Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"Just another day in Ohio"

Sometimes, I still feel like I just came to the mission yesterday and I know nothing. Then I force myself to realize I've been out for FOREVER and I really have learned a lot. We just don't always learn what we expect to learn :)

This week we had an Area 70, Elder Robert C. Gay, and his wife come and speak to us. I was asked to play the piano for the meeting, so that was exciting. It went really well, mostly we talked about how we need to be teaching people, not lessons. Sometimes as missionaries, we get caught up in just getting our point across, and we forget to stop and listen. Listen to the people, and listen to the spirit. :( He gave us a lot of really good pointers and suggestions, and we are stressing ourselves out trying to improve even though we shouldn't be. Kind of been a rough week for Sister Archibald and I emotionally- just beating ourselves up and getting discouraged. So keep the prayers coming! 

A huge reason we are stressed is we are working with an INCREDIBLE family right now... and we just don't know how to help them anymore! Heavenly Father keeps putting little miracles in our path that make us feel like they are SO prepared... but every lesson we try to have with them is unfocused and all over the place, or we just aren't able to have a lesson when we stop by because they have a lot going on and just need people to vent to. We have been REALLY good listeners so far, but the teaching hasn't really happened.

One miracle we had with them, is we took the mom, Jen, on a church tour with us. We were trying to find a member to come with us last minute, and one of our members that couldn't come suggested we bring Victoria- an AMAZING member that just got baptized last May. She was able to come, really help our investigator feel comfortable and answer questions. Nothing too exciting happened there, but later that day we got a text from Victoria that reminded us how involved God is in our lives. Victoria's daughter- Bryleigh is doing cheer, and they had a performance or whatever you want to call it that night. Turns out one of Jen's daughters is on the same cheer team, and Bryleigh is friends with her! They never would've made that connection if Victoria hadn't come that morning. Victoria basically said," I've been praying Bryleigh would be able to make better friends in school, and God sent her Sabrina!" So many prayers answered in just one simple gesture of giving a church tour. 

The other story I'll tell you about happened yesterday. I mentioned awhile ago when we had interviews with President that he called me to repentance to make a few changes in the work. He specifically asked us to exercise our faith to bring members out with us- even if we don't have a set appointment. I always am SO AFRAID to do this, because what member really wants to come out tracting with us? But we put forth some faith, and invited a member named Sister Wanzo to spend some time with us yesterday morning. Our tentative appointment fell through, our backup fell through, and our backup to our backup fell through in the first half hour. :) But Sister Wanzo was all about just trying more people, so we stopped by a 20 year old girl we met a few weeks ago that said we could come by again. She wasn't home, but her mom was- and after some talking on the front porch let us in! She wants us to teach her younger children, since they haven't attended church regularly, and the mom never really went either. 

Per usual, the miracles didn't stop there. We asked Sister Wanzo if there was anyone she'd been wanting to share the gospel with- and she took us over to meet her neighbor. Her neighbor let us right in as well, we shared the Restoration with her, and she agreed to have the elders come back and teach her (she doesn't live in our area). 

Exercising faith really works. 

Love you all, hope things are going well and that I hear from you soon! My mailbox (the real one... not the email one) is looking a little empty lately ;) 

Love, Sister Maughan

                                  This is a "Three generation" picture of Abby's mission life!  
                     Left to Right - Sister Elizabeth Archibald (Abby's "daughter" or Greenie), 
                   Sister Abby Maughan, and Sister Jordan Gibbs (Abby's "Mom" or Trainer). 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Feels like Spring

Hi again! I sadly don't have too many exciting stories to report this week, I'll do my best to keep you all awake!

Had some rough days and some good days this week. Thursday was pretty fun, stopped by some different investigators throughout the day and they were actually home! We also got to eat dinner at some members in the ward that are from China- so authentic Chinese food. I actually LOVE it, way better than whatever Americanized Chinese food they sell here in restaurants. :D They are also super hard to have a conversation with sometimes, their accents are pretty thick, but they are amazing members!

Saturday the same thing happened with us stopping by and people actually being home. In the morning we stopped by someone named Tammy, Sister Rock and I taught her once last transfer and then she asked us to come back after the holidays. She let us right in, and we reviewed the Restoration lesson with her. At the end of the lesson, she said she really felt how important this was to us, and how grateful  she is to know that Mormons are really Christians! She grew up hearing a lot of anti-mormon stuff, but talking to us has helped her realized we are just normal people trying to follow Jesus Christ. Once again, no huge miracle commitment to get baptized or anything, but being able to help people see WHO we are and who we follow... that's miracle enough for me!

 Then Sunday night, we had a fun miracle text come in! One of our active members is married to a non-member, and he has been on our mind a lot lately. We asked her to invite him to learn from us, and Sunday she texted us saying he agreed! Our first lesson with him was VERY awkward and choppy, and we really didn't accomplish what we had planned, but we are just so excited to finally understand his religious beliefs and how we can help him accept the gospel. It reminded me a little of Perrysburg, when we first started teaching Phil. Our lessons weren't always perfect at first, (we are still young and NOT pros at teaching haha) but the spirit was still there. With this lesson, the kids were kind of running around- but it was perfect to have them there and share their testimonies of prayer. I trust that it will work out how it needs to!

Last thing is that yesterday we went on exchanges with the sisters in Wadsworth. For a service project, we went to a little place called "The Giving Doll", where they make dolls and send them out to kids all over the world. The weather was so nice outside, and all these older ladies that were in there sewing just kept saying "it feels like spring" over and over again. :) It does, there's not a trace of snow here! Haha. 

Alright, I think that's enough random stories. I'm really looking forward to this week! 

Tomorrow we have a Area Seventy coming to speak to us, then Monday we will be watching a world wide mission conference! Lot's of learning, which I definitely need.

Love you all, thanks for your continued prayers and support!

Sister Maughan

                                              Just a "random" picture from this week.
                         Sister Archibald and Sister Maughan out doing some tracting.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

"What do missionaries do?" "They go on a mission." :D

Hello out there!

This week was really incredible. I love working with Sister Archibald and seeing her passion and enthusiasm for the work. It makes me sad that as time goes on, us missionaries kind of lose that fire and excitement because of the daily repetition of our schedule. I also love working with her because it helps me reflect on when I first came out... and I CANNOT believe that was almost a whole year ago! I still feel brand new, but my time is already on the down hill. I'm really hating that time is going by so fast, because this experience will be over before I know it/want it to!

Ahh so recap of this week. Friday was a really good day, and we saw some fun miracles. First, we met a man we're teaching named Jim at the library with one or our members. Turns out our member actually went to high school with him back in the day (they're both in their 60s) and they know each other's family! There was definitely a lot more chatting in that lesson that actual teaching, but I really have no complaints!

Later that day, we were able to teach a couple young women aged girls that we met last week. We brought another member with us, Sister Ryden (she's the one that sent you that picture of us last week mom). As we talked, we found out the girls go to school with Sister Ryden's kids! Another fun miracle. 

That night we also had dinner with all the elders at Bishop Call's house. Us missionaries taught the Restoration all together to their family, and it was a really cool experience. I love that even though we all have different personalities and ways of teaching, we have all been studying and learning the same things- so we can teach in unity even though we've never taught together before. It's just a stronger testimony to me of the truth of this gospel! 

One thing I've learned this week that I want to share with you, is that missionary work, works. And by that, I mean EVERY TIME we open our mouths to share the gospel, someone's life is blessed. Sometimes that is the life of those we are sharing it with. Sometimes it may be one of their grandkids that was sitting in the back corner playing with their toys. And a lot of times, it is our own lives that our blessed. 

I'll give you a quick example, hopefully it will make sense. Sunday night, we met up with some of our neighbors. They are extremely active in another church, and are very loving and good people. Sister Archibald and I knew going into it that they are not interested in changing religions, but they wanted to come together to discuss different views and gain a greater understanding of each other. We were able to share the incredible message of how we have modern day prophets on the earth today, that hold the authority to teach the gospel. We answered a lot of their questions, and at the end of the lesson, no outward miracles happened (like them suddenly wanting to get baptized or gaining a light-switch testimony of Joseph Smith. Didn't happen). But what did happen is that Sister Archibald and I left their home with a feeling of joy and peace that we hadn't really been able to feel for awhile, and that we desperately needed. 

That's what sharing the gospel does for you. Regardless of the result, we are blessed. EVERY TIME. God doesn't just want us to share the gospel with the people that are prepared to get baptized tomorrow. (If that were true... we would not need quite as many missionaries). We are to preach the gospel to ALL people: neighbors, strangers, close family members, friends we've known and loved for years. Everyone we know! In one of our meetings Monday, we read a quote from Uchtdorf that basically says "If you truly love these people, and show them that love, you can NEVER be too bold."

So it's our job to be bold! Ask that question, follow that prompting from the spirit. No matter what happens, Heavenly Father will be on our side. I know that our prayers will be answered as we do so.

I am just so grateful every day for this missionary experience, and what it teaches me about God's plan for each of His children. Never take that knowledge for granted. 

Love you all, I'll try to have some good stories to share next week so you don't have to just read my random thoughts. :)

Sister Maughan

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Welcome to our family

Introducing... Sister Archibald!!! Just graduated this year, 2016, from SKY VIEW high school. Yep, she's from NORTH LOGAN my friends. How cool is that? :D 

LOVE HER already, she is a way hard worker and very excited about the work. Honestly, it kind of scares me how excited she is... I LOVE IT! 

Another good song from Brother Bear that's been stuck in my head lately! And it's appropriate, because we welcomed Sister Archibald to our Ohio Cleveland Mission family this Wednesday.

Wow, it always amazes me how much happens in so little time. One week can feels like FOREVER here... but it's really only been eight days since I talked to you last!

Wednesday was a little nerve wracking, Sis Rock and I were just both anxious all morning, but we made it to Kirtland alive and well! Waited around for about a day and a half.. ok it was about 40 minutes but the suspense was killing me! Our trainees finally showed up and we found out who our new comp was. I am so excited to work with her and help her adjust and learn how amazing missionary life is. She pretty much came pre-trained teaching/finding/everything wise, so it's mostly just helped her learn the rules and getting past the homesickness. She amazes me every day with how willing she is to talk to everyone and just love them. 

We've been doing a LOT of tracting this week, since the holidays continued and people still didn't really want to talk to us. We did see a bunch of miracles happen though! To name a few...

One night (the night we were tracting those apartment buildings), we stopped by a cute older lady named Jerry we've talked to, and her daughter was there visiting. Her daughter had a TON of questions for us, a lot of them had to do with the Plan of Salvation, so it was a huge miracle to be able to share our testimonies of that with her. They are also both HILARIOUS, so we did a lot of laughter stress therapy that night with them, it was good :) 
We were also able to talk to a few more people I haven't been able to contact in the six weeks I've been here, whether they were interested still or not, is ALWAYS a miracle. 

Tuesday, yesterday, was probably the only other really exciting thing that happened. We had interviews with president along with District Meeting. It's always good to talk to him, just be real, let him know how things are going and hear what advice he has for me. Kind of called me to repentance yesterday haha, I'm looking forward to making some changes with the work that will hopefully bring us more people to teach! 

Speaking of changes, Happy New Year! I guess that's something exciting we did. New year eve we went out to a restaurant called Tip Top with a member. I thought it would be way busy, since it's a really popular place around here, but there were only about 5 other groups there with us. Ate some good food and just enjoyed celebrating the New year... 5 hours earlier than everyone else. :) We were in bed by 10:30, I think I woke up at 1 for a few minutes,then I was out again. Just another day in mission life to us haha.  

I honestly think that's all, hopefully you feel updated. It's been fun with the new year, realizing that i COME HOME this year, looking back and realizing I spent almost ALL of the year here in Ohio, realizing I"ll spend most of this year also in Ohio. And being amazed at all the things I've learned, looking forward to all the things I'll learn this year. I really just love new years! 

I love you all, I DEFINITELY felt your prayers and love this week. One day I was just looking through all the pictures I have of family/friends/ward members plus people I've met here in Ohio, and I just felt like I was being wrapped up in a blanket. You honestly are the best support a sister missionary could ask for, I am so grateful for every one of you!

Enjoy your week, and I"ll talk to you again on Wednesday.

Love, Sister Maughan