Monday, July 29, 2013

The Plan of Happiness


I am in Cottonwood Heights.  I live with the Bagley family, and they are super nice.  You can send mail to their house (ask my mom for the address). I am in the Butler Stake working with the 1st, the 8th and the 12th wards.  I am in all English speaking wards and teach all in English. I am still with Sister Guerra, so I can speak a little Spanish with her.  We have no investigators right now, and will probably mostly be working with less actives.  There are so many here.  We saw the movie Ephraim's Rescue with the mission on Wednesday; it was super good.  When the guy dances at the end I cried.  I am glad his feet were saved. 

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! Speaking of anniversaries, after the parade on Wednesday we went to Nordstrom, and it is the Anniversary Sale.  There were the cutest boots ever there.  My two favorite pairs of shoes were the tall boots (brown) with the laces at the foot like a regular shoe but then were tall and the light blue patent leather oxford Cole Haans which are to die for!  But you would all be so proud, I didn't buy anything! I don't have any money or really need anything, haha, but it was fun just to be in Nordstorm for a while. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were a blur.  Sunday was church all day.  And now it is today.  

Today I'm kind of having a meltdown.  Sometimes you just hold it together for so long that it just all comes out at once.  It's just hard to understand sometimes. I almost forgot, happy birthday tomorrow, Dad!  A few missionaries went to Argentina today.  That is hard; hope is hard.  Sorry to be down on your birthday. On the bright side, the people in Cottonwood are great.  I am excited to work with them.  But no one knows how to do missionary work like the Spanish wards.  I will miss them.  

I am trying to keep an eternal perspective.  When it comes to missionary work, perspective is everything.  It helps give everything focus even when it doesn't seem like talking to the drunk man is worth it.  Knocking on door after door is discouraging.  Every time I teach a new person about the restored gospel and its ability to bless families I think of the same memory.

I was 9 years-old and wanted nothing more in the world than a little sister.  One night for family home evening, I walked out to the backyard with my brothers to a GIANT chalk drawing of the plan of salvation.  My parents began teaching about the plan of happiness with the premortal spirit world.  We all stood in the giant circle that represented the preexistence, and they talked a little about how we had lived there as the spirit children of God before we came to earth and how we had chosen to come to earth to gain a body, to learn and gain experience, and to choose for ourselves to follow the Father and how because we would make mistakes a Savior would come who would show us the way and make it possible to repent from our mistakes.  After talking about the premortal spirit world my dad jumped into the circle labeled "earth," or mortality.  My Mom shortly followed him.  They talked about their lives on earth and their preparation to be sealed in the temple.

Then it was time for them to have their own family.  They prayed and waited 9 months and Camron left us with a dramatic jump and moved to earth to join Mom and Dad.  It went the same for me, and then Marc and Nic jumped together to earth.  My Mom then said that she was going to have another baby.  I was so happy.  I knew it was my sister.  The one I had prayed for my whole life!

That wasn't the best part, though.  We continued going through the rest of the Plan of Happiness with further explanation about each part.  At the end we got to judgment.  Mom and Dad went first.  They talked a little about each kingdom and told us their goal to go to the celestial kingdom and both of them went and stood in the sun.  Then, on at a time they asked us where we wanted to go, and one by one we walked to join them in the sun.  In the end we were all there standing in the chalk sun on our back patio.  We made a goal as a family to be there together.  I still can remember that spirit.  I knew that I could not be happy in any other place.  Nothing can beat he feeling of standing all together in our representation of the Celestial Kingdom.  

That experience and feeling is what I think of with every investigator or less active member.  I picture them and their family standing in a chalk sun, and I remember that feeling and want it so bad for them!  It helps every part of missionary work seem worth it.  

Knowledge of the Plan of Salvation or Happiness gives meaning and purpose to all of life.  It answers the important "whys" and "hows".  And it helps me to understand how salvation can come only in and through the name of Christ.

So Dad, that story was for you. Thanks for everything you have taught me.  Hope you have a great anniversary and birthday!

Hermana Chloe

ps.  I am worried I am never going to learn Spanish:( 
pss.  I can't believe Whitney had a baby, and I didn't even know she was pregnant.  Family you are all in TROUBLE!  I need to know these things!!!!!  She is beautiful, but finding out like this kind of hit me like a truck.  What is her name?

I cried saying goodbye to Edgar, Laura and Camilla. 
 I was sad to be leaving Hermana Nielsen again and Elder Ricks, who also served in our ward :(

Monday, July 22, 2013

Transferred Again


SO since this is a new mission we have transfers this week, and on Tuesday instead of Wednesday.  Meaning we got our information this morning.  And....I am being transferred.  I have no idea where, but I just know that I need to pack and get ready to leave.  I am super sad.  We have been working so hard in this area.  This Saturday we have two baptisms and a wedding :(  I'll tell you more about my peeps in this area later, but for now I am going to complain.  I don't want to leave here! I was only here for 5 weeks.

In other news I would like to bring up something I figured out yesterday.  Did you all know that they guy from the Other Side of Heaven is Augie from Covert Affairs?  So in that movie we have Augie and Anne Hathaway.  Best couple ever.  Too bad we can't watch it, but it was playing on BYU TV yesterday when we went over to dinner.  And since we are talking about the Covert Affairs and the CIA, I am pretty sure that our Stake President is in the CIA.  He is super legit: from Turkey, speaks about 7 languages, and goes missing for months at a time with no cell access and says that it was because he was doing paperwork for the Department of Justice.  Lies.  He can't tell us what he does, so our hypothesis is that he is so legit, he can't tell us.  And he is super young.  So cool!  He works so well with the missionaries.  Really makes missionary work a priority.  I heard him tell the story of his conversion in a ward conference once.  He said that he joined the church because of the tissue box.  His first Sunday was a stake conference.  At the time he didn't speak any English.  He said that the whole conference he didn't understand a word they said, but every speaker used the tissue box at one point because they were crying from the spirit.  He said this affected him so much, because in all the churches he had ever been to the speakers all had water at the pulpit for if their throat got dry.  But at the Mormon church instead of water everyone needed a tissue.  That is what motivated him to learn more! And now he’s like a 30 year old Stake President.

As for the area.  We went to the marriage office on Wednesday to get Laura and Edgar’s marriage license.  They are getting married this Saturday.  Then she is going to get baptized.  He has work on Sunday so won't be able to get baptized for a little, but he really wants to too.  They have a little girl named Camilla, and she is the cutest thing ever! And a little boy on the way in September.  They are going to be the most legit couple!  We also have a ten year old boy that should be getting baptized this Saturday and a lady named Della.

We have a senior couple in our mission where all he does is work with every mission in the whole valley to get people married.  We call him Elder Guapo.  When we realized that Laura and Edgar needed to be married, we invited Guapo to an appointment, he read the Proclamation to the Family with them, filled out the application, and then went to the marriage office with them the next day.  He is such an awesome resource.  Since he started doing this 13 years ago, he has helped over 900 couples get married or something.  

Yesterday was awesome! We had 6 people at church!!!!  It was such a milagro.  The Elders who work in our ward also had people there so there was 10 investigators in one ward. Sooo awesome!! And we had an amazing dinner.  Except these people feed me so much here, I am getting fat.  Okay not actually fat, but 30 min of exercise every morning is not enough to fight off what I have to eat everyday.  Esta bien.

I am going to leave you all a commitment.  This Sunday I want everyone to really respect the Sabbath.  I was thinking about this for you all this week.  Every time we teach about this commandment, we promise people blessings.  Like if someone will take off work to come to church, they will be blessed.  I feel bad not telling you the same thing.  So Marc and Nic that may mean no video games, but it is worth it.  You will all be blessed more than you can imagine! 

This week I had an interesting experience.  I started crying because I missed you all so much.  Sister Guerra and I went to teach a lesson to a lady whose children were watching a movie in a connecting room.  Guess what they were watching. Air Bud, the first one!  I didn't watch, but just hearing it was enough for me to know the whole thing.  We got there at the point where the kid makes the game winning shot.  The music was so happy and triumphant that I started getting teary eyed.  Then while we were teaching the movie ended.  At the end when Buddy has to choose between the kid and the clown, and then goes up and tears the news paper the clown is holding and then runs back to his friend.  As I listened to that, I had tears.  I'm not sure who I was missing.  Our cute dogs, or watching that movie with my brothers at the cabin, but I was sad.  Then I sucked it up and got to work, but I thought I would let you all know about that moment.

That is really all for the week.  I have been reading in Mosiah this week, and studying Hope in the Christlike Attributes chapter of Preach My Gospel.  It has been great.  On Friday someone paid for our district’s lunch at Chipolte! I have to pack up all of my stuff today.  And about that, can Camron come pick up some of my stuff at the office tomorrow after transfers?  Because I will probably be leaving some stuff there.  

Hermana Chloe

ps.  I never thought I would say this but it is weird to hear/say my first name.  I am officially a missionary.
pss.  If I never go to Argentina, next year when Marc and Nic go through the temple they can go to Salt Lake, and I can be there! 
psss.  I hope that I go to the visitor’s center tomorrow.
pssss.  Don't worry if you all sent letters, the address on the blog is to the mission office so I will still get them in my new area.
psssss. I don't think I am going to be in a quad anymore!!!!!! Praise His name! 

Last thing.  This is actually not p-day again today, because we have the 24th as our p-day.  We are going street contacting at the parade in Salt Lake and then watching a movie as a mission at night.  So if anyone is around the parade, you might see me! 
With Laura and Edgar at the marriage office :)

 Laura and Edgar's daughter Camilla.

Monday, July 15, 2013

What Up Friends?

Hi all,

I had a good week.  Everything is great! Tuesday I went on exchanges, and it was fun!  I'm loving and hating the heat at the same time.  Sometimes I just close my eyes in the 100+ degree weather and let the sun rays go into my skin.  I always feel at home.  I pretend I am sitting on the boat, and am going to jump in the water in 5 minutes when the heat gets too much to handle.  

Wednesday we had zone conference, and it was awesome!! President and Sister Eberhardt are  so nice.  He is the most humble happy guy around.  She was on the Young Women’s general board, and she is my kind of lady.  She dresses so cute and stylish and age/mission appropriate. We talked about where the real success of a missionary comes from.    It was really great to hear.  Also with our new mission we have a new Spanish area in Park City with a family history visitors center!  I think it would be fun to serve there. I also really like the Eberhardts because they don't know me as a visa waiter.  Everyone is new to them, and they are just trying hard to get to know everyone.  This is nice for now since I have been feeling really down about being a visa waiter for half my mission. After thinking about that a lot, it was nice to be able to spend time with other missionaries, the APs, and the Eberhardts at Zone Conference.

I have one more thing to add to my list of what not to say to visa waiters. This is one I have heard about 10 times lately and it makes me crazy, "As soon as you really learn to love the people and the area, you'll leave right away". Like I don't already love the people and the area! I hate that one. That one stinks. I know that I am where the Lord wants me to be, and I hope that I can do what the Lord wants me to do while I am still in Utah.  I really do love it here, but the waiting and lack of any communication regarding the status of my visa is very stressful. I just had a mini freakout. Did you read Sister Carter’s blog about the the new policy for visa waiters?! I just read it and it kind of takes my breath away. I guess after 6 months (waiting for a visa), the mission president in the temporary mission can request a permanent change. (6 months for me is in less than 4 weeks.) The paperwork has to go back to the Apostles for a determination. I hope I can still go to Argentina, but sometimes hope is hard.

My companion is Sister Guerra.  She is from Georgia, but her mom is from Honduras and her dad El Salvador.  She lived in El Salvador for 6 years and then moved to California until she was sixteen.  She didn't learn English until she moved then to Georgia at 16 so she doesn't speak English very well, and I don’t speak Spanish very well.  So communication is sometimes a problem, but we are figuring it out.  She went to Savannah State for Marine Biology.  She is 23. We are getting to be a good team.

Thanks mom and Camron for taking care of the pictures! I am glad all of the pictures are fine! Relief!! I don’t know why I was obsessing about that. Even on a mission I am still a little crazy:)

We stayed busy this whole week.  Finally getting used to the area which means, yes, it is time for transfers.  Transfers are in one week.  We have no idea what is going to happen with the new president doing transfers and everything.  I think he will really change things up.  With parts of two missions being combined to form our new mission here, he hinted that things could really change in an effort to unify the new mission. 

Two of our people fell off date yesterday for not coming to church, but hopefully they will just be pushed back a week.  We are working hard, and seeing miracles.  

Kaleb and Braize’s talks sounded awesome.  Wish I could have heard them.  
Tell Marcus to write me.  

Love you all,
Hermana Chloe

PS. Today we are going bowling today and that should be fun.  We have a hook up at the bowling ally.

We got a car!!! His name is Wally.  We are sitting in him here with the ice cream of the day.

This door might look familiar to Dianna Smith :)

No one is answering the door . . . SO we decided to take pictures.  Hermana Guerra and I.

More pictures of the beautiful mural.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Five months!


This was a super fun week! Especially with the 4th of July!  We had an all day p-day. Bummer though, I had to go to the doctor again. What was the random problem I had this time?! Eye abrasions! Seriously I had cuts on my right eye. I guess I’m not used to walking around all the time with no sunglasses.  And then the mission doctor gave me a prescription for eye drops with sulfa in it.  And as you know, mom, I’m allergic to sulfa antibiotics, so then it was worse. So ya, with my two prescriptions and a trip to an urgent care I have now dropped 120 more dollars on random illnesses. Yes, bummer.

On the 4th of July we just did random stuff in the morning, and then at 3 we went to a park where there was a mission party.  It was fun.  Funny story though.  When we were all just sitting there, some people were messing around with little squirt guns that they were filling up with a hose.  I didn’t really feel like getting squirted, but I was just ignoring them.  Then, I was just sitting there and from behind the entire igloo cooler of ice water was poured on my head.  It was so full it went for on about 5 seconds.  Longest five seconds of my life.  My head was down while the water was pouring.  Everyone was gasping, and I could feel the entire mission looking at me.  I realized that this could be no big deal, or it could be the most embarrassing moment of my mission.  When the water stopped, everyone watched for my reaction.  I am sure that the two stupid elders who did it wanted tears.  Determined not to give them the reaction they wanted, I stood up, did a hair flip (don't worry my hair still looked fabulous), picked up the hose and sprayed them down until they were soaking wet!  Then the entire mission broke out into a water fight for about an hour.  By the end everyone was soaking wet, and giving me high fives. So ya, it all ended up better than okay! And it was not the most embarrassing moment of my mission.  After the water fight, we went to another church with a grass volleyball court and played.  I didn't tell anyone I was bad at volleyball, and my team actually won quite a few games. It was awesome.  Fake it till you make it!

The day after we had an awesome Zone Meeting.  It was about the importance of the apostasy, and different ways to teach it.  Our Zone leaders gave us a glow stick each and had us go into the gym to look for the truth.  There were tables and chairs set up in the blackness, and little signs that we could go up to and just light up enough to read. The little signs said a name of another religion or some gospel truth that was lost.  Then after about 5 minutes, from the corner of the room a little DVD player started playing a restoration video.  Everyone could see just enough to walk over to the video and then we congregated there by the video.  The restoration literally cut through the darkness for us.  It was an awesome visual, and now I love teaching the apostasy even more than I did before.  In Zone meeting, we also learned of new rules.  Our mission president (President Eberhardt--that’s how his name is spelled) just came out of the MTC, so he has been instructed on all the new mission rules. One of them is we need a side bag.  Over the next 6 months supposedly all backpacks are going to be phased out of the mission field for elders and sisters. Go check out the new dress and grooming standards.  So ya, mom I need a side pack.  I don't care if it is a cute one or an anti theft one. Sorry, I always feel like I am asking for things.

On Sunday we had 5 people at church!! That is so awesome, and our investigators are really progressing with 4 people now on date.  I love this area.  There are so many people who are humble and looking for the gospel.  Most people we meet we ask them why they came to Utah.  Almost all say they don't know why, they just did. Most don't even have family here.  It is really cool.  We are working with two young families right now.  Both of the couples are pregnant due in 3 months, and one couple already has a 2 year old.  The whole future of their families are going to be changed.  Sometimes I pray at night that those two little unborn baby boys in heaven will help the hearts of their families be changed.  It is weird but I can always feel how happy they are every time we have a lesson with their moms and dads.

I love missionary work.  This week I rededicated myself to studying preach my gospel, because I want to always be the kind of missionary that is rapidly improving.  That is one little powerful book.  When I know what I am supposed to be doing as a missionary I am able to pray more specifically for blessings, and become a better missionary.  And my prayers are specific right now.  I am in desperate need of certain blessings. Thank you all for your prayers.  I can feel them.  I can't believe that I missed the 4th of July party at our house.  We can have a redo 4th of July party in August next year when I get home.

I am so excited for the missionaries back home.  I want you to send me a picture of the missionary board by the bishop’s office when everybody is out.  Or you can just keep sending me pictures as it gets more full.  It makes me happy to think of all of us out in the world doing the same thing :)  

Thanks for the email dad and mom.  Mom, thanks for keeping my blog updated.

Mom, make sure everyone knows to write me at the mission office. (That is the address on this blog on the top left.)
Camron, random question but it gives me anxiety to the point that I haven't asked yet.  Did you get all the pictures off our old computer? If not, could you do that? I would appreciate it.

Love you all! 
Hermana Chloe

PS.  I had a super fun week, and this week should be fun, too :) We have Zone Conference on Wednesday, and tomorrow I am going on splits with the sister training leaders.  Should be fun!

Happy 4th of July!

Hermana Guerra and Hermana Walker
After the water fight with the Elder who instigated it all.  I do enjoy a good water fight on the 4th of July :)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Utah Salt Lake City East Mission

Hi all,

Utah Salt Lake City Mission Map
I am officially in a new mission now! The Utah Salt Lake City East Mission.  This Friday we met our new mission president and his wife, President and Sister Eberhardt. He and his wife took our district out to lunch after district meeting before weekly planning.  He also came to our apartments on Saturday to meet us again.  He is really nice.

This week is kinda weird in the field.  Today is actually not p-day :( we just get to do emails.  P-day is going to be the 4th of July, and it will be an all day p-day. So super fun! If we ever make it until Thursday because that is a long time to go without a p-day, and as a missionary I love the schedule.

At this time I am going to explain how to deal with missionaries.  Because there things here that I wished the members knew, and so I will let all the missionaries at home benefit from my experience:)

1. I know it is a pain, but dinner needs to be at 5.  We start work just before noon and the English missionaries go out even earlier. In five hours, you are dying and need food. We have to be in by 9, so if dinner is at 6 then we will only get two hours after dinner to teach lessons during the prime time when families are home.

2. Offer to feed them when other dinners cancel. We don't want or need a four course meal, but when dinner cancels, we don't have money to buy food for dinner at the store or otherwise.  So we just go without food, and this happened three times this week to us :(  I would love even a smoothie for dinner.

3. If it is 100 degrees give them a ride. (P.S. I am so tan right now from all of this walking in the sun.  Yes, mom, I am wearing sunscreen)

4. Offer to drive them places, even if they have a car, because they probably don't have enough miles to do everything. And we don't have a car, and no one can ever take us to the store and stuff on Mondays.  Or if the missionaries there have to go to the mission office or get to go to the temple, they will definitely not have miles for that.

5. Make it very clear at dinner that they do not have to eat everything that you have made. And let them pick their own portion size.  

6. And last, about "visa-waiters," I now give a commandment to everyone--Thou shalt treat the visa waiters better than the other missionaries, because being a visa waiter sucks. A mission is hard enough, and then you have to try and figure out why the Lord is keeping you from your assigned mission. Once people in wards, other missionaries, and even a small degree the President hear that you are a visa-waiter, they don’t care to get to know you. I try not to tell anyone, but somehow it always comes out from my companion or someone else. 

Here are a few things visa-waiters do not want to hear:
--"You are going to be so prepared when you get to Argentina!" -What? So like the 6 weeks in the MTC wasn't enough for me? I really needed 6 months of preparation? Thanks.
--"Oh well, this is where the Lord needs you right now." No duh!
--"So when do you think you are going to leave?" For another time, I DO NOT KNOW! It would be nice if I did.
--"You are so lucky to have two missions!" Yes, but it is hard.
--"As soon as you really learn to love the people and the area, you'll be out of here right away". Like I don't already love the people and the area! I hate that one. That one stinks. 

Here are a few things “visa-waiters” want to hear:
--”We are so glad you get to spend time in our ward.”
--”So, tell me about where you are from or about your family ... or any question that shows you care who they are.”

Long story short; being a visa waiter is hard.  I really do love serving in Salt Lake, but my heart is always torn and can’t shake the feeling that I need to be in Argentina.  The uncertainty about my departure date is stressful. So, to everyone going on a mission, be prepared to wait.  I don’t think I was mentally prepared.  You can end up being like me spending 6 months of your mission as a Visa-Waiter/Junior-Companion. (Oh ya, Ashlyn’s trainer was in the MTC with me.  She was down the hall.  She is awesome!)  So everyone is under obligation to be nice to the visa waiters because they are treated like aliens in their missions.

7. So that is all I can think of for now.  Everyone already knows to go out with the missionaries, and refer them to your friends.  

The area is doing well.  I work in the Granite ward of the Granite Park Stake. I walk up and down 3300 South all day long.  The Burger King with the 50 cent ice cream cones is my best friend.  It is so weird how close I am to Camron and to so many other people I know, but it is going well. I am excited for the 4th and for the work this week.  Pray I can find those I’m supposed to find and say what I need to say and do what I need to do.  

Sorry if this sounded negative, mom.  You can make it sound happier for others if you want.

Hermana Chloe
First time in a laundry mat :)