Monday, December 26, 2016

My Christmas Email

Hi Family!

It was so good to talk to y'all yesterday!  It was mostly fun to see your faces and hear your voices.  It looked like everyone was doing so well!  I told you a bit about this week, but I'm hoping to be able to give you a little more detail now that I am emailing because, unlike Nephi  who is not "mighty in writing" like he is unto speaking (2 Nephi 33:1), I am much better at getting my thoughts across when I can write them down.  I think this is why the Lord sent my to a "no iPad" mission.  He is definitely showing me this weakness so that hopefully I can turn it into a strength during this next year.

This week was super busy with Christmas.  I would have liked to have more time to contact people, but I did get to have a chance to have fun with some missionaries and I learned a lot along the way.

Last Monday was Mission Christmas, so the entire mission got together and had a dinner, played games, had a devotional, all sorts of fun stuff.  I finally got to have funeral potatoes again--a Utahn delicacy that I have definitely missed.  We played a bunch of Minute to Win It games, and I got to see all my friends from Bella Vista and Desert Ridge--most of the Desert Ridge friends have been transferred to other zones, so that was weird.  My favorite part was the slideshow of all the baptism pictures from this year.  In the Arizona Gilbert Mission during this year, we've been able to be part of helping almost five hundred people come closer to their Savior Jesus Christ through being baptized by proper authority.  I  was watching each picture, and it made me realize just how much of an impact we can have, even if this is the second smallest proselyting mission in the world.  I made a new goal to be more focused on "teaching repentance and baptizing converts".  I reorganized the pictures on my wall by my desk to be only those that remind me of the Savior, my purpose, my "why" for being on a mission, and those I have been able to help them receive that essential ordinance of baptism.

After the slideshow, President Wheeler talked about Luke 2:7: "And she brought forth her first born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because their was no room for them in the inn". He was able to teach us so much about the Savior just out of one verse.  I think Dad would have enjoyed it a lot.  President told us about what the different words meant and helped us understand the Nativity in a new light that made me all the more thankful  for my Savior.

Afterwards, all the missionaries got to go out on the field.  We each had two balloons that had lights attached to the bottom of them.  Each balloon represented one convert in the A.G.M. from this year.  It was absolutely stunning.

This week continued on, and we got to have some laughs and bring smiles to others.  We met a sweet baptist couple one night and they asked us, "Are you LSD?" That awkward moment when you get asked if you are a drug.  Sister Miller and I had a good  laugh over that.  On December, we were invited  to a member's home to make sugar cookies to take to people in the ward.  We had a wonderful time talking to  Sister Kerr as we made the sugar cookies.  She has a daughter serving right now, so she is so kind in making sure we are taken care of as she hopes someone is doing for her daughter.  She asked us who we wanted to take them to.  I had a list of people that we had been trying to  contact, but I kept thinking of the Green family--a referral who had since told us they were not interested in our message, but they were still very nice.  I decided there had to be a reason why I kept thinking of them (i.e. a prompting, perhaps?) and added them to our list.  We went and the wife answered the door.  We gave her the sugar cookies and she told us this was perfect because their dog had eaten their sugar cookies not thirty minutes earlier.   The Greens have two little kids, so it must have been quite the ordeal for them to lose their sugar cookies.  It made me happy that the Spirit prompted us to help them in that way.  We sang one verse of "O Holy Night" and went on our way.

The night before Christmas, we had to be inside after 6 PM.  The Highland zone met at a stake center, and we got to watch a movie that president had approved.  We watched the Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  It was definitely a highlight because 1. I love movies--it was a tender mercy that I got sent to a mission that gets to watch a movie on Christmas Eve--and 2. I noticed many more gospel truths that had gone over my head previous times I had watched the movie.

Christmas Day was pretty spectacular as well.  The sisters in our house all got  up and opened presents together.  I felt so much love coming from my family as I read the precious notes and opened the presents.  After, we had church, and  it was only three hours for us--each ward just had sacrament meeting.  Then I got to FaceTime with my wonderful family, and I definitely enjoyed their funny and wonderful personalities--even if I didn't do that well at telling y'all what I've been up to. (I'll practice being better at that for Mother's Day.)

Well, that pretty much sums up my week.  I just wanted to finish with one more story that demonstrated remarkable faith in one of the members in my area.  On Christmas Eve, we couldn't be out unless we had set appointments.  We had a couple in one of our wards.  Since it was half an hour bike ride from our house, we stayed at the Kerr's home between appointments.  Sister Kerr had actually thought of a member who could use a visit and asked us if she could set up an appointment for us to go over. We gladly agreed.  We went to talk to a single sister, and it was such a special experience.  We got  talking, and she alluded to bits of her life story that Sister Miller seemed to know more about than I did, so I asked what her story was. Oftimes, we talk about being persecuted for our beliefs and our minds immediately turn to the early Christians in the first century of Christianity or to the pioneers being driven from their homes in Missouri.  As much as we would like to think of that that persecution as past, listening to this sweet sister made me realize that sometimes we do still have to stand up for our beliefs a lot more that I had see growing up in the Mormon Bubble of Utah County.  This sister had married her husband after meeting at BYU. They were sealed in the temple and she thought she was set.  Well, turns out that wasn't the case.  Her husband over time began questioning his testimony of Priesthood power, which eventually spiraled until he has now completely lost his faith, even in Jesus Christ.  She went along with it, wanting to keep her marriage together, and they raised their children outside the church.  After a while, she began seeing a difference between her children and their cousins, and she realized exactly what was missing. She started with simply watching General Conference.  Her husband would notice this and turn the TV off, telling her she was not to watch that.  But she knew that she wanted that spirit in her life.  She continued trying to quietly invite the Spirit into her home.  Eventually she built up the courage to go to church.  That Sunday morning, she got ready.  Her husband noticed and told her that he did not want her going to church.  When she was ready to go, he physically blocked her from leaving.   She found a way to get around him when he yells at her that if she leaves, she is choosing a divorce, and proceeded to tell their young children that their mother was choosing a divorce.  Unfortunately, her story does not have a picture perfect ending.  She eventually filed for divorce and is slowly working to have her children learn to love and trust her after the terrible things their father would say about her in front of them.  But this sister, despite the bombardment of manipulative control from her husband, continued to keep her faith in the Savior.  Her life is far from perfect, but she has peace.  I know that it is because of her faith in Jesus Christ that she has that peace.  I found a quote a while back, and the basic idea was that while the world sees peace as an absence of troubles, the Savior offers peace amidst our trials and heart aches.  I'm not always the best at allowing Him to do so--sometimes I'm stubborn and won't let go--but I know that that is true.  My goal as I go into 2017 is that I will learn to more fully learn to trust the Savior in order to develop the charity and faith that only He can give  me to do this amazing work.  I love you all so much!
Sister Emily

1001 N Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ

7-1/2 months later with my MTC sisters

Releasing the balloons

This bird hates me.

Christmas morning

Mission temple trip

Monday, December 19, 2016

Is it just David Archuleta or is it hot in here?

Family mine!!!

I am beyond excited to talk to you in six days!!!  But for now, I shall just email you about my week.  Before my mission, my dear friend Chandler told me that I should learn absolutely everything I can from my mission.  This week, I guess the talent I learned was improv on piano because the old folks wanted to sing songs that I did not have music for.  I also learned that one of my ward mission leader's knows Jon Schmidt (aka the response I gave when people asked me what I wanted to be what I grew up).  But that's quite off topic.  For this email, I guess I should probably start with explaining the title of my email, so here goes that:

Once upon a time back in Bella Vista, Elder Green was doing a training.  He was trying to teach us about blessings that can come from focusing on the work alone by talking only about the work (obviously I'm still working on that one, but stay with me, this has a point).  He told us a story of some Elders who wanted to test the idea out and at the time they happened to really want some steak.  They decided that they were going to try talking only about steak when they weren't teaching and see what came of it.  And that's what they did.  They talked about different kinds of steaks, how to cook steak, anything that was about steak. And for the next three weeks they had steak at every single dinner appointment. Every single one.  His point was to have us imagine what we could accomplish if we were so focused on the work that all what we talked about was the gospel, baptism, and things pertaining to missionary work.  Like I said, we are still working on that.  Now what does David Archuleta have to do with any of this?

There is one sister in our house (who for the time being will remain unnamed since she is still a missionary for two more transfers) who loves David Archuleta's music.  And as good friends, the other sisters and I have taken it upon ourselves to make every comment known to man about Brother Archuleta with the intent of seeing this sister's reaction.  Well.  Let me tell you that Elder Green's story was not as crazy as it seemed.  One night at dinner, we were talking to the family we were with, and they mentioned that they were going to a David Archuleta concert on Monday night (that night being tonight).  Sister Miller and I smirked to ourselves and asked where this concert was at.  Family, David Archuleta will be in Mesa just down the street from the Mesa Temple.  And the best part is that this sister that likes him was initially scheduled to help at the Mesa Temple Lights tonight.  I guess that what we talk about really does affect the world around us.  It was a funny experience, but it's also made me want to take Elder Green's invitation a little more seriously and see what miracles become of that.

This week has been crazy busy getting ready for not just one, but two baptisms.  We finally got to meet Patrick (the one being taught in Alabama who wanted to be baptized by the person who befriended him in Arizona).  He is so stellar.  His mom and his grandma even came to the baptism and were so supportive of him.  At his baptism, he even shared his testimony and I just wish y'all could have been there.

We also got to have the baptism of Rachel this week!  She was so excited and it made me so happy to see.  She had been working to give up a coffee habit and her testimony has definitely grown through that.  So this week, we decided to do something fun with Rachel and teach her the Mormon way to Starbucks.  I have a recipe for hot chocolate that tastes like Starbucks, so we went over and made it with her.  We had a lot of fun with that.  Then on Saturday (yesterday), Rachel entered the waters of baptism.  There was so much love and support from the ward.  After she was baptized, immediately after coming back out of the water, Rachel's 3 year-old son, Devin, shouted, "Yay!!!"

We've also been busy trying to find new investigators.  We followed up with the "back-to-Jesus" girl (Kaden), and her dad is interested in setting up a time for us to come tell their family more about the Book of Mormon.  We also met a guy named Steve at the Temple Lights.  He would not be our investigator, but we were able to give him a copy of the Book of Mormon, and never have I ever heard someone tell me with such sincerity that they are going to read it.  There's also Robert who was such a golden street contact.  He straight up told us he doesn't understand why God would let his wife die when He had the power to save her, so after giving him a Book of Mormon, he asked us what part he should read.  I also want to follow up with Jason (the skeptical seeker of truth) and these two people we met named Kim and John.  I'm excited.

To close, I just wanted to leave you with some revelation I received at Patrick's baptism.  I was sitting there thinking about why baptisms are such a highlight of missions.  Everyone wants to know about the baptisms.  While I was there at Patrick's baptism, I realized that baptisms aren't the incredible experience they are because someone is wearing white in a font of water and getting dunked.  Baptisms are the sacred and amazing experience that they are because they are the epitome of the actual best part of missionary work: getting to watch people change and come closer to the Savior, Jesus Christ.  That is the best part of a mission, and I am so thankful that I get to be a missionary.

I love you so much family, and I can't wait to talk to you more on Christmas!
Sister Emily

1001 N Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ

Patrick's baptism

Rachel's baptism

Gilbert members don't let their sisters go without Christmas

Missionary shoes

Monday, December 12, 2016

Countdown to Christmas!!

Hi Family!

Christmas is just around the corner and I could not be more excited!  I just have to get passed the fact that to people visiting it feels like the middle of summer and to me it feels more like late fall.  Other than that, there is a lot of Christmas excitement and it sometimes inclines others to be a little nicer to us missionaries.  Sister Burden and Sister Wells have been caroling to people as a way to share our message of Jesus Christ, so Sister Miller and I decided to try it.  It's been fun to see the smiles on peoples faces the majority of the time.

One really festive thing that I am loving about this area is something called Christmas on Comstock.  Comstock is a street that I live near, and they won a competition for best lights a few years back.  Every single yard is decked out in lights and they sync it with music while people drive or walk through.  The line of cars was so long that it was causing traffic on a main road!  It's nuts!  Sister Miller and I try to go any night we can and talk to people.  It made me realize just how well known missionaries are in Arizona.  I'm used to members yelling, "hi Sisters!" as we bike by, but I wasn't expecting to hear people of other faiths yell, "Hi Mormon Sisters!" as we rode past.  It definitely made me happy.  Christmas just makes people friendlier.

This week at the Old Folks home was a blast!  I've gotten to know a lady by the name of Jean there.  When our zone went, I got to help her watercolor a picture of a Christmas tree.  I think I've been adopted as her unofficial granddaughter.  She gave me the picture that she painted, so I have it proudly hanging on my wall at the house.  The Old Folks home that we go to is for memory care, so a lot of the times, I have the same conversation with them every 15 minutes.  It's so sad, but you can't help but just love them so much.  Jean has to keep asking my name, and she lets me know that she really likes the name Sabey and that my mom did a good job.  It's the sweetest.

I had another conversation in Spanish this week with a girl named Luz, and I love seeing how the Lord helps me so I can say what I need to.  Luz told me my Spanish is very good.  She just moved from Chicago and is looking for a church, so missionaries are going to go teach her!

As for Rachel, she passed her baptismal interview, so if all goes smoothly, she will be baptized this Saturday!  She could not be more excited!  We also have a miracle baptism this week for someone named Patrick.  Patrick grew up in one of our wards, had lots of LDS friends, and is now taking the missionary discussions in Alabama where he is going to school.  He wants to be baptized by someone he knows back here, so we get to meet him tomorrow.  I'm excited for him as well.

That's all for this week!  I hope that y'all are doing well!  I love you so much!

Sister Emily

1001 N Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ

Because I'm in the Highland zone

What is Gilbert?

Christmas on Comstock

Monday, December 5, 2016

Good News: I'm Not the Grinch!

Hey there family!

I feel like I don't have much to report on this week, so I want to tell you about the Sister Missionaries that I live with. I already told y'all about my companion, Sister Miller.  She's a lot of fun. She has a fascination with fire, so she almost always has a candle lit during studies.  She also likes a lot of similar things as me.

The other two sisters in my district are Sisters Burden and Wells.  Sister Burden is like the mom.  She wants to make sure everyone is okay and makes sure everyone is included in the house.  She's usually the one I talk to when I have questions about how to missionary.  She's also an incredible singer.  Sister Wells is a lot of fun.  She makes me laugh and she loves to quote the movie Ephraim's Rescue.  She's a little nuts and it makes me happy.

We also live with two other sisters in the Higley Zone.  Their names are Sisters Irvin and Angeloudis.  They are both Sister Training Leaders.  Sister Irvin reminds me of my little sister Sarah to a "T".  She's focus on the work and quirky in the same ways as Sarah.  Sister Angeloudis is from Australia and she does a scary good American accent.  She is absolutely hilarious and I love her a lot.

Anyways, I suppose I should tell you what I did in the work this week.  This week was hard, but I totally learned (once again) that God is so ready to bless us.  For a few days this week I felt like I had no motivation and all I wanted to do was stare at a wall and not talk to anyone ever again, which was especially stressful to me since I felt that I should be the good example as the senior companion, especially where Sister Miller just finished training (eek, responsibility).  But even though I didn't want to, we kept going out and working, and I did what I could even if it wasn't much some days.  But the week ended off completely amazing, and I know that is wouldn't have happened if I had just quit and gone back to bed like I wanted to.

We had a lesson with a recent convert named Leslie who is struggling with her testimony.  I also learned a lesson in humility at her lesson.  We taught her the Plan of Salvation again, and it was going pretty well . . . and then Sister Miller would go off on a tangent.  I would sit there like, "where is she going with this?" and wait until I, the "experienced" missionary, could reel things back in (please note the immense amount of sarcasm in that statement).  But every time she would go off in a direction that I didn't understand, it always seemed to end with the exact words that Leslie needed to hear.  Boy, did I rethink my life when I realized that.  It helped me remember not to be prideful and that the Spirit speaks to different people in different ways.  By the end of the lesson, Leslie put together that the reason she has been struggling is because she lost sight of the bigger picture.  That was really awesome to see.

Sister Miller and I had another shift at the Mesa Temple Lights.  One lady asked me how long I had been out, and I told her almost seven months. Her response was "Oh! Almost half way!" NOOOOOOOOOOO! Other than that, our shift was wonderful.  I love the Spirit that is ALWAYS at the Temple.  It's awesome.  As part of our job at the Mesa Temple Lights, we are given referral cards to give to people who want missionaries to come teach them.  Even though it happened last week, usually people don't magically come and straight up ask.  That's where the missionaries come in.  We were talking to one guy who was there.  I asked if it was his first time visiting, and he said it was.  Long story short, I asked if he would like representatives from our church to come teach him more and he said YES!  I don't know what happen from that, but it was cool to see how differently the conversation went because I listened to the promptings of the spirit and opened my mouth.

The missionaries in the Highland Zone get to volunteer and help out at a memory care center each week.  I think that is going to be one of my favorite parts of being in this area.  We went and I got to talk to so many wonderful people, and I could see how it just made them happy.  One lady started crying and kissing my hand because of how happy it made her.  I'm excited to go back. I hear it's a different adventure every time, so I'm sure there are stories to come.

Last story of today, we had a lesson with Rachel.  We went through all the commandments so we can make sure we have taught her everything in time for December 17, when she will be baptized.  Her testimony is so solid that is amazes me every time we teach her.  She is so dedicated to following the Lord. We also went over to her house yesterday to watch the Christmas Devotional with her and Alex.  Their little son, Devin, informed me while we were there that I am "not the Grinch".  Apparently Sister Miller is also not actually called "Sister Miller".  We are "Sisters".  I don't think Devin has figured out that we aren't actually his older sisters.  It's too cute.  Anyway, Rachel loved the Devotional and we went over a few things to get ready for her baptism, and she is so ready.  I love teaching Rachel and being a missionary.

I hope everything is going well at home and that everyone is getting excited for Christmas!  I can't wait to talk to you! Twenty days and counting!  I love you and I am excited to hear from you soon!
Sister Emily

1001 N Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ

December 1st of #LightTheWorld: Jesus Lifted Others' Burdens and So Can We
Here's Sister Wells and Sister Miller lifting Sister Burden

Me at Mesa Temple Lights

This is our Christmas Tree

Monday, November 28, 2016

I can bike in a skirt. What's your super power?

Welp, Family.  Hello again!

I'm getting used to my new area now, and I think I'm going to like my new district.  On Tuesday, I had my first district meeting with them, and Elder Gressman, my new district leader, was training on talking to everyone.  He wanted to order pizza during our district meeting, but here's the catch: we had to teach a gospel principle to whomever we spoke with on the phone.  He just didn't mention that last bit until Elder Elliot was already calling.  We also gave the pizza delivery guy a copy of the Book of Mormon with the money inside it.  It was a silly missionary thing, but it made me realize just how many people I can talk to.

Being a missionary is downright weird sometimes.  Last Monday night, it was after 8:00, so Sister Miller and I were trying to figure out what to do.  We went to the house of a potential investigator named Daniel.  Plot Twist: He has a little courtyard outside his front door and another door beyond that so people don't stroll into his courtyard.  A lot of houses have layouts like that in Arizona.  So we couldn't knock and it was too late for us to feel comfortable ringing the doorbell, so we decided to reevaluate our plan and go somewhere else.  Sister Miller really liked the palm tree in Daniel's front yard, so I offered to take her picture by it.  We were in the middle of doing that when Daniel's garage door opens and out comes Daniel.  So what do I do? I tell him we really liked his tree and were taking pictures by it.  What does he do? Offers to take our picture for us.  He even tried different angles to make sure he could get a lot of the palm tree in.  Daniel is the real MVP.  He said we could come back another time to take more pictures by his tree.  Maybe when we do that we will get to teach him as well.

More weird experiences.  We were at an apartment complex that is in our area trying to contact a recent convert that seems to have fallen off the face of the planet.  We were walking around and Sister Miller looks over at another building.  She sees two windows lit: one with a girl studying and one with a Christmas tree.  She turns to me and says, "Those people need to be baptized." And I told her, "Okay! Revelation! Let's go!"  I don't think she was anticipating that response.  Anyway, we decide to go meet the girl who is studying first.  We don't want to look like we are going door-to-door in the apartments so we don't get kicked out (as we have members and investigators there), so we were trying to game plan what we could do.  Idea: Let's look for a potential investigator.  We decided this potential investigator would be called Sarah.  So we went and knocked on the door, and we met the girl who was studying.  Her name is Allie.  We invited her to temple lights since she said she was not interested and she wished us luck in finding "Sarah".

Okay, so no luck there.  Next door.  We spent about five minutes in front of the Christmas tree window's door trying to decide how we were going to approach that one.  We went with the brilliant one of "hi, we liked your Christmas tree and wanted to meet the people who lived here with this Christmas tree".  We talked to the girl at this door and asked her name.  And that is how we actually found Sarah.  We told her that we have a set of lessons to build faith in Jesus Christ, and she was definitely interested.  Sarah said we could come back and we set up a return appointment for later this week, so Sister Miller and I are excited about that!

Later in the week we met someone named Jason.  Jason was fun to talk to because he kept telling us how we need to question everything and we kept trying to explain that's exactly what our message was and that is how he could find out for himself.  While we were talking about that, I felt prompted to show him Moroni's promise.  Once you read the Book of Mormon, ask God in the name of Christ having a sincere heart and real intent to know if it is not true, and if you do so, Heavenly Father will testify to you that it is true by the power of the Holy Ghost.  After reading it, with his usual skepticism, he asks, "Okay, but where's the proof?"  I did it.  That's what I told him.  His eyes lit up like a little kid on Christmas morning and he was hanging on to every word that I said.  It was so cool how simple testimony engaged him so much.  He was still a little skeptical, but he said that he would read the Book of Mormon and highlight it for the next missionaries that came along.

Later that day (or maybe it was a different day, I honestly don't remember) we were biking along and we tried to talk to someone else.  They walked off, so we started talking to their little boy that was outside.  He could have cared less.  So we decided to just let them know that we are the missionaries in their area and be on our way.  Their little girl who had been sitting off to the side asks, "What's a missionary?"  We tell her that missionaries teach people about Jesus.  She shoots her hand up in the air and asks, "Can I learn?" And that was the beginning of one of the funnest moments in opening my mouth to share the gospel.  She was very determined to learn, but also very distracted by her older brother.  He would get too close to our conversation for her taste, scream his name, chase him around and then come back and tell us, "Okay, back to Jesus".  We kept talking to her and at some point she asks, "Can I go ask my parents if I can be like you?"  We tell her sure, almost certain that her parents are going to come out and tell us off, but she runs in and a few minutes later comes back out and continues to talk to us.  A few more kids came by the time we were talking about the Book of Mormon.  One was a girl named Callie who had been coming to church with another girl in our ward who we have been told that the parents do not want to be contacted.  I was so happy for this girl for bringing her friend to church and being an awesome missionary.  Callie started telling us her story about how her parents don't like Mormons, but how she had been coming to church and she wanted to read the Book of Mormon.  We gave her a copy and it was so precious to see her determination as she promised us that she was going to read it.  We also gave a copy to the other little girl (her name is Kaden), and she ran in to ask her parents if she could read a chapter of the Book of Mormon every night.  I guess they said yes because she came back and kept talking to us.  We are going to go back and follow up with her family and see if we can teach them.

We also got to go into Mesa this week because we get to help be sister missionaries at the Mesa Temple Christmas Lights.  It was fun.  It was also weird to see people wearing shorts when everyone from Arizona (myself included) had on coats.  A lot of people of different denominations would be enjoying the lights, see the missionaries, glare at us and walk the other way.... Awkward... but we also had a cool miracle.  I had one lady come up to me and ask for some information.   I got ready to go into customer service mode and tell her where bathrooms were or about the visitors center or displays, I was ready for that.  Nope, she wanted information like what we teach people every day.  It was so cool!  I told her a little about what we believe, what the temple is, gave her a referral card to have missionaries come teach her, and told her to check out the visitor's center.  It was amazing that I got to see the fruits of what a little thing like temple lights can do.

Finally, I want to tell you about an investigator named Rachel.  Sister Miller had already been teaching her before I came to the area.  Her husband, Alex, is a recent convert, and Rachel is now on date for baptism on December 17.  We are beyond excited for her.  We had a lesson last night about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (for more information, see 2 Nephi 31 or your local missionaries).  My favorite part of the entire lesson was hearing her share her testimony of what she knew to be true and how she came to know the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.  I learned several things during that lesson.  First, when you share your testimony, it brings the spirit faster than any other thing I can think of.  Second, it showed me how she had been prepared to receive this message. And third, it make me so excited for her 3 year old son, Devin, who because of these moments and decisions in her life will get to grow up with a fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It made me really thankful for my mother and all that she taught me to help me make choices based on the truths that I've learned.  Mothers make all the difference.  I'm thankful for mine and I'm so excited for what Devin will experience in his life because of his mother.

Last insight I've learned this week that I will share today:  I always get really nervous when I talk to someone and they respond with "I know that".  I forget how much of the gospel we still have that will help them.  But I've been learning that what I do as a missionary is so minimal in comparison to the preparation that the individual undergoes before they accept the fullness that God has to offer them.  It helped me realize that when I teach and I am told "I already knew that", it's evidence that God is preparing them still and even if the time is not then, I should not be afraid to open my mouth because nothing brings more joy than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am so thankful for it.

I love you so much!  The support I feel from your prayers is absolutely everything to me!  I am so thankful for you!

Sister Emily

1001 N Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ

One of the pictures Daniel took for us

Basic Sister Missionary

If you look closely, there's a TARDIS--I'm determined to get a picture by it someday.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Bye, Bella Vista

Hello my amazing family (and friends),

So much happened this week that I hardly know where to begin. My last couple of days in my dear Bella Vista Zone where memorable for sure.  It's funny, when I first got to that zone, I thought, "This will never compare to Desert Ridge." I was so wrong. I had an amazing zone and an amazing area.

We had a couple lunches as a zone right before I left, and I'm not sure I could tell you how much I adore these wonderful people without making your computer explode somehow.  We've all gotten so close and it's just so good.  I had one funny story about an Elder in my zone named Elder Carias.  He's from El Salvador and didn't know any English before he came to Arizona. Even though he is a Spanish missionary, he has incredibly good English.  I have so much respect for people who have to learn other languages, and I also really enjoy hearing them when they don't know words.  During the last zone lunch I had, we played the game where someone closes their eyes, spins around until they stop to point at another player who is sitting in the circle around them, and then they give them an animal sound to make.  Then the person with their eyes closed has to guess who made the animal sound.  It was a lot of fun with Elder Carias.  At one point, someone pointed at him and told him that his animal was Lion.  He sits there for a little bit, then laughs and says, "I don't know. What is that?"  It was a good laugh for everyone, and we just had a lot of fun that day.

Of course, that's just one of the many examples of my amazing zone.  I also have had so much fun with the ward I was serving in.  On Monday night, we spent the evening with Tiffany and her family to teach them how to hold a Family Home Evening.  It was chaotic and so much fun.  We were telling the story of Nephi building a boat, and half way through, somehow Laman turned into a Frenchman. We could not stop laughing. Meanwhile, Tiffany's poor husband was sitting there so confused at what we were all laughing at since he's not a member yet.  I hope they continue to have family home evenings.  Those are so good.  At the end, the girls just said their nightly prayers as part of the closing prayer.  Kaitlyn, Tiffany's 3-year-old was praying and saying thank you for her mom and her dad and her sister, then she says, "Thank you for my Sabey. Thank you for my Gray."  We think "her Gray" is Sister Kranc.  It was adorable, and of course, now that Kaitlyn knows my name, I had to say goodbye to that amazing family.

Another wonderful family that I reluctantly had to say goodbye to was the Baileys.  I love the Baileys.  I remember when I first got to Bella Vista Zone, the first time I met the Baileys, I knew I was just going to love them.  I got really close to their daughter, Calypsi, so it was so hard to say goodbye to them, as well as all the other inspiring people I love in that area.
Now I'm sure you are all wondering where I was transferred to.  Well, funny story about that.  I got an email from President a week or so ago asking what my honest feelings and opinions were on going Spanish. What? So I knew that was a possibility, especially because several Spanish missionaries kept telling me that they had told President that he should send me Spanish.  I pretty much told him I am happy to serve where the Lord needs me, but if He casually did need me Spanish, I have all the language study materials ready to go.  Well, transfer calls came, and I did get transferred as I mentioned, but the Lord needed me English still, so I am ready to go.  Hermana Cedeño from Venezuela was bummed about that.  It made me happy that President thought I could be ready to serve Spanish if the Lord needs me there.

Now I am in the Highland Zone, which means that for the first time while on the mission, I am actually serving in the town of Gilbert.  My companion is Sister Miller from Bountiful, Utah.  She has been out for three months, which means that I am the senior companion and I don't know who thought that was a good idea.  Anyways, Sister Miller is wonderful.  She is so much like me that it's almost scary.  Sister Miller and I cover three wards and we have two people on date and lots of opportunities to find.  I remember when I was sent south to Bella Vista, I thought I was experiencing culture shock going there.  I've changed my mind.  It is a much bigger culture shock going from "South" to "North" than "North" to "South".  People actually have grass in their yards here (most of Arizona, people just have rocks to save on water expenses), and I look at it like, "What is this luxurious lifestyle??"  The members here are wonderful and I'm excited to get to know them.

We have been focusing on inviting members to invite their friends to the Mesa Temple Christmas Lights.  We had a cool experience with that.  One of the first people I visited here was a less-active member named Sister Frost.  She is so funny!  She has a testimony, but she is very straight about the fact that she is as inactive as the day is long.  We had a good talk with her and got to know her, and right before it was time to go, we asked to share a scripture with her.  I shared that and asked her to invite a friend to the Mesa Lights who needed the peace that Jesus Christ can bring into our lives. As soon as that happened, the mood in the room did a complete 180.  All of a sudden, the Spirit was there so strongly, and she admitted, "I've actually been thinking a lot about a friend these last few days" and started tearing up.  She committed that she would invite her friend, and it was so cool just to see her feel the Spirit so suddenly and so strongly.

Speaking of Mesa Lights, Sister Miller and I, as well as the other two companionships that we live with, to help out at the Mesa Lights this year!  It's pretty big because usually it's only Arizona Mesa Mission missionaries that get to help, but this year they invited some missionaries from Scottsdale mission, Tempe Mission, and the Arizona Gilbert Mission!  We are super excited.  We got to leave the mission to go to the Mesa Temple for some training the other day, and it sounds like we will be getting to work at the Mesa Lights about one night each week for the month of December.  I am beyond excited.  I miss seeing Salt Lake Temple Lights, so this is like a little piece of home . . . but warmer.

We have also got to help at the Gilbert Days Parade the other day, so I got to see a couple of marching bands in the parade, and it was just fun to do service in the community.  I'm excited to be here in the Highland Zone.

One side note, Sister Sprouse has gone to Florence (where she's always wanted to serve), and she is a Sister Training Leader now!!  My missionary heritage is a pretty amazing one.  Anyways, I love you, Family!  I miss you, I pray for you, and I love you more than I can possibly say!  Can't wait to hear from you!

Sister Emily

Sister Bailey and Calypsi


Mi compañera nueva

Monday, November 14, 2016

No Longer a Greenie

Hi my wonderful family!

I hit my six month mark this week, which means I am no longer a "greenie", but I still feel like I'm about two minutes old on the mission. I'm glad that P-Day is back on Monday again.  That threw me off.  So since I'm only writing from Wednesday to today, this one is going to be a shortie (but then again, it's me talking, so I guess "shortie" is relative).

Fun story of the week:  I never thought I'd have the problem of people accidentally trying to call me my dad's name.  I guess missions are full of surprises, eh? One of the Elders in my zone keeps accidentally saying, "Elder Sabey" whenever he needs to ask me something, so I have to quote Finding Nemo at him and remind him that "[Elder Sabey] is my father."

Transfers are coming up, and the verdict is that I am being transferred.  I'm sad to leave Sister Kranc, but excited for the adventures to come.  I can't believe it's already been six weeks with Sister Kranc.  It's gone by way too fast.  I'm excited to see the good things she will do in her last transfer, though!  The work is starting to turn around little by little, and I was blessed to see two awesome miracles this week.

First off, we have one part member family in our ward that the mom was baptized just over one year ago.  This family has a lot going against them, but it's incredible to see how she just pushes through everything and clings to the gospel.  We went over the other day to talk about getting ready to receive her endowments, and in the process, we talked about some of the other chaos that is going on in their family's home.  We offered to do a Family Home Evening with them, so Sister Kranc and I will be going over there after P-Day to teach them how to do that.

We also met a guy named Mike last week.  I don't remember if I told y'all about Mike, but he lives across the street from us and has gotten to know a lot of sister missionaries.  Last week, we talked to him and he opened up about his whole life story.  I asked him if he'd ever been invited to take the lessons from the missionaries.  He said yes, but that he always declines the offer. I offered to bring by a Plan of Salvation pamphlet because he mentioned how much his wife talks about what she imagines the next life to be like.  He told us we could bring it over, but she probably wouldn't read it.  We decided to try anyway and got talking to Mike for a while.  During the middle of talking, he asks us where we meet for church and if anyone can come.  We told him yes and told him that we were actually assigned to speak in Sacrament meeting on November 20th, and that we would love if he came to support us.  He asked if we could give him a shout out from over the pulpit, and we said we could definitely do that.  And that is my story about how Mike invited himself to church.  Now we just have to pray he actually comes.  He's going to help Sister Kranc and whoever her new companion is re-pot a plant that he has in his yard and said we could have a bit of to put in our yard, so we want to introduce him to Brother Bujaci when that happens.

Basically, there's been a lot of good things in this area, and I'm excited to see what else the Lord has planned for the people of the Arizona Gilbert Mission.

I love you, family!

Sister Emily

Transfer guesses for the Bella Vista Zone

Arizona is BEAUTIFUL

This awesome young woman leaves for her mission to Pennsylvania this week

Bella Vista Zone sports picture

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Come and See--There's More

People of whom I am stuck with for eternity (aka my loving family)

How grateful I am to know that y'all have to still be my family forever and ever because I love you all a lot.  I hope you know that.

What a week.  I don't have much to report back on, but what I do have was pretty incredible.  This week, Sister Kranc and I renewed our determination to be exactly obedient.  The Lord really is just waiting to pour out blessings upon us because that very next day, we saw so many miracles.  We found two new less active, part-member families in our ward that we didn't know lived there, so we are excited to turn that over to the ward so they can befriend them.  We also had a lot of rain (which is the reason we found one of those families, but I also just love rain), so that was definitely a blessing. We have a couple of referrals in our Young Single Adult ward.  But best of all, we found someone to teach!

His name is Sergio, and we found him while street contacting.  He just has a rock-solid testimony of the Savior, and it was one of those conversations where the Spirit just guided everything.  It was amazing.  We have a lesson with him on Friday.

I suppose I should tell y'all about Halloween on the mission.  It was definitely not my typical Halloween, but I sure did have a lot of fun.  I got to go play Knockerball with the Bella Vista Zone (my zone) and the Florence Zone.  It's the thing were you are basically inside a giant hamster-ball-like bubble and your feet are sticking out.  Then you run into people and try to knock them over.

Then in the evening, since missionaries aren't allowed to be outside for safety reasons, the two zones gathered at a church building and we watched "Ephraim's Rescue".  I forget that such incredible miracles still happen in this day and age, and it's incredible how blessed we are to have that Priesthood power.  It was also just fun to see a room full of missionaries watch a movie for the first time in possibly up to 24 months.

We also had a general authority, Elder J. Devn Cornish, come to our mission.  That was pretty incredible.  He has such a strong testimony of the Gospel, and it's incredible to feel the spirit that resides in a room when a general authority is present.  All of what he said was good, but I just wanted to share one little bit.  He said that the banner that our church waves and declares to the rest of the world is "there's more".  I love that.  God has provided us with the fullness of His word and all we invite is for everyone everywhere to take the good that they have and come and see what else God has promised us.  How much must He love us? And even though opposition still comes, people still try to find fault, and dirty looks still come from those who don't understand, it all comes down to "come and see--there's more".

I am so thankful that there is more.  Because there God has more blessings in store for us than we can possibly imagine, I know that I'll have my family in the eternities--all of them.  I can't get over how much He must love us.  I just think about the little things He has blessed us with like puppies and how much He must love us to have given us those blessings.  Then I think how small that is in comparison to His eternal plan that involves the Atonement and the promise of an Eternal Family--and He still lets us have puppies on top of that.  I know God loves us and the trials that we face will seem so small when we are all together in the Eternities. And I know that is only possible because of what Jesus Christ did for each of us. I am so incredibly thankful for that and am excited to get to another week of extending that invitation to "come and see--there's more".

I love each and everyone of you more than I can possibly say, and this week has made me even more grateful for the wonderful people I have in my life. I can't say it enough how lucky I am to be part of a forever family.  Have a most wonderful week!

Sister Emily

Road trip to Florence

Learning how to fix a bike tire

Emily Street

Monday, October 31, 2016

Faith to Endure

Hi Family-

My biggest regret in life right now is that y'all aren't here in this ward that I am serving in because here in Queen Creek, members of the bishopric, namely Brother Hansen, have cartwheel contests with the young women.  I hope that gives you an idea of how great this area is.

Here is one of my favorite stories this week. The other night, Sister Kranc and I were talking to a member at their doorstep.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see movement, and I realized that movement belonged to a 3 or 4 inch long scorpion.  Sister Kranc was frightened, but  Brother Benham just about jumped out of his skin.  

This week was an especially exciting week for Sister Kranc. For those of you who are blessed enough to know of the wonders of Canada, they have this thing called "All Dressed Chips".  They are pretty delicious.  Well.  Last Monday, we were at the grocery store and something caught Sister Kranc's eye.  It was a Canadian Maple Leaf.  And this Canadian Maple Leaf was located on a bag of Ruffle's All Dressed Chips.  She almost cried of happiness right in the middle of Walmart.

I mentioned the new family we were teaching last week.  These last couple weeks have been weeks of faith and enduring.  We had a fun plot twist called this family is not in our area.  That was heartbreaking for Sister Kranc and I because we were so excited to teach them.  The good news is that they are still being taught, and they are being taught by some awesome Elders that I casually happen to know.

We actually haven't had anyone we have been teaching this entire transfer (or last transfer).  It's been frustrating because Sister Kranc and I want so badly to be good missionaries, and despite our best efforts, it's easy to feel discouraged when it seems that all the missionaries around you are teaching and even baptizing.  We were feeling pretty bad about ourselves, so I realized that I probably needed to ask for a priesthood blessing.  I am so glad I did because the experience that happened was incomparable to anything.  It was exactly what I needed to a T.  I can't exactly find the words to describe what I felt, which I guess means that it was an experience to special to be told casually over email.  But what I can say is that here was this 18 year old Elder from American Fork, UT who hasn't even been on his mission for 12 weeks yet, and the blessing he gave me was far beyond the capacity of anything an 18 year old boy from American Fork could have done--unless he was called of God to use His Priesthood power.  I am thankful for worthy priesthood holders who can respond to the call to serve and who live their lives in such a way that this Elder was able to give me such a powerful blessing in this time when I didn't know what to do.  The words were directly from God.  No other explanation comes close to the power that was evident.

I just want to close with my testimony of the Prophet Jospeh Smith and his role in the Restoration.  I know he is a prophet and was called of God to restore the fullness of Christ's gospel that includes the restoration of His Priesthood power that has blessed my life so much.  Nothing brings as much happiness and ability to push through on a mission as the times when I get to testify that because God loved a 14 year old boy, I get to enjoy the fullness of blessings that Christ has in store for me.  My goal for this upcoming week is to testify as much as I can that Jesus is the Christ and that His gospel is again on the earth in its fullness because a little boy trusted His Father in Heaven enough to simply ask.  All I can hope is that as I do that, someone will be ready to accept the invitation we have to come and learn more.

I love you, family, and I am so grateful for you!  Keep reading the Book of Mormon!

Sister Emily

I love Arizona

Ward Fall Festival with Slender Man

Sunday :)

Monday, October 24, 2016

White Washing Miracles

Hi my most favorite people ever!

My favorite quote of this week was by an Elder in my zone, Elder Pederson: "Every time you take the sacrament, it's like baptism in a cup."  I hope that made your day because it sure made mine.

Well, let's see what happened this week.  For starters, I met Captain America.  He wants to come to church.  Allow me to explain.  The other day, Sister Kranc and I were on our way to church and I see a little boy, he couldn't have been more than 3 or 4 years old, across the street in a full Captain America costume.  I call to him, "Oh my goodness, it's Captain America!" and wave.

I then proceed to stand behind the car while Sister Kranc is in reverse (also known as "backing") as per mission rules, and right when I'm about to get into the car, the little boy yells to me, "I'm Captain America!"

"I know you are!" I tell him.  "Can I have a high-five?"

He asks me where we are going, so I tell him we are going to church.


"Because it's fun!"

He stops and thinks about that for a moment.  "Do boys go?"

"Yes, boys go."

And then he tells me, "I'm going to go when I grow up."  

There you have it. It was so cute.  I also got to go on exchanges with my "grandma".  Real quick explanation for my mother (and anyone else, but I know she'll be curious about this).  In the mission, we take posterity very seriously.  The person who trains you is your mom (or dad for Elders).  Therefore, your trainer's trainer is your grandparent.  If you have a second half trainer, they become your step-parent (and then we can get all super complicated who your trainer's previous companion was, but that's the basic idea).  Sister Sprouse was trained by Sister Allison, thereby making Sister Allison my grandma, and that's who I got to spend a day with.  It was a lot of fun.  Sister Allison is an amazing missionary.  I got to go down to Florence for a day, and contrary to popular belief, I learned that even though the prison is in Florence, it is the second safest town/city in Arizona.  

We picked up two new investigators this week, so Sister Kranc and I are pretty excited about that.  The family is a referral from the missionaries who had been teaching them in Chandler.  The mother is less active because she has to work on Sundays, but she wants her daughters, Madison and Brandi, to learn about the Gospel and be baptized.  Sister Kranc and I feel super good about us being the ones that are supposed to teach them.  Figuring out who was supposed to teach them was a little traumatic because we couldn't figure out which ward they were in due to unclear boundary lines.  But the elders, the stake president, the mission, and the prophet (by which I mean just the people in Salt Lake who are in charge of referrals) say it is in our ward, so I think it's a pretty safe bet. They are such an amazing family.  The mother, Fresia is actually a convert and she joined the church in Peru.  I am so excited.

I think that Sister Kranc and I are going to see a lot of miracles because we have decided that we are going to basically "whitewash" our area.  In missionary words, white washing is when two missionaries who have never served in an area are both put into that area and have to figure it out together (rather than having one companion who kind of knows the area).  Even though I've been here a transfer and a half, we feel inspired to start clean with the area so we can find work and fulfill our purpose of inviting others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel.  It started with a lot of things there terrifying for me, including dropping people who were not progressing.

The British family who we usually eat with has had missionaries over to their home every week for almost two years and nothing has happened.  They seemed to be under the impression that missionaries were there to "hang out and take a break", which is 100% not our purpose.  Sister Kranc and I were praying and trying to decide what to do, so when we went over to their house, we decided to sing them "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" and talk about how because of that experience, we knew God loved each of His children.  The spirit was so strong while we were there, and Sister Kranc invited them to take the lessons.  Without even the slightest consideration, we were told no, they would not be taking the lessons.  So, brave Sister Kranc told them that we could not come over like had been done.  They were not happy about that.  It's super hard to drop someone because we want to think "oh, they will come around eventually", but I have learned that it is in fact an act of faith to drop someone.  It is not our purpose to hope someone comes around eventually because "the field is white already to harvest".  Their daughter was by far the saddest that we could not spend as much time with them, but I have faith that this will turn out for the better.  We will be able to work were we are needed, and if the rest of the family does not realize the joy that comes from the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, I believe that the daughter will be prepared in the Lord's timing.  She's the one it will be hardest for me to not see as much.

We are already seeing miracles, however.   One member of our ward agreed to invite her husband to take the lessons, Tiffany's husband sat in during a spiritual thought when we visited them, and a less active member who told us he would come to church "after football season" came to church.  It's so exciting to be the Lord's servants and see others come unto Christ.  I love being a missionary.

And of course, nothing could top this week off better than a baptism.  No, it was not one of our investigators, but this baptism was really special to me nonetheless.  It was some other sister's investigator, Annette, who I got to spend an evening with when we went to the Gladys Knight concert.  It was so special to hear her conversion because when Sisters Johnson and Olsen first came up to her, she was not interested at all.  And now she has been baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Her baptismal service was the most beautiful service I have ever been to, and I feel so lucky to have gotten to know Annette in my own little way.

I know the church is true, and I am so excited to see the miracles that come.  I love you!!

Sister Emily

A little welcome to our appointment

"Off roading" in attempts to find YSA.

Annette's baptism

Monday, October 17, 2016

Greatest Mission in the World

Hi Everyone!

I don't think I have had a week on my mission thus far with more random happenings thus far, so this should be a fun email to write (and hopefully read as well). I guess I'll start with last Monday when our zone got together and celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving.  I think I've successfully confused everyone as to where I'm from, but that might be because the conversations end up going something like this:

Me: <something about my Canadian citizenship>
Everyone Else: but you're from Utah . . .
Me: Yes.
Everyone Else: ????

Anyway, it was fun mostly because it made Sister Olsen and Sister Kranc so happy.  It's fun to have a companion from Canada because we can bond over what we share and I also learn a ton about Eastern Canada.

Sister Kranc really is a wonderful companion because she is so ready to get out there and do her best in serving the Lord and we help set goals for each other to be better.  We've been working on only saying positive things, and I do notice a huge difference.  We are also working on fearing no man, and that has been a lot of fun.  On Monday evening, we decided to ride bikes.  We didn't get very far because we met someone on our street named Nick.  We decided to go talk to him, and I have been really nervous about talking to people recently.  It's almost like being fresh off the plane again.  But we talked to him, and at first he seemed really cold and didn't want to talk to us.  We just did our best, though, and the Lord truly does make up the rest.  Sister Kranc had an idea (revelation perhaps?) to invite him to our ward Fall Festival coming up at the end of this month, and that completely changed the dynamics of the conversation.  Nick was a lot more open to talking to us.  He was very excited to find out that Sister Kranc has some Polish blood in her, so they talked about that for a long while.  He also told me that I look Jewish, so there you have it.  

Serving in Arizona is a blessing and a curse because everyone knows who the Mormons are and everyone already has an opinion, for better and for worse.  But I'm learning that that doesn't really matter.  We also met another guy named Jake.  We met him while we were trying to go visit an active member in our ward.  He had a shirt on that said "Zion" on it, and the conversation was just amazing from there.  Sister Kranc and I totally felt guided by the spirit and the entire contact went flawlessly.  We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon, and he agreed to read it!

We rescued a dog this week, and that was such a cool experience.  We were headed over to the church for weekly planning, and we found a dog hiding in the little bit of shade he could find right by the church door.  He didn't have a collar, and he was shaking and seemed so scared.  I got to pet the dog a bit so he got to know me, and then we decided to take him inside while we planned (I was not about to leave a dog by itself in Arizona heat).  The zone absolutely adored him, and we named him T.J. T.J. warmed up to us super fast and spent most of planning asleep on my lap (poor little guy looked like he hadn't been able to sleep in forever).  The sad part was that as much as I wanted to, we could not take him home because mission rules, so we had to figure out what we could do to help T.J.  And guess what?  God cares about all His creations and the desires of a little 20 year old sister missionary, meaning everything worked out so we could help T.J. A guy from the pound was going to come take him, but a lady drove up who was with a dog rescue group.  She had seen little T.J. walking around by himself several days ago and was trying to catch him.  So between the guy from the pound and this other lady, we were able to determine that T.J. was about six years old and very malnourished, and now he has a chance of finding a good home.  I think the biggest miracle of all was that T.J. some how managed to go to a church building right before we got there.

We also got to go do a service project in Mesa.  We helped out with the Special Olympics, which was a lot of fun.  I got to help the Athletes go to their event and then walk over to awards.  It was cool to see just how happy everyone was at the service project.

Sister Kranc did get sick this week, so that was one day we had to spend inside.  It did give me an opportunity to get to love Sister Kranc even more by helping her feel better that day, which I am very grateful for.  It also helped me see how awesome of a ward we get to serve in as well as how awesome the other missionaries we serve with are.  The ward was so ready to help Sister Kranc with anything they could, and our district leader, Elder Freeman, was always checking in to see how she was doing.  I'm really blessed to be serving in such an amazing place.

I'm learning that God does hear and answer prayers (even silly, seemingly insignificant ones).  I'm learning to love everyone I meet like the Savior would.  I'm learning that miracles are miracles no matter how big or small.  And I'm learning just how special the Gospel of Jesus Christ is.  I don't know what I would do without it.  I love it so so much, and I only wish I could find a way to do more to spread this message.  I know that Arizona is where I'm supposed to be right now, and I love it.

I love all of you, I am so thankful for your prayers, and I can't wait to hear from you!

Sister Emily

Canadian Thanksgiving Zone Picture

Bella Vista at the Temple

 T.J. <3

Monday, October 10, 2016

No Broken Bones

Hi Fam-Bam!!

Apparently I confused a couple people with my last email and transfers.  So  the Arizona Gilbert Mission is tiny, right?  So the zone names don't always line up with the city that they are in (actually, there are only three zones that do).  I am staying in the Bella Vista zone which is in Queen Creek/San Tan Valley.  Worry not, loved ones.

Sister Hendrick has been moved to a different part of Queen Creek, so now I have a new companion.  Her name is Sister Kranc (it sounds like France, but with a K) and she is from my kind of Homeland of Canada.  It's been fun.  Now we have three Canadians in this zone, so we are slowly taking over.  It's fine.  We're celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving today, but the Elders don't know that yet . . . they think it's just a zone lunch. Sister Kranc is just the sweetest soul ever.  We get along real great!  She's been out for sixteen months, so I'm so excited for everything I will learn from her.  Probably the coolest thing about her that I've already seen is how quickly she just loves everyone and how much she loves her Savior.  I aspire to be like her one day.  We spend so much time laughing, and she is secretly kind of a nerd and talks about superheros and Harry Potter. This is going to be a fun transfer.

My 20th birthday was this week, which is weird.  I don't know who thought that was legal.  I think a 3rd birthday would have been a little more appropriate, but whatever.  It was a wonderful birthday.  I got letters and a few fun presents from my family (including Halloween decorations--it's a big deal). Everyone took such good care of me on my birthday, and it meant a lot.  Jacquelyn, a recent convert, came out on splits with us and decided to bring me a fun treat, and Tiffany decided to make cake for my birthday.  Plus, one of Tiffany's friends accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon from me because it was my birthday.  Now we just have to wait until she reads it and she lets it completely change her life for good.  But, yep, that was my birthday.  Worry not, Mother.  Your baby child is being well taken care of.

Well, I guess sort of . . . I'm also a disaster waiting to happen.  I've gotten to the point where people just ask me, "what happened now?" because I always seem to have a band-aid somewhere on me.  This week, I got an awesome bruise because I got hit in the face by a three year old swinging a sterling silver necklace around,  I cut my finger on a broken candle, and I fell through a chair.  Welp.  Thank goodness for the Spirit because I'm a mess and need all the protection I can get.  But in all honesty, I'm doing good.  No broken bones.

But the big thing that I want to share this week was getting to go to the concert for Gladys Knight and the Saints Unified Voices choir.  I wasn't expecting to get to go, but the day before the concert, Sister Kranc lets me know that we'll have to set up exchanges because she had to go up to Gilbert to help with it.  I got to spend a day with Sisters Olson and Johnson, and they were planning on taking some investigators.  One of them we weren't sure if they would come, so we spent a lot of the day running around trying to find people to go and praying.  Miracles are still a thing, so both of their investigators were able to come, and we got to go to the Gladys Knight concert.  I loved it, and it was so cool just to hear Gladys Knight and her conversion story.  The music was all incredible and helped me realize just how universal the Gospel really and truly is, but my favorite part was the testimonies.  There were some things said that I loved.  The entire concert was just centered on how we are all children of our loving Heavenly Father, and how the Gospel is for everyone.  However, the most amazing insight was given by Brother McDowell (Gladys Knight's husband).  He was talking about the Sabbath and church attendance, and he said, "We think that going to Church is for the Lord, but it's not.  It's for us.  It's what we do every other day of the week that is for the Lord."  Wow.  How true is that?  I had never thought of that before.  It was definitely a faith building experience seeing Gladys Knight and her husband, both converts, testify so boldly of how they know the gospel is true.  I want to add to their testimonies that I also know that the Gospel is for everyone.  It's a place to learn and to grow and to come closer to our Savior and I am so thankful for it.

Thank you so much for the birthday wishes and your prayers!  I love you all!

Sister Emily

 We visited a member in the hospital and had to get all decked out in doctor stuff

Stand By Line with Sisters Johnson and Olson, and Annette who will be baptized on October 22!

Sister Kranc and me

 Holding a piggie