Thursday, December 12, 2013

November 11th and 12th - the Final Days of My Mission

On Monday my release was approved. After several calls my flight was determined to be on the next day. I was going home. We had dinner that night with the Sherksnas family. We ended up going with the elders to a lesson because they had no ride. I said goodbye to the elders and Brother Todd that night.

 On Tuesday, to our surprise when we went outside, not only was it cold but had snowed and still was. After a long car ride to the Harrisburg airport I waited for my plane. Once we landed I went to my connecting flight. By 5 PM I was back in San Antonio, Texas. I was released as a full time missionary in a little under an hour. I was home and the name tag was off. THE END

One of the last days with a fellow missionary...Elder Justin Palmer whom is now home just as I am!

November 11, 2013

November 4, 2013 to November 10, 2013

 Monday began one of the longest emotionally charged weeks. That night we ate dinner at the Nadals. After dinner we had a lesson with Jose and Gabby. However the whole lesson both were very distracted.

 Tuesday we went to the food cupboard and bagged potatoes. In the afternoon we went to see Patrick and April but they were no shows. We met and talked with Alex. He and his roommate had had a discussion the day before wondering about why there was so many churches. He told us that mornings were best. When we were talking to someone on the street, a less active - Becca - that we had been trying to get in contact with walked up to us. We then went to Margot's. Her roommate Julie joined us for a lesson on the Plan of Salvation. Then we had dinner with the Dicks and the Elders at Applebees. It was Elder Yates 21st birthday. After dinner we had a lesson with Jose and Gabby with Kaity as our team up.

 Wednesday was insanity! We had district meeting and then went to help Brother Dave and Sister Cynthia with painting their home. From there we went to visit Corinne. She was dead tired but happy - she just got engaged. While we were talking about families (they have a little boy) her fiance, Phil, walked in. We continued to talk with them more about families and asked if they would be willing to have us come back. They were. We left them with a word of prayer. Sister Stovall had asked Phil if he would say the prayer but he informed us that he had never heard one let alone said one. He said "baby steps sisters". We then had inner with a less active part member family that we had talked to on the phone but had never met. Then it was time for the challenge lesson. We met Brother Todd at the home. George spent the whole time shooting anti-Mormon questions at us. His heart was hard. Amber was listening, asking questions about what were able to say. At the end of the lesson George said to give him time to read the Book of Mormon twice, come back in January. He closed with a prayer calling Joseph Smith a murdering liar and thanked God for the chance to teach us this truth.

 Thursday from 8 AM to 1 PM was dedicated to to my jaw appointment and headache inducing pain of trying to schedule an MRI at a place that accepted my insurance. We then headed back from Danville and ate lunch then did studies. We then went to the library and got on for time. My main question was "should I stay on my mission or leave?" Back and forth I went.

 Friday started out normal but before we could get really anywhere with weekly planning, let alone begin, Sister Stovall said I should talk to Sister Topham about the choice I was faced with. After multiple calls and conversations with Sister Topham and President Topham, the wheels were set in motion for me to go home. We finished weekly planning. During lunch I called the elders to let them know that I was going home. Elder Yates and Elder Walker are like my brothers so I wanted them to be of the first to know. I texted the Danville Elders (Elders Boekweg and Smith) the same information. That night we ate at the Allens home. Before we ate there we went to see Brother Dave and Sister Cynthia. We found out that Brother Dave was a member but he claimed to be "allergic" to the gospel. We showed Sister Cynthia the Daily Bread Mormon messages.

 Saturday we met with Brother Stanley and Martha. The rest of the day was spent tracting in Bloomsburg and Benton. We had dinner with Cedenos and talked about the Book of Mormon. We read Mosiah 18 at the request of one of the girls. We talked with Charity (a former) before we headed in for the night.

 On my last Sunday there was the primary program. Jose and Margot were both at church. I said my goodbyes to several people. I was pulled aside by a member who told me to not let others make me feel guilty for going home early. I had one last lesson with Martha. And a lesson with a man we met while he was on the porch (his wife had rejected us a couple days before).

November 4, 2013

October 28, 2013 to November 3, 2013

 Monday we had an amazing dinner with the Boiks. We found out from the Boiks that someone had passed away. We went to the Shelhammer viewing. Although I didn't personally know the man we learned a lot about him. He was an amazing man. We headed back from Berwick and dropped off a triple combination for Stephanie. Then we talked with several people - one being Stan. He ran off before we could give him anything because people were following him and harassing him. He literally ran into a light pole to get away from them. Those few minutes were probably the most thrilling and frightening part of my mission.

 Tuesday we went to the food cupboard and bagged potatoes. On the way back we ran into Stephanie. We let her know about the ward trunk or treat. Not much later we worked on the area book. Afterwards we went to visit a few people and ran into Patrick once again but this time he was joined by April. At first the conversation was light chatter about nothing in particular but soon ventured into deeper subjects - we gave them Books of Mormon, a couple of pamphlets each, and an Articles of Faith card. It was the Articles of Faith card that caught Patrick's attention and we sent up a return appointment for the following Tuesday - when they would be available next. That night we met with Don and talked with him about the commandment of health - the Word of Wisdom. We then went to the Dicks home and had an amazingly spiritual lesson on the Holy Ghost with Margot.

 Wednesday started out with District Meeting. The first part of the meeting was focused on getting to know each other. Something that stuck out to met from the meeting was this statement "Don't just sit and stew, go and do!" Each of us created a little paragraph for a lesson for someone we were teaching. After district meeting we went to visit some people we had met previously and ran into a member from another ward. Imagine our surprised when he told us that he was a member and was preparing for a mission. We then met with Brother Stanley and talked with him about two commandment - the law of health and following the prophet. Gabby's lesson was probably the lesson every missionary dreamed of. The spirit was thick as we read the story of the Prodigal son in Luke 15: 11-32. Then we went on to read about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. She accepted the invitation to be baptized. Before we saw Gabby a whole sting of events led to the lesson even happening. Through the string of events we met Andre who had been to church a couple times before either Sister Stovall or I were there. Amazingly spiritual guy. That night we went to Trunk or Treat. Sister Stovall got in the back of Sister Meaders car and had fun scaring kids when they went to get candy from the bowl. Stephanie and her kids came to the Trunk or Treat. It was an amazing day.

 Thursday was Halloween. We ate lunch after studies and headed to the public library. We ran into Brother Johnston on the way into the library and talked with him for several minutes. We then went to see Martha and Jessica. We found out in the morning that Jessica had recently lost her friend. We watched the Mormon message "Hope Ya know, I Had a Hard time Today". During the lesson my locked and I couldn't get it open. I called the mission doctor after the lesson and he had me contact an oral surgeon in the ward. He said he would look at my jaw on Sunday. We then had dinner with the Howies. After dinner we headed in for the night. We had to be in early for the holiday. I worked on the area map and finished it. Sister Stovall worked on the to do list we had and on calling people in the directory that we didn't know. Overall it was a good day, however I ended up losing my CTR ring (the one my older sister gave me).

 Friday after weekly planning we talked to Andre for some time. We headed further out and ate at Playa Cancun. From there we went to a street and spent several hours tracting. With the exception of one each house was a rejection. The exception was a teenager named adam who was interested in learning more. On our way to meet a less active member we stopped at a house. Both Sister Stovall and I looked at the house but continued on. However when we continued on several deer crossed the road and were forced to stop. We took that as a sign and turned around and pulled to the side of the road. At first we talked to Amber who said she'd talk to her husband and that she'd let us know. We were walking back to the car when her husband came out and lit a cigarette. Sister Stovall turned around. I asked what she was doing and she said that was going to talk to him. At one point in talking to us he said that he wasn't going to be convinced of Joseph Smith. Sister Stovall said held up a finger and told him (and challenged him) to have just one lesson with us. He agreed and we set up a return appointment for the following Wednesday. We then went to go meet Brother Stuart. When the door opened we met his wife, Jeanette. His wife isn't a member. Brother Stuart told us why he hadn't been to church for some time. He told us that he had been wanting a Book of Mormon because he had lost his. We set up a time for us to return the next day.

 Saturday Danny joined us and because of that we were able to help Brother Todd for about 6 hours clean out his house in preparation for him moving out and other moving in. We picked up the elders after we cleaned up and changed back into proselyting clothes. After dinner with the Forsbergs we dropped the elders off back at their car and then dropped off food that Brother Todd was taking with him to someone who needed it. We dropped by a less active couple that we hadn't been able to see in awhile. We were able to talk with him for a few minutes before we headed back in. We had received a call earlier in the day from Brother Stuart cancelling our lesson with them because his wife wasn't doing to good. We were sad but wished them well.

 Sunday morning we had a meeting with out ward mission leader. Sacrament meeting we a fast and testimony meeting. Both Sister Stovall and I bore our testimonies. Eash testimony, no matter how short or tear filled, brought a special spirit to the meeting. Afterwards Brother Johnson looked at my jaw. It was determined that I most likely had TMJ. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (sometimes abbreviated to TMJ or TMJD) is an umbrella term covering pain dysfunction of the muscles of mastication (the muscles that move the law) and the temporomandibular joints (the joints which connect the mandible to the skull). The most important feature is pain, followed by restricted mandibular movement, and the noises from the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) during jaw movement. Although it is not life threatening, it can detriment quality of life, because the symptoms can become chronic and difficult to manage. That night we ate dinner with the Chartrands. We then had a lesson with Martha before we went in for the night.

October 28, 2013

October 21, 2013 to October 27, 2013

 Monday morning Sister Stovall woke up sick - she was throwing up. We did emailing and groceries. The she slept. I died dishes, laundry, and cleaned the bathroom. We had dinner with Sister Meaders and Sister Evans. We then went to talk with a part member family (I had a prompting to visit them - we hadn't been able to catch them before). He said to call his wife sometime during the week. We then went back and worked on the area map.

 Tuesday morning I put in an order for a food cupboard tshirt during the time we were there bagging potatoes. After we had lunch we worked on the area book. We then tracted for some time and met a woman named Hershey who told us to come back the next day between 10 AM and 1 PM. From there we went to meet with Jose and Gabby. While with Jose and Gabby we talked with them about the Plan of Salvation. The lesson was amazing and part way through the lesson a friend of Gabby, Sammy, joined us. It wasn't to much later that we got a text from Margot saying that she was sick. We had dinner with the Dicks and went to meet with Don. Th lesson went well and was focused.

 Wednesday was slow. Hershey wasn't home so we picked up where we left off and continued to tract the neighborhood. While tracting we met a woman named Rhianna whom asked us to come back at another time. They went by fast after then and soon we were heading back in.

 Thursday I hit my six month mark. During out time spent on, Amy called and cancelled our lesson with her. We had lunch and then went to visit Hershey. We weren't able to talk with Hershey but instead we spoke with her husband, Nick. He told us to not come back, they weren't interested. We went further on in the area and continued to tract. Mainly no one was home or was rather forceful in their rejection of learning more. We then went to meet with Brother Stanley about the commandment keeping the Sabbath day holy. After out meeting with him we went to go see Rhianna but there was no answer. We then dropped by a less active member's home - Corrine - and talked with her to get to know her. From there we went to eat with the Empie family. After dinner we followed up with a few people that we met while tracting. We continued tracting until we needed to be inside.

 Friday I woke up a with a sinus infection - I was not happy. We went out anyway later in the day but all our planned lessons fell through. When we arrived at the Forsbergs home the Elders were still getting their hair cut. Soon the night was over and were soon in for the night.

 Saturday we headed out a little earlier then usual to help out with the Priest/Laurel conference. The conference was focused on being a missionary - the theme being a mini MTC. As part of the Priest/Laurel Conference the missionaries taught the Priests and Laurels about the things they would need to know as a missionary - sewing a button on, ironing shirts, fixing bikes, reading maps, and so on. We then had district meeting while one by one we were pulled out by the mission president for interviews. Not much later we were asked (Sister Stovall and I) to join the panel for the sisters. The Laurels were introduced to each of the sister sisters and soon Question and Answer started. There was a wide variety of questions asked. Once time was up we went to do studies. A little bit into companionship studies we were joined by the Elders. Not to much later we were headed back. We had dinner with Brother Todd and the Elders at a diner that Brother Todd liked. With that we headed back in to work on weekly planning.

 Sunday began with church. After church we went to see Janice. She told us that kids were coming by for trick or treating. Sister Dick volunteered to come and dress Janie up as a witch. She was so cute! After we saw Janice we went to do studies. I spent my studies focused on the definition of friends, what do you do for friends, how to be a better friend/companion, and then creating my promise to put in effect what I leaned. We then met with Martha, Brother Todd came along with us. We watched the Mormon message "None were with Him". From there we ate with the Dicks. Then we headed back in to finish weekly planning.

October 21,2013

October 14, 2013 - October 20, 2013

 Monday was thankfully a pday so we were able to get a lot done in preparation for the week. Once pday was over though we changed back into proselyting clothes. We headed to dinner with the Sanfords (he is the bishop of the ward). When we arrived at their house we discovered that the Elders were already there and they were playing football with the bishop while the burgers cooked. After dinner we were set to visit John and Wendy (an older less active couple), however we had received a call that Wendy was still sick so they were unable to meet with us. So following a prompting that Sister Stovall had we headed to drop off cookies for a woman in the ward. We lended an ear and set up a time to come back and help her what had been stressing her.

 Tuesday began like any other Tuesday at the Food Cupboard. When we arrived Martha asked us to sweep up glass in the street (on one of the sides of the food cupboard there was a lot of broken glass). The rest of out time there was spent bagging potatoes - we found a few nasties (that we tossed as usual) but it was a great time. We left earlier than usual to head back and have lunch. After lunch we spent several hours working on the area book. Once we found a stopping point with the area book we went to visit Gary and Jennifer (a couple we had run into the Sunday previous) only to discover them not home. We went to meet with Zach only to discover him not home. We met Shawn and Shawn (confusing anyone?). We spoke with them for several minutes and left them a couple pamphlets each with Books of Mormon. Then we met Amy. We had spoken with her husband a couple days before (on Sunday) and while he was not interested in what we had to say he believed it would greatly benefit her. She had been through a lot, medically and emotionally, but was still going strong. As we had run out of Books of Mormon (none were with us), Sister Stovall left her quad with her so that she could read from the Book of Mormon. We then went to meet with Jose and Gabby (father and daughter). At one point during the lesson we asked Gabby what she felt about what we were teaching. Her response "it feels good". We then rushed to the Strine's home fro a lesson with Margot. I don't remember much from the lesson but I remember that when Margot was praying that she told God that she hoped He had a good day. From there we went to meet with Don and had an amazingly focused lesson with Brother Todd.

 Wednesday morning was amazingly spiritual as we had out last District Meeting as a district. Our topic of discussion was "ways we've done good in the past and ways we want to leave the world better". A common line of thought was what we were doing in the future - job, family, and so on. A random comment had the rest of the missionaries agreeing with my trainer that I'd make a great children's book writer. Because of it my major is being taken into consideration for change. After the meeting was over we talked, ate, played games, took photos (the last of our district). Then it was time to say goodbye to Elder Justin Palmer. It was his last week on the mission. Once goodbyes were over we headed to Brother Stanley's home. We let him know we were there and he followed us to a members home. The lesson was spent helping him makes connections. Then we went to meet with Amy. The spirit was thick as Sister Stovall issued the baptismal invitation for November 30. Before Sister Stovall could finish asking her, Amy was nodding her head in agreement. Later that night we went to visit Genea (she scared me the first time I met her) and dropped off some cookies. We spoke with her for several minutes about her life and how she was doing.

 Thursday we worked on the area book in the morning at the Forsberg home. Then we headed out to help a woman in the ward we had talked with on Monday. The elders helped out with cleaning as well. We headed back and then cleaned up before heading to meet with Jose and Gabby. He processed during the lesson while she asked questions. We then went to meet with Amy. While we were there the lesson went to pieces when the children flooded the bathroom. We were able to watch a Mormon message with Amy and her kids before we left. That night Stephanie was a no show. Sister Stovall felt off. She wasn't sure why. We went to visit Jane, a former before we went in for the night.

 Friday was painful. I had been having constant stomach pains with no explanation. That morning the pain was at its worst. I called the mission doctor and he had me take my temperature - I had a low grade fever. He had me go to a clinic. The clinic then had us go the ER due to the need for tests needing to be done right away. While we were waiting for my blood to be taken a code came over the intercom. While laying there I could hear doctors and nurses talking/shouting. Then I heard them use the paddles. I wasn't sure how long this all took. As a missionary we are asked to share the gospel at all times and in all places in anyway possible. However at the moment I felt helpless to do anything so I prayed. When I opened my eyes once again I saw Sister Stovall bowing her head in prayer. A nurse walked in and Sister Stovall asked how the man next door was doing. All the nurse could tell us was that he was in critical condition.

 Saturday I slept off the side effects of the medication.

 Sunday there was a much and mingle. I don't remember much of that day except having Dory from Finding Nemo saying "Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming". It was also official Sister Stovall and I were to remain companions for the next transfer.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October 14, 2013

So can I first off say that last week was a crazy, busy spiritual week? Because it WAS!
Monday we went to Goodwill with the elders (they had to get their oil changed so we were their ride for the day) and prepared for the upcoming winter. After dinner with Sister Meaders we went to go visit a less active family - the Karchers. It turns out that the week before we had come to visit that Sister Karcher had been praying about going back to church because she wants to work on family history. Her son asked her "Mom, why don't we just go back to church?"

Tuesday morning began an exchange. I went to Wellsboro with Sister Kerby. I DROVE! It was a long drive though. We visited with a couple less actives and a recent convert. After our lesson with Dymond, the recent convert, Sister Kerby told me that had been the most interested she had ever seen him. He had been pulling out scriptures about service and missionary work and asking us questions about several things. It was an amazing lesson.

Wednesday we once again made the long trip back to Bloom. We did an exchange review and then headed out to work on the area book. We spent several hours on that but got much farther with it. Afterwards we went to see if we could be on campus at Bloom University and we are still working on that. From there we went to Brother Saffron. We didn't talk about what we had planned but instead about temples. That night we had an amazing lesson with a woman, Stephanie, who had met with missionaries before. We found out later that after she met with us, her whole world blew up. Satan is a PAIN!

Thursday we went to State College at the early hours of the morning to listen to and be trained my Elder Mervyn B. Arnold. The whole training was just WOW! I can't put all I learned into words. That night though was so said. It was heartbreaking. Our recent convert, Martha basically told us that she doesn't believe that Jesus died for her personally and that she can rely on him. It was a hard, sad lesson to be a part of. Probably the hardest I have ever been in so far.

Friday was stir crazy day because we were weekly planning up until we went to dinner at 5! With our area book still in the works it took longer than if it had been all together. That night, we took some of Elder Arnolds advice and headed to Weis to get ingrediants to make cookies. In the parking lot we talked to a woman named Pam and she wanted us to go visit her Mom. However, she is in the elder's area so they were happy for a referral. When we were in the store we ended up talking to an older couple, Kavin and Linda and inviting them out to church. We talked with them for several minutes about a variety of things. That night we found out from Martha that one of her friends is moving away and she wants to give her a Book of Mormon!

Saturday, I feel like we made thousands of bite sized cookies - four different kinds. It took us awhile. That night we had an amazing lesson in the Forsberg's home with Stephanie. We read the 2nd to last paragraph of the intro and then read Moroni's promise. She let us know that she knows its true but she is in the part where she is fighting with knowing and doing what is right.

Sunday, Stephanie didn't show up to church with her kids because she stayed up till 6 in the morning writing a paper (we have church at 9:30 am). We then went to go visit Janice, she is doing well. Afterwards we went down the hall and talked with Don. If we can jimmy rig it, he will come to church this week. Hopefully we will see if baptism is on the horizon for him when he speaks to the Bishop soon. After church we went to go visit someone the bishop had asked to only to discover they no longer live there. However while we were down there we met several more people that we are going to visit tomorrow (Tuesday). Then we picked up the elders to head to the Steenburgs for dinner. It was crazy but it was amazing. The whole message was shared was that Jesus Christ was always there for them.

October 7, 2013

Last Monday, right after studies we went to the chiropractor for Sister Stovall. While talking to him we found out that he had at one point worked for a Mormon. Not much later we went to a Mexican restaurant - Playa Cancun - if this place had to go food, it would be my favorite place.
On Tuesday we spent longer than normal at the food cupboard. Not only did we bag potatoes this time but we also bagged chicken. Of course, at one point we had to run to the car to put in quarters so that the meter would not run out of time. We barely caught it in time. We went to Genea, she is a less active and doesn't want missionaries visiting her anymore because she is tired of explaining herself. We then went over to Janice and showed her how she could watch General Conference on her TV. That night in Margot's lesson, Brother Dick spoke to her needs. When asked what she would do if she knew that the Book of Mormon was true she said "Be baptized, next." She started crying during the prayer when she asked if the Book of Mormon was true. It is slowly starting to hit her.
Wednesday morning brought district meeting. The zone leaders were there. For a part of the meeting we talked about how the work is exploding in each of our areas. After the meeting we went to visit a less active on our records only to discover that she does not live there anymore, she is in jail. However, the person that lives there was very much interested in talking to us. Carla, was asking how she could get her daughters baptized, if they could eventually do what we are - a mission, and she told us about her own life. While we were talking with her, her daughters came home from school. One of the them asked if she could come with us. We set up a return appointment for Friday. We then headed over to meet with Brother Saffron. According to Sister Stovall, it was the most focused lesson she has had ever with him.
Thursday we visited the Hart's. From there we visited with Martha and ended up talking with her about temples and family history. After the lesson, we went to track down someone that the Danville elders had found in their records but was in our area. Dave and Cynthia were sick but kind. We helped them figure out where the church was located, talked with them about General Conference, and then as we were leaving they gave us homemade bread and organic eggs. The first loaf is almost gone already. We had dinner and a lesson at the Oast home. Margot is a student at Bloom and had been taught by Sister Oast. When they first met, they were excited to see each other again. The whole lesson focused on showing Margot that she had already been doing a lot of what she is asked to do.
Friday started out with sickness. I am convinced that our apartment is cursed. Sister Stovall got sick and is still sick with a cough and a couple of other issues. She just feels yucky. We went to Bloom Care to visit with Janice, only to find them beginning music hour. We helped out and then had a lesson with Don, Janice helping out. Don grew up RLDS. He questioned why there wasn't a prophet on earth today, he has read the Book of Mormon, and wants to know what to do so he can be ready to go home. Don is in a wheelchair but not the typical age for assisted care. He has a surface understanding but not a "knowing". Before the lesson with Don, Carla called and cancelled - her grandma was in the hospital.
Saturday was in all reality spent at the church because of General Conference. We had a mini potluck with one of the women in the ward. It was an amazing experience.
Sunday we had breakfast with the Jordans, they live out in the middle of nowhere. Then we spent the rest of the day at church watching General Conference.

September 30, 2013

Monday we went to the fair. We basically just looked around at exhibits and things. We were there for an hour and half. It was a good time. The elders were rather interesting with their antics at the fair.
Tuesday was a busy day. We began with going to the food cupboard. We bagged peaches and potatoes. We watched the DVD Finding Faith in Christ with Martha. Sister Boik was there with us and we were able to talk about what is bothering her - tithing. That night we had a lesson with Margot. At the beginning it was a bit rocky. As the lesson went on things changed. We committed her to pray with real intent. She has been praying but going through the motions really and we believe she will see the difference.
Wednesday I woke up sick. I went to District Meeting anyway. We ended up having the meeting outside because they were cleaning the church - shampooing the floors. After lunch, I asked for a blessing. I slept until the next day to prepare to head to Martha's baptism.
Thursday after I showered and changed, I had a black spell because I hadn't eaten due to sleeping. Sister Stovall found me sitting on the floor. After eating, I had more strength. I got to learn about family history while we were waiting for the font to fill up. Witnessing Martha's baptism from the side was amazing. She was a champ because the water was freezing - there is no heating in the building.
Friday was a day of health. I worked a lot on my health. I was also able to receive a blessing of comfort and counsel that has helped.
Saturday we helped out with the soup kitchen that the ward put on. It was amazing to talk with people and help out so much. We were able to talk about the gospel so easily with them. We ended up going to visit a potential, Courtney, but she wasn't home. However, we had a third companion in her dog for a little while. It was funny. We went to the broadcast for Relief Society that night with one of the members, Sister Forsburg. It was amazing to be able to get to know the woman in the area and to be able to listen to the broadcast. So much was talked about.
Sunday we were able to witness Martha being confirmed. That was so amazing. She said that she felt "tingly" after her baptism and that it continued on. We saw Janice. After speaking with Janice we ended up doing an impromptu church for those in Bloom Care. We met a man that was part of the Reorganized Church and was very much interested in learning more from us. He is going to join us this Sunday when we visit Janice. We invited him to watch General Conference and he is going to watch it on his computer. WE invited everyone we met to watch it, we met a lot of Catholics.

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 23, 2013

Hi All,

Just so you know this is Erin's new address. She did get transferred and I am sure she would really appreciate letters and care packages.

Sister Erin Kingsford
515-2 Market Street
Bloomsburg, PA
Last Monday was an interesting pday. It was far different from any others I had seen. First off, it was just my companion and I. Second off, I had my eyebrows waxed. Yeah, you read that right, they were waxed. Courtesy of a salon that Sister Stovall took my too. That night we visited a potential named Tracey and got her information. Then we walked down the street to talk with a guy named James. He is monotone. "It is true for you but not for me" he kept saying. We then went to meet a less active named Chanty but he stood us up! Instead we meet Rhonda who was interested in meeting with us. We then went over to a former. We had no idea why we were there until we got to talking to her and then after several calls and a long conversation discovered that if we hadn't gone there, then the service project on the next Saturday would have not happened. Once we left Sue we went to meet with Zach and Flora and their friend, Steve who is interested in learning more. We had smores with them and talked about the Restoration. They are going to General Conference next Sunday!
Tuesday was a busy day! It began with us at the food cupboard. We bagged potatoes for two hours. We meet with Martha and did a mock baptismal interview. She was stuck on knowing the exact answer and she was nervous. We were able to talk with her and help her work through it. We then meet with Nate who has been in a bad place for some time and is trying to work his way back. They meet him when they went to go visit his grandfather, who is a less active. After a short dinner we met Margot at the church, she is dating a recent convert named Daniel (he is submitting his papers in Febrauary) and just moved back here to attend the University. She wants to believe in Jesus and know him but is struggling with it. She said that she is envious of those who KNOW Him.
Wednesday we decided to walk to the library. On our way there we met Helena. She has 15 kids and was stabbed 16 times by her husband. He had been in jail and no one let her know that he had been let out early. She is living at a woman's shelter until she can find a new place to live. We had a lesson with Martha about the talk "The First Great Commandment" by Elder Holland. We met a woman named LeAnn while we went to visit old potentials. She lost one of her sons to SIDS. That night we cleaned the car and then headed to calm down Martha before her interview. Martha had her baptismal interview and she is being baptized on the 26th!
We had zone conference on Thursday. The night before and that morning, Sister Stovall dolled me up. I was able to see Sister Robinson and Sister Yates. We talked about Grace during zone conference. When I went up to hug Sister Yates, she didn't recognize me! Later in the day, I ended up with a migraine.
Friday both of us were down and out. I had a migraine and she was having problems with her stomach. Her stomach problems led into the majority of the next day. We went to dinner and did some weekly planning.

Sunday - Margot and Martha were at church. Margot had Dan with her. We were able to visit Janice after church. We had lesson with Martha about grace. In our companionship inventory, it was decided that this week we needed to focus on getting to know each other.

September 16, 2013

Monday morning was like any other in State College but it would be my last day in State College. I was according, to the the rules, the PDay princess. I got to choose what we would be doing for the day. We went to a restraunt, Don Johns. The food was amazing!!! But before we went there we took several pictures at a garden that was created by one of the elders investigators. She had been working on it for fourty years! Soon after emails we went to go play one last game of Onka. The game ended when the ball died once again. That night at FHE, I said my goodbyes to the branch members and the State College elders. It was a sad but a bittersweet time.
Tuesday morning, the Bellefonte elders brought us McDonalds and their car. We drove with their car to Pittsburgh while they covered our area for the day. They were excited about that because that meant that they could go to a barbecue the branch was having. I drove Sister Yates and I to Pittsburgh. It felt good to drive again. As one of the last sisters called, I was called to Berwick West with Sister Gelana Stovall. From Pittsburgh we drove to the Harrisburg chapel. At the chapel, I met my new companion and loaded up the car with my luggage when it arrived in the Harrisburg trailer. Elder Boyd, who is one of the Harrisburg zone leaders, said that I am different and he couldn't put his finger on why. We got home that night at 10:15 but still had to due planning. We were dead tired by the time we got to bed.
Wednesday we had district meeting and I met the other missionaries near by. Elder Yates is our district meeting. From lunch we went to a lesson with an older woman named Martha. The lesson was amazing. We just let her talk things out and figure them out on her own. She knows that the church is true!
Thursday was very hard for me. I didn't know anything really about the area. I didn't know what I was doing. State College was way different then Berwick West and all I could think was "What am I doing here?" It was hard for me because I was having to make so many readjustments. After a lesson with Martha, all of our plans kept falling through and all I wanted to do was throw my hands up and cry. We went to met a member to follow her back to her house. When we got there she informed us that the person we were going to teach was sick! We went over to a less actives home nearby. We stayed there to get out of the storm. We met Zach and Flora there. They are part of a group called Life. They have a lot of similiar beliefs as us. We got to talking with them and set a return appointment with them for the next day. That night we headed back in early because Sister Stovall was starting to get way sick. A couple of men from the ward came over and gave her a blessing.
Friday we spent the whole time inside because Sister Stovall was sick. I did anything and everything I could think of to keep myself entertained and to not go stir crazy. We had to reschedule the lesson we had set up with Zach and Flora for Saturday. It worked out well for them as well because things were a little crazy with them as well.
Saturday, Sister Stovall was still feeling a little off. We had an odd lesson with Zach and Flora. Zach is a bit more open with Flora is a bit more sceptic. Zach has a few Mormon friends and more knowledge from them than other resources. Sister Stovall was off most of the day because she was still feeling the effects of a sleep medication from the night before. We went to a primary art show and also got some free clothes. That was great because I got to meet more members of the ward.
Sunday morning we met with the bishop and talked more about missionary work. It was decided that September 26th was the day that Martha would be baptized. It is also Sister Stovall's year mark. Another potential investigator attended church as well. We sang and practiced with the Young Men and Women a song they are singing the next Sunday. After church we, with some members of the ward, brought sacrament to a women in a old folks home. She was so bright and happy to see. Janice is an amazing woman trying to still share the gospel with others. We went to meet with Justin afterwards. The lesson was going really well but I was having some difficulties with my allergies. I was starting to lose my sight because of them. Sister Stovall turned to me to see if I wanted to say something and I told her what was going on. We ended the lesson. At the end of the lesson, Justin gave an amazing prayer. It was his first prayer!!! We headed to Martha's where I got allergy medicine and talked with her about the remainder of the first four lessons in Preach My Gospel. It was an amazing week!

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9, 2013

Picture of Erin Kingsford
Just a note for September 8, 2013 TO everyone! Erin got transferred and we are not sure of her address at this point. I assume will find out next Monday.
So on Tuesday we were setting up lessons with a couple of people and I mentioned to Sister Yates that it looks like we meet our goal for the week in member present lessons. She seemed shocked but said nothing about it until later when we were beginning to eat lunch. She let me know that my statement was a silent rebuke. She had been going through motions of "Oh, maybe we can reach that this time" and "We'll say 1 because we can't say 0". By pointing out that we might be able to reach our goal, she realized that she needed to stop going through the motions. Later that day, our investigator, Kaui, did not show. We found out later (we only have his email) that he was running behind from class and was headed our way at the time we had scheduled the lesson for. We are currently trying to reschedule the lesson. From there we went to the Interfaith Fair. A few people talked to us about what we believed but none were very interested. We ran into a few former investigators though. We were able to see Adam, Hope, and Kevin. Sister Robinson and I had previously taught Adam and Kevin but had had to drop them for varying reasons. With Hope, she is so busy her lessons keep getting canceled and we have yet to be able schedule a new one. That night we had dinner with the Lewis family. It was super fun to be around a family. That night after dinner we went bus contacting. Sister Yates hates bus contacting because the bus drivers think that we are weird for riding the bus for hours on end without getting off. We were talking (somewhat arguing) about what stop to get off at because either way we would get home early. I told her we should wait a couple more stops but she wanted to get off then. I pointed out that we had already planned on getting off at that stop and she agreed. Then she goes to talk to the only other person on the bus, besides and the driver, who is sitting across from her. His name is Reza and he had missed his stop. She talked with him about we believe and gave him a Book of Mormon. We, of course, missed the stop had been planning on getting off at but we ended walking back anyway. What was really cool was that he asked "How do I become a Mormon?". It made our day. Then when we were home, one of our potentials contacted US.

Wednesday we had district meeting. We started late because a member needed a blessing and the elders had to have the other sisters in the room with the member (woman). Elder Daniels delayed starting as much as possible because he was unable to plan for the meeting. He let us know that he had not slept at all the previous night and was unable to make a plan for the meeting. So we just talked about what was going on in our areas and tried to come up with things that would help us improve our numbers. After lunch, Sister Yates and I went to my doctor's appointment. After a a detailed conversation with the doctor, it looks like my stomach problems might be solved with one gigantic pill. We had dinner with Sam Webb and the other sisters at a place called The Diner, it was pretty good. We then headed to Institute.

Thursday morning was rather awkward. During the night, Reza had texted us but I had not seen the text until morning. From what he was saying it was rather obvious that he believed he was going on a date with us. At first he had asked us to go meet him in a bar! We told him that we would not do that and he choose somewhere else but then the whole time situation wasn't working so we said we would have to wait to meet with him, possibly next week. After studies we walked to Walmart and picked up my medicine (the pill bottle is giant!). At Forums, all of the missionaries were low in supplies so we were doing our best with what we had. We handed out Institute class pamphlets, multiple Book of Mormons, pamphlets (Plan of Salvation, Restoration, and Gospel of Jesus Christ), and what pass along cards we had. That night we went to the Relief Society activity for the 2nd ward. It was fun. We were able to meet more of 2nd ward. Sister Done (she is in the Stake Young Women's Presidency).

Friday we had a lesson with Candice about teaching and learning in the church and service. The lesson went real well. We had dinner with a member, Rob, who was having some problems with his roommates whose standards are not the same. We went to Baby's and it was amazing. On the was to the bus stop, Rob was walking with us when he walked into a lamppost. Sister Yates burst out laughing. He wasn't hurt but his pride was. That night on the bus heading to a meeting when we ran into Reza again. Sister Yates taught him about the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation, and Word of Wisdom in a 30 minute bus ride. Not only was Reza listening but a couple of other bus passengers too. On the walk home from the Walmart bus stop, I got a  transfer call. It was official, I was leaving State College.

Saturday we were in isolation. The reason being a Penn State home game. We talked with our district leader and he talked to the zone leaders. The consensus was for us to stay home because it was not safe or productive for us to be out. After studies, the sisters (Sisters Hanseen, Hurdsman, and Yates) gave me a makeover. There are pictures. When they left, I began to pack. It took me less then 2 hours to pack everything. We then had Dominos with the other sisters (no one wanted to cook - the other sisters spent nearly 6 hours cleaning their apartment). Later that night, the State College Elders (Elder Vassallo and Elder Trotman) showed up. They knocked on the door wanting to see the after of the makeover (they had talked to the other sisters first), only to find me in the middle of putting multiple braids in my hair. It was kind of funny.

Sunday morning, I got ready and dolled up once again because I knew I wanted a ton of pictures with branch members before I left. One of the members said they did not recognize me when they saw me (my hair was full on curled). After church, we had a lesson with a girl named Anqi (An-chee) and it went rather well. Sister Yates and her new companion will meet with her again this Thursday. After dinner at the Collins we headed to the church to finish training. On a picnic bench we did the last of Sister Yates training. We then headed into the church for the CES Fireside - Elder Nelson. Sisters Romero and Franklin (they had served in State College before and are off of their missions) were visiting and we were able to watch it with them. It was an amazing experience.



August 26th - September 2nd

Monday was an odd pday. We did the normal grocery shopping and emailing but we didn't spend the whole day with the other missionaries. Instead we stayed downtown while they went on to the Grange fair. We would be meeting our investigators at the church before we headed to the Grange fair for FHE. We looked into a few stores before we got tired and then just headed home on the first bus we could. Sister Yates took a nap and I worked on our white board for the area. That night at the Grange fair, I had my first funnel cake! It was huge! One of our members - Kade Moss - turned 22 so we wished him a happy birthday!

On Tuesday, we had a last minute exchange. That morning during studies, our lesson with Hope was canceled. Sister White (she is Sister Ferrin's companion) and I instead went to Forums. Forums were crazy!! We ran out of pass along cards. At about 4 o'clock, Elder Clark decided that he was going to hand out a chastity pamphlet. Keep in mind we are in a college town. He didn't end up doing it. During forums we saw our branch mission leader - Justin. We then saw another of our members - Sam Webb who helped us out with forums. We saw Candice for a little bit with one of her friends. We were also able to see Matt who we had not seen since the end of the last transfer. He basically drooped us but wants to still be invited to activities.

Wednesday morning we finished the exchange and went back to our normal companionship. We had rime where I printed out 102 pages worth of articles. I finished them today (the 3rd). That night we had the first institute for the school year.

Thursday we had district meeting. It was a very profound district meeting.

"Blessings come from doing the hard things." - Elder Daniels

"We without them cannot be saved." Elder Daniels qouting a member from his branch.

"Just turn it off, I am losing my marbles already." - Elder Daniels to his companion, Elder Haws.

"We went from a dead area to an ocean teaching pool." - Elder Daniles

"Ultimately we just need to show our branches (our members) that we are here to work and show them how to work and to build up the branch: because ultimately this is not our area, it is theirs!" - Elder Daniels.

"We need to work with the members. We need to change them from Latter Day Saints to Mormons through prayer, service, and fasting. If you build them, they will build your teaching pool."
- Elder Daniels

"We are here to serve his sheep."
- Elder Daniels

"If you, out here on your mission, search for all of the lost: you have every right to call upon the heavens for the help with those of your lost."
- President Topham's promise retold by Elder Daniels

Forums were once again busy but this time we were prepared and did not run out of cards. We had dinner with Sam where we had an amazing waiter named Katie. Sister Yates tried the crazy burger. A glazed donut was used as the bun for a regular burger.

Friday we had a lesson with Candice about priesthood and auxiliaries. We also had dinner at Alice's. For the spiritual thought where we ended up bearing our testimonies.

Saturday we had lunch with Kaitlyn at Irvings. Apparently the salads aren't good - Sister Hanseen got a bad one. It would be our last outing with Kaitlyn as she leaves tonight (Tuesday - the 3rd) for school (at BYUI). We visited Rob Ross at McDonalds - apparently he works there now because he has to grow up. He is engaged. We had dinner with the Esplins. That night we were surprised by Sam who brought us ice cream cupcakes from DQ. We were even further surprised when Yong showed up and scared us. That night, I wrote a poem about Kailtyn for her going away card.
  It reads:
Kaitlyn Moss
A friend so true,
To the sisters in two,
Caring, helpful, and charitable,
Traits that shine bright,
Even in the darkest of night
Sunday at church I discovered that I cannot fast, not even for one meal. I was shaky all morning and during Relief Society, I ended up throwing up. Not fun. We found out that Shawn's girlfriend, Clarissa is being baptized on the 7th of September. Kade Moss, a former branch missionary, was called to the Elder's Quorum's presidency. Brother Josh Wilson was called as the second counselor to the branch presidency. That night at break the fast we were surprised by our investigators. We were waiting to head over to the Owen home (where it was being held) when we got a text from Matt saying that he was in front of the address we had given home. Justin brought him and his friend in. Anqi, someone we have been trying to get a hold of, was there with Candice and Fei. It was amazing!
Monday we had a labor day picnic with the 2nd ward. We then went shopping and headed over to the church. We ended up playing 12 rounds of scattergories! It was a fun day.