Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Four Investigators in Church, Two Baptismal Dates, and Zone Conference!

Dear family,

This week was so, so amazing!! I loved it! We had a lot of success and a lot of lessons. It seems like forever ago that last Sunday when I was struggling was and yet it feels like yesterday that I entered the MTC...time is weird here in the mission field. 

So on Monday, we taught T FHE at the Ss' home. We taught about obedience and prophets and church attendance. To be honest, it was kind of a boring lesson, but our lesson for tonight is going to be a lot of fun! I'm excited to teach it. T enjoyed it and two of her sons were with her. It was good to see them. We just need to figure out how to engage them more. We also had FHE at the G family's home. they are great. I absolutely adore the family. They are awesome. We talked about the Plan of Salvation and I shared my favorite poem--Footprints. I love that poem so much. We then saw J S. She is a less active who just hit her year mark a few days ago of being a member. She is one of the sweetest girls ever and she wants to serve a mission! I love her. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and she loves it. I'm glad we've gotten to help her.

On Tuesday we had district meeting. It was really good. I loved it. We went to see I. She is really sweet. She is a recent convert. She struggles with some things in the gospel but we did teach her about patriarchal blessings and I think she really wants one now. I shared my experience with my patriarchal blessing. Without it, I wouldn't be out here. Then we saw Sister R. She is a less active that is really sweet. She loves us and I hope we are helping her. We also ate dinner with the S family. I love them. they have three of the cutest little girls ever. And Brother S served a mission in Japan! Also, he lived in Idaho for a while growing up. His family moved when he was on his mission though. We had MCM and talked about E's baptism, which unfortunately did not happen on Sunday. But it's okay! We just rescheduled it so that we could have more time to prepare. It will happen this Saturday at five Cali time. I'm so excited!! She's so ready. We saw her after MCM and reset her date. We taught her the last part of lesson five so she's done with her lessons! We do still need daily contact with her this week--Satan will attack. 

On Wednesday, we ate dinner at the Ss house with E. Sister Arruda's birthday was the next day and we were celebrating with them. She made chicken scampi which was actually a lot better than I thought it would be. then we had homemade ice cream! I love homemade ice cream. We stopped by T..and invited her to be baptized on May 2!!! At first, she was a little iffy on it. I didn't want to be pushy but I just had this feeling that I needed to be bold. So I was. She wanted to be baptized in August but the more we talked about it the more open she seemed. And...she texted us the next night and asked if May 2 was still available!! She is getting baptized on May 2! Which is right before transfers so God's hand is definitely in this. I am so grateful for it. I love T so much. I know I was meant to be in Hanford for her and for E at the very least. We saw J again and talked about the Book of Mormon and what she had learned. It was great!

Thursday we had zone conference. It was so fun! I got to see Elder Nielsen. I haven't seen him in a really long time. I talked to him afterwards. President Clark talked a lot about how our mission will be in direct correlation with our activity in church after our missions. I am determined to make it the best seven months of my mission--I don't have that much time left and I need to make it count! We saw an inactive that we found a couple weeks ago. His girlfriend isn't a member and we are going to try to teach her. They just had a baby. She's adorable! (We'll have to teach the law of chastity...) Then we had dinner with the Ms. They are a cute Baptist couple that love missionaries. They are great. they took us out for Italian food! We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was great. E's interview was Thursday too. she passed! She's ready! Then we saw the Ss. They are the sweetest old couple. I love them.

On Friday, we went to the soup kitchen. they were really sweet and bought pizza to celebrate Sister Arruda's birthday. They also got ice cream for us. It was so sweet. I love the people there. Then we saw the relief society president Sister Barth. She gave us some less actives to go see. We saw T and taught the Word of Wisdom. She drinks coffee but she told us she doesn't need it and we commited her to live the Word of Wisdom starting this day! It was really awesome. Then we saw the Ms. They are a less active family. They are great though and they lived in Idaho too! It made me so happy!

Saturday we helped set up for the Mormon Prom. It was fun! We helped with food and Sister Henderson and I decorated the food table. It looked really cute afterwards. The lady in charge was a little crazy though...super perfectionist...worse than me...I think. We went to see a less active, B G. She called and asked us to stop by. She's super sweet. I love her. Then we saw a recent convert/less active named L. We read from the Book fo Mormon with him and he said he would come to church!

On Sunday, we had FOUR INVESTIGATORS at church. E came, T and her son K came, and T, a ten year old we're teaching, came. It was so cool! I was so happy! I want to always remember the feeling I had during sacrament. K loved church too! he's eleven and we were nervous. We saw E and taught her about prayer. She is just so ready to be baptized. We saw J and talked about the things she had learned. She told us she wants to serve a mission. We ate dinner with the Haroldsons/Mataaliis'. He's our ward mission leader (Brother Mataalii). Then we went to the Ls. They are sweet. They have a gorgeous house that I love. I hope they weren't offended we stopped by. Then we saw K and B again. We taught the Plan of Salvati0n and B had a lot of questions. New investigator!

It was a really awesome week and I'm so grateful for that. I love Hanford. I'm trying really hard to completely love Hanford. I know two reasons I'm here. I'm grateful for them and I love them.

I love you all! Thank you for your support!

Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bean Bag Basketball

Abby's email from April 13, 2015

Dear Family,

This week was actually really good. It was a hard weekend, but the rest of the week was awesome. We have a baptism coming up AND another investigator accepted the invitation and wants to work toward it! I'll give more details in here :)

On Monday, we taught T at the Robisons' home. They are super awesome and I love them so much. They are a great fellowship. We taught about prayer and scripture study and it was a really good lesson. It was only T though; her son, H, wasn't with her. It was okay though. It was an awesome lesson. Then we saw another investigator (who we actually dropped this week). She is struggling a lot and really isn't ready to accept the gospel, even though we know it's what would help her the most. Then we saw the H family. Z is a recent convert. He's super great. We taught the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was really great!

Tuesday, we had zone meeting. It was really good. I loved it. All the trainings given were awesome. I loved them. We went on exchanges on Tuesday as well. I was with Sister Neira in Corcoran! It's a small little town like thirty minutes from Hanford. It was a lot of fun. I love Sister Neira and she is an awesome missionary. I know she will do great things in her mission. They have a lot of baptismal dates and are doing great! I was able to talk a little bit about some things I have been struggling with, and it helped a lot. Hopefully, I will continue to get over all these things.

Wednesday before we exchanged back, we got to go to this emergency aid place and give out food to the poor and needy. It was really awesome. I gave out Popsicles. It was really sweet. And humbling. Some of those people really did need the food and it was really sad to see. I wished we could help a little more. Then we had lunch and exchanged back. We ate dinner with the Obersts. So we had a salad and some crackers and a smoothie. It was actually really good but it was weird. And it was filling. Maybe I should try veganism? Haha, just kidding. I wouldn't be able to do it. Then we got to see  a recent convert. We helped her clean a little bit because they have a baby on the way and she needs to get everything ready for him. We then read a chapter in the Book of Mormon with her. It was really awesome! She is great and super solid. I love her. Then Sister Arruda had the feeling that we should go see T. So we did. She had just gotten home and she let us in for a little bit. We started with a prayer and she told us a story about how a man once told her that she would be a tool in God's hands. As she was talking, I thought of a scripture I had just read the day before when I was fasting. Alma 17:11. It's about being an instrument in the hands of God. So I shared that with her and she started to cry. Sister Arruda then started talking about that and then she invited her for baptism! AND SHE SAID YES! Now, we just need to set a date with her. It was the best lesson I've been in since I got here. It was really awesome.

Thursday, we got to go to the nursing home again and it was a blast. They beat us at beanbag baseball 35 to 14. It was sad. But it was fun anyway! Then we got to go to lunch with the leaders in our zone because they invited us. It was really yummy! I got a burger. We then saw the H family. They were awesome. They let us in and were super awesome. I love them. We saw E and set a date with her! It was for April 18 but we had to reset it yesterday because she couldn't do it then. So now it's for the 19th of April. I'm so excited!! I mean, I didn't teach her forever, but I taught her enough that I love her so much. It's going to be awesome! I can't wait. Then we saw the Greens. I love them soooo much. They are an awesome family and they love us. Sister Green took us to Fresno for Special Opps. Also, HAPPY THREE MONTHS TO REESE!!

So Friday we went to the soup kitchen and got to serve there. It was so fun. I love serving them. Then we weekly planned for an hour and then Sister Green came and got us to take us to Fresno. Special opps means we got to have a youth for the weekend. We got Sister Cleveland and she was set apart to be a missionary for three days! It was really great. She's super sweet. And I got to go back to Fresno for a couple hours which means I got to see Sister Smith and Sister Putnam and Sister West and the other Sister Smith and I got to see Elder Bean too!! It was great. I miss them all so much. I'm really trying hard to love being here in Hanford despite the fact they are all there. President told me I need to decide to not let the changes affect me so much...because it really has been a struggle. I hate it. So we got to see J one last time with Sister Cleveland. She invited HER to be baptized but SHE isn't ready. It's sad.

Saturday we went to the Remington again. It was fun! They beat us again, by one point. then we had interviews with president. It was really helpful. He gave me a blessing and said I was at the crescendo of my mission and now is the time to sprint to the finish line. I'm really grateful for that. We saw A for dinner and then we went to the adult session of stake conference. Elders Baxter and Packer of the Seventy were there. I met Elder Packer but not the other one. Elder Baxter was from Scotland. It was pretty cool! It was a really good session. I loved it and took lots of notes. Then we saw J. She's sweet. She loves the Book of Mormon. She is a recent convert who needs to come to church. she's great.

Sunday we had stake conference and we had TWO INVESTIGATORS COME. T and E. It was great. And it was a good conference because it emphasized the need to be baptized. The released the stake president. It was President Evans (weird right?) and the new one is President Andersen who is in our ward. After stake conference we found out we didn't need to go back to Fresno, and I was really sad about that. I had a hard time accepting it. I really wanted to go back. I hope I get to serve there again one day, but I'm trying not to focus on that. We saw the L family. They are great. B is so solid. Then we saw a sweet nine year old. His dad won't let him be baptized. It's sad. Then we saw Sister W. She has a lot of struggles so I shared what I was struggling with that day. Then we dropped Sister Cleveland off. It was sad. then we had dinner with the Gages who are great. And then we saw E and reset her date! It was a good day!

We did lock ourselves out of our apartment so the zone leaders, Elders Benites and Allred had to break in for us. It was pretty hilarious. They climbed through the window. It was great. Then they gave me a blessing which I also really needed.

I love you all so much and I'm so grateful for you! Can you send me one of my composition notebooks?? I'm almost finished with the one I have and I need a new one! I LOVE YOU!

Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese 

Soup Kitchen and an Old Folks Home

Abby's email from April 6, 2015

Dearest Family,

This week was actually a pretty good one! I loved most everything about it. I really hope that our weeks will continue to improve.

On Monday night, we taught an investigator in a members' home, the Greens. They are a super awesome family. They have a sixteen year old daughter and she is really sweet. They are really good fellowshippers for T, who we taught at their home. We taught her the gospel of Jesus Christ--faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. It was good! She was late though so we had to do a modified lesson. then we had FHE at the Haroldsons. They are great. They love missionaries. Our ward mission leader lives there too since they are his in laws. They have a crazy house and they have family getting mission calls! It's the best. then we taught a recent convert. He's super great and we watched The Testaments with him. It was really aewsome. We couldn't finish though because we had to get home. I hate getting home late because then it takes longer to plan for our day. One of our goals is to plan within thirty minutes. My companion wasn't super fond of that idea at first because she felt like I just wanted to get it done and I wasn't following the spirit (which kind of hurt a little bit, but then I explained). 

Tuesday we were supposed to go on exchanges but Sister Arruda couldn't find her Tiwi card so she could drive so we didn't go. We did teach E though. She's super sweet. We talked a lot about the Atonement with her and God's will. It actually really helped me too. I love her. She is super ready--she just needs to take the step of faith. Then we saw a less active, Sister Ramirez. I love her. She's sweet. Her husband is great too. Then we had dinner with the Andersens'. they are a great family. They have a beautiful house and lots of grandkids. I love them. We were able to teach J again as well. It was a good lesson. We taught some of the Plan of Salvation and the spirit was definitely present.

On Wednesday, we went out with Brother Robison. He took us to a less active that he knew and the less active wasn't home. We found out that most of his family is unbaptized though. We are going to try again! then we went to see T with him. He invited her boys to scouts and the oldest one was pretty interested. We think the Robisons will be great fellowship for them. We had dinner with the Whiteheads. They are sweet. Then we had a good lesson with a less active man. We taught the Resoration. He is pretty unknowledgeable about the gospel since he hasn't gone in years. We saw a family and committed them to share the Plan of Salvation pamphlet with friends. They are really sweet. they brought us Easter candy on Saturday night. It was so sweet.

Thursday, we got to serve at the Remington. It's a nursing home. I love it. They are super great old people and they told us we are the funnest volunteers. I think we're going to start going twice a week with the elders. It's going to be fun!! We saw I, a recent convert less active member. She's sweet. She isn't praying though. We are trying to get her to pray. Her husband is...interesting. He's a member with a lot of conviction but I wasn't sure what to think of him. We ate dinner with a cute old lady. She's sweet. She told us her life story. Then we saw the Greens again because all of our appointments fell through and no one was home. (It was also spring break in addition to Easter...put a wrench in our plans.) We showed the video "Because He Lives." You should watch it!

Friday we worked at the soup kitchen. I love those people so much. They are super awesome and they love us. It makes me happy. We ate dinner with the Milnes. They are great. We got to decorate eggs with them for Easter. Then we saw a member family. They are super sweet. We only talked to Sister T but she was great. Then we saw A, who lives in our apartment complex. She's sweet. 

Saturday was general conference! I loved it! We watched it at the stake center and I took a lot of notes. I got a lot out of the Saturday sessions. They are always so great. I loved the focus on families. It was great. We saw  a recent convert. He knows what he needs to do--come back to church. Hopefully he will.

Sunday we watched general conference. I kind of wished we could have watched it at the stake center because it was really noisy in her house with all her friends. But it was okay. I loved it anyway. I loved Elder NIelson's talk about the Prodigal Son. And then Elder Holland's was great of course. It reminded me that God is never going to let us fall--He's not going to let ME fall while I'm out here. We ate dinner with the Obersts'. they are an interesting family. they have a missionary out too. They have a whole wall dedicated to him. They have plotted out all his areas and his companions! We then saw the M's, investigators of sorts. They are really not...we just practice teaching on them but they seem like members! they are going to take us out to dinner this week, I think. We saw the L family. I love them so much. B is super solid and J has a strong testimony. I love seeing solid recent converts and less active who have come back.

I love being a missionary. this week I've been thinking about family a lot though, especially since general conference. I want to make the last part of my mission the best part and I'm hoping I will be able to do that. 


Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese