Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dec. 27,2011

Hello Family!!
It was so wonderful to talk to you all on Sunday! I feel like I have my battery recharged and I’m ready to go! It was definitely the best Christmas present to be able to talk to all of you! J I’m so glad I got to tell you some of my miracles face to face. . . it makes a huge difference!  So the library was closed on Monday because of the holiday, so that means I actually wrote you a snail mail letter before I wrote this e-mail, but of course you will get this long before the snail mail letter gets to you. CRAZY!! J Ha ha, life is good! I’m VERY thankful for technology!
I feel like I write everything so many times and I see so many people that if I repeat stories sometimes, I’m sorry! J Between writing you guys, President Holmes, my journal and anything else that comes up, I can’t keep it all straight!
Monday was so nice!! P-day was great! We got our apartment all clean. Christmas decorations all put away, fridge all cleaned out. . . ha ha not that it needed it or anything! ;) Then we wrote letters and I got my desk all organized. I’m trying to put all of my letters in sheet protectors and in a binder so they will stay nice, I’ve been procratsinating but finally got them all done yesterday! Nothing too exciting, just the usual cleaning, fun kind of things.
So, every Tuesday we volunteer at the Chelsea Retirement Center (CRC). Last Tuesday we went around christmas caroling. It was fun and all of the little old ladies seeemed to enjoy it. We didn’t think too much of it when they asked us to do the same thing today. We stopped by one lady, Miriam and asked if we could sing to her. She was like, “Well you BETTER!” She must have been feeling a litlle down this time of year cause she starting crying and told us “How good it was to be loved!” She told us to be sure to come back again and we assured her that we would. I think that we have made a friend for life! J They are so cute, I’m glad that we can do something to make their days a little bit happier and bring some Christmas cheer.
I loved hearing all about Christmas—I really missed having the chillens and their enthusiasm but Christmas on a mission is something very special too. It is just a wonderful day to remember our Savior and celebrate his birth.  I am excited for a new year and to be a missionary EVERY SINGLE DAY OF IT!! I can’t wait to see what miracles the lord has in store for us! We get to talk in Church on Sunday. . .  one more thing to study for! Ha ha, we are always short on study time, but that makes me so thankful for the Holy ghost to help me remember things i’ve studied in the past.
I got Naomi’s e-mail! Please tell her mom thank you!! It was so good to hear how she was doing! I also got an e-mail from Ranae Peterson- the visiting teaching letter. J It was sweet. Please tell her thank you for me!!  I still haven’t seen anything from Dona. When did she send it? Hopefully she had the right address!
Well family, I love you all!! Enjoy your Christmas Break! Hug Angela and her family for me and tell them I missed talking to them! Choose the right and all the important things! J LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!
Love Lisa

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas! Dec. 19, 2011

Dear Family,

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! I hope that you are all doing great and loving this Christmas Season, I am for sure!! It was so good to hear from all of you!! I love your smail mail letters, they are so fun!! It’s so funny to read them, then realize how slow snail mail is when I read your e-mails on Monday! Everything you talked about in your letters happened over a week ago and to you it’s ancient history! Ha ha, good times! I laughed at how Ben got asked to the dance, then in mom’s e-mail how Ben and Hannah both had a good time at the dance! That was fast! J Anyways,  your letters are the best!! I love all the little stories that you share about the chillens or YW or anything!! Ha ha, It’s so fun to realize that there really is a world outside of Chelsea Michigan where people go to school, and work and have family dinner. . . . . WOW!! IT’s crazy how it’s all the little things that I miss so much! J I can’t wait to talk to all of you in a few days! This is going to be awesome! So- here is the thing. . .  I’m trying really hard to be obedient. I know an hour is not nearly long enough, but that is the guideline.  (Actually today in our updates they told us to try to keep it to 30-40 minutes, but the white hand book says an hour, so I think we are okay on that one.) But, I think that we will have to do speaker phone and try to work something out that way!  We just can’t waste one second of our precious time!!! Oh, man!! I have missed you guys so much!!!
This season is one of the greatest for missionary work, everybody seems to be a little more charitable and willing to let us share a message about Jesus Christ. We have had some pretty awesome experiences this week!  Sister Burhnham and I stopped by a potential this week to see how the family was doing. (A potential is someone that may be interested but isn’t yet an investigator.) We drove up and the family was just getting home. At first I was really hesitant because it looked like they had company and I didn’t really want to stop. But, we did any ways!! (Ha ha, I’m getting really good at expanding my comfort zone!! It’s HARD, but slowly I can see my faith increasing.) So we walked in and the Mom (Kim) introduced us to her Son, Dakota. He is about 25 and is home from college for the christmas break. Kim explained that they were just discussing religion and said that we couldn’t have timed it better! Ha ha, it was so sweet! We had a pretty good discussion and ended up talking a lot about the plan of salvation. He is a biology major and had some doubts about the creation, ect. It was really fun to help him realize that you really can have science AND religion! It was interesting to hear what he believed and how we explained those beliefs with our religion. For example, (DI, I thought of you this WHOLE time!!! J) Dakota said that he could “create” a new species in a lab using technology from stem cells. He wanted to know how that “Creation” could have a spirit when he had just created it in the lab! We talked about the creation and how everything was created spiritually before it was created spriitually, but he couldn’t see how it had already been created spiritually if he had just barely created it physically in the lab. We left him a BOM and the Plan of Salvation Phamplet  so hopefully he will read that and they will help to answer his questions! But, if you have any suggestions on some simple doctrines that we could teach, we would love some feedback!! J

We did exchanges this week! It was so great!!!! Since I went somewhere the last time, this time I stayed in Chelsea and Sister Burnham left. I was scared out of my mind!! That meant that I would have to plan everything! I would have to say where to go, what to do, who to visit and I had to do most of the teaching because I was the one that knew the investigators! Like I said, I was so scared!!! I prayed like crazy all week long that exchanges would be a success. Well, Wednesday morning we  met up and switched. Sister Vanisi came to Chelsea with me. It was so funny!! She is from SLC and doesn’t like rural communities. So as we were driving back home, she kept looking around with a doubting look in her eye! Ha ha, I tried to reassure her and tell her how great the area was, but the only way to prove it to her was to get to work and let her experience it! J We taught a few lessons that day, did some tracting and actually. . . .  we had lunch AND dinner with Members!! Ha ha, that NEVER happens, so we were super excited!! It was great!! J So, that day at our lessons that I was so nervous for, when we got to the homes I was totally calm! The spriit was there and the lessons were great! I really listened to the holy ghost and depended on his guidance for good questions to ask, scriptures to share or experiences that would help increase our faith. It was incredible!!!  At the end of the day all I could do was give thanks to my Heavenly Father!  I did not do that on my own! There was no way that I could have done it alone!! I am still amazed, this is truly the lords work and HE will do it! All we have to do is be the one to deliver the message. <3  Since then I have seen how far I have come! This was exactly what I needed to help me expand that comfort zone a little further. I just LOVE this work so much!! It’s incredible!!
So, we had dinner last night with a member family- The Celkis family. The dad was baptised like a year ago. They were so fun!!! They actually reminded me a lot of the Parry family! J They had us all laughing all night! It was so fun to take the time and spend it with a family that has seen the blessings that  come from living the gospel! They went to the temple and were sealed a few months ago.  Families are the center of the gospel! I am so thankful for that!! We read a little quote the other day that I loved, it said, “Missionary: Someone who leaves their family for a short time so that another family can be together forever!!” It was neat to think that  even though I miss you guys like crazy, I am helping other families to be able to be together FOREVER!!! What a great blessing! I love you all so much, and I am truly grateful that we have each other for all eternity! J
 The Rowe family is doing really good. I think that Wyatt will be baptised in the next month and we are still working on Pat. He is struggling a little more and the last time we visited with him, he said he didn’t see why repentance was necessary. He said that he felt like he deserved to suffer a little for sins that he commited. We are trying to help him recognize the spirit and know that the gospel will bring him and his family peace, joy and purpose.  I guess just keep  all of us in your prayers! We need all of the help that we can get! J
So, singing was really good! Again I was super nervous. We sang Jesus was No Ordinary Man. It was great to share my testimony through song! I felt like I did my best and Heavenly Father knew that. The spirit was there and it was great to be a part of the program.
Well, guys my time is running out! We get to go bowling today with the Elders from our district so I’m not sure if you will get another letter from me or not. J Just know how much I love all of you!!! Especially this week with Christmas just around the corner I think about you all of the time!!!! I love you all more than I can express!  I will be calling Sunday night around 6:00 my time, so that is 4:00 your time. J I can’t wait!!!
Mom- I haven’t seen a letter from Dona yet, but it could be in the mail! J  We are going to a members house for dinner on Christmas and we are planning on spending the day with investigators. It will be a great day!  I wrote a thank you card to a few people just to let them know how much I loved them! The Olson famiy was one of them. J  Tell the kids thanks for the letters! I will watch for Mark's! :) Give them all a hug from me and remind them how special they are! :)


Monday, December 12, 2011

Dec. 12, 2011

Hello Family!!!

This week has been a really good one! :) We have district meeting every Wednesday, so this Wednesday the Zone leaders were there and took some time to teach us a little. They started by telling us all how great the district had done this last week! They were all excited and so proud, but then looked around at all of us and were like, "Wow guys! What's the matter?!?" None of us had felt like the previous week was that spectacular. Ha, they were trying to tell us all how great we did, and we just weren't feeling it. We had done a lot of tracing that week and didn't really feel like it was that beneficial. I guess the whole district was feeling the same way. Any ways, so we set some goals as a district and hopefully this Wednesday we will really have something to celebrate! :)

Christmas is coming right up!! It's so crazy how fast time goes out here! I get to call you in like 2 weeks!! HOORAY!! It is starting to get a little colder these days. I think that it got down to like 18 one night while we were out stopping by less actives. It was quite the adventure! There was ice EVERYWHERE and we were both all bundled up in all of the warm clothes we could find, trekking up to the doors dressed like Eskimos, in the dark, and slipping and sliding all over the ice! :) Then you have the dogs barking (EVERYBODY out here has dogs-- yup ATLEAST 2 or 3! Ha ha, you know me and dogs. . . . .  I just try to think of Dona and how they are all God's creations and we should love them. :) ) So, it's great! We are learning patient and love and really trying to enjoy the moment!

So, last night we had correlation with Bro. Wrathall, our ward mission leader. We LOVE to go to the Wrathalls!! They are so good to us. They are the ONE family that I can think of that doesn't have a dog or any other animal. So that is REALLY nice! But the Wrathalls are always just plain funny! He can get us laughing and by the end of the night, we are rolling. I love that he is funny and he doesn’t even have to try. :) Last night he was giving Sis. Burnham some pictures of her and her previous camp. He proceeded to tell her that there was only 1 good picture and in the other pictures they looked like the devil! Ha ha, Sis Wrathall was mortified; I thought she was going to fall out of her chair! We were shocked at first then couldn't stop laughing!!!! LOL. This actually sounds really lame as I'm writing it so it might have been in real life too and the only reason we thought it was funny was cause we were tired! :) The Wrathalls have 4 kids, but they are all moved out, so they love to have us over. We really love them so much! Sister Wrathall heard that we didn;t have any Christmas decorations so she rounded us up a tree, a pointsetta, and some of her decorations. SHe even made us some CD's with Christmas music!! She is the greatest!!!

I’m so glad that you all got to go to the Savior of the World! That was so good last year! I loved it!! I thought about you all day driving up there, enjoying eachother’s company and the spiritual feast that I’m sure you experienced. As missionaries we can’t usually participate in the choir because it takes so much time to practice. Our choir director Sis Taylor called Prs. Holmes to get special permission for us to sing cause they only have a choir of about 6 people!! To our surprise, Pres. Holmes said yes!!! J We were super excited!! Since then we have sung with the choir every week in sacrament meeting! We are singing on Christmas and I’m so glad that we get to! Music brings a special spirit and it’s a blessing to be able to share our talents with the ward. Sis Burnham is really good at singing and they actually gave us a duet to do! J Plus we are singing at a mission fireside this Thursday! God gives us talents and expects us to use them! I’m feeling a little inadequate, but exercising my faith and I’ve seen miracles! It’s so amazing!!!

Faith is something that I have really worked on this week! We have been challenged to baptize someone in the month of December. That would be a miracle that we have really been trying to have faith in! But more especially I felt like I was lacking. I felt a little unfocused and unsure of my self. I was reading in 1 Nephi  chapter 27 or 28 I think and found a verse that really hit me! It said something about how people go out and profess to be God’s servants but then their actions don’t align with their teachings. (We also talked about Hypocrisy in zone conference a few weeks ago.) I was thinking about all of this and realized that this was me!!! I was slacking! I felt inadequate and let those feelings get the best of me. I felt like when we were teaching, I would let Sis Burnham take the lead and then I hardly ever contributed. I didn’t feel like I knew the people well enough to put in my 2 cents. Well, this really hit me! I WAS WRONG!!!! I have been called of God, set apart and I CAN receive inspiration to know the needs of these people! I can’t do this on my own, but the Savior has promised that he will make up where we fall short.  Never before has the sentence, “With God all things are possible!” Been so real!!! After that insight, I was recommitted! I KNOW my purpose! I am here because there is someone that needs only what I can give them! If I don’t open my mouth I am failing them and myself, but more importantly I have failed my savior! I am here to represent HIM and help others to feel of HIS love! I have to step out of my comfort zone, depend on him and know that he will help me!  I hope this all makes sense! J It was such a neat learning experience, I was so excited to share it with all of you!!  I guess if nothing else, remember that Heavenly Father is REAL!!! He is another Dad and he loves you more than you will ever know!!! He wants you to talk to him and he will send blessings, answers and help in so many ways! All we have to do is open our eyes to recognize them!  One more insight: In Preach My Gospel Ch 1 it talks about how the Atonement of Christ should be the center of our teaching. When we really understand the Atonement then we are more motivated to share it with others and we will feel  like Alma, wanting everyone to have the same experience of being clean and “knowing God!” I don’t understand very much, but as I continue to learn, I can see that desire to share my knowledge with others! I really love my Savior! I love this Gospel!! I’m so thankful for this wonderful Holiday season that we have to really focus on his life, his example and his sacrifice for me! J What a wonderful time to be a missionary!! J
Well family! I love you all SUPER MUCHO!!! J I think of you all the time and pray for you every day!!! I miss you like crazy, but this is a wonderful work to be a part of!
Merry Christmas!! I LOVE YOU!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dec. 4, 2011

Dear Family!!

Hello!!! It’s so good to hear from you, like always!! J I’m so thankful for modern technology so that we can communicate so easily and quickly! It is truly a blessing! I got your Thanksgiving letters! They were so fun! It was so good to hear about your special day. Thanks for sharing it with other people!  That is one thing that I am really so grateful for, is people who are willing to open their homes to strangers and allow them to share in the joy of their families! Families are so special!!! YOU GUYS ARE JUST THE GREATEST!!! OH. .. . . I JUST LOVE YOU!! <3
So, this week has been crazy busy like always! We did exchanges this week and I went to Ann Arbor, and stayed with Sister Hoops.  Sister Hoopes is over 3 college campuses and so we got to talk to A LOT of students! J It was so great! It was really nerve wracking at first, but then I learned to love it! Ha ha, I’m sure it was hilarious to watch two sister missionaries try to run down all of these college students and talk to them about their religions! I was laughing at us the whole day! LOL it was so good.  Sister Hoopes’s Mom served in the same mission as Dad!! We figured it out and think that their times might have overlapped a little, so Dad, Do you know a Sister Jamielyn Harmon from your mission? J She was from Provo. I’m not sure if you know her or not, but that would be so COOL! J Sister Hoopes and I had a great time! It was super fun and a good change for a day! J I will write more about our adventures in our other letter! J
So, quick little fun story, This week we were visiting members in our area. We went to stop by the Freddenburg family. This family was so AWESOME!!! Ha ha, the Mom is the baby of 17 kids!!!!! They have 6 kids and one on the way (Which is HUGE out here!) They were so awesome!!! I told them about all of you and they were shocked, there was an instant bond and we could have chatted all night!! Ha ha, they wanted to know how we stored food (I told them about our potato pits and I think Sister Freddenburg wanted Bro, Fred. Out there right then to start digging!!) They asked about how we did laundry and kept everything organized and what we cooked and how we cooked and EVRYTHING!! We were only there for like 30 minutes, but it was so fun! The kids reminded me so much of home! They were so cute! Then they offered us a drink of apple cider. At first they were a little hesitant and Bro, Fred. Explained that they had pressed the apple cider themselves and it was kind of an acquired taste. I just laughed and told them how we did the same thing!!! Ha ha, I think he about fell off of his chair!!! It was so good to see the gospel alive and thriving in a family out here, just like back home! What a tender mercy. Sometimes I feel like all we see is broken homes and sad stories, but the gospel is a happy thing and our message can bring a total transformation. It’s such a miracle! I love it!!! J
Last night, after listening to the Christmas fireside, I felt so much better! That is something that Sis Burnham and I have been really trying to focus on not just this Christmas season, but through our time together. I feel like our main focus has really had to shift. We have learned some things, seen miracles and realized that the only way to do this work is through LOVE! J We had an amazing Zone Conference and talked about how when we can help the person we are talking to feel the spirit and God’s love for them, then that is where the change of heart comes in! We have tried different door approaches and have seen that it really does make a difference! One person in particular; We stopped by one of our investigators homes. His name is Mike, he is like 60 and we have been trying to help him quit smoking and progress to baptism.  It has been really hard and just one thing after another! This week we tried to stop by, tried to call and could NEVER get hold of him!! We were so worried! Last week when we were there he gave us all of his tobacco, all of his lighters and ash trays and EVERYTHING! He really wanted to quit somking and we felt like he was moving in the right direction. We usually see him 2 times a week and that seemed to help. But, like I said, this week we lost him! We worried and prayed and did everything we could think of, then finally Saturday night when we stopped by, he answered the door!! We were so relieved, but soon our worries were confirmed, there on the table was a new pack of tobacco, new lighter and everything. We were devastated!  We tried to teach him and his girl friend about the restoration, but he was so agitated that he couldn’t even focus! When we tried to read, pray or sing he literally could not function. Finally he took some medicine and was able to calm down a little, but when we left him that night we were very discouraged. He had been making so much progress, but then he back tracked majorly! He said he would come to church the next day so we called to remind him, but he didn’t answer. We kept praying and hoping that he would show up, but never did. We were in his neighborhood that evening so we stopped by. This visit was 10 times better than the night before! We shared a short message about Christmas time being a time to recognize the Savior and all that he has done for each of us. We each bore testimony of this and invited Mike and his girl friend, Linda to come to the First Pres. Devtional. They said that they would be there! We were absolutely delighted when they actually showed up!!! J J J They seemed to enjoy it and feel the spirit. It was humbling to remember that these are God’s children! I’m here to help them feel of that love and come closer to Jesus Christ. It doesn’t do me any good to get discouraged, but I need to exercise greater faith in Christ and trust that he will help me to be a better servant, to discern needs of his children and to help me to love them as I know he loves them! My goal this week is to count my blessings, live every minute to the best of my ability, trust in the Lord and LOVE everybody!  I know that my Heavenly Father lives, that he knows each of his children and loves them more than we can comprehend!!! I’m so happy to be a part of this work to help others feel of this immense love! 

Well, family! I have so much to tell you!! J I can’t wait to talk to you on the phone in a few weeks. I think that we will be calling about 6:00 my time. (So that would be like 4:00 your time. J) Does that work?? If not let me know, we can switch it up. We are pretty flexible right now, we are just trying to plan ahead!  I think that the rule is that I need to stick to about an hour! I know that is not very long, and I really struggled with that at first, but I know that with obedience come blessings!! J J I don’t think it’s too big of a deal, but I did want to let you know.  I am super duper excited to hear all of your beautiful voices!!! J
I love you guys so much!!! Thanks for the letters, that’s my favorite time of the day!! I did finally get my quilt, so THANK YOU!!!  I will write more and get some snail mail coming! LOVE YOU THE BESTEST!

P.S. I like the Christmas idea and I think I know just what to do with the money! Let me know when I can expect it and how much. I have the perfect family in mind. I’m sure they will really appreciate it.
For Christmas I would LOVE a new skirt and maybe a hat!! (I wear mine all of the time!)