Monday, January 26, 2015

Abby's First Transfer!

Email from December 29, 2014


I loved seeing everyone on Christmas Day! It was really great to be able to see and talk to you. It was a little difficult at the end but I am so, so glad that I got to see everyone. I think it would have been harder for me if I had been calling you on the phone. I'm glad I got to share something about Christmas with you! When you pick me up, I want to teach you a lesson before we leave my mission because it can be really powerful. I'll still be a set apart representative of Jesus Christ. Until we get home. That will be weird. Also, you should let President Clark know that that is the plan. They order plane tickets six months in advance so at least by May 21. Or I guess June 2. 

God has blessed me this week with a lot of strength. He has been preparing me for what is to come for a while. We got our transfer call on Saturday. I told you transfers were on the 31, right? Well, on the 31st, I will be going to another area. I was really sad when I found out. But then not too long after, I felt this overwhelming peace and comfort just flow right over me. It was the greatest feeling ever. It was really cool to have a confirmation that everything at transfers is inspired of God. I have been feeling like I was going to get transferred for a while but I didn't want to believe it. God made me though. In my heart, I knew. In my head, I was oblivious, but in my heart I knew what was coming. And I was okay with it. I have been in this area--Alluvial--for seven and a half months. And I've been in Woodward Park for four and a half. I have spent a lot of time there and I am so grateful for the time I had. It was really amazing and I truly grew a lot from being in these wards. And I had a baptism! R means everything to me and it was worth every hard things I ever struggled with. I will be going to the Fresno East Stake in the Cedarwood ward. My companion will be Sister Russel who is actually here from the Nauvoo visitor's center. So that will be interesting. I guess God just likes putting me with visitor's center sisters. She'll be my third one! but I love her. I met her yesterday and I love her so much! Plus, a sister that I took out on open your mouth is in that stake in the Spanish ward. I'm excited to be with her too! AND an elder I came out with is my district leader: Elder Bean! I'm so excited! It almost makes up for my previous district leader going home on Wednesday. Almost. But I truly am excited. And you know how I am with change so I am taking this remarkably well. Which kind of makes me wonder if there is a lot to come, a lot of hard things. But if there is, I will push through because I have God on my side. I am truly grateful that I was able to serve in Alluvial and Woodward Park. And it will be hard to leave. Brother Rahn, the ward mission leader in Woodward Park, decided to talk about me in Gospel Principles. It was really interesting to hear people's comments. A lot of people said how outgoing I've become. How much louder I am. And how much bossier. Apparently, all I do now is boss Brother Rahn around. Which is true in a sense I guess. But we're going to their house for dinner tonight so I can see them one more time. It'll be really great!

We were able to see quite a few people this week, despite it being Christmas. On Tuesday we had a whole bunch of set appointments that fell through. It was really frustrating. But we realized there was a reason for it when we were able to see a few people. We were able to go see Sister White, an older lady who is just awesome. I love her and will miss her a lot. We also saw Ci and were able to talk to her for a while. She was really sweet and just let us in. We technically aren't teaching her anymore, but that's okay. One day she will come to know for herself that what we taught is true. We also did some service for a recent convert. She is really sweet but she has a lot of...stuff. I think I've talked about her before. We are really trying to help her organize everything so she will have the courage to just throw it out. We're not sure how it's going. 

Christmas Eve was almost like another day of Christmas! It was really good! We made a ginger bread house that is super cute. Then we made cookies with Sherry. I love her and I'm going to miss her a lot. She and Charles took us to the farewell last night so that we could be there for Elder Grisenti, who was my district leader for four transfers. It was great! I love them both so much and I hope one day C's heart will be softened enough to accept the gospel. We also went to the Thacker's. They are so sweet. I got socks from them. We also got a stocking and a couple gifts. They were so sweet and I am so grateful for them. It made me feel almost like I was at our Christmas Eve party. It was really awesome. Then we went to the Gallis'. They are awesome. I played Away in a Manger for them on the piano while everyone sang...I messed up but at least I was brave and did it right? It was really cool.

On Christmas Day, we went to the Davis's for breakfast. Their grandson made hash browns in a waffle iron! It was so cool! They tasted really good. I'm glad I got to try them. They kept asking me how I eat potatoes since I'm from was interesting. But I love their family so much. They are great. Then we went to the Burts' to Skype. That was one of my favorite parts of the day! It was really great to see you. And Sister Burt afterward gave me a hug and told me it was okay to cry and be sad because you do miss your family as a missionary, especially on Christmas. She served in Boise. Crazy right? They gave us a Christmas present which was so sweet (but I have no idea how I'm going to transfer everything that I got on Christmas Day). We went to the Kuhns' next. They had a ton of presents for us. It was crazy! Our trunk was full of gifts from people by the end of the day. We watched Frozen and I loved it so much! I miss that movie. But it'll be there when I get long as you didn't give it away because it is my movie :) We played Catch Phrase after that. With Melanie and a whole bunch of missionaries. It was so fun! I love that game so much! 

The next day, we had dinner with an awesome family who has a son Hunter's age. He reminded me of a combination of me, because he's clumsy (he dropped a kind of just fell out of his hands, and then like five minutes later, he spilled water on his mom!), and Hunter because he's funny. He's a little more quiet than Hunter but it was really awesome! I love them. We are going to see them before I leave tomorrow. We also saw Sister Gonzalez who got a little shiatsu for Christmas. She is so cute!

Saturday we did this really cool role play with our dinner appointment. We asked each of them to think of a nonmember they know and then play them. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and it was one of the coolest role plays I have ever done. I loved it! And Sister Scribner has someone that we will probably start teaching! Well, Sister Isaksen and Sister West, her new companion. So that'll be really good. I'm excited for them! We also saw the Kuhns. It was right before our transfer call. Actually, we didn't get our call until about 10:27. It was terrible. We were all on conference call so that was really cool. We listened together. Only four of us are leaving. Some of my favorite people are leaving so I think it's good that I won't be here to miss them. 

Sunday was the farewell and it was great! I love listening to missionaries bear testimony. A new assistant was called and he was my zone leader my first two'll be weird seeing him a lot again. 

Has Brittany had her baby yet?? Send me pictures when she has!

I love you, Dad. I miss you and think of you a lot, but I know that I am here for a purpose. I know that I am in the California Fresno Mission for a reason. For multiple reasons. And I'm grateful for that. I love you!

Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese

PS Did you like your presents? 


I had a great Christmas! It was a little difficult after I said good bye to you because I didn't want to have to say good bye. But it was awesome to see everyone and I'm really grateful that I was given that opportunity. It made my day and I will cherish that until Mother's Day! We went to the Davis's for breakfast. She is the relief society president in Woodward Park. They are great. Joseph, their grandson who is twelve, made hash browns using a waffle iron! Isn't that the coolest thing ever?? I want to learn how to do it! They were really good too. Then we went to the Burts, of course, and Skyped. They are so great. Sister Burt came and gave me a big hug after I was done talking to me and said it was okay to cry and to be sad for a little bit on Christmas Day. It was really sweet. I couldn't give Brother Burt a hug for you but I told him you told me to! They are the greatest members and I'm so grateful for them. They got a Christmas present--a scarf and a journal. It was cute! Then we went to the Kuhns'. that was a lot of fun. We played this game with some missionaries that Melanie made and then we had dinner. they gave us stockings. We also got a Christmas Santa hat to wear so Sister Isaksen and I were wearing ours. It was really cute! I'll send a picture if I have time. We watched Frozen for our Christmas movie and it was so good! I forgot how much I love that movie. I thought it would make me think of home but it didn't. I sang along to the songs. I still know them! It was great. Then we played Catch Phrase with Melanie and Elders Robertson, Perez, and Garbero. It was so much fun! It got really competitive but I loved it! Last time it was just Sister Lunddahl and I with Kurt and Melanie. But this time we had more people. It was great! At the end of the night, there were even more missionaries. It was really crazy. It was intense. You should play it for family home evening or something. But my Christmas was great. It really helps to have awesome members who treat us like family and who love us. The Lord knows what I needed and He knows that I needed to be in this area for five transfers.

We got our transfer call on Saturday. Transfers aren't until Wednesday but we found out what was happening on Saturday. I will be going to the Fresno East Stake to serve in the Cedarwood ward. When I first found out, I was really sad. I love this area so much and I am so grateful for it. I love these people and I will miss them all so, so much. But as I knelt down to pray that night, I was filled with this overwhelming sense of peace and comfort that all would work out and all would be okay. I accepted this change wholeheartedly. I was able to see the ways God prepared me for it. I had felt like I was going to be transferred but then I guess I got used to the feeling so I didn't think it would happen. I wanted to stay in this area and I wanted to be with Sister Isaksen. But that's not what God wants for me at this point. I spent seven and a half months here and I have grown so much. Not it's time to move on and to grow somewhere else and to help other people. The funny thing is, in my first transfer, I went on exchanges in Cedarwood (then Clovis 2) and I told the members that I was gong to serve there one day. And now I am! It's also the ward the assistants are in so it will be a little weird. But I'm excited! I'm sad to leave and I am sad that I have to say good bye to so many people. But I know this is what God wants. I can feel that there are people the Lord is preparing for me there. My new companion's name is Sister Russel. She's really sweet and she is a Nauvoo sister, meaning she is from the Nauvoo visitor's center. She'll be here for two more transfers. We are basically getting doubled into an area, which means we are both new to the area. It will be interesting. But at least we have the assistants. And, crazy story, guess who my new district leader is?? It's Elder Bean! The one I came out with. I had a dream a couple weeks ago that he was going to become my district leader...and now he has! I'm really relieved because it helps me a lot to know that my district leader is someone I already trust and love. I'm super excited about that. It's going to be a fun transfer...and maybe a little hard too. But I know I can do it and I now God wouldn't place anything in my path that I can't handle. I'm super grateful for the opportunity I have and I'm so excited to serve there!

We saw C this week. I think we basically dropped her, but she was really sweet. We just stopped by and she let us in and we talked to her and she gave us hot chocolate. She is great. I hope one day when missionaries knock on her door, she will let them in and accept the gospel because I know it will help her a lot. 

On Christmas Eve, we saw a few people. We went to the Amsbary's and made a ginger bread house, which I showed you. I don't think I've ever done that before. We also went to see Sherry and made cookie with her which we ended up taking to a member who was having a hard time this Christmas. I loved doing it. It was fun! then we went to the Thacker family. They are so sweet. I love them. Santa literally came and gave them presents. That's when we got socks. We also got stockings. And they gave us a whole bunch of airplanes that we are going to make today and throw at the elders. It's going to be fun! We also went to the Gallis'. They are awesome members whom I love. That's where we talked to Nick. Or Sister Isaksen talked to Nick. They let us participate in their White Elephant exchange even though we didn't bring anything. It was a lot of fun. Our ward also put together a whole bunch of gifts for us. It was really sweet. We had so much stuff by the end of the Christmas day...I have no idea how I'm going to transfer all of it. the way, the red suitcase you let me use...well, the front wheels on it are messed up. The rubber on it is like broken through. It's like this rip right down the middle. I'm not really sure how to fix it. I'm sure there's a way but I know now what it is. I promise I'll try though! I don't want any transfers to be difficult because of a suitcase. I'm going to send home some stuff soon but not today. Brittany gave me ornaments for our tree which I won't need all year and the nativity Grandma sent me will be in that box too. So watch out for it! I'll write fragile on the box. It is really cute! 

Speaking of Brittany, has she had her baby yet??? I've been waiting for a few days to see a picture but it doesn't look like I have one yet :P It's okay though. Next week right?? 

I love you, Mom and I am so grateful that I got to talk to you and everyone on Christmas Day. I hope you told Grandpa and Robin and Roger and Jess and Jamee that I said hi. I miss them all and hope they had a merry Christmas. I love you!

Always <3,
Sister Reese

PS I'm glad you liked what I sent you!

California Fresno Mission is splitting!

Email from December 22, 2014


This week was pretty good. I lost my voice and still don't have it but I have faith that I will have it when we Skype on Christmas day. I love Christmas time. It is the one time of year where people actually expect you to talk of the Savior. I am so very grateful for that. I love my Savior and I love His Atonement. It was really cool to go to church yesterday and to feel of the Christmas spirit that was there. I loved it.

On Monday we ate dinner with a part member family. I know that she--the nonmember--wants to be a member but she is waiting for her husband to make that choice too. He's less active. We are trying to help them but I am not sure if we're doing much. I love them so much and I want their family to be eternal. they have a three year old and an eight month old. they are the cutest and I just want them to have the blessings of the gospel. We also saw other investigators. They asked a lot of questions about Sister Isaksen since they hadn't met yet. I love them both and I hope that he will one day want to take the step of faith this gospel requires.

On Tuesday, we saw Sister C. She is a really strong woman but she and her family struggle with a lot of different things. We are going over there a couple days before Christmas to meet with their family and see what we can do to help. I hope we will be able to help them in some way. We ate with the Kuhns whom I love. They are some of the greatest members ever. We are eating dinner at their house on Christmas Day and we are watching Frozen there too! I'm so excited! I haven't watched Frozen for seven months! Can you believe it has been seven months since I came out? I can't believe I said good bye to you seven months ago. It's crazy how time flies! In just another transfer, I will be at my halfway mark. It is really strange and a little sad to think about. But I know that every moment is worth it and I need to make sure of that.

On Wednesday we went on exchanges. We had a really good district meeting this week. they talked about using Preach My Gospel. It was really good. I needed it. I was in a Spanish area that day. It was fun! I love Spanish people. they are so loving and kind. And I was able to speak English this time. We saw a recent convert who speaks English. We talked about patriarchal blessings with them and it was powerful. I shared my experience with mine--when the patriarch said I would serve a full time missionary for the church. It wasn't something any of us expected and yet we have seen it come to pass this year. It's crazy to see what blessings have come to pass in my blessing. We also saw a less active member who had the cutest little boy ever. I tried to entertain him because I didn't understand what was going on. They were speaking Spanish. It was fun!

Thursday, we met with a less active man who we have been meeting with for a while. He has a lot of different struggles but we are trying to get him to see the blessings. he came to the Christmas party! It was really awesome because we didn't expect him to. He left early but at least he was there! We also saw this less active family who have cute kids. Sister Isaksen was good with them. We talked about Christ since it is the Christmas season. We have been trying to come up with different Christ centered scriptures to share with people. It's kind of hard yet easy at the same time. They are a great family and I hope we will be able to help them. We ate with the Burts. they told us their proposal story which took forever and a day but it was so cute! Sister Burt literally ran away when Brother Burt started to propose! It was so funny when they told the story. They also told us their dating history the time before and I'm sure they will have another story to tell when we go over there for Christmas. We are Skyping at their house between ten and noon our time so eleven and one your time. His skype name is jpb2u1987 so add him on Skype! I'm not sure which one of us will Skype first--Sister Isaksen's family is nine hours ahead of us so it will be seven when we Skype anyway.

Friday we did some service for a recent convert who has a lot of stuff. We did dishes for her and we shared a message with her. We were finally able to get in her house. It was nice to be able to talk to her as we worked. She needs a lot of help. I'm not sure we will be able to completely clean her house. but we have made a small dent at least. The bright side is, it makes me want to get rid of more stuff when I get home (but don't do it for me please). I'll have to anyway, I guess, when I go to school. We also visited some former investigators and we were able to meet with one named Lucy. She opened the door and immediately let us in.  We talked about religion with her and all this stuff. It was great! We also went to a baptism for two eight year old twins. They were so cute. It was a powerful baptism. their dad, who baptized them, if a convert of a year and a half and he was able to confirm them too. We ate dinner with the Standings who are awesome. they have a lot of kids but they are super sweet. I love them.

Saturday we had our Christmas party in Woodward Park. It was fun! There were a lot of people there but by the end of the night they still had 23 lasagnas left. We took one home plus a whole chocolate cake that we can't eat on our own. So we brought it to the stake center to share with elders! We also had president interviews. He was so sweet. He helped me to remember that God called me here for a reason and didn't ask me to be anyone else. I am so very grateful for that.

This week we also put together plates of treats for some families that have been struggling. We left them on the porch and then knocked and ran. It was fun! I miss doing that! I think I'll do more of it when I come home. It will be a fun family activity! 

Sunday we ate with the Agars who are some of the best members. I love them. Sister Agar is a ward missionary and she has done so much good for us. I love her and her husband. They are wonderful people. And they love us. We also met with the Fujimotos who just lost their oldest daughter. It was so sad. But the spirit was there.

I am so excited to see you on Christmas! I can't wait to say hi to everyone! If you can, you should see if Brittany can conference Skype with us or something. I want to talk to her and if she has had the baby by then that would be awesome! The weather has been cooler but it still doesn't feel like Christmas. It's weird.

I love you and can't wait to see you! Say hi to everyone for me!

Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese

We didn't end up emailing until later anyway. The family history center is closed but there were some elders that opened it for us and are here now. I miss wrapping presents! It was one of my favorite parts of Christmas. I guess it's a good thing I am only missing one Christmas away from home. I go back and forth on that thought though. 

Brother D is inactive but he comes when people ask him to do things. He's a nice man. We got the pictures too. I'm glad you liked them. The ward is a great one and I am so incredible lucky to be serving here! This week was good. Except I lost my voice on Saturday and it hasn't come back yet. I have been coughing all week and my voice went on Saturday. It's really frustrating because I can't teach without my voice. The medical person in the mission told me to rest and that it would come back soon. Pray that it comes back before Christmas. I need my voice to talk to y'all! Speaking of, we are going to skype around ten so it could be anywhere between 10 and 12 our time so 11 and 1 your time. I know that's sort of late but it's the best we could do. The Skype name you will need to add is jpb2u1987. It's the Burts! Maybe you'll get to meet them. they are great!

On Monday, we were finally able to get into this house I have been dying to see since I got here! I love them. they are so awesome and they are great missionaries. They have two missionaries out right now--one in Italy and one in Bolivia. Two completely different ends of the world. But they are both great and I love hearing how they are doing. We also saw S and C. We are still trying to get C to convert...

OH big news! They are splitting the California Fresno Mission! they are creating a California Modesto mission. It will consist of the three most northern parts of our mission and the three most southern parts of the California Sacramento Mission. This will take effect on July 1, 2015. They are calling a new mission president on January 10, 2015. President Clark said they already called him but they haven't announced it yet. President knows him, I guess, so he should be a good one. I'm not sure how they will call missionaries to the California Modesto Mission. I don't know if they will rely on transfer boards or if they will send all of our papers back to the Quorum of the Twelve. that would be a lot of missionaries to sort through between our mission and the Sacramento mission. I guess it will be inspired. I know it's a possibility that I could spend my last five months in the California Modesto Mission...I don't know how I feel about that right now but luckily I don't have to worry about it for another few months. Which is good. I can focus on being here. Part of me feels like I'm going to get transferred this transfer but I'm trying not to focus on that either. I need to give my all to my mission this week as it is the last week of the year.

Tuesday, we were able to do some service for a recent convert. We were able to share a message with her before hand and then we helped her. She's sweet but she has a lot of stuff. It makes me want to get rid of more when I come home (but please don't do it for me). We also saw the W. I don't know if I mentioned to you that Brother W had a heart attack a few weeks ago. He recovered and he is doing great now! So we went over there and we helped them clean up a bit then we shared a message with them. I love them so much. there are some members who give Sister W a hard time but she is one of the sweetest, most loving sisters I have ever met. I love her so much.

We went on exchanges on Wednesday. We had a district meeting first and then we exchanged. I was in a Spanish area with Sister Campos. She's so awesome. I love her. She is still in training but she only has a week and a half left. She's excited! She feels like she will stay in Echo, but we'll see what happens a little less than a week from now. She did so good. We went to a couple less actives and talked to them about different things. We taught this fifteen year old girl who is a member but who doesn't have a testimony. We asked her to read her scriptures daily and to find a scripture she likes and write it in her journal. It's actually something I think I might do. I like it a lot. I can just find a scripture that I like during my studies in the morning and then write it in at night.

Thursday, we ate lunch with a part member family. They are so awesome. I love them so much. I want M to progress. She has opened up so much since I first met her and she is so sweet. I hope we can help her. We also saw R. I love her! She is so solid. I think she got her temple recommend for baptisms yesterday so she is doing great. She loves us and it's awesome to know that I helped her come unto Christ. We both miss Sister Lunddahl but she gets to talk to her! So I'm kind of jealous. But she's great. We ate dinner with the Burts who are letting us skype at their house. I'm excited to see everyone! Hopefully it'll all work well! If not, we'll call I guess. When are you going to Grandma's? And when will you be at Grandpa's?? Tell everyone I love them and miss them!

Friday we went to a baptism for eight year olds. Bishop asked us to be there so we went. Sister Walburger spoke on the gift of the Holy Ghost. She brought out this tray thing with a mouse trap on one side and Twix on the other. Then she asked the twins to pick someone they trusted to come up and tell them which side to choose (it was covered). They were going to pick their mom but then the little girl, Emerson, whispered to Sister Walburger and she looked up at me and said that I was trustworthy. It testified to me that Heavenly Father knows what we need when we need it. I had been struggling at that moment with thoughts of inadequacy and insecurity and then this little girl picked me. It touched my heart.

We had president interviews on Saturday which I really needed. He told me that God called me to be me and that there were people only I could touch. He really helped me to see what I could do better as a missionary. He also told me how great I was doing. It really helped me to see how much I have changed and progressed since my first interview with him in July.

We met with a family that lost their oldest daughter recently yesterday. the spirit was there and so was the daughter. I know she was. I hope we will be able to help them.

Thank you for your support. I hope you have a merry Christmas and I am so excited to see you and everyone else! I love you and pray for you!

Always <3,
Sister Reese

PS I am glad you did well in school. we got rain this week too! It was great!