Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Week 16: The Fundamentals!

Sister Elle Jackson
This last week has for sure been a fun one! I haven’t really realized how emotionally and spiritually I am pushed, every day of my mission, until I was finally in the mission field. We have had so many great experiences this week that continue to remind me of how important it is to put my whole self, body and soul out there on the line every single day. When I do this I accomplish so much more then I could ever have even imagined! I am able to go home at the end of the night and feel as though I have done everything I could possibly do that day and once my head hits the pillow I am gone. But then when the alarm goes off at 6 am somehow and for some reason I am able to get up and start this amazing lifestyle again. The only reason I am able to keep going and not get sad, not be too tired, and not have the willpower to go on is because this Gospel, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It gives me the strength that I need to be able to continue on in my day to day life and not let the world get the best of me.

Hermana Webb and Elle
This last week the weather has played some crazy games with us. On Tuesday we were on exchanges with Hermana Gonzalez and Hermana Webb and it is always so much fun! But the weather was crazy! I have never in my life seen it rain so hard and seen wind as strong as it was! The weather was so crazy that it blew full grown trees over and the power went out for a long time. Some people still as of yesterday don't have their power on. On that little note the sun has been out almost every other day!
This week we had the opportunity to knock on a few doors! Let me tell you something....it was the most fun thing we could have ever done! We went to visit some people and decided that we would just knock a few neighbors doors before we headed off to our other appointments. So we turned around and looked at the doors all lined up (we were in an apartment complex).  We stood there for a second and then Sister Foster said, “That one”, and pointed to a door that was on our left. So that is what we did. By doing so we were able to meet Kyle! We were able to teach Kyle the Restoration Pamphlet at the door and he wanted us to come back when his family was home so we could talk with all of them! He has never been really religious and so he had not heard a lot about what we talked about, but thinks this might be a good thing for him. We set up an appointment and that was that. We were super excited after that! So we decided to put Heavenly Father to the "test" and we walked back to where we were originally standing and said a prayer and asked Heavenly Father to show us which door to knock on next. We stood there for a minute pondering and waiting for an answer and we got one! At the same time I pointed to a door on our right and Sister Foster said, “That one”. So that is what we did, we walked over to the door knocked on it and Jessica opened the door! She has been Christian her whole life...which is ironic because we are Christian also! So we started talking to her and were able to get a return appointment! We left that apartment complex happier than ever! How cool is it that Heavenly Father will give you an immediate answer if you take the time to ponder and see to where he would like you to go! 

Scripture Study and Breakfast
On Friday we went on another exchange with Hermana Clark and Hermana Hubner. This time I went to their area and was able to be a part of the Hispanic culture for a day! My stomach wouldn't be able to handle an entire transfer, but it was so much fun. I was able learn how to say my testimony in Spanish and also be able to say a prayer! One of these days I am going to be fluent in saying both of them. But I had so much fun with Sister Clark! She is such an amazing person and an even better missionary, it helps that we are a lot alike. I also was able to appreciate what I have been given a lot more! 

Elle and Hermana Clark
This week though I have had a hard time with not being the best and why can't I just be given all the experience I want now, why do I have to work for it?  Well I received my answer. I was listening to a talk given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf in 2010, (Click Here) Of Things That Matter Most.  He talked about Vince Lombardi and when he would get his new football team every year he had a ritual he would do. He would gather them all together and show them a football and say, "This is a football." and would explain a little about it. Then he would take them out to the football field and do the same thing he did with the football. Even though the team were experienced football players who have been playing for years, he would start at the beginning and explain the rules, the game and all of the little things. President Uchtdorf explained that it is important to understand the Fundamentals before you are able to move on and become even better than you thought you could be. It was almost a smack in the face because I was able to realize that I have to learn the fundamentals of anything before I am able to become the best. 

I love you all so much and hope that you have an amazing week!

Weekly planning meeting at Taco Bell!

This is the front yard of Elle's duplex.

Either a little snow or frost.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 15: The Rain is Here!Elle

Sister Foster and Sister Jackson were given these cute little handmade turkeys
from the residents at the senior living facility they serve at each week.

Well this week has been a good lead in to what Washington weather really is like. It starts to get dark at 4 o'clock and rains all day and all night. Well I guess that is over exaggerating a bit. Two days this week it quit raining for a couple of hours! Oh and the Sun was out for 10 minutes yesterday! But the weather is okay because we had some miracles this week.

We went to visit Deborah, she is a potential. When we got there (We have stopped by before and so I know what apartment is hers), but for some reason I couldn't remember. So I look at the two doors and decided I was going to have to take a guess because I had no idea which one it was. So we walked up knocked, waited a second, and Deborah didn’t answer the door! But that's okay because a neighbor of hers, Rosemary answered her door. This gave me a chance I get to talk with her! So after talking to Rosemary for a while she was about to shut the door on us. Her daughter Michi came to the door to see who it was. The door opened wider. That was my chance! This was my shot to be able to get in the house! So I asked them if we could come in and talk to them more. They looked at each other than at us and with a big smile said, "Of course!"  We went in and started to talk and then we taught them about the Plan of Salvation. They loved it and invited us back talk more and also to eat dinner with the two of them. I know I just didn't forget what door it was on purpose because Heavenly Father knew we needed to talk to Rosemary and Michi! 

Not only did we get to have that miracle this week but we had a similar experience! We went to visit another Potential, her name is Sara and she lives on the other side of town. We knocked on the door, no answer. We knocked again, no answer. So we were just getting ready to leave and a lady (Amanda) started to walk up the stairs, so I asked her if this was her apartment. She said yes and so we started talking. We started to teach her right there. She told us when she was younger that her mom had the missionaries over to help them move and that it was a long time ago. She thought it was crazy that we just showed up out of nowhere and found her. So Sara moved and Amanda is now living in her apartment. We went in and talked to her more and now are going to be going back. She is living with her boyfriend right now and he is Baptist but she said she would love to learn and that everything happens for a reason! After we left her house we were just amazed at all of the miracles we were able to see and the blessings we were able to receive. 

Heavenly Father really does love me! He is constantly blessing me every day and has given me an amazing companion that wants to improve and learn everything that she can. I am so grateful to be able to be serving a mission right now at this time. Thank you so much for all the love and support! I love you all so much and hope you have such an amazing week! 

Elle and Sister Foster

Elle with Christmas Lights

This is from Jeff and Adrienne's trip to the Utah Football game in Seattle.
 They were less then an hour from Elle.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Week 14: Cold, Colder, and Coldest!

Elle and her new companion Sister Foster.

Well if I haven’t told you already it is starting to get pretty cold. About 4:00 pm is when the sun starts to go down, if it was even out-and then 5:00 pm it is pretty dark. So around 5:30 we can go knock on doors.  Most of the time when knocking doors after 5:30 we wake someone up who has gone to bed for the night. So now we are going to have to get smart with what we do and when we do it. Make sure we are using our time wisely. 

Elle and Sister Foster. P-Day sending E-mails.
On a better note I was able to get my new companion on Tuesday! Her name is Sister Foster. She is from Exeter, California. She is so awesome! She is so ready and excited to work! Heavenly Father really has blessed me with awesome companions thus far. I do believe He will continue to bless me as long as I continue to be obedient and work hard. I love being able to work with other missionaries who have the same goals as I do and who are out here ready to share what has brought them happiness and joy. I think that is why it is so easy to create friendships with missionaries (before my mission I would run the other way).  We understand each other because we have the same goals every day. 

When I picked Sister Foster up on Tuesday we didn't get home to Lake Stevens until 9:00 pm. It was okay because the next day we were going to go out and work hard, just like every other day. We had a really good week!

Let me just tell you how much Heavenly Father loves me! The other night when it was raining and we were doing the normal missionary thing knocking, walking and talking. Sister Jackson lost her name tag and didn't realize it until well we had showed up to our next appointment. When I realized it was gone I started to have a small panic attack. Lucky for me Sister Foster had the brilliant idea to look at the last picture we took (we had just previously taken a photo) and it wasn't in the photo so it had to be at out last appointment. Sure enough it was! It was lying in the middle of the street! Oh Heavenly Father loves me so much and is looking out for me.

 We went and taught Sandra and she is such a blessing. We found her from contacting. Before we ran into Sandra I did not like contacting and I just didn't want to do it.  It's not because I don't like talking to people but I thought it was a waste of time and that we could be doing something better. Because I felt this way Heavenly Father knew that something big was going to have to happen, sad but true. So the one day we go contact we contact into Sandra and now we are teaching her and she is on date for December 5! She has been the perfect investigator! She has been looking for a church that doesn't talk about negative things. Well this is what I love about our church; we are so positive and celebrate the happy little victories of life.  She came to church this Sunday and it was the primary program! The rest is history! HAHA no! But the primary program is one of the best sacrament meetings of the whole year! The spirit is so strong and I always end up in tears!

I am so thankful of the chance I have to serve a mission! I have learned so much and know that it is only going to go up from here! I love you all and I hope you have such an amazing week! Don't forget that you are a child of God and He loves you immensely! 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Week 13: It's Not All Beer and Skittles!

Elle at the Ward Halloween Party.
So you may be wondering why my heading is the way that it is. Well when you are talking to people and they tell you their whole life story and all of that fun stuff instead of saying, "All that and a bag of chips." They prefer to say, "It's not all beer and skittles."

On a better note this week has been really amazing! We ended up running out of miles, because we had to go on several emergencies.  So we had to walk everywhere. You can't be a real missionary unless you walk everywhere for a couple of days. So our AMAZING members would pick us up in the morning and drop us off in the area and we would walk from appointment to appointment. So that meant we were going to get to talk to everyone we passed instead of driving by them! And that is what we did! We did as the Pioneer Children did and we talked and we walked and walked and walked! Name that tune!? That is beside the point, we were able to find a new investigator, Sandra!! It is so amazing how Heavenly Father places you where people are ready. You just have to be willing to open your mouth and share what you know! Sandra is so amazing and she truly has been prepared. We were able to teach her the Restoration on the street and she loved it! When we had talked about the Great Apostasy she said, "Oh that is what happened." Then about Joseph Smith and he didn't know what church to join she said that she doesn't blame them and that she would have done the same thing! Anyways we went back the next day and we were able to put her on date for baptism and she is super excited for everything!

Then we had another MIRACLE!!! Heavenly Father seriously loves us!!! We were walking the next day and we went to visit a potential, Nicole. Nicole is so ready to be baptized! She is also a new investigator and she is all about her family, them being together, being happy, and she wants them to be a part of a church! We can help her will all of that! So we went into her house and we started to teach her, she got super excited and said she hasn't felt this good in a while! She told us about her friend who is a Jehovah Witness and that she doesn't really like everything that they talk about. But when we come over she has such a better feeling and she knows that by that feeling joining "our" church is the better thing for her family! She wants to come to church and wants her boys to join scouts. She wants to join Relief Society! We have seen so many miracles this week and it was all because we had to walk because we ran out of miles...and a lot of them were even before that! 

Sister Mahoni and Elle

My trainer went home yesterday and I will be getting my new companion tomorrow. I am going to be staying in Lake Stevens and will be training. Heavenly Fathers has to have something up his sleeve to be letting this happen but I have full faith that he be by my side the entire time as I turn to him for help and seek the spirit in all that I do. We will be able to have success this ward needs. The field really is white and ready to harvest! I love you all and hope everything goes amazing this week! Thank you so much for the letters and packages! 

Favorite Quote: "There is enough going on in this life that anyone can work themselves into a puddle of pessimism and a mess of melancholy. But I know people who, even when things don't work out, focus on the wonders and miracles of life. These folks are the happiest people I know."

- Deter F. Uchtdorf 

E. Gibb, S.Johnson, E. Gonzalez, S. PAcker, S. Mahoni, Elle, E. Howlett, E. Dowd

Ward Halloween Party

Ward Halloween Party

Sister Packer and Johnson