Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Make a wish, take a chance, make a change and breakaway...[Aug. 24, 2015]

We had dinner with this family. She's not a member and he kind of broke away from the church for awhile. They are coming back and we had a really good time with them. They are so nice and super open and everything. They fed us this awesome meat from their crockpot and these like small pumpkins things they grew in their garden. We asked them how we eat it and they were like we are trying to figure that our ourselves. They even have this greenhouse cupboard thing set up in their house. They also have this super sweet great dane. Once they showed us this dog bed they built him out of reclaimed wood, I just knew it and was like, you guys would be awesome Oregonians and the second I said it I remembered seeing they had Oregon license plates. The husband is the one from Oregon and he's from Scappoose. Yeah, I can recognize my own kind...
Last Monday, we were talking to Elder Jones, we normally do improvement plans on Monday mornings, but for some unbeknownst reasons we've been blessed with hitting standard and so he was just calling us to see how we were doing and we mentioned since it was going to be our car week we wanted to make sure to get the red car, because it was our turn for that one. It was his bike week, so it was all the same to him, but the other elders had the red car and we were pretty sure they weren't going to give it to us. Just a side note, this is my reality, there's few things that I can look forward to and this is one of those things...okay I'm pathetic, anyways it was more on principle that it was our turn for the red car. So naturally, E. Jones asks us what is so awesome about this red car....well let me tell you. First off its a Toyota, so automatically better. It has better visibility and the best part, it has a usb we can listen to our music with. He then was like, so you like to listen to music...uh yeah music is my life...I think that's what got to him. He then attempted to commit us to give up music. Sister Chappell was so bothered by this that she looked up quotes from prophets of how important music is. She gave him a printout and he said it was going to burn his eyes out and to quote him he said, "I hate music." I can't watch the news, but this explains the earthquake that probably occurred in Vienna from all the great composers rolling in their graves. To be fair, I think he was joking, but its Elder Jones, so I really can't even tell.
We had a baptism this last Saturday, but we couldn't go, mainly because it was in Oklahoma....it was for Jordan! I've taught her like 2 or 3 times, so it was like the easiest thing ever. She is 9 and basically I think they weren't active when she was 8 and now they are and she was out of town the first month I was here. She had her grandpa do it; hence, it being in Oklahoma.
We went on exchanges on Thursday. I've had 3 exchanges since I've been in Junction and all of them I was the one that went to Salina. It's a pretty cool place, but I much prefer Junction. Both STLs have been my companion at one point or other and one of them we even had 3 people that have been both of our companions, and she served in Junction so we had a lot to talk about.
We have a baptism this Saturday for Sarah! She is one of the investigators that moved up from Oklahoma and they were investigating the church down there. She is the nicest person ever. She is 16 and lives with her sister that's in her 20s. We have been teaching both of them, but her sister hasn't been progressing as much. She likes to Bible bash with us which is kind of a joke, since my Bible knowledge goes as far as, wait, what book is the story of Esther in?? Well, she did mention about the Priesthood and that she doesn't believe there is such a thing of having Priesthood authority and then she said everything I have to say about the Priesthood so I just looked at Sister Chappell like, "help!" and she gave me the look of, "hey, I'm the trainee here!" So the only thing in my arsenal to pull out was Hebrews 5:4 and I read it to her and she's like well I've never seen that before let me get out my Bible and as she was opening it she glanced at Hebrews 6:1 and in her Bible version it pretty much said, okay we've talked about this over and over again, just drop it and get baptized.  It was so crazy. She took it as her answer and dropped it.
Well, Bible bashing still gets you nowhere. We came back the next time and she had questions about grace and we got in the whole, aren't we all saved? discussion. We couldn't get anywhere really, but she came to church with her sister the next day and guess what Relief Society was on. The Gift of Grace. She was eating it up and talked with a lady that made a comment during it and they got in a good discussion. She'll come around. We just need to get her reading the BOM.

Which reminds me, a few days ago we were leaving our apartment for the day and I turn around and ask Sister Chappell, how many BOMS do you have on you? She just gave me this very concerned look....
Lately I've been focusing a lot of my studies on Charity. At the beginning of my mission I had the desire to really learn how to not get stressed and I kind of realized that what I really need to work on is turning outward when things start getting bad and the natural thing to do is turn inward. It's so clear that is exactly what the Savior teaches any time that He is going through a trying time.
To sum everything up, things are going well, Sister Chappell is an awesome companion and I love training! I'm doing everything as I normally do, but inexplicably everything is coming together and the Lord is blessing us therefore we are earning the respect from District Leader Jones and I'm not as stressed out. I'm slowly learning to trust him....to solve the car problem he asked how we asked the elders for the car, and if we tried asking nicely. After that conversation that made me feel like a two year old, I swallowed my pride and we nicely asked the elders for the car....and miraculously they gave it to us. The Lower Lights never sounded so good. This is going to be one of those posts that I'll look back on and be embarrassed about....c'est la vie. But seriously I think this is coping mechanism of how I get through things. I focus on the little things that don't really matter, because if I spent all my time stressing about the big things my brain would turn into mush.
We have several progressing investigators and they just keep coming in. Why is it working out now and doesn't work out other times, I don't know, but I know this work is so much bigger than us and I'm so grateful and humbled by everyone that is helping us.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

And I Caaaann't stand em!...[Aug. 17, 2015]

If you don't recognize the title then it's been much too long since you've seen Singing in the Rain.
This week has been the most crazy week I've had in a long time. I don't feel stressed, because my stressors have changed. If that makes sense? Normally it's numbers and the work in general that stresses me out, but the work is going fantastic, which helps me feel I'm following the Lord's will. Plus, greenie miracles are real and awesome!
Yet my stomach still decided it wanted to hate on my esophagus and share the fun of stomach acid with it. I woke up in the middle of the night with a burning in my bosom and it wasn't divine revelation. Then I had it off and on all week....
Each transfer and district and area there is always something different that is your trial of faith and this time it's def not the area, because junction city is the best place on earth. Sister Chappell, my companion, is fantastic! So humble and ready to work. We are so busy all the time with one appt after another and we are seeing so many miracles! This past week we pretty much contacted the dozens
of people that I've been trying to get a hold of since I got here. We have had so many investigators and less actives open up to us and I am so excited for them to allow the Atonement to work on them. There is truly no greater thing on earth than to witness someone honestly be changed through that power.
I used to be better at writing specifically about people and their stories and concerns and what not and I think I just kind of got used to it all. Everyone is so different, but there is still patterns that happen when we make contact with everyone. They get excited and want to change and depending on how strong there faith is they will either make it over their trial of faith or they lose their momentum and get lulled into carnal security (I just read that this morning...can I just get a quick pitch in here of how awesome the Book of Mormon is?) Our job is to help them with it all...help them recognize their trial
of faith, guide them to tools that will help them. Then love them, teach them, encourage them, pray for them, etc. Then if they fail we have to somehow not put that failure on ourselves.
I think the hardest part about this transfer is definitely keeping our district together. Districts without unity FAIL. And I know it's so inspired the people that are in our districts. The vast difference
between our last two district leaders has taken its toll. Elder Jones is such a solid missionary and is the most consecrated person I've met. It's inspiring! but most of all it's intimidating. I really enjoying joking around with other missionaries and it's what keeps me going and I feel pretty confident at knowing how to keep everything professional, but fun. Our beloved district leader though is still working at the whole joking around part...it's kind of like trying to joke around with your TIWI (our beloved electronic car nanny) you can do it all you want, but more than likely it's not going to reciprocate it back and occasionally it'll rebuke the spirit out of you. I hate getting stressed out, but I know more than anything, this is what I need to learn now. I need to learn to stand up for myself and
not let outside influences let me question what I know. I need to continue learning signs that my body tells me I'm getting too stressed and just tell myself to not get stressed! That works rights?
Actually, what I'm really focusing my studies on (when I'm not attempting to study for every other person that is struggling and not able to find the answers for themselves) is faith. I have the faith
that we will receive miracles and I have the faith necessary for all this jazz to happen, but I was studying Jesus the Christ the other day and it told the story of Peter and it hit me like a brick. Peter had enough faith to ask the Savior to walk on water with Him and it happened. But when outside influences got in the flippin way he lost sight of it all and ultimately failed. (At least that's how we see it in ourselves, but Christ always comes and gets us before we sink) I feel like I have enough faith for this work to go forth, but when things start not going the right way I start stressing (aka fearing or
losing faith) and I look inward and I start to sink. Sinking is SO not fun. In the words of Modest Mouse, Even if things get heavy let's all float on...shall we?

A not so awesome picture of me and my companion.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The beat goes on and on and on and on and...[Aug. 10, 2015]

I love training! Sister Chappell is the bomb.com. She already has the first vision memorized and recited it in a lesson and she invited for baptism and got someone on date. She is the most easy going person on planet earth and is super, super humble.
We have had the CRAZIEST past few days since transfers. I don't even know what is making them crazy, we are visiting lots of members these days and seeing so many miracles. We had 3 investigators at sacrament, which was so awesome. Thankfully they were all in the ward, because in the branch there was a talk given and it was on the importance of families, but I think the word constitution was mentioned the most and polygamy was brought up and overall the spirit wasn't incredibly strong during it....bleg.
There is a giant contrast between district cultures from last transfer to this, considering only 3 of the 8 missionaries have stayed and E.Howell and E.Jones could not be more different. Both great missionaries, but very different ways to go about doing it. I think also, because it has been such a chaotic past few days it's just been stressful and we just all need to settle in and get our stuff together.
We met with a less active that pretty much only came to church, because her mom was in town, but I managed to get a return appt out of her and she was so nice! Her mom was also there and I think it helped to lighten things up. We got to know her well and the most miraculous thing of all....she just bought a cello and wants to learn....I think we'll be seeing more of her ;)
I think I influenced Sister Duffin more than I realized, by the time she left, she got a new haircut, bought makeup and pierced her ears. I turn my companions into babes...what can I say? Haha...okay, I didn't say I influenced her for the good necessarily.
Going to transfer devotional was hard! I hate saying goodbye to people and I knew so many of the people going home, so well! Two were my past companions and several I had worked closely with. It literally
feels like saying goodbye to your family every 6 weeks and it sucks.
This blog post is scattered and I don't have any pictures...I'm a terrible person. Oh also, I randomly fell down in the bathroom, because I slipped on nothing, it was ridiculous and I also am obsessed
with how many wrinkles I have by my eyes...I'm 22 going on 62. 

On that note, have a great week! Love you all!!!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Woah, that's a wot of gweenies!...[August 3, 2015]

The Zone Leaders in Topeka created a video where they were giving a news brief on last transfers, transfers that were happening. They were doing it in funny accents and at one point they said the title of this blog and Sister Duffin and I have been quoting it all transfer.
Apparently, we were just being prophetic though. So through a series of unfortunate events I'm now pregnant about to
give birth on Wednesday to a 5 bouncing baby missionaries. Junction City has 3 other sets of Elders and we all will be training. The Branch is getting white washed though (both missionaries are leaving)  Elder Jones is stepping down from AP to fill Elder Howells shoes and he is training not one (because that's too easy...right?) but two missionaries. So now our lovely junction district will have 5 greenies
and 4 non-greenies.
As mission culture states, each missionary has a mission mom and dad, if you're a sister, your DL is your dad and your trainer is obvs your mom. If you're an elder your trainer is your dad and the oldest sister in your district is your mom....me. I spent 9 months of my mission thinking this was the most retarded thing ever, but then I realized this gives me full right to call a random elder Dad, which highly entertains my 12-year-old sense of humor. Plus, your trainer really
does feel like someone who is introducing you into this crazy world of mission life. My parents split after 6 weeks as my mom got her visa and took off to Brazil....okay it gets weird if you look into it too far...especially if you look into my now polygamist district. Yep, enough with that!
Both the Ward and Branch Elders had a baptism on Saturday. Both guys are so solid. The 2nd one already is tight with the Stake President and has met Elder Sitati from the 70. Sometimes I just want to scream at these Elders, "How do you do it?!!"
But I don't think they would even know the answer to that. Mainly because we, as missionaries, literally do nothing. Okay, maybe not literally, but compared to what God and His other peeps are doing, it's pretty much nothing.
I know that faith precedes the miracle and I had/have SO MUCH faith for this area. Yet why aren't we seeing the results? I think any time you aren't seeing success (well at least for me) it's God's way of telling you, you can do better; you need to improve something. Then you need to give up your pride, put on a cloak of meekness and figure it out. Or in the words of my loving mother and older sisters, put on
your big girl pants. I used to recite in my head all the time, faith is a principle of power. Which it is, there is so much power in just positive thinking and full-heartedly believing something will happen...but faith ALSO is a principle of action.
It's so easy to figuratively think of all these things, but so much harder to actually apply. How can I act better on the faith I have? I have no idea, but I know that this is yet another pivot point in my mission and I think God is telling me to step it up.
I'm so scared for this next transfer, but I am sooooooo excited for some greenie miracles!!
Wait, I got one more story! So, we were driving to go see one of our investigators that hasn't kept her appts or texted us back. We met her through the elders, because she lives next door. So as we were driving along and turned into the alley to get to her place, we realized that a big garbage truck was blocking the way and then it started backing up towards us. So, I yelled, "emergency back-up!" And backed out of there. (It's against the mission rules to back up without a backer)
well as luck would have it all 4 elders were in their car right after the garbage truck and they slowly pulled up to us and I yelled there was a garbage truck! E.Howell leans out the window and in a nasally voice yells, I saw that, your grounded! Then they drive off. The whole incident was so ridiculous that I was cracking up so hard I couldn't
I also have gotten about 5 aggressive drivers from the Tiwi since I've been in Junction. They are just doing a lot of repaving and stuff and it feels less aggressive than a speed bump when it has gone off. I think the Tiwi just hates me...it's okay, the feeling is mutual. 😑

One pic was with my old companion Sister Mitchell. We went on exchanges, because she is the STL here and she thought it would be fun to blow confetti. It's a long story how she got the confetti...it involves road kill...I mean the confetti isn't roadkill itself, ew, but I'm too lazy to write the whole story out.
Another pic for Juan's baptism the Elders made the official looking baptism programs and then the VIPs got the other programs that had this on the front.

It's hotter than heck, Charlie Brown....[July 27, 2015]

Sister Duffin has taught me how to dance like a peanut, which entails Sister Duffin has taught me how to dance like a peanut, which entails holding your arms straight down by your side as you shuffle your feet and hold your face down, then hold your face up to the sky. It sounds weird because it is weird. It is fantastically entertaining to participate in, though, especially at the end of a long day. Pictures will not follow.
So, I used to occasionally sleep with earplugs before my mission, but since my sleep has been all cray cray, I have to sleep with them all the time whether or not I have a loud companion. (I also sleep with pajamas on and fuzzy socks and a sweater under 7 blankets, but that's beside the point) well, I put a fresh pair of wax earplugs in, which you normally can't hear anything after you have a new pair of this puppies in, but in the middle of the night the tornado sirens went off and both Sister Duffin and I woke up. Apparently those sirens actually work...well kind of. We didn't know what to do, because normally our phones are programmed to send us warning texts with stuff like tornados, but we didn't get one. So, we texted the Bohmans (Sr. Couple) and asked what was happening and they had a TV and a weather radio and nothing came on those either. BTW it's storming like crazy during all this. So we just go back to bed and the next morning we find out that lightning hit one
of the sirens and it made them all go off.
On Friday we had no appts and no car. We walked in the afternoon for three hours visiting people and no one let us in. I was sweating so bad that I had to keep my eyes closed on the way back, because it was stinging my eyes so bad. I fell down on the couch and said over and over again very concerned how sure I was going to die. I lived though! I think I also made it through that experience without getting cranky, which is ridiculous to be proud of, but that's my reality in the summertime.
We didn't have much success this week, especially the saddest part was when our investigator didn't go to girls camp/Nauvoo. She really wanted to go, but it sounds like her mom, understandably, was nervous having her go that far with people she doesn't know very well. We did have an awesome miracle where a family that was close to baptism in Oklahoma got moved here because of the army. The Oklahoma sisters got permission to call us and tell us about them. Sounds super promising. We moved them in on Friday.

Sorry, I was too lazy to go to the library to do the pictures, I'll do them next week.

Junction City Elders and the. The weather on Friday the bright red dots above Wichita is us...yeah...