Monday, August 30, 2010

Mixed Reviews

All of these pics are from the Elders Quorum Fry Party that we had this last Saturday night. It was at the Banks house and it was so fun. I think the EQ definitely respects the sister missionaries! The big burger we ate (or attempted to eat) was called the Luther Burger. It is a double cheeseburger with bacon and an egg inside of a sliced in half krispy kreme donut. I gave Bro. Banks so much crap about this burger for months...until I tried it and it was actually good! We put the elders to shame who gave a weak effort. Haha

When Sis. Clous (recent convert) painted our fingernails for us.

-District P-Day (b-ball, v-ball, ultimate frisbee!) and our coordinating outfits.

-Our current district

With the Book girls

We taught a class at the Primary MTC class. So fun!

So this last week had some serious downers, but also some pretty awesome stories.

I never know if it's better to start with sad news or end with it. So I'll just go for it. Tomorrow we will be going to a funeral for 2 year old Dane Royl who was run over and died on his birthday this last Friday. It's so sad because Sis. Royl is one of the sisters I feel the closest to here in Norfolk and he was always the life of the party. She called us that night and asked us to come over. We quickly said of course and then I realized how underqualified I was to be the Lord's instrument at that time. But it's times like these that we truly learn to lean on the Lord and have confidence in Him and not ourselves. We didn't get home until 10:30pm and I slept horrible because all the events just kept replaying in my mind. I can't imagine what they are going through. She received a blessing and it said that the Lord has prepared her for this event. How interesting. It's strange that it sounds like almost all of us have funerals on Tuesday. Can someone please try and find his obituary and print it for me? We have no way to do that, but I would like to have it.

So you should have gotten the pictures for the EQ Fry Party. It was so funny. They started with the grill and did the Luther Burgers and then moved onto the deep fryer. They deep fried just about anything. They tried key lime pie, but it didn't work. They did pickles (so good!), oatmeal creme pies (not so good), nutty bars, rolos, twix and I think that might be it. It was such a hilarious party. It's not the first. Apparently it's at least an annual thing and I've heard rumor they do it more often...haha

The Primary had an activity called the Primary MTC. We were in charge of teaching the class on how to prepare to serve a mission and how to be a member missionary and then they wrote/drew letters for the missionaries serving elsewhere from the VA Beach Stake. I hope the kids got something from it. Those 3 year olds are a tough crowd. We enjoyed it a lot.

There is a section in Ch.9 of PMG that talks about going about doing good and so we are always looking for random service opps. They don't come around very often, but we went to tract this sketch area and we found one and then it turned super weird. This lady who was in a scooter was just looking around so we went to ask if there was anything we could help her with. She said she needed her wet laundry taken to the laundry room to be dried. Well we volunteered and she just kept saying it was too heavy for us. Well she underestimated us because we could do it no problem. We started walking to the laundry room and she came along on her scooter and was talking about how she forgot her helmet. We were talking to her about the Book of Mormon and she was saying really strange things, so we figured she wasn't really all there. When we got there we went back to her apt for the other bag and she sent us with her keys. So we go get it and then helped her put it in the dryer. The phone rang, so I was on the phone and then Sis. Vawdrey was setting up a lesson with a lady who walked up. Then this other lady started saying things like "are you saying I'm mental?' and all sorts of weird things while Sis. Vawdrey was setting up this lesson. Awkward! We ended up passing her a couple of more time and when we were back around her apt she was yelling about how "they stole my money. this is a drug place and they stole my money." We weren't sure who she was accusing but she gave us her keys at one point, so we decided it would be best to just leave at this point. It was the funny half hour ever.

We had some great lessons this week. We watched the Testaments with Mildred and Theresa Davis and they loved it. Their house keeps getting broken into while they are at church, so Mildred said she wasn't coming to church so she could catch the people. We both had a really bad feeling about that, but she had her mind made up. Until she watched the movie and then she's like "nothing is going to stop me from coming to church." Yay! So she came to church and it was so good. We also had a few other "returning members" show up at church. There is this one man named Bro. Crisler. He is so cool. He is a biker dude with the long ponytail. We haven't really taught him much, but we've stopped by a handful of times. He said that when he was going to come to church that he would surprise me. And he did yesterday! It was so cool to see him there. He came because his 8 year old daughter wanted to! Yay!

Well I hope this letter finds you all doing well. Norfolk is crazy as always, but that's why I love it so much!

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Fun Week

This week was a lot of fun. We had a lesson with Terra and Zach Drake who are new in the ward. We were getting to know them and we asked about the Navy and all that good stuff. He's been in the Navy technically for like 5 years or something, but went to dental school right after he signed up. Guess where he went and when he graduated? He went to Temple and graduated in 2009...just like Craig. And yes, they know them! How cool! I haven't really had that many connections on the mission yet, but this is the best! Oh and guess who I saw on Sunday going to the Bayside Ward? Justine Wiltbank! I only saw her long enough to grab and hug and for her to call me Neely. Haha.

Tuesday night we taught Kat again. She read from the Book of Mormon, but I don't think she actually prayed to know the truth of it and also about Joseph Smith yet. She had a concern about Joseph Smith and about us following him. This is a valid concern with her background. She is Lutheran and Martin Luther was one of the great reformers who called the Catholic church out on lots of things (payment for forgiveness of their sins being one of them!). He was a good man, but he didn't want any followers, but those that believed his teachings created the Lutheran church. So she respects him a lot for doing what he did and not expecting people to follow and worship him. So we taught her a little more about why we talk about Joseph Smith, but that he was an instrument in God's hands and not to be the person we follow. She didn't come to church again, but she strikes me as a person who once she does, she will come every week. We are going to teach her next about prayer and humility. I think she is fearful of praying because she knows she can and will get an answer and it might just mean that she has to change. Submission to the will of God is challenging thing, but is necessary! We love her so much!

Bishop Cluff is getting really excited about missionary work. Our new ward mission leader is amazing and Bishop just called two more couples to be ward missionaries. We have so many now! I love my life! I really hope the Lord sees fit for me to stay in Norfolk for a little while longer. The elders in the ward are really good too and understand the concept of multiple missionaries in a ward.

After Bible Study on Tuesday we get a call from the sisters we live with saying they just got in an accident and they need a ride. Uh...?! The roads in Norfolk are weird and have medians that really make it hard to see oncoming traffic and it was dusk and they didn't see a tan colored car coming. It crushed the front end of the car, but the car they hit didn't really have damage to match that of the poor Corolla. They are okay, they just don't have a car. The elders in their ward have a car and bikes, so they have been able to use their car temporarily. It's not sounding like they'll get a car before the transfer either.

Oh guess what I forgot to tell you?!?!? Nylons are now optional in the VRM! And we can now use iPods! Pres. Perry has taken away all the restrictions pretty much. Before elders couldn't get within 2 blocks of beach, but that rule is gone now. This change is now going to allow more sisters to serve on the other half of the mission. I kind of want to experience the other side, but I also want to stay right where I am at!

We taught Mildred and Theresa about the Word of Wisdom this week. Mildred has been drinking green tea and we wanted to teach it to her so she knew it was against a commandment. She is hard core and when we were teaching it she's telling us how she drinks it everyday and said that she would no more. She just wants to live the best life she can for God. She's had a CRAZY past and she is just so motivated to do the right thing! She is awesome!

Well it's that time again. I love you! Thanks for the letters you send me!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Weekly Happenings - Aug. 16, 2010

Mildred and Theresa Davis who are just so awesome and haven't missed a Sunday since we met them.

Canning corn at Sis. Hughes' house!

Leano Book's baptism...the gym was set up for a wedding dinner, so we just used their props for a picture!

We had a sister's meeting in Newport News. These are all the sisters we have! The most in any mission besides visitor centers.

Another week has flown by. Whenever I sit down to write I can never remember what I've done because there's too much to remember. Thank heavens for planners!

One funny quote for this week: We were at a member's house and painted our nails. When it was time to go the 6 year old daughter said the prayer and said "Heavenly Father, if you want to get your nails done, just call us." Haha, it was so funny! Little kids say the best prayers.

There is a gas station that has a sign and each week they post an oxymoron. It's so funny to see what they put. This week it's "Least Favorite". I like it.

So Friday the 13th was not my favorite day this week. We had our weekly planning session that morning, so after lunch I pull out of the driveway and turn the corner and realize that we have a flat tire. What?!?!? We always make fun of the elders because they get so many flats on their bikes. Ooops! I had driven over a huge screw at some point the night before. So we ended up at Pep Boys all afternoon. Luckily it's across from the Target that we never get to go to. We tried to find new investigators, but no takers. Weirdly enough, we didn't have any appointments scheduled, which is really weird for Fridays. We attempted to help change the tire to put the spare on, but our Samoan landlord Sister Book did it.

We have had a couple of really awesome lessons this week. One was with Kat on Monday night. She was a referral from someone in the ward, so we were really excited about it. She knows this other family in the ward too, so we had the lesson at their house. Kat grew up a Lutheran pastor's daughter. She of course had her rebellious period, but those events really helped to realize she wants to be Christian. She really has been prepared for this gospel. It's whether or not she lets herself accept it. We meet with her again tonight, so we'll get to hear more about how she's doing and how her prayers have been going. She is a successful photographer and a pretty lady and she has drive to get things done. So we know that she will try hard to keep her committments. The member whose house it was in shared a really powerful testimony and also shared a great conversion story. She was "raised" on and off in the church, but it wasn't till her husband converted that she really went through her own conversion. Now she is what we like to call in missionary slang, "solid". Kat is really great and she already knew about the reformation! She just didn't understand why it occurred and how we came out of it. Now she does!

We also taught Amy. She is a Navy wife/mom who also does some babysitting on the side. She is crafty and skilled and sells Stampin Up. She also is so prepared for this gospel, but she may not be so great at keeping her committments. We'll see. Her 7 year old turns 8 this week and he is super sporty, but helps his mom craft too. She says he's too young to realize it's a girl thing. She also has a 14 year old. We need more of them in the ward. We need this family! I pray for Amy all the time that she will keep her committments. There is a saying we use here "Committments are the threads through which covenants are woven." If people cannot keep committments, they will not be able to honor their covenants. She is so great and as she comes to know more I think she will just love it! She was so excited throughout our whole lesson and Sis. Kreitzer came with us and was such an asset to the lesson with her experiences and testimony. It was one of the best lessons that I've had on my mission I think. Everything just went well and the Spirit was there and we know she felt it. She is a mom and a wife. She is crafty and fun. She wants to know the truth. She is not yet a Mormon. Have you all seen the profiles on That is where this last part is from. Otherwise it won't be funny to you probably. You should go on and create a profile on then let me know so I can look at it. We can now view!

Erica is still doing well. She came to church again. She has this weird stare that makes me weirded out, so lessons are kind of funny. But she is really progressing and her faith is increasing! Did I tell you about her neighbor down the street yet? She isn't mormon because she isn't baptized but everything about her is mormon. Her circle of friends are all members in VA Beach and her daughter goes to Faith in God and her sons go to mutual activities. She loves gardening and wants to learn to can. Susan is amazing...and she talks a lot. But people in VA do. They like to talk A LOT! She always leaves us red bags filled with Tomatoes (oh goody!) and cookies or brownies on her porch. She said that she's not sure she's ready to have formal lessons yet. I think she knows she will accept it, but maybe not ready to make the change of having to be a part of a church. But I think with her it will be us seeing her regularly and sharing tid bits until she feels more like committing. She is so cool!

Well I hope you all have a great week. I always love hearing from you! In the snail mail too!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Me Again!

Norfolk is such an interesting city. It is so different everyday. One day we love the area and the next we're like this place is crazy! We had a lot of that this week. We taught a member referral this week named Rebecca. She seemed just a little off, but was soaking up what we were teaching. As we were teaching she randomly told us she had HIV. That's not so uncommon to have that dropped here, so we just moved on. Then a little while later her cat came up and jumped on her and the claw went into her arm and it was so sudden that we all jumped and the cat ran off. Meanwhile her arm starts bleeding and in my mind I'm like, oh no, she has HIV. It was so weird and she just kept apologizing for her cat. Haha. We taught her again this week and she was loving it and then she was supposed to come to church with the member and we saw her yesterday and hands us the Book of Mormon we gave Rebecca and said she decided to stop learning. Weird! I don't get people, but what's new. Something funny about Rebecca is that she kept asking me if I have ever thought about becoming a pastor. I think she asked me like 15 times. Haha. Well I guess that's an option for when I get home....haha

Sis. Mundy in the ward (who makes delicious scotcharoos) was telling us about a friend that she used to be a crossing guard with that she wants to share the gospel with. Well she didn't necessarily want to at first, but she felt prompted by the Spirit to and I think that helped her have the desire. So we had a lesson with her and practiced role playing with her. I don't know if I ever told you that we have to role play everyday. It helps when we have to give committments that make us nervous or when we are teaching something that we aren't sure how it'll go over. It was fun with Sis. Mundy and she is really good at it!

We had a zone meeting this last week and we talked a lot about ward mission plans. As missionaries we have no say in them, but it's our responsibility to help the members to know about it and to support it. I have no idea what the Norfolk 2 plan is. I think it's something that the Stake is going to be meeting with the bishops to get it rolling. But something that Sis. Vawdrey and I have decided to do was to introduce the idea of a family mission plan to our members in the meantime. Some members already have one, but most do not here. It's such a good idea and I cannot wait to have one of my own! Basically what it is are goals for how to be involved in missionary work as a family. The suggestions are for there to be 3 or less items on the list and for those 3 to be simple and actionable. So basically pick a few things that you think you can do as a family that are realistic. Some of the takers have been to invite other families over for FHE, pray (for missionaries all over world, missionaries in the ward specifically by name, and missionary opportunities), give away 1 pass along card week/month, study Preach My Gospel together (a guide to missionary service!), etc. If you don't already have a family mission plan, it might be something to look into. It makes for a fun FHE and helps to teach kids about member missionary work. The earlier they start the easier it will be for them to share the gospel.

Saturday was Leano Book's baptism. She turned 8 and had such a fun baptism. We gave the message while she was changing and talked about how the gospel brings us joy. Leano is one of the girls that lives below us.

This week we also met a girl named Erica. The elders in N1 gave her a pass along card at a bus stop and she called for a Book of Mormon. When we got the text for her request we just coincidentally were near her area, so we went by the drop it off and walked in a taught her a lesson. She has some mental health issues, which has resulted in a really hard life. She says she is Christian, but she doesn't really know much about religion at all. She never prays, but at the end of the lesson she said she would. It was great. A few days later we went back and taught another lesson and she prayed again. Then she came to church yesterday and really liked it. We are going to see her again on Wednesday and teach her more about the Book of Mormon and why it's important to read. The other 2 lessons we focused on faith and repentance and building a relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I haven't had many of those lessons here because most people already strongly believe. I like these lessons!

Well I guess that's all for now! I love you!
Sister Talbot

Monday, August 2, 2010

The USS Enterprise

So I will start by telling you about the cool P-Day we've had. We went to take a tour of the Enterprise! Yay! I've been wanting to do that forever. There is a member in the 1st Ward that asked us if we wanted to go and of course we say yes! You're all probably wondering what the Enterprise is and why it would be cool to tour. I've been hearing about the boat (yes, they call it a boat) practically my whole mission and have met so many people that are on it (they have 5000 assigned to it). It is an aircraft carrier and can hold 80 fighter jets on it. It also has 8 nuclear reactors. So it's a big deal. They leave tomorrow for a 45 day workup, so we got to go just in the nick of time. They are set to deploy in January. It's been in the shipyard for repairs for sooo long, so now that it's fixed, it's almost ready to go. I think some of you have heard that the Truman left in May and the Eisenhower just got back. We actually saw the Eisenhower from the Enterprise. They were parked right next to each other. Now if I can find a way to tour a sub...

Nope we didn't get to see the Eisenhower pull in. Yeah, I've heard it's pretty cool when they leave and come back. The Truman left shortly after I got here, so some of the wives showed us pictures of it. Quite the experience.

We are going to have a Sister's Meeting on the 10th, so that should be great. Last sister's meeting was really good and we always do a clothing exchange where we bring the clothes we are too fat for and the ones other sisters have left behind.

So I have forgotten to update you on my finger. Last week most of the nail seperated from the bottom and turned this weird green color. Gross! And then as I was knocking on the door of our lesson, I bumped it and it popped almost all the way off. I grabbed my finger just as she was opening the door and eventually I just had to tell her and take care of it. Not all the nail was dead, so we had to do some minor surgery on my nail. It actually was really good timing because she had lost a nail once and is really into nails, so she was really helpful. But now I have officially lost a fingernail. It was weird because there is a partial nail that was there when it fell off. It's pretty ugly right now.

Transfers were a success. Sister Vawdrey and I are having a lot of fun and it's been great to have her here. She is a very diligent missionary and we both just want to get out and work and do what the Lord wants us to. The area has already picked up so much since she got here. One thing President Perry said was that we are working towards the members doing all the finding and then never having a need to tract. Yesterday was a prime example. It started raining, so we decided not to tract on the road we had planned for. We had just received 2 member referrals, so decided to call them and see if they would want to learn more. So in a matter of a few minutes we set up 2 new lessons! Tracting has not been effective here at all. It was huge in Newport News, but I haven't had any luck with it here in Norfolk. This ward is so incredible at talking to people.

We just got a new Ward Mission Leader, Bro. Kreitzer. He and his wife are sooo excited about it and we are too. Sis. Kreitzer said that she was preparing for a mission when she met her husband, so she is excited to be a ward missionary. Another new couple, the Deitz, were also called to be ward missionaries and the wives already coordinated babysitting with each other so they can come out with us. It's a dream come true! We have 5 sisters who are ward missionaries. I love my life! And with Sis. Vawdrey here it's going to rock!

Sister Vawdrey is from Bluffdale, UT and went to Snow College before her mission. Then she did the dental assisting program at SLCC. She is just cute and little. I had 4 tall comps in a row, so it's a fun change.
On the flight deck of the Enterprise. This plane isn't one they fly. There is a fake person in there.

On the flight deck. We went all the way to the top after we got done with the flight deck.
The N1 and N2 elders with us right before transfers.
McKinnon, Dane, and Titus Royl with Sis. Boston and I in the back. Such cute little boys!