Sunday, September 18, 2016

Holy SWIG, Batman!

Today was crazy!
                So first, right after studies, we went to the post office to pick up the packages I got from mom and I had two massive packages full of food! Haha it was like Christmas, so much fun to open! And there were apples the size of my head. It was super great, I loved it. I loved all the low calorie snacks as well, like the pudding and popcorn and all that shenanigans. I haven’t gained or lost weight, but I’m paranoid I’ll gain some.
                Anyway, after that we hit up the library. It was terrible. We had exactly 90 minutes to email. I sat and let my journals upload to the computer, and as soon as it was done loading the computer wouldn’t let me access the internet. So I’d spent a good 10 minutes letting the journals load just to have that computer not work. At that point, we were running out of time. I kept trying, and trying to get the website to log me in but it just kept saying I didn’t have access. I was literally sobbing at that point, I felt like I didn’t have any options. I didn’t want to switch computers because my journals had loaded onto this computer, a process that generally takes 10 to 15 minutes. I didn’t have time to go through that again, and because I was so panicked I just couldn’t think straight. Finally, Sister E just had me log into my account on her computer. When I finally got on to email, I’d been attempting to email for an hour. I opened my inbox to see 44 unread messages and I started sobbing and hyperventilating because there was no possible way I’d be able to even read them all in the time I had left, let alone respond to them all. Sister E talked me down, telling me that there wasn’t a law forcing me to respond to every single person. I’d be okay not responding. Nobody would die or hate me. It was traumatic, and terrible, and I never want to email on Tuesday ever again.
                Exchanges happened and I’ve been learning so much from Sister L! We were supposed to teach L but he’d been in the hospital so that fell through. After that, we ran out of stuff to do so I said to Sister Lundquist “Huh. It wasn’t in our plans today, but I suddenly feeling like trying an old potential named Stephanie.” Well, we got to the house and we saw a man with his dog outside. He had long blonde hair and tattoos, but we taught him the first lesson right there in his driveway! He became a new investigator, we have plans to visit him again on Friday. He kept saying how much he admired our faith. “You girls are something else!” so I hope he digs out his old copy of the Book of Mormon and gives it a read. J
                    I’ve been learning so much from this exchange, I’m glad I’ve had this opportunity. Now I’m pretty ready for bed, it’s been a non-stop and exhausting day haha.

                Exchanges are done! I’m super glad to have Sister E back. I learned so much from Sister L that I’m super excited to incorporate into my own missionary work. Sister L immediately became a trainer out of training, and right after that she became a sister training leader (which never happens). For good reason, too. She really knows what she’s talking about, I have so much to learn from her!
                Crazy day! Weekly planning, then a lesson with G.  We were just helping him  plug some of his family history information into a familysearch account we helped him set up! Sister Eddington and I started a quote wall in our apartment today, just a wall full of sticky notes with funny things we hear or say, and G said a few things that we put on the wall today haha. I love him so much!
                We got the mail on our way to go tract and I was greeted with a package full of SWIG sugar cookies!! I was so excited I  nearly cried haha. It felt like Christmas. They were so yummy, it was nice to have something that made me think of BYU. Swig sugar cookies are the best. Also, dad sent me a camera in the mail so Sister E and I took a bunch of ridiculous pictures today. They’re all horribly unflattering, but it was such a ball. It’s been kind of sad not having a camera, but we definitely compensated for it today by taking millions of pictures haha. Super fun!
                After dinner, we visited the H's. Sister H is such a hoot, she’s super feisty and sassy and I just love it! Next week, she goes back to her home in Florida for the rest of the year so I’m super glad we had the chance to spend a bit of time with her and her husband tonight. They’re absolutely adorable.
                Late tonight, we tried a referral we were given from the Poquoson sisters named A.  He's an artist, so he basically made us walk through a museum showing us walls and walls of his work throughout his house. It took forever, and he insisted that we took these massive prints of his art, and Sister E had to take his ukulele. We were on bikes so we were definitely struggle bussing to get home haha. It was crazy. People give you all sorts of strange things as a missionary. I have more apples in my house right now than I could ever even imagine eating! I now understand how Elder C ended up with so many typewriters haha.

                All sorts of emotions were felt today haha.
                District meeting was today. We seriously have the best district ever! I hope nobody ever gets transferred haha.               
                When we started tracting today, we were probably a quarter of mile down 17, the biggest street we bike on, when we saw an iphone and a purse/bag thing in the middle of the street. We carefully picked those things up and got out of traffic. We called someone back who had previously called the lost phone to track down the owner. The purse contained like $300 cash as well as credit cards and stuff. We were able to track down the owner and leave it at a print shop near 17. Everyone involved in the recovery kept commenting about how great our integrity was, and it gave a bunch of people positive impressions of the church. Honestly, we should have done more. We should have given pass along cards to every single person we interacted with in that exchange. That’s the funny thing about missionary work. Sometimes doing a good thing isn’t enough. There’s always something more that you can do, and it’s important for you to always seek out those opportunities. We may have missed a golden opportunity to share with someone the joy of the gospel.
                Every appointment we had today fell through. When we got back to the apartment, I started singing “Come, Come Ye Saints.” The lyrics to that made me tear up, they just hit  me very close to home tonight. “Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard? ‘Tis not so; all is right. Why should we think to earn a great reward if we now shun the fight? Gird up your loins; fresh courage take. Our God will never  us forsake!” How true. I’m so lucky to be doing this work. So lucky to have these opportunities to push myself out of my comfort zone, to learn and to grow. All is well! All is well!

                It was an average day. We taught C and M,  a laurel in the ward. M is a 16 year old convert. It was really cool, because we planned to teach one thing and Sister E felt prompted to switch it up mid-lesson and it’s exactly what everyone needed. We then asked M to share her conversion story, and the Spirit was so strong. M has been less active recently, and it almost felt like sharing her testimony reminded herself of how much she truly does love the gospel. C also seemed much more receptive to everything we’d said because of the outside testimony.  After, the three of us celebrated Sister E’s 15 month mark with frosties. Sister E and I want to get better at stopping to talk to everyone, no matter how awkward it is, so we attempted to do a “walk and talk” with little success, mostly a few potentials. It was honestly a great day, we saw quite a few miracles!

                Stake conference was today, and Sh came! That was my first investigator at church! Woot woot! It was actually kind of crazy  because he’d told us he’d be out of  town until September 12th so we didn’t even invite him to come this week. Lucky for us, he showed up for what he thought would be sacrament meeting an hour late so he made it to stake conference right on time! He also happened to walk in right as we were walking near the entrance. It was definitely a miracle that we caught him! And just a few days ago,  I thought it would be a miracle if we could ever get a single investigator to church. And this week, an investigator showed up without us even doing anything. Missionary work  is funny haha.
                It was actually kind of cool, because Sh was like “Look. I need to start meeting with you more. I don’t really want to, but God keeps leading me back. And I can’t fight with God anymore. So I’m committed to learning, and committed to changing, and I’m going to be coming to church again” which was SUCH A blessing!! It’s every missionary’s dream to have someone say “Alright, I’m serious about my progression in the gospel now” and that’s exactly what happened!
                It was incredibly powerful. Many people spoke on questions. Sister W talked about how the entire restoration of the gospel started off because Joseph Smith had a question. The second counselor spoke on how we sometimes think questions make us doubters when in actuality they merely make us seekers. It made me think of things in a new perspective, and it inspired me to start a new study in my personal study where I write  down questions I have and I study the scriptures with those questions in mind until I find answers.

                Sister E wrote a long list of wonderful qualities I possess tonight, and she read them to me while giving specific examples of instances in which I’ve displayed said qualities. I cried haha. “I’m with you 24/7, Sister. I know you better than you know yourself” it was really sweet. She’s an excellent trainer. I love her so much, I feel so blessed to learn from her!

Holy Computer Issues, Batman!

The computer in the library was giving me fits, so after multiple attempts and crying, I was unable to send my journal last week.   So this is one week late.  I hope you enjoy it anyway.

Twas a great day!
                We saw the sunrise with Sean and his mom this morning! Loved it. Sean is adorable!
                We then took our car to the shop to get it fixed up and we had to bike home which was rough. Our car will be in the shop for the rest of the week, so my legs should be flawless by the end of it haha. Jokes. Biking to the library wasn’t super fun.
              Sarah painted my nails for me while Sister Eddington wrote letters to mom and Grandbetty (I was going to write them but then she asked if she could do it for me… Since my nails were wet I said yes?). It feels nice to feel feminine and cute with painted nails since I’ll feel super sweaty and gross biking. Good times.
                Finally, we had dinner with the W's. It was pretty amazing, we planned to share one scripture with them and right before I felt prompted to switch scriptures. The message we shared made Brother W’s mother, a non-member, tear up and get super emotional and it was exactly what she needed to hear. It was amazing what the Spirit was able to do. God is so great!

                Sister E’s bike was terrible! It would basically jerk her from side to side as she was riding it, she had no way to truly control it. Which was fine while we were on mostly roads with sidewalks in Kiln Creek today, however after C’s we were supposed to bike down Denbigh which is a two lane street with no shoulder where the speed limit is 45 miles an hour. There was no way we’d risk that with her bike, so we parked at the church until we found a member who was able to pick us up. All our lessons were pretty close together in time but far away in distance and up to that point in the day we’d been basically biking as fast as we possibly could so the break was incredibly nice. We only biked around 10 miles today but biking 10 miles in one go as fast as you can vs. 17 miles at your own pace throughout the day is a major difference. Also, fitness update: I did two consecutive pull-ups today! I’m not sure how many pull-ups I can do not in a row. I’ve done three not in a row before, but usually stop there because I get bored haha. Maybe I’ll have to motivate myself to keep going to see how much stronger I’ve gotten. Though it’s kind of comical because I have to stand on a skateboard to reach the pull-up bar. #ShortPeopleProblems.
                Anyway, Yorktown is great! I’m super happy. I love Sister Eddington!
                It was a day full of service haha. We started off in the bargain box doing some service, then we went to the V’s to help them pack up their stuff for their move. While there they fed us sandwiches and chips, which was basically another meal between our lunch and dinner haha. It was a full day of eating. The S's live on her street so we gave them a visit. They gave us coke and a chocolate cupcake. It was fantastic. We then had to race home to meet Sister A, who was bringing us dinner tonight. She gave us each a shepherd’s pie, an entire red velvet cake, and a bag full of 9 peaches. The peaches are AMAZING I’m crying they’re so yummy. We both took basically two bites of the shepherd’s pie then had to save it because we were so full from all the other food we’d been fed the rest of the day. It means I’ll have meals for the next few days, which is awesome. Also, Sister A brought our monthly meal calendar and we only have dinners with members around 3 times a week the next month. So stuff like this won’t be happening very often the month of September. It was fun while it lasted though. And tomorrow, I’ll get to feast all day on shepherd’s pie, red velvet cake, and peaches. (By the way, this is the first time I’ve had shepherd’s pie and it’s pretty bomb).
                Anyway, we did so much biking today my legs and butt are dying. I can also officially do a pull-up without standing on the skateboard, and I can do 2 consecutive pull-ups too! So I’m getting more arm strength as well, which is stupendous. Makes me feel better about the cake haha. I love being in a biking area
                Elder H and Elder R are finally getting a phone that works! Since he dropped theirs in the toilet last Wednesday, the screen on their phone hasn’t been working. They haven’t been able to see who’s been texting them, or calling them, etc. Poor, poor Elder H. He’s been so frustrated, I feel terrible. Sister E got her old bike back today, though! We had to borrow a bike yesterday from Elder Alexander, one of our new zone leaders. Hopefully it’s safe to ride now.
                It was a good day. My body hurts all over, but it’s a good kind of pain. I love the work, I love Sister E, I love the people I’m serving. Life is so, so good!
                After weekly planning today we went to Sister W’s house to help her repaint some of her walls! They recently moved into their current house so she’s kind of remodeling it. The colors are beautiful, it was so much fun! And I love Sister W so helping her out was wonderful J
                After we helped her out, we biked over to Christy’s house to put sticky notes covered with hearts and scriptures on her front door for her 8 year old daughter Tatum, which was super fun. They’re such a cute family, I love them so much!
                We then did quite a bit of tracting and had a little bit of success, taught a less active lesson with Sister J, then stopped by Baskin Robins to get a milkshake on the way home. It was pumpkin cheesecake and it was absolutely delicious. Crazy to see the place decked out in pumpkins in September, though. I wouldn’t have really thought of that as being fall, but what do I know? I’m just from Arizona. We were told by President W today to get a flashlight, cash, and a full tank of gas because we’ll probably get pretty bad rain tomorrow. I’m sort of kind of super excited to see what that’s like! Another day in paradise J

                Today was my second zone meeting! The trainin was great. We just discussed the importance of setting goals as well as things that we can do to meet our goals. It definitely made me think about things I can do to set more specific and measurable personal goals. I have this idea in my head of the person I want to be when I get off my mission, but if I don’t take steps to get myself there I never will. I plan on working on that tomorrow during my personal study!
                We got two new investigators today, which is definitely a success in my book! One kept complimenting us on our modesty, and about how refreshing it is to see young women dedicating themselves to God. It’ll definitely be fun to teach him!
                Sister E and I were both in goofy moods tonight. I love when the work feels like just pure fun! If missionary work doesn’t feel fun, you’re doing it wrong.
                Anyway, I love this gospel. I know the Book of Mormon is true. The Lord knows each and every one of us, and He loves us unconditionally!

                We did service for the V's today which was super fun! We just helped them pack up some boxes since they’re moving to Williamsburg. Prior to that, we dropped of a copy of the children’s book of Mormon to C's house, as well as two copies of the Bible with major scripture events highlighted as well as our favorite Bible scriptures. It was super fun giving those to her! Fun to spend so much time making something for someone I’ve really grown to love and care about and seeing them so excited to receive them was just truly wonderful. Also, when they answered the door they were in the middle of making pottery so they were coverd with clay and it made me so happy. I hope that when I’m a mom I do random fun things like that with my children!
                We stopped  by A’s house tonight. She was a new investigator we got at the beginning of August, and we haven’t been able to meet with her since our first lesson. Well, when we knocked on her door, her husband came out and was like “Yeah, she’s not interested.” During our first lesson with her, she’d asked a question about why the Book of Mormon and Bible were both necessary and I told her that the Book of Mormon kind of just clarified the meaning of  things in the Bible. She’d asked us for specific examples, and Sister E and I both blanked. After that lesson, I spent a good 3 days of personal study time studying up on the matter. I wrote out on an index card references in the Book of Mormon to the Bible, and references in the Bible to the Book of Mormon. On top of that, I’d written out a bunch of different topics like baptism, prophets, etc. and found references in both books of scripture that teach the same principles, demonstrating how the Book of Mormon clarified some of the meaning in the Bible. After her husband told us she wasn’t interested, I asked him if he’d at least give her the notecard I’d spent so much time on. He said no. 
At that moment, my heart shattered. Rejection on the mission is tough because although I know they aren’t rejecting me personally, you develop an instant love for all of your investigators and you see them reject something that could make them happier than they could even imagine. It’s hard to see someone you love miss out on anything. On the bright side, I got to do a thorough study of the Book of Mormon and the Bible working hand in hand and that was something that strengthened my testimony of both books tremendously. If anything, I gained so much spiritual growth from meeting Angela. Though I only got to teach her once, we were able to give her family a Book of Mormon which planted a few seeds as well as study the Book of Mormon in depth in a way I never had before which made me fall in love with it all over again. Heavenly Father blesses His missionaries. Sometimes it isn’t always in the way you expect, but He knows what He’s doing! “Trust God, and believe in good things to come.”
                Church was great. Fast Sunday is wonderful J. During church, Sister H went on a rant about how much she loves me haha. She told me I reminded her of a cartoon named Holly Hobby? Some cute little Pioneer girl, I guess. She was like “you just radiate positive energy and you’re so sweet and you always wear a bow in your hair and it just makes me so happy” and I was so, so flattered! While in Yorktown, people have also told me I remind them of the girl from Casper? Not sure I ever saw that so I don’t know what she looks like. Hopefully it’s a compliment haha
                Anyway, after church we had studies. Since it was a Sunday I focused my studies on the Savior, reading about His suffering in Gethsemane. Oh it is wonderful that He should care for me enough to die for me! How blessed am I?
                Later, we were trying to find a place  to tract when Sister E felt prompted to go to a specific street. I felt prompted to go to a specific house on that street. We walked up to the house, and a woman was just sitting outside. She talked our ears off for 30 minutes about how much she loves her family, and we ended up setting up an appointment with her for Thursday! We only had 30 minutes to tract today, and in that 30 minute period we only got to try the one house because she was so excited to talk with us. It was such a blessing, we have such a promising potential lesson now!
                Later, we had an active member lesson. I adore them so much. They’re such a sweet, devoted young family. We walked in on the dad sharing a spiritual experience he had with their children, and I couldn’t help but think about how I want to marry a man one day who seeks opportunities to share spiritual stories with his kids.
                In relief society today, we talked about protecting the family and tools we can use to combat satan’s tools. I want to make family dinners a big priority. Quality time in my family in general. Additionally, I want a big family. 4-6 kids, I think. I don’t want to be able to give my kids the best of everything, I want to teach my children to make the best of everything they have, and to be happy with the things that matter most in life. I want to have weekly family home evening, and I want to set aside daily time to spend with each child. I want a date night once a week with my husband. I don’t want to fight with my husband in front of my kids. I want to feel like equal partners with him. I want him to be my best friend. I want us to always not only love each other, but like each other. I want to not only read the scriptures as a family daily, but ponder them together and teach each other. I’m learning so much out here about what I want in my own future home. Missions are such a crazy wonderful learning experience!

                Today was a great P-day. As sad as it was to not email, it meant we had an hour and a half extra time to just relax. Though we didn’t exactly relax today haha. After doing our shopping, we went to the S's house and played Phase 10 for literally 5 hours. It was so much fun! I love card games and board games J
                It was a pretty low-key day today. Since we’re going on exchanges tomorrow, we did our deep cleaning tonight. Sister E and I got to talk about family traditions and other stuff like that. I’m pretty adamant my family will have tons of traditions when I’m older. No idea what they’ll be yet. I guess I’ll get to figure that out with my future husband haha.
                Sister E gave me great life advice today. She said the best way to know how your future husband will treat you is to look at how he treats his siblings and his mother. I’ve been learning more and more that coming from a close knit family is incredibly important to me. I want a man who adores and respects his mother.

                Exchanges are tomorrow! Sister L will be switching for a night with Sister E, putting me basically in charge of Yorktown for a full 24 hours. Although terrifying, I’m kind of actually super excited to be in charge. It’s like I get to prove myself, and my capability as a missionary. I think Sister E did an excellent job of giving me enough responsibility and treating me like an equal that I feel ready to move on from training and become a big girl missionary. I hope I learn a lot on exchanges. I hope Sister L pushes our investigators to progress. I’m nervous, but so excited for this big adventure!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Holy Loaves and Fishes, Batman!

Sister E and I got to tour the Yorktown battle fields today! That was pretty cool. This was kind of an intense p-day though to be honest.
I had to spend some of my mission provided money (the 150 bucks the mission gives me to buy food and stuff) on unforeseen expenses, like mini scriptures and stuff like that. I didn’t buy any groceries today because I only had $2.50 left in my account. On my mission I’ve developed an apple obsession. I’ve gone through a 5 pound bag of apples each week haha. Sister E makes fun of me for it. I didn’t have enough money to buy even one apple this week, but after we got home from Yorktown I’d gotten a package in the mail from mom! Not only did it have apples, but other fun food which was such a blessing. I have enough food right now to eat oatmeal for breakfast everyday the next week, and enough bread for a turkey sandwich every day the next two. But that package meant I’ll be able to have snacks in between those meals which was such a blessing haha. Mom and Jeff were definitely inspired to send me that! I love mom so much. 
                Today we got to heart attack a member’s house because it was their daughter birthday! To “heart attack”, means that we cut out paper hearts and tape them all over the front of their house and yard.   You could tell it meant a lot to them so it was definitely a great use of our time. After that, we tracted a street in Kiln Creek. We kept getting dirty looks and almost every single house we went to people yelled at us because soliciting is against the neighborhood rules. Well… Missionaries aren’t selling anything. We aren’t solicitors. We aren’t breaking any laws haha. That was incredibly frustrating.
                We had a loaves and fishes miracle! I thought I’d be living off of nothing but bread, turkey, and oatmeal these next two weeks. We were supposed to have dinner with the C family tonight, but they called around 3 to let us know they actually had a meeting to attend and they had to reschedule, but they brought us Café Rio for dinner! That Café Rio burrito will last me another 3 meals. On top of that, before they brought us the food, another family texted us asking if we wanted to eat dinner with them tonight! So I’ll get to have Café Rio for the next 3 days. The Lord has definitely been blessing me with food, what with the apples in the care package from mom yesterday and the unexpected meals from members! And setting a financial goal for myself is what has brought these miracles to pass! The Lord will always help you achieve the goals you set.
                That reminds me, yesterday brother M told us that in every apartment he was in on his mission, he hung the number 69. He never told his companions why, but he put up 69 every where. Why? Well, the person who had baptized the most people in his mission of all time had baptized 68 people. He set that goal for himself, and he saw that number on a daily basis. By the end of his mission, Brother M baptized 69. He bore his testimony on the importance of setting goals that seem impossible, and Heavenly Father will help you reach them!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Holy Technicolor Dream Coat, Batman!

 I forgot to write about a miracle that happened last week! As we were planning one  night, Sister E was like “Huh. I want to stop by a former investigator. But last time we saw him, he told us not to come visit him anymore.” Usually we listen to people when they request  us to stop contacting them, but she couldn’t deny the prompting she felt to visit him. The next day, as we pulled up in front of his house, Sister E felt a bit uneasy. Since he had told her not to come back she felt concerned he’d start hating Mormons, or yell at us or something like that. Well, when we knocked on the door his face lit up. He was so excited to see the missionaries again. He doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to give up drinking, so he felt ashamed to see us which is why he requested us to stop coming by. But he takes care of a man who has later stages of Alzheimer’s. That man is really starting to struggle with his memory. And it just so happens that the day before we stopped by, he asked “So, when are those two missionaries going to stop by again? They haven’t been here in a long time” which is a miracle in and of itself. The man with Alzheimers who barely remembers his own name asked about us the same night that Sister E felt prompted to visit him the next day. His patient asking him about us also inspired him to read from the Book of Mormon that day. Some people might say all that was not a miracle, but I know it was all because of our Heavenly Father. He knows us so well!

Today right after district meeting Alex  brought me a CD full of the soundtrack for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and I basically cried hahaha. On the ride home, Sister E and Sister K and I were all jamming out haha. It was so much fun, I was so grateful!
                District meeting was great. Pretty crazy that this was my last district meeting with my first district!  Every six weeks, the missionaries are assigned to new places and companions to better serve the area, and we call these Transfers.  We’ll get called tomorrow to hear about transfers. Sister E and I for sure won’t get transferred.  President Weed will be inspired to do what the mission needs!  I am both excited and nervous.  But change is good.  

I love letters, packages and cds of music.  Please send them to Sister Jessica Fisher, 1400 E Piccadilly Loop, Apt E, Yorktown, VA  23692.