants to learn more about our church. So we set up and appointment with him (his name is Rex) but i wasn't sure what exactly to expect (like if it was just going to turn into a bash). We met him at the church and we had a really great member with us. He told us that he was raised Buddhist (he's Japanese) but his mom would have him read scriptures from the bible to teach him how to read. So he got interested in Christianity. Then when he was a teenager, one of his good friends that was mormon would invite him to church so he soon started taking the lessons. He really wanted to get baptized but his father was against it so he didn't. Anyways he ended up becoming pentecostal but didn't feel that was right so then he joined the catholic church. He has been studying as a pastor there for seven years and has also studied theology and philosphy for many years. And he said that the other day he saw a program about mormonism on tv and felt prompted to learn more about the church again. So needless to say it was a interesting lesson becuase I have never taught anyone befoe who has so much religious knowledge. But the lesson was so good!! He has a lot of respect for mormons and was genuinly interested in learning what we believe. He has studied our religion before in a class so he knows a lot about our church but he wanted to learn from the source. So we taught him the first lesson and he got along great with our member. Her husband is a convert and used to be catholic so we are going to bring him to our next lesson. Also it was cool because when we taught about apostasy, he asked why would God take the prophets and athourity away when the people were wicked and needed it most. I had read in Ether a couple days before and there are a few chapters where about four times the Lord sends prophets trying to get the people to repent but they just keep rejecting them. I was able to explain that God tries to help us and bring people back to him but he can only try so many times and have the prophets rejected before they are just too wicked and unwilling to change. It was cool because a blessing I got a while ago said that I would be able to recieve revelation for those I taught as I studied the scriptures. Anyways you can just tell that Rex has been looking for the truth his whole life and I know he felt the spirit in our lesson. At the end we committed him to pray and ask God if our church is true. He said that he would and that he feels like God has guided him to learn from us for a reason. He asked for us to pray for him that he could recognize his answer. So that was pretty cool. He believes that the catholic church also has true preisthood authority and being a priest in his church is his job so it would be a big change for him to join our church but if he is really sincere I'm hoping that he will realize that this is God's true church on the earth. Then on Friday we had exchanges. Sister Oler is a brand new STL and so it was fun to go on exchanges with her. We did some service for some members, taught our investigator Sister Eves who is doing well (just waiting for her clearance to get re-baptized), a member took us out to eat at Denny's, and we visited this less active lady who takes care of her mom who has alzheimers. It is really a lot of work and hard for her because her mom tries to run away and yells at her a lot. So I'm really glad that we got to visit her and uplift her. Then on Saturday we had a ward car wash. It was free and while people were getting their car washed we gave them tours of our church building. It was a lot of fun!! We were able to get 2 new investigators out of it. One of them is a Phillipino guy who used to live close to a mormon church in the Phillipines. Another was a lady who lives next door to the church and wanted to see what it was like inside. She loved that our church focuses on families because she wants her grand-daughter that she takes care of to have a good religious upbringing. So it was a really great activity. Afterwards we went and taught Anthony the plan of salvation. We have little cut outs that go with each part of the plan of salvation and he loved getting to put them in order and then showing us how to put it together. He cousins were there too so a couple of them joined in on the lesson. Sadly they didn't come to church like they said they would so idk what we will do about that. He can't get baptized unless they start coming. We are going to try to have a family home evening with their whole family this week. On Sunday I got a cold (the sister I went on exchanges with gave it to me I guess) so we went in early that night so I could get some sleep. Still not feeling 100% but I will be fine. This upcoming week is going to be just as busy but I am glad that we have people to teach and things to do every day. The Lord is really blessing us in our area as we work hard and put our faith in him. I really tried to be a lot more positive this week even though I was still feeling kind of overwhelmed. Heavenly Father really helped us to be able to accomplish everything that we needed to and to lead us to find more people who are willing to hear our message. I know that God is always guiding us and is mindful of us always. Love,
With Sister Culala
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
This week we got to teach Anthony again which was really fun. We made him a chart that he can put a sticker on for each day that he remembers to pray at night. We finished teaching him the restoration lesson and he understood it really well. I'm hoping that his family will come to church this week because they need to be more active before he will be able to get baptized. We also did a lot of finding. We haven't gotten any new investigators for a while so hopefully we will soon. We talked to a lot of people and Sister Culala contacted a few people in Tagalog. Gotta love having a foreign companion! One day this week we were walking to our car and we saw these 2 guys sitting on the curb. We went over to talk to them and as it turns out they were youth pastors. They run this program that helps teenagers with drug addictions to turn their lives around through learning about Jesus Christ. It just really hit me that the message we share is so important. What these guys were doing is good but the fullness of the gospel really can help people turn their life around and give them hope. A happiness and peace that comes from having the faith that God will help you through whatever happens. Sister Culala is doing really good. She is starting to get a lot more comfortable with teaching and talking to people. It definitely takes time to get used to missionary work and being in another country on top of it so she is doing a good job.
So God really knows me. It's crazy sometimes. He knows me because last transfer during a really hard day we were driving to our dinner appointment. I turned to Sister George and said "Honestly all I want to do right now is eat pizza." We walked into the house for dinner and they were making pizza. Coincidence? I think not. He knows me because he's given me experiences and companions and areas to help me grow. Sometimes it is only in looking back that I realize why things had to be the way they were. And I'm grateful He guided me through it and helped me become better because of it, even if I wouldn't have chosen it myself. He knows me because we will have a training that was just what I needed to hear or was about something that had been on my mind. He knows me because he's given me friends and leaders that I can talk to. This week has been hard. The weather was really hot, I still don't know my area or the ward that well, I have a brand new companion who I have to teach everything to and be a good example. And I'm tired and I have so much to do. For one of the first times on my mission I was thinking, "Man my departure date can't come any sooner." I just felt like I want to finish strong these last 4 months but I just don't have very much left to give. I was reading in John one morning and I found this scripture "Say not ye, There are four more months and then cometh the harvest; behold, Lift up your eyes and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest." So basically Heavenly Father was saying "Don't say "I just need to get through these last 4 months and then I'll be home." Look around you, there is work to do and souls to save!" I just felt like Heavenly Father was speaking right to me through this random scripture. I didn't come this far to just give a half-hearted effort at the end of my mission. This all happened earlier this week and since then things have gotten a lot better. I have seen a lot of His tender mercies and got a priesthood blessing that really helped. I just know with all of my heart that God knows each of us so personally. He sees our potential and He is eager to help and bless us. He helps us in large and small ways every day and every week. As we recognize His hand in our life we will be able to always feel that He is near. All he asks of us is to try. Even if our effort is small but it is all we can give some days, God is proud that at least we tried. In the blessing I got part of it said "God wants you to give your best effort, but He doesn't expect it." At first I was like "what?" He doesn't expect me to really try hard? But really its that he doesn't hold me to some high expectation. He doesn't look at what I did at the end of the week and say "well, Sister Washburn just didn't quite do it again this week." He just sees that I tried my best. I know that this is His work and that He will help me and my companion to accomplish the things that we need to in our area. I know that this situation is just what I need to be able to become more of who He sees me as. I know that God's love is constant and perfect and that as we trust in Him, he will guide us always.
love you all!
With Sister Culala at a recent dinner appointment
Thursday, August 7, 2014
So a lot happened this week. On Tuesday Sister George and I woke up really early to go take Sister Okanoue (one of my old companions) to the airport. It was so weird because President and all of the other missionaries that were going home were there. There was also my trainer Sister Reinsch, one of my old zone leaders, and a few other sisters I knew. It was crazy that in just a few hours they would be back at home sitting in their parent's houses as normal people. And it was crazy because I realized that that will be me in 4 months!! Then later that same day I went to go pick up my greenie. My new companion is Sister Culala. She's from the Phillipines. This is her first time in the U.S. Its funny because America is a lot different from where she lives. She hasn't ever really driven in a car, they don't have washing machines where she lives so she thinks they are really cool. Also the other morning she pointed to the toaster and says "Sister Washburn, do you just put bread in here and it cooks it?" It reminds me of when I trained Sister Le.
This week was really busy with training meetings and stuff and it has been super humid which is gross. But we have been working hard. We have a new investigator which is the 9 yr old son of a less active family in our ward. Gotta love 9 yr old investigators. It is actually really fun to teach him because we get good practice teaching simply and he is really excited to learn and answer questions. We also had some good contacts. We contacted this British guy who was atheist but we actually had a long conversaion about the church, making good choices, the atonement. He wasn't too interested at the end, but you never know maybe some day. We also contacted this guy smoking outside his house who the gospel could totally bless his life. He said he had lots of questions about religion and we said we had lots of answers. He wouldn't commit to a specific return appointment but we'll stop by again and see if he's interested.
We did some service for this family in our ward this week. They were redoing the siding in their house and so we helped Sister Spencer to take nails out of all of the old boards so that they could throw them away. It was good to do some real service that we haven't been able to do in a long time.
There are about 5 Phillipino families in our ward so they were pretty excited to meet Sister Culala. One of the families invited us over and gave us some food (which was pretty good). Also they gave us some referrals for thier Phillipino friends. So we are excited about that.
Also Robert Ruiz (our recent convert) got the preisthood last week. It was so cool we got to sit in on the ordination. I realized that it was the first time I saw someone be ordained to the preisthood so it was cool that it was my recent convert!!
I have been studying about faith and hope lately. They are mentioned a lot together in the scripture along with charity. These really are the bascis of missionary work. To love those we serve, to hope and trust in God's promises, and to have the faith to try our hardest and be diligent so that God can guide and bless us. I know that God tries our faith and help us learn to put our faith in Him, the one thing that will never fail us. We can find hope through His atonement and through His promise of helping us to overcome all to return to Him. I love our Savior and am so grateful for the hope He gives us.
Love you all!!