Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28th, 2013

Hello family!!

Soooo... where do I begin?
Well, on Tuesday, we drove to the Harrisburg chapel with my (former) District Leader and his companion who was getting transferred. There was a mini transfer meeting there, and Sister Thomas got her new companion Sister Winkler who was already serving in our zone - so they knew each other a little bit. We said our goodbyes (not fun) and she headed back to Elizabethtown, and I headed to Pittsburgh. I got to ride in a truck with 3 other missionaries and we hauled a trailer full of luggage! It was kind of scary at time since the Elder who was assigned to drive had never driven with a trailer being pulled behind him! But we made it safe :)
Once in Pittsburgh, we had a transfer meeting where it was announced that I would be serving as a Sister Training Leader in Butler. My new companion's name is Sister Draper! She is from Highland, UT (3rd utah companion in a row), and she is fun. She is 21, went to BYU-Idaho before her mission and has been out 3 months longer than I have. After we got luggage figured out and were all set to go, we were driven to Evan City! We are called the Butler West Sisters, but our apartment is in Evan City.. The hardest part about coming to this area so far is that we are both unfamiliar with the area! I'll explain: the day before I arrived (10/21/13 - monday), the Butler Elders switched apartments with the Butler Sisters! The Elders moved into downtown Butler because it has become a walk area, and we have all the area around them, with a car. Which means that Sister Draper knows very, very little about the area we now have. It has definitely been an adventure! Haha But, we are figuring it out together and we will be pros in no time :)
We have 2 investigators who both have baptismal dates! One of them is GOLDEN! Her name is Destiny and she is absolutely incredible. She has read the Bible so much you can hardly read the words because it is so marked up! Ever since she was given a Book of Mormon, she has completely dove in and is REALLY reading it! It is so amazing to see her passion for the gospel before she even really knows it! She has come to church the past 2 sundays, comes to the BOM class held on Wednesday nights at the chapel, and has us over twice a week for lessons. I already love her so much!!
Andrew is the other investigator. He is a very sweet young guy. He became interested in the church because of a girl he met online who lives in Utah... haha She is LDS and has said that she wants to marry a mormon. The cool part about it though, was that yesterday, Andrew sat next to me in church and the 3rd speaker gave a little background of his life. He told the congregation that he became interested because of a girl he liked in high school! He said at first his family was convinced he was only doing it because of the girl, but now many years later being married to a woman who was NOT  that girl he liked in high school, they are convinced otherwise. :) Andrew turned to me after that part of his talk and said, "that is wild. I like that." Haha He is on the right track!
The ward here is SO sweet! Sister Kinney (the missionary I replaced) served in this ward for 7.5 months. A long time. So, all the ward members immediately recognized a new face and all the women came up to me with a smile on their face, giving me a huge hug, and asked me about myself. I felt very welcome. :) The Elizabethtown ward will always hold a special place in my heart, but I feel so blessed to have been sent (as the follow-up ward) here to Butler, where the people are so loving and kind.
Anyway, we have planned our first exchange next week with the Brookeville Sisters and then next Friday I get to attend my first Missionary Leadership Council. So, lots to tell you next week! I love you all so much!!! Oh! And it has gotten drastically colder in the last week (we had our first tiny snow) and I was SO GRATEFUL that I had the gloves Jessie and Marcus gave me! They are soo nice! Thank you so much! Haha 
LOVE YOU ALL!!! I hope you have such a fabulous week!

Sister Walborn

p.s. Pictures: Sister Thomas and I saying our final goodbyes.... I really miss her! And then a pitcure of Sister Draper and I in our apartment. I forgot to mention this earlier but my new apartment is like 4 times the size of the apartment in Elizabethtown! I have my own shower! lol I LOVE YOU!!


Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21st, 2013

I feel so overwhelmed by everything that I want to tell you! There is no way to describe in a few paragraphs everything that has happened this past week (or any week) in the mission field. But, I will do my best to hit the highlights.
1. I am getting transferred... I was sad when I found out on Friday. I have come to love this area so much! The ward members are so incredible, I feel like I have learned so much from so many of them and have built such strong relationships!! The people here, my companion, the area... it was such a wonderful time. I feel so blessed for every minute I have gotten to spend here!
2. On Tuesday, we had one of the most spiritual lessons I have had so far on my mission. It is with one of the sweetest ladies I have ever met. Her name is Valerie, and she has been investigating for a few months now but has only received 2 lessons. She was found by the Elders and has been to church consistently since the first week she came (6 times- not counting conference). She is such an amazing woman!! She lives in Columbia which is out of our area, but the Elders got permission from President Topham for us to teach her because that is what she preferred and what we all felt she needed. Anyway, we have tried meeting with her in member's homes that she has come to know and love through church attendance 3 times but she has always cancelled last minute. On Tuesday she randomly invited us over to her apartment, which she had a big aversion to before because she said it wasn't ready for people to see. It was our first time meeting with her and we completely fell in love!!! She is so desperate to have relief from problems in her life and is anxious and ready to use the Atonement and her Heavenly Father's love to help her get there. We taught her the gospel of Jesus Christ. She said she really needed to learn about repentance so it was "totally from the Holy Spirit" that we were there to teach her that lesson :) After Valerie hesitantly accepted a baptismal date, Sister Thomas felt prompted to give Valerie her CTR ring. When she did, Valerie burst into tears and told us that she has been looking and praying to find a ring! For a ceremony she is doing through "group", she needed a ring to symbolize the things that she was putting behind her, and help her move forward. She turned to us and said, "Now I know I can do this! This will give me the strength I need! God is so good!" :) It was a very special moment! When I said goodbye to Valerie on Sunday she told me how much she loved me and was grateful for me... I felt it was Heavenly Father's way of telling me that I am doing my "job" in making a difference in someone's life. Missionary work is the best!!
3. I got to go on exchanges!! Sister Berry is one of my favorite people ever. She is serving in Ephrata, and I got to go up to be with her and my grandmother Sister Averett (they are in a trio with Sister Kirk). I feel so blessed to be surrounded with such wonderful missionaries! Getting to go up for 24 hours to Ephrata and spend time teaching people that I don't know at all was an amazing experience. There was one experience I wanted to share with you: One of their investigators is named Sylvia. She lives with her Sister Sofia, and Sofia's daughter Megan, who were both baptized a few months ago. As we went into their home and talked with them about the gospel, I couldn't help but feel a connection to Sofia. I asked her about her baptism, and she told me the wonderful feelings she had. Then she told me about her good friend who baptized her! He is a member of the Lititz ward (the ward that meets in the same building as my ward - Elizabethtown ward), and she was baptized in my building! Whoa! Then it clicked, I WAS AT HER BAPTISM!! After only being here a few weeks, I attended a baptism of the Ephrata Elders in our building of a wonderful Hispanic lady and her daughter. She was amazed! It was such a fun connection and it set the tone for the lesson, helping us remember that God gives us little miracles everyday :)
4. This is news that President Topham shared with me and I can't share with other missionaries yet but I AM GOING TO BUTLER TO SERVE!!! I have been called as a Sister Training Leader over the Pittsburgh North zone (I think that is the zone name). Ever since I receive my call, Daddy has talked about my ancestry in Pennsylvania, specifically in Butler. Now our feelings that I will be able to reach out and bless some of my distant relatives are actually happening! I feel so blessed that President is trusting me with this calling, it is a lot of responsibility but I am so excited to take it on and help Heavenly Father accomplish what he needs to accomplish through me.
I love my mission. This is where I need to be. I can feel so many of your prayers everyday, and I will praying along with so many of you that I will be open to receiving those promptings and inspirations that will lead me to those of my relatives and others that need to hear the gospel from ME. This is a wonderful place, and a wonderful time, when the Lord is "hastening His work", to be serving a mission. The Lord really does love all of His children. (YOU AND ME) I am so grateful for His hand in all things. I hope you have such a wonderful week!! Hurrah for Israel!
Sister Walborn
p.s. there are so many picture this week....
1. my awesome district. We are obsessed with saying 'Merica for some reason, so Sister Thomas and I got each of us little American flags.. haha so fun.
2. the beautiful Sisters that I got to go on exchanges with - Sister Berry (my future companion - hopefully haha) is on the left, and my mission grandma Sister Averett is on the right.
3. Cutie patootie little Blair Montgomery. She is a little girl in my ward who wanted me to speak at her baptism next week! She gave me about 20 hugs on Sunday and kept telling me I wasn't allowed to go because she would miss me too much... So precious. Love her. (Daddy - her older sister is Belen) :)
4. My beautiful companion and I... I will miss her so much.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 14th, 2013

Oh my goodness, I can't even begin to describe what an absolutely wonderful week I have had!!!
First off... I have some sad news. Although nothing is for sure, there is a huge chance that I will be transferred from the Elizabethtown Ward :( We find out on Friday, and we are not looking forward to receiving a call. Sister Thomas is so wonderful, she cries everytime we talk about it or whenever it is mentioned! We have gotten so close, it will be REALLY hard if I have to leave. But, we just keep reminding ourselves that whatever is best is what will happen, and we are on the Lord's time... it makes it easier.
So, any letters that you want to send, could you send them to the mission home address?? That would be awesome, I don't want to miss out on love from my family (through mail). :)
2600 Boyce Plaza Rd. Ste. 101
Upper St. Clair, PA 15241
Back to my incredible week - Elder Arnold (of the Seventy) and his wife came to speak to us this week!! We had 3 zones combined, and we were the first ones he met with. After ours, he traveled towards Pittsburgh, meeting with zones along the way. It was such a cool experience! In the morning we met with his wife, all the sisters who are not Sister Training Leaders, and she talked with us about "what keeps us up at night." Haha she is adorable. She shared with us different scriptures that helped her focus on her strengths and never on her inadequacies. She had 6 children under 10 when her husband was called to be a mission president in Costa Rica, which required her to learn Spanish, and then later on she had to learn Portuguese when her husband was called as a general authority over Brazil! She is such a neat lady, and had so much wisdom to share with us!!
After that meeting with her, we all filed into the gym where there were lots of tables set up. The front row of tables was saved for the Sisters, and the table where we ended up sitting was right in front of where Elder Arnold stood through his whole talk/lesson.  He is really tall, but has so much passion for the gospel, I loved just being near him!! It was so crazy how everything started, I wanted to share it with you. Haha
So, I am sitting smack dab in the middle of the table that is right in front of Elder Arnold. He begins by giving us a little background of when he was called to be a general authority. He told us that the day he was waiting for his interview, there were 4 other men with him who were being called as general authorities also, along with another man who was being released as a General Authority. He said the 5 who were being called were sitting together at a table, like us Sisters sitting at the table in front of him, and that I was sitting in the exact same spot where he (Elder Arnold) was sitting - in the middle. He told us that the general authority who was being released walked RIGHT up to the table, with his legs pressing against the side (by the way, he was reenacting this whole thing - I was representing him in the situation and he represented the general authority), and with a fierce look in his eye, he shook his finger in my face and said, "I have given everything I have and done all in my power as a general authority, and I expect YOU to do the same!" ....We all sat in silence as we pictured the scene in our head, then Elder Arnold jokingly said, "Don't have nightmares from that Sister Walborn."  Haha So, I got to get up close and personal with a general authority :)  He gave us so many wonderful insights and encouraging words to propel us into our work, and help us know how to better do our work effectively. It was great!!!
Besides that, the other crazy moment of our week was that we almost got trapped in Marietta! All of Thursday and Friday it rained non-stop and it was unbelievable how much it rained! We were in Marietta Friday night, which is a little town in our area right along the Susquehanna river, that has a history of flooding. Well, we had to be there a little longer than planned (long story - not enough time lol) and by the time we had to head home it was around 8:45pm! Which means we had JUST enough time to get home without breaking curfew! As we are driving, we come to the road we always take and are stopped because it is closed.... it is flooded. So, we find a different route home. As we turn the corner on this new road, we had to hit our brakes because it too was flooded just as badly as the first road! I only knew one other road to take, so we head out to take it home and it is flooded the worst of all three!! It was awful! So, we called our zone leaders and asked for advice. They said that we would have to call and get permission to stay at a member's home in the area! Just after that a very nice old man pulled up alongside our car and said he might know another way home! Yayy! So, it took 3 more tries but we FINALLY made it back to Elizabethtown! :) That was a very fun adventure. haha The flooding caused a lot of problems for a lot of people though. The Greenways, a family in the ward that takes such good care of us and I have mentioned several times (without using their name), had their basement flood. We felt so bad because they were out of town for a funeral, and that is what they came home to! Awful.. we helped them sort through everything, clean things off, take things to the dumpster, and vacuum up all the water. They are extremely patient people, and didn't get frustrated at all that so much of their stuff had to be thrown away!! They are awesome examples :)
Well... I love you all. I know this gospel is true, and I am so grateful for every day that I get to serve the Lord as a part of His missionary force. I hope you all have the most amazing week!!
Sister Walborn
p.s. Pitcures: Sister Thomas and I tracting in the dark.. and the rain. We met the nicest old man who let us in because we were soaked! (A definite blessing of the rain- haha!) Another picture of me posing in the rain, and another picture of me standing in multiple inches of water on one of the roads we usually take home from Marietta! LOVE YOU!!!!


Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7th, 2013

Hello family!!
So, conference? Incredible or what? Every talk was so inspiring, uplifting, motivating, and simply WONDERFUL!  I know that as we each take to heart the messages that were given, and sincerely apply them in our lives, many blessings will come. Not only will our own lives be blessed, but we will be able to help more and more people feel the love of our Savior Jesus Christ! As a missionary, it was so exciting to hear the leaders of our church invite all members everyone to do all they can to "Hasten the Work!" Please help the missionaries! It is so true that we cannot do it on our own. Haha There are so many people who have yet to come to the knowledge of their Savior... so let's help them. :)
Our week was very slow. Sister Thomas got the stomach flu on Monday night, so all of Tuesday she spent in bed, drinking Gatorade and 7up. I felt so bad! But I'm happy that she is all better now! Our Ward Mission Leader and his family took very good care of us while we were confined to our apartment, bringing us food, constantly checking up through text messages, and giving Sister Thomas a priesthood blessing. Needless to say, we felt very loved!
So, since not a lot of super exciting things happened this week, I should probably update you on previous investigators that I haven't mentioned in a while (sorry about that.. lol).
Ciara - moved to Altoona, and hasn't been texting us back the past few weeks, so we aren't sure if she ending up getting baptized! We will find out from the Altoona Elders soon though, and I will give you an update on that next week :)
Terrianna - we haven't been in contact with her for a while now, we loved her very much but she wasn't progressing. Her husband didn't approve us coming over, so we had to move on..
Mikey - no longer teaching. :(
Dale - no longer teaching. :(
Deb (first Deb) - still an investigator, and we are still teaching her! I love her so much! She hasn't been able to find a way to come to church on a regular basis yet, so that is what we are working on. She has tremendous faith, and we have tremendous faith in her!
Dalitza - she moved last week to Lancaster, so we gave her information to the Sisters up there. She is in good hands!
Umm... I'm not sure who else I haven't given updates on. Hopefully that is everyone! Sister Thomas and I are going to be taking Elder Ballard's challenge, and striving to talk to more people each day (outside of those already in our teaching pool) so that we can find ALL the people the Lord has prepared for us to find. This month's issue of the Ensign has a wonderful article about becoming a more successful missionary. A mission president once shared an insight with President Hinckley that was shared in the article. It is very simple but brought me a lot of peace, the mission president had said, "Do your best, your very, very best. Say your prayers and work hard and leave the harvest to the Lord." :) This gospel is perfect, and although I am an imperfect missionary, I know that I can be the vessel by which the light and knowledge of the Gospel can be brought to them! I love the Lord, and I love this work, and I love all of you!!!!
Sister Walborn
p.s. Pictures: our neighbor's creepy cat that was randomly sitting on our porch one morning - it scared Sister Thomas pretty bad! And a picture of Sister Thomas and I in a beautiful park in our area, where lots of leaves have fallen :) It is so beautiful here! I LOVE YOU!!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September 30th, 2013

Ah :) Hello!
Well... Where to start? This week has been amazing! So many blessings are coming our way, many not in the way we expected, but so wonderful!
I wanted to start by telling you about a member. We are going to call her Sister E... She is one of the most wonderful people I have ever met. She has been a part of several previous emails, helping us with lessons and advice, things like that. Well, she and her husband are currently going through a big challenge over an adoption. I won't go into details, but it is a really sad situation that they shouldn't have to be dealing with, but are persevering through anyway. On Wednesday, we were working in Sister E's area and decided that we should stop by to see how she is doing and if she is in need of any service. She was so happy to see us and invited us in to talk with her for a minute. She gave us an update on the situation and we chatted about it for a little while. Even though it is such a horrible situation, she kept saying, "I'm just trying my best to remember that Heavenly Father has a plan, and that it will all work out." Then, even though she is the one who is going through this hard time, turned to us and asked how we were doing. Since she served a mission she knows how hard it is when your teaching pool is small, and all you are doing practically, is finding! We told her that is hasn't been very fun spending the majority of our time knocking on doors, but we are doing our best to stay positive. She told us that she knew exactly how we felt because the majority of her mission, she spent 8 HOURS A DAY tracting.... holy cow. She said it was so hard, but she knows that we can do it. She told us that we should never get down on ourselves because people aren't accepting the gospel, she reminded us that they have their agency. Moral of the story: Sister E gave us a much needed boost of encouragement, and we thought that we were going to visit her to help HER.... The Lord knows us very personally, and knows exactly what we need. :)
Okay, the next amazing blessing is an investigator named Cat! She isn't our investigator, but we have now been to all 3 of the lessons she has received from the Elders in our ward. She has a brother and sister-in-law who are LDS, and she has spent the past few summers in their home. She felt a special spirit, a calmness and sense of peace there and has reached a point in her life where she is desperate to have it for herself. After the first lesson, she expressed a desire to be baptized and since that time has read a good chunk of the Book of Mormon. After she completes the reading assignment the Elders give her, she texts them and asks for another chapter because it has "given her hope about her life".... (REALLY AWESOME). So, this past week she received her 2nd (and 3rd lesson, but I want to tell you about the 2nd) lesson in the home of my Ward Mission Leader. *side note: the Elders have asked us to attend the lessons because Cat told them she would feel more comfortable with girls her age there.* In this lesson, we talked about points from almost every aspect of the gospel because she is SO eager to learn and continue feeling hopeful about her life. Before starting to pray and read her scriptures daily, Cat said she would turn to harmful things when something didn't go as planned in her life. Now she said all she does is say a prayer and she somehow feels better. At one point in the lesson when we were discussing this, she said, "the trials are easier though... like I feel like I've got a little God sidekick with me!" haha :) I can't even begin to express how incredible Cat is! She is experiencing the joy from the gospel because she is sincerely seeking it! She is the epitome of a person who wants a change in their life, and is ready to do whatever it takes to find lasting happiness. She isn't even our investigator, but I feel like I have learned so much from her and I feel so BLESSED to be a part of her conversion process. Ah.... life is good :)
I feel a little repetitive saying this again, but it is so true - I am so blessed!
We are trying really hard to find those who are ready to learn about the gospel and come unto Christ, so we know that it will all work out how the Lord wants it to! I am so happy to be serving a mission... and I am especially happy to be serving a mission in THIS beautiful area, at THIS beautiful time of year, with THIS amazing ward, and with THIS incredible companion. I love you all so much, and I hope you have a fabulous week!
Sister Walborn
p.s. Pictures!! :)  1 - Last week the missionary website was down, so we sent President Topham hand-written letters and covered the back of the envelope in stickers... hopefully he had as much fun getting it as we did making it! 2 - We were given a thing of whipped cream from a member and Sister Thomas had a little too much fun smashing some in my face, so I had to return the favor :)  LOVE YOU!!!