Sunday, October 26, 2014

Abby Is Still Doing Great!


It blows my mind that I have already been out for five months tomorrow! I can't believe it! It goes by so fast. Sometimes, in the moment, in the hardest times, I can't imagine it going by any slower. But then I look back and I see how incredibly fast it has gone by. At the end of this transfer, I will only have about a year left. I will have been in this area for six months. I think I will be staying for nine, but I am not sure. That would be kind of cool to be here for half my mission. I love the area so much and I don't want to leave! I have connected with so many people and I just love them all so much. And I can't believe after this transfer, I will only have to do it two more times to see everyone again. Not that I am thinking like that, but my sister training leader mentioned that when we were on exchanges this week--Sister Monson is my sister training leader and we came out together so it's so much fun! I love her!

I did have an incredibly hard week last week, but it's okay because I learned a lot from it. Something changed that week and I know that that is part of the reason I have been so happy this week. This week has been so incredible and I have loved every moment of it. On Tuesday, we had the opportunity to listen to Elder Brent Nielson of the Seventy. He is amazing. I love him. He and his wife both spoke and I learned so much. Before the actual conference, the sisters got to meet with Sister Nielson. She spoke on holiness and how holiness is seeing things the way God does. One thing that she said that stuck out to me was that in order for it to be holy, it has to be wrapped in opposition. It helped me to see that God gives us trials not to make us unhappy or to hurt us but to help make us more holy. I loved that thought and it has really helped me this week. Elder Nielson spoke on the enabling power of the Atonement. I loved it. It helped me to see that we can't change our circumstances but God can give us the strength to overcome the trials that our lives are blessed with. I say blessed because our trials are a blessing. Being away from home for a year and a half is a blessing to me and everyone whom I left behind. I have seen that on my mission so far. Whenever I tell people I have been out five months, they say, "So you're pretty new then." And I'm thinking in my mind, "No, I'm really not new. I have been out five months and I have changed so much. I am a new person, but I'm not new in the mission." And it's true. I'm not a new missionary anymore and I'm finally starting to feel that. There are still things that I'm not sure how to do or what to do but I know that the Lord is helping me figure it out. I have seen so much progression in this area since Sister Lunddahl came and I know it is because the Lord is helping us make this area progress. We wouldn't have seen so many blessings or miracles without His help.

We have a new investigator! Her name is Rhonda. She is so great. We found her when Elder Grisenti, our district leader, told us she came to church in the ward he's serving in on Sunday last week. He told us she had read the Book of Mormon and asked us to go by. So we did even though she lives way up in Friant which is the northern most part of our area. And when we went by she had just gotten home and it was perfect timing! We asked her if she had ever met with missionaries before. She said she had but she had never received the lessons and we offered to teach her. She also told us that her goal is to be baptized before the first of the year! We were able to set a goal with her of December 6--so pray that she will be able to receive her answers by then. I love her so much and I want her to progress to much! She texted us on Saturday and told us she was coming to our ward for church. We were both so excited! We saw so many miracles this week--and not just that we had such a great week.

We also taught Cindy a couple times this week. She is doing well. She's progressing slowly but still progressing. I love her too and I hope we can help her. After our lesson on Friday night, she texted us the next morning and told us she wanted to be baptized as soon as possible! We were so excited and we couldn't concentrate during studies. We weren't able to set a date with her because we think she's afraid to set a date even though she says she wants to be baptized. Also, we need to make sure she's worthy to make that commitment. We are working with her still and I know she appreciates all we do. I love her and I am so grateful for her! She's so awesome!

Family history has been a really big push here. I think it's easier missionary work that members will do. It's been really cool to see how that has gotten members more pumped to do this work. It is our ward's goal to baptize almost 500 people--another Alluvial ward. The second phase in the plan is to hand out the starter booklets to nonmembers and then have us as missionaries deliver them. Family history is a great way to find people to bring to the missionaries.

It will be really interesting when I come home because I probably won't recognize most people. It's exciting that we are growing so fast though! Do you think next time they split our wards, we will be moved out? I'm not sure how I feel about that...although I suppose it won't matter much since I probably won't be there when it does happen. 

I can't believe it's almost November! It's so crazy how fast time has flown by here. I love it though. I know that every moment here counts and I know that every new day counts as a day closer to being home--but I love being here and I don't want to go home quite yet. Not until I've done all the Lord wants me to!

It is finally starting to cool off here too! I'm cold in the mornings when we go run. I wear my hoodie. You wouldn't think it's cold--it's in the fifties most mornings. It reminds me of springtime in Idaho. That's how it feels in the mornings in the spring. Here it's how it feels in the fall. Which is good! I like fall here. It's not as cold as Idaho.

We are going to Yosemite next week. So the 27. We will be emailing home on the 28 then. I'm super excited even though I've already been there! It's going to be fun!

I love you and I can feel your prayers. I think of you all everyday and hope all is well. I love this Gospel and I am so grateful to be here in the California Fresno Mission serving my Savior.

Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese


I'm great! This week was really awesome. Last week was hard, but I learned a lot from it. It was great to be able to see the blessings that came out of it. We had two investigators at church--one in Alluvial and one in Woodward Park. It was great! Rhonda, a new investigator, showed up to Alluvial. She has been going to another ward but she decided to come to our ward. I'm so glad! I can't wait to see the primary programs for our wards. I haven't seen one for a while, and it'll be great! The kids are so cute. Why isn't Hunter excited? I haven't heard from him. Is everything okay? I miss him and I pray for him every night. And day. 

On Tuesday, we got to have a conference with Elder Brent Nielson of the Seventy. He is so great. He spoke about the enabling power of the Atonement. It reminded me that we can't really change our circumstances but we can ask God to help us overcome them. We can pray for strength. He also talked about how to put that into our investigators' heads. It was really cool to see how we can use the Atonement in so many ways. Our burdens can be made light through them and I am so grateful for that knowledge. His wife, Sister Nielson, spoke about holiness before the conference. All the sisters got to meet with her and she talked about how we all need to be able to see things as Heavenly Father does. She told us this really cool story about ten sisters in the Philippines when the typhoon hit a while back. She said that they were in their apartment when it came and they were just going to wait out the storm when they realized their house was starting to flood. By the time that realization came, it was about half full. They didn't know what to do. They tried opening the door but they had to dive for it and it didn't work. One sister had an inspiration and swam through the water to the kitchen thing they have. She kicked out a skylight and then swam back. She and the other sisters who could swim helped the other sisters get there. They were able to climb onto the roof and maneuver themselves so they were under an awning. They stayed there for two hours while the storm raged around them. One sister told Sister Nielson when they got to Manila that she knew the only reason they survived was because of their faith and because their ancestors were there blocking them from the storm. It was a really cool story and I thought to myself, "Would I have been able to handle that?" But I know the Lord wouldn't allow anything to happen that we can't handle. And that was the point of holiness. Being able to see that it is hard but it's holy. Sister Nielson said that it isn't holy unless it's wrapped in opposition. I thought that was really interesting. She also talk about being a good companion and how to love your companion no matter what. I am so grateful for that because it showed me how I could be a better companion and how I could love Sister Lunddahl a little more.

We found a new investigator on Wednesday! I was so excited. Elder Grisenti, our district leader, asked us to go by Rhonda who had come to the ward he's serving in. She had read the Book of Mormon and he thought it would be a good time for us to go by. So we did on Wednesday after an appointment fell through and she had just gotten home from work. It was perfect timing. We asked if she had ever been taught and she said yes. Then we asked what was stopping her from joining the church and she said it was silly things, like polygamy and coffee and smoking. Then she said it was her goal to be baptized by the first of the year! We were like, "Oh my goodness! She's golden!" The next day we set a date for her to reach toward: December 6. We are so excited for her and we are hoping an praying her questions will be answered and her prayers will be answered and she will be able to overcome everything she needs to in order to be baptized. She's another one you can pray for! She even came to Alluvial on Sunday with her mother-in-law who is a member. Her husband is also a member but he's less active. He has back problems so doesn't come all the time. He is having surgery on Halloween so pray for him too! 

We also met with Cindy a couple times this week. She's so great! She texted us Saturday morning and thanked us for the lesson we had the night before. We taught her the Restoration again using the Apostasy cups the night before. (Have you ever seen those? They are so much fun! I love teaching using them!) She thanked us for the lesson and then said she wanted to be baptized! We were like, "What??" But we were so excited! We couldn't concentrate during our studies! Then she told us she wanted to be baptized as soon as possible. She even came to church even though her daughter, who is a recent convert, didn't. It was so amazing! She wouldn't set a date. I think she's kind of nervous to actually set a date and commit to it, but we are working hard to help her progress. She is progressing, but slowly. I know everything will work out. 

It has been amazing to see how much this area has progressed since Sister Lunddahl got here. We work so well together and I am so sad that she has to leave in a little over a month. It's so sad! I love her so much and we work so well together, but I know the Lord has greater plans for her on Temple Square. We have seen so much progress and success and miracles since she came and I know it's because we've worked hard and we've tried to be obedient. I am so grateful for that and I am so grateful for the Lord's blessings. 

I haven't gone in to get the results of my CT Scan, but I will this week and then I'll know if anything serious is wrong. I did give them our insurance card. We are told to use that insurance before the church's. I'm pretty sure our insurance is better anyway. 

That's exciting news about McKenzie! That makes me so happy to hear about her and Kylie! That's great! Let me know where she ends up going and then I'll look forward to next June or July when Kylie goes too! I love hearing about missionaries.

I love you and I pray for you everyday. I know I am here for a reason and I am so grateful for all the missionaries I serve with. I am grateful for President and Sister Clark. I love them and I love this Gospel.

Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese

PS So I can get a Costco card right?? Oh, also, I'm going to Yosemite next Monday so I won't email until Tuesday!

Abby is Doing Great!

I am finally getting caught up with Abby's emails.  It has been a hectic couple of weeks and hopefully it will slow down now and I will be able to keep up with Abby's emails weeklyThank you for your support of Abby! (I sent an email to Abby but for some reason she didn't get it, so she just responded to her dad)

This week was probably one of the hardest weeks of my mission so far. It was emotionally and spiritually draining, but I knew I had to push through. We have a new investigator that came out of the farewell this week. Her name is Cindy. She is the mother of Katherine, a recent convert. she is super sweet but she is so, so fragile. We met with her twice this week and hopefully will meet with her again this coming week. When we met with her on Friday, I was drained by the end of the lesson. It was only a little after noon but I was ready to give up. I just wanted to give up. But I didn't because I knew I couldn't. I talked to my companion about everything that was going through my mind. I was so overwhelmed. But I asked for a blessing from an elder who has been in the same zone since I came here. He gave me one of the most powerful blessings I have ever had. He promised me in my blessing that my headaches would get better. He also said that the Lord was proud of me for pushing through my trials. The Lord is aware of me and of what I'm struggling with and He will give me the strength to rise above my trials and afflictions. I need to hear that. Elder Hill (who gave the blessing) also said that Heavenly Father is preparing me to be the wife and mother that I will need to be in the future, but right now He needs me here in the California Fresno Mission. I know that's true. I just needed a little reminder. At the end of the blessing, Elder Hill closed with a promise: He said that the Lord wanted me to know that the Lord has prepared someone in our area for Sister Lunddahl and me to baptize this month. That, more than anything, gave me the strength I needed not to give up. It helped me so much to know the Lord knew part of the reason I was struggling. Everything this week was leading up to Friday for me, I think. It was hard and exhausting but it was one of the best weeks we've had, numbers-wise. That sounds terrible, but each number represents a person and that is what matters most.
We are also hoping to teach two boys--a ten and eleven year old. they are the nephews of our ward mission leader in Woodward Park. Their mom just died and they are now living with our ward mission leader. They aren't members and when we taught them the Restoration, one of them asked why they weren't baptized. It made everything so much better that day.

I heard Middleton is doing pretty good this year! I'm praying for them! I know they can beat BK. They need to play their hearts out and do their best and not make mistakes that could ruin everything for them. I'm praying that they will do that. I know they can.
We only have two investigators, one of which isn't really solid. But we are going to try to make her solid. I know that you're right. If she isn't baptized now, then we are just planting seeds. It makes me happy to know that we are planting seeds. I tell myself that everyday. It got to a point where I wasn't if I would ever see someone truly progress, but after the blessing I received, I know I will if I have faith and persist in this work. It's hard and exhausting and I don't know how I will be able to do it for the next thirteen and a half months. All I know is that the Lord is giving me strength daily. I couldn't do it without His help and I am very aware of that.
Gracie went hunting?? I didn't even know she wanted to go! That's way awesome! She reminds me of me at that age, which may not be the best thing ever. But with the testimony she has, I know she will be able to push through anything she goes through. Growing up isn't easy. I'm still growing up and it's hard, but I know she will be a wonderful woman when she does grow.
I loved Meet the Mormons. We actually got to see it a week before it came out. The last story really made me cry. It reminded me of my farewell and everything that went along with it. But I know I am here for a reason just like that boy is or was wherever he served for a reason. It also taught me that there are so many people who need the gospel--they just need someone to introduce it to them. I know that we as missionaries can be that light that they seek if we have the faith and courage and strength to do so. I am grateful for that.
My headaches are getting better. I failed to mention last week that I was getting a CT Scan on Thursday. I was told that our insurance would cover it, but I still should have told you and I'm sorry I didn't. I didn't want to worry you. I wanted to make sure nothing serious was wrong and I know that the Lord is helping me.
I can feel your prayers and I'm grateful for them. Thank you! What's going on with Summer and Courtney? I haven't heard from them in a while...I hope all is well. I love you and pray for you all the time!
Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Conference Week

So, Abby got two emails from us this week; the ones we sent last week and the ones we sent this week.  Yay!


Conference was amazing! I loved all the talks and I got a lot out of it. I have lots of pages of notes from it and it was really cool. We watched the Sunday sessions at the stake center, which I have never done before. It was pretty cool, but I miss home sessions of general conference. We watched the first session on Saturday at the second counselor to the bishop's home and the second session at our dinner's home. It was really cool but it made me think of home and what you all would be doing. It's okay though. I ended both days with a smile and with a resolve to do better.

I am glad you got to got to the priesthood session. I can't wait for the general conference ensign to come out! Hopefully I'll get my own copy. I noticed many of the Apostles look old. It made me sad because I love them all. They all gave great talks and I don't want to lose any of them. The basic message I got from conference was all about the Savior as well. Also to follow the prophet. Meet the Mormons will be a great tool to show everyone who we are as a church and as people. There were some people who watched it before who said that they would let missionaries in after watching it. Not for the doctrine but because we are people.

I got Mom's email this week. I got everyone's email this week. Well, yours and Mom's. I haven't checked to see if I got one from Hunter yet...Oh, did you get the package I sent for your birthday? I wasn't sure if it would get there or not...I hope it did though!

I haven't gotten Grandma's package yet but my zone leaders might have it for me today! We are going to the stake center and they will be there so I'll check with them. I am also waiting for my hymnbook and a flash drive from you...have you sent it? It's probably with our zone leaders if you have.

I will pray for the soccer team! I really want them to make it to state this year! It would make me so happy! Even though I'm not there to see it. You can take pictures and videos maybe?? Haha, just kidding. I am sad that I will miss his last season too, but I know it's for a good work and we are all being blessed for it.

I love the temple! Next time we go, I really want to take a family name. Do you think you could do some work and give me a name to take through? I really want to be able to feel that close connection with families and I know there is a lot of work that we can do on Mom's side of the family. That's so crazy that Mom isn't the only member on the Luckey side! I thought for sure she would be. I hope you do end up doing some family history. I would like to but I feel like I have so little time to do anything except missionary work! Even though that's work in itself.

We have a potential investigator named Pete who is really awesome and I feel like he is prepared to receive this Gospel. He is going to set up an appointment with us after his wife gets home in about a week. I am hoping and praying that this will be the miracle that we have been waiting for.

Transfer call came on Saturday. Sister Lunddahl and I are staying together! I am so excited! There's so much work we can do in this area and I can't wait to see how it all pans our. We are finally starting to see the fruits of our labors and I am so very grateful to the Lord for showing us those miracles and for giving us hope that we are doing the right thing.

There are some members in Alluvial who are like family to me. I told them that I've been homesick and Kurt's automatic response was "How can we change that?" Melanie asked if I wanted her to call Mom and have her send some of my things from home, but I told her I would be alright. Know that I have family here and I have many people in my corner. It's great!

I was able to see Meet the Mormons this week. It was so good! I recommend it. Is it showing in Idaho theaters?? I hope so because it's a really great movie that shows who we are as members and people. I saw the elders I came out with and they gave me a blessing. I have been having migraines again and I went to the doctor on Thursday. They gave me a prescription for Imitrex. It has helped and I feel like it's getting a lot better now.

I love you so much, Dad. I am so grateful to have the support of my parents and to be here as a missionary. I know I don't have to worry about anything worldly while I am here because if I need something, I know you'll help me out with it. Thank you for everything. I miss you everyday but I know that I am doing great work here and it's what I am meant to be doing. I love you!

Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese

PS Do you want the wire hangers I took from home? I don't need them and they take up space. Also, will you pray for my companion, Sister Lunddahl? Her best friend's sister passed away and she just found out


It's okay! I read it this week. When I sent my email, I hadn't gotten one from you or Dad so I figured you either were really busy or you just didn't send it on accident. But I did get it! I was kind of sad that I didn't get it last week, but that's okay. I saw it this week and I got to write you a letter! I am glad Hunter got my letters--I hope he writes me back or emails me soon because I haven't heard from him in a while.

I absolutely LOVED conference. I did got to the Women's Broadcast and that was awesome too. I loved President Uchtdorf's talk. Of course, I loved them all. I have at least a page on all of those talks. Conference this weekend was really good. We spent the Saturday sessions in two members' homes. One of them is the second counselor to the bishop and the other one was feeding us dinner so she invited us over to watch the afternoon session. I didn't even know she liked me that much! I got a lot out of conference, though it did make me feel a little homesick. It reminded me of what we would do every conference--that is to say, sit in our pajamas and watch it at home. But I still enjoyed every moment of it. I loved Elder Bednar's talk about why we are missionaries. My favorite comment was when he said, "Sometimes we are awkward..." It made Sister Lunddahl and I laugh. It's so true! We all have some awkward moments!

Our transfer call came on Saturday. I am happy to report that Sister Lunddahl and I will be staying together in Alluvial and Woodward Park! We were so happy. We have seen a lot of progress since she has come and we see the potential that can come. We were hoping and praying that we would be able to see those fruits together. I am sad though because Elder Moreno, who is one of my favorite elders, is going to Hanford. He was doubled out, meaning there are two new missionaries coming in where he was serving in the Spanish ward. They are sisters so we won't be the only sisters in the zone anymore! Crazy! But I am excited. Sister Ramos will be training a missionary from the MTC and she came out with me so it'll be great.

We have a potential investigator named Pete. He is super nice and his brother was just baptized. He said he would contact us to set up an appointment in a week because his wife is in Korea right now and he is super busy. But he seemed sincere and I truly believe he is prepared to hear our message. It's wonderful to see how much potential the Lord is placing in our path! He is blessing us because we are striving to do our best. I love it!

That's so cool that you met Sister Ard's best friend's mom! I forgot to tell you her first name, sorry. But I am glad you figured it out! I'll have to tell her you met them. We've been emailing. I miss her but I know that she is where the Lord needs her.
We have a part member family we are working with.. Becky is the nonmember and she has been progressing a lot. I think she knows that she needs to come to church but she thinks she isn't ready to make that step. Please pray that she will. She's one I have been working with since my first transfer and I want to see her progress before I get transferred. I love her with all my heart and it would make me so happy to see her make those covenants!

We got to watch the Meet the Mormons movie this week! It was SOOOO good. I really recommend it to everyone. It made me cry because there is a missionary mom in it that reminded me of when I was getting ready to serve. I got to see the elders I came out with and it was awesome! They gave me a blessing because I have been having migraines again. It was really nice to be able to have them do that.

I love you and I pray for you everyday. Often, I feel like giving up but if I feel that way, I think of you and everyone at home. I am not just doing this for me or for the Lord. I am doing it for my family too. I love you!

Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese

PS Do you want me to send home the wire hangers I brought with me or should I just toss them? I don't need them and they take up space in my luggage.