Monday, April 27, 2015

                                                                                    Blackfoot Zone
Hello all!

Not really that eventful of a week, to be honest. Although Monday night, we did have a fantastic lesson with Rob and Preston on the plan of Salvation! 
 I LOVE teaching the plan of salvation!! It is my absolute favorite discussion out of any of them.  Just seeing the light bulb in the investigator's head turn on as we talk about answers to some of life's greatest questions. Answers to the "questions of the soul", as we call them.  Why am I here? Where did I come from? What is the purpose of life? Where will I go after this life?  When we talk about those subjects in relation to God's great Plan of Happiness, everything just makes sense to me.  And everything begins to make much more sense for the people that we teach.  There is so much to talk about in the plan of salvation, as well.  So much about the Atonement to cover, so much depth when discussing the fall of Adam and Eve...I could go on and on during our discussions, but usually we only have about 45 minutes, so a lot of times we end up splitting the plan of salvation discussion up into several different parts, depending on the level of understanding of those we are teaching.  If you ever want to share/explain some part of the gospel with someone to get their brain juices flowing, talk about God's plan for us.  If that doesn't stir people's minds to ask questions and ponder topics of life and God, I don't know what will!

                                                                                          Service Project
(This is the) service that we did this week! They had a big ward breakfast/service thing on Saturday.  We had a big pancake breakfast and then did a bunch of yardwork around the church building. Sister Leon and I were raking with this one lady who had served her mission in Scotland! and now she has a son out, I think somewhere in South America.  So we talked a lot about Scotland and Ireland and had some "good crack", as the Irishman call it. hee hee. 
Ehh...I can't really think of anything else...but I just want to thank everyone for their emails and letters of love and support! I love you all so much and pray for everyone back home all the time! Know that you are loved so deeply by our Father and Heaven.  When all is lost and it seems like nobody else is there for you, HE always is.  Love you soooo much!

God Bless,
Sister Moreland

Monday, April 20, 2015

                    Sister Moreland! I didn't know you were serving in the Ireland-Scottland mission!?
                                                                      Neither did I.  Neither did I. 
                                                                           Inkom in all its glory.

Pday at the Nickells' - roasting marshmellows and playing football, guitar, singing, and tire swings
This week, it was 70 degrees. And then the next day, it snowed. And then the next day, it snowed. And then the next day, it was 75. Wat.

Hello, my loves!

Well, Tuesday-Thursday was kind of uneventful this week, so I'm gonna skip straight to the highlight of the week--Friday.

On Friday, one of our Sister Training Leaders, Sister Hill, came around with us in Inkom. She's from Texas, too, so it was kind of funny when people asked us where each of us were from, and we all 
say the same thing.

So the first half of the day consisted of a heck of a lot of piddling around the neighborhood, knocking on doors and trying to find someone home, but with no success. With that afternoon combined with the previous few days which passed quite unproductively, I was starting to get kinda down, wondering why in the world there were even missionaries in teensy little Inkom all all. Thinking there simply isn't enough work here.  After feeling quite useless, we finally had a lesson--a great one--with investigators Rob and his 18 year old son Preston. We simply read the first chapter of the Book of Mormon with them, and they talked about how The Book of Mormon seemed much easier once we just sat down and read it together.  

Then later in the evening, we had an appointment to have a lesson with a part-member family, but 10 minutes prior to the lesson, they called and canceled. Well, now we were left having to find something to do again. From the parking lot we had stopped in to decide where to go, I suddenly spotted a man outside working on his boat, so I said to Sister Leon and Sister Hill, "Hey, let's go talk to that guy!" So we did. He ended up being a less active guy that wanted to come back, and his wife is a former investigator. He said that he had seen us drive by a few time during the week, and thought to himself "we need to start meeting with the missionaries again!" Lo and behold, here we were! I'm really glad I followed that prompting of the spirit to go see him, because now we're going to start meeting with him and his wife again!

Then, as we knocked on another door, who's owner wasn't home, we saw two men walking down the street (which is odd here in small-town Inkom) . How do I describe them...well these guys had their gangstah pants on. But we approached them anyways, and I was kinda being doubting Thomas over here, thinkin, "Man, these guys are punks. They're not gonna want to hear about God from us Mormons."  But surprisingly, one of them was very friendly.  The friendly one ended up being the son of a couple that Sister Leon had been seeing before I got here.  His friend was a non-member from Pocatello, and although he was stand-offish at first, as we began to talk about Christ and ask them questions about their lives, they slowly began to open up.  We told them about the Book of Mormon and how it testifies of Christ, and offered them each a copy, which they both took gladly. In fact, one of the men, seeing that his friend's copy of the Book of Mormon also had a pamphlet in it, said "Hey, how come he got a pamphlet, I want one too!" Haha, it was so great! So we gave him one, too :) We set up times to see them both (Sister Hill happens to serve in the area where the nonmember friend lives).  What a MIRACLE. What a testimony that there is always someone who is prepared to receive the gospel, even when grumpy ole' me thinks that there isn't.  What a humbling experience. What a blessing in disguise that the one family canceling on us turned out to be! If they hadn't canceled, we wouldn't have ever met those 3 men that were in need of Jesus Christ in their life.  When one door closes, 2 more open.  

On Saturday, we went "rock picking"!  Don't worry, I had no idea what that was, either, before I did it.  Basically, the farming fields in Idaho get these big rocks in them every year, and a big group of people volunteer to go out to the fields to pick up the rocks for this year's planting. It's a huge service project, because if the rocks are left there, they get stuck in the plowing machinery and cause a lot of problems. So I go there thinking that we are going to be picking up these golf-ball-sized and orange-sized rocks. Then when we got there, the guy in charge told us to leave the little rocks there and only worry about picking up the rocks that were grapefruit-sized or bigger. I'm thinking "psshh there aren't going to be hardly any rocks that are bigger than a grapefruit! This will take like 30 minutes!"  Boy was I wrong. The field was covered in rocks bigger than basketballs. Talk about some back-breaking work! I brought my camera with the intention of taking pictures when we got there, but I completely forgot. So sorry, no pictures of rock-picking. But I did get quite the farmers tan! :D What fun, Idahoan week!

I would like to briefly emphasize the importance of friendshipping new converts. and not just saying hello in church for a few months. These people need true, solid friends. Someone to be there for them. Someone to spend time with outside of "church" things.  A support system that they can turn to with their questions, concerns, and doubts.  In reality, we all need that. But it's especially important when someone is coming into this completely foreign world that we call the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Please try and find ways to make friends with those who are struggling as well!  

Well, that's the news and updates for this week! Love you all so much!

God Bless, 
Sister Moreland

Monday, April 13, 2015

                                                                               Well Fed in Blackfoot

                                                                        Outdoor P-Day Activity
                                                            With Sister Brimley (MTC companion)
Transfer week is the longest week of my life, oh my gosh.
Well, this week was full of a heck-of-a lot of goodbyes. I hated it. But most of the week was okay, just really stressed about about packing and all (oh my gosh packing is a TERROR.) I didn't really start getting sad until Tuesday night, the night before transfers. Saying goodbyes to the last few families, and even harder was when Bishop Nickell shook my hand and with his eyes brimming, thanked me for staying with them and being a wonderful missionary.  After that, my heart ached as I looked around the house and reminisced of my time in Blackfoot.  My heart was and still is full of love for the people in Blackfoot.  Then Wednesday morning, we cleaned, took some pictures together as a companionship, and then headed to the transfer sight!

And now I am in Inkom! My new companion, Sister Le`on (lay-OWN) is from Houston, Texas.  She was born in California, though, and her parents are from Mexico. She just got done with her training, so she's still learning the missionary life and routine. 
In Blackfoot, every time I told someone I was transfering to Inkom, they said "Oh, Inkom Stinkom!" Apparently they call it that because there is a factory of some sort here, and factories usually put off a yucky smell. So I was expecting a teensy little town in the middle of the desert, maybe some oil fields nearby, foothills in the distance, and a smelly factory in the middle.  How wrong I was. Inkom is beautiful.  It's a small town in the mountains, so there are rolling hills everywhere, reminding me a lot of Ireland (except they are more yellowish mountains rather than the lush green ones in Ireland, of course). The views up in the hills are spectacular, there's winding roads and creeks everywhere...makes me really want to go hiking!  That might be a regular p-day activity around here :)

I forgot how hard learning a new area is.  You kind of have to empty your brain out of all the information from your last area to make room for all of the different names, wards, leaders, streets, and people of your new area.  The good part is that it's small, so there isn't quite as big of an area to cover and learn.  But we cover 4 wards, so there is still a lot of stuff to remember. I've met a handful of investigators. There is a lot of less active work here, a lot more than in Blackfoot. I guess when you're in a town this small, there are only so many new people to find and teach. But I have learned my new area in Inkom better in 5 days than in the first 4 weeks I was in Blackfoot. Which tells me that the Lord has really been answering my prayers to expand my mind and help me remember things. I pray all the time that I will be able to overcome my forgetfulness and my poor memory, and I've really seen it working wonders.  I feel more responsible than ever I have before.  I just hope the Lord will help me continue to expand my mind that I may keep it beyond just the mission. Prayer works, y'all. 

I think it was like the day after I got here, we were getting out of our car, and I stepped backwards to close the passenger door and tripped backwards over the curb, landing on my back on the rocks behind me.  As much as it hurt, it was more embarrassing than it was painful. I quickly stood up and made sure nobody was around. My companion laughed, but nobody else was around--phew! Then we turned around to go into this house, but a girl came out and asked, "are you okay??"  We all laughed, but I was so embarrassed. Haha missionaries aren't always composed and poised in their skirts and dresses and suits. 

We had a really great lesson with Kristy and Brett, a young couple, the husband is a returned missionary and his wife is not a member.  We mostly talked about their background in religion, asked them a bunch of questions, and read the intro to the Book of Mormon together.  They are sort of quiet, so it was a bit awkward at first, but as our questions began to be guided by the spirit, Brett really opened up at one point, expressing with tears in his eyes his desire to truly learn what Christlike love is.  The spirit was strong, and we can only pray that Kristy really felt that.  We set up an appointment for next week, can't wait!! 

Well, I will send pictures and things, but that's all I can really think about for now. I'm sure as I get to know the area and people more, I will be able to recount more of my experiences.  I know this church is true and that the Savior is there for us wherever and whoever we are!

God Bless,
Sister Moreland

Monday, April 6, 2015

                                                                            Dawn Rae's Baptism
                                                                           With Investigator Michelle
                                                                             Best Place in Town to Eat!

Oh, mah goodness, what a week.
Okay, this will be a quick one because we have lots to do today. I'll just start with Monday.

Last Monday after emails we had a zone activity where we played basketball, had pizza, etc. Then the Nickells took us to their "island" which is really just a campsite by the snake river, but it looks really fun and we had planned to have a zone activity there today!!---unfortunately it rained last night and we're not sure if we're going to be able to start a fire in this...blek. 

Wednesday. Wednesday was April Fools. That morning, I recounted to Bishop Nickell the hilarious April fools joke that Mom and I played on Chase that one year, where we wrote a fake letter from the "court". (Chase got in trouble for throwing eggs at age 10, so we wrote him a letter from the "court" saying he would have to pay a $1500 fine and two weeks in jail - really had him going!)  Bishop Nickell thought it would be similarly amusing to do something like that to the zone leaders, especially since we had Zone Training that day. He said that it would be fun to make a letter to the Zone Leaders from the city of Blackfoot that said due to poor contact of the missionaries for the Church, proselyting by full-time missionaries would be prohibited within city limits.  Haha the Zone Leaders would have freaked. But, unfortunately, a rouse like that would have taken time, and we only had an hour before the Zone Training, so we decided against it.  However, I did pull a much simpler prank on one of our Zone Leaders, Elder Cook. I always bring popcorn to our missionary meeting, and this day I also brought a plastic spider, and slipped it into the popcorn bag, right on top. When Elder Cook saw that I had my usual bag of popcorn, he excitedly reached his hand into the bag without looking, and pulled out a handful of popcorn along with the plastic spider. He brought the handful to his mouth to eat, saw the spider, screamed, and flung the popcorn all over the place.  I didn't know until then that Elder Cook is almost as afraid of spiders as I am. It was pretty funny though, we all got a good laugh. 

That night, we went to see "Walk with Christ" with Natayla and Joann, which was really good. It's this thing that they put on in Pocatello where you walk through the church building and see scenes of Christ's life, or more the account of events in his life from people that were there.  As a theatre major, I couldn't help but critique the acting the whole time, but for a non-professional production, it was pretty impressive. Joann and Natayla really really enjoyed it, too, really felt the spirit.  It was a really great night. 

Thursday. During weekly planning, which we do every Thursday, we waited in anticipation for the phone call. Transfer calls. around noon, we received a phone call from President Brinkerhoff, who informed us that I will be transferring to Inkom! Which happens to be Sister Leasi's first area that she served in! Also, that was Sister Brimley's last area! My new companion will be Sister Le`on, originally from Mexico, more recently from TEXAS! So this will be fun.  The new Sister taking my place is Sister Whalen. I've never met her, apparently she's been out over a year.  I will miss Blackfoot so much. I've basically been running around like crazy trying to get ready for transfers. Packing, Updating the area book, packing, cleaning, saying goodbye to everyone, taking pictures with everyone, packing...yeah it's nuts. 

This was it, ladies and gentleman. The moment we had all been waiting for.  The moment that Dawn Rae had been waiting for for almost 4 years. She got BAPTIZED! 
She had been working towards this for so long. Like we have records for this family in our Area Book from 2011.  And she finally did it--kicked the habit, and through the merits and Grace of the Holy Messiah, was prepared to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the priesthood of God.  And when we showed up to prepare for the baptism, guess who was there? SISTER WORRALL. aaaaahhh I was so excited, I hadn't seen my trainer for four months. It seemed like ages, though. We talked each other's ear off, and I forgot how much I had missed her.  She was ecstatic about Dawn Rae, and Dawn was so happy to see her. I'll send some pictures later.  
Conference was awesome. As usual. Elder Holland tore it up. I think his was my favorite talk this Conference.  He can talk about so simple a subject and yet makes it just so powerful. I was in awe of the wonder of the Atonement as I listened to his talk yesterday.  I also really enjoyed Elder Wilford A Anderson's talk on the "Music of the Gospel". I loved all of the musical metaphors to our lives and the gospel. Also, President Uchtdorf did a great job on his talk on Grace. I think that would be a great one to show to those who misunderstand our interpretation of Grace.  

Tell your friends and family who did not get to see conference to watch it on It's right on the front page!  You can even reference them to specific talks that you think might be inspiring to them.   There really are so many things we can gain from listening to the Lord's servants.  

Also, we had and Easter lunch between sessions with the Boyds, and an Easter Dinner after the session with the Arves (ward missionaries!) and they were both delicious!

Well that's it for this week! Love you all so much and I'll talk to you in INKOM!

God Bless,
Sister Moreland