Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year!

Its been a good year.  
      I love you all so much! And I love my mission sooooooooooo much!!!!!!! I love December and I love snow, and I loved 2013 and I love 2014 already. I love Ohio and Utah and companions and investigators and members and food and well everything! My life is SO. GOOD!
     But, really:) It was so so fun to talk to you all at Christmas. I felt so weird for a minute, like I should have been sitting on the couch right there with you, but then it dawned on me that I was the one away from home, I was the one you were all so excited to see, it was so weird! But I loved it! Christmas was so much fun, mostly because I got to see all of you!
     This week has been so eye opening. Its really different being away from your trainer. I miss Sis. Jones but I am loving this opportunity to really spread my wings (cheesy I know) and FLY!!!!!! (ugh...definitely too cheesy). Its crazy but I feel like I have learned so much about myself and about the kind of missionary I am in these past 13 days than the whole 4 1/2 months I was with Sis. Jones. Suddenly I just have so much more responsibility and say in how we do things and it has made me want to work so much harder. I have been trying my whole mission up to this point to really enjoy the work. And I really have, but this week I just have this new found desire to try even harder than I have been and to really just lose myself and work harder than I ever have EVER!  Its awesome. And its totally God. I have been praying to have a stronger desire to do the work and really love it and it has been flowing into my life so effortlessly I can't hardly believe it! There is a quote in our apartment that says, "when obedience ceases to become an irritant and becomes instead our quest. there flows into our lives a tremendous power to do the work" (okay so that wasn't exactly verbatim but that's basically what it says:) I think that is what's happening. With that switch in perspective, that I don't just have to be obedient but that I really want to be exactly obedient. God is giving me more power and more desire to work hard and have more faith. I LOVE IT!
      Christmas was so lovely. The whole season was just so magical. To be able to really focus on what I can give, rather then what I am getting was so beautiful. And looking at it that way, you suddenly realize how very very much we have been given and how no matter how much of ourselves we give it will never repay Christ back. But the best part is, he doesn't expect us to. That's why the atonement is called a gift. because it was freely and lovingly given. We just have to accept it.
       So I decided for New years goals I am going to take it month by month because I always set such elaborate goals and forget what they are by the end of February. So for January.....NO SUGAR!!!!!! Help me k! remind me, encourage me, and tell me its going to be worth it! I am also going to do a 90 day Book of Mormon Challenge!!!!!!!!!!!!! Who wants to do it with me????????!!!!!!!!!!! please please please!!!!!!! So we have from Jan 1st to March 31st.  Pick something to focus on this time round as your reading too. I am going to go through and mark every where it mentions Christ. Ready......GO!!!!!! Its going to be awesome!
       You all have a fabulous New year and a happy life!
ps. I spoke in church on Sunday AND sang a song with Sis. Stack. It was missionary 5th Sunday so they roped us all into it....of course we are happy to do it though. It went really well! I spoke on missionary work and of course the elders made me go last so I had to take up the last 20 mins of the meeting! I kept their attention for 15mins then had to admit defeat and sat down. Everybody said I should be a professional speaker....whatever.... LOVE YOU!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Merry Christmas Everybody!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have so loved being here this time of year....its cold yes, but oh so worth it to be out sharing my testimony of Christ and of how much he loves us with everyone I see! This week was really kinda crazy with transfers (I know I say a lot of weeks are crazy but this one was really really crazy!)...So Sis. Jones and I found out officially Monday night that they are closing our area and adding it onto the other sisters. It was rough...and I mean ROUGH, we had warned our investigators that one of us would probably be getting transferred but to have to go back and try and get a hold of everyone and tell them Both of us were leaving was the saddest thing of my life!!!! I can't even describe it! It broke my heart! As we were getting ready to turn our area over to Perry West it felt like our world was crumbling around us! Everything was going wrong and we were so sad that we were not going to be able to be there fix it. But, I know God's hand is in everything and it was neat to see that even though we had to leave the area we loved so much, God will see that those people are taken care of. I am grateful they are in good hands with Sis. Smith and Sis. Frankenberry. And now I can just look back with gratitude on all I have learned and how grateful I am for the time spent in Perry/Painesville:)

Soooooo....transfers...... I am now in the Ashtabula East area. It is the tippiest toppest point of the mission and covers the country towns of Andover, Pierpont, Conneaut, Kingsville and some other super small is a huge area and has fields and rolling hills and barns and Amish and because its been raining all weekend their are ponds everywhere! lt feels like a swamp sometimes because there is so much water accumulated everywhere!

My Comp is Sis. Stack and I love love love her. She is such a new/wonderful companion and has made me feel so loved and lucky to be here already! This weekend was awesome because I was really able to jump in with the Ashtabula ward Christmas party, a baptism (one of the Elders) and Church. I have done my best all weekend to meet as many people as I could and to memorize as many names as I can cram into my brain and it has helped so much. I already feel welcomed and a part of the ward and as I have sought to lose myself I really have felt so much joy and peace in the knowledge that I am doing my best and God is doing the rest! I know I am going to LOVE it!

So funny thing....but, okay. so everyone has been bugging me that I need to sing more and share my talent...yadayadayda. Well it was hard with Sis. Jones because even though she actually has a really pretty good voice, she is convinced she can't sing and so really never would with me (bless her heart....still love her). Well Sis. Stack...its kinda funny, She kinda can't carry a tune but is more then willing to sing and is always telling everyone...Sis. Newren has a beautiful voice....lets sing a song! So we have been singing Christmas songs all weekend! feels good!

We also have the sweetest senior couple in our ward....oh so I am actually a satellite sister now which means I live in my area which is about an hour from Kirtland and then we drive down there and stay over night to serve at the sites. I love it! so we live right next door to The Banks (senior couple) and one day they were like "we are kidnapping you for 20 mins" haha then they took us to see the longest covered bridge in the States (there are a lot of covered bridges in my new area!) Its called, Smolen Gouth or something like that! We had a blast. They let us get out on one end so we could run through it and then picked us up on the other end! So fun!

Another adventure....Sis. Stacks coat (which had our car keys in it!) was taken when we were at church! We were sooooo worried! It just was the weirdest situation and all I can say is thank goodness for the Banks....they got us where we needed to go and then drove us 30 mins down to the bottom of our area so we could go pick it up from the family who accidently took it! It ended up turning out great...they even fed us lunch;) but oh boy did we have a crazy few hours there!

For Christmas we have a dinner at the church planned at 2 and then the Bishops wife invited us over in the evening. And the rest of the time we will fill with planning and service and caroling! So fun! I am so excited!!!!!!!!!!!
I love you all so much and am so grateful for you all in my life. I really wouldn't be here and going strong with out each and everyone of you, your examples, your testimonies, your love and your support!!!!! So THANK YOU! Have a very MERRY Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sister Hannah Newren

******** This is a video the church just came out with...we play it at the Visitors center for those people who come to see the Nativity Exhibit. It is an amazing video about Christ's birth...if you haven't seen it yet watch it! If you already it again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! click here The Nativity 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Transfers and lots of other crazy stuff!

This week has been crazy crazy crazy!!!!!! Like rip your hair out, no control, headache all week kinda crazy....but its been really awesome too:)
Thursday we did a service project for one of the members whom we love Sis. D. She recently moved and needed some help getting her home in order. So the Elders and us Sisters pulled together to go help her get it all done. We were just leaving, Sis. D had to take all of us sisters back to our area so we were all piled in the car and Elder Peterson, who is the sweetest, shyest guy 18 yr old Elder is standing in back kinda signaling that we can go....well when the car gets up to him he spreads out his arms and leans over to lay on the back of the car. Now. Elder Peterson is really tall and he has done this kinda thing jokingly a few times before and while its not the smartest Idea it never was a huge deal. BUT, not the time or place and it was soooo cold. So he does this and none of us really realize what he is trying to do, when all of the sudden the back windshield shatters and his hand and face come through the back seat! Oh my goodness, we just all sat in shock for a minute with him just saying "I am so sorry, I am so sorry, I am so sorry!" it was so sad, we tried to all just remain calm but Sis. D was in shock and Elder. Peterson is freaking our and All of the other Elders aren't really helping...sigh, well then we realize Elder Peterson's hand is spurting we run inside to find something to stop it, we took to long so Elder Tam just rips off his nice sweatshirt and wraps Elder P's hand. Sis. Jones has taken an EMT course so we looked at it and it was definitely cut up pretty bad so Elder Richen's takes him to the ER where he had to get 6 stitches..poor guy...seriously probably the one dumb thing he has done in his life.... Anyways so the rest of us stayed and went to work trying to clean up the glass and blood...well of course the Elders wouldn't let us sister's even touch it since we didn't have gloves so we did our best to help Sis. D figure out how she was getting to work the next morning and what not. It was a pretty crazy fiasco and poor Elder Peterson has been in a lot of pain all week:(
okay Friday, Ward Christmas party!!!! It was so fun! One of the Elders investigators Shirley made me wear her singing/dancing elf hat for half the night...haha....yeah it was a tad humiliating but I think I pulled it off pretty well, despite the Elders telling me I looked like an Elf! We had a good crowd there though and met some really cool people. I also stole the RS presidents, husbands was just sitting there on the table and he was not paying very close attention so I slowly pulled it towards me and snapped some closeups of him and his wife...haha it was funny, when he realized we had it it was hilarious:)
Saturday. We were at the Mejias for WAY tooooo long (I can't even tell you!) They just kept talking talking talking and Sis. Mejia wanted us to help her with all of these projects, then we did service for them and ended up eating lunch and was crazy but it was the last time we were able to see them. Half way through, President Vellinga called us and told us they are closing our area!!!!!!!!!!!!! We were devastated! I mean we knew it was possible and they aren't really closing it, they are just combining it with the other elders area, but still, that means both of us our getting transferred and all our investigators will now be being taught by Elders. Its so sad because we have poured so much of our heart and soul into this area and the people we teach we have such deep relationships without so its just so sad that we have to up and leave and turn them over to two guys they have never even met. I know the Lord knows what he is doing though and that it will all be for the best. I have served the first 4 months of my mission in Painesville and I can't even tell you how hard it is to leave.
Sunday, We had a Community of Christ Christmas Hymn sing we went to at the Kirtland temple. Us sisters sang a few songs and as always, had several super awkward moments...pretty much we didn't know we were supposed to be singing a song until the pianist was playing the intro and by then we didn't have time to stand up so we sang the whole song sitting down!!!!!!!!!!! it was ridiculous!!!!!! but what else is new...
Sunday we went to bed and couldn't really get to sleep because we have soooooooo much on our minds..between packing and getting our area book in order and contacting all of our investigators its been insane. So we are just falling asleep and at 11:30 our phone rings...well we were a little freaked out ("who the heck would be calling this late???") it was Bishop Dew...well we didn't answer because it was so late, but we knew it must be important so we were really worried...well he left a voice mail and pretty much just said "hey sisters, sorry its so late, I need the Mettler's info there has been a really bad accident, call me back" So really concerned now we call him back and he tells us that Sis metter's (a Less active whom we absolutely adore) daughter got in a tragic sledding accident and was undergoing emergency surgery, he said her spine was broken in 5 places and her neck was completely severed from her spinal cord. We were in shock. He said, its really not looking good, she has no feeling in any of her extremities and will most likely be a quadriplegic for the rest of her life. I was heart broken and in such shock. We texted Sis. Mettler right and away and dropped down to our knees to supplicate God for a miracle and comfort and strength in their behalf. Pray for them!
Well there you go, it was crazy like I said. I love you all! Have a fabulous time getting ready for CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sis. Hannah Newren

Monday, December 9, 2013

Amazing week!

Hello to everyone!

Mission Conference was incredible.... On tuesday of this week our whole mission (unheard of) was able to gather in the Kirtland Temple for a special Christmas mission conference! It was a historic event and the spirit their was unlike anything I have ever felt. I was really praying that it would change my life and really help me to be more focused and diligent on my mission and it did exactly that! I learned so much and then to wrap it all up Pres. Vellinga delivered the most moving message on how we need to re-dedicate our mission! He asked us to get our apartments and cars clean and on sunday evening asked the whole mission to dedicate their homes to be sacred, holy places. They have all of course been dedicated but it was so neat to recognize that al though as a mission we have been doing really well...we have a sacred responsibility here in Kirtland to build it up so that prophecy can be fulfilled. He said "every missionary loves their mission...and thinks it is the best place in the world, and it is! But, We are in an absolutely unique mission. The things that happened here are without comparison. And we have a responsibility to tell people about it and to bring them here and to build up Kirtland!' There has been an incredible spirit in this part of the world as an Apostle of the lord (pres. ballard) and the area mission pres have challenged us to bring people to Kirtland.

With the nativity exhibit going on even more miracles have been happening. Soooo many non-members come in and it has been incredible to talk with them tell them what we do here and invite them to take tours. The other day Sis. Jones and I took Nathan on tour, he is we think 24 yrs old, had just taken the GRE that morning and had stopped because he had been telling his boss that Kirtland was a big gathering place for the mormons and his boss didn't believe he stopped to take a picture of our sign and then decided to come in! We had the most amazing tour with him and he recognized the spirit and accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and gave us his number so we can follow up. He lives in Akron which is about an hour away but his parents live in Madison which is in the Perry ward!!!! He is the coolest guy ever! I also talked to couple who came into see the nativities and thought nothing of it until as they were leaving I saw them take a Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith pamphlet....I gasped and said "Sis. Jones we HAVE to go talk to them some more!" so we rushed out to the school house (where all of the international nativities are on display) and cornered them and asked them all about themselves. They were so cool and promised they would bring their daughter back here and come take a tour. We have had so many experiences like that, It's hard because we can't proselyte with the non-members that come in for nativities but I know seeds are planted and then I just pray pray pray that they will let the missionaries in when they knock on their door and will someday find their way back to Kirtland!

This week feels like it has been a long one, but that is because we are trying our best to work as hard as we can! And because of it I know we were blessed to see some of the fruit of our labors....Bro. Mejia came to church this week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was so amazing, I couldn't believe it but it really happened...he hasn't been to church in over 10 years and has really been struggling with so many issues....but we have felt prompted to be very patient with their family and just love them and it has been working! It all started to change when we began focusing on the Atonement...then he received a blessing and we have noticed a huge difference in him and when he came to church! He said "at first I felt really lost..but then I remembered it and it felt like coming home!" He said he wants to bring his wife and daughter with him next time....this truly is miraculous...they have been so bitter against religion and people and the church for soooo long and to see them begin that healing process has been life changing. We were able to see Tessa and Bro. Molynuex this week (bradley was sick) and watched Finding Faith in Christ with them because they really don't know much about Christ. It was amazing...the whole time I was praying for them to feel the spirit and then I was thinking..."I need to be more specific" so I started praying for Tessa to be able to say yes to the question we planned to ask them after...if they believed that Jesus Christ was their Savior and the Son of God. So I prayed and prayed and prayed that Tessa, who is so logical and has been dragging her feet a little bit through this whole thing would be able to say "YES" .... after it was over we asked them if they believed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the world and she said YES! They both did! And it was the best day ever! The lord hears and answers our prayers! After she said yes I asked her "how, how to you know that?" and she smiled so sweetly and said so confidently "Faith:)" The Lord is truly at work in our area and I am so grateful to be His instrument!
And to top off an already incredible Ward Council yesterday the bishop told us that our desire to see a working temple be built in Kirtland was getting closer. He said when Elder Ballard was here, that is one of the topics discussed with him and the stake presidency. He told us Elder Ballard said "I will do my part, I will go to the brethren and ask for a temple here, but you need to then do your part, you must weary the lord with your petitions for a temple in Kirtland!" and so that is what Bishop Dew challenged us to do, he said..."in every single prayer, every single day plead with the Lord for a temple!!!!" They then talked about what we need to do to show the Lord we want a temple, plans for more Indexing, family history work and temple attendance are being put in place and I feel so privileged to be a part of what is happening here. The beginning steps, being faithfully taken, to have again a working Temple in Kirtland Ohio!
Hope you all have a great week! Merry Christmas!
Challenge: As a family, kneel down and Re-dedicate your homes to be a place of safety, refuge, peace and joy. A holy place for your family to feel the Spirit and the Love of God always....I am going to follow up next week so DO IT!
Sis. Hannah Newren

Monday, December 2, 2013


Dear family and friends,

        I absolutely adore this time of year and I think it has just increased on my mission! There just is nothing better then celebrating the Birth of our Savior and when it comes with family time and good music and giving and serving and loving and Nativities!!!!!! It just boils down to the best time of year! Wahoo! I am soooooo happy! 
         Thanksgiving was of course lovely and hilarious! So the Elders in our ward somehow managed to get 4 dinner appointments and 1 dessert on Thanksgiving. They were strutting around so proud of themselves and excited the days before. Well Thanksgiving came and reality hit. We all were invited to a Less active's house for dinner around 4pm and by this point they had already sat down to 2 Thanksgiving meals and were looking miserable! It was SO funny!!!! Well we actually had another appointment with another Less Active (both were interesting dinners let me tell ya!) Bro. Senft  right after so we ate some and then headed on our way wishing the Elders good luck and laughing all the way out the door. Well It was hard enough for us having two dinners! Bro Senft cooked so much food and kept serving us all more and more turkey without us even asking for it! (ps...single dad with two sons+mom and sister= awkward, but the food was good!) We were so full and even while we were lamenting on how horrible we felt being so full of turkey and mashed potatoes and corn and yams...we just couldn't help ourselves from laughing at the Elders...especially when they texted us right before our next appointment which was a dessert with some members that all of us missionaries had been invited to, and said "we are dying.....Sister Newren, do you have any oils that will help us????" Bwahaha...they were being dead serious too! Sigh...We beat them to the members house and when they arrived and walked in the door their faces were priceless! Seriously....utter agony is how I would describe it! hahaha. All in all it was a beautiful day! Oh we also went and saw the sweetest 91 year old women in a care center. We met Helen and Rudy tracting and they invited us right in and talked our ears off! They are 91 and 93 years old and had a billion stories about growing up during the Great depression and serving in WW2 and oh so many jokes....they are the sweetest couple and Helen just recently broke her hip so we finally were able to go visit her again. Although we didn't teach a lesson or commit her to get baptized it felt so good to simply be doing what the Savior did everyday of his life...uplift and love everybody, especially those in the most humblest of circumstances:)
       We also had a really neat interdenominational Thanksgiving fireside at the Kirtland Temple that the Community of Christ church hosted. All of us sisters were asked to sing and I was asked to lead! It was such a special opportunity! We were sitting in the choir seats, right by the pulpits where the Prophet Joseph Smith sat and were Jesus Christ appeared! It was really really special! They had pastors from several different church's participate and it really added a feeling of unity with the community! The worst part was when they passed around a collection basket and none of us sisters had brought our wallets!!!!! was awkward but we survived it okay. I love the Kirtland Temple so much....Every time I get to be in there I have a new found appreciation for the saints here and the sacrifices they made to build it!
      So, This week has been really good. We finally were able to get back into the home of one of our investigators Angela. She had a baptismal date for Nov sometime and then a lot of crazy stuff happened with her family and we couldn't see her till now! But she has a new date for Jan 18th and is on fire with studying and praying and a sincere desire to find truth! We also were able to work with the Mejia's this week! Bro. Mejia and his wife  came to the lighting ceremony at Kirtland and loved it! Bro. Mejia was also able to get a much needed blessing and hopefully will really start healing and moving on from all the things from his past he is hanging on to. We also had a church tour with Tessa and Bradley! They are so awesome and almost made it to church but work got in the way...ugh! We will keep doing our best to work with them all and helping them have those spiritual converting experiences so they can keep progressing and have an increased desire to become converted!  
      Last thing I wanted to mention....Sis. Jones and I got a blessing this week! The Elders were so insistent that we needed one so on their way back from the hospital they  met up with us in a freezing cold park (there was no where else to do it!!!) and gave us both blessings! It was awesome, but oh my cold! 
    Well I love love love you all and hope you had a marvelous Thanksgiving! 
  Happy Holidays!
      Sis. Hannah Newren
 Challenge: Start keeping a Thankful Journal. I have done it everyday of my mission and it is the most incredible thing. It truly helps you see the tender mercies of everyday!