Sunday, September 25, 2016

Fire Alarms and Caliburger (Week 15)

I can't believe Savannah has already been out for almost 4 months!! I miss her so much. But I'm so proud of everything she's doing. Here's the email:

"So this week we happened to find the Washington version of In-N-Out. It's called CaliBurger and it's seriously the exact same as In-N-Out, except that you can ask for things "Cali style"...super yummy and totally recommend it.

We also managed to set off our fire alarm after I burned some cornbread muffins. I think Sister Orr almost had a heart-attack when it went off because next thing I know, I look up and she's running around like crazy, turning on all of the fans and opening all of the windows and fanning the fire alarm with a towel....turns out she was worried that the sprinklers would come on, but I was pretty startled by her reaction at first. I'm grateful though...because I do not want wet books to study from every morning!

Continuing the story from last week about the man who developed his own Russian accent just for the sake of things, he promised us over text this week that he would drive all the way from Auburn to Bothell in order to bring us "rations" of food. However, he texted us on Sunday morning and said that he would have to come next week. To be honest I was a little bit disappointed because I really want to know that it means to bring "rations" of food to the missionaries. Hopefully I'll have more news next week. I know you're all probably dying to hear haha.

Speaking of food! We had a really cool experience yesterday! We showed up to coordination meeting at the Jensen's and there were these random "amazon fresh" bags on the porch. Sister Jensen didn't order them and she didn't know whose they were! So we called Amazon and they said to keep it. The coolest part is that earlier that day we had just been talking about how it would be awesome if a member could give us a few items of food (we really try to save our money, but it's hard because we don't get to eat with members). And then apparently Sis. Orr prayed about it and lo and behold God sent food right to the doorstep of the Jensen's! Sister Jensen of course gave all of it to the missionaries because she didn't need any of it and it was just such a blessing. God is really cool :)

In further news, we have started listening to Christmas music in the car. It's never too early :)

SISTER CHRISTENSEN came this week! It was transfers! So much fun to see so many people with new companions and the new missionaries coming in. Also, sad to see missionaries going home!  Of course, I'm still with Sister Orr (there aren't that many options as a Russian missionary hahah) and I'm loving being her companion! So much fun and so much spirituality; I have learned so much. I'm pretty sure she is the perfect trainer. Anyways, I don't know if I've told y'all about Sis. Christensen. So she is a new Russian sister! I was with her for 3 weeks in the MTC and she is way nice and fun and always so positive. I helped her translate sacrament meeting yesterday and let's just say that both of our horrible Russian combined doesn't make for a very good translation. I don't really know if any of the Russians got that much out of it..but they got to be there and take the sacrament and that's the most important part anyways. We went and worked with Sister Truax and Christensen in the Russian north area, and got invited in by a couple who was very interested in just loving us. They just wanted to show us their family and talk about ours. They probably had 15 puzzles that they had put together hanging up on their walls and that was really cool to see. I think that they had been married over 50 years! Wow, what an inspiration.

It was sad to see one of our investigators go. He was not expending any energy to actually try and learn from us and so it was pretty evident that he wasn't ready to learn anything! It was hard for me because I think that I am really starting to understand that love that missionaries always talk about. The love for the people where they serve! I really do LOVE the people in Washington. and especially the Russian speakers. It's so fun to see myself developing.

Not that much else exciting that happened this week! Keep trusting in God and keep the faith. I heard something in church yesterday.. something like "if you follow what God asks you to do, you can trust that you will see rewards from it. They might not be immediate, but they will come because they have been promised!" I know that God really does want to bless us and he has this amazingly perfect plan for each individual person on the Earth. I love all of you! I miss everyone. Have a fantastic week and remember that you are a child of God.

2 Nephi 4:15-35

-Love, Sister Jenne"

Stay tuned!! (:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Peaches Here Are Really Good... (Week 14)

Yay! Email!!

"I thought about trying to make my emails shorter, and I realized that that's just not possible! There is too much that happens and too many things that I want to share with all of you! The first thing is that every single person here tells me that I do not look like I am from Alabama and that I don't have an accent and basically they are all just really really confused when I say where I am from. It's very interesting because they really seem to have a picture of what someone from Alabama should be like hahah. Speaking of Alabama, there is a new sister coming who is from Alabama! Actually she is from Ukraine, but she was adopted into a family in the great state of Alabama. So that's cool, she'll be here in December I think. Cannot remember her name.

Food wise, I have some more lovely pieces of advice that I have learned from making my own food. First of all, cinnamon on a peanut butter and honey sandwich is quite amazing. (but not too much or else it's like the cinnamon challenge all over again). Also, I have discovered Trader Joe's. This is the most amazing store on the planet. They have this thing called Cookie Butter and it's way better and more addictive that Nutella and I suggest everyone try it (with caution). Also grilled cheese and spaghetti sauce is something we are going to try this week and I have a prompting that it will be really yummy :P I feel kinda guilty saying this, but I think Washington peaches might be better than Georgia peaches. I'm not that loyal to the South, I guess hahah. Maybe that's why I don't look like I'm from Alabama who knows.

For funny stories this week:
1) I was telling a man a story from when I was 16 and he got a really confused look on his face. I guess he couldn't see how I was any older than 16. So not only do I look like I'm not from Alabama, but I also look like I am merely 16 years old.

2) We met a man who had developed a Russian accent because he just needed to change his life. Turns out he is a member and so we got his number and he started texting us some interesting questions about life and philosophy and offering to give us rations of food because apparently he always does that for missionaries. Let's just say we don't really plan on meeting up with him...ha...ha...

3) We called a Russian babushka on the phone and asked her if she wanted to be baptized. In 2 days. The thing is, Sister Orr was driving and so I made this phone call all by myself and I don't think she understood a word that I was saying, so that was a fun experience and I couldn't really hold it together through all of the absurdity. The fact that I am trying to have a serious conversation on the phone with a tiny little Russian grandma IN RUSSIAN and I don't know how to understand her or really say that much in return. Pretty absurd. That's how the mission works though apparently.

We had the most fun this week with Elder and Sister Peterson! They came and worked in our area and helped us contact people and have a fun time. A ton of work got done and so we are planning on doing the same thing tomorrow night. This area is honestly pretty hard and we are just trying to keep the faith and stay positive and know that there are Russians out there that want to talk to us! It's hard getting the door slammed in your face or getting told that you are going to a bad place, but just gotta keep smiling through it all and knowing that God is there! I know that the best way to be happy is to focus on the amazing things in this world! Just appreciate nature and all of the beauty we are so lucky to see every day. The trees here in Washington are absolutely beautiful. We went out into the country this week and I LOVED it so much to see all of the trees in that transitional phase of half green, half orange/red. We just have to focus on how blessed we truly are! To live in this country where we have freedom. To be able to have freedom of religion. We are a blessed people :) Focus on the wonders and miracles of life and God will help us to notice the happy things in life if we have patience and work at it! I have been trying to do this and I have really seen a difference in how my thoughts are way more present and I am just happy in the moment!

We had the amazing opportunity to go to the temple! It was beautiful and so much fun. What a way to start off a new transfer. Speaking of transfers...they're insane! They just call missionaries and tell them whether or not they will be transferred but don't tell them anything else and so they just have to sit there for a couple of days and wait to see what is going to happen! Craziness. So much fun to hear about who is moving in and out of different wards and zones.

"Christianity is love in action. There is no better way to manifest love for God than to show an unselfish love for your fellow men."
-David O. McKay

Romans 11:33-36

I love you all so much!
Sister Jenne"

Pictures, pictures, picturesssss!!
Ah I'm so proud of my seeeeeester! <33333
Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

In Every Change, He Will Remain (Week 13)

Our email this week rocks!! Here it is!!!

"The title is my favorite line from a song we have been listening to on repeat in the car. I know that it is true. Missionary work is not a constant thing. There are thousands of different emotions that run through my mind every single day! We are happy one second because we have gotten someone to commit to coming to church and then the next moment we are discouraged because that person never showed up. However, there are always more happy moments than sad moments somehow. I always finish a day or a week feeling so fulfilled and happy about everything :) Even when we only have one person in an entire day that is willing to talk to us without arguing, or even when I cannot understand a word that an old babushka is saying, I still finish the day happy. I know that is because of the Atonement and the hope that I feel from knowing that I have a loving Father in heaven and that he sent His son for me! And for everyone! It's hard sometimes to explain the Atonement to people and why they need a Savior. However, in learning how to do this, it has just strengthened my faith and made me realize the need we truly do have for Jesus Christ. I just want everyone to know that!

A few funny things that happened this week:
1) There is a man from Ukraine that we had been visiting and every time we went, his father-in-law would sit there and argue with us and tell us that we were breaking the 2nd commandment because we had a picture of Jesus (which was ironic because he had a painting of Jesus hanging up on his wall...) but anyways we went over at the beginning of the week and had a good conversation because the father-in-law wasn't there and it was awesome. However, we were leaving and we found that he had just gotten back and thought that we didn't see him and he was totally making a beeline right for us! So we started running and I had to back Sister Orr really quickly out of the parking space and jump in the car all without making it toooooo obvious that we were running away! It was so funny and we were both laughing so hard. In all the haste, I accidentally called Elder Peterson, one of the senior missionaries and he was laughing with us. (the Petersons are an awesome couple who served a mission a few years ago in Russia and are here helping with the Russian work in Washington now).

There is a miracle that is directly related to this story though! So the father-in-law was really argumentative and didn't agree with anything we had said. However, we went back again and his demeanor had completely changed! Now he wants to learn! He wants to be baptized! It is sooo amazing to see how his heart was softened. It doesn't even seem like he is the same man as before. We are so excited about continuing to teach them!

2) My mom sent me glasses and I was wearing them for the frist time and we went to go meet people and one kept saying the Russian words for "Oh it's a new sister." We tried to explain that it was still me, but he didn't seem to understand and so now he thinks that I am a new sister. pretty funny experience. 

3) We shared the gospel with a random guy from Walmart who texted us. We had a short conversation trying to figure out who he was and then found out that he was looking for someone else, but we replied saying that we were missionaries and told him that we could tell him about God if he wanted us to and he didn't reply. No surprise there. Oh well, we planted the seed.

4) We saw an investigator holding a sign on the side of the road that said "Jesus is the answer." Let's just say that he's pretty comfortable in his own church...

5) Another man that we were meeting with tried to hug Sister Orr and then got really offended when we said that it wasn't allowed. We tried to explain that it's a rule for safety reasons. He didn't understand and every time we tried to teach something he would just bring it back to how offended he was. For example, I said something about following commandments from God and he was like "You don't follow the commandment that we must love one another" so basically he was calling us bad people. It was so weird and ridiculous. We laughed about it afterwards haha

Wow, a lot of funny things happened this week I guess! A lot of spiritual things also happened. I learned that when you change your heart, your actions really do change in return. I think that's why the teaching of Jesus Christ are so incredible! He teaches us to have a true change of heart and truly forsake the things that are bad in this world. I know that it takes time to change a habit, but wow I promise that if you try our hardest, you can do it! I have seen it a million times already. Instead of changing your behavior and hoping that eventually your heart will change, try changing your heart first.

It's so cold here! It's humid and wet and it rains a lot and I have been wearing tights and a jacket every day! A little bit worried for the winter, haha. We were sketchily in west Seattle the other night and it was dark and wet and no one was answering their doors and wow I really wanted to just go sit by a warm toasty fire or something! It's still summer in Alabama haha. Things are different here for sure, but I'm grateful to not be in Siberia like some people I know ;)

A quote I loved from my studies this week of Jesus the Christ, written by James E Talmage:
Treasures of Earth and of Heavenb
The transitory character of worldly wealth was next contrasted with the enduring riches of eternity. Many there were and many there are whose principal effort in life has been that of amassing treasures of earth, the mere possession of which entails responsibility, care, and disturbing anxiety. Some kinds of wealth are endangered by the ravages of moths, such as silks and velvets, satins and furs; some are destroyed by corrosion and rust—silver and copper and steel; while these and others are not infrequently made the booty of thieves. Infinitely more precious are the treasures of a life well spent, the wealth of good deeds, the account of which is kept in heaven, where the riches of righteous achievement are safe from moth, rust, and robbers. Then followed the trenchant lesson: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

We had some awesome experiences this week and continue to have awesome experiences. I am so grateful to be here! Everyone please send me your address because I want to write letters to people! I love writing letters, it's kind of like a therapy for me. I don't have a ton of time to write lengthy ones, but I love sending notes to everyone :) Love all of you SO much! Remember that if you love your problems, you will love life as well.

Sister Jenne"

Sister Jenne is so awesome!! I'm so proud, y'all.