Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"They died with their name tags on"

Obvi we're still alive but basically we froze to death this week and we also worked really hard, so if anyone asks, we died with our name tags ON! 

This week was an incredible learning experience as well as a spiritual highlight of my mission so far. A lot of things led up to this experience but I'll give you a summary. If you read in Genesis 24 it is the story of Abraham's servant going to find a wife for Jacob. Basically the servant made a contract (through prayer) with God that he would do certain things, and he would (and could) expect the Lord to help him out in certain ways and provide things..(like a single woman lol). So the servant is working and is trusting that God will make up the rest. Anyway, applying that to us, we haven't had much success finding lately...or apparently EVER in the YSA. You can't knock all of Queens because what do you do when they're all families? Walk away? I dunno it gets awkward. All our investies are found through...uh...miracles. Well President expects each companionship to baptize 2 people before the end of the year and its president, so you can't exactly let him down. So we decided to try what the servant did and make a contract with God that if we were as obedient as we possibly could be and worked our very hardest, he would help us find someone.  We had to be specific, so we found someone in the area book who was a former investigator that we felt like could be interested. We said a very specific prayer and decided on a time to go see her the next day. We got a member, and we drove to her house. A half hour later we arrived and of course it was like -57 million degrees and we walked around for about 20 minutes (seemed like hours) going to every apartment in the complex before finding where she lived which was right by where we parked..awko-taco. The poor girl who came with us. If she had any desire to go on a mission we probably blew that candle out. ANYWAY. We finally found it and rang her bell. No answer. Well we had to do everything on our side of the contract, so I was gonna ring bells until someone opened the outside door. We got buzzed in and a lady opened her door. As soon as she saw us she got this terrified look on her face like we were monsters and slammed her door. Good thing it wasn't the girl we were looking for. Well we rang our person's bell and she wasn't home so we left a note telling her to call us. She didn't. Hey maybe she will! But most likely we were barking up the wrong tree. But we were going to do EVERYTHING to find the person we need to baptize. We called/texted every single person on our list of former or potentials. As we sat on the floor during weekly planning we seriously didn't know what to do. Then the phone rang. It was Daniel, and he wanted to know when we could meet! As in, the next day! He was a former investigator and had gone to Ecuador for 4 months and just got back last week and said that us calling was a sign that God wanted him to join the church... basically, we can't expect the Lord to answer our prayers unless we do our part! It was an incredible experience and He really is working with us to hasten His work. 

Another cool thing was being able to go to the temple for my 6-month mark. When we first got here they had us write down vision, goals, and plans for our mission. I was reading through mine and basically everything I had written down then is everything that I feel like I struggle with now. I don't think that was a coincidence. Although I could honestly say I have seen improvement in the areas I had listed, I think God knew I needed that extra push right now to be a little better and to try a little harder. The temple was an awesome experience. We really take it for granted back home cause it's so close and we always CAN go. But not being able to go for 6 months (for a session, I've been for baptisms 9 times now), the excitement that built up was incredible, and I put a lot more thought into preparing to go there and had questions that needed to be answered...and they were. Temples really are an expression of God's love for His children. 

Some housekeeping items...
Our AC units are screwed into the window so we can't take them out...but the cold air can still come in so we put on 5 layers of clothes and turn on the heating pads in hopes we don't freeze to our death. I started wearing my nametag to bed so that they'll know I'm a missionary when they find me dead. Guys I'm kidding. I've had some good cockroach kills this week. Yep that's about it for the housing situation. 

Neil is doing awesome, he started writing down all the spiritual impressions he has, and we didn't even suggest that to him! He says he's doing it so when times get tough he can remember Gods hand in his life...IS THIS GUY FOR REAL?? I literally cannot tell you everything he says that is just so perfect for an investigator to say...where are the hidden cameras? If I didn't come to Queens YSA for any other reason, it was to meet him and learn from him. He has taught me so much about the person God wants us to be. He really lives what he believes. And he listens to country music so um...yeah. On Friday we had a YSA thanksgiving dinner...I seriously love this branch! The people are so kind and friendly. They don't ask us if we're nuns. One of the girls told me I had "nice kickers" (shoes). Anyway I don't want to leave here anytime soon. I shouldn't have said that now I'll get transferred. K I'll just stop. 

I know it's better to have an attitude of being grateful, but if I could pick one thing that I'm the most grateful for it would be my cute family, and especially my parents. The more I see how other people live, the more I appreciate our lifestyle. We went and saw one of the ladies from the family ward cause she wanted to visit with us, and they live in an attic. They have one bedroom and share the kitchen and bathroom with some random guy. They have a tiny fridge with just a little food, and I honestly don't know where they keep clothes or anything because they don't have any dressers. But they are the sweetest people. They are kind and will give you everything they have to give. It reminds me of you Ma and Pa, you guys give everything you have to others, especially your precious time. Thank you for you example. Whenever I start to feel sad that I won't get to see all the fam at thanksgiving I remember that I've already had 20 wonderful thanksgivings and I'll have the rest of my life with my family, and I am so grateful to be able to be serving the Lord THIS Thanksgiving. Being on a mission is such an opportunity and a blessing, and I am so happy to be here! I love you all. Sister Wadsworth

1. I know I basically forwarded this pic to half the earth last week but I think it's so hilarious..good old Si Robertson. And Elder Hartley is lookin pretty fine too..
2. Shopping last P-day at the Queens Center mall, I LOVE CHRISTMAS.
3 & 4. 6-month temple trip with Sister Peterson, she was here with Sister Joseph before I got here. 
5. Oh Sister Joseph...this is how we feel about no heating in the apartment😾

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

If you can drive a tractor, you can drive in New York!

Well obviously this week was so awesome! I love it here. 

I didn't realize how much I missed Belle Harbor until Stake Conference last week. When I left I had told one of the ladies that the next time she saw me I'd be with my husband coming back to visit! Well she walks into stake conference and (loudly) says: "where's your husband!?!" I just stood there super awkward like "what?" I had totally forgotten I had told her that. She was totally serious and a bunch of people were looking at me weird cause obviously I have my nametag on. It was so gloriously awkward. Cug. I miss that place and those people, and I'll just have more people to miss when I leave here (hopefully not anytime soon)! Tuesday was Transfer meeting but since we aren't getting transferred we planned to go see some people, none of which we actually saw because we spend till 5 pm driving people's luggage around. I am SO GLAD we have a car. It was sad to see some of our missionaries leave :( and the new missionaries always look so confused! Haha. We also went to institute and brought Neil with us! I could seriously make my whole letter about him, he is incredible. HE makes ME want to be a better person! I feel like it should be the other way around but seriously, he is such a good example to me. I feel like we are so lucky to be able to go to institute. At home it seemed like such a pain but now I can't get enough of it! We were talking about spiritual gifts and I don't want to write you the whole lesson but I loved this quote by Marvin J. Ashton: "the unexamined life is not worth living." It is so important to develop and share our talents. We talked about the Lord's storehouse, there is the temporal, or bishop's storehouse, and the Lords storehouse-our talents. We must use them to build up the church. Okay so this whole letter will probably be about Neil. He came to institute with us both nights and LOVED it. He texts us everyday and tells us how much peace he feels now as opposed to his past life. He wants to pay tithing and he isn't even baptized yet. He fasted before we even taught him about fasting. He is seriously golden. 

We started our own non-profit organization: Queens YSA Taxi Service! We aim to please. But seriously, we are the only ones in our zone with a car so everyone wants us to take them everywhere. Well obviously since we drive so much we have gotten in a lot None of which were our fault. Obvi. #1 the gate that opens into our parking lot goes up and down when we push the clicker. Well I was driving under it when all the sudden it just falls down on the car. Awkward. #2 there is roadkill pretty much every time we go out. First the squirrel. Then the pigeons. It'll probably be a chino next... #3 some guy in a Super Duty ran into us. That one was actually a big deal but I guess we're still alive so it's fine. So glad Pa made me learn to drive a semi in case I failed college. It's seriously so hysterical to drive with other missionaries. They don't know how to swing wide to park a car or check their blind spots (can thank raking for that skill) If you can drive a tractor, you can definitely drive in New York. 

Other than that, Elder Hallstrom of the 70 came but the meeting for all the missionaries was at the same time as a sealing for a family in Belle Harbor so I missed it. I was in a trio with Sis Cox 😍 and Sis Board. Sister Joseph went to the meeting and took Neil...he loved it! The sealing was so beautiful! 2 girls adopted into the family plus their own daughter. It was so sweet and the spirit was so strong. I love the temple! Can't wait to go on Wednesday for my 6-moth mark which was this past week. Time flies when you're having fun! 

I have been studying a lot this week about true conversion and although it takes faith I really think the key is real intent. I loved this quote: “Every unselfish act of kindness and service increases your spirituality. God would use you to bless others. Your continued spiritual growth and eternal progress are very much wrapped up in your relationships--in how you treat others. Do you indeed love others and become a blessing in their lives? Isn’t the measure of the level of your conversion how you treat others? The person who does only those things in the Church that concern himself alone will never reach the goal of perfection. Service to others is what the gospel and exalted life are all about." Being here has and is teaching me how to serve others and put them in front of myself. It is going to take a lifetime to master, but what better place to practice than out here in the mission field? I feel so blessed to be here and am so grateful for the restored gospel and the atonement and its power to help us change. Obviously the decision to go on a mission is the best decision you'll ever make. Thanks so much for your support and love! I have the greatest family on earth!


Sis Wads

note from Mom- I will add pictures when then internet decides to work a little better:)

Monday, November 3, 2014

NY is a cold place...literally.

I don't usually like to get all sister mish on the first sentence but this gospel is so important to me! I cannot imagine what life would be like without it. I've been thinking a lot about the talk from general conference where he asked how you would feel if you had a personal interview with the Savior right now...obviously most of us wouldn't be ready for that. But there are a lot of things we can do to feel more ready as well as more comfortable in our Savior's eyes. Sister Joseph gave an excellent workshop on humility in District Meeting and I loved one question she used from Preach My Gospel, How can we recognize pride in ourselves? I have noticed that whenever I have feelings of anger, frustration, or annoyance they are usually a result of pride or selfishness. In other words, as we strip ourselves of pride, we become happier people. It's something I'm working on and would encourage you to think about that question as well, it's helped me a lot in this last week to realize my weakness and rely on the Savior more. 

Well, it's week 5 of the transfer so of course DEEP CLEAN!! And I thought I got out of clean checks when I graduated... At least North Gate didn't have cockroaches. I completely gutted the kitchen and found a million of them, so of course I sprayed them. Oh awk we had to leave the apartment because we were inhaling stuff that wasn't good for us haha. Anyway I got the place pretty spotless and was making some fajitas for dinner when a huge one crawls across the counter. I give up. Jk I pulled out my .22 and shot the sucker. I WISH. 

Oh so we did a flash mob on the subway. We just wore normal clothes and one of us would start singing and the rest would join in as the song went on. People liked the song but they didn't like us. Or me at least haha I get rejected every time I try and talk to someone on a train, no matter how persistent I am. It's usually funny so it's fine haha. They have asked us to attend institute so we go on Tuesday and Wednesday nights with the YSA, it's so fun I feel like I'm in college again except I can't get distracted by Pinterest now so I actually learn stuff! So glad I am learning how to study finally...would have been nice to know 3 years ago before I flunked out of college. 

Oh my goodness so we are in institute and we were talking about people in church history who apostatized like Symond Ryder cause they spelled his name wrong in a revelation (and later on his gravestone hah sucker). But it got me to thinking that they probably didn't leave the church because of that one thing, but that they probably let little things that bothered them build up and those "reasons" why they left the church were just the last straw. It is part of using the atonement that we continually fix things in our lives that are broken or unfair. If we let them build up they almost always end in tragedy, whether physical or spiritual. It reminded me of a speaker in the MTC, he said that his faith wasn't in people, he said even if the prophet fell away it wouldn't change his commitment or belief.  Another person who was converted by a miracle left the church and I couldn't help but thinking that he probably wasn't every really converted. We receive our testimonies by the spirit testifying to our hearts, not by "proof" that these things are true. If you want to know if the church is true, don't go around looking for this or that, simply pray about it. He will give you an answer. 

So this actually happened. The social drinker who broke my heart last week? Turns out the elders went over and she told them she doesn't like me because I was too bold with her. Oops. I told her she needed to choose between God and drinking and she didn't like that. Dude when your salvation is on the line I'm not gonna beat around the bush. Either you love God and are willing to obey the commandments or not. But anyway I'm trying to be a bit nicer and not so sassy to the investies. Can't remember if I told you about Nicole from last week but she came to church and is set to get baptized into the YSA on the 22nd! Also we got a referral from the Idaho Falls Visitors Center for another guy from Nepal and he will be getting baptized the same day as well! His story was incredible, he was atheist and was visiting Yellowstone and he found a Book of Mormon in the hotel room. He googled it and the IF visitors center was across the street! He went and visited it and started reading the Book of Mormon. The sisters there told him he had to stop drinking and smoking so he could get baptized. He threw away all that stuff, he said he started dressing more "respectable" so that people would know he was a good person. He has completely changed his life before we even met him! He is seriously the coolest thing ever. Oh we also had a less active break up with us over the pulpit in testimony meeting. The stake president had to tell him to sit down. I played the organ for sacrament meeting and I guess I messed up a song so this guy from the branch posted about it all up in my Facebook. Can someone please throw away Facebook and break my iPad? More trouble than it's worth. THE DRAMA. Whatever. The church is true.

I really love it here and I don't want to be transferred, but then again I didn't want to be transferred from the Harbor either so I know it'll be great whatever happens. Mostly I just know that all my stuff won't fit in my suitcases anymore because of winter clothes #sistermishproblems. Which, by the way, it is SO COLD here. Rexburg was a can of corn compared to this temperature. Anyway I better get lost, if you didn't watch the CES Fireside you should probably go watch it, it was the greatest thing ever. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here, it is the coolest thing of my life. 

Love you guys! 
Sister Wads

1. Our district
2. During the flash mob..still trying to learn how to speak Spanish from these goofballs
3. Some NYC livin' 
4. Recent convert who is moving to the Netherlands...sad to see him go :(

5. We did service in the rain on Saturday and I came home and my toes were white and swollen and I couldn't feel them. It went away by that night but I could hardly walk all day haha is that what it feels like to be preggers?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Cowboy and Indian in NY

What up Fam!

Monday we had all my little Belle Harbor besties come up and we hung out for the day. I love them so much! We also had the most awkward lesson of my life. I was trying to tell a less-active that we missed him at church and he kept being like "what?" But then he gets this creepy smile on his face and was like "oh! Like that...." Hard pass dude... I have a boyfriend. But he just stared at me with that smile on his face for the rest of the lesson. YSA problems haha. We taught him on Wednesday again...same thing. How do you tell someone you want them at church without them thinking that YOU want them at church? But oh how I love the YSA, it is so good to be serving here.

Tuesday is not a fond memory for me. We were doing lookups and (once again!) the GPS took us through a $15 tunnel this time into Manhattan. You guys, my blood pressure goes up in Manhattan. I never wanna go there again. Except to the temple. But I don't wanna go there. We probably sounded like a bunch of idiots but we called a member and they told us a way to get back on a bridge that didn't have a toll. Not only that, but that the GPS has an option to avoid tolls! The fur was already ripped off my cat so I just quietly cried the rest of the home. So did Sister Joseph, so don't think I'm the only baby in this companionship. I've cried like 5 times this week, it's like this cool new emotional leaf I'm turning over. 

Ok let's just take a second here and talk about being a missionary. The only thing I can even closely compare it to is dating. You find someone you "like" to teach, you get super close to them after like 2 lessons, you come to love them and want their happiness, and you know that only comes from truly following Jesus Christ, and then BAM. They dump you. Except this heartbreak is 10 times worse than the "breakup" heartbreak because you're concerned about their salvation and stuff instead of that your wedding Pinterest board isn't going to come to life in the next 6 months. And then have that happen 4 times in one week. I feel like if I wasn't set apart to do this I would be in a sugar coma from the ice cream and emotional eating. But it's okay because as we understand the Plan of Salvation we know that they have their agency, and maybe we've planted that seed in someone that will be harvested by another member or missionary. In PMG it says that "discouragement weakens faith", and I can tell you that that is what Satan wants. He wants us to give up on ourselves and others and think that because we have already made so many mistakes, we can never completely change or repent. But I know that Christ's atonement reaches much farther than anything we could possibly do, and that he is ever ready to lift us back if we will just reach out a hand and show Him we want to be picked up. There is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing your brother or sister reject the gospel because of social priorities or personal habits that they are too comfortable to give up. Once again, selective obedience brings selective blessings! Man I am just so grateful for the knowledge I have and that I was able to grow up in this gospel. These people have no idea what they are missing out on! 

This probably shouldn't be funny, but we are working with a less-active to get her to the temple and I called her up a few days ago to see how she's doing. After I introduced myself over the phone she quickly cut me off by saying "I have decided I DON'T want the blessings that come from going to the temple." I probably shouldn't have been laughing, but it was funny because 1. She is out of her mind, and 2. It was kind of hysterical to hear someone say that. Usually people don't want to WORK for the blessings...they want the blessings though! Well, she didn't so that's that. 

We are kept so busy on Sundays. We go to the Astoria (family) ward at 9, the YSA branch starts at 11, then we teach gospel principals (our ward mission leader moved...haha), then since I've been here we've been practicing a song for stake conference and I have to accompany it so we practice that for an hour, and then they usually have like a mingle thing afterwards so we leave the church at 6 for prime time. It's good to be busy! The Astoria ward had their trunk or treat on Saturday night. It took real effort to restrain myself from holding all the cute kids. We were the Cowboy and Indian. Totes won a prize for our costume. 

Many other things have happened but I just wanted to share a part of what I was reading in the Book of Mormon. I was reading about Moroni and the title of Liberty and the part right after that was really crazy and it reminded me so much of how satan tries to trick us. So basically Amalickiah is a little fetcher and wanted all the power and to destroy the church so he went to the lamenites to try and join their army but their leader Lehonti got scared so he ran away to the top of a mountain to hide with his guards. Anyway Amalickiah sends his posse up there to tell him to come down the mountain to talk and Lehonti wouldn't come. This happened 3 times until finally Amalickiah went up almost to the camp on top of the mountain and says "just come down a little and talk to me." I feel like satan is smart enough to know that we aren't going to come down from the "mountain", but if he can get us to come down "a little" he has us. It says that after they made the agreement to merge their armies Amalickiah "poisoned him (Lehonti) by degrees". This guy is seriously satanic. We can't let ourselves go even a little or he will have us. I've seen this in a lot of people we are teaching, they want to just do one small thing that isn't in harmony with the gospel, and let me tell you, they are running down the mountain before you know it. We need to be so careful in the things we do or he will take over. We have to actively choose to be righteous every second every day. I know that righteous living is what brings us the most happiness. 

I love this gospel and I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon, that book will get you closer to God than any other book. I also have a testimony that this gospel is a gospel of application not lip service. The more you live it, the more you'll know it's true. 
I love you guys tons! 
Sis Wads

1. My little Sister Cox!
2. Downtown where we street contact a lot
3. Little Ryan, probably the most adorable little boy in the world
4. At the ward party
5. After the ward party, sometimes we are ADD when planning.
6. So sister Joseph likes to play with fire. I didn't know this when I bought the candle. But she was swooping her hair over it (she was probably chanting something) and she singed half her hair off!  I was like, what is that smell? She got the most childish grin on her face. I seriously died. What am I gonna do with her?

7. This kid is my little bro, we were in the MTC together. He reminds me so much of Betty and Don. So obvi I creeped on his selfie.