Sunday, June 23, 2013

Barnegat, back to one companion

Well my goodness. What a week it has been. And what a week it is going to be. I thought June was going to be kinda normal but no, that's not true. It's been a crazy first couple of weeks and I can't believe the half of the month has already passed. But anyway. It has been another successful week here in BARNEGAT!
So I mentioned last time we did our emails on the island and got our shopping done and headed home to relax. I was going about, doing my drawing and recieved a call from one of the assistants. He told me to inform Sister Page that she was going to get transferred. Usually we find out who's getting tranferred in a text in the morning but we didn't get anything so we thought we were fine...but then we got the call. We all kinda stood there in shock and awe not knowing what to say...We were told earlier on monday to check with the landlord to ask how many people were allowed to stay in the apartment so we went to go check. Sister Page and Waddoups walked up and asked and I stayed back a little, they said if it's a one bedroom apartment only two people are allowed.....and we had we didn't know we were being disobedient the whole tranfer. :/ ooops...thus Sister Page being tranferred the next day. So that was exciting. Sister Page quickly got her suitcases and began packing. She was slightly freaking Monday night we went to go say goodbye to those individuals Sister Page wanted to say goodbye to. That was eventful. God always has surprises haha
Tuesday was crazy. We did our studies and then had to leave at about 1030 to get up to tranfer conference by 2. We had to run some errands and we stopped for lunch so that's why we left early but it was about 3 hours travel up there. I'll say it over and over again....WE ARE DOWNNNN SOUTH haha. We got up to North Jersey and got out and saw all these crazy huge bugs outside. We found out that they were called Secadus and they only come out about every few years or so. They were nasty, one tried to attack me so I whacked it with the was pretty funny. I was surprised I hit it haha. But we waited for tranfers to begin. The new missionaries were in the chapel being paired with their trainers. There were so many sisters! It's so exciting. 22 new ones. And I also met Emillee Harbertson Morgan's cousin. She's sweet and she's got one of the best trainers. It's exciting to see all the sisters. Next tranfer we're going to be about 5 sisters and then we'll hit our maximum capacity for sisters....never thought that'd happen! Tranfer conference was truly crazy. They now have 10 zones, where we had 8 before and so many new sisters being doubled in. It was good to see some of the missionaries I haven't seen in a while. We got ready to go and got in the car and we heard this garggling noise but I thought it was the seatbelt...I looked and Sister Waddoups had one of those bugs on her back....I freaked out and she FREAKED out even more hahaha. It was so funny. I jumped out of the car and then got back in and laughed for 5 minutes before leaving. Boy that was funny to see! We met another less active that night too.
That's something that was really cool this week. We were able to meet a lot of less actives we haven't been able to contact since we've been here. But we met them and are excited to begin helping them.
We were able to meet a part member family this passed week too. The Petersons....but the way cool thing is Nancy Peterson who was Nancy McClellan used to live right down the street from us in Farmington...we began talking about it and her daughter, who is Jody's age went to Knowlton Elementary!!! So mom, if you could find one of my first yearbooks from elementary and look for a Nicole McClellan that'd be cool! It's such a small world. They are amazing people!
Wednesday we met our newest investigator and she came to church yesterday! She's a very sweet lady. I love her so much already. She hand crocheted some blankets and gave them to us! She's a sweet woman and we believe prepared to hear the gospel! Very excited about her! We also met a less active woman who's 80. She's got the first stages of Alzheimers and it touched my heart. As we were sitting there listening to her, she kept repeating herself over and over and I could just sit there all day and listen to her and not even care she was repeating herself. Of course it made me think of Grandpa. It was a touching moment.
We rode our bikes the past couple of days to save miles on our car and rode to the branch picnic about 7 miles away. It was fun to be able to spend some time with the branch members and talk to them. We did it at Wells Mills Park and they have a resevoir and so Sister Waddoups and I walked down to it. I'll send pictures because New Jersey's beauty is somethin else! I love it so much! The lake was so pretty. Awh I can't get enough of it. We rode a total of 88.3 miles on our bikes since being down here. My booty is sore!
Yesterday we had a family of about 30 at church for their family reunion which boosted our numbers haha. It was good to have a big crowd it. Brother Roberson gave an amazing talk on our Heavenly Father and how we can come to know him better. It almost brought me to tears. I've been feeling the spirit so strongly this passed week. It's been so cool to see that I am following the spirit and I am trying as hard as I can. I know that's there's always more that can be done but I'm trying and God sees that. :)
This gospel is true. I know it. Joseph Smith saw God the Father and his son Jesus Christ. He restored the gospel for us today so we can be blessed and be able to obtain our full potential. When we turn our life over to God he will bless us so much more than money or anything could do. I'm so grateful for my Heavenly Father, for the trust he has in me to do this work. I love being a missionary and am trying to put all my effort into my work. It's been crazy to think that on Wednesday I've been out for 9 months serving my Savior. Time flies. I love all of you and am so grateful for your support. Hope you all have a fabulous week! :) Love you!
Sister Taylor

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Barnegat Lighthouse

Well another week here and gone. Time is flying way to fast I realized. The end of the transfer is this week. Don't worry, I'm not moving again. I'm here for another 6 weeks and then we'll see what happens. We're getting 22 sisters in today and I'm sad I won't be doing the fear buster. There goes my streak. I did go 7 for 7 so that was good!  It was a good week. We were able to get 15 lessons in which is great! We went to the Barnegat Lighthouse on Monday and boy do I see why Grandma and Grandpa Stevens like lighthouses. They truly are beautiful and a beacon of light. Just like we can all be lighthouses in our lives. We can be that light in the darkness for those who don't have the truth. It was really fun to have the Toms River sisters down just to hang out for a couple hours. We took some jumping pictures and I'll send them after this letter. We went and had a great picnic with the Clappsy's at the Wells Mills Park. We had some bomb sandwiches and hung out with them.
Let me just say the lessons we had this week were on point. I don't know but my companions did such a great job teaching simply and clearly and I really enjoyed teaching this week.
Tuesday we had an exchange with the Toms River Sisters. Sister Kimball came down to Barnegat for the day. We had zone meeting up in Eatontown so we had to travel all the way up there and back. We didn't get home until about five on Tuesday and then went to a couple of lessons. We went to go try our investigators house but he didn't answer and later that night he said "why didn't you call? I was in the shower?" I just about started smacking my head against the wall, but we were able to meet a couple of potential investigators we've been trying to get a hold of for quite some time so it worked out. Our monthly focus this month is on using our time wisely and I'm so grateful for the inspired focus' we have each month. We decided to go through our area book this week and clean it up and organize it so we know where we can find things. That took some time but it'll help us be able to focus more on the work this month and I'm really excited for that. It was really fun to have Sister Kimball here on the exchange, she's a visa waiter for Brazil and is going to do so good down there. I'm grateful I met her.
Wednesday we exchanged back and went and did some service at a members house. We had to pack up books and we kept running out of boxes but it was good to help. We did a ton of service this week. Helping pack up boxes, yard work and other little knick-knack paddy wack jobs. We went and did some service for another member and worked in the yard, we helped her plant some pretty flowers. We went back to her house on Saturday and cleaned up the backyard for her. She puts a lot of effort into her yard and makes it look very pretty!
Thursday, we packed up some more books and then the rest of the day was working on updating the area book. We had teaching records all spread out on the floor. We made a lot of calls and cleaned up the apartment a little bit. It was a good day to get everything done.
Friday was such a good day! We taught five lessons! And they were all really good teaching opportunities. We met a with a couple of the less active members and met with our newest investigator. She's great. It was absolutely POURING rain on Friday. I love the rain here in Jersey. It's so beautiful. It'll pour for five minutes and then drizzle and then pour again and again. I love it. It was pouring so hard this morning! I just want to go dance in it.
We had to clean our apartment because the end of the transfer is tomorrow. We had a senior couple come to our apartment this morning to have us sign some papers and she didn't want to leave. She said they had cleaned the apartment and it was disgusting from the Elders. :/ She was going crazy to see how clean it was. It was pretty funny.
Saturday was more service. It's the best doing service here. No matter how little it is. It means a lot to people. And that's my favorite thing to do. Even just making smoothies for my companions. Little service but it's the best. That's another thing, we bought smoothie stuff but ran out of juice so I decided to use milk....not the business. They tasted like straight up milk, so I tried to substitute something to make it a little more sweet because we didn't have any sugar so I put a fruit roll up in it....never again will I make smoothies with milk. It didn't taste to bad but I'll stick with the juice haha.
Sunday we gave talks on Keeping the Spirit With Us and my companions did a great job. It was good to talk to the branch and be able to share our experiences with them. I'm so grateful for the spirit I feel in missionary work. I couldn't do missionary work if I didn't have the spirit. I've felt the spirit the strongest in my life on my mission and I can't deny that he is there and he is real. I love feeling the spirit and want that for others. Church is always good. Partaking of the sacrament is so great. I didn't realize the importance of it until I came out here. I've learned so much since I've been out here.
Today, we had to find a new library because the one we go to the computers were down. So we're actually emailing from LBI, Long Beach Island. It's so cool to be able to be here in Jersey, experiencing the beauty here. I can't believe I've been here for this long! Time is flying. God is hastening his work. I'm so grateful for all of you and everything that you do for the family and the support you give to me. The church is true. God lives. Christ is our Savior. These things I KNOW! Love you all. Hope you have a fabulous week. This month is going to be great and is going to go by so fast. All mission conference and Temple trip! God bless.
Sister Taylor :)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Short week and temple excursion

Well, it seems kinda weird I'm writing you again this quick but there was so much that has happened since Wednesday I'm so excited to tell you all about it! It truly was one of the best weekends I had on my mission so far! Awh I love being a missionary.
So on Wednesday after we got back from emails we went to one of our less active members, we rode our bikes and were able to teach her about charity and love for those around her. I think it was really what she needed. Our dinner appointment canceled on us so we decided to walk just down from our apartment to check up on another less active. She wasn't there so a couple weeks ago we contacted a man outside his apartment and he said we could come back anytime. So we went and knocked on his door and he let us right in. He's such a cool guy! He's a single dad of two and definitely dedicated to them. He loves them with everything. He asked us the usual questions about what we're doing and all that and then he said "do you mind if I smoke right now?" We said no. He said he really wants to quit and I told him we can help him with that through the atonement of Jesus Christ. He doesn't haven't the strongest basis of who Christ is and so we're starting very basic with him but I know we're going to help him quit smoking. We had a really good discussion with him and finally got a new investigator! That was really exciting.
On Thursday we got to go to interviews with President and Sister Jeppson. Probs one of my favorite things just to be able to talk with them one on one. Our companionship was the last of 200 missionaries. They let us take all the left over food home. That was nice. But anyway it was really nice to be able to talk to President about the area and my companions and him asking me what I can do to push myself because I'm coming up on my halfway mark. It was just refreshing to talk to him. And then talking with Sister Jeppson is always so fun. She talked about stress and how we should wake up positive every day. She just makes me so happy whenever I see her. We got back and did weekly planning for the rest of the day.
Friday was truly incredible. I was so excited because we were heading up to go to the temple. We stayed in Jersey City because they were able to accomodate all three of us. We woke up and went and did service for one of our less actives. We took out a slab of grass so she can plant more flowers. She was very grateful for our help. I love doing service. We rode our bikes over there. It was such a beautiful day. Service is our in to some of these less actives. I truly love all the less actives here in Barnegat. We rode back and ate lunch and got ready to travel up to Jersey City. We got to take the train all the way up there. It was really cool to be on the train. First time for Sister Waddoups on a train. We drove an hour to the train station and then waited for the trains and rode them all the way up. We had a couple transfers which always stress me out but we got there safely. There were a couple of boys from Suffern (one of the towns in the New City area) but I didn't asked them if they knew some of the kids from the New City ward. We got to Jersey City and Sister Morrison picked us up. We stayed the night there and it was really good to see Sister Morrison again. Her companion and my companions went to an appointment and we went to another and ate some philippino food. It was bomb chicken rice and garbanzo beans. It was so nice to be able to talk to her! I love Sister Morrison with all my heart.
Saturday was a day I'll never forget. We woke up and went to workout right across from the New York Skyline. Totes legit. Love it. We got ready and drove up to New City. It's always so weird to go back to your old areas but so refreshing. It looks different there because of all the lush green and then beautiful trees. We got to the apartment and I rang Anne's doorbell to surprise her. She opened up the door and so gave me such a BIG hug! I love little Anne so much and it was nice to quickly see her. Tivynna and Kirsten Marie (Bishop Weiss' daughter) got there so we went out to meet them to go to the temple. Tivynna got out of the car and she gave me the biggest hug! It was so wonderful seeing her again. I really have missed her. It was really cool because later after Sister Ward and I got back from the temple she said "you are her missionary. She loves and misses you so much" That felt so good to hear her say that. Tivynna has touched my life. We drove into the city, went over the George Washington bridge which was so gnar. And parked close to the temple. We had a little bit of time before we had to be there so we walked around and took pictures with Tivynna. We got into the temple and I love the feeling from the city into the temple. It's so peaceful. We had to print of her mothers name so Sister Ward and I went to get that figured out. All we had was her name birthdate birthplace and death date and got up there and they said they couldn't print off the name without the barcode. It was Brother Corson who was working there (from the Mo-town ward) and he kept saying "oh no" I started praying my little heart out for them to figure something out and so they got onto newfamilysearch and somehow with Heavenly Father's help we were able to get her name. I told Sister Ward we need to say a prayer of graditude. So we got our baptismal clothes changed and went to go do confirmations. Tivynna had quite a few questions about what was going on. We got done with those and had to wait quite some time before the baptisms. As we were waiting people kept asking if we were the group from Morristown, we answered no, but I was so excited because I knew some of them were coming. I kept my eye on the door and was able to see some of the brothers from the Morristown ward. I went and gave them handshakes and told them to tell their wives hello. It was just so nice to be able to see them again. :)It was just able time for us to do the baptisms so we had Kirsten Marie go first so Tivynna wasn't the first one to go and not know what to do after she was done. Tivynna's turn. She did some temple names and then did her mothers name at the end. Sister Ward said she felt the spirit the strongest during the baptism, but the spirit hit me during the confirmation when they were saying "recieve the holy ghost" I know that her mother has accepted her work and Tivynna is so excited to do more work for her other family members! I love the temple. It truly is such a place of peace and comfort. We headed back to New City and had to wait for our train to leave. We got back at 2 but it didn't leave til four and my companions weren't answering the phone so Sister Ward and I went and talked to Elder Kay. When he opened the door and saw me he was so happy! It was good to talk to him again. I was so happy I was able to spend some time with Sister Ward again. She is killing it up in New City! Love to see that! We went to the train station in Spring Valley and were waiting for the train and happened to see Eli, our other recent convert, right before boarding the train. It was really nice to see him again. Then the train ride! We left and four and didn't get home until 9:30. I was pooped! But it was so totes worth it. I loved this weekend and it was so nice to be able to see Sister Morrison, Ward, Tivynna and all the others! I've truly made friends for ever!
Sunday was fast Sunday and it was a great testimony meeting. I was going to bear my testimony but decided not to and let the branch members bear there's. My companions taught the 2nd hour class on the Plan of Salvation and completely killed it! They did so awesome. They truly are such wonderful teachers. Sister Waddoups is so good at asking inspired questions and Sister Page is so sincere. I'm grateful for them. We were able to set up an appointment with a less active family that came to church again. That was great. We went and visited some of the members Sunday night. We were still fasting for quite some time and we were SO hungry when we got home. We all had a feast!
This gospel has changed my life. I love being able to witness people make convenants with our Heavenly Father and be able to see the growth in them. There's so much work to be done here and I'm so grateful for the trust God has in me! I'm so grateful for all of you and your support! Hope you all have a wonderful week and I'll talk to you next week! Love you!
Sister T

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Events of Memorial Day Week

Well well well! Another week come and gone. They are going way way to fast! But so much has happened and it's so exciting so this is going to be another long email. I don't think any of you will complain! Haha

Last Monday was another pretty relaxing p-day for us. It consisted of making t-shirts for a lot of the sisters. I made 6 I think. It was a lot of work but I'm glad I'm done with those for now until another sister gives me another girl to make. But I love doing them. They're fun to make. We went to Sister Szabo's house and sat outside with her on her porch and all the birds were making noises, very beautiful I must say and all of a sudden Sister Szabo said "Will you shut up!" It was quite funny. The bugs here are horrible. I got some pretty bad mosquito bites that itch like crazy but I'm trying not to itch them. A lot of them are on my feet :/ Goobs.

Tuesday was a pretty incredible day. We had Elder Koelliker of the Seventy with us for a zone conference and boy did he promise us some pretty amazing things. We had to wake up at 5:00 to get ready and leave by 6:20 because it was a 2 hour ride. But it was amazing. The spirit in those conference are feelings I'll never forget. I know without a doubt the Holy Spirit speaks to us during those meetings. He gave us some good insights and one of the coolest promises he made was, if your recent convert goes to the temple within 6 weeks of them being baptized 1. They'll never go inactive and 2. We'd be able to go to the temple with them if they take a family name. Immediately after he said that I thought of Tivynna. And.....I GET TO GO TO THE TEMPLE WITH HER THIS SATURDAY...she's going to do baptism for her mother who has passed away. I couldn't be more thrilled for her. It's going to be an incredible day. So that's exciting! We had a wonderful lunch and then traveled home. We did our studies for the rest of the day.

Wednesday was really fun. We had district meeting and were able to talk about the zone conference we had with Elder Koelliker. It was so good to be able to talk and discuss what we learned. I'm so grateful for all these wonderful opportunities I get to strengthen my testimony through these conferences and meetings. Things I'm learning for the rest of my life. We went to go see one of our less actives and had one of the most spiritual lessons I've ever had. We told her we were there for her and told her the next step for her was the temple. She looked down at her arms and said "woah" I said that's the spirit telling you this is what you need to do haha. She has a smoking problem but it was really cool to see the power of prayer. We asked if we could pray right then with her and knelt down and I asked if she'd offer it. She said she never prayed in front of anyone but we kept quiet and she began to pray and tears rolling down her face, she offered one of the most sincere prayers. It was touching. I loved it! That was awesome. We have been running low on miles so we decided to ride our bikes after Sister Goodwins and boy let me tell you! I LOVE IT! hahahah it's so different but so awesome. I love riding a bike on my mission. I took video and pictures. It's so awesome and funny. We went and visited another less active and then went to our branch mission leaders home and had cake for his wife's birthday. He picked us up...right in front of the liquor store. Picture to come. It was funny.

Thursday was a long day! Calculated 21.5 miles on a a skirt haha. We woke up and got ready to go out got on our bikes and our bums were so sore! But we pushed through it. We got quite a few lessons which was great. We met a lot of the less actives. We need to find new investigators. That's what we're struggling with. We were so tired by the end of the day.

Friday we had an emergency district meeting. We were confused why because we just had one two days before and we were all low on miles but we're doing fine on them. It was a really good meeting. The zone leaders came down and we talked about the conference again to help us internalize what we learned. It was really great and the spirit was so strong. I've been feeling the spirit so much more in my life this past week. My prayers have been so incredible. I love it so much. We called a former investigator and had an appointment with her on Friday so we went to that. It was good. I don't know how interested she is but we were able to teach her about the gospel. We went to one of our members houses and did a little bit of service for her in the rain and then watched the movie How Rare a Possession about the Book of Mormon and really enjoyed the spirit felt in the room. We committed her to read every day and she said she needs to get back to that. She's one that needs to prepare for the temple and we said we will help her with it. She said she wants to go on her 10 year anniversary so we're not pushing it to much but we want to get her prepared. (Her 10 year is in a year and a half) She said she was giving a talk on "preparing for the second coming" and so on Saturday I gave her some scriptures to use and boy did that call her to repentance. Alma 34:32-34. :) She still talks about it. I know that was the spirit haha. We started our weekly planning on Friday night. It's been so crazy trying to get it done on Thursdays.

Saturday was different than usual. I felt like my companions and I had to have a bonding day so we decorated the apartment with pictures of Christ and the temple and such (pics to come) and quotes that were inspiring. It was a fun day and I'm glad we did that. I got to know my companions so much more. All of our appointments canceled except on so we went to a less actives house. Her and her daughter (that doesn't live there) were there. We talked about repentance and it was what they needed to hear. The daughter says that she thinks about coming to church every week but doesn't come. We committed her to come and she was there with her whole family on Sunday! It was awesome. Still working on the mother but we'll get her there! :) We finished weekly planning the rest of the night.

Sundays are the best here! The spirit at church I feel is like no other. We had about 30 people at church. Better than 19 our first day! Progress. There were a couple visitors. A awesome couple from Highland, the Cindrich's, they have a son out on his mission. I told them I was going to add them on facebook when I got home so they can come to my homecoming and they said they would. Haha they're great. They pulled out some money to give us for dinner and I said we couldn't take it but they insisted they said "give it to someone who needs it, if you can't have it" (This'll make sense in just a few seconds)

The sister that gave the talk on the second coming really did a great job and the less active that came back to church said "boy did she smack me in the face with that talk" haha it was good to see the spirit working in everyone. We got to see a couple of members Sunday night. We parked our car by a members home and walked to another appointment. We walked back to the members and talked to them about families. The parents were the only ones there and it was a good lesson. The dad is a returning member and the mom is active. I got the thought in my head "give them the money" And so without hesitation at the end of the lesson I pulled out the money and gave it to them. It was really cool. I'm grateful I was able to give it to someone who needed it a lot more than me. :) We went to go see a recent convert of about a year and she's about our age and boy does she have an incredible testimony. She's amazing. That's where I got bit by the mosquito's because we were outside.

Monday was Memorial Day! And p-day! Because the library was closed we were able to relax again and write some letters back to some peeps and then we rode our bikes to the Roberson's for a BBQ with them and their neighbors. The bike ride was so pretty! I love riding bikes! The food was delicious and the company was great. Their neighbors are non-members but very nice. We got a ride back from Sister Roberson and she actually took us to our next appointment and dropped us off with our bikes so we had to ride home. We met with S. Szabo again and read the scriptures with her then as we were going to our next appointment on the side of the road there was a classy couch and chair so I stopped at took a picture on it. It was so funny. We got to Wanda's house and I showed her the picture and she said I want for FHE we went and picked up this chair for a wagon. It was hilarious. I'll send a picture! :) We had to ride our bikes home....5.4 miles at it was 8:30...we rode like the wind and got back by 9:03. It was awesome! The weather was so nice.

Yesterday we had district meeting and it was our last one for the month. We played a little game where we had to spin and then go through an obstacle course and of course I get dizzy way to easily and I turfed it on the ground. District Meeting was great. It was rainy but we rode our bikes to our appointment with a member. We talked about testimony. I'm so grateful for my testimony I have of the restored gospel. I know it's true and I know we can live with our families forever.

We also had a cool experience with our neighbor downstairs. We haven't met her yet and she hasn't been to fond of the elders living above her because of the noise level and we've been thinking of people we need to make brownies for and she was one of them. Not two seconds after thinking about making some for her I went downstairs to get something from the car and she was getting out of her car. We were able to introduce ourselves and asked her if our noise level was okay. She said it's SO much better than the Elders. We've definitely made it better with her so she's not so angry at the church. It made me so happy Gpd answered our request within a matter of minutes! He truly answers prayers.

The weather here is so gorgeous. One day you have pouring rain and then next beautiful sun and then the next a little hotter with the humidity. But I love New Jersey weather. It's incredible. I've truly seen God's beauty all around me!

I'm so grateful for this gospel. I'm so grateful for the Book of Mormon. And so greatful for our Savior Jesus Christ. I love you all so much and god bless all of you this week! Many pictures..


Sister Taylor