Monday, January 27, 2014

Hello, Hello!

Hey Family and Friends,

      The weather here really is cRaZY! Most days its anywhere between -10-15 degrees but then you add the wind chill and it often brings it to -20 degrees....that is SOOOOO cold! I just keep thinking. At least I am not in Russia! Then I really would be a popcicle! But we just keep moving so we don't freeze in place and well...I am still alive so that's good:) 
      Its been a great week. And I realize I say that every week but that is because every week really is so good! I get to be a missionary, how could it not be a great week!!!!!
     We have one lady we are working with, Barb, She was a former Investigator we called and got in touch with and she is so sweet and so ready, she just needs to realize it. We were so stressed out with miles this last week (we only are allowed to use a certain number of miles with our car and it always gets really tight at the end of the month) We were hoping the Banks would be able to come with us that night (last monday night) and give us a ride but Sis. Banks has actually really hurt her ankle and can't go out so we were wracking our brains trying to think of members we could call. Well all of the sudden we though "Oh sis Baker would be perfect!" So we called her and she was able to come! Well the miracle of it was that Once we got in the car and told her who we were going to go see she was like "Oh my goodness I think I have met her!" She totally had and they got along so well. I just was so comforting to know that the Lord really does lead and guide us in the work and that he hadn't forsaken us in our hour of need. We have seen tender mercies like that all week. So Tonight we have another appointment with Barb and we are going to invite her to be baptized! Pray for her to feel the Spirit!  
     We have been able to go out with a couple of different members this week and it was so neat to be able to get to know them and hear their stories. Almost everyone in the Ashtabula ward is a convert. It is such a special ward. I just want to finish off my mission here. Just one more year, that's only 8 more transfers..I am sure it's happened before. And of course Sis. Coontz has to stay with me for all 8 of them too:)
    I am really doing so good! We have been setting some more ambitious goals to show our faith. And they really are so doable we have just got to work harder and make it happen. We have SO many people to work with in our area and I LOVE it! They are so great and there really is so much potential here. I just think it really needs some exactly obedient, hard working, faith driven Roger Banister kind of missionaries to make it happen and I hope I can be that. I am determined to be. The hardest thing is having enough time. It is just so hard to see everyone we want to and schedule appointments with people when we have two of our most open, prime days at Kirtland. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE Kirtland, But it just is so slow there and while we know how to keep busy, its just hard to think what we could be getting done in our area. We are really focusing on the Standards of Excellence and our goal this week is 21 lessons, its completely possible and we are really excited to just go out and work with what we've got with the time we do have(The Elders though have been a great example to us this week with getting 40+ lessons and we know we could do the same if we had all week)  We are really hoping President sends us full proselyting for this transfer... The work is here and needs to be done so bad! Anyways. Sorry if I was ranting a bit. Those just have been our thoughts this week. We have been having some great successes here and are really hoping and praying to see some baptisms soon. 
     We saw the Headley's this week. They are notorious among missionaries who have served here because they live in such a sad sad trailer home. We had been warned and double warned but were anxious to visit them. They really are the sweetest people and yes it was as bad as we imagined but the amazing thing was to meet these sweet people and see how happy they were! This county is filled with discontented, depressed people. And we do all we can to cheer them up and bring the light of the gospel into their homes but they just don't have the will power to pull themselves out of the slump they have fallen into. It is so sad to see. So we were so amazed to go to a place that many would consider absolutely inexcusable and see the happiness and love radiating from these people. It is an interesting situation, Bro and Sis. Headley live there and his son and x-wife actually just moved in. And they love it! They are such happy happy people and they Love the church and God. And although we could hardly stand to be in their home for more than 20 mins we learned a lot from those humble followers of Christ. I hope I never again Judge any one for what they look like or where they live or how they act. We are all Brothers and Sisters and Children of God and I now understand that better. I am so grateful God got me on a mission! 
    Anyways. Oh yeah, so when we went to Kirtland this week, we were assigned to sleep over at the Hyrum Smith Home (my old home!!!!) and that night the heater broke again! Elder Sorenson and Elder Peterson had to round up 4 space heaters and drive them up to us so we wouldn't freeze to death. So we all were in our bedrooms with our space heater on and the door closed. Personal Sauna, It was awesome...the rest of the house got down to cold! 
   I do have to say, I have always loved winter and when everyone else was saying "I am so sick of winter" by this time of year I was always just content with it and still having fun. Not so this year. It makes is so hard to get around and all I can think is BRING ON SUMMER!!!!!!!!!! I think these next few months are going to be the longest of my life! We decided we better just work harder to make it going even faster:) 
   Every Friday we have a training meeting at sites and this Friday was extra awesome. It was the anniversary for the first day the men met in the School of the Prophets. So of course we had to had the meeting there:) It was so spiritual and They had asked my a few days before to share my testimony and a meaningful experience I had had there. How can you pick!?! Every time I walk in there is a spiritual experience. I can't wait until you all get to come here.  Kirtland is the most amazing place and the School of The Prophets is so incredible. The Lord often reffered to it as "Mine house" or " the house of the Lord" Terms that are used for the temple so in many ways it was the first sacred, temple like space. And you can definitely feel that. It has brought me so much strength on my mission to be so close to those special, sacred places. While I miss going to the temple soooo much. I can feel that same sanctity and spirit at Kirtland. It is amazing! 
     Miracle for the week: This ward has been without a ward mission leader for a long time. So ever since Sister Coontz and I arrived here we have been praying for one in every prayer and yesterday we found out we are getting one!!!!! I am so so so happy. It is just so hard to do all you can and be smart and efficient about it without the direction and guidance of a ward mission leader so that God has answered our prayers and prepared someone for us to be the ward mission leader is simple a miracle! The work is moving along faster and faster! I am so privileged to be a part of it!
   (Sorry for the choppy email...we have to deep clean our apartment today so I was a little rushed!)    
         I love you all and hope you have a simply marvelous week! 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Crazy Mission

Hello everyone!
    We have had a lot of rain here and suddenly the grass is visible again! I feel like Spring is on its way!!!!!! well....we can hope:)
      This week has been intense. So. Sis. Stack went home. After days and days of hospital visits, Call after call with Dr. Dunn, the area medical adviser for the mission, Sis. Vellinga, Pres. Vellinga, other Doctors, the hospital, insurance companies and who know who else. We finally all decided that it would be best if She just was home to figure out what is going on. She was so sad, and torn up about it but it really was for the best. She needed her family and she needs time to rest and be able to figure out what is wrong and you just don't have that luxury on the mission. Our area was really suffering for it and things have just been like a roller coaster ride. So she flew out on Saturday and is now safe at home in Utah getting the care she needs. In the meantime...I think I am in a bit over my head! I have been here for three weeks, and it was over the holidays so no one wanted to meet with us! My poor new companion Sis. Coontz is probably even more stressed,  but the reality of it, is that neither of us have met the majority of these investigators, Less actives and members and have no idea where to go with them! The area is really confusing, and all I can say is thank goodness Sis. Stack is letting us keep her GPS for a few weeks until we get a new one because otherwise we would get sooooo lost! The area book has been sadly neglected so we are missing a lot of information on people and it just is overwhelming! BUT, I love it. I love the challenge, I love the area, I love the people, I love my companion, I love what I am learning and I love knowing that God trusts me and I love learning to more fully rely on the Lord. Its overwhelming but I feel love the feeling of a challenge, I think this really is just what I needed to really force myself to step up and be better. I know I can give so much more and this certainly is requiring it of me!
   Sis Coontz and I had a long discussion on how we can be more exactly obedient and what we need to do to help this area get rollin'!  And I am so excited for it! We know what we need to do and we feel truly the guidance and inspiration we need from the Lord to help us.
    Sis. Coontz my new companion is absolutely wonderful! We actually came out together. We were roommates at the MTC and just really get along well!  She is like the companion I always wanted! When you envision what your wonderful companions will be like on the mission...yup that's her. She is so awesome and I know I am going to learn so much from her. She is from Saratoga Springs Utah and has a really beautiful voice, So I can finally sing with my companion! She is a really powerful and obedient missionary and I am so relieved! It just feels so good to be on the same page as your companion from day one and really have the same desires and goals and ways of doing things. So This really is going to be such a good thing. I hope we get to stay together for a while and really do some good here in this place!
      We went out tracting for a little bit yesterday and stopped by this guys house that we had found a few weeks ago. He we had just shared a brief message with him and had asked to come back and set up another appointment. Well because of all the craziness we couldn't make it to that appointment and when we called him to try and let him know his phone was disconnected (very normal out here...people are just really poor and their phones will be on one week and then disconnected for a time)  Well so I really was anxious to stop by and see him again. So we finally got over there and 4 kids were outside playing. They were soooo friendly (probably too friendly....don't talk to strangers kids!) but the cutest things and they said their dad was sleeping but that they remembered him talking about us....I said "oh what did he say?" zoe was like "I'm not telling:)" I said "well was it good or bad?" and she said "GOOD!" haha. She was so cute. Sis. Coontz and I were dying, They would be the perfect family. They went and told their mom and then came back asking "my mom wants to know if you can come back tomorrow?" so we said we definitely would try. We were about to leave when I said "would you like a picture?!" so they all come running up and I bring out a handful of pass-a-long cards, fan then all out and let them pick one "This one is with Jesus and some children, this one he is teaching, this is a temple where we go with our families so we can be together forever...etc. They all excitedly picked one and ran off yelling "bye, come again soon!" Well we were a few houses down and out of sight when we hear Zoe yelling "I got a TEMPLE!!!!!!" hahaha I am praying so hard that they are really interested and prepared to hear our message!
           Well I love you all and hope you have a marvelous week! Keep reading the Book of Mormon!
Love, Sis. Newren