Funny: The morning I was set to arrive home, there was really bad fog at Dallas, which was where we had our connecting flight. That meant that our first plane ended up leaving almost 2 hours later than it was supposed to and so we got put on another flight to Salt Lake. The funniest part was that as we were hanging out at the airport, we were able to just have fun, while doing missionary work! So, we talked to everybody, gave out a copy of the Book of Mormon, gave away a few Book of Mormon app cards, and met some members of the church. It was so so so fun to be walking around and to have somebody random just say “Hi Sisters!”. It was like they took us at the bravest peak of our missions and put us in a confined space with a bunch of other people who were just looking for something to do. It was the best!
Spiritual: The past few days since I’ve been home, I’ve been reflecting on how much I learned on my mission and what things changed about me. It made me realize how much the Lord was invested in me. He sent me to the right mission for me. He gave me a Mission President who supported me and trusted me. He allowed me to be companions with people that I could learn from and that I could help. He put people in my path that would be connections to build and friendships to keep. It just makes me gawk to know how great a responsibility that Christ has placed upon my shoulders, he’s given me those experiences and now will put me in new, challenging places so I can lift up those who feel down and help people understand God’s love for them. I am so grateful I went!
Where I’m at: I arrived home on Wednesday, Ammon got engaged on Thursday, and we officially started Christmas! It has just been delightful to see the lights and the good cheer and seeing my family again was just the greatest thing! How did I go without them for a year and a half? I’m happy and I feel so loved! I start college in early January and am going to spend my interment time packing and preparing everything I need.
I will be speaking in church about the things I learned and the experiences I had on December 30th, 2018 at 11:00 am at 932 Greenoaks Dr, Murray, UT 84123
Afterwards, there will be refreshments and a light lunch at my home at 5595 s Fairhaven Cir, Murray, UT 84123
Spiritual: We had a super sweet member move back within the boundaries and she has just needed some support and some uplifting. We had a great lesson with her this week as we taught and testified about missionary work and why we were serving while she taught us how to crochet. It will be amazing to see how the members will be able to step in to help her start coming back to church. Also, I learned how to corner crochet!
Funny: How honest are missionaries? So honest that when we played the "white elephant" game at the Arkansas, Little Rock Mission Christmas Party they wouldn't steal gifts from each other. Bahaha! Well, everybody except for me and Sister Mitchell didn't steal from anybody. I guess that says something about our inner morals or maybe just the fact that we wanted some action. It was so fun!
Where I'm at: Right now? Well, I'm in Paragould. But after Wednesday I will be back in the homeland of Murray, Utah. What a week full of goodbyes and packing. It's been really rewarding to see the end of some trials and to see the beginning steps for some people. Paragould is actually being whitewashed and Sister Marshall will be training here so it's going to be in good hands. I know how she's probably feeling right now and it's a pretty hectic time. I'm grateful to have come and I've absolutely changed for the better.
Have I mentioned that I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I do. :)
Spiritual: At Book of Mormon class this week we were reading in 3 Nephi and it was amazing because it felt like a family scripture study. Everybody was participating and learning together and talking about everything. I feel like the Come Follow Me program is really going to help those kinds of experiences happen more. Also, the people here definitely feel like family!
Funny: We had a struggle finding a member to come to district council with us on Tuesday. It was super-duper cold so we didn't want to have to sit outside so we started right after daily planning trying to knock on member's houses to get somebody to help us out. We knocked on 2 doors without responses and then went to the home of an inactive woman. She is self-proclaimed crazy, but really funny! We were just chatting with her then asked if she would come with us... in like 20 minutes. She finally agreed after we promised to make her many cookies and it was seriously a miracle. That was also one of the most entertaining member experiences at District Council that I’ve ever seen. We brought her cookies that weekend because we are true to our promises :)
Where I’m at: The weather is cold and everything seems frantic, might just be because I have one week left though. Aaaaah! We are seeing miracles all over the mission though! it's been a crazy week and we had a lot of successful things, but it's hard to know what to do to make these people actually work out. Our mission found 306 people last week. 3 0 6. What??? So we found 5 of those people ☺ Happy week!
Spiritual: We went to see Sister Patton because she was our backup plan, and our plans had fallen through. It ended up being the day and time that she needed us because she had a big inspection the next day and was really worried about how she was going to get everything done before then. Turns out, 3 pairs of hands make work light and we helped her clean and talked to her and dusted a lot. We got a phone call from her the next day saying that she had passed the inspection and that we were the first ones she had told! It was a miracle for her and a miracle that we were able to help. It was an awesome manifestation of following promptings and asking how we can help!
Funny: Thanksgiving was fantastic, we had hoped to be able to serve dinner at Mission Outreach, the local homeless shelter, but when we got there, we learned that they already had servers lined up. So, we helped in a different way, we talked to people and listened to them! And they let us eat with them so we had 2 Thanksgiving dinners! We were stuffed to the brim!
Where I'm at: I've been a bit under the weather this past week, but I think I'm on the path to healing now. We had a fantastic turnout at the musical Tribute in Searcy last night and my speaking part went really well! I'm excited for this next month and can't believe I only have a month. Aaaaah! Either way, I know this Gospel is true and that my plan is just to keep following the Spirit!
Spiritual: We had met Trasie one time, but through her crazy schedule and the busy weeks she had we hadn't been able to teach her again so Sister Taylor and i actually stopped teaching her. This week, however, Sister Mitchell and I were able to have the most amazing lesson with her! Our visit with her was the highlight of her day (and our day) and we learned about her family and casually taught her the first few points of the Restoration and then she became invested and wanted to know what all we teach people about and we were able to get more in depth. After we taught her about prophets and then about Joseph Smith, she said "that makes so much sense". She was supposed to come to church on Sunday, but wasn't able to make it, but we are so excited to teach her again!
Funny: It snowed! Who would have guessed? Not us! So, we got to have a last-minute drive down to Bartlett, Tennessee with the most amazing Sister who had to drive back in the middle of the snow flurries. Oddly enough, the path that she always takes goes right through Millington so I was like "hmmm, Sykes Road... We have officially entered into the Millington area!" I just wanted to spend an extra hour and go check in on all the people that are up there, but I thought that wouldn't be realistic. Our adventure didn't end there though! We got to the apartment of the Sister Training Leaders and I got to have a sleepover with 5 companionships of sisters in one apartment. We were good though, and went to bed on time, although there weren't really enough places for us to sleep so I slept on the floor. It was a blast to be with the good sisters of the Arkansas, Little Rock Mission!
Where I'm at: This week was a good week and we had a few cold days and a few warm days so it all evened out in the end. We were able to have a few lessons and a few of the kids we are teaching came to church for the Thanksgiving potluck. We are so grateful for the wonderful members who stepped in to give us rides this week and I absolutely loved Zone Conference (I seriously can't believe it's my last one). Also, if anybody has heard horror stories about My Plan (the course you take your last 6 weeks) don't believe them, I am absolutely enjoying it and I learn a lot about what I want to do with my life from it. Thanks for the prayers and thoughts!
Funny: We taught the Humphrey family this week and had so much fun because we were able to make it really hands on. We made our own "plates" (aka cardboard covered in aluminum foil) and let them inscribe their own story and thoughts. So now they know where the Book of Mormon really came from and they can keep their own records too!
Spiritual: We had the primary program on Sunday and miracles seriously happened to make it all work out! Madison and Michelle came and participated and so did the kids of a recent convert and the whole youth organization really pulled together to see it through. My favorite part was when our Young Woman sang "Peace in Christ" and really brought the Spirit. Seriously, doctrine, testimony and sacred music bring the Spirit!
Where I'm at: I was sad to see Sister Taylor off, but she's such a rock star missionary that she's going to be great anywhere. Sister Mitchell is really good at talking to everyone and it's something I'm learning from her. We are officially into winter and it is cold. The humidity really gets down to your bones! But we are really seeing things happen and the Branch has an awesome mission plan for next year so it's going to be even better next year!
Spiritual: We have dinner with our Branch President and his family about every other week so they've had a lot of spiritual thoughts and we really wanted to be able to give them a message and an invitation that would really matter to them. We ended up showing them "Compelling Witness" (go watch it at https://www.lds.org/youth/video/compelling-witness?lang=engif you haven't seen it before) and we invited all of them to tell somebody about the Book of Mormon this week. To sweeten the deal, we told them that if all of them did it by Sunday, we would make them cookies. BUT, if anybody didn't do it, that person had to make cookies for us! They took on the challenge and we put up some sticky notes in their front window to remind them as they left the house to do it. We actually drove by their house a few times during the week to see how many sticky notes were left, but weren't sure they were going to make it! Finally, Sunday came and the kids came running into church because they were so excited to tell us that they had all done it! It was so great hearing about their little missionary moments and very worth the sugar cookies we had to make!
Funny: I had an adorable conversation with the grandson of a member. He's 3. He introduced himself, "My name is Danny" and went on to tell us about his entire family. Then, I introduced myself, "My name is Sister Black!" He paused for a moment, then said "My sister's white. She's just a baby". We held our laughter till we got back in the car. Bahaha! So funny!
Where I'm at: This has been a rainy week and sickness has hit a lot of people because of the weather change. We also are seeing a change here in Paragould as Sister Taylor goes down to Bryant to be with Sister Woolley and Sister Mitchell is coming up here! We had a pretty laid-back Halloween, but ended up with a lot of tootsie rolls after our attempt to pass out candy was sabotaged by the rain. One more transfer to run my hardest!
Spiritual: At first, our lesson with Robin was kind of on shaky ground. We weren't sure what to ask her about and we had gotten kind off topic and were now talking about Christmas. I have a goal to share a scripture from the Book of Mormon in every lesson so I decided to share the scriptures in 1 Nephi 11 where Nephi sees Mary in his vision. After we shared that verse with Robin, she asked if we happened to have an extra copy of the Book of Mormon. Yes! We were so excited! Then she told us that she is really interested in religion and religious groups because of the Native Americans and their culture. What? Well, she just happened to get a copy of the book that's going to answer a lot of her questions. It was a very good lesson after that!
Funny: On Saturday of last week we had knocked on this door and a lady from the Marshall Islands had told us to come back Monday. So, we did, not really sure what to expect from that appointment. Needless to say, this lady let us right in and we started trying to teach the Restoration and halfway during the lesson we learned why things were going so weird. Emily, the teenage daughter already knows about Joseph Smith because she was baptized a few years ago! We were shocked. So, we flustered our way out of the lesson and set up a return appointment and will be more prepared next time! Most awkward lesson award!
Where I'm at: The leaves are changing color and it is so beautiful! We are nervous for transfer news this week, but are excited for the people that we are teaching and keep praying to find new people to teach. I got to eat biscuits and chocolate gravy this week and it was delicious!
Funny: We wanted to show one of the families we are ministering to that we love them so we made hearts for a heart attack, but we knew we had to be sneaky about it because every other time we had gone to their house, at least one of their kids was outside and alerted everyone there to our presence. So, we plan this out. We parked where they couldn't really see us, sneak up to the house, put the hearts on their door quietly and carefully, and then run back to the car as soon as we her a suspicious noise. All while we had been doing this, there were two bright pairs of headlights in front of us and I just thought that maybe there were some people in their cars talking to each other. We start to drive out of the loop, towards the lights, and we realize that those lights belong to police cars, who were responding to an emergency at a house by a hill. Yikes! So, I have to get out of the car to back Sister Taylor so she can turn around so we can get out of there. We don't think anyone saw our super suspicious and very well-intentioned adventure of sneaking up, and running away, but that would have been a very awkward conversation. It was so crazy!
Spiritual: Every week the auxiliaries take turns cleaning the church and this week it was the Relief Society's turn. Only one Sister showed up though and I was so impressed by her. Her job keeps her from coming on Sunday and she takes care of all her family and has to work two jobs and has only one day off. Her faith is so strong that on her one day off, she came to give what she could back to the Lord by helping clean the church. We were honored to help clean with her.
Where I'm at: We had a bit of a slower week this week with a lot of people not being able to meet with us and some miscommunication with others. Through it all though, I learned a lot about being motivated by love and changing our hearts through our missionary service because of that love. My favorite conference talk that I studied this week was the one by President Nelson at the Women's Session. He promised a lot of amazing blessings for following his council and being obedient. The mornings are getting colder here, but we've got a good supply of Hot Chocolate so we should be okay.