Sunday, May 17, 2015

Mother’s Day, Transfers and a Long Week!

Abby didn't send any pictures this week, but here is her email.

Dear Family,

This week was really long. Probably because it was the week of transfers and those are always long for me, for some reason. It was really good to see you all yesterday though! I really enjoyed it even though it was hard for me and made me a little homesick. I know that it will go by really fast as long as I put my whole heart into my work as a missionary. 

On Monday, we taught T and her family at her house! It was really cool. We taught the Plan of Salvation. It was really awesome to see them interested. Her husband didn't really seem interested but the kids were! her oldest is 17 and he asked a whole ton of questions. It was sweet. We are hoping we can start working with her family. The only problem is she doesn't want to push them but I feel like she's pushing them away because she's afraid of pressuring them. We also saw the A's. He's in the bishopric. They are a cute couple. We showed them a video which you should totally watch called Bear Up Our Burdens With Ease. It's on mormonchannel or It's really good! Then we saw Jessica, a less active, who is super sweet. I really lover her a lot.

Tuesday, we went to the soup kitchen because we didn't have a district meeting. It was really fun! I love the soup kitchen. It's probably my favorite part of Hanford. It's really great. We taught J on Tuesday as well. I love her so much. She's so sweet. We taught the Plan of Salvation with a white board and she loved it. Sister Oberst told her while we were getting ready that she would always remember Sister Arruda and me. It really touched me a lot. I thought it was really sweet. I hope she always remembers us. We saw E and watched the Restoration with her which was really cool. She loved it. Then we ate dinner with the Harris family. They are moving to Utah next month which is really sad because I just met them and I hate seeing people leave! They are super sweet. I saw a book series I want to read called "Gables of Legacy" by Anita Stanfield (hint, hint). We went to the farewell as well. P from the soup kitchen took us and M was our chaperon. They seemed to click. P is hilarious and claims not to be religious...but I think he really does believe in Christ and God. He just doesn't like the people who claim and don't act on it. 

Wednesday we saw a lot of people. We saw B and K. They are great. I told them that when I fly back here for R's sealing, I'll try to see them...but it may not happen since they are south. We talked about faith. Wednesday was a rough day for both of us. We were both so tired. We saw I and taught her about the Atonement and Sacrament. We are trying to help her see what her priorities need to be. She's a recent convert. We saw Sister R. Her neighborhood kind of freaks me out a little bit but it's okay. We ate dinner with Sister couch who has a missionary out as well. She's super sweet. We saw the Berrett family whom I love. I just met them but they made me feel so at home. I love them. Then we saw T who could tell we were tired. She said a prayer for us at the end and it was really sweet.

Thursday, we went to the Remington and I played the piano while we played beanbag baseball. They loved it. We saw the H's and L told us that her husband was slowly coming around to the idea of church. We are hoping his heart will soften so that he will want to come with his kids. We ate dinner with the Dillons. They are sweet. We had ribs. They were really messy. Then we saw this Baptist couple, the M's. I love them. They are feeding us on my year mark :) They asked us to study "bride of Christ" in the bible...but I can't find it anywhere. Help?

Friday we went to the soup kitchen. It was good! I love them all so much. they are so sweet. It always makes me feel better to go there. Then we watched Forever Strong with T. He's an investigator that I love. He's super sweet. It was really good for him. He loved it. We went to the young women's dinner and got free food. An, a recent convert, bought us cupcakes. It was sweet. We saw the L family. I love them. They are so great.

Saturday, I practiced for a last minute musical number for the elders' baptism. I did Be Still, My Soul and just kind of...made it up. Someone taught me how to fancify hymns so I did that! We ate dinner with the Olmsteads. They are sweet. Then we saw H and her daughter. New investigators! But she basically wanted to convince us that we were we are gonig to see how her prayers are. We saw M! She loves us and she is grateful for us. The elders are goign to set a date tonight. Hopefully it goes well!

Sunday, as you know, was Mother's Day and I got to talk to you! I miss you all sooo much and I'm a little homesick, but I know I can do this and I know God will help me. I do need all the prayers I can get though! After we talked to you we saw B and K. We talked about faith and mothers. Then we ate dinner with the Greens. I love them. they are so sweet. We saw Sister Rider who is like a grandma to us. She's so sweet. Then we saw J. We did a scripture mastery chase with her! I love her.

There are three scriptures I want you to read: 3 Nephi 27:13 (about doing the will of the Father), James 5:8 (about patience), and 2 Thessalonians 1:4. I read them this morning and thought I would share with you. I'm going to start writing down a scripture a day to share when I email every Monday :) 

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! I miss you but I know I'm doing God's work.

Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese


Monday, May 4, 2015

Another Baptism and Transfers

Dear Family,

This week was a really successful one! It was really stressful and by Friday, I was completely exhausted mentally and emotionally, but it was okay! I got through it and now I'm here! Transfer call also came this week and guess what? I'm staying here in Hanford for another six weeks! I didn't want to super bad, but I'm grateful I get to. It just means more people need me here. I can do another six weeks. I promised God and President Clark that I would accept God's will in all things. Even things I didn't necessarily like.

On Monday, we saw T. She was so excited for her baptism! It was really awesome to see. Her sons, came to family home evening so that was really good too. We taught them the Restoration and we got a lot of participation from them too which was awesome! Then we got to see M, the investigator the elders asked us for help with. It was good. She is so awesome. I love her so much. She will be ready for baptism. I know it. She is already ready. I know she is going to do it eventually. Then we saw the Barth family. I absolutely LOVE them. She is the relief society president and he's just cool. They have the cutest love story: They didn't even date before they were engaged! They just met each other and then her friend and him ended up being companions on their mission and he saw a picture of her and started writing her. Then they hung out a little after his mission and then she went to see him and he proposed. (and since I don't like dating, this would be perfect for me right?? ;)

On Tuesday we had our last district meeting. It was good! T and E were both there. We practiced teaching them. It was good. We met with J this week for the first time too! She is so sweet. She's nine and she is so smart in the gospel. I am so grateful that we get to teach her. She is so ready and prepared to have the gospel in her life and to be baptized. I love her so much. Then we saw Sister R. She is so great. She's a less active that we've been teaching and she has grown a lot. She has anxiety really badly and so I can relate to her a little bit. It's good. We had dinner with the Barths (which is when she told us how everything worked out with her husband--I love those stories). We had hamburgers for dinner and they were really good! Their house is beautiful and I want one like it! She's a great home decorator. It was really cool. I almost took pictures. We went to see T too. We found out on Tuesday that it was recommended that she be off coffee for two weeks instead of one and we asked out district leader about it. He said yes that is the case but if we felt she was ready to make the commitment then we could go forward. So we went to talk to her about it and she was ready! Completely ready. Then we saw M again. She is so awesome. I don't remember what we shared with her but she love us :)

On Wednesday, we watched Forever Strong with a recent convert. She is really sweet and I love her a lot. I have seen her grow so much since I got here. It's amazing to see. We ate dinner with the Severs. They are wonderful. Brother Sever is hilarious. He is a chief of police in Hanford. So I talked to him about Dad, of course. We saw T again after that. She is super great. I love her so much. She was super excited for her baptism on Saturday! Then we went to see a recent convert named Stacey. She is pregnant and her back is killing her. So we set up a time to help her clean. Then we saw J. I love J. She is so sweet. She loves us too. We set up a time to watch 17 Miracles with her. I was excited!

Thursday, we went to the Remington and played beanbag baseball again. I love those people. They are wonderful. Then we saw I again to finish watching Forever Strong. We had T's baptismal interview and then we finished teaching the rest of her lessons. Then we stopped by the Ball family. They are great. We talked about the sacrament and it was neat to hear the son's testimony. We saw the L family whom I love. J was in Middleton last weekend. Her family lives out off of Duff so she wasn't really near you, but that's okay! I was excited to talk about my little town :) We saw the H family. It was really frustrating because no one was really paying attention but I was just so tired that I just wanted to crash and not care. We taught them and tried to get their attention. One of the little girls made us bracelets so that was sweet. 

Friday we went to the soup kitchen and invited P, who works there with us, to come to the missionary farewell on Tuesday. Well actually what we did was tell him we couldn't go unless we had a ride and then we asked him for a ride. He said he would take us!! And he is still saying that so...I get to go up to Fresno for a night! I'm excited. Also, some people I know and love are going home so I'm sad. We saw the H family later on. We taught the Plan of Salvation and invited them to be baptized. My invitation went something like this: "God wants us all to follow His Son's example so...who wants to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized?" And then I raised my hand. It was really cute. They all want to so badly but their mom, who is a less active, isn't too keen on it...I'm not sure how to help her. We went to the Whiteheads for dinner. They are interesting. Sister Whitehead is super sweet. I love her. Then we saw T. We are going to watch 17 Miracles with him on Friday this week. He's awesome. Then we watched 17 Miracles with J. I love her so much. She loved it. And we cried together.

On Saturday we had T\'s baptism!! It was really amazing to see her go into the waters of baptism. She asked me to speak on baptism so I got to give my short little testimony of it. It wasn't all that great because I was really nervous and I think everyone could tel. But it's okay. I was honored she asked me to do it anyway. Then we saw a less active named B. She's sweet. She has been coming back to church and it's great! Then we saw Sister Sopp. She has essential oils and the serenity helps my anxiety. I may buy some from her but I'm not sure. We saw the S afterward who are an awesome couple. I love them. We got the transfer call and we are staying together, but one of our zone leaders is an assistant now! I'm so sad :( He won't be here anymore. But the new one is pretty cool too.

On Sunday, we had church. It was good. I learned a lot. T was confirmed. We ate dinner with the Obersts' who are vegan. It was yummy though, if a little too...salsa-y for me. Then we went to the Severs to watch the CES devotional with our recent converts and we ended up practicing teaching with M who is getting ready to serve a mission in July. She taught was interesting. Then we saw M and we committed her to pray about baptism on May 16. So hopefully she did it! We are following up with her tonight.

I love being a missionary. I am grateful for everything you do for me and all the support you are. I know my Savior lives and loves me and He has helped me through the last six weeks. He will help me through my last five transfers. I know He is there every step of the way. Never forget that you have Him in your life.


Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese

A Baptism and a Very Scary Experience

Dear Family and Friend,

This week I am entirely grateful for the spirit--for multiple reasons of which I will get into in this email. It was a truly great week! And for the first time this transfer, I am entirely content :)

On Monday, we saw T who is doing awesome and is getting baptized on May 2. We taught her at Sister Sifton's home and they bonded before we got there. She has so many friends. It's great! Then we went to Sister Couch's house for FHE. It was only us and Sister Couch but it was really good! We did this activity with her that Brother Valencia taught me once: we read the white part of the pages. Each of us thought of a question that we had regarding anything. Then we said a little prayer individually and just flipped open the scriptures. It was really incredible because I was half afraid it wouldn't work...but it did! for all of us! We all got he answers to our question in the most random scriptures. It was really cool to see. I challenge all of you to try it out this week and let me know the results! After that we saw the H family. Z is so sweet. He's easily distracted and we're trying to come up with ways to help him but we haven't quite been able to do it. We're working hard on it though!

Tuesday we had district meeting and we trained--on companionship unity. It was actually really good. Sister Arruda and I have been working on teaching in unity for a while and that training I think helped us a lot. It went really well. We were able to see I S, a recent convert, and it has been so incredible to see her change the last few weeks. I don't know when it happened, but she really has changed a lot and I'm grateful I got to see it. Tuesday was also the day that marked my eleven months in the field. Crazy right? I honestly cannot believe I have been a missionary for that long. It seems like yesterday that I entered the MTC. Time has flown by so fast! I can't believe it! We were able to see E this night too. I love her so much. She is so great. We just wanted to keep her excited and upbeat about her baptism and it worked! She was so excited leading up to it.

Wednesday was a good day too. We saw T and she is the best. We went over the baptismal interview questions and she is so ready to be baptized! It's awesome to see. I have seen her change so much. I love her with all my heart. We went to dinner with the bishop's wife, Sister Hill. She took us to Panera. I love Panera. You should look it up and see if we have any in Idaho...because it's the best restaurant ever! They have really good mac and cheese. Then we saw a less active named B G. She has been coming back to church recently and she loves it. She is so much happier now and I love seeing it. It's incredible. We were able to see a couple that live near us--B and K. they just had the cutest baby girl ever named E. she is so sweet. They aren't married yet...but they are getting married next month! I sort of invited myself to the wedding...oops! Haha, but they are sweet. K is a member and B is sort of learning but I'm not sure how interested she is. She's great though!

Thursday, I got to see Melanie Kuhn! She came to Hanford and took Sister Arruda and me out for lunch. I missed her! We went to Superior Dairy which is a really good restaurant in Hanford. When I came here, people told me two things: Go to Superior and don't drink the water. It's really yummy! And I was so glad to see her. I miss Melanie so much and I'm so grateful for all she did for me. We ate dinner with the Haroldsons. They are the best. I love them so much. They know members from my last area so it was really great to talk about that! Then we saw an investigator that the elders asked us to go see. They are teaching her but they want our help. She actually lives in our area now but they aren't giving her up. her name is M. She is super sweet. She has a three month old and we went over and just...followed the spirit. And she loved it! She texted the elders and said it was the first time she has felt the spirit in a long time. It was really awesome to know I was working for the Lord.

Friday was a crazy busy day and this is where my scary experience comes into play. We had appointments all day after we served at the soup kitchen. We went to see the L family and they are so awesome! B is such a solid recent convert and J is loving it too. We got a lecture on what isn't healthy (apparently sugar is more addictive that cocaine?). AND I FOUND OUT THAT J HAS FAMILY IN MIDDLETON!!! Isn't that crazy? She actually went there this weekend. I don't know what ward they are in and I am not quite sure of their last name but I thought it was pretty crazy. she offered to take me with her but unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that isn't allowed. It made me happy though. We saw E at Sister Sopp's house too. It was our last meeting before her baptism. She was so excited! We found three new investigators that night--the H family! Sister H is less active but the kids are so sweet and well-behaved. We saw T with Sister Robison. I warned her that Satan would attack this week and she has already seen it. But she can make it to her baptism! After T we were both feeling anxious and we were trying to figure out where to go. Sister Arruda thought of J so we went there. However, we were still feeling anxious and we thought it was maybe because of T so we said a prayer. We still couldn't figure out what was wrong but we got out of the car and went to see J. the first house was the wrong one which was odd since we actually do know where she lives. So we found the right house and rang the doorbell..but the moment we did, I had the strongest urge to just get out of there, that we shouldn't be there. I told Sister Arruda but then she opened the door. She let us in and was really sweet but there was about her. I think. We sat down and the feeling to get out was stronger. So after we said a prayer I wrote Sister Arruda a note and told her we needed to leave. Not too long after she got up and said we needed to leave but we were just checking on her. There was something different and it was really scary. It was the strongest I have ever really felt the spirit telling me to leave a place. It was the first time as a missionary I was afraid. But we got out of there and ran back to the car. Then we drove to the church and took a breather before calling the elders. We dont' know why we needed to get out of there but we did. We followed the prompting and I know there is a reason for it. We went to the Greens after we called the elders and they let us in and listened to our experience. They are awesome. I love them.

Saturday was a good day! We served and then we did the halftime show at the elders' baptism before our baptism. Then E WAS BAPTIZED!!! It was the best thing ever. I loved being able to witness someone I had come to love so much enter the waters of baptism and take that first step to enter the gate. I am so happy she was baptized and I am so grateful I was here to witness her change. We saw J and S, M's parents. They gave us pizza. It was good. They are so sweet. Saturday was a really great day.

Sunday E was confirmed! It was really great. Her mom, who has been inactive for years, came! And so many people knew her. It was way awesome! We had to weekly plan and we had a complete bonding moment as companions. We talked and I told Sister Arruda how much she had helped me. She has helped me love being a missionary again. I didn't realize I had lost sight of it until we were talking about it. We also decided that whatever happens at transfers (which are next week) we know we were successful and that is what matters. We ate dinner with Sister Sifton and she made mac and cheese which was really good! Then we got a really awesome call from Sister Oberst. Her sister in law wants to be baptized! She is ten. I think.  So...we schedule all the lessons and the baptism is happening on May 24!!! I'm so excited to teach her! It'll be a great experience. I have always wanted to teach someone so prepared. We saw M again on Sunday too. She is the best. We shared the story of the stripling warriors and how their mothers taught them (Alma 56:47-48, 57:21). She loved it! I love her so much...I hope we can continue to help her.

I love you all and I'm grateful for you and your support. I love this gospel and I love being a missionary!

Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese