Monday, September 28, 2015

Southern Hospitality!


First off, my Zone Leaders say hello to y'all!

This week I have learned the true meaning of exhaustion. I could have slept on my coffee table on some nights, but that only means Sister Harrison and I are working hard and that's such a great feeling! 

As Sister Harrison and I go out tracting, we always come across neighborhoods we had no idea existed. Flowood seems to be constantly building neighborhoods -- I'm not sure I can knock on all of these before I get transferred! What a challenge that would be! 

The people here in Flowood are so hospitable. It's so crazy! The ward members are the same way. Our fridge is full of food from dinner appointments and ward get-togethers. Everyone always finds the missionaries afterwards and hands us bags and platefuls of food. I now see why everyone warned me about gaining weight while I was in the south...ha! 

Despite the hospitality, it's been a bit of a trying week. We received a lot of no-thank-you's this week. Some people don't show up to their appointments. Some people have said, "I just can't go Mormon!" Which makes me laugh for a while, but it also just makes me so sad. I've stated before that we aren't here to "make people Mormon." We're here to bring others closer to Jesus Christ. We are not trying to convert people to a church -- we're trying to convert people to the Savior. 

This message that we're carrying is the most important message on the earth today. That's what gets me up at six in the morning. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ; I am His representative because He cannot be here on the earth right now. When I'm reading about His ministry in the New Testament, it always astonishes me how Christ makes every moment into a "missionary moment." He knew the importance of His message, and He knew the joy and happiness that that would bring to every person He spoke to. We strive to do just the same as missionaries. Being out here has made me begin to understand the magnitude of eternity. This gospel is not empty stories. It is not a false message. It is not a scam; it is your eternity. It is the most joyous, uplifting, beautiful thing you could ever hear today, tomorrow, and forever -- so why not share it?

There is a less active woman in my ward who cannot come to church because her husband has her go to his church. Every time we visit her, she tells us how much she wants to go to church. She follows the gospel to the letter and she shares it with everyone she meets. She told us about the trials in her life, and then expressed deep, emotional pain about her situation to us. While she was talking to us, my heart just broke. I have discovered that so many people feel lonely. They feel that there is no one to turn to and no one to listen; no one is there who understands; trials come, they endure, and yet nothing seems to get better. I want to testify to all who are reading this that your Heavenly Father knows your situation. He knows what you're going through. He knows exactly what is in store for you, and He has given us His Only Begotten Son, who bled from every pore and withstood immense physical and emotional pain so He could extend His hand to you and say, "It's okay. You will be alright." 

The trials we have here are so small and meager compared to the joy and beauty that awaits us in eternity. If we turn to the Book of Mormon and find Alma chapter 36, we read when he is speaking to his son Helaman, he talks about how he was able to overcome his transgressions, pains, and afflictions through Christ, and in verse 20, it reads, "And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!" This verse speaks volumes to me. Alma's joy so greatly exceeded every pain he had that he forgot all of it. It didn't matter anymore because he was happy. And to all those who are reading this, I promise that the same is in store for you. We are all heirs to a beautiful, marvelous kingdom of happiness if we desire and strive for it. Whatever is afflicting you right now, it is temporary. It is mortal. It is not forever. You can be happy. You will be happy. Happiness is there for you, and your Heavenly Father is waiting to give it to you. Just ask. 

Sister Harrison and I had the privilege of seeing this happiness this past Friday as the Brandon Ward welcomed a new member named Vivian! The elders out in Forest found and converted her. She was baptized and confirmed this weekend, and she has such a sweet spirit. The first time I met her at church, I asked how she liked it, and she gave me the biggest smile and said, "Oh I love it! I just want to shout and jump for joy and give everyone a hug!" What a sweetheart!! And after she was baptized, she kept saying, "I did it!" 

She also said something particularly wonderful that's stuck with me. The bishop was welcoming her to the ward, and she said, "I did it. Through God's grace, I did it." She said it so humbly and so confidently. A sweet feeling fell over the room, and I couldn't stop smiling. I am so excited for her, and I am also excited for all who are discovering the beauty and peace of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. 

There are many other people Sister Harrison and I have begun teaching. I encourage all of you to pray for missionary experiences and share your testimony with those you know. Pray to know the truth and weight of the restored gospel, and I know that if you do so with sincerity and with faith in Christ, you will know of its truth through the Holy Ghost. 

Don't be afraid of what you know. Godspeed! See you next week!

Sister Rose

BEHOLD! The Beautiful Scenery in Flowood!

I took a picture of the card my mom sent me because it's just the best thing ever :) 

I have a bike, courtesy of Sister James! So, thank you, Sister James (if you ever see this)! She left this bike here when she went home to "give away." So, this bike was given to me, and it's so wonderful! 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Being Taught While You're Teaching

That awkward moment when you're pretty sure you have the First Vision memorized, only to start reciting it in a lesson and realize you're totally screwing it up. 

That definitely happened to me this week. Whoops! 

Hello, everyone! 

Mississippi's weather is totally crazy! It's rainy today, which will make tracting much more fun. This past week has been super hot. I'm getting really sick tanline, but that's all I can say that I enjoy about this heat. Sister Harrison and I don't talk about it much, since we both know we don't like it. The members here just laugh at me and say that I'll be in for a surprise next summer! 

I made a new friend this week! Her name is Sister Winkle, and she is so much fun! She's an STL from Diamonhead, which is in the Gulfport area of Mississippi. She loves books and poetry and writing as much as I do, and she has a beautiful testimony. She's going to change so many lives (and probably has already)! She and her companion, Sister Gary were coming to Brandon for a leadership thing with the president, so they asked if they could stay with us Flowood sisters for the night since it's such a long drive and we're close to Brandon. As it turns out, Sister Winkle's companion was Sister Harrison's trainer! Which makes her my mission grandma! And get this: we have the SAME NAME! Our first names are spelled the same, and my last name is her middle name! What are the odds of that! If she sends me the photos we all took, I'll send them! She and Sister Winkle are just so much fun! I hope I can see them again before they go home.

 This week, we went on exchanges with the Jackson Sister Training Leaders! Meaning, I spent Monday night and the majority of Tuesday in Jackson with Sister Hueston and her companion, Sister Moffet, spent all that time with my companion! 

It was so fun seeing the difference between Jackson and Flowood. We talked to some amazing people (that I'll probably never see my dismay!) while we were out. People out here can be so open and willing to talk to us about our faith, and I know it's the Spirit trying to push them toward the truth. Even if someone doesn't react right away, I know we're planting seeds that will grow into something divinely inspired and amazing. 

I've seen this principle throughout this entire week, especially in investigators who have fallen through and told us the gospel isn't for them, even though we've felt the Spirit when talking to them. That's okay. God loves all of His children, and He knows they accept the gospel in their own time, or that they won't. But they'll all have the opportunity to hear it, whether it be here or afterwards. As missionaries, we do our very best to make sure everyone gets the chance to hear it here. While it breaks my heart that those people didn't want to continue learning, it warms my heart to know that the Lord loves them all the same, today, tomorrow, and forever.

I would also like to testify that missionaries are called of God to preach His gospel to the nations. We are sent to your doors because that's where the Lord wants us. While Sister Harrison and I were tracting this week, we came across this man named Larry who was sitting in his garage trying to cool off since his A/C broke. We walked up to him and all Sister Harrison said was, "We're missionaries, and we go to people and talk to them about the loving message of our Savior Jesus Christ." And he almost lost it. He immediately began telling us how sweet we were, and then told us that he'd been worried that Christ and Heavenly Father didn't love him, and that he was lost, and like he was forgotten. But us coming to him and saying hello and talking to him about Christ meant that no, he wasn't forgotten, and yes, he was still loved. 

You are all loved children of God. Don't forget that. 

We met a lot of other people this week, too. Some people seriously do not want to hear our message, and I've started laughing a little at some rejections after we leave their doorstep. Some people want to just talk to us about believing and what our purpose is, even if their viewpoint isn't religious. It's fascinating to hear others' take on our purpose. Some people are very open to hearing our message, and that's awesome! The people here are very inquisitive. I love their questions. They make me wonder about and see the gospel from a whole new perspective! It's awesome! 

As a new missionary, it's very easy to get caught up in wanting to be perfect, especially if you already set high standards for yourself. Being out here has taught me that I won't be perfect at everything, and that's okay. Learning takes time, and the Lord is teaching me to have patience with myself and how I learn and teach. I think it's important for all missionaries to learn that. If any new missionaries are reading this, know that it's okay if you struggle while you're studying, or teaching, or talking, or with everything -- we don't grow if we don't struggle. Embrace it! Love it! And push forward knowing that even if you weren't awesome today, you can always do better tomorrow, and remember you're always awesome if you're doing your absolute best. 

This letter is shorter than the last one, and I promise it isn't because this week has been terrible. Every week comes with its trials and problems, but the Lord trusts us with those and knows we can handle them. If He knows I can handle it, then I have no reason to think I can't. The same goes for y'all, too. 

You're all wonderful children of God, and He always has you in mind. I'll talk to you next week! 


Sister Rose

Us with the STL's! From left to right: Sister Hueston, Sister Moffet, Sister Harrison, and ME! 
The sunset was so pretty while we were out looking for service! I thought I'd take a photo. There were lots of trees in the way.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Photos from the First Week in Mississippi

There's a quote wall in our apartment! It's full of gospel quotes and funny things the missionaries have heard and said. Here are some I've liked! 

Here's a map of our area in Flowood! 
This is on our front door as we leave! Good reminders :) 
This was in the front lawn in a neighborhood we were tracting in. A lawn service does this! Ha! 

Flowood has some beautiful places around the neighborhoods! 

Flowood has some beautiful places around the neighborhoods! 

So, this was a spider outside of an investigator's home. 

I wanted to cry when I saw it. It's huge

Miracles in the First Week!

Check it out! I've made it an entire week in Flowood, Mississippi! Isn't that crazy? Coming off the plane already seems like an eternity ago. So much has happened already! Let's see if I can remember it all. 

First, let me breakdown some missionary lingo: 
Area: a collection of zones, or places where missionaries serve. For instance, I am currently in the Jackson Area.
Zone: a collection of districts in an Area headed by Zone Leaders (who are just Elders serving in that Zone).
District: a group of missionaries from different parts of the same place. For instance, my district is made up of missionaries from Flowood, Forrest, Pearl, and Brandon. 

My first day here was exhausting, but also a testament of why I wanted to be here. Whenever the Mississippi Jackson Mission is doing transfers, all of the missionaries going to new areas meet at the church building in Brandon. They come in busloads, put their luggage in the room that has the name of their new area on it, and leave with their respective companions and buses and go change lives elsewhere. Since I was remaining in the Jackson area, I hung out at the church building for a rather extensive period of time since Flowood was maybe a half hour drive away. HOWEVER, while I was waiting, I saw Sister Hill! If y'all don't know who she is, I roommed with her in college a few semesters ago. I was there when she opened her mission call, and at the time I wasn't even considering serving. It's crazy that we ended up in the exact same mission! She's such a sweetheart. It was good to see a familiar face after being thrown into something so new and unfamiliar. I wish her well finishing out her mission in Hattiesburg! 

After we met one another and the other Mississippi Sisters, Sister Harrison took me grocery shopping! Which I was so excited to do, especially once we found out we eat the same way! Meaning, we both eat copious amounts of kale and spinach, chicken, fish, broccoli, brussel sprouts, avocados...all of the green things, basically. She and I are very like-minded, and she's such a sweetheart. Even as I'm typing this now, I know that the Lord answered my prayers for a good first companion. Sister Harrison is better than good -- she's amazing! 

While we were checking out, the cashier noticed our name tags and asked if we were nuns! We smiled and said no, and explained that we were missionaries. We ended up giving him a pass-along card (which is a little card that has our phone number and the address of the church on it) and inviting him to church! 

The following day, I met my district! Sister Harrison and I are the only sisters in the whole district, so they treasure us. We got a new district leader the same day I came into the district, though! So I wasn't the only one who was new (although, he's been serving for fourteen months...). I don't see the Elders much, but they're a fun group to be with when we're all together! 

I've learned that I love tracting, even after lessons and appointments fall through. Around here, people ask you to come back, but don't usually answer the door. This has been a hard area to work, according to Sister Harrison, but every soul is worth so much in God's eyes, and I know He wants everyone to have a chance to hear about the fullness of the restored gospel. So, I'm going to share and spread it as far as I can. 

There are a couple of instances while tracting I feel impressed to share. The first isn't very fun. We knocked on a door, and this old woman answered. She poked her head out, and zeroed in on me. Without a hello, she asked what we wanted. Something inside me twisted, and I felt a little sick to my stomach all of a sudden, but I pushed up a smile and told her we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We simply shared that we wanted to talk to her and her family about a message of the restored gospel through the Book of Mormon, but she didn't seem to be having any of it. Sister Harrison tried to pitch in and talk, especially when the woman kept giving us short answers. There was another woman behind her, maybe her daughter, who opened the door some more and said, "We appreciate what y'all do, but we're Baptist here." And turned around, throwing her arms up in the air like we had ruined her day (and some part of me feels like maybe we had). 

Sister Harrison was trying to touch on the Atonement, and I vividly the remember the old woman looking at her and saying, "Yes. Through Jesus Christ." And right in the middle of Sister Harrison's sentence, slammed the door and left us standing there on her porch in stunned silence. 

I knew door slams were going to happen. It was just odd to see it happening in real life. Sister Harrison said that that hadn't happened to her yet, but that it wasn't unheard of, and she'd felt like the Spirit hadn't wanted us to be at that door at all. I agreed, and I still do. There are some doors that we knock on that immediately I get a feeling of, "No. Not here. Not yet." 

That experience had me a little down for the rest of the day. And as we continued through the neighborhood, I kept wondering how on earth I was going to do this. Our lessons from earlier in the week hadn't gone too well, and so far everyone who had answered the door had simply said, "No. I'm not interested." Or they told us a run-down of their faith, what they like about their church, and so on. Most of the time people are kind, but it was starting to get to me when I was so ready to start sharing. 

I started saying a silent prayer that we'd find someone, just one person. We were nearing the end of our tracting time since storm clouds were starting to move in, and as we were heading back to the car, I said, "Let's try one more door." Sister Harrison liked that idea, and suggested we try some potential investigators she and her last companion had found on one street over. I had agreed, but as we were walking, I was looking at the houses we were passing and everything in me was drawn to one particular house. It was smaller than the rest, and the bricks were a little different. Leaves were scattered all over the lawn and the driveway, and there didn't seem to be any lights on, but something inside me said, "There. Go there." 

I told Sister Harrison that, and she and I went to the door. We rang the door bell, no answer. We knocked four times and nobody came to the door. My heart was just breaking! I felt so guilty, like maybe I had completely misinterpreted a prompting and embarrassed my trainer, and like I didn't know what I was doing all of a sudden. 

Reluctantly, we left the front door. But as we reached the end of the lawn, Sister Harrison suggested we pray. So we stopped, folded our arms, and did just that. 

Right as she ended it, rain started falling on half the street in front of us (yes, just half!) and I immediately began fishing for my umbrella. Sister Harrison turned back to me to help, and right as she did, she saw a truck pull into the driveway of the house we'd just knocked on. Umbrella over our heads, we hurried over and began talking to man named John, who's a physical trainer and very, very kind. He didn't know anything about the Book of Mormon, but he said he'd happily try to read it, and we said we'd come back and see him. 

That, my friends, was a miracle. 

Things like this happened sporadically throughout the week. Sometimes our day wouldn't have a miracle like it, but we're planting seeds, and that in itself is a miracle. 

I want to tell y'all that your Heavenly Father hears your prayers, and completely understands the desires of your heart. As I have prayed to find people to talk to, they have come, even just in the first week. When I don't feel like I can do this, I can, but only because my Heavenly Father listens and cares and gives me the guidance I need to help those people who are missing the love and blessings that come from the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. 

This is getting pretty long, so I'm going to try and keep everything after this short-ish. While we were out tracting yesterday, this car drove by us and came to an immediate halt. We thought they were going to stop and talk to us, but instead they turned around and zoomed the other way. Thinking nothing of it, Sister Harrison and I kept knocking on doors and walking as planned, until that same car came back and met us at the bottom of someone's driveway. Out of the car stepped a boy who was maybe sixteen, and he was wearing a cross necklace. With a smile, he handed us two water bottles and said, "Thank you for doing the Lord's work. We really appreciate what y'all do!" I wanted to cry! That was so kind and so selfless! Oh man! Miracles, my friends! MIRACLES! 

We met with a family Sister Harrison has previously taught, just to see how they're doing. We gave them a children's Book of Mormon, which their seven year-old daughter immediately ate up. She sat down in her little chair, opened it up, and after Sister Harrison shared a scripture, began reading how the Book of Mormon came to be. 

Never before have I felt such a sweet Spirit enter the room. Even as this little girl tripped over words like "Moroni" and "Urim and Thummim" the Spirit drifted around the room like a gentle blanket, offering a quiet sense of peace and joy, like Christ was sitting on the couch beside me with a grin of pride on His face, listening to a child read about His gospel being restored to the earth. 

Don't underestimate the small testimony children have. Children are closer to our Heavenly Father than we are right now. He has such a pure love and gentleness for little ones, and I saw that in another family that we found while tracting. They're the Griffins, we found out. When we first knocked, a little girl squinted at us through the blinds and shouted for her dad, who then asked who was at the door, which got a, "IT'S TWO WOMEN?!" from the little girl. Sister Harrison and I just about died laughing! It was so funny! 

They answered the door and introduced themselves. They're a Catholic family, and they were cleaning out toys to either sell or give away. Their little girl shouted, "I want to give it to charity!" when her mom told us that. We then met their little boy, who is the sweetest little thing on this earth. He has a muscular condition that I cannot spell for the life of me, but it's rare and he's having surgery for it in a couple of weeks. Keep him in your prayers please! 

This family was so sweet as they listened to us talk. I felt impressed to talk about how the Book of Mormon helps us understand and feel more of Christ's love, and that we want to share that with everyone we see. They agreed to take a copy of the book, and we're going to check in on them in a couple of weeks. 

I have had such an amazing first week here in Flowood. I wish I could tell you more, but that would be a novel! The Lord is watching out for me and my companion, but He is especially watching out for the people we teach and talk to. Everyone is a child of God and deserves to know how much He loves them, and I can't wait to keep sharing that. 

Have a good week, y'all! 

(Photos up next!)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

More photos from the MTC!

just our district with President and Sister Menlove. I miss them all so much! 

We went on another temple walk, so this first one is our Zone with President and Sister Menlove! 

Sister Maughan giving me a wonderful pose! She should be in the Louisiana part of our mission right about now in the Shreveport area.

Sister Farley!! Ah!! She should be in Arkansas by now. She's such a sweetie!
Elder Cunningham! Who should be in Salt Lake City-South as of Tuesday morning!
My last mountanous sunrise for eighteen months! I miss that so much!
I took a photo of the clouds on the plane :'D I slept most of the ride, but I almost forgot to mention that we flew over Grand Junction on our way! The pilot announced it and I got VERY EXCITED!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Hello, humans!

I successfully made it to Mississippi! Wow! I was so exhausted yesterday! You have no idea! 

The south is so different from my wee desert in Colorado. There are trees everywhere. They make up for the severe lack of mountains. Not to mention, I can see the sun a lot more clearly, which makes the mornings and the evenings all the more beautiful. I am so excited to serve here, even if I'm already drowning in humidity! 

The missionaries here say that we're coming at just the right time by way of weather. It's less humid (hilariously) and, as one of the Elders in my new district put it, "It's only ninety degrees!" 

President Olson (our mission president here) and Sister Olson both said that the weather was supposed to cool down here in the next couple of weeks, which I'm excited for! I love cool weather, ESPECIALLY the fall! I can't wait to see what all these trees look like once we hit October. 

I had some anxieties about being here the other night. I've been worried about my abilities as a missionary, and whether or not I'm capable of doing these things for the Lord. But, I've been called for a reason. All of the missionaries have. People are not called because they know every scripture and understand every line of doctrine. Missionaries are called because the Lord has set them aside and trusts them to teach their brothers and sisters about His love and His grace. I and the other missionaries called everywhere in the world are serving for a reason, and I hope to share with y'all what those reasons will be when I know them. 

OKAY! SO! While I was typing this, I met my new companion! Whoa! Her name is Sister Harrison! We'll be serving in Flowood, which is in the Brandon ward here in Mississippi. It's one of the wealthier areas, apparently, so Sister Olson told me that I'd have to find some way to get the people there to listen since they're so busy with themselves and don't realize they're missing something. 

We'll see what happens! 

I'm so excited to be here. I can't even tell you all how truly excited I am to finally begin being a messenger of the Lord. I am so blessed to be able to share His gospel, and to even have His trust to share it and carry it. 

I hope you're all doing well! Let me know if I can do anything for anyone while I'm here!

Love you all!

Sister Rose

Saturday, September 5, 2015


Hello, humans!

Whenever missionaries are about to leave for the field from the MTC, we're allowed to have a sort-of P-Day the day before we leave. However, I leave on a Monday, which would mean my P-Day is Sunday. But that's the Sabbath! So I'm packing and writing e-mails and doing laundry today as my P-Day, which is why you get two e-mails from me this week. 

I would like to start off by saying Sister Maughan's mom seems to have found my blog! As I know my mom will be posting these weekly e-mails to that blog, I'd like to say hello, Sister Maughan's mother! Your daughter is a wonderful companion, and very sweet! You did a great job. 

Oh! There was one thing I forgot to mention last week! We got zone callings last week, and my companions and I were called as Sister Training Leaders. This means we help new sisters coming into the MTC adjust and we also teach lessons at church! 

We received two new companionships in our zone this week! They're all such sweet girls, and one of them is even from Colorado! They're excited about the gospel, and definitely ecstatic to be at the MTC. Two of them are going to North Dakota, and the others are going to Canada! Wow! I'm so excited for these sisters and the blessings they're about to receive!

Speaking of blessings, this week proved to be tougher than the last. It went by so quickly, and I've struggled with some things I'm learning; and as I get closer and closer to leaving for Mississippi, I have a lot of worries about what is going to happen while I'm serving. 

BUT, I have (had. She's getting married, so she left us early. BUT SHE'S MOVING TO MISSISSIPPI) a teacher named Sister Wiser. She's been such a testimony builder over the past few days since Brother Ahlstrom left class (I mentioned that last time, right? I forget. It's all a blur). On her last day with us, she asked us to write down the fears we have about serving a mission. Needless to say, there were a lot. Things like, not knowing enough about the gospel, getting rejected, losing motivation, losing faith, and so on were thrown up onto the whiteboard. While Sister Wiser wrote, she just nodded and smiled, like she had expected all of this. 

She then had us begin a new list: blessings we get from serving a mission. 

Things like, love, compassion, energy, knowledge, strength, faith, and so on were thrown onto the board. When we were done, she turned to us and had us look up Doctrine and Covenants 67:1-3. (For my non-member friends, Doctrine and Covenants is a book of revelation that was given to us by the first prophet of our Church in the Latter-days.) It reads: 

"Behold and hearken, O ye elders of my church, who have assembled yourselves together, whose prayers I have heard, and whose hearts I know, and whose desires have come up before me. / Behold and lo, mine eyes are upon you, and the heaves and the earth are in mine hands and the riches of eternity are mine to give. / Ye endeavored to believe that ye should receive the blessing which was offered unto you; but behold, verily I say unto you there were fears in your hearts, and verily this is the reason that ye did not receive." 

This was such a straightforward answer to all of my prayers about my fears and my insecurities and my infirmities as a missionary. I am not perfect, nor will I ever be in this life, and I have concerns about my family, friends, my insecurities, and so on. But if I do not fear what is about to happen, and if I push forward knowing that my Heavenly Father has everything worked out, then I have no reason to fear. I have no reason to doubt what is ahead of me. I have been given so many promises, and my brothers and sisters reading this, so have you. 

My stay here at the MTC has had plenty of ups and downs over the past week. My companions and my district and I have grown so close. The Elders can be distracting sometimes, but we really do have some strong testimonies in district 64-B. I'm going to be sad when I leave them. My time here just flown by, and I can't believe I leave in two days. If any of you are considering a mission -- or if any of you already have your calls and aren't sure how you're going to make it through the MTC, just remember to make it till Sunday, and you'll be in the field before you know it. Even if your companion(s) sucks, even if you don't know what you're doing, even if you can't learn your language, even if you can't sleep or eat -- you can make it. Just remember why you're there, take a breath, and press on. 

I leave for Mississippi on Monday at 3:00AM. It will be hot. It will be sweaty. It's supposed to be 99 degrees when I land in Jackson. It will be gross, but I will be spreading the love of Jesus Christ to everyone I meet. The Lord has touched my life, and it is because of Him that I am proudly serving in the south. I cannot tell you how truly grateful I am to have this opportunity to serve my Heavenly Father. 

I'll try and send some photos if I have time today! I love you all, and I hope that everyday is lovely and fantastic for you! Find every reason to smile, and if you haven't found one yet, shoot me an e-mail and I'll be sure to give you a huge list of reasons to make the corners of your mouth twitch. 

I love you all! Godspeed!

Sister Rose

We had two birthdays in our district this week! Up first is Elder Cunningham, our district leader, who turned 19! So we drew him a cake on the board, and he blew out the candles. c: 

the next birthday we had was Elder Webster's! Who is also 19! (I'm the oldest in our district, which is so weird!) We sisters thought this was a fitting way to celebrate 

I also drew a cartoon Elder Webster and his companion, Elder Clark. Elder Webster is going to play football for ASU when he gets home, so he has some intense arm muscles that Elder Clark jokingly squeezes now and again to annoy him, so I thought I'd capture that in the drawing. ;)

It's a tradition at the MTC to take a photo next to the world map and point to your mission. I am pointing at Jackson, Mississippi!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Greetings, humans!

 HELLO! WOW! I have an hour to type this out, and I just have so much to say!

Let me just start off by saying that the Missionary Training Center has been mindblowingly amazing since Day 1. Since being here, I've heard so. many. languages. Which include: French, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog, Mandarin, Korean, and a bunch of other languages I have no idea how to recognize?!?!! I hardly had time to adjust to all of these new things happening at once. The MTC's methods are similar to that of throwing a frog into a pot of boiling water...but I won't die. Promise. ;) Upon arrival at the MTC, I received my name tag, which is the moment that stuck out more to me than anything else on the first day. Actually seeing "Sister Rose" just above my Savior's name has been the moment that I've clutched to since coming here. 

Usually here at the MTC, every missionary has a companion who must be with them 24/7. And I literally mean 24/7. Upon arrival, I met Sister Maughan (pronounced "mon." It's great if you use a Jamaican accent), who was serving in the same mission as me, and was assigned to be my companion!! What are the odds?!?!! Sister Maughan is from Cache Valley, Utah, which is just by Logan, Utah. She's 5'10" and three quarters, a little quiet, but so very sweet and funny and VERY good at finding scripture references! 

I then met my next companion -- that's right! I'M PART OF A TRIO! Her name is Sister Elliott. She is such a sweetie, and SO FUNNY! She's from Washington -- and not the burning part, she always adds. She has such an amazing testimony of the gospel and it's beautiful to hear when we're teaching as three. 

We are the only sisters in our district, which is fine when you have such amazing Elders like we do! They're all such children since they're all 18 :'D. In our district (I'll send photos!), we have Elder Ravsten and Elder Ray, Elder Cunningham and Elder Reams (these four are serving in the Salt Lake City-South mission and COULDN'T BE MORE EXCITED ABOUT IT), and then we have Elder Webster and Elder Clark, who are both going to be serving in the Mississippi Jackson mission with we three sisters. We leave for Mississippi on September 7th (AH!) at 3:30AM!

I could tell you about all of the amazing Elders and Sisters up here, but there are just so many. We've met so many amazingly, spiritually strong individuals who love the Savior and His gospel as much as we do, and I couldn't be happier here (although I think I'll be happier when I'm in the south....). 

On our third day, they immediately threw us into teaching by having our teachers pretend to be investigators that they actually taught on their missions. Brother Ahlstrom was playing Ivan, who was showing some interest in the gospel, but wasn't entirely sure if God existed. We only got two lessons in before Brother Ahlstrom had to LEAVE! BECAUSE CLASSES STARTED AT BYU! UGH! RUDE! So now we're teaching our NEW teacher, who is playing a girl from her mission she served a year ago. This girl's name is Mina, and so far she seems very, very sweet, and I cannot wait to bring her unto Christ. 

On our sixth day here, the MTC throws us into the TRC (Teaching Resource Center), where we learn how to teach real investigators. Well, some of them are real, and others are sometimes members who are pretending to be investigators. We don't know which is which so we go in believing they all have no idea what we're about and begin teaching according to their needs. 

There is one investigator we taught yesterday, actually, who helped me truly understand the meaning of my purpose as a missionary.They challenged us to memorize it, so: "Our purpose as missionaries is to bring others unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." 

The woman we taught's name is Inna (ee-nah). She's from the Ukraine and is about our age and was adopted by an LDS family five years ago. We figured she wanted to learn more about the church, but as we got to talking, we discovered she had absolutely no interest in the LDS Church and simply wanted to know more about Jesus Christ and God. Which is exactly what we, as missionaries, are supposed to do. 

Converting doesn't matter, my friends. Baptisms are not the goal. Baptisms are a small step in being completely converted unto the Lord. The first thing we must have is the want to know our Heavenly Father and our Savior, and then build our faith in them. I know that these are the first steps to feeling the purest, most unconditional love you will ever feel in your entire life. I have felt it, and I know my companions and hundreds of other missionaries have felt it, too. We are not here to covert you to the Church; we are here to convert you unto the Lord. 

I hope everything is going well back home! Everything is going pretty well here at the MTC. I want to be in Mississippi more than ANYTHING! But, I will be patient. 

I don't know when my next P-Day will be since we're technically leaving on our P-Day in Mississippi, so please be patient and I'll send you as many updates as I can!

Stay tuned for photos! 

I love you all! Godspeed!

Sister Rose

District Leaders at District Study!
My Companions!

Elder Clark, Elder Webster, Elder Ray, Elder Ravsten, Elder Cunningham, Elder Reams, ME!, Sister Maughan, and Sister Elliott.