Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29, 2014 - Lessons at a Grocery Store


Let's see.... so, on Monday, we played Zombies in the Avalon building, an older church building with lots of adding on. :)  Needless to say, tons of fun. :)  Until I injured my toe (blood blister.  That popped.).  But still tons of fun.  Just, you know, running around the halls of the church, trying not to be tagged by one of the "Zombies".... the point is to be the last one tagged.  Yup, lots of fun. :)

Tuesday was a good day.  We picked up a new investigator!  Her name is Karisma Woods, and her dad is a member, but her mom is not.  Karisma wants to be baptized, but hasn't been able to take the lessons really because of basketball, apparently.  Well, anyways, we set up an appointment to start teaching her the lessons on Wednesday!  We're super excited. :)

We also got back into the Stinchcombs home!  We finished the whole first lesson this time, and it went really well.  Even the oldest, Jacob, was involved this time, and payed attention and seemed interested. :)  The spirit was really good there, and I really think they're both going to progress. :)

Then we went and visited Kristie Boswell that night.  Previously, we had left her and her husband to read the first chapter of the Book of Mormon.  When we went to visit them, she was home with two of her kids (husband was at work), and she had told us that she didn't read it.  So we read it with her, and her daughter, Melissa I think, followed along with us.  The spirit in the home was incredible!  She was almost in tears when we wrapped up.  She then told us that she was going to take the Book of Mormon with her that weekend to work and read it all!  EEK!  I can't wait to hear how it goes tomorrow!  :D

We taught David and Terra Pitts on Wednesday.  David is seriously one of the stinking cutest 7 year-olds I have ever met.  He said that he had prayed about the Plan of Salvation, which we had taught him last time, and that he got an answer back that it was true!  And then he got after his mom because she got up late on Sunday and they didn't make it to church.  So, this week, we taught them about the Gospel of Christ, and both Terra and David asked good questions. :)  It's so awesome to see these two have the desire to learn and to come back to church. :)

We also had an actual sit-down conversation with the Marsalas on Wednesday and re-taught the first lesson!  It went really well, and it helped us know better where they were standing spiritually.  So this week, to help them with their testimony of Joseph Smith, we're going to watch the Prophet of the Restoration movie with them.  I hope it helps. :)

We had a very interesting lesson on Thursday night... so, on Tuesday, Brother Grigg in the 3rd ward called us up and told us that we had an appointment to meet with this potential investigator named Lino, and that he was going to bring a friend with him.

So, the first odd thing was that we were meeting in the Kaveman lounge above Ridleys.  Nothing up there but tables, but still very interesting.  So the meeting was Sister Stevens and I, Brother Grigg, Sister Neal, and then Lino and Doug, his friend.

So, we started out just by laying out some of both of our basic, core beliefs.  And Lino and Doug started asking questions.  And they were good questions.  At first, Lino seemed to want to understand, and it was Doug that seemed a little more... attacking.  Well, like I said, they had good questions, almost a little too good.  As in deep doctrine questions.  And we were starting to lose control.  So, I turned to Doug, who's in charge of the kids ministry at his church, and made a connection with him.  I mentioned that I've taught kids about Christ as well, and so we've had similar experiences.  Then I asked him if, when kids come to him with deep questions, if he laid out the basics of their beliefs before he told them any deeper stuff.  When he replied yes, I explained how we were in the same situation now.  We would love to be able to explain and answer his questions, but that we had not had a chance to lay out the basics of the Gospel yet.

There was a very visible change in that moment.  It was suddenly Doug who was wanting to hear more what we had to say, and Lino was the one attacking us, even though we may of had the same belief as he did.  It was very hard to keep calm and not argue back, but I am very grateful that I have the gift of the Holy Ghost to guide me to what to say.  

It seemed like our conversation was 2 hours long, but Brother Grigg neatly wrapped up the discussion at 8 o'clock, nearly 50 minutes after we started.  We ended with a prayer, and offered both Lino and Doug a Book of Mormon (we, having previously, explained that the Book of Mormon was another testament of Jesus Christ).  Lino flat out refused, saying that all we need is the bible, but Doug took it!  I don't know if he'll really read it or not, or if we'll hear from him again.  We saw him talking with Lino outside afterwards, and Lino seemed upset.  But we feel like we have planted the seed in Doug, and that maybe, one day, he'll be ready to accept the full truth.

It was a hard lesson/discussion to go through, but I am very grateful for it.  It was an experience I will never forget, for sure.

On Saturday, we met with the Taylors again, and had another fantastic lesson with Brother Taylor.  He again was very active in the conversation, and you can tell that he really wants to know.  I think that he already knows, he just doesn't realize it yet.  I love the Taylors!  They're such an amazing family!

On Sunday, we spoke in 3rd ward (again), and my talk was on agency.  There was one part where I almost cried.  I was talking about how I don't need to see the news every day to see Satan trying to pull us down, trying to make us make the wrong decisions.  I just needed to see the people who I visit and love to see Satan trying to work against us, and I was hit with an overloading sense of love for everyone in the congregation.  I found myself pleading with them to make those right choices so that they could be happy.  It was a very special and spiritual experience for me.

We had another lesson with the Martin girls last night, and I think it was the best lesson we've had with them.  They were all very quiet, took turns answering questions, and even Chloee, who usually is the disruptor, was really quiet and was involved.  They're excited for General conference to come up.

We also taught the Higleys about Missionary work.  Sister Higley is so sweet!  She made some cookies for the first time (as to first time ever or first time in the oven or first time here in the US I wasn't quite sure about), but they were really good. :)  Some sort of like, macaroonish cookie or something.  Very yummy. :)

We spent the rest of our Sunday night with one of 3rd ward families, the Jensens.  We played some sort of number game with them (they would read a question, and you would have to guess the answer.  For example "How much did the biggest pumpkin weigh?", and then we would guess who was the closest in answer.), and just had fun with them.  They're an awesome family. :)

Well, that's all for this week!  It was a really great week, and I just love being here in Kuna.  It's the best. :)

Love y'all!  Keep the Faith Strong!


Sister Empey

Monday, September 22, 2014

September 22, 2014 - New Transfer, New Companion, New ward, new investigators!

Ah, a week of new things!  It feels great! :)

So, lots has been going on!  Like I said last week, it was transfers, and Sister Ketring got swapped out with Sister Stevens, one of the sweetest Sister missionaries in the mission field.  Not only that, but we picked up a new ward to work in too!  (not that our last ward wasn't enough work-- oh, we already had plenty!)  But we now cover both Kuna 10th and Kuna 3rd wards.  I'm pretty excited about it too.  There's lots of work to be done in the 3rd ward too. :)  It's great.  

Sister Stevens was thrown right into the work when she got here, since we had a FHE with the Jepsons and the Whiteheads again Monday night.  It ended up being a really good lesson.  We did it on how families love each other, even when some things don't go so well.  The spirit was really strong in the room, and the Whitehead kids participated this time.  It was great.  It's like they realized that despite the bickering and the fighting and all that, they still loved each other.  And then we had fun playing pictionary afterwards, and I think that's the least they have fought during one of the games.  It was a great night. :)

We also almost immediately dived into the 3rd ward, since we had a new member discussion with the Higleys on Wednesday.  Sister Higley and her daughter, Lucy, actually lived in China, and have only moved here recently since she married Brother Higley, who was already a member.  So, since Lucy knows a English a little better, she translates for her mom for us.  They're both super sweet.  We taught the lesson on the Priesthood and Auxiliaries, and it went really great. :)  We also went and met some potential investigators, the Boswells.  They're great too.  They currently go to a non-denominational church, and loved to talk with the Elders.  Well, while we were there, we committed them to take the lessons!  So we're going to start teaching them tomorrow.  Super excited! :)

On Thursday, we got to meet Teressa Nova, who is a recent convert who has gone inactive due to some recent events in her life.  She's super sweet and charitable. :)  And she wants to start coming back to church too-- she says that she really misses it, and plans to come back after her trip to New York (where her husband works.  We got to meet him too since it was his week off.  He's happily Catholic.).  She's hoping that as she comes back to church that her life will start  to smooth out again.  But yes, super nice Sister.  We also met Sister Meyers, who is a less active, who has a non-member daughter and granddaughter.  She's awesome.  Just says it like it is.  :)  She's glad to have Sisters who can come in now.  She didn't like porch visits with the Elders.  haha  But she's sweet.  Told us we could stop by at anytime.

We also went and saw the ladies in the Assisted Living Center on Friday.  I miss those ladies!  They're so sweet!  Glenda is so sweet and cute, and I love her cat, Thor.  She calls him a "monster", but she loves him none-the-less.  :)

Saturday was really busy for us!  We started out with visiting Stephanie Marsalas, and seeing how she was doing.  Then we had lunch, updated progress records and worked on our area book (which was in the process of sorting through old papers, adding in 3rd wards information, and updating other records we have), and then went to the Taylors.  Sister Taylor is the Primary President (and is phenomenal-- I have never seen a lady single-handedly control jr. primary like she did last Sunday), but her husband is completely inactive.  BUT!  He wants to be active again, and wants to take the lessons.  So we started with the Plan of Salvation, and we had a really good conversation about that and Temples.  We also talked a little bit about Star Wars, since both of them are fans. :)  But, anyways, the discussion went really well.  He was really involved with us, asking all sorts of questions and putting in his input and thoughts.  I'm pretty sure he'll come back to the church.  Positive. :)

Then, as we left their house, we started talking to this lady that was outside washing her car.  Her name is Cheryl, and her father was Mormon and her mother was Catholic.  So she grew up going to both churches.  She believes in God, but doesn't really go to church.  But she invited us to come back over any time!  And she said she would give us a call if she needed service. :)  That always makes a missionary happy. :)

After talking with her, we booked it over to the church, where they were having their "Fire and Ice" ward party.  It was a competition, to see who could make the best chili and the best ice cream.  There were lots of less actives there and potential investigators, so it was a good time had by all.  And I swear there was this one ice cream that was lavender and garlic and it was SO GOOD!!!!!  It probably wasn't, but that's what I thought it was, and it was YUMMY.  I need to find out who made it and find out how to make it. :)

We then rounded off the night to a visit with the Hellyers, who are less active because of their health, and I felt like we really needed to go see them.  It was a really good visit.  We later learned that they had been feeling very forgotten, because no one had been visiting them, and they hadn't received the sacrament for a couple of weeks.  I'm very grateful we followed through with the prompting. :)

On Sunday, we went to the Assisted Living Center for one of our sacraments, because the Higbees wanted me to sing "More Holiness Give Me" for the sacrament meeting they hold there.  It was a very sweet and tender moment, just because I knew almost all of the people there, and they're all very close to my heart.  I'm very grateful that I was able to sing for them, and they were grateful to hear me sing.

That night, we had two lessons-- one with the Martin girls, and another one with the Higleys.  We taught the Martin girls about their baptism covenants, and what a covenant is.  The girls really enjoyed the lesson.  And then we taught the Higleys about Temples, and about Family History.  (fun fact-- there are Higleys in the Empey line.  It was sort of cool. :)  Just sort of. ;P)  Both lesson went well.

And that brings us to today-- one week later.  Yes, it's been a busy week.  And I've really enjoyed it. :)  And Sister Stevens and I will be a great companionship. :)  It will just be interesting to see how this transfer will end.  She only has three transfers left, so it's possible that she'll jump ship, or that I'll leave Kuna, or.... well... there's a multitude of things that could happen.  We could stay together one more transfer!

.... but I suppose it's a little too early to speculate now, huh?  It's a little too early to be doing that.  Point is, we work great together, and I know that I'm going to learn a lot from her.

Well, I love you all, and I'll be seeing you again in 9 months!


Sister Empey

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September 15, 2014 - I Love to see the Temple!!!

Oh my goodness!  This week has been great!

We had Family Home Evening again with the Jepsens and Whiteheads.  The Whiteheads apparantly really love having FHE with us there.  And we certainly aren't going to complain.  Last week we did the lesson on trials, and the kids really seemed to soak it up.  Then we played a game in the backyard where we taped words all over the backyard, and then as I read scriptures the kids had to run around and hit the words I read.  It was pretty fun. :)

On Tuesday, we got bored of our room, so we rearranged the furniture.  We have to move it back now (via Sister Lawrence's request), but it was fun.  And nice.  We also taught the Martin Girls about tithing and fasting, and used candy to help teach that.  The girls really enjoyed the lesson-- and the candy!

Thursday was a sick day.  Sister Ketring got some sort of virus, so we ended up just sitting at home all day and just hanging out.

Then I got to go to the Temple on Friday!!!!!  YAY!!!!!  That was so exciting!!!  And I got to go with Sister Clemons, my old MTC companion! :D  I also went with Sister Branham, who's in my district.  It was so neat to be able to go again!  The feelings you have in the temple are unlike any other you experince, just because the Spirit was so strong there. :)  I loved it.  And then we went to President Cannons home afterwards and had dinner and a testimony meeting.  AND HE HAS A SOFT-SERVE ICE CREAM MACHINE!!!!!!  ... yeah... I had a lot of ice cream that night.  But the testimony meeting was amazing.   Just the feeling of the spirit and friendship together was really nice. :)

And then Saturday was the day almost every missionary dreads: TRANSFER CALLS.  Sister Ketring has left for Nampa North, and I'm staying here with Sister Stevens, who is super sweet. :)  I'm excited for this next transfer! :)

Well, that's it for this week really.  Sorry it's so short.  You know how it is.  Transfer days are crazy and my focus is out of whack.

Love you!  Keep the faith!


Sister Empey

Monday, September 8, 2014

September 8, 2014 - HUMP DAY!!!!!


Yup, yesterday was my official halfway mark-- I didn't do anything fun for it really, but it's still a cool day to acknowledge.  From here, it's all downhill!  (That's right, mom and dad-- you can start counting down the days now.  haha)

Anyways, this week has been... interesting.

So, Monday, we went to Kuna Caves with Sister Lawrence's nephew, Reid, his wife Nicole, and Holly, Sister Lawrence's granddaughter.  It was tons of fun!  Check it out:

Going down!  I went down first in our group.  (Yeah, I was the brave one.  Try to figure that one out.)

Sister Ketring and I. :)

You know when missionaries are down in the caves when they use the only source of natural light to strike a Saturdays Warrior pose.

Me climbing back up. :)  It was a good 50 feet down into the caves!

The "caves" (or, more accurately, "cave"), is a long lava tube that runs under Kuna, and apparently goes as far as Mountain Home!  It has several open caverns, with small crawling spaces in between.  The place is littered with graffiti, and glass, because it used to be a party place (well, still might be.  I don't pay attention to that kind of stuff), but it was fun to crawl through and check it out. :)  We didn't go too far out in the caves though.  We could only stay in for so long before feeling suffocated.  It was a nice change from our regular P-Day.

And then on Tuesday, we had Zone Conference, with Elder Gudoy of the First Quorum of the Seventy!  The training was really good-- he loved to interact with us, and had us all falling of the pews, stitched up with laughter!  But it really made me think too-- am I just going about, doing the day-to-day things, or am I really doing all I can to make my mission the most golden experience possible?  I came out of that meeting with a new commitment to be a better missionary and really trying to magnify my calling.  But the Zone meeting was really short-- we ate lunch and then it was over.  That was really weird to not have another training after lunch.  But, you know, whatever.  It was still really awesome. :)

Wednesday was.... unique.  So, we go out after lunch, around one o'clock, right?

WELL.... We knocked on 10 doors.  2 answered, neither let us in.  I crashed into Sister Ketring-- got a bruise on my back from the crash.  Her skirt got caught and torn.  My skirt got caught and torn.  Skirts caught caught a couple of more times.  My chain came off.  Sister Ketring fixed it, and as she turned my bike back over, she knocked her bike over, and her purse tipped out and spilled into the street.  And then her bike tire went flat.  And my chain came off again.

That all happened by 3 o'clock.

Needless to say, we sort of gave up on Wednesday.  With all of that happening within TWO hours.  We went home, hung out with Sister Lawrence's grandkids, went to dinner, went to a meeting with our Ward Mission Leader, stopped by Moxi Javas to get Italian Creme Sodas, and went home.  Yup.  That was Wednesday.

We also had Zone meeting this week, (yeah, Zone meeting on top of Zone Conference.  This was the week of meetings.  I kid you not.)  and Zone meeting was REALLY good.  President Cannon was actually AT our Zone meeting.  He came in to talk about some new rules-- we cannot own any sort of card or board game, and can no longer burn clothing at our halfway mark--  and told us that as we followed these rules that we would be blessed.  He got very real and personal with us, and it was a very spiritual moment that led to one of the most amazing Zone Meetings I've had.  Again, it was a reminder to me to stick to my commitment from Zone Conference, and I was nearly crying after we had our testimony meeting at the end.  It was really amazing.

Sunday was really amazing as well.  Both the Gospel Principles class and Relief Society were on faith, which we're exercising a lot of right now.  Both Sister Ketring and I were fasting for the Martin Girls.  Their mom came down this week, somewhat unannounced (they knew she was coming, but didn't know when she was), and said that they couldn't get get baptized because they would never know what they're getting into.  It broke our hearts to hear that.  So we've been fasting and praying that mom will soften her heart and let those girls be baptized.  They want it, so bad... it's sad to see them unable to be baptized because of their mother...

Anyways, that's it.  On Friday I get to go to the Temple!!!!!  I'm super excited to go!!!!  It's been so long since I've gone!  Can't wait to tell y'all about it!

Well, that's it.  I love y'all!  Keep the Faith!


Sister Empey

Monday, September 1, 2014

September 1, 2014 - Are ya Mormon?

HOLY COW!  This week was AWESOME!!! :D

So, it started out with a Family Home Evening with the Jepsens (Bro Jepsen 2nd counselor in the bishopric and our designated Ward Mission Leader, Sis Jepsen a Ward missionary, and all-around awesome family), the Whiteheads (a less active family), the Marsalas (recent converts), and VeAnne Jensen (another ward missionary).  It was lots of fun!  We talked about baptismal covenants, and played a game called KISS (aka- Keep It Simple Stupid).  Basically, you split the groups into two teams and put one member from each team up front.  You then show the rest of the people a word, and the teams each come up with one word to describe the first word.  The people up front have to guess what the word is based off the one-word description.  If that made sense.  I hope it did.  Anyways, it was fun. :)

On Wednesday, Sister Ketring was sick with the stomach flu (companion #2 that has had it), so most of the day was spent studying 1 Chronicles, reading the Book of Mormon, and watching Mormon Messages.  It was a nice, chill-out day.

We got to teach David Pitt on Thursday!  He's such a cute kid, and actually knew quite a bit about Joseph Smith.  I'm sure he'll be prepared for his baptism when he turns 8.  :)

On Friday, we had a meeting with President Francis (the Stake President for the Kuna East Stake), basically talking about how there were going to be some major changes soon in leadership in our ward, and about Progressive Mormonism, which is sort of running rampant in our ward.  We were both very grateful to be able to talk to him.

Later that day, we had the Jepsens come pick us up at Cheveron, because we had left our bikes at their house the night before, and we were buying a birthday gift for their daughter, Kylee.  Well, as the four of us were pulling out, we saw a bunch of the Elders at the sno cone shack, and Brother Jepsen said "Well, that was rude of them to not invite you!"

What he did next was hilarious.

he pulled up to them, and rolled down only his window (all his car windows being tinted), and yelled out in the most intimidating voice "HEY!  Are ya Mormons?"  (Brother Jepson has worked as Security before.  He knows how to be intimidating.)

All 8 Elders, including our zone leaders, sat there, slack-jawed and surprised.  So, he continued!  "I asked you, are ya Mormons?  Do you have one of those books?"  Finally, after a couple of minutes he yells "Come up here!  I want to talk to you!"

So, Elder Tupou, our fearless Tongan Elder, bravely strides up to the truck.  His Companion, Elder Astle, frantically pushed through the other Elders to back up his companion as needed.

Elder Tupou walks right up to the truck, looks inside....

And makes direct eye contact with Sister Ketring, who was trying to control her laughing, but couldn't.

All chaos erupted.  Both Sister Ketring and I burst out laughing with Elder Tupou's eyes growing so wide, and Brother Jepsen rolled down the back seats window so that the rest of the Elders could see that we had been sitting in back the whole time.

Their jaws dropped even lower, which just caused us to laugh harder.  It took them a couple of minutes to recover from the shock.  It was pretty funny.

On Saturday, we had exchanges with Sister Barnes and Cole, so I stayed in Kuna with Sister Barnes.  

Our morning started out busy.  We were out the door by 8:15 to go clean up the banks of the river, than an hour later we went to a less active's home to help her move out.  And there was SO MUCH HAIR in that home.  She had a Huskey dog, who slept under the bed, and there were hairballs the size of baseballs under it!  And she had only been living there since February!  It was sort of gross.  But it was good work.  We got a TON of cleaning done, and got everything out of the house in like, an hour flat.  It was pretty impressive.

After that, we went out to visit people, and around 4:20, were leaving a less-actives home, and Sister Barnes said "Our bikes are gone."

At first, I froze a bit, and then I realized that we were across from the Marsalas.  Now, Nick Marsala and Bro Jepsen are best friends, so my first thought was "... Marsala..."  So, I was trying to get Sister Barnes to cross the street with me, while she was distracted by another bike, when I see Brother Jepsens truck drive up to us.  With the bikes in back.  He had seen them when he stopped by the Marsalas home, and they had packed them in his truck and Brother Jepsen was going to take them to his house!  

However, he felt guilty, and came to return them to us.  It was pretty funny.  Especially when Nick came out and said "Did they catch you Shayne?!"

I yelled back "I knew you were a part of it!"

Nick just smiled and went back inside.

Yeah, great times. :)

And then Sunday was busy busy busy!  I got to sing in Sacrament Meeting for Jacob Goldsberry's homecoming.  I sang "More Holiness Give Me", and it was the best performance yet!  I can actually remember myself singing!  And it made it worth it when Jacob got up and said "I'm glad you sang that song.  One of the ladies I got to baptize asked for us to sing that song at her baptism, so I'm grateful for that little flashback."  It was really nice. :)

After that, we taught Gospel Principles in our ward, and then taught Young Womens in the 12th ward.  That was lots of fun. :)

We also got to eat dinner last night with Sister Lawrence, the lady we live with, and a bunch of her family was over, so we sort of took the night off and played with them.  We played soccer for like, 2 hours with the grandkids (something my feet are paying for-- 3 regular blisters, plus a blood blister.), and ended the night watching 17 Miracles.  it was pretty fun.

Well, that's it for this week!  The next couple of weeks are going to be busy-- we have Zone Conference tomorrow, with Elder Gudoi of the 70 coming to speak with us, and on September 12, I get to go on my first temple trip!  YAY!!!  I'm super excited!  Mostly for the temple trip.  Zone Conference-- only semi-excited.  They tend to drain me, but I can't wait to see what I'll learn. :)

Well, that's it for this week!  Hope y'all had as great of a week as I did!  Keep the faith!


Sister Empey