Monday, January 25, 2016

coldness and weather and such‏

This upcoming week is the last week of January! Can you believe it? I sure can't.

Yall. I forgot what it was like to be cold. 
I have been extra spoiled and blessed with tropical weather in the fall and then an 80 degree Christmas. But this week a huge cold front or whatever came in and wowza. 
I forgot what it was like to be freezing. That was a fun reminder. ;)

But the weather here has been crazy and different! We got the cold spell and Thursday night we were on Tornado watch all evening and night so we had to be locked in and had a huge storm. Tons of rain and a lightning show. It was pretty fun :) 

But we have been on bikes a bunch this week because we have some fun times this month in far away places!
We have a car but we only have a certain mileage allotted to us. In a normal month this is already hard not to go over because our area is quite large. But this month we have 
1. exchanges in Albany with our STL's (it has changed now that we both go to the STL's and double work the area instead of a switch) 
2. Zone Conference in Hammond
3. Mission Conference with Elder Rasband in Baton Rouge! yayyyy!
So we have to save lots of miles for that. I am so stoked for the mission conference with Elder Rasband! We had the same Multi-Stake broadcast in the South Eastern region as Audrey did. I love Sister Reeves talk, so powerful. But Elder Rasband is also a good speaker and I'm excited to hear a true apostle of the Lord speak to us. A message specifically for us, the missionaries of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana mission. YAY. EXCITEMENT.

But we are part of the biking nation! It's good to change it up a little bit and get the legs pumpin. And to really have time to look at the houses and people around us. Its a beautiful world when you look at it!! 

But things are going well with Emily. Her parents are not excited about the baptism idea and its also been hard to get a time to meet with them. But Emily's little brother was having a band concert at SLU in Hammond and she invited us to come to the concert if her brother said it was okay with him. He was fine with him, we called President since it was out of our area and he okayed since we would meet the parents, so we had an amazing opportunity to meet her parents in a very non threatening environment! It was amazing!
After the concert we met her mom and grandma. They are really very sweet and I feel like we have some good potential there. But the father was very aloof and didn't talk to us yet. We'll get there. 

Julian, Emily, + us! at Emily's little brothers band concert where we met the parents!

Our other investigator, Nancy, came to all 3 hours of church for the first time yesterday and we think she enjoyed it! We had a really great lesson with her this week. She really opened up to us about her family. She talked about her brothers who were not church going people who passed away when she was a teenager and her father who was an amazing man, where were they? Her church says that they are in hell and heaven respectively but she believes in our Plan of Salvation. That gives her great comfort. Progress! But she is still very firm in her Baptist church ;(

But we had exchanges in Albany this week and I accidentally forgot my bag there in their apartment!! It has my camera in it. (crying) I know. So I took some fun pictures this week that yall will get next week. Its fun. :)))) 

It was a pretty slow week. Exchanges were amazing. It was chilly. Yep. 
I hope yall are staying warm. Having fun. Celebrating live. Getting ready for Mardi Gras. Boo ya. 
I lava yall sooooo much! 
Sister Sades
Can you see what my heaven will look like?

This is the life. Two cats on the lap, two on the sides with a laser pointer in my hand.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Miracle upon Miracles

I realized something this week.
You know you're a missionary when your dreams are about the apostles.
AHHH it happened to meee! 
Ya know how you always hear stories about how missionaries know that they are champs at the language when they dream in that language.
So does this mean I'm a champ at mission language?? Haaa jokes but really.
We had a broadcasted Stake Conference that Elder Rasband and Elder Hales spoke at and we also found out we will be having a Mission Conference on the 30th and ELDER RASBAND IS COMING AND WE MIGHT GET TO MEET HIM. Super stoked about that. So I guess I have apostles on the brain! I had a dream about meeting President Monson, Pres. Erying, and Elder Holland. It was very exciting. Also strange because I've never dreamed that before...... ;)

In other suuuuuuuper exciting news...
AHHHHHHH. This is so so soooo exciting yall. Emily is our miracle investigator! Heavenly Father has a seriously amazing plan in store for Emily and we were the lucky ducks to start her journey. 

This is Emily's story. 
We saw her teaching record in our Area book that we were going though during weekly planning the very FIRST week I was on the mission! Her teaching record was promising. 17 year old girl dating a boy from our ward. But she was lost because they broke up! Dang it. 
But we wanted to find her again so we decided to contact the Browns sometime. (the super awesome family with the boy she was dating)
So Sunday afternoon through the evening and evening we were roster tracting (going to houses on our ward roster we didn't know. There are a billion less actives). We were going around a town called Abita Springs (my favorite town in our area) and Sister Hunter said "Hey the Brown's live in Abita! We should go by sometime so you can meet them. They are such a cool family." 
But that was it. We didn't think too much about it. 
About 10 minutes or less later we are trying to find a house on our roster that apparently doesn't exist. The house number is no where to be found as we go up and down the street about 5 times. With people outside watching. #awkward. 
But we do see a mailbox with the family name on it. It said "The BROWNS". Now Brown is a fairly common name, but I say to Sister Hunter, "If that is the Browns from the ward it is meant to be" as I check the ward roster. 
yep. you know where this is going. 
So we stop by and they are happy to see us! We make introductions since I'm new and the dad tells the daughter to go grab Julian and Emily. 
Sister Hunter and I look at each other.
We're like, "Emily?"
"Yea its Julians girlfriend."
"Is this the same girlfriend from a couple months ago?"
"Yea they're back together!"
They come down and we meet them and the Browns and Emily are so awesome! She remembers meeting with the missionaries and guess what. WE HAVE A LESSON WITH HER ABOUT FAITH. 
Completely Spirit led the way we met her.

But we have met with her only a couple times and every time we meet she is leaps and bounds further with her testimony than we saw her last every. single. time. 

We met her in the Browns home again after the first time but then we met her in Abita Springs park (where we did landboarding). This was the first time it was just us and she opened up to us sooooo much and she expressed her apprehensions about how big the commitment is to get baptized and as she is going off to college if it would be too much to handle.
Guys that was her only concern. SHE IS SO PREPARED.

She came to church with a bomb. (a verbal bomb yall). Her parents are strongly against the church and degrade her opinion in all discussions of religion which really hurts her feelings. Her parents strongly believe that Mormonism is a cult and are extremely reluctant with meeting with us. But in all honesty this shot Emily's testimony through the roof because she had to defend it! She loves the welcoming feeling at church and really feels good when she meets with us. 

We have an appointment to meet with her and she texts us that she has a surprise for us!
guess what the surprise is yall.
She tells us she wants to get baptized!!!!!
but wait. Thats not all. 
That means that she knows it is true for herself and she wants to share it with the world!!!! 
She is a complete rockstar and we love her so so so much. 
She turns 18 on Feb. 9 so we set her baptismal date for the Feb 13 (transfers are also on the 17th so please work so we can both be there!!!) but we reeeally want her parents to be involved. That is something that is really on her mind and that Satan can really influence. Man. She's incredible though. 
The work in this area for us is really rocking now. I love it!
So this picture montage you're literally going to think this. "Oh my heck who is this girl, oh thats emily wow we just heard about her and now she's all over the pictures."
My response: Yeap. cheesin

My first Po Boy! oh my heavens delish.

I really wish that I could really tell you more about our lessons but we are super cramped on time since MLK day was yesterday. We're taking time out of proselyting time to email :(

I lava yall so so so so much! I ADORE your emails and they make me laugh alot :)
Sister Sades

Monday, January 11, 2016

God loves meeeee.‏

God loves meeeee.
And He loves His children and lets me and Sister Hunter teach them. 
We are truly blessed. 

So Heavenly Father really wanted to show me how much He loved me yesterday. 
One of our investigators Nancy is one of the funniest people I've met. 
She's in her 30's and lives in a mixed home with her mom, adopted sister, niece, and more adopted siblings. We have been teaching Nancy, her niece Brianna (19), her adopted sister Janala (17), and their friend Olivia (16). 
Nancy is definitely the most interested and the one who is keeping commitments and reading the Book of Mormon. She's a rockstar! She comes with lots of questions and understands alot. She also enjoys making funny off hand comments. :)
Last week they all came to the 2nd hour of church at 10:30 which was a HUGE deal because we have been inviting and inviting and they want to come but they just can't wake up for it. They aren't used to having only one time for service because most churches have like 4 different times on Sunday. Our church is unusual because its one service at 9:30. Its a common problem. Plus Saturday night is the younger girls 'turn up' night. [partynight ;)]
Anyways Janala is the only driver of one car for all of them to make it and we needed them to wake up so they could come to Sacrament Meeting since that's what we taught them about and stressed the importance of this week. 
Saturday night Nancy was texting (calling was broken) us for like 2 hours asking questions about the Book of Mormon and what she was reading, really opening up to us about her past, and just having a really solid faith building conversation. She really wanted to come to church in the morning even if the girls didn't want to or didn't wake up. We told her we could get her a ride but it was REALLY important that she wakes up! 
She told us to text her a call her repeatedly in the morning so she would wake up. Of course we agreed for the short term. 
Fast forward to Sunday morning 8am aka the time we need to call and text Nancy to make sure she wakes up for church. 
Sister Hunter and I would switch off calling and texting as we got ready and studied.
dang 45 minutes of constant calling and texting and she still wasn't waking up!!
I was super worried and concerned because we really wanted her to be there but also she really wanted to come too! 
Well it was getting really close to time and nothing was happening. 
So I got down and prayed really hard that she would wake up! Also the day before we had some extra time that we wasted so I really promised that I would try to work harder and be more diligent in our time. 
The MOMENT I got up and sat back down Nancy texted and said she was awake. 
So many blessings and gifts from Heavenly Father.
He is so good to us. 

The end of the story is that she didn't end up coming to church but another one of our investigators that we weren't expecting showed up to church! She has progressed IMMENSELY and she is on her way to the waters soooooon! I'm excited for this week :)))))

Blessed with this companion :)

Anyways that was the blessing of this week! It felt like a short week because of transfers. But its been a good one. 

Isn't that craazzzyy?? It feels like I just got here but also that I've been here forever. haha

sister sades

Blessed with Louisiana :))


Monday, January 4, 2016

Am I too cliche?‏

New Year, new me, new places right?

This week is transfers, which is why my P day is on Tuesday. 
So. The results. 

Sister Hunter is staying in Covington. 

Sister Belnap is getting transferred to..

 nowhere!! We're staying together! But we are losing and gaining two elders. New blood in our district! It'll be pretty fun. :)
Did I get you??? ;))

Dang I feel like all we do is celebrate holidays! 
So New Years was this week and that is the cause for lots of celebrations. And Mardi Gras is coming up the first week of February. Wowza. Ever since I came on the mission it is party after party, holiday after holiday. 
Right after Christmas all the tree farms went down and the firework stands came up everywhere! I never realized this but since we live in the west where it is dry and everything and anything will catch fire, New Years fireworks are not a big deal. But wow you come to the south and New Years is a HUGE holiday! Fireworks everywhere!! The days leading up, days following.. They're still going on! Its a pretty exciting time :) 
Now New Years is calming down and Mardi Gras is popping up EVERYWHERE. 
Everyone asking what our plans are, what parades we're going to. Green, gold, and purple decorations everywhere, shirts, masks, King Cake crazes. Even Relief Society Enrichment activity of learn how to make your own King Cake. Its quite the party celebration state here :)

This was Miss Lyllan's first involvement in a selfie ever. #accomplished
This is Miss Cecile and Danny. Some of my favorite people. 
Less active and Investigator

They cooked for us fried catfish, hushpuppies, crab cakes, boiled brussel sprouts, potato salad... etc.

Anyways. New Years, as always, has me thinking about new goals and new growth and what I was doing a year ago and what I will be doing in one year. Here are my thoughts from this week.

A year ago I was a senior in high school, hadn't even started second semester yet. I did not know what was coming. 
Mav Factor preparation will be starting soon as well as senior project. Mav Factor will help me meet even more people, get more involved, and get even more out of my comfort zone. This helped me prepare for my mission by helping me take changes, mishaps, and switch-ups, like a champ.
I would have just started to get over the making new friends bump and get into the groove of being okay with doing things solo and not needing that constant desire to know what's going on. This helped me so much in the future as I went to Hawaii alone and here. Knowing that I can do hard things and do it alone (as in no family here in person)
I will quit my job to focus more on studies and school. This helped me figure out which was more important for me and get my priorities straightened. 
Some of my closest friends will move in with us to make it party central. woot woot. This helped me learn from two more amazing and inspired individuals and have the greatest funnest relationship deepen with every one of my family members. Learning from example and from the fun and serious and casual conversations we have as a family and one on one. 
Mr MVHS would come up and rock the earth. This changed the way I dealt with, thought about, and helped others. This helped me learn to deal with many different kinds of people and how to react to situations. This helped me make lots and lots of different friends and taught me how and who to rely on. This helped define the person I wanted to be, how I wanted to work, and it defined the way I treated others. I'm so grateful for this experience. 

These little flashbacks only go until April! and so much more happened after that! Dream summer job, best summer ever, college in Hawai'i, the whole Hawai'i experience, being a temple worker, people I met, and now the mission!

Dang. Such a time of reflection. 

But now where will I be in a year? 
Still on a mission, still somewhere in Louisiana. Pretty much everything is the same as now except different place and different companion. 
Hopefully I will completely different. 
Hopefully I will be changed by the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His Grace.
Hopefully I will have experiences that will change me for the better. 
Hopefully I will be more Christ-like in all that I do and say. 
Hopefully I will have the love of Christ so that I may help and love everyone the way Christ does.
Hopefully I will be able to share my passion for the gospel with everyone I meet so that they can have an excitement and love and knowledge of their SAVIOR.
Hopefully I can give up my will to God in everything that I do.
Hopefully I can open my mouth to everyone that I meet.
Hopefully I can be the consecrated missionary I want to be. 
This sounds a little wishy washy doesn't it. 
I promise its not! 
You're looking at my goals for 2016. INCLUDING the HOPEFULLY's
I love this definition of hope from True to the Faith. 

The word hope is sometimes misunderstood. In our everyday language, the word often has a hint of uncertainty. For example, we may say that we hope for a change in the weather or a visit from a friend. In the language of the gospel, however, the word hope is sure, unwavering, and active. Prophets speak of having a “firm hope” (Alma 34:41) and a “lively hope” (1 Peter 1:3). The prophet Moroni taught, “Whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God” (Ether 12:4).

DANNNG right! Man I know this is going to be a grueling and hard year but one of the best ones ever! I'm so grateful for yall and the examples and support you have shown to me in 2015 and MY LIFE! 
What are your goals?? 

Listen to the Hardest Thing I've Ever Loved To Do by Nashville Tribute Band
This is literally the summation of any mission ever. I'm at the beginning of this song right now and I just cannot wait to get to the end. Not because of its the end of the mission but because of the people, experiences, feelings, and especially the changing and growth. Man. Such a powerful song.

Also this is so true and a great reminder for me and what I have been learning. #goals
you cannot let things out of your control bother you. And on the mission, there are a million things we can't control. Weather, other missionaries, companions, investigators, the ward, and so much more. There are only two things we can control: our attitude, and our obedience. Nobody has the power to make us disobedient, and nobody can force us to be sad and negative. We have absolute 100% control of those two things. So when we get discouraged, we need to make sure we're doing everything we can to be obedient and positive, and then leave everything else to the Lord

Sister Sades