Sunday, November 29, 2009

HaPpY tHaNkSgIvInG y'all - 11-25-09

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 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 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.

Anyways have a great Turkey Day! I love you all!!

Love ya,
Sista Talbot

Thursday, November 19, 2009

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.

November 18, 2009

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'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 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!

Love ya,
Sister Talbot

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November 10, 2009

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.
Love ya,
Sister Talbot

Friday, November 6, 2009

Service Report from Sister Bishop Hamilton - Nov 2, 2009

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

My Weekly Accounting - Nov. 4, 2009

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 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 Weird I know.

Random pretty road we came across

Random water pond that is really pretty in a neighborhood.