Monday, April 14, 2014
So! "Because of Him" Easter Initiative!
Go and read and share on all social media sites! The church is seriously upping its game on online missionary work! Sister smith and I told everyone about it yesterday after finding out about it during a correlation meeting and ended up teaching a bunch of the older members how to share links and do hash-tags yesterday, so that they could take part in this movement. This is the link to the news article, read it! The church bought the main youtube banner video for all of easter Sunday!
Mom, could you go onto my facebook and share this site and the video on it with "#Becauseofhim" at the end of the posts? Like the mormon.org page for me too! Also accept all the friend requests I've received and check my notifications so that I don't have a bazillion. :) Do this for yourself too! MISSIONARY WORK IS AWESOMENESS!!!! Also, send me more pics of the family as attachments! That way I can print them out or put them on my camera! You get tons of pictures from me, cuz I know it helps you feel not so far away. Now it's my turn :P
So yea, my 20th birthday was AWESOME!!! Got a package form Sister Fletcher, and one from ya'll's with the cards and chocolate! Loved the hamster card! Sister Smith was seriously plotting my death after the first 20 times I opened it! MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Sister Smith even got up super early and made me french toast for breakfast and the people we're living with put up decorations for me, and had a present of socks, Twix, piece of cake, and awesome sticky notes! People found out it was my birthday and sang to me left and right at church! The members who fed us that night even made me a cake! YUM!!! I've been sharing my goodies with her and Elders Hansen and Smith, because I refuse to be the only fat and happy missionary! I LOVE SHARING!!!! :P I also got my ukulele case! I totally flipped out happy when I saw that! I'm so excited! Sister Smith LOVES doing jam sessions, and I'm getting a dream come true!
Also Elder Hansen and Elder Smith have taken knitting like pros, and we've started crocheting! We all learned how to from a Sister we visit in an old folks home. We even played bingo with all the old ladies! The movies are more fact than fiction! They do take Bingo SUPER seriously. Luckily they're all too old to do much else than grumble. Hehehehe! I LOVE OLD PEOPLE!!! They get away with everything!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
If my letter is slightly random and all over, it's because I am so dead tired and have been fighting a battle all day to not fall back asleep! So far I'm winning! GO ME!!! I love my Zone here, they're awesome! The AP's for our mission are also in my Zone... luckily our AP's are awesome! Love Elder Barham and Hornberger!
Transfer calls are this Saturday, so there's a chance again that I may move again! Fun stuff! You never know what's gonna happen! So this week if you send anything that's gonna take more than 3 days to get to me after Wednesday, send it to the mission office address. That way I'll get it.
.... The Elders are playing Mixteco music right now... it's sounds like they're speaking an Asian language, but it's just a middle of nowhere village language they speak in Mexico, and they have an entire community here. Elders Hansen and Smith are Spanish speaking, but they're learning Mixteco so that they can actually teach the people here. Othello is like 85% Hispanic, it's amazing! Now we're listening to Spanish christian pop! Love it! I've been converted!
.... now back to where I left off my train of thought!
I'm sure that I've mentioned this before, but I feel like mentioning it again. I've changed SO MUCH in this past transfer (6 weeks) it's ridiculous. President Ware and I talked all about it this past Tuesday when we had interviews with him and Sister Ware. He said that Sister Smith and I are doing something awesome, because he has people calling him to say how well we're doing. It's so humbling and wonderful to hear that you're hard work is paying off and being noticed, but I don't take any credit other than the fact that I'm doing my best and allowing the Lord to guide and shape me in all things. It's only Because of Him that I'm able to do all of this. I feel so much like Ammon, for "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy. And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me". As you watch the testimony of someone else get planted and grow, it strengthens and adds to your own. All of it witnesses to you of the truth of His Gospel and of the Atonement as it applies to yourself.
I feel so happy being here! My joy is overwhelming! Even with rejections, it just makes it even special when our message is accepted. I can't and won't give up no matter how hard it is to do. The scripture that comes to mind for this right now is, "And thus we see the great call of diligence of men to labor in the vineyards of the Lord; and thus we see the great reason of sorrow, and also of rejoicing—sorrow because of death and destruction among men, and joy because of the light of Christ unto life". I just get so pumped being out here!!!! I've been having to curd my Ammon/Captain Moroni tendencies with Shiblom, who was told by his father Alma to, "Now go... and teach the word unto this people. Be sober".
.... Yes, I'm actually letting show my love of relating/likening EVERYTHING back to some gospel principle or the scriptures in this letter! Sister Smith thinks it hilarious that I do this naturally. It's not my fault that I can't help nerding-out over it all! I’m FanGirling the Scriptures!!!
Thank you for all the prayers you send my way! It all helps me get through everything difficult knowing that I have so much support from back home. You all rock!
I love ya'll's!
Quiero verte mas!
So, General Conference was AWESOME!!! General Conference on your mission is EVEN MORE AWESOME!!! Every single talk totally blew us out of the water!
So yea, this week was going to the temple, shopping trip with members, General conference, trimming monster rose bushes, and getting to hold a baby pig... just another normal week in mission-land!
So, I did absolutely love Elder Holland and all of Elder Uchtdorf's talks. Elder Packer's though was a doozy though! "for we saw Him"- their words are my words"." The Elders and us were a hilarious picture of dropped jaws!
So yeah, this week was crazy, but so spiritually filling and revitalizing. And it was all dreadfully needed! Oh, here's the song that Sister Smith and I made. I wrote it and she made it a cohesive whole. Couldn't have done it without her! Now I just need my ukulele so that we can do the music with it!
I love being a missionary!
My words of Sister MaKarony wisdom this week are to heed and act on the council and words of the Prophet and the Apostles, and GA's.
Yes, people here call me Sister MaKarony (macaroni); and I blame you gladly mother! They'll never forget Sisters MaKarony and Cheese (Smith)! The kids especially love calling me by it.
It's really funny when your mom puts things on the envelopes of the cards or letters she sends you, like S.W.A.G. or something like that, and you have to ask your companion what it stands for. Then she looks at you like you've lived under a rock your whole life (maybe... :P) and that you should already know the answer... My parents are definitely MORE with the times that I ever will be! Love ya Ma and Popsicle!
So today we went to the Temple again! The temple on your mission is awesome! Granted, I'd only been about 2 times before shipping out, but it's definitely the well of water in the dry desert world. I got the package with the family name and got to do her work in the temple today! I was so thrilled it got here in time.
It's been a strange week, we totally killed it on meeting our goals of teaching lessons to investigators, we did so many! It was awesome! We also built a mini-house for one of our investigator's kids... yes, house, with kitchen counter, doorbell, sink, pergola, etc. We actually spent two days building it. I'll email the pictures in another email.
Also, it was an awesome fast and testimony meeting on Sunday. I said opening prayer for sacrament in front of our Area of the Seventy Authority (Regional General Authority Leader), who lives in one of our wards. He's the only one in the entire mission area. Also, we had a few minutes to talk to him and his wife after the meeting. Apparently Sister Smith and I did something right, cuz President Ware texted us to say he'd called this Leader and he'd told Pres. Ware how impressed he was with us and that we were great missionaries. We were totally excited! It was awesome! It was a humbling and reassuring experience to know that someone thought we were doing the right things. Gave us a much appreciated boost.
Cuz, I've still been struggling with sleeping, but not as in sleeping until noon or something, but like 6:45 at the latest, or falling asleep before lunch. It's been a struggle, but I'm improving and striving for better! I'm being blessed already for my actions! Look up "Do" in the index. It's awesome! Totally hit it home for me. Again, not that I wasn't already working on it, but it really sunk into my heart just how vital it is and the value of what is called “Exact Obedience” (putting your trust in the Lord and following his commandments and expecting the blessing will come!) I need to put in the effort. It’s like the Lord’s version of Just "DO" it!
Well, we also had a jam out session with a member family here after dinner with them. They all play guitar and so did the 2 Elders who were also at dinner, and Sister Smith; I only sing... But we all totally rocked out with them though! Such an awesome family!
I'm still learning lots of, both, wonderful and terrible things about myself out here; and continue to be amazed at how well the Lord is able to work with “the weak things”... IT'S AWESOME!
The only time Dragons are spoken of with a positive connotation in the scriptures: Mos. 20:11.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY LEAH!!!! (I know it's not Sunday yet, but incase my card doesn't get there, anyways :P) the big 13!!! You rock baby sis! It was totally worth waiting 2 ornery brothers for you! I can't tell you how much or how hard I prayed for a little sister, but it was A LOT!!! Now I'm gonna save the rest of the gushy sentimental stuff for your card! I love ya!
There really is so much to write about, but there's so little time. I sent you a letter today that gives more detail about some of this past week, but I'm probably writing you another one to share more later :P. I'm exhausted,
Love, Sister Karony
Hi Fam! And Friends.
We're going to the Temple on Apr. 2nd, and I'd love to do endowments for one of our Russian family members again. I'm so grateful we're going, because I definitely need some answers I'm not gonna get anywhere else. In addition to that, I swear I've been reading my patriarchal blessing several times every day this past week.
... Something that just came to me is that if Braden wants to know more about what the Lord has in store for him, and the things he's been promised in life if he's faithful, he needs to go about preparing to get his. I have never been so grateful for mine than I am now. It gives me the knowledge of God's will in my life and why I need to set my goals to reach the Celestial Kingdom accordingly. It keeps me sane in this raging world of insanity that's both inside and outside my head.
I'm so tired, I feel as if I can't take another step, but I just keep walking. I can do it because I look at my pictures of Christ and remember something Elder Ballard said, "Salvation is not a cheap experience!" We will be expected to walk some sort of path of trial and pain; because Christ did it for everyone and was perfect, so we're definitely not going to have an easy time with it either. I got a temple recommend holder that says "Faith makes things possible... not easy." It's only because I not only have faith that it's true, but I know this is true and that I can do all these hard things because of my Savior. I LOVE THE ATONEMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sister Smith taught me that Ether 12:27 is a warning that most people don't recognize. And it isn't a threat, it's a promise! As I've experienced this past week. As you've probably already figured from my language so far, it's been a... hard week, to say the least. Sister Smith and I have been adjusting to being companions and how we work together. It's been going good, and we're on the same page.
However, despite the progression on that front, this last week was challenging and tiring, especially this past Sunday. We spent our time going between wards, running around like chickens with their heads cut off, without the dignity of dying; from 6:15 am to 4:30 pm straight. I'm so glad we're allowed to borrow and share the Misteco Elders' car, cuz the church buildings we go to are on opposite sides of town from each other, and we're walking Sisters. It was church and meetings all day, and I have been struggling with an inability to sleep because my mind can't stop racing at night. Sunday on your mission is not a day of rest, just crazier work. It's hilarious! ...
I have never been so exhausted physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually in my life. But I've never been happier. There's nothing more satisfying than knowing that I am doing the Lord's work, and I know He's proud of me.
The closer we come to our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ, the more He shows us our weaknesses so that we become aware of how imperfect we truly are. He humbles us and cuts us down so that what He replaces the pieces cut out with is true to who we truly are. He sticks us in the refiner's fire; and it's so that we're melted into a puddle and separates and purifies us from our impurities. It's like we're in a funnel and the farther down you go and the narrower it becomes the more you are aware of your faults; but the narrower it is the closer you are in coming unto Christ and being Christ-like.
We just had our investigator Sharlene get baptized and confirmed this past weekend. It was awesome! I've been so blessed in being involved! Even if I had ended up going home without having had anyone be baptized, even if it's all the hard and challenging with painful growth for me, it’s all worth it in the end because this was never for myself, it was always for the service for the people whom I’ve been able to learn to love. Everyone can have their mission be successful if they let it, even without baptisms. Besides, the mission might've been just to prepare me for being a better member missionary and for me to learn to trust in God.
I'm so proud of all my little brothers and sister! I'm so grateful for you and the impact you've had on my life:
Hey Alex, you should think about getting your patriarchal blessing soon, you're almost, if not already, old enough too. It changed my life for the better and it's awesome besides just that. Think about questions that you have for Heavenly Father about your life and His will, gifts, and promises for you. If you have a concern, ponder and pray about it. You'll love it!
Leah and Luka, it's never to late to start being spiritual. Joseph Smith was only a year older than you when he was called to prepare to be the Prophet of the Restoration. Start today.
Braden, I love you and think of you tons. I brag about you wanting to be a paramedic firefighter to Elder Smith (his dad's a firefighter), and about how awesome you are.
Thank you for all the letters and emails I know everyone has or will intend to write and send but don't. Life is busy, and so is missionary work. I'm uplifted by the support you give me in your prayers. Keep praying for me! I definitely need them!
I'm a minority foreign language speaker now like when I’m overseas! YEA!!! Finally! My version of normalcy! Everyone in this little town speaks Spanish, so we don't do tracting. We depend on members and the Elders for referrals. It's awesome though! My companion, Sister Smith, is the coolest! She's a classical pianist and has all the music that I could ever desire to listen to! I'm loving it! She's also really funny. Gotta love redheads! She was "born" in Hermiston too, so we have a lot to talk about with each other. She misses everyone down there.
We live in the basement of a really nice house on memory foam mattresses... MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! No more basement!
So, there's really nothing better than coming to a new area... then getting sick and sleeping for three days straight... ARGH!!!!!!! I hate you flu! Needless to say I am still sick, but am up and about even if it kills me! It's days like this that you praise the Lord for the creation of chicken noodle soup!
So coming to Othello (pronounced owe-thello) was a dream come true. The second I'd known there was an area named after my favorite Shakespeare play, I said I wanted to go there. Of course they shot my 2 week old self down without mercy with sayings like, "it's Spanish, you'll never go there." and such and such and such... SO TAKE THAT! You Debbie-Downers! I'm in Othello right now! BOOYAH!!!!!
I love you all! Thanks mom for the candy I got this past week. Don't forget my Frozen CD (could you throw in the Beauty and the Beast too? XDK), and that I love you! ;)
I loved hearing form you Luka! Keep up the good work! Can't wait to see how tall you are when I get home!
I love and miss you all! Thanks for all the support you've given me! It makes all the difference to know I have cheerleaders back home. I may be bone tired, or sick as a dog, but I'm not stopping because I know I don't have to! I love y’all's!
(The longer I'm out here the more and more my Virginian accent comes out... at least it's not Utah!!! (no offense :P hehehehe))
Keep reading your scriptures and praying! Do it as a family when you can! Remember that if you don't have time to read your scriptures and pray and go to church, you're WAY busier than God ever intended you to be!
Stay awesome ya'll's!
Mir gehts sehr gut! Wie gehts alle?
So this Saturday we got transfer calls and I'm going to Othello, WA to serve in two wards there. My new companion is Sister Smith, who was also trained here in Hermiston, OR. It's awesome! I'm so excited to be going some place new! AND I'm getting what they call "greenie-busted". I won't be the trainee anymore. (Was never really "green", and people thought I'd been out here for more than a few months :P. lol... little do they know... MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!)
I'm going to miss Sister Fletcher! She has less than 9 months left out here, so at least I'll see her around until then!
So we've just been packing today and tomorrow will be for last appointments with investigators and goodbyes. I'm going to miss everyone here dearly, they really have become "my people". So, the Oregonians are down, and NOW I'm getting the Washingtonians!!! Give President Hall and Bishop Higbee a shout out for me!!!
This past week has been a good one, but sometimes I just stop for a second and think about how crazy this whole thing is.
... I'm in Hermiston, OR... teaching people about Jesus... 24/7... HUH!??!?! ... then I shrug and we go teach an ex-drug dealer about the Restoration...
I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The members say they're going to miss me here, and our investigators were sad to say good bye. I'm definitely coming back to visit after my mission. A couple people say they'll hunt me down otherwise... don't want that!.... JK!!! but really, I love these people here a lot. I'll miss them tons!
We've got lots to do and so little time to do it all, so this letter's going to be shorter.
Ma' Fam': Read D&C 127! I couldn't stop laughing after reading this! I literally could hear Joseph Smith talking, except he sounded like he was from the hood! Not only that though, cuz it also really applies to our life. Thought that was the funniest/most serendipitous thing about it
Remember, the more Satan tries to beat you down, the more we know that we're doing something right!!!
Read and pray everyday!
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
I'M STILL ALIVE!!! XDK
This past week was exhausting. I was stuck inside for 3 days straight because of what the Doctor confirmed was walking pneumonia... CABIN FEVER!!! I was seriously bored, because you can't read scriptures 24/7, as much as I would love that, and I even started folding plastic bags into triangles like Ahnaang taught me.
Two days ago my poetry started up again and the inspiration gave me this:
Everytime that I'm called names,
Christ knows you, don't forget
I've had either walking pneumonia or bronchitis for the past 2 weeks, and it's getting worse. At first I'd thought it was allergies or a cold, but I had no fever. Mom, this is the same thing I keep having episodes of every year. When I get a sore throat and my body has no fever but everything hurts and burns. Well, at least now I have a better idea of what it is. Needless to say that I'm getting anti-biotics, stat! It's getting ridiculous!
I loved getting an email from you Luka! Thanks! Keep working hard in school! Learn how to study well, you'll need it for your mission! Also, read your scriptures, it'll help you with school. It will bless you with the spirit which will quicken your mind and make it easier to learn more and more. I love you too bro!
I told you this last week and now you get the aftermath:
So, 6pm comes around and it's dark out and we're driving down an unmarked road that our GPS's voice "Beatrice" insists is the correct one. There are deep irrigation canals on either side of this dirt road, and nothing but fields for miles around. I'm not getting any bad vibes or warnings, so I'm just shining my flashlight out the window, being a dork, whilst Sister Fletcher is freaking out reminding me that no one knows where we currently are, and oh by the way, it's dark, and we're going to see a man who somehow got our number and seems "too good to be true…" The longer we drive, the more she figures it's a serial killer and we're fresh meat. You know me though, I'm just embracing the situation for what it is, BIZARRE!!!
So, we get there and I have to help direct the car over this sketchy looking bridge and guess what, there's a pitbull sniffing me. We get across it and Sister Fletcher's planning an escape route as I'm going "Cute doggie!!!" The guy is pretty eccentric, but not harmful. He leads us behind some hedges and to the front porch of his house. We give him a Book of Mormon and pray with him. When we prayed was the only time it felt calm or normal at all. He didn't want to talk to us, he just wanted to read the materials we'd given him, and he'd call us later. He'd actually found our number in the phone book, and only ours had still been in service, and he'd tried the other 7 that had been listed before that. He REALLY wanted a book of Mormon!
Anyways, I felt so drained after that. He was so spiritually starving that it was like he'd sucked us dry! Sister Fletcher and I talked on the way back into civilization about how that would've been the stupidest thing to do if we weren't missionaries. Never do what we did if you're not on a mission! It most likely WILL be a serial killer, or something else terrible, waiting for you out there in the middle of nowhere!
Man! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!
Well, got to get going now and finish up preparation for the week! :D
Monday, February 3, 2014
So, despite being sick Tuesday, being in a car accident Thursday, and being tired all week, we persevered and still succeeded in a ton of things! We have more investigators now, almost 20, and our 2 on-dates are right on track and more enthusiastic then ever!
I didn't do any waterfalls, and promise I won't but now there's a new addition to my ever growing list of "What's tried to kill me this time?". Now I've got car accident to add to the list. Now, yes, I just said "car accident" twice. No freaking out, it wasn't our fault, and thanks to my companion who was driving and the fact that we were obeying all the laws, no one was hurt, but the passenger side of our silver Ford Fusion was broadsided by a large white pick-up truck.
It happened when we were in the left turn lane at an intersection in Hermiston, when the big truck marked with "Pendleton Electric" decided it was doing a last minuet lane change across the solid white line, whereupon the driver looked, but apparently not well enough, because he didn't see us. Next thing we know, my side is broadsided by him. Luckily we were only going about 10 mph and him like 20, so instead of hitting my door, he hit our passenger-side front fender and headlight. We pulled over into a 7-11 parking lot and exchanged information and he was very nice. I took pictures of both our cars, and Sister Fletcher opened the packet labeled "If you're in an accident, open this!" that was in our glove box. The church truly has prepared EVERYTHING for ALL our worst-case scenarios!
In the end we didn't call the police, because we didn't think of it until the next day, and
Now, on a happier, more peaceful note; there was a Mission-wide fast yesterday, and it was amazing! Our sacrament meeting was so wonderful and the spirit was really strong. Both of our on dates even got to church that day as well! People who almost never go up to bear their testimonies went up and did it, and everything said was about the Plan of Salvation and Jesus Christ. We even went us, as President Ware invited us to do, and bore simple testimonies about the Savior. People were crying, or trying not to cry left and right. Miracles!
Faith has also preceeded a multitude of other miracles! This morning we got a call from a man and he said he'd been researching our religion and really was"starving for a Book of Mormon" and that based off what he'd learned so far, "he definitely could see Joseph Smith really being a true prophet of God". He also asked if we were "Prayer Warriors" and asked if we'd pray for him and a troubled family member. He's got so much faith and we're going to see him later today. He's so eager and once he's read some more he wants to take lessons from "some of your church's representatives". Sister Fletcher says this is the first time this has ever happened to her. It's funny because I was fasting that our investigators we hadn't heard from would call us and reach out. Well, it worked!
Oh, a funny story, we went to see a part member family, and the dad, who is totally awesome and is just a character, saw that I had lipstick smeared on my cheek as we got up to go. He says "one sec" and rubs it off with his thumb. Sister Fletcher just about had a heart attack about the rules being broken, it was hilarious. I didn't care either, just thought it was funny and it would've only been awkward if I'd flipped. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! At least he didn't lick his thumb before doing that! ;P He had no idea!
This week was tough, but we're still singing and laughing!
There is joy in the Gospel!
We've got great news!!!