Monday, June 27, 2016

Awkward Christian Soldiers

Hello Friends and Family and all of my favorite people!

Finding joy in the little things really is what makes missionary work fun.  Sometimes it's really awkward because you knock on a door and all of a sudden you have no idea what you were planning on saying, so one of the elders rewrote a little bit of a hymn that Sister Sprouse and I sing a lot. Because guess what we are? "Awkward Christian Soldiers, knocking at your door!"

I was all the amounts of excited when we got to talk to one girl this week.  Why you may ask? Her name is Wednesday. Real-life, I met someone named Wednesday.  Another thing that I am learning is that you need to find those little things that are just "Emily things" and that was definitely one of those things that Emily, the imperfect missionary, needed to tie back to her own real life self. When you have those things from time to time, it's a lot easier to focus on the work.

I also saw some familiar faces this week.  I realized that one of the wards I'm serving in is Sister Lucas' home ward (she was in the MTC with me for those of you who need a refresher), so I meet a lot of people who know her (obviously), including her dad. I also got to see the Critchfields who used to live in my home ward. It was nice to see a familiar face.

I'm learning that service actually can be really fun. We got to clean windows at one house and then the other day, we helped someone pack because they are getting ready to move.  Guess where they are moving? Lehi, Utah. I think the Lord knows just how much those connections back to Utah mean to me, because I had a lot of those connections this week.

We also had some wonderful lessons this week.  The first one I want to tell you about is with a girl named Geneva.  Her boyfriend is a member and she has been going to church for several years.  She wants to be baptized, but her family isn't too fond of that idea yet.  In the mean time, we get to teach her.  It's so funny because she knows a lot from church, but there's a lot of scripture stories and such that she hasn't learned which leads to all over the place questions.  It is the best. Geneva is so funny and I love her willingness to learn.  

The other lesson that I want to tell you about was with someone we tracted into. Sister Sprouse starts walking toward this one lady that I hadn't even noticed, and I was just sitting there thinking "she does not look like she wants to talk to us, but oh well". Well, we get talking to her, and she tells us her name is Shannon.  She was really open when we asked questions, which was really cool, and come to find out, she had just been having a real hard time the day before.  She told us that she works with an LDS girl at work, who said that she would pray for Shannon. What happened the next day? We showed up. I know that wasn't a coincidence and Shannon realized that it wasn't either.  As we talked to her she made a comment how she could tell that we knew what we were telling her was true. She had talked to missionaries before, so she told us that she would read her Book of Mormon that night, and now we get to teach her! I'm so glad Sister Sprouse was in tune with the spirit so we could meet Shannon.

On Sunday, I was at the YSA ward, and because no one will play the piano in that ward, the bishop has to get up at the beginning of sacrament and beg for someone to come play.  Who would have thought that I'd play the piano so much in Arizona?  Anyways, I was playing the piano, and I was just praying "Heavenly Father, please help me play these songs because I am sight reading".  I was totally relying on Him to help me play, and then I realized that He did that for me because I put in the effort to practice sight reading hymns before I came out. I thought of that scripture that says "we know we are saved by grace after all we can do".  I realized how applicable what I was doing was to how the Atonement works.  Yes, ultimately, I had to rely completely on God as I played the piano, just like ultimately we cannot return to live with Him without the Atonement.  However, during this life, He expects us to do what we can.  If I had not practiced before I came on my mission, I could not have expected Heavenly Father to make up the difference of what I couldn't.  The Atonement is the same.

I'm thankful for all the things I am learning.  The Book of Mormon is the most amazing book ever and to anyone that hasn't read it, read it! The reality of how amazing this book is incomperable. In fact, Harry Potter is nothing compared to the Book of Mormon. Anyone who knows me knows just how bold that statement is, but it is 100% true. If you have read the Book of Mormon, read it again.  Sister Sprouse pointed out a scripture that has helped me this week as a missionary.  In Alma 2:30, Alma is in a war and he prays that God will spare him so that he can be an instrument in the Lord's hands.  Sister Sprouse then remembered a quote from Preach My Gospel that says Christ did everything the Father had planned for Him to do.  We need to be the same.  God has a plan for us, and if we allow ourselves to be an instrument in His hands, we can also do what the Father has planned for us to do.

If nothing else, my mission so far has taught me two things: 1. how to be a little more understanding. 2. It has given me the opportunity to KNOW that Jesus Christ is my Savior and that because God loves us so much, He called Joseph Smith to be a prophet in these days.  Miracles have not ceased to exist among the children of men.  I know because I see miracles every day.  Thomas S. Monson is a prophet, and this work will continue to go forth until it has filled the whole earth.  I am so lucky to have this knowledge in my life.

I love you all so much! I love hearing from my dear family and friends! I want to hear from you (yes, I mean you)! If you want to send me a letter, you can send it to 1001 N Burk Street Gilbert, AZ 85234. It would mean the world to me.  Thank you for everything you all do for me!

Sister Sabey

Arizona sunsets are stunning

 I got a package from my mommy!!

The Critchfields

Monday, June 20, 2016

Gospel Lessons from a Blacksmith

Hi all!

The weeks are starting to go by faster, and it's really weird to me that I'm starting week four of my first transfer!  I absolutely adore the girls I live with.  Sister Gasu is like our mother and reminds us to wear sunscreen.  Sister Kilsby is so sweet and is always ready with a scripture when she senses that I need a boost.  And of course, my companion, Sister Sprouse is helping me transition into missionary life.  She's fun and easy to work with, and I'm very thankful that she is my trainer.

Last Monday, we spent the day in Queen Creek.  We went to a member's home in one of Sister Kilsby's old areas, and we got to be blacksmiths for a day! It was a lot of fun!  You know that scripture that says everything testifies of Christ? It's so true.  Brother Reed, the member we got to visit, told us the analogy of the tree of life from a blacksmith's point of view.  The Iron Rod is described as being strong and bright and true, and we learn in 1 Nephi 11 that it represents the word of God.  I thought that was all fine and dandy, but let me tell you a thing: iron only stays bright if it is continually used.  If you stop using it, it turns dull.  He said that's like reading the scriptures. You have to continually treasure up the word of God for your testimony to remain bright.  I think it's so cool to see correlations like that in the scriptures.  Everything is symbolic, and as I learn, it deepens my conviction.

On Wednesday, I got to be a piano teacher again.  I am teaching piano to the two granddaughters of a less active member.  She really wants to have them learn piano, I am always happy to be near a piano, and we also get to give a spiritual thought when we go over.  The granddaughters are not members, so we showed them "Because of Him" and "Because He Lives".  I could feel the spirit so strongly while we testified of Christ, and I know they could feel it too.  It's so exciting to see their testimonies develop.  Their grandmother isn't too big on the actual lessons, but as we teach them of Christ, they sense that there is something more. I love it! We also are teaching a less active woman who is coming back to church.  We met her on accident--we didn't know she was LDS and asked if we could help her since she was out weeding her front yard.  She decided that this time, she wants to have her own testimony, and so we are teaching her.  I love seeing her put forth effort because she wants to learn. Although we do spend the majority of our time looking for those who don't have the blessing of the gospel in their lives, I have a special place in my heart to watch those who have had the gospel come back and realize just how blessed they are.

Thursday was my first exchange.  I went with Sister Haymond, who is my Sister Training Leader, to Higley.  I may be low-key obsessed with Higley.  Every person I met, I just instantly loved so much.  I hope I get the opportunity to serve there sometime.  Sister Haymond decided to go out for lunch, and we went to Chick-fil-a! It was pretty much the best thing ever.  AND we saw Kenzie there, which made it even better!  During the remainder of our lunch break, we watched the John Tanner Story.  I love seeing the faith of someone of whom I am a direct descendant. I'm finding that I use Spanish about once a week here, and I LOVE it! I was with Sister Haymond, and we ran into this guy who only spoke a little English. Sister Haymond had that awkward pause that happens when you realize that you are trying to talk to someone that you can't communicate with.  My Spanish was even better this time, as I told this man about the Book of Mormon and gave him a copy.  Sister Haymond was so excited when she discovered that I can do that--given, I'm still mind-blown that I can too.  When we had a similar situation later, she just looked at me expectantly, as if to say, "Okay, do your thing." What can I say? The Lord blesses His missionaries so that they can fulfill the work He needs them to do.

On Friday, I was not feeling so great--I had biked more with Sister Haymond than I was used to, and I don't think I drank enough water.  I'm drinking more water now.  Because I wasn't feeling my best, that made the day a little hard.  Thankfully, the sisters I live with are the best, and called up the Zone Leaders to give me a blessing.  I am learning more and more that Priesthood Blessings are truly from God.  I told Elder Shively briefly about what was hard, but as he gave me a blessing, the words he said could not have all come from just him.  Everything he said paralleled my setting apart as a missionary blessing to a T, and he reminded me that God knows my situation and that He is in charge.  Maybe that seems small, but that was exactly what I needed, and Elder Shively had no way of knowing that I needed to be reminded of that.  I also found a quote that has seriously changed my life.  Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, "Patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring.  It means staying with something and doing all that we can.  Working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardships with fortitute, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed.  Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!"

On Saturday, we went back and visited Amanda and Mariah.  It's hard to teach them because they have two very small children, and we weren't sure if they were really committed to learning, but as we talked to Amanda, even though she works 60 hours a week, she committed to reading from the Book of Mormon for five minutes each day.  I love visiting them, and I pray that her excitement to learn about the gospel will continue and that I will get the opportunity to see how the Gospel blesses her family.

Last night (Sunday), was the new member fireside, and Sister Sprouse and I invited some people and went.  It was the last one that President Nattress will be speaking at, and it makes me sad that I won't get to have him as my mission president for much longer.  The spirit was so strong, and I know that everyone there was edified in their own way.  In particular, one person we have been working with has a newfound re-commitment to read the Book of Mormon everyday.  The Book of Mormon changes lives, and that is not an exaggeration.  After, I got to see my MTC friends that came to Arizona! Plus, I found another missionary from American Fork! Her name is Sister Bailey, and I think we went to elementary school together. She was a grade or two older than me, but it was so nice to see a familiar face.

My testimony has grown so much while I've been here. I say that every week, but I see it growing every week.  This week was the first week in my life where instead of saying "I believe Joseph Smith is a prophet" or "I hope Joseph Smith is a prophet", I could stand in front of someone and say, without any doubt in my mind, "I know Joseph Smith is a prophet".  He was called by God, and I know it. Being a missionary is mentally demanding, and some days are hard, but guess what? The gospel is more important.  I love you all so much, and I love hearing from you and please know that I am grateful for your prayers in my behalf.

Sister Sabey

I'm making a horseshoe

The Zone at the Gilbert Temple

How missionaries do service

Monday, June 13, 2016

One Faith, One Baptism, One Month, and One Libro De Mormon!


This week has been a lot smoother than last week now that I am getting the idea of who the members are and I'm starting to get comfortable with the field missionary life.  I hit my one month mark on Saturday! It was like a little mini birthday.  I figured that in mission years (like dog years, but for missions), I'm about five years old now. I know I said this last week, but the members are ever so kind. Except for when they ask me where I'm from . . . I tell them American Fork, and almost every time, they respond back, "American Fark?". I'm still trying to think of a witty response or something.  But they are really kind to me and Sister Sprouse.

One of the most entertaining things that happens here is random texts from Carl.  I forgot to mention this last week, but Carl refers to the sister missionaries as Sisters of Jesus, and sometimes he texts us with his deep questions of the world.  The other day he was pondering if maybe God is the boss, Jesus is the Son, and the Holy Ghost is the director of activities/the master of ceremonies. He then goes on to ask us "Mayhap thou hast a verse or three on this subject?". I have also shared 2 Nephi 8:12 with him several times because he keeps asking me to reread it to him.  He went on in this text to say, "I need to learn more about Sister Sabey's favorite Bible verse. We will work on this."

This week, we met a lot of people! The first one I want to tell you about is a girl named Leslie.  She is a baptist.  We stopped and talked to her while she was getting her mail, and during the conversation, she made a comment about how what we as LDS Missionaries are doing is really a good thing.  It feels really nice to see that even if others don't recognize just how amazing this message is, they still appreciate that we are doing a good thing.

Of course, there are others who do not like our message at all. When people straight up argue with us about how we are wrong or something, we call that getting "anti'd". But Sister Sprouse pointed something interesting out.  When people tell us that the message we share is not true, even though we feel sad that they don't see it, there is also a wonderful feeling of peace because we know that no matter what they say, that doesn't change the fact that this message is of God. No argument is stronger than our testimony, and it's the most incredible thing!

Then there are other people that it's a blessing we were able to speak to at all.  Sister Sprouse and I were walking to visit someone on Sunday, and we saw someone in their driveway, and decided to go talk to them. Turns out, they don't speak English. They speak Spanish.  I found a Spanish Book of Mormon at our house that I've been carrying around for just in case this happened, and guess what? I started saying what I could in Spanish.  I didn't say much, and I know my Spanish wasn't perfect, but let me tell you: God loves His missionaries, and He gives us just enough to do what He needs us to do.  I was able to bear a simple testimony of the Book of Mormon, and tell her to read it, and she accepted the book! Even though any more contact will have to be made through the Spanish missionaries, I am so thankful God let me run into her so I could have that experience. 

However, the most incredible highlight of this week was getting to teach Kenzie and then seeing her get baptized. Kenzie is such an amazing source of strength to me.  We were at her baptismal interview, and we were talking about how her family is not supportive at all of her decision to be baptized.  It was heartbreaking because I don't know if I could do that. I'm thankful that my family already knows the message of the restored gospel. But as she talked, even though I'm sure this is hard for her, she knew how important this was and how happy it would make her, and that because of that, it didn't matter what her family thought.  That was Thursday night.  Two days later, Kenzie entered the waters of baptism, and it was such a blessing and an opportunity to see how happy she was.  The Gospel changes lives, people.

I've started to understand what it means that we have the only true church on the earth again and just how blessed we are to know about it and be members of that church! This is an amazing opportunity, and it's not always easy, but it is worth it for the tender mercies I get to see.  It's amazing that God gave us agency, the power to choose, because we get to influence our fate, and we also know how to do that in the way that will make us most happy because of this gospel.  I love you all so much, and I miss you more than I can say, and I'm happy that the Lord is allowing me to take part in His work.

Until next week,

Sister Sabey

Carl and the Sisters of Jesus


Kenzie's Baptism

Monday, June 6, 2016

Hace Mucho Calor!

Hello my most favorite people in the entire world!

I haven't had a P-Day in over a week, and I'm finally in Arizona, so I have so much to tell you! I barely know where to start, so please hold for the next available customer service representative . . .

First off, the MTC.  If I were to give any advice to a new missionary from what I've learned so far is this: ENJOY THE MTC. My last few days in the MTC were super memorable. First off, I had a conversation with someone. This is significant because this person was named Gladys and she only spoke Spanish.  It was super exciting! I was waiting for someone to help me get a real life bottle opener, so I could enjoy the Lenin-ade my wonderful mother sent me.  While they were off doing that, I started talking to Gladys.  It was really a simple conversation: just where are you from, where are you going to serve, but this is a big deal for me.

The next memorable thing I want to tell y'all about is about the Sunday Night Devotional. Stephen Allen was the speaker (he does something in the missionary department), and he started talking about his son's mission to Russia. He showed a picture from the mission and then asked for anyone who was in the picture to please stand.  Brother Allen's son was in the audience, and he stood, BUUTTTTT another missionary who was at the MTC also stood.  The picture was the son with one of his converts, and the missionary in the picture was the 2 year old child of them.  I thought it was so cool because holy cow! Missionary work has such a huge ripple effect, even if we don't see it right away!

The last night at the MTC was a very special night for me because I got to spend a little more time with the BEST MTC district to have ever existed. I grew so close to each of them, and it was really hard to leave them.  I was glad I at least get Sister Sorenson and Sister Johnson and Elder Tolman here in Arizona.  The next morning, we left for the airport.  Elder Tolman was sad that he didn't have his elders there, so we decided that the sisters could pretend to be the Colorado elders to make Elder Tolman feel better. Elder Tolman assigned who each of us would fill in for. Sister Sorenson was fill in Elder Hathaway, Sister Johnson was fill in Elder Payne, and I was fill in Elder Robbins. I got to call home when I was at the airport, and it was so nice to talk to my wonderful family!  I wanted to call my pops too, but the call card I had wouldn't let me make a second call even though there were still minutes on it . . . I was bummed, but I loved talking to my dearest Mother, Sarah, Hailey, and Tanner. (I missed talking to my favorite Katie Potato.)  That evening I got to get aquainted with my bike, which I have named Micycle (or Mike for short). Micycle the Bicycle. We had dinner with a member family, and they were ever so kind to us, then we spent the night with another family.  All the members are so kind.

The next day I met my new companion, Sister Sprouse, who will be my trainer.  She's been a missionary for 3 months, so we are both still pretty new.  I'm learning a lot from her.  She's very artistic, and she can oil paint! She's super amazing, and I love her a lot!  I say about half of my phrases in Spanish to her, but she is cool with it. I just have to remember to repeat what I was trying to say in English.  One thing I did not realize about missionary work is how much time is spent finding.  That night, we got to go tracting (we get to do a little tracting each day), and it was a cool experience.  We were walking around, and there was this one street that I saw, and I kept thinking about it and how I really wanted to go knock on the doors on that street.  Eventually, I did ask Sister Sprouse if we could go to it, and she was down with this idea.  First house we knocked on was that of a girl named Toni.  She had thought about being baptized a few years ago, but didn't know where a LDS church was in her area, but she's letting us come back to teach her! I love that the Lord let me have an experience with listening to the Holy Ghost on my very first day. We also had a lesson with another family, and they are super interested.  I thought about asking for baptism as they came to know that what we said was true, but that scared me.  Thankfully Sister Sprouse asked, and the daughter-in-law agreed that she would after she read the Book of Mormon!

Every day is not quite like that.  We spend a lot of time visiting people and finding.  Let me tell you a thing about Arizona.  It is HOT! Sister Gasu, one of the other sisters that we live with, said that the thermometer in our car (which I admit we use sometimes, but we are also on bikes) shows two degrees hotter than it real life is, but it still said that at one point it was 122 degrees (Fahrenheit)! One person we've got to visit a lot is Carl.  He's been an investigator for a LONG time, but he's pretty much our best missionary help in one of our wards.  I need to get a picture with him at some point, so y'all can see him. He is very blunt, but it's absolutely hilarious, and he's just the sweetest old man.  Plus, he helped me fix my bike, which I really appreciate.  Whenever we go over, he knows that we have to start and end with prayer, and he is usually the one to remind us.

I've also run into people with interesting beliefs here. One lady kept telling us how Angel Moroni was an alien and all the pyramids and Moroni statues are sending signals back to the rest of the aliens and how we are all aliens trying to get back to Mars. She was real fun to talk to. I'm looking forward to all the people I will get to meet!

I'm so thankful for this opportunity I have to be a missionary! Some days are hard, but I learn a lot.  I've learned that there may be mistakes that I will make, but because of Him, there doesn't have to be any regrets.  Christ will help me as long as I'm doing my best. I'm working on talking more in lessons, but I learned that just because I'm not always talking, that doesn't mean I'm ineffective. Missionary work is scary, but President Uchtdorf has promised that "we are called to serve and to be successful". I love this church, and my favorite part of any day is when I get to testify that Jesus is the Christ.  I love you all!  Also, there is a video that I am low-key obsessed with, that everyone needs to watch.  It's the Mormon Message, "None were With Him" by Jeffery R. Holland. Thanks for your prayers and your emails and your testimonies!


Sister Sabey

Sister Sorenson and I with my MTC elders

 I'm in Arizona with President and Sister Nattress

Sister Sprouse and an opportunity too perfect to pass up