11:25 AM (1 hour ago)
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
11:22 AM (1 hour ago)
Dear family!Sorry today is going to be a super short letter. We are at a different library and we only have 30 minutes. We have had a crazy week!
First of all, it was so amazing to get to see every single family member!!! What a huge blessing! I couldn't believe how lucky I was! Best family reunion ever! ;) I love technology :). Also, sorry about the pictures on the Word Document. Our new library is very old in the way of technology and so we are barely able to upload the word document. Hopefully I'll be able to send a few more pictures this week.
we got to go to lunch with the mission president and his wife to pick her up which was a blast and then we went to work! We had a miracle night and found an elect family that had been praying for the missionaries! So cool! There are people everywhere being prepared for this message and having Sister Shumway here for the week has brought even more miracles! We normally can't go into houses when there is only a guy, but with 3 sisters we are allowed and we are now teaching another man named Bryan who lives alone! Huge miracle!
Picture 3 - I'm in love with my new PJs!
Monday, December 23, 2013
|Anna Herring <firstname.lastname@example.org>||Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 11:04 AM|
|To: Carol Herring <email@example.com>, Erin Gale <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
Monday, December 16, 2013
Dear beautiful and amazing family and friends,
First of all, Happy Birthday my beautiful and fantastic mother! I love you!
Next, thank you for all the packages and letters! It is one of my favorite activities on the mission to come home after a long day of work and to see the box sitting outside our door. Ooh! It is like Christmas just seeing the box! :)
Before I begin the week, I have to tell you the best thing! So, while I was in Back Creek, there was one holler (a really small back road) that I really wanted to go down from the first time we drove by. I put it off and put it off because it was never scheduled until I went on an exchange during one of the last weeks I was there. On this road, there was about 3 houses and the first house we stopped at, I gave a girl that had gauged ears a Book of Mormon. I knew she wanted to learn more, but her mom said, "no". I told Sister Nisse that she needed to go back in a couple weeks to follow up and see if she was interested in learning more. Well, a few weeks ago, she went back! The girl's name is Holly and they taught her the Restoration and then the YSA elders began teaching her. She is going to be baptized on! Can you believe it?! I started crying when I found out. Sometimes we never know what is going to happen because of a simple testimony, example, or moment. I'm so excited for her and what the future holds for her! Share the gospel! It truly changes lives.
:)night we were in our apartment when we heard a knock on the door. Our neighbor from upstairs, Jolene, had come to introduce herself and to thank us for the cookies. We then got to talking to her and she asked us about the Word of Wisdom, well, long story short, we ended up going up to her apartment and taught her the restoration along with the Word of Wisdom. She goes to a non-denominational church, has many good questions, and we are excited to teach her more. She has lived above the missionaries for about 5 years and has never been taught! We invited her to church and she said she would go in 2 weeks because she was going to be out of town. She said she would love to come! She is a sweetheart and the next day we came home with 2 brand new scarves tied to our door! She bought us Christmas presents! So nice! We are excited to see what will happen.
Church was wonderful! We got to help with the YW lesson, we watched Joy to the World in Gospel Principles and had 3 deaf people who were not members come to the class. It was amazing to feel the spirit as we read the subtitles and saw their excitement as they clapped their hands. We have so much to be grateful for this holiday season! I was able to sit there and listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in a warm peaceful church building. I could watch the video and feel the spirit even more in my life. We are so blessed to have the gift of the Holy Ghost given to us after baptism to be our constant companion. While I saw them clapping, I thought of the scriptures in Mosiah 18 when the people have the desire to be baptized and they feel such joy that they clap their hands! If people understood how peaceful and happy the gospel message is, they would all be clapping their hands and desiring to be baptized! It is up to us to help them see that there is more to this life and that a knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ is what they have been searching for! We ended the night at Sister Johnson's house (the Relief Society president) and had pizza and pasta. It was delicious!
Well, that was this week! Wonderful, exciting, challenging, and fantastic! I love being a missionary and I love this gospel! I love seeing the light come into peoples' eyes when they begin to understand how this will bless their lives and all that our Savior Jesus Christ did for us. It is also wonderful to see those who have lost that light begin to see it return. No one is ever too far gone to not be able to return to the gospel. Repentance is real, the atonement is available for each and every person. The best gift of Christmas is what our Heavenly Father gave to us when he sent His son to this Earth. We will each have the opportunity to return to our Heavenly Father as eternal families! Conversion is not a one time event! Continue studying, continue praying, continue enduring to the end! The gospel is true! Exclamation point! ;) I love you all! Have the most wonderful week!
P.S. Sorry no pictures this week, I forgot the camera adapter. Also, we get to skype home for Christmas! It would be awesome if someone tech-savvy in our family could set it up to where I could see the family! ;) *cough *cough Matt hahaha I will hopefully have more information for you next week, but if any of you have information let me know! Maybe similar to what Kortlynn did when she opened her mission call. Can't wait! I love you awesome people! Oh and funny story, during training one night, we decided to do the reading part as different apostles and prophets. It was a blast trying to emulate President Monson's voice. :) I have a great companion!
Monday, December 9, 2013
December 9, 2013
What a fantastic week as always! I love missionary work and I love the people of West Virginia! (Most of the time haha)
This week has been busy with meetings, teaching, finding, and more meetings, but I'm learning so much each time and I love it!
I want you all to know I have a testimony of this great work! I have a testimony of this gospel! I know prayers are answered and that our family will be together forever! I know that the scriptures are for our day and I'm grateful to read them daily. I love you all! I hope you have a fantastic week!
Our computers don't attach pictures very well, so I'm attaching a document with some pictures in it. I love you! Oh and Sister Kitto and I made up a referrals song to the tune of "How Do You Know" from Enchanted. Instead it goes, "Who do you know, who needs this. Who do you know next door?" hahaha fun times being a missionary! I love it!
What a beautiful week! Miracles are everywhere! Prayers are answered! This gospel is true!!!
Let me tell you a little why I know all the above our true...
First of all, when we got here (Sister Kitto and I), we spent hours and hours learning the area and figuring out just what had been happening before we got here. What we knew was that we had 5 investigators, a bunch of former investigators, a few potential investigators, and less-active members, and of course the members (who we didn't know). It was a little stressful figuring out where our area was, who we could talk to, and what needed to be done, but where there is a will, there is a way!
On Tuesday, we went to contact some former investigators and we met this sweet lady named, Nancy Fox. Her husband died about 5 years ago and had been meeting with the missionaries before his death. She welcomed us in and kept on saying that she knew God had a plan for her. We told her that we know He does and were excited to share it with her. She said that we were welcome back anytime and that she would love to learn more. Yay! We then went to meet with a less-active lady in the ward...who was a bit crazy! We were in her dark apartment and feeling a little scared because of what she was telling us about her neighbors, but it was amazing as we begin to share a message from the scriptures how her apartment changed and the spirit grew. She turned on a light, pulled out her Book of Mormon, and her heart began to soften. It is amazing how powerful the Book of Mormon is. It is amazing how strong prayer can change our lives. We left feeling that we had lifted her spirits and helped bring light into her life. I know we alone couldn't have done that.
Wednesday, we went to give a practice lesson to a family in the ward and they gave us 7 referrals! That is unheard of! (Hint: if you want the missionaries to love you, tell them the names of your neighbors and tell them they can stop by) :) If they are good missionaries, they will contact them quickly and report back to you of how many are being baptized because of what you did! Easy right? Look at all you can do just by being an example and saying a name! Pray for your neighbors, get to know them, bring them cookies, invite them to dinner! It's a snap! haha Also, we got to do a lot of tracting in the snow! It was absolutely gorgeous!!! We live and work in a fantastic area. There are poorer areas, but overall gorgeous! The snow was just perfect!
Thursday we had a lovely Thanksgiving. We didn't do any tracting because people wouldn't want us to knock on Thanksgiving, but we started off with dinner at the Payne's house where we had ribs, turkey, and everything else Thanksgiving should have. :) The Payne's had a tradition where they would eat their favorite foods on Thanksgiving instead of the traditional and it was delicious! We then hurried over to the Cotrell family's dinner. They are my favorite family in the mission so far. They've already signed up to have us come over on Christmas and to Skype with you! You will get to meet them! They have 5 kids and are rockstars! I absolutely have bonded with them and feel like they are family. They fed us another traditional dinner on Thanksgiving and had invited a younger couple to dinner. The Cotrell family is from Georgia and I'm so grateful they are here. Their oldest daughter is a Senior and is absolutely gorgeous. They then have another beautiful daughter who is 16, a 14 year old son, 12 year old son, and 10 year old daughter. The sons remind me of a younger version of Mason and Brigham...so naturally awesome. :) We then decided to write thank you notes for our mission president and bishop. The mission president is in our area and we didn't think he'd be home, but we knocked for fun on the door and he answered!!! He welcomed us in and told us we were inspired to come because he wanted our advice on a certain situation. We got to talk to him for a bit and then we shared a message with him and he gave us 2 names to contact! A referral from the mission president! Awesome! We had a closing prayer and were on our way home...This will be remembered as one of my favorite Thanksgivings. Thanksgiving with the mission president...the only thing that would have made that better would have been to have my family there! :)
Friday was the beginning of our miracle weekend. We went and contacted some less-active people in the area, and then at about 7 we were on our way to contact another less-active when we got there and knew that there was something else that needed to be done. We said a prayer to find an elect person in that area and then got out of the car to start knocking doors. Sister Kitto pointed at a random door and said, "That one, let's start there." We hesitantly went up and knocked because it had no porch light on, but we could see someone was home. We then heard a quiet, "Come in." come from inside and as I tried to open the locked door we both giggled to ourselves how awkward we were. We then saw the door swing open and a woman in about her 40s was standing there. She said she was on the way to the hospital when Sister Kitto then said, "Can we say a prayer with you?" She welcomed us in and we sat down to talk and introduce ourselves. She told us how she'd been trying to get her life in order and had been looking for a church. We told her a little about the Book of Mormon and read a bit from it and she grabbed her heart and said that it felt like healing! She felt warm and at peace! Her friend then came to take her to the library, we said a quick prayer, were invited back, and left a Book of Mormon on her table.
Saturday night we came back and she said that she doesn't usually open the door, but felt the need. She knew that she needed to listen to what we had to say and was wanting it and ready for it. Everything we'd say, she would say she believed and felt to be true...She had even begun reading the Book of Mormon without being asked and said that it helped calm her down. She's got a few emotional issues that we don't understand completely, but she was yearning for me. We invited her to be baptized and she said yes! She wants it and is so elect!
We then came back Sunday night and met her son who goes to Marshall University and he said he would support her with whatever she wants. We set her on date to be baptized on theand she said that she knows she wants this and is ready for this now. We taught her about the Restoration and a little bit about the Plan of Salvation and tomorrow we are going to give her a tour of the church building so that she feels comfortable coming this next week, that is the only reason she didn't come on Sunday. She got too nervous. She is so elect though and a sweetheart! Sister Kitto and I both know that we were here for her. She is exactly what we were praying for and an answer to our prayer. Every time we meet with her, we feel like it isn't real and begin looking for a camera haha She soaks everything in and is begging for more! She already believes everything we teach but didn't know there was a church that had all she believed. We are so grateful to have found her at this time and how much our Heavenly Father has prepared her. Her name is Lisa and I know that she is our Christmas miracle. Wow! I get chills just thinking about it!
We also had an experience meeting with this less-active lady this week as we were walking out of her apartment, we met 2 other people who told us to come back and teach them. People are everywhere! We just had to get out of our comfort zone and talk! Heavenly Father definitely guided our conversations and helped the spirit teach each person. The spirit was tangible in Lisa's lessons and she even stood up one time and said, "It is so warm in this room, I feel so good!" She said that every time we come, she feels such peace and wants that with her always. We promised her that she would when she received the gift of the Holy Ghost and continued to live worthy of it! Wow...I could talk forever! But sadly I have to go. I'm so grateful that our Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. This gospel changes lives and answers every question! The church is true! I get to be a missionary everyday! Although there are funny moments and awkward moments as a missionary, there are so many good ones that make it worth it! Miracles are everywhere! Pray for them and look for them! I love you all! Have a great week!
P.S. Thank you for the packages, letters, and love! I love you all so much! Time to go bowling with the zone! Wish me luck! :)
Sister Kitto and I about to tract in the snow
Tracting in the rain! (It came before the snow)
Monday, November 25, 2013
November 25, 2013
Dear family o' mine!
How are you all doing this beautiful holiday season? I am now in Charleston, well, South Charleston and loving it! It is a huge change from where I was, but I know I am here for a reason. My new companion is Sister Kitto (kiddo) from Orem, Utah. She is 21 years old and was studying Broadcast/Journalism at BYU. She is a rockstar! Seriously, we have already bonded and are exactly what this area needed. We have discovered that the trio of sisters that were here before had kind of gotten into a rut with teaching and I think that is why they doubled us in. The first couple days were spent trying to figure out where our area boundaries were, who we could visit, and previous investigators. They only had 5! I went from Back Creek where we had a huge teaching pool to here where they have 5. Ahh! A huge change, but a great one. I love challenges. ;) We have already figured out our goal for the transfer and we are pumped! We have decided to make appointments with members in the area (active and inactive) to teach practice lessons, but while we are there we are going to present the family with a sheet to create their family missionary plan and also an ornament. Their job will be to write the name of the person they are going to reach out to on the ornament, then give it back to us and we will put it on our Christmas tree. A referral and a goal all in one shot! :) We are working for our White Christmas and I know Sister Kitto is the companion I needed to make this happen. She is bold, excited, and focused. We laugh and work hard all at the same time! It is a great work to be a part of at this time.
On Thursday I woke up at 3:45 and headed to the church in Salem, VA to get on the van heading to Charleston. It was about a 4-hour drive, but we were so excited, we didn't mind. I got to see my friend, Elder Ben Williams and we are now in the same stake! It is always nice to see a familiar face. We then headed in and I had to talk to the missionaries about the miracles I'd been seeing...pressure! haha I then found out that Sister Kitto was my new companion and we both knew it! The AP's were joking about how we were the same person. Awesome! We are very similar and I'm grateful to have her. We then drove to our apartment to check out the notes the previous sisters left and were a bit disappointed for a second at what we had to work with, but quickly we both realized that when there is little to work with, there is huge growth that can take place. We got to work meeting the RS president who is awesome, and some other members in the ward. The ward has many PA residents and people going to the medical school in the area. Most of them are from out West and have come out here for a short period of time, but they are so kind! I've realized that I'm not going to be fed every night like I was in Back Creek. I've already lost 2 pounds! haha Only 13 to go! The first night we were here, we ate at the Cotrell family's home and they are amazing! They are from Georgia and they remind me of our family. The dad, like Mike, is going back to nursing school, working, and raising 5 children. His program is similar to yours, I think, Mike. He said he would have his Doctorate when he finished. He's just started though, so I think I gave him hope that you only had a year left. :) The Cotrell family is feeding us Thanksgiving dinner, and we've had 2 other people offer, so I think we're covered ;).
Friday we met the Bishop and he is such a soft-spoken man, but very into missionary work. I love it! It is a bit cold here, but I am now wearing my boots and big jacket. Thank goodness I got those before I left Roanoke. We also visited with a lady that has been investigating the church for 18 years and has not been baptized. We are going to drop her if she doesn't commit to a date in December. :) It may sound harsh, but we both know that we are here to find the elect and those that are prepared, and if she is not willing to commit, there is no reason to spend so much time with her. Maybe it will kick some motivation into her, we will see.
Saturday we met with another one of the investigators named Mandy, she is not willing to commit to baptism yet, but she's only met 2 times with the missionaries and we are going to go to Goodwill this afternoon with her to help her find a nice shirt to wear to church. We also stopped by Jim Milton who happens to talk just like Channing Tatum...ya, it is a bit of distraction, but we aren't worried. He's had a past, but is so elect! He is Korean and the missionaries found him in Burger King. Apparently his family met with the missionaries when he was a young boy, but then he moved and lost contact. His had a very hard life and has some interesting friends, so he hasn't had much religion in his life. He is looking for direction and hope. We have it!!! Yay! We are excited to see what happens and know that this gospel is exactly what he is looking for. His roommate's girlfriend was dying to come to church and so we found her a ride with one of the ward missionaries and she begged us for a Book of Mormon (even though that was not needed) haha
Sunday started off as a downer. We were fasting for Jim to come to church with Stephie (the girlfriend) but they both ended up not coming. We then felt a little out of place in the ward and then I had 5-minutes-notice to teach the Gospel Principles lesson on the Atonement, and then in Relief Society, my companion got vocally slammed by another sister. It was crazy! But, with each of these trials, Heavenly Father provided a tender mercy. Sister Kitto and I got to bare our testimonies to the ward and were invited by a sweet lady in the ward's house for Christmas. We had a good laugh at one of the comments made over the pulpit, Heavenly Father helped me teach the lesson and it went smoothly, and now the ward has a soft spot for Sister Kitto. haha Every other sister felt sorry about what happened and understood that what happened in RS was not necessary. Sister Kitto handled it with grace and we laugh about it now. So overall, a great day! It was amazing because for the first 15 minutes of church, my heart was heavy and I was worried that I wasn't going to love this area as much as I did Back Creek, but then as the Sacrament was being passed, I saw the Cotrell sons passing the sacrament and realized that the church is the same wherever you are. There are good people every where, and as I partook of the sacrament, I had such peace in knowing that Heavenly Father was aware of me at that moment and that everything was going to be alright. There are truly tender mercies everywhere! Heavenly Father doesn't want us to be lonely, sad, or discouraged. He is aware of each of our needs down to me sitting in Charleston, WV wanting peace. It came! It will continue to come and I'm so grateful for that knowledge. Heavenly Father does hear and answer our prayers. Oh we then had leftover pizza from the night before. Sister Kitto had splurged with buying a Papa John's pizza and we had that Sunday evening. What a treat?! We are going to start meal planning and would love any recipes! :)
This next week I get to teach the sisters about what Elder Sitati taught to the leaders, and we also are going to get started on building this area up. Just wait for the miracles you are going to hear about next week! haha Charleston is beautiful, crazy roads, but beautiful. We live in a poorer section, but just like any city, it has its pockets of poorer and wealthier areas. There are some very humble people and I'm grateful to be able to serve them. We live in an apartment building which the hallway smells like smoke, but our apartment is nice! We are able to do laundry in our apartment and today we are going to get some cute decorations :) I'm so excited to be serving with Sister Kitto in South Charleston. I guess the technical name is South Hills. Also, the address is the mission home address for packages, but if you want to write a letter you can mail it to our apartment which is:
4832 Kanawha Turnpike Apt. #7
South Charleston, WV 25309
You can also write letters to the mission office and they will still get to me. Either way! The mission office is the 888 Oakwood Rd. Ste. 310 address from before.
That is the exciting news from Charleston! I want you all to know how much I love each of you. Thank you for your emails and especially those handwritten letters *wink *wink haha I love hearing anything and everything! Truly! Remember this gospel is true! Reach out to one person before Christmas! Share the gospel this Christmas and experience the love and joy that brings to your life. We are so blessed to be a part of this great work. We have something that every person would die for if they understood the eternal effects it has on our lives. The gospel is not simply a church, but it is a way of life that I am so grateful for. I love it! I know that prayers are answered! I know that our Savior Jesus Christ died and rose again for each of us. The atonement is real. Take advantage of it daily! Strive to have the Holy Ghost with you at all times. I love you. Have the most wonderful day ever!
P.S. This new library has older computers without the right connection for my camera. Next week I promise to send pictures! I have the adapter at home, so I will make sure to bring it next time. Sorry! I love you all!