Monday, September 28, 2015

Becoming Uncommon

Hello friends and family! This week was such a good one and I can't
wait to tell you all about it!

Last Monday, when we were at pday sports, we got a phone call from a
lady in our ward telling us her daughter and grandson want to get
baptized! BEST PHONE CALL EVER! Miracles happen people, they really
do! We met them on Friday and we have a little work to do but it's
never a bad thing when you have new investigators who are on date!
There are people who are prepared for the gospel!

We are just super busy as always, trying to get people to come closer
to Jesus Christ. We are working with a lot of less actives right now!
It's so sad to see so many people who have the gospel in their life,
but not take part of the happiness it brings. We are working hard to
help them remember all of the great blessings that come from the

We got to watch the general women's broadcast which was such an
amazing opportunity! I loved the story that President Uchtdorf shared.
It helped me realize that I have to choose to have a good attitude!
Missionary life is HARD. We see a lot of heartbreaking things, but I
can choose to find the good in my life here. There are miracles every
single day and I just have to open my eyes to see them!

Last night we had a musical fireside and it was AWESOME. I love music!
An elder, elder Anderson, and I did a number called "I Will Serve Him"
(don't worry, I didn't sing, I just played lol, he did all the
singing) and I fell in love with the song!!! I hadn't ever heard it
but y'all should look it up and listen to it. The words are so
powerful! And then the last number we had all the missionaries sing
the efy medley and the spirit was very powerful. I KNOW all the
investigators there felt the spirit!

So, now the title of my email. At Friday morning training meeting,
elder Toronto (the torontos are the directors of the visitors center)
gave a training about becoming uncommon. This topic really caught my
interest. It is uncommon in the world to become like our Savior. Not a
lot of people live Christlike lives. I now have a goal to become
uncommon. 3 Nephi 27:27 "Therefore what manner of men ought ye to be?
Verily I say unto you, even as I am".

I'm so excited for general conference! It'll be a great weekend! There
is a talk that is just for you...pray and listen for it! And apply it
to become uncommon! Love you all!

Some of my favs getting frozen yogurt  :)

We taught the young women this week for mutual.  It was a great experience to bear my testimony of missionary work to these young women who are preparing to serve missions!

An example of a Samoan meal!  On the right is chop looks grow but is actually so good!!!  I love Polynesian food!

Monday, September 21, 2015

A MONDAY P-Day!!!!

Hello again! I feel it was just a couple days ago since I talked to
y'all! But here I am again! Third transfer out and I finally have
Monday p days! Yay!!! Since Thursday, not a whole lot has happened,

Thursday night we had dinner with a less active family and I couldn't
help but cry when we were there. The family has a hard time showing
how much they love each other. It made me realize how much I have
taken my family for granted and the love we share. Always remember to
show how much you love your family!!

We saw Jill again! We met with President Cato (he's our stake
president...basically the coolest guy around...he's former rlds...he's
the best) and talked a lot about the priesthood, the Book of Mormon,
and Joseph smith because she is having a hard time with those
concepts. President Cato was AWESOME at answering her questions and
helping her understand all about the restoration. We then watched the
Joseph Smith movie with her and she definitely felt the spirit. She is
still praying about everything and I love how serious she is taking
this decision. She really wants to know, her desire is amazing!

Deidrey who came into the VC a couple weeks ago emailed me on teaching
center!! She is going to start reading the Book of Mormon and she's
going to ask me questions she has! I was so happy to hear from her!
Teaching center is such a blessing.

Saturday was a really busy day. We saw so many people! One of the
people we saw was this lady named Elva. She is in her 60s and she is
all alone and hasn't been to church in a while. My heart broke when
she was talking about her family and the experiences she has gone
through. Our bishop came with us and gave her a blessing, which helped
her out a ton. She came to church but left before we could even talk
to her!

We saw Randy again, too! No new news on Randy, just keeping him
focused on October 10 and praying lots and lots for him.

I could have SCREAMED for joy when I saw Mary Palma walk into church
on Sunday!!! I was so happy to see her there! And she stayed for all
three hours too! AND had an interview with bishop! She is so serious
about turning her life around and getting a temple recommend that it
makes me want to be better!

Also, a member in our ward asked if we would meet their neighbors and
we got so excited!! We went over after church and we met the wife,
Teresa. She is such a sweet lady! We caught her right during dinner,
but we gave her a Book of Mormon and we are going back wednesday!! I
am so excited!

This morning, we finally went over to the Community of Christ temple
to have a tour through it! For those of you who don't know, Community
of Christ is the rlds church. They changed their name in 2001. Their
world headquarters are here in Independence. It is literally right
across the street from the visitors center. We look at it everyday and
are asked about it by everyone and even study about their beliefs, but
I had never been in it! So we finally went through it today! It was
very interesting. It's interesting to hear all the same background but
yet how different it is. I'm glad I went to see it and to learn more
about it.

Independence is a very special place. It needs a lot of work and that
is why I am here. I know the Lord has prepared people and we will find
them with faith! Thanks for all your emails and prayers. I love you
all and have a wonderful week!

Sister Day and Sister Moss with Mary Palma at church!
She wanted to take a selfie to document the moment.  :)

Inside the sanctuary at the Community of Christ temple

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Another 6 weeks in Independence!!!

I'm staying in Independence with Sister Day!!! I'm so happy! I
honestly never want to leave! My p day is switching to Monday, so you
will hear from me again in like a couple days :)

Today we went to the cute outdoor plaza in Kansas City and its so fun!
Kansas City is really pretty and I love spending time with some
sisters :) so that's why this email is being sent a little bit later
in the day.

On Friday we went on the Mormon walking trail and it was so cool to
literally stand where the saints were when they were here and to hear
the experiences they had. I am so blessed to be serving on such sacred
ground! The spirit here is very different than anything I've felt.
Walking to these places made the stories more real! We even know where
the corn field was located where Mary Elizabeth and Caroline Rollins

I went on a blitz with Sister Sneed on Friday! Sister sneed is so
incredible. She goes home tomorrow! So it was so awesome to be with a
missionary with so much experience. I learned so much from her. She
took me out street contacting and she helped me gain so much
confidence in my missionary work! I learned nothing about missionary
work is socially acceptable, but we do it anyway! It's the best! We
got 3 potentials, so it was way successful!

Randy is still working toward October 10! We watched the Joseph Smith
movie with him this week and he pretty much bore his testimony to us
about him and the Book of Mormon. We fasted together on Sunday for an
answer to his date. He still hasn't told us anything yet, but we are
praying for a miracle here!

We saw Vicky and she came to church!!! We went to her house an hour
before church and shared some Mormon messages with her and the kids
and then our bishop picked them up! It was so awesome to see them at

Joyce got baptized on Saturday!! I will never forget the huge smile
she had on her face when she came up out of the water! She was really
nervous because she has a really hard time waking so the stairs and
the actual baptism really scared her. President Cato totally helped
her get down the steps and then she sat on a stool in the font.
Brother Banuelos (her son in law) and the two elders were all down in
the font with her. I was praying everything would go smoothly and it
did!!! It was so incredible to watch!

We saw Jill again this week!!! She has been in the hospital and hasn't
been able to get a hold of us! She was so happy to see us and I was SO
happy to see her!!! Oh my goodness, I love Jill so much! We talked
about the plan of salvation and she seemed to really understand it!
The one thing that is hard for her to grasp is the priesthood. We are
watching the Joseph smith movie with her tomorrow and I can't wait! We
invited her to be baptized and she said she would pray about it!!

Last night we saw John and Brea! It was so good to meet with both of
them again! It had been a while since we had seen Brea so it was so
good to see her again :) our lesson went well, they both are just
awesome people and I am so grateful to know them!
Joyce is baptized!!!!

The VC sisters touring the Mormon walking trail-this is where the cornfield was where Mary Elizabeth and Caroline Rollins hid.

Selfie at the KC outdoor mall on P-day

The VC and Liberty jail sisters at the latest transfer
Sept. 16, 2015

Taking President Gines' parents on a VC tour

I have been watching this little video series on
called His Grace and y'all should check it out. There are only six
videos, but they are incredible. It strengthened my testimony that His
grace is sufficient for everything and everyone. He loves us so much,
He WANTS to help us. Those videos are amazing and filled with truth
and the spirit. Moroni 7:27 says "wherefore, my beloved brethren, have
miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven, and hath sat
down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of
mercy which he hath upon the children of men?" Of all the things
Christ could have said to His Father when He saw Him, He chose to ask
for mercy on us all. His grace covers us and He is pleading with the
Father for us. Thinking about this has helped me understand my
relationship with my Savior. He is always there!

Love you all and have a great few days! I'll talk to you again Monday!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

3 Months?!!!!

Today is 3 months!!! And only 1 more month of being a teenager!! WHAT.
Time is weird. So so so so weird.

This morning we went to the temple with John!! It was SUCH a cool
experience! He had 21 names to do!! Sister Day and I had the awesome
opportunity to be baptized for his female ancestors. John told us he
definitely felt the spirit when he was being baptized for his
ancestors. The spirit of Elijah is incredible! Watching John grow more
and more in the gospel is such an amazing blessing. I truly have seen
such a change in him from when I met him! When we left he told the
temple worker "I'll definitely be back!" made my heart happy :)

Last Thursday we had an AMAZING lesson with Randy! We talked about
recognizing the spirit and then read Alma 30 with him. It was pretty
bold, but Sister Day and I are bold missionaries :) he was saying how
korihor truly was this evil man and he kept looking for a sign and we
could tell he was processing it all in his head. We asked him what the
story meant to him personally and he said "well I guess it's talking
about walking in faith". !!!!!!! So we asked him what he can do to
walk in faith and he said set a date! OCTOBER 10!!!! He is still a
little unsure about that date, but at least it's a date! And it'll be
the BEST birthday present ever!!!

This week was a little discouraging. We had a lot of appointments fall
through, and I finally got my first door slammed in my face. I'm
officially a missionary now, right? It's crazy how hard satan works on
people when they are choosing the right. I have seen how powerful
satan can be so much. But even more than that, I have seen how
powerful Heavenly Father is. I have seen miracles everyday, even on
the ones where every single one of our appointments cancel. This is
His work and I am just His hand. He directs the work and He knows who
is ready to hear the gospel!

Sunday night was president's devotional and John and Dennis both bore
their testimonies! It was AMAZING! President Vest didn't even
recognize Dennis! Both of these men have been such a blessing in my
life. Each of them have strengthened my testimony so much! I know the
atonement is real and it changes people! It was so amazing to hear how
much they love their Savior.

Joyce is doing so awesome as well!!! She is so excited to be baptized
on Saturday! Her daughter told us she never thought this would happen
and I bore my testimony to her that nothing happens by coincidence. I
truly believe that Joyce moved in with Sister Banuelos because she was
ready to meet with missionaries! God is good, people!

Yesterday I took a father and a daughter through the VC and it was
such an incredible experience! The father is a member but the daughter
isn't. Edla (the dad) just had his wife pass away and that's why
Deidrey (his daughter) was in town. He said he really wanted his
daughter to learn about the church, especially the plan of salvation.
Because of how recent his wife's passing was, there was a very special
spirit in God's Plan. She loved the spirit. At the Christus, we sung
how great thou art and she said it was her favorite song! She has a
really strong faith in Christ and I loved hearing her testimony. She
also loved the history, especially the story of Mary Elizabeth and
Caroline Rollins. She gave me ALL of her information and I can't wait
to be in touch with her. We were together for more than two hours. She
thanked me for my testimony and said she really felt the spirit. The
visitors center is so amazing!!!

Transfers are NEXT Thursday!!! I can't believe it. I don't want
anything to change! The Willis house (where I live) has gotten so
close! But we will see what happens! If I stay where I am, I will
write again next Thursday, but if I leave, I have no idea when you'll
hear from me next...:) love you all so much! Have an amazing week!

Since Saturday was game day, naturally all the byu girls had to wear
our navy blue! Elder and Sister Fullmer (a senior couple here) know
how much I love byu football... So Saturday night when I was at the
visitors center, they called in and asked for me. I picked up the
phone and Sister Fullmer said "okay, you can't squeal when I say this,
but byu won and your friend, Tanner Mangum, threw the winning pass!"
!!!! Of course I did my little happy dance right there! Not only was I
full of byu pride but I was full of lots of eagle pride, too! Woooo!
Go Cougars!

The VC sisters representing the Cougars on Game Day by wearing navy blue!  WE LOVE BYU!!!


Sister Moss, Sister Day, Sister Hunt, Sister Baggett

The Willis house sisters wanted to create a rainbow this week!  :)  I love each and every one of these girls!

Mallory and her companion, Sister Day

The Zion North Zone with President Medina (counselor in the mission presidency)

Going to the temple with John on Sept. 10, 2015

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Miracles and more miracles!

I truly experienced what it means that Heavenly Father truly protects His missionaries! Mom, you may not want to read this story... :) I live in a house with 6 other sister missionaries, so it's way fun! And it's hilarious because all day every day 8 pretty girls dressed in cute skirts walk in and out of the house and every 6 weeks sisters pack up and leave and new sisters come. The people that live by us probably think we are a bit crazy! But this weekend, our house tried to get broken in to!! Legit, there was a hole in the door frame and the lock got knocked off! It is such a blessing they didn't get in! Elder Seaman (he is in charge of housing) came over to check it out and you could see where they were using a crowbar to try and get in! Crazy stuff. A cop came to ask us all questions and I felt like I was on an episode of CSI or something. Even the cop was blown away they didn't get in! But I know it's because Heavenly Father protects His missionaries!

Anyways, that is just one way I have seen the Lord's hand in my life this week. Last Thursday we were trying to stop by to see all of these people that our bishop asked us to see. It was getting dark, but we wanted to stop by this one house really fast to meet them. They weren't members, but our bishop had met them once and thought we should go try and see them again. He didn't have an address though, he just told us it was across the street from a family in our ward and that it was a gray house. We drove over there and like I said, it was getting really dark, and we couldn't tell which house was gray. Sister Day wanted to go back to the VC, but I told her I wanted to go to this one house, whether it was the one or not. So we said a quick prayer and walked up to the door and a man answered and introduced himself as Henry Lara... It was the family bishop asked us to find! His son came out and talked to us too and we gave them a Book of Mormon and we are going back next week to teach them! I'm so excited and so grateful for the spirit's guidance!

Saturday I had a VC miracle! Two ladies from Canada came in! They were co-workers here for a course for work. One was a member and the other wasn't. They wanted to go through the history presentation so I took them downstairs and before I started, I asked her if she knew anything about our church. She said she knew very little, so I started with the restoration and the first vision. She was immediately amazed! And I told her that everything I was going to talk about actually happened, but that the spirit was also going to be present and to notice how she felt. It was a very different history presentation...I did tell the history, but I really felt the promptings of the spirit of when to testify of what. It was very spiritual. When I was telling the history of the printing press, I paused and bore testimony of the Book of Mormon and asked her if she would read it. She said "I was actually just going to ask you for one!" The spirit was testifying to BOTH of us that she needed the Book of Mormon! When she left, I saw her outside already starting to read it :) she gave me her email and I can't wait to talk with her and to help her in her journey!! I love the visitors center!!!

We met with Joyce twice this week! I love teaching her! She's so awesome. She hasn't had troubles with anything we are teaching her and she basically already lives all of the commandments! We watched the Joseph Smith movie with her and that was a sweet experience because she told us after she knows he is a prophet. Next Saturdayis her baptism!!!

Sunday we stopped by Jill's house because we haven't seen her in about a month. I was so happy because SHE WAS HOME! Jill came up to me and gave me a big hug and then started crying. She had just lost her mother in law. We had a little tender moment and then we went inside and talked to her. She was really scared because her mother in law wasn't Christian so she didn't know where she would go. We told her about the spirit world and Jill got SO interested! She told us she is now ready to learn more!!! I couldn't contain my excitement!!! I love Jill!! This week was the funeral and stuff so we are going back to see her next week. I can't wait!!!

We started John on his family history so we can go to the temple with him! He has done so much family history work! He is now preparing to take them to the temple. I am so excited to go to the temple with him! It'll be such a neat experience to be there with him. He has been so excited to go to the temple!

Last night, we had another miracle kind of like last week's. We were at the Banuelos' home, teaching Joyce, and it was a little after 8 when we were leaving. We wanted to knock on a couple of doors, so we knocked on two across the street from them and neither were home. We walked up to where we parked the car and I looked at the house we parked in front of and I felt very strongly about going and knocking on that one. We walked up and a lady opened the door with a cigarette in her hand. We told her about our church and she said that a couple months ago some elders helped her move her broken down car out of an intersection! We talked for a bit and we gave her a Book of Mormon and we are going back in two weeks to teach her! I am loving all of these miracles we are seeing!!! 

This truly is the Lord's work! Part of why there has been so much success is because of the revelation from our mission president. About a week after I got here he said he felt like the work would hasten if we truly were seeking to better understand the atonement. So we have been doing this "atonement initiative" where we read every scripture in the index under 'atonement through Jesus Christ' and keep a study journal of it. So the atonement has been something that we have been focusing a lot on. In a district meeting a couple of weeks ago, our zone leader read this story and I have read it a few times since and it truly sums up what the atonement is. It is called The Room and it really helped me visualize all that the atonement does for me. 

The Room

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index-card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I Have Liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.
And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match.
A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I Have Betrayed."
The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I Have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed At." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've Yelled at My Brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger," "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped.
I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my 20 years to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.
When I pulled out the file marked "Songs I Have Listened To," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented.
When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.
An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: "No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it
Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.
And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.
But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus.
I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one?
Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me.
Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.
"No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood.
He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."
I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.

I am so grateful for the Atonement and that He literally takes away everything as we accept Him in our lives. I know the power that comes through the Atonement is real and it is life changing! I am so grateful to witness that everyday here on my mission. I love you all! Have a wonderful week! 
The Visitors Center sisters  :)

Some of the cute sisters I live with- Sister Hansen, Sister Baggett and Sister Hunt

Some people from our ward who are from the Dominican Republic taught us how to make plantains.  :)  They are so delicious!!!