Tuesday, August 19, 2014


So I need to tell youuu!!!  RIGHT before I left Manchester like the Thursday before I left, Stils and I were on splits and I was with a laurel.  We stopped by this potential's house and of course they said go away... So I just saw this house and I was like... Yo we need to knock on this house.  So we did and the guy was totally open and I was able to teach him about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and we set a return appointment for the next Thursday.  THEN I GOT TRANSFERRED!!  Well sister stilson emailed me and said that he is super super progressing!!!  Like reading the book of mormon all the days and meeting with them twice a week.... gosh.  How cool.  HOW DUMB I LEAVE RIGHT WHEN SOMEONE GOLDEN WALKS IN MY LIFE.  Typical luck of me.  I'm not bumming but I am.  Whatever.

Anyway, I just think that's so cool.  At least I was able to leave Manchester with something.  

Soooo this week sounds pretty normal... I'll send all my perfect prayers Drew's way this week so he can pass his freakin test.  HEH guess what.  Today I cut BANGS in my hair and I won't send pics because I look dumb but my comp did it too.  How funny am I.  two little mormon girls with bangs in their hair.  I just get a kick out of myself.

hmmmm well this week is gonna be good because we are FINALLY going to the doctor for my comp's freaking foot.  She has this terrible situation where her feet are just a mess, like way worse than mine and she is finally gonna get to the doctor and figure what is up in the hood.  I am soo happy cause it's just not fun to be in pain i feel for the gurl.  I feel like this week I learned a life lesson that LIFE ISN'T JUST ABOUT ME and I just need to love my comp and cater to her needs.  I don't know I've just been in panic mode for the last while cause she has to do all this stuff that causes us to not be out working and I was legit panicking but then I just realized... It's okay.  Heavenly Father knows she needs this and I need to help her with this.  And so things are good.

OKAY I HAVE THE BEST NEWS IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSEEEE!  So we've been working with this returning less active, her name is Perris and I love her.  She's 24 and just dope.  She was in the marine corps for 4 years and has basically been inactive for the past 7 years of her life.  She has overcome so many things... it's insane how prominent the military is out here.  Everyone and their dog has served in the military.  And I just hear so many stories about it and I just can't help but find all these men and women who dedicate their life to the service of our country absolutely amazing.  The military AINT NO walk in the park.  It sounds like the hardest thing mentally, emotionally, physically... I just really admire these people.
Perris has just told us so many stories about it and all she's learned; but the literal MOUNTAINS she has had to climb choosing that path of life.  So many people are just so strong.  It's just inspiring.  
BUT ANYWAY, Perris.  We had a lesson with her this past week and I am not even gonna sugar coat it the spirit was just swelling inside me and sister jones and it was just bumpin spiritually wise.  We talked about so many things and by the end we asked perris what some of her goals could be to make her way towards the temple and she was like, "Well my mind's made up!  I'm gonna meet with bishop on sunday to discuss my steps I need to take!!"  WHAT i said.  I almost died.  So she talked to bishop and she taking the temple prep classes starting next week and SHE IS SET UP TO MAKE IT TO THE TEMPLE BY OCTOBER 1st!!!!!!!!!!!!  AND she wants us to come with her!!!  OH MY GOSH can you believe it there are actually people who aren't LAZY LOSERS who want to change their life and truly draw closer to Heavenly father and jesus christ and make covenants and progress!  PRAISE THE LORD!

I just think Perris is so cool.  She has overcome so much in her life and truly desires what her Heavenly Father has in store for her and is willing to sacrifice to get there.  

PEOPLE ARE SO COOL.  I get to meet cool people on my mission who change me and help me see life in a new way and who are just dope.  I love it.  I decided I like meeting new people and talking with them and learning what matters to them.  To hear what they think and not just what I think.  Too often I just get lost in my own world and what I think and what I want, when talking with other people about things opens my eyes, and helps me see things in a new light that i might like better than the light I saw when it was just me looking at it.  Did that make sense?  I didn't understand that before my mission.  I didn't understand a lot of things  before my mission.  I was so stupid before my mission i can't even believe it.  hahaha  I AM SO GLAD I CAME HERE.  Heavenly Father knew what he was doing; having me come here and all.  I didn't really know for a while if this really was the right path for me.  Even when I had been out a month or so I was still questioning it.  Freaking satan.  He makes us question everything.  But I really do know I am rightfully here and I am where heavenly father wants me to be.  It blows my mind to think about how much I have changed in the past 6 months.  I was reading my mtc journal a bit this past week and I was suchhhh a hater back then.  like emo missionary to the max.  I'm so happy with myself now.  I may be kinda fat and i have ugly bangs now and sometimes I say stupid things... But i'm a good person.  And i'm doing something that GOD, MY LITERAL HEAVENLY FATHER wants me to do.  And i'm changing in lots of good ways and I know my savior now more than ever, and i just love the church and the gospel.

this week lets all make sure we make time for our savior every day, cause he just rocks

xoxooxoxo sister van orden 


Well hey everyone.  Here I am again.  Another week another letter.

WELL LET'S START THE WEEK OFF RIGHT WITH A BIIIIIIIIIIIIIG OLD HAPPY FREAKING BIRTHDAY TO DREWSEPH!  Holy nuts are you like almost 30?  I don't even know how old you are turning anymore drew.  Now that you're married I just feel like you're an old man.  But yeah happy birthday.  Maybe have yourself a nice little meal at taco bell for the big day.  Crunch rap supreme hypothetically on me.  HEHE  ACTUALLY BETTER IDEA DRIVE TO STG AND GO TO IN N OUT AND EAT A 4X4.  I can't think of a better way to celebrate.  Speaking of in n out, the other day some psycho lady tried to convince me that mcdonalds fries are better than in n out fries.  I almost died.  Anyway sorry off topic completely UM HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO DREW.

So now that that is out of the way... this week sounds like it's been pretty chill in the vo's life.  That's a good thing i think.

This week I had one of the most humbling, tender experiences of my whole lifffeee.

So on Friday and Saturday this week, we got to participate in this service project called "school dress days" held at one of our buildings, but had many people from all sorts of faiths participating and helping.  It's a thing they do every year here in Fredricksburg, they get donations from all sorts of places like CVS and Walmart and all that crap, and they donate and buy school supplies, backpacks, clothes, and hygiene products for kids to have when their parents can't afford all the "back to school" essentials.  Hundreds of families came through with all their kids and each child got to pick out a new back-pack, a coat, new jeans and a shirt, and some shoes; along with school supplies and hygiene stuff.  It was just so tender.  These kids acted like it was christmas and most of the families we helped through were so humble and grateful.  
#1 it just made we want to make stuff like this happen when I am off my mission and a real human again... So many families were blessed and helped by this and it just was incredible.
#2 it seriously made my heart feel like it was going to fall out of my body seeing all these kids and how excited they got over their new stuff.  I have so much.  It makes me love/hate myself.

We are just blessed family I hope you guys never forget that.  We have so much and the people I met this past weekend just made me realize even more so how much Heavenly Father has given us and because of that he does expect things of us.

It was so interesting to observe the difference between those who were so humble and grateful and those who were so ungrateful.  There was a lady who came through who was taking a lot more stuff than she was allowed, and when I told her she wasn't supposed to do that she got all sassy and said she could do whatever she wanted, he son needed this.  To which I zipped my lips cause I'm a missionary and I can't be sassy.  And you know I do agree with her a bit, I would love to give her the whole freaking room full of clothes but there are others who need that stuff too.  I witness moms telling their kids not to get the shoes that fit them but they would probably grow out of soon, because "there were other kids who could use them".  I was so inspired by these people.  I just feel so blessed to have been able to be a participant in that service project.  I really do feel like it changed my life hahaa. 

As for missionary work, things are going.  We met this sweet lady yesterday named Mary, we were able to teach her about the restoration of the gospel of jesus christ and she was just PUMPED.  It's my favorite thing to see.  Also one of my favorite things about teaching people is hearing them pray for the first time.  At the end of the lesson we always ask them to say the prayer, and at first they freak out and say no, but with a little prodding, they'll usually do it.  The prayers i hear these people say are so humble and simple, but some of the most sincere prayers I have ever heard.  It's the best thing ever.

It's funny, sometimes when I'm teaching it just kinda hits me that I really am a missionary and this is what I do.  I go and I talk to a bunch of random people in virginia and try to teach them the gospel.  That's my life.  I hope you guys know how much I appreciate the support I feel from my family.  I literally can feel the prayers and it's such a blessing to have people who care about me and want me to be my best self and work my hardest as a missionary.  You guys are such a big part of my motivation to be my best self as a missionary.  

This week I have been thinking a lot about preparing ourselves to partake of the sacrament.  My experience at church this week felt more renewing than it has in a long time, actually probably ever, simply because I took time everyday of the week to prepare myself for sunday.  I bet you all do this but if not give it a try.  It was a great blessing in my life.

OKAY YEAH.  I don't have a soap box this week but I could talk for another 50 years about bikes if you want me to.  HEH JK I WON'T.  

Have a happy week!  

hehee not really cause I won't be having to be buckling up at all for the next 6 weeks at least because SISTER VAN ORDEN IS ON A BIKE!!!!!!! hahahahahahahahaha!!!!
I am so pumped I could die.  I need to be on a bike so I can stop getting fat.  That's one reason a bike is great.  BUT THERE ARE MANY.  NOTHING ON THIS SIDE OF THE UNIVERSE HAS MADE ME SO MAD AS WHEN WE SPEND HALF THE DAY IN THE FETCHING CAR.  On a bike you can literally stop and talk to everyone.  I just feel like I've died and went to mission heaven.  I want to be on a bike my whole freaking mission AND YOU CAN QUOTE ME ON THAT.

Okay so I am now in Garrisonville....somewhere in Stafford Virginia.... which is like 20 minutes outside of Fredricksburg.  My area is TEENY.  And it's split cause there are elders and sisters in the ward.  It's the smallest ward in the mission.  They call this place little Provo.  Don't worry, my mish pres assured us there are people to find and teach and baptize.  All I have to say is bring it on.

Literally I am just happy.  I like this whole being in a new area thing.  It's just a nice, refreshing, fresh start.

Before I forget, my address is:

412 West Park Dr.
Stafford, VA 22554

My companion is Sister Jones and she is like the biggest blessing.  She's been out for almost a year and is from denver.  Also I am in the same zone as my dearly beloved Sister Pew so I just died and went to heaven cause I get to see her all the time now.


Hmm..  So like I just feel like a new human this week.  This week it just kinda hit me that I really really like being a missionary.  Like I kinda love it.  And even though it's crazy awkward talking to every human I see and inviting them to be baptized.... It's what we do.  And I really really really like it and I never thought I'd be able to say that.  Like ever.  I remember my first few weeks in the mission are just thinking to myself HOW AM I GOING TO DO THIS FOR 18 MONTHS.  And now I just think, how could I not be doing this?

We were riding our bikes (hehe) out of our complex the other day and we passed by this teenage girl and Sister Jones just slammed on her brakes to talk to her.  We got chatting and she told us about how she didn't know if she believed in God... typical teenager in Virginia.  But we invited her to church and she said yes!  So we told her we'd come by Saturday to remind her.  On Saturday we went over, and her dad answered the door.  Julia (the girl we met) was in the shower so we talked to her dad for a while and told him about church and all that jazz and he was totally cool about letting her come.  He said they'd talk about it and he'd have her call us.  She text us later that day and told us she was comin!  We were freaking pumped.  So she came Sunday and stayed all three hours and LOVED it.  The ward reached out to her so much and showed so much love and I was just so proud of them.  She even stood up in the youth testimony meeting and thanked everyone for the kindness they showed.  So yeah now we are teaching her!!!!  AND THAT WOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED IF WE HADN'T HAVE BEEN ON BIKES.  I HAVE RECEIVED REVELATION FOR THE CHURCH THAT WE NEED TO GET RID OF CARS PERIOD.  Just kidding but really.  Cars are dumb and missionaries should all ride bikes.

So yeah I just could literally rant about bikes for dayssss but I will try to control myself.

My comp is just a dream.  She loves to be bold and do crazy things because if you wanna see crazy results, you gotta do crazy things!!!  Am I right or am I right.  I just love her.  Finally someone who will back me up in craziness and she even is craziness.

um I don't really know what else to say.  Mom that sucks that you had another freaking seizure.  What is up with that crap?  Just remember to keep swimming!  God's gonna take care of you mama!  At least the whole fam got to see you in your seizure glory.  I'm sure that was just a little bit traumatic.

I'm just glad everyone is alive.  I just pray Heavenly Father keeps you guys safe and he's held up on his end so far so don't go doing anything stupid.  For the sake of my sanity just don't die (Grandma Della and Grandpa Ross). ;)

So anyway, I know God lives and I know he loves me and you and everyone.  I have been thinking so much lately about how our most important relationship is that of our relationship with Jesus Christ.  I think about my relationship with Jesus Christ.  He is just my man ya know!?  And I think about all these people around me and their relationship with Jesus Christ and how the message we share can strengthen that relationship with Jesus Christ insanely.
I just hope you guys are nourishing and strengthening your relationship with Jesus Christ every day.  In my prayers I find myself constantly asking that He just please won't let go of my hand.  But that's wrong; he never will let go of my hand, I'm the one who needs to keep holding on.


On Mon, A
HELLO people!
So I think I need to start off by rebuking Dad.  He told me he ALMOST thought about me everyday.  WHAT up with that SVO?  you better think about me everyday! 
Another thing before I forget.  MASON JOHN VAN ORDEN SENT ME A PACKAGE IN THE MAIL.  Yes, also I don't know if you heard, hell froze over.  BUT seriously!  He sent me some wonderful C.D.'s that me and my comp have been jamming to.  So thanks a millions mas, you rock my socks! 
So to start off I am getting transferred!  Holy crap I feel like my head is spinning all the days.  I won't know where I'm going until I go to transfer meeting tomorrow... So you guys will have to be on the edge of your seats until next Monday.  STAY TUNED!  It was really sad saying goodbye to my ward family in Manchester.  I truly grew to love all these weirdos and I just feel really grateful and humbled that Heavenly Father sent me all the way to Virginia to meet these amazing people that I undeniably needed to meet.  I am so grateful to know, to truly know that the Lord is leading my life.  I am exactly where he needs me to be doing what he needs me to be doing.  I want to retain that feeling throughout all my days.
This week we taught so much and every night I laid in bed and just died of happiness.  Teaching makes me so happy.  Scrambling for things to do and tracting for 4 hours makes me so not happy.  I LOVE WHEN WE HAVE EFFECTIVE THINGS TO DO LIKE TEACH THE GOSPEL.  Seriously so many miracles this week.  Like, one morning we went out tracting in our apartment complex.  We knock on this door, and this lady yells through the door, "who is it?!" and we say the sister missionaries (typical Virginia).  She ask us to come back in ten minutes cause she just got our of the shower.  So we leave to knock some more doors, find a lady, teach her about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ- AMAZING, and then go back like fifteen minutes later to this lady's house.  Her name is Neenee and she was so GOLDEN.  She kept saying how she was looking for a religion because she grew up Jehovah's witness and didn't believe in that.  And she was so excited about the whole restoration and ate up every word we said.  Oh my goodness I just died.  She was so excited to read the book of Mormon and it was just sweeeeeet. 
On Thursday we went on splits.  I was with one of our laurels and everything was falling through.  I decided to tract with her, and the first door we knock on this guy tells us all about how he has been waiting for Mormon missionaries to knock on his door because he is so impressed with the way Mormon's have strong families and raise their kids in righteousness.  CAN YOU SAY MIRACLES?!?!?! 
Of course we find all these golden people RIGHT WHEN I AM LEAVING.  But what was also cool was I had a real convo with this guy and he really listened to me and I really did my best to listen to him, and I realized after how much I am growing.  I taught the whole restoration without my comp and I felt so good about it!  That was a nice feeling.
I'm serious this week was miracle week.  Last week in weekly planning we had like 3 people to plan for and this week we had EIGHT.  HEAVENLY FATHER IS THE MAN.
Here's a story that will probably make you laugh but made me want to lock myself in a dungeon for the rest of eternity.
So you remember our old investigator Marcellius?  Well we kinda "set him aside" a while back because he is lazy beyond belief.  But we would still text him and invite him to church and to the BOM study class and whatnot.  So on Saturday night we were texting people to remind them about church, and we text marcellius "you best be at church tomorrow, it's sister van orden's last sunday and we need to get pics" blah blah blah trying to get him to come.  HIS RESPONSE:
"I'm not coming...blah blah blah."
sends another text, "I don't wanna sound strange but I've had the biggest crush on her"
I ABOUT DIED.  That is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo disturbing.  What can I say?  I attract winners.  31 year old men who live with their mother and work at 5 guys. 
needless to say I will never be getting the pic with Marcellius and I wrote in permanent marker at the top of his teaching record in all caps "SISTERS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO VISIT EVERRRRRRRR". 
I hope you all got a good laugh out of that.  I told our elders and they sure did.  It only terrified me and I will never work with single men again.
In other news. 
We had two investigators at church yesterday which was awesome!!  I love when people come to church.  It makes me feel like they are finally seeing something and their journey of progression is hastening. 
So yesterday at church was a missionary's farewell.  The topic was hymn 219, "because I have been given much".  This kid said something that just rang so so true to me!!  He stood up and started talking about how a lot of people have asked him why he is serving a mission.  His final answer was exactly the topic, "Because he has been given much".  YES YES YES.  I am not even serving in a third world country or anything like that but every single day I find myself thinking things like why was I so blessed and grew up with a strong family?  Why did God give me two parents who raised me to be who I am?  Why have I been given SO MUCH?  Literally I have been given everything.  Everything.  I meet kids who take care of their drug addict parents or foster kids who have never had a place to call home or people who have been abused by those they truly love or people who are so sick or struggling so much phsycially, spiritually, financially, etc.  I meet mom's and dad's who take care of their kids all day and work all night and STILL have a desire to grow in the gospel and never ever miss a sunday and magnify their calling and here we sit, crying about 9 AM church.  PEOPLE ARE AMAZING.  I can't believe how amazing.  So yes, that newly leaving missionary finally put this thought I've had for 6 months into word form.  I'm on a mission because I love the Lord, and because I have been given so so so much.
That's that, family.  Have fun at the Koosharem family reunion.  I am suuuuuuper jelly I won't be there.  Tell all those people that Sister Van Orden loves them.  I heard Maddie's prego again.  That is so funny.  She da woman! 
Mom that is so sad about Zak.  Yes if you could get his address I would love to write him.  Oh man, that just breaks my heart.  Zak is a strong soul.
AND COLE TOO BAD ABOUT CALI!!!!  Just tell Cole the legendary story of when you decided to not let me go to Cali with my friends the NIGHT WE WERE LEAVING.  Yes still bitter but I have moved on.  hehe.
Also mom that is sweet you're going to hot yoga.  First thing I do when I get home is become a certified yoga instructor.  And run a marathon.

Okay love you people.  This week will get weird!  I'll be going through the new comp transition and the new area transition.  Hopefully I survive.
HeYo what's up with the peeps!  I heard from Haden and Mom this week I'm thinking I'll start keeping a tally.
BIG week for VO's cause MOTHER IS FINALLY BEHIND THE WHEEL AGAIN!  Praise the Lord hallelujah.
Why are you guys going to St. George?  Are we being THAT family who lives in Vegas but goes back to STG all the time?  Hopefully mom and dad are still liking each other???? hahah
hmmm so yeah I heard from one of my investigators that Lebron is going back to Cleavland so I have been praying for Haden this week to stay strong.  He won't have his precious "big 3" anymore and the Heat won't win every title possible anymore.  So Haden are you staying a Heat fan or are you following Lebron?...
Today is my dear companion's birthday which is probably the most stressful thing.  Cause like she only has one birthday on her mission and it's up to ME to make is FAB-TASTIC!  So I have just been telling everyone to make her a cake so we will probs be eating like 3 different cakes today.  I am NOT so happy about that and neither are my ever growing love handles.
well, this week was good.  I (kindly-ish) told at our investigator Marcellius this week that if he isn't serious about reading the book of mormon to pack his bags.  And then this swaggy couple we took with us were like "yeah you need to either get serious or get out" and I was just so happy.  blahhhh sometimes (most of the time) I just don't know how to help people progress.  And then I remembered it's not my job to make them believe.  It's my job to teach them and guide them.  And even though Marcellius has been taught before and I think he's ready to be baptized doesn't mean HE thinks that, and this is his choice.  So yeah, I am learning that I can't make someone be prepared.  I was talking to one of the sister training leaders this week and we were talking about this and she said something to the extent of the Lord saying, "that's nice you're preparing so and so to hear the gospel, but here's someone I've prepared."  And when the Lord has prepared them, THAT'S WHEN THINGS GET REALLLL (at least that's what I've heard.....).
I went to Chippenham (downtown Richmond) on an exchange this week and it was so fun.  I got talking with like 4 different people and gave out 3 book of mormons and I JUST LOVE GOING THERE SO MUCH BECAUSE YOU CAN TALK TO SO MANY PEOPLE AND SPREAD THE GOSPEL SO MUCH EASIER THAN KNOCKING ON SOMEONE'S FREAKING DOOR!!!  It's fun because when we're there we just go to VCU campus and contact all the YSA's and most of them aren't living at home anymore so they are very open to learning about religions.  
We had a lesson with our hit and miss investigator from Ghana, he is so cool and basically taught us the plan of salvation.  He goes to three different churches every sunday and my comp totally threw it down and was like "yo steven this church has every single thing you're looking for."  It was so powerful.  
So i don't really know what else to say.  Oh we had a wayyy awkward thing happen at a lesson.  So we have this member coming with us to see our investigator skip the other morning and we get there and he's like... uhhhh I am about to eat brunch.  Can you come back in 20 minutes?  So we leave and I felt really bad but the member just went to the store, and we all came back in twenty minutes.  THEN skip said we couldn't sit in his living room cause his daughter's were watching a movie.  SO WE WALKED THROUGH THE WOODS, ALL FOUR OF US, TO THE LIBRARY AND WE SAT DOWN IN FRONT OF THE LIBRARY AND HAS A NICE LITTLE LESSON. hahahhaha it was so funny and awkward.  Definitely an experience I will never forget.  That member was a trooper.
Dad a couple other things you guys could do is start a splits calendar- two nights a week from like 7-8- pass a list around for two different members to sign up to go on splits with your elders.  We started that yesterday and tons of people signed up!  it was sweet.  And the elders just take the members out and do missionary work for an hour or so.
Also you guys could start a book of mormon study class one night a week at the church for investigators, members, anyone!  anyway, that's it.

and YES MOM IT IS SO HUMID HERE I AM DYING AND SO IS MY HAIR.  Oddly enough my face and especially my lips are (as uncle eddie from vegas vacation would say) dry as hell.
I just don't understand why people would chose to live here.
So that's all i got this week!  I hope you guys have a lovely week.  BE GOOD MEMBER MISSIONARIES.
I loveth you allllllll

Hey hey hey!
Well well well I'm glad everyone survived the vacation from heaven.  I'm glad you had a fun time and I'm not even that depressed I wasn't there.  THAT IS A GOOD THING.
I got a letter from Drew and Mason this week too THAT MAKES TWO (yes two) WEEKS IN A ROW!!!  That is a miracle if I've ever seen one.  And I see miracles- I'm a freaking missionary.
So you're done with vacation bliss and now all back to real life.  Ouch.  Mom that's so awesome that you're gonna be driving in a week!!  Does Haden have his license yet?  Mom you haven't been able to drive the whole time i've been gone.  That's cray.
Mom Bailee and Chase are getting married September 27th I believe.  She sent me pics of their engagement and they are the worlds cutest thing (aside from Karly and Drews of course).
Hmmm so I have actually had a nice week.  Every week I feel like is a new start and an opportunity to become a stronger missionary and keep strengthening the fire.  Each day holds an opportunity for miracles, sometimes those miracles are just a little less noticeable. 
Me and my comp are doing fine.  I don't think we'll ever be best friends but i mean we get along well enough.  She's strong in a lot of things that I'm a little weaker 
 in and vise versa.  I'm definitely learning patience hahaha but I really am getting better with being patient!  It's funny to see myself grow.  but then I get stressed about if I'm growing enough.  Like before my mission I didn't want to come out here and change but i get here and now all I wanna do is change and be the most dead set PMG missionary (while still being me of course).
I just have to tell you about the dope dope dopest experience this week!  So me and stils "set aside" *cough dropped* like 4 of our investigators this week so the slate was looking pretty clean.  I've been thinking about doing that for a while now, but i mean it kinda requires a lot of freaking faith!!! Like okay we have no one...... Heavenly Father you gotta lead us to the prepared!  
Sooooo we have had a lot of days full of tracting and tracting and contacting and going to try formers and potentials and the majority of that has been a big fart in my face.
BUT I was praying the other night and I just was like YO heavenly father, where do we go?
COALBORO road appeared in my brain.
So we took this girl who has her mission call and off tracting we went on Saturday night.  I had about a million apprehensions cause #1 it was the elder's area (hahahhahahha), #2 this area is like out in the boonies.  Like you walk half a mile to get from house to house and #3 I didn't want to waste this girl's night tracting for 2 hours.  I always feel so bad when that happens.  BUT we just rolled with it.  So the 4th house in, we walk up and a lady is cleaning her screened in porch.  She invites us to sit down, gives us water, and we start talking with her.  She's about 50, and that day was her daughter's 16th birthday.  We teach her about the book of mormon and gave her a watered down version of the restoration (best two years reference) and she is pumped.  She keeps saying "oh i'm gonna study this book and i'm gonna find out if it's true!" and then I'm goin in for the baptismal invite, and her daughter just pipes in and says "hey mom have you ever been baptized?"  OH MY GOSH CAN YOU SAY PERFECT?  And she talks about how she's never been baptized and then basically describes proper authority and how she doesn't want some random joe to just baptize her... the whole time I was just about dead because HOLY CRAP COOLEST MIRACLE EVER!  She's a single lady so the elder's couldn't have taught her, and she even said if 3 boys had come up she wouldn't have invited them in.  But since it was 3 girls she was more than willing to chat!!!  I just couldn't even believe my life at that moment.
But now I just need to work on actually believing in these people and being consistent and persistent with their progress in the gospel.  CINDY AND KAYLA PICKETT ARE GETTIN DUNKED you guys just wait. (not that i'm only in it for the dunking.  I want them to come unto christ and be perfected through him). They are so prepared.  And there a million people like them all over everywhere!!  God is truly preparing these people, we just need to find them!  And as we pray for that, WE WILL FREAKING FIND THEM!  
So yeah that was great.  God blesses us with many unplanned teaching opps as we work and pray and have faith.
DAD to anwswer your Q, our proselyting beings a 10 am.  Stils and I have been hounding the members for service opps because we don't have a lot going on between the hours of 10 and 4 on weekdays.  I actually just talked to my mission president in interviews about this and he said to get involved in service daily.  Get out in the community and let people see our faces and crap.  We do do a lot of tracting but it just isn't very effective because on one is really home.  Do your elders have places where they can contact?  Like a park or something?  or go to walmart and talk to people.  Use mormon.org's they're the perfect in.  or family history junk. That works too.  i'll think more on this.
I think we're getting our ipads in august and I'm pumped.  THAT'S GONNA BE SO SWAGGY.
So yeah, the work is slowish, but it's just okay.  We just gotta keep grinding and finding and boom things are gonna explode.  I know that.
I love everyone and I hope every just has a wonderful week!  

Sunday, July 6, 2014

WOW I need to freak out in my emails more often because I got loads of emails this week.  DANG AM I POPULAR OR WUT.
Okay wow the Van Orden/Erekson (i don't know how to spell KARLY'S other last name oops) calibunga trip 2k14 sounds sweet.  Mason tried to make me jelly but sending me pictures of him cooking lobster.  Mason please tell me you grammed that pic of you.  I will cry if you did.
Okay I know this is old news of last week but that is SWEET that Ashley is engaged to Dy-lan.  That is so awesome for her.
hmmm so sounds like everyone will be enjoying a wonderful week at the beach this fine beginning of july!  PLS get a killer tan.  Mason will get fried like a tomato as usual, and hopefully dad remembered to pack his swim shirt.  And his goggles, and hoefully his SPF 200.  Can you believe it's july?!?!?  Holy crap I feel like these past 5 months have gone by insanely slow but weirdly fast.  
SOoooo my week this week has been lots of adjusting.  I wanted to tell you guys about this SWAGGY lesson we had at church yesterday.
SO during the sacrament I was thinking about the significance of the atonement, and how the scriptures say 'christ suffered so we don't have to".. something to that extent.  And I got to thinking about that and was pondering the thought that yes, christ suffered so we don't have to suffer, and yet in life there is so much suffering, even for the repentant soul.
So we had a combined lesson cause fifth sunday and all that jazz and this lady in our ward told this story about her husband and I wanted to tell it to you guys cause I personally just loved it.
She talked about how after her husband graduated high school, he joined the army, and then was able to soon after start special forces training or something.  I don't really know I'm not army language savy.
He told her about the training they went through in special forces.  Like they would take them out on runs and maybe they'd go three miles out, so they would have to run the three miles back.  As they were finishing the 3 miles back, they pushed themselves because they were getting close to the finish.  Then, they would get to the finish, thinking they were done, and new officers would come out, have them turn around, and they'd start another run again.  Then she posed the question, "How many times have we found ourselves at the gates of the finish, but had to turn back around and go back out and keep running?"
She then related another experience her husband had in one of his training's where they would have all the people tread water basically until they drowned.  When they drowned, they had guards on boats who would pull them out of the water, pump all the water our of their lungs, ask them if they were okay, and throw them back in the water.  
She talked about how they never knew who would give up.  There was a large diversity of people, large and small, who were doing the trainings, but it was always a surprise who gave up.
She related one more analogy.  As little kids, we love to go swimming.  The first thing we do when we see water is we jump in.  Then as we get older, some of us sit on a chair on the side, some of us dangle our feet in, some of us always keep our head above to avoid getting our hair wet, and some swim.
Life is just like all this stuff.  I realized in this lesson yesterday that we are called to suffer because that is what helps us grow.  And that is such an obvious thing, i realize that.  Sometimes in life they pump the water out of our lungs, and then throw us back in the water.  sometimes we think we made it to the end, and we are called to go back out and keep running.
All i know is I wanna swim to the end.  I don't wanna wade my way through the water to the end, or timidly dangle my feet in the waters of life, I wanna jump in and swim all the way to the end.  And I'm pretty sure you all do too.
one thing i really like that she said is the holy ghost is our coach, Christ is our lifeguard, and we have our loved ones cheering for us.
Isn't that just so true!  I hope i did the story justice and i'm not just blabbering nonsense.
It's exactly what i needed to hear and understand.  Life isn't about peaches and roses and bliss, it is those things, but we are also here to grow.  This life really is the time for men to prepare to meet God, and when i get back there and finally see my savior again I want him to look in my eyes and tell me he is proud of me, because I gave this life all I got.  I "swam to the end" no matter the circumstance.
She then challenged us to think about the stories of faith in the scriptures that inspire us.  stories like esther, daniel, the iron rod, david and goliath, the brother of jared, etc.  There are so many stories of people who literally had the water pumped out of the lungs, and then were just thrown back in the water to keep swimming.  So many stories of people showing faith rather than fear or doubt or all that other crap.
So yeah, that's my shpeal for the day.  I hope you all don't sit around and make fun of me for my weird letter today.  I know i probably didn't do the story justice but just bare with me.
Make sure to have a 2 hour longs discussion on the word shat this week.  It's tradition.
I love you all!