Well, I was hoping you all would have emailed me your transfer predictions...but you all would probably be wrong. I know I was! Sis. Cox and I both felt like we would be staying here in NN 1st. But I am being transferred to Newport News 2nd Ward. Sis. Cox gets to stay in the 1st Ward and she will be training yet again another greenie. After me it should be a breeze ;) haha It's really weird that I will be leaving Sis. Cox and this ward. And that I'm only going down the street. This has got to be the closest transfer in the history of the mission. It's breaks my heart to leave the Hamilton's! But I know the 2nd Ward needs me, so I'm excited to see what it's like. This new ward is actually pretty cool because it's the ward for Fort Eustis. I guess there is a branch on post that meets, so we work with them as well. I've heard the members aren't so missionary minded, so maybe I can help with that. Coming from the 1st Ward...they better be prepared for me! After our 2 baptisms tomorrow (technically I'll be 2nd Ward then, but I'm going to the baptism!) Sis. Cox and I will have seen 12 baptisms together. We had a great companionship and I am really going to miss her as my companion. I will be with Sister Dickson who I came out with, so it'll be fun. She's been in the 2nd Ward the whole time we've been out. The Spanish Elders are becoming a trio (I'm guessing that kid from St. Johns maybe...) and Elder Timmons is going to Chesterfield. So Elder Frampton will get a new comp and he was made District Leader. Back to 7 missionaries in the 1st Ward. I know that Bishop was praying really hard that all of us stay, but the new missionaries will be great. Pres. Millburn called us last night and told us the news. Then a few minutes later he called us back and wanted to express how impressed he was with our companionship. Sis. Cox said that's never happened to her before. Needless to say, I'm not really ready to leave Sis. Cox. But that's the mission I guess!
Ahh!! We just got a call and apparently there is a snow storm in SLC, so the new missionaries won't be coming for another day! So I will still be in NN 1st tomorrow! Yeah!
The Barkdull family is finally all baptized now. It only took 3 baptismal services, but they are all baptized. I told you about them on the phone. They are totally awesome and have the cutest kids. Ethan is 11 and he is going to be a scriptorian. He is so darn smart and he wanted to be baptized I swear more than anyone else in his family! The baptism yesterday was so incredible. The ward is doing another Book of Mormon read-a-thon and we read Mosiah 18 (Waters of Mormon) and then went and had the baptism. It was sweet!
I'm overwhelmed with emotions right now, so I don't have much else to say in words. We have seen so many miracles in this ward in the past 3 months it's incredible. I cannot believe how joyous I feel right now. We have truly seen real miracles. Sister Cox and I read in the Bible Dictionary this morning about Faith, Hope, and Miracles. We truly will see miracles based on our faith. I have had a perma smile like you wouldn't believe.
We had Zone P-Day today and went bowling. It was a lot of fun!
So last Friday we had a baptism for Ashley Pauley. She is 13 and her testimony rocks! This is number 3...not everyone we set for baptism has gotten baptized yet...soon though hopefully.
We had exchanges again and Sis. Cox went to Smithfield and I was with Sis. Halliday again. It was weird being without my trainer, but I actually felt really confident. So I feel like I am getting better and my knowledge is growing.
It's so crazy Christmas is next week! I don't know when we'll call yet. But it's probably going to be whenever we want. Our P-Day is moved to Thursday, so I can tell you then. But chances are Sis. Hamilton will let you know.
We have a Mission Conference tomorrow in Virginia Beach. We still don't have a ride...but we will! It should be fun. We will meet with all the sister's for an hour beforehand.
P.S. We are having a white Christmas. We right now have 3 baptisms, but that could change one way or the other. I'll keep you posted.
Yo se que La Iglesia de Jesu Cristo de Los Santos de Los Ultimos Dias es verdadera. I am working on my Spanish. We knock a lot of Spanish doors, so I am creating my own door approach. Haha
The YM/YW had a really fun mutual activity last week. They did ice cream sculpting. They had a big gallon thing of ice cream and had to create something from the Book of Mormon. One group created the Book of Mormon opened to Moroni 10:3-5. Another did a fortified city. It was so fun to watch and it gave them opportunity to meet new people, work on teamwork, and think of a Book of Mormon story.
So I started reading the Doctrine and Covenants again. It's so interesting how before I read it as direction given to Oliver Cowdery or Peter Whitmer, etc. and not so much me. But if it was just for them, why would we bother to have it in print right? What I've come to realize is that we are to apply and internalize all the instructions given to those men. Those revelations in D&C were given to men in this dispensation for a reason. We are all here at this time and in this dispensation (the last!!) to help and prepare each other to meet God again. We know that Christ will come at the end of this dispensation! The people born in the other dispensations were also responsible for missionary work, but they were not called to declare repentance like we are. The whole book talks about how we are to "declare repentance" and that what should be of most worth is the work of helping to save souls. In other words, we all should be a part of the missionary effort throughout our lives. My mission is teaching me a lot, but I think the thing of most value is what I am learning about who I want to be after my mission. Sis. Cox and I talk all the time about how excited we are to be members when we get back. And how we will hold each other accountable for what we say now!!
So the Ellis' are doing pretty good. He came to Church on Sunday, then we taught the kid's the Restoration. Monday night they came to an FHE at the Turner's house. It was sweet! (The Turner's are one of my favorite families in the ward.) We are going to teach Plan of Salvation tomorrow. We are going to a thrift store today...you know how much I love those!!! We are going to find some dresses for the mom and daughter. This will be fun!
For some reason I don't have much to say this week. So I'll work on sending some pics. Now that my battery works I can take pics again!
I love you family. Have fun with the holiday preparations! I still don't know the plan for Christmas. No Skype though. I think we may call from our phone...not positive though. And we can talk for up to 40 minutes. I don't think we will have a designated time, so we'll probably just pick a random time and let you know.
How is everyone doing? All is great here! I cannot believe it is December already. I've heard time outside of the mission stands still and I am experiencing that right now. I feel like it's September!!!! It was pretty weird how on Dec. 1 we had a little frost on the grass when we went running. Suddenly the weather got a little chillier. But it's already warmed up again though. The running joke is that if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes. That's so how UT and AZ are too!
P-Day is an awesome day never to forget. Why you ask...because Sis. Cox and I went and got free massages!! It was awesome and can I just say well needed too. There is this lady that we met who is an instructor at a tech college and she was telling us how we could get massages for free. Okay, twist our arms. So we called our Zone Leaders and asked and they said we could. It was sweet!
The sad thing about today is I went to apply for my VA driver's license. They punched a big hole in my AZ one :( I need to figure out how that will work with residency though. I think I can get a change of address form and fill it out... So in 7-10 business days I will have a new driver's license...only a temporary paper one for now.
Sis. Cox and I spoke in church on Sunday about Christ. I tell you what, it's much easier coming up with a talk on the spur of the moment now than it was before! Writing talks is not something we have time for, so we kind of just got up there and went for it. Pres. Hansen spoke as well, so it was a sweet sacrament meeting to have our investigators at. I cannot tell you how nice it was to not hold my breath hoping that the talks aren't crazy! Bishop spoke in the 3rd hour and it was amazing. He said that the Lord will keep giving the ward new members for as long as we can care for them and handle it.
Thanksgiving was so fun! Thanks for the video you sent! That was cute. I loved the Turkey song Ashlyn!!!! And I am so glad Tyler did his letter B thing. I thought of it a few weeks ago and couldn't remember exactly how it went. We did our weekly planning session that morning and then went to the Hamilton's. We cancelled all of our other appts.! We ate some good food...including sweet potato souffle!!!!! Yeah! Thanks mom for sending the recipe. It was a HUGE hit. Bishop really liked it and Sis. Cox could not find the words to describe it. She just kept saying WOW! WOW! It was hilarious. Then we hung out for a little while and then went bowling. We bowled with 2 of the Hamilton kids and then one of their friends. We bowled different ways each time. We did the "slide" and wow, I have a sweet bruise on my knee. Who knew I got old and couldn't do a sweet bowling slide very well?!?! Haha. But we are for sure going to have to make bowling one of the new T-Day traditions. It was so fun!
We have been working hard and really fighting against anti material. It seems that everyone we teach gets anti within 5 seconds! It is horrible! Apparently anti-Mormon stuff is preached from the pulpits here. I had no idea. I think it's so weird. But that is one of the best ways for Satan to attack our investigators. Because our stake is having such a push right now (reading the BoM and fasting, etc.) for the rest of 2009, Satan has really been working hard. We've had investigators in the hospital and family members die and get sick and all sorts of weird stuff come up to keep them from coming to Church. Bishop once said that he'd hate to be related to an investigator right now. It's sad, but true. Everyone we teach has something really dramatic happen in their family. But it's so obvious - it is because Satan is trying everything he can to stop them from doing good things that will bless their lives.
We just got into contact with one of our less active families yesterday. They are so amazing and really do want to come back to church. They have had the worst luck throughout the year, so they really need the blessings from coming to church. They used to have a nice house and lived a normal life. Then he was out of work and came to Newport News for a promised job, which fell through. They put all of their belongings into storage and firgured they would move all the stuff to their new house. But because the job fell through, they had no money. So everything in the storage was auctioned off including personal stuff like photo albums. They've been in and out of dumpy long stay hotels and he picked up smoking again. She found work, but he still hasn't because he's overqualified for everything. He works in mental health for adults, so a lot of those jobs have been cut recently. They've got 2 or 3 kids...not sure. But 2 are of baptismal age and have not been baptized yet. They said they will be at church Sunday and then we'll meet with them Sunday afternoon and again Monday night for FHE...both at member homes. They are such a cool family that ran into some serious back luck. But they've been humbled in a way that they will be rocking members once they are consistent. We are excited for them, so look for future updates. They are the Ellis family...
Well things are great in NN! I hope with the holiday season we are all looking for ways to serve our fellow men. Cody-it sounds like your family's ideas are awesome! I can't wait to hear about how it goes.
Making this suggestion has been on my mind for a few weeks, so I'm just going to suggest it. Ways to serve your local missionaries: 1) meet their investigators at church and invite to take them to classes 2) tell the missionaries that you would be willing to have lessons in your homes 3) ask the missionaries when you can go with them to lessons (don't worry...it's not scary) 4) invite recent converts, less actives, or investigators to your house for dinner, FHE, etc. (this is even cooler if you just did it without the missionaries.) 5) invite your non-member friends to ward activities or a dinner at your house (and tell the missionaries, of course!) I don't know who will take these suggestions, but these are great ways to serve the ward. Retention is a big job and missionaries come and go, but the ward stays around. If they get the HT, VT, and fellowshipping they need, new members will be more likely to stick around and keep developing their testimonies. The first little while is hard for them because they are completely changing their lifestyle. Imagine a life totally opposite of you and then think of the process it takes to go from that to where you are now. Crazy eh? Okay, done now.
Wow, I cannot believe Thanksgiving is tomorrow!!! Wow, no Black Friday shopping for me this year I guess. Haha. It doesn't seem weird that I'm not home for some reason. We were originally told that we had a normal proselyting day on Thanksgiving, so we ended up having 8 dinners scheduled with ward members who HAD to have us come over. Can you imagine Sister Cox and I eating 8 dinners? Hahahahahahaha. But then we decided to ask our zone leaders and not trust our district leader and lo and behold Thanksgiving is NOT a proselyting day! That makes a lot more sense. So we are slowly but surely cancelling dinners. It's hard because everyone wants the missionaries to come teach their families. It's awesome, but so not practical. So we are going with the Hamilton's for lunch and then bowling afterwards. That is their T-Day tradition-which we should totally start doing. I think that sounds like so much fun! We're not sure what else we are doing, but we are looking forward to it!
We are teaching this way cute couple and guess what???? They are getting baptized and married!!! They are like 20 and have a baby boy named Job. He is so cute and not being able to pick up kids is the worst!!!! Amanda grew up going to church with her g'ma, but was never baptized. She has been taught by the missionaries for forever, but we met with them last week and got them to set Jan 31st for their wedding and baptism. That is just a goal, because I think they may not get baptized on the same day. It's sweet-I get to play missionary wedding planner. It's been fun getting things planned and the ward members are so cool and totally helping with everything for free. We are crossing our fingers that they get married before the 30th of Dec, because we think transfers are that week and we don't want to miss it.
Call me crazy, but I totally want to be a scout leader when I get home. We talked to the scout lady here because we have a lot of 8-11 year olds we are working with. Scouts is such a cool program, I had no idea!!! I have heard for ages that scouts is the worst calling-Why is that?
Have y'all been able to check out MormonMessages.org yet? Do it if you haven't! And when you talk to people, that is a great website to refer them to. Check out the one on Thanksgiving. It's my new favorite. We share this website with lots of people. And Mormon.org too!
As a missionary I commit people to do things all the time, so the commitment I am going to issue you is to share a pass along card with at least one person before Christmas. You don't even have to know the person. It can be the checkout lady at the store and you can just say I want to give you this as you walk away. I have discovered how easy it is to give away pass along cards to strangers. No commitments and no pressure are involved. So will you do this and then email me and tell me who you gave it to? I cannot wait to hear about it!
Blessings is something that we have been talking about a lot this week, so I want to share my 2 cents. Blessings will come to us as we strive to keep the commandments. It's when we fail to make an effort to keep the commandments when Satan will have that influence over us. Obedience brings blessings! The Lord always promises incredible blessings for every command He gives. He is bound by law (...there is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven...D&C 130) and MUST give us the blessings if we keep his commandments. It sounds so simple, but yet it's so hard. But I know that if we make an effort (even just a small one) to be obedient we will see our lives change for the better. If you want to learn more about the specific blessings we will receive review the covenants you've made. And also study the commands in the Book of Mormon, because a promised blessing will ALWAYS follow. So that's my 2 cents.
Snug as a bug in a rug. Compared to some apts, we have it good!
Nikki and Fatima at YW in Excellence. Nikki is one of the YW we are teaching.
Fatima is from Sierra Leone and made this poster for her project.
At Sis. Estep's baby shower. Sis. Estep and her husband were baptized in Feb and are the most rocking ward missionaries. The other girl is actually Sister Moss who went home in August. She is one that taught Sis. Estep.
We had to go to the Zone Leaders apt to get some supplies and just had to snap a pic in their sweet hats. Haha.
Well I guess you are wondering the verdict of the transfer calls..........I am staying in Newport News 1st Ward with Bishop Hamilton!!! And my trainer Sister Cox is staying here as well. Sister Case is actually going to become a trainer this transfer and move to Salem. She is being shotgunned in (meaning the missionaries come out and her greenie and her move in, without bias and knowledge of pretty much anything). The area needs it...I guess it's been "dead" for a year or so. Sister Case is such a great missionary and she is so bold, so she will do wonders there. I'm so excited to hear how she tears it up! It'll be crazy to go from 2 comps to 1, but it'll be good. It'll require more of me, which is necessary for me to progress and grow. I am a lot more quiet than I realized (bet ya never thought you'd here that!), so without another person talking...it's going to be a quieter transfer! Elder Frampton and Elder Timmons are both staying and we haven't heard about the Spanish Elders yet. I hope they stay-they are awesome. We are tag teaming a couple right now. The girl is American and speaks little Spanish and he is Mexican and speaks little English. Crazy right? I guess it actually happens a lot so we hear. But we are trying to get them married and then baptized all in December. This will be fun :)
We are teaching 4 young women right now. Hands down my favorite investigators right now. I can't believe how many light years ahead of me they are at their age. When I was their age I was so lazy when it came to the gospel. The youth in our ward are a dream! They share what they know with their friends and it comes easy to them it seems.
My comps and I had an interesting discussion yesterday. Being a full time missionary made us all realize that we didn't know what it meant to be a disciple of Christ and be a member missionary. I'll ask you now to hold me accountable in my future for this. I remember Dad telling us when we were little that the Lord comes 1st above all else. Of course being little, I was probably like yeah okay. But now I am realizing that I never really understood what that meant. If I did I would have helped more people come to know that Christ is our Savior and that they are a child of God. Being a disciple of Christ is taking what I know and sharing it with others. Being a member missionary is taking what I know and sharing it with others. Putting the Lord #1 means taking what I know and sharing it with others. The gospel is not just what we believe and what we do---it's who we are! If something is so much a part of us, why do we struggle to share it with others? It's so weird looking back at my life and seeing how many opportunities I was given to be a disciple of Christ and a member missionary and I didn't take them. I would love to use fear as my excuse, but then I would be saying I didn't have faith that the Lord would help me. We all know that fear and faith cannot co-exist. I don't want to be one of those missionaries that call everyone to repentance, but I do want to be one of those missionaries that invites others to come unto Christ and really truly know what that means. So family, consider the questions-What can you do to make sure you are putting the Lord 1st in everything you do? What changes do you need to make in your routines to ensure that you are studying (not just reading) the Book of Mormon daily and praying with a a sincere heart and with real intent? And when I get home from my mission, hold me accountable because I want to be the kind of member that missionaries dream of working with...ones with strong testimonies who share it! If the Lord is going to do his part and give me a testimony I better be doing my part and doing something good with it!
So I guess you heard about our little storm. Since we don't watch news or read newspapers we really had no idea it was so bad. Last Wed. night it was pretty awful outside, but that was just the beginning! We were on "house arrest", as we like to call it, for all of Thursday and half the day on Friday. It was so weird not going out and not knowing anything about what was going on. Bishop stopped by in the morning to make sure we were prepared with 72 hour kits and flashlights. Then in the afternoon Sis. Hamilton stopped by with food for us. They are the most amazing people ever. This means they had to go out in the storm! And bishop was doing this for a lot of ward members too! But being inside helped us get a lot of little things done that we always talk about doing..like mapping out all the less active members and updating teaching records. Important stuff that there is never time for!
Well we are still super busy everyday! We are going for something like 15 baptisms in our ward by the end of the year, so this will be FUN! To answer your question Mom-We don't have a huge ward-active members would probably be like 4th Ward. Less active members is HUGE though. But the field is white, which requires lots of missionaries! I think retention is a big concern of Bishop Hamilton's, which totally makes sense with all the baptisms.
The weather here rocks by the way. I am in a short sleeve today!
This week was a great week. The work has been going well and we are gearing up for a lot of baptisms that will happen in the next 7 weeks in our ward. We have been told that it is the faith of the leaders that makes a ward a missionary minded ward. We are in the middle of a 40 day fast and reading the Book of Mormon before the end of the year in Newport News 1st Ward. We have a lot of members who aren't really getting excited, but those that are, are incredible. We are getting a lot of referrals and with their faith we are finding people who are ready for the gospel.
One thing that I have noticed with members (and all non-members) is that a lot of people still don't understand their purpose in this life. I think that is where actual study comes in versus just merely reading the word of God. When we come to understand why we are here on earth we learn how important the Atonement is and how we could not fulfill our purpose in this life without it.
This week went by so fast as they all seem to. We had a BBQ at this park to try and get investigator's too. It turned out pretty good and all 3 missionary companionships had people there. We even found new investigator's and was able to set one of the families we found for baptism yesterday. Turns out the teenage girl used to always go to the Church with her member grandfather when she was little and the dad is a baptized inactive member. AND they've been talking about how they need to find a church to go to. Talk about prayers being answered. We've been praying to find families who are prepared to accept the gospel and be baptized this year. And they also have a 10 year boy too. We have a ton of boys his age, so he will fit right in!
We tracted into this older guy named Tuck a few weeks ago and then met his wife. We really liked them and we all felt that they needed to join the Church. But we weren't able to get an appt with them. We decided last night that we would pay them a visit. We talked for about a half hour, but left without an appt. Afterwards we all talked about how we are positive that they felt the Spirit and know what we are saying is true. They mentioned once that they are too old to change. haha, She's only 65 and seems totally young. But we are going to keep working on them. The scripture about either choosing to be humble or being compelled to be humble keeps coming to mind with them. That makes me super nervous. But we all 3 keep thinking we need to teach them. So I'll keep you posted on how that goes.
In one of the letters that I got when I got my call says that I am called to preach repentance and prepare people for the Second Coming. How interesting. I didn't think much of it at the time, but now it is like holy cow! My purpose as a missionary is to prepare people for the Second Coming of Christ.
This is Katy's mom with a short report. We had a phone message from Sister Stephanie Hamilton who is Katy's Bishop's wife. She called to let us know how much they love Katy and are glad she is there. The 3 Sisters wanted to surprise the Bishop and his family by raking leaves for them, thinking the family would be gone, but the Bishop's family surprised them by being home. Sister Hamilton also sent an email with the pictures that follow and a note saying that they brought popcorn and lemonade, too. Following the pictures is Katy's response.
That's awesome Sis. Hamilton emailed you. I love her tons! Their family is incredible and the rumor is that he is the best bishop in the whole mission!!! I don't know how I got blessed with that, but I am praying to stick around for a while. We had a meeting at his house that morning and the family was acting more somber than usual, so we decided we were going to sneak up on them and rake their yard. Only by the time we got the rakes the boys were already out raking. So we went and joined them and then Bish and Sis. Hamilton eventually saw us out there. We decided not to change into our work clothes because it wasn't too hot, but that was a bad idea. It was so humid, we were so gross for the rest of the day. Haha
What's going on family? How was Halloween? I am dying to see pics of the kids costumes. We of course couldn't attend our ward party without a costume...so we dressed up as each other ;) We unfortunately didn't get a good picture of it, but it's not like our clothes are that different from each other though. We had a ward Octoberfest/Trunk or Treat. This was a sweet party. We had so many investigators come and we got more out of it. It's one of those activities that is easy for ward members to invite their friends and neighbors to. Norman's (elders) baptism was right before and we had one of our investigators there. Right after she was like I want to be baptized. We've only taught her the 1st lesson so far, so we have a ways to go before she actually can be baptized. But nonetheless, she is set for baptism for an undecided date. She lives with her boyfriend who speaks little English and she speaks little Spanish. But we got the Spanish elders over to start teaching him. I really like Elizabeth, so I hope they can work out their living situation. She is pregnant, so there are all kinds of ways Satan will try and get in there and change her mind. Satan works so overtime on our investigators and it stinks. They don't realize that it is Satan though. That's been one of the hardest things about the mission so far is Satan's influence on people and how he can disguise himself so well. Ahhh!
Norman's baptism. He's the one we stole the cigs from.
And our Halloween costumes!
Me and Sister Turner from the ward
Our cute door on Halloween.
People always give us random plants from their yards...
those Chinese lanterns being just one of the many.
Funny story-We went tracking in the neighborhood of a media referral and some half dressed man answered one of the doors. He looks at us, shakes his head and closes the door. First time for that. But awhile later and a few blocks away, we just pulled up to a members house and he comes by on a bike and awkwardly hands me his business card and said to come by later. Well it was on Halloween and we had to be in by 6pm, so that didn't happen. But I'll keep you posted if we ever teach him. It was just funny that he hunted us down on his bike.
We had temporary exchanges this week. Sister Case went to Smithfield for 2 days and Sister Halliday came to us. It was a good experience. This was good to be able to have the opportunity to teach more and be more involved in the by the way contacting (talking to the random people we see everywhere we go).
Sister Halliday - exchanges
Before I got here my ward had a Book of Mormon read a thon. It's sounded way cool. They basically had it over the course of 2 days and everyone would take turns reading and they would have random activities to break it up. But they just had all sorts of fun ways to keep people reading.
Thanks for the letters! I love ya!!!! Sister Talbot
P.S. Oh and if you ever email me pics, just be sure to mention it in the email because it's hard to tell when I have attachments. It's not as obvious on myldsmail.net. Weird I know.
Random pretty road we came across
Random water pond that is really pretty in a neighborhood.
Hi! This last week has flown by.
Tonight we have a baptism and Octoberfest. The baptism is Elder Frampton and Elder Timmons (english elders in our ward) investigators. An older guy and a 12 year old boy. But we have to sing at it and also give the missionary moment. That is usually for the missionaries who taught the people, but they will be changing, so they passed that over to us. It is basically a short powerful lesson to invite the Spirit. We are all bringing investigators, so it will hopefully be really strong. The Octoberfest is the ward party. We are having brats and sauerkraut!!! And then a trunk or treat. It will be sweet. We already know of at least 10 investigators coming, so we're crossing our fingers for good fellowshipping.
We had interviews with Pres. Millburn yesterday. He is so cool. He says that he sees our companionship having 1-3 baptisms a week. Well, we have a lot of work to do to achieve that. That's cool that he sees us with that potential, but scary because that will be tough to accomplish. Right now we are really trying to find families to teach. We have been teaching a lot to individuals. I am getting more confident which is good. It's been fun to talk to everyone. Since everyone out here is so religious, it's easy to start conversations. I guess three smiling blondes girls walking up to you would either freak you out or make you want to talk to them.
Last week we had a ward member come with us on splits. Sister Cox and her were a set and then me and Sister Case. We went and tracted more of the trailer park. Sister Estep is the member and she is awesome! She is a recent convert as of Feb. Her testimony is so strong and she is so missionary minded. She is bringing 2 of her neighbor families tonight. But Sister Cox said she rocked at tracting and was so good as sharing her testimony. We love her! And her family too. She loves Preach My Gospel, which is awesome. I really wish I would have read it before my mission. So if any of you don't have one, get one and study it. It makes personal study way better!
Hi again! Another P-Day has arrived. P-Day are busy days, not days of relaxation and sight seeing. But they are good days that help us feel prepared. I am so behind on my journal, so I hope to fit that in today. We are so busy all the time, so there really isn't journal time. Luckily we have our planners to look back on so I know what we've done.
Some funny random things I've seen/noticed so far:
-Everyone will talk about Christ with us. Doesn't mean they are wanting to believe what we teach them, but they still love to talk about Christ.
-My ward is missionary minded. The faith of our bishop is incredible. I would be surprised if he wasn't a GA some day.
-Baptisms will come if you are obedient, work hard, and talk to everyone you see. If you talk to everyone, you will find people to teach. To teach you have to find. (We have another one on Friday. It's this 19 year old girl from Sierra Leone.)
-Sometimes people think they have a lot of faith, but if they were to be on the outside and see themselves they really don't. I say this because faith leads to action. It's so true. If you really truly have faith, you will be lead to follow Christ and become more like him. That's why they say if you aren't progressing, you're regressing.
-Trailer parks are the best for tracting. You have interesting things happen. For instance, old ladies telling you about their heart surgeries which involves unzipping their robes to their belly button. Wow, we just didn't want to see that.
-Sundays are so stressful. We call investigators/less actives on Saturdays to remind them about church and they say they are coming. Then the adversary jumps in and gives them a reason they can't come and they are no-shows on Sunday. It's so crazy. We started out with having 10 people come this last Sunday and ended up with 4. Sad :(
-Sometimes ward members think we are in charge of everything. Like letting the nursery leaders know about kids having swine flu. I think we might be a little busy for that... It's pretty funny though. We are highly involved in most things, but just not those kinds of things.
-Air fresheners are a thing of the past. Well at least some people think so. I can't believe how many houses smell. It's like every other house reeks of nasty. We always spend like 5 minutes after our visit talking about how bad it was and ranking it. It's awful. I have decided that I would rather teach a lesson in a smokers house than in a house that smells like animal/human poo.
-Everyone has animals. What the weird? EVERYONE has animals here.
-It's weird when members who are sort of active sort of not swear around us. Who swears in front of the missionaries?
-Insect repellent kills black widows. We did some yard work yesterday and found one. You'll never believe it, but I was the brave one. Yeah, I was surprised too.
-The Lord is always on time. We have been a part of some crazy little miracles that come from being at the right place at the right time. Sometimes we are slowed down with trivial things for a reason.
-The more specific in nature our prayers are, the more specific the answers will be. We are learning to word things just right in order to gain a specific result. It is totally working and it's amazing!
-I live in an enchanted forest. Well sort of. We have squirrels that run around our apartment complex all the time.
-The best new drink is an almond flavored syrup type stuff whipped into warm milk. Wow!
-It only took 2 days to get yelled at. It's actually the only time it's happened to us since I've been here though. This funny/crazy old lady Gloria they've been reading the Book of Mormon with decided she didn't want us to come back. So she goes off for 10 minutes and then decides she wants to give us a bunch of persimmons from her tree. Then she says as we walk away "Love you girls. But don't ever come back or call me." Haha
-Teaching on the fly (Gospel Principles this last Sunday) is actually not that bad.
-We have to sing at a baptism next Wed. This older slightly crazy guy named Norman wants to us sing really bad. We plan to get a bunch of sisters and just not tell him. We like him a lot. He let us take his cigarettes and lighters. He is the elders investigator, but we tag team with them and call and stop by to check on each other's investigators.
Well I hope that was some interesting stuff to read about. We work all day everyday. My companions are awesome and the work never ceases. It will be weird to work with other missionaries who are not like that. I'm pretty sure next transfer at least one of us will go. Sister Cox said this is the best trio. I assume Pres. wouldn't want to leave us together, but to spread out and conquer more areas. I am so not ready for that though. I have a long way to go before I feel like I could conquer another area that isn't as prepared as this one.
We had a mission conference last week. Elder and Sister Johnson (I think he's in the 70) were there and spoke along with the MP and his wife. It was really good and I got to meet more people.
I guess I will start by saying I have an hour for email in the mission now AND I can print. So email me all you want. I didn't have any today and that was depressing. Oh and P-days are Wednesday for the whole mission. Oh and I can receive and send emails to people who are not immediate family. So bring it on friends :)
Well I am sure you are wondering where I am at. I've kept you in suspense long enough. My first area is the Newport News 1st Ward. My address is:
602 Riverbend Court, Apt #106
Newport News, VA 23602
I am actually in a trio and it's awesome. It's going to be weird when I go down to one companion. Both of my companions love being in a trio and I do to. My trainer is Sister Cox and she is from Fruit Heights, UT. She has been on her mission for 9 months. My other companion is Sister Case from Centerville, UT. She's been out for 3 months. They are both blondes too! They are seriously the best companions for me. They are both excited about being missionaries and understand that obedience brings blessings. They are both outgoing and like to talk. You'd think with 3 talkers it would be hard to get a word in, but it works out well. They are great missionaries and the three of us compliment each other's strengths and weaknesses. And they both like to work out, so that is awesome. We get up about 6am and run over to our apt complex gym. Yep, we have a sweet little (very little) gym.
The mission is so much different from the MTC. I had obviously figured that one, but it's amazing to be out here and see in how many ways it's different.
I'm learning a lot and getting lots of teaching practice, but I still feel like I am lightyears behind the other 2 sisters. That's probably poor thinking though. Of course I'm new, so I shouldn't feel like I have to be where they are. Hopefully at some point I will be where they are though. One thing that we are supposed to be able to do is be able to teach any principle at any time. That is what I am working on now and will be for a while. It's one thing to know the doctrine, it's another to explain it to someone. And in a way that makes sense to someone who has never heard of the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith, etc. So I am working on that. The best way for me to learn is to actually do, so we are working hard all day long. These sisters are workers and I love it!
I need to tell you about my area. Remember all the things people said about I won't see many baptisms and etc....? Well throw that out the window. The field is white and ready to harvest here in Newport News 1st Ward. My comps welcomed me to the mission with a baptism last Saturday. It was an 11 year old boy named Alex. His parents were inactive (and still sort of are) and he was never baptized. Then in one of his random visits to church he discovered he loved learning about Christ. Sweet.
And we have 4 baptisms (a family) set in November and another 11 year old boy set in December. And we have lots of investigators who are so close to setting a date. We had a really awesome lesson last night with a couple who lives in our apt complex. They are Rebecca and Tim and they have a 14 month old daughter. It was so amazing to be there. We taught the Restoration for a second time to answer their questions and clarify misunderstandings. We also watched the Restoration video with them. The wife said she was so overwhelmed watching it and we told her that was the Spirit telling her that what she has learned is true. The husband sounds like he does too, but he's more stern and quiet, so he doesn't give us much hint. Rebecca basically told him that she knows it's true and he has to find out for himself. They are coming to church on Sunday, so hopefully the ward will welcome them in.
The ward is really awesome and I have no worries about them fellowshipping. Pretty much the majority of the ward are converts to the Church. This ward really knows what is means to be a member missionary. They get it! And they live it! We get referrals and the members are so willing to let us teach in their homes or come with us to lessons. And they totally bring their friends to activities (esp. the YM/YW). They pretty much will do anything for the missionary work. The bishop is so rad. He is probably like 35 and has 6 kids. His wife is amazing too. She very much exemplifies quiet dignity. But Bishop Hamilton is pumped about missionary work. Currently we are having a 40 day fast. The stake's goal was to have 74 baptisms this year. We are I think 18 away. That isn't counting the 5 we already have and the probably 5 more we will have this year. This last Sunday we met a lady from Africa (totally have a bunch of people from Liberia in my ward) who was like I want to be baptized. She's come to church 3 times and so we are teaching her the lessons this week and hope to have her baptism next week.
Oh and I forgot to mention that we have 7 missionaries in my ward. Go read that sentence again just to make sure you read the 7. Yep. Crazy huh? We have a set of Spanish speaking elders and then a set of English speaking elders and our trio. We are a great team and always give referrals to each other and work with each others investigators to get them excited about the gospel. We went and took cigarettes and the lighters away from one investigator that the elders are teaching. That was fun. He's kind of a crazy old guy. He got into drugs a long time ago and it kind of messed him up.
So we went to deliver a DVD to a media referral yesterday and it was in a trailer park. I've always wanted to tract a trailer park and we didn't have any appointments, so we did. It was sweet! We found 7 new investigators and some of them have families too. It was so cool. So we are going back this Sunday to teach a bunch of them. I think we are actually going to get some to church on Sunday too. I love tracting! ...at least so far :)
Since we have so many recent converts, we have been able to teach a lot of new member lessons. Those are the best. We have this one couple, the Esteps who I love. They are so pumped about sharing the gospel with others. They joke that they want to tract their apt complex. They already have their couple mission planned out for when they are old. Haha. She is younger than me, so that's awesome.
The missionary attire in my mission is way more relaxed that the instructions said. So all those cute clothes I bought in the guidelines are making me feel a little frumpy. Haha. And that backpack I bought at the MTC??? Sisters all have purses! So I will hope to find one today, so I am not the only sister with a backpack. Live and learn. So mom, feel free to send me some of my mid calf or longer skirts if you want. Prints are fine.
Well I guess I should end my email. Now that I have an hour, be prepared for long emails I guess. I can't help it...I type fast and have a lot to say.
It's been a very long week not knowing exactly were Katy is, but we finally received a letter today. The mission president sent one as well as a picture which I hope to be able to put on as soon as we get our printer to scan. Here is her letter and the mission president's letter, dated Oct. 7, 2009:
I am in Richmond and it's beautiful. Like we have heard, there are a ton of trees. The Millburns are great and really nice. Some of the missionaries have told us that our mission has more sisters than a lot of others out here. That's really awesome! And apparently they baptize a lot and find a lot of people who are receptive to the gospel - so they have been sending more missionaries here! Other missions are losing missionaries, but not us. That's really exciting. I will meet my new companion tomorrow morning and then we go to work. I'm nervous because you never feel prepared, but this is what I've waited over 10 years for. I'm excited Neely's family will be ward missionaries this month. She's going to be incredible. The weather was amazing when we stepped off the plane. I guess the weather in Richmond is pretty nice. The elders that we have met so far have all been in the city for the most part, so we aren't too sure about the weather elsewhere. We had an elder lose his wallet this morning and we had one in quarantine, so we had 12 traveling - 7 sisters! I keep messing up when I write. I am not used to handwriting - I've worked on computers too long! Well I'm here and made it safe and sound. I love you and can't wait to write again and tell you about the work in the VRM. I want you to know that I know my Savior lives and He atoned for our sins, so we can return to live with our Heavenly Father. I know the Book of Mormon is true and it will bring us closer to our Savior than anthing else. I love you and hope to hear from you soon! Love ya, Sister Talbot
Dear Brother and Sister Talbot, We were pleased to welcome your daughter, Sister Katy R. Talbot, to the Virginia Richmond Mission. We love her already and are aware of her great potential to be an excellent missionary. She spent one day with us receiving orientation, and she is in good health and good spirits. Her drive and determination will be of tremendous help as she joins a wonderful group of missionaries already serving the Lord in this area. Sister Talbot has been assigned to the NEWPORT NEWS Zone. Her first companions, Sisters Danielle M. Cox and Kelli C. Case, are excellent missionaries and will do an outstanding job training your daughter for her service to the Lord. All mail and parcels should be sent directly to your missionary. Her new address is: 602 River Bend Court #106 Newport News, VA 23602
Thanks for the letters this week. It was awesome to have communication from the outside world! And Jen-thanks for the pumpkin bread! You know me well :)
So let's start out with the funny...So remember how swine flu made work incredibly ridiculous this summer because nobody could leave the MTC for a while??? Well swine flu has arrived back at the MTC, but luckily not as wild as before. Anyways...an Elder in my District got it! So he won't be going to VA with us Wed and we all have to take these pills for 10 days. These pills haven't effected me, but a few in the District including my comp haven't been feeling well since they started taking the pills. Pray my luck continues.
We went to the temple this morning. Good like always. It's nice to be able to walk up there because we sit all day! Yesterday we were sitting pretty much all day long. And no, my hips did not like that. The weather has been chilly since the snow earlier this week, so it was a chilly walk up to the temple. But I haven't started wearing a coat yet. Not quite that cold.
I am so ready to leave the MTC. It has been great and I have learned so much, but I am ready to get out of here. One of my new friends that just went to Australia sent me an email saying to always remember to have faith. He is pretty discouraged it sounds like. I feel bad for him, but I am definitely going into it realizing that I need to actively keep the faith alive. I am going to the Bible Belt, so I don't think anyone plans on converting too many. But our zone motto is "Baptize Millions". All the Elders shout it everywhere, but it's more to be funny than realistic. As much as people say it's not about how many people we baptize, it really is. I say that because people must be baptized in order to receive the ordinances and make the covenants necessary for eternal life. So baptizing is sooo important...not for the success of my mission, but for the salvation of the people.
Conference was awesome. I liked soooo many of the talks. It's so different to be listening with the ears of a missionary. My teacher promised that if we went to conference with questions, every single one would be answered. And everyone in my district had our questions answered. Our teacher also said to pay attention because every talk relates to PMG is some way or another and discussed the principle in the book. Check number 2 for Bro. Menasco. He's so smart.
My conference review for you:
Julie B. Beck: Never supress a generous thought. I've heard this before, but it's a good reminder to be listening for the Spirit to teach us things
Richard G. Scott: Heavenly Father gives us challenges that we cannot do alone. We must rely on His help.
L. Whitney Clayton: Our burdens invite us to draw nearer to the Spirit and develop virtues that are required to master them. The burdens are given to prepare us to return to our Father in Heaven.
Bednar: Express love and show it to your family members daily. Bear testimony and live it at home. Our families should always know our testimony. I love this one! It's something I never thought of before, but it's so true. Be consistent in the home. Consistency builds trust, reliability, and develops diligence.
Uchtdorf: Love should define us as a Church. Are we showing love to people? What we love determines what we seek. What we seek determines what we believe. What we believe determines who we are.
Eyring: Declare determination when singing hymns.
Pres. Monson: What did you do for someone today? You'll never regret being too kind.
Okay, that's my 5 minute conference review. They need to give us more time on the computer! It's a good thing I can type fast.
Well I leave Wed early morning and will get to VA at about 4pm eastern time. I'll be living on eastern time. That's pretty cool! I will try and call from the airport Wed. morning. I don't know how exactly, so if you get a collect call, that would be me :) My flight leaves at 8am, so I will be calling early because that would be 7am your time. So mom and dad expect an early wake up call from me. If I don't call, just assume we got busy at the airport. We do have a huge group and all.
Well I love you all and I will be sending you my new address soon!!!!
Katy decided the computer hated her after typing 2 "incredibly" long emails which didn't send. But they took pity on her the next day and let her try again and this time it took. Here is her email from Tuesday, Sep. 29th:
So my companion's name is Sister Marvin. She is from Salem, UT. She never wanted to go on a mission before and, in fact, always thought sister missionaries were dumb, but she felt prompted to earlier this year and here she is. We are so different in so many ways, but we, for the most part, do just fine.
I am looking forward to leaving the MTC. The MTC is awesome and I am learning so much, but I feel ready to get out of the confinement. I am not ready to be thrown into the work quite yet, but out of the MTC...yes. One week and one day and I will be in VA. My itinerary has changed. There are 15 of us traveling to the VRM on October 7th. It's going to be awesome to get out there. One of the sisters in my district had been at SVU and she said it's so cold there. So I may be buying more warm stuff soon. Very soon.
We have gym time 4 times a week and it's fun. My zone (made up of 3 districts) usually dominates one of the volleyball courts. Sometimes I run, which I should always do, but I just don't feel like it! Not when I can play v-ball.
On the 2nd day here the Branch Presidency assigned me to be the Coordinating Sister. That means I am the leadership position for the sisters in my zone. I have to attend various meetings and attend Branch Council. So it's like the good old days. Those meetings are pretty much the only time I am not with my comp. What I do as the CS is encourage and care for the sisters in the zone. My week there were 4 and then last week we got 4 more sisters, so 8 total. This week we won't get any though. But the new ones that came, I had to give them an orientation and I am pretty much the person they ask questions to and etc. It's pretty cool and a good opportunity to meet the other sisters in the zone, but not in my district.
Each week there is a district that departs and then on Wed. they are replaced. The district that left this week was my favorite. It was a district of Elders and they were going to some missions in Australia and one to NZ. It was sad to see them go, but I am pretty sure they will keep in touch for a while. Two of them already emailed me and informed me that they are fighting over who is marrying me when they get back. Haha. One of them passed on this bag that is called the Solo Shoulder Bag. It's passed to a new missionary from district to district and it's basically just filled with treats, envelopes, meds, and extra stuff people don't want to take or just leave behind. So that was nice to inherit that for the week. I have to figure out who I'll pass it on to.
I saw one of Nat and Kat's cousins on Sunday. He left for Mexico yesterday, so it was so cool to see him right before he left. This cousin is Heather Hall's bro-in-law.
We are getting a lot of good teaching experience here although I wish I got more. Sister Marvin is a natural teacher so it's good to be able to watch and listen to her as we are teaching. Without preparing as much as I would normally do, I think that is helping my confidence.
We are soooo busy here. Love ya, Sister Talbot
Neely again. I just received this email from Katy. Please note: You can send her emails from DearElder.com. I think she actually prefers that, as she can get them right away (if it's sent before noon, otherwise it's the next day). All you need is the info for her box (below post) and etc. I just sent her a letter, hopefully I did it right. So, for your reading pleasure:
I am alive! Sorry you haven't heard from me yet. P-Day isn't until Monday. Things have been so busy! They told us to write a letter the first night we got in, but I just barely sent it, so sorry! I think I wrote a p.s. that said I sent it late, but that date is wrong.
Tell everyone you know about DearElder.com. That is how all of my friends and you guys if you to should plan to write me during my MTC stay. I'm not sure how it works when I'm in the field though. But you send a free email to DearElder.com and they print it out and deliver it to the MTC the same day. That way I get your letter right away. You can also request packages be sent too. Once I get in the field, my MP will let me know who can email me, but for now tell my friends to use DearElder.com.
I've only been here 5 days, but I feel like I have been here forever. All of the days are mushed together and we are always so busy. But it's so good. I've learned so much and have a lot of new insight on things. I pray all the time and just can't find enough time to read PMG and my Book of Mormon. It's awesome to feel like this and I can already see why it's hard for missionaries when they get home to not be a missionary. You really do feel different as a missionary. I always pray for the strength to wake up in the morning and feel refreshed and for help to stay awake in class. Class is so different when I'm awake. I guess I should have tried that in school. Haha! I'll have to write you a letter later and tell you more. I only have 8 minutes left.
So Ross Ashcroft told me to find his grandson. It was real easy. He's my zone leader. I'll have to send a picture. For some reason these computers won't let me attach pictures, so I'll print some. Maybe Cody can scan them to the computer. There are 3 Districts in my Zone and they are really cool. There are only 4 sisters and all in my District. We have 10 and then about 15 between the other two.
I saw Krystal Kiene today. She's a volunteer investigator I think. That's in Nat and Kat's first cousin by the way.
We have 3 roommates and they are going to the Philippines. They've been here a couple of weeks. They are totally awesome and one of them in from Auckland. Can you say luck? She's Samoan, so this will be her 3rd language she knows. Anyways, she has a friend from somewhere I can't remember that had Tim Tams, so I totally had some. It was a good day.
I seriously need to write a normal letter. I have so much to write about. I'll tell you about my companion and what the days are like. Etc.
This is Katy again. My mom will take over shortly...
Today was the "farewell" in church and it went better than I thought it would. I was set apart this afternoon, so I am officially a missionary. Well as official as I can be without a nametag! A couple more days and then I will have the name tag and will be back to wearing pantyhose everyday. Can't wait!
This is Katy and this is my new mission blog. My mom (and other various family members possibly) will keep this blog current with recent photos and letters that I send from my mission. My current address will also be posted on this blog for those of you who want to send me a note. Please remember to send your mailing address to me if you do send me a note, so I can write you back. Feel free to leave a comment if you want!