Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas in Richmond!

All the sisters at the ugly sweater party. We've got Sis. Schorzman and Sis. Niemela serving in Gayton...Sis. Stoehr, Hermana Law (who I went on exchanges with), and me, and Hermana Cowley...the hermanas serve in the Henrico Branch which is the whole Richmond Stake.

Too bad we didn't have this picture in time for our Christmas card!

The good ole elders and their ugly sweaters and mustaches. They got the hair for their mustaches from a family in the Branch. All the YW in the Branch pretty much have fake hair braided in, they had plenty to share with the elders. The AP's also came to the party.

The whole group that made it to the end of the party. It was the best ugly sweater party ever!

The Naylors! She got him a nice soft blanket and she got a snuggie! Yay for snuggies! Sis. Stoehr has been wearing the snuggie the last couple of day. Haha

This in on Christmas Day. We went out for a walk around the lake they have in their complex. It was nice and cold, but I got to wear the new hat, glove, scarf combo Sis. Campbell gave me. This was right before it started snowing.

Sis. Stoehr eating sweet potato souffle with her white elephant gift...an enormously long fork.  Haha.  It is collapsible

Good Times in Richmond

Filling up the font at the Monument building is quite the process compared to other buildings, so we decided to have some fun while we were cleaning/filling the font up. This is me in the font.

This is Vernitta and her family that came to the baptism. She lives with her daughter and her grandkids and her friend, Virginia, also came. Both her daughter and her friend, Virginia, wanted a Book of Mormon after the baptismal service was over. It was a really good baptism and the Spirit was very strong as it should be at baptisms! We have yet to teach them because of the holidays, but this upcoming week we should be able to teach Dean, her daughter. We have already taught the grandkids a couple of times. Jessica is 11 and Rashod is 6.

Us with Sister Vernitta Manuel. She was baptized 2 weeks and a day after we met her. That is not common, it was a miracle. She eats it all up and loves to learn. Sis. Soriano made a trip to SLC the week before her baptism and brought Vernitta back an extra large print triple combination. Vernitta has had 3 strokes, and because of that her eye sight is not so bueno.

Just another one of those weird random things we see as we drive the streets of Richmond.
This is my favorite of the random things we see as we drive the streets of Richmond. Apparently someone puts this car here every year. It is so funny to drive by. They have Santa at the wheel with lights under the car and presents on the trunk and a tree on top. As we stopped to take pictures, tons of people kept driving by the look at it. It was so funny! Everything you need and want for Christmas in a car.


Another picture with the kids from the projects. This was a good group this time. I'm not even sure who half the little kids are. They had a lot of friends this time. The elders taught this lesson and they committed each kid to give away the pass along card to someone for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


The email before the call...dun dun dun

 Christmas is coming so fast! We are spending Christmas Eve night at the Naylor's house (the senior couple) and having Christmas with them. We went and got them some fun stocking things and some slippers. It'll be so fun! They have a Christmas tree and everything. We are going to the Ibrahim's for Christmas Eve and having some African food I hope! And then the zone is having an ugly sweater party and white elephant gift exchange and then hopefully looking at some lights and on to the Naylor's. It's going to be soooo fun!

This last weekend we had the baptism for Vernitta Manuel. It went so well and she had family that came and they all wanted a Book of Mormon and to learn more. Her brother in CA already knows missionaries and was just supporting her all the way. The Branch even had a decent turnout at the baptism even though half the Branch is out of town! Sis. Stoehr, Sis. Naylor, and I sang "When I Am Baptized." It seems like I've been singing in a lot of special numbers lately, but nope STILL CAN'T SING! It's a good thing I don't get embarressed easily. We have this older man in the Branch named Brother Keene. He is the best thing to hit the Branch. He is the man when it comes to fellowshipping the recent converts. He is around 85, works full time, and is so sweet. His wife recently died and he lives with his son and daughter in law and his mother in law who is younger than him. Haha. He gets the over age 50 recent converts together on Saturday afternoons and they all watch church movies together. The night of Vernitta's baptism he already called and chatted with her and went by Sunday morning to pick her up. Oh yeah, he also picks all of the older recent converts up too because none of them drive. Well Bro. Raymond Woods drives (he's 90) but his car hasn't been working for awhile. The Branch is just so funny. We keep finding these single women to teach. Sis. Stoehr and I both feel like there is a family here that the Lord is preparing, but we just haven't found them. Sis. Adaniya and I felt the same thing. So we are still trying to find this family. Vernitta was confirmed on Sunday and has just fit right in with the Branch. It's so fun here. Parents, you're going to love it! It'll be different than any ward you've visited, but you'll love it!

We are still teaching Inez Thornton. She rocks! She has been really involved in all these other churches and she told us yesterday that she cut off all ties with the other churches. She was saying how they aren't getting it and they keep calling her. She knows this is right and there is no need for other churches. She showed up to church early yesterday and the Glen Allen elders luckily had met her the week before and spotted her and took her to Sunday School with them. So she had 4 hours of church yesterday. The Branch just started a FH sunday school class too, and she has been going to that! When she was talking to the Glen Allen elders they asked her if she had thought about being baptized (they know she's set for 1/15/11) and she said that she was and told them her date and said she "thinks the sisters are going to ask me to move it up" or something to that effect. We hadn't talked about it, but from what the elders said, she might want to. She'll be ready in time, so we are going to talk more about it tonight. Last night at the church they had the Richmond Mormon Chorale sing and we decided to go to see if any members brought friends and Inez was there and came by herself. She can handle being alone, which is nice because we don't have to always call her to make sure she is coming to church and yada yada. She is so cool! So many cool single ladies here in Richmond. Oh and she has a car!

Thursday we had snow pretty much from 9am to 3pm and it was coming down good. We couldn't use our cars, and it was snowing too hard, so nobody in Richmond went out. The city was deader than dead. It was so pretty. We had to go out in it because it was too inviting. I had been craving pizza for weeks and so we ordered in some Papa John's. Sis. Dickson and I did that last year. The new being snowed in tradition.

We had a lesson with the Thompson family last night. They are a really cute family that came to Richmond for med school and just haven't left yet. They've been here 10 years and have 3 cute little girls. We went around and said something we love about Jesus and the 2 year old looks at us and said "Cake" and we all just start laughing. It might be one of those you had to be there moments, but it was so funny. And the 6 year old on her own came up with her answer by herself. She said she loved Jesus because he created us. Cute!

Mom, that DVD is awesome! We've used it in a couple of lessons already. Everyone loves it. And it has MY picture in it too! It's really neat that is shows paintings of Christ when he was younger. It's been interesting to talk to people about Christ at this time of the year and see what they do to show Christ their love. The best things I think we can do are to love each other and treat each other like we do AND to be obedient. That's what Christ asks of us. One of my favorite obedience scriptures comes from one of my favorite Book of Mormon prophets...does anybody know? King Benjamin! Mosiah 2:22...all that He requires of you is to keep His commandments...

Well I hope you are all ready for Christmas. We have our Christmas Mission Conference tomorrow and then afterwards I am going to the Henrico spanish branch till Thursday morning. I am finally going zebra...even if it is just for a day and a half. Yes, per my request. They are trying to get us on more exchanges and because my time is limited I gave my opinion. Next, hopefully the country or the suburbs. In all my mission I've only served in the same type of place. City and ghetto. I don't really want to serve anywhere else because I love city and ghetto, but for an exchange it would be perfect! I'll keep you posted. And cross your fingers I get some gooooood Mexican food. I am already practicing my Spanish. I'm thinking caroling in Spanish!

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's Snowing!

Hey! We woke up to snow and now are enjoying it! It's so pretty. I forgot how much I liked snow. Luckily it's not too cold out or I probably wouldn't like it as much. Haha. Wow, Christmas is coming up so fast. It feels like the beginning of December, but it's not! We have seen some interesting decor around here. One thing that people do here is get on their 2nd floor and fasten the string of lights to the top and then drop them off and call it good. And they use a lot of the rope lights. So we see houses with a bunch of lights coming straight down from one spot and then just pile at the bottom. There is no order to it at all. We have enjoyed that. Haha

We have had such a great transfer so far and it's only been one and a half weeks. We have seen lots of miracles so far. When Sis. Adaniya was here we kept going back to this one street called Garland Ave. Well when Sis. Stoehr got here she was looking at the map and pointed out that she liked Garland Ave. At the time we had 2 investigators on Garland Ave. and have been tracting around each time we went there. So her first full day here we went to follow up with a former investigator on Garland Ave. and did some more tracting and the second door we knock we meet Vernitta Manuel. As we were telling her who we were she looks at us and asks "so are you gonna come in?" So we did and we taught her the Restoration and then she came to Stake Conference that Sunday. Then we saw her pretty much everyday this week. And she came to church yesterday and just loved it! She is going to be baptized this Saturday the 18th at 4pm. She just loves everything we teach her. At Stake Conference Sis. Derricott bore her testimony and talked about quitting smoking and coffee and when we taught Vernitta the lesson after Stake Conference she brought it up how she used to smoke 1.5 packs a day and she was down to a half pack. She is still working on quitting...only a couple more left...so if she is able to stop by her goal of Thursday then she will get baptized on Saturday. She is so prepared it's not even funny. She is like David Payne in Norfolk...just unbelievably ready for the fullness of the gospel. The Ward Mission Leader picked her and Janice, one of the ladies the elders are teaching for church. On the way home Janice was talking about how she is just wanting more knowledge and not getting it. So Vernitta shared her testimony about how it's going to be fine and this is the right thing, etc. It was sweet to hear about that! And another cool thing is that Vernitta's brother in California has met with missionaries before and if I understood her correctly he has asked them to come back. He is being so supportive to her and just helping her to be excited. How refreshing that she isn't getting anti from him!!!!

We are also teaching a friend of Sis. Ibrahim's named Inez. Inez is so cool and she is also soooo prepared for the gospel. Referrals and prepared people are coming out of the cracks and it is sweet! Last transfer was so hard to find real solid investigators, but this transfer is so amazing. We love it so much because we are teaching people who want it and are keeping their committments. We still have those that don't, but it's nice that we have a handful of progressing investigators.

Most everyone here in the Branch will leave for Christmas break, so as a Branch we are done with Christmas parties except for the program next Sunday.  The different families will probably have some things going on that hopefully we can join in on.  As a zone we are going to have a Christmas Eve ugly sweater white elephant party.  It'll be fun.  Sis. Adaniya and I found a trumpet in our trash area once, so we cleaned it up and Sis. Stoehr and I will take that for our white elephant gift.  We thought that would be funny.  And the Ibrahim's signed up to have us for Christmas Eve, so instead of Mexican food I will probably have African food!  Haha, so fun.  I love this family.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Another week

Hello everyone! I hope you are doing great and enjoying the Christmas spirit. We had such a great day yesterday! It was Stake Conference and it was just so good. Pres. & Sister Perry were among the speakers. Pres. spoke about 1 Corinthians 12. I've heard him talk about it before, but this time he expounded more and it was so insightful. This chapter talks about the body of Christ and the eluding message is of unity. A few of the verses talk about how there are many members of Christ's body, but only one body. So as a member of Christ's church we make up that body of Christ and we are all necessary for it to be complete. He metioned how the feeble are necessary and shared a nice story and also shared a story relating to the "less honourable". I love this chapter in the Bible. It really does help to see that those we think aren't likely to accept the gospel or those we think aren't worthy...they are and they are necessary. I wish you could have been there because there is no way to paraphrase it. Also at Stake Conference Pres. Anderson spoke on the real meaning of Christmas. He shared great testimony and it was a great lead into the First Presidency Christmas Devotional that we watched last night. I hope you've all been able to watch it. It's on lds.org if not.

This new transfer has just been so wonderful. I love Sis. Stoehr. She is from Colorado, northern Denver. She was trained by Sis. Cox and has been out half her mission. She just came from the rich area south of here with all white people. This is quite a change for her, but she is excited to be in Richmond. That's helped me a lot too. I loved Richmond last transfer, but not the way I love it now. We have already seen so many miracles. The first full day she was here we did a little tracting around an investigator and we knocked on Vernitta's door. We tell her we're missionaries, give a brief rundown and she just looks at us and said "so are you coming in?" Haha, it was awesome! So we teach her the Restoration and she was really feeling the Spirit. Because of her background she knew she was too! She said she felt happiness as we shared the First Vision. She came to Stake Conference and it was such a good experience for her. As of Saturday evening she wasn't coming. I said to Sis. Stoehr that we had to get an investigator to church every Sunday this transfer and she said let's do it. So we prayed and then shortly after Vernitta called us and said she wanted to come to church. Ahhhh!!!! She just loved it and everyone kept asking her if she was coming back next week. She started out by saying that she wasn't sure and then by the end of talking to people, she was saying yes! We've had some other great experiences and great lessons too, but unfortunately not the time for them. Things this transfer are just so great. I feel freed almost. It's weird, but I know Sis. Stoehr and I will see the Lord's hand in many things this transfer.

I finally ate at Ronnie's Ribs. It was soooo good. And I will try and save more time next week to email pics to you! Can Santa grant me more time on email for Christmas?!?!

Oh one funny thing...we had a lesson yesterday with this man who was at his father's house and some pastor guy was there. When we found out he was a pastor I got the distinct impression twice in my mind not to invite him to sit in on the lesson. We had a member with us and she is bold and invited him/practically told him to come. So I was nervous about that. As we were talking about prophets he made a big stink and the member and he started arguing, so after some arm twisting we asked him to leave and he did and we were able to really have a good lesson after that. But that definitely made for an awkward and hilarious memory.