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

Monday, September 16, 2013

"I Told Him If He Didn't Sign it, I Would Punch His Face In"

Holla Familia!!!
This week has been pretty great. I am sooo tired right now you have no idea! My eyes be twitching and everything! There has been so much to do and such little time I wish the days were longer so we could get everything we needed to done. We have been working like crazy with our investigator Shawna (Shauna, I found out it was spelt with a w this week) to make sure that she was completely ready for baptism. Because Baptism is a big commitment and we don't want just any joe shmoe. We don't Baptize people just to Baptize. They have to live the Purpose. They need to have Faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, Repent continually of their Sins, be Baptized, Receive the Holy Ghost; AND Endure to the END!! That means forever and ever! Not just on weekends, or holidays, or all throughout May. Every single day! We are taking upon us the name of Christ and promising to be an example, standing in his place. How stressful would that be?!?! But it shouldn't be. If you are living your life in a righteous way, then it should just come. But if something is tugging at the back of our minds telling us that we need to do something differently... we should probably listen.
This past Tuesday we went and spoke to CC. We found out that she was going to be evicted soon, and that she needed to be out by Friday. We had no idea what to do for her, there really isn't anything we could do for her. We had already given her so much advice, and kept teaching her lessons and encouraging her to become more independent. I don't know what will happen.
On a Lighter note, We went and visited Lucy! It was so good. We watched the Restoration with her. She really enjoyed it because it reminded her of how she grew up and the nature shots she kept saying 'look how peaceful it is!' haha It went really well. Then we got off topic and started talking about the world and the bad things that were happening. Somehow I was able to bring it back to the Book of Mormon, and How Awesome it is. Lucy said that she had read it a few times and it was interesting but she didn't really understand it. She would flip it open to a random spot and read. I would be confused to if I read the Book of Mormon the first time like that. I read the promise that if she read the Book of Mormon, and that she pondered and prayed about it that she would get her answer. I also added that with pondering about it we can't read the Book of Mormon like it is another book. It isn't just a book that we read on weekends. It is the words of Prophets that will help lead and guide us through our lives if we apply what they are teaching. This light turned on in Lucy and she was like "That is what I'm doing wrong! I'm reading it like I would read my other books, just to get knowledge out of it. I need to read this book, and get the spiritual guidance out of it." YES! Lucy is progressing so well. She answers her own questions most of the time, and she actually asks questions when she doesn't understand something! Gold Star!
Tuesday night was the last night that we talked with Shawna as well. She works on Wednesdays and Thursdays; and her interview was on Friday and her baptism on Saturday. So this was really the make it or break it week for her. We told her that we needed the paper with the consent of her husband by Thursday Evening. She said she would do it. Later, she texted us saying that she had gotten the consent. We asked her what she had said to her husband and she said: "I told him if he didn't sign it, I would punch his face in." Sister Richards and I laughed... and then thought, we aren't really sure if she is kidding or not! We call her Sassy Shawna because she makes Sassy comments all of the time, so it didn't surprise us when she texted us that... but we hope she didn't really say that to her husband... but that would be funny.
On Wednesday we went to lunch with Sister Southworth and Sister Little. It was interesting talking to Sister Southworth. She is a single woman, and she recently got home about a year ago from her mission in England. She told us how much she missed her mission and how she was depressed for such a long time because she wasn't able to do what really made her happy all of the time. She said it was super hard because she wanted to continue doing all of the studying and everything that she did on her mission, but she had a job she had other things to do now and it made her sad also to see the ward and how it struggled so. The ward is a good ward, but there isn't really a missionary fire set here. They are all good where they are. Sister Southworth is a wonderful lady who takes all of the Investigators and less active members under her wing and tries to get them to come back to church. That is the reason Sister Little started coming back to church. Sister Little was baptized 4 years ago, but as soon as her missionaries left no one was really there to support her as a new member. Sister Southworth was the only one who really talked to her, she was her only support to help her through the hard part at the beginning. It is sad to see how many people are left as soon as they become a member because they don't feel like they belong, they don't know the "Mormon slang" They don't know what they are supposed to be doing, because no one really bothered to show them. So that is what we are working on, getting all of our converts and investigators a firm foundation so that the ward can grow!
Anywho, We went to the Church that night for Young Women's and so that Elder Williams and Sister Richards could practice the song that Shawna wanted sung at her Baptism. It isn't appropriate for during the baptism, but they said that they would play it after the Baptism in the Relief Society room. It is called "I will Rise" It doesn't have all of the instrumental parts and such so it was definitely more reverent than it was before. Elder Williams has a nice voice and Sister Richards is awesome at the Piano - She can play it by sight! Any song! The first time she played it, she played the whole thing with little to no mistakes! My goodness I wish I was that good at the piano, maybe someday.
On Thursday we set up an appointment to go and see Lucy, with the Coopers. Brother and Sister Cooper are both converts to the Church. Brother Cooper knew about the church for about 35 years before he joined. We wanted them to come and share their conversion stories, and we also asked Brother Cooper if he would explain the Priesthood to Lucy. We can explain Priesthood, but sometimes it is easier to hear it from someone who actually holds it and knows all of the details about it. When we got to Lucy's it was awesome how she initiated everything. She asked When and Why the Coopers joined the Church. Then she asked What the Priesthood was and why it was important! It was so great! She is getting closer and closer!
Friday was a really, really, really weird day. No one, and I mean NO ONE was home! We knocked on basically every persons door! It was so strange. The streets were empty, we thought there was a parade or something going on that we didn't know about. I guess everyone works and all the kids are at school from 1-3pm. so it was interesting. We finally stopped at the Ivy's and talked to Bonnie. She has been going through such a hard time. She told us how she used to live in a huge house, and earned this much money, and her kids were relatively decent. But then everything turned for the worse, Troy (her husband) got cancer, they had to move from their house, they retired from their job, her kids stole all their money and became drug addicts, and now she was stuck with all of the grandkids. Everything was just bearing down on her. And she told us that she couldn't do it anymore. We taught her the importance of prayer, and when we pray that we need to ask specific questions, and that we shouldn't wait till God tells us what we should do. I said that our life is kinda like a car. We have to start it, and put it into drive before God can help guide us on which way we should go. She thanked us for the words of encouragement, and said that she would have to work on it. She is a Great lady, and I hope everything goes well.
After talking with Bonnie, we went to Sister Lyons house. Shawna asked if Sister Lyons could sing at her baptism because she has an amazing voice. Sister Lyons is an awesome lady. She has two little girls. It was fun to talk to her about her little girls because they remind me of my cute little nieces and nephews. There aren't very many little kids in the ward, but there are a lot compared to the Youth. Anywho, we had dinner with Sister Lyons and then we headed to the Church to Practice the song I Know that My Redeemer Lives. Sister Lyons really does have an awesome voice.
After Practicing the Song for a while we had our District Meeting and talked about the Christlike Attributes that we wanted to work on to become a better missionary and person in general. THEN came the Time!! Shawna arrived at the church with Sister Sherman. Shawna went with Elder Morgan (our zone leader) for the interview. We were so excited, nervous, and everything. This was it! We would know after this if Shawna was ready to be Baptized. We talked with Sister Sherman in the hall about Shawna's life and how much she could do. All of her potential! Shawna came out of the room and said "I passed!" It was so exciting to see her so happy and enthusiastic. Now it was just waiting till tomorrow.
Saturday: Shawna's Baptism.
I have never been to a Baptism for a convert before. I have only been to my Nephews and Nieces. So I had no idea what to expect or anything. I knew what was happening, but I am just so used to just 'family' Baptisms. Where our family is the ones who conduct it and everything. So it was neat to see the Ward step up and do the things to make this day a special day for Shawna. We were able to get Shawna's daughter Mariah to come and watch her baptism. I said the Opening prayer, Elder Carter gave the talk on Baptism, Sister Sherman gave the talk on the Holy Ghost, Sister Richards played the piano, Elder Williams conducted, and Sister Woodard said the closing prayer. It was exciting to watch the actual baptism. Shawna has been telling us all week the only thing that she was worried about was her hair getting wet. As she was baptized, the first thing that she said when she came out of the water was "Don't look, my hair is wet!" Oh Shawna... haha. We asked her how she felt and it was neat to hear her say "I feel so clean, I feel so good!" Everything went so well, and it was so exciting to watch! My first Baptism!! The Musical Numbers went great; she was so excited to hear Elder Williams and sister Richards play 'I Will Rise' she loved it so much.
On Sunday she was given the Holy Ghost and Confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So Proud.

This week has been so great. It had it's ups and downs. It's left and rights. but I am so excited that I learned so much this week. and I know what real tired feels like :)
I hope everything is going well with everyone. I Love you all.

Sister Karen Call


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

*Smack Forehead* My First Atheist

This week has been pretty good. A lot of interesting things have happened.
On Monday last week we went to the Hospital to Email. It was literally the only place open. So for lunch we knew exactly where we wanted to go: Golden Corral. Only place open on Labor Day. So we told the Elders where we were and what we were doing, and they decided to join us. We started speaking in Scriptural language:
"The Sisters of Wheelersburg entered the land of Portsmouth with much rejoicing as they grew closer to the area previously prepared to eat lunch." "The Elders used much haste to get to the head there of to make it to the Land prepared before the Sisters" Yeah we are totally awesome! Anywho, We were able to talk to our Waitress lady for a little bit. She was really glad to see some really young, church going adults. I guess our badges, dresses, and suits kinda gave us away. We told her that we were from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints, and she smiled and said "That's nice, They must be doing something right to have you young people out here" Yes Mam you are correct! It was really neat to talk to her for a moment and see that she was very comfortable with being around us. Everyone else in there just kinda looked at us funny like "Why are you wearing nice clothes? It's super hot outside."
For dinner we went to the Biggs. We are still teaching Marie. I'm not sure how much I have said about Marie so I will just say it again: she is from Germany and she is here to go to a year of high school to see what it is like and to immerse herself into the English language more. She is also a Roman Catholic. I don't really know what Roman Catholics believe, but she is pretty cool. We gave her a German copy of the Book of Mormon and hopefully she starts to read it soon. Anywho, we had a lesson on the Plan of Salvation. I'm not really sure how much she understands of what we are saying because of the language barrier between us, but the lesson went pretty well. During the middle of it she randomly brought up this story about Paul and this slave. Paul was trying to get the master to treat his slave like his brother. The way she said it was super confusing, but I knew exactly what she was talking about. It was one of the stories I learned in my New Testament class at BYU. The story has a little more detail than what she gave it, but Paul had Onesimus who was the slave to Philemon. so Philemon in the Bible is a letter from Paul to him asking him to take back his slave and take care of him and forgive him for running away. Paul asked Philemon to treat Onesimus as his brother and how he would treat Paul if he were there. Basically Paul was writing a letter to Philemon to take Onesimus back so that he wouldn't be in trouble for having a run away slave, and Onesimus wouldn't be killed if he was caught. So yeah random story that she brought up that I knew - how strange.
On Tuesday we talked to Summer about false prophets again. We believe that is the only thing that is holding her back from moving forward with anything else. So we read "improving personal prayers" with her because she said she had been praying, but we don't really know how or what she has been praying for. So once we shared that talk with her. We committed her to Pray more to know if what we were teaching her was true. We also left Alma 1 and Jacob 7 for her to read. False prophets is a big thing for people out here. Once you bring up prophets they instantly turn and question if they are a real prophet or not. They doubted before they even started to learn more about them. Hopefully Summer can read and tell that by their fruits ye shall know them, and if they are a good fruit then it must be right - if they are doing it for the right reasons, without pay and everything else then you should know that they are good. It is sometimes hard to move people from their ways and helping them move toward something bigger and brighter.
We also met with three little girls: Laiken (9), Brailey(11), and Lexi (6) they are the most adorable little girls. Laiken is super into religious things and really likes to answer our questions that we ask. Lexi loses attention pretty quickly but is interested on what we have to say. Brailey doesn't talk much, but she listens to what we say and answers our questions. Brailey and Lexi are step-sisters and Laiken is their next door neighbor. It was a funny story on how we met them. We got a referral for Lexi.. but Lexi is 6 and doesn't have internet. So we found out that her mom had gotten online and found the website, and they could get a free bible if they sent in their information. so she put her daughters name down, because Lexi is the one who is interested in religion. So Low and Behold we show up and we have been teaching them for about 2 or so weeks now. They are super cute, but they lose attention very quickly. so it is great to learn how to teach kids. What is nice is that Brailey and Lexi's parents are totally supportive of us teaching them. They have thanked us for coming and spending time with them and teaching them more about Jesus. We haven't really met Laiken's parents, but we hope everything will be fine with them when they find out.
On Wednesday We went and saw Lucy! I love Lucy she is awesome. Anywho, do you know what is great about this time that we went and visited her? We actually taught a Lesson!! Lucy usually does all of the talking and we spend about an hour listening to her life story and at the end we give her a spiritual thought. But today, I was determined to share the Restoration with her. So I straight up said, Lucy! We are here to share a Lesson with you Today. She looked at me and said, "Ok" We taught the Entire thing and she didn't get off topic once!! It was so awesome! At the end she brought up baptism again. She said that she doesn't want to be rushed into anything, and that someday she will get baptized when it will be important to her and she does it for herself. I think that time will be coming soon :)
That night we helped Mandy, a less active in the ward, make cupcakes.... worst planning ever. she said that she would have everything all made up and ready to go by the time we got there. We were planning on going to YW's later that night and spending time with them... but When we got to Mandy's she was sitting outside with her husband and told us that she had just woken  up! She then found out that she didn't have any vegetable oil. So she sent Michael to go and get that. We probably spent 2 hours at her house waiting for the cupcakes to bake - she also didn't have any cupcake pan thingys. they were interesting looking cupcakes. Anywho, we decorated them to look like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for her sons birthday that was the next day. They were pretty cool. When we were almost done frosting them... we ran out of Green frosting... But we also ran out of time and sister Richards and I had to leave. So we told her good luck and sorry that we couldn't help more. It was fun to be able to help her out the little that we could.
Another funny thing that happened that night. There is an awesome young lady in our ward named Jill. She is 18, and she goes to Shawnee State. Sooo, we received a referral from the Bishop to go and see a Less-active member named Sierra who was also attending Shawnee State. Jill, being a kind wonderful person, decided that she would go and see if Sierra was home so we didn't have to drive all the way out there to be turned away. She went over to Sierra's apartment 4 times!! in one night! She is awesome to help us out, but she also realized that she was getting kinda creepy going over there so much trying to meet someone she didn't even know. But Jill is a Stud and so willing to help us out all of the time.
On Thursday we had Zone Meeting up in Ashland. We met our new Zone leaders and had a lesson on finding new investigators. We had an object lesson where we went into the gym and tried to find little golf tees that were all over the gym. we started off first with the lights turned off completely and all of the doors closed. The Second time we had flashlights and they were shouting out the different places that the golf tees were located. It was an example of using our Faith, and using the members in our ward to help us find Investigators. The more we turned to them for help the more people we would find that were ready for the Gospel. It was a big emphasis on the Members and how much they can help us out in the missionary work. They said it would be great if the wards would just "catch the fire" themselves, but that only happened after something started to kindle it, and usually the missionaries are the ones who kindle the fire.
After the Zone Meeting we had exchanges and I was given Sister Gray to go back with me to Wheelersburg. sister Gray is awesome. The first thing that we did together is we went and saw Polly and Vikki. Polly is a member but I don't think she has ever been to church her entire life. she was baptized way back when, with her entire family. So Polly doesn't really know much about the church but she is a member. Her Daughter Vikki, doesn't know very much about the church. Last time, Sister Gray and Sister Richards were the ones who taught Vikki. This time I got to be with Sister Gray and teach them. It is funny that Sister Gray has taught Vikki more that Sister Richards and I, and she isn't even in our area. We taught them the Plan of Salvation. Sister Gray mentioned Temples, and how temples are how we can be with our families forever. That really caught Vikki's attention. Hopefully we will be able to continue visiting with them. They are both great.
After Vikki and Polly we went and saw Jaylene. Last time that Sister Gray had met Jaylene was the first time that we had contacted Jaylene, and Sister Gray thought that Jaylene was an elect as well. So when she found out about all the trouble we were having with her she was shocked. When we talked to Jaylene she explained that she felt like she was being rushed and that she was being 'Shoved into the Baptismal Font' (she didn't really say that, but that is what she meant) She said that we had high expectations for her and expected her to do so much, and she didn't' think that she would/ could do all of those things. Unfortunately for us, we can see what she can become. While she is stuck seeing where she is at. Jaylene also mentioned that she didn't really like the Strong, Passionate attitude that Sister Richards had, and that it didn't go well with hers.... Boo... We will have to try some new things to try and get her back to where she was.... We also found out that she has been talking to Psychics and stuff. Ugh, talk about "False Prophets".
Our goal for the exchange was to find a new investigator. We were able to find the new investigator through Sister Grays awesome way of different tracting. With every house she did something different. She handed out the pamphlet, she read scriptures, she just did a whole bunch of things that just expanded my ideas of how we can tract. Which is AWESOME!! We were able to get a new investigator, her name is Becky and she is very open to learning more about other religions and she actually already had a Book of Mormon and had read a little out of it!! Say what? it was pretty awesome.
The Next day we exchanged back. It was interesting to see all of what sister Gray did and how she did things differently compared to Sister Richards. It was a nice change for a day... Funny, but not Funny story... When sister Richards and Sister Boldrin got to our apartment to do the exchange, Sister Richards thought it would be funny to scare me. Thus, when she scared me she knew to stay a good distance from me so I wouldn't be able to swing and punch her... cause for some reason that is my natural reaction to being scared. So, she scared me - it did not make me very happy. I almost tackled her... but then I remembered her back had been hurting so I didn't. We Love each other enough to scare each other :P Next time she might not be so lucky.
On Saturday sister Richards and I went and Visited the Larry, and Jim Wright. They are Polly's Brothers. Polly's Family kinda fell apart and stopped talking to each other when their mother and their brother Gary died. There are 12 of them and they don't talk to each other... at all. So it's pretty sad. Our conversations with them weren't very long.... because we mostly talked at them, they didn't really say anything back. But it was nice talking to them. After the Wrights we tried the Stevens again. Their drive way was all newly paved so we walked to the top. Low and Behold we finally met Russel. He was just getting ready to go down and tag a new calf, So we had just barely caught him before he left. We didn't really share anything with him, but at least we had finally met him.
After that we went to the Bradleys for dinner. We found out that Caleb (he is 15) has started smoking.... It was super sad to hear. but not much of a surprise because Ronda and Shane both smoke. Caleb later that night started having difficulty breathing and they found out that his asthma was affected negatively due to the smoking. Maybe that will prevent him from smoking more. We were able to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them and committed them to quit smoking as a family. We will see how well that goes :)

This entire week we have been going and seeing Shauna. she is our investigator who is getting baptized this Saturday (hopefully). We have been going through the lessons again and just re-teaching them... because the Elders who were here before us... didn't do such a great job at teaching anyone. So we went over the Restoration, Plan of Salvation, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Law of Chastity, and the Word of Wisdom these past two weeks. She told a Sister Sherman that she really enjoyed us going over everything because now she knew more about what the Gospel really contained and what being baptized really meant. Unfortunately, we found out that she had been previously married, but was separated from her husband (they are not divorced). and in order to get baptized you have to get written consent from your spouse saying that it is okay for them to get baptized. It was quite a shock because we found out both of these pieces of detail this last week and yesterday. So we are hoping everything works out and she will be able to be baptized this weekend.

This Sunday I met my first Atheist this week. It was an interesting conversation. Sister Richards kept trying to bare her testimony to him, but with every word she said he would say something and expand on what she said and turn it negative. He said that Religion was stupid and that they were all praying to something that they couldn't even comprehend. We then started to tell him about Joseph Smith and he said "Any body who is can believe a story like that is stupid *smacks Head*, Gold plates, you are a bunch of fools.... You should read the Greek bible it will show you all of the things that were changed.... scientists have said this... theologians have said this.... I have read this...." it was a really long conversation, but in the end he basically said that we were fools for taking our religion from a book, and I made a comment (now that I look back I'm not sure if it was snide or not...) I said that he had gotten all of his information from books as well. He kinda just looked at me and Sister Richards told us to have a good day and went inside. It was interesting. Sister Richards said that the best thing we can do for people who just want to pick a fight about religion is bare testimony and walk away... for me that is difficult. I like to fight for the things I believe in and if someone is attacking me, or my beliefs. I have learned that arguing/ contention is of the devil and that is what he wants us to do. In Word, Deed, or Thought. Satan wants us to Argue and Contend one with another so that we are all miserable like him.

Stay strong, and move along. Something I told Shauna to do this week as she went through the struggle of being looked down on by those around her: Whenever someone tries to say something negative, or whenever you see someone who has said negative thoughts to you before; complement them. say something nice about how they look or something they did. But be honest. Don't make up things, be sincere. At the beginning it won't feel that sincere because we are saying it to our enemies, but as we treat others with love they will start to treat us better as well.

I Love you all. Keep praying and reading your scriptures. Stay Awesome!!

Sister Karen Call

Monday, September 2, 2013

When You Give a Sister Missionary A Cookie!

So This past week has been pretty good.; Lots of funny things have been going on. Sister Richards and I are getting into the 'Funny Missionary' mode. Where we start applying Scriptures (also making up scriptures to apply to ourselves) To everything that we do! It's wonderful, but when you walk up to someone and ask them ‘How art Thou?’. They kinda just look at you funny :)
I have really enjoyed being able to study in the mornings! I never realized how awesome the Ensign is!! I strongly suggest reading the whole thing!! every month! I go through one Magazine a week sooo... I'm running low on things to read because we had June, July, August. The Ensign has really helped me change my perspective on a few things and I am so grateful for the Prophet, his Apostles, and other great Elders and teachers who put stuff in there. Again!!! I Want you all to read from the Ensign this week!! IT WILL change your life! I can promise you that!
I'll hop right into what I did this week:
Monday: Sister Richards and I went and talked with Lucy. Well, she talked to us. We were able to answer a few things. She was super curious about baptism because Shauna announced on Sunday that she was going to be getting baptized on Sept. 14, and Lucy wanted to know how long she had been investigating the church and how she knew that it was the right one. When we told her that Shauna had found out about the church about 4 months ago, she was shocked! "How could anyone know something in four months!! I have known about this church for 45 years and have investigated it for 3 years, and I'm still not even sure!" Well Lucy... you have to read the Book of Mormon, ponder, and pray about it. You have to apply what it teaches you into your life. You can't just look at the Book and think that it is the Mormon’s 'Bible'. It is Another Testament of Jesus Christ, and if you diligently read it and do the things that it says your life will be blessed. It quotes continually throughout the Book of Mormon "Keep my Commandments, and ye shall prosper in the land." But little do people know what the Commandments entail. It is not just the 10 commandments, it is much more. Prayer is a commandment, going to church is a commandment, and there are many more things! Everyone is so hooked on 'living the commandments' that they don't even know what they are trying to live.
We also spoke to Jaylene today. We asked her what was going on and what she didn't believe. She told us that she didn't think she could live the Word of Wisdom. Sister Richards and I knew that it had to be deeper than that, if they know everything else is true they will without a doubt be able to follow the Word of Wisdom. So we dug deeper. We asked her about the Book of Mormon and if she thought it was true. She said "the Book makes me happy as I read it and felt more at peace... but... I didn't know about Prophets... the Bible talks about false prophets and such. How can you know if they aren't a False Prophet?" Ah-ha!! there is the problem! By the Fruits of their labors you may know them, you will be able to detect those that deceive. Those who are False are doing it for Worldly gain, they have no intention on actually bringing you closer to God. We asked her to give the Book of Mormon and honest to good chance, read it, ponder it, and pray about it. Because if that book is True - Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith restored the Gospel to the earth through the power of God, and that this church is the true church restored once again to the earth. Jaylene said that she would read the Book of Mormon and ask to know if it was true. We then told her that in order to know if 'she liked the other church more than our church' she would need to come to our church to see what it was like before she said no. She said that she would come to church this week, and give it an honest try. When we were getting ready to leave, she apologized for lying to us about not knowing about a few things and that she felt pushed to do things and just fell along the way, but she would try her best to find out if it was true.        Sunday you will know if she was true to her word or not.

Tuesday: We had District Meeting on this day it was held at the Ashland church building, and let me tell you how awesome our district is!! Well... after this meeting it will only be the Portsmouth elders and us because they will be splitting the district. For this Meeting it was the Russel and the Portsmouth Districts both together, and as a combined District we wanted to set a goal for how many conversions we were going to get this next transfer and how we were going to get there. Sister Boldrin (one of the Ashland Sisters) suggested that we do a personal prayer with our companion to see what we could do in our area (the amount of people we thought we would be able to convert) and then do a group prayer for the whole district. Sister Boldrin is pretty awesome and such a spiritually connected sister! Missionary to the Max she is. Anywho, we prayed about what we needed to do and how many people we thought we would be able to convert to the Lord. The talk we had right before we went out to pray was about Currency. What is the price we are willing to pay to follow the Lord?  My mission president put it very well in his current letter to us: “The sacrifice most often required by the Lord is one’s own sins.” Our Currency is our sins. Are we willing to give up our sins to follow the Lord. That is probably one of the most difficult things that I have ever prayed about. Am I willing to give up my Sins to follow the Lord? We all sin, it is what man does best. but it is our desire, and willingness to serve the Lord that helps us with those sins. We will still slip up once in a while but it is our determination to keep pushing forward and knowing that Christ will take up what we cannot. Repentance is an awesome thing. That a lot of us take for granted and when we take it for granted we don't use it as much as we should. Repentance is not just asking for our sins to be forgiven by the Lord. It is a change - we start to align our will with Gods will. We change the way we live so we aren't as likely to commit that sin again.      It was an amazing experience to have that opportunity to kneel in prayer as a companionship, and as a District for what we needed to give up to be able to reach the goals that our District would be setting.
After the meeting we went as a District to eat lunch at Panera bread - it kinda reminds me of Zupas and Paradise, Only better. We got to have our last moments of fun together as a combined District. It was fun to be in a group of bright, spiritually powered, Elders and sister. We said our final goodbye and parted ways.
After all of that we drove back, and went to Polly's house to do service for her. Polly is a less active woman... well she never really was active. She was baptized in the church along with 10 of her other siblings, but there wasn't an LDS church building nearby so they all went to the Baptist church. So technically she is a Baptist... that is baptized in the LDS church.  She is an interesting lady, not very talkative and doesn't really like accepting help, but she is in her late 70's and just had two heart surgeries in the past year! So we were going to help her out whether she liked it or not! We washed her windows around her house and the curtains that hung in front of them. It was fun, and while we were washing the windows Sister Richards asked as she pointed at something on the screen of the window "Is that on the inside or the outside of the screen" and Polly walked up and flicked it and it was on the inside! she flicked the spider! it was funny how Sister Richards and I kinda just shrunk back - like eww.. it wasn't a small spider either! it was a big orange spider! So she saw how silly and not very brave we were toward large spiders. It was good in the end because she shared where her family lived and we were able to go and talk with them as well! Bo-yah!!

Wednesday: Last time I emailed was the day we had our P-day. It is usually on Mondays. but since Transfers were the next day P-day was held this day. I am still in Wheelersburg, Ohio. I'm just going to say that it was an adventure washing and vacuuming out our car D: haha

Thursday: So I met Meighan today! I didn't think I would ever see her... I didn't know where she lived, or if she even lived in our area, but low and behold her family does. It was interesting because we weren't even planning on going to try and meet her Mom (who wasn't there). Anywho it was cool, but we should have talked more... we kinda rushed out of there and I"m not sure when we will be able to get a hold of their family again.
Later that night we went to Mandy and Michael’s house and taught Michael the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was much more open and talked to us and answered our questions this time so it was great!

Saturday: Sister Richards and I went over to the Sherman’s to re-teach Shauna the Plan of Salvation. We were hoping that it would be a review because her record said that she had already been taught all of it... but she didn't remember any of it so we basically taught her everything again. It was all good. Now This is the day that connects with When you give a sister Missionary a Cookie! Sister Sherman made the best cookies I have had out here (well... it's the only cookies I have had so far haha) When Sister Richards and I were getting ready to leave Sister Sherman gave us a bag of cookies and said when you give a Sister Missionary a Cookie!! they are so happy! the rest of the night - no lie - we added on to it... We'll want a glass of milk. and when we get a glass of milk we will see how white it is and think of heaven. and when we think of heaven we will... yeah so on and so forth. It was great!

Sunday: Jaylene didn't come to church. Not a big surprise because we weren't able to talk to her all week but it was still disappointing still. But Testimony meeting was great! It was better than the last one we had. Everything just went better after that.
We also met Jamey. He is Barb (Polly's Sister) Son. He was an interesting dude. The first thing I thought when he walked out was: Crazy Hippie. He had the Long hair and Goatee thingy going on. But he was literally amazing, and he was so fascinated by the idea of Prophets! So we hope he will go somewhere!

Well Time is up! I love you all and I hope everything is going well! Let me know how your lives are going! Read, Ponder, Pray. are the things the Lord wants you to do.
Have a solid week and be good.

Love yah!

Sister Karen Call