Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20th, 2014

Yay familyyy!

This week has been amazing! So much to be grateful for, God is great.

Okay, I think I'm going to try and do a better job of explaining everything in chronological order. On Tuesday I got to travel BY MYSELF from Cranberry to Butler (40 min. drive) and pick up the elders. We rode to Pittsburgh together where we shipped Elder Bashein off to the training meeting and then I went and got to spend time with a group of missionaries who were waiting for the transfer meeting that took place in the afternoon. Half of my district was there with me so we had a lot of fun. We went to the overlook where we were brought on my first day in Pennsylvania :) It wasn't quite as pretty this time since everything is dead and when I got here in June everything was vibrant green, but it was still very fun to see. At the transfer meeting, I felt like I was going to be sick. I couldn't quite figure out why, I had been through transfers before but for some reason I was really worried. Then President called my name and assigned Sister Larsen as my new companion! She was serving in Beaver Valley before and was one of the sisters I was over! We were on exchanges together less than 2 weeks ago and now we are companions!! SO FUN! Haha Since I was her STL I already know the struggles she has been through and the wonderful miracles she was a part of in her last area, which has been a big blessing for the both of us. In a way, we kind of got to skip the "get to know you" part of getting a new companion and instead we got straight into how we can work together to improve the are. It has made the transition so easy and fun!! :)

On Wednesday we had zone training, where the zone leaders went over everything that was discussed in Missionary Leadership Council which I got to attend on the 10th. I got to re-learn everything and gain more insights! Ah, I loved it! The quote that the training was centered around was "Salvation cannot come without revelation." -Joseph Smith  We applied it to our investigators and how they desperately need to find for themselves if the gospel is true. If they do not take the time to receive that revelation for themselves, then it does not matter what miracles occur in their lives, they will not be truly converted to The Lord. As I thought about that more and more, I realized that that is one of the blessings that I have received from growing up in the church. I have never had a singular overpowering experience to convince me of the truthfulness of the gospel, but I KNOW it is true and that God lives simply because I have taken the time to find out through prayer, study, and coming to church. :) After zone training we went out to lunch as a district and it was so fun. We have 2 greenies in the district and they are both a hoot! Sister Larsen and I have now been out longer than anyone one else in the district, which  is crazy because we haven't even been out 8 months. The 6 elders we are with have been out 6 months or less.... So crazy! They all are very hardworking and excited about spreading the gospel. 

Thursday morning I dropped off Sister Larsen in the Pitt 4th area, and picked up Sister Yates to bring back to Butler with me. It was Sister Larsen's first exchange as an STL and she was very excited and eager to love these sisters and help them with whatever! Sister Yates and I had so much fun together! We got to teach 3 less active ladies in the ward throughout the day which she was very excited about because their teaching pool is very low right now and they are having a hard time with lessons. One lady in particular melted our hearts. Her name is Dora, she is 89 and recently stopped selling Avon after 60 years of doing it, because she feels she needs to stop driving. She said she knew she had become a danger to other people on the road :( As we sat there with her, and discussed the importance and power of prayer, Dora stunned us with the intensity of her testimony. She said, "I can't can't through my day without talking to Him. He has been the only person I have to turn to now that I am sticking. This house all day and I KNOW that He listens to everything I say." Holy cow. This lady sat and cried and she described how lonely she has become but sat straight and looked us right in the eye as she described how much she loves her Father in heaven and her gratefulness for being able to talk to Him.

Well, I'm out of time. Haha I want you to know that I know that God loves us, and He desperately wants to hear from us! I love you all so much!! I'm so happy to be here, following the example of the Savior and trying to bring people unto Him. Have a wonderful week!!

Sister Walborn

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January 13th, 2014

I have had the most wonderful week. :)

Well first, on Tuesday we didn't leave the apartment. Our mission President told us that we were not allowed to drive the car (to avoid accidents because of the ice/cold) and he didn't want us outside for extended periods of time doing things such as tracting or service..... so basically, we had a wonderful day of cleaning the apartment and working out. 

On wednesday we had one of the most spiritual experiences of my mission. Fred, one of the Cranberry Sister's investigators, is amazing. He has been investigating for a while and has also been without a job for several months which has been hard on his family. Well, the day (last week) that he committed to be baptized, he also received a call from a big company asking him to come back for a second interview.. BLESSING! So, the interview was on friday and we asked him if he would like to receive a blessing beforehand to bring him comfort and confidence going into the interview. So, wednesday night before mutual, the bishop of the Cranberry ward took Fred into his office and talked with him for a long time (without us there) about the history and purpose of the priesthood. Then, he gave him a blessing which we got to be a part of. It was so amazing... the spirit was so strong in the room, I never wanted the blessing to end! We all had tears in our eyes when it came to a close, and Fred just sat there in the chair, taking it all in for a few moments. When he finally stood up, Fred said that he could not put into words the feelings that he was having. He said it was similar to the feeling he had when his kids were placed in his arms for the first time.. awe and bliss. :) What made it even more special, was that his two children, Tyler (6) and Hayley (5), were there too. They didn't understand what was going on but they sat there quietly with their arms folded as their daddy was blessed by the power of God. :) Fred's main concern with joining the church, is trying to understand how it will affect his family. He is so wonderful! Yesterday, his whole family, including his wife who has zero interest in the church, came to church. So many blessings are heading that family's way because of this incredible gospel!!

Okay, so I'm sorry this is such a lame, short email! I am so happy to be here and I am so grateful for the power of the priesthood. God is always waiting to bless us, we simply have to keep the commandments. :) 

I'm SO grateful for this gospel!!! Heavenly Father loves every one of His children and wants us to succeed! We can be the means of helping someone besides ourselves grow closer to the Savior and develop a stronger relationship with him. 

I want to leave you with a quote, "The world is in need of your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save. The blessings of eternity await you."
-President Thomas S. Monson

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!! Have a fabulous week and never forget to turn to your wonderful Father in Heaven and plead for his help and guidance.

Sister Walborn

p.s. Pictures: 1) The 6 of us went bowling last monday for pday - weird to be in normal clothes but so fun! 2) my cutie pie companions with our fur hoods 3) a crazy less-active lady who wanted us to color her hair with chalk and do her make-up 4) my fun district... 4/8 are leaving :(  LOVE YINZ!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

January 6th, 2014

Great Gatsby! (one of Sister Gates' fav. sayings)
Haha okay family... this week has been absolutely PACKED but so wonderful at the same time!! So much to tell you! Ah!
Okay, so last monday, I'm sorry if my email was a little glum. I was a little overwhelmed with everything going on and I am happy to report that Sister Draper is doing well and I am loving my time here in Cranberry! After all of the usual events of preparation day, I couldn't shake the "funk" I was in and I was frustrated by it, so I asked one of the elders serving here in the Cranberry ward if he could give me a blessing. Guess what? Instant peace and comfort. His name is Elder Vassallo and I am SO grateful that he is honoring his priesthood and is worthy to give a blessing whenever needed. He intently listened to the Spirit and told me the words I needed to hear. I was told that I need to turn outward and share the talents and abilities God has given me with the people around me, and that doing this will bring me great happiness and comfort. It was much needed, and my testimony of the power of the priesthood was reaffirmed. :)
Almost immediately after the blessing we had a very strange experience.... haha I got a text from a random person, and he gave us his name and stuff and said he wanted an appointment! So, in our minds we were all super stoked to have someone search us out!! well...  really long story short, this man had the wrong number and wanted to book an appointment thinking we were prostitutes. He said he found our number in an "ad" and that's when we were like.... huh?? oh my heck... it made us feel sick to our stomachs!! We had this long "text" conversation and the whole time we thought it was a miracle but in reality, he was looking to "book an hour" with us! It wasinteresting to say the least. We really felt that it wasn't a coincidence that he contacted the missionaries, so we told him that we have a wonderful message that can bring TRUE happiness to him, and that God is obviously trying to tell him something! He responded by saying he regularly attends another church... haha hm. okay! At least we tried!
On Friday, we got to have lessons with both of our main investigators: Andrew (mine) and Fred (theirs). It was amazing to be able to see the differences in conversion and how they receive the message we share. Andrew's was first in the morning, and it went well. He told us that yes, he does have a desire to be baptized and yes, he does feel the Spirit when we teach him and at church, BUT he still isn't willing to stop drinking sweet tea... His family brews it at their farm and apparently he is the designated "taste tester" since his father and worker both have diabetes. Haha But he is doing well and is continuing to pray and read his scriptures. I know that he will come around! He has such a good heart and sincerely desires to know God's plan for his life, we are just trying to help him realize for himself that it is all right in front of his face. :) It will happen, I know it! 
When we went to go teach Fred, it was a very different experience! So wonderful but so different! Fred's has so many deep questions that he is trying to resolve in his mind and all through the lesson he was asking us questions that pertained to what it would be like AFTER he was baptized (you can see he is planning on joining the church... soon!). He wanted to know the involvement for his family, what would be expected of him, and most importantly he said, "I am an all or nothing kind of guy. And if I decide to do this, I will give it my all! I know that all religion is a lifestyle, but this religion seems to be more so. So if I'm going to live it, I'm going to live it right." ..... :D It doesn't get much better than that folks.
 Friday evening into Saturday, I went up to Beaver Valley to spend 24 hours with Sister Crockett and Sister Larsen. It was so fun! So many crazy things happened that I absolutely loved! So... a few weeks ago, a friend from EFY named Elder Goettman who is on his mission in California wrote me an email and said, "hey you are serving in my stake! I'm from the Beaver Valley Ward!" CRAZY! *Dad - please make Nancy read this paragraph!* So while we were there, the sisters had to update their ward roster for their area book and I got to help. As we were going through, I recognized two more names of boys that were at EFY with Elder Goettman and I! One of them was in Nancy's group and his name is Brett! I was so excited and asked the sisters about them. Brett hasn't been to church in a very long time and isn't planning on serving a mission. :( Nancy - please look him up on facebook and talk to him! Help him remember the wonderful Spirit he felt at BYU! Be his friend! :) The other boy who I recognized the name is actually home for the holidays from BYU-I and I got to see him, say hi and take a picture with him to send to Elder Goettman. I think the best part though was that I got to go meet Elder Goettman's parents. They were thrilled to have the connection to their son on a mission and they seemed to really need a loving visit from the missionaries! Very fun experience.
So right now we are at the Family History Center at the Cranberry building and there are actually 6 missionaries here... haha Elder Waddups from the Beaver Ward had his companion go home as well, so he is living with the Cranberry Elders! So the Cranberry ward is loaded with missionaries at the moment! :) Kinda goofy, but fun. Sister Morphy and Sister Gates are incredible and we are just loving our time together!! We all get along SO well and our abs (or the lack thereof) are sore everyday because we laugh so much together! It has been wonderful!
Well, I am doing well and I hope everyone at home is too! :) I know that we can all be blessed and happy as we choose to follow the Savior and search out God's will for our lives, then DO it! I know that this gospel is true! I love you all so much and I hope you can feel the power of the Atonement working in your life every day! LOVE YINZ!
Sister Walborn
p.s. Pictures: Us three together at a New Year's Day party that a ward member threw for the missionaries, and a random fun picture of us three in the apartment! LOVE YOU!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Hello everyone!!

Holy cow... this week was a doozy. Many wonderful moments!!

Christmas Eve was absolutely wonderful! We spent it with 3 families, 2 of them are part of the Cranberry ward! Remember the wonderful Sister Webb I told you about last week? Well we went to her home for lunch and guess what we ate.... EBELESKIVERS! Sister Draper comes from a strong Danish family so she knew what they were too! It was so crazy and wonderful!! Auntie Mel and Uncle Craig would be so proud :) They were really good and I felt right at home. Getting to spend part of the day in the Webb's home was such a blessing, the Spirit is so strong there and I could feel the love that they all had for one another. They have 6 children and they are all so adorable. After the meal, the 10 year old daughter had created a Nativity program for us to be a part of! I played a Shepard, which meant that I got to wear a heavy blue bathrobe and a blue towel on my head (held there by a headband). It was very fun, and it really helped me realize the importance of emphasizing to children what a blessing it is to celebrate the birth of our Savior! The whole reason for this wonderful season! Each child played a role in the nativity scene, but I must say my favorite was the little two year old daughter named Abre. She was the star. :) She stood on the edge of the sofa and stretched on her little tippy toes to hold up the little plastic silver star she held. It was so cute!! 

Later on Christmas Eve, we went to another family in the Cranberry Ward's home - the Ottesons. They fed us dinner and we played Apples to Apples!! The same wonderful Spirit I felt in the Webb's home was present at the Otteson's, and it made me not want to leave! The Otteson's have 4 children and the oldest, Jackson, was my buddy for the game. He had so much fun grabbing a new card for us after each round and would whisper the word in my ear as he handed me the card. After grabbing a particular one, he read the card to me in a hushed voice, "landlord da vinkee.... (then louder) Landlord da vinkee!! Hey I know him - he is in my backpack!!" So confused, I looked at the card to see it said, "Leonardo Da Vinci" HAHA It was so funny!!! He was SO excited to make a connection with something he was learning in school, even though his pronunciation was a little off :) hehe adorable! We had lots of fun, and Jackson and I took 2nd place! woot woot! 
After the Ottesons it was time to head home, BUT to a different home! We got permission to stay the night with the Cranberry Sisters!!!! Holy smokes we had a blast. Both Sister Morphy and Sister Gates are so wonderful and we became such instant friends when I got to do exchanges with them weeks ago. So, it was perfect. We all woke up Christmas morning and opened presents together and enjoyed each other's company before we separated for the day. :)

I got to enjoy Christmas at the Eberle home, and boy was it great!! That family will always hold such a special place in my heart! Heavenly Father really blessed me to be able to be in Butler for this Christmas on my mission because the Eberle's also had a few fun traditions that were the same as mine! That family is such a blast. They have a daughter that is a junior in high school who reminds me SO MUCH  of Nancy, it is so happy! Their home is constantly full of laughter and love and I could feel it was such a tender mercy to be a part of it! The Eberle's gave us the coolest t-shirts that are covered in "Pittsburghese" and they are so awesome!! We sat there looking at them and had to ask several questions because a lot them I haven't heard before. So fun! Skyping home was.... the best. Seeing your faces made my heart so full and reminded me of how blessed I have been my whole life to be a part of such a wonderful family!! I MISS YOU! 

And lastly... my dear companion Sister Draper is on her way home to Utah... President Topham came to pick her up this morning with his wife and the goodbye was hard. We have grown very close and she will be missed. She has some medical issues she is dealing with and I pray that she and her family will all be well. Please keep her in your prayers!

I love you all so very much. I know that Heavenly Father knows me and each of you personally and that He cares about our lives! He wants us to succeed and reach our potential so we must do what is necessary to help accomplish that! He can't do all the work for us, that is the blessing of agency :) I hope everyone has a fabulous week!! Don't forget to make your New Year Resolutions and I would challenge you to make at least one of them about improving your relationship with your Savior Jesus Christ! That alone will help in every other aspect of your life! LOVE YINZ!!

Sister Walborn

p.s. pictures: 1) Sister Draper and I on Christmas eve with our festive scarfs! 2) Us with the Webb family in our Nativity costumes :) 3) Alan Kean... he rocks. haha He taught us how to safely light ourselves on fire! Don't worry - I didn't try. LOVE YOU!!