Wednesday, October 28, 2009

We confiscated the smokes from Norman who is getting baptized tonight. We couldn't resist taking a picture for the record.

This is my district at our district meeting. Leave it to the sisters to suggest that everyone gets in the font and we hold the names of all the people we want baptized before the end of the year.

                                                  Mamawa Sillah 10/23/09

We picniced for lunch one day at a park on the James River.

                  Haven't seen too many fun signs yet, but this is a good one. Can't wait to try it!


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!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

First Pictures from VA

My Companions on the 1st Day

1st Baptism - Alex Gamashe (11 yrs. old)

I found some cactus in VA

Cute kids in the ward - D'Acquisto (da-quisto) family

Some Funny, Random Things...

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.
Love ya,

Sister Talbot

Pics from the MTC

My District at the MTC

Sisters from my MTC district

Me and the Map

My MTC Roomies

Our meds for the swine flu

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I am in VA

Hey Fam,

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! 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.

Love ya,
Sister Talbot

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

VRM Here I Come!

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

Letter from Oct. 5, 2009

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. 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:

RS Broadcast:
 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

Sat. am:
 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.

Sunday am:

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!!!!

Sister Talbot

Computer Blues

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