Monday, October 21, 2013

Rain, Rain Go Away

  It has been rainy and so dreary, all week. Well maybe not all week, just the days we were in our area. The first day it rained it didn't really look that bad and so we didn't even think about bringing our umbrellas. Then it started raining, so we run under this tree where we could kinda stay dry, then it started raining harder. So we were pretty much getting really wet, and then the Mejias called. And it was a really important phone call. So here we are, Trapped under this tree. I am first was trying to keep the phone dry with my planner but then duh...don't want that to get wet, so I am awkwardly trying to pull my cardigan over the phone and talk to Bro. Mejia, all while we are trying to decide which of the nearest porches we should run to. We finally make a break for it and end up on this old ladies porch. So while I am still talking to Bro. Mejia and trying to hear him and listen. Sis Jones knocks on this ladies door and asks her if we can take cover for a little while on her porch. She was so sweet, but was standing there so awkwardly just watching us through here closed screen door. She eventually went and got us a towel. And was then talking to us (by now I had finally gotten off the phone with Bro. Mejia) and we couldn't hardly understand anything she said. She was from Italy and was seriously slipping back and forth from English to Italian....So funny, We just smiled and nodded and then finally just braved the rain and started for our car, which was forever away:) She was awesome though. People really are so nice here:)
      This week was a hard one, but awesome. We were able to take some of the Elder's in our ward, investigators on tour at Kirtland and it went so well. With one family it was so intense. The Kurstols (not sure how you spell it) I was so worried about them and that we had all pushed them too hard or something but I really did feel like we were led by the spirit and this Sunday the dad (who is the most resistant one) came to church by himself and actually looked happy (which is a big deal for him!) and said he felt the spirit (also a miracle). We sat with him and every talk in Sacrament meeting was so perfect for him and all he has been struggling with! Its kinda funny, but we haven't  been able to get any of our investigators to church so far, so we just kinda commandeer everyone else's! haha, not really but all of us missionaries in the ward are so unified and so we all just help each other out when it comes to church:) After Church Bro. Kurtsol finally told the Elders what his concern was and said he really just needed to talk to somebody about it. So he was able to talk with the Bishop and is going to get some help with some concerns he has. It was such an amazing day to see that all happen and know we had helped in some small way:) The other Investigators that had come loved Kirtland. The Elders told us that Harold's mom told them "He has been so happy and glowing every since that tour" wahoo!!!!!  It really is amazing to see that you just have to keep going, you just have to keep at it, and in His own time, The Lord really does shower down blessings upon us. Sigh... am learning so much...and yet more and more realize I have sooooooooo much more to learn. Its just never ending! In Church Bro. Thornton shared this "While other religions want you to know something, The Gospel of Jesus Christ challenges you to become something. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the plan, to help us become what Heavenly Father truly desires us to become" Ah I loved it! And that is really it! We are becoming something...and not just anything, we are becoming what our Heavenly Father intended for us to become. When we follow the teaches of Jesus Christ and participate wholeheartedly in His Church and the building up of His Kingdom, we are refining our souls, we are engaged in that process and journey of becoming. 
      Well, we had another bonfire this week! We did some service for a Less Active and she wanted to have s'mores with us all since we built her a fire pit, but we ended up not having time. So she invited us back, we asked her if it would be all right if a few of our investigators came as well, she said of course. Well what started out as a small campfire gathering turned into a ward/neighborhood, invite everyone you can, and ALL our investigators, big, huge Fiasco! (thanks to the Elders) haha Sis. Rigby who was arranging it all was so stressed about it. But it turned out great and the less active love it and wants to do it every Friday now! It was really fun and I just loving bringing investigators and members together like that so they can really meet some people and be comfortable with the church. 
    Well I had better get going but I love you all and hope you have a fabulous week!!!!!
            Sis. Hannah Newren
Challenge for the week: Read Joseph Smith's testimony of the First Vision....Its so powerful.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Elder Ballard!

      Its getting colder and I suddenly wish I was serving in Hawaii...just kidding I love Ohio so much, even though I know its going to be a killer winter...hope I survive:/
       This week has been AWESOME. The three main miracles this week were 1) finally was able to meet with our investigator Kim. We had an awesome lesson on the Restoration with her and we were inviting her to read and pray about it when she says "well I already know its true" YAY! She really is awesome. We invited her to be baptized but she said she wants to study more before she makes that big decision but she really is so close and we can tell she really has a lot of desire to study it out for herself and to really know! 2) That same night just before we saw Kim we stopped by a less active who hasn't been to church since he was a teenager. The first time we stopped by his house he gave us his number but was very non-committal. The info we have on him in our area book says he has not been interested in the past and to stop by maybe every 6 months. But as soon as we walked up to his house he was just right inside the door and said "is that the sisters? Come on in!" We got to know him and his 19 yr old daughter a little more (he also has a 17 yr old son living with him) and we had an awesome conversation with them, they were very open with us and he was telling us how just recently, his mom (active member), had been pushing him to try going back to church. So when we invited him to take the missionary lessons and come back he was like "you know I think it is time. I have been kinda lost and I am not really sure if God can help me but I want to try!" He is incredible and neither of his kids have been baptized sHHHH I o there is real potential. We are so excited to go back a teach them soon. 3) Don (AAAAAHHH I am so excited for him) has really been our most unlikely investigator. He started reading the Book of Mormon and he loves when we come talk with him but he gets off on so many random topics and it is so hard to teach him. He has been really busy lately and he wont ever let us set an appointment with him. But we felt strongly we should stop by the other day and MIRACLE! He was home and his heart was so soft. He told us he has been praying and reading the Book of Mormon off and on and is really trying to get an answer he said "I was in tears one night, asking God, could this really be the one true faith?" He is getting frustrated because he feels he isn't getting an answer. So we took some time to help him understand the different ways God answers us and encouraged him to keep trying! We promised him if he read a chapter in the BoM everyday and prayed everyday and continued to meet with us he would get an answer. You really could just see it in his eyes, That hunger and desire to know for himself. It was so incredible and I am so excited for him because I know he will get an answer! Pray for him everybody! He is so awesome and he needs to be a member of this church!
      We had stake Conference this week and a Historic Kirtland 10 yr commemoration extravaganza!!!!! It was so cool! Elder Ballard was here with his wife and some of his family, as well as two area 70's. It was such a neat weekend. On Friday night we had a VIP event at the VC (we weren't really invited at first, they were just going to slip us in every few guests so we could meet Elder Ballard but by the end they just let us join them and hang out and eat the food and everything! So I got to meet him! Shook his hand and everything, talked about the weather for a little was sweeeeeet:) Really though, meeting an apostle of the Lord. I was so excited!!!! Then after that reception there was a commemoration fireside for Kirtland at the Stake Center. So good. Saturday morning we were able to go to the 5k walk around the Temple and the village and pancake breakfast. There were so many people there it was awesome!!!! Then that night Adult session was so good, and yesterday the general session was so inspiring! It was just what I needed and so powerful. Its hard sometimes to remember how special Kirtland really is. I think sometimes us missionaries and the members who live here really take it for granted. Elder Ballard said "You want to know what I would do if I lived here? I would frequently walk these paths with my family, I would soak in the testimonies of the sisters and seniors who serve here and I would read over and over again the stories of those early saints who walked here. I would invite everyone I know to come feel the spirit that is here." It was so powerful he then said how will we feel when we get up to heaven and see a friend or acquaintance and hear them say "how could you never have told me about Kirtland, why did you never invite me to feel the spirit there?" It really is the neatest place in the world. Its hallowed ground and I am so so so blessed to serve here!

    Well I certainly hope you all are having a wonderful week!

~ Challenge for the week...ready: Learn about one of the saints who lived in Kirtland. John Tanner, Joe Hills Johnson. Newel K Whitney and family...etc. I promise learning about these people will enrich your own life and help strengthen your testimony of this Gospel!  
     I love you all dearly!
         Sis. Hannah Newren

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Snake in the Chapel!

Hey Ya'alI
Hope I grabbed your attention with that title because its a good ol' story...but first I have to tell you about the rest of the week:) hehehehe
So, This week has been a good one! Update on Investigators
We have a couple but we have not been able to have really solid consistent lessons with many of them so it makes it harder to really help them progress. Angela is the only one with a baptismal date and she is this awesome lady but her life kinda fell apart after our first lesson and so we just have felt like she needs some space. We have stopped by a few times to make sure she knows we love and support her and are hoping to have an actual lesson with her next week. Then there is Don. 50+ yr old man. Such a character. always is cracking jokes about how we are stalking him:) He is so funny, we have a really good relationship with him. He talks so much and sometimes we just have to say "DON! STOP TALKING...just listen okay for 5....minutes:)" haha its great. He hasn't really been progressing though and so we finally stopped by one day and just asked him straight out. "Don do you even want to know if this is true? because we don't want to just shove it down your throat, you really have to want to know." and he said YES! which was huge because we started out having such a casual, joking, friendly relationship, that it has been kinda hard to get him to take us seriously with teaching him. But he also said he had considered going to church the last Sunday but then got called into work last minute! But at least he had that desire. We were so excited when he said that because now we know he really is interested. I feel like he is going to be baptized. I just feel it! He is like the most unlikely candidate but I know the Lord wants him in His church!
For Conference....loved it! Totally the highlight of my week. Everything just meant so much more being a missionary. On Saturday I was at sites and we still have to take tours (silly members....why aren't you watching General Conferance!) So I missed most of the first session. But I prayed that we would get to watch the second session, I told the sisters "dont worry I prayed we would get to see it" and some of them kinda laughed. But even though Sister Jones and I were the next in line to take a tour no one came in and we were able to watch the whole session! We watched the priesthood session too. Then Sunday we were in our area so we pretty much just hung out at the church all day and watched it all. It was so amazing! I love love loved Elder Ballard's Talk on missionary work. Its just so important and the more we all realize that the more its going to actually happen!
Okay so adventure for the week. We had this epic 7+ hour service project for a Less active/part member family. They live in a trailer home that is about to fall apart so the missionaries of the Perry ward were enlisted to help save it! They had this long list of things that needed to be done and when we read them off in one of our meetings we all just looked blankly at each other thinking "how in the world are we going to be able to do any of that?" It was all things like. fix dry wall, wrap ducts under trailer, fix plumbing, chop wood. haha yeah, we were under the impression though that some ward members would be coming too who knew how to do things like that.....yeah, it ended up just being us. HA! Luckily Elder Baker (southern gent from Georgia) knew how to wrap ducts SO, we spent the duration of those 7 hours under two different trailer homes wrapping their ducts with reflective insulation, taping it all in place and praying it would be okay through the winter! It was the nastiest, grossest thing I have ever done. There was untold horrors under those trailer homes. We seriously were army crawling in Mud, puddles of water, Cat poop, bugs, cobwebs, cacooniphied (yes I know thats not a real word, they really were though!) spiders etc. etc. etc. UGH! So gross. But sooooooo funny. It seriously was the funniest day of my mission so far, I mean the whole situation was just hilarious, crawling through all that crap, having no idea what we were supposed to be doing down their and to make it even better was that fact the elders were their! Here we are, missionaries, its been drilled into our head from day one not to touch, flirt with or practically talk to each other...hahahah and here we are ALL underneath these trailers in all sorts of awkward positions, lying right by each other, accidentally touching hands and all sorts of was horrible! And so funny. I mean of course we all were just really focused on getting the job done and not even thinking about it, but really we just laughed about it the whole time. sigh...I was crying I was laughing so hard. Anyways. and the best part is. We still have so much more service to do over there! haha... bring it!
And last but not least. Just yesterday, here we were calmly settled in the chapel watching conference when suddenly Elder Baker gets up walks quickly up a few aisles and crouches down, all we saw were a few jerky movements as he fussed with something on the ground...we look over and all the other Elders are mouthing "snake, there is a snake" with shocked faces. We of course didn't believe them until Elder Baker gets up and calmly walks out with a snake in his hand!!!!! whaaaaaaat! What the heck is a snake doing in the chapel!!!!!! during General Conference no less! Sis. Rigby freaked out and wouldn't put her feet down for a good 10 mins. When the Elders get back they come over asking me if I have any oils that would be good for a snake bite. "IT BIT HIM?" it did indeed. So I give them some essential oils and then they all huddle together over his hand putting them on. Elder Baker shrugged it off and was being so stubborn! Later he said he was burning up and his arm was on fire....ELDER BAKER! Geesh....guys, So pretty much we hope he hasn't died. Havn't heard from the Elders this morning so its not looking good.....(just kidding)
Well I better good going but I love you all and look forward to hearing from you!!!!! BYE!
Sis. Hannah Newren