Monday, July 25, 2016

Step by Step

It's another beautiful Monday in Arizona, family!

This week has been entertaining. Sister Sprouse and I are always saying random things and it makes everyday hilarious.  I feel like we are constantly laughing, and it's the best!  This week, she decided that if I were a puppy, I would be Dug from Up.  (I have just met you, and I love you! Squirrel!)

Last Monday, after emailing, I had a rather exciting P-Day.  We were at Walmart, and I saw a girl wearing a Hijab.  In case you don't know, I am utterly fascinated by Islam, and I really wanted to talk to her.  I got scared, but then I remembered that I'm a missionary and I pretty much have a VIP pass to the talking-to-everyone-I-see party. I was telling her that I have a lot of respect for her religion, and she said that meant a lot to her.  We started talking about what I do on my mission, and I guess she had an interest in the Mormons when she lived in Canada, but didn't know any. Even though it was just a short conversation, it was a cool experience.

SIDE NOTE: if anyone comes down to Arizona, go to Rudy's Burritos.  Best thing in the entire world. I didn't think I liked Mexican food, but that's because I'd only had the American version. The real stuff is what's good! They have the best burritos ever.

Everyone around me seems to be catching onto the fact that my personality is rather quirky.  The Zone Leaders play this game called "Calling it out when Sister Sabey is the one texting us".  They can tell because I never text them in a conventional style, I guess.  We wanted to meet up with them to give them our progress records, and Sister Sprouse said, "thanks homies".  I told her, "I'm going to text them that."  Next text we get? "Not a problem, Sister Sabey."

Brother Jones, the ward mission leader in one of our wards, likes to mock me sometimes.  He's really good at it.  I guess I'm dramatic sometimes, apparently, I guess.... Anyways, we were talking to him, and I don't remember what I was saying.  He just asks me "Sister Sabey, is there anything that's not going to kill you?"  . . . A few days later the Joneses were going up to Idaho, and Brother Jones texts us "Drove through Cedar City today . . . and now American Fork. Trunk on that!"  Dad, I think you would like Brother Jones. You could be pals.

Speaking of pals, I saw another familiar face this week!  The Critchfields invited Sister Sprouse and I over for ice cream with the Richards. The Richards didn't know I was going to be there, so Brother Critchfield told me I had to answer the door, which I did and told them "I think you have the wrong address.."  Never have I ever heard Sister Richards yell with so much excitement! She forgot that I am a missionary, so she just screamed "EMILY!!!" and gave me a huge hug.  It was so wonderful to see them! I've told Sister Sprouse she's probably going to end up meeting my entire home ward.

We also had a good week with those we've been teaching.  Darin, one of the less actives in our YSA ward went to FHE last Monday. I have never seen him so happy, and it made me happy that just having a fun time at a church activity could change someones entire persona so much.  He has a hard time with thinking that everyone is judging him, but I hope that he remembers how much he liked FHE and that he can see that the gospel is all about continual turning to Christ.

Shannon also made a huge step this week.  We invited her to come to a Relief Society activity, and she came!  She was really afraid that no one would talk to her, but she just threw herself in and the ward was so kind to her.  She still has a lot of fear, but I love seeing how happy she is when she actually experiences the goodness of the gospel.  Even Carl wants to help Shannon.  We got a text from Carl last night saying "I have been pondering the concept of Shannon, her children, her interest in the Latter Day Saints, and I am comfortable with the challenge.  I did some hypothosizing and some praying and I am available for what service I might be for your cause."  Carl is the investigator trying to help us baptize everyone else.

However, I think the highlight of all my highlights this week has been with the Gonzalez family.  We were talking to them about the chapter we had asked them to read. Tracy's granddaughter is amazing at comprehending the scriptures.  It's amazing.  She said she really enjoyed it, and we asked her to keep reading.  Then, Tracy started talking about her experience this week:  Her husband commented that it was interesting that the missionaries always came to their house, but they are never sent there.  They could have tracted another street, or not came all the way to the end of their street, but they came.  She told us that the door is not closed and that they are considering taking the discussions.  Guys, I hope you can understand that this is HUGE! Initially, Tracy did not want anything to do with the discussions, but we were welcome to share spiritual thoughts.  Using the Book of Mormon, we've done just that, and it has softened her heart.  She told us she loves having us over there to teach her granddaughters about Christ, and said "whether they become Mormon or not" she hopes that talking to us will have a lasting effect on them.  That is the power of this message.

That is the amazing thing about this gospel:  non-members and members alike are all invited to strive to become more like Christ.  It's not about immediate perfection.  It's about relying on Christ to change you one piece at a time.  I read a talk this week called "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox.  He related Grace to learning the piano, and I loved what he says: "When a young pianist hits a wrong note, we don't say he is not worthy to keep practicing.  We don't expect him to be flawless.  We just expect him to keep trying.  Perfection may be his ultimate goal, but for now we can be content with progress in the right direction".  That's why we are here.  We are here to work bit by bit each day to become more like Him.  It doesn't have to be overwhelming.  It's just like playing the piano.  If you hit a wrong note, you try again, and it's Christ's Atonement that allows us to try again. "Grace is not the absence of God's high expectations. Grace is the presence of God's power."  He wants us to become all He has created us to be, and this message gives us the clearest picture of Christ's Atonement and gives us the tools God wants us to use to utilize it.  How blessed are we?

I'd better wrap up now so I can respond to individual emails, but I love you so much!  Until next week!

Sister Emily

Exchanges with Sister Kilsby

Selima came out and worked with us, and we also got Polar Pops

The Richards!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Praise the Heavens for Pokemon-GO!


Oh my goodness, I'm so excited that it is Monday because I get to email you and hear how you are doing! I'm officially done with the first week of my second transfer and that is HUGE for me! I'm getting into the swing of things more each week, and each week I find more and more miracles. One miracle that I've seen is we've been able to talk to a lot more people thanks to Pokemon.

Most of y'all are probably very aware of Pokemon-GO, but allow me to explain it to those of you who are not in an area where everyone has an iPhone.  It's pretty much a new app for smart phones that takes your location, translates it into Google Maps, and then you go try to catch Pokemon in the real outside world. Because of it, we get a lot of people outside despite the scorching Arizona heat, which in missionary terms means more people to talk to!  We met one guy who accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon because of it.  

I remember Dad once told me that he had a companion that always sang the Beatles or something whenever a specific happening occurred. I've discovered my own little thing that I do too.  It's called Sister Sprouse says, "What's this?" and I pipe in singing from the Nightmare Before Christmas. The reason I bring this up is because Sister Sprouse turned that into a really motivational thought.  She said, "What if our investigators got as excited about the Book of Mormon as Jack did about Christmastown?" And really, that's exactly how excited they should be! Plus one and then some! I'm trying to figure out how we can convey that to people, but it does give me extra motivation to get out there and show people just how wonderful the gospel of Jesus Christ is.

Other fun happenings of this week: Sister Gasu is now companions with Sister Patrick, and I like Sister Patrick a lot.  Also, Zone Sports.  We got a few new Elders in our Zone, including a brand new, fresh off the plane Elder.  Zone sports is 100% the fastest way to get to know just how weird everyone is.  We played Frasketball (it's pretty much ultimate Frisbee with a football on a basketball court) last Saturday, and I need to give a special shout out to my Pops for always playing catch with me, because now I can catch the football in Frasketball!

But besides all that fun stuff, this week has been awesome because we have been so busy! Heavenly Father is blessing us because we have lots of new people who want to hear about this message that we bring, and I'm really excited! We had a lot of lessons this week. We've been continuing to teach Tracy and her granddaughters.  Last week when we were there, we were just talking and Tracy suddenly asks "Do you know why there are so many religions?" This is exciting because that is one of the big questions we want to answer! I looked at her with a huge smile on my face and just nodded, and Sister Sprouse and I were able to finish teaching about the Restoration.  Tracy makes me happy because she'll give us a statement of what she believes, and then she'll look to us and say, "Is that right? Is that what you believe? Correct me if I'm wrong."  I think it's so awesome that even if she doesn't consciously recognize what she's getting at when she says that, she knows that there is something undeniably priceless about what we bring.  She then went on and started right in on the Plan of Salvation.  The Spirit really works on people and I love seeing her heart softening.

During my training this week, we were watching a scene from the District. I noticed that the Elders in that segment were trying really hard to beat around the bush to try to not sound offensive, and their lack of boldness is exactly what opened the door for the person they were teaching to find offense.  I learned that if you are loving about what you say, people are much less likely to be offended, which is interesting because the world insists otherwise.  Sister Sprouse and I went back to teach Jorgen, and we decided that we had to be bold with him.  He hasn't been reading the Book of Mormon, and as long as he is not doing that, our meetings are simply to appease his curiosity, which is not what we are sent here to do. We are here to invite others to come unto Christ.  As we decided to leave our fear behind, the Spirit that was there was so strong that you could feel it. I'm not sure whether Jorgen will admit it to himself or not, but the Spirit was there testifying to him that there was more to our message than just casual learning about "these Mormons".  We invited him again to read the Book of Mormon, and I pray that he will let the Spirit teach him of it's truthfulness.

Our new investigator is a man named David that we found tracting.  He was really fun to talk to because he asked questions and was open to actually hearing us answer.  He has been looking for a church to go to around here, but hadn't quite found their niche yet. We taught him about the Restoration, and he accepted a Book of Mormon.  We set up a return appointment, and asked him to start reading the Book of Mormon and assured him that he did not need to read the entire thing before we came--just get started.  He then told us that he will have read the entire book by the time we come back, and when we asked him if he would pray to know that it is true, he responded that he would like it was the most obvious thing in the world!  I'm so excited because his heart is open, and because of that, he will be able to feel the Holy Ghost testifying that it is true.

I love seeing those moments when Sister Sprouse and I really go full out so that we can be effective missionaries.  Sometimes we get scared, but it's like one of the Assistants to the President said at a New Missionary Meeting this week, "God has more faith in you than you do in yourself".  I know that isn't only true of missionaries.  It's so cool because even when we have hard times, God knows that we can do it.  Someone in sacrament meeting said, "Christ retained His scars because pain in this life does not mean that God does not love you."  It's true, we are here to be tested and if we read the Book of Mormon and rely on our Father in Heaven, He is going to help us because He knows what we are capable of when we go to Him.

I love you!!

Sister Sabey

Desert Ridge Zone

 I got bored while Sister Sprouse had to use the bathroom . . . so I built a barricade.

 These crazy people I live with catch scorpions and tape them to index cards to mail home

Monday, July 11, 2016

Scripture Lessons and Scripture Power

Hola Family!

I'm running out of ways to say hi, and I want to switch it up. Starting off, we have transfers this week, and I will be staying with Sister Sprouse in Desert Ridge. Now that I've taken care of that, this week has been one of fun dinner appointments, and myself realizing just how odd mission life can be sometimes.  When the car has to be driven in reverse, the other companion who is not driving (me) has to stand by the back corner of the car and follow it to make sure it doesn't hit anything.  I realized the other day that I've started backwards marching so that I could keep up with the car while I walked backwards (because, you know, walking forward and turning your head is way too easy). I also realized that there are somethings that you can only say to your companion.  Everyone else in existence it would just be weird, but it makes sense to a companion. For example:

Sister Sprouse: whatcha doing?
Me: following you around...

Yep, that is a companionship summed up.  We also had some exciting dinner appointments.  We had a Fourth of July dinner with a family and a couple other missionaries, and they wanted to take a picture of each of the missionaries to send to their parents.  Sister Washburn wanted to be all festive and add "Happy 4th" to the text, and asked "is it okay if I text your parents that?" to which I respond "I dunno . . . my dad is Canadian and might be offended". Her reaction was my favorite because she believed me, but worry not, I told her that it would be okay and no one would be offended.  It was a good laugh, though.  We also had dinner with the Critchfield family! Sister Critchfield casually just happened to know that I love chicken fettucine (mom, did you have a hand in that?), so she made it for us.  It was very nice of her.  It was so fun to talk to people who I knew and laugh with them.  Sister Sprouse has decided that the Critchfields are her favorite family.  She LOVES them.  I'm glad that she does because they make me really happy.  They are such a wonderful family.

Shannon has been sick this week, so we didn't get to visit her, but Carl has been reading the Book of Mormon and says he is really enjoying it! We also went back and talked to Heidi, who we met on the street a few weeks ago. We got to know her and introduced the Book of Mormon, and she was so grateful that we gave it to her.  I'm excited to see what happens as she reads it.  We briefly introduced it to her, told her where it came from, and showed her the Mormon Message of Elder Holland's testimony of the Book of Mormon. We got talking about Joseph Smith, and she makes the comment that "it makes sense that there would be apostles and prophets now, because there were prophets and apostles back in the day of Christ, and why would he just stop?" As a missionary, that is the most exciting thing you could have an investigator tell you because yes, it does make sense! It makes sense because it's true! We are now going to be teaching her family, and I am so excited!

We also had a Zone Conference with President Wheeler.  I love hearing him speak because he is so eloquent and he can talk about the atonement that is so simple, yet so profound.  We talked about the story where Christ raised the young girl from the dead (Mark 5:22-43).  I always just thought that it was a nice story about a miracle that Christ performed that showed people that He is the Son of God, but I know now that it is so much more.  Everything Christ did in some way was to teach us about the Atonement that He would perform.  He told us the story from a more spiritual view--a young daughter who had spiritually become sick, or had fallen away from the gospel. Her father loved her and begged Christ "please, come help my daughter".  However, when Christ came, the little girl had passed away. Everyone else thought she was gone for good, but Christ knew better.  He only allowed those who had faith to witness, and he brought the girl back.  From everyone else's view point, she was gone. They didn't realize that God has His own timing that is perfect.  I thought about how much the parents cared about their daughter and how hard it was for them to see her in that condition.  I thought about how happy they were when Christ brought her back, how Christ felt about the girl and how much He loved her, and what the little girl may have been thinking as well.  Just stop and think about how that applies to the Atonement.  A worried parent sees their child and pleads with God to please help them, but sometimes they have to have the faith that He will still be there even when it looks like they are too far gone.  That's what it means to have an Infinite Atonement. He also pointed that out with the Tree of Life, but I'll let y'all study that out.

In all of my emails, I like to point out all the happy things that happen to me during the week, but I'm going to let you in on a secret: Missions are emotionally and mentally exhausting, and sometimes I feel downright hopeless.  Doubts creep into my mind and I start questioning if I'm supposed to be here, and I just get so homesick for my American Fork--for the canyon and summer snow cone runs, and hearing the marching band in the mornings, and most of all, my wonderful family. Sunday was like that, and I was feeling anxious and I couldn't decide if what I was feeling was normal or if it was too much, but I knew that all the things that Heavenly Father said were supposed to happen on my mission hadn't happened yet, and I missed home. I even began to wonder how I was supposed to tell people that this message is the answer to all the problems they might have, when I couldn't figure out how to use it to help myself. I had training hour after church, and I think Sister Sprouse was inspired to suggest we just use it for Book of Mormon study time. I desperately tried to think of a scripture story that could help me so I could go out and work that evening, but I was drawing a blank.  Eventually I just said, "Heavenly Father, I don't know what to do, I don't know where to study.  I'm pulling a 'Hail Mary' and please bless that whatever page I open to will be what I need". Guess what? The page I opened to was exactly what I needed. I opened to Alma 37:44-45 and Alma 38.  It's the end of Alma talking to his son Helaman, and he reminds his son about the Liahona and that we just need to give heed to the words of Christ and it will lead us to "a strait course" that will "carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise". Wow. I needed that.

The next chapter was Alma 38, which is when Alma talks to Shiblon.  I learned something about Shiblon.  He is the missionary who tried and tried and still had frustrations. But Alma tells him something that I knew Heavenly Father needed me to hear: "I have had great joy in thee already because of thy faithfulness and thy diligence, and thy patience and thy long suffering among the people of the [Arizona Gilbert Mission]". He goes on to remind him that God does "deliver us out of our trials and troubles and afflictions", and that Shiblon has already seen that in his life. Then at the very end of the chapter, he says "And now, as ye have begun to teach the word even so I would that ye should continue to teach; and I would that ye would be diligent and temperate in all things".  Keep going. You've already started, just keep teaching.  It helped me remember that there have been good things and I've done good, and that Heavenly Father is proud that I am trying.

Wow, I know this email is getting long, but last thing: The temple is amazing. Please go to the temple.  It is such a blessing that we have it.  If you can't go to do an endowment yet, go do baptisms. If you can't do baptisms yet, go to the grounds. Just get to the temple.  God has blessed us with so much, and the temple, aside from the Atonement itself, is probably the greatest blessing we have because it assures us that we will be together forever with our families.

Thank you so much for the emails and letters I've received! I love hearing what's happening in your lives! I'm mentally sending you all a hug! I love you!

Sister Sabey

 Fourth of July car selfie

 Scorpions glow under black light feat. my nametag

 *Russian accent* "You didn't see that coming?"

Monday, July 4, 2016

I Saw a Puddle!!!

Hi everyone!!!

Lemme just real quick tell you about the week I've had here in Arizona. President and Sister Nattress have officially moved on to their new calling as a General Authority, so now we have President and Sister Wheeler.  I definitely will miss President Nattress, but the Wheelers are wonderful and I love them already.  I think I'm beginning to transition into full out missionary mode because I had a dream the other night that I got to hang out with Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and dream-me was so excited.

I love being companions with Sister Sprouse.  She is a wonderful person to be around and a great missionary.  I love her because we can work hard and laugh hard too.  Sister Sprouse and I have fun little games we play to find the joy in the little things, like we will scream "HACE FRIO" (it's freezing) even when it's 120 degrees.  But my favorite by far has been looking for puddles.  It rained the other day--by the way, Arizona rain and lightning is AMAZING, and I haven't even seen a monsoon yet--and the next day, Sister Sprouse pointed out a really big puddle.  It was exciting enough that I made sure to tell my district leader about it, and now I get really excited whenever I see a puddle. Usually it's super hot, so puddles don't last very long. It actually did cool down a little last Thursday, and it felt wonderful! Someone in Utah, please guess what we defined as "cool". Answer: 87 degrees. Whooo! Arizona!

On Saturday, I was on exchanges with Sister Anderson, and we spent from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. helping someone move and reorganizing someone else's garage.  That was a fun change of pace. Mom, you probably would have died if you had been in the garage that we were trying to organize because there was so much stuff.  

We also had incredible spiritual moments with some people that we are teaching.  We were at the home where we teach piano lessons on Wednesday.  We always give a spiritual thought, and Sister Sprouse and I agreed that we need to be more bold with them.  Yes, we are here to do service, but when the "field is white all ready to harvest", we need to be spending our time with those who are ready to accept the gospel. We wouldn't know if they were ready if we weren't bold in inviting them.  We felt inspired to tell them the story of the First Vision, but rather than "this is a history lesson", we taught it as "this is an example of how much God loves an individual". As we taught, I got to quote Joseph Smith History 1:16-17. Every time we quote that, it instantly brings the spirit into the room with great force.  The grandmother said that she got chills when we said it.  We then invited them to pray to know that God loves them.  It was such a blessing to get to be in that room.

We also had a return appointment with Shannon.  We really wanted Shannon to understand that God loves her, and did our best to follow the Holy Ghost so He could do His job and testify to her of that truth.  Shannon has faced many trials in her life, and as she spoke about some of the things she has faced, it brought her to tears.  I cannot imagine what she has been through. She feels lost and doesn't know where to turn.  It made me stop and realize that here she is in her early 40s and feels broken and lost. Yet here we are, two 19 year old girls from Utah, and we have the answers she searching for.  We know where she can turn for peace and how to help her do just that.  The magnitude of our calling is unbelievable.  We invited her to pray, and helped her read and understand the Book of Mormon, and by the time we left, her countenance had changed. She was so happy.  It's moments like that when I am so happy to be a missionary.

This morning was also amazing because we got to go help clean the Gilbert Temple.  The temple is the best place on earth.  Even just being there to vacuum and dust and clean windows, I felt the spirit. My favorite part was when we were done, I got to go into the Celestial Room for just one moment. 

I found a scripture that I really like and I've seen how true it is. In Mormon 9:15-19 it says, "And now, all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves god who can do no miracleswould ask of you, have all these things passed, of which have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be God of miracles. Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous works‍ of God? Who shall say that it was not miracle that by his word‍ the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was created‍ of the dust‍ of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought? And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miraclesAnd there were many mighty‍ miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles. And if there were miracles‍ wrought then, why has God ceased to be God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, say unto you he changeth notif so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is God of miracles."  That is true.  I see miracles every single day, and I am still amazed by just how much God loves each of us.  Joseph Smith said, "Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God WILL GO FORTH." This is the work of God, and it's my job to keep testifying of that truth even when the persecutions come.  I'm thankful for this gospel, and that I get to focus on how amazing it is for 18 months.

Thank you again for all your love and support and the prayers in my behalf.  I love you so much!

Sister Sabey

I was asked to draw a welcome poster for President Wheeler 

My favorite Desert Ridge sisters

 Sister Sprouse and I by the temple