Monday, January 30, 2017

Big Changes!

Before I get to the good stuff, I'll just show you these adorable pics of my roommates.

This is what happens when you brush out super curly hair when it's dry! 

So first of - I'm not getting transferred! Which means I'll be spending 6 months- a third of my mission here in Ellensburg! Crazy! That rarely happens and now it's happened to me in 2 areas. Here, and White Salmon. 

So we had some big news this week all over the world as missionaries! Each year the church's mission department puts on a worldwide missionary broadcast to help with training and encouraging missionaries. This year's was this past Wednesday and they announced that our schedule will be changing a lot! I'm actually super excited because it gives us a lot more control over how to use our time. It used to be that we had a lot more specifics of "you need to do this thing at this time, and this thing at this time, and this thing at this time, etc." But now it's more like "here's a chunk of time (a few hours) and here's a list of things that need to get done in this chunk of time, you decide when would be the most effective to do it." It was cool because one of the things Elder Dallin H. Oaks said when he announced it was that they "are trying to adjust to the reality that in a world-wide church one size does not fit all." SUPER inspired. ALSO WE GET TWO MORE P-DAY HOURS. #hallelujah

Our new schedule!

The other big change happened with our key indicators. We used to have a set of "key indicators for conversion" (aka numbers) that help us to measure how people we are teaching are progressing. We used to measure 11 things: how many people baptized and confirmed that week, how many people with a baptismal date set, how many lessons taught with a member present, how many other lessons, how many investigators came to church, how many lessons taught to people recently baptized or less active, how many lessons taught to active members, how many new investigators that week, how many referrals received and contacted, how many service hours..... The list goes on and on... But now they have narrowed it down to the most important 4! Baptized and confirmed, with a date, at church, and new. I AM SO HAPPY ABOUT IT. Because sometimes the numbers would just get in the way. We'd be so focused on "oh how are WE doing with our member present numbers this week?" Instead of how our investigators are doing and which of THEM are still in need of member friends? Basically it's just another way to help us shift our focus outward and stop trying to measure our success with numbers. Ultimately our success comes from how committed we are to helping people, and how valuable we feel as people and missionaries should come from within and from God, not from a list of numbers we report each week. We're still going to be remembering to teach a lot of lessons and have members come out with us a lot obviously, but I just love the simplicity and better focus.
I'm also loving both of these changes because it gives us the opportunity to exercise our own agency a lot more, and I feel like it will help us with adjusting to college life when we go home.

This week I hit my 15 month mark! Can y'all believe it? I do NOT feel this old. It's actually pretty funny because there's this really common missionary album by the Nashville Tribute Band that's called "The Work" that I used to listen to all the time when I was a baby missionary with Hermana Luevano in Royal, but I really haven't listened to it a ton since then. So we decided to pop that CD in last night and listen to it and when it got to the song "The Hardest Thing I've Ever Loved to Do" I started CRYING! Hermana Tolliver was like "What the heck! You're crying?!" And I was! I totally cried. It's funny because the song basically goes through the whole life of the missionary from the moment he says goodbye to his bedroom at home, until he greets his family at the airport coming home. When I was a young missionary and used to listen to it, the first half of the song would always make me more emotional, especially talking about saying goodbye to your family, but last night it was the last half that got me! Talking about "in a million ways completely torn apart, as a land so far away still owns my heart" IT'S SO HARD, PEOPLE.  I think as hard as it was coming out on a mission, ending your mission is like a thousand times harder!! GAH!

So anyway, other news - This week was pretty average. Not amazing but not terrible either.
Something fun on Monday was having an FHE with the Duval and Robins families! We talked about family history and especially how we can share it with our friends because it makes us so happy! We split everyone up on teams and gave them a bag of random props that they had to use in a 3 minute skit to talk about family history! It was pretty entertaining, and a really good practice for connecting things to the gospel.

the family history skits at FHE

Hermana Tolliver, Hermana Knight, and one of our besties at FHE!

We had a really good Tuesday, including an AWESOME lesson with our new investigator, Carol. She has some amazing and perfect questions! Especially: "If there's only one Jesus Christ, and when he was here he only taught one Gospel, why are there so many different Christian churches?" It was perfect. 

Some beautiful crystals that formed on the trees this week

Thursday I finally got the opportunity to go to the doctor for my super chapped and dry skin. And thank goodness because it was starting to bleed at times! The doctor said it was really bad eczema and gave me a prescription for a steroid cream and it's working miracles! I've been using it for about 4-5 days now and I finally got to wear eyeshadow again today! woo hoo! #missedyoubuddy 

At the doctor. Hermana Tolliver: "What?! That's not the mission statement!"

Saturday was also a great day. We ended up with SEVEN HOURS in a row of set lessons. So we were basically running from place to place like headless chickens, but it was so awesome! The work was super super slow on Wednesday and Thursday so it was really refreshing! We have a couple of pretty solid families we are teaching right now, so that's very exciting. We got a little discouraged the last few days just because this area is so tricky sometimes, but this morning when we went to do our laundry at Sister Robins' house, she gave us the best pep talk and some amazing ideas to try that we hadn't thought of! I love returned missionaries and picking their brains! And sister Robins is seriously just so sweet and helpful. We really love her a lot. 

Transfer predictions at district council!

I think that's it for this week. That's the main highlights at least. 

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