Monday, August 29, 2016


Hello from the other side!

After being as far north as the mission reaches, I am now serving in good old Bella Vista.  It's not quite the most southern zone in the mission, but I do cover a YSA ward that reaches all the way to the very bottom of the mission.  My new companion is Sister Hendrick.  She's from New York and has been out on her mission for 14 months.  She loves cows, which I think is awesome. One thing she has taught me already is how to better utilize prayer in everyday proselyting. 

The members are awesome.  In addition the the YSA ward, we cover one family ward.  I got to meet some of them on Sunday.  One of the members, Sister Wilcox, was giving a talk in Sacrament Meeting, and she said, "Missionaries are nerdy, dorky, happy people."  I think I will get along with these members just fine. :) Sister Hendrick just recently had a lot of baptisms, so we are back to finding new investigators.  In Desert Ridge, usually people would talk to us to be nice most of the time.  Here, when people do not want to talk to us, they do not talk to us.  However, we've also met a lot of awesome people that I'm excited to get to know.  My very first day in the area, I had a conversation with someone named Jen. Jen is super awesome.  She has such a kind heart and acts on her belief that people should just be treated with kindness.  We are trying to set up a time we can teach her.

My second day in the area some Elders in a different zone gave us a call and asked Sister Hendrick, "How much do you like miracles?"  They gave us a referral for a super sweet YSA girl named Shaye.  She has a super awesome relationship with her family.  She identifies as agnostic, but she believes in a loving God.  We have a lesson with her on Thursday, and we are hoping to help her understand Jesus Christ and what He means.  I'm excited.

Day three we had service with a lady named Rose.  She's in her mid to late 70s.  Before the mission, I didn't really know how to talk to older people, but from talking to people like Rose, I'm getting to see just how fun and easy it is to talk to them.  Rose played the piano growing up (and she was really good), so it was super easy to talk to her.  She was also able to answer a question I've been wondering about since I got here.  There's a lot of pictures of a little guy playing something that looks like a recorder/oboe on people's houses.  I was curious as to why I kept seeing that little guy around everywhere, but no one seemed to know what it meant.  Guess who knew? Rose.  I found out it's a Kokopelli.  It's one of the gods that Native Americans believed in.  A Kokopelli is the god of fertility or abundance--like having lots of crops or a big family or something like that.  

The other night, we had dinner with a girl in the YSA ward and her grandmother, who everyone just calls Gram.  Gram has a lot to say about everything, and it's so much fun to listen to her.  She's definitely one of a kind.  One thing I like about this area is that there are so many different people here.  You never know who you are going to meet.  I've gotten to get a few referrals for the Spanish missionaries,  people that are just as amazing and wonderful as the people I've talked about, and I guess there is also a motorcycle gang leader who lives around here (Don't worry, Mom, I know what area that is in, and Sister Hendrick has been in the area for a while.  I'll be safe.). 

I also had my twelve week New Missionary Meeting, so until I get a companion that has been out only one or two transfers, that was my last one.  I got to go back up to Gilbert for that, and so it was like I was going back toward my home in Desert Ridge.  I also saw a few of the Elders from my last zone at the meeting.  I loved the meeting a lot, but there was one thing that particularly stuck out to me.   When we meet people on the street, I'll usually tell them that we are going around sharing a message about Jesus Christ--which is true, we do share a message about Him.  However, I learned that it is so much more than that.  One of the Assistants to the President said it best by saying, "We are representatives of Jesus Christ, not just someone who likes to talk about Him."  Woah.  It made me stop and think about the magnitude of my calling once again.  I don't think I understand yet how big being a missionary is.   But I love learning about it every day and trying to be the best representative of Jesus Christ that I can be, and relying fully on Him because this is His work. 

Finishing up real quick, guess what I realized is this transfer?  General Conference.  Oh my goodness, I cannot begin to say how excited I am.  I realized that yesterday, and I am ecstatic.  In church yesterday, someone shared a quote by Elder Jeffery R. Holland that made me even more excited for conference because we get to hear what God needs us to know.  The quote reminded me of a story that I'll share as I finish up this email.  Elder Holland said, "If it was right when you prayed about it, it's right now".  Someone shared that quote and it reminded me of when I would get scared and question my decision to serve a mission.  That quote is one thing that kept me determined to serve the Lord.  Being in a new area is scary, so that quote was perfectly timed for me, and I can't wait for General Conference because that's what we will get to hear for two whole days.  *excited noises*.  The Gospel is amazing.  Read the Book of Mormon!  I love you!

Sister Emily Sabey

Greatest Zone in the Greatest Mission in the World!

One more for the books with Sister Sprouse

Sister Hendrick and Me

Monday, August 22, 2016

Surprise Baptism?

Hi everyone!!!

My second transfer has come to a close, and with that, I am being transferred.  I figure that is important news.  I'm super bummed that I won't be with Sister Sprouse, but President Wheeler says he feels very strongly that this is the direction the mission needs to go.  Several new areas have been created, and I have no idea where I'll be going next.  Maybe I'll just be in a different area of Desert Ridge or maybe I'll be on a completely new adventure.  I guess I'll let you know next week!

This week in Arizona has truly been an incredible one.  For starters, we had a baptism that we didn't know was happening until the morning of . . . let me explain now before you get excited.  Jay, who lives in Georgia, wanted his wife's family to see him get baptized, and they all live here.  They had the service here and are going back to Georgia.  It was still a crazy experience because morning of we get a text from one of our bishops and literally no one had any idea what was going on.  The service was beautiful, and I'm happy for Jay and his family even though I don't know them very well.  At his baptism, right after he had been baptized, a three year old started crying because "he wants to be baptized NOW!" . . .Maybe we should take him along to rub off on the people we meet.

I suppose I'll continue and tell you other funny moments because that's how these emails usually go.  Sister Sprouse and I go (or try to go) tracting for about one hour each day.  People are interesting.  We met a lady named Lori who pretty much spent 10 minutes telling us, "I don't 'badmouth' the Church, but y'all are brainwashed" in every different way you could think of.  I have had to learn with those people that even though their concerns are so easy to resolve, they aren't open to understanding.  In the mean time, Sister Sprouse and I get to just laugh it off and go find those who are ready.

This week we played Chair Soccer for Zone Sports, and let me tell you, miracles happen because I actually won!  I love playing with my zone because they are all hilarious in a way where we can make fun of each other and also be pals.  I told my zone leader, Elder Merritt, that he and Elder Wilcox were my favorite zone leaders ever in my whole wide long mission that I've ever had ever in this long mission that I have had which has been so long.  He was so flattered until Sister Sprouse reminded him that I haven't had very many other zone leaders.  I feel like that experience just sums up our zone.  But seriously, Desert Ridge.

Last fun experience which I will then use to transfer into the miracles of this week, I had a really sad attempt at speaking Spanish this week.  I tried to talk to one guy, and he was speaking so quietly that I had a hard time hearing anything.  I heard the word temple, so I asked him if he knows what happens in temples.  He said yes.  He was a Mormon . . . so I asked if any of his friends were LDS and he said no, so I went to talk to them.  Sometimes it feels like words just flow out and other times, I don't know what I am trying to say in English.  Talking to the friends was one of those moments.  I was stumbling along having no idea what to say in English, let alone Spanish, and everyone kept looking at the ground while they were talking, so I could hear nothing.  But this is the Lord's work, and I wanted to at least share something to tell them about Christ and His Gospel so awkward and onward, I continued . . . until one of the friends yells, "Say it in English!" in English . . .  

Even though that was an awkward experience, I have seen the Lord's hand in other conversations so much.  Each transfer, the missionaries like to think of something we can sacrifice to become a better missionary and make a covenant with Heavenly Father.  This transfer, because I run into Spanish speaking people frequently, I decided that instead of using extra lunch time to get a few extra moments of sleep, I wanted to read the Book of Mormon in Spanish.  I prayed and said, "Heavenly Father, I love napping, but if I read the Book of Mormon in Spanish, I need your help to be able to understand so that I can then send a referral to the Spanish missionaries."  Now, it's the end of the transfer, I'm almost through "1 Nefi", and although I am by no means fluent, I am able to hold a conversation about the gospel in Spanish.  It's such a blessing to be able to see the Lord expand my abilities to hasten His work.

As huge as a miracle as that is, though, it's not even the most incredible or spiritually uplifting one from this week. (Yep, it was that good of a week.)  Tracy is still inviting us for lunches from time to time, and it's cool to see that she knows this is true.  She still needs that extra push, and we really need to be bold and say, "Tracy, just let us teach you".  But her softening of heart has been such a blessing to watch.

We also got a referral this week for a girl named Danielle.   I was really scared for some reason (probably Satan), but after we met her, I felt so much love.  Danielle is a wonderful person who has made decisions in her life that she sorely regrets.  She told us that she is recovering from a drug addiction (she's been clean for a year) and the horrible things she went through because of that addiction.  We talked to her, and she is so sincere and ready for the Gospel.  She was in tears when we gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon to have of her very own.  I don't think I've felt love more strongly and more quickly for anyone I've talked to on my mission than Danielle.  She is one of those people I know that I will stay in contact with for the rest of my life.  Although I'm getting transferred and I don't know what will happen, I feel strongly that I will see Danielle again.

I'm seeing that God does put miracles in our path every day because I still have one more miracle that I want to talk about this week.  Shannon, as I mentioned last week, has not been doing well.  She actually ended up in the Emergency Room because she threw up so much that her stomach broke through her diaphragm and is currently in her chest cavity.  She has a surgery coming up, but she is in so much pain.  Sister Sprouse and I kept having the thought that we need to teach her about Priesthood blessings.  We stopped by her house one day, and she welcomed us in and said, "My LDS friend from work is coming over with her husband in about two minutes to give me a blessing." Jaw Drop. Divine Inspiration at its finest.  It was amazing to tell her about the Priesthood and have her have that special experience.  Even her fiance, Robby, was sitting there completely intrigued by every word we said.  And then to end it all, at the very end of our meeting, Shannon prayed aloud.  It was the most beautiful prayer I have ever heard, and I wish I could let you all feel just how excited I am for Shannon.

In closing, I want to talk about the mission choir concert we had.  We had three investigators come: Heidi, Jeanie, and Carl.  The Spirit was so strong that they must have felt it, and I pray that they felt it as strongly as I did.  We were singing songs about Jesus Christ and the whole concert was focused on how He is the Living Christ.  During that moment, I felt such an overwhelming love for my Savior and everything He did for me.  He lives, and He is just as involved with our lives today as He was when He was physically on the earth.  I know it.  And I'm grateful for this opportunity to teach others about Him.

I love you all, and I miss you dearly, and I pray that you will see the Savior in your life like I have been blessed to in these last three months.  

Sister Emily

The Burrito Shack (for Sister Kilsby's birthday)

Dirt Devil

 Greatest Mission in the WORLD

Monday, August 15, 2016

Let's Try a Social Experiment

Hello Family! (and friends and everyone else that I love)

We are going to start this email off with a little social experiment.  First, everyone go get a pie. Or a pizza.  Just make sure it's circular.  Next cut the pie into 6 equal pieces.  Finally, eat one piece.  Congratulations, you have finished the social experiment.  The results will be available shortly.

This week involved a couple phone calls to 911.  Not out of necessity . . . or intentiality (I don't think that's a word, but it is now).  I guess that sometimes, the phone gets bounced around in my bag just the right way to make phone calls sometimes.  And I guess that this week, the lucky person who was called was 911 . . . twice.  We had absolutely no idea that had happened, and later noticed a missed call from the sheriff (whom we also had accidentally, unintentionally called back).  Other than that, the week passed peacefully.

We had interviews with President Wheeler this week.  I cannot begin to tell you how much I love President and Sister Wheeler.  They are just the sweetest people.  President Wheeler is always making the funniest statements.  Sister Sprouse told me that in her interview, he said to her, "You're just low maintenance city!"  Sister Wheeler is also just wonderful and she always wants to make sure all of us missionaries are taken care of.  I love them.

I learned how to frost a wedding cake this week.  Kenzie, who was baptized in June, is getting married to someone in the other sister's ward. Her fiance's mom asked us to help frost wedding cakes.  It was the single most stressful experience of that morning.  But it was also a lot of fun.  Who would have guessed all the things I learned on my mission.

Okay, the results from the social experiment are available.  That piece of pie that you ate, is how much of my mission has passed.  I am officially three, and almost done with training!  It's crazy because I still feel so new, but one sixth of my mission is a lot of time!  It feels like it's been so fast.

We met a wonderful family this week!  Sister Sprouse and I were tracting and we met a young mom named Cristy.  She has three adorable little kids who had been reading a Veggie Tales book when we stopped by.  Cristy's babysitter for her kids is LDS, and Cristy began telling us how she always has a lot of questions.  We were able to give her a Book of Mormon, and share a little about it.  Sister Sprouse and I are going back over tonight. Please pray that she'll have allowed the Spirit to touch her heart.

While I am mentioning prayers, please also keep Shannon in your prayers.  She loved church when she came, and since then, Satan has been determined not to let her experience any more.  We have wanted to take her to the Mesa Temple and Visitor Center, and every time, something happens so she can't.  Last week, her car broke down, and this week she ended up having a trip to the Emergency Room.  It breaks my heart to see Shannon having trials like she does, especially when I can see just how much the gospel will change her life and how ready she is.  Please please pray for Shannon.

Amist all the ups and downs, I'm learning more every single week, and I am doing my best to share what I learn with those I meet.  This week, I began thinking about the central themes of the Old and New Testament and the Book of Mormon.  I'm currently reading the Old Testament, and it's a lot of "God told the Israelite to do something and then sometimes they did and sometimes they didn't".  It's not always super exciting, but I've found a lot of meaning in it.  On missions, exact obedience is essential to being a successful missionary, and the Old Testament teaches just that.  It's a case study of exact obedience, the blessings that come when we are, and what happens when we aren't.

The New Testament is a case study of being receptive to the Spirit.  Throughout the entire book, Christ or His Apostles or followers are boldly testifying of His divinity and what He would do/did for each of us.  Some people listen, and some people don't even when Christ is standing right in front of them.  It teaches us how essential it is to be willing to listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost to teach us truth.

Finally, the Book of Mormon is the story of pride versus humility.  Over and over and over throughout the Book of Mormon, people are going back and forth between the two.  With the lessons in the Bible, it completes and bares a second witness of those lessons, and more importantly, that Jesus is the Savior.  Thinking about that has helped me realize just how important the Book of Mormon is.  It requires exact obedience to follow God and study His word, and being receptive to know that it is His word.  It teaches of things that all of us struggle with today, and more than anything else, it bares witness of what Jesus Christ did for each of us.  I love the Book of Mormon, and I know it to be true.

I love you all and if I could tell you one thing, it would be to read the Book of Mormon every single day!  Thanks for all your love!

Sister Sabey

Celebrating my third birthday with Bahama Bucks


When it rains, it pours (and we get a bunch of new ponds)

Monday, August 8, 2016

Trials and Tribulations

Hi everyone!!

Well, after much trial and tribulation, we finally got to email! Today has already been a crazy! We were shopping at Fry's, and we were in the self check out lane.  I was just about ready to scan my bananas, when a balcony table shows up on my scanned items.  We got it figured out, and it went to the other check out for the person who was actually buying it, but it was an adventure.  The attendant was laughing because I guess my face was priceless while holding a ton of bananas.

I think Arizona has messed up my sense of temperature.  I was wearing a cardigan all day yesterday.  It was also 110 outside.  Arizona. Wow.

This week I got to go on exchanges with Sister Burton, and it was a lot of fun! I had to lead out the area, so that was fun trying to remember everything that Sister Sprouse is in charge of remembering.  The day did pass without Arizona being more on fire than it already is, so it was a success, I'd say.  I learned so much from Sister Burton.  I learned how to talk to people a little easier.  It always feels awkward trying to stop someone to talk, especially when they are not about to stop for anything.  She helped me a lot with that, and since then, Sister Sprouse and I have been able to talk to a lot more people each day.  Sharing the gospel doesn't have to be scary.  It's sometimes as easy as saying, "if you need anything, that's what we are here for".

This week hasn't been horribly eventful, however, we did have some ups and some downs with Carl.  We went over to see how he had been doing on Tuesday last.  He admitted that he slipped up, but then ran inside to get something for us.  He came back out with a page long essay of the "workings of the Holy Spirit" while he wasn't drinking.  It was really cool to see just how many opportunities the Holy Ghost was able to provide him with and that Carl was able to notice just how big of an impact it had on his life.  He finished his essay with the commitment to continue abstaining from alcohol and see what happens.

However, don't think that Satan's going to let Carl off the hook that easily.  As much as we want Carl to enjoy the blessings of the gospel, the adversary is working hard to keep him from that.  We went back a few days later, and Carl had changed his mind.  We had a discussion with him, and it at least got him thinking. I was praying that he'd be at church again, but he didn't come.  I was frustrated, and probably not very understanding.  Brother Jones asked us about Carl at church on Sunday, and he ended up teaching me a very valuable lesson in patience.  I was not happy that Carl took steps back . . . actually, I wanted nothing more than to be passive aggressive towards the situation.  However, Brother Jones said that Carl has taken a bigger step forward than he had seen him take before.  It made me realize that now is the time to be patient and understanding and keep cheering Carl on--not be bitter that his conversion is taking time.  It really made me stop and reflect on my attitude.  

I'm learning a lot about the importance of attitudes and how we think.  Even when we might think that a thought can't make that big of a difference, it can.  I'm striving to be more positive with everyone, including myself.  I read a talk about how language is meant to uplift, so that is my goal for the next while. (Unfortunately, I'm realizing that I may have to cut back on my sarcasm to do so, but I guess it will be worth it to be more Christlike.)

That's all for this week!  I love all of you more than words can say!

Sister Emily

Monday, August 1, 2016

Proof that Miracles Happen

Hello Family, Friends, adoring fans, everyone else :)

Wow, I can't believe it's Monday again! The weeks are starting to go by at a quick speed.  Instead of it being a month between P-Days, it feels more like a week.  This week was incredible (even though I feel like I say that every week).

First off, I discovered that one sure way to make sure I enjoy church is by spending at least one of the seven hours in Primary. I remember being eleven and feeling so done with Primary, but now I see just how amazing it is.  The songs are the best and they teach so simply.  It's really helpful for me as something fun to look forward to that also helps me prepare to teach investigators more simply.

We had dinner with one family in particular this week called the Langleys.  I want to mention them because they are real life all just me in various aspects of my personality.  It felt very at home while we were with them.  During dinner was pretty much everyone trying to talk at once.  It reminded me of Sarah and Hailey singing during dinner.  I loved it.  Plus, they have a little white dog that lets them hold it like it's a baby.  That is the only other dog I have ever found that will let someone do that.  I can't imagine how much I would have missed out on by not coming on a mission because I meet people like the Langley family.

I got to go on exchanges with Sister Patrick this week.  I love Sister Patrick because both loved many of the same things when we were back home, which makes it really easy and really fun to talk with her.  I was in charge of the area that day, so it was an adventure.  I learned a ton. Like where all of the church buildings we cover are, and how to open the gas cover door.  It took me long enough. :) We got to briefly run through a monsoon on the way to the car from a house we were visiting, and we did some service.  All around, it was just a fantastic day.

I've learned that just because I like zone sports does not mean that I am good at them in any way.  That's okay, it's still fun.  When our zone was playing Frasketball during exercise time Saturday morning, I learned the extent of how much pity comes from my non-ability to do more than catch the ball about 70% of the time on a good day.  Sister Sprouse was trying to help me with what to do when people are guarding you.  Sister Sprouse was also the one guarding me.  There was another point when Elder Wilcox (who is the tallest person to ever walk the planet) had the ball right by my basket, and handed it to me so I could try to make a basket. Elder Wilcox was not on my team.  Missions are good practice for learning to laugh at yourself.

Okay, enough about random happenings.  Let me tell you about the people we've been teaching this week!  We've been teaching Darin, a less active member, for a while, and the biggest change I've noticed is that he is so much happier than when I first met him.  He has been going to YSA activities, and the other day, we saw him in a car with the Elders Quorum (a group of boys older than 18) in the YSA ward.  He was almost flailing out the window to wave at Sister Sprouse and I, and it made me so happy to see him so happy.  He's doing a lot better than he gives himself credit for.

We had a lesson with the Gonzalez family, and we felt like we should teach them the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I made little pictures of each part, and people have loved it when I've used it (thank you Sister Gasu for the idea).  At the end, we invited Tracy's granddaughters to be baptized.  Although their mother will not let them right now, they understand that it is important and it is something that they want to do.  Tracy was also commenting on how perfect the lesson was for them that day.  I love seeing the change happening within the Gonzalez home.

We had a lesson with Shannon, and I think she understands why the Restoration is so important.  She is so sweet, and I love seeing her.  We had invited her to church last week, but her worries got the best of her. I talked about that in my last letter, I believe.  This Sunday was completely different.  Shannon came to church, and she's gotten to know more people and she loved it! She's getting to know people (including good old Carl), and she knows that this makes her happy!

Carl is still going strong on helping us hasten the work.  We had dinner with a family who lives on his street one evening.  Carl was outside afterwards, so we stopped by real quick.  He saw two guys going door to door for a computer company, walks right up to them, and starts telling them about the Latter Day Saints.  After we talked to them, we were talking to Carl, when I had the idea (Holy Ghost whispered) to invite Carl to go three days without drinking any alcohol. Carl was very apprehensive about this invitation, but he finally told us that "yes, not maybe, but yes" he would do it!  It was hard for him.  He told us that the first day in, he really wanted a beer.  He thought "maybe I'll just start tomorrow and go for five days. That would really impress them." But he remembered that he'd made the promise to go the three days, and he stuck with it.

On Sunday, he also came to church.  He was very welcoming to Shannon and everyone else who was in the ward anyway. Sister Sprouse and I had to go to another ward because we had been asked to speak in sacrament meeting, so we didn't get to stay with them the whole time. We came back during the third hour of church, and Shannon and Carl were still there.  The lesson was combined with Relief Society and Priesthood, and the lesson Bishop gave was perfect.  He was talking about becoming childlike and turning our will over to our Heavenly Father.  It was a powerful lesson.  He talked about how sometimes children will ask for things that are good, but not what is best for us (he used the example of a puppy).  Bishop related it to how we will ask for things that are good, but Heavenly Father knows that He has something better in store. We will get upset because we don't yet see it through our Parent's eyes.  We are still small children in that sense.  Carl contributed an analogy of being like mold-able clay.  I thought that was so good.  Bishop closed the lesson talking about how the Gospel is pure and clean. It doesn't have sticky points that hold us back. Then he asked the question "so what's our sticking point?" What is holding us back?

I was already excited, when after the lesson Carl comes up and says, "I need to tell you something."  He then asks me, "What made you extend that invitation to have no alcohol?"  I told him it was the Holy Ghost.  He pauses for a moment, begins to tear up, and tells me about Gospel Principles, which I had not been there for.  They had been learning about the Lord's Law of Health.  It was such a tender spiritual moment because Carl knew that giving up alcohol was important, which he had been very reluctant about before.  It was totally unplanned, and absolutely what Carl needed.  There is no way that the last few days were not divinely directed to help Carl.  He has decided he wants to continue abstaining from alcohol.  I cannot begin to describe my excitement for him.  Carl knows because Carl has experienced it.  Please keep him in your prayers as he continues to progress.

God is in charge, and the longer I am a missionary, the more I realize that we should allow it to be that way.  He knows what's best, and He will help us.  We just have to let Him.

I love you! I miss you! And I pray for you every day!

Sister Sabey

Mission life is sometimes eating your cereal with a fork

Shannon made us these and I love it

Water does exist in this state!