Monday, September 30, 2013

Fastest Week Yet

     This week seemed to fly by! No, not because of the amount of lessons we taught, we only had 8. But it was just a blur. And I know this next week will go even faster- we have a zone training, sisters conference, and 2 days of general conference...and my birthday :) I'm so excited for general conference! It feels like the Superbowl is coming up! I don't foresee any of our very few investigators going, but I wish we could make them- they'd love it! Can you believe I turn 25 this week?? When did that happen? That number just sounds absurd to me. Especially since I am out here with a bunch of 20 year olds, I feel like I'm younger. But you all can still send me a birthday card to help me get over my quarter life crisis- if you mail it today, I'm sure it'll make it to me by Friday ;) p.s. Happy Anniversary mom and dad! 
      So this week had ups and downs. We had quite a few days where we zeroed out (no lessons, referrals, invites, etc) and a few days where we taught a lot of the day. We were able to finally make contact with 3 less actives who we've been trying to contact since I got out here 8 weeks ago. So those felt like small miracles. We had a relief society activity where we took all the women on a church tour and they were supposed to bring friends and neighbors. Well no non members showed up to it, but 2 of the less active women we've been working with were there, so that felt like a small victory as well. I'm finding that I need to look hard each day for the little miracles. I can always find happiness and joy in the day- but it's the miracles I'm trying to focus on right now because that means the Lord is putting people in our path and helping our work along. 
      This week was our fast Sunday and I absolutely loved it! It's so different as a missionary. Before I would get bored of listening to people drone on and on. But now, I listen to each persons testimony and just know that it is meant for a particular person in the audience. I can pick out who it's meant for. And while they're bearing their testimony I'm saying a silent prayer that that person is listening and being touched. We had 2 baby blessings as well. I love love love baby blessings! And guess what? One of them was for a baby that a less active we're working with! Her husband isn't a member and is sort of investigating. They were both there, and she brought her less active mom! Their home teacher blessed him, and we've been involving him in the fellowshipping process. Another small victory! Want to hear another less active story? Okay, I'll give it to you. There is another family we are working with who is less active, the Hadlock's. We finally have the wife and kids coming pretty consistently now (yay!) but we had never met the husband. Well we finally met him the other night. We scheduled a late lesson with them in hopes that we'd catch him home. We prepared what we wanted to share with them and everything. We walk in and meet him and they're like- Well this is when we normally do our family scripture study so we figured you could just join us. What? I was so shocked! It turns out that they're home teacher (Bro. Abram's- our Elders Quorum pres and resident all star member missionary) had challenged them to do family scripture study each night and get through the Book of Mormon together... and they've been doing it for 4 months! And here we thought it was all us getting them to come back. We would be nothing without home teachers (and visiting teachers)! We have been actively working with our ward to have them extend commitments to the families they home/visit teach. They need to start challenging people to pray more, read more, come to church more, etc. Active or less active- their role is to strengthen these families. Man- maybe the title of my email should have been less active week. That's where all of our work/ miracles seemed to come from. In terms of investigators- our one golden dry member is out of town with his member wife on business, so no lesson with him at all. We hope to put him on date at the end of the week when he gets back, and we wanna put another investigator Angie on date as well. We have a family we found in the area book who seems way legit and already accepted baptism! But they're so flaky, and never home when we go by. We are hoping to pick up Sister Dede's husband. We're having dinner with them on Tuesday and she asked us to ask him about taking the discussions. They live here most of the year but live in Florida in the winter months, so our window of opportunity is small!
     It's raining like crazy here and getting so cold! Why didn't I pack more warm clothes- or at least a rain jacket? What kind of fool moves to Washington without a rain coat?? So I bought one today :) It is much needed. Mom I will email you a separate list of things I need you to mail up. Sorry I didn't think of it sooner or you could have put it in with my birthday package. I just didn't realize the weather would turn so bad so fast! Well, I love you all! Continue to pray for me (as well as my companion- who is going through a really hard time with her family). I hope you all have a fantastic week! Eat some cake for me on Friday- and don't feel guilty about it :) I love Heavenly Father so much! And I'm so grateful for the knowledge that I will live with my family forever because of the beautiful plan he created. And I know that Jesus Christ's Atonement is central to that plan. I pray for you all. Read the BOM & pray every night. EVERY DAY! 
 Love, Sister Metcalf 

Sister Dickerman and me being awkward 



Apparently from now on I will be doing weird poses on logs...while wearing this outfit. haha!‏ 



Tracting in the rain 



 I love the sunsets here! Can you tell? 

 My favorite part of the drive into town (the back way) by Little Spokane River‏ 

I'm LOVING all of the nature out here!‏ 

Meadow in North Spokane‏ 



The house of the man who we played music with (Me singing, Sister Wood on guitar, Paul Toone on harmonica) There was good reason for us to be creeped out at first!‏ 


Yes- that's the joker spray painted on his door‏

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Slow-ish Week

     Great news! I finally started dreaming in my mission language this week!  It feels like I'm finally fluent. :)

     You know you're a missionary when:
-your dreams are just of you teaching people
-you are so used to exactly 8 hours of sleep that if you go to bed half an hour early, you end up waking up half an hour early
-you eat food you NEVER would have eaten before (nothing exotic, but you guys know me and my eating ... you'd be proud!)
-you like EFY music
-you can't stop smiling!

     So we went on splits for the first time this week. Still got a lot of closed doors or people not interested, but I guess we found out twice as fast- gotta stay positive right? Sister Dickerman had some funny moments. I call them funny, but really they were awkward. She's a hoot. I've never seen someone just create awkward moments with people like she does! Almost every door we walk away from, I'm laughing. I somehow just assumed that everyone just naturally had the ability to have a conversation with people- wrong. But we're working on it! One door/lesson at a time - haha. Maybe that's why our tracting isn't successful. But I have a feeling it's not very successful for anyone though. I wish our members could help provide us we more people to teach. Until then,  there's only so much we can do to find on our own...

     We didn't teach too many lessons this week. We have a bunch (like 4) planned for next week though. Doesn't sound like a bunch to have planned in advance, but it is for us!

     We had our primary sacrament program this week. I loved it! It reminded me of home. Our primary kids passed out invitations to tons of people. We had SO many non members at sacrament that we got to talk to! I highly recommend you do it in your wards! One of the families who came was the Lucas family. You guys! This family is golden. Remember, Sis. Wood and I taught them a few weeks ago but they don't live in our ward boundaries? (thunder and lightning as he was reading Moroni 10:3-5) They're so cool. They left their church because it was changing it's views to be politically correct and they want to do what God wants them to. We taught them the first lesson and it was so powerful! Well they were at church and absolutely loved it! They have a 2 yr old son who they want to raise with these principles that the primary kids know. So cool. They don't live in our ward boundaries though. I hope I get to go to their baptism, wherever it is :)

     So I mentioned it was a slow week for lessons. We try to stay busy, but aren't always successful at getting people when they're home, etc. But we've got some great investigators coming our way. And the lessons we taught were QUALITY! The bishop invited this family that he's been home teaching over for dinner. They haven't been to church in years! We shared a really powerful message with them on the Atonement and tied it into reading the Book of Mormon with their family each night. I hope we get to follow up with them soon. We're also really close to getting in and teaching Joe- he's dating a 35 yr old in our ward and he's a war vet. He has a lot of struggles with what he's had to do in the military and carries a lot of guilt. He just needs this peace in his life that I know the gospel can bring to him. I'm excited to teach him about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how he can use it in his life! We are going to teach Angie this week- she's a former who moved away, but just moved back. She's like 50 and her parents are converts who were just reactivated and sealed a few months ago. I'm excited to teach her! Her daughter is a recent convert and her son passed away a few years ago. You know what I'm excited to do? Teach her about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how it can help her in her life- oh and the plan of Salvation too! :)

     I love you all, but alas, I need to go play some basketball... I LOVE p-day in case you were wondering. :)

     Everyone needs to read "None were with Him" by Jeffery R. Holland this week.

-Sister Metcalf
My beautiful area

This photo basically describes Sister Dickerman... plus she's cold all the time!‏

 

 

 

Sister Dickerman and Me

 

I am absolutely in love with the valleys here!‏

 

 

Wild Turkeys EVERYWHERE

 

The "Runway" and "Terminal" for the airport (on the right)‏

 

 

Loooong roads‏

 

 

 

International Airport?‏

 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Week 7 in the Field

     Well- it feels pretty cool to know my way around and know the people out here. I semi feel like senior comp. I love this place so much! It has a special place in my heart. And I have this feeling like the work is really gonna start pick up out here.
     Some random things I want to share (sorry- my ADHD is gonna show through right now):
     1) There is a set of missionaries in EVERY single ward/ branch in our mission! Some even have multiple sets! So crazy! Now we just need to stay busy with work...
     2)Breanne is training? What?! Hopefully she's not crazy. Breanne will come out so much stronger from this!
     3) Never go to Ford, Washington. Ever. It's sketch. We have some less actives who live out there. One set we just got to return to church a month ago. So we set up a lesson to visit them Saturday. Their home was nice (and they smoked a rack of ribs for each of us! And deep fried their own onion rings. Soooo good! We were so full from that lunch we didn't even eat dinner!)- but driving out there and passing some places... yikes! Straight up shanti's, forts, 50 yr. old rv's just on the side of the road. Originally we planned to stop by and visit all the less actives out there (It's like 30 minutes from where we are living so we don't ever go out there) Well... we ended up driving by some of the places and not even getting out of the car. And we marked for sister missionaries to never go out there (although to be honest, elders shouldn't either) So we're passing that info on to the ward. Don't worry about me. I'm safe. I'm smart. The Lord is with me :) But it was crazy to see how some people live!
     4)Had some cool experiences with potentials this week. One of our l.a.'s daughter who is a former (we helped her move in- I think I wrote about her last week) wants to take the lessons! Then we saw a guy in church I'd never met. So I go up to talk to him. Turns out he's not LDS, but dating a woman in our ward and wants to be taught by the missionaries as well- but I think we are starting with him in October? He's in the military and has some PTSD, but he loved how hopeful our gospel is. We had another cool experience on Sunday. So there's this house we passed on our way from church, of a less active. We've tried him so many times (I'm gonna guess like 6 or 7 times) but he's never been home. We pass by and I felt so strongly that we needed to stop at his house. And this is off like a highway- so I just hit the brakes immediately and flip a U. My comp is way confused. I just tell her we've got to go to this guy's house. We get there- and he's outside with his wife! He's been less active for over 30 years. Wife isn't a member. But his daughter went on a mission. He goes off to do yard work. But we get talking to the wife and she's really interested in learning more! Turns out her step daughter has given her a Book of Mormon before. And she says if she ever were to join a church it'd probably be the Mormons because we're all such wonderful people but she doesn't know what we believe. I tell her that our job as missionaries is to just teach people what we believe and help them to figure out for themselves if what we believe is true. So she said we could come by anytime! Love it!
     5)Sis. Dickerman is half Mexican (Spanish is her first language- but you can barely tell) She's 22 and was inactive in the church and training to be an Olympic rower before tearing her meniscus. After that incident she returned into activity in the church. Her experiences will help a lot of people, I can tell. My new companion is such a hard worker! She's really confident when teaching, too! She's not super social though. So when we are meeting people or talking to people I am doing most of it- which makes teaching mildly awkward because people don't "know" her when she starts teaching. But we'll get there. We are working hard each day to meet our goals. I'm excited for this transfer!
     6)We're teaching a few people right now. Annie- she's a 40 something mom that we tracted into her and she knows a lady in our ward so we taught the lesson in her home. I can't quite gauge her interest level yet. Hugh is awesome! A dry member for at least 8 yrs. We're working on teaching him how God speaks to him. Trying to help him get his own answer. And Rocky is 13... we may put him on the back burner soon. He's struggling to keep commitments. This next lesson will be a make it or break it. And we've got a few potentials brewing. I have faith that we will find some people who are ready!
     7) This week we're going on splits with some sisters from relief society! I'm so excited! I think it'll really get the members  excited about doing missionary work. (Dad, do the elders do splits with ward member in our ward?)
     Okay- enough scattered thoughts from my head. I love you all and am so grateful for you support, prayers, letters, and everything!
     I know my purpose and am working hard to fulfill it. I read this scripture this week and absolutely love it. It describes me right now! It's in 3rd Nephi 5:13 "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."
-Sister Metcalf

driving in Nine Mile



My district's last P day together


An old dress that Angie, our new investigator, gave me...I might keep it ;)


Sister Osterloth's adorable puppies!

 
Making Jam



I seriously am in love with this place!
 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Transfer??

     Nope! I didn't get transferred! (Thankfully!) I'm so excited that I get to stay! Sister Wood is going to Spokane though. My new companion (who I will meet tomorrow) is Sister Dickerman, from southern California. All I know about her is she goes home this December, so she's been out a while now. I'm sure I'll learn so much from her! So many exclamation points- can you tell I'm very happy??!! Haha

     So this week was back to average with lessons- 14. But we went tracting every day. We had some really cool experiences. I got to really clarify what Mormons believe for a bunch of people. And at one house we had I think one of my favorite experiences so far! The lady opens the door and we explain who we are. She says she's Pentecostal. I asked her what they believe in (I'm genuinely curious). She talks about how they believe we're only saved through Jesus, we need to live holy lives, and we can go to heaven. I told her that was interesting, and it sounded like they believe some of the same stuff that we do. Well she just goes off on us- almost yelling, at how we have it all wrong in the Mormon church, we're going down the wrong path and won't be saved. She tells us we need to research the church ourselves and not just believe what people have told us while growing up. That the Book of Mormon is full of lies. Let me just say- Sister Wood gets really worked up with people like this. For some reason I have the opposite response. I just smile and listen, all the while inside I have this feeling I can't describe. All I know is that I HAD to bare my testimony. So I did. I told her that I respected her beliefs, but that I am here because I HAVE researched it for myself. I've read the Book of Mormon and prayed to ask God if it was true. I have received my answer and know that this is the true church and I am on the right path. I told her to have a great day... She said she'd pray for us. I walked away just so energized! I love bearing my testimony to people who try to tear down my faith! Can you imagine if I hadn't actually come to find out for myself that this church is true and that the Book of Mormon in the word of God? That would have been such a different experience. Anyway- I was so grateful for that this week! It's probably been the highlight of my 6 weeks I've been out.
     This week we also had a cool experience with a less active family. The wife was baptized a year ago, the husband 5 years ago. He used to be Mennonite (Amish) and still dresses that way. He's been invited back to the Amish community and is torn. If he stays with the Mormon church and living out here- he gets shunned (from friends, family, etc) It was a really tough situation to talk to him about. We will definitely be going back to visit him and try to help him and his family understand  how this gospel can help them- but ultimately they need to be having this conversation with God. I don't know what to say. I'd never even thought something like that could happen.
     We are supposed to be out every night until 9pm. It's getting tough to have people open doors that late at night, especially with it getting darker. So we're trying to fill that time slot with member visits. We're getting to know the people in the ward so much better! They're starting to trust us more and give us great referrals! Bonus- we're a reminder to them to be missionary minded. That might be something the missionaries in Simi would like dad? Just a thought. Also, it dawned on me this week. The primary sacrament program and musical Christmas program are such great missionary opportunities! Our ward is having kids take invitations to non member friends to invite them to go. Who doesn't want to come listen to kids, or music? It's so non threatening and you can still feel the spirit so strong! (just another idea, dad)
     We did some service this week for a recently returned less active, Sister Osterloth. She and her husband were just sealed a few months ago! Anyway, when we pulled up, their daughter was moving her stuff into the house. Turns out she's a former investigator! So cool! We'll start teaching her this week. We'll also be teaching this awesome man named Hugh. He and his wife just moved here. She's a returning L.A. and he's been going to church with her and reading the BOM for 10 years but never met with the missionaries! This man is great! There's also a woman we tracted into who knows a lady in our ward. So we had the lady from our ward invite her over for dinner. We're going to have dinner with all of them this week and teach a lesson. I'm really so excited for this new week!
I love you all so much!
-Sister Metcalf





with Sister McDowell

 

 

Weeding for a less active

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Success?

Hello Everyone!
     You are ALL such blessings in my life! I'm so lucky :)
     We were ignored by so many people this week. One lady saw us through the window, and rather than just come to the door and say no thanks, she just rapidly shakes her head and starts waving her arms all crazy pointing for us to leave. It was hilarious!

     But despite being so ignored, this week we taught 21 lessons! (the mission goal is 20 and our average has been 13-14) So you could call that successful. We saw small miracles each day. But for some reason at the end of the week it didn't feel like we were that successful. Here is my thinking behind it- and it has to do with something I wrote in a letter to mom and dad. I wrote them last week saying how everyone says that a mission is the hardest thing you'll ever do. And how maybe all of my life experience has prepared me for this and so it won't be that hard. I'd say 90% of the time what we're doing just feels natural. That's the problem right there. I'm not pushing myself out of my comfort zone. If things aren't hard, then I am not growing or learning how to be a better missionary/person. So I need to do more. I need to do things that feel hard, things that I'm not as good at so that I can get better at them. For me- my weakness is knocking on doors and talking to strangers. I need to be doing this a lot more often. I think if I knew that I'd done everything I could this week to share the gospel with everyone, 21 lessons would feel successful. But because I didn't, it's not fulfilling. Miracles are waiting just outside of our comfort zones. I need to be stretching myself each day in order to see miracles happening and the work really progressing here!
     This week we got a flat tire. I was so excited because I know how to change a tire! But those nuts were bolted on tight. So we had to take it in. It set us back a bit in the day, but all is well now. My companion and I are getting better at planning. It's tough. And time consuming. I've been working every night on better organizing all of our information. It's taking up a lot of my "free time" but it's so worth it! We're working on getting some members in the ward to come on splits with us once a week so they can get fired up about missionary work. It should be fun :)
     We visited one less active this week. I have no idea why Brenda still is a member. She never really gained a testimony, and started going off on way random doctrine. Then her husband, who isn't a member, walks in. Oh man. The two of them went OFF on polygamy and how they think we worship Joseph Smith. My companion was getting so worked up. But I was strangely calm. I just testified to them that polygamist are not associated with our church. And how we don't worship Joseph Smith- but the importance of Christ's church and the priesthood being restored through him. And I testified to the truthfulness of the gospel. But they still kept going off on it. So we shared a scripture and headed out. After we walked away I started getting worked up about it. But I was proud of myself. He REALLY wanted to bible bash. But I told them that we couldn't convince them with logic, that the Holy Ghost would testify the truthfulness of these things to them. They were interesting. I sort of want to go back! :)
     Another funny story. We tried knocking on this one guys door. He's been less active for years. He never answers the door when we try. Sister Wood reaches down and starts rubbing this rock that's by his door step and he opens the door right then! She jumps up and is so startled! Then splutters through the funniest invitation back to church and jumbles her words. She was talking so fast I couldn't even step in to help. We laughed so hard about that afterwards in the car. So many awkward moments on the mission!
     Well, sorry- but that's all for this week. Next Sunday we hear about transfers, and then transfers will be Tuesday. So on Monday I should be able to tell you guys if I'm staying or going. (I hope I stay!!!!)

     I love you all! Keep developing your faith! Do the little things!
-Sister Metcalf


Our car gets so gross from driving on dirt roads!

 

 

loooong roads out to visit some less actives

 

Gavin's baptism (with Sister Call and Sister Wood)

 

Temple trip! With Sister Wood, me, s. Brown, S. Robinson, S. Webb, and S. Ridge

 

horseback riding ;)‏

 

 

wheat fields for days in some parts!‏

 

Random pose on a stump at Horse shoe Lake‏

 

 

Lake Spokane (from Pday hike)‏

 

Bench overlook (pday hike)‏

 

 So green! (pday hike)‏

 

Pday Hike Centennial Trail‏

 

 

view on pday hike‏

 

 

Bridge we found on our pday hike‏

 

Awkward pose on our pday hike with S Call, Scott, Wood, and me. It was s calls bday

 Tin Cup Cafe (1 of literally 5 places to eat in 9 mile)‏