Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"I'll be quiet" .... "I'll be peace"

Hello there! Haha I just have to say thank you before anything else AGAIN this week. Did things a little backwards and read all my emails before I wrote you guys, and you all definitely brightened my day and made me smile! Seriously, you all are incredible... I hope you remember that!

This week was another pretty rough week. Lots of days where all of our plans fell through, and we ended up wandering around the streets of Stow trying to find people to talk to. My feet are a little sore :) What's even harder is all that being outside and talking to people doesn't even seem to be working... all the people we talk to are NOT interested, or say they are at first but when we come back they look at us like we are crazy and wonder why we are there. Good times :)

That being said, we are learning A LOT lately haha. Sis A and I have been struggling emotionally lately, and not having set appointments has taken it's toll. We were a little worried for Saturday, because the Sister Training Leaders were coming to spend the whole day with us in our area! Heavenly Father blessed us to be able to REST that day though... meaning that EVERY person Sister Young and I stopped by let us in and talked to us. Whoa. We were able to strengthen so many people, even if it was just lending a listening ear. Definitely a day of tender mercies.

Yesterday was rough. We took an ice cream stress break for sure. Then went tracting around our apartment... and talked to this guy named Paul! It was a HUGE miracle, because his house was covered in "NO SOLICITING" signs, which we usually try to respect even though we aren't solicitors. We went to just leave a card on his door without knocking... and he walked right out the door haha! He was grilling chicken, so we talked with him for about ten minutes while he worked on his grill. We did a lot of listening to his perspective, he has questions of the soul that can be answered through the Book of Mormon (like why do bad things happen to good people if there's really a God?), so we left him with a Book of Mormon and he said we could come back! I really like talking to new people :)

Our investigator Vicky was sick ALL this week, so we weren't able to see her. :( She has a baptismal date for later in March! Hopefully this week she'll get feeling better and we can get back over there. Everyone in the world is sick actually, that's another reason we are struggling to talk to people. Hopefully once the weather figures out what it wants to do, people will get feeling better and we can see them again! 

That's all my random stories for the week! Just another week here in Ohio! I've said it before and I'll say it again- every day is hard, but every day is more than worth it. I was reading this morning about Peace in True to the Faith. "Many people think of peace as the absence of war. But we can feel peace even in times of war, and we can lack peace even when no war is raging. The mere absence of conflict is not enough to bring peace to our hearts. Peace comes through the gospel—through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the ministration of the Holy Ghost, and our own righteousness, sincere repentance, and diligent service." We can search the world to try to find that peace, and we might find it temporarily in those worldy things. But if we aren't willing to sacrifice, to put what WE think we need aside, and truly live the Gospel of Jesus Christ... we will not have that peace. So if things aren't going well.. quit complaining! Put aside your pride, get back to doing the things you know to be right, and I PROMISE that peace will enter your life the moment you do so. :) 

Love you all! Have a great week!

Sister Maughan

Abby with Sister Young, one of her Sister Training Leaders

Abby and Sister Archibald taking an "Ice Cream Stress Break"

Picture of a Happy Day !!  This is the baptism of Phil, 
who Abby taught while she was in Perrysburg.  
He was just baptized a week or so ago, but it was so exciting 
to see that he entered the waters of baptism!  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Where Faith Lives

Hello everyone! First THANK YOU SO MUCH for making this past week so much fun! Our mail box/ front porch was covered in cards and packages! I felt all your thoughts and prayers as well, even if you didn't send anything. I am constantly grateful for my amazing support system, and know I couldn't/ wouldn't do any of this without all of you cheering me on! 

As for this week... the roller coaster of mission life continued! Thursday, Friday, Saturday were some of the most fun days of my mission! Lots of celebrating and miracles happened. I know you'll all be curious to know how the 11th went, and I'm happy to report it was very fun! In the morning, we went to give a family we met a tour. Sadly, they texted us exactly at 12:05 (we were supposed to meet at noon) and said they were all sick and couldn't make it. :( I wasn't going to let that stop us though, so we called another man we'd met who mentioned he wanted to check out the Family History Center. (It was conveniently open! :D ). And the man we called was conveniently available to drop what he was doing and come on over! So we spent some time doing family history work with him, took him on a tour of the church, and went on our merry way. He seemed to enjoy it, and it was a great way to start out the day!

I know we tracted for a little while, dropped off a Portuguese Book of Mormon to a family we met last week (that was another fun miracle), and I'm not sure what else. But at around 5:00 we went to visit a member named Judy Alexander. She's kind of our "mission grandma" in this area, we visit her once a week and help her with cleaning and such. She gave us ice cream to celebrate, and she gave me some fun presents/flowers! After her, we went out to Panera for dinner, and finished the night off by watching the Restoration DVD with some of our investigators. So I have to say that the eleventh was definitely a success. :) 

The rest of the week was fairly normal, until we hit yesterday. Yesterday may have been the worst day of my entire mission. Sounds exciting huh? 

I woke up in the morning, and I was incredibly happy. (Which is very unusual for me by the way. I am NOT a morning person). We had studies, I learned SO MUCH and I was ready to go get the day. We met the Elders at Chick-Fil-A for lunch, then went over to the church for District Meeting and Interviews with President. 

I'm not sure what happened, but for no apparent reason, my emotional self just broke down while we were there. Interviews went well, I just cried the whole time and couldn't explain why. :) After District Meeting was over, Sister Archibald was gung-ho (is that really a phrase? it's a weird one) to go tracting because that's what she talked to President about. So we went tracting.  For 5 hours straight. 

 I was still in an emotional melt down, but on a mission you forget yourself and go to work, so I pushed through. One hour down, we had a stop by planned. It fell through... so we tracted. Our next appointment called and cancelled... so we tracted. It finally hit 6:00 and I couldn't wait until 7 when I knew we had a solid appointment planned. No such luck. She called at 6:30 saying she was very sick and we wouldn't be able to come over. Let's just say I wasn't a happy camper. And there was NO WAY i was going to continue knocking on doors for another hour. Because in the past 5 hours, not a single person had said they were interested in learning. TONS of them answered the door, a handful of them were a little less friendly rejections, and I was already feeling like the worst missionary in the world. 

But do we quit as missionaries? We sure don't. Thank goodness for Nursing Homes. :) 7:00 hit and Sister Archibald thought we should go visit a less active that's in a Rehab center named Earl. He was ecstatic to see us! You have no idea how good that felt after 5 solid hours of being rejected. It truly was a tender mercy of MY day, and we also talked to a few other people that live there. If i hadn't gained a testimony of service bringing joy before yesterday, I definitely have one now haha!

Ah and now it's a new day and I can look back at it and be grateful for the trial and what I learned. And I guess I took the time to share that with you guys (sorry it was SO long!), to help you remember that even when you are living the gospel and doing all you can.. life isn't all lollipops and rainbows. It's HARD, and you consistently wonder WHY your life seems to be falling apart when you are serving and loving your neighbor and doing those Sunday School answers. But I found a quote from Elder Ballard's talk ("To Whom Shall We Go?" from last Oct) that about sums up the why. 

"Sometimes we can learn, study, and know, and sometimes we have to believe, trust, and hope."

There are times in our lives, when we can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. We don't see how things are going to get any better, we don't understand why God has put us where He has, and we tend to either blame Him or think we aren't good enough. That is NEVER true. It is in those moments, when there are "things which are not seen" , that we are asked to exercise our faith. 

17 Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe. 

18 Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it.           

21 And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true. 

22 And now, behold, I say unto you, and I would that ye should remember, that God is merciful unto all who believe on his name; therefore he desireth, in the first place, that ye should believe, yea, even on his word.

That's what faith is! 

When we can't see the outcome... and we ACT anyways. And everytime we do, God PROMISES that our faith will not be in vain. I didn't see any outcome from tracting five hours yesterday in misery. Yet I KNOW that something good will come out of it. Whether it's tomorrow, or 20 years down the road. He never said it would be easy, He just said it would be worth it. 

So if there is one thing I've learned in the past year since taking that leap of faith and coming on my mission, it's that God LOVES us, He wants what is best for us, and as we follow Him with all our heart, might, mind, and strength (even if we don't feel like we have much to offer), He will teach us and shape us into something far greater than we think we can be. 
So I am grateful for the trials of this life. I'm thankful for the moments that make me question and think. Another quote from Elder Ballard's talk says "Brothers and sisters, accepting and living the gospel of Christ can be challenging. It has always been thus, and it ever will be. Life can be like hikers ascending a steep and arduous trail. It is a natural and normal thing to occasionally pause on the path to catch our breath, to recalculate our bearings, and to reconsider our pace. Not everyone needs to pause on the path, but there is nothing wrong with doing so when your circumstances require. In fact, it can be a positive thing for those who take full advantage of the opportunity to refresh themselves with the living water of the gospel of Christ."

I know that is true! 

Alright, thanks for listening, feel free to print that out and give it as a talk in sacrament meeting this week. ;) I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH, and know that wherever you are at, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are watching over you and reaching out to help you. 

Have an incredible week, keep sharing your light, and I look forward to seeing you all in a short 6/7 months!

Sister Maughan

Abby with her birthday breakfast which she made -- 
Crepes with strawberries spelling out "20".  
She's also wearing the new dress and scarf that we sent her!! 

Abby with Sister Archibald wearing birthday hats and celebrating Abby's 20th birthday ! 

Sister Archibald and Sister Maughan having a birthday dinner at Panera!  
Abby loves this place!

Abby wrote this about this picture - 
"We found a random arch we took pictures in 
-after we walked a million miles the other day." 
Funny kid !!  I thought it was cute of her face-  
So I wanted to include it with this blog! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

I LOVE February!

Did I mention that I LOVE February? 

This week... good things happened. Brought members out teaching with us that saved the lessons. Set some baptismal dates with people that will hopefully stick. Mostly, it's just been adjusting to how everything works with the new schedule. Especially because we don't even "count" lessons anymore! 

One fun miracle that happened I don't think I mentioned yet is we met a new investigator named Martha! Sister Archibald and I tracted into her a couple weeks ago, she didn't have time but said we could come back, and I was pretty sure that meant she wasn't interested. But Sister Archibald and her faith kept us going back. One day, when we weren't even planning on stopping by to see her, we drove by her house and saw her and her twins just getting out of the car. Sister Archibald was like "WAIT!" haha, so we turned around and they let us right in! We mostly just answered her questions about what we do as missionaries. We are going back tonight to officially teach her, and I'm really excited! 

We also deep cleaned our investigator Vicky's house the other day. Vacuuming millions of spider webs always seems to make your day brighter. ;) Her friend Pete came by while we were cleaning, he sounds like Gru from Despicable Me! So that's cool. 

As usual, we've been able to run into a handful of new people who say they are willing to talk to us.. so as long as they keep to that haha. That's the only down side to this area, we FIND people all the time (which weirds me out, none of my areas before this one have been like that), but the people we find only meet with us once or twice and then fall off the radar. We are keeping the faith though, and I know there are people here who are ready to accept the gospel. It's just trusting in the Lord's timing and doing everything we can on our part. 

Everyday, I am so thankful for the opportunity to be here. It's HARD, and we have a lot of break down moments throughout the weeks when either Sister Archibald or myself can't take it anymore. It's a consistent learning process, every day you have to overcome the challenges that come your way... or you won't go anywhere. I've come to learn to be grateful for the trials and challenges we face. Heavenly Father truly has us in His hands, and I'm constantly learning to just trust in His will. 

Keep on keepin on my friends! I love you all and know I think of you and pray for you often!

Love, Sister Maughan

p.s. Yes, I'm staying in Tallmadge with Sister Archibald!

Abby's District 
 Elder Ledua, Elder Allen, Elder Vance and Elder Hopkins,  
Sister Maughan and Sister Archibald

Sister Maughan And Sister Archibald

The "CVC" pic (Cache Valley Crew!) 
These three are all from Cache Valley, and are serving together.
Sister Maughan, Elder Hopkins, and Sister Archibald.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Hello Family!

My brain is a little not functioning right now since I'm getting a cold, so I apologize ahead of time if this is short, sweet, and confusing :)

Ahh this week. It just might have been the hardest week of my mission, and I can't really even explain why. 

Thursday was CRAZY. We had appointments schedules for EVERY hour starting at 4 until 8, and each of them went so well! We started teaching the  hispanic mom and kids we met last week with Sister Wanzo, they are SO CUTE... and the 13 year old son has a mustache :) Nothing else to really report, just that we were super busy that night and Sister Archibald was loving it! 

We did a LOT of walking this week, trying to save miles since we're only allowed to drive so many per month. Braving the cold weather- and it finally snowed again this week! Still nothing as crazy as Utah, but it's white again instead of ugly brown outside. 

The only other thing to really report was Monday, we watched the world wide mission broadcast. If you are in touch with any other missionaries, you probably already heard that our daily schedule as missionaries has been changed. That's why I'm emailing you earlier today, because now our Preparation Day starts at 8:00! Everything else is fairly normal, they've just given us more flexibility on when we study and how long we study. Our mission leader shared with us this scripture in Doctrine and Covenants as he has come to understand these changes.

26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.

Agency- it's a gift from God! One of the elders mentioned that now we have more opportunities to "choose the right", then to be compelled to because that's what is required. Part of it is also to make the adjustment back to "real" life from missionary life a little easier. I'm pretty excited, but also nervous because change always brings some hard experiences. Especially when my brain has programmed itself to be doing the same thing for the past almost 365 days haha. 

Next week, preparation day is on Tuesday because of transfers! Unless something REALLY crazy happens, Sister Archibald and I will both be in Tallmadge for these next six weeks. So 

I"ll talk to you again then! 

Love, Sister Maughan

                                                      Abby teaching a "porch goose"!!