Monday, July 28, 2014

The Garden of Enid

Hi Everybody!

It's been an. Interesting week. And I'm sure most people already know why, but I'll recap it anyway to fill in the blanks.

Monday and Tuesday we spent the day scrambling to update all of our records, get addresses to places I had just driven to on auto-pilot for 4.5 months, say goodbye to everybody and their dog (literally), and then try to teach some lessons in there as well. It was interesting. By Wednesday morning at 5:45 AM, we were all packed up and ready for the trek to OKC. We exchanged and drove to Enid where I now get to be with Hermana Chugg!

I love Enid. Everything is so green and the city is adorable. There's water! The people are so sweet. I am so ecstatic about this transfer. Anybody who knows me knows that I am partial to exaggerations, but I don't feel like I'm exaggerating when I say this is seriously the happiest I have ever been ever. Ever. On my mission. It's so nice to be put together again with Hna. Chugg, where we already know each others weaknesses and fears so we can help each other and hit the ground running. It has been such a blessing. And we have been able to recognize the progress the the other has made. It has been amazing. She is amazing. She has such a positive outlook on everything. She finds the good in everyone. Whenever she wants to say something negative, she just suppresses that desire and it is so admirable. She's helping me be more genuine, more sincere, more aware of others' feelings. She is also helping me regain my desire to be obedient. I feel like before I was just forcing myself to get on track every morning. But I have been able to see how when we are willing to align our will to obedience to the Lord's, we find more joy in the work, more satisfaction in service. I believe in miracles this transfer. We both have our greenie fire back. We're still green

We only teach Spanish. Which is SO fun for me. I'm loving it and learning so much. The Hispanic cultures are so different. Everybody is loving and helpful. We've been able to quickly get in to teach lessons with a bunch of people in the short time I've been here. It's a little tricky because to get investigators you have to basically chase them down the aisles of Walmart at 8 at night, but it's worth it. We also got invited to a birthday party of a family we barely know and when we got there, we found out it really was just one 10-year-old girl and her [huge] family. I seriously hope we're all like Mexicans in heaven. They all live together and are so close and they have fiestas that last for days. It's amazing. But we were able to stop by for a couple of hours and get a ton of potential investigators from it. All in the same family. Their family alone could start a Spanish branch here in Enid. While we were there, we played on this make-shift rope swing they had (in skirts, super classy) and then they asked us to be in their family photo.

It was all fun and games until the Mission President called us. Initially we thought, "Hmm.. It probably looks bad that we're at a birthday party on Sunday night" but then he let us know over speaker phone that my Grandpa Bert had died and I was in shock. At the time, a girl named Aracely had my camera and was able to take a few pictures of me receiving the news from behind. She didn't really know what she was documenting, but for some reason it's special to me that she caught my reaction. Because it shows how grateful I am that I get to be here. With a companion that I already love and that already loves me. And I get to have my grandpa here on my mission with me. Being an angel on the other side to assist me in this work. He will be dearly missed, but I am happy to have a clear assurance that I know where he is. I know who he's with. And I do not doubt that it will not be long before I get to see him again. We all will. A few people expressed concern that I wasn't going to be okay. I'm okay. One of the first things that came to mind when I received the news was the scripture in the bible, "Let the dead bury their dead". It sounds harsh, but it makes sense. I'm here helping other people have this same peace about life after death. That truly is a blessing.

I love you all. You are all amazing and helpful. If you need anything from me, let me know.

God loves you! I can feel it from here!

Sister Best

Monday, July 21, 2014


Hi everyone!!!

Ready for some crazy, crazy, crazy news?

They are whitewashing our area, meaning they're taking both Hermana Oquendo and myself out of the area, and putting in Elders! My companion is going to the northern part of Oklahoma City, and I'll be going to Enid, Oklahoma with my MTC companion, Hermana Chugg!!!

Don't worry, we didn't do anything bad. All the spanish-speaking sisters are going home this transfer and they need to spread them out where they're needed. So. Yeah.

So I would love to say we've been super effective this week when it comes to finding new investigators and teaching a billion lessons, but we haven't. Mostly we've been organizing everything and updating our area book and contacting everybody and their dog. And trying to figure out how to handle the fact that everyone we're teaching is a single woman. And visit a million less active members. Stressful. But it's been good.

I'm excited. I was a little apprehensive about staying here for another transfer, but now that I'm leaving, I'm sad! I love the people, love this town, love the ward. I know my way around. I recognize everyone on the street, my companion and I were really starting to teach well together. But it will be good. A new adventure.

In Enid, the missionaries only teach in Spanish. I can't guarantee they have a huge pool of people to teach, but they pass off all their english investigators to the english missionaries, which is definitely not something we did here in Wichita Falls, so it should be interesting. This will be a challenge indeed. One that I'm excited for/nervous out of my mind for. But Hermana Chugg and I had fun together so it will be fun to be together again! <---Forgive this redundant, super-obvious sentence.

We did have one big miracle this week, though. Sharon works at Walmart, and I always make sure to check out in her lane on P-days. She had mentioned her brother was a member, so we took down her information and went to visit her. She said she wanted to get baptized on the spot! Right after the first lesson. So at least we're leaving the elders with one super solid investigator to teach. She is the sweetest woman, and I love her. I'm sad we won't get to be here to see her on her journey, but she is incredible. I've taken down her information (and pretty much everybody else's information...) to write letters of encouragement. I never thought I could love so many strangers, so fast.

I've been pondering faith lately. How sometimes we get frustrated if our faith is waivering. We expect to just have it. But faith is a God-given gift. A blessing, even. And like all other blessings, we receive them from our own obedience to the commandments. That's why whenever we don't see people at church, we can usually figure out why they have doubts about basic principles. Or if the people we teach aren't reading the Book of Mormon, then of course their faith in it isn't going to grow! Faith is developed based on our own actions. We have the choice to be faithful, just like we have the choice to be happy. And if we choose to be faithful, we will succeed in being happy as well.

Pictures: Our District! The very best of them all.
My favorite member...Shh. Sister Pettingill. :)

I love you all!

Hermana Best

Monday, July 14, 2014

That time I ate 17 tacos in one sitting and other uplifting tales


Monday: This day I cried. I don't have a thorough recollection of what we did all day, but in the evening I had this overwhelming feeling that we needed to go see Robin and Carla, the two Mamas and their six kids, and we found Carla weeping on the porch and so she invited us inside and all of their stuff was in boxes. They broke up!!! I could see and feel the devastation in their eyes and in their body language, so it was hard to see immediately what a blessing this will be for them. I walked away feeling so heartachey that we wouldn't be able to visit this amazing family anymore. But I know that the Lord is working in them, and that because of their faith and their desire to do good, they will reap blessings. That family taught me to love anybody, no matter what their circumstance may be, and recognize that they are, indeed, children of God.

Tuesday I made a more conscious goal to OPEN MY MOUTH. I had a moment of realization where I thoughtm, "Gee. I'm five months in. Why don't I talk to every single person we see about the gospel?" So that's been a big goal for us and we've been working hard at it. A string of appointments feel through, so we ventured over to Lucy Park with a pail of chalk, crossed the ricketiest, sketchiest bridge of all time, and drew the Plan of Salvation on the sidewalk. I would love to say that we saw miracles from that, but we didn't...Although we did get prank called from it, so there's that. One of the members in our ward saw it and she snapped a picture of it and put it on the internet, and a bunch of the other members have said that it made their day. So hopefully that's purpose enough. Also, one of our investigators that we've been struggling to meet with said that we could come over if she could cut our hair. So... we got free hair cuts! I cut my hair pretty short because it's too hot and I was dying...

Wednesday I had mid-prayer revelation! We are supposed to have faith IN Jesus Christ and IN His Atonement. Not faith about it, or faith concerning it, but FAITH or TRUST that he can indeed save us from our sins and from our weaknesses. A lot of times we belive that we can be saved but first we need to be perfect, and then we'll be cleansed. No! The atonement of Jesus Christ is for everybody! We just have to choose it and then TRUST it. That meant a lot to me, it probably doesn't make much sense here. We had another Book of Mormon class and the sisters taught it. It was on how we should react when someone is unkind and they taught two steps: 1.Have Patience 2. Respond in Love. It's simple, but so true. Nothing we get upset about is worth the energy it took to get upset. Whenever we get frustrated, we are only harming ourselves and others around us. If we make the conscious choice to respond in love, we improve the outcome automatically. This has been very helpful for me this week.

Thursday...We weekly planned. All day. And we had to go on a brief little part-day exchange with some missionaries that were struggling. I'm sure more happened but this email is eternal.

Friday!  We woke up eaaarrrrlllllyy and went to the church to play survival of the fittest dodgeball. It was intense. And so awesome. I never won because I'm a pansy. But we had district meeting and we all went to lunch at a Chinese Buffet and I got a fortune that said, "Getting away for the weekend will help clear your mind", which I thought was the worst fortune for a missionary ever because I can't think of anything more stressful than running away from a mission, and we got to meet up with some less active members and Wanda! (We love Wanda). Then we had dinner at Sister Afutitis house, who has the same personality as Lisa, I'm pretty sure, and Hermana Oquendo tried to teach us how to dance. Fail. Pictures to come. Then the other sisters, ever so slyly, taught Sister Afutiti's friend the restoration without her even knowing it and she accepted an invitation to be baptized. It was insane.

On Saturday we visited Blanca! The ice cream truck driver. We met with her and she divulged all kinds of life stories and various other spiritual experiences. The spirit was so strong. We asked her if she had a desire to be baptized and she said, "Yes! I really do want that!" It was amazing. The Lord truly does prepare people for us to randomly meet and help them make huge steps in their lives. In the evening, some members in the ward, The Babbels, had the Babbel Taco Challenge for all the missionaries. And folks, I ate 17 tacos. I have never been so upset with myself in all my life. But I was proud. I came in second. And Broke the sister missionary taco record. Which is kind of gross. But then two random people told me I was skinny that night, so that was good. Helped me feel less nasty. I woke up at three in the morning and my stomach felt like somebody blew up a balloon inside of it. It was rough. But still worth it, I declare.

Now, to see if you're still paying attention, I saved the big news for last! On Saturday night we got a call the my companion will be training in a trio and moving to a different area! So mostly it's big news for her and means that I will be staying in good ole' Wichita Falls. Most likely. I've come to terms with the fact that I'll probably be here for life. No, I'm kidding. I really do love this area. The ward is great, the people are great. And we have been meeting a lot of new people. I know the Lord has me here for so many reasons.

Welp! It's a grand day to be alive! A grand day to be sharing the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I can't stress enough, if you love God, love his commandments. If you want to be happy, keep those commandments. If you want to pretend to be happy and have a rough life, pretend you can create your own happiness and repent later. These are the lessons I'm learning. There is only one source of happiness. We all know how to attain it, but it takes a special kind of discipline to actually do it. Our Heavenly Father just wants us to depend on him, then he lets blessings flow!

I love you all.

Hermana Best

The pictures are:

-The day we decided to cut our hair... hahah. We had manes.
-My companion teaching us to dance.
-Eating tacos. I think this was number eight for me... Blech.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Happy Fourth!

Bonjour! It's might fine to be here today. I was really happy to hear from so many people I love this week! Last week, I bought a journal,a big one, like the kind I had at home. So this entry could either be really cohesive or really sporadic, based on how I wrote in my journal. which I'm using as a reference.

July 1st: We had a thunder storm!!! Always exciting. We taught a bunch of lessons and took out a new member of our ward. As we walked up to her door to get her, a crack of thunder shattered the silence and her two boys woke up. I watched as she put on some hymns on tape and then went and kneeled with her boys and her husband in prayer to calm them down. It was so precious. I was really able to recognize the humility and the spirit in that home and it melted my heart. Then she came out with us, we taught a lesson to a man (who actually "broke up with us" this morning...) and she promptly went into labor not even two hours after we dropped her back off at her house. Her husband claims he blames us for that, hahaha.

July 2nd: Started out the day by reading "A Consecrated MIssionary" by Tad R. Callister. There's a line in there about an elder who is laying in bed and his companion tells him to get up and he says, "I don't want to" and his companion responds, "it's not about what you want. It's about what the Lord wants." That rebuked me. I talked with my companion about it and we decided that we need to develop better attitudes. More positive attitudes. Then I read a scripture that basically said if I'm lazy on my mission, I'm going to pay for it eternally. So. Yeah. It was a good way to start the week.

July 3rd: I had the realization that I really don't think I'm in this area this transfer for our investigators alone. I think this transferred is supposed to allow me to help my companion, our less actives, and our members, all of which seem to be having a rough time. My patience is being tested, with myself and those we interact with, but the Lord is strengthening me. There are times I know back home I would have offered a biting remark in response, or tried to relieve myself of confrontation by walking out of a room when someone offends me. But as missionaries, we really don't have those options. And it's such a good thing. In my journal I wrote, "I'm learning to uplift and edify when I want to reort and argue. But I know that when we uplift those that we feel destroy us, not only do we save outselves, but we rescue them for their own destruction."

July 4th: Yeah! The 4th of July! It's pretty impossible to do much proselyting on the 4th because no body is home or they're with your families and really don't want a couple sweaty girls knocking on their doors, so we planned accordingly and... didn't teach any lessons. But! We had a really delicious ward breakfast and flag-raising ceremony, which was great to see some new faces, and then we had District Meet, and after that my companion and I did our studies. During companionship study, we talked about 2 Corinthians 13, which was something we both really needed to hear. It says, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in faith. Prove your own selves...but I trust that ye shall know that we are not [failures]."  AH! The Lord is here. Always. He never goes away. He never even receeds. If you're not receiving your blessings, examine your faith. And if it's hard for you to be completely faithful and trusting in all things, you're not a failure! Just work to improve. After our studies, we baked brownies for a less active whose dad is in the hospital and brought them to her, then we went to dinner and frozen yogurt with some of the youth. The youth in our ward is amazing. Then we went to the Bishop's house, we were given permission to stay out until 11, and we watched fireworks! Our bishop lives in the MIDDLE OF NO WHERE, so it isn't illegal for him to have fireworks in our very, very droughted city. It was awesome. Then we went home and PASSED OUT. Midnight is late for a missionary.

July 5: My notes were gibberish. I even wrote a formal apology in my study journal for an analogy I tried to make that made no sense because I was so tired. So instead of eating lunch, I took a nap. But before that, I decided to apply this "examining my faith" and I prayed. And I begged the Lord that our lessons wouldn't fall through, and that we could find members who would be willing to come out with us, and that we could see miracles. Then I passed out for an hour and when I woke up, we dashed out the door and we. saw. miracles. All of our lessons were in Spanish, members came with us to them all, and we even had the chance to give a church tour to Froilan, a man who is always telling us "gracias por su paciencia!" It felt so good to be so productive.

And yesterday was Sunday and Sundays are always a good time. Fast Sunday, none the less. I bore my testimony and got teary-eyed as I did it. I bore my testimony on home teaching and visiting teaching. I never thought either of those things were very important before my mission. But if we truly understood the teachings of Jesus Christ, if we truly understood this Gospel, we would know how important retention is. Some people don't come to church because they think nobody notices when they're there.These assignments have nothing to do with statistics, they have everything to do with helping our brothers and sisters in their walks of life. You never know what active member is less-active in heart. It's not some silly little treasure hunt our leaders give us to keep us busy, it is a commandment to help bring forth the work of salvation! Then, after church, we tried four billion people and some less-actives. The less-actives were home, the four billion people were not, but around 5 o'clock, we saw the ice cream truck, who is a potential investigator of ours, and she gave us free ice cream! Because we told her we couldn't buy anything on Sundays. So... Not really sure if that's stretching the letter of the law. But it tasted delicious. Then we realized it was fast Sunday and had to say a big ole prayer to repent and break our fasts. Hahaha.

And that was my week! Lots of fun, lots of good insight. A little bit stressful, what else is new?

I love you all and I hope that you're doing well. I'm missing you all!!


Sister Sara Best

Pictures: 4th brownies!
Missionaries at the Bishop's!
Writing "repent if you want rain" scriptures in public places. ;)