Monday, July 21, 2014

The Only Good Looking People in Bedford

Holla Familia!
This week has been pretty interesting. We had a lot of potentials from last week to go and try, and as we tried them all, they were either not home, or they were no longer interested. So it was pretty disappointing. One guy that as a potential and we went and tried him at the time that he told us to come back, and he was not there, sent in a request for us to go and get him a large print Book of Mormon. We thought it was pretty cool. Until we went and talked with him. He was super unfocused, and then he took a picture of me at the end of the lesson and saved it to his contact list with our number. It was super creepy. Then his neighbor who we knocked on his door last week also came out, and was talking to us too. So in a reference to why I called my Email 'The Only Good Looking People in Bedford' Soooo I have never been 'hit on' so much in my life. By really old, creepy men. It's like no matter where Sister Nielsen and I go we find someone who is more interested in us then the Gospel. It's super awkward and really weird. So we decided that we must be the only good looking people in all of Bedford, because I highly doubt people go out and meet several people a day and find out that they are creepers that easily, but as a missionary it's like instant red flag. Sometimes we hope that it is different and that people can change, but most of the time... their intentions are not in the right place. So if you instantly want to be the best looking person -> Be a Mormon, Go to Bedford, Have the Light of Christ Radiating from you so people see you, and then they will instantly want to know all about you. Not really, but hey if you want to give it a try, go ahead.
We did a ton of service this week. We had the usually Bedford Christian Ministries on Tuesday. But this week Mary Gonzales was moving to Arizona with her son because her husband Frank past away about two weeks ago. They had sold most of her stuff and given a lot of it away. We went there for such a long time, she had so much stuff, and she was just going through it, because she had no time to think about it. She was just throwing things left and right. I felt bad for her, because they had only moved to that house about a year ago, and Caesar Gonzales (Mary's Son who lives in Arizona) is the one that she is moving in with. Caesar is the only active member in all of the Gonzales family. It was really cool to clean up Sister Gonzales' house. There was a lot of stuff that she gave to us and a lot of stuff that she gave to Goodwill. She had a lot of really cute clothing. If only she wasn't barely 5' and had bigger feet. So most of it Sister Nielsen kept or we gave away. We did get a few really cool things, but we cant' keep very much, because we have to move around so constantly.
We had a Sister's meeting this week with just the Sisters in Roanoke. Our zone is pretty awesome. We get along really well for the most part. I am really glad that Sister Isobe, and Larkin are still in the zone. They are pretty much the only people I know pretty well. Sister Tobler is pretty cool. Sister Crossley I can't really hear, but she is pretty cool too. Sister Reed is awesome. Sister Williams is good to talk one on one with but she isn't much of a groups person. Sister Stringham is a goofball. Sister Francis is a hoot. Then there is still Sister Richards and Canova as our STL's. So we got a pretty good group.
The lesson was pretty cool. We had a lady come in and talk to us about the 'Joy Philosophy' and she gave us several steps on finding, keeping, and making more Joy in our days. Then Sister Richards and Canova gave a lesson on Faith and Hope. How Hope is our goal that we are working toward and Faith is the action that we do to get to that Hope that we are working for. It was really fun to look at Hope and Faith in that aspect. It made things a little clearer for me. Probably not for you, because it probably was randomly put into my email right here, but hey I thought I should add it so you could think about it and go and study it.
We also had District Meeting this week. This was pretty much the first time that Elder Snow has had the opportunity to teach us, last transfer they were always canceled because the meetings went to long, but this time it was on it's own day instead of after another meeting. So it was really cool. The Bedford1 sisters aren't in our district. Their district did something really cool they all got really old dresses, suits, ties, etc for their district meeting. I'm not really sure what they did, but I sure got a kick out of the outfits they were wearing! I want to do something like that it looked really fun.
Well, this week has been long. I am Physically and Mentally worn out. Sister Nielsen and I have lots of fun together, but we are hoping that more of a missionary work will start to move forward in this little Branch out here in Virginia.
Well I hope you are all having a fabulous week and all is going well!
Sister Karen Call

"God’s purpose is 'to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.' That is fundamental to all we do. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in things that we find fascinating or become so consumed by mundane responsibilities that we lose sight of God’s objectives. As you consistently focus your life on the most basic principles, you will gain an understanding of what you are to do, and you will produce more fruit for the Lord and more happiness for yourself."
~Richard G. Scott


Monday, July 14, 2014

Cleaning, Funerals and President's Welcome

Holla Familia!
 So this last Monday we held an FHE at our church, and a few people showed up, but we shared the Mormon Message videos by Elder Bednar about Patterns of Light. The Theme was "All about Light this Summer night". We watched the videos and talked about them and then we had Freeze pops, glow sticks, and played with beach balls. Freeze pops are otter pops... and if you don't know what an Otter Pop is, then... well... oh well. It was super fun, we just wish more people would show up to these activities that we plan!
On Tuesday, we went and did service at Bedford Christian Ministries, and while we were there we had a guy come up to us and tell us that he was a less active member of the church and wanted to come back into activity... Unfortunately.. he is a welfare seeking less active member, and he has a bad history with our Branch President. Which is unfortunate because you always have that hope that people can change and will change after a few years... but in his case, according to the Branch President, His problems have become three times as bad.   Why do all of the weird people find us!?! There has to be an Elect person out here somewhere!! We thought it could possibly be James, or Jim. Because before we taught them a lesson James was talking about how God told him it was time to try and quit smoking again. He has already quit drinking, and other things. So we were like 'he's being prepared!' But after we taught them the Plan of Salvation lesson they totally shot down the idea of the Kingdoms of Glory. That there was only a Heaven and a Hell, and he wasn't going to accept anything else. Jim was a little more open, and he took a Restoration pamphlet and a Book of Mormon. We also found out that James... is only looking for a religious woman to hook up with, and well, he isn't really "religious woman" material. He wants someone good, but isn't willing to do it himself.
After talking to James & Jim. We went and tried a referral that ended up being a Jehovah Witness. I will just say now that what they believe is SO weird... well, I guess according to the one we talked too. She told us that she didn't want to go to heaven (because only 144,000 are chosen) That she wanted to stay on earth and enjoy it down here. They also believe that the Second Coming has already happened, and that it happened in like 1915 or something like that. The longer we listened to her the more my head hurt, and the more firm my faith became that God is not the Author of confusion and that his Gospel is Simple and very easy to understand. Just thinking about the Discussion we had with that JW makes me laugh right now. Oh, and the New International Version of the Bible Is sooo messed up. It completely changes the meaning of things.
Oh and some other interesting things that happened, we went and tried this referral that was given to us, and the lady came out and was super rude, she yelled that we were trespassing on her property and that there were signs posted everywhere and to get off her land. Well there really isn't any reason to tell someone that is acting like that, that there wasn't a single No Trespassing sign on their property anywhere. We looked for them as we drove down her driveway. We thought that was weird, but then we parked on someone's lawn (because that's what you do out here, there isn't anywhere to park so you just park off the side of the road on the lawn. There aren't sprinkler systems or anything so you don't have to worry about breaking anything) Well... This lady came out and told us to get off her lawn that it wasn't a Darn parking lot.   At those moments I just have to laugh. Cause there is no reason to get upset, because perhaps they were having a bad day, or something, but why have my day ruined when I am sharing such an awesome message? The cool thing that happened after these experiences was that we found 5 Potential Investigators, they took pamphlets, and Book of Mormons. We could have gotten discouraged and angry and just left that street or that area because of that one person. But we kept working and we found some really cool people.
On Wednesday we had a meeting of Introduction with our new Mission President. He is super cool! They just talked about their decision and experience on being selected to be Mission President. They talked to Elder Holland and President Eyring. They are both pretty awesome. Sister Salisbury is super quiet.. I may need to get fitted for hearing aids or something. But I'm super excited! The tension of wondering what they would be like is gone now that we have met them, and now there is just excitement because of how energetic they are and ready to go and work. This statement was made: President and Sister Pitt were like the awesome grandparents that we all wish we had, and President and Sister Salisbury are like the awesome parents that our friend has. They really are awesome.
After all of that we went to a less active members house and helped her clean it. Oh my goodness... SO much cat hair! She hadn't cleaned it for a while because of all the health problems she has and she can't really move furniture around. So Sister Nielsen and I did some freaking deep cleaning. We Vacuumed every inch of her house, and threw a lot of random stuff away. After we were all done you could already tell the difference in her house. You could breath better. She was so happy, because she has really bad asthma and she could feel the difference and loved it.  
On Friday we went to Franks funeral. It was interesting and different. Frank wasn't a member, his wife was less active, but his son who lives in Arizona is super active. It was interesting to see all of the grief of all the people who don't really have that firm knowledge that we will see our loved ones after we die. One of Franks sons broke down crying during the flag ceremony. Frank was in the National Guard so they came and did a Flag Ceremony for him. After the Funeral they came to our little branch building for a luncheon that our Branch had put together. I am so grateful for the few members who pulled it together. There was some butting of heads about doing it because Frank wasn't an active member and they didn't want to use their money on it... The fact that it was about money really made me angry... But in the end the voice of the people said that it would be an awesome missionary opportunity. And it was. All of Franks family are either Less Active or Non-members. Franks family was so grateful for all we did. It was such a blessing to be able to help them out during this hard time for them. It is amazing what service can do for others.
Another thing that I have been thinking about is how much our times are very similar to the times of Jesus. Everyone out here proclaims to know Jesus Christ and what they expect of him. But they are not willing to listen to the real thing. Just as the Pharisees and Sadducees rejected Christ and his Gospel. So are the people today. They are making a mock, a hiss, and a byword of the Gospel, of the Church of Jesus Christ. I read this morning Helaman 16:22. "And many more things did the people imagine up in their hearts, which were foolish and vain; and they were much disturbed, for Satan did stir them up to do iniquity continually; yea, he did go about spreading rumors and contentions upon all the face of the land, that he might harden the hearts of the people against that which was good and against that which should come." I know that is happening right now, everywhere. Whether we see it or not. Satan is twisting things of what we believe and it's super frustrating. But the more my Faith increases that these things are true. I do not know everything, and in all reality I probably know very little of the big picture. But I know and believe in that which I have.
But I hope you are all doing well and that you are constantly increasing and reaffirming your testimony in Jesus Christ and his Gospel. Keep being awesome!
Live, Laugh, Love, Llamas.
Sister Karen Call

"How can each of us become such a significant influence? We must be sure to sincerely love those we want to help in righteousness so they can begin to develop confidence in God’s love. For so many in the world, the first challenge in accepting the gospel is to develop faith in a Father in Heaven, who loves them perfectly. It is easier to develop that faith when they have friends or family members who love them in a similar way."
~Richard G. Scott

Monday, July 7, 2014

Alma 32

Holla Familia!
This week was pretty awesome! We picked up a new investigator named James and we were able to teach him the first lesson with a member present. We plan on meeting with him tomorrow for the next lesson. He didn't come to church, but the cool thing that happened was that his roommate that just moved out named Jim did come! He was there when we first met James. Jim called us up and asked us what time church was at on Sunday and he came!! We didn't get the chance after church to see how he liked it, but he stayed for all three hours! So that was pretty cool.
On the 4th of July I was surprised that we stayed busy the whole day, because so far all of the holidays that I have had so far were really hard to fill up with things to do. But this day was nice and easy! We pretty much had appointments for the whole day.
On Saturday we decided to go to Goodview and try the formers and potentials out there. Goodview rarely gets tried because it is a good 70+ mile trip. So we decided to make the sacrifice to go out there. We were able to find some pretty cool LA, PMF, and Formers. A lot of the people who live out there have moved also... so that was fun. But it was a really good day, because we planned every moment of it so we wouldn't use so many miles driving back and forth from place to place. It was a really good day.
Sunday morning we found out that a Excommunicated member that we had been working with died that morning, his wife who is a less active called us and told us. It was super sad. We had just seen him a few days prior to that. He wasn't that old either, He was barely in his 80's. Course... I guess that is kinda old. But church went really well. We had Jim and Ellie show up for church. We taught Sacrifice in our Gospel Principles class and it went pretty good. After church we had a lesson with Ellie. Trying to figure out where she was and how we can help her progress. Her Husband (they just got married recently, and he is a member) was there and asked her if there was any questions or anything she wanted to talk about. She started talking about fast Sunday, and how some people waste there time because they are just going through the motions and not really focusing on what the fast is for, and she just kept talking. I just felt that Fasting wasn't the thing she had a problem with. She was just talking about it. The words that kept jumping out to me that she kept saying was "Going through the Motions". After she talked for several more moments, I finally cut her off and asked her why she was talking so much about going through the motions and if she felt like she was going through the motions. I was super surprised because she started to cry and said yes. It was an interesting experience. She is so set on her Catholic upbringing, that she is afraid that she is going to lose her soul. She has never ever had a problem with the Catholic church, she has never doubted or thought anything was wrong with it. Her husband kept bringing things up about things he didn't like about the church, which wasn't helping, but in the end we committed her to reading everyday and praying.
It frustrates me sometimes to think of how close minded people can be sometimes. I love Ellie, but she is so stuck on the doctrine of the Catholic church that she can't turn to anything else. Of course I can't say very much because I don't really know anything about the Catholic church. I have just heard things from Mormons that used to be Catholic. But the thought of not even opening up to even experiment upon the word. She has been going through the motions for two years. Two Freaking Years. I don't think that is going through the motions, I think she is just afraid of what she will and can lose. She isn't willing to Sacrifice. I have never really had sacrifice brought up so much in one week. I have been reading about it in Ensign talks, I had to study it for our lesson on Sunday, people were talking about giving things up, and just how much we have to let go to come closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Sacrificing for something better. I don't know about you, but usually when I sacrifice something I can tell within a month or so that if it was something worth sacrificing. If I am not really sure, I keep doing it until I really find out. I am not a quitter, unless I receive the answer that it isn't for me. I still am trying to figure a few things out in my life, but I haven't given up on them, just because I don't know why things are so hard, or why things have to be a certain way. I know what God's will is on most things, and I need to continually align my will with his. But I have to be open and willing to do it. No other excuses.
Well that's enough of that rant. I will just share two interesting things that were said this week while trying to hand out pass along cards that are the picture of Jesus:
Conversation with a guy on the side of the road: "Know your facts before you try and go and share them with others..." "uh... what?" "Do you know who this picture is of!" "Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer" "Wrong! this is God Reincarnated!" "Uhhhhhh.... o.O what?" *hands us back the card*            Really strange... it was funny because we were talking about how we hadn't met someone yet who believed in Reincarnation.
Conversation on door step: "If it's not a perfect depiction of Christ I don't want to look at it" "Nobody can truly depict what Christ looks like. But it is more of the thought, and always remembering him, and how we feel as we..." "If it isn't him with long flowing silver hair it isn't him, and I won't accept it!"             
Two people to not accept a picture of Christ, because it isn't "the Christ they are looking for" hmm... sounds like Scribes, Pharisee, and Sadducees to me.

Well I love you all and I hope you are having a good week. Keep being awesome.
Sister Call

"Being grateful in our circumstances is an act of faith in God. It requires that we trust God and hope for things we may not see but which are true. By being grateful, we follow the example of our beloved Savior, who said, “Not my will, but thine, be done.” True gratitude is an expression of hope and testimony. It comes from acknowledging that we do not always understand the trials of life but trusting that one day we will."
~Dieter F. Uchtdorf

The Week of Changing Presidents

Holla Familia!
Sooooo President Pitt is officially gone, and President Salisbury is now the Mission President! How weird... Such an interesting experience to now have two mission presidents. President Pitt has asked us to pack him up and put him on our shelf until we return home from our missions. We need to focus now on building our relationship with our new mission President. I'm going to miss President Pitt, He was an awesome man. he helped me through a lot of things. I'm excited to have President Salisbury though! It's always interesting to have new people. It's like getting a new companion... only not. I'm just ready to meet him already. He doesn't come until next week.. I think. Anywho He sounds pretty cool.  Sister Nielsen is super sad, and she got even more upset when our district leader texted us saying "The time has arrived! President and Sister Salisbury are here and rumor has it they are Amazing!" She doesn't like change very much. Especially when you are letting go of someone you really love. I still can't get over the fact of how YOUNG they are!! It's so weird. but hey more energy right?!
Well this last P-day was pretty awesome. Elder Hess' birthday was on that day so we all went to Roanoke to celebrate with him. He turn 21. It's so weird to think that I am older than him... I thought he was older.  He was going to go golfing, but no one had money... So we went and played kickball and Frisbee and had cake. It was awesome. The only down side is that it takes us like an hour to drive there... So you can imagine how many miles that is back an forth. Killer. Anywho, it was a really awesome day, and a lot of fun to see Sister Isobe, Reed, Larkin, and Williams. It's so weird to be soo far from them now, but hey, we are still in the same zone so I get to see them sometimes!
So every week here in Bedford we get to go to the Bedford Christian Ministries to help them distribute food and such. It is a really neat thing to be a part of. The only sad part is that a lot of them aren't really working to improve their lives. They are just coming getting food, and continuing in their same lifestyles. It's really frustrating to see that. Some of them are trying to better their situations, but most of them are just taking advantage of the government support. We have government housing in our area. I forgot what it was like to have government housing - it's been a while, haven't had it since Ohio. I forgot how people just sit around, and don't do anything except smoke and drink.
Speaking of Drinking, we have an investigator named Hailey. She is so funny. She is the same age as me and has two kids, a four year old, and a new born. She lives with her boyfriend.. who is interesting. Hailey could be such an elect and awesome girl.. if she didn't have to be commanded in all things. We are trying to get her to quit smoking and she just wont let go of that last cigarette. But, back to why she has to relate with drinking. She was trying to tell us that Jesus said it was ok to drink wine, and we told her to go through the scriptures and find where it said it Christ drank wine and how many times it counseled against drinking. She kept texting us all the scriptures that were "for" drinking. They made no sense, but at the very end she said there are a lot more scriptures that are against drinking than there are for drinking. The one I brought up with Hailey was Proverbs 31. Oh Hailey. She just needs a desire to do what is right. She is so used to doing what the world says is alright to do, that she has a hard time doing what God says is the right thing to do.
Another interesting experience: I got to kill chickens this week. Weirdest experience ever. Plucking all of the feathers from them and taking the insides out... then a few days later at another members house have a full chicken for dinner. It was... interesting.. Chickens really do run around when their heads are chopped off. It's kinda freaky. We stuck it in the pot of boiling water and it started running around in it... SO weird. But it was an interesting growing experience... now I can say I did it.
Oh, I also gave my first talk. Ever. On my mission. A first for everything this week!
Well I hope everything is going well and that everyone is enjoying their summer!
Keep being Awesome!
Sister Karen Call
"Not all the whirlwinds in life are of your own making. Some come because of the wrong choices of others, and some come just because this is mortality. … Challenges will come to you, but as you trust in God, they will strengthen your faith."
~Neil L. Andersen

My Little Ginger Friend

Sent 6/23/2014
Holla Familia!
I'm here in Bedford with my lovely little Ginger friend Sister Nielsen! We have been rocking it out here. So far so good! Of course I have only been here, what, four days? I love Bedford It is much like Back Creek only we have less miles for our car and not as many gravel roads. It's wonderful. I decided that if I ever got a Ford 2013 it would need to be in the west where there aren't so many hills or places you can scrape the bottom of the car... Because these puppies are low riders and it's terrible!
Anywho, I got to spend transfer day with Sister Larkin in Cave Spring because her companion wasn't coming until the return train back. Sister Reed came with the first drop off early in the morning at 6ish. I love waking up super early, it's my favorite thing in the world. Sister Reed is pretty cool, this will be her third transfer in the mission so Sister Isobe is Greenie breaking! She has never trained or greenie breaked before. So that will be fun.
I had an awesome day with Sister Larkin she is such a fun missionary to be with. She talks super fast and she has a really good gospel knowledge. The awesome thing about her is she Loves talking to people, she is the ultimate ITL'er She just does it. It blew my mind! I guess that is something I need to work on, not freaking out so much about talking to people and giving them a card. It was a lovely 98 degrees + humidity = death. We tracted for like 30 min. I thought I was going to die, but a lot of cool things happened. We were able to contact a less active that we didn't have any records for, and we were able to get a hold of a few other people. It was super neat. The last thing we did together was talk to this Less Active member who was trying to come back from the deep end. He was a pretty interesting dude. I have never had an experience like him on my mission. He knows. He knows there is a Devil and he Knows there is a God. He talked about how earlier in his life when he was about 14 he had studied all religions, including Satanics. I have never felt so weird talking to someone. I felt very uncomfortable at the very beginning, because he kept saying how he was going to be cast into Outer Darkness because he knew that God was real. I finally had enough and told him that the only way he would continue to deny the Holy Ghost as he thinks he has is that he would continually go down that path that he is heading. If he chose not to follow the commandments of God that he knew, then he would be denying God. Because he knows God exists and if he knows he exists then he knows he needs to follow his Will. The one thing that kept running through my mind the entire time was: he may know that God for sure exists, but he does not know the Atonement. The Cleansing power, or the Strengthening power that comes from it. If he knew the love of God and then denied that, that would be something different. But he has never felt the love of God in his life, and he is afraid of changing or what he has done. He feels hopeless. No one should feel that way. If you know God is real, and you have a sure witness then why do you not do his Will? You Know! Do His Will.
It was a really interesting, eye opening, experience. I have never ever met someone so far in my life who has had the experience he has had, and to see the pain that he had. We need to realize that God knows all things and man cannot comprehend them all. We need to continually learn, but if we hinder our progression because we think we have destroyed our chances then we do not understand the Atonement. With Christ's Atonement we can always start again. It is never too late.
After that we went to the Stake center to get our new companions. Sister Larkin is now serving with Sister Williams (who just came from Portsmouth!). Sister Larkin old companion Sister Michie was just transferred there that morning! AH where my mission began! There were a lot of people that Sister Richards and I told her to see how they were doing.
I got Sister Francis and we drove the car that Sister Thomson and Curtis had left that morning, and we drove it back up to Bedford. Yeah!! Party of people who have no idea where they are going! Unite! Haha luckily they warned me beforehand and I had left my GPS out of my bag so we could easily find the place. It was a good hour drive! We didn't get to Bedford till about 9pm.
So it was a long, long day. A really good long day.
Well so far things have been awesome with Sister Nielsen and I. It's like we have been companions before or something! We have really good teaching Unity already and we have only been together for four days! so hopefully that continues on forever. Because I sure enjoy it. She is so fun to be with. I went from Awesome Sister Isobe to Awesome Sister Nielsen! It's perfect!
Crazy thing for this up coming week! We are getting our new Mission President and President Pitt will be leaving us! AHHHH!!! Time has just flown by! I'm going to miss President Pitt and Sister Pitt. They were wonderful! I can't wait to go and meet them in Utah! I also can't wait for the new Mission President! President Salisbury. Like Salisbury Steaks!!! YUM! haha
Well I love you all and I hope you are all doing well. Keep working hard. Love the Lord, Love yo Neighbor, and Love yourself.
Sister Call
"When we are tempted to do things we should not do, let us listen to the loving warning of trusted family and friends, our beloved prophet, and always the Savior."
~Dieter F. Uchtdorf