week 32

Aug 23, 2016 by

We were able to FaceTime with Blythe during this week, which was clear back on Mother’s Day. And she sang to us with her ukulele and share her adorable self with us. It was so, so lovely to hear and see her!

This week has been great! I really like the new area!

It was awesome to FaceTime my family yesterday! It was kind of sad, because yesterday’s call was really short, but it was so fun to see you! I was super excited! It’s weird to think that I haven’t seen you in 7 1/2 months. It definitely doesn’t seem that long. I love you guys!

This week we had a surprise Luau for President and Sister Orgill, for their goodbye party :(. It was so awesome! We stood in a double line through the gym so they would walk between us, and people put leis on for them. We sang “Called to Serve.” Instead of just walking through though, they both went through the whole room and hugged each of us. There are at least 160+ missionaries, but they took time to come around to everyone. They are so wonderful! It just really showed how much they love us. Each zone did a song for them and gave a Mother’s Day card to Sister Orgill. It was super cute. At the end we sang “God Be With You till We Meet Again” and “Aloha O’e.” We were crying so much we could barely sing.

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Love you all!
Sister W.

And then in her personal letter to me, she gave me a gem!

If I didn’t have you as a mom, I would have chosen you as a friend.

Oh, my stinkin’ heck, I cried my eyes out when I read those precious words. Blythe and I have always been close, but we haven’t always gotten along. There were some days we didn’t like each other much at all. But we both stuck it out and kept trying to behave in loving ways to one another. And the love eventually won.

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week 31

Jun 20, 2016 by

I’M BEING TRANSFERRED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am in shock. I’ve only been here 2 transfers, and with Sister Shober for 1. They normally leave YSA missionaries in for like 6 months! I am so confused!

Anyway, Sarah is being baptized on Saturday and I will not be there for the last lessons! I’m super sad, but I will be able to come for her baptism. She is doing awesome! She finished the Book of Mormon and loved it! Bro. Greiner, the institute teacher is baptizing her and she is just stoked!!!! She’s starting the New Testament. She is AMAZING! And her family are being very supportive.

We taught Nina again this week, and it was awesome. We brought a member, who’s name is also Nina, who is convert from an Indian background. She shared her testimony and experience with Christ knowing her individual circumstances and how He has shown His hand in her life.
We’ve had a few awesome people fall into our laps this week, who are really prepared, but I will not be here to see it. So sad :(

I am sad to be transferred and am striving to live by these words this week from 1 Nephi 3:7.

I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them, that they may accomplish the things which He commandeth them.

Love you!!!
Sister W.

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week 30

Jun 20, 2016 by

Trying hard to catch up on these mission posts! My hand injury got me so far behind and I am just starting to get back on top of my life. Her never-ending use of the word “chill” cracks us all up…and now she is calling Gladys Knight “super chill!”

We just hit week 6 of this transfer! That is insane! Inconceivable! :)

This week was pretty weird. I was in my area the whole time, though, so that was good. We didn’t get a ton of lessons, but the ones we did get were really awesome! We met with Sarah and I finally got to meet the referral from the other elders for the YSA girl. She’s pretty awesome and we’re super excited to keep teaching her.

I have been trying really hard to love these people here. I don’t know why, but it has been way harder. In my last area it was so natural, and that’s never really been a struggle for me, but I’ve been feeling like my heart is closed lately and I couldn’t figure out why. My first transfer in this zone there were problems going on in the zone that I didn’t really know about, but I could just feel that it was not as unified as RSM. I was really feeling like an outsider, and I missed feeling like I had real friends here. And I was having a hard time loving both the members and investigators, which was so odd for me. I was praying about that the last few weeks, and finally just asked to be able to have the love He has for them, and the next lesson we had I just felt so much love for that person. The zone now is a lot better, and we are pretty much as close as RSM was, and I have felt a lot better about it. They really feel like my family now.

Also, something funny. At the Gladys Knight thing, we were standing in line, and I suddenly saw these two missionaries walking past, and it’s Michael Francis who I trained at the carwash!!! I was like “Elder Francis?!” and we freaked out a little. I was lucky I saw him first, because he was so shocked that he blurted out my first name! :) It was pretty funny! I think he got to come, since he is in the Orange YSA, and they cover Irvine, even though it’s out of their mission. Anyway, that was pretty hilarious!

Sister Shober was asked to play the piano for the elders in the YSA in sacrament meeting and then to sing a song there. She was also asked to play for a baptism service, and there are a few other songs she’s involved with coming up, so every spare moment we had this week were spent practicing. Sunday was even more crazy than usual, with the musical numbers for YSA, and right after church we had to run to the baptism, then right after that we met with the zone to practice another song. Crazy.

This week was good though. The Gladys Knight Devotional was awesome. She’s super chill and it was just so good. We’re still waiting to see the results, but people really liked it!

We got to go the temple on Friday. It was awesome, but crazy, because we went to the later Gladys Knight devotional, and didn’t get back to the apartment until 12:00. That was weird enough, being out that far past curfew! President Orgill knew, so it was fine :) But we had to get up and leave for the temple the next morning, and we were so tired! But it was awesome. I love being there!

Sister W.

Beautiful flower picture she took.

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Her zone at the temple…love seeing her happy and loving her mission!

Mission Temple Trip

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week 29

Jun 20, 2016 by

Oh my goodness, I have fallen so far off the blogging wagon, I don’t know if I can get back on, but I am going to try hard to get back into the swing of things. I have two months of Blythe’s letters to post, plus a gazillion stories from our lives to share, craziness! Goal for the week, get Blythe’s mission posts caught up!

This letter was only the second one we have received so far with sad news and hard times. She didn’t mention it in this letter, but also got really sick this week and spent hours puking on one of the days she wasn’t with her companion and that was super hard as well.

On Saturday I hit 7 months! Oh my HEAVENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This week was crazy and a bit rough. I have only spent 34 hours in my area, including sleeping, meal breaks, and weekly planning. I have only slept in my bed twice in seven days. Sisters’ Shober and Whimmer have had a ton of STL (Sister Training Leader) stuff and have had to meet up every day to plan for meetings we had and to go on exchanges with the other sisters, so I have spent pretty much every day with Sister Whimmer’s companion in their area.

It was a little sad because I missed being able to take Sarah to the temple grounds and didn’t get to teach our new golden investigator we got from the Los Alisos Elders, who already has a baptism date. She is dating the less active son of a bishop in the stake. They were able to have him at a lesson with the family and her – it was great. Sarah is doing awesome. I think she’s in 3 Nephi and loves it! She is learning so much, it’s seriously like teaching a member. She is recognizing the pride cycle for herself and talked about the eternal perspective she’s gained before we could even say it. She is amazing. I’m just glad to be able to be able to see her grow. She has such faith, and she talks about how all the temptations she used to have are just gone. She has no desire for them and they have no hold on her. She has truly given her heart to God.

By the end of the week I was feeling pretty beat. My spirit was just dragging, having not been able to be in my area, and not being able to do much real missionary work. On Saturday I got very low. I was so tired and I didn’t get to go back to my area until late that night. That night I was very discouraged and I sat on the floor of our room for a very long time after the lights were out. I had been really struggling getting up and going, especially since I was so discouraged. I prayed to God, asking Him to remove that exhaustion so that I could do what I needed to do. I didn’t have any crazy spiritual experience, but after I sat there for a long time and prayed, and I got back in bed, I felt the burdens ease, and I felt more able to continue. The next morning I was able to get up just fine, and felt better than I have for a long time.

This week promises to be awesome! We don’t have to go on exchanges, we get to go to the temple, and we’re having Gladys Knight and the Saints Unified Voices coming to the mission! For those who don’t know (’cause I sure didn’t) Gladys Knight, the singer, was baptized into the church several years back, and she has a choir, and they come to missions/stakes that invite them, and it is an incredible missionary tool. They will rock out, and it’s gonna be a little weird, because it’s in the stake center, but from what we hear, it is an incredibly spiritual experience. They carefully track every ticket and everyone who attends will receive a gift bag, with a Book of Mormon and Restoration video. There will be tons of self referrals and on average it will bring 24 new investigators to each companionship. It’s gonna be awesome!

Love you!
Sister W.

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week 28

Apr 12, 2016 by

Our missionary is teaching people how wonderful it is to know we are loved by God and saved by the atonement of Jesus Christ. Such JOY! I have been teaching about councils for the past several months in our Stake Primary training meetings and I am so happy she has started having a family council with the other sisters in her apartment.

I think this might be an activity with the Young Single Adult Ward she is serving in right now, but I’m not sure! It was posted on her Mission’s Facebook page.

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Her zone went on hike for P-Day. It looks like a heavenly way to get some exercise.

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Someone in her area had a group of missionaries over for dinner and sent us this picture along with this message, “We sure do love having Sister W. serving in our area. She gave a wonderful message tonight. I appreciate the spirit she brings into our home. And I love her sweet laugh. We laughed so much at dinner and her giggle is contagious. She is a doll.” Oh my goodness, it makes me so happy to hear good things about our girly! We love her so much and it touches my heart that other people are loving her, too!

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And now her letter…

Sarah, the really golden referral we got last week, is crazy awesome! SO much more golden than we could have even guessed. We have already taught her twice and she’s been to church and General Conference. We set a baptism date, and she was already having promptings from the spirit to move it up, and fasted about a closer date to be baptized! She falls asleep reading the Book of Mormon, and is nearing the end of Alma! YES, Alma! She has started The Doctrine and Covenants and we’re taking her on a temple tour on Wednesday! She loves the Book of Mormon! She keeps telling us all of these amazing experiences she has had. She can feel the Spirit so strong. She was talking about the eternal perspective it has given her and she is recognizing very clear promptings. She has already experienced the protection of the Holy Ghost. Someone she respects was bashing on religion, and she said before it would have affected her more, but she literally felt this barrier between her and this person, protecting her from the effect of their words. She is experiencing the power of Christ’s atonement so powerfully. Some decisions that have been really hard to make in the past have become so easy as she follows God. She feels His love for her. She has had many of the same questions as Joseph Smith, such as “If Christ taught one gospel, why are there so many Christian churches?” She’s really been looking. Her insights make it seem like we’re talking to a member who has had all this knowledge their whole life. She even talked about how this doesn’t feel like new information. We talked to her about how we lived with God before we came here, that we knew His plan of happiness for his children, and how we as missionaries are just reminding people of it. It is just incredible!

Also, our roommates and the two of us have implemented that talk from general conference on Family Councils. :) We have “Family” Council every Sunday, and we have chore chart, and we do a “Family” Home Evening sometime during the week with the lesson and activity. It’s super fun!

Love you!
Sister W.

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week 27

Apr 5, 2016 by

She is teaching and preaching and loving. These are such glorious, heart-filled days for our family as we have a missionary in the field. Every Monday we are checking our email hundreds of time a day waiting for her little bit of news to arrive. Every morning and night, before each meal, and many more times a day she is prayed over. We have a whole group of loved ones serving missions right now and we pray for them and rejoice with them as they learn to be His hands and to lift others with the hope that is in Christ.

Yippee! She finally uploaded pics to her dropbox account!

Inci must have brought them more Turkish Delight. She says it is scrumptious, just like Edmund says in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.

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This snake looks humongous. I need to know the story behind this picture!

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Her old zone with Sister Hollenbeck.

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I have no idea who these people are, but if our missionary loves them, I love them.

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I think she is sad at the packing she needs to get done.

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She must died from packing. She truly hates packing.

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Showing us she survived and is still smiling. Gotta love someone who can pack clean suitcases with clean clothes in clean house and survive. Nothing like first-world problems, haha!

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Isn’t this a darling statue?

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I have no idea what she is sewing or why or whose sewing machine she is using. She is fairly competent at sewing and super competent at figuring things out, so I’m sure she solved the challenge.

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With her just-transfered-out-of-their-companionship companion, Sister Christensen.

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We had some pretty awesome stuff happen this week! On Thursday Brother Greiner, who is one of the institute instructors for the YSA, called me into his office, and gave us an amazing referral. I guess there was a guy who used to go to institute and he has a friend named Sarah. He gave her a Book of Mormon and she read it. While she was reading in the account of Lehi’s dream, she had a very strong impression from the spirit that she needed to be baptized into this church. She called Brother Greiner and asked him what she should do. He was teaching mission prep that night, and invited her to come. She did and they read Mosiah 18:8-10; “…as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light… and comfort those who stand in need of comfort, and to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places… that ye may have eternal life…. what have ye against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him?” (Brother Greiner is very bold.) He asked her right there if this was the desire of her heart and if she was willing to bear others burdens and take upon her the name of Christ, and she said yes!
We were freaking out! She came and watched General Conference on Saturday! On Suday she wasn’t able to come to the house where we were watching it (with the YSA elders and a bunch of the YSA members), so she watched it on her computer. She said she loved it! We are meeting with her on Wednesday.

We also had wonderful lesson last night with a family. They have a niece who is a convert and is now going on a mission. Their daughter has been to Girls’ Camp with their niece. They said that if they were to be baptized they would want to commit to it fully, and really put forth the effort to gain a testimony, and pretty much be all in, and we were just like YES! That’s how it should be! We taught them the Restoration, and talked about modern prophets, and Thomas S. Monson, which was so cool, since we’d just been watching him speak. When we told them about the First Vision I felt the Spirit so strong. It was like my chest was filled with fire. And it didn’t leave for the rest of the lesson. I knew it was true. Even writing this brings a part of that feeling back into my heart.

I had a blessing from my zone leader several days ago. It was wonderful and one of the longest blessings I’ve had. It was all about how God was pleased with my efforts and that He was proud of me and was with me. At the end of the blessing he said that there were many ministering angels around me, seen and unseen, many of who were my ancestors. Then he said he was especially impressed to tell me that my grandma was with me, watching over me. It was
really cool.

Love you all,
Sister W.

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week 26

Mar 31, 2016 by

This week was Easter and I missed serving my girly Creamed Eggs and talking about the atonement and resurrection of Christ with her. We have always had the best, deep-discussions and I so miss hearing her passionate articulations. But I am tickled that she was able to share her deep thoughts and vibrant testimony of Jesus Christ with the people she is teaching in California. She STILL has not sent any more pictures to us, but on Sunday evening a member in her area texted me this picture of a group of missionaries sharing an Easter message, so at least I got to see her face. She is in the green skirt and her new companion, Sister Shober, is next to her in the yellow skirt.

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So my new companion is Sister Shober. She’s super cool and chill and I’m super excited! She’s my first companion who has been out longer than me, (other than my trainer), which is just crazy! It wasn’t a problem to have such new companions, but it is nice to have her experience.

We actually caught Alberto at home on Saturday! We didn’t get to teach them, but he said that will probably be available later in the week. He still wants to hear the lessons. I was just super excited to actually see him, and not the grandma who doesn’t speak English. I think she was getting tired of us. :)

Also, last Sunday this Chinese family just walked into church, and Ben (our Ward Mission Leader) speaks Chinese! They taught them this week, and they liked church, and I think they’re going to be baptized! He is also working with another Chinese family who recently moved here and they are really interested. They are super cute and the mom came to the General Women’s Meeting Broadcast with her daughter and really liked it.

Other than that I don’t have a lot to report, but HAPPY EASTER! We have been talking about the atonement a ton and it has been really cool to be so focused on it. My ponderizing/Easter scripture is Isaiah 53:3-5.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Love you!
Sister W.

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week 25

Mar 31, 2016 by

This letter was from Blythe’s last week with Sister Christensen. She is really going to miss serving with her. Here is a picture of the sisters in their zone (at least that is what I think this group is!). Her “hang loose” hand signs crack me up. Nearly every picture we get has her hands in some variation of it.

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Aloha!

Sister Christensen is being transferred. :( She actually is going back to my old zone, though not my area. I’m so jealous! This zone is nice and our zone leader is awesome, but it’s not like my old zone. That zone was crazy, but they are the closest knit zone I know. I’ve felt a little lonely in my current zone and now I won’t even have my companion. It’ll be fine, though. I’m getting Sister Shober. I pretty much don’t know her at all, but our roommates do and say she’s pretty cool.

Sister Christensen sort of felt like she was going to be transferred so she decided we were going to “give everything” this week. It’s been awesome! We’ve been trying pretty hard to “wear out our lives in the service of God.” On Friday, when we were supposed to have weekly planning, we had like 6 of the members of the YSA ward that needed us to come and help them. They are all kind of having their own crazy stuff going on and it was great to be able to help them. We literally drove from appointment to appointment all that day and our dinner cancelled on us which turned out for the better since we really didn’t have time for it. We did not take a break for lunch or dinner and just ate something quickly as we drove to the next thing. I wasn’t freaking out or anything, but it put us under enough stress that the next day I discovered that I had pulled a muscle in my neck from tension. Let’s just say we didn’t have weekly planning that day. Like, at all.

We were able to “tract” into Matt’s door. He’s been too afraid to tell his parents that he wants to be baptized or even that he’s taking the lessons. He’s an adult and doesn’t need permission, but he’s still really worried about it. So we planned a meeting out with him so we could meet his mom and he’d have a less intimidating way to bring us up. She asked him a few questions afterward which was really the point.

We had a tour of the temple grounds with Sydney and she really liked it. It was super cool.

We did get an investigator to church yesterday. She’s Hindu, and I don’t know how much she understood, but we tried to explain what the sacrament represented, and she had a few questions afterward.

There was this super awesome guy we met this week. His name is Mohammad and he’s from Sudan. He’s super cool and might want to come to some of the activities. Also, there’s this girl who hasn’t been able to come to church for a long time because she has been fighting depression and it was hard for her to be there with a lot of people. She’s been working herself up to being able to handle it. Sister missionaries have been meeting with her every week for two years. This week we had an awesome lesson with her and she said she thought she could handle coming on Sunday and she knew that being able to be there would help her so much. On Sunday she came! We were so excited for her!

One of our most promising investigators may possibly have dropped us. She sent a sort of odd text and we asked her if she still wanted to meet with us and she didn’t respond. We’re still hoping though. She really seemed to love what she was learning and said how much it helped her. I’m sure she felt the Spirit. We’ve had some amazing lessons with her. So that was tough.

I’m nervous for this new transfer. Being split between the two wards means that I really don’t know people that well and that makes it a lot tougher to work with the members. At the same time, I’m sure it will turn out alright.

Love you all!
Sister W.

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week 24

Mar 31, 2016 by

Sorry for the delay in posting her letters lately! I injured my hand and my computer usage is really limited because I can’t use my hand without heaps of pain. March 16 marks 6 months of our missionary serving. I feel just as shocked as she does. It is so hard to believe that the thing she has been preparing for her whole life is now a third of the way over. We were sent some pictures of her zone this week. She is on the far right side and her companion is in the middle with the black skirt and curly blond hair. Those two have nearly identical hair!

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In one very short day I will be at my 1/3 mark. That is completely, totally and in all other ways inconceivable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We have not yet been able to meet with Alberto and Andre, despite our best efforts. I’m beginning to see that us finding them together at home, at the same time, was a miracle in and of itself. They still really want to meet with us, but Alberto is traveling constantly and we’ve had a hard time keeping in contact. That has been one of the biggest struggles of this mission is that people are always busy, running around constantly. They are just too busy all the time. We would appreciate your prayers that we will be able to meet with them.

We taught Glyna the Restoration lesson this last Friday. We brought a member with us who happened to know her daughter who passed away and they were able to connect really well. She’s been texting about how she feels really comfortable talking to us about everything especially the loss of her daughter. She really hasn’t had anyone to talk to about it, especially about God in all of this, and she says that it’s really helping her. Brother Chamberlin was able to help in the lesson so much. It changes everything to have a member there. The Spirit was really strong.

We also had a lesson with a guy named Jo, who we met on campus. Most of the time people we contact there will set up a time to meet with us, then never show up, but he actually came! We had twin sisters there who just returned from their missions and it was amazing. We taught him the Restoration, too. We’re meeting with him again this week. It was a really powerful lesson and I really felt the Spirit.

This week we taught Sydney about the power of the Priesthood. She just loved it! Part way through the lesson her eyes just got really big, and she was like “Whoa, this is so cool!” and we’re like “Yeah!” :) She thinks it’s so cool how a blessing is a message just for you from God. She is just so enthusiastic. It’s awesome!

Love you all!
Sister W.

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