Monday, November 25, 2013

Another Week of Greatness‏

     I loved this week! I told you how our new mission goal was 21 lessons a week. We taught 23 this week! (luckily they let us include lessons to active members right now or we'd be toast) But we reached the goal. And had some interesting encounters along the way.
     The first was from Don. He's less active but his sister and her family are active so we had the lesson in her home. Oh man. This guy was tough! Let me tell you- if he were an investigator I don't know if we'd continue teaching him. He's obviously going through some hard times. And he's done it all on his own. So he doesn't trust that God is there to help him and doesn't think He even would help him. We were planning originally on just reteaching him the missionary lessons we teach to non members and try to help him renew his testimony. But while teaching him the restoration he brought up so many different things that he has concerns about that we need to just focus on his needs. It was such a tough lesson to teach though because he and his family were arguing half the time. He doesn't want to read the Book of Mormon for whatever reason, but his family kept basically yelling at him that he had to. So he just shuts down and stops participating. Yikes, no spirit there. He demanded to know why everyone is trying to force him to read the BOM when he doesn't want to. I said he could start reading in the Bible if that's where he were most comfortable. But then I read to him the last 2 paragraphs in the introduction to the Book of Mormon and told him- We want you to eventually get to reading the Book of Mormon because that is where you will gain not only a testimony of Christ, but of the restored gospel and priesthood. He just sat there and thought for a second and said "Okay. That makes sense. But I'm still only reading in the Bible until I get done with school in 6 months." Argh! Obviously we need to find out some more concerns. He will be tough. But I like a challenge. It'll force me to study and pray a lot more sincerely.

     We received SO many referrals this week. I'd say 3 times more than usual. We contacted almost all of them. No new investigators from that, but we had an interesting conversation with a 7th Day Adventist. He had a real heart to heart with us about his relationship with God and his path from leaving Catholicism and joining his church now. He had a bunch of questions for us and was so sincere. In the end he told us he wasn't interested in learning more, but that he'd accept a Book of Mormon and maybe read it. He said he'd take one if we took one of his church's books. He was trying to get his missionary work done too :) 

     We tried to contact a less active member this week who we haven't met. This time he had his grandma come to the door. She was straight up deaf. She opens the door and we introduce ourselves and ask if James is home. She says, "Oh I'm Catholic." I'm a little confused but  say "That's so great! Is James home?" And her response is "I can't go to church anymore. Pray for me." and she closes the door! So funny! We just walked away laughing. We'll have to try him again at her nap time ;)

We had exchanges again this week. I got to go to River Ridge. We saw miracles. We taught 6 lessons that day and picked up 2 new investigators. We contacted so many referrals, talked to so many people (there's actually people walking on the street there! go figure). One of the referrals, we taught her and she wants to be baptized as soon as possible. So cool! We also went through the VA hospital and an old folks home. It's crazy how many people there will listen to a message about Christ. haha. That's a joke. Of course they'll listen. They are so lonely and don't care what you talk about. They just want company! lol. #theydlistentoanyone But it's a great service to offer. I love being with old people- they're so fun! One cute old man kissed my hand when we left. So sweet!

     The lake is starting to freeze over. Some shallow parts are frozen solid and where its deep there's just some ice on top. It's fun watching the ducks fly in and try to land on it, but then slide around out of control!  It hasn't snowed since that one time. It's too cold too! It sits around 20-30 degrees during the day. Gets down to the teens at night. It's so cold!!!

     So, Dallin H. Oaks came to our stake for a special stake conference. An apostle! There's only 12 of those guys... Listening to him was amazing. I won't even try to describe it. He talked about a lot. How he was an ordinary man called to an extraordinary calling and how each of us will have to grow into our callings. About members doing more in seeking missionary opportunities of their own and not just praying for missionaries, etc. Before conference started, he came in 40 minutes early to shake everyone's hand. People got their 2 hours early to get seats! The kids were so excited to shake his hand. One boy turned to his little brother and said "Go on. Shake his hand. You'll get a warm feeling. I did!" So cute! Afterwards he met with the missionaries in our zone. He had all of us come up and shake his hand. We got to listen to him talk to us for 40 minutes about missionary work. The spirit was so strong. Wow. It was incredible! I'll just have to show you my notes when I get back. There's no way I could write it all.

     Bah! I didn't have time to write about the Ackaret's this week! But we're having Thanksgiving with them (and about 4 other families) so I'll be sure to have more about them next letter. But I will be WELL fed on Thanksgiving. People fought over who would get to feed us :)

     I'm running out of time... but here's some fun facts for this week: I tried Vegemite (it's disgusting! Don't ever eat it!) And I got some acupuncture done on my back. A lady in my ward who is a physician's assistant used to do it and offered to help me out since I was complaining about my back. Man, it was so cool! I couldn't even feel the needles (luckily I couldn't see them) But my back feels so much better now! I highly recommend it!

I love you all! This gospel is true!

-Sister Megan Metcalf
     p.s. next week we get transfer calls!!! Pray that I get to stay in 9 Mile Falls. I could spend my whole mission in this place. I'm so serious... but also pray that I'll be where I'm needed ;) I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! I love you all!!!!!

confused maze

It's true - this is the BEST MISSION!

my pretty area (with some ice on the lake)

in the West's  backyard by the semi frozen lake

a dog with a beard!

I'm in love with the sky here!

My blurry stalker picture of Elder Oaks


Monday, November 18, 2013

Reigning Champ


     Another great week. Definitely way more good things happening than bad, but I'll spare you the good new, bad news game. Did I mention how amazing the temple was on Wednesday? I love going there. It's such a peaceful place. And we went on the same day that there was a training meeting at the stake center right next to it so I got to run into some missionaries I hadn't seen in a while :)

     There is a family in our ward, The Allen's, where the wife is active but her husband isn't. They have a daughter that grew up in the church but is divorced and inactive and living with them. She has a 7 year old boy and 4 year old girl. We were at dinner this last week at their home and the grandma got talking about how her grandson will be baptized in March and she would like him to meet with us and we could teach him and help him learn more about the church, faith, Christ, etc. So we will be coming over every other week and teaching him (not the regular lessons we'd teach an investigator- we'd tailor it all to his age). But the great news is, his inactive mom and grandpa will be sitting in on them as well. So although the messages will be intended for the 7 year old, I am hoping that the rest of the family will be taking on the challenges we extend and together renew their testimonies in the gospel.

     I told you last week we were going to be teaching a Sister Johnson's coworker as a result of Elder Ballard's challenge to our stake. Well Heather is incredible! She is so open and honest. And we had a powerful lesson with her. Probably the best one Sister Dickerman and I have taught together. We established our purpose, found out concerns, taught to her needs, followed the spirit. It was great! At the end we invited her to be baptized and she agreed! Bad news, she's not in our area. So eventually we'll have to let the missionaries in her area teach her. But really, I'm just happy she's coming closer to Christ and feeling how living this gospel will bless her family! If we get to teach her again, I'll update you on her- but I'm not sure where we'll be going from here.

     We had zone conference on Thursday. Zone conference always pumps me up! The spirit is so strong and I learn so many things that I just wanna get right out there and teach someone right away! (well, we did teach Heather that night) But we also learned of some new goals that our mission has set. We will teach 3 lessons a day to less actives and non members (so 21 lessons a week) Right now we average 1 and a half lessons a day. So we have to double that. We are to have 4 investigators in church a week. Right now we only have 2 investigators, so we have to double that as well. We are also to have a baptism a week. Well.... we're gonna need to more than double that. This year my ward has only had 1 convert baptism (Gavin who we baptized in September) And we'll have one more on Christmas with Hugh. So yeah... we gotta step up our game. We have steps for how we're going to get to that. It's going to be hard work. And it will require a LOT of faith. But I know that if that is what the Lord wants for this area and this mission, then it will happen. So long as I show him that I am willing to do everything in my power to reach that goal, he will fill in the rest. So I expect you guys will be hearing about a lot of miracles in the future :) Oh yeah! And while we were at zone conference they had a scripture chase after lunch. They divided us into 4 groups based on how long we've been out and did a preliminary round. I won for the 3-6 months group. Then we went to the front and the winner from each of the four groups came up and we did the final round. And guess who won? Yours truly. Like a boss. I'll be sending autographed pictures home shortly ;) #winning

     This week was a lot of work with our less actives. I don't have time to share a story about the Ackaret's this week, but I'm making a note to write about it next week. We're trying to stay busy here and finding success in unlikely places.

     We're not allowed to tract (or just knock on random doors) anymore. But we are allowed to street contact (walk down the street and talk to anyone who is outside). Well Sister Dickerman and I chose to do that on Friday. Umm.... it was raining. And we saw 0 people on the street- I wonder why? We did talk to one family that was pretty staunch Roman Catholic. I had to pee so bad (as usual) and we asked if we could use their bathroom. They thought we were crazy for being out walking in the rain but were happy to see how much we wanted to share a message about Christ with people. If anything, that family and the cars that drove passed us have a little more respect for Mormon missionaries... And we only got chased by one dog! Luckily the people called the dog off us. I know I haven't mentioned any dog stories in the last few weeks, but believe me. They're happening. Like 2 weeks ago when we did service on the ranch where we roped afterwards. We drove to the wrong house first. We got out of the car and 6 dogs come barreling at us. Talk about being terrified! So we jump back in the car and start driving off and the dogs chased us all the way off the property. We've got some pretty funny video of that I'll have to show when I get home.

     Speaking of funny video. Today we're having a zone talent show. I wrote a song about all of the areas in our zone to the tune of "Party in the USA". It'll probably be a disaster. But I'll have someone record it so I can show you guys. So you have that to look forward to!

     I started reading in the New Testament this week- when I finish I'll read the Old Testament. But right now I'm in Matthew and studying the life of Christ. I am learning so much and being reminded of things I had forgotten. Can you imagine what it would be like to have lived when the Savior did? And watch him perform miracles? I would love to hear what you guys are learning about in your studying of the Bible and Book of Mormon, etc. 

     I love you all! Every single one of you!

-Sister Metcalf

 Street contacting in the rain 

Random short bus in front of a house in Suncrest, filled with garbage 

Sunset while it's raining‏ 

Hanging out with President Monson

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Wonderful World of a Missionary

Hello everyone!

This week was so great! But we'll do a little dose of good news, bad news.

      Good news- Hugh asked to be baptized on Christmas Day- so we'll be having a "white Christmas"! I'm so excited for him. His wife is a life long member and they've been married for 12 years. He has been going to church for 10 years. It has been so much fun working with him up to this point! I mean, I met him when he first moved in, started teaching him, worked with him through his concerns, helped him realize how Christ can help him in his life and how following Christ would bless his life, and now he is about to get baptized! Everybody start praying for me that I won't get transferred in three weeks. I would LOVE to be there for the baptism... and then in a year when they are sealed :) 

     Bad news- he's our only real investigator. Jimmy sort of counts. He's getting baptized in 2016. We still meet with him and help him out. But other than that it's dead. We have a lot of less actives but only some that have interest in returning/ meeting with us. So that makes the work feel slower.

     Good news, There's a less active family who we started working with when I got here (The Hadlock's). The wife has been coming off and on with her kids. They're from Utah, but both went pretty inactive before they even married. Her husband hasn't been ordained yet. Anywho, we've been going over weekly since I got here. It started where she'd just meet with us in the yard, then on her porch with her kids, then finally with her husband in the home. We've been doing family home evening activities with them and basically reteaching them the missionary discussions. (side note: this is the family who started reading the Book of Mormon each night because the home teacher challenged them to). Well this Sunday, after weeks of inviting, her husband showed up to church and stayed all 3 hours! I'm not kidding, jaws dropped when he walked in and a few people started crying. He hasn't been to church since they moved here 6 years ago and he has some really good friends in the ward who were just so excited! I'm so happy for this family and I hope that we can keep making progress with them, to the point that he can receive the priesthood and baptize his son next year and they can all get sealed in the temple. I love this family so much, and it is so great helping them to progress together :)

     Bad news- it snowed for real last week. We got a few inches. Luckily I have boots now... and luckily it didn't stick for more than 2 days. It's rained a lot the last few days. It's been so bitter cold! I almost want it to snow again... maybe the frigid wind will stop? No, it probably won't make a difference.

     Good news- Elder Ballard came out and had a meeting with our mission president, bishops, and stake presidents. It was all on missionary work with members. Surprise! haha. Well he made the bishops have a special meeting after sacrament with all returned missionaries. They gave them a little pep talk and challenged them to all find 1 person for the missionaries to teach by Christmas. He had them raise their hands if they were willing. And 25 of the 26 people committed to finding us someone! This will be great for us- we're lacking people to teach, remember? And we teach our first lesson to one of the fruits of this assignment on Thursday. I'm really excited to see what comes from this. And at the end of this, we are to report the numbers of people we taught from this and the number people we volunteered back to Elder Ballard- so accountability will help people to find someone for us as well.

     Good news- we raked more pine needles for a man out in Ford on his farm (although his place wasn't sketchy). Well raking isn't good news. But he let us rope some wooden cattle when we were done. I was 2 for 3! I may do some team roping when I get back to make some money :)

     Good news- Dallin H. Oaks is coming out here in 2 weeks to do a special stake conference. $100 says it'll be on missionary work with members :) I'm so excited! And he requested to have a special meeting with the missionaries and ward mission leaders afterwards. I'm going to meet an apostle of the Lord! How incredibly blessed am I? I can't wait to hear what he has to say. It will get so many people fired up out here, I just know it. Our ward mission leader is already feeling it. He's really stepping up his game and involving more ward auxiliaries and figuring out how to keep us busy and who to have us work with, etc. It's great! I think he just wants to be able to "stand blameless" before Elder Oaks... but whatever works :)

     Good news- we have eaten at a members home EVERY night the last 3 weeks. That's so unusual for this area because of the weird no dinner calendar to be sent around policy. But one of our ward missionaries is great and is setting up dinners with members. That means I'm eating way healthier than I would if I was cooking... but also that we're getting a lot of dessert-that's bad news. But the good news is Sister Dickerman and I do crossfit workouts each morning to combat the sweets we get.

     Bad news- it's about that time. I've got to get off. I think I mentioned everything big from this week. If I missed anything, just read it from my journal when I get back ;)

     I love you all! Keep praying and reading your scriptures, individually and as a family! Go to church! It's the best :) And share the gospel. The end.

-Sister Metcalf

at the temple with Sister Dickerman, Brown, and Call‏ 

 doing the "creep" pose at this creepy lake (Davis Lake)‏ 

On a dock at Horseshoe Lake‏ 

 yet another stump pose 

 at Horseshoe Lake at sunset

Roping at Bro French's farm after service

 Got it on my 2nd try!... and third :)‏ 

 It really snowed!‏ 

catching snowflake's‏ 

Sister Taylor's boots she made me wear because mine hadn't come yet... she's 85 yrs old‏ 

preview of my Christmas card picture ;)‏

Monday, November 4, 2013

Another Week in Paradise

     Well... it snowed last night. Less than a centimeter mind you, but it snowed. It's officially winter. And what's with daylight savings? Now it's dark even sooner! I have a feeling I'm going to really have to work out these bitter feelings towards winter. I'll make it through somehow though.
I received some very sweet cards and a popcorn package this week. Thank you to everyone for thinking of me and taking the time and effort to do all of that! I love you guys. Halloween was so weird. It fell on a weekly planning day so we were inside planning most of the day. We stopped by to try a few people. But we're not allowed to be out proselyting on Halloween evening. There's too many weirdos out there and people might confuse us as people dressed up as missionaries. We didn't have any appointments so we went over to the Abrams (all star family) for dinner. After dinner we went trick or treating with them. They introduced us to a bunch of neighbors and we got to spend some quality time with their family/ get free candy :) It was fun! Sister Dickerman had some angel wings and halo from last year and her mom sent her some kitty ears and tail for her to wear this year... so we kind of dressed up. I'll send pictures. It was a very different Halloween. But it was fun!
We saw a less active family in our ward twice this week. Bishop asked to go with him to help with home teaching on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday on splits, the woman we went with visit teaches them and hadn't made contact with them before. So it was mildly awkward showing up at their house two nights in a row. But they're a really nice family. The Yukl's have been through a lot, and one daughter isn't a member of the church. It is so fun to help people and watch their testimonies grow/ come back. Later that night on splits we stopped by a woman's house to see her. She's 90 and her husband passed away last month so we've been trying to see her once a week. Well, when the door opens we just see this man leaning out from behind the door and he has no shirt on and is dripping wet. We said we were their to see Elva and he said she was in the hospital. Sad. Then he says, "well I need to get back to my bath." Why did you get out of the bath to answer the door dripping wet/ naked? Why not just not answer the door? I tried so hard to just act normal, but let's be real. It was awkward! haha. #superawkward
     We also went to see Wendy again this week. It was so uncomfortable. She's been struggling with the temptation to smoke again and already has this thing going with coffee. Well while we were there, Sister Dickerman and Wendy basically get into an argument about the Word of Wisdom. Like they are just a notch below yelling at each other and neither is letting up. So I finally chime in and say- "what else can we talk about?" There was no way we were going to clarify these things for her while she was being stubborn and we weren't teaching it with the spirit. It was pretty uncomfortable after that. But we pushed through the lesson. We plan on going back to see her on splits this week. I'm making my companion go so she can smooth things out with her haha. Plus I always have a headache when I leave this woman's home. She just talks and talks and is so scatter brained. She went off on coffee and how it helps seal her dentures. Well I didn't want them to go off on that again so I say "you have dentures?" knowing this would side track her. Well she goes off on teeth in her family, which somehow leads to her hair, then to prom, and it just spiraled out from there. What? But at least we stayed away from another argument. haha.
     We also had exchanges this week. I went out to River Ridge (the ward right next to ours). It was my first time going to another area. It was fun to see how things are different and the same. And Sister Hood, from Georgia, is my sister training leader. She's so great! I love watching her teach. I was taking mental notes for things I want to do better or try to do different.
     I'm happy to hear that the funeral service went well. It sounds like there were some real positive moments in it. Everyone should read "Doors of Death" by Elder Nelson (from Conference 1992). It really helped me.
     That's all folks. I'll talk to you next week!
Sister Metcalf

 p.s. I have never raked more leaves in my life! We've probably put in over 10 hours of leaf raking this week. We had a huge community service project downtown near Gonzaga for low income seniors and disabled veterans. We have also been doing service for members of our ward and random houses around where we live. My back and arms are sure gonna look good when I get home :) Mosiah 2:17- "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

     p.p.s. Sorry for another addition to my email. Next week I will be going to the Spokane Temple on Wednesday. So my p-day aka email writing day will be on Wednesday next week. So happy early birthday to mom! I'll talk to you all on the 13th! :)

Our car on P-day after shopping‏ 

Me, Sister Vowles, Dickerman, and Hood (service for low income seniors near Gonzaga)‏ 

Halloween with the Abrams family‏ 

 after raking leaves all Saturday morning for a community service project downtown