Monday, April 28, 2014

Sunshine and spring

Spring is here!!!! It is true, this awful winter is officially over :) now that I said that, it will probably snow again. Though my pasty white- missionary, tight protected legs have been enjoying the sunshiney days.

Kay did not get baptized this weekend:( We actually dropped her date a couple of weeks ago :( Because of some mental heath issues we have had to drop her baptismal date.  It is disappointing, but we are striving to help her gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon and receive personal revelation from it. Though, I do have to keep reminding myself that this is Heavenly Father's time line we are on, not my own!

We got a new investigator this week who we actually committed to baptism on her doorstep!!!!! Her brother (who is a member that lives in Missouri) sent her a Nauvoo Pagent CD that missionaries dropped off a couple of months ago. The referral was never updated in the phone system, so a couple of weeks ago we had the referral sent back to us. So, we stopped by her home, like I said, a couple of weeks ago. She was really friendly, said she did receive the CD and that she enjoyed it. We invited her to learn more, but she said her husband who was bedridden was anti- religion, so learning more or even inviting us in would not be a good idea. She did ask for a "Mormon-bible". So we gladly gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and had about a 10 minute lesson on the background and the importance of the Book of Mormon that afternoon. She didn't really want us to come back, but we figured that we would check back in a couple of weeks.
Well, on Friday we received a call from the mission office. Her bother had called to ask to send missionaries again. Her husband was in the hospital, she was home sick from work that day. She had read some of the Book of Mormon and had a lot of questions. The request that he had was that we go see Doris that day!! Turns out we were actually in Fishers, IN at Mission Leadership Council, but we didn't have any solid evening plans- so that is was Doris became, our 8pm appointment.
When we got to her house, she was a little surprised to see us, but grateful. We got caught up with her, and figured out that she was on 1 Nephi 18 and that she wanted to meet with us, she wanted to learn more. And now that her husband was in the hospital, she was freed up a bit, because she didn't have to be home with him!! (This is where we committed her to baptism :)))) To make a long story short, at our lesson the next day we taught the beginning of the restoration and she picked her own baptism date- May 31st!! Her brother will be coming out to baptize her! She came to stake conference this weekend and really enjoyed it. We had a lesson with her yesterday in the Wilde's home (our ward mission leader!) and have another lesson with her tonight in one of our favorite family's home, the Olivers. She is so prepared!!! And she loves it, she is just absorbing all of it- I wish there was a Doris for every set of missionaries. I am so grateful for her brother's example and for his persistence in inviting her to learn more and in sending us over!! Everyone in our Ward has welcomed her with open arms- she says she loves the sense of belonging that she has- and that everything we taught her feels good that it feel familiar. She is just wonderful!!!!

 We have another exciting new investigator is Jeanine! She actually took the missionary discussions almost a year ago. Her ex-husband was a recent convert and wanted his whole family to join. Her son Bryant and her Mother in law Mary ended up joining, but she had some hurdles that were just too big at the time. Mary and Bryant have not been super active since that time. So originally we went to meet with Mary. Jeanine expressed that she feels like everyone joined to try to hold her family together, but then they fell away when her husband left them. We invited Jeanine to sit down with us and learn more again. When we came back she expressed her love for the Book of Mormon- basically bore her testimony to us about how she knows Heavenly Father loves her because of Joseph Smith and because of the Book of Mormon. So last night when we met with her again we were able to set a baptismal date with her! June 21st is the day! She says she knows it will be hard, but that she is ready to be done with cigarettes! I am so excited. I loved how even though she is hurt and almost a little offended because of everything that went down with her and her husband and the gospel, that she is willing to learn again and ready to make commitments to prepare to be baptized!

This week has been crazy and busy, but there have been so many miracles!! The Lord has prepared so many individuals to receive his gospel. I love the wonderful opportunity that I have to share this good message of great joy!! He is truly aware of our needs.

One more thing..... a quote from Elder L. Tom Perry "If they are within 5 feet of you, they have been prepared!!"

I love you and thank you for your continued support and prayers <3 Sarah

I know it is long awaited.. but meet Sister Bowen :)

Easter Fun

Everyday when we leave the apartment to go out to work for the day, Sister Bowen's declaration is "Adventure Time." That statement has proven true with MANY adventures this week. Nothing seems to turn out exactly as you expect it to! But it often times makes for some really good stories!! So here is a taste of the adventures this week :)

We started out by getting to play some basketball with Coach—I mean President Cleveland. It was actually a clinic! It was so much fun :) We started out with some cardio and warm ups and such and then did a bunch of drills. It was fun to shoot some hoops, but boy oh boy it’s been a while since I actually played. At the end he told me he was impressed... but I am pretty sure he was just being nice. Our entire zone was pretty sore the next day!

On Tuesday we had 4 hours of church tour training. Starting in June we are going to give church tours to investigators and offer them to people that we find and even take members’ friends on tours. We are supposed to practice everyday. It seems like it will be a really effective finding tool, that is, once we get good at it :)

Wednesday we had the Sister Specialized Training in Fishers. It was so much fun to see all of the Sisters!!! We had wonderful trainings in the morning on Christ and how we can depend on him. Actually, since this was a Sisters conference and Sister Cleveland was in charge, it had a theme (hehe). The theme was D.O.T.S., Depend on the Savior, so everything had polka dots. It was pretty cute. Then in the afternoon we learned more about stress and healthy eating (President must think we are a little chubby...... which for the most part is true:) and then we did this new work out theory called Tobata (I think it is similar to the principle of cross fit) and then we did Zumba. It was so much fun! There was one sister who dislocated her knee and tore her meniscus... which was really sad. But other then that no harm :)

This week we had a pretty funny lesson with one of our investigators, Web. Actually his real name isn't even Web, to be honest we have no idea what it is. We think that it might be Frank or Bill, but he asked us to call him Web, so we do. He is about 70 years old. He is very interested in Mormons because of the lifestyle that we live. He is very impressed that we don't drink or smoke and likes that we live by the Law of Chastity. We met him a couple of weeks ago and he said he wanted to learn more. He wanted to meet at a "neutral" location, so we met at Dairy Queen. Our intent was to teach the Restoration, but before we could even begin, he asked us why we think he should be Mormon and what is in it for him. We talked a lot about the Atonement and the Plan of Salvation-- the happiness that we gain from following God's commandments (intermingled with several stories from his life.... none of which were every relevant. hahah) We didn’t get very far but we left him with a restoration pamphlet and he asked if he could invite a few friends for when we meet again this week!!!! He also asked if at one point we would like to have a lesson with him on the Indy 500 track (because apparently he has connections!) Pretty exciting!

And then there was Easter!!!!! We had a wonderful sacrament meeting on Christ and his Atonement. We went to the Baldridge’s house for dinner, which was a blast! They live out on quite a bit of property, and every year they hide eggs all over (they are empty, but they hide 200+). We were asked, with the Elders, to participate this year. It was a race... we only had 10 minutes and we were suppose to get all of them off of several acres of land. We may or may not have broken into a sweat! But, is was a blast! And 50 some eggs later apiece, we were ready for cake :)

It always amazes me just how aware our Heavenly Father is aware of our needs individually. We are His children and He loves us and He knows us. He sent His son to show us the way, to set the perfect example of how we should live our life, in order to return to live with Him again. I am so grateful for the strength and the peace that I can gain from the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Nothing is impossible, no change is too big, through our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I hope you all have a fantastic week!!!

Sarah <3

Monday, April 14, 2014

Not forgotten this week and a funeral

There were quite a few adventures this week and many awkward moments. We did reach the standard of 20 lessons :) and found 5 new investigators and got to go to the  ‘Why I Believe” fireside  I even got to go on an exchange in Indy 1st... my first area :) I thought I would share just a few of the highlights!!

There is an older lady who has dementia whose children are members of the church. She was just placed in a nursing home not too far from our house. We like to go see her about once a week. Most of the time she doesn't remember us and we mostly just smile and tell her we love her. But this time was a little different! She saw us walk in and then she jumped up and ran over. She exclaimed, "I didn't know how I could get you two back!" She was so excited to see us and she remembered us!! When we told her that we had to go, I think she gave us both 3 kisses on the forehead and 5 or so hugs. She was worried we wouldn't come back again. Sister Schramm is so sweet! She kept petting Sister Bowen's face and telling her that she was beautiful (kinda awkward... ohwell). Sister Bowen and I left with big smiles on our faces. I am so grateful for all of Heavenly Father's children!

On Friday,  we went to a funeral viewing. Janet, one of our potential investigators' (her daughter is a less active member in a neighboring ward and the elders and sisters here in Franklin about a month ago helped her move in.) husband passed away. He had pretty bad cancer that spread before they could catch it. We had stopped by a few times to see them and see how their family was doing- since we knew that they were sick. We ended up getting a call the night her husband was dying from the hospital and we were able to teach a short plan of salvation lesson and the elders gave her husband a blessing. He passed away a few hours after that. Surprisingly, we were invited to the funeral and the viewing. It was sad to see how upset and almost distraught this family was about his death. I am so excited to teach this family more about the plan of salvation, and the hope that comes through our Savior, Jesus Christ, especially at this time of year when we celebrate the Atonement. Hopefully, we can get an appointment with them later this week!

One of our investigators, Kay, is working on quitting smoking! She set a date to be done with cigarettes, April 23rd. This week has a been a bumpy ride to say the least. She is very inspired to quit and motivated, but does not completely understand how to most effectively follow through with her goal. We spent a couple of lessons this week making specific plans. We are striving to help her recognize that the only way she can truly overcome this addiction is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We can change through the Atonement. In face that is what this gospel is all about, change. It is about becoming more like our Savior.

Here is a really wonderful video that the church put out for Easter this year! Enjoy!!

Have a fantastic Easter Week <3 Sarah

Sarah with a Young Single Adult friend

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

General Conference and Sunshine

General Conference was fantastic this weekend!!! It was so good to hear from the Prophet and from the apostles. I learned a lot and I cannot wait to read them and really study them! They seem to stick a little more when that happens :)

Kay even came to conference and she loved it!!! She said that she was so grateful that she got to hear the prophet speak. She said that she had never experienced anything quite like it before. She just did not understand why other churches didn't have anything like this and why others might not listen. We again taught her the importance of priesthood authority and that of a living prophet today. It is inspiring to see how important the Prophet is to her! She is still progressing towards her baptism on April 26th, we just have to help her overcome a few more hurdles this week.

This week was fantastic!!! I mean of course it had its down times -- appointments falling through, lots of rain which makes it hard to talk to people, etc....-- but over all it was a really good week!! We were able to find 4 new investigators and teach quite a few lessons!!! ( only 2 lessons shy of our 20 per week!!) This area has only been opened since last September and then there was the FREEZING winter.... which made it really hard to find new investigators, so this area is not thriving, but it is growing. I am so excited to see what happens to it! Especially with the rest of this transfer and the fantastic weather!!! It has been so nice this past week... even on the rainy days it was still pretty warm. A much needed spring seems to have finally made its appearance.

Something that I was reminded of this week from Preach My Gospel is the importance of inviting the Spirit into our lives, particularly when we teach. We are truly not the teachers... the Holy Ghost is! The Holy Ghost must testify of spiritual truths. The Spirit then helps us understand how we can individually apply these truths to our lives in order to more fully follow Christ in our lives and keep our covenants. Again, I was so grateful to listen to general conference this weekend! I was glad to learn (through their words and the Holy Ghost) how I can become a better missionary!

Thank you for your love and support!!

Sarah <3

Sarah and her companion Sister Bowen

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hello from Franklin

Hello from Franklin, Indiana!! I am downby the southern part of Indianapolis now :) It is super fun though, because Indy 1st is in my stewardship here, so that means I get to go on exchanges in my old area!! How exciting! I also get to go on exchanges in Columbus and in North Vernon. It should be a pretty exciting transfer!

My companion is Sister Bowen. We actually started our missions at the same time! So we have both been out just over 10 months. She is super sweet. She is 22.  She is from Nevada and went to BYU before her missionand has 1 semester left before she graduates as an English major. Again, I think we are in for a pretty exciting transfer!

Not a whole lot is going on in Franklin right now, which is kind of disappointing, but it is the newest Sister Trainer Leader Area and has only been open for just over 6 months. I am so grateful that it is warming up, which will be so good especially since we will probably spend quite a bit of time finding new investigators.

We do have one investigator that we were able to extend a baptismal date to yesterday! Her name is Kay. She turns 59 at the end of next month. She is super sweet, but has had a rough past. She just lost her husband about 6 months ago. She is quite a character though. She was able to make it to the Women's broadcast on Saturday night, which she loved and then she was also able to make it to church on Sunday. It was amazing to see the change in her. She was so happy to be able to come to church! She still has a lot of questions, but we were able to commit her to be baptized on April 26th last night. I love being able to teach individuals who are learning and growing in the gospel. She was so happy when we met with her after church yesterday. She almost seemed to have a glow about her when she talked about baptism. I know that this is what the gospel does for individuals. It brings us joy. It helps us better understand our Heavenly Father's love for us and helps us not only obtain joy in eternity, but experience true happiness in this life. Before she started meeting with the missionaries, she said that she was struggling with depression because or her loss.  There is hope!! And this hope comes through Christ. How grateful I am for the opportunity to share this message of hope and redemption!!!

All my love from FRANKLIN
<3 Sarah

Sarah and her last companion

Sarah and her new companion