Monday, December 29, 2014

It's My Life, It's Now or Never...[Dec. 29, 2014]



Serving at Christmas time was fantastic! We wrote letters to members in our branch and less actives and everyone was happy as we delivered them and people just LOVE talking about Christ at Christmas time. I also got to skype my family. (We told Debbie we got to skype our family and she was like, "What the heck is that!?" It was hilarious! Sometimes I think she just came out of a time machine.) It was brilliant seeing everyone and I had the special treat that my bro (serving in Mexico) randomly started skyping when I was on, so we got to three way with him for a bit.
We went to Debbie's Christmas night and something really weird, but awesome that is hard to describe happened. She was sitting there and we were chatting and she was looked at me and said, "Have you decided?" I was like, "Uuhh about what?" She then thought about it and was like, "I'll do this right." She said she prayed for me the night before (she's been worried about me bc apparently I look like something is bothering me whenever she sees me) and she had a really weird/crazy dream that night (she has vivid dreams sometimes). She said that someone (she claimed was Christ) told her to sanitize her hands, then stand in front of me and put her hands on my shoulders and tell me this, "It is your decision to make. You have to make yourself happy. You can't worry about what anybody else wants or makes you do. It's your life."
Crazy, because first off, that's exactly what I needed to hear; and second, because remember like back in September, I talked about a lady and she was a druggie and hit rock bottom. We really randomly ran into her, so I was trying to get some sense into her. She reeked of alcohol, but I put both hands on her shoulders and told her she needed to make changes in her life and do things for herself. I realized that I was on the other end of it and I need to really stop worrying about what other people think. I need to make decisions to do things, not based upon what people will think of it, but because I need to do that for myself. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone else, but it finally clicked for me. I was taking away my own agency, by deciding to do things solely because others would judge me if I don't or whatever. But if I consciously decide not to worry about what others think about it, then I am making that decision for myself.
I've been working on it and I have been immensely happier, the stress is oozing off of me, because I'm not so worried about what people think anymore, I don't even care! It's my life, dang it!!
I keep thinking my memory is going to run out of song lyrics for blog titles, but they keep coming. Maybe in like another six months it will have to be Lower Light lyrics or something.
A sister in our district ended her mission a couple weeks early, to go home to a cruise, so we are currently in a trio covering two areas that are an hour drive apart and miles aren't reimbursed...yay...But it's been good. And cold. And our car looks like death...because whenever we think of cleaning it, it starts snowing again.
I'm also super stoked, because Debbie finally took out her dream catcher making supplies and she
is going to teach us how to make legit ones, pictures will follow when we are done.


[She sent two pics of her and her comp butchering a pig, but it is a scan and I cannot figure out how to get it to copy here.]




Debbie's Tumbletree

Monday, December 22, 2014

Debbie's Baptism...[Dec. 22, 2014]



Debbie got baptized on Saturday!! It was so great...words can't describe. Like, literally, the Spirit was so strong there, and it was just so peaceful and full of warmth. I wish I could relive that day over and over again. She shared her testimony on forgiveness before she got baptized, and it was very inspiring.
Of course there was still a bit of drama, because what is Goodland without drama? Well, we found out the night before that our ride for Debbie couldn't come. So essentially Debbie didn't have a ride to her own baptism. Well, we didn't have anyone else planning on coming to Burlington from Goodland (30 min drive) so we called around and finally this family said they could...love it!
We had planned on setting off fireworks afterwards (we even got permission from the city to do it, just to be safe) but with the different ride situation, I didn't know if it would work. Well after the baptism one of the Elders was just standing there and was like, "Is this it?" I was like, "Umm...is there supposed to be more? She just got baptized, here have a cookie"...then it clicked, "Oh you're waiting for the fireworks!" He nodded his head. Yeah...sometimes Elders are teenage boys. Well the ride was like, "Sure we got nothing else planned," and Debbie was super excited so we lit a couple off...I got some pictures.
Well, that night we just had the hardest time planning. I've had this happen before and you just don't feel good about anything you are writing down. But you gotta have something written down, and normally what happens is something comes up the day of, like a person calls you, or you think of a person you didn't think of when you were planning. So, I had a feeling we weren't going to do our plans, but I didn't know where our Heavenly Father would end up having us.
Well the next day, we found out the Elders were in the same situation. We also knew there was a devotional in Garden City with our Mission President. Well, we couldn't find any investigators or members that wanted to go, mainly because it is 2 1/2 hours away. So because of that, they told us we shouldn't go. Well, I realized maybe this is why planning was so hard the night before. So I tried convincing the Elders of this, and they were like no, we need to stay in our areas. It still didn't feel right to me, and of course 30 minutes later we get a text from our Zone Leaders that every missionary is invited regardless if you have someone going or not. "I told you so's" ensued.
Well, 15 mins before the devotional started, of course, Kevin drama happened again. We learned via Debbie from Limon that he left Rehab early, and in fact was drinking alcohol all through Rehab. He conned a man to give it to him. He convinced him he was just in rehab for a one time DUI, and he owned a semitruck fleet. Going to Rehab would look good on his record. So as a business man, it would make sense to spend the money and get it off his record. Well, he apparently got a ride to Burlington and was there at noon that day...creepy....and Debbie wanted us to warn sister Debbie that he might show up, not so easy to do when you are in Garden City, but we were able to get a member to go over for us (she has no phone).
Fun fact for humor relief, the STL's exchanged with us this week and they were like..."Yeah
we have Texoma, Texas, and Oklahoma" They asked what our in between city was? We were like, "Uh, we don't have one named like that." They were like, "What's the city on the border?" I was like, "Well Kanorado....oh....."



Me, Debbie, Sister Fosselman

Sister Fosselman, Me, Debbie, Elder Thompson


Elder Pettit handling a firework...
Does someone have a white handbook
 we can borrow?
He didn't light it, but it's still
some good blackmail.

Debbie and Elder Pettit


Looking for that parachute guy that flew up.

 Debbie running like a wild women
 from the lighted firework...we definitely
were buds in the Pre-mortal Existence.


We always park our car at district meeting
 so we don't have to back up
(missionaries need backers,
it's a fantastically freezing rule).
Guess which car is our District Leader's?
We went to the zoo in Garden City
while there for p-day after the devotional.
All the sisters that went.
This perfectly describes
Elder Osario (Elder Pettit
 and Osario are the
Burlington elders) 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Back When Hector Was a Pup...[Dec. 15, 2014]

Last week was full of tender mercies. One lesson, which we thought would just be a cold short doorstep visit, because our investigator just broke up with his girlfriend so we can't go in his place unless a member is with us,...well, his ex-girlfriend was randomly packing up things at his place so we could go in. Then they were like, "Do you  want to hold some week old puppies?"...uh yeah! So there was 3 of the cutest little puppies. Then they were like, "Do you want cake?"....uh yeah! It was awesome, cake and puppies, you can't go wrong.
It also rained yesterday, which was delightful, plus it was a potluck Sunday! So lots of people came and we held a gospel principles class, which this branch has never seen and it went great. I literally planned for five minutes for that class, which was all it needed, because the investigators were talking and teaching each other the whole time.
Debbie did a garage sale yesterday and she needed a lot of stuff moved including a car, so miraculously the Elders were able to come help.  Normally it's just too far for them, but they were leaving at just the right time anyways to go to Garden City.  Then they were also on exchanges with our district leader who realized Debbie wasn't wearing a watch, and asked why? She said she gave it to a girl who didn't have one and then he took the watch off his wrist and gave it to her.  She was so touched that she started crying. She is going to ask him to baptize her, which is a good thing, because there was literally no one else that could. (She didn't trust our Elders, poor kids. I guess if you're a stick before your mission, it might be good to go to the gym to prepare to baptize on your mission!)
Debbie is getting baptized on Saturday, which is going to be one of the greatest miracles on my mission! She has changed so much, and after 48 years of smoking she quit within a matter of weeks. We have been making daily contact with her and the fact that she doesn't have a phone means we have stopped by every day. I had a district leader tell us that no matter whether or not we make daily contact with our investigators, Satan is. That is so true. She has been tempted every day to smoke or drink coffee or even Pepsi, (which we've told her a million times it's okay, but she still can't get over the fact that coffee isn't, but Pepsi is, so she's quitting it as well.) She did smoke 2 puffs today, from a cigarette she found, so we are going to have to get special permission for her to get baptized from our Mission President, but I don't think it will be a problem.



Sister Fosselman (my comp) and I

Garden City and Liberal Zones
at our ugly sweater Christmas party
in Garden City.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Looking through a window made of time, would you have the courage not to lie; burn it down...[Dec. 8, 2014]


So Kevin is in rehab in Norton, KS. Debbie (not his sister) took him there, and somehow he was able to get the money. We don't know how long he will be there.
We continue teaching his sister Debbie, she is so awesome. She loves reading and learning more. She is in love with True to the Faith and she always has questions for us. Her baptism date is Dec. 24th, but we are thinking of moving it up because she is ready and we feel like we are holding her back.
One day this week our district leader called us up and said that he was on exchanges with the Burlington elders, and they don't have a USB thing for their car (for music) so he was wondering if we had any CD's he could borrow, so they could listen to some music the way up there. Well, naturally, we said he could. Then I went down and grabbed my Lower Lights Christmas album cover (acquired b/c someone left it behind in one of my areas) and switched the CD with a super corny pink sister missionary CD that had about a dozen cheesy sister missionaries on the front, my comp had. Well, they pulled up to our apt and I gave it to him and he's like NO WAY the Lower Lights have a Christmas album. He just had pure joy on his face, and I was cracking up so bad...he was so confused why I was laughing. Then a few minutes after they left, we texted them how they are liking the Lower Lights and he texted back, you sisters are bums.
Friday, we had to wake up at 4am to go to Zone Training (remember the time zone change). Love it. Well, after I was driving on the highway for 20 minutes I realized the speed limit was 75, not 65. We were a bit late, but that's okay. It didn't help that there was literally no one else on the highway at the time to pass us.
Sister Fosselman woke up with the stomach flu on Saturday, so our best proselyting day was a waste. I read and memorized all day, so my brain was aching by the end.




My half chihuaha and half poodle boyfriend.
Hubert (huey) Lawrence Matthews. Debbie's dog.
He waits in the window for us all day
and bites at our ankles when we try to leave.
Debbie informed us she wants to set off
fireworks after her baptism.
 She has quite a stash
and we decided to try one right then.
Putting her lighters to better use then
before we went outside and she lit one.
I then learned that lighting a firework
 next to your house on a windy day
in Kansas is not a good idea.
It flew to her roof, but thankfully
 it was a short one and was out by then. 


Debbie scared her house is about
to light on fire. 


Sister Fosselman and I
Elders stacking up on each other for
an object lesson.
No one was hurt, miraculously,
the making of this picture.


As a zone, we memorized this thing
from Preach My Gospel and the zone leaders
volunteered themselves to have
freezing water thrown on them.
My district leader is in the brown in the back.


Wet zone leaders.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hornswoggl​ed by a Skinflint...[Dec. 1, 2014]



They should have told me in my call packet that I was called to the Kansas Wichita Mission backcountry hick English speaking, since it definitely is a different language then I grew up speaking. Anyways, this week...wow...take a few minutes to think of happy and good things in this world...and then, you can start reading what happened. I swear the beginning of this week feels like a month ago for me, it wasn't super terrible, it just was a lot to take in.

At one point this week, our recent convert as of last Saturday (Kevin) was on the lamb with 10k and a stolen car....Let us start from the beginning.
Tuesday morning: Sister Williams (a member who is married to Don who owns the manure spreading business Kevin worked for--she introduced us to Kevin) called and said, we don't know where Kevin is, but he has a check and we think the customer (they don't know who the customer was) put it on accident in Kevin's name. The last time we saw Kevin was in Sacrament Meeting when he got confirmed. He was crying and left and then came back. The talk was on the history of Thanksgiving and I was confused why he was so emotional over Native Americans and Pilgrams, when he whispered that his grandpa had just died and he was in Nebraska. So, he left in the middle of Sacrament Meeting to go to Nebraska....Well, that's where we thought he was this whole time....We texted him once, but he didn't reply, we just thought he was busy with family.

Well, Tuesday we also got a call from the Branch President's wife, who said a lady in Limon got our number and is wondering if Kevin had a stroke. We figured it was Debbie (his girlfriend) and we went to go see Debbie (his sister and our investigator he introduced us to) to see what was up. She said he was in Colby getting his foot fixed, because it was broken. We were like wait, didn't your grandpa die and she's like, no, he is in St.Francis (that's in Kansas in our area) and he just had a couple strokes, but he's fine and not even in the hospital.
So we called the branch president's wife and told her Kevin was fine. She must have given our number to Debbie (Kevin's gf) because she called us in the afternoon. She said she was in Denver trying to find the hospital Kevin was at, because he said he had a stroke and was there. I was like, well other Debbie said he is in Colby getting his foot fixed.

I decided to ask her a little more. I knew she was a member and she explained that she got baptized in 2003 and she was endowed. She said she met Kevin at a gas station in Colorado. (We later found out he drove the Williams truck with his sister there to get some pot) They met a month ago, which truthfully coincidentally is around the same time he met us. She said they talked a lot on the phone and when she came down for the weekend that was her first time spending time with him.
She just went on how they were supposed to ride horses together and she's like, "Yeah, I never even did see his house." I was like, "What house? He lives in the William's camper in Rexford, KS." She's like, "He lives there!? He said his hired man lives there." I was like, "He IS the hired man." She lost her breath. She said she also saw him put chew in his mouth. Delightful.
Debbie (the sister) said Kevin told her he was going to Larnard Mental Hospital. The Williams told us he deposited the check for $10,000 and said he had their truck.
Wednesday: We visited Debbie (the sister) with a member in an effort to get her to know the members in the ward. You bet your bottom dollar we were on her like Donkey Kong. I was like, "When did you last smoke? Do you have any coffee in the house? Alcohol?" (She threw away her alcohol, she has family coming in and out and a niece that lives with her so she claims it came from them) I flat out asked her if she had marijuana and she's like, "No, I don't have that anymore I gave it away." I was scared who she gave it to, so I asked her, "...Kevin...DEBBIE!!" Of course, the member is just wide eyed this whole time, because we were so blunt with her. Thankfully she was a convert herself. Debbie (the sister) also told us she saw Kevin drink vodka right before his baptism in the church parking lot and she was just what the! and he offered her some and was like it's cool! She said she was so mad at him she didn't want to go in, but obviously she did.
I just told her, you can lie through all of this and seriously it's no skin off my back if you are doing any of it, but it's between you and Heavenly Father, so it makes no sense why you would bother lying to us! She completely agreed, so hopefully we can keep that open communication with her. I know she know's it's true and she honestly wants to quit.
We found out that night from her calling Larnard Mental Hospital that he wasn't there.
Thanksgiving Thursday: the WORST proselyting day ever! We knocked on this one house and this old lady answered and talked with a Russian accent and with her hands and said I'm IN the MIDDLE of COOKING! and slammed the door. We obviously weren't able to make any appointments that day so it was a shot in the foot. We had dinner at a member's house and that was good. Later that night, we were going to start a fast with both Debbies and we got a couple interesting texts from Debbie (the sister): Are you coming over here to fast? Us: Yeah, will you be home at 8 tonight? Debbie: Yeah both my couches fold out. We were like wait does she think we are sleeping over? and then she sent another text Debbie: Or is fasting no sleeping also? We were cracking up so bad. Apparently, we didn't explain fasting very well...so we called her and set her straight. She told us Marshalls came to her house that morning to look for Kevin.
Friday: That morning we got a call from Debbie (the gf) She said that she had been sending texts to Kevin this whole time and last night at 8:30 is when he started sending the texts back! She was able to convince him to come clean and go to the Williams. Sister Williams called and said Kevin was on his way and will be there in an hour. We sent the senior couple over there, and they convinced him to go to a hospital to start detoxing. Apparently, he drinks vodka 24/7. So they drove him to Wray, CO. They took him for 72 hours and will kick him out after that. Meaning he will be out sometime today. It would be prime if he could go to a place to detox all the way, but he has no insurance and no one wants to pay for that, because he would just go back to it afterwards anyways. He'll probably just end up going to Debbie (his sister)
So that's Kevin for yeah. We also found out yesterday that he never was a marine. Sister Wiliams is convinced that he did it all to get with Debbie (his gf), but I don't know. I think he honestly wanted to change and he liked the support he was getting at church, but he just didn't have the mentality to know how to get there.
Our Branch President was less than helpful yesterday as he blamed us for allowing someone to "mock a sacred ordinance". Thankfully, our stake president must have heard about that from someone, because he came up to us (he's in our branch) and said he was going to talk with him about it, and to not blame ourselves. My companion had an emotional breakdown yesterday in the car, so that was also fun to deal with. We both just are emotionally and physically exhausted from the week. I can't imagine what would have happened if one of us did get transferred on Tuesday in the middle of all of this. Our branch president also was like, now it's all my problem to deal with, we were just like seriously?! Who has been in communication with the Debbies?...who convinced him to come clean?...who fasted for him?...who drove him to Wray?...who arranged for him to get a blessing in Wray?.... He didn't even know where Kevin was at the time. It was just a little bit frustrating, but I'm really not blaming anyone for anything. It just is a situation that we were all put in, and it is not meant to put us down, but to learn from. 


This sounds like it was my entire week, but it was all intermixed with everything else and we ended with 12 lessons with less actives and 17 other lessons. We tracted into 2 different part member families who's records aren't in the branch, but they live next to each other randomly in a trailer park we never go to. They were super nice and had families. Whoop!... there it is.
OH ALSO, I got to slaughter a pig on Saturday! We got a call Thursday from a member who was killing a pig Saturday and needed help cutting it up. I wanted to get a picture, but by the time I thought of it my hands were literally covered in pigs blood. #sorrynotsorry My hands stank so bad afterwards, kind of like wet dog. Yeah, wet dog literally smells like dead pig.



 
The elders in our area last transfer...
let's just say they aren't going
to be professional football players
and so we waited for transfers.
Then they send us another stick.
So Saturday, we decided to move
our insanely heavy and bulky hide-a-bed couch
ourselves it involved a lot of scooting and sliding. 

There is this shrine thing
this house puts up for the holidays,
a different one was there
for Halloween,
so naturally I took a picture with it.

Monday, November 24, 2014

LIFE GOES ON...[Nov. 24, 2014]


Well, remember about Kevin? He was the man we met at church (the Williams brought him) and he gave his testimony saying he read the Book of Mormon in two weeks. He got baptized last Saturday and it was a miracle. Mainly, because on Thursday he was supposed to have his interview, and I even reminded him the night before, and he forgot. Then Friday, he was having car troubles in the middle of nowhere with no reception, so we really couldn't get a hold of him. We thought he was backing out. Finally, Saturday morning he called and told us everything and our district leader was able to meet with him and talk marine with him (both marines). Everything came together. Debbie (his sister that we are teaching) came, and it was awesome. I swear we were best friends in the Pre-mortal existence, she is so dang funny! She's getting baptized Dec. 13.


Found out this morning that for transfers both me and my companion are staying in Goodland. Our district leader is turning into our zone leader. The lovely Elder Pettit is getting a new companion.

Let's talk about Elder Pettit for a few secs, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but Elder Pettit's cousin was my stand partner in BYU Chamber Orchestra, meaning we were stand partners for a semester, and then for that tour in Europe. Elder Pettit, after he found out I was a cello major at BYU, asked if I knew Zach...uhh yeah. So that's pretty coincidental. He also reminds me a lot of my younger brother (pretty serious), and sometimes I think he gets a little annoyed with how much I joke around.
Example: We went outside and it was getting a bit dark, to walk Kevin and the Williams to their car after the baptism, and on our way back I noticed Elder Pettit was crouched on the inside and locking the door to the building.  So, naturally I ran up and into the door and Elder Pettit yelled and fell over. His companion walked around the corner like, what the....
Another Example: At district meeting last week they mentioned something Kevin said to them and I was like, "You talked with Kevin!?" They were like, "No, that was just in priesthood"...I was like, "Oh"...and then later we texted them about something and they texted back way later and they were like sorry it took so long we were talking with Kevin (just being a pain). They were supposed to have someone (Juan) get baptized as well on Saturday, so it was going to be a double baptism. But long story short, it didn't work out, but we didn't know that then. So I texted back, "Oh cool, how is Kevin doing?" They said, "Umm...Did you not see him? He told us you saw him." I said, "Yeah we saw him, he said he was offended by Juan's tatoos and wants a private baptism." They replied, "Oookay jokes over."




Me, Debbie (Kevin's sister) Kevin,
and Sister Fosselman


Elder Ballard (senior missionary),
 Me, Debbie, Kevin,
Debbie (Kevin's "friend" that he apparently
met 3 months ago that apparently
is a member that he didn't tell us about,
we are going to have to get
the full story later) Kevin, Sister Fosselman

Monday, November 17, 2014

Many are Called, but Few are Frozen...[Nov. 17, 2014]

 Well, this week was bundles of joy. Let me describe to you what tracting in sub zero weather feels like. Your extremities just hurt, especially if you forget to wiggle your fingers and toes, and your face loses the capability to make expression. It actually feels exactly like diving head first into the ocean on the Oregon Coast.
I don't have too much time to write, so I will just go straight to the funny stories.
Last Monday, we had dinner with our branch president. His wife asked Elder Pettit about his tie and if it had a story. Elder Pettit was like...well...not really, I guess I bought it at a thrift store. The branch president was like, "Oh that's why it's butt ugly." I don't think we will see that tie again for awhile...
The Elders also told us that after they invited one investigator to come to church he replied back, "Um, yeeeaaahhh there's a 99% chance you will NOT see me at church." That might be just funny in person, but I was cracking up and everything after that was a 99% chance I won't be able to do it.
We have the HARDEST time getting people to church, because our building is 30 minutes away and our investigators and less actives don't normally have reliable transportation. Well, this last Sunday was the Thanksgiving potluck, and we worked hard at inviting everyone like normal. But we finally reaped our rewards, this week we had 7 investigators and 12 less actives at church! It was fantastic! Our zone leaders didn't believe us when we told them! I wish their was a potluck every week!!
We had a zone conference thing with 5 zones in Great Bend last Friday where Elder Schwitzer of the Second Quorum of the Seventy came...it was great! We also got a challenge that I also want to issue to everyone reading this no matter if you are in the middle of reading the Book of Mormon or if you have never read it before...that is to get your hands on those cheap paper back Book of Mormons and read the entire thing before Christmas and with a red pencil mark all passages pertaining to Christ and/or the atonement and all the green ones for faith/works. I started last week and it's seriously like reading a different book. I think because you take a bit of time marking it all up and that lets you think a little more about it all. It's life changing and I know that it will take a lot of time, but it will be so worth it. So go find your closest missionary and let them give you a Book of Mormon (you might have to coerce them and tell them you are going to give it to a friend afterwards or something) and DO IT.


[**She sent me a link to the calendar for studying until Christmas...drop me an email and I will forward it to you.  I couldn't figure out how to attach it to her blog (strange format--my slow brain).  amysmour@gmail.com]
 
 
My sub zero attire.
For some reason animals are
 really attracted to my boots
and dogs just sniff sniff sniff that fur lining
 and then we went to this one less active
and his cat would run up and attack my leg.
 I would have to keep track of where he was
 and if he was missing
out of nowhere from behind
 he would just claw up my leg.
Those boots are just too cute,
so that's a burden I'll have to deal with...
 
 

Monday, November 10, 2014

I can be down, I can be blue, I can be violet sky...I can be happy, I can be bappy, I can be anything you like...[Nov 10, 2014]


Well, I think I hit the low point of my mission. Friday was zone conference and it was FANTASTIC, (we meet as a zone every month) but I think it's like every three months, the mission president comes down and we have an 8 hour meeting and it's super motivating--great for figuring out what you can do better.  Apparently, also a great way to shake germ infested hands.
Saturday night, I got the stomach flu and I slept all day Sunday. My companion spent the day watching 90's seminary videos and I think she watched The Testaments 3 times. We found out that 3 other people in our district were sick with the stomach flu and our district leader had a bad cold. For not proselyting 2 days (sick and zone conference) and being parked and walking 3 days (my comp used pretty much all our miles the first two weeks before I got there so we had to go way over miles and they made us walk, so we walked about 8 miles each day, I literally got a sunburn in the middle of November-the struggle is real) our numbers were actually pretty good. It's a blessing we didn't have to walk this week, because we would be frozen popsicles.  The weather told us that on Tuesday the high is 28 and low 5. Ahhh!
Oh, also some crazy awesome news we learned at zone conference--it was like a dream come true--they are doing away with designated drivers, so only one companion was designated to drive, but they said the church came out with a rule that a missionary can't drive for more than 2 hours straight.  So that means we have to switch off! I got to drive home (from Garden City, which is a 2 1/2 hour drive) it was my first time driving in 7 months! My companion was just mentioning the ride up here how she was getting sick of driving all the time and wished we could switch, so awesome! It's also good, because my companion is from California and has no driving experience in the snow and I delivered food in Utah for a year, so hopefully we won't die.



Driving!!

There's this random,
 wooden statue of liberty
 in someone's yard...




Monday, November 3, 2014

Where Seldom is Heard a Discouraging Word...[Nov. 3, 2014]


Well the beginning of this week was, in my companion's words, a shot in the foot. At midweek when we give our numbers, it was zero across the board and definitely not from lack of trying. Well, we didn't let each other give up and we kept on trekking. Then, the next day we got 3 new investigators...and the day after that 3 new people on date for baptism... and then the next day held the ultimate miracle...a sparkling golden investigator!

He comes in the form of a bald man named Kevin. He has a grey stache and he came to church in a white button up shirt, jeans, and a "ginormo" belt buckle, which he later explained he got from bull riding. He showed us pictures and let's just say he probably has to allow plenty of time when going through airport security.

He works for Bro. Williams (remember him from last week)...so he's a manure spreader and he was busy the past two weeks with a job, so we couldn't see him. But as we learned at church when he was sharing his testimony in sacrament, he read the entire Book of Mormon over the past two weeks. We taught him at the William's last night and he's on date for baptism on the 15th. He, of course in true back country fashion, chews tobacco, so he will have to quit that. But when he committed to do it on the spot during dinner, I extend my hand palm upward and he just shakes it and it's like um...no...give it up, dude. We threw his tobacco away for him.

We met a couple tracting a couple days ago and we taught them the night before. Somehow we brought them up and the fact that he is a "tower"...and the main things he tows is flipped over semis. Then Kevin was like, "Hey, I know a guy that does that."....and I have just embraced the fact that everyone knows everyone else, so I was like, "Well is his name Tim?" He's like, "Yeah and he has a wife and two kids...yep." Then we said his last name they gave us last night and then Kevin was like, "No, that's not his last name, it's this." Goes to show that if you live in such a small town, you can't just give fake last names. Hopefully they will let us come over and see them again. Apparently, Tim is really good friends with Kevin, so I told Kevin to tell Tim he's getting baptized.

This is slightly embarrassing, but I'll share it anyways. So a few weeks ago the zone leaders called us and were like, "Hey this is Elder Johnson, I just got ET'd (emergency transferred) here." We were like, "Wait, what? Who did you replace?"  "Elder T." We then were like super surprised and everything. We mentioned it to the Burlington Elders and they were like, "Hey he didn't call us and they were kind of offended." Well, after that it was always Elder Johnson talking with us and getting to know us and stuff. We both didn't know who Elder Johnson was and we looked up where he was before and everything. Of course, district meeting happened and guess who was there...Elder T. He just pretended to be an Elder Johnson. Revenge is a dish best served cold. I have no idea how we're going to get them back though, so if anyone has any ideas, please share!

We have an investigator whose dad lives with her and he's a Pentecostal minister. He's a nice guy, but likes to get in discussions with us and the last one ended with...read your Bible ladies! So we've been avoiding him because he's a pain (it's hard to avoid people in a small town, we ran into him at the gas station and post office). Well, on Halloween we decided to visit that investigator. So it was around 8 and dark outside, and we walk up to her house. (which btw is already legitmately haunted...it looks like a ghost lives there and it looks haunted and she's asked for a blessing to be put on her house). Well there was this shrine thing on her walk way and a smoke thing and noises and spiders everywhere and bats flying. I'm just standing in front of this shrine thing and it's dark and I'm trying to figure out what it is and my companion turns back so I start to turn back. Then, the dreaded voice of the man we've been trying to avoid booms out so creepily, "Where ya goin' don't you want some candy!" Apparently he was sitting behind this table of a shrine, and he has this stringy grey beard. He was sitting in this couch that they covered with black fabric and he had this black hat on. I was standing in front of him for like 5 minutes before that and didn't figure out he was sitting right in front of me. SO CREEPED OUT! We got some candy out of it, so it was okay.


The sky is HUGE out here.


Barn next to the Williams.
Field next to the Williams.

We helped Bro Williams
tie shingles together to burn as firewood.
 The Elders were there as well...
let's just say it's not a secret
 I'm not photogenic...
it was cold outside....

They fed us after the service.
The elders real names are
Elder Jensen and Elder Pettit,
 but a less active lady we talked
with yesterday
 forgot Elder Pettit's name
and the fact that we call each other
companions, so she referred to him as
 Elder Jensen's "little partner"
teasing will ensue...




Monday, October 27, 2014

I'm on the Edge... of Nowhere...[Oct. 27, 2014]


I forgot to mention the housing coordinator pointed on a map where Goodland was, and I was like, "Wow that's in the middle of nowhere",,,and he goes, "Nope that's on the EDGE of nowhere." But he was wrong...it's in the middle of nowhere. 

We were at a less active's house, and he plays the guitar. He wanted to play some hymns for this thing and had a nice stack of copies from the hymnbook and was like, "It takes me forever to figure out the chords, if only I had someone who could do it for me." I was like I CAN DO IT and proceeded to aw him with my amazing chord analysis...(okay, it was something like that)! It was fun doing that again though. When I was taking my music theory, I wondered when on earth I would ever need to analyze chords in real life, but apparently there is that need. I think I remember how to do that better than play cello, I played for transfer devotional and my hand was just all sloppy and my wrist and fingers were so sore afterwards....I've lost all muscle. Aghhhh!

Apparently, I've sloughed off in talking about my companion. She is awesome! She is 22 and from Glendora, CA and is a dental assistant. She played a big role in a miracle we had this week. 

We met this guy once while tracting (his name is John and he is from Hungary, I informed him I was actually just there a few months ago and then he talked a bit more and was like oh I also went to school for three years in Austria and I was like I spent three months there! Study abroad for the win!)...and on Saturday when we had an appointment, he forgot and was on his way out the door, so we quickly set up another appointment and then Sister Fosselman asked him if he could make it to church tomorrow. Then he was like maybe and she went on about how important it is and that I was talking in it, and then he sighed and was like well do you have the address and do I have to drive myself there...um yeah....Then Sunday morning, Sister Fosselman called him and was like are you coming and he sighed again and was like what time does it start again and I just was thinking this whole time he is so annoyed with us. We haven't even really taught him anything. Well, church started and as I guessed, he was not there, but two seconds after the branch president started the announcements, guess who was in the doorway! 

We had dinner at the Klemm's, who are an awesome family and live on a buffalo ranch. (they fed us buffalo meatloaf, delish!) It took like 15 minutes of driving on a gravel road to get to their house and it was pitch black on our way back and there were speeding semi's hauling corn on this road and in an effort not to get hit head on, I had to teach Sister Fosselman how to use her brights...yeah that happened. The Klemm's found the church, because they felt they needed to start going to church, so they attended a couple different ones and one week tried the Mormon church and the bishop introduced himself. He was like, "Oh, are you just visiting?" They were like, "Uh, yeah sure." Then left, because they didn't know there was a Sunday School afterwards. A year later they went again randomly, and the bishop was like, "Oh, are you staying the next two hours this time?" They were like, "What?"... and he was like, "What?" ...and then realized they weren't members and introduced them to the missionaries. 

We talked about our next appointment, which happened to be with this young Baptist pastor, (we met him tracting and was super nice), well the Klemm's were like, "What's his name?" ...and Sister Klemm was friends with his wife on Facebook, and they gave us some good advice for how to approach it. 

Well, when we went to talk with him, he was really nice. He told us how he came across the Baptist church and what led him to be a pastor. Then we talked about his hold ups with our church, which are mainly he has this thing against Joseph Smith, something he found in the church history book, and also he for some reason doesn't like the fact of where we are going after this. He invited us to go out to lunch with his wife and him later, so maybe we will be able to help him then. He seemed really genuine and after we asked him why he was so nice he was just like well if what you guys are telling me is true, then I would be held accountable for it and should probably know.



What does the city of Goodland
and the axe murderer in your basement
have in common? They're both
 waiting for you...
Field...

Another field (sensing a theme??)...

Banner thing.



Sister Fosselman (flossy) and me.

 This is the Williams.
Brother Williams isn't a member,
I had to inform him that
the two baptisms I've had were old geezers
who's wives were members and
 he better watch out and
he just laughed and nodded his head.
He is the ultimate country bumpkin
(he calls himself that)
he owns a manure hauling business
and is the most hilarious person
 I have met on my mission yet.
I have not laughed so hard
as I have in Goodland.
 He likes to broaden our vocabulary,
so he uses words like Ol' biddy,
which he sometimes calls his wife
 and she rolls her eyes. 
He uses it as a term of endearment,
but really it means a defeathered chicken
or gossipy lady. He also calls
things ackumpuckie,
when he doesn't know what else to call them...
like delicious, but unidentifiable
chocolate dessert.
He attempted to enlist us
to haul manure for him,
but we informed him that was
not going to happen.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Travailler...[Oct. 20, 2014]

Sometimes, not often, but on occasion, I start thinking of things that stress me out for absolutely no reason, and I have to consciously stop thinking about it. Like what happens if you live on a time zone; does everyone just get super confused and you say I'll meet you at this time, and then you meet them and they are like no I meant the hour before that...and you have to say Mountain time or something like that, I don't know? I was thinking this back in Wichita, and I was like I'm sure people have it figured out stop thinking about it. Of course, now here I am only a few minutes away from a time zone. Thankfully, the fine town of Goodland is not divided by a time zone, so there is no confusion and I'm pretty sure there is no town on Earth that is divided by a time zone, so don't start worrying about it either, not like anyone would, I'm just really weird.

Anyways, in my last post, I said that I am near Garden City. I'm not. I just assumed so because I'm in the Garden City zone, but actually that is two hours away. I am 30 minutes from Burlington, Colorado where we have church. We introduced ourselves at church and the other new elder was like, I am so excited to be in Colorado and I was like thinking what is he on...oh wait that's right. This is going to take some getting used to.

We are in mountain time zone and our district leader is in central time zone, so we have to drive 30 minutes to Colby for district meeting and the time difference also makes calling interesting. Our mission has the district leader call us every night to talk about what you did that day, so now it is always at inconvenient times. Our branch is um, tiny....33 people came to church last Sunday, and 8 of those people were missionaries, 2 were a senior couple just driving through to their area in Florida, 2 elders are serving in Burlington, 2 were a senior couple that are serving in Burlington, and then us.


We obviously have a full time car, and actually in my last area in all three wards the missionaries have full time cars now. I mentioned how dangerous it is to bike in Wichita to my mission president, and I like to think it's because he took my advice. There's no street lights there, I don't know if it is to save on money or what, but the last night we were there, we biked in the evening after dark to get to some investigators, and we were crossing at a street light (we had blinking lights on our bikes at the time) and it was our right of way and a car turned left almost into my companion, it stopped like a foot away and sat honking it's horn. I love Kansas drivers....

This zone had interviews at the very end of transfers and there was some major drama and disobedience in this district, and each companionship got pulled one companion. Hence, probably the last minute change with my last companion not training. Of course, what do you do when there is disobedience in the furthest district from the mission office...you send in the Elder that is a marine and of course apparently Sister Seymour :D  The first thing my comp told me was, well that we are so far away, we can get away with more stuff and it's not as strict out here. In my brain I was just like, honey, I hope you enjoyed that when it lasted, because I didn't come out on a mission to waste my time doing things that I would do on my most boring day off the mission.

I'm pretty sure Goodland maintains it's population through online dating, my favorite ice breaker questions for members is how did you meet...and every answer I have gotten so far is online. It's super windy here as well, especially in front of Walmart, we had two people talk to us at different times about it one day and a less active who told us that he got a concussion from the wind and his car door. At the hospital, they obviously didn't believe him and took him to a room to ask about his wife. I've also heard of two instances (one was a semi and another a companionship last transfer) where cars have flipped on the highway just because of the wind.

My companion, Sister Fosselman, is awesome! Easiest companion to get along with and daily plans like a boss...it helps that she's been out 14 months. I hope I am not pushing her too much, because I can tell the amount of work we have been doing is more than she is used to, but we are going to rock it out here. We got 4 new investigators within an hour tracting a single street. Things just got real. Everyone who has been here longer than like 10 years knows each other, so we get referrals like crazy, it's awesome. It's just going to be hard getting members out with us, considering there is literally only a handful, (okay maybe not literally).


Goodland Watertower
Giant Van Gogh painting
in Goodland.

Anna and I.
She said to me as we were taking it,
 "oh you want a picture
of the one that got away."
 I was like, "um, no the one who is
 just taking her own good time.
It's all about time."

Barbara and I.



 Griz (the guy that got baptized
right when I got out),
Sister Andersen, and I
.

Grizz, being a wierdo,
with his wife, and I.

Grizz, his wife, and I. 

Sister Biel is a member
who just got sealed to her late husband.
She has been wanting to say
her testimony on Sundays,
but she can't walk to the pulpit.
Last Sunday, she got up the courage
 and asked them to give her
a microphone to say it,
 and even though it was so simple,
 it made a huge difference.
That's because there is a less active in the ward,
 who would otherwise not talk to her,
but was there to hear her testimony,
 and later did go up to her to ask her
 how it felt to be sealed to her husband.
The less active is working on
being able to be sealed to
her own deceased husband.
Sometimes things that don't seem so important
 really make all the difference in the world.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Wichitawesome...[Oct. 13, 2014]


Well, it's here, transfers....my companion got a training packet a couple weeks ago. So at first we were like, well, I guess I'm leaving because your getting a trainee, but then I realized hey maybe you're just followup training like me and going somewhere else. Yesterday, I mentioned this to a member we LOVE and she was like "hmmm...let me look at both of you and see who is leaving." She said I was, and then gave me three huge hugs. I was like, "NO, I'M NOT!" and she then was like..."Well, you're in denial." Then, she turned to my companion and was like..."We're feeding you next Sunday, what do you want?" and she said, "Pancakes." I WANT PANCAKES!
Well, last night, we found out that my companion got the training packet on accident...and then this morning, we found out that we are both getting pulled from College Hill, here in Wichita and no sisters are coming to replace us!! I guess you never know with transfers. I'll be in Goodland, near Garden City. My District Leader just sent a text saying, "There, I called it...Sis Seymour is in Goodland...translation for middle of--NO WHERE! Hahaha been there!"-- He's dead to me.-- My current companion had a really hard time getting along with her first companion and she talked about it a lot, now that companion is going to be my new companion. I'm trying super hard to go into it open minded!
That leaves all our investigators to the Elders, including a 12 and 11 year old girl who live with their single mom, which would be super weird for them to teach. Also, we have an older man who refuses to see Elders, because he claims they act like they know everything. He just started progressing, quit smoking and his wife was so happy we were finally making a difference. I know transfers are inspired...what's supposed to happen will happen; meaning their agency is going to be t-e-s-t-e-d.
On a side note, I was sitting in our last district meeting and eating this amazing Panera Bread pesto cheese-filled pasta creation when we were talking about Kneaders. I have worked with one of the Elders for 3 months, the other one 6 weeks, and there was a third. Well, the one I knew forever was like, "wow, you know a lot about Utah stuff, do you have family there?" I was like, "No, I went to BYU for three years before I came out." He was like dumbfounded and was like, "How old are you?" I was like, "Um, 21" and then in succession they each said, "You don't look 21, you don't act 21. Wow, you went to BYU for three years and didn't get married." --They're all dead to me as well.--
I should probably explain about the man in white below. It's a bit odd that the baptisms thus far on my mission are older men. I really think I have the soul of an old geezer...we just connect somehow. Well, he recently got married to a lady in our ward, and they were together before and raised 2 kids. He had taken the lessons with her, but she moved to Wichita and got baptized. Well, I felt like he needed to get baptized right away, and so we taught the last 4 lessons in 45 minutes (which is probably a record that isn't one you should strive for). But he took it all really well...and well, I guess we found it was a good thing later, because we would be leaving anyways. Also, coincidentally we haven't had any new investigators these past 2 weeks which we felt really bad about, but that makes the lives of the Elders less overwhelming which is a lot better. Meaning, investigators won't get lost in the shuffle.
Now, how to make the best pancakes in the world. Take any type of pancake mix and put in a lot of cinnamon, a little bit of nutmeg and almond extract and cook them. Then you can top with some homemade butter syrup if you so desire, but they're also good with plan maple syrup....so yummy!
The other picture--the one with the tarot card palm reader. (furture, not a typo, it's what the sign says, in case you don't get that) : Time to see what the furture holds!


Baptism

Baptism

Time to see what the "furture" holds...

Monday, October 6, 2014

Even If Things Get Heavy We'll All Float On...[Oct. 6, 2014]



Have you ever had one of those conversations where it starts off okay, but then by the end you realized it ruined your day and the rest of your week is shot. I'm starting to realize serving a foreign language mission can't be that bad. Something I get asked constantly, especially more annoyingly after people find out my major, is what I want to do when I grow up. My favorite answer now, is to live as a hermit in the mountains in a nice small house just big enough for a library, cello studio and tons of potted shrubbery, along with 2 big dogs and a tiny one and a couple cats. I'll have to start rumors somewhere along the line that I'm a crazy or something so that my self-proclaimed hermitage will continue uninterrupted. Kids will walk and see in the distance my tiny cottage in the mountains and they'll be like, crazy Sister Seymour lives there, then I'll start playing my cello and they'll run away.

In the meantime, I guess I have to learn to communicate with people. Even Elders, who, if I remind them 5 times, still forget to put a piece of paper we need from them in their bags. I've learned that the Lord works through imperfect people, but he still works through them. Even though the conversation I had that ruined my week was a bit of a misunderstanding and judgmental, I still learned things that I need to work on. They encourage us to always have a specific Christlike attribute to work on and I always knew that I had a great love for my investigators, but I'm realizing that I didn't have that same charity towards the missionary leadership. To quote myself in like every lesson I've ever given, it's all a progression. Or in the words of Elder Jorg Klebingat, "Acknowledge and face your weaknesses, but don't let them disable you. Some may be your companion until you leave this life."

There isn't too much to update on investigators, we finally went and saw Barbara, and she told us they didn't come to church because her nephew wanted to get a hair cut or something. He apparently doesn't like the fact that he's prematurely balding. Does anyone have a toupee?

In other news, I found the secret to how to make out of this world spaghetti sauce. First, ground the beef with Worcestershire sauce and basil. Then put it in a crockpot with garlic salt, Parmesan cheese, and this is key, two different tomato sauces. Like mushroom prego and off brand 3 cheese. As long as they both have distinct different flavor, that works. Then, you let the flavors work together in a crockpot all day, and in the words of that really annoying television cook--forgot his name, bam, amazing spaghetti sauce.

Okay, this was a whole lot of random, but whatever. I'm loving this thing called Fall and I'm PUMPED for it to turn into Winter. I now have "The Four Seasons" stuck in my head. I hope whoever is reading this has a fantastic week and I love you all!

Oh, btw go to meetthemormons.com and request it in your area, it takes 600 requests for it to come and they showed us some test runs of people watching it and it's a great missionary tool. Then, go opening weekend, (this coming weekend) because based on how many people watch it the more media will be on it. I've already seen it twice and it's pretty good, of course the last movie I saw was like half my life ago, so that might be biased...

 We found the worlds tiniest park
while tracting and took a swing break.