Thursday, December 24, 2015

Week 20: Christmas

This was sent to us by Jennifer Morton. She says, "Sis. Jackson and sis. Thompson
(from Arlington) on splits today! Beautiful young ladies and awesome missionaries! 

(Because we will get to talk with Elle this week for Christmas, this weeks email was short. We are looking forward to seeing her beautiful face and hearing her voice. Christmas 2015 can not come quick enough.- Todd and Liana)

We are going to have a baptism this coming Saturday! Heather and Regelio are going to be getting baptized! I am super excited and love that I get to make this journey with them!
 I got a phone call this week from a man in Tennessee, his name is John. Apparently John is the one that introduced the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Michael and Laurie who are going to be getting baptized January 2nd! We had an amazing conversation about how you may not get to see the end result of some missionary work but "planting seeds" is just as important as anything else. A few months back John would invite Michael and Laurie over for Book of Mormon study. Nothing happened with it, until we were able to find them and start teaching them and yes there were challenges and Satan can be very deceiving. The Book of Mormon has such an amazing power that can not be changed or messed with. It is because of the Book for Mormon the two of them are going to be getting baptized, and want to be baptized. It is nothing Sister Foster or I had to say, but what the spirit taught them when they would read from the Book of Mormon. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Week 19: Rain Rain Rain

There is a Christmas Tree down stairs but Elle likes
to have Christmas lights around her door so she can see them.
So it has been raining almost every other day. Which from what I understand it has been snowing a lot there in Utah. So I think we are pretty similar in the weather! We were able to help out at the Christmas Choir Concert that was yesterday, i​t was so beautiful! We had the Marysville Stake and the Snohomish Stake get together to put on the production. 

As we were ushering we had the opportunity to see Sister Daniels,​ she is 90 years old, an​
Austrian Schizophrenic who studies the Book of Mormon at the local 76 station. No that is not the story, but this week whilst studying with Sister Daniels she decided to tell Sister Foster about her friend who is struggling to "get a baby" (infertility not abduction). S​he told her about this woman's struggle and then promptly left, i​n her usual awkward way. 

This Sunday we got to help out at the Stake Christmas Concert,​ as I had said,​ and she showed up and began to tell Sister Foster even​ more about this lady. She said that she decided that it was her mount Moriah;​ Sister Foster said she liked the reasoning and her determination. She then told her that if she liked it so much she will never have babies. In fact she told her that now she is quite sure that she is going to live childless. 

Elle and Sister Foster
But on the bright side we were able to have a pretty good week! Laurie and Michael came to Church again and had an amazing time. They were able to meet a lot more people because they were able to stay the entire
time. But not just meet people but become a member of the ward family! I love it! I love watching it in action and being able to be a part of it all​ in such a great way! I think that we have been super blessed when it comes to our ward and I am super glad that I have had the opportunity to be able to be a part of their lives. 

But back to my story, at church Sister Van Leuvan came up to Laurie and asked her if she would like ​to go to the Arlington Nativity. The Arlington Nativity is one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen. The Stake comes together and decks out the Church with everything about Christmas. They had over 300 Nativity's set up in the gym and other rooms had paintings and then a room for the kids to dress up and take pictures and then a refreshment room. They only hold Sacrament while this is all set up because rooms are not available. Laurie was very excited to be invited. It was nice to be able to spend time with her by herself and not with Michael,"girl time"! 

Sister Stillwell got an early Christmas present   
We also had the Ward Christmas Party, it was so fun! It was really nice to be able to talk to everyone and just spend that time with our members and a few of our investigators. It is fun to be able to sit down with our ward family and get to know each other better and to be able to talk about the work that is going on in the area. It blows by mind all if the time when they are contently asking about what is going on and if there is anything that they can help with....even if they don't say that I know that is what they are trying to say! But I have to always remember that Missionaries make bad friends! 

I am super excited that Gable got his mission call!!!! You are going to do so amazing! This work is the hardest most rewarding work that you will ever get to be apart of! I love you all and hope that you have an amazing week!

Sister Foster, Santa, and Elle at the Ward Christmas Party!

Helping out with the local food drive for the Food Bank.

top row left to right. Sister foster, me, Elder Gibbs, Elder Gonzalez,
 Elder Goodman, Elder Dowd
Bottom left to right. Elder Johnson, Elder Stoddard 

Ward Christmas Party.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Week 18: I Guess I Can Get Into Places!

Elle and Sister Foster Making Christmas Wreaths. 

So, on Wednesday this last week we were asked by the YM and the YW to come and be judges at their activity, we were going to judge their food. So I guess you could say that we couldn't pass up such an opportunity! They also asked us to talk about finances after the judging of the food, and how it applies to a mission.  They wanted it taken from Preach My Gospel. Well....there is not a section in PMG that talks about finances; we told him we would do our best and figure something out. So when we got there I was super blessed because in one of the meals they used Teriyaki sauce and the other one they used flour as a thickener! So Sister Jackson didn't have to try the food, which made me so happy since we had just eaten dinner. But then came the hard part! I have no idea how to talk about anything other than the Gospel. It is a blessing and also a curse...more of a blessing though. So we were talking after and I am not sure what happened, but after the presentation they asked why we didn't use PMG and we had to explain it to them. But I don't know if they got it. So we left the house and we were just laughing walking to the car, only because we don't know how to talk about normal things.

The next day we were talking to this 18 year old boy and I don't know how it came up but we told him that we were 19 and he was shocked and said that we looked like we were 21. Well I took that as a compliment and I started to nod my head, squint my eyes and said, "That means we can get into places!" He laughed we talked and went on our ways. Sister Foster after told me that it was maybe not the most appropriate thing to say....but some times things come out of your mouth and you don't know why. Maybe he just needed to know that Mormons or Missionaries were normal people to...I am not sure. 

Elle and Sister Foster

This whole week was crazy and it ended with a bang! We had FIVE investigators at church!! I can honestly say that it was all Heavenly Father. We had only a little to do with it. We are just two individuals who are asking these people to change their entire life style and to make some major changes in their lives. The only logical reason that they do it is because they feel the spirit and the spirit feels so good, awesome, even amazing. And through the spirit we are able to feel your Heavenly Fathers love and know that we are cared about.

But Nicole and her son are one of the investigators that we have been trying to get to church for over a month now. We were finally able to get her there and even though we were 30 minutes late, she stayed for the whole time and was able to make some new friends, but best of all she LOVED IT! Said that it was everything she could have hoped for!

Then Laurie and Michael we able to make it! Only for the first hour...but our members are so amazing at fellow shipping and radiating Heavenly Fathers love for each of us and helping you feel as though you have been a part of the ward family forever. They had a wonderful time and look forward to see us and coming back to church.

On Saturday we had a church tour with them. Laurie came in and said that she didn't want to be baptized and that it just wasn't for her. This made me sick to my stomach and I asked her if we could do the Church tour and I would address all of her questions and concerns at the very end. So we went through the church tour and you could tell that she didn't really want to be there or want to be baptized. When we finished I asked them if they had time and we could have a spiritual thought. They said yes, and so we talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When we started to talk about baptism and the importance of it Laurie went quiet. Michael is all on board but Laurie has been a little difficult. I was running out of things to say so I went quiet for a second and look at them both and said, "You know Laurie that if Michael gets baptized before you, he can receive the priesthood and baptize you right after."  That was it! That is what she needed to hear! They looked at each other held hands and you knew that the spirit touched their hearts! The spirit works wonders and I am so thankful to have it as a constant companion!

Heather Hernandez is a blessing sent from Heaven above, she said that she knows this is what she is supposed to be doing because everything in her life has always brought her back to the LDS Church. We talked a little about the Word of Wisdom with her on Saturday and gave her a pamphlet. Then church on Sunday, she said she read the pamphlet and that she dumped out all of her wine and that she is going to be fully committed! What!! Heavenly Father THANK YOU so much! She is super excited to be baptized and do something "right" for once! Those were her exact words! 

All of our investigators have had a problem with the W.O.W. and when we teach the lesson they are all willing to commit to changing their life style. But honestly I am so thankful for Perot, that it is a substitute for coffee. Well that's about the only substitute but I’ll take it!  Honestly little blessings are amazing! 

A house with Christmas Lights.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Week 17: Christmas!

Elle and The Book of Mormon

This last week I have been super grateful for my companion! Heavenly Father knew he couldn't give me anyone with gluten problems, because we wouldn't do to well together.  For example this last week was Thanksgiving and I couldn't eat the stuffing and a couple of other things. Most of the time when I would get something I couldn’t eat I would just put it on Sister Fosters plate! So she got to eat even more than I did. Heavenly Father really is blessing me! 

Our former Investigator Morgan who just got baptized is continuing to make amazing progress! We have been going over and teaching her the New Member lessons (Which are just all of the missionary lessons being taught all over again.  This time a member teaches these lessons.). Really Morgan has been all in! She is always asking questions, wanting to learn more and has been working on her parents. Her goal/dream is to get both of her parents coming to church and eventually her dad getting baptized. It is such a testimony builder to see this 13 year old girl and her little sister coming to church every week without their parents and staying so strong. I know Heavenly Father is softening their parent’s hearts and one day it is going to happen! I may not be around in Lake Stevens to see it, but that doesn't matter. All that matters to me is that they join the church someday. The only reason I know they will join the church one day is because of how much faith and love Morgan has. She is going to move mountains! 

Judy, Elle, and Sister Foster. Judy is a non-member who
Elle and Sister Foster visit and help.
We have started to teach the Hernandez family and they are super excited! They want to get sealed in the temple; well we can help you with that! So we are now teaching them the lessons and working towards baptism. It is so cool to talk to them and hear their story! Their dad (Mr. Hernandez) grew up Catholic and their mom (Mrs. Hernandez) has been baptized into (What seems like) every church that is available.  Super long story; Sister Hernandez grandma who she never knew was "Mormon" and so she wanted to learn more about the church.  This is when she learned about being sealed as a family for time and all eternity! This is what Brother and Sister Hernandez want! Heavenly Father really has been preparing them for a long time and the best part is they can see it! They look back at things that have happened in their life and they say, "It all makes sense! That is why it all happened. We were supposed to get here to Washington!” When they said this I just wanted to cry, because they are right. Everything happens for a reason and whether we are able to understand it at the time or not we will one day get to see the bigger picture.

It has blown my mind how much I have grown to love my ward and the people of Washington. I mean I hear things from people, sometimes good and sometimes bad.  I am either super excited by the news or I am saddened because of what someone has had to go through. Missionaries are truly blessed with the ability to be able to love everyone as our father in heaven does. To see others as he does no matter what they have done in their life or the decisions they are currently making. I am super grateful for this and that he would allow me to be able to recognize it! 

I love you all and hope that you had an amazing Thanksgiving! Happy (late) Birthday to Grandma Val! Have an amazing week! Don't forget to recognize the little blessings each week! 

Sister Foster and Elle on Thanksgiving Day.