Wednesday, May 30, 2012

long, long, long week Tuesday May 29, 2012

Hi my family. We had a really long week. Our first week with the ward as our own. It wasn't our best week, but we kept on. I've learned about myself that productivity slows when I feel a loss of support or an increase in stress. BOTH happened this week. But we're doing okay. I know the Lord has blessed me and Sister Erickson to get along well and survive. We're sort of struggling with that a tiny bit, but I know that God is in control and if we pray to Him we will be alright. I am trying to remember that at the beginning of my mission I had unrealistic and unfair expectations of missionary life and that's a part of the deal. I am trying to be humble and patient which is hard for me cause I tend to react pridefully when someone hurts me. But we are okay, we are alright. Oh my gosh there is a jumping spider on the dest across from me. Ah! It disappeared. Gross.
Family, it is getting hot. I miss yall, I don't want to do this "texas summer" thing again, we have an entire ward to take care of, and only 100 active members out of like 600, my companion is not too happy with me, I'm trying not to stress, we're going to be reorganizing the stake this weekend, our investigators have slowed in their progress and I just don't know what to do. It feels good to say it all. However, I really honestly am grateful for these trials. How else can God teach me certain things? For example, I've always had the problem of talking to anyone and everyone or consulting any source BUT God when I have a problem. That is something I have wanted to overcome for a while. I haven't fully overcome it yet, but I am making progress. My prayers have become sweet and sacred times. That is a huge blessing. And I am working to reinforce the "consider the lilies" attitude I have started to develop. And solidified in my mind is the kind of member I really really want to be when I get home. One that is helpful in any and every way. One who always does her visiting teaching and fulfills her calling. What is more important than this gospel and the church that organizes and carries out the ordinances? Not a thing! So all in all, these things are making me a little low in spirits. But I am learning so it's okay. God has infinite time to listen to me when no one else can or wants to.
This past week, the high light was probably Cassi's baptism in kingwood on Friday. I went really well and Cassi was really happy afterward. It made me miss Kingwood so bad!! I went into the church and I just MISSED being in Kingwood 2. I know I complained about being there for eternity (and it WAS a long loooong time) but I loved it. It feels like home to me. I walked into the gym and I missed pday. I just was nostalgic for it all. But there is a lot of work to be done in our area.
Berenis told us this week she wants to be baptized, but not baptized into the church. Nice. Jonathan is still waiting for his answer, but I think he's getting closer to making a decision. Robert and Angie are both doing well. We are going to be visiting them often cause the ward is not. However there is one man, James Samford, that we have successfully reactivated! And he wants to be a home teacher again!!! YES!! I just want to work with less actives all the time. Elder Clarke said "A reactivation is just as good as a baptism."
One goal I really want to achieve is to talk to everyone. I don't talk to everyone cause I don't know how or what to say and I get scared. But I really want it, so I know that God will help me achieve it. It is for his Kingdom, so He will help me.
We had an hour of power miracle I wanted to tell you about. Our dinner asked us to come at six so we were planning to do hour of power at 7 with them so at least we could still do it. We got on our bikes and saw a man sitting on the sidewalk bawling. We stopped and asked him if we could help, what was wrong etc. He said that his best friend had just forced him to join a gang and he was planning to kill himself, there was nothing to live for. I asked for his name, and he said "Brock". So I said, "Brock, we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and we know that God sent us to talk to you. We're representatives of Jesus Christ and there is so much for you to live for!" We asked him to come with us to Brother and Sister B's house for dinner, but on the way there he figured he might need to go talk to his mom, so we asked him to meet us at the beach at 7:30. We got to our dinner explained the situation and Brother and Sister B asked if they could come with us to the beach! Kathy Peele, our recent convert, lives with the B's and she came as well. It was a GREAT first lesson and we asked him to be baptized June 30. He said he would prepare for that day! We're meeting with him later today! Coolie miracle huh?
Mom, thanks for your letter! I needed letters this week and yours was wonderful. How is Grandma doing? I just wish there was something I could do for her from here. Do you think she'd like it if I wrote to her? I probably just will - I want to! Jump in, right President Rasband? How is life? Tell me about your life! What is summer going to be like for you?
Dad, thanks for your little e-mail! I will look forward to your letter and your talks. I'm needing some extra uplift lately so that will be nice to read. Did everything go okay? I hope so!
James, how is summer school? Hows the ward? And everything? I need you to date a few people, I will write you a letter and get you in touch with them. thank you very much.
Jonny you are GRADUATING! (... i hope.) I'm so proud of you. How are you going to spend your summer. What are your plans. You really need to write me. See if you can make it to a half a page. You can type it on facebook and then copy paste print. Just do it.
Well my family, please pray for me! I really need it right now. Things are getting difficult. I'm so grateful for the knowledge that the gospel gives me that all will be well. I get to go to the temple tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so excited I can't stand it! It has been since JANUARY. TOO too too long. It is getting hot which equals I don't want to do squat so please once again, pray for me. I got sunburned at Sylvan beach for pday yesterday. With the spanish. So crazy. LOVE YOU.
Oh! If any of you know where you can find the poem "touch of the master's hand" could you send it to me? thanks!

hola. good news and sad news Monday May 21, 2012

 Monday, May 21, 2012 11:13 AM
Hi family! We had an... interesting week last week. I'll go through it sequentially. Let's start on Monday
We had a dinner with the Callens and taught Cassi her last lesson - the Commandments. she will be getting baptized this week! In kingwood :] where my heart lives. I love Kingwood 2. That was pretty much it. For pday we had zone pday combined with the spanish zone. We went to the world's coolest park. It's in pasadena. We just did random stuff. A water balloon fight was part of it! OUR IDEA!!! It was really fun. It's getting HOTTER than blazes out here :[ AHH!!
Tuesday was a terrible day. We didn't do very much except have dinner with a less active family. The Agnarssons. She is the sweetest lady alive. She told us we can do our laundry at her house!! SCORE! No more 5 dollars a week in quarters which I always forget. Tuesday sister Erickson and I talked a lot though. We figured some stuff out and I think we're more comfortable with eachother now.
Wednesday was our final choir practice in Broadway. It was good. Then we met with Robert to get him all ready for baptism, then we met with Jonathan (please do pray for him. I want him to know this is the truth. Or at least believe it. Right now he's at the stage of "hope") then we had dinner with Sister Schaffer, a less active woman who is raising her GREAT grandchildren. ha! I feel so bad for her.
Thursday we had lunch with Morris Bryant, then we had the interview with Robert for his baptism. Then we had a lesson with Cassi, then we had a lesson with this couple living in our apartment complex - heather and clint. They need the gospel so much but there's always something in the way of us ACTUALLY teaching a lesson. We always end up sharing a simple message and praying. LAME.
Friday we had another awesome district meeting (i ADORE this district. SO much. I always leave feeling like I want to work harder. Which has NOT always been the case in district meetings gone by.) Then we had lunch with Lauro and Maria at the chinese buffet (I don't love chinese buffets, i've learned. there was a semi decent one in porter, buttttt all other ones I've been too are not so great. the best tasting thing I had there was the tapioca pudding. yep.) and then we met with Robert to just get him squared away for baptism. He was so excited. We taught heather and clint and then had dinner with the Ruiz family in our ward.
Then comes the big bang. The elders got a flush call :[ AND they are not putting elders back in this ward. Yeah. Sooo... our fantastic ward that has so many many challenges? Yes that is now ALL ours. And we are overwhelmed to say the least. And we are heartbroken. I just LOVE Elder Brown and Elder Sylvester. I honestly do. Elder Brown is like a big brother and he looks after us and loves us. And Sylvester is like a little brother. He is the teasy one who makes things fun. And now we are in boon town. Alone alone, totally alone. And we are really sad. I cried :[ I don't think I've cried over transfers for a while. And Lundgren is going home. MOM! I told her to call yall, and I gave her your phone number so expect a call from her telling you what time and where her farewell is. If it is at all possible, I would love for yall to go. She is such an angel, honestly. I am going to miss her. She took care of me as well. I guess a theme for my life right now is annyone who took care of me is now getting stripped away. Heroes journey style. haha.
So we were sad on Saturday. We went with the Elders to meet their recent converts better and their investigators. And I am so overwhlemd. There is this one apartment of college kids they've been teaching and it seems so odd and bizarre and I am going to feel overwhelmed by that. Saturday evening was Robert Barnes' baptism and it was really great. I sang again :] The Elders got it on tape. Man I'm gonna miss them!! (Recall how this SAME thing happened to me in Kingwood 2. Why is that???). Then we had FHE with Angie, the elders recent convert. We went to meet with her and they told her they were leaving and she started crying. HOLY MOLY. I feel like I can't live up to these elders. they're good. They are so loving. That is kind of what we lack. I pray and pray and pray for charity, but I don't feel like other people feel it from me. I don't know what to do. What should I do? Any advice? Please have some, thank you.
Sunday, yesterday was the choir fireside in spanish. Lundgren cried the whole time. That is the last time I'll see her before December :[ SO SO SO SAD. But it was a good fireside. I love spanish. I can't wait to learn it. I've also decided to learn how to paint (Jenna Douglass you wanna teach me?? Thanks for your letter by the way!! I am writing you back!)
Basically, family, I am just really sad. This is why. I love these Elders, they are like brothers to me when mine are so far away. And we are going to be alone and it's going to be so different. And much less fun. And sometimes sister erickson and I get tense and then we see the Elders and things just poof evaporate. And that's not going to happen. But the Lord will take care of us. I really know that. It just makes me sad when people go away, especially people I have truly come to love. Elder Brown is going to go see Grandma Hicken when he gets home though, I guess haha. He is awesome. We can adopt him. Yall will like him a lot. There's this song (on the only CD that's not Mo TAb we can listen to) and it says "I know our Father's watching over this world. He will help me find my way." And I believe that. He will help us. He will not forsake us. But I am just sad.
Sorry this e-mail isn't long and isn't very upbeat like my last ones. I'm going to be fine. I'm just wayyyy overwhelmed with everything we have to do and that we have to do it by ourselves. I will be fine. We will be fine. We will learn a lot. Maybe i'm being prepared for woodville. Sister Cochran is staying in Baytown so we'll be okay.
Mom, thanks for your e-mail today! If I ever send a tape again, I will include the "my twin" bit. I'm excited to get your letter!! Tell me about your day to day stuff!
Dad, how was stake conference?? I hope you got my letter but something makes me think you didn't. So sorry if you didn't! It will find it's way their soon. How are you?
James, you are awesome. Can I just tell you that your letter was so needed and necessary this week. I needed it!!!! I know that God blesses us through other people and you were a blessing to me this week. Thank you! It sounds like everything is going good! That makes me just pleased as punch:] I hope summer school works out for you. What is institute like at the U?
Jonny! YOU GRADUATE IN 5 sECONDS! crazy! Are you excited? Find out the last name of "phil" and I will find out who is training him! Is he english or spanish? find these things out, mmkay? Is he a good guy?
Family, I love you. Here's a lot of pictures since my e-mail is lacking. I just don't feel super well today.
  • from our car to our door we were totally and completely soaked. texas rain is NUTS!
  • our elders getting ready for the baptism. :]
  • us and Robert Barnes
  • the last of lunch at the church
  • sister ruiz wanted a picture of the elders. hoooooly gosh i love them and i'm going to miss them
  • generations (plus cochran. she's adopted) at the fireside last nght.
  • holy gross i am laughing. but it's the best generation picture i've got of us.
  • me and my mamacita! lundy!!
oh! and mom. sister crawford has asked me to ask you this 900 times. and i'm sorry i have to. but she wanted to know if you could send me more fish oil and vitamins that you found. my hair is doing funky stuff again. falling out and this time it's ripping too. it's gross. i am coming home from texas disgusting. also have you found my retainer yet? sorry to be so needy :] love you!!!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

this weekend will be the last time I talk to yall before I come home!

Can you even believe that?? This weekend will be the final time I talk to you before I get home in 7 months (Ouch, seven months!!) We will be calling from the Paris' home and we'll be calling around 4:30 our time, so 5:30 yalls time. We get done with church at 4 so we'll just head over after that. Expect a call at 5:30 to 5:45. We will hurry over there!
So. This past week was AWESOME. I guess I'm telling you about the past 2 weeks, huh? Well, here goes.
Monday night we had a lesson with Cassi, who is the young woman in our ward who has finally decided to be baptized! It is just her and her mother living together and they are wonderful. We are going to see if Cassi's mom will come out with us tomorrow night actually. Cassi has always gone to church, she just has half of a family who has fallen away from the church and half of a family who is very active. Her mom didn't want it to be anyone's decision but Cassi's and now she wants to do it! It's because the ward is going on a Youth Trip to Nauvoo this summer and Cassi wants to do baptisms for the dead. However, she doesn't want the ward to know that she hasn't already been baptized (I guess she's embarassed that she isn 't a member) so it's all happening at her uncle's ward... which happens to be Kingwood :] So I get to mosy on back there in a few weeks and I'm excited.
Tuesday we went with Sister Gallacher (the young RM in our ward who is my idol!) to teach Berenis! We figured out that one of her concerns is worship of the Virgin Mary. When we told her that we don't pray to virgin mary, she got oh so sad. It was a shock to feel the spirit in the room shift so drastically, she was devastated! We figured out why, though. Sister Gallacher served in Argentina and in South American countries the role of Christ is kind of absorbed into the Virgin Mary. So we just told her, in effect, that she couldn't believe in Jesus Christ any more. We were really concerned with that this week. So we talked to a lot of Catholic converts (Lauro said "Tell her the Virgin Mary would appreciate her (berenis) more if she loves her son." how incredible is that?? Perfecto.) and etc and OH! Just the strength of the members is so necessary!! Missionary work doesn't work without these awesome members. Because of Sister Gallacher coming with us, I firmly believe that Berenis will be baptized!! and soon. She and her husband (a less active member) came to church on Sunday with their three kids and stayed for Sacrament and Sunday school. I just can't wait to tell you about the lesson we had with her YESTERDAY with sister Gallacher! I will tell yall on the phone, remember to ask me.
Wednesday we met with the Prigmores again. I love them, but it does not fulfill our purpose to be there, so I don't think we'll go back. Or if we do go back, it will be with a purpose in mind. We also had choir in the morning. It was our last choir performance. This choir is over and I'm sad but it is also good. I love to work, and the choir was taking time away from the work. As much as I loved seeing everyone all the time, it will be fine to have it over. And the spirit of the firesides was incredible, but members weren't bringing their friends!! :[ So it wasn't working the way we wanted. I will always be grateful for the opportunity we had to be a part of the choir, though. I loved it and had some very spiritual experiences as a result of it.
Thursday we met with Catherine and Sister Bourne (who is the medical-guy-for-the-10-closest-missions's wife) came with us. It was really cool!! (we aren't supposed to say "cool" any more. we will see how that goes) Catherine said she would be baptized if she knew this was true. We asked her to find out if it was true by reading the book of mormon. It just works so much better with member involvement. AH! It was wonderful. Then we had a good Hour of Power with Sister Gale and afterward Sister Gale came to our lesson with Brother Sanford. He is a less active man who has been saying to EVERYONE he "may come to church this sunday" for years. We went over with Sister Gale and talked to him about the sacrament. And lo and behold, who comes walking on Sunday but Brother Sanford. That was really neat because of what Elder Clarke said to us about "any good missionary...." (remind me to tell you on the phone :])
Friday we met with Robert again. He is very sincere and will be baptized next weekend if all goes well. He still makes me nervous, but not as badly any more. I just wish he wasn't so intent on everything I say. He is a good man, but I just get a weird feeling from him. It's probably just me though, right? I can't tell at all. President and Sister Crawford met him and she said he seems sincere just always have a member with us. And all the members that go with us don't say anythings weird. So I'm pretty sure it's just me. Friday night we met with Jonathan and the church and did a Church tour. AH! Let me tell you the power that is in those lessons is incredible. This is the testimony builder to me of that. We got him to pray about June 2 to be baptized. We are continuing to teach him. The church tour was powerful and the spirit was there. I am grateful beyond words to be teaching Jonathan. we have talked about why it is that he has never got baptized. One of the reasons is his choice and his agency. But another is I think that he had Elders teaching him. Not that we're better or worse than Elders - BUT we are different. We are very different than the Elders. We talked and I think there is something innate in women that makes us want to nurture or heal someone that is hurting. Men don't have that as prevalently and so when Jonathan wasn't cooperating with the missionaries they were like "whatever." but for us as sisters, we see how close he is and the fact that he CAN be healed just won't let us give up on him. I'm learning so much though. Speaking of we had this conversation and an Elder said to me one time "I think if an Elder can be as good as he needs to be or can be, he will always be a better missionary than a sister can. I don't think many elders DO become as good as they need to be or can be. So sisters are generally better. But if an Elder can do it right, he will be better than a sister any day." Now, yall know me. The feminist in me perked up a little bit and I was like "Uh, Perdon! what do you mean by that?" But he explained, and woudln't you know I think I agree with him! amazing right. let me explain. It is part of a man's Priesthood duty to be a missionary. Therefore, they have everything in their favor to fulfill that duty and be a master teacher and wonderful missionary. Because it's in their blood, so to speak. Does that make sense? It is their divine nature. The woman's duty is to be a mother, a nurturer. And a woman can be a better mother than a man on his best day. Because it's in HER blood. Doesn't that make sense? Because we are compatable and have different roles. It is SO COOL. Obviously it has some kinks to iron out and his delivery was kinda off, but I think I agree with him. I'll think about it more later and decide. But it makes sense. A man can be a better missionary than a woman on her best day. A woman can be a better mother than a man on his best day. Right? I don't know that first one still makes me disagree at first blush.
Saturday was kind of awful. We just didn't teach too much.
Sunday was good though we taught Jonathan at the Paris home. It was so wonderful. We told Jonathan to develop faith, we want him to come to church and he said he would!!!! this is such a big deal! He vowed he wouldn't ever go to church again. And he's coming! I think this is a sign he will get baptized which makes me so excited for him.
And that wraps up the week folks. I'll talk to yall on Sunday and fill you in on the last week and email you monday ith anything I forgot.
We are, Dad like you noticed, having SUCH a lot of teaching! How incredible!! We are blessed. And we are making a difference. I am grateful for it. Sister Erickson is kind of where I was when I first got here. Not knowing if this is really what she wants to be doing, but she's here and staying so there is that conflict. We talked about it and I want to help her so much. But I don't know exactly how. I just promsied her she WOULD feel better at some point. That she owuld be happy and that Christ would heal and fix what needs to be healed and fixed. I want her to be happy because I am SO HAPPY! I hope yall can tell. I just am so happy, I've never been this happy, and I've never been so sure that I will always be happy. Overall. I'll still have bad periods of time, or bad days or weeks or months maybe even. But I will be happy forever, because I have the gospel of Jesus Christ. And I know what to do to be happy - LIVE IT! and SHARE IT. That's why I want to live outside of Utah - because I want to build up the kingdom and strengthen people and share the gospel. But I can do that in Utah too, I know. I just see how needed it is out here. I can't explain it. Does that even make sense? I don't know. I love Utah and I love the members in Utah and I love that I grew up in Utah and I want to live in Utah to be a part of that feeling. But I also want to strengthen others who need it so bad. I don't know how to explain. I had a moment this past week where I thought "I don't know if I've EVER had this much joy. EVER." And I can't wait to tell yall about it. SUNDAY! Get ready it's gonna be fun! I will call. Be ready to tell me about yall and about home and about yourselves and what's going on. I'll be ready to tell you about my week and to try to explain how I feel about this church and this gospel. I love it. I am devoted to it. I can't describe the light it is. Sharing the gospel always scared me. And parts of it still do scare me. But I see how joyful it is to share it with someone and build them with it. And I want to do that always. AH! In my patriarchal blessing it says that I will be able to all my life and that is now my FAVORITE sentence in there.
I love being a missionary. I can't believe that it has to end at some point. But I will work hard and try to be good and hopefully I will feel, at the end, that my sacrifice helped someone else. Not just me, cause hello it helps me SOOOO much. That's a given.
Mom, thanks for your letter!! Those notes were awesome. I wish I could have gone to that with you! Next year, right?? Thanks for being my mother and how is everyething going?
DAd, thanks for your e-mail! I'm sorry to hear about the hard things and glad to hear about the exciting things. C'est La Vie right? (pretty sure I learned those words from a spice girls song. haha) how are your talks coming?
James! Finals are over, yeah? WRITE TO ME! I want to hear what's going on in your life.
Jonny. Come on man. WRITE tO ME ALSO! yall can team up and write me on one piece of paper. I will chastise you both further on the phone sunday. :]
OH, my word, I love yall! You're the best. Isn't life good???? LOVE YOU!