Monday, January 26, 2015

Another exciting and adventurous week in the life of the average Idaho, Pocatello missionary!

So -- not yesterday but last Sunday -- we were told by one of our bishops that there was a child in the ward (his name is Tason) who's family was active and they were planning on a normal, child-of-record baptism when he was 8, but things happened that caused the family to have to delay the baptism, so he is now 9. Any youth 9 or over is technically a convert and then the responsibility of the mission.  "and the baptism is planned for this Saturday", said the bishop. Oh dear. We really didn't know what needed to happen. There was a possibility that we needed to teach the child before baptism. We definitely needed to interview the child before baptism. But after a bunch of shinanagins and phonecalls between us and the district leader, zone leaders, APs, the bishop, President Brinkerhoff, and the stake president, the whole situation was finally approved to continue the way the family had originally planned. Whew! So we had a surprise baptism this week, which went great! Yayy!

So we were walking up the pathway to an investigator's house and Sister Leasi and I were joking around, I called her "Fe'e" (which means Octopus in Samoan, it was her nickname back home) and she laughed and kind of punched my arm.  Well, we were walking on slick ice at the time, so the force of the punch caused my feet to slip out from underneath me and I fell on the ice on my side. Painful, but soooo funny. It was a perfect America's Funniest Home Videos moment. 

Also on Saturday, Maddie---the 8-year-old of the part-member-family we've been teaching---got baptized! yayyy! She was baptized in a joint baptism with 2 of her friends from primary. All 3 of them sang "When I am Baptized" together, which was super cute. 

"God who makes no demands is the functional equivalent of God who does not exist." That is my quote for today.

Well that's all for today! Gotta get to Walmart, you know. Love you!

God Bless,
Sister Moreland

Monday, January 19, 2015

Helloooo my family and friends! 

Unlike last week, this one flew by rather quickly. This week was transfers, so we had some missionaries in our zone leave and some new ones come in. Last Monday was two of the sisters' last day in the mission field, so we had a sisters lunch together, which was super fun.  So now, Sister Brimley is in my zone! Yayy I'm excited to serve with her again! 
Sister Leasi and I have been working pretty hard to find new people, especially in our wards that don't have as much work right now. It's proving to be more difficult than I thought.  People just aren't home! Not even on Saturdays! And the few who are really aren't interested.  We came across an especially nice lady that said "Oh, I'm not mormon and I don't wanna be" and started to walk back inside, so we said "Okay, well have a great day!"  to which she replied, "I will once you get off my driveway".  I had to chuckle when I heard that one. When most people see that we're leaving, they just respond with, "you too", but I guess some people just gotta be honest. I found that the phrase "Kill 'em with kindness" is pretty accurate. Often, when people are rude to us and we respond with kindness, you can tell that they regret being rude. Hopefully that will encourage them to be nice in the future :) So just some wise words--be kind, even to strangers :)

I think my favorite day was yesterday.  After church, we went to the the Eppoch's house, and I made chicken pablano for everyone! I wasn't sure how spicy everyone liked it, so I went light on the spice (but then put extra spice on my plate, and after adding a ton, it tasted just like Mom's :)  
After dinner, we went to the fireside in Pocatello.  Lindsay and our other investigator, Shelby were both there! One lady who was supposed to bare her testimony didn't show up, so last minute they asked Lindsay if she would bare her testimony in front of everyone. She accepted! She was so nervous but her testimony was beautiful. It made me so proud to hear how strong her brand new testimony is. Also, Lindsay told us she has pics of the baptism printed out for us, I should be getting those soon! Me and two other missionaries, Sister Stewart and Elder Gross, sang our own arrangement mix of "I Stand All Amazed" and "I Need Thee Every Hour". Ended up being really pretty. The rest of the fireside was awesome--there were some really good speakers who talked about change and starting a new year in Christ, as the theme of the fireside was "Look Not Behind Thee: Starting a New Year in Christ".  Great Sunday!

I always have been a big believer in change.  Anyone can change, and through Christ, anyone who comes to Him can abandon sin and turn over a new leaf.  We shouldn't, however, "wait for God to come to us"--or wait for some life-changing experience to force us to change--we can come to Christ! It's like that painting where Christ is standing at the door with no doorknob.  Christ is always at the door to our hearts, knocking.  We just have to open the door. This year I really want to make an effort to be a Christ-like as I can. In all times and in all places. 

Well, I love you and hope you are doing well! 
God Bless,
Sister Moreland

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

                                                                       Baptism of Lindsay
                                                              Yay, got a gingerbread house!

Helloooo mi familia!

This week was the longest week of my life. No particular reason, I just feel like Wednesday was about 2 weeks ago. weird. 

I pet a kangaroo this week! We went to this member's house, and she has a pet kangaroo. This was a younger one, so he was about 4 feet tall and just hopped around the kitchen.  She had him on a leash, and could even pick him up and put him on her lap, but he didn't seem to like that too much, haha. He was very soft, but very hyper, so wouldn't really stay still long enough for you to pet him that much. So that was interesting.

Saturday. Saturday was quite eventful. It was Lindsay's baptism!!! Yayy!! So we got there at 10:00 am, an hour before it started, only to find out that one of the other wards had a baptism for an 8-year-old scheduled at 11:00 as well. Oh, no. Apparently somebody was supposed to inform the stake to make sure there were no conflicts, not sure who though. SO, some rearranging had to be done--we agreed that the other ward would have their first talk in the relief society room while our baptism was performed at the font, and then we would switch places. So it all got worked out. 
Lindsay was really nervous, and honestly I was nervous, too, just out of concern for everything to go smoothly.  Now I know how you feel, mom, when you're worried about everything going smoothly for the 8-year-old baptisms.  I was fretting that somebody who had a role in the baptism would forget to come or that there wouldn't be towels or I don't know, I was just being little miss Tobi :) But it went really well. Lindsay's best friend talked, Her friend's dad baptized her, and she was just beaming with happiness afterward.  I really am so proud of her.  The baptism really made me see just how important a super solid fellowshipper is.  A convert needs a good friend to be with them throughout the process--the discussions, planning the baptism, after baptism...Lindsay really had that, and it puts me at ease knowing that she is in good hands.  After the baptism, the bishop came up to us and told us that Lindsay had talked to him about how much she appreciated us. She could really tell that we loved her, and that really touched her. Hearing that really touched my heart. Love really is so important in teaching, and I'm glad that she could see how much we care about her. <3

So after the baptism, the primary president of one of our wards, Sister Erb, took us to the Idaho Falls temple to meet the Riders at the Visitor's Center! We had a great visit. They really enjoyed all the things to do and look at in the visitors center, and we all felt the spirit really strongly there.  They want to come back again to watch "Meet the Mormons" which is playing there this month.  We left the temple, and about 15 minutes into the 25 minute drive back to Blackfoot, we received a phone call from the temple visitors center, informing me that I had left my bag there. Oh my gosh. My bag. The thing that has my entire life in it.  The thing that never leaves my side ever. I left it, and what's worse is that I didn't even realize it! Sister Erb was kind enough to insist that she would drive back and get it after she dropped us off at our dinner appointment. I felt horrible. Pray that God showers blessing upon generous Sister Erb.

Then we had a church tour with the Diaz family. The husband, who is the non-member in this extremely quiet family, asked a question for the first time in any of discussions. It was the most I have ever heard him talk. Woo-hoo! Hooray for questions and getting people to open up! 
Also, I had a weird wave of Texas homesickness one day this week. I heard "Tennessee Waltz" at someone's house and all of a sudden I just wanted to ride in Mimi and Papa's car and listen to country western and have cactus jelly and wear cowboy boots and shoot guns. Also tell Papa that I went to the family history center this week, and I really like the features they have on family search. You can put pictures, stories, memories, etc.  It made me want to get to work photoshopping old pictures to put into the system. A project for when I get home, perhaps?  That would be cool and fun.

Well, that's all I can think of for this week. I'm having a great time and working hard out here! Love you all so much!

God Bless,
Sister Moreland

Monday, January 5, 2015

                                                             Sledding on New Year's Day.
Hello Everyone!

Well, New Years was a hit! On New Year's Eve, we all got together at the stake center and watched movies! We watched How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Megamind. And our curfew was extended by an hour, which was nice.  Then on New Year's Day, we had all the missionaries in our zone over to our house, courtesy of the Nickells. We went sledding, had hot chocolate (I made your hot cocoa, Mom, and it was a hit!) ate a potato bar dinner, snacks, played games, sled again...most of the missionaries stayed until about 9:00. It was a very fun, very relaxing holiday.

The next day, it was back to work! We had a lesson with the James's, and it's kind of weird how much their family is like mine. I feel a real commonality with them, and it just makes me desire even more for them to find happiness in this gospel. She was even saying how her ultimate goal is to be sealed as an eternal family.  You can imagine how our hearts lept with joy at hearing that. 

So I've got some new year's resolutions.  I'm going to have a better personal study in the mornings. Really get deep into my scripture reading.  Or rather studying, not just reading.  My other one is to exercise daily, because I haven't been doing very well with that.   haha.  Part of the word of wisdom is keeping your body healthy by exercising, so hopefully the fact that, in a way, it's a commandment will help get me motivated. 

Any NewYear's resolutions? I hope one would be to share the gospel more! :) So most years those resolutions get written down, put in a drawer somewhere and don't get looked at again.  What I've found out here is that when you make goals, there are a few good ways to keep them. The first is to make the goal super specific. "eating better" or "sharing the gospel" are really broad goals. A more specific example would be to "give away at least one Book of Mormon" or "invite so and so to church" or "eat at least one serving of veggies a day".  Specific goals along with constant follow-up.  We always have our leaders checking in on how we are doing with our goals, we are constantly looking back on our goals to see how we can better achieve them. That helps a lot with keeping those goals on your mind so you don't forget them.  Anyway, that's my schpeil on goals for the day. I know this church is true. Love you!

God Bless,
Sister Moreland