Monday, June 29, 2015

Tenting It

Missionaries at Girls Camp!

Buenas Tardes!

This was probably the most different, but most fun weeks of my mission so far.  Going to girls camp as a missionary was so fun!!  The leaders thought it was the coolest thing ever allowed, and the girls got a
kick out of seeing our goofy sides :). And thanks to girls camp we will have 3 new investigators this week! Or more......

Tuesday was the most exhausting day of my mission.  We had spent a long time packing the night before and we had to be to the church by 6:30 a.m.  We made it to camp and one of the nice leaders had already set up our tent, and provided us with cots and sleeping bags.  We became the messengers and had to rope everyone into the main pavilion to check in.  After everyone checked in, we then went on a 5 mile hike
with girls.  Well of our less actives only made it half a mile so we walked back with her :). But we were going to do the 5 miles!!  We had a good chat with her on the way back down though and were able to discover that she's attending a Catholic Church.  That was news to us!  She talked to us more than she ever has before and it was good to see her open up.

Wednesday was a wet day.  It was sunny for a bit in the morning and then those dark clouds rolled in.  First it poured sheets of rain, then giant hail balls fell with the sheets of rain.  We made sure our tent and the girls in Rainbow Lakes tents were okay and then it dawned on me...  Our other Ward had driven to the lake that day and their circus tent that everyone slept in had holes in the roof!  We booked it through the rain to their tent and had to pull all of their cots and sleeping bags away from the walls and doors.  We shoved all their outside stuff under an Easy up and we only got a bit soaked in the process :).  When they got back they treated us like superheroes!  Hahaha we were just glad we remembered they were gone or those poor girls would have had wet everything!  

Destiny and Sadie Contreras , Jade, Olivia

Wednesday we started to notice that one of our girls was sitting alone a lot and looked pretty upset.
She finally opened up and told us some of the mean things another girl was saying.  We talked to her for a bit and kept an eye on her throughout camp.  The last day she wrote us both a note thanking us.  None of her leaders tried to help her, and none of the girls reached out to her.  That was one of our miracles for the week was being able to be a friend to her.

Wednesday night the Wagon Wheel Ward had us speak as part of their nightly devotional.  We talked about prayer and the importance of using questions in prayer.  We left a commitment to all the girls to use their quiet time the next day to ask a question in prayer and then study out an answer.  The girl we had helped earlier prayed about how to love her enemies and showed us a list of scripture she found that had helped her.  Many of the other girls also received answers that day and were able to have good experiences during their personal spiritual hour.

What's neat about when we taught is how well the girls paid attention.  Put one of their leaders or a laurel in front of them and there's quite a bit of jabbering or messing around.  But as missionaries, they listened and acted on what we taught!  We showed them our goofy sides, let hem know we are real people, and then when we spoke by the Spirit they really trusted us.

Thursday we taught an awesome improv lesson!  A leader asked us to give a devotional on Paul and we just happened to know some great verses on Paul and Missionary work. Which was good because the only
preparation time we had was the walk there.... We read 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 and then had them practice inviting their friends to young women's activities and to listen to the missionaries. They all did the practice, although some were reluctant :). I love love love young women's and camp and so getting to teach those girls and
help them be excited about being missionaries was paradise for me!

We spent most of our time with the Rainbow Lake Ward.  We had 2 non members, one recent convert, and two less actives there.  The girls were very welcoming and after a bit of teasing and some unit games we
got them all to trust us and each other.  Testimony meeting Thursday night was like seeing the fruits of our labors.  Skylar, the recent convert going less active, offered to bear her testimony first.  She was the one worried about making friends at camp, and on Sunday she named off 5 of her closest friends she made at camp :). Destiny and Sadie are less active sisters and both bore testimony on things they learned at camp.  Jade and Brooklyn are the non members and they're both pretty shy.  Neither one shared testimony, but Jade felt
something because she had to use a tissue or two :). Savannah recently moved into our Ward and we got to know her better at camp.  She's been attending her old Ward, but has now decided to switch.  Last night she
invited us to teach her friend Jonathan at her home tomorrow.

Now the blessings of camp.  Yesterday Skylar came to church for the first time in 4 weeks!!  We went to Jade and Brooklyn's house and for the first time they looked excited, not nervous to see us.  Jade wants to take the missionary lessons and she set up an appointment for us to meet with her, Brooklyn ,and their brother Drake on Tuesday :).  Zoey from Wagon Wheel Ward also bore her testimony at camp as a non member
about how the church is starting to feel right to her.  She also agreed to take the missionary lessons and meet with us this week!  Some Laurels that only came up for a day brought two non members.  We are now teaching one of them, and the other one is on standby.  Her friends agreed to ask her to meet with us :).

We are so glad we were able to go and gain the love and trust of these girls.  We have a waiting list of Laurels who want to go on mini missions with us. It was a long week....and we were excited to get our regular schedule back, but it was definitely worth our time.  One bishop thanked us yesterday and I liked what he said.  He said "You may have felt like one of the girls, but to them you are on a way higher level and they really look up to you."  I hope they were able to feel the love of the Savior that we saw he has for them.

Now fun moments :) Sister Erekson and I had a grape eating contest for the girls.  I got 15 in my mouth!  Winner winner :).  I lost my badge one day in the dirt and they made me sing "I'm a little teapot" in front of everyone to get it back.

I'm the winner with 15 grapes in my mouth!
Besides girls camp we had 7 awesome lessons this week. Last night we taught Tyler the 10 commandments, but we were going to wait until the 10 members at his lesson left before we set s return appointment.  We
were walking out the door when Tyler comes running down the stairs "Wait!!  We didn't set the day for our next meeting!!"  Turns out the kid really does enjoy meeting :). He doesn't ask many questions or make many comments, but he sure is soaking everything in.  He came to church, reads the Book of Mormon, and didn't even hesitate to kneel and pray in front of everyone at his lesson.  He is golden!!

Emily was a member referral and one of the Laurels friends they brought to camp.  She just moved in with a member family and is reading the scriptures and attending church with them.  She had a lot of questions!  But she's all ready progressing and so stinking excited to learn.

The Yeomans were a miracle lesson this week :). Brother Joe prayed for the first time in front of us!!!  He was so nervous, but he did great :). They have an appointment to receive their patriarchal blessings this week :)

Jeremy is our 9 year old recent convert.  His grandma recently moved in with them and has brought Jeremy to church twice!  Yesterday they walked two miles to get to church.  And she's not even a member!!!  She told us last night that she feels comfortable at our church and after teaching the restoration she told us that of course she would pray to know if it's true :).  Her name is Sharolena.

The Cortez family is a less active Spanish family and we taught them the Restoration in a Spanish family home evening on Monday.  The husband barely talks and the wife talks a lot so it keeps us on our toes :)

Nuri is a Spanish investigator and her husband Tom is an English investigator.  We don't know how they communicate, but they make it work :).  Both are little people and both are very interested in learning about the gospel.  Tom read the whole Restoration pamphlet before we got there and now he's working on reading the Book of Mormon and praying.  Nuri wants to be a member of two churches because her Peruvian friend goes to a different church and she wants to go with her.  Baby steps :).

This week our schedule is filling up fast with lessons and we still have a lot more potential investigators we need to contact and get working with.  Being busy is the greatest blessing I could ask for :)

Well family, that is my adventures for this week.  It was an incredible week for missionary work.....and we thought it'd be a slow work week :). Jokes on us!

Monsoon season has begun!

I love you all so much!!!!! Happy 4th of July!!!

Hermana Short

Monday, June 22, 2015

Gettin' Ready to Crack the Whip

Querida Familia,

This week had a lot of down moments :/  So many of our people are on downhill slides, and it is like trying to pull the sword out of the stone to drag them out of their slumps.  On the bright side its 20 degrees cooler than Phoenix, I have a fantastic companion, and tomorrow starts our girls camp adventures!!!  We are able to stay super positive, but man Satan's working hard on our teaching pool!

Let me tell you what happened to our "Progressing Investigators" this week.

Robert was living with a member and her 9 year old recent convert son, Jeremy.  He put on a good face for our lessons, but we found out last night that he had to move out and that poor little Jeremy is afraid to go to primary and read the Book of Mormon because "someone" told him all these bad things would happen to him.  I guess something switched for Robert and he turned anti-Mormon all of a sudden.  Now as far as we are concerned he is MIA and we don't have a phone number for him :(   We had so much hope for him!  He sounded like he really wanted to change his life, but he's not quite ready I guess.

Kxxxxx finally responded to a text this week, but basically told us she's too busy for us.  We decided to leave her alone besides sending her encouraging texts.  A member talked to us on Sunday and said that he works with her and had an interesting conversation.  She told him we worship the Book of Mormon too much and she doesn't believe in the 3 "heavens."  He tried to explain it to her, but she was being really stubborn.  We texted her to ask if she was coming to church that day.  She responded and told us "I went to my church, now I'm going to work."  The member that talked to us served his mission in the bible belt and told us that her attitude was a sign that someone had given her anti information, or "anti'd" her.  That woman was golden!  She's the one that had her own scripture quad from the LDS bookstore!  We will show her an increase of love and hope that she comes around to talking about her concerns with us.  She loved the Plan of Salvation and the Book of Mormon two weeks ago :(  But her church, which is called "The Church" is famous for anti-mormon teachings.  So sad :(

Tiffany cancelled our appointment this week.....actually we showed up and she wasn't here.   Hopefully Tiffany will meet with us again.  I can't take another lost investigator!!

Tyler is our biggest source of hope right now.  That kid is incredible!  He has been meeting with us for 2 weeks, has read up til 1 Nephi 10, and told us yesterday that he's starting to gain a testimony that God is really there.  His member fellow-shipper took him out of town with him though this last weekend so he missed church thanks to a ironic!  When he got back yesterday though we had a lesson on faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  He got it all down good and not because of us! Four of his friends from the ward were there to help us teach and its obvious how much their influence is strengthening his testimony.  Two of them, Alexis and Annika, are converts as well so their experiences are a lot of help!  His 3 guy friends all have their mission calls so its neat for them to have this experience before they leave.  

Tyler's story to me has been a huge testimony to me of the power of member missionary work.  Sister Erekson and I seem to be the technicalities. Yes, we are the missionaries so we teach the doctrine, but his friends are answering his questions, supporting him in lessons, and prodding him to keep moving.  Tyler would probably go no where without them.

Our Spanish investigator Sandra told us to come over for her 9-year-old's birthday party on Saturday.   We thought a couple neighbors might be there, but we were probably the 11th car parked at that tiny trailer!!   Sister Erekson looked a little nervous, but I was excited!  I wish you could see the faces of 10 Latina women watching 2 white girls walk into a Hispanic party and then the shock when they start jabbering away in Spanish!  haha!!  It's my favorite :)  They got a kick out of watching us eat the spicy salsas though.  Sandra was so excited we were there and she introduced us to her friends and family as, "my missionaries."  The cutest was when one of the ladies started talking to Sister Erekson and my poor companion didn't understand.  The lady says "Eh, she doesn't speak Spanish!"  Sandra stood firm and says "No, she talks a lot!! She just doesn't understand a lot." It was cute to see her stick up for her missionary :) And its true...she does speak a ton!  But when you speak 90 mph its hard for anyone to catch what you're saying!

There was one other Hispanic less-active that let us in to teach this week, but no one else was ever home.  And not one Hispanic member came to church.  

We had an awesome lesson with the Butler kids this week.    When we went over, he hung up with his friend, pulled up a chair, and grabbed his Book of Mormon.  We taught the 3 of them about why we need to go to church every Sunday and the importance of the Sacrament.   Dennis offered to say the closing prayer and then their mom came home so we talked to her for a minute.  Come Sunday, Dennis got himself to church :)  Alexis came as well, but Skylar stayed home to build a goat shelter with her mom.  We were so proud of Dennis!   We are hoping his sister will have some spiritual experiences at camp, and make new friends so that she can start progressing as well.  

Kazzie was a super spiritual lesson this week!  We were going over the Plan of Salvation for the 3rd time in a row...she takes a while to understand things.  After about an hour of this, she admitted that she knows there is a God, but she doesn't know if she believes in Jesus Christ.  We told her that that is exactly why we are there!  To help her build her faith in Christ.  However we were out of time, so we promised to prepare a lesson specifically about Christ.  Then I had the prompting to sing "I Know that My Redeemer Lives."  Sister Erekson and I sang all 4 verses and then bore strong testimonies of the Savior.  Kazzie was in tears.  With the Spirit strong we ended with a prayer.  After the lesson I felt so much peace as I once again realized my purpose as a missionary.  To help others know the peace of the Savior.  And that song meant 1 million times more to me after singing it to someone who was unsure if there even was a Christ.  I am so grateful that I do know that my Redeemer lives.

Here in this part of the mountain you have Show Low and Pinetop/Lakeside.  If you confuse the two you get a reprimand and the person will remind you which is which and to not make the mistake again.  I've been a victim of a couple of these reprimands! ha ha! Both of these neighboring towns have high schools and they have the biggest rivalry I've ever seen between high schools.  When they play football games against each other, the towns fly their mascots into the games on a helicopter.  Crazy!  Skylar goes to Show Low and the rest
of the ward goes to Blue Ridge and she thinks they hate her because she goes to the rivalry school.  We are hoping girls camp will help everyone mesh together and forget their differences.  That's basically been our assigned separate the cliques and help get fellowship for new, returning, and non members.  Wish us luck!  Oh girls....

We only took selfies this week......once after studying outside because our apartment is baking, and one in the car while we waited for members to come with our dinner!  We get a kick out of ourselves :). Everyday someone new tells us we look like sisters, then they tell me I'm not Short.  I know!!!

I love you family!  I hope you have a great week at the cabin!!!  I miss those Quakies :)

I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU

Hermana Short

Monday, June 15, 2015

Running from the Cops

Dear family,

Yesterday we were wishing that the police kept the Sabbath day holy and didn't work.  We were just leaving church and heading to a lesson when a cop started following us.  He didn't have his lights on, but he
was following pretty close so I jokingly told Sister Erekson he was checking our plates.  Well sure enough he followed us around a turn and then flashed us with his lights!!  We were trying not to laugh as
we got pulled over for the 2nd time in 3 weeks.  They didn't have updated information on the car insurance so we got let off pretty fast, plus we think he was a member, but needless to say....we are on the Show
Low city's most wanted list apparently!

Besides that little mishap....we saw a huge miracle on Sunday!!!  The ward mission leader's son is about to leave on his mission and lately one of his non member friends has been attending church.  The non-member, Tyler has come about 7 times now, but when we met him a few weeks ago he didn't want to be pressured into meeting with us.  So we begged and begged his buddy Sam to invite him to a lesson with him. Well all this week Sam's family was out of town, so the lesson never happened.  But nevertheless, in walked Tyler on Sunday by himself!  We
said hello and then left him alone.  He sat next to another one of his high school friends in sacrament meeting in a white shirt and tie :) That friend's mom approached us after the meeting and said, "Tyler wants to take the missionary lessons, can you come over today and teach him?"  We were so stinkin excited!!!!  Tyler had all ready talked to them about how he'd felt the spirit at church throughout the last month, how he wanted more out of life, and he even asked one friend "If I join the church can I go on a mission too?"  Oh man....this kid is so prepared :)  His mom did mention that the fact that we are cute sisters helped him agree to learn.....but we are
going to ignore that since he was coming to church before he met us :)

Sunday, right after church we went to the Hall's home (Tylers best friend) and they helped us teach him the restoration.  He has little to no knowledge about there being a God, Jesus Christ, or any other
gospel principle.  It's like teaching a little child and he soaks everything up.  His friend had all ready given him a Book of Mormon and taught him how to pray, so we invited him to pray and ask Heavenly Father if he is really there.  Then Sister Erekson boldly asked him to be baptized in September when he comes to a knowledge that these things are true.  And he agreed  !!  We have another appointment with him tomorrow at the Hall home to teach him the Plan of Salvation. We're pretty excited about this kid :)

The neatest thing is that this last week we planned for Tyler, and we planned for him to become a new investigator.  When his buddy Sam went out of town though we thought that plan was down the tubes.  Spencer
Hall and his family really pulled through a miracle for us, and it was neat to see God's hand in this work for Tyler.  It was another confirmation that we can make the plans, but God is the one that really makes them happen.

Our roommates: Sisters Erekson, Lords, Johnston

Robert is our other investigator from the Rainbow Lake ward.  He too accepted a baptism date for September!  We can see that he is really trying to turn his life around for the sake of his family, and he always accepts the tasks we give him.  The problem he's working on right now is getting Sundays off of work.  He says he wants to be at church, so now he just needs to put prayer and faith to work.

I really need to get a picture with the cute old couple the Yoeman's. We taught them about King Benjamin this week and related them to him in that though they may be old, their testimonies can touch many :)
We didn't call them old though!  Also after a bit of begging, Sister Yoeman agreed to let us mow her lawn for her!  We were in heaven to get to do yard work....its been so long!  She had quite the forest, but we got it all taken care of in 2 hours :)  She wanted to do it herself, but her husband (who makes us call him Brother Joe) is super
protective of her.  He told her "Joyce!  You're on a downhill slide, let them do it!"  She didn't like that very much, but we were stifling our laughs :)  They're adorable!

Kathleen wasn't able to meet with us.  She told us she's going through something hard, but would appreciate our prayers right now.  She said she knows she needs to keep reading the scriptures though and she'll
be ok.  Hopefully she will be ok to meet with us this week.

Our drive to one of our Ward's!  It's beautiful!

In Spanish work we kind of had an embarrassing moment.  We found a family in our "former investigators" list so we went to visit them.  They were open to us coming over a different day, and super nice to us so when we left we were convinced we had just met a family prepared for baptism.  We went to visit a less active Hispanic family, the Marquez, afterwards and they start telling us about another inactive Spanish family they know.  They described perfectly the family we had just met.  Awww man, they were nice to us because they are members!!!  Hermano Marquez thought it was hilarious that we thought the Mora's were investigators.  None the less we met with the Mora's later that week and they told us we were like angels sent from heaven.  They
said they want to come back to church, but they didn't make it on Sunday and we don't know why :(

Sandra is our only Spanish investigator.  She made us lunch this week and then she and her daughter made me a birthday cake and made me wear a crown while they sang to me.  Aww :)  We watched Meet the Mormons
with her in Spanish and she loved it!!  This week we are hoping she will come to church for the first time with her member neighbors.

Brother Phil took us to a new delicious restaurant this week.  Its called Darbis and they won for best Philly Cheese Steak sandwich :) After lunch Brother Phil drove us past George Straits cabin!!  I totally went to George's "ocean front property in Arizona" :)  

George Straits cabin!!

"Ocean front property in Arizona"

We were hoping he was home so we could TTI him, but it didn't look like he was there :(  He had elk statues in his yard and I almost went running because I thought they were real moose.  Ay ay ay.  We got home and we couldn't find our phone.  Ha.  I can officially say I accidentally left my phone at George Strait's house :)  Brother Phil was nice and retrieved it for and phones.....

My one year mark was pretty in-exciting.  Miles stones aren't as exciting as they used to be....we just worked like normal :)  It is weird though when I can say "1 year ago...." and the following story
is from my mission.   Arizona has been good to me :)

Su Casa salsa & Texas rolls in my ONE Year package!!

That's about it for this week!  One more week til girls camp!!!  We need to find supplies...haha hopefully Brother Phil can find his tent for us.

I love you family!!!!  Happy Fathers day Daddy!!!!

I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU

Hermana Short

Monday, June 8, 2015

Birthday and Blessings

Buenos Dias!

This week has been quite the roller coaster....a really fast one too because we didn't even have time to breathe before p-day came around again!

First of all I had a really good birthday! My roommates blew up balloons and put up a sign and then I opened my presents.  During church we went up to bear our testimonies and in one of the Wards I made the mistake of telling one of the funny members it was my birthday. As I stand at the pulpit he coughs really loud and yelled Happy Birthday!  It was so awkward, but funny!  We ate dinner at the Bishops house and he didn't know it was my birthday, but dessert was cake and ice cream so it was perfect!  That night the sister training leaders we live with made me a cake too :). It was a good day!  I also got emails from Ernie, Valeria, and Hermana Orozco from
Phoenix, so that made me super happy!  Plus it was the first sunny day this weekend....and the Payson Temple got dedicated on my birthday so it was definitely a good day!

This weekend in Show Low the city put on Show Low days.  It started Friday and so on Thursday I decided we needed a missionary booth there. We called the city and they asked us to come meet with them.  

 Sister Erekson and I went down there not really knowing what to expect and they told us we could have a booth for $150.  No thanks!!!  Then a member working for the city popped in and said he would pay for it! Yes! Then he told  us he'd need 13 hours of help and we had to sit in the booth for about 22 hours total.  Gulp.  We called our district leader and other missionaries and after a very stressful afternoon we figured out a shift schedule and collected a canopy, tables, chairs, and decorations from members.  It was hectic!  The two days that the booth was set up we probably only got 10-15 interested people, but all we needed was one interested person to make the work worth it :). It down poured on Friday and not many people came, but Saturday there was a good group!

Show Low Days
When sister Erekson and I were finishing up our Saturday shift, the birthday shout out member brought us fry bread and donuts :). Then on our way out a random member bought us a giant stack of French we were walking back to our booth to give half the fries to the elders, a member stopped us at his booth and gave us free extra large fruit drinks.  We had to keep our heads down and walk fast to get out of there without anymore food :)  I love being a missionary :)

Thursday night and all day Friday, Alexis Butler did a mini mission with us and we had a blast!  She's 17 and wants to go on a mission as soon as she can :). Boy is she hilarious too....for dinner the member cancelled so we went to Taco Bell and let Alexis get a Mountain Dew.  Never again.  Our next lesson the three of us and the recent convert we were teaching were laughing so hard because we had to hit Alexis with pillows to get her to stop talking.....I haven't laughed that hard in so long....Our morning lesson with her was awesome though.  She talked about her conversion story with an investigator and it was neat that she could relate to Tiffany better then anyone else there.

Alexis' family is my favorite family here so far.  Alexis was baptized about 2 years ago and her mom and two siblings were baptized this last March.  Her brother Denis is 15 and the little sister Skyler is 13.  And the mom is hilarious!!   She let us shovel horse manure this week :).  We smelled awesome for dinner after that one.....  Skyler is excited because we get to go to girls camp with her (oh yeah!!!!! We are going to girls camp in two weeks!!) . I love the Butler family!!!  They might be moving to Utah next year and that would make my day :)

Kathy is a progressing investigator now!  This week she got her own scripture quad at Book Barn, and she made it to church....also bringing our new and second progressing investigator Tiffany!  They both loved church, and the members were super welcoming which was awesome.

Tiffany is an investigator that has been learning from one of the senior couples for s few weeks.  They decided to introduce us and have us start teaching her.  So we had that one lesson with Alexis and then she came to church on Sunday so we are excited to be working with her now.

President Sweeney gave us permission to go to our 4 day stake girls camp and we are super excited because there are 3 non members in our Ward going and possibly 6 less actives.  We are so stinking excited :)

 I seriously can't believe how fast the Lord is working in this area.  15 member referrals to work with this week.....

This week marks 1 year for me as a missionary.  I cannot even explain how much I've learned and how much I've grown.  I've never before understood the power of the Book of Mormon and its testimony of the Savior.  I've never had so many disappointments swallowed up in incredible miracles.  And there are so many people I've met, things I've done, places I've been, and things I've heard, that I would never have known or experienced if I hadn't come here.  It is hard.  It is tiring.  But it is the most inspiring, changing, and unforgettable year I've had and probably ever will have.  I wouldn't trade this past year for anything.

Thank you for all of your support, love, prayers, and words of encouragement.  I am a better missionary because of you.

I love you and miss you so much!!

I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU
Hermana Short

PS  Thank you to all my wonderful extended family and friends for your love and support!!  You made me feel very loved on my birthday!