Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Memo from President Kunz: New Mission President to the Cornfield!

To the greatest missionaries in the Church!

I am excited to announce that in the Church News this weekend the new NOM mission president and his wife will be announced. The new mission president will be Michael D. Weston and his wife, Zoe Anne Weston. The article of their call is copied below.

They are an incredible couple with great Church experience. I know that they will come to love each of you as Sister Kunz and I do. I promise to do everything to help prepare them and you so the transition will be smooth. I will send out more information as it becomes available. I know that the Westons have been called of God to serve in NOM, they will be a blessing to each of you and to all the people in the mission.

I love you!

Pres. Kunz

Zoe Anne H. and Michael D. Weston
Michael Dunford Weston, 55, and Zoe Anne Heilesen Weston, ten children, North Logan 9th Ward, North Logan Utah Stake. Brother Weston serves as a ward mission leader and is a former stake president, bishop, high councilor, Cub Scout leader and missionary in the Canada Halifax Mission. Self-employed farmer and businessman. Born in Logan, Utah, to Mark Dunford and Lois Florence Carver Weston.
Sister Weston serves as a counselor in a Primary presidency and is a former Young Women president, Primary president, counselor in Primary, Young Women and Relief Society presidencies, Cub Scout leader, Young Women adviser and Primary teacher. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Phil J and Anne Donna Heilesen.

"If you have faith you have hope and if you have hope you have everything."

Dear Family,

Love you!

This past week has been, as usual, an interesting one. I have decided that I am just not destined to have a normal mission, even compared to other Trail Center sisters. On Saturday morning, when we were doing our big long weekly planning, we looked back on our week, and realized that we had only taught 2 lessons so far in the week- both to the same less-active family. We looked back through our schedule and realized that all of our proselytizing time had been eaten up by serving in the Trail Center, p-day, district meeting, and Sister Askren's sinus infection symptoms returning. We had only had a few hours to be out in the area between Monday and Saturday. After having a great week last week, we were a little worried that our numbers had dropped so quickly. It was amazing to see, though, that Heavenly Father blessed us so much to be able to make up for the lessons that we had not been able to teach in the last week. On Saturday night, we were able to go out for about three hours and in that time, taught 3 lessons.
We went to visit a less-active family, the Medranos. The youngest daughter and her cousin, who is not a member, were both there. It was amazing because Heavenly Father needed us to be there right then so that we were able to talk to just these two girls and get them to open up to us in a way that would not have happen if their mom was at home. They are really great girls who sincerely want some guidance in their lives. Then, we were able to meet some of their neighbors and help them set up a speaker that they had purchased for their TV (we got it mostly set up, but we are going to try to find some ward members who are a little more knowledgeable to help them out :). We were also able to meet another less-active member of the ward, and she accepted an invitation to have us over once a week to help her rebuild her testimony and get ready to start coming back to church. Then, on Sunday, we were again able to teach several more lessons in only a few hours, even though our only appointment fell through. Heavenly Father has been blessing us so much lately to be able to find people to teach, even when we do not have a lot of time.

On Monday, again we were so blessed. We needed to see a couple that has not been to church in a while. The problem is that they live with their parents, who are very active and love us, so whenever we go over, we end up spending our time with the parents and not the kids. We prayed about when would be a good time to try them, and when we went, the son answered the door, let us right in, and his wife was right inside the door. We were able to talk to just them for a while and really get to know them and understand their concerns and goals and everything. We invited them to start meeting with us once a week (once they come back from Mexico. jealous). And they seemed really excited about it. After that, we were also able to teach a couple different lessons before we headed for the Trail Center for the evening shift.

I think what has changed to help us be so productive lately is just my attitude towards the work. In the scriptures, it says that we need to act and not be acted upon (by the Spirit). Instead of waiting for Heavenly Father to put people in our path and just assuming that good things will happen when good things are supposed to happen, I expect to see great things happen, then go out and make great things happen. I don't know that I would even say that we have been physically doing anything differently, other than way that we pray (with more faith), but I know that faith does amazing things. There is a quote that one of the sisters has that says "If you have faith you have hope and if you have hope you have everything." Having faith created a feeling of hope with in you, which hope feels like confidence. When we have confidence that what we are doing is good, and that Heavenly Father will bless us, we can do great things. That goes back again to acting and not being acted upon by the Spirit. We are to go and do until the Spirit tells us to stop, not sit around and wait until the Spirit tells us to do. We should not have to be commanded in all things- such is a slothful and unwise servant.

The only sad thing that happened this last week was that one of the sisters, Sister Ashby, went home because of medical issues. I only got to say goodbye to her because I was at the Trail Center right before she left. It was just so crazy because although she may have known/suspected that this was coming for a while now, no one else even knew that anything was going on. It is just a bit on a shock to see a sister that seems perfectly fine and still has half of her mission left and then the next day, they are at home. Many of the sisters did not eve know that she was leaving until she was already gone.

Love you!
Sister Lamb

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sister Melly is Off the Ground and Preparing to Soar

Dearest Family,

As always, I love you so much!

A few minutes ago, some of the elders showed up to the Trail Center to do their emailing because all of the libraries are closed to day for the holiday. They disappeared into the work room (where the computers are) for about 10 minutes and then returned, apparently done with their emailing. I just don't get it. It has already been 15 minutes for me and I have only written a couple of sentences. I guess that I just need to work on my emailing skills. Today it feels like everything is moving in slow motion, so maybe that is slowing me down a bit. Nothing to worry about, I just have a lot on my mind to day.
Let's see, last week was the end of sick week. Monday and Tuesday we were in the apartment all day. Wednesday, we had Zone Conference. It was awesome. I have been thinking about/working on having more faith recently and wow, this Zone Conference was exactly what I needed. The ward mission leader from the Bellevue 2nd Ward was there and President Kunz invited him to speak to us for as long as he needed. An hour and a half later, I can say that most of our lives had changed or were going to. He explained to us about faith. That each person had their own level of faith, just as different miracles occurred according to different levels of faith - the centurion with the sick servant vs the woman with the issue of blood needing to only touch Christ’s robes vs laying on of hands, etc. Christ is able to work miracles according to our level of faith. He also taught us that the Lord wants us to do great things and to act, to move forward and not to wait to be told or acted upon by the Spirit. If we believe that we can do marvelous things, we can! In order to do this, we must ponder, desire with pure intent, keep the laws of the blessing we receive, ask and bind the Lord to keep His promises, and then exercise faith by acting on the promptings we receive. We do this through great faith and powerful prayer and it takes obedience, diligence, and sacrifice. We are to expect marvelous things, to expect the best, unless we are told by the Spirit "no". I learned so powerfully how much we can each accomplish if we act in faith. It is faith that creates miracles and miracles are always possible. I thought that this also went really well with President Monson's ABC's to living an abundant life in the Ensign from January. A- attitude changes the outer aspects of our lives. B- believe in yourself and what you can achieve. C- courage, which is determination to act in spite of challenges.

Thursday and Friday were sort of starter days getting back into the work. I was feeling mostly better, but would get exhausted pretty easily, so we had some hours in our area, but not too much. Sunday, though was a fantastic day. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. When we prayed at the end of companionship study, we prayed that we would be able to find someone to come church today and that we would be able to find a new investigator and teach a lesson. With all that, we had a little over an hour to be in the area before we needed to head for church. But, we acted in faith and optimistically headed out for the area. We tried a couple different investigators and potentials, but no luck. As we were pulling up to the last place we wanted to stop before heading to church, someone else pulled into the circle we were parked in and dropped someone off outside their home. Turns out, it was a 20ish year old guy named Tom. His mom is a less-active member of our ward, but we have never met her. We were able to teach him a lesson right there on his driveway and give him a copy of the Book of Mormon. It was awesome. We are excited to meet with him and his mom again later this week. Even though we had still not found anyone to come to church, we were not discouraged. When we got to church, Sister Gill ran into us and introduced us to her son, who returned this week from a mission in Brazil. He was giving his mission report in Sacrament Meeting. His old girlfriend, Sarah, who is not a member, but has taken several of the discussions before was there as well as Carol, who we were teaching about a month ago but whose parents were not happy with her investigating the church, so she has been on hold for a little while. It was awesome! We acted in faith and we were able to see all of our prayer answered. It was also really good to be able to see Carol again. She is great. Hopefully things will work out for her soon.
So, yeah. That's pretty much been my week. It took a little while to get off the ground, but I think that it ended up being a pretty great one. Even though being stuck inside has not been the most exciting part of my mission so far, I have learned a lot from it. As they say, everything happens for a reason.
Love you!
Sister Melly

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sister Lamb is Down with the Flu

Hello Family!
I love you so much!
I know that this email is going to be a little unexpected today, but it is just kind of the way that things turned out this week. I should have had p-day on Tuesday, but instead it is today. You will understand shortly.

This week has been an interesting week, as usual. On Tuesday, we were in the Trail Center in the morning. Only a couple tours came into the Trail Center, so I spent most of the day studying. A little while ago, President Kunz gave us all a challenge to memorize all of the lesson summaries in Preach My Gospel, which includes 3 lessons, each with roughly 6-8 main points, 4-6 sub points for each main point, then a scripture, inspired question, and example or personal experience for each of the main points. Like my typical self, I had procrastinated until the very end. I should have had to pass it all off last week in district meeting, but we ran out of time, so I very mercifully was given an extra week to memorize. Again, it seemed like I never could find time to do all of it and had to keep reviewing what I had already learned. I was so grateful to have Tuesday morning at the TC to be able to finish up my memorization. But, at the end of 6 hours, I still was not quite finished. Here is where the Lord's mercy stepped in once again. After dinner and comp study, it had started to snow and Sister Askren was starting to feel sick. We decided that it was best for us to stay at the Trail Center and for her to rest, especially because the cars being grounded seemed imminent. This gave me several more hours to be able to finish memorizing the lesson plans so that I was able to pass everything off on Wednesday morning with flying colors. I know that I have already learned this at least once before on my mission, but it reminded me once more of how merciful the Lord is. No matter how many times we fail, he will continue giving us more opportunities to try one more time.

In the Trail Center, we tend to have talk fads that come up every one to two weeks. One person will find or be given a really awesome talk which then slowly makes it way through all the sisters at the Trail Center until we all have read it. It gives us something to talk about during the slow hours at the Trail Center. The current talk in the spotlight is a talk given by Brad Wilcox at a BYU devotional and was printed in the Winter 2012 BYU magazine. It is called "His Grace is Sufficient". It is an excellent talk. I bet that you have the magazine sitting somewhere around the house, so if you have not read it yet, go read it! It is so insightful.

Now here comes the major factor in this past week. On Wednesday, after district meeting, I started feeling a little sick again. We prayed about what we should do and decided that we would go out for the afternoon and head back to the apartments after dinnertime. I was feeling OK, but as soon as we got in the car to leave the area at dinner time, I immediately started to get a headache. It was crazy how the Lord was holding it back until exactly when we were done doing what we needed to accomplish that afternoon. After that, we talked to Sister Kunz, who said that both Sister Graham and I have the flu. We have been quarantined in our apartment since Wednesday. Today, our companions let us go grocery shopping and to email right now, But other than that, we have just been studying, sleeping, and eating for the last few days. They told us that we would be better again on Thursday, so only a couple more days and we will be free! Both of us are feeling basically completely better at this point, but they want us to spend a couple more days indoors to make sure that we are completely better. So that is why I am emailing you today. It is Sister Graham's P-day, so therefore it is both of our P-days today. At the beginning, we watched all of the Church movies we could find at least twice, sometimes 3 times. But, we soon realized that we needed to figure out something else, so we made some goals. Here are a few of them:
1. Don't go insane
2. Sleep for at least 12 hours a day
3. Memorize all the scripture mastery lessons
4. Listen to the whole Dallyn Bayles CD every day
5. Make mission and monthly goals
6. Build a rocket and go to outer space
7. Find a million dollars and give to charity after tithing
8. Shower every day
9. Read 20 pages of the BOM every day
10. Read all of Jesus the Christ

We will see how many of them we get through. Time actually goes surprisingly fast on the mission, even when you are sick. But, what I think what I have learned from all of this is that I keep being reminded of the scripture "being willing to submit to ALL things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon you." For a while, I was pretty whiny about being stuck indoors all day, especially when I did not feel sick enough to not be doing the work. I was just really annoyed. But, every time we prayed about what we should do, I always came up with the answer that we needed to stay home. I finally realized that it doesn’t matter what I want. It matters what the Lord wants and if He needs me to stay in my apartment for half my mission and get healthy, then that is what I need to do. (I really hope that done not happen though.) Huh, that's funny. I think that I have learned that lesson before, just now in a slightly different way. Before, it was from the perspective of having to stay in with Sister Askren, now it is with the perspective of having to stay in with myself. Exactly the same situation, but for some reason it was a lot easier for me to stay inside and not be sick that it is to stay inside when I am sick.

Well, there it is. Not much has happened. Not much has changed. It snowed here again last night, but not too bad. We are still OK to drive.
Love you!
Sister Lamb

Monday, February 6, 2012

Some Random Pictures of Sister Lamb

Sister Melly and her First Companion, Sister Kusnerik

Sister Melly and her birthday cake - Oct 24

I am a Mormon Billboard in Omaha

Sister Lamb - I am a Mormon

Sister Lamb and Sister Kusnerik - We are Mormons

Sister Lamb gives us her Famous Tour of the Trail Center


We received an envelope from Sister Melly with a flash drive containing a lot of pictures (over 700). I will post some of them with the dates the pictures were taken and I still recognize Sister Melly but most of the others in the pictures will have to wait a while to be identified. Sister Askren and Sister Lamb are still companions and have the same assignment in the Oakview Ward!

More pictures to come.

Sister Melon is Serving in a White Cornfield Again!

Dearest Family,

Ok. Here we go. Oh, love you! Love you, love you!

Statue Outside Trail Center
This past week has gone by very fast, but I feel like I say that a lot. Things are going pretty well right now. Sister Askren is feeling better, so we are getting ready to go at it! We have been teaching a couple named Kevin and Joan for a little while now. It has always seemed like Joan was not really interested, but was more just sitting in as we taught Kevin just because we were there and she had nothing better to do at the moment. She is a very nice lady, but just seemed like she was content going to church with her mother. Kevin has figured out a lot of things on his own (he has never been religious) and just sits there and tells us exactly what we believe, but he doesn’t realize it. It has gotten a bit frustrating at times because it feels like we are not getting anywhere, but that is only because he already knows everything that we are telling him. On Tuesday evening, we were able to teach them. It turned out to be a very interesting lesson. We had a long discussion about temptation. Kevin likes to go to Hooters, but says he is not interested in the women, just the food. Joan jumped in on our side and we talked about staying out of the “gray area” and then were able to relate that to several other parts of the gospel. Not exactly your typical missionary discussion, but it felt like we were finally getting somewhere. Then, the big question - Joan asked us “How do you build faith in God?” That was interesting. The question itself, not so big a deal, but the fact that she trusted us enough to ask and trusted our response. This also opened up a big discussion about her previous baptism. She had been attending a church in Omaha called Trinity and had decided to be baptized there. What the baptism consisted of was the stage that the preacher stood on opened up and had a font underneath and people just lined up like an assembly line and walked through the font to where the preached was standing, he would hit them on the head, and most people would pass out so there was two men standing there to keep them from drowning. This totally freaked her out and she stopped going to that church, but apparently Kevin had a good time taking pictures of the whole thing.

Wednesday, we got our calls for transfers. Of course, Sister Askren and I are staying together for her last transfer, but she is no longer a Trail Center Leader. Maybe I will get a normal transfer this time! Ha ha. Sister Askren says she has never had a “normal” transfer in her whole mission. Something always seems to happen. On Thursday, We theoretically had a full day in our area, for the first day in a long time. Unfortunately, both Sister Askren and I were feeling a little sick (upset stomach, headache) and after a couple hours in the area, we felt like we needed to go home because we were both struggling a little with our headaches. We went home and slept for about 15 hours straight. Yikes. Then we woke up for a couple of hours and back to sleep for another 3. I don’t think I would blame that all on being sick though. I guess my body was just ready for a rest, and it sure got it! Saturday it snowed all day long for a total of 11 inches. It is much colder now than it was a few days ago (from about 70 degrees to the 30’s) but it sure it beautiful out there and I really can’t complain. I spent the whole day indoors with Sister Graham watching all of the church movies we could get our hands on.

Yesterday, Sunday, we both were feeling all better and ready to go out and get back to work. (Although I feel like I keep saying that and then something else pops up.) We were at the Trail Center in the morning. We only one tour in the 3 ½ hours we were there, but it gave me some good time to prepare for the Gospel Principles lesson we taught. After church, we went to see Beth and Sam. We have been teaching them for several months now, but it has been a couple of weeks since we saw them last. It was a very depressing lesson. Beth has so much need for the gospel and so much potential to do great things, but she just won’t act. She knows that life is not going well for her right now, she knows what great things have been promised to her, but she has no faith and no desire for any. We both cried during the lesson. I know that this gospel can help her. I know that it can, but she won’t let it. That is one of the hardest things to see on a mission, especially with someone I love so much and have grown so close to. When we left, it was with the understanding that we would not see each other again. It was really hard to leave. I gave her a big, long hug and that’s it. We have to keep moving. There are other people who need us and one day when she is ready, I am sure some other missionaries will show up on her door.
Statue in the Cemetery and lots of Snow

We also were able to teach a man named Zamari and his son last night. That was an interesting experience. He is from Afghanistan and his family just joined him here about 6 months ago. The whole family greeted us at the front door. Zamari was very worried about us because we were about 10 minutes late- he thought we were in trouble somewhere. His daughter served us fruit on china plates and then disappeared. His wife sat quietly in the corner the whole time we were there (she does not speak English) and Zamari and his son sat on the couch across from us. Zamari did most of the talking and his son occasionally added something and did some interpreting because his English is better than Zamari’s. They told us a lot about Muslims and Afghanistan. It was very interesting. He wasn’t much interested in hearing what we had to say, he just talked and talked and we listened. We told him we would try to find him a Bible in Persian, but other than that we probably won’t be seeing them much in the future.

So, yeah! That’s pretty much been my week so far. I got the package in the mail yesterday. Thanks! It looks like some good stuff.

Thanks for your letters and love and support!

Love you all so much!

Sister Lamb
Inside the Trail Center looking out

Winter Quarters Temple Spire

Sister Askren and Sister Lamb Decorating
for the Elder Watson, theTrail Center Director's Birthday