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