Monday, January 28, 2013

Sister Melanie Sews Seeds for Future Missionaries

Hello Family!

Love you!

Last night we were able to set one of our investigators for baptism. It felt so good because it has been a couple of weeks since we have had anyone that was set. Her name is Lindsay. She was set for baptism back in October, but a week before her baptism, she texted us and said, "I don't think I can be baptized any more." Then she disappeared for a couple of months and we were not able to get a hold of her. When we finally did, she explained that her parents were not very supportive of her decision to be baptized, which is why she called of the baptism. She still said that she wanted to baptized, but was obviously still hesitant. We have only been able to teach her lately by dropping by and sharing something quick, but our lessons have been really disjointed. Finally last night, we were able to teach her a real lesson (the first in a while) and invited her to be baptized. She has really been thinking about it this last week while she was at the Mayo Clinic last week (she has abdominal migraines) and said that she is ready. We still have somewhat of a barrier with her parents, but I have great faith that everything will work out. She is working towards being baptized on March 2.

Things are going great. I feel like lately, the ward has been showing more and more confidence in us and we have been able to work a lot more closely with them. I think that the secret of our success has been using our team-up calendar and largely having an attitude that we are there to help the Ward Council and ward members in THEIR missionary efforts. In EMV's, we commit families to do things that they are asked to do in the Ward Mission Plan. Thanks to our WML, we will soon be starting to have a missionary focused Sunday block every other month where we/the WML/ward missionaries will teach in the classes and then give talks in sacrament. It is going to be great! It only makes me sad that I am leaving soon and will not get to participate in all of the awesome things that are happening, but it has been fun to be a part of the process of getting it all started. I think that is just my role lately- coming up with ideas and then letting other people carry them out. I am ok with that though.

Yeah. I don't know what has been going on lately, other than our less active members have been appearing out of the woodwork. We have a long list of less-active that we are teaching; now we just need to find some fresh investigators. :) But, it’s good. Life is good. Lately, we saying that all of our investigators need to see the Joseph Smith movie and come to the Trail Center, so we are planning some Joseph Smith movie marathons. So far, we had a less-active named Scott watch the JS movie on Thursday and then another LA, Memoire, come take a tour with her three daughters (they were CRAZY) but we still had fun. Tonight, an investigator- Felicia- is coming. And then we also want to get Holly and the Buetows (our recent converts) to come as well.

OK.  Love you!

Sister Melly

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sister Lamb's Crazy, Emotional Week

Hi Family!

It has been a crazy, emotional week.

On Friday, everything worked perfectly with the temple. The way that it worked out was that we had a special session to ourselves. The whole thing had been orchestrated perfectly by one of the senior elders, Elder Openshaw, as well as the Schoofs - the Temple President. The sisters all arrived at the temple at 6:30 (we had received permission to park at 7 Oaks so that they wouldn't see our cars). Sister Schoof came to talk to us for minute- I think she was more excited about this than any of us. She is so cute. Then we all headed upstairs to change and then gathered in the sealing room to wait for the previous session to be out of the instruction room. During this time, the Watsons arrived and changed downstairs. By the time they came upstairs, we were all seated in the instruction room. We all were feeling a little tense, hoping not to be found out before we were all there. (I thought that there was no way we would be able to pull it off.) When the Watsons came into the room with President and Sister Weston, Elder Watson stared at us for a second and then walked back out of the room. When he returned a second later, he was crying and told us that we were all being disobedient. Ha-ha. It was amazing. I am so glad that it all worked out and that we were able to have that experience with them and all of the senior couples. We were in the Celestial Room for a long time hugging and crying, but it was so good.

One miracle that happened this week was that a couple of weeks ago, a member of the bishopric- Brother Dryden- suggested that we go visit a new couple in the ward, the Ainsworths. The wife is a member, but the husband is not and they do not come to church. Brother Dryden didn't know how they would react to us stopping by, so he suggested that we just tract into them and act as if we don't know that they are members. I don't really like acting stupid like that, but we planned to do what he said. We had gone over several times, but with no success. This time, Sister Ainsworth was home and immediately opened the door and told us to come in! No deception needed. She was extremely open with us about what they have been struggling with lately (a suicide in the family) and said that she would like to come back to church. We are hoping to meet her husband soon.

Love you!

Sister Melly

Monday, January 14, 2013

Saying Goodbye to the Watson's and Admitting to the Wisdom of Sister Kusnerik

Hi Family!

Love you!
I can't believe that another week has already gone by.
This week, Elder and Sister Watson are going home and the Cleverlys are coming.
On Sunday, Elder and Sister Watson gave their farewell talks in the Conestoga Branch- where they usually attend church, although I found out that they don't have an assigned ward- they are just supposed to rove around between wards. We, the Fairview sisters, and the Millard sisters sang "We'll Bring the World His Truth" and "The Olive Tree". Elder Watson admitted that it was a stupid thing to do because he was crying the whole time, but it was fun to get to be there. There was probably more missionaries there than branch members between the 6 sisters, the Watsons, 2 other senior couples that are assigned there, the elders who serve there, and another set that Elder Watson had gotten permission to come.
I had a really great idea a couple of weeks ago that all of the sisters and the Watsons go to a temple session together before the Watsons leave. I remember a couple of years ago when I was in the Nauvoo Temple with all of the Young Ambassadors, doing baptisms, and the spirit was so strong and it was an awesome experience. How much more awesome would it be with a bunch of missionaries! The original thought was to go to the 6 am session at the temple, but there are too many of us to fit along with the normal patrons, so the temple president, President Schoof, set up a special session for us at 7:15 on Friday morning. Of course, we also had to get permission from President Weston, which turned out to be not too much of a problem. The Watsons still don't know about any of this so don't tell! I don't know how you would. So the plan is that the Westons are inviting the Watsons to go to the temple session with them and when they walk into the instruction room, all the sisters will all be sitting there, waiting. Then, when we get into the celestial room, the senior couples will join us. Elder Watson is bound to cry his eyes out, but I think that it will be an experience that we will all remember for a long time. It’s going to be great!
Then on Saturday, they will fly home.
This last week, we had exchanges with the Council Bluffs Sisters. I was in Council Bluffs with Sister Jensen. We were both a little nervous about this because Sister Jensen has only been in Omaha for a week, but the day went extremely well! Even though all of our appointments fell through, we were able to teach 4 lessons, find several promising potential investigators, and a new part-member family for them to teach. Sister Jensen is doing amazingly well for only being here a week. I think that what all new missionaries need is just a lot of love and encouragement. As Sister Kusnerik used to always say "There is no growing in your comfort zone and no comfort in your growing zone!" I always hated it when she said that, but it is true.

Love you! See you in a month!

Sister Melly

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sister Melanie Puzzles and Finds Purpose

Hi Family!

Love you!

I looked at all the pictures of Madi. She is so cute! The other sisters were looking at them too and they thought that she is pretty cute too, so it is not just because I am related. She has so much hair though! So cute. Baby baby baby. I can't wait to meet her.

Our recent convert, Holly, was baptized right before Christmas- just a couple of weeks ago. This last week was our stake temple night, and she was able to attend to do baptisms with two of our other recent converts, the Buetows, who were baptized in May. The three of them were planning on going together and Holly even loaned her car to the Buetows for the day to make everything run more smoothly.  Everything was going perfectly until both of the Buetows got very sick. They were considering not going to the temple. They knew that this would leave Holly by herself on her first trip to the temple, so they decided to go anyways. It was a good experience for all and we hope to get them back to the temple within the next month. The next evening, we visited Holly and the Buetows came as our team up. Holly brought up a concern that she doesn't know if she has ever felt the spirit. It is a concern that we have addressed with her before, testifying over and over that she has and trying to help her identify those times, but we obviously have not been completely successful. But this lesson was very different. We were able to testify in harmony with the Buetows, and by the end of lesson, Holly said that she has felt the Spirit before; she just didn't recognize what it was. It was a really great lesson and we committed her to bring a question to church and to paying more attention to the spirit at church on Sunday so that she could get an answer to her question, but then she was sitting with us in sacrament meeting and cutting her fingernails during the sacrament. Hm. She got an answer though, so maybe she is just really good at focusing on more than one thing at once. I don't know.

The frustrating part of this week is just appointments keep falling through and sometimes feeling like I am doing the wrong things. There were days where we had appointments for every hour from 3 until 8, but everyone or almost every one cancelled. It’s frustrating because we spend so much time making sure that we have appointments and getting members to come with us to each of those appointments. I recognize that Heavenly Father can still make other good things happen, but I wish that things could just work out the way that we plan for them to.

Other than that, the Trail center has been very slow, which is nice for the new sisters because there is a lot less pressure on them to start taking tours, so they can kind of ease into it a little bit. Yesterday, not a single person came in during the 6 hours that we were here in the morning, although we did get some cleaning done. I am almost convinced that when I grow up and am a senior missionary, I will be called to do FM. (facilities management). Especially when it is slow like this, I am always finding something to clean. Yesterday, we finished cleaning up from the Gingerbread festival and cleaned the mats behind the front desk and took apart somethings in the gallery that were really dirty, cleaned them, and put them back together. I enjoy it :) A lot of sisters have been getting sick lately though. I guess the flu is running rampant through Omaha, so we are getting our fair share.

I have been thinking about a commitment that the Trail Center Leaders gave us this last week at training, to figure out what our unique role is in the Trail Center. In fact it is something that I have thought a lot about throughout my mission.

I know that taking tours is a very important part of what my role at the Trail Center is, but I feel like that goes without saying. Without question, that is the first and most important reason that any of us are here, but the question comes into play, "What is my purpose when I am not taking tours? What can I do to still be productive when I have completed all that I have been asked to do?"

I think that I first started wondering what my purpose was in the Trail Center when I was so often companions with Trail Center Leaders. For a while, I felt kind of useless because it always felt like my companions were involved in the important and exciting things at the Trail Center and for the most part, were not able to tell me what was going on. I will admit it has been hard to have so many companions that were Trail Center Leaders and to see the joy and fulfillment that they have received from their calling and then not have the opportunity to fill that same role. There have been moments of jealousy and others of sorrow, but eventually I got over it and realized that it’s really not the end of the world- I can still participate in meaningful ways without have the title.

Once I finally figured that out, I began to accomplish other things and be more mindful of other opportunities to serve, and started feeling more useful. Even if it was always being the first one to start cleaning the gallery in the evening or making sure that the gallery was stocked with copies of the Book of Mormon or writing love notes to the sisters or taking the initiative to be the first to sit up, I started to take more ownership of the Trail Center and felt like I was contributing in a meaningful way. This then evolved into other opportunities to help and participate.

I guess overall what I would say that my role at the Trail Center is coming up with ideas of how to improve the Trail Center in small ways, occasionally sharing my ideas with the Trail Center Leaders, and then going to work!

I can think of a lot of things that I have done that probably no one realized that I did, from developing the new miles reporting system to creating a file of the computer of Pioneer Stories to occasionally cleaning out the fridges in the TC kitchen. But, I am ok without getting recognition. I know what I was able to accomplish and I know that what I have done was meaningful.

Love you!

Sister Melly

PS. We are almost done with the Christmas puzzle!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Sister Melanie's Miracles, Madison and More West Maple

Hello family!

Love you!

On Sunday, I had just gotten back from church and was in the study room at the Trail Center when the Nordhoffs came into the Trail Center with the picture of baby Madison. I had my skirt that has big pockets in it, so I carried it around in my pocket all day and pulled it out every once in a while. She is so cute! She does not look like a new baby though. I do have to say though, belly buttons before they are belly buttons are gross.

Wow! I have so much to say this week. So many miracles have been happening!

When we were out in our area on Saturday, we lost our phone. We had been all over the place that day and it could have been in many different places. We went back and checked at the homes that we had had lessons at, thinking maybe it had fallen out of a pocket, but had no luck. We stopped and prayed several times to know what to do, but were not feeling particularly inspired to go back and check any of the areas where we had been tracting, so we continued on with our plans in faith that Heavenly Father would help us find the phone. Sometime on Sunday, our bishop got a call from a man who had found the phone. He said that he would bring it to the Trail Center soon. We haven't heard any more yet, but we have faith that there is a reason that we lost the phone and that this good Samaritan will be bringing it to the Trail Center. We will see what unfolds. . .

On paper, Saturday does not look like a very good day. In addition to losing the phone, we went to contact a couple of referrals. The first denied that she had requested anything and was not too happy to see us. The second had requested a DVD at the Gingerberad Festival. We had left in on her doorstep before Christmas and went back to check up with her. She returned the DVD, unopened, and told us that she didn't want it anymore. Eventually, we were able to teach 3 lessons that day and find a couple of new investigators, but the beginning of the day wasn't looking to promising. Through all of this, we were able to keep our hopes up. It really wasn't that important even if rejection isn't very fun.
Beyond lost and found phones, we have been able to teach a lot of lessons lately. There were two nights that really taught me about the power of faith and desire. One night, I was feeling tired and not very hopeful about the work. I mainly just wanted to get the couple of hours left before 9 over with so we could return home. I had the attitude of "What can we do to use up this time?" instead of "What does the Lord need us to accomplish with this time?". At the end of the night, we had very little to show for our efforts. A few days later, we had a very similar looking night - a few hours in our area with no scheduled appointments. The difference though, was my attitude. This time, I actually had faith that we would be able to accomplish what we had planned. My faith changed my actions and the way that I approached the work and we were able to be successful. There is great power in believing that you can do something, especially with the Lord's help.

Wow. I can't believe that it is time for transfers again already. I go back and forth thinking that this transfer is going to go faster than any before and then thinking that it is going to take forever. With each transfer, it gets harder and harder to see the sisters leave, especially this bunch, with 2 that I have been companions with as well as Sister Proctor. It is especially odd because these are the sisters that I have felt close to. We were at the beginning of our missions together, we were learning and experiencing a lot of the things for the first time together and now we are all at the end. its kind of surreal, but then reality hits for a few moments and I feel excited for the future, but also nervous to leave behind something so good.

We only spent two days in the Trail Center this last week, and although I expected it to be slower with the Christmas season drawing to a close, it was actually pretty busy.

Well, I wish I had time to write more, but time is running short. We had to take part of p-day today and will finsih the rest tomorrow, but if you have anything more to say, I will check again for a few minutes tomorrow.

Love yoU!

Sister Melly


P.S. on January 2

No pictures (more of her niece). No phone. But Sister Anderson and I are staying together in West Maple.
Love you!