Thursday, December 11, 2014

It's really here..

So this is my last e-mail. I really didn't think it would be this depressing. I've been staring at the screen for a while now and not quite sure what to write. Some of you I'll be seeing in a couple days. It's a really different feeling that I can't really put into words.

Anyways, lots of really fun and excitingness happened over the weekend. I got a call last Monday from the Sisters serving in my last ward and they gave me some really exciting news! Charlie had just received the Melchizedek Priesthood and would be baptizing AND confirming Ella that Saturday! I was super excited. For those who haven't heard about Charlie, he truly is one of my favorite converts from my mission (well.. their all my favorite but Charlie especially). Seeing him baptize and confirm his daughter was truly one of most special moments on my mission.

I didn't have the chance to talk with them after because we had another baptism to run off to. Who's? Sam's of course:) Oh, guess what..

SAM GOT BAPTIZED! I forgot to mention that part. I'll say it again for good measure. SAM GOT BAPTIZED!   It was really amazing to see the change in him before and after. Love it!

Sorry I don't have much to say right now. I actually have a lot that I don't really know how to put it all in words but I'll give it a try. Just thinking about how much has happened over the past 18 months is weird. Still trying to comprehend that it's only been that long or that short of a time. Really hard to do. The things I've learned will leave me forever changes. Mostly, the surety that I've come to know that the Savior knows us and our trials. I got an e-mail from Sister Metcalf and she wrote something that really impacted me:
"It depends on the hands"

 A Basketball in my hands is worth about $20.99, a basketball in the hands of Lebron James is worth 19 million per year.  It depends on whose hands its in.
A tennis racket in my hands is worth about $17.99.,a tennis racket in the hands of Serena Williams is worth about 20 million per year.  It depends on whose hands its in.
A baseball in my hands is worth about $3.00, a base baseball in the hands of Derek Jeter is worth about 35 million per year.  It depends on whose hands its in.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands would make a few fish sandwiches.  Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in the Saviors hands will feed 5000 people until they are full, and still leave 12 baskets left over.  It depends on whose hands they are in.
Some nails in my hands are worth about 5 cents.  Some nails in the Saviors hands will provide Eternal Salvation for each person who has ever lived on this Earth, and all of Heavenly Fathers' children.
It depends on whose hands they're in.  When we put our lives in the hands of the Savior we can achieve infinitely more than we ever could on our won.  It depends on whose Hands they're in.

Such an inspiring concept. I love it and it's so true. Just turn everything over to the Savior and it'll work out.

Love you all and I'll talk to you later!

The church is true! The book is blue! And Moroni's on the ball!

(i love my job)

1.  Fluffy Sam!
2. Charlie and Ella:)
3. Smiling Sam!
4. Hull Family
5. My Obituary... sad day..
6. What happens when we have no appointments

Monday, December 1, 2014

T-minus 12 days! (not that my mom isn't counting or anythings)

So this basically is my last real P-Day. Yikes! Next weeks p-day will be on Thursday since it's a temple transfer meaning our p-day is moved to that day, as well. District Temple Trip on Thursday, Departing Missionary Temple Trip on Friday and then flying home Saturday. Crazy to think how fast time has gone.. So I won't be able to e-mail again until next Thursday.

Anyways, Week numero four has bee interesting.

Monday we went to this super legit clock shop. A pin in my watch snapped. Super sad... Zone Leaders to the rescue! When we were all serving out in Paramount together, they found someone who would fix missionaries watches for free! So instead of buying a completely new watch, we just went over to their shop out on Vista Ave and had it fixed super quick. Then we celebrated at the best empanada restaurant in Boise:) Tangos!!

Tuesday was super busy again with back to back appointments all day. The highlight would be beating VJ again at chess. Everyone in that place is super happy that I am able to beat him because I guess he goes around bragging how good he is. We'll see what happens tomorrow. 
Our day was basically shot on Wednesday. We had District Meeting and a special Zone Meeting on the Christmas Initiative: He Is The Gift. Check it out and share it! The church is putting a lot into this campaign.
 Wednesday we also had a baptism in one of my last areas. Elizabeth Croft was supposed to be baptized in April when I was still in Boise South. Things came up with her husband (who is in prison) and it had to be pushed back but it finally happened. Before the baptism, I was standing in the doorway of the Relief Society room waiting to talk to her. She was talking to another Elder who had taught her, glanced in my direction, turned back to talk to the Elder and froze. She looked back at me and ran over. It was a pretty sad sight but we were both bawling as we hugged each other. We had grown really close. We had our weekly scheduled appointments but stopped by randomly through out the week. She always called us her angels because when we would show up unannounced, she usually had something happen that made her question or just ruined her day. Truly the best feeling is when you know you have answered somebody's prayers and we did for her a lot with out knowing. Love her and she is going to do amazing things!

THANKSGIVING THURSDAY! All I can say is this day involved a lot of food, a lot of laughs and a lot of just crazy times. I love this ward so much!

Friday and Saturday we started to get the  He Is The Gift message out there. We've gotten into a surprising amount of house since we started showing it. The amazing thing about Boise is that it is a very Christian based city. We probably have 4 or 5 different churches just in our 3 square mile ward so people LOVE to talk about Jesus. The common belief though is that they are "spiritual" but not religious. They can talk about their love of Christ forever but if you try to introduce something new.. forget about it. It's frustrating sometimes but that's why this initiative is perfect. It's not directed at one particular group but anyone who believes in Christ.

Sunday we had another amazing lesson with Sam. Last Tuesday we tried to set a date with him for December 6th and he said he would think about it. We know that he's received his answer because he doesn't say he's trying to "process it all" anymore but that he wants to make sure that it's what he wants. We met with him last night and tried to help him with his biggest concerns: modern day prophets. It went really good, as it usually does with him. Talks and lessons at church were perfect for him. We had Sister Moore teach the 5th Sunday lesson and she told her conversion story. She is the daughter of a Nazarene Minister and knew her purpose and Bible backwards and forwards. She started to meet with the missionaries after she left for college and loved every one of their 3 hour lessons. She got the pamphlets before had and found scriptures to combat what we believed. It came down to she believe one thing and they believed another. As she got into more of her bible classes at college, instead of clearing things up more they just got more confusing. She eventually lost her faith for a while. Then she met a friend who was LDS and after a few gospel conversations she found her faith again and left for a mission in China - A Nazarene Mission. She said it was funny because when she arrived in China all she wanted to do is read her Book of Mormon. When she came home that was the first thing she did. After meeting with the missionaries again she knew it was true. Next came the hardest step: telling her parents. When she did her mom left the room crying and she sat in silence with her day. Sister Moore said all she wanted to do at that moment is to forget it all. To forget all the lessons she learned. The experiences she had. Just when she thought of that an inexpressable joy welled up insider her because of the truth she knew about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. She never looked back on that choice. Ten years later she is still here and giving Sam exactly what he needs.  He is so close. Sister Moore shared the ways she knew the gospel was true. The joy and peace she feels at church or reading or praying. This is how Sam feels. The only difference, Sam said, was he hadn't had that "Wam, bam, yes ma'am" feeling of joy that it's true. Explaining to him that the feeling she had happened to her after she was fully committed to joining the church, we asked him if he would commit to that. Pause. We asked him if he wanted to push the date later (we didn't want him to feel that we just wanted to get him dunked before I leave in the next 2 weeks). He paused for a moment before saying, "Give me another day to think about it." We're meeting with him again tonight and he will let us know what his decision is. He so knows it's true.

Anyways, that's my week! Off to shop and then playing Dart Wars with our District!
This next two weeks are going to be crazy! See you all at home real soon!

1. My comp bought milk last week that expires the same moment I do!
2. Elizabeth Crofts baptism!
3. Crazy crocheting skills.. I'm jealous.
4. Crazy tree house!
5. Full double rainbow yesterday.
6. As we walked out of our house today we realized it was snowing.. again..
7. Another Boise sunset:)

(i love my job)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Patience is a virtue.. and I don't have it apparently..(November 24)

So much to share and so little time. Not really much to share this week actually.

We had an amazing lesson last night with Sam. He is so close. He is a very logical thinker and is stuck on the idea that he doesn't know "everything" so he can't be baptized, yet. We decided to drop to the basics and ask him the Baptismal Interview questions. If he was to go through that process right now, he would sooo pass (not that there is any real way you could fail). We explained this to him. He can't quite see that the reason that, at this point, he is the happiest he's been in his life entire life is BECAUSE of the gospel. He said he loved going to church each week, feels relaxed and calm when he's reading the scriptures and he even feels relaxed and at peace when he's over at the Hull's home where we teach each week-- and they have 7 kids under the age of 16! Not the most quiet/calm/peaceful place that you would expect. Brother Hull testified to him that it was because of the spirit that comes with being a member of the church. Sam asked how the Holy Ghost can testify to him of the truthfulness of the gospel when he hasn't yet received the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was amazing how quickly my scriptures opened up to Moroni 7:16, "For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God." Every person here on the earth today is given a part of the Spirit of Christ. Else, how could they recognize his true church. But emphasizing that last phrase, that we "may know with a PERFECT KNOWLEDGE it is of God." God had given him the opportunity to KNOW, not just act on faith, that these things are true. Not guess or just rely on faith but actually logically KNOW. We can KNOW the things God has in store for us. The spirit was so strong as we invited him again to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone who holds the priesthood authority of God. Everyone in the room, even the 7 little kids, were silent as we watched the spirit work on Sam. He finally broke the silence by saying he would love to say yes but not knowing everything and his logical mind says not yet. He wants to but he's still figuring things out. The scripture in 1 Nephi 3:7 was brought up by someone, don't remember who, that if God wants us to do something he WILL prepare a way that is would be done. He's praying about December 6th as his date right now so he's hoping! He's so close..

Anyways, the rest of my week leading up to the lesson wasn't that intense..

Monday we went up to Idaho City with Sister Broberg and Metcalf and Sister Sharp from our ward. Just a super fun day but we got stuck in traffic on the way back down for 2 1/2 hours.. not so fun.

Tuesday I FINALLY beat VJ at chess! Wooooh!  And the Lord tried to teach me patience.

Wednesday the Lord REALLY tried to teach me patience.

Thursday the Lord still was working on the patience with me..

Friday the Lord tried to teach me patience again.. I don't know if it worked or not. 

Saturday and Sunday were good. Just a lot of finding between the learning patience and everything. (I was really sick so it was hard to do nothing when there's not much longer left for me to be out here. Patience was something I was meant to learn this week) We did manage to find 2 solid new investigators, Jared and Jon, so that's always a blessing.

It's been a pretty chill week- for once. This next week is a completely different story. We have pretty much back to back appointments every day except on Thursday and Saturday. It's going to be a really good week :)

Love you all and happy Thanksgiving!

1. Do you want to build a snow man:)
2. Troubling times
3-5. Fun with Icicles
6. IC Catholic Church
7. Sasparilla Ice Cream Parlor
8. Sister B with a REALLY big Icicle
9. 4 of 7 Hulls
10. Sam in our lesson.. jk he sleeps all day so Sundays are rough for him and he sleeps all the way from after church clear up until dinner.

(i love my job)

Monday, November 17, 2014

My Week in Pictures A.K.A Sledding with our car and Milano Suits

Lots of pictures and miracles happened this week so I'll try to get them all in.

You all have read my e-mails enough to know that we have a lot of fun out her in the IBM. This past week is no exception. Monday we hiked up to Table Rock for our zone activity. Most of our Zone didn't show up. Three other companionships showed up with us. It was still a lot of fun as we "ran around the hillside like little kids" (quote from Sam after we told him about our day).

Monday also marked the start of the MASTER FINDER COMPETITION!!!!!!! (and yes it was necessary that I needed to put that in different font/size and have seven exclamation points). Some may remember last year the game we played my second transfer. I was training a new missionary while I was training myself and we committed to show the Elders the Sister Power! In the end we totally trashed the Elders in our district. Not joking. Anyways, Elder Hook played this game last time so he's determined to beat me.. we shall see..

Tuesday was fun. We decided to start down this street in a neighborhood nicked name Felony Ridge. First door- No body was home. On our wat to the second one we hear this huge clang noise. Sister Bottomley paused but we both walked up the drive way and this guy walked out of the garage. We started talking to him and he told us the noise was a project he was working on (still don't know what it is..). His name was Brandon. Visiting his mom for a couple weeks trying help her out. We talk about his hunting/fishing guide business and then the conversation moves to religion as always. Basically it comes down to the fact that he's agnostic and doesn't feel the need to change right now BUT he would like us to come back to teach him. BOOM! We set up an appointment for Thursday. 

Something we do on Tuesdays is volunteer at a retirement home. We play games usually but I've picked up playing chess with one of the residence, BJ. He's good.. I plan on beating him sometime in the next 4 weeks before I leave. BJ says I'm one of the best he's played against but just not good enough to beat him. He's kind of sassy for an old man. The Elders we go with also found a new friend running around the facility.

Wednesday, I cause quite a ruckus in our District meeting.. It was pretty bad haha. Elder Hook got on a table and started to preach to our District, Elder Avery was tossing media at him, Elder Bodine is in the back corner yelling and who knows what Elder Xoumphonphackdy, Thatcher and Sister Bottomley were doing. Elder Merrill is behind me in the picture just watching waiting to baptize people. It was pretty awesome. Needless to say, I probably won't be doing a skill check for the rest of my mission but  we did end on a spirit packed note. (They were acting out Samuel the Lamanite preaching to the Nephites. It was pretty great)

Back to Brandon. For our return appointment, we brought one of their neighbors with us. She had to go somewhere so we were just going to introduce them and hope Brandon's mom was going to be home. We knock on the door and his mom answers the door and tells us that he's not home. Making the best of an appointment that just fell through we start talking to his mom and you could tell she was having a really rough day. A thought came to mind but I shrugged it off. Then it came again and so I asked her if she wanted a hug. It was perfect and she really just needed it. The member had to leave but we asked if we could come in to talk a while. Ended up teaching her the first lesson and making a return appointment which turned out amazing as well. Brandon still wasn't there but she said that they read the beginning of the Book of Mormon together and really enjoyed it. 

Thursday and Friday we had record breaking snow fall. We  still have about a foot of snow left and since we're technically in unincorporated Boise we don't get all the fancy snow plows out here. So there is about an inch of ice on all the roads. I've only ever been stuck in the snow once before and never have really slid on ice. Sister Bottomley and I invented a new game called Car Sledding. You never know you're doing it until you are driving and your car doesn't want to stear/slow down because of the ice. Most of the time we ended up in a snow bank on the side of the road. It's been fun.. Basically we're pros now at getting people unstuck in the snow and have helped other people to. Friday we went out and shoveled our neighbors driveways and found several potential investigators. Wooh! I lost my camera for a few days so I didn't get very many pictures of the snow until last night.

Saturday I had my very last exchange..Sad but I went with Sister Molbek who is from Denmark! She is amazing and I learned a lot from her. She's going to try to get into BYU so we can hang out when she finishes her mission. 

Sunday came the miracle of the Milano Suit. We were visiting with one of our Recent Convert families, The Zimmermans, and we got talking about how she wants her husband to be excited about the gospel again. The aren't a family of means so he usually goes in jeans or sweats which makes him feel super out of place.  We talked about one of our other investigators, Sam, who just rocks the jeans and a sweater look. Going and going she mentioned that she bought a suit for him at D. I. but it didn't fit him because he's a bigger guy. Sister Zimmerman got this look in her eye and asked us to pause while she went and got something. She comes out with this $350 Milano suit (original price tags still on) and asked if this would fit Sam.  Sister Bottomley and I looked at each other because it looked like it would fit him exactly. She made us take it with out giving her anything. Sister Zimmerman said that if it fit him that was all the thanks she would need. We were meeting with Sam later that night so it worked out great. After the lesson we told Sam to try it on to see if it fit. He disappeared for a minute and then came back out. We asked how they worked. He said it fit. We all made him try in on again to show us. It was a miracle! So amazing how it basically fell out of heaven just for Sam. He is so close and has recognized that he's slowly receiving his answer but doesn't know if he's ready yet. Working on it still but as of this morning he was on Ether 10 in the Book of Mormon and we're meeting with him tonight. When he does feel he's ready I know that the rest of the process will go super fast.

Anyways, we got to run. Idaho City here we come! Enjoy the pictures!

1. Master Finder Plaque that we've have for a year now. 
2. BJ and Chess
3. Moka and the Elders
4,5,6,7. Results of the snow. Icy roads, sideways icicles and the fact it's snowing on the inside of our car..
8. Sam in his new Milano Suit.

(i love my job)

Pictures from Table Rock Hike!!

Monday, November 10, 2014

"I thought you weren't supposed to get sick on a mission" Yeah I wish.

Another week already? Seriously? It is going by way to fast. It has been a looong, stressful week but I really feel like I was sitting at this computer yesterday. Weird. They say that after a year, time flies by. Try on the last transfer..

So I also realized that I never put in my e-mail what happened with transfers... awkward.. drum roll please! I'm still with Sister Bottomley! So, Sister Smith, I'm not in a trio since I'm staying the full transfer:)  Sister Bottomley will be "killing" me off. I also have Elder Merrill and Hook as my Zone Leaders. I can't get away from them! Now we just need Elders Cornell and Williams and we would have the Best Paramount District ever back. (Elder Merrill trained Elder Hook and they get along a little tooooo well sometimes).

Anyways, last Monday was awesome. Guess what we did! Nothing.. It was awesome! Finally caught up on most my letters.. most.. Never really had time to write being STL so I'm getting back to some of you who wrote me and I never wrote back. Sorry about that! Truly, we just e-mailed, shopped and went home. I think that's the first time in several months its happened. Amazing..

Tuesday was pretty great. We had an amazing meal that night with a family and they made the most amazing breakfast-for-dinner ever! Have you ever heard of pumpkin pie french toast? Neither did I! So good.. We went to a Relief Society Activity with some less actives after and about halfway through I lost all my energy. It was super weird but it was all I could do to keep going the rest of the night. On our way home, Sister Bottomley was telling me how they made our dinner that night (I was doing something during that conversation. Don't quite remember what. ) and she mentioned there was cream cheese in the eggs. What?! She paused because she had just remembered something very important.. I can't have dairy! So the next two days basically consisted of me being sick.. We still made it out to our set appointments but that's it..

Friday we had Zone meeting and, as I said before, having both Elder Merrill and Hook as my Zone Leaders has been fun. We were paired up with the other Amity Sisters to do a follow-up training. Thinking since we were giving the follow-up we thought we would be first so we planned this super fun activity to start off Zone Meeting but guess what? We were almost the very last.. We decided not to do the activity and just do the training. It was really good still but not as fun as we planned it on being. 

That night we went over to the Lloyd's (probably one of my favorite families in this ward). We were talking and I mentioned that I had gotten sick earlier that week. Their second youngest, Bryson, looked at me with shock! "I thought you weren't supposed to get sick on a mission! You're a missionary!" Yeah, I wish, kid. He has a brother on a mission who told him that they weren't allowed to get sick. It was just a super fun night at that house.

Saturday was Stake Conference. We had several investigators and less actives come to the adult session and the speakers were awesome! While most sat with fellow shippers we introduced, we sat with Sam. Our Mission President, nicked named "The Bubbly Guy" by Sam, came and spoke to a few of them after with us. Two of them are sooo close. They are just waiting for an answer they say. When they get it, they will both move super fast. Sam read all of Mosiah between the Adult Session Saturday night and the General Session Sunday Morning (His nights are our days and days are our nights. He works graveyard shifts.) He's also read most of the Gospel Principles book. He's trying to sort out 2 Nephi 31:14 vs. Mosiah 18:10. The "die versus double die factor" as he calls it. Just lots of prayers needed. The thing about Sam is he remembers EVERYTHING he reads. He's a computer programmer and it all works for him. So he remembers everything he reads but it takes time for him to process it all when it's not in code. We're meeting with him again tonight so we'll see how everything goes.

Lesson of the Week from Sister Lloyd: I love this woman. She is amazing in alot of what she does. Bryson was asking her question at the table like "Does God really care that we go to a specific church?" and similar to it. The way she taught is the way I've been striving to my entire mission. She basically helped him to answer his own question. The whole conversation came down to one phrase that has stuck in my mind, "God loves his children equally and has placed them where they will have the best opportunity to accept his invitation to come back home." It is an idea I've thought about my whole mission because if I wasn't born into the gospel, I probably would have never joined the church. I am so glad that I was placed where I was so I could not only have the best opportunity to accept his invitation to come home but now I'm having the chance to fulfill what I promised before and helping others to have the chance, as well. It's a beautiful idea really..

Anyways, love you all and talk to you next week!

1. Sunset driving home on Thursday
2. Sunset Saturday nigh (yes, that is totally a real, no edit sunset)
3. The sunrise when I was outside during personal study this morning. Love it!
4. Elder Stark after our Zone Meeting training on avoiding traps.. #fail
5. Planning our next move..
6. Walking down the Jone's driveway!

(i love my job)