Monday, October 27, 2014

Miracles :)

 Hey hey hey!
          This has just been the best week ever ever ever! Okay maybe a slight exaggeration there, but not really! 
      Lets see...where to begin?!?!?!? 
      Monday was pretty normal. Tuesday, normal. (and by normal I mean of course a completely awesome day in the life of a missionary!!)Wednesday is when things started to get exciting! We first off had to have district meeting at 8 am in the morning. Which has been done before, but its always a struggle. 8 am is just too early to have to talk to Elders! haha. But it was a good meeting:) So then we went back home to do personal and companionship study. Then the Robbins came and picked us up to go to COSTCO!!! Sis. Nance needed a flu shot so the Robbins were kind enough to take us there. It was way weird. The last time I was in Costco was in Utah so it felt like I apparated back home for an hour and then apparated back! It was great though, the Robbins took us out to Chipotle after) Then after that we made some Pumpkin Chocolate Cookies to take around to less actives while we were waiting for our interview with President Vellinga. So every 3 months or so President Vellinga travels around and interviews every missionary in our mission (some 250 people in just 2 or 3 weeks...busy busy!) I love interviews but this time round has probably been my favorite one! We just had so much fun! I laughed and laughed, he was being so funny. And yet he took the time to seriously answer my questions and more importantly find my own answers to them! He was so encouraging and uplifting. There just isn't anything better than to hear from your mission president that he is proud of you and that you are doing an excellent job. I love my mission President! He is and always will be one of my role models for a consecrated life!
    Well after that the day was almost over! Our appointment in our area canceled and since our area is a 35 minute drive away, we sometimes have to evaluate whether its worth the miles (we only have a certain amount allotted to us each month) to go all the way out there for such a short amount of time. So in the end by the time we were done eating dinner we decided to just go and brush up on some Family History (its something our mission president has been pushing us to do so we can use it more effectively as a proselyting tool) It was amazing! I FOUND SOMEONE! It can be hard to get started when you are just staring at your family tree and don't know where to begin, but I just prayed, picked a place and started researching the records to find more information about my Great great great Grandfather. Well I was initially trying to find out who his parents were but my search led me to discover one of their children who was missing from my tree! I was so excited! Now he can be baptized and confirmed and receive ordinances in the temple!!!! It was the most thrilling thing! I love Family History work! I am so excited to be able to get more into it when I am home! Its going to be my next mission I decided:) 
     So that was WednesdayThursday was really fun, we just did service all day!  We raked SO MANY LEAVES for Sis. Hartman!  Just piles and piles and piles and piles! Then we jumped in them of course! Don (her non-member husband) was like "how old are you??? 5???" haha...yup! We just HAD to. You can't rake up that many leaves and not jump in them! 

     After we finished she wanted to show us her creek, so we took a lovely little stroll down through the woods and across some pastures to see her creek, it was so beautiful! And the leaves were beautiful and the water and the rock and the grassy fields close by and all the trees and the sky and the CLOUDS! Oh the clouds were GORGEOUS!  And it all was so breathtaking and It was one of those moments were I was immensely grateful to live on this beautiful earth. To be human and to be able to experience all the sights, sounds and smells of life. And I was grateful to be on a mission and to be able to share that intimate experience with a women I have only know for a matter of weeks! 
        Next we went to the Juhasz' for Dinner and service. She had us help her scrapbook and it was a blast! I think all of my crafty and artistic talents (if I ever had any) are now gone, gone, gone. But we slapped those pictures on the page and cut and pasted to our hearts content and it was so lovely! 

    Friday I went on Exchanges with Sis. Jenson. She came with me to our area and we had a perfect day! Usually on exchanges crazy things happen! Appointments cancel and Satan does everything he can to discourage you. And its all so that miracles can take place, the biggest miracles always happen on exchanges!! But this time our miracle was that our day just went so perfectly. Up until the last minute before planning I was stressing about what we would do the last hour of the day (its gets harder to be productive when its so dark outside. People in Ohio think that as soon as its dark you shouldn't be out knocking on their door, or bothering them in any way) But then it just all clicked. We had an appointment for every hour and the whole day nothing canceled! We just were able to teach really well together and had some really spiritual lessons with those we saw! The best one was by far our meeting with Ryan. He is the new investigator we are teaching (I told you about him last week) and he is AWESOME! The whole time as we taught the Restoration he was nodding his head and saying "that makes since" . Aw. it was so great! He is the most promising individual I have yet taught on my mission. He has such a sincere desire to find the truth and he recognizes that there is something special about this church! I felt really prompted to invite him to a baptism that was taking place the next day and at first he was just like "yeah, I will have to check my schedule". But then the next day we text him the address in the morning and asked if he was going to be able to make it and he said YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! EEEEKKK!!!!!!!!!! I screamed and ran downstairs screaming "SISTER NAAAAAANNNCEE! HE'S COMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I think I gave Sis. Jensen and Heckert a heart attack but I was just too excited! This is the first time on my mission that an investigator has come to see a baptism!! 
    So, Saturday pretty much ended up being the best day of my life! Ryan came to the Baptism and loved it and it was so special and so real and so simple and I know he felt the spirit. We were texting him later to set up our appointment for the next week and he text us back and said "Sister Nance and Sister Newren, you guys have been a real blessing. I was actually thanking God for your hospitality and the warmth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."
       I about died! That was the sweetest text I have ever received! What a privilege it is to be able to teach this humble young man the Gospel and to help him know the truth that is going to change his life!!!!
      After the baptism we were serving at sites and had just come back from a tour, starving, so we head into the kitchen and there, frozen mid-bite is our Stake President! haha, it was so funny, we were like "uhh...Hi President Haymond!" haha it just was so unexpected to see him in our kitchen! Well apparently he was there with the visiting area 70, Elder Dunnigan (not actually sure how to spell his name ps) . So of course they tell us to just come in and make our lunch. So we sat down with them and ate lunch together and told them all about all of the miracles that happened that week and it was so cool! Elder Dunnigan leans over to us, just as they were getting up to leave and says "Thank you Sisters, for being who you are, for coming on a mission. These are the last days! This is the final battle! (getting really emotional now, he continued) And you are on the front lines! Who do you think God would send to the front lines of this the most important battle?!?!? The. very. best. Thank you Thank you  Thank you." 

         That night we had the adult session of our Stake Conference. It was so inspiring and amazing and wonderful and spiritual. They talked about Tithing and Fast offerings, our Stake President said "I promise you blessings beyond what you can understand temporally if you pay a generous fast offering"
     They talked about building a sure foundation on solid ground. They talked about Faith and Family history etc etc!
      The Sunday session was even better! Some of the best parts were....
                "When we are baptized we covenant to come out of the world and "cease sustaining the kingdom of the Devil". We forsake the world and bind ourselves to Christ!"

                "Let your Covenants define your daily priorities" 
                "Families are how we prepare for eternal life"
                "God is our coach. He knows the game and all the best strategies, He made UP the game!!! Trust him. You may not understand why he is having you play a certain position, but he does." 
               "Anything associated with God will help us feel light"
               "NEVER EVER EVER EVER let a day go by without reading something from the Book of Mormon, we can't afford it, no excuse is good enough to not read the Book of Mormon"

                    It was a wonderful week! Thank you so much for being who you are and for being such good examples to me! I love you all! And remember just because I only have a few months left doesn't mean you can stop writing me letters!!! :) Have a fabulous day! Smile, be happy! God is good!


Monday, October 20, 2014

It's gettin' chilly!

  It is starting to get REALLY chilly here! This week it has been the PEAK as far as fall colors go. Its been beautiful but now all the leaves are starting to fall and winter is feeling like an all to familiar reality! Ugh. I hope I can make it one more winter here! I love Ohio and would totally move back one day if I didn't have to endure such harsh winters! Okay I will stop complaining now:)
        So its been an awesome week! WE GOT A NEW INVESTIGATOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so pumped! His name is Ryan and he was a referral from the Wadsworth Elders. They called and said Ryan had shown up to church with his friend and loved it! We had our first lesson with him last friday and it went so well! We had a member with us and everything and he is so prepared! So, good things to come with Ryan!!
        Other then that we have been working a lot with members and are seeing some great miracles! One time in particular, we were practicing with an older couple in our ward who are preparing to go on a mission. We have asked them if we could just go through all the lessons with them like we were teaching a real investigator and they said sure. So we taught them an awesome Restoration lesson (which we planned and practiced really well for!) and after it was amazing to see how their level of trust went up and they start telling us about all these people they want to share the gospel with and this one friend they want to have us meet! It was amazing! I love working with members!
         Sis. Nance and I prayed we would receive some referrals from the Gladys Knight fireside and we didn't get any. BUT, its amazing to see how many referrals we have received from other sources since then! God had referrals for us, just not from Gladys Knight! It has been so cool to see that prayer answered though!
          Another miracle that happened was with Sis. Davis! She recently moved and really needed help to find a certain box that had some papers from 2008 in it. Well we searched all through her luck...went out to the storage unity and looked everywhere! Nothing...she was so distraught! So we decided we would all go home, pray about it and we promised her we would come back to help again in a few days. Well. The day came, We went out to the storage unit. Sis. Nance and I decided to switch sides to have a fresh pair of eyes looking on each side. Well....MIRACLE!!!! The 3rd box I picked up said "'08" on it! I gasped....I carefully peaked inside to see if it had papers did!!! I was then like " Hey Sis. Daaaavvvviiiisssss! I think I found it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Oh I have never seen that women happier! We all were on cloud nine! It seems like such a simple thing but it was such a miracle to us!
           God is so good! His hand truly is seen in every moment of our lives when we are working hard to be righteous and build the kingdom! 
        I LOVE my mission! Thank you thank you to EVERYONE of you who has worked so hard to help get me here and to support me this whole time. You are amazing. God loves you! Keep being righteous so we can go to heaven!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

oh ps...Sis. Mertlich, one of my former companions went home yesterday. It was one of the saddest moments of my life saying bye to her! She is so dear to me. But her mission was up and her family needs her! So grateful to have served with her! Saying goodbye to former companions is the WORST. First it was Sis. Jones, then Sis. Johnson, now Sis. Mertlich and in just ONE MONTH Sis. Nance goes home! So sad! Good thing everyone comes back to Utah so I will get to see them again!!!!!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall Greetings

          Missions are the best!!! Sometimes I have to pinch myself. I am just some random girl from Mapleton Utah who somehow winded up here in beautiful Ohio in the middle of a glorious fall season and traipsing around Kirltland where the Savior and Heavenly Father have appeared and where the Prophet Joseph Smith and Emma and Newel and Anne Whitney and Brigham young and Orson Hyde and Father Tanner and all sorts of the most incredible people have walked! I get to tell people all about that and show them and walk with the and say "this is it! This is the very place where He stood" Its a truly incredible thing! And THEN, on area days, I get to drive 35 minutes through the most beautiful countryside to a town where the 4th largest Amish Settlement is! Our Branch is small and needy and full of really old people and I wouldn't have it any other way! So I get to go around visiting a bunch of Assisted Living centers and little old Grandma's and Grandpa's who can't make it to church anymore and I LOVE it. It is just perfect for me! Missions are indeed the best. Where else could I be having all these wonderful experiences?!!!

      SO that is basically my life. I know it sounds pretty cushy...TRUST ME, we have plenty of rough days. Its still really hard work. But, oh so rewarding.

       This week was really good. We saw a lot of the members in our area which was awesome, We have some that love having us over every week but we were able to see and get to know some that haven't had the missionaries in their home for awhile now so that was a success! We don't have many investigators to work with so we feel strongly that we need to follow the counsel we've been given and try and effectively work with the members! Its been going great! We have one member referral that seems promising so we aren't giving up on him (although he is very busy).
       We had such a fun lesson with Bro. Pitts this week (he is the 26 year old who overdosed and now lives in an assisted living type place) At one point in the lesson he just gets this big grin on his face and blurts out "God's the best!" quote ever...yes, yes God is the best! He also left us a voice mail later that night and said, "Hi Sister Nance and Sister Newren, I just wanted to call and say thanks for being so cool and valiant soldiers...and um...I don't know! K BYE!" haha... it was the sweetest thing EVER! I love that kid!
      Yesterday we officially started rehearsals for the Messiah Concert we are participating in. Some members in our branch are really involved with this community choir that does a Messiah Concert every year to raise money for the poor in the county. Well apparently "the sisters are in it every year!" So, we got permission to go to every other practice and be in it! The other 3 sisters in the Branch weren't too thrilled because they don't sing that often and its really hard music! But, I am actually WAY excited for it! It was so fun, The Shepherds (member couple who are making us be in it) had us over for lunch after church, we had THE most delicious fresh tomato soup (from the tomatoes we helped her can the other day!) Honeydew melon and gourmet chicken and grilled cheese sandwiches with Amish Whole Wheat Bread and Havarti Cheese. I am still drooling just thinking about it, It was SO good (maybe I am just getting sick of my own cooking..yep...that too)! Anyways.  Then we headed to this catholic church for the practice, It was a huge place, apparently its actually like a retirement home for the nuns when they get really old. So cool, So I sat next to some nuns and learned to sing Handel's Messiah. It was AWESOME!

        Well, I am doing great and LOVING my mission! Although, I often feel inadequate, I know there are a billion things more I could be doing. But I am trying to just take it one day at a time and recognize that I am a successful missionary when I am doing my best. And moving ahead with that Trust in God has taken me further than I ever could have imagined!
    I read this really good quote this morning! Ready..." The Virtue of your own life will be a light to those who sit in darkness, because you are a living witness of the fullness of the gospel.  Wherever you have been planted on this beautiful but often troubled earth of ours, you can be the one to 'succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down , and strengthen the feeble knees'" - Elder Uchtodorf. Isn't that great!!!! We just have to be the best we can be!!!!! When we are righteous we ARE living witnesses to the fullness of the Gospel and the joy and peace it brings. I am so grateful for that!  There is so much good to be done in the world. And who better then us to go out and do it!
         I love you all dearly! Thanks a billion for all your love and support!
Ps...this week in transfer meeting President gave us his "vision" for the mission. They are so good so here you go...
    1) LOVE your mission (or your life)
    2) BELIEVE in Miracles
    3) ANCHOR yourself in the Word of God
    4) GO to Heaven 
               So simple. I love it!

This is Hannah's district