Monday, December 26, 2016

Week 71

Hey everyone! 
Hope you had a great Christmas! 

So this week was fun and full of caroling. So on Monday, we were supposed to head to Billings because MLC in Helena was on Tuesday but it was cancelled because of bad weather, so we ended up going to a live nativity for 2nd ward instead and we were in it as wise men. 
We went to Ranchester and Dayton on Tuesday and contacted some people over there. 
On Wednesday, we taught a recent convert and one of our investigators on date and they were so awesome. I feel so lucky to be here to meet such awesome people who are ready to learn. We also went caroling with the other missionaries in Sheridan and did some service for those we stopped by- like haul wood. 
Thursday, we had a few more lessons and an active member lesson at night. I think some of my favorite parts of missionary work is teaching active members because they are so ready to learn simple truths of the gospel and do missionary work. Sometimes you have to get them excited about it but when they jump on the bandwagon, so many miracles happen and they start thinking of their friends and family who they love and need the gospel! 
Friday was a lot of traveling. We had zone training in Gillette (1.5 hours away) and it focused on repentance- how we can use it on our own lives and how to teach it to others. Then we had our ZLC, or zone leadership council, (for zone leaders, district leaders, and sister training leaders) and we Skyped in for the Wyoming West zone's ZLC after ours to discuss the needs of the sisters over there. Then from there we went to Ranchester and Dayton (2+ hours away from Gillette).
Saturday was Christmas Eve and it was AWESOME. In the morning, we replaced some elders who were ringing bells in front of Walmart for the Salvation Army because they were sick. That was never something I really wanted to do, but it was kind of fun and we got quite a bit of money! Then we visited one of the nursing homes here and saw some members in there. One was sick bad enough to where we had to dress up with isolation precautions- so we had to put on medical masks, a gown, gloves, and booties. She just loved our visit. She asked us to sing for her and we didn't have our iPads in the room with us to see lyrics, so we sang the best we could from memory and while wearing masks. It was interesting. Then multiple members had us over and one older member had us carol with her to multiple different places including the homeless shelter- which was so cool! I've never thought of that before. 
On Christmas, we Skyped home and had breakfast and dinner with some members. We went to sacrament in Ranchester and Sheridan and sang every Christmas hymn in the hymn book just at church alone. Then after church, we went caroling with the elders at another old folks home and it was so awesome because some residents were so happy when we came. We gave them cards and candy canes too. A snow storm hit and we got stuck in the snow (even in our truck on 4 wheel drive) and I had to shovel and push us out. All of the companionships in Sheridan got stuck at some point yesterday. So we had to hunker down indoors again. 
For a spiritual thought this week, I thought this just fit perfectly. It's an excerpt from an article in last year's December Ensign called "In Tune With the Christmas Spirit" and its about caroling! 
"At the beginning of our hospital visit, I had noticed that there were really only two gifted singers in our group. The rest of us did the best we could, and while we sounded decent, we were nothing spectacular. However, with each patient that we visited, the Spirit seemed to increase, and so did the quality of our voices...
I’m not sure why this small miracle occurred. Perhaps because we only desired the talent to make others happy, it was granted to us for a short time (see 1 Corinthians 14:1). I wasn’t the only one who noticed--another woman in our group commented on the way out, “I’m not a very good singer, but I always find that my voice improves when I do service like this.”
I definitely saw this happen throughout the week as we served people through song! Especially because they were about Christ! Heavenly Father helps us when we are in His service. 
Have a great week! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Week 70

So this week was crazy. Before I left Bozeman, we put another one of our investigators, the one from Jordan, on date. And it's SO SAD being transferred right before people's baptisms. I know the next missionaries will take good care of them though. 
Sister Ashcroft and I packed our luggage and our apartment and then we had transfers on Wednesday. It was an all day affair for me because I was getting moved to Wyoming. We got in Sheridan at night and I'm officially in Wyoming now. It's weird. I was thinking I was only going to be in Montana for my mission but guess not! 
Let me tell ya, it has been COLD this past week. There was lots of wind and snow from the storm that came in on Friday. We were told by the assistants to not go outside unless we had set appointments for all ofFriday and Saturday. But they forgot to send that message to my zone, so we were proselyting Friday day until we were informed that it applied to us too. Haha. It was -19 degrees and -31 with the windchill on Saturday. It was so bad we had ice only in the INSIDE of our truck. Not really on the outside and it wouldn't come off. Cars aren't made to operate in this kind of weather. 
We had an awesome lesson with an investigator who we put on date for baptism on Friday
We went to our Ranchester branch for sacrament meeting yesterday and then to Sheridan 1st ward for the 3 hours. Ranchester is closer to the Montana/ Wyoming border and we actually cover some towns in Montana too. It's so weird and I can't keep the 2 states separate in my head. 
We are going to Billings today for MLC (Mission Leadership Council) tomorrow and we won't be back into our area until Wednesday. MLC is for zone leaders, sister training leaders, and some other mission leaders. So there's lots of traveling this week. 
Here is a spiritual thought I got from my studies this week:
"We cannot gauge the worth of another soul any more than we can measure the span of the universe. Every person we meet is a VIP to our Heavenly Father...
        One woman who had been through years of trial and sorrow said through her tears, “I have come to realize that I am like an old 20-dollar bill--crumpled, torn, dirty, abused, and scarred. But I am still a 20-dollar bill. I am worth something. Even though I may not look like much and even though I have been battered and used, I am still worth the full 20 dollars.” (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf "You Are My Hands")
Have a good week and stay warm! 

Sister Lauren Ney
Montana Billings Mission 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Week 69

Hello family and friends! 
Transfer news: I'm going to be a sister training leader in the Wyoming East zone! That means I'm going to go on exchanges and do training with sisters in the Wyoming West zone because we are the only sisters in the Wyoming East zone. So I will be transferred to Sheridan, Wyoming on Wednesday and I'm going to be companions with Sister Jacoby, who I served with in Great Falls! I'm really nervous for this huge change but excited. I'm sooooo sad to say goodbye to the people here though. I haven't had enough time! :(
***So if you send anything to me, send it to the mission home address: 1848 Rimrock Rd. Billings, Montana 59102 and they will forward it to my new address. And let me know if you have sent anything to me recently to my Bozeman address so I can tell someone who is still here in Bozeman to forward it to Wyoming if I don't get it before Wednesday!
So this week was nuts- in a good way. 
We got a new investigator while we were eating dinner with a member at a Brazilian cafe called Oba. She saw us walk by the store she works at as we were walking to Oba. She came in and basically asked to take the lessons because she wants to be baptized. So that was awesome! She's sweet and came to our ward's Christmas party/ fiesta (it was Mexican themed) and loved it. On Saturday, we taught her the Restoration and she loved it. When we taught the First Vision, she got chills and we helped her identify that as the spirit. She said she's like Joseph Smith and has been looking into different religions all her life but didn't feel right about any of them.  She says she feels peace when she reads the Book of Mormon. She also loves the quotes from Thomas S. Monson that she finds on Pinterest. When we invited her to be baptized, she was ecstatic and started crying. She basically has just been waiting for someone to ask her. We committed her to be baptized in December 31st. She said the closing prayer too and is so excited to come to church, read the Book of Mormon, and everything. She said she felt overjoyed.  😄She is the cutest thing ever and Sister Ashcroft and I were on cloud 9 after that lesson. 
We also had an awesome lesson on Book of Mormon with a less active this week. We originally went over to share the Christmas video with her but then as we got talking, we discovered she doesn't really have a testimony of the church anymore but still refuses to join any other religions. We asked her if she has read the Book of Mormon at all recently and she said no and that she doesn't understand it or why the people in it are significant. That turned out to be one of the most spiritual lessons I've had in this area and we committed her to read it. We testified of the truthfulness and explained some reading habits that will help her get more out of it. 
It dumped snow and got really cold this week. It got in the negatives. The air hurts your face and my toes lose all sensation. They don't even sting. They sting then go completely numb. I have started wearing 2-3 layers at all times now. Our zone was really smart and went caroling when it was 6 degrees outside and we had to go in our cars and thaw once in a while. But we are rotating which areas we carol at so it becomes a finding activity/ blitz sort of thing. And one part member family told us to go in their teepee in their backyard and it was so cool! 
Oh. And plows make me happy. One of these days, I'm gonna make cards and just put them on the windshields of the cars with plows on them. They do such a wonderful service to the world. 
I also read this this week and it really struck me: 
"Your call has eternal consequences for others and for you. In the world to come, thousands may call your name blessed, even more than the people you serve here. They will be the ancestors and the descendants of those who chose eternal life because of something you said or did, or even what you were. If someone rejects the Savior’s invitation because you did not do all you could have done, their sorrow will be yours. You see, there are no small callings to represent the Lord. Your call carries grave responsibility. But you need not fear, because with your call come great promises...
There will be times when you will feel overwhelmed. One of the ways you will be attacked is with the feeling that you are inadequate. Well, you are inadequate to answer a call to represent God with only your own powers. But you have access to more than your natural capacities, and you do not work alone." -Henry B. Eyring ("Rise to Your Call" Oct. 2002)

Sister Lauren Ney
Montana Billings Mission 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Week 68

Hello all!

This week was busy! We had a Christmas zone conference on Thursday in
Helena but it was only 3 zones this time- not half mission. They also
ended early because a storm was coming into Bozeman and we had to beat
the blizzard back home. It was fun and they showed a slideshow of all
of the missionaries as kids on Christmas and we had some good talks on
the Book of Mormon and the Savior. We also had a nice lunch provided
by the Helena Relief Society sisters.
We had exchanges with the Billings sisters and it went really well. I
stayed in Bozeman and I actually had a full night of lessons for the
sister training leader to come to! That is rare!
We had an awesome lesson with an investigator from Jordan/ Jerusalem.
We taught him the Plan of Salvation and he loved it! His wife passed
away a few months ago and it devastated him. He is a very spiritual
person and when we invited him to church, he said he would pray about
it and if God told him to come, he would! And he came! I was so
excited! He stayed for Gospel Principles too! I really have high hopes
for him!
Our investigator from Guatemala also came to church and now he has
started contributing in Gospel Principles! It's so awesome to see him
We had the Christmas stroll on Main Street on Saturday and it was
pretty fun. We made a #LIGHTtheWORLD poster and all of us missionaries
in Bozeman and the Three Forks elders handed out pass along cards by
the hundreds and service advent calendars. The elders got pretty
creative to get some attention.
We also had a Christmas devotional broadcast on Sunday and I loved it.
President Eyring is hilarious and I loved how he said to seek peace
through the Giver of good gifts. As human beings, we seem to always
seek peace through the wrong sources but Christ has promised us true
and lasting peace if we follow him!
After the devotional, we went caroling with the other missionaries and
got an awesome reception! It was great to see the joy it brought to
people as we sung about the Savior.
It's getting colder and it has snowed a lot. The weather is supposed
to get in the negatives next week so that should be fun. Pray for me!

Sister Lauren Ney
Montana Billings Mission