Monday, January 18, 2016

There's no place like home...[Jan. 18, 2016]

I just can't believe it. Last P-day!? Never thought I would make it here, especially near the beginning of my mission. It just seemed so far away and I couldn't fathom doing it for 18 months. Surely something crazy would happen where I couldn't finish, but nope. Here I am. It just took a lot of sitting down after being utterly overwhelmed and thinking....all I have to do right now is....

Yesterday was my last day at church in Lamar and my last time seeing a lot of people, but instead of leaving in tears, I left blushing...this is why:
After the lesson in Relief Society, the lady conducting stood up and announced transfers were this week and I would be going home. Well, another lady who was sitting in the back (she goes to the ward about half the time, because they just bought a giant property in Coolidge and her single son (Kent) and married daughter moved here, but she still lives in Arizona) looks over and was like it's your last week! Can I give you Kent's number? I was like oh my gosh and all the ladies giggled. Then we said the closing prayer.

Well, she came up to me afterwards and I thought she was going to apologize about embarrassing me in front of everyone...nope...she handed me a paper with Kent's number on it and was like I kept telling him to give it to you, but he kept saying no we had to wait till it was closer to the end for you.
For the record Kent is a guy my parents would probably term 'a nice boy'. This whole situation now explains some things in the past such as why Kent drove an hour each way just to be in our nerf war at the church. And at the nerf war he asked me questions such as do you like it in Oregon or here better and are you coming back to Lamar to visit. The real reason I went on a mission? So I won't have to talk to boys. It didn't work. I knew I should just been a nun!!

 We did have a less active that we have been working with since I got here come to church for the first time since April! It was good. Nothing much else exciting happened. The elders let us borrow the car AND it had a full tank of gas! I almost died of shock- nothing short of a miracle.

I keep getting less and less sleep, no idea why because I feel like I should be getting less stressed, but I guess not so. Last night I couldn't go to sleep till about 11:30 and I woke up at 5 and gave up trying to go back to sleep at 5:45.

 So probs what'll happen the rest of this week is I will leave Tuesday evening to either Garden or Dodge. Then weds we will drive to Wichita, watch a world wide mission broadcast that is coincidentally happening that morning, then transfer devotional where I'll say my departing testimony, then at some point my departing interview with president, then Thursday I high tail it home.

 Well it's been fun! I can't even begin to describe everything I have learned out here. The importance of charity. What it means to have a prayer in your heart. How to repent. How to develop Christlike attributes. How to read the Book of Mormon. How to not punch your district leader when he keeps distracting you while writing your blog.

 Guys, the church is true! This is Christ's church on the earth. We will finding lasting happiness as we draw near to Him and honestly seek out His will for us. I know, with everything I am, that He loves each one of us. He truly is our Heavenly Father and Christ is our Savior.
See y'all on the flip side!

 Melanie and me!
Volunteering at healthy places, fixing up bikes with kids.

Getting an iPad set up to take a video of the second nerf war...elder
style and my last pancake. :(


Monday, January 11, 2016

Geronimo...[Jan. 11, 2016]

Lacey is doing awesome! But there's this thing (something that I'm banking on for when I get back jk) where after you go through this refiners fire of a process and the light of Christ envelopes you, you become naturally attractive and therefore her ex-boyfriend came back into the picture. We were devastated at first, but he seems to be respecting her standards. He also is interested himself and we have taught him a couple lessons and he enjoyed church yesterday. So cool all the timing of everything. The elders met Lacey right when she broke up with him and I think she had to get solid in the gospel and now that she's a rock he can also be built up by it as well. #eternalfamiliesFTW

Let me tell you in two words what it's like getting close to the end of your mission. It sucks. Not to brag on how awesome of a missionary I am and look how spiritual of me not wanting my mission to end, but because there is so many emotions (excited, scared, sad, happy, relieved, anxious, depressed, nervous, etc.) that I just want to ignore the whole thing, or at least not talk about it. But then we had specialized training in Garden and naturally everyone that came up to talk to me before it started wanted to talk about me going home. I was also just feeling depressed, because I kind of have a hard companion. So I avoided people which led to me awkwardly standing by myself. My stellar district leader spotted me across the gym and bee lined it towards me with a threatening look of, if you don't lighten up I'm going to punch your face in. In a matter of two questions he got to the root of the problem and built me up from there. So inspired the people that you serve around and the timing of it all. I've learned so much from everyone, even though I feel like an old geezer more than ever.

Also, what it feels like to be close to the end is that you just left the side of someone who is in the midst of dying and you go outside and see the lives of people unaffected by the fact that there is someone dying. It's like HelllOo, my mission is coming to a close, why are we inviting people to be baptized after the 21st and doing all these trainings and crap! Anyways, enough of this trunkiness.

We are also teaching Lacey's sister and her family. She is super set on the fact that she will never quit weed, but I think after a few weeks of seeing her potential, we can help change that. Cool how the atonement can work sometimes.

We hiked two buttes last p-day. It's the highest point in our mission...which just goes to show how pathetically flat our mission is. Two buttes is 45 mins. South of Lamar and still very much so in our area. There's a member here who served in New Jersey and her mission is smaller than our area. It was super windy.

Another tidbit...

We beat the record for pancakes eaten in the Lamar district. Don't know if that really is something to be proud of, but we are. :D we hit 95. I personally ate 15.

Monday, January 4, 2016

It is the Music of the People Who Will Not Be Slaves Again...[Jan. 4, 2016]

We try to get a group together of members/investigators to do sports with us Saturday mornings and this last Saturday we had a good turn out to have an epic nerf gun fight.

LACEY GOT BAPTIZED!!! THE greatest miracle on my mission. The Lord really knows us and has the timing all right and He truly has the power to change our characters. She was in a really bad relationship when I met her two months ago and just not living a good life style and within weeks she has forsaken all of the bad. A couple days ago she was listing off all of these things that she has sacrificed for God and she said she just knows that she will get blessed, but now she just has to be patient and let Him work with her and her life. Her whole demeanor has just changed so much.

Yesterday we were riding in the car together and she asked if I will get a Facebook when I get back....yes...okay just don't get corrupted, there's a lot of bad stuff on it. It's okay though, your strong. I was about to tell her I had one before my mission too, but before my mission gay marriage was still illegal, it was illegal to smoke pot in my home state and Robin Williams was still alive. I think my recent convert just insulated me...(insulation lessons are lessons you give to investigators before they get baptized to warn them about ways the adversary will try to deviate them off course.)

 We invited like everyone to the baptism and we had a good turn out. We had a little potluck afterwards and it was all fun. Lacey got the Holy Ghost on Sunday and that was also legit.

 We also went on my last exchange with the STLs this week. Huzzah!

The Wednesday before the Thursday I go home we are having a world wide mission broadcast so that should be immensely exciting.

On Thursday, we borrowed the car from the elders and they left an upside down cup on the dash. Naturally my companion picked up the cup and we found a big hairy spider underneath. Screaming ensued and we called the elders and they were like oh how's Reggie doing? Well, it climbed into a vent and we had to go, so you can imagine the fear of when we had to go back in the car. :(

I forgot my journal so I kinda forgot what else happened this week.

 Thanks for the prayers! Here's some pics.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Sit down and have a Coke with you...[Dec. 28, 2015]

So it was Sunday and we still didn't have any new investigators this week and Sister Mertens was looking at the old paper area book that we still have. Pretty much the whole thing hadn't been put in the area book app. Well, we found some former investigators to try and the first one was this single mom that has 7 kids living with her all baptismal age. We knocked on their house and before we could introduce ourselves the daughter let us in and the 5 kids that were there and the mom all sat with us as we taught the Restoration, it was soooo awesome.

    Then we still needed some new investigators to count as our found through member ones. Well, we found a potential that was a referral from a now less active recent convert that he referred several months ago. So we visited her and we could tell she had a lot of friends over, but we knocked anyways and she let us right in. Her name is Patty and she is pretty old and has that scruffy voice that long-term smokers do. We found out right away that one of the ladies there was a member who hadn't been to church in several years and her nonmember daughter. After 2 hours of laughing our guts out because Patty is hilarious, both Patty and the daughter became investigators. I love how apparent God shows His hand in this work.

     Anyways, more about Patty, she smoked at least half a pack within the span we were there. She offered us diet Dr. Pepper or Coke my companion asked for a Coke and I made the mistake of asking for diet Dr. Pepper (which btw is my recent go to, when I am in need of a caffeinated beverage which is necessary a lot here with having to drive so much) anyways, she was handing it to me and asked, "do you have diabetes?" "No...." "Well, your not fat. Are you constipated" No...." "Well, we're going to have to work on you."

     Pretty much any topic of conversation goes with Patty. We went from visiting teaching, to our 'magic underwear' and then the social occasions that would require one to wear a bra. (Apparently shopping at Walmart is one that doesn't.) Anyways, I'm pretty excited to start teaching her, but now with Patty "musk" on us, everyone we meet is also going to start thinking we are chain smokers.
So Christmas was fun, we got lots of chocolate and that's all that matters. Skyping the fam was a delight as well.

     Lacey is set to get baptized on Thursday, so we are super pumped about that. I love her so much and this is going to be the greatest thing she's ever should be kinda fantastic.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Near, Far, Wherever You Are...[Dec. 21, 2015]

We finally got to move into our new apartment today, so it's been kind of hectic. You have no idea how much stuff apartments accumulate after housing missionaries for just three years. So I'm trying to email in half the time I normally do....hopefully this works out.

Yesterday was a bucket of crazy. Well the night before our district leader was talking about the mission presidents devotional that was happening in Liberal, Kansas the next evening. He mentioned how awesome it would be if we could get Lacey to go. So we made this crazy plan of asking a certain member to drive her and us the 2 hours and 45 minutes to the devotional. (Yeah, that was where they were doing it for our stake) the member was all for it, but she said she only had two seats besides herself. So we needed a member to drive us. We were exhausting all resources and finally as we were talking about it after the block a member overheard us and said you need a ride? We can take you. Haha, no you don't understand....its to Liberal, KS which is almost 3 hours away. Yeah, we can take you. What!? So we went and had lunch with them (this is the same member that fed us goose last week) and we were going to meet the other member at Lacey's house. Well when we got there we found her getting sick on the side of the road so that was a no go and considering the members small car we were in only one sister and Lacey would fit, so me being the graciously generous companion I am I offered Sister Mertens to hang back with the Fillmores all day...haha jk, no she was a doll and said it was my last chance to go to a mission presidents devotional and let me go.
I called the answer....called the district leader and he said GO so me and my companion went on splits....for 7 hours 169 miles away. We had a good discussion with Lacey on the car ride there and the devotional was #worthit. Lots of testimonies from recent converts and lots of talk about acting on faith and the importance of the BOM.
Then I made sure she met President and Sister Bell afterwards which was really good. He told her she was ready and she just needs to take that step of faith...its just faith from now on. Everything that evening came together so well, it definitely was the hand of God. I also chalk up it up to eating that hairy goose.
The ride home was also sooo necessary she opened up so much and I think we FINALLY got to the root of her concern. I also got a call from the ZLs saying the assistants called them and to tell me never to go on splits 3 hours away from my companion again....I imagine that though it will be somehow tempting with all the opportunities that would present themselves over the course of this next month to go on 169 mile away splits, through the grace of God I'll have the will power to overcome such behavior.

We also had our Christmas zone conference this week which was delightful...besides the fact that I had to give my testimony because it's my last weird and not okay!

 Pic 1 zone Conf
Pic 2 Lacey and I

Monday, December 14, 2015

Our House in the Middle of the Street...[Dec. 14, 2015]

So, I was just about to write this when the elders texted us asking if we could come out to give them the car keys. After grumbling about why they couldn't just come to the door I go and open the door....see that there is an iPad a few feet away recording and then I look down to see some sort of animal skin on the Fillmores porch and then it slides away as Elder Michaelis giggles reeling it in, because he had attached it to a fishing pole. They were kind of disappointed I hadn't screamed and I almost felt bad, but they're going to have to try a lot harder than that!
I showed them a pic of my brother and Elder Michaelis said hey it's Elder Porter and Elder Porter said, hey it's me a few years down the road.
The main topic/struggle for this week was definitely our housing drama. It's been going on quite a while, but it reached its peak this week. I got permission from our mission housing several weeks ago that we could look for a new place. Our apartment is 2 miles outside of town and we can't go back for dinner and it's too long to walk so when it snows we always have to get rides. One day we just had to eat crackers in the elders garage in below freezing weather, because we didn't have a dinner or transportation. Anyways, so it was a problem and I was trying to fix it...well our bishop owns the place we are at and his wife was beside herself that we would want to move. We ended up calling the mission housing people back after we viewed a perfectly fine apartment that is in the middle of town and has everything we need and they talked with the president and we are getting moved. We have dinner with bishop tonight, so let's hope that's not awkward. Lesson learned here: don't rent as a missionary from your bishop. Super excited to not have to walk an hour in freezing cold weather to finally see people!
Lacey is progressing more and more rapidly! She just keeps going through all of these concerns. She mentioned, okay guys, I've been holding back an addiction I have...I smoke weed. It's like Lacey, we know your house reeked of it when we first met you, but it doesn't anymore we thought you quit....well yeah I haven't had it for a few weeks....and your concern is?? Well what if I want it again! Do you want it? No, not right now....okay....but she really is concerned about it. She of course said the classic, well it's like an herb from the ground. God created it for us...uhhhh. #onlyinCO She completely gave up alcohol and it was because she saw her friend get sick from it a couple nights ago and just realized it's not worth it. Then last night Pshe was like, guys I know what to do! I'll smoke weed right now and you'll see me act all not myself and I'll realize I don't want to be like that anymore. Yeah no! How bout lets be obedient to all of Gods commandments...yeah? Anyways, her countenance has changed so dramatically since I first met her. She is a completely different person....well not different, but a glowing shiny version of herself.
Sister Mertens is my new companion and she is awesome! Unfortunately she hasn't gotten her driving privileges yet, so I had to drive from Wichita to Lamar pretty much straight 6 hours. We have been able to see a lot of miracles since she got here. We have a few new super promising investigators and we have been able to contact a lot of people that it's been hard for us to contact before. Super excited to see what this transfer has to bring.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away...[Dec. 7, 2015]

We watched the Christmas devotional at the church last night and it was so good. Sometimes a French horn player I know plays with them and he was there last night. He was on the chamber orchestra tour I went on right before I left and he was being really friendly on it. I was not at all interested in him, but it still was discouraging when I saw his wedding ring. I have no contact with all of my music school or brick oven friends and I'm going to have to take some happy pills before going on Facebook when I get home to see what I've missed. I feel like I started watching a tv series on Netflix, and I told myself oh I'll just watch one episode, 5 episodes later I've procrastinated everything else I need to get done for so long that I might as well finish the series. I now understand why people used to beg for extensions.

Tomorrow we head for Wichita at 2:00 to get there by 9:00. Then I drive back with my new comp the next times living in the middle of nowhere on the edge of the mission! Last week we had
interviews and then the next day zone training, both in Garden City, so that was 8 hours in two days, I complained, so of course we have a drive of 12 hours in two days this week. Karma.

Onward to my last transfer! So incredibly did I get here!?

Yesterday I woke up feeling sick to my stomach, but I was good enough to go to church and everything. When dinner arrived after fasting all day I was a little worried how my stomach would hold up. Then we were eating this wild goose, which was good up until my last piece. I turned it over and it was hairy on the other side. I looked up and the hostess was watching me. I could tell she knew what I was thinking, so I looked down and I put on my big girl pants and stuck that hairy goose meat in my mouth. I felt like standing on my chair and yelling, what! What now! Bring it on hairy goose!! Long story short, my stomach, with the help of Chamomile, held it all.

We had a movie night where we watched Meet the Mormons. Some active members were being bums and told us, you know the missionaries did this a few months ago and only two people showed up. Well we advertised and told everyone and 28 people showed up, so that was super awesome!

We had a super spiritual testimony meeting on Sunday which was perfect for Lacey. She was crying and told us she's really warming up to coming to church on Sunday. She even had comments and questions in Sunday School and Relief Society and everyone was so nice to her. Ug, she just needs to get baptized already!!

I feel like so much more happened, but I don't have time to write. Love you all!

Pics: Sister Fillmore, Sister Birks, Lacey and I

Zone training