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!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Week 73

Hey world! 
So the beginning of the week just consisted of me being sick and us being stuck in the apartment.
I do feel better now and we had an awesome lesson with one of our investigators on date about the word of wisdom. We were kind of nervous for the lesson because she has some word of wisdom issues but her reaction was "This is gonna suck" but she was totally willing to do it! She knows very well that it's gonna be hard but there wasn't any question that she was gonna try! She's awesome. 
We had zone conference in Buffalo on Wednesday and interviews with President here in Sheridan on Thursday.  The conference was all about repentance again and it was really good. I like how they not only talked about teaching repentance, but how we as missionaries really need to apply it too. We will have no power in our teaching if we don't use the atonement ourselves! 
We had a lesson with our 11 year old investigator in Ranchester and we put him on date finally for January 28th! He is a funny kid and wanted to be baptized on dates that are associated with tragic events in history (like the Titanic sinking or the attack on Pearl Harbor) but his parents were able to talk him out of it. It was the most chaotic and unique experience of putting someone on date I've ever had on my mission. Haha.
So cool experience- the other week on exchanges, another sister and I got stuck in the snow and a nice family saw us and helped us out. Well I wanted to thank them so Sister Jacoby and I dropped off cookies last night and it turns out they are a less active/ part member family! They were nice and let us in and talked to us for a while. They're not interested right now but I think their hearts softened a little bit. :)
I hope you all have a great week! 

Sister Lauren Ney
Montana Billings Mission 

1. zone conference
2. Yummy icicles
3. Im in cowboy country

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Week 72

Hey hey! 
So this week I learned that Wyoming really is the least populated state in America. I kind of guessed but it's official. The population is around 500,000. I have been called to serve in the least populated state in all the 50 states of this country. Weird. 
Our exchanges to Cody was canceled on Monday because of high winds but we did have exchanges from Thursday night to Saturday morning and the sisters serving in Worland came here. So I was with Sister Lisberg here in Sheridan and Sister Jacoby went with Sister Dayes to Ranchester. It was my first exchange ever as a sister training leader and it was realllllly rough because I got sick, a snowstorm hit that day, and we got stuck in the snow (in their Toyota Corolla) 7 times. People had to come save us 3 of those times. Some friendly neighborhood people saved us the first time, a homeless guy the second, and 4 elders the third time. Sister Lisberg was so sweet and was super understanding about my being sick but we still were out and about until 8:30pm
I'm still sick and went to urgent care yesterday and we were shuts ins all day. I slept and we watched some church movies from the apartment. I feel bad for Sister Jacoby having to babysit me but she's so awesome and willing. 
Some highlights of this week was that we were able to help teach our recent convert how to do family history and we got a huge chunk of her family tree filled in. She's super excited to take her family names to the temple. Her reaction to her discovering her ancestors was priceless. She was yelling for joy and in total astonishment. 
I was also able to Skype in on my investigator's baptism in Bozeman. She was the one who came and found us while we were eating dinner at Oba. She was seriously beaming and so overwhelmed with joy afterwards. It made me so happy. :)
So a major theme in our teaching that I have seen in this past week was the Plan of Salvation. We met with at least 3 people this week on a day that happened to be the anniversary of a loved one's death or someone they loved passed away that very day. I don't think its any coincidence that we happened to show up at that time and in that same situation several times throughout the week. It was so neat to see the spirit work in people and bring them peace as we testified of the truth of the Plan of Salvation. 
This week, we also were invited to dinner with the YSA branch president and some prospective missionaries. Its so fun to see the excitement people have while working on their papers and preparing to go out. That ambition needs to be remembered and maintained throughout ones mission.
So I was going to put a spiritual thought from Chapter 33: Missionary Work from Brigham Young's Teachings of the Presidents book, but I ended up highlighting the whole thing. It's SO good so I challenge you all to go read it! 
I hope you all had a happy new year and made some awesome resolutions! 

Sister Lauren Ney
Montana Billings Mission