Monday, June 15, 2015

Successful Week, Transfers and Miracles to Come

Dear Family,

So I'm sure you're all wondering what happened to me this transfer, right? You're all just DYING to know if I am in the California Fresno Mission, where I was originally called, or if I am in the California Modesto Mission....Well, here's the answer: I will be in...drum roll please...the CALIFORNIA FRESNO MISSION!! I won't be staying in Hanford this transfer though. I am being transferred back up to Fresno. I will be in Fresno East again!!! I am going to be with Sister Putnam, whom I love a lot because I was her sister training leader, and we will be in King's Canyon. I am so excited!! I can't wait to just get up there! But I still have two more days so I need to be patient. I am really grateful that I get to go back to Fresno and serve with a sister I know really well. And I am so grateful for...just everything. I have loved serving in Hanford, but I know that I did what I was supposed to here. I found so many people to serve here. 

So on Monday, we went shopping! Sister Arruda really loves shopping so I gave in and we went shopping. After about ten minutes, though, I was done with it. We were at Ross and we ended up getting cute matching running outfits. I also got this really nice flowy shirt that is awesome for the summer. So yes, I got some stuff, but it took me about two seconds to pick it all out. We were supposed to teach T at the S's. Except Sister S forgot. So we didn't end up teaching her there. We did go to the G's and T crashed it and we ended up teaching them there. We made puzzles! You know my artistic abilities So you can imagine what those puzzles looked like. They weren't too bad...haha. We then went to see J who I will miss a lot. I love her. I don't actually remember what we shared with her, but it was good! She's great. (Alma 25:14; 26:1, 8, 11-12, 15-16; Helaman 10:5; Psalms 5:3)

Tuesday we had district meeting. It was good! I trained on asking questions. I am terrible at that so it was a good subject for me to train on. I really actually enjoyed it. The role play could've been better but there's always something I see that I did wrong. It's okay though. It was a good training according to the missionaries who were listening. We saw E and A who live two doors down. They are so sweet. A is a former and E is her less active daughter. I love them a lot. They are super sweet. We then had an appointment with a potential and she was leaving just as we got there. So we didn't meet with her. It was really sad. We then saw Sister W. I love her a lot. She has the cutest foster kids. We then had dinner with the Ms, who we also go to do laundry on Mondays. They are the best. I really love them. Sister Ms is taking me to Fresno on Wednesday too so that will be good. We didn't really see anyone else that night but it was still a good day. (Alma 26:27-28, 30, 36-37; Luke 24:5-7)

On Wednesday we had a pretty good day. We finally saw B and K! We haven't seen them in a really long time. I missed them a lot. They are great. We talked about trials with them becasue they have a lot of things they are dealing with right now. It's really sad. We love them a lot. Then we went by the E (you remember me talking about them?) family. They are great. Sister E is super prepared. Of course, I didn't understand anything that was going on there when we went by because she doesn't speak English. But I could feel the spirit even though I didn't understand what was being said. We saw Sister R and watched Forever Strong with her. I really love that movie a lot. (Hunter referenced it last week in the email he sent me--Coach Gelwix would definitely agree with your philosophy!) We ate dinner with the Ss family. It was a week of pizza becasue the Ms fed us pizza and then the Ss fed us pizza (homemade) and then we got pizza yesterday too.They are the best family. We had dessert first which was cinnamon rolls! You know how much I love cinnamon rolls. We also saw E. I am super worried about her and her activity in the church, but I know God will help us know what she needs. She is moving in less then a month so we need to make sure the ward up there knows she's there and will embrace her and her mom. We saw a potential. He lives next to a member. He's really nice. He let us teach him a lesson and was super open to it. So hopefully we will go back. We then stopped by J and S even though they aren't actually in our ward (though they live in it).  I love them so much. I am so grateful I got to help M progress this transfer. (Alma 29:9-10, 13-15, 17)

On Thursday, we went to the Remington and it was fun. I love them a lot. I am really going to miss them. They are the best. We had an appointment with a potential...that fell through. But we will go by again. It's a family so hopefully we will be able to start teaching them. We finished watching Forever Strong with Sister R. I think she liked it a lot. It taught about change and forgiveness which everyone needs. We ate dinner with the T family (who thankfully did not serve us pizza). They are great. We only ate with Brother and Sister T but they are so funny. We helped the Gs clean the church and then went to see Sister C. We watched a new video called After the Storm (you should all now pause to watch it or watch it later). It is a really good video! I loved it! It helped me a lot. We saw Artie after that and it was inspired. She was telling us that she was wondering when she would see us. Then we went by! Yay! (Alma 30:44; Luke 24:36)

Friday we went to the soup kitchen and told them it could be our last time there. So they all gave us their information and they want to come to my farewell! I'm so happy about it! I will invite them. Not everyone was there which made me sad but it's okay. All will be well. We weekly planned and then we went to Panera for dinner since we didn't have a dinner and Sister G gave us a gift card there. I love Panera. We ran into E there so we joined her and had a good conversation with her. Then we saw T who still isn't getting baptized though we are praying for a miracle. He's the sweetest kid. I'm going to miss him a lot. He's great. Then we saw I who is great too. I love her. I wish I could see her baby! He's due in September. (Alma 31:5, 30-35; 32:6; Matthew 7:24-27; Mosiah 15:7)

On Saturday we went to the Remington again and the elders got a call! Elder Harrison is gonig to be a zone leader in Fresno East so we are going together...which will be odd. And Elder Feltner is the new district leader which I was excited about and then I found out I was leaving. We saw J's mom. She's super sweet. She's curious and open so I hope that openness turns into a desire to join the church and know for herself. We didn't really see anyone else that day except we did talk to this man who was a little buzzed and high when we talked to him. We almost witnessed a fight. It was kind of scary. We saw T after that though and showed her a video called Finding Peace After Substance Abuse and Prison. It was good for them. All day I was restless and just wanted to know what was happening. And then finally we got the call after planning. (Alma 32:13-16, 27-28, 34, 37, 41-43)

Yesterday was a good day. They announced my departure and so everyone was saying good bye. It was sad. We saw the Ws. Then we got to see R who we haven't seen for a while. he's a sweet man. Then we went to dinner with the Bs and As and H's. It was fun! They gave us pizzas on the grill. You should try it! It was actually pretty cool. Brother A told me that we did good work here and he was impressed. He wanted me to leave knowing that I had done a lot of good things here. It was nice. then we saw the Os who I love a lot. Look them up on Facebook! Wendy and David O. I want to keep in contact! Then we saw the Ms. They are great. They love us a lot. (Alma 33:11, 33 D&C 3:2, 20; 4)

I have loved serving in Hanford and I am grateful I had the opportunity. I saw so much success and I've learned so much. I am so excited to do incredible things in the last third of my mission. I know I'll do great things in King's Canyon and anywhere else I serve. 

OH I ALMOST FORGOT! Remember A and A?? THEY ARE GETTING BAPTIZED THIS WEEKEND!!! So hopefully I'll get to go back for that.


Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese

This is an excerpt from the email Abby sent Bill this week and I wanted to share it with all of you.

"The power of prayer is something that I've learned to rely on. Prayer is so much more powerful than we realize. I have relied heavily on the gift I have to pray because without it I know I wouldn't make it through my moments of distress and anxiety and sadness. It is so helpful to have that. Priesthood is something else I've come to appreciate more on my mission. Without all the patience and love and faith of the priesthood holders who have given me a blessing while I've been out, I wouldn't be able to keep pushing forward."

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Learning Experiences, an Adventure, and Meet the Mormons!

Dear Family,

This week was really long. Like seriously. For real. It was SOOO long. If you remember last year's summer, you'll remember that it got super hot and gross and...well, it's starting again. I got here a year ago and it was hot and I had to suffer for three ish months with the heat...hopefully it will go by fast! I am not a fan of the heat.

On Monday, we went to the Belnaps. They are a great family and he is from Idaho Falls! Also, he is related to Preston. Do you remember my friend Preston? The redhead? Yeah him. They are related! I'm not sure how closely...but they are. We had dinner with them and taught them a little bit of the gospel of Jesus Christ. She is really big on saving water, which I think Dad would appreciate. She has tubs in her sinks to save the water we would waste. It's good. Even though I'm not really sure it makes much of a difference. We then went to see T and H at Sister Sifton's house. T, as you know, was baptized about a month ago and H is her son who isn't baptized. But he doesn't really want to be. The lesson we had was...weird. It wasn't the greatest becasue T was upset for some reason and kept thinking that H was being disrespectful, but really he was just being a kid. It was awkward though. The spirit was really strong at some points and at other points...not so much. Then we saw J and we read part of a talk with her from conference: Is It Still Wonderful to You? by Bishop Causse. It's really good. you should read it. (Alma 14:12-13, 25-26; 15:9; Luke 22:42)

On Tuesday we went to the soup kitchen because we didn't have a district meeting. It was good. I love going there and they really appreciate our help. We get to dry trays and when we do it we hit them against the counter and it's really a stress reliever. I love it! I received a blessing from Elder Feltner and Elder Harrison that day too. I was feeling really overwhelmed and really anxious and I wasn't sure why so I asked for a blessing. Elder Feltner gave me a really incredible blessing that I really needed. What he focused on the most was how much Heavenly Father loves me and how proud He is of the work I've done. He has great things in store for me! It really helped me get through the rest of the week. We then saw Sister Ramirez. She's super great. I love seeing her. We had dinner with Sister Haroldsen. She is a wonderful woman whom I love a lot. She loves us. Then we had MCM and then went to see T. the elders came to help us with her kids but...the lesson went awry. Baptism was pushed too much and I don't think the husband, K, appreciated it all that much. But it was okay! The spirit was still there sometiems. We played simon Says! (Alma 16:16-17; 34:40-41; Mosiah 4:9-12, 24-25; 3 Nephi 12:48 [perfect meaning complete])

On Wednesday we had district meeting and it was a really good one. I was feeling the spirit and I was reminded why I chose to serve a mission and what I am meant to do here. I needed it a lot. We didn't see a ton of people. We ate dinner with Ivy and her family and it was good! It was Italian which was really good. I love Italian food. Then we tried by the F's and she let us in to use the bathroom but we didn't stay. We will call her to set up a time. Then we takled to this woman named He and she was...interesting. She said we could come back though. That was our was kind of a long day. Well, it went by fast but we didn't see a lot of people. (Alma 17:2, 9-11, 17)

Thursday we went to the Remington. AND OH YEAH I FORGOT. ON Wednesday we met a family that we had received as a referral and we went by and found out that they had just lost a family member. The funeral was Thursday. So they invited us and we went. It was good! I don't why, but at funerals I have this really big urge to make was tough. Then we went to take our car in to the shop because we had to get our oil changes. It was interesting. Then we saw Sister Todd and shared Alma 26:27 with her. She really liked it. Then we went to an apartment complex near our dinner to contact a former. Except we got lost in this apartment complex. Now, let me remind you that I have terrible directional instincts. So it didn't help at all. But we met some really nice people that new missionaries from Modesto (can visit?). So that was good. But then as we were trying to find our way back, we got a pool area. NOT IN THE POOL. But in the gate that surrounded it. WE were there for fifteen minutes before we were able to flag down a nice Navy man who unlocked it for us. I even tried to climb the fence...but then I got scared. We ate dinner with the Sopps who I love a lot. Then we saw E. They sold their house! Which makes me sad but also I'm glad that they were able to do it finally. We'll help them move when they dio, Then we briefly saw M. She's sweet. But she was really tired. (Alma 18:32, 34)

Friday we TALKED TO 20 PEOPLE! For the first time ever! It was fun! But then we lost it after taht...we need to figure out how to be consistent. We went to the soup kitchen as well and that was fun. We had to leave early though because Elder and Sister Fanning were coming to check our apartment. We had dinner with Sister Ramirez. I love her. She's great. Then we stopped by the J's and L. We saw a woman in our apartment complex whose name is F. She's Pentecostal. But she's sweet! (Alma 18:10, 13,14, 16-17, 23; Enos 1:15-16)

Saturday was a long day. We went to the Remington and then we stopped by H. But she didn't come to the door. We stopped by a few people but not a lot of people answered the door. We had dinner with the Gages who are super great. Then we tried by B because we had an appointment but she wasn't home. We tried a few potentials but then ended up driving back to our apartment to see J. This is where Meet the Mormons comes in. We watched most of it with her and are going to go back maybe tonight to finish it. I love that movie! (Alma 20:24, 26-27; 22:15; 23:7)

Sunday I learned that if I don't follow spiritual promptings, I am preventing someone else from being blessing. I had a feeling that I needed to bear my testimony about God's love during sacrament but I didn't want to. Toward the end of the meeting, the thought came to me, "If you don't, someone's prayers won't be answered." I don't actualy know if someone's prayer was answered because of me but I do know that I did what God wanted me to do. We  taught T whom I love a lot. He's so sweet. It was a really good lesson. We had dinner with Sister Sifton and then had another dinner with the M's and their member daughter. It was fun! Then we saw the S's and M. It was a good day! (Alma 24:6, 10, 13-14, 16, 26-27)

Today I was still in Alma, of course, and I read some of chapter 26. You should all read it because it's one of my favorites. Verses to read are 1, 8, 11-12, and 15-16. 

I LOVE YOU ALL and I'm so grateful for you and all your support. remember God loves you!

Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My one year mark, baptism and sacrifice

Dear Family,

This week, I learned a lot about sacrifice. Elder Nathanial Oberst, who returned home from a mission last week, reported yesterday in church. He gave an incredible talk on sacrificing and consecrating. He said that God is only asking for us to sacrifice because He wants to give us something even better. He said there are three types of missionaries: Those who don't want to be here, those who are dedicated and those who are consecrated. So I asked myself, what is it that I haven't placed on my altar of sacrifice? What am I holding back? And I came to the conclusion that I'm holding back my anxiety and my homesickness. Yes, it really wouldn't be a sacrifice to not have it. But wouldn't it? Anxiety is something that I have, unbeknownst to us, struggled with my whole life and laying that aside would be weird. Who would I be without it? And homesickness often shows me that I have a wonderful family at home who loves me and wants me to succeed. And I want to succeed too. But it's hard to let go of all the good memories and good times that I had with you. So I know now...I need to figure out how to sacrifice my anxiety and homesickness. that is a way that I will become more consecrated. Of course, I think there are other little things that may keep me from being completely consecrated, but I know with all my heart that as I do my best to "sacrifice" these two things, I will be a more consecrated missionary.

On Tuesday I went to the dentist. Which sucked. But you know what? THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG. I went to the dentist for absolutely nothing. I think I grind my teeth at night and that's why they hurt. (Mom, I blame you for that.) After our preparation day we ate dinner with the Barth family whom I love. They are so awesome. Sister Barth is so hilarious. I love her so much. And they are such a beautiful couple. their family is so cute. Then we had MCM which was good too. I love all of our ward missionaries and our ward mission leader. they are awesome. We saw Sister Carter, who is also super sweet. I love her a lot. She gave us some ice cream and cookies. We talked about the Atonement and it was really good. I love talking about the Atonement of my Savior. We got pretty deep which I also love. It was great. 

Wednesday we went on exchanges. I was here in Hanford with Hermana Clark. I was so nervous to lead the area because I didn't think I could do it. But I feel that it was a really good exchange and I proved to myself that I could lead the area! We saw E at Sister Sopp's home. She is so great. I love her. then we saw sister Ramirez and talked about hope. It was a really good lesson. She's so sweet. Then we saw Sister Hill at Panera for dinner. I love Panera but I don't think we have them in Idaho. Then we dropped by B G who has really been struggling. I'm really glad we got to see her. We haven't seen her in a while. She was struggling with some stuff so I'm glad we stopped by. Then we saw the Salls. They are awesome. I love them. They are the cutest old couple ever. It was sweet. And then the elders called us and asked us to come over to see M. We talked about her baptism and how she was super nervous but it all worked out! She went through with it. Scriptures: Mosiah 27:14, 25

Thursday we exchanged back right before we had our service at the nursing home. It was really good. I love going there. Then we saw E at the family history center. It was fun! She was so excited to do her family history but we couldn't find her family so we decided to let her get some information she didn't have and she's going to put it in and then hopefully we will be able to get a little farther on it with her. We saw Ivy who had a birthday. It was also my year mark! I was so shocked that it had come so fast! Can you believe I've been a missionary for a whole year? Longer now! I can't believe it. It's so crazy to me that I have been out that long. We went to Applebee's for dinner with the M's--the Baptist couple. They are so sweet. We talked about the Family Proclamation with them. they loved it. Then we saw J! I love her so much. She was so excited for her baptism. It has been wonderful to teach her and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity. Then we were able to see the H who we haven't seen for a really long time. We had a really good lesson with them where we kept their attention. Scriptures: Mosiah 28:3, Romans 5:1

Friday we went to the soup kitchen! I love them all so much. We talked to P a little bit. He reminds me a little of Hunter which is probably why I love him so much. There was something wrong with him on Friday though and i couldn't figure out what it was. it was really bugging me. But we were one of the last people to leave the soup kitchen and I always love when that happens because they we have a chance to talk to some of my favorite people! We weekly planned which was okay and then we had J's baptismal interview. She was so ready. She is so smart. She knows so many things and it has been incredible to recognize that. We went to see the Milnes family (who also fed us dinner Saturday and let us come over to do laundry today) and it was great. I love them. they are preparing to go to the temple to be sealed and it reminds me of when we were sealed! Then we saw T who is awesome. We want to ask his dad for permission for him to be baptized again but we don't know how to do it. Then we saw T and we had a very inspired message for her and her son that night about the stripling warriors and listening to your moms. It was really cool. Then we saw J and her mom sat in on the lesson! THAT NEVER HAPPENS! It was a huge miracle. It was really cool. I have a quote instead of a scripture today: "...nevertheless, this is the most sacred day of the year for special remembrance of brother hands and determined arms that reached into the abyss of death to save us from fallings and our failings, from our sorrows and our sins." and we can celebrate "victory over every fall we have ever made, every sorrow we have ever known, every discouragement we have ever had, every fear we have ever faced." (Jeffrey R. Holland, conference Oct 2015)

on Saturday, we went to the Remington again and had a good time! Then we went to M's baptism! It wasn't ours, but it was still really great. I'm really glad we got to go. She was so happy! We did the halftime show (taught the Restoration) and it was really good! We then went to see F and asked about B and K. She said they may be splitting up which made me really sad. We're praying for them though! Then we saw B again to make sure she was coming to church. She said she would and then didn't come :( Then we had dinner with the Milnes family. I love them so much. they are so cute. Brother Milnes nonmember mother was there and she was so sweet too. Then we saw B C and she loves missionaries. she's so sweet. She doesn't ever let us in but she is really great Then we saw J who is Je's sister. She lives across from us. Then we saw A who is awesome too. i love her so much. No scriptures again but I did learn that prayer is selfless! When you are praying for God to take something away and only asking because it's hard for you, He won't grant it...but when you ask so you can help others, He is more likely to help. 

Sunday was J's baptism! It was the best day ever! K, her mom, told us that it was because of Sister Arruda and me that she is going back to church. It made me so happy! She made us cry after the baptism when she said that. I love that woman. I'm so sad they are moving away from us. She is going to give us their mailing address so we can write and I'm going to give her mine too! Plus, I will go visit them in Reno one day. I am going to make it happen. She told us that she knew we were special from the moment she met us on Easter Day. I feel like I knew her before I came here and that makes it so much more special. She said we were needed in this exact place in hanford at this time and she thanked us for serving a mission. For choosing. the minute we chose, god knew we would be here for her and J. It made my day and I'm so grateful for her. We also saw the Mayos on Sunday who are so sweet. I love them so much. then we saw J. I love her too. Her mom sat in again. It was way awesome! Scriptures: Alma 5:12-14, 16. And refer to the beginning (sacrifices).

I love you all so much and I'm so grateful for you. Sister Milnes said hello! She let us do our laundry today and she loves us. I'm so grateful for her. I LOVE YOU! Have a great week!

Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese