Monday, July 27, 2015

Small and Simple Miracles

-Sister A and I got some rad face paintings


Is it seriously already Monday?? Where did the week go!

Let's see if I can be orderly in this email.. It's so hard to remember everything! Well for starters, I LOVE MY COMPANION. Sister A is seriously so fun and quirky and I love it! She is the best trainer I could have asked for! And we totally jam out to spiritual music. Our current favorite is "Hark the Herald, Angels Sing" by Pentatonics. Life is never boring, that's for sure. My favorite thing about her is her prayers. This is an example: "Thanks for allowing us to have zone meeting.. even though I don't like meetings. It was good..Probably what I needed." and "oh and so and so, HOLY MOLY that kid!! Please help us to know what to do with him." 

-Studying at the park on P-day

When I first got out here, Elder and Sister Joy said that I looked just like their daughter so I told Sister A that I might get that a lot. I didn't know how much! Last week, about 5 people said I looked like someone they know. I must just have one of those faces? It is definitely a blessing because then people feel comfortable around me and open up to us!

So there is a guy out here, his name is MS and TC is really good friends with him and his wife. We decided one day to visit him because our area book said he hadn't been contacted in awhile. We knocked on the door and he immediately let us in. He was so kind and basically told us he is a dry Mormon. It seems that his wife isn't too interested which could be why he hasn't joined the church. But he knows it is true and told us that himself. A few days later, after a hard but good lesson, we arrived home and had a text from Sister Ballard telling us to call her. We instantly were wondering what we could have possibly done wrong. We called and she said that MS had texted her (he knows them well too). He said that we were great representatives of the church and mentioned a few other nice things. He also told her that we had forgotten a sweater at his house and he could bring it to the ward or we could pick it up (Good Job Sister A!! She didn't even do it on purpose). We had her text him back and say that we would be at church at 2 and he could bring it then. He never did show up but we went to his house after and assume he is on a trip with his wife. When we had visited, he kept saying that we should come back to visit. I think he really does want to join the church but just doesn't know how to go about it with his wife. Sister Ballard told us how proud she was of us which was such a great thing to hear after such a difficult night. 

Sister A and I had a less busy day on Thursday so we went to visit M and her mom, both less-active. We were a little later then we had planned but that ended up being perfect because M pulled up right then. Had we been any earlier, we would have missed the opportunity to visit them. They are the sweetest people and we read a chapter in the scriptures with them. While reading, her mom got a phone call. When she came back, we had finished and were talking about the chapter. She looked like she was going to cry but was almost glowing. It turns out that she had been worried about her job because she just had surgery and is taking some time off. She had been waiting for a phone call about her job and they told her that she could take as much time as she needed and they would find her a spot when she came back. Then M received a phone call from her job and was told some wonderful news also. They both knew that these miracles had come because of reading the scriptures. The Lord works in such miraculous ways.

D, our "skinny Santa," has changed so much. I love seeing the way the Gospel of Jesus Christ can uplift, strengthen, and humble those that we are teaching. D came to church yesterday and stayed for all 3 hours!! We have only taught him the Restoration too! He was in Sunday School answer all of these questions about the Atonement and Sister A and I were literally left with our jaws dropped. What an amazing man! Not only did D come to church, but M did also! We had so many of our less-actives and investigators come and it was the best thing. I can understand now why people always say that missions are "the hardest but best decision you ever make." The change I see in others, and the change I see in myself are just incredible.

Yesterday, Sister A commented, "We are fasting for the Salvation of [his] soul." That just hit me so hard because here I am, 19 years old and I have been given this ridiculously hard but great job to bring others unto Christ through the Spirit. Nothing I have done in my life has been as great as what I have set before me.

This whole week was so spiritually uplifting and amazing, but Saturday we got to have some spiritual fun! We did service all day. In the morning we started our day by helping the achievement day girls. They were having a 3 mile walk to the Portland Temple from our church building and there were some fun stations along the way to help teach them about Temples. We got to be Station 5 and so we just sat on the sidewalk waiting for them to come. It was the first rainy day here and so everyone was out walking in the nice weather. The Temple matron even walked by and talked with us for a bit. Later that day, we went to Party in the Park in Beaverton. It was like a smaller scaled Logandale Fair but it was such a blast! Sister A and I got to do face painting again for a few hours and it was just so fun with all of our Elders from our zone as well as from other zones. 

I am having such a great time here in Oregon and am so grateful for the sweet letters I receive from you! I love you all and miss you!! Have another great weekend and Endure to the End because greater happiness than you can possibly comprehend is in store. 

-Sister Waite


-This is our view at all times: pretty trees and our ducks in a row

Sister Cuenca and Hermana Mercado and I all matched at Zone Conference

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Week in Oregon

Good Morning!
(Names are removed at times to respect privacy)
It has been a crazy but good week! Transitioning into a Missionary actually out in the field is hard work! There are days where you just think, "what am I doing here?" and then you really think about it and you just say to yourself, "well I felt that this is where I need to be so I am gonna enjoy each and every second! It will get better, just gotta be patient and lose myself in the work!" So that is what I am trying to do. 

Sometime last week (the days literally fuse together), we went to go visit a less active lady named K. When we parked, Sister A realized that this was the wrong place and we actually came to L's instead. L is also less-active. Sister A asked if I would back her out but I just said that we should go knock on her door because this couldn't just be a coincidence. So we went and knocked but she had left like minutes before we came. My hope kinda fell.. then her daughter said that she would be home the next day at 2 and we could come back then. We did come back and she was there and she talked to us for a solid hour with us barely fitting in words here and there. Sister A and I just kept praying in our heads that we would know what to say but we both felt like we just needed to listen. So we did. Well, she felt so comfortable with us that she ended up having us set up an appointment to meet with her tommorrow! Follow the promptings!

We also had dinner with the McG's who are not members but are really kind and wanted to feed us. They had one son serve a mission and one that is out serving in Salt Lake!! Golden investigators. We taught them the Restoration and when we were done they said that we were the best missionaries that they have had over so that made us feel pretty good. We invited them to read the BOM and they said that they had never read a page. We are hoping that when we visit with them again, they either will have read or we can get them to. 

We also taught a man named C. Back story: he is apparently a hard person to teach. He always gets off track and asks weird questions. I was really worried to teach him, especially with it being the Plan of Salvation. To make matters worse, we think Sister A must of had food poisoning that night and so I was basically left by myself to teach this man. He did try to get off track, but I kept him on the right track with most questions. At one point, we talked about mormon funerals and he wanted to watch one, so I was reminded by the Spirit of Elder Packer's funeral! I invited him to watch that and he seemed happy to do so. A little while later, while talking about trials, he turned to me, and as if prompted, he said that he felt like I had gone through hard times. It was so weird because I was happy as could be and was just thinking about the lesson but when he said that I was so overwhelmed by the Spirit that I started to tear up and said that yes, of course I had gone through trials and hard times in my life and then I bore my testimony. He told me after the lesson that because I shared with him some personal things, he felt more human and could more easily learn what we were teaching. Sister A said that it was like Spirit was talking to Spirit. Pretty cool experience. 

We got to do some service as a Zone at a community prepardness fair. It was really fun and had face painting, a band, and free food. Sister A and I got to do some face painting and then of course, a member asked to send a picture to my mom. Sheesh, my mom gets so many pictures! Which reminds me, in church yesterday, Sister Agnesse turns and says, "do you know Erika and Dennis Whitmore??" I said yes! and she ended up sending a picture to her but pretended like she didn't.. but that is so cool because she is in our ward and we teach her husband sometimes!! :-)

As far as church, we have two wards and go to church all day. When you have 6 hours of just church plus hours at meetings, 3 hours of church is nothing! And it truly was the best day! I loved going to church that long because I was just so full of the spirit the whole time. There is a great push to keep your ENTIRE Sabbath Day holy. I would like to challenge all of you to put a little more effort in doing your best to keep the Sabbath a day of sacrifice to the Lord. I loved what a return missionary said yesterday in Sacrament Meeting: "Most of us charge our phones @ night because we want to use it the next day. If we don't have it, we feel weird and lost. Same should be with our spiritual batteries. We charge them every Sunday and use it through the week. Without it, we are lost." Don't let it become a burden, but rather a day full of preparing for the week ahead. 

On Friday, we were blessed to have had Elder Ballard speak to us missionaries. All 200 of us were in this little chapel and we got to spend 2 hours with him. I SHOOK AN APOSTLES HAND. I didn't really feel any different, but it is still a cool thing! I loved that he said, "When Christ needs you the most, don't fear the world. He needs you." Sometimes we forget that we can do all things through Him and we don't need to be afraid. Just do your best and keep pushing through. I know that I need to do the same thing out here. "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."

I appreciate all of you! I know that your confidence in me pushes me forward everyday. Love you all!

Sister Waite

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

First Days in Portland

Ok, so I know that last week was a little short and didn't have too many details so I wrote a list of funny things (to me) that were said or happened at the MTC:

  • The first day we were there, Sister Berrett and her comp Sister Logsdon were in our room when we got there. Sister Berrett's mattress had huge yellow spots on it and so she was kinda freaking out. Before the other two Sister's (that we didn't know yet) came up, we quickly switched the mattresses! We didn't tell Sister Forsgren and Sister Burns until the night before Sister Burge and I left!
  • We all called each other "Seeesteerrss"
  • We ate plums off a tree during kickball with half our zone and we talked about how the fruit was from "the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil." Elder Smith took a bite and said, "Am I going home now?"
  • Sunday morning we were using two different plugs to blow dry hair and blew a fuse for our room and the two rooms next to us.. We were already running late for meetings so that was fun!
  • The first morning the alarm went off and, half asleep, I rolled over to pray. Sister Berrett announced that it went off an hour early so I instantly fell on my pillow and silently said, "I'll finish my prayer later Heavenly Father, I promise." 
  • Everyone ALWAYS had pen marks all over themselves and tide pens were always in use. 
  • Being on the top bunk without a ladder and trying to make my bed as I was laying in it. I almost fell off the bed so many times. 
  • Saturday, we cleaned showers for service. You could hear my room of Sisters harmonizing to hymns while we scrubbed mold off the walls with toothbrushes. Best service project to date. (and yes, we sounded awesome)
  • As we were studying outside one day, a baby bird fell out of the nest in the tree next to us and our teacher laughed so hard when we described the slight thud we heard. 
The night before I left the MTC, we had some devotionals that really talked about being legendary missionaries and inviting others to come unto Christ at all opportunities. I prayed that night that I would have an opportunity to do so at the airport or on the plane. Well, no such luck. I got seated in between Elder Petterson (Kyler Leavitt look alike) and Elder Willie. I love them, but they aren't really investigators. I felt a little disappointed but then the flight attendant came by with coffee. She glanced at us and then turned her back to offer some to the people sitting across from us. We all started laughing because it was obvious she knew who we are. She turned to us and joined our laughter and then asked," why can't you drink coffee but you can drink coke?" I instantly started talking about the Word of Wisdom and invited her to pray about it if she still had questions. She then asked how Sisters stay safe on our missions and I told her that we are on the Lord's errand so we believe that He will protect us if that is His will. I looked directly at her and simply said, "I have faith." She looked at me and said, "I believe you do. I can see it in your eyes. You Elders BETTER take care of her." and then walked away only to rejoin us a few minutes later to reiterate what she had already said. When we walked off the plane, she told me that I was going to do great as a missionary and wished me luck. I would say my prayers were answered. 

 The MTC ended up being so great and I really didn't want to leave my companion, district, zone or room buddies. I miss them all so much! BUT I am here in Oregon now! We woke up at 2:50 in the am and got here at 9:30. Our mission president and family took us to the temple and then we had a little training at the stake center. I was so nervous to find out who my companion was and knowing I would immediately go out to work made me real nervous. My companions name is Sister Abplanalp (Sister A) and she is AWESOME! She has only been out for 3 months and is already training which is so cool. She is so sweet and I instantly felt so much better, even though Sister Burge and I finally had to say goodbye to each other. So, I am in Tigard, Oregon right now and we are in charge of 2 wards and they already have 4 investigators with baptismal dates! She said that they get so many referrals and rarely go tracting because they are so busy teaching!

This morning, as we were studying, we got a knock on the door from Drew (skinny santa) and he was bringing us a "care package." Apparently he is the neighbor downstairs who the Sisters were always just nice to but never taught. He calls us "Sisters of the Faith" and he knocked like two more times after dropping of the package to give us more stuff. The last time he came, he looked at us and said," Can you teach me about Jesus?" I almost fell to the floor! Sister A said that he was never interested and that she never did anything different but he just needed someone to be nice to him I guess. Of course we said," Yes, we would LOVE to teach you." Little does he know that those are the words every missionary wants to hear. So that was pretty amazing.

Today is my p-day and next week it will be on Monday. Sister Eddy, the ward mission leader's wife, and her little boys took us to a berry farm today where we picked blueberries and raspberries and it was SO FUN! The fruit was amazing and we ate so much of it! I already got some Oregon experience done. She fed us lunch and we went on our way. I have already been treated so well and have had such cool experiences already! The members here are great and feed us every night and do so much missionary work themselves. I love it!

ELDER BALLARD is coming to speak to us on Friday! It really is so cool to have his son as our Mission President and his daughters kept saying," yeah, my grandpa, Elder Ballard, the apostle...." which was just so weird to think about. I am so excited to be here in Oregon and can tell that I will want to move back here when I got off my mission. IT IS BEAUTIFUL.
I love and miss you all and am so grateful for the support. Keeping doing amazing things and amazing things will happen to you!

Sister Waite
P.S. everyone lied. It has been so sunny here and Sister A says that it has been this way this whole time she has been here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

At the MTC

Hello All,

Well, I have finally made it a week. I leave really early next Monday and am SO excited! The MTC is great but we just study A TON. My companion is Sister Burge from Orem, Utah and she is also going to Portland. She is awesome! and we seriously are twins. We both have short blonde hair and the same personality which can be great at times and hard at others. & we have started to say the same things at the same times. Our district is made up of 4 Elder companionships and then Sister Burge and I. We are all seriously so close and I love them! We often say that the Elders help us and protect us like we are literally their sisters, and we help them like we are their moms. (: 
4 of the Elders are going to Portland, as well as 7 other Elders not in our district. No sisters yet though...

We are teaching two "investigators" at the moment. One of them really could be an investigator but we don't really know. The teaching has been great and yesterday I felt like we truly taught with the spirit which just felt so amazing. 
The fourth of July was fun. It didn't really feel like a holiday and I honestly didn't care. We had a great devotional and then went outside to watch the fireworks. I was able to get pictures with all my friends from home and Cedar!
I saw Elder Hymas right away and have seen Elder Baker, Elder Kannon Evans,  Sister Whipple and many others from college. I have no doubt I will see Elder KC Evans today. 

I was called as a Sister Training Leader so I will be one who welcomes the two new districts to our zone tonight. It feels so great to know that I am no longer a newbie! Sometimes I get down on myself for not already being an extraordinary missionary but then I remind myself it has only been a week. When I do look back on the time, I can see such a difference in myself! 

I met Brother Harris and he told me that Elder Sullivan was in his district way back in the MTC and so we were able to talk about Logandale for a bit.
We had a devotional Sunday night by Jenny Oaks Baker (daughter of Elder Oaks) and she is an amazing person as well as an amazing musician! This Friday we will have the opportunity to watch Elder Packer's funeral. Our teachers were surprised that we have the opportunity. 

In our Branch Presidency meeting on Sunday morning, the old Sister Training Leaders really emphasized the importance of Priesthood blessings. I really hadn't felt like I needed one because I was doing pretty good, but as they talked about it I felt like maybe I should. Then Brother Bliss bore his testimony on them and I started to tear up. After the meeting, I went and shook his hand and as I thanked him for his testimony, I started to cry and I didn't know why!  As soon as I was back with my district, I immediately asked Elder Taylor to give me a blessing. He gave me one of comfort and said that I would be able to focus better in classes (it is so hard for everyone at times). I cried the whole way through and I don't really cry usually. I knew that in that moment, I needed to let go of pride and just ask for Heavenly Father's help. Before the blessing, the spirit was coming to me like a little trickle. After the blessing, the spirit bore down on me so much and it has blessed me so much these last few days. It has truly strengthened my testimony of them! By my example, my companion finally asked for one too and I knew that she needed it also. If you ever need one, never be afraid to ask because they truly help!

Something that our Branch President, President Boone, said last night made me think so much. He said, "There is much opposition in the world. If you stop trying to teach others, adversity stops. So does your success." I thought that was so great because it is true. We should all try and be the best we can be as well as the best missionaries. Never stop trying because if you do, you will never know how successful you could be. 
I love you all and am so grateful for your examples and support! 

Love, Sister Waite


my awesome roommates! The one with short blonde hair is Sister Burge. The rest are in the other District but we are all such good friends! They are going to Anaheim and Salt Lake.
-Elder Evans and his companion after the 4th of July Devotional