Monday, October 12, 2015

Exchanges, Baptismal Interview, and Super Saturday!

Dearest Family,
This week has been really pretty great. I have been studying a lot about accountability because I will be training on that in our district meeting on Tuesday. It has been really interesting and really neat to read about it. It's a really broad topic. Accountability includes taking responsibility for your actions, repenting, using your agency to be accountable, and most importantly, accounting to the Lord for your work and your desires and your deeds. In Preach My Gospel, in Chapter 8, it talked about how accountability doesn't just come at the end of our mission--it comes throughout. We should always be accounting to the Lord for what we are doing. one day we are going to stand before God at the judgment bar and we will give an accounting of our lives. It really touched me. We should all be striving to be a disciple of Jesus Christ (3 Nephi 5:13)
On Monday we ate dinner with the O's! I am pretty sure it is becoming a regular thing. We had FHE with them and it was cool because she had these papers, like assessment, to assess how we're doing with the little things, like scripture study, church attendance, prayers, and such. We filled it out even though we are doing them all and she told us to write how we would keep it up after our mission. So we did. And they are going to mail them to us! I'm excited. We saw the M's after that. I love them. H is making slow progress. We are finally beginning to see what is holding him back. (Alma 27:14, D&C 121:7-8)
On Tuesday, we had district meeting. It was pretty great. For the life of me, I can't remember exactly what we talked about. I think it was mostly how to work with members. We went on exchanges so I didn't get to be in my area :( I was so sad. I really don't want to leave. Transfers are next week so anything could happen. I am really stressed and I think it is because of transfers. It will be my last one. (How crazy is that??) So that'll be interesting. I was in a Spanish area and I didn't understand much. I got to teach a little bit though! It was fun. We ate dinner with the elders at an investigators' home so that was really cool. (Mosiah 27:15)
Wednesday, we exchanged back around noon. Sister Putnam and I were excited to be back together. I didn't want to go on exchanges but it was fun, I will admit. I got to take a picture next to a sign with my name on it! I will send it :) We tried to stop by a few people before dinner but we didn't have a lot of success. WE had dinner with the M's who are super awesome. Then we stopped by the J's before we went to mutual. Our two appointments for the night cancelled on us so that was a bummer. But we helped at mutual so that was good! We stopped by a couple other people afterward but no one really answered. (Mosiah 28:3)
Thursday was a pretty good day. We went to see Sister L that morning. She's really great. She's pregnant! She's due in February. I may have mentioned that already but that's okay! We had lunch with the O family. It was good. We shared this really cool poem Sister Putnam found on It's called "Turning Into the Light." You should look it up. It's about addiction recovery and the Atonement! We served at the Poverello House and that was cool because we hadn't been there for a while, but they remembered us! We stopped by J T to pick up dinner. It was cool. Except she gave us tuna and I don't actually like tuna. We saw the P's! They are all set for baptism on Saturday at four! We are super excited. They are so prepared. M may not be baptized with them because we still haven't gotten permission, but she will be baptized soon. I know she will. We found a couple new investigators! They are Cambodian. Sister P came with us to see them. It was fun. We dropped by Brother H but he was in the shower and T answered and told us. So that was cool. (Alma 1:25)
Friday we weekly planned. First time we have been able to finish in a long time. It was fun! I was going crazy but it was good. We ate with the Ps and met another daughter who was visiting from LA. She was super sweet. Then we saw Sister D. I love her a lot. She's a less active who keeps talking about coming to church but hasn't come yet. We saw Sister H so that was cool. Then we saw F and J. We haven't seen them in a while. We talked about service with them and that was really good. We didn't stay too long though. (Moroni 7:45-48)
Saturday we went to Super Saturday! I made these cool blocks that are a countdown till whatever. There are blocks that are like dice and they have numbers (which I haven't put on yet) and then there is a bigger one that says "Days until..." and then there is a chalkboard painted block underneath. It is so cute! I made some other things but they are Christmas presents so I won't tell you :) We saw the M's. R has asked us not to teach while we're there so we just visited for a few minutes. It was sad though. Then we went to A R's baptism! They were less active but now they are coming back. slowly. We saw H and C and they took us to dinner. H opened up a little more afterwards so that was good. We saw Brother H and visited with him for little bit. I just love all of these people. (Ether 12:33-34, Alma 5:26)
On Sunday we were at church all day, of course. We had a really good MCM and then talked about our baptism in ward council. We tend to schedule baptisms on the busiest Saturdays ever and of course there is something going on. A big youth conference before the dance. It starts at one. But some of the youth will be there. Not a lot. We weren't sure the P's would come to church because we couldn't get a hold of P. But they came! And they had their interviews. Elder Villanueva told us that he thinks A will serve a mission. And he said D retained everything really well. M said the most important thing she learned was how to repent. It was really cool to hear! We taught I and he had such a drastic change since the last time we saw him. He really loves learning now and he loves coming to church and he wants to get baptized! He's eight and his dad is a very active member but we are teaching him to help him know why baptism. Then we ate dinner with the L family. It was her birthday! We saw the R family because A was having a party for her birthday. She turned five. They gave us pumpkins to decorate. We drew on them and put stickers on there. They weren' really pumpkins. We saw Brother H again. I just love him. (Alma 5:59-60; Joshua 24:15)
I just love being here so much. I know you are on the countdown for my homecoming, but I just really want to finish strong. I am so grateful for all of your support. Thank you! I love you all!
Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese
1. It's me on a sign!
2. It's Superman!
3. It's Spiderman!

Sickness, Service for the Dentists, and General Conference!


 Dear Family,
This week, despite me being sick, was really good. I was sick for two and a half days and then I was mostly okay. I was still in a little bit of pain but I felt better than I did last week. So that was good. We had a lot going on this week that just kept us on our feet (literally and figuratively!). It was great!
On Monday, after we emailed we went back to the O's and I had a pretty high fever so I slept for a long time and we spent most of the night there before we had to go home. It was really kind of them to have me there and take care of me. I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have them. As a result of me being sick, I didn't really study much though. I didn't do much of anything. I had some really good conversations with the O's. They are all so sweet and spiritual. One of them reminds me of Hunter. I have a very soft spot for C :)
Tuesday we had President Interviews. That was good! I was still in a lot of pain so, of course, I kind of broke down when I went in for my interview. But President is so loving and encouraging. He told me God would give me strength, and God definitely did give me strength. He helped me a lot. He told me I should write down distracting thoughts I've been having so that is what I've been doing. I am going to sprint to the finish line. There's no way I can give up now. Eight weeks. that's all I have left. And I'm going to do it well! We went home after that and I slept some. Then Sister Putnam got a team up for the night and I was at the O's, again. They are great. I didn't really sleep because I wasn't really tired, but I talked to them and studied conference from April. It was good. P tried to show me how to Index but I still couldn't figure it out. I went with them to feed the dog at the H's, who were out of town. I coudln't stay at the house without Sister O. All together, it was a really good time, even though I was sick. I love that family so much. It just felt like home.
On Wednesday, I was able to work a little more. We saw Sister J that morning. She is really sweet. We went through a talk from last conference with her and she really liked it. It was a really good lesson. I slept a little more after that. And then we went to the O's again. They fed us dinner. It was really good. Then we had an appointment with H. So we went and talked about the temple. He wants to be sealed to his wife but he said he's not feeling baptism right now. He loves the church and he loves the people. He believes what we've taught but he's looking for something. Not quite sure what. We saw Brother H! He is so great. I just love him. (Mosiah 18:8-9)
Thursday was October 1! Crazy right?? Time is flying by! We ended up doing a service project that morning. There was a free dental care event going on this weekend for the homeless so we helped set up for it. It was fun! we sorted gloves and then we helped fill I guess. We had district meeting right after that. It was good. We talked about working with members. We saw the O's again but this time we were working. We did some service for her. She tried to get me to sit but I wouldn't. I had been going crazy all week, laying on the couch. The H's fed us. It was pretty great! We also helped Brother H move into his new apartment. It was fun! (Mosiah 21:13-15)
Friday we were up at 4 a.m. President really wanted us to do the service project with the dental care. He said there would be a lot of people there and he wanted the Mormons to make an appearance. And, of course, we did. We got there at 5 and we were on our feet for eight hours, excluding the few minute breaks they made us take. I thought it was going to hurt my infection, but it didn't at all. My back was killing me but it was mostly muscular pain. We had to be in proselyting clothes too so we weren't wearing the ideal shoes. It was alright though. It worked. I loved it. It was so fun! We got to be in the post X ray area. We escorted patients from the doctors who saw them to the routing area where they would be routed to their next place. Some had to have root canals and some had to have extractions and fillings kind of freaked me out. It also made me really grateful that I had good dental care growing up. It was so much fun though, especially when we were busy. The doctors loved us! One of them hugged was kind of awkward since he was a man but I kind of just...went with it. Lots of people asked us questions about what we do and we even met some members who were getting treated and who were doctors! It was really great! We ate dinner with the O's. (Oh, hey, Mom, can you send me the recipe for sweet and sour meatballs?? Sister O wants to make it for me!) We saw M. She's so sweet. Sister H was worried about me. I lost weight and I guess you could tell. We saw Brother H again. It was fun. I love him a lot. (Mosiah 24:13-14)
Saturday we watched the first session of General Conference with H and C. I loved the talk given by Elder Larry Lawrence (AND I've MET HIM! His son is the bishop in Alluvial!). I loved when he said we should get down on our knees and ask God what we need to change. I am definitely going to do that more often. And I really liked Elder Francisco Vinas talk too. He talked about trials and using the Atonement. It was so good! We missed the afternoon session because we went back to the service project and did the same thing but we weren't as busy. Until we were taking things down. We stayed until seven that night and worked for seven hours. We had a late dinner with the G's and then saw F after a million years. She was excited to see us! She's had a busy month and she's been sick too. It was really sad. I love her a lot. (Mosiah 25:16)
Sunday we were able to watch both sessions. We watched the first one at the stake center. It was so good! I loved President Nelson's talk. It was amazing. (Mom, I hope you listened closely to that one!) It was all about women and the divinity of women. I loved what he said we needed in these days for women. It was really incredible to hear that. I thought it was perfect for me. I also really liked President Monson's talk, but he worried me when he almost collapsed. I was so scared! I hope he's okay. I don't think we're ready to lose our prophet just yet...unless God does. We watched the afternoon session with the O family. They are so sweet. They ended up feeding us dinner that night too. So that was kind of cool. In the second session, I really liked Sister Stevens talk and Elders Christofferson's and Bednar's. They were all so good! I can't decide what to even say. I loved how Sister Stevens used the moment with her granddaughter to teach and then she related it to how God gives us restrictions because He loves us. Elder Christofferson is always just so good. I liked how he said we strive to become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, not the church. Elder Bednar was just really powerful as he testified of Apostles and leaders. It was really cool. I also liked the man who talked about the barrier in the ocean. That was kind of a cool analogy too. It was all just so good! I can't wait to watch the second sessino from Saturday. I've heard Elder Holland's talk was really great! We found a new investigator after conference! It was really cool. Her name is M Y. She's Hmong. She's really sweet with three young kids. I had a really good conversation with Sister O about my worth. She told me I shouldn't feel inadequate and that she loved me like her own. She said Sister Putnam and I help her in different ways but we both help her so much. I really needed it. She's so great. We saw Brother H and he told us some crazy stories! I hope I'll be able to remember them to tell all of you!
I love being a missionary. I love being here so much. I know that as I strive to do my best. I am so excited to see all these people I've taught in the Celestial Kingdom and after my mission. I'm so grateful for this experience. I love you all!
Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese 

Elder and Sister Arnold of the Seventy, the Priesthood, and Being Sick


Dear Family and Friends,
So...this week was really hard. But I think I'm doing better. I think.
On Monday, the O's were kind enough to feed us dinner before our appointment for that night. We got to see the P's. I just love them so much. They fame to church this week! So that was exciting. They only stayed for sacrament because P didn't feel well, but at least they came! We went back to the O's for dessert and then we saw H and C. It was a rough lesson. All of them were a little rough that night. But it was okay. We know we are doing our best. (Mosiah 3:7)
Tuesday we had a special person come to our mission! Elder Arnold of the Seventy and his wife came to speak to us. They trained on some really good stuff. Sister Arnold gave a really great training prior on self esteem. So that was really cool for me. I got a lot out of that one. Then we had some trainings by President and Sister Clark. President trained on becoming a mast teacher and Sister Clark trained on Jacob 5. I love that chapter as it is all about the gathering of Israel. And so missionary work is involved! I loved it. We talked a lot about how we can apply it so that was really cool. then we had a training by Sister Arnold on being genuine. I realized that I am not as genuine as I thought I was. I am going to work on being genuine. then Elder Arnold trained us on...well, a lot of things, honestly. He was really good friends with Elder Scott and he got the call that Elder Scott had passed away while he was with us so he announced it to us. That was pretty sad. I think I cried. Right after the announcement, Elder McGovern gave a musical number of "I Know That My Redeemer Lives." It was really powerful. then we talked about this case study of a missionary a few years ago who was really good at working with members. We will be discussing that for district meeting tomorrow. We tried by a couple people before dinner after conference, but no success. We ate dinner with the M's. they have a son in Alluvial, my first area so that was really cool to find out. Then we saw L N. That was interesting. We are trying to not give up on her. She keeps trying to get us to her church. Even though she's a member of this church. We saw Brother H that night because I really needed a blessing. I was feeling really inadequate after Elder Arnold's training, but Brother H gave me a blessing and it all worked out. I don't have any scriptures today because we were at zone conference :)
Wednesday was a pretty good day. We saw Sister Ji and watched Legacy with her. She's really sweet...but she won't come to church. We saw Sister M, finally! She's pregnant and guess what?? Her daughter's name is Abby! That made me smile a little. We saw Sister  before dinner and then we went to the M/s. It was fun! After them we went to see H and C again. H didn't get baptized this week but we did watch a really good movie that we think may have helped--Emma Smith: My Story. I remember watching it in theaters when it first came out. Something Emma says in the movie is this: "Strength isn't something you have; it's something you find." And then at the end she tweaks it a little bit: "Strength isn't something you have; it's something God helps you find." Lucy Mack Smith says somewhere in there too: "Being strong can be a very lonely thing." I really needed those things. (Moroni 7:41)
Thursday, we had a pretty good day. We saw Sister L and shared a good message with her. She's having a baby boy like Natalee! And they are around the same age too :) We did some service for Sister Ounesavath so that was fun. Then we saw the s for dinner. It was really good! she is so strong. We saw V H after that who is very sweet. She has gone through a lot in her life. So that was good. (Mosiah 7:33)
Friday was a little rough. Sister Putnam was sick, kinda. She had a cold, we think. At first we were thinking a sinus infection but now we think it's a cold. We hope that's all it is. We ate dinner with the H's and they made homemade pizza! That was really good. We saw M. That was fun. Brother H is pretty great too. We love him. So earlier on Friday, I was feeling a bit of pain in my stomach and so I was thinking it was something I ate and it would go away. Except it didn't. I couldn't sleep that night and tried keeping myself busy by reading and trying to find a way to occupy myself. But I couldn't. So around midnight, I woke up Sister Putnam and she stayed up with me and helped me to know what to do. I was in a lot of pain which I am not used to. I've never handled physical pain well. We called Brother L and he and Brother W came and gave me a blessing at 1 a.m. It was very sweet of them. I was able to sleep the rest of the nice and the next morning I called Sister H. (Moroni 7:47-48)
Saturday we didn't do much. I was commanded to stay in bed per Sister H's orders. I was going crazy but i was also in a lot of pain so it helped to sleep. but if I moved it hurt a lot. I did eat a tiny bit of soup and that was it. I slept for most of the night until our dinner right before women's conference. I learned a lot! I loved Sister Wixom's talk and how she talked about the miracle of children and our divinity. Then I really loved Sister Reeves as she talked about the divinity of women too and the power we have in every tool God has given us. I loved Sister McConkie's just because of how powerful she was. And then President Uchtdorf's was just really awesome. It helped me to know we can always be happy, not matter what. I loved it! We saw Brother Hoffman afterward and that was fun. (I don't have scriptures because I didn't study.)
Sunday was awful. I was in so much pain at church. Sister O took me home second hour to try to help. she had me take vitamin C and then eat an apple. I felt bad since it was fast Sunday but I didn't know what else to do. Sister H called us during our break the fast and so we talked to her. The day before she had thought it would be anxiety but it wasn't that. Then it was a bladder infection but I was just in so much pain that I couldn't move much. So she said to call the doctor in the morning. My fever spiked up to one hundred degrees for just a couple minutes last night too so that was great. We were able to teach two people though! So that was good. Sister O had us come over and she took care of me for a little while. This ward has been exactly what I need as I go through this. I don't like it at all but I know God has a purpose for it. (Mosiah 16:9; 17:9-10)
Today I went to the doctor and found out I have a Urinary Tract Infection...yay! And the one medicine I am allergic to is the one he wanted to give me. But he didn't. He gave me some other medication and said if the symptoms don't start to feel a little better in the next few days to let him know. I may be stuck inside for the majority of the next few days which sucks. I don't like staying in. I go crazy. But if that's what I need to do to recover, I'm sure I can do it.
The O'hs have been really great this week helping me out. I really love them. I also appreciate the L family and the W's for allowing their husbands and fathers to give me a blessing. It was really great of them.
I love you all!
Always <3,
Sister Abigail Reese