Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Hi all!
Merry Christmas! How are all of your Christmas parties and plans going? It's been great out here! We actually have no snow now. We've had rain for about 3 days straight. It's dry today, but very cold.

This week has been super crazy. We had several lessons fall through because people were in the ER, BUT I was able to invite an investigator to baptism on our first real lesson with her! She said as she found out for herself that she would do it :) She's such an amazing woman who is going through some hard things, but I think she really knows that this gospel can change her life for the better.
Our Investigator, K, is adorable! Unfortunately we've not seen her as much as we'd like this week, but we did get to meet with her one day. We never got to our full lesson with her about the Word of Wisdom because she is a talker, but I love it :) She and her husband were ecstatic when we told them who our bishop is. (He's a big-to-do judge out here, if I haven't already mentioned that.) Funny thing is, they actually know our bishop! K's husband was being charged falsely with something and when bishop told him that it was his lucky day, he said, "Thank you, Jesus!" and walked right out! haha they're crazy, but they'd make great Mormons!
Thursday all 250 or so of us missionaries went to Fishers for our Christmas Conference. It started at 10am and didn't get over until 7pm. We had a great training session on the attributes of Christ from our APs, Sister Training Leaders and Presidency. I'd encourage all of you to either pull out your Preach My Gospel or go onto LDS.org and find the section in PMG titled, "How Do I Develop Christlike Attributes". Each attribute is pretty short, but it cuts out all of the fluff and gets to the point.
After the training session, we had a great lunch provided by the Fishers 1st ward ( I think), games- compliments of Sister Cleveland, and a talent show which was THE BEST! Our Sister Training leaders went first and were hilarious. They did some sort of Christmas medley on Kazoos and they sung as well. We had a lot of pianists (and a lot of our elders even wrote their own music which was beautiful), a violinist, a few singers, an elder played the ukelele and the very best (or worst) was the last. Our APs and a few of their favorite elders had a rap battle about who was better: Purdue or IU. Purdue won, but only because they had an elder do parkour- he even did a flip off of the stage over President and Sister Cleveland's heads onto the gym floor.
Friday night we went back to Fishers and spent the night with Sister Vidmar's old companion because Saturday, there was an Indian family that she had taught that got baptized. 4 out of the 5 were baptized (because the youngest was 3). They all had to be dunked multiple times because their names were pronounced wrong, but they're so solid! The mom who got dunked the most said after that she almost wanted to go under more because it was the most amazing feeling! President came to that.
Sunday was the best day by far though! In Terre Haute, our bishop's mother got baptized! President came for that as well. Including family, friends, ward members, investigators and the missionaries in our zone, there were over 100 people at Sister Vs baptism! She is the sweetest thing on the planet. It was a great confirmation to me about how we should always share the gospel with others, but allow them their agency. As we share the truth of our gospel, it will stick with them and when they're ready, they'll accept it with a full heart and be truly devoted to the cause of Christ. Sister V is already having missionary moments with her friends and her other sons who aren't members. Next Sunday she'll be confirmed. I wish you all could have been here to witness it!
For Christmas Eve we will be with the same family that had us for Thanksgiving, and then we have three family's we'll visit on Christmas Day: one to watch the kids open presents, another to have lunch and a third to have dinner and talk with my mamma! Hehe be jealous ;)

I love you all so much!
Cheers!
Sister Ruth


Monday, December 9, 2013

Lots of Ice

Hey family!!!!

This week has been super busy. We've had lots of appointments and unfortunately a lot of them fell through, so we ended up doing a lot of contacting. We still had a great week though and were able to teach a lot of people. The Wabash Elders (they're in the other ward) had been teaching a woman named K, but she was actually in our area. They handed her off to us and while we were teaching her, she told us the most amazing stories about revelation she's been able to receive from God about her life, her sons and about the Book of Mormon. While we were there she was just hugging and kissing the book like it was her child. The Spirit was incredibly strong with her! She's pretty much all set for baptism (cross your paws!). We just need to finish a few lessons and set a date officially. She's supposed to be coming to Church next Sunday with her husband. Pray she actually does!

We've been covered in ice in the Haute (PS we are known as the Terre Haute Pterodactyls, pretty cool, eh?). Thank goodness today is in the 30s. It's been in the 20s the last few days, so it's been a pain getting around but we're safe and warm! My boots have definitely been broken in.

Last night we had dinner at a members house and they had their neighbor come over. She's the sweetest, smartest little old thing you've ever met and she has an incredibly strong testimony about Jesus and agency. The elders in our district- Hill and Wallace, taught her the Restoration and I've never felt the Spirit so strong in my life! Since I've been out here, my respect for Elders and everything they do has grown so much! Sisters could never succeed without Elders, honestly.
We had a baptism on Saturday afternoon. This girl is 11 and was being taught by the previous sisters. She is adorable and incredibly smart. Everything went well and she only had to be dunked once. We've got another baptism in 2 weeks for our bishops mother, and we're planning on at least one more next month. The boy we're baptizing next month is 10 and in a tough situation with his family, but when we were talking to him he remembered just about everything he'd been taught before we got here. He told us all about the Stripling Warriors and Abinidi. Mostly we're just reviewing all of the lessons with him since he pretty much knows it all.
Hopefully we'll be able to have K baptized around the same time as this kiddo.
The members here have been so supportive and have missionary fever! We taught the boy at a member's home and their three sons were there to help as well. They're 13, 14 and 17, but they were all really into the gospel discussion and were so good at fellow shipping him and being really friendly. We constantly get referrals and names of less-actives we should go and see which has made finding people so much easier!
In about a week and a half we'll have a Christmas Conference for the ENTIRE MISSION! Did I tell you there's over 250 missionaries here? Doesn't seem like a whole lot, but when you get all of us together it definitely is. The conference is about an hour or so away from the Haute, so we'll be gone from 8:30am to 7pm by the time we get home. I'm super excited for it!
I hope you all got to watch the Christmas Devotional last night! I only got to see President Monson talk and then we needed to leave.
Lately me and my companion have been using Ether 12 a lot, as well as 2 Nephi 29. I'd encourage you all to study those chapters and see how you can increase your testimonies and look for missionary opportunities!
Love you all!

Cheers,
Sista Bible


Hannah sent me some pictures. Here are a few!
MTC-Hannah and her Companion Sister Sessions at "The Map"
MTC- The whole district and one of the teachers, Brother Barrett.
Left-right: Elders Earl, Marshall, Gurney, Twitchel, Bro. Barrett, Sisters Odermott, McMillan, Me, Sessions, Brooks, Oskins
 MTC- The Girls Dorm, all 6 of them were together
 Terre Haute- Tiny Apartment Kitchen
 Terre Haute- Giant map to help them navigate without the Grid System
Square donuts. Hannah says, "Everyone here thinks these are better than Krispy Kreme. Not sure about that, but they are dang good!"


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

"Things I wish I would have brought"



I forgot to post on here last week!  Here is a letter we were sent on November 25, 2013.


"Hi all!

So the Hoosiers don't really have accents. If they do, think Sanpete county.

Unfortunately I got sent southern in Indiana to the part where they weren't affected by tornadoes. I really wanted to go to Kokomo, but whatever. Right now I"m in Terre Haute (pronounced Terra Hote) and should be here probably for the next 3 months, but you never know. Normally they do training for 12 weeks with the same Trainer in the same area, but sometimes they transfer you halfway through. We'll see in 6 weeks what happens. I'll add my new address at the end of this. Also, I'm not sure about receiving packages here... You can send me mail to my address, but I"m kind of in the ghetto- the apartment is livable but there isn't a safe place to put packages. I'll let you know if we figure anything out.

It's been crazy out here. We got double transferred which means my Trainer hasn't spent any time in this area before, and neither have I so we are kind of left on our own to figure out who was being taught through the area book. We think we've got most everything figured out now and we've got a pretty busy day ahead of us. Our P-day is today (Monday), but since Thanksgiving is this week we only get half a p-day today and we'll do the rest of our stuff on Thursday.

We've met some really cool members out here that are converts. Brother S (our ward mission leader) was a heart surgeon for 22 years. He told us this great story about being a surgeon for the Army (I think) and the most expensive pace-maker he ever used. He was stationed in Germany and he called the company in Belgium that made the pace-makers for a patient. Originally they were planning on doing the surgery a few weeks out and he was just calling the company to make sure the device was sent at the correct time. Well there was a miscommunication between him and the person on the other line and Belgium thought he needed the pace-maker right then (they thought he said his patient was on the table now), so they put the pace-maker in an F4 jet and got it to Germany in about 30 minutes.
He's super sweet. He also teaches Gospel Principles which is pretty cool.

There's also another woman that we met, her name is Sister J. She is a convert of 20 or so years. She converted when she was a young adult when she was in the air force academy. She met her husband there (which is a big no no). They just became friends when he was a senior and she was a freshman, but had to sneak around since mixing with other grades is against the rules. He told her that he needed to tell her something and he made it all dramatic so she though that he was going to tell her that he was gay. In actuality, it was that he was LDS. She had gotten some pamphlets about he church when she was a girl from the Donnie and Marie studio in Orem, Utah and had baby-sat for an LDS family when she was younger, so she told him she wanted to know more. They started to fall in love within that year and she got baptized. After she was baptized, he proposed on New Years. Her family was livid because they were catholic (but her parents were divorced so they weren't allowed in church), and he was LDS. They didn't want her to change religions, but also she had to leave the air force so that she could marry him. But they're happily married and have several children. She's so amazing.

Last night we were able to contact a woman, I'll call her H. She was sort of an investigator from the previous sisters and she's actually moving, but she'll still be in our area so we're going to help her pack up on Saturday. She is in 1 Nephi 21 right now and she loves us already even though we only talked to her for about 10 minutes. She's an absolute sweetheart.

We have 2 people that the previous sisters had set for baptism, so we'll have a baptism December 7th and one on the 22nd which should be really cool.

The first night we got here we didn't even get to see our apartment before a woman from our ward came and took us out to dinner. She's super sweet and told us as much as she could about the area. The people here are nice, but stubborn.

Our apartment apparently had bed bugs for 3 months before us, so they cleaned it out and we got brand new mattresses. They're super nice BUT I was freezing the first night since apparently they don't provide bedding. Who knew? I guess that's why I packed a jacket and socks. Thankfully my sheets were there so I had a little something. I had to go the next day and buy a cheap blanket, but Mom if you could send me my blue fuzzy blanket, that would be nice. Just send it to the mission home. Hopefully I can get it then... At the very least I'll have it in February which is the coldest month here. We also don't have a screw driver which is really annoying. Our door handle in the bathroom is falling off. Our bathroom is small, but if you can imagine, it's still bigger than the guest bathroom at home. I almost feel spoiled out here.

The mission home was pretty nice. It's just a big old house in Carmel surrounded by trees. Obviously the mission president and his wife are set financially because everything was beautiful in it and it was in a ritzy neighborhood.

Not sure what else to write. Send me questions and I'll try to give more details next week. Love you!"

Sister Hannah Marie Ruth
803 East Springhill Road
Terre Haute, IN 47807

Excerpts from the letter she sent me November 25, 2013.


“Things I wish I would have brought out here: blanket. They did NOT have bedding in my apartment even though they were supposed to....I wish I would have sent my sheets, blanket, pillow, extra towels and extra garments to my apartment before hand. Laundry is WAY expensive out here....In my apartment to do whites and one other load it's going to be 5.50 for washing and drying. That's not separating out different colors or delicates or doing more than 2 loads. Also, GPS. Luckily an elder in our area that's going home the next transfer hand one that he gave to us but outside of Utah and Idaho, they do not use the grid system.....
We're starting to figure out how to get around, but honestly GPS is the only way to go out here because almost every street in a name. Poplar, Margaret, 8th ST, 8th AVE (which intersects with 8th ST...) Walnut, Faggin (yup...). Names names names. Love ya!”

Excerpts from the letter she sent me December 2, 2013



“The time difference was a little hard- mostly I just couldn't sleep well for the first two nights. But it wasn't as bad as it could have been seen Indiana is only 2 hours ahead and I had to get up about 3am Utah time, so really it was like getting up 5am Indiana time. If going to bed early is an option, that helps a lot with the jet-lag. The apartment is livable although the housing coordinator in our mission as well as our zone and district leaders are determined to get us out of there haha. They're so sweet ;) It's not too bad, but there is a quarter sized hole in our tub, the plumbing isn't hat awesome- the water goes cold after about 3 minutes and almost n water comes out in the kitchen faucet. There is however a nice big space in the living area for exercise in the morning.

I did get a blanket from Wal-Mart for about 5 bucks, so it's been ok. Our cousin Jenny Gibson just sent me a nice blanket which made my day! So I’ll be good for now. I still want my blanket from home though. Homesickness hasn't been too bad to be honest. Bringing pictures from home is good, but I’m glad I only had Rachel send me 3 or 4 so I'm not tempted to look at them a whole lot. The main advice I have to keep homesickness at bay is remember what you're doing out here and get lost in the work. Fight with your thoughts until you have total control over them- that makes it easier to keep your mind from wandering back to home, boyfriends, school, etc. Also, priesthood blessings! As sisters, you will probably be surrounded by Elders in your missions, so use them! …The Priesthood and doTerra oils are magic!

Almost every night in our area we have dinner with members so they mostly feed us meet of some kind or pasta. The best dish I had from a member was a chicken gnocchi soup inspired by the gnocchi soup from Olive Garden. Delicious! I wish I'd gotten the recipe. We've also got some members that make authentic tostadas and tacos. When we're on our own, me and my companion eat a lot of hummus and pita chips. I also got some yogurt, whole wheat bread for toast, sandwiches and French toast. I've made pancakes and we've got some frozen chicken breasts so maybe I'll make chicken pot pie or baked chicken in a week or two when we aren't packed with dinner appointments.”

“I'm glad you had a good thanksgiving though! We got to eat with members, so it was almost like home except they really do eat mashed potatoes with pasta on top! I didn't try it...”



I hope any future missionaries out there found some of that helpful! Sister Ruth apologizes for not sending out a mass e-mail last time. She didn't have very much time. :) 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

"I love the people of Indiana already"


I thought I'd share with you a few excerpts from the letter Hannah sent me on Friday, November 15:

"I love the people of Indiana already and I haven't even met them yet. The thing is, God wouldn't send us somewhere we wouldn't have success. This is the last push and all our job is to gather the last of those who wish to be saved. We may plant some last minute seeds (so to speak) on the way, but this is it. There are some there that are ready and willing to accept the gospel..... When you go with confidence and with God before you, you'll succeed. Period. Mission success isn't measured in numbers, although they're certainly a motivator. If I can talk to and teach 1000 people in a few months, bare testimony and follow God exactly, even if only one accepts the gospel I've succeeded. "

"The most important thing about teaching is rely wholly upon the spirit. And we've been commanded by a prophet or apostle (can't remember which one. I'll look it up later) to invite investigators to baptism on the first visit. It's a commandment. It's really hard, but you have to do it or there will be NO success. "
Hannah is doing great guys! She flies out to Indiana on Tuesday! 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The MTC

Hello all! It's Annalyn here. Hannah went to the MTC on Wednesday and we got our first e-mails from her on Friday. To quote her, "the MTC is AMAZING!!!!!". 
 
She has a cool companion, Sister Sessions who she says is 'adorable'. They already got to teach an investigator. It really sounds like she is having a good time at the MTC. 
 
My mom told me that as they were driving down the road to the MTC they could instantly feel the spirit there, so thick and strong. She is definitely in the right place!

Here is an excerpt from the e-mail she sent:

"Our whole district is fantastic! We´re like one giant family of brothers and sisters that tease and have so much fun. We really are paying attention and working though. We´ve been able to communicate some amazing ideas between us all and I´ve felt the Spirit constantly since I¨ve been here. I love this place! 
 
It´s only been 3 days and the days go by so fast, but we learn so much every hour that it feels like we´ve been here for weeks. 
 
Last night Sister Sessions and I got called to be the Sister Training Leaders! We´re not really like the Zone Leaders, but it´s like a lesser, female version. We´ll help the new districts when they come in next week and show them around the MTC.
 
Today we talked about the Doctrine of Christ and what it really is and what our purpose (even the purpose of members) is. We aren´t teachers. We don´t do this work. We are the Lord´s helpers. We are here to serve God´s children and introduce them to the process of the Atonement and encourage them to communicate with the Father, where they´ll do the real one-on-one learning. "
 
 She told me that they are "crazy busy" and study between 3-5 hours  day! And of course, they have to be up at 6 and go to bed at 10:30. There are 6 sisters and 4 elders in their district.

She had some good advice for any future missionaries:
 
 "One thing about the MTC is appreciate it and your time here! It´s so much fun and we´ve only been here 3 days but it feels like we´ve learned 2 or 3 weeks worth of material! It´s going by so fast and I¨m trying to write in my journal so I can remember everything because I don´t want to forget a single detail of this great experience. 

Elder Su´a gave me some great advice in his last e-mail to me. He said to treat the MTC experience as if it were your whole mission- treat it as if in 2 weeks you´re going home. The way you start and face this experience will set the tone for your entire mission in the field.
 
We really are one large family and even though we may not be scholars in scripture, there is nothing compared to the testament of the Spirit. The Spirit is the one teaching us and our investigators. All we are is tools in the Lord´s hands. "
 
That's all for now! 

 
 
 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Set Apart!

Dear Sister Ruth,

I miss you already!

Love,

Annalyn


I am really excited to report that Hannah has officially been set apart as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! I am her sister, Annalyn. I will be updating her blog for her while she is gone.

Today was her last day as a regular person. :) She was set apart around 7:00 p.m. this evening and will be leaving us for the MTC tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. I will really miss her, but i am so happy that she is doing this!

 Hannah on her way to get set apart!





Goodbye Hannah! We will be praying for you always!


Friday, November 1, 2013

Packing


Only a few days left! Gah, I don't know what to do with myself. It seems the closer it gets the harder it is to concentrate. :/
I have accomplished a few things though. I've essentially finished packing. Obviously I'll be stuffing in a few last minute things (i.e. garments, towels, makeup, etc.), but otherwise all of my clothes are packed and ready to go!
If you'd like to know what I did, keep reading!


Here's my lovely mess spread before me! It took about 20 minutes to decide where to start... :/

I am using 2 smaller bags to help beat the weight limit! We found these around the house from siblings who had gone out of country, but you can easily find luggage at the D.I. (Deseret Industries) for SUPER CHEAP (like $6 cheap O.o), thrift stores, family or if you want to splurge and get fancy stuff you can go to JCPenney and other department stores.
I started with my largest suitcase and my bulkiest items. I have no idea if there will be snow by the time I get to Indiana, so hopefully they'll give us a report in the MTC before we leave. If there is no snow, I'll start with my boots.

I bought a package of  15 disposable shower caps for less than a dollar and used these on my shoes (but not my boots cause they've never been worn).

Then I placed my scarves and other cold accessories around them.

To start, I ironed all of my shirts and did a mixture of rolling to reduce wrinkles and folding-ish. Here's what I mean:

I laid my clothes over my boots on the hangers. I did about 2 shirts one direction from the long side, and 2 on the other side. 

(Click here for the original video to this packing method.)

From the short side, I folded my skirts in half lengthwise and laid half of them on one end, half on the other.
You can't see it here, but I laid more shirts on top and folded the sleeves in at the natural crease (or at the arm/shoulder seam.
Once I did that, I folded the part of my top shirt layer that was hanging out in, then my skirts and the last layer of my shirts, neatly tucking any ends down the sides of the suitcase.
The bulk of the clothes should be enough that there hopefully won't be too much of a crease, if a crease at all!
In my smaller suitcase I started with my coat. I planned to have more fragile type items in here, so I'm using this as a cushion. I did the same type of idea as above with half the coat hanging out and one arm in.
Next I packed my hair dryer, diffuser and concentrator attachments.
I had some extra shirts for exercising, pajamas, service and undershirts, so I laid those flat on top of one another.
Fold in half and role! Rolling is great at preventing wrinkles, but the bundles can get rather large when you're packing for 18 months!
I placed the bundle toward the edge to keep fragile items from impacting hard while my luggage is being thrown around by TSA. >.<
For items that could spill or explode, I packed them in Ziploc baggies and stuffed them anywhere and everywhere.
For hygiene products, razors and such I packed those in the side zippers inside the front flap of the suitcase, along with my socks and hamper. Everything else I added on top.
Once I placed my shoes in shower caps and added them to my luggage I did have to extend the top flap, BUT they still fit the size requirements. Each suitcase is also within the weight limit- around 30-40 pounds each.

I hope this was useful ladies! Happy packing!

Hairstyles for the miss!

Alrighty, so this isn't that important of a post, BUT I thought I'd do it anyway. Obviously while we brothers and sisters are serving the Lord we want to look our best but we do not have a lot of time in the mornings nor do we have time throughout the day to just go and redo our hair. Sooooo here are some ideas that I've put together for myself on what I can do with my hair in under 10 minutes.
 (For those who are unaware, I have quite long hair. From crown-longest point my hair is 28.25 inches long- in other words: My hair is to my hips.)

I'll post pictures of what I did, how long it took and the original links to my inspiration and their instructions.  For other hairstyles and care tips, click here!

First things first: if you have curly, frizzy hair like me, a hair dryer with diffuser and concentrator attachments WILL be your best friend. On the left I used a round brush with my concentrator and on the right I let my hair air dry.

Products I used:
Hair Dryer
Round Brush



Also, if you want curly hair without using damaging heat, try these curlers. Here are some links to instructional videos: Taylor Swift Curls
            Bombshell Curls
                              
For the most part, all I needed was: 4-5 Bobbi pins, 2 twist pins for buns, 2 clear and 2 black elastics
 Double Twist Bun
Time: 6 minutes
Materials: 2 twist pins, 1-4 Bobbies, 2 black elastics, 2 clear elastics
Original: here
 French Side-Bun
Time: 6 minutes
Materials: 2 twist pins, 5 Bobbies, 1 clear elastic
Original: here
 

 Side Twist Bun
Time: 7 minutes
Materials: 2 twist pins, 1 Bobbi, 2 black elastics, 1 clear elastic
Original: here


Lace Braid Headband with Bun
Time: 7 minutes
Materials: 2 twist pins, 2 Bobbies, 2 black elastics, 1 clear elastic
Original: here
 Yes, I know the bun is a bit messy... xP

Katniss Braid
Time: 4.5 minutes
Materials: 1 clear elastic
Original: here