Monday, November 24, 2014

Mission Newsletter- Final Thoughts

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

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

"Drama" on the Mission

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

Monday, November 17, 2014

Prayer and Two Weeks

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

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

Monday, November 10, 2014

with Sister Moesinger

New Investigators and a "Last Meal"

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

-Sister Washburn

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Find one "miracle" in your life every day

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. :)

Sister Washburn