Monday, August 25, 2014

The Last One

This week has been full of lasts!! I honestly cannot describe everything that is going on inside of me. A lot of emotion, but I am so so so excited to see everyone!! Truly, truly!

Here are some of the lasts:

Last "regular" interview with President Andersen- They were behind schedule so it was a quickie. And I guess I will be interviewing tomorrow anyways.

Last baptism interview- Angel passed!!

Last district meeting- I just love my district. It was such a great meeting and how strange it is that groups of 18-22 year olds gather and talk about how to help people come closer to Christ.
Last lesson with Angel- Everything is just super clear to her. Her lessons are always so easy because she just accepts it.

Last baptism- Angel Ersoy was baptized on August 22, 2014. Such a tender mercy for me that day! It was incredible, all I studied that morning was the atonement and I truly felt carried on that day. Everything went smoothly for the baptism. We were going to do a musical number with all the missionaries in our district, but none of them were there when it started. Thankfully our talented Elders appeared a few minutes before we sang and it was so beautiful that Angel said we reminded her of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. She truly is one of Heavenly Father's elite daughters! 

Last lesson with a lot of people- Love the people here in Murfreesboro. They have touched my life more than they realize.

Last sacrament meeting- Angel was confirmed!!! Also they sang, "I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go" which was just a tad bit depressing! haha Love the Stones River Ward. I consider myself very blessed for being able to serve here.

Tomorrow will be full of emotions: transfer meeting, temple trip, farewell testimony meeting, interviews. And then I'll be seeing y'all in the SLC airport! Excited to see all of your smiling faces!

WILL YOU pray that I won't get sick on the flight home?

Right now I'm just kind of in a daze. Thankfully Sister West helps me to keep going. My heart is filled with gratitude and joy for all of the people I have been able to meet, the lessons that I have learned, and my own change of heart. I love being a missionary.

I testify that it is through the Atonement that I have been able to serve a mission. Faith brings miracles and obedience leads to blessings. Our weaknesses are merely ways to improve ourselves. The priesthood power and the power of prayer are two very real things. Families can be together forever and we are all part of Heavenly Father's family. Through my inviting others to come closer to Christ, I have come closer to Him. I love my Savior and I know that He lives.

How great is my calling!

Love Sister Neener (:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Land of Miracles

This is one very blessed sister over here! We are seeing miracles everyday and in large part from the 40 Day Fast. It makes sense, think of how many people are exercising their faith and praying for missionary work in this area. Here are some of the miracles:
Miracle Uno- Angel! She is truly an angel. She is just latching on to everything (including food storage) and despite a lot of opposition in her path, she received that witness from the Holy Ghost and is pressing forward. After a few tense days, she is getting baptized on August 22nd! She is such a miracle.
Miracle Dos- A former investigator from years ago contacted us and wants to be baptized as well. Let's just say he went to only LDS services when he was in the army and he was throwing around words like "stake patriarch." Now comes the part where he tries to figure out how to tell his wife...
Miracle Tres- I survived all of my bike riding adventures for the mission!
Miracle Four- Hit my 18 month mark!
Miracle Five- A couple of members came up to us and said that their husbands are opening up more for the gospel.
Miracle Six- We are teaching lots of solid lessons which equates to progressing investigators!
Miracle Seven- We only have one more exchange left and I will be out of my area so I survived all of those exchanges!
Miracle Eight- We live here on the earth when the gospel is here in its fulness!!!
Of course, with all of these wonderful miracles we are experiencing a lot of opposition. This opposition only encourages us and lets us know that we are doing the right thing or else Satan wouldn't fight us this much.
I am just a mix of emotions right now. I'm grateful for a wonderful companion. incredible area people, and my calling. Thanks for the prayers and the support for these 18 months!
WILL YOU be sure to email me so I have something to read next Monday?
I love you!!
Love Sister Neener :)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Jumbled Thoughts

Just always, always going! Not too organized with my notes for this week so we'll do it day by day.

Monday- We had an indoor snowball fight! A member family invited us over for dinner and FHE. Reminded me of "Who's the duck?" and dog piles after the prayer.

Tuesday- My favorite lesson of the day was reenacting the Book of Mormon stories with a part member family. I also had my last dermatologist appointment here in Tennessee!

Wednesday- Exchange in Christiana! I was in a trio for the day. They are a party, but it can be tricky to teach in unity. We went to a Book of Mormon class that another ward in the area puts on. The room was full!!! The number of new converts, returning members, and investigators was astounding!

Thursday- Our morning was quite the adventure! We rode on the "rover" which is Murfreesboro City bus system. My days in London working the Underground proved to be handy and miraculously we didn't get lost! We volunteered at a community help center and got to know some of the more colorful characters of Murfreesboro. We also had an incredible lesson about the Plan of Salvation with a lady named Angel. She is so ready for the gospel!

Friday- We kicked off the 40 Day Fast for the ward today! Despite the hot temps and biking as our transportation, we survived! Incredible to see how the Lord will strengthen us over and over again. That night we met a part member family who had a library in their house!!! It was so beautiful to see all of those books so neatly organized! Apparently the mission didn't squash the nerd out of me.

Saturday- What started as a perfectly planned day, ended up as the day where the Lord wanted us to be. We had members come out with us, a less active commit to stop smoking for a month, an investigator at a baptism, and reviewing fasting with a lot of new members! 

Sunday- Angel came to church!!!! After much prayer and overcoming obstacles, she came! She only stayed for half of sacrament meeting (she thought her boys were too active), but she came!! It was Heath Spear's baptism (nephew to the Malta Merediths) and we were able to attend! And I was able to see some Malta-ites!! Love that little taste of home!

It was really such a wonderful week! My heart is full of the tender mercies of the Lord and the incredible things I get to witness His children doing. Being surrounded by the gospel changes you. 

My PMG study was rushed, but the section on accountability was a good reminder that we all have to face accountability one day. So we can use it to bless us or condemn us. Agency!

Sorry for my jumbled email! It is a reflection of my life right now! 

WILL YOU continue to pray for our baptism this transfer and specifically pray for Angel and Sammy by name?

God bless you!

Love Sister Neener (:

Monday, July 28, 2014

Baboon, Breakfast, and Baptisms

Hello from the best mission on earth!!

Some of my favorite moments of the week:

*Singing "I Am a Child of God" to four yippee dogs to so that they would quiet down. It didn't work. Only some random Baptist song about baboons did the trick. It wasn't until the third verse that I realized she was saying bubblin' and not baboon. In her defense she didn't have her dentures in.

*Ward Pioneer Breakfast! It only seems fitting to binge on pancakes with whip cream and nutella in an air conditioned building to commemorate those who sacrificed everything...

*Teaching the message of the Restoration to those who are so ready and prepared. One of my favorite things to do is to share the First Vision. Do you realize how much Spirit is behind those words?? So incredible to think about.

*Setting another incredible baptismal date while on an exchange. Do you know how many baptismal dates I have set for other missionaries in their area??! You would think it would rub off into my own area. However, it is really cool to see that the Lord is preparing people in all portions of His vineyard.

*Teaching part member families! I love helping families come closer to Christ together. Best thing ever.

It was just a really great week that flew by! Sometimes with the clock ticking, I get really impatient and want to do things in my timing, but as always, it is in the Lord's timing. We have really met some prepared people (all connected to members of course!) and President Andersen promised that we could have a baptism every transfer. We are putting that promise to the test! WILL YOU pray with us for our next baptismal date?

During my study of Chapter 8 in PMG, I came across an activity at the end of the chapter that has you visualize the end of your mission. I wasn't going to do because I didn't want to get depressed or anything like that, but I felt that all familiar push to do it anyways. I came to the conclusion that I simply want to do God's will forever. There are these golden moments when the Spirit whispers to me, "You helped this person today. You are an instrument in His hands." Those are moments I never want to go away. 

I love you all to pieces and pieces! One more month of this crazy adventure and then on to the new ones that Heavenly Father has in store for me!

Sure love you!

Love Sister Neener (: 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

"Nursing" Our Spiritual Communication

Hi family!
It is going to be a busy and exhausting and happy transfer! We have been talking to everyone! With that comes a lot of rejection and also a lot of miracles! Missionary work is just the best thing ever. I highly recommend it.
So it started  with a long transfer meeting. We had around 30 missionaries come in! The sad part was, of course, the departing missionaries. Most of them were the hermanas who came out with me. If feels like only a transfer ago when we were the group of 30 missionaries who came in exhausted and tired. Welcome to missionary life!
I feel so blessed to be able to stay in the Stones River area! I absolutely love the members here (probably more than they love me haha). Sister West is awesome. She lives up to every expectation I have of her and more. As soon as she knows enough people I just might sit back and relax....just kidding! Sprint to the end!
I think one of my favorite moments this week was teaching a lady in her 20's. She had this two year old daughter running around and out of the blue she just starts nursing the toddler with no blanket or anything! I'm sure all of my sisters are just relishing in how uncomfortable I was.The best part of it was that despite all of that, the Spirit was super strong in her home and we set a baptismal date with her. Spiritual and awkward all at the same time.
Other awesome moments included impromptu church tours, revelatory personal studies that led to incredible lessons, and finding lost sheep (figuratively, not literally). Love the mission!
I had fun studying Chapter 7 in PMG. Most appreciated is how it forces you to apply it because a large percentage of God's children are not learning a language to teach the gospel. I have been debating what language to study in college and I love the message that was highlighted for me as I studied this chapter: the most important language is the language of the Spirit. How imperative is it that we communicate with the Spirit? Personal revelation is required for our salvation!! Neat stuff.
"Using Time Wisely" is up next! WILL YOU use your time wisely by improving your language studies with the Spirit? Best language to learn right there.
I pray for you as you pray for me! Love you!
Love Sister Neener (:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Psaltery, Organ & Song

Whoever can guess the hymn where the title originates wins....a pass a long card!

Transfer news: I will be staying in Stones River (!!!!!!!!!!!) and I will be receiving Sister West (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). So so so excited for this transfer. I absolutely love this area and Sister West is just an incredible missionary. She was in my district for 2 transfers and I have been on an exchange with her. Love her to death and I know she will work me hard and help me endure to the end!
I'm sad that Johnson & Johnson is coming to an end, but we knew that this was going to happen. Goodbyes are sad, hard, and definitely do not get easier with time. The past few days have been full of them. Not to mention that week six in a transfer is a very stressful time! I do not like it one bit. However, we did survive EIGHT exchanges this transfer!! I think we are the only sister missionaries in the Tennessee Nashville Mission who have ever pulled off that feat! Thankfully we only have seven this transfer.

The area is doing great! Hot as always, but we have some investigators progressing finally!! And we are working with the Bills in getting them to the temple to do baptisms for the dead! I hope to be able to go with them. I just love that family. 

My first highlight of the week was playing "Amazing Grace" on a psaltery. We didn't think to get a video of it so it looks like I'll be buying one and serenading my roommates with it along with my ukulele. The second highlight was seeing my dearest Sister Pitcher (or Kate now) again!!! She is a counselor for EFY and she got the session for Bowling Green, KY. She was able to come down to Murfreesboro for church! Celestial mission companion right there. 

Chapter 6 has to be one of my favorite Preach My Gospel chapters ever. It is amusing to see how I have rated myself throughout the mission. As I was reading the individual attributes, I evaluated myself to see how I have grown on my mission. Naturally, I grew in all areas, but I recognized the role of prayer in developing these attributes. The more I prayed for a specific attribute, the more I have grown. I echo the words said in PMG, you cannot develop these attributes without prayer. 

I am excited to study Chapter 7 this week! Hopefully it will help me decide on which language I should study at BYU. (hee hee) I really do love this chapter because it forces you to apply it to your life when you are not studying a language. And I love application! I usually throw in something about application whenever I give a training. So my challenge for this week will be: WILL YOU go into Chap 7 with a specific application in mind? If you start with something in mind and involve the Lord, revelation will flow.

I love y'all!

Love Sister Neener (:

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hurrah for Israel ... and America

What a wonderful week! I just love my missionary life!
Let's talk about the homeland. In perfect timing I finished the Book of Mormon on the 4th of July. Makes sense right? Reading a book that takes place in the Americas? Not to mention that the theme of freedom is threaded throughout its pages. And when are they free? When they are obedient. I love that message! And I love the Book of Mormon as well. As I have started it over, Heavenly Father has once again shown me that, yes, there is always more.
Our Fourth of July was spent planning for the week, visiting those who wouldn't have company on that day, and eating dinner with the Meredith's (who are related to the Meredith's in Malta). It was a great little gathering and the perfect way to spend the day. If you didn't know, holidays are some of the most awkward days for missionaries.
And now we will travel abroad. What's a week without going on a Spanish exchange?! I really do love the Hispanic community and met the most wonderful recent convert from Spain. She refuses to speak Spanish with the sisters so I heard all of her stories (colorful language included). And she had five fluffy cats in her home. Loved it!
In our tracting hour yesterday, a family let us in without really knowing why we were there. Turns out, they are from Saudi Arabia and have only been in the US for 3 months. The father knew decent English and is attending school at MTSU. They had 3 beautiful little girls and the mother was so gracious. First she brought out orange juice in fancy goblets on a tray and later she brought this platter of fruit! They offered us Arabian coffee, but we politely declined. With the language barrier, we could only communicate so much about the church, but they were interested in learning more.
I love the people. And I get the privilege of meeting so many every single day. My favorite though is when you know that Heavenly Father crossed your paths for a reason.
The rest of the week was spent in exchanges, meetings, and finding those who are prepared. We are meeting so many people that sometimes the follow-up doesn't happen. We are going through the ward list and just working, working, and working.
I also really enjoyed my experience of running the 5k for Steve! So many good memories and feelings came to me as I ran. Grateful that my family is forever.
As I have been studying our assignment in Preach My Gospel about Christlike attributes, I realized that so many of mine have grown after a trial. Each attribute has been more sought after and magnified as I have tried to fill the Savior's shoes in my various assignments. I pray that I can continue to develop them throughout my life.
Transfers info will be next week so if you are sending anything directly to the apartment, make sure that you send it soon!!
And the commitment, WILL YOU take the Christlike attribute evaluation on page 126 this week? How can you improve if you don't know what to improve on?
I love you and I'll try really, really hard not to preach at you when I come home!
Love Sister Neener (: