Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Week 80

This week was good. On Monday, we arranged for the zone to go to the
Cody Mural Chapel and Museum which has a big 360 mural of the church's
history and a first edition copy of the Book of Mormon. It was
On Tuesday, we had a lesson with a new investigator/ referral from our
ward mission leaders wife and sister in law. He's their cousin. So we
taught him the Restoration (at our ward mission leaders house) and put
him on date for baptism for March 18th! He was so attentive the whole
time and the spirit was so strong. I felt like I was in a good episode
of the District. He asked so many great and honest questions because
he doesn't have much of a religious background. We explained who God
is and what a testimony is, and all the basics. He came to all three
hours of church the Sunday before our lesson and he loved it! He
remembered everything he learned in all three classes! He also said
that our sacrament talks on choice and accountability were for him. He
felt like we were talking right to him because he's been making some
big changes and choices in his life lately to be a better person. It
was awesome!
Later that day we went on exchanges with the sisters here in Worland
and I was with Sister Dayes here in our ward and we put another lady
on date for baptism (for March 25th)! We met with her once prior and
we taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We brought a recent convert
with us who was awesome and could identify with her. The investigator
is in between religions right now and seems to really grasp the idea
of the priesthood and she wants her kids to sit in on the next lesson!
We went to mutual again to build trust with the youth and we did a
little service project and personal progress with the young women and
they gave us a referral. The young women here are so friendly!
It snowed on Thursday and covered everything up again. So the melting
and freezing process has restarted. It's always a fun time.
Sister Jacoby later came down with something and was sick for a few
days, so I just studied and got some stuff done. The other Worland
sisters went on exchanges with me so I could get out of the house on
Saturday night and proselyte. I was with Sister Stewart and Sister
Dayes stayed home with Sister Jacoby.
My last Sunday as a missionary was great. Some less active recent
converts that we have been trying to get to church, came! For one of
them, it took all transfer but we did it!! What was even better was
that they both went right to the family history center for second hour
to get family search accounts. It was awesome.
I have been studying talks and articles about being a returned
missionary. I read one from the Dec. 1978 Ensign called "When 'The
Best Two Years Are Over'" and I found this checklist. I'm going to add
the context too, but it says,
"Elder Hartman Rector, Jr., member of the First Quorum of the Seventy
and president of the California San Diego Mission, tells his returning
missionaries to check themselves periodically on “points of positive
--I am morally clean. I live by Doctrine & Covenants 121:41–46.
--I sustain the general authorities and stake and ward leaders. I keep
my eye on the prophet by reading what he says and then following his
--I pay a full tithe.
--I live the Word of Wisdom.
--I observe the Sabbath by using the day for “uplifting, inspiring
activities,” and by not buying.
--I am honest in my dealings with my fellow men.
--I daily read, study, and ponder the scriptures.
--I daily pray with earnestness. I pray for specifics, and I pray with humility.
--I set worthwhile goals and actively work to achieve them.
--I hold a current temple recommend and attend the temple regularly. I
wear the temple garments with honor and reverence. I will be married
in the temple and will raise my family in the Church. I will do all in
my power to have all of my family united together in the celestial

Mission presidents now give returning missionaries a card-size list of
spiritual checkpoints and encourage them to review them often. Elder
Featherstone tells his returning missionaries to check them each fast
Sunday, and if they find themselves slipping, 'to go alone into the
mountains, or somewhere, and to meditate and pray.'"
I really like this. It reminds me of temple recommend interviews and
how we all need to evaluate ourselves spiritually and then make plans
to be better. I am definitely going to apply this at home and pray
that I continue living what I learned in my mission!
So this is my last weekly email of the mission. I would love to get
everyone's weekly emails still, so send them to
and any mail to 9277 W. Quail Track Dr. Peoria, Arizona 85383!

Sister Lauren Ney
Montana Billings Mission

Monday, February 20, 2017

Week 79

Hey world! 
This week has been good! 
On Monday, we were able to go to Shell Canyon to see the waterfall. It was mostly frozen but some water was flowing underneath the ice, which was cool! 
Tuesday was Valentine's Day! Us and the other sisters decided to heart attack some people's houses that we are teaching. So we cut out lots of hearts and wrote messages on them and put them on their doors. We got caught once, which was awkward. Haha. 
On Wednesday, we helped filled more sandbags in Greybull because the ice jam moved down river, which can be really devastating if it floods because Greybull is in a hole. We did a lot of lifting that day. We moved hundreds of sandbags to pallets, unloaded heavy boxes from trailers, etc. 
We are working with a TON of less actives because the active members keep referring less actives to us. So we are still contacting them all and it's so painful sometimes because a common theme among them all is laziness and being offended. I know from first hand experience what it's like to not have the blessings of the sacrament. You just have to do it! Get up in the morning and go. You won't regret going to church. You deny YOURSELF the blessings if you don't go. In Moroni 6:5-6 it says, 
"5 And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls.
6 And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus."
Church is for you. It's for the welfare of your soul. Like lots of people say, it's a hospital for the sinners (which we all are), not a place for the perfect. And you show your faith, love for and desire to follow the Savior when you go willingly. Anyway, that's my rant.
Yesterday I hit my 18 month mark! We were asked last minute (because the previously assigned speakers fell through) to give talks in sacrament on Choice and Accountability. A common theme for sacrament talks I've given on my mission has been agency, choices, obedience, and everything all those lines.  
We also taught the Plan of Salvation in the Laurel class. I forgot how quiet you are when it comes to answering questions and stuff in church. It was kindof hard because of it but we got through it. Haha.  
Anyway, it's been a good week! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Week 78

Hello world!

We had exchanges with the Burlington sisters this week because one of
the sisters was sick and Sister Wadsworth wanted us to take the other
sister out to work. So I brought Sister Miles out to Worland while
Sister Jacoby stayed in Worland with her companion. Well, we were told
not to stay overnight with them so we met in Manderson around 8 to
exchange back but a huge snowstorm hit right as we got into town and
it wasn't safe to drive back to our areas, so we called our district
leader in Greybull/ Basin and headed to the closest town where members
lived (Basin- 10 miles away). He arranged for the four of us to stay
at their Relief Society president's house overnight. It was the
longest 10 miles of my life. I was driving the truck and we couldn't
see anything. It was a complete whiteout and nighttime. So we could
hardly see a foot ahead of us but we made it in one piece.
We had zone conference this week and there was a huge emphasis on
teaching the youth. It was funny because we went to mutual just the
previous night because we wanted to get to know the youth better. I
love the idea and can see the great potential in the youth!
We had interviews with President this week and while we were sitting
and waiting with Sister Wadsworth, a guy needing help with fuel money
came in to ask for help. We got him hooked up with the bishop and we
talked to him for a while. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and
he's from Livingston and said he'd love to meet with the sisters over
there!  So that was a miracle.
I started My Plan this week and it's an online training thing to
prepare you for going home. It's kindof weird but I think it will help
in the long run.
We went on exchanges with the Cody sisters and I went to Cody with
Sister Kent. After all these exchanges and being stuck in random towns
because of blizzards, I'm having issues waking up and not knowing
where I am. Haha. Exchanges were great and we got to see multiple
people over there!
We had a stake Valentines day dinner and square dance this weekend. We
didn't dance but it was SO funny watching everyone else dance! :)
Craziness: There are some ice jams in the Bighorn River and the area
around the river has been flooding because the water is flowing
outwards because the ice won't let it flow forwards. So the whole town
has been helping fill sands bags for a few days to put around the
houses by the river to protect them. People have been evacuated from
their homes too., they had just a shortened sacrament
meeting and we all came in our work clothes and then headed
to the fairgrounds after to fill sand bags. We shoveled and filled
bags for 8 hours straight. The church provided 200-300 people to help,
and people from Worland and the outlying towns, and the National Guard
were there. It was awesome but I'm so sore and my boots are still full
of dirt. Haha.
It's been nuts here but it's a good time. Have a great week!

Sister Lauren Ney
Montana Billings Mission

5-me and Sister Jacoby

8- frozen waterfall off the church

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Week 77

Hello all! 
So I think I always say that the week has been crazy and eventful, but I think this one takes the cake. We were in the car for a good chunk of it.
Sooooo we had MLC (Mission Leadership Council for zone leaders and sister training leaders) in Helena on Tuesday, so Sister Jacoby and I drove up to Billings on Monday night to stay the night because we had to meet at the mission home at 4:30am the next morning to carpool over to Helena.
On Tuesday, a big ole snowstorm hit and that made things a lot more interesting. Sister Jacoby and I rode in a big van with 6 other missionaries from Billings and a senior couple from the office. Many hours later, we got there late but safely. 
MLC was great. We talked about what we learned in the worldwide missionary broadcast last week and discussed the new schedule and made some mission- specific changes. The significant things that I learned were related to the spirit. I learned that 
-you don't need to know you are receiving revelation to receive and act on revelation
-you can know you are talking/ teaching by the spirit if you have learned from what you have said 
-have confidence in the spirit. If you allow him, he will do his job 
It was an awesome discussion and I'm sad that this was my one and only MLC on the mission (because it got cancelled last transfer). 
The sisters that were there that are in my departing group had to bear their testimonies too. It was hard but I hope I was able to touch a few people with what I said. 
On the way back to Billings that night, the weather was still bad and when we got to the Big Timber area, the highway closed because a semi jackknifed. The alternate route was congested too, so we all said a prayer and decided to turn around. Our whole van, another van with the 2 sets of Wyoming zone leaders and the car with the assistants headed back to Bozeman and we stayed the night at a hotel. We had dinner at Perkins and had to make a Walmart run because we had nothing on us for staying overnight. We then headed back to Billings the next morning (via a longer, alternate route) and to Wyoming from there. It was quite an adventure. The car rides to and from Helena were very spiritual too. We discussed doctrine and sang hymns. It's a miracle that nothing happened to any of the mission cars that were traveling for so long a time because the whole way back to Billings, the highway was lined with cars and semis that slid/ rolled off the road and into ditches. There were LOTS of police cars and ambulances too.
On Friday, we had zone training in Lovell, WY about what we learned from the broadcast. So this was round 4 of the broadcast. Sister Jacoby and I gave a 25+ minute discussion/ role play about establishing the church and we decided to focus on establishing the church among members. It's so important to build the members faith, and in turn, they will help establish the church/ be missionaries among those who are not members. Some cool scriptures that we found and shared about it were 3 Nephi 5:12-13 and Alma 4:3-4. They're worth a read. :)
Right after that, we went on exchanges with the Burlington sisters. I was with Sister Robertson and we came back to Worland. We had an awesome lesson with a 27 year old less active/ recent convert and and her less active 18 year old brother. They are still very strong in their testimonies but because of hurtful things people have said and sickness (because of winter) they haven't come lately. We read 2 Nephi 31 with them and it really struck them. I think they will progress and come back in no time.
We have been really trying to get to know the members in our ward and teach them the doctrine of Christ because we know that as they gain trust in us and strengthen their own testimonies, they will think of those they interact with who are prepared for the gospel.
Hope you have a great week! 

Sister Lauren Ney
Montana Billings Mission 

P.S. My new address is 1613 Culbertson Ave. Worland, Wyoming 82401 

Picture 1- our group that got stuck in Bozeman  
2-exchanges with the Burlington sisters 
3-Icicle removal service! It's so fun. (Don't worry. We did it safely)
4-heavy duty coat 
5- the sisters at MLC that I came out with! 
6-the nothingness that is Wyoming 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Week 76

Hello world! 
This week was insanity. 
So Sister Jacoby and I transferred ourselves over to Worland on Wednesday. It was really nice because we got to take our own truck and we just had to be gone by Wednesday evening, so it was pretty relaxed. The member we live with has been out of town this whole time and she might not be back until tonight, and we have to drive to Billings tonight for MLC in Helena tomorrow, so we won't meet her until Wednesday when we get back! We have a little room and bathroom. We cleaned it up and made it our own. It's weird living with members again (I haven't since I was in training) so it's an adjustment having less space.
Oh! And we haven't had a phone this whole time since being Worland because the one we got doesn't work, so it's been interesting getting around without one. We should be getting one today or tomorrow in Billings.
We had dinner with some awesome active members and they've been giving us lots of referrals, which has been keeping us busy. 
We did interviews this week with the sisters we are over. We did some face-to-face ones with the set here in Worland and we skyped the other 2 sets. They are so awesome and I'm excited to work with them this transfer! 
We've been out finding people in the single digits at night all week. It's so cold! People in Sheridan said Worland would be warmer, but that's far from the truth. Haha. 
We had a worldwide missionary broadcast this week from the mission department. They reiterated the theme from last year's broadcast, "Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts" and they made some serious changes to the missionary schedule and key indicators. We only have 4 key indicators now:
-investigators baptized & confirmed 
- investigators with a baptismal date
- investigators who attended sacrament meeting
- new investigators 
I will put pictures of the PowerPoint slides about the new schedule below in the email. It's crazy. So everything changes for my last transfer! 
We got permission from President to drive back to Ranchester in our last area for our 10 year old investigator's baptism. It was awesome! His whole family came (and went for his confirmation at church today), some other investigators came to watch, and it was wonderful. And he said that what made it so special for him was that we were able to come! Aw! If that doesn't rip your heart out, I don't know what will! It was so sad to leave AGAIN and drive back to Worland but I'm sooooo happy I got to go! I've missed too many baptisms on my mission by days because of transfers! 
My thought for the week is from the talk, "Be Ambitious for Christ" from this past conference.  Elder Yamashita talked about how his son had a difficult time on his mission but also came to know of the joy that comes from being a servant of the Lord. He said, "He felt as Alma did: “And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!”
In our lives we experience trials, but if we are ambitious for Christ, we can focus on Him and feel joy even in the midst of them."
This really struck me because, looking back, the mission was hard and is still hard. There's lots of different trials you go through and you see others go through, but the joy you feel throughout it all makes it all worth it. The sorrows really help me appreciate the blessings and miracles that happen all around me. It reminds me of 2 Nephi 2:22-23.
"22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin."
If I hadn't gone on a mission, I wouldn't have been able to know what real joy is. Back at home, I don't think I really felt that lasting joy before. The joy that comes from being the Lord's hands and watching miracles happen. By teaching people how to come closer to their Father and Savior. By helping people use the gift of the atonement. By helping unite families in the gospel. This is only a taste of what the joy will be like in the celestial kingdom. 
Hope you all have a fabulous week! 

Sister Lauren Ney
Montana Billings Mission 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Week 75

Well,  I have a testimony that God answers prayers. When I was younger, I prayed that I would live in Wyoming some day. But I didn't mean in the winter. :P According to the locals, its the coldest winter they've had in 10 years. But I still love the work and people here. 
*****TRANSFER NEWS*****Sister Jacoby and I are getting doubled out and doubled into Worland 3rd ward because all of the sisters we are over are on the other side of the Big Horn mountains and it's safer for us to be over in the Big Horn Basin with them in the winter so we don't have to make the long scary drive over there to see them with bad roads. This will be my last area, and area #7.5, on my mission-unless I get mid-transferred which I PRAY doesn't happen. We leave Wednesday and we will be living with a member. So please send all mail to the mission home for now @ 1848 Rimrock Rd. Billings, Montana 59102. We do get to come back to Ranchester for our 10 year old investigator's baptism on Saturday though! 
We had a few member-present lessons with our older investigator this week. We got him to make a commitment to come to church next week and we have his transportation lined up and everything! I'm so excited for him! 
We served dinner at the homeless shelter again with some elders and the Relief Society from Ranchester. It was fun and they loved having us. One guy actually wanted to meet with the elders too!
We finally got in with one of our investigators in Dayton who wants to be baptized. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and he had lots of deep questions but he's genuinely interested and he came to church this past Sunday! He kind of fell off the earth for a while and now he's up and going again! :)
Being doubled out is a great way to get in with people that you haven't seen in a while and we got to see our investigator in Sheridan who dumped all her coffee the other week. We followed up and she still hasn't touched it! She's just been drinking tons of hot chocolate! It was so great to hear! 
We went to the temple this week with our bishop, his wife, and our recent convert and we did baptisms for the dead with her for the first time! She got baptized for her parents and some other people she found in her family tree! The look on her face when we drove into Billings and saw the temple in the distance was awesome. She had no words. She started getting teary-eyed and grabbed by arm and held it as she had a huge grin on her face. It was awesome. She also gave her first talk in sacrament and got her patriarchal blessing yesterday! She's moving back to Florida tomorrow and we really think that our leaving the next day is no coincidence. Sisters needed to be here for her! 
Anyway, it's been a great week. I will miss Sheridan. 

Sister Lauren Ney
Montana Billings Mission 

Picture 1- little town of Dayton 
Picture 2-this is why walking is hard in the winter 
Picture 3-this is why getting to people's doors is hard in the winter (the gate is frozen in ice on the ground)
Picture 4- Billings temple! 
Picture 5- SCRIPTURE POWER! Keeps me safe from being eaten :)
Picture 6- Worland is getting some pretty cool sisters 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Week 74

Hey all! 
This week was busy. 
Monday night we tried to drive to Cody, WY through Billings, MT for exchanges, so we could avoid going through the Big Horn mountains because of bad winter roads, but the trip ended up taking much longer because a snow storm hit and we got lost a few times. So we stayed in Billings overnight and I got to see Sister Shupe which was awesome! Then we headed to Cody the next morning and went on exchanges with the sisters there- Sister Clegg and Sister Kent. I was with Sister Clegg. It was way fun being with her. She's going home this transfer and she's the only sister going home, so I got to go on an exchange with the most experienced sister in the mission! We were able to have a few less active lessons and we taught a solid investigator in a member's home with 3 members present. It was sweet. Those members were great teachers and basically extended the invitations to come to church and all that for us. Haha. It was an interesting day because it dumped snow all day long and by the next day, it was about a foot.
Then we went to their district meeting and then we went on exchanges with the Burlington sisters right after. It's a town of almost 300 but there's like 3 or 4 wards and a Spanish group. The Big Horn Basin (basically that side of the mountains) is very heavily Mormon populated. I was with Sister Taylor and she was an awesome teacher. She has a lot of love for the people here and has been studying Spanish really hard. 
A HUGE miracle this week was that our investigator on date in Sheridan gave us all her coffee to dump out in the dumpster and she had an already made cup of coffee that she bought from McDonalds and she dumped it out. We just followed up on the word of wisdom and she said she's been bad at the coffee part and we asked her to pick another point in the back of the word of wisdom pamphlet to work on and she said, "I just need to throw it out." And she stood up, and gave us all of it. It made me so happy! :'D
We also did a lot of service since we've been back. We helped at the food bank, helped a family move stuff out of their storage units, and helped some members with their Sprouted Almonds company in their warehouse. We sorted and put 5500 lbs of almonds in trays to dehydrate. There were huge bins full of almonds that got washed and sucked up into this machine. It spreads them on trays and puts them on a conveyor belt and we had to sort through them all and stack the trays up. There were 10 dollies of 21-22 trays. 
There's lots of other stuff that happened but those are some highlights! 
I read an article this week in this month's New Era called "Surviving the Social Media Highlight Reel". I really liked what I read in here because, by growing up the way I did and serving here in the states where social media is still around me, I've been able to see the effect it has on me and people in general. I think being able to use Facebook in my mission has helped me develop some internal safeguards and habits that can make social media use a more positive thing in my life. This quote from the article helps explain some of what I've learned: "We can ask ourselves some questions before sharing a post. “What is my intent? Is it to exclude someone or cause jealousy?” If so, rethink your sharing. But if it’s just to share something you’re super excited about or to uplift others, go for it." Social media can be so much better if we keep this in mind. I challenge everyone to post something uplifting this week- whether it be something they learned in their scripture study, something they learned at church, or a little miracle you've had lately. 
Have a great week! 

Sister Lauren Ney
Montana Billings Mission 

Picture 1-Billings with Sister Thacker and Sister Shupe 
Picture 2-exchanges in Cody 
Picture 3-plows are the BEST THING EVER
Picture 4-snow on our cars in Cody
Picture 5-almonds!