Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Snow In Big Bear 12/17/2012

Dear Everyone:

Hello!  How was the week?  We had a great week up here!  It snowed!!  We were so excited.  We first shoveled ourselves to our car, and then drove over to people's houses to then shovel them out too.  In our skirts and flats, no less!  It was fun. 

Well last week we had our final lessons with Kevin.  I love teaching people who just really want to learn and do whatever it takes to be closer to Jesus Christ.  He was really sick on Friday and Saturday, so the bishop and ward mission leader suggested that we postpone it until he was feeling better.  So we asked him about it and his answer was (we asked him the day before)  'Even if you have to bring me in on a stretcher, I AM getting baptized tomorrow night'.  Good answer.  He was so excited.  The water heater wasn't working, so he got baptized in liquid snow.  BUT he said he also felt like he was just walking on cloud nine and didn't care at all that it was freezing.  It was so fun to teach him and I'm excited to go through all the lessons with him again.  He's going to be Santa Claus at the ward Christmas party on Friday.  Perfect man for it.  He's 6'5" or something and we had to call the Polynesian ward to find a jumpsuit big enough for him haha. The only thing he's lacking is a white beard.  Other than that, he looks just like Santa. 

We had lots of appointments set up for last week, but almost everyone cancelled because they were all sick.  It seems like everyone is sick right now.  So we're really hoping that this week we're able to find some new investigators.  There are a few people that we've been trying to see, so hopefully this week is the week!  It's hard to find people with spare time the week before Christmas.  We've been trying to share a quick Christmas message with people.  I love how the meaning of Christmas has changed for me.  I understand so much more about Jesus Christ and just how much He's done for us.  I love that we have a whole month basically to enjoy the spirit of Christmas.  If we pause for a minute and ponder the birth of the Savior in our hearts, just as Mary did, we will experience the true joy of the season.  I read this awesome book by Emily Freeman called 'A Christ Centered Christmas' about the nativity.  She goes through every figure of the nativity and talks about what we can learn from them and then at the end of every chapter there are spiritual things to do that will help pull our minds and hearts closer to Jesus Christ. 

I wish I had more to talk about from last week.  It was kind of slow with all the illness and snow.  We were able to do a bit of service, though, so that was fun.  We are going to do all we can this week to teach lots of people and stay busy.  It's a hard week, the week before Christmas, but as long as we're doing all we can to best represent Jesus Christ in this area, then we will have a great week no matter what. 

I love you all!  Have a great week!

Someone KNEW I was coming to the mountains!

Our sweaters for the zone ugly christmas sweater party we're going to be having.

Kevin's baptism.  He looks like Santa Claus!  And the guy on the left is our ward mission leader.  He's so awesome!

Me and Sister Davis.
Love, Sister Stacey

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Best Transfer Ever! 12/10/2012

Dear Family,

Hello!  Oh man this is going to be the best transfer ever!  I am emailing you from a small library in Big Bear City.  So many reasons why it is so awesome to be here.  First, there are a lot of cool people to work with up here.  Of course.  So many unique personalities.  It's fun.  Second, I am with Sister Davis, and she is awesome.  Third, we made mission history.  Before her and Sister Fairbourn were transferred here, sisters hadn't been up here in about 15 years.  And they've NEVER been left here during the winter.  So naturally everyone assumed that I would not be transferred here.  And now I am!  This is the most wanted area of the mission.  All the elders were bummed that we were coming here.  :D  We're going to have a white Christmas!  It's so fun to be in this little ski town.  No snow yet, but they say it will snow this weekend.  I love being in the mountains.  The altitude has been a little bit of an adjustment because I got very used to being down the hill.   Now we're at 6000+ feet.  Some people are at 8000 feet.  So it's a little different.  I was hoping they would still have a truck here, but they took that away and gave us a jeep.  As long as it has four wheel drive I'm happy!  I love it here and I hope I'm here next transfer as well.  We'll see. 

Here are a couple of the people I've met so far.  First, there's Kevin Manor.  He's getting baptized this weekend.  He's friends with a woman in the ward and when he started coming to church and seeing what Latter-day Saints are like, he knew that this was Christ's true church.  When people get that witness, they will do everything the Savior asks of them.  He's quit smoking and drinking coffee and he is so excited that he's found a church where the members actually live what they're taught.  He's a really neat man.  I'm happy I've been able to be here for a little bit of it.  OH YEAH we also live right by Big Bear Lake and we were going to go fishing with him today, but he had to work.  So I guess we'll go next week. 

We also went to do service for a recent convert up here named Ed Stanik.  We helped him dig a well and bury a cat at some property he owns near Onyx summit.  WAY different service than what I've done every where else.  I'm definitely not in Fontana anymore.  Soon we'll be able to help people shovel snow and whatnot.  I'm pretty excited. 

We got a referral for a girl named Natasha who we called and she sounds very nice.  We accidentally called her twin first, and her twin sounded really excited for her to be able to meet with us.  So hopefully we'll be able to see her soon.  She is busy this week and doesn't know what her schedule is for next week, so we weren't able to set an appointment with her yet. 

So my birthday was spent up here and I could not have picked a better place in the mission to be.  We were able to teach some great lessons that day.  We went over to a member's house to have a little dinner.  Her husband is not a member.  Before when missionaries would come, he totally ignored them and would go to a different room.  But since sisters have been here, he's started opening up a lot.  He sat and talked with us for a while and he's a really nice guy!  I didn't think too much about it until after we left and Sister Davis told me about how he was at first.  We're not currently teaching him the lessons because he doesn't want them, but the fact that he's opened up so much to the idea of missionaries being in his home is wonderful.  He even invited us over for Christmas.  So maybe he's one of the reasons that sisters are still here.  Some people need elders, some people need sisters.  Maybe he's just needed sisters.  We'll see.  We also have a few other we hope to be able to start teaching this week.  There's Blake, a kid living in the ward mission leader's home, Andy Griffith, who is friends with the ward mission leader (our ward mission leader is AWESOME), and James, a guy who randomly called Sister Fairbourn and Sister Davis saying that he really wants to change his life and come closer to Christ. 

Anyway, that's basically what the last week has been like.  It's COLD up here but that's okay.  I still love it.  I love the people up here.  It's kind of weird being in a vacation ward.  They say the number of attendance doubles during the summer and winter.  The ski slopes don't have too much snow on them, but it got cold enough last week so they could shoot some snow on the hills.  It's cool.  They've got a pipe system that takes water from the lake and turns it into snow.  So when it melts in the summer it just melts right back into the lake. 

I hope you all have a great week!  Love you all!

Love, Sister Stacey

Monday, December 3, 2012

Transfer Time 12/03/2012

Dear Family,

Hello everyone!  How's the week going?  It's only Monday, I know, but something cool may have happened!  Our last week was fantastic because it rained every day.  It's been in the 70s every day, which is pretty nice.  But also...don't make fun of me, but I've been COLD!  Utah is going to be a shock to my system!  I've very much acclimated to SoCal. 

So we got transfer calls yesterday and we are both leaving. :(  I really like this area and we have so many people to work with here.  So I'm sad to be leaving.  AND we JUST got a brand new car.  I was very excited to be driving in a car that elders have not yet chonched.  But oh well.  I broke it in at least.  It's been hard saying bye to people, especially the people I was able to start teaching and stay around long enough to see them baptized.  My hope is that I get to go to Big Bear with Sister Davis.  But I don't know if they're taking sisters out of there or not yet.  Either way, I'm pretty sure I'll be with Sister Davis.  We'll see what happens though.  I am excited to see what happens tomorrow!  Wherever it is, it will probably be my last area.  Which is weird.

Well I did a first ever this last weekend.  Upland had their annual Creche festival and as usual invited the missionaries to sing songs.  One of the sisters called me a couple weeks before to see if I wanted to sing a duet with her.  O.O  I said I would.  So intimidating!  I've never done that in front of people.  But it ended up being okay.  Don't know that I would do it again, but I faced my fears.  It was a pretty song called Christ Child, Christ Child.  Look it up. 

We wanted to see Miguel last week, but when we called his house, his mother said that he moved.  But we're not sure if she's saying that because he really did move, or if she's saying that because she doesn't like us.  (she's catholic)  So he's MIA at the moment.  Hopefully the missionaries that come here after us will be able to locate him.  I don't like both of us leaving when we were working with so many people.  I just hope that none of them get lost in the transition.  Especially Veronica.  She took the news not so well.  Hopefully she'll learn soon that all missionaries carry the same message and can help her feel the same spirit. It's not just us. 

As you may recall, we were supposed to have a couple baptisms this last weekend.  Neither of them ended up happening.  Turns out Esai was not entirely interested in the church, and the situation ended up being better for elders.  And Lupe and Manny are still not married.  They won't be able to be until around May, so she'll get baptized next year.  It's sad that that's how that ended up working out for both of those. 

And now it's December.  Wow this year went by crazy fast.  At times I wish it would have gone faster, but a lot of the time I wish it would slow down.  I love being a missionary.  My black hole year is almost over. (an entire year from January to December spent on a mission)  That's just weird.  I think of where I am now compared to where I was a year ago.  I have learned so much!  And I still have so much to learn!  In a way I wish sisters also had the option of serving for two years.  18 months is just not enough time to accomplish everything you set out to do!

It's really neat to see all the work that Sister Mills and I were able to accomplish during our 18 weeks together.  She is a very hard worker and helped this area blossom so much.  I hope she has the same effect in her next area. 

Well my birthday is on Wednesday (thanks for all the happy birthday wishes! )  and I'm a little dismayed it will be spent with strangers.  But that's okay because people instantly love sister missionaries anyway, so I'll feel lots of love that night I am sure.  I love you all, and I hope you have a great week!

Love, Sister Stacey