Monday, April 29, 2013

The Arch!

     Thank you so much for making my birthday so awesome!!!!!!!! I have the best family ever! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sister Clark also called me and sang me happy birthday and that was so sweet.
     Alright, mom and dad, you are going to love this but anyway. So usually we are pretty clean in the apartment but sometimes we get a little carless and our desks get messy and dishes don't get done and clothes don't get put away and so I told my companions that we really need to keep it clean and put things away when we are finished and just be clean! So we spent a few minutes cleaning up and everything and okay... it's amazing the difference that it feels like!!!!! Hahahaha like seriously it just feels way better in the apartment and it totally makes a difference in how we study.  Anyway, so on Wednesday we tried contacting a couple of  referrals but they weren't home so we tracted and didn't have any luck. We also had a lesson with Gracie on tithing and fast offerings.  She seriously gets everything so well it's nice.  Her friend sat in on the lesson and it was really cool because Gracie didn't act like she was embarrassed about prayer or reading the Book of Mormon or anything.
     Friday I was thinking about Alyssa a lot.  It was kinda a hard day for me because I was sooo happy for her but just so sad that I was missing such a big part of her life.  Anyway, we had a lesson with Yomairra on the plan of salvation and it did not go like we hoped it would at ALL!!!
     Like she's from Columbia and the reason we mostly go over is to teach her son Santiago but he was busy with finals so it was just her.  But like she just did not get what we were saying and she didn't make any sense and I think there's a little bit of a language block there but it was just not successful to be honest but we made a date to meet with her again when Santiago could be there too so I think we are just going to teach the plan of salvation again.  So anyway, that night was really awesome!!!!!!! Theres a member in our ward that has a friend he has worked with for like 7 years and he agreed to take the lessons! So we met at the members home and his friend, John, was there and we talked about the Restoration and gave him a Book of Mormon and stuff and it went really well!!! John is really really smart and so he was making a lot of connections and it just made sense to him and it was really exciting!!! We have another lesson with him tonight so I will let you know how it goes!!!
     Saturday we had a lesson with Eugene and it was AWESOME!!!!!! He was so talkative and he's really working hard on quitting smoking.  We talked more about baptism and about his family being okay with it.  He said he would talk to his family this week and that he is also going to talk to his doctor to see if it's okay.  I asked him if he would like a blessing to help him stop smoking and he said yes so we are going to do that on our next lesson with him.  Well.... WE aren't but we found some men in the ward that will haha.  But it was seriously probably our best lesson with Eugene.  He was really open and agreed to come to church for sure!! I asked him if he had any snazzy clothes to wear to church and he was like, you tell me, so he opens up his closet and he had a ton of clothes and they were all really stylish!!!! It was so funny!!!!! Because he also just sits in his robe and pajamas during lessons so we never see what his style is like!! And then, he gave us a gospel choir CD to listen to in the car. Then, we visited the Crocketts and we had a talk we had printed out for them from April's Ensign about equality in marriage and even though the Crocketts don't want to have any more lessons, Mrs. Crockett said she really learned a lot and she was happy with what she learned about our church.  For her, women being equal to men is really important so she liked the talk a lot.  Then, we visited with a new family that moved into the ward and the wife was home and we just sat down and she gave us a bowl of icecream and then like told us her whole life story and she was so cute!!! Hahaha it's so funny how some people are like that.  And then, we tried visiting Robert again, and still no answer.  So that was a bummer AGAIN!!!!!!
     And then yesterday we had a lot of meetings before church and our mission leader presented the mission plan in ward council and I just hope it really does work!! And guess what!!!!! Eugene came to church!!!!!!!!! It was so great - I think it helps that we have tried to become friends with him and not just people that come and give him a lesson and leave.  Last night, we met with Gracie's mom and asked her about baptism and when works for her.  Gracie's cousin is getting baptized on the 11th and Gracie's mom doesn't want to have too much family stuff back to back so she's thinking of pushing it to June :( So I will most likely miss it but I know it will happen - Gracie is so excited too.  So ya!! That's pretty much my week!!!
     Today we are going to go to the arch and I think I'm going to go to the top of it today! I heard it's kinda lame but I feel like it's just one of those things you have to do at least once!!! I can't tell you guys how EXCITED I am to talk to you!!!! 2 more weeks BABY!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Birthday Taylor!!

Hey Family!!!!!!
     This week was really great! So to answer a couple questions that I read in a couple of your emails, yes I am still in a threesome and I am training Sister Wilcox AND Sister Nelson!! It's so exciting but at the same time it's so crazy to think that they are looking to me as an example of how a missionary should be.  Like I don't even think about that but then during lessons when they don't know how to answer something or don't know what to say, they both look at me!! So anyway, I will tell you about my week now!
     Monday we went to the history museum and it was pretty cool!  Also, Robert LOVED church and he called us and told us over and over how much he loved being there and the vibes he got and the people there and it was so great.  On Monday, he called us and told us he had been reading the Book of Mormon for hours the night before and then asked how he could get baptized! Pretty sweet huh?? It was the best ever!!! Like seriously.  We are so excited for him!
     Tuesday we had a lesson with Eugene and he said he has cut back on his smoking but he's still really trying.  The only thing holding him back from being baptized is his family.  Since the first time he was "baptized" didn't work out to well and everything that went wrong, went wrong, his family was really angry and is already concerned with his health so they are hesitant to let him try it again.  But I think he really is trying and so we are just going to continue on being forward with him and encouraging him.  That night we had dinner at the Baileys - I think they are one of my favorite houses to go to for dinner.  She is from Switzerland and is like an AMAZING cook because she has all of these recipes from Switzerland.  Her daughter Sarah makes and sells bread and this one kind of bread she made was SO GOOD! It's called zopf break - you should totes look it up and make it.  Anyway, the husband is a neurosurgeon and he said we could come and watch a surgery sometime on pday if we wanted!!  I decided that Erin should come and live in my ward here for a couple months because like every other person is some type of incredible surgeon or doctor and I'm sure they would let her work for them or something and she could get a ton of awesome experience! Anyway!
     Wednesday we had district meeting and I met my new district since we had transfers and all and I love it so much!! It's just us 3 sisters and then Elder Toki is our district leader and then Elder London, Nelson, and Locklear.  They are all really hilarious and you can tell they are good missionaries but still have fun which is nice.  After district meeting, we had a lesson with Robert and we made a baptism date for May 4th! We talked about studying the scriptures rather than just reading them and then baptism and receiving the holy ghost! I don't think his reading comprehension is very good at all so we gave him a pencil and told him to underline what his favorite scriptures were in what he read and then at our next lesson we would talk about why he liked those ones.  We are so excited for him!! EXCEPT!!! UGH so he has to come to church 3 times before he is baptized and he DIDN'T COME ON SUNDAY! He promised he would and since he liked it so much before we thought he would for sure be there but he didn't come! We were seriously so bummed.  We are going to try and call him today and see why he wasn't there.  We had another lesson with him on Friday also about tithing and fasting and fast offerings and stuff and it was really cool because he gets all his income from social security and you could tell that for him, paying 10% of that was going to be hard, but he was like "Well, if it's a commandment and the Lord wants me to do it then of course I will do it".  I thought that was a really good answer! But hopefully paying tithing didn't scare him away - I will keep you updated!  We also went tracting and we tracted into this athiest couple that let us in for a long time! They ended up not being interested but we left them with a plan of savlation booklet.  I just think it's so sad to not believe in anything at all and they believe that their "worth' is just like any other animal on the earth.  Like we are born and then we die. I think that's so sad!  That night we had the RS birthday party and they had decorated the whole gym with all different quilts that different women had made from the ward and then had a short story with them.  Then, one of the sisters talked about quilting and told a story about this lady that was at a park or something unfolded this BEAUTIFUL quilt that was really detailed and just really nice and big and then she just laid it out on the grass and she had dirt on her shoes and so did all of her children but they all sat down on it like it wasn't a big deal.  So she went over to the lady and was like your quilt is so beautiful, how can you just get it dirty like that! And she answered by saying, when her kids grow up, it's the soccer quilt or the picnic blanket or the movie quilt that they are going to want to take with them, not the quilt that was hung up on the wall or folded neatly in a box.  Anyway, I really liked that story. 
     Thursday we had a lesson with Fran (she goes to Unity church) and Gracie.  Fran is pretty set in her ways with her Unity church, however, she still wants to learn more about our church.  She believes that everyone has their own path and that God doesn't have ONE path that he wants everyone to follow so even though she thinks what we believe is nice, I don't think she really plans on changing her ways so we will probably drop her soon.  Gracie’s lesson went really well! She has been taught all the lessons now so we just go and review things or make up a lesson basically.  We talked about the youth theme, standing in holy places, and she really enjoyed that.  She has talked to her family about getting baptized and her grandpa is going to baptize her, so it looks like May 4th is going to work! It rained literally ALL day on Thursday, it was crazy!
     Friday, we went and visited a referral we got from a member; the Crockett family.  They have seen the missionaries multiple times before and love them, but they just don't agree with all of our beliefs.  To start, they said that the gold plates are a stretch for them.  However, they are "taking a break" from religion/church right now.  They were Methodist before but the politics of it pushed them away.  So they are looking for a church right now which is PERFECT! They said they are not interested in learning about our church.  BUT another reason they didn't like our church is because they feel like women aren't equal with men, and I remembered a talk from conference that talked about how they are equal basically and they said we could come back and share it with them this week! SO that's a start! Right? That night at dinner, the members house we were at have a daughter going on her mission to Croatia - that seems pretty cool!
     Saturday we went and visited a family, the Morris', that had been tracted into and they had TONS of questions which were great.  We talked in their driveway for about an hour.  They are Christian and they like the church they go to but they seem really open about learning more about our church.  They have 3 little kids.  We gave them a plan of salvation pamphlet and they said we could come back! My companions and I are getting a lot better at teaching in unity.  We were struggling for a little bit there, and we still have some things to work on, but it's cool for me to see my companions speak up and just answer people's questions - it makes me feel like I'm doing something right! haha. It's been so interesting to me how you have to change how you teach depending on your companions.  Like with Sister Johnson, we were both really talkative and our conversations just flowed with investigators and we would politely interrupt each other when we had something to say and it just worked! But my new companions don't work like that which is totally fine! But I think that's how you become a better teacher when you are able to adjust your teaching styles and stuff - so ya! 
     So as far as Anton goes...we are super duper bummed.  He's not in our area!! We had to hand him over to the Elders and they were more than happy to take him (obviously).  So that STINKS!!!!!
     Also, I got my first mosquito bite this week.  A couple of days ago, I thought I lost my nametag and I was really sad because it's a) the only one i have and b) it was my first one ever and I have worn it everyday and I was really sad so I prayed about it and I found it under my seat in the car! Sounds dumb but it meant a lot to me!
     Yesterday we had church and we FINALLY have a Ward Mission Leader! He has already made a ward mission plan that is simple but REALLY, REALLY good - so I hope it starts to be used soon! After church, we went to visit Shu Fang and Mi.  Last time we were with them, Shu Fang didn't understand why God allowed people to suffer.  Her mother has Alzheimers and she is frequently in pain and is suffering and she doesn't understand why that has to happen.  So we found a talk about it and printed it off in Chinese.  Anyway, so we went to visit them and Shu Fang wasn't home but Mi was! She said that they had researched a little more about our church and found that it conflicts a lot with their Buddhists beliefs and they were just more comfortable with that.  BUT she said we could come back this week and teach them - so we will see!
     Today, I requested we go to lunch at TGI Fridays so that I can get a dirt cup! haha I don't even know what else is on their menu besides that! But then we are going to the zoo with our district so that will be fun!  And then tonight, the office sisters are having us over for dinner to celebrate my birthday. Our district leader changed district meeting from wednesday to tuesday this week so that we could celebrate my birthday! Nice huh? 
    Also, yes I got your packages!!!! I opened the one and it was seriously the cutest ever!!!!! haha that was so nice of you!  The card is soooo perfect - I loved it!!!!!!!! And I love Resess (obviously) and we are going to make the cake tomorrow and the silly string and everything is just great!! Thank you SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!! The other box is sitting patiently next to my desk and I CANNOT wait to open it!!!! YAY!!!!!! Ahhh seriously THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so excited!!!!!!!! Also, shoutout to the greatest neighbor ever!!  Sister Colley is so sweet.  She sent me a package with some protein  bars and a couple of CD's and Book of Mormon reading charts and a card and those stickers you put in your scriptures and it was just really thoughtful!! AND I got Alyssa's birthday card this week - you are so nice!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     Okay, I think that's all?? I still can't believe I'm going to be 20 YEARS OLD tomorrow - WEEEIRRRDDD!!!!!! Well, thank you so much for your emails and letters - I loved reading them all!!!!!!!! Have an AWESOME week and I can't wait to hear about Alyssa's WEDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOLY COW - that is so crazy.  Alyssa - you are getting married this week! I am so excited for you!!!!!! I can tell you are so excited and happy and I better hear about all the details from everyone!!!!!!!!! Along with pictures - I want lots of pictures.  Okay, well I love you all soooooooooooooooooooo much and you are in my prayers!!!! Be safe and have a fabulous week.  I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

New Companion!

President Clark gave an analogy of how serving a mission is like being in the bathtub. When you pull the plug at first you don't really notice a difference in the water level but then all of a sudden your knees are cold and then before you know it, it's spinning down the drain super fast and he said that's how missions are! Right now we feel like we have sooo long to go and like we are going to be here for forever but before we know it, it will be over! I thought it was pretty good.  After transfer meeting we went grocery shopping and had lunch and then went to the apartment to unpack Sister Nelsons things and get settled in.  Nesting days are GREAT!!! So long story short, Sister Johnson's new companion is Sister Durfee and they stayed with us until Friday.   Wednesday night we went to the library to print off some things for the next couple days and it was raining super hard when we were leaving and then when we got there, the tornado warning went off!! The librarians had everyone go into the auditorium until the tornado warning was done! haha and then we were leaving and we got to the car and it went off AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!! But we really needed to get back so we just left while the sirens were going off (I know it was way dumb... sorry!!) but we returned safely and the tornado was like 45 minutes away from where we live so we were safe! The funny thing was that earlier that day I asked Sister Nelson if she had ever seen a tornado or anything and she was like "No" and I was like "Ya, me either" and then that night the tornado warning went off!!! CARAZYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     Okay so Thursday and Friday we taught at Christian Brothers College High School. That's why Sister Johnson stayed is because we had planned for this for like a whole week and we felt bad just throwing our new companions in and have them teach a class.  It was really cool though! So all together we taught 6 classes and half of them were a World's Religion class and the other half was a Genocide class.  So for the World's Religion classes we taught the Plan of Salvation and for the Genocide class we talked about the Saints trek to Salt Lake from Ohio.  I really liked teaching it! It was also cool to teach about the Saints trek to Salt Lake because I've been to like all the places along the way for family vacations but back then I didn't really understand but now I do. The boys in the classes had so many questions about our religion.  They asked about our daily schedule as missionaries, they asked about what happens if we break the Word of Wisdom, what we think about the ‘Book of Mormon’ play, and like ALLLL the weird things people hear about Mormons.  But it was a really cool/different way to be able to teach what we typically teach as missionaries and bear our testimonies also throughout the lessons.  It's so interesting though, the teacher LOVES Mormons.  He goes to church sites for his summer vacations and he loves reading about them and learning about the doctrine and he believes it all too! He told us so many times that he knows what we are teaching is true and he even comes to our church occasionally. We don't understand why he doesn't want to be Mormon!!!!! Hahaha it's so confusing to us!! He was so nice to us and wants us to come back and teach all the lessons to his classes if it's okay with President Clark. 
     Thursday we also had a lesson with Gracie and taught her the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity.  She understands everything really well.  Her baptism date is for May 4 because her mom wants her whole family to be involved and we figure by then, everyone has far enough notice in advance to come and be involved with it also.  But Grace is really excited!! And so am I!!!!!
     Saturday we started the day off by going to the Relief Society Womens Conference.  It was themed "Fit for the Kingdom" I really liked it! 
I learned a lot!
     After that, we had a lesson with Robert and talked about the  commandments.  He understood them all and had a lot of insight on all of them which was really cool! I wish some people would just like take a little more effort into realizing how much the gospel will help them!  Yesterday Robert and Gracie came to church. It was so awesome!!!!!!!!
    It is seriously so different being the trainer now.  That's my week and I hope you all have a really awesome week!!!!!! I love you and miss you all so much and you are always in my prayers!!!!!!
I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Conference weekend in St. Louis

Hey Family!!!!!!!!
     I absolutely LOVED reading your emails - as always! I was thinking the same thing yesterday while watching conference and was like "Oh my family is doing the exact same thing as me right now!" It was pretty cool. Although, I did miss having ladies night. Remember last year when we left like 10 minutes early and then my name got drawn and I won the picture but we weren't there anymore? That was kinda funny.
     Anyway, THIS WEEK WAS AWESOME!!!!!!!!! Oh my gosh I have so much to tell you!!!!!!  I will just start from Monday.  Since Monday was April Fools day, my companions and I decided to play a joke on our district leaders.  The district leaders call us every night and ask about our day and so we decided to play a trick on them. The elders called and were asking about our day and what we did for pday and we were like: (Keep in mind we aren't allowed to swim):
Us: "Oh this new water park opened up in Frontenac and our ward invited us to go!"
Elders: "What kind of water park?"
Us: "Oh there were like little slides and water fountains and stuff - it was so fun!"
Elders: "So... you went swimming?"
Us: "Well no we just waded and went down a couple of slides"
Elders: "mmhmmm... so swimming basically?"
Us: "No we didn't get all the way in the water - it was seriously so nice though the weather was awesome!"
Elders: "........ Cool......."
and then we were like April Fools! It was pretty funny because they totally believed us!  At district meeting on wednesday, our district leader was reading off some new mission rules and he said, "We are also now allowed to watch Disney movies on Pdays" so obviously I was way excited and was like "are you serious"? "That's so awesome"!!! And then a few seconds later he was like just kidding and laughed and it was way funny because I was seriously so excited!
     Monday night we visited Gracie's mom to ask her permission for Gracie to be baptized and she said she was totally fine with it!!!! YAY!!!!!! So then we had a lesson with Gracie a couple days later and we talked about the 10 commandments and asked her if she wanted to be baptized and she said "yes" so for right now we have a date of May 4 for her baptism!
     Tuesday we got training calls. So the zone leaders called us and told us who would be training next transfer and guess what..... I'm training! I'm excited!
     Wednesday we had district meeting and for district lunch we went to this place called Pappy's BBQ.  It's a famous restaurant in St.Louis and dad, I know you would love it so much.  I think it would become your new favoritE.  Anyway, so we were waiting in line and this older couple was leaving and said "hello sisters"! And we just were like Hi! (We don't know who you are) and then the told us that they were members and just on their way back home to Idaho from visiting their kids. They were super nice.  I LOVE WHEN MEMBERS SAY HI TO US! I don't know why but it makes my day when people you don't even know just come and tell you that they're mormon! So a few minutes later the couple came back in and gave us $70 and paid for our whole districts' lunch! That was so nice of them! He said his name is President Erickson and he is from Rexburg, Idaho.  It made our day - it reminded me of you, dad, and what you did for the Elders!!! Wednesday we also had a lesson with Yomairra and Santiago and even though they don't think that they need the gospel right now they are really willing to see if it will make a difference in their lives which is awesome! We talked about the restoration and gave them the DVD to watch on their own since we didn't have time to watch it with them.  We also had a lesson with Shu Fang and Mi that evening and it was AWESOME!!!!! We talked about the plan of salvation because Shu Fang is really interested in seeing what happens after we die.  She understood it so well.  At first Shu Fang was just in the room and then basically after we were explaining the plan of salvation that's when Mi came in and so since Mi missed out on all of it we asked Shu Fang if she wanted to teach her the plan and she did it perfectly!!! It was really cool to see that she actually understood it.  She also told us that she had prayed everyday that week! I seriously love teaching them!!! They are so humble and willing to learn and it's just really cool!!!!!
     Friday was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Friday morning we had a lesson with this lady named Fran and she goes to Unity church which is basically where everyone is accepted and it's about finding God in everyone.  We watched the Restoration video with her and she said that even though she is happy where she is at and that as long as we accept God than we are good, she said she would look at our church from a different perspective so that's awesome! Okay here is the best part of my week..... possibly of my MISSION so far!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Okay so the office sent us a referral that was from October and for some reason it had fallen through the cracks or something and no one had contacted it.  So we drive there and knock and no one comes and then we knock again and still no one comes and so we decided to write a note and leave it at the door letting them know we had been there and while we were writing it, this boy comes out and we introduce ourselves and he is like "Oh my gosh! I've been waiting for you guys!" He starts like bouncing up and down a little and is like "I've been waiting for you guys for a long time! You guys changed my life! I've read the Book of Mormon like 6 times and just this whole church has turned my life around!" IT WAS SOOOOOOOO COOL.  So he invited us in and told us that in October he moved from California in with his Grandma here a week before his baptism.  When he got here he called the mission office and told them he wanted the missionaries to come and they told him they would be there that thursday and so he got all dressed up in his suit and waited and waited and no one ever came.  But we kept talking to him and we were like well are you still interested in being baptized? and he was like Yes! I want to become part of the mormon church! I think I need a little refresher of the information but yes I do! And then he basically told us the plan of salvation and told us how he wants to go to the celestial kingdom and be sealed and how happy the gospel makes him.  HOW COOL IS THAT????  I was speechless the whole time.  I had no idea what to even say because I couldn't believe this was actually happening!!! Like you hear about stories like that but I just never thought something like that would ever happen! It was just so cool.  His name is Anton and ya! So exciting!!!  We also had a lesson with Eugene that day and he is living the word of wisdom and isn't smoking anymore!! It was such a good day!
     Saturday we went to President Clarks house for both sessions of conference and it was so nice! I loved watching it there.  It was just Sister Johnson Sister Wilcox and I and then the office Elders and AP's.  It was so fun to watch it with President Clark though just because some of the comments he makes you would never expect him to say sometimes! Like he knew one of the speakers from home and after he was done speaking he was like "Good job John, great talk, you look just like your mother."  It was funny.  Also, this week on the 11th and 12th we are teaching about the restoration and plan of salvation and Christian Brothers College which is like an all boys school and so for the rest of the day we pretty much just planned for that - it's kinda stressful actually!
     Sunday we went to President Clark's house for the morning session of conference and then went to the church for afternoon because Shu Fang and Mi were coming! The weather was SO NICE so we walked to the presidents house and I loved it! It's been like 75 degrees the last few days - I LOVE THAT IT'S FINALLY GETTING WARM.  Shu Fang and Mi came to the afternoon session and even though they had to leave early I hope they liked it! We have a lesson with them this week so I guess we will see.  I was looking forward to conference all week!! I thought it was interesting how much they focused on similar subjects.  I feel like there was a lot about families, technology, the light of Christ, and being obedient.  I think some of my favorite talks were Sister Dalton, Richard G. Scott, Uchtdorf (he's always my favorite), President Monson, and Kopischke.  Thats a lot, but I pretty much liked all of them but those were probably my most favorite. The boy President Monson talked about in his talk that he burned the field with his President Clarks uncle!
     Saturday night we also got transfer calls! So Sister Johnson and I wont be companions anymore :( I'm so bummed.  But I will be staying in Frontenac with Sister Wilcox and we are also getting a new sister coming in and I will be training both of them! Sister Johnson is going to Cape Girardo?? I have no idea how to spell it but it's 2 hours south of where I am.  I have loved being her companion and I hope we stay in touch.   ALSO, guess what??? I was called to be the exchange sister for our zone! That means I go to each sister in our zone and go out with each of the sisters individually and then update our zone leaders and president on how all the sisters are doing as missionaries! I was definitely not expecting that at all but I am really excited!!!!
     Thank you so much for the packages! I was not expecting them so soon so that was awesome!!! I haven't tried the Biscoff yet but I will be soon!!!! Today we are going to the City Museum which is supposed to be like one of the funnest things to do here and then the Elders are going to do a challenge at this ice cream place where you try to eat 5 shakes in 30 minutes so we are going to watch haha.  Anyway, I hope you all have a really awesome week!!!!!!!! I GET TO TALK TO YOU IN ALMOST ONE MONTH EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOHOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK ERIN!!!!!! Anyway, I love you all and miss you a ton and think about you lots!!!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

"Well if you're telling me this book will bring me closer to God then why wouldn't I read it?"

     So you all mentioned you are fluent in Spanish now so hopefully you all understand what the email is called says.  It sounds like you had a lot of fun on your trip - I am so excited to see pictures and everything!!! The monkey story sounds HILARIOUS.  You can send videos to me if you would like to! I am so jealous you guys got to see monkeys AND sloths!!!!!!!! They are so cute! So anyway, I will tell you about my week now!
     I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but did I tell you church was cancelled last week? Crazy huh? Alright so anyway, last Monday we went to the botanical gardens and it was so awesome. They have an orchid show going on and it's Madagascar themed (the country not the movie).  It was really cool but then outside the main building they have something called the Climatron and it is so AWESOME! It is like this big dome shaped building that has like greenhouse type windows all around it.  You walk in and it's like you are in Costa Rica!!! hahaha well I've never been there but it was like walking into fiji.  There were trees and waterfalls and all kinds of plants all around.  It was so beautiful and warm! There was snow outside and it was freezing so that was our favorite place to be.  We walked pretty slow the whole time because it was so warm and just relaxing and humid and wonderful! I loved it!
     On Tuesday we had service and since transfers are coming up, one of the ladies that we do service with wanted to take us to lunch.  So we went to a mexican restaurant and they invited their pastor (a woman) to come with us.  She sat right across from me and was actually very, very quiet.  She was really nice and you can tell she has been through a lot but it was like one of those conversations where you learn a lot about them but they never asked you anything about yourself.  But it was still cool to get to know her and it's just interesting how woman are pastors! After, we had a lesson with Roger (did i tell you about him? He has Parkinsons and is older?).  Anyway, last time we had a lesson with him we gave him the Book of Mormon and talked to him about the Resurrection and he was pretty interested and said we could come back.  So we came back and this time his mom, Elizabeth, sat in! She is 96! She hasn't really gone to church for a really long time.  She's in a wheelchair and can't do a lot of things on her own.  We talked about the Book of Mormon again with her and she was like "Well if you're telling me this book will bring me closer to God then why wouldn't I read it? I will start reading tonight." Perfect, right?? So even though we kind of repeated our lesson that we had with Roger last time again, I think it was good! We also talked about prayer and we are going back this week to visit them again!
     On Wednesday we had a lesson with Robert about the Word of Wisdom and he is already living it so it was really pretty easy! However, he isn't really progressing.  We are teaching him lessons and everything but he isn't doing anything on his own and isn't calling us anymore and always has excuses for why he wasn't at church.  So he doesn't really have a baptism date anymore and we may have to drop him if it keeps going like this.  It's so sad though! He was doing so well for a long time and now it just doesn't seem as important to him anymore! Wednesday night we had a lesson with this lady that Sister Johnson tracted into when the exchange sisters were here.  Her name is Shufang and she has a daughter named Fay and an exchange student that stays there pretty permanently named Mi.  She is currently looking for a church! Her daughter Fay was home from college for spring break and she has roommates that are all different religions and she mentioned how they just don't seem very happy and they don't live the type of life that she would want to live.  She knows a girl from the ward and she mentioned that her and her brother always seem really happy! Shufang (the mom) was really interested in learning what happens after we die.  She has like a buddhist background but hasn't really practiced it for a long time.  She was also really concerned about what happens to animals after they die and I thought that was so cute! Like she asked about it probably 3 times and was really concerned.  We gave her a Book of Mormon and her daughter Fay was so excited to have it! So even though Fay went back to school yesterday we're hoping to stay in touch with her and see what she thinks about the Book of Mormon! We are waiting to get one in chinese for Shufang.  But Shufang also prayed for the first time and it was so sweet.  It's really cool hearing people pray for the first time! It's so genuine and not out of habit or anything so that was really cool too.  We have another lesson with her this week. 
     On Thursday, Elder Christensen and Nelson came and tracted in our area with us (we call it a blitz - I don't know if that's just what our mission calls it or if that's a term everyone uses).  Also, this girl in our stake, Rachel, who is leaving on a mission next Wednesday came with also! So what we did is we had Elder Nelson and Christensen on one street, Sister Johnson and I on a street, and then Sister Wilcox and Rachel on another street and we just all tract for like 2-3 hours.  Sister Johnson and I found a lady from Columbia and we talked to her for a really long time! She grew up Catholic because it was like the law there that they had to be Catholic in Columbia but now she just goes when she wants to and her son actually goes to a Catholic high school.  Her name is Yamarria?? (it's pronounced like Jomada).  While we were talking to her, her son came home from school and he was also interested in talking with us.  His name is Santiago.  We talked to them for a long time about our church.  It's hard though when people are like well as long as we all believe in God and follow the commandments then we're okay! But they want us to come back and everything so they are also 2 new investigators for us! That was so exciting!! We had 5 new investigators this week!!!
     On Friday we met with a lady in our ward who has just recently been coming back to church, Jane.  She is taking temple prep classes right now so we met her at the temple and had a lesson in the foyer with her.  She has had some concerns lately and just hasn't been excited to go and I think sitting there and having a lesson really helped! At the end she was like, "Okay so lets pick a date!" We told her it was completely up to her and that we would go with her whenever she decided she wanted to go and she chose April 26th! It was kinda cool for me because that's the day Alyssa is getting married.  I just might be at the temple the same day Alyssa is getting married! After that we had a lesson with Eugene about the Word of Wisdom.  We know that he smokes and stuff so we thought it would be a good idea.  We went through the Word of Wisdom and all (even though he's already heard it before).  I have noticed that with him he responds a lot better when we are forward with him so I was!  I asked him, "So Eugene, do you smoke or do drugs or tobacco?" And he said, "No, I don't use drugs".  And I asked, "Do you smoke?" (because we know he does) and then the truth came out.  He told us he did, but he committed that he would live the Word of Wisdom so I guess we will see!!
     On Saturday we went to Pagedale (super ghetto) and did a blitz in Elder Christensen and Nelsons area.  They put us in the safe parts though so it's okay! Rachel came with us again so her and Sister Wilcox tracted together again and Sister Johnson and I tracted together.  It was so much better tracting there!!!!
     Yesterday was Easter!!!!! It was a great day!!!! We woke up and had breakfast together which was fun because we usually don't eat breakfast together.  I made 'moutains' (aka german pancakes) and then we cut up some fruit - it was great! I also opened my Easter basket and it was WONDERFUL!!!!! Mother knows me well!!!! I love Recess and those chocolate covered Oreos are soooooo good!!!!!!! The weather was like perfect yesterday so during personal study I just sat out on our porch and read and it was so warm.  After church (I didn't see Margaret Macy - we have church at 1:00, what time did she go?), we had dinner at a members house and they were so cute! They have 4 little kids all 14 and younger and there is 1 girl and she is 8.  She wanted us to play with her like the whole time because she loved having girls over.  Their family was so fun and it reminded me a lot of our family - so that was nice! After that, we went to another members house and they had like a little Easter activity that we all did together and then we watched the video Finding Faith in Christ and then had dessert! They gave us little Easter baskets too.  It was a really good day though!
     I'm getting so sad though! Tranfers are next week and most likely Sister Johnson and I won't be together anymore :(.  I wish we could just be companions the whole time! I will most likely be training which is crazy but I'm bummed that Sister Johnson wont be my companion anymore.  I'm sure we will keep in touch though - we have had such a great time together!!!
     Today I think we are going to go get sushi for lunch and so I'm excited.  I did my dinosaur last night for Sister Johnson (p.s. I have NEVER showed that to anyone but my family).  She laughed pretty hard haha.  It was so great to hear about your trip - I'm glad you all had fun! It's slowly starting to warm up here so I'm pretty excited about that.  Anyway, that's about it! I hope you all have a fabulous week!!!!!!! Keep me updated on what goes on - I love hearing about everything!!! I would still like some pictures though....  I miss you all very much and as of tomorrow it will be 3 months!!! Crazy huh???? Welp I think that's all!!!!! I LOVE YOU AND I HOPE YOU HAVE A GREAT DAY AND WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!