Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween! Happy November!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I was thinking of the family last night around 8 p.m. when the party started for you guys. I hope it was awesome! I want to see pictures!
This week was cool, let me tell ya all about it.
Well, since we had such an awesome week last week, the Lord decided to give us Tuesday.... We had 6 appointments scheduled for the day and were way excited because 3 were legit investigators. By the time companion study ended, we had 2 of those appointments cancel. Throughout the day, 2 others boached (we had an appointment and they weren't there). So, as you can tell, we were quite flustered with how our day was turning out. We went to Hector's with a member, and his wife was there and wanted all appointments with them to be cancelled. UGH!! Luckily our member grew up Catholic and told her that she wanted to talk to her on why she converted and the wonderful things about the gospel. So we were able to set up another appointment with them, and were saved at the last second. To add to this wonderful Tuesday, we were tracting and a lady came outside and said she was all set. I then said to her we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and she said, "Ya I can see that" and pointed to our tags, then she proceeded with saying, as she was looking at our tags, "well, I wasn't, ya know, looking at your, ya know... I mean, I could because, ya know, but...." Then proceeded to "check us out" and cover her eyes and say "whoa, I am not going to go there......" Yes, we were hit on by a woman... AWKWARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyway, today required much patience, prayer and understanding of why we receive trials. It did end with a great dinner with Ellie and her family.
Wednesday ROCKED! We started at Monique's home and she told us she still had the same concerns and we shared an awesome movie with her about why we have trials, it was shown at Time Out For Women. She liked it but then kept bringing up all these random questions about evolution, death row, etc. I was starting to realize that she was just making up excuses of why she shouldn't join the church. SO then we asked her if she liked it when we came over and how she felt. She then said, "I know this is true with my heart, I feel it, and I know this book is true, but I need proof in my mind." Sister Allen showed the book of mormon and said, "this is our proof. We won't gain more proof until we accept the resources we have." We then talked to her about how she needs to take a leap of faith. Then Sister Allen felt impressed to ask, so she asked if we could set a date for her to be baptized. To our complete amazement, she nodded and said yes. MONIQUE IS GETTING BAPTIZED! We were so happy! We asked when she would like to and she closed her eyes and sat there for a minute and said, "a 14 sounds good." We looked in our planners and saw that November 14 is a Sunday. Such a tender mercy from the Lord. She started crying and has been ecstatic ever since!
We were able to travel to Warren which could be the most beautiful city I have ever seen! We felt like we were in Scotland, Ireland, England and Greenland all in one. THere was a slight rain and everything was incredibly green and gorgeous! The Lord has truly blessed us with a beautiful earth. I took a lot of pictures!
So we were invited to a member's home to have dinner. Usually her dinners have an appetizer, main dish and homemade dessert and it is always amazing. She is around 80 so everything is homemade and delicious. So for dessert she made pumpkin pie and I was sooooo excited! The whip cream was out so I was sad about that but still excited. As I took my first bite, I about threw up the entire thing as well as dinner. THERE WAS SOMETHING MISSING IN THAT PIE. I don't know what it was, but it was the most disgusting pie I have ever had to endure. As I almost started to cry thinking I had the rest of the piece to somehow swallow, Sister Allen tapped my leg and made a face of pure horror as she did not know what to do and we both had the same thought: how are we going to eat the rest of the pie! I then cut up huge pieces, held my breath, stuck a piece on the very back of my throat and swallowed while trying not to shiver at the taste. It is a complete miracle that I forced it all down without anyone noticing my immense pain. But, I was able to complete the task. My first piece of food I couldn't handle on my mission.
On Friday, we were able to go see Kirby and Suehedy, and they are both so excited about learning more about the gospel! They are such a legit couple, and want to come to church and learn more. She is due November 27th, so we are going to help her paint her baby's room. I can't wait for their progression in the gospel!
Friday night, we were able to go to our ward Trunk or Treat and it turned out to be so much fun! Since people have a hard enough time telling us apart, we decided to switch nametags and wear the exact same thing with our cute Halloween socks. Lets just say people had struggles, and the bishop's dad was so confused. It was sad but very funny. Monique came with her daughter and she loved it! People are starting to get to know her better, and things are going great.
We went and taught the Rougeuts and her dad is Sam Waterston? He was on Law and Order I think and he lives with them. Mike said the more we come, we will probably see him. He then told us his neighbor 2 houses down is the funny guy of 3 musketeers, his last name is platt I think? So of course we had to drive by. Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon also live in the area, so we just might have to go find their houses as well. Who knew Connecticut would be so famous! Anyway, we had decided to teach them about Priesthood Blessings because he was getting one because he had cancer, and I prayed that I would know what to teach him and suddenly an image popped into my head of the cover of a specific ensign. So I went and found the one that was in my head, and as I opened it, the first talk was by president packer about the priesthood. The Lord truly blesses me in so many ways. I am grateful for the experiences like this that are so simple but are such a testimony builder of how the Holy Ghost guides us in the direction we need to be in.
At Bingo, we switched nametags and put on our wigs for Halloween, and only one person, Irma, could tell that we switched nametags. Everyone else just called us by our nametags and one lady said I looked like Lady Gaga.... Best day of my life.
Sunday was awesome because Monique, Suehedy, Heather & Mike, and many other investigators came to church and it was amazing!!! We were so happy that so many came, because we were thinking none would come. Sister Allen bore her testimony and it was perfect because all of the investigators were able to hear it and since they knew her it was much more meaningful for them.
We had to be in at 6, so we made chocolate covered pretzels and homemade reces peanut butter cups and handed out candy. It was such a fun night! I loved seeing all of the costumes of the kids. We went to bed so early and it felt so great to get a lot of rest.
I hope everyone has a great week! I love and miss you all!
Love, Lil

My new comp!

For all of you that were worried about my new companion, I don't think I could have gotten a better companion. We are so much alike, it is crazy! And people are having troubles telling us apart already because we are both blonde and cute. She is a lefty like me, and we have the same major. She did sign language in high school and loves sports. Wierd, we are like twins. Seriously, this past week was the best week of my mission. We worked incredibly hard, and have had a blast doing it. We had so much success because we have been strictly obedient, and we are not wasting time! I have been incredibly blessed to have her as my companion! She is from Spokan Washington and went to BYU-I, our only disagreement.
So we were planning on meeting Monique around 11 a.m. so we went over to her house and there was a note in her mailbox for Sister Thomas. We knocked at the door, and no one was home, and we read the letter which said how sad she was that Sister Thomas had been taken away from her so quickly, etc. So, our backup plan for this was to tract Northside Street. After we walked around and couldn't find it, we decided to just tract the street near her apartment which was Doman Street. As we were tracting each house, we went up to the third house, and knocked to find a guy named Nick. We told him who we were and if he would like to hear how he can come closer to Christ, and he said, "Ya actually! I am going into the Marines and I would like to have a religion when I enter." So of course we were so excited and set up a return appointment for the next day. When we were done, we walked back to our car and saw Monique walking inside her house. She turned and said, "Sisters!" So we walked over and she wanted us to come in right then, but we had an appointment and told her we would be back in an hour. It was no coincidence that she wasn't there so we tracted that random street to find Nick. The Lord puts us where we need to be!
We then went to Hector's and taught him the Plan of Salvation. As we were teaching him, I started reading a scripture, and Sister Allen gave him her scriptures to read from. After I read the scripture, he said, "I feel something when I hold this book." We then told him that it was the Holy Ghost he was feeling. It was awesome! It was amazing to see how the power of the Book of Mormon is real and that he could feel it.
After, we went to Monique's and had quite the experience talking about the Atonement and self worth. She doesn't believe that she will ever return to the Celestial Kingdom and that she is going to come back in another body. We then told her that this life is it... Haha sorry! She wondered why God would allow bad things to happen to good people because she has had such a hard life. We read with her the story of Ammon and Amulek and how they watched the mothers and children burn and how they stood by because they would be returning to their Father in Heaven and that those people will be judged for what they did. We also came to learn that because of people's agency they choose to do those things to other people, so this will be our focus for our next lesson.
So on Thursday, we met with Nick, and it was so awesome! We couldn't find a member to come with us, and it was raining so we weren't sure what we were going to do with teaching him. So we prayed that the rain would stop and that we could teach him somewhere. Turns out the rain stopped and he had a back porch where we could teach him the lesson outside. It wasn't even cold when we taught him! The Lord blesses us in many ways, even though they are simple. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and testified of its truthfulness and he loved it. He felt the spirit so strongly as did we! He committed to read it and as we talked about setting up another appointment with him, he said he would find out his schedule the next day and so we told him we would call him. So the next day he called us at like 5 right after he got his schedule to set up an appointment. He is so excited to learn and we are excited to teach him!
We were street contacting and talked to some boys our age and they directed us to a woman named Donna. We went to her house and she said she puts together bible studies for teenagers around her area. She was hesitant because we were Mormons, but said she would like to meet with us to see what we are about. We are excited, because this could be a great missionary opportunity for many teenagers!
So the first week I was here, I don't know if you all remember, we tracted Barber street and we found Kirby and he was legit! He wanted to hear more and loved the Book of Mormon. We came back for our return appointment and he wasn't there and later met his wife after many visits to their house and she wanted us to come back but she was never there again. SInce I had felt so strongly about them, I decided to not give up. So, we went and knocked on their door and no luck. We went again the next day, and Suehedy (kirby's wife) answered the door! We were so excited! We asked if we could come back for another appointment and she said, "Can you come in and teach me now?" So we pretty much ran inside because we were so excited to teach her and had one of the most powerful lessons I have ever taught. We taught about the Book of Mormon, and she told us that she had just lost custody of her daughter. At that moment, Sister Allen said to her, "I can promise you," and at this point I knew exactly what she was going to say and the spirit came over me so powerfully, tears filled my eyes, because I knew she was speaking from the Holy Ghost, and she said "if you live this gospel, you will have your daughter back in this home." Most amazing experience I have had so far on my mission. The spirit was so strong in that room, and after that we asked if she will be baptized if she knew it was true and she said "Yes!" So we asked if we could come back and she said yes as well and kept saying, "Now you are going to come back next Friday right?" Over and over again. They are solid, and I came out of that house feeling an extreme amount of Joy!!!!!
On Saturday, we pretty much contacted and tracted all day. We handed out more books than I have so far on my mission, and 2 of them were spanish. We have a street by our house that is all spanish, and we were walking and this spanish man called to us asking what we were all about. We started talking to him and he said he didn't speak english, so I told him we would be right back. So we ran home, grabbed a spanish book of mormon, called the APs to ask some spanish lines, went back, spoke little spanish and gave them the book of mormon. We decided that we are going to learn as much spanish as we can so we can talk to all of these people who speak spanish. It will be hard, but it will be worth it!
Ok, now for the story you all have been waiting for... SPIKE. So Wednesday night we are planning and we get a phone call. I answer, and a man says, "Are these the missionaries I met a while ago?" I then said, "Well, we are the sister missionaries, but the ones you met already left the area, but we can help you!" So he then tells me his name is Spike and he has done many bad things in his past and how he wants to change. So I told him we could meet with him and tell him what he can do to change his life. So he says Burger King is where we should meet. And when we get there, look out for someone wearing black or camo. Hmmm... Ok? So we go and walk in and Sister Allen whispers in my ear, "There he is, in the corner." I look and there's Spike in all black. As we approach him, he is writing letters, one of which read, "Dear Ghost". I noticed he was left handed and I said, "I see you are left handed, so are we!" He didn't think that was funny. So we sit down and start talking to him and he starts telling us that he has killed 3 people and he loves inflicting pain on others. It was then that Sister Allen says, "why would you enjoy that?" He goes on to tell us some flibble flabble about how he wants to die in 6 years if he hasn't found God. So, at that point we let him know in a very forward way that we are not going to put up with his stupidity and if he is serious we can help him and if he isn't, then we aren't going to waste our time. I think he was a bit shocked. He asked us if we would be cold outside, and he wanted to chat outside because the lady in the booth behind us was staring at him. We were scared for her life! She was like, "Oh, sorry!" Awkward! Anyway, we told him we wouldn't meet with him until he read the book of mormon and once he decided he was serious, to call us and we would meet with him. SO the next night he calls and says, "hey I want to come to church and I need a ride." It was stake conferencce and I told him it was too late to find a ride for the next morning (partially because we weren't sure if we should put a member in that position, and so we could tlak to the bishop about it) but we would for the following week. We were told to proceed with caution. Don't worry, we are smart and have the spirit of God.
The work continues, and I am loving it out here! I love you all!

Good Good Life

Well, yesterday was the best Sunday and pretty much best day of my mission. Let me tell you the deets!
So first of all, we have been teaching Monique, and for the past 2 Sundays hasn't made it to sacrament. Every week we send someone to her house, but she never is ready or is sleeping, etc. So she called in the morning and said, "I think I missed the girl that is supposed to pick me up because I was walking my dog." Why she was walking her dog when her ride was coming, I don't have any idea. So we were frustrated. We told her we would try next week. SO we are sitting in sacrament, and in walks Monique, her daughter HannahRose and her ride that had just so happened to be late when going to pick her up. COMPLETE HAPPINESS!!! I couldn't contain my excitement! I was so happy that her and her daughter were there. I spent all of sacrament and sunday school keeping hannahrose occupied so that monique could have a good church experience. She loved it. Everyone was so nice to her, and she even started talking more because she is sooo quiet. I took hannahrose to primary and she was bawling haha I didn't know what to do! So we went into nursery and she was fine. We will see if I can slowly move her into primary and not need to stay with her. Anyway, we taught her plan of salvation, and she said, "I just don't think its fair. I have done so many bad things (child out of wedlock) that I can never make it to the celestial kingdom." Tears were coming down her face. She doesn't believe that her sins can ever be forgiven. It is so hard to convince someone of Heavenly Father's love for them and I realize how much I take it for granted. Heavenly Father loves us so much its incredible and I am so grateful for what he has done for me. We told her to pray to feel His love. I am kinda nervous how we will teach her next, because we can't really move on from that point. Anyway, I was just so excited she came to church.

Next, we went and visited a less active member named david dingee. He went through the temple with his wife, got divorced and is now at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Sister Thomas was extremely bold with him and told him that he made a covenant and he needs to be in church renewing his covenants and not doing the things he is doing. He told us he would try to come to church in November. So yesterday, guess who walks in... David! He said work was cancelled today and he didn't need to go in so he figured church was where he needed to be. It was so awesome, biggest surprise! The Lord works in wonderful ways!
Since we had 2 baptisms, there were so many non members there, I have never seen sacrament so full! It was crazy how many people there were! And sincce it was sister Thomas' last sunday, tons of people were there to see her too. Then Brother Florian asks me to give a closing prayer. I got this from mom but I HATE saying closing prayers they scare me to death!
Anyway, the best part, the BAPTISMS!!! Seriously both Ellie and Bradley were SO HAPPY AND EXCITED! It is incredible how much bradley has changed, and he just loves the gospel! His family came and he talked about how great it was that he is in a new home now with Susan rather than his old family who was a bad family..... AWKAWARD! Its ok though they should know they were bad parents.... Ellie's mom needs to get baptized. She is so awesome and just loves me. We are a lot alike, but she doesn't want to be sealed to her husband forever. She is pretty much a mormon without being a mormon if that makes sense.
Sister Thomas bore her last testimony and she talked about how we can choose to be happy with the gospel. It was so great to hear her talk about all of the happiness she has seen in people's lives from all of the work she has done. She is someone who never slacked off and worked hard her entire mission, and she never regretted anything. Since she was put in this area, there were 9 baptisms! Before that, they had 7 in the past 4 years with elders. TAKE THAT BROTHERS!!!! Haha just kidding, but really....
So really cool story. We had exchanges again this past week because sister Thomas went to the Boston Temple (you get to go your last week in the mission). Anyway, my companion for the day has been out 3 transfers now and when it comes to missionary work she is a mute. She was so talkative but the second we would teach or talk to someone she went silent. So it was perfect training for me to have a greenie. Anyway, we were leaving monique's home and I saw this guy playing football with a bunch of kids and I had a strong feeling that I should go talk to him. But he was way far away and I didn't want to yell across the parking lot, so I stood there thinking of what I could do to go talk to him. Suddenly he turned towards us and yelled, "you are missing all the fun!" So of course I was so excited that he was talking to us so I yelled, "CAN WE COME TALK TO YOU!?" Haha pure excitedness/stupidity. He was like sure? So I walked up to him and said, "Hey, we are missionaries, and we would love to come teach you about how you can come unto Christ." With no success all day, I didn't expect much, and he says, "Ya, I would actually like that. How about 12 tomorrow?" AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Haha I was like great! I have a great feeling about you! Creepy! He was like haha ok cool. Anyway, so we went and taught him and we are teaching him again this week. He was saying how he thinks a lot about what comes after this life. woo woo!!
The Reed Family. I think if anything could go wrong to this family, it has happened. They went from having everything to nothing in a matter of months. They were rich and he got injured so they lost everything blah blah blah. SO we had a referral to go talk to them and they pretty much said the only reason they have made it as far as they have was their faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They read the bible every day as a family and pray about others and are grateful for these trials because they have become closer as a family. We have an appointment with them on Friday nad I am so excited to teach them! I hiope that we can help them and they can become members! I love this family, they have so much faith!
So I get my greenie tomorrow, and I can't wait to tell you how she is next week. Wish me luck on my training! Love you all so much!
Love, Lil


Here is a postcard that Lil sent home of her and her companion.

So, ESPN, located in Bristol, Connecticut, is about a half hour drive from our apartment. So, our district was able to go to ESPN and have a tour of it! It was so cool! I have some awesome pictures I am going to send home next week. The guy that gave us a tour was in charge of editing videos that are on the higher end of ESPN (coincidence? I think not!) So because of me, he took us to the main edting rooms where they edit the videos and stuff and showed me all of the stuff I loved to see. In his words, "your eyes lit up the second you walked into this room!" I was in heaven! I just wanted to sit down and start editing something! He was telling me about the cool ways they do stuff and I got to see where they make the highlight films and stuff. He was amazed at how much I knew and he was surprised because most people don't care about that stuff. I think everyone else on the tour was bugged because we had to go there haha. But it would be awesome to work there. I guess we saw a lot of famous athletes, and people from ESPN, but I didn't knkow any of them and I can't remember their names so ya. But I saw famous people... Speaking of famous people! Guess who lives in my area??? Whoopi Golberg, Andre Agassi, Brooke Shields and Suzanne Sommers! So we just might go tracting there sometime.... Hahah

So my comp leaves next week to go home on Tuesday. I am super nervous about training a new sister, because I feel like I just don't know enough! But, it will be such a good experience for me to put my faith in the Lord and work extra hard. I hope she is cool. Maybe I will sing to her in my pretty voice the first night so she can feel more comfortable. Who knows she may get lucky enough to see my crazy walk. We will see...

So we had exchanges this past week and I was able to spend 24 hours in Rhode Island! It was so cool! The area we were in was right on the beach, I hope I get to serve there sometime on my mission! I served with Sister Jacob, and she was so down to earth and chill. She had Mason Jennings playing and it was so legit. She found all of this music that is uplifting that isn't necessarily church and it counts so it was great to have a change in music.

So onto the spiritual stuff, we had met a girl street contacting and got a return appointment and she had boached us. So we kept going back to her house over and over and she was never there. Seriously we went so many times! But it was my first street contact so I didn't want to give up. Finally we went to her house and she was there! So we set up an appointment and met with her and talked to her about christ because she comes from a muslim background. Before we even finished the opening prayer, she was in tears! The spirit was incredibly strong, and it was such a wonderful moment. She said this is exactly what she needs and I am excited to keep working with her.

Onto Bradley. Bradley is a 14 year old boy who grew up with his parents abusing him and using him to sell drugs. Just a brief overview of how horrible his childhood was. So he is a foster child with his sister Morgan to Susan and Dean who are recent converts. Susan is the one who sent you that picture mom! Anyway, Morgan was baptized but Bradley just hadn't because he was not progressing and still doing bad things. Since I have been here we have worked really hard with him, and he has progressed so much that we asked him to be baptized. We were thinking it would be like January and he goes "YA! LETS DO IT ON SISTER THOMAS' LAST SUNDAY!" We were kinda hesitant because it was so soon, but he really wanted it so he met with President Pehrson, and he said Bradley was set to go!! Seriously I was so happy! He walks up to everyone and the first thing he says is, "I am getting baptized this sunday!" It is so great.. He is seriously so happy about it and can't wait! I seriously love that kid, because we have been through his conversion, and he really has changed in such a great way.

So everything is gorgeous here. I am so blessed to be in such a beautiful place!

Hahahaha so this is awesome. SO I have needed a haircut because I haven't had one and one night we were at the church teaching Sarah Starr a lesson and this 17 year old girl in the ward that is in the process of going to hair school was there. So, no big deal, my first haircut was in the church kitchen by a half learned 17 year old going to hair school...... DON'T TELL KEISHA SHE WILL KILL ME!!!! It was just a trim though and she did a pretty good job. Now all I need to do is figure out how to get my hair colored considering it is way expensive out here. Ellie's mom does hair so I might ask her. Who knows what my hair will look like! Such a change for me and my hair but so funny. Sister Thomas took pictures so I can send them home and everyone can document it.

Well, I don't have much else to say I don't think, but I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week!

Love, Princess Lil