"The standard of truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble and calumny may defame but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly and independent 'till the purposes of God have been accomplished and the great Jehovah shall say the work is done." -Joseph Smith

Monday, February 24, 2014

Hermana Myers, Making Diamonds Out of Coal!

These were our pep talks:
Dad and I felt it was important to contact the mission for further details and confirmation that we shouldn’t worry.  You sounded great in your letter and as if the panic attack was a little blip in the road but we wanted a second opinion. Our only concern now is that you feel you are not having “success” on your mission. We are thrilled with all your successes on you mission, because bringing souls unto Christ is so much more than just the outward ordinance of baptism. Everyone who reads your blog is inspired by you and grows from your attitude and outlook. Remember Moro 7:16,19 about how we can judge if a thing is of God, 
"wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for everything which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is set forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God . . . wherefore I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that you may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ."
Don’t condemn the good you have done because it doesn’t measure up to someone else’s definition of successful missionary work. The Lord uses everyone’s talents in different ways for the good of his kingdom.  I know sometimes it feels bad to not be able to visually have other’s see your successes but really there are many people that do.
Hey sweetie! I wanted to address some of your concerns and possible causes of stress. Although I’m taking a stab in the dark at them, I’m thinking that some of it comes from the weekly reports you have to turn in and I can imagine the District Leaders and Zone Leaders badgering you for not having any baptisms. “If we are obedient and have more faith, then the baptisms will naturally follow." I heard these and similar attempts to motivate missionaries that while well intentioned, somehow miss the mark and inadvertently put pressure where it should not be. It is true that obedience and faith will bring miracles, we are not to define when or how those miracles are manifest. You may not have any baptisms yet in California, but I can assure you that you are having a very positive effect here in Iowa and throughout the country as people read your blog and share in your journey. 

Your success as a missionary has nothing to do with the number of baptisms you have and more to do with the lives that you affect and the internal growth that you experience. If your DLs or ZLs are somehow making you feel less than capable, remind them that Spencer W. Kimball only had one baptism his entire mission! I don’t think that they would dare call him anything less than a spiritual giant and successful missionary.

Also don’t let anyone else have the power to tell you that you are anything less than exceptional. There will always be people who will try and tear you down and mock or make fun of you (remember the great and spacious building?). Well press onward, holding fast to the iron rod with both hands. Don’t let go with one hand to wave, keep both hands firmly grasped on and forge ahead through the mists of darkness. The reward at the end is worth any and every sacrifice and difficulty that we face. You are my beloved daughter and I couldn’t be more proud of you. Especially in admitting your weaknesses and dealing with them head on. Remember Ether 12: 26-28  26 And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness;
 27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my  grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make  weak things become strong unto them.
 28 Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteous.
I love you,


Thanks for the pep talk, fam! I really appreciate your readiness to help! I don't really think there is anything you can do different at this point. Just keep praying for me and keep your covenants.

I know this is probably really bad timing with all the loving notes about how baptisms don't mark the success of a missionary, but JORGE GOT BAPTIZED!!! And I got to go! Here's a picture! This is the Cueva's (those that found him) and all the missionaries that taught him and Hno. Rodgriguez who baptized him. 

Saturday was an interesting day... Hermana Stevenson had a baptism in Yucaipa and I had one in Redlands... so we found our two member rides and left within an hour of each other. I had to kind of find two rides... because my ride (Cynthia) didn't have a car... so her cousin Danny took us. He got home a half an hour later than he was supposed to so Cythia and I ran out the door. I got into the car and almost suffocated from the smell of cologne in the car. Then he had to get gas... Merh. So Cythia and I ran into the gas station because it was a pay first gas station. We proceeded to make fun of Danny while we were in there because of the cologne. Then we got to the baptism. No one was there. It ended up starting an hour late because Jorge's family wasn't there. So that was funny. All went well though. I had to leave a little early so I could get home in time. Oh yeah! I got to see the Ruiz's (family from the desert that fed us every Monday) because they gave Hermana Bates a ride. It was fun! 

I really enjoyed this week though. Throughout the week I had been thinking a lot about my situation and everything. The thing that was hardest for me was that I wasn't sure if this was my "enough's enough" moment or if this was just another tial to make me strong (obviously either way it's a trial to make me stronger... but I mean a trial that I would over come and stay on my mission, ya know?) I was really worried about whether or not I should stay and if it really would be worth it.(to clarify, the initial stress was not about whether or not to come home, that thought was something that came from her therapist and something she worked through just this week.) I was reading my patriarchal blessing today during my personal study and a line really stuck out to me. It said something along the lines of, "You will be of great courage in doing what He (Heavenly Father) asks of you knowing that as you please Heavenly Father, you will have no need to fear the temporal consequences of the things that you do." That hit me like a ton of bricks. My patriarchal blessing has been a huge strength for me and I'm all ready now to keep truckin' on!

One thing I would appreciate though is if you could email me a copy of my mission call. Apparently that's a good thing to read while you're on your mission too.

Much love!

Hermana Myers

Also, I forgot to make a note for Dad. My district leader and zone leaders aren't baptism crazy. They've actually helped me out a lot in this time. They're all elders I've served with before and have become pretty good friends with so it's been nice having them here and serving with them again.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bitter Sweet Concern

I have debated whether to share Hermana Myers entire letter because of the personal nature, but she has been careful in the past with a few things to mention when something is too personal to post. I also feel sometimes we only share the happy times of our missions which doesn't shed light on the numerous times you feel inadequate, frustrated and alone. I know many of you that read this already pray for the missionaries and for Chloe specifically but we would appreciate that even more at this time. Really it sounds like she is dealing with things in an appropriate and effective way and we shouldn't get worried or concerned, but as parents our hearts are draw out to her.

Here is her email:

So to start off, I have a bit of a confession to make.
I've been dealing a lot my whole mission with stress and it got to the point where this last week I had a full blown panic attack. I'm fine now, the zone leaders came over and gave me a blessing but I will be recieving counseling from LDS Family Services. Hopefully that'll help get me back into shape so I can finish these next 6 months.
Other than the panic attack, this week was pretty good! I did get the package of puppy chow. Uncle Rhod and Aunt Shannon sent me a Valentine's Day package too. I got a letter from Sister Meyer saying she went to a ward down in Phoenix, AZ and that a newsletter was passed around and on the bottom it said they had an Hermana Santiago out in the California Redlands mission. She asked me if I knew her. I lived with her for a few weeks. So much fun! Love her! Also, Mom, wasn't Marcy Zabriskie one of your mission companions?(yes she was) I know I've heard that name before but I don't remember why, I just know she's one of your friends. Anywho, I'm sure you know that she had an article published in the February Ensign, funny story about that... Hermana Stevenson was trying to find a good article in the Ensign for our English class to read and she found one that she really like (it was Marcy's). I started to read it and liked it, then I looked at who wrote it and yelled, "OH MY GOSH!!! MY MOM KNOWS HER!!!!" It was funny. P.S. This happened the same day that Sister Meyer wrote about Hermana Santiago. It was an interesting day.
Our new investigator Cassandra (formerly known as Angelica) came to church!! And funny story about that and the power of fellowshipping: So Cassandra came with Hermana Martinez (the member she lives with) and they stayed for sacrament and Gospel Principles. Then Hermana Martinez got up after Gospel Principles and started telling us that they had to leave for some reason or another... I don't really even remember what, but then one of the sisters, Hermana Rodriguez, came and interupted and said, "Hi Hermana! The Relief Society President specifically asked me to come and give you the Welcome to Relief Society and ask you to come sit with me, so would you mind coming and sitting with me over here?" Hermana Martinez didn't really know what else to do so she sat down next to her and Cassandra got to stay for Relief Society. Awesome! She really liked it! Yay!  We're going to try to get her on date this week!
Funny story from yesterday. We had both of the Fontana zones over to Brother Wilden's house (he's the high counselor over missionary work in our stake). There were probably 40 missionaries crammed into their living room, right by the front door. We were listening to President Seares (stake president) talk about how music brings the Spirit when there was a knock at the door. Guess who it was. If you guessed a pair of Jehovah's Witnesses, you'd be correct. Their worst nightmare, a room full of LDS full-time missionaries. Hilarious. President Seares jumped up and ran out the door and started asking them if they could come in so we could sing to them. They made excuses and got away, but we all had a good laugh about it after.
One last thing, the missionaries get to participate in "From The Hill Cumorah". I don't know if you've ever heard of that but it's kind of a reader's theatre about the Book of Mormon . Yup. We get to sing in the finale. Holla! I'm so happy! I think Heavenly Father knows I need some theatre release. I got to go help with Redlands, My Redlands and now this. I'm so grateful!
I think that's everything! Don't worry about the stress thing though, I am feeling better and I think the counseling will go a long way.
Much love!
Hermana Myers

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Miracle Grows

I love the picture! I want to frame it... but I can't.(I saw a picture with the saying "Sometimes you just have to put on your big girl panties and deal with it" and thought of Hermana Myers so I sent it, not because she needs to put them on but because she had mentioned it a few months back.)

I am anxiously awaiting the puppy chow and the translator. Thank you so much, by the way. I really do appreciate it. I was even thinking about asking Elder Christensen (who goes home at the end of this transfer) if I could buy his off of him, but I think he wants to keep it.
Did you know that apparently there are 3 new temple movies that rotate around? I have now seen two of them. I guess they did it that way so that if one of the actors does something stupid they can use the other one. All the actors have to be temple worthy or they can't show the video. Random facts I learned at the temple this week. Also, everyone loves my temple dress. I had 3 people tell me I need to get married in it (one being Sister Van Cott which was a little weird). All three occasions were followed by a,"Yeah, that was the idea when we were planning it out :).) Really what I learned in the temple this time was just that I really can do this whole mission thing. I thought of ways to kind of refocus myself. I've never been super distracted, but I have had little distractions here and there. Getting whitewashed into Fontana made it so I had no time at all to think about anything else, but now that I'm getting oriented I found the little ditractions coming back, so when I was in the temple I really focused on what I could do to get rid of those. I have a few scriptures I've been trying to memorize that will hopefully help. I also was thinking about the convants made in the temple and it made me think a lot about my role as a future mother and wife. It was an interesting temple trip for me. I really enjoyed it.
Miracle of the week! (An extension of a previously mentioned story. Wow, the Lord is really giving this family many opportunities to return to Him.  Happy that Hermana Myers and her companion can be instruments in His hands.)

One of the first few days that Hermana Stevenson and I were in this area, we were walking around, trying to get to know the area and just talk to some people. We saw a few people outside cleaning their cars. Before that we had seen about 3 other people cleaning their car and every time we would walk up to them and offer our service, they had just finished, so we were pretty excited when we saw that they had just started. We walked (jogged) over to help them and they didn't think we were being serious until Hermana Stevenson just picked up a rag and started washing. While she was washing, I talked to the guy (Christian) and the little boy (Jarbus) who were done with their car and Hermana Stevenson talked to the girl (Casandra) while they cleaned. It was a lot of fun. We tried to get a return appointment with them and they accepted. While we were washing, a woman from across the street came over to get her mail. We waved and were friendly and she just walked right back into her house.

Later we came back to the same cul de sac to find out that the lady that came out to get her mail is actually a less active member. Perfect! We tried a few more times for Casandra but with little to no luck. Finally we tried again and this super nice lady (Ymelda) came and welcomed us into the house. We started talking to her and Casandra. We had a really good small talk session. I say really good because guess what, Ymelda is a member! Oh yeah, and her son is Christian... He's a member too. He just forgot to tell us. He's also extremely less active and thinks he's 7th Day because his wife is. Anywho, they're all living at this house together. We had an awesome how to begin teaching lesson with Casandra with Hna. Martinez (Ymelda) helping us out. Also, apparently Elder Halloway and Torgerson had ran into Christian earlier. He also forgot to tell them that he was a member. Anywho... Casandra is one of our new investigators for this week. She's super nice and very interested. She's already reading in the Book of Mormon and understanding a lot! We're super excited!
Let's see, what else. OH YEAH! Do you rememer who Arture Moreno is from Queretaro? I think I remember who he is but I'm not 100%. He sent me an email this week discribing who he was but none of the examples used rang a bell. Can you believe that was 10 years ago? Dang.
This week we have multi-zone conference so I'm pretty pumped for that!
Happy Lock-Your-Heart Day!
Much love,
Hermana Myers

Just kidding, the last name of the person who emailed me was Acereto. I think I know a little bit more who it is, but I'm still not 100%. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Temple Day Quick Email

I was not worried that we hadn't heard from Hermana Myers but I missed the fact that we hadn't heard from her yet this week.  Knew there had to be an explanation. Today is Missionary Temple Day for her which means preparation day and a visit to the temple and little time to focus on emailing.

I know from other missionaries that I keep up with that after around the 10 month mark it gets harder to email.  Why? Because what used to be new to them has become second nature and so they don't think it is interesting or don't even think to share it with us.  I am ok with that. 

Here is her email:
So I'm just going to start this email off with a warning, it may be a little scatter brained because we don't have a whole lot of time and we're going to the temple today.

(In regards to her request for an electronic translator last week, we wrote:Oh, Dad said we shouldn’t buy you a translator.  He thinks when you don’t understand a word you should ask questions to find out what it means.  Well, so if you still really want/need one, you will have to state your case or just go buy one on your own with money from your personal account.  For me this one isn’t worth fighting for you with the limited information that I have on the need.)
First off: Sure, I could ask people for the information, and I do, but when it's just me and my companion and we're trying to figure something out, or teaching an English class (which we do), it's a little more difficult to translate from Spanish to English when the member is asking how to say it in English and you have no clue what it is in Spanish. Then they try to explain and you guess, then they accuse you later because you were wrong. But it's still up to you. It's just nicer, smaller, and faster than a dictionary.
So this week was an interesting one.
We picked up the daughter of a recent convert. Her name is Adriana. The whole family is super ready. They've experienced two deaths in the family within the two weeks we've been here and they're all looking for a little bit of comfort. We're teaching 5 members of the family and counting. Adriana is the only one on date though. We went over almost every day last week. It was awesome! We have to help Adriana read the Book of Mormon though because she doesn't read very well so that was some of the lessons. It's been awesome though!
We also had an awesome lesson with the Morales family. Apparently they're legendary in the mission because the kids are crazy (that is not an exageration... they turn off the lights when we pray and one of the daughters says she'll only get baptized if her cat can get baptized too. It's interesting, but we love them :)) and the mom rarely shows emotion. She's starting to smile a little more when we're there so that's good. We pretty much asked them why they aren't baptized yet because they've been coming to church for the last 6 months. The dad, second daughter, and youngest son are all baptized, just the mom, the oldest daughter and the youngest daughter aren't. Anywho, we found out a lot. Turns out Hermana Morales doesn't think that God answers her prayers and that she doesn't need to change, but she wants all her kids to get baptized in our church. Doesn't really make sense to me, but alright. S (the crazy cat daughter) doesn't think that God exists. So this is going to be awesome! We're interesting to see if maybe we can help them, or if (in Elder Holloway's words) "we end up in their boiling pot of missionaries that had failed to convert them." He's a strange kid... but he's great :).
We've also been doing a lot of Elder "damage control". We keep finding people in the area book that when we meet them, they don't really want to talk to us but when we explain that we're there to help them strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ and their relationship with their Heavenly Father, they soften up and say, "That's such a relief because all the Elders wanted to do was baptize me!" We then say, "Well, yeah, we want you to get baptized too, but only when you feel ready." And then we think, "And you'll get baptized when you do what we tell you too, like pray and read and go to church.(Because they will feel the Spirit and want to get baptized) You'll get baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints... So we kind of are here to baptize you..."
So yeah! I think that's about it for this week. I hope I can add some more stuff next week about this week, maybe some new insights about the temple! (Hermana Myers loves the temple, I am sure this will be a huge uplift for her.)
Much love!
Hermana Myers