Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Out of the Darkness and into the Sun...[October 26, 2015]

Transfers are this week. I'll be going to....can I get a drum roll please?....Lamar, Colorado. It is the furthest you can get from the mission office, like even further than Goodland, KS. I am soooo excited to go back out west. Totally unexpected! I'm kind of sad that I won't be staying in Junction for the rest of this shin-dig, but I think it will be good to immerse myself in another town for these last two transfers. Junction will be missed, but I totes will be back to visit fo' sho'. 

Do you ever have that feeling like you have an amazing story to tell and you are bursting at the seams to finally get the niceties out of the way so you can get to it? Maybe that's not a feeling everyone gets, but I have it ALL THE TIME and I'm holding onto a spectacular one.

 An elder in our district...it may or may not be our district leader...takes pride in the fact that he can talk on the phone while biking and the person on the other line doesn't realize it. Conversations will go....uhhh are you on your bike? What!? How can you tell? oh it's the wind right? yeah....and you're breathing kind of heavily....no wAay! Well, last Friday he was biking and talking on a conference call and got distracted and ran into a car. Apparently, the crash wasn't too bad and he just got back on and biked the rest of the day. Well, the next morning his calf was all swollen and he went in and got xrays and it sounds like he fractured his leg. He finds out for sure today. So we had been loaning them the car and his companion has been driving. Last night after they gave it back to us he brings up the dreaded weight room topic. He is taking this whole thing as a sign of God humbling him and he apologized and we compromised to get the weight room from 6:30-7am. He had lightened up so much over the past couple days. I don't know if he was holding onto all of this and it was weighing down on him or what, but he was joking around with us and almost like a completely different person. He's a good guy. It really was our matching pride that created the situation. It will be nice not having to wake up at 4:45, but more importantly this whole experience has grown me sooo much. The refiner's fire is tough, but what you learn about yourself afterwards and the experience you gain from it is so incredibly worth it. We get these tough experiences as blessings from keeping the commandments. Isn't that crazy? Keeping the commandments doesn't make us live happy go lucky lives, but it makes them tough... and real... and it forms you into what you need to become.

 Oh my gosh, I am going to miss Sister Chappell so flippin' much!!! She is such a kindred spirit and my bosom buddy!! :'( Yesterday we sat through two Primary programs. I haven't seen a primary program (a real one, my last one was in Goodland and consisted of like 2 kids over the age of 10) for like 5 years. It was so delightful!)

 I keep forgetting to put this in, but at a zone conference I was sitting and eating my lunch when the conversation of first names got going. I told a sister that I sometimes tell people my first name is Elaine and her companion looks up and says, wait, it'
s not!? You told me your first name is Elaine....haha whoops! She also thought I had only been out for 6 months until someone I came out with told her we came out together and she figured it out.
Ugh, I just have no time to write in this!

 We went on exchanges and I actually got to stay in JC this time! I've been to Salina so much! Sister Palmer had been here for 7 months previously and she came with me and we visited some people she saw a lot and we kept expecting them to get all excited to see her, but every time they just were like same old same old. One person Sister Palmer was even like, I'm Sister Palmer, do you remember me from before and they just were like yeah and shrugged their shoulders. It was kind of sad, but also funny. I think she was just here for so long they think it's old news if she comes again.

 This week is going to be super exciting. I know transfers are always inspired and I am ready to see what this next transfer has to hold. Hopefully, its not as hard as the last one, but they keep getting harder and harder.....I guess if it's not harder, I will just be cheaped out on the experiences that I can gain. hmmm....

 Love you all and thank you so much for your prayers!
 Sorry no photos, but there will be plenty next week!

Monday, October 19, 2015

I'm really sorry Stephen, but your bicycle's been stolen...[October 19, 2015]

So there was sitting down in a small room sister trumpet was next to me after FET of the Johnson was sitting facing us between us for production of sugar hands down on the table I tried using the diction feature on my iPad and obviously needs some nerd to fix it. Totes not a problem the way I talk...
[Stop right there...Phew....for a moment I thought either I or her had completely lost a mind...but the most hilarious part is that there is "totes not a problem the way I talk"...I seriously do not make this stuff up...how could I??? Dear Readers...don't worry...the saga continues. Ask yourselves is this a mission blog or more like a novel? It definitely reaches new heights this week....]

 So there I was. Sitting down in a small classroom, with Sister Chappell next to me after FHE. Elder Jones was seated facing us. He had placed a small table between us, for protection I'm sure. His hands palm down on the table. "Sister Seymour, are you going to let go of your pride? Are you going to let this go?" My arms were crossed in front of me and I placed my right hand to my forehead. My eyes started welling up. I wanted to let it go. It wasn't pride holding me to this, it was standing up for what's right and fair. It wasn't about the YMCA. It was about not letting him walk all over me. I WANTED to let it go so bad. I had tension headaches every day. I was emotionally drained. I had just asked the zone leaders for a blessing that afternoon and I had been promised that this would soon be over.
The zone leaders talked with the APs about it and they told us that we need to figure things out ourselves. Of course the zone leaders also don't know what to do about it, so it kind of was all on me. There wasn't anything I could do, his "compromise" wasn't a compromise at all and we all knew it. Would it be right for me to just let it go? How far can I go?
In that moment I felt constrained. I know we weren't alone in that room and the angels that surround us were there supporting me. Then the words of my loving mother that I read in my email that day rang in me. Don't back down. "No."

[OK...Wait a minute...Back up...Remind me...How exactly did I get drug into this little drama when I am hundreds of miles away? I seriously do not remember saying, "Don't back down"....Does that really sound like something I would say??...If I did, why does she chose this moment to start listening to me?...Ugh!!...Once again--card carrying member of  "Loser Mom of the Year Club"...(Please tell me no one in RS reads this??)...Here's hoping that this drama is all a joke that she will come home and laugh about that we all took her seriously!!....]

We didn't have any more time so I asked if we could talk about it the next day and he told me to go home and pray about it and repent.
I got home and talked with the ward elders to see what they thought. Then sought some advice from the STLs and prayed and I finally, after an extremely long week, felt peace. It was over and done. The angels silently took their notes. The bubbles in that test were filled in and whatever actions we all took in it were noted.
It was interesting, because this is the one and only thing that he would be like this over. We all have an Achilles Heel (well, technically we all have an Achilles' tendon... haha!)
Of course, the aftermath still goes on. It was bike week so Weds and Fri we woke up at 4:45 so we could bike to the Y so we had enough time to exercise before the elders came in at 6, which now means my body just wakes up at 4:45 every day :( Tues the Spanish elders were talking with Elder Jones in an interview and they brought it up and said it wasn't fair. That was right before District meeting and they got in an argument in DM which was awkward.
The cherry on top was Weds morning we were in the weight room and 5:55 rolls around and I'm facing Sister Chappell who is on a machine and there's a door with a window behind her. I see an elder peek through, but I couldn't see who it was fast enough, then I see an older guy look through. It took my early morning brain a couple secs to process it, but then I turn wide eyed to Sister Chappell....uh President is here.
No, he's not.
Uh yeah, he really is.
We awkwardly walk in the hallway and President was like its so great to see you guys up so early to exercise! What do you guys like to do? Sister Chappell mumbles, lift weights. Wow, that's awesome! Well, don't leave on our account. Haha, yeah.....
I don't know the whole story, but what I gather is E. Jones asked to go on exchanges with him and he came. Apparently, he also didn't know about the whole weight room drama because the ZLs were talking about it afterwards. Regardless we unexpectedly saw President at 6am in sweaty exercise clothes with no make up.
Nothing much has happened since. We are just trying to keep the peace.
But after all this I'm now almost positive I'm leaving. I was talking with the ZLs the other day and complaining that we have a baptism and Elder Stevenson (the new apostle) is coming to stake conference the weekend after I'm gone and they were like, "hey, it's not 100% sure you're gone....just 95% sure"...yeah.
I was thinking about it yesterday and over the past 4 and 1/2 years I have lived in 12 different wards. (Wards that I went to at least 6 weeks in a row and served in) it's no fun...the life of a nomad.
This week was hard with lots of biking and no one being home. The weather is phenomenal though. People in our apartment complex probably think I'm high all the time because every time we leave the apartment I talk a deep breathe and just marvel....it is sooooo beautiful!
Friday, we went to Wichita for a sisters conference. It was delightful. I learned a lot about myself. Sister Gomez was my STL before and she is uh-may-zing. We were in her training and she was telling us that sisters lose confidence, because we start listening to lies the adversary tells us, like I'm not good at this, no one likes me, I'm ugly. We start voicing these lies like they're truth. She then told us we need to make an honest inventory of our strengths and weaknesses. At one point she pointed out a few peoples strengths and randomly pointed at me and yelled Sister Seymour is so BOLD. (haha, some people would say that would be on my weakness list.) She's a doll though and exactly what I needed to hear.
We saw our bud from last transfer, E. Christiansen. He is in the office now and lit up when he saw us.
Now for some funny bike stories.
Both took place around 8:00 so in the dark and Kansas is too cheap for street lights( the ones that light up the street, not the ones that direct traffic) so it's really dark. Well we were biking pretty much all the way across junction and we hear this clanging and it was like we ran over a glass bottle or something. Sister Chappell joked that hopefully it wasn't something that fell off our bikes. We get there and Sister Chappell asks where her kickstand went...it's a goner.
Sister Chappell is faster than me so she was way ahead and I get to this giant truck that is parked and hide behind it to see how long it would take for Sister Chappell to notice I'm not behind her. Well this black lady comes along and mentions what is that flashing light!? It was my back light, but she curiously comes closer and all I'm thinking is she is giving away my hiding spot! Well she was very talkative and we of course go into the conversation of religion. She goes to Faith Tabernacle which could also be referred to as the great and spacious building. She was super nice though and pretty much told her life story as I was standing in the road mounted on my bike with my helmet on. Sister Chappell finally came back and told me she went all the way to our destination before she noticed I was not behind her and probably dead on the side of the road.
Well, here's to hoping that was my last bike week ever! :)
The Bohmans mission ended and it was so sad! They lived across the hall from us and have lent many a shoulder to figuratively cry on. Us and the Spanish elders helped them move. I get to be the first one to see them off the mission though! I also found out that out of the 9 people in our district I'm the only one not from Utah....yeah....

Milford Lake on the way to Wakefield

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

It's fun to stay at the YMCA...[Oct. 12, 2015]

This week has just been one of those weeks. I wouldn't say we got into an all out war, because it never got declared....but it definitely was what congress would declare a "conflict". We've been having a disagreement over the gym and which resulted in a new policy from MLC and several discussions between us and the Zone Leaders and the Zone Leaders and the APs and President. It's been just dandy. In an effort to not have to abridge myself I'm just not going to post any details in a public format, but if you want them just email me or my mom and we can just copy and paste the whole story...preferably me, because I'm getting a pathetic amount of emails compared to my companion. :D
Consequently, angels have been watching over us. Our week was full of awesome lessons and lots of people earnestly seeking for truth. One such person is Sunshine. We just talked with her on the street and she mentioned she met with missionaries before. We had been stopping by her place, but it always was not "good timing" we were about to drop her, but we tried again and we got to sit down with her and her husband and they both were very interested. We explained about the Book of Mormon and he was like I really want to read that! Do you have another copy? Haha, yep. Another occasion, we visited a member we never had met and she was doing the hair of two of her friends and she was so good at getting them to understand our purpose and both of them were super interested
and committed to come to church.

We decided we needed some good pics together. Sister Chappell is the only reason I'm surviving out here. She is my best friend and I am so mad that I have to wait a stinkin' year to hang out with her
afterwards. We understand each others quirks and we have so much fun together.
I had a stomach ache and my biceps were killing me so we made a pit stop at CVS and I got some Sprite and muscle rub and both were exactly what I needed. I thought the Sprite can had a quote on it that was quite fitting.
Oh and we had some flour wars on p-day.

Monday, October 5, 2015

For some reason I can't explain, I know St. Peter will call my name...[October 5, 2015]

Well, this week marked the first time on my mission I've been pulled over. As it's been mentioned in the past...I make sure when it's our turn for the red car...we get it. Well, the elders didn't mention to me that they for some they decided to turn off the automatic lights, and I didn't notice it until law enforcement brought it to my attention. Just got off with a verbal warning, huzzah!

We had a zone conference that lasted from 9-5 on Tuesday and it was so good. We talked about being spiritual giants which was inspiring. Elder Jones gave an awesome training on visions and goals, and I think that was all a good prelude to conference weekend. I think the biggest thing you can gain from conference is first, to remember and ingrain the spirit you felt as the apostles witnessed of Christ and second, what are you specifically going to do about it. What are you going to change to progress.

I realized that one of the reasons I'm lacking in confidence is without even realizing it, I think negative or judgmental thoughts about people and I want to recognize when I'm doing it and change.

 We had a lot of investigators watch conference which was awesome. One was Sharla, who has been investigating the church for forevers and it was her first time making it to the building. She has a 4 year old who amazingly kept entertained with the several copies of coloring pages I got from the lesson manuals in the library. Her baby was also with her and slept for most of it. Sharla LOVED conference and I think it's finally getting to be the right time for her with everything.

Elder Jones has been like a completely different missionary since we had our talk. There was just one day last week where we had really bad numbers. Sometimes that just inexplicably happens and with it came the smallest of reflections of the old E. Jones, but it went away again. There are few missionaries that I have had the honor of working with that are true spiritual giants and Elder Jones is definitely one of them. If we lay everything on the altar of sacrifice the Atonement truly can change us from where the natural man led us to what God intended for our divine nature.

Now for some comic relief....on Saturday, right after the afternoon session, Elder Jones calls us to tell us that a family in the branch invited us all to come over for a bbq in half in hour. We didn't have a
dinner, so we agreed to go. When we got to their house, we knocked. No answer. Rang the doorbell. No answer....okay...so we text the branch elders. They said that they were on exchanges and E. Jones was with a Spanish elder. We call up the Spanish elders and E. Tarma was with a member and said that his comp and E. Jones didn't have a phone. Then we decided E. Jones must've been pulling our leg and had us go to a rando members house expecting dinner, and we were already thinking of ways to get back at him. Well, I was thinking maybe we should check in the back, but first off, it's on Post so that would be creeper status and some MP will come at us. So while we were doing all of this we were in the car, so we decide to try one more time and we go back and they still weren't home. Right when we decide to go home, their neighbor comes out and asks if we're with the missionaries....uhhh, yeah? Then he tells us we can just go in and that their in his house, apparently the bbq was at their neighbors house.
We still will probably get the Zumbrennens involved. "oh hey elders, what's up?" "not much, just excited for dinner" "um...." Just kidding. That would be mean.... ;)

Have I talked about the joys of going on Post. It requires every week to go get passes, which is like 8 miles out of our way. They do a big background check and I had one comp who they told her that her parents car tags were expired. Then while on Post we can't talk with people except for members or friends of the members. Its also huge and hard to find anything.

We had an awesome lesson with an investigator we have living in a less active's home. I was talking about her relationship with God and she was explaining how she prays when things are going bad, but forgets to when it's going good. I explained that's not how it works, that He wants to here from us all the time and that's how we can rely on Him and I asked her how she can continue building that relationship all the time and she's like, well, I guess I need to go to church. THANK YOU. Been trying to tell you that since day uno, but now it finally got across. Haha, she still didn't get to church, but that's missionary work for ya.

A less active gave me her cello (side note--just so no snob musician freaks out--her cello was the same price as what it would cost to ship me home) to fix, because the tail piece string thing that goes around the end pin kept coming off. So I did what any highly educated luthier would do and super glued the metal screw thing that kept popping off. It worked. Now the problem, which she probably hasn't realized is that her bridge is stupid and not curved right, so the D string is like the same level as the A and G so it is really hard to play right. But you bet your bottom dollar I'm playing the heck out of that thing on p-day.

Sister Chappell used to go to the gym all the time to work out and we decided we need to start doing that. Skinny September ended up being the month of our biggest weight gain....the YMCA is an effort to not turn October into Obese October. So we are now having the exercise regime of waking up at 5:40 and treadmilling it for 30 minutes, then working out in the weight room--which Sister Chappell is an expert at. The unfortunate part is you can probably guess who also frequents the gym at 6 am.

Now for a side story--also wow, sorry this is the longest post ever-- so there once was a father and son who were making a journey to the market to sell their donkey. To get there they had to go through 3 towns. To the first town the father offered the son to ride the donkey, so as the son was riding it and the father walking beside it the town people would murmur saying, how rude of it was for the son to not let his elderly father ride the donkey. So the father and son switched places and as they were going through the 2nd town the townspeople would say how rude it was for the father to not let his young son ride the donkey. So they both got on and rode it through the 3rd town and by the time they got to the market the donkey was so worn out that no one wanted to buy it.
Now what should have happened is the father and son should have made a plan, where the son could ride it through the first town and the father through the second and they both walk the third in an effort to give the donkey time to recuperate and look healthy for the market. Then as they were riding it wouldn't matter what people said to them, because they could look at each other with full confidence, because they had a plan.

So Saturday mornings at 6 am, the YMCA is closed and we do this just delightful thing called morning sports. *the sarcasm is so real for this one* so we do soccer, basketball, volleyball and last time we did smashball. It's a true test of patience for whoever is on my team. It actually isn't as bad as I was imagining, but I'm still about as good as chopped liver next to any other elder. My middle child syndrome was kicking in and I was kind of annoyed with it all. These kids all did sports in high school and that's so easy to find and do....then God sent me a cello. Now I'm all good.

We went to Herington and found this delightful field decorated.
Just hanging out with my mummy friend.
Sister Chappell and I started making a list of people who we love and would want in our room of favorite people. It consists of like everyone in Junction City, so we decided we want to start taking pictures with all of these people. This is the first with Twana, Sister Humbard and Jen.
Exhibit A for reasons we are gaining so much weight.