Monday, November 24, 2014

11/24/14 | Happy Birthday Jenna!!!!! (and happy thanksgiving too ;))

My sister is the oldest sister I have! HB to you sis! (I put this at the beginning because you are the most important item of business) 

We had another incredible week in the PPM. We found 3 new investigators!!! Listen to this:

Pam White: 
I got a facebook message from Sister Baluyot (I have no idea how to say her name either) saying that she has an investigator in Jersey who has a friend that is interested in meeting with us. YA! So we went to contact her but she was really busy so we set up an appointment to come back. When we came back she was so happy that we were there (even though she had forgotten about our appointment). As we started the lesson with some HTBT, she was interested in hearing our message but made it clear that she was baptist and not interested in changing religions or anything. We said ok and continued to share. The lesson went great, sister cost is already a really great teacher!!! As part of her 12 week training she is required to invite someone to be baptized. Before we went into the lesson I told her that this was it :). And she did it!! She invited her to be baptized at the end of the lesson and Pam said yes! She went from not wanting to get involved in our church to accepting the invitation to be baptized! It's a spirit miracle! She's going to come to church next week and we are super excited to be teaching her. She is fantastic and super teachable. 

We've been doing a lot of finding this week. Chasing down potentials and a little bit 'o tracting here and there as the spirit directs. While we were paddling through our potentials, we stopped by a Liberian woman named Jenneh. We're guessing it's pronounced 'Jenna' but I prefer to call her Jenn-eh. It's funner that way. Anyways, so we went and knocked on her door and she answered. She was happy to see us but was busy too. We were able to quickly teach her a little introduction to the book of mormom and the restoration, commit her to read from it and set a return appointment. She is super special. We are meeting with her on Tuesday

Best for last:
We were out cold knocking by Frankford street, Sister cost was not a fan. We knocked a couple, no one answered, someone was rude, someone just declined but thanked us for our time, then a little hispanic lady invited us in! Which I thought was weird because she didn't seem to speak english but I usually do ok with the combination of my broken spanish and their broken english. She insisted that we come in and sit on her couch, I told her her casa was bonita! She tells us she doesn't speak english 100 times so I pull out my handy dandy spanish restoration pamphlet that I carry around for such a time as that! I was super excited cause I thought I was prepared....Then she gets out that she only speaks Portuguese. I'm really glad my mission president hasn't assigned me to learn that language because it's...kookoo. So then this awkward thing happens where she calls her friend who speaks english and chats with her for a bit, then hands the phone to me. I explain who we are and she says that her friend would feel comfortable if we would leave. Super awkward. It's still not clear to me why she invited us in in the first place...either the spirit compelled her to, or its some weird brazilian cuture thing. Strange. So that happened, and I laughed, sister cost didn't think it was very funny though. She's not into the 'I'm a missionary and feel awkward all the time' feeling yet ;). We continued down the street. No positive answers. Sister Cost starts up with a bit of thanks, so I stopped right in my tracks and had a little teaching moment. I told her that no matter how worthless tracting may feel to her, I've met too many people that were 'tracted into' to loose faith in it. I said that the spirit led us to this street for a reason and that we were going to knock it until we found the one. I told her that I had faith that we were going to find someone today and my faith was enough. She didn't seem to pleased with my speech but on we went. 3 doors later we knocked on the door of Roz Hernandez. She was so please to see us and invited us in. Turns out she knew a little bit about us and our religion and had 100 questions. IT was incredible!!! We were able to teach her about the book of mormon, temples, eternal families. prayer and the holy ghost! She is so prepared to receive the gospel! At the end of our lesson she committed to read from the book of mormon and pray about it. Sister Cost said the closing prayer and it was so much filled with the spirit!!! When we left, right as the door closed behind us, she turned to me and said she was sorry for not having the faith to find. I told her it was ok because it was a huge faith building experience for the both of us :) yay for faith. 

Today is the most beautiful day on the planet! It's 70 degrees outside!!!!!!!! I am just over the moon about how warm  it is! I'm not even wearing a coat today. We finally got all unpacked this morning and went for a taco to celebrate. Then we decided it was so nice outside that we were going to have a picnic and my favorite river in the whole world....THE DELAWARE! So we drove just a little bit and found her! Oh my I was so excited to be there I jumped for joy! We saw a tug boat, a US coast guard ship and at least 5 seagulls! I haven't seen Seagulls since I was home!! It was such a beautiful sight! 

Sister Cost is the best best companion. She is so wonderful and we are seriously just like sisters. Here we are now!: 
aren't we just cute!? so so happy. 

We have 2 thanksgiving dinners to attend on thursday, both with hispanic families!!! yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! So yes we are being taken care of :) 
The pennypack ward is super the greatest, we had a ward thanksgiving dinner on saturday and I met Sister Vega! She is the one that is friends with Leon Shwabb....or whatever his name is :) crazy small world, she just came up to me, checked my name tag and gave me a biiigest hug and said "this is from your mom!!!" I was super confused, "Sister Bettilyon??...or my real mom??" hahaha I think she will be at one of our thanksgiving dinners :). 
The He is the Gift thingy is so good! You will love love love the video :). WE are getting special pass along cards to go with it but we've already started with the joy to the world cards (the first presidency wants us passing out 10 a day!) 

OK, times about out on my computer. Love you all. I am thankful for every single one of yous :) LOVE LOVE LOVE<3
Sister B 

us at the delawareeeeee! 

I taught her some object lessons!!! ;) 

Monday, November 17, 2014

11/17/14 | Hello from Philadelphia!!!

Happy day to all of you!!!!!

What a wonderful week it has been! Monday we packed packed packed and said 100 goodbyes. It was really quite heart breaking but that feels like 100 years ago now. Sister Palacios mended tons of my skirts and dresses because she is the nicest human in America. I hope yous can meet her someday :). We had dinner with the Leitz and they kept talking about dad and what a wonderful person they thought he was just from their brief encounter. Brother Leitz asked me if he was the stake president, I chuckled and told him that dad was the bishop (for one more week!) and he said that he could just tell that he was either the bishop or the stake president :) Dad, you must have a reallll shiny countenance. Linda cried a lot when we had to go say bye to her. I cried too because I don't like seeing people sad. But it's amazing how quickly the Lord can turn your love towards your new area when you are transferred :). I LOVE MY NEW AREA. I'm serving in the Pennypack ward in Philadelphia! It's in North Philly and right below Morrisville. It's the same ward but different area that Sister Bettilyon served in while I was in Morrisville so I've already got an in with the ward because everyone LOVED her. Perfect :).
On Tuesday Sister Casey and I made the trek to Broomall for transfer meeting. I was soooooo nervous to find out where I would be transferred too. I think doubling into an area is more stressful than training. (unless your golden is cray...mine's not but I'll get to her later :)) I was so so so excited when I got called to the middle of the gym with Pennypack in big letters on the screen! I'm finally in Philly and it is truly, truly an adventure. After the meeting the two elders that were just here came and found me and airdropped me some notes on the area, gave me the area phone and apt keys and then he pulled out a SEPTA pass. That's the bus system of Philadelphia. boooo. So I made my way to my good buddy, Elder Jones', office to inquire. 5 min later I had the keys to a brand new car!!!! WOOOHOO! Then we had trainers meeting and lunch. Just lovely. We got put into trios for the night, I was with Sister Twitchel and Sister Ririe! Some of my favorites. We loaded up my stuff in Sister Twitchells truck (she's serving in the north end of the mission where it snows all year round....I'm pretty sure it snows all year up there anyways...:)) and brought my stuff to pennypack. The apartment was...well....grubby but nothing that a little elbow grease and sister love wouldn't fix! After that the three of us headed to sister ririe's side of philly to teach an English class to some lovely African women. It was quite the experience. Did some other stop by's and hit up the wawa for dinner.
Then it was Wednesday! Golden Pick-up day!!! We went back to Broomall and headed into the gym to wait for all the little babies. They came in looking sooooo scared, I was talking to Elder Jones when they came and he told me to go greet them because they actually were as scared as they looked. I went and gave all the baby sisters a big hug and introduced myself. I think that helped a little bit. They all looked pretty nice so I was pretty hopeful that I'd get a good one. And a Good one did I get! Her name is Sister Cost. She's from Preston Idaho, a convert of two years this February and seriously the best best best. She has had a hard, I mean hard life but is so optimistic! She's so strong and has a huge testimony. She is the most prepared golden I have ever met. So basically training her will be the funnest thing. We're already the best of friends and have gotten some good work done!
Our first night here one of our investigators called us and somehow mentioned that there was YW at the church that night. So we got a hold of the YW president and asked if they needed any help. She said they would love for us to come! What a perfect opportunity! We got to meet all of the young women and they are all super solid and great. Then the Bishop showed up! We got talking to him and ended up getting to have a meeting with him later that night so he could give us a run down of the ward and give us assignments!!! What a set of miracles!!
Our first lesson was with a recent convert named Boymah. We brought the bishops wife with us and the lesson went really really well! We got to know him and committed him to go out teaching with the elders and prepare to go to the temple. We are going to start helping him prepare in our up coming lessons.
We taught a woman named Dusica (doo-si-ka), she is Sirbian. The lesson went so so well but she told us that her husband didn't like the idea of us meeting with her. So we've been praying that his heart will be softened (his name is Zoran Catovic if you want to join us).
Then when we were working on finding some of the Less Actives bishop sent us out to find, we came across a Jillian. She walked right up to the door and answered with a big smile, "sisters!" she exclaimed then spilled her whole story, then she asked us if we would teach her boyfriend sometime! She still has a testimony after all of this time and wants him to feel the happiness the gospel brings. Then she told us that her boyfriend's mother lived down the street and her husband had just passed away--so down the street we went to share a message with her. She wasn't home but we plan on trying again next week. Sister Cost is so cute, we'll be out working with no real success then we'll run into someone like Jillian and she's on cloud nine! She jumps and skips and gives me a big hug. It's adorable. She is the best golden ever.
Our area is filled, I mean seriously filled with Russians. We even have Russian to English dictionaries and other Russian books at our apartment. Our entire apt complex is Russians! So I decided to thumb through the how to learn Russian books the other day. It didn't take me long to decide that that language is bogus and that I will not learn it...probably ever. I even looked up Moliko for some context on what on earth their letters look and sound like...yeah it didn't help. But could you ask grandma and grandpa how to say hello?? What does dos-v-danya mean again?? none of my very little russain is coming in handy yet....haha.
The rest of the population of our area is made up of Africans (mostly Liberians, like Kollie!!! remember Kollie from west chester?) and 100 other people that I can't remember right now. Our ward has 3 sets of missionaries in it and it is just going to be wonderful. This area is seriously going to explode within the next 2 transfers!!!
I love you all dearly!!
signing off from the City of Brotherly Love,
Sister B

Monday, November 10, 2014

11/10/14 | ok bye!


Well, the time has come for me to leave the City of Reading. No more stopping at the corner store for a 1$ empanada and nibbling at it while we skip down the gnarly brick sidewalks of downtown Reading. *sigh* No more pink guava tang or adobo. No pagoda or hiking Mt Penn (which actually is not a mountain). ahhh well though.  Sister Casey is leaving too. We are being doubled out and I don't think we are being replaced. I guess the ward wasn't utilizing the missionaries so they are taking one of us out. It's ok though because we had a pow wow with the Elders where they asked me everything about everyone so they would be prepared to take over. I think the hardest thing about missionaryness is leaving areas. You get so attached to the people you serve and then you have to go and tell them that you are leaving. It's especially hard when they cry. We had to do that to Linda yesterday. I really really didn't want to tell her, but eventually we had to. She cried a lot but then said she didn't want to think about it. So we are going over today to spend some p day time with her. She will be ok. Her sister Carmen (our purple hair investigator) was really sad too. She was so so so excited to have us teaching her. Sister Pickett and I taught her on exchanges back in September when she was visiting Linda. She finally moved here from Queens this week. When we went over to see her, she was so happy! "MY SISTERS!!!" she yelled when she saw it was us at the door and came and gave us big big hugs. We were able to have one lesson about the book of mormon and get her a copy of the children's book of mormon (she is an 8th grade drop out and struggles with reading) She was so excited and started reading it immediately. Linda saw it and decided she wants one too :) so we'll have to get her one. We went down stairs after our lesson and Linda (Carmen's daughter) was down there. We got talking with her and she wanted to do my hair. Ok! It was actually a miracle! She's pretty quiet and shy so while she was doing my hair (in her comfort zone) I was able to talk about the gospel with her! She agreed to read the book of mormon!!! yay! Awkward moment: The Zone Leaders stopped by to contact Carmen (Linda and Carmens mom, she is a less active and speaks better spanish) while we were sitting in their living room with Linda jr doing my hair…."yep! This IS actually how sisters do service and open doors for teaching opportunities…" They didn't say anything about it though..haha. Anyways, when we told Carmen we are leaving she was so sad, "right when I move here my sisters have to leave!?!" super sad. But she has a super strong desire to be baptized so all will be well. Oh want to hear the story behind her purple hair?? So she was super sick with cancer and stuff and ended up being in a coma for 8 months. When she woke up, all she saw was purple..strange but since then purple is her color. purple hair, purple shoes, purple clothes, purple purple everything purple. She is a gem. 

The rest of the good bye parade was good. Stopped by Rose's after church, had some big hugs and laughs and the best part is that it's not actually good bye :) wellll because of that whole plan of salvation thing where we get to see our friends all later AND because I'll be back for the temple dedication :) and all roads for the pennsylvania mormon lead to utah :) From there we went to Carina's. Bless her! She is my favorite! She magically had some fresh home made empanada's waiting for us :) soooo scrumptious! Apparently she made them for the spanish elders who were coming by later…the same elders that came while Linda was doing my hair…needless to say they just think we go around playing with our hair and eating all their empanadas….don't worry we left tons for them :). Then we went to the Palacios!!! Sister Palacios found out my favorite food was curry last week and insisted that she make me some before I left. I didn't protest. So we wen't and shared a wonderful meal of slightly hispanisized curry, she is also a master seamstress so we watched as she magiced out some wonderful scarves for us and fixed some of our clothes :) she is simply fabulous! 

Today we are going to a late lunch with Sister Bright and her daughter at Panera!!! Halleluja!!!!  Then we are going to Lindas, Then we get to go to the Leitz one last time (I love them so so much and they were so happy to have gotten to meet you dad!!! They said you were wonderful) Their daughters house is like 5 min from our house so I'll surely be seeing them in the future ;) yay!!! After that we have a stop by at the Fultz. We had a random opportunity yesterday (aka sister palacios ran into us in the library after sacrament and didn't have a teacher for YW, naturally we volunteered…just like she knew we would) to teach the YW. It was on helping the poor and needy or something so we found one of my favorite talks by President Eyring "opportunities to do good"  which coincidentally has the BEST mormon message that goes with it. Here's the trick with using Mormon Messages (Annie I hope you are reading this) although you will be tempted to save if for last for time's sake -- Don't always show it first. Mormon messages have a way to bring the spirit so nicely (especially to a room full of children or teens), it captivates their attention and allows them to open up to you after. So we showed the mm first and shared some of our thoughts. We ended up having a really good discussion about small ways they can "do good" whether it be "bringing someone a pizza" or "texting someone HEY!!" (those were there top two idea…I thought they were good because both of those things make me happy) One of the girls, Delilah, told us a funny story. We were talking about just texting people to let them know you care and she shared an experience of when her mom was scolding her for something silly, right in the middle of a grounding sentence--her mom received a text from us. I don't even recall what we said or why we randomly texted her but according to Delilah, her whole demeanor changed that instant with just a few nice words from the sister missionaries. After the lesson, Ashely Fultz asked us if we could come over today and meet one of her friends!!! That is a huge step! So I hope all goes well and that we can invite her friend to meet with the missionaries. After that we have an appointment with the Resnick clan, the part member/less active family! They are super great, I think the Elders are going to come for a hand-off lesson. 

That's that. Reading is a special place. You all would love it…probably. Actually most people that live around reading steer clear of the actually city, so it's been rather hard to get member presents. Oh well, Reading is my jam. 

On another note of news. President Anderson just called me and asked me to be a trainer. BAHHHH. That means me and baby golden will be doubling into an area. What an adventure this will be!!! So I'll be spending the next couple days in Broomall with the Jones' yayyy! 

Love you all. God Bless.
Sister B. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

11/3/14 | Winter is Here


Daylight savings ended yesterday. That means winter has begun! Coldest day in coldtown was yesterday. You know that bitter bone chilling wind you hear about…it's real and it was vicious yesterday. But today is a little better :) and it won't snow until after Thanksgiving! 
We had a pretty good week. On Tuesday we volunteered at St Andrews church to make candy! They sell it for christmas. It was so fun! I sprinkled crushed up nuts on to the freshly coated chocolates. The lady I was working with was super nice! I asked her a hundred questions because old people like that :) She was from Polish decent so she had some really cool stories. We walked all over the read city that day and it was actually real warm for some odd reason. We took a mini break for a min at a billion year old cemetery. super pretty. 
Wednesday we volunteered at the library in Birdsboro. That is always a joy. The librarians love us :).  That night was the ward halloween party. Perks of having a companion that is the opposite of you is that you can dress up as them for halloween. So we did that and it was quite funny. Everyone who realized what we had done laughed pretty hard and everyone told sister casey she should do her hair and make up like that every day, which is funny because I did it for her :). 
Thursday was our last district meeting of the transfer (we have zone training next week). It was really good. I have super loved having Sister Menlove and Sister Pickett in my district :) They are such a joy! Our district leader, elder petersen made us pie because he is really nice like that. 
Sister Casey met with President Anderson that afternoon. I suppose their talk went well because she's been…I guess a little happier. While we were waiting for President (he was doing an exit interview with an elder) we waited in the hall with Elder Bunker (the elders companion…actually they were on exchanges…so his temporary companion). We got talking to him and guess what. Elder Bunker is from St George and went to Dixie High and had Uncle Dave and supperrrrr loved him! He said 100 wonderful things about him and that he is sooooo smart. (His full name is Kragun Bunker if you want to tell Uncle Dave). When the elders left, sister casey went in, leaving me by my lonesome (which isn't actually lonely, it's actually quite refreshing when you are a missionary) Then out of nowhere comes Sister Broadbent, the mission psychologist. Random. She was waiting for her next appointment so she came and sat with me. (she know's me because I've had lot's of comp's work with her) We chatted, she's just realllll funny and wonderful. Makes me wish I was mentally unstable so I could chat with her every other week…just kidding. bad joke. It was Mischief Night so we had to be in at dark. 
Friday we cleaned the baptismal font. Correction: I cleaned the baptismal font. When we went to turn on the water, we found that there was a padlock on the water controls. No bueno. It was one of those number combo ones so I tried to guess for a while. We texted the WML and bishop and some other missionaries to see if anyone knew it. We waited and waited for replys, no on seemed to know. I got a little bit sick of waiting so we went to go try again. I tried some more random combinations and got frustrated, closed my eyes jumbled up the numbers real quick and said in my head "please open please open please open!" and it opened. When we found out the combo later, it turns out that it wasn't even on the numbers it was supposed to be on when it opened. So I guess the Lord takes care of his servants and makes sure they can accomplish their work, even if it's cleaning the baptismal font. 
We went to teach Linda ( a less active we work with, the one that always posts on my Facebook wall) that afternoon. The elders came over to give her mom a blessing. Her mom has been quite cold to us in the past but has been warming up lately. She's hispanic and pretends to not speak english. But when the elders came and gave her a blessing, the spirit was so strong and I know her heart was not only softened towards us but also to Linda (they don't get along). We ended up teaching her about the book of mormon (she was baptized in 1997 but doesn't remember much) and she agreed to read from it! (if we got her a large print copy in spanish..) And we are sending over the spanish elders to teach her (she understands spanish better). yay! 
Saturday morning we got up realll early to go fill the font for Dominic Koch's baptism (he is the cutest tiniest 8 year old boy in our ward) It was a miracle we figured out how to open the water controls the day before, otherwise there wouldn't have been a baptism. Everything went well. I love baptisms. That afternoon we met with Sister Rayford (LA). We invited her to invite over her nieces and nephews that live next door. She did and we taught them the plan of salvation! it was wonderful! They were so intrigued and asked so many good questions! They want us to come back next week and also want to come to church!!!! yay! 
Hope you all have a super week! Love yous! 

A little piece of Reading

Our happiest district