Easter Sunday was definitely the highlight of the week. Church was incredible, we served at the Grandin Building and walked through the Grove after our shift. New York is starting to come alive, and it is very exciting. I SURVIVED ANOTHER NEW YORK WINTER!! *knock on wood* It snowed last May, so I know we’re not in the clear, it’s just exciting to see spring is finally here. So much new life springing forth in the Grove. It was a great reminder of the rebirth we experience continually because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
On Wednesday we began our next round of site trainings for the new sisters. Each Wednesday we train them at a different site, and this week we started at the Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center. Wow, I love the Visitors’ Center, it’s my home away from home. The new sisters are just the sweetest. Listening to them teach is incredible, we are very excited to have them here. Pictured above are the four new sisters with their trainers. Woohoo, training days are my favorite days!
Zone conference was incredible. Because we couldn’t attend the Palmyra Zone Conference (we had to cover the sites for all the other sisters to attend), we packed up our minivan and trekked to Rochester, my old stomping grounds. It was so weird to be back in the stake center there. Here’s a tidbit of what stuck out to me, coming at ya from the Bible Dictionary (I LOVE the Bible Dictionary) “We pray in Christ’s name when our mind is the mind of Christ, and our wishes the wishes of Christ–when His words abide in us.” Now that is ‘mighty’ prayer. I challenge all of you to make sure you are praying like this. Sister LeBaron and I got to hit 15 months together at the conference. She is such an incredible missionary. I learned so much from her in the MTC and I’ve been learning from her example ever since.
Life is so good. And it’s going way too fast. The months are flying and I’m cherishing every minute. The church is true, and I love telling people about it! (I had a professional photographer, David Winters, in my tour group one day who snapped a few pictures of me.)
What an amaaaazing week! So much happened, starting with CONFERENCE. So we didn’t actually get to watch hardly any of it as it was broadcasted. A talk here, a talk there. On Saturday we were serving at the Whitmer Farm (where I was last April Conference) and we were so busy all day and through the sessions. On Sunday we were equally busy at the Grandin Building. But we are slowly catching up during companionship study. The talk I’ve used on almost every tour since I heard it Sunday was from our beloved prophet. Wow. With 3.5 minutes what did he talk about? THE BOOK OF MORMON. I echo his words, “If you are not reading the Book of Mormon each day, please do so.” Enough said.
Because we didn’t have church on Sunday and conference didn’t start until 12, we took the opportunity to visit some of our neighboring churches in the area. What an interesting experience. There are four different churches on each corner of the main intersection in Palmyra. We picked Zion’s Episcopal Church. This was my first time going to a different church’s service and it was very insightful. Pastor Susan gave a sermon, we declined the wine and wafer, but everyone was pretty friendly. Then we walked through their labyrinth path/meditation thing, and toured the main old church that was built in 1832 (the service was held in a newer wing). It was a beautiful building and a wonderful adventure. So grateful for an adventurous companion! And for Christ’s restored church!
Miracle of the week: A few weeks ago my knee was really hurting after exercise one fine morning. I don’t know what caused it but it soon went away. Then on Monday we ran our 3 mile loop. About halfway from home my knee started hurting again, but by that time there was only one way home and that was running on it. By the time we got home I was in so much pain and I couldn’t straighten my leg. Sister Jacobsen asked if we needed to go to the doctor and I laughed and said, “I am NOT going to a doctor.” So what happened? The Lord sent a doctor to me. A couple walked into the Visitors’ Center and Elder Nielsen showed them around. They were moving from New York to Arizona and the packing they thought would take all day, with the missionaries help, only took them 15 minutes. They used their extra time to come to the sites one last time. Elder Nielsen and I were talking about my knee and he said that the man, who was in the back, was a doctor and he might be able to help. Just then the doctor came to the front and I asked, semi-sarcastically, “You don’t happen to know anything about knees do you?” He said he’d been a sports medicine doctor for thirty years and knew everything there was to know about the knee. His wife said, “you couldn’t find a better man to look at your knee.” All of a sudden the Visitors’ Center turned into a clinic and he was poking and stretching my knee in all sorts of painful ways, but he shortly had a diagnosis. I have isolated Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome. He called the mission nurse and explained everything, told me to ice it and was on his way, just like that! To quote Elder Bednar, “I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are real and that they don’t occur randomly or by coincidence. Often the Lord’s timing of His tender mercies helps us to both discern and acknowledge them.”
On Tuesday we got to go to a lesson with the Macedon sisters. They are teaching an 18 year old boy, Michael, and he is just soaking it all up. They needed an extra female to teach him that night so I volunteered us and it was such an incredible lesson. Michael has gone through so much in his short life, and his mom recently kicked him out of the house. As I sat across from him in the lesson I just felt so much of God’s love for him, I just wanted to give him a big hug. They taught the Plan of Salvation and invited him to be baptized next month and he accepted! It was good to teach a real investigator in person again. Another tender mercy.
On Thursday I had the great opportunity to go on exchanges with Sister Cahoon. She is part of the other set of full-time sisters. We served at the Smith farm and it POURED all day! We still had a blast, as you can tell. Sister Cahoon is the kindest, sweetest person. It was so great to spend the day with her.
Our new wheels, that’s right, we got a van. It’s funny because Sister Jacobsen and I always joke about how being full-time VCT’s is total prep for when we’re soccer moms. Now we have the vehicle to prove it!
The highlight of my week/mission was being able to see Jannik get baptized Saturday morning. I’m so grateful for my German brother and the decision he’s made!
Fun Fact: I love being a missionary and I love you all!
Wowza, what an exciting week to be alive and to be a missionary in Palmyra! We had quite the adventure Sunday morning at 12:35 in the AM. We woke up to the most annoying alarm in the whole world. It wasn’t the smoke detector. It wasn’t the carbon monoxide detector. We couldn’t find the blasted source! One sister was packed up and heading to the car, another was about to dial 9-11. Finally we discovered it was coming from our very creepy basement. Now I’ve probably talked about some creepy basements I’ve had on my mission, but nothing compares to the current one. The high pitched wailing was finally found on the stairs in the form of the FLOOD ALARM! With all our snow melt we had a few inches of water in our basement and the pump was broken. We got one of the facilities management senior missionaries to come and fix it and a couple of hours later we were able to go back to bed. The next day we were comparable to zombies, and that’s how the week started.
Later on Sunday, man with a fancy camera came to take pictures at the Smith Farm and he took some pictures of us missionaries serving there. Just notice the Sacred Grove in the background. In early spring.. (Therearenoleavesandallthevideosyouseelie)..Anyway, it was freezing on Sunday, and this is what it was like when Joseph went to pray! But he didn’t let anything stop him, not the cold, not the wet, and not Satan. When he was “seized upon by some power which entirely overcame him” and when he felt as though he was “doomed to sudden destruction” he exerted all his powers to call upon God, and his prayer was answered. Here’s a quote from Spencer W. Kimball, I might have sent in in a previous email..oh well! “A spot of hidden solitude was found, knees were bent, a heart was humbled, pleadings were voice and a light brighter than the noonday sun illuminated the world-the curtain never to be closed again. Heaven kissed the earth, light dissipated the darkness and God again spoke to man.”
Luckily Sunday turned to Monday, which was probably the greatest day of my mission thus far. ‘Twas the day to celebrate the publication of the Book of Mormon! It was first sold on March 26th, but as it was a Sunday we did our Family Home Evening activity at the Grandin Building on the 27th. We dressed up in period costumes and had games and cookies for the guests. It was so.much.FUN! I had the privilege of dressing up as Harriet Grandin, E.B.’s wife, and got to explain the binding process in a dress that Sister Bradford made for me just the week before. She’s the best, and a master seamstress since it fit great! I had so much fun! We also had shopkeepers in the bookstore, Martin Harris explaining the contract, Emma Smith telling about the translation in our Harmony display, Pomeroy Tucker (the foreman) in the print shop telling the printing process, and little ole me in the bindery. The sisters who were guiding groups through were also dressed up and it was a blast. I was in heaven! I figured that dressing up like Harriet Grandin and teaching kids how to make a book is just like being a princess in Disneyland, right?
Tuesday we got to go on team ups with some of the other site sisters. I am so grateful for the opportunity I get to serve with these great sisters. They are incredible and I love them all! Yesterday we took the new sisters and the THREE new senior couples (yay, more grandparents!) down to the Whitmer Farm to be trained there. It was cold but it was amazing!
Now everyone stop what you’re doing and go to mormon.org for the new Easter video. It’s a good one! Share it with family and friends and make sure you participate in each day of Holy Week by following the suggestions! Yayayay Easter, woohooooooooo!
Conference weekend! Oh how I love conference! Tune in and then tell me which were your favorite talks!