Monday, March 31, 2014

4 Seasons

Buenos Dias,

     Can you believe I've experienced 4 seasons in 9 Mile Falls, Washington? Crazy! It feels like I just emailed you all a few days ago. Having my p-day on Wednesday really made this week go by fast. So I'll just pick up where I left off. After a wonderful preparation day on Wednesday we went back to work at 6pm that night. We went on splits. It was great to see so many people in such a short amount of time.

     On Thursday we taught Russ again. Man, it's like that man knows we are going to teach him about tithing. In the very beginning of the lesson he'll bring up some question he has and we start talking about it for for of the time and don't have time to get to the real lesson. So for "homework" this week we gave him 3rd Nephi 24 to read, so he knows it's coming and there's no deterring it. His paperwork came in from church headquarters and he's ready to start the interview process for his re-entry to the church. I'm so excited for him! And I'm so impressed with him not even flinching at this bump in the road. He thought he was going to be able to get baptized on March 30th but we found out otherwise. It turns out he didn't just take his name of the records of the church in the 80's but he went through the excommunication process. So that means its a longer process to get baptized. But his interviews should be this week and hopefully all goes well with that! 

     We also had weekly planning on Thursday (which seriously takes so long!) But it took even longer because we just got a 4 foot by 4 foot white board that a member donated to us. We wrote down all of our investigators and their upcoming lessons/commitments, potential investigators, referrals, less actives we're working with and ones who are mildly interested, etc. It took a while to get it all on the board, but I feel great knowing that if I get transferred, all of the information I know is on that board and will be put to use instead of just staying in my head. I'm nervous I'll be transferred- mostly because of how much I'll miss the people I've been working with (and my incredible companion). But really- I think another transfer might burn me out in this area. But we'll see. I'll be happy with whatever the Lord sees fit. We get transfer calls this Sunday evening... I'm not as nervous as I usually am. But next email will be a report of where I'll be serving for the next 6+ weeks.

     I went on exchanges from Thursday to Friday with one of the sisters in Shawnee YSA. It's different working with people my age... And there are SO many more people out! I swear I pulled the car over every 5 minutes to talk to someone on the street. I sort of want to get transferred to an area with more people out on the street so I have more opportunities to talk to people during the day. It can get discouraging out here sometimes. Exchanges were fun. And I know what Breanne means. I can be more bold and upfront with asking questions or extending commitments when it's not my area. Probably because I don't have to keep a relationship with them- but it ends up helping out the other missionaries in the long run. I think that's part of the reason why exchanges are so fun... plus it motivates me to be more bold to the people I've been working with in the last 8 months.

     Friday night was our ward talent show. Oh. My. Gosh. What an incredible event! First of all- EVERYONE invited friends to come and there were over 200 people there! It was relaxed and fun and had a variety of talents. I got to help out with Brother Knack's act. He was doing karate/ self defense demonstrations. So funny! I have a video of it that I need to figure out how to send to Jensa so she can post it on my blog. And Sister Riddle and I performed too. SO have you all heard the "Cups Song" from Pitch Perfect? Well some missionaries made a parody of it and posted it online. It teaches the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through a fun song. It talks about Christ's life, how he established his church and called apostles and gave them the priesthood, then as the apostles were killed the church fell apart and priesthood was lost, but then brought back through Joseph Smith. A woman in our ward wrote down the lyrics and then we made them better :) So we performed that at the talent show (as our back up- we were originally going to do some "Kid History" type thing but had technical difficulties). It was really so fun! We're gonna film it and send the video to Jensa too.... Anyways, after the performance we had 2 or three people come up and tell us they were really choked up during the song. We kind of brushed it off and were like "umm... okay?" I just didn't get how that would choke someone up- it's a fun and upbeat song! Well then the next day another woman comes up to us and tells us she felt the spirit so strong as we sang that song. Last night we shared our song at the Hatch's home (per their request) because they didn't make it to the talent show but heard about it. The husband started crying during the song! Afterwards he mentioned like 3 times that the song really touched him. Sister Riddle and I got to thinking about why it's having an effect on people. The spirit testifies of truth. Regardless of how or where we present it, if we are sharing truth the Holy Ghost will carry that to the hearts of people and they'll feel that it's right. It was such a testimony builder to me! We've decided we're going to share it with our members who weren't at the talent show :)

     We've also been working with Jodi Mastel a lot lately. She's a less active who moved in a month after I got here. We were visiting her regularly but she wasn't making much progress or ever coming to church. Then we decided to bring a member with us to one of her lessons in December. Why didn't we do that earlier? She started taking off! She feels more comfortable now that she knows she has a friend in the ward. She hasn't missed a Sunday since February and is coming to all of the activities. And when she was helping set up for the talent show she asked us if we could share a message with her since we wouldn't be able to come over this week. She's paying her tithing and working towards going to the temple to do proxy baptisms (with the member we brought with us in December) We NEED the ward members to help us if we are going to really help bring people back to the fold. This is not a matter of opinion-it's a fact!

     We also helped move in a new family into our ward and man is my back dead. Oh well- it's all part of the calling. Chris didn't come to church because his wife got called in to work and didn't want to bring the 3 kids there by himself. So we stopped by after church on Sunday to talk with him and let him know we were sad his family didn't come.We set up an appointment for today and are bringing Brother Merrill with us (after praying one night this name just came to me and I realized this would be the perfect fellowshipper for Chris!) We're gonna have him invite Chris's family over to watch General Conference. So I'll let you know next week how things go.

     Are you guys so excited for conference??? I know I am! I can't wait to receive more revelation. And to hear what the prophet and apostles of the Lord have to share with us. I know that we have a living prophet today and the God speaks to him. I'm so grateful for the guidance that we have from that! Everyone watch conference either on the t.v., at a local church, or on www.lds.org/generalconference  

     I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week! I pray for you all (And pray for me that I will be prepared for whatever transfers bring!) I know it will be what I need to help me grow!

Love,
Sister Megan Metcalf
Sister Riddle and me on the streets of Suncrest

Monday, March 24, 2014

Surprise!

     Austin was baptized on Saturday! (He's the Ackaret's grandson and his brother Steven was baptized in January) I'm sure you're wondering how this all came about so fast. It was really quite a roller coaster of a week.  Tuesday night out of nowhere Austin comes up to us at mutual and says "I'm having trouble planning my baptism for this Saturday- I'm not sure what all I need to do or what time to tell people." What? We were speechless for a second. We weren't sure he was even wanting to be baptized anymore. But we pinned down a time and told him we'd take care of the rest. That kid is great! So the next night while on split's we go visit him to go over baptismal interview questions. Maybe 5 minutes after I got in the house with a woman from our ward he says "I'm sorry- I can't get baptized on Saturday". My heart just sank. Tears filled my eyes and I fought hard to keep them in. I asked him why and he said he was feeling anxious about it. We spent the next hour talking to him- his grandparents, the member and me. I guess he felt like he couldn't be perfect and since he'd been asking for forgiveness for the same sin and still making the same mistake over and over again he thought he just couldn't make that promise to God that he's be trying his best to keep the commandments the rest of his life. I guess I didn't teach him about repentance well enough! So we explained all about progress and working towards overcoming sins, etc. At the end of the night he decided he did want to be baptized on Saturday again. Man was that hard work. I was so emotionally exhausted at the end of the night! And then after that we had maybe 3 days to get everything put together for the baptism. We were visiting him every day to make sure he was ready to be baptized (we didn't want him to feel pressured at all and wanted it to be on his own time, when he felt ready) It was a bit stressful. But the baptism itself was wonderful! The spirit was so strong! Sister Riddle and I sang a duet of "Come Thou Fount" and we were accompanied by the sweet old lady we live with, Shirley Taylor. There were a lot of non members there. The whole baptism I just kept thinking about Joseph Smith and how he was only 14 years old when he first searched for his answer and prayed. The spirit kept reconfirming to me the truthfulness of Joseph Smith's account. It was really such a great service.
     On Friday we had Elder Golden of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy come speak to all of the missionaries in our area. That man is incredible. I hope he speaks in conference in a few weeks. I learned SO much from him and you could just feel the spirit the entire time. I was way bummed when his hour was up. I could have listened to him for days just expounding on simple gospel principles and showing things in a new light. Wow. You guys will really have to go through my notes one day. (because I don't have nearly enough time to write it all out)

     We taught a lesson to Chris this week (he's the flaky one) But this time we taught him AND his wife with Brother Merrill in our ward. They are so prepared! And I'm not worried about him flaking out this time because his wife is in on it too and we all know how much better women are at commitments than men ;) But I'm really so excited for them to come to church on Sunday. We're stopping by his home on Saturday evening and teaching another lesson- and making sure they're still planning on coming to church on Sunday. I have a lot of faith that he and his family are ready for this. They all said yes when we invited them to be baptized... not we just need them to sincerely investigate.

     This last week felt really long with my p-day not being until Wednesday this week. We did have a new missionary/ trainers meeting last week as well as an exchange... and one more exchange later this week. But the temple was incredible! I absolutely love the way I feel when I'm there, it makes me never want to leave. 

     Not too much else happened this week that sticks out. Most everyone else is the same. My companion and I get along so well and we teach really well together. I hope I get to second train her and stay here another transfer... I'm thinking about putting a down payment on a house out here. I've been living here long enough ;)

     Well, I love you all. Thank you for all of your emails, letters, packages, and encouragement. I have the best support group ever! :)

-Sister Megan Metcalf

p.s. I hope people are going on my blog to admire all of Jensa's hard work... and look at all of the pictures I take ;)
I love this temple
with Sister Emerson and Sister Smith from my ward
at the temple with Sister Riddle
at Austin's baptism (he's on the left Tanner Hardy is on the right)
wild peacock
selfie in the woods
Lake Spokane
The sunsets here are unreal!
weekly planning with ring pops
driving
Sister Worley, in our ward made us St. Patrick's Day treats :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

8 months!

     Well today is my 8 month mark. Thank you everyone for reminding me how close I am to being halfway done haha. I can't believe I only have 10 months left. Gotta get working!

     This week was incredible! So many things happening. We taught 19 key indicator lessons and found 3 new  investigators! We had interviews with our mission president on Monday so P-day was Tuesday last week (I'm sure I mentioned that in my last letter) But that always seems to make the next week go by so fast. While we were at a youth activity we saw Bozhi, the 15 year old who came over from Bulgaria last year. She said she wanted to learn more about what we believe. So we found a Bulgarian Book of Mormon and will be teaching her this next week. It'll be an adventure I'm sure because her English is very limited. On Wednesday we had a jam packed day. We went around trying to contact a bunch of referrals and former investigators and we met with Chris again (I talked about him in October/ November ish) He's always really interested when we meet with him but then he flakes out. So we taught him a lesson, he asked when he could be baptized and if he could take a tour of our church. We were supposed to take him this morning but he flaked out again... so we'll see if it goes anywhere this time. I'm hopeful, but being realistic as well. Who am I to judge what may be going on in his life that's preventing him from committing more fully? We also taught Austin that night at the Johnson's. We showed him the movie "Finding Faith in Christ" and he bore this incredible testimony about Christ and how He helps him in his life. So Sister Riddle invited him to be baptized on the 29th of March and he said yes! Miracle! He has been so hesitant for months but now he's finally ready. Well we were worried about what his grandparents might say because all along they've kind of been the ones saying to him that he's not ready and putting those thoughts in his head. So we fasted on Friday because we were meeting with the Ackaret's Friday night. Austin wasn't there when we went over- he was on a scout camp out. But the grandparents out of no where while we were teaching said "So, Austin has decided he's going to be baptized?" And I just confidently look to him and say "He has! Isn't that great?!" And they say....... "Yeah! We're happy for him. I guess he finally feels ready. But we have a problem with the date he picked" My heart dropped. I thought they were going to say it's too soon. But it turns out it's their daughters birthday that day and there's a ton of family stuff going on that day. So we're working on what day might work better. So we're going to see if Friday the 29th works. That'll be my birthday present to Breanne this year ;)

     Alright, ready for another miracle? We taught Russ on Thursday and started out with following up on  his reading assignment we'd given him. We left him with 2nd Nephi 9 and he says "I'm scared." And we go "Why are you scared?" And he says, "Because I know that I have to be baptized if I want to live with God again." So we talked a little bit about baptism as a commandment, but then talked about the Atonement. We talked about how Christ suffering and dying for us allows us to be able to return to live with God, but that in return he's asked us to do a few things; like have faith in him, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. We shared a few parts of Brad Wilcox's talk "his Grace is Sufficient" (An incredible talk that I challenge everyone to read this week- even if you've already read it before) During the whole lesson you could just tell that he finally wanted it. He finally understood why he needed to be baptized and wanted it! His whole demeanor was different than any of the other lessons. At the end of the lesson we asked him if he would be baptized so that he could fully access the Atonement and all Christ has done for him. And he said yes! So he's going to be baptized on the 30th of March! We are having it right after church on Sunday and he'll be confirmed there right after. He doesn't want a lot of people there. He's not comfortable with the spotlight. Plus, he was already a member before (but took his name off the records) so he doesn't want to draw a lot of attention to himself. Can I tell you how incredible this man is? He joined the church in his 70's to try to save his marriage but didn't have a testimony of the church at all. So after the divorce he took his name off and wanted nothing to do with the church. Now he's in his late 60's and is sincerely seeking for the truth. He's made HUGE changes in his life and is so at peace with things because of the things he's learned in the Book of Mormon and what we've taught him. He has a real testimony of this himself now and is being baptized for the right reasons. I feel so blessed that God allows me to witness the change that it can make in other people's lives. This gospel and church are true- I know it with my whole heart! 

     So later that night we were driving to go on exchanges for the next day and Sister Riddle and I were talking about the people we're working with and how blessed we are. And then I said something along the lines of how happy it must make God that we're out here and helping people to make changes in their lives that are bringing them closer to Him and taking steps that will lead them back to Him. The spirit hit me so strong right then and just confirmed what I had said. I couldn't help myself, I started crying. I know that God is so proud of me and all of the missionaries (and anyone else) who are helping to bring his children back to Him again!

     Oh man! Another dog incident this week. We were teaching a lesson to our new investigator Joe (who's done some time, but is really nice!) And he has a pit bull who while we were teaching, literally jumped on my back and just kept his paws on my shoulders for a solid minute. This man didn't even tell his dog to get down! So I tried to act like nothing was happening and kept teaching. Later in the lesson his dog and cat got in a fight next to my companion. I swear Satan possesses animals when we're around!

     Exchanges were good. I went with a sister who really needs some help though. Her studying is ineffective and her teaching/ people skills are lacking (and she's been out longer than me). So it was kind of difficult. It's hard to be a leader and have to figure out how to correct people, but also build them up. It's REALLY tough to find that balance. The one thing I hate about being a Sister Training Leader is having to give people constructive feedback. I can crack the whip and put people back in line if they're being disobedient, or train in meetings all day. But that part is hard. Anyone have ideas for how to do that?

     Alright. Enough about me and my week. I'm sure I left a bunch of stuff out, but that was the most prominent stuff this week. Look on my blog if you want to see pictures. I took a bunch this week. I love you all so much and can really feel your prayers! Keep the faith!

-Sister Megan Metcalf
map at a members house



the falls all opened up


9 Mile falls


 Bulgarian BOM



twinner skirts with Maddi Merrill in my ward



dog hair from pit bull lesson!


 Emus, llamas, and alpacas on exchanges in Greenbluff



I spilled tomato soup while at dinner at a the Tenny's



 at the falls



In Reardon, Washington


 The sky after the rain storm

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tuesday Special

     This week I had another MLC (missionary leadership council) where all of the Zone Leaders, District Leaders and Sister Training Leaders go. We basically get trained by our mission president and his wife, and the AP's and then go back to our zones and train the rest of the missionaries. I love how pumped up I get about missionary work right after training. So apparently their was some disobedience going on in one area of the mission and some missionaries had to be transferred around because of it. I know it was nothing big because our president nips everything in the bud/ cracks down hard on little things to send the message that he won't tolerate it. Anyways, as a result we got kind of a long lecture about our responsibility to keep other missionaries obedient and step up when we see things. We were trained on a lot of other things as well- but I was given the responsibility of training our zone on obedience later that week. Talk about putting your life under a microscope. When you get up their and talk to them about being exactly obedient, you know they're all looking right at you and seeing if you're being a hypocrite. So I did some self reflecting this week and decided there are some things I can do to improve- nothing major- just small things to make me a more effective missionary; like getting in and out of lessons quicker or pulling over the car to talk to people we see. And as I've focused on improving these things I've felt so much more successful! Mosiah 2:41 is true. Those who keep the commandments of God are blessed and happy- whether they be little or big commandments (in my case these are "commandments" specifically given to me as a missionary)

     Well we taught a lot more lessons this week but are still working on teaching more and talking to more people. We need more investigators. I KNOW there are people out here prepared and ready, we just need to figure out who they are! haha. More of a reason to talk to everyone, right? Sometimes I think it would have been so nice to serve in NYC where there's people everywhere all the time and you have no excuse for not talking to people because you're walking right by them. And then I realized that it shouldn't matter if I'm in a boonie area or a city- I need to just talk to everyone! 

     Have I ever mentioned how amazing the YW and YM in this ward are? I know I have, but I'm going to say it again. This Sunday we had a Standards Night; a night when there are some people that talk about topics from the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlets to the youth in the stake. They focus on the importance of standing strong and keeping high standards. Our ward had 5 non members that they brought! 3 of them were our investigators (Austin, MaKenna, and Jacob), one was a former investigator of ours (Chelsea) and another was one girls cousin who she has been bringing to church who we may start teaching soon. These kids just have no fear in inviting- and the leaders are so helpful!

     As for Austin and MaKenna- they are coming slowly. Austin just has a hard time focusing in lessons but he's still making progress. MaKenna is only fairly interested. We talked to Chelsea (the one whose dad recently passed away) and are going to start teaching her again. I'm so exited! She is so eager to learn and is so prepared! I'm sure I'll have something great to say about her next week since our lesson with her isn't until this weekend. Everyone else is about the same. We did share a lesson on Joseph Smith with the Hadlock's this week that was so fun! The dad grew up in Utah in a WAY less active family. And as we were having their 10 year old daughter, Brooklyn, tell about his story and how he saw God, and how it wasn't until years later that he was visited by the angel Moroni who showed him where the plates were he was just blown away. He was like "I never knew that! That is so cool!" And the fact that his daughter was helping teach it to him was priceless! I love it :)

     We also had interviews with president this week. They were actually on Monday which is why P-day was moved to today. It's nice to talk to him one on one and let him know what I'm working on and how our area is. He had us come up with a vision for ourselves and for our mission. Mine was: "I will find, teach, baptize, reactivate, retain, and be obedient by becoming a consecrated missionary. I will become a consecrated missionary by sacrificing: disobedience, fear, pride, negativism/sarcasm, my heart/desires (or basically my will for the Lord's will)" It's great how a vision really pushes you to achieve more. It reminds my of my volleyball days at SLCC.

     Well, I'm checking out now. This church is true. I love watching the people I work with change as they follow Christ's teachings! It's incredible.

I love you all!

-Sister Metcalf
 

driving on river park drive- love that view!
on south bank road
no joke EVERYONE breeds dogs in our ward!
With my "baby" Sister Riddle

Monday, March 3, 2014

Greetings from snowy Spokane!

Hello all!

     This week was so great! It's crazy (but not surprising) how a great companion can change the work! It's so much fun with Sister Riddle. And I lucked out. She's 21 and from San Diego (actually, Vista). She's basically pre-trained. She seems very comfortable with the work and is willing to learn and work hard. She has such an upbeat personality so it makes the days go by fast and it's so enjoyable. Maybe it's just the stark contrast between her and my last companion- but I feel so blessed to have such a great companion! It's fun to train, too. To know that this missionary looks to my example in all things and that it will help shape the kind of missionary she will be.... It puts a bit of pressure on me, but it's also forcing me out of my comfort zone to do things better than I was before. I feel like I'm going to learn and grow so much from this experience! 

     So on Tuesday I dropped off Sister Bohling and picked up Sister Riddle. They make a big deal out of pairing up the new missionaries with their trainers. There were only 9 elders and 3 sisters that came in this transfer. It was so weird because when I came in we had 39 missionaries and half were sisters! And I just knew that when I saw the 3 sisters I would be put with "the tall one". Haha. We just tower over everyone! I hope it's not intimidating too much- but who am I kidding? We are. Someone even called us the twin towers the other day :)

     We've been working hard with our investigators and trying everything we can to help them progress. Russ said he wants to get baptized but he doesn't want to do it too soon. He's thinking in the summertime. So we'll see what happens there. It was SO nice to have Sister Riddle teach his lesson with me because I often felt like I was doing it alone last transfer and he is one tough cookie. He always has so many questions. We also taught all of our recent converts this week- so Gavin, Hugh, Steven, and Caity. I love getting to continue working with them. We've been doing a scripture study with Hope and Hugh each week to help them understand and apply the Book of Mormon better and it seems to be helping.

     We have dinner at a members home EVERY night of the week. It's really such a great way to get to know people and then I also don't have to cook haha. The downside is that they all go all out when we come over so every meal we have is super elaborate with all the fixings and dessert. But I love this ward so much. They're so good to us! We were invited to 2 family birthday parties this week :) Kate is turning 3 and Thomas is turning 10. Both from different families and they each begged their parents to let us come over and do dinner/cake/presents. Can you tell I haven't been ignoring the children while I've been here? haha. I can't help it. They're just so much more fun than adults ;) 

     We have a lot of less actives that we're still working with. A few of them have started coming back to church consistently and it just warms my heart to see them there and making friends! They're just as important as people who haven't heard about the gospel yet. Most of our work is with less actives, but we obviously have some investigators. We go to members homes and share messages with them and ask for referrals. We spend a minimal amount of time going door to door. It's just not super effective. But we pull over the car and talk to people we see on the street- though there's not many people out walking around in 9 Mile Falls either. So we're working at trying to find new investigators even though it's tough here.

     I figured since I have a little more time because I got through my emails quick that I'd tell you about a typical day in Nine Mile Falls for me. It starts with waking up at 6:30 am and saying prayers. Work out for about 30 minutes. Then from 7-8am we get ready, shower, eat breakfast. From 8-9am I study in the Book of Mormon, Bible, and the missionary "training handbook" called Preach my Gospel. Normally from 9-10am we'd do a companionship study together where we plan out the lessons we're going to teach tat day, but since I'm training we have 2 and a 1/2 hours instead of one hour where we practice teaching lessons and study together. So we finish studying at 11:30 am. We then take an hour for lunch break, during which I'll eat, play my ukulele, nap, play piano, read, etc. From 12:30 to 5pm we're then out and about. We're either trying to meet with people who are less active or potential investigators, during that time we'll sometimes go door to door. At 5pm we usually have an hour dinner break at a member's home and then from 6-9pm we go out and teach/ try more people. We usually have anywhere from 1-4 scheduled lessons in a day(this is such a change from when I first got out here... the work has REALLY picked up!), so the rest of the day is just stopping by and trying to catch people. Some days there's a lot of unopened doors and driving. You never know what you're going to get. From 9-9:30pm we plan out our next day, where we want to go, etc. From 9:30-10:30 it's unwind time, write in my journal, get ready for bed, etc. By 10:30 I'm pooped and in bed! Then we wake up and do it all over again. Some days we do a lot of service for other people; like shoveling snow, painting, house work, yard work. It just depends. 

     Anyways, I love you all so much and hope you have a wonderful week. I absolutely love being a missionary! I get to serve people all day and teach them about what has brought so much happiness to my life. I hope everyone is staying warm!

Love,
Sister Megan Metcalf
Saying goodbye to Sister Bohling
My 6'1" trainee, Sister Riddle
Snowy Sunday
Snow storms make it so pretty here!
Zone breakfast at the Harston's