Monday, August 25, 2014

Come What May and Love It!

     This week seemed to just fly by! We went to the temple on Tuesday. On Wednesday we had a zone conference where all of the missionaries from 3 different stakes got together for an 8 hour training by our mission president, his wife, and the AP's. It was so long, but good. So I'm starting rumors around here that we'll be getting iPads in less than 2 months. It's just my speculation. Plus I just want them :) haha.
     So funny story from this week and then I'll get into the rest of the people we worked with. So we've been going around and visiting all of the people that the stake has down as being between 18 and 30 years old. Most are either moved, married, or less active. So we went to this one girls house and knock on the door. This 60 year old, hairy chested, 5'2" 200 lb. man in a bright red wrestling singlet opens the door! Uh, talk about surprise. He says, "You missionaries seem to always catch me at a bad time!" Umm... what was he even doing? I don't want to know. So he walks away and grabs a robe and then comes back to talk to us. I couldn't even focus at that point. The rest of the story isn't of consequence- but my companion and I had a really good laugh in the car!

     Okay, time for miracles. I told you about the random text that got sent to that guy last week, right? Well, the sister missionaries in Moscow, Idaho are teaching him! So because of that I decided to take my OCD to another level and deep clean out the phone. I mass texted 90 people who were saved in our phone. We don't know who any of them are but next to their name it said they were a former investigator or a potential investigator. So I texted "This is the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Is there a time this next week that we could share a message with you about Jesus Christ and His restored gospel?" Most didn't reply. We got a few not interested's (so we can get rid of their number). And we set up two lessons for this next week! Super cool! But that's not it for miracles this week. I feel like all the time Heavenly Father just reconfirms to me that he wants me to talk to every single person that is even near me. A few days ago as we were trying to contact a less active we were walking back to our car and I see this man walking up the stairs with a giant 20 gallon water jug. I yell up to him "We're sharing a message with everyone about Jesus Christ and how he can strengthen our families! Can we follow you up and share that with you?" And he says yes! Honestly, I shouldn't be shocked when people say yes, but sometimes I am! (I think I'm just so conditioned to respond to a no.) Anyways, as we're walking up I have this feeling he's Marshallese so I ask him and he says he is. We get up there and it turns out his girlfriend is a member who was baptized just a year ago and he isn't one. She told us that no one even knows that she lives at this address because she just moved in. I asked her if we could give her address to the Marshallese missionaries and she agreed. So we get in the car and call the elders. I relay the story to them and tell them her name. Elder Warnick starts freaking out- like literally screaming for joy! It turns out that he taught and baptized her a year ago and almost immediately after her baptism she moved and fell away. He has been looking for her for the past year (and he goes home in 4 weeks!) He was practically crying. How cool is that? God let me be part of another Marshallese miracle :) I love how His hand is in all of the little details of the work and our lives.

      So other highlights from this week. I went to 9 Mile Falls on exchanges! It honestly felt like coming home. I love that place! We went to a relief society ice cream social and got to see a lot of women from the ward. We had a lesson with Hope and Hugh (who started crying when they saw me, so of course I started crying!). We saw Caity, had a lesson with Russ and Christy, saw the Ackaret's/Langton's. Everyone is doing SO good! I was basically in heaven for 24 hours! The best was when Sister Taylor saw me (she's the sweet old widow I lived with) She JUMPED out of her chair and squealed like a 10 year old girl and wrapped me in the biggest hug and started crying! I want everyone to come to 9 Mile Falls one day and just meet all of these incredible people. It was fun to teach them again and be more bold than I had learned to be when I was out there. I was able to bear testimony again to them and remind them of the feelings they had when they were first learning about the gospel! Best. Exchange. Ever!

     So how about a little more about the Shawnee YSA ward? It's a decent size, but a lot of people will be leaving for school the next few weeks. We're trying to find people like crazy! One night after a lesson we were walking back to our car and saw a woman walking towards the gas station, so I veered off course and talked to her. We taught her some and invited her to be baptized and set up a church tour. Then not 20 seconds later we see a guy walking through the parking lot and we started talking to him. He tells us about his rough family situation. We testified that what we have to share could help him through that and asked if there was a time we could come share that with him. He says "Sure. I have to be at the bus stop in 8 minutes, make it quick!" haha. Talk about teaching simply! We taught him a short restoration and invited him to be baptized and set up a return appointment. 2 investigators in 2 minutes! What a feeling! I LOVE talking to everyone :) We found 4 new investigators this week- we get to teach one of them and the other 3 we had to pass off to the family wards. We taught 21 lessons and are working so hard to be productive and effective. We are constantly trying to find and teach (and filter too Nathan, don't worry) :) The work is picking up and it will continue to do so as we put forth our best effort!

     So last story for the day. Thursday night at 8:45pm we decided to try one more person. We feel like we should go to this one girls house. We drive by and it looks like no one's home. But we felt prompted to go, so we park and get out. As we're almost there this 20 something guy yells "Sisters!" And runs across the street to us. None of us recognize him. He introduces himself as Jackson and says he needs to talk. So we walk across the street to another church and sit on a picnic bench outside. He starts telling us his story about how he came to join the church. He was baptized 2 years ago. He asked us to bear our testimonies. He tells us to never let anyone discourage us out here because we're doing a great thing in bringing people closer to Jesus Christ. This is all a little strange- he was super nice and we couldn't tell why he was wanting to talk to us. He then starts saying how he fell away and he starts trying to convince us that the Book of Mormon isn't the word of God and that he was put in our path to help correct us. He was very friendly and smooth with it all. Well at the end he just flat out tells us that if we really studied the Book of Mormon we'd see it was wrong and we'd teach using only the Bible. Saying things like, "If this book (pointing to the Book of Mormon) would make people's lives easier, bring them to Christ, and salvation, then I'd be putting it it everyone's mailboxes and handing them out on the street!" To which I replied, "Why do you think we're out here? That's what we're trying to do!" He kept going on for a while. He tries to wrap it up and leave, but I could not let him go without bearing my testimony one more time. It was just burning within my chest and I had to tell him how I felt. I honestly bore the most powerful and sincere testimony that I ever have on my mission. I started crying in the middle. But I told him that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and I know that because I HAVE studied it and have prayed about it and have received a witness that it is true. And that I know that this book is what will change lives and bring people closer to God! I told him that he in no way convinced me to stop reading the Book of Mormon and using it in sharing our message- that I will NEVER stop reading this book! ... he was basically confounded. He had nothing to say. So I asked if we could close with a prayer and we went our ways. I am SO grateful for opportunities to share my testimony with others. And I am grateful that there are those out there who oppose my beliefs because as I share what I know to be true with them, it solidifies what I already knew to be true.

     I love this gospel and I love this work! God loves us all and wants the best for us! Reading the Book of Mormon will help you to feel God's love and give you direction on how to make it through this life happily! :)

     I love you all! Have a great week!

-Sister Megan Metcalf
I got to see Russ and Christy on exchanges!
Saying goodbye to Sister Knowlton while a senior couple missionary, Elder Handy, photo bombs
Sister McDonald and I matched on accident today :)
Getting fro-yo with Lyndi Dyck (a recent convert)
Vacuuming/ washing the car in a rain storm (being exactly obedient!)
One of my favorite members here, Melinda Kenagy

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Changes

     Oh man. This week has been full of changes and adjustments. Serving in a YSA ward is different. And this is a pretty slow area right now. There are currently zero investigators in our teaching pool. It's hard to find people right now since the north side of Spokane isn't really a college town, and everyone is heading back to other places for school these next few weeks. The area book and white board with all of the information were a mess when I got here. Both of my companions are quiet and shy. I live in a 2 bedroom apartment with 1 shower and 4 plates/bowls and we currently have 6 sisters living here. But you know what? I am LOVING it here. I prayed and prayed all last transfer for Heavenly Father to really push me. And He has answered my prayers! I spent every spare moment this last week cleaning up the area book and putting my OCD organizational skills to work. It was exhausting, but we are so much more effective in our planning now! I'm learning how to be comfortable with awkward silence- because I could obviously talk for an entire lesson or street contact, but then my companions wouldn't grow. So I'm learning how to hold back, and then be bold when I do speak and not just ramble on. It's cool working with only people my age because I feel like I can really be myself more when I teach, and I have no problem being blunt with them either. We also have a set of elders serving in this ward as well (which doesn't help with the whole aspect of not having many people to teach) But we divided it up so that the elders teach all of the men and we teach all of the women. It's definitely been a week of adjusting, but I've just been so happy through it all. Heavenly Father is blessing me, and I'm able to see the growth I'm making.
     There is a lot more diversity that I get to see now that I'm covering 2 stakes instead of one ward. Not just races, but religions. This week we met a Wiccan...she wasn't interested, but she was interesting :) We also met a Muslim man from Iraq. Oh gosh, let me tell you about Hasam. So I mentioned that my companions are shy, so I am kind of the driving force in us actually heading towards people to talk to them. They kinda keep walking towards the house we're going to or the car and pretend they don't see a person 20 yards away. So I head us on over to Hasam and Henry (who is from Libya). So we start talking to them both and Henry was super open and friendly. Well while he's talking, Hasam starts talking too... which is awkward- I mean, who do you listen to? SO my 2 companions listen to Henry and I listen to Hasam... well while Henry is talking to them about his religious background, Hasam is telling me all about his tribe in Iraq and how they've been massacred (I mean, he's giving me detail on this), about how he was beaten last year here in Spokane, about how he thinks I should marry an Iraqi (whom he is going to find for me), I mean this guy was just going on and on and reciting to me his Muslim prayers. All while my companions are having a lesson with this other guy and teaching him the restoration. I'd try to get back into their lesson but Hasam wasn't having any of it! It was so draining. I had a headache by the end. Partly because of the horrific things he's had to go through and partly because the whole time I was trying to figure out how to get a word in and it just didn't happen. Long story short, Henry is a new investigator that we passed off to a family ward- Hasam is not :)

      So because the area we cover is so big and we don't have a ton of miles, we often have lessons at our church building and meet people there to teach them. While we were waiting for one to show up, the elders had a less active who was waiting for them to come for a lesson. This guy is in the Army and very interesting. But after 2 minutes of talking to him he turns to me and says "So you must be the ringleader!" Huh? We looked confused so he says again "You (me) are the ringleader because you take the lead in talking. You (Sister Knowlton) are the analyst just trying to figure out what to say next. And you (Sister McDonald) are the observer." We laughed... but he was pretty spot on in just a 2 minute conversation! haha.

     Saturday was our media blitz where we had members shadow us and take pictures of what we do. If you search the hashtag #mnmspokane on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter you'll find pictures from that day of what all of us missionaries were doing :) It was pretty fun. Just a normal day, but it was really busy. In one of our lessons with Lau Seelua (a recent convert) we were talking to him and I asked him "What are some things that you do during the week that give you that same good feeling as going to church?" His response.."Weed" haha. Oh man! We had quite a conversation with him about that. It's been a problem for him, and since it's legal here he doesn't see why he can't smoke or sell it. Which is so weird because he is the most kindhearted and spiritual person I've met in this ward. You'd never suspect he does that. Anyway. We're working with  him. He's someone who when we asked him what he knew about the temple he said "It's like the church but with no basketball court, right?" haha! He's a fun one :)

     Okay, so want to hear a miracle? A few days ago I was going through and cleaning out the phone. We had a bunch of missionaries numbers but didn't know what wards they served in so I sent out a mass text to 10 numbers that said something like "This is the Shawnee YSA ward in North Spokane. What ward do you serve in?" Well this random number from Idaho texts back and says "The only ward I know is the one my parents keep threatening to send me to if I don't stop shaving the cat". I never sent a text to that phone number before that. I checked and checked in our phone and honestly have no idea how the text got sent to that number!! Weird! So I go ahead and reply "Sorry! I guess that's what happens when you clean out your phone. We're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We call our congregations "wards". Have you ever talked with Mormon missionaries before?" (okay- side note, I'm running out of time, so I'm going to paraphrase) But we keep texting this person, whose name is Blaze, and he asks us if he can get into heaven because he's bisexual. I testify to him that God loves all of His children and there is a place in heaven for everyone. I later invited him to be baptized and he said yes. I asked if he wanted to meet with missionaries to learn how he can better follow Jesus Christ in his life and he said yes! So I gave him the number for some missionaries in Moscow and called them and told them the situation. I'm super excited to hear how this goes! I know that God knew he needed to talk with us that night so he sent a wayward text his way. So cool! I love being a missionary!

     Well I'm out of time! I love you all!

My new address is: 1807 W. Northridge Court #7
Spokane, Washington 99218

-Sister Metcalf
Sister McDonald, Sister Knowlton, and me out working
My first district meeting and Sister Knowlton's last so we staged a "Last Supper" with her being "poisoned by degrees"
We found a castle in Greenbluff!
Wheat fields!
Sisters Knowlton and McDonald
 Doesn't it look cooler when I'm kneeling in it?? :)
With the sisters in the zone at Frank's Diner
Temple day!
Walking in the wind and rain storm!
My new apartment is up on the hill on the right by the street lamp

Lemonade stand!
Nightly planning with our newly organized white board!

Monday, August 11, 2014

I've Been Transferred!!

     How crazy is it that I've been out for over a year and only in 2 areas? Well transfer calls came last night and I'm being transferred to Shawnee Young Single Adult Ward! The ward boundaries cover two stakes, Colville and North Spokane. Yep- North Spokane! I'm headed back up to my old stomping grounds! The singles ward technically covers the 9 Mile Falls Ward! hahaha. Heavenly Father really knows me :) So I'll be in a tri-panionship with Sister Knowlton and Sister McDonald. Sister Knowlton goes home in 2 weeks though, so after that it'll just be Sister McDonald and me! I don't know too much about either of them really. I'll give you more info next week I guess. The cool thing is though, that in going on exchanges to Shawnee YSA when I was serving in 9 Mile, I know quite a few of the recent converts and less actives already! :)
     This last week was up and down (like Breanne says, a normal missionary week). On Monday we met this kinda cool couple. They were way open and had a ton of questions. Steve and Lisa want to read the Book of Mormon and are really intrigued by what we taught them about prophets, the priesthood, and Christ's church being restored. They're way awesome, and hopefully Sister Haynes keeps me updated on what happens with them. She is staying in Evergreen and the sister who is coming out to be with her was already her companion for 3 transfers! Weird. On Tuesday we had MLC and were trained on powerful ways that we can keep pace with the hastening of the work! Still no iPads or Facebook for us... I doubt that'll even happen while I'm out here. Afterwards we went and saw Sarah (the golden family!) She had some questions about the Book of Mormon that we helped answer- her husband was at work. She told us that he is a bit skeptical, but that she feels drawn to our church and feels like we're an answer to her prayers. Honestly, she's elect. So we set up to take her and her husband on a church tour on Saturday. Well, on Thursday she texted us about not being sure about meeting with us anymore. I was so devastated, I almost cried. So we decided to call her and see what was going on. It turns out that she kind of still wants to meet with us but her husband is closed off to it so she doesn't feel comfortable investigating any more. I'm so sad about her! She'll join the church one day- her husband's heart just needs some softening... 

     On Wednesday, one of our members took us out to dinner. We brought members to all of our appointments with less actives and potentials- it's so fun to have them participate in the work! We took Jason to our relief society president's home for a lesson. Her son, Kade Wolff, just got back from his mission and was so excited! It was a really powerful lesson and we were able to help Jason recognize the answers to his prayers that he's receiving. It was the perfect lesson. And we put him on date for September 6th. He'll be at church this upcoming Sunday (he finally got it off work!) So hopefully I'll get to travel down here for his baptism next month!

     On Friday, we had zone training and did just regular missionary stuff; service, teaching less actives, talking to people like crazy on the street :) On Saturday we had exchanges and Sister Robles came out with me. She's from Peru... and Utah and serving in the Spanish branch. This is her first transfer, so she was nervous. But we had so much fun! There were so many people out on the street! We found a new investigator and taught some cool people. Nothing super noteworthy though. And Sunday was a farewell for a young woman in our ward headed out on her mission. SO many people were there! I started laughing when I thought of my farewell in California- I had like 10 people there! haha. I guess that's what happens when you decide way later that you want to go on a mission! But I have not for one single moment regretted my decision to come out! I have grown so much and am so grateful for the experiences I've had! I'm going to miss the Evergreen ward. But I'm really at peace with being transferred. I feel like this is where I need to be.

I love you all! Have a great week! :)

-Sister Metcalf
Sister Mulloy's house
Dave and Katrina Skinfill
Megan Mortensen
Sister Donna Poffenberger







On exchanges with Hermana Robles
Those fields though!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Spokane Valley- The Promised Land

     So last week was what I like to call a pay day. It makes all of the hard days and weeks worth it! So this week I think the Lord was reminding us to be humble, rely on Him, and get back to work. Not that we weren't working... but I guess we're back to earning another pay day :)

     Last P-day was fun! We played sand volleyball in the heat among the usual errands. I had to call out a few missionaries for small disobedience, which was awkward. But there's no way I can stand by and watch little things go on. I think I intimidate some missionaries here with how seriously I take things (as if my height and demeanor weren't already intimidating enough). But I'm not ashamed. I don't want to regret anything while on my mission. So far I feel great about everything I've done- and I know that the progress I make each day towards being an even better missionary/ teacher is what the Lord expects of me! Anyways, we picked up a Japanese Book of Mormon to give to our investigator Shannon. She has a Japanese exchange student and wanted him to have one. So we dropped it off at her house that afternoon. She texted us later that day to tell us that Usay hasn't put the book down yet, not even while in the bathroom! When we stop by this week we'll see if he has any questions or wants to learn more. That night we stopped by Pat Price's (a less active we've been working with weekly) home and talked with her about how it's going quitting coffee and tea. She said the last few days it has tasted disgusting and she hasn't wanted any. She'd gone 2 days without it and said that she's fighting off headaches, but finding other things that help it. So, since I am on a coffee quitting kick, I committed her to get rid of her coffee pot! She immediately agreed and said she'd take it to the dump the next day. (She didn't want to donate it and have someone else break the Word of Wisdom because of her coffee pot). She's making great progress! She set up an appointment to meet with the bishop and we're hoping to set a date for her to go through the temple for the first time. Now we just need to get her to church more!

     We went on exchanges this week with the Ponderosa ward sisters. It was interesting. It was probably 102 degrees in the valley and we were walking around. We got into a ton of houses by just asking for water! The sister I was with was lacking in confidence. She was Sister Bohling's companion right before I was Sister Bohling's companion. I won't rehash my experience, but this Sister is kind of emotionally scarred from being with her. So it was good we were together. While we were walking from place to place we had mini therapy sessions and I felt like I was really able to help her progress from where she was at. Then we ended up doing an inception of exchanges (an exchange within and exchange). One of the Belle Terre sisters was sick and they had a ton of set appointments, so I had the sister I was with go work in the Belle Terre area and I went to their apartment while the sick sister slept. While she slept, I organized their area book and white board. I've become super OCD since being on the mission. At least with organizing all of the information that the Lord has entrusted us with.

     We had a ton of appointments cancel this week. Shaun and Sarah rescheduled for Tuesday, the Ruegsegger's rescheduled, and like 15 others at least. It's a bit frustrating, but people have their agency. So no cool updates on them, except that Jason fell off date. He hasn't come to church yet. We're having a lesson with him tonight at the Wolff's and it'll sort of be a do or die one. He needs to put forth more effort. We're just gonna lay it all out for him.

     On Friday night, Sister Haynes and I threw a youth Luau. It was so incredible! We had all of the youth invite friends. It was just at the Gordon's home. We had snacks, set up a volleyball net, fire pit, etc. It was basically like one I would have had back in high school at home. We had 45 kids there (8 non members!) In the middle of it, we gathered everyone together for a group picture, then had them all sit down in a circle. We ended up doing a testimony meeting. It was so powerful! These youth are fearless in baring their testimonies to people. One of the non members even stood up and bore his! After that, they went back to hanging out. It was such a success! Seriously one of the best finding activities I've done. And unlike the bon fire thing that was put on in our stake last transfer, I felt like a missionary the whole time and we were focused on our purpose. It was great!

      Okay, cool spiritual experience this week. We were driving down to check up on Jason when I just had this little thought to try Celeste Bigsby. I've only met her once in my 4 months here and have never gotten into her home. They're NEVER home. So we drive to her house. We knocked on the door and her daughter Janelle (who is maybe 30 years old) answers the door. We started talking to her and it turns out she just moved into her mom's place maybe 2 days before. She is less active but said that she really wants her family to get back into the church. We set up a time to come back and she gave us her number. Miracle! It wasn't a huge feeling I had, just a good thought that I acted on and something great came from it! I feel like since being out here I've become so much more aware of spiritual promptings. The majority of the time nothing comes of them. But I'm showing the Lord that I'm willing to act on what he is prompting me- I'm earning His trust. It's weird too because sometimes I don't even realize how present the spirit is. But it's like a fish in water- it doesn't even realize it's wet, but it's constantly surrounded by water. I think that's one of my favorite things about being a missionary. I love the Holy Ghost!

     Well, sorry this is a short one. But I love you all! Thanks so much for the prayers and support! :)

-Sister Metcalf

     If you want to listen to my companion and I ramble for a while about our miracles last week, this is it - sorry it got sent out a week late. Enjoy! (we recorded it on her voice recorder that she was sending to her family, so I stole it :) ... and that's why it sounds different )
Kicking off the testimony meeting at the luau

Luau