Monday, September 29, 2014

Augusta, Maine

This week has been great! I love my new area and sister Kimball is an amazing missionary!

She is very loving and sweet and courageous. She told me that she is very shy and some times has a hard time speaking to people but she pushes past that and strives to get to know everyone. And when she does push past it and opens her mouth and bears her testimony she helps others feel the Spirit and our Savior's love so strongly that it completely changes the lesson! I am super grateful that she is my companion.

I am still trying to get the area down but so far it is going great. It is beautiful here! The people are great here and the ward is amazing! I am still trying to figure everything out but it has been good so far. I guess most of the missionaries that have been here lately have been pretty quiet and shy, so I am loud and bubbly compared to them. One sister in the ward that I said hi to told me that I would do great here because I have that sparkle in my eye. And then I got to meet a lot of the YW and they are amazing! I've already connected with quite a few and am excited to work with them more

So I am still studying faith and also about how we are watchmen. It has been a super amazing study and I have gained a stronger testimony of talking to everyone I meet. I also found the scripture Galatians 5:13 

13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

And I love it because it is pretty much saying that we have not been given this freedom through Christ just to say we have it but to help others find it and to love as he would love and serve as he would serve.
So there are two round abouts that I have to go through every day. Our apartment has tons of huge spiders right outside the door and little ones inside. Our apartment also has tons of lady bugs in it. We live pretty close to the river and drive past it everyday. They just combined the ward so it is huge now! (30 page ward list!) The members here are amazing and very loving towards each other! My companion is Sister Kimball and she has been out for only 12 weeks and she is an amazing missionary! Oh also Sister Morgan is my Sister Training Leader!!!!!!
I just barely got your package and the bottle of salsa made it safely to New Hampshire then on to Maine!
I have been doing a lot of cooking.  I have been getting by is by asking myself "Now what would mom do?"  This week I made breaded pork chops and veggies.  I also got stuff to make chicken alfredo, chicken enchiladas, and we had some chicken and stuffing so I am going to try making kind of a thanksgiving casserole with chicken, potatoes, gravy and stuffing we'll see how it goes. S. Kimball doesn't really know how to cook and has been living off of sandwiches and cereal so I promised her that I wouldn't let her starve and that I would teach her some easy recipes to use. She loved the pork chops and they turned out really juicy and tender. Hey it paid off that I paid attention so that when I go into an apartment with little to nothing I can still make a meal :) Proud mama moment right?
The leaves are just barely beginning to change here. I love it here we have this cute old little town in our area called Hallowell and I get excited every time we go into it because it is so cute and old and right by the river :) 

And I just ordered a Mormon Helping Hands shirt.... :D

Well, I gotta go.
Love you tons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Bye :D

Sister Welch, Sister Smedley and Whitney

Store in Manchester

Whitney with Sister Blume (one of her companions from the MTC)

Icky spider outside her appartment

Kennebec River

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Transfer Week!!!!

This week is transfer week.  She was super busy and only sent replies to my emails and lots and lots of pictures.  I will try to pull info from her emails.  Hopefully it makes sense. 

I am being transferred and going senior!!!!!!!! :S  I am going crazy wondering where I am being transferred to.  I woke up this morning at three because I am so nervous and sad to leave this area and go senior.  Normally once you go senior you aren't put back down to junior.  That means I will be driving in the winter!  Also, I am going to have to get a gps today because there is no way I can to to a new area and wait until Monday if I have to be driving, especially if I end up in the boonies.  It will be hard getting to know the roads because some of the areas are quite large.

So, last Monday afternoon we got a call from the Bishop saying I will be singing, that's right, SINGING a musical number in sacrament meeting with another sister in the ward.  So, the song gets WRITTEN and FINISHED in the space of three days.  The other sister singing has been in big choral groups so she wanted it to be loud and perfect.  We practiced it twice before church.  Then sacrament meeting starts and there are a ton of people there and all four sets of missionaries.  We went up and sang the song and then at the end, all of a sudden, a lot of people in the ward started cheering, hollering and clapping.  Never seen that before in sacrament meeting.  I had no clue what to do so I awkwardly walked back to my seat. . .  

We had dinner at the Bishop's house yesterday with some other members and it was so sweet because at the beginning he always starts with a thank you for coming today... but then he went on to say that it is a sad time because they are losing some good friends, both Elder Barnes and me.  Then at the end for the closing prayer he said, "Now for the closing prayer, since it will be her last time here, I am going to ask our dear friend, Sister Collins to say it.  It has been great to have her in our ward and I know that she is going to touch many people's lives and bring so much light into their lives as she has done in our ward.  I am so grateful for her..."  Then after as we were saying goodbye he said, "Now, don't ever forget that I was the first bishop you served with."

Our neighbors who are non-members and live in our building are sad that I am leaving and asked if they could take us to dinner tonight.  

Sister Smedley will be staying in Manchester and will be a trainer.  I CALLED IT!

Oh also this week we had another Zone Conference and Elder Wilson of the Seventy came! Him and his wife did the whole conference. During lunch, we sat at this random table but no one was coming to sit by us so we were joking that we must stink or something and right as we were joking about that, Elder and Sister Wilson came over and asked if they could sit with us. Sister Smedley said sure and the first thing that came out of my mouth was "Hey I guess we don't stink after all..." Yep bet that's a proud mama moment. The Stokers came and sat with us too so pretty much I got to have lunch with a general authority. Then at the end they were pulling a few people aside to get an interview with Elder Wilson and I was one of the lucky ones who they had picked to get an interview with Elder Wilson! It was soooooooooo cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  In the interview he asked me how long I had been out, how I was liking my mission so far, if I was getting along with my companion, a miracle I have seen on my mission, about my family and whether they were active members or not, and then let me just ask him questions.

Update on the story from last week about getting locked in the Baptist Church:  As they were in the basement they also noticed a lot of anti-LDS literature there.  Glad they were kept safe. 

Read Isaiah 62:6 then read Ephesians 6:13-20 Then read 2 Nephi 25:26 and compare how we are the watchmen and the ambassadors and compare how we must put on the armor of God to protect those we love.

Love you so much!!!!!! Bye

Whitney is really going to miss serving in Manchester.  She is leaving so many that she has grown to love.

Since I am such a slacker and took so long to post, I can now tell you where she has been transferred to.  Thank you Brother and Sister Reisher for sharing the information with me!!!  Her new location is hidden in the pictures below.

Town Hall

Post its used to "heart-attack" the Bishop and his wife

District P-day we went on a "hike" up this rock that looks over Manchester.  The base of it reminded me of Brighton.

The view from the top of the rock.  I love Manchester!!!

Ready for our hike.
In one of our areas
Yep, she is now in Augusta, Maine!!!  I love that sign.  So appropriate for her new mission area!

JoAnne.  So excited for her!  She just went through the temple. :)

Me, Ruth and Sis Smedley


I love this bench!

Sis Welch is headed home this week and is staying with us until Tuesday.  She helped take all my pictures down.

Sister Nickulaus

Sister Morgan

Kati - she has as much energy as me!!!

Erin and Katie

Heather who just got engaged!!!

Sister Oulette

Sister Moody

Sister Welch and Sister Young

Brother Young

Lucia, Me, Sis Smedley and Hattie


Sister Wheeler and Sister Mcgehee

Being silly in the car

Lucia and Hattie (I love the young women in this ward)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Transfer calls coming this weekend. . .

So this week was great! 
We organized a huge JSM trip and everyone got to go except us because our investigator couldn't make it but that was ok. 

On Tuesday we had lunch with this awesome member. She fed us grilled fluffer-nutters which kind of tasted like nutter-butters.... Maybe that is why they are called fluffer-nutters... Then we went up to Candia and tracted for a bit. We went to this little pizza shop and bought a slice of pizza for a dollar! Then the lady surprised us and threw and extra piece in for free! 

On Wednesday, we had an awesome district meeting. In the lesson we all had to look at ourselves in the mirror and at our family and take the gospel out of our lives. The picture change completely and it was sad. We learned to look at people in that light. To imagine them now with the gospel in their lives and see how it would change them.

On Thursday I was in Canterbury on exchange. We did service in this cute little town and then went street contacting. Then we met this lady who is Baptist. Well it started to rain so she invited us to come into her church to keep talking to her. So we did. And then she locked us inside. My thoughts 'Are you locking the door to keep people out or to keep us in???" Then she gave us a tour. Then we went down these stairs to a big metal door and told us to go in first. My thought "Are you going to lock us in???" She followed us and then said "Wow you two are really trusting. I could have locked you in here and I could have been an ax-murderer!" Well the thought did come to mind.... We got out of there pretty quickly after that! 

On Saturday, we went to Auburn for the first time and in the middle of the town was a little fair going on and they were having a rubber duck race!!! We talked to some people. Found some potentials. And a lady gave us a free loaf of banana bread! 

On Sunday, we had church which was great! As we were leaving the chapel though, this recent convert who is in his 70's surprised me and gave me a hug and then winked and said I know it's against the rules but I just couldn't resist... Then after we had a great linger longer.
Love you!!!! Tell everyone else sorry I didn't write back! I'll send more pictures next time

She will be receiving a call this week to hear if she will be transferred or not.  Would love for her to stay in Manchester for another transfer, but also excited for her to see other places in her mission and bless the lives of the people she is able to meet.  Waiting until Monday to hear may just kill me.

Crazy Manchester Missionaries!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Lots of pictures this week!!!

Hopefully I can put her emails in some logical order as I pull them from three strings of emails.  Whitney's advise on putting together the blog post, "HAHA yeah.... Have fun...."  Thanks Whit!

This week has been another week full of miracles.

We went to visit a less active on Thursday. When we tried to call through the buzzer no one answered but right as we were about to leave the door randomly unlocked and the screen said "Door is open, go in." So we went in and knocked on her door and found out that she had moved. But we met this lady from Congo and she wants us to come back and teach her.

Then on Saturday, we had lunch with a member who we didn't know too well. She opened up a lot to us and told us about her mission and some of the blessings and trials she faced. By the end she told us that she was really happy that she set this up.

On Wednesday, we had dinner with the ward mission leader. His daughter is less active and has never joined us for a meal or lesson. But this time she joined us for both and participated in the lesson. Then on Sunday, she came to all three hours of church and was willing to participate in the lesson in Relief Society. I think her heart is softening because her mom is coming back into activity and is also striving to gain more faith through reading her scriptures, saying her prayers, going to church, and starting on personal progress. Which is another cool thing. I was talking to them on Sunday about the mom's personal progress and she told her daughter that it was because of me and because I always wear my medallion that she wants to do personal progress. 

Last week, at a dinner we had with some other members, I used a visual that I learned at the girls camp that I worked at. It's called partner triangle. So there are two who participate and they both have to get from the big, wide end of the triangle to the point without touching outside the line and by holding on and relying on each other which means they have to fall forward, catch each other and then walk together towards the end. Then we relate it to our relationship with God and how as we help others come closer to him then we will come closer to him as well. The member loved it and ended up using it in her Relief Society lesson which was super cool to see that it made that much of an impact on her that she remembered it from two weeks ago.
Oh on Thursday, we had interviews with President Stoker. In mine I told him about what I've been studying, how I've been doing, etc. He told me that he thought I was really good for people in my mission. I also told him that I've been helping recent converts and converts who joined after they were 18 start personal progress. He said he really liked that idea and thinks he is going to make it a mission-wide thing and is going to have S. Pettingill order PP books to have in the office! He told me that as I help them progress to let him know how it goes and that he is super impressed with the idea. He even told S. Smedley in her interview that he was impressed with it. Then I had him give me a blessing just for an extra boost of confidence and in it it mentioned how I was in the premortal life and what I did there, what I would do here, what I needed to study, all the promises given in my Patriarchal blessing, and that I would face some pretty hard trials but that it was so I could grow even stronger. WHOA  (as a mom, I am not so excited about the hard trials...)

Then we found two new investigators which is amazing! And our fridge is overflowing with leftovers from the members! 

So something I learned about faith this week was that faith and hope and being optimistic is all linked. Because when you are optimistic then you have the hope that things will get better which also means that you have faith that it will get better. So as you gain more faith then you will be more optimistic.
Love You!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I also came across this on Bro. and Sis. Skidmore's Blog.  One more miracle for the week:   Monday night was asked to go out and teach with Elder Barnes and Elder Harrington.  They had an appointment which fell through and 2 backups which also fell through.  As we were walking the streets of Manchester, Sister Smedley and Sister Collins drove up and said the member they were teaching needed a blessing.  So we went to her apartment where she was so glad to see us.  Her name was J and she was struggling with the adversary as she was preparing to go to the temple.  She asked that I give her a blessing.  I think this is the reason we were out Monday night.
Last week we had to send a package to Whit with her prescription.  I made her some no-bake peanut butter bars (one of her favorite treats).  As I looked at the weather I started to worry that they would be a melted mess when she got them.  She ensured me they looked great and tasted even better.  She and Sister Smedley enjoyed them and said I can "DEFINITELY" send them more.  She also said that now that she is taking her meds more regularly, her energy level is back up. :)
 Suggested talk for this week:  What is the Blueprint of Christ's Church?

Whitney has had the youth in the Manchester Ward and in our ward on her mind a lot.  I had shared some information from my YW's lesson this week with her.  So many of the scriptures had talked about service being the answer to so many of our struggles including sadness, loneliness and temptation.  Her reply, "Part of being Christlike is putting others' needs before your own and serving them. In Ch. 6 in Preach My Gospel it is all about Christlike attributes and I think one of them is service. But service is also a part of being filled with charity- the pure love of Christ."
Young Women, know that you are on her mind.  She prays for you daily and misses you so much.  She feels that one of the reasons she is on her mission is to help the youth in that area.  I hope that by sharing her messages, it helps strengthen the youth in our ward as well.

Serving at the Cemetery

So beautiful, but maybe a little spooky at night.

Scared faces!

Members they got to serve with

"Dorks" Title by Whitney, not me

Some of Whitney's doodles

Wanted Grandpa's dutch oven breakfast, made breakfast casserole instead.

Whitney and Sister Skidmore at lunch

Whitney, Sis Skidmore, Sis Smedley and Sis Pettingill

another picture of the lunch bunch

Sister Smedley loved Whitney's minion hat and asked Sis Young if she could make her one.  Whit said the yarn matches perfectly.

Sis Collins and Sis Smedley have been attending Young Women's in Manchester.  This week they had a BBQ and someone brought these cute cookie hamburgers.