Monday, April 27, 2015

Up And Doing

Week 60  April 27, 2015   4:26 pm EDT  Up And Doing

Meet my new nemesis:
the "tiwi"

In short, it is a little black box that monitors all sorts of things in our car/driving habits/etc that were recently installed for the whole mission. Apparently we are the 16th mission to get them and by the end of the year all the missions in the US/Canada will have them. Anxiety runs high in the mission now that we have a robot tracking our moves, but at least it's better to have a car with a black box than no car at all.
I tend to side with the counsel of the prophet Joseph Smith when it comes to these sorts of things - to teach correct principles and let them govern themselves - but apparently missionaries in cars are the church's greatest tiwi it is. 

Besides having almost going into cardiac arrest a few times because a robotic voice blares "CHECK YOUR SPEED" when the speed limit changes, life has been peachy keen. 

We started the week with the Silverdale Croquet Crew decked out in our Bay Hay & Feed shirts; it's a Bainbridge thing to take family pictures in the Bay Hay shirt/sweatshirt of your we naturally convinced (most) of the zone to participate haha.

Other highlights of the week included being able to participate in a Family History Expo where we helped teach a class about indexing records and getting started with finding family names, working with the Young Women for a Personal Progress activity and finding an awesome non-member who we can teach already participating, and a mini exchange with Sister Liao and Jones in Kitsap Lake

We've had more interesting things happen to us this week while knocking, like meeting someone who professed to be "Elijah reincarnated" and another family who opened the door, told us they weren't interested, gave us a plate of chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven and closed the door. Madsen and I were bummed they didn't want to listen, pleased to have delicious cookies, but mostly just confused by the whole business.
People on Bainbridge certainly have an interesting way of rejecting us. 

We are really focusing on member missionary work here, which is gradual but vital progress. Changing the way the culture of the church works in regards to missionary work is like changing the direction of a very, VERY large ship. It takes time and patience and fortitude and outside forces work against it, but it can be done. 

James 3:4 "Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm
See also: D&C 123:16
See also also: last week's email

It feels like Sister Madsen and I are a very small helm, but we know that though we are but little, we are fierce.
See also: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Keep the faith.
Go and "be up and doing" (Alma 60:24)

- elizabeth

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Hello Spring!

Week 59 April 20, 2015  4:42 EDT   Hello Spring!

Greetings from the PNW, folks

Sister Madsen and I had a good, good week; Zone Conference with the whole peninsula, an exchange in Port Angeles, beautiful weather and our investigator Paul putting himself on date - not too shabby.

Sister Bigley and I had a blast in Port Angeles, and the day was full of silly things and sacred moments. Miracles are real, everyone. And they happen in PA.

​Me, Barry (an awesome RC who likes the Redskins) and Bigs in PA

And since Port Angeles is forever away from the island, our exchange ended almost halfway at the small town legend Fat Smitty's.

Americana + military conservatism + giant food = Fat Smitty's
The inside is literally covered with decades of dollar bills from diners past,

we added ourselves (and some passalong cards, of course) to a little blank spot on the wall by a Utah license plate - because, well Utah...this is the place.

Remember how I mentioned Port Angeles is forever away? yeah...well we tend to use up all of our miles getting to and from exchanges and such, so we've been getting creative this week.
Bring out the bikes!
A sweet family in the ward is letting us borrow them (luckily these ones don't have plastic flower baskets on them) and the helmets (luckily these ones aren't pink).

There's nothing like biking to church in your Sunday best - and then proceeding to bike all over a very hilly and forested island.

We might have found some short cuts through a park (:

All in all, it was a long week, but we had many people at church and were able to see lots of little tokens of God's love for us throughout our travels. By Sunday night, we were exhausted but that's kind of the point, isn't it? To use this life fully, completely and wholly is the requirement for great things - so we hold nothing back and give all we have and all we are.

D&C 123-12-17
"Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven
These should then be attended to with great earnestness.
Let no man count them as small things; for there is much which lieth in futurity, pertaining to the saints, which depends upon these things.
You know, brethren, that a very large ship is benefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves.
Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."

- elizabeth

It's A Monday

Week 58  April 13, 2015  4:27 pm EDT    It's A Monday

It's A Monday, and if you didn't know that that's a Olan Rogers quote, I'll give you time to educate yourself and think my emails are sometimes funny at a later time. 

(courtesy of Becca.)

So Sister Madsen and I came out together, and now that we are both old ladies, everything seems to be falling apart a bit - shoes, brains, etc.  Rest assured that this is normal.

But other than that, life is grand. Have I mentioned that Bainbridge Island is a beautiful place to be? Every five minutes either Sister Madsen or I are just taken aback by how stunning things can be here. President Weaver said that Washington is the closest thing to the garden of Eden - and at times, I'd have to agree with him.

Our week was great though it passed at breakneck speed. We were extra blessed to go down to a baptism in Lakewood for Gerald, a man that Sister Madsen taught, on Sunday. It was a sweet end to the week. Sweet above all that is sweet.

A thought that I've had lately is that I am a child of God. No more. No less.
And consequently, I am a daughter of God. No more and no less. No more or less than anyone else.
The world continues to tell me that to be equal means to be the same. But I know that because God is perfectly just and fair, fair means that we each get what we need, not that we all get the same. Perceived inequalities are just that, merely what is perceived, not what is truth and is more of a reflection of our limited perspective. 

"Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend"  -  Mosiah 4:11

You better believe it.
- Elizabeth Bishop

P.S. and for your viewing pleasure, a llama, a sheep and a tipi

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Just Another Manic Monday

Week 57  April 6, 2015 5:10 EDT    Just Another Manic Monday

Friends, family and random citizens,

Sister Madsen and I had an awesome week. We were together in the MTC (though in different districts) and she most recently came from Lakewood.So it's been a blast so far since we both can reminisce about the Lakehood life.
Aaand she's from Orem, so I'm back on my Utahn companion streak (:

General Conference was amazing, as usual. Any opportunity for to receive direct revelation and hear from the Lord's prophet is a treasure. We were even able to watch the Priesthood session with Craig, who we've been really trying to get on date as of late. He left with lots of questions about who God is expecting him to be and how he can better serve others.

I just like General Conference.
General Conference is my favorite.  

The glorious Washington Tacoma mission also had two shout outs Sunday afternoonsession.  President Pearson (three mission presidents ago, and who's quote in my first apartment "if you can't get up on time, you can't do anything right" was etched into my desk) who goes by Kevin W. Pearson these days gave the WaTac a little love in his talk (which was also great. highly recommended.)
And Elder Neil L. Andersen spoke all about the Kaivalvatana family - his daughter (aka Thai Princess Sister K.) just left our mission a few transfers ago. 

(remember to avoid the #SpaciousBuilding, friends

Another highlight was being able to go to the temple with Kim and Sister Diener (and a handful of other Belfair people too). We were each able to bring family names and perform baptisms in proxy.

(this was also the closest thing I'll get to swimming on my mission - definitely relished that too haha)

​The temple just makes people happy (:

and it just doesn't get much better than that.

On the topic of true conversion, we can echo that because of the atonement, our past  'Twas I, but 'tis not I 
We are not who we were, or where or when or why we were. We must be willing to take the risk to trust that we can be irrevocably changed; that's where the faith comes in. No failure is ever final.

- elizabeth

He is not here: for He is risen

Week 56   March 30, 2015  3:15 EDT     He is not here: for He is risen

It's the most wonderful time of the year - and in case you were wondering, General Conference is indeed that most wonderful time. Hours of inspired revelation for each of us from the prophet of God and other leaders of His church? Sign me up. And General Conference also falls on Easter this year - a double whammy of spiritual uplifting. The season of celebrating the triumph of Christ is just my favorite (:

The church has also made another video for the occasion at

Because He Lives is awesome, and inspires us to reach to God and change. If you haven't watched it, consider this your invitation.

If your calendars are marked every six weeks, you're probably a missionary (of the mother of one) - and in case you thought it was about time for transfers, you'd be right on target. The big news of the week is that I am staying on Bainbridge and getting Sister Madsen and Sister Smith is doubling in to Lincoln and training. #LincolnLove

Our time together on the island has come to an end, but Bainbridge has a way of holding onto it's missionaries. 

This week we had a bit of an emergency exchange/sleepover/complicated situation that ended up with us having the Kitsap Lake sisters over and working with us on the island. It was a very spirit-directed day, and was exactly what was needed. 

Shenanigans all over this place

side note: Sister Jones doesn't like my picture of "orthodox Jesus" so she gave me another picture of Christ to hang up - one that doesn't bore into her soul while she's eating breakfast in our kitchen. I don't mind, I like me some Carl Bloch)

Something on my mind lately, given some of the ways that I've been able to minister to others and be ministered to this week is the concept of being truly healed. 
Though time heals our wounds, only the Savior heals without a scar.
Remember that no matter who you are, or who you were, if you seek Him, He is here.

With love,
from the Poulsbro district