Monday, January 26, 2015

Standing Firm and Committed

                                              The stop signs here just don't make sense...
Wow, Monday again? This week has flown by, although nothing too exciting has really happened. I'm glad that everyone is doing so good with your health challenge! On the other hand, my tights got tighter this week haha. Let's just say I'll probably be better off healthwise in Taiwan when I can ride a bike every day. 
Every day this week we've had a solid 8 to 10 appointments, and I'd say all but 1 or 2 will actually be there.  I just don't understand why we're not finding people who are ready and excited to hear the message of the restored gospel!  Two people even dropped us this week, saying they've read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it and it's just not for them.  Something isn't right.  
So funny experience: 
Well, not exactly funny, but whatever. So we call up a former and ask if we can see her, and she says to call back next week.  Later in the week, we're tracting and somehow come across her house, and she still said to call her next week.  So it's the next week (this week) and we call her, and she said we can't come over.  The 'colored' kids down the street have been abusing her dog, and so it apparently bites all colored people.  She noticed that one of us is colored, so we just can't come over.  Hahaha so we can't see her because of her racist dog? And besides, Sister A is pretty much as white as me! (Although she's half black). Haha people just don't make sense sometimes.
Since next week is stake conference, we had the opportunity to fast this week, and me and Sis Achziger fasted together to find people who will keep their commitments and want to come to church so we can actually help them progress. We're starting from the basics. 
We've lost all contact with one of our favorite couples, and that just breaks my heart because they are so solid! I was sure they would get baptized.  We keep calling or stopping by every day though, because I know that once we just see them, they'll get right back on track! 
We taught our two Gordon College students once this week, and we just went through the faith cycle.  They said they'd come to church next week, so hopefully they'll follow through! Speaking of church, we finally had someone come! We've just started teaching a member's stepson, and he's pretty awesome.  He's got a lot of baggage, but he just wants to know the truth.  He'll definitely be baptized though, it's just a matter of when.
  We got these bad boys from the older couple across from Gordon.  Love that southern hospitality!

Josue, the Gordon college student who referred us to our investigator, also brought his friend  to church.  Haha it was almost too easy! Josue is seriously the best at member missionary work.  He's even going to have a meeting for one of his clubs in our church building, and he found out that a few clubs on campus like to have people come and share about their religion.  Ahh that's so prime! I'm way stoked for that.  I just wish we could tract on campus or something because the college kids are in the perfect stage of life to accept the gospel. I'm so grateful that the college is in our area though! That's definitely a blessing. 
We had a really nice fast and testimony meeting yesterday.  "Firecross" Tony always runs up to bare his testimony about missionary work, and that just sets the tone for the rest of the meeting. Haha I just love him. It's so awesome to see a lot of members sharing their testimony of sharing the gospel with others, and I definitely want to be an active member missionary!  I'm still trying to figure out how that works in Happy Valley, Utah, but I'll make do with what I've got.
I had a really cool experience of watching the Atonement work right before my eyes, and it was just amazing and so humbling.  A recent convert who comes out with us on team-ups all the time likes to share the latest and greatest of what's going on in her life.  Before she got baptized, her life was literally a mess, and accepting the gospel was just what she needed.  Recently, some problems have been coming back including crazy relatives, court cases, DFCS, and what not.  It's crazy. But literally from one day to the next, I saw a change in her.  One day, she was about going to wring someone's neck and the next day at church she was so forgiving and saw her relative as just another sister in Christ.  That was the most amazing thing to me to watch her being willing to rely on the atonement, and have it work so beautifully in her life. Heavenly Father didn't take away all the baggage and everything that was going on, but He just helped her to get through that trial, ease her burdens, and mend a few relationships in the process.  If the Atonement of Jesus Christ isn't real, I don't know what is.   
I've had to share my testimony of a few things this week, which were hard in the moment because it was exactly against what they stood for.  I shared my testimony of families, specifically the idea that a mother and father is ordained of God, to a lesbian couple.  I shared my testimony and the Church's stance on the Word of Wisdom to a good number of people who smoke, drink, and who knows what else. It's hard at first, but once you share the truth, it is so worth it.  People appreciate that our church has such high standards, and it's because Heavenly Father doesn't drop His standards for those of the world.  His standards will always be the same, no question.  And I'm grateful for that, because I can see so many churches here in the South falling farther and farther away from his standards.  I know that I belong to Christ's one and only true church, and I'm so thankful to be His servant, no matter how hard it may be sometimes.  He never said it would be easy.  Christ himself was crucified.  So I'm willing to do whatever it takes to stand up for Him and preach His gospel.

Love, Sister Facer
                                              Did I mention our apartment is a little chilly?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Still Faithful

Good morning, sorry I couldn't write yesterday as it was MLK day! I hope everyone enjoyed their day off.  As for me, we were glad to find some families that were home, and enjoyed the high 60's all day.  I did get your package, and the package from the young women, thank you so much! The brace fits perfectly, and it's helped as I'm running.  My knee is doing better, it's just when I pick up the pace or pivot weird that it starts hurting. But all is well (: And as for the young women, haha yall are awesome.  It's so weird to me that you're in the phase of life that I swear I'm still in, but I really appreciate the package and hope yall are enjoying your last few months in YW's! Trust me, enjoy it while you can!
This week as I've been reading in my personal study, I've really been able to understand the storyline more, especially as I've started to read about Alma and Alma the younger.  What an awesome story! If we could all just have the faith of his father to pray for a miracle such as that.   It's a little sad that I've never really read through and got much out of it, but it's amazing how Heavenly Father works in that way.  I set aside a few months of my life to serve him, and he blesses me with more of an understanding in my reading.  It's as simple as that. And I'm so thankful for it.
                                 We only stopped to take the picture, not because we had to
Haha we filled up on gas the other day, and it was $1.92! What?! Is it just in the south that it's so cheap or everywhere? I've heard living costs are pretty cheap as well, but food is pretty expensive.. who knows. 
As I've been doing my language study, we've had the opportunity to do a 3 way call with some other sisters in the area that are also waiting to go to Taipei. It almost seems like a fantasy that one day I'll go to Taiwan and actually get to use my zhongwen.  Haha and the MTC seems even more of a fantasy.  2 straight months of only zhongwen, then I come out here and not a single person has the slightest knowledge of any foreign language.  I realized the other day that I'll only get to be in Taiwan a year or so... but I've noticed that my accent is getting pretty awesome! I just need to work on vocab a bit more, but that will come with being surrounded by it.  Anyways, I haven't given up on it when it seems useless sometimes.
                One last pic of our old district. Elders Hansen and Stewart, Sis Achziger and me, 
                                                          Elders Reber and Argyle
We got some new elders in our ward, E Herrera and Eldridge, and Elders Hansen and Argyle transferred out.  It's crazy that I've been in this ward the longest out of our district! We had dinner at the Druce's on sunday night, and it was so nice to have a real family sunday dinner.  It was a little weird to be on the other side as a missionary, but it was a nice experience. 
In church on sunday, we were talking about prayer and how someone's little boy prayed so sincerely that he thanked Heavenly Father for doorknobs (: He truly was thankful for them because he loves opening doors! I thought that was so sweet, and we could all be a little more thoughtful in our prayers.
We visited with a woman this week, an older less active lady who can't get out of bed.  It surprised me that she had been working on her family history work! Oh it just warmed my heart.  I was so happy that we were able to help her print off the names of her brother and his wife, and give them to someone who could take them to the temple.  I have such a testimony of family history and temple work, and it was so cool to be able to share that love with her!
                                                  Headbands that Sis Druce made us...
                                                   And hats that Sis Goddard made us!
This week was... well, not the most successful haha. I swear, every day we would have 6-8 appointments, sometimes one every hour for the whole day, and one by one they would all cancel on us or not be there when we came. We did a lot of tracting to say the least. It was a bit frustrating that people would just blow us off.  Then on sunday, we had 4 people set to come to church, and at the last minute, they all bailed. Not again! But we're doing our best to just worry about what's in our control.  It's just a little discouraging at times. From the people we did talk to, we saw A LOT of evidences of the apostasy.  It's all just too real.  One person flat out said she would not read the Book of Mormon after we taught her the restoration.  We pretty much told her at the judgment bar that she would be judged for this (seems harsh, but President demonstrated how to do so), but she still refused. That's just sad.  We've seen tons of ministers that are so proud of the fact that they're the best minister in town, and they went to college and got all these preaching degrees.  We learned about Catholicism and the Apostolic church, and you can literally pick out where they went wrong.  Haha one lady even explained in detail why Jesus is God, and they are all one person.  Ahh it's just so sad!! I can't believe that people actually believe this stuff, just because their pastor told them, and the love their pastor, so he must be right. My testimony of the apostasy grows every day, but more importantly my testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints grows every day.  I know that this is the ONE and only church that has every single bit of truth that Christ established while He was on the earth, and I CANNOT deny that.  It is all too perfectly organized and the doctrine makes too much sense for it not to be of Christ.  What a wonderful thing to be a member of!
       just waiting for an investigator in the college dorm commons.  An odd feeling as a missionary.
So cool story time. a guy who is a student at Gordon college, (grew up a member) and who sometimes comes to our ward because it's the closest building, told us a few weeks ago about a girl he randomly talked to.  She's the coolest cat! She's from Nigeria and was raised Catholic.  At first she was pretty timid to meet with us when we called to set up an appointment, but we promised we'd keep it on a get to know you basis.  When we met, she just kept asking questions and wanted to know more about literally everything! It was almost hard not to talk about the gospel and the Book of Mormon and prophets and missionaries.  It was so cool! Haha somehow we even casually slipped in the Plan of Salvation and gave her a Book of Mormon. The next day, well yesterday, we came back and taught her the Restoration, and she even brought along her 'agnostic' friend! Oh, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that do missionary work because they want to share their happiness with others! She said that she grew up catholic, and always will be one but when we invited her to baptism, she was strongly considering it.  She said she definitely would if she knew for herself that the BOM was true.  She kept saying that all of this just makes too much sense, and that we're 'real Christians'.  Her friend didn't really have a good view of Christians while growing up, so I'm so thankful that she was able to run across true representatives of Jesus Christ.  Wow, I just can't wait to meet with them again! They are so awesome and they actually WANT to learn more! 
Good stuff.  On the other hand, we finally got in contact with our other investigators after like a week of calling and dropping by.  Lame! But he's been doing awesome with the Word of Wisdom so that's good! Unfortunately, satan called him into work on sunday morning, so he wasn't able to go. We're still working with them though, so no worries. 
Well, for as hard of a week as it's been, I guess it wasn't half bad.  There were never bad days, just humbling and hard days.  But it really does make the good ones all the more worth it.  I love being a missionary, and I love sharing my testimony with other people.  This gospel is just truly amazing.

Love, Sister Facer

Monday, January 12, 2015

What? Missionary work in Orem?!

                                           Post-temple trip selfie, with the wind blowing...
It's been another great week! Happy birthday to WOJ(ie?) today and Avery on Saturday! Mom, I just hope you know how grateful I am for the wonderful example that you and dad are to me.  I can't believe how blessed I am to have grown up in a good family that's active in the church and taught us to live by righteous principles.  It just made life so much easier. How have your classes been going to far? Haha, a recent convert in our ward that just had her baby also wants to start a diet to get rid of her baby fat.  She's trying to get us to do it with her, but it sounds miserable! Only fruits and veggies for a few days, then just liquids for a few days, then back to fruits and veggies for a few days.  I think not! But I'm glad that the whole family is in to it and has the support of each other! Wait so they're making an Orem mission?? That's crazy! I had no idea that there was even any missionary work going on in our stake.  I'm so motivated after I get back to do member missionary work and to do my part in working with the missionaries.  Even in Happy Valley, Utah, it's such an awesome opportunity.  Speaking of, I had an offer to me that kind of threw me off.  We tracted into the sweetest couple, Robert and Betty, and they live right across from Gordon college. They've been looking for someone to vacate their upper level, preferably someone that's focused on school and not messing around with guys.  They even offered to pay tuition.  It probably won't happen, and I don't even know how serious they were, but it just opened my eyes that I guess there's more options than BYU.  Haha but I'll probably end up just going to back to BYU, so no worries haha.
Transfers are this week, and two elders of our district, Elder Hansen and Argyle are probably going to leave but me and Sis Achziger are staying put! Score! 
We got to go to the temple again, along with zone conference, and it was just wonderful as always.  President Harding encouraged us to read our patriarchal blessing before going, and then try to receive inspiration as to how we could fulfill our blessing.  That was the coolest experience! I guess I never really thought of my blessing like that.  If I want those blessings, I have to work for them and make them happen, along with being faithful and living righteously of course. I'm definitely going to look for opportunities to fulfill my patriarchal blessing. Zone conference was really good, as well.  I love listening to President Harding, as well as Pres Jewkes.  We talked more about the cycle of faith, and helping our investigators actually progress.  Then on sunday, President Jewkes visited our ward and just kind of pumped up the members about having lessons in their homes and teaching with the missionaries.  Have you ever thought about doing that?  Seriously, the missionaries will love you if you offer your home to them! Just do it, k? Blessings!
Also, I was told that the next time I'm up in Peach Tree City (which is like never..) I need to sign a ministerial certificate.  I already have mine in Chinese, so I'm not sure what that has to do with my visa, but hopefully that won't prolong it too long.  
                                                          Cute Christmas outfits!
So our investigators are doing awesome! We taught them the word of wisdom and they are doing just splendid.  Sadly they couldn't come to church because they had to go out of town for work, but they'll definitely be back next week.  I can't wait to see them in white! Another couple are also doing pretty well,  although they also didn't come to church this week :( but we're still working with them and we're going to have a lesson at a ward member's house this week, so hopefully that will motivate them again! 
Okay, miracle time! We were tracting one day, because we had like 6 appointments all in a row and they all fell through one after another! Rough times haha.  We probably talked to maybe three people while tracting, and it was just sad.  We finally found a woman who was so excited to let us in to pray with her, and she even wanted to hear our lesson right on the spot! We taught the restoration, and it turns out that she received a Book of Mormon like 10 years ago (she was leaving to go somewhere real quick but two elders stopped her and gave her one - thank you, random elders!!) and she read it and knew it was true because it totally went along with the bible! Haha me and Sis Achziger just didn't even know how to react.  She couldn't come to church with us this week, but she definitely wants to come next week, and she said she wants to be baptized! I'm so excited to teach her again! That was just such a testimony to me that our efforts are never wasted, and the fruits of your labors definitely plant seeds, no matter how deep.  
I should have shared this last week, but I forgot.  One of my new year's goals is to imagine everyone I meet wearing white, going down into the baptismal font.  It's totally changed my  perspective, and definitely helped me to have more faith in everyone.  And I guess lose a few pounds, seeing that I gained a bit over the holidays.  Oops. 
Sis Achziger goes home after this transfer, so I'm helping her not get trunky haha.  It's a struggle, but we're working on it together (: 
I hope y'all have a good week that's filled with missionary service! I know mine will be.  Haha obviously.  Oh, I lied. This week was freezing! The weather is kind of like Utah, except it never snows.  But it's just super unpredictable.  
Anyway, I love you so much and I pray for you every day!

Love, Sister Facer

                                                   Our sad little Christmas scene.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Miracles of a Missionary Christmas

                                        This went to President, but it applies to y'all as well!
                    Elders Reber and Argyle, Sister Achziger and I, Elders Stewart and Hansen
Happy New Year!!
I can't believe that this whole year I'll be able to serve the Lord and find people to bring unto him.  This is going to be the best year ever! Tell Brigham happy birthday! I remembered it, and we made cookies in honor of him.  He didn't show up to the party, so we were forced to eat them ourselves. 
The weather here has been pretty weird, actually. And it's way different in Atlanta, so don't go by that.  Some days it rains, and then it's so foggy and humid that it's pretty much raining mist the whole day.  Today is nice and sunny.  We haven't had a really cold day in a while, and I'm grateful that it's this nice even in January! 
So you found the mission blog, huh?  Yes, I forgot to tell you that Sis Watts and I sang at our mission Christmas devotional! It was pretty cute. I don't even remember what song we sang, but I sang one verse in zhongwen, and then Sis Cheng (who's from Taiwan) complimented me and said she understood it!  Victory. I probably found out the same time as you that we have a mission blog.  There's also a facebook page, I think it's just called Georgia Atlanta mission? Haha most of the pictures they take aren't that exciting; just us chilling in zone conferences or something. But pictures are pictures (:
We had a trainer/trainee meeting this week, and it was really insightful! One of the old AP's, Elder Wahlen talked about how he's going through the Book of Mormon right now, and learning the gospel literally front to back.  Whenever there's a blessing mentioned, he would turn it around and see what would happen if you didn't do the promise.  Whenever there was a warning, well you get it. I thought that was really interesting though, so I've started to be a little more thorough in my personal study.  It's so awesome if we repent of our sins and receive all these great blessings from going to the temple, but how much worse would it be if we just didn't? Or on the other hand, we're not supposed to smoke and do drugs, but the blessings are so prevalent when we're keeping that commandment.  I hope that makes enough sense.  That definitely opened my eyes, and I encourage y'all to look at the blessings you could receive, or the misery that will come from not obeying.  The scriptures are so awesome when you really study them!
Back to business.  We had probably 8 investigators set to come to church yesterday, which would have been awesome! Haha sundays are probably the most stressful days because you have to make sure everything goes well at church, and you have very little control over that.  Anyway, we only had two people come. But we actually had two people come to church! Remeber the guy we met walking home from jail? He brought his girlfriend, who we've also been teaching.  They're so getting baptized.  Haha fast sundays are always a little scary because you never know what random tangents people could go off on.  But it was a really good meeting, and then there was gospel principles class.. We talked about exaltation, OF ALL THINGS! The whole time I was just praying that they wouldn't think our church is crazy, but they actually texted us later that day and said they really enjoyed it! So that was a relief.  We started teaching them the plan of salvation but didn't finish, so it will be a good opportunity to discuss all the things they had questions about. 
Two other investigators are just amazing.  Their dad was going to come with them to church, but sadly he bailed so they weren't able to come.  We taught them about the word of wisdom and this was my first time teaching so I was a wee bit scared! And you never know what problems they might have.  It turns out they were both trying to quit smoking anyway, and they were super willing to stop drinking coffee.  It kills me how much faith they have!! They're so awesome! 
We met another guy the other day, and it was totally meant to be.  He was chilling outside by his car, maybe smoking? Anyway, we talked to him, set up a return appointment, all that jazz. We came back and his wife was sick so we couldn't talk with them, but he just pleaded that we don't give up on him, and he really wants his wife to get back into church, and how he just knows that he's supposed to talk to us.  Ah it was beautiful! Every missionary's dream! So we're way excited to go back and teach them. 
We taught another family the plan of salvation and it was a really good lesson.  We just can't get them to come to church! But I'm not giving up! They are such a miracle family!
I got a priesthood blessing for my knee, and basically I'm just supposed to have faith that it will be healed.  Although it got a little worse this week, so maybe Heavenly Father is testing me a little. Not really sure what's going on there.  But I keep praying it will heal. It's nothing too bad though, so don't freak out or anything.  Also, I'm where He wants me to be, so that was very comforting to hear (:
I think that's all for this week, but let me know if I missed anything/anyone! I love this gospel, and I know without a doubt that the Atonement of Jesus Christ can heal anything.  Also, Mosiah 4 is a SWEET chapter. Just read it this morning. Have a great week!

Love, Sister Facer