Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Merry "late" Christmas

Hello everyone! I hope you all had an incredible Christmas and stayed nice and warm. Haha I heard it snowed muchas in Utah on Christmas! Here in Ohio it was 60 degrees the day after Christmas, and all the slush/ice we had melted. Now we have mud :) 

Our week was pretty low-key, visited some less actives and a few non-members. Thursday we made cookies and delivered them with a picture of Jesus and John 14:27 to a bunch of different people.

 Friday was "training for the trainers" meeting at the mission office. Sister House, another sister that is training, and I drove down together. The meeting was really good, we mostly just talked about how important this calling is and how it'll be a good learning experience for all of us. Made me nervous and excited! I had the elders give me blessing yesterday to help with the stress and gain some guidance, and that really helped! Whoever this new sister is, I'm excited to love her, have fun and serve with her, and accomplish "the thing(s) which the Lord hath commanded (us)."

Saturday was pretty interesting, we took a few more plates of cookies around. Cookies and Christmas honestly do miracles in contacting people that we've tried over and over again to meet that never answer the door! It's like they know we're bringing them haha. We also went tracting for about 2 and a half hours, and it was SO FUN! Who knew knocking doors on Christmas Eve would actually be a good experience? :) People were SO friendly, and even though no one let us in, it felt good to tell them about the #ShareTheLight video and give them the opportunity to remember what Christmas is really about!

Sister Rock and Sister Maughan making some Christmas cookies
 - wearing the aprons I sent them for Christmas !!  

That night we had dinner with the Lehmans (I know! They're family... maybe. They say their last name lay-man instead of lee-man. ?) Love them, and they had some really good food.  After that, we went to a Christmas Eve service for the church of the family we went to Kirtland with a few weeks ago (wow that was a long confusing sentence.) It was really interesting! They had the electric guitar playing, and a lot of standing and singing. Plus, their pastor talked about how WE are the light of the world. Heard that somewhere before? Haha it was really fun, I'm glad we went, just to experience how others worship. 

Sunday of course was Christmas! Thanks everyone who sent me a card/gift/email/prayer/thought! I appreciated and felt all of your love, and I needed it! I am so grateful for the amazing support system I have in all of you. You are incredible.

Sister Rock spoke in sacrament meeting, then we just visited widows throughout the day, talked to the fam, and tried to go caroling with the elders at night but no one was home! It was a pretty good Christmas, felt like a pretty normal day for a missionary. 

And now it's a new week, soon to be a new year, with a MILLION new experiences! I LOVE new years! Looking back on the experiences I've had, setting goals to help me through whatever may come in the next one. This year has truly been a year or learning and growing, that I wouldn't change for anything. That's something that I say EVERY YEAR though, because whether you are a missionary or not, Heavenly Father is still testing you, teaching you, and loving you through every second of every day. I KNOW that He is involved in the details of your lives, and that as you put your trust in Him this year, your lives will be filled with JOY. 

I love you all, and I will see you next year! :D

Love, Sister Maughan

Sister Rock and Sister Maughan in their Christmas PJ's.
We sent Abby some Ohio State sweats for her PJ's !!
This is also the cute Christmas tree we sent them to cheer up their apartment ! 

Monday, December 19, 2016

TRAINING calls!!!! :D :) :/


My emotions are in a state of static right now (I'm not sure WHAT I'm feeling), because President Brown called me up at 8:54 last night. I've basically known  and felt since I left Perrysburg that this call was coming, but it didn't make it any less crazy that it's ACTUALLY happening. President thought he was so funny, he says "Sister Maughan, I hear you are going to be losing a companion this next transfer". "Sure am, President." "I'd like to extend the calling to you to train a new missionary." "I would LOVE that President." "Thank you. I know you'll do a great job."

So if things go smoothly, I"ll be here in Tallmadge another 3 months with my greenie :) I'm actually really excited, and I know we are going to see NEEDED miracles in that time! It's definitely a little nerve-wracking, but I know I have all of you as support, and I would love ANY advice you have for me! So NEXT Wednesday we'll head up to Kirtland to drop off Sister Rock, and to pick up whoever my new companion is! There are only 4 sisters coming out this transfer, and we don't find out which one will be my companion until we're all in a big room together and President Brown introduces us to each other. Exciting, right?

Anyways, that being set aside, MERRY CHRISTMAS! It will be here and gone before we know it, sadly. I love how unified everyone is this time of year in that we are more focused on helping others and enjoying "the spirit of the season". That doesn't really happen any other time of the year. So keep "Sharing the Light!" 

This week was good, the first half there is nothing to report. Thursday it was FREEZING. School was cancelled, and we were honestly wondering if we were still supposed to go out or not, but we sure did! Luckily, it was weekly planning, so we were in the apartment until 1 anyways. After, we ended up shoveling (or trying to shovel. The snow in Ohio is weird. It's more like ICE) a member named Alan's driveway and then going to a members home for dinner. Kind of a weird day. But we survived the cold!

Friday was Zone Conference, it was really good. Helped me to get some more motivation back, which is really important. I love being with the other missionaries and just hearing all our struggles, and helping each other through them. The spirit always teaches us what we need to know, even if it's not even said word for word. 

Saturday we had our ward Christmas party breakfast. Then a miracle happened that made the whole week an AMAZING week. We met someone named Jamaica a little ago, and we were able to teach her and bring Sister Peila with us Saturday afternoon. I can't fully describe what happened, but the text our member sent us after it was over about sums up what happened. "She was incredible! I loved sitting with her and hearing about her impressions. The pressure of the spirit was so strong and her desire to know more is something I've personally never seen. She's amazing. Let me know if you need me to go again. I'd love to get to know her more." One of those moments I hope I never forget. This gospel IS true, because it can change people's lives in minutes- if they let it. If WE let it!
Because that's what this gospel is all about. It's even what Christmas is all about. CHANGE. It's the hardest thing, and the natural man in us despises it and does everything it can to avoid it. We tell ourselves we can still find happiness and growth where we are at, we don't need change. It's the biggest lie I know I fall for everyday. When we allow ourselves to recognize the need for something different, and ACT on that, we are no longer getting in the way of our progression towards our Father in Heaven. He is in charge at that point, and I KNOW we can trust Him to teach us and help us all along the way. 

The birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ CHANGED the world forever. He understands how hard it is, and it's Him we can turn to in any circumstance. 

Love you all!!! Talk to you again on Tuesday! (Then starting the new year, preparation days will be on Wednesday.)

Love, Sister Maughan

Monday, December 12, 2016

I love this Roller Coaster! (sorry this is a long one!)

I think if I videoed every moment of my day, from the minute I wake up to the second my head hits the pillow at night- you'd probably be able to understand about half of what mission life is like. :)

So how are you all doing? Things are actually going pretty okay here in Tallmadge, saw lots of little miracles this week. I told President Brown I think I just need to work on my faith that these miracles are actually going to continue, and not just be a one time thing! I'm getting there though. And I'm learning, especially this week, to be grateful FOR the hard times, not just in spite of the hard times.
Monday was fun, we got to play volleyball for like 2 hours with some of the elders and sisters. That night all our plans fell through, I honestly don't remember what we ended up doing. :)

Tuesday we finally had a District Meeting, we haven't had one this transfer yet because of Christmas Conference and other stuff. It was really fun! The elders here are a good balance of working hard and having fun. It's also nice, because we all are basically finding 24-7, so we can relate to each other and help each other. 

Wednesday was one of those days where things fell through... and miracles happened because of it! Our first lesson  with our investigator Nyaka worked out, we brought a member and taught the Plan of Salvation. Our member brought her kids, and they were playing with Nyaka's son the whole time, so it was a little crazy. But the fellowship was SO important, and totally worth the crazy moments. :) Our next appointment fell through, so we started driving to our back up, drove right past their house, and decided we should go see someone else on that street anyways. Sister Rock and Sister Henry had taught her the Restoration awhile ago, and just have never been able to get a hold of her since. Well miracle of miracles, she was home and let us right in! I love those moments. That happened AGAIN later, when someone we planned to see wasn't home, so we contacted an old investigator nearby and read the Book of Mormon with him. I really like teaching people, it makes mission life so much better haha!

Thursday it was FREEZING, we mostly wandered around trying to contact people. But at around 5:30 at night, we were wandering around this apartment complex, trying to find a specific apartment and it was NOWHERE. We were ready to give up and get back in the warm car... when we realized we parked right next to the apartment we were looking for. Whoops :) So of course we went and knocked on the door, and we were able to meet this sweet older lady named Jerry who loves Christ and loves serving others. Once again, people make mission life so much better. 

Friday was CRAZY. We spend all morning helping an older lady named Marlene clean out her basement. Her and her husband are Jewish and not really interested, but they are neighbors with a member here in the ward, and we service for them off and on. A cool moment was they fed us lunch, and while we were eating they asked us a TON of questions about our church. We were able to talk to them a little about temples, and even shared the First Vision with them. Who knows if it helped at all, but it was fun just to do that really in just a conversation with someone instead of a specific "lesson". 

Then Friday night, we were planning on going to Kirtland to see the nativities and lights with a family we are teaching. But last minute, our ride canceled on us! Luckily, we talked to the family and they were willing to drive two separate cars so we could all go up anyways. Once we showed up to their house to leave though, things were kind of in crisis mode. They had just found out ten minutes before that the husband was being laid off for awhile, for a "government shut down". Basically, they have no source of income for the next few weeks... so driving two cars to Kirtland might not be the best idea anymore. We let them talk it out, and they decided they STILL wanted to go, if just to get their mind off things. So we started driving, and it started SNOWING. The roads were so bad we got to Kirtland way later than we originally planned. We still got to see the lights and nativities, and I think they liked it. It was just kind of a stressful night. Survived it though :) 

                                                     Pictures from their trip to Kirtland !!  

Sister Rock and Sister Maughan in Kirtland

Sister Maughan in front of a snowy Newell K. Whitney store !

Alright we'll end this novel with another miracle that happened Saturday haha. We had texted someone Sister Rock and Sister Henry had met awhile ago... fully expecting him to either say he was busy or just ignore us. But nope- he let us come over! He told us he is searching for faith, and hasn't found it in some of the churches he's already been to. We talked to them for about an hour, longer than we expected, and will hopefully be going back sometime this week. 

The downs of this roller coaster are completely erased by the ups. Even if NONE of these people continue learning or ending up fully accepting the gospel while I'm here, these moments are still miracles. I have had the opportunity to see God's hand in the lives of all His children, and that has changed MY life. 

Love you all! Sorry if that bored you to death ;)

Sister Maughan

This is the Christmas tree we sent her the stuff to make.  
They did a great job putting it together !!  
Glad they have some Christmas Cheer in their apartment !! 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Kirtland !

Goodness, the weeks are just flying by this transfer! This last week was a good one, started out with Christmas Conference at Kirtland Tuesday morning... so of course that was amazing! I love my mission (so here comes the bragging "my mission is the best"). Who can say they got to meet together with all the missionaries, in the place where priesthood keys were actually restored? Just our mission! :D We are pretty spoiled here. 

The spirit was incredible there! We drove up to the visitors center with another set of sisters, pull into the parking lot and it's just FULL of missionaries! They let us just chat for about an hour and a half, go see all the nativities they have set up this time of year. It was fun just to see LITERALLY everyone... catch up with missionaries/companions I hadn't seen in awhile. 
Then we did a big lunch at the stake center, watched a slide show of a bunch of pictures from the year. THEN we got to meet together in the Kirtland temple and do a devotional. It was mostly a lot of singing Christmas hymns, sharing testimonies, and hearing from our mission leaders. I was pretty much crying the whole time :) Some of it was homesickness (Christmas music just makes you think of home!), and a lot of it was just feeling God's love for all of us- and for me! It's one of those experiences I hope I remember forever, or at least remember the feeling forever. 

The rest of the week was full of service opportunities! Helped one family rake leaves, another family clean out their basement, another family clean their windows. #LightTheWorld :) 

Sister Maughan and Sister Rock, raking leaves --doing service !!

More service opportunities !
Sister Maughan and Sister Rock cleaning windows.

We were also able to have a few good lessons with some new people that will hopefully continue learning! The work is picking up slowly. It's been really hard for me not to get frustrated and to be PATIENT. But Sister Rock and I were reading in Alma 29 today, about how Alma just wishes he could share the gospel with EVERYONE... but that he realizes he is doing what God needs him to, where God needs him to be. I'm always amazed by what I can relate to in the Book of Mormon as a missionary, that I don't think I can any other time of my life. I love it!

Struggles and all, I'm still doing well, and every day I learn something that changes my life.

Love you all, enjoy all the Christmas music and movies for me (next year!), and I"ll talk to you again soon!

Sister Maughan

p..s quote of the week- "Do you want to be happy? Forget yourself and get lost in this great cause. Lend your efforts to helping people... stand higher, lift those with feeble knees, hold up the arms of those that hang down. Live the gospel of Jesus Christ."- President Hinckley 
(I think I maybe already sent this one week... so just pretend it's new and inspiring anyways haha.)