Monday, November 20, 2017

Crazy Week, Short Email

Hi Family!

Last week, Dad told me what to say if people ask if I am trunky. He said to say, "I'm not trunky. I'm just a little carry-on. And that's what I intend to do--carry on."  Well, Pops, I have used it.  It's been fun because everyone has loved it so far.

Updates: Felicia has some crazy stuff going on with her family so we will have to postpone visits for a while.  She said she'll keep reading the Book of Mormon, though!  Charles will have to have his baptismal date moved back a little bit, but we are still working with him and now his brother wants to get baptized too!  Good stuff is definitely happening.

This week has been fun.  We got to go on splits this week with a young woman named Elizabeth.  She is waiting for her mission call, so she's been coming out with us a lot.  We had a cool experience that I'm really glad she was there for.  We were biking to go contact someone that had met missionaries before when on the way we saw a girl struggling with her bike chain.  It had fallen off.  We offered help, and another kid named Cameron came along and decided to help too.  We ended up having a pretty good discussion with them, and I was glad that Elizabeth got to be there for that unseen teaching opportunity.

We had another lesson with Laura and her kids, but the funny part was that we got there a few minutes early and didn't quite know what to do with our lives during the awkward amount of time that we had.  Well, Sister King LOVES cats and we saw some kittens, so we caught one.  Well, Laura came out during the middle of that and couldn't believe that we had caught that cat.  Apparently, she had nicknamed it the Evil Cat because it wasn't very friendly.  After the lesson, we found that cat and another one, and we got a picture of us holding "Diablo 1" and Diablo 2".  Laura said we were very brave.   I wouldn't have described it that way--I would have described it more as having no regard for my personal physical welfare.  Don't worry, Mom, the kitten I caught wasn't too mean.  Sister King got the really grumpy one.

I also got to perform my piano solo for the new member fireside this week.  It went well.  I felt like the Lord really helped me because I practiced as much as I could and then he helped it to go well when I played it.

Those were the things that stuck out for the week.  We have been running around a lot this week, but I am loving my mission.  I don't want it to end.  I love being a missionary.  I love you, Family!

Sister Emily

1001 N Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ
85234

My "nephew" Elder Falls and his trainer, Elder Moyes.  I asked the day Elder Moyes got his training call if I could be his greenie's aunt.  He said yes, so here is the result.


Sister King and I with the cats


Matching Sweatshirt Service Squad



Monday, November 13, 2017

Week of Miracles

Hi Family!

Knowing me, even though I say this needs to be a fast email, it probably won't be--my poor companion is all done emailing and I hadn't started the main email because I had to take care of soon-to-depart missionary things.  It's super relaxing and fun . . . *sarcasm*

Well, last Monday, we got to do an activity with a young woman named Brooke.  I posted about it on Facebook, but I just wanted to inform you that it was a lot of fun, and especially after doing another painting activity this Monday, I think I've found a new hobby (that will take lots and lots more practice).

Charles is doing great!  He loved learning about the Word of Wisdom.  Emily, another young woman, came with us.  She was incredible!  She shared her testimony about the word of wisdom and it completely made the lesson.  Emily is also completely blind, so while we were driving, she explained what colors are like to a blind person.  She said that she associates colors with things that she knows.  I love her optimism about everything and that she's just so willing to share her personality with others.  We had another lesson later that week with Charles.  We started talking more about his scheduled baptism date, which is November 25.  He is beyond excited.

We also had a fun lesson with Laura, Anthonee, and Aalyra, and they are still doing great.

We made a new friend this week!  Her name is Felicia.  She is from Nigeria.  I met her one of my first few days in this area and we hadn't heard from her much since when out of the blue she called us because she needed help.  We arranged with the ward to help her, and then she requested a larger size copy of the Book of Mormon.  We went to go drop it off, and she invited us right in.  We had a wonderful discussion on the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and she just loves the Book of Mormon.  We also had a second discussion with her, and without us asking her to, she had read the Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith before we came.  She said that she wants to come to church before I leave.

We've still been doing a lot of finding, and this week, we had some amazing quality gospel discussion with people that we met.  One night, we were having a hard time finding anyone to talk to at all, so we decided to say a prayer.  Afterwards, we had a few really good conversations with people.  We even gave one person a Book of Mormon.  Another thing we've been able to do is to invite people to the Mesa Temple Christmas Lights.  That has been a lot of fun.  There are a surprising amount of people who had never even heard about the lights, but the miracle was getting to see people who were not happy to see us have their heart a little more softened as we simply invited them to come and see.

Speaking of Mesa Lights, Sister King had a HUGE miracle this week.  The Mesa mission, again, invited sisters from the surrounding missions to come and help.  Sister King really wanted to go because last year for Christmas, she was in the Ironwood Zone and didn't get to go.  It was too far away, so they had sisters that lived closer go, which is why I got to go last year.  Because we are in Temple View now, which is in the north half of the mission, I was just expecting to get an invitation.  Well, we didn't.  We were at Zone Conference when we found out, so I think I was too busy being wrapped up in everything going on around me that it didn't register what that meant.  Sister King, on the other hand, was devastated--especially when we found out that sisters from "southern" zones had been invited.  She started trying to bribe President, the Assistants, and anyone she could to try to get an invitation, and it was just turning into a wild goose chase.  Eventually, we got sent to President Lowder, one of President Wheeler's counselors.  We walked up to him, and Sister King proceeded to use her cookie bribery, but President Lowder said he needed to talk to us in a few minutes.  We were about to turn and leave to the training we were kind of running late for, but he stopped us and asked us to wait just a little longer.

When he was done talking to whoever he was talking to, he came over to us and said that he wasn't going to come to zone conference, but about 30 minutes prior, he had received the strongest impression that he needed to come.  He followed the prompting and as he walked in to the chapel, he saw Sister King and me, and the Spirit whispered, "They need to go to Mesa Lights".  Because of that, he managed to work out a way so we could also go.  I don't think I can express how big of a miracle this was.  I was excited because I was hoping to go once more before I came home, but it meant the WORLD to Sister King.  I'm really excited for any more chances I have to serve there (and hopefully I can keep my allergies under control this year), and I am even more excited that Sister King's fervent prayer was answered.

The rest of Zone Conference was amazing.  I felt blessed because I have been able to see my mission come full circle.  My first transfer was with President (now Elder) Nattress.  One of his main focuses that he tried to teach the missionaries was to find the one.  I especially heard that a lot when I was companions with Sister Kranc because it impacted her a lot.  It was one of those little things that always reminded me of my first few months as a missionary.  This Zone Conference, President gave a wonderful training, and it was all about fulfilling our purpose one-by-one.  I tried to highlight ever time I made a note that included the word "one".  I felt like it was something God really needed me to remember, not just only on my mission, but for the rest of my life.

At the end, we had our testimony meeting, and it felt really weird to be getting up for my "departing testimony".  Every time I go to the pulpit, I have to make some joke about being short because the pulpit is always lowered for me.  Well, I beat the system this time and I stood on the little step.  AND THE PULPIT WENT UP! And then it went back down because President was giving me a hard time, but THEN IT WENT UP! I made a comment that you could say I had grown a lot on my mission.  Anyways, I always expected my departing testimony to be super eloquent and what not, but it wasn't.  I lost my words a few times, but I felt happy with it.  I felt happy because I had been able to bear my testimony on the things I felt really impacted me on my mission: the Doctrine of Christ and learning humility.  It was also a teaching opportunity from God to me because it reminded me that, yes, in just a few short (way too short) weeks, I'll be a returned missionary, but that doesn't mean I'm completely eloquent and perfect in all I say.  My testimony will be powerful when I have the Spirit with me, not when I am able to "wow" the masses with my words.  I think that it is still an important lesson that Heavenly Father has wanted me to learn throughout my mission, and I am so grateful for all the time I have.  I love you!

Sister Emily

1001 N Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ
85234

Everyone likes to do these things called "Posterity Pictures" with all the people they've trained, and their trainees have trained and so on.  This is my posterity picture.  (Also, I'm really glad we had the Mesa Light Training because those are the only pictures I have.)


Original MTC Squad


Mesa Light Sisters--Arizona Gilbert Mission Edition



Monday, November 6, 2017

Expecto Patronum

Hi Family!

Let's see if I can focus long enough to write out this email.  It was a great week, and this P-Day has been all over the place!  We get to go over to a member's home a make a craft with them.  It's a vinyl cut out of the temple on a galaxy background, so I'm excited to make that.  Other than that, we've gone shopping and there was a really nice man, Brother Penrod, that paid for our groceries. 

But that's not what the email is for.  I'm supposed to be telling you about last week.  We had Halloween.  We spent the evening in the temple, and that was so nice.  If I have to miss the festivities of my favorite holiday, the temple is the place I'd want to be.  I love being so close to the temple. 

I also went on exchanges with Sister Jacobson.  She was trained by Sister Sorenson, and she acts a lot like Sister Sorenson too, which was fun.  Pictures below.

Sister King and I had the greatest time talking to someone on the street.  His name was Brayden.  He is a teenager, and I feel like talking to teenagers can either be really fun or really uncomfortable.  Good new, Brayden was fun to talk to.  We had just started talking to him when we hear someone yell from his phone, "Dude! Who are you talking to??" to which Brayden says, "Mormons! Like you!"

"No way! Turn the camera around!" says friend.

*we awkwardly wave until Brayden flips the camera back to selfie mode*

Then Brayden's friend yelled, "Bro! You should come to church!" Brayden said he doesn't like church, but it was so funny and absolutely hilarious!  Youth are so cool. 

This week was an awesome week with our friends!  We started teaching the commandments to Laura and her kids.  We had a really good lesson, but poor Anthonee was scarred for life (we taught the Law of Chastity this week).  Afterwards, the kids asked if they could show Sister King the hand signs for the Ten Commandments.  The eighth commandment is "thou shalt not kill".  We have the kids hold up four fingers on each hand (so everything except their thumb), and (this is how Anthonee explains it) talk about how, "Back in the day, if you stole, they'd cut your thumbs off".  Well, they got to that one, and by that point, I guess the sugar Aalyra had been eating before was starting to kick in because suddenly, she tells Anthonee, "I'm going to cut off your fingers!" to which Anthonee, absolutely horrified cries, "It's not back in the day yet!"  I died.  I love teaching their family.

We also taught Linda again this week!  She texted us out of the blue and asked, "If it's not too late, can we do another lesson?" and we were like, "Of course!"  We got to teach her to Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is my favorite lesson.  Linda didn't grow up with a Christian background, and I like to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ using lots of Bible stories, so it was fun to teach her. And it felt so good to testify.  I love testifying of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Charles came to church!  We had a regional broadcast (I'm not sure if that reached all the way up to American Fork or not), and it was so good!  We got to hear from two members of the Seventy (including Elder J. Devn Cornish, which was fun because I've met him before), the General Young Women's President, and Elder D. Todd Christofferson.  It was a broadcast from Salt Lake, so we got to be like, "Charles, this is one of the Apostles".  He seemed to like it a lot.  The best part was seeing the members of the stake just bring him in and welcome him.  I seriously love this area.  The members are AMAZING.  Charles got to meet our Bishop, the Ward Mission Leader, a few other members of the ward, and then a member from a completely different ward invited him over for dinner.  It was so good.

I think my letters are getting less flow-y and just me jumping where I please, so now I'm going to tell you the spiritual thing I learned this week.  It was actually really good.  Earlier this week, we had a training on the difference between building other's faith and tearing down other's faith.  I, unfortunately, got to experience the difference between the two this week as I saw someone I love share post after post about "everything that is wrong with Mormonism".  Guys.  It really hurts my feelings to see things like that because this is truly the most important part of my life--it's the thing that makes me happiest.  It makes me sad to see it twisted into something it's not, and I am left feeling dark and lonely.  It really gets to me is what I'm trying to say. 

The next day for studies, I was just praying because I still felt sad to have seen that, and then, fortunately, I got to experience the difference faith being torn down and faith being built.  While I was studying, God helped me remember something that taught me exactly the principle I needed.  I remembered Harry Potter, particularly the dementors.  I thought about how after having them near you it feels as though you'll never be happy again.  I realized that is how I was feeling, so I started thinking about what could combat those feelings.  That's when I remembered the spell "Expecto Patronum".  It's the spell that means "I await a guardian", which guardian comes from the memories that make us happiest.  It is the memory of those things that make someone happy that protects a person from the effects of a dementor.  It requires the witch or wizard to recall the happy memory, but those ultimately defeat the dementor.  I realized that it takes an act of faith (or our testimonies) to call upon the protection that comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and He is our guardian.  As I finished this train of thought, it reminded me of a scripture, "For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding."  That's what God did for me.

I am so grateful for the additional testimony of Jesus Christ that comes through the Book of Mormon.  I continued to think on this topic throughout the day and came upon a quote by Elder Hales.  He said, "We show forth His love, which is the only power that can subdue the adversary and answer our accusers without accusing them in return.  That is not weakness.  That is Christian courage."  I know Heavenly Father was aware of me in those moments.  He was there to remind me that even though my beliefs will continue to be "examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart", that I get to continue to stand "shoulder to shoulder with the best life this world has ever known--the only pure and perfect missionary, [Jesus Christ]".  I get to know that I "have every reason to stand tall".  This is the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It will bless each person who learns of it because it truly brings me closer to Jesus Christ.  I love you!

Sister Emily

1001 N Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ
85234

Exchanges with Sister Jacobson


House of Refuge Service


This is from when we carved pumpkins as a zone


Brother Penrod was so nice an bought all of our groceries




Monday, October 30, 2017

PUMPKINS!!!

Hi Family!

I think I'll start off with telling you about last Monday, so we are still in the Ulziiduuren transfer and everything makes sense chronologically.  We finally got to carve pumpkins and make Pineapple Dole Whip.  It was so much fun!  Sister Ulziiduuren did not freak out at the pumpkin guts, as I was expecting.  She got right into it and loved it.  It was so fun!  Sister Ogawa discovered that she LOVES the sound of a spoon scraping on the inside of a pumpkin.  It makes her so happy.  Sister Ogawa made me laugh with her pumpkin.  She was bound and determined to make a "Japanese Jack", meaning she put very thin lines for the eyes.  We took pictures later, and she decided to hold it up in front of her face for a picture, but then asks, "Do I look Asian?"  I about died.  Sister Ogawa is funny.  It was a fun experience. 

Transfers came on Wednesday, and I know I already posted about this on Wednesday, but let me tell you again.  I got none other than the lovely Sister King, and oh my goodness, Family, this transfer is going to be crazy!  She is so much fun!  She is crazy bold and it is so awesome!  I'm learning a lot from her, and we have so much fun together because we have the same quirks.

One of our first days together, we met a lady named Loretta.  She was carrying in her groceries, and she actually accepted our offer to help!  This NEVER happens!  So we helped her carry in her groceries and we got to talk to her for a while.  She said we were the first missionaries she had let in her house, so that was pretty cool.  We talked to Loretta for a while and Sister King was always so quick to tie it into the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Loretta accepted a Book of Mormon because she wanted to make sure her "bases were covered".  She was a lot of fun.

We had a funny experience later in the week.  We stopped be a less active member that is trying to come back to church.  We knock on the door, and this is the conversation that happens before the door is even opened:

Our friend: "No one's home!"
Me: "I don't believe you!"
Friend: "Dang it!"
Friend: *opens the door and everything else goes on normally*

We've been working really hard to get to know the youth (and I may or may not have made my own little "squad").  We took an especially missionary minded young women out on splits with us.  Her name is Alex, and I want her to be friends with Sarah.  (There is also a girl named Kaitlyn that I want Sarah to be friends with, but that's a different tangent.)  She was so excited to be out with us.  We stopped by one member that is unable to come to church due to health reasons.  I don't even remember what we talked about, but Sister King shared a scripture and then started talking about something else like Dementia or local honey (honestly, I think that was what we were talking about), and the wonderful gentleman that we were talking with was so grateful because somehow in the mix of it all, we had helped him hear what he needed to hear.  After that, it was time to drop Alex off at home, and her mom and step-dad had some people over.  IT WAS SO COOL!  Alex's step-dad turns to his buddies and says, "Do you know who these girls are? Do you know what they do all day? They knock on doors," and proceeds to tell them all about missionaries.  It ended up turning into an awesome discussion about the Word of Wisdom, and it was just a prime example of how to do missionary work when you're not wearing the name tag.  It really showed me that it doesn't have to be awkward.

Seriously, Family, half of these miracles came because Sister King is just ready to kill it.  I prayed the morning of transfers that I would get a companion that was ready to work, and that's exactly what I got.  She is on fire!  Sometimes I am just like, "Wow, I'm just trying to keep up with her," but she also said something really nice to me during our companionship inventory.  She told me that when she found out that she was going to be killing me, she was a little worried about trunkiness because that's pretty normal among dying missionaries.  But then she went on to say that has not been the case with me and that she hopes that when she hits her last transfer that she will be as focused as I have been.  I am so excited for this transfer.

But going back to the working with the youth thing, we also got to go to a Bishop/Youth Discussion in one of our wards.  It was at Bishop Hixon's house (and Dad, don't be upset, but I got adopted as an Honorary Hixon, too), and we had a missionary panel.  Sister King and I, along with Bishop's son Chip and a few of his recently returned missionary friends, got to answer questions about missions that the youth asked.  It was so fun and I just love working in this area.  I am so lucky to be here.

I love my mission so much!  I am so lucky to be here and I don't want it to end.  I love you!

Sister Emily

1001 N Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ
85234

Sister Ulziiduuren was all about that pumpkin life.


Carving Pumpkins!


We also carved pumpkins as a Zone today, and this is Sister King.


Temple View Zone!




Monday, October 23, 2017

The Week that I was a Professional Sign Holder

Hi Family!

Transfer News:  I will be finishing my mission here in the good old Temple View Zone.  Sister Ulziiduuren is getting transferred, though.  I'll miss her.  She's been a lot of fun, but I am so happy I get to stay in this area.  I love being here.

To start off my email, I was reading in the scriptures and I'm pretty sure my thought from it was an inspired question.  Okay, maybe not, but I still enjoyed it, and I'm going to share it in honor of Wednesday Addams Day (which a few years ago, I decreed was the Wednesday BEFORE Halloween each year, and that is coming up in two days-- y'all better celebrate).  Anyway, I was reading, and in the scriptures it said the phrase, "the human family of Adam".  Upon reading that, I immediately thought, "Does that mean we are all part of [the] Ad[d]am's Family? (Thank you, thank you.  I'll be here all week. Try the veal.)

Okay, after my pretty awful joke, I hope everyone is still reading because we had a really good week.  At church, I kept seeing one sister walk in and every time I see her, my brain thinks, "That looks like Sarah Judd".  (For those of you who are not familiar with Sarah Judd, she was a few years older than me, was always a great example, and her dad, who was in the Stake Presidency when I was in late-elementary, early-junior high, gave talks that I really enjoyed at Stake Conference.)  Well, this Sunday, the girl who looks like Sarah Judd spoke in Church.  She introduced herself and Sarah and then her last name, and gave a really good talk.  My wheels were already turning trying to figure out if it could actually be Sarah Judd, and then she told a story about her mission, in which she referred to herself as "Sister Judd".  So, Family, there is a reason that she looks like Sarah Judd. It's because she IS Sarah Judd!!  I get to go over to her house on Friday to have dinner with them.  I love small world moments.

I also became a professional sign holder.  We got to help at a service, which was actually a tailgate party that the Seminary by Campo Verde High School was putting on before a football game.  They wanted missionaries to come (in pants, I might add--joyous day) and talk to the people who showed up.  It was really fun.  Sister Ulziiduuren and I got to hold a sign and try to get passing by cars to come enjoy the free food.  Then I spent the last half hour of it as the official D.J. because someone asked me to.  But the good news was that all the music I could pick from was on LDS.org.  We also had a Trunk or Treat, and once again, we got to be the sign holders.  Except this time, Sister Ulziiduuren was to direct people to where they could park and I was in charge of keeping people from going to where they could not park (unless their car was going to be involved in the Trunk or Treat).  I feel like I have developed a new skill now that will really bless me for the rest of my life.

At the Tailgate Party Service, a member that was there said something really nice about me.  I was talking to someone and I got the typical "How long have you been out/How long do you have left?" question. Someone else told him that I had six weeks left (to which I had to correct him and say it was 6-1/2 because I still got lots of time).  The first person asked me if I was getting trunky, and before I could even respond, the second person said, "No, she is a solid missionary.  We had her over for dinner the other night and we tried to make her trunky, but she is just rock solid."  It made me feel really good and I'm so happy that others see me as a missionary who is focused on her purpose.

As fun as being a sign holder was, the lessons we had were better.  We did a church tour with Laura and her two kids. It was a lot of fun.  We showed Aalyra the Young Women's room since she will be going to Young Women's next year.  We told her that the room was for her and she had a pretty blown away facial expression. My favorite part of the tour was showing them the baptistry.  Whenever we plan for it, it never feels like it will be a notable part because it's like "here is the baptismal font--normally it has more water in it, but you can pretend" *crickets chirp in the background*.  At least that is how I always imagine it--but the Spirit always ends up being so strong. We were having an awesome moment showing them the baptistry . . .until, over the speaker from the chapel, someone decided it was a good idea to beatbox into the microphone . . . Aalyra and Anthonee were pretty amused to see Sister Ulziiduuren and I running to the volume panel to turn it off. (And it actually was pretty funny). 

After that, we were thankfully able to bring it back, and have an awesome conversation.  We had planned to talk about following the Prophet, and I wasn't sure why I felt inspired to do that until Aalyra opened up about some questions she had after her dad showed her anti-Mormon videos about Joseph Smith.  I was just amazed at how strong she is because it was visibly concerning to her, but she decided to ask her mom and us and try to find answers.  It led into a great discussion about how the Holy Ghost speaks to us.  I feel like the Lord really inspired us to teach that on that specific week so we could help Aalyra. We also got to take them on a tour around the temple grounds (it's a nice perk when your church building is in the temple parking lot), and show them the waiting room inside the temple.  They were pretty excited that "they got to go inside the temple", but the most special moment was seeing the three of them sitting there and imagining them being sealed as an eternal family.  It was a blessing for me to see that.

We also had a couple of lessons with Charles this week!  I'm really excited for him.  All he really needs to do is come to church, which he says that he will do as soon as he can buy a suit.  I was on exchanges with Sister Donaldson for one of his lessons.  He's been reading the Book of Mormon, but it hasn't been sticking with him, so Sister Donaldson, being on top of it, taught about paying attention to the feelings we have as we read and knowing when they come from the Holy Ghost.  We talked about the First Vision and showed him the 20-minute video called "The Restoration".  We talked about how knowing the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was called as a prophet go hand in hand and invited him to pray about if Joseph Smith was a prophet.  He said he would, and we were able to set a new baptismal date for November 25.

A few days later, we had a return appointment with Charles.  We followed up on his prayer, and he had done it! And . . . then he got on the internet and had a few questions. (I mean, I would too if the Book of Mormon Musical had been a point of reference.)  He had questions about Race and the Priesthood and Women and the Priesthood.  I was pretty sure that this was the end of the rope and Charles would not want to meet with us anymore, but we trusted God and just tried to find out what He needed Charles to know.  We first told him that the Book of Mormon Musical was not doctrine, and he was quite relieved to hear that.  He made a comment that we were kind of in the same boat as him and asked why we are okay with not holding the Priesthood.  I had to stop and think about it, to be honest, because my first impulse is always to try to make a case out of it with research and statistics and a complete bibliography in MLA format (because that's the only format I know how to do).  I felt really blessed because in that moment, as I gave the Holy Ghost a chance to speak, what came out was very much not my complete case study with research and statistics and a complete bibliography in MLA format.  Instead, I got to bear my testimony about how God loves His children and that even though I don't know all the answers, I know that He wants what is best for me.  I know that the men He has called to serve us are good men that love and cherish their wives and that Jesus Christ truly is the Head of this Church.  We continued to have an awesome discussion.  Sister Ulziiduuren showed him "A Book of Mormon Story", and we got to show him the Gospel Topic Essay about Race and the Priesthood and The Family: A Proclamation to the World. 

At the end, Charles said that when he had been praying before we got there that we would be able to answer his questions and said that he really trusts our answers.  It is such a blessing to teach Charles, and I feel so lucky to be working with so many people who are ready to receive this message.  I am gaining a stronger testimony that this is the Lord's work and that He is leading it.  It's so special to have those opportunities to teach people that are ready.  There's nothing else quite like it.  I know those moments come because this is the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ again restored to the earth.  It's the best I could ask for, and I love it! I love you, Family!

Sister Emily

1001 N Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ
85234

This is us holding a sign at the tailgate party.


This is us with our signs at the Trunk or Treat.


Y'all, it's another familiar face!



Monday, October 16, 2017

That Week I Got the Cops Called on Me

Hi Family!

Someone asked me how long I had been out, and I told them sixteen months.  And then I realized that that is not actually true, and I died a little.  I don't know who thought it was a good idea to let me be seventeen months, but here I am.  And speaking of which, I made it seventeen months before I finally broke . . . and found a saxophone.  Sister Sattler plays the violin, and she managed to get one, and I've been telling myself my whole mission, "I don't need my saxophone.  It can wait until I'm home."  Well, when someone else gets an instrument, Sister Sabey needs one too, so a very nice member in my ward is letting me borrow it until I come home!  I'm trying to find a way to use it in missionary work, but also I haven't played in 17 months, so it'll take some practice first.  I already have a few ideas.  I'm just super excited. (Sister Ulziiduuren, on the other hand, is not because "she wants peace". . .)

This week was full of adventures.  I'm not even sure how to sum them all up without writing more of a novel than I normally do.  I was told that I have a southern accent this week--and that's not the first time I've been told I have an accent.  I have no idea how that happened.  Who thought that 1. I'd ever develop an accent on my mission and 2. that my accent would not be the same as the people I serve.

Our miracle street contact this week was talking to a young man named Tyler.  We were trying to contact a less-active member, but she was not home, and Tyler was standing in his driveway just next door.  He told us that he believes in science up front, and told us that he was going to give us homework--to watch a documentary on Netflix.  He told us that if we didn't do it, that he would be "not angry, just disappointed".  I swear that he got that straight out of Preach My Gospel.  We had to break it to him that we didn't watch Netflix on our missions, and I think he almost passed out.  (Okay, not quite, but he didn't know what to do with that information.)  But he had lots of questions, so we had a pretty good conversation.  We asked him to watch the video called "The Hope of God's Light" because he had a lot of questions about receiving answers to prayers.  At the end, I gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and told him that the book is very special to me, and then had to back up because he didn't want to take the copy as it was "very special to me".  I told him it's like if I had a Harry Potter book.  I don't care what copy you give me--it's still Harry Potter.  Then he freaked out that we hadn't boycotted Harry Potter because it had witchcraft.  In the end, he accepted a copy and said he would look at the video.

We also got to teach the Eeds again!  We had a lesson plan, but then they requested to read from the Book of Mormon Stories book, so we did that, and then last minute they asked about the Ten Commandments.  It felt all over the place, but we had a fun time teaching them the ten commandments.  We have little hand signs to help kids remember the ten commandments (I can't really explain them over the computer, so I'll have to show y'all that at a future date).  They thought they were the best, so we had a lot of fun.  They were pretty excited to show their friends what they learned.

Our last crazy adventure for the week is that we had the cops called on us.  Yep, that's right, the police.  It was pretty crazy.  One of our members had asked us to contact their neighbor named Paul.  We had tried a few times, but he wasn't home.  Well, this time, we tried and he was home and immediately informed us that he was not interested.  Just to be sure we had met who we thought we had, I asked, "Are you Paul?"  He was a little shocked and asked how I knew his name, so we told him "your neighbors set us on you".  He thought that was funny, but I guess not funny enough because he then spent a good while telling us that we were trespassing and soliciting, and there was really no point to try to say otherwise.  He demanded to know the contact information for "our bishop", took down our names, and told us he was going to call the cops.   I'm still here, so I guess that we are okay.  But, hey, who'd've thought that would happen in Gilbert?  I have all the crazy mission stories now.

We had Stake Conference this week, and I am pretty sure that I have had Stake Conference in every area that I have been in on my mission.  It's so great.  It's been cool how my attitude about Stake Conference has changed throughout my mission from "Yay! Shorter Church!" to a time that I look forward to and receive personal revelation from.  There was one talk that I really liked about developing meekness, and a large part of it was about patience.  A lot of people said that talk was probably directed at them, but let's be real, Family.  That talk was directed at me.  The speaker talked about how patience leads us to have self-control, orderly control, greater love, and a greater ability to hear the Spirit guide you.  One quote I especially liked said, "Patience in the little things prepares us to be patient when the big things hit".  The speaker tied the whole thing back to Pahoran's response to Moroni's epistle.  It was incredible.  Another speaker said that the Lord prepares us for greater things than we could ever know, even when we pray about a question that is totally different than the answer we received.  There was so much other good stuff, but that would take a whole email in and of itself to explain.  We'll just stop at saying I have so much that I can work on, and I feel an excitement that the Lord is going to help me.

One thing I've been working on is memorizing "The Living Christ".  Since we have been receiving a lot of counsel from the last few General Conferences about studying it, I decided that I should probably do it--I keep noticing it, so God is probably trying to tell me something and I should probably take the hint.  It's been incredible because I've never given that document much thought before, but I always feel the Spirit so strongly as I have been working on memorizing it.  It's given me a stronger testimony of the Savior and of the authority of those He has called as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators. It's an inspired document, and I know the Lord has been guiding me.  It's the best thing ever to see themes that I've noticed all throughout my mission tying together.  I know the Lord is at the head of this work.  I love it so so much!  Even when it's hard, I've had the blessing of feeling the Lord helping me in greater abundance than I'd noticed before.  I know He's helping me all the time, but I'm glad that I'm finally in a place where I can begin to appreciate it.  I love this work and the time I still have to keep feeling this wonderful Spirit and sharing just a little bit with y'all over email.  I love you!

Sister Emily

1001 N Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ
85234

Sister Ulziiduuren really wanted a biking selfie


We match way too often #compunity (It gets worse because if you use the X-Ray filter,
 the color on our shirts are just swapped with each other).


Post District Meeting Chick-Fil-A (oh and I got a Chick-fil-a T-Shirt).


Here are (most of) the Elders, so they don't feel left out




Monday, October 9, 2017

So I'm 21 now. Huh.

Hi Family!!

I just wanted to thank everyone for the birthday wishes.  It made my day really special.  I'll tell you more about it later :)

My district leader gave me a challenge this week.  He asked me to write five things that went well each day in my journal.  People have given me this challenge before, but I usually forgot to carry through, so now my journal entries look more like lists every day, but it's been really fun to be able to reflect on just how much God has been in my life. And with that, now I'm all ready to tell y'all about things that were awesome this week.

We went tracting this week and met a girl named Allie.  She was fun to talk to and has lots of Mormon friends.  We introduced ourselves saying, "We're the missionaries and we are kinda new to the area" sort of deal.  Well, she misunderstood and thought I meant I was a new missionary.  It was a funny conversation because she straight up said it was awkward, so we apologized and made comments about trying to not be awkward during our conversation, so at one point she told me, "It's okay, you're still learning".  I liked that response, so I went with it.  This is official news now: I am still learning.  I have lots to do :)

I guess that is my funny moment for the week.  I had an awesome experience doing service this week.  We were helping someone named Aimee, and while we were talking, she mentioned the Las Vegas Shooting, and asked, "What does your book say about that?"  It was awesome because it was a totally unplanned teaching opportunity.  I got to talk to her about how God is in charge and how in the eternal perspective, He knows who those people that would be coming home that day were.  I remembered a scripture about it, so I got to share that with her.  I told her about the Nephites and how they sometimes had wars happen, and then shared Alma 56:11, which says, "Nevertheless, we may console ourselves in this point, that they have died in the cause of their country and of their God, yea, and they are happy."  She really liked it and even asked me to write it down so she could share it with a friend!

We also got to see our friend Jaime again! I mentioned him before.  He was the man in scrubs that we gave a Book of Mormon to.  We stopped by and he spent a long while telling us his life story, but it was cool because we got to testify of the Savior and invite him to church.  He said that he did not want to, but "if his Heavenly Father was calling him, he would obey".  I'm hoping we get to see him at church one of these days.  He said we had shown up at the perfect time, and I was really happy that we got to talk to him again.

Now I will tell y'all about my 21st birthday.  We had Zone Sports, and we played my favorite game, which is called "Chair Soccer".  I asked all of the zone to come (there are one or two that don't usually come), and they all came!!!  We went out and worked and it was a pretty normal day, but we got to have dinner with Sister Sorenson and Sister Donaldson.  It was a lot of fun and they worked really hard to make sure it was a special birthday.

We got to end off the evening by stopping by Charles, and it turned into a teaching appointment!  We taught him the Plan of Salvation, and he absolutely loved it!  It was so good.  We are doing a church tour with him this upcoming week, and I couldn't be more excited.  We got to testify and it strengthened my own testimony of the Plan of Salvation as we did so.  Charles even commented that he could see that this was "in our hearts".  It made me so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father and for all that He does for us, including and most importantly, sending His Son to die for us.  I love the Gospel, I love sharing it, and Mom got her wish for my birthday--I was definitely just a little spoiled in a lot of ways.  I'm so blessed to be serving here and to have an awesome family that is so supportive.  I love you!

Sister Emily

1001 N Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ
85234

Sister Sattler and Ogawa surprised me by decorating the kitchen


We were at House of Refuge when I saw a missionary car driving through.
I might have chased them down and hopped in the back seat.


Don't worry, it wasn't for me. 
I just saw this and laughed because music and upcoming birthdays.



Monday, October 2, 2017

Revelation Carefully Recorded is Revelation in a Time of Need

Hi Family!!

Y'all, I have been so multicultural this week.  I was not expecting to get to try crazy foreign foods when I came to Arizona (except maybe a little Mexican food, which has been very good), but in the last three or so weeks, I've gotten to try authentic Russian, Mongolian, Japanese, Colombian, and Macedonian/Albanian food.

It's been another incredible week here in the Arizona Gilbert Mission.  I got the email for MyPlan this week, a six week course that missionaries complete prior to returning home.   I don't have to start it for . . . a long, long time still, but it was still weird to get the email.  One thing that has been cool about my mission is that it has changed the way I deal with stress (and let's be real, getting that email was a wee bit stressful, among other things).  Before my mission, I probably would have been hiding myself behind a screen, watching TV or mindlessly scrolling down a social media site.  Well, that's not really an option for me, so I've learned to rely more on prayer and reading the scriptures or asking for a priesthood blessing.  I think I knew that I'd learned to rely on that somewhere in the back of my head, but it really clicked when I was listening to a song the other day.  It was a song I've listened to a lot on my mission, and one of the lines says, "I will feel no fear.  I know that You are here."  I realized then just how amazing it is that any time I am having a hard day or need some help, I always know a sure place to turn 1000% of the time.  I can always turn to Jesus Christ--and as I've been serving, it's something that has become a lot more instinctive for me.

My funny moment for this week also relates to that.  Well, more with the MyPlan email.  Elder Matua, who I served with in Highland Zone, is in Temple View Zone now.  Back in Highland, everyone always said we acted just like siblings.  Well, the sibling rivalry is still going strong.  It is quite a joy.  When I was at District Meeting, I overheard some of the Elders talking about MyPlan.  I made a comment like, "Too soon! I just got that email!"  And family, I kid you not, there was sheer panic in Elder Matua's eyes as he yelled, "You're going home??"  It was fabulous.

This week was a week full of miracles, too.  On Friday, the Zone decided to go to In 'n Out before heading to a service project.  We were absolutely brilliant and went right in the thick of the lunch rush.  So I sat and waited a long time for my food.  There was a lady standing by me, and so I decided to start talking to her.  Her name is Jo.  We started talking, and when we all got our food, the other sisters and I got to sit and talk to Jo.  I think what made it special is that Jo is not LDS, but she was perfectly happy sitting and talking with missionaries.  It's nice to not have people run away from you.  She said she would keep the missionaries in her prayers.

We met with Charles again this week.  He is awesome.  He loves the Book of Mormon and hearing about Christ's ministry, and he is so excited to learn.  This week, we were able to invite him to be baptized, and he said yes for October 21!

Laura and her kids also met with us, and that was another amazing lesson.  Sister Schultz, the Primary President, came with us to tell Anthonee and Alyra about primary.  We taught them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it was so fun to see the kids teaching each other when they had questions.  Anthonee and Alyra are so smart.  Sister Schultz also bore an amazing testimony while we were there, and we were able to invite Laura and her kids to be baptized too!  They set a baptismal date for November 8.

There is also this lady in our stake named Sister Worley.  She is awesome.  She called us up because she wanted to make homemade bread and take them to people in our area.  She said she's been doing this for the last 40 years and makes about 800 loaves of bread each month.  She said she's seen lots of miracles come from it, so she wants to do it with all the missionaries in the stake.  We decided to take one of our loaves to Renee.  She had been meeting with missionaries in Mesa, and Sister Ulziiduuren had been able to help them move in when they came to Gilbert.  It was just meant to be a quick stop by, but we talked to her a bit, and she is going through a bit of a rough patch.  Sister Worley was with us mentioned priesthood blessings, so we were able to offer her one.  She said yes, so on Sunday, we got to bring two men from the ward.  It was a beautiful blessing, and especially after Elder Rasband's talk, I don't think it was by chance that we went.

Speaking of Conference, (see how I casually did that?) I was so grateful to have been able to watch it this weekend.  I took questions, and it was amazing to, once again, see all of them answered.  Afterwards, I was asked which was my favorite talk, and I suddenly could not remember many specific talks for the life of me.  So I thought of what I did remember, and I remembered how happy and peaceful I felt, and I remembered the answers to my questions.  I thought it was powerful that out of all the things I could remember, the things that the Spirit needed me to know was what actually stuck.  I love that personal revelation works like that. And of course, I was able to take notes because, as I've been told over and over on the mission, "Revelation carefully recorded is revelation in a time of need".  I looked back at my notes and I realized that in addition to what I could immediately recall, I had recorded a lot of themes: serving others, putting down the smartphone, continuing to be faithful, moving forward with faith, and not being afraid.  Elder Vaupel (my district leader) pointed out that there was a lot interwoven about things pertaining to post-mission life.  It was interesting that he was the one to point that out because he will be finishing his mission six weeks after me.  I realized that it truly is revelation for what we need to know for the next six months, on a very general AND a very specific and individual basis.  I'm not excited to come home because I still have so much to do here, but I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who gives me specific direction for what I need to know in all things. But don't worry too much, Family.  I still love you!

Sister Emily

1001 N Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ
85234

I'm still adding to my collection of how many languages I can say "I am an apple" in.  Featuring: Mongolian, Arabian, and Japanese.


Sitting in a couch in the back of a truck


Smart Phone + Temple View Zone = lots of selfies with the temple

Monday, September 25, 2017

Praying for a Birthday Baptism

Hi Everybody!

I have absolutely fallen in love with this area.  The wards are amazing and missionary minded, my zone is phenomenal, and there is so much work to be done.  This week I finally got to meet all the Bishops and Ward Mission Leaders (they had been out of town), and one of them went to BYU-Hawaii and asked me if I know Rob Sabey.  It was the most startling round of "Do You Know" ever.  I am serving in the ward of Bishop Flake, and he remembers my dad from the college days. Although I do have one weird thing for me to adjust to in this area. I spend half as much time in church here as I have the rest of my mission.  Instead of church going from 7 or 8 AM to 4, 5, or 6 PM, I just have meetings from 8 AM to 1 PM.

I got to go on exchanges again with Sister Sorenson, and for part of that, we took her friend Mary to a group called Classy Lassies.  It's a group of older ladies that get together once a month to share a spiritual thought, talk, and have lunch.  It was a lot of fun.  While we were there, it came up how to pronounce "Sabey", and I made a comment about how sometimes people think it's my first name.  One of the ladies asked what my first name was, and suddenly, one of the other ladies yells, "Please just tell me it isn't Emily!" Awkward.  We admitted that it was, and she started talking about how there are a lot of Emilys.  We just laughed.  What are the odds?

One goal that I've been praying about is to find someone that will be ready to be baptized on October 7th.  This was the first time I've set a goal like that, but it's been fun to keep it in mind and see the Lord as He provides opportunities for us to teach.  We have met so many people who are prepared, and I'm just hoping that one of them will have the desire to make that special promise with God on October 7th.  We have a few friends that are being taught, who are all amazing--so far I've been able to meet Alex and Linda.  And we found some new friends this week.

Sister Ulziiduuren and I decided to go tracting one night in an apartment complex, and we picked a building and went for it.  The very first door we knock on . . . was a very nice LDS couple.  We talked to them for a little bit, and then continued knocking doors.  The rest of the first floor didn't answer.  Then we went to the second floor.  A few people answered, but those who did were quick to shut us down and tell us they were not interested.  So we kept going and finally found Faith.  She is stellar.  We had an awesome conversation with her, and we asked when we could come share more (as we were all being eaten alive by mosquitoes).  She said we couldn't. . .  That was also sad, so we continued onto the next floor.  And that is where we meet someone named Frank.  We were talking to him about our message, and while we were talking, he informed us of his religious background and asked, "Does that make a difference?" We told him that we want to share our message with everyone, and he was content with that answer.  We got to give him a Book of Mormon, and he couldn't believe that we were just handing them out.  It was so exciting to see how blown away he was.  He told us that he definitely wanted to read it.  It was a straight miracle, and I think President Uchtdorf might even be okay with me titling that experience "Third Floor, Second to Last Door". I'm excited to stop by Frank again.

We also made a friend named Charles.  Missionaries had met him before, so when we stopped by, we set up a return appointment.  AND HE ACTUALLY KEPT IT!  Charles has been reading the Book of Mormon since he was in High School, and feels like he is in a place where he can learn more.  He had a lot to say and a lot of questions--so many that we couldn't keep up on answering them.  But we tried to follow the Spirit, and near the end, he commented that we had answered so many of the questions he had had.  We invited him to read from the Book of Mormon and invited him to be baptized.  He said yes!  We haven't set a date yet, but Charles is so excited to learn.

Zone Conference was also this week, and we have been jumping right into using technology.  It is a lot bigger of an adjustment than I thought it would be, but I can also see what a powerful tool this will be.  It's helped a lot already in keeping in contact with our friends.  And then we got to kick off Conference with the Women's Session this weekend.  If I could encourage all of you to do anything, it would be to take a question to conference with you.  As I've done that for Zone Conference and General Conference, I have always come away with an answer that I can confidently act upon.  This time, I prepared a question, and while I did receive my answer, I also received an answer to another question that I'd forgotten I had.  I have a strong testimony that revelation does come and that it comes even more abundantly when we prepare to receive it.

It's all in all been an amazing week, and I am so grateful for all the blessings I've received and the miracles I've been able to participate in.  One thing I learned this week was my role as I do missionary work.  I heard a quote from Elder Bednar that I've heard probably a thousand times before, but this time, I understood it differently.  Elder Bednar said, "We are literal witnesses of His hastening of His work".  It really put into perspective what the scripture says when God says, "I am able to do mine own work".  I realized that in the end, all that I can do is go tell everyone all the amazing things God is doing.  His work and His glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.  He is hastening it, and our job is to let others know about all the blessings God has in store.  I also learned that there is power in the simple declaration that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored.  It's more than exciting to get to share that testimony every day.  It makes me truly happy every time.  I love the message that I represent.  I told someone yesterday that if the Book of Mormon weren't true, I'd take off my name tag and go rethink my entire life about what God wants me to do.  But then I told him that the reason I'm here wearing His name is because I know the Book of Mormon is true, and with that comes so many blessings that we'd never know about any other way.  I know this will bless each life that partakes of the teachings of the Restored Gospel.  A wise person once asked me, "How many of His children does God intend to save?"  One thing I know is that the answer is all of them, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is how He does that.  I love you, Family!

Sister Emily

1001 N Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ
85234


Arizona has a weird sense of humor


Wat?


Smart Phone = Smart Selfies



Monday, September 18, 2017

Probably in my Last Area D:

Hi Family!

I'm all settled into my new area, and I realized that it is probably the area I will "die" in.  It's a really weird feeling, but I'm glad I still have a lot of time left.  I'm in the Temple View Zone with Sister Ulziiduuren.  She is from Mongolia, and she is the sassiest person ever.  We have a lot of fun.  We cover two family wards, and so far I just love it.  I'm trying to hit the ground running, and I'm loving every minute of it.

I also live with Sister Ogawa and Sister Sattler.  Sister Sattler just came out to the mission field.  She's from Utah and we know a few of the same people.  Sister Ogawa is from Japan, and she actually served part of her mission there until her visa came.  I asked if she knew an Elder Thomas O'Reilly, and GUESS WHAT? He was her zone leader while she was visa-waiting.  I'm not sure if this email gets to any O'Reilly's, but if it does, Sister Ogawa said Thomas is very smart and a VERY good missionary.

Sister Patrick and I spent Monday and Tuesday running around trying to say goodbye to everyone.  It was bitter-sweet to think about how much I'd grown and how many people I'd met and came to love while serving in Cortina, but the good news is that if I want to go visit, it's 5 miles down the road.

Now that I'm in Temple View, I've been focusing on three goals that I'd set for myself back in Queen Creek.  I wanted to get to know and work with the youth, go out and work my hardest, and love the people.  With the new smartphones, we've had a lot of training, and I found a quote in one of the trainings that I've thought about a lot: "Your responsibility is to let people know of the Christlike love you feel for them and to teach the gospel clearly and powerfully by the Spirit".  I feel like I've been trying to do that, and it's put me in a place where God has allowed me to see even more miracles.  I feel like I've spent most of my mission thinking, "If I'm bold then I will be more loving", but I am learning that when we are loving, then we naturally become bold.

One miracle we had was finding an Easter Egg.  Sister Ulziiduuren and I were going to contact someone, and there was a man wearing scrubs holding a glass of water in his driveway staring at us.  The Spirit was like, "probably go talk to him", and I said, "Okay".  We talked to him and he pretty much told us he doesn't like any organized religions . . . except for the Jehovah's Witnesses.  As we continue to talk to him, we find out that he had been baptized into the Church, had received the Melchizedek Priesthood, and then gone less active.  As we talked to him, Sister Ulziiduuren bore her testimony of the Book of Mormon to him and invited him to read (which was not the direction I was going to go at all).  He told her that he did need to start reading, and when she gave him a copy, he said it reminded him of all the feelings he had when he was first learning about the church.  It was a touching moment.

We also met with Laura (mom), Alyra (11-year-old), and Anthonee (8-year-old).  Sister Ulziiduuren had set an appointment with them, but this was the first lesson.  They are so prepared.  The two kids both want to go to church, and Laura said that if the kids wanted to be baptized, that was okay!  We taught them the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and they were completely receptive.  It was such an amazing lesson.

I'm so excited to be in this area.  It's going to be so much fun.  I'm excited to take what I've learned from my mission and try my very best to apply it.  Teaching about Jesus Christ is the best thing ever.  I love you, Family!

Sister Emily

1001 N Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ
85234

The Tates :)


The goat kept licking me


This is Sister Ulziiduuren



Monday, September 11, 2017

Where do you see a baguette in America?

 Hello Family!

Last night, Sister Patrick and I were personally called by the APs (Assistants to the President)--or as I like to say, The Elder Wilcox™--because we had crazy transfer news.  We are both leaving, meaning Cortina will be getting white-washed (two new missionaries being put in). But not only that, but one of us will be white-washing an area that is being split, and the other will be opening a brand new area.  I hit sixteen months today, so I think this will be the area I "die" in.  More news to come next week!

Last Monday was a fun adventure.  We played Ultimate Frisbee with the Bella Vista Zone (and I tried really hard to keep my loyalties to Queen Creek, but BVZ is lyfe).  One of their zone leaders is Elder Janda--the French one who says he's from French Fork because the kid knows my Utah bubble is where it's at.  I told him that every time I see a baguette I think of him and he just looked at me and said, "Where do you see a baguette in America?"  I'm really glad Elder Janda knows to ask the real questions (if you are wanting the answer, I see them on Mondays at Walmart and anytime we get to go to Kneaders).

Later that day, I got to eat lunch with the Richards.  It was so fun to talk to them.  Sister Richards might have slipped up and called me Emily.  I guess you don't know how weird it is to hear your name until you haven't heard it for 16 months.

We went on splits with a YSA named Brinley again.  She's been pondering going on a mission, and this week, she told us that she is going!!  I'm so excited.  It's been fun to get to know her and be here through the experience of her first going on splits to deciding she's going to serve a mission herself.

Oh, and I did get taken hostage this week.  I should probably mention that . . . but it was by one of our bishops and it all worked out well.  There was a thick dust storm, so Sister Patrick and I ran for cover at Bishop Potter's house.  He let us in, and we thought we could be effective with our time and correlate.  Nope.  Bishop told us, "We can correlate anytime! Let's play a game", calls all his children in, and proceeds to have us play multiple rounds of Sleeping Queens and Exploding Kittens.  And we were not permitted to leave because of dust storm.  It was fun and we got to know the Potters better, and hey, now I can say I've been taken hostage.  We also got to share a message with his son who is fellowshipping another boy in the neighborhood.  We showed him the video "Reach Out With Love", and it was cool to just feel the Spirit there.  We were able to tell the Potter boy just how much Heavenly Father loves and trusts him, and I think it was a really good moment for both us and the Potters.

Eventually, the dust storm did clear and we went on our merry way.  We were going to go to a less active members home because it was 8:30 at night, but on the way, we saw a referral pull into their garage.  We have never been able to contact them because there is a locked gate before we can get to their front door, so I went for it (and probably gave Sister Patrick another heart attack for cutting her off on my bike).  They sat in their car for a while and just didn't get out, but I felt like we really needed to just stand there (righteous power struggle, perhaps?). So we did until they got out of the car.  They said hi quickly and like they were trying to brush us off so they could get in and said, "No, there's nothing we need you to do or want you to do," and I don't even know how it happened, but somehow, we got talking to them.  We ended up in a really good conversation.  I found out later that they are very anti-Mormon, but at least they like us!  The wife dubbed herself as my mother and told me I needed to get inside because it was dark, and she ended up giving me and Sister Patrick each a hug before we left.

I've been learning about relying on the Atonement of Jesus Christ (again).  It seems to be a lesson that God is trying to teach me and I'm just not very good at picking up on it.  I had the chance to read a talk I really like called "Becoming Perfect in Christ", which taught me a lot, but then just to make sure I got the message, there were talks about it in Stake Conference, too.  I really liked what one young woman said.  "[During the Atonement] Christ didn't lessen His pain; He enlarged His ability to feel it".  I think when I get stressed or upset or whatever it may be, I try to shrink away from the problem.  I try to minimize it myself.  But I think that when we open ourselves and enlarge our ability to feel it, that is how we can allow Christ's Atonement to help us.  He never shoved our pains under the rug, and He doesn't expect us to either.  He asks us to lay them at His feet and let Him help us.

Hopefully that all made sense. I've just developed an increased appreciation for the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I seriously have no idea how He did it, but I'm grateful to see the benefits of it every day in my life.  I think that is one of the reasons I was sent to Cortina.  God needed me to be in a place where I could open my heart to Him, and Cortina was the best place for me to learn how to do that.  There's lots of people I've come to love here, and I will definitely miss them, but I'm excited to see what lies ahead.  Hopefully I've caught onto everything God was trying to teach me so I can just go hand-in-hand with the Savior and give it everything in my next (and probably final) area, but if not, I'm glad I have a Savior who is perfectly understanding and will still go hand-in-hand with me as I learn the lessons I need to learn that will enable me to better give it my all.  Missions are great.  I'm glad for the time I've had and the time I still have.  It's going by too fast, but I love the work and my Savior more than I ever thought I could.  I love you, Family!

Sister Emily

1001 N Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ
85234

1.  Don't worry--it's dead and doesn't have a stinger


2.  I'll be honest.  I took this so y'all could see my Polaroid with Sister Donaldson and the scorpion I caught.


3.  We had Elder Gordon's (extra) name tag most of the transfer and took pictures with it all over the mission.  This is the final picture (which we took on the car he and Elder Holland drive).  It was included with the other pictures, his name tag, and a letter from his name tag of all the places it had seen.  We then put it in an envelope addressed to him inside of another envelope addressed to Sister Partridge in the Mission Office.  He then carried this envelope to the mission office, and it finally came back to him through the Queen Creek box at the aforementioned mission office.  Elder Gordon thought it was funny.



Monday, September 4, 2017

Nephi Can Dance

Hi Family!

If you are wondering why I named my email the way I did, it's because after a miscommunication I thought Sister Patrick said that from what she was reading in the Book of Mormon she realized that Nephi was a dancer.  And I'm out of titles for emails.

I got to go on exchanges with Sister Sorenson!  She is always so much fun to be with. While we were on exchanges, we talked to a nice man named Orlando.  He speaks English, but very limited, so we just spoke with him in Spanish.  It was a lot easier to speak with Sister Sorenson backing me up--she took seven years of Spanish before the mission.  He gave us these chocolate mint candies, so now I can check off accepting candy from a stranger.  Don't worry, though.   Sister Sorenson ate hers first and didn't die, so that's when I knew it was safe.  Orlando was very nice, and we were able to send a referral to the Spanish missionaries for them to go meet him.  At the end, Orlando decided to kiss our hand, which totally caught both of us off guard, but such is life.  The awkwardness of a sister missionary is something to be reckoned with.

We got a visit from the Legendary Sister Irvin this week.  She showed up at our house, and it was fun to get to see her.  The next day, the STLs went with us to go get lunch (at Chick-fil-a, so I finally got to use my Christmas present and loved it), and another "dead" missionary was there--Sister Young.  It was good to get to see them.

A miracle happened this week with contacting someone the Bishop asked us to go see.  He had asked us to go visit a part-member family.  We got to the house and realized that it was not the home of the person we were looking for, but rather, the home of a kind, non-member family that we'd met before--they were nice, but not interested.   But miracles happen.  We needed a bathroom break, so we knocked anyway--we figured we knew them, so it wouldn't be too weird.  Tiffany, the person we had met before, answered, and she was very nice again.  On the way out, she mentioned that she was trying to get her garage in order for a yard sale she wanted to do, and miracle number one, she actually accepted our offer to help!  On Saturday, we went over to help with the service, and after our conversation, we realized that this actually was partially the people we were asked to see by the Bishop. Tiffany had been married to a less-active member named Chris, but they got divorced, he has since moved away, and she's gotten remarried.  I will be honest, I was just going to skip the house and go to another house when I originally recognized the house, but because of the chain of events that followed, we were able to build a bit of a relationship with Tiffany and get to know them.  I'm hoping we get to get to know her family better.

Sister Patrick has been on a cookie making kick.  She keeps saying that she's "finally turned into a 'Sister Missionary'".  We got to make cookies with the Lee family, and we had a list of people we wanted to take them to.  One of them was a couple in a different ward.  Chris is a returned missionary with an awesome testimony, but currently, is not attending church and is living with his girlfriend, Elizabeth.  She's the one who believes "kind of like Star Wars".  We stopped by and took the cookies to her, and she appreciated it.  She told us she had read the pamphlets we had left, and it turned to an awesome conversation about faith.

In summary, it's been a week of seeing miracles bloom.  I can't believe how fast the time is flying, and I wish I had so much more time now that I'm starting to figure out what works in missionary work.  It has changed my life to learn of the Savior and His Atonement each day, especially with the new insights I've learned from Elder Anderson.  I know that the message I get to share is the fullness of Christ's gospel, that it has been restored to the earth, and that we have living Apostles and Prophets today.  I love you!

Sister Emily

1001 N Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ
85234

My favorite MTC Comp--she's killin' it.


It's not the lighting--I'm just an old sister missionary (left: newer name tag that I use for church and zone conferences; right: the original name tag from the MTC)


The Armstrongs--they have us over for breakfast every P-Day.