Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May showers kill April's flowers

Que pasa, mi familia?!

It feels like the most eternal week of life because we've had so much to do! And, as usual, the weather has been acting up. There have been a couple tornado threats, but nothing too serious. Now we're just constantly under flash flood warnings. It's rained more this month than it ever has in the month of may ever. The ground is incredible saturated, streets are turning into rivers. I've attached a really bizarre picture of a guy kayaking down one of the streets in our boundaries. :)

To follow up on last week's email, once we concluded P-day, we got to go to visit Vania and her husband, Rob! They had put their kids to bed, and when we got there, they had baked cookies and had a stack of bibles/notebooks/Book of Mormon all piled up  and ready to discuss. We brought Sister Gillespie, the Bishop's wife, who has a very similar family dynamic (i.e. 4 billion children, husband in the military, Mormon/practically Mormon) and it was a wonderful discussion. She had so many questions! Questions about the trinity, about life after death, about the prophet, about families, about all sorts of things. And there's still something so satisfying about being able to address every single one of people's concerns in one way or another, to the point where they find peace and comfort in what used to be their trials and concerns.

After we left, their kiddos got sick, and the storms hit, so we're going back again tonight. I'll follow up next week. But Vania's best friend from Utah, the one that introduced her to the church, is also moving here to Oklahoma today! So that should be a remarkable help in her search for answers. The Lord is wonderful.

The storms and craziness also kept us from visiting with the other family we met last week, but he's asked us to come back tomorrow, so that we will!

But the miracles don't stop there.
Last Sunday, we had a couple just randomly show up to church, he confessed that he was a member that hadn't been to church in a while, but his wife wasn't a member and had taken all the missionary discussions. Back then, she was undergoing surgery that wouldn't allow her to endure baptism, but now she can, and she wants to! Pray for the Andersons! :)

One more sweet little story. On Thursday, every single appointment we had fell through. Luckily, it wasn't much cause for discouragement because we had planned for some flexibility throughout our day and planned backups for all of our appointments, as we usually do, but even those fell through.

So eventually, we went through the ward roster and started trying to find families we'd never met before. We wound up at a house looking for a family named the Harrys. We, instead, found their brother who said that the diligence of their home teacher had encouraged and inspired him to go back to church for the first time in years.

After we left, we realized we weren't too far from his home teacher's house, so we thought we would stop by to thank him for magnifying his calling so well. When we got there, he told us that he knew where the family we were looking for lived, but that he wasn't sure exactly what house. So his wife showed us on a map the street to look for and told us to pray about it and then tract. "You're likely to find a family even if it's not the family you're looking for."

So we got up and left and as we were getting in the car, their cute little daughter Emeri ran outside. She's about 5 years old, so we ran out to make sure she didn't run into the street and asked her if she wanted to pray with us. She said yes so we knelt on the sidewalk and she said,

"Dear Heavenly Father. Thank you for my family. Thank you for the missionaries. Please help them find a family to teach the gospel to. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

It was the simplest, most precious prayer I'd heard, but it was so powerful. We thanked her and drove to the destined street. We both picked three house and decided to knock on the house that overlapped. The woman who opened the door explained that she and her husband had several children and they would all be interested in hearing about what we had to share with them, but that she wanted to wait until they could all be there together. So we plan on going back this week to visit with them.

I know that the Lord answers our prayers. He has answered all the prayers to help us find families to teach, He has answered the prayers of those we teach who are searching for the truth, and I know He answers your prayers. It may not be in the way or in the time that you want, but constant prayer helps us align our will to God's will, ultimately helping us to identify our answers. God knows what's best for us. He knows when someone is ready to receive the Gospel, or when we need to feel His love for us.

I love you guys. I hope you have a terrific week.

Last week, we went to the Science Museum. So here's Sister Garner and myself. :)


Sister Best

Monday, May 18, 2015

Cuantas Vacas En El Campo? Muuuuuchas!

Good Morning, family!

To start, I would like to ask each of you a favor. Would you mind praying with Sister Garner and I that we will be able to find, teach and prepare for baptism 2 new families? That is our goal! We've been fasting and praying for it. Our ward is quite small here in OKC and we have two families moving out during the summer, two families that are a huge asset to our ward, which is always sad, so we've been praying to be able to replace them. :)

We've actually seen a lot of success with this goal, though. On Friday, we were getting ready to visit with a family we've been struggling to sit down with recently. As we were in our car, we prayed mightily to be able to find a family who was prepared, then we knocked on their door, and we heard the Mom whisper to her kids, "tell them we're on our way out or something". Ha. Got it. So we walked back to the car and Sister Garner said, "Let's go check on our Media Referral."  Media Referrals are people who have referred themselves on the internet to receive a Book of Mormon or meet with missionaries. If they request a Book of Mormon, the missionaries come with it. ;) That's how Conor was found, so I guess you could say they're usually pretty promising.

So we went to visit her, her name is Vania, and we pulled up to this beautiful house in a beautiful neighborhood. It's a part of our area that we don't frequently spend time in unless we're eating dinner at a member's house because we haven't had much success up there in the past. And to be honest, big house are intimidating as a missionary. So we prayed for faith and strength and then we knocked on the door. Her husband opened the door and welcomed us with a smile and invited us in. He was  followed by four of the world's most adorable children who ran up to us and started hugging us and showing us all their toys and awards and things. Vania walked in holding a fifth kid and she lit up. She said they had just gotten back from their family walk and then she introduced her kids and started showing us around. We were confused. This looked like a typical Mormon family, their decor was even pretty Pinteresty and they had a sign above their fireplace that said, "There is Sunshine in My Soul Today". I think the confusion showed across our faces because she looked at us and said, "Oh! By the way. We just moved here from Utah from Hill Air Force Base because my husband is in the military and there we made some friends who were LDS and we fell in love with them! They were the sweetest people! And so I wanted to get to know more about your church and have you over for cookies and to hang out with me and my family."


That never happens.

She was just getting ready to put her kids to bed, but she invited as back so we have an appointment with them this evening and we're taking the Bishop's wife. Sister Garner and I are just anxious to go back. This P-day kind of feels like a burden. ;)

This is the second family we've started teaching. The first, we found on Monday. We had had an appointment with a man we met knocking doors named David, but we accidentally went at the wrong time, and then we just never showed up afterwards because we got distracted with something else. But when we went back the next week, he said "Where were you? I waited for you!" We felt so bad! We scheduled another appointment and promised to keep it.

This Monday, we went to their house and he invited us inside where he, David, and his wife/girlfriend Kimiko sat on the couch and listened intently as we taught them about the Book of Mormon and how the Gospel blesses families. They have a couple little kiddos and their faces got brighter and brighter as we talked and as we learned about them and about their experiences. We explained the priesthood and it made so much sense to them, so we extended a commitment to them to be baptized by the priesthood and they accepted! June 20th should be the day!

It was a really good week. We saw a lot of miracles on top of those ones, and it's just an overall blessing to work with Sister Garner. Because working with her doesn't feel like work, it just feels like fun. But we definitely do work. We were talking about how this is the most successful, hardest working, and fun we've been or had on our missions so far. And the nice thing is that it's pretty likely that she'll be my companion until I'm finished. :)

This email is long. Forgive me. I just wanted to share some miracles. I'll leave you with this thought:

God is in the details, so we don't need to be. We don't need to be engulfed in every tiny detail because they all make up one perfect picture. And if we're obedient, God' in control anyway. If we look too closely at the little things, we miss the big picture, and then we spend our time just squinting and getting a headache instead of enjoying the process.

I love you guys. I didn't take many pictures this week because it was hectic, but here was a pretty priceless Oklahoma shot. We have to watch the weather if we're under Tornado watch, which we definitely were on Saturday, and this was a picture that was sent in of a tornado in a city called Elmer. And what the sky looks like on tornado-esque days.

Love You Mucho!


Sister Best

Monday, May 11, 2015

Whosoever Shall Lose His Life for My Sake Shall Find It

This week was, once again, so interesting.. There's no other way to describe it.
On Monday, we had P-day and were able to work that evening, then on Tuesday, Elder Corbridge of the quorum of the seventy came and spoke to us, then we were able to do work that evening.

But Wednesday through Saturday, we were on Tornado Watch and we had to be careful not to go too far from our shelter. On Wednesday, about six tornadoes came through Oklahoma. Oklahoma City is pretty central, a little to the West of the center of the state, but that means that whenever tornadoes come up from Texas, they almost always pass right over us. Luckily, they usually barely hit us and hit surrounding cities instead. Which isn't that lucky, it's actually pretty devastating for the cities they hit, but the houses in those cities are much more spread out so there isn't as much damage as there could be in a city like this one.

On Wednesday, we went back and forth from watching the weather to ducking in the storm shelter. From about 3 o'clock to about 11 o'clock at night, we had to make sure we knew what was going on because the sirens kept going off. And the poor weather man, Mike Morgan, was on the screen for about nine hours and his eyes started getting bloodshot, and we all started to get delirious, so at 9:00 when he said, "Listen up, a tiger has escaped from the Tuttle Wild Life Safari" we all just bust up laughing and started making "Tigernado" jokes. The biggest problem we faced was street flooding. We've been on flood watch for days because all the rivers are overflowing from all the rain we've been receiving, which meant Wednesday night we had to stay at a member's house instead of going home. It was disorienting as a missionary and made us feel like.. not missionaries. Especially from the amount of time we were in jeans doing clean up in a devastated little city called Bridge Creek. But the crazy week gave us time to study and reflect on the things that we learned during Mission Tour, which was a lot.


A good attitude produces good results, and ultimately, we shape our own lives. Everybody has hard things they go through, every single person, but it is the way we choose to respond to it that ultimately determines what kinds of life that we live. If we see that good and choose to remain positive, it will effect the outcome of our entire lives. I loved that because it connected really heavily to something I've had on my mind recently, in order for us to do anything, we have to understand why we do it. I think about a rebelling teenager, if you tell them to do something, they're not likely to be too happy about it, they'll probably do the opposite, just out of spite. But if you explain the why behind it, if you explain the ways it will benefit them or protect them, they will be more apt to do it.

Elder Corbridge once said something along the lines of that we cannot be happy if we do not want to do the things that bring happiness, even if we do those very things.

Our attitude means everything. Because life is tough, and it's always going to be tough. If it weren't, we wouldn't learn anything, but growth comes from choosing to be positive in tough situations.

Elder Corbridge listed 3 things we need in order to have faith:
1) An idea of God's existence
2) A correct knowledge of God's attributes, characterisitcs, and perfections
3) Understanding the the course that you are pursuing is acceptable to God.

Then he stated that most people who struggle with their faith believe in God but don't believe in themselves. I know that's true. I have seen it time and time again. People refuse to fully live the Gospel because they are fearful that they aren't cut out for it, or that they can't do it because they've already strayed too far away from it and they can't get back on their feet. Or that it's too hard to change.

Those people are exactly right and they're exactly wrong.
They're right because they can't do it. Neither can I. Neither can you. None of us are capable of being anywhere near living with our Heavenly Father  on our own. But that's why we need to be dependent on our Savior. It's only through Him that we gain anything. It's only through HIM that we CAN be like Him and live to see God and be with Him again.

Which is why they're wrong, the Atonement is for everybody. Being able to access it is as easy as inviting the spirit into your life. It's done by reading the scriptures, praying, and going to church. Every Sunday. Man, I sound like a broken record, but it's because it's SO true! There's no way to reinvent the wheel, there's no way to do it your own way. So be anxiously engaged, not overly anxious and under engaged. ;)

"When we forget about ourselves, there becomes so much more of us to find!" -President Walkenhorst

I love you folks with my whole heart!

Coming home from Tornado clean up.
Sweeping flood water away from our ward mission leader's house.
Playing monopoly in the shelter.

Monday, May 4, 2015

May The Fourth Be With You

There was a lot of spiritual insight this week that came from 3 main events.

1) Interviews with our mission president
2) Stake Conference with Elder Corbridge
3) Going to a temple sealing with a recent convert and her husband

But first, I want to talk about something that doesn't happen every day in missionary life! Grandma Margaret came to visit me! Hahah, we got permission, don't you fret, but it was so fun to see her. The day she came, it was a torrential downpour, but it didn't make the day less sun-shiney. We had a ball! I'm sure she's told most of you this story by now, but she is an incredible missionary! She tried to pay some guys at Jimmy Johns to go get her key for her, because we locked ourselves outside of the car, but they wouldn't take her money. They went to get the key, came back, and refused to take her money. We put it in a Book of Mormon and told her to give it to the man, and so she said, "These girls are missionaries, and it would make them very happy if you would take this book." He promised he would take it, but not the money, and she told them she would only take the money out if he would promise to read it. He agreed, and then they left.

My favorite part of this interaction was watching her face light up as we walked away. She was so excited to have given out the Book of Mormon, and it reminded me how abnormal it is to share the Gospel. It feels relatively normal for us, but to see her celebrate the mini-success reminded me to look for the joy in spreading this message, no matter how small the interaction may be. I love Grandma, it was such a special treat to see her. And, luckily, it didn't make me too homesick ;) Especially because the next day we had interviews with President Walkenhorst. And he has a knack for helping us get back on track just by being a spiritual motivator. He shared this scripture with me in D&c 43:34, which says, "Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Treasure these things up in your hearts and let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your minds." It tied in to something I've had on my mind a lot lately this week which is the law of Consecration. How can we give everything that we have and are to God? It's a lot of work!

But something Elder Corbridge said really stuck with me. He shared a scripture about serving God with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. And he said, "In that, there's good news and there's bad news. The bad news is that we have to give Him everything we've got. The good news is that we only have to give Him everything we've got." Then he pointed out how God doens't require anything of us more than we have to offer. He only wants what we're willing to give, until that will expands, and we're willing to give Him more. He also pointed out that life is easier when we do give him more. "Life is hard enough under the BEST of circumstances, without up making it any harder than it needs to be." When we keep God's commandments, and do what we can to surrender all that we are to become all that He wants us to become, we avoid a lot of human drama that accompanies being stubborn. I'm learning that in a very real way. :)

The theme of conference was centered around participating in Family Councils, and there's only so much I could glean out of that as a missionary, but something that really stuck out to me was the ability we have to constantly teach one another using Gospel principles, without really sounding too preachy. When we apply the fundamentals principles and doctrines of the church and the Gospel to every day situations, and when we advise others to do the same, it is possible to solve our worldly problems. that was a powerful lesson to learn. We can serve and teach people who don't share our beliefs just by privately helping them live the Gospel. :)

Being in the temple with the Wilsons was a special experience, indeed. It's always special to see families be sealed to one another. And our lacking frequency of Temple-attendance made it an especially potent spirit that was present. I'm so grateful for the restored truths we have on the Earth that make it possible for us to feel the spirit more abundantly in our day to day lives!

Read this: Proverbs 17:22

I love you guys! Happy Mother's Day! Hopefully I'll get to see some of you via Skype on Sunday. :)

 Happy Birthday Christie!


Sister Best

Pictures: Dinner with Grandma Maggie and Conor and the wonderful people that GM lives with. :)