Monday, January 26, 2015

Awko Taco...[Jan. 26, 2015]

 Well, these days we spend a lot of time looking up former investigators (we have hundreds in our area book). Well yesterday, we had a stack of about 8 on two different streets, and we visited a couple and then we went to this one house. It was about 3:00pm. We were standing on the doorstep and there was all this KU stuff everywhere, so we figured they were college students or something. Then the mailbox had different names on it then the former we were going to see, so we figured they moved. So I pulled out a Book of Mormon, and we knocked. This girl answers the door, and she looks like she's in her twenties. I was like, "Hi! How are you?" (normally, a person who doesn't know us gives off a vibe that says..."What the crap are you doing on my doorstep and I'm going to do everything to get through this as fast as possible!") she did not give off this vibe, but instead said, "I'm good, how are you?" We were like, "Great." Then she said, "You're early."
I was thinking she was like going to be all smart with us and say like...the end of the world hasn't happened yet or something...and Sister Mitchell thought...she was having a party later and we were guests arriving early. Well, I just figured let's get on with this, so I introduced ourselves. She was like, "Yeah, I'm expecting missionaries in 3 hours for dinner." We were like, "Wait, really? What missionaries?" She was like, "Umm..."  We were like, "The Elders or Sherwood or something?" She was like, "Maybe." Then I thought about it and I was like, "Are you Melanie Mortenson?" She was like, "Yeah." I was like oh snap we just tracted into our dinner.
She wasn't in church for the past three weeks, so we didn't know what she looked like.
This week we had dinner with this one sweet old couple. She made these "taco burgers" which tasted like a better version of sloppy joes. It was taco meat, with lettuce and cheese. Yum. Unfortunately, we had them right after we had a District lunch after our District Meeting that was at a Chinese buffet that's called Chow Time. It has been closed down about 5 times, but miraculously I didn't get food poisoning.
We also had dinner with a recent convert that Sister Mitchell introduced the Gospel to when she was in Topeka (in a different ward) about 7 months ago. He had some issues with drugs before he was a member, and we were deciding where to eat (it was once again Friday night, a great night apparently to bum off of members for out to eat food.). We were standing on a corner and looking at the glorious bounty of restaurant choices before us. He was listing off a couple and he was like, "Yeah that sandwich shop place over there is where I got my weed. Okay...then he was listing off more--and he was like Cracker Barrel--I was like, "Is that where you got your crack?"...he just looked at me like--oh my gosh. I crack myself up way too much....bahaha it never gets old. He told us his conversion story, it was awesome.
This is the first week that I didn't take pictures, so here's a pic of my name tag. I wrote the scripture on the back so I measure how much I lived up to it every time I take it off. There's your cheesy thing for the week.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Westboro Baptist Church of ToPEKa...[Jan. 19, 2015]

I don't remember if I told this story before, but I don't think I have and it is fairly pertinent. Well, about 3 months ago when I was in Goodland, we were emailing and a man came up to us and asked if we were the missionaries for Goodland. We were like, uhh yeah....
We were in Goodland, we knew all the members in Goodland, we were super confused who this guy was. He was like, "Well I'm from California and I took a trip up here by bus to tour the colleges in Kansas and see if I want to go here, but this trip has been the worst and I never want to step foot in Kansas again."
He was yelling this in the middle of the library which was in Kansas, it was super awkward. We were like, "Oh no, why has Kansas been so bad?" He said, "I was late to my bus so I was stranded in Goodland (super sad day for him) and I have been calling your Branch President (he was on vacation at the time) and the Branch President in Colby (branch 30 minutes away that is not our branch) and no one has helped me, what, is this the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka?!" At the time Sis. Fosselman and I had no idea what the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka was. Well, we helped him out as much as we could and he finally made it to his bus and left.  Later that week at District Meeting the Elders were like, "Did he keep comparing us to the Westboro Baptist Church to you like he did for us?" We were like, "Yeah! What is that?" The Elder said it's a church in Topeka that hates gays very openly. Well later down the road Elder Osorio explained to us that there is a rainbow house right across the street, where gays live and they painted the house rainbow and the mailbox. They just sit there and look at this Westboro Baptist Church that constantly protests against gays.
When I found out I was going to Topeka I decided I needed to find this house. One day we were coming back from an appt., and we passed right by it! It's even in our area! So naturally we got some pics. They are at the bottom.
This week has been full of ups and downs. One day we had 4 appts. and by around 4:00pm all appointments got canceled, so we were sitting in our car. On top of that my companion (whoops, forgot to mention she has diabetes) had a low blood sugar, like way low, so she was checking that and eating chocolate (having a companion with diabetes has been great for my diet regime (dang it we're trying to be less sarcastic as a zone...not gonna happen...I take pride in seeing how many times I can get my zone leaders to be sarcastic on the phone!) Like always, I was thinking about what I was going to eat for dinner and finally we decided to go to Texas Roadhouse--buy something cheap like a salad and just eat amrap (as many rolls as possible...I just made that up on the spot--I'm in a weird mood!)
Well, we forgot it was Friday night, so it was super busy....It was awesome! While waiting for a table with everyone else stuck there, we just passed out pass along cards. Then some girl comes up to us and goes, I" just got off my mission yesterday!" This might not seem like such a miracle if you are in Utah right now, but here in Kansas members are few and far between, or at least I thought. She just has Elders in her ward so she gave us her number to call her whenever we need someone! They also ended up paying for our meal. I LOVE MEMBERS!!
Yesterday this 12 year old gave a talk and he had a whole stack of printer paper. In big typed out letters on each page he had about a sentence or half a sentence of his talk. Totes doing that for my homecoming. One page got stuck and he was halfway through a sentence....
Also, yesterday there was this lady that was randomly at church, I asked the Elders, "Are you teaching her?" "No" we went up and talked with her. A less active just invited her to come. Needless to say, we have an appt. on Tuesday. Oh she's also African American. I've been praying for a blacktism
....[I have to intervene...she is in a weird mood...either she has been in Kansas too long or someone slipped something in her Wheaties!!  I don't make this stuff up fyi!! is cut and paste!]
We had an investigator come to church, and she is just so awesome. She is the one that had dinner with us the first night we were here, with the members. She said last Thursday that she has just been looking forward to meeting with us all week and she just feels peace and light when she is with us. She cried all through church and she texted us that she talked with her daughter about the church and it was a really good discussion. She has 3 teenage kids and she really wants them to be on board with it as well, so we will see what happens. I'm so excited, she has been prepared and she is ready. She has just been eating up whatever we give her. We send her scriptures every day and yesterday she said she just spent all morning on and watching Mormon messages. They suck you in, just like we do.~~ Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but here's a Book of Mormon, wanna get baptized maybe?~~ ...Yeah, I'm in a weird mood.
I've been studying humility lately and more specifically how I can rely on the atonement more. It's been crazy, I feel like my mind has been blown every day.
I've been reading a lot of Jesus the Christ, which either hurts your brain or makes it want to explode and lots of conference talks. I never realized how really profound the atonement is. It's been great.



Monday, January 12, 2015

When One Door Closes...[Jan. 12, 2015]

Well, my days in Goodland are done and did. We visited Debbie one last time, and after telling us a long rendition about her morning where her neighbor drove her to Walmart. She backed him up and fell. Her yogurt got all over her and she was like at least it didn't go up my nose! Now everything isn't really as bad as you think, because the yogurt didn't go up your nose! She threatened to duct tape us to the wall. We told her that would probably not change anything, so she let us go :'(
I'm in Kaw Valley now, which is a ward (yeah, ward, I almost forgot what that meant!) in Topeka. Topeka is like heaven, but not, but it is. Our first night here, we got a memo from the Elders that we had a dinner with the Budges. We called up Sister Budge and she explained her friend, whom she had taken to church before but isn't a member, is going to be there as well and if we wouldn't mind teaching her about the Restoration. Yeah, we didn't mind. We have had a dinner every night since I've been here, and the meal calendar for this month is like almost full.
I talked with one zone leader here and he said he never served in the West and I was like, "Aw man, that's too bad." He's like, "No it's not, see I actually like working with the members." Then I realized wait, members can actually do missionary work, say what?
We had only 2 investigators when we got here and because they were on date, our district leader said
the rest to just start at point A and get them all going again. We haven't been able to meet with too many people in our short time here, but the people we have, have been so solid.  Something else, they actually like have cars and money and stuff ...I know! Church isn't a half hour away! ...and they have about every restaurant you could possibly dream of here. I've seriously died (according to my niece who's watched too much Frozen, I've died in the ocean) and gone to heaven. Oh also, there is like hills here (small, but still not as flat as the West) (according to Sheri Dew who grew up in western Kansas, if you stood on a tuna can, you can see all of Kansas) ...and there's trees. I was standing outside and said, I've never seen so many trees in my LIFE! Then I remembered oh wait, sorry Oregon....
We went to Red Robin as a district today, so I was sitting there and one Elder was reading the other's license and was like '94, man you're so old!  I just raised my eyebrow then turned to the sisters to do some quick ...wait how old are you's?  Then found out I was the oldest one at the table of 8 missionaries. Aghhh! By the time I get back I'm going to be getting off the plane in one of those wheelchairs they have the airport people push for you.
The apartment we moved into was an Elders apartment before. It actually wasn't like dirty or anything, there was just random stuff everywhere. I swore off sweets, but in every cupboard there was some sort of candy. We put everything in a big box and then put it all in a closet. There was also 7 swords that were made from PVC pipe, pool noodles and duct tape. Elders....
There was a lot of food too, so that was nice. Plus, we have a dishwasher, washer and dryer...yes!
My comp is Sister Mitchell who is from a ranch in Spanish Fork canyon in Utah. She is a licensed hairstylist...yes! She is 20 and is super sweet. She also is hilarious. She has been out 10 months.

Our last district leader asked us
to decorate his planner...this
 is the back of it.
The Elder in the place of the
healed girl is Elder Pettit
...he laughed so it's all good.

My Dream Catcher

Sword Play

Monday, January 5, 2015

Good times in Goodland are over...[Jan. 5, 2015]

Oh how lovely was the morning.... Well, seeing as we are an hour earlier than everyone else, everyone else gets the transfer doctrine before us. Our lovely District Leader decided to call us after he saw it...turns out they are closing Goodland. Crazy how my mission is a complete pattern. I have been in two areas for two transfers each; and each transfer I've been in I've baptized once, and now each area I closed when I left. It's not good when someone tells you, "Oh my, I've closed so many areas." Your first impression is, not a big surprise you're a crappy missionary....NOW I'M THAT MISSIONARY! I kinda pretty much definitely feel like the scum of the earth. They like to say, "It's okay, there's just less sisters coming out." Which is partly true, but there is also plenty of areas they could've chosen to close. Plus, I'm going to an area that is opening for sisters. My anxiety level is rising, so I'm going to change subjects....
On a happier note, the Burlington Elders crashed the Colby Elders' car in a blizzard...just kidding this isn't a happier note. They were driving from Colby to Burlington (they were on exchanges) Saturday and a random blizzard, literally out of nowhere, started and they had zero visibility and ran into a car that was stopped on the highway. They are okay, but the car is totaled. 
We were in that same blizzard and just on our way home, the car got stuck twice. The first time miraculously this truck with two guys in it was behind us and they pushed us out. The second time was right before the alleyway into our driveway, and we had to borrow our landlords shovel. After about ten minutes of shoveling and pushing, we finally freed the car and we hunkered in for the night. 
Sunday, we went to Colby for church. (Did I mention I've been in a trio this past week? A sister reached the end of her mission and went home a week early--we went to her church.) Well there the Elders decided they wanted to use the car of the other sisters, because it's just sitting there.  But I accidentally left those keys at our apartment, so they went to go pick them up. We came home with all of our furniture moved. Thank you Elder Thompson.
This week has been full of so many miracles that I don't even know where to begin, because each one would have to take so much explanation. Let me just say that if you want something to really happen, get a missionary to fast about it.
Now back to the first paragraph, did you read my last blog post...yeah I still need to learn my lesson apparently. Well, I really don't care if all of my areas in my mission close, if I keep getting the amazing opportunity of baptizing every transfer, I will be happy as a clam. I love seeing that change in people. I'm going to get weepy now so I will stop.
Penny's Diner in Sharon Springs.
We have an investigator that
works there and we decided to visit it.
 It was so good
and after he took our order,
I just figured he would give the order
to the cook or something.
Lo and behold, he actually
makes the food too.  He pretty much
runs the entire show. A definite place
to stop by when/if I come back.


My first was everything
I hoped for and dreamed. 

Sister Fosselman, Don, and Me
in our "bibbers"

I don't know the gas prices
anywhere else, but in Colby, KS
this is what we got...
I feel like we should get more miles....

Shoveling snow at a members house
in Oakley.  It was above my left boot.

An investigators very friendly black lab.