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!


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!