Friday, October 19, 2012


Here's how it happened: So, because there are only 7 English Sister Areas if you can find out who will be at transfers then you can figure out who's going where. I had to call Sister Hunt in Salem to remind her to bring something she had of mine to transfers and she told me that Sister Clemons was training this transfer. I instantly asked where Sister Ford is going. She said, "I'm not telling, you won't get it out of me." Silly girl. That told me everything right there. So, I couldn't wait to get to transfer meeting the next morning. As soon as I saw Sister Ford I was like, "Are we serving together?!?!" and she was like, "I don't know." and she tried to hide it from me but her eyes were shouting, "We're going to serve together!" So I said, "You can't hide it from me! We're serving together!" And then we hugged and laughed and she told me that when President had called Sister Clemons the day before (President always calls personally to let people know they are training) he asked to speak to Sister Ford. He knew she'd be upset to be transferred because they have a family of five that she found that is getting baptized in a couple weeks. He said, "I'm sorry Sister Ford. The Lord wants Sister Clemons to train. I do have some news that should help though: you'll be serving in Berea with Sister Nelson." She was like, "Hurray!" Of course she's sad to leave that family but she said the only thing that could have helped her get through this is being back with me. 

We were so excited. We've both been begging him every time we see him to be put back together. At transfers President stands at the pulpit and there's like 100 or so missionaries sitting in the chairs and he just calls a name and the missionary stands up and then he says "will be serving in ____ with ____". Sister Woodbury always gets out a sorting hat and places it next to him. We all try to get him to put it on but he's too shy. So, since Sister Ford and I are such Harry Potter nerds we ran to Sister Woodbury before the meeting started and asked if she would try to get President to wear it and when he got to us if he would shout "Gryffindor!" She laughed and said she'd see what she could do. When he got up to announce the transfers we all shouted for him to put on the hat but he wouldn't. I figured he wouldn't. About halfway through the list he got to us. He said, "Sister Ford (she stood up) will be serving in GRYFFINDOR!" I stood up and we both shouted and hugged and the rest of the room was cheering. It was so unexpected because President is so serious and reserved. When everyone finally calmed down he said, "Just kidding, she's serving in Berea with Sister Nelson." There were cheers again and we were giddy. Everyone came up to us afterward and were like, "How did you get President to do that? Shout Gryffindor AND put you all back together!?!?!" We just responded, "We're magic." Haha. It was so awesome. Sister Ford and I have been having so much fun together. I loved Sister Mickelsen but she and I are very different people. We worked well together that way but we aren't boon companions like Sister Ford and I are. It's amazing the difference it makes in your mood to be paired with someone that you enjoy and who views missionary work the same exact way you do. We can't stop laughing. I think it makes people like us more to see how much fun we're having. It's such a blessing. 

Adam has had an up and down week again. But it's been mostly up I think. We took him to the Berea library to see one of the original Book of Mormons that was printed in the very first edition. It was so spiritual. We held one of the first 500 copies. That book changed lives. It changed my ancestors' lives. Who knows where all that book traveled before it ended up in the library? Who knows which missionary took it with them on their travels? Who knows how many people read those exact pages and picked up and moved everything all to follow the promptings they had received while reading that book? It was great. We loved it and so did Adam. He keeps asking what I want for my birthday and I finally told him I want him to be done smoking by then. He's trying really hard. He's also been reading on his own the last couple days before he does other things that he loves. He didn't make it to church because his "alarm got moved into the other room somehow." Hmm. I wonder how that happened... Maelyn has been hot and cold with us. We're going hiking with them today and hope to have a spiritual lesson while we're there.

We met the fattest cat in the world the other day. I swear she will one day die of diabetes. Her owners call her Sabrina but Sister Ford and I don't think that's a fitting name for such a fat cat so we renamed her "Empress Zhgi Zhgi." We were taking pictures with her and she was getting really mad but she didn't want to move because it's too much work so she would just turn her head away and growl. Sister Ford and I are obsessed with her and talk about her till late hours in the night.

Sister Ford's Birthday is on Saturday and then on Sunday it's Brother Vonnahme's and then on Monday it's mine! Crazy! Please don't feel like you need to send me anything. I don't have room to bring anything else home with me so I'll probably just have to leave it.
Sorry I don't have a lot of time today. We got stuck talking to someone in the library again.
Thank you for the prayers for Adam and the other people we're teaching. Oh! Phoebe played her mandolin for us the other day. It was awesome. She sang us some real backwoods songs about Jesus. I loved it.
Extra Blessings: Sister Noakes, Mom and Dad
Quote of the Week: "Mom, she's a Cat of God! You can't shoot her!"
D&C58:28 talks about how we are agents unto ourselves. We have power to choose. No one decides where we will end up in the eternities besides ourselves. Christ is offering the chance for the Celestial Kingdom. WE are the ones who choose if we will make it.

The Church is TRUE! Share it!

Love Yuns,


Light Vs Dark

Who else jumped out of his/her seat when President Monson announced the changes to the age requirements for missionaries?!?!?!?!?! We were watching in a room with 10 missionaries and you better believe we all had to shhh each other because we were all gasping and whispering and freaking out and we couldn't push pause on the projector so we were cutting into Prophet time for the people around us. Even after we quieted down, I don't remember the rest of what President Monson said. My minds was reeling. This is going to CHANGE EVERYTHING! I'm not joking. This is going to change the single adults and the marriages in this generation and the amount of missionaries both male and female who make it out on missions. This is going to change the church. In turn this is going to change the world! Seriously! I couldn't be more excited. I was tingling that whole first session of conference! To quote one of my favorite songs ever: If you want to make the world a better place, (take a look at yourself and) make that-- CHANGE!

Lainy, the girl who drives us around sometimes and killed that enormous spider, got her mission call this week to Salt Lake City. Haha. She was expecting Costa Rica. I'm happy she'll be in Utah though because I've been telling her that wherever she gets called to, I'll move there and repay her service to us and drive her places and take her investigators to church and stuff. With her call being in Utah, I actually can.

We had a really hard night the other night. We were leaving a lesson we had with a girl in the park and as we did, we passed three people sitting at a picnic table. We started talking to them and they were friendly at first but when they found out who we were they started laughing at us and saying how they didn't think we'd want anything to do with them because they were drug dealers. We testified of the way our lived had been changed because of Christ and promised them that their lives could change for the better and the happier, too, if they would come unto Him. At the mention of Christ they started mocking and demeaning Him. I hate confrontation, as you know, so usually when people are mean, I try to walk away without saying much and with maintaining a smile on my face. But when they started laughing and mocking the sacrifice Christ made when he performed the Atonement, I was frozen there. I was so mortified at what they were saying that I couldn't move. They could tell how those things hurt us when they said those things about Him because our demeanor changed. They said, "Oh no! We've made them mad, now!" and kept laughing. Sister M was silent which is unusual for her. I wanted to be silent, but I couldn't. I told them that what they had said and were implying about the Savior and His love for us had offended me because He means so much to me personally. The main guy said, "They sure must hate us now." I told them I didn't hate them, but that we wouldn't be staying to speak that way about Someone so important to us. I wished them the best and then we left. I know that this isn't a unique missionary experience. This happens everyday to missionaries all over the world. But it was still hard. President Woodbury gave us a thirty-day study packet about the Atonement about thirty days ago. I've learned much and have felt so much love from and for the Lord. To have people mock Him, who loves THEM so much, it made me shake. It made me so sad. That was Sister Mickelsen's first encounter like that and it was hard for her to recover for the rest of the night. I'm so sad for those three. I'm so sad that they would say those things. I hope so much that they repent. I would hate for them to have to stand before the judgment bar and have to watch that conversation played over and have them realize just what they had said and just Whom they had said those things about.

The next day, Maelyn finally told us what she thinks about us. Things were at their boiling point and we had tried to get her to talk to us but she wouldn't admit anything was bothering her, yet would complain and be distracting through every lesson. So, we told Adam we'd rather meet with him somewhere else and Maelyn freaked out and said we had to have the lesson there because she didn't want him meeting with us without her there because she doesn't trust what we teach him because we're encouraging him to move out. We ARE encouraging him to do that so that he can keep the Law of Chastity. (I don't know why we or Adam should be ashamed of thinking it's the right thing to do.) Sis M was on the phone with Adam when this happened and I was on the other side of the room and I could still hear her screaming and cussing in the background, demanding we come over. It was everything Sister M could do to get me to agree to go over there. I hate girl drama. I hate those conversations where girls have bottled stuff up forever and then scream and cry at each other for three hours. We went over though after I said a prayer and realized it would happen eventually and at least if we did it now, with as much of the Spirit as we could, then Adam wouldn't be stuck being the in between anymore. So, we went over and Sister M started bearing her testimony and Maelyn interrupted and she and Sister M had it out. I just sat there wishing I could leave. I was quiet until Maelyn told Sister M that she doesn't have a problem with me, just with Sister M because she thought Sister M was a liar and then started talking badly about the Church saying that the Church shouldn't send out missionaries that are liars. That's when I finally opened my mouth. Ugh. The visit ended with her giving us hugs and sending us home with a peanut butter roll she had originally intended to give to someone else. She and Sister M talked together and laughed and Adam and I talked about some of his gospel questions and then we left. We thought things had been smoothed over. We hadn't. She still won't meet with us or answer our phone calls. It's sad that because Adam is progressing, she has chosen to stop her progression.

We met with a recent convert from two months ago who has been reading anti and won't touch the Book of Mormon or enter our church building. After the week we've had, I didn't want to meet with her, but it was Sister M's last chance to see her so we did. There's so much sadness around people who reject Christ and His teachings. It's something I never want to have to deal with in my own life. It's just so dark and depressing.

Hurray for the fact that with the freedom to choose darkness we also have the ability to choose light!

This week we watched the Testaments with Phoebe and she cried and knows that Christ came to the Americas. That movie is so powerful. It has been the turning point for so many people's conversions, including Adam and Otis.

Speaking of Adam and Otis-- Oh my goodness! So, we all know how much I love Otie and I'm on course to feeling that way about Adam. Well, last week Adam went down to his mom's house for the weekend which is in East Bernstadt which is where Otis lives and the stars aligned and all my dreams minus one came true! Otis cooked him some meat and opened his house for the Corbins Sisters and Adam to come over and hang out on the farm and have a lesson! The only thing that could have made it a fulfillment of ALL my dreams minus nothing is if I had been able to be there, too. Otis and Adam hit it off! They're like peas in a pod. Sister Earl called me and told all about it and so did Adam. I guess Otis found out he was going to be there and started making food the day before so that they'd have a good meal when they all came over. Otis has two German Shepherds that are very protective and wary of newcomers so they wouldn't let Adam come in the house right off (which is funny because Adam has 7 German Shepherds of his own. I know, they're MFEO.) so Otie took him on a tour of the property and showed him the horses and the chickens and the pig and the pond and while they were walking around I guess they both got to talking about acorns (No, I can't adequately describe what a conversation about acorns entails. I've had them with both individually with Adam and Otis though so I'm sure they were able to talk for a good while about them... again... MFEO). Then they connected over the time they've both spent in the service and about flying airplanes (Otis was in the Air Force and Adam flies airplanes). MFEO. Then they started talking about the church. Adam's biggest struggles right now have to do with all of the people in his life, besides Mormons, telling him NOT to join the Mormons and dealing him out pretty heavy consequences if he does. Otis's family wasn't thrilled about him joining the church, either so I think it was good for Adam to get advice and encouragement from someone who has actually been through it. Then they talked about the Book of Mormon and Otis told him how he had been against it at first (just like Adam was) but that his whole life has expanded and gotten better because of it. Then they ate and chatted some more. Then they went out to Otie's garden and picked some hot peppers that Adam brought back to us and then they made plans to ride horses together sometime and possibly go shooting. Ahh! I wish I could have been there! But I'm so glad they met. Adam came back and said he really liked Otis and told Sister Mickelsen, "Mickelsen! You have to meet Otis! But when you do you're gonna want to stick close to me so I can interpret for you. Nelson can understand hillbilly but you'll be lost." Haha. I don't know why Adam thinks that he's any easier to understand than Otis is. Haha. I love them both. I can't wait to watch the replay of that day in Heaven someday!

Adam is doing well. He's having trouble quitting smoking so we're going to have to move his baptism date, but he came to 4 out of the 5 conference sessions this weekend! He was the only non-member there! He showed up at the church at noon on Saturday and stayed there with us till the priesthood session ended at 10 that night. We don't live in the same city as our church building so none of us could go home between sessions. It was a LONG day even for nerdy missionaries who think Conference is better than Christmas. And Adam stayed the whole day and asked questions the whole time. He really liked the talk by Echo Hawk to the Lamanites because we always tell him he's a Lamanite. He also really liked President Uchtdorf's talk during priesthood session about airplanes (Adam flies planes, remember). He then came to the next first session yesterday and was rocked by Holland's talk. He's still looking for a testimony of Joseph Smith, but he agrees that President Monson is a prophet so it will come soon.

I hope everybody loved Conference. I did. I cried for about five minutes after that man's solo with the Choir to "Does the Journey Seem Long?" Elder Hales is looking better, isn't he! And I thought it was cool to be able to go to Priesthood Session. It was my first time. I sort of like Relief Society's better... but it was still neat. I'm guessing that has something to do with the fact that RS session is for me while priesthood session isn't as much for me. I was grateful I went though not only because we were able to be there with Adam but because Elder Christofferson spoke in that session and he's my favorite. I'm still SO EXCITED about the amazing announcement about missionary changes. Goodness. I know it's not my choice, it's yours, but if you are eligible and able to serve a mission, DO IT! It will change your life. You will never regret serving a mission.

I can't describe the gratitude I feel for the Savior and what He has done for me. I don't think I'll ever feel like I've done enough with His name and with the calling He has allowed me this last year and a half in being a representative of Him. Yet I am honored that He has allowed me and continues to allow me to be one of His missionaries. I'm grateful to know that without opposition, we could never appreciate all that we've been given and that we would never be able to grow. Without agency and opposition, we could never have the joy that comes from choosing the right and choosing out of our own will. I'm grateful that despite trials and evil that there is still righteousness and victory through Christ. I love watching people choose Christ and seeing the change that comes into their lives and into them personally. I've been able to see miracles in my life but the greatest miracle I've ever seen is the miracle of forgiveness and change that comes through the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sister Mickelsen is being transferred tomorrow. I have no idea who is coming here to Berea. I always think I have an idea, but I never do. I'll tell you all about her next week. Cross your fingers that I get Sister Ford!

Extra Blessings: Sister Ford, Otis, Judy
Link of the Wee(n)k:

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Love Yuns,


Monday, October 1, 2012


Why? Why did I say that last week was one of the longest week of my life? Don't I know by now how ironic the Lord loves to be with me? I've learned my lesson. Last week: long. This week: LONGER. Next week? Who knows.

True or False: Sister Missionaries are responsible for planning weddings. If your only other option is two 19-year-old farm boys the answer is TRUE. Sister Mickelsen and I helped with/planned a wedding this week. No, it wasn't for our investigators; it was for the Elders'. But when the young bride approached us and asked us for help with desperation in her voice and tears in her eyes, all I had to do was imagine the horrifying results of having no choice but to leave 6'5", burly Elder Forsgren arranging the bouquet and tender, lanky Elder Frye coordinating Brides' Maids dresses and I couldn't bring myself to say no. Of course we had to help her. 

It's misleading to say that a wedding can be simple. It was simpler than most weddings, but no wedding is simple. The word "wedding" is composed of "web" (just with a backwards "b") signifying details, details, details that suck you in and then "ding" signifying noise, signifying chaos. In reality "wedding" means chaos, details and no way out. Hence the LONG week. Thankfully we had two members that stepped in and took a majority of the load from us after a few days. But it was still a lot. The wedding was on Friday and the couple got baptized on Saturday and were confirmed on Sunday. If I ever have to deal with a wedding-baptism again I won't do them that close together. There wasn't enough time to focus on the beauty of each event individually so I think both ended up losing the spotlight they each deserved. But, we weren't in charge, we were just asked to help. And they are now married and members of the church which are two very good things.

Aside from the wedding, we had drama with our own area this week. Maelyn is having a hard time with the fact that Adam is getting baptized. She's mad that she was the one who first started meeting with missionaries and now he's met us and wants to be baptized and because of it he's moving out and she'll lose her roommate/boyfriend/person she "can't live without". She feels like the Church has ruined her life. She has gone from trying to motivate Adam to quit smoking to buying him cigarettes just to make it harder for him to get baptized. She is no longer friendly towards us unless Adam is there because he gets mad if she's mean to us and she doesn't want to make him mad. She went from calling us every day to no longer answering our phone calls or texts. She's stopped reading the Book of Mormon. She has stopped coming to church. She has turned cold. It's heartbreaking. 

Add to the loss of Maelyn the fact that Adam is going to have to lose his mother as well and it's no wonder that Adam can't kick his cravings. He's under so much stress and anxiety and turmoil. We're trying to show him that he doesn't need the nicotine to calm down. He can use prayer and the scriptures and gum and music but it's hard. He's going to lose his home, his girlfriend, his family, his addiction. He's going to lose everything. And when he's talking to us we can't say we know how he feels. We don't. All we can do is encourage him and pray for him and point him towards the Savior. I wouldn't blame him if he didn't go through with it. But I'd be so sad that he missed out on the blessings the Lord is offering him. That's the consolation. I know that he'll have heartache from this, but the Lord will more than compensate. The Atonement makes it possible for all our losses to be made up. This will try but hopefully strengthen his faith. It is definitely doing so for my faith. Adam has told me, and I agree, that I was brought to Berea for him. We connect. I don't know what it feels like to lose everything for what I believe, but I do feel his pain. Please pray for him.Last week in the library we met a guy named Hezekiah. He looks like Neil Patrick Harris but he talks and acts just like Matthew McConaughey. He has this light about him (no, it's not because he's attractive, it's a different kind of light). He's Atheist but lives a pretty Christlike life. He tried to say no to meeting with us but for some reason (I hardly ever persist if people say no) we wouldn't give up with him. The Spirit wouldn't let us. He finally agreed to meet with us the next day. 

We got talking to Adam the next morning before our lesson with Ki and I was looking up all the places in the Bible where Hezekiah is mentioned and Adam was like, "That's weird. I have a good friend named Hezekiah." I was like, "No you don't!" "Yes, I do!" Hezekiah and Adam are really good friends! So, when we showed up for our lesson that night, Ki was shocked to see Adam with us. I think he was even more shocked to see how Adam has changed since he's been meeting with us. We had a really good lesson with Ki and we saw him again on Friday and after that lesson he was like, "If I believed in God, your church's doctrine would make the most sense." We committed him to coming to a session of general conference and to read one verse a day from the Book of Mormon. He's the first person I've taught out here that isn't Christian. We have to take a completely different approach to everything we teach. It's neat though because we don't have to Bible bash. We can focus on the Book of Mormon without people getting upset and needing the cross-references to the Bible. 
Every time I'm around Brother Brown I come away with comedic gems. He's the guy who used to be the High Counselor for the Corbin Ward who gives us "roadkill possum jerky" and who says the temple is the place where the almost dead do work for the dead. Remember him? Well, he's now a counselor in the Bishopric here in Berea. At Ward Council on Wednesday people were complaining about how so many people don't go to their 2nd hour class but stand in the halls and visit. Brother Brown piped up and said, "Don't you know that the classrooms have the Gospel Essentials class and in the hallway is Gossip Essentials?" We were rolling.

Monday night we were led, completely by the Spirit, to a neighborhood to tract. The very first door we knocked we met a man with a wife and kids. He sat down with us and right off the bat asked two questions: "Why are there so many churches that fight about Christ?" and "What happens to people who never get a chance to learn about God?" I started laughing because I thought this guy must have been playing a trick on us. I figured he must know the church's doctrine real well or be a less-active member or something. But he wasn't playing a trick. We sat down and answered his PERFECT questions (questions that I actually use in my tracting approaches) and then set up a time that would work for us to come teach his whole family. He's black and his wife is white and they have two boys with rich, brown skin and gorgeous eyes like Miles'. We're so excited about them!
We also started teaching a girl this week that we met at the Spoon Bread Festival who I would have bet money was already LDS. She's not though. She met with us at the church and pulled out a notebook and took notes the entire time and then told us how much she loves the Lord and how all she wants to do as she goes from church to church is find one that can help her know Him better. She's a doll. She couldn't come to church this week because she attends two other churches every Sunday but we're really hoping to get her to General Conference. She was so sad she couldn't come to the RS Broadcast because she had to work. We LOVE her. We found out while we were teaching her that she actually lives in the Zone Leaders' area so we're bummed about that but this week we're meeting with her again and the Elders are coming and we'll kind of hand her off to them. I'm sure we'll be attending her baptism in the next couple weeks.
We took a lady on a teaching appointment with us to Phoebe (George Washington hair, we thought she was on drugs, that Phoebe). Phoebe is having a hard time because she feels like the church might be true but she has attended her church her entire life (she's 70) and she doesn't want to have to leave it. She always says, "I wish I could go to both churches but they meet at the same time!" 

Well, we took a 70 year-old lady with us who makes us call her by her first name which is Bobbi. She joined the church 12 years ago. She was raised Catholic and then converted to the Baptist church when she got married. She was in her Baptist church for like 35 years or something. She had the church's credit card, keys to every door and the church's fellowship hall was named after her and her husband! She did NOT want to leave her church. But when she gained a testimony and knew it was true she had a long struggle with the Lord over it and once she found out it was where He wanted her, she handed in the credit card and the keys and was baptized. After two years of being a member she was called to be RS President and when I met her I would have thought she was a "Lifer" because she's so knowledgeable about it all. She is currently the 2nd counselor in the RS and a temple worker and the stake's adult singles' coordinator. She's a power house. 

She bore her testimony to Phoebe and then gave a really cool analogy. She said that leaving a church isn't betraying, it's building. She compared the three churches she has been a member of to the Three Little Pigs. She said the Catholic church was her straw house. It sheltered her and helped her and took her as far as it could take her, but when the winds came huffing and puffing she had to move to the Baptist church which was sturdier and made of wood. This house took her even farther and helped her even more. But when the winds came again and again and again it finally fell. When she came across the LDS church, she knew she had found her brick home. She was finally in a church that can take her all the way home. The winds can't destroy it. She's safe here. She doesn't feel like she betrayed her other churches. She's grateful to them for the protection and the time she had with them. But she feels like those churches could only take her so far. Now, she has found a church that has it all and that is complete and that she won't have to move ever again. That really helped Phoebe and it really touched me. 

Extra Blessings: Mom, Paige
Quote of the Week: "If I've ever offended you, I forgive you."

I simply CANNOT WAIT for General Conference. I need conference. RS Broadcast was perfect! I love the new presidency! Remember Fievel: even though we're far apart, somewhere out there we're underneath the same bright projector screen watching conference at the exact same time! We'll be united for 8 hours this weekend! The WHOLE family no matter where they are will be together! Huzzah!

The Church is TRUE! Share it!

Love Yuns,