Sunday, March 29, 2015

Love To See The Temple

Week 55  March 23, 2015  4:43 EDT   Love To See The Temple

Alright, sit tight because this is a long one folks.
Somehow this week we we we always out of our area (helloooo exchanges) and often out of our mission boundaries (!)
[full disclosure: we're not apostate, we just had lots of trips to Seattle and such. more to follow.]

First off, our 70 year old recent convert/landlady (who's basement apartment we live in currently) had an emergency that landed the three of us in a hospital in Seattle in our pajamas. Ruby called and woke us up to help her get an ambulance - she was in waaaaaaay bad shape (excruciating pain, fever, dry heaving....yep.) and in triage they assessed that she had some MAJOR kidney stones. So after a few hours and too many phone calls later (especially to President Blatter haha) we were able to get some heavy meds put in Ruby, got us back on a ferry and went back home to go about business as normal for the rest of the day. 

On the ferry, in shock - we escaped the ambulance to use the bathroom since our whole morning groove was thrown off:

Ruby stabilized (thank you, dilaudid!):

and our ferry ride back:

The Bainbridge Island ward also has an annual service project at Our Lady of the Rock monastery on Shaw Island (yes, go and google Shaw Island... yep, the one in the San Juans is correct!) - President Blatter said it was a fantastic opportunity to build relationships with the ward members and to serve as the Savior would, so he gave the go ahead and off we went with over 50 others from the ward. The nunnery has seven Benedictine nuns (all between the ages of 70-90) who live on 30 acres of land, and we all helped with various assignments to help take care the property - like cleaning chicken coops, filling pot holes, clearing ponds, and Sister Smith and I were on a team to split and chop chords of wood for five hours. Needless to say, it was an awesome experience, and we are all a bit stiff today from the manual labor.

This week was also awesome because we had double header baptisms; one in Lacey (Sister Smith's old area) for Bob and one up here for Spencer, the son of an awesome recent convert, Christel. And wouldya look at that? Sister Swann (my first comp) and I were reunited for a spell (:

But even with all those adventurous things all over the WaTac (and beyond..ahem) our most exciting day of the whole week was being able to go to the temple as a mission. The Silverdale, Port Angeles and Tacoma zones went together for an endowment session and words cannot even describe how much I have missed being able to feel the Spirit in the temple and how much it feels like home.

Since it is the house of the Lord, and we are His sons and daughters, it is also our house. It is were we can always feel the familiarity of home. It is were we can remember who we are becoming, because who we have been becoming has been in the works long before this life began.

And because everybody loves quotes about temples and loves some C.S. Lewis (and because hey, he's probably accepted the restored gospel of Jesus Christ by now...)
“God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn't. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.” 

- elizabeth

Sleepless (Near) Seattle

Week 54   March 16, 2015  3:54 EDT    Sleepless (Near) Seattle

Doctrine & Covenants 80:1
"Go ye, go ye into the world and preach the gospel to every creature that cometh under the sound of your voice."


Sister Smith and I have been in a frenzy this week, as usual, but this week has been swell. We have been busy with finding/teaching/exchanging/etc. but manageable. 
Weekly planning sometimes finds us at the park, attempting to simultaneously soak up any available vitamin D while discussing zoning plans for our potentials/investigators/members

Sister Smith and I exchanged with the Port Angeles Sisters Bigley and Scheer, which was a blast - and yes, after a few weeks Sister Smith and I have began unintentionally matching outfits. Oy. 

The training we received from Elder Maynes of the Presidency of the Seventy was on our goals and our faith. We must always think ahead; it's not enough to plan our day, week or even month in advance. Decisions that we make today have impact on where we will be months and years from now and determine the outcome of eternity. When we place our priorities in line with what the Savior would have us do and be, we are blessed - not immediately with happiness or fleeting satisfaction, but with integrity and a hope that will get us through inevitable hard times. Put faith over fear to see the miracles God is waiting to put in motion. We cannot have faith with fear and fear has no power where there is faith. Faith precedes the miracle, and sometimes the miracle is us.

Sister Brewster left a note for me a while back that included a quote I needed this week - Neal A. Maxwell: "God does not begin by asking us about our ability, but only about our availability, and if we then prove our dependability, he will increase our capability."

The Lord qualifies whom He calls. This much I know. He takes small and simple things and proves them to be powerful.
"Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great" (D&C  64:33)

sic parvis magna,


Baby goat in a diaper?
very angry kitty?

Monday, March 16, 2015

One Year Older (And Wiser Too?)

Week 53   March 9, 2015  3:56 EDT    One Year Older (and Wiser Too?)

Well well well, Sister Smith and I indeed survived the singlemost stressful/sick/sleepless/overwhelming week of our missions. Sometimes it's just a miracle that we endure things, and a bigger miracle that God helps us endure them well. 

This week was nonstop with exchanges, interviews, meetings up the wazoo, MLC, general authorities, sleepovers in Tacoma and last minute trainings. 

But the Lord in His infinite mercy has given us the glorious gift of Excedrin and Baja.


And some photographic evidence of one of the highlights of our week: a sleepover in Soundview with Sisters Heaton and Horgeseimer (along with Juanita, Mr. Mango Martinelli and some girl scouts)

love 'em.

Spring Day Light Savings time is a cruel joke to those of us who are desperate for sleep, but it does making knocking doors nicer since it's a whole hour lighter. It also seems to throw the congregation for a loop when Sacrament meeting begins with only half the ward present (which happens to be atypical on the Island).

We caught some sun on Sunday while street contacting in the park since everyone and their dog (literally) was there.

And all this talk about sun is a perfect segway into a thought on the light of Christ ('s like I planned it or something)

A quote of the week from a lady we knocked into: "Fifty shades of grey isn't just a naughty book, it's our local weather forecast." 
Sister Smith and I laughed at this one but also saw all sorts of truth in it beyond the literal fog that always seems to cover everything here. The world isn't just becoming darker, it's becoming more and more grey; truth is becoming more and more obscured; people and places are becoming more and more removed from light. 

Dr. Alexander Papaderos (in this month's Ensign) said:

"I am not the light or the source of light. But light—the light of truth, understanding, and knowledge—is there, and that light will only shine in many dark places if I reflect it…I can reflect light into the dark places of this world…and change some things in some people. Perhaps others may see and do likewise. This is what I am about. This is the meaning of my life.”

Reflecting the Savior's light will let us reach people that wait in darkness. Romans 13:12, “Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light”.

The light that the Savior offers us is protection, it is literal armor; when we are armed with His light we have the opportunity to share it and save others. This must be what we are about. 

The Islander

P.S. Sister Smith and I taking this notion of being armed with the power of reflecting (God's) light perhaps a bit too literally.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:


Sunday, March 8, 2015

March Ma Ma Ma Ma Mad Madness

Week 52   March 2, 2015   5:21 EST    March Ma Ma Ma Ma Mad Madness

Hello folks,
Life is good in the land of my foremothers Davis and Cassell.

Some of the folks we are teaching include Paul and Christine, who are on date for March 15. Christine is overcoming severe agoraphobia but they are both in love with the gospel and church; she's working on making church a safe place all the time. They are also in love with Beyonce, Daughters In My Kingdom and Abraham 3. So if you are looking for conversations that include Sasha Fierce, Uchtdorf and Kolob all in one sentence, you'll have to come to their house for a lesson.
Spencer is on date to be baptized on March 21 - we are just waiting for his best friend to return from his mission to baptize him. He is doing great and always has funny questions for us. 

March Madness is upon us, and it's more than just basketball for us in the WaTac. It's a high intensity (and only slightly competitive - p. 22 of the white handbook, yo.) study of Preach My Gospel for the month. Last year our mission had over 80 baptisms during March, and we don't think it's any coincidence that we were able to see those miracles concurrently with our extensive studies. 

I also went to Sequim (pronounced 'skwim') with Sister Wilkinson this week, which was a blast. Sequim is known for a few things, including being in the rain shadow so they get the least amount of rain on the peninsula by far, and it is populated by a whole lotta old people. So naturally, while there we worked with/visited the geriatric crowd but it rained cats and dogs, almost literally. It washed the car pretty good, so that's a plus.
Sister Wilkinson is training Sister Naupoto up there and they are doing great work.

(​Sometimes your only option is a selfie from the car hood across from the casino...yep.)

Other happenings on the Island include a surprise park day, life-changing Priesthood blessings, our Book of Mormon bookclub and "catpoints" (I'll have to explain catpoints later haha).

In mission news, Elders Maynes, Nielson and Bussey of the Seventy are visiting our mission this Saturday, so that'll be very exciting for all of us. Times are few and far between when the entire mission is able to get together like this. I'll get more to you about it next week

Sister Smith and I are happy as clams, though sickness is sweeping through the island (aka flu and whooping cough and perhaps the black plague too.)
We are taken care of well on Bainbridge, and we are looking for ways to really kickstart member missionary work here. 

I love you guys. Remember that when it comes down to it, it is impossible for us to break the commandments, we can only break ourselves against the commandments. All that God asks us to do is for us to learn, grow and experience the full measure of our potential. Obedience brings blessings, every time.

- Elizabeth