Monday, March 25, 2013

The ghetto DVD player

Hello Family!!!!!!!!
     How is everyone?? I loved reading your emails - it was so good to hear from you! So basically this would happen while I was here.  So last time it snowed a ton (remember me telling you about that? We lost our phone?) that was the most snow St. Louis had seen in years.  Then, yesterday, it snowed EVEN MORE!!!!!!! Like it basically snowed all day long and President Clark said that is the most snow he has seen here in the 3 years he has been here - CARAZYYY!!!! Church was cancelled yesterday and we weren't allowed to drive yesterday because of the roads.  So you could say I'm pretty jealous of you guys right now... in Costa Rica and all... it's probably super warm! 
     Anyway, my week was pretty great! Last Monday for P day we went to this super cute little restaurant called Companion and it's just a little cafe that is super cute! We really liked it.  Then, we went to the Del Mar Loop with Elder Christensen and Elder Nelson.  I'm kinda bored of the Del Mar loop cause we do it like every week and it's really not that interesting after one time.  But today we are planning on going to the Botanical Gardens! There's an orchid show going on right now so I think it sounds cool. 
     On Wednesday for District meeting we talked about being bold.  So just for practice, our district leader did an activity where we all took turns preaching on a "soap box".  It was fun! It turned into more of just a joke and it wasn't really that serious but it was pretty intimidating.  It made you really get to the point of what you were wanting to talk about and not adding all the extra information that fills up time. 
      We also went mall tracting this week and I really like doing that.  I feel like it's more effective to be honest.  There are so many more people to talk to and a lot of different types of people.  We got 5 potential investigators from doing that! That's more than we get in a day of tracting so hopefully something comes from it!
     On Thursday we had a lesson with Eugene, Gracie, and Robert.  They all went really well! With Eugene we read Alma 7 and talked about it and related it to him.  It's hard cause he has already been taught all the lessons so now we just have to be pretty forward with him and make sure he isn't just talking to us so that he can use us for service.  Roberts lesson also went really well! We had a member come with us and that was really nice.  We talked about the importance of coming to church and why we go.  We were going to go and just clear up his misconceptions from the documentary but we ended up not doing that and just had a lesson and I'm glad we did that! With Gracie we talked about faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  She is so smart! We watched a mormon message with her called "Reclaimed" and then asked her questions about what we had taught her to make sure she understood everything and I'm pretty sure she explained it better than we did haha.  We talked about baptism (but we haven't asked her yet cause we still need to ask her mom) and she said she had been to a friends baptism and she wanted to be baptized.  So... that's really good!!!!! We're planning on going over to her house tonight so we can talk to her mom. 
     One night this week we were visiting former investigators and we came across this guy named George.  So we went to his house and he was very nice and let us come in and we talked for a while.  He said he was very happy with his religion (baptist) and I just kept having a feeling that we should show him a mormon message we had with us.  So after he had told us in every single possible nice way that he was happy where he was at, I asked him if I could show him a video and so I pulled out our 7" ghetto DVD player and had him watch a mormom message and he really liked it.  He said that it didn't show very much difference in his and our religion though.  So we explained to him that that is exactly why we wanted to show it to him and that our religions aren't that different but it's the sacred ordinances that are essential to living with God again.  The spirit was so strong there! He said we could come back in a month because his schedule is really busy right now and invite him to church.  He was so nice though! He talked about his family for a while and his children and his wife and you could just tell how much he loved them and he was just so sweet.  He said the closing was one of the times I have felt the spirit the strongest since I've been here. 
     On Saturday we had a dinner at a members home and they had invited their non member neighbors and their 2 little kids.  We made homemade pizzas and played games and just got to know each other and it was really cool! Then, we shared a spiritual thought (of course a mormom message - kinda our go to) and they really liked it.  The husband was asking questions about what a mission is and he thought it was so interesting and then he asked where he could watch more of the mormom messages.  We tried not to be too forward and just let them know we're normal and get to know them so I guess we'll see what happens!
     On Friday we went to the temple with the office sisters (Sister Wayment and Sister Erickson).  I love going to the temple - it's one of my favorite days of the transfer.  It's just so relaxing and you can think and feel the spirit.  I also really like how there are no clocks there and you can just focus on being there!
     Yesterday, church was cancelled and we weren't allowed to drive and we live out of our area so it would take us at least an hour walk just to get to someones house (we would also have to cross the freeway) and so we literally just stayed in our apartment all day - nothing too exciting!
     Well... I think that's about it!
     So anyway, this week was good! Nothing too exciting but still pretty good! We got lots of potential investigators so hopefully they turn into investigators this week!  Good job on your talk dad!! I wish I could have been there to hear it!! Well, I hope you all have a really great week! Be safe on your trip and you better take lots of pictures and tell me allllllllll about it.  You are all in my prayers and I miss you so much.  I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

"Oh no it's okay, the GPS told us to go this way"

Hey Family!!!! 
     It was so good to hear from you! I look forward to reading your emails/letters alllllll week.  So how is everyone?? What's new??
     So, this last week was great! On Monday we had zone pday and just went to the church and watched The Work and the Glory.  They wouldn't tell us what movie we were watching until we got there and I thought it was going to be like a cute Disney movie or something so I was excited!!! But then it wasn't.... haha but it was still fun to be with our zone!
     Tuesday we had zone conference! It was combined with our zone and another one and they had different missionaries do a musical talent and I played the piano.  James O'Neill Miner was in charge of it.   Sister Toala from Samoa sang "I Heard Him Come" and it was definitely my favorite.  It was so beautiful and the spirit was so strong when she sang!! I really like that song too. 
     After the zone conference, the exchange sisters came so there were 6 of us in our little apartment! (I will get a picture of it this week so you can see what it looks like haha) Monday, Tom had called us and invited us to this dinner about MS and wanted us to be his guests so Sister Johnson and I went while Sister Wilcox went with the exchange sisters to a lesson.  We thought it was so sweet that Tom wanted us to come with him! He saved us seats by him and then after the MS presentation we had a lesson about the plan of salvation with him.  It went really well!! He really liked the part of the resurrection and said it is something he would like to believe so he said he would pray about it.  Oh! So on the way to the dinner, Eugene called us!! We haven't talked to him in a few weeks now because he was just ignoring us so we had dropped him and then he called us and said he missed us and wanted us to come over and have a lesson! SAWEEET!!!!! I will talk about his lesson in a little.
     On Wednesday we had district meeting and we always go out to eat together afterwards and we got to go to the city and it was really cool!! We ate at a place right across from Fox Theatre and it was fun to be down town!  Sister Johnson was with the exchange sister this day so I was in charge of Sister Wilcox, and the other 2 sisters (Sister Ash and Sabey).  I drove!!! It was so weird... I haven't driven at all since I've been here because Sister Johnson is in charge of that and it was just so weird to be like in charge of everyone and what we were doing that day. 
     On Thursday I was with Sister Grover for exchanges and we started out by having a lesson with Eugene.  Sister Grover had me teach like the whole lesson and it was so weird to feel like I was in charge.  I was super forward with him and asked him about baptism, why he decided to call us, and how important it is that he reads the Book of Mormon (he just reads the Bible), and that he needs to keep his commitments.  He responded really well and wants to meet with us again this week.  He said he wants to be baptized and he will know when he is ready to be baptized and that maybe in April he will! Cool huh? That night after the exchange sisters left we went to dinner with Elder Christensen and Elder Nelson at this place called Crown Candy (it was featured on man vs. food - there's this challenge you can do where you eat 5 malts in under 30 minutes and you get them for free and I guess the guy on that show did it)  Anyway, it's in Pagedale which is super ghetto and probably the 2nd most dangerous city here (don't worry we are there about twice a week and we stay in the safe parts - the Elders keep us safe too).  So anyway, this is probably borderline one of those things you don't tell your parents until you get home but the Elders in Pagedale don't have a car. After dinner we drove away and they started walking to the bus.  They watched us drive away and we were just following where the GPS told us to go and then like 10 seconds later I got a call from them and they are like:
Elders: "You guys need to turn around"
Me: "Oh no it's okay, the GPS told us to go this way"
Elders: "No... like you're going to get shot... you need to turn around right now"
Elders: (they are laughing super hard at this point while I'm like yelling at Sister Johnson)
So we like turned around ASAP and once we had turned on a different road I asked if they were joking because they were laughing and they were like, "No thats literally probably the most dangerous street in our area."
ANYWAY hahahaha we lived!!!!
     On Thursday or Friday we had a lesson with Jade and when we got there she was moving like right then.  She's moving like an hour way so we can't even teach her any more! We are so bummed!!!!! We also had a lesson with Gracie and talked about the Plan of Salvation and she is seriously so smart.  She understood it really well and even had really great questions! It's so awesome when you can tell that they REALLY understand it and it makes sense to them which is fabulous!!  We also had a fireside on Friday night and it was a James O'Neill Concert and he asked me to play my piano piece at it.  Friday was so nice! It was the first day I haven't had to wear a coat here - I LOVED IT!!!!!! Oh but before the fireside we had dinner at a young couples apartment in our ward and the husband was a wrestler at Alta! weird huh?? Thats 2 people in my ward here that went to Alta! After the fireside, Elder Facer and Elder Melton (office elders) drove us back to our apartment and we had a mini talent show in the car.  I of course did my weed wacker (it's a real crowd pleaser - I'm sure it's really attractive too).  Saturday we pretty much tracted all day but it wasn't too cold so it was actually kinda fun! 
     Oh so you know how I was telling you how the Elders passed out Book of Mormons after the Book of Mormon musical? They passed out 1,160 Book of Mormons!!!! Plus like over 500 pamphlets, pass along cards, cards, etc.  I wish the sisters got to do that! 
     Also, I still don't love being in a trio.  I think I like most of it except for when it comes to teaching it's just weird.
     Thanks so much for the packages!!! They totally made my day just picking them up at the office haha.  I'm saving the Easter Basket one until Easter so I haven't opened it yet! But the dress you sent me is ADORABLE and I wore it the next day haha.  Thank you!!! The clicker is super awesome, (I'm going to try it either sometime this week or next pday) as well as the binder and the thing about our mission presidents and of course the PAJAYJAYS!!!! Woohooo I've worn them every night since I got them - I'm so excited about those!! I would love some more pictures :)
     Anyway, today, we are at the library and then we are going to go to lunch and then to Barnes and Noble to get a journal - can you believe I have already almost filled one up? And then maybe do something with the Elders.  We wanted to go to the botanical gardens today but it's kinda rainy and cold and we want to go when it gets warmer.  Well... I think that's about it!! I will send you some pictures from this last week.  I hope you have a really great week and that you have fun in Costa Rica.... (glad you're going somewhere fun AFTER I leave). I love you all so much and I can't wait to hear from you again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Be safe on your trip and have a fabulous week.  I miss you all and I pray for you and I LOVE YOU SOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Count Your Many Blessings

Hey Family!!!!!
     How is everyone??? I loved reading your emails - I probably look like the biggest nerd when I get to the library because I feel like I walk so fast over to the computers and log in as fast as I can so that I can start reading your emails.  Oh well!!! Haha it was great to read about your weeks and everything that's going on with you guys - there's some crazy stuff coming up at home! I can't believe Alyssa is getting married so soon - CARAZZYYY!!! My week was GREAT.  We got 3 new investigators - it's so exciting!!!
     So last Monday for P day we went to lunch and then we decided to go to the History Museum, When we got there it was closing in 10 minutes which was a bummer but we ran through it really fast and we are definitely going to go back.  There's some really cool stuff there!! There's this one room that is about black history basically and there's this thing where it asks black people different questions and some were like, "Do you feel awkward eating watermelon and fried chicken in front of white people?" "Why do you walk like a thug?" And some others, there were like 100 questions but we only clicked on a couple but then it had like 5 different black people that answer the questions and it's actually really interesting and super funny!
     On Tuesday we had service which is always fun.  We also had a lesson with Robert! It went so well! We focused on the second lesson which is faith, repentance, baptism, and enduring to the end.  It's so cool to teach him because you can tell it's important to him and he says like over and over how excited he is to make changes in his life.  It's so fun teaching Robert because it makes it exciting to be a missionary! We also asked him more about himself because we didn't really know a ton about him and he told us some stuff about like his past and what not.  On Friday he called us and talked to us on the phone for like 45 minutes just about how he hopes we know that he is really sincerely trying to change and he is so excited to be baptized.  It was pretty cool! Then we had a lesson on Saturday with him and when he got there, his cousin, Ronnie was there and we asked if we could teach him. He said he already had a Book of Mormon but that he just hasn't had time to read it.  So, we talked about it a little bit and he promised he would read a little bit of it this week!
     On Wednesday we had district meeting and we were all asked to prepare a 2 minute talk on charity to share with everyone.  So I had like something really good to share and I was kinda excited to share it but then we ran out of time and no one got to share theirs.  BUT, Elder Christensen, our district leader, was like, I want you to apply what you taught to your own life and take what you were going to share with everyone and apply it to your life now.  I had never really thought of that before! Like it was so easy for me to prepare what I was going to say but sadly, I never even thought about applying it to my own life and working on being more charitable! So I guess practice what you preach applies here??
     On Thursday, we got a new investigator!!!! Remember Jade? Her dog ran up to us?? Ya it is her! We went to her apartment and talked to her and got to know her and it went so well. 
     Haha so we have this CD that we LOVE and listen to it all the time.  It's the Lower Lights you should definitely look them up.  It's like a ton of LDS singers that are all together in a singing group and they remake hymns and other like baptist songs and it is so good! Anyway, there's this one on it and it's a remake of Count Your Many Blessings and Sister Johnson and Sister Wilcox hate it but I love it!
     On Saturday we had a lesson with Majeed!!! The one we helped out of the snow like a week ago! We met him at Starbucks and had a really good conversation.  He is Muslim and we have ordered him a Book of Mormon in Arabic! Anyway, he wants to learn more so we are meeting with him again soon!
     I think I told you about Pam? We met her in Target and her mom was in the hospital? I don't remember if I did... but anyway, she was on my mind all week and yesterday I finally called her and she was watching a thing on the Bible on the History Channel when I called her and she said she had been waiting for us to call her! I asked about her Mom and stuff and she was so glad that we had called.  She said she was going to call us back today so hopefully she does! 
     Anyway, this week was really exciting!!! It has been super rainy this week and on Saturday it got really warm.  It was like 60 degrees and it felt so nice not to have to wear a coat!! Tomorrow we have the exchange sisters coming... that means there are going to be 6 of us in a 1 bedroom apartment. 
     Sister Wilcox is still really really quiet during lessons and doesn't introduce herself to anyone ever and is really shy, so that's been a little hard, but when it's just the 3 of us together she is fun to be with and I learn a lot from her. 
     GUESS WHAT!!!!??????!!! As of tomorrow, I get to talk to you guys in exactly 2 months!!! YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!! I am so excited!!!! Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOMORROW DAD!!!!!!
     Oh also, I think it's impossible for me to say "baptized" without sounding like the guy off Nacho Libre.  I have to think about it really hard or else it comes out like baptiized.  Haha hopefully it's not too noticeable! Anyway, on Tuesday we have zone conference and this LDS piano guy, something Miner and his wife are in charge of it.  He is doing like a musical zone conference and guess who's playing it it??? Yep, ME! Haha I'm just playing How Great Thou Art again but I'm kinda excited!
     Welp, that's pretty much my week! It probably doesn't sound like it, but it was a really really great week!!! We had more lessons and more investigators then we have probably combined the last 3 weeks!!! Anyway, I hope you all have a really great day, I have been so terrible at taking pictures this last week so I will try to do better so I can send you some!! I love you all so much and I hope you all have an awesome day and week!!!! I MISS YOU AND LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 4, 2013


     How is everyone? I loved reading everyones emails - thank you so much!! Can you believe that I've been out for 2 months?? Like looking back it seems like it's gone by so fast!  I love it here more and more and I'm learning so much.
     So this last week we split our P day between Monday and Thursday.  Monday we like emailed and grocery shopped and then spent the rest of the day being missionaries and then Thursday we celebrated Sister Johnsons birthday! So anyway, on Monday we had a lesson with Robert and he called us like 5 minutes before and was like, are you guys still coming? And then when we got there, he was waiting for us at the door!! hahaha we love robert. We went over the restoration and the Book of Mormon and I think he truly does have a testimony of it.  He talked about how much of a void it is filling in his life and he had already read to chapter 19 in 1 Nephi.  
   We also had dinner at a members house that night and it was probably my favorite one so far.  Not necessarily because of the food, although it was delicious, but it felt like home! A lot of families that we have dinner with it feels like we have to entertain them while we are there and it is so awkward but the family we were with was so nice and talkative and it just felt natural and it was fun! 
     Wednesday we got a new companion, Sister Amber Wilcox, so there's three of us now! She's from Provo Utah and 20 years old.  She is very very quiet and very very shy.
 I know I will be able to learn a lot from Sister Wilcox and that she will be able to add to our little companionship.  Wednesday was her "nesting" day so the three of us just got everything that she needed and then came back and she unpacked.
     Thursday was Sister Johnsons birthday!! She is 23 years old.  I had made a little banner for her above her desk out of scrap paper we had and it actually turned out pretty cute! Then, we were supposed to have district meeting, but the Elders came at the wrong time and all of our times were mixed up and they had decided to be Amish that day and not bring their phone so district meeting didn't happen.  But then, they went back and got their phone and called us and so we just had lunch all together.  Elder Christensen and Elder Nelson had made a birthday cake for Sister Johnson. Then we went to the Art Museum!! It was so much fun and so cool.  They had really cool paintings from like monet, manet, degas, seurat, van gough, and lots of others.  Then, the office sisters invited us over for a birthday dinner!
     Haha when we were getting in the car this morning, like it's pretty nice outside today and the skies are blueish and stuff but the tornado alarm went off! We just like stood there in the parking lot and were like... uhhh what do we do? Because it wasn't even the right weather for a tornado or anything so there was another guy in the parking lot so I ran over to him and asked why the alarm was going off and he said it was just a test and that they had been broadcasting that over the news and stuff.  It really stinks that we don't get to read or hear the news sometimes...  haha.  
     OHHHH okay guess what??? You know the Wrights in our stake? Anyway, her brother is in my ward!! His wife had signed up to have us over for dinner on tuesday and we were talking to them about it at church yesterday and we made that connection!! Weird huh??
     I have learned so much about the Atonement since I have been here! Like I think, before, I just thought it was for like when you make a mistake or need to repent.  But it's not! There's so much more to it! Sister Wilcox had a talk with her from her Uncle and it's called like "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox and it's really good! It compared the atonement to playing the piano. He said, "Our works, such as repentance and keeping the commandments, do not save us, but they are requirements set by the Savior to help transform us."  Then he talked about how there should never be just two options: perfection or giving up.  Like when we learn the piano, there are more options than performing at Carnegie hall or quitting.  There's everything in between which is the learning process.  Just like learning and understanding takes time with piano, it does with making mistakes and having weaknesses as well.  It's a really good talk - you should read it!
     I think that's all!  I miss you all so much! It's so good to hear from you and I hope you all have a really great day and week!!!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!