Monday, March 7, 2016

March 7, 2016

Week 3: Alma 32:27

Hello, my people!!!

Nobody panic, I'm alive! Our P-Day has been really busy. We went to the temple this morning to do a session, which was awesome, though waiting around for like half an hour afterwards while all the other sister missionaries took 218390849089321 photos again was less awesome, but whatever. Then we went grocery shopping and all that good stuff, but anyway I'm finally online!!! Not really much new to report. We're as busy as ever, driving all over the place and just trying to get in contact with all the elusive YSAs in Utah County! If there's one thing I've learned on my mission, it's that working with members is absolutely essential to the work. The likeliness of the two of us ever running into a nonmember is slim to none, so 99.9% of the people we teach are referrals and less actives. We'd never find any investigators if it weren't for the members. Keep that in mind!!! I've gained such a huge appreciation for ward missionaries, and I've realized the importance of being involved in what the missionaries are doing. We need help, and if WE need help, I KNOW the Sisters and Elders need help and support back home. Members make all the difference in the world when it comes to investigators. Seriously.

Anyway, that's my soap box sermon for the week! Get involved in missionary work! You don't need a name tag to share the gospel. We have friends, family, and neighbors all over the place that could use a spiritual kick in the pants! 

So we're teaching this man from the Dominican Republic and he is a "GOLDEN" investigator, as they say. He's met with missionaries in the past and has a gazillion friends who have all served missions, he's reading his scriptures, praying all the time, going to church, and has a real desire to know the truth, so basically he's doing everything he's supposed to and more! He's just waiting and waiting and waiting for his "answers", so we're trying to help him recognize the Spirit and understand that we get our answers more subtly than we'd maybe like sometimes. He's a really awesome guy. I so wish I spoke Spanish!!!!!!!!!! All of his RM friends served Spanish speaking missions, so half the lesson last night was in Spanish haha. But the Spirit was so strong even though I couldn't understand some of it. It was awesome. We taught him the Restoration, and when we were going over Joseph Smith's vision he laughed and said, "Maybe I just want to see God!" And I was like, "Who doesn't?!" We're meeting with him again tonight, and I'm gonna invite him to be baptized. YOLO. 

It's crazy how quickly time is flying. I can't even remember everything that's happened in the past week! It's just busy busy busy. I had my first Zone Training Meeting, so that happened! ​I also had my very first lesson that went completely by the Spirit, which was AMAZING. We've been meeting with this one guy, Daniel, and helping him get ready to receive his temple recommend, and when we met with him this week, he asked us about what happens after we die and all that, which was sooo not what we had planned, but we had a great discussion with him about the Plan of Salvation nonetheless. Turns out, he has a lot of medical problems, and his mom--HIS MOM--told him that he would probably die young. So understandably he was a little freaked out. I can't believe his own mother would say something like that, but that's none of my business. Anyway, he had a lot of questions about death and what it would be like and all that, so we just went over the PoS and reminded him all about the spirit world and such. It was really great. The Spirit was with us. I love it when you can tell you're really making a difference in someone's life as a missionary. I've been struggling a bit with whether or not we ARE making a difference, and in some cases, depending on who you're teaching, we probably aren't just because they're not invested and don't have that "desire", but in Daniel's case, we definitely ministered to his heart and his needs and gave him the comfort that the gospel truly brings to those who seek to understand and know it!

Anyway, this guy in the library across from me is being really annoying and I can't concentrate or deal with it anymore, so that's it for now folks! Thanks for all your emails. You have no idea how much they mean to me and really make my day! I love all the pictures of Brent Russel! He's getting so big!

​Love y'all,​

Sister Wainwright

February 29, 2016

Week 2: Psalm 27 Verse 1

It's hard to believe an entire month has almost passed since I last saw you all!!! Now that I'm in the field, time is flying by. I know I've said that a lot, but it's true! 

This week has been insane. We worked at the temple (I pretty much have that entire video memorized word for word) which was fun, but I probably gained 50000000 bajillion pounds because the volunteers kept bringing donuts and brownies and cookies and cupcakes and basically every sweet imaginable that makes life worth living. Anyway, the temple was great. One of the days we were working, I had about 3 completely different and random people ask me where I was from because apparently they're related to Wainwrights! None of them were from Florida though, so I doubt we were related. Still cool though. I also had this one guy come up to me after the temple video and ask where I was from because he thought he recognized me. Does anyone remember an Elder Johnson (I think that's what he said  his name was)? He served in Live Oak a while back and actually lived in Uncle Barney's barn/apartment! It really is a small world after all, isn't it.

Speaking of which, I ran into Haley Wright and Cody Smith at the temple too! Which you probably already know since I'm assuming she posted something on Facebook...hopefully I don't look too weird in the picture, I didn't get to see it before they took off. Oh well! It was nice seeing some familiar faces, and of all the video rooms they could have walked in, they walked into mine! 

Anyway, so yeah, the temple was awesome. We met a lot of cool people. One night a General Authority reserved one of the smaller video rooms for his entire family to tour the temple. It was pretty cool. I can't remember his name but I think he may have been an area seventy in Africa or something like that! So that's why I responded so late last p day...we were working all day at the temple, so we had zero time to do anything. Thanks for caring enough to email the mission office though....getting chastised for not emailing my parents wasn't embarrassing at all.

So I was really put through the ringer this past week. We met with Sister Saili's MTC TRC investigator for lunch and she really let me have it. She's a member, a returned missionary,but an Evangelical convert. She apparently has PTSD from her mission. She's been struggling a lot with the church and is super less active, but she knows missionary work. So after eating lunch I, being the greenie, had the privilege of sharing a spiritual thought with did not go well. I picked a scripture where you can replace their name with yours and she immediately said, "I hate when missionaries do that!!!" So from the start you could say she was cramping my style.  Anyway, I plowed on, and in the middle of what I'm saying she just starts shaking her head like crazy and says, "Nope. Try again." After about half an hour of her doing this, and constantly judging and questioning everything I tried to say, I was pretty much sobbing, trying to just bare a simple testimony without her challenging me at every turn. It was the hardest, most frustrating, emotionally traumatizing experience of my life as a missionary thus far. At one point I just said, "Look. I know our Father loves us. If He didn't, if this church wasn't true, there's no way I would have left my family for 18 months to come sit and cry at a table in a gas station pizza joint in Provo Utah."

Suffice it to say, that day she took what little confidence I had and chewed it up, spit it out, set it on fire, and threw it into oncoming traffic. I had never felt so inadequate and horrible at this as I did in that moment. Luckily, I've yet to meet any other investigators or members like her, and with any luck I never will! (*knocks on wood*) I don't think I would have been emotional if she wasn't a returned missionary and acted like she knew every little thing that I was doing wrong. 

​Ugh. It was brutal. 

​I don't think there was anything wrong at all with what I was sharing with her, but apparently I wasn't "ministering to her heart" as much as I was supposed to be.

​Blegh. ​
Anyway, so that was my learning experience for the week! If I learned anything, it's that you need to listen and 
​seriously ​
minister to the hearts of those you teach, not teach a set lesson. Which I thought I knew how to do already, but apparently not
​??? I think it goes without saying that I am not really looking forward to meeting with her again...don't get me wrong, I want to help her, but helping her is not very fun. ​

​Just gotta keep reminding myself that it probably wasn't very fun for Christ in Gethsemane. 

​So I have officially spoken in sacrament meeting twice in a row now, and after spending all week reading and preparing for a talk, I ended up getting five minutes at the very end. ​I guess that's the Lord's way of telling me to stop relying on a written talk and just get up there and say what He wants me to say. I dunno. So I had to throw out pretty much everything I wanted to say and just go with it. It went well though, I think.Afterward one of the counselors of the YSA ward we were speaking in came up to me and told me he has family in Lake Butler, and a girl in the congregation said she served in the Jacksonville Mission (not in Live Oak though). Neato.

Our last night at the temple, all the veteran sister missionaries wanted to take 3289407859402784219 pictures (even though they've already taken 23875891743218-054-0785489321659078940321 pictures), so that was kinda annoying. Me and another greenie, Sister Brown, got tired of waiting on them, so we snuck into the Temple to see the Bridal Room (we actually had permission from the four fingered security guard Jacob); it was so awesome. The Provo City Center Temple is just beautiful.

All in all this week was good. I'm still alive. So far, serving in Provo has been nothing like I expected...I still don't like being over multiple stakes at all, because I feel like I don't get to really know anybody, so that kinda stinks. It's good practice for talking to random people all the time though, and on the flip side it's kinda nice knowing you'll probably never see them ever again lol.

Keep sending me pictures and emails throughout the week!!!

​Alofa ia te oe,
Sister Wainwright

So... my companion experimented on my hair.

February 22, 2016

Week 1: Now Behold, A Marvelous Work is About to Come Forth Among the Children of Men

Well, It's snowed a few times, but for the most part the weather has been pretty nice. I'm so glad I didn't come out in the dead of winter...with any luck the weather will stay nice. I'm not a huge fan of the's pretty from a distance, but up close not so much. 

So the Hodgemans are pretty awesome. I've only had the one interview with President, but it was nice. He's really cool. He asked me how I felt about my call.................and I kinda ugly sobbed all over the place.... but he was totally cool about it. Apparently he and his wife felt the same way when they were called to Provo! That definitely made me feel better, and it was pretty awesome having that in common with my Mission President; the Lord really does work in funny and mysterious ways.

Speaking of which, meet my long lost Samoan sister! Sister Saili is the bomb dignity and best trainer ever. We are alike in so many ways it's kinda hilarious. We both love TV and dunking our Oreos in milk and know that the best stress reliever is ice cream after a long day. She is literally the coolest. Y'all know I'm not the mushy wushy lovey dovey fluffy wuffy type, but I love her. The Lord knew she was exactly who I needed to train with. I'm dreading transfers already! She's been out for almost 9 months now and is just such a great example to me. She is seriously just the coolest. She's from American Samoa, which is super cool. What is it about Polynesians and Utah exactly? 😂 they are everywhere! The YSA Tongan ward literally just got split into two wards....again, Utah is nuts. It's quite overwhelming.

The past few weeks have flown by and I have been so blessed. I've never felt the Lord's love more strongly in my life than I have since I took those first few steps into the MTC. Without a doubt His hands have been holding me up and pushing me along. So much has happened, so many things have been learned, and so many minds have been blown by the Gospel and all the beautiful promises it has to offer us, including my own. Several times. 

I don't even know where to begin or really what to say. It's hard to describe missionary work and the mighty change of heart that comes along with it. It's just awesome. Even when it's stressful and frustrating and awkward and even kinda boring sometimes, it's awesome. I can't wait for Lily to experience it, and Abby, and Jace, and Romney. Everyone needs to experience this marvelous work, and I'm confident that all of you will be even greater missionaries than I can ever hope to be! Just remember that this work isn't about you. It's about our Savior, and helping His lost sheep find their way back to Him. 

So far, the most stressful aspect of serving in Provo is probably the sheer number of stakes and wards we serve. Right now I'm in the YSA South Valley area, which covers two stakes in Provo and one stake in Spanish Fork. Our area goes all the way from Provo to Santaquin, which is somewhere south of Payson. We cover like 30 something wards, just the two of us. It's nuts. And it's kinda annoying when we're driving down the street and I point at 50 different chapels and my companion just laughs at me and says, "Nope. That's not one of ours!" 

Really makes me wanna flip a table, lemme tell ya. Utah is ridiculous. There's like 10 wards in each building. No Bueno. Not a fan. It's really confusing. I don't know how I'm supposed to find my way around since they all look the same. Anyway, so yeah, I'm all over the place. We live in Springville and actually have our own house! It's pretty sweet.