Monday, December 16, 2013

Stumbling Blocks

Holla Familia!
This week has been an up and a down one. At the beginning of the week we had Specialized Training in Penbrook We talked about Covenants. How are we in danger of Breaking them? are we trying to be like Christ in all that we do? President Pitt talked to us and told us that Covenants 1) Turn us Outward - we learn to love and care more about those who are around us. 2) Takes us to action - We do things, we serve others, thus when we turn outward we do something about the things going on around us. 3) Heart & Mind; Becoming - We change how we are as we strive to become more like Christ. The more we see what we can become, what our real potential is. Our thoughts and our desires will change leading us to 4) Increased Blessings, Decreased Condemnation - When we do more to come unto Christ, then we will receive the blessings that are there for us. We will be on a path that will keep us safe and protected. We will have faith that the Lord will bless us for our righteous actions. As we do what is right, the bad things that could happen in our life due to wrong decisions lessen, because we are doing everything in our power to become more Christ-like. We all know what is right and what is wrong. We all have that agency to lead us the way we want to go. Which way we will go is up to us. The Spirit can lead and guide us - if we let it.   There was an interesting point that President pointed out: God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost - they have all kept their Covenants to us, so we need to keep ours. Keeping a Covenant requires Worthiness and Willingness; it requires our Mind, Might and Heart.
Then President Related it to all of us as missionaries: If one of us has done personal Apostasy, then it affects the blessings. We receive greater blessings if we are acting as one. That doesn't mean that if one missionary is apostate that all of us are doomed because of their decision. When we are United in a cause then we receive the greatest of blessings. When we are all Worthy and Willing to work toward something together. When we build Zion all together. It all starts with YOU. Once you have started building Zion within yourself, then are you able to build it with another; a companionship (missionary or marriage). Once you have built it into your companionship, you can work it into your district (family, ward). So on and so forth until we are all united. Until we are all united that full blessings of the Gospel, I personally feel, will not come until we are all United. Which is a lot easier said then done. Now that I am trying to unite with just one other person! haha
After President spoke to us Sister Pitt got up and pulled out her guns: One step out of the covenant, and we are in the devils territory. A "little sin" is the devils territory. Once we stick out our big toe across the line - He grabs hold of it with an Iron grip. It's just one toe though right? NO it is all of you. and you will be pulled across because we all justify with a "little more sin" we keep going until it isn't just our big toe - it's our entire leg - both our legs. It reminds me of the Boa Constrictor poem in the Other Side of the Sidewalk. "Oh my, Oh dear, I'm being eaten by a boa Constrictor... it's up to my knee... it's up to my thigh... it's up to my neck!... It's gulppp.... All gone. Strange. I know. The Boa Constrictor just started at my toe... and then I was gone. So yeah. Covenants are hardcore. Keep them and you will be blessed. Don't... and well, you won't be so blessed. I also thought of the Story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11. Imagine if that happened whenever we did a "little sin"... well I guess there would be no more sin to do. There aren't three strikes and your out. Good thing we have Repentance - the process by which we progress. Christ is the most important to focus on because if Christ isn't part of the equation then why does it matter? Christ made it possible to have the restored Gospel, to have the Plan of Salvation, to be able to make and keep covenants because we can repent when we do something wrong. The Assistants to the President told us that when we give people commitments it isn't us that is asking them - it is Christ. We are the Representatives at this time, we have that power and authority. Which is awesome and frightening at the same time.
Anywho, that was an interesting mind blurb. of what I learned and felt at part of the Specialized Training :)
I also learned that right now I don't have very good teaching Unity with Sister Thomson, She still doesn't have the confidence, or the willpower to talk to people.     I was in the same position as her a few months ago, but I tried and yeah I stumbled and yeah I said a lot of stupid things, but I have learned from mistakes. If we don't do we will not learn. I look back on how I was, I did not talk - even in College I rarely talked about things or even feelings. So I have not talked for quite a while. Now I feel like a freaking Social Butterfly because how else am I going to share the Gospel with people. I do have a few struggles, I have a hard time speaking cohesive sentences, or knowing the correct words to use because my vocabulary is.. well growing right now (ha,ha). I also have the panic feeling on the initial approach because it is so important. They will either say yes or no. It's awesome. but yeah I have my struggles. But I feel like I am now the Social Butterfly in the conversations with people. It's awesome... in some cases (ha,ha)
Anywho, Sister Thomson is an awesome viola player. She doesn't think so, but I know so. So it must be true. She played during the meeting and Elder Raffensparger accompanied her on the piano. It was really good. I get to listen to her play the viola quite a lot at the apartment. Music: it has a very powerful impact on how you feel. Which is both good and bad. But yeah, They were awesome. We have some very talented singers and music player people in our zone. I'm working on my singing normal voice right now... :)
So Specialized Training was pretty awesome... pretty much the highlight of the week if you did not notice.
Ooo something else that we did that was interesting. We went to the Church for a Service project it was the Bishop’s Storehouse. I had no idea what it was. Well I did, but I didn't know exactly what it meant. Now I do! Well at least I do for here in Virginia. It was like shopping... only in the cultural hall (ha,ha). It was fun setting everything up and watching the people come in with boxes and using shopping carts and different things.
So this week has been pretty interesting. I didn't even get through it all because I keep writing my thoughts down about things, but this week has been full of ups and downs.... laughs and tears and so on. But I know this is the Lord’s work and that it is awesome! So everything will work out in the end.
I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas season. It hasn't really hit me yet but maybe soon :) I love you all, If any of ya'll need help with anything let me know! Be good, Read your scriptures, pray with faith, have Charity towards all. Stay Classy!!
The Church is True, The Book of Mormon is Blue, and Jesus loves each and every one of you.
Sister Karen Call


Monday, December 9, 2013

A Softened Heart Brings Strength to Endure

Holla Familia!!!
This week has been a interesting long one; longer than ones in the past. Things are starting to drag for the first time on my mission. There are several things that I feel like we could have done more this week but things just moved by in such a strange way. The first thing was that I have been sick for a few weeks in the morning, and I decided to stop being so stubborn about not letting people help me. So I talked to the Mission Nurse Sister Cloe (who also happens to be in the Christiansburg ward) and got a few ideas to try out this week. So far I have started to feel better so it must be working. Strange, how when you ask people to help you things start to get easier *sigh* silly me.
At the beginning of the Week we had dinner with a less-active family, the Romney's. They are an interesting Couple. Jen is really personable and nice (when she isn't in a bad mood), and her husband, Jared is like the complete opposite, he doesn't talk to people, and is blunt and kind of rude. but maybe it is just his personality that is weird. Jen told us that she isn't sure if the church is true anymore, because she has been getting a lot of anti especially about the early authority of the Church. She told us that they go to church because it is the right thing to do, and that it is a good environment for her kids to learn and to grow. She wants it to be true. She said something along the lines of that if it isn't true and heaven is different, at least she lived a relatively good life and that at least she was a good person. It is strange to see her have so much hope to believe that it is true, but she doesn't use it. She is looking into "neutral" sites about the church, but she isn't doing anything to build it up or make it true. I know for at least me that if I looked at "neutral" sites about the church I'm pretty sure I would not have learned very much from my hope that it was true. I had a good example to follow in college that helped me a ton! but I also had to act on the desire to change and learn more about the church! To find out the Truth for myself. Now I know quite a bit, not everything, not a whole lot, and most of it is random facts that aren't very helpful on a mission, but being able to study the scriptures and talk to people all the time here has really helped me see how much the Gospel has blessed and will bless my life as long as I am obedient and strive to be the best that I can be and serve those around me. President Pitt Missionary Truth last week was: A Softened Heart Brings Strength to Endure. I know for a fact that this is true. When we finally are able to let go of the things that will hold us back and not let us progress, then is the time that we really become who we can become.
Another Less-Active that we see is Paulette. She is doing really well, her husband died a few months ago and she found out where to bury his ashes, and she found out a few days ago that they got his marble tombstone at the Veterans graveyard thingy all set up and that it was very nice. We were able to teach her the Restoration - and she knows it is true, and she wants to find out more about the Plan of Salvation. She isn't sure exactly what happens after death (her husband was not a member) so she has a lot of questions on what happens. Where he is and what he is doing. She is really interested in the Temple, she shared how she had a very spiritual moment for herself there and knows that it is the house of God. That good, special things happen there. So it is good that we know what she needs to learn and hear. I realized that I have taken advantage of having a Temple so close at home. There is no Temple in our mission, and I won't be able to go to the Temple for another year. The importance of the Temple is more than anyone can understand. It is missionary work. It is Important. It needs to be done.
We haven't been able to meet with any of the Investigators that the previous missionaries left for us, One said to try back in January, another keeps canceling appointments with us (which we might just stop in and teach her; might be better that way), Another one was having a hard week and told us that she didn't have time to see us. The fourth one was sick so we will try her again this week and hopefully she is feeling better.
We had a Zone meeting this week and a few missionaries talked on Faith, Repentance, Baptism, and the Holy Ghost. Faith was based off of the talk Faith on Jesus Christ which helped me remember what is needed to build faith and get things moving. Repentance is a lot bigger than we think it is but it is super simple if we just start doing it. Baptism, how it is an ordinance and how we make a Covenant, and if we keep our promise, God will bless us. If we are not obedient then we miss out on them. The Zone Leaders talked on mostly about Endowment. How it is Obedience and Sacrifice to obey the Gospel, to be Virtuous, that we are Consecrated and most importantly Sealed. To become born again. It was super uplifting and a bit of a smack down on me for a few things that I have been forgetting to do. It was a nice reminder to get things going.
We also had a baptism this week!! We didn't know about her till this week, but it was a nice surprise! Her name is Ellen and she is 8 years old. Her father is a member and her Mother is a catholic. I have been told that she is a super smart little girl, we tried to see her before her baptism this week, but weren't able to get a hold of them. We set up a time to come and see them this week so we can start going over and talking to her and her family. The Baptism was really good. A family that had grown really close to Ellen's family (that had moved out of the ward) came to her baptism and did all of the talks and everything it was super sweet of them. It took them about 4 hours to get here. The mother in that family looked just like Joslyn!! only she was really, really tall. (So I know what you would look like if you were really tall Joslyn, just sayin).
We then also attended the Blacksburg Baptism and that was super neat to have been able to see two baptisms in one day!
Everything has been going pretty good this week, Sister Thomson is still getting frustrated with herself sometimes, but we made a promise this week to both become better. We set new goals to improve on. She wants to become like her old self and be able to talk to people again. I don't know what she was like before, but if that is what she needs, then getting her back to a comfortable zone will be nice. She has been difficult to get moving in the mornings. but she knows that she needs to be obedient in things in order to receive blessings. She expressed that she was frustrated that she couldn't feel the Holy Ghost as well. That there was something different. I helped her make a list of things that needed to be worked on. That she felt like that she wasn't doing that she needed to do in order to be obedient, in order to have that feeling of the Spirit with her again. I also discovered a few things that I have still been holding onto that I need to let go of as well, and start doing things right. So we are both working together on getting things moving.
So This week has been pretty interesting. Yesterday Church was canceled. The roads weren't icy, but all the cars and houses were covered in ice - so that was an interesting thing to see. Lots of Ice - like every time we went inside for a while we had to re-scrape our car. it was funny.
Oh Yesterday was really good for Sister Thomson, we went over to a members home, the Hallows. and they were talking about the Come Follow Me program that the Church has started to do that I'm not sure if it is being implemented here. I haven't even heard of it till yesterday! Sister Hallows and Thomson were very excited about it as they talked about it. It is something that Sister Thomson knows so I think that will help to use something she knows. We also watched the Christmas Broadcast and that was wonderful as well.

But the thing that tops this week off. Is that it was Sister Pitt’s birthday last week and President Pitt’s Today!!
I love everyone, and I hope they remember the importance of the Christmas season, and what it is really about. Do something awesome for someone else. Stay Classy. Soften the Hearts of those around you and It will bring you and them the Strength to Endure!

Until next week!

Monday, December 2, 2013

I Do Freaking Hard Things!! Cachow!!

Holla Familia!!
I need to work on getting things done in time! I don't have much time to write cause it is timed!! I have never had this before!! Anywho!! Christiansburg is pretty awesome. It is really pretty and very nice!  The members are awesome as well!! So things have been pretty crazy and I found out I am having a hard time balancing everything out from being doubled in and training! But I love Sister Thomson she is pretty awesome. I have learned a ton from teaching her!!! Hopefully she is learning stuff :) So I will get straight to the points that were interesting this week!!!
Thanksgiving! We had two meal appointments. The first was with Bro and Sis Self! They are interesting... very interesting... Their family all came together. They are an interesting bunch. Several of them are in the police force; Brother Self was a chicken farmer. Like really a chicken farmer!! well.. he genetically did stuff to them so that they would lay more eggs, and get bigger and all of that fun stuff. Anywho, He has two daughters and a son. One of his daughters is a body builder, and she continually made interesting comments throughout dinner... such as I know this because I went to college... I just laughed and nodded my head. Don't argue with Body Builders.. even if they don't really look like they are a body builder. Anywho, The other daughter had brought her boyfriend with her. He was a Catholic Jew??? anywho He asked us a few questions about the factual stuff about the Mormon religion.... Then Brother Self did something very... well not very happy in the eyes of a missionary. HE brought up the most negative examples of members of the church! like a senator that is a democrat that is doing not very good things, but he is a member. HE just brought up several... well interesting people. But hey The guy knows a little more about Mormons... very little more. XD IT was an interesting meeting with the Self’s. HE kept telling us about all the days that he 'bent the rules' as a missionary. Ahh!!! *tear* oh well. I just told Sister Thomson not to listen to anything they said, and she agreed that it was a weird experience not to be repeated hopefully ever again. After the Self’s we went over to the Burningham’s! Now the Burninghams are pretty awesome!! They had invited the Skinner’s over as well. They are younger families in the ward so they were easier to relate with and they are going to school here. It was a lot of fun to be at their place. After we ate dinner and talked for a while Bro Burningham said "Time to play Army men!!" So that was pretty interesting. We got a bucket of Army men and we set them up all over the floor. Then it was us Missionaries (Elders and Sisters) against the Burningham’s and Skinner’s. We used rubber bands to shoot the army men down.   Whoever knocked all of the army men down won. I'll just say the Missionaries totally rocked it and won!  It was a pretty fun and uplifting experience after the Self’s (ha,ha. )
On Friday we had a Special Sister Meeting. All of the Sisters in the Southern Half of the mission got together and President and Sister Pitt had a meeting with us. They went over D&C 103:36 and emphasized the words Victory and Glory. That Victory was toward the kingdom of God; toward eternal life. and as long as we know that He knows us, and loves us. Our steps toward Victory will become easier.
They also emphasized that a successful missionary is measured primarily by our commitment. Wanting hearts to change. That Discouragement on a mission can turn into Depression. When we fall down we need to get back up and laugh about it! We need to have Laughter, Ponder and Pray, and do Service, We need to Celebrate the small victories, we need to do something else if things aren't' working. That when we work, we need to stop comparing ourselves to others. Because we naturally compare, criticize and complain.
Never become a victim of circumstances.  You can control it by your Faith!   We can call down miracles! A lack of faith is what leads us to despair. We are meant to Do Things That Are Hard To Do!
President Pitt talked about how Sisters and Elders are different. Men and Women are different. That women are the crowning Jewel. that we are the most important thing, We were created last. WE have the blessing and opportunity of loving and opening the hearts of people. Even if we don't have children we still naturally mother those who need help. We don't need the priesthood to save people. We are just awesome that way and do everything with the power we already have.
The message that we learned that day was very important for me and Sister Thomson. There is a lot that Sister Thomson and I work on. But she is awesome. WE have pretty deep conversations in the evening that have really opened my eyes to certain things and have solidified my love and understanding of this gospel and how much God loves me and everyone around me!

Well Family I got to go, Stay Classy, Share the Gospel and Love ALL!!!

Sister Karen Call!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Land of Christiansburg

Holla Familia!
So Transfers were pretty interesting. I never realized how long it would take! It took us 2 hours to drive to Sissenville, West Virginia and then the meeting took about three hours. So that was intense. I didn't even notice where the new missionaries were sitting! IT was crazy.  Sister Stone was there.  She was in the MTC with me. She will be taking my spot back in Wheelersburg. She is a great Sister so I am glad she is taking my spot with Sister Gray. Wheelersburg is in good hands. Anywho, back to transfers, Sister Isobe turned to me and asked "So, who do you think you will be training?"   She pointed to the front. I looked up there, and I could only see the back of their heads and I was like, "I don't know. I can only see the back of their heads, but If I had to guess I would choose the one on the end who has straight hair." Sister Isobe agreed with me. She thought I would train her too. So then the Intense moment came. All of the missionaries stood in the front.  They were called one by one and assigned their companion and where they were going. I think my heart was going probably two billion miles per hour. I don't feel completely a 100% ready to train but hey things are going to go well. I can just feel it. Anywho, I heard the name of my area, and then the name of my new companion... Her name is... Sister Thomson!! YAY!! She is from Pleasant Grove, Utah. She is 19 and just barely turned 19. She came straight out of high school! How crazy is that!!! anywho. I went up and gave probably one of the most awkward hugs in my life; not going to lie it was pretty awkward.  It felt like an awkward hug. Anywho, we went and sat back down.    Yeah, a few more speakers spoke and we went outside got our stuff packed into the trailer carrying all of our stuff, hopped on the South Train (it's a van) and headed to Virginia. It was nice in the train because I got to sit next to Sister Lytle. She was being transferred as well to a new area. So I had at least one person I knew sitting in the same car as me. The ride was super long. about 3 hours I think. But it was alright.
Well, as for the area I just moved into: The first things we did was meet the Bishop. HE IS AWESOME!!! This ward is AWESOME!! I don't even know how to describe them! I'm trying to figure everything out right now being doubled into an area, and training.
Well, I'm running out of time for today, and don't have much to say. But I will hopefully get more to you later. Peace Out!!
Sister Call

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I'm Leaving the Land of Ohio!!!

Holla Familia!!
It has been quite a long week! Last week was Veterans day on P-day so nothing was opened. So we went to Ashland and played Volleyball with the Ashland Sisters, and Elders as well as the Portsmouth Elders.
One of our investigators, her name is Marie, invited us to her Speech last Monday. It was pretty good, I don't really know what she was saying, I couldn't really hear over all the people saying Amen after each sentence that she said, but it was really good. It was all about how we need to become united. The church was called Christs Sanctuary. We arrived super early and told Marie that we would come back for her part. When we got back we arrive din the middle of a cooking demonstration the desert that the lady was making was pretty good (we got to eat it after she was done making it) Marie was super nice to us, but several of the people there gave us cold shoulders, and didn't really wanted us to be there. During Marie's speech she also gave us a shout out and held up our Restoration Pamphlet that we gave her. Saying everyone was welcome to come and read it and find out more about us as well. So that was pretty interesting and cool. When we were getting ready to go she came to us and apologized for some o f the behavior of the women who were there. That she would like to see us again. Also, another interesting thing that happened while we were there, when they said their closing prayer: They all said their own. They all stood up and started praying! it was so disorganized and I felt like if you didn't say a long enough prayer that the people would judge you - it was just a strange feeling that I don't mind NOT repeating. It was nice to have been able to have supported Marie though.
 When we went to Marie's house later that week with Sister Lyons we had a nice chat again about Unity. She is probably the most knowledge seeking Christian lady I have seen on my ENTIRE mission. (which isn't that long) But, It is so neat to see someone who wants to work with people. That she realizes the problem that is happening between the religions. That they are all fighting against each other instead of working together against our common enemy. She continued talking about how the fight with Satan is real. She is an amazing woman who if she really sits down and reads the Book of Mormon and studies everything we give her I think it will click for her. She already knows things, it is just getting her there. She studies a lot about all of the different religions.
Another family we have been working on as always is the Bradley's. Shane and Rhonda got married two weeks ago now? Shane told us that the only thing that he needed to do before he got baptized was: get married, and quit smoking. That as soon as he got married that it would be easy for him to quit smoking. Well They are married now. We did the quit smoking workshop with them, but he is still smoking. There has been a lot of stressful things happening in their life. Rhondas grandmother passed away a few days ago, they are still trying their best to keep their wedding a secret from Shane's mom, and they don't have money for gas and to do some repairs on their car. Everything it seems to be stacking up this week. I told them that now that they have taken this step forward that the adversary will do all he can to prevent you from taking another step, and right now he is winning. Shane even told us that he had finished his last pack and that he wouldn't smoke again, but he was still smoking the next day when we called Rhonda.
We got to talk to Lucy this week. Finally. She has been super sick for that past few weeks, and I was getting super worried that she was avoiding us. I have seen her countenance change for these past 4 months, and she is almost ready. I don't know what it is that is holding her back, besides the point that she feels that she needs to forgive someone before she can take any other steps forward. She needs to take that next step of baptism in order to feel that way. Hopefully something will work out. I really do Love Lucy :)
Ooo something cool/ interesting: we went and visited this lady named Girtrude and we read the Book of Mormon to her, it was a little difficult because all of her dogs were barking constantly but we read with her! while we were reading, I noticed a p8icutre bheind a chest on her shelf - I wondered in my mind if that picture was what i thought it was, and guess what? IT WAS! It was the picture on the cover of the Restoration Pamphlet - of Jesus holding a Lamb- I believe it was drawn by Greg Olsen. She had a picture of it! How random is that?! Well I thought it was pretty cool.
Soo. For Behold: Sister Call is Leaving the Land of Ohio. On Wednsday night we went to the church to spend time with the Young Women and try and build unity there by learning how to Crochet. I learned how to Crochet! How random is that?!  When all of a sudden the phone starts to vibrate I look down and check to see who it is - and it was President Pitt. My heart literally skipped a beat. There would only be one reason He would be calling. Transfers. I nudged Sis Gray showed her that President was calling and we left the room. President asked if we were busy at the moment, and I told him no. He then asked if he could talk with me. He asked me how things in the area was doing. and we talked for a while about the ward, and the area. The next thing he said I already knew he was going to say. I have been feeling it for quite some time. "Sister Call, because of the experience that you have now. I would like to know if you would be willing to be a Trainer" AHHH!!! "You will also be doubled into an area" AAAHHHH!!! My goodness! I accepted my new calling with happiness. He didn't tell me right then where I was going, but he told me it was a happy place. It made me laugh. Wheelersburg is a Happy place! so I must be going to Heaven :)  I found out yesterday that I will be going to Christiansburg Virginia. Which is about 164 miles from here XD REALLY LONG CAR DRIVE!! YAY! Anywho, I tried to pull myself together, and go back into the room with all of the Young Women but then I burst into tears. yeah... I cried... How human. So I have been going around for the past few days saying my last goodbye to everyone :( I don't think I have seen so many people cry, or myself cry so much! I hate crying :( It is going to be super hard to leave this area but I know Sister Gray will take good care of it, and I know the new sister coming in, her name is Sister Stone and we were in the MTC together - I think she is pretty awesome so Wheelersburg will be taken good care of.
Also another exciting thing of the week. Well I thought it was pretty great. Jaylene who told us several weeks ago that she couldn't live like we were living - well I decided that I wanted to go and talk to her. I have been wanting to talk to her for a few days now and haven't been able to get her off my mind. So we went and saw her yesterday. She has still been reading, AND she has been reading through the Gospel Principles book that she got from church the one day that she went. I was so happy to hear that she still knows how she felt when she spoke to us. Jaylene also told us that she doesn't talk to any of the ladies at the complex anymore because they talk about her behind her back. I asked Jaylene if it would be alright if Sister Gray and the new missionary came and discussed what she was learning in the Gospel Principles book with her, and she said that would be fine. YAY!!

 I'm excited and nervous and everything all in one! I don't know what or how things are going to work out. I feel so lost, I know that as soon as I start going things will be fine, but right now my mind is on overload! I hope to be able to remember all of the things that were important in my training. I noticed that the longer I have been out on my mission, the worse and worse my memory gets! But I am so excited to have the opportunity to be a trainer! I don't know exactly what I will do, but the Lord does, and that is all that matters.
AAHHH Tomorrow!!! I will be in Virginia!!! HOW CRAZY!!!! Well I don't have any more time! I love you all and I hope everything is going well. Stay Classy, and read/listen to the conference talks! They are awesome! The very first one in the Ensign opened my eyes to something... you will have to read it to know what I am talking about, but even then you might not know... but that is all good you might find something out for yourself!!!
Sister Karen Call


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Wedding!!! and Lots of Driving!

Holla Familia!!
So..... this has been a pretty awesome, interesting week. First off we had an awesome FHE lesson with Shawna and her daughter Mariah at the Ekins home. Sister Ekins provided dinner and we did the lesson. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ; we did what we call life size "Bob the Builder". We did it a few weeks ago with Marie (the German Exchange student) We took them through the Journey of Life, and how everything had another meaning. It was super neat and fun to do with the Ekins little kids. So that was fun having our first new Member lesson with Shawna and it went pretty well. Sis Ekins is a pretty stellar woman. She is a convert to the church. She grew up in Texas and hadn't really heard anything about the Mormon religion.  Missionaries did come and help out around her parents house, but they never taught her anything. She met her husband, working at KFC (they both worked there).  They went on dates and all that fun stuff, and decided to get married! Bro Ekins at the time (that they met and were dating) was a less-active member in the church.  He suggested to Sis Ekins to get married in our church by the Bishop - it was free, and nearby. So they did - again nobody shared the Gospel with her. She had decided, that before they started a family, that she wanted to join a church. So, she asked Bro Ekins what he thought and he said sure. He then suggested going to his mom's church, because then they would at least know somebody. She agreed and he looked up when church was. He then told her that church was going to be on TV this weekend. She was a little wary about that idea because of preachers on TV in Texas, but HE said at least give it a try - so She did and she loved it!   Cute, little old men telling stories and explaining things so simply and clearly to questions that she had. The very first 'Church' that Sister Ekins went to/watched was General Conference. When it was over, Sister Ekins kind of sat there and then asked if that was it? Bro Ekins mother asked her if she would like to talk to the missionaries and she agreed. Two weeks later she was baptized and then a year later sealed in the Temple. Such an amazing story. She is one of those elect people that I know are somewhere out here in crazy Ohio. I just seem to be having a hard time finding them.
This week we went to Charleston Twice! It's a two hour drive both ways. So 4 hours total. We did that TWICE!! We also went to Ashland which takes about 45 minutes to get there. So yeah lots of time in the car. Lots of awkward silence because we don't have any music. I wish I had brought music now! The Charleston Sisters have a really awesome CD called Lower Lights. Anywho, the first time we went to Charleston it was for a Missionary Leadership Correlation... so I got to drop off Sister Gray and then spend the next 4 hours with the Charleston Sisters: Sister Peck, Escujuri, and Maddox. They are pretty stellar sisters. We went tracting for an hour and then had lunch and a small testimony meeting before we went back to the church. Tracting was interesting. I met my first Drunk guy... or High... or Both. I couldn't tell. He was just a little out of it. Anywho, he was just looking at us, and kept staring so I tried talking to him. He wasn't very cohesive... so we left it at that. I'm not going to lie..... during this hour of tracting, I have never been told how pretty I am in my life. It was the weirdest thing ever! It was super fun though. It was a nice refreshing break from being in Wheelersburg for so long. Also to be around New missionaries with fresh spirits is great too. I hope I get to train or something. I need a little bit of ‘greenie’ happiness in my life (ha,ha.)
Speaking of Working with Missionaries (well sort of ha,ha) this week we also had a member of the Seventy come and speak with us. His name was Elder Sitati. He is from Nigeria.  I mostly heard from his wife Sister Sitati, the Leaders (so Sis. Gray) heard from Elder Sitati in another room. The thing that Sister Sitati talked about was our Relationships with others. We are ministers and if we are valiant in all we do we will not only save others, but we will save ourselves. Those that we teach will recognize us as representatives of Jesus Christ. The thing that we need to do Is put on the Whole Armor of God to take the steps forward in standing for the Truth. We need to be bold in this age, we must. We need all of the armor in order to be Protected, Strengthened, and Guided. I have this awesome coin that I got from My Bishop in College. Bishop Dunn. It is an Armor of God coin. I literally carry it with me everywhere, because it helps me remember what I need to do to get things done. Now I have Sister Sitati as another Testament of the truth of putting on the Whole Armor of God. Sister Sitati also told us the importance of our companions. If we are working together in the right way then we will both be working with all our might, mind, and strength because of the love we have for the Lord. We need to work in Harmony, we need to practice being patient and honest with them. We know each others faults - don't let those faults go anywhere outside of the companionship. We need to help build each other, and sometimes we don't' recognize or realize we are making mistakes and that is why we have companions to help us out. They are also there as another testimony. Where there is disharmony in a companionship it will appear in your countenance, and people will notice. It helped me realize all of the things that I need to fix in order to have greater Harmony in a Companionship - I am not perfect, but I need to have the desire to continually progress. That when we are having a hard time: with companions, an area, or anything, we have the choice on how to react to the situation. We can either get stuck in a bad mood and not move forward, or we can move forward learn from the mistakes that we make and others make. I have a ton to work on to become a more harmonious companion, but now I know I need to have the desire to change and figure out what is working and what is not, and I need to turn to the Lord for help and guidance on how to fix things. Communication is Key. If we let the little things get in the way, then they will become big things. So I learned a ton from Sister Sitati. Elder Sitati talked on our Purpose - and gave us the challenge of breaking down our Purpose and looking deep into the meaning.          I also saw Sister Richards at the meeting! I don't know why I broke down in tears when I gave her a hug. I felt silly because I couldn't say anything to her because I was crying. But it was nice to have that opportunity to see her again and also her new companion and to hear how they were doing so well working together.
So another thing that happened this week was that Shane and Rhonda got married!! Rhonda told us how it was obviously part of Gods' will to have them get married, because no one could have thrown together a wedding in less than a week if God wasn't on their side. The wedding was small, but it was a wonderful experience. Rhonda and Shane were so happy. Shane even Smiled!! Now Shane just needs to quit smoking. We set him on date for the 23rd, and he is starting the quit smoking workshop tonight. So hopefully all will go well, and now that he has a date in mind he can work toward it. Everything just fit into place for them this week. It was a crazy week, of throwing a wedding together, but it was really awesome. Rhonda did basically everything for her wedding. She made the decorations, the cake, and a few other things. So she was really down to business on having a good wedding. I did help on one thing :) I learned a few things from Deborah on making cakes. I noticed the first thing when I walked in on Rhonda making her cake that it was starting to slant (she was doing a three-tier cake) I asked her if she had supports under her cake. Rhonda asked me what I was talking about. I then asked her if there was anything between the tiers and she said no. So we took apart her cake and put supports under them, and then we made some supports, (dowels?). I saved her cake from collapsing during the night. yay. So that was fun. It was a big cake, so I'm not sure if it was needed or not, but hey better safe then sorry.
We also had an interesting opportunity this week as well. A member in our ward named Jill, she is going to college right now. Gave us a call during the day and left a message saying that she just had a really interesting 3 hr. conversation with a guy at the library. He told her that she wasn't Christian because she didn't believe in the Trinity. She was taken a little aback because she had never been told that she wasn't Christian before. So she tried to defend herself, but kept getting shot down. After the conversation she called us for help on finding more Scriptures and additional insight on what to do, because her feelings were rather hurt by what he said. We gave her several Scriptures and a few talks to read, but emphasized the importance of not arguing with people, that with contention, both sides lose. That the best thing that she could do would be to bear her testimony and move on. (the Scriptures and Talk: Matt 3:16-17; 17:5; Acts 7:55; John 17:21; Mark 14:35-36; Heb 1:1-3. Only True God and Jesus Christ whom He Hath Sent by Elder Holland). It was neat to have been able to help her out with this situation. If I had been in her situation 2 years ago, I would not have known what to do either. Luckily we had told her a few weeks earlier that if she had any questions or if she ever needed help that we would always be willing to give her our insights and help her along her way. So, Jill had another talk with the guy, and he told her that he had been studying about the Mormons and wanted to come to church with her. She told him that if he was doing it just to prove her wrong that he shouldn't come. He said that he was coming because he was curious. So he came this last Sunday, it was pretty neat to meet him. He was Super Short! Anywho, For Sacrament they talked about Tithing, and Gospel Principles was the Law of Chastity. So he really got the throw down! haha.
Well Things are still going here in the Burg. I hope all is going well with my Familia. Keep up the good work. Remember that in our times of fear is the time that we need to focus the most on the Lord to help us along our path.
Be good, Pray Always, and Hasten the Lords Work (‘cause time is running out).

Loves Yah!!!
Sister Karen Call

Me and Bonnie!!
Me and the Kinker Girls!! Braliey, Lexi, and Laiken!
Sister Boldrin, Me, and Sister Lytle!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Heartbreak and Joy

Hola Familia!
This week has definitely had it's ups and downs. We had a good talk with Shawna, and she has definitely done a 360 in her spiritual life. Her last question she asked us was "Is Joseph Smith a murderer?" we told her ‘no’. She said, “ Ok, I will only move forward from here and trust you guys.” So that is nice. She has been really trying to understand the scriptures. She loves the bible and we are getting her warmed up to the Book of Mormon, because she doesn't understand why it is so different then the Bible. She'll get there. Shawna has really worked on trying to make things better this week, so it's nice to see her moving forward again.
We also talked to Jaylene this week, she sent us a text saying that she couldn't do it, she can't be like us, and that she felt restricted and it doesn't make her happy. She respects us and loves me to death. She told Sister Gray to not be so Pushy. I'm not exactly sure why she thinks Sister Gray is pushy...but it was really hard to hear. We went over to talk to her, and we caught her just as she was leaving to throw things away so she invited us in. It was a little awkward because a few seconds after we came in her neighbor Ronda came in as well. Ronda is very anti-mormon. Jaylene again told us that she couldn't live like us and didn't want us to feel bad, she did try. I asked her what she tried. Then Ronda put her two cents in: Jaylene really loves her coffee and she can't live without it. Jaylene didn't really say anything on what she tried to do. I feel that the main reason she can't do it is because of the influence of her neighbors around her. She can't take or say no to the peer pressure around her. I don't want to give up on her, but she won't answer our texts or answer the door. So I'm just praying that we can catch her outside one of these days. but it is getting cold and people go outside less. So I'm just praying for an opportunity!!
During Exchanges a week or so ago we ran into a lady named Elizabeth. We were able to talk to her again this week. She kept telling us that she had memory and brain problems, but she had a lot of questions about the bible. She asked a lot of good questions, like the scripture in 2 Cor on women being silent because the law says so. She also asked us about the third heaven which is mentioned in 2 Cor12:2. I'm not a hundred percent sure if it is referring to the Telestial World. But that was a good segway into the plan of salvation. She had a lot of questions about the Spirit world and such. We gave her a Book of Mormon, The Restoration, and the Plan of Salvation to go over. She may not have a very good memory, but she may be one way into talking to a lot of people. So hopefully things go well with her and we can keep coming back.
Our ward had a fun Trunk or Treat activity on Wednesday as well. I was surprised when Jaylene showed up. We had invited her and so had another member in the ward to come. She didn't respond back to us, but she did to the member saying that she would do her best to come. So she came. She was a little awkward at the party, but her kids had fun. It was a good activity. Not a lot of members invited their friends, but there were quite a few people there so it was good. The kids had really awesome costumes, and the members had us, the missionaries, do the judging of the costumes. Way to make us the bad guys - who crush little children's dreams.    There were a ton of activities to do in the Church. We did the donut eating  on a string (we raced against the Elders... I lost... I eat to slow haha). Sis Cox was dressed up as a fortune teller and was telling fortunes. She told me I was going to be married in a beautiful building, and I was going to have five kids, and that I was going to be very successful.... hmmm.. my fortune sounded like the previous five peoples fortunes as well. Ha, ha. Anywho she made it really fun. She was a very startling teller. She would randomly yell/scream in the middle of her sentence. I also checked two more things off my bucket list!! Well the first is obvious: I went to a Trunk or Treat party. The Second was: Bobbing for apples. I bobbed for an apple - first time in my life! It is really gross if you think about it, and I was thinking about it the entire time as I prepared myself to do it. Eww... Lets just say I got the apple on the first try. Some of the members got a picture of it. I wish I had gotten one as well but I did not. Halloween is weird here. They had a set time for Trick or Treating, which makes sense because this area is super sketch.  So the kids could go out between 5:30 and 7:30. Two hours to get it done! Definitely would have to hit the most populated area (or the nicest area). We were wondering what we were going to do during Halloween, but a member invited us over for dinner during it so it was perfect.
Something interesting also happened, so while I was on exchanges with Sister Herzog on Friday everything seemed to be falling through, but we had a set dinner appointment with the Lyons in our ward. Low and Behold Sister Herzog knew Sister Lyons sister! They live in Utah. So that was interesting. So they had a fun time talking about her sister and all of the stuff that they were doing. We shared a Mormon message with them on the miracle of our bodies by Elder Nielson.     After dinner I didn't really have anything planned out to do, and all of our back up plans we had already tried and they were busy... so I was like ok lets try the Stevens. It's night time, maybe they will be home. This was an  idea because they don't really live very close by. It took us 30 min, to drive there. Well when we got there Melinda opened the door and she invited us in! So that was cool, and then randomly Meighan was there too. I was super confused because BYU is going right now and she was home. She was randomly there for a sewing competition, she would only be her for this weekend. So that was a random kawinkadink. But still cool.
Exciting news for this week! Shane and Rhonda are getting married! They announced it last Friday that they were just going to get married without Shane's mothers permission. The Wedding will be on Thursday at 7pm. Shane is pretty excited because he said that all he needs to do is get married, and quit smoking and he can be baptized and receive the Priesthood. Once he is married it will be a lot easier for him to quit smoking. They are also looking for a new house to move into, because his mom is kicking them out. So that is exciting. In a random sad but exciting kinda way. They are taking huge steps to improve their lives and I am so happy for them!!! WEDDISM!!!

So this week has been pretty interesting. Lots of random things happening, but hey! That's What makes MISSIONS AWESOME!!!
Random thing that I thought of this week: I have all that I need waiting back home, I don't know what it is, or what I've got that's missing from all the people out here. They walk around with eyes glazed over, Searching for something better. But with eyes half closed and minds unopened. They can't see the joy in front of them.

I loves you ALL, and I hope this week goes well and things are awesome, and that you guys all know that you are all awesome, and yeah!

Sister Karen Call

 One of these pictures is a view from the Bishop's house over the Ohio River.  The rest are just random.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Knocking on Wood

Holla Familia!
It's been an interesting week. Finished Studying Charity and Virtue. Now I just need to apply them into my life! "Charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the Truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things" Moroni 7:45. To have Compassion, Patience, and Mercy. recognizing that we are all Children of God. So far... There are a lot of things that I need to work on to be more charitable... Then there is Virtue - "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above Rubies." Proverbs 3:10. (Phili 4:8) I also thought of the 13th Article of Faith as well, “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men, indeed we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul - we believe all things we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. if there is anything Virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” Cha-chow!! telling you straight up what to be in life! I also learned a lot from PMG about virtue: What you choose to think and do when you are alone and you believe no one is watching is a strong measure of your Virtue. Pray for strength to resist temptations and control your thoughts and do what is right. Quickly repent of any sins or wrong doings. You can Become Pure and Virtuous. There is hope until the end.
Anywho, that is what I learned from Charity and Virtue these past few weeks. I also liked what my mom sent me this last week 'by small things, great things are accomplished. Do your Best.. and the Lord will make up the rest.... You cannot buy Charity. People who serve with Charity give true love and concern, and are then blessed by the Lord.'  Remember that WE are the reason God created the Universe... we are his work and his Glory. Compared to God we are nothing yet we are everything to God.' I also liked something that my cousin Megan said that 'When Obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes a quest, in that moment, God will endow us with power' (E.T. Benson) I also going over old letters and I liked a quote that my sister Sherie sent me: What if you were to fast from negative or critical or worldly talk? or maybe you could fast from a habit you are trying to change. As you engage in service and the fasting from the behavior that takes you away from the spirit, you will feel a renewal of the Spirit of the Lord - Robert H Daines.
I also read from Stand a Little Taller (I think that is what it is called, by President Hinkley?)
it is inspiration for everyday of the year. So I read my birthday: "Lifted UP at the Last Day - Whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up in the last day (Alma 36:3) We know much of loneliness. We may know discouragement and frustration. we may know adversity and trouble and pain. I would hope not. but you know and I know, that suffering comes to many sometimes it is mental. Sometimes it is physical. Sometimes it may even be Spiritual. Ours is the duty to walk by faith, rising above the evils and trials of the world. we are sons and daughters of God. Ours is a divine birthright. Ours is a divine Destiny."     I thought it was pretty cool, and it went really well with how I was feeling that day, because I wrote it down in my little book and that is why you know about it now :)

I'm just going to share some of what I wrote to my President because it basically goes over what I have been doing all week:
It has been an interesting week. I don't think I have gone Tracting or Harvesting so much in my entire three months of being on a mission. We have done it basically every day because things have been falling through most of our days. I enjoy going Harvesting - at least I think it is Harvesting where you go around praying with people? It's funny to hear some of the people say that they are Christian and say no to a prayer. It makes me laugh. I don't think I have held hands with so many people while saying a prayer either. We have done a lot of walking at night looking for open doors or lights that are on. So far most of the people have told us that it's too late and to go home. It is interesting to walk around at night. tI is cold; no one is outside and most people have their lights on and are asleep - it's strange. So far nothing has happened at night, but we will keep going. I was super frustrated one night after a few days of tracting and harvesting that I was wondering what we could do differently with our tracting approach. So I had a neat experience with PMG. I looked up Effective use of time, because I'm not going to lie; I felt like we were wasting our time going out in the dark and in the cold knocking on doors and asking them if they wanted to learn more about Jesus. Everyone already knows about Jesus (for the most part). So I wanted to know what we could do to better use our time. We haven't been able to receive any referrals to contact, so I was just looking for something! Then I turned to Tracting Skills. I guess this was the time that it really clicked in my head that we can't just go out and ask people if they want to hear another message about Jesus. We need to start sharing with them a part of the message and spark something inside of them. If we just say Jesus, then it will be the same response we get every time - I know Jesus, No thanks. So in PMG it says to share a piece of a message such as ‘God is our Loving Heavenly Father or Families can be together forever because...’ and give them like a two or three sentence of the First Lesson. and then see if they would like to find out more about how Families can be together, or why God loves us, etc. So that was a neat thing to finally click into my head. Now it's just figuring out how to say it (ha,ha.) So far lots of words stumbling on my part.
We haven't been able to talk to Jaylene for about a week or so. The last lesson we taught with her was the Law of Chastity and since then she hasn't talked to us. I mentioned how she wasn't there for the appointment that she promised she would be there for. She has been telling us that this week has been just to busy, and there is a lot going on. We tried talking to her last night, but she texted us saying that she was too busy getting the children bathed and ready for tomorrow. We asked her if we could come and see her today and she said that her daughter had a doctor appt. Wow, That's a really long appt, if she can't meet all day. so we will see how things work out. Hopefully we will be able to catch her soon, and figure out what we did wrong or what is going on in her life. I do not think she will be prepared by Nov. 9th to be baptized, but we will see.
I have had a question that has been running on my mind for a while, and I haven't been able to figure it out. The little bit that I have figured out, I don't know how to say it... “How do you forgive someone you don't want to forgive, or Love someone you don't want to love?” There is the scriptures that we are to forgive everyone, and to love everyone, but I don't know How to do that, Let alone explain to someone how to do it. Maybe I am looking for the wrong answer. Maybe I am looking too much for the answer that addresses my question exactly.

It has been a super rough week of things falling through and Knocking on Wood and trying to find people....Solid investigators! So far no luck, but I know they are somewhere hiding in these Ohio hills. Somewhere... Hiding really well. The thought of people who are looking for something greater, but are falling into despair come to my mind. The Story of the Battered Violin comes to mind:  Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin, But held it up with a smile "What am I bidden, good folks" he cried, "Who'll start the bidding for me" "A dollar, a dollar"; then "two!""Only two?" two dollars, and who'll make it three? "Three dollars, once; three dollars twice; going for three --" but no... From the room, far back, a gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow. Then wiping the dust form the old violin, and tightening the loose strings, he played a melody pure and sweet as a caroling angel sings. The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low, said, "What am I bid for the old violin?" and he held it up with the bow. "A Thousand dollars and who'll make it two? Two Thousand! and Who'll make it Three? Three Thousand, once, Three Thousand, twice, and going, and gone!" said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried " We do not understand, what changed it's worth" Swift came the reply: "The touch of the Master's Hand" And many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred, with sin, is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin. But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd never can quite understand, the worth of a soul and the change that's wrought by the Touch of the Masters Hand.          There is also a quote by Pres Monson:  At times there appears to be no light at the tunnel's end - no dawn to break the night’s darkness. We feel surrounded by the pain of broken hearts, the disappointment of shattered dreams, and the despair of vanished hopes... if you find yourself in such a situation, I plead with you to turn to our Heavenly Father in Faith. He will lift you and guide you. He will not always take your affliction from you, but He will comfort and lead you with Love through whatever storm you face.     Hope is the anchor for the soul, the sail for our dreams, and the balm for our pains. It is the one-size solution that fits all.

I have learned a lot about continually having hope in all that I do. I do get frustrated easily, but I don't wallow in my anger. I try and find a solution that will work out. Most of the time I end up with a lot of awesome quotes that fill my little book, and most of the time I can't remember what I was feeling when I wrote down half of the things in my little book, but it makes me feel better every time I review them. I may not have taught as many lessons or had a great time. But I did learn a lot about keep moving forward and trying to learn more. Even though I felt like I was Knocking on Wood to keep my luck moving and nothing seemed to be working out. I know that my Savior loves me and is watching out for me and I can do all things in the Masters Hands.      Now that I have drowned you in quotes and in feelings. I feel like I wrote you a poem or something haha. I love you all and I hope everything is going well.
Hope School, Work, and Families are going well. If there is ever anything I can do to help any of you. Let me know and I will do my best :)

Loves Yah!!!

Sister Karen Call

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Light and Darkness

Holla Familia!
So I have been thinking a lot about Light and Darkness this week, because it has been an interesting first week after Transfers, and I have been trying to adjust to the new things that are happening around me. I expressed some of my concerns with President Pitt and he suggested writing down everything that I think and feel as the weeks go on. and I wrote down: Thoughts of Darkness seep their way in - on the weak and unprepared mind. Once it is in - it is hard to get out. The darkness consumes everything in its path. We all have a light - oh how feeble it looks in the Darkness, but that little glimmer brings us hope. We may be consumed in the darkness of the world, but we have our little light - our little light grows day by day and the darkness can not keep it away. Darkness has no power over the Light. So remember, this simple thing, Don't Put Out Your Light.      A few days later we went to the Library because we are supposed to do twice a week for two hours. and I watched the Patterns of Light by David A Bednar. all three of the videos. And I was like my goodness this is basically what I was thinking, and feeling. Why doesn't God give us revelation and direction in everything that we do? for the longest time I felt like it was because I wasn't good enough for it, that I was doing something wrong. but that is not it. God does not need to command us in all things, because he TRUSTS us. How weird is that to think, that if you are living righteously and doing all you can to come unto God, that if you aren't receiving constant revelation on how to better live your life, it is because God Trusts you to make the right choice. God's Trust. That is one divine power of trust!
I also had a thought later on the song in Anastasia where Rasputin is singing 'In the middle of the night Darkness will find her.' and then the Lion King popped into my head where Scar is singing "Be Prepared!!!!" and I just thought Holy Smokes. The Dark Side of the Force is coming to get us! Their words of when they will come and get us, that they are preparing constantly to overcome us. Just waiting for that moment to be able to destroy us in our weak moments. It is crazy how much you can think of when you are thinking of Light and Darkness.
I also thought a lot about Anger and how anger doesn't get you anywhere. I thought of a quote by Ghandi, at least I think it was him... if not someone else said it: “anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else/ or burning someone else. The only person who gets burned is you”.      I think Ghandi was right for the most part. Anger is like grasping a hot coal - you do get burned, but that hot coal is still hot when pressed against other. The longer you hold onto Anger the longer you will burn - the bigger the scar you will have when you let it go. There will also be scars on those that you burn along your path when you were in anger. So is Anger Really worth it?

We had Stake Conference Yesterday and there was a lot of inspirational things that were said. One that I really thought was interesting was the question: Would you die for the Gospel? are there some who need to live the Gospel before we die? If you don't Love the Gospel, you won't live it. Don't just believe and know it is true. Live it and Love it because you know.    There are many gifts that the Lord give us, but who are we to reject those gifts. Many are called but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? because they choose not to be chosen. If we accept what the Lord wants us to do - he will give us power to accomplish and do much more. Our Father in Heaven loves us the way we are but he loves us too much for us to stay that way. We are meant to be continually growing and loving. If we were meant to hit a stand still sometime in our life where we would know and understand all happiness, then we would stop learning or progressing. I want to continually grow and progress. Lucy, one of our investigators, told me: "You know what Sister Call, I like something about you. When you don't know the answer to something you don't just give me an answer, you look it up, and figure it out. A lot of people in other churches would just tell you what they think." I'm trying to understand this Gospel every single day of my life. and it won't end when I get off my mission. There is sooo much that I don't know, and at this moment can't comprehend, but I know eventually as I study it out in my mind, and ponder about it then it will become clear to me.

This week has been interesting with it's ups and downs, but I'm not trying - I am Doing. Do or Do not, There is no Try.

Love yah all and I hope everything is going well!

Sister Karen Call

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Nicotine Fits and Transfer Scares

Holla Family!
First and foremost this is the address that will forever work to send me stuff:
 888 Oakwood Rd. #310 Charleston West Virginia 25314
It has been a crazy week and I don't have much time to email today. I'm just going to start off how awesome Conference was, and having it in the perspective of a missionary. Do you know how many times they said Member Missionary work in there?! aahhh!! I was like c'mon ward GET WITH IT!! haha we will see.

We started the 7 day Quit Smoking Program with Jaylene this past week. We introduced the program and started it in a members home, the Shermans. The program is SUPER cheesy! Jaylene kept saying throughout the program "I am ready to quit - it is time and I'm going to do it!" the 'hardest' part of the program was when Jaylene had to crush her own cigarettes. I just want to say how nasty cigarettes are... they are, ugh, They are so creepy and the tobacco falls out on you as you even touch them. So breaking them all of the tobacco goes all over the place! ew. so nasty. I don't know why people smoke - It makes you smell bad, and all of those who are around you smell bad as well! I know because we have to sit around people smoking all of the time! So if I smell like smoke when I come home I promise I am not a smoker. Anywho, back to Jaylene. She is such a trooper. She was having a crappy day/week to start off with. She lost her job, had a headache, didn't feel good. Yet she was willing to take the steps to a better life. She knows what she is doing and she is willing to do it! I wish there were more people so willing to change. The people here are so 'set in their ways' . they have been for generations, and they feel no desire or motivation to change. That is probably why they are so laid back in everything and their economy is collapsing. It is really sad to watch and hear of all the problems of things going on around you. They don't think they can do anything, but most of all they aren't willing to try anything new or fix anything.
The Bradley's also started the Quit Smoking Program. Ronda is having the Hardest time! Caleb told us last night before we came over that She was having terrible Nicotine Fits and that we probably shouldn't ask her how she was doing or she would give us a line of cussing. haha Thanks Caleb for the heads up! on the other hand, Shane who was the Chain smoker, crushed his cigarettes and hasn't had a problem yet, he hasn't even complained or had a raised temper. So we hope to be able to help Ronda and be more comforted and calm. Ronda was supposed to start the program the same time Jaylene did. But Ronda kept putting it off till Shane could do it with her.

We had Zone meeting on Friday and the focus was: Trust in the Lord and Move On. we watched the video of Joseph Smith- well bits and pieces of it. The trials he faced, and yet he pushed through them all. The part that stuck out to me was when Emma asked him if he ever doubted in the Lord or thought the Lord asked to much. Joseph replied that he did not allow himself to think such thoughts. he never allowed himself any time or room to doubt what he was doing. we need to believe in ourselves and our purpose here! things are going to push against us at all times - but we need to Trust in the Lord and Move On. Which I know is easier said than done during times of trial, but that is when we need the love of the Lord the most in our lives. We can either choose to come closer to Him, or we can choose to distance ourselves and become cold.      In our final district meeting together we talked about the importance of boundaries. How our ward has given us boundaries, our mission has given us boundaries, and how our daily life should have boundaries. These life boundaries are what we make them; they can either follow God's Commandments and make it easier to follow him or we can choose different boundaries. Elder Williams gave an analogy of a video game he played (not going to lie I was totally thinking of Fable): How the character could perform light and dark abilities at the beginning. The more he did dark things the less and less light abilities were there for him to preform and eventually he would not have any ability to do light things. The same went for doing light abilities the more and more he did the light abilities the less and less dark abilities were available. Eventually dark abilities could not be performed. That is how we should all strive to be. Continually performing "light' abilities. Doing good to our fellow beings. The more we do them, the more we Choose the Right; the harder it will be to do the wrong things. We are continually moving towards the one or the other. there is never a moment of stillness.
After the Meetings Sister Richards and I rushed to the Church to attend a funeral. the Lady was 106 years old!! She wasn't a Mormon, but her son was; so the viewing and stuff was at our church. Bro Urbach spoke/gave her memorial. He is the one with a very mechanical voice. So it was interesting when he would try and tell jokes and stuff, because you couldn't tell, because his voice didn't change at all. He did give a good story though - how we are all beautiful white masted ships. That to all who are standing on the shore (family, friends, etc) we are moving toward the Horizon. They continue to watch us as we get to the edge of the Horizon and slip out of view. We are gone to those who were standing on the shore. on the other side of the Horizon, there are those who are waiting - waiting on the shore for the beautiful white masted ship to arrive. You come over the Horizon and get closer and closer to those who have been waiting for you. As soon as we leave this 'Horizon" it is not the end. There is the other side that we will join. They are waiting there for us. Arms open, waiting and excited. The Idea of a Spirit World brings me comfort. I find it much more comforting than going straight to Heaven or Hell. I don't know maybe that is just me. but knowing that there is still time; time to work - time to remember.

So we had a Transfer Scare this week. Our area has been really struggling... Well mostly we have been having a really hard time working with the ward. We had a meeting with the Bishop and he finally told us the feeling that the ward members were having toward us how we were being too Pushy. That they were feeling Pressured and he doesn't want them to have any pressure. I'm not going to lie.. Everyone needs a little Pressure in life. If there isn't Pressure than nothing will get done. There is Good pressure and Bad Pressure, but I don't feel like we have been giving the ward any pressure. We don't really do anything with them. So we finally settled our concerns with the Bishop, and he set some boundaries for us to work within. Our Mission President has been hearing of our struggles and didn't know what to do with us and our ward. it was a tough situation. He called us on Sunday and told us that he was thinking about transferring the both of us out and putting two new sisters in. We were devastated to hear this. Our area would completely crumble. we shared our concern with Him, and he said he would continue to pray and figure out what needed to be done. In the morning he called and asked to speak with me and asked me what I thought. I'm still really terrible at expressing feelings and thoughts and all of that fun stuff, but I let him know that having this change would not be good for the ward or for the area. That change is what the ward was having a hard time with, and that by switching out all of the missionaries it would make the matter worse. He thanked me and then told both Sister Richards and I that he had come to a decision in the matter. Sister Richards would be transferred out and I will be staying in Wheelersburg. I'm so happy with the decision. but I am also sad to have Sister Richards go. She is the only companion I have had so far. I don't know how my new companion will be. But yah know what, change is awesome! and I am going to love my new companion to the max!
The one quote that stuck out to me during General Conference this week that has really applied to all that has been going on. Given by president Uchtdorf: Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith
Never EVER doubt your faith. well I have to go now, much to do before transfers tomorrow and not much time!
I love you all and I hope everything is going well!
Sister Karen Call


Monday, September 30, 2013

Quick To Anger

Holla family!
So I learned a good lesson this week about my personality. I naturally have been very Quick to Anger. When people are beating down on the things I hold dear to me or they are being rude. I will not tolerate it. Unfortunately, that is not the solution. Anger will not get you anywhere close to the Savior and what he is teaching. It was really difficult for me as one thing after another started popping up. There was one particular moment this week the tip of the iceberg you could say, and low and behold a song popped into my head. And for those of you who don't know - complete songs don't pop into my head only choruses and stuff, but this entire song come into my mind.
Did You Think To Pray (Hymn #140)

Ere you left your room this morning,
Did you think to pray?
In the name of Christ, our Savior,
Did you sue for loving favor
As a shield today?

When your heart was filled with anger,
Did you think to pray?
Did you plead for grace, my brother,
That you might forgive another
Who had crossed your way?

When sore trials came upon you,
Did you think to pray?
When your soul was full of sorrow,
Balm of Gilead did you borrow
At the gates of day?

Oh, how praying rests the weary!
Prayer will change the night to day.
So, when life gets dark and dreary,
Don't forget to pray.

I instantly stopped being angry. It isn't going to get me anywhere. It isn't going to make me happy. It isn't going to move the work in this mission forward. There is no positive side to being angry. It just leaves you dark, cold, and bitter. This song has literally been with me every single day. Burning inside my mind. Did I think to Pray? was that my initial reaction to the whole situation? No. But it is stuck to me now. Having a prayer in heart for all of the craziness that is going on around me.

Anywho, lightness of this week. I found out I have an awesome sister that loves me :) Thanks Sherie for the Awesomeness of that package!! It made this week so much better! Everything about it lifted my spirits. Especially Will's Words of Wisdom/Advice. The "homemade taffy" was pretty good too :)              I also got two new nephews!!! YAY!! by the time I see them they will probably be walking around and saying random stuff that doesn't make sense, but hey they will still be awesome and cute!!

So last Monday Sister Richards and I went to the Portsmouth Murals. It is this huge dam wall that has the history of Portsmouth drawn on it. It took a really long time to see all of the pictures.  We found the Lamanites drawn on the wall :)  We had a lot of fun finding little mistakes here and there of spelling and different things. After we spent almost 2 hours there we headed home and got ready to go to dinner. We went to Linda, Jon and Kiteley's home and we had MEATLOAF!! not going to lie I was a little worried because I have never had meatloaf before. I have never tried it, because it sounds gross. Like come on! Meat? in a Loaf? Anywho, It was amazingly delicious....  of course... I guess hers would be called Meat pancakes or something because it wasn't cooked in a loaf. It was delicious and that is all I can say. We had an interesting conversation about spiders and snakes. What we are afraid of and such. Which then lead us into talking about God, and how he created all things :) We read Alma 18, because Kiteley has no idea who or what God is. She wasn't grown up with any religion at all and everything is new to her. It is really interesting to try and explain who God is to someone who has never heard of him before. I suggest you all try it some time. Later that night we went and saw Shawna, and she did something pretty nasty... She squished a spider... with her hand. She just smacked it! Oh good times.

On Tuesday we had specialized Training in Ashland. President Pitt and his assistants were there to teach us. One of the big points they told us was that we needed to work on was Unity. If you are not united in purpose - and this refers to everything in life that you try - then it will not work, or it will take twice as long to get things accomplished. The ward I am currently in Really needs to work on it's Unity.    The one thing that really stuck out to me was a talk given by Elder Holland The First Great Commandment October 2012 General Conference. We only watched the last bit of the talk. He told the Story of Jesus and his disciples how when Jesus was gone Peter basically said "well, we have learned a lot. Lets go fishing". How one night they were on the water and they hadn't caught anything all night and it was coming morning and someone on the shore told them to cast their nets on the right side. You can imagine them saying "who is this person telling us what to do?" but they did it and their nets filled so full they could not pull it in. At that moment Peter knew it was Christ. He jumped out of the boat and swam to the shore. Christ was there and he had made them breakfast. He Continually was Serving! Peter sat down and they began to talk. Christ turned to Peter and asked him "Do you love me?" Peter answered "Yes Lord I love thee" Christ asked again "Peter Do you love me?" Peter answered again "Yes Lord I love thee" Finally Christ said the third time "Peter Do YOU Love ME!" You can imagine Peter in his despair of Christ’s question and he again responded "Yes Lord I love thee". More than Fishing and Nets More than anything he had done before. From that time forward Peter became the great at working miracles. There is NO going Back. There is no leaving this Faith. You need to stay this course forever. You cannot go back.      Listen to the Talk.

I imagine the Lord asking me that question "Karen, Do You Love Me?" Everything I look back to, what I could fall back into doing come to mind. I realized - I Can NEVER go back. The desire and the thought of going back will stop me from my progression of moving forward. I Have to stop thinking of all of the negative things that hold me back and stop me from progressing. Negative thoughts aren't going to get me anywhere. I may not be the most scripturally versed, the most brilliant, the strongest in speech. I may not be able to run as fast, jump as high, or do things as well as others. But Hey, I'm not them. I am me, and I have to progress at the stage I am at to get there. I can't run a marathon in one day if I haven't trained for it. Well... I guess I could, but I definitely would not feel very good, or I would be passed out somewhere on the side of the road. We all have to start from the beginning. Some are naturally more talented than others. It's like the Parable of the Talents. Some are given more than others, but it all depends on what we do with our Talents that really matter.

We set Jaylene on date this week for Nov 9th. She is an amazing example of a someone striving to find the gospel. She realizes the happiness that it brings, and she is willing to sacrifice - her friends, her family. All for the truth of the gospel and what it can and will bring her. She has her head on straight and she is willing to go all the way to gain that happiness that is promised. Jaylene came to the Relief Society Broadcast this weekend and she also came to church on Sunday. It was her first time there! She thought it was interesting, but a little strange how school like it felt.

We also talked with Lucy. We taught about Faith and Repentance with her. She told us that she had a dream about her father and how it seemed so real. Like he was telling her it was Okay to get baptized and join this church. As we talked she told us the only thing that was holding her back now was that she could not forgive this man.  She does not feel worthy to be baptized if she cannot forgive him. Forgiveness is a hard thing for a lot of people. Including me. It isn't something that can be taught or learned from a book. The steps of forgiveness are there, but the actual forgiveness part is so much harder. Someday she will be baptized. I hope to be able to attend Jaylene and Lucy's baptisms.

I don't really have much else to say about this week. I have learned a lot about the importance of coming closer to the Lord. We need to Turn Outward instead of Inward. We must all seek diligently at this time to come closer to the Lord. the work is hastening. There is a sense of urgency, that some members are taking as a pushy feeling and do not like it. This is not the time to take offense. This is not the time to doubt. This is not the time to second guess all of what we have been taught. We need to walk to the edge of the light and then take a few steps into the darkness before the light can be illuminated again. Pray for this work, Pray for the people searching for the gospel, Pray for the missionaries that they may have the patience and faith to be able to find these people, and remember: Did you think to Pray? Along with Prayer we need to act. We cannot sit around and wait for things to happen. If you sit in a room all of your life asking God to send you friends because you are lonely, then nothing will happen. No one knows you are there. No one knows you need a friend. Sometimes miracles do happen, but they are usually after we show our Faith.

I Challenge all of you this week to Look up and work on the Christlike attribute of Faith in Jesus Christ and do everything you can to learn about it, and to apply it into your life.

God loves you, I love you, and everything is going to work out in the end. Continually press forward with a steadfastness in Christ and you will be blessed. Whether in this life, or in the Eternities. I do not know.

I love you all, be good, sorry if everything is so random,

Love Sister Karen Call

Monday, September 23, 2013

Week of Criminals

Holla Familia!!
This week has been pretty interesting.
Monday: We have been able to start talking to Jaylene again! She has also been keeping her commitments of reading the Book of Mormon! Yay! We read the first few chapters with her and explained what they meant. It was good to go over it slowly with her, so that she understood what everything. There is so much information in the first few pages of the Book of Mormon that a lot of people don't understand. They skip a lot of words while reading. No wonder they are so confused when they read! That is something I have noticed about the people out here... they all can't read very well and they have no motivation to learn new things on their own. You have to poke and prod them every step of the way. So when we find someone who will do things on their own and can understand it pretty well It's GREAT!! Jaylene needs the motivation to do it and the belief that she can do things on her own. But for the most part we don't have to walk her through what she Feels. She knows how she Feels when she is reading, and is around us. So that is good.
We also talked to Marie, the German Exchange student that is staying with the Biggs. We still aren't sure how much she understands but she does enjoy when we come over. We taught her about the Resurrection, Final Judgement and the Three Degrees of Glory. It was interesting to hear what she thought was going to happen when we die.... Heaven or Hell.
Tuesday: We went and talked to Lucy. Well this time Lucy talked at us for basically the entire time. So it wasn't that eventful of a meeting with her, but we did talk about a few things that she saw and didn't really like about the Mormon culture. How we are all super clicky. We stick together and don't let anyone in, until they are one of us. Unfortunately it is true. Especially in the West because it is more densely populated with Mormons. She told us how her Son wasn't accepted or loved by any of the Mormons until he was baptized. She told us that everyone at his baptism told her how proud and excited they were for him. That made her mad - like he wasn't good enough before, and that he had to be a member in order to be accepted. On the other hand. She loves church here. She has been going for at least 5 weeks now. She loves the members, the lessons, and the atmosphere of church. So She is sitting on the fence on how she feels about us right now.
After Lucy we went and talked to Darren. He is a Man who lives next to Shawna. He is average height, and very thin. I'm taller and bigger than he is. Anywho, He isn't the greatest of people. He isn't rude or mean or anything, but he is a drug dealer and smokes all the time. He is amazing in one way. He can see the light that we have around us, and he is very observant and perceptive. He can make things click in his mind. That a lot of people we have to explain 20 times to before they even understand what we are talking about. Darren really wants to change his life, and he knows that the things he is doing right now "parking his car in a restricted zone and not paying for it thus he was thrown in jail" He doesn't want that anymore. He wants to be a better example to his son and to his wife. He can't keep living like this, or he won't be living much longer. One thing that he tells us every time he sees us: I want to be able to smile all the time like you ladies do as you walk around. I want to be Happy. It will be an awesome miracle when he turns around and makes his life right.
That night we went on Splits with Jill. It was so crazy trying to get Jill here, because she didn't have a GPS and she kept doing the opposite of everything we told her to do... so finally we told her to stop at the Dollar Store and wait for us to come and guide her to where our appointment was. We went over to Jaylene's. Jaylene explained what she read in the Book of Mormon to us. It was great to hear her making connections of the things she was reading all on her own! After that we taught her Faith in Jesus Christ and Repentance. She sad she already knew all of that stuff but would look for more ways to apply it to her life. It was nice to have Jill there to have an extra testimony of what we were telling her to be true.
Wednesday: It was another strange day today. No one was home. We finally were able to talk to Gus though! Gus is an interesting man. he is in his 70's. He has been in and out of Prison for stealing and beating people up. He was in the Military and had been in a war. He had his license taken away for drinking and driving too much. Lets just say he has an interesting past. He has been through everything imaginable! He even was homeless for a while and lived in the back of a Bakery in a garbage container, and he would wait in there till the bakery people would throw their left over bagels of the day in the dumpster - It would make him warm and it fed him. He told us it was wonderful. Also at this moment his worst enemy in the world had moved in across the street from him and had tried to jump him a few nights earlier, but luckily another neighbor was out and prevented anything from happening. Let me remind you, Gus is 70, and he was being jumped by some 30-40 year old guy. Gus told us that he wasn't allowed to have a gun, but he did have a pellet gun, and a machete in case he broke into his house. He said that he would get him good if he broke in. You are probably wondering why in the world we would ever, ever, ever talk to this man. He must be crazy or something. Gus has learned a lot from God, and that he is still alive for a reason. He has done a lot of bad things, but he has also done a lot of good things. He has a twinkle in his eye of hope. He knows that there are bigger and greater things out there that he doesn't fully understand, and he has that desire to be good. So we are working on him. We read from the Book of Mormon with him the story of Ammon and how he defended the kings sheep and cut off the arms. We then left the next chapter for him to read. Gus is half Native American so when he heard about the Great Spirit he was super excited. He is a great old guy.
After talking to Gus we headed to Mutual. Sister Richards and I helped out by being 'Flight Attendants' it was a Culture night. They had the countries Japan, India, Guatemala, and Germany. They learned about what customs they had and the food that they ate - each country had some food to try it was fun. The safety video was pretty awesome. It was 'New Zealand Airlines' and it was Lord of the Rings based. It was super funny, I suggest if you ever have time to look for it... I don't really know what it is called... but yeah. Anywho, after mutual we went over to Mandy and Michael's. We taught Michael the Word of Wisdom and then told them that we were handing them over to the Elders, because they were in the Elders area and that was the only way that Michael was going to continue progressing. He needs Male support now.
Thursday: We met an interesting 'family' today. We mostly talked to Kelly and Junipher. but there was also a man named Brian. They live in a trailer that is basically a shack. They have one couch and a very small TV. Kelly is an interesting lady... She has 5 children, and she is expecting her 6th. All of her Kids have different fathers. She told us that she had really bad luck... ehhh... I think it's a little more than luck against ya... Kelly also told us that she kept getting ripped off by people she had given money too. We can't exactly tell her that what she is doing in her life is what is causing all the problems, because that is not our place; we probably would never be able to talk to them again. soo we sat and listened to her problems. After listening for a while we taught her the Restoration. She latched onto current day prophets. She said that it made complete sense to have someone to lead and guide this crazy world today. So I guess that is one good thing. She also expressed interest in watching General Conference. I don't know how that will work out because she doesn't live anywhere near the church building, and she probably doesn't have Dish, or whatever TV thing we need to watch General Conference on.  General Conference will be from 12-2 and 4-6 here. I had to remind Sister Richards that because we were in a different time zone, that conference wouldn't be at the same time as it was in Utah/ Idaho.
Friday: We went to Jaylene's with Sister Kritzwiser. We taught Jaylene about Baptism. Jaylene told us that she was glad that we had taught that because she really had no idea what it meant. She hasn't ever been baptized because her mother told her that she needed to find out the meaning of baptism before she would be allowed too. She also asked several other people and they all told her that it was up to her to find out the true meaning of baptism. Jaylene didn't even know where to start so she didn't even bother looking for the answer. So we were the very first people to ever explain what it meant to be baptized to her. No pressure or anything. Sister Kritzwiser was awesome to have out with us. She happened to have the same job that Jaylene had and she has also not had the best marriage. so she was able to relate to Jaylene very well. Sister Kritzwiser also made it possible for Jaylene to attend the Ward Picnic we were having that night as well. Sister Kritzwiser is a stellar woman and I wish more of the members were like her.
The Picnic was pretty great. There was about 1/2 members, and 1/2 non members there, about 50-70 people. It was a big potluck. For the most part the food was awesome, and the games were awesome, basically the whole thing went really well. Jaylene's kids had a blast! so that was great!
Sunday: Church went really well, sister Richards and I taught the Preach my Gospel class on Developing Talents. The class is getting bigger every week - a wee bit claustrophobic - but it was all good we all love each other a lot, right?!  We had two member meals!! it was great! The first was lunch with the Lyons. Sister Lyons is a runner. She ran in the Saint George Ironman I believe at the same time as Ana! She talked about how the weather was super terrible and the swimming was a disaster. So I think it was the same Ironman... Anywho, for dinner we ate with Sister Despain. She has a non-member husband who is rather interesting... He has a super deep scruffy voice, and didn't really want to socialize with us. Sister Despain is an awesome lady, who does her best to share the gospel.
That night we went and taught the Bradley's about Tithing. It is really hard to keep the lessons short because Ronda can really go off on the hard times in her life that related to money, and paying tithing. But it was good to go and talk to them.

Well I've got to go. Just remember that the gospel is for everyone not just for those who look like they would fit into the gospel. The Brightest Diamond is found in the biggest and blackest piece of Coal. We all are being put through the refiners fire. How we take the heat determines how we grow.

I love yah all and I hope everything is going well!!

Sister Karen Call