Sunday, August 31, 2014

Can you believe it's the end of August?

Dear Family,

Happy first day of school! I'm so excited to see pictures and read all about it. Hard to believe how old everyone is. When does Jake head back up to school? (P.S. I laughed when Jake said my emails are too detailed.. Sorry Jakey! There's just too much to say about missionary life) 

So this week was so awesome, but also so hard. There were some points that just felt brutal. One morning, I just broke down basically sobbing in the car.. sometimes the weight of our responsibilities and my frustration with my weaknesses is too overwhelming. Sister Cook is so good to me, though, and always knows just what to say to encourage and strengthen me. She immediately called Brother Mundy and asked if he could give me a blessing. He'd just gotten home from work, so we stopped everything and headed over. He told me that days like that day will come, and that I'll feel Satan working especially hard on me because I am "a choice daughter, and Heavenly Father has a great work for me to do". I know he's right, but sometimes it seems next to impossible to fight off discouraging thoughts, so I do what you've always told me to do, Mom.. just let myself feel it, and then get over it and get to work. I'm not sure what we'd do without the Mundy's though... they are our go-to family. We love them so much. Earlier this week we went over to their home to have a lesson with them at the end of the day (we try to schedule in appointments with members at the end of the day because contacting is hard at night - especially in Havasu since there's no street lights). We shared some thoughts on CHANGE and how that is the central purpose of the Gospel; to change our natures to become more like God. We had them listen to a clip from Elder Holland's talk "The First Great Commandment" from October 2012. Oh, his words are powerful. His message boils down to this: once we have known the Savior, and felt the power of His Gospel, and partaken in the goodness of His Gospel, nothing is to ever be the same. We cannot go back to who we were before - we must work and sweat and labor and further His cause. He expects "our love and our loyalty at EVERY stage of our lives." (please go listen to it all; it's a message each of us needs to hear again and again) Then we had them watch the "Because of Him" video the church put out at Easter. I never tire of watching it. Both Brother and Sister Mundy were touched and said, "You two had no idea coming in here what we're going through at this time. But that was EXACTLY what we needed to hear. Thank for being the deliverers of that message. You are so in tune. Whatever you guys are doing throughout your days is exactly what you're supposed to be doing.. Whatever you're studying in your studies, whatever you're saying in your prayers, whatever you're talking about and thinking about - you're doing it right. Because that was powerful." WOW, what better feeling than to feel that you're doing something right, despite your inadequacies? I know the message didn't come from us, but it sure felt good to be the mouthpiece. 

An insanely crazy, busy, rewarding week!

Dear family,

Oh me oh my... where to begin?? This week has been so much fun but also exhausting. Everyday has been jam packed, but I love how busy we always are. I got emails from Borgs, Mom, Dad, and Sum this week - oh joy! I love hearing from each of you. Thank you thank you. I also got a fresh container of honey from Wendy (I haven't tried it yet because I'm waiting to run out of the honey i already have but I am just giddy with excitement about it!), and 2 huge letters from Jordan and Samantha. Every one of those mail deliveries were much needed and I've been overwhelmed with gratitude for all the support I've received from back home! 

The Ward Rescue on Saturday was incredible. I was so impressed with the organization of it all and the joint efforts of the whole ward. Seriously, everyone was on fire! We had 3 different shifts throughout the day - 9AM12PM, and 3PM. Ward members who came at each shift received a bag of 3 households to visit and then went into the Relief Society room to get a 15 minute training before going out to visit the homes. Our ward mission leaders explained that the purpose behind the rescue was to contact those individuals we don't know and see A. If they still live there, B. what they're like, and C. if they're interested in having home and visiting teachers come visit them every month. Then we'd offer them an invite to a ward picnic we're having by the lake next month. After each visit, the ward members would write down their observations and mark whether the households were "hot, warm, or cold" (AKA interested, semi-interested, or not interested at all in the church). If someone wasn't home, the name would be brought back and set in a bag for the next shift. Members came back with some really awesome stories, and out of the 120 households, we contacted 90, 29 no longer live at their listed address, 30 still need to be visited, and 5 were very "hot" and interested in coming back to church. I was overwhelmingly impressed with the enthusiasm of the ward and the leaders. I am just so grateful. Sister Cook and I have so much work to follow-up on from that Day of Miracles, and we are thrilled to get busy this week. And to top off the day, we had Tammy's baptism.... Does that sound like a solid missionary day or what?? Everything turned out beautifully. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Two months today!

Dear Family,

I love reading your emails each week... I soak up every word! CC's party looks like so much fun, especially with all the little touches thrown in there (Spurs music, costumes, old home videos). I cannot express how grateful I am for our beautiful Robinson/Stadler family. I'm really not sure how I got so lucky to come from such good stock. I bet it was extra special having Sophie and Heather there. I love the picture of them with Holly! 

Yes, Sister Lowry and I rode bikes the morning of our exchange to do some street contacting! We went out at 8:00 AM so it wasn't too hot, but we couldn't stay out for more than an hour or we'd melt. It's a new rule that we're supposed to ride our bikes for a little while every day now, though.. so Sister Cook and I will be riding them more. The tough thing in our situation, though, is that we don't actually live in our area, so we'd have to load our bikes up on the back of the car and drive to our area, unload them, bike around, and then head back for morning studies each morning. Talk about work! But it'll be good exercise, and I'm sure it won't seem too bad after we've done it for a week or so. 
Happy 6 months down, Sister Cook! We went and got fro-yo to celebrate :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hello August!

Dear Family,

Tomorrow marks the end of my first transfer in the field! The time has gone fast but slow. Sister Cook and I are staying in Havasu together for at least one more transfer, and then we'll see after that! We're the only companionship staying the same in our District. I'm realizing how much of a change it will be when I have to switch areas or companions (or both!)... I'm sure it will feel like I'm beginning a whole new mission! Apparently missionaries are staying in areas longer though. We went on exchanges again this week (I went to the other area in Havasu with Sister Lowry) and Sister Lowry told me that she stayed in both her first and second areas for 6 months each. 6 MONTHS! That's so long! You can do so much work in that time! Part of me hopes I stay in Havasu for that long. That means I'd be here till Christmas! 

We drove into Vegas on Thursday for mid-12 week training with all the missionaries that came into the field with me and their trainers, plus the AP's and President and Sister Snow. Sister Cook wasn't feeling well that morning so we called into the mission home and got permission to switch drivers for the day. We woke up at 5 AM and headed out to Vegas by 6:15... it was liberating being able to drive! Haha. Oh, I loved it. Training was refreshing - it always puts things in perspective to hear other missionaries' insights on the work. And I loved seeing my fellow MTC missionaries! Especially Sister Browning. She is serving in a singles ward in Vegas and loves it. After training, I had an appointment at Sister Cook's uncle's dentist office to get fitted for a nightguard he made me! Free dental care.. we are so spoiled! We ate lunch at Zupas before taking the 2 and a half hour drive back to Havasu. Someone paid for our meal, or the restaurant fed us on the house - either way, we ate free of charge! It was so yummy. 
So happy to see Sister Browning!

Self defense, a wedding, and packages

Dear Family,

Sister Cook and I were so busy all week. On Monday after emailing, we went straight into the church gym and had our ward mission leader, Brother Hauck, teach us some self-defense. He works for the government in the Department of Interior and has been through 4 police academies, so he knows his stuff.. part of his job is actually training other federal cops how to fight, so this was the real deal, haha. We loved it! Not that we're in any kind of danger really, but it's good to know how to defend ourselves. The other sisters serving in Havasu joined us, and we had a great time learning how to throw a good punch and kick ;) 

There's a woman in the ward who got married this week and she invited us to her wedding ceremony at the Bishop's home. The last wedding ceremony I can remember going to is probably Danny and Brittany's way back when, so it was an interesting experience being there. Bishop had been out of town for a week, so we hadn't seen him in a while, and it was refreshing to see his face light up with a smile when we walked into his house for the ceremony. He hadn't been expecting us, and he came right up and asked how the work has been and what news there was since he'd been gone. It was one small evidence of the confidence and trust ward members are developing in us! It's so rewarding, and seriously makes all the difference.