Monday, February 23, 2015

So transfer calls were this week.  I felt sure that I was being transferred. I've been in this area for 6 months, President Brinkerhoff said in his interview with me that "that is a perfect amount of time in one area!" and during our district meeting's "transfer games", where everyone votes who they think will be transferred, when my name was called, every other missionary in that room raised their hand, predicting that I would be transferred. After all, out of everyone in our district, I've been here the longest.  Which is kind of weird, I was such a new little greenie when I came! It's weird to think that everyone else in our district is more new to this area than I am. Weird. But anyway, we got transfer calls and I'm staying here for another 6 weeks. Which I'm really glad about because it means that I get to witness----

Joe's Baptism!!! Joe and his lovely family have been prepared for this moment for a long time.  We've been teaching the family since they moved into the area about 2 1/2 moths ago.  This week was kind of stressful because we had to fit in the last few lessons, plan the baptism, get a program together, get him interviewed, schedule the time around a funeral that is happening the same day....there's a lot to do. But we are so proud of Joe for taking this step and so grateful that Heavenly Father has led him to this point.  
We also set a baptism date with Natayla! Sister Leasi and I had prayed and felt that she could be prepared for March 28.  But when we were in the lesson with her, at first I accidentally made the mistake of inviting her to be baptized on "February 28th" instead of "March 28th". Natayla looked like a deer in the headlights when I said that, then her grandpa exclaimed, "Wait, next Saturday??" Then, realizing what I had said, I corrected myself, saying "Oh, wait, no, March 28th!"  We all had a laugh, and Natayla agreed to prepare for that day.  Now to help her come to church.....

We had some of the most bizarre weather this week.   On Friday, it was bright and sunny, but in the distance you could see that it was raining in other parts of the area. While driving around, we would get to a spot that was raining (but still sunny) and then drive out of it.  Then, for a random 6 or 7 seconds, it started hailing! Then after a few seconds, it just stopped. And was still sunny and warm. Haha, it was so weird.  Idaho, man. 

I am lovin the Lord's work!  I see the amazing effects that his gospel has on families every day. I pray for my friends and family always and hope you are all doing well!

God Bless!
Sister Moreland

Monday, February 16, 2015

What a great week!

This week was a really good one.  We saw lots of miracles. We were looking for a couple of former investigators that were in our area book, one of which was a family with over-aged youth.  When we stopped by the house, a man named Victor was outside.  We utilized some of the conversation skills we had practiced in a zone-training just the day before (yes, missionaries need practice with how to start a conversation. We are that awkward.) and ended up talking about the restored gospel and Book of Mormon.  Then, this man did something that I've never had anyone do in my 5 1/2 months of being a missionary--he asked for a pamphlet.  Usually we give materials like Book of Mormons and pamphlets to people, and many times they never look at it, and sometimes they won't even take one.  But nobody has ever asked us for one.  So we excitedly gave him a restoration pamphlet and a Book of Mormon, and he agreed to have us come back and talk to him about it. Yayyy!

We also had some fantastic lessons this week.  We taught the Crafts (girl who competes in dog shows) about the plan of salvation and they were asking so many questions and we were all getting really into it.  Hearing this teenage girl talk about her experience was really moving. She explained how she was starting to doubt and question the existence of a God, but then we we came and starting talking to her, and now she really likes the idea of God and Christ and a plan of salvation, and that is making her a lot happier.  Hearing that just made my heart soar. 
         Another lesson is one we had yesterday with the Johns family, who are a part-member couple with a blended family.  I was a bit anxious about this lesson before hand because it was on the word of wisdom and law of chastity, and we know that they have some coffee habits.  But both of them were totally willing to stop drinking it--even committing to quit cold turkey--and their motivation is to make it to the temple someday.  My friends, this family is amazingly on fire.  What dedication!
 That is what this work is all about.  And it's feelings and lessons like these that makes it all worth it.
We had a pretty normal valentines day, the only difference was that we made these cute little valentines for people. Just little hearts cut out with a scripture about God's love for us on it.  Gave it to as many people we saw that day, which wasn't very much, considering everyone was out and about with their sweethearts.  ick. 

I got letters and valentines this week, and I send a huge thank you for all the love that was sent to me this week! Love all of you and hope you had as great a week as we did!

God Bless!
Sister Moreland

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Damage after the dog bite!

                                          What a big calf!  (And dad added, which one? haha)

Dearest Family and Friends,

What a week full of exciting adventures and shenanigans!

I'll start with the most exciting event of the week. So it was just a normal day of proselyting, hitting the streets, knocking on doors, etc.  I wanted to go see Rebecca, an investigator who lives way out in the midst of the potato fields.  So we went, and Rebecca's got these 5 huge dogs.  A few look like some sort of big German Shepard mix, one is a Great Dane-St.Bernard mix.  So they're some big dogs.  We've gone to her house a few times to knock, she's not home very often, but the dogs are always running around outside. They always bark a lot and aren't particularly loving or friendly dogs, but they usually just bark, and they let us pet them. This time, we went up to the door as usual, knocked, nobody was home, so we turned to leave, walking calmly and carefully through the crowd of big, protective dogs.  A few of them started barking at each other and getting riled up, and one ran behind me as I was walking, and I felt a sharp pain on the back of my right leg.  It felt like the dog had kind of jumped up and clawed my leg with his paw, but I just kept walking to the car.  Once safely in the car, I realized that my leg really hurt.  I pulled my boot off and my tights up to see that I had been bitten.  Badly.  Seeing the hole and the blood begin to come made me panic more than the pain did.  But I stayed calm as I drove off, having to use every ounce of self control I had not to drive the car over the dog that had just bitten me. Luckily, home (the Nickell's house) wasn't too far, so we went there and Sister Nickell bandaged me all up while I called the mission doctor. He gave me instructions and I was to receive antibiotics, which Sister Nickell picked up for me while we went out proselyting again. I was limping the rest of that night, but luckily it healed pretty quickly and now I'm walking just fine again :) But I've got a battle scar now! haha. 

So Sister Leasi left the incident unscathed, but now she is the one afraid of every dog we come in contact with. She asks everyone "does it bite?" "will it bite me?" like there was this teenie cute little labrador puppy, and she was like "aahh does it bite?!?" I'm like, oh my gosh, I'm the one who got bitten, I should be the one afraid. But I'm just not. I've never been afraid of dogs. In fact, I really want to go back to that one house with the dog that bit me. For revenge, of course. A baseball bat would do the trick. SORRY,  that was really violent and un-Chrsit-like.  But Christ did say, "Love thy Neighbor". He never said anything about the neighbor's dog. lol.

The weather here has been so nice! Yesterday it was super windy. We saw a baby cow!
Yep, 6 month mark coming up soon. It's a tradition to burn an article of clothing at 6 months, 1 year, 18 months, etc. Don't ask me why. That's a waste, if you ask me. But nevertheless, I'll think about doing it. Maybe I'll burn a hair tie or something.

Some of the baptismal dates that we have with investigators are starting to look uncertain....but we will work as hard as we can to help them progress towards Christ!  The longer I'm here, the more I'm realizing the amazing power of God and also the startling power of the adversary.  Satan wants nothing more than to stop people from gaining a testimony and coming to Christ.  He does everything in his power to stop people from coming to church, praying, reading scriptures, all of those essential things.  But he only succeeds if we let him.  It's up to us!

I just finished the most delicious Wendy's bacon blue-cheese burger. I highly recommend it. 

Thank you for the letters, emails, treats, and love. I am so grateful for the wonderful people Heavenly Father has put in my life.  

Report: I haven't bitten my nails in THREE WEEKS. Be proud of me. Hardest thing of my life. 

God Bless,
Sister Moreland

Monday, February 2, 2015

Hello my loves,

Man. Talk about a roller coaster week. 

Sometimes I think that a mission does to your testimony what digging with a shovel does to your hands. At first, your hands are all soft and smooth and strong. Then you start digging for a long time, and makes your hands really hurt, maybe even blister or peel.  But a few days later, the raw skin turns into calluses, strong and tough and able to take more shoveling the next day.  A testimony can be much the same way.  You never really know if it's strong unless it's challenged, tested, even put through the wringer just a little bit.  But I know that when I come out of it, I'll have a rock-solid "callused" testimony that will be able to withstand the challenges that I will face later in life.  Maybe if I had never decided to serve a mission, I would really struggle later in my life.  The thought of that is difficult, and makes me very grateful that I had such a strong prompting to serve.

Had a few miracles this week. We had a bishop talking about this one less active woman with non-member kids.  We knew that she was good friends with Michelle, another investigator, and we had been talking to Michelle about her, but so far had not been able to meet this woman yet.  One day we were walking up to Michelle's house when this same woman pulls up. She was there to pick up her kids, who were playing with Michelle's kids.  So we got to go in with her and meet her and her kids! It was pretty great. No such thing as coincidences. 
Also, we are teaching a part-member family where the man is a member and wants to get back to church, his non-member teenage granddaughter is curios about God, and his wife could care less about religion and doesn't like us to come over.  We've been trying for quite a few weeks to get them to come to church, and so far they haven't, as much as the man really wants to make it.  But this Sunday, who comes to church? His wife! Not him, nor his granddaughter, but his wife! They were all going to come to church together, they were all dressed and everything, but then the man and his grandaughter were feeling ill, so they stayed home, but his wife came anyway! Wow. Impressive. And shocking. That's a miracle if I've ever seen one.

Can't wait to hear from all of you! Love you so much :)

God Bless,
Sister Moreland