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!

oh wow look at all those pictures!!  Sheesh make me CRY RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FREAKING LIBRARY!!!!
But you guys all look so good and mom you are not even fat.  And Drew and Mason both look like they got hipster haircuts. WOW.  Haden looks like he's taller than dad and mason now hahah FINALLY!
Sounds like you guys had a blast this weekend.  How great.  Fun times in good ol STG and cole swaggin on the soccer field... what a dream.
SO FUNNY YOU RAN INTO LAKYN AND WIL AT THEIR WEDDING MOM HAHAHAHAHA!!!!  Jordyn freaking went to the wedding and all my friends emailed me about how weird it was.  Also mason brought amber home?!  I know amber.  Is he in love with her?  Because he always said he thought she was pretty cute.  WOW mason you can't get married until next july.
Glad to hear the blessed 65th anniversary party went smoothly.  And gramps got grandma a ring.  Classic.  
WELL in case you were wondering about me.
I will tell you this week was mos def somethin else.
I mean I knew it was coming haha I have had 2 peaches of companions to begin with.  So my new comp is Sister Stilson- she was in my MTC district.
I DISTINCTLY REMEMBER saying to myself "oh boy.... if ever am comps with her...."  If i could compare her to anyone it would be Stephanie Snow.  Mom, you know what i mean!!!!
Low and behold.  I totally saw it coming.
So this week has been very different than the other weeks of my mission.
She's been with a companion for the past three transfers who was sick apparently so they slept..... a lot a lot a lot of their time away.
I don't know how to handle this at alllllll.
You know I really am trying to be loving and charitable.  I mean... I just need to let go of all the things that annoyed me in the MTC and just love and be christ-like BUT SOMETIMES there are just those people who rub ya not so right.  Like your personalities just don't click.  This is one of those times.
Ya feel me?
But she will get up and run with me and she has really sweet music on her ipod and she's good in lessons.  So there's some positives for all my negative nancy.  
BLAH I can't even do missionary work either.  I have literally hit rock bottom.  I just feel like I can't doooo ittt.  I try and try and NO ONE progresses and I mean it's because I am just not really cut out for this DO YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING?
I just haven't caught that drift that pretty much every other missionary has caught where they are just rockstar teachers and studiers and explainers and spirit bringers and all their investigators progress and the problem is, I DON'T FREAKING KNOW HOW TO CATCH THAT DRIFT!!!
I must have left the pills at home that the first presidency sends out with your call letter that help you be the best missionary ever.
Needless to say my week was just blehg.  If i could throw-up all over my week i would.
I'm sorry that i'm bumming so hard in this letter but i really don't know what to say.
heh you shouldn't put this letter on the blog or let anyone read it cause that's embarrassing.
We had a really good week visiting less actives though.  We got in with a lot of families that i've been trying to get with for a while.  And some of them even came to church so that was just sweet.  We also found some more new investigators so that was such a blessing.  And I'm driving full time now so watch out.
We taught sharing time in primary yesterday and that was really fun.  This past week i've been able to realize how much I love the ward i'm serving in and i'm so grateful for these people who i really have grown to love.
I have been thinking a lot lately about losing yourself in the work and how that really is the thing i need to do BUT I feel like I have been trying to do that for the past 5 months and I really don't know how.  
But on a good note, I started reading Jesus the Christ hahhahaha I cannot understand a word of that book i think it's written in a different language.
Also along the lines of studies- i read this ensign article the other day that talks about the differences of reading, studying, pondering, and feasting.  Feasting upon the scriptures is what brings the fullness of what the scriptures have to offer.  I often feel like i merely read/ponder when in reality i need to be focusing so much more.  Not worrying about how much i read but how much i get out of what i read.
WELP, this is where the line ends.  I will love my comp if mason sends me an email.  
done deal.
i love you guys a lot.  I also love the lord.  Maybe i'll be a better freakin missionary by next weeks email.  HAHAHA SERIOUSLY

Wellllll how was the week.  I am depressed that freaking Sister Pew is up and leaving me.  How rude of her.  Isn't it funny how I didn't even know her a couple months ago and now she is like my best pal.  Funny stuff.. companionships bring ya pretty close.
So yes I get a new little companion tomorrow so we'll see how that goes.  Hopefully she's not psycho.  We had this meeting on Wednesday where all the sisters in the mission get together and we go through a bunch of training's and it's pretty fun... I am becoming not so new so I actually have friends and know people when we go to meetings so that is pretty sweet.  I got to see Sister Ketchum (my MTC comp) and that was just a delight.
Also big news: today I drove for the first time since I have left on my mission.  Sister Pew called some dude and I got permission to drive so I definitely feel like a freaking BOSS.
MOM AHHHH I can't believe you saw The Fault In Our Stars hgdkla;hg;abva;bioh this laurel that always goes out with us saw it and she told me about it blahhhh I am so JEALOUS.  You have to buy it when it comes out so I can watch it when I come home in five thousand years.
Well my week was a little bit of a whirlwind I just feel like it was some kind of weird dream.  On Tuesday we drove to Buckingham which is like an hour and a half away to do a blitz to help the elders in our zone find new investigators.  That was sweet because literally every house sister pew and I knocked on let us chat with them for a while about the gospel.  THAT does not ever really happen here in Virginia.  So that was really just a treat.  One of the single elderly missionaries drove us up in a member's mini van.  It was hilarious.  
Anyway the rest of the week was weird because on Saturday we found out Sister Pew was leaving so it's just been a whirlwind of her crying and other people crying and saying goodbye and me just being an awkward soul standing there and saying I'm still staying.  
That's my life.
We also have like fifty dinners tonight because everyone wanted to have us over to say goodbye to sister pew.  That means I will be gaining 20 pounds.  ouch.
I am going to the zoo today with our whole zone so that will just be a TREAT.  
hmmmm i don't have any super swaggy stories like last week.  I mean we see miracle everyday but ya know. 
Have a fun times in St. George this week!  It'll be a fun week for you guys with the big party coming up and stuff.  Tell gramps and grams that I love them so much and I can't believe they've been married 65 years!  THAT IS CRAZY.  they are my inspiration.  Give Grandma Della and Grandpa Ross big hugs for me.  I miss them.
I don't really have much else to say... I am going to teach teach teach this week!  Me and the new gurl will light it uppp.
I have been reading the book of mormon lately (duh), and I am in the middle of alma.  Which is dope because it's the fastest i've ever read the book of mormon ever and I am getting so much out of it.  Holy FREAK i love the book of mormon so much.  I can really relate to Alma and Ammon stories and they are just studs.  I wanna be a missionary like they were.  I really am trying but sometimes I feel soooo in over my head when it comes to this.  I really don't know what I'm doing but one thing I do know is that Heavenly Father has got this under control and so long as i do everything in my power- he's gonna make up the difference.  I think that's my new motto- Heavenly Father truly makes up the difference. 
I have grown to love so much baring my testimony.  It's crazy cause when I was younger i thought baring my testimony was the biggest deal.  Now i like bare my testimony to dogs it's such a common thing.  It's so cool.  So cool.

I love you people.  have a wonderful week!
Hello hello peeps!  
So sounds like Haden had a great day turning six-freakin-teen years old!  Still can't wrap my brain around that but WHATEV.  
So I got to thinking this week and I am PISSED that I can't go to G&G VO's anniversary party cause it's not all too often the freakin VO clan all gets together!  All I have to say about that is that I will write a speech that you can read so I can be there in spirit and word.  hehe kinda like the savior JUST KIDDING that was too far.
Soo school is done for the 2 hooligans.  What a blessed day.  I bet cole and mom are just having the greatest bonding time ever.  How special.  I bet you do a lot of walking to the park and to the good pizza place where cole can get his favorite garlic bread.  WOWWW sounds like a treat.
AND DOUBLE WOW that dad pulled through and got the Lionel Richie tix.  DANG i bet that was sweeeet and I can just see it now mom loosing her mind as he sings dancing on the ceiling.  That is so cool you got to see him!
Haven't heard from Mason since I left on my mission, I was wondering if he was still alive?  Or if they cut out his brain in one of his labs.  I mean we really would never know if mason died or something, he doesn't talk to anyone enough.  Except Kevin.  Maybe Kevin would inform you.  Maybe he ran off and eloped with my MTC teacher sister paravato.  She totally had the hots for him.
My friends are all moving on with their lives without me, Bailee is FREAKING ENGAGED to chase and I am weirded out.  My friends are getting MARRIED. ew.
ANOTHER SOMETHING I NEED TO BRING UP is that DAD is turning 49 this week WOW you guys are getting OLD.  Something else i was thinking about is that i will not be home when mom and dad turn 50!  HALF A CENTURY. how does that feel huh?  hahaha well dad i hope you have a gReAt birthday.  You can take the family out to dinner on you and maybe they'll even buy you some video games for Haden and Cole to play.  JUST KIDDING really have a great birthday dad.  I love you.  And a happy father's day!  Dang just killing two birds with one stone this week!  You guys will be partying like rock starz all week long!
So none of my friends wrote me this week so this email will be long cause I have a lot of time.  Take a deep breath everyone.
My week was REDONK so good.
We hit our all-time high of member present lessons this week so i'm just feelin like a freakin BOSS.  haha but more importantly we had some serious spirit packed lessons and they were just blessed experiences.
Okay so on thursday sister pew and I went on exchanges with the sister training leaders again and this time i stayed in Manchester.  So we go back to our second appointment with this guy who is a pastor from the church of christ.  IDK if i've told you about him.  But our first lesson with him and his wife went really well, he was very respectful and actually quite open.  So we set up a second appointment that happened on thursday after we exchanged so it was me and the STL and our laurel, and HE WAS JUST A (censored) rude dude.  He kept telling us that we don't worship the same god that is in the old and new testament because the book of mormon is so not in conjunction with the bible, so we worship some weird god who doesn't exist blah blah blah!!!  Oh now it makes me heated but at the time i was very calm and we just did the only thing we can do which is testify of the book of mormon and other truths we know.  The craziest thing was he went OFF about how eternal marriage is not real and he looks right at his wife and goes something like, "honey, i love you so much and i would love nothing more than to be with you forever, but that will never happen!  That is not how it goes!"  OH MY GOSH I almost fell out of my chair I felt so bad for his wife!!!!!!!!!  If my husband looked right at me and said that I would just DIE!  He said our doctrines were "nice to hear" but so wrong!  OH WOW it was just something else let me tell you.  What was cool was after we left I just felt so much peace because I know what I know.  And i'm sad for him that he is so closed off to the truth.  Someday pastor danny, someday.
One more COOL story.  So fast forward to Friday.  Me and the STL plan a lesson with Marcellius and ALL FREAKING DAY i am calling the entire ward (which is my worst nightmare.  I hate with a capital HATE talking on the phone with people and I just could crawl into a hole and die all the time because half my job is harrassing people via telephone call) to see if someone could please let us come over for the lesson and FINALLY somebody says yes.  So sister pew gets back at 5 and we met this lady who needed help with her yard so we go over there for an hour or so then we get back to the appt at like 6:20 and wolf down some cereal and change and we rush over to the member's house and I was just a basket case because we didn't even have time to go over the lesson together.  Like the only thing sister pew knew was that the lesson was on the priesthood.  SO I WAS A DISASTER.  Before we left i just said a quick prayer and told heavenly father that we weren't as prepared as we should be, but I asked him to please make up the difference.
The lesson was REDONK ya know when the spirit is so strong you literally feel like you're choking?  That's exactly how it was.  The member's were just throwing down and it was just SO COOL and if that wasn't enough, the guy gives Marcellius the dopest priesthood blessing i've ever heard and OH MY GOSH it was like the coolest night of my mission.
We also had zone conference this week.  Dad i was wondering something.  have your missionaries ever read these things called case studies?  One is about working with members and one is about homework assignments.  Our mission pres gave them to us.  I was wondering if they had them, because they really are so helpful.  If they don't, i can make some copies and send them to you.  They inspire me, so maybe it'd inspire them.
I just had a great week guys ahhhh!  I am actually adjusting to being a missionary finally.  I feel like i finally kinda know what I'm doing.  AND IT IS JUST THE GREATEST FEELING to not feel sooooo weird all the time.
I also had to give the prayer in sacrament meeting yesterday and almost shat myself.  But i did it and survived.  Praise the lord.
Okay well i think that's all.  I don't really know what else to say.  I am alive and breathing most of the time.  Have a great week everyone!

mom are you the master of picture sending or WHAT?  WOW am I impressed.   
So to answer your questions YES I FEEL THE HUMIDITY and YES I sweat so much it is absolutely repulsive.  I haven't felt the brunt of it yet, we have really bad days where it's super humid and 95 degrees but then it'll cool off.  I don't know what I am going to do when It's like that errrrrrryday.  I will just die.  Literally.  Tracting and the heat don't really get along right now but I'll just have to start feeling the love for that stuff.
And Dad yes the bugs are starting to eat me alive.  It's because I have sweet blood from all the dunkin donuts i eat.  the other day we had a horse fly inside our appt and I took on the role of murdering the freaking thing.  We don't have a fly swatter so i put my boots on my hands and just went ape.  It was great.
Yeah I had to LOL in that pic the lady in my ward sent you cause she totally caught me biting my finger hair and I just knew I would not hear the end of it for that one.
That is SWEEEEET that you got to take the boat out.  I am way jealous.  Did dirt marry that girl he kept breaking up with?  That's crazy that dirt and chris are gonna be married men.  Mason needs to pick it up.  He's way cuter than them.
Well my world turned upside down this week when I realized HADEN is turning SIXTEEN years old.  I feel like I'm still 16.  It is just altering my universe.  ANYWAY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY HADE!  Kiss a girl that night cause now you're home free to do all that crap.  
G&G VO will have been married 65 freaking years?!  WHAT that is so long.  And they are just still little cuties in love.  That'll be a grand old fam damily reunion!  Good ol madea style.
Dang it was like a high school reunion for you guys in stg this weekend!  Isn't that nuts about Hannah!  Oh my gosh I'm so pumped she's going now I won't be the lone wolf out of all my friends.  she has forever and a day to wait though, she said she doesn't leave till the end of october.  
Okay so now I can tell you about my week which won't take very long it's a little mundane in my neck of the woods.  We tracted lots this week and got to teach to a couple new people.  We also had a lesson with one of our investigators, Marcellius, at this old couple in our ward's house.  It was funny. We were talking to Marcellius about what Jesus Christ expects of him and we read 2 Nephi 9.  Out of nowhere brother mccourt goes OFF for about 5 minutes about garments and temple ordinances and the markings on our G's and I was like WOAH dawg back up the truck!  Marcellius was just staring at him like... what?  Oh my gosh me sister pew shared a great laugh about that one.  But the lesson really did go well, I just thought that was so funny.
I know I haven't seen a lot of people with progression on my mish so far and I hope you guys know that while that does make me sad, I do know the Lord is behind our work and that people are going to start progressing.  I have ZERO doubt and know of a surety that if I work as hard as i possibly can Heavenly Father really will help us find those who are prepared and people will progress.
We had a baptism in our district this past week so I mean the work really is hastening!  
Dad when it comes to help the ward being finders i'm at a little bit of blank.  It's hard to motivate people to do missionary work.  On of the missionaries in our mission asked Elder Bednar this exact question and he said to stop hounding them, when they're converted, missionary work will come naturally.
All we as missionaries can do is create deeper and more trusting relationships with the members and hopefully they will do their part.  In the mean time us missionaries just work our butts off doing those things we can do.
One of our members invited us to a BBQ yesterday at her house that was after her son's baptism and there were some investigators there!  It was sweet to have an opportunity like that.  Super casual, we just got to know them and talked with them about the baptism and stuff.  It's cool because now we can work with that member on setting up appts and we're no longer just two creepy 20 yr old girls calling her all the time to try and come by.
Have a great week all you, and Haden have the freakin BEST BIRTHDAY EVVVVVER cause 16 is just a great time.  Don't crash the car.  Love you dude.

Love all you guys!
THOSE ARE SOME GREEEAAAT PICTURES.  Me and sister pew has a grand ol time checkin those out.
DAD you look skinny!  I'm serious I saw those pics and it looks like you are like half the human you were in the save the whales picture!
Sounds like you guys had a fun weekend in STG!  That's cool that cole got to play ball with his friends, glad he dominated as usual.
And you even got to hang out with drew and karls.  what a treat.
I'm glad everyone is alive and breathing and living life!  keep on keepin on!

hmmm my week.  Its was just peachy.  We have FIVE new investigators so I am just feeling like mason at a calculator convention.
It's so FUN to teach people I love it so much more than tracting.  so so much more.  But we found all these people by tracting so we'll just have to keep on doin it.  We had a lesson with a pastor from the church of christ which was interesting.  I was really scared but he was actually very nice and respectful and we even have a return appt so who knows!  You can never say never!
I have been mourning all week because Hannah graduated and that means I have been graduated FOR A YEAR.  That is so long.  Lots of stuff has changed since then.  Like the majority of everything.  So weird.

I really am starting to like being here and it's just a great feeling!!  I really feel blessed to even be ON a mission.  I really don't know what else to tell you about.  Things are just chuggin along for me out here and there are so many bugs and I am being eaten alive by them every minute of the day.  It's just great. I just don't see why anyone would ever choose to live here.  The humidity and the bugs definitely turn me running in the other direction. 

I hit rock bottom this week and forced all the girls in my appt to clean out the fridge with me.  YEP that's right ME.  I instigated it.  and I am making a dish days chart too.  Thought you'd be shocked to know that abby the whorder and abby the messiest human alive is the only one in her whole appt who has a meltdown over it's disgustingness so I am the one doing something about it. I don't even know who i am anymore.

okayyyyy well hope everyone has a blessed week and enjoys it and all dat good stuff!  I love all of you!

Send my love to the grandparents, hope beag's have fun in fish lake and with their fifth wheel.... man.  PARADISE.  hahah.
well hello family!
Sounds like things have been fairly normal this past week, I'M SO HAPPY I WAS IN VIRGINIA INSTEAD OF HOME CLEANING OUT THAT BLASTED CONDO.  Sister Pew and I just shared a nice laugh as I recounted to her of all the conodos you bought and made us fix up.  it's a love/hate relationship with those memories.  hmmm well my week was like way COOL.
Cooler than most weeks i've had here... I was able to teach the lessons a lot more this week than usual.  Which is something I really pray for.  I was thinking this morning about how I decided to come on this mission, and through my obedience and diligence Heavenly Father really will bless me and Sister Pew with MANY opportunities throughout our week to share the message that we left home for 18 months to share.  It's almost like I can expect that.... you know, not in a weird way, but I literally can have so much faith that I can expect Heavenly Father to give me opportunities to do what I am here to do.  
I liked that thought.  I can literally see my faith growing being out here.  It's the weirdest thing.  I don't even know how I considered my testimony strong before I came out here.  I feel like even though I've only been here for (almost) 4 months, I have really come to understand the gospel in a way I NEVER have.  I know what the restoration is and why it happened and why we absolutely needed all these truths to be not reformed, but RESTORED.  And I don't know I just feel like I see the gospel in such a different light and people in general in such a different way and when i look at my mission like that, ya know just noticing the ways i'm changing and the person I am and the people i can truly help and love and all that other crap...it just kinda doesn't make it so hard.
ANYWAY ew i just went off on a missionary tangent.  I am becoming THAT missionary.  hahaha NO I WOULD NEVER LET THAT HAPPEN.
Anyway so yeah this week was cool because while we were tracting PEOPLE ACTUALLY LISTENED A COUPLE TIMES so i was just sooooo happy.  We had 3 other lessons that way so I was just a happy camper.  It's funny to listen to what other people have to say when they see me and sister pew at their door.  Very common thing is they just start bashing and I'm like woah dude #1 I don't know jack squat (so I let sister pew do the talking) #2 I just think bashing IS SO DUMB so i prefer to leave the situation as ASAP as possible but sometimes it kinda leads into good stuff (like teaching opportunities) so I'm trying to be better.  I gotta form myself to they these people need to be taught not the way I like to teach.  Ya feel me?  
Anywee.  Things are picking up here.  Like the members are a lot more involved in the work and it is just peachy.  OUR ZONE NEVER GETS BAPTISMS AND I WANNA CHANGE THAT SOSOSOSOSOOSOSOOS BAD.
One of our lessons was with Marcellius and this crazy old lady we get to drive us around.  We taught the gospel of jesus christ and I literally found myself trying to direct the conversation from ouigi boards (i don't know how to spell that.  like wigi boards ya know) back to baptism.  Its was a so hilariously terrible.  But the lesson actually went really well, just a few moments where it started to drift and when I say drift I mean we were on a whole different continent.
Sister Pew and I taught Gospel Principles class yesterday which is such a delightful experience.  I LOVE THAT CLASS i think i might go to it for the rest of my life.  I never even knew it existed until my mission.
Anways....things are great here and I'm just learning to love life.  It's a different kind of love but IT'S ACTUALLY STARTING TO HAPPEN so there's hope.  
Mom that's cool you talked to Brenda!! Is Aria in Bolivia or where ever she's going yet?  I was thinking about her the other day.  Send her all my luv.
love all you people and have a great week.  I will work my * off and you work yours off too and it'll just be fun.

Oh and MOTHER DEAR thanks for sending the creams!  I got em and my face i already looking better.  praise the lord.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

okaayyyyy well hello!
Notice my emailing time is way earlier the past two weeks because me and sister pew don't have any miles left for the rest of the month so we drive with the other sister missionaries we live with everywhere on p-day.  I can't wait until may 1 because that means we have a fresh stash of miles for the month and this month WE WILL DO A LOT BETTER saving miles.  haha
Dang guys looks like i just have a bunch of missionaries at home!  Mom going out with the elders and you guys having investigators over  for dinner.... DANG YOU ARE JUST ROCKSTARZZZZZZZ!!  missionary life is all awkward so just learn to love it.
And DAD look at you you emailed me LAST WEEK for this week!  wow!  What a pleasure it was to get an email from my DAD!  haaha So the big race is this weekend!  Oh boy I'll be sending my prayers that direction!  you will do great!  Good luck and jus kill it!  I know you will just rock the house and probably take first place like you probably will beat paul bracken dad.  wow.
And Drew and Karls finally graduating HALLELUJAH!  How delightful.
So this week i got to go on my first "exchange" with the "sister training leaders" which was actually fun.  I got to go to downtown Richmond to the VCU campus and work with the YSA ward there for a day!  IT WAS SO FUN!!! They just go to VCU and contact people all day and the kids in that ward are just all stars and help the missionaries so much.  And downtown richmond is SO beautiful!  Oh my gosh i was just in love.  So yeah that was just buckets of fun leaving good ol manchester for a day and seeing what other missionary work is like.
This week we also went to a baptism and Marcellius came along!  Haha it was classic he wore this big old silver chain and it was just so funny but so great because the spirit was so strong and i think he really enjoyed it.  he also came to church yesterday so i may break his neck if he doesn't just bite the bullet and get baptized.  
Also this week we were able to meet with Ginger again and we asked her if she would be open to us teaching her more about the gospel and she said YES so yipee!  She also showed us all around her garden and I was just in heaven i can't wait until one day when i have a garden the size of alaska.  
Also this week I almost went into cardiac arrest when that lady called you mom hahah me and sister pew were just in a panic cause she called our moms.  So funny.  Sister Pew's mom almost had a stroke.  We were dying.
So THIS WEEK david A. bednar comes so I am just stoked outta my mind!  He comes saturday morning and we are supposed to get there at 8 but i think sister pew and i might just camp out the night before HA.  it is gonna be PACKED BEYOND BELIEF cause the whole richmond AND chesapeake missions are coming and an apostle coming to a bunch of missionaries is like channing tatum coming to a bunch of high school girls.
And this week we also got to volunteer at the YMCA which was really fun.  I got the worlds worst tan line and so I am just in a depression about that.  But the volunteering was real fun and a change from our normal routine so yeah, it was just peachy.
I have to give a talk in sacrament meeting on mother's day which is just BRUTAL am i right?!  haha But they told me to be sensitive to the ladies in our ward who haven't had the best experiences with mothers or can't be a mother so I'll have to think of an interesting spin.  Transfers are a week from tuesday but i don't think i'll be leaving which is good.  I'd be sad to leave pew and manchester.
Well peeps that's my report.  It was a good week.  Some days really drag cause we just tract my frickin life away but THAT'S JUST LIFE and this is the work of salvation and i can't complain.
have the funnest week!  Good luck to dad and congrats to drew and karls and hope haden kills it in his tourney!  Lovey you kiddos!  I GET TO SKYPE IN 2 WEEKS YAY!
P.S. mom i'm glad eminem made you think of me.  I still sing it here.  and all the missionaries think i'm apostate.  Just miss music so much!  
P.P.S. dear mason, for your late birthday present to me, would you please send me some C.D.'s.  Josh Groban is approved.  And some people listen to Jack Johnson but I don't think that's too appropriate so I won't give into peer pressure.  Send some good stuffs.  NOT JUST MOTAB I WILL KILL YOU.
P.P.P.S.  Dad what did you give a talk on?  Haden said it went good.  Yeah i heard that from HADEN and not YOU.  

hello hello!
oh wow so biggest news of the week is dad winning march madness.  WHAT A TREAT DAD wow so proud of you.
That's real fun you're going to San Diego.  I'm feeling pretty jealous.  I'm about as white as a piece of paper.  Maybe i'll start fake baking.
Sooo I have just had a week for the books!  I don't remember if i told you about this but about two weeks ago we were out tracting and we met this guy named skylar.  he's like 23ish.  And he is jusssst golden.  Like we taught him the restoration last week and he was just eating up every word we said.  It was AMAZING.  He even said it was amazing we stopped by the day we did, because earlier that day he had been praying that god would teach him the truth!!!! ahhh i almost fainted.  But crap beyond crapper news we have to pass him off to the YSA missionaries.  blehg.
My friend sister newell left thursday morning and I was just a sad little bug all day thursday.  I haven't been that sad on mish thus far but thursday was just a sad day.  Anyway, I pulled myself outta the pit and am doing good.  She was just a peach, but ya know sister pew is a peach too.
So last night was just, WOW.  We were supposed to have a lesson with marcellius and we had a freaking member coming and everything and lo and behold he got backed up at work and couldn't make it.  I was just pissed.  So we go to contact this referral from the elders.  LET ME JUST PREFACE BY SAYING THE WORLD'S MOST ODDEST EXPERIENCE.
It's a mom, and her two daughters- one of them has down syndrome.  We got chatting and within the first five minutes she let us know some very personal information about a trial their family has been going through and i was just like WHOA LADY back up the truck i don't wanna know that but it also was just really sad.  Then one of her daughters (the one who doesn't have downs) went storming out of the room saying she doesn't believe in god and I was just feelin a little bit in over my head at this point.  We taught them about prayer and read with the romans 8: 35-39 (side note: that is like the best scripture ever) and they just were not focusing.  I was literally in the middle of baring my testimony on personal prayers and she starts busting up laughing because her cat was sitting on a picture of miley cyrus.  There are just some odd ducks out there peeps.  And I just am still at a loss for words concerning that whole situation.   
hope that made sense. hahaha
okay.  hmm.  mom i wanted to tell you that the virginia richmond mission has a facebook page that they update like everyday and you could follow it.
you can share it on fb or twitter or whatever.
mom i got your letter, thank you that made my whole day.  It came on my thursday (my day of misery).
Sooooo yeah.  David A. Bednar is coming to speak to us on may 3rd so i'm getting pumped for that.  He's just gonna bring down the house crying repentance to us missionaries ohhh boy i can't wait.
Alright everyone, keep it real this week and don't do anything too cray.  you're all just great and i love ya so much.

hello hello!
Well well well i don't know where to begin.  Glad to hear the family had such a lovely week.  Sorry to hear Cole is sick.  Hopefully he doesn't die.
Hmm so my week was just... ya know.  I don't know if I've told you about Marcellius- He is our most progressing investigator.  How we met him is a funny story.
So we were scrambling for something to do (a very common occurance that peeves me to no end) and i opened up the freakin area book and just randomly pick a house that is close by.  We originally stopped by to see his sister- but instead Marcellius opened the door and we taught him.  He's had the missionary lessons many times but he just gets stuck when it comes to the commandments.  It's just interesting because the elders in our ward had been teaching him pretty regularly about a month prior to our meeting but dropped him, and then we randomly show up on his porch.  I just thought it was cool how the Lord totally led us there- and I didn't even know it.  Anyway, he's actually doing really well.  He totally has a testimony... He just doesn't want to give up tattoos.  But he came to conference on Sunday AND MY FREAKING COMPANIONS MADE ME SIT BY HIM oh my gosh I almost died of awkwardness.  He's like a 30 year old black guy covered in tattoos who says things like "imma" and "axk" (instead of ask.  ya feel me?)  Anyway I sometimes get a little nervous about him because he seems a little creepy but hopefully that's just my little st. george sheltered mormon girl coming out.  Anyway, it's just really refreshing to work with someone who really will read the book of mormon and pray and actually has a desire to progress.... It's really awesome because we can be very bold with him and he doesn't get offended or anything.  
Well i must say i love so much being in a trio with sister newell and pew.  They are just lovely and yeah.  Totally the best thing.  Sister Newell leaves for Nauvoo on Thursday and that's depressing but also good. I will miss her lots and lotsssss.
Conference was the bomb shizzzzzzzle am i right???  oh my gosh let it be recorded in the books of heaven that Abigail Van Orden DID NOT FALL ASLEEP ONE TIME DURING THE 8 HOURS OF CONFERENCE.  I don't know about you but I now believe in miracles.  I'm serious that may be the first time in my whole life i've ever done that.
We had a pancake breakfast as an incentive to get our investigators to come to conference and it actually went really well.  So inviting people to that has taken up a big chunk of our week last week.  It was cool because it really helped boost my confidence.  by the end of the week i was walking up to people no problem and inviting them.  I never in my wildest dreams thought i'd ever be able to walk up to some random human and talk to them about coming and eating pancakes and then listening to a prophet of god speak..... look at what mission will do for ya.
Dad- Me and my comps will work on that thing you want us to do and then i'll get it to you next week.  I'm freakin pumped for you and your iron man.  The training sounds hardcore!  I'm so impressed.  Keep chuggin along.
My fav talks in conf were easily bednar and uchtdorf.  daaaaaaaannngg they just brought the heat!  I seriously loved conference.  It was just the best.  Hahaha i've really been missin out these last 18 years that i didn't care about it.
I feel like this letter is really formal.  I don't know my worst fear is becoming a psycho missionary with no personality.
that's soooo crazy about Quin coming over to my side of the country!  tell him to come visit me.  That's a big decision!  Tell him congrats for me.
OH i wanted to tell you i hit a turning point in life.  I can now start moving on with my life.  I read this talk by jeffery r holland called "remember lot's wife" and it just was a gem for sure.  As hard as i try to stay focused on my mish i can't help but just love the past and sometimes it gets a little troublesome.  It's hard to be here and wish i could still talk to my friends and crap everyday, but that talk really helped me see how FAITH is in the future- not living in the past.  Now i can start moving on from graduating high school.  wowowowow.  big day.
Yeah so that's all i can think of.  Hope you all have a great week and that you know i sure love ya and yadda yadda yaddddd.
Just so you know.  Wil and Lakyn walker are engaged.  who saw that one coming?  no one.
loves to you all
hey heyyyy fam!
first order of business DAD IS THE WARD MISSION LEADER oohhhhh boy do I have a shpeal for you.  GET MEMBERS TO LESSONS DAD PLEASE DO IT.  and get those vegas missionaries on a roll.  Baptize summerlin with fire.
this week i got a new companion!  Her name is Sister Pew.  She's 22 and from Mesa and she is the dopest.  like seriously so funny.  she reminds me so much of bree hansen.  I'm so relieved.  I was so nervous I was gonna get a psycho companion.  Praise the Lord i got a good one.
So yes.  It's me and Newell and Pew as a trio until April 10th.  And it's just real real fun.  We have so much fun together and can teach so nicely together it just works.  
*side note* wanted the fam to know that living with girls definitely isn't the easiest pill for abby to swallow.  GIRLS ARE VERRYY SENSITIVE.  It's teaching me to be more sensitive.  Which is annoying.  I don't like being sensitive.  hehe.  but I really feel like we've never had any problems, i just have to swallow my pride and help them when they're down.  I can't just tell them to stop being a boob.  You know what I mean?  going from all boys to all girls is a change but I love em so much.
this week was pretty whatever.  We got one of our less actives Betty Brown to come to the Broadcast on Saturday so I was pumped about that.  We also had some nice lessons with our investigators.... Our investigator Michele fell off the face of the earth so that's pretty sad.  She says she's really sick right now but whatever maybe i'll go break down her door and throw her in the font.
We actually had really good success with tracting this week.  WHICH WAS AMAZING.  We found 3 potentials in one day so that was crazy dope.
Sister Pew is really really awesome at being bold and unafraid and I just love it so much.  She's already taught me so much.
I wanted to tell you all about the coolest thing that happened to me DURING MY STUDIES.  yeah.  Buckle up.
So I have been praying a lot lately to be able to better understand my patriarchal blessing.  I always have treasured it, but I just felt like it didn't really help me or tell me anything I really needed to know.  
So i was studying the other day and I realized my patriarchal blessing talks a lot a lot a lot about different spiritual gifts I have.  
I was studying about spiritual gifts this past week and I just think it's so cool.  I read this talk given by Elder Oaks and it talks about how spiritual gifts are only given and able to start developing after someone is baptized and receives the gift of the holy ghost.
anyway- read the talk.  It's awesomeeee.
So yeah!  And it's also cool because President Parker said in my setting apart blessing that on my mission i would become more aquainted with and be able to develop my spiritual gifts!  SO COOL!
I just can't imagine not coming on this mission and meeting all the people i've met and learning all these things........ I just think everyone should go.  Yeah it sucks.  But it's cool too.
hahaha i mean that in the best way possible.
Mother I hope your birthday was everything you could ever hope for and more. It is on the 30th right?  hahah i always get mixed up.  
AND YES MOM MICKELL WROTE ME AND WIL AND LAKYN WANNA GET MARRIED ON JUNE 21st oh my gosh SO STUPID people are so stupid i can't even talk about it makes me sick.  It's also THE LAST thing jordyn needs holy crap i just really hope she doesn't respond in a bad way.  ya know what i mean.
Also my good ol friend James Katoa had his farewell on Sunday.  Remember my little gangster boy?  Yeah look at him go.  Mickell said he did a really good job.
Anyway.  Glad dad didn't die in mexico.
Have a grand week people!  I love ya!
ps- tell drew to keep killing it in march madness.  sure proud of him.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

goodness gravy what a week for all of you!  I'm jealous you got to go to STG, love that place.  Mom what a bummer!  ANOTHER one bites the dust.  But it's all good.  Think about it, once they get your meds under control you will be a seizure free woman!  Get through the trying time and soon it'll all be dandy and great.  and at least dad has been with you the last couple times.  That's sure a blessing.
Proud to hear about Haden killin it in yet another week of PV Vball!  keepin rockin it out haden!
Hmmm so i don't really have that many hilarious stories from this week (shocking i know) but I have a kinda cool one!
It involve my gurl michele.
We do this thing where we write down on a piece of paper chapters for them to read and questions for them to answer.  Then they go through the process- pray, read, write, pray, read, revise, pray.  everyone calls it a "homework assignment".  Except i think that's stupid so I call it "questions for you to answer".
anyway, so we gave michele one of those to do.  Had her read Mosiah 2 and answer some questions.  We gave it to her like a week and a half ago so i was losing hope in her doing it.  But we went over on wednesday i think and lo and behold-
and her eyes. her eyyyyes.  You could see a change.
she was like "at first i didn't understand it.  but then i prayed and read again, and i understood!" 
Music to my ears.
ohhhh my gosh.  bein on a mish, you just live for those moments.
I think giving out these assignments is really cool because instead of asking the investigator to "read and pray" we give them a specific thing for them to do, and if they realllllly do it, guaranteed to feel the spirit.
anyway, i about died when she said she did it.  I'd never really experienced someone keeping a commitment before (poor me) ha but it really was just awesome.  Something i'll never forget.
So sad day sister newell is leaving for nauvoo on April 10th and that's in like the middle of a transfer so most likely I'll be getting a new companion tomorrow.  ew.
mission people are so weird and they say i'm getting a "step mom" cause your trainer is considered "your mom".
so stupid.
but anyway, i'm getting a new trainer tomorrow most likely so it'll be me, sister newell, and some crazy lady.  Weird we'll be in a trio for like 2 weeks!  We'll see how it goes.....
DAD please don't die in mexico by the way.  Try to stay safe.  I'll pray for you.
hmmmm i don't know what else to tell ya we have a few new investigators here and there but no one too golden yet.  But maybe over time they'll become golden.
I'm starting to feel a lot more comfortable in the ward here, and it's starting to get a lot more fun!  I really like this ward, the people are so nice and I just am so happy i'm out of the miserable stage of not knowing anything or anyone, and slowly but surely Manchester is starting to feel a little more like home (kinda) (not home home.  Temporary home.).
Wellllll people try and keep it real this comin week!  I'll work hard here in virginia and start this freaking town ablaze with member present lessons so yeah.  (long story.  our ZONE had 3 member presents last week.  sister newell and i plan to double that ourselves.  just wait.  you'll see.)
love you lots and lots!
oh and shocking news about mason, mom. That kid has gotta slow down.  I can't keep up with him.  Also i was thinking and around august is when mason needs to have at least met his future wife so then they can have a year to date, get engaged and plan the wedding and then i'll come home and he can get married.  it's full proof.
mom thanks for taking care of all that stuff for me, you da best.  dad, just keep swimming (and running and biking).  
tell cole i got his letter and it was great.  I'm so proud of him and his grades.  no F's.  What a scholar.
And mom i also got your letter.  i'll write ya back.
Also mom i'm pretty sure it's your birthday either sunday or monday of next week (i can never remember if it's the 30th of 31st) REGARDLESS, LIVE IT UP YA FREAKIN 49 YEAR OLD you don't look a day over 20.
Talk to ya next week!
hey heyyyy fam!
first order of business DAD IS THE WARD MISSION LEADER oohhhhh boy do I have a shpeal for you.  GET MEMBERS TO LESSONS DAD PLEASE DO IT.  and get those vegas missionaries on a roll.  Baptize summerlin with fire.
this week i got a new companion!  Her name is Sister Pew.  She's 22 and from Mesa and she is the dopest.  like seriously so funny.  she reminds me so much of bree hansen.  I'm so relieved.  I was so nervous I was gonna get a psycho companion.  Praise the Lord i got a good one.
So yes.  It's me and Newell and Pew as a trio until April 10th.  And it's just real real fun.  We have so much fun together and can teach so nicely together it just works.  
*side note* wanted the fam to know that living with girls definitely isn't the easiest pill for abby to swallow.  GIRLS ARE VERRYY SENSITIVE.  It's teaching me to be more sensitive.  Which is annoying.  I don't like being sensitive.  hehe.  but I really feel like we've never had any problems, i just have to swallow my pride and help them when they're down.  I can't just tell them to stop being a boob.  You know what I mean?  going from all boys to all girls is a change but I love em so much.
this week was pretty whatever.  We got one of our less actives Betty Brown to come to the Broadcast on Saturday so I was pumped about that.  We also had some nice lessons with our investigators.... Our investigator Michele fell off the face of the earth so that's pretty sad.  She says she's really sick right now but whatever maybe i'll go break down her door and throw her in the font.
We actually had really good success with tracting this week.  WHICH WAS AMAZING.  We found 3 potentials in one day so that was crazy dope.
Sister Pew is really really awesome at being bold and unafraid and I just love it so much.  She's already taught me so much.
I wanted to tell you all about the coolest thing that happened to me DURING MY STUDIES.  yeah.  Buckle up.
So I have been praying a lot lately to be able to better understand my patriarchal blessing.  I always have treasured it, but I just felt like it didn't really help me or tell me anything I really needed to know.  
So i was studying the other day and I realized my patriarchal blessing talks a lot a lot a lot about different spiritual gifts I have.  
I was studying about spiritual gifts this past week and I just think it's so cool.  I read this talk given by Elder Oaks and it talks about how spiritual gifts are only given and able to start developing after someone is baptized and receives the gift of the holy ghost.
anyway- read the talk.  It's awesomeeee.
So yeah!  And it's also cool because President Parker said in my setting apart blessing that on my mission i would become more aquainted with and be able to develop my spiritual gifts!  SO COOL!
I just can't imagine not coming on this mission and meeting all the people i've met and learning all these things........ I just think everyone should go.  Yeah it sucks.  But it's cool too.
hahaha i mean that in the best way possible.
Mother I hope your birthday was everything you could ever hope for and more. It is on the 30th right?  hahah i always get mixed up