Monday, March 30, 2015

Brooklyn Crooklyn

This place is sketchy! But this week was so great, we had lots of miracles, and lots of crazy people, and lots of laryngitis. 

So on Monday we were on the subway for an hour trying to get to the grocery store and we ran into this super sweet lady with 2 kids who we talked to for a bit and gave her our number. She didn't have a phone or address cause she was in a shelter so the only way we could teach her was if she calls us. So we prayed every night for like 3 nights in a row...nothing. And then finally on the fourth day the phone rang!!! Yaaaas. She is so golden. 

Tuesday we had interviews with President. They only happen every 12 weeks so it's a super special day. I love President so much, it seems like he always knows the perfect thing to say to me. Looking back over the last few months and all the things that have happened I have realized something: the only thing worse than going through a trial is going through it and not learning what God wanted you to. I've begun to see trials as opportunities to rely on the Lord and as stepping stones to the person we want to become. Something President said to me is that a good way to measure someone's conversion is to watch how they act during the sacrament and what they wear to church. It's so true, that hour once a week is a good reflection of how we put God first in real life.
We had an awesome lesson with our investigator who is getting baptized soon and about froze to death going to and from her house...why is it still winter?? Oh something else I was thinking about when I was studying charity: when we do service are we doing it to bless or impress? If we do it to bless we have the pure love of Christ "the greatest of all the gifts of God" if we do it to impress...we have our reward. 

Wednesday we did service in Prospect Park cleaning stuff up and raking leaves. It was so pretty there! When I go places like that I think "hmm maybe I could handle living in the city" and then we walk back to the subway and in my mind I'm like "who are you kidding Wads, you wouldn't live here if they paid you." Hah. That night we had correlation. Our Ward mission leader is the most hysterical person of my life. He is Filippeano and lets just say his mission was very different than his mission if they had 100 baptism per transfer they had a water fight party as a zone lol. A lot of the time is him telling us how our mission should's really funny. I asked him if he had the white handbook on his mission and he just gave me a blank But he is so great and helps us so much. 

Thursday we did service for this lady, she called us on the phone and was pretty salty, so we were expecting the worst from our dear Irene. But when we got to her apt we came to find that she's just a regular sassy NY woman, and that she wasn't to be messed with. We had a ball dusting her studio apt, most people call us cause they're hoarders, but she called cause she's a neat freak, and her back won't allow her to dust under her bed and such. She was hysterical, just ranting the whole time about how much she hates NY, but she's never gonna leave. I feel like that's everyone here haha. That evening we went to "Lola's" for dinner. She's like the missionary grandma here, she makes a big dinner and then the missionaries come in shifts of half hour intervals. Sis Christensen is gluten-free and she ate some so we were praying she wouldn't get sick. We went to see a part member family, it was the mom and her adorable boys there and she's not a member so we taught her an awesome lesson, she is so prepared and has a lot of faith. She accepted the invitation to be baptized!! Her boys were sitting there gnawing on chicken bones it was the funniest thing. Most kids have pacifiers, but they had KFC! 

The only thing I remember about Friday was that we practiced a song we have to sing for Stake Conference and we met this super cool lady but it took an hour both ways to get to her house. Oh just kidding that was the day we managed to find all the crazy people in Brooklyn within like 2 hours. The first was this toothless Jewish guy on the subway..he was grinning (can you even call it that if you don't have teeth?) at me so I gave him a card and he asked me if I went to college so I said yes and he was like "why are you wasting your time being a missionary?" I was like hold up brother...! But I didn't wanna get angry so I just smiled and told him I loved it and I love the gospel. He snickered (don't think you can do that without teeth either) and I just got off the train sups over it. Then I saw him at the fruit stand later and just got the "aaaahhh" feeling. Don't talk to me dude. Anyways on the bus ride home these boys got in a fight with an older man and he pulled out a gun so we were like "aaaahhh" so we got off the bus it was really funny but kinda not at the same time. Oh goodness. I don't think you can even pack (legally) here so I dunno what was going on. Cug. 

Saturday we went and saw a family but it took 1.5 hours to get to their house. We made them pancakes and taught a lesson, it was super fun! This kind of leads up to our Sunday. The son was the one who got baptized last week, but since they are always late to church we arranged for me and my comp to come get them before church the next morning so he would actually get confirmed. Imagine this if you will: we are both sick, me with laryngitis and Sis Christensen with gluten girl probs. We wake up at 4am and get on the bus for an hour. There was no one out so the bus got there like an hour early. We get to their porch at 5 and it's dark and freezing. We called them. We knocked. We rang the doorbell. Nothin. So we sat there in the freezing cold. For an hour. In dresses, not carhartts. I've never felt that frozen in my life. Seriously ready to "let it go." Finally at 6:15 she came and opened the door and we sat on her couch trying to thaw. We made breakfast and got the kids ready and barely made it to church on time. It is kinda funny now that I'm writing about it. It wasn't then haha. The rest of Sunday was a blur. We didn't really stop working after that cause if we would have we would have just conked out right there. We had a super great lesson with a new investigator and a family in the ward. We are going around helping people make their own family mission plans. It's super cool to see the families get excited about how they can help with missionary work. Members want to help, but they don't always know how. Even just doing your home or visiting teaching helps the missionaries soooo much. So grateful for your example mom, you definitely go above and probably fearless more people than I do! I am so grateful for missionary work and temple and family history work. The apostles and prophets have promised that when we engage in this cause we will feel our own testimonies being strengthened, and we will be better able to resist temptations. I love it here and am so grateful for the support from all of you! Have a wonderful week! 
Sister Wadsworth

1. We have this thing with eating veggie straws and cottage cheese...
2. Crazy Irene haha...we had to take a selfie with her.
3: Face Timing with our investigator but her daughter always grabs the phone. 
4. Sister Urizar from Guatemala, her and Sister Placheta live next door on our floor so we usually party it up

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Big BK

Oh my I can't hold this in!  I live in Midwood, Brooklyn!!! Obviously it's the coolest thing ever. Right before they said my name I could just feel it, it was kinda creepy how that's happened both times I've been transferred. I am with the darling Sister Christensen from Cedar Hills, UT, she came out 2 transfers after me. You know we already be turnin it up in this hood! The "hastening" of the work just turned into the "hatianing" ..... there are so many Haitians here and we're the two white girls on the bus. We are on foot (I would say "feet" but after the doctors appt last week it's singular until that heals). I love walking though! It has been freezing wind and snow so far, but I love waiting for the bus and having my hair stab my eyeballs!! Jk I'm sure the snow will stop soon. The first few days were a little rough because of the weather and we both got strep throat the second day so still trying to get over that...haha. It snowed 2 feet on the "first day of spring" go figure. 

Let me start with transfer meeting. It was probably the best thing of my life. Got to see all my old comps who are going home and President gave the most incredible talk about removing the "accursed thing" from our homes, from our devices, and from our minds. A different twist on repentance that had a huge impact on how I view that part of the gospel. He talked about how Joshua and his men were defeated at the city of Ai and after their loss their "hearts melted" and they lost their faith. Basically the Lord told them they needed to be better at keeping their covenants and told them to remove the accursed things from their homes and from their lives. We can do this as families, we can go into our homes and get rid of video games, movies, apps, or habits that aren't in harmony with the gospel. We can then rededicate ourselves and our homes to the Lord and recommit ourselves to do His work. This has been an incredible experience for all of us missionaries as we have gotten rid of things that don't belong in missionary life. In normal life it might be getting rid of a song with lyrics that aren't completely wholesome, or letting go of a grudge and forgiving someone who hurt you. Whoever we are and wherever we're at in life we can give up things that are keeping us from being true disciples. The enemy will have control over us until we are fully keeping our covenants. 

Brooklyn is the straight up hood. We were doing a finding activity and we saw somebody get shot and saw the shooter ran away. I've seen so many hipsters and hippies and homeless people...I have never felt so white. Our Ward is mostly Haitians, we meet in a 100+ year-old catholic building so it feels like we're in mass on Sunday haha. But it's cool, I love this Ward so much! The members are so great, I already love them so much! Family Ward is different haha, one lady offered to let me hold her baby and for a split second I started to go for it and then remembered its a no go in the white handbook so I had to say no....hardest thing of my life, she was the cutest baby I've seen in a super long time. There are like, a ton of crazyish people here too, members and non-members. We were walking down the street and this guy saw our tags and just started cursing at us and looked like he was gonna attack us...I was pretty freaked out, not gonna we ran away. That was the first time I had to run on my mission, it was sketchy man. 

So a bit about the people we are working with...! We had a baptism yesterday, a young man, Christian, who is so precious! We also have another baptism set for Easter Sunday, the most pure woman ever, she is so ready to be baptized! I was so lucky to get here when all these things are happening! I'm already so attached to these wonderful people. We have like 4 temple trips scheduled that we planned out yesterday so uh, siiiiick! This area has miracles growing on trees! At church we had a less-active mother come who doesn't have too many friends but one of the ladies took her in and talked to her and got her number. It was such a blessing, because good fellowshippers are really hard to come by, but this lady is golden, and the less-active woman really needed a friend at church. I love seeing member missionary work in action. *annalee* 

I've learned a TON this week in studies, I never know how to condense it because we learn line upon line, so I learn different little things that add to my testimony of so many different concepts. I think it's cool how everything always comes back to the basic doctrine: the plan of salvation, the restoration, the commandments, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and most importantly, the Atonement. I have noticed lately how much Christ uses literal and figurative things to explain His doctrine. I love these verses in Moses: "That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory; For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;"(Moses 6:59-60). All of the physical attributes we gain by receiving a body can remind us of spiritual things we need to gain to have exaltation (baptism, the Holy Ghost, and the atonement). Major shift of gears but I have such a testimony of fasting. Our hunger when we fast reminds us that our bodies have to rely on food, yet it can also remind us how desperately we need the "Bread of Life", our Savior, to sustain us spiritually. I love this gospel so dearly and it is such a blessing to share my testimony of it with others. It is such a privilege to come on a mission, it is the best education you could ask for. Thanks for all you do to support me, I love you all so much!
Sister Wadsworth

1. View of the city from BK
2. Selfie with Prez...why is he so cool??
3. Our *Catholic* Church

4. Christian's Baptism!!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Church is True, Book is Blue

Time is flying! Sis Batsuuri is done training and I hit my 10-month mark on Saturday! Oh and I'm getting transferred so say goodbye to Queens YSA!! What a great area.

This week was super fun! We did a zone-wide exchange and I got to be with Sister Andersen, my MTC companion! It was a pretty uneventful exchange, I went to the doctor so they could dig out whatever was in my foot. It was pretty swollen the rest of the week so good thing we have a car! We had a ton of fun and it was cool to see how much we have changed in the last 10 months. Something I learned from her is that it really isn't about the success you have as a missionary, but the effort you put in. You could invite everyone you see to be baptized and never have a baptism, but that doesn't mean you didn't do your job. I firmly believe the most important person to convert on your mission is yourself. 

We did a train finding activity as a zone where we had 4 missionaries each read a verse of scripture super loud and then we gave out a bunch of Book of Mormons, I had 2 really cool (and 1 creepy) experiences. The first person I talked to was an adorable old catholic lady, Grace, and she basically grabbed the book out of my hands after I told her about it.  Our conversation ended with a hug cause I guess we were "there" in the relationship. It's funny how a 2 minute discussion about the gospel can make two strangers in New York best friends. The second lady was a little more aloof so I went for the "families are forever" every time. Just tell her this life is about families and that the gospel is meant for families...she was all about it. She practically grabbed the book from me too. Church is true, book is BLUE!! Afterwards the senior couples in the office bought our zone Panda Express because of the stellar job we did cleaning the church when the General Authorities came. 

The Astoria ward had a talent show and our elders signed up the whole district for something so we did a skit that actually turned out really funny. We had the greenie Elder Robinson knock 4 doors, at one of them Sister Batsuuri came out screaming at him in some kind of Asian language and swatting him with a broom. It was hysterical. I'll try and send a video. 

There is this guy in our apartment building who sees our name tags so I think he assumes we are nuns, every time we walk past he says "hallelujah!" "Praise the Lord!" And all this stuff that's pretty hysterical and makes me laugh. The other day he walked past and didn't say anything so I was just like "praise the Lord, brother" and he was like "hallelujah" so I was like "amen" and we just kept going back and forth, it was seriously so funny. We have the weirdest people in our apartment. Esp the maintenance guys haha. Our drain in our bathtub broke so we were forced to ask them to fix it. My trophy wife skills aren't to the plumbing level quite yet. Anyway he tried to get us to make him breakfast after he fixed it and so I opened the door and was like "wow thanks so much, have a great day!" And he just got the most shocked look on his face and walked out. Hahaha. 

I had a cool experience at the mall on Monday. We were at Sephora and I wanted to talk to the lady about the church but I didn't know how so I asked her to teach me how to do eye make up (which I already know how to do haha), we had a really good discussion! I taught her the plan of salvation (without her knowing it) and she really liked it! I love talking to people about the gospel in a "normal" setting with no pressure. I used to be so intimidated about bringing the gospel up in regular settings, but talking about God is something everyone can relate to, whether they believe in Him or not. The best part was when she told me to try doing on my left eye what she had done on my right eye and I did it like I normally do and she was like "wow, you're really good!" And I was like yeah, do you wanna be baptized? Haha jk but it was a fun experience. We can talk to people about our religion guys! The only way to get over our fear of doing so is PRACTICE. Sorry not sorry but that's the only way.  

Sunday was the best thing ever because Richard finally set a baptismal date! It's been almost 4 months of teaching him, but he is finally ready to take the plunge! I am seriously so excited for him. It is so incredible to watch people make changes in their lives for the better! It is also cool to see the progress from when we were first teaching him and he claimed to be Atheist. I can tell he wants to follow Christ's example.

This week I was studying about anger. I know that's kind of a weird topic, but I was talking to a less active girl about it(she was telling me a story about how she punched someone at work..legit) and decided I wanted to learn more about how we can control our anger. There are some excellent talks and scriptures about anger, one entitled "Agency and Anger" and something I learned from it is that no one can ever make us angry. Becoming angry is a choice we make, and it is similar with being offended. I thought "oh well I never get offended" but right after that I pretty much got called out by Elder Bednar:  "When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected." I was like, oh yeah haha actually I feel that way sometimes, and I realized it's because I choose to. We are in control of how we feel, but we have to take control. I know choosing to look past hurtful things and looking for the positive in others and in life will bring us the most peace and happiness. Amidst all those talks I found one "Trial of your Faith" based on a study of Ether 12:4. I love what Elder Andersen said: "With faith come trials of faith, bringing increased faith." Its a good way to look at trials: an opportunity to increase our faith. I know this gospel is true and happy lives are possible because of it. 
Love you all, thanks for the support! 
Sister Wads

PS ...a scripture a day keeps the devil away

1. Our District + the ZLs and Spanish Sisters!
2. Macy! 
3. MTC besties reunited!
4. S H O V E L I N G

This week....? Fuhgeddaboudit

Dear Family:
Another monumental week here in NY! It snowed every day this week, we took someone to the temple, and the "restart" is now underway! Every night when I come how I am just in awe at how blessed I am to be serving here. It is unreal the way in which the gospel blesses me, our family, and the people here. 

Monday was a bit unusual because we got our hair done!! A new lady in the ward from Montreal, CA did it for us for free and she did an awesome job! The blessings of having a hairstylist called as a ward missionary. We were also able to get to know her and she is an incredible person! I love getting to know new people. We did the usual "run 5 different companionships to the grocery store" and then....we got to skype JeongAh!!!!! She's been back in So. Korea for a month now and it was so good to hear her voice! She is so precious, we were asking her about the church there and she said "I like it, the carpet is the same." Classic. I am grateful that we come to church for the spirit, because it is the same everywhere. I feel the same when I walk into the Woodside building as I did back at home. Something I have learned here is the importance of keeping the Lord's house clean. I hope we are all careful and mindful of the condition in which we keep our places of worship. 

Tuesday we had an awesome District Mtg, our district leader shared a video about the importance of the atonement in missionary work (and life) based on a talk from Elder Holland "Missionary Work & the Atonement", one of my favorites. I wish I could quote the whole talk here, but I loved this line "salvation is not a cheap experience." I think we too often get down on ourselves when times get hard or when things don't go like we planned. We forget that it is supposed to be hard. That's how we learn. President always says "stop trying to serve your mission with the companion you want, in the area you want, the way you want. Serve the Lord's mission and you will learn what you need to." It's the same in life. Do it God's way and you will learn what he wants you to. It is important that we don't take the atonement for granted--it should be a part of every day of our lives. I hope we don't waste this precious gift because if we are applying it properly, we will always be happy. 

Also taught the RS president and her brother how to make biscuits and gravy. Sooo presh. The brother was like "woooowww" the whole time, he couldn't believe how cool it was how they rose in the oven. 

Wednesday was the fateful day of no more Facebook! (Amen. I kinda hate Facebook.) we've been off it for like 5 days now and I seriously feel free as a bird! Should have done this sooner. It will be so refreshing to use it properly after we have been trained (and train ourselves) to do so. We got the new iPads and sent our old ones back to Salt Lake. We had an amazing multi-zone conference to kick off the restart, as well as launch all missionaries into the 12-program for technology. It's like we are at the beginning of our "technology mission." There were incredible workshops by President and the APs about teaching, fulfilling our purpose, and using Gospel Library Dude check that website out the church has put a lot of effort into it. Also, a senior missionary gave a workshop about family history! I definitely learned some new things! Just because your family tree is complete doesn't mean you're done! You can go to your ancestors and complete their descendancy to find all your long lost third cousins! I know that family history is a commandment for all of us, not just old people, and that as we do it we will gain the power to resist the temptations of our day. After the conference we went and indexed with some members (how appropriate) our branch has a goal for each person to do 50 names each quarter. It's really easy and fun when you do it with others! Check that out too. 

Thursday it snowed alllll day. We had to cancel our lesson at the university with John because the traffic and roads were bad. We shoveled the walks at the church and weekly planned and then got on the train into Manhattan early because there were so many delays. We only missed one stop, and I can proudly say after 10 months that I can finally understand the subway map! Car areas ruin your ability to find anything or get anywhere without a GPS. Anyway so we got there early and met the members in the Family History Center inside the same building as the temple. The lady that worked there was Sister Hanson, from Fallon NV!! Haha what the heck we didn't know any of the same people so it was kind weird but it was cool to meet her! My companion printed off 57 family names and we did them all! She is no longer the only member in her family haha. We met a lady there who is a ballerina and was like 67 years old. She was so cool. Sister Pratt. It was a really good experience for the member, she hasn't been in quite some time, and it was a special time for all of us. Afterwards we went to this place called Shake Shack and it was sooo good. I love the members of this branch, they are so accepting of everyone and so kind. That is something I love about New York. Everyone is so different that you have to be accepting. There are no "black sheep" because the herd is every different shape, color, and size. There is no "normal." 

Friday we took one of the girls from the branch to do manis. We are helping her get back to the temple and she is the sweetest thing ever! She took us out to Subway and we had a really great lesson with her. There was also a Relief Society anniversary dinner that night and one of the ladies was supposed to do a musical number and she wanted me to "make up" an accompaniment for "As Sisters in Zion." Well I've been practicing this thing where I mess around with hymns and try to make them sound prettier, and the number actually turned out well! Especially considering it was kind of on the spot. My piano game has been pretty strong on the mission, and I know the Lord makes us more than we actually are when we are trying to do His work. Saturday was a HUGE women's conference with a ton of workshops and a blood drive and all this different stuff. The YSA girls did a beauty and fashion workshop and they said they wanted us to help out so we were like "ok yeah" expecting them to need help setting up chairs. Nope! We walk in and they're like "Sister Wadsworth, put on this dress!" And basically made a model out of me. Good thing I decided that was a good day to not wear makeup haha. And all the clothes they had were like size 0 so I looked like a heifer but it was really fun and I LOVE the girls in the YSA, they are all so down-to-earth and kind. We had a lot of investigators come too! It was a great turnout. Sunday we went to a members house and they had this furniture in boxes that's been sitting in their house since I met them and they still haven't put it together! They let me set it up and it was soooo great. I felt so at home. I felt like everything Pa taught me was finally being put to good use! It was probably the funnest thing I did all week lets be honest. 

I read a wonderful talk this week by President Packer from back in the day and he talked about how some of the pioneers went through that long and painful winter on the way to Salt Lake. One man said that the sun rose one morning and it was so bright and warm he practically forgot the horrible journey he had been on for the last 6 months. It is the same way with the atonement and forgiveness. No matter how long we suffer or how difficult it might be, when we feel Christ's forgiveness we can forget that pain and look to our future with faith and purpose. I am so grateful for the atonement and for God's love in our lives. He cares so much about each one of His children, I feel so blessed to be a witness of that every day. 

I am grateful to all of you for your support and love! (: 
Sister Wadsworth

1. My beautiful trainer is going home this transfer! ): 
2. Fun snow day in Manhattan at the temple
3. Erica and Steven, probably the funniest people on the planet. 
4. Teaching some Filipinos how to make biscuits! (FYI her shirt says "don't be jealous just because I've been chatting online with babes all day) lol. She's never even seen the movie.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Becoming a Disciple of Christ in the Digital Age

Hi Fam! 
I seriously don't even know what just happened. It's like a tornado swept through NY between my last letter and now. I guess I'll just start off with all the miracles and then move into our experience with the General Authorities. This will be a long'un so get excitedddd!

So there's a guy in the branch and he's an INCREDIBLE cook. Like Alton Brown, Peruvian style. I had kind of been hinting that he should feed us dinner for quite some time now, and his cousin is here from Spain so there's another woman in the house so it was legal! So we go over and his cousin only speaks Spanish but we ended up teaching her (in Spanish, that's how good I'm getting guys..haha), gave her a Spanish Book of Mormon (yes we are that prepared) and on Friday we set a baptismal date with her! So sick. 
Tuesday and Wednesday were awesome I'm sure, but honestly I don't really remember what happened on those days. 
THURSDAY. Oh my Panda Express it was such a miracle day. So the morning was normal (for this week), I woke up unable to breathe from my ear infection and other sickness whatever they are, and attempted working out, studying, etc. eventually gave up and tried to sleep. It's weird how disobedient you feel when you're sick. You feel like because you didn't study the full 4 hours nothing good can happen that day because you're disobedient. Haha, not true I guess! I wouldn't recommend it though. Anyways our zone cleaned the church because the General Authorities were coming the next day and all the churches in NYC are filthy, just like the rest of NYC. We spent 4 hours, some of the elders were polishing the basketball hoops, just so you get the idea. I sprayed air freshener all over the chapel so if we all got high at the meeting it was my fault sorry not sorry. That place smelled like a divine apple orchard if you ask me. Anyway it was fun cleaning with like 20 missionaries, and people said that's the cleanest they'd ever seen the church. Only the best for the Lords representatives! 
They we went and took a member to do manicures with us at this place, seriously everyone here does nails there are salons on every corner and manis are $5 and they give you a back massage too which is awesome, but now we're getting derailed. So we're talking to the member who moved here 3 weeks ago and she's like, so stinkin cool. Well turns out she was inactive before coming here and we drug her to institute one night and she made a ton of friends there and now she loves coming to church! I never would have guessed haha. I asked her if she prays and she said that lately she had been and she just started bawling right there and told us everything has changed and now she WANTS to be a member and she loves coming to church! Well that was cool so we asked her to come do a lookup with us.
We go to that family from Elko and no one answered so we were like "dang, guess we'll go home" but as we were walking away the door opened (best 2 years status right there) and this new girl let us in! We hadn't met her when we came the first time. We got to know her and her sister (the one we had originally planned to visit) and it was super chill! They asked of we could stay and we said we could stay till 9:30 but only if we had a lesson. They agreed so we shared the "choose this day" mormon message by President Eyring. We bore our testimonies about God's love and it somehow turned into individual worth and the girl started crying! It was an emotional day haha. She had been inactive for like 10 years but she said she wanted to come back to church. Well she came to the right people haha. And on the way home we almost got in an accident and probably should have died but we didn't so that was another miracle.

So our mission was one of the first to get the iPads. They turned us loose with hardly any restrictions and told us to figure it out (this was 6 months before I got here). That was the "test" phase. We graduated to the "trial" phase!! Now, instead of not knowing what the heck we are doing, we get to be trained on how to be effective on Facebook and, family history, areabook (the app, not the book haha I've never had a planner like other missionaries, it's all on the app), and everything else!! But not just effective as missionaries...they are training us how to be effective with technology and social media in general, as people, so we can do so for the rest of our lives. No more days of wasting hours on the newsfeed comparing yourself to everyone else's "best side." The Lord has better purposes for technology and he wants us to be the masters, not the servants of it. The training we received was not on the iPads. It was on becoming disciples of Christ in this age. The gospel is the pearl of great price and we display it in a beautiful box (the iPad) but sometimes we start admiring the box we forget WHY we have it! The gospel is much more important than the way in which we share it. There were SO MANY things said, but because mostly family members will read this I will try and write things that will be beneficial in helping families use technology safely and wisely. 

When Elder Evans got up he held up a pen and said "these devices should be no more distracting than this pen. They are both simply tools to help us further the Lord's work." Well I can guarantee I couldn't set my phone on the desk for 10 minutes without at least THINKING about checking it or something dumb like that before my mission. We are so attached to these touch screens which, incidentally, make us lose touch with the world around us. Whenever we get on technology we should have a purpose. If we don't have a purpose, we are wasting our time. And that's they way they designed it to be! Have you every seen the round red badge on an app telling you of a notification, you click on it, and somebody commented on a post you commented on that you probably don't care about anymore but you click on it anyway and then you go to someone's profile who also commented and you see something on their wall and suddenly it's been 20 minutes before you look up from the wedding pictures you were creepin on of your best friend's roommate's sister? Congratulations, you just wasted a half hour of your life. One of the great uses of Facebook will be to prove in the last days that lack of prayer was not because of lack of time. Anything that diverts you from your path to follow Christ is bad, even if it is a good thing. There are a lot of "good" things in this life, but if they keep us from eternal life with God...I think they can go stuff themselves. 

They talked a bit about things that are "wrong" about technology, and one of them is our behavior when we use it. We ignore others, and often use it is an escape mechanism from feelings of anger, boredom, anxiety, or (let's be real) awkward situations. We program ourselves to pull out our phones when we are at certain places or when we do certain things. As missionaries we are going off Facebook so we can reprogram our minds and our escape mechanisms. We shouldn't be using tools as escapes. Just like the Liahona, our tools will stop working *correctly* if we use them incorrectly. 

Another problem is with pornography and other forms of inappropriate entertainment. When we isolate ourselves from our companion (or family, or spouse) we are crawling to a dark corner with Satan. Visible screens bring trust and keep us safe. I can think of nothing more unsettling than the "brightness" setting, which allows us to darken our screens so no one can see what we are doing. Like Ma always said "the devil works in the dark." Even though we are probably all guilty of doing things we shouldn't have, whether it be simply wasting time or a more serious sin, I know that we can "restart" and that second chance comes from repentance. Personally, I don't want to use these principals just as a missionary. I feel like that's putting a time limit on my righteousness. When we decide to repent it must be forever. We cannot be truly faithful if we are not first clean. It is not as often as we sin that we are forgiven, but as often as we repent.

So here are some guidelines that have been given to us (hallelujah) to help us be more effective in our technology that (I believe) apply to all who desire to become true disciples of Christ in this digital age. 
Safeguard 1: be in tune with spiritual promptings. President Packer said that "no member of this church will ever make a serious mistake without first being warned by the promptings of the Holy Ghost." We are so blessed to have this protection.
Safeguard 2: be focused on your purpose. Whether you are a missionary or a mom or dad or teen, have a purpose in using technology. This helps avoid wasting time and helps us use technology effectively. 
Safeguard 3: be disciplined. Handheld devices should be our servants, not our masters.
Safeguard 4: be one. "I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine." Whether you take this to be one as husband and wife or as a family, make sure everyone knows the rules and agrees to be open with how technology should be used in your family unit. 
What to do if you feel susceptible: 
1. Be aware and acknowledge thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Understand how they can make you more vulnerable to using technology. 
2. Choose to act. Respond in righteous, productive ways to what you are feeling.
3. Learn and improve. Use your experiences to continue learning and improving for the future. 
Learning to use technology may mean changing former habits, and doing so is a lot more difficult than saying you will do so. It's important to remember the Savior's atonement and to rely on Him as we live the safeguards and continue to change. 

Some thoughts I had about how I want to use technology when I have a family (the kids are gonna hate me):
-no devices allowed in rooms because all evil happens in isolation. You wouldn't pull up certain images on the big screen for the family to view together, but you would view them in your room when you're alone. All screens facing where everyone can see them. As missionaries we always have to be able to see our companions screen, and although this is a bit unrealistic in real life, you can make adjustments to fit your situation. 
-along with no devices in the rooms I was talking to President and he said that he has a "charging station" where everything electronic goes after 9pm. It reminded me of when I went to prom with Hubs and he said something to the effect that "the Holy Ghost goes to bed after midnight." I know if I was a teenager I would put up a fight on this one, but I know the same principal applies. 
-everyone knows everyone's passwords. My kids will have mine so there is trust on both ends. The only time people have a problem with this is when they have something to hide. 
-we don't delete history, we review it. Together. (#awk if Ma and Pa did this I would have died and cried and everything else 12-year-olds do, but I would have been fine!)
-lastly, there will be filters. Not the annoying ones that won't even let you go to YouTube, but filters so that you will only see inappropriate things if you go looking for them. You can set things like YouTube to only show PG-13 or better if you go to "settings" at the bottom of their website. However, all filters can be broken through. The only true "filter" is the heart and mind of the person. I know that if we have a personal testimony of Christ and His atonement we will never get into trouble with technology. We will be protected from the adversary because we know that "this is life eternal: to know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent." 

The only way to truly fortify ourselves against the adversary is to gain a witness of the truthfulness of the gospel. We do this by reading the scriptures and the words of the prophets and asking God to give us that witness. I know He will. I am grateful for my testimony of the doctrine of Christ and for the opportunity to be serving during this most remarkable era in the history of the church..."the hastening of His work." I will always be faithful to what I know is true.

Love you all & thank you for your constant support!
Sister Wadsworth

1. Gettin some Taco Bell after our finding activity fail...we are the only ones who showed up haha. 
2. On exchanges with Sister Paublo! I love her.
3. Some subway action

4. Our new handbooks! (Note they still say draft...we are so exclusive here in the NYNYSM...)