Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Sad Farewell to Gaarde

Transfer day

Good day everyone!

Well it is transfer day and things have been changed a bit. Sister A and I already knew for a week or so now that we were losing Gaarde ward and we are so sad. After the last lesson with one of our investigators last week, we promptly got in the car and started crying. But we know that this is for the best. We started preparing for only one ward and it just felt like a huge weight was taken off our shoulders. We never even realized that we were so overwhelmed until this moment. People were getting lost in the cracks. President must have trusted us a lot because we are both so fresh and we were given the amazing and rare opportunity to cover two wards in this mission. 

We had interviews with President Ballard last Wednesday and he has been challenging all the missionaries to write home "small plates" instead of "large plates." He is all about making sure our personal studies are beneficial because that is what starts a good missionary for the day. He asked us to ask a question going into studies and seek to not just understand them, but really know why it is important and how to teach it (gain the intelligence). This week I didn't have a set question but I did want to study more about Joseph Smith and his life as he translated the Book of Mormon. It shouldn't come as a surprise that many people out here have read anti material and I really wanted to build that extra shield to protect myself against it and just gain a stronger testimony of Joseph Smith. 

As I read a lot of great material, including the Testimony of Joseph Smith at the beginning of the Book of Mormon, I came to realize more and more what I already knew. Joseph Smith was simply a human; a human that went through more trials than I can even imagine. Sure, he had thoughts that weren't exactly in line with God's will, but he overcame them. Joshoph Smith History even states that he had "frequently [fallen] into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature." However, he was conscious of his shortcomings and pleaded for forgiveness, doing his best to remain pure. He never said he was a perfect man. Doesn't that sound just like us? "Saints are sinners who keep on trying."

 In the article "The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon" by Matthew S. Holland it talks all about the lose of the 116 pages and how after that point, the plates were taken from Joseph and he was very sorrowful for what he did. That was what changed everything. Sure he made mistakes, HUGE mistakes. But the Lord did forgive him and from that moment, Joseph "began a pace of religious contribution the likes of which the world had not seen since the personal ministry of Jesus Christ." Joseph and Oliver Cowdery then translated 588 pages of the Book of Mormon in 65 working days. I encourage you all to read this article if you haven't already because it goes on to talk about how correct every bit of information is historically and how no mere man could have done that alone. 

What strengthened my testimony the most was in Doctrine and Covenants 135:3:
"Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!"

This church is the true and living church upon this earth. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and he did come upon this earth and perfected His Gospel. Joseph Smith did restore the Gospel of Jesus Christ once again and the Book of Mormon does contain the fulness of it. It is another testament of Jesus Christ and should be read "EVERYDAY, EVERYDAY, EVERYDAY." I know these things with a surety in my heart. 

Have a grand week and I can't wait to hear from all of you! Love each and every one of you!
-Sister Waite 

Picture:  Saying goodbye to the Grimmius family.

When missionaries and balloons unite

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Phone Call from God

On Tuesday we went and saw M. It had been a pretty terrible day and Sister A and I were just not enjoying it. But we walked into their house and the first thing that M and her mom said to us was that they had been reading and praying together. They just lit up when they said that and were practically dancing in their kitchen. It was so great to see how happy they were! It immediately lifted our spirits and brightened our day! Her brother even stayed and talked with us a bit which is something that M said he has never done with missionaries. After our lesson, we took M to stake volleyball and it was a blast!
Wednesday we took some time to call some part member families and see if we could come by. In the middle of these phone calls, we got a call from a number we didn't recognize. I answered and it was silent on the other side. So Sister A looked the number up in our area book and we found out it was from an investigator who hadn't been interested. We called back and it said there was an error and the number hadn't been in use for a while. There was literally no way that someone could have called us from that number, yet it did. We hadn't even been looking at this lady and definitely hadn't called her. So what happened? Well it was our Heavenly Father giving us a phone call, obviously! We went to her house but she wasn't home and the man told us would we come come back in a few days. Heavenly Father was just putting her in our sights for right now!
There is a family in one of our wards that we had a harder time connecting with (members). We had an MRL (member referral lesson, where they set up a date to do missionary work) with them and so we decided that we would tract their neighborhood and show them that we were putting in work, so they could too. That really opened them up and they were so on board. The father gave us some names of a member family that no one could find and so we went out to tract their apartment complex. We found out that they don't live there anymore but we had time and decided to keep tracting there. We were running out of time and almost didn't finish with the last two doors. Then the saying that Elder Jacobson, District Leader, said came up, "If you love them, you will knock. Do you not love them enough to knock? or knock again?" So we knocked and found this family who was so prepared! They were Spanish speakers and we didn't want to be poachers, so we reluctantly gave this family up to the Spanish Elders. It was a little sad, but we know that we will be blessed for finding that family and that we will receive someone who is prepared for us!

This is what the Spanish Elder's later told us:
They had decided to do a miracle find (pray that there will be a miracle amongst their tracting a really rich neighborhood) but by the end, they hadn't really found anyone. A few minutes later, we called them and gave them this great prepared family! We were their miracle! The Elders went and met the family and they are doing so great!
Thursday was our one month anniversary of being a companionship! Friday we didn't have anyone feeding us (a rare occasion) so we went out to eat at a Mexican Restaurant and it was a great celebration. Anniversary dinner for the win!

MIRACLES ARE HAPPENING PEOPLE! We got out of a lesson and were driving to do some finding when I look out the window and see Karleen, a lady we have never met but the Spirit told us who she was when we see her walking all over this town. I saw her walk into McDonalds and did my Drew thing were I yelled her name and Sister A quickly pulled over. We had no clue what we were going to say, but knew we needed to talk to her. We walked in and Sister A looked in her bag to find anything that would help. I just walked up to her, towards the restrooms, she turned around and not knowing what else to do, I just said "Hi, how are you? What is your name?" Awkward right? But it had to be done! She said her name and then Sister A and I did the worst surprised expressions ever and explained that we were the missionaries who had been leaving her notes! She was so nice and open to us and hopefully we can actually see her soon! Then a man came up and gave us a gift card and said he was paying for our lunch! But we weren't there for food, so we slipped out when he wasn't looking.. We still appreciate it!

Something that has been on my mind is the Grace of God. Grace is the "divine assistance and endowment of strength from God. He pours out blessings of power and strength, enabling us to achieve things that otherwise would be far beyond our reach. It bestows temporal blessings and spiritual gifts that magnify our abilities and enrich our lives. His grace refines us. His grace helps us become our best selves." -President Uchtorf

Keep being member missionaries and know that God loves you! He really does.
And I do too!

-Sister Waite

Meri's brother let us try on his super awesome
 Storm Trooper helmets!

A Friendly Reminder:  Do your Family History!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Another Day, Another Dawn

our awesome trip with the Elders.
Waiting in line at Voodoo Donuts

Hello Beautiful People!
So update on Downtown Portland:
It is so fun! But there are definitely A TON of homeless people! and it kind of smells everywhere... We got permission to drive our car down there and met up with some great Elder's who showed us around. Our mission only goes half-way through the bridges towards Vancouver so we walked half-way on the bridge which was really fun. Then we walked over to Voodoo Donuts. I definitely got a super yummy and filling doughnut with Oreo and peanut butter on top. Let's just say, there was no way we could get any food truck food that day! We will leave that for the next adventure in Downtown. We also went by a homeless camp and as we were walking, I saw Elder Willie (funniest person ever) flinch and then look at me with a smile on his face. I was so confused until I looked down and saw a real life human turd on the sidewalk next to me! All the Elders laughed so hard as I frantically ran away laughing. Powell's bookstore was our next stop and it is HUGE. We saw some other great sights and funny people! Great P-day to say the least!
It ain't downtown without some Voodoo

This week was really weird. We did some service every morning for a non-member couple in Gaarde ward. We walked their dogs at 7:30 and then they fed us breakfast, which meant our studies were pushed back and it just was such an off week. It was a great week though! We were fortunate to provide a lot of service. Including when Elder Jacobson, our District Leader, totally tricked us into cleaning a house for a Jewish couple who use missionaries for service. But it was all good and we did it gladly. We also cleaned out the garage of this old man and then our new favorite less-active sister, P, pulled up and ended up helping us too! She had just gone to the farmers market and bought us flowers! She is the kindest lady and we really love her.

Speaking of P, she has been our little miracle. We have been trying for a long time to get a hold of her and a couple weeks ago we finally did! She had us come over and it was just perfect timing. She has had a hard year and things were finally going better THAT VERY DAY we visited. She has two cats who don't ever come out to see anyone, but they did for us and she was just so amazed and kept saying that we were "special young ladies." The next time we went to her house, she said she was quitting smoking the next day. We definitely have seen so many amazing miracles with her and get to have dinner with her this Wednesday which we are SUPER excited about!!

Sister A and I got to sit in during a Patriarchal Blessing for a lady named Rose who we love. She has come back to church and is just the most amazing person. It was the coolest experience!

Saturday night at around 8 I was asked to give a talk in Sacrament at 9 the next morning. Well, I was one of TWO speakers. I ended up talking for 20 minutes and I prepared for 30! The Lord definitely helps you when you need it because some how that was probably one of the best talks I have ever given in church.

I loved what our Zone Leader, Elder Wilkinson, said in District meeting this week. He gave some really long and seemingly pointless story about his childhood but then related it back to joy and it was great! He talked about how "men are that they might have joy." This life is not a steady stream of sorrow with little intervals of joy, it is a joyful path with bits of trials and sorrow. There will always be happiness right around the corner. ENJOY the path, don't just endure it.
Love you all!
-Sister Waite

Monday, August 3, 2015

One Month Down

Hello people!

What a quick week. There is so much to say, but I already forgot half of it. 

First off, Sister A and I study in the park every morning. One day, a lady was walking by us and this was our conversation:
"Hi guys! How are you today?"- lady 
"We are good! How are you?"- us
"Good! So what school do you guys go to?" -her
"Oh, we are actually missionaries and we are just studying here!" -us
"Oh okay, I just see you here everyday and I wanted to make you aren't homeless"- lady 
*she walks away*
"uhh, thanks?"- us
I guess that is what we get when we have blankets wrapped around us and we look half asleep still. haha

A church that is on the same street as our church building has some of the best quotes on their church board every week and I thought I would share them with you every week. I forgot the last few times so here are a few:
"worry is the darkroom where negatives develop"
"God answers kneemail"
"avoid truth decay, brush up on the bible"
"little is much when God is in it"
"love is its own reward, bitterness its own punishment"
"hipster Jesus loved you before you were cool" -such a Portland Oregon thing to say

On a more spiritual note, this week has been so great! Our investigators are progressing so much and we have been doing quite a bit of finding lately. We hope to see some fruit from our labors. The Lord's timing is impeccable. We went to teach Juliette and had something planned for the lesson. As we were sitting there talking to her, she asked some questions about temples and right then she received a call from her son who she hasn't talked to in quite a while. It gave us just the perfect amount of time to change what we felt prompted to teach her. We just looked at each other and knew that talking about the temple was what was needed at this time and it was such a great lesson!

Drew, previously known as "Skinny Santa," has been making leaps and bounds! He came to church before we had even finished teaching The Restoration and it has been so amazing to see the way this Gospel has changed him. His personality has even become different in a very good way. He has a hard time with sacrament because of the noise from the children (Bull Mountain ward is pretty large and has A TON of children) but he still says he likes coming for "Bible Study." 

The other day we were supposed to have a lesson with him and we had some members go to his apartment to pick him up so we could have the lesson at their house. They called and said he wasn't home! We were so disappointed. Before this lesson, we had some time so we thought  we would go "inspiration door knocking." Sister A told me to tell her where to go with my "greenie fire" so I said to turn right and go on Bull Mountain Road. I just said whatever popped in my head first. I told her to make some turns and then I picked a house. We continued to do this for awhile with really no luck. We never said anything, but I think we both hoped we would have some cool story about it. We went to go drive to Drew's apartment and as we were turning onto the main road, I screamed' "DREWWW!!" and frantically pointed out the window. Drew was sitting at the bus station and Sister A quickly pulled over. We figured out a ride for him to the members house and all was right in the world again. We might not have found any new investigators, but we found Drew! Had we not gone on that road, we never would have had the lesson we had that night. Talk about miracles right there!

Life is so great and I am so happy to be here as a missionary!! 

I want to quote what my dad wrote me this week. He is so inspired!
"The first month is in the history books and you have only seventeen to go.  I say that not in means of a count down of you returning home but as a time limit to your potential successes.  I am sure you felt that first month came and went like a thief in the night.  With as much as you accomplished, that was just a warm up.  It is now time to pick up the pace and start jogging."

I am going to continue to give my 100% and am so thankful for the love and prayers and letters I receive from all of you. Keep doing your best to be member missionaries because you will be able to help out in His work far much quicker than we can at times. I am headed off to Downtown Portland in a bit so tune in next week for a fun summary of the adventures that lie ahead!! (:

Love you all,
Sister Waite


While on splits in Cedar Creek this week,
we found the ghost busters car!
We made a fort last night because our room was
too hot to sleep in last night
-Stepping in faith one large foot at a time...