Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Week 24: St. Patrick's day madness!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Monday, March 14th: 🏐🏐🏐🏐🏐🏐🏐

Today is p-day (just like every week haha). I got to play some volleyball with our zone! It turns out Sister Evarts (another sister in the zone that came out the same time as me), Elder Amone (zone leader), and Elder Alford (district leader) are good at volleyball. That's pretty much it for our zone... So we probably won't be playing volleyball again in our zone very soon but it was still fun to pepper with those three! When we played a game it was kinda iffy. Makes me miss Salt Lake zone where almost everyone had at least some knowledge of volleyball :). Here's something weird! Sister Nielsen and I went to the D.I. (I finally got jeans! But they might be a bit tight...) and got barbies for 50 cents. Do you know how hard it is to find a brunette Barbie at the D.I.?? Then we went to Walmart and got some cheap clothes for the barbies and we spent a little bit today making our barbies look like us... The things you do to stay sane hahaha!  We had a lesson with Michelle today that was really good! She hadn't read the talk we left her, The Path to Peace and Joy (I think October 2000) so we read it with her and it was so powerful. It's one of my favorite talks, I invite all of you to read it :) We had a lesson with Claudia and it was really good! She's less active and wants her 8 year old son baptized. She's super committed to coming back to church and we're going to help her get to the temple. One really fun thing that I've found out is that Sister Nielsen is super afraid of the girl from the ring, and I have black hair that covers my face. I'll just leave it at that :) Face with tears of joyFace with tears of joyFace with tears of joy

Tuesday, March 15th: Soft ice creamSoft ice creamSoft ice creamSoft ice creamSoft ice creamSoft ice creamSoft ice cream

We had a lesson with the Ocompo kids again today! They're super sweet. I think he oldest daughter is a little less into it, and the girl that can't get baptized yet (because she's 7) is the most excited about church and about learning and praying. So it's hard trying to get them all pumped at the same time, but they're such good listeners it's awesome! We got to go to a super fun relief society activity today for the 174th birthday of relief society! Like 3 of our wards were having one, but we chose to go to the Woods Cross 14th one because we figured that more less actives we work with would be there (nope! Haha) it was a super great activity though! There was an ice cream machine and tons of toppings, and then there was an amazing speaker. She talked about how her husband died when her kids were 3 years old and 6 weeks old. It was such an intense and powerful story, everyone was crying for sure. One thing she said was, "If I don't become bitter, Satan doesn't win". And I really liked that! We also had a lesson with Nathaniel and his parents, Jilliana and Tyson. That was interesting. Nathaniel is dying to be baptized (he's 11), right now he bikes to church on his own or gets a ride with another family. 

Wednesday, March 16th: Personal computerPersonal computerPersonal computerPersonal computerPersonal computerPersonal computerPersonal computer

Today we had a meeting with a missionary that works at our mission office to process the referrals, and a man who we think might be one of President's counselors? Or maybe he works for area book? Either way, it was about the area book referral system and president chose our area to be the one they talk to about how messed up the system is (probably because this is all I ranted about in interviews). It was really good to be in that meeting. We were able to tell them what was working and what wasn't, how to get around the system when it's messing things up, why there are so many differences in what we report and what area book reports, and more stuff like that. It was really awesome! I feel like I'm back into my fake MTC "online coordinator" assignment and it's pretty great. Haha we kinda let them know about every problem ever. We made suggestions on how they should train the mission and things like that and I just felt so cool! Face with tears of joy😀 We had another lesson with Val today, and things weren't as interesting as last time, but she's definitely opening up to us about really personal things and it's awesome that she's starting to trust us more! We went over the plan of salvation again since it was so scattered last time, and we left her the restoration pamphlet to read. She didn't seem as excited to learn about prophets as she did about more of the philosophy stuff. But we'll see what happens next week! We visited some referrals and came to one door that was a non member household and when we knocked on the door, he was super angry as he opened the door, he tapped the "no soliciting" sign a few times and said, "we're trying to eat dinner. This means you guys too" and then he slammed the door. I think that's the harshest no I've gotten on my mission so far- I definitely didn't think it would happen in a small suburb in Foxboro. We also had a great lesson with Randy where Scott came and we talked about how important the temple is. We're really trying to get Randy to go! 

Thursday, March 17th: Four leaf cloverFour leaf cloverFour leaf cloverFour leaf cloverFour leaf cloverFour leaf cloverFour leaf clover

Today was kinda hard. Ive been looking forward to St. Patrick's day my whole mission and then once it came I was just sad to have to celebrate it without my family. It was 10 times harder than Christmas haha it's funny how that works out Face with tears of joy. The STL's came by while we were having lunch and started decorating our door! We heard laughter and tape and we were super confused and then we saw them out of the peephole! (And we found out that you can take awesome pictures through the peephole actually). It was super sweet of them to do that. They only did it because they heard fro, Sister Thetford that it was my favorite holiday haha so my trainer is always looking out for me! Our St. Patricks's day dinner was super festive! Though it was kinda awkward because they like refused to talk throughout the whole thing. So it basically was us asking them questions the whole time. Their son was inactive though and was in town from school so we got a less active lesson! Woop! So we had a lesson scheduled with Ashton and Ryan over at the RV park today, so we get dropped off from dinner (pretty sure they didn't like us haha) and they drove away right when we got the text from Ashton and Ryan's mom, Danielle, cancelling. So we were stuck out at the RV park Face with tears of joy. There's no way to walk home from there so we called like 30 people until someone could finally give us a ride home and it worked out fine. Pretty much everyone cancelled appointments, but we still got to meet with Mike (which of course went well- he's opening up to us so much more!), and our ward mission leader of the 1st ward to correlate. 

Friday, March 18th: WeddingWeddingWeddingWeddingWeddingWeddingWedding

Hayley, a less active recent convert from my last area that Sister Thetford and I reactivated, did proxy baptisms for the first time!! Sister Thetford and I were reunited as we went to see her do them at the Bountiful temple! It was such an amazing experience, she was just so happy and we were so glad to see her making further progress in the gospel! She hopefully will be taking out her endowments soon and we'll be the ones to go to that with her too! 😀 Nothing else really happened today since it was district meeting and weekly planning day. But it was still a great day! 

Saturday, March 19th: Hatching chickHatching chickHatching chickHatching chickHatching chickHatching chickHatching chick

This morning was super fun because we got to help out with a "Christ-centered Easter egg hunt" for one of our wards. They had it so there were quite a few different rooms, and in each of them you learn a little tidbit about the resurrection and then get to pick up an egg and turn in all the eggs at the end for a prize. Our room that we were stationed in was the vinegar room. Did you know that the soldiers served Jesus vinegar on the cross instead of water when he was thirsty? I had no idea! We poured tiny bits of vinegar into little cups and had all the kids smell the vinegar and then we would ask them if they wanted to drink it. Apparently this was not a good thing for the sister missionaries to ask of kids haha a lot of the older boys took it as a challenge and we had like 10-15 kids actually drink the vinegar!  Hahaha it was actually pretty funny because they all wanted to be tough so they would say, "I like the taste!" while their faces were red and their eyes were tearing up. Of course, it was harmless! We also went to a barbecue over at one of our ward mission leader's houses and it was super fun! It was a little awkward, but I've missed having burgers for sure. So good. That's something I'm excited about summer for- a lot more barbecuing. We met with another one of our ward mission leaders and while we were waiting I realized that we were like halfway through March madness! Here's me realizing that: Me: "Woah I totally forgot March Madness was a thing!" Sister N: "...is that for sports?" Lololol it's so weird that we can have completely different opinions and understandings of things of the world and it just doesn't matter! As long as we agree on the gospel, we can still teach with the spirit and that's all we need Smiling face with smiling eyes

Sunday, March 20th: 🌯🌯🌯🌯SpaghettiSpaghettiSpaghetti

We got to see the Provo City Center temple dedicated! That was such a cool experience! For both Sister Nielsen and I it was our first temple dedication and the people of Utah just COULD NOT believe it. We had to remind them that we were not from Utah and there were less than 5 temples in our state. Hahaha! We got to meet with Chase and his daughter Koko, and that was a really good lesson. We taught the restoration and Kayleen (our member present) bore the most powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon. It was amazing. It makes me want to make my testimony 300x stronger than it is right now! We went over to the RV park because our ward mission leader told us that they were struggling. So we went over there and shared the Easter message with them, and then our ward mission leader was there too! He called us over to another RV where Alex, an active member who fellowships Randy, was staying. He was having a barbecue! Since we were told from our dinner that they were puking and couldn't do it, we took our lunch at 2pm and had delicious Mexican food. I know I couldn't make it in the Spanish program, because they were literally putting more food on my plate over and over and then made me eat cake. I don't think I've ever been so full. OH WAIT. We get a text an hour later from our cancelled dinner saying that she found us a dinner! Lucky us!! Haha so we ate another full dinner and dessert and vowed to never do that again (except for we have to do that all the time haha). We got to have a lesson with a less active woman in one of our wards that is seriously struggling. She really likes missionaries, but she is choosing to be inactive right now. She and her husband got divorced after 35 years of marriage and then when she was dating other people, this one man was really sick and she was helping him get better. His condition was life-threatening and he was always in love with her and she always told him that they would always be just friends but that she'll be there for him. Eventually he got better and assumed they were going to start dating, and when she told him that they would still stay friends, he went home and sent an email to his family saying "Good news, I'm going to recover from this illness. Bad news, I'll never recover from *her name* breaking my heart" and then he killed himself. It's these times when I feel so insanely inadequate to be the Lord's representative in this woman's life. It's the times I feel like how can a 19 year old girl who's never gone through anything that hard help her with this? But then we have the spirit with us. So we testified of God's infinite eternal love for her and let her know that we loved her too and that we were willing to help her in any way. Other than that there isn't much else we can do. After that we had a lesson with a woman (Chelsea) who's excited to come back to church, and her daughter Jaden is super excited to get baptized. They both have a really rough past and are so awesome and happy today! Chelsea has a sweet blue wig and totally rocks it- I need to get a picture of these two. 
I found this on LDS.org and I think it's the coolest thing ever! My sabbath day observance is going to be so much more meaningful after my mission! 

a weird cylinder we found off of the legacy trail...

STL's decorating our door
Our festive dinner 🍐 (that's a caramelized pear with pistachio cream on top. It was actually kinda cool tasting)
When we were stranded at the RV park. I feel like this picture describes our area

Us and the decorated door! 
At the temple with Hayley and Sister Thetford! 
Alex's barbecue 
#twinning with a cow. Also a great picture to describe our area

Love you all!!