Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Week 73: Count Your Blessings!!!

Elle on her balcony in Oak Harbor wearing her
Christmas sweater.
What a great week we were able to have. I can't begin to even tell you of all of the blessings that we have received this last week. Heavenly Father is blessing the Ward of Oak Harbor 1st and also us missionaries who are lucky to be able to serve him.

Tuesday we had interviews and needless to say I asked President Wilding for an extension and he told me no. I told him that he should probably pray about it before he makes any decisions. He said that he doesn't need to pray about this one to know the answer. To make a long story short after a 20 minute conversation it isn't happening. Right before we all left I thought that I would ask him one more time to pray about it and he laughed and said I already did and the answer is still no.......bummer! I am not going to drop this one. The answer might change if I pray hard enough.

We got two new investigators this last week. The first one is Sandy, Sandy is 76 years old and still working hard. She has some Word of Wisdom issues that she is going to have to work on but her faith in Jesus Christ is amazing. She says that all that she needs to do is have faith in her Savior and that everything is going to work out. I had met her before Thanksgiving  but nothing had worked out for us to go over there. Wednesday we were finally able to go to her apartment and catch her at home. At fi​r​st she didn't want us to come in she said that she was busy. We told her that we were sharing a message about our Savior and testified of ​H​im​, the spirit changed her mind and she let us in. We learned that she has had a difficult life and has had her share of trials​, but that her faith in Jesus Christ is what has kept her going. We were able to testify to her that it is through Jesus Christ that we are saved. Used some of the how to begin​..​ teaching points and then we taught the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She LOVED it! She said that she knew all of this to be true and that it only make since. We at the end were able to share a little of the Book of Mormon with her and she asked if we would read some of it to her because she was unable to read the small print. So we did and she appeared to be at peace. We asked her how she felt and she said that she was able to think again and that she was at peace. We told her that that was the spirit testifying to her that the things that we were sharing were true. After we had pointed that out she said that she wanted to be baptized so that she could strengthen her faith in Jesus Christ! WHAT! ARE YOU KIDDING! Heavenly Father is to​o​ good to us. We put her on date for February because of the smoking and coffee. What is even crazier is that a member of our​ ward​ lives in her apartment complex and they know each other and have talked a couple of times. Perfect fellowship, I think that we def​initely ​have some work cut out for us but she wants this. She wants to read the Book of Mormon, she wants to be baptized and is willing to do what it takes!

Sister Lindsay and Elle in their Matching Christmas sweaters.
The ward party was a lot of fun! Sister Lindsay and I bought matching sweaters and so we wore them to the party and they were a hit. It makes it nice that we are such cool people already....the sweaters are just extra! Hahaha just kidding.

Aaron and Jordan are doing great. Aaron is reading 'A Marvelous Work and a Wonder' again. He has done what he can to sign up for an LDS account... and we learned all of this right before sacrament meeting started. Jordan ordered another triple combination because she misplaced hers in their move. They are scheduled to be baptized on January 7th!  They are AMAZING!! I am honored that I have the opportunity to be able to teach them! They have taught me so much and after our lesson yesterday he kind of bore his testimony without formally doing it and the​n​ ended by saying, "You could say that we are gaining a strong testimony of all of these things." Yep they are awesome.

The view from Elle's apartment on the snow in Oak Harbor.
It snowed again and I was praying really hard that it would stop and melt. Don't get me wrong, I love the snow and I love playing in it and driving in it but not as a missionary. Its time for it to just stop and never come back again. Lucky for us the half an inch that does come melts before we even go outside! With the half inch that we got all of our meetings on Sunday were canceled.......? I don't think I will ever understand.

Then yesterday we got our other new investigator Cheree. She is the wife of a member who is a LA (less active) but he thinks that he is no longer apart of the Church. Michael who is the husband of Cheree got baptized some time ago and did it for his ex-wife, and didn't really do it for himself. He had been fully active for those three years and held the Melchizedek Priesthood. He said that he never really gained a testimony for himself but he wanted for him and his wife to be together forever, and this is what made her happy. I think that at one point he had a testimony but that it might have been too "hard" and so it was just easier to quit. Bishop Somes of the Penn Cove ward is really good friends with them and he and his wife have been working with them for awhile. Cheree and Michael are going through some difficult times and after hearing about the church for so long Cheree wants it to be apart of their life. So we went to the Somes house for dinner and that is where we met them and it was all Cheree could do not to jump up and down because of her excitement. Because she wanted to jump up and down I wanted to jump up and down! So after dinner we presented to them and did some How to Begin Teaching and then taught them the Restoration. By the end Cheree was in tears saying that this is what she wants. She said that they need this apart of their life. Cheree want Michael to want it too, it was the COOLEST thing to see the spirit working in that room. The spirit was so strong!! We were addressing all of his concerns and I felt inspired to ask Cheree how she felt and what she was thinking. In her tender voice she said, "I want this." Then we just sat in silence for a little while, then Brother and Sister Somes bore their testimonies and answered some questions from a parent and a spouse point of view.

We will be seeing them Tuesday and I know that this is going to bless them so much. Cheree wants it and is willing to do what it takes to have it. Michael, as we talk and as he remembers what the spirit feels like his heart will be softened.

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I was studying about repentance this morning and I was reading in Alma 36 and Alma the younger is sharing his conversion story with his son Helaman. In vs. 6-28 He says, "...I went about with the sons of Mosiah, seeking to destroy the church of God; but behold, God sent his holy angel to stop us by the way.... I was struck with such great fear and amazement lest perhaps I should be destroyed, that I fell to the earth and I did hear no more....but I was racked with eternal torment for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins. And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world. Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart:...behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; ...and I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me."

Alma the younger was able to have a change of heart and so can all of us. Including those that are suborn.

I am so grateful for this Gospel and the peace and joy that comes from being obedient and keeping the commandments!

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


MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Week 72: Humbled and Full of Gratitude

Oak Harbor and the first snow of the season
This past week has been a fun week! I find that missionary work becomes more and more enjoyable as the days go on. The Lord is blessing Sister Lindsay and me so much! I am overwhelmed by the love my Heavenly Father and my loving brother Jesus Christ has shown me. This work really can't be done without them, and they allow us to find ourselves while we are helping others to feel of their love and come to the knowledge of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

One big thing that stood out to me this week is how much the ward loves us and wants to help us in every way they can. They have bent over backwards to make sure we missionaries have a good Christmas. I can definitely feel their prayers and the sincere love they have for my companion and me. It has humbled me a lot and has continued to remind me of the true meaning of Christmas.

Elle and Sister Lindsay with Hermana's Richy,
Blake, and Bunker.
Tuesday we went on exchanges with Hermana Richey, Blake and Bunker. They are working so hard and are not trying to find the easy way out of anything. The Hermanas are going to help so many people and other missionaries. They taught me a lot on the exchange, I walked away with a bunch of things that I needed to fix and change because of their example. They love this gospel more than anything and you can feel it and see it radiate from them. I am very grateful that I got to spend the day with them. I can't wait to see what they do over the course of their missions!! The church is true!!

 We decided we were going to spend more time finding investigators to teach instead of visiting LA (Less Active) and members. Wednesday we left the apartment hoping that at least one person would shut the door in our face. I guess that is a weird thing to hope for,​but it had been a while and we haven't been able to spend a lot of time finding and so that was the wish. Heavenly Father provided. About half way through the day we went to a formers house and he wasn't home and his neighbor stuck his head out their window to tell us he had just left. We​​ll​,​ teach when you find and find when you teach...so we started talking to this guy. ​He​ looked like ​he​ was about 23 but his mom was not very happy and came to the window and yelled at us and said she would call the cops if we didn't leave. So we wished them a Merry Christmas and walked down a couple trailers and were able to teach the Restoration to some guys on the street. It all worked out in the end and gave us a good laugh.

Sister Lindsay, Brother Beatty, and Elle
We got to go and help Brother Beatty chop wood this last week. There was a lot of it! So we asked Penn Cove and Oak Harbor 2nd Elders if they would come and help us. I LOVE chopping wood. It is hard work and very tedious but needs to be done. Also​,​ I think because we don't have to do it​,​ and​ we​ don't do it all of the time​, so​ it is more enjoyable for us.

Sister Lindsay, Elle, and the Elders chopping wood
We got some new investigators this last week. This last week we got a teaching record from Penn Cove for a couple that live in our area. It is a long story to as of why they had the teaching record but all is fixed now. It was a teaching record for a couple by the name of Aaron and Jordan Maeric. So Wednesday when we got the teaching record we called the number on it and Aaron answered, after we had introduced ourselves he said, "Are we in trouble?” HAHAHA He was at work and so he wasn't able to talk for very long and so he told us that he was going to talk to his wife and then he would get back to us about a time that we would be able to come over and see them. About thirty minutes later he texted us and asked if we would be able to come over Thursday at 7:30...well of course we can!!

Bowling on P-Day
Thursday came and we went over​. They were very nice​,​ let us in​,​ and when we were walking toward the couch there was a quad sitting on the table. Oh, dang ​this ​someone is a member...or so we thought. We were so confused because supposedly they weren't members but who owns a quad and isn't a member? So we sat down and they were a little confused as to why we had called and what we wanted. So between the question of "Are we in trouble?" and seeing the quad I didn't know what to do. I mean we went in there wanting to teach the Restoration but I had a feeling things were going to be changing. We explained that the Penn Cove Elders had told us about them and so we wanted to meet them and introduce ourselves. We asked them their religious background, Jordan she grew up Southern Baptist and lived around Mormons. Aaron didn't grow up religious at all but his mom considered herself Catholic and so he said you could say Catholic but nothing really. Whew! Neither of them are members that's a good/bad thing. So we talked to them a little and they said wanted to get baptized before but couldn't because they weren't married and life got in the way and so they stopped meeting with the Elders. But now they are married and Jordan just quit her job and wasn't sure why but she said that now she knows why. Her job didn't allow her to have any Sunday off and so she was never able to make it to church. A couple of weeks ago she woke up and decided that she was going to quit. So she did, then we called and everything started to make ​sense​.

They want to be baptized, have an eternal marriage, go to the temple and do temple work for their family. They have read the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine and Covenants. Aaron wants the Priesthood and they want to get baptized. So we put them on date for baptism and they are so excited! God really does prepare peopl​e. ​I was reminded of this with Aaron and Jordan. We weren't the first missionaries that have talked to them but they are doing this because they know the Church is true and that this is what they need to do to live with Heavenly Father again. Heavenly Father loves his children, knows where they are at and what they need. I love the Gospel sooo much!!!

Friday it SNOWED!! Don't get me wrong I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the snow....but not as a missionary. We are not allowed to drive the car it is parked and doesn't move. So we walk​ed​ everywhere and if our plans and appointments are too​ far to walk we have to cancel and plan the entire day again. I don't thin​k I like that about missionary work at all. But it was okay because everything shut down with the inch of snow there w​ere​ a lot of people on the street! God provides and all is well.

But really​,​ God provides no matter what. So ​ Sunday right after church all of our appointment fell through at the exact same time.  We ran home and made new plans so that we didn't wa​ste time or miles. We went back out and saw the people that we planned. We got another new investigator! What!! Then we went and saw a Less Active that I have never met and he was so kind. At the very end before we left he gave us seven referrals....Whoa! Heavenly Father needed us to be somewhere else that evening and the only way he was going to get us there is if all of our plans canceled. It is so cool to see how He gets His work done! I am grateful every day for the opportunity that I have to be a part of it!
I wish that I could express in words the joy, love, happiness that I feel but just like Ammon in Alma 26:16, ". . . , I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." I love this work and this Gospel and I don't want it to ever end.


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


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Week 71: 25 Ways in 25 Days!

Elle and Sister Wilding (Mission Presidents wife)
Repping their Utah gear.

I don't even know where to start because I feel like I just wrote a big email like this yesterday. This last week flew by so fast, not sure what to do about that one though. I am very grateful to be on my mission and I am making sure that I am enjoying the good and the bad. ;) 

On Tuesday we got a call from one of the Sisters that we are serving and she was not having a good day/week. So we talked to her on the phone for a little bit and decided after a lengthy conversation that we needed to do splits that day. So we ended our lunch early and drove to Mt. Erie where we exchanged and drove back to our area for the appointments that we had set up. On a side note, I am so glad that we ended up walking a couple weeks back because we used a lot of miles that day from driving back and forth on Tuesday. So I came back to Oak Harbor with one of the Sisters and we went to our appointments. We got back a little late and so we ended up being a little late to everything and it felt like we were running around like a chicken with its head cut off. If someone ever says that miracle don't happen on "exchanges" they are not telling the truth. We went to our second appointment with our investigator Kendra; low and behold she had her friend Henry there. We were teaching the Plan of Salvation. So it was cool to see Henry through the lesson because he was standoffish at the beginning but as the lesson went on he was touched by the spirit and he was asking questions and answering the questions. At the end of the lesson we invited him to come to church and to learn more, he said that it is something that he would be interested in, so honestly it was all I could do not to jump up for joy right then and there. Henry is 18 years old and so we will be passing him off to the YSA Elders, which is okay because he is going to have the chance to learn more and to have that eternal peace and joy that comes with the Gospel as you have a broken heart and a contrite spirit!! It was fun to because the Sister who I was with was able to get excited about Missionary work again and was almost "reenergized" to go and experience those things for herself! So I think that it was a successful day all around. 

Elle and Sister Lindsay in the back of the car.

The next day we had a lot of people that we needed to go and see but the Assistants called and asked us if we would instruct at MLC, so then we had to rearrange everything so that we could instruct at MLC. I am not about to turn that down, to not plan and prepare and instruction where President Wilding is going to be present. But thankfully Heavenly Father LOVES us and helped us be able to get everything done that we needed to! Right before dinner we were going to see our investigator Savannah but she ended up being really sick and so her mom Amber who is also learning asked us if we would give her a blessing. So we called the Elders in their ward and they were able to meet us there. Savannah and Amber are in Oak Harbor 2nd Ward but because of some things we are teaching them. This is cool with me because that means I get to teach two more people. So we went to meet the Elders there but I looked down and realized that I didn't have my tag on me anymore.....that is like the saddest/scariest moment because.....who am I? I don't know because I don't have a name tag. So we drove back to our last appointment that was the opposite ways and luckily it was in their house and so I just had to grab it and then we ran. We get there, and how was I supposed to remember, the Elders needed a third male to be able to go in and give the blessing. So Sister Lindsay and I went and started to knock on random doors in the complex and we were finally able to find a male that would come....we knocked into a member!! Blessings!!! So we got her the blessing and then Amber's neighbor is a member and she came over and has been sick too and so she asked for a blessing. The spirit was so strong and I was very grateful that we have the Priesthood here on the earth to be able to administer to the sick and afflicted. Then we ran to dinner because we were late. Luckily it was with Brother Beatty and he was very kind about it! Another blessing!! 

Service project with missionaries after MLC.

Thursday was MLC and also was December 1st!! So we had to get up at 5:20 am to be able to make it to our meeting on time. We got down there went through a fast forward version of MLC because we had to make it to a service at the park so we could kick off the 25 ways in 25 days!! It was awesome. There were a lot of new faces in MLC which was good because we were able to get new ideas and things like that. At the service project I ran into one of the workers whose name is Greg Larsen, he is in the Alderwood ward. Greg is so cool and has the most amazing story. He has come a long way from where he was at and will now be receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood this next year, then hopefully he'll be able to leave on a mission not too much later. It was a lot of fun to be able to catch up with him and see how life had been and what he was doing. I am very thankful for the opportunity that I have to make so many good friends and that I was able to be a part of their life in one way or another. 

Elle and Sister Lindsay

Also we took the coolest picture of some of us missionaries from Utah and the schools that we represent! Sister Wilding and I were the coolest...that is just a fact and how it is! 

Missionaries from Utah and the schools they represent.

Saturday we attended a funeral for the husband of a member in our ward. I am so grateful that my family are members of the church and we know of the Plan of Salvation, it was so sad to be there, and sad for the family to not know about the Plan that our Father in Heaven has for us; or even for those who know about it and not to fully understand what it is and why it is important for us. I am glad that we were able to go and support the family and help them in any way that we can. Even when creepy non-members hug us..... Then after that we got to go and help Sister Glade set up her Christmas tree. That is one fun thing about this time of year is that for service everyone is asking if we will come and help them set up their Christmas tree! One of the best services ever!! I feel as though I have said that about a lot of things but this is a very true statement.

Goofy picture time.

I love fast Sunday! I am so grateful for it and the opportunity to be able to partake of the sacrament and remember my Savior Jesus Christ and what he has done for me! Then later that night we were able to watch the Christmas Devotional! IT WAS SOOO GOOD!!! If you didn't get to see it you should make time and watch it because it will get you into the Christmas spirit! I love this time of year and I love my Savior and the gospel and I love that I get to be a missionary!


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


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Week 70: Christmas!!!

Elle with her new Companion, Sister Lindsay.
Sister Lindsay in from Pleasant Grove, Utah.

Everyone guess what?! It is CHRISTMAS!!!!! I love this time of year so much! I love the music and the smells, I love the weather and the feeling of peace and happiness, I love that we are able to learn more about our Savior and that we are able to share His love and birth with all those that we come in contact with, through our words and example. I love that everyone is wanting to serve others, whether they know the person or not. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and am grateful that we are able to celebrate His birth! 

Elle and Sister Lindsay putting lights on their
Christmas tree Thanksgiving night.

This last week we had transfers, Sister Perry was transferred and I am here in Oak Harbor. My new companion in Sister Lindsay, she is amazing! I have been blessed so much on my mission to have companions who are incredible. It has been fun to get to know Sister Lindsay, I think what has been the best is that we are so much a like that we find something new we have in common everyday! AHH!!! Hahaha Sister Lindsay is from P.G., Utah. She comes from a family of 10 and has been on her mission for five months, this is her third area....lets just say I have a lot to work on so that I can get to the level that she is on. I got very lucky!

Elle said, "I finally received the Dr. Pepper I had won".

Thanksgiving was a lot of fun. We got to spend the day over at our WML...Thursday was our P-day because of the holiday and because we had an early curfew. It was a lot of fun to be able to spend the day with Brother Carters family, he has three kids 12 and younger and so we got to play board games and Lego's and many other things. I am very grateful for the amazing families that I have been able to meet on my mission that when events and holidays come up like this they are more then welcome to have us come over and spend the day with their family. Heavenly Father has really been looking out for me and made sure that my mission has been the best experience for me, so that I will be able to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ. When we had to come in for the rest of the evening Sister Lindsay and I finished putting up the lights on the Christmas tree! It looks so happy and every time you look at it you cant help but smile! I LOVE this time of year. 

Elle got her hair done.

At the beginning of November President Wilding invited all of us to spend the next two months learning all that we can about our Savior Jesus Christ. I was so excited for this invitation what better way to spend the holidays then to spend it learning more about our Savior the One who is the reason for the season. I have learned a lot already, I have spent a lot more time in the New Testament along with the Book of Mormon and doing my best to memorize The Living Christ (harder then I would have thought, haha). Today I was reading in Mark 7 and while reading about Christ casting out the devil in the Greek women's daughter. I started to think about what was maybe my favorite parable or story. While I was pondering this question I thought about when Christ was 12 years old and he was in the Temple teaching the Rabbis. 

We learn that Mary and Joseph were very faithful and they went to Jerusalem every year during the feast of the Passover. That this religious festival is very important and that is was a reminder of the new year. All men were required to be there but the women were given the option. When Jesus turned 12 years old He went with Mary and Joseph. There He was recognized as a member of His community. It was common for people to have their sons attend the feast of the Passover and also to go to the temple ceremonies, being recognized as someone who has become of age; that being when Jesus went to the temple. The feast only lasted about seven days and so when it was over everyone traveled in their groups to go home and get back to their normal lives. But after Mary and Joseph had been traveling for a day they realized that Jesus what not to be found with them, so they headed back to Jerusalem to find Him. About three days later they "found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions." I learned that it was common for a 12 year old boy to be questioned by the Rabbis, Priests and Scribes. I guess that it was part of their education and training. But what is amazing is that no one had ever seen or heard a "student" be able to answer questions and be able to have such a strong understanding. So eventually Mary and Joseph found Christ, they must have been very excited because it had been maybe four days. But Mary says to Jesus, "Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing." Christ's reply must have really surprised her because he reminds her of who he is and what he is sent here to do. He says, "How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" It blows my mind that he so kindly reminded his mother that he was sent here so do His Fathers work. Then He says, "thy father and I" reminding us that He is always with the Father. That His Father was not wondering where He was but that he was in the Temple, His fathers house. 

YUCK!!!

I am so grateful for Christ and that from such a young age he was able to learn of His purpose and of His divinity and because of that we have the Plan of Salvation and are able to repent and live our lives in a way that will bring us back to live with our Father in Heaven again! 


I love you all and hope that you have and amazing safe week!

Getting her hair done.



Only in Washington

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 69:Time is of the Essence...

Sister Belliston, Sister Perry, MacKenzie, and Elle
This week went by super fast!! I continue to be amazed it is the end of the year. Every morning during personal study I ask Sister Perry what day it is, even though I could probably look at my calendar, she tells me and I am so surprised. When I first came out I didn’t believe anyone when they said time is going to fly by, I just wondered how I was going to make it through the next 18 months. I remember at the beginning of the year wondering how on earth I was going to make it through February and looking through my calendar October seemed so far away. Well now it is the end of November and I don't know where time decided to go.  It is a darn good life being a missionary and I don't want to be anywhere else.



Well this week was really funny. We were on foot almost every day because we were not going to make miles and I WILL NOT go over miles again. It makes me sick to my stomach to even think about, plus it should be one less thing that I need to worry about. But anyways, we walked all over and we got to talk to some really cool people, we didn't find any new investigators from walking but we were able to hand out a lot of pamphlets and copies of the Book of Mormon.

We met this homeless lady named Ferra. Ferra was over in some bushes picking up trash, she was about 50 feet away from us. Air planes were flying above us and so it was hard to hear, so as loud as I could I yelled "Hi". She looked up and we couldn't hear each other. So she walked up from where she was to the sidewalk so that we could hear her.  Ferra is a good Christian, she has been to several different denominations and is still trying to find where she fits in. We got to share the Restoration with her and then near the end of it she mentioned that she was going to meet with "Book of Mormon boys". One of the sets of Elders were going to be meeting with her later that week and so we made sure to give her a Book of Mormon and the Church address. We told her the Elders were going to be able to help her as she decided if she wanted to strengthen her relationship with her Savior Jesus Christ. We hope they were able to meet with her and that all went well. Before we had started walking that day we were packing up our bags with pamphlets and things that we were going to need and I felt prompted to grab a Bible. I didn't know why and I almost didn't do it because I don't ever carry a Bible with me but the prompting came stronger the second time and so I put it in my bag. Well while we were talking to Ferra she told us how someone took her Bible and that she hadn't been able to read scripture for a while. So I pulled the Bible out of my bag and gave it to her and then right after that is when we gave her a Book of Mormon. I have wanted to have a better understanding of how the spirit speaks to me and when I realized that I had grabbed the Bible for her, I was very humbled. It was amazing to be able to feel Heavenly Fathers love for her and for me when we were walking away and I realized that we did everything we were supposed to! 
Mission Leaders Conference
We also got a new investigator, his name is Joe. Joe is someone that we knocked on his door and he let us in. He has been taught by missionaries before. He told us he has been reading the Book of Mormon and that he would like to try to make it to church and might one day be baptized. He just doesn't think that Joseph Smith was a prophet, hopefully when we clear up some of his questions this will help him. 
Elle is just like her mom, Christmas tree is
up Pre-Thanksgiving
Here’s a funny story.  A member in our ward found out that the YSA missionaries don't get fed a lot and so she sent us home with a bag of food to give them. They came to pick it up and we were just changing into our service clothes.  We were going to go over to a members after we gave them their food. They started to bang on our door so I was trying to pull my pants up really quickly and run to the door to answer it. Well while zipping up my pants and running to the door I got caught on our bedroom door and it through me into the wall. It hurt so badly and while this happened Sister Perry was opening the door and so the Elders heard it all. Needless to say it hurt and I don't know why.
Sister Belliston, Sister Perry, Elle, MacKenzie, and Member
 MacKenzie got baptized this last Saturday and confirmed a member on Sunday! It was such an amazing day! She was super excited and was inviting everyone she could. She has such a contagious smile and is always happy. Teaching her has been so much fun because this is something she really wanted. She retained everything we taught her which I thought was super impressive for a 10 year old. What I have loved the most is we were able to help MacKenzie work toward baptism and helping her mom become active in the Church. So many members have helped fellowship and serve them in so many ways and I think our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ have just been beaming for the love the members have shown them. I am so thankful for the chance I have had to watch this everyday as a missionary, to feel so much love for all of these people and to be able to serve them every day!
SisterBelliston, Sister Perry, MacKenzie,
Elle, and MacKenzie's mother
 Being a missionary during the holidays is so much fun. I am grateful for the chance we have to be able to think about the things we are thankful for and to show our appreciation by serving and doing so many other things. We are very lucky to be members of the Church! I love you all so much and hope you have an amazing week!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 68: He Lives!

Elle and Sister Perry
Everyone needs to serve a mission!! There are things in life you are going to have a hard time learning. Why not learn them while you are in the service of your God and fellow man. This last week I was thinking a lot about how we can't do more than we can handle. We can't expect our self's to do more than the Lord expects us to do. This has been one of the hardest things for me. I find I want to just do everything and anything but that the Lord has different plans. The more I pray and ask Heavenly Father to align my will with his will it always works out and we are able to do more than we had planned for! 

Elle and Sister Plank
This last week Sister Perry and I were blessed! We first had exchanges on Tuesday and I was able to go to Stanwood with Sister Plank. I don't know if you all remember my companion Sister Pickup but Sister Plank reminds me of Sister Pickup. They could be twins and everything. It’s funny because Sister Pickup goes home in a week and Sister Plank just got here in time to replace her.  I had a really good day with Sister Plank. We were really lucky that the weather decided to be sooo nice and that the sun came out. We talked to a lot of different people and we were able to have really good lessons with a couple of their investigators. When we were going to teach one of the first lessons we had planned to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We go in there and he had a couple of questions. We had to change our entire lesson plan but that is okay! I know that as we teach to people’s needs and what they need to hear instead of what we want them to hear things always go so much better! Also it is a lot easier for the Spirit to testify to them of the truthfulness of this message. We didn't time things very well and so we got back to the apartment a little after nine. We were going to exchange back and Sister Leininger and I were going to head back to Mount Vernon but it was too late and we were going to be going to their Zone meeting first in the morning so we ended up staying the night and sleeping on the floor. I am not old and I don't ever feel old but when I woke up......I felt old. I don't think I am going to volunteer to sleep on the floor very often if at all. 

The night Elle had to sleep on the floor.
Wednesday we went to Arlington’s zone meeting and it was awesome! What a great zone full of hard working missionaries! Sister Leininger and I instructed first because we had to drive back to Mount Vernon so we could also make it back in time for our zone meeting. We instructed about the importance of loving and knowing your companion and also with staying together. It was a lot of fun and it was cool to hear the companions answer questions about their companion, their likes and dislikes, their companion’s family, and those kinds of things. After we finished we drove to our zone meeting and instructed with the zone leaders on kind of the same thing that we all instructed on in MLC. I am so grateful for the spirit because if we didn't teach with the spirit it would all be a waste. 

After Zone Conference
Afterward Sister Leininger and I went on a blitz with Sisters Thompson and Skousen. We split up so we could get more work done. It is so fun being able to work with different Sisters and find ways and things that I can implement into my missionary work so I can be a more effective teacher. 

Zone Conference
Then after the blitz I was finally able to come back to Oak Harbor and be with my companion and we were able to work in my own area. It is so nice to be back home and not have to sleep in someone elses apartment or bed. I get to be in my own place...blessings!! Sister Perry and I have been able to work so hard and get things done! We were able to find some new investigators and put people on date! Also this Saturday we are going to be having a baptism for our investigator MacKenzie!!! We are so excited!!! Heavenly Father has defiantly blessed us with so many things. There is no greater feeling then being able to watch one of your brothers or sisters enter the waters of baptism and are able to make covenants with our Heavenly Father! So many good things to look forward to this next week!  



Saturday one of our investigators Amber texted us and said she hadn't smoked in two days! We were so happy and we went to respond and tell her good job, but she asked us when she was going to be able to be baptized. That was completely unexpected!!! We told her that she had to be smoke free for a month before she could get baptized. She is very much so excited and it was a lot of fun to see her make the decision on her on to quit smoking and that she has been able to stick with it. 

Sunday was Stake Conference and it was very good. Amber came and she LOVED it and was talking to her daughter Savannah and asking her questions and telling her the things that they are going to start doing to get ready for their baptism. I am grateful for the opportunity we have to be able to hear from our Stake Leaders and to be able to heed the counsel that they give us.


I am grateful for this Gospel and I appreciate it a lot more than ever before. There is no other way to have eternal joy then through Christ and following the commandments and doing the little things! I love you all so much and hope that you have an amazing week! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Week 67: True Happiness!

Elder Parker, Elder Stewart, Elder Carver, Elle, and Sister Leininger
This week has been CRAZY!!! First Halloween, worst day ever! We had early curfew and we didn't get to go out and work at all!  But it was okay because the next day we had so much to do! We had a less active in our ward that is in the Air Force and he is on leave right now. His wife is pregnant and so she is unable to take all four of their labs on walks during the week. They pull on the leash and it is not good for her already injured back (she is retired Air Force). So twice a week we get to take their dogs for a walk!! Best form a service ever!! I think I say that every time but we don't get to have pets as missionaries so this is as good as it is going to get. We have only been doing it for a couple of weeks but the dogs are slowly warming up to us and so it is a lot of fun! 

Sister Leininger preparing for MLC.
Sister Leininger and I were asked to give an instruction at Mission Leader Counsel (MLC). We were to instruct with our Zone Leaders, that is four people. That is a lot of people with a lot of ideas and wanting to talk. We met Tuesday night after the first round of interviews and then Wednesday after the second round of interviews. We were able to get it all planned out. I think the coolest thing is that it was definitely led by the spirit the entire time. We would be talking about what we would like to do and then we would end up doing something that was not even on the drawing board. But that is what happens when you allow the spirit to take the lead. It went really well, we talked about how we need to find Joy in the mission and that when we do this our attitudes will improve and so will the work. I hope people will take into consideration, the things that were said because I know when we find joy in the Lords work all things are possible. 

Mission Leader Council
Interviews are my FAVORITE!! I love that I have the chance to be able to talk to President and just "hang out" for a second. I have been super blessed with an amazing Mission President and Wife. I have been able to go to them with anything and know they will support and help me in every way they can. I feel my Saviors love for me through them and it makes me so happy. I definitely have a "mom and dad" away from my mom and dad.

So cool couple of stories!!! 

Saturday morning we went and visited a former Joe. We knocked on the door and he looked at us and as he was turning he said, "Come on in." I was a little shocked because honestly I have only had this happen once or twice before. We asked him if his wife was here and he told us yes and so we jumped on the opportunity to be able to go into someone’s house. We had a really good conversation with him. One thing I WILL NOT do with anyone I talk to is Bible bash. While we were talking to him he told us about why he couldn't obey the Word of Wisdom and how he can’t believe Joseph Smith and some others could be prophets. He brought up the Mountain Meadow Massacre and at that point I thought to myself "I am not going to be doing this today." But we ended up being able to have a good conversation about everything. He just doesn't fully understand everything and so we invited him to go to lds.org and to read more about all of the things that he brought up. Also how he has never heard the spirit speak to him. He kept going and going and so I cut him off and asked him if he had been reading the Book of Mormon? He said he hadn't for a couple of weeks so we told him for one week he was to read the Book of Mormon every day and to pray before he read it. He told us he would only do it if we listened to some station on the radio for the week. We told him we could not do that and so he told us how we were being brain washed. I bore testimony on how there has been things we have been asked to do. Things that if I really didn't want to do I didn't have to, but that I believe in being obedient in all things. That shut him up for a second and so he thought and then agreed that he could read the Book of Mormon. We told him that most if not all of his questions will be answered, that he would know for himself that The Church of Jesus Christ is Gods Kingdom restored to the earth again, that they Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. So we are excited to go back on Saturday and see what happens! 

Elle and Sister Perry
Then that evening we met with our investigator Justin. I have had to really slow down with Justin because just a couple of months ago he was almost anti-religion and doesn't have any religious background. So everything we have taught him is pretty new and things he doesn't really know anything about. So we started at the beginning with how God is our loving Heavenly Father and that Jesus Christ is His son and that the Holy Ghost is that warm feelings we get when we do something good or that we know is right. How they are all part of the God head but are three separate beings. We had to start at square one and have been working our way up. Progress was being made but it is slow. He works on Sundays and so it has been really hard for him to get Sundays off. We were going to go over and reset expectations and do How to Begin Teaching again and tell him that if this is not what he wanted then we were not going to be able to come over anymore. We got there and told him we missed him at church and then they told us how on Thursday they came to the Ward Halloween Party and were able to meet a lot of nice people. They met Bishop and Brother Carter our Ward Mission Leader and a lot of other people. We had to leave early and so we missed them. They took a second and looked at the pictures hung up on the wall. Which are just the people who have been baptized in all the three wards in the last couple of years. One of his really good friends that he grew up with was on the board. He was super surprised. Just the other day they had run into him and his family and he asked him why he was so happy and his friend told him it was because he had now found where God needed him and his family to be. That had made a big impact on Justin. To my surprise when we got there we said a prayer and he said that he had a question. We asked him what it was and he opened the Book of Mormon and he turned to 2 Nephi 5:21 we explained the scripture to him and he was so excited. It was not at all what he thought but he was excited that there was an answer. We decided that we needed to read the Book of Mormon with him and so we read 2 Nephi 3. After we asked him what he learned from that chapter? Mind you we had been disguising it through out reading it. He said baptism was important and it was something we needed. We asked him if he knew these things were true would he act on that by being baptized. He told us yes, so we invited him to be baptized on December 31 and he sat and thought for a second. He told us "I am not going to say yes but I am not going to say no." That answer put the biggest smile on my face because he has come such a long way. We still have a long way to go but he is doing his best and he knows what the end goal is!



God knows his children. He knows what they need and when they need it and it is so AMAZING to be able to watch Him put everything in place where it needs to go! I love being a missionary and I wouldn't change it for the world! The Atonement is for everyone and all of those who are willing to allow it to change their lives. 


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

Week 66: True Happiness!

Elder Parker, Elder Stewart, Elder Carver, Elle, and Sister Leininger
This week has been CRAZY!!! First Halloween, worst day ever! We had early curfew and we didn't get to go out and work at all!  But it was okay because the next day we had so much to do! We had a less active in our ward that is in the Air Force and he is on leave right now. His wife is pregnant and so she is unable to take all four of their labs on walks during the week. They pull on the leash and it is not good for her already injured back (she is retired Air Force). So twice a week we get to take their dogs for a walk!! Best form a service ever!! I think I say that every time but we don't get to have pets as missionaries so this is as good as it is going to get. We have only been doing it for a couple of weeks but the dogs are slowly warming up to us and so it is a lot of fun! 

Sister Leininger preparing for MLC.
Sister Leininger and I were asked to give an instruction at Mission Leader Counsel (MLC). We were to instruct with our Zone Leaders, that is four people. That is a lot of people with a lot of ideas and wanting to talk. We met Tuesday night after the first round of interviews and then Wednesday after the second round of interviews. We were able to get it all planned out. I think the coolest thing is that it was definitely led by the spirit the entire time. We would be talking about what we would like to do and then we would end up doing something that was not even on the drawing board. But that is what happens when you allow the spirit to take the lead. It went really well, we talked about how we need to find Joy in the mission and that when we do this our attitudes will improve and so will the work. I hope people will take into consideration, the things that were said because I know when we find joy in the Lords work all things are possible. 

Mission Leader Council
Interviews are my FAVORITE!! I love that I have the chance to be able to talk to President and just "hang out" for a second. I have been super blessed with an amazing Mission President and Wife. I have been able to go to them with anything and know they will support and help me in every way they can. I feel my Saviors love for me through them and it makes me so happy. I definitely have a "mom and dad" away from my mom and dad.

So cool couple of stories!!! 

Saturday morning we went and visited a former Joe. We knocked on the door and he looked at us and as he was turning he said, "Come on in." I was a little shocked because honestly I have only had this happen once or twice before. We asked him if his wife was here and he told us yes and so we jumped on the opportunity to be able to go into someone’s house. We had a really good conversation with him. One thing I WILL NOT do with anyone I talk to is Bible bash. While we were talking to him he told us about why he couldn't obey the Word of Wisdom and how he can’t believe Joseph Smith and some others could be prophets. He brought up the Mountain Meadow Massacre and at that point I thought to myself "I am not going to be doing this today." But we ended up being able to have a good conversation about everything. He just doesn't fully understand everything and so we invited him to go to lds.org and to read more about all of the things that he brought up. Also how he has never heard the spirit speak to him. He kept going and going and so I cut him off and asked him if he had been reading the Book of Mormon? He said he hadn't for a couple of weeks so we told him for one week he was to read the Book of Mormon every day and to pray before he read it. He told us he would only do it if we listened to some station on the radio for the week. We told him we could not do that and so he told us how we were being brain washed. I bore testimony on how there has been things we have been asked to do. Things that if I really didn't want to do I didn't have to, but that I believe in being obedient in all things. That shut him up for a second and so he thought and then agreed that he could read the Book of Mormon. We told him that most if not all of his questions will be answered, that he would know for himself that The Church of Jesus Christ is Gods Kingdom restored to the earth again, that they Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. So we are excited to go back on Saturday and see what happens! 

Elle and Sister Perry
Then that evening we met with our investigator Justin. I have had to really slow down with Justin because just a couple of months ago he was almost anti-religion and doesn't have any religious background. So everything we have taught him is pretty new and things he doesn't really know anything about. So we started at the beginning with how God is our loving Heavenly Father and that Jesus Christ is His son and that the Holy Ghost is that warm feelings we get when we do something good or that we know is right. How they are all part of the God head but are three separate beings. We had to start at square one and have been working our way up. Progress was being made but it is slow. He works on Sundays and so it has been really hard for him to get Sundays off. We were going to go over and reset expectations and do How to Begin Teaching again and tell him that if this is not what he wanted then we were not going to be able to come over anymore. We got there and told him we missed him at church and then they told us how on Thursday they came to the Ward Halloween Party and were able to meet a lot of nice people. They met Bishop and Brother Carter our Ward Mission Leader and a lot of other people. We had to leave early and so we missed them. They took a second and looked at the pictures hung up on the wall. Which are just the people who have been baptized in all the three wards in the last couple of years. One of his really good friends that he grew up with was on the board. He was super surprised. Just the other day they had run into him and his family and he asked him why he was so happy and his friend told him it was because he had now found where God needed him and his family to be. That had made a big impact on Justin. To my surprise when we got there we said a prayer and he said that he had a question. We asked him what it was and he opened the Book of Mormon and he turned to 2 Nephi 5:21 we explained the scripture to him and he was so excited. It was not at all what he thought but he was excited that there was an answer. We decided that we needed to read the Book of Mormon with him and so we read 2 Nephi 3. After we asked him what he learned from that chapter? Mind you we had been disguising it through out reading it. He said baptism was important and it was something we needed. We asked him if he knew these things were true would he act on that by being baptized. He told us yes, so we invited him to be baptized on December 31 and he sat and thought for a second. He told us "I am not going to say yes but I am not going to say no." That answer put the biggest smile on my face because he has come such a long way. We still have a long way to go but he is doing his best and he knows what the end goal is!



God knows his children. He knows what they need and when they need it and it is so AMAZING to be able to watch Him put everything in place where it needs to go! I love being a missionary and I wouldn't change it for the world! The Atonement is for everyone and all of those who are willing to allow it to change their lives. 


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