Monday, January 26, 2015

Waiting for the blizzard

Most exciting moment of the week?
We aren't getting transferred!   It isn’t very often that a trainer and new missionary get to stay together after the training period is over.  We thought for sure I would be transferred so we waited for the call all day on Saturday.  It never came!  No more trainer,  just senior and junior companion.
We got a text from the zone leaders last night saying, “You made it another round!”

Progress or meetings with Investigators:
Our investigator is doing great! She has a baptismal date. We got to know the Less Actives we met better. We found two more potentials and one of them I had a dream about his house before.

Tell us about some of the time you have spent with members this week:
We've had a lot of awesome times with members but I am going to write in a letter in more detail about my week.
Awkward moments:
So yesterday we were out tracting and we knocked on this door and heard a lady inside say "Who is it?" and automatically I yelled at the top of my lungs "SISTER MISSIONARIES FOR THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS!" and then she said "Oh.... I'm not interested..."
Then were walking away from a house and their driveway was pure ice and I forgot to bring my ice shoe things and my feet slipped out from under me and Sister Bee barely caught me. It took five minutes for me to get my footing enough to walk away from the door. It was like straight off of While You Were Sleeping. 
**We sent Whitney and Sister Bee some ice grippers that go over their shoes because of all of their stories about sliding on people’s driveways.  They only work if you use them.

Whitney also found out that an investigator she and Sister Smedley worked with in Manchester was just baptized.  This was her response, “AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT IS SOOOOOOOOO AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I remember when we found him. He had a friend from high school who he was friends with on facebook who was Mormon and would post scriptures and quotes all the time. And now he is BAPTIZED!!!!!!”
This week a big storm is supposed to hit the east coast.  Right now they are forecasting 18 to 24 inches of snow in Augusta.  Hopefully the power doesn't go out but they are thinking that it might so President sent a message to everyone telling us to make sure we have enough water and food and told us that we are all going to be grounded tomorrow.  All transfers are being delayed until Thursday so storms can pass. 
I will try to write about my week in a letter tonight or while we are stuck in our apartment tomorrow.
Love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Chocolate Strawberries with the Dawbins

Met a guy that converted an old ambulance in to a snow plow

Sister Smedley and Whitney

Whitney and Elder Sowby

Elder Plyler and Elder Harrington

Whitney and Sister Kimball

District meeting

amazing candy store

Whitney loves the members in Augusta

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Crazy but miraculous week!

Whitney with Sister Smedley, Elder Plyler and Elder Harrington

We are emailing from the church today because of Martin Luther King Day.  I didn’t have time to upload many pictures but I will send more next week.

Ah it has been such a crazy but miraculous week!  There is so much that I just can’t share it all over email.  I wish I could just tell you in person

Last week we had zone conference and I got to see some of my friends from Manchester!!!!!!!  I was so excited!  I was able to spend some time with Sister Smedley, Elder Harrington and Elder Plyler.  We are already planning a get together for after we are all home.  Sis Smedley and Elder Plyler go home after the next transfer and Elder Harrington leaves in April so I may not see them again until I get home in October.

Zone conference was great and we were fed well (Thank you Sis Dawbin!).

One way I have been blessed while serving is that my asthma hasn’t been bad.  With the super cold weather I am able to just use a scarf.  Also, lately we have been meeting with several people who smoke.  I am still very sensitive to smoke, but it hasn’t caused any asthma attacks.  It still gives me a headache and I can deal with that.  I have only had to use my inhaler a couple times in the 10 months I have been out.

Are you keeping warm?

Yep.  We layer up like the little kid off a A Christmas Story.  Sometimes it is still so cold that that isn’t even enough.

What amazing spiritual experiences have you had?  How is it going with your investigators?

So this is our huge blessing/miracle from this week: we were trying to decide who to go visit and couldn't decide so we went out and tracted.  We knocked on a door and they let us right in, told us they were less active Mormons. We asked if we could share a message and they said sure so we shared the Because of Him video and they were both in tears! This was a big deal because they don't cry! So he started talking about all the evil in the world today and then tied it in with the Atonement and how it is just so overwhelming to think about all he went through. So pretty much we just sat there and let them talk about the Atonement and we would sometimes share a scripture to keep them talking. Then the guy said that he had started reading his scriptures again and then she asked if he was wanting to come back to church and he said not yet. But I have faith that they will in the near future. When we finished we asked if we could leave them with a prayer and they said yes and automatically knelt down on the ground. After, we set a return appointment and then left them in tears. Later that night we got this text from her: “Thank you Sisters.  This is Sister ___.  I feel like the spirit was sending you two as a message to me/us.  Very powerful.”  I know that we were lead to this couple. 

We have three solid investigators right now and the one we got last week is going to get baptized on June 13th!!!

Have you tried any new foods?

We had split pea soup this week.  I was good and ate it and am so grateful for members who feed us.  Of course, it wasn’t my favorite, but, as you know, peas are my least favorite food ever.  Who knows, I may actually like vegetables when I come home.

Any awkward moments?

That awkward moment when… you can’t remember any of your awkward moments because there were so many...
I will be really surprised if I don't get transferred.  I hope Sister Bee is able to stay in Augusta for another transfer.  It would be good for her, the members and investigators.  She has grown so much since she got here and I think staying would give her the opportunity to grow even more without me, her trainer, here with her.  I will miss having her as my companion though. 

 I will send you more pictures next week.  Love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In the top picture the Elders bent down so we didn't feel so short.  This is how tall they really are. :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Freezing in Maine!

Were you able to do contacts and tracting like normal last week during the big freeze?

Yeah a little bit but it was super cold so most people only opened their door a crack.

Yeah we had exchanges on Wednesday and Thursday and it was bitter outside as we went tracting. The Elders called and said that the wind chill was going to be -30 degrees! It killed and made your eyes water!  Today we got up and looked outside and it was snowing.

Have you been able to find any new possibles/investigators?

YES! So our one investigator, S is doing awesome and we finally met her husband and she invited him to join us in our lessons and he said sure! During exchanges Sis. B went with the other Sister there and read the Book of Mormon and she had a lot of questions and was excited and they had her say the closing prayer and she was just so happy. Then...

How does the member missionary program work in your ward?  Do you ever get member referrals?

We got a referral from Bishop named M. We got it on Friday then went to contact her on Saturday. She let us right in and was sooo happy to see us.We talked to her about her religious background and what she wants and how we are here to be her guides to help her come closer to Christ. She said that that is what she wants and she wants to change her life. So I extended a soft baptismal commitment and she said yes! Then she said she wanted to come to church and meet with us twice a week! She came to church yesterday and loved it! She stayed for all three hours and is excited to meet with us on Tuesday and Thursday. She also already knows that in order to be baptized she has to quit smoking, stop drinking coffee and get married to the guy she is living with. So she is already trying to quit coffee and cigarettes and is engaged just so she can get baptized!

Did anything in particular happen this week that strengthened your testimony?

So we had to teach the Gospel Principles class again and it was the first lesson which is about Heavenly Father. We had someone read one of the paragraphs in the book about how God is a Father to us. Well there was this one less active in there who said "I don't believe that. He hasn't provided for me." Sis B and I stood in silent shock for a second and then Sis B bore her testimony about how he loves us as we would love our own kids. She didn't respond so I also bore my testimony about how I know He is there for all of us. I don't remember what I said but I do remember how I felt. I could feel Him using me as His mouthpiece to tell this lady that there is a God and that He loves her. It was kind of interesting because I just looked right into her eyes as I talked and when I finally broke eye contact after I finished she looked down and let out a huge breath of air as if she were holding her breath. It was intense. At least I know that if I anything I can bare testimony that there is a God and He is our loving Heavenly Father.

Now that you are braver and eating all kinds of new things, has there been anything that surprised you lately or that was way different from what you usually eat?

I had deer stew with sweet potatoes and prunes in it. I also tried coleslaw and I still don't like it.  I'm not picky at all.

If you could give one piece of advice to young men and young women considering serving a mission, what would it be?

If you truly want to grow in your testimony, come closer to God, change people's lives, and find the real best you then go on a mission. As soon as you get that confirmation to go don't hesitate, don't question it just go. Because the time you waste questioning it is the time that the adversary will come and tell you that you aren't good enough to go. You won't regret it 

What is your favorite part about serving in Maine?

The people and the opportunities. 
The other day we got to go give a presentation about our church with the Senior Sisters to a group of women at the Episcopal church. It went great! They had a lot of questions and some had even read from the Book of Mormon. The lady who invited us even testified about how even though she hadn't read it all the way through she knew that it was a divinely inspired book and not written by mere man! They told us that everyone loved it. They also said to give them a week and a half to process it and then they would have us back!

That awkward moment when....

... you lose the phone twice...  Ok, so our phone just liked to slide off Sister Bee’s lap this week as we got in and out of the car.

I think I am getting transferred at the end of the month :( Whenever a missionary is about to get transferred they can tell and there are some signs of it too.

1. Everyone keeps asking if I am leaving 

2. I feel like I am leaving (feeling like I have to rush and all of the sudden have all these ideas for the area, I keep telling Sister Bee things to do after I am gone, it's changed from "If I leave" to "When I leave")

3. All of the sudden our area went from kind of dead to having 2 progressing investigators and almost another one (Normally when a missionary leaves their area it is all of the sudden booming. Ex. when I left Manch we all of the sudden had 5 investigators)

Aahhhh!!!! So much has happened this week and I wasn’t even able to share much of it with you before running out of time.

Love you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  See you in 8 ½ months.

Sorry I didn't send pictures last week.  To make up for it her are some from the last two weeks.

E cheering us on as we taught Gospel Essentials
Going to do service at the hospital in our not-so-cute Walmart blue vests

New Year's Eve with the district

New Year's Eve

The post office is in the castle-like building

We had family home evening with this cute family

The lake is frozen over.  They are starting to move ice fishing huts on to it.

Moose Chili at E's house

E taught the lesson this week.  This is his visual aid.  Sis Bee, Me and E.

Cold but beautiful!

Oops!  We found it in the parking lot.


. . . except when Sis B decided that she didn't like how she looked and hid behind her scarf!