Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Families Are Forever

Hello All,

     Not much happened this week. We've been working hard with our ward council and the members to help us to know who we can teach or visit. The week before we only taught 6 lessons, and this week we taught 11. The work has really slowed down here. We've tried to make contact with Chris Vieira and his family. He was technically supposed to be baptized this Saturday. But he's a bit flakey. He's cancelled the last few lessons. I don't know what to do with him. He has a lot of desire, but no follow through. He says he's really excited about what we teach him. He loves the Book of Mormon and is reading it and praying about it. But we can hardly ever get a hold of him. It's tricky to know how persistent we should be or if we should just put him in the back of the area book for other missionaries to work on. Any suggestions?

     We also got to teach Angie this week, finally! She accepted baptism. But she doesn't want to be a hypocrite and go back to smoking right after she's baptized. So we're working on getting her to addiction recovery and helping her to apply the Atonement in her life. We teach her again on Tuesday. She is crazy in such a fun way! She's a talker, so it's a challenge to keep the lesson on track. But I'm learning how to relate ANYTHING back to the gospel. haha. Pray for her. And pray for us to know how we can help her the best.

     That's kind of all I can remember from this week. There's not much more on my mind right now though. I've been thinking about grandma and all of you guys. Of course I'm really sad that Grandma Raiser passed away. Obviously I cried a lot. But I'm doing okay now. On Friday I was printing off the paperwork to renew my drivers license which was sent to my email. That's when I saw mom's first email about grandma not doing well. I cried a bit then but held it together during our appointments that evening. Strange thing is, we had solid appointments for the evening, which has happened maybe one other time since I've been here. Heavenly Father knew I'd find out about grandma and he helped me to stay busy. After planning and everything that evening, I sat down to write a letter to grandma. That's when I cried the most. It was difficult to write. And I wanted to say so much more, and share so many memories. But the longer I wrote, the harder I cried. I said a good long prayer that night for comfort. I prayed so hard for all of you. Especially for mom, Ginny, and grandpa. I keep thinking of you! I pray that you are feeling comforted. I wish I could be there to hug you all. I've been strangely calm these last few days-that's been a blessing. The only other time I cried was reading the emails. But even now, I'm okay again. Here's what I want to share with all of you. I know that grandma is in a better place. She lived such a wonderful life and truly endured to the end. She is in spirit paradise, free from pain, meeting all of the amazing family that she did family history work for. She's with her parents and son. I know that it is only through the atonement of Jesus Christ that we are all able to see her again and live with her as an eternal family. I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have of the Plan of Salvation. I am grateful for the hope and peace that it brings me. And I am so grateful to be out here, finding people who lack this knowledge and peace in their lives. I am working hard, and will not lose focus. As Nathan said, grandma will be going on splits with me :) I wish I could be with you all at the funeral, and mostly just hug my family and cry. But I am receiving comfort from the Holy Ghost- which is the next best thing to gaining comfort from you all. How lucky are we that God has allowed for us to have these feelings of comfort? And to know that Christ has felt what we are all feeling right now. He suffered so that he would know how to help us through times like this. Alma 7:11-12 "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." I know this scripture to be true. And please know that I will rely on Heavenly Father and my Savior to help me through this.

     I love you all so much! Don't worry about me. Enjoy being together- send me pictures!

-Sister Metcalf
(the eldest Sister Metcalf in the field)



The field is white already to harvest



yes- I get to look at this almost every day (when the clouds are gone)‏

 

raking leaves

Having fun with our pile of leaves‏

 

I'm done being trained! (so we burned a training bra)‏

 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Drum Roll Please...

     I'm staying in 9 Mile with Sister Dickerman! The last few weeks I've been bipolar about this place. One day I'm sick of it and praying to get transferred, the next I'm in love with the people we work with and praying to stay. I had a gut feeling that I'd be staying here with Sister Dickerman though. Despite what my desires were for transfers, these last two I've had a gut feeling on and been right. We'll see if that continues!

     Fun fact about my area/ ward boundaries- it's over 300 square miles. Our ward boundaries are half of the stake's boundaries. It covers a lot of ground... not a lot of houses though haha. Another fun fact- people are flaky. Chris just didn't show up to his church tour appointment and hasn't responded to our texts or calls. Didn't show up to church either. We were hoping to teach him and his family last week, fell through. We're stopping by tomorrow night to figure things out. Honestly, he has real intent and was keeping other commitments. So we'll just see what is holding them back from everything else. My guess is they're just flaky... 

     Sister Dickerman and I went trying to contact a referral at a house we've been to before. Matthew ended up answering the door (we tracted into him previously and had a conversation with him- it leaned towards bashing, so we gave him a Book of Mormon and headed out). Well I was thinking his parents would open the door (they were our referral) But it was him! I was surprised. So I ask him if he's read any from the Book of Mormon and has any questions. He goes "I haven't read, but I do have some questions. Hold on a sec. I have to grab something" When he walks away I start thinking "Oh crap. He's gonna have some list of questions he found on the Internet for how to stump missionaries or something like that". Well Matthew comes back and hands me this beautiful diagram of the Plan of Salvation. He asks if we can explain it to him. I'm flabbergasted! Umm, yes of course I will! So we give him a brief overview of the Plan of Salvation. Then he says "Well you're the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints right? So where is Jesus in this plan?" Clearly I didn't fully explain it. :) So Sister Dickerman explains how central He is to it, and what role He plays in each part. Then I turn over the back of the diagram and there's all these scripture references for it- from the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price. There's nothing anti about it... What? So I asked him where he got this from. He said from a Bible institute by Gonzaga. Yeah. Turns out he goes to the LDS Institute! Haha. We didn't tell him that. He said one of his good friends invited him to go, right at a point when he wanted to learn more about Christ (SEE! Success is in the invitation! You never know what will come of it.) We then had an incredible conversation about grace- and how we can not only be saved by it, but changed by it (Brad Wilcox's talk "His Grace is Sufficient" supplied a lot of what I shared :) )So we're gonna pass him off to the YSA sisters. But it was so cool! A fun little miracle for the week.

     We went on splits again this week. I got to go with Sister Abrams (their family is the PERFECT model of a member missionary family). Anyways, we had an appointment with Hugh. He's the step grandpa of Gavin- the 10 year old that we baptized my first transfer. This man is so sincere. And such a dry member. Have I written about him before? At his first lesson, when we invited him to be baptized when he came to know this was true he said "I'd probably get baptized before then. But I'll get baptized when I'm ready". Well, he had been out of town for a while so I was excited to teach him again. So Sister Abrams and I taught him the Plan of Salvation around a campfire in his front yard and it was incredible! This was the first lesson where I REALLY felt like a missionary. The spirit was so strong in guiding me with what to say and questions to ask. I got to really know his concerns. And the spirit was just present the entire time. I've never had a lesson like that. Usually it comes and goes and I end up being frustrated afterwards trying to figure out where we went wrong. Well we didn't even get through the whole lesson because we were so focused on helping him and applying it to his life. Seriously! Such an amazing lesson! I loved it! I wish every lesson could go like this!

     We did some service this week. A bit of painting, etc. It felt like I was at home again :) We also had a ward chili cook off. It was way fun! My shoe caught on fire... yeah. So embarrassing! I'm still wearing flats (I don't have my boots yet) and my feet were frozen! So I went by the fire pit and put one of my feet up to thaw it out. Well three minutes later this kid just nonchalantly says, "You're shoe is on fire." I look down and say "Me? Oh!" and just stomp it out on the grass. Yeah. don't worry- I'm a dork like that. Luckily the shoe is fine. It just smelled like burned rubber for a bit. And everyone in the ward knows I've never been real camping now. The secrets out. 

     That's kind of it for me. I'm so excited to keep working with the less actives and FEW investigators that we have. These next six weeks are going to be great!!! I love you all! Go read the talk I mentioned by Brad Wilcox. And not the ensign version- the full one!

Much Love!
-Sister Metcalf


Painting Pictures
I won the scripture chase at district meeting this week! :)
The sisters in my zone at a zone breakfast
back of hair cut - it was free...so don't comment on the uneven-ness
ward chili cook off
new haircut - it hardly looks different at all lol
the "falls" of 9 mile falls - only halfway on


my head blocking the falls
Sunday selfie
On the other side of the lake
By the dam
Far side of the lake

Fog on the lake


awkward tree stump pose


me and sister brown (mtc comp)

The North Spokane Zone minus 2 elders

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fighting Satan with a Sword

     Well this week was one for my journal. The first few days we had all zeros in our key indicators. It happens sometimes, you can't let it get you down. My companion was pretty frustrated with that among other things so it made the days feel longer than usual. She's fairly passive aggressive. I really have no idea how to help people get out of slumps- I do fine pulling myself out. But apparently I'm not super great at it with this companion. Well, the Lord heard my prayers, because I was asking for help so many times during the day! We pulled up to a former investigators house (Chris) and he was home (they're never home!). He invites us in, we get talking, and we teach him about  the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we talked about the priesthood being restored on the earth and what it's used for and how he could one day hold the priesthood he just started grinning and looked so happy! I got to thinking, this is how people are supposed to react when they hear that Christ's church and the priesthood have been restored to the earth! Well we invite him to be baptized November second and he said yes! We are taking his whole family on a church tour today at 4:30 and hopefully inviting his wife and oldest daughter to be baptized on that same day. So cool! It was exactly what we needed to help pick us up. I was at a loss, but Heavenly Father threw us a bone and just handed us this golden investigator. He is pretty involved in a non- denominational Christian church nearby which I hope won't cause him to stumble much. But he keeps telling us how excited he is and how comfortable he feels with it. I hope when we get teaching the rest of the Vieira family that they're as excited as he is!
     We've been going on splits each week with the relief society sisters in our ward and its been pretty great so far! I've been learning how to prep members before taking them to visit less actives, etc. But this week we were able to get 17 lessons. That was slightly above average for last transfer and way above average for this transfer. But I love how excited our ward is starting to get to do missionary work! They're catching the wave. Things work out so much better when the members help us out.

     There were only a few dog run ins this week. You guys- 9 Mile Falls is making me hate dogs. I don't even know if I like my own dog anymore. There's no leash law up here so they just run rampant! It's the worst. So many times I have had to back towards the car while yelling at the dogs to sit or leave or stop. So frustrating! And can I tell you how many skirts are getting ruined from dogs? They just jump and claw all over you and people must just think that we love getting slobbered on while teaching because they don't stop it. And so much hair! Everywhere! I smell like a dog at the end of the day and use SO much hand sanitizer. Alright, my dog rant is over. I bet I'll like dogs again once I'm in a different area... maybe.

     Alright. Are you ready for me to explain my subject line? Well, this week we were over at a members home teaching her a missionary message. Her infant daughter was asleep already but her 4 year old son, Calvin, was still up. So we shared a fun little message about Jesus with him. (It really made me miss teaching kindergarten so much! I love little kids!) Anyway, well he starts telling us about how Satan is bad. He says "When I get older, I'm gonna fight Satan with a sword!" And his mom said, "Well when you are 18 you can fight him with a sword. What can you do now to fight him?" And he says, "When Satan tries to make me feel sad or mad I can just smile really big and say heh heh you can't trick me!" So adorable! I couldn't stop laughing. So we talked with him about how he can become strong enough to fight Satan so he's ready when he's 18- we talked about praying and reading scriptures. This kid was just so adorable! I love going to member homes. There's just such a great spirit there! And it's nice for to be appreciated and welcomed. Especially after a long day of rejections.

     Next week you'll hear about transfers! I'm torn as to what I actually want to happen. Some days I think I'd love to stay here and keep working with the ward and these awesome people and investigators. Other days I feel like I just wanna get out of here and experience a new place. I have no idea what lies in store for me. But transfer calls come on Sunday night- so you'll hear all about it on Monday afternoon!

     Thank you all so much for all of the emails and prayers. I can really feel your love and support. I have such amazing family and friends! I miss you all tons! Keep praying and reading the scriptures every day! Get back on the internet and watch/ listen to general conference again. My challenge to each of you is to apply at least one thing that you felt impressed about while watching it. Make positive changes in your life each day! Keep improving and progressing!

Love,

Sister Metcalf
Driving to the middle of nowhere 

Dad asked about fall colors here. They're not everywhere because there's so many evergreen trees, but we found some!‏ 

My clean 1/2 and Sister Dickerman's messy 1/2 

 I love this beautiful town! 

 Proselyting (If you look hard enough you can see Bella and Edward)‏ 

Bundled up‏ 

Sunset and Clouds‏ 

 The boonies
 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Superbowl Weekend

     I'm convinced that General Conference is like the Superbowl for missionaries! I've never been so excited for it- and I've never felt the spirit so strong during it. We are so blessed to have a prophet on the earth today to lead and guide us through these crazy times. So blessed! I left my notebook at home with my conference notes and I'm way sad because I wanted to share some with you- but there were some great talks. And so many on missionary work. Can you imagine what a chump I'd feel like if I ignored the prompting to go on a mission? Again? I'm so happy that I'm out here. There is nothing better I could be doing at this point in my life! We watched all of the sessions at the stake center with all of the other missionaries. We did Sunday morning session at a members home though. She had invited a less active family over to watch it with them so we went over. It was so great to have them watch conference!

     Also adding to the Superbowl feeling was my birthday! Ahh! I'm 25! I felt so much love this week! I received so many packages and cards and letters! You guys are amazing! If I knew you guys would have sent me this much, I would have gone on a mission years ago ;) Seriously though, I received way more this year than last. You guys spoil me too much- but I loved it :) I'll send some pictures. We had a meeting that day. But we were able to visit 2 less active families and our eternagator Jimmy (the ex-con who can get baptized when his probation ends in 3 years). He's so amazing you guys! I'm for sure coming back for his baptism in 2016 :)

     Well, my comp is doing pretty good and we've been trying to stay as busy as we can. But we had a training or meeting every day this week. Monday was P-day, Tuesday she had a doctors appointment at LDS family services, Wednesday was Sister's conference (all the Sister missionaries in the mission got together and we had a fun day of learning and spiritual upliftment), Thursday was a specialized training by the A.P.'s, Friday was a zone training where our mission president came, Saturday and Sunday were conference. I'm surprised we saw any people with how much we were in town. But we actually taught one more lesson this week than last. On Wednesday night we went on splits with women in our ward. We sent around a sign up for Wednesday nights and have the whole month of October filled up! I'm so excited that we have so many people wanting to go out! We spent part of the time seeing people that we needed to see and the other part seeing their visiting teaching sisters... well that's what I did. The lady who went with Sister Dickerman didn't want to do that- she wanted to tract! haha. They came across a lady whose husband passed away recently and set up an appointment for us to come back on Saturday and teach her a lesson on the Plan of Salvation. Which leads to the most eventful part of our week. We went back on Saturday and taught the absolute worst lesson ever. Okay- a lot of lessons were learned from that lesson we taught her. Lesson #1 always prep your members beforehand. Our member was NOT comfortable with silence (aka when we allow time for the spirit to speak) so she just keep filling in the blanks with random and I mean non church doctrine random stuff. She goes off on what deja vu is, Columbus and other explorers, Christ having a rich uncle and traveling with him to China... are you getting the idea? Oh man. And this lady is a returned missionary! She just derailed the lesson (although to be fair the lesson should have ended way before she went off on that stuff). But lesson #2 was learned just before that happened- if the investigator isn't "prepared/ elect" or have an open mind and heart, just end the lesson and go. We come to find out like 1 minute in that she's happy with her Buddhist beliefs, thinks Jesus was just a good guy and there's no way he could have suffered for our sins, and doesn't want organized religion as apart of her life. At this point I'm thinking in my head well let's just share a quick thought, pray and leave- she isn't quite ready to accept our message. And I was prompted maybe 4 times during the lesson to just leave, the spirit wasn't testifying anything to her. I try to end our lesson maybe 3 of those times, but either my companion or the member cut me off and kept going. Lesson #3 teach to your investigators needs. She expressed an interest in the Book of Mormon and prophets. So I start leading into changing what we're talking about into a brief Restoration lesson. (Both Sister Dickerman and Sister Hyer wanted to teach the Plan of Salvation) Well, my comp had a different idea. She flat out says "We can come back another time to teach you about that, but we know you need to hear this message we prepared for you today." I felt like kicking something! I was so frustrated. In the beginning of the lesson I was praying in my heart for the spirit to be there and testify. When I knew it wasn't there and that we just needed to leave, I started praying for other people to shut up so I could just close the lesson and get out of there. I don't think Heavenly Father appreciated that prayer. haha! Well the lesson lasted 45 minutes but should have only lasted 5 or 6. One tender mercy during the lesson, was that she was interested in reading the BOM. I testified to her that by reading the Book of Mormon, I came to better know that Jesus Christ is my savior and that through him I can live with my family for all of eternity. I started crying when I shared this with her. Probably partly because I love and miss you guys so much, but mostly because as I said this, the Holy Ghost bore testimony of it to me so strongly that I couldn't help but cry! This gospel brings so much peace and joy and hope into my life and I want everyone to have that!

     Right after the lesson we went to try and contact a potential investigator and this dog comes barreling at me full speed while the owners watched, he was not slowing down and was barking like mad. I thought he was gonna bite my leg off! I just yell at the dog, and the owners (who we've talked to before and aren't nice people) are like,  "oh he's just saying hi." And they started laughing. I was so shaken up by that and just so absolutely frustrated with our day that when we got in the car I started to cry. Sister D wanted to know where we should go next, and I just tell her- I have no idea, I don't have the spirit- and I asked her to pray. While she's praying I get a prompting to go visit Dick, a man we dropped a few weeks back. We pull up and he's out front, way excited to see us! He'd done his reading and was wondering why it took us so long to come visit him again! We had a good lesson with him and will check up on him next week. Another tender mercy.

     Well, those are the highlights for this week. I miss you all so much. Not much more happened. I love you all so much! Pray every single day! Continue growing and developing your relationship with God. He is our Heavenly Father. He loves us and wants to hear from you. He wants to help and bless you- but you need to ask for His help and blessings!

Keep praying for me and being great people!

-Sister Metcalf



Birthday Pumpkin Pie (from Jimmy and Cynda) and the red velvet cookies I made for everyone in my zone‏

Presents!!!!!‏

Me with Jimmy (investigator) and Cynda (member)

blowing out my candles‏

 Sister D and me‏

Our "fall colors" and the beautiful morning fog‏

Thanks for the birthday flowers, mom and dad!‏

One of my favorite views‏ 

Our "Fall Colors"‏

I Love 9 Mile!‏

 Beautiful long roads‏

My love for "Friday Night Lights" coming out

 our zone at a training with the AP's (Elder's Whiting, Chang and Oldham)

Sister Dickerman put this on the bathroom ceiling