Monday, December 26, 2011

Sister Melly's Post Christmas Posting

Dearest Family,

Not much to say today. I guess I did just see you last night! Not much has happened this last week- just sent sister K off to home and then a couple days running around with Sister Wilson in Elmwood and then a couple days of taking care of my companion. Not much to report. Sister Askren received news last night that a man that she reactivated and whose wife she taught and was baptized soon after she left the area died of lung cancer and his funeral is tomorrow in Lincoln, so President gave us permission to go but that means that we have to cut three hours off of our p-day, so we are a little more rushed than usual. This week should be a better week. Sister Askren is almost better which means that we should be able to get out and do some real missionary work soon, which is exciting.
To send pictures, it would probably be easiest for me if you print them out and send them. I did the puzzle on a p-day (I wanted to do the whole thing, but decided I would get way too stressed about it because I didn't have a whole lot of time, as usual) and did the book while we were doing chat between chats and while we were waiting for the person to respond.
Hope you are having a great day! Love you! Thanks again for the Christmas presents. Love you again!
Sister Melly

Message from Sister Melly’s mom: We got to Skype with Sister Melly last night. She looks great and is happy. Her new companion, Sister Askren has two transfers left so Sister Melanie is planning on “killing” her too – I guess that means being her last companion and sending her home.  They are assigned to the Trail Center and Sister Lamb’s Oakview Ward.

They attended the Oakview Ward yesterday and then a Christmas dinner and then a party with the Trail Center Sister Missionaries and Senior Couples and then Skyped with us at 7:30 MST for 40 minutes. She told us that she got to talk to us one month after she entered the MTC (on her way to Omaha), then she talked to us three months later  (last night) and then we will hear from her in five months at Mother’s day and then seven months after that – next Christmas. We all see the 1-3-5-7 as a lucky pattern. All is well in the Corn (stubble) Field, so good to see her!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sister Melanie - Merry Christmas

Sister Melanie sent this on December 20 but I have been to Iowa City and Nauvoo for my niece, Jamie's wedding.  - Her mom

Dearest Family,
Love you!
This has been a crazy week, but more specifically, a crazy couple of days. I don't even know where to start. Sister Kusnerik hasn't been telling anyone in our ward that she is going home (well went home today), so last week when she starting revealing the news, everyone suddenly wanted to have us over for dinner. We have had more invitations than we could even handle.
On Monday, we had lunch with Sister Young and some of the other ladies from the ward and then had a FHE with the Young family that night. Brother Young, who was just released from the Bishopric, went in for surgery this Thursday to have a tumor removed from near his spine. During the FHE, it was clear that he was in a lot of pain. He could only sit still for a couple of minutes before he would have to shift positions to be able to deal with the pain. Before we went to teach them, we had felt prompted to talk about prayer, and as we discussed the answers that we have each seen to our prayers, we felt prompted to make them a promise, that if they would counsel with the Lord, especially in the next couple of days, that they would see miracles. We anxiously awaited to hear the results of the surgery on Friday. Since then, we have learned that Brother Young's tumor was cancerous, unlike they had thought. However, it was not touching any nerves but was sitting in the spinal cavity. Only 30 people have had this type of cancer before, and now he makes 31. They were able to completely remove all of the cancer and he will not have to do any chemotherapy or radiation. He is still very weak, but well on his way to recovery. I feel like, if nothing else, Sister Kusnerik and I needed to be in the Oakview Ward these last three months to provide opportunities for miracles to happen. We have seen several experiences where people, by keeping their end of the promise made to them, were able to see miracles in their situations. Those miracles were only able to happen because, through missionaries, Heavenly Father set the terms and gave them an opportunity to be blessed through their obedience. It scares me to think about what could have happened if any one of the people involved in these situations were not prepared and faithful to the promise given to them.
On Wednesday, we had another lunch appointment, this time with Sister Roads. Through some
miscommunication, we accidentally went to the wrong place to meet her and were not able to contact her because she does not have a cell phone. Since we were already in the area, we decided to go out to lunch ourselves at a place called Hu Hot, which is apparently very popular among many of the Elders. It turns out that what it is like a make your own stir-fry. You get a bowl, fill it with raw meat, vegetables, noodles, and sauces, then they stir fry it for you. But that is really not important. What the interesting thing was that as soon as we were seated, something felt kind of weird. As we went up the counter where they stir-fry the food, it was even more weird. The spirit was not there at all and we could feel it so strongly, but it was amazing how sensitive we were to it. The farther away we got from the counter, the better we felt, but it was clear that there was something going on there. Our best guess is that there are some major issues going on between the workers there or that one of them is involved in some very serious sins. We were fine, but it was just really crazy.
On Thursday, we went out to our area to go to an appointment, but as we were driving, found out that
the appointment had cancelled. As we were trying to decide what to do, we got a little lost and ended up near a trailer park in the area where a couple investigators and members live. We stopped outside of one of the member’s homes. I was about to tell Sister K that there would be no way she would be home because she works during the day, but I didn’t. When we knocked on the door, she was home. She had been having some troubles with insurance companies and one had called her at work and made her very upset, so she had left early. As usual, we just happened (well not really) to be at the right place at the right time. All I can say is that God is so aware of us. He is so aware of everything that is going on in our lives. I do not know how anyone can deny that there is a God or that this church is not true when we have so many experiences like this. It happens every day. I can't even tell you the number of times that we have been in the right place at exactly the right time. It is way too many to just be coincidence. There is no such thing as coincidence anyways.
Yesterday morning, I dropped Sister Kusnerik off at the mission office for her interview with President Kuntz and then headed off with Sister Wilson for district meeting. Everyone keeps asking me if I am so sad to see her leave. I feel bad for saying this but I really am not. I know that I have learned a lot from her and that she is a great missionary, but I am so ready for some change. With all of the preparations for her leaving, I feel like our dedication and obedience has really suffered. I am so excited to now be with Sister Wilson. She feels like the exact same thing has happened with her companionship, and we are both ready to rededicate ourselves and work our little tails off. The next couple of days are going to be awesome. I can feel it. Last night, we went to go check on a less-active in the Oakview ward. They were not home, so we started knocking doors in the same circle. We saw a woman walking her dogs and went to go talk to her, but she disappeared down a side walk with a fence on each side that extended between the homes and let through the backyards to another part of the subdivision. We started after her, but after 5 or 10 minutes, were not getting any closer to her and she was becoming aware of someone following her. We decided to stop so as not to scare her, and right after found a group a teenagers walking home from school. I guess that is why we were following her. We gave them cards and invited them to the gingerbread festival and then headed back to the car. It was hilarious.
Hope you are all preparing for a wonderful Christmas! I will talk to you soon!
As soon as I get my new companion on Thursday and we figure out when and where we are going to Skype, I will have one of the senior couple sisters call you and figure everything out.
Ok love you!
Sister Melly

These pictures and the one above of the Gingerbread Festival
from Sister Lamb's Mission Mom's Blog

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Treasures of the Trail Center - Posted by the Mission Mom of the Nebraska Omaha Mission - Sister Kunz

it is not the artifacts, the huge stuffed bison,
the lovely painting or displays...

these amazing seniors and sisters are our

'Trail Center Treasures'.

We appreciate their dedication

and love them with all our hearts!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sister Melan Type Cast as a Super Hero

December 12, 2011

Dearest Family,

We are having a discussion right now about how fast we type. I always look over at Sister Kusnerik's computer and she has a couple of pages written on her third or fourth email that she has written in our hour allotment. Then there is me. I can hardly write a short email to President Kunz, something in response to the email Mom wrote, and then write this email. It takes me forever. Maybe the hardest part is that I never know what to say and I start looking back at the past week and I feel like we didn’t do anything worth writing and then when my the time is almost gone  I find something to write about and type it out, there is no time left. Sister Proctor offered to type for me, but I an not sure I would know what to tell her to say or that she would think I was silly/ weird for writing the things that I wrote. Ha ha. Maybe by the end of my mission I will learn to be a faster typist. Probably not. Or maybe I will just learn how to pell words, because it seems that I am not doing a very good job at that. (Look, I didn't even spell the word spell right). That’s terrible.
This last week . . . what did we do? Nothing. Not a thing. It really doesn’t bother me that much that people don’t always want to listen to us or suddenly stop calling us back or whatever. I probably should care more. I have just come to expect it,  I think. You kind of start to feel when someone is losing interest or when you are starting to waste your time with someone, even if you haven't seen or talked to them. We literally just did not have any time in our area this last week. A lot of it has to do with things that Sister Kusnerik needs to get done, either in the Trail Center or in preparation for going home. As much as I have learned from her and grown and changed and have enjoyed being her companion, I am ready for something new, for a change. I think that she is too. Today, we have been doing some shopping for her for shoes and a new outfit to wear home. It is interesting to see her normal style, because it is not the same as her missionary style (obviously).
Let’s see, one very exciting thing that happened this week was that we were finally able to meet Julia’s dad. She is the girl who came up to her friend Matt and asked how to become a Mormon and has been coming to church ever since. Her dad was really nice, laid-back but responsible, and told us that she can do whatever she would like as long as she has seriously thought through it and knows exactly what she is getting into. So, it looks like we may be having a baptism very soon! Pretty exciting. Everyone else seems to be putting us off until after Christmas. I understand that. The holidays are a busy time for everyone and family should come first. Well, second I guess. After Christ. They just don't know it yet.
On Thursday, we had district meeting. We drove together from the church building to Olive Garden to have lunch for Sister K's last district lunch. We went around the table and each person told one thing that they admire about every other person. It took a little while, and I was really not on board at first, but it ended up being a really good experience. I think that it was exactly what a lot of the missionaries in our district needed. My favorite moment was that when they got to me, Sister K started singing "Sister Lamb keeps me safe from sin, Sister Lamb is the power to win, etc, and everyone joined in. Ha ha. It was great. Other great moment, while we were there, it started snowing and the roads were getting a little slippery. On the way back, we saw a car that had slid off the road, so we pulled over in our 12 passenger van and 8 elders piled out and pushed the car out, we handed them some pass along cards, jumped back in the van, and sped off. It was like some crazy, weird super heroes or something. They have not idea what hit them. Well I guess they do. The MORMONS! After we got our car, we went to the Old Mill sisters’ apartment to do training. While we were there, the cars were grounded, so we had a surprise sleepover there. It was a lot of fun. Sister Baker and I went to visit/ help a less active that lives near by and we read some talks and caught up on training that we had missed in the last couple of days. We are almost done! This week the last week of the 12 week training program, and then I am officially a trained missionary! Ah ha! Sister Baker and I also were writing in the snow as we went to the less active’s apartment. We wrote "Jesus loves you" in the snow, but we passed by a couple minutes later and someone had parked over the top of the J so it said "esus loves you". We also tried to write in cursive but I accidentally did cursive n’s instead of m's so it said nornon. It was a good try. Oh, and we made snow angels. And handed out some pass along cards and met some former investigators. It was great.
Well, that is all the time I have for this week.
Love you!
Sister Melan

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas in the Cornfield

Dear Family,
As always, I love you!

Mom- I got your second package right after I emailed you last week! Best package ever! I loved it so much. We went home and set up the tree right away. It is in our bedroom. So cute. The pillowcases are really cute too. I am going to give one of the extra ones to my secret Santa sister. I don't know what I am going to do with the other one yet. We will see. As soon as I pulled out the David Archuletta CD, we both got really excited and stuck it in my CD player to listen to until bed. I don't think that we have listened to any other CDs since I got it. We listen to it while we get ready in the morning, we listed to it while we are driving, and we took it up to the Trail Center and loaded it onto the computer that plays the music in the lobby so we can listen to it all day. Ha ha. We love it!

Wow. This week. I can hardly even remember what has happened but there has been a lot this week, I think. After I emailed last time, Beth and Sam Myers came to the Trail Center and we took them on tour. It was good. We talked a lot and she had some questions about repentance. They were both really tired, so that was the only struggle. We saw them again on Sunday for the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. Afterwards, we asked them what they thought. Sam didn't say much, but Beth could only nit-pick at things like that she thought the prophet's presentation style was creepy and that she didn't like the casting in the portions of the New Testament clips that they showed. Even when we tried to bring up the message of the devotional, she only wanted to criticize and argue with us. It was really sad to see. They are great and I love both of them so much, but Sister Kusnerik and I have both felt that we have done everything that we can for them. One day, I am sure that she will get baptized. But, she has some changes to make before she is going to be ready to accept the gospel.

Giant Gingerbread House at the Trail Center
On Friday, it was zone leader council, so all of the Trail Center trainers and the trainers that are training missionaries that just got here (well I guess almost a month ago) were in a meeting for most of the day. Of all the sisters who's companions were at the meeting, only one other sister and I were approved to drive, so I got to drive all over the place to pick people up and take them to the Trail Center and then return them afterwards. It was great. I love driving.

On Saturday, we had several awesome appointments lined up that we were super excited for, but while we were at the trail center in the morning, it started to snow. By noon, our cars had been grounded, so we could not go out to our area, so we had to cancel all of our appointments, which was sad. We did get to shovel the walks of the Trail Center until the Elders came to take over and then tromped down the beautiful snowy lanes by the Trail Center to get back to our apartments. It was gorgeous. We spent the rest of the day doing weekly planning and catching up on training that we had missed earlier in the week. By the end of the night, I was pretty sick of our apartment.

On Sunday, we got to have an amazing experience with a friend of one of the Young Women in our ward. We got a text on Saturday night from Bip (Elizabeth) asking if we could come to her house on Sunday night to meet one of her friends. The girl's name is Carol. She is a high school senior, dating a 25 year old (who was also there, although sleeping through a good part of the lesson). But anyway, we felt like we needed to teach her about the Plan of Salvation. As we taught, the lesson focused on our divine nature. It was so powerful. She opened up half way through the lesson that she had been in a very abusive relationship with someone else for almost three years and was very emotionally scarred from it. After we taught her about pre-earth life and our purpose in this life, we invited her to pray to ask God if He loves her. She did right then. The spirit was so strong and everyone involved was crying. It was amazing. We are meeting with her again this afternoon and I am so excited! She is a great girl and is starting to learn that. I know that God loves each of His children so much. I have been able to feel that so strongly while on my mission. He wants us to be happy and through Christ everything, be it mental or emotional or physical, can be healed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is so powerful. It can change people's lives so quickly when they truly understand it.

Well, time is slipping away from me as usual, so it is time to wrap up, although I feel like I have hardly written anything. Humbug.

It is starting to look a lot like Christmas here! I love looking at Christmas lights as we drive through the neighborhoods. It keeps me happy.

Love you!

 Sister Melly