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.