Monday, November 30, 2015

out in the field ya'll!‏

Its pretty awesome. I'm so happy and excited to be here!
So leaving MTC was hard, I miss that district family.

True Happiness!

Mission shirts!
Flight was good and got to talk to Mom and Dad supes early in the morning at the airport! YAY
Meeting the mission president was fun! He's a super nice man and very inspired. He got me up to date on BSU :)
Then transfer meeting! woot woot! It was an exciting time! I met so many missionaries that I can't even count or remember their name. 

So drumroolllll... 
My companion is Sister Hunter from Gridley, Northern California and we are in the Covington area! The area's here are huuge. Covington is the richest parish in Louisiana. (Parish is a county, LA is the only state that adopted the Napoleon law so that's why everything is French and funky) I'm in the finger of Louisiana right next to Mississippi. So I'm in quite a wealthy area. It is very very beautiful, the homes are majestic and classic. I love it here and so far of where we have been my favorite spot is town called Abita Springs. Its cute and quaint! I feel like I've only gotten a small sliver of what Louisiana is really like because Sister Hunter says that most of the people here are implants, here for work and school. But of course there are some people that have always lived in Louisiana. I love it!
Sister Hunter is so great. She is very helpful and kind. She's also really fun and musically talented! We have a guitar and a ukulele so we enjoy jamming. She has been out for 14 months and we will probably stay together until she leaves March 31st. We work hard! We got over 16 lessons this week!
Our district is awesome! 4 Elders and us. My first night we had Ward Correlation and the Elders threw me a "Greenie" Party. They made green dyed cupcakes and had green balloons! They are fun and thoughtful. 
Greenie party with the district
Thanksgiving was such an adventure. We spent the entire day as a district so all 6 missionaries got invited to all these.

First we started the day of giving out right by doing service at the YMCA packaging meals to be delivered to the elderly.

Then it was on to endless eating. 
Three houses fam! THREE. 
11:00 - Nolan family. They are the most Louisiana-y I've been. They are an less active family but loves the missionaries. They feed us every Wednesday. But they had all the southern royalties out. Stuffing is called 'dressing' so there was all kinds of dressing, pork, beef, shrimp dressing. and dirty rice is huge here. Its actually quite good. It's rice with all the seasoning, turkey liver, gizzard, and insides in it, hence 'dirty' rice. Its good! They have a sweet house and kind people :) already full here

Thanksgiving at the Nolans, played lots of pool

Fried turkey at the Foots
1:30 - Foot family. A family from the ward that fed us a true southern turkey. FRIED! Here, before they cook the turkey, they inject it with a needle and inject Cajun seasoning and butter in it and then fry it for a couple hours. ITS SO GOOD. So much flavor! So stuffed.   (the elders had another family in between here. I thought they were going to die because they just killed themselves on overstuffingness)

5:30 - Cropper family. This is our ward mission leader so we didn't feel bad for not eating a ton (thankfully) But this was a nice end, relaxing and ended spiritually with some thoughts. But by the end of this dinner all the missionaries were in so. much. pain. It was Costa Vida burrito episode x2. Wow. 
But it was amazing!

First Sunday was incredible. But also a roller coaster.
1. We worked really hard all week and we got our investigator, Biviana, to church!!!! YAYY such blessings! It was a big deal. 
2. Sister Hunter and I got asked to sing the musical number the day before so we had been practicing that a few times and it is an absolutely beautiful version of "What Child is This?" It was still kind of rough but I prayed really really hard that it would bring the spirit and soften the hearts of the ward for us. So our time came and we sang it and it. was. amazing. It was the best we ever sang it and it was flawless. It was such a cool experience and we had so many people come up to us and thank us for the song. It totally brought the spirit and it was helpful for the ward to see the new sister in the ward. 

But our investigator went through all of church and she really enjoyed it! The members are so so so friendly to her and fellow shipped her so nicely. The ward is good but kind of off and on. Some members love missionaries but lots hate us. Past missionaries have been very disobedient and have completely lost the trust of the members. The bishop hates us and wont even deal with us. He has delegated everything to the Ward mission leader for everything. He talks to us through him. That's very frustrating and hard. Our mission president has asked for all the bishops to give new missionaries to the area a Priesthood blessing so that the bishops can know that the missionary is called of God and feel the witness. He has told the Ward mission leader to do all of that now. I even met him at the beginning of church and then he said welcome to the ward to me after church so I thought it was pretty friendly. I followed him and asked him to give me a blessing but he completely blew me off and wont deal with us. He said to go to the Ward Mission Leader for anything. Its quite discouraging and sad. Any advice? pleeeease.
But seriously other than that the mission field is amazing and my favorite! People are really so kind! I see all the holiday decorations and cant wait for Christmas and to spread the word of Christ's birth. Everyone here already loves Jesus so its just getting them to understand and come unto him. I'm excited for the new video to come out because it makes it so much more fun and easy to share the love Christ has for us. I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR. 

I lava ya'll so much and miss you more than words,  especially during this holiday season. 
Sister Sades

Monday, November 23, 2015

My family!‏

Hello my happy fam! 
Wowie. Life is crazy, right? Its so so crazy to see how long one week is. Like wow. I feel like its been months. 

WE WENT TO THE TEMPLE THIS MORNING AND IT WAS FANTASTIC AND I MISS IT SO MUCH. Every time I go to the temple Heavenly Father just likes to tell me he loves me! 
Sister Ostergar says "Tell your family I say hello. and that I love them even though I don't know them but I love you so I love them."
So yea. Thats a good way to start out a letter right? (cheesin) 
But that pretty much sums up our relationship! It's so fun to be companions with Sister O! Coming in the first day was so fun to see that we were companions since we already knew each other. 
Elder Jarrod and our companions. We see each other all the time! I also see Parker Hansen all the time and James Eldridge and Matt Powell

First day with Sister Ostergar ft. the dreaded Dork Dot.
(means its your first day and everyone that sees you says
"Welcome to the MTC!")

Back story: 
When I was at BYU hawai'i I had a friend in my religion class named Sunny, we sat next to each other and she new about my mission call. About a month into school we see each other on campus and she says "Yo, my sister Bright just got her mission call to your same mission same day!" 
Like whaaaaaat. SO FUN. So of course we're going to be companions some time during the mish so we friended on the Facebook and the Instantgram and we were friends! (Sunny is the one I went and hiked Deadmans Catwalk with) So moral of the story, I already knew Sister O and it was like having an instant friend.

This is what we look like in class!

First day: 
Get dropped off, get awesome name tag, drop bags off at the res (residence hall), then go to the classroom to find new companion! GUESS WHAT. Sister Ostergar is my companion! Yay yay yay. We have got along so wonderfully and have just clicked. Many of her mannerisms and the way she moves her hands and fixes her glasses reminds me of Audge so its really fun. While I've been here I've just been imagining what Audge did here and what she learned and talked about. Its a fun connection the think about!
So my district is awesome. (for some reason our pictures are not working so thats so so so sad because I have lots of great pictures. We're going to see if they will work later.) But we have 4 elders and 4 sisters in our district and that's who I am around all the time. We eat together, have class and gym together, study in the same class, pretty much I have 7 companions. (giggles) but we are definitely like a family and I love them all so much! We already have plans to have a district reunion and go to one of the elder and his girlfriends wedding after the missions. 

Fam with the our signatures

Fam! most going to Fort worth TX
I just really love this one

we always have a good time

The sisters! Sisters Hovenier, Foster, me, Ostergar
Sister Foster (long dark hair) is from Los angeles and she is a fun sister. She is a great teacher and she's really fun. 
Sister Hovenier (short blonde hair thats not me) is 22 from Bellingham, WA. She is a convert of 2 years, has a twin sister, and has lived in foster care most of her life until she was adopted by her loving dad just like 2-4 years ago. She brings different interesting insights!
Elder Draper (tall, dark hair white elder) from Middleton, ID and he is the only other one coming to Louisiana with Sister O and I! (all the rest are going to Fortworth, TX)

cutest sisters ever

District fam on third day (beginning of becoming family)
Elder Nielsen (short, blonde) from Twin Falls ID is a rodeo star and so funny! He has the funniest laugh that makes us all laugh. He has the funniest sense of humor with a quick dry wit
Elder Bott (6'6 black man) is from Pleasant Grove, UT and is the loudest person I've met and also one of the sassiest but friendliest. He's the one that got us all comfortable with each other and broke the ice. Its a fun relationship! 
Elder Walkling (tall blonde) is from Seattle, WA and was extremely quiet and shy at the beginning but now he has this quiet humor that you have to be listening to to catch it and when he laughs you know its funny.
temple this morning! Such a blessing! Love love love (ps my shaka is catching on)

Something super cool is that Sister O and I are the Sister Training Leaders of our zone! We don't have any responsibilities yet because our old zone left supes early monday morning and the new district will come in TODAY. LIKE RN. We are extremely excited for the new district to come in! We are the veterans now and we will give them a tour tonight and make them feel comfortable and part of our zone family. I can't wait to meet them!

Baton Rouge sisters!
We have really been baptized by fire here! We learn so much everyday and we teach multiple lessons everyday. I love being a missionary!
Sunday temple walk! Trying to be pinteresty
Wowie I have so much I want to tell you guys in so little time! 
What else do you want to hear about? Hopefully I included alot of details. Thank you so so much for all the DearElders! I loved them so much! I also love the pictures! I love you all mucho mucho and I can't even express how much I appreciate yall for helping me prepare for the mission. Being here is still like drinking from a firehose but I feel a million times more prepared because of you guys. 
I lava you!
Sister Sades

t snowed BIG flakes ALLLL day on monday! SO cold but a fun adventure!

Sister Ostergar got the flu on Saturday night so we got to hang out all day on Sunday. She wasn't feeling well but it was still fun to talk and tell stories + some extra study time

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Farewell Talk in Riva Ridge Ward
Blessings of Observing the Sabbath                                          11.8.15
Good afternoon brothers and sisters. I just got home from BYU Hawai’i last Saturday and I had the time of my life. I’m still adjusting back with this freezing weather. Something that I loved in Hawai’i is that everyone was ohana and we always gave aloha. For example, at any social gathering anywhere, (class, fireside, service project, church) and someone was going to say something in front of the group, they would start with aloha to the people and the people would give their support and love and say aloha back. I’m excited to speak to you but also very nervous and would love to share my aloha with you. Brothers and sisters ALOHA
Within the last couple years, Sundays have become a special day for me. It has been my release from the normal every day and school grind. For me it was a day to put school, friends, and stresses aside for one day and have a chance to focus on my goals and my relationship with my Savior.
The prophet Spencer W. Kimball counseled: “The Sabbath is a holy day in which to do worthy and holy things. Abstinence from work and recreation is important but insufficient. The Sabbath calls for constructive thoughts and acts, and if one merely lounges about doing nothing on the Sabbath, he is breaking it. To observe it, one will be on his knees in prayer, preparing lessons, studying the gospel, meditating, visiting the ill and distressed, reading wholesome material, and attending all the meetings of that day to which he is expected. [Failure] to do these proper things is a transgression on the omission side.”
When I was at home I would try my best to treasure Sundays by participating in church, spending time with my family making new memories, we would have Family Home Evening, and talk about the gospel.
When I was at school is when I would go to church, call my family, and study PMG, focus on my relationship with my Savior by studying the scriptures or trying to be more like Him by serving my roommates and others.
When we keep Sundays sacred we are blessed! A talk by John H. Groberg shares this story.    “The small island kingdom of Tonga lies immediately next to the international dateline, so it is the first country in the world to greet the Sabbath day. It is a small country and, in the counting of the world, a poor country. But years ago a wise Tongan king decreed that the Sabbath would be kept holy in Tonga forever.
Modern civilization has come in many ways to Tonga. If you go to the capital of Nuku’alofa on a weekday, you will find the usual heavy traffic of trucks and cars and the bustle of thousands of shoppers making their regular purchases from well-stocked stores and markets. You’ll see people line up to view the latest movies and to rent videos. You can watch modern buses whisk tourists off to catch their jet planes, or observe the speed and clarity of a satellite call to the United States. The streets are crowded and business is good. You might wonder, “What is so different about this town from hundreds of others like it throughout the world?”
But when Sunday dawns on the kingdom of Tonga, a transformation takes place. If one goes downtown, he sees deserted streets—no taxis or buses or crowds of people. All the stores, all the markets, all the movie theaters, all the offices are closed. No planes fly, no ships come in or out, no commerce takes place. No games are played. The people go to church. Tonga is remembering to keep the Sabbath day holy. It is significant that the first country in the world to greet the holy Sabbath keeps the Sabbath holy.
Has the Lord blessed them? Maybe the world cannot see his blessings, but in the ways that really count, he has blessed them abundantly. He has blessed them with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and a larger percentage of the population there belongs to the Church than in any other country. (1984)
What do you think it would feel like to walk through this town? On a Sunday in Tonga, would you feel anxious, uneasy, and unsafe like so many other cities? Or would the feeling be calm, peaceful, and serene? One of the blessings of keeping the Sabbath holy is having the Spirit of God with you, to direct you, to comfort and protect you, to lead you to do God’s will. When we are prepared for Sunday, we are able to invite the Holy Ghost to help us communicate with God so that we may become like Him and our Savior Jesus Christ. We can become perfected in Christ by repenting and forsaking our sins by using Jesus Christ’s Atonement. We have an incredible gift given to us that we are able to make an ordinance every Sunday that enables us to become clean from our sins. We partake of the sacrament.
The sacrament is a symbolic ordinance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, atoned for each one of our sins. He suffered for our pains, sorrows, sins, and sicknesses in a Garden for every one of us. He endured these things so that we may repent and come back to live with Him. Though His grace and mercy, He can help us in our trials of life and relieve the guilt of sins, pain of heartache, and sorrow of life.
In the Book of Mormon (another testament of Christ) it testifies in Alma 7:11-12
11. And he (Jesus Christ) shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
This is such a powerful witness. Jesus knows how to comfort us. If our sins are already paid for, why would we still hold on to them? Give them up to Christ. “You can offer the Lord the gift of your broken, or repentant, heart and your contrite, or obedient, spirit. In reality, it is the gift of yourself – what you are and what you are becoming. Is there something in your life that is impure or unworthy? When you get rid of it, that is a gift to the Savior. Is there a good habit or quality that is lacking in your life? When you adopt it and make it part of your character, you are giving a gift to the Lord.”
The Atonement of Christ is powerful and all encompassing. In one of my sister’s mission companion’s emails home, she included a quote that is quickly becoming one of my favorites.
"We know that Jesus experienced the totality of mortal existence in Gethsemane. It's our faith that He experienced everything--absolutely everything. Sometimes we don't think through the implications of that belief. We talk in great generalities about the sins of all humankind, about the suffering of the entire human family. But we don't experience pain in generalities. We experience it individually. That means He knows what it felt like when your mother died of cancer--how it was for your mother, how it still is for you. He knows what it felt like to lose the student body election. He knows that moment when the brakes locked and the car started to skid. He's been there. He's been lower than all that. He's not waiting for us to be perfect. Perfect people don't need a Savior. He came to save his people in their imperfections. He is the Lord of the living, and the living make mistakes."
Use the Atonement. Repent and do better next time.
Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” The sacrament gives us an opportunity for introspection and an opportunity to turn our heart and will to God. Obedience to the commandments brings the power of the gospel into our lives and greater peace and spirituality.
(D&C 14:7) And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.
President Utchdorf teaches us to have joy in the commandments God gives to us. He says, “and yet for some of us, obedience to God’s commandments doesn’t always feel very joyful. Let’s face it: there may be some that seem harder or less appealing—commandments that we approach with the enthusiasm of a child sitting before a plate of healthy but hated vegetables. We grit our teeth and force ourselves to comply so that we can move on to more desirable activities.
We need to accept that the commandments of God aren’t just a long list of good ideas. They aren’t “life hacks” from an Internet blog or motivational quotes from a Pinterest board. They are divine counsel, based on eternal truths, given to bring “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.”
But what is the greatest commandment of all? Jesus says when asked this question, “Love God, and love thy neighbor as thyself”
No matter where we are in life, we can start where we are and change. Start by loving God and thinking of Him. Starting here will help you to make small changes in your life.
Steps in the temple:
When I was at college, I had the opportunity to be a temple worker for the last part of the semester and it was an incredible, life-changing experience for me. While I’ve been working there I have noticed something very symbolic. When you do an endowment, the Laie temple is special in that it is only one of few temples that switch rooms during the session. For those of you unfamiliar with what happens in a session, (I know it’s okay that I’m saying this, I checked, no need to feel uncomfortable) you watch a video of the creation of the Earth and about Adam and Eve and you make special, sacred covenants. In the Laie temple, you switch between 5 rooms. You start in the Creation room, go up only a couple stairs to the Garden of Eden room, go up a few more stairs to the Telestial room, and finally, up the last stairs to the Terrestrial room where you will transition to the Celestial room. When you get into the Celestial room, it is glorious, bright, and full of light. Not just figurative light, real light. When you look at the temple from the road, the Celestial room is the box that is the very top of the temple, it’s the highest point you can get to. It has large windows that let in the beautiful sunshine and make it the brightest Celestial room I’ve ever been in. The first time I went through the session in this temple I didn’t realize I was going up so many stairs because it is just a few at a time every time we switched rooms. But when I went through the door to the Celestial room it was just an overpowering feeling of extraordinary beauty and the presence of Heavenly Father. The second part of the story is that since I’ve been a temple worker, I have seen the behind the scenes part and have been able to see this different symbolic side.
There is a part in the session where several temple workers need to come to the Terrestrial Room to help with some covenants. That means we have to go from the ground floor all the way to the top. There are 42 stairs that take you to the top of the temple. Many of the workers on my shift are very mobile but also elderly and they struggle going up the 2 flights of the back staircase, they will usually take the elevator up. But I have seen much older and much less mobile brothers and sisters, some with walkers and serious handicaps, do a session and go up those few stairs at a time to get to every room. Now I bet you can tell where this metaphor is going. When we take these steps just a few at a time, it is very doable and successful for us to make it to our end goal, the Celestial Room, or to be in the presence of God. If we try to take it immediately as that straight shot 2 flight set of stairs, we get worn out, lose our drive, and become discouraged. If you are not where you want to be when keeping your covenants, start making the change today. Take these necessary steps to get you to your end goal and closer and closer to our Heavenly Father. Don’t go trying to race up the flights of stairs in some unnecessary footrace to the top. Pace yourself to take your own stairs, make your own goals, and take the first steps in changing today.
For example, start with researching the covenants we make when you take the sacrament. Or ideas for how you can better keep the Sabbath day holy. What are the blessings you have felt when you try it for one Sunday? While you make these goals and while you’re taking these steps, reach out to your Savior to help you.
Sister Tanner reminds us, “The Lord has promised us that He will not forget us because He has “graven [us] upon the palms of [His] hands” (Isa. 49:16). And our promise to Him is that we will not forget Him, for we have engraven Him in our hearts.
I know we have busy lives and crazy things going on but I know as you work on putting God first in your life, striving to keep the commandments, and observing the Sabbath Day to keep it holy, you will have true peace and joy. I want to end by this reminder and powerful motivation from President Utchdorf.
You are loved. You are dear to your heavenly parents. The infinite and eternal Creator of light and life knows you! He is mindful of you. Yes, God loves you this very day and always.
He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. He is aware that you reach up to Him in heartfelt and hopeful prayer. He knows of the times you have held onto the fading light and believed—even in the midst of growing darkness. He knows of your sufferings. He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short or failed. And still He loves you.
And God knows of your successes; though they may seem small to you, He acknowledges and cherishes each one of them. He loves you for extending yourself to others. He loves you for reaching out and helping others bear their heavy burdens—even when you are struggling with your own.
He knows everything about you. He sees you clearly—He knows you as you really are. And He loves you—today and always!
Do you suppose it matters to our Heavenly Father whether your makeup, clothes, hair, and nails are perfect? Do you think your value to Him changes based on how many followers you have on Instagram or Pinterest? Do you think He wants you to worry or get depressed if some un-friend or un-follow you on Facebook or Twitter? Do you think outward attractiveness, your dress size, or popularity make the slightest difference in your worth to the One who created the universe?

He loves you not only for who you are this very day but also for the person of glory and light you have the potential and the desire to become. More than you could ever imagine, He wants you to achieve your destiny—to return to your heavenly home in honor.