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

Monday, October 3, 2016


Family Mine!! (and I guess friends too) Hi!

I'm starting my fourth transfer here, which is absolutely nuts!  Sister Hendrick is being transferred, which means I am leading out the area.  (Eeek, but I'm also excited for the adventure).  Our zone went on a hike today to watch the sunrise, and that was definitely a fun zone activity just before transfers.  The last week of my third transfer, however, was definitely one to be remembered.

First off, I got to go on exchanges again, and I was back up in Gilbert with none other than my one and only MTC companion Sister Sorenson!  I have missed that girl, let me tell you.  We had a couple of lessons that day. Random Moment of Transfers: one of Sister Sorenson's investigators kept trying to give her laptop to Sister Sorenson.  I learned so much from Sister Sorenson that I want to start trying to do in my area, so I am super excited.

This week as well, the Bella Vista Zone has been watching all of the videos for the Church's Addiction Recovery Program.  It was slightly comical to see just how engrossed in the videos a bunch of missionaries were considering that those videos were about as much TV as we'd be getting on our missions.  But it was actually a really cool experience.  Even though the videos were horrifying in the way that someone actually went through those experiences, each one also gave me a deeper appreciation for just what the Atonement means in my life.  I mean, really, none of us really understand just how infinite and incredible the Atonement is.  Those videos, however, gave me a little more appreciation.

Here's the link if you want to watch the videos: (not recommended for small children).

Best part of the week, however, was General Conference!  Holy cow, I can't believe it actually came.  I've only been waiting all transfer for it to happen.  Let me just say first off, for those of you who watched conference, as amazing as your experience was, it's even better as a missionary. (Again, if you haven't seen it:  I again went with a list of questions, and again, all of them were answered throughout the talks.

For example, as much as I love my mission and everyone I have met, I have still wondered from time to time why I wasn't sent Spanish speaking.  I decided to take that question to conference, and over and over my question was answered.  Elder Neil L. Anderson talked about how being where we are is not a chance because the gospel must go forth to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.  Elder Yamashita talked about being focused on His work and said something that made me realize that the language is not about me.  This talk was immediately followed by a choir of missionaries singing "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go"  And finally, Carl B. Cook had an entire talk focused on callings in the church and how "every calling is inspired" and "accepting a calling is an act of faith".  And just to let it be known that this question being answered was not coincidence, I had about five or six other questions that I had the exact same experience with.

Missionaries here in the Arizona Gilbert Mission had an especially exciting time during the Sunday Afternoon Session because there was a talk by Elder K. Brett Nattress, also known as President Nattress, the former mission president for the Arizona Gilbert Mission.  Even though he was only my mission president for a month, I was still beyond excited.  His talk was also one that I needed to hear.

Also, quick comment on the MTC Missionary Choir:  being from Utah is the best because I saw between four and seven people that I know including Missi Parker, Chris Bean, Mark Carlisle, and someone who was on the drum line at my high school.

However, my favorite talk during these last two days (and the day of the Women's Session) was the talk by Elder M. Russel Ballard.   It just reminded me how lucky we are to have the Gospel.  Were else could I ever go to receive the same blessings that we do as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?  I know that this is the restored gospel and that Jesus Christ is at the head.  That's why I am on a mission, and I love it, love it, love it!  Satan will try to tell us that happiness is found somewhere else, but Conference just helped me see more clearly just how wonderful this message is:  Come unto Christ and be perfected in Him, and if you mess up, just turn back to Him and keep on trying.  If we really understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is one of absolute joy.

Well, that is all for this week!  I'm excited for another wonderful transfer (and the fact that my favorite holiday is this transfer--Halloween).  Have a wonderful week, everyone, and I love you all!

Sister Emily

We got caught biking in the rain! 

Bella Vista Zone-District 1

Service with Tiffany