Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sister Melly Trains with Deluxe Hamburgers and Moves Two Stairwells

Sister Melly and Madison - Best Friends Playing Dress up

Dear Family,

Llooooooooooooovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeeee you!

This week is transfer week, as you may have guessed by now. The suspense has been great so I have had to study patience this morning because I could not focus otherwise or sleep last night. But this morning when we got to the Trail Center (just a few minutes ago) Elder Watson pulled us into his office and told us what is happening. Sister Bergeson is staying in Millard and getting Sister Watson for a companion and I am going to West Maple to be with Sister Brown! Sister Brown is from Arizona and just finished being trained by Sister Baker. I will now have served in all the same areas as Sister Kusnerik( my trainer) who by the way is moving back to Omaha for a job, so that will be weird. She started in Millard, then went to West Maple for a long time, then ended in Oakview. So I guess I will be spending the rest of my mission in West Maple. Kind of funny. But, good news. . . I get to drive! Sweet! I am so excited. Ha-ha

So I will be staying in the Willet apartment building, probably for the rest of my mission. Woe is me. I just have to move two stairwells over and will be living with the Trail Center leaders (who now are companions serving in the same area, so there will be no more Trail Center leader companion craziness) Sister Proctor and Sister Arnold. We will have a lot of fun, I am sure. It is probably a good thing that I don’t have to move too far because I don’t know if I could fit all of my stuff into my suitcases/a car. West Maple is a good area, so I am excited.

OK, in other news, last week we went bowling with our zone. That was a lot of fun, but they let us wear jeans which turned out to be not such a good idea. I have definitely gained weight since I have been on my mission. They still fit, but they were not so comfortable.

On Thursday, we had district meeting. I trained on prayer. I talked about how when we first learn to pray, we just get down the basics of opening, giving thanks, asking for things and then closing. I compared this to a hamburger with only a bun (opening), patty (asking), cheese (thanking) and bun (closing). We then went through the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 5 and pulled out all the additional things that Christ shows us to pray for/about like asking for forgiveness, forgiving others, praising God, etc. For each thing we added more toppings to our burger until it was very deluxe with bacon and extra cheese and all kinds of veggies and sauce, etc. I like analogies a lot, so I thought it was a lot of fun. Obviously, since I came up with the idea. The rest of the meeting, the drawing of the hamburger was on the board where we all could see it, so we were very hungry for a hamburger, so after district meeting we went to 5 Guys for lunch :)


Sister Bergeson and Sister Melanie and Silly Elders
This last week, we have been seeing some great progress with one of investigators, Walter. His wife Julie was baptized in February. He told us a few days ago that he is 75% of the way to being baptized and expects that he will be baptized in the next two or three months. He still comes to the BOM class every week but normally does not come to church because he is a realtor and works every Sunday, so he says he is too tired to do both. This Sunday, he does not have to work, so he is coming to church! We are so excited. Yesterday, Julie came to the Trail Center because she wanted to see Sister Belka and Sister Graham. She brought her granddaughter, Madison. While we were waiting for the other two, I took them on a tour. Madison and I got pretty attached. We had a lot of fun packing wagons and dressing up and eating the candy corn that you sent. It was perfect because Julie is going to get Madison to come to church so that she can see me. Unfortunately, that plan is going to fall through because I won’t be in that ward anymore. If we didn’t have church at the same time, I might try to get permission to go to both sacrament meetings, but West Maple also has church at 9.

We also met a lady named Cathy, she invited us right in for something to drink. We chatted about faith and the plan of salvation and then she took us on a grand tour of her house. Before we left, Sister Bergeson offered a prayer (Cathy is catholic, so she is used to recited prayers) and by the end, Cathy was crying. She felt the Spirit. She is taking us (well, Sisters Bergeson and Watson) to dinner tomorrow night.
Also, a less active lost sheep (her records are not in the ward) from the Lakeview ward showed up at the church while we were there studying one day and told us that she has decided that it is time to come back to church with her one year old son, even though her nonmember husband is not in favor of it. We got to sit and teach her for a little bit. It was really cool and exciting for her, even if she is not in our ward.

I feel like my letters lately are getting shorter and shorter. They just started a new thing where we have to email both President Weston and Elder Watson each week, so that is taking up a larger chunk of time that usual until I get used to this whole thing.

The rest of the week was a little tough. We had a few slow days with a lot of tracting, but we found a few good potentials and are now teaching a couple more  less-active families. We also got a referral from that we are going to try tonight, so hopefully that goes well :)

Love you!

Sister Melly

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cornfield Discouragement

Sister Lamb suits up

The cornfields out here are not looking so great. Almost everything is dead, with the corn still hanging on the stalks- rather than being straight off the stalks, it is kind of flopped over and yellow. It is very tragic looking.

Dear Family,

Love you!

I don't have a lot of time this week, so this will be a sharter email, but that will probably make it easier to read :)

I don't feel like much happened this last week, but maybe thats a good thing because i will have less to write about.

The major thing that happened this week was that Aliyah dropped us. She was supposed to be baptized two weeks ago, but didn't come to church, then was going to be baptized last Saturday (the 18th) but didn't come to church again. On Satursday we stopped by her familys apartment and were able to talk to her for a while. She had lots of questions. She would ask something, we would explain, and then ask her if what we had taught answered her question, if it made sense to her, etc, and she said yes everytime, but it still seemed like she was questioning. She said she wanted to tome to church though, so we were planning on having the McCash family go to pick her up. As we drove home at the end of the day, we got a text from her saying "I don't want to go to church anymore, at least not that church. It's just not for me." we texted back and forth a little and then I just bore my testimony to her of the blessing of the gospel and turning our will over to God and of the Spirit that she has felt, but we go no response after that. Itw as really sad. It is one of the worst feelings when someone knows what is right, and you know that they know it, but they still decide not to act on what they know. Of course this happens a lot. People get scared or whatever reason and they just fade away, but it is harder when they are so close. The other time that I have felt this on my mission was with Beth, in Oakview, back in February I think. It just kind of miserable. It not even that I just want a baptism or some kind of number to add to our statistics. I know that Aliyah needs this, that it would be such a good thing in her life and in the lives of her family members. I can see that the changes she has made already are changing her, but if she would just have the faith to go a little bit farther, I know that she would see greater miracles.

We are going to still invite her to YW this week and hopefully the YW will keep fellowshipping her. It is just hard because she goes to a different high school than most of the people in our ward.

Madison is planning on getting baptized on the Sept 15th. It is a little while away, but whe is trying to find a day when both her parents are going to be able to come, so that is awesome that they are both being so supportive and want to be able to come to her baptism. It sounds like the rest of her family is being supportive as well, so that is good.

Well, that has pretty much been it this week. We have been doing some finding this week and are going to be spending a lot more time getting to know the people in the ward, particularity meeting less actives and part member families.
Love you!
Have a good week!
Sister Melly

Air and Space Museum
Sister Lamb and Sister Bergeson
Sisters/Astronauts Bergeson and Lamb

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sister Lamb Gets Focused and Does a Little Traveling

Dear Family,

Love you!

Wow, what a week. I am not really sure what to say about it. The main focus of our week this week has been 1. Aliyah. 2. Madison. 3. Katie Ford.
Aliyah was supposed to be baptized last Saturday, but because she did not come to church last week, we had to slide back her baptism a week. We were planning on her being baptized this coming Saturday, which we thought would turn out really well because that was when Madison was getting baptized, so they would be baptized together. Aliyah just had to come to church this Sunday and have her baptismal interview this week and she would be good to go! However, we could not get a hold of her Saturday evening or Sunday morning to find out if she needed a ride to church. Apparently, the whole ward council meeting that morning was on what they were going to do to take care of Aliyah and Madison once they are baptized. We decided to stop by Aliyah’s house on our way to church to try and figure out what is going on. When we got there, she said that she had a headache. She was also worried about being baptized because she babysits a lot for her mom's friends on Sundays and is nervous that she might have to miss church a lot in the future. We talked with her and testified about doing what Heavenly Father wants us to do and that every time he gives us a commandment, that he will provide a way for us to keep that commandment. We also talked about how Satan tries to keep us from doing good things because he wants us to be miserable. When we asked her what Heavenly Father would want her to do, she knew that He would want her to go to church, but she still wasn't sure if she would come or not. When we left, she promised to pray and ask Heavenly Father what she should do and that at 10 30, she would text us to let us know so that someone could come pick her up for Sacrament meeting. When we got to church, we had missed Relief Society, but we sat through Gospel Principles praying that she would come to church. She decided not to come. It was disappointing because I know that she knew what the right thing to do was, but for some reason, she didn't. It's sad because I look back and remember times when I have done that and then regretted it later, but hopefully that will help her to make better choices in the future. We are meeting with her tomorrow and we are expecting lots of questions, so hopefully we can help her get over some of her concerns.

Madison was supposed to be baptized this coming Saturday, but her baptism is also being slid back, probably to September 1 however, because she did not clean her room on Wednesday. She was grounded for a week, ending this Wednesday. During this time, she is not allowed to meet with us or come to church. It is sad to see when parents keep their kids away from something that is helping them or see it as a "privilege" that can be taken away. With all of things that we still have left to teach Madison, this made the 18th definitely not a possibility. In the mean time, we have been texting her and occasionally talking to her on the phone. We talked a lot about obeying and honoring our parents, and something must have clicked because her mom allowed her to come to church on Sunday! We were excited about that. We gave her a copy of the Conference Ensign from this last spring, so she can read that for a few days and then we will be able to meet with her again. It a little scary because school is starting this Wednesday, and who knows what could happen!

Katie has been hard to know what to do with. Brother Jensen said that when we baptized her, we knew it was going to be a struggle, but I did not realize what it was really going to be like. The biggest problem is just that she loves to talk. It is really hard to teach her because we can hardly ever get a word in and always end up spending way too much time there. The other day when I told her we had to leave right then, she started into ranting about her father and when I told her again that we needed to leave, she yelled at me to get out of her house. She calmed down when I asked her if we
could say a prayer before we left, but it was still frustrating. She just doesn't want to be helped it seems, but we don't want to leave her alone to slide into the realm of inactivity.

On Thursday, we had exchanges. I went to Plattsmouth with Sister Jones and Sister Bergeson was with Sister Watson in Millard. We spent a good chunk of the day in the first-ever zone meeting. It is different from zone conference because it was only one zone under the charge of the zone leaders vs. zone conference with 2 zones and led by President Weston. We will have zone conference this week. I went to the zone meeting for the Council Bluffs zone, so we got to take a little field trip across the river. The trainings were on developing Christ-like attributes. Charity, humility, etc.

On Sunday, we had another fireside, this one in Lincoln. It was so much fun! We got to have a roadtrip :) Sister Bergeson and I rode down with the Watsons and came back in the transfer van (a big 12-seat van). It reminded me a little of being with the Young Ambassadors. There were some sisters that were yelling and going crazy while others were doing their best to ignore them. But, the fireside went well. Sister Rhoades and I narrated again. As usual, there were lots of solos/small groups and then we all sang God Was There and The Olive Tree (which we all learned yesterday). I love the firesides and President Weston loves that we are doing them, so it works out well! This was the last for this group of firesides, but we are going to be doing a Christmas fireside in a couple of months, which we are excited for. The firesides are such a spiritual feast, both for us and for the people we are able to perform for. The spirit is always strong and we have so many talented sisters.

Today we went to the Air and Space Museum which is about a half an hour south of Omaha, so we got to take another little road trip in the transfer van . This one was a little more mellow. We had a good time looking at airplanes and hearing war stories from our tour guide, who served in the Air Force. It was fun.

Well, that's kind of what has been going on this week! Not a whole lot it seems like. I am not really sure where the week went. We didn't serve much in the TC, but the time still went very fast anyways.
Well, that's all folks!
Love you!
Sister Lamb

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Blessings in the Cornfield and Busy, Busy, Busy

Sister Lamb on Bottom Right

Dear Family,

Love you! Happy Tuesday!

I am sorry to hear about grandma, but I am more worried about you than you should be about me.

I was just reading an email from Mom saying that she hoped that I would have emailed late enough to see if Katie is having a girl or a boy. I left the room for a minute to grab the cord so that I would send you some pictures; there was an email from Katie waiting! Yea for a little girl! That is exciting :) We were actually supposed to email earlier today, but the internet at the TC was not working, so we had to reschedule for now. What a nice little blessing.

Quilt Sister Melanie Worked On
This last week has been kind of crazy. We worked at the Trail Center every day from last Tuesday to yesterday, including an 8 1/2 hour chunk on Sunday. You wouldn't think that if would really matter how much time we spend here vs. our area because we are doing missionary work the whole time, but the Trail Center just takes a lot more energy and effort. Some of my reasoning for this is that 1. We take tours on our own vs. teaching together in our prosthelyting areas = twice the amount of effort/revelation receiving necessary. 2. Lots of crazy kids running around that have been bottled up in a car all day and then are running loose in the TC. 3. In contrast, there are also lots of awesome spiritual experiences. It is like running a spiritual marathon. Before my mission, I remember someone saying that on a mission, you will work the hardest you have ever worked in you life. I kind of didn't believe that because I have worked pretty hard and for extended periods, but I have now reached a whole new level of exhausted. The difference is that missionary work isn't just physically or mentally demanding. It is physically, mentally, AND spiritually demanding all at the same time. In the Trail Center, all of those things feel even more demanding. We are constantly meeting new people, trying to create a relationship with them, trying to understand and teach to their needs, creating an environment where the Spirit can teach them, answering all of their questions, trying to remember their names, figuring out what stories to tell and then relating everything back to them, all while constantly learning new things ourselves. It is intense. Then, when we are done, we sometimes get to have some of our studies and then rush to our prosthelyting area where although we have much less time that other missionaries, there is just as much work to be done. Even without being a Trail Center leader companion, there is still more than enough to do. We are able to see so many great things happen, but we wear ourselves out trying to make sure that all of those great experiences do not go unused. Where much is given, much is expected.

Must be the Square that Sister Melly Embroidered
Some of the neat miracles that have happened in the Trail Center are: 1. I got an email from a man named Rhett that Sister Belka and I chatted with on chat a couple of months ago. We have been emailing back and forth little bit and in this email he informed me that he was recently baptized! That was pretty exciting. I wish that I could actually meet him. 2. I took a woman named Jolinda on tour. She is from California and attends a non-denominational church. She was in Omaha with her daughter visiting her mother who has cancer. As we started on tour, Jolinda had lots of questions and had lots to share. Her mother and daughter wandered away and we spent a while talking about all kinds of things, from the atonement to faith to modern day revelation to the Book of Mormon to receiving answers to prayers. We didn't really even talk about the pioneers. (Its funny, but that seems to be the mark of a really good tour sometimes.) I was able to share a few different scriptures with her including Moroni 10:3-5 about Moroni's challenge to pray about truth and Alma 7:11-13 about the atonement. She was a really neat lady. At the end of the tour, I gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon, which she promised to read. I also asked if I could have the missionaries near her come visit her and talk with her more about the Book of Mormon, which she accepted. The whole thing just felt very natural. 3. Another woman, Anne, who lives just down the street from the Trail Center, came in with her son and his fiancée. It was kind of the same situation all over again. When they first walked in the door, they immediately had questions about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and Mitt Romney :) Ha-ha. I just love when people have good questions and are willing to ask them. It makes things so much easier. They watched Zion in the Wilderness, then we started on tour and pretty quickly, I got to talking to Anne and the other two wandered away. She told me that she lived in Utah for a few years, has met with missionaries before, and absolutely loves the Church. While she and her husband were living in Utah, he hurt his knee and the ward helped them out by bring by meals and other things. That one experience has made her absolutely love the Church. She grew up Pentecostal and hated it and has not really gone to church since. She kind of hinted during the tour that she is not sure why she has not joined. She also said that she thinks that she is related to Joseph Smith, at least that is what her family used to say. Once her son leaves, we are going to figure out a time from her to come to the Trail Center so we can see if that is true! Pretty exciting! I love family history :)

Let’s see. As far as Millard, we have not had a whole lot of time, but in the time that we have had, we have mostly been trying to get Aliyah and Madison ready for baptism. Aliyah was supposed to be baptized this Saturday, but she was sick and did not come to church on Sunday, so she will have to wait until next week. It will probably turn out for the better because then she and Madison can be baptized at the same time.

We did service for Lori, one of our investigators, making more hair accessories. She introduced us to a couple of her friends, Lisa and Monica. She is so funny. She acts like a member sometimes, introducing us to her friends so that we can help them. The first thing that Lisa said when she walked in the door was, "Is this some kind of intervention?”. It kind of was, but we just got to know her as we did service for Lori and as we left Lori suggested that we make this a weekly thing so that we can be around her friends more often until we get to the point where we can teach her. I love Lori.

So, lots of great things happening! Busy, busy, busy, but I suppose that I would rather be busy than bored :)

Love you!

Sister Melly

Nebraska Sky

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