Monday, October 27, 2014

Holy Guacamole Batman, She's 1/2 way done!! :)

Pappa Bear, 

This week was really good. I am starting to get into the routine but also realizing that my responsibilities take a lot more out of me than I anticipated but in a good way. I am finding that I am giving more of my heart, more of my time to praying for these sisters and more effort in the work. In bible park we meet so many interesting and different people, I love it. 

This week we met with Princess, she is 18 and has been struggling because she is trying to get into college. She has studied and worked really hard but hasn't been able to pass a few entry tests. We were able to teach her how prayer and her relationship with Heavenly Father will help her to achieve all the righteous desires she has but only when she does her part. The spirit was there and she kept her commitment to come to church and she stayed for all 3 hours. MIRACLE. We also taught Bernard, he is a recent convert, he's probably 60-ish and has been through a lot in his life. We were able to invite him to come to church to partake of the sacrament instead of having it be brought to him, guess who also came to church? BERNARD. MIRACLE. On Saturday we met Betsy, an investigator, and a mother of a 10 year old daughter, Savi. Betsy had just had surgery on her bottom teeth and was in a lot of pain. We offered for her to receive a priesthood blessing, she accepted. In the past, the sisters have had a really hard time teaching Betsy so it was nice to have a fresh start with Sister Packer and I. When the Elders were giving her a blessing, afterwards she said that the whole time the blessing was happening she couldn't feel any pain. It was a testament to me of just how powerful the priesthood is and that its here on the earth to bless ALL of God's children. MIRACLE. Bruce is a convert as well, probably in his 50's, he has a learning disability but his heart is made of PURE GOLD. He has made a goal for himself to read 7 pages of the book of Mormon every day. As he has he's been able to understand more and more. We were able to teach him this week about how faith in Christ leads to repentance and how we need both faith and repentance to return to Heavenly Father. The spirit testified to me that the things we taught were true and it reaffirmed the things I knew were true. MIRACLE. Last night we taught a woman named Katie. She is a Muslim and has lived in the U.S. for 8 years. We taught her our purpose as missionaries and testified and taught her about the nature of God, how he is our loving father in heaven who wants the best for us. We taught her that we can pray whenever we want to, that the relationship we have with God is founded on prayer and that its the way we talk to him and feel his love. When we started she was a little shut off because she only believed in Muhammad but as we taught and testified to her she started to ask questions and her heart got softer. We will be teaching her again this week. MIRACLE. 

We also had a lot of fun things happen this week. We go to 4 different district meetings and its such a spiritual boost! WE LOVE IT. Its so fun to see how all the missionaries in the zone are doing, how their testimonies are growing and all the miracles they are seeing in their areas. Its such a treat. This week we went on a blitz with the Spanish sisters that cover our zones, I got to go with Sister King, a new missionary and try to find people for them and for us to teach. As we were contacting, these two guys were standing on the balcony of an apartment complex. We approach them and since they looked Hispanic sister king was speaking in Spanish, they looked SO confused. So I talked to them in English.. Still confused. Turns out they were Arabian and the one guy looked like he was Aladdin in real life... Its gets better. As we are trying to talk to them about the plan of salvation we had to speak suuuuuuper slow so they could understand. They kept saying "slow English, slow English" so we were speaking really slow, trying to show them the pamphlet in English.  Turns out they meant small English or in other words, they couldn't speak or understand English very well. Then Aladdin started hitting on us saying "Oh, so beautiful" and kissing his fingers like an Italian chef that was super proud of the pizza he just made... HILARIOUS!

 Since I hit my 9 month mark this week, its tradition among missionaries to burn something. Elders generally burn one of there 12 white shirts that all look the same and sisters burn their least favorite skirt. I decided to burn a skirt that was left in the apartment since I like my clothing. This skirt was hideous. It was orange and long and fluffy, just no... So it got burnt. We have a fireplace in our apartment so we balled up the skirt and threw it in, we made sure the vents were open and all that jazz and we lit it. It was all good at first but then the smoke was starting to fill the room and the alarms were going off and we were kinda freaking out. so we got a broom and sister packer got her planner and stood on the table waving the alarm. Then we realized it would take a long time for the smoke to clear so we needed to recruit some help so we ran over to the YSA sisters apartment (which is two doors down) and told them to come over so all four of us run back to the apartment with a bucket and a dustpan so we can scoop the skirt out and put it on the patio. So two of us are waving the smoke away from the alarms and the other two are scooping this burning skirt out of the fireplace. It was super funny! Eventually we just took the batteries out of the alarms... should have thought of that earlier.... goodness me! But in the end we all just laughed and had a lot of fun and somehow still made it to bed on time. MIRACLE. 

All around its been an interesting and fun week! I've learned a lot and am loving the time I'm spending serving the Lord. :) 

The nine month skirt!  1/2 way through!

The evidence of the pyro activity 

Whala!  This is what you get with leftovers in the fridge :) 
Sending out thoughts for the day to all the sisters in her zone.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bible Park Ward, Denver Stake. Sis Hoopes New Home :)

Kenz and her companion for a week, Sister Harker :)

MOM's Note **this is a separate thought Mckenzie was having that I decided to include in the beginning of this letter...that's why it seems out of place***

I  know its also important to remember that Heavenly Father doesn't expect us to fit into this "perfect member missionary" mold. In D&C60:13 it tells us otherwise. We have the talents we have for a reason and that is to bring our friends and neighbors closer to Christ. I think it can be applied to missionaries and wards by using it as the foundation to an effective ward mission plan that involves the members and missionaries. It's definitely time to work smarter AND harder, as missionaries we can't do it alone. We need the members to know their neighbors so they CAN warn them, we need the missionaries to truly love the members and do everything they can to earn their trust so that the members feel comfortable referring their neighbors to hear the gospel... etc. I could go on for days. But its so true that NOW is the time for members and missionaries to work together to hasten the work of salvation.

 This week has been MIGHTY strange. I spent the majority of the week in the Aurora Zone in the Sable ward with Sister Harker as my companion. In Bible Park we live in an apartment and the apartment got bed bugs so they didn't want anyone carrying them to another area so they kept Sister Hardy and Sister Packer as companions for a few days. The whole week it just did not feel right, I couldn't unpack my things because I knew I would be leaving later in the week so there wasn't much point and it was kinda sad not being able to settle in. Sister Harker was awesome though! Sister Grenfell got to be my Sister Training Leader for the week so it was cool to see her at district meeting and stuff. Sister Harker and I worked hard for the couple days we were together. We picked up a few formers despite all of our set appointments cancelling, it was like they knew I wasn't supposed to be there ;) jk! Anyways, on Saturday I got to go to my assigned area, Bible Park, in the Denver Stake. I have only been in the area 2 days but I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. Sister Packer is amazing and I love her to bits. We cover two different zones as sister training leaders and go to about 6 missionary meetings a week versus 1. We have wonderful missionaries in these two zones. A few of them either came out the same time as me or after, aside from Sister Harvey, so that is interesting. I never knew how much disobedience was a problem until I got here though. Some of our sisters, sisters i know very well, are having a lot of struggles,  much bigger than waking up on time, going to bed on time etc. Its scary man! But it will be alright! On Saturday I was able to go to a new leadership meeting where the new leaders of the mission, which was at least one new zone leader in every zone, got to meet to talk about what it means to be a leader and what the Lord expects of us. What I got from the meeting in essence was 
1. Just LOVE the missionaries, when they feel your love and sincerity for them and the work, they will want to improve. 
2. As a leader, I do not plead the case of the missionary to the Lord, I represent the Lord and stand with him to help the missionary. 
3. I am no different than any other missionary, my purpose is the same, I just go to more meetings and have more responsibilities that the Lord has asked me to do. 
I am excited for this new challenge and have found that my prayers have become a lot more sincere and much longer as well. Leadership is definitely a call to repentance and I'm happy I've been asked to change. I will start going on exchanges with the sisters next week so that'll be an adventure too! Sister Packer and I had a few interesting experiences yesterday. We went to go visit a less active member and she was literally insane. She kept us for an hour and 15 minutes but every time we would tell her we had to leave she would get mad and tell us we couldn't leave because she never got visitors and that she was going to die soon and needed someone with her and that she was being punished because in the womb she was a boy and ate her twin brother and that her dad was like her spouse because she hadn't ever been married and when he died she died as well and has been dead ever since. Holy cow, it was just crazy and we couldn't feel the spirit and we were late to our dinner appointment. But then later that night we tried to go see a former investigator who wasn't home but we were able to teach his new roommate, Jeremy, on the doorstep. He accepted to be baptized and we are meeting with him again on Tuesday! MIRACLE! I am really loving it here. I'm sorry there's not more to share yet but next week will be a lot better! :) I will also have more pictures! The only one I have is the one of Sister Harker and I. But I hope all is well back home! I pray for you and everyone else in the family by name every day! XOXO 

Monday, October 13, 2014

New Area, New Responsibilities, and A Random Cow :)

New Mission Goal:  1001 Baby!
The 1001 Stripling Warriors :) 

Yun Soo's Baptism

Awesome family that Kenz has been able to meet
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Kenz gearing up for Halloween by trying on the cow suit from the consignment shop they volunteer at. :)  Said she was going to a "Mask-Cow-Rade"  lol, silly girl.

Okay this week has been INSANE! On Wednesday we had our zone meeting and they made an announcement that has been the most amazing thing. Little preface: In Broadlands I started to feel pretty stagnant and had been really praying for ways to get out of the "funk" I was in. It'd been weeks and I kind of just gave up. So at zone meeting they announced that the baptism goal for next year would be 1001... WOOOOOOAH! On average over the last two years we have baptized 350... I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO STOKED ABOUT SOMETHING IN MY ENTIRE LIFE! The spirit in the room completely changed, some missionaries were horrified, some uneasy and others were just as excited as I was. Elder Blackwell, Zone Leader, explained that this goal is not meant to be a number, its meant to signify a change in the mission. The goal has been set to change the missionaries and the attitude of the mission. The number 1000 represents being whole or complete. The 1 represents that no one will be left behind and that we will search for the one lost sheep. After they announced this we all knelt in prayer to have the spirit tell us this was right. IT WAS A VERY POWERFUL EXPERIENCE. My heart was so happy and I could feel light just coming into every part of me! I am so excited for this goal and I know we can do it. 

Thursday night we taught Yun his last lesson. Sister Harvey had to be recorded teaching so they could send the tape to Salt Lake and they can evaluate and make sure she can teach like a normal missionary would. She was nervous but she did GREAT. I was so impressed. We taught about Eternal Marriage and Family History work. We prepared to teach them in our companion study earlier that morning and we talked about how we wanted to teach eternal marriage. We both got out pictures of our families and we decided we would talk about the blessings that come to us individually because of temple marriage. I had the picture of all seven of us lined up along the lake last fall. As I thought about how we would teach it, Sister Harvey and I role played. She was Yun and I was the missionary. I explained that because of eternal marriage we can have our families forever in heaven and here on earth. I explained how much I loved my family and wanted to be with them forever. Then I talked about how we are each on the covenant path back to our Heavenly Father. I told her that because we are on that path our family picture would look like that forever and even bigger because of all the other people we will have there with us. Then I told her that I would hate to have my family picture look like this... and I covered up half of the picture. I explained how when we don't enter into the path, the blessings of the temple cannot be ours. It really hit Sister Harvey and I both after that. It was a really powerful experience and I really have a testimony that families are forever when they are sealed in the temple.

 A few days later, October 11, Yun was baptized a member of the church. WHAT A WONDERFUL DAY! He has been SO prepared by the Lord! After he was baptized he gave his testimony. He talked about his conversion story and how he was so thankful Christian, his best friend, never gave up on him even after he declined his first few invitations to come to church. He said, "Christian, thank you for never giving up on me." IT WAS SOOOO TOUCHING. The next day Yun was confirmed in church. Brother Moon, Christian's dad, confirmed him. In his blessing he alluded to Yun serving the Lord very often. Many of us felt that Yun is going to do a great work in his home country of South Korea. He is only 14, and like Joseph Smith, Yun has a great work to do for the Lord. I cannot wait to see how much Yun's testimony and opportunities to serve in the church will grow. He is such a great example. Sister Harvey and I were able to sing in that sacrament meeting, I am a Child of God and we sang the last verse in Korean. There wasn't a dry eye... The spirit was really strong and it was just a really neat experience. I am sad to leave Yun and his family behind but I know the elders taking our place will do great things with that family. 

Sister Harvey and I have both been transferred out of Broadlands. WE WERE SHOCKED. I got a call Friday night from Sister Mendenhall asking me to serve as a Sister Training Leader, an equivalent to a zone leader. I will be serving in the Denver South and Denver Stakes. Sister Packer is my new companion, she has been out for a year. I got to rub shoulders with her some when I was in East Lake. I am stoked to be her companion. Sister Harvey is a sister in my zone so I will have the opportunity to go on exchanges with her and I will be able to take her to the mission office when she leaves the mission. I am excited for this new change and responsibility. I am excited to be more intimately involved with this new goal of 1001. I will be able to be in the meetings where we will plan for it and brainstorm. HOW EXCITING. I am also really excited to serve and love the sisters here. Great things are in store. IT'S A WONDERFUL TIME TO BE A MISSIONARY IN THE COLORADO DENVER NORTH MISSION! :) 
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