Tuesday, May 31, 2016



Greetings from Biloxi, Mississippi!

Sister Barney has been plopped into El Dorado, Arkansas, where she will end her mission proud and strong. I'm officially halfway through my eighteen-month mission as of this week. But, get this -- so is my companion! What! I'm with Sister Abril, who came out with me. She's super awesome. We are going to have so much fun in Biloxi!

Biloxi is located in the Gulfport Zone, right down by the coast of Miss'ippi. We sisters cover a small section of the peninsula, where we have amazing opportunities to proselyte in apartment complexes, stores, and now the beach! I have always wanted to serve down by the coast, so I am excited for the adventures that Biloxi Beach has to offer.

Our ward is mostly military, with the military base located right on the peninsula. We have the opportunity to serve those who are serving our country. I've met some amazing people so far, who have truly hectic lives with big families that have to get up and move at any moment's notice. I appreciate and admire their love for their country and the gospel, and I wish them well on their way around the country. I won't get to see them much as they attend our ward, but I hope to still grow to love them, nonetheless.

While Purvis was cows and hills and trees, Biloxi is seagulls and sand and shops. We frequent the surf store by the beach when we need a break, and we try some fudge samples while we cool down. I'm now in a car-share, which means that we share two cars between three companionships. So, we have a car for two weeks, and then for a week we're on bikes! So fun! I am very grateful for the flat landscape of the coast. I would have died in Purvis.

However, being in Biloxi has strengthened my testimony of love and diligence. My companion, Sister Abril has a talent for loving those we teach and truly loving the work. Every hour is busy; every moment is filled with work. As we are working and putting ourselves out there, the Lord places us in the paths of others so we can talk to them.

On Memorial Day, we ran into a man who was splayed on a bench on the beach, shorts tattered, buttoned shirt open. His hair had plenty of salt and sand in it, and he gave us a toothy smile as we approached. We introduced ourselves and talked, and it turns out he was a former member of the Reformed Latter-day Saint Church, which is now known as the Community of Christ. (That's a big long history. All I can tell you is that we do not associate with that group; it is not part of the Church, nor do we affiliate with its teachings.) Not knowing that we were missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he told us all about how the Book of Mormon was invalid, how he was perfectly happy being atheist, and the like.

This guy was pretty great! He was supportive of us when we told him who we were. He fumbled with words for a moment, but we had a great discussion about the Church, religion, and the like. As we walked away, I couldn't help but smile and know that God puts us in the paths of others for a very specific reason. We don't usually know the reasons; we don't know what effect we have on others.

I know that there are people who are prepared for our teachings. I know that the message we have to share is the most precious thing we carry. There are people in Biloxi that the Lord feels like Sister Abril and I are prepared to teach, and vice-versa. I've met a few people who have already touched my heart, whose hearts are truly searching for truth and family. I know that this Church is where that family is.

Never have I felt more loved than when I am trying to align my will with my Father in Heaven's. He knows what's best for me, for others, and for the work. He has the bigger plan in His hands.

We sometimes aren't sure how to align our will with God's. We're afraid of what He might say -- but let me quote Nephi:

"But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words."

And again:

"I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they might accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

You have the power to do all things God asks you to; all you have to do is rely on Christ. Have faith that all things will work according to God's will, and as long as you have the faith that He is working things out for your benefit, you will arise victorious.

In biking the beaches, watching the sunset bleed onto the gulf waters, and slipping into the throng of unsuspecting lives, I have seen God's will unfold. I have seen the love He has for each one of His children. We are the instruments to be played by His hand; we are the harmonies and melodies that He has composed. All we need to do is watch Him, be patient, listen for Him, and allow Him to work through us to bring about all the works He has in store for His children.

Don't doubt Him. He's got this.

I'm sure I say that at the end of every letter, but it never ceases to be any less true. I know that He loves us. He's placed me in Biloxi for a reason -- who's ready to figure out why?

I know I am!

Love y'all!



Sister Rose

T-Day! (Sister Nash is the most fabulous, yes.)

Biloxi Sunset!

Best sign ever!

Photoshoots with Sister Abril! And some scenery from the coast!

We thought this was hilarious because we reached our Hump Day!


Memorial Day Chalk Talk by the beach!!

Chalk talk, and Sister Abril and I on bikes because we let the elders have the car for the day! #RunningFromAStorm

And, one more selfie with my beloved Sister Barney!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Washed Pink

Missionary Lingo: 
Pinkwash: to remove two sister missionaries from an area and replace them with two sisters, as opposed to removing just one sister and replacing her. If this were to happen to elders, this would be called a "whitewash."
Assistants to the President: or, the APs. Two elders who have been called to serve as assistants to our Mission President. They assist with transfers, training missionaries in leadership positions, doing the work President Olson would not be able to do alone, and so on. 
Hey y'all, hey! It's transfer week!
And I'm getting transferred. 
We've been anticipating that this transfer, honestly. I've been in Purvis since December, and I was ripe for a move anyway. I've been pre-packing and working to help Sister Barney lead Purvis, doing my best to make sure to leave Purvis better than I found it. 
After our church tour on Sunday, we received a call from the Assistants to the President. Elder Beckstrom, my first Zone Leader, has been called as one of them and informed us of our transfer news: 
"We're pinkwashing y'all's area." 
We thought he was kidding at first! We asked again to double-check, and, for sure, we are being pinkwashed. 
We now have to pack up all of our things, deep clean our apartment, prepare our Area Book, and ready our car for sisters who will be completely new to the Purvis area -- all before Tuesday morning! Needless to say, we're busy today, so please excuse my short e-mail!
It's funny how the Lord prepares you for things to come. He prepared me for Purvis, I know. I was prepared for Sister Matealona, and she for me. I was prepared for Sister Barney, and I know we were meant to be companions. This companionship has been truly inspired of the Lord, and I am eternally grateful for the many things Sister Barney has taught me. She is an amazing missionary, and an even more amazing person. She is going to do great things. Watch out for her at BYU-Idaho! 
Purvis has taught me a lot. It has tested me a lot. I'm not sure what to expect in my next area, especially since I have no idea where I'm going. Y'all will find that out next week, and I will know this tomorrow! Every area is different -- vastly different. As President Olson said to me once, "Every area is different, but the Spirit is the same." 
The Spirit is the same wherever you go. I know I still have the gift of the Holy Ghost guiding me in my missionary decisions. I know that no matter where I go, the Spirit will be with me; I will be safe, guided, and ready for whatever is thrown at me. While I make mistakes, I have a Savior who makes up for the wrongs that I commit as long as I am doing my part and improving at my own pace. To quote Elder Bruce C. Hafen, "Because of the Atonement, we can learn from our mistakes without being condemned by them." 
So, thank you, Purvis. Thank you for all of your troubles. Thank you for all of your heat and mosquitoes. Thank you for your questions, your time and patience. Thank you for letting me grow. Thank you for showing me the flipside to missionary work. Thank you for allowing me to learn to listen to the Spirit better. Thank you for being wonderful. 
There is always an adventure for you just around the bend. There's always a new face, a new place, a new experience tailored just for you. Do not doubt that God's hand is in everything. Do not doubt that He loves you, that He knows what's best for you, and that you are a special, beloved son or daughter of our Heavenly Father. 
Be the best you can be. Strive to do better, and remember that the Atonement makes up for all of the steps you can't take, the clouds you can't reach, the oceans that are too far to cross. 
He's got you. 
Love y'all!
Sister Rose 
We had a paint fight on Monday!! :D We had so much fun with all the missionaries! 


District Photo + the ZLs!

Exchanges with Sister Nash last week!

Chalk Talk!

Sister Barney and I with a magnolia! These things are HUGE 

 This is Cocoa, an investigator's dog. 

That is a goat, an investigator's goat. 

And that is a Christmas tree farm! 

This is what getting transferred looks like 


Mississippi clouds! 

Crawfish boil! :DD I had crawfish for the first time this weekend! 

Check out these shirts that Sister Wyatt got for us! They're SO GOOD. THANK YOU, SISTER WYATT.


Monday, May 16, 2016

Gettin' That Tan!

Hello, hello!
I would like to first begin this e-mail by apologizing because this week won't have any photos. I left my camera in our living room! D: Sorry, y'all!

Have you ever been in a room with a thousand hairdryers with high-heat on full blast? Well, if you have, you understand what it is like to walk around in Mississippi in the springtime. 

Sister Barney and I are certainly getting our tan on, and it's really great! I'm about three shades darker than I was in the winter, so I think that's an accomplishment. It takes me back to when I was in high school marching band, and people would ask me if I was a different race because I was so tan. No one has done that in Mississippi so far! Whoo!

Purvis is moseying along rather nicely, I'd say. A lot of neat characters live here -- like people who tell us we don't believe that Christ is the Son of God, others who tell us that the Book of Mormon tells you that Jesus lives on Jupiter with His thirteen wives, that our missions are our time to hunt for our dragon eggs, and many more. These lovely people make me smile; there's all kinds of adventures here in Mississippi!

I do love all of the people I've met here. Serving in the MJM has put me in the position to meet so many loving, kindhearted people. While we meet some who aren't welcome to our presence, most are inviting, kind, and share our desire to draw closer to our Heavenly Father. I've had the opportunity to meet people whom I will never forget; people who have been deeply impressed upon my heart, whose stories and lives have influenced my testimony and reinforced what I know to be true. 

I know that God answers prayers, for instance, even the littlest ones. Sister Barney gave me wise words of advice this week: "Whatever is important to you right now is also important to God, even if you don't feel like it's relevant right now. It matters to you." I had to think about that, and it's true -- He really does feel that way about us. For instance, missionaries have a certain set of miles they can use on their car every month. The Purvis Sisters are allowed to travel 950 miles every month. We try our hardest not to go over those miles, and I pray that we don't go over. I know that it affects the missionaries, the mission president, and even the Church when we go over miles. 

This month, in response to my prayers, Heavenly Father blessed me to not put our mileage record in the mail before the tenth. Now, I had definitely had the thought to put it in the mail. I just kept forgetting. And so our beloved vehicle coordinator called us after the tenth and informed us that we had to park our car at our house and not use it until he's received the mileage report. 

This brought on all kinds of plan-changing, ride-arranging, and creative ideas abounding. The next day, Sister Barney and I had an appointment with an investigator first thing in the morning. In order to arrive on time, we left an hour early and began our two-mile trek to his house. 

Mississippi had certainly been warming up, and so we armed ourselves with waterproof mascara, layers of deodorant, and filled-to-the-brim water bottles. We tried to stick to the shade as we walked, although the Mississippi trees were sparse on the stretch of road we were hiking. Under the glint of the sun and the oven-like beat of humidity, we walked in silence. My thoughts whirred instead, and all I could think to do was talk to my Heavenly Father. 

Needless to say, I did a little complaining, but I tried to tell Him, "I'm grateful my feet don't hurt. I'm grateful for these shoes. I'm grateful to have the stamina to walk this far in this heat." I tried to push for gratitude, and I would occasionally try to cheer Sister Barney up with a sliver of cheerful thanksgiving. She would do the same, but we mostly stuck to our own thoughts. 

Upon arriving at our investigator's house, he informed us that his wife didn't approve of us being there. Well, more like she didn't want us to talk to him when he could be spending time with her. I could feel my motivation wilting, but Sister Barney and I set up another appointment with him, at a time he and his wife would be okay with, and we began our trek home. 

Finding a rather large shady spot, Sister Barney and I settled on a small sliver of asphalt on the side of the road. (For worrying mothers: no cars came to run us over. No worries! We're smart.) Sweat covered us all down to our toes. I had the deepest desire for a shower, but I knew that it was a least a mile and a half away, and probably a few more hours away with the other things we needed to do. 

Birds and cicadas sang in tandem in the mid-morning light. The trees towered around us, horses whinnying afar off. Mississippi was watching us, I knew; we were the Lord's servants, sitting quietly on the side of the road, breathing in God's creations. I felt God's hand right then and there, although nothing amazing happened. In truth, we walked home, fell into air conditioning, and did our best to work with what we could. No new investigator. No great lesson taught. 

But, there was a great lesson learned.  

I knew God was aware of us. I think He was a little amused with our predicament. He takes pride in watching us work, even when our work is a little hindered. He knows we are doing our best, and He knows you're doing yours, too.

Two and a half days of walking later, we were able to use our car again. Now, while that was endlessly frustrating, we were able to save a copious amount of miles. Not quite the way I would have wanted my prayer to save miles to be answered, but Heavenly Father has answered small prayers like that all throughout my life, and I've noticed those answers more throughout my mission. As you draw closer to the Spirit, He draws closer to you, and surrounds you with His love. 

You've got a Father who loves you. He's aware of all of your predicaments and moments of doubt. He is aware that life is frustrating. He knows you want miracles, but we can't force them. They come. It was a miracle we got home. It was a miracle we worked. It was a miracle we taught. God gives you miracles; you just have to look for them. 

In other news this week, I went on exchanges with Sister Nash! She's the bee's knees. She's an awesome STL, and I am so thankful to have her counsel and friendship. We'd like to ask y'all this: can y'all name all 50 states? (It took us two days.) 

Have a good week, everyone!



Sister Rose

Monday, May 9, 2016

Moms, Mawms, Mahms

Goooooood morning, world! And Happy Mother's Day to all y'all who are blessed to be mothers. I had the opportunity to call home on Mother's Day! Neat, right?! I'm so grateful to have a family that loves and supports me. They're super awesome, not to brag or anything. :)
The Purvis ward celebrated mothers by commemorating their efforts with songs sung by Primary children and talks given by loving, devoted husbands and sons who have been greatly affected by their mothers' and wives' influences. As the sacrament was passed and we took solemn moments to remember our Savior, I was reminded of a talk Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave at the October 2015 General Conference on motherhood. One of my favorite quotes says: 
"Today I declare from this pulpit what has been said here before: that no love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child." 

I would like to also bear my testimony on this statement. Motherhood is about sacrifice, love, patience, and unending encouragement. Nothing can come closer to the atoning sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ than the love of a mother; I've seen it in families I've visited, mothers in my own family, and mothers of others that I know. Mothers are given a vital responsibility when they are called to bring a life to this earth; they have a Father in Heaven who is there to help them and a Savior who truly understands their burdens, their frustrations, and their sadness. 

Over the course of this week, Sister Barney and I have been rather busy with scheduling appointments, seeing members, visiting less-actives and investigators, trying to find those to teach, and sincerely trying to further the work in Purvis. We've learned that Mississippi truly has the cutest shape out of all the states (sorry, Colorado. You are but a square); donkeys like to bite sometimes; you don't bother a king snake; self-aware Furbies exist; and that few people truly understand the Book of Mormon. 

Now, on that last subject, we come across this quite a bit! I have the privilege of serving in the Bible Belt. I am in a place where everyone is very aware of their Savior and what role He plays in their lives. But, they know of things Terrestrial -- we are here to give them something Celestial. 

The Book of Mormon outlines the true Plan of Salvation and reaffirms the true doctrines taught by Jesus Christ in the New Testament. I, as a Latter-day Saint, love the Bible and esteem it as the word of God. From the Bible, we learn of ancient prophecies of Jesus Christ's birth and ministry; we learn of His kindness, His acts of love, His atonement, and the acts of His apostles. We learn of doctrines such as the Godhead, the correct mode of baptism, and the importance of the laying on of hands for ordinances such as receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, as well as receiving the Priesthood authority. 

The Book of Mormon completes these doctrines. You cannot tell me the Bible fills in all the gaps in your questions -- it doesn't do that for me. The Bible has been translated many, many, many times. It is a very ancient record; things have been changed and/or lost, and our Heavenly Father knew that would happen. So, while the Bible was being written, He was also allowing the Book of Mormon to be written. Prophets who had sailed to the American continent were preserving the pure doctrine of Christ on plates that would eventually be hidden so that those doctrines would not be tainted by the teachings of men. 

To give you an example, in the third chapter of the book of Matthew, John the Baptist is about to baptize Jesus Christ when he asks why on earth Christ would need to be baptized. He even tells Christ that he has need to be baptized of Him. But, Christ replies, "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness." 

Right after, John the Baptist baptizes Him, fully understanding what He meant. But, for the rest of us -- what does that mean, "to fulfill all righteousness"? Neither the New nor the Old Testaments answer this question. However, this doctrine has been explained in the Book of Mormon when Nephi, a prophet, is preaching about the doctrine of Christ. In the second book of Nephi, chapter 31, Nephi says: 

"And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!" 

Baptism is a commandment, and it was even a commandment for Christ, the only person in the whole world who would not need to be baptized. Christ fulfilled part of His mission by being baptized; He was sent here to be an example and a sacrifice -- and we must follow the commandments He followed as well. 

The Book of Mormon fills in the gaps we are missing. It is a second witness of Christ's divine Sonship, of His teachings and love, of our Heavenly Father's love for all of His children, not just a select few. 

This book changes lives. It offers a peace that nothing else in this world can compare to. It is the word of God, just like the Bible. Hand in hand, these sacred texts come together to bring a fullness of joy to all of God's children. I know it. I have felt it, if only a little in this mortal life. I know what I do because of this book; I have felt what I have because of it. I know that the Book of Mormon was written for our day; it is for those of us straying. It is for those of us who need peace, to know that our Heavenly Father is there for us. 

I love this book. I am so excited to be able to share it with families, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, children of all kinds. Because we are all sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, and you can continue to know this, and continue to grow toward your divine potential if you simply read this simple, wonderful book. 

And as Moroni promises, if you pray with "real intent" with "full purpose of heart" and with faith and ask your Heavenly Father if these things are true, then you will know it for yourself (Moroni 10:3-5). I know it. I have felt it. 

You should feel it, too, regardless of whether or not you are a member of the Church. Ask, and ye shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 

Be sure you ask, brothers and sisters. He's waiting for you!

I love y'all! Have a good week!



Sister Rose
We made Mississippi's with Sister Arroyo, Destinee, and Caroline! 




Look at this gross thing. It was so huge. Mississippi, WHY
We had an animal-themed DDM, so Sister Barney let me wear her Hairy Otter sweater! :D
Behold, the donkey friends that like to bite.