Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bye Bye Carmel

Sadly it is that time again... transfers.....and now I have to say goodbye to Carmel. It is going to be hard. I have learned so much here. I have had the opportunity to see so many people grow closer to Jesus Christ. Thank goodness it is the same work everywhere and I know I will be in for another fantastic adventure! But, I sure will miss Carmel, especially the ward and all of the members!!

This week it was fun to meet with Cory and Riannah post baptism and hear how much they loved it! We spent a lot of time talking with them about the gift of the Holy Ghost. Cory said that now with the Gift of the Holy Ghost that it is easier to say his prayers and Riannah said that she notices that she is nicer to her friends at school and has a better attitude. It is sweet to hear the simple testimonies and direct application of the blessings of receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Brother P came to church this week!! It was fantastic to see him there!! The first thing that the Bishop did (since he does his job oh so very well!) was to pull him into his office and give him a calling!! So now he is serving in the Young Men’s and is the assistant for the teachers quorum. As unenthusiastic as he pretended to be, we know he is totally excited! He loves those boys already! We pushed their baptism back to mid April so that Colin and Emma will be able to be baptized by their dad! It is so important that they make this step (this HUGE STEP) of coming back to church and reactivating as a family. Their ultimate goal is to be able to attend the temple together. When we first started meeting with them when I first came into the area, the spirit was not  abundant in their home. As they have made the changes that prepared them to come back to church, like reading the scriptures daily and praying as a family the spirit is now strong in their home. I am sad to leave because I love them! But I know that whoever teaches them next will be perfect for them! They are bound and determined and their family is moving in the right direction!

We were also able to meet with the Muttie and Sue this week! They have both had quite a few health complications... I mean they both are 80 years old... so not surprising. The Elders were able to give them both blessings of healing. It was super sweet to hear in their blessings just how much Heavenly Father loves both of them. They will be baptized pretty soon :) some of my favorite quotes from Muttie are
"Hello! Its my favorite girls!" (as he opens the door for us)
"I was praying so hard for those Elders the whole time. That the blessing would work."
"Bless her heart...."
"My wife Sue here doesn't know how good she is or just how much God loves her, but He sure does!"
As we are trying to shake his hand to walk out "Come on you can do better than that!"... then pulls us in for a hug. Had to get special permission from President Cleveland  o hug him after this happened 4 or 5 times in a row...... hahah

The converting power of the gospel is so real! The change that I have had the opportunity to see in individuals in Carmel is fantastic! The work here is amazing! We were able to see much success because of the members. Because of their love! They invited their friends to learn more and welcomed new and returning members with open arms. They understood and exemplified charity. They understand that it is through Christ that we are each made stronger and that we need each other in order to do so! I love Carmel so much and will miss it a lot, but I am excited for my next adventure!

Sarah <3

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Our  dear sweet Cory and Riannah were baptized this week!!! ("Bapfatized is how Riannah says it:) The baptism was a little bit well, we are just glad that it actually happened! There were a lot of nerves and a lot of prayers involved. When we met with Cory and Riannah on Friday night, we were going over some of the logistics of the baptism and Cory announced that he no longer wanted to get baptized (yikes!) He just wanted to wait until he was about 20 or something so that he could wash away more of his sins. SO in a panic, we re taught baptism and confirmation and went over the blessings of being a member of the church. Turns out that he was just really nervous to be baptized in front of a lot of people (but talk about a good way to give the missionaries a heart attack!!). So the next day at the baptism we a running around a little bit like crazy people trying to make sure that everything is ready and good to go! Riannah puts on her jumpsuit and has a MELT DOWN. It was crazy! She was so excited until she put the jumpsuit on... then it was all downhill from there. Apparently the white jumpsuit that makes you look kind of like a marshmallow was not what she wanted to be wearing. I don't think she even smiled in any of the pictures that we took. At this point, Sister Barrett and I are basically panicking. I am just praying so hard that they do not let their nerves overcome them and keep them from making this sacred covenant. Turns out everything went well :) and they both decided to smile for us post baptism! BUT... it doesn’t end here. They were late to church on Sunday. The opening song starts and Sister Barrett and I run out of the chapel to call them and make sure that they are still coming to church!! They pulled up right as the opening prayer ended. We walked in and sat down with their family (their two older brothers came to see the confirmation..... they are next ;) Just as they sat down, they were called to go up to the front of the chapel to be confirmed. Talk about perfect timing!!!! Cory is now working on preparing to receive the priesthood. The change that has taken place in this 8 year old and 12 year old is amazing!! Before we met with Cory he had never prayed before and now in just a couple of weeks he will hold the priesthood!!!

I am sure that none of you really care all that much about the numbers in my area. But this week was the first week that we met the standard of excellence in its entirety! Actually we exceeded it in every standard :D We were so blessed! I would love to take the credit and say that it was my mad planning skills ;) But I know that it was Heavenly Father, he helped us be where we needed to be when we needed to be there!! We were able to have 12 member present lessons, 3 investigators at church (our prime two were no longer investigating at church.. so this really was a miracle!), 4 with a baptismal date, 5 new investigators and 29 total lessons!!! And we also had time to serve some of our investigators too. Talk about a fantastic week!!!!!!!! Oh and 2 baptisms and confirmations to top it all off :) Can I say I LOVE CARMEL!!!!

Colin and Emma are doing fantastic! They have a date now!! And came to church again (3 Sundays in a row!) They will be baptized on March 29th. Their mom gave us a call yesterday because she just wanted to express how grateful she was for all of the changes that she has seen in her family. Emma went to bed with a slight fever, and she said that on normal circumstances that she would have called off church the night before. She said that that thought to not go to church didn't even cross her mind! Instead she asked us to pray for Emma and that if she still wasn’t feeling well that they would just sit in the back for sacrament meeting and go home after (which is not the family that I met at all before!) Emma felt fantastic in the morning and they were able to attend all of the meetings :) The spirit in their home now is strong. They said that their

next goal is to go to the temple as a family :)

On Sunday, the E family brought their friend with them to church. Her name is Tealeigh. She is 18 years old and hasn’t been to a church since she was 11. She came a couple of weeks ago and we talked with her a little and set up a time to meet but she canceled when she got sick. We were happy and a little surprised to see her at church again! During Sunday school she leaned over and whispered to me that she felt really impressed that she should be baptized! We met with her after church and she now has a date for April 26th! Again another miracle from a member :)

This week was fantastic to say the least :)

Love <3 Sarah

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Frosties and Mismatched Shoes

AHHHHH!!!!!  This week started out kinda of dumpy. Everything was falling through and we had no idea where the Lord wanted us to be and what we needed to be doing. On Wednesday after EVERY LAST appointment had fallen through, including our dinner appointment, Sister Barrett and I decided to take a dinner break, but we didn’t have enough miles to go all of the way home, so we stopped at a Wendy's at the area we were working in. Neither of us ordered Frosty's, because we decided that a Frosty was not going to solve either of our problems,...... though it would be pretty delish! So we sat down and started eating, trying to redo our plans for the evening, trying to figure out how on earth we were going to meet our goals and how on earth we could be effective, given our limited time and miles. So to paint the picture for you..... it’s cold and we are tired (probably have some sweet missionary bags going seeing as most of the day’s makeup was washed off) and we are whining to each other as we eat our french fries. Yes, I know, pretty pitiful. THEN, the Wendy's worker comes out with not one but TWO FROSTIES........ FREE FROSTIES...... Heavenly Father sure was aware of our needs ;) Turns out she was a member and they had to empty the chocolate frosty machine and switch it to vanilla (which is just wrong....) and she decided who better to give the Frosties than the sister missionaries! We were really excited, ate our Frosties while we read a couple of verses from the scriptures and then changed our attitude and the rest of our week was fantastic!!

This week was a miracle week as far as church attendance. We had 7 investigators and 2 less active members at church on Sunday!!!!! It was CRAZY! And so fantastic!!! Sister Barrett and I were running around like crazy trying to help everyone find their classes. We were a little late to Gospel Principles.. which was really a bummer because we were teaching the class! Ahh oh well, at least everyone got to their classes safely :)

There was only a little drama in getting everyone to their classes...
Riannah, in the rush that she had to get to church came wearing two different shoes. After sacrament meeting she hid in the coat closet with her Grandma because she was too embarrased. She said that there was no way that she could go to class with two different shoes on! Sister Barrett was talking to her and told her that no one would even notice. Of course, I had no idea this conversation had just occurred, because I was helping Cory find his class just down the hall. So I walk up and I say "Riannah, how come you have on two different shoes! You are so silly!" Ugggh.. of course her non-matching shoes just had to be the first thing that I noticed. Turns out that one of her shoes was exactly the same as my shoes. So I kindly offered her my shoe to wear so she could wear matching shoes to class. I wore her other shoe !! Haha I only got a few stares for funny non-matching shoes and on the bright side it was only about a size to small :) And Riannah really enjoyed primary :)

Muttie and Sue also came to church this week!! We think they were a little overwhemled because it was so different from what they were used too, but they even participated in class!! It was fantastic. They stayed for all 3 hours of church as well, but then again, that is the beauty of giving investigators a ride to church--  they can't leave without a ride ;)

Colin and Emma also came to church this week AGAIN!!!!!!! And they also stayed for all 3 hours! It was fantastic!! Tonight we are going to extend a baptismal date to them! Sister Barrett and I are so excited! We have taught them almost everything (Pretty sure the only thing we haven’t taught is the law of chastity and tithing.....) so we are thinking that their date will be about 3 weeks away-- gotta make church attendance a habit ;)

A few more things about my week..... but in a list so this email doesn’t get too crazy long:
1. We taught Cory and Riannah the Law of Chastity. It was only a little awkward! hehe.. Mormon Channel has some great videos that made it a whole lot easier!
2. Cory and Riannah PASSED THEIR BAPTISMAL INTERVIEW!!!!! It was so exciting!! After Riannah’s interview, she asked Elder Craven (side note--my District Leader from the MTC who is totally my District Leader now!) if he would baptize her!!
3. Sister Clerviox fed us delicious Hatian food! In the rice that she made, she used exactly 1 habanero to season it, which my companion dished onto my plate... the way it was cooked it looked like a yummmy cooked cherry tomato, so I popped the entire thing into my mouth, took a bite and started to cry. IT was SO SPICY.. and embarrasing. Pretty sure about half my taste buds are still missing... oh well :)
4. All of my texting in High School paid off :) As part of our Zone Training, we were asked to train on effective phone usage. Know that I didn’t do all that texting for nothing ;)

I am so excited for Cory and Riannah's baptism this weekend! It is amazing to see how the ward has welcomed them and how they are a part of everything! It has been amazing to see their testimony of the Savior grow and their love for the Gospel. It is going to be a fantastic week!!

Love you all so much! Thank you for all of your prayers :) They mean so much!
<3 Sarah

I took a nap and my companion made brownies as thank you's turns out it you add marshmallows to make them gooier they just butn before they get done. :(

Me and the mismatched shoes-- That's what I get for noticing everyone's shoes all  of the time.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Many are called but few are FROZEN!

Church was almost canceled.... AGAIN!!!! But,  thankfully we toughed it out even in the "snow-storm". What a blessing, especially since it was fast and testimony meeting and COLLIN AND EMMA CAME TO CHURCH!!!!!!!!! It was so good to see the P family there! They haven't been to church in almost 2 years now. We have been working with them since I have been in Carmel, so almost 4 months now and they have said that they wanted to come to church for a while, but a member of the ward reaching out to them is what made the difference:

Her name is Elsa. She is a good friend of Emma's. They met a few years ago (I think they had the same 2nd grade teacher) Elsa found out that Emma was not active and invited her church. Her family would pick Emma up and for a few months Emma returned to church. A couple of weeks ago we had the opportunity to go into their family’s home for dinner. We were talking about the stake goals focused on missionary work, and in particular the one about extending a gospel invitation monthly. At the end of our short lesson we were helping brainstorm what kind of invitations their family could extend. Elsa decided that she would like to start inviting Emma again to activities, especially after she heard how badly she wanted to come back to church! So that is exactly what Elsa did! This week she invited Emma to activity day and gave her a ride. Sister P came to the church to pick Emma up. And this is where the story gets good. Sister P was welcomed with open arms. All of the members said hello and described how glad they were to see her there!! Sister P said when she got home that night that she now knew without a doubt that the church was where her family needed to be. She described how good it felt just to be back in the building and how she was determined that her family WOULD be at church on Sunday!!!! And that is exactly what happened--all because Elsa invited Emma to activity days. I am so grateful for her example of member missionary work and her true friendship. A 10 year old’s invitation is what made the difference in an entire family!!

This week we also had Zone Conference as well as Missionary Leadership Council. Two full days of meetings as well as an exchange seem like they might be enough to do you in for the week!! Again, Sister Barrett and I were so incredibly blessed and met nearly all of our goals this week!!!

Our mission has a new "official" baptism goal for the year. It is 1 baptism per zone per week!!! Seems easy right? We are so excited to have such a specific goal to work towards! If we are successful this will mean over 600 hundred baptisms this year in our mission!!!!!!!!!! (CRAZY!!!) Then again, the work is hastening!

The success that I have seen on my mission and the success that I have been able to be a part of is all due to the members. It is due to their willingness to come with us to lessons, their willingness to serve with us! Their willingness to welcome investigators with open arms and show their love and their care for them! This truly is a member led work and I am so grateful to be serving in an area where the members are so excited about missionary work!!

Thank you for your continued love and support! I am so grateful for all of your prayers and your letters....  I certainly wouldn't say no to more ;)

Sarah <3