Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 25, 2014

I must say, this week has been an eventful one. Transfers were interesting. I was a little nerves because Sister North has the GPS. I had the thought that if my new companion didn't have one, how were we going to find our way home? And could I survive the crazy Chicago traffic? I have done it before, but it's really not my favorite! Lucky for me, a Sister in the ward volunteered to drive us. I'm so happy! She had a GPS too, so the only problem we ran into was traffic. Good ol traffic. Because we don't have a GPS, we have had fun relying on my memory to get us around, and a paper map. We sharpened our map reading skills this week. Thankfully, our ward mission leader is letting us barrow his GPS, so we're surviving. As a missionary in Chicago, having one of those handy dandy devices is a must, or you just can't find your way anywhere.
So many missionaries just finished their missions and went home. One of them was Hermona Felt. I call her my step mom because when my first companion got sick and had to go home and I was waiting for my new trainer to come, I stayed with Hermona Felt and her companion. I love Hermona Felt and can't believe she's home now. What an amazing example she is. Her mom is amazing too and has sent me letters in the past. I can see where Hermona Felt got her loving personality. :D It is hitting me a little more as I am realizing that my time as a missionary is running out. I have just a little more than five months. That time is going to fly by so fast, I'm not ready for it! It might seem like a while, but in missionary life, a day is a week but a week is a day. I have learned so much as a missionary, it's hard to picture myself being... normal.... anyway, I won't think about that! Not until it's time to be home. No distractions! No regrets!!! 
Last week, it rained hard and we've had some flooding. I have learned my lesson and haven't tried to go through any big puddles... ha ha. One part of my area got hit hard. There was a mini-van floating on the road and boats were brought in to rescue people from their homes. Luckily, my apartment was just fine. The only way you could it had rained hard was because the pond behind my apartment was overflowing. The ducks were enjoying it though, especially the baby ducks. 
We have had the fun opportunity to help build a house. I even got to use a heavy duty saw that cuts metal. Yeah, I feel pretty cool. ;) It's coming along well. I'm so happy I'm developing some house building skills. In my last area, we got to help tare down the walls of the house. That's a but different, and a lot easier. You don't have to be as careful. :D 
I hope everyone is doing well. This world is such a crazy one. Just as Elder Holland said, the gap between the world and us is getting bigger. We are standing out more and more and the world is seeing us as strange and unrealistic. Many of the youth are struggling. They are conforming to the ways of the world, even though it's against God's standards. Make sure you are all working to help yourselves and others have spiritual experiences that will build their testimonies. Help lift others so that they can reach the potential and happiness that can only be achieved through God's true gospel. Don't sit idly by. Go out and let the world see your example. An individual can't be an example or grow if they are sitting in their home waiting for a perfect opportunity to come. They only come when you are out there acting. You will be doing the Lord more good acting than sitting and keeping to yourself. Keep working hard! :D Remember, every member a missionary. Take this seriously!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll say it again. Take this seriously!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And one more time for good repetition. 
Take this seriously!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did I say one more time? I meant two more times. Take this seriously!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are in the latter days and this is the last chance for so many people. We need to help as many people as we can. If we don't open our mouths, then the answer is automatically no. If we try, then one day, as is said in Alma 5, we will be able to stand before Heavenly Father and can say we did our best to bring salvation and eternal life to our bothers and sister around us. I know it can be hard, and it's hard to face the negativity and harsh reactions of the world, but you can do it! Just remember how quiet and shy I used to be. Remember this, "If Sister Wells can do it, I can do it." This used to be SO  HARD, but with practice, it becomes easier. Do a role play at FHE on giving away a mormon.org card or sharing something about our beliefs. YOU CAN DO IT! The Lord needs you! Don't forget!
Love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a great week!!!! :D
P.S: I think I forgot to mention that my new companion is Sister Beauchamp. She is from Spokan Washington. She has been out for six months. She's super sweet. :)

August 18, 2014

Well, this week was kind of crazy. We just had so much going on. We were running around like crazy. It's hard to recall all that has taken place. Well, lets see here... we had an awesome zone meeting on Tuesday. There are so many missionaries who are going home. It's hard to see them leave. I love them so much and they have worked so hard to serve the Lord. They are just so amazing! I also am so grateful for our mission president. He is so amazing and has such an amazing relationship with God. What an amazing example. :)
On Saturday, we got to help build a house. It was so much fun. I think the people there found it amusing that I as doing so well, and then got to a spot where I needed to hammer a nail through aluminum, and it took me almost 20 minutes to get the silly thing to go through.... Hmm... They said it was about 20, but I think it was a little less. Any way, it was fun. My arm will become so strong! Especially if I get to go and help out again this coming Saturday. We will see. After helping with the house, we had some things to do and then went to the church to help prepare for some baptisms. Three people the Elders were teaching were getting baptized, and we have felt so lucky that we have gotten to help them as well. They are truly amazing people and it has been so amazing to see their faith grow so much!!! It was also very special to see them receive the gift of the Holy Ghost at church yesterday. They can feel and recognize the Holy Ghost already. I'm so proud of them. Satan fought hard before they got baptized, but they pushed through and are doing wonderful. :D Ah!!!! So happy!!!!! It fills me with so much joy. President Woodbury, our mission president, got to come. I asked him if I would have to wait until later that night to find out what was happening with transfers. He said that I would be staying and that Sister North would be leaving. Later that night we got the calls. My new companion with be Sister Beauchamp. Sister North will be transfered to Hyde Park and her new companion will be my last companion, Sister Lepule. How funny is that? :) It's going to be so weird to be here without her. 

August 11, 2014

Hmm... Lets see, what happened this week.... Everything is such a blur these days. Well, it was a slow week, so maybe that's why. Lots of people canceled their appointments, so that wasn't too exciting. We did meet some interesting people while knocking on doors. One lady even came out and talked to us. She didn't talk to us about the church, but about life and stuff. It was cool. I like her. :) I like it when people talk and aren't quick to close the door. Ha ha, we had an interesting moment where we walked back to our car yesterday and someone had put a note on our windshield asking us not to park elsewhere. It kind of hurt my feelings, but oh well. People on that street just are the friendliest, or at least the ones that we have talked to or left notes on our car aren't. 
Yesterday was interesting. We met a new person at church. She's so cute but is a little nerves to come to church. She has had a pretty hard life. It will be so nice to see how the gospel will bless  her life as she learns more. :D We met with some people too who are less active. At the beginning of the meeting, something felt off, and half way through, the wife said she had been doing research about our church on the Internet, and she found a lot of stuff the concerned and confused her. She found LOTS of anit-mormon material. :,( 
We went through how to know what was real and what was false. We talked about how the fastest and most reliable way to know if this church is true or false is to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it is true. If it is true, it means Joseph Smith truly was a prophet, that we have a prophet on the earth today, and that all the church teaches is true. If the Book of Mormon is false, then everything we believe crumbles with it. It all comes down to sincerely reading the Book of Mormon and praying with a broken heart and contrite Spirit to know if it is true. It's that simple. It might feel difficult to recognize the answer, but when you get it, you will know. It's all over in the Bible about how to recognize the Holy Ghost. Some of my favorites are Galatians 5:22-23 and 2 Timothy 1:7. They are powerful in helping us recognize that Heavenly Father answers us through the Holy Ghost, and the Holy Ghost helps us feel peace, comfort, joy, reassurance, and such. Satan cannot copy those things. His answers bring concern, feelings of confusion, sadness, frustration, anxiety, and such. It's amazing how clear it is on how the Holy Ghost answers us, but it's so hard to pay attention when the Holy Ghost is there answering us. This has really taught me how it's one thing to know something, and another completely different thing to apply. We teach people this so many times, but they don't understand. I have also learned that they are only going to truly understand when they learn from the Holy Ghost themselves, which happens when they are sincere, are willing to act on the answer they get, and put in a great effort to study. So many people turn to technology to and other people to answer their questions, but really, we just need to ask God. He will answer!!!! He really will! So many people say they believe God will answer their prayers, but then they don't ask Him any questions and remain in darkness as they rely on everyone and everything else to bring them light. Don't do that! Just ask Heavenly Father. He's always there. :D
I'm continuing to see another amazing thing. As I read the Bible, is continues to show me that the Book of Mormon is true and that his church is true! It's just so great to see all of the dots connect. :D If everyone would prayerfully read the Bible, they would see as well. Okay, now I need to mention an interesting story. We have met with a woman a few times. She used to see the missionaries, but doesn't care to anymore, so we like to say hi to her still. Twice now, Sister North has quoted a scripture from the Bible, and both times, the lady has gotten very tense. The first time it happened, Sister North quoted Genesis, the very first book in the Bible. They lady said, "No, I want to hear something from the Bible, not your book, the Bible." Sister North replied, "That is from the Bible." 
The lady doesn't even know what's in the Bible. The second time Sister North quoted from the Bible, she got tense, but as soon as sister North mentioned how much she loved it and the rest of the chapter in the bible, the lady seemed caught off guard and had a look of surprise on her face. Everyone gets so confused thinking the Book of Mormon is our version of the Bible, but no, it's NOT. Sigh, some people refuse to understand that we believe in the King James version of the Bible, and that the Book of Mormon is a second witness of Jesus Christ that is an account that happened on the other side of the world. Of course the stories are different! And of course the doctrine is the same. The prophets were prophets for the same God. The same God authorized these scriptures to be written. If only people were willing to actually listen, rather than pretend to listen. Oh well, they will figure it out some day. 
Lately, I have really been seeing just how real the fight is between good and evil, and just how hard Satan is fighting. He's so sneaky, but righteousness will win!
Well, now that you have heard my rant, I hope you have an amazing day!!! Love you all! :D

August 04, 2014

General Email:
Last week was a very good week... Kind of slow, yet fast... hm. Monday was a good p-day. Did the same thing as usual really. Tuesday was fun as we got to help a member with family history. We didn't get very far because her web browser was super old and not loading things well, so we had to download a new browser. We then went to a lesson with some investigators. Oh my goodness, let me tell, this was an amazing lesson!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This investigator has struggled to accept that there could only be one church with God's priesthood authority, and didn't want to come to church. Well, her husband has started reading the Book of Mormon with her and suddenly, they are learning a ton and doing amazing. At the lesson, she told us that after reading 1 Nephi 14, and about the difference between God's church and false churches, it all clicked. She said, "This is true. This is the true church. There is truth in other churches, they just don't ave all of it. There are good people in other churches, and they are just being prepared for this church." She then said another marvelous thing. She said, "We want to go to church on Sunday as a family. Could you find us a ride?" Ah!!! I almost started crying from feeling so happy! That's like a dream come true!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so happy for her!!!! She seems so much happier too!
Wednesday was great. We got to go out and have a district lunch, which was super fun. I love the Hermonas and the Elders in our district. They are all such hard working and wonderful missionaries. So amazing!
Thursday was our Sister Training Meeting in Chicago. It took about two hours to get there, thanks to Chicago traffic. I'm sure it would only take half that time if traffic weren't so bad. I got to see two of my past companions, Sister Bonvissuto and Sister Lepule. They are doing great and super happy with where they are. Sister Bonvissuto is in the city, which she has been hoping for. She loves it there. The theme was, "Becoming Perfect in Christ." We talked about overcoming perfectionism. While singing a song, the Spirit was so strong, and it hit me that I'm running out of time on my mission. That really put me in tears! Ah! I know six months might seem like forever, but not in the missionary world. It's hard for me to imagine that I have been out for a year. That's just not real. I feel like the kid in the YouTube Video, "David at the Dentist," when he's asking, "Is this real life?" How strange. Yeah, I'm not ready to come home anytime soon. The people here are so wonderful. I must say that this area is my favorite. It has been the perfect place for me to learn and grow, and I feel closer to this ward and the people than I did in the last. This ward is really working to improve and get missionary work going, and trying to help the members increase their faith more and more. It's just wonderful. I feel so loved and watched over here. I'm so happy here. Tansfers will be coming soon. Next week is the last full week of the transfer. That means that not this coming Saturday, but the next, we will find out if one of us stays and the other leaves. This is scary because Sister North and I have been together for three transfers. That's usually the longest that missionaries are kept together. There are some missionaries that have never had a companion for longer than two transfers. The odds are against us. We will probably get split. Problem is, neither of us want to leave here. I know I have said that about my previous areas, but I REALLY REALLY DON'T WANT TO LEAVE HERE!!!! This area means a lot to me. A LOT. I have grown so much here in much needed ways. I really hope to have the privilege of staying here one more transfer. I'm so grateful for the amazing ward members, missionaries, and people that I have met here. I love them so much!
Friday, we had a mini missionary with us, which is a young women from a near by ward that comes out with us for four days to see what it is like to be a missionary. Ours was amazing and so much energy, was always positive, and just so special. She has such an amazing testimony!
Saturday was interesting as we were rejected at a door, but sang them a song. As we sang, the Spirit was there and was so strong! Rather than being quick to close the door on us like most people, they kept waving good bye to us as we left. That's a lesson to remember, always leave someone feeling the Spirit. They may not remember what you said, but they will remember the way you made them feel. :)
Sunday was a good day. We got to meet with great people. The sad part was that the four days was up with our mini missionary. We wanted to keep her, but decided it would be best to give her back. ;) We had a fun meeting where each companionship with a mini missionary got to go up and brag about the amazing youth that came out with them, and then that mini missionary got to go up and share her testimony. It was a wonderful experience. I loved it a lot.
Monday, today, has been very good. Sister North and I found shirts that have the name of the area and city in which we are serving, so we bought them. We have matching shirts now. Way to build companion unity! :D ;) I have reflected a lot today and throughout this past week on my many experiences, and the things I am experiencing now. I would like to share a little bit of my thoughts on it by sharing a little clip of what I wrote to my awesomely beautful fantabulous (no, that's not a real word) big sister. "This week, I have developed a testimony of trials, and how much of a blessing they really are. They are never fun when you are in the middle of them. Never. But, when thrown into the refiners fire, these weaknesses are removed and we become stronger. Did you know that when metal is in a fire and impurities are removed, the metal become more reflective, and the more you can see your reflection in the metal, the stronger and more pure you are. No wonder the Savior used this as a metaphor. The Lord puts us in the fire to make us stronger and more pure, and as we go through this process, we begin to look more like our Savior or Heavenly Father, as they can see their reflection in us.
I am truly grateful, to the point that I might cry as I am writing this, that the Savior loves me enough to let me struggle. I wouldn't be who I am now if I hadn't gone through what I have. I'm afraid to see what I would have become had I not come on a mission. The Lord knows what He is doing and what we need to reach our full potential. It's one thing to say this, it's another to experience it. I'm definitely experiencing it." I truly am learning what a blessing it is to go through trials, and to use the skills we are developing to turn a weakness into a strength, to become a better person, to change ourselves to resemble our Father in heaven. It truly is a blessing. What has helped me through this trial is reading the scriptures, which do hold the power to come closer to Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. The sciptures are more powerful and special that we can truly comprehend. While reading in 1 Nephi 2-5, this principle really hit me. Usually when reading the story of Nephi, I would learn about the power of faith and diligence, but today, it really hit me that scriptures are so special. The Lord knew that the scriptures have the power to help us come unto Christ, so he wouldn't let Lehi and his family leave without taking the scriptures with them, or else there wouldn't have been a point in them leaving because their descendants would "dwindle in unbelief." The Lord explains that it was indeed necessary for Laban to die in order for the scriptures to be obtained because, if he kept the scriptures, and entire nation would have dwindled in unbelief and perished. The scriptures have the power to save a nation. They have the power to save you. They have the power to save me. They are a great gift from God! :D Even Moroni says in Moroni 10:27, "And I exhort you to remember these things; for the time speedily cometh that ye shall know that I lie not, for ye shall see me at the bar of God; and the Lord God will say unto you: Did I not declare my words unto you, which were written by this man, like as one crying from the dead, yea, even as one speaking out of the dust?" The Lord will ask us on judgment day if you have read, studied, and used the scriptures. Make sure you use them! Don't neglect, or as the scriptures say, "wrest" the scriptures. I leave my testimony with you that if you read, study, and ponder the scriptures, you will be lead on the right path that will help you become perfected in Christ and you will find everlasting joy and eternal life. I say these things in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Monday, August 4, 2014

July 28, 2014

This is Lacey speaking: 
I don't know what has happened to my general email from July 21, or this week,
perhaps she didn't send one these weeks, I just can't remember. 
However, she sent a photo while out on exchanges:)
She also sent home letters and a necklace for my mother just stating that she is doing well
and was thinking of all of us. We are completely proud of this Sister Missionary
of ours:) We'll keep her around, I think! 

July 14th, 2014

General Email:

Sunday July 6: We did a ward fast for a ward member who is going through cancer treatments. He has been very sick, but since the fast, he is feeling a bit better. :D
Tuesday July 8: I read "Becoming Perfect in Christ" from the July 2014 Ensign. What an amazing talk. I feel like someone was watching and recording my struggles, and then wrote a letter addressing my concerns and giving me hints at how to change. What a great feeling that is. Can I tell you how much I love the Ensign? I LOVE it a LOT. It's like eating delicious spiritual food all the time!
Wednesday July 9: All of the companionships in our district got switched up this transfer but us. We are 90% sure this will be our last transfer together, since it is our third. I don't think I have hear of anyone who has been together for longer than three transfers. We'll see what happens. For a get to know you question, our new district leader asked, it you were in a zomby apocalypse, which Book of Mormon character would you have with you? Both Sister North and I agreed that captain Moroni would be awesome! Come one, he's captain Moroni! Two more people chose Ammon because he was able to chop of the arms of those who tried to kill him because he stopped them from scattering the Kings flocks. We agreed that we couldn't choose Christ, because He can beat and overcome any situation. That's an automatic win. I can't recall if anyone chose a character other than Ammon and captain Moroni. They just rock in zombie attacks. They can kick them out of here! 
Thursday July 10: The Lord really answers our prayers.
Friday July 11: I was studying the scriptures and once again, peace washed over me as I read D&C 29:7. It states, "And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts;" What a nice reminder it is that as missionaries, we don't have the responsibility to get everyone to listen. We are here for those who WILL listen, for those you do have a desire to learn and to change, to find more peace in their lives. Also, I got two letters in the mail today. One was from Sister Braten's mom. It had what I needed to hear. It meant a lot to me and was a great reminder of how to defend our minds from Satan's attacks. It helped me realize where I was letting my guard down, how to become strong, and how to recognize truth from his lies... We also went to eat with a less active at a pizza place. It seems to be a popular place for people of all religions. There were us, two sister missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and then there was a Baptist preacher and a preacher for an Evangelical church. How fun. People like to look at funny..
Saturday July 12: We missed dinner, so the ward mission leader made us grilled cheese for dinner. Mmm... I like food. We had planned on eating dinner, but we didn't get the chance, so it was so nice of them to make us food. Their dog likes me, but her fur seems to really like my clothes because she shed all over me in a matter of seconds. Silly silly. We also got to weed some potatoes for a member. It's interesting how there are weeds that look just like the actual plant. It's like they are a counterfeit trying to disguise themselves so they can remain and we pick the wrong ones or leave them with the good. The ward member pointed out how it's just the same with how Satan tries to make the wrong things look correct and make the choice of what to and what not to choose hard. It's so interesting. 
Sunday July 13: What a great sacrament meeting. One of the counselors to the bishop spoke about challenges and it was so good. :) I loved it. The new missionary in our ward also spoke. What a great way to get the know the ward, right? He gave an amazing talk, and what stood out to me was the importance and power of the Book of Mormon. People try to find ways to help others come closer to Christ and to build their faith in Christ, but the best way that we can't avoid is using the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is the key to anyones conversion. It truly is. I have had many people ask me why we even need a second book. Well, the answer is pretty obvious to me, but no matter how hard I try to explain it to someone else, they just don't understand. They need to experience reading the book for themselves and feeling the Spirit testify to them that it is true. So powerful! It's true it's true!!!
Monday July 14: We got to clean our car. Yay! I always love cleaning the car, and the getting a yummy smelling air freshener. It adds the perfect touch. We are sitting in the library right now, and the guy sitting next to me keeps looking at the screen. Hmm... Can you see that I'm writing about you? Ha ha, no, he doesn't. He' s looking at his screen again. But he keeps looking over, so, maybe he will. Anyway, we got to have lunch with a ward member who is super awesome. He has done miracles for me. For a while I haven't been able to sleep well because my back would ache and ache. This wonderful ward member, chiropractor, and friend has helped fix my back up pretty well to the point that I can sleep through the night now, and I feel so much better!!! The Lord truly blesses us in so many ways, especially though others. He is using his talent and passion for chiropractic work and is helping so many people, and a lot of us missionaries. :)
Have an awesome day!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July 7, 2014

General Email:
A lot happened last week, and I forgot to bring my journal so I could take a look and talk about everything. Oh well. So, last Monday was very interesting. We were brushing out teach when the tornado sirens started going off. We thought we hear them, so we opened our front door and could hear them loud and clear. We texted a ward member and she ended up calling us telling us that a tornado had touched down in Illinois and our area was in it's path. It was supposed to be coming by us. 80 m.p.h winds were supposed to hit at 10:50. Sure enough, they did. The wind was so intense. It sounded like a monster. Our beds are right next to a sliding glass door, where the wind was pushing against. The power started going crazy, flicking on and off. We grabbed our matrisses from our beds and put them in the hall and kitchen, which was probably the safest place, furthest from all the windows. We said a prayer and felt peace, that we would be just fine, so we went to bed. The next morning, sure enough, we were untouched. We went jogging and didn't see any damage, but people said huge trees in some part had been uprooted, ones that had survived the mothers day micro burst. Since then we have seen them. They are giant trees. As far as we know, the tornado didn't come by us, just the really high winds.

Next thing I want to mention is the 4th of July parade. We were in it!!! We helped set up a little float that had the Salt Lake Temple, pictures of Christ, and had seats for people to sit, along with lots of bags of candy. Some of the missionaries knew people who could make labels. They said fun things such as "Families are forever! Mormon.org" or just mormon.org. The parade started late, so we got to take some fun pictures of us with the float. During the parade we passed out pass along cards, along with candy. It was interesting to see their reactions. People aren't the friendliest. Some were nice, some shot dirty looks, one ripped up a card, some dropped the cards as soon as they saw the word mormon, others handed them back, one might have told me I was going to burn. Well, it wasn't the easiest, but the parade was fun. The primary kids sat on the float and sang families can be together forever. The elders did a wonderful job of getting people involved by having one side of the parade try to yell "U.S.A" and "God bless America" louder than the other side. It was fun to see. I'm so proud of our elders and sisters. They showed no fear and so much love for God, this work, and the people as they went around with smiles on their faces, handing out cards, trying to help as many people as they could. I just love them and am so grateful for their wonderful examples. They truly are just so amazing. God has called great people to serve Him.
This kids loved the candy. Parades seem so different here. The people look like they are upset if you throw candy to them, rather than just put candy in the bags children run out and meet you with. Is throwing candy just a Utah thing?

We hit a hard point this week. An investigator that we love so much.... kind of turned on us. She no longer treats us as friends. It broke our hearts to lose such a close friend and to be treated harshly. I don't understand what happened. 
We have an investigator who we found three weeks ago while tracting. He is truly amazing and we have seen him become so happy as he has come to church, read the scriptures, and is coming closer to Christ. He is such a wonderful example. I'm so proud of him. :)
Transfers are this week. We got the news on Saturday they we will both stay here for another transfer. :) We get to have a third transfer together. It is so good. We really had no idea what was going to happen. It is exciting to see what God has in store for us. I don't know if there is someone here I can help, or if I'm going to learn something here. We'll see. I'm learning things everywhere, but different places tend to teach different lessons. What will this one be?
I love you all and hope all is going well. Love you lots!!!