Monday, January 26, 2015

What My Mission Has Meant to Me

               I planned on going on a mission when I received my patriarchal blessing at age sixteen. It mentioned a mission and I felt like I had the personality and testimony for to be a missionary. I didn’t exactly stick to that goal though. Volleyball is one of my passions and I had the opportunity to play for one of the top junior colleges in the nation. I had my sights set on getting a full ride scholarship to a division one university and continue playing, which I did. In the process I lost sight of what mattered most. I let my good habits that I’d formed while living at home slip and although I never doubted the church, my testimony wasn’t very strong. Several times during this 6 year period I prayed about and received an answer that I was to serve a mission. But I let school, volleyball, boys, and other trivial things deter me from following through on this answer.
               Fast forward to October 2012. I was in my second year of teaching Kindergarten up in Utah and I was on break. I had gone home to California to visit and we watched general conference together. I remember sitting on the couch with my dad as the announcement was made. As President Monson announced the age for young men lowering, I thought “This will be so good for the church! I wonder if the age for young women will ever be lowered…” And then he said it. Young women were now allowed to serve at age 19. I got goose bumps as the spirit confirmed that this was from God. Then disappointment set in. See, at this point I was 23 and struggling with the idea of if I should still serve. I already felt too old to go and that if I went I’d miss out on things that I wanted to achieve in my life; namely getting married and starting a family. I felt so much regret for not going when I had been prompted to before. Now I knew I was too old. I didn’t say much to my parents (as they didn’t even know that thoughts of a mission were still in my head- though my little sister wanted to go). Later that night my dad came to my room and asked me what I thought about all of it. I told him I thought it was great and I was excited that so many sisters would now get to go. Then he told me something that changed my attitude. He said, “You know,  you’re not too old to serve a mission.” And he walked away. That really got my mind going, and it began a 5 month process of deciding and then receiving yet another answer that serving a mission was what God wanted me to do. My 21 year old sister had decided that she also wanted to serve.  So we submitted our papers the same week and both received our calls to serve! Having to work that hard for a decision and an answer was a valuable lesson. I know know what Enos meant when he speaks of "the wrestle which {he} had before God".
               I can’t really summarize what all of the individual experiences that I’ve had mean to me. I’ve seen so many miracles and had so many trials. I have had many companions who battled with mental health issues and wanting to go home. That. Was. Hard. I cried so many nights. But I have never had more sincere prayers. Before that I had never really felt the strengthening power of the Atonement. For the testimony that I gained of that alone, I am so grateful. And I learned that it is through trials that we make the most growth. After those experiences, I would find myself praying for trials. Well, sometimes I would. Other times I was fine with where I was at. But it has helped me to see that stretching and growth are a necessary and fundamental part of God’s plan.
              I have seen so many miracles that I could never count them. And honestly, if I hadn’t written most of them down in my journal I could probably never even recall them. But I’m grateful for feeling the spirit each day. I’m grateful for the spiritual promptings that I have received and acted on. I have obtained so much new and confirming revelation. I have come to distinguish more easily the voice of the Lord. I now know that I can never go without reading the scriptures or praying ever again. I have come to recognize the blessings that come with true discipleship. I’ve learned the importance of obedience and consecration. I’ve learned that sacrifice really isn’t sacrifice at all when God asks it of you. I’m grateful that I can finally be proud of the relationship that I have with my Father in Heaven. My mission has not just been time that I’ve served the Lord, but time that I’ve spent with the Lord.

               If I had known how much I would learn and grow while serving a mission I would not have hesitated for as long as I did (years!). I’m sure in time God would have taught me the same lessons and I might have been able to acquire the same attributes. Maybe I would have gained the same personal testimony of the gospel and the Atonement. But I’m convinced that the growth made in these last eighteen and a half months would have taken me 20+ years. God condensed what He wanted me to learn into this short amount of time and I know it will bless me as I continue to move forward! I truly have experienced what President Uchtdorf spoke of in the October 2014 General Conference when he said, “Let us acknowledge that most often gaining a testimony is not a task of a minute, an hour, or a day. It is not once and done. The process of gathering spiritual light is the quest of a lifetime. Your testimony of the living Son of God and His restored Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, may not come as quickly as you desire, but I promise you this: if you do your part, it will come. And it will be glorious.” I feel that I have reached that point several times in my mission where I have stepped back a thought “My testimony is glorious!” And I cannot wait to continue on this path of discipleship and testimony building so that I can say that again and again.

My Most Spiritual Experience

              (At the end of each missionary's mission, President Mullen asks us each to write about our most spiritual experience)
               I literally feel incapable of writing down just one “most spiritual experience”. Looking back on my mission is just a huge blur of spiritual experiences, and it’s hard to pinpoint any one thing that’s more significant than the other.
               I have absolutely fallen in love with the feelings of the spirit. I can’t believe how powerful it is to feel God’s love for a complete stranger or someone I’ve only known a short time. I love feeling inspired as to what needs to be said in a lesson, and the confidence that He gives me to be bold in inviting someone to change. During the last few months I couldn’t help but smile as I taught. Though I have had many difficulties on my mission, I have never been happier and I know that’s because of the spirit. This is the only period of time in my life when I have felt the spirit so constantly, strongly, and prolonged. It has become so much easier for me to discern when there is something that God wants me to do or not do. I’m grateful for my experiences with the Holy Ghost that will help me to live a more consecrated life as a returned missionary. I’m grateful for the lessons that I’ve learned about the Atonement and how applicable it is to my life; before my mission it seemed so abstract. That is something I will cherish forever.
               I know that’s not exactly what you wanted to hear, so I will share some other moments from my mission that I would consider highlights. I served in Nine Mile Falls for 9 months and that was a testament to me that God knew me. I grew to love those people and met so many people who have changed my life! The first of which is the Brunette/ Schulze family. We baptized Gavin my first transfer. He was a 9 year old son of less actives. His father and mother were both struggling with various hardcore addictions. At his baptism, his grandmother, Hope Brunette, approached us and said “We’re moving to Nine Mile Falls this week. This is my husband Hugh. He’s not a member and you need to come teach him.” I was so excited! Hugh had been investigating for 10 years over in Cle Elum, Washington. We focused so much on his concerns and needs, and as we taught the Atonement, he decided that he wanted to be baptized on Christmas Day! It was a wonderful day. Now, over a year later, he is still active in the church. And one of the greatest miracles of all is that through consistently working with Gavin’s parents, they are both clean and active. Brother Schulze is now in full fellowship with the church, ordained to the Aaronic priesthood, and getting ready to baptize his next youngest son. That family has completely turned around. What was the turning point? Well obviously they had to have soft hearts and a desire to change. But it was reading the Book of Mormon. As Brother Schulze read it, he was filled with the spirit. He started reading it with his family every night and they are now praying nightly as a family as well. They are now working towards being sealed as a family, and so are Hope and Hugh.
               Another example is of the Ackaret/ Langton family. The Ackaret’s are in their late 60’s and hadn’t been to church in about eight years. We had stopped by their home a few times before and shared messages with them. They declined our invitations to church saying that they didn’t need to go to show God their faith. Well one day as we were driving, I accidentally made a wrong turn. My trainer corrected me, but I felt like we should just stay on that road. After a few moments I thought “The Ackaret’s live down this street. Let’s go see them.” We pulled up and sister Ackaret was standing at her open door with tears streaming down her face. Her drug addict daughter was coming to take her three grandchildren (whom we’d never met before) to a homeless shelter with her. Sister Ackaret had been praying because she didn’t know what to do, and minutes later we showed up. When we sat down with her, that was the first time I stopped thinking about "which lesson/ scripture should we share?" and really listened to her and the spirit. We followed the spirit in what to say and I felt like we helped her. After we calmed her down we said a prayer and left. When we got to the car I wanted to say another prayer for them. I just sat there and cried for a minute while I prayed because I really felt how hard their situation was, and I felt how much God loved them and wanted everything to work out! Eventually we had the ward get involved in helping them. The young men and young women took them right in. Over the course of a few months Steven, Austin, and MaKenna Langton were all baptized. The Ackaret’s went from saying they didn’t need church, to mentioning that they should go, to coming actively. They are now working towards being sealed and he is a ward missionary.

               Through these and many other faith promoting experiences I have come to gain a more real testimony of this gospel and its truthfulness. I have loved watching the gospel in action and how it truly can transform lives. I will forever remember the lessons that I learned and always strive to live worthy of the honor of being called their “missionary”. I don’t want to go home. I want to continue learning, growing, serving, and loving. But I know that God has more in store for me in the future. My mission has meant everything to me. I will spend the rest of eternity trying to do God’s will and feeding His sheep. I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ so much and I want everyone to be able to feel the way that I do! 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Hardest Thing I've Ever Loved to Do

     I have no idea how to describe how I'm feeling right now. Torn might be the best word. I am excited to go home, but my heart aches when I think about leaving Spokane and these people here. I've been pretty numb to it the last few weeks, trying to ignore that this is coming. People ask me about going home and I talk about it, but it doesn't seem real. It hit me the other day though for the first time that I really am going home. That my time here is coming to a close. When I realized that I started crying. And when I got home that night I just went into the room of another sister in my apartment, Hermana Phipps, who is going home with me and we cried. I'm so sad to leave so much behind. I'm so sad that these spiritual experiences (in abundance) are coming to a close. 

     Well this last week and a half was full of a lot of service. The wives of our bishopric members have been going through a lot lately with surgeries and family stuff so we went and offered service to them. You know you love your bishop when you willingly clean his toilet! :) And our relief society president moved with her family from one house in our stake to another. Their home is HUGE so it took a few days of us and other ward members coming by to help pack and clean, etc. It feels so good to serve! I knew that before, but I love the spirit that I feel as I do it.

     Thursday marked my 77th weekly planning session, and tomorrow will be my 78th. It was weird to weekly plan for my last week as a missionary... and it will be even weirder to weekly plan for a week when I know I won't be here. It's pretty hard to weekly plan with a companion who is checked out. Sister Dunford is going home on Monday night. There was no changing her mind, and it breaks my heart.I tried, unsuccessfully, for a transfer to convince her to stay out! I don't want her to miss out on the incredible experiences that serving a full-time mission has to offer. I'm doing everything I can to keep her focused and working hard until the end. It's a bit of a blessing knowing that the area is being swept though, because I now have had this last week to leave very detailed notes about the area, people, and logistics of working in YSA. It's different from a family ward. I have loved every minute of my 6+ months serving in Shawnee YSA. It's the best :)

     On Friday night Emily had us over to her dorm to cook us dinner and Courtney Moska was there as well. She asked a ton of questions about missionaries and what we do and why she's never seen any in her small town in New Jersey. She wants missionaries to find her dad! We decided to have a lesson with her on just the Atonement. I read my favorite scripture on it, Mosiah 14:3-5 (the whole chapter is great but I love these verses where Isaiah is quoted "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." We talked about what Christ did for her, not just as a prophet, but as the Savior of the world. It was powerful and the spirit was so strong. She is making great progress! We'll be meeting with them later this week again one last time before I go.

     On Saturday I went on an exchange with Sister Jeffery. She and I were in the same MTC district and go home together on Monday. And Saturday was our 18 month mark! We had a very successful day :) We taught a lot of lessons, boldly taught everyone that would listen to us, and worked so hard. We went out to lunch to celebrate and even burned a skirt at the Fullmer's. It wasn't hard to part with that skirt, I'm so sick of it- I'm so sick of a lot of them, so I'm donating a bunch to Sister Riddle, my other tall companion :) 

     The other day we had a few hours until our next appointment so we were driving around and trying a few different people. I saw some 20ish year old looking guys at the bus stop and pulled the car down the street to talk to them. We got out and walked up and I started talking about the Restoration using the pamphlet to the first guy. He looked up and I realized it was Daniel! Former addict Daniel. I was a bit surprised and he was, too. We talked to him about how his recovery and scripture reading are going and we set up an appointment with him for tonight- so you'll have to wait to hear whatever crazy story I have about him until I get home. We said a prayer with him and my companion starts to walk away, but there was another guy still at the bus stop. So I started talking to him and teaching him about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I taught it very simply and short as the bus was almost there. He said he is a reformed Christian and believes what we shared- that Christ's church was lost and other churches have lost parts of the truth. Right then the bus pulled up and he had to go. We gave him the Restoration pamphlet and got his number. I'm excited to see what happens with him. We had a few other "pull over the car" stories happen this week. One was at about 8:40pm and it was snowing. Again I see some YSA aged young men so I pull down a street and park. We say a prayer and walk over to talk to them. Nothing significant happened. In fact, they were really weirded out that 2 young girls were walking around in the dark talking about family history. And I had the thought as we were approaching them "At no other time would it be okay for me to just walk up to two complete strange men walking in the dark." But I smiled, knowing that I'm on the Lord's errand. I have always felt protected and I'm proud that I have opened my mouth to share the gospel to anyone I could find. The third pull over story was with Dan, a former investigator. I met Dan a year ago while I was on exchanges last summer. We pulled up to his house and right as my companion started praying, I saw someone walk out the door and I thought "That must be Dan". My companion said what felt like the longest prayer ever and by the time she was done, Dan was 3 blocks away. The spirit told me to just yell out "Hey! Are you Dan?!" But I pushed it aside. We walked up to the door and met his brother who told us we just missed him. I was so mad I didn't act on that prompting to yell after him! So we jumped in the car and drove down the road and parked down a side street. We walked up to him and started talking. He went to seminary for 2 years and loved it! He is so elect! We had a great lesson on the side of the road at 8 o'clock at night. I'm glad that while I didn't act on the first prompting, I was given the chance to rectify it. God really is preparing so many people! He is hastening the work, and I'm doing all I can to keep pace with Him!

     Well, my time is up. I'm seriously so sad right now. I want this to go on forever. But this week during interviews with the President, he showed us an MTC devotional by Elder Holland (no one gets me fired up like that man does!) And he taught about Peter becoming a powerful disciple of Christ. How he was truly converted once he decided that He loved Christ more than anything else. He dropped his nets for the final time and never looked back. I never want to pick up my old nets again. I have been called to serve, not for 18 months, but a lifetime. I look forward to serving God the rest of my life! My mission doesn't really have to end. Though I may be taking this tag of soon (and I'm dreading that moment) I will never take it off my heart.

     I love you all and can't wait to see you soon!

For the last time,
Sister Metcalf

Double Decker Death

Sister Smith from 9 Mile took me to lunch to say goodbye

Hunger Games death (Sister Jeffery and I were in the MTC together and are "dying" together in the same zone)

Cooking Breakfast

Catching Fire

Monday, January 12, 2015

One for the Money

     This week was absolutely unreal! We had 26 key indicator lessons and I just loved the whole week- hard parts and all! First of all, can I tell you all how wonderful the spirit is? I just love feeling it all the time! It's just been amped up these last few weeks and I never want it to go away. 

     So, Madison backed out and said she doesn't feel comfortable taking the lessons yet, so it will be a little bit before she's ready. But at least she's coming to church! It's only a matter of time. Oh, and last p-day while we were in line at the grocery store the guy in front of us initiated the conversation (which is rare). He got into how he grew up Mormon but fell away. I asked him how his relationship with God is and he said they had a falling out once his daughter (15 yrs ago) was born with Cerebral Palsy. I testified to him about God's love for him and his daughter and taught him parts of the Plan of Salvation and how his daughter would have a perfect body after she was resurrected. He kind of perked up there, he may have forgotten about that. I invited him to meet with missionaries and give it a shot again. He was hesitant, but I think his heart softened. I love talking to everyone! God puts people in our path- even on p-day :)

     This week after an amazing MLC my companion and I went to our mission president's home so she could talk with him (we've been doing that a lot lately). It lasted about an hour and a half. While she was in there I was able to talk with Sister Mullen. It was such a blessing! There are things I've been praying for almost my entire mission that she was able to help me figure out how to better implement and change, namely just being softer. I received a lot of revelation as we spoke. She's incredible! Their family is going through some unbelievably hard things right now and they're still so selfless and putting the Lord first. They've been a blessing to me while being out here. 

     I got to go on an emergency exchange in 9 Mile the other day (funny how that happens so often). Gosh that place has my heart! We worked hard and got a lot of work done. It's so good to see people still progressing :) I think I'm gonna take part of my p-day next week to go out there and say goodbye to some people and maybe get a haircut. I just couldn't bear doing a last goodbye... Oh my gosh. It's slowly hitting me and I don't want to go home! I love Spokane and the people here so much! I can't believe there was a time when I wasn't very excited to come here. It just goes to show that God always knows better.

     So we took Gina out with us a lot this week. She was baptized my 1st transfer out in the mission and she's now working on her mission papers. She has been coming with us the last 6 months since I've been serving here and I've seen her grow so much! She's doing stuff that it took me months to do in the mission. She's gonna be a powerhouse missionary! While we were with her we had some cool experiences. One was with a guy named Edward. He was real friendly but in a hurry to work. Well not 3 minutes later as we drove off, he was in his car at the stop light next to us. So I rolled down the window and we started talking to him! haha. We talked about his religion and testified of Christ and the restoration. All while the light was red. It was so fun :) Then as we were walking back to our car from trying someone else, Gina spots this guy 2 blocks away, so we walk over to him and teach him all about the Plan of Salvation because he had a lot of questions about the afterlife. He's 17, so we passed him off to the family ward.  So as we were walking back from talking to Thomas we saw a 70 year old lady in heels walking up an icy sidewalk with bags. We ran over and offered help. Her 35 year old daughter opened her front door while we were on the sidewalk and invited us to come in without even knowing who we were! We went in and had a great lesson with her while Gina shoveled the sidewalk. It was a cool chain of miracles. And Gina was so bold in inviting everyone to take the lessons and share her own testimony of her conversion! I just love her!

     A few days later we had a random number call us. Daniel said he found our number in his wallet and had a Book of Mormon and wanted missionaries to come over! What?! Miracle! Turns out he's a former investigator from a while back. He just got out of rehab and we're the first people he called. He's pretty affected from the drugs. They've done a lot of damage. During the lesson he was severely ADHD and walking around and losing focus. It was so funny. At one point Gina tries to explain the apostasy by relating it to a vase that broke. I pull out the pamphlet and show Daniel the First Vision picture and let him hold it. He was totally locked in as I recited it. Then after I finish he points to the picture and says "So this is a vase?" No. So we explain again and he says, "Oh! So each apostle is a piece of the vase and has their own church?" Eh. Sort of. We explain again and he finally gets it. We had to teach so simply. At the end I asked if he'd pray to know if this was Christ's true church and he says "You want me to ask if my apartment is a church?" Oh gosh. He wants to be baptized so bad and make changes. He's accountable, but I'd say at an 8 year old level because of his brain damage. We want to help him, but obviously won't be spending all of our time on him. I'm sure I'll have some great stories about him later.

     Okay, the best Sunday ever was yesterday! We actually didn't have any investigators at church. But we had 5 lessons with recent converts and less actives and 2 member presents! We were so busy! We put Joshua on date to be baptized on February 7th! It was great :) But my favorite lesson was with Courtney. Remember how I told you a while ago about the Jewish girl that came to a lesson and was wanting to read through the Book of Mormon? Well we went over to the Whitworth dorms to do a scripture study with them. We brought Taylor Colvin with us. They were on 1st Nephi 3 and we talked about it as we read. She asked questions afterwards and we talked about Christ. The spirit was so strong! She kept telling us how much all of this makes sense! She said she's at a place in her life right now where everything she's hearing about Jesus Christ and it just makes sense. Oh my gosh you guys, she is so amazing! I mean, this is someone who for the first 18 years of her life was raised to believe that Jesus Christ hasn't come yet. We are meeting with her again on Friday and then again on Sunday night. She is just soaking it all up and loving it and craving it! She's a miracle! :)

     Well, time is short. I wish I'd done better in my typing class in high school so I could type more words per minute! haha. But I miss you all and hope you have a great week! I love you!

-Sister Metcalf

With Sister Dunford outside the Spokane Temple
One more at Best & Mission
The worst sign EVER!
With Josh Nay and the Fullmer Family (with Gracie McClellan in the middle)
If the doctrine doesn't hook you, the coffee will!

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Field is White

     This week was full of tender mercies and wonderful experiences. I love being a missionary, and if I'm being honest a large part of me never wants it to end.  I've never been happier than while serving God full time! I'm nervous for coming home and not having the purpose that I have right now. I am so pumped up though to make these last few weeks really count. No regrets!

     So I got to go on two exchanges this week! One with a sister doing Russian work, and one with a sister serving Mandarin speaking.It was so cool! I've now gone on exchanges with people who speak all of the languages we have serving in Spokane... except for Marshallese. They only have elders, but I feel like I've done some Marshallese work ;) Sister Hunt is great! She was adopted from Ukraine at age 15 by an LDS family and joined the church a year later. She's such a hard worker and we get along great! It was a nice change of pace. Russian work is hard though. They're so set in their ways. And it was rough not being able to help her out during the lesson. Occasionally she'd translate for me and I'd ask them a question, but then it was all her again. I give her props for doing that. The other sister is actually a visa waiter for Taiwan (though we do have Chinese speaking missionaries called here). She's only been out for 3 weeks, but she's such a great teacher so far! She did crew in college and I swear playing sports really prepares someone for the difficulties for a mission. I'm so grateful for the discipline, and work ethic I learned through all my years of basketball and volleyball. We got a lot of work done in each area on exchanges. And I was even able to set up five appointments for next Saturday. I will be going to 9 Mile on an exchange and don't want a repeat of last time, so I took the liberty of filling up the day :) haha. And we had to go without our phone for 2 days on exchanges. Each time another sister accidentally took our phone and we had to wait to get it back. It's so hard to do missionary work without a phone- especially in YSA! I have no idea how we survived before them...

     We have a lot of less actives that have severe ADD among other learning disabilities. It's pretty cool because I get to channel in my elementary school teacher skills for them. They need to be taught in a completely different way. Other missionaries don't understand that, but once they see it in action they realize how important it is to adjust our teaching to meet their needs. Speaking of. We met with Mike Hill again (and he still uses the word pontificate). He's homeless right now and bouncing around different people's places. but we made contact with him and got him a ride to church. We then met with him on Saturday. It was the best lesson I'd ever had with him. I think it's because I was focusing on teaching to him and his needs rather than trying to force us to get through a lesson. The spirit was strong and we really helped him to resolve some concerns. He's got such a good heart and strong testimony. He just has some difficult circumstances surrounding his life. I'm grateful I've been able to work with such a wide range of people. It's helping with my empathy and not judging others.

     On New Year's Eve we worked until 6pm and then we could only go to set appointments. We didn't have any... It's the one night of the year where we get to watch a movie. We got together with the Greenbluff sisters and watched "How to Train Your Dragon 2". It was fun- we felt like kids again. We were so excited :) New Year's Day we could only go to set appointments as well. So we weekly planned, watched "The Testaments" ... again haha. And then had a few appointments. We saw Aly and Justin. I can't describe the feeling that wells up inside of me when I think of them. I'm so excited for the progress they're making. Especially Justin! Aly has been semi active her whole life, but Justin rarely went. We treat him like an investigator. Everything is new to him. He told us that from his fast that he did last week he received answers to multiple prayers he's had. He recognizes the spirit working in his life and is reading his scriptures on his lunch breaks at work. He's just completely taking off! It's so exciting to see how strongly the spirit is working within him and helping him to be transformed into a different (and better) person! That is how I have come to know more completely that this gospel is true. I have watched so many people apply the teachings of the gospel and their lives improve drastically. That would not happen if this church were not true. I know that Christ's church has been restored in these latter days and that we have a living prophet who leads and guides us!

     We no longer have a Ward Mission Leader. Jake Grover gets married this week. We'll see how long it takes to get a new one. I have a feeling they won't get one until after I'm gone though... It's been a struggle with so many people going back to school. We have so many of our ward council members who need to be replaced. That's the struggle with YSA. It's so transient. It would be so hard to be a bishop in a singles ward.

     Miracle of the week! So there is this girl, Madison, who has been coming to church for the last 3 months with her boyfriend. Her boyfriend left a few weeks ago on his mission, but she's still been coming. I assumed she was an active member because no one else stated otherwise. Well in relief society, someone made her introduce herself and she said "I've been coming to this church for a while now, etc..." Bingo! Any member would have said "ward" So I pounced on her after Relief Society. Turns out she's not a member. She told us how she quit going to her old church because she loves what she's learning and how she feels here. I testified that it was the spirit, then told her the role we play as missionaries in teaching others our basic beliefs. She was SO excited and said she'd LOVE to meet with us! We'll teach her on Friday at her boyfriend's family's house. I'm hoping to put her on date for January 24th. How great would that be?? She seems totally ready and accepting. We'll see how it goes in the lesson and what the spirit prompts. I'm so excited to have a solid investigator again! We have maybe 6 others right now, but they're flakes. So Madison was a tender mercy for me. God truly loves me and has heard my prayers. I'm so excited for this week! We have MLC and zone training, and many miracles to come! :)

     I love you all so much! Thank you for your prayers and support. And hand written letters are also much appreciated! ;) Have a wonderful week!

-Sister Metcalf

p.s. Keep smiling! You have the Savior of the world on your side! 

NYE movie with Sister Hunt and Sister Jeffery

It's snowing!

Ice cream date with Sisters Walton, Phipps, and Payne

Monday, December 29, 2014

Grand Forks, British Columbia

The drive!

Coming back to the Washington/ U.S. border

Beautiful British Columbia!

Toes in Christina Lake (it was SO cold!)

Selfie at the lake (with Elise McLaughlin)

It just looks wrong to have snow on the beach

Downtown Grand Forks

Checked off another mission bucket list item- I served foreign!

With Sister Cutler and Taylor who serve in Grand Forks... they meet in a business complex!

Outside an adorable little quilt shop

With Elise... I was so excited about EVERYTHING Canada! :)

Northern Washington, near Kettle Falls- almost to the border

Such a beautiful 2 hour drive!

Crossing the Columbia River


     Oh my goodness! Where do I start? So much to say and so little time. I'll start with today. I crossed off a mission bucket list item and made it up to Grand Forks, B.C.! It was so beautiful! We left at 7am and drove 2 hours to get up there. The further we got north of Spokane, the less and less houses we saw.. and more trees. I thought Spokane was dense. No. There were so many! And it had just snowed so everything was just magical looking! We met up with the sisters who serve up there (they never get to hang out with other missionaries on pday because they're so far from everything else) And we had brunch and walked around downtown and in little shops. It was great- but so cold! Then we went and walked around Christina Lake for a bit. It was absolutely gorgeous! I took off my jacket and boots and put my toes in the water. Bad idea! Afterwards I didn't want to get my socks/shoes wet so I ran back through the snow to the car. I now have a lot more respect for the pioneers. I don't know how they crossed the plains in the winter. It was so much fun! Elise McLaughlin from our ward drove us up and it was just a great day!

     The week was pretty dead in terms of meeting with people. We actually saw a ton of active members! But only a few less actives. We went caroling on Christmas Eve... and on Christmas day. It was really good to cheer people up with Christmas hymns. Christmas Day itself was a little hectic. Our lunch appointment was running behind, so everything else was delayed (like Skyping...) but we made it to see everyone. We ended up having about 5 meal appointments and we made it up to Riverside in the Colville stake to visit a few families. It was so great seeing everyone! It got me pretty excited to see you all in a few weeks :) It still doesn't feel real though. It feels like in a few weeks I'll be getting another call and going to another area. Well, I guess I'll be transferred back to my 1st area, right? Anyways. I loved seeing everyone! And a cool thing was that I've been reading through the New Testament backwards and on Christmas Day it perfectly lined up that I read Luke chapters 1 & 2. It was great. I love learning more about the Savior.

     We went on exchanges this week and I went out to Colbert. Sometimes exchanges feel like a break from your area, but this one was all work. These sisters just swept into the area and haven't done much (at least their area book and whiteboard were organized for them from all of mine and Sister McCabe's hard work last transfer). They've been there for 2 weeks and haven't even met any of their investigators. They've only been seeing less actives. So I wanted to show her that great things would happen if they started trying non members and less actives. That day we had 6 key indicator lessons (the only six they had all week). And I put one of their investigators (who I got to teach while we were in a trio last transfer) on date to be baptized. I organized their planners and showed her what she needed to do. It was hard work, but so rewarding! When I got back, my companion had nothing to show for their day and had driven 75 miles. We had a chat about that. It was pretty discouraging to have worked that hard and have my own area be neglected. Oh well. More work for me to do, right? I've actually been learning so much about patience. I feel like I'm practically a monk by now! But what I've been focusing on a lot is my own pride. I really need to be more humble about so many things. Praying is helping and the now that I'm recognizing it and asking for help, the Lord is really helping me to improve (I think...). Though that sounds like an unhumble statement. So I clearly need to keep working on it.

     We had a good lesson with Lau. We got him to come to church last week but he didn't come yesterday. He's had a hard time overcoming his past addictions with marijuana. He smoked last week and when I asked him why he said because it was free. So I taught a mini D.A.R.E. lesson to him about just saying no. I even did a role play with him where I offered him some weed and he told me no. We practiced 3 times! It may sound ridiculous- I definitely laughed about it after. But I really think it helped. Poor kid. He just comes from such a rough past. We taught him about the priesthood and he's starting to grasp it. Speaking of priesthood. Josh Nay's lesson last night was on the duties of the priesthood. The spirit was so strong. I don't even know how to describe his lessons. They're just great! At the end, I testified about the power and restoration of it and I don't even recall what I said because the spirit just supplied me with the words. But it was amazing! I need to take a picture with him to send home...

     Oh! Another miracle! We've been working with Aly and Justin since I got here. They've been becoming more and more active. They just got engaged and have a goal for the temple (though they're not ready yet, so they'll be sealed a year after). Justin has improved leaps and bounds! He's about ready to be ordained. They have a New Year's resolution to go to all 3 hours of church next year. They've only been coming for sacrament the last 2 months. And apparently Justin watched the Mormon message about the guy who wanted to commit suicide, but heard about fasting and tried it, etc. (I think Breanne sent it as a link one day). Anyways, he decided on his own to fast for 24 hours about the church. He's just on fire! Gosh I love watching the gospel change lives! It makes all of the hard times worth it :) How many times have I said that over the course of my mission??

     Well, I've got to get going. This was a fast week! I hope you have a great week and wonderful New Year! I love you all!

-Sister Metcalf

Christmas Presents

Adorable ornament- my twinner

Christmas webcam!

Giant snowman

A frosty Christmas


We actually got gas for $2.06 today!

Finally snowing!

Back roads before the snow!

Christmas Eve district meeting