Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Walking in Norwalk

Oh goodness this week has been a ride! Transfers are always stressful and emotional. They take a lot of patience with yourself and with your companion, and a LOT of prayer! The good news is, I arrived in one piece to the Sandusky ward! Our area covers a cute town called Norwalk, and that's where our apartment is and where we spend most of our time. The sisters have done a good job at building the area up, so we have a few amazing investigators! There is a cute family we are teaching (I think there last name is Fox?), and they are really progressing. The sister here before me was also fluent in spanish, so half of our investigators only speak spanish. :/ We aren't sure what we'll end up doing there, since our members that speak spanish are pretty busy! We've been joking/not really joking that we will hopefully have the gift of tongues soon! 

Sister Ashby is awesome, and she is from Cache Valley, Utah! Haha funny how that keeps happening to me! She is from Newton, and her personality is more quiet and reserved, but she's an amazing sister. 

We did a lot of service this week, and a lot of contacting former or potential investigators and tracting. Our church building is 30 minutes away! And we drive right past this AMAZING water park called "Calahari" (i probably slaughtered the spelling on that) every time we go to church. Plus, Cedar Point (roller coaster park, that has the largest/fastest/best roller coasters in the world) is also here in Sandusky. Basically, it's a rough place to be a mission, since we can't do any of those things on our missions! But now I have more of an excuse to come back and visit and have fun! ;) 

Other than that, I really can't saw I have too much to report. The biggest struggle for me has been adjusting to the culture of this area. I'm very used to being in the rich and more prideful areas of Ohio, and Norwalk is pretty humble! But as we always here "there is no comfort in the growth zone, and there is no growth in the comfort zone". I feel like I'll have lots of growing to do while I'm here, but there are good members and missionaries here that I know will help me through it! I'm excited to learn and come closer to my Savior while I am here, as well as help more of Heavenly Father's children to come closer to Him as well.

Love you all tons! talk to you next week!

Love, Sister Maughan

                                                           Sister Ashby and Sister Maughan

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Runnin' on... to Sandusky

Wow. This week, was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!! If I had to pick the best week of my mission so far... there's a good chance this last week was it. There IS a way to work hard, see miracles, and have FUN all at the same time!

First, last Wednesday, after preparation day, we were able to go to Bishop Call's house to help his wife cut out some decorations for the Relief Society activity coming up. We don't get very many opportunities to be crafty as missionaries, plus the Calls are amazing people! 

Right after that, we met a lady named Kathy and she took us out to eat at Panera. Yum! She has had contact with missionaries/members in the past and loves talking to us. And we love talking to her!

Thursday was supposed to be pretty busy again. We went to help at the Giving Doll again in the morning. Later met with our investigator Rose and answer her questions about the Plan of Salvation. Had dinner with the Rovelskys. Then everything after that fell through, so we tracted! I love daylight savings... because it's still light outside at night to knock on doors without scaring people to death!

Friday, WE WENT TO KIRTLAND! Wahoo! The Walters are a very active family in our ward, but her husband isn't a member, so we have been teaching him. They all really loved it (Sister Walters and the kids have been before a long time ago, he had never been.) The spirit was there, like it always is at Kirtland. Plus, we went out to eat at The Melt after, so yay for more good food :) The Walter family definitely have been my second family here in Tallmadge! 

The rest of the day was mostly stop bys and tracting, and everything we had planned actually worked out. Weird, doesn't happen very often!

Saturday was a pretty normal day. 

Sunday MARTHA CAME TO CHURCH!!!!!!!! And she loved it! We introduced her to a bunch of people, and she just seemed so happy and perky there. Her kids weren't able to come, but she said she wants to bring them next time! Sundays are so much brighter when investigators come. :) After church, we went to see the Nepali family in the Elder's area we are helping. We invited their visiting teachers, Sister Johnson and Suk (you say it with a long U, like "you". She is from Nepal as well), and it went really well! These refugee families have gone through so much... and are still going through so much! This family in particular is really being run by the 22 year old daughter, since the mom has passed away and the dad has some memory loss issues from a car accident that happened years ago. So this 22 year old has had to grow up so fast! She amazes me! We also went tracting Sunday on a really good street- because everyone answered the door and talked to us for at least 5 minutes! We were even able to teach the Restoration on someone's doorstep and leave him with a Book of Mormon, even though he really wasn't interested at first. 

Yesterday was another day full or miracles! We had District Meeting in the morning, and we usually all eat lunch together at the church after. About 20 minutes into our lunch break, some random guy comes up to the outside Relief Society door and tries to get in. I'll be honest, my original thought was to just ignore him. Yet the Elders are good missionaries and went out and talked to him. Long story short, he (Joe) turned out to be a referral we had gotten from one of our members and passed on to the Elders, thinking he lived in their area. But as we talked to him, we found out he actually lives in our area! He was super open, so he actually just came in, sat down with us at the table, and all six of us missionaries team taught him. It was SO COOL! We have a return appointment with him this week, and he wants to come to church as well. 

Do the miracles end there? Of course not :) We had dinner with the same member that referred Joe to us later that night. She had invited her daughter-in-law to come for dinner, and her daughter-in-law is really interested in learning as well! When members to the inviting, things work out better EVERY TIME, then if we had just knocked on their door. So go out and invite! Help some missionaries experience miracles! 

We spent the last few minutes of the night with another Nepali family we are teaching. Came home, and waited the longest half hour of my life for transfer calls! The anticipation of transfers is just as bad as waiting for your actual mission call. You have no idea where you will be going, and you just have to wait and wait and wait until you finally know!

I'm getting transferred! To SANDUSKY! That's where Sister Gibbs was trained, and Sister Rock and Sister Heer have also served there. I plan on emailing them for lots of advice when I get out there! ;) My new companion will be Sister Ashby, she came out a few transfers after I did. And what's fun, is her trainer, Sister Kempton, will be coming here! So I'll be with Sister Kempton's trainee, and Sister Kempton will be with my trainee. I'm SO excited for Sister Archibald to take over this area and continue to see miracles here. It has been so fun to see her grow, and she is AMAZING!!!! 

Once again though, I am going to miss the people of Tallmadge! Funny how I never want to leave, then end up loving those people so much that I never want them either. I truly feel like I've put my heart, might, mind, and strength into this area and these people. I will never forget the experiences I have had here, and am just so grateful for the knowledge that if I never see them again in this life, I can see them again in the next one! 

I'll keep you updated on how things are (obviously). Love you all, I appreciate your thoughts and prayers more than you know.

Love, Sister Maughan

Inspiration scripture for transfer week :)
"Therefore, continue your journey and let your hearts rejoice, for behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end." Doctrine and Covenants 100:12
It's also appropriate because there is a good chance Sandusky will be the LAST area. Ahh! I've been on my mission so long that's a possibility! :( 

                                              Love seeing the light in these "Sister's" faces!  
                  Sister Archibald, sister Maughan and I don't know the names of the other two!

At Kirtland with The Walters Family 
Abby is on the far right ! 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Carpe Diem

Wow, last Wednesday felt like years ago... yet this week went by so fast! I am getting super nervous about transfers, since I'm pretty sure I"ll be headed out.. and I just want to know where. But I also am going to miss these people a crazy amount of a lot, and I really don't want to leave them. Oh mission life....

Let's see what stories I can share with you this week.Thursday was Zone Conference. We combined with the other Akron Zone, so it was fun to see some missionary faces that I haven't seen in awhile. Learned a lot, and made a lot of commitments to improve! Zone Conferences are a great way to review where you are at, and how you can do even better.

The rest of the week was pretty normal... nothing new to report. Monday, we saw Vicky and taught her about temples and family history. She was so excited! And my testimony of the importance of temples grew stronger as we taught her. Monday night, we traveled to Wadsworth to go on exchanges with the Sisters. It snowed a TON that night (and last night), so we have about a foot of really good powder hanging out on the rooftops and streets. :/ We looked at it as a blessing though, and shoveled lots of driveways Tuesday morning! I was with Sister Reddish for the day. Talked to a few of their members/investigators. One of them even played his banjo for us haha! 

We came back to our area at about 6, and went to see Martha. It was such a good lesson! We just reviewed the Restoration, and her twins were there for the last half. We helped them say the closing prayer, it was awesome! Martha is doing really well. She has a huge heart and a desire to do good in her life- to help her family and neighbors and friends and strangers. She's just the best! Another family I am going to miss like crazy :( 

And now it's Wednesday! Sorry there's not too much too report. Mostly, I was just reminded this week that this truly is a "labor of love". Sister Gibbs would remind me of that all the time back in my Strongsville days, and to have that reminder this week (especially when Sis Gibbs is going home next Thursday. Ahh!) was exactly what I needed. We truly are ALL brother and sisters. Knowing that fact, that God is our Loving Heavenly Father, that we are all one big family, enables me to do things I never thought I could have done. It enables me to walk into the houses of strangers and immediately strike up a conversation with them. It enables me to teach them about the changes they can make in their lives to bring them greater peace and happiness. Most of all, it enables me to LOVE them. Whether it's a stranger slamming the door in my face or a member of the church that loves and adores missionaries. God has placed us all in each other's paths for a reason, and one of the main reasons is just to share His love!

I know that this gospel is true. That this church truly is Jesus Christ's Church established again on the earth. This is the only way we can truly find JOY in our lives. Our lives, our families and friends lives, are blessed and improved as we LIVE the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ every day. I've seen that to be in true in my life, and I've seen it to be true in the lives of so many others. So why not share it? One thing we learned at Zone Conference is to "Open thy mouth". This is the greatest message we canshare with the world. Yes it is scary, but YES is it worth it. 

Love you all SO MUCH. You are incredible and you are enough. Go out there and "seize the day!"

Love, Sister Maughan 

                                                Sister Maughan and Sister Archibald
                        Abby sent this picture this week.  I had to include it with this post.  
                  This is the dress that Natali and I picked out to send her for her birthday.  
                                                           She looks beautiful in it!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

"Each Life That Touches Ours For Good"

When you are on a mission, it feels like you talk to a MILLION people a day. None of them are very interested in changing their beliefs. Yet they are all very friendly, a handful of them will even agree to have you in their home and discuss beliefs, and some of them give you free leggings!

Haha let's just say we had some adventures this week! ;)

Thursday was another crazy day, as usual. We had an incredible lesson with our investigator Rose about the Plan of Salvation. They are from Brazil, I can't remember if I already told you about them or not. She is a cute young mom, and just loves talking to people of different religions and learning about them. She is learning English still, so we have a language barrier sometimes, but other than that she is awesome! 

Right after that, we saw the Hispanic family that we are working with. We invited Sister Merrill to come with us, since she speaks Spanish and has a daughter the same age as their daughter. We are usually there only half an hour. We taught them the Plan of Salvation as well. Up to this point, we have just been teaching them from the Bible, because that's what the mom wanted the kids to know about. Long story short, we ended up being there for about an hour (and Sister Merrill stayed after we left for another half hour), explaining more of our beliefs and answering their questions. We also learned that the dad, who is usually at work during all of this, is SUPER Catholic. :/ The mom seemed to be interested in learning still, but we are worried what will happen with them this week. They are the cutest family and I will miss them a lot if they decide not to have us over anymore! 

Since we were there so long, we were SUPER late to our dinner appointment, and then had to run to another appointment right after that. Thursdays are so busy, I don't understand why!! 

This week we were also able to see Vicky again. She was still too sick to come to church this week :( So we ended up moving her baptismal date to April. Fun story with how we changed it with her though. We usually make up little calendars with our investigators once we have a set date with them, so they can see what lessons we need to teach them and what they need to do in order to make that date. We had made her one for her March date. Well we went there yesterday, knowing we'd need to remake one for her... and she had already made it herself! She picked out the new date in April, which happened to be the same date we were thinking of, and had written in "church" on every Sunday until then. Vicky is awesome! She knows so much and she is going to be a huge blessing to the members here.

Alright, I'll get to the free leggings story, and then probably end there for the week. :)
So we were out contacting Monday, and as we are walking down the street these two squirrels race out in front of an oncoming car! One of them makes it to the other side (I'm watching this whole thing while we are walking), and I'm hoping the other one will too. No such luck. :( Basically, I just watched a squirrel die! Sister Archibald and I were in a weird mood and like both really sad and laughing are heads off. The squirrels in Ohio definitely keep things interesting!

Obviously that has nothing to do with free leggings, but wait! We continue walking down the road and knock on the door of a old referral. Find out he doesn't live there anymore, so we knock on the next door neighbors door. As soon as we introduce ourselves, the lady goes "Have you heard of LulaRoe?" I hadn't, I'm assuming some of you Utahans know what it is, but apparently it's this modest comfy clothing line based out of Salt Lake. This lady talks to us all about how she sells it at her house and loves it and loves the values our church has, takes us into her basement to show us her little store she has there, and gives us a pair of LulaRoe leggings! Haha it was so random but awesome! She was not interested in learning sadly. But she definitely brightened our day, and made us forget all about dying squirrels! ;)

                 Sister Maughan and Sister Archibald in the leggings this lady gave them !! 

She wasn't the only random stranger who let us in this week and just talked with us and encouraged us to keep going. So that hymn that's the subject line, and my introduction statement is SO true this week. Those little people that are placed in your life, that help uplift you, or teach you something new. I probably will never see any of them ever again in this life... yet I am SO grateful to have met them. 

So my challenge to you... is to be that person for someone else! You never know if you holding the door open to someone, or talking to a stranger at the store is exactly what they need to keep going in life. You may never see them again... so seize the opportunity while you have it! They need you, and more importantly you may need them! You all have made my life AMAZING, and I know you can bless even more people if you'll just take the opportunities that are presented to you.

Love you! Thanks as usual for listening to my random Ohio stories, I enjoy sharing them with you. CTR and have a great week!

-Sis Maughan

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

"The Fun has Arrived"

Sometimes movie quotes just pop into your brain, so you use them as subject lines :D

Hello there! In all honesty, this week WAS actually pretty fun! 

Last Thursday was pretty cool. Our Thursdays lately are pretty busy, and as we planned in the morning, it was supposed to be the usual same people we always see on Thursdays. But as the morning went on... ALL of them cancelled via text haha. The fun thing was... we still were busy ALL that night. Heavenly Father knew we had other people we needed to talk to. We were tracting, and this guy answered the door. "Hi, we're the missionaries in the area and we're just going around introducing ourselves to everyone". "You guys are Mormons, right?" (You'd be surprised how many people DON'T know who we were.. so we were kind of caught off guard.) "Yah!" "Are you guys from Utah?" (once again, we are totally caught off guard haha.) "Yah!" Turns out he has had friends that are Mormons, he's looked into learning a few times. He's not very interested right now, but WAY friendly and still said we could stop by again to talk. Cool! That's one of the reasons I actually DO enjoy knocking on doors. You just get to meet new people, make new friends, even if it is just for a few minutes. Who else gets to go meet total strangers and have fifteen minute conversations with them about their life experiences? 

Saturday was SO MUCH FUN!! The Stake Relief Society organized a big "Womens Conference" focused on helping refugees in our area. We'd invited our investigator Martha to come (she really wants to be involved in helping refugees and service), and she was able to make it! They had a cute older lady speak at the beginning who was a refugee herself from Germany right after World Ward II, then we put together a bunch of hygiene/household item kits, and finished off with some Nepalise dancers performing for us (there are a lot
 of refugees from Nepal in this area) and lunch. Sis A took some pics (I didn't have my camera) so I'll try to steal them from her and send them on. We had fun, and it was even better because Martha LOVED it! 

Our investigator Vicky is finally feeling a little bit better this week, so we were able to visit with her a few times. She is doing awesome! Monday we went over to follow up on her Book of Mormon reading and go over the baptismal interview questions with her. There was so much peace from the spirit as we did, and it just confirmed to us that Vicky really does understand what we are sharing and has that desire to learn and follow Jesus Christ even more in her life. With her health challenges, we're not sure if she'll be able to make her March baptism date, but I have confidence that as she continues to read, pray, and do her best, it will all work out in the end! We also assigned her to read Doctrine and Covenants 89 in preparation for the Word of Wisdom lesson, and she read it that night... along with the first 50 sections. They were covered in highlights and notes in the margins. Just so fun to see how much she is learning, and how much she loves it!

Definitely a good week! :) I've said it fifty times and i'll say it probably fifty more, I LOVE this roller coaster!  I'll take the ups and the downs, I'll push forward, because I know that there is a greater purpose to all of it. We truly are here to be instruments in the Lord's hands. We aren't perfect instruments, we have to be tuned and returned throughout our whole life. But God also allows us to bless others as He's tuning us, that they can still feel the joy and peace of the music- the gospel!

Cheesy music analogies, gotta love them. :) 

And I love YOU! Have a wonderful week, and I"ll talk to you again soon!

Love, Sister Maughan