Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Easter Greetings!

Goooooooooooooooooooood morning!! 

I would first like to start this e-mail off by saying hello to those who have approached me and told me they read these silly blog posts! For instance, President Silas! Hello! I hope all is faring well in Hattiesburg! And also, Sister Bartsch's mom! Hello! Your daughter is a fantastic Sister Training Leader. Thank you for being so supportive of her! And, Happy Easter! (That goes for all of y'all!) 

Did y'all have a good Easter? Ours was rainy! But it was fun, even so. We had some wonderful members take care of us, and even gave us Easter baskets! (Thank you, Brother and Sister Dennee, and also Sister Grover.) Church was all about the Atonement, the love of our Savior, and turning our thoughts to His sacrifice, but also to His resurrection. Too often we dwell on the Savior's crucifixion, and too little do we turn to the miracle that was His rising again on the third day. I hope y'all had the chance to celebrate that miracle and feel His love for you.

We had Zone Conference this week with the Gulfport Zone! I had the chance to see some lovely missionaries who I've served with before. We might have one of the biggest missions in the states, but it feels so small as you start to get to know more of the missionaries. 

We received some great insights about planning, safety, and teaching. Our cars received this handy-dandy devices called Tiwi's! Our car didn't receive one, only because we'll be getting a new car very soon and there wouldn't be a point in installing a Tiwi. These little devices monitor our driving; aggressive driving, speeding, sudden breaking, whether or not the seatbelts are buckled, etc. They don't exist to tell us what we're doing wrong, or to get us in trouble; they exist to keep us safe, and to keep us obedient and diligent. It'll be exciting to see how this changes the mission! 

In other news, I have discovered that Sister Barney is far braver than I am. You see, beside our duplex is this unsuspecting tree, always staying still, branches brushing over our roof. We will sometimes hear its little twigs whip our home in the morning as the wind blows, and it's usually no big deal. There was one night, Sister Barney and I were trying to clean our car, and we heard these odd, rustling noises, similar to what the leaves do when the wind blows. But, as we looked up, we realized that the tree wasn't moving, nor was the wind blowing. 

That's when we realized --

-- it was the beetles. 

I don't know what kind of hellish creatures these are, but they're disgusting. I'm offended that you even house these things, Mississippi. We came home from a long day of working, when in the brights of my headlights you could see swarms of these beetles pelting themselves against our windows and doors, large black dots dive-bombing the glass, ricocheting off the doorknob, trying to desperately reach the warmth of the light inside. 

Needless to say, Sister Barney and I spent a good portion of the next few minutes sitting in the car screaming. 

We watched them launch themselves at our door, only to plink onto the ground on their backs, little legs writhing as they tried to roll themselves uprightly again. 

We came to the conclusion that we were not going to be able to unlock the front door. I flat out refused, honestly. I debated sleeping in the car that night. But, my brave companion leapt out of the car, grabbed our hose, and began to unleash a water war upon the beetles. 

(I, of course, got all of this on camera.) 

She stood there, blasting those creatures all over our porch. They all stilled and seemed to grip the pavement and tresses of our porch, trying to hold on -- and hold on they did. Because they didn't leave our porch at all. 

More screaming ensued. 

At this point, we debated lighting our whole house on fire. Beetles were now launching themselves at the car doors. I was cowering in the driver's seat, still filming, watching as my companion rushed to the car and pulled herself inside. 

We'd decided to run around to the back door, where the beetles had not touched. We have since fixed this beetle problem by not leaving our porch light on at night. 

Within the safe confines of my apartment, I have been immersing myself in talks given by those inspired by the Spirit, preparing myself to receive revelation from modern-day prophets appointed by the Lord this weekend -- because it's General Conference! :D 

This past weekend, we had the opportunity to listen to guidance from the auxiliary women's leaders, such as the General Relief Society President, Primary President, and so on. I needed that inspiration, lemme tell you. The whole conference was service-oriented. All of the talks encouraged us women to continue to serve others, to listen to the Spirit, to be led in our efforts to help our fellowmen, and to be righteous, uplifting, strongly-voiced women for the latter-days. 

My thoughts were turned to Moroni's description of charity: 

"And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." 

Later on, Moroni says, "But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him." 

I am a firm believer in the fact that all answers to the questions of our souls can be found in living the gospel. Charity is a largely emphasized facet of it, and it is one of the greatest attributes of Christ we can attain. 

I never truly made the connection between what charity really meant and how it applied to me until this Women's Conference. I knew that it was the pure love of Christ, but what exactly did that mean? 

I thought of Christ and the example He set for us. Christ is the ultimate example of charity; He loved openly, freely, deeply, and sincerely. He had the concerns of others at the forefront of His mind; all of His efforts, teachings, and actions were for others and never for Himself. His heart was always set on the will of His Father, on the needs of His brethren, and on the divine mission that He was on. 

The Spirit touched me during that moment, and I had an epiphany. I knew what I needed to do; I knew what change needed to be wrought in myself through means of charity. 

I've always loved serving others, but to have the pure love of Christ was different. To be as loving, forgiving, and selfless as the Savior is an unattainable feat in this life, but to reach for that is what our Father asks of us. He asks us to love our neighbors, give what we have until we can give no more, to take care of ourselves but first and foremost, to not put ourselves above anyone else because we are all sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. He asks us to align our will with His so that He can bring about a mighty change in our hearts; through charity, we obtain forgiveness, brothers and sisters. 

To repent is to change. It is a commandment to change. Lose yourself in the love of Christ, the love He had for others, for the welfare of His brothers and sisters, and you will find yourself purified through Him, and His atoning sacrifice. 

I have found such love in service. My burdens are lighter, my heart is wider, my smile is bigger, too. To serve is to find joy. As I do more for others in Christ's name, I find my Savior doing even more than I imagined for me. I wish to be a disciple that bears His name on my heart, and imparts of His love through the works of my hands. He accomplished the greatest act of love and service for all mankind; the least we can do is serve one another.

Serve someone today. Find Christ in the ways you thought you never could.

I love y'all. Have a good week! 



Sister Rose 

Easter chalk talk from Sister Bartsch!

Getting ready for Zone Conference

Found this in the road.

I don't know how many pictures I send home of Mississippi skies, but this is just so beautiful!

Got caught in the rain.


Sister Barney and I looking fine!

I got to see Sister Poulson at Zone Conference!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Time To Build An Ark!

Hello, all! Are you dry? Mississippi's not! 

I remember in Flowood, everyone always told us how everything was so dry. Little rain had blessed Mississippi that summer; everyone's lawns were brittle; no fires were built, for fear of burning down the whole state; not a cloud drifted in the sky, and everyone was very aware of it. 

Hearing all of the Mississippites' prayers, God turned to them and said, "You might have to build an ark." 

And now some people are swimming to work. 

(I kid. I kid!) 

We've had many adventures in Purvis! Never is there a dull moment with R&B. We have been trying some new finding opportunities! We have begun picking up trash off the side of the road (of our own free will), name tags on display for all the cars to see. Adorning yellow latex gloves, Sister Barney and I merrily picked up beer bottles, fast food containers, grocery bags, etc., that had been left on the road, whether from the wind or from a car whizzing by. 

This gave me a greater love for the earth. I haven't always been too fond of the outdoors. Anyone who knows me will remember when I was little, I would scream bloody murder if I saw the shadow of a fly in the corner of the room. I'm better now, but part of me still preferred the indoors to the unfamiliar territory of the outside. 

Since being in the lush, green atmosphere of Mississippi, I've grown to love its contents: from the deadly, chigger-containing grass, up to the pine trees that have begun sprouting little yellow flowers, peeking out at the sun from high above. It makes me think of a scripture found in the 59th section of the Doctrine and Covenants: 

"Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to place the eye and to gladden the heart; 

Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul." 

While I may not see much joy in chiggers or bloodthirsty ants, I do enjoy all of the beautiful sights Mississippi has to offer, as God intended for me to. Every place has beauty to it. That I can promise. I remember living in West Texas and despising the concrete scenery, but marveling at the menacing shade of brown that would cover the sky during a dust storm, or the sunsets that flooded the sky. When I moved to Colorado, I learned to love the mountain passes, the waterfalls cascading down rocks, sunlight peeking behind arches. 

God's world has much to offer us. He is always thinking of you and what's best for you specifically. This world was created for our benefit. Think of our first parents, Adam and Eve. Their calling to this earth was heavy; they were to be the first humans on God's earth, to keep His commandments and live in His presence until they chose to partake of the fruit. 

They came here to make decisions, as we have always been able to do so. We all chose to come here. You, reading this, chose to come to this earth and accept the trials that would be bestowed upon you. I've had my share of trials that make me ask, Why? Why would you even agree to that? But, it always works out for my benefit. I cannot think of a trial that hasn't strengthened me in a way, that hasn't taught me something, that hasn't made me draw closer to my Heavenly Father. 

With the world in bloom and allergies floating around, take some time to marvel at what God has given you. Purvis is an area with very little street and city lights, so at night, the stars are abundant, glittering, and gorgeous. We tend to pause and take some time to gape at those, and how small we are. 

With Easter this coming Sunday, remember the sacrifice our Heavenly Father gave. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). This scripture is popularly quoted, especially this time of year, but it has so much truth in it. 

God loves you, so He gave His Only Begotten Son. When Adam and Eve fell, they were subject to both spiritual and physical death, as are we. But through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we are able to overcome those things. Through Christ's everlasting atonement, which started in the garden of Gethsemane and ended when He rose again, we, too, are able to overcome the dark abyss of death and be welcomed home into the loving arms of a Father who loves us. 

I would like to quote the testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith after he had seen a vision. In the Doctrine and Covenants, we read: 

"And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

For we saw him, even on the right hand of God, and we heard a voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father." 

He lives, brothers and sisters. He lives for you. 

Don't forget Him this Easter. Remember that He lives, and what that means for you. 




Sister Rose 

Conni Cone!!!!

Mississippi Views!

It's a nice day for a photoshoot

We're adorable!



Monday, March 14, 2016

Wasps, Bees, and Mosquito Hawks

Missionary Dictionary: 

Key Indicators: how we rate our missionary work, essentially, every week. For instance, "other lessons", "tracting hours", "service hours", and "new investigators" are all key indicators. 
Tracting: the time missionaries spend knocking on doors to find people to teach.

Good morning, everyone! It is a beautiful, sunny day here in Hattiesburg! I have decided that, no, Mississippi weather doesn't know what it's doing. At all. But that's okay! It's an adventure everyday.

Y'all already know about the flash floods, I'm sure. I've read your e-mails! The flooding was pretty bad in Louisiana. One of the highways here has been wiped out; the water actually knocked out part of the road, so it's closed. Sister Barney and I didn't discover that until we were confronted with numerous ROAD CLOSED signs. We now have to be creative with where we travel! Again -- an adventure everyday! 

The wasps, bees, and mosquito hawks have been abundant lately. Cicadas are starting to sing, crickets chiming in at night, critters emerging from their holes in the soil -- tracting now consists of dodging large wasps, gawking at gargantuan bees, and watching out for little snakes slithering across the road. Sister Barney and I have fun with it; we sing songs, tell ridiculous jokes, and pray that Heavenly Father will lead us to just the right person. 

As spring (or rather, pre-summer. That's what it feels like) approaches, we missionaries are manning ourselves with deodorant, light shirts, towels, water, and new teaching methods. As the sun rises, people's attitudes change. President Olson has revamped our key indicators and has made the MJM less focused on numbers, and more on the people. It's very easy to be focused on numbers, surprisingly. There are times when you work all week to find and teach, only to see it not reflect in the numbers you send in to the District Leader every week. However, President Olson is encouraging us not to focus on that. We are teaching people, not lessons. These people are children of God, not numbers on a sheet sent to Salt Lake. 

Numbers are an unnecessary noise on a mission. Missionaries are removed from worldly noise for 18 to 24 months; we abstain from television, music that detracts from the Spirit, and even dress and grooming standards of the world to allow ourselves to be more spiritually focused and ready to sift through the noises of the world. 

You never realize how quiet everything is until all of that has been removed. At home, I deeply enjoyed my technology. Texting was my jam. iTunes was my best friend. I was as well-acquainted with YouTube as I was with my friends. I read my scriptures, prayed, went to church, and did all the things the Church tells me to do to keep myself on the straight and narrow. 

Yet, as I've had all of that away from me for six months, I've felt myself more aware of the voice my Heavenly Father has been using amidst all of the calamity. The voice is not reminiscent of the melodies I played from punk bands everyday; the voice is not loud like the rush of my past part-time job; the voice does not beg for my attention like children at play. The voice is still and gentle; it is the voice that cuts through every anxiety and noise that crowds out my spirit. It does not shake me and ask that I listen; it speaks, and waits for me to notice. 

The Spirit is a funny thing. The Spirit speaks to us in our thoughts as well as our feelings. The Spirit can come in resounding waves of warmth and love, or as the Doctrine and Covenants describes: "Your bosom shall burn within you." (D&C 9:8). Those are miracles wrought by the Spirit of the Lord, testifying to us that what we are doing, seeking, thinking, understanding is from God and we must listen and adhere to that feeling. 

However, we often ignore that the Spirit does not do that often at all. My lovely companion directed me to Galatians 5 the other day, where we read: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance..." 

The Spirit speaks to us in a thousand different ways, but no matter what, the Spirit will always challenge us to edify, to be better, to lift up, to draw nearer to God, to feel love, to be good. In the end, is what you do good for yourself? Good for others? Good for the Church? For your Heavenly Father? If you stood before Him and He asked you what you did, would you happily tell Him that what you experienced was truly inspired of the Spirit? 

If we do not adhere to the Spirit's counsel, whatever it may be, then that is where our agency kicks in, and we must then choose what to do. 

Never have I read of someone following a prompting of the Spirit and having it work out poorly for them. Your Heavenly Father wants to lead you to happiness; He is not an angry god, ready to smite you at the slightest slip-up. 

He loves you. 

Listen to how He loves you, and you will find yourself better able to help others and yourself. It all starts with a simple prick in your heart, a good thought to the mind, a small voice leading you to do something more -- and miracles will happen. 

Purvis is doing well, everyone. We are teaching two brothers, who I sincerely hope will progress as their Heavenly Father truly wants them to. We are serving more, seeking out opportunities to be charitable and share the love and the Spirit with those that have been placed in our paths. 

Have faith and listen this spring. 

Have a good week. 



Sister Rose 


Mississippi landscape though! 

Sister Barney is...a special person. 


Sister Barney took some selfies. This is the mildest of the cluster. #Vogue

Monday, March 7, 2016


Hi! How has everyone been this week? Splendid? Good. I hope so! 

We've had a good week here in Purvis. Sister Barney and I are tragically becoming good friends. We spend quite a bit of time singing ridiculous songs, making terrible puns, and finding change on the ground to add to our Tracting Tip jars. She's a barrel of fun, and I wish I could have all of you meet her! 

We've been trying to come up with creative finding ideas in Purvis. As I've mentioned before, it's hard to find people to teach by just knocking on their door. Most of the success in this mission comes from tracting, but if we are to build the Lord's kingdom in the proper manner before He comes, we have to work harder, be more creative, and search for the elect. 
I pondered this while tracting (hilariously) this week. Sister Barney and I are in a silent race to see who can find the most pennies, dimes, quarters, etc. lying around in driveways, streets, and piles of dirt. In the last six months, Sister Barney has collected over $22 in change from searching the ground alone. In the past week, I think I've found seven cents. 

I found myself trying to look for the glimmer in the sunlight that indicated a shiny coin. I squinted at driveways, shielded my eyes from the spring sun to seek out the glitter of a penny -- or a quarter by some miracle. And yet, every time I do that, I always manage to skip over tons of unsuspecting pennies that eventually make it into my companion's pocket. I wondered how on earth she noticed these things; these driveways are large and most of the circular dark spots are usually deceiving and not even worth the inspection. Yet, she approached them and always came out with a cent or two. 

That's when I decided to not look for the shiny pennies. I started looking for the grungy, dirty, round spots and treated each opportunity like I was destined to find a penny or a nickel or a quarter in that very instance -- and that is how I began collecting my tracting tips. 

You can apply this principle to potential investigators, too. There have been many times on my mission so far that I have had incredible spiritual experiences with people while teaching the Restoration. We knocked on their door, they felt the Spirit, they wanted to know more. Great miracles were happening -- the penny was shining in the sunlight, and I knew that I could just pick it up and keep it with me always and be so grateful for that shiny penny, and I could hope to find another one when I went back to see said investigator. Yet, a lot of the time, those investigators don't progress. Maybe it was something we did, maybe something was said to them, maybe it just wasn't the right time -- either way, few times in the past six months have I been able to see those shiny pennies continue to be golden investigators. 

Not to say there aren't golden investigators. Those exist! Totally! There are people who are extremely prepared to receive the gospel, and receive it with open arms, ready hearts, and glad spirits. I love those people; missionaries pray for to find those people. But if you only look for those golden people, you will bypass the many souls who are buried in the dirt of life who need to be exposed to the light of the gospel. The gross, dirty pennies are the most worth it ones. The ones you think would never, ever accept the gospel can be the ones who need it the most, and will hold on to it tighter than any easy contact might.

When sharing the gospel, do not pass up the opportunities that might seem unfruitful. You have no idea what good you could be doing; it might seem silly at first, like you've done nothing at all, but we have no idea what eternal consequences accompany our actions. You have a gift to share; let others have it, too. 

Remember to lean on your Heavenly Father when you aren't sure how to share or what to say. We are promised that if we open our mouths and we are led by the Spirit, then our Heavenly Father will tell us right then exactly what needs to be said! And it doesn't need to be the most eloquent thing in the world; Brigham Young was converted by a simple testimony of a man who wasn't gifted with public speaking. Be yourself; be simple; be the person the Lord wants you to be. 

There is so much I've learned from this week. We didn't teach much; every appointment fell through, the weather destroyed our plans, the days seemed long and we weren't sure what to do. But, I know the Lord gives us ups and downs so we can learn how to better rely on Him. We have to make the choice to do so. You cannot get through anything on your own. The Lord will sometimes bless us with trials to draw us back to Him, where we can make the choice to plead for help before Him and exercise patience with His timing and knowledge.

Don't be discouraged, brothers and sisters. There's always hope. The Lord may try to humble you, and that's good. He trusts you enough to give you trials and happiness. Relish in His love, and know that through Jesus Christ and the will of God, you can do anything according to your righteous desires. 

Be strong and have a good week, alright?



Sister Rose 

Superhero day at DDM means that Sister Barney was Captain 'Murica

Companionship selfie! (We take a lot of these) 

These geese were SO LOUD 

This driveway was the most majestic thing ever. There was beautiful green grass. A mansion. A field. Free-roaming horses. My dream.