Monday, October 13, 2014

Ecuador and Sprained Ankles

E-mail 22 September 2014

Hello hello!

Well, unfortunately there isn't much to report this week. A few hours after e-mailing last week, we were at the church playing volleyball and Sister Place came down on her ankle wrong, so we ended up being grounded for most of the week since we don't have a full-time car. BUT the cool thing about this all was that it taught us a lot of patience and humility (both which are things that each of us had prayed for- never, NEVER pray for patience and humility, especially at the same time), and we are also just as good of friends if not better than we were before! It must be an inspired companionship if two sisters can spend a week inside and not kill each other! Haha, but really I do love Sister Place. She's great!

We had an investigator come to church! His name is Jose and he's great! Hopefully he will continue to progress.
I've got to give a shout out to Rachel who just got her mission call! She's going to the Ecuador Guayaquil South Mission, Spanish speaking in December!!! Woot, woot! I love you, Rachel!
So, we have a Seventy, Elder Perkins coming to our mission. We're having a conference with him on Wednesday, so I'll make sure to write you all about that. I love you guys!
Sister Ruth

Special Olympics

E-mail 15 September 2014

Hello, hello!!

Well, there isn't too much to say about this week, other than it was fantastic!!! It's kinda funny how a slow week as far as lessons go can be amazing when you have opportunities to give service. 

On Saturday, we spent the day in Indy taking pictures at the Special Olympics. It was absolutely amazing! The Spirit was incredibly strong there! There were kids and adults alike playing baseball and Corn Hole (bean bag toss) and then they got awards and medals. All of them were so smiley and just happy to be alive! Definitely my favorite memory so far of serving in Fishers!

Although we didn't get to teach a ton of lessons, we did have two really great lessons with Renee and Jose! They are fabulous people! Hopefully they will be at church next Sunday. When we saw Jose we got to bring a high school senior. Apparently she had really been having a hard time deciding on if she wanted to serve a mission or not and now she is super excited to serve! She was absolutely glowing at church this Sunday. 

Next Sunday Sister Place will be singing in church. I love it when she sings! She has been singing for eons and she is classically trained. If any of you know me, then you know I love opera and classical music! Let's just say I totally abuse her talents! ;) 

Anywho, I hope you all are doing well and staying warm! It's been pretty chilly here! At this rate, we may end up having snow sometime this month! And apparently winter is supposed to be worse than it was last year. O_o We'll have to see what happens! 

I love you all!

Smile!

Sister Ruth

Missionary Blues

E-mail from 25 August 2014

Hello all!

Well, the last four and a half weeks have been very interesting.  Since I haven't written much for a while, I figured now is the time to esplain some things! :)

Last transfer I got moved from Mishawaka to Fishers. There is a HUGE difference between these two areas in financial achievement, size of homes, technology, attitude, etc. Needless to say, Fishers is an incredibly privileged area and unfortunately I have a deeply rooted prejudice against the privileged. So this fact mixed with being forced to leave my greenie halfway through her training was just... awful. 

Since the moment I came out, I wanted to be a trainer and I prayed that I would have that opportunity. Both President and I felt very strongly I needed to train early on in my mission, but I've been struggling incredibly with severe depression since before I got in the field which prevented me from earlier training opportunities. It is a huge reason as to why I am no longer training and a few weeks ago it got to the point that I gave up and stopped working. I took off my badge and pretty much chose not to be a missionary for a few days. I was done. 

I felt like a failure. A complete and utter failure because everything that I had wanted since I was set apart crumbled. I wasn't best friends with either of my trainers. I had virtually no contact with the missionaries I came out with. My first true convert to the gospel had gone inactive. I didn't get to participate in the baptism for one of my dear friends who is no longer living in Indiana. Everything terrible and negative that has ever happened in my life and in particular on my mission hit me full force and mentally I collapsed from the weight. 

Calls to President Cleveland, Sister Steadman (our Mission Nurse), and LDS Family Services were useless. Their advice was incredible and loving, but I was so far gone that it couldn't penetrate. I didn't want to hear it. I didn't want to feel anything because I was tired of hurting. 

But finally, after weeks of feeling this way, I finally saw a spark of light. It began with a letter from a missionary serving in another mission. They expressed to me many of the same feelings that I have had throughout my mission and shared their experiences with overcoming it. They explained that as a missionary, we change. Because we have an extra portion of the Spirit and we are living the Gospel in everything that we do, we see ourselves with different eyes- Heaven's eyes, so to speak. We are given a deeper understanding of how truly gross sin and transgression is in the sight of God. We become more sensitive emotionally and spiritually to everything around us. We understand more completely the worth of souls in the sight of God, including our own.

We also begin to understand how terribly weak and incapable we are and that, my dear friends, is uncomfortable.

We humans love comfort, but this is not a comfortable Gospel and it is not a comfortable call to be a missionary. People will reject you. They will cuss at you, threaten you, interrogate you, bash on everything you believe and hold dear. Particularly as a sister, they will tell you that you are oppressed and taking part of society that has no appreciation for women and is unfair and unequal in its treatment and opportunities. It does not matter how prepared you are. Your heart will break as a missionary on a daily basis, because of the words and actions that will surround you. 

It hurts to be a missionary. 

But God knew that these things would happen, and more than that- they are necessary. A broken heart leads us to our Savior and that is what I was lacking. I realized very recently that I do not know my Savior. I have been preaching things that I profess to believe, but I have no hope in. I believe that hope and comfort and miracles can come to others, but I do not believe it for myself, or at least I didn't for a very long time. That, in part, is why everything began to crumble about me. My heart had to be broken in order for me to find my Savior and to experience the things that I have been called to preach. 

My heart still hurts. I'm afraid to have so much responsibility for the salvation of souls resting upon my shoulders, but I do have a little more confidence in the ability and power of my Lord. I know that God called me to serve in this capacity and He would not have done so if I was incapable. I have felt the despair and anguish that comes from transgression and rejecting God and being utterly and completely alone, and I have no desire for my brothers and sisters to experience that same pain if they can avoid it. 

In some small way, I've come to understand the feelings that the sons of Mosiah felt as they pleaded with their father to go into the "mission field". Mosiah 28: 3-4 reads:
3 ... the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.

 4 And thus did the Spirit of the Lord work upon them, for they were the very vilest of sinners. And the Lord saw fit in his infinite mercy to spare them; nevertheless they suffered much anguish of soul because of their iniquities, suffering much and fearing that they should be cast off forever.

I profess in no way that I am like these great missionaries, but I do have hope that through me God might work some mighty miracle that will soften the hearts of those in Indiana. And not only do I hope that their hearts will be softened, but that mine might be as well. 

In the close of their letter, my friend reminded me, "Be patient... With God and especially in yourself. Take one step at a time and let faith move your feet until one day soon, you can dance again. You can do this." 

God will never ask something of you that you cannot accomplish. 
 
I love you all and I hope you all can rely on the Lord more effectively than I have. Remember, "Whom the Lord calls He qualifies."

Sister Ruth

Fishers

Well, I got transferred to Fishers which is a lot of fun, but has been a very dead area for a very long time. BUT that's why me and my companion are here. We've decided we are going to light a match under the members here and get them excited about the gospel. Fishers is a very well-off area and the members are very complacent and comfortable with how things are. They aren't looking for changes and that just doesn't cut it for missionary work. My companion, Sister Place is awesome! Very sarcastic and a Star Wars nut, so we get along very well. Between both of us, we are overflowing with sass and drive to get this place back on its feet. It's going to take quite the effort, but no one promised missionary work would be easy, right?
 
I don't know if I'll be able to get to Nora's baptism this week, but we are trying to find a member. Either way, it's going to happen! Nora is getting baptized!!! She is so amazing and so strong. Unfortunately she's been going through a hard time because her parents seemed supportive at first and now they have pretty much turned against her. Nothing we didn't expect, but still really disappointing and hard on her. She's still being strong, though from what I've heard and I think she will still follow through. She knows this is true and where she needs to be. No matter what, Heavenly Father will help her do  what she needs to.
Well, I hope you all have a fantastic week. I love you tons!
Sister Ruth

Family History

E-mail 28 July 2014

Hey, you'uns!
Well, it's offical: Sister Ruth is getting transferred! But, it's all good cause Sister Evans is going to tear up Mishawaka with her new companion! The hardest part about leaving will definitely be missing Nora's baptism in August. Hopefully I'll be close enough that I can swing a ride back, but we'll have to see. Either way, NORA's getting BAPTIZED!!!
This week... The theme of this week has been sitting. That's pretty much all we've done! :/

Monday we had interviews, which always takes longer than planned. Tuesday, we had Preparation Day so that wasn't too bad, but it threw off our service and proselyting schedule. Wednesday, specialized training in Fishers and that's about a 3 hour drive one way. Not only that, but after a 3 hour drive down, we got to sit from 10-5 for the trainings. Then... 3 hours back and another hour for correlation with our WML. Yup.... That was lots of fun! (Actually, the trainings and correlation totally were! but man was I sore for days!)
This Saturday our stake held a Family History Fair and it was a blast! There was different trainings and presentations from RootTech at their convention in SLC. It went from 10-2, so we got to talk to some non-members from the community and learn a little bit more about the services available for more successful genealogy. My favorite presentation- and don't judge!- was from Jo Ann Cummings of the South Bend Chapter of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution).  I've always heard about the DAR as being a snobby society for pedigree nutsos and maybe down South that's what they are, but up here it's all about doing service in the community and having access to the DAR's library. That library... It's massive!  I'm going. Period. I don't know when or how, but whether or not I'm ever a DAR member, I wanna use that library! Haha, goals for the future!
The turn out for the fair was incredible! About 117 and many of them were non-members! We and all the other missionaries in the surrounding area were there and got to meet some people, so hopefully this will help cultivate more interest for the church!
Sunday was the best day ever! We had some great talks in church, but we got to have dinner with the Smith family and Nora came as well as Sister Smith's mom who is taking the discussions in South Bend. We talked about the different ways in which we serve in the church and had a great discussion about it. Let me tell you, no matter what the lesson is, if the Spirit is there and there is great fellowship for those who are learning, it's always a blast. I was pretty much on cloud nine when I left, even though nothing particularly miraculous happened. It was just a really great, cheerful and Spirit led meeting.
 Well, I gotz ta go, soooo I'll talk to you'uns next week!
Love you!

Sister Ruth

Baptism!

Cups

E-mail from 7 July 2014

Hi all! What an interesting week in Mishawaka!

First off, Monday night we had an incredible storm! There was a tornado warning, the sirens were going off, crazy lightning. It was epic :) And funny because let's face it, Sister Evans and I were freaking out for a few minutes before we realized we just needed to chill out and we'd be fine.
No tornadoes touched down or anything, which is kinda lame (but a good thing too!), but there was a lot of damage from the wind. One street up from us virtually everyone had some sort of damage in their yards from their trees breaking or falling over, but luckily nothing too severe.
Wednesday we went on exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders and so I spent the day in South Bend. They have a fantastic lady that is getting baptized this weekend. She honestly is a Bible Scholar and so in tune with the Spirit! She knows her stuff and is so opinionated and steady- she is going to be one fantastic missionary and Gospel Doctrine teacher!

One of our investigators heard about this lady's baptism and before we had a chance to ask, she asked us if she could go to it and see what it was like! Of course we said yes! We can't wait to take her. I think it will really help her feel the Spirit and understand why baptism is so important.
Our schedules got a little thrown off with the 4th, so instead of having a full Preparation Day last Monday, we had it on Friday. Well, let me just tell you all the things we got to do:

First, we went to Notre Dame. Notre Dame is gorgeous!!! There are so many trees there and the buildings are beautiful. We walked around the book store for a bit and then we went to see the Basilica, got lots of pictures along the way. I didn't take any inside (out of respect), but it was stunning! The frescoes on the ceiling were fascinating and there were statues and icons everywhere. It was probably three times bigger than the Cathedral of the Madeline, maybe bigger. Needless to say I was a happy duck!

After that we went to see "Touch Down Jesus", the burning bush, and Moses- who has horns by the way, so he must be a Mormon! ;) 

After Notre Dame, we headed to a luau that was put on by a member from the South Bend ward. Well, this wasn't just a little get together for some church members. Oh no. It was like a community event! They had a car show, a professional DJ/radio host person, professional dancers, huge amounts of food and fireworks! Yeah, it was crazy. Needless to say we were only there for a little bit because the music got a little not so appropriate.
We ended up at the church for the rest of the evening and played games, age pixie stix and I learned how to lay Cups! It was a very fun day!
As good as the 4th was though, the highlights of the week were two of our lessons. The first lesson we had with a man that has been going from church to church for years. He has this whole schedule of three or four different churches and services that he goes to every week. Well, we watched the Restoration DVD with him this week and the Spirit was very strong. He's very open to the idea of Joseph Smith and he committed to really put forth the effort to read the Book of Mormon and to find out if it was true. That was the first highlight.

The second highlight was our lesson with the girl that is coming to the baptism this weekend. Earlier in the week we met with her and her family had given her some anti stuff from the church her sister has been going to. She asked us about it, but honestly she wasn't all that concerned about it. She has a much deeper question concerning why there are so many churches and why they can't all just be one since we all believe in Christ. We tried to explain, but we think there is something else that she is trying to ask and doesn't know how, so she got pretty emotional and then we got emotional because we want to help her so much. A few days later we had another lesson with her in a members home. It was amazing! We shared the Restoration DVD with her and she seemed to like it a lot because she's a visual learner, but also she has a lot of similar questions to Joseph Smith. She opened up a lot afterward about some of the things she wants in her life and the member we were with was so great! She extended a lot of help and support to her. It seems like things may really be turning up. It's a slow process, but we think she will be able to learn to the truth for herself soon.
Well, I hope you all had a great week!
Talk to you later!

Sister Ruth

Monday, July 14, 2014

Four :)

E-mail from June 30, 2014

Hello! Welcome to the humid season!

When I am back in Utah, I will never complain about it being humid ever, EVER again. We've had rain showers and incredible humidity almost every day for weeks, but I have to admit I'm kinda liking it. Not that it mixes well with my hair or makeup, BUT it is true what they say about it making your skin soft.

Our schedule this week went nuts! So many things happened/didn't happen I kinda felt like a chicken running around with my head cut off, BUT we still had a quite successful week. Four investigators came to church. FOUR!!! That's a first for me! We found several new investigators this week and I got to play volleyball on Tuesday. That was a blast! By no means am I very good, but I am better than the first time I played a few weeks ago! Maybe I'll actually have to participate in Church Volleyball when I get home :/

Tuesday we also got to help out at the Family History Center. To be honest we can't do a whole ton, BUT Sister Evans knew how to index and there was an older gentleman there working on it so we got to help him and I was able to learn how to do it in the process! I'm super pscyhed to get into it when I get home. Family History is AWESOME! You should do some this week ;)

We have recently started teaching a man and his "roommate" who live next to some of our recent members. We found them by accidentally "tracting" into them. The whole thing was totally planned. Really... Missionary work isn't particularly glorious in just happening across people (it happens, but not often). Sometimes it's like we are just shy of being stalkers. We see someone, the Spirit talks to us and then we have to devise the most effective way of "running into them" so they have to talk to us and then get hooked on the gospel. Either way, our methods seemed to work with this man. We aren't sure how solid he will be yet, but he's a big teddy bear of a man and his roommate seems to really be searching for something. Hopefully they are genuine! We were able to teach them that God is a loving Heavenly Father, key word being FATHER.

It's so bizarre to me the view that so many people take on God out here. Many of the Christians that we run into are not at all familiar with the Bible, although they claim to believe in everything it teaches and they have virtually no concept of who God really is. I've run into many who are essentially inactive in expressing their faith because they think He is bloodthirsty and that if He really loved us He: 1) would not have created Eve, 2) would not have made Christ suffer for us, 3) would not have allowed us to have agency. It's made me incredibly grateful for the knowledge that we have in the Restorted Gospel about all of these things and how God works. Hopefully we can continue getting through to these people because there are so many of them that are incredibly good people. They just don't realize how much more they could have.

Well, today we have a gazillion lessons! Since Friday is the 4th, our week got switched around a bit, so our normal preparation day activities will actually be on Friday. There have been fireworks galore for weeks out here since they are legal all year long. Hopefully we get to see some "accidentally" on Friday. :D

I hope all of you are doing awesome!!

Sister Ruth

PS here is a picture of one random Firefly from last week!


Training!

E-mail from June 23, 2014

Hi there! So I don't have too much time, but I wanted to drop a line and tell you that training is the best! It's hard. Incredibly hard, but I've got the best greenie who is so inspirational and in tune with the Spirit.

Mishawaka has been soaked with rain and little miracles! As missionaries we are always thinking about and studying for investigators and also for the active members that we visit and share dinner messages with. There is no point in sharing a message or lesson unless it's going to positively affect someone.

My favorite miracle of the week was having dinner with a member who is incredible. She has a very strong testimony and drive to stand up for the gospel and do missionary work. She has a wayward son that she always worries about and wants so badly for him to return to the gospel. When I realized we would be seeing her, I remembered an Ensign article from Elder Bednar that I read a few months ago that I thought would be perfect. The problem is I couldn't remember which issue it was in and so I had to go on a huge search. We've got a box of old Ensigns that go from the most current back to the early 2000s and they aren't in order. I started looking and had no luck, so I said a simple prayer. A few seconds later I found the ensign, looked inside and it was the right one! It's such a simple thing and yet when we were able to share that article with her, it gave her so much hope and she said it was exactly what she needed.

Missionaries come to harvest the souls of God's children that are ready to accept the gospel, but don't forget that we care about the members that we serve with! they do virtually everything for us: feed us, house us, give us rides and fellowship and help teach the people that we find or they give their friends to our care. Thank you to the wonderful members that do all they can to help us out because it really makes a difference!

I hope you are all fantastic and looking forward to the 4th of July!

Love,

Sister Ruth

Transfers!

E-mail from June 16, 2014

Well everyone, this week is transfers! I'm staying in Mishawaka and will be training a new missionary- eek! Sister Richardson is leaving and is going to tear it up wherever she goes! (Our guess is she's going to Bloomington. We'll find out Wednesday!) Also we are losing a fantastic missionary- Elder Sorenson. He's been the Assistant since before I came out and has done a great job at training us and being an example to our whole mission. We'll miss him, but I'm super excited to find out who will be the next one!

This week was a bit of an interesting week. We still taught lots of lessons, although our numbers were really low in comparison to how we normally teach. Despite that though, we exceeded the Standard of Excellence for total number of lessons. Obviously Heavenly Father is watching out for us. I don't know how we did it this week, but we made it through!

We've been struggling a little bit with illness and injury around here, but the best cure for those things in the world of missionaries is work! So, that's what we did. We continued to work and the Lord got us through and allowed us to see so much of His grace.

On Thursday we had dinner with one of our investigators. He is the sweetest man and took us to his brother-in-law's Italian restaurant. It's kinda a hole-in-the-wall type of place but so good!

Friday we had the best Law of Chastity lesson. Honestly, it's one of the hardest and yet best lessons to teach. It went really well and our investigator committed to live it and has already made a lot of changes! Hopefully things continue in this direction so they can continue progressing and seeing blessings in their life!

Well, I'm going to keep this one short this week! I'll let you know what all happens at transfers next Monday. Love you all!

Sister Ruth

Temples and Rain!

E-mail from June 9, 2014

Hello everyone!
How has your week been?
Mine started out very interesting! First I got to go to the temple which was fabulous! BUT that was an adventure in of itself. Chicago is only about 2.5 hours away, but because I was going, naturally there had to be lots of road construction. We missed our intended session and ended up getting donuts while we waited for the next session. Chicago is absolutely tiny!!! I thought the Oquirrh Mountain and Draper temples were small- they have nothing on Chicago. Nevertheless, it was a good day and I learned so much!

After the temple, the member took us to Gino's East for deep dish pizza which is one of the things Chicago is famous for. That was pretty good (considering it was pizza :/ ) and then it was time to come home. This was the really adventurous part. Not only was there road construction, but the main speedway that we had intended to take home was completely shut down AND we got stuck in rush hour. Now, being from Utah I thought that rush hour between Salt Lake and West Valley was bad... Boy was I wrong! It took us 1.5 hours to get across Chicago. There was a point when it took us 12 minutes to go a mile. Yeah, that was a long drive back home, but it was so worth it!
The rest of the week was tough, but very good in that we were teaching like crazy and we were able to have three investigators come to church! That was a miracle! I also got to speak on Sunday about obedience. My focus was on the examples in the scriptures as well as the blessings that come from obedience, namely eternal life. Supposedly it went over well so yay!!
Early in the week after the temple, our car had a part that was recalled and so our baby Sven had to go in the shop. That meant pulling out the bikes! It wasn't a bad day to bike- or so we thought. It was sprinkling a little when we left the dealership and then a few miles out it started pouring. Of course. That didn't stop us though! We kept working and had essentially no success, but because we didn't give up our afternoon and rest of the week went great! We got the car back and have really be able to see God's grace.
Transfers are next week on the 18th so keep us in your prayers! We have no idea what's going to happen.

Love you all!
Sister Ruth

Temple

E-mail from June 2, 2014

Drum roll please!

As of tomorrow, this Sister Missionary will have been to the Chicago Temple for the first time ever! Yep! I get to go to the temple for the first time in over 6 months! Oi, has it felt like it's been forever! And on top of that, I found a family name to take with me!

If it's been a while since you've been to the temple, go! Do what you need to whether it's getting worthy, getting a recommend or finding a name and just go!

This week we found a family to teach! It may be a slow process, but there is so much potential. The family is already well familiar with the church and the oldest daughter is planning on going to Girl's Camp, so that should be a blast! I wish I could go with her haha!

Right now we're teaching an older man that comes from a Roman Catholic background. He had met with elders before and really liked them, although he couldn't remember anything that they taught him. We were walking down the street a couple weeks back and we actually passed by him, but we really felt like we needed to go back so we did. It was awkward, but we went for it and now we're meeting with him for the third or fourth time. He's reading the Book of Mormon and praying to know if what we're sharing is true. He's struggling to recognize answers from the Lord, but he's determined to find them. I love this guy!

We've been busy this week, just as in weeks past, but honestly I don't have a ton more to share other than I've discovered two foods that I dislike in the extreme. The first I discovered in Terre Haute, that being Pizza. Especially Papa Johns. Yuck. >:( The other: Bratwursts. I've had them twice in Mishawaka thus far and I'm already done with them. I'll eat them, don't get me wrong. Somehow as a missionary you just manage to eat whatever they put in front of you without saying anything, but that doesn't mean we like it!

Sorry for the rant. Honestly, those two things are the only really bad parts of missionary life. The rest of it is totally bomb! Even when it's hard (which it is most of the time) it's so rewarding so it completely makes up for all of the not so fun things.

Please pray for the missionaries! I can tell you right now we've had incredible success in our mission over the last week! We increased our total number of lessons so much that we've broken our own record two weeks in a row. Keep praying that things just keep going up from here.

I love you all!

Sister Ruth 

Black Squirrels

E-mail from May 27, 2014

Hello all! Guess what?
Our investigator got BAPTIZED!!!! Yep, you read that right! He is halfway a member of the church. Next step: confirmation! (He went out of town directly after his baptism, so pray nothing happens between now and next Sunday! :/ )
Memorial day was fantastic! We got to spend the afternoon with our Ward Mission Leader and his family. We ate lots of salsa and played Frisbee and generally were sassy toward one another. That's one of the great things about being in Indiana: it's socially acceptable to be sassy. JK! But really...
After our Memorial Day celebrations, I stepped across the border into Michigan! Oops! ;) (Our Ward Mission Leader's parent's house is literally on the border, so it was inevitable that it would happen!) I also got to see a black squirrel. Yup. I had no idea that those existed!

Friday I did a training at our district meeting on Dignity. Imagine that: Sister Ruth training on dignity. It went really well and I have to admit I was a little pointed due to some issues in the area with lack of sensitivity toward the plights of investigators and members. Hopefully the training will stick with some missionaries so they can have better success with teaching!
On Sunday we had some interestingly simple miracles. First things first: one of our investigators came to Stake Conference several weeks back and hasn't come to church since. Well, Sunday morning she called us to let us know that she would be coming as well as her mom! Previous to this, her parents have both been extremely anti. Her dad still is, but her mom is warming up and actually has started asking us questions and listening. Her mom stayed the entire time during church and seemed to really like it.

Second miracle: typically Sunday is usually half to three-quarters full with church meetings and studies, so that doesn't leave a ton of time for proselyting. Well... We got nine lessons on Sunday. Nine! We don't normally get more than five or six on a weekday, let alone a Sunday! Also, two of the lessons resulted from people seeing us and talking to us first before we even got the chance to open our mouths. Let me tell ya: fasting and praying for miracles works!
I promise that if you are struggling with something right now and you need a miracle, fast and pray for it! God truly does answer prayers. It's definitely not always in the way that we think we need it, but he never leaves us hanging and will always help us find solutions to our problems.

I love you all so much! Keep being awesome, and I'll write more next week!
Sister Ruth


Faith Precedes the Miracle!

E-mail from May 19, 2014

Transfer Scripture
Ether 12:12
"For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith."

This week has been full of miracles! We reached more total lessons than I ever have before and the craziest/best thing happened over the last two days.

To begin with, this week we've been able to pick up some formers, we had Zone Conference and an investigator is getting baptized!

Zone Conference was mind blowing! President Connolly, one of our President's counselors gave a training on increasing developing faith that produces miracles like in the scriptures. Faith is a principle of power and he shared about the things that increase our faith like prayer and scripture study- the little things. But even more than that, he shared the different levels of faith based on a talk by Elder L. Whitney Clayton's talk, Help Thou Mine Unbelief, Oct. 2001. There is a maintenance level where we pray, study, are obedient, do our callings and do service.

The second level is an increasing level- pray more and more humbly, explore and search the scriptures, magnify callings more fully, being truly and exactly obedient to the commandments and the Holy Ghost, selfless and dedicated service, and sincere fasting (the adjectives make all the difference!).

The third level of faith is the Miracle Level. We act on impressions and promptings, obey all commandments cheerfully, go and do all things the Lord commands,(even when you are weary), completely trust the Lord, strive to act as Christ would in all situations, keep the eternal perspective, completely give oneself in service to the Lord.

President Cleveland also did a fantastic training the "Power Triangle"- faith, diligence, obedience and inspired goals which lead to inspired plans which lead to accountability.

I got to see so many missionaries that I love to pieces! Sister Odermott, Sister Sessions, Sister McKendrick, Elder Wallace and Elder Nyman! Love these kids! ;)

The biggest miracle of the week happened over Saturday and Sunday.  We had a lesson to our investigator on Saturday who is on date to be baptized May 24th (this weekend). We talked to him about everything we'd taught and his feelings on it and he seemed very excited, so we prepped him for the interview. Before we left his house, Sister Richardson warned him that Satan was going to work hard on him to convince him not to move forward. A little after we left he sent us a text saying that he didn't want to go through with the interview because of things that happened in the past that were more serious and that there was no need to visit him anymore. We were heartbroken.

There's nothing quite like having someone who has been enlightened and taught all of the missionary lessons and believes it with all their heart turn  around and say they can't move forward with the next step. The very thought that he would risk his salvation and accountability... That's what scared us the most. BUT we had faith that God would provide a miracle. We prayed so many times together and separately for him after that. We started fasting and continued praying that the Spirit would work on him and went on doing our best to work and see what we could do to help him.

Sunday we went to church and after Sunday School, he told Sister Richardson that he thought hard about it all and decided it would be worth it to move forward with the interview, even though he was worried about it.

It was such a relief and a joy to hear that he wanted to move forward and that he realized his fears were from Satan, but this isn't end of the miracle. Originally, the date of May 24th had been set about three months back before I even got here. The missionaries that set it felt very inspired about it and that he would make his date. Well, even with him deciding to move forward, we knew we would probably need to push the date back because he would need to get an interview a little higher up. We called President Connolly, who is the counselor over our section of the mission, to set up an interview with him. He told us that he was actually coming up to our area that very day for a meeting with our leadership, so we didn't even have to wait to do his interview! Our investigator went through the interview and was found ready in every way to be baptized!

There were so many miracles this week- Zone Conference played a huge part in that! In our trainings, we were encouraged to warn our investigators that Satan would work hard on them when they are presented with the truth and opportunities to act on that truth. We were trained in exercising our faith and expecting that God truly will provide those miracles for the people we work with. We learned about diligence, which played a huge part in our ability to fast and pray and keep going even when we felt like we couldn't anymore.

This work is inspired... I can't even begin to express how grateful I am that I get to be a part of this.

I love you all! I hope this might inspire you to act on the faith that you already have, to increase it until it reaches the height that we read of in the scriptures and to trust that God has a plan that is greater than us all. When we need a miracle, He will provide when we do all that we are capable of.

Have a fantastic week!

Sister Ruth

Mishawaka!

E-mail from May 12, 2014

Hello all!

You just read it above! I am in Mishawaka, Indiana. For those of you that don't know, that is almost as far north as our mission goes. I'm right next to Michigan and boy has it been hot! The day after I got here it was in the 90s and we had to walk 6 miles. Yeah... That was awesome! Actually it kinda was. I'm definitely learning a lot about hard work and relying on the Lord! (I'm still really glad that we have our car back though, so no more walking until the end of the week. AND I'm really glad I get to drive now. Pays to be senior companion!)

My new companion is Sister Richardson! She is 23 and from Texas. She is 3 months old missionary time, but you would think she's been out forever.

I get to live in a house now instead of an apartment. Technically it's like a remodeled trailer, but on the inside you'd never be able to tell. It just looks like a rambler.

We have several investigators we are working with that are on date which is super exciting! I'll keep you updated as I get to know them more and let you know when they are all getting baptized!

This week we have Zone Conference, which is the BEST!!!!! Gah! It's super long, but seeing President Cleveland and his counselors and other missionaries is so worth it! Honestly, they're better than p-days.

Any-hoosier, I don't have a whole lot to say at the moment other than the lightning storm we had last night was epic! I hope you are all doing fantastic and I love you all! Let me know how y'all are doing!

Sister Ruth


Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Hi friends!

Well, I've got both good and bad news. Bad news is I'm leaving Terre Haute on Wednesday. The good news it that I'm leaving Terre Haute! haha I love this place, but I've been here for 6 months. I guess it's time to move on.

Wanna know some even better news? They're opening up three areas in our mission to sisters!!!!!!!!!!!! I have no idea if I'm going to help open or not (probably not), but it's super exciting! Along with opening three areas to sisters, we have 7 sisters and 7 elders coming out this week! Eek! I can't wait to meet them all. Poor little greenies... They'll have no idea what hit them when they step off the plane. :/

Well, the highlights of the week:

Monday night we got to eat Beefalo meatloaf! Yep! Beefalo and I mean it's actually from a beefalo- a cow that has been bred with a buffalo. Let me tell ya, BEST MEATLOAF EVER! Yep yep. I was one very content chicky on Monday evening. :D

Tuesday I got to meet with the 11 year old that got baptized right at the beginning of my mission in November/December. She's doing awesome and she is absolutely a hoot to be with. We were eating Sweet Tart Jelly Beans and reviewing the 10 commandments using hand motions and for commandment 2 (don't worship false idols). The hand motion for it is kinda like the sign for quiet coyote but really it's meant to be a cow. When she saw it, she immediately started doing "Happy llama, sad llama, mentally confused llama..." which continues on with different hand motions for each one. Most of you probably have no idea what I'm talking about, but that's ok. All you need to know is that it was hilarious!

Wednesday we did service all day. We started at the YMCA and made packets for new hires, then we spent a couple hours with a non-member helping her clean her apartment. I got a couple of cute, vintage dresses for free too! :D Then we spent the evening with the ward doing spring cleaning and getting ready for the Spaghetti dinner which was on Thursday night for the Boy Scouts. The best part of Wednesday however was a total comp unity moment! On our way either to the church or to the non-members, we were having a jam session to "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from the Lion King (this was a Capella mind!). Well, as we were singing, we changed the words so it was missionary appropriate from "love" to "Spirit" with no previous discussion about it. Sister London and I have been together for waaaay too long :/ We're starting to have one brain!

Thursday we got to see Jill who we have been meeting with for 4 or so months now. She's amazing and makes the best food ever! She made these awesome little cold/vegetarian pizza things. It was delicious! We also went to the Spaghetti dinner and our investigator that is on date right now came with her dad! Plus I got to meet Lucky Reddy who is running for judge out here. Neato!

I'm starting to notice a trend here... Every highlight I'm mentioning involves food...

Well, to keep with the theme, Friday we got to go to a birthday party for a member's sister who happens to not be a member. We had chocolate cake made with Coke-a-Cola. We get to go mushroom hunting with these members on Tuesday! xD Yay for mushrooms!!

Saturday was crazy busy! We had a lesson with one of our investigators who is very timid about getting baptized but it went super good! She's actually supposed to be meeting with the YSA sisters in the other ward, so we brought them and she connected to them really well, so hopefully that helps the transition when she starts meeting with them instead of us. That night we got to eat dinner with a non-member who we are trying to get to read the Book of Mormon. We got Mexican food and it was delicious. Not only did we get food, but we also got dessert- fried ice cream! :)

Sunday was interesting. After church we had a pitch-in (potluck) to break our fasts and I spent most of the time mingling and saying goodbye since I've been pretty sure for the last few weeks that I was going to leave. After that, we went up to Brazil for a combined lesson with their land lord and about 14 others who got to the same Independent Christian church that he goes to. It was really more of a question and answer session on both sides, but it was neat because the landlord laid some ground rules down so they could only ask who, what, where, and when, but no why to prevent a debate/bash session. Very nice people, although there were definitely a few who were not ok with us being there haha!

Yesterday evening was funny because Sister London and I were both anxiously waiting for our transfer call from President Cleveland and our elders kept calling us and freaking us out since they all found out their situations sooner than us.

We have two of our elders finishing their missions and going home tomorrow! Our District Leader, Elder Madsen and his companion Elder Fitzgerald. We got a nice picture of us all at our last Zone Meeting. I'll post it below.

Well, I hope you all are fabulous. Keep up the good missionary work! If you aren't following through on Elder Ballard's invitation to study from Preach My Gospel- get started!

Love you all!

Sister Ruth


Annelies

Hello All!

How goes it?

Just a quick update about this week. Everything started out muddy and gross- emotionally speaking. It was not a good start to the week, BUT things did turn around halfway through. This weekend in particular was great!

Saturday we did a church tour with our investigator who is working to be baptized in June. Things went great! The best part of all was yesterday. But first let me explain, Sundays are always super stressful because we have to be at every ward council and they're always really contentious. BUT yesterday was so good! Our meeting still didn't go very good, but our investigator came to church for the first time! She stayed all three hours and participated in Gospel Principles. She really seemed to like all of it AND she stayed for choir with us afterward! (She has an AMAZING voice and she can play the flute. Oh yeah!)

After we left church, we went to the Jewish temple, Temple Israel. They were having the Bloomington Chamber Singers come to perform Annelies, which is like a little opera based on Anne Frank's diary (and it's amazing music!). We got to participate because their congregation reached out to the church since they knew that we are used to doing receptions/get-togethers for large groups of people. It was the most amazing experience ever! I wish I could have taken pictures of the temple. To be honest, it looks a lot like a Catholic or Orthodox church but with stars of David instead of crosses. Very beautiful.

Back to our investigator, we had a lesson in the evening after dinner and shared the first half of the long Restoration film with her and talked about it. She had a few questions and then she made the comment, "I don't see what the difference is between Christianity and Mormons."

Sister London said, "There isn't. We are Christian."

She replied, "Yeah, we are."

She already considers herself a member!!!!!!!!! XD She believes that Joseph Smith had the first vision and in the Book of Mormon! We are going to teach her the Word of Wisdom next which might be hard for her, but I think she can do this! I'm so excited for her to be baptized.

This experience has entirely made up for all of the not so fun stuff that's been going on the last week.

Anyway, love you all!

Go check out Mormon.org and watch some, "I"m a Mormon" videos. They're awesome!

Sister Ruth

PS- Applebee's for lunch on Saturday! xD


Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter, Easter!

Hello all!
This week was quite fun! We had a lot of events that we got to participate in and we have another investigator on date for a baptism!
To start out with, on Wednesday all of the sisters in our mission go to participate in a Specialized Training for Sisters meeting. The theme was D.O.T.S. or, "Depend on the Savior". The gym was decorated in black and pink and polka dots. It lasted from 10am until 5:30. The first half in the morning was all spiritual training and a spiritual uplift. There were several speakers including our Mission President, his wife, both of his counselors, a Sister Training Leader and a member from one of the Fishers wards. My personal favorite trainings were President Cleveland and President Connelly (sp?).

President Cleveland spoke about Joan of Arc and likened her to us and what we are doing. Joan had an important mission which I believe was given to her from God. She was young, intelligent and loved by many. She saw that her country needed to be united and so she followed what the Spirit led her to do and yes, in the end she lost her life, but she accomplished what God desired.
President Connelly spoke about Women and the Priesthood. He used Elder Oaks' talk and also referred to Sheri Dew's book, Women and the Priesthood. It really opened my eyes to things I already knew, but didn't fully understand. Now I have a testimony of how powerful the work that women do truly is in the sight of God and I have a far better understanding about why women have no need to hold the priesthood. I wish I could share with you exactly what he said, but that would probably take up too much of your time. If you want to know the gist of what he taught, re-watch or listen to Elder Oaks' talk from this last General Conference.
In the afternoon, we got to eat Cafe Rio style food and we learned how to do Tabata and Zumba. The Tabata was torturous but the Zumba was pretty fun since we got to listen to real music haha! (Slumdog Millionaire anyone?) After that we got delicious green smoothies and did a clothing exchange. The best part of it all though was seeing the senior elder missionaries and the Assistants to the President wear black polka dot aprons with big pink bows on them.
The second and third biggest events of my week were on Saturday. After our Missionary Correlation Meeting all the missionaries in our zone got to go with Bishop Newton to the Holocaust Museum and hear Eva Kor, a survivor of Auschwitz speak to us. She was ten when she, her twin sister and their family were taken from Romania to Germany a little less than a year before Auschwitz was liberated. She never knew what happened to her family, but she and her sister became part of Dr. Mengele's infamous experiments on twins. The most amazing part of her story was how she learned how to forgive Dr. Mengele. She was so cute! She talked to us all a little bit afterward and was very impressed by how neatly dressed we all were haha!

That same evening we had a lesson with a newer investigator and we were able to set a baptismal date with her for June 14th! She is so amazing. She is reading the Book of Mormon and understands it quite well. She says it makes sense that there would be more records throughout the world and she already loves the Carmel and Salt Lake City temples without fully understanding why.
After that lesson, we went over to St. George's Orthodox Church. It's a small chapel, but beautiful inside with candles and stained glass windows and paintings everywhere! We were there with Bishop Newton again and they were doing their Easter service. The service started at 8pm and got done somewhere close to 11pm. (Don't worry, we got special permission from President!) After the service they held a feast in their cultural hall and the food was delicious! I got to talk to the priest for a minute about religious studies because he is essentially a genius. He lived in Lebanon until he was 15 or 16 and then spent the next 15 or so years in Canada. He knows Hebrew, Greek, Arabic, French and Arabic on top of his English. It was all very interesting to listen to and to see how many things they have right or almost right.
Did you all have a great Easter? Did you get to watch the video, "Because of Him"? If not, go watch it now! It's not just for Easter!
Love you all!

Sister Ruth

PS here's a pic of the lovely Eva Kor!

Easter

E-mail from April 14, 2014

Hi Family!!
How goes it? Is everyone as excited about Easter Sunday as I am? (If not, YOU SHOULD BE!) Why is Easter so important? Rather, why should it be so important? If you don't have a good answer for that, go here --> Mormon.org/BecauseofHim
If any of you have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media page, please share the above link and #BecauseofHim. The more we can get this out here, the more missionaries and members will have the opportunity to share our faith with others. Many of those you will share this with may not know that we are even Christian. Take courage, and share your faith with those around you. You do not need to start off telling them all about the Plan of Salvation or temples or the Book of Mormon. Simply share your faith in Christ. The rest will follow.

In case anyone has forgotten, this Sunday is Easter! Here is what It think about Easter:

Easter should be the single, most important holiday on our calendar. It is the reason that we are here. It is the reason that we can find peace in a troubled world. It is the reason that we hope for a better world. Easter is the Day of Atonement. Not only can our sins be forgiven, our pains and illnesses made right, but it is the proof that we are infinite creatures. We existed with our Savior before this mortal life and we WILL exist again because of His great Sacrifice and Resurrection. Not only can we exist, but we can thrive and progress and live in a fullness of Joy, which only our Savior can give us.

Nothing that the world has to offer us will ever fill the emptiness that is in our hearts. The world will continue to fight against those that believe. They will tell us that we are nothing, that we are wrong because our morals and values are out of date. It hurts when they say these things, when they tell us that we are racist, close-minded, sexist, ridiculous, pretenders, part of the occult, or freaks. I know- I've been there. Every day missionaries and members alike deal with these hurtful accusations. Let me remind you: they are FALSE. We are not racist, close-minded, sexist, pretenders or any of the other hurtful things that they will try to throw at you.
We have more knowledge than the majority of the world- and not pretended or made up knowledge. It is fact given to us from God by way of revelation. It is our responsibility to share it with those that are around us. Sometimes they will accept it, most of the time they will lay it aside as a thing of naught. That is their choice. We shouldn't allow what they say and do to affect the faith that we already have. President Uchtdorf told us in October 2013 General Conference to, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."

We have been given these legal representatives of our Savior Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven to guide us in these latter days. They will never lead us astray. If you are not sure if they truly are called of God, ponder their teachings and pray. Ask your Father in Heaven if what they are sharing is true. Ask them if they really are representing Him and doing things in accordance with His will. Sometimes they make mistakes- they are not infallible just as we are not infallible.

This is why we have the Atonement.
As you study the Doctrine and Covenants, pay attention to how many times Joseph Smith Jr., Oliver Cowdery and others are first forgiven for their sins and then they receive revelation. None of the men or women in the early Church were without fault. No one in the history of the earth as been without fault- save One.

The Sacrifice made by Christ was Infinite in scope (Alma 34) and active, even before his birth (Alma 39). It is there for you. Do not forget that Christ, as he suffered, did it for you. You as an individual brother or sister. He felt your individual pain, guilt, suffering and sin. He knows you and loves you more than any of us can comprehend. Please don't turn away from him.
This year, don't get caught up in the trends of society or commercialism. I'm not saying we can't have fun surprises or gifts for loved ones, but do not place such a focus on it. Study the scriptures surrounding the gift that Christ so lovingly gave us. No matter how long we live, we will never fully comprehend the magnitude of the Atonement in this life, therefore we must do all that we can to increase our knowledge now so when we go into the next life, it can be completed and perfected.
If Christ isn't your best friend right now- stop whatever you are doing and change it. The world can wait, I promise you that.

Now that my blurb is over, quick summary of my week. Ups and downs galore! Getting cussed out by an investigator you think is golden and having them tell you that you're racist and that women are the worst thing to happen to this earth hurts. It hurts bad, but it's not because of what they're saying about you. It hurts because of what they are saying about Christ (we being his representatives) and it hurts how much they are missing out because they are so close-minded and unwilling to allow the Spirit testify of what we are saying.
On the other hand, we found someone that is just soaking up the Plan of Salvation. I've said it before and I'll say it again- the Plan of Salvation either hooks people to the Gospel or is drives them away, depending up on their openness.
Last night we had scones and I mean UTAH scones- fried bread with honey and butter! Yummy! We also went on exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders on Wednesday and had a pretty crazy day. Sister London spent the day in Brazil (said Bray-zeel if you wanna speak Hoosier). She had a lesson with... A wonderful daughter of God who is very open to the truth but makes it very difficult to get a word in edge-wise. She also has some interesting views on the book of Enoch (which is not even apocrypha, it's pseudepigrapha and if you don't know what that is, look it up on LDS.org), and she also believes in Nephelums (no idea how that is spelled) and aliens and conspiracy theories galore. Thing is, there's a hint of truth in everything she is saying and believes in so we have high hopes that the Brazil Elders will be able to cure her of her... awesomeness. :D Really though, she is awesome!
The same day Sister London was in Brazil I stayed in town and ended up getting molested by a 7 or a 9 year old child. Yeah, let me tell ya, highlight of my week, getting slapped on the butt! It's scary how far downhill the youth are going.
Well, if you've gotten through this epically long letter, you deserve a reward. If you don't know who Neon Trees is, you really should. Go here --> http://www.mormon.org/elaine to learn more about how awesome a certain drummer really is.
C'ya in the Celestial! ;)
JK!
But really....
Sister Ruth

Conference!!! :D

E-mail from April 7, 2014

Hello Hello!!!!

Soooo, how was everyone's conference? Mine was AMAZING! For real, Conference is one of God's greatest gifts to modern man in my opinion. I've heard a few people say they loved Utchtdorf's. I absolutely loved Elder Christofferson's though. Twas sick! His was probably my favorite and then Elder Aidukaitis (and not just cause he has an awesome accent!).

What was something that you learned from conference or that stuck out to you? Something that I kept hearing over and over again was, "Keep your covenants", "love one another", and "get back to basic principles". If you missed any of the sessions, go watch them now! We all need the spiritual lift that the words of our prophets and leaders can give us. And did anyone get goose bumps when President Monson announced that when all of the temples currently under construction are finished we will have 170 working temples? I know I did!

This week went quite well! We got a few new investigators and have started our Church Tour Training! Apparently this isn't a world-wide thing, but it's been awesome since we've been learning what it is that we will be sharing in the coming months. There is practically no better place to teach an investigator and invite to baptism than in a dedicated church. 

Probably the most exciting thing that happened this week didn't really happen to me and Sister London. The elders that are serving in town with us- Elder Shirley and Elder Litster- got a new investigator and got to bring him to conference! What happened is Sister London and I gave these elders some of the former investigators from our area book (almost all of which I'd never even met). They chose to drop by this former investigator and he wanted to learn more. They taught him and committed him to come to conference and he made it to the first session! Apparently his mouth dropped when Elder Holland (I think) was talking about those in attendance who had been invited by missionaries. He also started talking to the elders about baptism so unless there is an unforeseen issue, they should be able to commit him to a date soon! YAY FOR TERRE HAUTE!

This coming week we are going on exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders and then next week we get to participate in a Specialized Sister Training. Lots of great things are happening! 

Also, since Easter is coming, what are you doing to prepare yourself? Are you focusing on the treats or on the Spirit? If you have any traditions or things that you like to do to make this holiday more meaningful, please share! (We always like sharing these things with members, investigators and using them ourselves to stay focused and have fun.)

See you in the Celestial! ;)

Sister Ruth

Conference is Coming!

E-mail from March 31, 2014

Hello hello!
So this week was interesting and not as crazy as previous weeks, although still busy busy!
On Monday we had a family night with a less-active family. We were able to watch 17 Miracles with them and talk a little bit about exercising faith. Their younger kids did pretty good considering the movie lasted 1.5 hours.
We focused a lot on working with less-actives and recent converts this week and that is where over half of our lessons came from. Cheyenne's younger brother is hopefully going to be getting baptized soon. Technically he's not an investigator since he's 8, but as we've been reviewing with Cheyenne we've been teaching him too and he knows that the church is true! It's so cool to talk to him. When the elders in Brazil taught him the Restoration they committed him to pray and ask if Joseph Smith was a prophet. The next morning he woke up and he said that he got his answer. It was just there in his mind and it said, "Yes!".

Well, we taught the Plan of Salvation to him and asked him to pray about that too. We saw him the next day and asked how thing were going. He said he didn't have his answer yet, but that he wasn't giving up. Apparently the morning after that he got his answer, but it wasn't in the same way as before (according to him). He said that it wasn't a yes, but it was, "It's true." This kid is golden! I can already see him as a missionary- straight and to the point. He's the best!
Wednesday since we didn't go to transfers we helped a brother work on his house which he's trying to get ready to rent. We spent about 5 hours there and we got a lot done! The most exciting (and terrifying) part about those service hours was when he and two of our elders carried a 400 lbs solid metal desk up from the basement on a rickety wooden staircase and to the front yard. Now this brother we've been helping is 68 and not in the best health. Needless to say, I said about 20 prayers that he wouldn't have a heart attack and that our elders wouldn't die haha! Finally they got it outside and no one was damaged.
Saturday evening was delightful. For those that didn't watch the General Women's Conference, go watch it! I've never seen anything quite like it. I can't wait for conference this Saturday and Sunday!

Some tips from a missionary to get more out of the conference talks:
1) Ask a question. Pray about it and write it down.
2) Take notes on what the Spirit teaches you, not necessarily on what the speakers say.
3) Remember that what the prophet and twelve say is doctrine- take it seriously.
4) Review your notes and see how it applies to your life and more specifically to the question you asked.
5) Share Conference! Incite friends over, post about it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This is an opportunity to spread the gospel- use it!

Love you!
Be excellent to each other!

Sister Ruth

Octopus!

 E-mail from March 24, 2014
Yeesh, I haven't talked to y'all in a minute! (I'm learning to speak Hoosier, can you tell? Other common phrases are, "couple three" and "right close".)

I didn't get transferred! Yay for 6 months in Terre Haute :D (Well, almost 6 months anyway). Who else is excited for Conference in less than two week? I know I am! Any guesses on new temples or announcements?

There isn't a whole ton to report about this week. The highlights were that they have cherry limeade Fanta in Sam's Club (and I mean from the fountain). We spent almost a whole day in Brazil, which was great. Our most recent convert Cheyenne was up there with her brother and we and the elders in Brazil have been asked to teach her brother even though he is 8 years old. Anywho, we got to spend the evening with those kiddos in a member's home and learn about the Restoration which was fantastic!
On Friday at our weekly service for a less-active we got to help her sign up on FamilySearch.org. It was neat because before she had decided to "leave" the Church she had done tons of her family history on her mothers side and sent it into the Church. Well, it turns out that they had put it on FamilySearch so when she signed up she could immediately connect! The neatest part was just trying to see how far we could get back and we got back FAR! We actually ended up getting all the way to Adam and Eve. :) Of course we know that any dates prior to the 1600s are pretty sketchy, BUT just the mere thought that it was possible to get all the way back was neato!

Saturday we got to help a member work on a house that he is flipping. Sister London and I got stuck with the very feminine jobs of cleaning the fridge and the windows. Let me tell you though, that fridge was a piece of work! It was only 6 months old but the person who owned it before had never (and I mean NEVER) cleaned it. But after an hour or so, it was shining! It looked essentially brand new after we got our hands on it! ;) We rock!
ALSO before we went to do service our Ward Mission Leader took us to Tepanyaki! I got to eat an octopus! It wasn't too bad honestly. Kinda chewy, but the flavor was decent.
 We had a fun lesson after church yesterday with a couple we haven't been able to see in a long time. We took a member and his wife and he happened to be a history buff (he's working on his doctorate). Turns out it was a great idea! Our investigator is a bit of a conspiracy theorist and tends to get off on these tangents about history and such, but we were able to keep things on track for the most part this time and finish teaching the Plan of Salvation. I tell ya, that lesson either goes great or it's liable to get you kicked out of places!

Well, love you all!

Sister Ruth

Squirrel!

E-mail from March 17, 2014

Transfers are coming up in a week and a half! Next Sunday I'll know for sure if I'm staying in Terre Haute or not. I can't decide if I want to stay or move on- I've definitely enjoyed it here and I love the people we're working with right now, but I can tell that soon if not this coming transfer I'll need to get out of here. Members seem to get antsy having the same missionaries for too long.
So this week we've met with a lot of people on the street and knocking on doors. It actually feels pretty good to tract. We've had tons of appointments, so really tracting was just to fill our time up a little between appointments. We had an awesome experience with contacting a headquarter referral. He had been taught a while back by missionaries so we decided to check in on him. Well.... He was insane... Or high. Not sure which. Anywho, we decided to send the elders over the next day but we had left him a pass-along card with our number on it and at 1 am he called an left us two messages. The first said:

"Hello, I'm Bob (we'll just pretend his name is Bob...).
I wanted to let you know that I want to have a daughter. And I want her to be president... Of something...
Thank you."

The second message said:

"Hello, I'm Bob and I just called. I wanted my daughter to be president of the United States.
Thank you."
For real. LUCKILY our sound was off, so it didn't wake us up BUT that was the best, funniest thing to wake up to haha!
Needless to say we will not be meeting with his man again and neither will the elders.
We Also found an investigator through a non-member referral. We were tracting around a headquarter referral's house and ran into a drunk lady. Well she wouldn't let us come in at first but immediately gave us a referral to a neighbor which didn't turn out but after that she let us come in and talked to us for a few minutes. We taught her about he Book of Mormon, gave her a copy and then she sent us to a different apartment building where we ended up getting our new investigator! Pretty sweet, right?
We also got another investigator through a member. I guess she is just really confused about what we believe (and we think about what she believes) and we have another appointment in a few days. We have no idea how this will turn out because someone that is close to our member may actually be anti-ing (sp?) her which is depressing, but whatever. :/
The lowest point of the week was definitely Friday evening. It was pi day (3.14) and we got pie at lunch and we were able to do some service earlier in the day which was great, but our appointment that evening was a disaster. Not because we taught wrong or anything, but rather the investigator completely closed herself off to a discussion. She had a couple questions which we started to answer and then she shut us down and proceeded to have a happy conversation with the member we had brought with us. We attempted several times to get things back on track, but this went on for an hour and a half! Way longer than we're supposed to teach. We felt horrible after. We talked about it after and we think that the reason that things went so bad was really because the Spirit was essentially saying she isn't ready. It's pretty sad because she's a great Methodist lady and her member friends really want us to teach her, but we have no idea how to explain this to them... Oi!
Last night we went to a fireside called, "Why I Believe," for recent converts to share their conversion process and testimony. It was really cool! Some members took us and we went to support the most recent convert for some of the elders in our ward. She shared a fantastic testimony as well as the others that were there.
As far as today goes, I got to rescue a Book of Mormon and an Awake! magazine (Jehovah's Witness) from the garbage can in our apartment building's laundry room. There's a little table in there that has a copy of the Bible on it, so obviously we put a Book of Mormon there open to the portrait of Christ. The JW's come by every once in a while to put their magazine there as well. A few weeks ago we noticed that someone had put the Bible on top of the Book of Mormon and put both of those on top of the magazine. We of course rearranged so everything could be seen. Well, today obviously everything but the Bible had been thrown away. It's sad to see and meet so many "Christians" that really aren't Christian-hearted. I hope one day their eyes will be opened and they'll start acting the way Christ wants them too. BUT it's all just another witness to me that we have the true gospel and something in their spirit knows it, but the natural man has taken over so far that they have started fighting against us with fire. Luckily, we've got our own fire that cannot be quenched!
I love you all! Hope you're week is fabulous!

PS In case any of you didn't know, there are a MILLION squirrels in Indiana. Here's proof! One day I will eat one of these little critters!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring is Almost Here!

Hello everyone!
Well the last week and a half has been crazy. Numerically we've been on the low side BUT we've still had quite a few successes. We've spent a lot of time doing service which has been awesome. The first day was actually over a week ago. We helped a non-member do some yard work to help her house get in order so she could sell it. That day, we had quite the breakfast of champions: muddy buddies and peanut butter chocolate Pop-Tarts. Yum!
This week we helped the same person on the day her house was supposed to be shown by the realtors. She had a pipe break in her bathroom and there was a good inch of water throughout a lot of her main floor. Luckily we had some members who were informed as well and had a shop-vac so we got everything dried, but all of the floors and some of the dry wall will still need to be replaced unfortunately.
The same day as the pipe-break, we helped a great new family move into our ward. They came from Nevada and they live about a minute from us!
Saturday our investigator, Cheyenne, got baptized! We've been meeting with her for several weeks and it was such a special occasion! Her whole family was there and the spirit was incredible! Of course I was bawling the entire time, but there really is nothing as sweet as watching someone who has truly accepted the gospel in it's entirety change their life and use it to influence those around them.
This week we also had a Zone Meeting and our mission president came! He took us and the sisters in the other ward out to lunch and that was awesome! Sometimes it is nice being a sister- we get so spoiled!

Yesterday night we had David Glen Hatch come and do a fireside in our little Terre Haute chapel! For those who don't know who he is, let's put it this way: he's a world class pianist, composer, arranger AND member of the church. I got to shake his hand, but I didn't get a picture since my camera wasn't on me. Go figure. It was a crazy cool experience to listen to him play. One of our investigators and her father came! She really enjoyed it and I hope she was able to feel the Spirit because it was strong! We have an appointment with her tomorrow, so we will be able to follow up some more on her experience. Maybe this will help her come to church again!

Last but certainly not least: I have a cold again. Oi! The day it finally warms up and is in the 60s I've got the sniffles and I've not been able to sleep for about the last week! >.< If I don't start feeling better in a day or two I want a refund on spring.
Sooooo as a missionary, of course it's my duty to encourage you all to create FAMILY MISSION PLANS! That's right: you and your spouse/children/siblings need to get a piece of paper and write down a family goal that you can work towards (reactivating a less-active family, inviting your non-member friends into your home to have dinner, finding referrals for the missionaries, etc.) and then create individual goals which will help you start having more gospel centered conversations. Think about it this way: how many of you can have a conversation with a non-member about family, school, work, hopes and aspirations? Well, have that conversation and then tie in how the gospel has helped you achieve those things. Simple, no?

Also! If you don't have one already, get yourself a Mormon.org profile! When you do that and you have a non-member friend/associate ask you questions, direct them there. You can pull up your profile to show them in a non-threatening way and once they get on, their curiosity will increase and they will start looking at other profiles and answers to questions or a myriad of sweet videos. There are tons of simple ways to help the Spirit touch our friends lives. let's do our part!

Love all!
Sister Ruth

The Buffet Restoration

Letter from March 3
 
Helloooo Utah! (And California!)

We got to go to a play for an investigator this week! It was so much fun :D It was a middle school production and a historical take on the Trojan war. It lasted around 30 minutes, but we were all busting up. Our investigator was of course, THE BEST! I wish I had been that cool when I was 11 :/
We've got another investigator on date for April 5th but this particular investigator has been on and off date a lot so hopefully things will work out this time around. He's almost 11. Anyone noticing a trend with the 10 and 11 year old kids we're working with? *Raises hand*
On Wednesday we helped a member clean their apartment because the mom is going out of town for a week or so for work and her parents are coming to help with the family. She is a super neat member. Typically she and her husband feed us twice a month and they have us and the elders over at the same time which is always a blast but a little crazy too! After we helped her she took us to a Japanese buffet and it was very delicious. I'm not sure if it was Japanese or not, but they had these green beans that they cooked in butter and garlic and something else. They were delicious! There was also a really weird looking fruit that I tried. It was white and almost looked like a plum or peach that had been pitted. Have no idea what it was, but it twas yummy!
Later that night another member took us out to eat and we ended up at Tepanyaki, which is another buffet. I finally got to try lobster! (Yes, I know, it was at a buffet so it was probably nowhere close to what it should have tasted like, but I still liked it!)
The highlight of our week has been some of the newest investigators we are meeting with. It's a couple that doesn't live too far from us. We've been trying to meet with the guy since I first got to Terre Haute and we were finally able to have our first two lessons with them this and last week! We taught the Restoration and when we finally got to the part about the Book of Mormon and pulled it out to show them their eyes lit up! They were so excited to read it! I'm convinced that it is 1) because they've been prepared by God and 2) because of the member we had come with us. Our Relief Society President really connected with the woman and she will be bringing her husband with her to the next lesson we have. I can't wait to teach them again!
Friday I got to train my district on the principle of the Restoration, focusing mostly on Joseph Smith and the First Vision. I had a blast doing it, which I never thought I'd say! One of my elders told me that I should have been a Baptist preacher in another life. Out here, I fully take that as a compliment!
Here's a thought for you based upon the Restoration. We know that Christ's ministry and atonement on the earth was the single most important act in human history, but what is the second? I would say the First Vision, but to really understand the First Vision, we need to understand the extenuating circumstances which affected Joseph Smith and ultimately led him to be in the time and place where he could receive and accept that wonderful revelation. I was able to do some research in the Joseph Smith History, Our Search for Happiness and Our Heritage about these circumstances and I'd encourage you all to do the same. When we come to understand the true importance behind the Restoration, it makes it all that more powerful when we testify of it to our family, friends and neighbors.
Share the gospel, people!

With lotsa love from the Hoosier State,
Sista Ruth