Wednesday, 29 January 2014

My Wonderful Companion is leaving this week.

Hello beautiful family and friends. It has been an amazing week of miracles here in Boynton Beach south. I can't believe transfer number 2 has ended and number 3 has begun. Time flies. Enjoy every minute of it. I am overwhelmed with all Father does for us. We have an incredible God.

We had several amazing experience this past week that I want to share. 

 Bishop has given us a list of less actives that he wants us to contact. We were looking for one address the other day and got very lost. We decided to ask some people out on the lawn. They gave us directions that we needed and then we asked to leave a blessing with them. They readily accepted. Both loved it and openly and eagerly accepted baptism. In the first lesson, we learned that she has almost read the entire Book of Mormon and knows it is true. We had a member with us that readily bared her testimony of the Temple. She is so excited to be baptized and go to the Temple! This experience has taught me so much. As we heed the counsel of the Bishop and do what he wants us to God blesses us with miracles. Had we not went looking for the less active and gotten lost we wouldn't have found this beautiful family. 

It was Stake Conference this past week. It was so good! All about Hastening the Work of Salvation. Both President and Sister Anderson talked. My love for them continues to grow and grow. President talked about the importance of members in lessons and decided to do an unexpected role play. He looked out in to the congregation and said, "Can I have Elder... O wait no can I have Sister Stegelmeier and Sister Hartley come up here please." My heart dropped! I was so nervous. I decided though to choose faith and not fear and just be grateful for the experience. We role played with President in front of the entire stake! (sometimes I worry that God truly does grant each righteous desire of Sister Stegelmeier's heart and what it in turn means for me! haha she has always wanted to Role Play with President in front of the stake) It was awesome. I am so grateful for the experience.

KJ and Keon were baptized yesterday! Fun Fact... we met them on Christmas Day! Miracle I think yes! It was KJ's 15 birthday as well. What an awesome birthday present eh? So amazing. Since it was stake conference we had a combined baptism with others from the Zone. It was very special. I love KJ and Keon so much. Such strong young men, both have such a strong desire to be close to God. There Mom really wants to be baptized as well but is living with the boys Dad--Kevin. They just need to live the Law of Chastity and then they can be baptized. I am praying so hard. Only the Gospel will be able to heal the hurt that exists in this family. One of the hardest things for me as a missionary is to remember that everyone has there agency. It breaks my heart when people know what they need to do and choose not to. We fought so hard for our agency, and to see people disregard it truly breaks my heart. If I feel this sorrow, I can't imagine how Father must feel seeing his children destroy what they first longed for.

I am so grateful to be on a mission. I have learned so much this past 2 transfers. Forever changed. I am so grateful.
Zone activity last week on PDay. So much fun!

KJ and Keon's baptism. Neftali baptized them! So much joy. 

We had a really fun FHE last night with Neftali and his family. I made playdo and we did sheraids (spell?). It was so fun! They are all so smart! All have been paying such close attention in church. For only being baptized just over a month and a half they know so much. I love them. We also read the story of when Nephi gets the plates and had them create the story as we read. It was a fun evening! Reminded me of all the fun FHE's we had growing up doing the same thing. 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

We Made Our Goal!!

We had a miracle happen in our zone this week! We set a goal to have 30 investigators in sacrament as a zone. BIG DEAL! The past few weeks we have only been getting around 12. Well we all were unified towards our goal and we were able to reach exactly 30! I am so grateful for each of these 30 individuals. 30 people that were able to come and partake of the sacrament and feel of the atonement in such a real way for the first time in there lives! So amazing. I am so grateful. Because we reached our goal we are having a zone activity today. VERY BIG DEAL! President rarely if ever allows zone activities! We are going to have a BBQ and play some games as a whole zone. It will be fun. I am looking forward to it. 

The members here have sure been taking good care of us. For two weeks in a row now we have been fed every single day! I think it is because Sister Stegelmeier sang in church and also is leaving next week. We are so grateful. 

I can't believe Sister Stegelmeier goes next week. Time goes by TO fast! My advice to all new missionaries: as soon as you get your call start praying for your trainer. She/he will influence not only your mission but your entire life. Pray to learn all that you can from him or her. They are called of God to specifically train you for very specific and eternal reasons. Also some more advice is to have a very open and receptive heart. Humility is key. You must be willing to change. Your mission will not change you unless you allow it. Come ready to learn, come ready to receive and come ready to change. Missions are a 1.5 to 2 year role play for your entire life. I don't remember which prophet said it but it was to the extent that the highest spiritual level we will ever reach will be on our missions. That is a pretty bold statement coming from a prophet. I am so grateful that I am here. I am learning so much. 

 I love you all so much!

Monday, 13 January 2014

God Is Good

What an amazing week. Miracles everyday in both the lives of our investigators and recent converts. Not only that but in our individual lives as well. There is so much joy in gratitude in seeing your recent converts progress and become more converted. Neftali got a job! His car WORKS! Both huge miracles. We got a wonderful text from him the other day. He related the information about his job and how God is truly blessing his life because of his choice to be baptized. More miracles is that Gladys got an apartment!!! Her very own. Not only that but she got a car! She drove herself to the Relief Society activity. So many miracles! God is so good! 

Miracles truly come after the trial of our faith. Saturday night rolled around and all of our appointments had fallen through! We were trying so hard not to be frustrated and keep the faith. We felt like Ammon and his brothers wanting to turn back. However, we said a prayer to renew our motivation and set out to knock one more door. We drove for a bit not really seeing anything stick out. Deciding to try something different, we parked the car and set out on foot. We stopped at one house we both felt good about and knocked with all the faith we had. A man who wasn't receptive answered; however, he called for his wife. She looked somewhat puzzled but let us in. After the blessing she had tears in her eyes. The spirit was so strong. No words were said, instead I just hugged her. While wiping tears from her eyes, she related how she had been praying just prior to the knock at the door. She readily accepted baptism. It was amazing. God answered both her prayer and ours. We truly all were edified and rejoiced together.
Study Time

Sister Stegelmeier sang in church yesterday. Her first solo. I was so proud of her, for she truly did an amazing job. After church we were driving to our meal appointment when we got a new voice mail. It was from one of our investigators who we didn't think came to church. Turns out he was there! He went on and on about how much he loved church. Saying he felt such a good feeling that he has never had before (he described it as "burning in the chest") as Sister Stegelmeier sang. We called him right back. He said that he really wants to receive all that God has for him. Not only that, but he accepted a date right there over the phone. It was amazing. We are so grateful for him as he is truly elect.

I have learned so much this week. Missions are amazing. If your contemplating serving quit worrying about it and go! It will change your life for eternity. That I promise. A truth I have come to understand this week is the importance of seeking God's approval. Before my mission I thrived off of the approval of others. Whether it be teachers, my boss at work, church leaders, or my parents. However, this is not Godly. Seeking approval from the flesh is prideful. When all said and done all that matters is what God thinks. We can come to know he is pleased with us through the quiet whispering's of the spirit. As missionaries we have other tools to seek God's approval. For example, the key indicators are a big indication of our progress. Nonetheless, we are not going to have key indicators forever. There are no key indicators for meals cooked, diapers changed, or degrees earned etc. We must learn to seek God's approval. There is no greater joy, peace, and righteous contentment. We must take time to ponder and be still, always listening for the Spirit, for every time we feel the love of God we can be sure that he is pleased with us. 

story from Sister Stegelmeier – so we were on bikes most of the day yesterday and it was kinda overcast. Sister Hartley doesn’t like to be cold or wet (who does?) and so she wanted to wear her coat. I tried to warn her and tell that it wasn’t worth it. She wore it anyway and the poor thing was so hot while we biked mucho. On the bright side she learned her lesson :) love her so much!!
Zone Caroling
I love being a missionary. We have an incredible God. If we will but turn our will over to his, giving him our complete heart he will change us. He will refine us. We will become something greater then we ever could have imagined. 

I love you all so much! Thank you so much for the love, prayers, and letters. I am most grateful for each and everyone of you. 

An avocado that we got from a person we harvested! So huge! We loved eating the avocado! This little beauty was SO good! We cooked an egg and put it on bread. Roasted it in the oven with tomatoes and then put the cheese on top to melt, then we put the avocado on it. SO GOOD!

Shania was baptized yesterday. She lives with her grandparents on the weekend. It is quite the household. These wonderful people have literally raised all of there grandchildren. It is really sad. They were baptized 2 years ago but have been less active the past little while. Through helping Shania prepare for baptism we were able to reactivate the family. Such a miracle. I love this family so much.

Our district. don't worry Elder Mcmullin is far from putting his arm around me he just wanted it to look that way #punchface

                           Alma and her friend!! love them! 

Everyone thinks we are twins! We get that a ton... it confuses them when I say I am a twin but Sister Stegelmeier is not my twin..  She goes home in two weeks.  Last PDay we went to the beach! So beautiful. 
will miss her.  I learned so much from her.
Gladys and her new car!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Preparing for your mission

This week I wanted to share a few bits of advice for those preparing for their missions. Just a few things I wish I would have known or done before I entered the field. 

1. Memorize the How to Begin Teaching bullet points on P. 176 of PMG. I did this before I left and it was such a blessing! We use them everyday in every lesson. They are inspired and important. The faster you learn and internalize them the better.

2. In my mission we listen to only Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I wish I had known this before so I strongly recommend calling the mission office and asking what types of music you are allowed to listen to. We also have a cardigan rule. Whenever we are around Elders we have to wear either a cardigan or some type of jacket. Never just a shirt. I wish I had known this beforehand as I would have brought more cardigans. It is good to call the mission office and ask what the specific rules are. Each mission is different. 

3. I bought a big cute bag that I thought I would use everyday. Ya joke... Get something small!! Your shoulder will thank you. Remember that simple is key... small and simple. I also recommend getting a mini version of each of the scriptures. Like the military size ones. My comp has them and they are a blessing! They are small and light. Most missionaries here have them. I have gotten some from the lds online store that I will use for proselyting and use my other ones for studying. 

4. I thought I would use only pens but it is so important to use pencils for your planner. Make sure you bring some mechanical pencils. 

5. I am just going to say it... Sisters prepare to be BUSTED! This is what me and my comp call it. It doesn't matter how much makeup you put on in the morning or all the time you spend on your hair it will not last. Pretty sure at night all the makeup I put on is off. We got caught in the rain a lot as well... ya good times! :) Time is precious. Don't waste it on getting ready. I mean please do all you can to look presentable but don't worry about looking perfect. At the beginning I always blow dryed and straightened my hair everyday. I did that for a week and now I just shower, put some moose in and go. I would way rather spend my time doing other things. People will recognize you as servants of the Lord as you bare testimony to them that you are representatives of Jesus Christ and they see the light in your eyes and your special countenance. 

6. Honestly I believe the best way to prepare for a mission is to go to the Temple. Go as often and as much as you can! Love the Temple. Treasure your time there. It is the best way to prepare for a mission. My mission prep teacher gave us a challenge one week to pray for 15 minutes everyday. This really helped me to "really" pray. To plead with God in mighty prayer rather than rote presentation. It really helped me to prepare for my mission as well. 

7. Begin to Memorize and internalize our purpose as missionaries as stated in PMG. Love it! It is amazing purpose. It echo's that of Moses1:39

That is all I can think of for right now. I will keep thinking about it and share more as the ideas come. Just remember one thing: Missions are the best 18 months to 2 years for your life! It will change you for eternity. 

We had an amazing harvesting experience this past week. We had time for one more house and we both felt good about one particular one so of course we went and knocked. The man led us right in and allowed us to bless him and his wife. After the blessing the wife was almost in tears as she expressed that the other day her and her daughter were talking about angels and how there are truly angels watching over and will come and help them through what they are going through. She said that she knew that we indeed were God's angels. The spirit was so strong. Afterwards we were talking to the husband outside and he shared with us how he is looking to move on to the next chapter of his life. He wants to change and is currently going through a divorce with his wife because he is ready for change. I testified to him that changing our circumstances won't change who we are. He is looking for peace in his life and that peace only comes as we allow Christ to change our heart. I told him that he was looking for peace and contentment in all of the wrong places and that he needed to turn to Christ. The spirit truly gave me the words as I testified of the enabling power of the atonement. He felt the spirit so strong. His whole countenance changed. They are an amazing couple and I know that God sent us to them that they might have happiness and peace and that there marriage can be saved! It was such a miracle and I can't wait to keep teaching them and see them enter the waters of baptism. 

I love you all! Thank you for all of the love and support through letters and prayers. I am most grateful for each and everyone of you! 
Our beautiful Christmas Apartment! We work hard to keep it clean. : )

The Haitian part of the ward put on a New Years Party at the church. It was one of the wildest, craziest, ward parties ever! First off they had SO much food! Sadly they got it all out right when we had to leave! (We had to be home by 9) They had everything from 2 little boys dancing to Beat It to other fun numbers. So fun. One picture is with a Scott. He is a member of a less active family. He has got some serious attitude! He makes us laugh. 

Notice in the one pictures the man in the white tank top and all of the Tattoos? That is Keith!! He is awesome. A recent convert of 3 months. He is HILARIOUS and so CONVERTED! He comes out with us a lot.