Tuesday, November 29, 2016

"As a Missionary, You're Just...a Little Off"

Quote of my Thanksgiving, y'all.

Good afternoon from windy D'Iberville! It's still basically mid-fall here. I'm slightly too warm in my quarter-length-sleeve shirt. I was barely able to handle wearing tights to church yesterday. I think I'm trying to force everything around me to be winter. It's not working.

Did y'all have a good Thanksgiving? Did you eat a ton of food? I hope so. Sister Greenhalgh and I were sick for Thanksgiving, but that just made the dinner appointments all the more enjoyable. It also made for some hilarious journal entries, as well as some nice photo op's with our bottle of Martinelli's at the end of the day. No worries, everyone. We're all better now.

Holidays are super fun as a missionary -- especially Christmas time! We are sliding into my favorite part of the year. The moment Thanksgiving passed, everyone's Christmas trees sprouted, lights twinkled on every building we saw, wreathes now hang from church doors -- everything is Christmas and joy in the south!

This also means the Church is launching their Christmas initiative, which is really why I like being a missionary this time of year. If you haven't seen it yet, go to Mormon.org and find yourself the Light the World videos. You see, everyday of December of 2016 will have its own advent-style video. Each video comes with a challenge to help you serve others and be a better disciple of Jesus Christ. I encourage all of you to do this, and don't forget to kick off December with a worldwide day of service.

This week has been a little wonky, what with us being sick and all. Even so, we still found ways to do our work. The Lord understands circumstances that we cannot control and fills in all the gaps we can't. When things get hard, Heavenly Father has a funny way of showing us tender mercies.

On Saturday, Sister Greenhalgh and I were getting ready for the day as usual. We'd had a slow morning, and we were scratching our heads for things to do throughout the day. Back-up plans were made, and ideas were there, but there was always the sinking feeling of everything falling through and us being left with, "What now?"

Knowing this, God prompted one of our lovely members to text us and tell us that she'd signed up to feed us. We were thrilled! But, what made this text even better was that she ended it with, "And help me put up Christmas decorations!"

We sat down at this lovely woman's house for Thanksgiving leftovers (a true tender mercy) and Christmas decorations. Her home was alight with running children and gentle Christmas carols. She hardly had time to sit down and eat as she was getting up and gathering her little ones, bringing them to the table and having them participate in our conversations.

There are ups and downs to serving in every ward. Every area has its own disadvantages. As I've served in a military ward for so long, I've had the opportunity to watch families move in, and move out -- I've also watched families move in, and their husbands and fathers be sent away to Afghanistan, or Iraq, or wherever the military chooses to take them. And such was the case with this little family.

An air of oddity was had as we pulled out the Christmas decorations. We talked about traditions and gospel stories as each ornament was hung. It reminded me of my Christmas tree at home; ornaments from my childhood, falling apart and almost unrecognizable; little, mismatched sparkling orbs missing their hooks hung in odd places; one side of the tree rather dramatically decorated while the other side is left forgotten and bare due to the height of most of the children. Each child was able to hang their own ornament, and they grinned proudly as they walked to grab another one. And yet, it felt as though something was missing.

We gathered on the couch. Sister Greenhalgh and I prepared to share a message, and it morphed into a showing of the Church's Christmas videos. Each one brought the Spirit in almost immediately. The children fell still and silent, and their mother took this opportunity to pull out a small book of Christmas devotionals, complete with a box of hand-painted ornaments to go along with it.

The first one was about the star that led the shepherds and wise men to the manger where our Savior was born. We took turns explaining and reading scriptures, talking about the story, and watching the Church's Bible video made for it.

There is a special Spirit in a member's home where those that live there are striving to invite Christ into all that they do. And I felt it even stronger as this mother began to bear her testimony on our Savior and His love.

"This Christmas will be different," she said. "Daddy won't be here, and that will be hard. But, think of Jesus Christ when you're sad or upset. He will help you and strengthen you; He will lift you and encourage you; He will make you feel peaceful and happy. And remember, there's always next year."

I cannot truly explain to you the sweet, tender Spirit that fell over the room as this mother explained a simple truth of the Atonement to her children. My heart and chest were so full of gratitude to have been able to witness this.

Brothers and sisters, the Atonement is so real. Even for small children whose father has been deployed -- the Atonement is for everyone.

I was led to Luke 22 this week, where Jesus Christ is preparing Himself to be betrayed by His beloved disciple and apostle, Judas Iscariot. The apostles did not understand nor comprehend exactly what was going to become of their beloved Savior. They did not understand the kind of agony that was going to befall Him, and the kind of suffering that He was going to endure for their and their enemies' sake.

"But I have prayed for thee," He told the apostles, "that thy faith fail not; and when you art converted, strengthen thy brethren."

Christ has prayed for you. He has had you in His thoughts since before you were born. He knew you, and He continues to know you. He has not forgotten you.

We read in Luke 22:

And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,

Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done.

And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (41-44)

Have you ever felt alone, brothers and sisters?

Has the darkness ever prevailed against you? Has the adversary pulled a shade over you, blinding you from the light everyone tells you is there?

Do you feel abandoned? Without hope?

Do you know that Christ has felt this, too?

Jesus Christ accomplished the greatest feat in human history. He took upon Himself every single pain, every single affliction, and every single temptation so that He would know how to help you (Alma 7:11).

He wants to help you, brothers and sisters. He has suffered agony and confusion beyond our mortal comprehension. Even in your darkest moments, there is someone who has endured that darkness for you -- even deeper darkness than that. He has been there, and He wants to take you out of there. Because He was perfect and took Himself out of there, He is able to lift you when you cannot lift yourself.

And you are worthy of that.

Do not think you are not worthy to return to the kingdom of God. Feelings of unworthiness are not of God; He wants all of us back, and the only way to do that is to accept Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

Remember Him this season.

And have a good week, okay?



Sister Rose

That moment when you go to Sephora and use the red lipstick. (We look great)

 The TiWi was freaking out. You okay, Tiwi? You need some Sprite?

check out the sunset! :D

 True Christianity is when the Methodist guy lets the Mormon missionary pick and eat his oranges when they knock on his door

Happy sick Thanksgiving! :D

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Hello, my fellow friends! How are things? Cold? Probably. They're getting pretty cold here.

Mississippi likes to do this thing where it can't decide what it wants. Monday through Thursday we seem to be having fall, which is cool, I suppose. But then when we hit Friday through Sunday, we're smack in the middle of winter! I'm not sure how to dress! It's nuts! But, I love it. I'd much rather have this cold than the blistering heat of the summer.

Sister Greenhalgh and I have been enjoying ourselves here on the chilly coast. We've taught at the Air Force branch, recruited airmen into the Church, helped random ladies carry their groceries, and maybe played with some of the makeup in Sephora (on P-Day!). I do love this girl. We're partying hard here in Biloxi!

This week, we had Zone Training Meeting. Cool, right? This one was featuring President and Sister Olson. Pretty cool, I think. (Especially when you learn your mission president used to jump out of planes. Beat that, y'all.) I always learn so much at these meetings. I learn much about myself and my investigators, and I'm always reminded of how mindful Heavenly Father is of each and every one of His children.

I remember sitting in the front row at this meeting (as was assigned to me by the Zone Leaders. Thanks, you two) and glancing around at the rows of tables around me. Each missionary was hunched over a notebook, pen spinning in one hand with their eyes fixed on the mission president. I looked over at my companion, and she was scribbling away in her notebook.

As I listened and took notes, I just felt a feeling of understanding. I remember when I first came to the mission, how everything was so new. Everything was bright, brilliant, and overwhelming. The world was new and uncertain, and even still it has its uncertainties. But amidst these tables and notebooks, skirts and suit coats I knew that this is where I was meant to be. God has continuously been confirming to me that I was supposed to come on my mission when I did, and I am so grateful that I left when I had.

During a lesson with an investigator, I'd felt prompted to share a story of how I left on my mission when I did. We were seated at a member's home; this nice couple had fed us and the investigator, even with their two adorable little girls constantly wanting their attention. Our investigator was seated on the couch, Book of Mormon out on her lap. And according to the Spirit's guidance, I shared my experience with her -- of knowing I was supposed to leave for the MTC August 26, 2015, and how I've seen specific reasons why I was supposed to come here when I did.

This lovely woman smiled and looked down at her scriptures and said, "Well, if you hadn't left then you wouldn't have found me."

Brothers and sisters, I know what the scriptures mean when they say their hearts are full. I have cried tears of joy this week, and I am so eternally grateful for the many blessings my Heavenly Father has bestowed upon the Biloxi sisters this week.

God is aware of you. He is aware of your needs and is especially aware of an eternal timeline. All things happen according to His will and pleasure, and I know that we can rest knowing that God has us in mind.

He knows.

He knows which college you are to attend and when. He knows whether or not you are supposed to go on a mission. He knows which classes you should take. He knows where you should live, what job you need to have, what doors you need to knock on -- goodness, He just knows!

As I reflect on the past fourteen months, I've realized how perfect the Lord's timing really is. We are all here for a reason. You are called to your mission for a specific reason. You are where you are for a reason. God does not do things willy nilly. He is too perfect, too kind, too loving, and too smart for that.

He lets us make our own decisions, but He guides them. If we lean on Him for His support, He will guide us in all of our decisions.

Remember Nephi's words, "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life" (2 Nephi 31:20).

Have faith in Christ. Have a hope for a brighter future, a better tomorrow, a better you. All things are possible in Jesus Christ. Even your dreams and aspirations; you are worthy of the blessings God has promised you.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!



Sister Rose

Me and Sister Greenhalgh potential-trying and taking pictures of the sunset.

Partying hard Mormon girl style #TurnUp #Turnip

 This is Mississippi in a single photo.


Remember that one time I met this adorable gem named Sister Williams? Yeah, so I haven't seen her since the end of my first transfer of my mission. She's an office sister now, and CAME TO ZTM! I AM THRILLED. SHE'S THE CUTEST.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Dream Team

Hello, my dearest friends! It is a lovely, warm afternoon in Biloxi, Mississippi. We are trying to rapidly adjust to the sudden fall of cold weather and then the rise of warmth. I never know what the temperature will do from day-to-day. It's surely an adventure!

So, I bet you're all dying to know who my new companion is. I mean, besides the election, that's the biggest talk of the town, right?


Straight from Purvis, Mississippi, God gave me the lovely Sister Greenhalgh! (Pronounced "green" as in the color green, and "halgh" as in "Halle" as in "Halle Berry" and then add a "j" sound. Yeah. Just like that. Simple.)

You read that right. Purvis!

Sister Greenhalgh was one of the amazing sisters who pinkwashed Purvis when Sister Barney and I left. She's been blessing it ever since, and has now come to bless the lives of those in good ol' Biloxi!

Sister Maughan is also off to tend to the sisters in Jackson, Mississippi as a Sister Training Leader! I'm so proud of her. She's going to do so well! She will seriously bless so many lives. I'm so excited for her!

The Biloxi District is now as follows:
D'Iberville Elders: Elders Hunt and Chukwu
Biloxi Spaniards: Elders Scoresby and Dubosz
Ocean Springs Elders: Elders Houston and Clark
Ocean Springs Sisters: Sisters Thompson and Crosby
Biloxi Sisters: ME! and Sister Greenhalgh

The adventures of this week include running through the (almost) pouring rain, finding tour buses for bands we've never heard of, naming every cat we see "Chad", freezing our faces off by the Marina on the Air Force base, getting crushed (or crushing it?) by the airmen in a bowling match, and getting lost...in the dark...on the way to said bowling match.

It's all fun and games and baptism dates here in Biloxi.

It's amazing the strong Spirit you feel when you and your companion have the same goal in mind. When you as a child of God know of your purpose and your direction, the path through life becomes clearer, and the things you have to do to make it to the end also become clearer. What a blessing it is to know that we are children of God with a divine destiny!

Part of reaching that divine destiny is repentance. I have talked about it before, but the more I teach, I realize how important repentance is.

Repentance is not just forsaking large sins. It is not just seeking forgiveness for breaking a large commandment. It is not just for those who are sinners. Well, we are all sinners, but I hope you know what I mean.

Repentance is a gift from God meant to make us better. Repentance is for sinners and saints. You are not excluded from repenting because you go to church, read your scriptures, and say your prayers. There is always something we can do better; there is always some piece of ourselves we're missing; there is always some part of Christ we need to seek after.

I am so privileged to be able to bring this principle to others. I cannot tell you how truly grateful I am to be able to talk of the things of the kingdom of God everyday, to call others to repentance, to bring others closer to Jesus Christ. I cannot honestly relay to you the Spirit in this experience, the joy I feel on a daily basis, the intense love I feel for God's children. I am overjoyed. My heart is full of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for this experience.

To be a missionary is to have the power to call others to repentance. I am able to give them this opportunity and they must accept or reject it. I am able to speak plainly of gospel truths that will never change and allow them to pray, ponder, and feel if this is true.

This week, I have been able to watch a boy's eyes light up as I ask if he'd like to be baptized. I have poured out my soul to an elderly woman who would not even take the chance to ask if what we were teaching was true. I have watched God answer our prayers immediately and help us achieve our vision.

This gospel is true.

Do not doubt that.

This week has been absolutely fantastic. Amidst the cold weather and orange tree-trimming, the doors never opened, the doors closed, the missionaries who have left, the ones who have come in -- the Spirit is always the same. The Spirit is always just as strong as it was before. And it would not be if what we were doing was not true.

Have a good week.

Love y'all!



Sister Rose

Sister Maughan and I on T-Day!

 If you ever want to know what the Gulfport building looks like on transfer day...

 Tell me what's wrong with this photo.


That awkward moment when a bird poops on your companion #WelcometoBiloxi

 On the way to the branch!

Selfie! <3

 So, in the Triangle Chapel, the different denominations have to mark whatever's theirs in the fridge. So, here we have Catholic sour cream.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

"Are You Going to Be Thankful, or Just Full?"

That is from a church sign, boys and girls. I love serving in the south.

Goooood morning, y'all! It's a beautifully rainy morning here in Biloxi. It's also transfer week, so I'm a little short on time -- but I'll do my best!

Are y'all ready for a five-peat? Because Sister Rose is still going to hit it up in Biloxi! However, the Lord has made the decision to move Sister Maughan to bless others in the MJM. Thank you for your service as my companion, Sister Maughan. I'll miss you. I'm grateful we got to serve together again, but I know that your talents are needed elsewhere. I can't wait to hear about what you'll accomplish in your new area!

Lemme tell ya, this entire week has been quite the adventure! I'm sure I say that just about every week, but I mean it every time! The Lord brings new adventures every single week; I'm blown away by His knowledge, power, and timing.

We had a fun pow-wow with the Ocean Springs Sisters on Monday, carving pumpkins and making cookies. They're the best! We also had the best party ever with the airmen on Keesler! I owned them at target practice. Kind of. (It was with a Nerf gun. That counts, right?)

Multiple times this week, I have seen the Lord placing us just where we need to be, just at the right time. Just to name a few examples: while biking, we zoomed past an investigator we hadn't seen in a while and ran into one of our progressing investigators, who was then reminded to make an appointment with us; after teaching a rather lengthy lesson, we walked out of an apartment just as a couple we'd lost contact with was walking into the apartment next door. It turns out they had just moved in, and they want us to come by and teach them.

One of my favorite stories from this week demonstrates this. Saturday morning, Sister Maughan and I had made the executive decision to bike to our potential investigators' apartments nearby. The first apartment complex was fruitless; the only person who answered had just woken up and wasn't totally in the mood to talk (I forget people sleep on Saturdays. Whoops). Scratching our heads, we zipped down the street to the next apartment complex where a member we hadn't met yet was supposed to live. We locked up our bikes and strolled to the front door. As we stood there, I took note of a slowly-filling U-Haul parked right beside the sidewalk. The apartment directly across from us was dark, but there was a mother and daughter gathering boxes, brows knitted together, eyes distant as they calculated how they were going to fit everything into that truck.

Ask them if they want help, came a little voice at the back of my head. That thought nagged me from the moment I'd seen the truck, but I'd thought back to my past experiences when others have eyed our skirts, laughed, and said, "No, thanks."

As the mother walked out with another box, I asked, "Do y'all want some help?"

Immediately, her eyes grew wide and a grin spread across her exhausted expression. "Help?!" she just about yelled. "Yes! Please!"

She dropped the box onto the truck, and we stepped inside. The apartment was in complete disarray, and I wasn't sure exactly what all we could do. We soon found ourselves carefully wrapping glassware in jackets, sheets, and pillowcases. The two were absolutely elated that we'd stopped to help.

The Spirit leads us just where we need to be, whether we realize it or not. As I've been watching for miracles, I've noticed God's hand guiding me to each and every spot where I've needed to be. It's been such a humbling experience. Heavenly Father truly loves all of His children, and He uses us to answer their prayers.

Have you been an answer to a prayer?

Have a good week! I'll have more news next Monday!

Love y'all! Happy voting!



Sister Rose

Halloween on base! This is when we were shooting Nerf guns at targets set up by our Branch President. Sister Robinson won against her husband, and I dominated at the end. Somehow. By the grace of God.

Sister Maughan and I's pumpkins that we carved! Mine's on the right. Guess what it is. I dare you.

We were making thank you cards for the members. We think we're cute ;)


 Finished the Book of Mormon this week! That's #3 so far!

Manager parking? More like Maughan 'n' Rose :'D


 The boys of the branch (sort of). Left to right: Elder Chukwu, Elder Robinson, President Morgan, and Elder Hunt!

Got a picture with the Robinsons! <3 I love these guys. They've adopted us.

At Sister Robinson's request, I drew them. :)