Monday, October 27, 2014

Apple Picking in Greenbluff









The Best of Times and the Worst of Times‏

     Well, last week was definitely given to prepare us for the roughness of this week. But I'll start by sharing about last p-day. We went out to Greenbluff and went apple picking as a zone. It was really fun. The apples were way cheaper than the store and we got to eat as much as we wanted while we picked :) It was a lot of fun! Now I know why the Anderson's go every year!

     So, Rick and Theresa (the guy who said he'd been waiting for us) got sick and had to reschedule for this week, so hopefully in my next email you'll hear all about them! We actually had way more cancellations than usual this week. It's so hard not to get discouraged at the agency of others... But that's life, right? I might as well learn that now! Also, our phone broke and they won't be able to get us a new one for 2 weeks! 2 weeks! Yikes! It's nearly impossible to contact YSA without a phone. So that hurt us this week. No way of communicating, setting up/ confirming appointments- I've been so stressed out from that! We have 2 people on date for baptism that we need to contact daily and we don't have a phone!

     On Wednesday night we had a lesson with one of our active members, Emily Vermillion, who is a freshman at Whitworth and she brought some of her friends. One of them was Christian and the other was Jewish. That was interesting. Have you ever shared a message about Jesus Christ with someone who is Jewish? It was hard to be bold and make statements like "I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and that we must follow Him if we want to find lasting peace and happiness." I didn't want to offend her, but she came to hear what we believed... It was interesting. She had a TON of questions after. Needless to say, she didn't want to be baptized... or take the discussions. But I invited anyway! :)

     We had an amazing lesson with Courtney on Wednesday. She really wanted to understand repentance better and as we taught her she had so many questions. She has so much faith and is so sensitive to the spirit. We also taught her about the Word of Wisdom. She was apprehensive at first but a few days later, after reading and praying about it she said she knows it's what God wants her to do! We were so excited to have her attend someone else's baptism on Saturday night and we were going to teach her before it (we had SO much to get in before her baptismal date of November 1st) Well she didn't show up. And without a phone, we had no way of contacting her. Then she didn't show up to church on Sunday. My heart dropped. What happened? We borrowed another set of sister's phone and texted her. She said she didn't feel ready to be baptized on November 1st. That's fine with us because we felt it was a bit rushed too. And we set up an appointment to meet on Tuesday night. We asked her if she had any questions for us and what she texted us made us think someone has been giving her anti :( We gave her some scriptures to read and pray about, but she hasn't responded yet. So we'll see what she says tomorrow. I'm nervous. But whatever happens is meant to be. You'd better believe I'm gonna work my hardest for this though. This is the work of Salvation of souls. It's hard work! Oh yeah, and when we dropped by Brad's to see what he thought of church last week he said he didn't want to investigate anymore. He didn't agree with exaltation and thinks we're crazy. That was fun. Not. I bore testimony to him and left him with the spirit though at least.

     Last week my back went out- like OUT. Luckily it was on a weekly planning day where we were inside for a few hours. But it was hard to walk and I couldn't do much. I've been babying it this last week and it's been getting better. Our zone is going golfing (for free) today, so we'll see how that goes. I told my companion that we'll team up and she can do the long drives and I'll take the putts. I've only ever done miniature golf anyways! haha.

     On the bright side, Danielle is great! She's so excited to be baptized on the 8th! (I had a typo in my last email that made it sound like she wasn't going to, but she is) She is so prepared and is inviting everyone she can to come to her baptism. We're working really hard to get the ward fellowshipping more. They're pretty self absorbed in that regard. They don't notice that she really needs that, even with all the returned missionaries we have. But she's solid :)

     Next week we get transfer calls. I'm thinking with the way things have gone historically that I'll spend my last two transfers in Shawnee YSA (that sounds weird to say. Only two left. There's so much work to do!) But we'll see. This next week will bring tons of miracles, I'm sure! 

     Though this email didn't bear tons of great news or miracles, I still loved this week. It's incredible to be in the service of my God. I love Him and am so blessed for being out here. I love feeling the spirit constantly and learning so much. I'm close to the end of "Jesus the Christ" and just started the section when Christ goes into the Garden of Gethsemene. He has done so much for each of us and I am forever grateful for it. I know that there is no other way to live with God and my family forever except through obeying the laws and ordinances of His gospel. I know this church is true and that this is where I'm supposed to be.

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

-Sister Megan Metcalf



Welcome to Spokane!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Painted Rock Hike



Hiking near the Little Spokane River

Awkward tree stump pose


The North Spokane Zone



The painted rock... apparently it's not graffiti 

Best Week Ever! (for real this time)

     Oh my goodness! So much happened this week and I'm just praying that I can type it all out for you. Gosh, I don't even know where to start. I guess I'll just go from the beginning of the week and culminate with Sunday (the climax).

     Monday we went out to hike 4 miles in 9 Mile Falls. It's honestly hikers paradise. We hiked "Painted Rock" which we thought was going to be a hike to a bunch of cave paintings or something, when in reality it was just one rock that has a few drawings on it that at first glance looks like graffiti. But I honestly was going for the scenery along the way anyways.

     On Tuesday we had specialized training and it was so inspiring. Not to mention we got to watch "Meet the Mormons" which was SO well done! Not gonna lie- I cried. It's amazing how diverse everyone is and yet by following the same gospel our lives are transformed into something incredible. I think that is the real test right there. No matter who you are, where you live, or what your culture is; as you embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, your life is richly blessed and others notice the type of life you live. By their fruits ye shall know them, right? Well, that night we went on exchanges with the sisters in the 5 Mile Prairie ward. Everyone I go on exchanges with this transfer actually goes home at the end of it. So it's been interesting picking their brains. We taught Danielle again and saw Courtney (from the Air Force Base) at Institute. You guys, we gave her a Book of Mormon a week ago and by Tuesday she was already in Jacob 2! Then a few days later she texted us saying "Did you know you can watch General Conference all the way back to 1972?! And you can read the talks even further back?!" Then, come to find out that she went with Marcus (the guy in our ward who is also on the military base) to see "Meet the Mormons" and she invited her roommate to come watch it with them, and she came! She's already a missionary and she's not even a member of the church! I think that's the definition of Elder Bednar's talk from this last conference.

     The next day, while still on exchanges, we found a new investigator. Brad was a little bit skeptical. He's only been a Christian for 4 months and he's gone on a "mission trip" to Germany with a group of good people who I guess along with humanitarian work, perform miracles, like healing the blind, etc. So the whole priesthood authority thing is completely foreign to him. We saw him 3 times this week. He has SO many questions. At this point I think he's merely curious and not looking to actually try it out himself. And after Sunday (I'll get to that later) we may not be teaching him any more. After we exchanged back, Danielle had her baptismal interview. It was originally planned for that day because she was going to be baptized this weekend, but she's not for sure getting baptized on November 8th. But she wanted to keep the interview appointment anyways to show she really was committed. She did great and was so excited to tell everyone she ran into that she did it!

     Thursday was weekly planning and we had to cut it short for our appointment with Brad. That lesson was a train wreck. We went wrong in so many places- we never got to start with a prayer or do "How to Begin Teaching" and it was just all over the place. Gah. I have a testimony that those things are important. I knew that before- rookie mistake. But yeah... it was a rough lesson where essentially I was just fielding his questions the whole time. Thursday night we went on ANOTHER exchange and honestly this was the most miraculous exchange I've been on. We taught 10 key indicator lessons that day! TEN! To give you an idea of how many that is, last week we taught 15 key indicators lessons for the whole week... so yeah. Amazing! We met with Amelie, who is from Germany and staying with a family in our ward and is interested in taking the lessons and wants it for her family. She's so great! We definitely had to teach so simply with her because of the language barrier. Lyndi (the recent convert with anti-Mormon parents) brought her sister to her lesson that night!! That's huge! And her sister loved it. Lyndi said Lori was crying on the way home. I know she'll eventually come around, but that it's probably so hard to feel in the middle with her sweet, new convert sister and her anti parents. Only time will tell.

     Okay, I need to tell you about the two coolest people we met while on the exchange. One was Ruth. She's this awesome 55 year old black lady from Detroit who goes to a Baptist church and was just such a hoot to talk with! Honestly, she believes everything we do! She just would say the most hilarious stuff. Like she talked about how Christ told us everything we need to do and that she doesn't work on Sundays, etc. She quotes Romans 1:16 and goes "That's salVAtion! You think I'm gonna miss out on that? Uh uh!" And as we were talking with her she'd just yell out AMEN! and HELLO! So funny. She took a Book of Mormon and said she'd read it and meet with the missionaries. She said, "I'm gonna read this and pray and ask God about it and whatever He tells me, I'm gonna do." Well, yeah! That's all we want you to do! She was great. We'll see what comes of it.

     The other awesome guy we taught on the street was Rick. Oh my gosh. Rick was an answer to my unspoken prayers and I cried after meeting him. We pulled into an apartment complex to contact a referral we were given. While we were pulling up I saw him sitting in his truck with the window down about 40 yards away. In my mind I think "It's weird to talk to people who are sitting in their cars. Just pretend you didn't see him." So we say our prayer and when I get out of the car I have a different feeling. This time I felt strongly to go talk to him. We walked up to him and started talking about family history and he honestly didn't even answer the question we asked him but just started talking about God (it's incredible how people immediately recognize us as servants of Him). He talked about his trails (which were a lot, and they were hard!) and we testified that God was aware of him. We had him read Mosiah 24:33 and he just said "I know that. I know that's true!" He tells us that he and his wife have been married for over 30 years and they've looked for different churches all along. He said most recently he was listening to Mennonite missionaries and then the Jehovah's Witness. He said he's gone to different non- denominational churches and none of them have felt right, but listening to us just feels right. He just looks me in the eye and says something that I will never forget-  "We've been waiting for you to come!" I was so shocked. I didn't think I'd ever hear someone utter those words to me. With tears in his eyes he asked us to come teach him and his wife. We told him about the elders that serve in the family ward and he actually asked if we could teach him because he feels his wife would be more comfortable with young women teaching her. We go to see them on Tuesday morning and I am so excited! He told us how he was just sitting in his truck feeling so frustrated with his life and then we walked up to him and he just knew it wasn't a coincidence. We testified to him that God knows him perfectly and placed us in his path and inspired us to go talk to him. We said a prayer and after it he said "I can't wait for you to come back on Tuesday! I know you meet a lot of people every day, but please don't forget about me and my wife." I could never. My whole mission I've been wanting to have someone say something like "Where have you been? I've been waiting for you!" God knows me perfectly. I was just so overwhelmed with that fact as we walked away that I started to cry. God cares about what we care about and He knows each person's needs. He knew exactly how to meet Rick's needs with my dreams, and a miracle occurred.

     Okay, so that's not all (I know this is a long email) On Sunday we had FOUR investigators come to church! Four! Which is big for a singles ward because it's not like we can get a family to come. Anyways, I was super nervous because our gospel principles lesson was on Exaltation and our 1st counselor went super deep. He knew there were non members in the class and even singled them out in one of his comments. Gah! I was sweating the whole time. I think Brad is the only one who was super freaked out. Yeah, that's a sign he's not elect. But with time he could have been okay with it. It's the whole milk before meat concept. We hadn't even taught him the Plan of Salvation and that just gets thrown at him. Anyways, the other 3 were fine with it all. But the absolute best part of it all was actually before church. We had an incredible Ward Council where ironically they spent the whole hour going over how we no longer will talk about things in ward council, but people... maybe next week we'll get to the actual people ;) But there was a half hour between that and when sacrament started that we met with Courtney Hartfield and had a lesson with her. I'm running out of time and can't write all the details of everything that's been going on in her life to lead her to this point. But as we were teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, we asked her a question about faith and she starts to cry as she answers. I asked her why she felt so strongly about it and she says "I've known for a while that I needed to focus on strengthening my faith and just hadn't found the right fit. But being here just feels like I'm finally home!" The spirit in the room was so strong!! Like, tangible! We asked her to be baptized and she said she feels torn because she wants it so bad, but she wants her fiance to join as well (he's in the Air Force in Germany and she won't see him for 9 more months) Marcus just boldly tells her, "God has blessings in store for you right now and it's gonna be a long time before you see your fiance. Don't you think you shouldn't wait for those?" (He's awesome!) And she says, yeah. I shouldn't wait. So we committed her to pray about November 1st as her baptismal date and she said she would. I was able to testify to her of how proud God was of her and how she'll be able to help her fiance on his journey towards joining the church. She's unbelievably excited about eternal marriage. She's honestly the most elect person I've met! AH! I'm so blessed! I LOVE being a missionary!

     Anyways, this week was full of so many highs. I don't know if anything will top it, but I'll keep trying.

     Have a great week! I love you all!

-Sister Metcalf



 With Danielle Schimschal

 



With Erik Kemp and Amelie (from Germany)


Monday, October 13, 2014

Another Week

     Another week in the Washington Spokane Mission.  It was a good one- as always!

     I forgot to mention in my last letter about a cool little miracle we had. Thursday night after we taught one of our less actives we were heading out to the car and it was 9 o'clock and we see this guy walking through the parking lot. We walk over and talk to him and introduce ourselves. He looks confused and doesn't answer us. So I explain it again but a little slower and he says "I'm from Iraq. I live here 3 months." So we try to say a few more things but he just doesn't know enough English. So he gets out his phone and types something in Arabic on Google translate and then translates it into English. So then we start typing back and it translates it into Arabic. We wrote that we were inviting people to come to church, and he asks why. So I type out that we want invite people to come and learn more about Jesus Christ and his church, etc. He then says that he love Jesus Christ, but he's Muslim. (They believe that Christ was a prophet, but not our Savior) He asks us what time and where church is at- this is 2 days before general conference, so we gave him the times and the stake center address and he actually came to a session! We tried to get an Arabic translation to play on the small TV they play in the chapel while the English is going, but it doesn't play live, only a few days later. So he literally sat through an entire session in English without understanding anything! I hope he at least felt the spirit. We had a google translate conversation with him afterwards. It was really cool! .... but we haven't heard from him since. Either way- one more person got to watch general conference!

Funny story from this week. We're constantly going to houses of people we've never met but that other missionaries in the past either taught or contacted and they showed interest. So we go to this guy Andrew's house. We knock on the door and his dad is really friendly. We ask if Andrew is there and he says, "Yeah! Come on in!" and starts headed down the stairs to get him, as he's walking away he says, "Who should I tell him is here for him?" I say "The Mormon Missionaries" and he stops right in his tracks, turns around, and just glares at us. He says "Andrew doesn't have time for you tonight." So I say, "Well, we were just coming by to try to set up a time when we could come over." So he says he'll go downstairs and see if he'll come up for that. He literally walks down the stairs and right back up (without even going out of our sight) and says "He doesn't have time for you." And sees us out the door. Awkward! Haha. On the way out we asked if we could do anything for his family and he surprisingly declined! *sarcasm implied* We may wait a week or two before trying him again :)

     A few weeks ago a guy in our ward, Marcus, who lives on the Air Force Base invited his friend to come to institute. Courtney has been loving it! We met with her last Tuesday and also had an impromptu lesson on Saturday morning as well. She is basically golden! The spirit was so strong in her first lesson. After I recited the first vision I asked her how she felt and she said "Honestly?" Well yeah! Of course we want you to be honest. So she says, "When I heard the story before I thought it was crazy (her dad is a less active so she's heard bits and pieces) but it just makes sense. God has appeared to men before and called them as prophets. If he did it in the Bible, why wouldn't he do it now?" Finally! Someone who gets it. She's enjoying reading the Book of Mormon and is learning a lot. She loves the spirit she feels at our church. She wasn't able to make it this Sunday but will be there next week (fingers crossed).

     Danielle is doing fantastic. I mentioned last week how much she loved conference. Well she is absolutely excited about her baptism now! She told her parents and while her mom isn't too excited she said she wants to come out for it. So she's moving her date to November 8th. I'm a little sad it's being moved back because I'm worried her mom might be trying to slow roll this and just keep delaying. But I'm praying that all will work out. She's incredible and the light that's in her eyes makes me want to go out and find hundreds more just like her!

This week in our lesson with Lau he was telling us about how he is still drinking and smoking weed. My companion laughed for a second because she was just flabbergasted. But the weight of it all just hit me. I very boldly (and hopefully lovingly) told him that he needed to stop right now and repent. I talked about how serious sin is and that kind of scared him, so he confessed some HUGE sins that he committed before his baptism that he didn't fully repent of. I told him he had to talk to the bishop about it and he's scared, but I promised him it would be worth it- regardless of the restitution he had to make. Man, it was scary to have to be so bold but it felt so good afterwards knowing that I did what I was called to do.

     We've also been teaching another less active named Josh Nay, but I'll have to write about him next week.

I love you all!!!

-Sister Metcalf


Helping Mike Hill move out

Gina Ewing-DiBari and Me

In the boonies of Greenbluff (reenacting the Restoration pamphlet picture)


Beautiful Spokane
Wednesday lunch in the stake center kitchen- it's too many miles to go home on our break
Beautiful grove in Greenbluff
 

Monday, October 6, 2014

BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!

So many wonderful things happened this week. The prophet and apostles spoke to the world, I turned 26, we had MLC and a training, exchanges, the list goes on. I'll start with my birthday. My roommates and companion decorated the apartment for me and instead of a cake they got a slab of cookie dough and molded it in cake shape. We went out to lunch in between conference sessions and I spread out opening all of my presents and cards throughout the day. Thank you to everyone who sent me things! Your thank you cards are on their way. We got a lot of teaching done after conference and found 2 more less actives who agreed to take the discussions- so exciting!

General Conference was incredible! I could watch it every day. I loved so many of the talks! My top two were probably President Uchtdorf's and President Eyering's. They were so moving. So many of them answered questions that I had and answered questions that my investigators and less actives had. Danielle (on date to be baptized October 18th) watched 3 sessions of conference (she was sick Saturday, but sucked it up to watch the afternoon session). I told her she'd love Uchtdorf's talk and she went home and watched it- FOUR times! She said she absolutely loves it! I love watching people just soak up the gospel and feel the spirit!

Tuesday we had MLC and on Friday I got to train our zone on effective planning as well as obedience- honestly those are probably my two favorite things. So I had a blast. And I have honestly never delivered a training so powerfully as the one I did on obedience. I just want to drill it into people. Why don't they get it? The time we have to serve is so short. It's such a small sacrifice that brings blessings and miracles and growth beyond measure! Argh! I'm positive they know how convicted I am to it now though :) We also found out at MLC that President Mullen got a copy of "Meet the Mormons" and we will be watching it as a zone next week! Yay! :) I can't wait. Everyone needs to go see it!

This week I went on an exchange in Colbert with a sister who goes home this transfer. It's such an incredible calling to have to train and inspire and influence these sisters. Each one is so different and needs different things. I'm learning how to lead the way Christ would have me lead. As we were out though, this sister really helped ME. She told me how she's always looked up to me and strived to be as hard working and consecrated as me. I'm glad that I can lead by example but feel I have so much to improve on. It was a nice reassurance to have after last week being so rough.

Last Monday we hiked in 9 Mile for our pday activity. I loved being out there again! That place is gorgeous! I sent a ton of pictures to Jensa that should be posted. I honestly can't wait for you all to come visit here with me. It's a little slice of heaven :)

As we were trying to visit people this week we caught Steven at home (he's the 19 year old we saw that night when we got 2 investigators in 10 minutes, was on his way to the bus and gave us 2 minutes to teach him) Anyway, we catch him at home and he steps outside. We start talking to him about the gospel and he just says "Look, I'm not in a good place. I've been addicted to drugs for 3 years now. I've done pot, spice, meth. I've been kicked out of 2 rehab centers. I don't think I can do this." I asked him if that's what he wants for himself and he said no. I looked him straight in the eye and as boldly and lovingly as I could said, "You can change. Right now. You don't have to keep doing this. This is your life and God does not want you wasting it. Through the strength of Jesus Christ you can overcome this." He just kind of smirked at me and then I shared Alma 7:11-12 and testified to him that Christ has felt what he's going through and wants to help him. I could see a little spark in his eyes but he pushed it away. He wouldn't set up a time to meet, but he said he'd go to the addiction recovery program meeting this week. I can't imagine my life being like that at 19. In so deep and feeling hopeless. So sad. I hope he remembers the spirit he felt as I testified and let's us teach him more.

I'm out of time... again. Sorry these are so short! But I love you all and hope you have a great week wherever you are in the world! :)

-Sister Metcalf


With Ashley Green at Olive Garden


Worst Birthday Present EVER! (my trunky papers)


Party!


 Presents :)



Riding a dinosaur with a dragon in the background


UFO sighting




with Sister Haynes at MLC
North Spokane Sisters (from last year) who are all now STL's

P-day Hike in 9 Mile