Sunday, August 2, 2015

Last Week of Transfers, Miracle Sunday and Sending a Sister Home

July 27, 2015

Dear Family,
This week was a little rough...again...but I know that it's okay. It'll get better. I learned quite a bit and we probably had one of our most successful weeks as companions. It was also the last week of transfers so I wasn't quite sure how it would work. BUT it really didn't feel like a transfer. AND Sister Putnam and I are staying together for another transfer here! I'm so excited!! I wonder what will happen in the next three transfers...because that's all I have left...weird, right??
So on Monday, we went to see F because she was going to give us a massage but she was really tired. So we ended up just eating dinner with them and then we went to the P’s. They said they were coming to church (and they totally came!). It was a good lesson. They are all opening up more and more to us. We went back to see F and J because our next appointment was there--Fs' granddaughter who we had set an appointment with earlier but she forgot so we just went to see her at Fs' house. It was good! We were stuck behind two trains--they both stopped at one point. It took about twenty or so minutes for us to get by. It was great! (3 Nephi 18:5-11, 18-19, 24; 19:20-24)
Tuesday, we had a district meeting. It was a really good one! The second training that we had was on the Atonement and I loved it! Elder McGovern had three of us bear our testimonies. He wanted to do something different. As soon as he explained it, I could kind of feel that he was going to ask me to do it. And he did. I can not tell you how very grateful I was for that. I really needed to bear my testimony for whatever reason. It was interesting because all three of us said something different. I talked about how I had learned the Atonement being a missionary and how it applied to me; Elder Deacon talked about it being the center of the gospel and the most important thing we teach; and Sister Putnam talked about the redeeming power of the Atonement. It was really cool. We tried by a lot of different people. But we didn't really see anyone until we went to see Sister Pitman. She's super sweet. I really love her. Then we had dinner with the L family. Brother L reminds me of Dad. He's looks like a cop (but he's not) and he's paranoid and wants us to be safe. Which is good. He told us some stuff that was going on in Fresno and it really freaked me out--like kidnappings going on by the Mexican Cartell, or something like that. Now I'm looking around every corner just to make sure no one is following us and I'm terrified to talk to anyone. but I'm working on that. We saw Frances Underwood and her husband. They are a great family but F is sick and it's contagious so we are going to stay away for a little while. We saw M. She's so sweet and she's so excited for her baptism! Oh that's right--we rescheduled it for August 8. We even threw away her coffee with her! We saw Brother H that night. I love him so much. He said he would come up with Cherokee names for us because he's part Cherokee. I'm excited! (3 Nephi 20:1, 31)
Wednesday, we did service for Sister O which was fun! It was hot too but it was good! I love them so much. We had dinner with them later that night too and they are just so great. We were supposed to see K...but he dropped us on Wednesday morning! Can you believe it?? He was super nice about it but he texted us and told us that he had come to the realization that our time would be better spent ministering to others. He didn't want us to think he was giving up because he's still, by definition, progressing even though we're not teaching him. He wants to take the next steps on his own. He still loves us though :) But it was really heartbreaking. I love him and his family. I miss them lots. But they are feeding us soon! I can't wait! We went to mutual which was fun. We then saw F and J. That was great too. I love them so much. (3 Nephi 22:78; Mosiah 24:15)
Thursday we got offered weed :P We went to see Sister J and talked to some men who offered us weed. It was a little awkward. I felt really uncomfortable. We had a good lesson with her though after we talked to them! We saw Sister P who is super sweet. Then we saw the P’s. they love us and it was so sweet because A, the ten year old, was upset she missed the beginning of the lesson. They are just the best! I love them so much even though they live in a scary area of town. We just don't go at night. We ate dinner with the B’s who remind me of grandparents. Sister B kind of reminds me of Grandma Reese :) It makes me happy. We saw M next. We gave her a church tour. We think she might have been a little freaked out by the baptismal font. But we'll work on that. Then we saw the F. They are super sweet. C is taking a Bible class and I think it will really help him be more converted to the gospel. He was excited to share his knowledge with us :) (3 Nephi 27:2, 6, 13)
On Friday, we weekly planned--and in the midst of it we had a terrifying experience! During lunch, I went upstairs to take a nap and at the top of the stairs there was this GINORMOUS spider! I was so scared. It was probably as big as my palm! I didn't know what to do! So I told Sister Putnam who is also terrified of spiders and she grabbed windex to spray it to death. I ended up sneaking past the spider to get to the phone which was upstairs and called the elders who live in our apartment complex. They laughed at us but came and got it. Elder Beck did not kill it though. He only picked it up with toilet paper and let it go outside. But it was scary! We ate dinner with the O’s again and they took us to Cheesecake Factory. It was yummy! then we saw the H family. They are super great and I hope they will start coming back to church soon. N really wants to be baptized. (3 Nephi 28:1-2, 7-10)
On Saturday we saw Sister H’s. We have started singing hymns to people--and you know how well I sing. But they say we do a good job and Sister H’s really needed it. Then we saw the M and we figured out a way to help R strengthen her testimony. We ate with the G’s family. They are awesome. Then we saw the O’s again...because she asked us to teach for her and had the lesson printed out for us. I love that family so much. Then we got the transfer call. And we're staying! But some people are leaving and I'm sad :( (Mormon 1:15-16)
On Sunday we had a miracle. SEVEN PEOPLE CAME TO SACRAMENT! IT WAS AWESOME! WE had the whole P family and then F and J and M! K was there too but since he dropped us...he doesn't count. But he still counts for me. I love that family so much. It was really amazing to have that happen! I really want to baptize a family and I hope it will be the P’s. P hasn't been to church in over 13 years so maybe this is her time and her family's time? We saw Sister D and then ate with the W’s. They are the best. They have the cutest baby. Then we saw Sister W. She's sweet but I'm not sure how open she is. I just love this area. (1 Nephi 16:16; 2 Nephi 31:17-20)
Thank you for all your support. I hope you know how much I have needed it. I will finish strong :) I LOVE YOU ALL!
Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese

Interviews, A Fallen Through Baptism and Sending a Sister Home

July 20, 2015

Dear Family,

This week was alright. It had its ups and downs--a lot more downs than I've had all transfer! But it's okay. I vented and got my frustration out with my companion and now I'm okay. I just needed to take a moment.

So you'll know based on the subject line what is happening here, but I won't spill the beans until I get there.

On Monday we went to the O after we were done writing letters and emailing and everything for dinner. They made us alfredo! It was SOOO good. She made it with whipping cream, which was different but good. I still love the recipe we have at home, but I loved Sister O's too. We played ping pong and chess with them too. They are the best. I absolutely love their family. I'm actually pretty good at ping pong...when I get home, we should get a ping pong table! Haha, or just use Grandma and Grandpa Light's. We then went to see F and J (she doesn't actually like being called J...but it feels weird calling her that <--- too). I don't really remember what we taught them but we talked about baptism and talked about how we are baptized. S, her seven year old granddaughter, is nervous for when she can be baptized, but she's excited too. It was a good visit :) (3 Nephi 4:10, 33; 5:13)

Tuesday, we had President Interviews! I absolutely love these because President is always so encouraging and helpful. It makes me happy to be able to meet with him and talk with him. I think for the first time my whole mission, I wasn't really struggling with anything. We had this training on pamphlets while people were being interviewed. Our zone leaders, Elder Harrison and Elder Guereca, gave the training. It was really good. It was on a pamphlet I don't know that well, but I was doing pretty good, I think. When it was finally my turn to be interviewed, I was super excited! I went in there and President asked me how I was doing and I was completely honest and told him I was doing great. Because I was! He could tell which was great. I'm glad. We talked about my area and my companion and how I could help both. Then he reminded me how much time I had left--to help me see what I could do in that time. And then I talked to him about something that had been bothering me and he was really great about it and told me not to worry about it. It was relatively short but very needed. After our interviews I found out something really sad though. Sister B went home on Friday. She told me she was probably going to go home this week and I was so sad. She has some medical stuff she has to work through which is understandable but I really miss her so much. She's the best. It was really sad to have to say good-bye. We saw the P’s! We found three new investigators--the rest of the family. They were sweet and they said they would be baptized when they knew what they were doing. Sister P wants them to know for sure. So we aren't pushing a date right now. We had dinner with the H’s. They are great. They have two sons named J and H. Isn't that cute?? Then we saw the U’s. F is sick :( Still. I think she contracted something in Mexico. We then saw Sister F. She opened up to us a ton about some of her struggles. She wants to know how to help her husband. He wasn't there so she could be open. It was great! I'm glad she trusts us :) (3 Nephi 6:14; 7:21)

Wednesday, we saw Sister J. We taught her about hope. It was good! She needed it I think. And her husband came halfway through and so we met him. We've never met him before. We've heard he's anti, but he seemed really nice. I think he just doesn't like her going to church...which means she doesn't come to church. But we're working on that! We talked to this nice man on the street named R. It was awkward because he gave us a hug afterward...and we weren't sure what to do. We saw Sister D and taught her about patience which she really enjoyed I think. Then we saw Sister P. She's the sweetest old lady ever. She loves us coming by. We ate with the H WHO ARE COMING TO IDAHO THIS WEEKEND! They will be at the temple on Saturday if ya wanna just show up and see if you find them :) They have eastern accents so you can't miss them. They will be staying in Caldwell, going to the Boise temple for the sealing, and the couple is from Payette. It's crazy! We saw M and she is so sweet. She really does want to be baptized. She's really smart. We did service with the youth for mutual which was a lot of fun. I love the youth a lot. I think I connect really well with them--better than I did when I was actually one of them. I wore my Camp Half-Blood T-shirt and so many of them loved it. I think I became cool to some of them because of it, haha. (3 Nephi 9:13-14, 18)

On Thursday, we said good bye to Sister B. We went to Panera for lunch. It was fun! I was so sad though. Actually, I was really surprised because I didn't cry! I was proud of myself. I think God is really helping me accept change and saying good bye to people. (I think this is His way of preparing me to come home, because we all know how hard it is going to be for me to say good bye to these people whom I've come to love.) We did time which was fun! I love Then we ate dinner with the Ps'. They are so sweet. We saw M again and she is super great. I love her. We also saw Sister O. Her son wanted us to write our testimonies for him so we had written them and gave them to her. I love her so much. She's the best. (3 Nephi 11:27, 39-40; 12:4-12)

Friday I got sick. I had a really bad migraine when I woke up but I ran anyway. To top it off, the night before my knee was swollen so it hurt really bad too. I ended up sleeping for most of the day. It was good. I was completely out of energy for some reason. I would get up and wouldn't be able to stay up for long. I had literally like no energy. It was kind of weird and I didn't like it. We did work that night though. We went to the H's for dinner. They have some crazy kids. They had an English woman staying with them. She was there for a soccer camp. She didn't stay long but she was there for our lesson! Then we saw F and J. It was fun! Except F said, "If I have to give up coffee to get baptized then I'm sorry." It was really depressing. We are just going to help her be more converted and then she'll be willing :) (I have no scriptures for today since I was sleeping during studies...)

Saturday, we helped someone move! It was so fun! I love the F. They are awesome. We helped Sister F put together a crib. It was fun! They are so cool :) I didn't feel like I helped at all. They had a lot of heavy stuff and we all know how good I am at heavy....that is, not good at all. We did weekly planning after that and then we did time. It was good. We saw the O’s because it was Sister O's birthday! It was fun! We had a card for her and a gift :) Brother O gave us blessings too. It was good. We then saw M again and taught her some commandments. Apparently, she drinks coffee which is why her baptism will be postponed. She drank some on Sunday morning which really means we can't baptize her this week. Two weeks. She needs to be without it for two weeks. But she will be baptized. I know it. (3 Nephi 13:6--8, 21, 28-30; 14:7-8)

On Sunday, we had MCM and ward council. Bishop Haroldsen is so funny in ward council, especially this one. It was the best! I wish I remembered exactly what he said, but it's probably best I don't since it's a private meeting. I love how we're focusing on the sacrament. It is so spiritual to think of that. I love that. This is when we found out that we couldn't baptize M. It made me really mad at first because President has been stressing reaching the power of one, but then I realized that we can't baptize someone who's not ready. If we are supposed to baptize this month, we will. I am giving it all to the Lord and I am just going to work hard and have faith. That's the answer. We almost got locked in the church parking lot but Bishop came around to the back before he closed the gate and found us. We ate dinner with the M’s. They are great. Sister M reminds me of you, Mom :) We saw Brother H and his family. They gave us blackberry pie which I choked down. For some reason I really don't like fruit desserts. We then saw Fr and J. It was good! We talked about fasting which is what the talks were about in sacrament meeting. And elder who came home a week ago spoke. He served in the Boise mission! I didn't get a chance to talk to him though. (3 Nephi 16:1; 17:11-12, 21, 24-25)

I LOVE YOU ALL!! Thanks for your support. And for all reading this, I have a request: PLEASE WRITE ME LETTERS! My companion has gotten EIGHT this week and I've gotten ONE--from the only person who writes me! So please, please, PLEASE write me...I like letters :) I LOVE YOU!

Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese

Following the Spirit, Dropped and a Baptismal Date

July 13, 2015

Dear Family,
We had a week filled with success here! It was really great. I learned a lot too and I can't express to you the gratitude I feel to be here in Kings Canyon! I love this area so much and I'm so grateful for the members and the people. I learned this week that if I hadn't come on a mission, I wouldn't have overcome so many of the things I've overcome. I have overcome much of my anxiety (and I will overcome it completely by the end) and I was filled with so much thankfulness the other night when I was thinking about it. Without this experience I wouldn't have been able to accomplish that. And without all of your support and love and encouragement I know I wouldn't have been able to push through my hardships.
Monday was a really unproductive day. Well, night. We actually watched Forever Strong in our apartment while we wrote letters so that was nice. But then we tried to go see some people but no one answered. We ended up heart attacking the M family's home. We put it on their garage because their house is really long and going to the door probably would've resulted in us getting caught. It was fun though! (Helaman 3:26-27, 35; 5:6, 8, 9, 12)
On Tuesday we had a really good zone meeting. We were trained on planning, finding, and teaching. And our missionary purpose. It was really good! I loved it. We did a couple role plays which isn't always my favorite thing but one of them (when we role played with Elder Harrison and Elder Guereca, our zone leaders) was really good. I love them. Elder Harrison was my district leader in Hanford so we're basically best friends now :) We saw Sister D and we watched Forever Strong with her. I think she really liked it. I fell asleep on accident so...I didn't see the whole thing. I tried really hard though to stay awake! I felt so bad. But it's okay. She only laughed. I think Sister Dale fell asleep too. We ate dinner with K and his family. they are so sweet. We were late...again. It's hard to get out on time with them. K is still progressing but still hasn't decided when he wants to get baptized. He needs a lot of prayers. I pray every night that he will decide soon so that I can see it. I want to be here for it and I will definitely come back for the sealing of them. Then we saw the F’s. Brother F’s is opening up more to us and I'm really grateful for that. We taught parts of the Restoration. It was good, I think. sister F’s is pregnant so we are excited for them! (Helaman 5:40-41, 47)
Wednesday we saw Sister J who is a recent convert/less active. She's super sweet. She's Native American, like F, so she's great. We watched Meet the Mormons with her. She liked it. I forgot about some parts. I love the last story, about the missionary, of course :) It reminded me of leaving and it reminded me of coming home too. It was good! We went downtown (ish) but not really. We talked to a couple really cool people. One of them was B. He was out working on his car. he was super open and we taught him the Restoration very briefly and then gave him the pamphlet. We will go back this week. We also talked to an artist whose name we don't know. He offered to give us tattoos, but I wasn't really in the mood to have a needle stuck inside me so we declined. he was making me uncomfortable and the spirit was telling me to leave so we left, even though Sister Putnam wasn't getting the same vibes. It's okay though. We ate dinner with the B’s. They are really great. I love them a lot. I hope they know hwo great they are. We then saw F and J after we went to mutual. I absolutely love them. We found out that she prefers J though so we are going to start referring to her as Jo. She's great. They both are. I love them a lot. (Helaman 8:15)
Thursday was a good day. We did service for Sister O. It was good! It went by so fast and I wish it wouldn't have. I love them a lot. Their whole family just adores us and it makes me feel so at home. I love them. We tried by a few people but not everyone was home. We ended up going to dinner and that was our first lesson. Sister M is really sweet. She loves us and she is just the sweetest lady. She is a convert and she loves the church a lot. Then we went by the Ds' family. they are great. This is where following the spirit comes in. We just went by to meet them and they let us in. We shared a message after getting to know them and then they shared with us that their daughter who was also there, A, was going through a lot right now. I won't go into detail because it's really personal. Basically they told us they needed us and they were glad we came to see them. It was really sweet. It made my day. I loved it. We saw Sister J’s next and shared just a short scripture with her. But she has a young man living with her who likes us and we think he's interested so we are gonig to try to teach him. (Helaman 10:4-5. Quote: "Love is spelled t-i-m-e.)
On Friday we weekly planned. It felt like it took forever but it really didn't. It was a good planning session. We were supposed to have an appointment with Sister Pa and her family but she got sick. So we weren't able to go by. We did see Sister D. She's really great. Super sweet. After her we went to see F and J and they fed us and then we watched Forever Strong with them. They really liked it. F says we're like her daughters. J loves us too even though she won't admit it. They are the best. (Helaman 12:23; 13:19; 14:2)
Saturday, we finally contacted K! She doesn't really understand that we are there to invite her to come unto Christ. She's sweet though. We talked about faith and she said she was going to use some of the material we left her in the lesson she was teaching at her church the next day. We taught the M family. they are great. R works five days a week and her days off are in the middle so she hasn't been coming to church. But it's okay. She's sweet and I think she's pretty strong. We ate dinner with the K's. Funny story about that: While we were sharing our lesson, Sister Putnam was bearing her testimony and in the middle of it, she...well, she tooted. (She'll kill me for telling this story.) And she burst out laughing! And then I couldn't control my laughter and this couple was staring at us like we were crazy--they didn't hear it. I felt so bad afterward. I really hoped we didn't offend them. I couldn't even look at Sister Putnam without her laughing! It was hilarious. We went to see Brother U and his wife was home! She has been in Mexico for the last few months. She's not a member so we are teaching her again! Then we saw the M's. They lost a daughter about a year and a half ago so they've been through a lot. She's great. She's always serving others. It's great. (Helaman 15:6, 7, 9, 13; 16:14; 3 Nephi 1:13-14)
Sunday was probably one of the best days of the week. We had MCM and ward council. It was good! The P’s live in the ghetto--downtown--and Bishop told us he would feel better if we took a man with us. It was kind of sweet to know they worried about their sister missionaries :) We ate dinner with J. I'm not sure what her last name is. She has a return missionary son who is super funny. He is under the impression that Sister Putnam and I have lock your heart problems...but we don't. We then went out with K M! She's leaving on her mission in two weeks so we need to use her as much as possible. We took her to see a potential who had been coming to church the last three weeks--M. She's living with Sister H, a member. She's getting baptized on July 25!! She's so sweet. I think she's autistic or something like that. I know she has some sort of mental disability, but I know she needs this. I am going to talk to President about it just to be sure but I really love her and I know she's ready to make this commitment. She's so innocent anyway. She's so sweet. We then saw J and F...again. They are the best. We talked about the Word of Wisdom. J drinks beer and doesn't understand why it's bad if she's not addicted. I honestly couldn't answer it so we committed her to pray and ask God if He wanted her to give it up. She said she would. F needs to give up coffee but I know she will. She said the most beautiful closing prayer. She said that we are like her daughters and it almost made me cry. She has a seven year old granddaughter she's adopting. S is so sweet. I just love them and I know they will be baptized. (3 Nephi 3:12)
I absolutely love being here. I'm actually quite proud of myself--I haven't been struggling very much here in Kings Canyon. I am just loving it. I don't really want to leave! I love this area and these people. Sister O is probably one of my favorites. She is so great. We went to study and do laundry at her house this morning. She LOVES us. She's like our mom. I love her so much.
Thank you for everything. I want y'all to know how much I love this Gospel and my Heavenly Father. Don't ever forget that God loves you more than you know. And He is always tehre for you.
Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese