Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Homeward Bound

This is my last email from the mission field. I have only a few hours left in Lincoln before they ship me off to Omaha. Fun fact that is bringing my mission full circle: I will be staying the night with the Plattsmouth Sisters (Plattsmouth was my first area) with Sister Youngberg as a sort of temporary companion (she was my MTC companion, remember?).

I am a little sad, and a little happy. It's definitely bittersweet. I have loved Nebraska and being a missionary, but I miss family and friends. And ice cream. :) I have avoided telling people I was leaving until this last week, and some people were truly surprised. Remember Muhammed? We had lunch with him again this week, and I told him I was leaving, and he went through all the stages of grief, in about 20 minutes. Denial: "You tell the church you not leave!" Sadness: "This is bad news, Miss May. Very Bad!" Anger: "I am angry about this, Miss May!" Acceptance: "In two or three months,  you come back here!" I forget one of the stages in there (Wait, is it bargaining? Because he totally tried to bargain with me: "You stay just a little longer. You part of my family"). He wasn't the only one. I hadn't even told my ward mission leader until our final coordination meeting, and he was sad, too.

Although, there have been some benefits! One woman in the ward agreed to feed us, and made the best African food ever! Another made me cinnamon rolls (they are back at the apartment right now, waiting for me to devour them!), and I have been using my impending departure as an excuse to get in doors. When one sister answered the door and saw us, she said,, "Not today. I'm busy." I then replied, "Oh, that's okay. We just wanted to stop by and say good bye. I leave next week..." And then she let us right in! It was amazing!

Did I mention that I got wrangled into singing in church last week? Yep, Sis. McCauley played the piano and I sang "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy" as a musical number. It wasn't too terrible :)
I am running out of time, but I will be able to see and talk to people soon! I love you all, and thank you for supporting me while I was on a mission. I truly appreciate it.
Sister Loradona May

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

So much to say...

This week was a fun week, but also filled with craziness. Sister McCauley has been sick and finally went to the doctor. She is now taking fun meds and is feeling a lot better, so that's good. We have been doing crazy service for people, which is good. I like service. I also love that we can grow closer to members of the ward.

We were also able to see “Meet the Mormons” this week with a member of the ward and her non-member husband. We were so excited to be able to go, but we were also nervous because some people have told us he is anti-Mormon. His wife feeds us, but she just brings us our meals. We never have meals in their home. When they picked us up, the first thing out of his mouth was, “I’m in a bad mood today!” Almost the second thing out of his mouth was, “I was born Lutheran, and I’m gonna die a Lutheran!” Sister McCauley and I thought, “Oh boy, this should be fun…” But as the drive continued, he warmed up to us, and told us all about his life in the Navy, his parents, and their kids. At the theater, he seemed to enjoy himself. And as we left and began talking about the film, he grudgingly admitted that “It was okay.” During the car ride back to Lincoln, however, he opened up and we had some good discussions. He ended our talk of the film by saying, “That was a good movie for anyone—of any faith! I would tell anyone they should see it, and if they disagree, I’ll tell ‘em what to do!” It turned into a really great experience for all of us. On Sunday, his wife thanked us for asking them to go and said it was another good step towards him being more familiar with the Church. “A few years ago,” she said, “You never would have got him in the car! This was huge!” So success achieved!

It was so weird to be in a movie theater, though. As a missionary, we can't watch TV, and spend every moment around a screen trying not to look at it. So when the previews came on, I had the biggest urge to look away, because I felt like I wasn't allowed to be there! Ha! I got over it pretty quickly, though, don't you worry! I definitely enjoyed my taste of movie theater popcorn for the first time in over 18 months! Yum!

We also experienced Christlike love and service in action in our ward. A woman we have been helping with her scripture study had her car break down, and her financial situation is not the best. When she broke down crying and called her visiting teacher for a ride to work the next day (it was 10 pm) the visiting teacher came right over and hugged her while she cried, and didn’t let go until she stopped. On Saturday, her home teacher spent all day—sacrificing his time and money—to help get her car running. We were at her home helping her clean because she felt so overwhelmed, and she told us all the support she’d felt and the love and we witnessed her home teacher’s dedication, and it was just the loveliest thing. It just reminded me how wonderful it is to serve, and the ripples that each action causes. And then our dinner appointment asked us if there was anyone we wanted to invite to dinner, we said we wanted to invite her, and she was so touched. We got to go to Indian food! I love Indian food. I ate waaaay too much, and enjoyed it thoroughly. So did the sister we invited to join us, so life is good. It was a good week to be a missionary in Holmes Lake.

We had another family invite us to go to see "Meet the Mormons," but since the Elders in our ward have struggled to find someone to take them, we suggested they ask the Elders. We would gladly go again, but we didn't want to hoard all the opportunities. And they did ask the Elders! WHen we saw the Elders on Sunday, they said to us, "We owe you Sisters sooooo much!" We were like, "Yeah you do!" Ha! It's cool, though. It's all about forging positive relationships and working together in the ward. I love it!

One last funny story: On Sunday, as Sister McCauley and I were standing at the chapel doors, a little girl approached us. “Are you Sister Missionaries?” she asked. Yes, we are! We replied. “Do you sleep overnight at the temple?” she asked. No, we said. But it was really cute, and it makes me glad to be here.

I love you all, and I feel like I can finally admit that I might be seeing you soon! I love you! Don't write me letters this week (who knows if I'd get them in time!). Just write me emails, and you can tell others to do that, too.

I love you!
Sister Loradona May

Happy Columbus Day!

Some of the Sisters thought the libraries wouldn't be open because it is Columbus Day. I said they were open. Guess who won? It was me! Hooray!
And even bigger hooray is the fact that someone I taught in Sioux City got baptized last weekend! I didn't hear about it until today because I missed my former companion's email about it last week. It's cool, though, because it was the girl whose father wouldn't let her get baptized yet, but we'd taught her all the lessons 3 times over. So instead we started giving her piano lessons. And then I got transferred. But I found out that her Dad finally gave permission, and she got baptized, and she played "I am a Child of God" at the baptism! Some people might say I have tears in my eyes at that, but it's just their word against mine, and no one would ever believe them over me.
It's a lovely October day here: 53 and raining! Feels like home. :) Luckily, Sister McCauley and I have the car today, so we don't have to bike in the rain. Unfortunately, our car share sisters have to bike in the rain... I guess that's how it goes.
This last week we have been trying to get people to take us to see "Meet the Mormons." Our mission president has said we can go if we get a member to take us, and if we can get someone who is not a member or someone who is less-active to go with us. We're working on it, but so far, no dice. If the missionaries in your area have the same restrictions, work on asking someone to join you and take the missionaries with you! The missionaries will love you forever, and might even volunteer to rake your leaves or something. Heck, they'd probably rake your leaves regardless, but they really want to see "Meet the Mormons."
I have I told you about Mohammed? He is a 72 year-old Pakistani man who comes to church every Sunday even though he is not a member. He isn't about to change or convert any time soon, but he looooooooves us. A lot. In fact, he tries to feed us all the time. All. The. Time. And he feeds us ridiculous quantities of food, and keeps pushing it on us. I never know what it is that he is feeding us. There's a significant language barrier, and when I ask what something is called, he moves on to some other topic. Anyway, last time we were there, we had another sister from the ward there, and Mohammed had made a chicken dish (along with 7 other dishes--all of them very spicy! Red Chili spicy!). After we were waaaay overstuffed, Mohammed points to me, "You like the chicken?" Yes, Mohammed, I loved the chicken! Then he points to my companion: "You like the chicken?" Yes, it was very good. Then he points to our team up: "You like the chicken?" Yes, it was delicious! Then he points to the dish of chicken, "Then why there still chicken?" Oh, boy. In fact, I think he has mistaken our appetites for those of boys. More specifically, I think he has confused us with 16 year-old Samoan rugby players. He wants us to eat and eat and eat. He is very sweet and well-meaning. I think he misses his daughters, all of whom still live in Pakistan, and so he thinks he needs to feed us until we pop. I have decided that when I feed the missionaries when I get home, they will be able to dish themselves, and feel free to eat or not eat anything. And if they have just come from a Pakistani household, they don't have to eat anything. They can just sit on the sofa and let food digest while they teach me a lesson.
That said, I am still glad to be here, still working, and still teaching people! I love you all, and I await your emails and letters!
Sister Loradona May

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Monday, Monday!

First off, I am thrilled that Cliff is back! Hooray for life! That really makes my day. And a HUGE high-five for Dad for emailing me the reunion photos. It made me ridiculously happy! So far, Dad is ahead of everyone else by about 45 points. Jeanette is in second place, because she is always sending me awesome pictures of her babies! Hooray! Everyone else is tied. I love you all! (There isn't really a contest. I hope you know that. I just like to pretend there are points and a contest. It's amusing! Back to our regularly scheduled email...)
So. I told you all about the emergency move. But my week in service wasn't over. On Tuesday I went on exchange in York and got to do service at Adopt-a-pet! We walked dogs in the rain, fed them treats, and then went to the cat room. Those kitties were so lonely that they came running to us when we entered the room. At one point, I had 4 cats on me. I was so sad I forgot my camera in the car. Sister Beers (the sister I was with) laughed at me really hard.
That night it then rained 6-8 inches. I KNOW! So we got a panicked call from a sister in the ward that morning: her basement was flooded and could we help? We could! So Sister McCauley and I quickly changed into service clothes and ran out the door. I ended up missing breakfast because we didn't have time, and it was an emergency. But I totally learned things about service this week. I think when you serve, especially in ways that may not seem glamorous or in ways that might not be popular, you feel Heavenly Father's love. And there is always a need for love.
And then there was General Conference! It was amazing, wasn't it? We got to go to members' homes both days to watch the conference, and it was so much fun. They had food and games and comfortable sofas. Most importantly, though, were the messages. I loved them. My favorite might have been Elder Bednar's talk. I feel like I want everyone everywhere to watch that talk, because it explains why I serve a mission. I serve because I want everyone to have the healing salve and bandages, too! If I have experienced the love and care of someone helping me, then I want to help them! It really was something that I loved the moment I heard the talk. It really hit me.
Hey, my time is running out, but you know I love you, right? Right! I love you all, even if I did award Dad more points. And, ultimately, it isn't about points, anyway. It's about how much you mean to me, and how much I appreciate your emails, letters, and support. I really do appreciate it. Tons.
I can't wait to hear next week what you all have been up to! What were YOUR favorite parts of conference?

Sister Loradona May

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Hello fellow Earth travelers!
This week was a little less eventful than last, but a little more normal, which is good. I just did normal missionary work, and did my thing. It was... not exciting. But it was good! It was being a missionary, and we got to do some service for the ward camp out by preparing food with the woman in charge of food, Sister Mar. We got to help cut vegetables like pros, and then we got a ride to the camp out so we actually got to eat the fruits (or vegetables) of our labors! We, naturally, didn't stay the night, but we did get to mingle with members and their families, and just fellowship. It was nice!

Even nicer was on Saturday, which was the Women's General Meeting for conference. It was so wonderful! I have been praying for help in establishing goals for myself, and I got some answers while I was listening. I look forward to more answers and revelation this next weekend. I hope you all pay close attention to what you need to learn or hear at conference. I love that we are able to hear from a prophet and apostles what God wants us to know for our lives. It is something I really appreciate!
Also, we are emailing late today because we were asked to do a last minute service to help a woman move. The missionaries in that area were desperate for help for her since none of the ward members could be there. I was a little crabby at first, which I'm a little ashamed about. I mean, it's service. Just do it! Last night when we got the call, all I could think was, "There are 6 days a week we could help, so why does it have to be this day?" But I put my crabbiness behind me, and I'm glad I did. We showed up, and there were 30 missionaries there! All of the missionaries in Lincoln (minus one companionship--lame!) came to help this sister move, and it was super fast. You should have seen those Elders move the piano! Yikes! But I realized something: I really was glad to help. And what is so special about Mondays that I feel I'm too good to help someone? Christ wouldn't have crabbed about it. I studied about Charity this morning in my studies, and I realized that I am not supposed to be childish or selfish in my charity. Because charity doesn't hold back. I need to have charity, and that was the lesson I learned today. Plus I actually had a lot of fun and saw missionaries I never get to see, so that was a bonus! Basically, do service, even if it seems inconvenient, because there will be blessings in it for you.
I love you all! I've attached a photo of all the missionaries following the move (from an apt. on the 2nd floor to an apt. on the 3rd floor--that's a lot of floors with a piano! Just saying...)
Sister Loradona May

Monday, September 22, 2014

10 Things About This Week

1. We had a broken fire alarm.
We were asked to make sure it worked. It did, but immediately after we tested it, it began doing the "low battery chirp" thing. Ugh. That happened all night. Luckily, it was Monday the next day and we could get a new battery! Hooray!
2. We had an awesome new member lesson with Whitney!
She is really neat. We helped put her at ease about speaking publicly and serving, which was good. I am just so glad I get to work with her.
3. I went to the doctor
Remember how I've been sick? Yeah, I finally went to the doctor and I have a sinus infection. Tah-dah! He took my temperature, and he said, "Oh, it looks like you have a little fever!" I said, "I do? I do!" I finally felt validated. I was trying to have a stiff upper lip about everything, but suddenly I had permission to be sick. So I got a prescription of antibiotics and went home and slept for 3 hours. Hooray! Now I am feeling better, which is nice. Here's to an awesome coming week!
4. We went to visit someone who is a lost sheep, and her birthday is on November 9, right between Mom and Jeanette!
It made me think of both of you. That is all.
5. We had a really good dinner with a member, Tina!
She told me I need to move to a big city. I said I'd think about it. I'll start with Portland. And her food was amazing!
6. Transfer week!
Sister McCauley and I are still together! Phew. It was a little uncertain at first, but we're here together for one more transfer.
7. Transfer week!
We had been working as the only missionaries in our ward, but with transfers came the news that we were getting Elders in our ward, too! We pulled together some good teaching records, a ward list, and a map color coded by area (to match the color coded ward list) to help them out. I think they appreciated it.
8. We got taken to dinner with Sister Cole this week.
She is cool, and has been on a cool trip to Scotland. It makes me want to plan a cool trip.
9. We had a rock and roll thunder storm.
So, I sleep with earplugs in a lot (my companion is NOT a quiet sleeper), but I was awakened at one point by the thunder. Yikes! It was still pretty cool, though.
10. Primary Program Sunday!
Oh, man. I did not make a Primary Program bingo card this year, but I did see some good classic examples of some of my favorite things: One kid dancing during songs, one little girl who kept beckoning her mom to join her on the stand (Mom just kept shaking her head, "no"), one kid who kept waving, one kid who got up to the microphone and promptly forgot what to say, and so many others. Have you all had a primary program recently? How did it go?
This week should be fun. Our ward camp out is this weekend (Yeah, I don't get it either. Don't you normally have a ward camp out in the summer?), and there is a RS activity, AND the general Women's Broadcast on Sunday! It feels like the kickoff to General Conference, and I am so excited about it! I hope you are, too.
I love you all! I am looking forward to the next few weeks, and I am working on being better every day!
Sister Loradona May

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Best Week Ever

Hey family! Guess who had the best week ever? This sister! (Imagine me, pointing to myself, with a big grin. Got that image? Okay. Hold on to it.)
This past week was crazy busy but so good! We rode our bikes in the rain the first part of the week. I'm just glad that it was still a warm rain. Things have started to cool down, so who knows if we'll have warm rain in the future. It might start to be cold... Ugh. Speaking of which, we had an actual snow scare this week, which made me nervous, because I sent my winter coat and boots home months ago. Hopefully that wasn't a mistake... No snow arrived, however, for which we were grateful.  Whew!
Then on Wednesday, a member drove us and Whitney, our investigator, to the Trail Center for a tour and lunch. It was so neat. It was a cool experience to help Whitney see that she was about to become a part of a church with a history of faith and people who chose to be pioneers. It was also different to be there not as a tour guide. I haven't been to the Trail Center for a tour since I left, over a year ago, so I felt like I was supposed to be giving the tour, but not at the same time. It was weird, but we had a good experience.
On Friday, our zone was able to go to the temple! I really do appreciate it now so much more because I don't have the luxury to go except when President Weston says. It was a great chance to feel peace and calm, and to spend that time with other missionaries in the zone and with President and Sister Weston. They really are our mission parents, and they have so much love for us. I can feel it!

Then on Saturday, we had Whitney's baptism! We were told it would take 2-2.5 hours to fill the font, so we were there really early, and then... it only took an hour. And then half of it leaked out because the drain wasn't fully plugged. Ugh. But we caught it well before it was a problem, and the font was full of warm water by the time we started the service. (Whitney's daughter was baptized last year, and her water was cold, apparently, so Whitney requested warm water! When she arrived at the church to get changed, she asked if she could feel the water. We said sure. She leaned down to test the water temperature and said, "Ah! That feels about right!" So we did a good job!)
Her 9 year old daughter said the opening prayer, which was the sweetest thing, and then Sis. Spilker, the member who took us to the trail center, spoke. Then Sis. McCauley, Whitney's daughter, and I all sang "A Child's Prayer." I'm telling you, that song can make hardened criminals cry, so it is no surprise that everyone was sniffling at least a little bit. And then Whitney got baptized! The Spirit was really strong, and Whitney was crying the whole time. It was so beautiful. While Whitney changed, Sis. McCauley and I bore testimony (During which Whitney's daughter jumped up and said, "I want to bear my testimony!" How do you say no? Of course you don't. You say yes!) and asked everyone to consider their relationship with Christ, while a sister from the ward played the harp. As our Ward Mission Leader said, "There's a reason everyone always pictures angels playing harps in heaven!" We had another talk, and welcomes, and then refreshments, and it was lovely. We had a number of people from the ward come, and it was just awesome.

To put the cap on an awesome week, Whitney was then confirmed on Sunday. How can you have a better week than that? I don't think you can!
Now the hard work of finding and teaching continues. Hooray!
I love you all, and I hope you all have great weeks!
Sister Loradona May

An Amazing Week Coming...

Hey! Last week was... Well, it was. That's about all I really have to say. I tried to ignore that I had a cold and was sick, but then we went to a member's house and she said, "You look terrible!" Thanks, Tina. She then proceeded to load us up with cold medicine and sent us home. I slept for a whole day. And now I'm better.  Sleep is the cure! Who knew? Plus a lot of cold meds.
But this week? This week is cool. A member is taking us and our investigator Whitney to the Trail Center in Omaha on Wednesday, which is going to be awesome. The Trail Center can be such a spiritual place, and we are excited for Whitney to be a part of that this week. On Thursday we have zone training and our exchange for the transfer, and then on Friday... On Friday we get to go to the temple! Hooray! It is about time. I have spent my whole mission far, far away from the temple, but now I get to go. Then, on Saturday...
Saturday is a Special Day, but not because it's the day we get ready for Sunday. It's special because that is the day Whitney is getting baptized! Whoohoo! We are so excited for her! Our District Leader interviewed her yesterday, and she passed with no trouble. It was awesome. She was nervous about the interview, though, even though we had already reviewed the questions with her. She asked on Sunday morning if we could meet before church to review them again, and she basically practiced answering them. It was great! So of course by the time the interview came, she was more than ready. We even gave her a copy of the questions to take with her in the interview, just so she could read them along with Elder Handy asking them. It made her more at ease, and besides, it's not like the questions are top secret or anything. They're in Preach My Gospel, which is online. It was a simple thing to make her more comfortable, though.
We are so excited. We've spent the weekend putting together the baptism, and Whitney's daughter (she's 9) is going to sing at the baptism. It's going to be adorable and cute! So many ward members are involved--we've tried to involve as many different families as possible to help widen the support net. It's really going to be great, and I am just so happy to be a part of this for her.
Basically, I love you all, I love missionary work, Nebraska is pretty awesome, and I love doing what I do!
Keep being awesome!
Sister Loradona May

Monday, September 1, 2014

Week 2 in Lincoln!

Well, after I left the library last week, we went to Memorial Stadium, home of the Huskers! People here get fanatical about the Huskers; it's a little scary. They say that the stadium, on game days, becomes the state's 3rd largest city. I think it's the state's largest religion. We don't do work on game days--we weekly plan and try to plan lessons or service around the game. If you knock doors, people either aren't home, or they aren't interested--and pretty crabby that you've decided to choose that particular time to talk to them. The first game of the season is Saturday, so if you all could pray for us not to get caught in the craziness, that would be great! :) I actually don't think it will be too bad, but who knows? I was in Kearney last year for Husker Season--not really close enough to Lincoln to know. Anyway, Attached is a photo of me and the other sisters (Me, S. Papavero, S. McCauley, S. Lambert) on the field! Yay!
On Tuesday was our zone conference, which was so good! I love being with other missionaries and being able to learn from them and feel the Spirit. It is cool to do that. I was also able to see missionaries I haven't seen in ages. A lot of us are now in the Lincoln area, and I am glad to be here with them.
This week, S. McCauley got sick. She was out for about 2 days, which meant I did a lot of waiting and sitting. And watching of Conference DVDs! Mom sent me some of the last conference a few weeks back, and they came in handy! I have also watched a set that someone gave us from 2007, which was kind of cool. Both President Hinckley and President Faust were still alive then, so it was kind of neat to hear their voices and listen to their words.
In other news, S. McCauley and I invited another investigator to be baptized this week, and she accepted! It's just exciting to be seeing how we can help others feel the Spirit and realize that there is a way they can feel the Spirit more continually. In fact, that lesson was so spiritually amazing. It was probably one of the most spirit-filled lessons I've ever participated in, and it wasn't because of me. It was because of the member who came to the lesson with us. She's a convert, and she bore such a sweet, powerful testimony of how she came to be a member and how she knew families were forever that it made it easy for us to teach and invite our investigator to be baptized. So, accompany the missionaries when you can, because your voice and your testimony might be just the one they need. Just join them! I promise it's pretty cool.
Anyway, I love you all and I probably need to go, but I love you all a ton and I can't wait to hear from you more this week!
Sister Loradona May


So, things are going well. Sister McCauley and I get along really well--too well, sometimes. But we have an investigator preparing for baptism on Sept. 13, so we are really excited. She is pretty cool. Her daughter is already a member, and she just says she needs to learn a lot before she's really ready. We had an awesome lesson with her this last week, and she just keeps getting more prepared. In other news, someone I taught back in Sioux City I learned has agreed to be baptized, so that's awesome, too!
We only have had to ride our bikes a little bit since members have been good about giving us rides or we've had the car. But this week we will have the car a little less. Yesterday we were out riding bikes, and it was so humid, and I was so sweaty (I am painting a beautiful picture, aren't I?), but Sister McCauley and I had prayed for a miracle: We needed one more lesson to be what the mission calls a "star companionship." We thought it would be cool to be stars our first week together. I mean, how awesome, right? Anyway, so there we are, biking, hot, sweaty, tired, and looking totally... amazing (I probably looked like a supermodel, so just picture that). But we stopped at the home of someone whom the Elders used to teach (they haven't been in the area since May, so it has been a while). And a miracle occurred: He was home! So was his wife! And we were able to teach about the Book of Mormon and why he should read it. (Hint: Moroni 10:3-5 and Alma 5: 45-46 are the reasons why.) He paused, and then said that we were right and he was going to actually try to read this time! Triple miracle, folks: He was home, we could teach him, and he said he'd read! Now that's cool stuff.
I love Lincoln. I have NO idea where I am going, what I am doing or anything like that, but hey! It's good! 
How about some photos? I feel like photos might make up for the fact that this email is short.
It includes: Hna Pocock, who came out with me and goes home at the end of this transfer, Me, Hna. Thompson who came out the transfer after me but goes home with me, and Sister Larson, who was my companion in Sioux City. We are lovely!

I love you all and can't wait to hear from you all soon!
Sister Loradona May

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The City Named for a President

Just to blow everyone's mind a little bit... I am no longer in Sioux City, IA (or Dakota Dunes, SD, for that matter). Transfers came on Thursday. My day started with exercise, and then a phone call from President Weston at 6:40 am, during which he thanked me for my service as a sister training leader, and let me know my new assignment was in the Holmes Lake area in Lincoln, NE! I was surprised, but not. I thought I might be going somewhere, but I still was sad to be leaving.
It's cool, though, because now, of the major regions of the mission, the only one I haven't been in is Omaha--isn't that ironic? Don'tcha think? (HA!) Of all the areas NOT to serve in, I haven't served in the area the mission is named for. I guess I can maybe say I did, because I was at the Trail Center for a short time, but we'll see.
My new companion's name is Sister McCauley, and she is from South Weber, UT--my first authentic Utahan companion! We are also in a car share with another set of sisters, which means about half of the time, we have no car. This means (drumroll please) that I am now a sister who rides a bike! This also means that the first order of business in Lincoln was to buy a bicycle helmet. Fortunately, a member already bought bicycles for the sisters here to use, so at least I don't have to spend $400+ to buy a bicycle in what is likely to be my last area in the mission. Any advice from those of you who rode a bike on their missions? (Ahem, DAD?) My behind might be a little bit sore already. It's cool. Don't worry about it. I'll get over it. :)
We had a Stake activity my first Saturday here, which was cool because I got to meet about a thousand million people, although I remember 5 of them. Also cool? In Lincoln, I have 3 former companions serving: Sister Youngberg (MTC companion), Sister Gulledge (I trained her in Kearney YSA), and Sister Gomez (We were together in Sioux City). So I feel like I know a lot of people already. Also, my District Leader is an Elder I served with in North Platte. Life is funny that way! Is this just the way it goes the longer you are out? You just know everyone or have served with everyone? I have no idea.
The ward seems good. In a fun twist, the family of a YSA I worked with in Kearney is in the area I am in now, which is cool. I hope I get to run into him and his girlfriend, who last I heard, was learning from the missionaries (I got to give her a Book of Mormon in Kearney). Anyway, I'll keep you updated on that one.
I don't always know why I get transferred, or what my purpose in a given area is, but I hope to figure it out and just be able to do the Lord's work for me here. I love you all, and I can't wait to hear from you!
Sister Loradona May

Monday, August 4, 2014

Mormons don't have Lent...

... but we do have consecration.

We went to Omaha this week for Mission Leadership Training, and President Weston talked about being consecrated. He said, "Sacrifice is what we give up. Obedience is what we do. And Consecration is who we are." He then asked us to be more consecrated and to choose three things to sacrifice for the remainder of our missions. I have thought of 2 things, and I am working on the third. I think I am giving up *gulp* ice cream and naps. Sigh. I LOVE ice cream, and P-Day naps are the BEST. But we have been promised blessings for it. Does anyone else want to join me in giving up something for the remainder of my mission? Whatever it is, you only have to give it up until October 29, so you can have it back then. We'll have the strength of numbers, and the strength of consecration! It will be cool. Let me know if you want to join me. Also, let's all have an ice cream together afterwards. And we'll follow that up with a long nap!

It's a good think I got to have ice cream at Blue Bunny in Le Mars last week. Sob! It's fine. (You know that when you throw a fit about something, you might be an addict... ooooooh!) It was a good exchange, though. Even more important than the lessons we taught was the conversations we had. It was really good, you know? Sometimes, working with other sisters IS as fun as it sounds. 

Also? We got to go to Omaha AGAIN this week! One of Sister Larson's investigators from Papillion was baptized on Saturday, and he asked for her to be there. We had some folks drive us down, and it was cool. It took three times for him to finally be baptized in the proper way, and it really made me think. We take baptism so seriously that it must be done precisely as Christ has asked us to do it. Also, baptism symbolizes a lot, not the least of which is the relinquishing of our will to God. I noticed when the baptizee was stiff and resistant to being lowered into the water, he was not completely baptized. When he was compliant and yielding, it was complete. It made me think about how our hearts must be when we make a covenant with the Lord. If we are rigid and resistant to change and to bending to God's will, it doesn't work well. When we fully give ourselves to  our Heavenly Father and stop resisting His will, then we become completely His. I think that goes well with what President Weston taught us about consecration. Giving things up is all about not resisting the will of God. It is all about realizing that you don't have to hold on to every little thing, because God will give you all. 

I can't wait to hear from you all if you want to join me in giving something up or not! I love you bunches! More than... naps and ice cream!

Sister Loradona May

Monday, July 28, 2014

Positivity, Dancing, and Eating!

So, this past week we had interviews with President Weston. You know it's a good interview when you feel better going out than coming in. And that's exactly how I felt. He told me stress was not a Christlike attribute, and to not be stressed :) He also told me to eliminate negativity and replace it with positivity: "The two can't occupy the same space, Sister!" He also gave me sage dating counsel: "If he's negative, ditch him, Sister!" Sure thing, President! It was pretty funny. But it has helped. Eliminate the negative and replace it with positive. It has really helped me rethink how I look at my work with the Sisters, members, and investigators. Sister Larson and I keep saying to one another, "Okay, quick: what are 5 positive things about _____?" And then we have to do it. It has helped.
Plus, I think other stressful situations are beginning to resolve, so that is good. We went to the 148th annual Winnebago Pow-Wow in Winnebago, NE, which, yes, is in our area. Sister Littlegeorge took us, and she knew everyone! She would introduce us to family and friends, and there were several people who had questions about us. One man heard us talking about being missionaries, and said, "Are you on a mission trip here on the reservation?" We explained it was part of our area, but that we were living in the Sioux City area and covered a bunch of towns in Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska. He thought it was cool because he had just returned from a "mission trip" in Sierra Leone (spell check doesn't like that--am I off?) and he thought it was neat we would do that here. We were able also to meet members from other reservations in Arizona, which was neat. We were able to eat Indian Fry Bread, and I wanted to try what was advertised as a "Rez Burger," or a hamburger where the bun was replaced with fry bread! I wish! Maybe next time, because there is another Pow-Wow in our area in a couple of weeks where a bunch of people from the Ward (active and less active) should be. We also were able to experience the dancing and drumming, which was neat. It was a good experience to see more of the local culture so we can understand the people here better. One of the sisters told us that it is important for the native people here to see us take an interest in their culture and dances, so I hope that can strengthen the relationship between the Omaha and Winnebago people and the church members. Maybe we can get more of the church members to join us for the next one, so they can mingle more. It's tough to get the native and non-native members to get together, partially because of culture, partly because of economics, partly because of distance. There just needs to be a way we can all be more unified in the gospel, you know? 

We continue to work, we continue to study, and we continue to do our best! This week includes an exchange in Le Mars, IA, the ice cream capital of the world! So, you know, I'm about to be very happy! It also includes a trip to Omaha, NE, so I'm also about to be very tired from driving. But also uplifted by trainings from President Weston. Whichever! I love you all. Have a good week, and remember: Positivity and Negativity can't occupy the same space! So kick one out and let the other one in!

Sister Loradona May

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It was the best of times... was the worst of times. This week? Has been a tough one. Let's just say that I have probably cried more with Sister Larson than with any other companion, and it has nothing to do with Sister Larson (here's my testimony of Sister Larson: She is one of the most obedient, diligent missionaries I know, and it helps me to be obedient and diligent. Plus she's funny). 
There's what's called the Adjusting to Missionary Life booklet, and in SEVERAL different places, it says something to the effect of, "If your tasks become overwhelming, break the tasks up and tell yourself, 'All I have to do right now is_____'" We like to joke about it and say things like, "All I have to do right now is... sit in a corner and cry." or "All I have to do is... lock the car door and cry." It helps with us to make it funnier than it really is and helps us to put things in perspective. And sometimes, we do actually cry. Like this week.  
 Let's talk about the Best of Times! We went to the temple on Saturday with Penny (This is the woman that takes the wonderful pictures)and it was the best thing ever!  It was amazing. After the crazy storm that is our lives this week, we were able to go to the temple with someone who has become a friend, and to see her experience the joy and spirit in the temple was amazing. And then to be able to just experience the peace ourselves was really important. It felt so good to be in the temple after being unable to attend for over a year.
 It's what I needed. It's amazing that Heavenly Father knows what we need.The timing was perfect, and you KNOW who's perfect. (Hint: not me!)
Basically, the temple was lovely, and I don't want to take it for granted again.

I have to go, but I love you all! I can't wait to hear from you in letters over the coming weeks!

Sister Loradona May

Monday, July 14, 2014

Candy Land and World Cup

Hello! I forgot to share one story last week: We were working at the Gospel Mission, serving in their soup kitchen, and one of the patrons asked, "Are you married?" My response: No... I'm a missionary! "But that doesn't mean you can't get married!" Yeah, but not until after my mission (unspoken: and probably not to you!). "That's a waste. You're pretty!" Thank you? Here's your food! The life of a Sister Missionary...

This week we learned that one of our investigators definitely won't be getting baptized any time soon. That was sad. We've seen him start to change, but those changes aren't enough at the moment to get him into the waters of baptism. It's okay, though. We're working on it!

In other news, I got to play Candy Land this week! Let me tell you how that came about: We were with a member, and we decided to pop on by a family whose 10 year-old daughter is not yet baptized. We went in and started to talk about Gospel topics when the daughter stops us and says, "Will you play a game with me?" Um, okay, kid. So she grabs Candy Land, sets it up, and we start playing! Good thing we can easily connect Candy Land to the Gospel: Even when you get stuck, or you have to move backward, you still have repentance and the chance to start again and move forward. There's always a new card to draw and a new way to get going! It might be the simplest game ever, but Candy Land gave us a fun opportunity to teach about repentance and the Atonement. Score 1 for us!

We had an awesome dinner with a part member family this week, where the husband is a total soccer fan, so we had a fun talk about the World Cup! Made my day! It also helped that we had a really good discussion on feeling the Spirit and prayer, too. Soccer discussion? Check. Spiritual discussion? Check! Awesomeness? Check!

Speaking of World Cup, last night as we were arriving to our meal appointment, the game was underway, right? Their teenage son was watching the game in the den, so I stood outside the door just to ask him the score. 0-0, he replies, right? So I say, "Go Germany!" And just then, Germany scores! Y'all, I totally helped Germany win the World Cup. I'm pretty sure I did that.

Also? It appears we will get to go to the temple this week with a member we've been working with to help her go to the temple for her own endowment. There's been some discussion about which missionaries and how many get to go, because our mission president has put a limit on the number who can attend, but right now I think it's us? I guess we'll know for sure on Saturday! Anyway, if we do get to attend, it will be the first time I've been to the temple in over a year. If you live close to a temple, GO! I've really missed it since I haven't been able to go. It's so far, and the mission has rules that you have to serve within a certain distance in order to go on zone temple trips. I haven't served near enough to the temple since my first transfer. Take advantage of being close to a temple and enjoy it!

I love you all, and I can't wait to hear from you in the coming week!

Sister Loradona May

Monday, July 7, 2014

The 4th...

So... It was the 4th of July and we had no appointments. No dinner appointment, no appointment for the evening, nothing. Ugh. Here's my commitment to you: if you have missionaries in your ward, make sure they have a place to be, even for mundane holidays, okay? Even for random stuff like Flag Day. Just help them out to not have to stress or feel sad that no one loves them enough to ask them for dinner on a holiday.

It's okay, though. We went to a member's house and ate a hot dog, but we didn't stay long because there were other missionaries already there, and it simply isn't kosher to have multiple missionaries at a members house for our mission (the hot dog wasn't kosher either, but hey, it was a holiday!).

We were able to catch one of our investigators at home, though, and we had a good lesson that evening, which was cool. Plus, we saw it as a blessing of obedience in continuing to work, even though it was tempting to just hang out with members or try to watch fireworks.

We went home and, because home is South Dakota, we had all sorts of fireworks in the neighborhood. Sadly, because it gets dark so late, we didn't get to see many of them. Can I just say that 4th of July is the least fun holiday as a missionary? All the things you would like to do (blow stuff up, stay up late, hang out with people) are against mission rules, so you just end up going inside and feeling lame. The most fun holiday is probably Easter: People are actually in the mood to hear about Christ, plus there's lots of candy around! AND all of the fun happens during daylight hours--bonus!

This is kind of a boring week--we went to Norfolk for exchanges this week, and we went to Omaha for a meeting, which was good. It helped me learn I was super prideful, so, hooray? Let's just say I am repenting and trying to be a good, humble missionary. Maybe you need to be more humble, too? Just get humble before you are compelled to be humble, and I bet you'll have a better time. :)

I have to go, but I love you all! Have a lovely week, and I will write soon!
Sister Loradona May

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

In Which You Will Learn that Potatoes are of the Devil...

No tornadoes this week, though that might change... Speaking of change, transfers were last week, and... nothing happened! Ha! Did I get you? Sister Larson and I are still together and in Sioux City. It's a good  place to be. This week has been a little bit weird, and full of cool things, like lots of members going out with us and helping us do our work, and also some really fun things.
For example, we are working with a 10 year-old girl, and we decided to continue doing Activity Days with her through the summer, just so she gets into the habit of doing something fun and church related every Wednesday night. Her dad won't let her be baptized right now, but we are keeping on with our efforts with her. This activity was awesome. The Primary wanted to help, and before we knew it, what was going to be an activity with the girl and her mom included all the girls her age from the ward and two other moms! It was perfect. It helped her to have a chance to make friends with the other girls and to also have a spiritual experience. We were so blessed to have that opportunity, and it was because of members that it was able to happen. 

We had another experience with a member going with us to a lesson this week. She was able to really be very frank with them because she was their friend. It was a lot easier to ask them to do things (like attend church) because it didn't come from us--it came from a friend who loved them. I think that is something I have learned is that members are the glue that hold this together and make it work. Missionaries can only go so far. Without the members inviting, answering questions, and being their friends, the people we teach will never progress. 

One last fun story for today, and then I've got to go: We went to dinner with Penny (the mom) and Journy (the daughter) Our lesson included teaching about feasting upon the words of Christ. Journy (who is 7, by the way), said she had a story to tell us. Her story went like this:

Imagine the words of Christ are a food you like, like eggs. They are really good. But the stories of Satan are like... potatoes! You can eat all the eggs you want, but don't even think about touching the potatoes!

So my loved ones, remember the wise words of a seven year-old: Don't even think about touching the potatoes! 

I love you and I will write more to you soon!
Sister Loradona May

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Of Tornadoes and Floods

This week has been... eventful? That hardly seems like the right word, but it's the only one I've got right now. It started with tornadoes on Monday, perhaps you heard of them? There were two in the Nebraska towns of Pilger and Wakefield, which devastated Pilger. I heard one person say that 80% of Pilger was gone, and the other 20% wasn't in good shape. Wednesday was kind of awful, with two of our investigators dropping us. Ouch. It might not be a literal drop, but it hurt, nonetheless. On Thursday there was the potential for floods. The community we live in, Dakota Dunes, is right at the confluence of the Big Sioux and Missouri Rivers, and we've had so much rain that the waters were rising pretty rapidly. The Big Sioux River looked pretty scary, and there were huge dump trucks filled with dirt going through our neighborhood to the river to build levees. When we saw the levees, Sister Larson and I thought of Alma 50:1--"Moroni did not stop making preparations for war... for he caused that his armies should commence in digging up heaps of earth roundabout all the cities." Only, instead of preparations for war, it was preparations for flooding. Sister Larson and I prepared for flooding by moving all of our belongings out of the basement where we lived. Then we went to a nearby neighborhood to fill sandbags. It was hot, humid, and (ultimately) unnecessary. The levees held and the damage that could have happened didn't. But everyone prepared for the worst outcome, and we all were pleasantly surprised when the worst did not happen.
On Saturday, missionaries and members headed down to the Pilger area to help with cleaning up tornado debris. We didn't end up in Pilger but in Wakefield. So much of the attention has been on Pilger, apparently, that Wakefield has been somewhat neglected. So we went there to help a farmer clean up his fields. As we traveled we saw some of the devastation: some homes completely stripped to foundations, a car that looked like it had been hit by a semi, and one home that was partially gone, but half the house remained. It was like a can opener had opened up the house and peeled the front walls away. The farm we went to had most of their buildings intact, but the farm across the way had been obliterated, and all of the house, outbuildings, and belongings had been distributed across his fields like confetti. 

At one point, I stood on a hill in the middle of his bean fields, and I could clearly see the brown path the tornado had taken for miles in each direction. It was crazy to imagine. We spent several hours following behind pickup trucks in his corn and bean fields and putting all of the things we found in them: shredded 2x4s, a baby quilt, ribbons from the county fair, the twisted remnants of a ceiling fan motor, a broken doll's foot, the fender of a bicycle, a knitting needle, Christmas ornaments and tinsel, broken cupboard drawer fronts, twisted sheets of corrugated metal from silos, glass, pottery shards--everything you find in your home, except this stuff had been put into a blender and then spread across acres and acres of land. It was sobering. 

From where I stood on one hill, I could see the other farmhouse, or what was left of it, which wasn't much. We worked alongside other members, nonmembers, and missionaries, and it was definitely sad. I've never seen a tornado, but I have now seen the devastation that one causes. It was humbling to think of what had happened, and how much more needed to be done. The people there probably won't be done cleaning up for months. I think sometime we imagine that things like this are finished as soon as the news stops mentioning it, but in reality they continue for months and years. 

So, pray for the people who are affected by things like this every day, and then--if you can--get to work and help them out. I'm grateful to have this time as a missionary to be able to say, "There is actually nothing in my life today more important than helping out here." It is a luxury I appreciate, and I hope that after my mission I can continue to help people when I need to and when they need it. I am glad that I learned the value of work and service from my parents. who always served and encouraged us to serve. 

I love you all! Stay safe, and keep writing! I have been terrible about writing back, but as you can see, this week has been a little crazy. Don't fault me too much! 

Sister Loradona May

Monday, June 16, 2014

Miracles can happen...

This was our week of miracles! It was pretty cool. We first of all had a dinner cancel right off the bat on Monday. Sad way to start the week... until an investigator invited us to dinner that night! It was really cool. We had a super good lesson with them, and we hope to continue helping them move towards baptism. We shall see! We also had dinners with less active members and other investigators this week, which was really cool.
Our biggest miracle came on Friday. We had exchanges with the Spanish Sisters, and I went with Hermana Thompson to our area. We had fasted and prayed that morning for two goals: a baptismal set for us, and a new investigator for them. We went out to drop in on people and go tracting, and as we did so, we found a new Spanish investigator for them! We continued to work and were able to meet and teach other people, but at the end of the evening, in fact our last chance to set someone for baptism, we were driving by an apartment complex where an investigator lives, and he was outside. So we stopped and talked with him. Then we asked if we could read from the Book of Mormon with him, and he ran inside to grab his book. While he was inside, Hna. Thompson and I figured out which chapter we wanted to read with him: Mosiah 18. We read it with him, and then we asked him if that was how he felt, if he felt like he wanted to bear others' burdens and support them and keep the commandments. He said he did. Then Hna. Thompson asked if he would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by the priesthood authority. He said he'd been thinking about it already, and he thought his birthday would be a nice day to do something like that. When's his birthday we ask? July 26. So you all should pray for him and that he can follow through on his desire to be baptized. He has a lot to change, but with prayer and the Atonement, nothing's impossible. He's a nice guy, and he has sincere desires. He's been to church 4 times, but he hasn't stayed for all three hours yet. He's shy and I think Priesthood scares him a little. :) But he has a fellowshipper--someone he wants to baptize him!--and we reminded him yesterday that his friend could sit by him and could help him through Elders' Quorum. He looked surprised, like he'd forgotten that it was a possibility. 

We also had monster rains on Saturday night. We went back to teach him and his girlfriend, and he had great questions and took notes. When we went to drive home, the roads were full of rain, but we didn't realize how full until we had already driven a block and drove into a deep puddle. We were already in middle of it and decided just to go forward and made it! Whew! It was pretty intense. And we were just two blocks from the Missouri River, so all the water was heading that way. It was really dark and rainy, but we made it home, safe and sound! So: a big thanks for all of your prayers. I have to go, but I love you and hope you all have a great week with your own miracles!

Sister Loradona May

Monday, June 9, 2014

Tornados and gumdrops!

We had some really cool experiences this week, including almost getting hit by lightning! Hooray? We were on foot (yep, saving car miles by walking miles with our feet (not piggies!)), and the sky turned dark, it first started to sprinkle, then to rain, then to pour. We had begun heading towards our car at the insistence of a potential investigator whose door we had knocked on, and when we were still 10+ blocks away, a bolt of lightning hit about 2 blocks away. The crack of thunder was deafening, and Sister Larson and I took off running! The nearest member's house was about 3 blocks away, so we headed there and... she wasn't home. So we sat on her porch until she arrived. In the meantime, we saw a guy running across the street in nothing but boxer shorts and tennis shoes. We laughed really hard at that one. When the member came home, her 7 year old daughter told us that looking at the man with no shirt on was a sin. "That's a sin!" she exclaimed. "If you stared, that's a sin!" Sister Larson and I laughed, and then ate their gumdrops. So, you know, life is okay! 

We also had some tornado warnings, and a member even showed us a picture of one of the tornadoes on her phone. It wasn't big, but it was still a tornado! Crazy, eh? And that night we had a dinner in the area where the tornadoes were, but it was sunny and cheery as ever. Who knows. Life here is weird. But it is also awesome! Our new ward mission leader is the former stake president, and he is so excited about missionary work--I love it! He set up an appointment and went with us to meet a new referral, who are now our new investigators! Without him, though, it would never have happened. It was because of him and his relationship with the husband of the couple that allowed us to set a return appointment. Otherwise, it would never have happened. The wife is very interested, but the husband is too stuck on his smoking, coffee, and beer habits. He even mentioned--several times--about liking beer as a reason he could never join, and offered us some (jokingly, of course), I think as a way to try and deter us. But because of our ward mission leader who was there, they (but especially he) were willing to let us back. The husband reminds me a lot of Grandpa Nylund. So basically, he is my favorite person ever. :) 

We also had the chance to go down to Omaha for Mission leadership Council, which was excellent as usual. We are trying to do our best, and the council and counsel (see what I did there?) help me to feel a little better about the work I am doing, even when there isn't a ton of success. Because sometimes it isn't about you. In fact, it usually isn't (But wait, I thought it was all about me...?). It's about doing what Heavenly Father needs you to do. So I am working on doing what he needs me to do. Will you also work on doing what he needs you to do? Pray about it and find out what he wants, and then go do it! You'll have an amazing experience, I promise!

I love you! Keep writing letters! I still have a while to go, so don't forget about me!

Sister Loradona May

PS: the picture I have attached is of my district before Sister Gomez was transferred. Back row (for anyone who cares), L-R: E. Harrison (one Zone Leader), E. Blanck (in our ward), E. Paddock, E. French (Also in our ward), E. Shipley (our district leader), and E. Pulver (our other zone leader). Front row, L-R: S. Gomez, Me, Hna. Pocock (who came out with me), and Hna. Thompson (who will go home with me). Enjoy! Love you all!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


So. We may or may not be down to our last 90ish miles for the week, so Sister Larson and I may or may not be walking a lot. You determine the truth. But, it has led to some interesting experiences.
Experience the First: We were walking to help someone out when we walk by a couple on the street. The guy asks, "Why are you all dressed up?" Because we're missionaries! "You have a book, don't you guys?" Yep, we sure do! Would you like one? "Yeah!" We have an appointment with the girl tomorrow (I think it was tomorrow, so let's hope I wrote it down right), so walking isn't all bad...
... but it isn't all good either. Experience the Second: We were out walking yesterday after church (we were able to get a ride to church, and a ride to dinner in the evening, but in between church and dinner? Walking.), and the wind starts to blow. The clouds get dark. The rain begins to fall. The lightning begins to strike, and we begin to decide our current plan is maybe less good than we thought. So we walked to the nearest member's house, where they let us in, give us towels, and let us sit on their couch and watch Legacy until the person giving us a ride arrives. So even the "bad" wasn't all bad, either.
We went on exchanges, and there is one Sister serving in Columbus, NE where we went who is a native Spanish speaker. She has been serving in Spanish areas until now, and now she is serving as the Spanish half of a Spanish/English companionship. She let me know she had never contacted a referral in English before and didn't know how. So we talked about how to do it and then... we went and did it! She was nervous (and I might have been, too; hey, it wasn't my area!), but we did it, and got his phone number and had a good interchange, so it was fun.
I feel like other things happened, but I can't remember what.
In other news, I just emailed back and forth with Cliff in Afghanistan--how cool is that? I'll answer: really cool! Anyway, I love you all and I hope you all have missionary experiences this week! I know I will!
Sister Loradona May

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day a day late!

Hello family!

Spring has truly arrived, complete with humidity, thunderstorms, and deafening claps of thunder that shake you awake in the middle of the night. Mazel tov! So far, I'm surviving, and I LOVE the thunderstorms. They are so beautiful, and unlike any we see in Oregon. They are just so intense! I don't think I will ever get tired of the Midwest thunderstorms. 

Sister Larson is from Coeur d'Alene, ID--did I mention that already? So now I know where to visit when we drive up to visit Jeanette and Kyler! She is a lot of fun, and she is getting to know the people here. Fun fact: she was in the MTC with me, too! How awesome is that? 2 companions in a row, both from my group. 

We had Zone Conference this week in Council Bluffs, IA, which meant a long drive and a good day of being spiritually uplifted. We got to stay with the Fairview Sisters, one of which was Sister Stiles, whom I trained! How fun is that? I'll answer: really fun! The zone conference was all about families and The Family: Proclamation to the World. Basically: remember that the gospel blesses families and that God is our loving Heavenly Father, and that is what we need to focus on. The family is super important, and I am particularly glad to have such a good family. I love you all so much! Our mission president (weirdly) asked us to start thinking about things we wanted to do/have in our future families, which was strange to think about while on a mission. That's okay, because it basically made me think about things that I wanted to continue in my family in the future from our family. Things like Family Home Evening, lots of music of every kind, learning how to cook, road trips, and poking around in the dirt. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for helping us to be a strong family. Thanks for being good examples, and for keeping us strong in the gospel. So much depends on individual agency, and you helped us to use our agency better so we could do the right things and make good choices. And a super thanks for being supportive on my mission. I really couldn't have come on a mission without your help. I knew it was what I was supposed to do, and you helped me recognize that. So thanks. And a huge thanks to Jeanette and Cliff, too, who gently bugged and urged me on in the whole process. Being a missionary can be hard, and emotionally trying at times, but I don't regret--ever--coming on a mission. I have absolute confidence that I am doing exactly what Heavenly Father wants me to do. I have no idea what life looks like after my mission, but while I am here, I have that calm reassurance that I am doing the right thing, that I am touching people's lives, and that I am learning and teaching as He expects me to. 

This week we have 2 exchanges, which should be fun. Hooray! Wish us luck!

I Love you all! Keep writing to me! I love letters!

Sister Loradona May

Friday, May 23, 2014

Another one bites the dust...

So, it was transfers this week. In fact, transfer news came out on my birthday. Worst birthday ever! Not really, but Sister Gomez was transferred, so that bummed me out a little bit. When the phone rang, I wanted to answer and say, "President, this better just be a call to wish me happy birthday!" But I didn't. I knew that if there was a call, it was for her to be transferred. Sigh. So I still haven't had a companion longer than 2 transfers.
Sister Gomez and Sister Fuller traveled to Omaha together so Sister Fuller's companion, Sister Smith, and I were companions for the day. We did a variety of service, taught lessons, and then went to a graduation party for 2 of the young men of the ward. We helped them set up and manned the lemonade stand so that no one ran out of delicious lemonade. They really go all out for high school graduation parties here in the Midwest. It is a huuuuuge deal and people really through good parties with good food. I'm wishing for some of it right now...
Oh, and I made the cake Mom sent in my birthday package and took it to our district meeting. The Elders were so funny about it--I started to cut it, and one of the Elders said, "You can't cut and serve your own birthday cake!" So he cut and served. I was about to pass the piece they handed me to someone else, but an Elder said, "No! You have to have the first piece!" Fun times. But, like I knew, the Elders had it just about all eaten up by the time we had to go, so: Success!
We have another set of sisters for us to work with, so that means at least one exchange a week this transfer. This means we have an exchange tomorrow. Hooray! I hope things go well.
Um... I wish I had more to share, but I feel a little bit out of things to say. Will you forgive me? I love you all and hope Memorial Day is amazing for you! We will probably email next week on Tuesday instead of Monday, though.
Thank you for everything! I love you all!
Sister Loradona May

Monday, May 12, 2014

Wonder of Wonders, Miracle of Miracles!

Just FYI for the rest of you: we were able to Google Hangout with Loradona, her brother Clifford at Fort Dix in New Jersey and her sister Jeanette in Calgary Canada. So when she says that it was "Awesome to see you" you know that she really did see us.

So, I know we just talked yesterday (I love you all and it was awesome to see you!), but I still have things I didn't share, mostly because I forgot. Eh. So here goes:

We went on exchanges in Le Mars, IA, Ice Cream Capital of the World! (That's their motto.) Yes, I did get to have some ice cream, but it was cooler than that. There has been a big push in the mission to have at least one investigator set for baptism, and as we thought about the result we wanted to have from our exchange, Sister Gomez and I knew we wanted to leave them with someone set for baptism. So we called them and discussed it with them, and they decided this was a good goal. We fasted with them the morning before our exchange, and then the morning of the exchange we studied Mosiah 18 with them. Then we exchanged! Sister Wilson (one of the Le Mars Sisters) and I went and did service, and asked people if they would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized, and... no one said yes. But that's okay! President Weston has said that if we get three "no"s a day, we will have someone set for baptism. But when we met up with Sister Gomez and Sister Bertrand (Sister Wilson's companion), they had asked someone and they had accepted a baptismal date! It was really neat, because they went to see a family where one of them is not a member, and they've been going through some trials lately. They shared a gospel message with them, and people really felt the Spirit, so when Sister Bertrand asked if he would be baptized, he agreed. It was just a really neat experience where we were able to fast, pray, and then act in faith to see a miracle. That area is a tough area: it is 20-30ish miles outside of Sioux City, which is where the church building is, and it has only had missionaries for about 11 months, so they have been building the area from zero investigators to 10ish, and they have worked so hard for this. It made for a really cool experience for us and for them to see prayers answered in such a direct way.

We have had some good days in the past week, and it has been great to be out working. We have transfers this week (in fact, we find out about transfer news on Thursday. Happy Birthday!), but we hope that things go well. We have a lot of really busy days, and we don't really have time to get transferred, so we hope neither of us does get transferred. We just don't have time to drive to Omaha! :)
Anyway, I love you all to teeny tiny bits, and I will write again next week! In the meantime, prayerfully determine a blessing you would like, then fast and pray for it, and then act in faith to make it happen. And watch how Heavenly Father blesses you!

Sister Loradona May

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

It's May! It's Me!

Hello! Welcome, welcome Monday morning!

This week was so lovely. We had some cool experiences this week, and we are working hard to teach the people of Sioux City. We had interviews with our mission president, which is always good. As my interview with him concluded, he asked if he could pray for us then paused, and said, "I'm just going to see you again in two days!" And he did! We had a meeting in Omaha on Friday, and whom should I get the wonderful chance to see, but Sister Harris, my trainer! I was so excited to see her. We haven't seen each other since we were companions, a year ago! She leaves at the end of this transfer (which happens to be my birthday), so I was really excited to see her, even if it was for just a short while.

We learned a lot at our meeting in Omaha, and then we rushed back to the Sioux City area, because a family we have been teaching invited us to their daughter's choir concert. We were able to get there just a few minutes before it started, and we felt sure that, in a large auditorium, it would be impossible to see the family we'd come to support, and that there would be few open seats. We entered the auditorium and saw a few seats open near the back, and who was sitting right behind them? The family we wanted to see! It may seem like such a small thing, to be able to see them and sit by them, but to us it was just another demonstration of how Heavenly Father loves each of his children, and when we are obedient, he blesses us with miracles, even something as simple as being able to show support for families we teach. I love this family, too! They are a sweet family, and I just know how much Heavenly Father loves them.

We also had the chance on Saturday and Sunday to attend Stake Conference. They were calling a new stake president (the current one had been serving for 9 1/2 years, and had been in the presidency for 5ish years before that, and a bishop before that, and... Whew! He needs a change, I am sure!), and we had Elder S. Gifford Nielsen come to the conference to help select and call the new president. (He spoke in the October General Conference, and his talk was "Hastening the Lord's Game Plan.") In the adult session, he asked for any new converts to stand. The sister whom we have been working with, Jami, stood, blushing, and allowed him to question her. He asked her how she found the church (a friend asked her to learn more), and how she came to be a member (it took several months) and to share her testimony. The cool thing was that we had taught her a lesson barely 2 hours before the meeting, and in that lesson, we finished the Book of Mormon with her. When she shared her testimony, she was able to say she had read the whole thing and finished it that day. It helped her to be more confident in her testimony and it was really neat to hear her talk about it.

On Sunday, of course, they called the new president. Sister Gomez and I had taken an informal poll of members: who do you think will be called? There were many guesses (some of them right!), but they didn't all agree. It reminded me that when Man is in charge, we can disagree, and dispute, but when God is in charge, we can feel confident in the person called and know it is Heavenly Father's choice.

I love you all.
Sister Loradona May

Monday, April 28, 2014

Another Crazy Week in Sioux City!

This week was INSANE, sometimes literally. We had one day where a woman came through the soup kitchen where we volunteer. She had at one point said she wanted to be Mormon and take the lessons... so she could get church welfare. She had then ditched out on a lesson we had set and now her phone number is disconnected, so we're pretty sure she's not going to let us teach her. Well, when we saw her, she: pretended she had never met us (she was also wearing ginormous sunglasses, indoors), called me, "Baby girl," and insisted on a double portion of everything. She then took five desserts, and informed me that the reason she needed 5 desserts was because she was "with child." Y'all, she is 60 if she is a day. If she's "with child," then I have green hair. (I  know you haven't seen me for a while, but here's a hint: I don't.) And then! Then! She came through the line a second, and finally a third time! Each time reminding me of her "condition." Are you kidding me? Oy vey. Sister Gomez and I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry, so we laughed instead. The Elders volunteer there with us, and one of them saw her and said, "Is that...?" We just laughed again. Oh, missionary life!

We also, however, moved officially to South Dakota! It is... a lot like Iowa and Nebraska here. The home we live in is lovely, and very comfortable. We are glad to be here. It is sad that we left the Luebberts, but I am so very grateful for another family to open their home to us and allow us to come live here. Living with members is the best, and such a win-win-win situation! We get to come home to a spirit-filled home with family portraits and pictures of the temple on the wall, the mission saves money on housing, and the members... well, I like to think we bring missionary work and spirit into their home, so that's a bonus, right? We're just trying to be obedient missionaries so that they like us being there and don't find us irritating.

We went on exchanges last week, so we don't have exchanges this week, which is good, because our week is packed. On Tuesday night we have several appointments at the same time, so we'll be going on splits with sisters in the ward--can you believe it? This is actually the first time I have ever gone on splits while a missionary--I don't know if I can leave Sister Gomez! Sob! :) It will be cool, though. We have lots of interesting things going on, including interviews with President Weston, and a trip for training in Omaha on Friday.

We have had some struggles (people dropping us, people not calling back to set up times, people just not accepting the gospel in general) this week, which has been tough. BUT! We had an amazing lesson with a family that so many other families in the ward know and love. They are a beautiful family and so lovely. This gospel would be such a blessing in their lives, but they have a way to go. But let me tell you about the miracle we had in connection with that. We had dinner at a family's home and met their 12 year old daughter, who was a delight and gave us a tour of their ginormous house and was just adorable. The next night we had a lesson with this family, and who should open the door, but the 12 year old girl from the dinner the night before! Turns out, they're good friends! It was perfect because the daughter bore her sweet, simple testimony of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon. Sometimes a 12 year old's testimony is perfect for new investigators: 12 year olds don't use complicated words or terms, they don't speak longer about things than necessary, or overcomplicate the gospel, or bring up weird doctrinal things that don't matter. They just talk simply about what the gospel means to them, and it's perfect. Members in the ward are already their friends, and it is so amazing to see how excited they all are to have us teaching this family. Which is exactly how it should be: friends of theirs referred them to the missionaries, members in the ward where they reside are their fellowshippers, and we are simply teaching, asking and answering questions, and inviting them to experiment upon the word. Their friends follow up with them! If you can, see if you can do that, too!

Anyway, I am all out of time, but I love you all! Tell me how you are! I'd love to know!

Sister Loradona May
ps--can you believe it's almost May Day? That will mark 1 year since I flew into Omaha!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Happy Easter! One day late...

Hey, family! Guess who's finally moving this week? We are! Sister Gomez and I, that is. Any guesses as to where? I'll start by letting you all know that we are fortunate enough to be living with members still, which is great. We will be living with the Longhursts, who are the nicest couple known to man. They have made changes to some things in their home to accommodate us, and we are so grateful. Now, are you ready to know where, physically, we will be moving? South Dakota! You guys, I will now have lived in 3 of the 4 states within mission boundaries (Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota)! How cool is that? I don't have high hopes of living in Kansas any time soon, but I suppose it's always a possibility. One never knows! I'll try and take pictures of the new setup soon. We move in officially on Wednesday, but some of our stuff is already there, and we are taking more today. It's work to move on your mission! Transfers usually just means packing your bags. This means moving EVERYTHING: area books, materials, pamphlets, everything. I know it's nothing like Jeanette's recent move, but for us it feels huge! :)
I went on Spanish Exchanges again this week, and it was pretty fun. Most of our lessons were in English with a little bit of Spanish mixed in. Mostly I think people felt sorry for me and spoke in English so the poor monolingual girl didn't feel left out. But! Those Spanish Sisters are so awesome! They just had a baptism this week, and it was so much fun to work with them and to see their hard work. Basically I love them. 

We had a fun Easter. First of all, I sang in the ward choir, and I will have you all know that I sang soprano. (I know!) AND that I hit a G. (I KNOW!) That, my friends, might be something that never happens again, but I think it was an Easter blessing. Then we had a dinner at a member's home with, like, three or four other families from the ward. I wish I could just be their friends! They were all so funny and it was a fun time. We also got to see a beautiful thunder storm while eating dinner, so that was great. 

Finally, that evening, we were able to see someone we'd been trying to see for ages. We were able to see her, teach a lesson, and set a time for us to go back! It's the little things, I think, that sometimes mean the most. 

This week... not a lot going on. Just another exchange, a chance to teach more people the gospel, and another chance to see amazing things happen. 

Are you all reading your scriptures? If you aren't, I'll just remind you that it's one of the simplest things you can do to help yourself. Imagine asking for answers to a question, but you never open the book where the answers are. That would be ridiculous, wouldn't it? So, go check out the answer book! There might be something in there!

I love you all to tiny pieces! Go do something fun, then write me about it!

Sister Loradona May

Monday, April 14, 2014

My life in a nutshell...

You guys. It was 80 on Saturday. And then yesterday it snowed 6 inches while we were in church, so, Go Spring? Basically, I have no idea what to wear each day, though I wore snow boots today. Everything else is kind of a crap shoot.
Quick: I need conversion stories from the McKnights, Murdocks, Butikofers, and Mays. Ready, set, go! I know Dad has the Butikofer (wait, no his Grandpa May's) story that he can easily email. But I have a homework assignment from President Weston: Get conversion stories from the various branches of my family, and memorize one of the stories to share for the next Zone Conference. So, help me finish my homework! I love you!

Also: We had some surprise investigators come to church yesterday. That was cool. We also get to go on Spanish Exchanges this week, so that should be fun again! I'll let you know if my Spanish improves. We went on exchanges this last week, as well as to a training in Omaha, all of which were good. But it's been a crazy week. 

Also: It looks like we're moving next week? But we haven't received official word? So we don't actually know? I think we're moving in with members, but I honestly don't really know anything. I think we're the last ones to know. The mission office tends to call and just say, "Pack up. You're moving tomorrow." So we'll know soon, I hope! 

Okay, I have some fun missionary scriptures. I have been trying to read the Old Testament so I can say I have read every word, and I just finished 1 Chronicles. The best scripture there is 1 Chron. 28:20. I love it! I also have decided I love Hebrews 12:1-2. Basically, when I look at those scriptures from a missionary perspective, it helps me to focus and continue to do my hardest work. Maybe they can inspire you, too. 

Speaking of hard work, I hear Grandma has been doing some hard work to get her leg back in working order! Good job and keep doing that physical therapy! Hooray! When I get home, we'll have to go hiking, right? :) 

I love you all and I will write to you again soon!

Sister Loradona May

Monday, April 7, 2014

Where Sister May is struck silent

Well, transfers came and went without any changes for me, which is good. Change is overrated, right? Besides, Sister Gomez and I are doing well together, which is awesome. We have another round of exchanges starting this week as well as a trip to Omaha, so here's to an amazing set of car rides! Hooray?
So, we know we will be moving sometime this month. We don't know when. Or where. But we are. Last time, the mission office gave the sisters 24 hour notice as to when they could move in, so I fully expect that will happen this time. So I could have a new place this week? Or next week? Or the week after? I have absolutely no idea. 

This week also saw us have to help coordinate transferring sisters and helping them figure out how to get to Omaha and get the new sisters up here. Oy! It's okay, because everyone made it, we're all fine, even if it did decide to snow 6 inches the night before transfers. We got up and there was a lovely, wet layer of snow over everything. We had to go pick up the Hermanas (the Sioux City Spanish Sisters) because their car was in the shop, but one of them was being transferred. So we picked them up in the snow, at 5:45. Then we met up with other sisters at the church, packed them and luggage into two cars and sent them on their way to Omaha for transfers. And then we kept two sisters with us because their companions were gone. What else could we do? Except I had a cold and had no voice, so that was fun. Don't worry--I can talk all I want now! Although I am sure Sister Gomez appreciated my silence for a while. :)

We had a cool experience with a referral this week. We had someone call us and tell us about this family that needs to learn about the gospel, and I could just feel the love that the members had for this family. It made me really want to do my best to teach them and help them feel and understand how this all can change their lives. 

Speaking of life-changing: Conference was amazing, no? I loved President Uchtdorf's talk on gratitude, and something he said really got me thinking. He mentioned something to the effect that if we want increased faith and hope, we need increased gratitude. It also made me think of Moroni 7:4-41ish (maybe 42? Who knows). Anyway, it says that for us to have faith, we need hope. And when we have increased faith and hope, we have hope in the Atonement of Christ. So: increased gratitude will lead to increased faith, which leads to increased hope, which leads us to Christ's Atonement. So, when we have more gratitude, it helps us to have the Atonement more in our lives, which makes me more grateful, and... it's a self-feeding cycle! I love it. 

I love you all, and I wish I could write really long emails to everyone, but alas, time is so short! I love you all and I will send another update next week! In the meantime, feed your gratitude, and your faith will follow!

Sister Loradona May

Pictures From March 1014

Blue Bunny and Spring

I think, just maybe, Spring might be here. Although it snowed on Thursday night. That was kind of a bummer. But Sunday it was 73 and sunny, and this morning it was 60 when we left the house! I might cry...
We did the last of the exchanges for the transfer last week, so hooray! But this week is the last week of the transfer, so next week it starts all over again. Hooray! I like exchanges, but they can be exhausting. Sister Gomez and I talk about why we are so tired as missionaries, and we think it is because it is tiring to have the Spirit with you constantly. That's our theory, anyway. I sometimes wish that P Day could be renamed Nap Day, but that rarely happens. In fact, as a missionary, P Day isn't really very relaxing. There is so much to do, and so little time to do it in, that you don't just relax. Today, however, we are travelling to LeMars, IA to visit the Blue Bunny ice cream parlor. One of the sisters is convinced she is being transferred, so she wants to visit LeMars to have ice cream, and seeing how as I looooove ice cream, I thought it was a splendid idea. I shall eat a million ice cream scoops and roll home. 

Our Bishopric in the Sioux City 2nd Ward changed this week, which was exciting. The new Bishop seems cool. His wife is the Relief Society President, so I am guessing that will change soon, as well. We have been to their home to eat, and I love their family. I think he will be a good, dedicated bishop. 

Also, a family we visit regularly had a dog that had puppies! The dog was in labor during our last visit, so that was interesting, though there were no puppies while we were there. But the dog sure was testy any time someone looked at her! And then they texted us at 11:30 pm to give us the puppy update. :) We stopped by to see them the next day, and the puppies were so roly-poly, and I loved it! We have a lesson with them later this week, which should be fun. 

We went to the Women's broadcast on Saturday, and I loved it! The program was beautiful, and I loved it when Sister Wixom (right?) had all the girls and women sing "Teach Me to Walk in the Light". It was super cool. I also really liked the talk by the RS President (whose name currently escapes me). It was such a lovely night, and it has me thinking about Conference this week. Something that makes me sad is when people use conference weekend as a vacation from church. It's far too monumental to take a break from. So, read 3 Nephi 17:3, and see how the Savior had the people prepare for His message. Then pattern your preparation after His suggestions. I know it can help you receive the answers you need and feel the love of Heavenly Father. 

I love you all, and I love the letters you all send. Keep sending them!
Sister Loradona May
Nebraska Omaha Mission
11027 Martha Street
Omaha, NE 68144 (In case anyone forgot! :)