Thursday, June 28

#26 and #27


June 18, 2012
What-ho?
Well, I have finally discovered what humidity is.  :P  Haha.  I never thought I'd say this, but I miss Utah heat.  ;)  I keep thinking longingly of days spent marching around the parking lot with the sun beating down... I mean, not LONGINGLY.  But I regret complaining about them.  At least it wasn't humid.  :D
Anyways, this week has been wonderful.  As a mission, we have set "standards of excellence" for our goals, and they are used as checkpoints, per say, to make sure we are trying to extend our reach.  But this month President Jones' assistants have begun challenging us to pray specifically to have the faith to meet and exceed those standards.  And, lo and behold, it's crazy how that alone has changed everything!  Sister Bastian and I have had more success these last weeks than ever before.  It is incredible!  Between striving to reach the standards, and our wonderful ward's prayers (not to mention the love and prayers of you fine people) we have seen astonishing blessings.  :)  It's (as Elder Kannehale would say) "beautiful".
Also, I found out that last Saturday Sierra and Charley (who I had the great pleasure to teach in Steven's Point as well) have been baptized!!  I am positively ecstatic- I love them both so dearly.  :)  Hope I get to see them after my mission.  They are moving to Iowa, so we will see.
This last week we were teaching our investigator Amber about the Atonement.  She has some difficult addictions we are trying to help her with, and we felt impressed to talk to her about how Jesus Christ has experienced all the pains associated with her addiction--including the pains that will come as she sets them aside.  We read a bit from the Book of Mormon about it and explained that every pain, sickness, and sorrow she has ever felt, He has also experienced.  She was silent for a moment, and then looking up--tears running down her cheeks--she asked "why has no one told me that before?"  
I had no answer, but Sister Bastian softly testified of the Book of Mormon and explained that we can understand the true nature of the Atonement through the Book of Mormon because it explains--in clear and simple ways that the Bible simply does not--the true nature and purpose of Christ's sacrifice.  I had never really thought about it before, but as she said it, I realized that she was correct.  As a member of this church I have always taken our understanding of the Atonement--limited as it is--for granted.  How beautiful to know and feel and testify of these things?  And we can because of the Book of Mormon.  
Hmm.
We got to do some service this week as well.  (Which means I got to wear jeans.)  However, with all the humidity, I wasn't very happy wearing them.  Made me think of an absent-minded old wizard in Harry Potter, who says, in response to a request to put on some pants instead of his robe: "I like a healthy breeze round my privates, thanks."  Wearing a skirt day in and day out (or in his case, a robe) you start to recognize how comfy they actually are.  :)
Anyways, I miss Harry Potter books.  But that's okay, they will be there when I get back.  :)  You should all go read a favorite passage for me.
Transfers are this week!  Luckily, Sister Bastian and I get another six weeks together.  :)  We have a lot to do, so I am very excited.  We have 4 people with baptismal dates, so I have high hopes for July!  And not just because of the fireworks.  :)
Love you all.  I am so very happy here, and I feel your prayers and thoughts each day.  Thank you!
-Sister B.
Monday 25 June, 2012
The picture is of my last district.  Talk about awesome.  The lighting makes me look super blonde, but never fear, I have NOT dyed my hair.  (Yet.  Missions make people do crazy things.  Let's hope I can make it 12 more months.)
Which sounds super weird.  Because there is NO way I only have a year left.
Anyways, pushing such creepy thoughts aside, hope all is going well!!  This week has been good.  Sister Bastian and I have teamed up with a new pro-health effort involving "not" buying sugary fatty treats and only eating them when offered by members.  Which works pretty well.  It makes me especially grateful for the occasion when we are offered cookies and ice cream and such.  So... gratitude and self-control.  
*sigh*
Haha, anyways, we are currently teaching some pretty awesome people.  :)  I realize that I don't talk about investigators a whole ton because I want to maintain their privacy and keep them safe.  (Etc.)  So I am sorry for the vagueness of my activity here... we have 3 baptismal dates set right now: Trevor for July 21st, Flora for July 7th, and Amber for July 28th.  :)  Please keep each of them in your prayers!  They are all lovely to teach.  I am excited for each of them.  It is so incredible to see their testimonies grow as they come to church and study the Book of Mormon.  
Uhm... Fourth of July coming up!  I am hoping to see some fireworks.  :)  Maybe I'll get lucky.  ;)  
Speaking of which, has anyone tried the Girl Scout Cookie Crunch Bars?  The Caramel Coconut ones are horrifyingly addicting.  Beware.  Special edition.  They will be gone soon and I will be freed from the constant temptation.
Ya'all have a wonderful last week of June.  
-Sister B.

Friday, June 15

#25

Hello!

This week has been wonderful.  :)  We were able to find seven new people to teach!  Things are really starting to pick up and I feel that I am truly being blessed as I try to sacrifice more of myself to this work--to preparing to teach and seeking the Holy Ghost.  It's incredible how things keep moving onwards and onwards, and I feel myself adapting and becoming a more capable servant.  I am so happy to be here.

The most dramatic thing that happened this week would have to be the new tithing slips they have started putting out.  Such changes!  But never fear, my faith in the church organization is still strong as ever.  Though it was a tad shocking.  ;)

We recently received a "referral" which is especially exciting because it means someone specifically ordered a missionary visit at mormon.org!  So we drove out to a lovely neighborhood and have begun teaching a young man who is hopeful to transform his life.  (Yeah, he's come to the right place.)  His father wants nothing to do with the lessons, but he expressed to us how grateful he was that we could come because his son "needs help very badly".  I wanted to give him Elder Ballard's most recent talk, "That the Lost May be Found".  :)  He speaks of the church as a "mooring in this tempestuous sea, an anchor in the churning waters of change and division, and a beacon to those who value and seek righteousness."  Recently that concept has begun to work within me.  How beautiful that we have such an anchor in these days?  I needn't fear the world, for we have a loving Heavenly Father who is so anxious to help our families be safe and happy!  

It is a great motivator to work when I realize how many families--like the one I just spoke of--are in desperate need of this gospel.  It is the only means to truly heal and protect us and our families.  How can we keep it to ourselves?

I love this gospel.  Hope you all have a lovely week!  I am not very interesting this week.  I guess that happens when I'm too busy to get lost in silly trains of thought.  ;)  Which... is a good thing... right?

Oh, p.s.  The cake waffles were a success.  ;D
Thank you for the sweet letters!  Each is a tender mercy!  :)

-Sister B.


Sunday, June 3

#24

Hey all!  Sorry I'm a day late-- as before, holidays become "prime proselyting days" because we are more likely to find people at home than other times during the week.  So p-day is moved to Tuesday so we can be out working.  Memorial Day was awesome though.  We talked to several of our investigators and had some wonderful lessons about Alma 40.  :)  How crazy is it... to so confidently know and understand where we are headed after death?  Not everyone is blessed with that knowledge.  I wish I could proclaim it to everyone!  (Which, technically, I can.  I am just a severely inhibited woman when it comes to talking to strangers.)  But that will come with time, right?  :)  

Well, not much to report.  Today we got to go to the 
TEMPLE
:D  :D  :D  :D  :D  :D  :D

I am pretty happy, if you couldn't tell.  And I won't be able to go for at least another six months, and then ONLY if we are within 2 hours of one... which isn't super likely.  But still!  I got to go to the Chicago temple!  What a renewing experience... mark my words.  If you want to see me the day I get home you will probably have to come find me in the Provo temple.  

Anyways, life continues to roll forth.  We are having a difficult time helping our investigators to church.  People have to develop a reasonably regular habit of going before they can be baptized (as most of you know) and this is a particular heartache each Sunday morning as we frantically schedule rides, check up on people, and ultimately get the dreaded "not coming after all" text or call.  

*sigh*  I don't know how I will ever be a mother.  I will explode.  I don't know how my poor mum does it or my dear Sister-In-Law Steph.  Or any of you!  Having investigators is crazy enough.  :P  Maybe that's why it's so important I am doing this, eh?  ;)

Anyways.  Love you all.  Sorry this post is a little random!
Best of weeks to you all,
-Sister B.

p.s. Some temple and Zoo pictures.  :D