Thursday, March 19, 2015

Week 56

CRAZIEST WEEK OF MY LIFE!!! Okay, so I got transferred last week to Berwick, Pennsylvania which is a cute little town. I was put into a trio with Sister Wilde (who my trainer was companions with) and Sister Moss (who I served around in State College). I was SO EXCITED when I found out but also totally shocked! I had been there for a total of 4 days, and then President called me and said, "Hey, this Sister in State College is without a companion because her trainees received their visas, so you're going back to State College." WHAT!??? I leave tonight. I'm going to surprise everyone at FHE. It will be such an adventure to be back there again, but also a bit of a challenge. "Nevertheless glory be to the Father..." I will go and do the things He needs me to! Honestly, that's about all I can report right now! My mind is goin crazaayyyy at the moment. Hey, I have to go, but I will send you some pictures! Love you!


Sister Sparks

giving Sis Burnette boots in pitt. she wanted yellow boots!


last day with Sister Cottam! I love her!!

 Sister Sibley :) Who I thought I was going with

 me and the Killens. cutest people ever!!

 Sister Watton and I

 showing our feet :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Week 55

HELLO EVERYONE! Okay, so big news....I'm getting transferred! I've been here for 4 and a half months, so I totally could have stayed for longer. I'm surprised I'm leaving, but I'm pretty excited for a new adventure! I've actually LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED this area SO much. The members here are few, but they are SO AWESOME. They are so closely knit, so they made me feel like family. Yeah...I'm super sad to leave. Alas, we will do the Lord's will, yeah? I'm super excited :)

Okay, so this week we lost our phone TWICE! I went on exchanges with a Sister who just came out on her mission, and it was seriously a BLAST. We're super similar, so we just cracked up laughing the whole time hahahhaah. I almost fell into a sewage pipe because of the snow hahaha it was scary. She dropped the phone in the snow, and we drove around forever looking for it! We eventually found it, but it was crazay. 

We had a Relief Society activity on Thursday for the Relief Society birthday, and it was SO fun! We played minute to win it games, and I lost every single one. Afterward I made everyone put table clothes around their faces like a lil' pilgrim or something. They thought it was strange, but I know they liked it. 

We had MLC on Friday, and it was super good! We learned a lot about using the Lord's time wisely, and it really opened my eyes (I'm sure not just my eyes) on how I can better be using this sacred time. I'm so grateful to be out here doing His work! Okay, so I forgot if I told you this story about the Nepali man in the store? Well, we had our first lesson with him before we left for MLC. Wow, the Spirit was there. We had to talk very slowly and simply, but when we talked to him about Christ and prayer, we all just felt so good. He showed us his Nepali Bible and how he marked some scriptures he really liked about Christ. He liked John 14:26-27. Man, he is seriously such a sweet person who is sincerely seeking truth. I'm so sad I won't be able to see his progression, but I'm excited he gets to be taught by some awesome Sisters missionaries! 

On Saturday, we had a lesson with this AMAZING woman. We went over with her visiting teacher, so she shared the Visiting Teaching message found in the monthly Ensign. The message this month was about patience. We invited this woman to pray for the Heavenly attribute of patience. In the closing prayer, I asked Heavenly Father for an opportunity to learn patience (PMG says patience is basically the ability to endure delay/trial/pain/etc. without becoming worried, anxious, and whatever else we usually feel in difficult situations). SO later on that day, we helped a less active member clean her house. On the way home, I realized I didn't have the phone in my pocket. We SEARCHED everywhere, but we couldn't find it! We went back and searched the lady's house and the parking lot. The Elders even went dumpster diving to look in the bags we threw away hahahah. Of course we had prayed and asked Heavenly Father for help. We decided to just head home and look for it the next day. In the car, Sister Cottam said, "Want to know something hilarious? We just prayed and asked for an opportunity to learn patience, and now we're freaking out about losing the phone." As soon as we realized this, we just decided to not worry anymore and be calm and trust that God would help us. As soon as we took this attitude, the Spirit whispered to me, "Look in your purse." HAHAHAHAH YES IT WAS IN MY PURSE THE WHOLE TIME. Wow, I learned an important lesson! 

Sunday was seriously one of the best days ever! It was so sad to say goodbye to everyone, but I was just so filled with joy to be surrounded with people I just love so much. It amazes me every time I'm transferred because you think you can't possibly love a new area and new people as much as your old areas, but it happens every time! I just love these people so much! I'll send some pictures! I've been packing like a maniac! I have sooo much stuff to fit in two bags...I hope they don't rip at the seams for real. Wish me luck! Love you all!!!!


Sister Sparks


 They have a School of Rock!!! I'm definitely living here now!!

 hahaha my dumb little leg!!!

last picture with district :( I'm going to miss them so much!!

that's Sarah!!!! She's famous!!! I freaked out when I saw that!

Week 54

Hello there! Sorry I've been slacking at writing! I don't even know what to say anymore! haha, buuutttt I will think harder, OKAY!?? 

Okay, so....this week was great! We went on exchanges with some Sisters, and the Sister I was with is finishing her mission this week. She is an AMAZING Sister. The Spirit was overwhelmingly present when she was with me. I learned a lot from her. Missionary work isn't just a chore or a job or a duty, but it's a privilege. This Sister taught me to make it a part of ME. I can't really express it in words, but it was a great 24 hours. 

We had a woman from our ward come out with us to a lesson, and when we knocked on the door, the lady very strongly expressed that we could not come in, sooooo we just left and figured out where the Lord needed us! :) We drove to try an investigator we haven't been able to get a hold of in a while. We knocked a few times with no answer. His neighbor opened her door, and she told us where he is and what not. We appreciated the information, but we also talked with her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how it can strengthen families. We're going to go to her house this week  :) It felt good to find the person the Lord needed us to! 

Another highlight happened Wednesday. I don't know what it is, but we always end up teaching foreigners! No complaints here though! They're so humble and so open! We're teaching a man from Nepal who doesn't speak English very well. In our past zone training we learned about teaching the Savior's way. In PMG chapter 10 there are teaching skills we must drive to develop! Our zone leaders committed us to practice a teaching skill every single day of our mission in companionship study. The morning we taught this Nepali man, we practiced "Teaching for Understanding." The Spirit was there as we practiced, and it proved to be successful! In the lesson, we taught him simply about prophets. After we discussed it, he said, "A prophet is like a translator for God." YES!!! Can you imagine our smiles? We also taught him about baptism, and he said he wanted to be baptized! We talked about making a goal to work toward, and he agreed to work toward being baptized on May 9th!! We're so excited!!!! 

We started a Book of Mormon class in our ward every Wednesday night. We were out and about Wednesday, and I was going through our phone contacts. I came across the name of an investigator who sort of dropped off the face of the earth since November. I just felt that we should call him, so I did. I was SO SURPRISED when HE ANSWERED!!!! He came to the Book of Mormon class AND we met with him on Sunday. Yeah...inspired of God. 
Remember the man I talked about up a few paragraphs? We talked to his neighbor instead of him? 
Well, we also felt inspired to call him (he hasn't answered his phone in almost 2 months). I almost dropped the phone when I heard his voice on the other line! My voice went super high pitched and loud as I yelled, "ERIC!? How are you!???" I think it startled him hahaha. Anyway, we're hopefully getting a call from him this week to set up a time to meet! 

We went on another exchange this week! It was also very good! We saw many miracles happen :) One of my favorite things was working at a Fish Fry! There are a lot of members of the Catholic Church over here, and (I think during Lent?) they eat fish on Fridays. We volunteered at a few churches to make and serve fish and other foods. It was SUPER fun! Everyone tried to get me to eat fish, but I couldn't haha. Seafood is where I draw the line! 

Saturday night during planning, I felt like we should plan some backups for church, but I just ignored it thinking it wouldn't be cancelled. During our studies the next morning, Bishop texted and said all meetings where cancelled due to snow! I love Pennsylvania, but they freak out over snow haha....I miss good ol' stubborn Idaho where neither church nor school is cancelled for ANYTHING. 
We went with the Elders in our ward to bring the Sacrament to a lady in a care center. We were also able to partake of it. It was much needed! I'm so grateful for the restoration of the Priesthood! By taking the properly blessed bread and water, we can receive a remission of our sins. We renew our baptismal covenants and are purified by the Holy Ghost. Something I read this week really stuck with me. I studied about retaining a remission of our sins. SERVICE is a huge part of retaining remission. I found this poem that I really liked:

"I knelt to pray when day was done
And prayed, 'O, Lord, bless everyone.
Lift from each saddened heart the pain
And let the sick be well again.'
And then I work another day
And carelessly went on my way.
The whole day long, I did not try to wipe a tear from any eye; 
I did not try to share the load
Of any brother on the road.
I did not even go to see
The sick man just next door to me. 
Yet once again when day was done, 
I prayed, 'O, Lord, bless everyone.'
But ask I prayed, into my ear
There came a voice that whispered clear.
'Pause now, my son, before you pray. 
Whom have you tried to bless today?
God's sweetest blessings always go
By hands that serve Him here below.'
And then I hid my face and cried,
'Forgive me, God, I have no tried; 
But let me live another day
And I will live the way I pray.'"

Awesome huh!? Okay, I have to go, but I want to encourage all of you (I will do this too) to pray for service opportunities! Look for ways you can bless God's children, and you will receive the Spirit in your heart! I promise you will have a greater desire to follow the commandments of God, and if our hearts are right, we can retain a remission of our sins. Have a good week!!!

Sister Sparks

p.s. I've been on my mission nine transfers (nine sets of 6 weeks). The missionaries in my district brought cupcakes to District Meeting for my birthday....they challenged me to eat 9 cupcakes. Well, at first it was 21, but I could only do nine, so they took pity on me. I felt soooo sick afterward. It was so hard to walk hahaha

watermelon in winter


 would ya look at that

 cannot believe I just did that

Week 53 Birthday celebration!


 gifts from comp 

 our downstairs neighbor left this on our door step! So cute!

 spoon face


 Sister cottam is so sweet!!

birthday pic!!

my bday cake!!

 cute little mavis girl :)

 I made smoothies on my birthday :)

 olga :) she thinks we're her grandkids haha

 leisa giving me birthday gifts :)