Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Week 65

Hello, world! 
This week was good. We taught a teenage returning less active (kindof recent convert)  twice in a members home. He is such an awesome kid. He asks such good questions and is so respectful. He's going places in life. 
Our zone training was really good. We talked about Adjusting to Missionary Life and new ways to find people to teach. I'm excited to try being more creative to break up the monotony of the work some days. 
We tried to contact people all week but haven't had much luck. We also had a super vague referral for a duplex up the street with a white garage. That ended up describing a third of the houses in the neighborhood and we tried every single one of them to no avail. But we will keep trying! I'm determined now! Haha. 
We went to a baptism for an 8 year old in the ward and they invited several neighbor families to come and it was an awesome service! The lady who spoke on baptism basically taught the whole Restoration while she was at it and whenever speakers used "Mormon lingo", they would define it as they spoke. It was a missionary's dream. Haha. We talked to one of the neighbors after to see what he thought but it was kind of rushed. So we hope to follow up with these people here soon!  

Sister Lauren Ney
Montana Billings Mission 

Week 67

Thanksgiving was good. We volunteered with some elders at the 5k called Huffing for Stuffing that morning. 4500 people came to run!  It was SO cold and we had like 4 layers on but it was fun. There were some interesting costumes that people ran in too! Haha. We had 3 dinners total and it almost killed us but we survived without getting too sick! We ate at 2 families houses in our ward and then a family in the 2nd ward who also had the 2nd ward elders over because no one else signed up to have us over in the evening and we were told to be with members all day. It was a fun day.
Here's a cool experience from this week: So weekly planning can take the life out of you sometimes and we decided to take a break. I wanted some chocolate at this fancy French chocolate shop inside Hotel Baxter. And I guess my chocolate cravings were inspired because a recent RM from the Oregon Eugene Mission stopped us and gave us a referral of his sister and brother in law! It was awesome. Plus, he knows the two elders we know from back home who are serving in the OEM. Small world! 
Another little miracle we had was when we were tracting some apartment buildings, it was getting a bit discouraging because no one was receptive but then we knocked on a door where 2 people living in humble looking circumstances answered and exclaimed that they love hearing the word of God. They were busy at the moment but begged us to come back in a week. People like them make it all worth it. 
We had interviews with President this week and he told me to read a talk he read recently. It's by Elder Marvin J. Ashton and one of my favorite parts is this: "On our last trip to Great Britain, I had a chance to visit with an eighteen-year-old young man who has had close association with many missionaries in the field. As I was going to speak to a large number of missionaries in the next few days, I asked this friend what he thought was the most important trait missionaries needed in order to be successful. His answer was simple. “They must know how to work. Many come on a mission never knowing how to work.” It has been my experience over the years that feeble-knees are not a by-product of work and commitment to goals." How true! I have definitely been able to see this throughout my mission. I know that through the work ethic I develop during my mission, I can be a hardworking citizen, student, mother, sister, daughter, friend, and Latter-Day Saint. 
We have been introducing this year's new Christmas initiative the church created. It's called #LIGHTtheWORLD. There is a great video about how we can serve this Christmas season like Christ did. And there's a 25 day advent calendar of service ideas we can do everyday leading up to Christmas! Check it out and share it with everyone! It's on
Love you all! 

Sister Lauren Ney
Montana Billings Mission 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Week 66

This week was pretty fun. 
We helped make turkey treats (turkeys made out of Rice Krispie treats and candy) at a nursing home and all of the old ladies were so funny. They didn't know how to make them even when we helped them and they just laughed and laughed. 
We also were able to help at the food bank here and it is WAY bigger than every other food bank I've served in on my mission. 
We had an early Thanksgiving dinner with the YSA ward on Saturday. We didn't have dinner that night and a member invited us so what the hey. It is weird being a missionary around people my own age. It's like there's a wall between us but not...
We got a referral from the Belgrade elders this week. It was an investigator they've been teaching for a while and he moved into our area. The guy is in a rough spot in his life to the point where he's now living in a motel and biking everywhere, which has softened him to the gospel. The way things worked out made it so that us and the Bozeman 1st ward elders taught him at once. We tried to make it so the guy didn't feel ganged up on but four people in name tags makes it a little weird.  Haha. He was nice about it and he recognizes something different about the church! :) He came to church on Sunday and it was his first time going to any church in 20 years. He enjoyed it and we had a lesson afterwards and a recent RM was our member present and he was awesome. He had the pamphlet we needed, taught our investigator how to pray, and everything! :D
We have been able to talk to more people this week compared to last week. We found a super solid new investigator but had to turn him over to the zone leaders because he's a YSA. We were contacting a former investigator and they moved but this new guy moved in. He is like a mini Joseph Smith. He's wondering which church is true and is actively seeking the truth. We taught him on his doorstep and he soaked the Restoration in and accepted a Book of Mormon. He was so excited for a return appointment and I just wish we could teach him but he's a YSA. :( I'm glad we found him though!
We were also able to get more dinners this week which was good because it helps me get to know the ward. The members are so nice here. At one dinner appointment, the couple had Sister Ashcroft play a hymn on the piano and we all sang along and I felt like I was in the 1800s or something. Haha. 
This week has been snowy and between 20-30 degrees. I'm in denial though that winter is here and refuse to wear my coat until I absolutely need to. I'm not ready for winter round 2!! 

Sister Lauren Ney
Montana Billings Mission 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week 64

Last Monday was Halloween and we had a fun district preparation day. We played spike ball, four square, carved pumpkins, hit a piñata, etc. It was a party! :)
Before transfer, I said bye to lots of people in he branch and we had some good last lessons. I absolutely hate saying bye. It tears me apart but I just have to remember that it's probably just "see ya later". Shelby has been awesome and I definitely will cherish my time there. 
On Wednesday, I was transferred to Bozeman. Let me tell ya, the city is way different. Missionary work feels so strange in a city. There's lots of traffic, there's other missionaries around, and everything! I'm still adjusting. We are still trying to build the teaching pool but it's a bit hard because it feels like 80% of the population is YSA because of MSU being here, and the zone leaders are over them. So if we find YSAs, we have to refer them over to the elders. 
Sister Ashcroft has been awesome. We've been catching up and talking about things at home- which is strange because we actually know what each other is taking about! 
We had Sister Ashcroft's old companion with us until Saturday because she went home. Being in a trio was kind of fun. :)
Our district helped some members plant a billion flowers outside a members rental house too, which was kind of fun! 
On Saturday and Sunday, we watched the regional broadcasts. I loved the Saturday one because it talked about Teaching in the Savior's Way- which was basically Preach My Gospel. :) It just goes to show how awesome and relevant PMG is for everyone! 
And I saw a bunch of Livingston and Ennis people there! It was a joyous reunion. I saw the Carters too, the members I lived with in Livingston! There are definitely pros to serving in the same stake 3 times. 
The daylight savings time change happened yesterday and now it gets dark around 5:30 so all of prime pros is in the dark and Bozeman, for some reason, has absolutely NO street lights in any residential areas. I don't know if it's a city law but it makes things a tad difficult. Thanks to whoever made flashlights!
Other than that, we are trying to contact and teach and get things rolling over here! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Week 63

Lots has been going on this week. Here's the low-down:
Transfer news: Sister Smith is staying and I'm going to Bozeman! This will be my THIRD time in that zone-but I've always been in towns outside of Bozeman but this will be my first time in the city. THIS WILL BE THE FIRST TIME TO SERVE IN A BIG CITY ON MY MISSION. (Well, big for Montana). I've only served in small towns for over a year. I'm gonna be near a Walmart and a variety of places to eat out at. :') And I'm gonna be with Sister ASHCROFT from back HOME. INSANITY. We are going to be in a trio with Sister Johnson, her current companion, for a bit before she leaves for home. My mind is blown. It's sad saying bye to people here in Shelby though. It's definitely one of the hardest parts about a mission. You get so close to so many people and then you're guaranteed to have to leave at some point. :( And I'm going to miss the baptism of our investigator by a few days. :( again. But I'm still so grateful I was a part of his learning. 
Monday, we toured a Hutterite colony with district and a member. They are such an interesting group of people. I learned a lot. 
On Tuesday, we went to Oilmont and Kevin (pronounced Kee-vin). Boy, is I HARD to find unfamiliar addresses at night out here. There are very few street lights and addresses but we did contact a few less actives and a part member family which was great. They let us in and we talked about the Book of Mormon with them and read some.
So this weeks district meeting was pretty interesting. One elder did an activity and we all had to fight. There were different rules in each fight. He had two elders fight but one had nunchucks and the other had nothing, another was that they both had pillows but were blindfolded, another was that two elders had pillows but one had his hands tied behind his back, another was that Sister Smith and I had pillows but our mouths were full of water. I still am trying to figure out how the activity related to the lesson. But I'm not sure... Something about fighting for things? It was entertaining at least. :)
Later this week, our whole district plus 2 sets of zone leaders, another set of elders from the other district, a senior missionary couple, the stake presidency, and 2 high councilmen over missionary work went to Browning for their trunk-or-treat. Some other missionaries and I stood outside the little church building on the street with a huge "FREE FOOD" sign for a few hours and brought people in in droves. It was sweet. Supposedly around 100 Book of Mormons were given out and some people were actually taught the Restoration as they were eating chili and there were some return appointments made! Woo! When you get a band of missionaries going, stuff gets done! 
The next night, we had the chili cook off in Shelby. It was adults only this year so they could get a break from the kids. Sister Smith and I were the costume judges and we got some really good costumes. We had a gillie suit, Uncle Si (a girl dressed up as him), a lady with a costume that said "National Clown Hunters Service" (because of all that scary clown stuff going on), and a woman named Ariél dressed as Ariél, etc. And we played the funniest game called "Lipless" where you put that thing in your mouth that dentists give you that retract your lips and you have to say certain phrases off a card and your team has to guess what you're saying. It's SO funny. I took lots of pictures and basically have blackmail on the whole branch now. 😂 We had some less actives come that we have been dying to get fellowshipping for, so that was exciting. 
On Saturday, we did some work in Chester...and every little town around there. We basically drove up and down highway 2. Rudyard, Inverness, Joplin, Chester, Lothair, you name it. We contacted lots of less actives and got in with quite few. I saw that the common theme was the Book of Mormon. Lots of people who are struggling in their testimony or having a hard time putting their faith to action do not have a solid foundation of the Book of Mormon. It really is the KEYSTONE of our religion. If you don't read the Book of Mormon, your faith, like a seed without water, will become weak. We basically pounded that in every house. So we are going to be making a slough of phone calls here soon to follow up. We also had the branch harvest festival dinner in Chester that night and some less actives and investigators came to that too! Food does wonders. 
We stayed overnight and went to church in Chester yesterday. They definitely put us to work. We taught Gospel Principles and a part of combined Relief Society/ priesthood. And it was fast and testimony meeting and I bore my testimony on the Book of Mormon. I decided to finish off the week with that theme too. :) 
Well, HAPPY HALLOWEEN! We are banned from proselyting tonight so we are going to be hanging with the branch president's family. 
Stay safe! 

Sister Lauren Ney
Montana Billings Mission