Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Week 19

Hey everyone!
This week has been a good one! 
First of all, there was CHRISTMAS!!! I was way nervous about it because it's my first Christmas away from home but we were so busy the whole day, that I didn't even have time to be homesick.  We went to several members houses for meals, sharing the nativity story, and to play games. It was way fun!

Before I forget, people have been asking me if there is any weird grammar or phrases that "Montanians" use and I have found some:
--"Hookey-bobbing"- it's when a truck, quad, snow mobile, or any other vehicle pulls you on a sled behind them
--"Ski-joring"- when a horse pulls you behind them while you're on skis
It's so strange but I see people Hookey-Bobbing all over town and in fields. I guess there's no good hills around here to actually sled down.

Another highlight of this week was the baptism of our 80 year old investigator!! He had to be baptized 3 times because he is so tall and just wouldn't get all the way under and be able to come all the way back up!! I was really worried when it was happening and he took a while to get redressed, but he had good humor about it afterwards! Sister Schwendiman gave a talk on baptism and I gave a talk on the Holy Ghost. And since we had the service in the morning, so we had donuts as refreshments. Then yesterday, he was confirmed and it was such a joyous occasion! I was smiling from ear to ear as his sons and friends gave him the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Lord really was smiling down.

In spirit of the New Year, I want to share a few quotes from President Uchtdorf about goals. It's a bit long but I like it. :)
"Our personal goals can bring out the best in us. However, one of the things that derail our efforts in making and keeping resolutions is procrastination. We sometimes delay starting, waiting for the right moment to begin--the first day of a new year, the beginning of summer, when we’re called as bishop or Relief Society president, after the kids get into school, after we retire.
You don’t need an invitation before you start moving in the direction of your righteous goals. You don’t need to wait for permission to become the person you were designed to be. You don’t need to wait to be invited to serve in the Church....
Even though we might fall short of our finish line, just continuing the journey will make us greater than we were before.
An old proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”
There is something wonderful and hopeful about the word now. There is something empowering about the fact that if we choose to decide now, we can move forward at this very moment.
Now is the best time to start becoming the person we eventually want to be--not only 20 years from now but also for all eternity." 
He also talked about how we will almost always have a failure but that's okay. We will still be better for trying. I love this gospel and invite all to make at least one spiritual, physical, and educational goal this year and to pray to ask for help on what those goals should be so that Heavenly Father can help you!

Sister Ney 

Facebook post this week: "Haven't reached your goal for reading the Book of Mormon this year? Well "GIT ER' DONE!" I know that reading the Book of Mormon is a privilege and that God has commanded us to read it because of all the blessings we can receive from it. #unitedfromwithin"

Here's a picture of us at the baptism. His name is Albert and Brother Staley (right) baptized him. So they both struggled.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Week 18

This week had been fun! Some men in our ward hosted a community Nativity thing at our church. It was kind of last minute notice for everyone, so we got an alright turn out. There were some nonmembers there. There were nativities set up and some musical performances. The same trip that performed at the talent show last week performed at this thing too. Piano, guitar, spoons/ harmonica. They're cool. They put a western twist on Christmas songs.
We also had our Christmas mission conference in Helena. Half the mission was there. The eastern half of the mission goes to Billings to have theirs. This mission is just too spread out to all meet in once place. We have to drive hours to get to just Helena. And there was a winter storm just the night before so the roads were sketchy and some mission cars were wrecked in the process, but the car of us 4 sisters in my district drove safely. It was a fun conference. We sang a cool arrangement of "O Holy Night" and other songs for the senior couples and mission presidency. They also asked all of the missionaries to prepare 3 min talks on the Atonement and how it's helped us on our missions- so they called up random missionaries to give them.
Then they served us a fancy meal in the gym and showed a slideshow of pictures of all the missionaries on past Christmases. It was so cute. And they showed a video of a former assistant rapping about the restoration. It was actually way impressive! Wouldn't it be funny to show a rap to people during the first lesson? Hahaha. And there was Santa. So that was sweet.
We ate dinner with some members this week and they had a pet RACCOON named Gus. They just found it in their house one day and kept it. It was the strangest thing!
I also had to go to the dentist this week because I have been having a toothache lately so we have an LDS dentist in the other ward who was willing to look at it for free. So they did X-rays and I almost have 2 cavities. These darn sweets everyone is dumping on us is killing me! Haha. But that's not what I'm trying to get at. There was a less active Ysa who ended up doing my X-rays and I straight up asked him if we could come teach his family and he said yes. So we got his number and we're teaching them on Tuesday! Haha. At first I didn't want to ask him because it was already awkward that he was the one helping me because we knew him from around town, but then I figured that it might be because we need to teach him! So I just went for it. 
We have a baptism this upcoming Saturday for the 80y/o man we are teaching and we are super excited! He had been a bit overwhelmed because religion has been introduced after he's lived most of his life but he is still is solid. 
This week we also tracted a single street. Just one side of a block and every single person became either an investigator or a potential investigator. Miracles are real, folks!
And we are gonna teach a college student while she is away for the break over Facebook! Isn't that neat? 
And don't worry about me being down on Christmas! We are going to be at 637363786 members houses so I will stay busy! 
Love you all! Merry Christmas!

Sister Ney

Picture 2- me with Gus the raccoon
Picture 3-us with Santa at the Christmas conference (one of the assistants)

Picture 1-peacocks on the street

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Week 17

Hello, everyone!

This week has been full of craziness,Christmas festivities, and a BAPTISM! I will save the best for last.
We had a transfer dinner with all of the missionaries in the zone and our bishops and ward mission leaders at the Butte stake center this week. We had pizza and discussed Ward mission plans. I didn't even know what a Ward mission plan was until now. We were instructed how to make one and keep it rolling throughout the year. So we gotta get crackin' on that.
So we were invited to help serve at First Wards Christmas party,even though the elders would be there and were serving too, and then we had our Ward Christmas party the next day. It was fun and there was good food!
Sister Schwendiman also performed in a talent show at a member's house and we changed the words of a Christmas song to go along with missionary work. I was super nervous,even though it was mostly kids, for some reason but it went well! There was a woman who was completely blind there and she played the piano like no one I've ever heard before! That's a gift from God right there.
A winter storm hit again today so that makes driving slow but it changes life up a bit. Everyone here thanks Heavenly Father for the "moisture" when they pray. It's just interesting to me that they're thankful for the snow (but now that I think about it, I am from AZ) and that they use the word "moisture"... Hmmm.
Anyhoo- we had a baptism on Saturday! This was the first one I've been to and it was exciting! It was for a lady in the Big Hole branch and her husband got the priesthood last Sunday and baptized her! It was a fun and awesome to see the fruits of missionary's labors over a few months time. Now their goal is to get sealed as a family in the temple. :)  
We also have another potential investigator that we taught spontaneously last night. She's goes to MSU and she's friends with some of the YSA's here (the YSA girls are great fellowshippers too because they all are going to go on missions soon!). So we taught her the Restoration in a dorm room. She seemed really interested and her mom, back at home, might be too! Woo! Unfortunately, all of the students are going home for Christmas so we won't be able to teach her again until mid January.
And last but not least, remember: "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear."-Buddy the Elf
Haha. This is my motto this week! I have a firm testimony that music invites the Spirit and especially during this holiday season, we all should sing Christmas songs and carols about Christ. Also in D&C 25:12, it states, "For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads."

Sister Ney

Me and my Companion

Monday, December 7, 2015

week 16

Hello, everyone!
This week has been pretty busy! So one of the things that happened recently was that this mission changed to a "Principle Based Mission". You know how I listed a bunch of rules in one of my first emails? Well, President Wadsworth announced that most of them are not intact anymore. Rather than having to worry about strict nit-picky rules, we need to learn the principle behind the rules and missionary conduct. So whenever we do something, we have to think about whether it is helping us fulfill our purpose. So President has put a lot of trust in the missionaries to be accountable to God in knowing what to do. Its weird. There's a lot of freedom yet responsibility. There are still some rules that he would like us to follow, including no fishing and such but most of the previous rules now dependent on personal prayer and what we think is right to do between us and God. Its neat!
This week we had several Christmas events and there are more to come! We had a community Breakfast with Santa and we got to know some new people. There is one lady we hope we will see again and teach. :)
We also were invited to cut down a real Christmas tree with our bishop and his family! I've never done that before- so it was way fun. We went out in the mountains and Sister Schwendiman and I got to saw it down. Check that off the bucket list!
A member also took pictures for us during one of our lunches to put on Christmas cards to send home! (So if you want me to send you one- I need your address! Email me at lauren.ney@myldsmail.net)
Here is another first: we had dinner with a group of Catholics at a restaurant this week. So we volunteer at a little thrift store thing that's run by the Catholic church. The priest, who is from Africa, invited the volunteers to dinner, and that included us. At the dinner, we sat right across from the Catholic priest and I was super intimidated at first. But he was a really nice guy and there was only a little bit of awkward conversation. Hahah. He mostly asked us stuff about our mission. Some of the women were completely shocked about how we have strict rules and minimal communication with our family. There was one other LDS lady there and she defended us and explained that we are dedicating all our time to the Lord! Haha.
We have two investigators who are being baptized for-sure this month! One on the 12th and the other on the 19th! We are super excited and what is super neat is that their main motivations are to be sealed to their families forever. The gospel really is centered on families and people love the fact that families are eternal. Truth!!!
We had Zone Training this week in Butte and I learned a lot.
--One of the things I learned was that we should pray for the Spirit to direct our prayers. And when we have the Spirit when we are praying, we will know that they will be answered and can receive revelation.
--We cannot pray for an A, and study for a B. We cannot pray for a celestial life, and live a terrestrial life.
--We all have the authority as missionaries, but we don't always have the power. We have the authority to proclaim the gospel, cry repentance, and work miracles but we can only have  the power if we live worthily, pray fervently, and follow courageously. Brothers and sisters, I know this statement is 100% true. We cannot be effective missionaries or members unless we keep our covenants and follow Christ to the BEST of our ability.
Sister Ney