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