Monday, October 26, 2015

Happy Halloween :)))

     Happy Halloween this week everyone! We have to be in our apartment at 6. I wanted to dress up as a sister missionary and pass out pass along cards but I guess I'll be obedient 0:)
Happy Halloween!
     This week was so amazing. I am in love with everything about being a missionary. I LOVE running in the morning. I LOVE our apartment, it feels like home. I LOVE Sister Harper. I LOVE the Visitors' Center. I LOVE the busy roads and all the palm trees. I LOVE all the people we meet. I LOVE the VC sisters and senior couples I serve with. I LOVE bearing my testimony of the Savior. I LOVE MAIL! I LOVE being so close to the ocean. I LOVE THE BOOK OF MORMON. I LOVE praying, my knees are getting carpet burn from being on my knees praying so much. I LOVE driving with my window down, waving to everyone. I LOVE my ward. I LOVE the people who have zero fear and just walk across the busiest street of your life without even thinking or glancing either way. I LOVE listening to church music in the car (never thought I would say that, I do miss my country music). I'm sorry, but I could go on and on.
     I teach the gospel in my dreams now. So when I say I preach the gospel 24/7, I seriously do because I do it in my sleep too haha. I will seriously have dreams that we get new investigators or a baptismal date. Wow.
     They are putting up the lights for Christmas on OUR temple square. It makes me so happy. 
     I don't remember how much I have told you about Linda but she is the lady who is hospital bound-she had a stroke 7 years ago that left her with only movement in one arm. We go and write letters to her family for her as service. She has a board with the alphabet on it and she points to the letters, because she cant even speak. We always sing with her and she has this new thing where we ask her what hymn she wants us to sing and she points to random numbers on her board and its always the weirdest hymn we have never heard of. We just laugh and she just covers her eyes, which means she is laughing. She thinks its the funniest thing of her life. It is seriously the best. She has so much sunshine in her heart. 
     This week we got FOUR baptismal dates! And THREE new investigators. Two of those baptisms are this weekend. The other two are in November. I love all of them with all my heart. 
     I had two WONDERFUL surprises this week. The first surprise: I was watching a movie and Ben VanTassel (family friend from Virginia) sticks his head in the room. Ben and Betsy came to Oakland! It was SO good to see them, I just cried and cried. They are some of the sweetest people I know. LOVE. Then the other day I was in doing phones and chat and Dave Richards (my uncle) sticks his head in and again, I just stood there with tears streaming as we shook hands. He uplifted me so much, telling me how much of an influence I was having on all of my cousins. It was really something I needed to hear and that really touched my heart. I love him. Tender Mercies. 
Ben & Betsy Van Tassell came to the Visitors' Center!!! Tears!
Dave Richards...TEARS!!

     I had my very first district meeting this week! It was really good I like my district a lot! The Elders don't even look at us sisters, it cracks me up. Little babies. 
     So we had stake conference on Sunday in that gorgeous ISC building. The opening prayer was in Spanish and the Musical Number was in Tongan. All the Tongan men wear skirts. I LOVE the diversity that is here!!!! I have seriously think there is one couple in my stake that are both white. Stake Conference was all about happiness. The gospel brings happiness. This was PERFECT for our three investigators who came!! YAY
This is the ISC building, right across from the Visitors' Center 
and next door to the temple. Gorgeous!
     I dont know why I even put makeup on anymore. I am seriously crying all day, starting with morning prayer. My heart is just so full of joy and gratitude and the Spirit. Everyone knows how much of a crier I am haha I can barely get through a tour without crying at some point. I think I get it from my Momma (and my Daddie :) ) and I absolutely love it. 
     I have learned so much from studying the scriptures that it is hard to even comprehend. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all of the revelation and things I want to apply to my life! I just want to be the best missionary I can be and work as hard as I can and be the BEST that I can. But I am learning that I just need to take it step by step. We become like the Savior step by step, one decision at a time, not all at once. Every time I do, I know I am becoming more like Him and getting to know Him. I just wish I could tell you all EVERYTHING I am learning and share all of the amazing scriptures I am reading. Come be my companions :) 
     I want to share one thing I learned this week- probably one of the most beautiful things I have ever learned. It really really touched my heart, as a missionary and as a daughter of God. The Spirit testified to me as I read it and I hope you can feel the Spirit and the DEPTH of this scripture as I share it with you. 
  "And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ." Mosiah 5:9
 "I say unto you, I would that ye should remember to retain the name written always in your hearts, that ye are not found on the left hand of God, but that ye hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called, and also, the name by which he shall call you." Mosiah 5:12
      We covenant to take upon us the name of Christ at baptism, then we renew that covenant each week as we partake of the sacrament. We covenant to live our lives REPRESENTING Him, following in His footsteps, becoming like Him, learning of Him. We are commanded to be perfect (3 Nephi 12:48) and to be a man even as Christ is (3 Nephi 27:27). The reason any of this is even possible is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. If we strive to take upon us the name of Christ, we will one day become perfect like He is and we will answer to the name "Christ" because we aligned our lives with His!! We became like Him, until we literally took His name upon us and shall be called, "Christ." We shall be one with Him. Our actions, His actions. Our words, His words. Our thoughts, His thoughts. This is extremely beautiful to ME because I am on a mission, where I wear His name on my chest EVERY DAY. I am called to represent the Lord. He has chosen me to represent Him- to stand in His place, to say and do what He Himself would say and do if He personally were ministering to the very people to whom He has sent me. How great is my calling!!!
     I hope you feel the depth of this promise, that as we strive to live like Him, we will recognize the VOICE by which we shall be called and the NAME by which we shall be called. How will we recognize His voice if we have never heard it??
     I LOVE YOU with all my heart. I am so grateful for this opportunity. Every prayer I say goes like this: "Dear Heavenly Father, I am so grateful for this opportunity I have to be a missionary.." I am so happy. I know I say that every single week haha but I AM!!!! The gospel is what makes us HAPPY! I hope you all have a great week and a HAPPY HALLOWEEN. I couldn't do this without you. I love you.
Sister Brinton
Sister Harper had to borrow Sister Housely's name tag because she forgot hers! 
Literally the cutest puppies in the world. I am holding "Sweetheart."
Sister Obando
Baskin Robins - duh!
THE MARINA - our view at dinner..
So gorgeous! Can't you just smell the ocean when you look at this picture?
This is like 5 minutes from our apartment.

Pday at the Oakland Zoo

Road in Oakland

Monday, October 19, 2015


     Hi everybody!! I can't believe I've been out a MONTH!! It has gone by so fast, but after I think about everything that has happened, it seems like forever haha. WOW I didn't know it was possible to learn and grow so much in so little time.
     I love Fall. We decorated our apartment with lights and candles and pumpkins :) It feels a lot more homey now and I LOVE IT. It's also cooling down. It's perfect weather in the day and perfect at night with a chilly breeze.  
We bought a cinnamon pumpkin muffin candle and pumpkins and squashes to decorate.
THANKYOU for the halloween socks and lights mom!!

   A few random things-Investigator's prayers are seriously my favorite. They are so sincere and say the cutest things, you can tell that it is straight from their heart! One of our eternigators (an investigator who has been investigating for an eternity) said in her prayer this week, "Thank you for helping us rise with the sun." I just love that. -We went to visit a less active family last week and they have a dog. I was admiring it and asked what his name was. The lady was like "Dog." I was like, "yeah the dog, what's his name?" She was like, "Dog..." THE DOG'S NAME was literally Dog. I was crying. -Every person in my ward has tattoos, fake teeth, piercings, and colored hair. I'm kidding haha but our ward is EXTREMELY diverse and is full of converts!!! It's a whole new world here. I love every second of it. I love the ward. Everyone hugs hugs hugs
     There are miracles happening here in San Leandro! MIRACLES. We had an awesome zone training about our focus! President Frandsen changed the mission focus this month from OYM (Open Your Mouth) to RFR (Request For Referrals). So instead of just talking to everybody, we talk to everybody and ask for referrals. About an hour after the training, we got to the VC and had a series of miracles happen as we asked people for referrals. This one man came in, a member, and we talked, showed him around or whatever, then he left. The Spirit told me to ASK HIM FOR A REFERRAL. And I didn't. I was kicking myself over and over after he left. All of the sudden, he came back in and with tears in his eyes told us that he sat down in his truck and the Spirit told him to come back in and ask us if we needed anything. With tears in my eyes I said, "We need a referral." He weeped and thanks us for asking as he had someone in OUR AREA who really needed the gospel and he was wondering how to help them. That is just one example of the many miracles that occurred that day because 1. President Frandsen was inspired 2. Heavenly Father's timing 3. our obedience 4. our faith 5. (and most important) THE SPIRIT. I was overcome and humbled as we followed the counsel of our Mission President and the Savior. We exercised faith and the Lord allowed us to become His instrument to work MIRACLES.  
     We have an awesome GOLDEN investigator named Roslyn (the eternigator.) She has been taking the discussions for about 2 years now. The missionaries have extended the invitation to baptism tons of times and she had always said no. She has a hard time accepting that we have prophets today. We prayed so hard for her as we prepared to teach her about PROPHETS. I was guided by the Spirit as we taught and I bore my testimony of prophets. It was going really well, she was accepting it (YAY). Then all of the sudden my heart started to beat out of my chest and the Spirit told me to ask her to be baptized!!! This was definitely not in the plans. I looked over at Sister Harper then looked right at Roslyn. I could not control it, I asked her with tears in my eyes if she would be baptized. She readily agreed. OH MY HEART. I knew I would experience joy on my mission but I had no idea it would be anything like the joy I felt right then. I was OVERCOME. I didnt even know what to say next I was so happy. She has a baptismal date for next month. So does our investigator named Sarada from Sri Lanka and our investigator from Norway named Ann-Helen. November is going to be amazing.    
     I came across this scripture in my studying and fell in love with it. I would love to share it with you and how much I have learned from it. "And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about GREAT things." 1 Nephi 16:29   I am the small means. I am weak, inadequate, prideful, lazy, stubborn, and HUMAN. I am these small and simple means. BUT THROUGH ME, a 19 year old, the LORD can bring about great things. The Lord can work miracles through me. Whom the Lord calls, he qualifies. I am seeing miracles happen daily because of this beautiful concept. All things are possible through the Lord, through the Atonement. He gives me strength beyond my own. He teaches me love and patience and kindness and charity and compassion for these people who have no family, no food, no homes, nothing. How can I love a stranger? Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.   
     Another thing I learned this week that my Hero (my Daddie) taught me, is to not fear. I am so grateful that he, along with the Savior, taught me through example not to fear. What if I would have been too scared to ask Roslyn to be baptized?? What if I would have been discouraged because of all the failures in the past?? "Having conceived of her purpose a missionary should mark out a STRAIGHT pathway to it's achievement, looking neither to the right, nor the left. Doubts and fears should be rigorously excluded: they are disintegrating elements which break up the straight line of effort, rendering it crooked, ineffectual, useless. Thoughts of doubt and fear never accomplish anything, and never can. They ALWAYS lead to failure. Purpose, energy, power to do, and all strong thoughts CEASE when doubt and fear creep in. The will to do springs from the knowledge that we CAN do. Doubt and fear are the great enemies of knowledge, and she who encourages them, who does not SLAY them, thwarts herself at every step. She who has conquered doubt and fear has conquered failure!! Her every thought is allied with power, and all difficulties are bravely met and wisely overcome." This quote has changed my mission. I am so grateful for my Daddie and the example that he is to me. It is not me working these miracles, it is the LORD! 
     I am so happy. I love being a missionary and I thank my Father in Heaven every single day for the PRIVILEGE and HONOR I have of being His missionary and THANK him for being my companion. I love Him. Choose to be happy.Thank Him for letting us rise with the sun.I LOVE you all more and more every day. every day. Thank you for your love and prayers.
Sister Brinton
Matching watches with Sister Nistler :)
Me teaching chickens on Peach Street about the Book of Mormon.
This cutest kid Mikellle was acting like a dog and biting me, surprisingly hard, during our lesson
The SWEETEST boy Midu. He is from Sri Lanka and we teach him English. He is the cutest thing.
We made crockpot chicken with corn and beans. It was DELICIOUS.
This is Linda. She had a stroke and can't speak so she uses a board and points with the one hand she could move. She is the happiest person I know.
Sister Harper braided my hair into an "elsa braid"

Sister Obando also braided my hair....the VC is turning into a beauty salon
I got my VERY OWN Oakland Visitor's Center Book of Mormon with my NAME on it :))) I'm in love
A member Sister Filiau gave me these BARBIE pajama pants lol

Monday, October 12, 2015


   I cant believe I am really here. I AM FINALLY HERE! AAH I just wish I could write every single thought and feeling, it has been so unreal. I love everything about it
   I had some awesome classes one on one with my VC teachers and learned SO much. I loved it! I had to be at the travel office at 4 am on Wednesday, traveling went well! I GOT TO CALL HOME IN THE AIRPORT! Oh my gosh I was sobbing haha I got to talk to my sweetest angel Momma, my BEST FRIEND Daddie, and my two favorite sisters in the world. It was so happy. We got to talk for about an hour (I think, I really dont know it went by so fast) and I seriously just cried and cried I was so happy. Made me pretty homesick!! 
Calling home in the airport on Wednesday was SO BITTERSWEET AHHH
   I got to California safe and sound! My Mission President, President Frandsen was there to greet us with his wife. I walked right up to him (he is so tall), introduced myself, looked right into his eyes and said, "Hi President. Put me to work! I am ready and I am going to be obedient, you dont have to worry about me." He kind of giggled and smiled and said something like you got it! He is wonderful and his wife is SOOO cool. She is so down to earth and jokes about stuff, so awesome. I love them already!!!! 

Me and my AMAZING Mission President and his wife in the mission home. The Frandsen's. I LOVE THEM
My trainer/mom/companion Sister Harper
   We did a bunch of paper work stuff and whatever. Then we got to go the temple. Oh. my. I'm sorry but there are no words. It is literally the most beautiful grouds/building/view I have ever seen in my life. I was speechless. It is STUNNING!!!! Seriously unreal. 
The Oakland temple is literally BREATH TAKING
All the new missionaries!!
Selfie with my new favorite temple!

   We took pictures then got assigned our companions! I was the only sister left so everyone was like hhmm I wonder who your companion will be haha. Her name is Sister Harper from Highland Utah. She is the oldest of 8. She has MERMAID eyes, they are like bright blue/sea foam green. She just finished training herself--so awesome. When my Mission President was giving me a quick interview before I met her, he teared up as he talked about her. He just said how amazing she was. AND SHE IS! She is wonderful. We get along so well and have a hard time finding things that we dont have in common. So we are 1/2 Visitors' Center, 1/2 proselyting. Our VC shifts are 9-3 or 3-9 just depending on the schedule that week. We are in San Leandro when we arent at the VC and thats where we live. It is pretty poor! One thing that has been soo cool about the 1/2 day thing is the difference in the Spirit!! We still have the Spirit as we teach and proselyte and study, but there is something about being on temple grounds and in the VC that is so incredibly peaceful and the Spirit is so strong there. You can see it on people's faces as they walk in. Its almost tangible. 

   We had chili and apple pie for dinner that night, so perfect for a good homey meal and it felt like Fall! LOVE. 
   So the VC is awesome! We give tours and walk the grounds and answer questions and play movies and answers calls/online chats. We have a lot of free time to study and read the scriptures! I just started the Book of Mormon over, so that's wonderful I LOVE IT. The view from the VC...... One side is the temple then the other overlooks THE ENTIRE bay and over to San Francisco. Seriously unreal. I just stare and stare and stare. It doesnt even look real. We get all kinds of people in the VC. This one lady from mexico, could barely speak Engish came up to me after a movie and was like "God is calling me. I can feel it. This feels right. God is calling me." I got to bear my testimony, "Yes. Yes He is and He loves you." She said, "I know I can see it in your eyes." AAAHHHH I know that seems so simple, but its so awesome to see these people wanting to change. And that I get to be His instrument is an HONOR. 
   One thing that we play, which many of you have probably seen, is the movie/interactive tour called God's Plan For His Family. We watched it as a family in the Salt Lake VC the weekend before my fare well as a family and SOBBED our eyes out. It was so hard for me to watch and bear my testimony about families and talk about my family because I would just cry and cry and cry (I'm crying right now haha) because I was homesick and I missed them!! But I turned it around. I started letting this love for my family to motivate me to share the gospel and share the message that WE CAN BE WITH OUR FAMILIES FOREVER to these poor sad broken families. My family is safe and happy. They will be there when I return home. Some of these people dont even know there is a God. So I am okay now haha but wow. I am so lucky. I love all of you so much. 
   We run to the sunrise in the morning. It's killer. The weather COULD NOT BE BETTER. It is perfect. Palm trees EVERYWHERE. Millions of different color/shapes/size of houses. I love it. I love love love it. So as we started planning to teach people that Sister Harper has already been teaching, she kind of updated me about their background/progress. It was SO beautiful to watch how I would learn a little bit about them, then just PRAY my heart out and study study study, then to see the revelation I would receive for them, specific to them, someone I had never met. That is NOT me. That is the Spirit working through me. I dont know these people but GOD DOES. And he loves them. We have had some awesome lessons with people from ALL OVER THE WORLD. Seriously right now we are teaching 7/8 people from SRI LANKA, CHINA, VIETNAM, MEXICO, PERU, NORWAY, and FRANCE. And its not like their parents are from there or something. They are literally from there, accents, culture, and all. It is the coolest, most beautiful thing. One other thing I love to see is how much I can love a stranger. I walk out of a lesson and I am just like I LOVE HIM or her haha its so beautiful!! We have two baptisms planned and we had three investigators come to church!! Sister Harper said that is the most they have ever had. I was so happy. It was so nice to be at church and everyone was so kind and welcoming. It is the most diverse ward I have ever seen haha. Name a race or age and we had it. One thing I LOVE is, The Bishop gets up there and goes "Good Morning Brothers and Sisters!" and no one answered. So he goes, "GOOD MORNING BROTHERS AND SISTERS." And everyone was like "Good morning!!" hahaha then every single person that stood up to bear their testimony did that. Everyone says good morning back, the whole congregation haha I was cracking up. 
   This week I will hit my one month mark, on October 16! CRAZY!
   I am so happy. I love it here. It is so beautiful. I love how much we pray: we pray when we wake up, over our food, before we leave the house, before we leave the car, before we study, during study, after study.. you get the picture haha. 
   One morning I was way sad and homesick and lonely, because I was thinking about myself. I said a prayer to Heavenly Father and I was just like please comfort me. The lyrics automatically came to my head: "I know He lives. I will follow faithfully. My heart I give to Him, I know that my Savior loves me." I was overcome. 
   I know He lives. I know He answers our prayers. He loves us. Everything is possible through Jesus Christ. TURN TO HIM, he is there listening, just DYING for you to talk to Him. He knows how you feel. He knows how to comfort you. I have already seen these people's lives change because of the gospel. I love being a representative of the Savior and I often catch myself thinking, what would the Savior do, what would the Savior say. I love Him. 
   I LOVE ALL OF YOU to the moon & back and MISS YOU!! I can feel your prayers. Thank you. One of my best friends, Sister Higgins, serving in the North Adriatic Mission, said Wake up and realize how many people are praying for you. You guys keep me going! I am happy happy and its when I think of other and serve that I feel the most JOY. 
Love. Love. Love.
Sister Brinton
THE BEST MTC visitors' center teacher, Sister Peterson
Sister Donakey - MY other AMAZING VC teacher
The best devotional with Sister Burton
Sister Lewis - I seriously love all of my VC teachers

Thanks Dave and Camille for the Halloween socks! I love them!
The most beautiful dog/timberwolf named Phoenix who didnt bark but literally howled like a wolf.
In love. My companion had to drag me away from it. I was covered in dog/wolf hair.

Our desks!
My wall...i love.
Sister Harper
Our HUMBLE abode
pray for us
Sunset from the Visitors' Center

Blue hot chocolate...dont ask.