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