Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New home? Roosevelt!

Dear Family,

Baptism on Saturday with new companion.
      Well. Guess where I am?  I'm in Roosevelt Utah! Way far East! About 3 hours away from Provo. Where it is freezing cold! Super duper cold! Like below 0 every single day! It is this super small town, and everyone either lives in a pretty nice log cabin or in a trailer.  I LOVE IT! It's like Duck Dynasty everywhere almost! Everyone here has a slight accent and they always say "I seen a duck." or "We was out huntin". The work out here goes a lot faster than Orem because it's about 50% LDS instead of 90%LDS, so that helps!
     My new companion is named Sister Jones. And I love her!!! She's great! She's really pretty and petite and cheerful all the time. She's very bubbly and likes to hum to herself and sing to herself all the time, which is great with me because I do the same thing! She reminds me of a Disney princess for some reason...I don't know why...but she does and it's cute! Our new district is a lot of fun too! Elder Mateer, from my MTC district is in my district now, so it's good to have a friend that I know. (He's the British one...everyone still likes to make fun of his accent). Also Megan Nielson is my Sister Training Leader! I'm excited to go on exchanges with her!!!! We're going exploring today for p-day because there are fun places to hike and explore.
     We live with this really cute elderly widow and her funny dog Buster. Her house is super 80's and the wall paper in our room is powder blue with roses all over it. Very Retro. But it's got character....there is even carpet in her bathroom! But I love her to death, she is such a sweet lady!
     I was pretty sad to leave Orem though. I loved it there so much! I already miss the people like crazy and I miss Sis Albrechtsen, (I learned SO much from her!) but this new adventure looks like it is going to be a lot of fun! I just have to learn a whole bunch of new names and how to navigate my way around all these crazy highways and back roads and stuff. 

     The people here are a lot more willing to listen to the gospel! The first night here we were teaching a new part member family and that first night in the middle of the first lesson we put the father and the daughter on date for baptism! It was so awesome! The spirit was super strong and I was so excited for them! The people here are so interesting and I can't wait to get to know them more! Everyone in Orem had dogs...everyone here in Roosevelt has cats! It's crazy! We taught this little boy the other day and went over the Baptism interview questions with him and he said he probably couldn't get baptized because he beat up a kid earlier that day. I was laughing pretty hard as Sis Jones was trying to teach about repentance but he just kept saying "But I'm NOT sorry!" hahaha. Oh I love the people here so much already! 

Friends made and missed in Orem
The Vernal Temple is really cool and old looking! I loved it! We went there for baptisms this last week with some recent converts. So my new address is:
     Sister Lenise Diane Volmer
     2215 S. 2000 W.
     RT 3 Box 3017
     Roosevelt, UT 84066
    I love you all! The church is true no matter where I am, and I've loved learning that. Roosevelt is such a new and different adventure, but I have a feeling I'm going to LOVE it, and I also have a feeling I might be here for a while! The Lord knows what he's doing. It's all part of the experience, it's all part of life, and I'm excited to see what Roosevelt has to teach me. I love and miss you all!
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

Sorry this letter was so random.... 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I spoke in Stake Conference! Then got transferred.

We live in the house behind my head, in the basement.
What a view!

Dearest Family,                                                                  
    I'm getting transferred. SAD! :( I found out this morning when president called. I leave Wednesday morning. Sis A is staying here and training another new missionary again.  She's been training for the last four transfers and it's exhausting. But it will be good. I'll miss her a ton!!! She has taught me so much! It will be weird to not have her around anymore... When you are with someone 24/7 for three months's weird to think you won't be with them anymore. I have to get used to a whole new person....weird.  So don't send letters to my current address anymore. Send them to the mission office until I can get you guys my new address. 
     Also, thank you so much for all the pictures from new years with the white board!!!! They were awesome! They made me smile and I hung them up all around my desk so I could see your funny messages    and faces every day. It has been such a day-brightener! 
     Tell Chantel THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! for the coco cough! It has helped and I am finally not sick anymore! When I found it outside my door it made me laugh. It's crazy how close some family is here even though some days it feels like you are all forever away!                                                                                                      
     Last Monday was a rough day. It was the day after we talked to the atheist and Sis A and I were still pretty shaken up. We went to the H's home (Bro H was our ward mission leader and is now a bishop.) We love it there and both of us feel comfortable and at home and open with them. It's the only place I feel like I can really relax. They let me sing there and we sit around and crack jokes. Their kids are awesome. K is 22 and has some special needs but I have a blast quoting Disney movies with her and her dad. And then there is B who is 14. He's adopted & is SO funny. And then there is Lauren who is Riley's age and she dresses like a model! haha!  Bishop H gave us a lot of counsel and really helped answer our questions. It was really rough on Sis. A. But then Bishop H gave us blessings. It was such an inspired blessing. He was so in tune with the spirit. He addressed absolutely everything that I was struggling with and reassured me in so many ways. He couldn't have known. I just sat there and cried while he gave me the blessing. I love that family so much. His wife M is amazing too. She drives us everywhere and makes sure we are ok. I want to stay in contact with their family for a long time :)
     This last Wednesday Sis A got sick with a fever so we were inside all day long. I was finally healthier but she was in bed freezing so I organized pictures, wrote letters, and studied for lessons while she slept and tried to get better. There were a lot of people praying for us, because by the next day she was doing a lot better! It was amazing! 
     The rest of the week was pretty un-eventful. Just the usual lessons and such.
I spoke yesterday at stake conference...that was fun...haha not really. I was super nervous. But I need to repent because President McCune is always telling us not to be afraid. It went well. I spoke around 10 my time, so 9 your time, so yes mom you did end up praying right around the time I spoke! So thanks! I can't remember it very's all kind of a blur....haha. I'll have to send you my talk later.  
I finally learned to eat with chopsticks!
     I 'm dreading trying to shove everything into my suitcase again!  But today for p-day, the sisters are getting together and doing a clothes swap, so that should be fun. I need to go to the apartment and go through my stuff.  I'm kind of nervous about a new companion, but oddly enough I think I'm ready for some change. Wish me luck!
     I love you all so much and I'm so grateful for you! I'm so thankful for all the support and letters. Especially over the last few weeks, I've really needed them. Sorry this letter is pretty lame...not much to report....But I still love the Savior and I love the Lord and I love my mission and I love you all. This week has been inspiring when it comes to hastening the work. I love this experience. I will write you ASAP with my new address and tell you all about my new area. Next week’s email will be epically long.                                                                           
I love you all!
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I know! I know what I KNOW!!

                                                                                 Jan. 13, 2014

                                                                                  Dear Family,

This picture is for Dad...animal from Africa!
What is it?
Can you say crazy week or what??
     This week I got really sick. I had probably one of the worst colds I've ever had in my life! I seriously went through two packs of tissues a day and a zillion cough drops. I kept Sis A up all night with my coughing and I felt really bad. It started about Tuesday and has lasted until about now. I'm doing better but I still have a constant tickle in the back of my throat that will NOT leave me alone. I got a blessing from two of my ward mission leaders, Brother Farley and Brother Grant (They are AMAZING). The blessing was fantastic because not only was I sick but I was also really frustrated with myself about a few things. But when Brother Farley quoted my patriarchal blessing in his blessing, I felt this overwhelming peace. And even though I didn't get better right away, it helped me a lot more mentally than I realized I needed. 
    Last P-day was crazy. We spent all afternoon at Dragon House making Taquitos and I smelled like grease all day! I'll send pictures of that! T is the sweetest and we had a lot of fun talking with them and getting to know her husband K a little better and talking to him about the gospel. He's very relaxed and doesn't seem to care if we teach him about the gospel or not. But we'll keep trying with him.
     We had an amazing experience that night. We taught S, who is 15 and is a foster child in a member's home. They are hoping to adopt her eventually once the mother loses custody because she has come from a terrible home situation. She's been learning about the gospel for a while and wants to be baptized but can't until she's adopted, but she's really confused about the whole parental situation. We had an amazing FHE with her where we all bore testimony, including her and she started crying. (Which is really unusual for her because of her upbringing she doesn’t show emotion because that's weakness, so for her to get emotional was really significant) We are really hoping that in the near future we can baptize her. Then later that night we taught R who is a single mother who is less active. She's struggled with drugs since she was 18 and is now in her 30's. We talked to her a lot and she is an amazing women. She told us she's been angry with God and hasn't prayed to him in a long time. We kept talking with her and the spirit touched me so strongly to ask her to pray with us. She sighed and said "Somehow I knew you were going to ask me to do that." So she knelt and gave a really beautiful prayer. She started crying and then I got all emotional, and it was just an amazing experience. I wrote a poem because of it...I'll have to send it home to you guys.

     This week we were supposed to go on exchanges, but because of crazy schedule stuff, we went on mini ones for like 5 hours, instead of overnight. I was with Sis H who is one of our new STL's. She is tiny! She's at least two inches shorter than my shoulder and she's from Mexico. The exchange was fun because I got to drive for the first time in 2 and a half months and that was fun. I thought I would forget but once I got behind the wheel autopilot kicked in and I was fine. We had a lot of fun meeting people who couldn't speak English so I just smiled and waved at them and said "Hola!"
     We met with the stake presidency for one of our stakes this week about missionary work and we are really trying to step it up with our goals. (By the way, I have to speak in stake conference next Sunday ...and I'm freaking out!!!! I really need to write my talk....I'm nervous!) 
     Saturday we spent going to the temple and then to baptisms for other missionary's converts. Sunday was a crazy day.
      Brother Hair is one of my favorite ward mission leaders that we have. We went to his house for Christmas Eve and we stop by and visit and eat dinners at their house all the time. His wife is one of our mission moms and she drives us everywhere. Well yesterday he got released from Ward Mission Leader and became the Bishop of the Cascade 7th ward. We went to go watch him get called and the whole meeting was really emotional. He is so humble and such a great man, I look up to him a lot. It really made me think about how much the leadership does and how much bishops do and sacrifice. Out here on the mission I interact with bishops all the time and I've realized a lot of new things about them that I didn't know that Dad did. They have a ton of responsibility and worry and love for people. I gained such a respect for what Bishops do and I'm so grateful for the blessings that have come to our family through dad serving as the bishop of our ward back at home. My testimony of their example and calling has been so strengthened and I'm so grateful that Dad has had the opportunity to be a bishop.
     So last night was a rough night.
     We went to this couple whose daughter is 7 and wants to get baptized. The mother is an active member, and her husband was a convert, served a mission, was one of the best missionaries in the mission, came home, studied English, Law, and assisted professors of religion before suddenly deciding he was atheist. Now he doesn't want his daughter to get baptized unless she fully understands what she's doing and while we teach her, he gets to be there, and give her the rebuttal for everything we say so that she can think for herself. Last night at dinner we seriously sat there while he went off on all his opinions, insights, knowledge, and studies of why there wasn't a god, how feeling the spirit is just a chemical reaction in your body when you've been raised one way all your life, and he also kept saying "Who knows if feeling happy and emotional actually comes from some great spirit guy out in the universe or if it's just you recognizing truth according to what you've been taught all your life and it just makes you happy." What scared me the most was that as he kept going on, he had a lot of sense, logic, and facts that stumped me. It shook my companion and me up pretty good. And he has a counter for everything we said, and we weren't even able to teach his daughter because he kept going off on anything we said. He was nice about it, but we couldn't squeeze a word in.
     What it boils down to is this. I know what I know. I've felt the spirit. And if that's not good enough, I still know. I have faith. I've had experiences.  I can't deny the fact that at girl’s camp I had to sing a solo and lost my voice right before hand. Brother Hazel gave me a blessing and within a half hour I was up in front of ever body singing at full voice. I can't deny the fact that Brother Farley who hardly knows me quoted my patriarchal blessing, or the fact that I've taught by the spirit and said things I never could have said on my own. In my patriarchal blessing it says specifically that Satan wants me and would rob me of my testimony if he could. Well guess what I have to say to him: "You can NOT shake my faith." I know. I know it. I stand by what I've said before. God knows that I know it. And I cannot deny it.
     I may not be the best missionary. I may be forgetful. I may stumble. I might be annoying. But I know what I believe is true. And no smart guy with degrees and philosophies of man mingled with scripture can pridefully tell me that I'm wrong and harken not unto the council of God. I love this gospel and I will keep fighting on the front lines for what I know is the truth. I love you all so much.I miss you and I pray for you. I hope you know the same things I know. 

Love Always,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer
Letter is in the mail home and there are more to follow! Thank
 Pictures of a Nativity a member sets up in his house every year....

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy New Year to All!

Jan. 6, 1014

Dear Family!
Happy New Year!!!
....Well...I sat here for a second trying to think of what to write first and the only thing that popped into my head was "Mom, I wish you were here to pluck my eyebrows for me..." Hahaha! (I can pluck them myself, but they don't look as good as when you do them!)
     Well. I'm not going to lie. This week was rough. It had a lot of great moments. But in all it was rough. 
So thank you thank you thank you to those of you who wrote me.
This week has been crazy.
     Tuesday was crazy busy. We had District meeting that morning because the mission president was interviewing all of us. We had a great lesson on Elder Uchtdorf's talk in the Ensign this month called "The best time to grow a tree" and also Elder Causse's talk (You'll need to find it on "We are the architects of our own happiness" You need to read both of them! They are so good and perfect for the New Year! We then wrote letters to ourselves that our district leader Elder P promised to send to us at the end of our missions (We all go home before him...) and then we made a list of 5 goals for the rest of the year. Interviews with President went great! He is amazing and I really enjoyed talking with him. He is so inspired and he always has the spirit with him. 
     We got invited to a bunch of meals and stuff but didn't go to very many. New Year ’s Eve was kind of random actually. We spent our last two hours of proselyting doing service for T at Dragon House. I need to send you a picture of T soon. She is the sweetest and she is really growing a testimony. We're hoping she'll accept baptism soon, but she doesn't want to do it alone. She wants her husband to do it with her if she does, and that would take a bit more time...He's Chinese and he's actually beginning to warm up to us. He's a great guy, but he's so busy in the kitchen all the time. We usually go back there and talk to him and give him chocolate because he is obsessed with it! It's really funny. He never comes out in the dining area unless we are there, and he'll personally bring our food out. T says that's a good sign.  But anyway we spent two hours doing dishes in the kitchen from 7-9:30 New Years Eve. They were super busy, and T was really stressed, so we and one of our fellow shippers named L (She just got off her mission from Canada) were in the back doing dishes for her. 
     Afterward we were so tired we just went home and went to bed at 10:30. On the mission, the bed time doesn't change if it's new year’s...but the wake up time does... we got to sleep in until 7:30 which was absolutely heavenly! We weren't allowed to go proselyting on New Year ’s Day until 2pm, so our district had a new year’s party that morning instead. We had a white elephant gift exchange, drank sparkling cider, and ate those chocolate long stick things that look kind of like know? The ones grandma Volmer always had. But we laughed a lot playing cards.  After playing Egyptian Rat Screw our hands were all red from slapping the card deck, and each other’s hands.  We had a count-down to noon because we all didn't get to stay up till midnight. It was funny because Elder R from Chile was trying to read some game ideas and didn't know how to say them in English so Sis A was trying to help him. She read it out loud and was like"...I don't think that's's pronounced Cha-raid-ez..." then I looked at it and started laughing. "Sis A that says charades..." Hahaha it was great! 

 Then it was back to work.  It's Cold!  Here in this picture I'm worshiping our space heater.  My hands were COLD!
    Thursday came around and I had a hard day. I've really been trying to step it up so that I could help Sis A out more, and we set a goals that would help me do that. But it means a lot more of me teaching and starting out lessons, it means a lot of roll playing, and it means a lot of re-evaluating myself over and over again. It means a lot of acknowledging weaknesses and feeling overwhelmed. I'm really struggling to teach by the spirit recently. I feel like Sis A says "Just go by the spirit." and I'll try but my head will go blank.  I've been praying a lot for it. It says in my patriarchal blessing that I am "blessed with the gift of inspiration and even revelation, so that I will know in advance those things that I should do and say".... I’ll keep praying.
     Friday was planning day. Planning sessions usually last 3+ hours and take forever because we are planning lessons for every single person we teach that next week and we also have companionship inventory.  We love it because we get to think about the members but it's a lot of paperwork. When we finally said the closing prayer, Sis A said "Dear Heavenly Father... thank you so much that planning is finally over..." and then she couldn't go on because we were both laughing too hard. 

                                                                                                           Green smoothies in A.M. - YUM!
     But later Friday night and Saturday were just hard days...Not because of me specifically, but because of the people. I love the people here so much. I love them, I really do. As a representative of Jesus Christ I get to feel how the Savior loves them, and that sometimes is very painful, overwhelming, and sad.  I have seriously taken my life for granted. I've been raised in a glass box where my world has been perfect. My whole family is active. My extended family is active. We all follow the commandments, we are blessed, we are happy. We have trials, but we have each other and we overcome them and stay strong.
      I seriously plop face down on my bed every night and think "how on earth can I help these people??" I feel so inadequate. I have no idea what they're going through. I've lived my entire life in this imaginary fantasy thinking nothing could touch me and nothing can hurt me or the people I love. But being out here...I've seen how quickly people's lives can shatter and it hurts.  It hurts me so bad because I love them and I want to do everything for them. I've never understood what it's like to be    like them.  I felt so selfish, and spoiled.. I thought of times that I  had thought my life was so hard or stressful or just terrible. Which it isn't.  It never has been. I wish I knew how to help them more. I want to so bad. I wish I could put into words how much I wish I could give them all what I've had. I wish they just knew how God can help them.
     When we had President interviews this week president told us a story about a girl who had been to Brazil and then moved to Provo because of health issues. When he asked her what she thought she said "Brazil is physically very hard. The weather is crazy, there are bugs, and a whole new culture. But Provo is really hard emotionally and spiritually. The people here are harder to teach, help, figure out, soften, everything."  
    We work so hard. Anyone who said Provo was an easy mission had no clue.
But I love this.  All of it.  I love my mission.  And it's hard.  I work my fanny off.  But my mission means everything to me. I know that the Lord lives and loves us. He wants to heal us so badly. He wants us to be happy. He wants us back again someday. I know through Him and my Savior, all things are possible. I'm ready for a new year, and I have a feeling that this next year is going to be one of the most influential years I ever experience. I love this gospel.
  I miss you all like crazy. Hope your week of going back to life after the holidays has been a smooth and good one. The gospel is true. I love you!
Love Always,
                                                                                                        Favorite food - microwavable!

Sister Lenise Diane             Volmer