Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I've Never Been So Happy To Be So Tired

     Oh man! So I set a goal this transfer to be exhausted at the end of each day- to ensure that I'm being effective and diligent the entire day. And I am definitely receiving an answer to my prayers! haha! We share the car with sisters in another ward so half of the week we drive, the other half we walk. Well obviously when we drive we have less opportunities to talk to people. So even on days we've had the car we've been walking so we don't waste any opportunities. I know it's nothing like what other missionaries do, but we probably walk between 10-12 miles per day. Not to mention my companion is a cross country runner so we wake up half an hour earlier than we have to so we can run 2 miles before our usual workout. She runs circles around me, literally. She'll run up ahead of me 20 yards, turn around and run past me, then do it again... I try not to let it bruise my ego ;) We've talked to so many more people, found a new investigator, and I just feel so successful! Plus I'm getting better at my approaches. I feel like it's getting so natural to relate everything to the gospel. I'm to the point where it's weird to NOT talk about the gospel! haha.

     With us being out and talking to a lot more people, we've gotten a lot more rejections. We've had threats, people laughing at us, and trying to tell us what we believe (which we correct right away). And you know what? I'm proud of that! I'm proud that I am testifying of what I know to so many people that I'm finding those who mock and scorn. You're not a missionary if you don't have these experiences right? (That's what Elder Aidukaitis of the 70 told us last week at least!)

     Speaking of- Elder Aidukaitis came to visit our mission this last week. He had a 2 hour meeting with just the leaders of the mission one day and then another day our whole zone had a 4 hour meeting with him! He is so inspiring and bold! I had so much of a drive to just do better after he spoke with us! I loved it... is anyone else wondering why my mission is getting so many general authorities coming and visiting? Is this normal? 

     Transfer day was chaos with trying to get Sister Richardson off at 8am and then Sister Haynes not being able to come into my area until 3pm. So I was going on splits and working with different companionships. Lessons cancelling, lots of street contacting. But I'm happy to be with Sister Haynes. She's from South Jordan, Utah and is 19- but you wouldn't guess it because she is so mature. She's such a hard worker and a spiritual giant. I know I will learn a lot from her.

     We had this amazing lesson with Lili on tithing and fasting a few days before her baptism. She's so excited about it! And the spirit was so strong. When we were asking her questions and checking for understanding she was spitting back information that we hadn't even taught her but was true. It was such a testimony that the Spirit really does the teaching in the lessons! Her baptism was incredible! It started 30 minutes late because her mom had gotten lost. Lili was just beaming the whole time! :) I even sang a duet with her best friend Alex at it (The same one I sung at Austin's baptism "Come thou fount") I've gotta figure out how to email video home. Anyways, in other great news... MaKenna Langton also got baptized last Saturday! She's the little sister of Steven and Austin out in 9 Mile. I had taught her all of the lessons, and she was finally ready! Sadly though, we were at Lili's baptism the same time hers was, so I wasn't able to go to hers. But how great is that?? The whole family is baptized now!

     Well, I'm out of time. I love you all so much! Thank you for supporting me! I can feel your love all the way up here :)

-Sister Metcalf

 Another unnoticeable haircut
With Fances (the investigator with the vomiting cat)
Bishop Clark's family and Alex and Lili
With Elder Lohan (My former zone leader and AP)
Quilting service project
Sunburns from walking all day in the heat(at least we found a new investigator!)
 With Sister Haynes under the full rainbow (at 8:30pm!) I love that it stays light so long
I honestly LOVE Greenacres
Driving in Greenacres
Lili at her baptism! She was SO excited! And her friend Alex Maughan made her a dress for it :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

     First things first. Transfer calls came. I'm staying in Evergreen and my new companion is Sister Haynes. She is currently serving in a neighboring ward and she's just sliding over to my ward. Our mission president is pushing to get all of the Sister Training Leaders together in companionships now. And I get to be her junior companion! I'm so excited/ relieved about that haha. She's in one of the pictures that will be on my blog this week. She's a really sweet girl and a hard worker so I'm excited. I feel like I know my area pretty well and am not nervous about taking it on.
     What a week! We taught a ton of different lessons and were so busy each day. I love it! And I'm going to apologize in advance because there were some people online during my email time so I sort of "instant messaged" them and am running short on time. 

     It was a great week... lot's of fun stuff going on! So Lili is amazing. We had 4 lessons with her this last week and she is soaking things up like a sponge! Her mom is driving up 2 hours from Pasco to come to her baptism and is so excited for her! Words can't even describe how prepared she is. And she feels the spirit so strong when she prays and reads and learns. I have loved watching the change in her countenance these last 2 weeks. And her baptism is this Saturday! Yay! :)

     So on Saturday it was Sister Richardson's birthday and we had so many appointments. We did some service tracting (where we wore service clothes and brought shovels, etc. and asked people if we could do service for them) One lady we did service for invited us back for dinner since she couldn't pay us and we're going over to share a message with her this week. Right after that we had a lesson that the elders in another ward set up for us. They ran into a guy on the street and talked to him for a bit and found out he lived in our area set up a time for us to come teach him.... Well...we show up to the appointment and it's at a group home... for special needs people. Darren rolls up and and he's wearing a "Special Olympics" hoodie. Right away we can tell he's not accountable. But he was super excited so we decide to share a scripture with him anyway. So he takes us to some common area and there's already this guy Earnie who's pretty lower functioning already sitting there. In the middle of the scripture Earnie just starts moaning this creepy high pitched moan while staring at me! And then he creepily says my name... The whole situation was ridiculous. And to top it off we had brought a girl with us who has her mission call and wanted to see what it was like being a missionary. I absolutely lost it. I just start busting up in the middle of the lesson!!! I couldn't control it. I literally had to step into the hall and pretend to cough and say a pray in my heart that I would stop laughing. I felt horrible after. But seriously you guys. It was ridiculous!

     Alright. Well I'm sorry this one is short. But I'm excited for this next transfer. And especially for Lili's baptism this Saturday! I love you all! Thank you for all of your kind words and support! Keep saying your prayers and reading the Book of Mormon- those two things will keep you spiritually safe and happy!


Sister Metcalf

Enjoying ice cream on our back porch
Elders Smith and Harris and Sisters Haynes and Seastrand
Mica, Wa

At a youth bonfire "finding activity"
At the bonfire with Sister Seastrand
Lili (getting baptized this week!), Alex (member of our ward), Sister Richardson, Kalli(was baptized in February), and Me

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

When it Rains, it Pours

     Where to start? Today we went to the temple (which is why I didn't have p-day on Monday this week). The temple is incredible and I feel so at peace when I'm there- which was MUCH needed today. I had a chance to read Breanne's email and I feel like we're going through the exact same thing right now. It's hitting me that I only have so much time left (I know, it's still a long time left, but still) and there's so much I need to improve on. I know I've made progress since I've been out here. But going on exchanges often, training other missionaries in meetings, etcetera is really humbling. I see so much more clearly what it is I can improve on. I'm grateful for it, but at the same time it's hard.
     This last week I was getting really frustrated with myself for not teaching better/ being a better missionary at this point in my mission. Then on Friday night my mission president called and told me grandpa Raiser passed away a few days ago. He let me cry for a minute and then said that grandma Metcalf passed away earlier that morning. I was not expecting to hear more bad news in that conversation. Not gonna lie. I was pretty mad at him for doing it that way. And then I was even more upset when I found out that Nathan had actually called him on Wednesday to let him know about grandpa and he waited DAYS before passing on the news. I was a mess that night and got a priesthood blessing from one of my zone leaders. The next day I got sick in the morning with some sort of stomach bug and I broke down crying. I have never felt so weak in my life. I was physically in pain and emotionally weak- it was hard. And though I know there are so many people going through worse than me, I felt that things couldn't get worse. But a few hours later we got out and went to work. That was key. As I worked and focused on helping and serving others it helped me keep my mind off of things. I'm doing just great now though! I'm focused on the work and only got sad a few nights as I was saying my prayers and praying for family. But I am so blessed to be out here at this time where I can not only focus on helping others through their trials, but also have the spirit with me constantly to strengthen me and give me comfort. I'm so blessed to have the gift of the Holy Ghost and his constant companionship. Heavenly Father has really been listening to my prayers. Alma 7:11-13 took on a new meaning to me this last week. I know that Christ has not only felt what it's like to have a bad day, but to have MY bad day. He has given me strength that I sometimes doubted He would. I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have that we will all be together as a family some day. Nothing could give me more comfort than that. I know that that is only possible through Christ. I love my Savior so much!

     Mother's Day was hard- talking to Breanne and mommy. It was good talking to them though (even though it was sad not seeing anyone else). It made me so happy talking to them though! I hope everyone is traveling safe and enjoying the family time together. And I hope mom is continuing to recover from back surgery. I'm sorry you weren't able to go to grandpa's funeral. How did it work out doing FaceTime during it? Was it less complicated than when we did the group webcam for Mason's gender reveal? ;)

     Well onto some happier things in the wonderful world of Spokane missionary work! We did a lot of service this week! A lot of people are outside working in their yards and we found a sweet old man whose yard we worked on for a while. We even helped a girl push her car down the street when it died in the middle of an intersection. Poor thing. She was only in high school and so panicked. Last Saturday we helped Patrick and Stephanie move (they're the ones who were going to get married/ baptized on the 24th of May). They moved just into the next ward over which still meets in our building, so I'll still get to see them every once in a while. We helped them move while I was on exchanges. Then I went on another exchange this last week with one of the spanish sisters. It was so different. And I'm so glad I wasn't called to serve spanish speaking here! It is so hard for them to find people to teach. And a lot of the people they work with are flaky. We did a lot of finding in trailer parks. When we'd find people who spoke spanish she was basically on her own, I felt bad. I could comprehend what they were talking about enough to get the gist of it, but was in no way competent enough to say anything to them. We taught a few lessons, but the people who go to the Spanish branch speak both Spanish and  English, so we taught them in English. At the end of the night we finally had a lesson in all spanish. I was no help, but the spirit was so strong! I spent the whole time just praying in my heart for her to be able to understand this guy and be able to talk to him. That night, I'm not kidding, I dreamed in Spanish (or what in my mind was Spanish haha). It was so cool!

     A tender mercy happened on Sunday morning but I need to back track a bit. We found a former investigator in our area book who was taught a year ago who looked golden and had no reason why they stopped teaching her. So we asked a girl in the ward who was her friend to invite her to mutual (she's 18 yrs old but a senior in high school). So we talked with Lili that night at mutual, set up a church tour for the next week and felt great about it! We took her on a tour and then taught her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (lesson #3) since she'd received lesson #1 twice already. The spirit was so strong and she was so open and honest and just sincerely seeking truth. When we asked if she'd be baptized she said she wasn't sure. We taught her the 1st half of the Plan of Salvation on Saturday night at The Skinfill's and again the spirit was so strong and she was identifying it and saying how happy she feels learning about our church. When we asked her to be baptized this time she said if she knew for sure, then she would. Sister Skinfill then bore powerful testimony to her about following the spirit and how we need to act on faith. Sunday, when Lili came to church she said she wanted to be baptized! So after church we taught her the rest of the P.O.S. and she picked May 24th to be baptized!!! Her countenance has completely changed and she's so much happier now. She has tons of family struggles but says she knows this is what she needs in her life! Lili is incredible! :)

     Well, sorry, I'm out of time. But I'll email in just a few short days. Transfer calls come this Saturday night. So we'll see what happens. I love you all!

Sister Megan Metcalf

Monday, May 5, 2014

Where is the Love?

     So I wrote down what I want to share from this week. My only problem is going to be making it cohesive. Knowing me, it'll sound a little scattered (with probably some grammatical errors that I didn't have time to check).
     I'm gonna start off by being brutally honest. This week was hard. Not teaching wise, but staying focused wise. I had so many trunky moments. I wasn't homesick or anything, but just kept getting distracted by worldly things and reminiscing/ daydreaming about stuff I'll get to do when I get home, etc. It doesn't help that my companion is way homesick. We actually came out together so we've been out the same amount of time. She keeps counting down the days until we go home/ get to Skype and mentioning stuff from home (like listening to (non-church) music, boating, homecomings, etc.) So it's been hard for me to get her to focus, and in turn get myself to focus. Any advice on how to combat this? I want to be completely focused on the work and consecrated... I'm just struggling with the how right now.

     This week we taught Phyllis. She was diagnosed with breast cancer not too long ago and just started chemo therapy treatments. It's been really hard on her. We taught her the 1st half of the Plan of Salvation 2 weeks ago and this last week we taught her the 2nd half. We brought a woman with us in our ward who is a breast cancer survivor and had her talk about how knowing about the Plan of Salvation helped her to get through that trial. It was a really powerful lesson! It'll be hard to see Phyllis consistently though because she doesn't feel well between treatments. Later that day we went to try talking to Phyllis's sweet old neighbor who is a former investigator. We asked her right off about her interest level and she said she was only having missionaries come by because it was good company. She said she'd studied Mormonism and a bunch of other religions before deciding on the church she's at now. We asked her if she has a copy of the Book of Mormon. She said she had 2 and one was really old. She pulled them both out. One was the blue one we pass out and the other was probably from 1920ish. It was way old. So I started flipping through it and got this weird feeling... it turns out it was a re-translated Book of Mormon from the Reorganized LDS church. I was reading in the preface and it talked about all of the changes they made to it. So we're going back this week to let her know that it's not a book associated with our church but with a break off. I don't know why I didn't mention anything before. I'm kicking myself for not doing that right then.

     We had MLC and a zone training this last week. It gave me a huge boost! I get so uplifted from those. I feel so blessed that I get to be a part of them. Our ward correlation meeting was this Sunday (dad knows what these are) And it's the 1st one we've had since I've been here. We're supposed to have them once a week and this is my 5th week here! This ward is just so different from 9 Mile. I miss how missionary minded everyone was there. Out there our auxiliary leaders were constantly asking "What can we do to help you?" Out here our ward mission leader asks them "What can the missionaries do to help you?" And yes, we're here to help them... but the difference in that one question alone changes the whole wards view of their role as members. We don't even have a ward mission plan... It's May. Things will get better. I'm praying really hard to know how to help the ward and what we as missionaries can do to start changing the culture. I have faith that Sister Richardson and I can help get the work going here and get the members fired up.

     So... bad news bears. Patrick and Stephanie aren't getting married on the 24th anymore. This is actually a blessing though. We've been feeling this past week that Patrick isn't quite ready to be baptized yet. He doesn't seem like his countenance has changed much or that he's making changes to his life that show he's wanting to follow Christ. Well, while on exchanges he starts going off about how he's not ready to be married yet, etc. I basically had to handle this by myself since the sister who was out with me had no idea what was going on. It was a little stressful, but I explained to him that we wanted him to make sure he was getting married for the right reasons and not just to be baptized. He said he wanted to be baptized but not get married. So I reminded him about how living the law of chastity is required to be baptized- meaning he either needed to get married to his fiance or he and Stephanie would have to get separate apartments. I know he'll be baptized one day because he understands and accepts what we've taught him. But he's just not at a point in his life where he's wanting to live it. He doesn't feel like he needs to be Christlike, just that he needs to know about Christ. I know that this life is all about progressing and changing for the better. Christ didn't live and die for us so that we could just have some cool stories to read in the Bible and feel like we could continue sinning because he already paid the price. He did it to show us the way; to give us hope; to watch us change and improve our lives as we become more like Him!

     This week during one of our lunch breaks there was a knock on the door. I went to answer it because my companion was taking a nap. There were these 3 women in dresses and one says "Well you're dressed up today!" ... then she sees my name tag and says "Oh... are you about to go out to work?" I thought this was maybe someone from the ward who wanted to visit with the old woman we live with, so I asked who they were. She says "We're the Jehovah's Witness" and gets really uncomfortable. She said they were sharing a scripture about how Satan is the ruler of this world from 1st John 5:19 and she reads it to me. It sounded so weird. I asked her what version of the Bible she was reading and she said the New World Translation. I said "Oh. We read the King James version because it's the most correct and has been translated way less times." She didn't really appreciate that. But when I went down and read that same verse in the Bible it says something completely different. It's crazy how much one persons interpretation of the Bible can completely change the meaning of things! Anyways, I was really friendly with her and they asked me a few questions about what being a Mormon missionary was like. All in all it was good... But SO weird being on the other side of the door! I can see how some people might think we're weird haha!

    We had another lesson this week with our recent convert, Kalli. She's 16 and having a hard time adjusting. But we found a less active family where the mom was baptized at 16 and is also the only member in her family. Kalli came with us to see the Ruegsager's. We got them bearing testimony to each other and taught them from Moroni 6:4 about the importance of going to church. It was so cool!

     I'm running out of time. I wish I could share with you all that I'm learning in my studies! I started reading "Jesus the Christ" on my lunch breaks and I'm learning the coolest things. I'll have to be sure to share some first thing next week.

     Oh one more thing. Last night some of the sisters serving in the other ward came by to pick up the car that we share half the week. There was miscommunication and they showed up last night when they don't get it until today. Anyways, my companion and I are planning in our living room in the basement and the 2 sisters jump down the window well to get our attention. I screamed the most blood curdling scream I've ever yelled in my life (other than the time Elise scared me in the dark when I thought I was home alone and she grabbed me and covered my mouth...remember that one Elise??)! I almost started crying and my adrenaline was pumping like crazy. I found out that in "fight or flight mode" I'm more of a flight. It was funny.

     Well, I'm off. I love you all and I love this gospel! :)


Sister Megan Metcalf

Stone Fired pizza at the Jensen's
The Spokane East zone
With Sister Jeffrey
Living in Sister Mulloy's basement
Mom's "halfway" package
The Evergreen Ward area