Monday, August 29, 2016

Tornado Warning !!

Haha I really just wanted that to be the subject to scare mom a little bit :) Sorry mom!
But really, one exciting thing that happened this Wednesday was we had a tornado warning! That means there was an actual tornado seen (a tornado watch means the weather is likely to bring tornadoes), and that we all had to stay inside for a couple hours until it was all clear. We were at a member's home, so we hung out there for two hours. We talked about how tornado's relate to the gospel, Helaman 5:12, etc :) Nothing happened in Perrysburg though, the sky was just really dark- then at like 9:30 at night it started thundering/lightning and pouring rain... but that's pretty typical for Ohio as you've heard by now.

The rest of this week was fairly average. I don't remember if I mentioned that we're working with one of our member's neighbors- his name is Bob. :) They (Bob and his wife, plus the Hamiltons-the members) took us out to eat this week at a place called "Tekelas", really good Mexican restaurant! It was fun to spend time with them in a informal setting, get to know them better. That's very key in missionary work- not only teaching the gospel to these people, but being friends with them, laughing with them. Otherwise we're just robots, and no one likes things just thrown at them. Oh, I remember I did mention him! He's the one that came to church last Sunday. 

Other than that, we did some tracting, contacted a few people that used to be taught by the missionaries (some said we could come back!). Oh that reminds me. Sometimes on a mission, you wonder how inspired you really are to do things. Because most of the time it's just random, but then you go and find out it might have been inspired. So for example, this week we decided to call someone named Jack to see if we could come visit him. He said yes! Then when we got there a few minutes later, he said he'd prayed that morning we would come over- so we could help him eat his pie that he made! Haha I would've taken it as just a joke, but he seemed pretty serious that he'd actually prayed about it!

Another example is that one of the people that used to meet with the missionaries, told us he'd just been thinking about the missionaries that morning and how it had been awhile since he'd seen them. Then we showed up on his doorstep that night!
Little miracles I guess. :) 

Oh missions are fun.

Have a great week everyone! Hopefully I'll have something more exciting to tell you about next week. 

Sister Maughan

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lessons I've Learned

We went to the Art History Museum in Toledo today, so once again we're emailing later and we don't have much time. Preparation Days are never relaxing here haha.

Anyways, this week was pretty okay. No surprise- Sister Strand and I are staying in Perrysburg for another transfer. It'll be good, we still have a TON to do and a lot of people to work with. I'm really excited to keep learning here! 

Wednesday (6 Months Out day!), we went to Findlay for a Vehicle Training/Inspection for all the missionaries in the Toledo Stake. So I got to see a bunch of the sisters I haven't seen in awhile! We basically learned to be safe drivers, they test drove all of our cars to make sure they were working okay, then we were good to go. After that, we had just a meeting with the sisters, and it went really well! We just talked about our concerns with missionary work and how we can help each other, and we all learned so much. 

The only other out of the ordinary thing that happened was we spent about 3 and a half hours helping someone "clean" their house! They got bed bugs (those are a real thing- not just a cute saying at night. Gross.) so we put on our grubby clothes and helped them bag EVERYTHING up so the exterminator guy could come spray. It was crazy, but we finally got it done, and it felt really good to help out. Service really is the best!

Also, one of our investigators came to church this Sunday! He's been once before, but he just decided on his own to come, and it went really well. We also met with him and his wife yesterday and had a great discussion. They are more curious than anything right now, but we know he said he feels good about our beliefs. They're an older couple, have been through a lot of hard things but are really willing to learn. Definitely one of the reasons I'm excited to stay here with Sister Strand!

Well sorry that wasn't anything super exciting. Here are some random/fun things I've noticed I've learned since coming out on my mission! 

It's okay to cry. Haha crying is definitely one of the ways I cope with stress- and sometimes you just have to take a break from life and calm down. (it was funny, because our investigator that came to church this week said the same thing the other day. Apparently it's an important life skill to learn!)

I've learned how to be around other people- and more importantly, how to have spiritual experiences with other people.

I've learned (and am DEFINITELY still learning) to love my companions for exactly who they are, exactly where they are at.

I've gained an infinitely greater appreciation for my family and my friends. You all are incredible, i miss you tons, and am SO grateful for your support!

LOVE. It's huge, That's what I've learned more than anything. The love we feel for these people... you can't put it into words. They went from being complete strangers, to wondering how in the world I'd ever live without them. Companions, investigators, ward members. This work truly is a labor of love!

One last thing. I was looking at my journal entry from February 20- three days after I got to the MTC. We had had a really incredible, spiritual experience as a district that day. I had struggled a lot at the MTC, but I wrote this after we had that experience "It's those moments that remind me how incredible, how worth it the mission is/ is going to be". That is SO true. Every hard day that I've had on my mission so far, every hard day I've had in LIFE so far- is always pushed back and can be forgotten because of the INCREDIBLE days Heavenly Father blesses me with. That's what this life is all about. Going through the hard times, so that we can recognize how much of a blessing happiness really is. We're HERE to be happy. So every trial is more than worth pushing through. It's worth picking yourself up off the ground and starting all over again. I know it.

This gospel is so incredible! I hope you all remember that every day.

Love you! Sister Maughan

Monday, August 15, 2016

Another - Best Day EVER !!

***(note from Mom!) **I had to start by putting this picture in here.  This is a picture taken at the baptism for Tiffany Backer.  She is a lady that Sister Maughan had the opportunity to teach when she was serving in Strongsville (Broadview Heights).  Abby loves this sister and her family so much.  She was sad to be transferred just before this baptism, but was elated to hear the news that it had happened.  We hope the members there will open their arms and hearts to her and her family.  

Sister Barnes, Sister Henderson, Tiffany, Ivan and Harold Backer
What a GREAT Day !!

Ahhh! My brain just isn't quite functioning at the moment, too many thoughts going on! Being on a mission is SO hard when you can't get all the questions you have answered because you can't communicate with people whenever you want to!

Anyways, this week was pretty good :) had it's ups and downs, I'm going to go through day by day with what happened!

Monday- we had to end our preparation day early because we had some awesome appointments set up with people that members were coming to! And... they both fell through. :( So we ended up tracting/contacting the rest of the night. It was great. We did also get a referral from the ward that night we tried to contact, but she wasn't home. 

Tuesday- We talked to so many incredible people! One of them was Sister Cooper, she's an older lady that got baptized a little over a year ago. She was searching for God's church her WHOLE life- had finally given up and just prayed He would lead her to it, when one day a member of our church invited her to come. She said as soon as she came, and heard that the church was named after Jesus Christ Himself, she'd finally found it. So that scripture about people searching for the truth and just knowing not where to find it? It's true!   We also met a random stranger named Tim on his front porch, he was covered in tattoos and smoking. As we talked to him, we found out he has 8 kids-all named after people in the Bible, that he reads his Bible every day, and that he belongs to a humble little "biker church" where they help with charities all the time! Never would've known by looking at him. He doesn't live in our area, but hopefully he'll run into the missionaries again one day! 

Wednesday- In the morning we helped a less active lady cut out patterns for 2 hours in the heat (they don't have AC)! So we rewarded ourselves with slurpee trip #2. :) Then that night we had a really incredible lesson with our member's husband. The spirit was there very strongly, and He truly was the teacher! Lessons like that, we walk out just being amazed by Heavenly Father's willingness to work with the weak and the simple. 

Thursday- Happy half birthday to me :) haha We had a pretty average day, it decided to rain like crazy again. The only thing super exciting that happened was some members took us out to eat at this cool Asian restaurant! 

Friday- The tender mercy of the day was we got stuck in road construction, so we were forced to slow down and just breathe for a little. It was good :) We found some good songs on Sister Strand's chip (like You Raise Me Up) that Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings while we were stuck in the car. We also had some deep discussions about life and families and the gospel. That's one of the things I love about Sister Strand, she's so willing to just get into gospel discussions whenever, wherever! She's a pro at putting up with my randomness :)

SATURDAY- we had a really cool miracle happen! We went to try to contact the referral we'd received on Monday again, but they weren't there. So back up plan was to go contact the new members that had (or we thought they had) moved in a couple weeks ago. Long story short, they were actually moving in THAT DAY and had no one else to help them carry all their stuff up three flights of stairs! So we got to help :) It was such a cool way to see how Heavenly Father places us in people's paths to help them, when we don't even know it!

Sunday- Church was really good, we had someone come and they LOVED it! After it was over, they texted us and said they hadn't felt so good in years! They actually live in the Elder's area, so they will be teaching him, but it was so cool to see how strongly the spirit affected (effected?) him while he was there. 

TODAY- we went to the ZOO!!! Luckily, we only got rained on right at the end. We were only sort of soaking wet by the time we got back to our cars :) Totally worth it- and FREE! 
Sorry this was a novel, but it really was a great week! Transfers are next week, so don't send any mail my way just in case (even though I'm probably staying here). Talk to you again Tuesday!

The gospel is true!

Sister Maughan

Some pictures from their trip to the zoo ! 

Sister Maughan and Sister Strand at the Toledo Zoo ! 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Best Day Ever !

Haha this week was really good! As usual, I can't really describe everything to you... but I learned SO MUCH how important it is to have the spirit with you.

First miracle... that sister in our wards husband that we invited to learn more and he basically said maybe? Well we went over there again on Wednesday and he casually was like "So did Brother Griffeon tell you the news?" (Brother Griffeon is his home teacher). We say "No, what news?" "I want to start taking the lessons!" YAAAYYYY! Haha I told him that was basically the best thing I'd heard my WHOLE mission! He decided it's finally time for him to commit to this, and he's really excited! He already knows a WHOLE lot about the church, so teaching him will be different that way, but we'll have a lot of help from the ward because they already know and love him! Definitely the highlight of the week!

That day also... we contacted a referral from the bishop in the Toledo stake. The bishop asked to share with him the story of "the widows mite" and invite him to take the lessons. Kind of random, but I found a WAY cool scripture from studying the widow's mite to teach it to this referral. I can't remember where exactly it is (it was one of the footnotes for either Mark 12:41-44 or Luke 21:1-3). What I learned from it was that if we give ALL we have, even if it's way less than what our neighbor or our brother or ANYONE else has- Heavenly Father loves us all the more for it. We don't need to compare ourselves to those around us, we do what WE can- and even if it doesn't feel like a lot, we are blessed immensely. LOVE IT! Remember it! 

Anyways, we taught him that and we are seeing him again today! Yay!

ALSO that day, we got a text from a younger sister in the ward who told us her family was struggling and she wanted us to come teach them. VERY last minute, but we decided to go for it and "let the Holy Spirit guide". We did all we could to prepare in the short time we had, but it ended up going REALLY well and it was a great opportunity for the family to share their testimonies with each other. 

So the whole day, we basically did nothing- and the spirit did EVERYTHING. That's why it was the best day ever. Every day of our lives should be like that.

The rest of the week we had some fun experiences that I"ll skim through fast. Tuesday-Wednesday I was in Bowling Green with Sister Sorenson. Walking around on the BGSU campus was the weirdest feeling ever, just made me think about college and it was just awkward haha. I got to meet some of Sister Henderson's investigators though from when she was in Bowling Green, so it was really fun to talk to them! 

Thursday we had interviews/district meeting with President Brown. He gave me some good advice on talking to people (cause it's HARD! Knocking on people's doors is one thing, stopping them while they are walking down the street is a whole other story.) Sister Brown told me that the Backer family in Strongsville is doing really well!!! They moved their baptismal date to this Saturday, but they've already been interviewed and are ready to go. I'm so excited for them! 

Hopefully Sister Henderson will keep me updated/send me some pics I can forward to you :)
Plus the weather kind of sort of "cooled down" this week, so that was a plus!

Hopefully that made some sense. Just know that when you work hard, Heavenly Father blesses you. 

Then you have to KEEP working hard. And follow the spirit.

Talk to you all next week!

Sister Maughan

Monday, August 1, 2016

Missionaries in Perrysburg

Hey there! WOW this week was LONG... and a lot of really awesome things happened!

Monday, we had dinner with the Millers- (you might've seen the pics on Facebook haha!). 

                                   Chris Miller and his wife.  Sister Maughan and Sister Strand.
                                                      The Millers had them over for dinner ! 

They are a really fun couple that helps with the YSA branch in Bowling Green. And apparently I might be related to them. Sister Miller went to Utah State!! Yay for immediate friends :)
Tuesday we helped someone weed their garden, then we had a really fun/random service opportunity come up! We were in a neighborhood trying to contact some people the missionaries had taught before. While we're walking down the street, this older lady comes up to us and says "You girls don't happen to have a phone on you, do you?" Of course we do! Haha they are working on cleaning out their friends house that moved into a nursing home, and lost their phone in the process of throwing stuff away. They wanted us to call it, so we'd know if it ended up in the garbage can or not! And sure enough, we could hear it ringing somewhere in the middle of the bin. We dug through and found it for them, then we ended up helping them move some more things out of the house into their car. They are both pretty strong in their own church, but it was just a fun opportunity to see how we can be placed in people's paths for good! Hopefully we'll be able to talk to them again someday, their knowledge of Mormons just comes from "Sister Wives"... not so great haha!

Friday we had Zone Training Meeting, and it was really good/different. Cause I don't know any of these people still! Friday was also crazy because it was POURING RAIN again... but it happened three different times throughout the whole day! We definitely had to keep our umbrellas handy. Also rained a ton Saturday too, one time we had to walk in it :) Yay for Ohio crazy weather! 

Here's a cool story for the week!. So there's a sister in our ward who's husband isn't a member. He's SUPER nice, and we go over there about once a week. Sister Strand and I had both been thinking that we need to invite him to learn more about the church. They had us over for dinner this week, and we were planning on sharing a message with them about the pattern of how prayers are answered in our lives. I learned it from an AWESOME talk called "The Holy Ghost" from this last conference. Basically, it talks about how when Joseph Smith was trying to figure out which church was true- he had to ponder, study, listen to the Holy Ghost, and act on the promptings he received to pray! We receive answers to our own questions- no matter how big or small they are- the very same way. Anyways, usually the husband doesn't stick around for the lesson, and so we just taught it to the sister. (Sister Strand and I found out we BOTH had a prompting to invite him to sit in this time... and we both ignored it. Dang it Satan.) During the lesson though, the sister all the sudden whispered to us "you guys should invite my husband to take the missionary lessons." Whoa! It definitely sounded like the Holy Ghost was working on us all! But once again, Sister Strand and I chickened out and left without saying anything to him. We beat ourselves up after, and decided to go back the next day and ask him! Long story short, he didn't say yes, and he didn't say no. Which is awesome in our eyes!

The reason I brought that up though is just that the Holy Ghost is SO important in our lives. It guides us all the time to know what we should do and say. Sometimes it's hard to follow those promptings, and on the mission especially- we end up regretting it. But REPENTANCE is also a thing. God knows we're not perfect, so he gives us second chances. And usually more than that if we need them!

This mission keeps teaching me ALL the time, and even though it's hard I wouldn't trade it for the world. There's too many awesome people out there that NEED this gospel!

Love ya, hope you're having an AWESOME week.

Sister Maughan

A picture of Sister Maughan just hanging out by the river in Perrysburg ! 

Abby said -- "Took an impromptu trip to RED ROBIN!!!! 
Basically, best day of my whole mission :)"
**She LOVES Red Robin.  That is where we went for
one of her last meals before she went in to the MTC !!   

She found where the sidewalk ends !!  (If any of you were looking for that !) 

P.S. - Ha. Sorry I just realized I mentioned the Holy Ghost talk last week. Just means that you REALLY need to read it if you haven't looked it up yet I guess :) Love you guys!

***I decided to include the talk Sister Maughan refers to in here.

The Holy Ghost - by Elder Robert D. Hales (April 2016 General Conference)

I express my love and gratitude to Heavenly Father for the gift of the Holy Ghost, through which He reveals His will and sustains us.

My beloved brothers and sisters, I speak today as a servant of the Lord and also as a great-grandfather. To you and to my beloved posterity, I teach and bear testimony of the remarkable gift of the Holy Ghost.

I begin by acknowledging the Light of Christ, which is given to “every man [and woman] that cometh into the world.”1 All of us benefit from this holy light. It is “in all and through all things,” and it allows us to distinguish right from wrong.

But the Holy Ghost is different from the Light of Christ. He is the third member of the Godhead, a distinct personage of spirit with sacred responsibilities, and one in purpose with the Father and the Son.

As members of the Church, we may experience the companionship of the Holy Ghost continually. Through the restored priesthood of God, we are baptized by immersion for the remission of our sins and then confirmed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In this ordinance, we are given the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands of the holders of the priesthood. Thereafter, we can receive and retain the companionship of the Holy Ghost by always remembering the Savior, keeping His commandments, repenting of our sins, and worthily partaking of the sacrament on the Sabbath day.

The Holy Ghost provides personal revelation to help us make major life decisions about such things as education, missions, careers, marriage, children, where we will live with our families, and so on. In these matters, Heavenly Father expects us to use our agency, study the situation out in our minds according to gospel principles, and bring a decision to Him in prayer.

Personal revelation is essential, but it is only one part of the work of the Holy Ghost. As the scriptures attest, the Holy Ghost also testifies of the Savior and God the Father. He teaches us “the peaceable things of the kingdom” and causes us to “abound in hope.” He “leadeth [us] to do good … [and] to judge righteously.” He gives “to every man [and woman] … a [spiritual] gift … that all may be profited thereby.” He “giveth [us] knowledge” and “bring[s] all things to [our] remembrance.” Through the Holy Ghost, we “may be sanctified” and receive “a remission of [our] sins.” He is the “Comforter,” the same who was “promised unto [the Savior’s] disciples.”

I remind all of us that the Holy Ghost is not given to control us. Some of us unwisely seek the Holy Ghost’s direction on every minor decision in our lives. This trivializes His sacred role. The Holy Ghost honors the principle of agency. He speaks to our minds and our hearts gently about many matters of consequence.

Each of us may feel the influence of the Holy Ghost differently. His promptings will be felt in different degrees of intensity according to our individual needs and circumstances.

In these latter days, we affirm that only the prophet may receive revelation through the Holy Ghost for the entire Church. Some forget this, as when Aaron and Miriam tried to convince Moses to agree with them. But the Lord taught them and us. He said:

“If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him. …

“With him will I speak mouth to mouth.”

Sometimes the adversary tempts us with false ideas that we may confuse with the Holy Ghost. I testify that faithfulness in obeying the commandments and keeping our covenants will protect us from being deceived. Through the Holy Ghost, we will be able to discern those false prophets who teach for doctrine the commandments of men.

As we receive the inspiration of the Holy Ghost for ourselves, it is wise to remember that we cannot receive revelation for others. I know of a young man who told a young woman, “I’ve had a dream that you are to be my wife.” The young woman pondered that statement and then responded, “When I have the same dream, I’ll come and talk to you.”

All of us may be tempted to let our personal desires overcome the guidance of the Holy Ghost. The Prophet Joseph Smith pleaded with Heavenly Father for permission to lend the first 116 pages of the Book of Mormon to Martin Harris. Joseph thought it was a good idea. At first the Holy Ghost did not give him confirming feelings. Eventually, the Lord allowed Joseph to lend the pages anyway. Martin Harris lost them. For a season, the Lord withdrew the Prophet’s gift to translate, and Joseph learned a painful but valuable lesson that shaped the remainder of his service.

The Holy Ghost is central to the Restoration. Regarding his boyhood reading of James 1:5, the Prophet Joseph recounted, “Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine.” The power described by Joseph Smith was the influence of the Holy Ghost. As a result, Joseph went into a grove of trees near his home and knelt down to ask of God. The First Vision that followed was truly momentous and magnificent. But the path to that in-person visitation of the Father and the Son began with a prompting from the Holy Ghost to pray.

The revealed truths of the restored gospel came through the pattern of seeking in prayer and then receiving and following the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Consider these examples: translating the Book of Mormon; the restoration of the priesthood and its ordinances, beginning with baptism; and the organization of the Church—to name a few. I testify that today, revelation from the Lord to the First Presidency and the Twelve comes according to this same sacred pattern. This is the same sacred pattern that allows personal revelation.

We pay tribute to all who have followed the Holy Ghost to receive the restored gospel, beginning with Joseph Smith’s own family members. When young Joseph told his father about Moroni’s visit, his father received a confirming witness for himself. Immediately, Joseph was released from his farm responsibilities and encouraged to follow the angel’s direction.

Let us, as parents and leaders, do likewise. Let us encourage our children and others to follow the direction of the Holy Ghost. In doing so, let us follow the example of the Holy Ghost ourselves, leading through gentleness, meekness, kindness, long-suffering, and love unfeigned.

The Holy Ghost is a medium for God’s work in families and throughout the Church. With that understanding, may I share a few personal examples of the Holy Ghost in my own life and Church service? I offer them as a personal witness that the Holy Ghost blesses us all.

Many years ago, Sister Hales and I planned to host some of my work associates at a special dinner in our home. On my way home from the office, I had an impression to stop at the house of a widow whom I home taught. When I knocked on the sister’s door, she said, “I have been praying for you to come.” Where did that impression come from? The Holy Ghost.

Once, following a serious illness, I presided at a stake conference. To conserve my energy, I planned to leave the chapel immediately after the priesthood leadership session. However, following the benediction, the Holy Ghost said to me, “Where are you going?” I was inspired to shake hands with everyone as they left the room. As one young elder stepped forward, I was prompted to give him a special message. He was looking down, and I waited for his eyes to come up and meet mine, and I was able to say, “Pray to Heavenly Father, listen to the Holy Ghost, follow the promptings you are given, and all will be well in your life.” Later the stake president told me that the young man had just returned early from his mission. The stake president, acting on a clear impression, had promised the young man’s father that if he brought his son to the priesthood meeting, Elder Hales would speak with him. Why did I stop to shake everyone’s hand? Why did I pause to talk to this special young man? What was the source of my counsel? It’s simple: the Holy Ghost.

In early 2005, I was guided to prepare a general conference message about senior missionary couples. Following the conference, a brother recounted: “As we listened to conference, … immediately the Spirit of the Lord touched my very soul. … There was no mistaking the message for me and for my sweetheart. We were to serve a mission, and the time was now. When I … looked at my wife, I realized that she had received the very same impressions from the Spirit.” What had brought this strong simultaneous response? The Holy Ghost.

To my own posterity and all within the sound of my voice, I offer my testimony of the personal revelation and constant flow of daily guidance, caution, encouragement, strength, spiritual cleansing, comfort, and peace that have come to our family through the Holy Ghost. Through the Holy Ghost, we experience “the multitude of [Christ’s] tender mercies” and miracles that do not cease.

I bear my special witness that the Savior lives. I express my love and gratitude to Heavenly Father for the gift of the Holy Ghost, through which He reveals His will and sustains us in our lives. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.