Sunday, June 19, 2011

Birthday Week!

Well, I figure I will start off with a good story... Just in case you wonder after this story, I HAVE gained some street smarts while I have been out here! I am sure Patrick Timmy and Alex will disagree, but its true!

So with the start of summer, our apartment has turned into a brick oven. We have 2 fans that are constantly going, but for some reason our air wasn't working. We kept looking at the thermostat trying to figure it out, but it would only get more hot as the days went by. So, we figured something was wrong with the thermostat! That would only make sense right? So we called Tim, our maintenance man, to come take a look at it. He came, took a look at it, and said, "Ya know it is kinda acting funny, but you have to realize that these apartments are brick so they get pretty hot. Is your air conditioner on?" Sister Jacob and I both sat there in silence. He laughed and walked over to our desks, pulled them out, and showed us the air conditioner that was off. We had no idea we had one. He tried to make us feel better by saying he does dumb things all the time, but he also couldn't stop laughing while telling us. Needless to say, our apartment is at a nice 76 degrees at the moment, and it feels great. You learn the coolest things on a mission!

We went and taught G this week about the Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity and Law of Tithing. I don't think I know anyone that has more faith than that man. He talked about how he wasn't sure if he would have enough money after he paid his tithing to buy food and he asked what to do. So Brother P came with us and he explained how if we pay our tithing, the Lord will bless us and will provide a way. Right after his explanation, G said, "Well of course! I have to put the Lord first! Ok I will do it!" The same thing occurred with Word of Wisdom. After we left, he walked over to his coffee pot and threw it away. He understands that the Lord will provide a way no matter what. We asked him how he felt in church yesterday and he replied, "Perfect." He just smiles the entire time because he is so happy. He has a girlfriend over seas that he teaches her everything we teach him. She also loves it and is very interested in learning more about the gospel. I don't think anyone could be more ready for baptism than G is. In Priesthood (we heard this from a member because we obviously weren't in there) he stood up and announced that he is getting baptized on June 25 and he is very excited about it. I don't know how we were so blessed to find him. The Lord has truly blessed us in so many ways.

I don't know if you heard, but this past week there was a HUGE storm in Manchester! And, yes, we were caught in the middle of it. We were drenched! It felt good though because it was almost like swimming! But, our Relief Society activity was cancelled, and we were bummed!

This past week was Sister Jacob's birthday, and we pretty much had a birthday dinner every night of the week. One of them including Lobster! I even watched him put the live lobster into the pan! So crazy! Mom, you aren't going to like this, but I loved it! It tasted way good! The only part that was a bit much was when Sister Jacob cracked hers open, and Kim says, "Oh, you got the eggs!" There were all of these eggs inside, and I almost died. Too much. But I love lobster! Don't worry, Sister Jacob took videos of me cracking the shell and all. I know you are excited to see that.

Sister Gilmore made Sister Jacob a cake in the shape of a Book of Mormon. Coolest cake EVER!! I will send pictures. Its great when its my companion's birthday because it feels like mine too! Yay for birthdays!

I love you all!

Don't stop Believen"!!

Well, I am sure you are all wondering why my title of the email is the way it is. Well, this week is "Pride in Manchester" week titled, "See why we're special", and let me just say, its a pretty big deal. There are events every day of the week, including the senior citizen's dance and the history of the Silk Worms Factory. And to top it all off, they had a "Journey Tribute" band come to the main street park and rock out. Some ask, "Is that really Journey up there?" I mean, could Manchester get any better? I submit that it cannot! I guess that is why it is called the city of Village Charm. Boy am I lucky!

Besides the excitement of Pride in Manchester week, we had such an awesome week! For Memorial Day, Sister Gilmore took us to Wickham Park and took our "Glamour Shots". She wants to email them to mom and dad. Haha she said I have a fake smile. That is why I like to stay behind the camera and take the pictures instead. We then had a BBQ at the church and played volleyball with a couple families in the ward. Then we went shopping with Emily and Jen which was a great way to end the holiday. It turned out to be a lot of fun!

We have been so blessed with all of our investigators and recent converts. B and K were able to get settled in Texas, and K called last night to tell us she had dinner with Heather and Nate. Seriously, we have been so blessed! Of course we know someone down there that they can be friends with. I am so grateful that the Lord puts people in our paths that we can help.

On Saturday, we had A's baptism and it went perfectly! He asked Sister Jacob and I to speak and I spoke on the Holy Ghost. It was great to reflect on all of the many ways I have been blessed with the Holy Ghost. We are so blessed to be given this gift when we are baptized. He looked so happy to be baptized! The spirit was strong, and it was great to see him so happy. His brother came who is 17 and we are teaching him now! We are excited to teach him about the gospel. I love how this family is coming together and growing stronger through the gospel. Save families!!

Yesterday was the day worth talking about. So let me start with Saturday night. We went to the familie's home that we go to every night to say a thought and prayer and they have been improving so much, but Saturday night was rough. There was so much contention and everyone was yelling and mad at each other. They had been working to go to church on Sunday, but they all didn't want to go anymore because they didn't want to be near each other. It was so hard because they have been doing so well! So we tried our hardest to listen to the Spirit to tell us what to do, and we calmed everyone down and said a prayer together. We left feeling unsure about what to do. So yesterday morning we went to their home and got everyone together and they all said they didn't want to come to church. So we went to their computer and showed them a video on titled "Look to the Light" (I suggest you all watch it, its like 5 minutes). It was evident the video brought the spirit and everyone was calm after. It was incredible. So, Tasha said, "well, who is ready for church?" We left with the hope that their hearts were softened. So we got to church and were sitting there and church had started and it was about 1:15 when in walks the whole family. I was so happy! The smile on my face was huge!! One of the daughters made fun of me after because I was so excited to see them. They looked so nice and had smiles on their faces. After the 3 hours were over, they were all happy that they had come and stayed the whole time. Their hearts were softened and we went over last night and they were all happy and admitted it was because of church they were doing so much better.

To top off the wonderful day, G came to church!! Today was fast and testimony meeting, so of course the whole time I am wondering what he is thinking. The meeting was a bit scatterbrained, and so I was nervous he didn't feel the spirit. I was just too worried about it and analyzing everything so I figured he wouldn't come back. Well, we met with him after church and we asked him how he liked it, and he said, "It was incredible. I can see how the people here live the gospel. I love the feeling I have here and I feel like I have found home." It was a humbling experience for me, because I shouldn't have been so nervous. I know that if someone needs to feel the Holy Ghost, they will. I was definitely wrong, and I am so grateful that he was able to feel "home". Needless to say, he is getting baptized at the end of this month!! I can't wait. It will be right before the merge of the missions, so it will be exciting!

This past week rocked, and I am excited for this next week! I love you all!

Love, Elizabeth

Summer is DEFINITELY here!

Well, it is hot... VERY HOT!! But, since I complained about the freezing cold weather, I can't complain about the heat. AND since it is cold and rainy in Utah, I can't complain either. But, the humidity just might kill me, and it isn't even that bad yet! Or the mosquitos might eat me alive. One of the two... But I am not complaining, right?

ANYWAY, this past week was so great! We met many people who want to hear about the gospel; this area has so much potential! I just love it, this area is so great. It was interesting though, because we had so many return appointments that fell through and so we would go to our back up plan, and that plan was always what needed to happen. There would be someone we needed to see during that time that wanted to hear from us, even if they weren't looking for it. it is such a blessing to understand why some things just don't work out. Once that appointment cancels, or isn't there, we eagerly look for someone the Lord has put in our path. The Lord's timing is so great to see.

We had a training for all of the sisters in the mission at our Mission President's home this past week and that went so well. We talked about how we hold a great power and authority even though we don't hold the Priesthood. We also talked about how we can be humble and submit to the Lord's will. We have one thing to give to the Lord out here and that is our will. We can be a missionary or we can just be doing missionary things. It is up to us to decide if we want to just go through the motions or give our heart to the Lord and diligently work to find people who need to hear about the Restored Gospel. Needless to say, the conference was great for me to hear, because I know I need to work harder as a missionary.

So I don't remember if I told you about the G family yet, but they are a half english half spanish family so the spanish elders came out with us to teach them. So we get there, and the wife has been a little reluctant to listen to us, so I go up to her and say, "hello Jessica, how are you?" She then looks at me and says, "my name is JASMINE." Wow, I made that a better situation... NOT! I will take full blame for her not sitting in on the lesson. I need a good recovery for next week. Anyway, so us missionaries, Jose, and his mother in law came in and listened to the lesson. As the spanish elders were teaching, I felt like we were just the lame people in the corner who couldn't speak spanish. We needed to do something! So I prayed that the Lord would guide me to what I should do during this time. I was contemplating going to talk to J, and then suddenly one of their daughters, S, came over and sat by me. She is 11 and adorable. She turns to me and says, "can you tell me about the rapture?" So I explained to her about the rapture and Jesus Christ and the Resurrection and all of that fun jazz. So her and I got into a conversation about the gospel for the next 45 minutes and it was absolutely incredible. She was the smartest 11 year old I had ever met! She told me she wants to be a missionary and she sets up her dolls in her room and preaches to them about Jesus Christ. So cool! She also said she goes around inviting people to her church because she knows everyone needs to go to church. Incredible. So we talked to her about the Book of Mormon, and she was so excited to read it! She reads the Bible every day so she is going to add it to her "daily study". Jose said she is smarter than anyone he knows and will teach him everything about Jesus Christ. I am so excited to continue teaching this family! I love the ways that Heavenly Father answers my prayers and directs me to what I need to do so quickly!

We met with G and that went so well! He loves the Book of Mormon and "felt so good when I read it". Before we even asked him, he said he is coming to church this Sunday and finds everything we say fascinating. The Lord is just giving us so many people to teach! We are teaching him again this week.

So on Sunday, P received the Priesthood! He was so excited, and realizes how important the Priesthood is to him and his family. He told us his family has noticed such a difference in him and they aren't even members! He is setting a great example for them.

So I have really sad news. B and K, our recent converts, are moving to Texas tomorrow. I am so sad! BUT some crazy news is that they are moving to Dallas which I am pretty sure they are extremely close to Heather with what they described. I don't think that is a coincidence. So Heather can take on the missionary role and help them become comfortable with the church down there. They are so excited to meet her.

Life is great out here! I love you all! Have a great week!

Love, Elizabeth

Hello Family!

Well, I will start first with yesterday since it was pretty exciting! It was the New Haven Musical Fireside, so we were able to drive down to Woodbridge and be a part of that. As I was sitting in the choir seats waiting for it to start, in walks Mike Firmage!!!! I was so excited!! The performance went beautifully and right after I ran down to talk to him. He said he is moving to Utah? At least I got to see him here before he left. It was so great to see him and his wife. He said Bobby told him to heckle me. Oh weird.. I guess since I don't have any brothers here giving me a hard time it was about time for someone to do it. It was definitely a tender mercy from the Lord.
So this past week we had transfer meetings in Bloomfield and the whole mission was invited. The reason for this was the Massachusetts, Boston Mission President and his wife came and wanted to meet all of us before the merge. His wife was wearing an ADORABLE J. CREW sweater (no blazer) so I am HOPING that I can do the same at transfers and zone conferences....... We will see.... It was great to meet them, they said they are related to some Cannon's somehow. It was sad to hear President and Sister Pehrson speak to us about the merge. It will be hard, but we were all counseled to "not look back and move forward." It will be a bittersweet change.
We had many instances this past week where the Lord placed us where we needed to be when we didn't really understand. We had an appointment with L and went to his address and he didn't tell us which apartment he lived in. So we called him and he didn't answer. So we decided to go to each door until we found him! We knocked on every door and the second to last one, this sweet lady answered and we started talking to her. She was not interested until Sister Jacob asked her, "Has there ever been a question that you have always wanted answered and never found the answer to?" Suddenly she changed. She opened up and told us her many concerns about life, her church and her thoughts. It was incredible! We are meeting with her this week again and are looking forward to it. All because L didn't tell us the apartment address. So great.
We had another appointment that didn't answer when we got there, so we were driving away and saw G, a potential investigator that never called us back walking into his home! We have tried going to his home but he is never there. So we pulled in and talked to him for a half hour on his door step. He is excited to meet with us again this week and is really interested! I love how the Lord makes things happen for a reason.
We had our talent show on Friday and Sister Jacob and I were the MC's. It was a great turn out! There weren't enough seats for everyone! This ward has been so supportive and we had investigators there as well which was great. Sister Jacob and I sang a song and then Sister Jacob sang "Whole Again" as the final song. Many people said she sounded like an angel. The song was about the Atonement and how it can make us "whole again". I don't think there was a dry eye in the audience. It was great to have a fun night but end it with a message about the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
So the talk of Saturday was that the world was supposedly supposed to end. So many people were asking what we thought and what was going to happen. It was really funny. DO people really believe the world is going to end? I guess so! It was funny because we had so many new people to teach from Saturday. So I guess it was a good thing. This area is just booming at the moment. There is so much work to be done and not enough time! It is so great when the days just completely fly by and we are wanting more time in a day.
The last thing I wanted to talk about was this wonderful family in the ward. They are a less active family that we used to meet with every week but out of nowhere, the girls started saying every time we went over there that the mom wasn't feeling well. We knew this was an excuse but kept trying to go over and figure out what was going on. This went on for about a month, and we decided 2 days ago just to stop by and see if she was home. So we did and the mom was right there. She instantly just broke down and started crying. She said she had lost everything and nothing was going right. Her family was falling apart before her eyes and she didn't know what to do. So we went in and gathered her and her 3 daughters and talked with them about what was going on. She was so sad because she was the only one going to church out of her whole family and she was sick of doing it alone. So we talked with them and made a deal with them that we would come over every night at 8:45 to read scriptures and say a prayer as a family. They all agreed this was a good idea and they are going to do this as a family so they can be a loving family again. It is interesting how this had to happen for them to all become so humble they will do anything to bring their family back together. It is in these moments that we become closest to the Lord and really humble ourselves to ask for His help. It has been interesting to see from an outside view that their family is going through a huge change that will bring them back together. It was one of the most amazing things I have seen on my mission. I hope that through this, we can help save this family and make them "whole again". I love this work and how the Lord works through us. We weren't planning on stopping by, but we did, and I am so grateful for that.
I love you all and hope you have a great week!