Monday, April 27, 2015

Not in San Jose Anymore


I made it through transfers! But, before I get there, let me go back and tell you about my last night in my first area... 

As I mentioned in my last email, I was asked to teach FHE. I taught about going through trials and talked about the enabling power of the Atonement. I have never taught like that before. We talked about the Atonement helping us get through trials, and then I just poured out my heart and talked about a time in my life when I had been enabled by the Atonement. I was practically crying by the end of it. Everyone said that it was a really good lesson. I hope they got something out of it. It really helped me. We then played a game and then I had to say goodbye to everyone. That broke my heart. Some of those people are so special to me, and I didn't want to leave! 

I was then up for an outrageous amount of time packing. Let's just say that it was Tuesday morning when I finally went to bed.

On Tuesday morning, after loading all of my things into the car and saying goodbye, we drove to transfer meeting. I'll tell you, transfer meeting is so scary when you are the one being transferred! Thankfully, President Mella has a great sense of humor and he makes us all laugh, so we aren't as scared. I was scared the whole time as Zone after Zone went by! Finally, my name was called. I am serving in Santa Cruz with Sister Wolfe! I was so excited! After Transfer Meeting, we went to lunch and then back to Santa Cruz to get to work. I also got to go to an awesome ice cream shop called Marianne's. We went there with a less-active named Courtney. 

Let me take a quick break to tell you about my new companion and my new area. 

My new area is bigger than I am used to. We cover almost every ward in the Santa Cruz stake! We are over three wards and two branches. A lot different than the one little branch I was over in San Jose! Santa Cruz is also more relaxed than downtown San Jose. There are still a lot of the things I saw in San Jose (ie. homeless people) but it is different. A lot of the people here are elderly. It is a really beautiful area too. There are so many trees here, and it reminds me a lot of western Washington, but with less rain. :) 

Sister Wolfe and Sister Palmer
Sister Wolfe is awesome. To start, I met her when she first came in. Sister Chu Shing took her contacting on her first day in San Jose. She has been out for a total of three months, and just said goodbye to her trainer, Sister Qaqa. She is doing awesome! I remember being in her shoes three months ago! She is from Syracuse, UT and has an older brother who is married. She is 19 but has already done three years of college (she did college during high school). She is an English major. She loves old books and old movies and have spent a lot of time talking about that. She is the first missionary in her family, too. I love her a lot! :D 

On Wednesday, we met with an investigator named Sheena and taught her about the Word of Wisdom, the Law of Chastity, and Tithing. She agreed to all of it and we asked her how she is feeling about baptism. She has some family problems right now, and she needs to straighten those out before she gets baptized, but she wants to. She is awesome. Sister Wolfe then had a doctor's appointment and we were in San Jose for a while. We then went back to Santa Cruz to teach a less-active named Jen. She is great too. Later that evening, we had dinner with Lilian, a member. She is neat. After that, we tried to go contacting, but it wasn't very successful. :| Although, on our way back we saw a car stop in the middle of the road, and multiple people jumped out of that car and other cars to help push it. There are still good people in this world!!!!

On Thursday, we went to Cabrillo college to find people. Every week, the missionaries set up a table with proselyting materials, a sign with a question, and food. People usually come up for the food and we talk to them about the Church. One of the journalists for the campus newspaper even interviewed us. One of the girls who came up to the table is a girl who the missionaries have been trying to talk to. Her name is Chelsea. I found out that she is from Africa, and that her native language is French! Sister Wolfe and I think that if I can start a conversation with her in French, maybe she would be more interested in hearing from the missionaries!!!!! I am so excited!!!!!!! After Cabrillo, we had lunch and visited people before dinner with a family. We then had splits. I had been in the area three days, and I was going on splits. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! The splits went well, I took the member(s) with me to see a couple of members in Capitola. We made it back to Santa Cruz just fine. :) We are doing it again this week too. 

On Friday, we did service at a Catholic soup kitchen. They feed the homeless people every week and we help out. It was fun. After that, we went to Starbucks for a treat. It was really funny walking into Starbucks as a missionary! After that, we did visits in Scotts Valley before going over to Courtney's for dinner. We get to help make dinner, so I learned how to make Italian Wedding Soup. It reminds me of Zuppa Toscana. It is so yummy! After dinner, we went and had frozen yogurt with the YSA in the one YSA branch that we cover. It was fun. 

On Saturday, we did some visits in San Lorenzo Valley. That is an interesting place! No one signed up to feed us, so we went out to dinner together. It was really fun. We then went to the adult session of stake conference. It was really good. They talked a lot about unity and practically called the whole stake to repentance! It was intense! 

On Sunday, we had Stake Conference. President and Sister Mella even came and spoke too! Afterwards, we got to talk to the Mellas. I love them so much! After Stake Conference, we did some visits and worked on our weekly planning. We then had dinner with the Youngs. That was interesting. We told them that we wanted to share a spiritual thought with them, only to realize that we hadn't planned one. So, I told Sister Wolfe to share her favorite scripture and we would improvise. The spirit was there and Sister Young said that we shared exactly what she needed! The Spirit knows so much more than we do! That totally wasn't us! :D Afterwards, we continued with visits and finished weekly planning. We then stayed up until 10h30 talking about Harry Potter (hahaha). 

Today has been good so far. In my studies, I read Alma 5 and dissected it. I also read more in Jesus the Christ. I am almost to the last week of the Savior's life. (Side note: Sister Wolfe loves Jesus the Christ too, and we have been talking about it because we are almost both at the same part!) As for the rest of the day, we have errands, laundry, the Zone Activity (maybe), dinner, and FHE with our YSA Branch. It should be a great day! 

Have an awesome week! Love you lots!


Monday, April 20, 2015

Off to New Pastures...

Hi there!

I hope you are doing well. We had a really hectic week this week. Let me tell you what happened!

On Monday, at FHE, we got a phone call from the APs asking us if we would be willing to take on a "mini missionary" over the weekend. Of course, we said yes. For FHE, we played spoons. I had never played before, and it was really fun. :) Also, that night, one of our YSA (Michael) opened his mission call! He got called to Mozambique (southern Africa) and he will be speaking Portugese! He is soooooo excited. :) We then went home and I told our roommates that we were getting a mini missionary, only to have them say that they were getting one too!

Sister Leavitt, Sister Tuitupou, and Sister Palmer
On Tuesday, we were on exchanges. Sister Chu Shing and Sister Gilvarry were with a companionship in the Zone, so Sister Leavitt (Sister Gilvarry's companion) got to hang out with Sister Tuitupou and me! :D We had a fun day, and taught one of our investigators (Ivan). We were finally able to teach him the Restoration. He participated, so that was a good sign. :) 

On Wednesday, we had a combined District Meeting. Meaning, both the districts in our Zone got together and had District Meeting. We did this because it was Elder Montgomery's last District Meeting (he is the District Leader in the other district) and he wanted to meet with everybody. It was really fun. We went over what we learned in Zone Conference and talked about the baptismal dates we have coming up. After District Meeting, we had a Zone lunch. It was fun. We then helped the Nelsons prepare for Institute dinner. Institute was great, as usual. :) 

On Thursday, we did service and then went to Elder Nelson's class at Institute (one of our investigators is in that class). Unfortunately, we had to catch a lunch appointment, so we couldn't stick around. After lunch, we had Bible Study on campus. They talked about lying, and how God doesn't like liars. It was interesting. We then had dinner with Guy and Ali. After our dinner appointment, our whole evening cancelled, so we went and visited less-actives and found other things to work on. I hate it when that happens, but at least we can find things to do. 

On Friday, we were on exchanges again. This time, I was with Sister Gilvarry in her area (Spanish program!) while her companion, Sister Leavitt, was with Sister Chu Shing and Sister Tuitupou. I had a lot of fun. We visited a lot of people, and I mainly listened (although I can understand a bit of what is going on). Sister Gilvarry and I also took some time to talk about how things are going in my area and I was able to tell her about a lot of things going on (stress with work, fear of transfers...). What really made me laugh was when one of the women we saw, Lorena, who knows me from previous exchanges, asked Sister Gilvarry if I could pray in French! She thinks it is so cool. :) While I was gone, our mini missionary came, so I met her when the exchange was over. Her name was Sister Nau (pronounced Now) from one of the Tongan wards in the Stake. 

On Saturday, Sister Chu Shing had to go take the ACT. So, Sister Tuitupou went with her and I stayed with Sister Nau. We studied and then went to do service. We then had lunch and Sister Chu Shing finished with her ACT. Sadly, a lot of our work that day was weekly planning. Sister Nau did get to go with us to a teaching appointment though. After that, we had dinner with Cindy before going to an activity at the Institute. On the way from dinner (on campus) to the Institute, we saw people lining up to go to a rave party. I couldn't believe what some of those people were wearing! There was a huge line of people in questionable clothing and smoking (I'm not sure what). We just kept our eyes on the Institute and walked quickly! For the activity, we had a bonfire in the parking garage and a talent show. It was so much fun! That night, after planning, the Zone Leaders called. They told me that I am getting transferred! I have no idea where I am going, or who I will be with. I am to pack up everything and be at the mission office for Transfer Meeting on Tuesday morning. I wasn't too surprised. I have almost been here six months (four transfers). I am sad to leave though. :(

On Sunday,we had Church and I had to tell people that I am leaving. There really is no easy way to put it! No matter how I said it, I felt like I was making people sad. >< One of the recent converts in the Branch told my trainer, Sister Bliss, who is home in Utah that I was getting transferred, and Sister Bliss called her to talk to me! She told me that it was going to all be okay. I feel so loved. ^^ After Church, we had a lunch appointment and then took Sister Nau back to her church building. I hope she had fun on her mini-mission. We loved having her! We then went to the outgoing fireside to say goodbye to the missionaries who are going home and because Sister Chu Shing was singing at it. It was good. Afterwards, I got to talk to President Mella....

 President Mella: How are you?

Me: I have knots in my stomach. It'll be that way till Tuesday. 
President Mella: *shakes hands with me* Don't worry. It will be great! 

And then later...

Sister Chu Shing: President Mella, are Sister Tuitupou and I getting a new companion, or will it just be us two?
President Mella: *smiles* I'm not going to tell you! You can fish, but I'm not going to bite!
Me: *laughs*

All in all, with exchanges, a mini-missionary, the end of the transfer, and transfer calls, it has been a CRAZY week. Next time I email you, I will be in a new area with a new companion. Today, we are going to the Zone Activity (we are having a bbq to say goodbye to everyone leaving) and then to dinner and FHE. I was asked to teach FHE, since it will be my last one. I have a good lesson planned. :) I will probably then be up late packing. D:



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

On the Mend

Another week has flown by in San Jose. Sister Chu Shing just reminded us that we get to call home next month (Mother's Day). Wow! That means I am almost at six months! Let me tell you about this week though...starting with Wednesday (I already emailed you Monday and Tuesday).

On Wednesday, we had Zone Conference! It was really good. We talked about some talks that we read about missionary work and the Atonement, and then about ways to help our investigators be fully converted and keep their baptismal dates. I think it was a good boost for everyone. We also talked again about our purpose as missionaries. I love President Mella. They also gave us a Tiwi. It is a driver accountability program. Kind of like a black box that sits in the car and talks to you if you are driving inappropriately. There have been a lot of accidents in missions all over the world and the Tiwis are, apparently, saving lives. So far, it has only talked to us once. :) We also got to help the Nelsons prepare for institute dinner before meeting with President Rogers (Branch President) about the work in the Branch. For Institute dinner, we had a potato bar. We also went to class, but I got sick again, and we had to leave early.

On Thursday, my companions "convinced" (it felt stronger than that!) me to take a day off. I stayed the day at the Institute with Sister Nelson while my companions went out and worked. I read a lot in The Book of Mormon and Jesus the Christ. I also got to sleep. I did get to go out to dinner though with one of the members of the Branch (he had signed up to feed us that night), but I just ate soup. I really needed that day to just rest.

Our Friday was pretty relaxed. We had service and Sister Chu Shing had a song practice with an Elder from the Tongan program. They are both singing a song at the outgoing fireside on Sunday. We also had weekly planning and a dinner appointment.

On Saturday, we had Zone service. Habitat for Humanity was painting a house in San Jose, and we all went to help out. Now I understand why I did all that painting while I was home! (Same goes for gardening. Do you know how many weeds I have pulled on my mission?) It was fun to paint with all those missionaries. After that, we visited some less-actives before going to dinner. After dinner, we came home so Sister Chu Shing could study for the ACT (she is taking it this weekend).

Sister Palmer and new convert, Linda
Sunday was a fantastic day. We had Branch Council and then Church. In Sacrament Meeting, Linda gave her first talk! The talks were all about the Atonement, and hearing her talk about how much she loves the Atonement about made me cry. I felt like a proud parent! :D In Sunday School, we learned about the Creation. It really makes you stop and think about all the awesome things we have here on this Earth. Reminds me of Bishop Caussé's talk when he said that we sometimes take advantage of things that are close to us. How often do you we stop and think that a loving Heavenly Father created the Earth that we live on? In Relief Society, Jessica (a recent convert) taught about Joseph Smith. It was wonderful. She asked me to share the First Vision and I recited it. As I shared it in Joseph's own words, I really felt the Spirit. That this really did happen. It was such a good lesson. Joseph Smith was  a prophet. He was awesome, too. It was a great day. I wish we had had an investigator there for the Joseph Smith lesson.

Let me update you on our investigators.

Daniel: He dropped us. He is moving and doesn't have time to meet. We plan to get his address and send it to other missionaries. Hopefully they can meet with him.

Michelle: She is doing well. We plan on taking her to a baptism this weekend, so she can see what it is like.

Nathan: His heart is softening. He is actually willing to accept commitments now! When he found out I was sick, and I was stuck at the Institute, he brought me chicken noodle soup too.

Ivan: We haven't been able to meet with him in a while, but we are meeting with him this week!

Milene: We had a quick lesson with her last week, and will be having an official one this week. Elder Nelson invited her to be baptized, and she is interested! We will see where that leads!

*Note: Our recent converts and less-actives are doing well, too :)

Today has been a good day. We did our laundry and went shopping (I bought some shoes). I also got to write some letters. We are now going to run some more errands and clean our apartment. After P-day, we have dinner with someone from the Branch, and we might get to have a lesson with Linda before FHE.

Well, I better run. Have a great day. I love you so much!



Thursday, April 9, 2015

Crazy Week

Hi Family!

How are you? *hugs* I hope that Sam told you that I wouldn't be emailing until Tuesday. I don't see any panicked emails in my inbox, so I am hoping that you got the message. We had a Sisters P-day in Santa Cruz, so I was gone most of the day, but we will get to that. It has been a crazy, rollercoaster-like week. Oh, and thank you for the Easter box! I loved it! :)

On Monday (30 March), for FHE, we played pukana. It was so much fun. We were combined with another YSA, so there were a lot of people there. We also got to see the elders and sisters who serve in that YSA. We did an elimination version, and I made it to the final six! By the end of it, though, I almost lost my voice (haha). I didn't have bruises this time though. :) 

On Tuesday, we had service at the Merkley's. They are the ones who live on the mountain and have the ranch. I always get carsick on the ride up there! Anyways, we went up there and painted a fence. They also fed us lunch. It is always a fun service. Now, my paint-stained clothes from last time have more paint-stains! :) We also met with Samantha (a recent convert; she got baptized right before I came into San Jose). It was good to finally meet with her. She is hard to catch because she is a busy, college student and she usually goes to Monterey with a friend for church on Sunday. But, we got her and had a lesson. We also met with Christina (a less-active) and did some service for the Nelsons. All in all, it was a good day. 

On Wednesday, we had some changes. Because there are five of us in our already small apartment, we asked Elder Busk (our housing coordinator) for another bed. We ended up getting a bunkbed. In the livingroom. So, my companions are sleeping on that, and I am sleeping on a bed in the actual bedroom with the other two sisters. It is a little crazy. We also did service for the Nelsons to prepare for Institute dinner, had a lesson with a member of the Branch, and then had dinner with one of Sister Chu Shing's friends. We then came back to Institute and caught Elder Nelson's New Testament class. One of the girls we want to meet with is in that class. Hopefully we can catch her! Oh, and I also got a happiness box from Beth and Todd! Thank you so much for the food and the card!!!! :D 

Sister Tuitupou, Sister Palmer, Sister Chi Shing
On Thursday, we went to the temple. I really really needed it. The Oakland Temple is so beautiful. Some parts of it remind me of the Columbia River Temple too. :) To get to the temple, we had to get a ride with a member, so President Rogers' wife took us. She also let us go to the distribution center so we could pick up some things and we took some pictures at the temple. After we got back, we had a lesson with Milene (one of our investigators). She is having a hard time. We will really start teaching her after her midterms are over this week. We also had Bible Study and then a lesson with Linda. After Linda, we had a lesson with Nathan. Then, we had dinner with one of our members, Cindy. She came to Nathan's lesson and found out that we didn't have a dinner, so she invited us! It was fun. I found out that one of her roommates speaks French (Canadian French) and I was able to chat with her. She said that I was really good! :) It was a great day. 

Friday was mostly good. Sister Chu Shing had a leadership meeting, so it was just Sister Tuitupou and me all morning. We had language study (she learned English in the MTC! I would never have guessed that listening to her speak. She just needs minor corrections and some confidence), did some contacting, service, and weekly planning before Sister Chu Shing was done. When Sister Chu Shing was back we finished our weekly planning and went to dinner with Carmina (a recent convert). I felt sick before dinner, but I didn't want to offend Carmina, so I went ahead and ate. Bad idea. I was sick all night. Needless to say, I went to bed early. 

Saturday, I was still sick but determined to see Conference. So, we went to the Institute and watched Conference. It was so good. It was fun to watch it with the YSA and with other missionaries who came. After the sessions of Conference, we ran some errands and had dinner with Carolyn (a member of the branch). After dinner, we finished our weekly planning...and cleaned up the bathroom because the toilet flooded again. 

Sunday was better. We went to the Institute early to meet with President Rogers and watched Conference. After Conference, I felt really sick and took a nap. We then had an Easter dinner with Colin (a member of the branch). It was so fun. We then came back home to take care of some things. 

What did you guys think of Conference? I loved it. I was going to list all the talks I liked, but then I would have to put everyone's name down. :) One thing that really touched me was someone who said that the Savior stands triumphant over death, but He stands on wounded feet. He reaches out to us, but with pierced hands. I loved that. Yes, the Savior was perfect, but He had to go through all of our imperfections to know what we are going through. If you listen to the Nashville Tribute CD about Joseph Smith, there is a song that talks about it. It says, "How could he know the heartache I feel when he lived a perfect life? ...From the Garden to the Cross, he walked a mile in my shoes."

On Monday, we had a Sisters P-day. This is where a few zones of sisters get together and do something. First, We went to the Stake Center and listened to a couple of speakers who Sister Mella had invited. One was a therapist who talked to us about communication and self-esteem. The other one was one of the mission presidency members' wife, and she talked about one of the talks from the General Women's Meeting. It was nice! After that, we packed lunches and went to Santa Cruz to play on the beach. I was still feeling sick, so I took a nap on the beach. I did get to walk with the other sisters to the lighthouse, and that was fun. When we got home, we had a little bit of time to do P-day errands before the end of the night. After that, we had FHE. For FHE, Sister Chu Shing and Sister Tuitupou taught about happiness and we watched the video about John Tanner. It is so good! They loved it! We then played a game called Zombie Tag. That was entertaining. 

Well, that is about all for here. Today has been teaching and finishing P-day errands. Tonight, we have dinner with Linda and the elders. Hopefully, I can eat at least some of it. I hope you guys have a great one!



Oakland California Temple