Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ashley Was Baptized

What a fantastic week!!!!!!
SO ASHLEY WAS BAPTIZED!!!!!!! Her less active friend, Jacob, who introduced her to the church, his parents came down for the baptism and his dad baptized her! She came out just grinning ear to ear!! It was amazing... and then we found out that the night before her baptism that Jacob had proposed to her.... She said yes on the condition that a year from her baptism he can take her to the temple!!! I am so grateful that I got to be a part of all of this!! Only bummer is that church was totally canceled and she wont get comfirmed until next week!! Oh and our new nick name for her is "that red headed mormon lady)
So other exciting news this week. We are teaching a lady who is in her 50s, Ronnita. She is taking care of her mother who has deminsia. So she is basically stuck inside all day. But then she is also paranoide that people are stealing from her... so she stays inside all day everyday and NEVER leaves...but when we went to teach her she was out of dog food. And let me just tell you about this dog. His name is Danny, he is 8 months old and HUGE... he is the most disobedient dog I have ever met. He barks a "NO" sound back to Ronnita and whines and cries. His bark sounds like it would KILL you... and he attacks us while we pray. Sister Barrett and I both have a very strong dislike towards this dog... anyways he was out of dogfood so we were nice and went to PetsMart and got her some more. Probably one of the most random things I have done to serve any of my investigators. Tonight we are looking forward to meeting with her again- not so much looking foward to Danny.....
One more super exciting thing from this week! We got a new investigator this week, Brayden. We showed him a picutre of the temple at the end of our lesson and told him that is was just off of 116th and Springmill. He said "No way! I have been deleivering stone to that site for months now! I am helping building the Mormon temple!!" He is praying about whether or not the church is true :) Walked out of that lesson almost giddy!!
Sister Barrett and I have been so incredibly blessed. Our mission now has a standard of excellence... which is pretty high for the leaders in the mission. It is amazing what the Lord can do when we set goals and are dedicated to them!! We have been super busy despite the weather!
I am so grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I am glad that it is His church and His work. I know that only through Him are we able to return to live once again with our Father in Heaven!! Church is true.

Love Sarah

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Its still cold

I was super bummed that I didn’t get to email yesterday, but that is okay, because the library is open today!! It is weird to think that probably before the end of my mission we will have technology and maybe even the capacity (IPADs) to email from our apartments. Which will just be crazy awesome!!! But now to tell you about my week!

1. We went to the ZOO yesterday!! We got in for a can donation, so my entire zone went! It was really fun. A lot of the animals weren’t outside, but at 40 degrees, I don't blame them. Though we really did enjoy this warm weather!!! Sorry I forgot my camera cord, so pictures will have to come next week!

2. Ashley KNOWS the Book of Mormon is true!! We had a lesson with her at the Bishop's house! She told us that she had been praying about whether or not it was true for a while. I mean she knew it was good and she believed it, but she wanted to know that is was true with out a doubt. She said she had been praying and studying it and decided to ask Heavenly Father to show her that it was true. She said she opened the book and the verse she read was exactly what she needed to hear. It was Alma 16:17 " "! We then did a happy dance :) I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers.

3. On Friday our morning appointments canceled so we went and shoveled a few investigator’s and member’s driveways. It was fun and freezing cold. And then Saturday afternoon it snowed 4 more inches. At least it is the thought that counts.

4. Our mission has a new standard of excellence. This means that there is a standard mission wide of how many lessons we are suppose to teach each week (20) and standard for new investigators, lessons with a member present, and investigators at church and with a baptismal date. The standards mission wide are pretty reasonable (about what I have gotten my whole mission) but then for the leadership, they are double, except for the total number of lessons taught! Last week we were able to meet ALL of the standards except for how many investigators came to church! It was amazing to see how when we set these goals and then really put our minds to it how the Lord provided a way. I am so incredibly grateful that this is the Lord's work and not my work. All I have to worry about is teaching faith and repentance :) the rest is in His hands!

5. We found 5 new investigators this week!!!!!!! It was awesome! I guess that is what happens when you go to Indy to knock doors. Must do more often. Now to see how solid they are..........

6. Our cars got grounded AGAIN. Who knew I would get grounded on my mission. CRAZY. Kind of like this Indiana weather. Thank goodness for lots of layers and warm cars we can drive (most) of the time!

7. My testimony of the Book of Mormon just in the past couple of weeks has grown so much! I think Ashley gaining that witness was the icing on the cake for me this past week :) The fullness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ is in the Book of Mormon!!! Reading it will only bless our lives! I have learned more about my Savior and how to become like Him then I have from anything else! As I have been able to share it I have gained an even stronger testimony of its divinity! I wish I could give it to everyone to read!!!! I love it!! If it was feasible to carry 20 copies in my bag so I could hand it out like candy.... I totally would. So yes I love the Book of Mormon!!!

Thank you for all of your love and continued support... and again I am sorry I don’t have my camera cord. I know the pictures are probably the best part anyways......

LOVE YOU <3 Sarah

Its Cold

This week was a little crazy!!! Since the roads were still terrible (thank goodness we were safe) we weren't able to do as much work as we would of liked to, but we were able to stay really busy and had a pretty awesome week!!

First off, Ashley passed her baptismal interview!!!! She was so excited afterwards we even did a happy dance (Sister Barrett, Ashley and I)! She is so excited for her baptism, which will be next weekend (the 25th). Her best friend's dad is going to come into town to baptize her! We are also lucky enough to have a lesson with her at the Bishop's house tonight after dinner!

Elder Perkins from the 70 was in town for 24 hours, so we got a chance to meet with him (as part of the leadership council) on Saturday morning! He told us lots of cool stories about the Prophet and about the apostles... which he has lunch with almost every week (CRAZY!!). I think what stuck out the most to me is that we have the ability to make every meeting we go to a revelatory experience. We can do this by asking questions. If we prepare for our meetings with questions, we prepare ourselves to be open to revelation from the spirit. We are actively listening. It is amazing how when we knock, the Lord will always answer. Asking questions has just helped me how to better understand how to knock!

We also had a really neat experience where we were able to go tracting with some Laurels in our ward. Nothing amazing happened, but it was fun to go on splits with them. Both of the laurels we went with are planning on serving missions themselves-- we even got a few lessons in :)

We also had the chance to attend an awesome fireside down in Indy last night. It is called "Why I Believe." 6 converts shared their stories and missionaries and members are invited (especially to bring recent converts, less active members, investigators and non-members). A sister in our ward who was baptized just a couple of months ago spoke! The spirit in those meetings is amazing, like testimony meeting on steroids!! I am just so grateful for the opportunity I have to teach people about Christ and watch their relationship with Heavenly Father grow. The church is true and I love it!!!!


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Snowed In in INDIANA

This week has been a little bit crazy. Okay really super crazy. We moved!!!! Which took way longer then we expected to get everything out of our old apartment and into our new one... and move the other sisters that lived with us as well. Then we had to deep clean our old apartment (which elders had lived in for YEARS) so that was pretty invovled as well. THEN the snow happened. We thought on Saturday we were just going to get a little bit of snow. No big deal.. right? We ended up snowed in Sunday and Monday. Church was canceled. Luckily we live close to other missionaries, so we got to spend some time with the sisters living close to us and with the senior couple that is also serving in our ward. We decided that we needed to have pretend church on Sunday (since it was just weird not to go to church!!) so we watched The Testaments. I haven't seen that movie since I have been on my mission. It was really neat to think that this is exactly what we teach people about everyday. We share the unique message that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth and that we have a prophet today and the Book of Mormon!! So then Monday we found out we were again grounded. Who knew that missionaries got grounded?!? It was kind of a super lame preparation day because we were stuck inside and started to go a little bit nuts!! THEN we found out that the roads were still super terrible on Tuesday, but we did have permission to go to get groceries and to drive where "necessary". We went out in the 0 degree weather and tried to start our car... but it was so cold that our battery was dead.... so the assistants had to come jump our car. Then today we were finally able to do some normal missionary work again!!! AHHHH it was crazy to just sit and do nothing. Sister Barrett (my new companion) and I were going nuts!!! With all of this craziness going on we still saw several miracles this week!! And of course I want to tell you all about them :)

 We had a lesson scheduled with Ashley in a member’s home. We were super excited to teach her about tithing, but we were a little bit nervous because right now her finances are pretty tight. So Ashley calls us right before the lesson and asks to move it back a half and hour. Then she calls again and asks to move it back even more. So finally an hour and a half after we were suppose to meet she asks if she can just cancel. She was so frustrated that she had to cancel. We finally just asked what was wrong and what we could to do help her. She said that she had some stuff that she had to work out with the bank before it closed that was really stressing her out, but she was also really upset because we couldn't meet and she was looking forward to our lesson. We finally worked out that we would stop by and try to see her later that evening. At this point, we were really confused about what was going on. We wanted to make sure she was okay but weren't sure how our lesson on tithing would go. When we got to Ashley's apartment, she was reading her Book of Mormon waiting for us (best investigator EVER!). She then explained to us that she got paid that day and counted the money and did not have enough for all of her bills that she needed to pay. She was super flustered because she knew that she needed to support her daughter. She was really upset. But she decided that she needed to pray about it. She asked Heavenly Father to help her through this situation. She told us that she knew He probably wouldn't just give her more money, but she knew that He could help. She said as she drove to the bank she was still super anxious and she realized that this meant that she didn't have faith. She knew that she needed to have faith if she wanted her prayer answered. So she let go and she trusted in the Lord and Heavenly Father did answer her prayer!! When she gave the money to the bank teller and she counted it, it was more then enough!! In fact, she even had extra. And Ashley being as awesome as she was said a prayer of gratitude right then and there, out loud in the bank!!! Even though we didn’t get to teach her that day in a member’s home, Heavenly Father had a better plan and prepared her to accept the Law of the Tithe through her experience!!!!!!!!

We are currently teaching 10 year old twins, Collin and Emma, whose family is currently less active! We stopped by to see how their family was doing. We were surprised to see all of the kids outside looking frantically for their dog, Charlie who had ran away. They live at the intersection of a highway and an interstate...so they were really nervous. We were able to go inside with their family and kneel and prayer for their dog’s safe arrival home. We then had a short lesson on prayer and were grateful for the opportunity that we had to see their family. Their dog came home a few short hours later :) so then we were able to meet with them a few days later. Sister Barrett and I had prayed about a baptismal date for Collin and Emma to prepare for. Their family has been working hard to get back to church and we knew that working towards a date would help all of their family. After and awesome lesson on prayer and scripture study and how we can receive revelations (which was super perfect we were able to pray for Charlie to come back just a few days before!) we knelt in prayer with their whole family and prayed for confirmation that Collin and Emma should prepare to be baptized on February 9th. The peace that came into the room was so strong!! When the prayer was over the entire family was grinning!! We are so excited to help Collin and Emma prepare for their baptism!!!

So even though we have had a pretty crazy week and a half or so, Heavenly Father has blessed us with so many miracles!!! And being a missionary, I get a front row seat to the greatest miracle of all, I get to see the effect of the Atonement of Jesus Christ on individuals and on families.

Oh and my new companion is awesome!! Her name is Sister Barrett! She is from Hyrum, Utah. She has been out for about 10 months (so she came out 2 transfers before I did). We are so excited to work so hard together in Carmel and she is pretty fun too!!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas with Strangers

What an exciting week!! I was so glad that I had the opportunity to call home (well skype!) It was so exciting to get to see and talk to everyone! Our week did not go exactly as we planned it (when does it ever?) It was harder to see some people and easier to see others, but with the hand of the Lord in everything, we had a miraculous week and even got 5 new investigators!!

Before I tell you all about them, I have to tell you about our Christmas Dinner......
So before I got to Carmel, the sisters were filling up their tires one evening at the gas station. They couldn't get it to work, but a nice man came up and helped them. He introduced himself (his name is Jeff F.). His wife is a neurologist and he is a real-estate person and they own a couple other small businesses in the area. Oh-- and he has 9 daughters. Anyway, by the time he finished filling up the tires for the sisters he found out that they were Mormons, said he loved Mormons and invited them over for Christmas Dinner.  So, Sister Pitcher and I in December tried a couple of times to get a hold of him, but never seemed to be able to. Then on the 23rd, we ran into a member from another ward at Walmart who said he heard we were going to Jeff’s home for Christmas Dinner! To make a long story short, we were finally able to get a hold of the their family and we attended their large open house- Christmas dinner! We were able to talk to so many people there, it was amazing!!! And all of them talked about how much they loved Mormons :) I think the best part was when we walked in Jeff said to us "Hey girls!! I am so glad that you could make it! You know what, I was thinking, I should be a Mormon!" President Cleveland is going to invite him to take the discussion in his home. I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!!

So now a little bit more about some of our new investigators... Funny they are all "older" people. 
Lester and Sue- A cute older couple who we met when we helped decorate a cemetery for Christmas. They let us right in and talked and talked and talked to us.... mostly about their dogs and neighbors. When we asked them if they were interested in learning more about the restored gospel and the plan of salvation, they said of course!
Brenda- An older lady who lives by herself. She says she will never change, but owns a quad and wants us to teach her more about the Book of Mormon and how to get answers to prayer.
Ronnita- An older lady who is taking care of her less active mother who has dementia. Pretty sure she told us her whole life story. She says she would like to learn more about the church and possibly be baptized, but she is currently Islamic!

I am staying in Carmel, but sister Pitcher is not, so Wednesday I will get a new companion!! Oh and I had a cold this week too :) hahah We are moving down the street, but they haven’t told us the address yet, so if anyone wants to send mail this week, send it to the mission home and next week I will share with you my new address :)

So I guess summary of this week: It was amazing to see the hand of the Lord in our lives. He is ALWAYS with us!! Sometimes I forget that His plan is better then my plan. The more I recognize Him and the more I learn to rely on Him the more He is a part of my life! He Live and LOVES us!!!
I love you all and here are a few pictures :) <3 Sarah