Monday, April 28, 2014

4/30/14 - Salesmen or Latter-Day Saints?


   "Yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God... Seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich... Behold, I say unto you, even as you desire of me so it shall be unto you; 
and if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation."  I've come to learn that every single missionary will have her own experience. With knocking, with serving, with members, with baptisms. Our experience on a mission is completely individual, but the sanctification process is the same. Heavenly Father knows our passions, our drives, and our desires. 

   It’s been funny, I think I'm going to make a scrap book about the creative ways people drop us. First, we thought the worst way started out with complete silence - we had to drop the cute deaf girl named Sapphyre this week.  But, then we decided cards were the worst. I mean, you can't sugarcoat choosing to return to a more "familiar" church just because you give us a card with hearts and butterflies.  But, then we changed again when we had Ed drop us over the phone. We were bantering about how these people don't have the courage to tell us to our faces.  But, I've come to the conclusion that I'd rather have people tell me over the phone or in a card then tell us to our face that the Book of Mormon is false. Ouch. Regardless of the fact he said, "we can still come over to share an uplifting thought" with him, it was a heart-breaker when Bill dropped us.

   This week, we taught a lesson with Peter. This was the first lesson really that was led throughout by the spirit. It was not an overbearing "burning of the bosom" or goose bumps down the leg, but it was the most genuine lesson I've had up to this point. We taught him the restoration finally, and it just clicked!   He asked questions and we had the perfect scripture that fit to his understanding, and the whole lesson just clicked. It’s only the #1 in my planner, but that #1 means the world to me. 

   Also, cool random facts about the week:
   -Went on exchanges with the ASL sister missionaries Thurs to Fri. I was with my companion's trainer and a sister training leader in Burbank, and my companion went up to Sylmar with Sis Ingram and the other training leader. Wow. it was an eye opener. They are great sisters. Both the ones I was   
with hit their year mark on Thursday. But, holy tamale, I am sooooo  grateful I am with my sweet companion.
   -So, for patience, my companion is teaching me to knit for our free time (ha, don’t have any! But, it’s a good way to calm the mind at night. So y'all are getting dish rags for Christmas!)
   -I drive my companion crazy cuz I wave to EVERY single person in a car, eye contact or not. Well shazaam, it happens! One car drove back like 4 mins later, said he saw me wave and wanted to see if we were salesmen or Latter-Day Saints. He told us to call him "Brother Scott." He's
moving in a week.   But, it turns out he has a Book of Mormon and we challenged him to take it out of the storage unit and read it, and he said he would call us! Sooo cool. Neat tender mercy for me, to know that just a wave can brighten a day!
   -We're trying to unite the ward along with trying to reactivate some deaf members, so we are starting an ASL class weekly here at the church within the next few weeks. Super stoked!

Love you all and the work goes forth!!

Sister McNeill

Monday, April 14, 2014

4/14/14 - Pulled Over by a Cop - oops!


   We had the neat opportunity to have Elder Richards of the 70 come and speak to us at a Mission Conference in Van Nuys. It was cool to have President Hall show how much we've improved in the past 3 months for finding investigators. But, we're really struggling with baptisms. Adding together all of the mission, we got 7 baptisms last week. It’s cool to think that our zone added one to that number! The meeting was long, about 5 hours-ish total of spiritual pounding, but also a great opportunity to learn from a General Authority! It was kinda tricky, having to interpret about 1.5 hours of that (we just switched off between the four of us).  It was good for my skills, and me and my companion are gonna swap notes when we have the time.
   One cool thing, yesterday we had a missionary-led sacrament meeting. All of us missionaries spoke, plus Elder Smith and I sang in sacrament " I Stand All Amazed." Very cool! And, awesome, the North set of elders were able to bring 3 investigators to church. 3!! super awesome! 
   This week, we are talking with President Hall to try and change up the deaf work a little. It is CRAZY trying to juggle both our assigned area and the deaf work for both SC and SF Valley. We are either going to see if we can have only ASL missionaries instead of doing both, or have one more set do both hearing/deaf work with us so we can contact more people and not have to drive around the valley. We also want to try to get video phones or iPads soon. We think if deaf people can see us, they will be more willing to meet with us and we will have less lessons fall through.  It’s exciting, and keeps us on our toes! 
   Also, a funny random story. This week my companion got pulled over by a cop!! So she's already a very rule-obeying missionary, which is good!  She's still learning the ways of the road. So, we pull on the freeway and there's a cop whose lights are flashing as we are pulling off the freeway onto the ramp. Confused, we pull over to the right lane, but this cop is swerving back and forth and slowing down. He's not getting behind us, so we continue on. We are forced off an exit and get back on. Well, lo and behold, this cop is right on our tale- this time for sure it’s for us. We pull over, and he explains that there was debris in the road & she was supposed to stop behind the cop. (she's close to tears and I'm playing innocent to this cop, explaining that we're not from here, and he gets all upset as to why we don't have a California license). Obviously, unpaid ministry has never crossed this guy’s mind...long story short, we get off with a warning. Hahaha!  NOW, it is hilarious, but in the moment, we were dying!! Oh, and I forgot to mention we had a member in the backseat. Good thing she's only 20 like us, so she just laughed.  Now my companion is an even more careful driver – too funny!
   Love you all so much! Reread the talks from General conference, and enjoy Easter! It is a blessing to know that Christ lives and leads His church through a prophet called for today's world. Remembering Him helps us remember our potential for what we too can be.

Keep the faith, and continue the work!
-Sister McNeill

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

4/5/14 - Oh how I love these people!

Jess ended up emailing later than usual yesterday, but luckily we got this email from her last night:
So, this week:
- We had exchanges with the Sister Training leaders and the Koreans, so much fun! We read the book of Mormon with their investigator preparing for baptism, talked with a less active, were confronted by 2 not-so-sober men on the street, and knocked a lot of doors with them.
-Talked to a Jehovah Witness about the Plan of Salvation. It was so cool to testify, gently compare each other's beliefs, and leave still with the Spirit. No bible bashing necessary!
-Taught Paul how to Pray (He is one of our deaf investigators that really doesn’t sign much, so we have to write everything down, including prayers). Still only reads the paper we gave him but working on it!
-Were able to get Shi Yu to the Sunday Morning conference! (Holy stress Batman, it was nuts, but so happy we got her and her fuzzy-pink footstool to come)
-Finally Saw one of our investigators again (deaf investigator from 2 months with 2 adorable kids) and we set up another lesson because she still has a desire to become baptized! 
- Been giving service to Bill, an investigator that has a friend that is Mormon.  He had an eye surgery that went bad and has lost most of his sight and can’t drive.  We have been going over each week to help him and we’ve slowly built his trust and he is listening to our message.  He is such a sweet man -  Oh, it’s incredible how much I love all these people!!!

-General conference*amazing* - favorite talks consist of:
Elder L Tom Perry- so neat to think I sang for him in a choir up at USU. He talked about horses, and found a scripture about them too!! James 3:3. Soooo cool.
Elder Bednar- He spoke at the MTC while I was there. He is such a brilliant teacher. Loved his metaphor about the truck and the load. Cool to think that we are helping people get that 4-wheel drive, but it doesn't  
   mean they are done, just means now they can carry more.
Elder Ballard- call for every member to read and study preach my gospel. How cool? We all grinned about that one.
-Pday today, schooled some elders at Knockout or Speed in basketball. That was fun=)
Working hard, loving you all!
-Sister McNeill