Saturday, July 30, 2016

Holy Almost Apartment Fire, Batman!

This was an amazing week. Missions are incredible; I really can't even begin to describe how wonderful things have been. I have never been this happy in my life!

I truly have the best trainer ever, I love Sister E so much! We saw so many miracles this week. Wednesday, we managed to get two new investigators and committed one of them to a baptismal date! My favorite day of the week, however, was probably Friday. Friday we set a goal of getting 4 new investigators by the end of the day. We prayed about it, and did everything in our power to make that goal a reality. Well, everything we tried fell through.  Potential after potential closed their doors in our faces, and we found no success in any of the areas we tracted. But with that goal we had set, we worked as hard as we possibly could. I went to bed that night with zero energy because we had given our absolute best. It was an amazing feeling. Even though we didn't meet our goals, we couldn't have done anything more than we did. I want to finish every day of my mission like that. To me, a successful missionary doesn't have to convert a single person. As long as I can go to bed every single day knowing I gave it everything I have, I know I'll serve a successful mission!

Funny story of the week: I may or may not have almost caught our apartment on fire trying to kill a bug. I hate bugs. Sister E was laughing hysterically. It was quite an adventure

Anyway, James 1:26, "Pure religion‍ and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit‍ the fatherless‍ and widows‍ in their affliction, and‍ to keep himself unspotted‍ from the world."

I was doing a study on charity in the scriptures this past week and a half and that beautiful scripture from the New Testament really stuck out to me. Pure religion is charity. Charity is the pure love of Christ! Therefore, helping others find religion is helping others experience the pure love of Christ. The love of Christ is one of the most beautiful things any of us can ever experience. Christ was perfect, so it's really the only way any of us will experience what perfect love can feel like. I love Christ so much, and that's the only way I can truly convey how happy I am. I get to share the pure love of Christ with people living without it on a daily basis. How blessed am I?

I love you all dearly, and you're all in my prayers. Yorktown is my favorite place in the whole world. I'm so, so lucky!

I love Sister E. I love serving with her ha ha. We get through the day joking and laughing while still staying focused on working hard. She’s so patient with me, especially as I continue struggling to figure out how to bike ha ha ha. Work doesn’t have to feel like work, especially if you think about the people you’re serving. I find I’m my happiest the less I think about myself.

I love Virginia. I love my Heavenly Father. I’m so incredibly blessed.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Holy Yorktown, Batman!

Today was my first full day in Virginia! First, we ate breakfast at the hotel, then we met up at a chapel to have training on safety things and all that jazz. Then, we got to meet our trainers! As we sat in the chapel and President Weed had people preside, a cute sister named Sister Ed stood up at the front to lead us in reciting our purpose. I had this small moment thinking to myself, “I really hope she’s my trainer.” And guess what? 30 seconds later, President Weed announced her as my trainer! Also, her old companion had looked at the list of names of incoming missionaries and she said “I bet you’re training Fisher.” Haha it definitely was inspired!
 I absolutely love her. I couldn’t have asked for a better trainer. She got to tell me that we’re serving in Yorktown, and we’re in one of two sister companionships in the entire mission that get to bike!! So that’s super exciting. After that, we took a quick picture with my mission president, then we headed to the mission. We had time to drop my stuff at the apartment, then we got on our bikes and took off! I started off a bit shakey, but quickly got the hang of it. Riding a  bike in a skirt with a mission bag is rough haha. And it was so hot out, we got very sweaty very quickly. But I’m so happy! I feel so lucky to get to bike!
 We started the day with my very first district meeting! I got to play piano which was a super nice change. And, they all loved my playing which was a huge blessing. I’ve come to learn that people either love the way I play piano or hate it and it’s almost made volunteering to play a bit stressful because I never want to annoy anyone. But they loved it! In district meeting we just went over our  goals and talked about the success of our week with the other missionaries in our district. There are 4 sets of missionaries in our district (8 missionaries total) and the numbers varied dramatically. It was really neat, because nobody was judging a lack of success. Instead, we got to ask questions like “wow, you taught over 20 lessons this week! That’s amazing. What do you suggest we do so we can see if we can find that kind of success in our area?” It’s just full of learning opportunities! And, I got to contribute which was super cool. The other sisters have an investigator who couldn’t stop feeling guilt, so I suggested they try having him read the Brad Wilcox talk “His Grace is Sufficient.” Everyone loved the idea, and people were surprised later when they found out I’m a greenie! I’ve been struggling with self-doubt over the fact that I feel like I don’t say enough, but that was definitely an ego-booster. Oh, the tender mercies of the Lord!
 It also gives me a chance to reflect on the type of person I want to be when I’m home from my mission. 1) I want to be way more involved in missionary work. Missionaries need the help of members! I want to offer my services to help teach investigators as often as I possibly can. 2) Investigators need fellowshippers. Befriending people who are looking into the church can give them the motivation to continue searching for the truth until they find it! We want the Spirit to be the ones who convert them, but a friend can keep someone around long enough for them to recognize the gentle whispers of the Spirit. 3) I am SO lucky. So blessed. I take so many things for granted. I’ve had a pretty easy life in comparison to some. This has definitely been a humbling experience! 4) Sharing the gospel isn’t the end! Follow up! If someone asks a question, don’t just answer it and leave it at that! Bear your testimony! Do all you can to nourish the seeds you plant so it may hopefully grow and flourish! 5) Be bold. Don’t be afraid of rejection from friends and neighbors. Put yourself out there. The worst they can say is no. But people are far more likely to listen to a co-worker or neighbor than two 19 year old girls on bikes. 6) Heavenly Father loves His children. Every single one of them. 7) You can always do more. 8) Miracles happen.

If you want to write me a letter or send me a package, my apartment address is:

1400 Piccadilly Loop apartment E
Yorktown VA 23692

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Holy Last days in the MTC, Batman

Sister G shared a few stories tonight I really needed to hear. The biggest takeaway I got was "You can't make anyone love you. But YOU can always choose to love." Oh my gosh, I was literally bawling. It was embarassing haha. Sister G may be the most amazing person I've ever met. She's so genuine. I really hope I learn to be more like her on my mission. We then had a mini testimony meeting with our district, and basically everyone cried. This was our last class as a district with everyone. The elders going to North Carolina leave bright and early Monday morning. We were all emotional wrecks. 

Other great advice from Sister G: "Never forget to ask what to pray for." 

Words can't even express how wonderful today was. I feel so much love in my heart for my district. It's crazy how quickly you grow attached to people you're forced to spend 24/7 with haha. 

We had another temple walk, which was cool. 

Then we had dinner together for the last time as a district which was pretty sad. 

Then we had a closing devotional. It was honestly amazing! We talked about all the different ways we've grown since coming into the MTC. We also learned about the importance of opening our mouths. We're authorized members of the church, and with that comes power. 

Our other Sunday devotional tonight was also incredible. We talked about the importance of letting the investigators feel the love we have for them. We need to try to let them feel of the love our Heavenly Father has for them through us. He said, "What Would Jesus Do? What Would Jesus Feel?" which was a pretty remarkable concept. On my mission, I need to make sure my focus is trying to get the investigators to feel what the Savior would want them to feel in that moment. If they feel unforgiven, I need to let them feel foriveness. If they feel unloved, I need to let them experience love. I can't do any of that without the Spirit. 

Heading to Virginia tomorrow and will miss P-day.  I really miss everyone and love when you email or send mail.  

My new mailing address is:  Sister Jessica Taylor Fisher, 
                                             1400 E Piccadilly Loop
                                             Yorktown, VA  23692

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Holy Second Week in the MTC Highlights, Batman!

Week 2 in the MTC Highlights:

Today was the first day that new people have been in the MTC while I've been here! It was actually pretty fun to get to yell at all the people with orange stickers on their badges "Welcome to the MTC!" The four sisters in our district kept joking about how we're so experienced and we're such pros when in actuality we still feel like we have no idea what we're doing hahaha. 

The sisters and I have been motivating each other to stay fit so they just held a wall sit for 3 minutes and I held a plank for two and a half minutes. So if my journal entry today sounds super angry it's because my abs are screaming bloody murder

My companion is accompanying a special musical number "Come Thou Fount" this Sunday for sacrament meeting so I got to help teach them their parts. It was kind of amazing. I was able to play both the right and left hands together effortlessly my first time. That really testified to me that I'm improving and it was a major blessing! The Lord blesses His missionaries. And it was wonderful to get to direct a group again :)

Today was P-day and I got to check my email.  I received so many wonderful emails letters and packages from so many people this week that it was nice to just thank everyone. The highlight was probably receiving a package full of s'mores bars from the Nemelka family haha. That's definitely my favorite dessert, and it was such a wonderful surprise! 

Today we were a bit more distracted than normal. Scripture studies were a bit more difficult, but I think part of that was because of the stupid bronchitis I'm still trying to get over. I'm glad I was healthy enough to at least go to class and stuff today. I hope I'm drastically better tomorrow! 

Also, in the referral center today we had a woman come on to talk to us about how she wasn't sure if God was real. She told us she was raped about a week and a half ago and she couldn't believe in a God who would let something so terrible happen. We got to talk to her about our own experiences, and we told her the way we found happiness despite our grievances was through the Book of Mormon. She expressed interest in the Book of Mormon so we got her contact information and we sent missionaries her way!! It was an incredible thing to be apart of. 

I love the MTC. I can't believe my time here is almost over :( I'm going to miss the wonderful friends I've made here so much. But I can't wait to get out into the field and do some real missionary work! 

Which reminds me. I've been reflecting about what wearing this badge truly means. I am a representative of Jesus Christ. I have authority and privilege because of this special badge, and sacred calling. There are 2,000 missionaries in the MTC right now, and we are as the stripling warriors. Seriously. "We will be the Lord's missionaries to bring the world His truth!" 

I feel so blessed to be on this mission. Today was absolutely wonderful, and I feel SO happy!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Holy Week One in the MTC, Batman!

Wednesday was an absolutely crazy day. Saying goodbye to my mom and friends at the MTC was hard, but SOOO exciting. I seriously feel so blessed. It felt surreal to look at the line of missionaries waving to greet me as we drove up. But the coolest part was receiving my new badge. Sister Fisher. What a dream come true! I'm still in awe.

My first companion's name is Sister S. She's from Draper, Utah and she's so sweet! I keep telling her we were meant to be companions haha. We're living with two other sisters, and I just adore all of them. And luckily, we're all headed to the Chesapeake mission! Blessing from heaven!

So the first person I met was Sister F. She escorted me from my car to my residence dorm room area. I was on the 4th floor. And there was no elevator. The two of us had to drag two fifty pound bags and a carry on plus my shoulder bag up four flights of stairs. After, I was sweating like a sinner in church (er- the MTC?). It was pretty rough haha.

After that I got to meet my district! Everyone seems pretty great. Two elders are also going to Chesapeake so that's super rad. 

After our district meeting, we got to have a mass meeting to introduce us to the MTC presidencies. 700 missionaries entered the MTC today so it was pretty chaotic. The Spirit was overwhelmingly strong, and I just felt so pumped to be there! They had us sing "We'll Bring the World His Truth" and where the lyric is normally "We will be the Lord's missionaries" they had us sing "We are now the Lord's missionaries" and I was near tears. I'm now the Lord's missionary! How blessed am I?! 

I love the MTC thus far. I'm having a blast! I'm super happy!!