Monday, June 30, 2014

Great Week!!!

So this week was really crazy because so much happened. On Monday we had 2 FHEs. We had it with a new family in the ward and then we had fhe with our investigator Jesse his girlfriend who is recently reactivated and her 7 yr old son and a family from the ward. We had cut outs of the tree of life dream and for the activity we tied rope around in the YWs room and they had to follow it in the dark and me and my comp were trying to get them to let go by saying things like "we have candy" "we"ll give you a million dollars" "free tickets to Knotts Berry farm." I think that the families really liked it. Then on Tuesday and Wednesday I was sick. Since we live with a member I stayed home with her and my comp went out with another sister. I had just gotten new medicine for my sinus infection and it wiped me out. But now I am way way better so I think I am finally over that nasty sinus infection. 
We finished teaching the commandments to Robert. He is doing so well. He has just totally been prepared because he is so willing to do whatever the Lord asks of him and wants to follow the commandments. We went over the baptismal questions and so he should be good to go for his baptism on Sunday!! We are so excited for him! Also he talked to his parents the other day and they said that if this church makes him happy then they are glad for him. That was so cool because he was so worried about how they were going to react because they are strong Catholics. 
Also this week there was a baptism in my old ward that I really really really wanted to go too. It was the son in law of a family I love and so I wanted to go and to get to see people from the ward. But in order to go we had to bring an investigator. We asked all of our investigators and none of them could go. So then we were asking everyone all over the place. Like literally we asked everyone but no one could come. So 2 hours before the baptism on Saturday one of our investigators called and said they could come and then like 20 minutes before another investigator said she wanted to come. Miracles happen people!! It was a great baptism and it was fun to get to see everyone and most importantly our investigators both really felt the spirit. 
Sister George is great. I can't remember what I told you about her in the last letter but she is from Rexburg Idaho. She is a quadruplet and one of her other sisters is on a mission in South Africa. She already graduated and was working as a nurse before her mission. She a good missionary and we get along pretty well. Our teaching styles are really different so that has been kinda hard to get more on the same page but it will work out just fine. 
So things are moving right along and are going really well. It is amazing to me how easy it is to talk to people on the streets here and everyone has been so nice so far. It's weird. But awesome. But there are also some crazy people. 
But overall I just know that God just so totally knows us. I feel like I have had so many tender mercies after coming to this area, I mean coming to this area in the first place was a tender mercy. The Lord is always guiding us through the hard times and the good, because there are things we need to learn in every moment. This week I got a blessing for being sick and in the blessing it said that the Lord knows my struggles and has given me trails at certain times so that I can learn the things he wants me to learn. I know that as we trust in the Lord's timing He will make more of us than we could ever make of ourselves. Love you All!!
-Sister Washburn

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Awesome Week!

Oh. My. Goodness. This week has been crazy and awesome. So this is like the first time on my mission where I have been sent to an area that hasn't been struggling and it has been a major blessing!!! We have 5 investigators right now. One of them is Robert Ruiz. He is this middle aged mexican man who they met on the street and he is totally open to the gospel and to learning. He was really willing gave up coffee and this week we had the tithing lesson which went over really well. We also talked a lot about baptism since he has a baptismal date for July 6. His main concern is that his family won't understand since they are strong catholic. Also a few of his friends have made weird comments about mormons to him. We tried to clear up his concerns and help him to know that as long as he keeps trying his best and staying close to the Lord his friends and family will see the good changes in him and his happiness and will know that the church is good. Our other investigator is Sister Eves. She is this spunky 93 year old lady. She is actually getting rebaptized because years ago she had her records removed from the church over a misunderstanding. She searched for another church to go to but never found on she liked. Then a few months ago she met a member of the church at a sewing class and she brought her to church. She realizes that this is the church she has been searching for and wants to get baptized so bad. So right now she is just working on her letter to the prophet and stuff so she can be cleared to get baptized. She has such a good testimony and wants so badly to follow Christ and to do what is right. The other investigator we have is Jesse. He is in his 20s and is the boyfriend of a less active who is coming back to church. He already has a strong belief in Christ and so for him it is more of just gaining a testimony that this is his true church. He has already had all of the lessons and so right now he is reading the book of mormon. He says he just hasn't gotten his answer yet, so will have to help him keep having good spiritual experiences that will help him to get the revelation he needs. Our fourth investigator is Josie. We actually found her this week while we were out tracting. We were on our bikes and started talking to her. She has been raising her grandson because her daughter is on drugs and she wants him to have God in his life. She wanted us to help her learn how to pray. We taught her the first lesson and really focused on the atonement and prayer. She really felt the spirit and kept telling us that she will never forget meeting with us for the first time and the way she felt afterwards. Her main concern is that her husband just wants them to stick to their old church so we will see what happens. Our last investigator we have right now is named Lorraine. She is an older lady who is friends with a member in our ward. She is open to learning and is a little hard to get to know to understand what she really needs but she wants to have a better relationship with God. 
It has just been crazy going from a really slow area to an area with so much work. We have people to teach, there are a lot of less actives in the ward, and there are some members that are really good about missionary work. Also finding is a lot easier because there are a lot more people in this area whose lives aren't so put together and they are a lot more willing to listen. Our ward area is pretty big. We live in a little house with an old widow who is pretty home bound and just basically watches tv all day. We help her out sometimes when she needs things. Our church building is literally right across the street from Knotts berry farm. We also live just down the street from Knotts berry farm so sometimes when we are out at night we can hear people screaming from the rollar coasters. 
My companion is Sister George. She's from Rexburg Idaho. She is 23 and she already graduated from college and was working as a nurse before her mission. Even though she just got out of training, she is really motivated and knows what she is doing in the area and stuff so that has been a big help. She is a pretty good missionary already and I think that it helps that she is an older sister because she is just able to take control of things better than some beginning missionaries. The only hard thing is that she was trained a lot differently than most missionaries. Her trainer had them so "go by the spirit" a lot which is great and important but she doesn't know how to make lesson plans or switch of in lessons or how to plan as effectively. But she is really willing to learn so we will be able to figure it all out. It is just been nice to have a companion who is on top of things and who is really motivated and positive. 
This transfer we decided that our goal is to really help everyone we serve to recognize and use the atonement in their lives. This can be for members as they use the enabling power of the atonement and look for missionary opportunities. It can be for less actives as they rediscover their testimony and how the Lord can change their hearts and help them come back to church. It can be for the non-members who don't understand their relationship with God and Christ and how keeping the commandments and repenting can relieve their burdens and help them to to be truly happy. 
Mostly I am just really grateful to be in this area to to be able to grow more as a missionary since we are actually teaching a lot and are always busying with helping people to progress. There are just a lot of things I will be able to learn from this area and my companion so I am really excited.
You all are the best! Have a good week!

-Sister Washburn

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pictures from Cypress
With Sister Griswald

With the Matsuos- they always take us out for sushi and other good Japanese food.

With Sister Okanoue

 Walking the streets of Cypress

Sisters in our zone- the blond on the end will be my new companion

our zone

Lots of Appointments & Changing Wards

This week was really good. We had lots of teaching appointments. Even though some of them were just teaching members I think that they are starting to get a lot more missionary minded just in the small time we have been working with them. We taught this single mom and her son the lessons and she really appreciated it. She recently got divorced and her son has been struggling a little so she really loved getting to hear the restoration lesson and have that good influence for her son. 
We also talked to a TON of people. We started passing out family history pass along cards to people who are already really religious. It has been working great because sometimes they just aren't interested in letting us talk about what we believe but they will let us talk about their ancestors and how they can learn more about them. Also getting non members to do family history is like double hastening of the work so that is cool. I heard that family history is the number one hobby in america so a lot more people are interested in it than you think. 
We meet a few more less actives that we didn't know and they were really nice. One is an RM who graduated from BYU and his girlfriend isn't a member and they are super nice so hopefully we can get them to church. Also we met another guy who we thought didn't want contact from the church but as it turns out his daughter is really active and he wants us to come over for dinner. 
Sister Okanoue and I have just been working really hard and trying to recognize all of the things that we have to be grateful for. I think that helped us out a ton this week because we envisioned things working out and going better and they actually did. Also it helped us to realize all of the small tender mercies and good moments that we have everyday. I read President Uchtdorf's talk this week about being grateful in our circumstances. It just really hit me that a lot of times we are in situations where we are doing our best but maybe we aren't seeing amazing results. Even in those times there are still lots of great things happening.
Also we got a new investigator!!! Her name is Yvonne and we've gone by before and talked to her but she usually wanted to read the Book of Mormon but didn't really want the lessons. This time when we went by she told us she really wanted to come to church with us. We also ended up talking about baptism and she thought that it was really cool and sounded really interested and open to it all. We have a church tour scheduled with her this week so hopefully it all goes through! 
And then to end this great week we got transfer calls. And boy they were totally not what I expected. First of all we found out that they decided to take sister missionaries out of our ward. We were so sad to hear this because we just got together as companions and we really love the ward and there were a lot of members and single women we were working with. But our area is pretty small (there is only one ward smaller in our mission) and now that the Elders in our ward don't cover the singles ward anymore just our ward, there isn't as much work to go around. So we are sad but we realize that it has to happen. And then we found out that we are both getting moved to other wards in our same stake. So we are still going to be in the same zone and even the same district just different wards. So that is kind of cool but kind of weird at the same time. I am going to the Buena Park ward with Sister George who just finished her training. It took me a couple days to get over the fact that I am leaving but now I am starting to get excited. And since my old ward is so close I will probably still get to see people sometimes.  Hope you all have a good week!! Love ya!

-Sister Washburn

Monday, June 9, 2014

One year in the mission field

So for my year mark we were going to go to this ice cream place to get Belgian waffles but when we got there the waffle machine was broken, but i really wanted waffles so we went to IHOP instead (also my hair is gross but we were biking all day= helmet hair) 

My lovely japanese companion sitting on a bench- Sister Okanoue

Elder Ballard Visits

(this should have been posted on 6/2, so read this first and then the next one to have them in order)
This week was way better. So last Monday Sister Okanoue and I ate at a Korean barbeque restaurant. It was so good. They have a little grill on each table and then you just order
whatever meat you want and they give you side dishes too. We ate a ton because it was all you can eat. Then on Tuesday we went by an old Japanese couple in our ward. The
wife is recovering from a stroke and I think she really liked to speak Japanese with Sister Okanoue. The husband is really funny. He remembered that I'm from Texas so he pulled
out a New York Times magazine that said "the untied states of texas" on the front. He was like "Texas is #1!" it was funny. Then tuesday night we had exchanges. It is the first
time in 6 months that Sister Andelin hasn't been my STL so it was kinda weird at first. I went with Sister Bauer and she is awesome so we had a good time. That morning we
did some contacting then we worked in her area for a while. We got to teach one of their investigators who is Ally and AJ's uncle. Like I totally loved Ally and AJ back in the day
so I thought it was pretty cool that we got to teach him. He told us that he was going to have Sister Bauer and her companion be extras in a movie that Ally and AJ are making.
He was like "Ya they were just going to be walking around the neighborhood and then knock on someone's door." But sadly, the place where they are filming is out of our mission
so they can't do it. Then on Thursday I started to feel sick and realized that the sinus infection I had had was coming back. (I don't think it ever fully went away) So I went to the doctor
and they gave me some meds and I pretty much slept for all of Friday but then I felt a lot better. Which was good because on Saturday Elder Ballard (one of the 12 apostles) came to our mission!! It was
crazy all 200+ missionaries were packed into one chapel. I think that is the only time on my mission that the whole mission will have been together at once. It was really fun to see
everyone. There were a couple of area authorities that spoke and then Elder Ballard spoke. He talked about a lot of things, about teaching to people's needs, teaching simply, being
obedient. One of my favorite things about his talk was that he pulled out a pass along card with Jesus on it. He said how he is 85 but he still works a lot being an apostle and
sometimes it gets hard for him. When he is having a hard day he pulls out that card and takes a moment to think about the atonement and everything that the savior has done. It
helps him to push through it all and try his best. Then he had a short question and answer part. He also talked a little about member missionary work and he was like "Well, I've
already given 2 general conference talks on it so I don't know what else it will take to get the message across to the members." It was a really cool meeting. We all got to shake
his hand too which was awesome. Then on Sunday night we started teaching some active members the lessons just to help us practice. It was really cool and I think that the members
enjoyed it. Also one of our less actives came to church and she brought her less active nephew too. It was great. There are been a lot of less actives at church lately because us and the
elders have been trying to work more with the ward. We also visited this semi-active family who has three girls. The dad brings the girls sometimes but the mom never comes. They were
really talkative and fun to visit and we even got the mom to join in the lesson and stuff so hopefully we can get her going back to church. Lately I have felt like I need to focus more and work
harder than I ever have to find people to teach. Not that I have been wasting my time before or anything but just that I need to commit myself a little more. Our district leader gave a
training last week about praying with faith and committing to God the things that you want to accomplish. He had us read a talk about giving up the things we do as missionaries that
take away from the spirit even if it is just little things that get in the way. Also in that talk it mentioned how God has given us everything we have, our family, our health, our circumstances,
but the only thing that He can't take away or control is our free will. So the biggest gift we can give to Him is sacrificing what we want to more fully do what He wants from us. I really
liked this because I have noticed how throughout my mission overtime I have wanted to be more obedient and more hard working because I want to do what the Lord asks. It went
justifying things because "I needed it" or "I had to do it this way" to thinking more of "what has he asked me to do" or "how does the Lord want me to do this." Something I love most
about missions is that they can really change you if you let it. You can let the Lord change your heart, your very nature, even the things that you say "that's just how I am" God can
help you to become different. I have seen this in the people we teach, the less active who is laying in bed on a Sunday morning not wanting to get up but who prays and asks God to
help them do what is right and they get up and get themselves to church. Even active members who give service and do so much for others even though they have a family, and a job,
and a calling and not a ton of time. Or those times on my mission where I see a person that I know I need to talk to but their across the street and it might be awkward and I don't really
know what to say but I decide to anyway and the Lord helps me to talk to them. I still have a long way to go but I love that if we are willing and we really try the Lord will be there with us.
I am so grateful that the Lord gives us things in life that are hard so that we can learn to rely on Him. I love my mission so much! I am so grateful to be able to dedicate this time to Him.

Love you all!!
-Sister Washburn

The Price of Dsicipleship

This week was kinda crazy. We had a short exchange one of the mornings this week and so i got to go out and contact a bunch with one of my STLs. Stake conference was this week. They talked a lot about member missionary work and doing family history work which was awesome. I was on family search the other day and the new thing they have to add pictures and stories is so cool! I was reading about our relative Abraham Washburn and how he knew Joseph Smith pretty well and all of the other cool things he did. You guys should really check it out because there is a lot of stuff already on there about our relatives. Also on Wednesday it was my year mark! I can't believe it, 2/3 of the way done. Everyone says the last part of your mission flies by and I believe it. I'm grateful to have 6 months left on my mission though because I have been learning a ton and still have work to do. 
My comp and I have been trying to get back in the swing of things after being sick and so we have been trying to really talk to more people. But it seems like satan doesn't like us or something because we ran into a ton of rude people. A bunch of people we talked to would be really nice but the second we brought up our church they would suddenly end the conversation and usually yell some bible scripture at us as we were going away. This one guy started yelling at us saying that we believed in the devil and that we followed the wrong Jesus. Then we were giving service for this member's daughter-in-law. She started asking me questions like "why did you want to come on a mission?" and stuff and I was like sweet, missionary moments- and I didn't have to be the one to bring it up! But every answer I gave wasn't right. I said that the gospel changed my life and has brought me a lot of happiness and that's why I wanted to come on a mission. She was like "well since you said you grew up in the church, it couldn't have really changed your life, you just don't know anything else." And so on and so forth. I was like "what the heck woman, we are cleaning your house!" But ya she kept telling me that i didn't need to worry about being saved that I didn't need to do all of these "works" because I can just call on the name of Jesus and I'll be fine. It was kinda annoying. The whole point of life is doing good works, following Christ's example of obedience to God's commandments so that when we stand before God at the last day to be judged we will be like Him. 
That night I was lying in bed thinking about what had happened. Part of me was like "Heavenly Father why do I keep going out everyday and talking to people and they just reject what we say." I was thinking about it and about Elder Holland's talk in conference about defending what we believe and how the path of discipleship is never easy. I thought about how ultimately every time I share what I believe I don't regret it. Ya its sad that people don't care or think we are wrong, and it can hurt sometimes to share something so amazing and important to you and have people just brush it aside or yell in your face. But there are people out there, and I know there are people here in our 5 block area of Cypress, that need to hear this. They need to feel the hope that the atonement brings, they need to feel peace through the holy ghost, the need to know that there is a better way to live that will help them avoid misery and sorrow and will eventually lead them back to Heavenly Father. So all these annoying people are worth it to find those who are prepared. My comp and I started working even harder after all this happened which I am really happy about because it could have been so much easier to slack off or assume people we see probably aren't interested or will just want to bash with us. But we are going to keep trying our best so that we can find people to teach. In stake conference one of the speakers talked about how the Lord already knows who is ready for the gospel and so in sharing it we can't mess up. If we just open our mouths and talk to people, those that are ready to hear will want to know more. We don't have to have a flawless delivery or say just the right thing so convincingly. We just have to open our mouths and the Lord will help us out. I love the gospel. It just makes so much sense. I love that God loves us so much and that Jesus Christ showed us the way to live and died for us to make the plan of salvation possible. We taught a family in our ward the plan of salvation this week and it reminded me how lucky we are to understand god's plan for us and to have an eternal perspective. Life can be hard but the gospel makes it all worth it. I know that the Lord is in His work and that as we do what He asks He will always keep His promises to us.
Love you all! Have a good week!

-Sister Washburn