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

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