Monday, September 24, 2012

Another Week...

Hello there!!
How is my family doing? I hope all is well for you today! Mondays used to be pretty rough in the real world with school and such, but now Mondays are great! I forgot what it is like to dread Mondays, but I hope today is treating you well.
Thank you for your emails and letters. I say this all the time but I really do have the best support and family out there so thank you!! That goes for my friends too :)
Well, I completed another transfer yesterday...woo hoo!! It has been a very good, but very long week. For some reason it seems like I have already been in Arkansas for a month but it has been a week and a half. Weird mission time.
The reason this week was good is because of all the lessons we taught and the people we get to work with. This may be boring to read to some, but I am a missionary and this is what my week consists of so here ya go...
We are still teaching Rex. I think I mentioned him last week? Yeah I did. Okay so we had two more lessons with him. He is just so prepared, it's amazing to see. We set a baptismal date with him for October 27th. Very exciting!! He is coming to church, all the activities, and even both sessions of Stake Conf that we had this past weekend. So all is good with Rex.
We started teaching this guy named Jesse. He is another prepared one. After the first lesson, he was just like, "yep it's right." We are like really? no questions? haha but he is ready and prepared too. We are meeting with him again this week and will hopefully set another baptismal date.
Our families are still progressing and doing well. They know it is true, it is just the hesitancy of changing a lifestyle they have known for so long, which makes sense. That is a legitimate concern! But, we just keep reading the Book of Mormon with them and try to point out that they are feeling the Holy Ghost, they just aren't aware of how he speaks to them. I know they will get there, it is just taking some time.
Random, but I have tried some interesting things this week at dinner. And by interesting I don't mean possum or squirrel. One of the desserts I had was butterbeer like from Harry Potter. It was amazing. And made me want to go to Harry Potter World even more. One of the families lived in Germany for a while and they were celebrating October Fest. So we had a complete German meal. It was great, but I felt like I was going to die after I ate it cause the food was so heavy. Good thing I am not serving over there. Then, I got to try some Korean food called kimchi. Kinda gross, but still fun. Who knew Arkansas was so diverse right?
I am glad you got the picture message from Sister Von Bose!! We were just eating dessert and she was like, "Smile!!" Haha I was like ugh okay but then she asked for your number and I thought that was awesome. I kept saying, "My family is going to be your new best friend." She is so sweet and they have such a fun family! I can't believe that her nephew is serving in Spring Creek. What a small world? She told me on Sunday that you had made that connection. So crazy!
We had Stake Conference this past weekend and it was amazing!! Elder Shayne Bowen of the Seventy came and spoke. The adult session on Saturday was my favorite. So he talked for about 10 or 15 minutes on Saturday night and then he just opened it up to a question and answer session for an hour. I was thinking, "He obviously knows a lot to just stand there and be able to answer our questions!" He did give some guidelines though so that people wouldn't ask personal questions or questions about Kolob, etc. One of the questions asked was about missionary work and he got really excited. He used to be a mission president in Spain and so he loves it! He asked all of the full time missionaries to stand up. So me and my district and the senior couple stood up. He asks us some questions (I will get to that in a minute) but then has us sit down. He then asks everyone in the stake to raise their hands if they have lived here for 2 years or more (which mostly everyone did). He then had them stand up. He said, "This is the full time missionary force." He then called us the part time missionaries. He was not downgrading missionary work in any way or what we do, but it was a very powerful point. He was teaching a great lesson on member missionary work and how it should just be a way of life.
Now to the funny story about as we were standing up, he handed the mic to one of the elders in my district. He asks him what he is going to go home and do after his mission. He says, "Keep being a missionary." Elder Bowen is like, no what are you really going to do...So the elder says ugh go home and get married. Then Elder Bowen said, "More than that, you will go home, find a righteous young woman, get sealed in the temple to prepare for exaltation, etc. etc." Then he said pass the mic to that sister behind you. Yep that's me. I was freaking out. He says, "So, sister what are you going to do when you get home?" I just repeated everything he said word for word haha. The whole thing about sealings and exaltation. The entire stake was just laughing. It was funny but also really embarrassing. Members of the ward kept coming up to me and saying, "We really liked your talk at Stake Conference." After I said that Elder Bowen said, "That's why we need sisters in the field." Sister Knutson just got to stand there and laugh too...good times.
He also talked a lot about the importance of temples and how this stake was a choice stake. These people really are amazing and I am grateful to serve in such a strong unit of the church.
Well, that's about it for this week. It was a great week and this week is looking good too. We have a baptism set for this Friday for a part member couple. It will be wonderful!
Thank you for everything. I sure love you all!! Have a great week yourselves. Know that I love you!
Love, Sister Magness
Pictures: I attached one of the bite thingy. Ciara wanted another one to show Brother Schmutz. I also have a couple in front of the Sperry's home. Enjoy!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hola from Bella Vista

Hello from Arkansas!!
How is my family this week? Thank you once again for your love and support. I always love reading emails from y'all each Monday. It makes me happy :)
Momma, Happy Birthday tomorrow!! I am glad you got my card and classic sign picture. I hope you have a wonderful day and know that I will be thinking of you throughout the day.
So, BYU lost huh? Well, at least it wasn't as bad of a loss as last year. Last season the game against Utah was just terrible and made me pretty sad, so at least we improved. We'll get ya next season dad.
Well, let me tell you about my new area. I LOVE it. Arkansas (at least this part of the state) is absolutely beautiful. There are hills (which is as close to mountains as I will get on the mission) and green trees everywhere. We have had a lot of rain this past weekend and I feel like I am in Oregon or Washington (even though I have never been there). I just feel like I am on the coast somewhere. It really is beautiful. I see possums a lot too...they are mostly dead on the side of the road though. It makes me think of that one night we looked up possum pictures for hours at Andrew's house and yep they are really that scary looking. Creepy teeth. Anyways, so there are critters here. It's kinda fun though.
I live with the Sperry family. I will take pictures this week of our little place and their house. We live in their basement. They have a beautiful home. They have 5 children too. So, it is a busy household! They wake up around 5:30 am. I wake up to little feet running around, children playing the piano and violin, and singing primary songs together. The first morning I was like, "Is this real life?" Haha I know I was not that cooperative as a little McCall so it is just funny to see. They are amazing though. Sister Sperry is a zumba instructor and so she comes down at 6:30 am and does zumba with us every morning. It is so fun. I am terrible at it because you are supposed to move your hips and stuff, but it's still fun. She has choreographed all the routines to EFY music and other LDS music so that we can do it with her :) Brother Sperry is actually in Vegas right now for a bike convention so he said he will tell my homeland hello for me!
The members here are AMAZING. Like, I just watch them do missionary work and am wow'd by them. They love missionary work and I feel so blessed to just be here and learn from them. I feel like I am in a Preach My Gospel video. You might not know what that means. We watch PMG videos of examples of how to do the work, work with members, etc. and I feel like they are just perfect and could totally film "The District 3" here. I may write the missionary department and just tell them that. The dinner calendar is filled for every single night. When we go over most the time they have a non member friend there that we just get to know. If they don't have a friend there, they talk about missionary work most the time and tell us who they gave a Book of Mormon to this week. They are always inviting friends to church and are always giving us referrals. Like I said, I just feel blessed to be here and learn how to be a member missionary for after the mission.
We cover 2 units - the Bella Vista Ward and the Rogers YSA branch. So we work with 2 ward mission leaders and 2 bishops, etc. It is awesome. I love the Bella Vista family ward - it reminds me of Utah or GV ward. Very active, very involved,etc. Most everyone is from the west coast who lives here and they work for Walmart. They say that Walmart recruits a ton from BYU so that brings them all out. We have some Walmart CEO's in our ward. Pretty successful people out here. Or if they don't work for Walmart, they work for buyers and supplyers to Walmart. I am learning more than I ever wanted to about Walmart. Next time you eat something from the great value brand, check out the back - it will say Bentonville, AR :)
Oh so since we cover the YSA branch we can go anywhere in the zone. So we go to Bentonville and Rogers often too to teach or check referrals, etc. The YSA branch is amazing. In fact, I was lucky enough to witness a baptism on Saturday. I just swooped in and 3 days later got to be a part of a baptism. Her name is Kate and she is wonderful. She has zero support from home, but knows that this is what she needs to be doing so here she is. She got confirmed yesterday too. During the service she leaned over and said, "Man I just wish my family were here." But she knows that she has a new family in the ward and knows that it might just take some time. I am excited to continue teaching her and get to know her better. She is such an example to me and I just loved witnessing a baptism.
On Friday night, we had an amazing Restoration lesson with a guy named Rex. He is dating a girl in the ward and is interested in the gospel. At first he was hesitant, but a few Sundays ago all the talks answered all these questions he had on his mind. He leaned over to her and said, "I want to be baptized." Awesome. So we had our first lesson and the spirit was so strong. We watched the Restoration video and discussed it, etc. and when we asked him his thoughts he just said, "This is just right." We are setting a baptism date with him tonight. He had the opportunity to drive up to Independence and the Kansas City temple. Just great things are happening for him and once again, I am blessed to be a part of it.
Oh random but even the kids here wow me. For example, we had dinner with the Evans family. Their 12 year old girl was telling me that she has just started studying Isaiah because she felt it was time to start it (Is that even how you spell Isaiah?). Anyways, she showed me this huge study guide she made her parents get here and she is already through a quarter of it. I was like, what's that, what's this and she knew all the answers. Pretty sure the elect are coming haha. Instead of feeling lame cause I haven't cracked open Isaiah, I just figured I can start now and go to the 12 year old with my questions.
Let's see...oh we had a zone meeting this Friday. Love my new zone. They are just great! A brother from my ward came and spoke to us about how to respond to anti mormon stuff since people are asking a lot about us with Mitt Romney and such. His name is Brother Tvedtnes. Send me any questions who have about whatever and I can ask him. Seriously he is a genius. He worked at BYU and a research place in Provo where he worked with the apostles and answered some of their questions. Yeah so he is kinda smart. Look up some of his stuff.
Sunday was absolutely crazy. We were at the church at 7:15 am for ward council. Then we had church for the Bella Vista ward 9:00 to noon. Oh and they called on me to come up and share my testimony. I guess that comes with being the new missionary. Then after we had a lesson with the Burnetts (one of the TWO families we are teaching). Then we ate lunch in the church kitchen that we brought from home. Then we prepared for a dinner lesson. Then we had church again from 2:30 to 5:30. Then we raced to dinner. Then came home and finally got to study. Exhausting. So Sundays here are just crazy and I will hopefully start getting used to it! Awesome wards though, it is just a lot of church!
People are very prepared here. The members are helping us so much and I just feel blessed. I know I said that honestly 3 times already, but this area is amazing. Oh and did you know Elder Bednar was the first stake president in the Rogers stake?? His picture is just hanging up in our church building right across from his picture as apostle haha. I will have to send a picture of the picture for you.
Oh wait, I didn't even mention my companion. She is amazing!! Her name is Sister Knutson. She is from NC so this green scenery is pretty much normal to her. She is fun, outgoing, and an amazing teacher. This is her last transfer so we will make it a good one. She needs to teach me all she knows about the area in just a short 6 weeks. Kinda scary but I can do it right? Anyways, we have a lot of fun together and help each other keep going especially with crazy sundays :)
I also love being by civilization again. We passed a panera and a firehouse subs...yes they have firehouse! We are going to eat lunch there after I finish this email :) I am pretty excited.
Well, that was a lot of information. Just know all is well and I really do love this place. Such a blessing to be here. I love all of you a whole lot. Have a beautiful week!!
Much love from AR,
Sister Magness
1st two pictures: us eating at the church cause we live there
3rd pic: Us and Kate before her baptism!!
4th pic: A picture of the Rogers Zone from Friday's meeting

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sister Magness Transfer and Funny Stories

Dear Family and Friends,
So, I hit my 3 month mark. It seems like I have been out for a year, but at the same time it has gone quick. Mission time is definitely weird. Seems slow, but then you look back and it has passed you by.
 I am transferring to Bella Vista AR. Bella Vista is where I was last week. They live with members in a beautiful home. It is a bigger city and I think it will help a lot. I actually prayed after I went there that I would serve there some day. I guess he is answering my prayer a little quicker than I thought!
My new address is:
22 Marionet Dr
Bella Vista, AR 72714
(you can put this on the blog/email it out that i am transferring)
Thanks for your emails, love and support. I cant say thank you enough. Thanks for the Orgill reunion note. That was awesome!!
Oh, mom I started a gratitude journal this past week. It helps a lot. THanks for the idea.
Thanks for the loan and voting update too dad.
Yes I look at the moon too! Some nights it isn't out though so I just look at the sky.
I want to share 2 funny stories with you.
1) We were with an older member this past week and she says, "Did you hear about the Vegas temple?" I was like ugh, yes? She said "Yeah I just read about its dedication!" I said Oh I think that was in 1989 though. She said no I really just read about it in the church news. I said can i see it? She handed it to me and yep she was reading the church news from 1989. When I pointed it out to her she still didn't really get it. It was hilarious. She thinks it is a brand new temple!! She is awesome though. She helps a lot with the work :)
2) I thought there was a tornado this week but it was just a windstorm which led to embarrassing myself in a lesson. So we were in a lesson and when we started it is nice and sunny outside. 10 minutes in it starts to pour rain. 5 minutes later it is SO windy. I was getting nervous because we had a tornado warning the night before. My comp and the lady we were teaching were as calm as can be so I just took it easy. Then a huge tree branch smacked the window. I literally jumped up and started booking it in her house. I thought it was a tornado and was going who knows where for cover. The lady was laughing so hard. She said its fine just some wind. It was the craziest wind ever though. Vegas did not prepare me for this haha. There were tree branches everywhere all over Nevada. The wind knocked a lot down. We got a warning from our ZL's to stay in for the night cause it was pretty bad. But it cleared out. You would've loved it dad but I realized I am not a fan of this weather.
Anyways, I gotta run but I love you all so so much. Thanks for your support. With this change it will get better. Have a wonderful week! Let me know about the football game outcomes :)
Love, Sister Magness