Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014 - Fast and Feast

Greetings from Chilly Kuna! :D

So, Monday night, we had dinner with the Higleys, and it was very interesting.  We had fried rice, wanton soup, chicken, and pizza with fried shrimp on it.  It was really good, actually. :)  And actually, each slice had one fried shrimp on it.  The rest of the shrimp on the pizza was covered by the cheese.  Like I said, it was pretty good. :)

We had another Meet the Mormons activity this Tuesday, and the 10th ward was in charge of it.  It was actually one of the best Meet the Mormons programs I have ever seen!  The displays stayed up for the whole hour, and the chapel was reasonably full this time!  So Sister Stevens and I wrote down all the members from our ward that came, and we're going to go to each family and ask them to invite someone to Meet the Mormons by the end of February.  We're excited to do this. :)

Wednesday was sort of a sick day.  We had a choir practice for Zone Meeting, and then I went home and totally slept for 2 hours in between lunch and dinner.  And then after dinner I slept more.  But dinner was fun. :)  We ate with Sister Angel, who is this awesome lady in the ward.  We just ate sandwiches in the front room, and just talked about life.  We also had fun comparing missions now to when she served her mission (she served in Harrisburg, PA).  She is totally awesome.  She's gone through a lot, the kind of stuff that shakes faith, but she's stayed faithful to the church the entire time.  We really love her. :)

Thursday was an incredible day!  We had Zone Conference on Thursday, and it was incredible!  We were all fasting, and by the time we reached our testimony meeting, the spirit was incredibly strong in the room.  Our song sounded beautiful as well. :)  Anyways, Zone Conference was an amazing experience.  I wish I knew what to include in the email to help you understand what a spiritually uplifting experience it was!  But I suppose it will satisfy me to let y'all know that I received many blessings from the messages shared and the experiences I had on Thursday, and I am very grateful that I felt well enough to go.

Saturday was crazy.  We get a call from our Zone Leaders, asking us if we could help someone move into our ward boundaries.  And we were like "Uh.... duh.  Of course!"  They're names are Amanda and David Todd, and they have 4 kids.  The Zone Leaders have been helping them out a lot, and they're impressed with how much we're willing to help.  Anyways, we hope to keep helping them out and eventually invite them to take the lessons.

We also saw Brother Taylor and taught about Church, Praying, and Reading Scriptures.  We had a great discussion about how each of them blesses us individually when we do one or two.  But then we talked about how much greater the blessings would be if you are actively trying to participate in all 3.  And the best thing was that at the end of the lesson, he committed to come to church!  We were so happy!  Especially since it was the Primary Program, and Sister Taylor is the Primary President, so we were really hoping that he would be willing to go. :)

After that, we went to Kims house and got to talk to her.  We asked if she would like to take the lessons again, and while she didn't really give us a straight no, she didn't say yes.  And she still wants us to come by!  We ended up having a really good discussion about the 3 kingdoms of Glory though, and we talked about how everyone is going to feel comfortable where they're at, that no one is going to be "punished" and sent to Hell.  She was really grateful for our explanation, and she said that it made a lot more sense than what the Elders had told her a few years before.  We also got her to commit to pray about what we talked about, to ask Heavenly Father if what we taught her was true.  And she said she would!  How exciting is that?!  Anyways, we really love her. :)  And she's going to teach us how to make little bowling pin dolls one day.  We're super excited for that. :)

As for Sunday.

The Primary Program was great.  It would have been a thousand times better if Brother Taylor had shown up. :(  Oh, it was so heartbreaking!  He seemed so sure that he could make it for just that one hour of Sacrament Meeting the day before!  But it's okay-- at least we know that he wants to come back, and we know that he's working hard towards it.  I know that he will make it back one day, and I know that it will bless his life.

Well, that's it for this week!  I love all of you, and I hope that you have a beautiful and blessed Thanksgiving!  And don't forget to show a little extra bit of gratitude towards your Heavenly Father this upcoming week!


Sister Empey

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 17, 2014 - Single-Digit Weather

 You guys, it snowed!  O_O  
Look at how much it snowed!!!!

... Sister Stevens had to comfort me.  She was a little more excited about the snow than I was.

Okay, really, it didn't snow THAT much.  Sister Lawrence, who we live with, had us kneel in the snow to make it look deeper.  But it did snow enough for the kids to have a Snow Day.  We weren't so lucky.  We still had work to do.

But that's the middle of the week.  Let's start at the beginning, yeah?

I love the Chestnuts.  I seriously do.  They are so awesome!  :D  The lesson went good on Monday-- not too many crazy questions this time around.  But the family has been trying to pray and read their scriptures, which is exciting. :)  I'm so happy we get to teach them. :)

And then Tuesday came, with drool, snot, and a headache.

Needless to say, I spent the day inside that day.  I tried to keep myself occupied as best as I could.  So, while Sister Stevens set up different splits throughout the day so that some work could be done, I finished up the last 15 chapters of Isaiah, took a nap (or two), finished a few word searches, and tried out a Chicken noodle soup using Top Ramen Noodles (which, by the ways, was really good).  But yeah, I don't like being sick.  Especially sick enough that you can't go out and work.  Every time Sister Stevens came home I would bombard her with questions of what happened while she was out.  Needless to say, I don't make a very good sick person.  I'm not good with sitting down and resting because I have to.

But it payed off, because I was able to go to Wednesday night's activity. :D

So, if y'all remember, last week I was talking about how we were going to be in charge of a Mutual night, and it will be all missionary themed, with companionship's and districts and everything.

Well, it went AMAZING!!!!!!  Everyone really seemed to enjoy it, we even had some of the older kids say that it was the best activity they have had in a long time!  It was a great opportunity I think for them all to see that while it's important to prepare for a mission, that the best way to prepare is to be a missionary now.  And by the end of the night, there was a really strong spirit as Sister Stevens and I bore our testimony about our missions, and how it's changed our outlook for our lives when we go home.  It was really amazing, and I'm really grateful that I got to be a part of that. :)

Thursday.  Thursday morning, I was in my own little bubble, preparing for the day, when Sister Stevens ran upstairs, grabbed my camera, and threw open the curtains.

This is what she was taking a picture of:

It had snowed.  All night.

Of course, my lovely companion, who is from Texas, was extra bubbly and excited.  And then there's me: "Great.  It's cold, and there's gonna be ice."  But it's fun to see her all excited about the snow.  At least one of us is, yeah? :)

Anyways, that night we were able to visit a less-active member that we had been trying to visit forever, named Tony Schwab.  He had joined the church when he was first in the Military, but has gone inactive since, but really wants to come back, and he wants his son to take the lessons eventually!  We mostly just talked to him about cars, since he's like, super knowledgeable about them, shared a thought, and left, but he wants us to come back!  His son, Zach, is a pretty nice kid too.  He's 12, and was mostly in his room doing homework, but he came to church on Sunday, even though Tony couldn't come because he had Military Duty this weekend.  Awesome, yeah?

Anyways, on Friday, we got a call from Sister Ritter, a lady we've been helping in the ward, asking us if we could round up a couple of other missionaries to help her shovel both her and heir neighbors driveway, and take down her tramp.  So we got our District Leaders and the other Sisters in our district to come join us.

Check me out, on a tramp, sweeping off snow:

yeah, I swept off like, 2 feet of snow off that tramp.  It was pretty legit.

So, I can now check these three things off my [non-existent] bucket list: put up a trampoline (we had put this tramp up back in September for her to sell), sweep snow off the trampoline, and then take down the trampoline in the snow.  I feel pretty accomplished. :D

After that, we all went to the Avalon church building to practice a song for Zone Conference coming up this week.  It's a super pretty rendition of "All Creatures of Our God and King".  I really love this song!  It's so great. :)  I'm really excited to sing it on Thursday!  We have six of us singing (I've been placed as a Soprano this time.), and it's sounding really good.  Like I said, I'm excited. :)

And to round out our night, we had a potluck with the 3rd ward.  People kind of just came in and out as they pleased, as it was meant to be a missionary tool for the ward.  We didn't really meet anybody new, but it was a pretty good turnout for doing this for the first time.  Brother Grigg, our Ward Mission Leader, hopes to continue this so that people can invite their friends and get them acquainted with the church.

Saturday was surprisingly busy.

We first saw the Taylor's and we were thinking that it would be a fairly short lesson, since it was just about the 10 commandments.  

But, of course, it wouldn't be that way.  This is Brother Taylor we're talking about.  The guy that asks fantastic questions.  So, what would have been a 10 minute lesson turned into an hour discussion about the difference between the Letter of the Law and the Spirit of the Law, and how both are needed in our lives, we cannot live by one or the other.  Again, incredible.  I'm so grateful for the time we get to spend with the Taylor's. We're really hoping that Brother Taylor will come to church next Sunday since it's the Primary Program and his wife is the Primary President.  And if he did, that would be an awesomely huge step. :D

We then had a lesson with David and Sister Pitt about Temples and Family History, and it went well.  Nothing too exciting to report with that lesson.

We then had dinner and a lesson with the Martin girls.  That was.... interesting.  The lesson was about Eternal marriage, and they had to ask all the hard questions, like what happens when parents get divorced.  Which we did not prepare for.  And we should have known that we would need to prepare for those ones.  But we were able to (somewhat) answer their questions.  

So, we closed out our lesson, and just in time, because we got a call from Sister Wasden and Branham right after, asking us to help out one of their investigators who needed to move her stuff into a moving truck.  So, for a last time, members of the zone gathered to help Kristie out.  And oh my goodness, it was cold outside!  Like, every time you walked outside your snot would freeze kind of cold.  It was disgusting.  But we were able to pack away a lot of her stuff and get it into the truck, so I'm glad that we were able to help her out that one last time.

And last of all, Sunday.  

So, a few Sundays ago, we were walking, and we saw a moving truck pull up to a house.  We thought we would offer our services.  They turned it down, because they had professional movers coming, but thanked us and took our number.

Well, their fantastic neighbors invited them to church to attend a baby blessing!  Her name is Jennifer, and she has a 5 year old daughter named Natalie.  She's divorced, and was looking for a good place to raise her daughter, and Boise is ranked #1 for raising kids.  Anyways, she was impressed with the meeting, and they might come back for the primary program next week.  Super exciting. :)

Anyways, that's it, I think.  I love y'all!  Keep the faith!


Sister Empey

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10, 2104 - Ice Cream!

Because the picture didn't come until after I finished emailing last week.....

Yeah.  one of the best moments of my life. :D


so, Monday night.  We had FHE with the Chestnuts again, and we talked about the Plan of Salvation.  Owen, the oldest boy, who is.... about 9 I think, was cute.  He kept going off on tangents that didn't fully relate to what we were talking about, so we had to ask him to hold off all questions until the end of the lesson.  So, we finished the lesson, and he's about ready to burst with a question.  So we opened the lesson up to questions, and he asks "What happens when there's a really mean guy that comes in and kills all of your family and all you want to do is take revenge?"

There was this part of me that wanted to laugh, and another part of me that was touched by the sincerity of his question.  So we carefully explained that the Atonement of Christ can help us with everything, including getting over wanting to take revenge to a mean guy that kills your entire family.  We then asked him to pray about it to see if what we taught him was true, and he said he would.  It'll be interesting to see what he says about his experience tonight.  :)

Thursday was awesome!

We started out with going to the Blanchards.  We serve them every Thursday, because Sister Blanchard has some health problems and needs help keeping up with her kids.  So, sometimes we help clean or organize.  Or there's weeks like this week where we do this:

(Yes, I found a Lion King shirt at Wally World last week.  It's pretty awesome. :D)

These are the really fun weeks, where we just need to distract the kids so that Sister Blanchard can get something done (They're 11, 9, 5, and 3).  This week we swept up the patio, then played with the kids.  It was pretty fun. :)

After playing.... I mean... working with the Blanchards, we went home, changed, and walked down to Kims house to have dinner with her.  She made this really yummy sauce with tomato sauce, Cream of mushroom soup, mushrooms, and shrimp.   And it was all on top of noodles.  Mmmmmm.... so good! :D  And guess what, guess what?!?!  When I walked in, I looked at her little table thing that was by the door, and on the bottom shelf of it, there was a Book of Mormon! :D  She wants us to keep coming back too, so Sister Stevens and I plan to invite her to give the church a second chance and take the lessons again.

We then had splits on Thursday night, so that Sister Stevens could go see James Klemmons while I went and saw Karisma Woods.  And oh my goodness, can I just say that I love splits?!  It means that we actually have work to do! :D  Anyways, so I went to the Woods home with Sister Moral, and we went over the first three lessons with her to see how much she understood.  She actually remembered a lot!  I was pretty impressed!  I think having the visual aids we made for her this past week helped her remember more.  Anyways, we have to push her baptismal date back, just because there is so much information in the last two lessons, but we're hoping that she'll be baptized around the end of December.

Oh!  And I forgot, when we were walking home from the Blanchards, we started talking to this guy outside who was restoring a Mustang.  His name is Blaine, and he's a retired cop.  He doesn't really believe in God-- he pointed out how in law enforcement you either don't believe in Him because of all the things you see or your belief is the only thing that can keep you rooted and same.  But he was really friendly, and said that he might come to the stakes "Meet the Mormons" program just to see.  Anyways, he was super nice and cool, and has the sweetest pit bull. :)  We're hoping to see him again soon.

After Zone Meeting on Friday, which was awesome, we went to this older less-active couple, the Hellyers, and started re-teaching them the lessons.  It was really good-- there was a nice spirit, and we got to learn about Sister Hellyer's conversion story.  But I made the mistake of singing them a song when we saw them Tuesday, so now I think I'm going to have to find a song for every lesson.  Oops.  Oh well, they're just a super sweet couple.  I wish they could come to church, but I don't think their health would permit that. :(

We also saw the Pitts on Friday, like we always do.  Well, sort of.  It moved from Wednesday to Friday.  Anyways, we taught David about Missionary work, and he's super excited!  He wants to be a missionary so bad!  He cracks me up.  He's so stinking cute.  And he was happy that he can be a missionary NOW.

We also saw the Higleys on Friday and talked about what it was like living in China.  It was really interesting to hear about school there, because most kids go to private schools and have dorms for middle school and high school.  Also, Sister Higley is an awesome baker!  She LOVES to bake, which is sort of odd because most Chinese people don't have ovens (can you imagine that?  No homemade cookies, no homemade cakes!).  But yeah, the Higleys are great. :)

Saturday was.... interesting.  So, this upcoming Wednesday, we're in charge of Mutual for the 10th ward.  So, we spent pretty much all day preparing for that.  We got the lists of all of the Young Men and Women (after much begging through the entire week), separated them all into Companions, Districts, and Zones, complete with District and Zone Leaders, and typed up mini mission calls for everyone.  And it was a miracle that we had all day to do all of this, because we needed all day to do so.  Every single one of our Saturday appointments, except for dinner, cancelled.  Every single one of them.  It was crazy.  The whole all appointments cancelling and trying to put the youth into companionships.  I can't even imagine the stress President Cannon goes through when transfers come!  It was fun, but a little stressful.  But still fun. :)

And on Sunday, we gained a new Bishopric for 10th Ward.  Which means that Brother Jepsen is no longer the 2nd counselor.  I'm kind of sad about it.  But our new bishopric will be pretty awesome. :)  The new bishop, Bishop Trautman, used to be a Ward Mission Leader (from what I've understood), and both of his counselors, Brothers Higbee and Patterson, are great men to work with.  I'm excited for this change. :)  But I'll miss Brother Jepsens comments in Ward Council Meeting.

And to round out the week, I have a great story to tell you.

So, Sisters Branham and Wasden sent us a text during church, asking if we were going to go.  And we were like "go where?"  Well, through 3 hours of phone tag, we learned that our District Leader had sent a text to them, saying that President Cannon had invited the entire district over to have ice cream at their house that night!  And we were like "Uh..... we never got that."  So the sisters freaked out, thinking that it was the Elders pranking them, so they called President Cannon.  Well, turns out that it was no joke, so we all went over to President Cannon's and had ice cream at his house.  It was pretty fun to spend the last hour of our Sunday with President and Sister Cannon, eating ice cream, with the rest of our District. :)  Apparantly, we're the first District to be invited over by President Cannon to have ice cream with them.  They were talking about how they wanted to have their missionaries over to their home more often, so we were kind of the guinea pigs for this.  Pretty awesome, yeah? :)

Anyways, I love y'all!  As you can tell, things here in Kuna are going great.  I love it here, and I'll be sad when I have to leave it behind.  :(

Hope y'all's week is going good!  Keep the Faith everyone!


Sister Empey

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2104 - Conversion Stories!

I think it's official: my favorite meal I have been fed on my mission is Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup.  What can I say?  Simple Minds, Simple Pleasures.

yeah.  So, on Monday night we ate with the Pitts.  And that's what we had for dinner.  It was AWESOME!!!!  Sometimes it's super nice to have something so nice and simple to eat for dinner. :)  We've actually have had a lot of soup this week.  It's been super nice, since the weather is changing. (talk about gross.  I really dislike snow.  And cold.  And winter.  With a very strong passion.)  Anyways, it's been nice to have a lot of soups and stews.  :)  I love soups.  That is a good thing about winter-- is all the nice, warm, soups.  Love it. :)

Anyways, on Monday, we went to the Chestnuts, a less-active family that we're going to teach the lessons to.  So we taught them Lesson 1 last week, and it went great!  The kids are all willing to read the Book of Mormon too, so I can't wait to see how that goes. :)

We had a special "Meet the Mormons" presentation on Tuesday night.  (No, not the movie.)  So, every other Tuesday, the stake puts on a little presentation for the members to invite people to, that just gives some basics about the church, and this last Tuesday was one specially designed for the Youth.  This is the first time I've seen the chapel not just full, but they opened the overflow too!  Usually, the chapel isn't even half full, and it's mostly just members of the ward there that is hosting that night.  It was so great to see the youth take charge and invite their friends and take this seriously. :)  It was great. :)  The Spirit there was great too. :)

And we've continued to teach Karisma, which means that we're on track to have her baptized in November!  We taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ this week.  We're really excited for her.  But in order to teach her everything we have to start teaching her twice a week now, or push back the baptism date.  We'll have to see. *shrug*  We'll figure it out.

We had to be in by 6 on Halloween night.  And since we wouldn't have anything to do, we asked the Zone Leaders if we could go to the store that morning and buy pumpkins.  And we told them we would carve their face into the pumpkins.  So they agreed.  And we carved their faces in the pumpkins.  But we have no pictures of said pumpkins.  So y'all will just have to be left to wonder. >:)

And we're still teaching the Taylors.  They're so awesome!!!!  We talked about obedience and following the prophet, and ended up having a really good discussion on following the promptings of the Spirit and about forgiving oneself.  He really is an amazing person with such a strong spirit about him.  (And Sister Taylor is great too.  She fills in with some great thoughts herself.)  Anyways, it was great.  As always.  And this lesson was a little cooler than usual..... he pulled out his Jedi robes and lightsabers and we got to play with them. Yeah, we became Jedi Knights for a couple of minutes.  BEST.  DAY.  EVER!!!!!  :D (we're talking in the non-spiritual sense here.)  The geek inside of me is super happy. :D  I really think this is one of the reasons that we are teaching Chris right now, is because both Sister Stevens and I can form a really good connection with him.  I just love seeing the Lords timing on things, and teaching Chris Taylor is one of those times I can see it. :)

(pictures of said event will be coming... eventually.  Courtesy of Sister Taylor.)

We also went to see Sister Meyers, a less-active, in 3rd ward on Saturday, and her completely inactive son was home!  So we got to know him a little bit too.  He was kicked out of school a couple of years ago, so he went into the construction industry, and basically knows how to put together an entire house.  He was fun to listen to.  Anyways, Sister Stevens shared a scripture from Alma, about how Alma helped out Amulek in his times of need, and I tied that to Michael (the son), and Sister Meyers, since Michael is working hard to help his mom pay her bills.  It was a really neat moment, to see Michael realize that he's being blessed because he's helping out his mom.  Just, one of those tender moments that helped me remember why I'm out here.

And then we had Stake Conference, which was amazing!

The Saturday Evening session was all about Nick and Stephanie Marsala, and their conversion story.  It was really neat to hear the whole story.  And as we sat there, I realized that I had never asked Brother Marsala about his conversion story!  It was really neat.  He talked about how when he was 10, he walked out of the Christian school that he was attending because he didn't agree with the doctrine they were teaching.  How great of an example is that?  That a 10-year old could stand up of his beliefs and opinions like that?  And Nick hasn't changed a bit.  Even though he's a fairly new convert of 3 months, he is SOLID.  And the same goes to Stephanie.  She wanted to find a religion where God seemed believable and real, because that was a struggle for her as she was growing up.  And then Brother Jepson talked about being their friend and fellowshipper.  (Seriously, I have never seen better fellowshipping in my life.  Nick and Bro. Jepsen are like, the coolest duo ever.  They're like, the closest thing we have to a Mormon Mafia.)  And then President Francis had all three of them come to the stand, and had a open discussion with the entire congregation about what it takes to bring people into the church, and the answer was the same: love, friendship, service.  It doesn't take grandiose actions to bring people to the church.  It's all simple, everyday things.  It was an incredible meeting.

Sunday morning was good too.  It was all about how faith can carry you through all of your trials.  Or at least that's what I got out of it.  Other than that, nothing really noteworthy from that session.  But it was still good.

And to round out our week, we visited James Klemmons again.  He's going to be gone next week, because he's going to Thailand to visit his father, who's in the military.  But it was nice to visit him.  He totally cracks us up!  We're going to visit him one more time before he leaves, and we committed him to read about the Stripling Warriors.  I hope he does. :)  That would be awesome. :)

Anyways, that's all for this week.  :)  I hope that y'all are doing good!  Y'all are the best!  Keep the faith! :D


Sister Empey