Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sister Lamb's Random Photo Gallery

Quilt Sister Melanie helped make for the Trail Center Quilt Show
Quilt the Sisters made for the Quilt Show
Sister Lamb and unnamed investigator
Sister Lamb's tour
Sister Melly loves squash?
Sister Lamb's lamb ears
Sister Lamb relaxes after doing service
Sister Lamb's cornfield birthday card

Sister Melly's pop up balloon birthday present
Making a stained glass/gingerbread nativity scene
Crushed candy for nativity scene

Baking nativity scene panel
Cooling nativity scene

All three panels of nativity scene for Gingerbread Festival

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sister Melly's White Christmas and a Holiday Poem


Here are a few things that I copied form my emails to President Weston and Elder Watson.

Talk to you soon!

We had a baptism this week! It was great. it was a woman named Holly, sho has been investigating the Church for about 9 months now. Just a week ago, I wondered whether it was really going to happen but I think that all she needed was for someone to show some faith in her, which is something she often lacks in herself. But, she made it! Sunday was her birthday and was also the day that she reeived the gift of the Holy Ghost, which I thout was a very appropriate gift. I have already seen a change in her. Her emotions are very level all the time, so it is often difficult to gauge how she is feeling, but she seems happier since being baptized and receiving the Holy Ghost.
On Saturday, a group of three teenagers came into the Trail Center on Saturday afternoon. The two girls were sisters who were in Omaha picking up their brother from the airport. They live several hours away and discovered when they arrived that the brother's plane was not going to arrive for an additional 8 hours after they had planned. So, needless to say, they had a lot of extra time on their hands. They decided to bring their friend, David, who was with them, to the Trail Center to see the gingerbread festival and then I was also able to take them on tour. David is not a member of our church, so it was the perfect set-up! Both they and I explained and testified to him about the gospel and at the end, I shared with him in Moroni 10:3-5. He said that he would like to know if the Book of Mormon was true and asked for a copy before I even offered it. He gave me his information for both at home and at school and said he would go to church with his friends this last Sunday. Pretty cool!

It was one of those situations that were entirely me being able to be at the right place at the right time and being able to witness a miracle in the life of another person. It’s great!

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through Omaha

Not a senior was stirring, not even Elder Openshaw

The referrals had been entered into the computer with care,

In hopes that Joy to the World soon would be there.

The Elders were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of baptisms danced in their heads.

And Sister Weston in her ‘kerchief and President in his cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.

When down at the Trail Center there arose such a clatter,

President sprang from his bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the TC he flew like a flash,

To his car and down the street he went in a dash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.

When, what to his wondering eyes should appear,

But Elder’s Watson’s Mercedes and . . . .the sisters are here?

With a great director so lively and quick.

He knew in a moment it could not be Saint Nick.

More rapid than eagles, the sisters, they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Proctor! Now Arnold! Now Baker and Bown!

On, Lamby! On, Watson! On, Davis and Brown!

Here, take this tour! You, make this call!

Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

And then, in a twinkling, he heard in the call center

The tapping and typing, new contacts they enter.

As President drew back his head, and was turning around,

Down the hall Elder Watson came with a bound.

He was dressed all in grey from his head to his foot.

And his clothes were ironed and very well put.

A box of Book of Mormons he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes- how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the hair of his head was as white as the snow.

He was giving directions, ordering left and right,

“Give away this Book of Mormon! Get it out of my sight!”

He had a broad face and a laugh always ready

But as the sisters they sang, his tears became steady.

He spoke a few words, and went straight to his work,

The sisters took some more tours and began to convert.

Sharing some scriptures and a pioneer story,

They promised each person Celestial glory.

President watched with amazement as the continued their quest.

He knew that the sisters would do without rest.

But he heard them exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,

“Salvation for all, and to all a good night!”
Note from Sister Melanie's Mom: Being Christmas we got to SKYPE with Sister Melly yesterday. It was also p-day so she sent us a email before we talked to her. She looks great and is very happy. Next week will be her last transfer and then in 6 weeks I will be traveling to Omaha to bring her home. Last week she sent us 3 thumb drives full of pictures so I will share some later.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sister Lamb Weathers Viral Germs and Preschool Reality

Hello Family!
Love you!
This last week, we were in the Trail Center on Monday and all day Wednesday. Tuesday was p-day and then we had all of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to be in West Maple. But that plan didn't work out too well. After we had zone meeting on Thursday, I was starting to feel a little crummy. We had a performance at the Oakview
Mall (which went fine.) it felt like we were mostly performing for each other and other people were wandering in and out and listening for a few minutes. I spent the remainder of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in bed. It was boring. But I feel fine now!

So basically, the missionary work that I did this week was all compacted into a couple of days at the beginning of the week. There is one tour that particularly sticks out in my mind. It was a father with 5 kids who was on a business trip in Omaha for a few days and wanted to some see what was here. Did I tell you this story last week? I might have happened on Monday. No, I think it was on Wednesday. (It was just him). I prayed so hard before the tour to have it be a converting experience for him as we went through the gallery. We had a good conversation as we discussed about the pioneers, their sacrifices, their faith, and especially the example that they set for us; that we need to be like them! At the end of the tour, he just said, "Wow. That was a very humbling experience." I could tell that his mind was weighed down with things that he would continue to think about afterwards. I don't know what to say about it more than that. I hate the fact that so often, we cannot see the difference we are making in the lives of other people, but even just a simple statement like the one this man said was a reminder to me that we do make a difference. If he said and thought that, how many other people are there that are thinking the same or similar things, but don't say anything out loud.

Something else that I learned this last week is that you need to be aware of your audience. A preschool group of 3 year olds came into the Trail Center unexpectedly, so I took half of the group into the theater and talked to them for a few minutes before starting "Zion in the Wilderness." About 2 minutes into the film, all I could think about was how ridiculously over their heads the video was and they all began to become restless. I was feeling like too much of an idiot to stop the film, so we all just suffered through the rest of it and then took a quick tour around the gallery. Showing "Zion in the Wilderness" to a bunch of 3-year-olds: not the best idea. Note taken.

Even though we were not able to spend a lot of time in our area this week, miracles were happening! We got something like 6 new referrals- mainly from the Gingerbread Festival. Which is exciting. Other exciting news includes that Holly is getting baptized on Saturday! We are exercising our faith that she will be ready and that she will pass her interview, but we feel like this is the right thing to do. We are seeing her every day this week (with the exception of yesterday because we had another performance- this one at the Westroads Mall. It was our last.) So, yeah! It’s crazy!

Love you!
Sister Melly

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sister Lamb's Christmas Solo and New New Year Plan

Hello Family!
Love you!
This last week has been a cold one. I finally had to pull out my big, warm winter coat, although I am avoiding wearing it as much as possible because it is so annoying to wear a coat when we are constantly getting in and out of the car and going in and out of homes, but better than being out in the cold for long periods of time.
It was a fun week with new adventures.
After p-day on Monday, we stopped by our recent converts - the Buetow's- apartment for a minute to ask them a question. They were babysitting 3 of their former neighbor's kids (12, 10, and 7) and were eating dinner. When they were finished, we gathered everyone in the living room for a story. We told them the story of Ammon and cutting off the arms. They decided that the moral of the story was that you should love and serve your enemies. We had fun. The next morning, we were able to go back and do some service for the Buetows. They do not have a car and have not been able to do laundry for a little while, so we took all of their laundry and washed and dried and folded it for them. I love the Buetows. I was so happy that they allowed us to help them.
Then, from Tuesday afternoon to Saturday afternoon, we were not in our area at all! We worked in the Trail Center, had district meeting, did service at the medical clinic, and had a rehearsal for our Christmas performances. Here is the big surprise: . .. . . I am singing a solo in the Christmas performances. Yikes! It’s just the first verse of "O Holy Night" and then Sisters Jarman and Brown sing the other verses. Also, Sisters Davis and Proctor and I sing another song. The first performance was on Saturday at the Gingerbread Festival. It went pretty well, but I was definitely nervous.
When Saturday finally came and we were in West Maple again, we only had about three hours because we needed to weekly plan, but we were able to teach 4 lessons in those 3 hours. First, we saw Tatiana- who actually had texted us on Friday asking if we could stop by. She always has a question to ask us. This time, it was "Why do we need to go to church?" We read from Mosiah 18 and Moroni 7 (?) and talked about strengthening each other, taking the Sacrament, being unified, staying on the path. We also invited her to be baptized, to which she said yes, but no solid date yet. Then, we contacted a referral- a 25ish man who went to Temple Square and has heard a lot of crazy things about the church, but thought that he should go straight to the source to find out what we really believe. We are seeing him again next week. We also saw two less actives, including Sister Larrabee, who has cancer and lives by herself in senior housing. We shared a Christmas message and helped her set up some Christmas decorations and listened to Christmas music, which got all of us pretty excited and happy.
Sunday was a great day as well! More miracles! We were able to teach 2 member present lessons (which we have been struggling with lately). The best of the three was with Holly. Together, we made a list of 30 things we are grateful for and talked about how much God loves her specifically. God could have given someone else these blessings, but he chose to give them to HER. Brother Griffin jumped in as well and told her over and over that God loves her. We told her that she just needs to tell herself that she believe it and have faith in herself and that eventually, she will really believe it and then later, she will know it! We think she is doing just that because later that night, when we saw her again, she was asking what time her baptism was going to be at in 2 weeks (on the 22nd).
We are starting to look forward to the new year. This last Sunday in Missionary Correlation Meeting, our ward mission leader mentioned about the ward is beginning to write the new Ward Mission Plan for the new year. We are excited for this new plan and hope to be able to help in the creation of the ward mission plan so that we can work more in harmony with the ward and be able to help them in their missionary efforts.
I am so grateful for the 12-week training program and being able to go through the training again with Sister Anderson. One great effect that the 12 week program has helped us with is thinking of new ways to find people. We have been studying this subject a lot recently. We recognize that there is great potential in using family history is finding and also working closely with ward members to find people to teach. The hard part is that I feel like I have gotten a little stuck in the way that I do things and that it is difficult to change, simply because I do not confidently know how to do anything but what I have been doing for so long. We want to spend a lot more time with members, we want to learn more about family history and use it in our tracting, and we also want to find more opportunities to serve people. In the experience that I have had with offering service, it has been extremely effective. A few months ago, we were able to find several new investigators in one afternoon just by offering to rake people's leaves for them. We would also like to help the ward better focus on missionary work as they plan for ward activities.
We hope that with the new year coming (especially with the creation of a new ward mission plan); we will be able to change the way that we and the ward approaches missionary work.
Ok. That's enough from me. Love you!
Don't freeze!
Love, Sister Melly

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sister Lamb's 7 Minute Letter and a 12 Children Prediction

Hello Family!

I love you!

When I say that I don't have a lot of time this week, I really mean it. I only have 7 minutes, so we will have to make this quick.

Lately, there have been a lot of firesides/ devotionals/ etc that I have been hearing that are about gratitude, so maybe I need to be a little more grateful.

Something great that has been happening this week is that we have been getting a lot of referrals. We got one on Monday that came from Temple Square- a young guy who is Catholic, but said that he would like to learn. We met his mom, who seemed nice, but surprised to see us on her doorstep asking for her son. We also got one from the Trail Center and another from our stake president, but we just received both of those today, so we don't know much about them yet.

Other good things include that we got our Christmas tree set up and I got your package in the mail just before emailing. I hope that I was supposed to open it now :). Because I already did.

On Friday, we had a dinner appointment with someone in the ward. We weren't entirely sure who it was, but were pretty sure that it was a young, single lady. When we got to her home, a man opened the door. We told him who we were looking for, and he told us that he didn't know who it was, that they were Jehovah Witnesses and that we could come in. We were really confused but he told us to come inside. Turns out he is actually a member of our ward but is on the high council, so we didn't recognize him. He apparently loves to play jokes on the missionaries. The woman we were having dinner with lives with him and his wife.

Sister Anderson took her first tours yesterday. I didn't want to push her into it before she felt at least a little ready. I wanted it to be her choice and was helping her to set a goal for when her first solo tour would be, but I was getting a little nervous because she kept putting it off. Finally on Saturday night, she was trying to get me to practice singing for the concerts, but I really didn't want to, so I made a deal with her that if she would give a tour on Sunday, that I would sing. It worked like a charm. She gave two tours on Sunday.

On Sunday evening, towards the end of the night, a family came upstairs from the Gingerbread Festival and started heading straight for the gallery. I intercepted them and offered to show them around. They were from Bulgaria, but now live in Omaha, but that is really not that important. The first thing that the father said as we walked into the gallery was "Is that Joseph Smith?" I then proceeded to tell them about Joseph Smith and the first vision and prophets. At first, their attention was all on me, but as we continued talking, one by one, family members drifted off until it was just the father and me talking about the importance of prophets and possibility of there being one on the earth today. In the end, he agreed that we need a prophet, but didn't believe that there could be one. I just bore my testimony one more time, to which he responded "Is it all right it we just wander around the gallery ourselves?"

I don't know why I share this experience with you other than as much as I hate when people don't like something that I try to share with them, at least I know that I am doing my job as a missionary.

The other funny thing that happened was that a group of 14 kids (all cousins between 4 and 7 years old) with 3 adults was here. As I was shouting out orders to the kids, one of the mom's said "You should have 12 kids." NO thank you

Ok, so a little longer that I expected, but I did copy and paste some things that I had already written to Elder Watson.

Love you!

Sister Melly

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sister Melanie's Gratitude Attack on Thanksgiving

Hello Family!
Love you!
Alright, so first things first. As you know, transfers were this last week. We didn't find out what would be happening until Thursday morning. But the results are. .. .. Drum roll please. ... . Sister Davis is going to be serving in Council Bluffs with Sister Jarman (they live just right below us) and I am training one of the new sisters, Sister Anderson. She is from Visalia, California. On Thursday morning, Sister Davis and I were asked to take all the new missionaries on tour at the Trail Center (there are 2 sisters- Holt and Anderson- and four elders). Then, that night, they came to the Thanksgiving dinner at the Trail Center where one of the senior sisters accidentally let it slip that I was going to be training one of them (the new sisters didn't know what would be happening yet- I had a feeling that was going to happen) but then they found out later that night and we had transfers on Friday morning.
Missionaries often call the person being trained the baby and the trainer the mom (or dad). So I guess you have another grandchild! Ha-ha. I actually really don't like when people call new missionaries babies. I think it is weird.
Thanksgiving was so fun! After we took the new missionaries on tour, we completed a master plan to gratitude attack all of the senior couples. The only problem is that most of them live in the same, locked apartment complex. We came up with quite the scheme. We had the Openshaws let us and the Fairview sisters in under the premise that we were going to decorate just the Going's door (Sister Going is the senior sister that has cancer). Then the Fairview sisters played decoy by asking to use the Openshaw's bathroom. When they were gone, we doubled back and let the Millard and Council Bluffs sisters in, then split up to go decorate doors. When we were done, we went to go get the Fairviews from the apartment and left. The other sisters almost got caught by Elder Openshaw when he chased us down to give us fruit snacks. Then they went to decorate the Openshaw’s door. It was probably more of a scheme than was really necessary, but when we were done, we felt like we had pulled off a bank robbery or something. After that, we made rolls and green bean casserole, then watched "Brave" at the Trail Center, had dinner with the senior couples, sang songs, and watched "The Best Two Years". The best two years is about a new missionary that has a totally deadbeat, disobedient trainer. By the end, the new missionary is able to get the trainer going again and everything turns out great, but all I could think of was worrying that that would be Sister Anderson and I. Ha-ha.
But, it has actually been really good. We have been doing the 12 week training program, just like I did at the beginning of my mission, which has been a good refresher so far. When we are in the Trail Center, she has just been shadowing my tours, which is a little scary to have someone watching and copying your every move, but it has given me just enough stress to make me work a little harder and be a little better. It has also helped me to realize that I am doing a lot better than I thought I was. I just had to blast through a couple of fears and I am doing just fine. I hope that I can say the same for Sister Anderson. She is really great. She loves being a missionary and I appreciate her willingness and eagerness to do the work. She is confident and trusts in the Lord. She is going to be a great missionary. The work in our area is already starting to improve and we are finding new people to teach and have a renewed hope for those that we are already teaching. I expect many great miracles in the next few months!
Love YOU!
Sister Melly

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from Sister Melanie

Hello Family!

Love you! Happy Thanksgiving!

The email that I am using is all different all of a sudden and it makes me feel a little confused, but I guess that I will just type and hope that it all works out in the end.

Last week was a short p-day so that we could go to the temple on Friday

I feel like I keep noticing not necessary last times that things are happening, but just that the number of times that I will do some things is becoming very limited. Like for instance, I will only go to the temple maybe 2 more times before the end. Only 12 p-days and 12 weekly planning sessions. After tomorrow, I will only anxiously wait to hear about transfers one more time. Sometimes time feels like it is going very slowly, but then all of a sudden I look back and it feels like time has flown by. Already, the sisters who I feel like just got here a few weeks ago are moving into their second transfer and two new sisters arrived in Omaha yesterday. Sister Davis and I are going to be taking them and the new elders on a tour of the Trail Center tomorrow morning. 4 sisters- Atkin, Dubois, Rhoades, and Robertson all flew home this morning. Its kind of a surreal thing because we only see each other a few times a week, so in a way it just feels like they are still here somewhere, I just haven’t seen them in a little bit. I remember before my mission, in a mission prep class at BYU, the teacher told us to be careful at the end of our missions not to just work hard the first half and then ride out the rest, but that is so much easier to say than it is to do! It is so easy to just slip into the mentality of "Oh, I only have a couple of months left, so I don't really need to .. ." or "I know that I need to work on. . . but in just a couple of months, it won't matter, so maybe I just won't worry about it." The more I think about it, the more I feel like I still have a lot of things that I need to learn and improve upon. It stresses my out sometimes. This morning, though I was reading through part of my journal from last February- so about 9 months ago- and I could definitely recognize the difference in myself since then. My whole way of thinking has changed, but I still know that I have room for improvement.

This last week, we had zone meeting, led by the zone leaders. They told us about a lot of changes that are coming to the way that we are doing missionary work. What it sounds to me like is that Heavenly Father is hastening the gathering big time right now. What they are asking us to do is to be prepared to share a brief summary of the restoration or plan of salvation (less than 2 minutes) and be able to share it with each person that we talk to. We are also supposed to invite every person that we meet to be baptized the first time that we teach them or talk to them. It is definitely a more bold approach to missionary work, but is helping us to identify the elect and to make sure that the people that we are teaching understand our purpose and why we are visiting them. With this, they also reminded us that our purpose is not to friendship- that is the responsibility of the members- our responsibility is just to teach. We still have a great love for our investigators and care about their opinions and ideas, but we are not there to just sit and chat with them. In zone conference, there was some opposition to the new ideas that were presented, but we were reminded that this is Lord's work and we are to do it His way.

I had a neat experience with prayer this last week. Some days, I just don't feel very satisfied at the end of the day with what I was able to accomplish. I think through my time at the Trail Center or in our area and don't always have a bunch of numbers to show for the time we spent working that day, so I feel like I didn't accomplish anything. In my personal study, as I was studying about faith and humility and obedience, I was reminded again that we are not expected to be perfect. Conversion is a life-long process. I was making myself overwhelmed by trying to think about and work on all of my weaknesses at the same time and making myself miserable. I finally decided to pray to ask Heavenly Father what He wanted me to do that day to be better. It started out with something small: just that I needed to make my bed and clean up our room a little. Then I asked "What more can I do?" Again, it wasn't anything big, just to participate in a meaningful way in Zone Meeting that day. Soon my list also included being first to sit up at the Trail Center when we were on shift in the afternoon and to make calls during my spare time. With only 4 simple things to accomplish during the day, I was able to accomplish all of them and know that I had accomplished what Heavenly Father wanted me to accomplish that day. Over the next few days, I was able to begin improving in small, manageable ways and I was able to feel successful without being overwhelmed. With Heavenly Father's help, I know that I will be able to being taking small steps that will help me to overcome bigger weaknesses and fears that otherwise seem too daunting to take on.

On Saturday, we went to the funeral of the 1st counselor in our Mission presidency- President W. Patrick Clarke- and his son. They were both killed in a tragic plane accident near Fresno on the 10th of this month. It was a sad occasion, but a beautiful tribute to both of them. I never expected to go to a funeral on my mission, but this was the third since just last January. It’s been interesting to see the difference in the three. This was definitely the best attended- filling the chapel and large cultural hall. There were probably around 1000 people there. Maybe more. As we heard about the lives of these two great men, I gained such a great respect for them and their families. I think one thing that really struck me was how close the family seemed to be. You could tell that they had very close relationships and made their families a priority. It really made me think about what I want to be remembered for in life. It’s good.

Ok. Love you so much!

Sister Melly

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sister Melanie Bakes, Cleans and Gives a Reading Assignment

Hello Family!

Love you!

It’s been kind of a crazy day today. We have temple day this Friday, so we have a shortened p-day and have been spending most of it trying to get our laundry done. Take 4 sets of sisters trying to all do laundry in one set of washer and dryer in our apartment building and then add in another tenant who is trying to his as well and things get a little complicated.

This last week, things have been kind of slow. We have been doing a lot of cleaning lately for a lot of different people, its kind of a funny situation. On Tuesday, we helped Carrie- a kind of investigator- with cleaning her home which has in the past few years been slowly filling up with stuff as people have died or for whatever reason, their belongings have gone into her home. Tonight, we are going to be doing a few hours of deep cleaning that are required for our apartments each transfer and then helping Tana - a less active- clean her apartment for a couple of hours. I think that I have finally gained an appreciation for cleaning. I am sure mom remembers the time when I was moving out of my apartment at the end of a semester and she came to help me. She went into the bathroom and came out saying, "You should be ashamed of yourself!" after seeing the bathtub. It was pretty scummy.

But, anyway, I don’t' even know what else we have been doing. The Trail Center has been very slow lately. I have been spending a lot of time studying and trying to find productive things to do, but sometimes we get to the end of the night and I am not really sure if I accomplished anything at all. I can see why some missionaries have a hard time going home. It is hard to feel like you are doing much at all when you are used to changing peoples lives all the time. Nothing else feels that fulfilling anymore.

Sister Brown and I have been working a lot on gingerbread this week. We finally got it finished last night while our companions were helping decorate the TC for Christmas. By the end, we had 8 gingerbread stained glass panels that we had made (only 3 of them are actually going to be used- the rest were mistakes), a whole grocery bag full of extra Dum dums and Jolly Ranchers, some frustration, and a feeling of relief that it was over. It definitely fun at first, but it was also kind of stressful and way too time consuming. But, it’s good. I think they pretty good.

On Wednesday, we had zone conference. The whole thing was focused on the talk from Elder Bednar this last conference about testimony and conversion. Read it. It’s great. I love the subtitle of the talk. It puts the two very simply and says something like "The essence of testimony is knowing that the gospel is true. Being true to the gospel is the essence of conversion." Its funny, one thing that sets us apart from some churches is that we teach that faith without works is dead- essentially that testimony without conversion is not enough, but how many times to do we sit through a Sacrament meeting, even feeling spiritually uplifted, but then leave being the same person that we were before. True, we may have been baptized and read our scriptures every day, but without constant pruning, it all doesn't amount to much at all. Sister Davis shared an analogy with me that I really liked. She compared the changes that we make to ourselves to a spiral. At first, the changes are big and noticeable. They take great effort and produce great results. As we come nearer and nearer to the center of the spiral, the changes become smaller and less noticeable. I think that it can be easy for some people, especially people that have been in the church for a long time, to think that they are doing ok because they are not struggling with the big things, like the Word of Wisdom or the Law of Chastity. I think that what is more important than the changes that we are making is that we are making changes at all, whether big or small. We cannot remain still, we must continue forward.

That's all for this week!

Love you so much!

Love, Sister Melly


Monday, November 5, 2012

Sister Lamb and Service Cross-Training


Hello Family!

Love you!

It’s been an OK week, but it got pretty good at the end. I was a kind of sick the beginning of the week, so not too much was going on, but the end - that’s the good part.

Let’s see, Wednesday was Halloween. We were at the Trail Center and it was a very slow day. A couple of the sisters were dressing up in the pioneer costumes, pretending to be everything from turtles to cowboys and indians. They even found a rope and were roping other sisters as they came in. It was quite a sight. That night, we were all grounded, so we had dinner with the senior couples and made a Christmas craft, and then watched the Errand of Angels. Its funny, I used to hate all Mormon movies because I thought they were so cheesy and weird, but after being on a mission, I thought it was pretty funny and very true. I have definitely changed! Ha-ha!

We had a very revelatory district meeting this week. We were talking about revelation and totally got off topic but started talking about cross training in sports and how the best runners are ones that train not just by running but also do other exercises like swimming and weight lifting. Then we were comparing it to missionary work and how the best missionaries are ones that use all methods of missionary work. The same thing applies to life. When we balance all aspects, we are better able to be spiritually in tune. We are our best selves when spiritual, physical, and mental capacities are all balanced.

On Saturday, we had an amazing experience! We have been working on following up with members who brought friends to the Gladys Night concert so that we can deliver packets to them. One couple in our ward, the Cornishs, had brought a neighbor with them who had absolutely loved it, but had forgotten to turn in her referral card. Last Sunday, we were able to take a packet to her. She invited us right in and we taught her about the Restoration and Book of Mormon. She was excited to learn and readily accepted our invitation to read from the Book of Mormon and to continue meeting with us. As we were leaving, we offered to help with some yard work. At first, she was very surprised that we were willing to help, but when she finally accepted, we were able to go back this last Saturday (just a few days ago) and help do some yard work, along with Brother Cornish. We had a great time and were able to teach her again afterwards.

After we were done, we decided to see if there were any other people in the neighborhood that would accept our service. Brother Cornish suggested a few homes and we started out. We were able to rake leaves for a young family and talk to them a little bit about missionary work, etc. We will be going back soon to follow up with them. We then went to one of the homes that Brother Cornish had suggested - a woman by the name of Renee that the Cornishs have been serving and fellowshipping and inviting to things for the 11 years they have lived in their home. She was thrilled with our offer to rake her leaves, which deeply covered her lawn. As we started, she went to go buy leaf bags and brought us a sandwich. She invited us into her home to eat and we began talking. The conversation naturally turned to missionary work, then what makes our church unique, then to the apostasy and the restoration. As we taught, she was very excited about the things we shared and made a promise to us that she would read the entire Book of Mormon, cover to cover. It was an exciting experience. It really developed my testimony of what it says in Preach My Gospel, that serving others leads naturally into sharing the gospel. From things that Renee said, I know that she would not have listened to our message had we simply showed up on her doorstep to invite her to learn. Service was the key that opened the door for us to be able to teach her.

Afterwards, the excitement only continued. We explained what had happened to Brother Cornish, who was absolutely thrilled and stunned. We were able to accomplish in just a few hours what he had been working on for 11 years! We reminded him that he had been doing the preparing and that we were only the reapers of the seeds he had sown. It made it so much more exciting being able to share the success with the Cornishs, who have a deep personal investment in her learning and progress. The next day at church, the Cornishs were eagerly sharing the story at every opportunity and many were able to hear of our successes. I have great hopes that this will be only the beginning of a new excitement for missionary work in the West Maple Ward. It also got me really excited about working with members. Exciting things are happening every day!

So, in the end, it was a really good week! I hope that you had a really good week too!

Love you!

Sister Melly


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sister Lamb's Fall Festivities and Pumpkin Photos

Dearest Family,

Happy Halloween!

This Halloween will be a day in the Trail Center for me. Sister Davis and I are working in the TC from 9 until 5 and then we are having our standard Halloween activity. . . . Having dinner and making Christmas presents for our families! Ha-ha. You will have to wait and see what this year’s project is. They will also be playing "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" per suggestion of President Weston, but if it is anything like last year, we will be rushing to finish our project and will have no time for anything else.

OK. Other exciting things this last week. Well, my birthday! It was good. We had district meeting in the morning, then lunch with Sister Worley (a non-member who comes to church every week) she is a very good cook, so that was nice. She is very philosophical and asked us a lot of questions about truth. We were pretty confused at some points, but made it out alright. Then we headed for the Trail Center. It was a pretty slow day, so I spent a while in the Memorial Room reading a book about the pioneers. Right at the end of the night, I got to take a really special tour. It was a lady who I have met before in the Oakview ward, her soon to be mother-in-law and soon to be stepson (who is probably in his early 20's). The lady was being married this last Saturday in the temple, but the mother-in-law is not a member of the church, so they brought her to the Trail Center to help her have a better understanding of the church and what we believe. It was great. She had lots and lots of questions and between me, the soon to be daughter-in-law, and the grandson; we were able to answer all of them. It was amazing to see her understanding grow and everything clicking into place for her. She has been around the church for a long time (two of her sons are members) but really didn't know much about it. It was fun to have such an interested audience. She was also a very nice and sincere lady. I just gained such a love and appreciation for this lady. At the end of the tour, we watched "God's Plan for Families" and talked about eternal marriage and the importance of temples. She accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and I invited her to meet with the missionaries, but she declined, saying that "she was too old to change religions". I laughed and told her that you are never "too old to change." She was going to stay in the waiting room of the temple during the sealing and one of the temple presidency or their wives was going to sit with her, so I am sure she had an awesome experience there as well. I thought it was a good use of a birthday.
Another awesome thing that happened this week was that one night, we were out in our area towards the end of the night and I felt that we should go visit a less active that lived a little ways away from where we were. When we got there, we found that she lives in a locked apartment complex. We got no answer from ringing the door buzzer and had no telephone number for her. As we started back for our car, I saw a man standing outside in the cold, smoking a cigarette. We went over to talk to him and were soon joined by his girlfriend. He found out a few years ago that he has Chrone’s disease and had to stop working for a while, but began hip hop dancing on his own. He later met his girlfriend, who is a teacher at a local dance studio and asked if he could use the studio after hours to practice. As he did, the studio owner was watching him through the one way glass and eventually invited him to begin teaching classes. They were a really neat couple. We talked about how the gospel is like ballet - it creates the basis for everything else we do, just like ballet is where we learn technique that helps us in all other forms of dance. It was just a really fun conversation and they were really neat people. As we continued talking, they eventually told us that the reason that they were home was that he had just found out less than an hour before that his father has cancer, so had left the studio early that night. We read to them from the Book of Mormon and talked about how much Heavenly Father cares about them, that it was no coincidence that we were there that night. Unfortunately, they are both very busy with dance and other jobs, so they don't have much time to meet with us, but we will keep in contact.
Other awesome thing. . . Lindsay was supposed to get baptized this last week end, but we have not seen or heard from her in several weeks. We have had ward members call her, left notes on her door, etc, but have heard nothing from her. Then last night, I was sick, so Sister Davis took Sister Brown with her to our area for a couple of appointments. While they were gone, I had the feeling that Sister Brown would want to go stop by Lindsey's apartment. I prayed so hard that they would be able to see her. When they came back an hour or so later, they told me that they had seen her! They had knocked on her door and gotten no answer, then decided to try their neighbors, who have been taught a coupled of times in the past. And surprise! Lindsey was there. She said that she had gotten a new phone and didn't have our phone number anymore, so that was the reason we have not been able to contact her lately. It was so good that we finally found her. She still wants to be baptized, we just have to teach her a couple more things and figure out a date when her family would be able to come.
So, it’s been a pretty good week. Miracles have been happening.
Love you!
Sister Melly


Monday, October 22, 2012

Has Sister Lamb Lost her Mind or Getting in the Right One?

Hello Family,

Love you!

So! It’s been another good week :). The weather has been nice, although a little rainy at times. I am just praying for another mild winter. I wouldn't mind snow; I am just scared of the freezing cold temperatures.
So let’s see. What happened this week?
Well, I had an interesting experience this week. A woman came into the Trail Center and when I went to greet her, she headed straight for the bathroom. When she returned, I walked over to greet and was given a "You're just all over me like a piece of fresh meat." Not sure what to say about this, I laughed it off and then proceeded to greet her. She told me that she is working on writing a book about a young boy on the Mormon Trail. It became apparent that she was not a member of the church and we started around the gallery. The first question she asked me was about the type of soil that the pioneer would have encountered as they reached crossings of the Sweetwater River. As I attempted to share some of the stories of the pioneers, she made it clear that she was only interested in the topography of the trail. As she proceeded to run her eyes and hands over every map every map, picking out hills and plains, I continued trying to help her. When we were near the odometer, she spouted off some facts about wagon wheels and other things. I asked her where she had learned these things, to which she said "I have been talking to educated people about these types of things." And then glared at me for a few moments before continuing on. A few moments later, I tried to explain to her that while her research may be helpful for her writing, that she was missing something much bigger and more important that little facts. I bore my testimony of the pioneers and their example. She wasn't too excited about this and as we continued to talk, began talking very sternly to me "Look here, missy, stop trying to convert me." Then went into a rant about Mormons, Baptists, and 7th Day Adventists all thinking that they are right and that everyone else is going to hell. She mentioned her sister, who apparently is a member of our church, who is also trying to convert her. I just bore my testimony over and over about missionary work and what we believe and the pioneers and so many things. Through the whole thing, I felt perfectly calm and felt that I knew exactly what to say. I said many things that I have never said before and in ways that I have said. Although it was difficult to have her respond in the way that she did and I certainly did not want to make her angry, I know that it was the Spirit that was telling me what to say. People don't offend other people. People choose to be offended and as hard as it was, this woman was not happy with what I was saying. Eventually she walked away, but as much as I wanted to get out of there, I felt that I needed to stay. She wandered by the ship and train for a minute before we rejoined at the handcart, where she pointed out the rawhide on the wheels. I told her about the Martin handcart company and quoted from Francis Webster, all from memory- something which I have never been able to do before. "Cold historic fact mean nothing here, for they give no proper interpretation of the questions involved. Mistake to send the handcart train out so late in the season? Yes. But I was in that company and my wife was in it . . . . We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and may died of exposure and starvation. ... We became acquainted with Him in our extremities. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay." I bore my testimony of the pioneers one more time. She shook my hand and left.  I have no idea what was going on in her mind at this point and I will probably never know the rest of the story, but I do know that what happened was directed by Heavenly Father. I know that what I said was what He wanted me to say and what she needed to hear, even if it was not what she wanted to hear.
That's probably the most memorable thing that happened this week. I don't know if it’s really what I want to remember though. It makes me sad just thinking about it.
We have been doing more cleaning this week for Tana- one of the less actives in the ward. She is have a housing check on November 14th, so we need to get her apartment clean before then so that she doesn't get kicked out, because then we would be in real trouble! She also has a lot of health problems, so can't do much herself or is in such bad shape that she can’t come to church. We threw a bunch of stuff away and found the floor in her dining room and cleaned her kitchen, but we have a lot to go before we are done. It is probably not the most effective thing to spend a lot of our time doing, but definitely better than her getting kicked out. We are going to try and get the ward more involved as well so we can get it all done.
Holly is doing well. She has been reading the scriptures, which is a great improvement. We have been texting her a scripture to read every day, so that has been helping her to remember. That seems like it is the biggest problem: remembering. That’s probably why the Book of Mormon says that word so often. We just need to get her praying and she will be on her way to a testimony! She has been sick this last week though, and is still sick, but had to go back to work today.
Ok. Here is the other crazy thing that has been happening lately. I think that Heavenly Father has been making me LOSE my mind so that He can show me tender mercies. Just please don't worry about me when you read this. So a couple of weeks ago, Sister Brown and I stopped to fill up one of the cars with gas. I got out to pump the gas and Sister Brown was washing the windows. We did our thing and then hopped back in the car, which was when I started looking for the keys. I eventually noticed them still in the ignition. The car was still on and running. I have heard that if you do that, your car could explode, but I don't want to try it again to find out. This week, we went to help at the clinic agina like I have done in the past. This time, it was rainy and we were running late, so when we arrived, we quickly parked and ran inside. As we were at the clinic, I though "I hope that I didn't leave the headlights on." But felt that it would be ok. Later, I though again "I hope that I didn't lock the key sin the car" But again felt like it would be fine. 3 hours later, when we went out to our car, I was searching through by bag, but could not find the keys. We walked out side and saw the windshield wipers going. ... . The car had been running, doors unlocked, in the middle of downtown Omaha, for three hours! First I felt like an idiot. Then I just felt really grateful that it had not been stolen. "I, (Sister Lamb), will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith" Yeah.
So, that been the amazing things that have happened this week. Pretty amazing, if I do say so myself.
Love you!
Sister Melly

PS. Now that the office staff has changed around, they are only delivering our mail from the mission office about once a week, if that. I will make sure I get my birthday package- I will go get it if I have to- but in the future, you can start sending things directly to the Trail Center:
3215 State St, Omaha, NE, 68112. (Assuming I don't get sent out full pros. . . :))

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sister Lamb's Gladys Knight Fireside and Sunday Tours

Dear Family,

Love you!

It’s good to hear that everyone is doing well, including baby. We walked through the baby isle at Walmart today and I said "baby baby baby". Ha-ha.

Ok. Let's see. It was transfers this week. Yes. We have been noticing that President Weston tends to move people around a lot more than President Kunz did. Ever since President Weston came, I have had a new companion every transfer. Belka-Bergeson-Brown-Davis,. I guess they ran out of "b" names for me to be companions with.

There hasn't been a whole lot going on in West Maple, but there has been some exciting things happening.

On Friday, Gladys Knight and the Saints United Voices Choir came to Omaha and did two firesides in our stake center. That was exciting. There has been a lot of hype going on about it, getting members to invite their friends. We hadn't gotten tickets (it was a ticket, although free event), but really wanted to find a way for Holly to go. Some of the people in our ward had invited her, but didn't actually have tickets to go, so she kept getting let down by people inviting her and then not being able to follow through. The night before, I was talking to one of the sisters at the TC and she said they had some extra tickets that we could have, but didn't know where they were. Holly was also sick, so it didn't look like she would be able to go. The next day, they still couldn't find the tickets. Someone else gave us one, but that didn't get us very far. We were just leaving to go to our area when we got a call from the sisters saying they had found the tickets and had them at the Trail Center. Holly was also feeling better, so she was able to go and loved it! (This sounds a lot less dramatic of a day than it actually was. It was pretty crazy). We went to the fireside as well. It was awesome. They sang and Gladys and her husband and another man spoke- they were very funny, but tied it all to gospel subjects. They basically taught all of the first three lessons that we teach to people. It reminded me that although there is one true gospel, there are many ways to share it!

On Saturday, we went to Kate Loftus's funeral (mom of Madison, who was baptized a couple of weeks ago- the only member in her family). It was sad, but also neat because the whole thing was done by church members.. One of the bishopric conducted and talked about the plan of salvation, the woman who brought Madison into the church talked about Kate’s life, and a YW leader gave the closing prayer. Then the YW leaders provided lunch. Madison was doing well. She was acting like her normal self, which is good. I just hope she is really doing as well as she was acting. I thing she was enjoying the attention.

It was a good week at the Trail Center too. It started out pretty slow, but Sunday was an awesome night. I had three really good tours. The first was a couple from Utah on their way to their mission in Michigan. I love taking tours of missionaries on their way to or from their mission because it is so easy to relate to them. I have found a lot of strength as a missionary from learning about the pioneers, so I love being able to share those personal insights and motivations that have helped me. It is easy to relate the story of the pioneers to missionary work and easy to relate those connections to people who are so excited to go and do missionary work. It was fun. At the end of the tour, they told me that they were very glad that they had stopped because this was exactly the pick-me-up they needed between leaving the MTC and making it to their mission.

The second tour I took was a young woman from Utah who was here visiting her family who has moved to Omaha recently. She actually knows Sister Hawkes who served here, so that was fun! There was something so awesome about that tour. She was just very real and open about herself and the gospel, so we were able to have a really great conversation. That tour was a lot of fun as well.

The third tour was my favorite though. It was a young family who lives in Omaha and had been here many times before, but the husband's brother was visiting them so they brought him to show him the Trail Center. He was 19 years old, looked like he thought himself a tough kid. I knew that he was here for more of a purpose than just to see the Trail Center, so I immediately focused the tour on him. Somehow, we got onto the topic of missions. He started telling me about how when he graduated from high school, he was very excited to serve a mission and was working on his papers, but his mom started pushing him so much that he decided not to go. (By this time, the rest of the family was off playing with the handcart or something). He was making the excuse that the timing wasn't right for him. Eventually he admitted that the desire that he had felt to go was gone now and that he hadn’t been to church in 2 months, but had gone for the first time this week. He said it felt good to go back. We kept talking and he just kept cracking open little by little. I asked him if he had prayed to ask Heavenly Father if He wanted him to go, to which he said yes. I asked "when?" . . "Well, back when I first wanted to serve a mission". He promised that he would ask again that night. As we continued to talk, he stopped me and said, "A lot of those things are exactly what my friend has been telling me lately." I reminded him that it’s because it is true. When he left, he told me that he could already feel the desire to serve coming back. It was a neat experience because not only was I able to help him, but because I helped him, he will be able to help many other people. It’s like giving a man a fish vs. teaching a man to fish.

Love you!

Have a good week :)

Sister Melly