Tuesday, December 27, 2016

"We found a Transformer in the Scouts' closet." "Outstanding!"

Merry morning, dear friends! How was Christmas? Magical? I hope so.

I have a four-line poem that perfectly describes our Christmas. Ready? Okay:

'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house,
The A/C was blowing,
Because we live in the South.

We had a rather eventful week. In a way. Let me begin by telling you a classic sister missionary tale.

Sister May and I were out trying to be diligent missionaries. We didn't let daylight savings hinder our work, and we were out knocking on doors even though I could liken the evening hours to "thick darkness [gathering] around me" (Joseph Smith History 1:15).

We were trying to see a family in the ward, and Sister May decided to park. Little did she know that Satan had recently been at a storm drain and as she turned the wheel to swing the car beside the curb, our poor car slammed right into some loose hardware jutting out from the lip of the drain.

Our little Corolla came to a startling halt. I paused the merriment of Gentri's Christmas tunes as Sister May re-positioned the car away from the curb. We hopped outside to check, and found that a gaping hole had been ripped into our poor tire.


Thus began a chain of phone calls to members who lived nearby. It seemed the people in the neighborhood surrounding us were so enthralled with their Christmas movies that they didn't have any time to look out the window and see Mormon missionaries awkwardly kicking at the sidewalk as we kept dialing number after number.

But, no worries, all you mothers reading. Brother Yarrington -- also known as The Best -- came to our rescue with his daughter. He helped us attach a spare, and the following day we gave our car to Firestone to help with the damage. I'll have y'all know it's a running joke in the mission office that whatever car I touch seems to have trouble. I was hoping Brownlee would be a different story.

I was wrong.

What's amazing is that in that Firestone, we ended up talking to a woman there who just so happened to be a less-active in another ward! What!

The Lord has a reason for everything, including flat tires. (Sorry, Elder Edwards.)

I've been pondering upon the season and what the future has in store. Missionary work still rolls on, even when the world is taking a break. The work must still be done. The Lord stops for no holiday.

For the whole of 2016, I have been preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the same gospel that was taught by our Savior in the New Testament, with all of the same ordinances and principles He taught the Apostles to preach. I know where this gospel came from, and I know it has been restored to us in the latter-days after centuries of being lost. I know it is found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I know this isn't just another church. It isn't just another philosophy. This is the truth. I know it. I have felt it. I have prayed about it. I have earnestly sought my Heavenly Father's guidance with this. Because, yes, that is a bold statement. And it is not that everyone else is wrong and we are right because that's not correct. We are no better than any other church. There are pieces of the gospel scattered across the earth -- so where are all of the pieces gathered today? Where is the fullness of Christ's gospel?

Jesus Christ offered the Sadducees and the Pharisees more. He offered the sinners something new. He taught something higher. He did not take away from what they already knew; He came to fulfill, not destroy.

That is precisely what we are doing.

We have come to proclaim glad tidings of great joy! Yes, you have a Savior who died for you! And we have a gospel that tells you how you can utilize that sacrifice to its fullest. We want to offer more to God's children, not take away what they know! The gospel of Jesus Christ makes bad men good -- but it most definitely makes good men better.

There is more out there for us, brothers and sisters. If you have not found it, seek for it. Ask, and you shall receive. Heavenly Father is waiting to pour blessings onto you if you just let Him.

Remember who you are. Remember what life you can have in Jesus Christ.

The New Year begins on Sunday. We are making goals for our work and ourselves. What goals will you make this year? What will you do differently? What more will you add to yourself?

Have a happy New Year.



Sister Rose

 Some historical stuff in Benton!

Star Wars Christmas decorations are my FAVORITE

 In case you needed another perspective of the cross.

An obligatory sunset photo <3

 That moment when you get a flat tire. (Our faces = exactly our emotions.)

 Our companionship name #TheMayflower

Christmas Eve in Louisiana!

Check out this little church someone built!!


The sun is so pretty, right?

The best

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hm. That's Catchy.

Good morning from northern Louisiana, y'all!

That's right. Louisiana.

In case you didn't know, the Mississippi Jackson Mission covers quite a few states! We have the bottom two-thirds of MIss'ippi, two portions of Louisiana, a small bottom section of Arkansas, and a sliver of eastern Texas. Cool, right?

I have officially left Biloxi, Miss'ippi after five transfers. I love that ward, that area, and all of those who are there. I am so thankful that Heavenly Father kept me there for so long, and I am grateful for every lesson, every companion, and every miracle and tragedy I had the privilege to witness. I am so thankful that Sister Greenhalgh and Sister Soto are now taking care of that amazing area. They are going to do so well! I'll miss you, Sister Greenhalgh! I am so thankful that I was able to serve with her; she has such a fortified, rooted testimony of the gospel. She knows what to say, what to do, and how to do it. She is so fun and strong, and I loved learning from her. She is going to bless so many lives with Sister Soto!

On transfer day, I was given red pipe cleaners to place on my bags. Red means the Monroe Zone. Upon arrival in Clinton, I was informed that I was actually going to the pink zone -- Shreveport.

Both Monroe and Shreve are in Louisiana, but I'm officially at the complete opposite end of my mission! What the heck! Isn't that cool?

I'm now companions with the one and only Sister May from Preston, Idaho! She was in Ocean Springs while I was in Biloxi, so it has been so nice to serve with someone I already knew! Plus, Sister May is the bomb. She's the sweetest, kindest, most hilarious girl to grace Louisiana. I'm so grateful to be working with her here.

Where is "here" exactly?

I have been dropped into Bossier City, Louisiana. My area covers portions of Bossier, Haughton, Plain Dealing, and Benton. These are all part of the Bossier Parish, but I'm part of the Brownlee Ward! In case you're confused, Brownlee is actually a street that the Church is nearby. Yes. A street. Amazing, right?

Louisiana is full of all kinds of surprises! Bone-chilling cold, beautiful fall leaves, a 199ft cross that you can see from almost all points of my area. It's truly amazing.

I'm so excited to begin this new adventure in Louisiana! We have a truly amazing ward here. I am so blessed to be able to serve as a Brownlee Sister. There are so many miracles and experiences in store that I am so thrilled to discover.

I am reminded of the end of the Book of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon. In the twenty-eighth chapter, Mosiah's four sons have repented, been converted, and now have the desire to spread the gospel because "they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yeah, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble" (3). They asked their father, King Mosiah if they could go to the land of Nephi to preach to the Lamanites.

When I read this, I was intrigued by their (for lack of a better word) expectations in the preceding verse. The verse read:

That perhaps they might bring them to the knowledge of the Lord their God, and convince them of the iniquity of their fathers; and that perhaps they might cure them of their hatred towards the Nephites, that they might also be brought to rejoice in the Lord their God, that they might become friendly to one another, and that there should be no more contentions in all the land which the Lord their God had given them (2).

Pay attention to the words "they might." They did not necessarily expect that anyone would listen to them. They had enough faith to know that those people might listen, but there was no guarantee that they would have any kind of success.

How many times do we go into things uncertain of the outcome? Especially things that the Lord asks us to do?

Whenever He asks us to do things, He promises us certain blessings, yes, but not always the blessings we expect. Heavenly Father knows us perfectly and knows exactly what we need. We cannot demand or expect blessings for doing a certain thing -- even these amazing missionaries didn't expect to see success. They just knew that the Lord had blessed them with mercy, and that they needed to share this love and grace with those who didn't have it. That was their calling; that was their responsibility.

They received many blessings for their missionary service. The story of Alma and the sons of Mosiah is one of my favorites. I learn so much from them, especially as I'm also a servant of the Lord right now. The lessons they learned during their service can be applied to everyone, not just missionaries.

Remember why you do things, brothers and sisters. Do you do them for the blessings, or because you know that Heavenly Father has asked you to do them? Do you do them out of love? For the numbers? For the recognition?

It's okay to find a part of yourself that God wouldn't be too happy with. That's why we're here; to repent and become more like His Son. Remember: God chasteneth whom He loves.

Be better. Be good. Be the child of God you know you can be.

Have a good week!



Sister Rose

 District pic on transfers! From left to right (starting on the top row): Elder Chukwu, Elder Houston, Elder Scoresby, Elder Clark, Elder Dobosz, Elder Hunt. Sister Crosby, Sister Thompson, ME!, and Sister Greenhalgh

 Me with some of my favorite humans: Lisa, Kee, Sydney, and baby Caroline! <3



Selfie with the Branch! From left to right: Sister Morgan, Daxton Arnold, Taylor Woodland, Sister Greenhalgh, ME!, The Almadas, The Robinsons, Jordon Wenta, Elder Chukwu, Elder Hunt, and PRESIDENT MORGAN!

The Mississippi from the T-Van!



The 199ft cross. I promise it's this tall.

This is a sign in a gas station bathroom :)

Our Bishop's van


Christmas in Louisiana looks a little like this in our apartment (ignore my desk)

Monday, December 12, 2016

That Awkward Moment When the Pizza Guy and the Mormon Missionaries Knock on the Door at the Same Time


No, but really. That actually happened. It was awesome. It went a little something like:

Us: *knock knock*
Investigator: WHO IS IT?
Us: Missionaries!
*Pizza guy walks up*
Investigator: WHO???
Us: missionaries and pizza

Anyway! So, what is up, everyone?! It's transfer week! And it's been a greatly-anticipated transfer week, too. You see, I'm finally leaving Biloxi. And I say finally only because I've been here probably forever, and I suppose the Lord was like, "Oh. Maybe it's time for you to leave." So, as the Zone Leaders have informed us this morning, Sister Greenhalgh will be staying in Biloxi and I will be going who-knows-where in the Mississippi Jackson Mission.

Because of that and all the packing I have to do, this e-mail will be pretty short! I've learned quite a bit from Biloxi. Most of my growth has happened here. I was blessed with amazing companions, truly prepared investigators, and a fantastic ward. Biloxi was all I could have asked for in an area. I've learned that sometimes things don't always go the way you planned; sometimes when you're living in your imagination and the world doesn't match up, you might have the tendency to get discouraged and question but then Heavenly Father gives you something even greater than you could have imagined. That's the beauty of knowing the gospel; when you give it to the One with the eternal perspective, you know things will work for your good.

I can testify that things really are consecrated for your good, brothers and sisters. I've sat in too much darkness and seen brighter lights to deny that. Heavenly Father truly has us in mind, and He will never leave us behind.

As I've reflected on this and my past five transfers in Biloxi, I've noticed the little signs of growth that have happened in me. As I've handed pieces of myself over to my Savior, I've watched Him make them into something beautiful -- something more peaceful, more resilient, more sound.

A recent convert in the Biloxi ward changed my perspective on things during a lesson this week. To one of our investigators, she said, "You won't have to change for this; it will change you."

That principle has applied to me in this area, as well as over my whole mission. And as I've shared the gospel, I've realized that it is the gospel that changes us. Heavenly Father does ask us to change, but He doesn't tell us to do it ourselves. He asks us to give ourselves to Him, and He will change us.

Change is scary. Choosing to do something different, to take a leap of faith, to be someone you've never been before is downright terrifying. I remember when I first received the prompting to serve a mission, and I vividly remember all of the many reasons I'd used to justify not praying about it.

"I don't know how to talk to people." "I don't know much about the gospel." "I don't have enough money for it." "What about school?" "What if I don't do as well as I want to?"

None of these reasons (plus more) matter anymore. I cannot believe the kind of person my Savior has allowed me to be -- the kind of person my Savior has changed me into. This gospel works, brothers and sisters. This gospel truly changes people.

Ponder on that. You do not have to change for the gospel. It will change you.

I love you all. Have a good week, and I'll let you know what's up when I'm somewhere else.



Sister Rose

 This is what getting transferred looks like.

This is our investigator, Victor. He's the coolest kid around.

Selfies at the beach for the last time <3

The true essence of Sister Rose


A member gave us these. This is what the Celestial Kingdom tastes like

Sister Greenhalgh's bathroom decor. She's basically the best.

Well, Purvis, to be exact. WHICH IS EVEN BETTER.

Monday, December 5, 2016

But If You Keep Reading the Bible....

Good rainy afternoon to y'all! How was your week? Can y'all believe it's December? I literally can't. Where did 2016 go? Let's hope the next few weeks are going to be better than ever as we prepare for Christmas!

We've had a rather awesome week here in Biloxi. Sister Greenhalgh and I have been doing quite a bit here! Sometimes it feels like we never have enough time to do everything we need to do in the week, but I suppose that's what the next week is for!

I would just like to say that becoming a missionary has been the best decision I've ever made. I wouldn't want to be doing anything else with my life right now. If I could spend more time dedicating my life to my Savior, I would. Eighteen months is simply not enough time to repay Him for what He's done for me -- then again, an entire life dedicated to Him wouldn't repay the price He paid for us. I love being a missionary.

I have a really neat story I want to share. So, this week, one of our appointments fell through. That happens, and we've learned to adjust accordingly. We decided to tract a street nearby. There was no particularly strong feeling we had about the street, but it hadn't been tracted my whole seven months in Biloxi.

We started knocking on doors. Few people were home. We met some kind folks who were enthralled in their football game, or were just entirely not interested. We tried our best to ask them questions to spark the Spirit in their hearts, but to no avail. Discouragement didn't overshadow us; we simply kept on, and continued to hope that Heavenly Father would open the heart of someone who was prepared for us.

We approached a house with cars clustered in every section of the driveway. A man was outside, grabbing some tools out of his truck.

"Excuse me!" Sister Greenhalgh chimed. The man looked up quickly, startled at our appearance. As we began talking to him, it was clear he didn't speak very much English. But, he understood what we said and in a few heavily accented words, he motioned towards the front door and went to get his wife.

A woman stepped out onto the porch while her husband disappeared behind the house. We told her our purpose and what this message would do for her, but she declined and mentioned that she attended the Catholic church.

"Have you ever heard of the Book of Mormon?" Sister Greenhalgh asked. The woman shook her head, wariness creeping over her features. We told her what the book's purpose was -- how it was another testament of Jesus Christ. But, again, she declined the offer.

"Well, do you need any service done?" I asked. She gave me a puzzled look. "Like, yard work or house work?"

She laughed. "You'd do that?" she said.

"Of course!" we both chorused. I pulled out a Light the World pass-along card and offered her our phone number, along with the Spanish missionaries' phone number in case she ever wanted to learn more about our message, or if she ever needed any service.

Her features softened as she took the card. Thoughts flicked across her eyes, and she looked up at us. "So if I had something for you, you'd come inside my house right now and do it?" she asked, a little hopefully.

"Yes!" we said. "Do you have anything?"

"I might, actually!" she said as she straightened. Her whole being brightened, and she asked, "Do either of you draw?"

I cannot tell you how excited I was. Sister Greenhalgh immediately volunteered me, and we came inside. As it turned out, her first grade daughter had a book project due in the next few days, but there was simply too much house work and errands to be done for her mother or siblings to help. So, I grabbed a pencil and a marker and drew what I could on a poster board while her little girl watched quietly.

Behind me, Sister Greenhalgh and the overwhelmed mother worked to clean up the living room and sort yard sale items. The little kids gathered around me to watch.

Brothers and sisters, no joy is comparable to the joy we feel when we serve others. A heavenly peace rests on my shoulders when I am able to serve another person, even if it's just in a small way. That mother continuously told us how she felt that God had sent us to her, and I also knew He had.

God has given you specific talents to share with others. Our talents were not meant to be hidden away; they were meant to be shared. We glorify God through the little acts of love that we do, and no greater love comes from service.

Share an act of love with someone. Pray for an opportunity to share your talent with someone this week. Help someone come closer to Christ by serving them the way He would.

I hope y'all have a good week.



Sister Rose

This was on the back of a lawn service trailer #TheSouth #ILoveIt

Us on T-Day

 What happens when missionaries have to go to a White Elephant party (yes, those are Ensigns)