Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Stuck In Crestucky

So to answer your lifelong question about whether or not Toyota Corollas can handle deep Southern untamed dirt roads, the answer is no.

No they cannot.

This is the second time believe it or not that we have gotten stuck in Crestucky.

I would like to take this time to point out the fact that I was not driving either time...

Even if the truth remains that I was in the passenger seat saying:

 "Just gun it and we'll fly over this road so fast we won't even have time to sink."

Thank goodness for Mormons nearby that can come get us out with some rope and a mini van.

What does redneck even mean?

So much has been happening right now so here is one one-hundredth of it all

Exchanges with sister Hannig basically changed my life last week.

She is seriously one of the very best missionaries I have ever met. 
She taught me the importance of being yourself and loving yourself.

The call we accepted was to be missionaries as we are, and to BECOME who we need to be throughout the mission.

 At every and any given point we are where we need to be as long as we are striving to follow the Savior. If we simply follow the savior, and be ourselves, we will be happy.

I was able to serve for a day on TCC which by the way is a bigger campus than SUU I'm pretty sure and it's only a community college... HA

but I loved it because it reminded me of school and how much I loved it.

There is a special spirit there, so many young souls fresh on their own, looking for truth. For a new start, for things that have been missing in their lives.

They are already open to gaining knowledge because they are at school, which helps them to receive the new spiritual knowledge of the gospel when they meet us, the missionaries.

We talked to literally everyone we saw as we walked around campus. It was awesome. 

Miracle moment, we met Kahleel.

Super awesome dude, took the missionary lessons once before but stopped meeting with them and going to church.

He recognized us, we talked to him and made an appointment with him for later that same day.

When we sat down with him in the library, the most amazing feeling came over both Sister Hannig and me.

Obviously it was the Spirit, but it was especially brilliant.

All the sudden, us, two sister missionaries that have never served together, were both welded into one instrument in God's hands. 

Kind of weird imagery, but literally that's what happened.

The questions coming out of my mouth taught ME so much, Sister Hannig was pulling beautiful parables out like nobodies business and Kahleel was connecting some very important dots because of the Spirit working in all three of us.

He realized he has been a little unhappy, that his conscience made him feel guilty for not coming to church or meeting with the missionaries anymore. 

We taught him what his conscience is: the light of Christ. 

Then Sister Hannig explained the difference between the light of Christ and having the Gift of the Holy Ghost like this:

If you were walking down a path somewhere very dark and you couldn't see in front of you at all because it's pitch black you wouldn't want to really move anywhere right? And even if you do move somewhere, odds are you will get lost because you can't see.

But if there was a lightning storm, every strike would provide enough light to take one step in the right direction. This is what it means to have the Spirit impress upon us something, aka the light of Christ.
It helps us move in the right direction. But when we are baptized and receive the Holy Ghost, it's like God handing us His flashlight. Only then can we continually move forward.

It was awesome. Kaleel agreed to be baptized. He said he's ready this time to fully commit now that he knows what he is missing. 

To see his heart change from the beginning, to his resolve at the end, I KNOW without a doubt, the Spirit is able to soften the hearts of everyone. That Kahleel allowed it to work in him, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church, Jesus Christ's true church, on the Earth today.

 God gives us lightning bolts, bursts of light to know the truth, and if we follow them long enough and make the decision to make and keep covenants, we are blessed to 
always have His personal flashlight to be with us. 

We walked away on a spiritual high.

It was very much what I needed to pull me out of a sort of rut I've been feeling.

Obviously mission life has highs and lows and goes back and forth many times sometimes in one hour of the day, but lately, I have been feeling a bit down :) 

I've always considered myself a lover of adventure (duh) and change is my middle name, but I think mission changes are much different than changing your hair color or saving up for a two month trip across the country.

The changes made on a mission have eternal effects.

There are two kinds of changes on the mission and in life. 

1. changes that we have control over that help us to grow and help us to progress. For example: being more strictly obedient.

2. changes that just are not in your control, and they break your heart. For example: Saying goodbye to companions, areas, and the people in the areas you grew to love. 

These ones also help us to grow how the Lord sees fit, and allows us to come in to contact with those that need our specific talents and personality to aide the Spirit in igniting the flame of their faith. Nevertheless, it is hard.

But exchanges and learning from Sister Hannig sure made a difference. (She's going to SUU so we are going to be roomies. We also plan on opening our own nunnery so that's cool too ;)

"It's okay to hit rock bottom once in awhile, as long as the Savior is the rock and we choose to build upon Him as our foundation." -SisterHannig

Way. Way. Cool.

Now for some fun stuff happening in Crestview

Sister White knocks on door

Shirtless man answers

"Hello Sir how are you?"

shirtless man answers the question

"Half naked. Come back later."

shirtless man closes the door on her face.  

Also, we got to meet with Gen again. I haven't told Ya'll about the people we are working with in Crestview much, but Gen is one of my faves.

She did drugs from the age of 8 to the age of about 55.

I'm talking hard core drugs. 

It's sad to see the toll they have taken on her health, and her brain. But she is so sweet and testified to us that she knows the church is true, because 

"If it wan't for them Elders that came ten years ago, I wouldn't of been able to quit doing drugs."

She explained that they used to come teach her and

 "I'd be as high as a kite. They didn't care. They wasn't mad at me if I was so high I didn't even know what they was sayin' they still loved me and kept comin' by. Eventually I just knew they were there to help, and I quit doing drugs. Even when I messed up after I tried to quit, they weren't mad, they knew I could do it someday."

I feel very strongly that the Savior feels the same way about each of us. He knows we can do it someday. 

She's so cute. And hilariously honest about her drug life, lol.

"It seems like when I'd pray for help, one of my dealers would get busted or somethin' so I couldn't get drugs. Then I'd just stay off of em' when they got out."

We have yet to see her with her teeth in, but I'm told she is exceptionally beautiful when she wears them. I'd say she's just as pretty without them though:)

When I hugged her goodbye after a lesson, she said:

"Hugs not drugs."

but I didn't hear her say it, so when we walked out and Sister White about peeled over and died of laughter I was super confused.

"Did you here what she just said to you?"


"She said Hugs Not Drugs"


Gen is my hero. 

I also have to tell you about Sister Rig

Sister Rig is probably 110 years old, her and her husband live in their living room, and they are raising two young grandchildren because their daughter passed away. 

(the children are in reality raising them)

First day we met Sister Rig, we walked up to the door and it had signs all over saying "No soliciting, don't want religion, don't want cleaner.." etc etc. 

Well.... we are encouraged as missionaries to leave these kinds of places alone. Why? Well the sign on one dudes house that I actually knocked on stupidly enough just a few days earlier sums it right up.

"Nothing in here is worth dying for. This house is protected by the second amendment." 

So this time, at this particular house, we decided not to knock but to go back to the car. But fetch... I really felt like we needed to see this human. So much so that I contemplated knocking still. 

but I called instead.

 No answer, so I left a message. 

Sister White thought I was crazy when I called AGAIN after leaving the message.


She answered! Then she said "If you're LDS missionaries you can come in. If not I don't want to talk to you."


So we go in.. and this place was set up like a hospital room in the living room. 

Her husband got out of his hospital bed and went into another room, and we talked to this sweet sister about the gospel and whatever else just trying to get to know her. 

This poor little old lady and her husband just breathe their oxygen and sleep in their hospital living room and watch tv all day. They only ever leave for doctor appointments which is super rare because it's hard enough making it to the actual restroom.

Reasons number 111899 and 111900 why I never ever want to get old. 

Nevertheless, I definitely love that lady and I commend her for still kickin it in her house even though it's fairly obvious assisted living would be safer, more comfortable, and more entertaining.

Okay I'm leaving so much out as usual, but I cannot NOT tell ya'll about one of the most amazing experiences of my life


Missionary Leadership Council

Twenty Four Hours of being with all the leaders in the entire Tally mission, learning from them, singing with them, laughing with them, and even kicking all of their butts in a game of Hit The Deck.
 (the missionary version. Yes. I did win. Yes. I do have a huge head about it.)

instead of lovers leap its praying on the porch, roadkill, driving, gun point on the front porch, hurricane warning, etc. SO MUCH FUN. 

We were able to ride with all the missionaries to Tally in the transfer van which was a blast even though Elder Delamar almost killed us when he drove off the freeway looking at the trees out his window. 


When we got to the mission home, the sisters dumped our stuff in the bedroom and we all went to the church across the street for training and council. It was so spiritually uplifting and motivating. I still feel extremely humbled to have been surrounded by the elect of the elect. As these 19 to 25 year olds opened their mouths I heard words of the Lord coming out. 

We then ate a Southern meal, had a sit down chat with President Smith the 2nd, and went out to the fire pit for some s'mores, campfire songs, and a testimony meeting. 

A slumber party with 14 sisters, a delicious breakfast later, and we were on our way back to Crestview for more adventures that will have to wait until next Monday.

Hold on to your hats people: this message is TBC

to be continued :)

big ole shout out to some peeps.

Sister White thank you for letting us pull over randomly so I can take silly pictures with deserts and storms and tropical palm trees and oceans and pine forests. (Florida has it all) You're a champ, I love you, and you should probably be a professional photographer someday. ;)

desert storm~the weather kind not the military operation kind

The thing I love about this desert storm pic is that as missionaries that's what we do, bring the water to the desert. Soften the ground for seeds to be planted, and facilitate the growth of the spirit and light within them <3

Inline image 1

Braden and Hales, you're having a boy. So stoked for you, and to someday meet little Six month old baby boy Saunders when I get home. <3

STEVE mission life is so lucky to have you and you are going to be an incredible missionary because you already are. I love you.

(Some of you know her as Sister C -aka my first companion)


and everyone else

Make it a great one :))


Masi <3

Madi :)