Monday, July 30, 2012

Two Week Sister Missionaries 7/30/2012

Dear Family,

Hello!  How's things?  I enjoyed hearing about all the fun times you are having. 

Quick explanation for something I talked about last week:  in this mission, the youth in the stakes we cover have the opportunity to sign up to go on a mini two week mission.  They are assigned to a companionship and live with them for two weeks and do as missionaries do.  I think that it's a great experience for them because then they can see what a mission is like and they can start to prepare better for their own missions.  It's great for them, and while we did have fun, I am relieved it's over.  I mentioned this last transfer, and it's still true: trios are exhausting.  Especially if one of them is inexperienced.  They did have a great enthusiasm, though, and that was fun to see.  So that is what a two week missionary is and we had two of them. 

Anyway, this last week we had a lesson with a man named Steve Gomez.  He is someone that previous missionaries found while tracting.  He is eager to learn.  He has a lot of questions that other people he has talked to have not been able to answer for him.  Oh, he's the guy I mentioned last week that is married and has four little girls.  His wife was there and listening, but I don't think that she's as interested...we'll see.  I think she just doesn't understand (obviously) but we're meeting with them again tonight.  He's going to start school again soon, so we hope to be able to teach him a lot the next couple weeks because once he starts school he is BUSY. 

We also saw Ruth and Jennifer Casanova.  Ruth has opened up a lot.  Jennifer (her daughter) is a little negative about anything churchy, but apparently she used to be mean to missionaries.  So the fact that she sits with us and even likes us is a miracle.  While we were there Ruth's visiting teachers showed up (who had just come back from an Alaskan cruise.  I want to go to there.)  They have been faithfully visiting her for years.  I have gained such a testimony of visiting/home teaching. The less-active members who let us in and are open are the ones who are regularly visited.  It's so important!  Anyway, as we were leaving, Ruth said that she would come to church if Sister Dyckman got transferred because she wanted to see her.  We got our transfer calls Saturday night, and she is getting transferred.  :(  So she right away texted Ruth to let her know.  Sacrament meeting started and she wasn't there.  Then after the sacrament, Ruth AND Jennifer walked in.  YEY! 

As I mentioned about the transfer calls.  Sister Dyckman is leaving.  She's been in this area for 8 months, so she's ready.  Sad, but ready.  And I am staying here.  And training.  I'm nervous!  But it will be so good.  I'm excited for it.  This ward is usually split in two, but they combined it for now because we don't have enough missionaries out to do that.  I like covering both sides.  There's always something to do. 

Anyway, I hope all of you have a grand week!  I love you all!

-Sister Stacey

From Fast to Slow 7/23/2012

Dear Family,
Hello!  Unfortunately I don't have a ton to talk about from this last week.  It was kind of slow.  So this may be a short email.  And I would use the extra time to also send pictures, but I forgot my camera.  Oops.  Plus also I don't have a USB deelee.  So I guess I wouldn't even if I did have my camera.  I promise pictures one day, though. 
A lot of our week was spent contacting people and setting appointments.  No one really had time to meet right then or not everyone was there.  We were able to get in touch with a man who in the past has been very interested in learning more about the gospel, but got super busy once summer started I guess.  We were finally able to see him last week and we set up an appointment for this evening.  Hopefully they will be there.  He's married and has four little girls.  Sister Dyckman says that his wife is also interested in learning more, so that's way exciting.  I'll let you know about that next week. 
Also, we set an appointment with a woman who's been investigating for a while and wants to be baptized but is living with her boyfriend.  She knows she either needs to have him move out or get married, but the situation with her and her children makes it a difficult choice.  I hope she can figure it out soon.  We plan on teaching her about fasting and help her to get guidance and direction from Heavenly Father, because He knows what she needs to do.
Last night we went to visit Teresa (recent convert) and see how she's doing.  She's doing awesome after the surgery.  She's recuperating more slowly than she wished, but she thinks the problem with her heart is gone.  She also lives by a woman named Stephanie who we've been trying to get ahold of since I got here.  She was a member referral.  We were on our way back home and decided to see if she was home really quickly.  She was!  YEY we set an appointment with her for this Wednesday and she said that she doesn't miss appointments.  She was very grateful that we keep trying to meet with her.  She said she is pretty busy, but that she doesn't want us to give up on her because she really wants to know about our message. 
So as you can see, we have some good appoitments this week.  I look forward to being able to tell you about them next week. 
And we also met with a woman named Gloria, another investigator who we have had the hardest time getting ahold of.  We had a Pioneer Day celebration with the stake on Saturday.  She's friends with someone in our ward and they brought her!  So we were officially introduced and she said she's been really busy going in and out of the hospital, but thinks she'll be able to meet with us soon.  No appointment, but communication has been established.  Awesome.
We spoke in church yesterday.  President and Sister Godwin decided to come.  No pressure.  I decided I really like sitting on the stand because you can see who is there.  There was a less active man named Al who came.  There was also a less active family who was there.  Let me tell you about this family.  We have been trying for weeks to be able to meet with them.  We are usually able to schedule an appointment with them at least once a week, but then they're never home.  They're really nice and I think they like having the missionaries over, they just kept forgetting we were going to see them.  So we've never actually been able to meet with them (at least I haven't-just doorway conversations).  Then they were all there yesterday.  Sister Dyckman said that was their first time she'd seen them there during her 8 months in this ward.  So that was exciting. 
Anyway, transfers are next week and that just blows my mind.  This transfer went by way fast.  Too fast.  It feels like it's only been a couple weeks.  So I'll let you know about that next week as well.  I'm pretty sure I'm staying, and also pretty sure Sister Dyckman is not. 
I love you all!  Have a great week!
-Sister Stacey
PS MOM AND DAD - I'm glad dad finally got his motorcycle back.  Thanks for the quick messages.  I hope work is grand.  Also mom I have not gotten the cookies yet.  So I'm pretty sure I'm training next transfer, and if that's the case, I know for sure I'll be at that apartment for the next 12 weeks.  I'm going to give you that address and you can write to that for a while.  I'm tired of waiting for things to come through the office.  Don't pass that address out though, because then when I move I don't want to have my mail keep getting sent there.  I just want the family to have it and to be able to hear from them more quickly.  :)  Also, do you have Jenn's address?  I would love to have that.  I love you both!  Have a great week! 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Super Fast Week 7/16/2012

Dearest Family,

   Hello!  How was everyone's week?  How's the weather?  For those of you in Utah I hope that it's a lot cooler. 

   Well this last week went by super fast because of exchanges.  It always does.  I mentioned that I went to Rancho Cucamonga for the exchange.  That was nice.  I found someone to spray paint my little nerf gun gold so I could have the golden gun.  Some of you understand the significance of this.  The Rancho Cucamonga zone meets at the same building the mission office is in for district meeting.  About halfway through our meeting, President Godwin came in.  I'm glad I was not the one doing the training haha.  It was really awesome to have him in there though.  I love listening to our leaders because they always say the things that you needed to hear and the things that will help you. 

   When I got back to my area we saw a less active woman named Ruth.  I don't know how long missionaries have been visiting her, but everytime they went there, she didn't even want to talk about going back to church or anything and got kind of annoyed at it.  But this last time we saw her, we read 2 Nephi 31 with her.  I love sharing that with people.  Most of the time they start opening up and sharing their concerns with us.  When we finished the chapter, she said she remembers when missionaries started coming over she realized the Holy Ghost was mostly gone from her life and that made her really sad.  She said as the missionaries have continued visiting her, she's felt it more in her life and in her home.  She actually brought up church and said that she's not ready to go back yet, but some day and maybe soon, she will.  Sister Dyckman sais that's the first time she's said something like that.  So hopefully we can help her come back soon! 

   Another thing that happened this week was that we got another two week missionary!  She is from San Bernardino this time.  She's not secretly engaged.  We already asked her.  It's been fun though. 

   We've been inviting lots of people to hear us talk.  Apparently it's a good tool to get people to come to church.  I hope that they all really come.  There's one woman who we invited named Rosemary.  She's our next door neighbor and she LOVES missionaries, but I don't think she quite understands their role.  She's a little older and also very catholic.  BUT she said that she really wants to come listen to us talk.  So she'll be there for her first time.  There are a couple less active people that have said they want to come.  Hopefully they'll be there. Good news:  They didn't talk about faith, hope, and charity on Sunday.  So no one said the things that I'll say. 

   We've been trying to get the investigator work to pick up.  As this transfer has been going on, the work has been slowing down a lot and none of the investigators are progressing.  :(  We are going to be working with ward members a lot more to help them to understand being member missionaries a little more and help them to know what they can do.  We are also going to have a forty day fast for missionary work.  I hope that we can see miracles for this.  In our efforts to find non members to teach who want to learn, we went through our area book to look at the former investigators.  There is one named Sherod who was going to get baptized last year, but didn't for some reason.  We went to go see her and I guess her mom is Catholic and doesn't like our church.  I wish people could be more open minded.  Even if they don't accept the gospel for themselves, they should allow other people to do so without becoming angry.  We'll keep trying.  Maybe we'll be able to meet her in secret.  haha

   The work is going well, even if we're not teaching as much as we would like to.  We're keeping busy and there's still plenty of potential investigators and part member families we can try.  And tracting.  As always.

   I hope you all have a great week!  Keep in touch!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer Heat July 9, 2012

Hello Family!
   How's summer?  It's starting to get pretty hot here.  Triple digits.  It's been trying hard to get up there.  I'm sorry everyone in Utah.  I forgot how miserable it is to be that hot.  I'm just thankful we don't have fires.  I'm glad to hear that it rained.  I hope you continue to be blessed with more. 
   We had a good week here.  I don't remember if I mentioned or not last week, but we are now teaching Sister Kagle and her son, Danny, separately.  We had a great lesson with her about the doctrine of Christ.  It turns out even though she was baptized at 8 years old, she doesn't know anything.  We decided to treat her like an investigator and do all the basics.  I think that helped her a lot.  She doesn't know too much, but once she has it explained to her, she understands.  She has to work every Sunday, and I think once she retires she'll be active.  She likes the church.  And we had a good lesson with Danny last night.  We brought a member with us, which was good.  I like bringing members.  Missionary goes so much more smoothly when members get involved.  We also taught him about the doctrine of Christ and then talked a lot about how he's been having a lot of experiences lately that have helped him be more open to our message.  I know if he lets himself recognize that the spirit is guiding him to us, he'll want to be baptized.
   We also had a lesson with James.  I also don't remember if I mentioned him or not.  He is a less active man who wants to be active and to have the melchizedek priesthood.  We've met with him about three times, but he doesn't live in our area, so we passed him on to the elders.  We had a lesson with all of them to build up the relationship.  That was fun.  He told us that his name is no longer James.  He changed it to Rasiel Jordan Diamond.  People told him he could change his name and those are the three names that they mentioned, so there you go.  Interesting fellow.  Really nice guy.  He will go to our ward though because of financial situations.  We saw him at church yesterday.  I couldn't call him Rasiel, and apparently his name is no longer James, so I didn't call him anything.  He hasn't stayed for sunday school or anything yet but hopefully he will soon.
   We will be having sisters exchanges this week.  I'm leaving and I'm going somewhere other than Upland.  This time I'm going to the Victoria area (it covers Victoria Gardens) with Sister Fairbourn.  I'm way excited!  I was roommates with Sister Fairbourn for six months.  I'm excited to spend a couple days with her in her area.  Today all the sisters are going to go bowling for the sisters activity.  Don't know how I feel about that.  I mean, I'm really good at bowling and everything, so I don't want to make everyone feel bad when we're six rounds in and I only have 10 points. 
   In conclusion, I would just like to say that in this ward, for the whole month every sacrament meeting speaker is assigned the same topic.  This month is faith, hope, and charity.  Sister Dyckman and I had already prepared some of our talks, and yesterday, all of it was shared by the speakers.  It's going to be fun to try and make our talks different from everyone else's talks in addition to each others.  I've changed mine and taken a different direction that hopefully no one else will talk about.  We'll find out on Sunday. 
   Have a great week everyone!  Love you all!
-Sister Stacey
PS MOM AND DAD- glad to hear that the trip was fun.  I'll be feeling 'out of my groove' for the rest of the week.  Sisters exchanges always to that to me.  Especially when I go to a different area.  I can't believe that I'm halfway through this transfer.  Sister Dyckman and I have been having so much fun.  It's been so refreshing to have a companion that is fun to go do work with.  I hope whoever my companion is next transfer is also fun to do the work with.  ALSO I think that my mail has been getting lost.  I know that you said you weren't able to send Kevin's email, but I haven't been getting ANY mail, and I know people are sending things.  And that's been going on for about three weeks now.  I'm going to check with the mission office and see if they've been forwarding my mail to the wrong address.  I just don't see the post office losing so much mail, and all just mine.  Hopefully that's what happened and they're not lost!  That would make me sad.  Anyway, love you both!  Have a great week at work, Dad!  Have fun with the dogs, Mom! haha

Hello From Fontana! July 2, 2012

Dear Family,
Hello from Fontana! 
Some things I have come to notice about the area in which I serve.
-1 out of 10 houses still has Christmas decorations up.
-The ice cream trucks here play Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer
-People periodically wear their Christmas sweaters.
-TONS of people have lion statues guarding their driveways.
-Most people only speak spanish.
Which brings me to my first story.  We decided to tract in the northern part of our area.  There is a very dense (everyone) hispanic population.  And a lot of them only speak spanish.  So we decided to practice our spanish.  And learned we need to practice a lot more.  Basically all I know how to say is hello, we're missionaries, this is our church, we have a message for you and your family, we don't speak very much spanish, there are other missionaries who speak more than we do, could they visit you.  It's enough to get by I suppose, but I wish I could understand the things they say back.  It's fun, though.  I haven't needed to use spanish until this area.
We had a lesson with Danny and his mom again.  He quite officially really wants to take the lessons and learn more about what we believe.  He says he still wants to study all the religions, but so far what we share with him makes the most sense.  But he's excited to learn this time.  I really hope he can open his heart to feeling the Holy Ghost.  His mind is definitely open to learning, but I hope that he also gains something from this.  We hope that we can teach him and his mother separately, though.  She has been a member all her life, but never an active member, so she doesn't know very much herself. They both need very different things. 
We didn't end up having our appointments with the potential investigators.  One of them got ahold of some anti material and called and told us not to come back.  The other one is just really hard to get ahold of.  We saw the second one during my first week and we only talked to her for a short amount of time, but she basically said that she knows she wants to get baptized.  So we really really want to be able to start teaching her! 
We visited Al, a man who hasn't been less active for too long, I don't think.  He served a mission and talks about it all the time, he has had lots of church callings and loved them, he still has a testimony of the gospel, but he just got out of the habit of going.  It's so sad that that can happen.  It's so much easier to break the habit of going to church than to form that habit.  We need to take the sacrament.  We need the blessing of always having the spirit with us.  
Well, I'm glad for all the fun news I've gotten from everyone!  I'm also glad that it's a little cooler here than in Utah.  And less smokey (at least from mountain fires and stuff)  I hope that there aren't any more fires.  I actually remember hearing about the fires on the TV while we were in the hospital last week.   (One of our recent converts has been in and out the last couple months.) 
I love you all!  Stay safe, don't burn up.  Read your scriptures. :)
Love, Sister Stacey
PS MOM AND DAD-I'm glad that you were all able to go to Washington to see Sophia blessed!  And that you're going to have so many grand children!  I was so excited to read matt's email!  HOWEVER I'm a little sad I'm going to miss the birth.  He should at least wait for me to bless their baby.  I'll tell him that.  I'll also tell him that they're having a girl because I accidentally typed 'her' instead of 'their baby' the first time.  So they can start picking out names.  Anyway, thanks for your emails!  I hope you have a safe and fun trip back from Washington!  Love you both!  BYE