Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas Time is Here!

Last week was a good one. We had zone conference with Elder Arnold from the Seventy and man was it spectacular! Elder Cornwall was there and we got a chance to talk about our areas! Both are doing great!

We also had the chance to go to the Temple this week which was so much needed. The Portland Temple is just so beautiful and our area is only about 10 minutes from it!

The ward Christmas party was amazing! SIster Kraus did an amazing job on it and we had the opportunity to help out with it! It was a "star search" play with christmas characters who showed their talent (including the bishopric dressing as justin beiber and lip singing to "mistletoe") and in the end, "mrs. claus" (one of the judges) talked about how there was only one star we were searching for and it ended with a manger scene. It was genius!

Looking forward to another great week! Including our Mission Christmas party on Friday

Wishing you a very Christ-centered Christmas!

-Sister Waite

Burned Cookies, Bad Back, and Nike

I LOVE my mission. I know we missionaries say that all the time, but missionary work truly is the most fulfilling activity you could ever do. There really is nothing better! And I refuse to allow myself to take my mission for granted so I will continue to express my love for being a missionary every week!

Missionary work was fantastic this week, as for my personal life, it was a bit of a wreck. On Saturday I was feeling some stress and so I decided to write down a list of everything that went wrong this week:

-broken back (just messed up)
-broken car (it was just the mud guard that was falling off)
-broken fridge
-broken drain
-forgot to call a certain person to let them know we would not be at a certain service
-3 canceled lessons
-Don't know what to do with certain investigator
-stressful service project
-got yogurt on my shirt
-Investigator canceled for nativity
-burned 2 dozen cookies
-lost the keys at the Cantrells

It was the fridge that broke that Saturday morning and I just was feeling down. For whatever reason, my back has been having sharp pains that caused me severe pain this week and I still have no clue why. It was just a rough week. As I finished the list, I obviously still didn't feel much better. 

I then felt prompted to list the miracles I saw this week and man was it long! A few highlight were:

-the car took a screw and 3 minutes to fix so we didn't have to lose our car!
-had a fantastic lesson with our new investigators and the wife hadn't even wanted to listen but as we told her of the first vision, I watched as tears began to pool in her eyes.
-the service project was so GOOD!! After 3 long weeks of being a middle man, we accomplished what Heavenly Father had sent us to do when we felt prompted to knock on her door. It was truly the best
feeling ever to help out a lady with nothing in her house, and walk out knowing they will be more than comfortable in their house with all their furniture.  
-the tide pen took the yogurt out
-Sister Eddy made us more than enough cookies to make up for the ones we burned
-Brother Papworth gave us passes for the Nike Employment Store
-Elder Coronel was able to give me a Priesthood Blessing of healing

EVERY TIME something went wrong and it seemed like there was no possible way we could find a solution, Heavenly Father blessed us and made it work. Sister Armstrong commented yesterday, "Sister Waite, every time you have a rough week personally, your week goes great mission wise!" When I wrote down this list and saw the blessings in everything that went wrong, I just sat there and cried. I felt the love Heavenly Father has for me, His daughter, immediately. And I know that I can rely on my Savior who has suffered for my pains and knows how I feel right now. How amazing is that? I want EVERYONE to know about the Atonement and the love of our Savior and Father in Heaven.
Christmas is the best season of the year to show Christlike love for others and bring the spirit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ into their homes. I challenge you each to invite someone to come closer to Christ by inviting them to the ward Christmas party, a Christ-centered family night taught by the missionaries, or to the Christmas program in sacrament meeting. There are so many opportunities for missionary work this month! Don't let them slip by. Also, ask everyone and anyone!  Don't ever assume (especially based off of appearances) that people won't want to have this gospel in their lives because you just never know.  I love you all! Enjoy this beautiful week! I know we will! We have a Mission Tour with a Elder Arnold from the Seventy and a temple trip on Thursday! Wahoo!

-Love, Sister Waite
This picture explains our day: POURING RAIN, Nike, and free hot chocolate from the founder of Al-Poly Sports.
-Ice skating last week!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Tigard Approach

My testimony of Heavenly Father's love for us all grew a tremendous amount this week.

Saturday was a weird day. We spent a lot of time with the Cook Park sisters doing service and a split-blitz in our areas. Around this time, the sisters were getting calls from this landline number and the guy talking was hard to understand (maybe an Asian accent?) but would only ever say his name and number. It was very strange. However, a call is a call and any missionary loves to get an investigator to call them! The next time the guy called, it was someone else who clearly set up an appointment for 8 that night. The sisters frantically called EVERYONE in their ward to get someone to come since they cant go in a man's home alone. NO ONE could come. Some of them felt uncomfortable going. At this time, I had a thought that maybe sister Arm and I could go with them. I quickly dismissed the thought because I knew that was just strange. However, Sister Arm later asked me the same thing. This time I didn't dismiss it and I asked Sister Martin what she thought. She normally would have said no also but decided to ask our district leader anyways. He was hesitant but said if we had to, we could go. He later texted and asked for the address "just in case." We didn't get why everyone was so worried. After all, we do this everyday. None of us felt bad about it and we knew we would if it was a bad situation. The sisters planned to ride their bikes over and set up another appointment while on the doorstep. 

We pulled up and immediately an Asian guy walked out and said the other guy was "over there." The guy walked behind us as we knocked on the door. Immediately, the guy opened the door while we watched a third guy pacing behind the second. The guy at the door was wearing sunglasses, a hat, gloves, and a heavy coat.. AT NIGHT. We all began to feel a bit uneasy and the guy hesitated, looked almost behind us, then said he didn't remember calling us but the sisters could come back next Saturday, same time. We got in the car and it all began to dawn on us:

This didn't come out of no where. These guys had been planning this the last few days. They expected two girls to come to their door, the guy behind us could have easily pushed them in the house and they could all take car of them. NO ONE would have known because we would have never asked to come and therefore the district leader wouldn't have known either. No one would realize they were missing until Sunday afternoon. We had to go with them because it a good number. They could have easily taken on three people too. While in the church afterwards, I commented that it wasn't just 4 of us there. We all were stunned as the Holy Ghost testified of the truthfulness in my words. There were definitely angels around us at the door. Whatever the guys saw, there was more than 4 of us. The ward mission leader sent in a report for suspicion. Yesterday the guys called again and we were told be the police that it is a mental illness home. The caregiver must be out on Saturday evenings because the caregiver was not there that night.

I testify to you all that Heavenly Father is there. He does care for us and loves us so much and will protect us as long as we are living worthy for the Holy Ghost and heed the promptings we are given. We would not be here, the cook park sisters would definitely not be here, if not for a loving Heavenly Father. Always be worthy of the Holy Ghost. There is no other way to be safe in this crazy world. 

I love you all and thank you for everything you do for me and the letters/emails I receive! Have a blessed week! We are thankfully going to be celebrating Sister Martin's birthday today! Also, transfers are today. The Cook Park sisters and us are staying! Wahoo!

-Love, Sister Waite 
Our district! Elder Turnbow (far left) is going home! Everyone else is staying in our areas.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands

Buenos días!

I went into this last week with a question in my heart: "How can I be an even happier person?" Well, let's start with what made me so happy this week..
  • Following promptings from the Spirit always makes me happy. In this case, we ran into a less active we have tried to contact for awhile because of following the spirit. 
  • we have two new investigators! One from knocking on her door (she is inviting her whole family to the lesson) and the other through a member. 
  • Zone meeting this week was on point. Everything said was so inspiring and motivating. Plus, Sister Ballard is probably one of the best mission moms ever. 
  • Sister Berry, my Sister Training Leader (STL), did exchanges with me! It was a blast! And we got so much done and I learned a ton. And someone bought us dinner which was very sweet. In fact, we were sandwiched between a member, a man taking the discussions, and a member from the Spanish branch. See, you never know who is watching! You best always be doing what you are supposed to be doing! 
  • We found the YSA a new investigator while doing service in the community. It's all about Opening Your Mouth (OYM). 
  • We got pumpkin shakes from Burgerville and they were amazing. 
  • We lost our phone and then found it! The second part made me much happier than the first part. 
  • I have an awesome grandmother who taught me how to use a sewing machine and because of that, I was able to help sew dresses made from pillowcases for girls in Africa at our wards Soup'er Service night. That was a very fun and good night 
  • I lost my voice but the good news is it is back again! 
  • We were able to move a recent convert out and then we helped direct runners and cheer them on at the Holly Hoop, a 5k-10k for the little girl in my ward who has a brain tumor. We got a big group of missionaries to help out and although my voice was practically gone, we were still so happy and energetic while we watched as everyone willingly supported Holly. It brought tears to my eyes at times as I saw the happiness in everyone's eyes and how happy Holly was. 
  • I received an awesome package from my amazing sister Chani. ️ 
  • There was a Missionary Leadership meeting in the same building and Sister Berry's companion had no one to go with. We had her join us for an hour and it was so fun to have a full car with the cook park sisters as well (who always make me happy!). Well, when we had to drop her off again in Lake Oswego the sisters came with us again and we were all going to go out to eat together. The traffic in Oregon is terrible and so we were a bit late to get Sister Berry. We saw at President Ballard was still there too so we felt bad. What I haven't mentioned yet is that Elder Richard J. Maynes, who spoke at conference, was the one speaking to the missionaries. We walked in and President Ballard saw our gang and laughed then invited us to come meet Elder Maynes! We got to shake his hand and take a picture but the best part was the things he said to us. You could feel his testimony the whole time. It was a way night. -We then had chipotle with the sisters and Sister Berry told us all about what he said. It pumped me up even more! 
As you can tell, we had a great week! By the end of the week, I could barely contain my "exceeding joy." But I believe this happiness also came from seeking the answers to my question. It was in my personal studies that I began to truly open up my heart to Heaven.

As I began to research "Happiness" I was led to countless scriptures, 166 to be precise. There were some that stuck out more than others. Such as:

James 5: 10-11 (count them happy who endure)
1 Peter 3: 14-15 (when you suffer for righteousness sake, happy are ye)
Proverbs 14:21 (happy is he who has mercy on the poor)
Proverbs 16: 20 (happy is he who trusteth in the Lord)
John 13: 17, Mosiah 2: 41 (happy is he who know and keeps the laws, ordinances, and commandments)
The scriptures lay it all out there for you. There is no secret to happiness, the mysteries of God have been unfolded before you! They are within reach! Literally, you probably have a phone in front of you that has access to scriptures, or maybe a Book of Mormon on your bookshelf. Happiness is waiting for you.

In Alma 41:10 it says, " Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness." I love that. Someone recently tried to convince us that following Satan is fun and worthwhile, that it brings happiness. Before leaving, I told him that Satan might bring him temporary happiness, but God can bring eternal happiness. We saw the gears working after that. How insane is that!? Alma says it right there: WICKEDNESS NEVER WAS HAPPINESS.

Then in 4 Nephi it talks of the Lamanites and Nephites coming together in righteousness. It verse 16 and 18 it says, "...surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.

And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings; yea, even they were blessed and prospered until an hundred and ten years had passed away; and the first generation from Christ had passed away, and there was no contention in all the land." And in Alma 50:23 it mentions that there was never a happier time. So here is my question again: "How can I be that happy??" Well if you read in 4 Nephi 15-7 it tells you:

15 And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.
16 And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.
17 There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.

It is so simple. Stay on he straight and narrow path! Keep the commandments, endure to the end, serve and love others and trust in the Lord! Doesn't this sound familiar? Could it possibly be the baptismal covenants we take upon ourselves when we enter into that bright gate? It sure is folks! Don't forget to Remember Him. When you do that, everything else comes into place. Read your scriptures prayerfully, pray always, and attend all three hours of church! It is easy! And much less expensive than "the happiest place on earth." Think of the eternal perspective, with the end in mind. Isn't that what we teach all the time anyways? The "Plan of HAPPINESS?" I love what Elder Joy said at zone meeting, " The two most important days of our lives are the day we are born and the day we understand why we were born." Never forget that. There is a purpose. Learn all you can learn and then share what you know. How "exceedingly joyful" will you be when you stand in front of your Father in Heaven and he proclaims unto you, " How blessed are you thou good and faithful servant!"

The Gospel of Jesus Christ brings me so much happiness! I know for a surety of its truthfulness. I am more happy than I have ever been in my entire life! I LOVE MY LIFE SO MUCH. I wish you all could be on a mission right now because it is honestly the best thing I have ever done! I CANT EVEN CONTAIN MY HAPPINESS RIGHT NOW!! I love you all! Have a great week!! Happy Halloween!

Love, Sister Waite 

At Lee Farms Pumpkin Patch Pickin' with Cook Park sisters

Pumpkin carving with Lake Oswego
Add caption

Proof that I did sew

Holly Hoop with Holly

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Spread Your Light

Daryl and Sister Armstrong

Daryl's zone hiking on their P-day

This week was hectic and crazy. We had a lot of new missionary meetings and training but it was truly a good week. It has been raining more often which is fantastic! 

On Wednesday, we had the opportunity to spend some time with a young 8 year old girl in our ward who has cancer. She is so sweet and we were blessed to have spent a few hours with her. I have never met a stronger family in my entire life. They cling to the gospel and cherish the Atonement that Christ has provided for us. What a testimony builder they are in my life. 

Keep spreading your light with others. You never know who it can touch and change. A huge theme I noticed from conference was "Always Remember Him." When we do our best to think of our purpose in life and who has given us life, it keeps us on the right path. 3 Nephi 14: 13-14: "Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in thereat; 

But straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
Be the one to find that straight gate and narrow way. How blessed you will be if you do so. 
I love you all and pray you have a great week! Remember whose you are.

Love, Sister Waite 

Pictures: with our friend Holly! We were wearing our matching "Team Holly" bracelets!

Monday, September 28, 2015

It Isn't a Sin To Be Weak

"Sister Shannon" one of our investigators took US on a
 tour of the Visitor's Center and Temple. She told us
 she took a picture of the first moment she touched
 the Temple and said we should too. 
Our tiny district at the Temple!

What a fantastic week!

We had the opportunity to go to the Portland Temple on Tuesday with our district! It is GORGEOUS. I love going to the Temple! The rest of the week was full of service and lessons! 

Saturday was a busy day. A lady whose father passed away in our ward asked if we could get some Elders to come and help her move some boxes and dressers into a u haul that morning. Apparently that was the day everybody decided to move because all the Elders in our zone were already moving other people! In the end, Sister A and I went over there and moved all the stuff for them. Never doubt the strength of a Sister! However, we also had a baptism and so we had to rush over and change at the church. Previously, we had filled up the font and when we came to check up on it before the service, we found out that there was a mix up in scheduling the building and there was another baptism at the same time! Luckily we sorted it all out and had a combined baptism. It was a crazy morning. 

We had the opportunity to go to the General Women's broadcast and a potential investigator came! We met her at the Stake Women's triathlon last Saturday and invited her to come. She said she would and she kept her word! She loved it and we hope to see her again this Saturday! The session was so amazing!

In the April 2015 Ensign, there is a talk titled "It isn't a Sin to be Weak" by Wendy Ulrich. As I read this talk, I came to find that this was exactly what so many of us need to hear. Sister Ulrich defines sin as "a choice to disobey God’s commandments or rebel against the Light of Christ within us. Sin is a choice to trust Satan over God, placing us at enmity with our Father." And she defines weakness as "a limitation on our wisdom, power, and holiness that comes from being human." I am definitely human...

The second week I got here I had so much anxiety and homesickness (something I know a lot of missionaries these days have). I had never in my life felt these emotions so strong. In the morning the alarm would go off and before I had even opened my eyes, my heart was racing a hundred miles an hour and I thought that I couldn't possibly do this for 18 months. At the time I thought I was going to feel this way my whole mission. I didn't even know what these extreme feelings were until someone told me that it was anxiety. The rest of the day was a "just get through it" kind of deal. This went on for a straight week. It was the hottest week so far, I didn't know anyone yet, I was still adjusting to the missionary life, and I had this weight on my shoulder. It was the darkest time in my entire life. 

I wondered everyday "why me?" Why, while I was on my mission doing what the Lord called me to do, did I feel like I couldn't do it? Why was I so weak? Was I wasting my mission by "just trying to get through it"? Was I just weak? 

Sister Ulrich goes on to say, "Human weakness plays an important role in [the] essential purposes of mortality. When Moroni worried that his weakness in writing would cause the Gentiles to mock sacred things, the Lord reassured him with these words:

“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27)

The implications of this familiar scripture are profound and invite us to distinguish sin (encouraged by Satan) from weakness (described here as a condition “given” to us by God)."

I had a weakness and I felt completely alone. How was I ever going to make it the whole time? Then the answer came: pray. All I literally could do was pray every day, every second. I don't think I have ever prayed so dearly to my Heavenly Father than I did that week. I needed His help and I knew that He would help me. I needed to turn to Him, lean on Him, and learn from Him. It was the only way. But nothing happened over night. I didn't suddenly become strong and my weaknesses were not taken from me. I was able to overcome my challenges and weaknesses through Him. I fully turned myself to our dear Father in Heaven who gave me peace in knowing that could make it, one day at a time:

"While Satan is eager to use our weakness to entice us to sin, God can use human weakness to teach, strengthen, and bless us. Contrary to what we might expect or hope, however, God does not always “make weak things become strong” unto us by eliminating our weakness. When the Apostle Paul prayed repeatedly for God to remove a “thorn in the flesh” Satan used to buffet him, God told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:7, 9).

There are many ways the Lord makes 'weak things become strong.' While He may eliminate the weakness through the dramatic cure we hope for, in my personal experience this is somewhat rare. For example, I see no evidence that God eliminated Moroni’s weakness in writing after the famous verse in Ether 12. God may also make weak things strong by helping us work around our weaknesses, gain an appropriate sense of humor or perspective about them, and improve on them gradually over time."

I found my way. It was the hardest week of my life but the most humbling. We later found out that we had taught 29 lessons that week. For our mission that is a very high number. How could we have possibly have done that, especially that week!? It was through the Lord. 

I know that He cares for each and everyone one of us so much. He loves us and knows our struggles. Go to your Heavenly Father and humbly ask for help. You don't have to go through ANYTHING alone. He will help with even the tiniest of things. I know this to be true. I have a huge testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that it has been restored upon this Earth through Joseph Smith. I know that our Heavenly Father and Christ love us now just as they loved the people back in the day. I know that because of this love, they not only had prophets then but we have prophets now. Prepare your hearts and minds for General Conference this week. I encourage you all to go into the sessions with a question. You will be amazed by the way the answer will come to you.

-Love, Sister Waite

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dear John

Friends, countrymen, hipsters!

We had zone conference this week! That was fantastic! President and his wife are always so inspired. This was the day that Sister Barlow, all the way from New York, sent out a group email. In it, she talked about having faith in your investigator and setting baptismal dates that show your confidence in them. After having read that, we went to a lesson where we were going to set a date with our investigator. We chose to invite him to be baptized and he said yes! This is someone who previously was invited to be baptized and told the missionaries not to come back. Thank you Sister Barlow!

"Dear John (Bull Mountain Sisters),
I have been reading and praying and have decided that the LDS is not for me."
-our "Golden Investigator"


Sister A and I got this text on a bright and beautiful morning and our hearts were crushed. We were going through the breakup blues and it was a terrible feeling. During this time, I received a miraculous package from Grandma Clark that I wasn't aware was coming! In it, Grandma told Sister A and I to hang in there and to look to the scriptures when we were feeling low. We took that literally. Sister A and I said, "we are feeling pretty low, lets listen to Grandma Clark!" we kneeled down right then and there and said a prayer then opened up our scriptures to a random page. I turned to Alma 36 and sure enough, it was just what we needed! This chapter is when Alma is testifying to his son Helaman and explains his conversion story. In verse 18 it reads, "...O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death," and verse 21," ...there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains..." Gall of bitterness? Yepp! Bitter pains? Check! Okay, so maybe we weren't encircled by the chains of death but we sure felt devastated! What did we do wrong?? The more we read, the more it opened up our eyes. In verses 23-25, and 27 it says:

23 But behold, my limbs did receive their strength again, and I stood upon my feet, and did manifest unto the people that I had been born of God.

 24 Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

 25 Yea, and now behold, O my son, the Lord doth give me exceedingly great joy in the fruit of my labors;

 27 And I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me.

Yes, missionary work is already hard as it is but it is even worse when someone tells you that they no longer what to see you. But as we listened to Grandma Clark and the words of the prophets, we realized that we can do this. The Lord knows our efforts and he knows when we need strength. By the time we were done reading, we were on our feet ready to go get back to work. How great the scriptures are! They help with everything! I have a huge testimony of the Book of Mormon. I know that it does contain the Christ's Gospel in it. I testify to you all that it is the word of God and encourage you all to read it everyday. I promise you that as you do so, you will be filled with strength to carry out the work that you need to do. It can help you with your problems and fill your soul with "exceeding joy."

I want to thank all of you that support me and help me carry out the Lord's work. Those little words of encouragement and inspiration really are so helpful and keep us going. Thanks Grandma Clark for helping Sister A and I get back on our feet. I love you all!

Remember, the gospel is true and the book is blue! 

-Sister Waite  
-during weekly planning: as if there weren't enough of us
hooligans running around, here is two more of us!

-before zone conference