Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Welcome to Missouri-ah!

First of all, thank y'all for all the wonderful emails! It was so hard to read them all and not be able to tell you that my Pday is on Tuesday. But because I have an ipad, I can read my emails everyday I just can't reply...so email me anytime, multiple times throughout the week if you want and I can read them and I'll reply on Tuesday
Wow, what a week!!! Tuesday night, our devotional in the MTC was given by Elder Nash of the seventy and he talked about the plan of salvation and it really helped me to be able to apply any person's needs to the plan of salvation. It was really neat and a really good talk. Then we packed all night!!! 
Wednesday morning, we woke up at 3 to meet at the travel office at 4:30! We were all so excited! There was a group of 27 of us all flying to serve in the Missouri Independence mission! How cool is that? It was definitely an adventure getting to the airport, but when we got there, I got to talk to my family and it was the best! The flight here felt like forever because I was so excited to get here! President and Sister Vest were waiting for us at the airport and they are so sweet! I already love them! The humidity hit me like a brick wall!!! Holy cow it is sooooo humid here. Their AP's were with them and there were three vans that all of us new missionaries piled in and they took us to see the Kansas city temple. It is BEAUTIFUL! I can't wait to go through it! Then they took us to Liberty Jail. I had a testimony of Joseph Smith before that, but it was strengthened being there where he was in jail for 4 months and where three of the most powerful sections of doctrine and covenants come from. We went to the mission home and started our long night of orientation. Seriously, I don't remember much about it because Wednesday was the longest day of my life. But we all had interviews with President Vest and during mine, he asked me how I would feel about serving in the visitor's center. I said of course, I'll be happy to serve wherever and didn't think much of it! That night, all six of us sisters from my MTC district got to sleep in the same room and it was sad spending the last night with them all! I am so grateful for them and I know our friendships will last forever! 
Thursday morning we woke up and we went to the visitor's center and they took us through the presentations there. There is a history presentation all about the history of Independence and then there is a presentation called God's Plan for His Families. It is one of the most powerful things I have been able to experience. I felt God's love for me and my family as well as for all of His children. The Visitors Center is a powerful building and Sister Vest told us that Visitors Centers are dedicated buildings to do work for the living and I whole heartedly believe that. We walked to the church and we all gathered for transfers. There are SO many missionaries! It's way awesome. My companion's name is Sister Christiansen and when I looked at her name tag I noticed under her name it said "Independence Visitors' Center"!!!!! The first thing I said to her was "Am I in the Visitor's Center?!?!?!?!" AHH! I looked back on the interview and the power I felt there and I know that President Vest received revelation that I am supposed to be there and wow how grateful I am to be able to serve there! Sister Christiansen is so awesome. She is from Provo and you'll never guess how old she is! (I didn't believe her when she told me)...She's 32! But she's super super awesome and I got blessed with the best trainer ever. Y'all know how much I hate bugs, but one of the coolest things is here at night there are FIREFLIES! They are so awesome! And soooo pretty! We drive home at night and there are all these light flashing along the road, it's soooo awesome! So how the Visitor's Center works: we are there for 6 hours a day, either in the morning or the evening, and then the other time is spent out in our area. Then one day a week we have a full proselyting day. It's the best! 
Friday morning we woke up and was driving to the VC for our Friday morning training meeting, and there were trees knocked down everyone! One fell on top of a church and totally destroyed the roof. We were told there was a storm with about 80 mile an hour winds! But we drove up to the VC and not a single tree, not even a flower, was ripped out there. It's something so small, but God is good :) There was a lot of damage from the storm though and a lot of people are badly affected by it. Since it's summer, we get a lot of tour busses at the visitor's center, and today was one of those days. We had a youth conference come in and all three companionships at the VC were assigned a group from this conference. But, two elders brought in an investigator to take him through God's Plan and Sister Toronto (the Toronto's are in charge of the VC) pulled me aside and asked me to take him through it! MY FIRST DAY THEY ASKED ME TO TAKE A PRESENTATION BY MYSELF?! I was freaking out but I said of course. So I took them in there and started the movie and went back to the corner and knelt and said a little prayer. Throughout the presentation I was pondering what to share with this man. When the video ended, I asked him to share his feelings and what stood out to him. He got really emotional and said he was overwhelmed and said he felt his strength come back to him. I was hit by the spirit like I have never been before. I shared with him one of my favorite scriptures and it is 2 Nephi 4:20-24. As I was reading the last verse, I thought of it in a way I had never thought of it before and shared with him. The angels that Heavenly Father promises us in this verse is our family. We are separated from Him, our Father, and our eternal family, so he gives us our earthly families as angels to guide us through this life. He was really emotional and asked me how long he was allowed to stay because he never wanted to leave. The VC has a powerful spirit and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to take that man through and experience that moment with him and the elders who brought him in. 
Saturday was our full pros day! We met with brand new investigators named John and Brea. They have a little girl. Sister Christiansen did most of the teaching anyway- about the restoration. We ended up just showing them a little video.   They told us they would read the first chapter of the Book of Mormon so I'm excited to meet them next time. Then there's Randy. He is awesome. He keeps all the commitments that have been given to him, but for some reason he has a problem with committing to a baptism date. We are trying to figure out what is stopping him, but in the meantime we are hopeful he will come around. Then the famous Vicky. I met her at transfers-Sister Christiansen is really close with her. She has a ROUGH life. I honestly feel so bad for her situation. When we got to her house we found her just huddled up and crying. She has been taught by the missionaries since 2011, but she can't quit smoking. We are trying to help her as best as we can, but we know it has to be up to her. She knows everything is true. she has a testimony and she comes to church, she just has to quit smoking and stop some other things from happening in her life. We know the gospel can bring so much happiness to her and so does she! She just needs that last little bit of strength. 
Meeting the ward on Sunday was so awesome! Our ward is about 75% Tongan people! And a majority of the rest of the people are Hispanic. So lots of culture here :) I'm like the whitest one haha! But I love the ward. The Tongan people are hilarious and SO loving! I love it! We went to ward council and apparently last year, the 1st ward (my ward) got 25 baptisms, so they made a goal to get 30 baptisms this year. We are only at 8 so far. We are really struggling. And 1st ward needs a LOT of help. Most people are inactive or in part member families or other stuff like that. 
Monday, I took a couple through the VC that weren't members and I was prompted to give them Book of Mormons and they accepted them! (This is seriously such a small accomplishment, but I'm a newbie so it made me really excited haha). they didn't want to be contacted by the missionaries but they said they would read the Book of Mormon which made me really excited! I got to meet Melissa today. She is what we call an "eterna-gator" meaning an ETERNAL investigator. We know one day she will get baptized because she loves the Mormons and she makes it VERY known that she loves us. She's so sweet. She has a smoking problem as well she has to overcome so that's her holdback. But she moved out of our ward so we met with her with other sisters to pass her on to them. Then I got to meet Michelle. She is has a sweet spirit but is struggling a lot in her life, and really wants to get baptized, but for some financial reason she can't marry her boyfriend who she is living with. We know that if she were to get baptized, the Lord will bless her to make it by, but she has to gain that faith herself

Here is how I would sum up my feelings about Missouri: 
1. love
2. love
3. more love
I honestly love it here so much!! And I'm so happy! I love y'all! 

The 27 missionaries that all headed to Independence on June 24, 2015
In front of the Independence Visitor's Center
Sister Christiansen and Sister Moss "work station"
Sister Moss and her trainer, sister Christiansen in front of the Christus at the Visitors Center
The road that leads to the house where Sister Moss lives-love all the trees!
The Kansas City Missouri Temple

Monday, June 22, 2015

It's only been 10 days?!!!!

I'm really not two months into the mission yet?! Haha, the MTC is awesome but the days are sooooo long! But it's so great to be here! There is so much to tell y'all! 
Last Monday after P-day was over, Sister Soto and I met our new investigator named Sierra. She is so cute! She is married to a member and they have a one year old son. After she had her son, she said that is when she really got interested in investigating the church. It was so neat to teach her. The spirit directed us to teach her about motherhood and she loved every word we said! 
Tuesday we had a member lesson over skype, and we skyped someone from Kansas City! It was so awesome, and we have to keep a look out for them when we get there. But there was a set of sisters that were skyping and they were skyping Emily (my cousin)!!! So I went over to say hi to her and Eli! It was so awesome to see them! Our Tuesday night devotional was given by Elder Evans, a member of the seventy. It was really inspiring. He talked about work and obedience and it made me want to better myself! He told us something that President Packer said: "Obedience is a powerful medicine. It comes close to a cure-all". I am learning that exact obedience brings miracles. 
Wednesday, I found a really really neat scripture that helped me that day. I was wondering how I could better focus on my purpose as a missionary and I came across D&C 64:33-34. All I have to do is offer a willing mind and heart and through small and simple things, the Lord will make these great things to come about in the lives of those I teach. I also noticed that Heavenly Father has really blessed me from being homesick. I prayed to Him, devoting these next 18 months to Him, and as I did I asked for relief from my homesickness, and I have truly felt the power He brings. I haven't really been that homesick at all (except yesterday,because I couldn't be with Dad for father's day). He truly blesses us when we need it! We had our second appointment with Sierra and we committed her to going to church! 
Thursday made me SO excited to enter the field! We had in-field orientation, learning about finding and other stuff like that. The thing I got the most out of it though was how useful members are in missionary work! Like holy cow, us as members can make a HUGE difference! I challenge y'all to really focus on how you can be a member missionary, because blessings will come your way :) The sisters and I also have been talking about our families and I realized how blessed I am with my family. Three of the six sisters come from a broken family and I never realized how much I took my family for granted. I am so grateful for eternal families! Sister Bentley got really really sick, so our district got together and the elders gave her a blessing. That moment was so powerful. I looked at these young men and thought to myself how powerful the priesthood really is and how grateful I am to be surrounded by these young men  who are worthy of it. There is nothing better than a worthy priesthood holder. Tonight was our last appointment with Sierra because she left for Mexico on Friday and wouldn't be back til after we left for Missouri. BUT!!! We committed her to baptism! The spirit was so strong and I know that her and her family is going to be blessed because of her choice. 
Friday we taught Jeremy about the Atonement. His biggest problem is he feels like he can't be forgiven so we really focused on this concern. But by the end he committed to repenting and we were so proud of him and excited to see the Atonement work in his life. I was also reading my patriarchal blessing and I noticed something that I had never noticed  before. It says: "You are chosen to help build up the Kingdom of God in the last days".... Like HOLY COW! Doesn't that like perfectly describe my mission?!?! It was really neat to find that.
Saturday I really began to feel insecure about my teaching. I don't know a whole lot about scriptures or the stories and a lot of people in my district are so knowledgeable about all of that stuff. But I went to church on Sunday with that question in mind of how I can be more confident and the spirit testified to me that it doesn't matter what I know, but that I have a testimony and that's all I need. We also committed Jeremy to baptism!! It was just a rockin' week for Sister Soto and I! 
Sundays are so awesome! My district did a musical number in sacrament meeting, the EFY Medley. (Thankfully I wasn't singing, I played hehe) The MTC changes the words to "We'll Bring the World His Truth" to say that 'we are NOW the army of Helaman' and 'we are NOW the Lord's missionaries'. I LOVE IT! It makes the song that much more personal and powerful. We had a departing devotional to get us ready to leave. then our sunday night devotional was given by Elder Littlefield, and the message was so awesome. There are people in Missouri specifically being prepared by the Lord for ME. I am the answer to their prayers and if I don't go and teach them then who will? I can't wait to find those people and bring them closer to Christ. 
This morning we did a session at the beautiful Provo temple. It was so awesome to do a session again. I love the temple!! 
God is good, people! Alma 26:16

Monday, June 15, 2015

Hardest 5 Days of My Life


The title to this email is so true! These past 5 days have easily been the hardest days of my life. BUT!! They have been the HAPPIEST days too! The MTC is the only place that is happier than Disneyland :) Everyone walks around saying "Hi Sisters!" "Good morning, Elders!" and it makes me SOOO happy!!
The first two days were the hardest. I couldn't even talk without starting to cry. It was a mix of overwhelmed and home sick and nervous and excitement and feeling the spirit. But each day has gotten significantly better! The spirit is ALWAYS here. It's so crazy but so awesome! 
My district is so awesome! I love them so much! We have 6 sisters and 6 elders. And we were told this is really rare, but all 12 of us are going to Independence! So that has been a really awesome way we have all bonded together. We are all so different and I think that is what makes us really close. We have 3 elders who were in high school literally two weeks ago! And then one elder is 23 and he fell away from the church when he was 18 and has been active for the past 9 months and is now serving! He's so awesome. My companion is so sweet! She is a convert to the church and she has such a sweet spirit about her! Her name is Sister Soto and she is from Pleasant Grove. (Everyone in our district except for 3 people are from Utah). She was baptized when she was 16 and is now 20. It really helps her to connect with the investigator because she knows how they feel. We get along super well and I am really grateful for that! 
Elder Marsden, an elder from my district, shared with us a story that gives me chills everytime I hear it! He said a lady in his ward served in Independence back in the 80s and she told him when she was there an apostle came for a conference for the missionaries. She said the apostle told them that every missionary who is called to the Missouri Independence mission was hand picked by Joseph Smith and when the second coming happens, we have to report our mission to him! HOW CRAZY COOL IS THAT?!?!?
One of the reasons why this is so hard is because I'm tired all the time! By the time it's 10:30, I'm already asleep! I've fallen asleep at 10 every night! Not only does this work make you physically and mentally tired, but it makes you spiritually tired as well. 8 hours of sleep isn't enough!!! 
Class is awesome! I have learned more in these past 5 days than I have in my life. We have two 3 hour classes where we learn more about the lessons and specific principles in them. We already have two investigators, Andy and Jeremy, who we have taught once. Teaching is scary!!! I didn't realize it! We meet our third investigator tonight, who we are really excited to teach. Her name is Sierra and she just had a baby and is now interested in the church, so we are going to teach about families and I am SO excited! Sister Soto and I have been looking forward to it all week! 
Sunday has been the best day so far here at the MTC. Sister Soto and I are the music coordinators for our branch and so we started planning a musical number for next week's meeting with our district and I'm really excited about it! Sunday is a day where we don't have to focus on the lessons or learning everything that needs to be taught- it's a day where we can focus on the spirit for ourselves and receive that edification that comes from it. I loved it! I branched out and went to choir! There were like 800 people there... But it was really neat, and we sung Jesus, once of Humble Birth. That song is beautiful! 
Our Sunday night devotional was given by Brother Heaton, the administrative director here. He talked about prayer and the importance of it in our lives as well as in our investigators lives. And I realized that I can always better my prayers and make them more meaningful. He also said the funniest thing ever: "The Missouri Independence mission is the only mission with a future". HA! It was really funny. 
Then we had the opportunity to watch an MTC devotional by Elder Bednar on Christmas a few years ago. It was called "The Character of Christ". And holy cow, it was amazing. My mind is still trying to process it. It honestly changed my life! It was about how Christ always turns out in love and service whereas the natural man would turn in. Everything he said was so powerful and I want to develop that character! (Tanner, when you go to the MTC you HAVE to watch it.)
This morning we went to the temple and we did some initatories. It was so awesome. And the Provo temple is so pretty! I can't wait to do a session next week and see the Celestial room! 
So, Sister Chatlin and I live just two rooms down from each other! It's so fun to see her every night! And I've seen Sister Walker and Sister Dunn and so many missionaries from BYU. It's so fun to see familiar faces! 
I'm trying to figure out how to upload pictures, but I don't know how to do it yet... So if I figure it out I will send some pictures later! I love you all so much!!
Sister Chatlin and Sister Moss
MTC companion Sister Soto