Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dobby, Dehydration and Tracting

Whew. We survived another week!! And let me tell you, it was CRAZY!! I appreciated the long letter Mom, because it seems we have had Dobby visiting our mailbox! We went 4 days without a single letter/package. (But I did get your package on Tuesday! It was great thanks!) I was glad to hear something from the outside worlds. And just so you know, today is my 2 months. :D Only getting better from here!!

So Tuesday. We had lunch with some awesome members, the O'Farrells. Missy got home like 2 months ago haha! Her mom, Mary Ann, is a character and a half! They are super great.

We went to Mercedes' after and well–that was interesting–as always. She doesn't remember a thing, tells us the same 5 stories for an hour, tells us God sent us to answer her prayers and then we leave. Great lady BUT we don't know how much longer we will be teaching her because she won't come to church and just likes to visit with us. We will just follow the Spirit on that one.

We tracted after that. And guess what? Nothing. Happened. Members are SO crucial to our teaching!! Tracting doesn't work, that is not what missionary work is. PLEASE listen to the Worldwide Leadership Broadcast. Missionaries need help finding those that are ready to teach.

Mom, you are doing SO well helping with Perla! I am so happy every time I read about you getting her for an activity or inviting her to church because that is what members are FOR. Missionaries should slip in and slip out, hardly noticed. (: That's my job! Anyway. We tried to find former investigators and that didn't work so well. They had all moved over a year ago.

Wednesday, another long day of tracting. With no success. We spent several hours walking around, looking for people to teach and no one wanted to hear the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ! ): We met our new Elders on Wednesday too, since Elder Remund went home and Elder Sutherland got transferred. We now have Elder Davidson from Utah and Elder Palmer from Flagstaff. And they think they are hilarious. But they aren't. So we just get to put up with them for the next 6 weeks! Haha!

We held our 1st Book of Mormon class!! And the total number of people that came?? 3. Yup. The Smiths, and Bishop. The Bishop reminds me a lot of Mr. Brooks (M.H.S. Band teacher) if you get what I'm saying. He means well just sometimes bites off more than he can chew.

Thursday. Uhhh. This day did NOT start off that well. We decided to go running (ice cream is bad for you and yes Mom, I am eating lots of fruits and veggies -__-). So. We run about a mile and Sister M starts looking pretty pale and is cramping really bad. We start walking and end up sitting in front of a coffee shop for 10 minutes before she darts inside. She runs to the rest room and I had to awkwardly wait outside. She comes out 20 minutes later, is so pale and clammy I could tell something was wrong. She just tells me to call Mandee (the AMAZING less active we are working with). I call her and she says she will come and pick us up as soon as she can. Meanwhile, Sister M is laying on the pavement and sweating and pale and I start to freak out a little. I tried to stay calm to not freak her out, but it is still pretty hard to stay calm when your companion is writhing on the floor. I called President Topham and he said to wait until Mandee got there than call the doctor in our ward. Mandee showed up and luckily she is a Physician's Assistant and totally knew what to do.

We got Sister M into Mandee's car and went to her house. By 8:30, Sister Montgomery was well hydrated and actually started to get some color back. We spent a good portion of the morning (til 10) at the Mancuso's. I finally met Brian (also a PA), Mandee's husband, and we made faces at Frankie (turns 1 on the 26th!). When Brian heard that Sister M wasn't doing so great, he came down the stairs and said "You aren't pregnant right? Cuz that might be really awkward. 'Uhh President. Yeah, she is...pregnant.'" Just trying to lighten the mood and make us laugh at a freaky situation. It worked. (:

Brian got back from bear hunting in Alaska about 3 weeks ago, loves guns, and talked about the AZ border with me. Pretty great guy haha! We discussed how it was not uncommon to go shooting on dates and his reply was "Even I know that is lame!" haha! They are so good to us.

Mandee took us home after Sister M was recovered; Sister M insisted we still go to District Meeting, the crazy. I made sure she was alright and we did. We took the rest of the day slow and I made her nap after District Meeting. By the evening she was completely fine. We went to the Relief Society Activity (This Little Piggy) and talked with a member's (Sister Winsor) mom and neighbor about the gospel. Turns out, Sister Winsor's family was Fundamentalist until she was 12! They are an amazing family. We went home to some much needed rest after the activity.

Friday was a lot of the same. We tracted, nothing happened, we came home and started to plan for a better tomorrow when we get a text from Dania. Her girls, Jaeda and Jasmine, had a dance recital and she wanted us to come to the dress rehearsal! Of course we took her up on it. We have been trying to build trust with her for SO long. She is so great! The girls were phenomenal considering they are 9 years old! Goodness, I love this family!!

Saturday, we did the same thing we had done all week: tracted.

No one was interested.

Sister M got heated up when a lady said the Book of Mormon wasn't the word of God, tried quoting Revelations to us, so we left because these Catholics are CRAZY!!! Bible Bashing gets you no where. People were literally hiding from us. We would knock on a door. No answer. Move down the street a little, and they would drive away. Awesome. Tracting just isn't effective.

Sunday was crazy busy! We had ward council at 9, Church until 1 and then we went to Frankie's birthday party to support the Mancuso's. They are so funny. Brian tried to stuff us with as many hot dogs and cake as he could! We were SO full. Mandee made sure to come and talk to us and make sure we were doing alright after Thursday; she is so wonderful. As I said before, it is like coming home for a bit.

After the party we studied for uh, 30 minutes then had to go to our dinner appointment with the Kimbers. They have 6 kids and are from Utah. Typical Mormon family! Sometimes that is the best! (: They had the same plates as we do back home (the tan ones with the little hearts) and the 'O' Jerusalem' painting in the same frame hanging in their living room. Talk about going home haha! It was great! We watched the broadcast at their house and man was it great!! (: Can you believe that we are gonna be using the internet more?? Tracting, as I said, does NO GOOD! If you get anything from the broadcast, take it that members have to help us help them! Trust the missionaries with friends and family! We don't know them as well as you do and we leave at times withing 6 weeks! Help a sister out (;

Well, that is it!! Another week down! I hope you are all doing well and may you feel Heavenly Father's love for you!!


Sister Crockett

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My District

So this is my silly district (I kind of hate how I look in these pictures...don't judge it is humid haha!)
 Starting with the left:
Elder Remund (making the silly faces) he is going home this week
In front is Elder Belk been out 4 months Spanish speaking
Next is me and Sister Montgomery
Elder Nelson our district leader
Elder Sutherland, just got transferred
Elder Thomas in the back
Elder Brinkerhoff is a visa waiter with Elder Nelson and Elder Belk
We have the AP's in our district too, but they were working on transfer stuff.
Yup that is us in all our ridiculousness...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Choose Not to be Offended

Hey there Family! (:

I am doing SO good!! 

Start of a new transfer and Sister Montgomery and I are stuck together for the next one (we have a feeling it may be longer.) I kinda feel the same way about the mission call opening. I wouldn't change that at all. (:

Kelcie would gosh that girl cracks me up! I miss her like CRAZY! Make sure she knows that. (: And shoot I would have bought her clothes (; I have been writing to Stuart and he is as goofy as ever. We all have our ups and downs (take this week for example) but he is the same old Stuart ha.

 I have to tell you (And I swear I'll get a picture SOME time) but as we are leaving church there is a UHAUL store RIGHT across the street from an intersection we have to wait at forever. Cracks me up every time.

So this week....yuck. Not the greatest. Our numbers still beat the Elders...according to our district leader ha! Not that numbers matter...but really, this week was gross. Sister Montgomery and I cracked under pressure more than once, hence the pictures I will send...don't judge. Gotta keep sane somehow!

Tuesday, We tried to go visit a less active who has a kind of crazy family...and I don't mean hectic I mean...crazy. She wasn't home so we started to walk back to our apartment but we remembered a PI that we had wanted to start to teaching. So we walked down to her house and she was actually home! No way we could have remembered her or known that she was home at that time except by the Spirit. So we got in and started to teach. Kala is from Nepal and her family is all Buddhist. She says somehow she is "Drawn to Christ". If that isn't true doctrine and the start of a testimony, I don't know what is. She didn't have any knowledge of the Bible or what kind of things happened during the Savior's life but she is reading the Book of Mormon. (And we found out yesterday she is moving to North Carolina at the end of this month.)

So many less actives here! They all have the same story “So and so offended me x-amount of years ago so I don't know if the church is true anymore.” -__-

Let me just tell you. Christ, who is the center of this Church, was spit upon, given an unfair–not to mention ILLEGAL–trial, whipped, mocked, reviled, and killed because people were "offended" by His teachings. As He was hanging from a cross, nailed to wood, He forgave the people who did those HORRIBLE things to Him. Now PLEASE tell me how you have any right to be "offended" by the imperfect people of this Church. Forgiveness is an attribute we teach but do we actually use it? Or is it something we just talk about on Sunday? Anyway. It was just a defining moment for me to never let the little things slip. I will always read my scriptures and pray because the moment I think I have "done enough" is the moment doubts enter my mind.

Wednesday, we visited Dania after she got a little upset with us inviting her to church. She was tired of the missionaries "sneaking" that in after they be-friend her. We explained we loved her and that we just wanted to help her find happiness, through the gospel of Jesus Christ, and she started to come around. We are going to still be working with her thank goodness! We also went to our investigator, Gary's house. We had to pass him to the Elders because he was... a little awkward, and the Elders would get along with him better anyway. But, they were on exchanges and Elder Sutherland is getting transferred...so there will be TWO new Elders next time they teach him. Oh well.

 We met with Andrea and her mom, Maria. Andrea is a typical 15 year old and we told her we would only come back when she wanted us to. Maria wasn't too happy but agreed that would probably be best. We also got to see Mandee Mancuso! Franky (her 9 month old) was ready to go down for a nap but it was good to visit with her for a little bit. We found out it was Brian's (her husband) birthday so we brought some cupcakes by later that night.

Our dinner appointment was...interesting. Sister Zadach is from the Philippines and wanted to make food for us but Brother Zadach said we would like pizza better. He was right haha! She gave us homemade lemonade and pizza. The Elders were in heaven...that is until her Filipino hospitality kicked in and invited them to get more pizza. Every time they finished a slice. Then served dessert. We were SO stuffed. It was really nice though haha!

Thursday, just district meeting and appointments falling through. BUT! We did find 2 new investigators. Dave actually asked us to stop and talk to him about the church which was really nice. And we went street contacting. We were called "librarians" by a girl with flaming orange eye shadow and more than a few piercings in her face. If that is the worst thing I get called, I am ok with that.

Friday, was very similar...minus district meeting.

Saturday, we broke down and bought pizza and ice cream and I don't even feel sorry. After a crazy day, it was what we needed. We tried tracting after dinner and found 2 old Italian women who were SO Roman Catholic it isn't even funny. SO yeah.

Sunday was very similar to Saturday. /:

That is our unfortunate week!

Well, that is all!

Love you!!

Sister Crockett

Monday, June 10, 2013

Meeting an Apostle of the Lord

BRENTWOOD, Pa. — Thank you so much for the notes from everybody!! Even though a bunch said, "Your mom is making me..." Thanks, I'm glad they wanted to write me so desperately.

I LOVE to have your talk and hear about the experiences at Girl's camp! It looks like you enjoyed yourselves immensely! What was the theme this year? Here, one of the girls' camp themes was "May the Spirit be ever with you" and it had the outline of the Young Woman Torch girl with a braid hanging down the side (so hunger games if that wasn't clear!) I thought it was interesting.

I can't believe Parker is leaving this week! Little does he know! I'm sure he will be fine. It just is a huge shock to your system no matter where you go. We think it is because we are forced to live on a spiritual level so our natural man can't cope. Some give in to that and become less effective missionaries and some go with it and choose to soar with the help of our Loving Heavenly Father.

This week:

On Tuesday, we had to drop off Faith's phone because she left it in the car of some members who were able to help her get to church last week. When we gave it to her she was really happy and sat down and looked at us expectantly. When we didn't say anything she got a huge smile on her face and said "So what lesson do you have for me today?" and just starts laughing. Let me tell you, the difference from Faith now from the time we first met her is astounding. She is so light and happy and you can see a glow about her. It is so great!!

We then went to visit an 87-year-old woman who we have sort of been teaching. Mercedes is super nice, but she can't remember anything so we thought she wouldn't be progressing at all. When we showed up at her house, we had every intention of dropping her but much to our surprise she had followed through with EVERY commitment we had extended. Of course, she couldn't remember that she had studied the Plan of Happiness, but she had done it nonetheless. When we told her we wouldn't be able to come back and visit with her, she became very upset and sorrowful. I looked at Sister Montgomery and she just nodded. We agreed to come back and teach her some more about where her husband is and where she could expect to go at the end of her life. We left her house and Sister Montgomery and I both said at the same time "We just can't." She is still one of our Heavenly Father's precious investigators.

Wednesday was SUPER tough. Every plan we made fell through, including our back-up plans. We walked everywhere and nothing happened. No exciting experiences there :/

Thursday was another pretty tough day. Bishop asked Sister Montgomery to play at a funeral of a lady we didn't know, and I was asked to give the closing prayer. Can you say AWKWARD. Plus, there were less than 15 people there. It was the weirdest thing I have ever been to. The lady was cremated and her family was inactive. Not exactly a great morning. We went over after the funeral to talk to Faith again and that was nice. She is really starting to brighten up and we are excited to see her growth! Then Sister Montgomery got sick again and it was POURING rain. What a crazy night.

Friday, not much happened here, either! We finished weekly planning super quick and traveled to the mission office so we could drive to Harrisburg for our mission conference. We drove over with the Buehners (Bean-ers) who work in the office. They are so hilarious and treated us like their kids. It took us about 5 hours to get there and we stopped for dinner at this cute little diner called Soda Jerk. The food was great and Sister Montgomery and I shared the HUGEST milk shake I've ever seen! It was SO good!! (: Then we stayed the night at a member’s house in Hummelstown, which is super close to Hershey and Harrisburg. They were super nice and it felt like we were home again for just a little while.

Saturday was nice. We had a good time. No big deal. ;)


That was one of the craziest experiences of my life! Before the conference even started our district leader, Elder Nelson, comes walking in with his companions, Elder Belk and Elder Brinkerhoff, and they all are freaking out. Apparently they were in charge of helping park Elder Bednar's car and I'm not really sure what occurred when Elder Bednar got out because they all started talking gibberish. Elder Nelson was practically crying and the other 2 were in shock. Elder Nelson just kept saying "Those eyes. What they've seen!" It was quite amusing from our side. They had completely lost their composure haha!

But the most amazing thing happened. There was a sudden hush in the chapel and I felt the Spirit pour over me. Before I even turned around to see them walk in, I felt the power of his calling. We stood as President and Sister Topham passed followed by Elder David A. Bednar, Elder Rasband, and Elder Hamiliton of the Seventy. They took their seats on the stand and we all just sat there in silence.

The conference commenced with the Seventy bearing their testimonies, and then Elder Bednar beginning the discussion. 

Discussion. Not talk. Not lecture. 

He talked with us, not at us. He said he would treat us as our Heavenly Father treats us, as agents, not objects. People who must act and not wait to be acted upon. It was amazing. He gave us time to tell him what we had learned by reading and studying his talks, of course that was if you were brave enough to stand up in front of the entire mission AND an Apostle. I, of course, did no such thing! I was way too chicken, and just wanted to soak it all in. 

He gave an example of ACTING in faith. It started with a prayer we all typically hear in sacrament meeting: "Please bless the people that weren't here that they will have the desire to be here next week" but he said, "Where is the faith in that?? It should go more like 'Please help the people that aren't here now. We are going to leave right now and go and get them. Now I know the Bishop is feeling a little anxious but please let him hear me out if it is Thy will. At the end of my prayer let us leave and find those lost sheep. All we ask that we may not all receive the same inspiration and go to the same house.'" He said THAT was acting on faith. That was doing what was expected of us and magnifying our calling.

Elder Bednar also promised us that if we took a clean, inexpensive copy of the Book of Mormon, and took a question in to it, we would receive more revelation than if we had talked with the Prophet himself. He said he has a bookcase at home with about 12 copies of the Book of Mormon all with specific questions written in it. On several occasions his sons have asked if they could read them and this is his reply every time "Don't touch those. If you touch them...I'll cut your hands off. You start your own, and I'll by you a bookcase but you will not touch my copies." 

We all just laughed and he said, "I'm serious. You can ask them! And the promise goes to you too. I'll buy you a bookcase but don't think you can sponge off other people." 

His sons asked him if they could read them when he dies and he said "With my last breath, I will strike a match and take it to those books. And before I enter the Spirit World, I will make sure they are good and destroyed."

So even though he was hilarious, and became a real person as we sat there and we were discussing the things we had learned, we realized that we didn't need an Apostle there to teach us. We were learning more on our own than if he had been lecturing us from the pulpit. One elder, when asked what we had learned from the pattern he was using to help us learn, said, "I think this is how the Council of Heaven went. Everyone sitting in a room and Heavenly Father at the head directing it and He asks for who will be the Savior for His children. And everyone is quiet at first, and than the Bravest One stands to give the answer 'Here am I; send me.'" The room hushed again and the Spirit was so strong after that comment. Elder Bednar didn't say anything. He just nodded. It was so powerful.

At the end of the conference, we all had the chance to hug Sister Topham and shake President Topham's hand. As I walked slowly toward Elder Bednar to shake his hand, he looked me in the eyes and said "Sister Crockett, thank you for serving."

Again, the Spirit testified that this man, because that is what he is, just a regular man, was called of God and that he had the Mantle of Apostleship on his shoulders. It was so amazing and I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to have this experience at the BEGINNING of my mission because he taught us so much about teaching investigators and being agents, not objects. I wish I could send my notes, maybe next week, because it was so great!!

I hope all of you are doing well! It has been a slow week, but this week we will be busy! Transfers are next week and apparently with so many missionaries coming in (a good portion of them sisters) no one is safe from being transferred...fingers crossed Sister Montgomery and I get to stay here!! (:

Lots of love,

Sister Crockett

Monday, June 3, 2013

Sacredness and sickness

BRENTWOOD, Pa. -- I'm excited to get some letters from some other people! I keep writing the same ones! Calling home would probably be bad. I'm just starting to turn it around from Mother's Day. Sorry Dad! Happy Father's Day in 2 weeks!

Leanna WOULD get called to Spokane. Seriously, am I the only one holding down the East Coast?!?! Is she Spanish or English speaking?? I change my vote for Kyle to Sweden. Don't you think so??

This week has been crazy. Sister Montgomery got sick on Wednesday and I got A LOT of study time in. She just couldn't kick it and she slept 12 hours that day!! Poor thing, yet I still kind of envy her. 6:30 comes a lot faster when you are constantly exhausted. So we weren't able to accomplish that much by ways of silly numbers.

Sister Montgomery

Thursday is where the craziness started. District Meeting was typical, we have some CRAZY Elders over here. The AP's are in our district PLUS the zone leaders were there, so we got a lot done! With only one pair of sister missionaries in our district, what can you expect? 

We went to Chipotle as usual, got our Mexican food fix (sort of and thank goodness). We then went back to our apartment to prepare for our tracting idea. We are trying to use Family History to work our way up to getting people to be receptive to the gospel. They are SO stubborn here. After we had written up some information on the back of the Family History cards, we went out tracting and lots more people were willing to talk to us! It was great.

We then went to our dinner appointment with a less active Sister Montgomery had been working with since LAST transfer. Mandee is amazing. Her and her husband Brian were converts a couple years ago, and have a 11-month old boy named Frankie and he is the fattest little kid I have ever seen! He is so smiley and simply adorable!! Spending some time with Mandee and Frankie was like being able to go home for a little while. She is so welcoming and seriously, felt like home. 

When we finally got ready to leave, I thought about going to visit another less active we had tried about 2 weeks ago named Faith. We had met her friend Agnes, who invited us back, but we were just unable to do so because the apartment building was always locked when we went. Sister Montgomery agreed we should try again and we experience the same luck. The door was locked and no one around to open it. Sister Montgomery started to leave, but I said we should stay just a little bit longer to see if anyone would come. And someone did. (The first of several tender mercies we experienced that night). 

We went in and met with Agnes again, because Faith goes to school and works at night. We talked with Agnes, who is from Kenya, and she told us of Faith's situation. Sister Montgomery and I just looked at each other and the story continued, getting more and more dire as Agnes continued. The thoughts we had and the experience we had after leaving Agnes' and Faith's apartment are so sacred and special, I can't share them over email. I might even have to wait until I get home before I share all that happened that night, but I can say that Heavenly Father is watching over every single one of His children and loves them so dearly. We, as missionaries and representatives of Jesus Christ, get to feel a tiny portion of that love as we talk with His beloved children and offer them hope and joy beyond anything they can comprehend.

When we got home after the visit with Agnes, we literally collapsed on our beds. We were so exhausted, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. We stared at the ceiling and didn't say a word. We eventually made our way to our knees and prayed in gratitude for the things we had experienced that night. It was wonderful and terrible. I think I understand the phrase "The great and terrible" so much better now! All I can say of that experience is that God is good and I cannot deny that He lives or that He knows everything about us.

Friday, we were still wiped from the night before. It took everything in us to keep moving. We kept at it though, and Heavenly Father blessed us so much. The strength we received was amazing and could only come from Heavenly Father. We still managed to contact a media referral named Champayne. Her baby's name? Shamere. She was super nice and we gave her the Bible she requested and happened to give her a Book of Mormon to read as well. 

We were really bummed the day we found that she was out of our area...by a long shot. When we called it in to pass her over to the Elders in her area they asked if we had driven through Homestead. We said we did and they sat in silence. Then they said "You know that is super sketchy right?" We laughed and said we did but we passed through just fine and Champayne was waiting to be taught on Wednesday. They were really excited to get a referral so I guess it is ok we passed her over.

At the end of the day, we couldn't find our dinner appointment (some members of the ward just wanted us to be there because they wanted to ambush their friends with the gospel...it is rather quite interesting out here). We came home and ate tons of chocolate (THANK YOU GRANDMA AND GRANDPA!!), probably more than we should have, but after the week we had had up to that point, it was worth it.

Saturday, it was SO humid and nasty plus my allergies were acting up so that is always hard to stay focused. We have been sleeping on TOP of our covers because everything sticks to you...and it isn't even bad yet.

We did some catch up on our weekly planning and got into a Kisses throwing fight (really, throwing chocolate? nobody loses). It was a good stress relief after coordinating a ride for Agnes and Faith to come to church on Sunday.

Then we went and visited some more less actives though none were too keen on us being there or in coming back to church which is more than a little frustrating. But we just keep working on them! (;

Fast Sunday, as Dad affectionately calls "the slowest Sunday of the month", was very great and extremely slow, but you know how that goes. Faith came, but Agnes wasn't feeling very good so it was just Faith and Makayla. The ward was amazing and the bishop was introducing her to everybody, and by the end of the block everyone was offering her rides to church and other support. The best part was when some of the members came up to us and asked us if we had heard her story and the difficulties she was going through. I would look over at Sister Montgomery and I'd say, "you have no idea". We were so happy to see the ward adopt her like that. It gives us hope that whenever our investigators DO show up, they will be welcomed in a similar manner.

We got home from church quite elated with what had happened and dove into some study time. Sister Montgomery wasn't feeling very good again and fell asleep for an hour and a half. She was nauseous and had a headache. She didn't know what to do; she wanted a blessing but didn't want to bother anyone at 7 pm. So, as her companion, I took it upon myself to help her. I texted and called our district leader, Elder Nelson, and he was more than willing to give a blessing. So we coordinated (got approval from our zone leaders) and went to the Church. The Elders were able to give her a blessing and she has been feeling so much better than she has all week! The priesthood is amazing and I am so glad that there are worthy priesthood holders who are willing and able to do that. The blessings of the priesthood are astounding!! Thank you to everyone who is a worthy priesthood holder and is willing to give blessings at a moments notice! You are amazing!! (:

Thank you so much for your support and letters! I love getting mail and hearing about what is going on back home! I miss you and love you all!! (: 

Until next week--

Sister Crockett