Monday, August 31, 2015

Good morning everyone!

Hope everyone back home is doing well.

Not much has happened this week so my email won't be too detailed.  We visited Rose Marie who is an investigator that Hermana Taua found before I got here, and we've been having a hard time finding her home. We finally got to visit her this past week and she updated us on her concerns. She speaks mostly English, but she's Hispanic. We are teaching her in English because she wants to learn it more and more. We expressed a lot of love from our Heavenly Father to her when she started explaining her trials. We felt the impression to ask her to be baptized, so of course, following the spirit we went ahead and asked. She exclaimed she would LOVE to be baptized! We got super excited and continued to promise blessings to her and her children as long as she would continue to make an effort to read in the Book of Mormon, until we got her a copy of the children's Book of Mormon in English for her and her kids and grand kids. 

On Thursday it was Hermana Taua's one year mark!  Which is more sad for us sisters because it means they only have 6 months left...... and never want to leave their missions. Which is totally her!  We were blessed with some sweet members who offered to feed us and even offered to feed us dessert from another member that same day. We sure do love our tiny branch members!

I had a little bit of a downside to this week which I won't detail too much. My investigator Sabino, back in Wenatchee, he planned to be baptized this past Saturday!  Unfortunately, due to lack of communication between our Zone Leaders, I couldn't get any more information on it. I was extremely sad when we were told we could not go due to length of driving!  NO!  I still haven't gotten any information on his baptism, but I hope to today when we stop by the Mission Office!

To end my email on a happy note...   We had a HUGE conference this past week with Elder Packer of the area of the 70!  He's the Apostle Elder Packer's son, and man! Is he amazing!  We had a sweet conference about becoming the pioneers of the Washington Yakima mission.  A lot of discussion with him for advice about our areas and our teaching.  We received some great trainings on faith, leading by the spirit, and understanding our investigators! We LOVED being with him and enjoyed having time to talk with him and counsel with him for our new mission.  Mom, His grandma's maiden name is HARMAN! and lived back in Boston!  I was able to talk with him about his lineage a bit after the conference, we may possibly be related, but it would be very far back. 
Hermana Taua had the opportunity to sing at the conference as well, she really enjoyed it and so did everyone else back in the congregation!

Today's my MTC companion Hermana Harston's birthday!  This sister and I go WAY back.  I appreciate her for all she did for me when we were companions, and we are celebrating our P-Day today with her and with lunch in Yakima. 

Yesterday I had the opportunity to give a talk in Sacrament meeting about the living day prophets of the church, and it definitely made me choke up a few times giving my testimony of the prophets of our day, but I can't express enough how much I love our prophet, Thomas S. Monson.  Hermana Taua and I even sang together yesterday for the rest hymn during Sacrament meeting. We haven't had too much happen this week teaching wise or investigator wise. We continue to search high and low for the elect people to teach, but as of right now, We know heavenly father is testing us.. :)

Have a great week!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Slow and Steady we continue...

This week was a bit rocky, but overall we had a blast! Don't be confused if I talk about walking and knocking a lot, we are finding new investigators this week :)

Monday night after P-day we went and found some less actives whose membership papers were in our area book. We had a feeling we should go find them and meet them. Why not, right? Members that were baptized over 5 years ago and they haven't attended since? Of course we are gonna go find them! We met Eloise and Brian who are mother and son, Eloise's husband was working. We recently got a GPS from a member who donated it to our car so we plugged in the address and went a searching! We found Eloise and talked with her a bit. She and her husband and son, Brian were baptized in Hermiston, Oregon, and then moved to Toppenish for work. She is such a sweet lady who doesn't know how to read, but she listens to the Book of Mormon on tape, (YES! Partially active!)  We were extremely happy to meet them and have a return appointment on Friday. Still haven't met her husband, but we will this Friday :)

Tuesday we did service at the food bank again and got a whole bunch of bananas. They are always trying to give us food, not because they can, but because they have extra that will go bad soon, so they gave us some and then gave some to the Scouts, who were finishing service hours with us at the bank. We had some awesome lessons planned, which all ended up falling through, which was so so sad, but in return we did some solid knocking and contacting  of 'formers', which helps us clean out our area book.  We met Ricardo while knocking, who's a solid guy. Super nice and welcoming.  His family wasn't home at the time and he was headed out to Yakima to work, so we took down his name and address, but then he said he wouldn't be able to meet with us for another month because he's working HOPS.... #goshdarnyouharvestseason.  We definitely assured him we would be back in a month at his request. He looks forward to seeing us and getting his family together when we come back. 

Wednesday we had our District meeting and decided we would focus on inviting members every day to come out with us, because we can't find many members to come out with us for lessons or tracting. I also was able to give a training on diligence and how we are responsible to be diligent to our Heavenly father, our companions, but more importantly ourselves... It's so crucial that we are on time, and obedient because it brings miracles!  Exact obedience brings blessings and miracles!  Then we had some less actives we visited, and then had dinner with the Guzman family. They are both converts with 7 kids, and they are partially active where they live currently.  But we were able to talk a lot about the temple and baptism covenants.  Then we had another lesson with Katrina!  This girl though... She has so many questions and seemed to become more confused while we watched the Restoration video.  Luckily we had Brother Ibarra with us during this lesson and we were able to include his testimony and his solutions to her questions.  She's having a hard time accepting that there's a direct correct authority from Heavenly Father.  We will work on that though. There are some missionaries that have been able to teach the Restoration with only the Bible.  Who of my missionary friends knows how to?  Can someone help us out? Email me! :)  Much Appreciated!  We then started our exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders, who are such gems!  I left Toppenish and served in Yakima for the day with Hermana Cain.  She's from Georgia and she's the first missionary of her family and siblings to go.  She's a diamond!  She taught me so much!  The only little down part of exchanges was that they work in a walking area.... Merp.  They have a car for the first half of the week and then they give their car to the elders, who they share it with.  I can now say I have rock hard shins! I really enjoyed taking a break from driving though... I really do love walking! 

The whole next day was full of rides to appointments and walking. I loved working in Yakima that day!  I guess you could say I got a little break from Spanish, because we taught in English all day.  That was because the Sister Training Leaders, who have been called to speak Spanish, are in an English walking area, which sounds silly, but it's as the Lord wants :)  I was able to meet a lot of wonderful English less actives and try to give English lessons... It was so weird to not be speaking Spanish!  We finished out the day with a lesson with some sweet less actives, who drive truck and who are sick once in a while, but they have great faith!  Then Hermana Taua and Johnson drove to us in Yakima and we exchanged back.  They were able to find some awesome potential investigators for us to return and see this week!

Saturday was a lot of knocking as well. We met someone SO SOLID!  Cezar answered the door very shyly but curiously. We talked a little bit about faith and blessings from having Christ in our lives. We invited him to pray with us before we left and he turned out to be VERY hesitant.  He's catholic, so he's only used to the crucifix hand motion thing.  So we taught him how to pray from the Restoration pamphlet and he said a really short, sweet, powerful prayer.  "Dear God, please help my struggling family, please help me find work, Amen".  We told him he did a great job!  We set up a return appointment for Sunday night.  We also received a call from President Lewis... He asked Hermana Taua to sing in a big conference we are having tomorrow with Elder Packer's son, who is a member of the area of 70.  She accepted, and he invited me to join with her as a duet if she'd like.  We said we'd do it!

Sunday was a little hard to pay attention because there weren't that many people at church, a lot of our members are going back to work for harvesting the Hops. #darnyouhops.  Neither of us felt the Spirit much, we didn't know why.  This continued all day and we started to have contention between us without the Spirit.  Before returning to Cezar, who we met the day before, I had to get out of the car and stretch and just try to relax.  I couldn't relax without the Spirit with us then.  The spirit of contention was so harsh we barely spoke outside of lessons and prayers before lessons.  After saying a prayer to bring the Spirit back, the only bad thing was... when we arrived at Cezar's door there was a note... "Somos catolicos aqui".  We are catholics here!  NOOO.... Darn it. We vaguely saw him as we walked away, but he quickly shut the door when he saw we left him a note with our number.  It was really sad to see this in result of not striving enough to have the Spirit with us.  We were able to talk today about what we can do better to keep the Spirit with us as a companionship, and we start our goals TODAY.  

It was a great week, and I wish luck to my friends going back to school and to working at the schools. Have a great week!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Slow and Steadily forward

Hi everyone! 

So to you guys who have been asking, yes, we have our car again!

Monday we stayed in Toppenish for Pday since we were car-less, but we had a member who drove us a few places and our awesome branch president and his daughter drove us to lunch and to email that day. 

Tuesday, I hit my 6 month mark! It feels like these past 6 months have just flown by! So weird! We did service at the food bank where Sister Massengale took us and dropped us off and then picked us up. Well she didn't know it was my 6 month mark until she drove us there, and then when she came back to get us.... BOOM! Baloons galore in her car, and car marker on her car of my 6 months... Honestly, one of the sweetest things the members have done for me since I came out! She used to blow up those animal and flower balloons for the Toppenish parades and fairs, so she blew up a couple flowers for H. Taua and I. It was so sweet of her!  We took all the balloons home with us. We had dinner with the Ibarra family, who I mentioned last week. They are the best!! Brother and Sister Ibarra have taken us in like their 7th and 8th daughters. They always check on us and ask us if we need anything. They are definitely my mission parents. 

Wednesday we had a sweet Zone meeting, the first meeting for the first full transfer in the new mission. Discussed our goals and our areas, and got some new ideas to take to our Branch President. Then we got lunch, hung out with our zone, got home and went to work with calling potentials, what we've been doing lately when we get stuck at the house. We had a lesson with Alberto and Katrina, who are officially new investigators! Alberto is looking for answers, and we explained to him that when we call upon our Father in heaven He will answer our prayers in His due time. He was found by Hermana Taua and her past companion, and he's seriously searching for happiness. BINGO! That's what we do! We had that sweet lesson about prayer with him, and that was the same day we got our CAR BACK!  We've missed our beautiful car... So thankful for it!

Friday we had a lesson with Katrina, which has been interesting lately... She LOVES her bible. She'll quote stuff from the Bible and new testament like none other. It's crazy! We taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and then she asked a lot of good questions about the Plan of Salvation. We have plans to teach the Plan of Salvation for her next lesson.  Sadly we didn't commit her to a baptism date, but we will for sure tomorrow night when we meet with her again. We had a HUGE dinner with a recent convert's family after our lesson with her, and we seriously could barely walk out of the house after that meal. It felt like Thanksgiving all over again. Home made fried beans, beef and corn tortillas. And some of the BEST homemade Spanish rice I've had since I got here (Mom, yours is still the best ever!)

Saturday we had a sweet Spanish combined branch dinner and activity. We had a pot luck and soup for dinner, and then we had this cool activity with everyone about the Plan of Salvation, (IF ONLY Katrina had come with us!) where everyone was wearing a certain colored ribbon, and it represented the different people in the spirit world after our earthly life and where we all went. Then we moved around to different rooms/worlds in the church. It was so cool! The Branch President gave us the materials to do it with our branch for an activity or with the youth. Not too many of our branch came, but some of our awesome less actives came.  So we came and tagged along with the Ibarra family in their family van. Again, they're the best.

Sunday was pretty nice, we had another great Ward Council about our less actives. We had the pleasure of listening to President Kendall in Sacrament meeting as well. He's super awesome, he's feeding us with his family hopefully soon this week or next week!

It's been another slow week, but it will continue to get better! Can't wait to see the blossoms of our fruits. I know if we are obedient to our Heavenly Father in keeping the commandments and keeping our covenants with him that we are incredibly blessed in so many ways. 

Thanks for all the endless support and prayers. I feel them greatly!
Love you all!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Car-less, Knee-less....

Well, this week has been super interesting...

Last P-day, Hermana Taua injured her knee pretty bad while we were playing volleyball with our zone in Yakima. She spiked the ball and came down on her leg wrong, and some of us heard a 'Pop'...  Not sure what exactly happened, but we got in contact with our mission nurse who told us to ice it and elevate and it should get better. We already had plans to buy some pain killer that day to share in a big bottle, so we got to Toppenish from Pday just in time to get some pain killer for her before we had our appointment with Veronica. 

Tuesday we road tripped to Quincy to attend a special training that I should've gotten during my second transfer of being trained, but it's been canceled twice since I first got here.  So we finally got to attend this past week, and road tripped with some other missionaries including my awesome MTC Homie, Hermana Harston and her companion, who serve in Yakima.  We received a sweet training on the Doctrine of Christ.  We absolutely loved it!  We were able to talk with Sister Lewis, President Lewis's wife about Hermana Taua's knee, and mine... I didn't have any accident with mine, just some stiff pain.  We called our mission nurse again, who didn't answer our phone.  We were about to give up on solutions but we soon got a voicemail from her, that told us she set up an appointment for us to visit a clinic with some doctors who are members (because just about every practice in Yakima that has a member from the church will work with the missionaries for almost free!).  Luckily we caught the voicemail before we got in the car in Yakima to drive home, 30 minutes away.  It was that same day, and those same sisters we rode with to our training? My MTC companion?  Well, we just carpooled with them because they were on their way to the same clinic and had their one appointment around the same time as Hermana Taua's.  They did some X-rays on her knee, and we should be getting a call back today with results.

On top of having one less working leg, we had to take our car into the auto collision place in Wapato, about 15 minutes away.  Some past missionaries were kinda wreck-less with the doors on our beautiful car, and body work on all doors was needed and new paint.  The paint job was already beautiful, and we hope they don't change the color of our car... 

But that same night we were taken out to dinner by a member who then dropped us off at the Youth's Mutual night of car washing, that they invited us to help at.  While Hemana Taua rested her knee, I finally got to get dirty and wet and help wash cars from the members and leaders of the church.  The youth here are absolutely amazing!  I got to know them and I've already started to love each of them.

So, from what you've read so far, missionary work has been a bit of a struggle this week.  We were able to go on splits this week, with permission from President Lewis for me to go out and work and visit less actives with a member, while Hermana Taua stayed at the Ibarra's house (the amazing members I told you about last week).  Our first split was when Sister Ibarra came out with me and drove us to some less actives who needed a visit while their daughter Christina stayed at our house with Hermana Taua.  I was able to really connect with our sweet amazing less actives.  Our second split was Saturday night when I was able to visit some recent converts since March, who have been less active since being baptized by the elders, who were last in this area before Hermana Taua and her past companion.  They haven't been attending and I've been eager to meet them.  I finally got to meet them and they are a sweet small family, who we got a return appointment with to help them out this week on Tuesday, and have just a couple dinners this week. 

Sunday I finally got to meet our amazing branch president, President Kendall.  He is so cool.  We enjoy our meetings with him and he's offered to give us rides with his wife to an appointment with our new investigator Katrina!  Katrina is a super sweet teenager who is dating a youth in the branch.  They both have good intentions, and her boyfriend has plans to serve a mission.  We plan on asking her to be baptized this week and to extend a baptism date.  Can't wait!  She's super into the Bible, (Christian background) super sweet, good teenager, and we can't wait to visit with her again!  She wants us to meet her parents this week too, who have let her take the lessons with us. 

Just got off the phone with the Auto-collision place and we should be getting our car back tomorrow afternoon.  In the meantime, we are finding rides from members to go grocery shopping and to get home from our Pday stuff. 

That's my week, but I received some sweet mail from some of you within the past few weeks, thanks for all the love and support! :)

Love you all, have a dandy safe week!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Official Yakima Mission Address

If you would like to send Sarah mail or a package, this is the new mission address and will be in effect for the remainder of her mission.  Thank you.

Washington Yakima Mission
1006 S 16th Ave
Yakima, WA 98902

Monday, August 3, 2015

A Whole New... Hoppin in Toppenish!

Hey hey everyone! 

This week has been insane!  We had some sweet member present lessons back in East Wenatchee before I left on Wednesday, and let me just say, the land of my mission birth was extremely hard to say goodbye to, as every missionary says.  Holy Cow, I miss it so much!  I will never forget the memories I had in East Wenatchee, and I hope to go back someday.  Who knows, maybe I'll get sent back later during my mission... Just kidding. 
Transfer day was so sad...  I said goodbye to some amazing members before meeting at the transfer site. Then it came time to say goodbye to Hermana Alcocer... I've never had a more difficult goodbye. She greenie-broke me good and hard.  She was amazing.  I can't wait to hear about her adventures as an STL.  She is so wonderful and I can't imagine spending that transfer without her.  I needed her so much, and we grew so much together.

Hermana Taua and I

Transfer day we received bad news of a recent convert in Chelan who passed away.  Hermana Alcocer was so broken, and so was my new companion, Hermana Taua.  Hermana Kennedy and I arrived in Yakima to meet our new companions and we unfortunately had to brake the bad news to Hermana Taua, who helped her get baptized in Chelan.  Kathy was so blessed to be taught by Hermana Taua and Hermana Safesten in Chelan in February. All is well, and All will be well.

Anyway, remember how I covered a HUGE area in East Wenatchee?  Well I've got news... my area in Toppenish is even bigger.  Yahoo!  It's a bit stressful, but also exciting!  There's a lot of Less Actives to round up!  Our branch is pretty small without the less actives, but it surprisingly bigger than the Columbia River Branch I worked with for a short time in Wenatchee.  There are so many amazing members!  When we got to our Farm House (Yes, I just said farm house, because we live in the middle of corn and asparagus fields), Hermana Taua and I grabbed some dinner and then headed out to see the Ibarra family.  Holy Cow, I've never met such amazing members!  I felt so welcome in their home, and they are so missionary oriented.  They help out so much, they feed us every Sunday and bring home made lunch for after church every Sunday for everyone who comes to Daily Dose. 

Planning this week took TOO long.  We have so, so many less actives we need to round up, but Toppenish and our whole area looks very promising for those Hispanic families!  We are so excited to work in this area!  We cover around 6 little towns, that are all about 15 - 20 minutes away from each other.  But luckily with our sweet '14 Corola, we've got it handled. 

Hopper Fields: They grow like a vine, except a lot taller!
We had a chance to visit one of our investigators named Veronica. She's been taught multiple times by the missionaries, and by one of our good missionary friends, who's now home, Elder Hacking. Her two sons were baptized by him, and her daughter just recently turned four years old.  But Veronica hasn't been baptized yet! That's gonna change... :)  We are so excited to get to work here and help Veronica.  Our area has so much potential, and we can't wait to get to work!

Referring to my email title... Yakima Valley is known for the Hopper Fields.. what are those?  Well let's just say it's an important ingredient in beer... Good thing the hopper festivals are over!  I've heard from a lot of other missionaries it STINKS when they harvest it or have the beer and hopper festivals.  Lots and LOTS of asparagus and corn fields, a long with a TON of Hopper fields. It's pretty interesting!

You are all wonderful, Love you all to pieces!