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

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Cornfield Cools but West Maple is on Fire

Hello Family!

Love you! Thank you for the package!

So, it’s been. . . a week! This week, we have been focusing a lot on Lindsay, who was set to be baptized on the 13th (this Saturday). She still had a lot of things that we needed to teach her, so we told her that we would be coming over just about every night, which we did. She is absolutely on fire. She is so excited to be baptized and loves everything that we teach her. Sister Brown took Sister Atkin to see her on Thursday (exchanges) and Sister Atkin was pretty amazed by her. I am as well. She has such a love for the gospel and is so pure. When taught the Word of Wisdom and the law of chastity, she just said "yeah, I was always the weird girl growing up because I have always thought that we shouldn't do those things." She came to General Conference on Sunday morning. After it was over, she said that she had had a whole list of questions, the kind of questions that she had been wondering her whole life, and that every one of them had been answered. She was going to watch the rest of the sessions online and was so excited to see them. She is going to be baptized on the 27th because that is the weekend when her parents will be able to come and be there, which is a perfectly good excuse in my mind.

Let’s see, we also have Holly. We were only able to see her on Sunday and during a session of conference. We are still working at getting to the heart of the problem with her, but we are slowly making progress. She is still scheduled to be baptized next Wednesday, but we will probably end up moving that date back a few weeks.

West Maple is doing well. We have just been really, really busy the last couple of weeks and have not had much time in our area. To be honest, I am not sure with what. We have been doing a lot of service projects, which is good and helping our ward mission leader, which is good, and doing things at the Trail Center, which is also good. It’s all good. Sister Lamb is good. Sister Brown is also good. Sister Proctor says hello.

We were able to watch 3 of the 4 sessions of conference this time. The last one, we were working at the Trail Center, so I missed most of it. I was watching in the basement of the Trail Center when President Monson made his big announcement. I guess I am not sure how I feel about it. It is exciting that a lot more people, especially sisters, will be able to serve missions, but it also makes me feel really old. It’s interesting because I am pretty sure that if I could have served a mission when I turned 19, I probably wouldn't have and I don't know if I would have decided to serve at the time that I did, being 3 years older than most missionaries. Maybe that makes me a little proud or at least proud then, but in the end, it doesn't really matter because I don't have to make that decision. It is probably a good thing that I will be home before we start getting any of the new, younger missionaries, but who knows? Even before this was announced, there have already been changes happening in the mission to prepare for the younger missionaries. New rules have basically cut all communication between elders and sisters, even when they are serving in the same areas. We are not allowed to have district meetings in the same buildings or eat district lunches in the same places.

So, yeah! Things are good. The Trail Center has slowed down considerably so I am working on finding lots of good things to do with the time. It’s good.

The tour that probably had the most impact on me this week was a tour that I took on Sunday evening. It was a middle aged woman from Utah. She had left Utah over a month ago with her aunt to do a bunch of travelling and sightseeing through the States, up to Canada, and all over the east coast. Her aunt had gotten sick and flew home from Baltimore, leaving just her to travel alone for the rest of the trip. The first thing that we did was take a walk over to the cemetery where we talked about the sacrifices of the pioneers and I helped her locate three graves of her ancestors. Tears streamed down her face as we talked about what they were sacrificing for and as she told me a little about her family. As we talked, I started to see this woman as my mother. I began to think "If this was my mom, travelling cross-country by herself, at this point in her life, what would I want someone to say to her?" I felt that it was then that I was truly able to minister to her. We continued into the Trail Center where I showed her Zion in the Wilderness and the gallery. As we continued to talk, I felt a deeper sense of love for this woman. But, as she was leaving, I asked where she was going to spend the night, to which she asked if she could spend the night in the parking lot in her car. The senior couple overheard and joined in the conversation, convincing her that she needed to find a place to stay the night because it was going to reach below freezing that night. She replied that her trip had taken longer than expected and that she was running out of money. For another 15 minutes or so, we in a way ran around, not sure what to do or how to help. Eventually, the senior couple gave her some money and she headed to find a decent hotel. During this time, the senior elder had commented to me, with concern in his voice, that something was not right with her, that maybe she wasn't all mentally there. As I looked back on the tour, I began to realize that he was probably right. It was heartbreaking to me. It was like telling me that there was something was mentally wrong with my mom. I couldn't help but cry a little for this woman who I had felt so close to in that short amount of time.

So, I don't know what to say that I learned from this experience. I am still trying to figure that out. But it was not like any experience I have had before in the Trail Center

Love you!

Sister Melly

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sister Lamb Visits a Pumpkin Patch and Tries to Ignore the Numbers

Hello Family!

Love you!

I think that this last week, Heavenly Father has been reminding me that it is not all about numbers. At the beginning of my mission, I hardly cared about numbers at all, but in the time since then my perspective has totally changed. Every time I change areas, it gets worse. I just feel a pressure to keep up with the number of lessons that were being taught by the previous missionaries or I feel like someone will think that I am a bad missionary or that we are being lazy. So this week, I was being reminded that I don't need to worry about it. We were still able to teach a good number of lessons, but we also were able to do a lot of things that were great things to do, but didn't necessarily show up in numbers of lessons.

On Wednesday last week, we went to visit Tana, a less active and she gave each of us a skirt. They are so cute! I will send you a picture sometime. My camera is out of batteries today. We went home and washed them several times (they smelled like smoke) and then wore them when we went back the next day to help her clean her apartment. It took us an hour just to clean her stove and do her dishes, if that says anything. On Monday this week, we went back to help for another hour and a half and I spent the whole time vacuuming a big rug. When I started, it was so full of dog hair that it looked like something a bum wouldn't sleep on. By the end, it actually looked pretty nice. I was using one of the attachments and doing it by hand and it was hard work! I just really hope that she keep it clean :)

We have also been working with our bishop on some things, like going through the whole ward list with him over who is who and who is active and less-active and who we should go see, etc.

On Saturday, we did service at a Kiwanis pancake breakfast.

On Thursday, Sister Weston came with us to our area for a few hours. It was so much fun! First we saw an investigator named Toya and taught her about the Plan of Salvation. It was so neat to see her reaction because everything was making so much sense to her and she loved it. We set her for baptism for the middle of November. I think that she is more excited to receive the Holy Ghost than be baptized :). We also saw Sister Feuquay and read the scriptures with her. She was funny. She has started making bracelets lately and makes us a new one every time we go over there.

On Saturday, Holly, an investigator, gave us a ride to the Relief Society broadcast, which was so good because we got to talk to her on the way to and from the broadcast. Holly has been coming to church and being taught by missionaries for about 6 months and wants to believe everything we teach, but just won't let herself. She really liked the broadcast, probably more than anything we have ever done with her, and on the way back we had a perfect conversation with her about deciding to believe and humility. She was really thinking. We haven't been able to teach her since but I am expecting great changes when we see her next.

This last week, on Sunday, I got to the Trail Center after church and immediately went to relieve Sister Davis from her tour. She was right at the end, but needed to leave to go to church, so I took over her tour for her. When she walked away, the 2 year old son ran after her into the foyer because he had become very attached to her. The dad brought him back, but he didn't really want me to be there, so I just focused on the parents and we talked about families a lot- about them working together and supporting each other and about temples and being sealed together as a family (they were not members by the way). Then we went to watch "God's Plan" and I testified to them about families and about how the Book of Mormon can strengthen their family. They said that they have not gone to church in a long time, but recently have been thinking about going back. It was a great. There is absolutely no other way besides the spirit that could have helped to transition between Sister Davis and me taking them on tour and then still being open enough to accept the things that I was telling them. From my side, the tour was only about 20 minutes total, but the spirit was able to direct me to use that short amount of time to give them what they needed.

Both of the parents left the Trail Center with a copy of the Book of Mormon and they left me their address so I could send the missionaries. They didn't leave a phone number or email, so I am going to have an interesting time following up with them, but I guess I will just have to pray for them a lot and hope that they return letters.

Today, we went to Vala's pumpkin patch. It is kind of like Disneyland minus the rides. We watched pig races, shooting pumpkins out of a cannon, went through a corn maze, rode pedal bikes, sat in a huge rocking chair, and other fun things. It was great, but I am tired!

Ok love you! Bahhhh!

Sister Melly