Monday, December 29, 2014

Following the Spirit


My week was fantastic! It both flew by and went super slow. When I say that, I mean that I look back and it went by really fast but then I think about everything that happened last Monday and it seems like so long ago! It's crazy how time works. Things were good though. I love the people I am serving so much and I don't want to leave this area. There is a possibility that I could though. Transfers are November 19 so we'll find out if we go or stay on Saturday before. I am hoping and praying that I will get to stay one more transfer at least because then I will hit Thanksgiving and Christmas and I will know the people here. 

On Monday we were able to teach our investigator at a member's home. They are great members. I love them with all my heart. If you come pick me up, I will definitely want to take you there so you can meet them. (I have already made a list of members I want you all to meet if you pick me up--hopefully we'll have time!) We had to meet our investigator at a gas station so we could take her to the members' home. She is very fragile and has a lot of concerns. She has been through a lot and is still going through a lot. It's hard but I know we have helped her a lot. She has changed a lot since we first started teaching her about five weeks ago now. We have helped her and she is still thinking of baptism. I'm not sure if she will make it to the date we've set but she said she is still thinking about it. She also asked if she had to do it right away. We told her she didn't and that she could take time to do it. I was sort of reminded of you when we were teaching her. When she said she may want to take more time, I thought of you and the eight years it took for you (as far as I know) and the four sets of missionaries (?) you went through before you were baptized. I think about you a lot when we are teaching people that may take more time. Some missionaries may want to drop investigators if they aren't going to be baptized soon. But I think that sometimes people take time--like you. If they take eight years, they may go through several sets of missionaries. But I know some people take more time than others and I know that it may take some time with her. I will be there when she gets baptized, whether I have to come back or whether she is baptized while I'm still here. I will be here because I love her with all my heart and I hope that I can continue to have this love in my heart for her.

We were able to practice teaching a lesson on President Cleveland, who is the stake president in the Fresno Stake. I love him. He's so great. He has so much love for the people in his stake and he is super missionary minded. He told us that he has been trying to get it across to the members that it is up to them to find people for us to teach for eight years and it doesn't seem to have caught yet. Hopefully one day members will see that it is up to them to find those people for us to teach. I love these members but we need help finding people. We can't do it on our own. There have been some members that have potentials for us but it's all a matter of them getting the member to their home or inviting them to take the discussions and so on. I hope one day people will look back and remember President Cleveland and his desire to bring people to the Gospel.

R is our other investigator. She is still set for December 6 and she is so determined to make it there. I love her so much. Sister Lunddahl and I have been able to connect with her so well and I am hoping and praying we won't leave before her date. I know we were meant to be here for her at least and I am so grateful for that. I am grateful that the Lord led us to her and I am so excited for the progress she has made. Her husband, Rick, just had surgery on his back so she has been taking care of him all week. We had an appointment set with her on Tuesday but she cancelled on us. We went up to Friant anyway and left a note for her and her husband. She opened the door right as we were getting ready to drive away. It was inspired that we go there and leave a note. She let us in and we were able to share a message of faith with her. Then we went on Saturday evening when it was super dark. Friant is about a twenty minute drive from Fresno and the road you take to get there is really dark. There are no street lights and it's windy. So it was kind of scary. I don't like driving on that road in the dark. But we really wanted to go see her so we did. We felt the spirit so strong in our lesson with her. We followed every prompting and we helped her. She is already going to the bishop for help which shows that she trusts him. It is really great to see how much progress she has made. I pray every night that she will continue to progress and that she will be prepared for baptism on December 6. She wanted us to text her when we got back to Fresno to make sure we were safe. It made me so happy to know that people--our investigators--care about us.

We are teaching a woman who removed her records from the church years ago. I love her. She is so great. She has realized that maybe she should come back and so we are working with her and her daughters (5 and 10) to come back. There is a woman in another stake who is her friend but we're hoping to get the Alluvial ward involved as she is in the Alluvial ward boundaries.

Every Thursday, we got see a woman who has some form of brain cancer. She has had this scab on her head for a few years and they finally fixed it. She is the sweetest woman ever. I love her so much. She is so humbling. I love going over there because she has such a wonderful outlook on life. She doesn't remember anything and she has a hard time remembering people who have come to see her and yet she is so happy all the time. She is so great and I love visiting her. you would like her, I think. 

We went to the Thomas's for dinner yesterday. He is in the stake presidency. They're great and I love them. I love all these members and I hope I will be able to spend another six weeks here.

I heard that Kirsten gave her homecoming! I can't believe it has already been that long since she left. I remember being so excited for her to get her call!

I hope Hunter does well. He's going to do great in indoor. That's cool that he is the only non senior. That should say something. I still haven't heard from him. tell him to send me pictures of homecoming! Grandma told me  he got a limo...I had no idea!

I sat alone in Sacrament last week because we were on splits. Sister Lunddahl went to ward council in Woodward Park. So I was alone. It was a little weird but I didn't mind. You shouldn't be embarrassed. I have a letter from this missionary's mom that she got from her mom that really helped me. I should send you a copy. You could help others using that.

We are probably going to go to Kurt and Melanie Kuhn's house for Thanksgiving. And possibly the Crops'. I am a little nervous for my first Thanksgiving away from home but I know that it'll be okay because I have the Lord and I am in your prayers. 

Sister Lunddahl leaves on December 6! I'm so sad! I don't want her to go. She has helped me overcome so much and I love her so, so much. I'm going to go visit her in Denmark one day. I hope I have helped her as much as she has helped me. She has taught me so much

I love you and I hope everything is going well for you! I got the package, by the way. Thank you so much!

Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese

PS I 'll send it as soon as I can!


This week was really wonderful. It was both a long week and a short one, but it was a good one. We were able to do a lot in our area. On Monday night we were able to teach our investigator at the members' home. They are members of the church and they are absolutely amazing. I love them so much. They have helped us with our investigators a lot and it's always amazing to be able to teach in their home because there is such a spirit there. She is really struggling. We met her at a gas station to lead her to the Taylors' and she seemed really upset. We tried our best to help her as we taught her of her worth. I love her and hope she will continue to progress. It may take some time, but I know she will eventually be baptized. Even if it takes eight years, like Mom. Or if it takes several months, like others. I know she will eventually progress to baptism, even if it doesn't happen on her scheduled. I hope I will be able to be here for it regardless of whether or not I am still in this area.

We also were able to practice teaching on President Cleveland and his wife. He is the stake president in the Fresno Stake. I love him. He and his wife are so incredible. They have such a wonderful spirit about them. He has helped us a lot and he is so missionary minded. He told us that when we are married, if our husband's don't treat us right, to call him and let him to talk to them. It was really funny and it made me happy. He told me how much he has seen me grow since the first time I met with him back when we first got Woodward Park. It was really cool that he had seen that. I love it when members tell me how much they have seen me grow because it helps me to see how much I have grown. And I have grown and changed so much. You and Mom would be so proud if you knew exactly how much.

Our investigator's husband had back surgery this week and so she cancelled our appointment with her. But we went up to Friant which is a twenty minute ride from Fresno anyway. It was great. We were just going to leave a note at her door but she opened the door as Sister Lunddahl was getting back in the car. She told us we could come in so we did and we were able to share a little message of faith. It was so sweet and I love her so much. I want her to be able to make it to baptism on December 6. I know that as we continue to work with her and prepare her for baptism, we will be able to help her. We were able to meet with her on Saturday evening as well and we had a really spiritual lesson with her. It was kind of a scary drive up there because it was dark and dreary and there were no street lights, but it was worth. She had us text her when we got back to Fresno to make sure we were safe. It made me happy to know that she cares about us. Please continue to pray for her. I love her and want to see her progress

It's crazy how much I love these people I am serving. The last week, it has come to my attention exactly how much I love them. I don't even know how to describe it, other than I have grown close to so many members and I love them all with all my heart. They will always hold a special place in my heart because it is my first area. I never knew how much capacity I had to love until I realized how much I love these people. It's crazy to think that a gift God has given me is the gift of charity. Sister Lunddahl says that if I were a super hero, my super power would be charity. I don't know if that's true, but I do know God has blessed me with the ability to love people and I am so grateful for that. I don't want to leave this area ever, but I will settle for not leaving for now. This next transfer will hit both Thanksgiving and Christmas and I am hoping I will get to stay at least for this next transfer so I will know the people in this area. I love them and want to help them. They have helped me through so much of my mission and I can't think what I will do when I am transferred, but I don't have to think of that now.

We are working with a woman who removed her records from the church a few years ago. She is super great and she has a lot of friends who are members of the church. She wants to meet with us and she even said that she wanted to meet again sooner rather than later on Wednesday, the first time we met with her. I am so happy that I am able to help these people. I see so many people who are struggling or who fall away and it breaks my heart. But those who do want to learn or want to return or want our help make everything else worth it. She is one of those people. Even though it won't really count for us, it will count in my heart and with Heavenly Father. I know that I wouldn't have been able to find these people and love them without Him.

This week really showed me what it means to follow the promptings of the spirit. On Friday night, we were going to go to this member's house whom we both love dearly but then when we got there (or actually earlier than that), I had thought of another family, the Burts. they are super great and they are super active and so strong in the gospel, but I felt like we should go see them. So I mentioned it to Sister Lunddahl when we were about ready to get out of the car and she said she thought of them too! So we decided to go see them. It was almost time to go home, but we thought we could spend a few minutes talking to them. It turned out that they had some visitors who needed some help. So I know that we followed a prompting and were lead to people who needed us. It was a great feeling to know that the Lord was trusting us with these promptings.

Then yesterday, after dinner, I thought of this family who had been struggling a lot in the last couple months whom we hadn't seen in a really long time. But I thought that it wasn't really right. Then Sister Lunddahl mentioned them so we went by. We knocked twice and rang the doorbell once and no one answered so we got back in our car and started to drive away. As we were approaching the stop sign, a car pulled onto the street and I watched it from the rearview mirror as it pulled into the house we were just at! So we turned around and visited them anyway. Only the wife was home but I know she needed us at that time and I know the Lord wants us to follow our promptings. I love that He trusts us so much.

That's a really cool story about Kirsten! I can't believe she's home already. Time flies! It's going to be weird when I report, but I know I still have a little over a year left. I can't believe in a couple weeks I'll hit my six month mark though. Crazy! And in two transfers, I'll hit my halfway point. It goes by so fast!

In California, they have Veterans' Day off. They also have today off. I'm not sure why but it's cool. I don't think we ever really had Veterans' Day off. 

President Cleveland reminds me of President Evans. It is so great because it makes me feel even better when I think about being homesick. There are so many people here who have become like family to me and it has helped me through a lot of different things. I love being here so much and I hope I will continue to love it.

Tell Pat I said happy birthday even though it's late! if you talk to her again, anyway. It makes me feel good that she is thinking of me. I had forgotten we told her that I was going on a mission. How is she doing with everything? Is the eighth ward treating her as well as you did? I hope so. She needs a lot of support. I have come to realize the difference between home teachers like you and home teachers that don't really want to try. I hope you know what an example you have been to me with those things. 

I love you, Dad, and I hope you know I pray every night and day for you! Have a wonderful week!

Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese



This week was really good! I had a really great week. Even though it was the week of Halloween, we had a pretty busy schedule. It went by really fast too. I was glad because I really don't like long weeks. It makes days seem even longer than they usually feel. 

I can't believe it's November already either! As soon as October 31 hit, the weather got a lot colder. Probably not cold by your standards but I've been living in 90-100 degree weather so it's cold to me! It is in the fifties most mornings or low sixties. It's cold! I have to wear a hoodie to bed and sweats. And I use my extra blanket too. It gets really cold in our apartment but that could be because we turn on the AC and it makes it even colder...but turning on the heater makes it almost too hot so we turn on the AC instead.

We were able to see both of our investigators this week. We finally were able to set a date with C for November 29. We are so excited and hope that she will have the confirmation that that is when the Lord wants her to be baptized--and that he wants her to be baptized period. It has been a struggle, getting her to commit to things and we have had to gently guide her along the path toward what she needs. I know we are helping her and I know if she isn't baptized on that date, we did plant seeds. And her daughter is a recent convert so she is planting seeds as well. It's really incredible to see the progress the area and the people in the area have made since a month and half ago. It seems like it has been so long but so short at the same time. And we have seen so many miracles in that time, it's unbelievable. We've decided to go through the former investigators again because both the investigators we have now were in the former investigator part of the area book. We will try to find those who are prepared in each area. I hope it will work.

We also saw R. She is still committed to December 6. We are seeing R again this week and we hope we will continue to be able to help her. She's so prepared but she needs to make some sacrifices in the next month before she can be baptized. I'm hoping and praying that she will so that Sister Lunddahl can see her investigator be baptized before she goes back to Temple Square which will be on December 10. I'm really sad because I don't want her to go but we still have five weeks together--well, at least two since transfers are in two, but I don't think President Clark will transfer either of us, especially since she will only have three weeks left.

We have also been seeing this part-member family. They are so great and I love them. She is not a member. We got see them about three times a week. She has begun to trust us more and more. She shows us pictures of her family and her grandkids and I love it so much! She has opened up a lot in the last six weeks and I know it is because we have been going over a lot. They tell us all the time that we are always welcome. We go over to use the bathroom a lot and so they tell us that we can always come to use it. It's great! It makes me feel like we are helping in some way.

Halloween was a lot of fun. We spent the night at our ward mission leader's house. His wife is a recent convert whom I adore so much. Their home is like a second home to me here. They make us feel loved and wanted and at home and it helps me so much. Every time we go over there, it makes my day so much better even if I am already having a good day. They are the best people and one of my favorite families. Their daughter and her husband was there on Halloween night as well and we got to know them a little better. We played Scattergories with them and it was a lot of fun! I was so excited to play a board game. I wasn't very good at it but it was fun anyway trying to think of things to write down! There weren't a lot of trick or treaters but there were some and a lot of them were dressed in Frozen costumes. It was cute.

I'm sure conducting was great! It's always good to hear the testimony of a member of the bishopric. I love it. It will be interesting coming home and seeing you on the stand. 

Girls ran away because of Duke? Those poor girls. They probably thought you did it on purpose. But I would have loved to see that! Can you send me more pictures of him? I need to put them on my camera. I haven't done that yet. I can imagine what he was like when you finally came home from Coeur d'Alene. He was always naughty when you were gone and then you came home and he would be a good little dog again. 

It's awesome that family history is becoming more important! Once recent converts do family history and are able to go to the temple, the retention rate goes from 30 percent to 80 percent. It's crazy! That's why we try so hard to get our converts to the temple, and to do family history. Speaking of family history, have you been able to find a name for me to take to the temple next time we go yet? We'll probably go in the next couple months. 

I can feel your prayers and I know they are helping so much. I wouldn't be able to do this without your prayers. I know that the holidays may be hard for me, but I have come to think of these people and all the missionaries around me as family so hopefully that will help a lot. I know you are always there and I know I am needed here in Fresno for the next thirteen months. I know I haven't accomplished all I need to yet.

I love the Book of Mormon! I am trying to finish it by December 31--President Clark challenged us to re-read it, focusing on the Atonement. He gave us three dates to choose from and I chose the closest one. I think I'm pretty on track. It is an inspired book and it has helped me through my mission. 

I love you and pray for you and hope all is well at home! 

Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese

PS My release date is December 2, 2015, which is a Wednesday.


This week was great too! I keep having these great weeks and I'm really afraid that the next one isn't going to be so great. But perhaps they have been so great because I have begun to see that the hard things are really blessings. I have begun to see them in a different way. I wrote this to President Clark last week and he suggested I share it and print it out for myself:

I am so glad that I have come to recognize the changes that have come into my life as a person and as a missionary. It often isn't easy to see those things but I know that I have been blessed with "spiritual eyes," in a sense, this week. Actually, I need to apologize for not reporting on what I decided to change because it was that--changing the way I look at things. I wanted to see things as God does. Sister Nielson gave a really great training on holiness and having the eyes of God. That was one of the biggest things I took out of zone conference and that is what I committed to change last week. I feel that I have been able to begin to see things and people as God sees them. I have even begun to see myself as God sees me and to see my trials as God sees them. This morning, during studies, I was reading Alma 31 and verse 38 stood out to me. I was truly struggling this morning for some reason and I wasn't sure why but when I said my prayer before studies, I asked God to help me to have the strength to rise above whatever this was. Verse 38 talked about Alma and his sons were given "strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ." It helped me to see that we all have adversity and struggles but it is the way we look at it and our attitude towards them that helps us have the strength to push through. I also read in the Ensign while I was eating breakfast about a man who was struggling with anxiety. He was asking God to remove it from him but then he read in Ether about how the winds were constantly pushing the Jaredites to the promised land, even though it was making things difficult for them. The winds are our struggles and our trials and I have begun to see that the Lord is always pushing us toward our "promised land." He is helping us become as He wants us to be and that will take improvement upon improvement. I know that with all my heart.

This week went by really fast! It was crazy how fast it went by. I was surprised. It may have been because we went to Yosemite on Monday and emailed on Tuesday. I suppose that could be the case. On Tuesday though we had a really good lesson with a recent-ish convert and it was really good. She has been struggling a lot with so many different things and I'm not sure how we can help her, but we did! It was great! We also did some service for her by hanging up pictures in her house. She has lived there a year and hasn't been able to hang any pictures on the wall. We filled her whole stairwell with pictures of her family. It was really good! And it was fun. 

We taught both of our investigators this week. They are both doing really well--both have baptismal dates!! Rhonda is set for December 6 and Cindy is set for November 29. We are hoping and praying that those dates will happen. We were able to finally get Cindy to pray specifically during our lesson with her. She asked God if November 29 was the date for her and I hope she is getting her answers. I know your prayers have helped. Rhonda is also doing well. She is determined to make it to December 6, especially since Sister Lunddahl is going back to Temple Square on December 10. I don't want her to go! I am really sad that it is coming up so fast, but I know the Lord has other plans for her. He wouldn't have sent her for just three months if she wasn't meant to stay for just three months. I know that, as much as it kills me. I hope she will get to see our two investigators get baptized on their scheduled dates. It would make letting her go much easier that way.

I think I've mentioned the Christophersons, didn't I? I love them so much. It's a part-member family and she is the nonmember. She's so great and I really want to see her progress before I leave this area, which could happen in two weeks or two months. She is one of my favorite people. I have seen her open up and progress more and more since the very first time we went over to their house. I think that was my first transfer. It is now toward the end of my fourth transfer and it has been five months. We visit them pretty frequently--almost three times a week. But I see her trust in us grow every time. I love it. She showed us pictures of her family and her grandchildren when we went over there yesterday and it made me so happy! She asked me if they would send me to another area in the next year since I have a little more than that left and I told her I didn't want to go but they most likely would. I think she was kind of sad and that made me feel good to know that she likes me! I hope I can help her more than I already have. It would be awesome to see her get baptized or even just come to church. I love her so much. Her name is Becky, just so you know. 

Halloween was a lot of fun! We spent the night at Melanie and Kurt Kuhn's house whom I love very much. He is our ward mission leader and she is a recent convert. I love them both with all my heart. Their home has become a second home to me. Whenever I feel homesick, I think of them and it helps me a lot. Everytime we go over there it makes me feel so loved and so much at home. I love it. We were able to spend some time with Kurt's daughter and son-in-law. They aren't members. They're great! We played Scattergories with them and it was so much fun! We watched Trick or Treaters come to the door and there were a lot of Frozen outfits. It was so great!

I don't know what I want for Christmas. A voice recorder maybe? That way I can record our zone conferences and stuff like that.Maybe more shirts? A pair of boots? I'm so bad at gifts. Ooh! You could get me all the books that came out and send me pictures--it'll give me something to look forward to when I come home! Speaking of, does Hunter know that Blood of Olympus is out?? He needs to get it if he hasn't already! Oh, also it would be really cool to get letters too. And pictures of everyone. Maybe videos? I don't know how I'd watch them though. Sweaters? It's a lot colder here than I thought it would be. You can always send me goodies! Treats are yummy! Sister Lunddahl would love a package from you. She wants something that is unique from Idaho! That would be fun!

Did you find the chess set?

I haven't gotten the packages yet but we may run to the mission office if we have time to look. Transfers is in two weeks. We get the call on the 15. I'm pretty sure I won't get a new companion but I'm not positive. I hope I won't anyway. I love my companion!

Can you send me my peacoat? It's really cold here. At least colder than I thought and too cold not to have a coat of some sort. Also, you need to send Christmas packages on or before December 1. It says that somewhere in our handbook or resource binder or something. 

I know I am here for a reason too. I know God needs me here and I remind myself of that everyday. I also remind myself that you are all being blessed. Am I being an example to Hunter? He should write me more often...I love you and pray for you! 

Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese