Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23 Weekly Update

On the fourteenth, I had a really neat experience. Sister Olsen and I were teaching a pretend investigator, played by our teacher, named Alfredo. I may have already talked about him, but we loved teaching him so much! He was so receptive and needed the gospel so much! Alfredo was an investigator from Brother Marsden's mission who struggled with addictions, which we were pretend helping him overcome, but it felt so real! We were reading I think it was Alma 42:4 about service when he had this epiphany that that is what he needed to be doing! He said he'd been struggling so long because he'd been thinking about himself, and it hit me so hard because I've been struggling with my knees so long, but by serving, I have found so much joy. Sister Olsen ran to the bathroom with me after so we could gather ourselves after such a spiritual lesson and I told her that the joy I was feeling was enough of a mission miracle for me. In the MTC we got to hear "The Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar and from Sheri Dew which were both amazing! One thing I loved learning was that the Savior rarely moves mountains in front of us but always helps us climb them. I have definitely felt that in my life! I also loved when he said that testimony is what you know; conversion is consistently acting on what you know. It's a pretty long talk but if you read it, it will blow your mind, number one, but also make you appreciate our Savior so much! The night  before we left we got blessings from our elders that were so powerful! I have always  been able to feel the spirit so strongly when being blessed by the priesthood, but after four blessings it was SO STRONG!
I learned a lot even in the airport! Going from the MTC to the Minneapolis airport was pretty wild! We walked in to loud music, drinking, texting, and all kinds of worldly things. What impressed me is that there are so many in the world looking for happiness in the wrong places! My less than two weeks in the MTC made me so happy because I was constantly feasting on the words of Christ and not being distracted by worldly things. Sister Olsen and I got to talk to a man going home to Indiana from Washington, after seeing his grandkids. He told us he grew peanuts, corn, and other vegetables here. It was fun talking to him! We weren't sure how long we'd have with him so we weren't able to share a message, but that also taught me a lot. The whole way home I wished we would have talked to him about the plan of salvation when he told us his wife had passed away a few years before. He was also a pretty serious bowler, his highest score was 278, and perfect is 300! We asked if he thought we could ever be that good, but he was skeptical, which made us smile. Coming in to the airport and meeting the mission presidency and other missionaries was so great! Seeing all the badges was super cool, and made me wonder if others who are seeking truth feel such relief when seeing our badges. Our transfer scripture is Joshua 1:9, which totally fit how I was feeling. When we were waiting to meet our trainers I was suddenly wondering what in the world I was doing, when I remembered my blessing that I would remember why I was doing what I was, and felt the spirit so strongly! I know no matter our situation, we can feel peace through the spirit. I am loving Indiana! We are in a pretty rural part with corn growing everywhere, and the humidity isn't too bad! My skin is already very soft, it's crazy! I am loving teaching and seeing the changes that people are experiencing. To end, I'd like to share the scripture 2 Corinthians 12:10, and a few of my favorite quotes.
"Didn't you plan last night?" Sister Cooley
"No, we had a pillow fight!" the Elders
"I'm gonna start calling you princess and the pea" Elder Larsen
"They want me to eat peas? What is this, prison?" Elder Smith
"This is America! We don't plan, we do!" Elder Larsen
"No, loser has to teach the law of chastity! Why would the winner get law of Chastity?" overheard when the elders were studying/playing rock paper scissors
"We've only prayed with Justin once...and we kind of had to threaten him" Elder Larsen
"You like Mexican food?" Brother Bryce
"Yep!" me
"Are you Mexican?" Brother Bryce
"Ya! Can't you tell from her dark hair and dark eyes?" Sister Bryce
"Hi, I'm sister Evans!" me
"I know, I can read!" brother in the ward

Sister Ruth and I live on the corner of Esther and Ellen, so the other day I decided to read more about Esther. I learned that she was a missionary in a way, too! She was super awesome and so courageous! I have learned a lot about being courageous this week. Sister Ruth already knows everyone so well, they know her so well, and she has so much more experience teaching that it was hard to get in a few words edgewise. I've been working on it am most often able to testify, rather than teach, but am getting better. She has been an awesome trainer. Yesterday we got to teach Jessica who is almost a month clean from smoking and she was pretty excited to see us. Her mom was also getting into the lesson, and it was so great! Their enthusiasm about the gospel was so exciting and we practically left high fiving. It felt like the MTC and was such a boost! Since then our lessons have been getting better and better. Tonight we are teaching Dennis and having another member dinner. We have so many investigators it's hard to keep them straight! It definitely keeps us busy and on our toes. Yesterday Sister Ruth was feeling very stressed so we asked the elders to give us blessings and they were amazing! Our blessings were so similar which made me realize how similar Sister Ruth and I are and how much we need each other as companions! 

​The other night we went out for dinner with an awesome member who is not afraid to say what she thinks! We got into this intense discussion about Word of Wisdom and child abuse which I was a little worried about, but when we shared an actual message with her it was amazing! She is struggling with her son who is being rebellious so we brought a talk from the Ensign about faithful parents and wayward children which she absolutely loved! Sister Ruth and I talked about how the church had changed our lives and how we had gone on missions even after hard things and she loved it. She couldn't stop telling us how cute we were and how much she loved us and how we were such good missionaries. She tried to get me dessert but when I said I didn't eat sugar she went back into the Word of Wisdom for a minute and how healthy I must be before making our waiter go back and get me a bag of chips to take home. She was awesome, it is so fun having dinners with members! They are so helpful and giving!

On Saturday we were going to help the Bryces with a garage sell, but they canceled it and took us to breakfast, instead. Sister Ruth and Sister Bryce knew each other fairly well so they were pretty chatty and I was being a little quiet when Brother Bryce suddenly started telling us all these stories from his mission when he was super outgoing and talked to everyone, telling me I needed to talk more. I tried to hop in the conversation, but he just kept talking! He started talking about placing Books of Mormon so I asked quickly if they read it as a family, which allowed us to teach them about reading as a family. They said they did for a while when things were really rough, but stopped after things got better, and even threw in the fact that they had a puppy, now. I'm not sure why that was also included, puppies are lovely but not as good as the Book of Mormon! We committed them to read and scheduled an appointment with them while their daughter is at girls camp. She is very interested in the church and we are hoping that she has a great experience and helps her family to be more motivated to work to getting back into the gospel, for the dad, and getting the rest of the family in the gospel. She also told us that there was a huge sale at Bed Bath and Beyond, and we were barely able to say that that place was great when she offered to go get us a bunch of stuff, which they dropped off at our house that night. She was such a sweet lady, we couldn't believe all the things they got for us! We saw Jocelynn, their daughter, at church yesterday, and she said her mom had loved us. This made sister Ruth super excited because she said missionaries had tried to teach her before but she didn't like them very much because they didn't explain things super well where she didn't have much of a religious background. 

 ​Temple drive by, we are so excited!

Another sunday walk to the temple!

Our last day as a district, with our teacher, sister Crossley

Going to the temple together was super awesome!

​Sister Olsen and I were pretty much trouble makers. After we found the ice machine the guy told us to just go get ice ourselves, but then there was one lady a few days later that was super upset we didn't let her know what we were doing. After we apologized we asked her to take a picture of us:) and we were also matching. We were pretty good at that.

​Sister Olsen and I got to teach a TRC named Melissa and she was so great! She had an infectious laugh and always had so many great questions! We loved her so much, and even matched on our last lesson with her.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sister Evans and her new Companion, Sister Ruth

Brother & Sister Evans,

Attached is Sister Evans and her new companion, Sister Ruth.  They have been assigned to Mishawaka 1.2.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

June 12th Update

Hey family friends and other readers!

Just a warning this is about to be a novel. Fasten your seatbelts! The first day I got here I had a sister tell me I looked really familiar which made me laugh because mom and I talked just last Wednesday about how many people had told me that in the last few weeks! I related this to her and she said "maybe the reason everybody thinks they recognized you is because you are so much like our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ so you remind them of them" which I thought was so sweet! In my district we have four sisters and three elders; my companion is Sister Olsen and I love her! She is from Magna, Utah, and a runner, too! We are pretty sure we've run several races together but can't remember where. We have been able to work well together and are accomplishing exciting things!

The second day we were here we met our first investigator, Alfredo, and got to teach him. Sister Olsen and I are so excited he is doing so well and have been able to teach him several times since. Something cool that I learned that day was that the Book of Mormon converts because it brings the spirit and testifies of Christ.

On the seventh (I can't keep track of days anymore) we had gym time, which Sister Olsen and I spent on the track with Sister Cooley and Sister Carpenter. For a minute sister Olsen ran in place-ish while I walked super fast next to her, before we decided to try olypticals. It was hard being up on the track and not able to run. When we got back to our residence (our bedroom) sister Carpenter, who had been struggling with blisters started crying, which made Sister Cooley and I cry, it was a little rough. We pulled it together and said a prayer together, but class was still a little hard. We were in the middle of a lesson and I was looking for a scripture when I came across Ether 12:26 and realized that I am weak but through faith can be made strong, like our investigator, Alfredo. I also realized that my discouragement and withdrawal from running helped me relate to Alfredo who is struggling with his drug addiction. I'm sure it sounds so silly but it was such a faith builder to remember that we need to be faithful and happy no matter what!

On Sunday we were in a meeting when Sister Olsen had her first melt down. We were reviewing dress and grooming and she was really worried that none of her clothes were appropriate so we ran back to the residency for her to change. In the meeting earlier a story was shared about grace where a little girl took one of her brother's chocolates and he told her it would be ok as long as she drew him a picture so she quickly took a yellow marker and drew a single line across the page and gave it to him as quick as possible. He tried to make the most of her efforts by asking if it was superman's streak. I've been learning a lot about how Christ makes up the difference when we are not enough. It was also sweet because I had the impression that God thinks I'm super:). When Sister Olsen and I were running (walking quickly, don't worry) to our residency, I said "You know, Sister Olsen, God thinks you're super!" and she turned to me and said "Sister Evans, God thinks you're superer!" We said another prayer and were closer by the end of the day.

On the ninth we went to the olypticals for gym time where Sister Olsen and I laughed for like 10 minutes straight! It was such a stress reliever and fun experience! That night we talked about stress management and I thought of the overpass in Farmington that has "U R Alive" spelled in cups along the fence. Last time I saw that dad and I were driving to Ogden to get me a coat and my knees were pretty sore. I remember being annoyed that my knees were still acting up when I saw it and realized how much I really have to be grateful for. I was alive, I was getting ready for a mission, and I had time in the car to talk to my dad! Since then I've focused on being more grateful for little things and it has brought me so much joy! It makes Sister Olsen laugh when I get excited about little things which also makes me more happy. 

On the tenth we got to go to a devotional with Elder Cook and I learned that feeling inadequate was totally normal and no one arrives at the MTC or mission field perfect, not even President Hinckley. Someone later said "there is no point of perfection on your mission" because you can always grow and I remembered that Chris said earlier not to worry about my skills because God was working through me and would help me be a good missionary from the beginning to the end of my mission. I loved it!

Sister Cooley, Sister Carpenter, Sister Olsen, and I have been going to gym classes in the morning and on the eleventh Sister Olsen came upstairs with me so I could do olypticals and exercises. She got to keep watching the cardio class and join in with them. We cheered each other on and it warmed my heart to have such a patient companion that would stay with me even when I knew she wanted to be working out, or even running! We got to teach two boys last night, one 16, who was getting ready for a mission, and one 11, who was getting ready for baptism. It was so fun because they were able to help each other learn, and Parker shared how the companionship of the Holy Ghost after baptism helped him through cancer treatments as a little boy, which was so powerful! 

Sister Olsen and I are continuing to learn from teaching and are having so much fun together! I love our district and the teachers we have who are so loving and encouraging! We got to go to the temple today and it was amazing being there with my sisters! A lady told us we were her heros for being missionaries:) hopefully I'll be able to figure out how to send my pictures! I've got a bunch, as promised! Love you, and have a great week! I'm leaving Tuesday morning so next you hear from me I'll be in Indiana!!