Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Week of Miracles!

     This week. Wow! So many miracles. I feel like the work has been slow, and to be honest hard. It's tough to not let yourself get discouraged when there is no one even opening a door to turn you down. But I think the Lord has seen how hard Sister Wood and I are working to find those prepared people and we're earning His trust. He's starting to place people in our path, and send us places where we are really helping! 2 days in a row - every single door opened that we knocked on. It was incredible.
     Miracle 1) Gavin finally got baptized! His parents are returning into activity and he is 10. His date has been moved 3 times. It got to the point where Sister Wood and I planned out the entire baptismal program and called them and said everything is ready, so bring him on Sunday! We did it after church. There was such a huge turnout of people from the ward supporting them. The spirit was so strong. Incredible!
     Miracle 2) After the baptism we were planning out a lesson in the foyer before a dinner appointment. 2 non members walk in the church. What? We get talking and give them a church tour (our ward hasn't given a church tour since 2012) So cool! They dont live in our area but we passed their info on.
     Miracle 3) There is a family in our ward, The Braun's, who are just powerhouse member missionaries. Always sharing the gospel. They invite us over for dinner with the most prepared people I've ever heard of. We taught an incredible lesson, the spirit was so strong. This family was loving everything that we were sharing. They had honest and sincere questions. Such soft hearts. A crazy wind and rain storm started up in the middle of the lesson. This next part is no joke. We got to the end and asked him to read Moroni's promise. As he is reading it, there is a huge crack of thunder and the windows shake and lights flicker. This man just pauses, looks up at us and says, "Woah! Did that just happen? This feels like a sign." It was so wonderful to have a spirit driven lesson. They don't live in our area. But it was so fun to start them off on the right foot!
     Miracle 4) We made a wrong turn, so we decide to visit a less active. When we showed up at her door, she started crying. She said she'd been praying for help and strength. She was having a terrible day with her druggie daughter trying to take her grandkids to a homeless shelter. We were able to talk with her, share some scriptures, and say a prayer. She was so grateful for the sense of peace and relief we brought her. Then her crazy daughter shows up to take the kids. We talked with the daughter for a minute (mostly just to try and let the spirit work its way into her) and we eventually left. Then we called her home teachers so they could stop by later to check on her.
     Miracle 5) We stopped at a members home to ask about a referral she gave us. As we're there, one of her neighbors shows up. This lady is a fireball. But she is deeply religious. We ended up teaching her a lesson and we're gonna stop by later. Therese believes everything we do! And she's so cool!
     Miracle 6) We passed by this less actives house the week before and decided to skip it because it looked a bit creepy (there are a lot of trailers and double wides out here) Well, we put him on the list again because we felt like we needed to stop by again and be brave. Good thing we were! He turned out to be the nicest guy - and he needs more of the gospel in his life. Sister Wood and I sang him a hymn and he started crying. Then he got out his harmonica and played it while Sister Wood played the guitar and we sang a few more hymns. I love music! It brings the spirit so quickly!
     Miracle 7) A less active we've been working with, named Wendy Gassner, has been tough. We've been bold with her and loving but she wasn't changing. She'll come to church and take the sacrament but then leave. She says it's because of a medical condition. Well, last night we had FHE with her and talked about the article on revelation from this month's Ensign. She said she feels like she recieved one that morning about how she needs to just fight through it and stay at church. What? We've been telling her that for weeks. But Heavenly Father is way better at talking to people than we are :)
     There's so many more smaller miracles that happened, but you guys wouldn't think they were that cool ;) Almost all of these miracles came from following the promptings of the spirit. I'm slowly getting better at recognizing it. It's so amazing to be on God's errand and helping everyone. I can't stop smiling lately. It's just so great to be out here and doing this work!
     We also taught a lesson to a drunk guy (now I think Breanne and I each are tallied up at one a piece on that front). Surprisingly he was so touched by what we said. We shared with him about the Atonement and how it has the power to heal and change people. We're coming back to teach him, and he gave us a referral for his wife's family in Missouri.
     P-Day is Tuesday this week because we went to the temple today. Gosh I love that place! I've missed going there weekly. Everyone needs to go as soon as they can.
     We had to drop an investigator this week. She wasn't progressing. She was just lonely and wanted to talk. Cool lady. She was super into the Native American culture and was very open. It was sad to drop her. But we've gotta use our time effectively.
     There was a CRAZY storm out here Sunday night. Trees blew over onto houses, insane rain coming down so hard. Lightning every 2 seconds, but it was all in the clouds, not much hitting the ground. It looked like a strobe light! We had to drive in it but we were just fine. I've got some fun video of it to show you one day :) Video files are way too big to email!
     We also had exchanges on Tuesday. My comp went out to Cheney (Eastern Washington Univ is out there) and another newbie came out here! So fun. We'd both been out only a month. She's the most talkative person ever. I definitely took some notes from her on talking with everyone. And it was easy to talk to people when I knew she was there to back me up and say something, too. It gets rough when you're not sure if you're gonna be left hanging. But we're working on it!
     I love you guys so much and pray for you every day! Pray for me out here and for the people of 9 Mile Falls, Washington. I hope you one day can come visit this beautiful place!
-Sister Metcalf

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

1 Month

     So we found a computer at the Stake Center where I can finish my last half hour. Hopefully I can get everything in that I wanted to.
     This Sunday my companion and I sang in church with a pianist and violinist for a members mission farewell. It was impromptu but so great! We had zone conference this week which was incredible. There was a huge focus on the atonement. There should be some pictures on the "Wa-Spo facebook page" mom...
     I mentioned a bee sting I got this week. Funny lesson learned with it- I felt prompted to put my mini first aid kit thing in our car (in it is ointment for stings/bites) I ignored the prompting... 4 hours later I get  stung. Shame on me for not listening to the Holy Ghost!
     A book that you ALL need to read! It's called "Everyday Missionary" by Clayton M. Christiansen (he spoke at my university commencement) It's incredible. Dad, I'm convinced this is what will help you to get more of the members involved in the missionary work at home. Pass it around and let everyone read it! That's what our ward council is all reading right now :)
     We met with this 90 yr old less active this week. She was baptized at 8 but didnt go back to church after. We started teaching her the Restoration. But she kept forgetting what we were saying and repeating the same comments and questions to us. Like 5 times over. By the third time she asked me where I was from I lost it and started laughing! haha. It was like talking to Dori from finding Nemo. Luckily she didn't notice. She's my favorite person we've talked to so far :)
     Miracle this week- I've been wanting to set goals that stretch us. The day after we set our goals for the next month, we got a text from some missionaries in Seattle talking about a man who was taking lessons from them but moved home to 9 Mile for the summer and he wants to be baptized in September. So cool! :) We have yet to meet him though.
     Okay- I got most of everything in. Let me know if there are things that you wanna hear about that I'm not mentioning!
I love you all!!!!!!
-Sister Metcalf

Out in the boonies (Reardon, Wash.)

The field is white!

Welcome to 9 Mile Falls

Sister Taylor's house, where we live in the basement

9 Mile (south side of the lake)

Driving to houses- so far between each home in some areas!

Monday, August 12, 2013

I'm determined to write everything!

Hello all!
     This week I left myself hopefully enough time to write what happened this week and things I left out from last week. I'll try to organize it, but I'm taking it from scattered notes I wrote in my planner.
The ward we're over is SUPER spread out, so while I have my bike, we always drive to houses. Look up the ward boundaries for the Nine Mile Ward on the lds.org site and you'll see. But I still want to use my bike- I'm so excited for it! I haven't had a new one since I was 8!? So my companion and I went for a ride one morning for our exercise... well whichever 18 yr old boy or 70 yr old man set it up didn't do it right because my rear brake was permanently pressed down (a fact I didn't discover until half a mile into our ride). I mean, 1st gear on a flat road should not have my legs burning. Once we discovered this, we walked home- I couldn't work myself up to riding with that much resistance again!
     The ward here is so excited! My transfer here is the first time they've had their own set of missionaries ever. And they haven't had sisters in over 20 years! Ward council is pumped, now we need to get the rest of the ward members excited. Our ward mission leader is a fireball. He's so into his calling. His personality reminds me a lot of Lane. He's such a great guy and just so willing to help us spread the gospel. I wish the ward members realized how important it is to fellowship! I've been talking with a lot of less actives and the ones that are returning are all attributed to visiting and home teaching. And those who aren't coming back yet are offended that people haven't tried to get to know them or reached out to them. It's so important! I wish I knew how to stress it to everyone! I love the people up here so much! I'm already learning some incredible lessons on judging others too quickly. Some people who I initially thought would be weird or difficult have actually turned out to be so kindhearted and hard working!
     We've been doing tons of service for less actives- showing them that we care for and love them. *Viewer discretion advised on this next story and the pictures that will accompany it on the blog * Slaughtering rabbits and geese was disgusting and definitely a one time thing for me. After the lady hammered the rabbits heads to kill them we hung them up and cut their skin and cut off their feet. She cut off their heads. We then pulled off their skin and gutted them. As in cut them open and pulled out their guts. With our bare hands! The video of me doing it is too large to send. Sorry you'll have to wait 17 months for that one. But you should have seen my face. I was gagging half the time. By the third rabbit though I was used to it. The geese were fairly similar just with a lot more feathers involved. That night we ate chicken at a families home.... I had a hard time not imagining it as bunny meat. lol. This family whose house we ate at were pretty interesting. They're what you'd call "eternigators" They were taught the discussions 2 years ago. They haven't missed a week of church in those 2 years. But they haven't been baptized. Their oldest son is 9 and they want him to be baptized. But the bishop was pretty straight forward in letting them know he wanted them to be baptized first. So mine and Sister Wood's goal is to get to the root of their hang up and help them through it and into making covenants. After having dinner with them though, we've discovered that they don't read the Book of Mormon much- so we need to help them gain a testimony of that.
     Another guy we're working with is Jimmy, an ex-con. His wife is less active and he's taken the lessons forever. He accepted the baptismal invitation years ago. He's just waiting until he gets off parole so he can be baptized ;) He's a funny guy. Has some great stories about growing up in  Compton during the defacto segregation. I shared dad's story about getting jumped. He had a similar experience... but he came back the next day and jumped them. Man, that guy has had an interesting life.
     While we were visiting another family who just started coming back to church this last month, we had an interesting sighting. Well you might not know, but this here is Sasquatch territory what with all the trees and mountains. We were up in Ford on these back dirt roads and saw Big Foot! Don't worry- I got a picture. And this crazy dog chased us while we were getting the picture. So funny!  While we were out there we went to visit this guy who is a less active. We called and set up an appointment. We got so lost trying to find his place! Out there, there's no street signs, or pavement. So we were basically off-roading in this Chevy Malibu, winding around up the mountain. It took maybe 45 driving from where we live. We finally find this guy's place and talk to him and his girlfriend. He's like 60. He hasn't been to church since he was 15! His family is active and he has a niece and nephew on a mission. He wouldn't let us share a scripture with him so we just testified of how living the gospel would improve his life. At the end he begrudgingly let us say a prayer with him. It was quite the drive out there for what little we were able to do. I hope it helps make a difference for him somehow.

     The lady who has all of those dogs needed help building a shelter for her goats this week. So while we were helping, like 1/3 of her dogs were in the yard. I snapped a picture for you all. She's such an incredible woman though. And she's Scottish. She was really excited to have two red headed missionaries at her place. She went to the Scottish games and looked up our family tartan and printed it out. I'll have to send it home to you guys.
     Okay, I'm running out of time so the rest will be scattered. Fun fact about our mission. We piloted the church tours. We've been doing them for a year and there's a unique structure to how we give them. It's way cool. So we add church tour invites and church tours to our key indicators each week. Did you know 1 out of every 3 people who go on a church tour end up being baptized?? So cool! No wonder they're trying to get all missions to do this! I'll share more about church tours next week.
I've killed (mostly my companion though) a large amount of large spiders down in the basement we live in. It's terrifying! I've found cool connections of people in our ward. There is a family, the Bleekers, who lived in Simi in the 60's and 70's. The wife reminds me of Aunt Joan a lot. They wanted to know if we knew Becky Gerber? Also, a family in our ward was asking where the Metcalf's are from. I started to explain about Springville and grandpa's family. Apparently his mom is best friends with Marilyn Metcalf! So he got her on the phone and had me talk to her to make sure it was my great aunt. It is! She talked about Jack and Milan and Evelyn and Eloise. I guess she grew up in Springville. Small world!

     3 things I don't miss from the MTC:
1)the food
2)being in the same room all day
3)teaching pretend people

     4 things you need to know about 9 Mile Falls, Washington:
1) everyone and their dog has a dog. And they are indoor pets (I hope there's nothing toxic in inhaling dog urine fumes. I've never smelled more in my life!)
2) there are trees for days out here! trees on trees on trees. It's crazy beautiful and green. Don't even get me started on the sky! it's unbelieveable! Pictures don't do this place justice!
3)if you're gonna live here, you have to have a garden apparently. and can everything from your garden.
4)It's optional for men to wear shirts. So awkward!

     We have a mission rule of no caffeine. It's rough. But I have been able to take a few short naps at lunch. That helps :)

     Mom and Dad- you guys need to put in your papers and serve! Being a missionary is so incredible! I am loving this time in my life! I have such a stronger relationship with God and a much stronger conviction to live the gospel. I want to share this with everyone!
Mom- I'm eating everything members are giving me. You'd be proud. I'm pretty sure I ate rabbit this week. And I had deer jerky. Everyone gives us food when we visit. Jams, bags of nuts, jerky, fudge. I have so much food!
     We have one baptism on date. A ten yr old named Gavin whose parents are returning to activity. It was supposed to be Saturday but the parents pushed it back. That was a little disheartening. I hope they don't keep pushing it off.
     Okay, I love you all and think I got everything in. Well, that's a lie. I know I forgot things. Maybe I'll squeeze them in next weeks letter! I love you so much! Please pray for me and the people out here!
     Do the little things! Pray daily, read the scriptures, take the sacrament weekly. This is what people who are struggling are lacking. Don't ever let those things go! I love you all too much to have any of you fall away from the gospel!
Love- Sister Metcalf

Letting an investigators daughter do my hair after dinner

On a bench in River Ridge...

It's this beautiful.... everywhere we go! Me and Sister Wood‏

 For real...

In case it's hard to see- there's 32 dogs in this picture! Probably only half of her dogs were outside....

 Half the roads we drive on look like this...

Just your average family car loaded with---WEED!

Rabbit blood on my shoes :(

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

First Spokane pictures

It took me WAY too long to read everyone's emails. So this'll be a semi short email.  My ward / area boundaries cover 9 Mile Falls, Tum Tum, Deer Park and North Spokane. Mom wanted to know the origin of the name. Up here they dammed up the river to turn it into a lake of sorts. Theres a waterfall running over the dam at the 9 mile marker. Thats all. Don't ask me how Tum Tum got it's name. 

Okay things to highlight for this week:

Our area is slow. It's a lot of finding people who are already members who haven't come in a long time. Most don't want to talk to us. My companion is 20- has been out for 4 months. She's kinda shy and not very bold at extending invitations. So when we meet with people it feels like visiting teaching. It's been rough (don't worry- I set a personal goal to take charge this next week) But a miracle happened this week. I was feeling a little down (my companion is so sweet but pretty lethargic about the work) And I thought, you know what? I bet something great is about the happen, that's why I feel so discouraged. So we said a prayer together and I felt like we should just walk across the street and knock this one door. And we found this guy E.J. who is totally open to talking to us. We have an appointment to see him Tuesday. Who knows what'll happen with him. But it was a good pick me up!

This place is beautiful! Everything is so spread out. And there are trees and lakes everywhere! It has some red necks though. And I'm gonna be honest. I'm starting to hate dogs. Only one has tried to run after us. But let me tell you- litereally EVERYONE has multiple dogs. And they just jump on you and lick you all day. But nothing will EVER beat this house we went to. She's a less active. My companion says "Be prepared, this lady has 50 dogs" And I'm like, great. More dogs. I'm thinking there'll be like 5 or 6. You guys. We walked up to the house and it's silent, so I thought my companion was just joking. No. We ring the door bell and it's like 101 Dalmations in there! As soon as I heard how many dogs were barking I couldn't stop laughing! She wasn't kidding. 50 dogs! This lady breeds chihuahuas. Hair everywhere. I had to shuffle my feet when I walked because I didn't want to step on any. They're on the couches, tables, floor, counter. I couldn't hear a thing because they were all barking at once! So nuts! One day I'll have to sneak a picture because I know you don't believe me. 50 dogs. No exaggeration!

We try to do service for people (less actives and investigators). Tomorrow we're helping this l.a. on her farm. And guess what? Tomorrow is rabbit and geese slaughter day! So that's what we're doing in the morning! Be looking out for those pictures/ video next week.

I'm trying to send pictures but the files are too big. I'm gonna have to annoyingly send them one at a time to Jensa- just look for them on my blog I guess.

Thank you everyone for the packages and letter! I love you all! Thanks for the support and uplifting words!

-Sister Metcalf