Monday, December 22, 2014

Sisters, Sisters, There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters

Week 42  Dec. 22, 2014  6:05 EST   Sisters, Sisters, There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters

Merry Christmas y'all -

Though that's a reference to the best Christmas movie ever (move over, Miracle on 34th Street). Sister Diener and I have been up to all sorts of Christmas-y things lately. So it is doubly fitting.

Somehow, everyone in the real world seems to not have time for missionary stuff this time of year. Crazy. Most all of our investigators want to meet after all the holidays, which puts us in a kind of tight spot until 2015 (which Sister Diener finds hilarious). So hopefully things will pick up and get rolling again soon. The Christmas season has provided more opportunities for service in the community though, so we've been busier at food banks and such.

Other than that, things have been good here. Saturday we had a lesson with Mauriella about faith and opposition, and her little brother Lincoln (who is almost eight) pulled me aside and told me, "When things get tough, we try harder"
That little guy is a stud. 

We had interviews this past week which makes me very grateful to have such awesome mission "parents". President and Sister Blatter do such a good job at knowing and loving each of us individually.

As Christmas rolls around, remember to take time to be grateful, to remember our spiritual gifts as well as the seasonal ones, and to ponder on how Christ is the gift. 
And what Christmas morning would be complete without a little scriptural inspiration: Proverbs 4:7 "in all thy getting, get understanding"

Love,
Elizabeth

P.S. excuse the lack of pictures, I still need to round up a usb jump one of these days

Lessons Learned



Week 41  December 15, 2014  5:00 pm EST      Lessons Learned

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there was a missionary named Elder Wolf. He served in the D.C. South mission and spent many hours in the Bishop residence during his time in the Ashburn ward. That missionary had a sister, who married a man, and moved to Washington, and built a house in the Belfair ward, and had the sister missionaries over for dinner, and came to realize that the missionary in front of her randomly knew her brother.

Lesson learned: the world is already small, but it becomes much smaller in the church.

Sometimes you get your sd card from your camera taken at the library. Sometimes you no longer have pictures from your mission.
Sometimes this makes you very sad.
Sometimes you just get over it and get another sd card and start over.


Lesson learned: have an extra sd card.
Additional lesson learned: write in your dang journal so pictures aren't the only record of what you've been up to and what matters to you.

Street contacting can often lead to new investigators...or the patrons of the park will scatter at the arrival of the missionaries...regardless, there are plenty of opportunities out there to teach and plenty of kodak moments. (You gotta make up for all those lost photos somehow, right?)

Lesson learned: go ahead and ride the orca.


Our most solid investigator, Elizabeth, had to go out of the state to take care of her sick mom. Which is unfortunate, but she her commitment is to the gospel, not the Belfair missionaries, so she found the church down in California and attended there this past Sunday. She loves it all. (but misses her ward family here already) 
Lesson learned: People will exceed your expectations if you let them.

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. It's in a song, so it's true. (don't quote me.)
Christmas time means you get to go to ward Christmas parties, people are a bit more apt to want to talk about Jesus Christ and it's easier to find houses when you're knocking in the middle of nowhere because some of them have lots of Christmas lights - like a beacon to potential investigators.
Christmas time also means that if you have a really sweet mom, she'll send you a miniature tree to decorate.
And in case you were wondering, I have one such mother.

Lesson learned: it's not the size of your tree that matters, it's who you think of when you see it.



shameless product placement, folks. #HeIsTheGift)

'Tis the season to be jolly.

Love,

Elizabeth

Intensity

Week 40  December 8, 2014  4:11 pm EST     Intensity

in╦łtens/
adjective
of extreme force, degree, or strength.
highly concentrated.
having or showing strong feelings or opinions; extremely earnest or serious.

It has been an intense week.
Extreme highs and lows each day, such as:
- the longest day ever/super productive MLC/exchange
- culture shock on my exchange with Sister Brewster back in Tacoma (oh how I've missed the city - I know, it's only been a few weeks)
- Hundreds of nativities crowded into the Tacoma stake center
(including this gnome rendition - this one's for you, Dad!)

- The slowest drivers.
- A stressful intervention for one of our investigators who is struggling with addictions, depression and opposition trying to get baptized
- The most prepared woman, Elizabeth, finally making it to church and loving it
- Attempting to wrangle the most rambunctious two year old boy out from under a pew during sacrament meeting discretely
- Having some of the best sisters in the mission as good friends.
- The worst day ever.   I won't go there.
- Getting attacked by a pack of chihuahuas during a lesson
- All the serendipitous moments on both sides of the exchange
- A very bright happy-light during studies (ha.)
- Luke defending the Restoration to his mother and glowing from the light of the gospel
- The prettiest weather on the canal after a few days of mucky rain and fog


So all in all, it's been quite the week. And the next one is looking just as good.

Do good, be good.

Elizabeth


Monday, December 1, 2014

#ShareTheGift

Week 39  December 1, 2014  3:54 pm  EST     #ShareTheGift


Major Holiday Season:
one down, two to go, folks.

Transfers was bittersweet, seeing some of my best friends and hearing their final testimonies. It's a good thing there's life after death and all, because goodbyes aren't really my thing.





So life in Belfair is pretty awesome. We have the largest geographical area in the mission (other than Forks which includes the whole Olympic National Forest and is an Elders area anyways) and I never realized how much time/how many miles we would spend getting to and fro each day. The Belfair area comprises a lot of very small and remote towns in the mountains and near the water so it's really pretty up here. Way different from downtown Tacoma - but still good. The church is still true up here too.

Thanksgiving we spent with a few families in the ward, writing thank you notes, weekly planning and generally trying to recover from a lot of pie. Our first dinner (at 11am....dinner??) was with the Bautistas and their little girls:

Sister Diener and I have tons of people to teach here, five people came to church on Sunday (plus little ones) and it is going to be a really good transfer - it's also going to be Christmas, so naturally it's going to be a really good transfer (:



(in case you were wondering, it is hecka cold knocking doors. and yes, it really is that dark.)

Speaking of Christmas...we are sharing a super cool new video with every living thing we can possibly come in contact with. You can find it at christmas.mormon.org - does really helps draw the connection between the Savior's birth and his Atonement, and how everything draws back to God's love for us. 



Watch it, love it, share it, you know the drill.

Until next time,
Elizabeth

P.S. and yes, Sister Diener is indeed from Utah. Six for six comps. I'm starting to get a complex

Re: Thanks and Giving.

Week 38  November 25, 2014  3:38 pm  EST.   Re: Thanks and Giving 

Heya!

I'm so glad she is home. she looks so good and so happy in the pictures (:

So newsflash: I'm getting transferred - to Belfair in the Gig Harbor zone (!)

it's the boonies for sure haha.
I'll be an stl, so that will mean for lots of exchanges, though I don't know what areas I'm over yet. There are a lot of sisters areas closing/shifting because of the lack of sisters coming in and so many are going home today (Cassell is headed home - I told her to be becky's friend haha)

I kinda thought I'd stick around Lincoln for all the holidays, but I guess the other side of the bridge is where I need to be

I got your awesome package! and I am wearing the bracelet! I loved hearing from Boo (:

Peace Out, T-Town. Hello Boonies

Week 38  November 25, 2014  4:43 pm EST.   Peace Out, T-Town. Hello Boonies


Welp. I'm headed across the bridge folks!

It looks like I'll be spending the holidays on the peninsula in Belfair, WA.

And here a some nice population statistics regarding my areas thus far (just for fun):
Parkland - 35,803
Tacoma - 198,397
Belfair - 6,221

Sister Lomu will keep rockin' it in this ward with Goldstrohm and Andersen.



And since I'm leaving the land of Lincoln after a mere six weeks, this picture seems fitting:

In case you've been living under a rock, it's almost Thanksgiving and the gratitude in the air is almost tangible. I won't burden you with long soapbox on being grateful, but a scripture will do (:

Alma 26:35-27
Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.
Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land.
Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.

Us missionaries are indeed wanderers in the strange land of Tacoma, but we certainly have every reason to rejoice in the goodness of God.

Love, Elizabeth



P.S. Welcome Home Boo! Here's your official shout out (:
P.P.S.



Baby It's Cold Outside

Week 37   November 18, 2014  5:57 pm EST.    Baby Its Cold Outside


Most nights when Sister Lomu and I come in we have to spend a little while defrosting. And on occasion I find her in front of the heater in our little room cocooned up. 
As a reminder to all: skirts are drafty.

But I'll take all this cold over the rain any day. We have been super blessed to have had some really clear skies this past week and more than an expected amount of sun (:

Our week has been fairly low key, just working away here in Lincoln. We met a man on the street on Wednesday who would only speak to us in animal sounds...so that was fun.

Knocking near the Tacoma Dome


And a memorable dinner with an investigator and one of the most interesting families in the ward

We had our ward's Primary Program on Sunday and our tiny little investigator Amaura participated (and did an awesome job, even if she didn't know all the words to the songs yet). Her and Makai and his little sister Sakaia just loved church/primary. Now if only we could get the rest of their families to feel the same way...

We also had an awesome little miracle with a woman we have been working with for months now, Sue. We have dinner with her and Sister Whitney each Friday; she comes prepared with gospel questions for us to answer and we come with a little lesson to share. Sue has slowly progressed from reluctant participant to looking for questions to stump us to genuinely wanting to know more and feel what we feel. On Friday she was the happiest we have ever seen her and she told us this story about how she has come to know that the principle of paying tithing is true and that it brings blessings. As our conversation wore on, she told us that she will get baptized exactly one week after she quits smoking (neither of which things we have committed her to do yet).
She knows this is true. She knows she wants to be baptized. She knows God will help her get there.

So all in all, life is good. Crazy and strange and oh so good.

In light of facing hard things, we here in the WaTac hold on to Hebrews 11:40 (JST)
"God having provided some better things for them through their sufferings, for without sufferings they could not be made perfect."
Ofa lahi atu (did I mention Lomu's teaching me Tongan? haha)

- Elizabeth