Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 62-"oh sweet the joy this sentence gives, I know that my Redeemer lives"

Oh happy day! 

It's the start of a new transfer and I'm super happy to stay in Moses Lake. It is the BEST place to be for missionary work. I love it. I LOVE IT! I have a new companion! Well, not yet. She will come on Tuesday but I found out last night who she will be. Hermana Tippetts! She was also trained by Sister Hicks so she will probably do missionary work similarly. I'm sad Hermana Hicks left yesterday but I'm actually pretty excited too. It means that I'm taking over the area because Hermana Tippetts has never worked here so she doesn't know anybody! It was reeeeaaaallly  great that Hermana Hicks was traveling sister because all the exchanges prepared me to feel ready to take over the area now. When I first got here I never thought I would know so much about everyone or even WHERE TO GO. Does anyone know me? I'm terrible with directions! But somehow I can manuever my way around Moses without a problem. It's definitely the Lord working through me. I had a feeling from the very start that Hermana Tippetts would be my 2nd trainer. She was training one of the sisters that came out of the MTC with me but she was in a trio so it just made sense to bring her over to me. But I think more than making sense, it's what the Lord wants and knows Moses Lake needs to help the work progress. Ahh! So fun!

I love change and newness and beginnings and so I'm super excited to work with her and get to know her better. And I also love the responsibility of looking over my Moses and taking care of all my sheep here. I love the people. People make the mission. They are everything. Yesterday I gave a talk in 6th ward and as I sat on the stand and looked over the congregation, I just felt so much love. I don't even know many of the people in 6th ward very well but I LOVE THEM. I feel a divine love for them and I am so happy to serve in their part of the vineyard. Being a missionary is such an amazing privilege. This was the week where I decided I'm going to LOVE my mission-which may sound silly to you but this first transfer was rough. There are some really hard days where I just don't love being a missionary. I received a letter this week that really changed everything for me. It came on the day I needed it most and it was everything I needed. It put things into perspective and I realized it's really no sacrifice to be a missionary. Especially here in Washington-I live a more luxurious life than at college for sure. I mean I buy all brand name food! :) But this one year and half of my life is everything. The Lord sees my great potential and it's going to be a rough go to get there but I have this amazing time to learn and grow in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm really learning to apply the Atonement daily. It's so important! But this last week-especially since it was Hermana Hick's last week-we did our everything to work hard and give it to the Lord. We saw miracles and reached nearly all our goals! It was incredible.

And next week we are having a baptism! Claudia and Genaro are getting married on thursday and baptized on Saturday. I'm super glad Hermana Tippetts will get to see this baptism and witness just how miraculous and wonderful Moses Lake is-but more importantly how wonderful the people are. So Hermana Hicks left yesterday at 2 pm so I had one of the YSA sisters come and step-in as my companion for the night. It was super fun. She is headed out to serve in Romania in February so she was soaking everything up. She has gone out and taught lessons with us before but this was the first time it was just me and her. I had a glimpse into trainer-life [yikes! tough stuff. hopefully not anytime soon!] But it was cool for me to see that I can do it! I can step up and take the lead in our spanish discussions and I can listen to promptings of the spirit and to apply the scriptures and doctrine of Christ to people's lives! And I can love the people I serve. I can be a missionary! I am a missionary. I still get surprised some mornings because I'm actually still pretty much the same. My testimony has grown, my love of the scriptures has exploded and my desire to be more like Christ increases everyday-but I'm still me. Little ol' emily who sometimes can't decide what to wear in the morning because I love clothes too much. And little emily who reads the scriptures and finds inspiration for new art projects! But the truth is-I'm actually not emily for now. Not for the next 16 months. I'm Hermana Judd. I'm a representative of Jesus Christ and it is a sweet, sweet privilege. Bearing testimony is my favorite! More than anything I want to help others feel God's love for them and help them recognize their amazing, divine worth. The worth of souls is GREAT in the sight of God. And I'm witness to that everyday!

I sometimes don't know what I should say in my letters. Do you want to hear more about my investigators? Should I tell more missionary experiences? I mostly just tell my feelings cause that is so me. Ya know? Digame, mama. 

For now I'll leave you with some photos from the last few weeks.

So I am not sure what order they will come in but here goes:

1. This is Jonathan. He is Claudia and Genaro's son and he was going to get baptized this weekend with them too but he told us last night that he wants to keep reading the Book of Mormon and really pray to know it's true. He is such a solid 9 year old! He always tells us how much he loves church and how good it makes him feel. It makes me so happy that he really wants to have a testimony and be baptized because he knows it's true! The primary in the branch gave all the kids missionary name tags with their last name. He's Elder Avila. It touches my heart to think of him serving a mission! Oh, I love this family so much!

2. This is outside the temple with Hna Donaldson and Hna Sanchez from Warden. Also, Sister Mathyer is a sister in the 6th ward who always drives us around and takes us to the temple. She is the best!

3. The sun doesn't shine very often in the winter but it did on our temple day! I thrive on sunshine. It is so great anytime we see it!

4. This is my district. We set our cameras on the sidewalk so we could all be in the picture. Tallest to shortest of course. Ahh, so great. I forgot that working with Elders is such a big part of my mission-but turns out it's awesome. These Elders are so great! 

5. This is Elder Bell. He was my Zone Leader before he left for home today! He is so great! It was so fun to work with him. And he's like literally 3 feet taller than me. SO funny! He is the tallest in the mission and I'm the shortest. We had to get a picture, of course!

6. Hermana Hicks and yo. I don't know if we had ever even taken just a single picture together so there!

7. This is a boy named Cody in Jacob's freshman ward. It was super random that we were at the stake center and that he was there too but he came out and was like, "are you sister judd??" so had to take a picture to show Jake and remind him that he should write me! Or send me your address so I can write you!!!!

8. & 9. We ate Thanksgiving dinner with the Bowens in 6th ward. It might honestly have been the best thanksgiving meal I've ever had. Such good broccoli salad and sweet potato souflee! Afterwards we watched profiles with the family and shared a scripture with. Definitely a good thanksgiving!

10. This is Virgina and Arturo in their living room. Oh, I love them. Gollee, we are praying for a miracle with Arturo. I don't know when he will be baptized but I pray it's soon.

Welp, that's all for now I think. 

I love being a missionary! I can't believe it's been two months. Time stands still just as often as it flies by. Had I stayed in the MTC for 9 weeks I would be coming out in the field today! Man, I'm so glad that I was here in Washington instead. I have learned SO much about the gospel and about Spanish just from working with the people here.

Here's to the start of an awesome transfer 2!

Love you all!

Hermana Em

Sunday, November 25, 2012

quick letter: oh may my soul commune with thee

Hey family!

This will be a quick letter. We just got back from the Temple and we only have about an hour and a half to get everything for the whole P-day done! The temple was great. I'm at the public library today so I don't think I can send any pictures but I will send some next week! I don't even have organized thoughts this week so I'm sorry if this letter is a total bust!

Our last exchange we traded with the Othello sisters! I stayed in Moses Lake and Sister Collins came here but we drove through Othello to pick her up so I wanted to give Brother Bouck a shout-out from his little home town. I thought Moses Lake was a pretty small town, but there is nothing in Othello! Granted, it was night time when we went and I couldn't see much anyway but it was pretty precious. Sister Collins was super awesome. I am hoping she can come to Moses Lake next transfer and be my 2nd trainer! People say you can never guess at how transfers will go because it always ends up being different than what you expect. The worst would be if I leave my Moses Lake. But asi es la vida. I'll go where the Lord wants me to go.

This is Sister Hick's last week so we are going to make sure she goes out with a bang! We are praying and fasting for a miracle. Arturo hasn't set a date for baptism (his wife Virginia got baptized Nov. 3) but we really think he will do it this Saturday. He is ready, SO ready! I asked him to pray last night for a baptismal date and I really, really pray that the Lord will answer his prayers with a quick response! More than anything, the blessings that come from baptism will be so wonderful for his whole family! Claudia and Genaro are going to get their wedding license tomorrow and if all goes well we'll have ANOTHER wedding/baptism day. CRAZY! Sister Hicks said she only had one wedding on her mission before this and I'm already on number 2! Moses Lake is the promised land! So much great work happens here! I really hope I can spend my Christmas here.

Patrick, our hopeful from last week, came on the Church tour and really liked it. We have another appointment with him tomorrow and I'm so excited. I know it will change his life! 

A few weeks ago I told you about Nancy. We met her outside her house and shared the book of mormon with her. We've been meeting with her every week since then. It's been hard because her husband doesn't want to listen but then on Friday we sat down and watched the Restoration DVD with them and he stayed and watched it! He even commented at the end. The spirit was working on him! And then they came to our Branch Thanksgiving dinner that night. Oh, it was precious. A smorgasborg of food that doesn't really belong at thanksgiving. Oh, I love these hispanic people. It's so tough because most of the people we teach are in the spanish branch, and I love spending my time there, but the 6th ward is FULL of amazing members and I love them too. I really want to get to know more people in that ward so I'm setting a goal for next transfer to get in as many homes as possible! It will be perfect since Christmas is coming up and we will have the best excuse to visit people in their home.

Speaking! It's a new campaign to get people excited about the holidays! Check it out and share with your friends!

We were having trouble with a less-active family in the 6th ward and we went over to their house this week and showed them a few videos. It invited a spirit that we hadn't been able to feel there. It was so great! At the end their 12 year old son said the prayer and asked that his family would be able to attend church. It truly was a miracle!

Well, that's all I can think of for now.

Love you all lots. Thanks for the letters and love! And keep the mission calls coming! I'm so happy and excited for everyone! 

Hermana Em

Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 48: 'i will give away all my sins to know thee'

Dearest family and friends,

I never know how much or how little to say to y'all. So much happens in just the span of 24 hours that by the time a new week has come, I can never seem to summarize it all.
Last Monday , after I wrote my email to y'all we went home to see that our family had returned! We've been living in this beautiful home all by ourselves because the Andersons have been in Samoa and Tonga. They finally came home and it's been the best! They are a very sweet and tender elderly couple. They are just so precious and so kind and loving! Everytime we come home sister Anderson has a little something special for us. It feels like we are living with our adopted grandmother. Friday was Hermana Hicks' birthday and they surprised us with the best brunch ever! It was probably the best meal I've eaten on my mission so far. It reminded me of the scene in Little Princess, after they stay up in the attic and dream about a big feast and the next morning the Indian man surprises them with lush furnishings and wonderful food. It was just like that! They set the table with beautiful decor and had glasses of apple juice with frozen raspberries at the top. It was all very Nancy Judd :) They had squash soup, marinated chicken, corn on the cob, salad and homemade pineapple upside down cake. Brother Anderson used to be a baker so he knows a thing or two about sweets. It was SO good-I just kept thinking of you, Mom, because I know how much you love pineapple upside down cake. Oh man, I love the Andersons. They are so cute to each other. I want to be just like them when I get older!

On Wednesday, we had new missionary training in Spokane. It is always so great to be with President and Sister Mullen. I love them so much. They just always say the best, most uplifting and inspiring things. I feel so blessed to have him watching over us missionaries. We talked a lot about love and having charity in our companionships. It was funny because on Tuesday, I woke up feeling bleh. Everything was just rubbing me the wrong way. I was frustrated with Hermana Hicks and I was frustrated with myself for being so hard hearted. But sometimes you just can't let go of the anger in your heart. But I knew we needed to talk about it, so we talked it out and had a real heart to heart about how we were feeling and how we can work on communicating better. I just felt so relieved after talking to her. We made peace (I had already shown her how we make peace in our family) and then we both felt so much more happy. It was probably the best day of my mission so far! We had so much love and unity in our companionship and nothing could get us down. We taught with a powerful spirit and we met a lot of people and set up a lot of appointments and it just was so great. It felt so wonderful to be a missionary! I was so glad that we had talked it through and forgiven each other. It's so important to strive to have the spirit with us all the time. We are only effective when we work with the Holy Ghost and allow the spirit of Christ to testify!

We had another Zone Training on friday and talked about using the Book of Mormon in every lesson. We have really been trying to read more with our investigators so they can see how important it is. The Book of Mormon is the word of God! We just want people to read it and feel His love and come closer to Christ. It's so true!

We had another exchange! I will be super bummed when I get a new companion in two weeks and I probably won't be the traveling sister companion anymore. Exchanges are probably my favorite things each week. It's so nice to have a new companion and a different view on missionary work. This week, Hermana Linn came down to Moses Lake with me and Hermana Hicks went up to Quincy. Hermana Linn served in Moses Lake for 5 months and so she knew the area and people really well. It was cool for her to see the people again and to see how far everyone has come. She was the first missionary to knock on Ana and Walter's door but they always avoided her. It was so beautiful to have her see how happy Ana and Walter are now! It's a testament to persistence! Even if someone isn't ready now, they could be ready in a few months and for different missionaries! The gospel will always change lives. They are baptized and married and well on their way to the temple! Ana is just glowing. She has never felt so great in her whole life. There is a temple trip this saturday to do baptisms and they are SO excited to go. We gave them a copy of the temple edition of the ensign and they just love it so much. I can't wait for them to experience the peace and beauty for themselves!

So Hermana Linn is so great! She is probably the most happy, positive person I know. She has such a refreshing take on her mission. She goes home in two weeks too and she is so happy and excited! She has loved every minute of her mission, loved all her companions, loved all the hard times and now she is ready to face the future! I want to have that attitude everyday on my mission too. I know in my emails I probably seem like I'm always sunshine and lollipops over here but I've felt pretty low too. I get discouraged and worried about the work-am I doing enough? am I being loving enough? do i put my whole heart into serving others? Talking with Hermana Linn was so great. It just gave me a new resignation and desire to give it all to the Lord. I want to leave my mission with no regrets. I chose to be out here, I chose to be a servant of the Lord and I will do everything, EVERYTHING to use His time wisely! I am happy to be a missionary! It is so sweet to share this gospel with others.

We met a guy last night named Patrick and he's had it rough. He has been through a lot, but he just talked to us with a quiet dignity. He wants change in his life and I just felt so happy to share with him the power of Christ and His Atonement. The Atonement is so powerful, so incredible and so wonderful. As I study more about Christ each day, I am always humbled and grateful for His sacrifice. Patrick is supposed to come on a church tour with us tonight and I want to badly for him to come! Oh, it would bless his life so much!

Wanna hear something pretty funny? We have been teaching a new young couple this last week and they are so prepared! Brenda is the wife and she always reads and has questions for us. It's so awesome! Well their cousins have been joining in on the lessons too and one of the cousins is named....Melvin?!?! hahaha. It was so funny to meet him. He actually reminds me of the other Melvin I know. He's got great faith and a sincere desire to do what's right. 

We met another family this last week, Grace and her four kids. They are all grown up ranging in ages 14 to 18. They are awesome! We were headed to an appointment with Ana and Walter and we saw them getting in their car and heard them speaking spanish so we ran over and handed them a card. We asked where they lived and the daughter pointed to her apartment. So we decided to stop by and they were just awesome! They let us in and stopped everything to let us share a scripture and thought with them. They all listened sincerely and had good questions. They speak English and Spanish so depending on what ward they want to go to they may or may not be our investigators. I hope they stick with Spanish because they would be such a solid family to have in the branch!

A lot of our spanish members live in trailer parks and live from month to month. I'm actually so surprised how EVERYONE here lives pretty unstable lives. This is a farming community so people either work in the fields doing the harvest, or they work for the factories surrounding the city. People always seem to work 12 hour shifts so their days consist of working and sleeping and that's it! Even our english members have tough, long-hour jobs. Nobody here works an office job or anything commercial. It's pretty humbling to see how hard every family works to make ends meet. Of course our English ward also consists of all the farmers who actually own the farms everyone works on so there is a lot more stability in the 6th ward, but there is just a great work ethic here. These are good ol' people who know how to work with their hands. I love serving out here because it really is so different from anything I grew up with. I feel like I have such a blessed life to have parents with an education and that I'm working to get my education too.

People call Moses Lake "Moses Hole" because nobody ever seems to leave. I am pretty sure everyone is related one way or another. Both our english and spanish wards are just one big happy family. We have like 6 Roylance families and 3 of the Roylance brothers married 3 Bergeson sisters and they are cousins to the Bakers and on and on. And then in the Spanish branch we have President Guzman who is brother to Andre Guzman and they are cousin to Clif Perez who is related to Brother Cruz and on and on. People settle here and stay forever. It's pretty cool, actually.

Oh man, well I know I probably have more I want to say but I never have enough time or clear thoughts to put it. Thanks for the letters and love! Keep the mission calls coming! I love to hear where people are going [and that they decided to serve!] Being a missionary is so, SO great. It's changing my life everyday. I love serving the Lord and helping His lost, wandering sheep!

Hermana Em

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day 41: surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful

(Sorry for the delay in posting her letters. It's not like some of us are in graduate school with 2 jobs or anything like that.) 

Querida Familia,

This week was so amazing. It might have been my very favorite week of my mission so far!

On Tuesday we had Zone Conference which is like Spiritual Thanksgiving. Oh, my soul was nourished and fed and it was WONDERFUL! The best, most uplifting, and inspiring messages.  My heart was just so full and happy to be a missionary! President Mullen put together this slide show about the Book of Mormon that has changed my life. My mission has really strengthened my testimony about the Book of Mormon. It is proof that God loves us! He went through the hard evidence of why the Book of Mormon is true (which is cool but we would rather the spirit testify of truth rather than hard facts) and it was pretty awesome. The book is filled with allegory and references to the bible. It just could not be hand written-especially in the time that it was made. Then he went through a slide show of pictures depicting Book of Mormon scenes and he talked about how it relates to modern times. It talks about families struggling, and growing, missionaries not sure if they are doing the right things, serving others. And then he showed a slide of Alma the Younger and the Sons of Mosiah and he said, the Book of Mormon speaks about less active members who make amazing comebacks in the church through the faith and diligent prayers of those around them. It really hit me so hard. I just wanted to sing it from the hills, "The Book of Mormon is the word of God!" I had a hard time consistently reading the Book of Mormon before my mission, but I will never ever let a day pass again where I don't read and study from it. Hand in hand with the bible, it is filled with advice and love from God. It helps us become closer to Jesus Christ. It is so amazing! 

Then right after Zone Conference we had another exchange (we will do them every week since Sister Hick's is the traveling sister). This time I went up to Leavenworth which also might be heaven on Earth. I loved it SO much. It is a tourist town up in the mountains and the whole place is a Bavarian Village so everything is in the Olde English Theme. It was like little Duloc from Shrek. I felt like I was on missionary vacation. It was such a different scenery from Moses Lake and since I was visiting a new place, I had no responsibility but just to help with the work and talk to as many people as possible. And I was in the cutest, most quaint and beautiful place ever. Oh, I hope I can have a transfer up there someday. Look it up and see pictures, it is so great!

I came back to Moses Lake just in time for Halloween, which was a little crazy. It feels so funny to be a missionary sometimes, because normal life things seem so odd. Doesn't everyone on the planet just want to share the happiness of the gospel with everyone?? But being with all the families here gets me so excited for my future family. The gospel is everything to me. I just want to a raise a family in righteousness and love, centered on Jesus Christ!

Then this weekend was a WHIRLWIND because we had a wedding AND a baptism on Saturday! Ana and Walter got their license on Tuesday and we thought they would get married and wait a week to be baptized but then on Thursday they decided they just wanted to do it all. Which was exciting but actually really crazy. I loved it but I will never do anything like this again. The baptism was so great. Oh, I just love these people so much. We called everyone we knew to make sure they came and it was so great to see all the love and support from the branch. Most of the members are converts themselves, and their testimonies are so strong. I just admire their willingness to serve and love everyone. We were working on patience this week as a companionship and even though we just about lost our minds a few times, there was still an overwhelming peace that Heavenly Father loves us. He is always watching over us and helping us out. Just when we were on our last straw, he'd pour down a simple blessing. It is so sweet to be a missionary and to be a witness to His grand, amazing love for us.

I love you all so much! Thank you for your prayers and support! Being a missionary is the best thing I've ever done. 


Hermana Em

p.s. here is the link to the video we watched at our zone conference. so great!

oh, here are pictures from the baptism:

the first is Virginia and Arturo. Arturo is still working towards baptism. Despite the glum looks on their faces, they really are happy to be there!
the next two are ana and walter and their girls. this was right after their wedding and right before the baptism. perhaps our biggest mistake was scheduling them so close together!
the last one is from a day of tracting and we stumbled upon texas street so you know i had to have a picture taken